In Episode 9 of Please Like Me, Claire returns to Germany, and Tom is left behind to mope, more heavily than usual. He’s realized, now that she’s gone, that he was subconsciously just waiting for her to get back so they could rekindle their relationship – something that she made clear to him last week that she has no intention of. Tom’s been killing time by messing around with not one but two girls, both of whom have now abandoned him, Tom’s actions forcing them to grow up and move on. Now we’ll just wait and see if Tom himself begins to feel the same momentum. Because right now, all he’s doing is smoking copious amounts of weed.
So, Josh nominates him as a chaperone for his and Arnold’s date, after Anrold’s psychiatrist, during an uncomfortable meeting with Josh, suggests the need for their date to be ‘safe.’ As Josh explains to Arnold, when he and Tom pick him up: “Tom’s sad and you need a safe date.”
As it turns out, it’s hardly a safe date that they end up embarking on, but before this, Josh starts his coffee & sweets business, Alan makes the decision to propose to Mae, and Rose decides to leave the hospital. All in all, it’s a pretty packed episode. BuPt some of the best bits come from the smallest moments: Tom and Josh talking when Tom’s sitting in the spa, depressed, and Arnold ringing Josh to wake him up for his first day of work at 5am. His dad, interrupting their call, rings and repeatedly asks Josh if he’s awake or not (and didn’t that provoke flashbacks to high-school), before all of the family convene at Josh’s new portable coffee cart. But instead of serving customers, mostly Josh just bears witness to his parents fighting, after Alan announces his plans for marriage, and then asks Rose about an old digital camera he accuses her of hoarding.
Part of Please Like Me‘s success comes with the care it takes in crafting Josh’s family. Most sitcoms only bother with parents when episodes are tackling holidays, with the figures appearing as burdens, or inconveniences. And in Please Like Me Rose and Alan are these things, but they’re also more than that, featuring as consistently large figures in Josh’s life, something that’s usually absent in television, but not in the real lives of any twenty-somethings that live in close range to their parents.
So, in “Skinny Latte,” Josh isn’t the only one embarking on change. He begins his business, but his father is making positive change, too, deciding to propose to Mae, something that then spurs Roses’ anger in their argument, and forces her to start to consider her situation, as well. As well as this, Stuart, her married crush at the hospital, checks out, and following the death of Ginger and Arnold’s departure as well, Rose leaving seems like a natural, with everything in her life pointing towards moving out and moving on. Something that she decides to try, taking Hannah with her to stay in her spare room.
So with mum and dad moving on, and his first day of work over, Josh takes Arnold on their date, something that fails miserably when, on the way to the restaurant that Arnold, as a vegetarian, won’t even be able to eat at, he runs over a possum. To humanely put it out of its misery he runs the animal over and over and over again, while Arnold has a panic attack, and Tom confirms that it’s dead, with its remains squashed onto Josh’s wheels.
It’s funny, but it’s certainly not safe, the pair dropping Arnold back home, with the promise left hanging of trying again. But the problem that’s bigger than this, is the fact that Arnold’s parents don’t know that he’s gay, something that Josh himself dealt with years ago, and I’m not sure that he’ll be able to deal with the repercussions of again.
Arnold’s precious, but does Josh have the patience to take the time in their relationship that Arnold needs? I don’t know, and I suspect that we won’t get all the answers in the finale next week, either.
But as always, it’s been fun to spend half an hour in Melbourne with Josh and John.
- Sidenote: was that Jesus on the back of Josh’s phone case? If so, that’s quietly hilarious. And if not… Then my eyes are making up strange visions.
- Tom tries to cheer himself up, and Josh comments on his methods: “Oh I love unlikely animal friends.” Then, sullenly: “I wish John would make an unlikely animal friend.”
- What’s Tom up to? “Just having a spa, trying to figure out why I’m not better at life.”
- Hannah, to the baby: “You watch any Alfred Hitchcock?”
On another sidenote, if you’re looking for some more Josh, he can be seen here addressing an Australian politician over his denial of homosexuality. Obviously, it’s great.