Friday, December 30, 2016

A Crazy Shade of Winter

Season 21, Episode 33
First aired 27 December 2016

We begin this episode in which all hell finally breaks loose with a typical morning of Dee shaking a hung-over Mack awake and him immediately apologizing for being an idiot. It’s nice that his automatic reaction to seeing his soon-to-be wife is terror, and also recognition that he’s an idiot. She complains that he stinks of drink as Noreen enters and starts shooting daggers at him. She offers her non-cheating daughter a cup of tea, but Dee replies that she should give it to Mack because he needs it more than she does, so Noreen makes a production out of spitefully drinking it while glaring at him. This may be the episode in which Noreen finally transforms into Lauren from Catherine Tate, except Noreen appears to be very much bovvered.

Over at the café, Berni is showing Bobbi-Lee the menu she’s cooked up (!) for the catering contract thing she’s trying to get with the local Association of Allied Bricklayers, Satellite Dish Installers, and Those Women Who Spray Perfume on You When You Walk Through a Department Store. Bobbi-Lee, ever the voice of the people, has of course forgotten all about this storyline, as had we all, and also makes it clear that this is very boring because it’s not about her or money that someone might give her. Berni suggests that perhaps Vince could come take photos of the food or whatever, and at this point probably even she isn’t sure anymore whether she’s innocently bringing him up because he’s the only one in town who owns a camera or because she’s trying to poke at Bobbi-Lee. Anyway, Bobbi-Lee takes the bait and starts ranting that Vince is a scoundrel and a bastard and that she totally hates him forever, which if you run through Bobbi-Lee à English on Google Translate actually means that if he walked in the door right now, she would make out with him, and then send video of it to Caitríona. This leads to a discussion of how she should make a revenge CD and get it revenge-played on every radio station in Ireland so she can make lots of revenge royalties and really rub it in his face. Also, revenge. Berni notes that Bobbi-Lee could be the one to finally put Ros na Rún on the map, though I would’ve thought it was already on the AA Ireland map as a place to avoid due to the high murder rate and also Tadhg.

Over at the pub, Frances is agreeing to look after Cuán for a few days so Katy and Jason can go away for the wedding and any shocking revelations and drunken fistfights that might hypothetically break out there. Tadhg thinks it’s a good idea for Cuán to spend more time with the Ó Direáins because Cuán said something the other day that does not make any sense in the English subtitles, but I believe he’s disapproving of Cuán picking up Katy’s Donegal accent, because even I know enough Irish to have figured out that the Dalys speak completely differently from everyone else. Tadhg points out that it’s bad enough that the next one will be Daly-spawn, but he doesn’t want Katy thinking she’s got ownership over Cuán, too. Jason is pooed because Katy is raising Cuán and they are a family and nothing is ever ever going to break them up, so he stomps off in a huff. If there’s a way to say “stomps off in a huff” in Irish with a hilarious Donegal accent, imagine that.

Back at wedding headquarters, there is boring talk of flowers and garters and cakes made of lace, which Noreen is trying to liven up by being passive-aggressive to everyone, but nobody is paying attention to her. We cut over to the café, where Bobbi-Lee is on the phone with the president of Sony Music or similar asking whether they can have her CD recorded, released, and in every home in Ireland by the end of the week, and she will not settle for less than a foldout poster sleeve with diamond-studded bonus tracks and a limited edition that includes a T-shirt depicting her kicking Vince while pulling Caitríona’s hair. Negotiations break down, sadly, when she’s told that this will cost €3,000, which is approximately €2,983 more than she has. Berni, who’s been unnervingly cheerful lately, arrives with a coffee refill, and we can hear the gears in Bobbi-Lee’s head start squeaking to life, because in her mind, if you unscramble the word Berni, you spell airgead.

Mack and John Joe compare hangovers out in the street, and Mack keeps wetting his pants and having mini-heart attacks because John Joe keeps saying things that make him think the secret is out. Poor Mack is going to end up in the hospital before the day is over one way or another.

