Thus far in Comedy Central’s new series Idiotsitter, Gene has been portrayed as a hilarious idiot who cracks jokes at other peoples’ expenses. She suffers from a particular strain of affluenza brought on by the combination of her ostentatious lifestyle and years of being neglected by her dad and stepmom. Admittedly, the top priority of a bonehead show like Idiotsitter is to make audiences laugh, not to explore the depth and covert angles of its characters’ personalities. That said, most of Gene’s outrageous behavior in Idiotsitter can be traced back to an epicenter of emotional pain created by her abundant, shallow lifestyle. Even more, Gene’s humor draws from the same covered-up anguish — her best friend dying, her mom disappearing, the general absence of parental figures from her life are all episode plot lines. In last night’s episode “GED Prom,” however, Gene let her guard down more than we’ve ever seen.
The softening of Gene’s character picked up momentum in the “Mothers Day” episode when Gene’s birth mother — a man named Dan — shows up at her doorstep to Gene’s surprise. The episode explored the hilarity of a confused, highly immature Gene meeting her transgender mother for the first time. Jillian Bell’s irresistible delivery aside, this situation — a daughter meeting her estranged mother — is weighed down by some heavy emotion and adds to our understanding of Gene as an infantile, misbehaved party girl. As Gene attempts to bond with her mom, we see that the comedy in Jillian Bell’s portrayal of Gene stems from a place of candid humility rather than unruly recklessness.
Last night’s episode, “GED Prom,” resumed the efforts to bring out the Gene beneath the exterior of poop jokes and prime slapstick by way of introducing a love interest. Billie throws Gene her very own prom since she missed out in high school, but also because Gene wants to invite her Xbox Live arch nemesis Kerry (played by episode co-writer Andrew W.K.) so she can embarrass him in front of everyone Carrie style. Gene has grown to hate Kerry through their headset-based relationship because he endlessly taunts her and usually beats her at Halo. As you probably could have guessed, Gene doesn’t like to lose. The Gene who doesn’t have many friends and whose parents neglect her is the one who creates the malicious plan to dump a bucket of pig’s blood on Kerry’s head, but the softer Gene — the one who actually feels emotions — takes over when she sees Kerry for the first time in all his buff, nerdy glory. As opposed to the previous episodes in which Gene confronts potentially sexual situations with unrestrained vulgarity, she is shy and reserved in front of Kerry. Gene ends up drenched in the pig’s blood, and although she didn’t intend to bare the brunt of the evil prank, she did mean to save Kerry from utter embarrassment.
The episode ends with Gene, Kerry, Billie, and Chet’s twin brother Brett playing a friendly round of Halo after the big party is over. Gene’s humbled expression throughout this scene proves to the audience that she can let her guard down when she trusts someone enough, even if she did meet the person over Xbox Live. Not only is Gene totally thrilled to have met a boy whom she could possibly call her boyfriend one day, but more importantly, she is also comforted by the mere idea that she is desirable and possibly lovable in someone else’s eyes. Gene is tough on the outside because she has to protect herself, but last night’s episode made it clear that underneath it all, she is really just a warm ball of mushy feelings.