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'Mulaney' recap: You gotta do what you gotta do-ula

Season 1 | Episode 2 | “The Doula” | Aired Oct 12, 2014

John Mulaney is an expert at being uncomfortable. In this week’s opening monologue, he draws on some old and new material to set the tone for the episode. “I was getting a massage and the masseuse told me to undress to my comfort level. So I put on a sweater and a pair of corduroy pants,” he riffs. It’s no surprise that when he starts dating a doula, he can’t handle the subject matter that comes with the territory.

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John’s discomfort with talking about sex intersects in his home and his work life. While John can’t handle listening to the girl he’s dating talk about her job as a doula without passing out, Lou has been getting too handsy with the female contestants and staff, and it’s Mulaney’s job to get him under control. Tasked with confronting a topic as far away from his comfort zone as possible, Mulaney instead tries (and fails) to subtly remove temptation from Lou’s life. He replaces a group of sorority girl contestants with elderly male veterans, but Lou still manages to flirt with one of the contestant’s “Phone a Friend” caller.

At home, Motif and Jane try to set up a new air conditioner, but Motif gets stuck on the balcony, trying to push it back through the window frame. Luckily, Amanda the doula is there to talk them through it. John witnesses her in action, keeping Motif calm as he “births” the a/c unit. When it’s finally in place, John is in awe. “Doulas are like superheroes!” he exclaims, before accidentally volunteering to attend one of Amanda’s client’s births.


Now committed to experience the miracle of life with the girl he’s dating, John sets out to become comfortable with talking about the details of childbirth. Motif and Jane, armed with textbooks, walk through the basics of pregnancy with Mulaney. But, just when it seems like he might be getting over his discomfort, they get to the section on episiotomies. In an attempt to avoid freaking out, John imagines Mr. Episiotomy, a small, talkative Italian man. But Jane, even more shocked than the guys, can’t control her horror, and they all end up worse off than they had been in the beginning.

Back at work, the female cast and crew members are striking against Lou’s sexist behavior, and Lou is stuck with a retired cop for a makeup artist. When he learns that John was supposed to talk to Lou about his behavior, Lou is angry that Mulaney didn’t just do his job. Even if he’s uncomfortable talking to his boss about sex, Mulaney should’ve been there to tell Lou to cool it.


Mulaney makes it to Amanda’s birth prepared to talk shop about the placenta and all its nutrients, but gets thrown off his game by a surprise guest: Lou. Hoping to make amends with John after yelling at him earlier, Lou shows up at the birth (which is happening in a kiddie pool filled with water). He explains that he solved his problem by having sex with one of the show’s crew members, Mary Joe. But just a description of the act isn’t enough for Lou—instead he shows Mulaney an actual video that he and Mary Joe made of their night together. True to character, John can’t handle it. He passes out and falls head first into the kiddie pool, and while his unconscious head dangles in there, a baby is born! (The first thing it sees? Lou Cannon’s face.)

It’s only the second episode of Mulaney, but there has already been some pretty major growth since the pilot. As we become more familiar with the characters, the jokes get funnier. As Mulaney relies less on his previous standup, the stories get fresher. As Mulaney settles into itself, we’re settling into it. And John Mulaney’s signature weirdness is managing to come through without isolating his viewers (well, at least not this viewer). Is it perfect? No. But is it headed in the right direction? For sure.

Winning one-liners:

  • “I feel about vaginas the way I do about America: I love it, but every once in a while it does something to disgust me.” – Mulaney

  • “Penises are like North Korea: hilarious, yet worrisome.” – Jane

  • “I thought we were taping Sorority Week with contestants from 12 Florida safety schools!” – Lou

  • “I’m headed up to 50th street. Sometimes if I sit there in a beach chair, a block party will start.” – Oscar

  • “Between high school gymnastics and birth control, I only get my period like, once a season. I’m on a Game of Thrones cycle: Winter is coming, but like, not for a while.” – Jane


Mulaney airs Sundays at 9:30/8:30 central on FOX.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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