Back at the café, Berni is fuming because she’s discovered that frigging Pádraig and effing Máire are also bidding for the contract. Bobbi-Lee can’t believe Berni is still banging on about this and tells her to forget about it until Berni points out that there’s money to be made, at which time Bobbi-Lee suddenly remembers that her lifelong dream has been for Berni to get this contract with Toyota to build sparkplugs or whatever it is that Berni does. By the way, the café’s “today’s special” chalkboard has been trying to flog that same BLT and quiche with salad for at least a year. They must be mummified by now. Anyway, Bobbi-Lee starts blowing smoke up Berni’s ass about what a fantastic job she does running the café as a single working mother of octuplets from the mean streets of Calcutta or whatever her story is, and also that Berni has “a lovely way with people.” Well, that’s one way of putting it. It would be an inspiration to the entire nation—nay, the world—if Berni got this contract, and sisters are doing it for themselves, and you go, girl, and so on. So, in conclusion, please make the check for €3,000 out to Bobbi-Lee Ní Neachtain, that’s N-E-A….

As Jason and Katy load their luggage into the car, Jason tells her apropos of absolutely nothing that he doesn’t know if he’d be able to raise another man’s child. I know I say that to my loved ones all the time. Back at the Dalys’, Noreen is so upset she’s punching flowers, which would never happen if Geena Kennedy were doing this. I’m just saying. She throws a complete hissy fit, and John Joe, ever the expert on female psychology, goes out on a limb and guesses that this means she’s upset about something. She tearfully tells him that Dee can’t marry Mack, and that if he’ll just hold on through the adverts, she’ll tell him why after the break!

When we return, Noreen rants that Mack is a blackguard, and John Joe counters that, sure, Mack is a big idiot who makes terrible decisions, but is generally harmless. Noreen starts to tell him what she overheard last night, but John Joe cuts her off and says that whatever it is, she’s got to keep her mouth shut and stay out of it or else she’ll ruin Dee’s life. Dee is an adult now and needs to be allowed to ruin her own life!

Out in the street, an irritated Berni runs into Bobbi-Lee, who is supposed to be minding the café, but got bored, so she closed it and went out shopping. Hee. Berni is on her way to her interview and is dressed like Pauline Fowler on her way to a funeral in a yarn shop, which Bobbi-Lee hilariously insists will never do, so she proceeds to try to sex up her oversized shapeless potato sack by unbuttoning it down to Berni’s navel. Sadly, Berni stops her before she can start unbuttoning the tea cozy she’s wearing as a hat. Just then Bloody Peatsaí wanders past trying to sell a box of something marked down to 15% off, and I swear to God, when I saw it, I thought to myself that in my recap I was going to claim it was “a box of expired rat poison or something,” and then it turns out it is ACTUALLY A BOX OF EXPIRED RAT POISON! And really, this is why this is my favorite TV show. He points out to Berni how useful rat poison would be in the café, but she is offended and shoos him way, fuming to Bobbi-Lee that she’d have no chance at the contract at all if the man from the co-op came by and spotted a giant box of rat poison. Oh, dear.

Over at the B&B, it’s the return of Fia, who today is wearing the inside of Jeannie’s bottle as a blouse. (She actually looks completely fab, but don’t tell her I said so.) She and Máire have been busy cleaning up the place for the man from the co-op, mopping the walls and polishing the butter and putting away the giant boxes of rat poison and so on. Máire sadly notes that Fia will be heading back to Galway soon since Christmas break is almost over, but then suggests that she move back into the B&B, and she could even catch the 8 o’clock bus to college. I’m not sure which surprises me more, the fact that Fia is in college or the fact that Máire actually believes Fia ever rolls out of bed before 11. Fia is noncommittal, so Máire sighs that it’s OK, she understands that Fia is busy with her friends and bubblegum and records, and that Máire can just stay there by herself and die alone and be found four months later half-eaten by an Alsatian. Clearly Máire has been reading my mother’s Christmas playbook. Fia, worn down by the avalanche of guilt, agrees to stay until the end of January, which Máire burbles has once again given her a reason to live, though she reserves the right to will herself to die at any time if Fia does something she doesn’t like.

At the church, Mack, Dee, John Joe, Noreen, and Noreen’s famous husband Ferdia are standing around trying to make conversation, and the awkwardness is approaching fatal levels. Ferdia makes a big production for everyone, i.e., John Joe, of how close he and Dee are, reminiscing about how as a little girl she’d put on her communion dress and pretend to be a bride who finds out at her wedding reception that her husband got her sister pregnant. Jason, Katy, and the priest arrive, so the rehearsal can begin, which is good, because given the way Noreen is nervously molesting her bouquet of flowers, she’s not going to be able to keep it together much longer.

