Not since “Carrie” have I seen a tampon used as such an integral narrative
catalyst. Josh Thomas and Matthew Saville continue to impress me week in and
week out with their creative stories. Though the episodes play with kitschy
millennial themes and problems, the show continues to be fresh because the
plots and subplots are so specific that the characters become real people.
This week’s episode, “Sausage
Sizzle,” opens with a plumber finishing up work at Josh’s house. The culprit: a
tampon flushed down the toilet. Not understanding how three male roommates
could have this happen, Josh begrudgingly accepts the plumber’s bill for $770 (the
plumber didn’t charge for the second hour, but did charge for footage of the
tampon extraction). The show’s theme song plays as the plumber winds up his
equipment and destroys Josh’s tomato plants.
Josh interrogates his pantless roommates as to which of their female friends
flushed a tampon down the toilet. No one knows the culprit, so Josh punishes Tom
by prohibiting him from taking a shower before they pick up Claire at the
airport. Along the ride, Josh believes Jenny is responsible for the $770 tampon
(he thinks this is her first period). Tom refutes Josh’s assessment and argues
that their landlord (Josh’s father) should probably pay for the plumber. At the
airport, the two roommates bicker as they escort the jet-lagged Claire to the
car (Josh talks about Tom’s “child-girlfriend” while Tom retorts that Josh
“pissed his pants” when Patrick kissed him). Claire is unamused by the
conversation, which devolves into Josh discussing his insecurities with
Patrick’s non-reaction to the kiss.
his friends off at home, Josh meets with Alan (and Grace) at a mall to discuss
the plumber’s bill. Alan refuses to “bail out” Josh on the grounds that he
won’t learn from his mistakes. Josh (justly) replies that there wasn’t really
much he could do to prevent this situation (“Do you want me to stop inviting
girls over if they seem moody?”). The father and son temporarily pause the
conversation so Josh can pee.
In the bathroom stall, Josh sees
a swastika drawn with permanent marker and tries to do a noble thing (“like
Banksy”) by turning the swastika into a gay couple’s home. As Josh puts the
finishing touches on the gay family, the janitor walks in and admonishes him
for vandalizing property. Alan calls Josh to see what is holding him up and rushes
into the bathroom (unwittingly getting embroiled in this heated situation). After
antagonizing the janitor – who leaves to call security – Alan and Josh take the
opportunity to flee. When they reach the car, Alan yells at Josh and says that
he thinks his son is “lost.” Josh simply quips, “You’ve left Grace behind,
yeah?” and Alan rushes to find his abandoned daughter.
hospital, Rose reveals to Hannah that she slept with Stuart, who is married. As
a result of Hannah’s non-reaction, Rose and Hannah talk about Ginger. Rose mentions
Ginger’s delusional perspective, claiming that Ginger probably thinks she is
the sanest person in the hospital. At that moment, Ginger jumps out from her
room and says she knew her friends were talking about her behind her back. In a
fit of anger, Ginger goes around yelling that she has something to confess
about Rose (possibly the affair), but just tells an old patient that Rose is a
the apartment and having nothing else to do but eat a deformed cake, Josh,
Patrick, and Claire join Tom to see Jenny’s play: a reimagining of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with “pop
songs from the 80s, 90s, and now.” The four friends secretly drink booze as
face-painted, neon-clad teenagers sing “Together in Electric Dreams.”
Back at the hospital, tensions
mount between Rose and Ginger, leading Arnold to feel alienated from the group.
Rose tries to make up with Ginger, but Ginger questions the meaning of their friendship
and rushes off. Hannah is left in the middle, not caring about anything.
school play segues into a can-can segment, during which Claire notices Jenny’s
“wings” (thus confirming that Jenny is on her period and may have flushed the
tampon down the toilet). The friends all laugh at the spectacle and try to
leave during intermission. Tom has to stay for Jenny, so Claire decides to stay
behind while Josh and Patrick spend some time at the school’s basketball court.
Josh talks to Patrick about how
he avoided high school gymnastics by claiming that he had surgery for an ingrown
toenail, but that he still had to do a final performance (he used arm signs
instead of doing actual flips). Josh and Patrick make an agreement to show off
their gymnast potential to one another.
episodes of “Please Like Me” continue to end with wonderful montages, and this
week’s montage focused on characters watching other characters: Tom and Claire
drink as an anthropomorphized donkey does and Irish jig to “C’est la vie;”
Ginger makes up with Rose and the two harass Stuart’s wife (Ginger throws
something at her head); and the theme of reactions/non-reactions boil over into
Josh’s graceful non-gymnastic routine of arm signals (Patrick giggles at the
spectacle and gets up to kiss Josh).
Patrick and Josh make out against
a chain-link fence, but Josh’s efforts to depants his roommate are interrupted
by Tom, Jenny, and an inebriated Claire. Jenny tries to apologize for the
horrible play, but Claire uses her (un)subtle tactics to reveal that Jenny is
on her period. Embarrassed by her public display of menstruation, Jenny tells
the four friends to “fuck off.” A defeated Tom sits on the ground and confesses
that he found a tampon, tried to understand it, and flushed it down the toilet.
The friends all laugh as the credits start rolling.
The constant attention to the
characters’ gazes, especially the feminine gaze (those of Claire, Rose, Hannah,
and Ginger), is palpable throughout the episode. It is through these
reactions/non-reactions that we get about some semblance of people’s true
feelings, whether it is Patrick’s attraction to Josh, Ginger’s mood swings, Tom’s
tampon secret, or Hannah’s detachment from life. Unlike last week’s episode,
“Sausage Sizzle” ends on a hopeful note, though my pessimistic side feels that
unleashing Josh and Patrick’s sexual tension midway through the season can only
lead to conflict.