7.6

Garfunkel & Oates Review: "Eggs"

(Episode 1.07)

Comedy Reviews
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<i>Garfunkel & Oates</i> Review: "Eggs"

When Janice (played by It’s Always Sunny’s ever-funny Artemis Pebdani) suggests that Kate is suffering from Peter Pan Syndrome, she’s only pointing out the obvious. But for Kate, it calls for a reevaluation of her entire personality. Riki is doing no better, with a newfound realization that her most fertile years are steadily moving past her. Although “Eggs,” Garfunkel and Oates’ seventh episode, is mostly focused on aging, it’s not all doom and gloom: there are plenty of laughs as we watch Kate and Riki bumble through quarter-life crises from the sidelines.

Age has been addressed several times throughout the series so far, mostly in dealing with Kate’s devastatingly childlike demeanor (remember those dancing apples she plays on loop in her subconscious, or the sketches she drew for a date back in episode three?). However, “Eggs” is the first episode where it becomes a focal catalyst for our protagonists’ actions. It all begins with a baby “sprinkle,” a type of pre-baby shower for Karen (Busy Phillips), the show’s go-to, waspy, suburbanite character. You may remember her from a few episodes back, when Kate and Riki attended her bachelorette party and, then to, had us all wondering why these seemingly disparate groups of women hang out with one another. The curiosity remains.

The episode is a slow-burner, with a dull inciting incident that feels a little too familiar. The recycled location and characters exist, no doubt, to bolster the episode’s featured track “Pregnant Women Are Smug,” which doubly serves as one of Garfunkel and Oates’ most well-known tracks from YouTube. It’s popular for a reason: the blunt commentary on self-righteous moms-to-be is something that is extraordinarily relatable. When imitating commonly regurgitated social scripts with expecting women, the anticipated response (Oh, we know, but we’re not telling!) is subverted into a well-served punchline. It’s hilarious.

Although a brilliantly funny song, “Pregnant Women Are Smug” feels added haphazardly, as though it was always meant to be the basis for the episode, but its context wasn’t completely fleshed out. Because of this, everything comes together rather awkwardly. Moments after dismissing pregnancies, showers, and mothers-to-be, Riki wants to join the very club she’s been damning. She takes her first steps toward motherhood shortly thereafter, bringing Kate along to the doctor’s office, where she inquires about freezing her eggs and fertility treatments (and racks up thousands of dollars worth of hormone injections).

Kate, on the other hand, begins to contemplate Janice’s diagnosis. Fighting her childlike tendencies in hopes of nixing her Peter Pan syndrome, she donates her beloved handmade puppet collection to Timmy, a Make A Wish child she met at Karen’s party. But when she later discover that he hocked her collection for $10,000, her quest for self-discovery is put on the back burner. Instead, the loss of her collections helps her discover the value of sentiment (not to mention, it conjures up a fair amount of rage).

The highlight of the episode, however, happens in its final act. At the apex of Riki’s hormone-fueled craziness, the duo are expected to perform for a high school audience. Without Riki’s sound judgement (and, as Kate explains, her ability to say no), Kate signs the duo up for an improv appearance alongside the school’s drama troupe, and the result is chaos: Kate breaks a cardinal rule of improv by “dying” immediately and abandoning her partner, and Riki, drunk on hormones, ditches the scene all together and makes out with a teenager on stage. The emcee, a once overly-enthusiastic drama nerd, is left to pick up the pieces. However, Riki, in a final, fiery wave of medicine-induced courage, manages to passionately plug teenage pregnancy. It’s twisted, edgy, embarrassing—and an absolute riot.

Although offering a clunky start, “Eggs” eventually finds its feet, aided along the way by its guest stars. Natasha Leggero’s haughty Vivian St. Charles returns for the first time since episode one, appearing alongside Timmy (Isaac Brown), the aforementioned inheritor of Kate’s puppets. Collectively, they make a short cameo scene one of the most memorable of the episode. B.K. Cannon, who plays the ring-leading drama geek at Garfunkel and Oates’ high school gig, is a treat as well. She creates a perfect caricature of the typical theater nerd, particularly when deflecting the very realistic (i.e. dirty) suggestions from the teenage audience for improvised scenes.

The series’ guest stars have come to be a defining quality of the show, but they’re not always used to their full potential. Busy Phillips, for example, is here-and-gone in a matter of moments as Karen. Without memorable lines or interesting character qualities, I’m, perhaps somewhat selfishly, left wanting something more for Phillips (the same thing was true of last week’s Weird Al cameo). All things considered, Garfunkel and Oates still has the occasional kink in their formula—an inevitable outcome of their transition from web presence to IFC fixture, and the need to build a sitcom around songs. Of course, it’s nothing that can’t be overlooked. I’m still a big fan of the series, and remained charmed by the world Kate and Riki have shared with us.

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