Things are kept pretty light for the first half of this week’s episode of Please Like Me. I’m trying to refrain from calling this “the drug episode” because that would cheapen it or liken it to a poorly executed episode of Beverly Hills 90210 in which the gang took “euphoria”. For the first time this season, the episode is directed and written exclusively by Josh Thomas and watching Josh, Tom and Arnold take MDMA for the first time is downright hilarious and almost frighteningly accurate.
Getting past the fact that it is completely moronic to take MD if you experience anxiety like Arnold, this is an almost uncanny representation of what people are like when they take MD. The initial freak out, the floaty dancing, the spouting of ‘philosophical’ nonsense and of course, the inevitable love confessions – “You two are perfect, we need to show you off like the royal baby.” What I love about the portrayal is that it doesn’t exactly glamorise MDMA, rather it makes fun of Josh, Tom and Arnold for thinking that their shared drug experience is even remotely unique. A great piece of direction by Josh Thomas sees the guys out clubbing, “This is so god”, but the camera pulls back to reveal they’re all just dancing un-rhythmically on a table in a completely deserted bar. I’d like to say I’ve never done this but I absolutely have.
The guys also meet Ella (Emily Barclay) and become instant bestfriends – another recognisable side effect of taking ecstasy. “What do you think should be our next adventure?” Josh asks her, and the group promptly dash out of the bar and onto the street against the wonderful musical stylings of The Backstreet Boys. It’s clear that the actors had an absolute ball performing this delightful scene that comically ends with Tom falling over and breaking his arm. The group end up in an ambulance where Tom can’t stop holding Arnold’s hand and they keep bugging the paramedic, not unlike the way our drunken selves have been known to pester a cab driver.
The hospital serves as the final major set piece of the episode where everybody starts to slowly come down, triggered by some serious conversations involving time travel, Ella’s piece of shit boyfriend and the demise of Alan and Mae’s relationship. It’s rather sweet that only a moment after they split, Alan calls Tom to discuss the breakup and Mae conversely calls Josh. The ‘grownups’ of Please Like Me don’t for a second pretend that they have their lives together. Even when Alan lashes out at Josh and Tom for taking drugs, part of his anger clearly stems from the fact that he doesn’t feel any wiser than they do.
This was a fun episode from start to finish, providing further evidence that Please Like Me’s third season is shaping up to be its best.