In the installment, penned by series creator/EP Amy Sherman-Palladino and EP Daniel Palladino, Susie (Alex Borstein) learns that her roomie/comic foil died suddenly of a stroke. (Jackie was also the longtime emcee at the Gaslight comedy club where Rachel Brosnahan’s titular comedienne got her start.)
“His final words were actually for you,” Jackie’s surviving sister Nancy informed Susie at the top of the episode. “I wrote them down so I wouldn’t forget: ‘Susie, the guys are coming to sand the floor at Noon. Be there to let them in. They’re flaky, so f–k knows if they’ll show. Remember Monday’s a holiday, so don’t put the garbage out Sunday night. We already got one ticket from the city. If you’re going to make spaghetti sauce, push the curtains back because you splash a lot and you can’t get sauce out of that fabric. It’s just too delicate.”
A distraught Susie spends much of the hour self-medicating with alcohol, before delivering a raucous, emotional eulogy at a stranger’s packed memorial service because only four people showed up to the event honoring Jackie. “I can’t talk about him to an empty room,” Susie maintains. “Where the f–k was everyone? A man dies, you show up at his funeral, right?”
Susie goes on to express regret for failing to get to know the “real” Jackie while he was alive. “This guy lived a life and I never knew any of this,” she laments, fighting back tears. She then vows to dedicate the rest of her career as a talent manager to “finding the Jackies of the world… The ones you don’t see. The ones who never catch a break.”
Tarantina, whose working relationship with Team Palladino spanned more than two decades and also included a role in Gilmore Girls, died in November 2019 at the age of 60.
“For over twenty five years, Brian Tarantina has been in our lives,” Amy and Dan said in a statement at the time. “He was in Amy’s first pilot [the Rosanna Arquette-led Daisy and Chess]. And he’s been in every significant thing we’ve done since. He came in with that voice and that timing and he made every scene better. And weirder. Every moment was completely unique. You can’t describe a guy like Brian, you just had to be there. And lucky for us, we were. We love him and will forever miss him.”