Jules (Amanda Peet) returns and Jim (Hank Azaria) shows her the Crescent City. It seems like old times but can it last?
“I have a Google alert for Jim Brockmire – dead.” – Jules
The One That Got Away
With bottle and glass in hand, Jim Brockmire enters the room like a conquering hero. Well, this is his arena. However, something is different about tonight. His former lover Jules is in the audience unbeknownst to him.
As he settles in to riff on suggestions for his podcast, someone throws out, “The One That Got Away.” Jules immediately holds her breath thinking that Brockmire is going to talk about her. At first, he appears thoughtful.
So, as a viewer you are thinking, he might mention her name. Then he says, “Molly Malone. The finest MDMA I ever had.” That ladies and gentlemen is the brilliance of this show, just when you think there is going to be a touching moment, the rug gets pulled out from our collective feet.
Molly is the street term for Ecstasy. So, in true Jim Brockmire fashion, he was waxing nostalgic about a groovy drug experience. Even Jules gives a deep sigh of relief.
He’ll F*** You Tomorrow
After the show, Jules goes to Jim’s dressing room. Obviously, he is pleasantly surprised to see her. The two start up a conversation and he finds out that she is just on a layover before jetting to Colombia.
Brockmire tries to convince her to stick around. After some cajoling, she relents and the two decide to grab a beignet together. However, before this can occur, some random groupie (Valerie Jane Parker) interrupts the two by asking if she and Jim are going to “f***?”
Much to Brockmire’s delight, Jules grabs him and they start heading for the door. Over her shoulder, she tells rando chick, that Jim will “f*** her tomorrow.”
Epic Pub Crawl
We knew these two wouldn’t go for a beignet. Instead, they end up chatting outside a New Orleans graveyard about the state of their non-relationship. It would seem like Jules has forgiven Brockmire and that she doesn’t hate him.
To which Jim retorts wittily, “This is a rollercoaster.” Of course, there is sexual tension and unspoken words in the air between them. To offset this, Brockmire suggests that they grab a drink.
Well, this is Jim and Jules who are like the comedic version of Days of Wine and Roses. One drink turns into several and the next thing you know, they are dancing in the streets of New Orleans while guzzling Curacao out of saxophone shaped glasses. As Jim says, “You can taste the jazz.”
In their drunken revelry, Jules twists her ankle and takes a dive. Brockmire in his haste to pick her up spills his entire drink all over her clothing.
So, Jim ends up piggybacking Jules all the way to his hotel room where he routinely brings his “strange.” And wonder of wonders, because everyone in the audience knew this was going to happen, they sleep together.
Oddly enough, this pair did not wake up wallowing in regrets. Jules almost slips and admits she loves Jim but catches herself and says the city. He is cautious with her as well. Finally, she tells him that they share a profound connection and she doesn’t want to lose him.
Even Brockmire has to come to terms with the fact that she is right and this feeling is inescapable. But per his style, he lightens the mood by telling her that his love life is like a “TGI Fridays. It’s all about turning those tables.”
Both of them decide to finally grab those beignets but Jules has to pick out an outfit from Jim’s box of ladies’ undergarments that have been left behind. While she is in the bathroom, she decides to cancel her flight.
Meanwhile, Jim has received a call from Whitney in Atlanta telling him that despite the fact Raj beat him for the job, it was vetoed and they decided to go with him. Right at that moment, Jules enters to tell Jim that her flight was cancelled.
He tells her that he is going to Atlanta. In shock and rather annoyed, Jules explains that she changed her flight just for him. She gets ready to go but Jim stops her by saying Atlanta can wait and they can go grab that beignet.
Is It Really Over?
While they are waiting in a cafe for the beignets and discussing the joys of real coffee, Jules confesses that she fell in love with New Orleans and especially liked being with Jim again. Thrilled to hear it, Brockmire tries to convince her to come to Atlanta.
Already weary of this game that she has played with him in the past, Jules tells Jim that she doesn’t want to follow him all over the country. Besides, she has a life in Morristown. Thinking for a moment, Brockmire suggests that they meet up once a month on road trips.
That way they can recreate the marvelous night in New Orleans in a different city. They will just cut out the mundane parts of the relationship like who is going to do the laundry. Or as Jim aptly puts it, “all the highs and no lows.”
Here is the thing, Jules wants the mundane. In her words, she wants someone to share the bills and go to the grocery store with her. Sadly, she realizes that once again, Brockmire is choosing his career over her.
He tries working his charm on Jules to no avail. Before he can make one last effort, she is in an Uber and is whisked away. Watching her drive off, he finally gets those beignets, alone.
The Heart of the Matter
This show keeps surprising me week after week. On the surface, it is a biting, funny comedy that pulls zero punches but dig deep and there is heart. Quite a bit of it actually when you think about it.
Once again, Hank Azaria delivers a spot-on monologue in Vaughns Bar. Upset by the realization that he and Jules may be over for good, he talks about how New Orleans is about to go under, the sea level is rising and yet no one is doing anything about it.
It is pretty obvious that he is talking about his situation. This is where it gets raw and painful. For as sarcastic as Brockmire is and for how brash he can be underneath he is just as vulnerable as the next guy, maybe more so. He just hides it well.
Although he loves Jules in his own way, he just can’t or won’t allow himself to get hurt again. So, he hides behind the booze, the laughter and the crazy antics. That way he can push people away if they get too close.
The problem is Jules gets close and when she does he has to f*** it up. Just when you feel like you might be having an emotional response to his soliloquy, the moment is interrupted. A drunken hot mess of a woman interjects and starts knocking him for his speech about the water levels.
The two go back and forth about consequences and do they really matter. She stands up and saunters over to Jim. It looks like they might be coming on to one another when in a fraction of a second, she picks up a knife from the bar and stabs the drunken man sitting next to Brockmire.
Aghast at what just happened, Jim has her business card thrust upon him. As an audience member you are as shocked as he is about the sudden turn of events. You don’t want to laugh but when Jim goes over to the drunk guy and asks, “are you alright?”
Don’t fight it. It’s that grand gesture of absurdity that sets this show apart from the cookie cutter sitcoms.
Catch Brockmire every Wednesday on IFC at 10 p.m.
Susan Leighton can be found on Twitter and Facebook @SusanontheLedge as well as Instagram @convirgin. She is also featured on Friday Night Tights, the ultimate pop culture wrap up show at Nerdrotic Podcast every Friday night at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT. You can catch her writing on horror and other things that go bump in the night at 1428 Elm.