It’s a rare episode that evenly balances humor, pathos, and heartwarming moments. The title, “Play,” is a pun. Lou gets some, with an hour-and-fifteen-minute “grudge hump” from Genevieve, while everyone else role-plays: Garrity acts an idiot to mask his kidney problem (resulting in yet more punning: “I’m so full of shit right now I can’t believe it. No, really”); Katie — or, should we say, Katherine — makes like a Manhattan rich kid (and also stars in the school play); and Tommy and Janet try, as ever, to act in their appropriate capacities — with little success. The Blueberry Inn will never be the same, now that Tommy Gavin’s, er … sin … is all over it.
Innkeeper: “Remember, she’s got a boooyfriend!” Tommy: “Whoooo’s paralyzed! But his, uh, thing still works.”
Despite interrogating Janet about Dwight the Junkie’s coital talents, Tommy at least tries to control his urges when the charmingly oblivious Blueberry Inn owner mistakenly rooms Janet and him together. A drunken Janet prances about in her whitest of undies; cue broken dresser, crumbling ceiling, pounded-down door — the usual bedroom antics for these two. At this point, they have woven such a tangled web that we’re not sure what constitutes adultery or cheating. But all this leaves us laughing, less worried about the aftermath than usual.
Tommy: “I mean, Manhattan, you can’t really afford to live there now unless you’re Eurotrash or homo … sex … ual.”
Tommy and Janet see the fruits of their less than truthful natures: Katherine, the frightening private-school-bot that seems to have eaten their shy daughter Katie. She’s told all her friends that Tommy and Janet work, respectively, in hedge funds and fashion design, and that the family splits time between Soho and the Hamptons — a lie that lands Tommy and Janet smack in the middle of the most awkward and Waspy dinner ever (but don’t forget the two Jews!). Tommy, amazingly, opts for the truth, telling the harpies he’s a fireman and, as luck always has it, gets the hero treatment. Janet and her sobriety don’t fare so well.
Needles: “Shame I’m such an asshole now.”
Chief Needles makes good on his promise to make life miserable for the disrespectful crew, especially for the king of nonchalance, Tommy. Colleen, who followed the Janet and Tommy Sex Plan, gets dumped by Black Sean. But Katie could have delivered Needles’s “asshole” jab — “Shame I’m such a little monster now,” perhaps? Nothing gets us like her retort to Tommy and Janet after the school play: “I belong here. You don’t.” No amount of truth-telling can, it seems, resolve the myriad sins Tommy committed in the past to make his daughter’s life so lonely now.