The lesbians who have given Ray’s jerking off “new meaning” went AWOL. Ray knows next to nothing about the potential mothers of his children, but he and Jonathan learn where they live by way of their Park Slope Co-op membership card. Ray and Jonathan break into the couple’s empty apartment only to find that the ladies aren’t breeding — they’re selling Ray’s seed on the black market! Armed with an Excel spreadsheet of semen customers, the duo sets out on a wild, gay goose chase to find the lesbians, but all they track down is a series of angry women who’ve been duped by Ray’s useless ejaculate. Sigh. Jonathan’s attempts to produce more than one line of text for his next novel have proven fruitless; Ray’s sperm has failed to produce a viable zygote. Jonathan meets up with George at a dingy Flatiron bar. Wouldn’t you know it, George’s nemesis, the GQ editor, is tossing back a few with a Slate book critic (played by John Hodgman) who panned Jonathan’s last book. They proceed to hurl rumors about Edition’s imminent demise and its massive ad-page shrinkage. George retaliates with an excoriating editor’s letter about Mr. GQ. The tabloidy mudslinging culminates in an agreement to take things into a real-life boxing ring. The good-news-bad-news ending to “The Case of the Stolen Sperm” is that yes, one of the women was actually able to conceive, but no, she wants nothing to do with the schlubby daddy. A glimmer of hope comes from the baby mama’s partner (Samantha Bee), who whispers to a distraught Ray: “Find me on Facebook.”
It Is Written
• The only thing remaining in the missing gay ladies’ refrigerator is an unopened bottle of dubiously healthy Kombucha. A perfect touch for a couple who were last seen at the Co-op. Plus 1.
• Jenny Slate is impeccable as the righteous Co-op volunteer, complete with slightly outdated “legalize it” pot-leaf T-shirt. She also semi-accurately describes Park Slope as having more lesbians than any other city — “kind of like San Francisco for women.” The only thing that could improve the caricature would be a “Free Mumia” pin on her green apron. Plus 3.
• The Old Town Bar & Restaurant is exactly the watering hole a gaggle of magazine-editor-and-writer types would choose so as to appear more prole-intellectual than bougie-sellout. Plus 1.
• As Ray sits upon a Fort Greene Park bench lamenting his sterile sperm, the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower protrudes mightily in the distance, begging him to ask: “Do you think the architect made it to look like a giant cock?” Why do you think buildings are “erected”? Plus 1.
Get Me Rewrite!
• Jonathan’s apartment is suddenly, inexplicably improving in terms of furniture and design. The camera lingers, salivating over a previously unseen mid-century modern beauty of a chair, followed by a lamp of similar ilk. No way could this guy afford Sterling Cooper’s interior designer. Minus 1.
• Ozzie’s, the Park Slope coffee shop where Ray and Jonathan begin their search for the missing lesbians, looks like the real thing, but the tip jar is decorated with a simple “Tips!” card. Oh-so-clever Brooklyn baristas never settle for less than a “Tipping isn’t just a city in China” sign. Minus 1.
• Yes, it’s weak, only-a-Brooklyner-would-notice nitpickery, but Moe’s Bar on Lafayette is nowhere near Grand Army Plaza, which the show depicts as being right around the corner. We applaud the choice of Brooklyn landmarks, but it’s our job to make note of continuity issues, so … Minus 1.
• The lesbian couple that successfully conceives with Ray’s seed lives in Ditmas Park. The realtors have categorized this neighborhood as “rapidly gentrifying,” but it’s not quite a hotbed of gay culture. Yet. Minus 1.
Reality wins by two points! As the humor and characters grow in richness, so does its believability. Too bad we only have one episode left. HBO did pick the show up for a second season, so let’s raise a glass of white wine to story momentum and more true-to-life characterizations.
The cast — bolstered with awesome supporting cameos from Samantha Bee, Jenny Slate, and John Hodgman — is truly solidifying, with one major complaint: Like the Onion AV Club, we think it’s time Schwartzman dropped the affected detective line delivery.
Like EW’s Dalton Ross, we remain convinced that it’s Ted Danson’s George who’s really doing the heavy lifting, character wise. Who else could make a pathetic, past-his-prime media type so lovable and so watchable?
TVFanatic rightfully asserts that “The Case of the Stolen Sperm” is the funniest episode yet. Zach Galifianakis finally found his comedy footing in this episode, with fantastic lines like the one where he describes his masturbation as having been for “purely medicinal reasons, like lancing a wound.”