crashed and I had to write this on a 7-year-old laptop whose internet
connection is non-existent.
Sometimes you become so involved in characters’ lives that
you can’t help but relish in their emotional highs and weep during their
emotional lows. You transform them from fictional characters into real people,
making their tragedies all the more meaningful. This week’s episode of “Please
Like Me,” entitled “Lapin La Cocotte,” is one of the more emotionally draining
episodes of the entire show. I will keep from reveling the ending of the
episode so as not to spoil an important moment.
Cocotte” begins with the residue of last week’s episode: Josh and a shirtless
Patrick sleep beneath a comforter, one with images of a life sized astronaut’s
outfit and a life-sized salmon-colored dress. These decorative images lay on
top of Patrick and Josh, respectively, revealing a layer of visual subtext:
Josh idealizes his romantic situation to fairy tale-esque proportions (even
aided by a romantic score), while Patrick is emotionally disconnected and off
in his own world. Josh makes a move by waking Patrick up just to kiss him, but
Patrick tries to avoid the intimacy by claiming that Josh has bad morning
breath. Josh immediately rushes to the bathroom and brushes his teeth, all the while
dancing to the show’s theme song.
Returning to his slumbering love
interest, Josh creeps into the bed and starts making out with Patrick.
Suddenly, Tom bursts into the room shouting that Gavin (the rabbit he
co-parented with Jenny) has died. This isn’t the first time that death (Aunty
Peg, Geoffrey’s father, etc.) has interrupted the comedic/romantic flow of the
narrative, and it certainly isn’t the last.
Claire help prepare the rabbit’s body by placing it into a “Happy Birthday” bag
(a cheeky way of adding dark humor into this week’s episode). Tom calls Jenny
about the death, and Jenny suggests that they have a funeral. The rabbit
suddenly becomes more of a metaphor than the characters expected.
Josh departs from the funereal
activities in order to make out with Patrick once more, but Patrick rebuffs
Josh’s advances and even calls Josh “man” (as opposed to “pumpkin” or
“peaches”). Josh criticizes Patrick’s behavior, and Patrick explains the
situation to Josh: he has been leading Josh on and has no intention of sleeping
with him (although he claims to like kissing him). This is the moment when the
show transforms from a fictional story and becomes a documentary on dating in
the gay world (I myself experienced a similar situation and was asked to leave
a hook-up’s apartment because he was upset that he didn’t get to sleep with my
friend…and also because I wanted to cuddle). Your heart can’t help but break as
Josh quietly listens to his crush reject him.
enjoy about the characterization of Josh is the fact that he himself isn’t
idealized in any way, shape, or form. He isn’t a Greek Adonis with chiseled
pecks, nor is he a generous philanthropist. He is selfish and narcissistic,
hiding beneath a veneer of humor in order to avoid dealing with the reality of
his situation. When push comes to shove, he does have to deal with the
emotional impact of his personal limitations, whose weight can be too
overwhelming to bear.
emotionally distraught Josh tries to make his way to the kitchen (food is
clearly Josh’s haven, if you didn’t notice by the food-related titles of each
episode), but he can’t bring himself to confront Patrick, who is sitting in the
living room playing video games. Josh retreats back to his room and calls
Claire and asks her to join him. The emotionally stunted/distant Josh suddenly
becomes teary-eyed and overwhelmed. He asks Claire to make him some toast, then
he unloads all of his feelings (even comparing his situation to that of the
pandas who are going extinct because they don’t want to mate). Josh and Claire
decide that the best way of dealing with the Patrick situation is by distracting
himself with something else (in this case, by taking his mom and her hospital
friends to the zoo).
to Alan’s home and asks to borrow the van in order to transport everyone from
the hospital, but Alan doesn’t want to keep on footing the bill for Josh. Mae
interrupts their argument by asking Alan to take her and Grace to the zoo (a
reasonable request considering that mothering a child can become an exhausting
occupation), but Alan becomes defensive and finds no reason to fulfill anyone’s
wishes. Buckling under the weight of Josh’s and Mae’s arguments (as well as
stress of his financial burdens), Alan agrees to take everyone to the zoo.
hospital, Josh greets Rose, Hannah, and Arnold by deriding his own self-esteem
and moping about Patrick. Realizing that Ginger is absent from the group, Josh treks
to her room and tries to convince her to tag along. Ginger, who is applying her
makeup, argues that she has no reason to see monkeys who look like people when
she can look at people all day (a reasonable argument). In spite of Josh’s
pleas, Ginger refuses to join the group and scares Josh away by implying that
she wants to masturbate (another good argument).
Separations become a key theme of
this episode (those between Josh and Patrick, Ginger and the group, and Gavin
and his “parents”) and are repeated throughout the final montage. The episode
intercuts (rather briskly) between the various subplots at the zoo and Gavin’s
funeral: Josh and Arnold share a kiss after looking at meerkats and butterflies
(I’ve been waiting for this moment to happen since they first introduced
Arnold); Mae shows Grace the lions while criticizing Alan for trying to buy
unnecessary commodities in order to make up for his physical absence; Hannah
and Rose barely speak to each other; and Jenny forces Tom to create a long
eulogy for a rabbit that he barely knew.
The disappointment of the funeral
reveals Jenny’s sadomasochistic side. She derides Tom for any small thing, then
she cries as she slaps him/forces him to have unprotected sex. Tom accidentally
ejaculates into Jenny, and she yells that he is “lame” and a “pussy.” This
visceral reaction to death is pathetic (in the pathos sense) as Jenny is trying
to find some excuse to hurt Tom and tell him to leave (even by using sex as a
weapon against him). The only thing she can do is cry as Tom tries to wipe the
cum off of his chest.
This week’s montage is a tearful
one as Alan cries over his decision to semi-retire (which please Mae) and stop
financially aiding Josh, Josh cries over the romantic rollercoaster he endured,
and Tom cries on a park bench alone. During this tearful moment, Josh receives
two calls from Arnold, which he ignores…and this is where I will end my recap
(another separation, if you will).
The emotional range of the
episode hints that Josh’s defenses are slowly shutting down. He can no longer
use his comedy to mask the emotions that he has built up for the last six
episodes. The ending even made me weep, but I will save that explanation for
next week’s episode recap.