By David Kramer
After a week hiatus, “Mulaney” seems to be figuring out its identity and developing something of a routine. For a sitcom, that can be a good thing. This week’s episode features a mix of some typical sitcom tropes as well as some unique parts, and is fairly enjoyable.
Let’s start with the typical: this is the first week we see potential romance between Mulaney and Jane. This plot line features Mulaney’s belief that Jane is jealous of his girlfriends, a claim to which she objects, beginning a small fight. We discover that Kristen (Megan Heyn), Mulaney’s girlfriend, is a “haha ho,” or someone who is attracted to comedians.
We also get to explore a little further into the bizarre world of Oscar, Mulaney’s neighbor. He and his friends Tutti and Vaughn (the legendary Penny Marshall and Lorraine Bracco, respectively) lead Mulaney on a quest to make Jane and Kristen like each other by way of mutual hatred of Andre’s blues band. While it doesn’t work, Andre’s invitation to his concert does provide a great line: “Isn’t Thursday night the night we’re supposed to not go to a white guy blues show?”
After Jane and Mulaney make up, she admits that he is her “backup plan.” I hope this puts the romantic connection to rest, to be honest, unless it results in something unique to the sitcom romance world.
Also in this episode, Lou Cannon reveals to Mulaney his desire to be in control of his last words (he wants them to be “I did it for the laughs”) and his fear of being found dead on the toilet (that’s all they remember Elvis for). He wants to control when and where his body is found: “Josef Stalin was dead for two weeks before anyone in Russia knew. Now there’s an entertainer.”
The highlight of the episode for me might be Motif never having heard of “Friends.” An absurd premise and a nearly impossible feat for someone his age in this country, and something Mulaney describes as a “science fiction,” it provides some great and ridiculous moments (“Why are they in a fountain….oh they have umbrellas”).
-Perhaps the most interesting throwaway line from this episode was Kristen telling Mulaney, “I defend you when people say you’re a ‘Seinfeld’ ripoff.” It’s not a great leap to say that this isn’t just about the character, but about the show as a whole. I enjoyed the show defending itself during the show.
-It’s hard not to think of “Arrested Development” when Mulaney was cradling Martin Short in his arms—Uncle Jack anyone?