“Bisexual Because of Meth”
This will sound like a negative review, but it’s only because the first episode blew me away.
In this episode, the fictional Maria Bamford struggles with choices. Will she take a chance with something new and take Bruce’s suggestion to do a commercial ad for “Pussy Noodle,” a Japanese ramen product (the Pussy Noodle cartoon mascot is a cat)? Will she cancel the date her friend / assistant (is she still?) Larissa set up with a former meth addict and “current cock addict” (he’s bisexual)?
Ultimately, she ends up doing both.
At first, she resists, citing her past poor choices as reasons not to jump into things. But Larissa, who asks to be called “Lala” in this episode, guilts Bamford into going on the date.
We meet the guy, Shane, who is surprisingly handsome and charming. He explains that Larissa described Bamford as “you think you’re really funny, and you have a lot of mental problems.”
The fact that the date goes well makes Bamford wonder if maybe she shouldn’t have been so dismissive of other things, like Pussy Noodle, or those pants that are baggy around the crotch. She agrees to do the Pussy Noodle commercial.
We get an extended flashback to a family meeting where Bamford announces she doesn’t need therapy anymore. She punctuates this by banging cymbals together, much to the chagrin of her mother Marilyn, who’s worried she’ll wet herself if she hears it again.
Bamford celebrates the announcement by forcing her family to be in a band with her, and they have to say yes, because she’s already got a show set up at a local theatre. We immediately cut to right before the show where her mother is busy tuning her guitar. “Gimme an E, gimme an E.” No explanation how they all learned to play. Her father Joel plays the drums and her sister Susan plays the keyboard. Bamford still has the cymbals.
In the middle of their performance, which is going quite well (their music sounds a little like happier Alice Cooper), she suffers an episode and realizes she isn’t ready to drop the therapy yet.
We skip back to present where Bamford goes on her second date with Shane. They eat at a place called “Aseriascene.” Yes. They use the name so they can say things like “I’ve never been in Aseriascene. I was almost in Aseriascene on West Wing once, but I got fired.” This scene in Aseriascene is a serious scene, except when Shane admits that if he ever got on meth again, within hours he’d “have a big cock” in his mouth. He then pulls a phallic shaped breadstick from a basket on the table, touches it to his lips, and puts it back down. “No carbs,” he whispers.
On Bamford’s way home from the date — she says she can’t sleep with him yet — she listens to the radio. There’s a program about “Maria Bamford’s date that just ended ten minutes ago.” She and the radio DJ talk back and forth through the car stereo. She’s convinced all she has to do is get Shane to sign a relationship agreement and then they can sleep together. She immediately goes to his place. She looks in the window and sees what looks to be Shane using meth again. She runs in yelling “this is an intervention!” Now inside we see he wasn’t using meth but getting head from Dave, their waiter at Aseriascene. She kicks Dave out. She and Shane remedy the situation. They start to make out. A new man enters the house, yells “Shane!” and runs to another room. Shane has a boyfriend, Gabriel. “But what about the other guy?” “I was cheating on Gabriel. I would never do that to you. You’re the only woman in my life.” The rest of this hilarious scene is in the Some Bits I Liked.
All of this absurdity is actually too linked to a central plot, which comes to a close, by the way, with the reveal that she’s been a part of some sort of game show that has to do with Pussy Noodles. I did like the way that worked in.
Still, the great thing about the pilot was I had no idea the direction I was headed as I watched. Here, despite the fact that there were plenty of small things I didn’t expect, I knew that if not both questions, at least the central date question would be answered.
I guess ultimately I wasn’t surprised in a full enough way, which is ironic considering how many instances there are of familiar sentence setups with unfamiliar payoffs. For example: 1) Shane lets slip Rob Reiner is an ex — an ex-client. He never wiped down a machine! Shane is a trainer. 2) Re: the date “Get ready to swallow! Your delicious food!” 3) “You probably thought it was weird I took you to a bar called ‘Switch Hitters’… …like ‘what if he’s obsessed with baseball!'” 4) “This is the first time I’ve been straight in a bar… Larissa probably mentioned I had a drug problem.” 5) “Quick question, do you have crabs?” “Yes I do! And they’re delicious.”
The biggest loss from the first episode is the ridding of the self-referential style. There’s no more “real Maria Bamford.” We only follow the fictional one. My favourite aspects of the pilot all stemmed from the switch back and forth between real and fictional Bamford storylines.
Here’s hoping it returns.
Note: The real Maria Bamford is such a good comedic actor that her facial expressions alone make me laugh.
Some Bits I Liked:
- “I just had a date with a guy I thought was wrong with me! Or so I thought!”
- “He’s a formerly methual bisexual.”
- The second ever hug between Bruce and Maria. The first was in 2006.
- “Haha, Joel, ya perve!”
- “My name is Dave, and the less you know about me the better.”
- The car stunts
- The entirety of the Baby On Board flashback.
- Karen Grisham says she represents the baby actor on Baby On Board. “Little piece of shit…”
- About Bamford’s breasts: “Dustbags.” “Bangin’ mammary jammers.”
“…And I know you don’t like my new nickname.” “I la-la-la-love it!” “Oh my god that was so forced it was pathetic. Today might just end with me having a peanut!”
- As promised, here is most of the dialogue from the Shane’s Home Scene. This is just after they’re interrupted by Gabriel and he runs into the bathroom, leaving Shane and Maria in the living room.
- Shane starts this off: “Shit it’s a text from Gabriel.” “Ugh he texts in the bathroom?” “‘Who is he?’ Oh god he thinks you’re a man! That makes sense. He’d be fine if you were a woman.” “I am a woman.” “I know that, it’s Gabriel you have to convince.” She knocks on the bathroom door. Gabriel: “Who’s there?” “Orange!” “Orange who?” “Orangeyou glad I have a vagina?!” “Just go away you guys.” “I’m not a guy! I can show you my south mouth…” She tries to show where her vagina lines up by pointing her hands at an angle.
- Later, Gabriel: “Shane, you stupid fuck! I don’t care if she’s a man, or a woman, or a samoyed husky mix!” — momentarily we pull back to see a samoyed husky mix is watching this episode of Lady Dynamite, and it turns to face the camera and goes “heyyyy, not cool.”