Man Seeking Woman has one end goal that is Josh finally getting a girlfriend he is comfortable and satisfied with after a natural relationship. So far we’ve watched him try to force his way through “understanding” the single world, and, like with most things, if you try and force a relationship, it won’t ever go as planned. There’s no correct way to find someone, get into a relationship with them, and know if it’s the endgame. That’s not how life works because everything is unpredictable, and Josh is learning that the hard way. Yet, that’s what makes the show so fantastic, because we want to see him win and lose, because without that, the show would be over after a single season.
Last night’s episode, “Gavel,” gave us a glimpse into what seemed like a positive swing forward for Josh. The episode opens up with a sped up timeline of his growing relationship with a girl named Kayla. It leads up to the moment where he finally calls her his girlfriend, and the couple deems things official. As soon as Josh becomes unavailable, time stops and female aliens come down looking to sleep with Josh because they can smell his new found sense of confidence. It’s the classic scenario where once a guy is happy and being himself because he’s with someone, the girls flock to him with some idea that getting him to cheat is a trophy. We know Josh is a good guy, though, and he stays strong and defeats the temptation.
Josh sees that what he has going with Kayla is good, and it looks like things are going back to normal for him, but the episode instantly revealed that it would be focused on temptation and doubt. The next test is set up by Mike. After he hears Josh passed up the chance to sleep with those aliens and figures out Kayla is even already keeping things like work clothes and almond milk at Josh’s apartment, he believes that if the two keep going down this road, they will be married in no time. Mike decides to scare Josh, along with a bunch of other committed men, with a correctional trip to the suburbs to show them what their lives will turn into. They witness the gruesome reality of men taking out poop-filled diapers to the trash and grilling portabella mushrooms instead of burgers. It’s so disturbing that one of the inmates even vomits at the sight of it all.
The trip leads up to a presentation from one of Mike’s friends that he lost to this horrible neighborhood. The guy thought his wife was fun and that they could enjoy their youth together; she used to enjoy partying and having fun all the time, but it was only a facade and before this poor guy knew it, he was married. The inmates get back on the bus and all immediately find excuses to break up with their girlfriends: “I was thinking we should try an open relationship?” “Things are getting pretty serious with my band right now”; all of the stereotypical excuses. Yet, when it’s Josh’s turn, Mike’s scare tactics just weren’t enough, and he plans a portabella and quinoa filled dinner for himself and Kayla.
At this point, Josh has turned down a one night stand and been exposed to the suburbs to make him think twice about it. It all leads up to one ultimate test for his new relationship with Kayla: his ex, Maggie. The mushrooms are grilling on the stove, and Josh is getting ready for his romantic dinner date just as Maggie shows up, presumably already somewhat drunk, upset and needing Josh’s comfort. Being a nice guy, Josh invites her in and is there to talk, but as soon as Maggie appears, Josh knows his mind is already made up about where the night is going. He suspiciously cancels dinner with Kayla and claims he’s not feeling well, causing him to get pulled into relationship court where the judge calls him out for lying. However, Josh classically defends himself by defining the term “lie” and saying he was technically not feeling good at that moment. He continues to walk the fine line of what’s appropriate to do while being in a relationship, and every minute he is being pulled back in court for it but always weasels himself out. Josh has the dinner with Maggie because “why let it go to waste?”; he opens a bottle of wine for the two of them because adults casually drink wine with dinner; and just when she’s about to leave, he suggests they finish watching the show they started while dating, Carnivale.
At this point, Josh doesn’t even bother showing up for court anymore; his mind is made up and he sleeps with Maggie. The next morning, Josh reverts to his old self, thinking that this one night stand with a familiar face means they are back together. When Kayla calls him, he slips out of the room and abruptly ends their relationship with no explanation. His next move is preparing breakfast for Maggie just like the old times, but when she comes out of the bedroom, her coat is already on and she admits this was a drunken mistake and shouldn’t happen or be talked about again; in fact, she doesn’t even remember the majority of the night they spent together. Josh is definitely let down, and to make matters worse, right after Maggie leaves, Kayla shows up to get the things she kept in his apartment and calls Josh out for being a jerk.
As sad as Josh is about things, we can’t feel bad for him. He sealed his own fate and cheated on his girlfriend. While he claimed to really like her and the relationship they had, he can’t pass the ultimate test of ignoring his ex when she arrives at her most vulnerable time. Josh tried his best to be strong throughout the entire episode, but in the end, he didn’t have true feelings of love for Kayla; he just loved the companionship that comes with being in a relationship. The episode never positioned Kayla as being something real by only giving viewers glimpses of her and Josh together. Their relationship is sped up in the beginning and then she is actually barely in the episode, not a serious character.
“Gavel” was executed really well and showed Josh that he just needs to let things happen naturally. Eventually, a girl will come along that he genuinely care for and loves, and he won’t fall prey to simple temptations like a visit from Maggie. Before that can happen, Josh needs to become comfortable with himself as an individual, and we’ll continue to see this going forward which is what makes Man Seeking Woman so much fun.
[Photo via FXX]