I’m a Virgo S1E2: The Universe and My Spirit

The fast food worker moving at hyperspeed, Flora, is back at work, and Cootie is smitten with her. It’s still not clear whether her choppily-edited, sped-up movements are supposed to be literal or just Cootie’s perception, but he orders another Bing Bang Burger just to get a chance to awkwardly talk to her.

His friend Jones advises a situtationship, which she defines as “if you hook up less than three times.” But he bought the burger with the last of his pocket money and his father refuses to give him any more. He’s still upset that Cootie broke the rules and showed himself outside (although nothing seems to have come of the police arresting him at the end of last episode), and lays a guilt trip on him for “feeding your big ass” for so many years. He advises him to “get your own money.”

He makes little progress on that front, as while he’s able to use his “Thwamp Monster” fame to convince a convenience store clerk to sell him booze without ID, his friends are also tapped out. Enter Sam Spiegel, an agent (sports, talent, acai products) who wants to make Cootie into a star athlete.

But first, Cootie returns to Big Bang Burger and Flora, who speeds through taking everyone else’s orders to get to him, and smiles back when he awkwardly flirts, and pays for his burgers with a mountain of pennies scavenged from his parents’ couch cushions. As much thought as the show puts into the realities of Cooties’ 13-foot-tall existence, it never shies away from the absurdism built into the premise.

Spiegel calls back with a job offer. The bad news is, Cootie’s been preemptively banned from every sport, up to and including competitive walking. But he gets him a gig as a giant department store mannequin, a job that involves holding a pose without moving, although he tries his best to find his character’s motivation. The mall crowd is appreciative, especially a group of black-turtleneck-clad cultists who insist that the arrival of a giant was prophesied, and that Cootie is their messiah. “We await your revelation. And instructions.”

There’s a lot going on this week, but it doesn’t hold together terribly well as an episode. The first episode did a terrific job of first establishing, then broadening Cootie’s world. This one doesn’t really tell us much more about Cootie or the world he’s taking his first steps into; it feels more like a lot of small setups for payoffs that will come later in the season.

That’s true right up until the final scene, as we again end with Cootie’s parents having a hushed discussion about his future that’s light on specifics and heavy on portent: “When it comes for him, there’ll be chaos, pain, destruction, and blood all around us. Let’s hope he’s ready.” 

Stray thoughts:
• This episode is just under 18 minutes, with credits, which might be the shortest episode of anything since Steven Universe went off the air. In general, brevity works best for comedy (glares at Judd Apatow), but this episode could have used an emotional arc, or a plot throughline, or something to make it feel like more than just the first act of some future installment.

• Jones asks Cootie to help her activist group and he puts her off. We also see several more citywide blackouts. We assume both of these threads will get picked up in future episodes.

• Cootie also makes small talk with an anti-death penalty activist (Elijah Wood) who’s studying to become an executioner. “If I can make their deaths a little less painful, that’s a victory!” It doesn’t seem like the scene is designed to connect to anything else, just another glimpse into the dystopian world Cootie and his friends inhabit.