Ryan King (Matthew Perry) is still right where we left him: grieving the death of his wife, Janie, and pretending that everything is totally okay. Rather than throwing fruit at Terrell Owens’ car like he did in episode 1, King is now taking his grief out in another way; forcing his assistant Carrie (Allison Miller) to work late and hang out with him all the time. This annoys Carrie to no end, which is odd considering in her brief appearance in the pilot, she was obsessively in love with him. Guess that changed!
Where King isn’t alone is in ‘Transitions,” his self-help group. But the company he keeps is a little emotionally stuck. Take Sonia (Sarah Baker), the overweight girl with the dead cat. Sonia is annoyed at her boyfriend Jason for ridiculous reasons (“She hates his face,” King eloquently summarizes for us). Frustrated that the members of ‘Transitions’ “spend all the time in the huddle talking and never make a play” – more sports analogies! - King convinces Sonia to pick up the phone in the middle of the session and dump Jason.
Everyone cheers King, especially Faustra (Tonita Castro), the Spanish woman who didn’t know any English in the first episode but now apparently does (another post-pilot season change!) But ‘Transitions” leader Lauren (Laura Benanti) isn’t laughing. “You can’t solve people’s problems in 30 seconds,” she warns King. “Your words have consequences.”
Those consequences come quickly, with Sonia turning up at King’s office to talk. Without Jason – and her dead cat – she’s lonely. But King pushes her out, convincing her to get a cat to replace the one that died. And when she later expresses worry about that cat being lonely while she’s not around, he encourages her to “take action” in her life and get a second cat.
Carrie finally has her first night off in weeks, and plans to spend it with the girls. Until King shows up at the restaurant and charms his way into dinner with Carrie and her two ridiculously-attractive friends. Two days later he’s done it again, joining the girls at the salon. “This has got to stop, “Carrie barks. “I know that you are going through something but I’ve got to have my own life.” The two compromise: King will back off more and Carrie will check-in more. Problem solved. (At least for a few more episodes until they inevitably fall in love).
King returns home, though, to realize his problems are just beginning. Sonia is waiting with six cats that she needs him to watch while Lauren - who of course doesn’t want her to have cats - comes to visit. Soon we see every member of ‘Transitions’ dropping off cats for King, as Sonia has taken her cat addiction way too far (“No Mas Cats” says Faustra, who apparently is back to speaking only Spanish now.) Ryan has nothing to do but call Lauren for help. She agrees to take care of Sonia if he takes care of the cats.
By the next session, King’s found home for all the cats (we see him with a ‘Free Cats’ sign at a busy intersection, which seemingly works. All those pet shelters should try that!). He agrees that he’ll stop trying to solve people’s problems, but Lauren encourages him to do what he can to help “in your own way.”
That way means taking George (Bill Cobbs) courtside to a Lakers game. See, George recently lost a signed basketball, and since he’s gone blind, he only realized this when King and Steven (John Cho) showed up at his place to see it. On the basketball court, George tells King to shut his eyes and hear the game. The screen then goes black for a few seconds, as we hear sports sounds, and I run to make sure my TV hasn’t broken.
Thanks for nothing, George.
Lines of the Night
Here are some of the best one-liners from Episode 1
“Moving into this nursing home has been rough... I hate old people and I hate sick people.” – George, on his new home.
“Don’t dig deeper. She hates his face, so unless he gets a new face, that’s kind of a deal-breaker.” – King, on Sonia’s boyfriend.
“Either break up with him or stop talking about it. Do any of you know I hate my mother? I haven’t been able to bring it up because of all the Jason chatter.” – Ann, on Sonia’s problems.
“Right now they’re pretty disorganized but if they ever get their act together, I think the power will shift quickly.” – King, on Sonia’s cats.