Monday, September 21, 2020

Trial and Error

Season 24, Episode 82
First aired June 11, 2020


Haigh, a chairde! Aon scéal? No, nothing here, either. 2020 sure has been unremarkable!


Anyway! The season 25 premiere is this week, and if you—like me—have forgotten what was going on when we last saw our much-loved friends in Ros na Rún, and also Emma and Rory, let’s journey back together and remind ourselves where we left things so we will know what we will be screaming about later this week.


The season 24 finale opens at Berni’s, where everyone is leaving for court in their most somber attire. You can tell things are serious because Bobbi Lee, rhinestone- and fringe-free, looks less like she’s on her way to do shots off a mechanical bull at Willie Nelson’s house and more like she’s Judge Judy. Berni grimly notes that the verdict in Andy’s trial will be today, and I believe this is what we call dramatic irony because we the viewers know something she doesn’t know: that this is the season finale, and therefore he will of course be acquitted. Oops, spoilers! Although, really, given that the prosecutor apparently got his law degree by mailing in three Nutty Pops box tops and a self-addressed stamped envelope, they shouldn’t be too surprised.

Anyway, Briain has a stank attitude about everything, as usual, so Berni sends him to go fetch coffee and maybe do some crunches and lunges somewhere so she can have a quiet word with Bobbi Lee, who is worried that she will never see Nathan again after today. We vaguely recall that Nathan told Bobbi Lee and Berni that Sorcha confessed that she and Briain were the ones who ran over Jude, but then recanted when faced with Berni’s intense fringe, and also Briain in the background writing “Sorcha” on a piece of paper and then balling it up and eating it while glaring at her menacingly. Berni advises Bobbi Lee that Nathan is just as bad as Andy, and that they’ll be lucky to see the back of him, but Bobbi Lee is sad because no matter how troubled he may be, he’s still her son.


Wednesday, September 9, 2020

8 Questions with ... Danny McCafferty

Few characters have entered Ros na Rún in recent years with as much instant drama as Niall--who can forget the Fia/Vanessa/Niall powder keg that went off when he arrived from Australia? Since then he's become one of the most interesting characters on the show, and in my opinion, the storyline in which he helped Nathan reveal his true identity to Bobbi Lee was one of the highlights of season 24, and certainly produced some of the season's best scenes.

We've learned a lot about Niall as a character since his arrival--though I think there's still a lot to find out about him yet--but what about the actor who brings him to life? Danny McCafferty (Danny Mac Eachmharcaigh) was gracious enough to do an interview with me in which he tells us about himself and gives us some insight into the character he plays and being a part of the world of Ros na Rún!

What are your favorite things about being on Ros na Rún?

Without doubt it's the fact that I never feel like I'm going to work. It's like I'm heading in to meet up with friends and we do some filming while we are there.

How do you think you and Niall are similar and how are you different? How do you think you two would get along in real life?

I would say that we are very similar. Niall is without doubt a version of myself. Now, having that said, there is no way I would find myself in the Niall/Fia scenario but I do try to to play Niall in a relatable way.

Where did you grow up and what was the role of the Irish language in your life?

I grew up in a tiny townland called Glasserchoo in the Donegal Gaeltacht. It’s hard to say what kind of role it played simply because it was the norm for me. I didn't learn to speak English until I went to school so I don't see it in those terms, but I would say that after spending years in the UK, I definitely have more of an appreciation for the language and I feel like I have to do my bit to save it.

What has surprised you about being on Ros na Rún (in the making of the show or the reaction of the fans or anything else)? 

I had worked on the other side of the camera for about nine years before I started acting in the show, so the making of it didn't hold any surprises. But fans' reactions is always something that takes me by surprise. To be honest--and I don't really know why this is--but I very seldom get recognized, so much so that a neighbor of mine and an avid Ros na Rún viewer refused to believe I was Niall when I told him I was in the show. Another friend of the family once told me that there was a guy in Ros na Rún that looks the spitting image of me. The funniest one for me though was that a woman approached my Dad in a shop and told him to tell me not to go near Bobbi Lee, that she was bad news. He had to promise that he would have a word with me.

