Hello all, and welcome to a recap of this week’s episode of Friends With Better Lives. I always like to give new shows a grace period of about three episodes, so this is an important milestone for me in terms of whether I will keep watching. Before I sat down to view the episode I decided that it needed to make me laugh – like really laugh, out loud – but I didn’t want it to creep over into the 2 ½ Men and 2 Broke Girls level of vulgar humor. How I Met Your Mother certainly pushed the envelope in terms of dirty subject matter, but they eased into it a little better than some other CBS shows. Anyway, I’m still waiting to see/decide if this show is worth the watch. Onward!
We open with Will and a blonde girl, flirting over wine. He mentions that he is divorced but that does not dissuade her. It might even encourage her, because we hear Will say “And that’s when it happened…” Then we cut to the whole group in the living room. Apparently what happened is that the blonde girl touched Will’s balls! A bit forward for a first date, but it could have been misinterpreted, right? The girls attempt to clarify:
Kate: Wait, so this Annika girl just reached out and grabbed your nuts?
Will: I wouldn’t say grabbed…it was more like a graze, or a nudge.
Andi: Well was it a graze or a nudge?
Jules: Because there is a very big difference.
Kate: A nudge implies intent, whereas a graze – purely accidental.
Will: It’s tough to tell down there. Every touch feels like something special!
Bobby laments that wouldn’t mind a graze or a nudge – he would just be happy if someone looked at it. I guess the super horny pregnancy phase really is over for Andi. I generally dislike it when sitcoms do the horny husband/prude wife setup, but I will concede that it’s a real life pairing for many people. So even though it seems a little tired, I’m sure there are lots of couples that can relate. Anyway, Andi stares pointedly at Bobby’s crotch and then sarcastically asks, “Happy now”?
Next we’re in the kitchen, and Bobby is declaring himself officially screwed. Will has a very serious injury – tennis elbow – that prevents him from competing in their annual OBGYN tennis tournament. This is unfortunate because it’s a doubles event and Bobby is left without a partner. Bobby is not impressed by Will’s pain but Will defends himself, saying it’s a real thing resulting from him overexerting his elbow. Andi replies, “Yeah, by overexerting my female fitness magazine”, and poor Kate flings the magazine she was reading across the room. I love this girl’s face; it’s very expressive and she makes me laugh.
Jules suggests that Lowell be his partner, but Lowell protests that he isn’t a gynecologist – just a vagina enthusiast. No worries, though, because only person is required to be in the lady parts business for this event. Problem solved! Will receives a classy text from Annika, thanking him for drinks. So for a second we think that perhaps it was a graze, and not a nudge. But her next text is a sext with a whole lot of detail, and it becomes clear that her nut-nudge was intentional.
The whole group checks out Annika’s vagina picture. Kate comments on how it’s a close up picture, fully shaved, leaving nothing to the imagination. Lowell observes that it looks like it is winking at him. I observe that this is a little crude for my taste. I guess it isn’t crude so much as very explicit, in terms of language. It’s not a dealbreaker but it is a type of humor I will either adjust to or get tired of fast. We shall see.
Everyone agrees that if Will wants this girl, he needs to respond in kind. Yep, he needs to send a penis pic. Kate scoffs, because Will is so not the type of guy to do that. But Will has been off the market for decades! Who knows what kind of guy he is or isn’t? Kate knows exactly who he is:
You’re the guy who asks a girl out for a root beer float and then makes an oopsie in his boxers because he can’t get her girdle off fast enough.
Will swears that he has what it takes to be cool, though, so he heads off to photograph his privates. Go forth Will! Conquer your fears and fire off that sexy selfie! I’m not particularly attracted to James Van Der Beek (I was always a Pacey girl myself – you know what I mean) but I would like a gander at that picture. I’m just saying!
The next scene shows us Andi and Jules having lunch. Kate walks by outside the restaurant and sees her two best friends sitting together. She’s excited to surprise them and she calls Andi’s phone. But Andi doesn’t answer. Andi and Jules both look at the phone and wave it off in a gesture that suggests talking to Kate is not a good idea right now. Kate’s face is devastated, but still funny. I like that about her. I may have a girl crush on actress Zoe Lister-Jones, in case you haven’t noticed.
