Welcome back to my weekly review and recap of “Please Like Me.” To catch up on previous coverage, click here.
No one wants to be a Tom. Plenty people, at the end of the day, are Tom’s. Tom messes up and makes poor life decisions. Tom happily plays the third wheel on dates, is totally tactless when dealing with sensitive matters, and handles stress with the equivalent of curling into a ball and hoping it all goes away.
In our lesser moments, we’re all Tom’s, which is why he’s such a hilarious character to watch.
This week, in one of Tom’s finest moments, he comes up to Josh, who’s listening to a surprise voicemail from Ben (BEN!) who’s in the hospital and wanting to see him, and tells him frankly that he once again has contracted chlamydia. The kicker? He told Ella before they started dating that he’d gotten a test clearing him for all sexual activity. He had lied. Now, he wants Josh (because they’re a team) to go with him to the doctors to get a pill to treat it, and then go somewhere else to get another. Tom will take one and then Josh will crush the other in Ella’s food. Josh admits this is a bad idea but he’s going to enable Tom this week because it seems fun.
What’s great about this episode is how Josh and Tom really are a team. Sure, a highly dysfunctional team, but a strong one nonetheless. Josh really bites the bullet for Tom while at dinner, telling the group he has worms and that they’ll all have to take antibiotics for it, coming up for an easier way to sneak Ella the medication. At first they both lie to everyone, before cluing Claire in and then Arnold as they continue to spiral. Arnold at first is mad that Josh would have lied, but is calmed by Claire’s assessment that it might be the nicest thing she’s ever seen Josh do, and I’d have to agree. Please Like Me is sneaky with it’s sweetness and this week it’s not different, slipping in themes of friendship under the guises of a chlamydia storyline.
In the end, after Tom panics and refrains from sex from Ella, she ends up finding out the truth and, seeing how badly Tom feels about everything, decides to let him off the hook, telling him to never lie to her about something like that again.
After an episode of contained storytelling, this week’s Please Like Me brings all of the characters back into the fold. Stuart is trying to win back Rose’s affection but ends up simply behaving like a creep, refusing to leave her house without her convincing forgiveness. So, she calls Alan, who’s with Mae who’s trying to get him to forgive her. The two race over and Mae is amused by Alan’s behavior and the two are so clearly having fun and reconnecting, and it’s nice to see that they’ll be getting their happy ending. Them rescuing Rose and Hannah by slowly driving Stuart off is one of the funnier sight gags of the week, and it’s a nice way to bring their storyline back. We don’t need whole plots dedicated to the characters, because Josh, Tom and co. will always be more strictly entertaining to watch, but when they’re brought in so naturally they help in filling out their world.
In other news…
BEN makes his return, and his and Josh’s relationship (if it could even be called that) continues to be effortlessly intriguing. The two play phone tag for the entire episode, always being a second late from getting to talk one on one, as Ben grapples with his odd want to see Josh before going into surgery, and Josh’s odd want to respect his wish. I spoke a lot last week about how much I enjoyed the pairing, and while I don’t see the show derailing the work they’ve done with Arnold and Josh up until this point, I would be all too happy to see Ben and Josh get more interaction time.
I think I spoke too soon last week when I said that it was one of the funniest episodes the shows done, if only because this week doubles in the laughs. Just about every single thing that Tom said had me laughing hard enough to almost need to pause the episode (and kudos to Thomas Ward for doing some of his best work here) and the entire kitchen derailment after Josh admits he “has worms” is fantastic with in character reactions. From Claire’s blunt disgust, to Arnold anxiously concerned about everyone, and Ella’s sincere apology just in case it was her fault, every character reacts the way we’d expect, which makes Tom’s forced silence and continued eating all the funnier. He knows Josh took one for the team, and he has no idea how to handle it.
Another great episode. I’m beginning to feel distress over the fact that we only have TWO episodes left in what has been a terrific season of Please Like Me. The first two seasons we’re wonderful, but season three has hardly had a dull moment, each episode offering up moments of sincerity and biting comedy and intelligent conversations that demonstrate how people in their twenties act today. There are no other shows like it airing today, and I’m not ready to have to wait for a new season.