Sorry to miss you guys last week! I met this old boyfriend of mine from middle school and moved to Wichita Falls after seeing a very spiritual diarrhea-medication coupon ... but anyway, I’m back now, and I’m so glad because as far as I’m concerned, “Josh and I Are Good People!” is a five-star episode! Maybe the absence has made my heart grow a little fonder, but the responsibility for tonight’s exemplary episode falls squarely on the shoulders of Dark Greg. All hail Dark Greg! Rebecca and Josh might be giggling and reminiscing about their camp days at the boba tea hut in the park (sure, why not?), but Dark Greg is there, waiting. He lashes out at both Josh and Rebecca, accusing them of being terrible people. Josh, for hanging out with Rebecca against Valencia’s wishes. Rebecca, for that thing where she ditched Greg on their date to sleep with that hot vegan guac vendor. On one hand, Greg is perfectly right to be hurt. On the other hand ... dude, you knew Rebecca was a full Sunday New York Times full of bad news from the second you met her. It doesn’t matter. Dark Greg rises!
The show needs, and has needed, someone who will directly call Rebecca out on her bullshit. And now we have him! Paula colludes, Darryl bumbles, and Josh sees only the most flattering aspects of Rebecca, but Dark Greg isn’t buying any of it now. While I’m sure regular ol’ sweetie pie Greg will return, Dark Greg is currently the perfect foil for Rebecca’s self-congratulatory delusions. Greg’s outburst at the boba tea hut strikes a chord in both Rebecca and Josh.
Is Rebecca a bad person, she wonders? From the outsider’s perspective: oh, totally. Her life revolves around undermining a man’s long-term relationship, plus she told a homeless woman, “I only have $20s. I got them from working.” Greg’s criticism echoes in her head, dredging up her mother’s long-standing accusations that she is “selfish, dramatic, and weird.” Rebecca decides on the spot to prove her moral worth. She gives homeless woman Joyce a $20, then gives her a lift. Rebecca’s one-sided rant (including what I presume is an amazingly strident piece of product placement for her 2015 Hyundai Sonata), however, portends some very bad decisions. “You can let me out here,” Joyce tells her. “What’s your damage?”
Back at the office, a different breed of bad people are riding roughshod over Paula. Nerf-gun-wielding garbage person Tim insists on calling her “Pamela,” and suggests she “hop on her Pampster wheel and print me off” another brief. Weirdo Karen can’t stop talking about snakes and/or her periods. “My snake’s sick and I just can't focus when my snake is sick,” she whines. “These people are such garbage,” Paula snarls to herself. When a chipper Rebecca breezes in with lattes and goop-covered donuts, Paula could not be more disgusted with her new personal mission. “Being a good person is overrated,” she declares, obviously pushed to the brink of her sanity by her trash co-workers. “Greg is just a whiny little bitch. But sexy. He should be a search term on porn sites.” Fuzzy with goodwill and moral superiority, Rebecca decides to take one job she had been actively trying to avoid: representing Darryl in his divorce case, specifically in his custody dispute over his daughter, Madison, with wife, Stacy. In their absence, Rebecca and Darryl put Paula in charge of the office. With vengeance in her eyes, Paula rises like a phoenix from her swivel chair ... and smashes Tim’s Nerf gun over her knee. I love Dark Paula. I love Dark Everybody.
Rebecca ushers Darryl to Greg’s bar to show off her Kindness and Good Deeds. It goes without saying that Dark Greg isn’t in the mood to forgive and forget, immediately seeing through Rebecca’s scheme. Hey, remember how Rebecca’s dad stormed out and never came back? Darryl loves his little Madison so much, he wants to sing about how much he wants to love her and hold her and tickle her. Having never really known the close love of a father, Darryl’s adoration comes off a little, well ... creepy to Rebecca. “I love my daughter, not in a creepy way,” Darryl retorts over shots of stampeding stallions, fields of flowers, and tasteful shots of beautiful little girls. THIS SONG WAS AMAZING. It’s basically a full parody of Bob Carlisle’s “Butterfly Kisses.” “Someday she’ll fall in love and I’ll give her away / Not like I ever had her. What a weird thing to say,” Darryl self-consciously croons. Where have you been all my life?
Speaking of weird, Josh decides to drop in to a church to unburden himself, only to run into a very handsome friend by the name of Father Brah (formerly Father Joseph). As they shoot some b-ball outside the church, Josh reveals for the first time that he is attracted to Rebecca, but still in love with Valencia. Father Brah suggests he keep a sinful thought journal, keeping track of his temptations.
