Photo: HBO

I enjoyed the premiere of Crashing, but as is the case with a lot of pilot episodes, it has a crapload of situations to set up, so episode 2 is usually where the ball really starts rolling.

Such is the case with “The Road,” which sees Pete agree to drive Artie Lange to a gig in Albany in exchange for getting a few minutes on stage as the emcee of the evening. T.J. Miller is the co-headliner and by the night’s end, Pete has moved from one couch to another, swapping Lange for Miller.

Along the way, Gina Gershon guest-stars as Susie, a woman at the comedy gig who definitely has a yang for Lange. But part of Pete’s job as Artie’s chauffeur is that he keep Artie from falling off the wagon, so Pete—puppy dog-esque Pete—falls on the Gina Gershon-shaped grenade to hilarious results.

That sequence was definitely my favorite of the entire episode. Pete is trying to keep Susie away from Artie because he smells trouble in the form of booze and/or drugs. So he takes her for a ride in his beat up little sedan and parks at a hotel parking lot, revealing that he can’t contact Artie because he doesn’t have a phone.

Advertisement

A lot of guys would realize way before the pepper spray comes out that this situation seems super creepy and dangerous to the lady, but not Pete, because he’s just so goddamn sincere that it is both adorable and sad to watch.

After setting off the pepper spray in the car, thereby burning both of their eyes, Pete takes Susie home and then, completely without guile, asks if he can use her sink. He has a drink with her and tries to make her feel good about herself, but when it turns out he doesn’t want to hook up with her, she flips out at him and kicks him out of the house.

By the time Pete gets back to the comedy club, Artie has skipped out back to NYC, but TJ Miller is more than happy to give Pete a place to crash in exchange for a ride back to the city.

Advertisement

This episode is full of so many tiny-but-great things, like Pete having CDs for Jars of Clay and Paula Poundstone in his car. The faith aspect of Pete is not overt, which is part of what makes it work so well. As someone who grew up in a fairly religious small Midwestern city, I definitely had friends who loved Jars of Clay and thought they did indeed “rock” in the same vein as actual rock bands—as opposed to Bible Nickelback (NickelBible?).

Or the great throwaway Tom Hanks joke. The actual lines aren’t worthy of inclusion in “stray observations” because on paper they aren’t overly hilarious on paper.

“If Tom Hanks were here, he’d be going down on me by now.”
“TOM HANKS?!”

But the incredulity with which Pete delivers that line is effing priceless. He doesn’t need more than two words to convey the sentiment of “how dare you besmirch the name of national treasure Tom Hanks by acting like he’d do anything untoward.”

Advertisement

Or Pete’s idea of showing Artie a good time in NYC: “We can get a pizza, we can get a milkshake, we can go to a nudity boothwhatever you need!”

A nudity booth! Even his pornographic ideas are like something out of “Our Town.”

Or the fact that T.J. Miller, who is hit or miss with me when he’s playing a character, is quite funny here being an amped up version of himself. Holmes said in an interview last week that most of the comedians are strictly playing themselves, but Miller is an example of someone they exaggerated for comedic effect—he would never have a fit over the order or length of a show, for example.

Advertisement

It all works so well and definitely makes me excited to watch Pete’s adventures with Miller before moving on to his next couch.

Stray observations

  • When Gina Gershon came on screen, her name escaped me for like three seconds and I actually typed, “Emilina Saffron!” Heh.
  • “Jars of Clay — people make fun, but they rock, man, they rock. It’s music with a message.”
    “What’s the message, ‘kill yourself’?… Alright, stop, I’m gonna tuck ‘n roll out of the car if you keep that up.”
  • “This diner feels like ‘2 Broke Girls.’”
    “’2 Broke Girls, 1 Cup.”
  • “I have this joke about ‘do you think vampires are afraid of lower-case Ts?’ Do you think that would work in Albany?”
    “I don’t think that would work anywhere.”
  • “It’s like the devil came in my eyes.”
    “That’s so gross.”
    “He’s the devil, he doesn’t ask where he can come.”

Advertisement