Tyre Kickers, a short film you directed, was recently featured at the Galway Film Fleadh. What can you tell us about it and/or any future projects you are working on? 

Yeah, I definitely want to continue directing more shorts. I would say that I get the same buzz that I do when acting. It’s just such a creative process from start to finish and I love working with actors. I suppose the thing is that I get them. There is an instant level of trust there from the offset and I find myself not having to prove that I know where they are coming from. Yeah, Tyre Kickers is at the start of its festival run, so fingers crossed it will be screened in plenty of festivals and if it picked up a prize or two that would be great.

When Niall was introduced on the show, I never would've imagined him and Bobbi Lee as a couple, but they've been really fun together. What do you think makes them so good together, and do you ever feel pressure from the fans playing the love interest of a character as beloved as Bobbi Lee? 

It is so much fun working with Annamaria and we really work hard on things that will make us more believable as a couple. Both of us love when we have to do an argumentative scene. We know each other so well now that we kind of push each other's buttons in the buildup and then we really go for it. She likes to push it more than me, I have to say! I took a lot of flack online for not being around when she was in court for Andy's court case. So it became clear to me that she is a big fans’ favorite, so I better play nice. hahaha

Which of these shows would you do best on and why: Dancing with the Stars; Big Brother; I'm a Celebrity--Get Me out of Here; or Masterchef

Dancing with the Stars – Believe it or not, I used to work as a dancer and do trapeze in a club when I went to University. So I would fancy my chances as I'm fairly confident I can pull some shapes.

Big Brother – I used to love this show when it first started, when it would be different personalities stuck in a house. I like to think of myself as a really good judge of character. So this would be the ultimate test, but I would never do this show now as it seems to me that they just get a group of argumentative people and lock them in a house. I'm not one for confrontation, so I doubt I would last very long.

I'm a Celebrity--Get Me out of Here – Never really appealed to me this one. Although I would love to do a few bush tucker trials--especially the eating one. But if I had to do any that involved rats...! The group would go hungry that night.

Masterchef – I loooovvvvveeeee cooking. I doubt I'm good enough to have a stab at this show, but it is definitely the one I wish I could do.

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be and what would you be doing?

It’s a crazy time in the world right now, but in terms of how different countries have handled it, I'm pleased I am where I am to be honest. Taking Covid out of the equation, we are heading into the colder months, so a sunny poolside wouldn't go amiss.

And there you have it! I have to admit, I may have given Niall...just a tiny bit of flack in my recaps when he first appeared. But he has since become one of my favorite characters on the show and Danny is really a terrific guy. When I met him in the green room on the set, when the Fia/Niall/Vanessa mess was at its messiest, one of the other actors told him I wrote a Ros na Rún Recaps blog and then he pulled out his phone and I thought, "Oh, God, he's going to see that I have been talking some serious smack about Niall while I am sitting right next to him on this couch...." Fortunately he seems to have forgiven me....

Thanks again to Danny McCafferty for taking the time to answer my questions! Stay tuned for (hopefully) more Q&As with Ros na Rún cast and crew and for the return of recaps when Season 25 premieres on September 22

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Scream If You Want To Go Faster

Season 24, Episode 72
First aired May 7, 2020

Welcome back! Let’s journey together, through the magic of Ros na Rún, to a time when we could eat in restaurants, speak to people in the street, and most of us could go out in public without always accidentally kissing Mack, Katy. Yes, it’s the village of Ros na Rún in The Before Time, when sneezing in someone’s face was met with good-natured laughter and nobody worried much about coughing, unless of course they were Maggie. 

We open this episode, directed by all-around good egg Eamonn James Norris, in the Daly kitchen, which this season has been the scene of 50 percent of all screaming and 90 percent of all screaming the word “faduda.” The other 10 percent is a mobile circle one meter in diameter that follows Katy around. Dee flounces into the kitchen where John Joe and Mack are attempting to operate a kettle and a coffee cup, respectively, and we can tell she’s in a good mood because her ponytail is swinging so bouncily that it’s sweeping the pictures off the walls. Mack looks afraid, which is of course always the sensible response to watching Dee enter a room, and she brightly explains that she’s printed out their tickets to Australia, which she sticks on the fridge. He asks why she’s printed them out given that nobody under the age of 900 does that anymore, and her non-answer is, “We’re leaving in a few days, so why not?” She and her ponytail exit, and you can tell by the intensely brooding look on Mack’s face that the toast he’s holding is about to get the buttering of its life. Another reasonable question might be where Dee obtained actual airline card stock on which to self-print her tickets, but I digress.