It’s really a sad moment, though. Groups of three tend to be difficult, because people naturally pair off. It doesn’t have to be a romantic thing, but sometimes with three friends the third ends up as, well, the third wheel. I have totally been on both sides of it. It sucks if you’re the one that is being left out, but it’s also awkward when two out of three people have a different type of connection than the third. That being said, I feel bad for Kate right now because her friends are being mean. That will have to wait, because now we’re jumping over to the “Southern California Obstetrics Open Doubles Tournament”.
Bobby and Lowell are on the court, ready to play some tennis. Lowell warns Bobby that when he plays he can get “a little excitable”. Bobby says to just have fun, but it’s already clear that this could lead to disaster. Lowell serves the ball so hard that it nearly takes out his opponent on the other side of the net. Then Lowell unleashes his alter ego – this guy has some serious, Hulk-like rage inside of him:
Ace! In your face! Do you like my balls, old man? Because you’re gonna be choking on them all day – hey, thanks for the invite Bobby – I’m going to burn your houses down and EAT YOUR CHILDREN!
It’s a little disturbing how he can switch from crazy mode into casual conversation with Bobby and then back again without blinking an eye. But I am enjoying this new side of Lowell. The pure of heart vegan thing wasn’t all that intriguing to me, but this I can get into.
Now we’re back at the house, and Bobby is explaining to Andi and Jules that it was a tournament for men who deliver babies – and one who threatens to eat them. Then Kate shows up, and the other two girls try to act oh-so-casual. Kate asks what they did for lunch, and Andi pulls off a decent lie about taking her son to get his shots. All Jules can offer in support is that she already has all her shots. But it doesn’t matter, because the jig is already up. Kate calls them on it and questions why they would do that to her. They confess that they were working on wedding plans (for Jules and Lowell) and they didn’t think it was her thing.
Jules: We just didn’t think you liked talking about wedding stuff.
Kate: Why? Because I’m single? Because you pity me and think I’m going to die alone?
Jules: Not for a very long time…
Kate: Look, a lot of little girls dream about their wedding. I dreamt of becoming a successful businesswoman. And I have. Success has asked me to marry him and I said yes, and now we’re raising a beautiful 401k together. So you don’t have to worry about me.
Is Kate telling the truth here? She seems to mean it, but we also have learned so far that she’s sarcastic and hides her vulnerability. Chances are that she really is into weddings, which means she was extra hurt by being excluded. That’s unfortunate. The girls buy her tough talk, though, and all is well when they invite her to help with the plans.
Will breezes in after a successful mission – his crotch shot has been sent. But his description raises some eyebrows:
Will: I think I struck the perfect balance, too. Cool, casual, and relaxed.
Andi: Wait, how relaxed were you?
Will: Fully relaxed.
All three girls wince, and Bobby just laughs. Will explains that he didn’t want to seem over-eager, and Andi questions if he wanted to look impotent.
Will: Why didn’t you say something?!
Kate: We didn’t think we’d have to tell a grown man not to photograph his flaccid penis!
That is such a Dawson thing to do. What a dork. So Will runs off to, ahem, correct his error, and we cut to commercial.
The next scene is the three ladies at a restaurant. Kate is grilling Andi and Jules on the wedding plans, but all those two have accomplished is deciding to have not-ugly bridesmaid’s dresses. Andi helpfully points out that they also enjoyed eating lots of focaccia bread during their lunch dates, and there’s no focaccia to be found now. She’s pregnant, so she’s allowed to demand bread whenever she wants. I don’t make the rules guys.
Kate is freakishly knowledgeable about every minute detail of the wedding planning process, and she takes over. When they question why she is so informed on the subject, she replies that she’s good at everything. She did mention several things about permits and fees and whatnot, so it’s plausible that a businesswoman would know such things. There’s no time to wonder, because we’re back to the tennis court.
