Before I get started on how I feel about this episode, it’s important to point out former AV Club contributor Caroline Framke’s piece on Vox about why casting Andy Dick as himself is problematic for Judd Apatow. He was such an anti-Cosby crusader but has no problem helming a show where Dick references getting “gropey” the more he drinks, considering he’s gotten “gropey” in several situations that have landed him in court and the subject of civil suits. I read that piece after I saw and thought about “Andy,” but she brings up salient points that even have parallels to the episode: Dicks blames all of his problems on booze and drugs, but that’s not an excuse for multiple cases of sexual assault. One of the harder parts of writing this review is reconciling the real and the fictional. Yet, we soldier on.
But Dick’s failures — the real life ones — are the reasons Mickey starts to be legitimately honest with herself about the kind of life she doesn’t want to lead. She knows she has “impulse issues” but she’s spent the better part of this episode, and the previous five, running away from dealing with them. Dr. Greg may have his own motives when it comes to answering Mickey’s fake call in the way that the did, but he actually gives her some good advice: Never face up to demons, never learn about yourself, never have a successful relationship. And even then, she cracks and runs away. She doesn’t see Dr. Gregg giving her good advice, she’s see him being vindictive after their previous sexual dalliance, but considering the specificity of his comments and his facial expressions as he says them to her, he’s probably doing a bit of both. The scene where Dr. Greg’s face is reflected in the glass as the camera zooms closer to Mickey’s makes him seem like some sort of harbinger of doom that will always follow her around, telling her that she should probably focus on getting sober before she tries to date Gus in earnest. But Dr. Greg isn’t the deus ex machina. Andy Dick is.
Watching Gillian Jacobs on Community, I always had a sense that she could do more. She was great as Britta, but there was something limiting about the role that is becoming abundantly clear the more Mickey comes clean to herself about her addiction. At first, her time with Andy is fun: They take shots, they get burritos. But they’re also tormenting the guys who run the truck, with no thought for them at all. The same could be said for their sassafras-induced subway right where they have no regard for the other passengers, just themselves. They’re in it for the high. But when the crash happens and they are stuck on a subway to the Valley, Mickey starts to see herself in Andy, who ascribes every single one of his failures to his inability to say sober. Keeping in mind Dick’s aforementioned criminal acts, it was an intense moment of meta-vulnerability, and one that certainly kicks Mickey’s ass. Whether she will continue in that mindset or slip back into old patterns has yet to be determined.
Throughout, both Mickey and Gus have these genuine moments of sweetness about the possibility of this date. Mickey’s sly smile after she gets off the phone with Gus dissipates when it hits her she has more issues to deal with about an impending relationship than what to wear. But Gus is all pre-date adrenaline and his car ride home dance kick off his excitement. His portion of that story was not nearly as interesting as Mickey’s. It proved that, once again, he was really into Mickey and that beautiful women — this time it was Briga Heelan’s Heidi — that he eventually rebuffs in Mickey’s favor are drawn to him. But there was this nice arc that his storyline followed that subtly showed him shedding all of the excitement that began his day. At first, he’s wearing no glasses, he’s got his students (where did those kids come from?) under control and he’s gotten Wyatt (episode writer Dave King) to read his script. But as he’s beaten down the events of the day — an extended schedule, mediocre notes from Wyatt, admonishment from the costume designer — his mood and demeanor changes. He’s not cool and calm anymore, his hands shake as he texts, he’s convinced Mickey no longer wants to be with him. The glasses go back on. And he’s just normal Gus once more.