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Maron Recap: I Just Call Her ‘The Pineapple’

In an episode all about masochism, Marc starts by setting a trap for himself, then walking straight into it. Chatting with Illeana Douglas (Goodfellas, Easy to Assemble), Marc deliberately steers the conversation toward his ex-wife, who Illeana is friends with. Marc grumbles that he's glad his ex’s new baby is "okay," and then just glad that it's "whatever." Maron falls quiet, probably understanding that his baby is this podcast, and it lives in his garage.

"Marc, I know that it's fun to be depressed, but when was the last time you were on a real date?" Illeana asks. It's a puzzler for Maron — he tends to just sift through fawning fan mail and hook up with women who already have affection for his messy self. The idea of convincing someone to love him, after he's done that twice in the form of doomed marriages, is unfathomable to Marc. 

Last week it looked like Marc's father, played wonderfully by Judd Hirsch, had vanished just after reaching his zenith of obstinate kookiness. Turns out Larry was just taking the "Mobile McMansion" around town for a few days. Now he’s back, sifting through Marc's recyclables, making leering passes at Illeana. "You two, ah, bangin'?" Larry asks Marc and Illeana, and that’s the elder Maron in four words.

Hirsch got a lot of screen time last week and showed he can ace the role of an aloof, self-absorbed father skipping his bipolar meds. He does more with even less this week. Larry has met someone online, a silent woman who’s an expert typist, which is for some unanswered reason a desirable, important quality to Larry. "She got a name?" Marc asks. "Yeah, it's kinda weird," Larry answers. "I just call her 'The Pineapple.'" WHAT.

Marc accepts Illeana's invitation to a reading event so he can meet Megan, a nice friend of Illeana's. But as soon as there's a potentially unstable-seeming woman on the stage reading about tattooed breasts and rubbing vaginas into unrepentant thighs, Marc's attention is helplessly refocused. The woman is Justine, a dominatrix/writer who, upon meeting someone, will immediately improvise an acrostic poem about the person's name. Justine makes roughly two references to sex and genitalia per sentence. The C in Marc’s name? Cunnilingus. Here we go.

Back at home, Marc has an impulse to get some wisdom — which, unfortunately for him, means a talk with his useless father — about the woman he just met. Larry's advice, over a game of Crazy Eights: "You gotta get out there, man. Blow some steam outta ya dick." Never change, Larry.

Marc has a bookish date with Justine. She enjoys great female writers like, er, Evelyn Waugh. She also "read" (see: skimmed Amazon’s free preview) Marc's 2001 memoir The Jerusalem Syndrome. The writing talk is a missed connection for Maron — there’s nothing mystical about the art for Maron, a lifelong comedian. He wrote because he had a book deal. The end.

Illeana is critical of Marc's dating preferences, telling him that Megan is a real person and Justine is a tramp who Marc can’t possibly have a future with. Hammering this home is Maron and Justine's first sexual encounter, which concludes with Justine berating Marc for being a wimp because he doesn’t want to get all S&M with her. You get the feeling Justine has had to confront a lot of ex-boyfriends about their discomfort with her dominatrix gig, but Marc really seems more satisfied than bored or afraid. He’s just not interested in freaky sex or, apparently, pillowcases.

Justine tricks Marc into helping her embarrass a self-loathing client who looks just like The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman. Maron and Justine have a relationship conversation while she's dominatrixing. It looks like it's all over, which Marc confirms when Justine stops by the next day. (Great visual gag, jumping from Justine in full leather regalia to smiley Justine wearing a lavender-colored shirt and a nice little necklace.) Justine baked Maron some banana bread, which is the type of thing you do for a significant other, but Marc "doesn't want to be significant." He’s ten times more afraid of commitment than he is of Justine's profession. Justine makes one last stab at dominating Marc before she realizes it’s not happening.

Marc calls up Megan to try to course-correct, to date the woman who it could work with. He realizes it's not her, or her, it's him. "I can't drag you into my sordid world. I'm no good," post coital Marc tells Megan. "It's just that even if things between us are beautiful and right, I would make you dirty just by virtue of what I've been through. … My dick's been through wars." If Marc's going to find any love this season, it's going to be a long, neurotic haul. Also: Seeing Maron without glasses twice in one episode is weird.

Justine calls Marc, sounding tender, and it seems like maybe Marc's walking right back into the trap. Nope, Justine just wanted Marc to step outside so he could see her leaving his dad's R.V. "I just screwed your father, ya rotten prick!" The bathrobed father tells his bathrobed son it’s really time to think about moving on. Maron closes it out with a good monologue about seeing red flags as slalom courses and sticking his dick into hurricanes.

Stray Observations

• "That's not a homeless guy, that's my dad — although he is homeless." Ah, the distinctions we make.

• Marc's dad thinks Filipino is "some kinda Chinese/Mexican hybrid." Again: WHAT.

• The show's really finding its footing. Maybe because Marc didn't have a sidekick this week? Maybe because it was the second episode Bobcat Goldthwait directed?

• Re: The Jerusalem Syndrome: I've read it. Not my favorite Maron-related experience, but it's a quick read. I'm working through his new memoir Attempting Normal and I prefer it so far.

• Illeana’s laundry list of what makes Marc difficult to love featured one tidbit that might have come as a surprise to Marc Maron newbies: He's a former alcoholic and drug addict, sober for thirteen years now. That hasn't been mentioned on the show at all and just kinda got plopped into conversation here. (Well, okay, Larry made a brief mention of “A.A. babble” last week.)

• Maron, never not doing something online, live-tweeted last night’s episode and took some questions from fans. One reveal: The assistant from episode two, Kyle, will be in two more episodes. Yay!

• I’ve been trying to discern the character of Maron’s music, which we tend to only hear in little bursts. If you’re in the same boat, there’s now a soundtrack you can stream on SoundCloud/at IFC’s site

• When Marc first sees his dad's new girlfriend and asks who she is, Larry's baffled "Her?" seems like it could be an Arrested Development nod. Or maybe my Arrested Development Week-addled brain is just bringing everything back to the Bluths.

• Love this exchange between Megan and Marc: "What do you do in your podcast?" "I talk, man." "You just talk? Do you have any information in it, or is it just…?" "A lot of information about me."

• Maron and Michael Ian Black had a no-holds-barred Twitter spat this week — it’s a fun read. They’re friends, though. They’re good. 

• Maron playing guitar on the couch reminds me of Maron auditioning for the Postal Service.