Somebody Somewhere Recap: The Fred Rococo Bachelor-Party Experience

Somebody Somewhere

Season 2 Episode 6
Editor’s Rating 5 stars

Somebody Somewhere

Season 2 Episode 6
Editor’s Rating 5 stars
Photo: Warner Brothers

Well, rip our hearts out and stomp on them why don’t you, Somebody Somewhere? In “Manhappiness,” Sam and Joel have the confrontation necessary for them to eventually move past this bump in the road of their friendship. The silent treatment Sam’s giving Joel at the top of the episode will get them nowhere, I know this, but still, when Sam finally unloads on her friend for lying to her about his new relationship, it’s tough to watch. She’s so angry and hurt and, when it comes down to it, scared. And yet we know that confronting this issue with Joel head-on is the best thing for her. In this episode, Fred Rococo reminds Sam that “families aren’t easy, not even the fun ones,” and you know what else isn’t easy? Growth.

We should all be thankful for Fred Rococo. Not that we weren’t before — he is a delight — but the power of his cut-through-the-bullshit positivity is really in full force in this episode. Although even SLS Brad questions Joel’s tactics, poor Joel is attempting to get his best friend to talk to him again, but while Sam processes, it’s really Fred who’s fighting the good fight to keep Sam and Joel together. He knows exactly the right amount to nudge Sam without pushing too hard, giving her space while still making sure she knows that her friends are not going anywhere. It’s his freaking bachelor party and although he makes it very clear he wants Sam there, when she repeatedly balks, citing that she’d just be “a black cloud” on the proceedings, he backs off. “I don’t want to force you to have the time of your life, Sammy,” he tells her before taking her up on her offer to treat him to an all-you-can-eat ice cream date the next day. Still, he makes sure to send Sam a video message from the party telling her how much everyone misses her.

Fred knows how to walk that same line with Joel. He hates seeing his friend sad, and he knows he’s trying. It’s well and good but Fred makes sure Joel knows he and Sam need to figure this out before his wedding. And even with that, I guess we’ll call it “ultimatum,” although it’s way too nicely phrased to be considered one, Fred promises to put in a good word for Joel when he meets with Sam for ice cream.

He certainly does try, but Sam’s tough. She isn’t unreachable, though. When Fred tells her that families take a lot of work and that she needs to decide what’s important to her, you can see in Sam’s face that she understands what’s at stake and why it’s worth it. Then Joel shows up. This is not an ambush, as Sam understandably fears; Fred had no idea Joel would be there — Joel just figured Sam might be more willing to talk to him if Fred’s there. Joel attempts to get out an apology for lying to her, but Sam doesn’t let him get far before she starts unleashing every emotion she’s feeling on him.

Which part is most heartbreaking? The look in her eyes when Sam yells, “Do you have any idea how stupid that makes me feel?” as she lays into him for not thinking she could handle her friend being in a relationship (something we know from last week’s episode is a particularly sore subject)? The moment when Joel asks what she means when she brings up her sister, because this fight doesn’t mean he’s pushed pause on how much he loves and cares about her, and she says, “You don’t get to know!”? When Sam finally says exactly why she’s so upset: that she’s scared this new relationship means Joel will leave her? The answer is all of it. All of it is the most heartbreaking. How wonderful to have a show that takes this much care of and dives this deep into a platonic friendship.

By the end of the confrontation, which lasts just a few short minutes but I will be thinking about for hours, both acknowledge that things won’t be the same. But what more can Joel say if Sam is not ready to forgive him? He leaves and Sam tries to gather herself. Fred goes to get more ice cream. Fred remains the best.

While things seem dire at the moment, hope is not lost. First, because this is Somebody Somewhere and I don’t think they are about inauthentically dragging out the drama, and second, because we’ve already seen how Sam is growing out of her inclination to simply cut people out who hurt her with Tricia. Remember, they had a blowout fight about Tricia and Holly keeping Holly’s cancer diagnosis from Sam just last week. That, too, was a tough fight to watch and one that clearly devastated Sam. Yet when Tricia calls Sam to ask for her help boxing up all of her cunt pillow orders (I feel privileged to even write that phrase), Sam’s there.

