Photo: HBO

“The Yard Sale” is easily my favorite of the first four episodes of Crashing. While the first two episodes did a nice job of setting up the next chapter in Pete’s life and provided some great laughs, episode 3 drills down on why exactly his marriage failed and makes his wife a little more three-dimensional.

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It’s a shame the episode is basically saying goodbye to Jess and Leif, because they do provide a much needed through-line for the show. Couch-hopping from comedian to comedian is a fun framing device that allows Crashing to bring in all manner of guest stars for an episode or two, but the on-going wife storyline gives Pete an anchor and now that’s gone.

But for the time being, “The Yard Sale” is a great example of looking at both sides to a break-up. No, Jess is not in the right here because having an affair is not OK. But her perspective is still one of loneliness and sadness.

Jess’ line of, “I’d be able to support you more if I were really in love with you … when you’re really in love with somebody, you’d do anything for them” is such a gut-punch. But it makes Jess more sympathetic than she’s ever been. How lonely must it have been to realize you’ve either fallen out of love with your partner or were never in love with them to begin with and now you’re stuck in a marriage and trying to support your partner’s seemingly impossible dream on a teacher’s salary?

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She should have handled the situation better—though the show would not have been nearly as funny without Leif—but it takes two people for a relationship to end and maybe Pete could also have been a better, more attentive partner.

It’s just some really great work on the part of the whole cast, including T.J. Miller, who provides some solid comic relief but also gives Pete the necessary kick in the pants of basically telling him “you’re better off, man.”

Because both Pete and Jess deserve a real partnership—everyone does—and they clearly didn’t have that with each other.

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It also feels like with this ending to Act I of the season, Pete has finally been fully ejected from his former life, so it’s exciting to see where he’ll land next.

Stray observations

  • Pete’s good guy innocence continues to be so great, like when he talks about not wanting a beer “because it’s morning time.” Awww, Pete.
  • “That’s not CB2, that’s Crate & Barrel. It’s CB1. It came assembled!”
  • “Jesus, that is so sad — the idea, the picture of you loading the belongings that your cheating wife didn’t sell into your car. That is some Tennessee Williams shit, buddy. I gotta witness that.”
    I love it when a line surprises you and now I really want to talk about the works of Tennessee Williams with T.J. Miller.
  • “Go tune a mandolin, fuckin’ dickshit.”
    “It’s OK. Let it out, Pete. It’s catharsis, let it out.”
    “Don’t tell me to let it out while I’m being mean to you.”
  • I really hope the show introduces at least one or two new characters who stay in Pete’s life regularly. Holmes is great, but carrying the show on your own with a revolving door of guest stars is tough and is a formula that could grow old quickly.

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