All right. Week five of watching painfully awkward singles attempt to make painfully awkward connections with awkwardly large cameras pointed at their heads. Let’s jump right in!
The first client is Sarah, a 24-year-old straight female. According to Renee, Sarah is fond of the “Oops, I’m too lazy to go back to Jersey, so I might as well stay at someone’s house” approach to dating. “Sometimes I make myself a little ‘too accessible’ if you will,” quips Sarah in her intro tape. I am reminded of a Margaret Cho skit where she relays her signature pickup line: “I’ve got a good opening line for when I’m at bars. I’ll smile at a guy, and if he smiles back and I’m feeling comfortable I’ll go up to him and say ‘Stick it in‘!” Yeah, probably not the best way to find your soul mate. Plus, what if one day you wake up in Brooklyn, the guy is hideous and the F train isn‘t running — like this past weekend? It’s a long way back to Jersey, kid. Lauretta is assigned to help Sarah keep her panties on until after an actual date.
Next is David, a cute 23-year-old gay guy who is awkward and shy, so he comes up with twisted pickup lines like, “Hey, want to see my kids? They’re in the trunk.” Maybe I’m just a weirdo, but if a hot young lesbian approached me with that line, I’d laugh and be all about it. Lauretta seems to be on the same page as me. “I think that’s funny. Am I too weird?” she muses. Jonathan is assigned to help David craft “normal people” pickup lines. David, don’t change! Stay weird! Normal is for lame people. Wait, why are you on this show? Get your own YouTube channel. Sign me up!
Lauretta and Sarah go to a bar, where Lauretta can observe her client in her natural habitat. This includes drinking a beer, then taking shots and then playing a game of beer pong. Wait. That’s not very different from a normal night out with my lesbian friends. Is this a bad sign? Should people in their late 20s and early 30s still be playing beer pong? Is watching this show filling me with shame? Meanwhile, as I contemplate the direction my life is taking, Sarah starts to wobble around without any direction whatsoever. She bounces from guy to guy to guy like a rag doll. “It’s like social butterfly whore,” remarks Lauretta.
As Sarah is off killing brain cells, Meredith sets up a meeting with Renee. Meredith wants to fly to L.A. to visit Lover Randi. Renee gives Meredith her blessing but sends Meredith to help make the Helen/Lauretta matchmaking meeting happen. This is like being assigned the task of making Donald Trump stop being ridiculous — it’s an assignment no one hopes to get.
Jonathan and David have coffee, so Jonathan can experience David’s weirdness one on one. David cracks quirky jokes, and Jonathan tells David he needs to turn off the voice that says, “I’m awkward!” David says, “Well he has a deep voice.” “What does that voice sound like?” asks Jonathan, humoring him. “James Earl Jones,” says David. “I have a black man inside me at all times.” Jonathan is speechless, but he cannot stop grinning. Secretly he thinks David is hilarious, but this is a dating show, so at some point Jonathan is going to have to stop David from entertaining us and help him be boring. Sad face.
The two of them go to a bookstore, where David attempts to pick up a cute boy, and he tells cute boy that he is from Detroit, was in a gang and conducted drive by shootings. Wait. I don’t want this to stop. I want to see what other crazy sh– comes out of David’s mouth, but Jonathan sighs and pulls him away, remarking that there is a long road ahead of them.
Lauretta and Sarah have a sober conversation about Sarah’s propensity to lose her underwear within an hour of meeting a man. They come to the conclusion that the disappearing panties phenomenon occurs as a result of getting drunk. My, what a “breakthrough.” This is not news to anyone who has been to college.
Helen, dismissing any sort of need to breathe the same air as Lauretta while fishing for dates, goes on a blind date with an Australian man. “Hot!!!” squeals Helen. “Lauretta, Renee — you can shove it!” At some point in the date, though, things take a turn for the awkward when the guy asks Helen, “So, are you jungle Asian or city Asian?” What does that even mean? Does “jungle” mean something different than its literal meaning in Australia, because I don’t think there are any rainforests in New York. Or maybe he meant Korea. But there aren’t any jungles there either. I’m so confused. Helen is befuddled as well and cuts the date short.
Jonathan sends David on a mock speed dating challenge with his friends. David tells one guy that he has a fascination with the sport of curling, because the players look like they’re “pleasuring themselves” with the brooms. The room erupts with laughter. I seriously don’t want this to end. David is either truly beyond help, or he is pulling a Sacha Baron Cohen and punking everyone. I am hoping for the latter, as he will have a great career in gonzo improv comedy.
Lauretta takes Sarah to a coffee shop and tells her to chat with a guy – sober. Things are going well, so Lauretta leaves. Later Sarah tells Lauretta the guy wanted to hang out more and asked her to go home with him. Did Sarah secretly spike her latte with rum when Lauretta wasn‘t looking? As Lauretta sits there open mouthed, Sarah tells her that she told the guy she wanted to take things slow, and the guy paid for her cab ride home. Lauretta is relieved. The final test is whether Sarah can go to a bar, limit herself to one cocktail and set boundaries. She approaches a guy, chats about Mongolian barbecue and gets his number. The panties stay on. This means Lauretta won’t be spanked by Renee. Things are all right in the world.
Meanwhile Jonathan takes David to a bar and observes him conversing with various guys. Besides telling one that he has never owned a jockstrap or any type of underwear in general, David manages to have a normal conversation with a cute guy from Queens, and I don’t remember the substance of the conversation, because I lost interest. David is now NormalDavid™ and no fun to watch.
Finally, the Lauretta and Helen dating venture is anticlimactic, yet relieving, as no one lost any hair or limbs. At some point, Lauretta, clearly swallowing a bit of bile that came up her esophagus, remarks “Maybe we made a bit of a breakthrough.” Baby steps, guys. Baby steps. Lauretta apologizes for starting the fight, and Helen apologizes for calling Lauretta a “salty douchebag.” Lauretta faces the camera and says that she will give advice to Helen that will always come from a good place.
“There’s no reason for it to not to.”
“Unless there is a reason for it to not to.”
Setup Squad airs Mondays on Logo.