Bobby and Lowell are crushing it! They have a budding bromance and decide to call themselves “The Racketeers”. They win another game, and are very polite when conversing with the losers:
Good game, boys. Hey, I really want to apologize for what I said before. I’m sure your mum is lovely and would never consent to that.
Bobby has made it to the tournament finals, thanks in large part to Lowell’s extreme tennis skills. Their final opponents are two doctors that head up the obstetrics board at the hospital. They’ve won “The Golden Vulva” award for the past twelve years, and they intend to keep it. They threaten Bobby with the loss of his locker and parking spot at the hospital, and they say he will be relegated to the crappy operating room with bad lighting if he beatas them.
If I recall correctly, Bobby and Will have a private practice together. But many of their patients probably opt to deliver at the hospital, and certain medical procedures might need to be done there as well. So it’s a big deal to potentially lose hospital privileges like a well equipped OR, or even a parking space. These guys are jerks for blackmailing their way into a twelve year winning streak.
Now it looks like we’re at another wedding planning session, and this one is set at Namaste – Lowell’s vegan restaurant. I hope they have tofucaccia bread for Andi! Kate reviews a detailed list of tasks accomplished, and Jules marvels at what a productive day it’s been. Things are humming along nicely today. Then Will shows up with the blonde – Annika – by his side. It’s always fun when a guy introduces his new girl to his girl friends; let’s see how this turns out.
Everyone is polite, but Jules and Kate direct their stares to Annika’s pelvic region for way too long. We usually think of guys needing to be reminded to look up at a woman’s face, but in this situation it’s other woman that are focused on the naughty bits. Annika leaves for the restroom, and the Kate has to comment:
You know, it’s weird, I don’t know her last name and yet I’ve seen her vagina.
They’ve said the word “vagina” quite a few times tonight. It may be going overboard, but our society tends to treat “vagina” as a dirty word and that needs to change. There’s nothing inherently dirty or offensive about the word, so normalizing its use in the media is likely a good thing. With that being said, it will alienate some viewers. My mom commented that she feels like she’s too old for this show, in part because of that type of humor. She’s out of the target demographic, of course, but she hasn’t said that about many other sitcoms that I watch.
Anyway, back to the story at hand. Andi and Will discuss the apparent success of his follow up picture:
Andi: So I take it she liked the second photo?
Will: Oh yeah. Well, once she saw the before she was that much more impressed with the after. It told a story.
Will makes a flourish gesture with his hand to indicate this story, and his girl friends are suitably impressed. Kate even concedes defeat and lets Will take a picture of her pouting. He says he’s going to use it for his Christmas cards this year. Man, these two should just get a room. But not for at least another season or two, so we don’t rush things. For now Will is with Annika, and she’s ready to get with him. She wants to skip dinner and have sex at her place instead. Will is understandably on board with this plan.
Now we’re back to the tennis match, and it seems like the tides have turned against The Racketeers. Dr. Gunderman and Dr. Adleman are dominating the game as Lowell plays bad on purpose. The doctors have some weird, vaginal related trash talk, but I guess that’s on par for their particular field. It makes my review more interesting; I’m quite sure I’ve never typed “vagina” so many times in one episode recap before.
We jump over to Will and Annika, making out in her apartment. It’s rapidly becoming evident that Will is not on the same level as this girl. She’s into nipple clamps and mixing sedatives and tying men up with Christmas lights. Is this episode set in the holiday season and I just didn’t realize? No matter. We skip back over to Namaste now to join the women for a while longer.
Kate is in full head honcho mode, denying and approving requests made by the bride. She seems to have forgotten that she isn’t in charge of everything. Or even anything. Jules and Andi are over it. They point out that everything always has to be her way. When Kate protests, Andi is rather vehement about how it was Kate’s decision to omit focaccia from the lunch. I knew that would piss her off! Jules says maybe they don’t need Kate’s help, and Kate storms off in a huff.
Andi and Jules feel bad, but they know Kate will be fine. She doesn’t care about this wedding stuff, right? That’s right when they notice that the wedding magazine Kate was reading has her name and address on the cover. If Kate has a subscription to a bridal magazine then Kate cares about weddings. The other two feel bad, like they have crushed a little girl’s dreams…but pregnant Andi still wants her focaccia.