Over at the flophouse, the population of which has grown so rapidly since our last recap that it is now the third largest city in Ireland, Sorcha’s mother is anxiously suggesting places the two of them could go today instead of her doctor’s appointment, such as a couples root canal at Tayto Park or to have their skin burned off with lavender-scented sulfuric acid at Loinnir. Sorcha replies supportively that she knows her mother, whose name is apparently Sadie but whom we will always think of as Bettina, is nervous about going to the doctor, but reminds her gently that they’ve been waiting a long time for this appointment, and that everything will be OK. It would be more OK if the town doctor were still sexy Easter Island head Dr Tiarnán, rrowr. Sorcha has been lovely during this storyline, which is kind of a bummer, because she was a lot more fun when she was a complete snot whose main function was to annoy everyone with her stank attitude and problematic jam.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Mad Mams: Beyond Thunderdome

Season 24, Episode 34
First aired December 26, 2019

Happy Christmas! Hopefully you all had lots of awkward family time, like the kind Sorcha is having with her visiting mother in our opening scene. The mother probably has a name, but I don’t know what it is, so I’m going to call her Bettina. By the look in her eyes and her slightly-off mannerisms, plus the sick look on Sorcha’s face, we can tell that something is Not Quite Right with Bettina, who is currently touring the House of 10,000 Residents and declaring that she bets there are a lot of dance parties and quilting bees and so on happening there. Which particular brand of soap-opera problem mom is she? Let’s find out together!

Chez Daly, the entire family is crammed into the kitchen and everyone is looking nervous because Katy is saying and doing things. To be fair, that never ends well. There’s discussion of going to the annual Ros na Rún Fir vs Seanfhir football match, which is being held between the dumpsters at Recycle Bin Park because Aviva Stadium was booked, but things get chilly when Katy offers to stay home with Bláithín because of course Dee would rather gnaw off her own leg than let Katy borrow her curling iron, much less her baby. Katy even offers to make Bláithín’s dinner, but Dee thinks it’s not a good idea since Bláithín is very fond of her routine right now and is also allergic to poison. She and Mack leave, but she hangs out in the doorway to eavesdrop on Katy and John Joe discussing Katy’s plan to talk to Tadhg about resuming her mismanagement of Gaudi. We finally find something Bobbi Lee is good at—other than being fabulous, of course—and now Katy’s going to come bollix it up.

Monday, December 9, 2019

I Kissed A Boy And I'm Not Sure I Liked It

Season 24, Episode 28
First aired December 5, 2019

It’s the morning after the hen party, and we open with a close-up of a pile of vomit on the sidewalk that Máire is trying to sweep up. Dee walks by and nearly spews again at the sight and smell of it, and also the fact that she’s clearly the one who did it. She keeps trying to walk away, but Máire wants to have a quivery-voiced conversation about the general Sodom & Gomorrah-ness of it all. We knew this would happen if they let the gays get married. Eventually Dee gets recruited to push the vomit around with a broom as Máire repeatedly reconstitutes it by pouring water on it, which involves Dee having the dry heaves a lot plus many tight shots on the pile of sick so we can appreciate how realistic it is. OK, special-effects crew, we get that you put a lot of work into concocting this, or perhaps you all just took turns barfing on the pavement to see whose read the best on camera, but STOP SHOWING IT TO US.

Elsewhere, a hungover Mo, one of many people we will see today looking like they’ve been dragged backward through a hedge, staggers out of her bedroom and checks her phone, on which she finds a text from Bloody Fiach asking her how her head is. (If you have ever seen RuPaul’s Drag Race, you are laughing at that question.) She quickly deletes it, and the look on her face makes it unclear whether she is just starting to remember what happened with him last night or remembers it in appalling, terrifying detail. Either way, it seems picking hot-pink boa feathers out of every nook and cranny of her body and home is not going to be the worst thing she has to do today.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Girls Just Want to Have Fiach

Season 24, Episode 27
First aired December 3, 2019

You’re back! I missed you!

