It’s Thanksgiving in West Coviiiiiiinnnnaaaaaaaa! Rebecca doesn’t, um, have a family — if only she hadn’t eaten her twin in the womb! — and after Josh’s “very attractive” comment in last week’s episode, she’s fantasizing about a very merry Chan Thanksgiving. “If you could just get into that turkey dinner,” Paula says, “You’d be all set!” Josh specifically said he was committed to Valencia and he did not invite Rebecca, but okay, sure.
Paula brings Rebecca to the Asian supermarket, where she sets up a meet-cute with Mama Chan herself. After being dazzled by Rebecca’s mock-trial pedigree and Paula’s joke that Rebecca’s parents were murdered in front of her (“Oh dear,” Mrs. Chan sighs. “Just like Batman.”), Josh’s sweetie mom invites her to the family’s Turkey Day.
And so begins Rebecca’s quest to win “the unconditional love of a hundred Filipinos.” Unfortunately, she and Paula are operating off a particularly deranged premise: They’re convinced that the most effective way to woo a man is to win over his family. Rebecca’s boastful “I Give Good Parent” number is the highlight of the evening, a Nicki Minaj–style rap about her ability to seduce Josh’s ’rents. Platonically, of course: “I’m DTF, but understand me/It means I’m Dazzling the Family,” Rebecca brags, clarifying, “To be clear, your parents want to have sex with me.” What man could resist!
It doesn’t hurt that, as little boy/recent cast addition Chris tells her, Josh’s family straight-up hates Valencia. However, Paula and Rebecca don’t seem to understand that while cardigans and Tagalog greetings and casserole dishes filled with piping-hot dinuguan may work on another guy, Josh clearly wants a smoking hot woman — especially if his family hates her.
If Rebecca had been honest with herself about wanting Josh, she would have worn a fishnet catsuit, insulted the food, and forced Josh’s mother to loathe her. Instead, she irons her finest Peter Pan collar and readies her sweetest anecdotes about library books. Needless to say, Josh’s mom loves her. And needless to say, that’s the only Chan action Rebecca sees on Thanksgiving. Oh, and in a nifty, borderline-nuts conceit, she livestreams her whole evening to Paula through a camera in her owl broach. Paula gleefully watches it all go down on her phone, from her own Thanksgiving table, where she blatantly ignores her entire family to presumably to catch up on her “soap opera All of My Days.”
Meanwhile, OH GREG. As much as I love, love, loved Dark Greg last week, he’s already a saint again. Though I had fervently expressed how much the show benefits from the angry, brooding, betrayed Greg in “Josh and I Are Good People!” but this episode focuses on Greg’s decision to put his cantankerous, chronically ill father’s needs above his own. Aside from his solo and wonderful scene, in which Greg’s boss Kevin celebrates his decision to finally head back to business school (“You’re too good for this place.” “Kevin, you’re ruining this for me.”), this stuff only serves to humanize Greg.
Except … Greg doesn’t need to be humanized. The show has already established his deep moral sensibilities. Do we really need to be reminded that he’s a wonderful person? He was enraged by Rebecca’s first-date shenanigans, but warmed to her once when she helped ol’ doofy Darryl make peace with his ex-wife. Similarly, he wants to ditch his crappy bar job and focus on school, but ultimately sacrifices his happiness for the well-being of his ornery, bird-loving father. Unless this episode is supposed to establish how Rebecca is completely incapable of seeing Greg for who and what he is, the whole story line seemed like sweet, creamy overkill. After his father’s emphysema gets worse, Greg realizes he can’t follow his dreams. He returns to his crappy job, which is now even crappier. Poor Greg.
Speaking of crappier, after Rebecca successfully impresses Josh’s parents, she begins to experience the particular sort of digestive distress that only happens when you eat rich, delicious food in a stranger’s immaculate home. Valencia, of course, is the only person who is mad about Rebecca’s attendance. “You do not belong here. This is not your family,” she says, before gloating that Josh is into her. She’s not wrong!
