What to Watch Verdict
Even with the thrilling prospect of dating Doja Cat, this episode captures the unique horrors of app-based romance.
🎤 Doja Cat is great playing herself, not just opposite Dave's goofy flirtation but in revealing the challenges of modern career management.
🎤 Director Tayarish Poe brilliantly juxtaposes the text bubbles and various interactions on screen.
🎤 The record Dave's supposed to be recording feels like an increasingly distant memory amidst some interesting developments that, sadly, undercut his status as a music artist.
This post contains spoilers for Dave.
Check out our last review here.
If starting a relationship seems like an unappealing challenge in the age of dating apps, “Somebody Date Me” feels like a case study in how difficult it can be even for someone who is successful, and probably meets people easily. We’re not talking about Lil Dicky (Dave Burd), but Doja Cat, the chart-topping singer and rapper who matches with him on a dating app at the beginning of the episode. Like any internet era celebrity, brand management is a full time job for Doja (Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini), but their connection seems fun, flirty and full of promise despite bustling schedules for both of them.
After Ally (Taylor Misiak) broke up with him at the end of Season One, Dave rebounded earlier in Season Two with a tentative hookup and a reconciliation with her in the hopes of becoming friends. But he’s so excited about the prospect of dating a celebrity — perhaps “another” celebrity is accurate, but he’s definitely the less famous of the two — that he stalls for time with another young woman, a civilian named Sadie, in order to explore the possibilities with Doja. In the meantime, Elz (Travis Bennett) connects him with rapping duo Rae Sremmurd for a music video they’re shooting with J Balvin, where he will make a cameo — although he doesn’t know yet in what capacity. Simultaneously, Dave’s parents are visiting, which results in him pawning them off onto Mike to shepherd them around and run the errands he was supposed to do with them.
Dave continues to struggle to understand some of the deeper meanings of creative choices that he thinks are funny, like at the video shoot when he suggests replacing a wall of female derrieres with men’s; Slim Jxmmi and Swae Lee rightfully call him out for his casual homophobia. But hanging more delicately in the balance than his featured role in the video is a proposed date with Doja, which he threatens by accidentally sending a selfie she shares back to her instead of to Elz, its designated recipient. One can only imagine the stakes of initiating a courtship with a celebrity, but Dave’s skills are rusty at best with potential partners of any level of fame; but then again, as a guy who’s stepped on his dick as many times as he has, he also demonstrates a surprising aptitude for repairing damage he previously inflicted.
What’s interesting is how the show portrays both halves of these electronic conversations — not just texts exchanged but real-time reactions, and what’s happening around them as they’re navigating these first exchanges. The complexity multiplies as Dave is keeping two women on the line, and then also trying to be present at the music video, while Doja fulfills her duties on social media, in dance rehearsal and at a photo shoot while offering playful glimpses of her personality. Unfortunately, Dave ends up making the classic mistake of being too eager, and too serious too soon; Sadie’s friend puts it best when contemplating a response to Dave’s evasion when she says “don’t be thirsty.” But the minor tragedy is that it’s clear Doja likes Dave and planned to meet him for their date until he started to pressure her; red flags certainly seem bigger and brighter at the beginning of a relationship, and getting a hectoring tone from Dave about responding is the last thing that she needs after a day where she’s being pulled in a dozen directions at once.
This also marks the second time that someone has pointed out that his sophomoric humor is at least laced with a degree of homophobia – or at least that his jokes need a little more thought than “me surrounded by guy’s butts is funny.” There’s something valuable about him being the punching bag for these sorts of observations because, first, he is extremely funny, but also he’s the exact right person to need, or receive, a closer look at his ideas and inspirations. And certainly as his career grows and he begins to achieve some of the more legitimate celebrity status that eludes him (and he pursues via Doja), an episode like this really touches on and encapsulates the world that Lil Dicky is navigating, both within the music industry and society at large. Things still mostly work out for him, but after a gauntlet like this one it’s more important than ever to remember: don’t be thirsty.
Todd Gilchrist is a Los Angeles-based film critic and entertainment journalist with more than 20 years’ experience for dozens of print and online outlets, including Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Weekly and Fangoria. An obsessive soundtrack collector, sneaker aficionado and member of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Todd currently lives in Silverlake, California with his amazing wife Julie, two cats Beatrix and Biscuit, and several thousand books, vinyl records and Blu-rays.
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