Saturday, March 11, 2017

Adam & the Antics

Season 21, Episode 53
First aired 7 March 2017

We open this episode, which includes a lot of talk of jam and also a terrifying look into the dark depravity of Adam’s mind, with another of those establishing shots of the coast taken from TG4’s new helicopter. It’s helpful because it reminds us that the ocean is a thing. In town, David’s penny-pinching rampage is really getting on Gráinne’s nerves. She wants a cup of coffee, but he reminds her that they could save money if instead she just pressed her nose up against the window of the café and looked at the coffee. David’s austerity measures are going to have the Greeks rioting. She suggests they sign on to the dole, but he doesn’t want to, because it would be less embarrassing to eat apple cores out of a bin while living in a ditch, apparently.

Adam stops by the community center to be roguish and smarmy to Fia, who is vaguely tired of his nonsense, but not tired enough to stop chasing after him. It seems he’s been hanging around with Síle again, who we established last time is the official slapper of the Wild Atlantic Way. Of course Adam doesn’t see what the problem is, because he never sees what the problem is with anything he does, and volunteers that he bought somehow acquired a fashion book Fia wanted for the essay she’s writing. It turns out to be the wrong one, which she’s unnecessarily rude about, although I guess it makes up for all the times she should’ve been rude to him but instead gave him €50 and a hug. We can understand why she’s so stressed about this assignment, because it’s the first time we’ve ever seen her do any work in a year of being an alleged student. She asks if he wants to come over and watch the rest of some series together—I’m guessing Bob the Builder—but he smirkily tells her he already finished watching it with Síle. Lovely. He seems unnerved by a text he gets, by which I mean he is smirking at only 60% of capacity, and then dashes off, leaving her in a bad mood and a worse outfit.

Speaking of bad moods, Berni has summoned Sorcha, who is in a Status Red Strop today, to the café, which you may recall we last saw her storming out of. You’re forgiven if you’ve gotten it confused with all the other times we’ve seen Sorcha storm out of the café. Berni’s been looking through Sorcha’s business plan and thinks she has some good ideas, so she’s organized a tasting for this afternoon to get the local deadbeats and murderers interested in her jam. Sorcha is nervous about doing a sales pitch, especially since she’s hardly got any jam left, and of course at this point Caitríona materializes, using her uncanny ability to appear wherever she’s not wanted. Which would be everywhere, really. She and Berni are passive-aggressive, and then she sits down with Vince to complain about how hectic things are in the salon now that she’s sacked Gráinne. It’s so busy she barely has time to stand around telling people how busy she is! He thinks she’s going to have to tell Frances about this sooner or later, but Caitríona points out that the only thing that matters is that Berni is also a failure. Even Vince, who is used to her, seems grossed out by her behavior, and flees, just as Tadhg enters. He’s finishing up a phone call with a possible tenant for his vacant building, and of course Caitríona butts in as if it’s any of her business. He tells her an accountant is interested in leasing the space, and calls her “Ros na Rún’s answer to Barbie.” If only we could cut off all Caitríona’s hair and then throw her out the window of a moving car, as a girl I went to school with did to her Barbie. Caitríona gloats to him that she knows the accountant he’s talking about, and not only is he up to his neck in debt, but he’s also just out of prison. Of course if she really wanted to get revenge on Tadhg she’d let him find all this out himself in a way that would cost him thousands of euros, but the only thing more powerful than Caitríona’s desire to see others suffer is her desire to be a smug know-it-all.

We switch from the town know-it-alls to the town know-nothings, as Bobbi-Lee, Colm, and Mo are having an impromptu darts tournament at the pub. Bobbi-Lee is teasing Mo about her white-hot romance with Tony, trying to decide whether they should be referred to as “Mony” or “To,” but Mo thinks of Tony more as “that guy whose calls I send straight to voicemail,” because their date was a disaster. It seems he spent the whole night talking in great detail about his squad car, which sadly is not a euphemism, despite Mo’s description of its engine and the sounds it makes. Bobbi-Lee, of course, is mainly interested in his handcuffs, because she spent half her torrid romance with Andy tied to something. We find out that Tony “accidentally” left his jacket, which Colm and Bobbi-Lee have to explain to Mo is the oldest first-date trick in the book. Before Mo can tell us how first dates work on her planet, Tadhg arrives in a grump about his conversation with Caitríona and insults everyone and asks them why they aren’t working. You’d think he’d be used to that by now.

Out in the street, Micheál runs into Pádraig and says he’ll see him later today at the meeting David and Gráinne have arranged to talk about the lease. This is the first Pádraig has heard about this, and he does that thing where he locks his jaw and sets his eyes to “Crazy,” which he always does just before charging into a situation he doesn’t understand with guns blazing and embarrasses everyone. Whee!

