02x02 - The Mao Function

[lively music]

♪ ♪

I can't believe you went down there and talked to that tattoo guy.

Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

I gave him a piece of my mind.

You gave him a piece of something.

What is that supposed to mean?

I saw you, Mom.

So, okay, how exactly does that work?

You go down to complain but end up making out with him?

I mean, gee, the Pakistani guy at the bodega gave me the wrong change.

Are you gonna go give him a handy?

Don't talk to me like that.

Well, I'm sorry.

But I don't know what's going on here.

Okay, you know that your father and I are separated, and eventually I'm gonna be seeing people.

The tattoo guy?

His name is Josh.

And you're, like, a couple?

Um, sort of.


That's the grossest thing I've ever heard.

Oh, come on. Can we just...


Let's just sit down and talk about...

No, Mom, you're having a midlife crisis, just like Dad, and I don't want to talk about it.

I don't want to think about it. I just want to go to bed.


I just thought about it again.

♪ Oh, oh-oh-oh ♪
♪ Oh-oh, oh-oh-oh ♪
♪ Oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh ♪

And then she said I was having a midlife crisis.

Your crisis was your boring life before this.

Ugh, I hate this.

Caitlin and I have always been so close, and now I can't talk to her about anything...

Josh, work.

Maybe I could tell her about work.


You know, we've been through this already.

She's a teenager, and she's gonna blow your cover and blab to everybody.

Keep your mouth shut and get her through college.


[buzzer blares]

Are you expecting anybody?


Hi, who is it?

It's David.

Is that Dad?


What, are you leaving?

Yeah, I'm just gonna stay with him for a few weeks.

He's giving me a job in his office.

Did you tell him about Josh?

No, I just told him it was getting awkward around here, which it is.

But you don't have to leave, Caitlin.

I think you need to figure stuff out, and, you know, I need a job.

Dad needs help in the office.

It's a win-win-win.

[knock at door]

Hey! How are you?


Oh, it's so good to see you.

Hi, Dad.

You're so thin.


Did they feed you in India?

No, I need dead cow, like, as soon as possible.

All right, White Castle on the way home, baby.

Liza, how come every time I see you, you look younger?

You just forgot what she looked like happy.

Hey, Maggie.

Oh, lovely.

Good to see you. Love the robe.

When's the big fight?

All right. Okay.

You call me if you need anything.

And remember, you can always come back.

I second that. Come here.

Thank you.

I'm gonna miss you.

Somehow, I don't think you'll be too lonely.

What does that mean?


Come on, Dad.

She'll be fine.

She'll be back.

[rock music]

Low foam skinny cap...

Shh, shh.

Rob, is there no way that we could meet in person?

Discuss this face-to-face?

I already signed the contract with Hachette.

Look, I really appreciate all you've done for me, but it's time to move on.

Good luck, guys.

And good luck to you, Rob.

Just know that Empirical's door is always open.

Screw him; send out a press release immediately that says we dumped Rob Olive.

I don't get it.

Hachette already has so many Sick Lit writers.

What's Sick Lit?

Terminally ill teen genre.

Like "Fault in Our Stars."

I spent so many hours at the desk with that guy, literally milking every chapter from him.

She even came up with the title of his last best seller, "Hashtag I'm Dying."

Well, maybe there's some way to get him back.

Too late, Galley Cat is already reporting it.

["Roman Holiday" by Halsey plays]

♪ We'll be looking for sunlight or the headlights ♪
♪ Till our wide eyes burn blind ♪
♪ We'll be lacing the same shoes ♪
♪ That we've worn through ♪
♪ To the bottom of the line ♪
♪ And we know that we're headstrong ♪
♪ And our heart's gone ♪
♪ And the timing's never right ♪

[indistinct chatter]


Hey, hot pants.

Can you believe it?

Finally gonna get a night together.

And they're really good about checking IDs, so we don't have to worry about your daughter showing up.

