TV

‘The Americans’ Anxiety Report: Leave Pasha Alone, You Monsters


The Americans Anxiety Report is a weekly rundown of the people and things we are currently most worried about on the show. It will get weird, because many of the people and things we will be worrying about will be tools in a plot to ruin America, put in motion by another country. Blame the show for this, not us.

10 (tie). Tuan (Last week: Not ranked)

I was tempted to exclude Tuan from this list because Tuan often presents himself as a cool customer who would heave a Molotov cocktail through your bedroom window if you looked at him wrong, but… did the whole “you guys should spend more time around here” thing feel sad to you? Maybe it’s just a legitimate suggestion for the mission. I dunno. But that way he said it — coupled with the thing a few weeks ago where he and Philip were tossing around the old pigskin — made it feel more like a desperate plea from a lonely kid who is looking for a family. Or maybe he’s going to kill them in their sleep. No way to tell.

10 (tie). Assorted American bug scientists (Last week: 9)

Maybe the coldest thing any character has ever said to another one on this show, and there is some prestigious company, was the “That’s fine” that Deirdre dropped on Philip when he said he couldn’t come out to see her. Just brutal. Although you can’t really blame her, I guess. What’s the point of having an exciting long distance sex fling if your partner is just whining and moping around all the time? Say what you will about Ben — and I have said plenty, because he’s a two-timing scuzz and a know-it-all dope — but at least he gets that. He brings the heat when “Brenda” is in town, all tai chi and homemade Egyptian soups and such. Maybe Philip should show up next time on a motorcycle. I think that will help.

9. Oleg’s mom (Last week: Not ranked)

This poor woman. Stuck in a work camp for five years and now constantly terrified for her son. Let’s send her to a spa for a week. Like a GoFundMe thing.

8. The big sex guy (Last week: Not ranked)

I’m not entirely sure that the “big sex guy” Pasha’s mom was discussing is the same one she was sneaking off to the motel with, but let’s go ahead and assume it is. If not, then that means that there are two big sex guys in the class, and that’s just too many sex guys. They’ll be banging their heads together like rams, trying to establish dominance. The rest of the class will be forced to choose sides. Nothing will ever get done. The whole exercise will become pointless as the two virile males turn the classroom into a testosterone-drenched thunderdome. I’ve seen it so many times.

But anyway, yeah. This guy is hosed.

7. Pasha’s mom (Last week: Not ranked)

You’re a recent immigrant. New in America. Things are okay, you guess. You have a job, some friends. But you’re getting really sick of your husband ranting and raving all day about what a dump Russia is. Just fed up. And then one day, as you’re preparing your lessons, in walks a new student. Tall, handsome. A big sex guy. Would… would it be so wrong? Isn’t that what America is about? The freedom to make your own choices? The freedom to escape your old life? Just one kiss couldn’t hurt…

… aaaaaand Russian spies are conspiring to haze your teenage son to force you to leave the country. The Americans is a lot like that old board game Life, except instead of ending up in a mansion with your family, everyone dies alone in Russia. Otherwise exactly the same.

6. Elizabeth (Last week: 5)

Elizabeth is training her teenage daughter to be a warrior in the same room that she murdered her rapist and is trying to relax by doing the tai chi movements she learned from the scientist she’s sleeping with as part of a secret mission about bug-resistant crops that started with her and her husband murdering an innocent guy named Randy in a laboratory, all of which has said husband so stressed and ineffectual that she has to give him bi-weekly pump-up chats so he doesn’t tank the mission and get everyone killed.

Elizabeth is quiet and strong, but don’t let that fool you. Lady has a lot going on.

5. Stan (Last week: 2)

Stan has two problems this week:

  • His new asset appears to be making flirting eyelashes at him, which has not traditionally worked out well for him in the past
  • Renee wants him to go skydiving WHICH IS THE PERFECT COVER FOR A MURDER STAN DONT DO IT

Stan’s life would be improved by hundreds of percent if he took a vow of celibacy and stuck to it.

4. Philip (Last week: 3)

Let’s just go ahead and continue our streak of posting a single screencap of Philip looking sad, in lieu of actual analysis.

3. Paige (Last week: 1)

There was a scene this week where Paige was slumped on the couch channel surfing like a zombie. I probably should have watched that and thought how sad it is that this poor girl’s life is in shambles and she’s basically catatonic whenever she’s not learning to be an assassin, but instead it just made me miss channel surfing. Before we had cable guides and streaming and On Demand, we’d all just flick through the channels one at a time, praying something interesting would turn up. Sometimes you’d stumble on the weirdest stuff and end up watching it for an hour. There’s something charming about that, in hindsight.

It also sucked tremendously and the future is better because we have the whole world at our fingertips 24/7 and don’t have to waste an afternoon hopelessly flicking through the same 30 channels. But still. Charming. Like how getting water from a well seems charming until you realize you actually have to do it and you’re all “Hmm. Faucets are fine.”

2. Oleg (Last week: 6)

Let me state this clearly and for the record: I do not want the Russian secret police to search my bedroom. Ever. No thank you to that.

1. Pasha (Last week: Not ranked)

This poor kid. He hates America. He hates his dad. His mom is running around to motels to hook up with the big sex guy. And now the only good thing in his life, his friendship with Tuan, might go bad because Tuan is trying to get in with the cool kids to haze him into going back to Russia. For the love of God. Let’s send him to that spa with Oleg’s mom.

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