Sure, it’s a little different because Sam and Tricia are sisters and they’ve been fighting and making up for years, but Sam definitely could’ve cut Tricia out of her life for a little bit if she wanted to lean on her old crutches. She does not. Tricia tries to make a peace offering — she can take her old car since Holly’s truck is breaking down on Sam — but Sam brushes it off. They’re fine, she says, and nothing else needs to be discussed. Sam probably does need to discuss it, but we’ll take our wins where we can get them. Honestly, it’s a huge moment of growth for Sam to simply not write off Tricia for an extended period of time. More than that, when Tricia launches into how Charity and her friends are now harassing her on Instagram and how ridiculous it is that somehow Tricia became the bad guy in the affair, Sam is in it with her sister. She’s kind of proud Tricia went a little wild and tagged Charity in the “lying cunt” pillow picture and that she dressed Charity down to Heather. Like, five minutes before, Tricia had been chastising Sam for using the word cunt — even though that word has basically become the wallpaper in Tricia’s living room — and here she is calling Charity and all of her friends cunts. Have Sam and Tricia ever been closer? That moment toward the end of Sam’s visit when Tricia makes Sam put on her tuxedo jacket for Fred’s wedding and the two burst into laughter about how terribly tailored it is and Tricia vows to fix it for Sam — I want to live inside that moment. Without some big conversation, it immediately informs us that Sam and Tricia are going to be just fine, big blowup or not. And if Sam can repair things with Tricia, it’s easy to have hope that she’ll be able to do the same with Joel.

And perhaps we now know something that will jump-start that reconciliation: At the end of the episode, Sam gets a text from Joel letting her know that vocal coach extraordinaire and all-around lovely person Darlene Edwards has died. It hits Sam like a bag of bricks. She goes home and puts in that cassette tape from their last lesson and listens to Darlene telling her to breathe. She, of course, kills it before she gets to the “It’s like falling in love for the first time” section. Sam honors Darlene another way: She sits at the piano and starts singing “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” the song Darlene remembered Sam singing as a teenager. You can hear it in Sam’s voice: It grows deeper and richer as the song builds — she’s using the breathing techniques Darlene taught her. It’s the perfect tribute. That scene in the last episode in which Darlene gave Sam back her tape, Sam gave her a hug, and Darlene told her to “keep singing” was emotional, sure, but now it feels important. Could you imagine if Sam hadn’t had that sort of closure with Darlene before she died? It could be regression city over here in Manhattan, Kansas. This reminder of how fast people can be taken away from you surely must put a few things in perspective for Sam.

Tender Moments

• So that entire soul-baring confrontation between Sam and Joel? Sam’s wearing her ridiculous “I’m With the Stud” T-shirt for Fred’s bachelor party. The silliness of Sam’s outfit paired with the heft of the conversation happening around it is just so Somebody Somewhere and I am obsessed with it.

• Yes, okay, now we are talking: Sam’s neighbor who got busted for drugs in his house is back, and he seems just as interested in hanging out with Sam as he was before. Is he now fitted with an ankle bracelet? Sure, but who hasn’t hooked up with someone under house arrest at least once?

• The shot of Tricia’s living room stuffed with various “Cunt” pillows, leaving just enough space to see the kitschy “Faith” sign on her mantle, is a work of art.

• Sam chucking her ice cream on one of Charity’s real estate signs? Now, that’s a good sister.

• “Irma’s on a fucking rampage!” is the level every bachelor- and bachelorette-party attendee should aspire to for the rest of time. Always be rampaging, friends.

• “How am I the bad guy in all of this? I didn’t fuck her husband!” “Well, you tried. But that’s okay.”

• Okay, now: “Knock knock/Who’s there?/You. You’re still a cunt” might be my favorite pillow. Were these given out as wrap gifts to the cast and crew? I need to know where they all went.

Somebody, Somewhere Recap: Ice Cream and Feelings