Fantasmas S1E3 Recap: Sex Toys, Hamsters, and Toilets


Denise looks through a window in a vignette in Fantasmas S1E3, "Toilet"
Photograph by Atsushi Nishijima/HBO

The following recap contains spoilers for Fantasmas S1E3, “Toilets” (written and directed by Julio Torres)

Fantasmas S1E3 begins with more footage from the Dodo trial. Dodo (Bowen Yang) testifies to being confused about why the elves were making toys in February and then realizing he was making a sex toy. Mrs. Claus (Julia Fox) then takes the stand and confirms that Dodo found the strap-on in the Claus home, but she says that they product-test all the toys made at the North Pole. She was happy to test the strap-on on Santa. The real point of her testimony, however, is to suggest that Dodo is only suing because he hates Christmas.

I don’t have much to say about this. The scene strikes me as outlandish for the sake of being outlandish. I don’t mean that as a criticism—I was sufficiently entertained—but there isn’t a lot to think about here.

Dodo on the stand at trial
Photograph by Monica Lek/HBO

The same could be said for the other vignettes in “Toilets.”

Aidy Bryant plays a woman named Denise in an ad for toilet dresses. She says all toilets are female, didn’t ask to be toilets, and deserve to be dressed up, so we see a variety of toilets adorned with sequins, etc. It’s amusing but not as compelling as the stuff about the letter Q or the Melf sitcom from Fantasmaspremiere episode.

Then, there’s the stuff with hamsters. In search of his missing earring, Julio (Julio Torres) learns about a gay hamster nightclub called Fufu’s that has now been converted into a CVS. It’s all really funny—and if you didn’t watch all the way to the end I should note that there are more hamsters in a brief post-credits scene—but it feels quirky for the sake of being quirky.

Again, though, I don’t mean any of this as a criticism of what Fantasmas is doing. The show twists things in the direction of the weird, and one effect of that is comedic. At its best, this kind of humor can also move thought in a novel direction, but given how Fantasmas is comprised of so many disjointed vignettes, it’s no surprise that some work better than others.

Mrs. Claus on the stand at Dodo's trial
Photograph by Monica Lek/HBO

As expected, Julio is interested in the services of Incorporeal, a company that promises a life without a body. Vicky (Sydnee Washington) informs him that the service costs $999/month, and she is a bit coy about what will happen if he stops paying, though it certainly sounds like the answer is just death.

Given that Vicky also runs scams that involve her telling people on the phone that she is a real bank, one has to wonder whether Incorporeal is legit at all. As her brother, Oscar (Ikechukwu Ufomadu), submits a Dream Analysis Kit later in the episode, we learn that the pair run an internet café and are in massive debt because Oscar called an ambulance for their father one time. Incorporeal is a side hustle.

But, regardless of its general legitimacy, Julio’s problem with Incorporeal is that they require a Proof of Existence, which he does not have and does not want to get. We do learn a bit more about the Proof of Existence in S1E3. Apparently it costs $5/month, you’ll need it to do most anything by the end of the year (including riding the subway), and the application involves submitting things like your credit history and employment history. That all sounds pretty gross, though we’re not told explicitly that you can’t get a Proof of Existence if you’ve been consistently unemployed with bad credit. It feels like it?

Julio, however, wants to apply for an exception, which you can basically only get if you’re sufficiently famous. Vanesja (Martine Gutierrez) has a job in mind that can help him get there, but it’s a cringe commercial for a credit card company, so we’ll have to wait until next week to find out if Julio is willing to suck it up and do it.

Julio is still hung up on whether the birthmark on his neck is actually cancer, and he’s still searching for his lost earring, even if it seems increasingly unlikely that he’ll ever find it.

This week, that leads him to the aforementioned hamster CVS and then to a hamster in Amina’s (Eudora Peterson) middle school classroom. The hamster informs Julio that the earring fell into a toilet, so Julio talks to the water (Tilda Swinton) and learns that the earring was flushed. We then meet a couple of mermaids (Kim Petras & Princess Nokia) who complain about Halloween costumes, which is amusing, but I guess Julio would have to go under the sea to find his earring at this point.

Maybe he will!

Julio sits on a bench next to a middle school student
Photograph by Atsushi Nishijima/HBO

I hope that Julio refuses to do the credit card ad Vanesja pitches to him. At the same time, I hope that he gets to make the Tooth Fairy movie about addiction we see him pitching earlier in S1E3, though this seems unlikely. As things are shaping up, it seems like the plot of Fantasmas should be about Julio coming to accept that he has to get a Proof of Existence and sacrifice some of his individuality in order to get by in the world. But I continue to hope he finds some way out of this.

See you next week.

Written by Caemeron Crain

Caemeron Crain is Executive Editor of TV Obsessive. He struggles with authority, including his own.

Caesar non est supra grammaticos

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