Now that she has power coursing through her veins, Paula is giving in to every temptation she’s ever had, tearing the office down to build it back up. “You’re not Don Draper,” she screams as she knocks Tim’s cocktail accoutrement off his desk. While going through everyone’s unfinished work, she discovers Asshole Tim is actually an illegal immigrant from Canada. He begs her to keep his secret, but Paula is not one to let go of a grudge. “I’m going to have to talk to Pamela,” she tells him sweetly. “And she’s a real bitch.”
Because Darryl is a weirdo, it goes without saying his daughter is obsessed with her pet snails Snaily Minaj, Snailor Swift, Snaily Rae Jepsen, and Iggy Asnailea. Darryl is hesitant to let Rebecca pump his daughter for information that would help him get custody. Good thing she barely says a word before Madison casually reveals how her mom leaves her home alone and goes to motels with her boss. Giddy with the scent of victory, Rebecca gets a judge to grant Darryl temporary custody of Madison. Wife Stacy is stunned. Darryl is devastated to realize Stacy has been cheating on him for years. “My whole life is a lie, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it,” he smiles weakly. Rebecca can’t help but be thrilled by her victory.
But it’s okay that she’s happy because, as she explains in song, “I’m a Good Person!” “My nickname is Mother Teresa Luther King,” she brags, knocking food out of bar patron’s hands back at Greg’s bar and dancing around a choking victim. “Doctors Without Borders don’t got nothing on me.” Because what’s the point of doing Ggod if everyone in the world doesn’t recognize it? Sadly for her but good for the narrative heart of the show, Dark Greg remains unmoved. Rebecca tries to figure out what part of her success isn’t good enough for him, and finally figures it out: It’s the fact Darryl’s custody is not yet permanent! All Rebecca has to do is plant $10,000 on Stacy when she tries to leave the country for a work trip. That’s illegal, Stacy will be arrested, and Darryl will get full custody. As Madison observes, “Oh, she’s bananas.”
Even more so than previous episodes, “Josh and I Are Good People!” artfully lays out Rebecca’s problems connecting her view of the world to reality. (Speaking of reality, was Stacy not going to see those FAT STACKS just neatly tucked into her carry-on? Come on now.) Rebecca is so committed to one idea of herself, she is willing to go past any boundary to have that image satisfied. Or rather, those boundaries have never existed to her so she doesn’t realize it when she stumbles over them. Stacy acknowledges that she screwed up taking care of Madison, but wants what’s best for her daughter. “It sounds hard,” Rebecca realizes. “It all sounds hard.” With Stacy waiting impatiently for her to work things out, Rebecca realizes she has arbitrarily made Greg her moral arbiter. His approval is acting as a substitute for that of her dad, or her parent in general. Rebecca realizes her mistake, and works with Stacy and Darryl to create a custody agreement that keeps them both in Madison’s life. Rebecca learned, albeit belatedly, that her desires don’t have to dominate her actions.
Similarly, back at the holy basketball court, Father Brah reads Josh’s sin journal: "Okay, so you went to the mall and you saw a sexy mannequin and you wanted to have sex with the mannequin. Then you saw another sexy mannequin and wanted to have sex with that one too. Then you saw a sexy girl at the mall and you wanted her to watch you have sex with two sexy mannequins.” Wow, that's the most interesting thing we've heard about Josh so far! Father Brah explains that what Josh feels isn’t as important as what he chooses to do. And after some counsel from Mrs. Hernandez, Paula is moved by a similar spirit of goodwill. She lets Canadian Tim off the hook and keeps his immigration status a secret, not because he isn’t a garbage person, but because his entire family shouldn’t be punished for his assholishness.
And while Slightly Less Dark Greg hasn’t made up his mind about Rebecca or her apology (I BEG of the show, just keep me a few more episodes with Dark Greg! Having a friendly antagonist suits the show so well!), Josh has made a decision about his feelings. He sits Rebecca down to explain that while he is attracted to her, he is committed to his relationship with Valencia. All Rebecca hears is “attracted to you” over and over in her head. She grabs Joyce off her park bench and screams with excitement. When will Rebecca learn? Hopefully never.
- “Her feet on my shoes, her hands on my hips/Yeah, it’s a weird visual, now that I think of it.” Darren, overexplaining how much he loves his daughter.
- “I'm with the best babysitters in the world: my snaaaaaails! Holla!” — Madison on her YouTube channel Snailysitter’s Club.
- What was up with that vampire-S&M photo pinned to Paula’s desk?
- “The Beaver Dam by Lady Works. My review in short? My cup runneth over. Not good.” — the YouTube channel Getting Real With Karen
- Mrs. Hernandez sings in instrumental music! How sweet. I teared up at that.
- Rebecca (whispering): “Can I have my cash back now?”
- Stacy: “I already bought a hot tub.”