Young Kyle has been taking excellent care of Master Maron despite the boss’s steadfast self-absorption and cruelty. While Kyle confides in Marc about a creative venture he’s psyched about, all Marc hears is babbling. Maron isn’t the type to ever mentor anyone — or validate anyone at all, really — unless it’s on the podcast. After the slightest attempt at pop-culture bonding, Marc’s stymied that a cool twentysomething doesn’t get a Radar O’Reilly reference. “Nothin’? M*A*S*H? Television show. Alan Alda. Korean War. What’re you, 5?”
“I … like … friends,” the eternally deadpan Aubrey Plaza tells Marc on this week’s episode of Alternate Universe “WTF.” If you guessed Marc would take Aubrey’s description of herself as an opportunity to talk about his divorces and his worldview, you got it. Aubrey gauges Marc’s interest in having “fat, gross babies” a minute before assuming he’s only a few years away from getting cancer.
After the podcast, Kyle is all dandy with a button-up and coiffed hair so he can meet Aubrey Plaza for 30 seconds. He spazzes out, telling her she’s the sun and the moon and the stars of Parks and Recreation and that she needs her own show, like, yesterday. It’s not exactly clear if this is so Kyle could watch Aubrey Plaza for a half-hour every week or so she would remember he flattered her and hopefully bring him onboard as a writer or an extra or anything at all, really. The kid’s dying to get into the industry — he’s cleaning Marc Maron’s litter box.
Maron, finally seeing Kyle’s helplessness with women, begrudgingly offers to help Kyle channel his inner Fonzie. (“The bear?”) “Girls. Right,” Maron begins. “They’re just people — they’re horny, scared, angry, bitter people just like me and you.” Marc’s not really doing Kyle any favors.
Speaking of dating, what’s Marc’s Sex Fest partner Jen been up to? Ah, she’s moving to L.A., pitching Marc into a frenzy about being stalked. Either Marc’s just making it about himself again, or Jen and Marc are making it about him. Jen’s actually standing right outside Marc’s house (this is like the third time someone has conveniently popped up on Maron’s front lawn), so Marc dispatches Kyle to cover for him. Kyle and Jen end up bonding. While it may look like we’re in romantic sparring territory, it’s pretty clear from how Marc’s channeling an emotionally abusive dad vibe that Kyle is about to become the son in a very dysfunctional family.
Marc is now simultaneously upset with Jen/women and Kyle/today’s youth. Since Marc’s having “a grown-up day,” he feels like he’s got the moral high ground. Cut to Marc sitting in the tub trying to get his new jeans to shrink to a hipster-acceptable fit. His grown-up day was brief, and he’s not prepared to deal with Jen dating a hack comic called Brian Burkman, a man who leans on gay-panic jokes, Christopher Walken and Jack Nicholson impressions, and a brain-meltingly ridiculous bit about Honey Boo Boo being crossed with Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood. Marc watches the man’s soul-deadening comedy deep into the night, until he can no longer avoid calling Jen.
Marc desperately needs to hear that Jen doesn’t think Brian Burkman is a better comedian than him. “Look, I don’t care what you did with that open mike-er. Do you think he’s funny? Don’t change the subject, ‘cause if you think that guy’s funny, we have nothing more to talk about.” Jen’s taste in jokes isn’t the most of Marc’s worries for long — Kyle shows up, because, surprise, Jen is living at Kyle’s house. Marc and Jen have the type of cataclysmic fight that can only end in loud sex — while Kyle, their adopted son, plays Xbox and munches snacks in the next room.
Marc and Kyle, wearing the old- and young-person versions of the same shirt, duke it out; “Maron Ave.’s a one-way street,” plus Marc refuses to follow Kyle on Twitter. Marc fires Kyle, Kyle quits, Jen is asleep somewhere, and we still don’t really know her as a character. (She really likes Marc, has a great capacity for dealing with his bullshit, teaches autistic children, and is played by an actress who once starred in Brick. That’s all we’ve got.) Marc clearly can’t take care of himself or his business without Kyle, but it takes Jen to convince Marc to mend the bridge he burned.
Marc humbles himself to Kyle, who’s humbling himself by peddling a Korean-barbecue buffet on a street corner. Marc’s humility doesn’t go past the point of offering an actual apology for being an asshole, but Marc is happy to debase his hallowed integrity by showing up on Monster Roommate, Kyle’s web series, playing a pasty, brain-crunching zombie. The patchwork family finds harmony in time for the credits to roll.
• “That was really fun. I’m gonna go home now and freak out about all the stuff I just admitted to you,” Aubrey Plaza tells Marc as he walks her out of the garage. Imagine how many guests have thought this exact thing after visiting real-life “WTF.” (Likely candidates: Louis C.K., Doug Stanhope, Ken Jeong, Rob Delaney, Russell Brand, Mark Oliver Everett of the band Eels, Aubrey Plaza herself on her excellent episode.)
• Loved the placement of Marc’s cats in this episode. One hovers on the mantle in one scene, another lounges on the couch later.
• “Oh, you heard that, huh?” Maron asks Kyle after Sex Fest Pt. 2. “Yeah, my parents heard that, and they’re in Cleveland … I was Skyping with them.”