When I first started watching Delocated about a month ago—a marathon session to catch up for a Jon Glaser interview—I was struck by how it was such a compelling mix of sketch-comedy and sitcom tropes. Jon lives in a heightened world not just because he’s a guy who wears a mask who’s in the witness protection program who the Russian mob is trying to kill. That’s just the beginning. It’s also heightened because the smallest problems blow up into the biggest fights and grandest schemes, and for really no apparent reason. One day Jon decides to do his own prank show, and “Jon He Does It” exists within the world for one episode before it’s promptly disbanded. That’s the sketch part of Delocated; there’s still a narrative throughline, which includes characters we grow to love and are sad to see go.
The beginning of the third season of Delocated makes it clear that the blend is going to continue. “Lipples” includes a new title sequence where Jon is driving a raging ski boat through the Hudson River with a hot woman next to him—just as showy and full of bravado as the character has always been. Then we get a “Previously on… ” segment where we’re reminded (or learn) of the dismissals of Mighty Joe John The Black Blonde, Rob, and Susan. Within the span of two minutes, the kaleidoscopic world of Delocated is completely re-established, and we’re sitting in the lawyer’s office with a sad Jon, his deadpan son David, and new security expert TB, played by Ali Farahnakian. A few minutes after that, Jon is up in Susan’s old bedroom humping one of her dresses. Not much has changed.
Each season has been a bit of a reset, and this one’s no different. Now that Sergei has been fairly successful, Yvgeny is focusing almost exclusively on his stand-up career and has found love in the form of Trish (Amy Schumer), an intern at the branding company he’s using. The network has replaced Mighty Joe John with another Susan, played by Janeane Garofalo, who is determined to keep the show rolling despite any setbacks that may have occurred. Meanwhile, Jon is grieving for Susan while he soaks up her sweet loft, working with a life coach to get things back on track. He’s also started working with the Wang Cho gang for additional protection, and they’re eager to play him for all the money he’s worth. As is the life coach.
The essence of Jon is that he has a huge head. He thinks he’s the coolest most in-demand guy around, but is probably being laughed at behind his back when the cameras aren’t running. When that life coach tells Jon that he has to be both the mother and the father to David, there’s probably a part of that character that believes this will truly be helpful. I’d like to also think there’s a part that thinks to himself, “This guy’s really going to go through with it?” And of course Jon isn’t able to separate himself from a good idea or a bad idea when he’s in the zone (not the bone zone), because of course everyone’s looking out for his best interest. So literally right after the coach suggests that he be the mother of the house, Jon comes down the stairs in a dress and serves David breakfast, then whines about how David’s at that age where he won’t even kiss his mother goodbye.
We all expected this moment to happen, knowing Jon the way we do at this point, but it’s satisfying nonetheless to see just how far Jon is going to take it. In “Lipples,” that means a montage of girly things, set to a song about mom’s day out, during which Jon convincingly plays a needy drunk widow. It also involves a blurred-out vagina tattoo on Jon’s leg next to his penis, and the phrase that literally would never be said on any other show in existence, “Dead ex wife’s beav.” It also means we’re going to get an awesome closing credits tribute to Susan, set to yet another silly song. Glaser is great at not so much bucking our expectations, but taking our expectations to their logical conclusion, then a bunch of steps further.
Because “Lipples” had to deal with some narrative stuff, there’s not enough time to play around with some of the weirder dynamics that are only teased. When TB walks in on Jon with the dress, he offers his own hand as a surrogate for Susan’s, claiming it’s not a sexual thing, but a warrior thing. Very little of his personality slips out, but the way the show fleshed out Mike and Rob’s characters—turning them into the needy and spiteful ones, respectively—leaves me excited to see where TB is going. (Perhaps the pervy one?) There are also a bunch of wonderful reaction shots from David, especially when Jon is talking to the life coach and saying ridiculous things. There’s a lot that can be developed now that Jon is a single dad and spending a ton more time with his son. But really, no matter what they decide I’m sure I’ll go along for the ride. Because sure, this show’s got some sitcom-y elements that keep me tuning in, but its sketch-like side is where a lot of fun is being had.
- Another great thing Delocated included in its intro: Extended burrito gag that ends with a paper cutout of a middle finger as a final “Fuck you” from Susan to Jon.
- I’d definitely watch a show called Attitude Stool. The existence of said show now makes me wonder what real network would closest resemble the fake one in Delocated. Some cheap Bravo knock-off?