EPISODE 3: Kimmy Goes to a Play!
The third episode might not have been as solid overall as #2, but oh my goodness was it chockfull of quotable lines! So many video clips to share here! But at times, the episode felt disjointed, full of hilarious jokes but not great story arcs. It was more like ways to shoehorn jokes into one script. But what great jokes!
Jacqueline has ended her search for a fabulous apartment, sort of – she found a sick place but can only afford rent for a few months. She has her $11.5 million painting on the wall and a ludicrously expensive carpet below it, and well that is it for furniture! Well aside from “those Philippe Starck ghost chairs” she points to (empty space, amazing). Hasn’t she ever heard of Ikea? The best is when Kimmy falls on the carpet, gets yelled at by Jacqueline who says how much it cost ($30,000), leading Kimmy to roll long-ways off the carpet while apologizing to it. Although Jacq is in dire straits, she still is paying top dollar for Abattoir, the doggie, to get the best dog massage in Manhattan (courtesy of Broadway’s Derek Klena! This show is the new Law & Order for Broadway performers). “This is Abattoir? I thought you two were sisters!” the masseur says to Jacqueline, like it’s a compliment to look like a dog’s sister.
As for Titus, while we can be happy that he found the motivation and energy to write and stage a one-man play, the result is bound to create a crapload of controversy. The silver lining in this probably racially insensitive bit is that there was some actually funny comedy sprinkled amid the storyline, unlike the definitely racially insensitive Native American b.s.
So what was his play? Remember at the beginning of episode 1, which was a peek into the future with various Christmas stockings hanging for names we didn’t know? One of those names was Murasaki, and we learned who that is here: one of Titus’s personas from a past life, that of a Japanese geisha. Yes, Titus’s one-man play was him in…Japanese face, in geisha attire, singing old traditional folk songs and telling his/her story. The writers tried to preempt the controversy this plot would face in real life by having Titus face controversy in the show, by way of an online Asian community that named Titus one of its “Hitlers” for his racism and cultural insensitivity. The group bought all the tickets to his show in order to boo throughout. But then Titus sang and it was beautiful, so beautiful it made the internet Hitlers stop booing him and stop calling him a Hitler. And then one girl got stuck in a social justice cycle of apology and disappeared into thin air – that was so random but kind of funny as a comment on commentary. This whole plotline was pretty ridiculous and allowed for some really funny lines, but…but…I don’t think the meta commentary of including the backlash to his play in the actual show excuses the issues. I’m not the person who can say so definitively, but I’m pretty sure it is still problematic.
But aside from racism! Funnies! AND, a cameo by our favorite nemesis of Titus, Coriolanus (James Monroe Iglehart)!!
I’m not sure what Kimmy was up to this episode besides just being around as a sidepiece. That’s what that means. I loved the very-Kimmy cold open, with her asking Titus heated questions about why the ghosts are haunting poor Pac-Man! I also liked the blink-and-you-miss-it posters on the street for Silverfish Poison, a nice call-back to Episode 1.
Carol Kane in half a minute proves how good an actress she is, when she realizes that the graffiti tag she thought was for the gang ‘effe 10 cinco’ was really spelling ‘Fios’, marking where the new Fios cables would run in her sadly gentrifying neighborhood. You can see how crushed she is and like, it’s so out of place and weird for this show but your heart breaks for her because she’s so damn good! She’s not a witch she’s your wife!
“Sesame street was based on this neighborhood because this guy lives in a garbage can, AND, there’s a gigantic furry monster that only I can see.” I love her.
Other lines that had me cackling – this is maybe the longest list you’ll ever see:
Kimmy, in response to Titus’s claiming he was a Japanese woman in a past life and will be portraying her in a one-man show: “Well, if Aisha Tyler can play a white woman on “Friends”, then I guess it’s okay.” BURN at “Friends”! I’m okay with it! deserved!
Our first greatness that can only be captured with video: Amy Sedaris, the great Amy Sedaris, who is sort of the antithesis of the Fred Armisen sitcom rule (she is a guest star in a lot of them, but she’s always welcome), rushing into Jacqueline’s apartment as Jacqueline shouts “No shoes on the rug!” Cue Amy kicking off her shoes with expert timing and skill. Had to pause for you, Mimi Kanasis.
“No face journeys”
Jacqueline: His name is Douglas, and he’s coasting on looks!
I also cackled at this interaction with Jacqueline and her wanna-be DJ boytoy:
Titus: “DJs? Ew! No! Their poor parents.”
AutoCorrect fun times: Kimmy gets a text: “Sorry guys, Jacqueline needs me to get the duck over here.” It’s not the funniest autocorrect joke I saw on TV this week (that honor goes to "Jane the Virgin" for making me absolutely crack up when a tipsy Jane texts Raf “All food here!” Amazing quick joke) but it was improved by Kimmy’s comment “Now I have to figure out where to get one”.
Kimmy, telling Titus she sold out his show: "Guess who’s coming to see it?"
