Checking-In: I Just Want My Pants Back – 1×02-1×04: ‘Baby Monkeys,’ ‘Never Trust a Moonblower,’ ‘Pecker Necklace’

Courtesy of MTV

After a few weeks on the air, the time has come to revisit a few shows. First on the docket: I Just Want My Pants Back, the MTV show about four hipter friends living in NY who lead wild and crazy lives hooking up, partying down and looking for the girl that got away…with the protagonist’s pants.

Let’s bitch about episodes two through four…

Considering how fixated I am on arc-style storylines that build and develop over a series, I’m surprisingly okay with the general standalone structure of the show. Perhaps it’s just because the show is a slice of dirty-witted humour (who doesn’t love a good sex joke?), but I find myself laughing quite consistently at the NSFW jokes. Like all comedies, this one won’t work for everyone (your appreciation may hinge on how funny you find Sunkrish Bala’s convenience store clerk, Bobby, calling Kim Stack’s Tina a variation of a whore each week). Personally I find the ongoing shenanigans (or to borrow a term from my Lost Girl reviews: sexnanigans) are definitely hitting my funny bone.

In truth, the show – for me – remains all about Shaw’s Tina. She gets all the good lines, her comic delivery is always spot on and Stack can sell even the dirtiest line. Peter Vack as Jason is also quite good, though he has the burden of being the main character, which requires keeping the show grounded in its quest to find and partner up with Jane (Kelli Barrett), the girl who stole his pants in the pilot (check out my initial review here).

Less successful are Elisabeth Hower and Jordan Carlos as Stacey and Eric, the couple of the group. Thus far they are underdeveloped and their cute-funny schtick is just that: schtick. Traditionally in comedies the stand-out characters are the crazy, troublemaking ones (Kramer in Seinfeld, Phoebe and Joey in Friends, Max and Penny in Happy Endings) and the remaining characters are too neurotic to be funny (Monica) or they’re simply bland (Ross and Rachel). The exception? Jane (Eliza Coupe) and Brad (Damon Wayans Jr) on Happy Endings who have overcome their dull couple status to become a hilarious comedy team.

There’s still potential for Stacey and Eric, but in the four episodes so far, the show seems more interested in exploring the lives and relationships of Tina and Jason, with Stacey and Eric relegated to the B-story sidelines. And honestly I’m fine with that, so long as the Tina and Jason bits remain as funny as they’ve been.

Courtesy of MTV

Episode 2 – Baby Monkeys

The show treads familiar water as Tina is seduced by Intern Kent (Josh Rabinowitz) after her latest spat with late-night booty caller, Brett (still unseen). Although it’s not an original story, or even an original angle (naturally Kent falls in love with her and Tina needs to find a way to ditch him, or “return the baby monkey to the wild” as Stacey puts it), there was still a lot of fun here, mostly thanks to Tina and her concerns with taking Kent’s virginity. In a fun reversal Kent actually listens to her when she tells him that there’s plenty of fish in the sea. Jason, meanwhile, posts a Missed Connection about pants girl, but at the meeting finds a desperate woman in place of Jane. He still ends up kinda lucky when he takes home the bartender, Kerry (Kelly McCreary), who is clearly even more messed up than him since she makes him dress up like her ex. Best line of the episode goes to Stacey who clarifies that when a girl says that she’s up for “anything” in bed it’s code for up the butt.

Meanwhile, in the B-story, frugal budgeters (aka cheapos) Stacey and Eric opt to buy a mattress from a local vendor instead of going to Macy’s, but come to regret the decision when they discover their mattress came off the street. This wasn’t overly funny – especially considering the infestation of bed bugs in NY – so this storyline really only made my skin crawl.

Courtesy of MTV

Episode 3 – Never Trust a Moonblower

This is the episode when we finally get a chance to meet Brett (Steve Talley) as he invites Tina to a ravioli party at James Franco’s place for their first pre-midnight date. Concerned about meeting his friends, Tina drags Jason along – which is a nice reaffirmation of their friendship and a good idea because all of Brett’s friends are hipster posers. I particularly enjoyed that the show recognizes that our four main characters (especially Tina and Jason) could be labeled hipsters and made an effort to present them as ‘cool’ hipsters – not the pretentious, mustached, too-much-money hipsters at the party. Side Note: Considering the bevy of projects James Franco is in, was I the only one disappointed that he didn’t turn up in person?

