“Friend” S3 / E7
- B+ Community Grade
“Friend” is crazy ambitious. Watching the episode, I was constantly amazed how little time had passed, given how much story Jon Glaser managed to pack into 20-some minutes. Even reciting everything that happens is going to take a bit of time. But tone is fluid on Delocated, so “Friend” doesn’t feel crowded or inappropriately sentimental. Like most things on Delocated, the episode is impressive both in and of itself and simply for what Glaser tried to do with it.
The briefest plot synopsis I can do: Jon comes to the sudden realization that he has no friends. Sure, there’s The Glaze, TB, and David, but those aren’t guys he can call in the middle of the night and say, “Hey brah, let’s get some falaf sandies and score some tush.” (This is also more of the running gag that David means very little to Jon.) So he sets out to find a new friend the only way he knows how (after trying journalface.net): by offering a million dollars to the person who wins a contest started by the network. This awesome breakdancing guy wins, but asks immediately about the money, which puts Jon off. He announces that if anyone is there just for the money, they should leave immediately. Everyone leaves. Except for Jay, who barely counts.
Meanwhile, while at the park, he meets Charlie, an old man with no one to email with and a fairly active libido for someone his age. Jon has met his new best friend, and the two hit the town via a montage. But then, as if there couldn’t be any more happening in the episode, Jon gets a message from his high-school prom date on journalface.net, and she wants to see him ASAP. They meet, and Jon learns that, in fact, he got her pregnant all those years ago, and that girl gave birth to another girl, which makes Jon a grandfather. And the best part is that they both want to come to New York and hang out with Jon. He returns to his car pumped, and checks his voicemail to see Charlie called. “Give ’em a poke for ol’ Charlie,” it says before a groaning sound can be heard—meaning Charlie dies. And as it turns out, he changes his will to say Jon is his sole heir, and therefore recipient of $3 million dollars. (This all happens over the course of the episode’s first half.)
So Jon’s ex and his granddaughter come to New York. He whisks them around in a limo, takes them to Coney Island, buys them real New York-style pizza, and makes special T-shirts for he and his granddaughter to wear. TB interferes the whole time, and at first Jon is annoyed that TB is stepping on his grandpa turf, especially considering Jon is doing it all to honor the memory of Charlie—miniature cane and all. But TB was doing research, and Jon is actually the subject of a long con. His ex escapes with a cool million dollars, and Jon hops in the empty limo for a long, pensive drive.
Like in “Warm-Up,” the episode ends on a somber note, a quiet moment of self-reflection. It suggests that season three of Delocated is the one where Jon takes a good, hard look at himself and decides to make some major changes for the coming seasons. Perhaps he’ll realize he can’t just float through life any more (though the fact that he keeps inheriting money out of nowhere suggests otherwise), or that it’s not just friendship he’s missing, but love in general, given how incapable he is of dishing it back out. I honestly wouldn’t be too surprised if Delocated went on a run of semi-serious episodes, only to pay off with an even more ridiculous comedic conceit.
But lest you worry the show would ever get too serious, Glaser always has a few tricks up his sleeve. In “Friend,” he decides to play another character—a friend of Yvgeny’s named Mishka, who wears a mask himself and humps sandwiches, hoping to embarrass Jon from afar. Mishka irons down his hair and looks like a pedophile version of Jon Glaser; plus he’s fodder for plenty of meta-jokes about how the people in the sandwich-humping photos aren’t Jon at all. Sergei sees the potential in this lookalike, and recruits the naïve Mishka to kill one of the members of the Wang Cho gang. That way, they’ll want Jon dead, and Jon will be one step closer to total madness—also death I suppose. Even in this dark time, we still get to see Mishka bounce around with a huge grin on his face, ridiculous hair shimmering in the sun. So there’s always a bit of levity.