Sorry it's been so weird.

Oh, it's okay. It's okay.

We're weird, all right?

I don't know. I kind of like it.

What are you gonna do?



All right, all right.

Who's ready for Trivia Tuesday?


It's trivia night?

Free shot for every correct answer.

Oh, okay. Now it get it.


Petey Piranha and King Boo ride together in this multiplayer game.

"Mario Kart: Double Dash!!"


I totally remember that game.

Yeah, but you didn't remember it fast enough.

I know.

Next question.

You have to translate this emoji sentence.

Oh, dude, these are my jam.

Eggplant, peach, two cows, house, question mark.

Let's have s*x till the cows come home!





She's really good at this.

All right, next category is the '90s.

All right. Now we're talking.

Her name was Lisa Lopes.

Her nickname was...

Left Eye!



Next question.

O.J. Simpson had a house guest...

Kato Kaelin.


Okay, here's a hard one, guys.

Who was the mastermind behind the smashing of Nancy Kerrigan's...

Jeff Gillooly!

Wow. Amazing.

How is she getting all these?

She's 40!

Hey, easy with the F word, sweetie.


Two more shots for our winners.

No, no. I'm okay. I've had enough.

No, no. Keep 'em coming.

What are you talking about, you've had enough?

Oh, my God.

You know what I just thought of?


When I was born, you were in middle school.

I guess so.

And when I was 16, you were...

[gasps] You were 30!

Yep, pretty much always a 14-year age difference.


Oh, my God, though.

You're closer to my mom's age than you are to mine.

Okay, can we stop doing the math now?



No more math.

No more math.

I don't like... ooh.

Are you okay? Is something wrong?

No, no, no. We're good.


Okay? Okay.

Nope. Nope.

Oh, I know what's happening.


I have whiskey dick.


Whiskey dick.

My 40-year-old girlfriend got my dick drunk.

[hip-hop music]

♪ ♪

[light rock music]

♪ ♪


Good morning.

That remains to be seen.

You look tired.

Ah, yeah.

My boyfriend and I got into some whiskey last night...

Not interested.

I need you to be surgically attached to your phone for the next 48 hours.

Um, okay.

Laura Hillenbrand's new book is coming up for auction.

The second it is released to the bidders, I will text you.

You will drop everything and sign out a watermarked copy from her agent's office and hand-deliver it to Charles.

That's exciting.

I loved "Seabiscuit" and "Unbroken."

Liza, if you want to be taken seriously, you can't just blurt out your unrequested opinion.

This is not a Gallup poll.

I bet "Seabiscuit" would love a Gallup poll.

Honestly, it's like you have some form of literary Tourette's.

Hey, how's it going?

Not good.

I'm looking for the next Rob Olive.

I stayed up all night reading Sick Lit books, and now I'm pretty sure I have five different kinds of cancer.


Actually, can I ask you something?


Has Thad ever had trouble performing?

Like a coke poke?

What's a coke poke?

The worst.

It's like running as hard as you can to a finish line that never, ever comes.


Sore for days.

Yeah, no.

That's not Josh's thing, but last night, we were out, and we were drinking...

Wait, you and Josh are back together?

Yeah, we're, um...

We're trying to work things out.

Oh, my God.

I need a scorecard to keep up with you two.


Well, while you guys are on again, bring him to Hector and Dorf's launch tonight because their parties give everyone a boner.


[gasps] It's Rob Olive.

And he wants to meet for lunch.

Kelsey, thanks for coming.


Oh, I'm so glad we could finally meet face-to-face.

Look, it's important.

My new story isn't coming.

I'm completely stuck.

All right.

What's it about?

A high school girl gets put on hospice care the day before her prom.

It's a great premise, but it's all I got.

Okay, what if her friends bring the prom to her and have it at the hospice?

Oh, my God.

That is genius.


I can't do this without you.

So come back to Empirical.


