It’s hard to make rape, ocular blindness and infidelity particularly funny, but the most recent episode of Episodes proved to be the funniest yet. Perhaps it’s because audiences have come to accept the more uncomfortable brand of humor, like The Office and Louie. The thing that all these shows have in common is the idea that you don’t have to have a punch line to be funny. While this episode wasn’t a laugh riot, per say, it was still the most absurd and amusing episode to date.
Last night, Episodes tackled the uneasy moments head on. The show had a familiar start of Beverly being unhappy with the turns her show is taking, and the snippy quips of the costume designer. We did get more of an introduction to Morning, the female star of Pucks. At an indeterminable age, Morning is the quintessential “actress.” She has a fantastic body, a sex tape and a simple mind. And Sean can barely resist her. In an effort to move things along, LeBlanc invites both Sean and Morning to a charity event “for rape”. Beverly is furious that she wasn’t invited by the star of her show, but agrees with Sean that it’s probably because she treats Matt like an idiot and can’t contain her hatred of him. Only after she learns of Morning’s attendance does Beverly tailspin into jealousy, convinced that Sean will cheat. At the event, the first of many uncomfortable moments takes place. Morning is running late, so LeBlanc seizes the opportunity to explain that he only invited Morning to the event to help out Sean. After seeing Sean’s shock at the idea of having an affair, LeBlanc argues that not every sexual encounter should be considered cheating. Wisely, Sean decides that every kind of sexual act ending in “job” is cheating. Matt then mentions that Morning starred in her very own sex tape, which he doesn’t have to try hard to convince Sean to watch.
The most excruciating moment happens next. While a woman is onstage talking about being raped, LeBlanc gets fidgety, tries to engage Sean in a conversation, and opens the loudest bottle of wine in history. Morning arrives and begins to fawn over Sean, where behind her back, LeBlanc makes the universal blowjob motion with his fist. Merc and his wife are at the benefit, and once again, Merc proves how soulless a rich studio executive can be by ditching his blind wife mid-sentence and leaving her to grope around trying to find him. Meanwhile, back on set, Bevelry gets stoned with Carol, the network exec in charge of the show. While confiding her fears about Sean wanting to cheat, Beverly loses control of the conversation when Carol goes on to talk about her affair with Merc, and how her life has been ruined by his wife’s blindness. “I just hope and pray that one day a doctor finds a cure for that poor woman’s blindness. Then he can finally leave her.” Another well crafted cringe moment.
The pilot episode of Episodes promised us something. In the very first scene of the show, we witness a flash forward sequence of a fight between Sean and Beverly. The fight centered around Sean’s supposed infatuation with Morning. The scene also eluded to an incident where Beverly caught Sean doing something unspeakable. While it wasn’t surprising what happened at the end of this episode, it was still pretty funny. After coming home from the banquet and getting into a fight with his wife, Sean waits till she’s asleep then goes the other room and masturbates to Mornings’ sex tape. And that is the final frame of the show. Sean at the computer and Beverly frozen behind him in shock on her way to the bathroom. Talk about uncomfortable.
Joey Slamon lives in Los Angeles where she watches lots of television and produces this show.