We open at the pub, where Bobbi Lee not-at-all discreetly stashes a bunch of shopping bags full of blow-up dolls wearing feather boas behind the bar so she can assure Mo she doesn’t have anything tacky planned for tonight’s hen party. She shouts from behind a giant vibrator that we will be experiencing PURE CLASS, and Mo reiterates, “I don’t want any nonsense or anything rude.” Unfortunately for her, Bobbi Lee’s middle names are “Nonsense” and “Something Rude.” Also “Jolene.” Anyway, Bobbi Lee assures her it will be extremely civil and posh, like having dinner at Buckingham Palace or walking in on Colin Firth and Dame Judi Dench having sex in a fitting room at Harrod’s.

Speaking of pure class, Caitríona waltzes into the shop just as Vince is stocking roll after roll of toilet paper, something Caitríona herself has never seen because she is JUST THAT CLASSY. She’s dressed to the nines for Maeve’s Nutty Pops commercial audition, and then summons our little Meryl Streep to show off her own, erm, “special outfit.” A grim Maeve emerges from upstairs wearing a number of pieces of clothing I do not know the name for in Irish or English, in various shades of Pukey Pink and Fugly Mauve, and so much makeup she can barely hold her head up. You know it’s bad when even Vince, who is up to his neck in Caitríona’s shenanigans around the clock, can’t make eye contact with anyone. Caitríona beams that she’s a shoo-in to get the part, and poor Maeve, whose hair is pulled back so tight her feet aren’t even touching the floor, looks grim, like Shirley Temple played by Morticia Addams.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

The Irish Mackstop

Season 24, Episode 2
First aired September 5, 2019

It’s a peaceful morning in Ros na Rún, by which I mean nobody is being shoved screaming into a police car, burning down a building, or threatening to jump off a roof yet. Still, these people are very resourceful, so we should give them time. We open with an annoyed Mack ignoring a series of phone calls and texts from Katy, and we get the impression that this has been going on for some time, and also that the mental hospital should perhaps supervise their “more fragile” patients’ phone use more closely. The latest text asks “Have you seen the DNA test yet? [eggplant emoji eggplant emoji].” That last part is implied. He pulls the scrap of paper with her email login and password out of his pocket, considers chucking it in the bin, but then sits down at the table where someone’s “Masha” brand laptop has presumably been downloading and installing Windows updates for the past eleven hours. Masha: The Computer Made By Albanians For Albanians. Just as he’s about to enter the password to Katy’s email account, Dee bursts in with a gaggle of children, at least 80 percent of whom were fathered by Mack, so he slams the laptop shut, which of course makes it look like he was looking at porn.

Elsewhere, a drug deal reminiscent of the one in the opening credits is happening in the street. Upon closer inspection it turns out to be Sorcha slipping Briain a scrap of paper— which may or may not have been ripped out of the same pad as Katy was using at the hospital the other day—with the name of someone she knows at So You Ran Over An Old Lady Motors. He’ll be able to get Briain a mirror for his 1982 Reliant Robin to replace the one that broke off in Jude’s torso, she explains. Just then Berni pops out of a doorway and hilariously bugs her eyes out at the sight of her intermittent soulmate fraternizing with the enemy. She flies up in Sorcha’s face and starts screaming at her, hissing that she warned her not to show her face around here again. I knew the people of Ros na Rún would regret that referendum that gave Berni the right to decide who can and cannot exist. Furthermore, she rants, she can’t believe she was so stupid as to give Sorcha another chance after all the other times she has screwed things up and caused drama. It always pains me to admit when Berni is right about something, but this is one of those times. Berni says that trouble follows Sorcha wherever she goes, which is rich coming from the woman who has been almost murdered by half the people she's ever met. Anyway, Berni concludes she is done with Sorcha, DONE! Of course everyone else who has ever met Berni, including Briain and Evan, would be thrilled to think she was DONE with them forever, but Sorcha looks sad, and after Berni storms off, she and Briain exchange pained glances, which in Briain’s world constitutes foreplay.