When I suggested that last episode’s breaking-and-entering snafu would lead to Rebecca’s downward spiral, I didn’t anticipate that it would be a literal one. This week, Rebecca, Darryl, and a sketchy water-rights activist named Bert go deep into the bowels of West Covina — and by bowels I mean the sewer system, as that is where the poop lives.
I certainly anticipated Rebecca’s descent into a Josh-fueled obsessive madness, and after this episode, I’m left wondering how long I have to wait before officially declaring myself Team Valencia. Yes, I know Valencia is horrible, but the woman is right. She’s been right from day one!
Following the deceit and dismal reckoning of “That Text Was Not Meant for Josh!,” Paula offers to step in and rectify the seemingly unrectifiable. “Impossible? Rebecca, we put a man on the moon,” Paula scoffs. “You seem really confident and you’re talking about space, so I’m going to go with your plan,” Rebecca concedes.
In a delightful Apollo 13 parody montage, Paula engineers a meet-cute at the smog-checkery, working with Ms. Hernandez. (Ms. Hernandez! Where has she been? Has she been standing silently just outside the frame during every office scene? I say yes.) To assuage Josh’s fears, Paula even fabricates a boyfriend for her. From Harvard. Named Trent, which is an awesome fake-boyfriend name.
Don’t worry! What could go wrong when you invent a boyfriend to lull another man into a false sense of platonic friendship? What could possibly go wrong?
Oh, what’s that? Is it … EVERYTHING?
Let’s talk about the most important element of Paula’s plan. (Aside from smashing a shopping cart into Josh’s car, thus forcing him to take it into the shop.) As with all great schemes, it hinges on a coupon for free drinks and apps at Jalapeño Jack’s. “That’s a pricey place. How can they afford that?” Josh wonders. (That was the line I laughed hardest at this week. Of course a place named Jalapeño Jack’s is the ritziest place in West Covina.) Josh agrees to accompany Rebecca to dinner, and the trap is laid!
The trap, of course, is getting Josh alone to woo him back into the warm, trusting, emotional place he and Rebecca found themselves in before she ruined his trust by scheming behind his back to win his love.
This seems like as good a time as any time to remind us that our actions matter more than our feelings or fantasies, which matter not at all in real life. If there is one person on this show who knows that, it’s Mr. Darryl Whitefeather. Darryl might be a wiener who cries to a bunch of snails, but damn if his soul isn’t open to the universe. Since White Josh kissed him on the cheek, Darryl has found himself on a journey of self-discovery. (“Do you think he’d be open to new … clients?” he wonders aloud.) He signs up for gym sessions with White Josh and immediately botches an attempt find out if White Josh is gay, which of course he is.
Darryl: Maybe your nickname should be “Gay Josh.”
White Josh: Why? We don’t call Greg “Straight Greg.” We don’t call you “Old, Gay Darryl.”
Darryl is thrown. He is not gay! He was married to a woman! He loves women’s birdlike voices! Probably some other reasons! Put on the spot, Darryl sputters and denies his feelings. Darryl, no! Follow your fear! Kiss him on his dumb jock mouth, you fool! Someone on this damn show needs to be happy! (The cutest line in the episode, when White Josh explains why he kissed him: “You were being cute, so …” OH, I DIED.)
Back at Jalepeño Jack’s, Josh is opening up to Rebecca about his life — specifically, about his apartment’s lack of hot water and Valencia’s credit troubles. (“She took out a loan to sell diet supplements and it turns out they were rat droppings.” LOL.) Unfortunately, their reunion is interrupted by the arrival of Josh’s bro army: Hector, Ken, Beans, and some other guys. Greg is conspicuously missing from the group, undoubtedly because he will lose his mind if he sees Josh give Rebecca another shot.
Rebecca’s hips refuse to do anything but address the brutal truth in “Group Hang,” a Shakira-esque dance number that laments both the physical distance between her and Josh as well as the quality of Jalapeño Jack’s dubious Italian-Mexican fusion. Even more brutal is the bill, which of course is “covered” by that convenient coupon. While getting her photo taken for the Super Chumps Who Spent Nearly a Grand on Margaritas wall, Rebecca overhears Josh thanking his friends for coming to act as a buffer between the two of them. Frankly, that is the healthiest thing this guy has done for himself in weeks, and of course, it makes Rebecca the saddest. “I’m sorry your rocket exploded on reentry,” Paula says. “I think we’re done with the Apollo 13 references,” Rebecca sighs.
It’s okay, though! Rebecca learned a lot from the experience, so she decides to do the sensible thing: Represent Josh and Valencia in a lawsuit against his landlord for their water problems. (“Does your ass feel weird right now?” Paula asks them. “Because you’re sitting on a gold mine.”) It’s nice to see Rebecca’s job become entwined with her romantic entanglements in a believable way, but Valencia immediately shuts the idea down. “I only trust you as far as I can throw you, which isn’t far because you eat bagels after 8 p.m.,” she sniffs. Eating nothing but flaxseed all day has clearly honed her powers of perception; she knows Rebecca is trying to get more face time with Josh.
