Fantasmas S1E4 Recap: Superheroes & “Looking4Twinks2S**k”

Carl taking a selfie with Madame Victory in Fantasmas S1E4
Photograph by Atsushi Nishijima/HBO

The following recap contains spoilers for Fantasmas S1E4, “Looking4Twinks2S**k” (written and directed by Julio Torres)

Last week’s episode of Fantasmas ended with Vanesja (Martine Gutierrez) trying to convince Julio (Julio Torres) to do a credit card commercial, and S1E4 picks up on that thread directly. Vanesja tells Julio that “representation matters” and that big banks need a voice like his instead of someone who won’t advocate for change, but it’s transparently empty talk.

Julio, of course, does not want to do the ad and wonders if he could teach a masterclass on hand-acting instead, but Vanesja insists that there’s no way he could get a Proof of Existence exception that way. She’s probably right about that.

Her next idea is for Julio to get involved in the superhero business, and while he’s not too keen on that either (and doesn’t really understand superheroes), he’s willing to give it a shot. He enrolls in a fitness class to get in shape for the role, but it is a jump rope class and Julio cannot jump rope.

This leads to an extended back and forth between Julio and the course instructor, Derrrick with three Rs (Michael Graceffa), about whether there is any need for the rope when it comes to fitness goals. Julio doesn’t see one. He just wants to jump without a rope. Derrrick insists that the rope is crucial, but he can’t really point to a reason why. Ultimately, he invokes centuries of history and tells Julio that if Julio persists in his questioning, everything will collapse and suddenly there will be no God.

It’s a hilarious scene, as Derrrick ends up despondently sitting on the floor while Julio and the other members of the class jump without using their ropes. It’s not the most hilarious scene of the episode, however. That kicks off when Derrrick looks down at his phone.


The title of Fantasmas S1E4, “Looking4Twinks2S**k,” comes from a post on Grindr made by a man named Richard (David Neal Levin). However, it is not actually Richard who is looking for twinks to suck. On his wall is a cursed picture of a Pomeranian (James Scully), who wants Richard to lure young and beautiful twinks to his home so that he (the dog) can suck them of their vitality. Apparently, if this picture of a Pomeranian is able to do this enough times, the curse will be broken and he will once again become a real dog.

Richard doesn’t seem to have any problem going along with this plan. He doesn’t seem overly intimidated by the cursed picture or reluctant about following its orders. It’s just a ridiculous scene, as James Scully chews the scenery in voicing the dog, and Richard just does what he says.

When Julio gets an ominous message the Pomeranian has dictated, he just blocks the account and moves on with his life.

Madame Victory

The longest vignette in Fantasmas S1E4 focuses on an erstwhile writer/actor who works at a theme park portraying Madame Victory (Kate Berlant). That’s clearly not her real name, and we also see her working her second job as a waitress, but Madame Victory superfan Carl (Spike Einbinder) doesn’t recognize her as the same person when she’s his server at the restaurant. He’s too big of a fan for that.

Kate Berlant’s character becomes fascinated by Carl, who claims to be inspired by the bisexual representation that Madame Victory provides (which amounts to a pin on her lapel that is removed from films in certain markets). When pushed about what inspires him about Madame Victory’s stories, he simply says they inspire him to watch the movies, which inspire him to be inspired.

Clearly Fantasmas is commenting on a certain vapidity that can exist in superhero fandom, but Kate Berlant’s character doesn’t look down her nose at Carl, even as he invokes this kind of circular inspiration. Rather, she’s quite taken by his enthusiasm and is herself inspired to start writing again because of it.

Perhaps it’s just good to be invested in things, even if it doesn’t take you outside of the object of that investment.

Kate Berlant sitting at a table in Fantasmas S1E4
Photograph by Atsushi Nishijima/HBO

It turns out that Zappos doesn’t want Julio to play Super Chico; they just want to bring him on as a co-writer for the series. And, since that job seems unlikely to get Julio the Proof of Existence exception he’s after, he reluctantly agrees to do the credit card commercial after all.

We learn a bit more about the Proof of Existence in S1E4 through Edwin (Bernardo Velasco), a Grubhub delivery guy who gets his bike taken by the cops and then can’t ride public transit because he doesn’t have a Proof of Existence (or know what one is). He runs into Gina (Greta Titelman) at a bus stop, who explains that getting a PoE is as easy as downloading the app and putting in things like your social and credit score. But Edwin doesn’t have those things.

So, Gina asks him if he has skills that might help him qualify for an exception. Edwin says that back in Mexico, he made the dress, and when Gina corrects his English by suggesting that he means “a dress,” Edwin shows her that he, in fact, meant The Dress. Gina pushes for him to tell her what color The Dress actually is, and after Edwin tries to insist that people should just let the dress be what it is, he finally relents and tells her that it’s both colors.

It’s an epiphany for Gina, whose life seems forever changed by the thought that everyone in these disputes about the color of The Dress was actually right. I’m not sure, though, if any of this will help Edwin get an exception.

Edwin standing on the street
Photograph by Monica Lek/HBO

In a brief scene in Fantasmas S1E4, Julio watches a video of protestors chanting, “Unlikeable people can’t be believed!” Apparently they are outside of the Dodo trial and referring to Dodo (Bowen Yang), but the chant puts a point on a major theme of the series. You have to prove that you exist by being socially inscribed, and there are requirements. You can only get an exception if you are an influencer or something along those lines. Existing is linked to being liked.

I’ll probably have more to say about this by the end of the season, but I’ll leave it at that for now.

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *