Checking In: I Just Want My Pants Back recap – 1×11: ‘Quid No Quo’

Courtesy of MTV

It’s the penultimate episode of MTV’s hipster twenty-something show and although one storyline is an absolute drag, there are some significant developments designed to propel us into the finale.

Let’s bitch it out…Alright, so confession time: I had a lot of trouble figuring out how many episodes of I Just Want My Pants Back MTV ordered, so last week I mistakenly said that this was the last episode. Judging from the promo for next week’s episode, though, it looks like things are coming to a head. So apologies for any confusion! And memo to MTV: Consider indicating on your damn website how many episodes we can expect, mmmkay?

Let’s talk about the important stuff first:

1) Paul Warner (Josh Casaubon), the hottie photographer who worked with Tina (Kim Shaw) last week is sticking around! Early in the episode Paul confesses that he’s accepted a position in London – effective immediately. It feels a little forced considering the two have such good chemistry on their perfect date. The proof was in the dialogue: he admits that he took steps to ensure they don’t sleep together (since he wants to be gallant), and there’s no way these two aren’t going to sleep together. As a result, it’s no big surprise when Paul’s offer falls through and he gets to stay in NY. More interesting, however, is that their relationship is suddenly more mature than any of Tina’s others (the reason their date is so good is because they don’t feel any pressure since he is leaving). With the promise of Brett’s (Steve Talley) return in the finale, I don’t think we should get too attached to Paul, even though it’s clear that he and Tina are a good match. Her earnest dialogue about her ambitions when she first moved to New York is proof of that.

2) The big bombshell? Eric (Jordan Carlos) announces to Stacey (Elisabeth Hower) that he’s considering dropping out of med school. He comes to this decision after learning that he’s not doing well enough and that he’ll have to cut out everything to focus on school. I’ll admit that this story resonated with me pretty deeply, but from a purely viewer-centric position, I really like this conflict. Throughout the season it’s been the Jay (Peter Vack) and Tina show, with Stacey and Eric doing their own thing and occasionally being brought into the A story. Obviously part of this is by design because Stacey and Eric are at different stages of their lives, but it hasn’t made for an especially cohesive show at times (consider the success of episodes like ‘A Piece of Cake’ and ‘Blackout’ in comparison to early episodes like ‘Baby Monkeys’ and ‘Never Trust A Moonblower’). Should Eric drop out, this could allow him and Stacey to be organically brought into more of Tina and Jay’s stories. If nothing else, this career crisis once again reiterates the challenging decisions that people at this age need to confront.

Courtesy of MTV

Notice that I’ve barely mentioned Jay? Yeah…that’s on purpose. I’ve made no bones of the fact that I’m often unhappy with the way that Jay acts. At times he’s been too dumb to believably function as a rational human being (his blown job interview in ‘Never Trust A Moonblower’ being a series low point), and more often than not, he’s like the show’s punching bag for strange and unusual things. Instead of genuinely allowing him to develop, the show portrays him as an idiot teenager who is consistently unable to handle adult situations, especially when it comes to sex-based ones. What should be amusing instead becomes exasperating (the exception being the way he handled the break-up with Ness in ‘Sextipated’). The whole story in ‘Quid No Quo’ with Kate (Helene Yorke), an old high school crush who sleeps with him to advance her career as an actress, and it’s resolution – she sleeps with JB (Chris Parnell) – is obvious, predictable and not overly funny. After eleven episodes, it’s clear that Jay is the most inconsistent character on the show – you never know what you’ll get with him because he’s not so much a character as whatever the writers need him to be depending on the humiliating situation of the week. I get that he’s supposed to be a f*ck-up and an idiot, but this just makes the moments when he becomes a three-dimensional human being all the more aggravating because you know next week he’ll be back to his idiot self. How are we as viewers supposed to rectify the person who is smart enough to walk away from Nell with the guy who can’t see that the slutty actress is slutty?

At this point not only is Tina the break-out character of the show, but she’s also the character I’m most invested in. Jay: I can take or leave, which is problematic considering that he’s supposed to be the lead. Here’s hoping that the return of Jane (Kelli Barrett) for the finale will help to even him out.

Other Considerations:

  • I love the random quirks this show provides its supporting cast. In this episode we learn that Kim’s boss, Maya, obsessively lotions her arms when she’s upset. It’s a bizarre little running joke that works well because it’s not overplayed; it just comes out in a few conversations throughout the episode.
  • Jokes about penises wearing sombreros should definitely become a meme.

Best Lines:

  • Tina (on Paul’s move): “London’s an okay place. I hear that they have vegetables now.”
  • Tina: “Don’t get all Walk to Remember on me, Paul. You’re going to London, not crossing over to the afterlife.” Paul: “First of all…weird Mandy Moore reference from 10 years ago…”
  • Kate (initiating sex with Jay after asking for a Spiderman audition): “You’re swelling up like you got bitten by a radioactive spider…maybe I should apply direct pressure.” Gross. And not at all timely considering that the movie finished shooting last year.
  • Tina: “Who spends their last night in NY with a girl they barely know?” Paul: “Traveling businessmen. Sailors. Really, anyone who frequents prostitutes.”
  • Jay (after seeing Kate having sex with JB): “He was going at her like a woodpecker except the beak was his penis and Kate was the tree.” Even though I hated the storyline, this is easily the best line of the night.

What did you think of this second last episode of the season (series)? Are you excited for the return of Brett and Jane next week? Any predictions on whether the show ends on a romantic cliffhanger? Sound off below and check in next Friday for the recap of the finale!

I Just Want My Pants Back airs Thursdays at 11pm EST on MTV.

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

3 thoughts on “Checking In: I Just Want My Pants Back recap – 1×11: ‘Quid No Quo’

  1. I thought they were gonna air back-to-back episodes like they did with the Awkward finale so I actually thought it was the finale. I hate Jay, I seriously hate him now. I can get on with the show without him. Though okay, I concede, I actually need him to have cute and funny dialogues with Tina. But Tina just drives this show with her equal parts awesomeness and vulnerability. Can’t wait for the finale! (Paul is so hot!)

    • I just want him to exhibit more of the kind of behaviour he had in that final scene with Ness (or even his “mature” conversation with Tina during the blackout when things got real). Too often he’s the hipster caricature and after eleven episodes, it’s become too one-dimensional. I’ll give him his moments, but this reunion with Jane better deliver…

  2. Pingback: I Just Want My Pants Back recap – 1×12: ‘Jerk or Dork’ « Bitch Stole My Remote

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