I want you to come with me to Hachette.

Oh, come on.

I'm sure their editorial team would just love that.

They're preparing you an offer as we speak.


They know what you're making at Empirical, and they can do much better.

Wait till you see this offer.

I look forward to seeing it.

[Asian-inspired dance music]

♪ ♪

This is badass.

What exactly is it?

Hector and Dorf's new collection is inspired by Cold War-era ping-pong diplomacy.

What the what, what?

Nixon-era stuff.

On the invitation, it said that the U.S. Table Tennis team were the first Americans to visit communist China back in 1971.


That's the year you were born, right?


Don't make me any older than I am.

You guys want something from the bar?



Oh, hey.

No whiskey.

[whispering] I promise.


You see how focused he is on my age now?

He's just joking.

He's obsessed.

Oh, come on. Let's play some ping-pong.

[gasps] The Hachette offer just came in.

Wow. Not bad.

I just really don't want to leave Empirical.

They're like my family.

A poor family.

What? This offer's good, Kels.

And I bet you can get escalating bonuses based on Rob Olive's sales.

You know what?

Actually, just CC me into the emails, and I'll take care of it.

Tell 'em I'm your financial manager.

Thank you for looking out for me.

I am gonna squeeze their nuts till they're squirting money in your face.

Okay, you can't tell anyone, but Hachette just made me a big offer.


I know.

Well, what are you gonna do?

Thad thinks I should take it.

Well, you're at least gonna give Charles a chance to match the offer, right?

I think I should. I mean, he gave me my big break.

I owe him my career, but then the other part of me thinks that he's always going to view me as a former assistant, you know, no matter what I do.

He's never really gonna value me as an editor in my own right.

Kelsey, I don't think that's true.

It's not his fault.

It would be the same anywhere.

You got to leave to be taken seriously.

We're up.

Josh! There you are.

Hey, hey, Thad.


All right, let's skip the small talk.

I need deets on the breakup.

You said you never really knew Liza.

Then you guys are back together. What? What is the deal?

Uh, I am going to go get some dessert, actually, so...

No, no, no. Waiter! Waiter!

Hey, bring us some Tienanmen squares.

Oh, man. Those are really good.

Hey, babe.




Hi, Liza told me you guys are back together.

I'm really happy about that.

Shh, he was just telling us about the breakup.

No, I wasn't, actually.

Come on.

Somebody cheated.

Nobody cheated.

She cheated.


Am I right?

No, we just had our stuff.

What? Like what?

Like, she was allergic to my cat.

You broke up over a cat?

Then why would you guys get back together?

Because it died.

[gasps] Your cat died?

What happened?

It ate some bleach, and...

How did it get into bleach?

Uh, you know, he just got up there and just got some bleach.

Oh, my God, he? It was a boy.

This is so sad.

What kind of a cat wants bleach?

You know, I, uh... I'm gonna run outside real quick.

Vape? Yeah, let's blaze it up, bro.

No, no. I got to go.

Whoo, yes.

Is Josh taking off?



Is everything okay?

I think I'm just gonna call it a night.

What? Why?

[cell phone whooshes]



I'm sorry.

[melancholy rock music]

[women vocalizing]

[bell rings]

♪ ♪



I've got the Hillenbrand manuscript.

Thank you so much for running it over so late.

I hope I didn't ruin your night.

Nah, I was just playing a little ping-pong.

Is that right?

Yeah, but you're so lucky.

I'm such a Hillenbrand fan.

"Seabiscuit" was my favorite.

Well, I wish I could ask you to come in and read this with me, but that could get us both in trouble.


No, I signed a confidentiality agreement.

There are probably lawyers hiding in the bushes.

Okay, right.

Well, I should let you get to it.


Wait, before you go, a friend of mine told me that Hachette is trying to poach Kelsey Peters.

Have you heard anything about that?

Okay, I'll say this.