Naturally Brett ignores Tina at the party and they have a major blow-out, but Jason makes the most of the experience by networking with a indie music label employee. This leads to the most frustrating scene of the episode as Jason – after unknowingly quitting his job for an unpaid internship at Lench’s (Nick Kocher) vegan boobs magazine – botches his job interview because he catches sight of Jane. This is a) the kind of situation that only happens in make-believe-TV-land and b) makes Jason a stupid character. I appreciate that the show is portraying him as a lovesick romantic, but considering the show is also interested in exploring the lives of these late twenty-something people, it felt genuinely unrealistic that Jason couldn’t keep his shit together long enough to score the job  and then dash after Jane (wasn’t the suggestion that she worked there?!). The “poverty stricken twenty-something” storyline is old and tired, so it was frustrating that instead of exploring how Jason has to grow up when he gets a professional job, the writers fell back on cliched convention. Disappointing.

On the B-side, Stacey and Eric challenge each other’s prudishness when they find themselves invited to a foursome with their hot, overly sexual neighbours. The evening goes about a well as you can expect considering neither of them even takes their top off, but it was an amusing surprise to have a third roommate show up to get in on the action and turn the foursome into an orgy. Naturally this episode caught the attention of the Parents Television Council (PTC) who called for a boycott in the same vein as  their actions last year against the American version of Skins last year – a show they believe they helped cancel  (as opposed to say…the show sucked and the British version was better?). Cue Helen Lovejoy’s’ “won’t somebody puh-lease think of the children?!” and get these idiots away from my television. I’m unsure how many 12 year olds the PTC thinks this show is corrupting considering it airs at 11pm, but I’m sure these hypocrites think they’re protecting someone.

Courtesy of MTV

Episode 4 – Pecker Necklace

The most recent episode was the show’s strongest in my eyes because it deftly manages to integrate all four of its principal cast members into a single story without sidelining Stacey and Eric (mostly). Jason and Tina both feel down in the dumps due to their job status and dating status, respectively, and make plans to have an epic night of music and weed. This all goes to hell when Tina and Stacey’s old sorority friend, Bree (Jenson Smith), shows up for her bachelorette party. While Tina braves a bar full of boys in cargo shorts, Jason goes on a series of misadventures/errands around the city to secure first cold medicine (in exchange for the weed), and second a penis pinata  (because Tina forget to get it for the bachelorette party). For the first time Stacey is incorporated into the main story and we finally get to see Sloppy Stacey (her nickname in college since she becomes a hot mess drunk because she never drinks). What initially seems like a bit of a side-story – Eric’s disgust with humanity following his first night shift at the ER – pays off when he comes home and saves the day by taking care of drunken Stacey and hysterical Bree in one fell swoop. He may not be ready to become a real doctor, but he can still save the lives of his friends.

This leaves Jason and Tina to try and salvage their night, but they arrive too late to catch the band. Initially I was concerned that the show would end on a depressing note after such an amusing “everything went wrong” screwball episode, so it was a pleasant surprise to see Jason and Tina join the ironic hipster marching band passing by. After rubbing menthol on his drug dealer’s back (above the crack) and getting his junk kneaded like raw dough by Bree, it was nice to see Jason cut loose and demonstrate his horrible dancing skills.

Side Note 2: For the love of Pete, I hope this show recognizes that Jason and Tina should never hook up (not even as a drunken mistake). As much as I love the chemistry between Stack and Vack (tee hee), the relationship works because they’re awesome friends, not will-they-won’t-they lovers.

What say you, Pants fans: do you think the show has kept up the quality after its amusing pilot episode? Are you eagerly awaiting the return of Jane, who seems to do a drive-by cameo every few episodes? Do you like the ongoing Brett saga, or are you secretly hoping that Jason and Tina hook up? Sound off below!

