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'Episodes' fan recap: The one with the 'Friends' reunion

Season 4 | Episode 5 | “Episode 5” | Aired Feb 8, 2015

Matt’s financial situation continues to deteriorate as this week’s Episodes begins. Bob (Geoffrey McGivern) calls to break the news that Penzel stopped paying his taxes four years ago, resulting in a $7.9 million hit to his savings.

Morning has a solution: a sex tape. She claims the two made one after Alan Thicke’s birthday party years ago, before Friends—”I was the famous one!” says Morning—but Matt has no recollection of this. LeBlanc might be playing an exaggerated version of himself in Episodes, but this plotline feels like something straight out of Friends; Joey once picked up a girl whom he thought he had forgotten sleeping with, though she didn’t remember him either (as it turns out, he had actually slept with her roommate).

Sean and Beverly, meanwhile, try to resolve their issue with Tim over lunch. He offers to pay, but the Lincolns insist on picking up the tab (“I really appreciate that, as I did not bring any money,” confesses Tim). The Lincolns try to convince him to relinquish any involvement with the show, but he won’t budge, since his only other option is cleaning up after crime scenes with his brother in Watford. “This is my chance to not be wiping brains off a wall,” says Tim, who is now represented by Eileen, much to Sean and Beverly’s dismay.

Carol calls Beverly to ask about Tim joining their writing team, which Beverly tries to downplay. She begs Carol not to meet with Tim, but Carol, distracted by Helen, ignores Beverly.

Elsewhere, Matt’s agent (Roger Bart) proposes a quick fix for Matt’s money troubles. The Karakistani leader, better known as the Butcher of Karakistan, is willing to pay $500,000 for Matt to appear at his birthday party. He’s a huge Friends fan, as is turns out, and Joey is his favorite. He’ll even send his private plane to pick up Matt! The only downside? “His regime is somewhat iffy, torture-wise,” says Matt’s agent. “Full disclosure, he killed 11,000 people in January.”

Since he is desperate for money, none of this is enough to deter Matt. He invites Sean and Beverly to join him, but their desire to attend quickly evaporates after a quick Google search of its host. “His regime is second only to North Korea in its human rights violations,” says Sean.

Matt is still determined to go: “Does it save one village from being slaughtered? Does it stop one beheading? No, it means another celebrity will get my gift bag.” Capitalizing on one of the best running gags of the season, the prospect of a gift bag is enough to momentarily pique Beverly’s interest.

Merc pops into Carol’s office to discuss his new show, congratulating her on her new relationship with Helen. He reveals that he too slept with Helen, recalling her swastika tattoo (this, Carol informs him, is actually a flower).

Later, Helen gets angry upon learning that Merc told Carol about their tryst, embarrassed by the prospect of anyone knowing she slept with him (“It was like having sex with a potato, a sweating potato,” says Helen). Merc was actually the last guy she was ever with, which Helen describes as going out with a whimper: “A whimper, and then a fart.”

As the Lincolns get ready for bed, Tim texts Sean asking what to wear to the meeting Carol arranged. “Doesn’t he realize he’s our nemesis?” says Beverly. “He shouldn’t be asking for fashion tips.” Sean, however, sends a reply: “Smart casual.”

Sean and Beverly’s round of very polite sex is put on hold since Beverly can’t stop worrying about having to work with Tim. She even proposes that Sean and Tim do it together without her, but Sean pleas with her to give the arrangement another chance.

Morning finally manages to procure the tape she made with Matt (and a VCR, which is the greater challenge) and shows it to him. “I’m so fucking young!” Matt whines, adding to Morning: “You actually look younger now.” He can’t believe how good he used to look; surrounded by pizza and beer, it’s clear what happened to his body over the years.

Helen kicks off the meeting with Carol, Tim, Sean, and Beverly by asking about their history. “Oh, so you didn’t all start out together?” asks Helen. “Oh, no,” says Tim. The tension between Beverly and Tim rises, each underhandedly insulting the other, before Sean intervenes. He explains that if The Opposite of Us is going to work, everything needs to be spot on, and the three of them writing together will clearly tank the whole project. He decides that Tim can get credit for the show and parlay that into other writing jobs, since the alternative is ruining everything by trying to “up the comedy” and fix the “nothingy” characters. Beverly is thrilled by this arrangement, rubbing it in Tim’s face with a smug “Oh, no.”

The episode closes with Matt at the party, where fellow Friends alum David Schwimmer is also a guest (he got to play with the drones: “We each got to blow up a Jeep!”). The old pals get into how weird the party is, from the “optional” robes—”Who knows what ‘optional’ means here?” wonders Matt—to some of the more questionable goings-on (David needs a lift back to the palace since his driver was shot). But it’s all worth it, says David, for the $1 million he’s getting for his appearance. Though the cast of Friends might have felt that they were all worth the same amount, the Butcher of Karakistan doesn’t seem to agree.

Stray Observations

  • Matt has to sell his dinosaur egg.
  • The Butcher of Karakistan is a Boston University alum.
  • Merc’s list of potential hosts for his new show include Bert Convy and Richard Dawson, both dead, and Guy Smiley, who is a puppet on Sesame Street.
  • Matt: “Are you gonna keep your llama?” David: “It’s a lot to schlep back, and then what do you do with it?”

Episodes airs Sunday nights 10:30 p.m. ET on Showtime.

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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