Everyone wants to feel valuable at work, and I think that it would mean a lot to Kelsey if she knew just how much you valued her, that you won't always see her as an assistant who's been promoted.

I appreciate that information, Liza, and your discretion.


I guess I'll see you on Monday.

Yeah. See you Monday.

Enjoy the book.

Yeah, and enjoy your night.


[electronic music]



I thought you'd still be at the party.

Eh, I bailed.

Whatever happened with Josh?

Oh, I don't know.

I texted him, and he hasn't texted back.

I just can't figure him out anymore.

Can't figure who out?

Lauren, hi.


Uh, can I get you a robe?

Uh, no. No, thank you.

I'd throw on my dress, but your roommate tore it in half like a phone book.


I can't believe you brought Lauren here.

She could accidentally see something, a photo, who knows, and find out about my age.

She's so self-focused.

She's barely aware of her surroundings.

So where is Josh anyway?

Oh, he went home early.

On a Friday night?

That is not good.

You don't know that.

I also date guys.

No, I mean, I do feel like things have been kind of cooling down between us in the bedroom.

Yeah, no, I figured that would happen.


Josh is really edgy, you know?

And you're, like, the nice girl. I know.

I know that opposites attract, but, no offense, he's probably bored.


No, maybe he is bored.

Of course he's bored.

All of these guys have been watching p0rn since they guessed their parents' password.

It's hard to keep their attention.

You've got to work at it.

Like, how?

Like, be a boss.

Like, you got to get aggro with him.


Uh, can you be more specific?

Do you have a leather hood?

Uh, no, no. That's too hard-core.

Okay, all right. A pen1s cage?

A what?

Fishnets and a finger up the butt?

I think I know what I need to do.

[rock music]

♪ ♪

Can I help you?

Is that my bathrobe?


This bathrobe belongs to a young woman named Liza who my roommate Josh used to date.

Okay. Is Josh home?


I just want you to know, if this is over, it's okay.

I understand, you didn't plan to be with a 40-year-old divorced mom.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. When did I ever say...

You don't have to say anything.

It's just... it's what I'm feeling.

I mean, first this guy didn't want anything to do with me, and then you disappeared from the party.

Okay, I'm sorry about that.

Don't be sorry.

You should be with someone your own age who will go aggro on you and put your pen1s in a cage, but that's not me.

I can't pretend with you anymore.

You know who I really am, and maybe that's not enough or it's too much, or just...




Okay, look.

The other night, I just drank a little too much.


But tonight, everybody started asking me all these questions, and it got really weird, and I just... I left.

I can't be put in that position again, babe.

Like, come on, I can't lie to your friends.

You know, they're my friends too.

But you don't understand; I have to lie about my age at work, or I'll get fired.

I mean, you could tell Kelsey.

She'd be shocked, but she'd get over it.

She's not gonna turn you in.

Kelsey loves you.

She's crazy about you.

I'm crazy about you.




I'm gonna need that bathrobe dry-cleaned.

[upbeat rock music]

♪ ♪

Hey. Could I talk to you?

Yeah. Come on in.



First of all, I want to thank you for giving me my big break in this business.

Without you believing in me, I...

I know about the Hachette offer.


I can't match their money, but I can offer you something that you won't get anywhere else.

Your own imprint geared towards 20-somethings.

You'll choose the projects.

You'll have editorial control, and you can pick your team.

Are you serious?


It's a big step up, but I think you're ready.

Thank you.

Is that a yes?





Um, there's something that I need to tell you.

Will you sit down?


You sit.

Charles just gave me my own imprint.


For millennials, by millennials.

I get to run it.

That's fantastic!

It's gonna be huge, and I want you to be a part of it.


Of course, yes! You're smart.

You're young. You have great taste.

I don't want to do this without you.

Then I'm here for you.

We're gonna be 26-year-old bosses.

Wait, you had something to tell me.




Oh, my God.