Bobbi-Lee shows up at the B&B with some cockamamie story about needing Evan’s spare key, which makes no sense, but is enough to outsmart Fia. Well, really Fia is about 50% outsmarted and 50% doesn’t care about any of this and just wants Bobbi-Lee to go away. So she disappears upstairs to look for the keys, which gives Bobbi-Lee enough time to plant the gigantic box of rat poison in an extremely prominent place. I’d like to think that I’d notice if I walked into my kitchen and there were suddenly a box of rat poison the size of a small refrigerator in the middle of the table that wasn’t there before, but I’m probably kidding myself. Anyway, Fia comes back downstairs just as Bobbi-Lee finishes pretending to drink a glass of water that clearly doesn’t have anything in it and then makes a big production out of leaving.

Back at the church, Mack and Jason are reminiscing about their misspent youth together, how they’d hang out at Woodstock with their sequined bell-bottoms, fringe vests, and gigantic Afros. Mack gives Jason a watch as a gift, which we are sure won’t be dramatically thrown against a wall or used to punch Mack in the mouth within the next two episodes. John Joe sits beside a crying Noreen in a pew and tells her how lucky Jason is to have a friend like Mack who will always be there for him and not get his girlfriend pregnant at all.

It’s evening, and Bobbi-Lee has conveniently arrived at the café just as Berni finishes cleaning up. Berni’s just off the phone and has amazing news! It seems the man from the co-op ran for the hills because you’ll never guess what terrible thing he saw at the B&B: FIA’S OUTFIT! No, I mean: A GIANT BOX OF RAT POISON! Bobbi-Lee tut tuts this unbelievable turn of events, and after confirming that she doesn’t need to go buy more rat poison to sabotage any other competitors, congratulates Berni and also asks when they will get the money and which sugar canister Berni will hide it in. Just then, Frigging Pádraig and Effing Máire appear, angrily waving a box of rat poison around and shouting they can’t believe Berni would send her skivvy over to do such a thing. Notably they don’t express any surprise whatsoever that Bobbi-Lee would do such a thing, only that Berni would be involved.

At the hotel, Jason makes plans to meet Mack at the pub later, but before he goes, he’s got a question for Katy: will she adopt Cuán? He wants the four of them to be a family, so that no one will be able to question her role in giving Cuán a comical accent, even Tadhg. To his surprise, she starts crying and refuses to answer until eventually she says she’s got something to tell him: there’s a chance the baby isn’t his!

Back at the café, Berni is angrily telling Bobbi-Lee that this is ridiculous, even by her standards. Bobbi-Lee explains that she doesn’t even remember what happened, because one minute Peatsaí was trying to sell the poison, and the next thing she knew she was in the B&B planting the box, like an out-of-body-experience. Berni hilariously hisses that she’ll give her an out-of-body experience if she doesn’t get out right now, and then Bobbi-Lee says the stupidest thing she could possibly say at this moment: “But what about my CD? Which will cost €3,000?” The penny drops for Berni, who fumes that this is typical Bobbi-Lee, thinking only of herself. Bobbi-Lee indignantly shouts “Ah, Berni!”, as if she can’t believe Berni would accuse her of such an accurate thing, so Berni storms off in a huff, promising that she’ll never give Bobbi-Lee a penny after all her capers. I know we’re supposed to be dying to get back to the church to see what’s going to happen with Katy and Jason, but this Berni/Bobbi-Lee scene is so delicious I had to go back and watch it again before I could continue. They’re like Thelma & Louise meets Laverne & Shirley.

Back at the church, Katy is tearfully explaining that she was drunk and angry at the time because Jason had just broken up with her, but he’s only semi-listening because he’s clearly busy thinking about ways to blow up the hotel with all of them inside. She says she couldn’t tell him because it wasn’t only her secret to keep, so he angrily turns to her and asks what that means, and whether he knows the guy. She’s evasive, suddenly interested in looking at the architecture of the ceiling and floor, which he realizes means it’s someone he knows. He demands to know who it is, and she screams that it was Mack! Merry Christmas!

NEXT TIME: The producers play with us because they show us an extended Merchant-Ivory-type scene of John Joe and Noreen flirting with each other, when they know what we really want to see is Jason breaking a chair over Mack’s head while Dee throws Katy into the wedding cake and then pummels her senseless. We’ll just have to imagine it!

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