Difficult People Season 2, Episode 2 Recap: Oops, We Murdered Nathan Lane

Photo: Courtesy of Hulu.
None of my friends tagged me in the ice bucket challenge when that whole thing was going down on Facebook. If they had, I wouldn't have participated, anyway; I would have just donated some money because I don't want to dump ice water on my head, let alone film myself doing it. While I think it is swell that a lot of celebrities did it and raised awareness for ALS, I'd like to see an investigative report into how many of them backed up their too-adorable videos with donations to the cause. And thus I find some common ground with Julie and Billy this week, as they search for their own viral charity challenge and ultimately, fame.

Before we go any further: This recap is brought to you by Julie's advice to her prison mentees on the art of the recap. "Remember, a recap is about the person who writes it. An episode of televison isn't the subject, you are."

We open on Julie telling Billy he's been asleep for three days. Cue him freaking out, her suggesting he move in with her and Arthur, and him insisting this is a sign that he needs a boyfriend — which does not mean he's emotionally ready for one. So they go for coffee and inadvertently find themselves doing good by helping a young woman cross a picket line to an abortion clinic (weirdly set nowhere near the Planned Parenthood in the East Village). This, plus the appearance of Broadway legend Nathan Lane on a game show, spurs the genius idea that they should launch their own celebrity charity campaign, benefitting the Kessler Epstein Foundation and hopefully ending with Billy getting a hot husband. Obviously, a viral video is the way to kick off their ploy, so they make an escalating series of dares to celebrities to do self-destructive and gross stuff. I'm still hoping Don Henley will hit himself in the head with a frying pan.

Julie lets Arthur pick the movie for charity date night, which he uses as a chance to negotiate and convince her to move into a new apartment. She echoes the objection of every Gen Xer who has mocked a friend with kids for moving to the Upper West Side or their Millennial mentee for living in the (surprisingly affordable and very clean) Upper East Side by saying, “Arthur, I can’t live by Central Park. I’m too punk rock!” His promise that she can get a new dog, two cats, and the pets get the second bedroom, gets her to the co-op board meeting.

Billy heads back to work after his three-day nap to find he's been replaced by Lola, a self-identified "trans truther" who thinks 9/11 was an inside job. Thank you, Caitlyn Jenner, for making this moment in pop culture possible. In quick succession we meet his coworker, Matt's old-man fiancé, and Billy meets a hot, hearing-impaired guy whose interpreter is in love with him. Doug, the hearing-impaired guy, breaks out his Stephen Hawking-esque app when Billy drops in on him after the first date and, using Siri's voice, insists he, "Suck my fat cock...choke on it, thirsty boy." When this makes Billy laugh hysterically, because the female voice is weird, Doug kicks him out. Obviously he ends up hooking up with his interpreter, because that's how life works.

Marilyn subplot alert: She lost her maid, and Broadway star Megan Hilty (although, if you're recognizing her from Broadway, you probably saw her in Smash, too) pops by for a guest role as a patient with OCD who cleans everything. The point of this subplot seems to be to make Marilyn an unlikable, selfish, and unprofessional jerk, so that was effective.

In the end, Billy and Julie kill Nathan Lane by convincing him to participate in a charity stunt where he sticks his hand in a toilet. In the ensuing chaos before he drops dead, it turns out he's on the co-op board for the building Arthur wants to move into and he blocks them. It's difficult for Julie and Billy, though, because while she was doing charity work teaching prisoners how to recap TV, she met Bernie Madoff's cellmate whom they got to record an amazing toilet video that they were just about to release when Lane's death hits the news. Of course, it's announced by NY1 news legend Pat Kiernan.

The moral of the story seems to be: No one cares when Nathan Lane dies.

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