And be sure to check out the follow-up check-in on the mid-season episodes (5-6) here

About cinephilactic

cinephilactic is a university contract instructor in Film Studies. He is an avid TV watcher, particularly science-fiction, fantasy and drama series. His favourite shows currently airing on TV include The Good Wife, Breaking Bad, Justified, Hannibal, Game Of Thrones and a smattering of shows on The CW. He has a tendency to "hate-watch" particular shows and likes to think that his sarcastic voice comes through in his reviews, though sometimes he's just being bitchy

8 thoughts on “Checking-In: I Just Want My Pants Back – 1×02-1×04: ‘Baby Monkeys,’ ‘Never Trust a Moonblower,’ ‘Pecker Necklace’

  1. Pingback: Review: I Just Want My Pants Back – 1×01: ‘Pilot’ « Bitch Stole My Remote

  2. I actually read your review of the pilot and I immediately downloaded the pilot. And now here I am, enjoying every episode every week. Airing the same day as TVD, it’s just a nice cool-down from everything intense about VD. Haha! I agree that the humor is not for everyone but it really works for me and I always laugh. I agree with you that I was frustrated with Jason for not scoring the job first. Maybe that’s because I couldn’t care less about Jane, like by now I don’t care who’s the mother in How I Met Your Mother, because I’m in for their friendships and for the ride.

    As for Jason and Tina, I agree that they shouldn’t hook up. I’m just scared that they’ll be awkward and not as awesome if they do. If it’s a drunken mistake, it’s fine, as long as they get over it fast and be cool BFFs again.

    Anyway, as always, great review/insights. Thanks! 😀

    • It’s become a surprise to me how enjoyable MTV shows are. Between this and Awkward, they’ve covered the market on “friends with sex lives” comedies.

      I personally still care about Jane…but only because I found her an enjoyable sparring partner for Jason in the pilot. I can easily see her becoming an integral member of the gang, so I hope that the show embraces that idea instead of going the “How I Met Your Mother” route and making that the end goal…

  3. I’m 33, went to college in nyc and about have my frist child. I have been there and done that….seen a lot of crazy things and exercised a lot of poor judgement, but thankfully things wroked out in the end. As someone who is about to become a parent and from someone with high school and college age sisters, I can see where the parents are coming from.

    The author of the blog does not sem to appreciate the influence of MTV. My little sister is a virgin and heading off to colege. She’s a great kid, and genuinely wants to meet a nice boy and do positive things in her life. The other day she asked me if she is “weird” because she is nothing like the characters on this show. She feels that she isn’t as cool as the other girls in high school who have had group sex with college guys. Why should a kid have to struggle with this? Is it terrible that she is in various clubs at school and thinks about having a career and kids after college after she meets a nice promising young man? Look, all I’m saying is that the characters potrayed by mtv on skins and pants are presented as “cool” hip young people. When in reality, hipsters a just another minority group of kids, but certainly don’t represent the young “hip” generation. When I was in college you would be the biggest cheese ball if you described yourself as something to the effect of a “hipster.” Basically “hipster” is just another word for narcisist who believes their life is being documented by camera crews and will become an BO special. Come on….does the author of this blog have kids? It seems like when everyone gets mad at the “hypocritcal” parents it always someone that has no children of their own. Some of us want to have families and want our kids to be better people than we were. Please learn to respect this is a very personal realm you are entering here when you critize parwnts for being shocked by what the most influential network for young people create this image that being young is all about having random sex every weekend.

    And the feminist undetones get old. Come on bro….ilusting after the slutty girl that took his pants is one thing. But give me a break! For alll my time in nyc…I’ve never heard of a good looking guy falling in love with the girl who bends over and asks him to bang her in the fridge followed by telling him she bascially does this sort of thing all the time. I mean….give me a break. Fall in love????? Did gloria steinam help write this script?

  4. Pingback: Checking In: I Just Want My Pants Back recap – 1×05-1×06: “Something’s Wrong Down There,’ ‘Safety Nets’ « Bitch Stole My Remote

  5. Pingback: Checking In: I Just Want My Pants Back recap – 1×07-1×10: ‘A Piece of Cake’, ‘Blackout’, ‘Love Equation’, ‘Sextipated’ « Bitch Stole My Remote

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