The next scene is pretty festive – it’s Will, all strung up in Christmas lights. The strands are used to tie his wrists and ankles to the bed posts, but the real winner is his Christmas light codpiece. It’s more like a pair of underwear, fashioned out of twinkly light strands, but I enjoy the visual of it as a codpiece. I can’t help but remember the whipped cream bikini scene from Van Der Beek’s cinematic masterpiece Varsity Blues!
Will is trying to roll with the predicament, but he’s out of his league. (I wanted to twist that cliché into another Varsity Blues reference but I got lazy, sorry) Annika never even makes it to the bed, because Will let out her indoor cat when he opened the window earlier. Anyone with indoor cats knows that you have to have screens on your windows, duh. So she throws a trench coat on over her matching bra and panties set and goes out searching for her escaped cat. Will is left alone, restrained and blinking bright rainbow hues.
There’s another commercial break and then we’re back to the tennis game. Lowell and Bobby are fine with the weird gynecological insults, but the old doctors take things too far. They trash talk Olivia Newton John and make fun of Lowell for not having gone to college. Shit just got real! Bobby decides beating these douches is totally worth it, and he tells Lowell to unleash the beast. It is ON now. Suddenly we are in a music video from the 90s, and the boys have won. Champagne is spraying and rap music is playing, what a time to be alive. They’ve won the coveted Golden Vulva!
Poor Will is still all tied up with nowhere to go, but luckily his toes can reach his phone. He tries to tell Siri to call Bobby, but his phone thinks he wants to call Mommy. This scene could have gone really gross but instead they played it pretty calm. That’s good, because a cheesy, awkward scene involving parents and sex games during the third episode would have sunk this show. What actually happens isn’t that much better, unfortunately. The cat returns through the open window and makes a beeline for Will’s bright light mankini! I could have done without that but I bet some people thought it was hilarious.
The next scene ends up being really sweet. Andi and Jules surprise Kate with an “early wedding”, just like she always dreamed off. It has all of the elements that she was previously determined to force into Jules’ wedding. Kate tries to play it off like she doesn’t care about any of that stuff, but that magazine subscription was the nail in the coffin. Her secret is out.
Kate: Okay, fine. I’ll share. I do want what you guys have, okay? Can I jump off this roof now?
Andi: Kate, you’re going to have a wedding, and it’s going to be beautiful.
Kate: Yeah but I don’t even have…I don’t know if I’ll ever…
Jules: You will. So don’t give up on it, because we haven’t.
Kate is really moved by the sweet gesture, but her joy is tempered some when she finds out that they used her credit card to pay for the whole thing. As a television viewer I found this scene to be really gratifying. I’ve spent nine years commiserating with Ted Mosby on How I Met Your Mother as searched for his The One. I could relate to him, of course, but it’s nice to see the female perspective. I hope the reception to this scene is as positive as people were to Ted expressing the same things.
The last scene of tonight’s episode shows Will, still in bed. Still tied up. Still blinking. Now it’s nighttime, so the lights are really shining bright. The two couples arrive to gawk – and rescue him – but Kate isn’t with them. Will appreciates that, although he does get annoyed when they threaten to inspect the lights until they find the burnt out bulb. Will thanks them for not bringing Kate along to witness his humiliation, but he spoke too soon. Kate arrives and Will tells her to bring it on with as many shots as she’s got.
Kate takes a deep breath and delivers six rapid fire holiday puns:
Looks like Christmas came early this year! Oh come all ye faithful! Did you go down her chimney? Did she go up your chimney?! Where’d your ho ho ho go? Look, it’s Rudolph the blue balled reindeer!
Then she adds insult to injury and makes the whole group pose around Will for her Christmas card photo. Like I said, these two need to get a room. Next week’s previews indicate that Kate sleeps with a male prostitute by accident. That sounds worth checking out, and tonight’s laughs sealed the deal for me. I will be giving this show at least two more episodes, how about you?