While we’re all bracing ourselves for Thanksgiving with the family, lucky Rebecca is already through the stress of the holiday, having survived Turkey Day at the Chans, bathroom problems at the Chans, and the announcement that Josh and Valencia will soon be shacking up. But don’t worry — that doesn’t mean she’s not a disaster this episode.
After Rebecca spent a casual Thanksgiving evening with Greg, Paula is determined to make sure the relationship doesn’t become romantic. “Look, I get it: Greg is your Jacob, but we all know you’re gonna end up with Edward,” she says, a reference Rebecca does not understand. Paula is rooting for Josh and Rebecca, and she admits it’s because her own marriage is a damn mess and Rebecca’s weird infatuation with Josh gives her hope, somehow. It’s a fact made all the more concerning considering Paula is sitting in a car with Rebecca watching Josh and Valencia move in together. They even broke out the binoculars. Rebecca calls Josh and sees him ignore it, which is maybe the thing in the world that makes you feel the very worst about yourself.
Rebecca might be sad and alone in this scene, but over on Josh’s side of the moving vans, things aren’t much better: Valencia is excited because this is a move toward marriage and children, but Josh is excited because it’s a move that puts him physically closer to a Taco Bell. Solid relationship, guys.
At the office, Darryl is chasing a new client that would make him head of West Covina’s premiere law firm. (Although it’s unclear what that actually means or how competitive law firms are in West Covina.) He needs Rebecca to focus, big time, and nail the pitch, but all she can think about is Josh. Josh Josh Josh. (Valencia.) She’s having a meltdown when a Dr. Phil ad helps her realize she’s having a panic attack. But there’s no time for anxiety — the client has arrived!
Now, I normally don’t care about the goings on at this office, but this client, whose name is Calvin Young, takes an immediate liking to Paula and starts hitting on her, which is amazing. The suave gentleman looks like a young Barack Obama with a bigger build, and Paula’s no dummy — she knows he’s hot stuff and that he’s into her. I suspect we (or maybe just Paula) will see more of Calvin later.
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Rebecca, meanwhile, is a mess and a half in this pitch meeting. She’s the firm’s big New York star, and she falls apart, so much so that Darryl sends her home, where she collapses on the couch and starts watching more Dr. Phil. (What year is it that there’s this much Dr. Phil online and on TV?) As she comes to terms with the fact that she may be depressed, she takes a stroll through Paris in a musical number titled “Sexy French Depression.” (There’s been more than one blatant reference to Paris in the past two episodes of this show, and I’ve been kind of shocked both times that they didn’t rework — or at least reschedule — considering current events.) She wakes up from the music video and is straight up hallucinating Dr. Phil in her living room. She asks imaginary Dr. Phil if she’s crazy, and Dr. Phil responds with what may be my favorite line of the season: “I’m not really here; I’m just in your imagination. But let’s face it, you do have a very active imagination. One minute, you’re walking down the street, the next minute, you’re in a big musical.” Thank you for addressing how ridiculous this show is, Dr. Phil.
Remember when Rebecca moved into this crappy apartment and there was that great shot of her dumping out all her pills? Well, we revisit that topic, and the show handles it, in my opinion, really well, especially for a comedy that’s as goofy as this one. Rebecca’s mental health is no joke — even though it’s sort of the butt of the joke of the entire show — and this episode makes that clear without getting overtly preachy. Rebecca’s worried that she needs those pills to get back to her normal self and is tearing her apartment apart looking for any leftover prescription capsules. When she can’t find any, she heads to a psychiatrist, who takes one look at Rebecca’s history and tells her she’s been overprescribed and needs real, talk-it-out therapy. Throughout this entire episode, you’re not sure if you should laugh at Rebecca as she picks up a stray pill on her doctor’s bathroom floor or reach through the screen and hug her. Imaginary Dr. Phil throws out another zinger: “Do I really need to tell you? Don’t take a pill you found on the bathroom floor — next to the toilet. Josh could find you if he wanted. You have been rejected. REJECTED.”
NEXT: When dining tables ruin lives
Josh, however, certainly needs a hug. He’s called the boys (Greg, White Josh, that other one who may or may not have a name) to help him put together a new table that he bought to surprise Valencia. No way in hell she’s going to like any of the furniture Josh picked out and cobbled together. Despite their best efforts to build something, Josh and the gang pass out and wake up surrounded by piles of screws. Greg takes this time to speak in code to Josh: “There’s still time to bail…on this table. We were friends with you before you even met this table.” Echoes White Josh: “The truth is, none of us really even like the current table.” “I hate this table,” says Greg. “And you’re going to ruin your life if you stick with this table.”
Back to Rebecca. She takes the pill, of course, and embarks on a horrible journey of hyperactivity followed by a need to chill, which results in her getting stoned with her neighbor and attempting to break into her psychiatrist’s home to steal her prescription pad. The doctor catches her in the act and makes a deal: She won’t press charges if Rebecca agrees to come in for therapy. She agrees reluctantly and collapses on the doctor’s yard after leaving the house. She calls Paula to tell her she just can’t make the presentation to Calvin Young and learns that Paula, that minx, is currently IN Calvin Young’s hotel room. She joined him on a jazz-club date and was so impressed with his sophisticated ways — he has all the rewards-oriented credit cards! — that she fantasy croons a song about his elite status, which is “Preferred.” Something about Paula nearly cheating on her hubby snaps Rebecca back to reality, and she barges into the hotel room to stop the act before it’s too late. “I know your marriage is crap, and I get that you’re about to have the hottest sex of your life…but it’s not real, it’s a Band-Aid. You know that.”
She’s right. She may be high on pills and weed and full of burrito, but Rebecca is right. Paula’s near-mistake has made Rebecca realize that it’s okay to feel — whether happy or sad. But here’s what’s sadder: It’s been five years, Paula says, since she made love without the TV on and 10 years since anyone held her hand. They’re both crying, and Calvin joins them — he misses his dead wife! He might think Rebecca’s nutty for making that kind of speech in front of a potential client, but Calvin was charmed by her no-nonsense authority, and he is going to work with the firm! All in all, a very sad day but a good one for West Covina’s now-leading law firm!
At least Josh’s spirits have improved — they finished the table! It’s actually really lovely, and he worked so hard on it! But Valencia, nasty b that she is, hates it and doesn’t even try to fake it. “It’s not exactly what I would have picked out.” Ugh, you evil, evil woman. She actually asks him to take it apart and return it. Blah. I hate her. She’s a meanie.
So Rebecca made a lot of improvement this episode, and she’s telling her psychiatrist all about it when Josh texts her to meet for boba. And we see a little bit of the crazy return to her eyes, once again, and she’s off. But hopefully she’s come to accept the reality of her rejection. Josh asks her one very important question: Is this a nice table? And Rebecca tells him it’s the perfect table. And at that moment, Dr. Phil appears — but IRL Dr. Phil, not a figment of Rebecca’s imagination. He tells Rebecca and Josh that they’re a cute couple, and all of her learning is undone — we can see her unraveling all over again. Sigh. Until next week.
The episode closes with an extra treat: Despite all the crying that happened in the hotel room, it appears that Paula and Calvin DO decide to do it. Happy Thanksgiving!