Back at the café, Máire tries Sorcha’s jam and proclaims it’s “an-bhlasta,” and I am pleasantly surprised how many jam-related Irish words it turns out I understand. Sorcha is totally rude to Máire in a hilariously unnecessary way, and it’s interesting how much funnier Sorcha is now that she’s taken that extreme topknot out of her hair. Perhaps it was cutting off blood flow to her brain. Eventually Máire leaves, having remembered that she doesn’t have to take this abuse from Sorcha because she’s got a rude granddaughter who can abuse her in the comfort of her own home. Berni is furious, pointing out to her that Máire and Pádraig have a catering company that could use her jam, but Sorcha replies that Máire and Pádraig are the local idiots and nobody cares what they think. Sorcha is a lot sharper than I’d originally given her credit for. They argue for a while, and then Berni tells her that folks around town have already made up their minds about her, and it’s up to her to change them. This seems to strike a chord with Sorcha, and that chord is “no-good wagon.” Berni bangs on for about 11 more minutes before finally looking up and realizing that Sorcha has left the building. Heh.

Máire finds Fia in the community center and gives her an old pattern for a ’60s miniskirt she found, and there is discussion about Máire’s miniskirted past, and how she first met Peadar while she and Twiggy were doing the monkey on Carnaby Street in day-glo body paint. Adam arrives, this time with the correct book, and while Máire looks (quite understandably) as if a giant slug has just oozed in, Fia is thrilled. As a reward for his…whatever it is he’s been doing, she’s got a surprise for him: she’s booked them a holiday to London! She even shows him the hotel on her laptop, and you can tell it’s a classy place because they’ve left one of the C’s out of “Piccadilly.” Maybe a rat ate it. He’s reluctant, reminding her she’s got schoolwork to do, but she says it’ll be a chance for her to research vintage fashion in Brick Lane, TK Maxx, etc. He keeps making up excuses why they shouldn’t go, and Máire chimes in that she’s heard that London is very expensive and also that 99% of tourists who go there get murdered, but Fia insists that it will be brilliant, especially because that slut Síle won’t be there. Adam’s smirk turns to diarrhea face when he gets another unnerving text, so he bogs off in a hurry, and the best part is that, as if on cue, we hear Liam Óg say “Yayy!” when Adam leaves. Heh.

At the café, Sorcha is a no-show at the Great Irish Jam-Off, and Frances and Vince are getting impatient. She’s got to get back to keeping Áine from burning the house down, and he’s got to get back to hiding from Caitríona in a pillar box. Berni insists that Sorcha will arrive at any second, but instead Caitríona breezes in, having been drawn to the promise of humiliation of others like a moth to a flame. She’s always awful, but she’s been unbearably gross during this entire mentoring storyline and I am ready for the whole thing to be over. She sits down smugly and asks where Sorcha is, and Berni frantically rings her, but gets no answer.

After the break, during which we learn that if you go to the Irish coast you will see beautiful landscapes and a hot guy in a kayak, we are on a set we’ve never seen before, which turns out to be Adam’s mother’s kitchen. We can immediately tell they are Not Like Us because the walls aren’t that hideous shade of puce everyone else’s houses are. His mother is very much of a type, gliding into the scene in her head-to-toe gardening ensemble carrying fresh-cut lilies perfectly arranged in a twee wicker basket. I’m surprised she didn’t drive into the kitchen in a Land Rover. She’s all smiles until Adam asks why he’s been summoned, and then she begins to transform into Mr Hyde. Well, that wiped the smirk off his face.

At Jamfest, Caitríona is passive-aggressively holding court about how the only person worse than Sorcha is Berni and so on. You can imagine. Vince and Frances get up and start putting their coats on to go off to their imaginary appointments, but just then Sorcha breezes in, and she’s transformed into a sophisticated businesswoman in a suit and hairdo and whatnot. It’s like Wonder Woman has spun around in reverse and turned back into Lynda Carter.

Back on BBC Four, Adam’s mother, who I am going to call Penelope St James-Attenborough, is flower arranging furiously while he spins an apology for kissing his lecturer. To be fair, he’s doing a BA in Uncomfortable Touching. He hilariously claims that maybe somebody spiked his drink, and she hisses back that an ex-drug dealer would know all about that. In your face, Adam! It seems he’s been thrown out of college for this, and she says she’s not going to clean up his mess, even though he swears this is the last time. We’ll try not to think about what the previous times consisted of. She tells him he’s going to pay for his mistakes this time, and you can see him hoping he can use a stolen credit card.

Sorcha is giving her impressive sales pitch at the café, and everyone is very impressed apart from Caitríona, who looks like she just ate a light bulb. Caitríona asks what she thinks is a hardball question, and Sorcha effortlessly lobs it back across the net and down her smug throat. I apologize for anything bad I ever said about Sorcha. Vince notes that he’s interested in selling the jam in his shop and leaves, so we know he’ll catch hell at home later. Frances is delighted, and tells Berni and Caitríona that their first payments under the scheme are ready to be withdrawn. I’m not sure I ever knew anyone was getting paid for this, but then I stopped paying attention to this storyline about three weeks ago. All they have to do is have their protégés sign a form saying they’re pleased with the mentoring, which sends Caitríona into a cold sweat, because the only way Gráinne would be pleased right now would be if the salon blew up with Caitríona inside. Caitríona vanishes in a cloud of smoke and brimstone, and Berni tells Sorcha how proud she is, and says they can stay after work tonight and use the café kitchen to make a big batch of jam for the orders that will be rolling in. It’s too bad they can’t combine this with Gráinne’s storyline and make seaweed jam. You can really taste the algae!