Josh is on the fence about the lawsuit. Greg joins the chorus of naysayers, warning him away from any further involvement with Rebecca and scoffing at the idea that she actually has a boyfriend. Rebecca, Darryl, and Paula rally the good people of West Covina — or at least the ones who live in Josh and Valencia’s apartment building — with a Music Man–inspired propaganda parade called “No Hot Water,” which draws a clear line between a lack of warm water and the use of crack cocaine. “If we get all your neighbors to sign on, we can get a crap-ton of dough,” Rebecca promises Josh.
Our legal eagles get in touch with Josh’s landlord, ready to grind him into the dust, only to have him immediately offer a million-dollar settlement to be split among all of the building’s residents. Realizing that a settlement would end her time with Josh, Rebecca suggests they dig deeper.
Josh, however, could not be more excited to get his share, which turns out to be about $10,000. (When you love someone, don’t you want them to have $10,000? It’s the first thing they teach you in How to Love Like a Normal Person, or so I assume.) Meanwhile, Valencia asks Greg to meet her in a weird garage cave to help her expose Rebecca as the fraud she is. And she really is! Valencia is not wrong! “I’m telling you: That bitch cray,” she warns, before hatching a mean-spirited-but-actually-pretty-reasonable plan.
Oh, oh, oh, and Darryl! Darryl is on the cusp of greatness. Still stinging from White Josh’s implication that he doesn’t even know he is gay, Darryl attempts to discern his sexuality the best way he knows how: by alternately staring at a man’s butt and a woman’s butt during Cardio Mambo class. After approximately two minutes of gyration, the answer is clear. Darryl is completely, totally, unequivocally bi! He rushes to White Josh to tell him, and because Darryl is a brave, brave boy, he plants one on White Josh’s big, beautiful jock mouth. Fortune favors the bold, West Covina. Sign up for Barefoot Cardio Mambo today!
Rebecca suggests that the landlord’s desire to settle implies a more sinister plot. Based on a sign posted in Jalepeño Jack’s, Rebecca and Darryl make contact with disgruntled water-conspiracy theorist Bert, who takes them underground to reveal the true mechanism behind the veil. Turns out Josh and Valencia aren’t the only ones suffering at the hands of Big Water — thousands of residents are getting scammed, too. This lluminati conglomerate controls the flow of water all over the San Gabriel Valley. (Bert and Darryl’s shared outrage over the water situation is excellent: “The water’s being forced to only go one way,” Bert explains. “Well, that’s not fair!” Darryl responds.) Determined to
fight the good fight spend more time with Josh, Rebecca rushes over to his apartment to share her findings … only to discover that Valencia and Greg have found the real Trent, who is standing in Josh’s living room. At a loss for words, Rebecca grabs Faux Trent, and they start making out. It might be the most elegant response she’s ever made under pressure.
If you’re like me, you enjoy every episode of this show. But 12 episodes in, it’s starting to feel like nothing will actually happen. The burden of explaining away Rebecca’s bizarre behavior falls over and over again to Vincent Rodriguez III, and boy, it is turning into a master class of benevolent naïveté. That’s why we need so much more: Darryl and White Josh kissing! Paula and Scott working on their relationship! Greg learning not to be such a huge wiener! While obsessively cataloguing all the different kinds of takeout she will eat with Josh, Rebecca has passed from “nutty” to “problematic.”
I’m just saying I need some action between these soon, or else this show is going to turn into a rom-com version of The Walking Dead: We’ll enjoy it, but where exactly is it headed? For now, we’re left waiting. This water crisis had better turn out to be some next-level Erin Brockovich scandal that takes us to new ground, so help me, Ms. Hernandez.
The Official Minutes From Window Washer Gossip Fridays
- A suspicious Josh on Rebecca’s new car: “You’re always talking about it, listing the features as if you were in a commercial.” (Hmm.)
- Rebecca ordering at Jalepeño Jack’s, which probably even douses the napkins in salt: “Too much salt makes my friend bloat.”
- Beans, the cutest man in the world: “I prefer Beans. It sounds racist, but I didn’t get the name because I’m Mexican. I got it because I organize meet-and-trade for Beanie Babies.”
- The look back at Rebecca and Josh’s finest moments is a very Strangers With Candy little ditty: “Romantic moments you had that he didn’t know were romantic / Or maybe he did a little, we’re not really sure / But most likely not.”
- Valencia on not having signed their lease due to the diet-pill debacle: “You know how sensitive I am about the lease.” I don’t know why, but this made me laugh and laugh.
- Chris, the precocious child who hangs out at Greg’s sports bar: “Pretext? Is that like when a little text comes out before the real text?”
- Bert, sharing his lunch plans: “I’m just gonna go back in my hole and eat some rats.”
- Shout out to the prostitute ruining marriages all over town. One judge … one copywriter … who else will succumb to this person’s wiles?