Titus: "Patti LuPone? Patti LaBelle. I’m out of Pattis. Does it have to be a Patti or did I do that?"
And, my favorite of the episode:
Kimmy: "What happened to all your other kimonos?"
Titus’s response, only acceptable in video form:
After reading bad online reactions to his portraying a Japanese woman, Titus complained “Why can’t I be Murasaki? I/she AM/was me/her!”
EPISODE 4: Kimmy Kidnaps Gretchen!
Remember the above recap you just read that had a metric shittonne of quotent quotables? Well, hate to say it, but I think they used up most of their funny lines on that one, leaving a few paltry bits for Episode 4. The good ones were really good, but they were few and far between.
However, there was more heart in this one than any other so far. Titus has agreed to go on a date with incredibly normal construction worker Mikey, who seems like a totally decent, kind, average guy and thus a very odd match for the bigger-than-life personality of Titus. But for a long time, Titus has been shielding his heart from any potential hurt by keeping men at arm’s length and never going on a second date. He plays this off as his being too cool for school/mere mortals, but he admits that most of his exes just never cared enough to come back. Really sad! I don’t want Titus to be sad! I want Mikey to make him happy!
I love loved their first interaction, when Mikey surprised the still-coccooning Titus hours before their date because he was fuh-reaking out with anxious prep questions:
Mikey: “If we go to a gay bar, can I get a beer? And which one of us opens doors for the other? Or are there no doors? Do we not use doors?!?!?!?!”
Titus: “You gotta make like a 30-year-old single girl and settle.”
At first, their dynamic is played from the angle that Mikey is this totally new baby of a gay man, freshly out, which would leave Titus with a lot of responsibility to teach him all the secret handshakes and stuff. I loved when Titus is complaining about how big a job it would be to teach Mikey all the things “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”-style, but how that show had it so much easier:
Titus: “I’m just one man! They had five guys! And now I want a hamburger!!”
They go on their first date to a hot gay bar/club that won’t let them in because they aren’t hot/cool (is that confusing for ESL people) enough, which leads to the funniest stretch of the episode. First of all, did you notice the name of the club?? It was SCOTUS! Bahahahha amazing. When they dejectedly walked away from the velvet rope, this genius happened:
Titus: "Should we make like Queen Elizabeth and dub this a night?"
But instead, Titus and Mikey bonded by talking about movies, especially ‘The Lion King’ and how Timon and Pumbaa had the most beautiful relationship. Titus even allowed himself to break his #1 date rule: he ate in front of him. His issues run deep though, and Lillian found him alone in the morning, deciding to never call Mikey again, despite Lillian’s romantically covering the bed with rose petals – or really, barbecue potato chips. It sounded kind of dumb until we actually see Titus lying in the bed covered in chips! It was so funny when he moved around and the chips flew all about. Ridiculous! Then he and Lillian had another spectacular exchange:
Lillian: "Liar!! I watched the parade of men in and out of your door for ten years!"
Titus: "Well you should thank me - most people pay good money for parades."
FIRST OF ALL, Carol Kane said Liar!!! Ahh! Thank you writers room! And this Titus line was gold. I loved this whole story line with Titus trying to work out his deep insecurities enough to Mikey a chance. I also loved how the dynamic was flipped by the end of the episode, with Mikey our nice guy being the one who has to agree to take on the burden of helping Titus with his issues, not the other way around. ALSO, Titus at one point said, “I once went to a New Years Eve party dressed as Nathan Lane Bryant; it was moderately well-received.” Best costume hybrid idea since Sandra Dee O'Connor, Dirty Harry Potter, and Tinkerbell Tailor Soldier Spy!
Sadly, while Titus had this great storyline, one that actually might give this show a plot we care about for more than one episode, Kimmy had a not-so-great one: Her old bunker-sister-wife Gretchen has found her way into yet another cult, this one based around cosmetology. Other sestra notified Kimmy about it by emailing an ad for the cosmetology cult’s cruise, leaving NYC the next day. This led to another wonderful rendition of the Bunny & Kitty theme song, thankfully. Kimmy somehow became an evil genius and figured out a smart way to kidnap Gretchen – put “Gretchen check-in” signs near the Crew check-in signs at the docks to lead her out. Worked a treat. But then we had a whole episode of Kimmy trying to help Gretchen figure out what she wants in life instead of just following another cult leader. I don’t care about Gretchen, guys. Like at all, she sucks. Give me a whole episode about the crazy Mexican sestra, that would be AMAZING. But Gretchen is lame sauce, and while her crazy night had a few funnies, it mostly made me feel like I was watching an Italian farce where I just want to stop people from doing dumb things. The end, with her finding her ‘path’ by starting a cult and being the leader instead of being a follower, was um not the greatest. Cults are not good, whether you are being taken advantage of or taking advantage of others. So, um, let’s get back on track next time!
Also? Zero Jane Krakowski in this episode! What is THAT about?! I hope next week Jane is back in top form and Titus & Mikey are happy!
Do you need a refresher on Episodes 1 & 2? Find it here!