If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent this past week in agony. The sounds of an overgrown frat boy whooping and yelling for you to “turn it up” have been echoing in your ears…You’ve had the constant urge to pump your fists…And no action is complete without yelling a certain word. You know it. Say it with me.
Wait, no, that’s not quite it…Like Ryan’s mother, I haven’t quite perfected the “jeah”. But she got plenty of opportunities to practice in this week’s episode, as she spent time with her son in Washington, D.C., where he was receiving an award for his work with a muscular dystrophy charity.
Like last week, we get hints of the few elements that combine to make the greatest personality television has ever seen: there’s his relationship with his friends, which we see through his drunken game of golf with his friend/assistant Gene*; the constant pressure to find a stable relationship and settle down; and of course, his family. None of these strings feel like parts of a cohesive plot; I guess it would be worse if they did, because then the show would seem too artificial, but it seems like they just have a few core themes that they like to throw in a few times every episode. Basically, it’s kind of a mess, structurally.
*Is anyone else really saddened by the fact that the only one of Ryan’s friends we really get to know is also his personal assistant? For as much as I enjoy laughing at the things that come out of Ryan’s mouth, he does seem like a genuinely good-hearted person, and I worry that he doesn’t have many friends. Okay, moment over, back to making fun of him.
Even Ryan doesn’t know what his show’s about.
Like I said, this episode focuses more on Ryan’s relationship with his mother. While he still said some beautiful, dumb things (and we’ll get to those), we saw a softer and more positive side to Ryan, proving that he’s not just a party boy who brings every date to the same restaurant. He’s accepting an award for his work with the Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, but, much to his mother’s chagrin, he hasn’t planned on writing his speech in advance, figuring he’d just wing it. His mother is horrified by the idea; E! executives undoubtedly high fived each other at the prospect of what’s to come.
The footage of Ryan at the benefit and interacting with the children suffering from Duchenne, a fatal disease with no cure, was incredibly touching. You can tell Ryan does care a lot about his work with the foundation, and him talking to a little boy about baseball was just adorable. Even I had to stop snarking during that moment, a strange and unfamiliar feeling that occurred again later when Ryan bought his mom a new car.
But don’t worry. I only stopped snarking for a few minutes.
Ryan’s anxiety over his speech led to some of the episode’s best quotes. Let’s recount a few of them, in no particular order:
-This one came from Gene, not Ryan, but hearing him describe their friendship as “a great bromance relationship” was so beautifully awkward.
-“I’ve never written down a speech. Ever.” Really? Ryan doesn’t plan out what he’s going to say in advance? You could have fooled me.
-“I’ve talked in front of a lot of – like, business people, about stuff I didn’t even know.”
-On his relationship with his brother: “I don’t have to make fun of Devon every chance I get. It just comes out natural.”
-The beautiful montage of women asking Ryan for his opinion on various political issues, including the Pope stepping down, culminating in Ryan cracking under the pressure and saying, “I guess that’s why they call it ex Benedict” had me in tears.
-My personal favorite moment of the night was when Ryan struggled to tie his tie, and asked his mother if he can just tie it like a shoe. The beauty of it was in his face, which like I said last week, is like a permanent reaction gif. He’s well aware when he’s ill-equipped for any particular situation, and has no problem showing off his ever-present confusion.
-The art of this was really in the delivery, and the noises he made throughout to express his confusion with both the situation and what he was trying to say were really what made this line art. But explaining that he wrote down bullet points for his speech came out as, “I had a little…What do you call it…*laughs* Bulletin? Like a fact. Yeah.”
I know I said these quotes are in no particular order, but I’m gonna change that. Starting now, I will crown my two favorite Lochteisms from each episode. Without question, the winners for tonight were:
-“”Hmm, you know what, Ryan Lochte is a pretty good speechmaker.”
And Ryan’s explanation of what happens in his head when he blanks out while talking:
-“All of a sudden, I have, like, a giant jumping banana in my head. And I just stop and I’m like, ‘That damn jumping banana is in my head.”
Sometimes he doesn’t even seem real.
Now, I know I make a lot of jokes, but the truth is, I do appreciate seeing so many different sides to Ryan Lochte. He’s a humanitarian, a philosopher, a champion…
Uh…What was I saying?
Because this is my new favorite show, I’ll be back next week with another review of What Would Ryan Lochte Do (spoiler alert: whatever it is, it’s gonna be dumb, and I’m gonna love it)? I hope you guys are enjoying this show as much as I am! Now…Can anyone catch me up on Mad Men?