At the community center, where everyone is holding their sensitive meetings these days, David and Gráinne are asking Micheál if he could cut their rent by a third, just in the short term. None of this would be happening if Gráinne hadn’t insisted on that cup of coffee this morning. Just as Micheál asks why, Pádraig appears with his boxer briefs in a twist and makes a big scene about how he knows they’re trying to get rid of him. Just to shut him up, they confess that they’ve both lost their jobs, and everyone looks uncomfortable, which is what always happens when Pádraig decides to take a stand about something.

Bobbi-Lee is telling Tadhg that he should turn the vacant building into a shop selling “cowboy hats, stirrups, rodeo hats, guitars, things like that.” Yes, every small town in coastal Ireland needs that. He barely even dignifies this with a response, and then Mo volunteers that she’s got a friend who’s looking for business space in the area. Bobbi-Lee continues to list things the Gingham Barn could sell, such as banjo polish and rhinestone-studded milking stools, but everyone ignores her, and an intrigued Tadhg tells Mo she’s not as stupid as she looks. This is pretty much Tadhg’s equivalent of handing out an OBE. Before she can celebrate too much, Dull Tony appears, so she commands Bobbi-Lee to handle him while she hides in the back. Well, there’s no way this is going to go wrong. He asks for his coat, which she pretends she can’t find, and when she grills him about the date, his high praise for Mo is that “she’s not the worst, I suppose.” This really is Pay A Back-Handed Compliment To Mo Day. Bobbi-Lee, who’s busy trying to turn this into 50 Shades of Tony, is titillated when he says erotically charged words such as “duty” and “on,” and asks him about his handcuffs, which he manages to make as sexy as a bowl of high-fiber cereal. She puts us all out of our misery by finally locating his coat right in front of her and sends him on his way, so Mo appears from the back complaining about what a dud he is. Colm, who’s been sitting there watching this whole thing, starts flirting with Mo in that lecherous way of his, which intrigues Bobbi-Lee.

We return to stately Whatever Adam’s Name Is Manor, which is full of antique desks and astrolabes and Sir Isaac Newton’s head. Penelope St James-Attenborough reappears and asks Adam why he’s still there, and he’s whiny and pitiful about how he doesn’t have any money and won’t have anywhere to go and thinks he might have scurvy. It’s very “Dickensian orphan,” and at this point I think even he doesn’t know when he’s being sincere and when he’s putting on an act. She asks why she’d help him after all the embarrassment he’s caused the family, including the time he only scored 2 points in his specialist subject on Mastermind, which was “People Who Live In My House.” Eventually she agrees to give him one last chance, which she REALLY MEANS THIS TIME. She tells him she’ll speak to the dean about getting him back into school, and he breathes a sigh of relief at the bullet he’s dodged. If only Fia had some money he could steal!

At the café, Berni is nagging Sorcha that she’s making too much jam, but she counters that the orders are about to roll in, so she needs to make two batches. Berni gets a text from Frances inviting her for a drink at Tigh Thaidhg, and hems and haws about it for a bit before Sorcha finally manages to send her on her way by assuring her she can handle things there and will even sign for the delivery that’s coming. As soon as Berni leaves, Sorcha dumps 20 pounds of sugar into a pot, clearly planning to make the Jam That Ate Europe.

At the pub, Gráinne tells Caitríona to feck off when she tries to buy her a drink. Her tune changes when Caitríona offers to give her back her job, so there is hugging and squealing, and then of course Caitríona hands her the “I’m satisfied with my terrible mentoring” form she needs her to sign to get paid. Gráinne is skeptical, but puts the form in her pocket and says she’ll fill it out tomorrow, and Vince looks disapprovingly at Caitríona. Yes, she’s been particularly awful lately, but he acts as if this has come out of nowhere and that she was always such a lovely person until this episode. You made your passive-aggressive bed, Vince, and now you have to lie in it.

Back at the café kitchen, Sorcha leaves her giant cauldron of jam unattended on the stove while she goes to deal with the delivery, OF COURSE. We then return to the community center, where Fia lives now. She tells Adam she cancelled the London hotel, and when he quasi-apologizes, she tells him she can’t blame him, because she’d run from her too, what with her being a single mother and all. And also your outfits! He comforts her by saying he hesitated because he’s too proud to have his girlfriend paying his way, ha ha. Adam would let Liam Óg pay his way if he had any money. Fia falls for this load of shite and tells him it’s only money, and he smirks over her shoulder as they hug. If it’s possible to get carpal tunnel syndrome in your face, Adam’s going to get it from his constant smirking.

At the pub, Frances is praising Berni for managing to turn awful Sorcha into a semi-human. St Berni brags that she’s even left Sorcha unattended in the café, which Caitríona finds unbelievable, and right on cue we return to the café, which we were hoping would be engulfed in flames, but instead, the big drama is that Sorcha has burned the jam, and is out of sugar! Well, that was anticlimactic.

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