Screen: VH1

On Couples Therapy, Joe Francis Makes His Bid For The Title Of World's Worst Human

Spoiler: nails it.

Happy fortieth birthday, Joe Francis! I see you decided to celebrate by making the people around you feel as low and worthless as you do every day of your life!

The latest Couples Therapy was so much the "Joe Francis Sucks" episode (even more so than usual) that of the six "highlights" posted on VH1's site, basically all of them are about what a miserable fucking prick Joe is, including one filmed when he is not even on the premises. I guess because it's his birthday, he's been excused from the house for the day, and since his girlfriend Abbey Wilson doesn't join him, I can only assume he's actually spending this milestone of a day at a strip club -- like, a really disgusting one, since he's already seen enough regular boobs that a standard peeler bar couldn't possibly do it for him anymore. (Please note: this is idle speculation! Maybe, since he does fancy himself an "intellectual snob," he went to the Getty. I doubt it, though!)

What Joe has missed, though, is all the kerfuffle surrounding Liz Trujillo's health scare, and once she's been safely removed by EMTs, Dr. Jenn Berman checks in with the other therapy patients she feels are the most vulnerable: actual children Tyler Hoechlin and Catelynn Lowell, and Abbey, who's not chronologically a child but is certainly treated like one by her much older, much grosser boyfriend. In a surprising twist, it turns out that when Joe isn't there to talk over her and dictate what she says, Abbey is capable of expressing thoughts and feelings on her own.

After meeting Joe out at his birthday party, Abbey rides back to the therapy house with Francis, and shares what she experienced when he wasn't there, starting with the fact that other therapy participants noticed how different she is when Joe isn't around to oppress her. (Not her word, mine, but I assure you that it fits.) So because this doesn't conform to Joe's narrative about what works in their relationship, he rolls his eyes and bitches that when he corrects things she says and makes her feel stupid, it's because he's "an intellectual snob, and more educated than most people." (He doesn't say "than you," but it's pretty clear that he wants to.) "I'm just trying to make you better," he adds -- and she shouldn't fear that his corrections mean he's going to reject her. FAR FROM IT, I WOULD SAY, since having her in the position of his intellectual inferior is probably a huge part of her appeal for him!  He further says that telling her when she does or says something wrong is so that she can better herself and not make the same mistakes again, but offers to stop correcting her if that's what she wants. But before she can say whether it is or not, he asks if she made the bed, and then scolds her when she says she didn't. This is going great for Abbey.

Joe's control issues come up again in group, and as usual, he's utterly unwilling to consider that the problems in his relationship with Abbey stem from something other than her disordered eating.

"COME ON, ABBEY, YOU HAVE TO DEFEND ME."

A one-on-one with Dr. Berman tantalizingly hints at the horrific events of Joe's past that made him into the disgusting monster he is today, but because we don't get the details, it's hard to empathize with Joe or take his side when this happens.

So...apparently, all the times Dr. Berman told Francis not to denigrate Flavor Flav and Liz or refer to them as "a sideshow" pulling focus from Joe's own sincere efforts to improve himself (or, really, his sincere efforts to improve Abbey, since he plainly still thinks he's just fine) have not sunk in at all, and he's not a fair fighter (what does the frequency of Flav and Liz's showers have to do with it) AND having him back in the house makes Abbey as big an asshole as he is (why throw out the strawberries?!). I hate to be put in the position of taking Flav and Liz's side in any dispute, but the new nickname "Dickface Joe" is pretty much on point.

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