Despite her stomach issues, Rebecca accepts an offer to join the Chan family for church. (“I’ll go to Mass too, since I actually believe in Jesus,” Valencia snipes. Mrs. Chan responds with a smile: “Knock yourself out. It’s a public place of worship.”) In the bathroom, Rebecca overhears Valencia and Josh fighting about her … and then, fooling around. Her Thanksgiving intrusion only incited their lust for each another. “Just spring past their writhing bodies and escape!” Paula shouts. Paralyzed by her twisting bowels and their sexual stamina, Rebecca is forced to listen to every clandestine moan.
Meanwhile, back at the bar, Greg tickles the ivories and sings a little Billy Joel–inspired number called “What’ll It Be?” about being trapped in West Covina. “I know this town like the back of my hand/But I’m not such a fan of the back of my hand,” he sings. “’Cause if you look real close at all those little hairs and veins, you’re like, Hands are sort of gross./It’s hard to explain.” Oh no, we definitely get it. Despite the fact he’s been hospitalized, Greg’s dad finds out that Greg drained his savings to pay for his expensive treatments. “Run like your mother did!” he tells him, but as we all know Greg is a MENSCH, so he doesn’t even think about it.
Horrified by the Thanksgiving guest-room sex, Rebecca runs out of the bathroom to freedom. “I’d really like to go, but I have to take a … giant raincheck,” she tells Mrs. Chan. And as she struggles to hold in her explosive diarrhea, Josh asks Valencia to move in with him. “Noooooooo!” Rebecca and Mrs. Chan breathe in unison.
Maybe I’ve been riding too high off last week’s five-star perfection, but I wasn’t really buying the whole “Rebecca wants family” premise of this episode. I know we’re supposed to see Rebecca’s longing for family as the actual reason for her obsession with the Chans, but she doesn’t have a connect with anyone at Thanksgiving dinner, least of all Josh. Mrs. Chan likes Rebecca because she reads books, but what Mrs. Chan really likes is anyone who isn’t Valencia. Also, if Rebecca really wants a family, she could have ended the evening in the miserable, silent embrace of Paula’s relatives. And, yes, we know Rebecca’s mom has been clinically diagnosed “the worst,” but dang, Rebecca bails on Thanksgiving via text! Contrast that with Greg, who sacrifices his dreams for his father. If Josh represents family and love and destiny, what will it take for Rebecca to see any of those qualities in Greg?
Back at the Proctor family dinner, Paula’s husband Scott finally breaks her concentration on Rebecca’s poop problems. I was hoping Scott or one of her sons would realize that, rather than engage with her family on Thanksgiving, she wants to watch her co-worker use the toilet. Instead, she keeps on ignoring her loved ones as Rebecca groans and moans through her bathroom issues.
But then, who suddenly shows up to Rebecca’s apartment with Thanksgiving tacos and tequila? It’s Greg, the nicest man in the world!
He explains why he decided to keep bartending in West Covina, and why he needs to take care of his father. “He’s always been there for me. My whole life,” he says. “The only person, actually.” On the other side of town, Paula screams at her phone: “No! Not Greg! Josh!” Et tu, Paula? Why are you so unmoved? What does a guy have to do to outshine Josh in this town? HE BROUGHT TACOS. WHAT MORE DO YOU PEOPLE WANT?
- Josh: “There is very much traffic today.” Rebecca: “So ‘very’ is just your go-to adjective, then?”
- “Maybe Josh was just trying to be nice? Maybe blowing you off?” I really hope the Boba Hut twins come back.
- Josh reciting all the Californian towns his relatives will be visiting from was great.
- Paula, on her Thanksgiving duties: “I’m making pies for people I hate, which is mixed emotions for me because I love pie.”
- Greg, on his dad’s hospital pillows: “He needs one under his back, or else the farts have nowhere to go.”
- When Valencia tries to join the book-club conversation: “I read a book by Lea Michele about journalling. It has a lot of blank pages, so it’s basically a journal.” God bless her.