Perfect Couples Recap: ‘Three Proposals’

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Well, we sure learned a lot about each other week! After the premiere episode of Perfect Couples, I complained that the plot moved along so fast that I barely had any idea of who anybody was or what the hell was going on. This week’s episode moved along at the same zippy clip, only this time every single second was devoted to dispensing new revelations about these characters. I feel like I kind of know too much about them too soon now, if such a thing is possible. Did you realize Dave and Julia are married? Did you realize Rex and Leigh are engaged? If yes on both counts, then your realizations game is seriously on point.

The episode opens with the titular three proposals, so that we can compare and contrast them. Three years before, Dave had a puppy bring the ring to Julia over a champagne toast in a private bungalow. Because he lives inside of a Zales commercial. Of course, Vance winds up there for some reason, and he misinterprets the unsure looks on everyone’s faces to mean that Julia turned Dave down. Vance’s face clouds over into medium-rage, which is a look I’m beginning to enjoy seeing on him, and then he calls Julia something he shouldn’t. Next we cut to two years after that, when Rex proposes to Leigh in front of a crowd of people in the middle of some vague occasion. Finally, Vance proposes to Amy the only way he knows how — during an eye-bulger of an argument. Amy more or less dares Vance to propose to her, and they fight through the whole process. Three perfect proposals for our three perfect couples!

On the way to meet the newly engaged couple at the airport (they’d jetted off to Paris at the end of last week’s episode to celebrate), Julia points out to Dave how impulsive a decision their friends have made, and we flash to some of the couple’s previous impulsive decisions. They moved in together too early in the relationship, bought an exotic pet bird on a whim, and suddenly decided to go vegan one day, which, it is ominously implied, didn’t work out at all. Dave warns an uncertain Julia against meddling in their friends’ business. Not only does Dave forbid Julia from meddling, but she must be convincingly cheerful too, because Vance can spot phoniness a mile away. Alas, when the three couples meet in the airport, it is not Julia but Dave whose affable if not ecstatic face is a dead giveaway that he is unsure about the wedding.

In the next scene we find out that Vance’s feet have already gotten cold, despite his making a big show of shaming Dave for not being 100% on board with the engagement. Before this reveal, the writers have already managed to cram in job details for one of the couples: Rex works as a car salesman, while Leigh works as a wedding planner, and they’re both as eerily proficient at their jobs as they are in their relationship. (Dave and Vance may work together because we’ve glimpsed in the same office more than once now, BUT WHAT DO THEY DO?) Vance talks Dave into agreeing to deeply meddle in his and Amy’s beeswax by talking Amy out of going through with the engagement. If I remember correctly, the logic here was that if Vance broke off the engagement himself, Amy would break up with him altogether. Ugh, sitcom logic makes my brain sad.

Anyway, Vance’s cold feet problem is solved when an in-the-know Leigh races over to inform Amy of the conspiracy afoot. The engagement is now off, and Amy disappears into the night. Everybody else piles in one of the cars that Rex sells for a living, apparently, to go find Amy, because Vance’s feet have now warmed up to some degree and he is ready to go through with this engagement now. It turns out that Amy is hiding in the cabin she has booked for the wedding already. She’s upset about the brash proposal she received. Soon the pair is making up after Vance avows to propose again in a much cornier fashion (Dave-style), and the two get entangled in a knotty cluster of adjoined limbs.

Crisis averted, a few more revelations come at us before the end of the episode. The wedding that Rex and Leigh met at, shown briefly earlier, wasn’t just some random wedding Leigh was planning — it was Dave and Julia’s wedding. Also, Rex’s proposal, which we saw during the cold opening, ALSO took place at Dave and Julia’s wedding. On the surface, this was a pretty clever payoff from the vagueness of that earlier scene, but now we know that Rex and Leigh met and were married on the same day. Uh, I thought that Vance and Amy were supposed to be the ridiculously impulsive couple? This complicates the delicate balance of personalities on this fictional television program in ways that I have not yet fully processed.

The main news from the final scene is that Julia understands Amy and Vance’s uncertainty because she was unsure about marrying Dave. That’s a nice complication, but then the writers take it to Silly Town by revealing that Julia had to be seriously drunk in order to even go through with the wedding. “I thought you were stumbling with joy,” Dave says. “No. That’s not a thing,” she responds. We then flashback to the wedding, where Amy is clearly super-trashed — laughing and singing erratically, biting the cake with her entire face, and dropping an F-bomb during her vows. While this scene is also funny on the surface, it sort of changes everything we know about Dave and Julia. She’s inconsiderate. He’s naïve. They’re both total sitcom concoctions and there’s too much conflicting information about them to get a consistent opinion. My request for next week now is let’s learn a little bit less, please.

Joe Berkowitz edits books and writes stuff. He also has a Tumblr.