Monday, April 24, 2017

Pádraig Ó Loinsigh: Making Men Question Their Sexuality Since 2017

Season 21, Episode 66
First aired 20 April 2017

We open with Agony Aunt Pádraig listening to Agony Inducer Máire complain about what a hot-headed lunatic Laoise is. Of course the spin she puts on this is that she gently raised questions about whether Laoise is dating the right kind of gentleman, whereas the truth is that she called Laoise a cheap slut and internet whore who is endangering the community by inviting an endless stream of scumbags and sex offenders to town to ride her. Potayto, potahto. Pádraig senses that there’s probably more to this than Máire is telling, what with his having met her and all, but he kindly suggests that Laoise is a grown-up and that Máire needs to apologize to her and stay out of her business, and also her knickers. It’s a good thing Pádraig never has sex, or else Máire would be all up in his boxer briefs, too. Right on cue, Laoise arrives, and she’s in a grump and giving Máire the silent treatment FOR NO REASON AT ALL. You could cut the tension with a knife, like the kind the squad of hostage-takers almost held to Máire’s throat at the pharmacy the other day except for the part where they didn’t, and Laoise finally frostily tells her to stay of her effing business. Máire gives her patented I Was Only Trying To Help speech, but then agrees to stop interfering in Laoise’s life, which she demonstrates by immediately interfering. She makes up some nonsense about needing a book and then pointing out that the library is a good place to meet a nice, quiet, educated man. After Laoise and Pádraig make stinky faces for a while about nice, quiet, educated men, of the type Bobbi-Lee made when she found out she was going to be in a play that was based on a book, Máire shifts her non-interfering into high gear by clarifying that nice, quiet, educated men are different from Laoise’s usual type: internet predators with explosive full-body herpes.

At the house of fog and guilt, O’Shea is yelling at Niamh for throwing her life away, asking her if she wants to end up like all the other losers around here. I was going to list them, but instead I will invite you to pick the local loser of your choice. O’Shea still thinks there’s a chance the dean won’t throw her out of school, and possibly Europe, since it was just the one exam, so Niamh takes this opportunity to admit that it was literally every exam since the beginning of the year, and also that she has been printing fake €10 notes, lottery tickets, and OAP bus passes in her bedroom. Her lame explanation is that she’d fallen behind because she’d spent all her time concentrating on one subject, and so her only option was to cheat her arse off. Presumably the one subject she paid attention to was her hair, which is lovely and silky. O’Shea yells that she’s going to get herself expelled for sure with this madness, and Niamh tries the risky legal ploy of trying to make herself the victim here, spewing out a bunch of “You get angry because I cheated. Then you get angry because I’m being honest. I can’t win!” nonsense. Amazingly, this seems to give O’Shea something to think about, I mean other than which of her hands she should slap Niamh with first.

Over at their place, Gráinne is complaining and David is being passive-aggressive, so it’s business as usual. David is still annoyed because she claimed that Annette is making a fool of him, and he can’t believe she has the nerve to even suggest he’s a bad judge of character who lets people take advantage of him. To prove how absurd this accusation is, he should bring in as character witnesses Pól, Rónán, that drunk kid who looks like Morrissey, and the rest of the cast of Grange Hill, or at least the ones who aren’t in prison for assaulting him at the moment. Because she is a nice person, Gráinne refrains from laughing in his face and instead tries to make nice with him, either because she loves him or because she wants him to shut up. Those two emotions are probably combined into one thing for her by now. Right on cue, the phone rings, and it’s Annette, who’s calling with some hooey about how one of her kids fell down a well or swallowed a tin whistle or something and therefore she needs to meet David for drinks in the pub later so he can show her some apps. I don’t know, either. David agrees, and when Gráinne makes exactly the face you’d expect her to make in this situation, he says, “Don’t worry, I’ve everything under control,” which of course means that the next time we see him, he will be on fire, or in an airtight room quickly filling with water.

Next we get the first of 4,000 scenes involving the new O’Shea/Eric/Laoise love triangle, which is simultaneously slow and plodding and feels like it’s speeding in out of nowhere. To save us all a lot of time, I’ll summarize it all here: O’Shea and Eric complain a lot about Niamh throwing her life away, which brings them closer, because the family that disapproves of their child together stays together. O’Shea realizes she still has feelings for him, and they are not the feelings of eternal contempt and relentless hate that they were last week, and every other week for the past twenty years. Meanwhile, Eric is a flirting multitasker, oozing his charms all over O’Shea and Laoise. He and Laoise go to see one of their favorite bands together, which I am hoping is the Butthole Surfers, and we find out that when they were younger, the two of them dated, and possibly shagged a lot. If this O’Shea/Eric/Laoise love triangle doesn’t result in at least two surprise pregnancies, I will be very disappointed.

And here’s what I hope will be the next love triangle: Fia, Pádraig, and Máire are sitting at the kitchen table, taking a break from their usual activities of clipping coupons and blacking out celebrity teeth in Hello! magazine to look at recipes for christening cakes, most of which Máire disapproves of as an affront to everything that’s decent and Christian. It’s a good thing Pádraig didn’t bring over his favorite cookbook, Mary Berry’s Penis Cakes for Every Occasion. The room instantly becomes 33% gayer with Adam’s arrival, although the look on his face suggests he wishes it would get 33% less gay again with Pádraig’s departure. Máire picks up a newspaper Laoise was looking at earlier and is shocked to find she’s circled houses for rent in the classified ads, because she wants to move out! Fainting ensues, though you’d think she’d be relieved Laoise was circling something other than her usual ads for men who want to be tied up and whipped with a dildo in a B&B.

There is some seafóid with O’Shea, Eric, and Laoise, which also involves Micheál, who is still carrying on about Réailtín and the cellphone for some idiotic reason. Then we return to the B&B, where Pádraig, Fia, and Adam are gathered around comforting Máire  because the fact that Laoise looked at the real estate ads is the most traumatic and debilitating thing that’s happened to her since that time she didn’t get held hostage. I’m going to start calling the three of them Máire’s Angels, and let them argue over which of them gets to be Farrah Fawcett. Anyway, Máire is in full martyr mode, and announces that she’s too upset to make that christening cake for Mack and Jason’s baby now, but Pádraig reminds her that the village is counting on her because she is the only one who knows how to open a box of cake mix, and besides, Frances also wants her to make a cake for Áine’s sad, sad party. Máire bravely blubs that she’ll do her best to carry on in spite of the adversity that’s facing her. It’s going to be pretty hard for her to make two cakes from up there on that cross. Then, apropos of nothing, Adam decides this is the time to bring up a heretofore-unmentioned sister who also had a cake one time, but then died. As he tells this story, the camera slowly zooms in on him from the wide shot, so we can tell this is A Critical Character Moment, or else the operator lost consciousness while leaning on the camera and started it rolling. Máire manages to recover from the fact that Adam has officially usurped her as the saddest person in the room, because an internet slut and a couple of cakes can’t compete with a dead sister. She asks him what happened, which seems to cause him a File Not Found error, and he does the thing where the various parts of his face operate independently of each other for a while until Pádraig decides to save them all by bringing the conversation back to the important thing, which is the cake. Adam gives him a look that seems to express gratitude, and Pádraig responds with an ambiguous look that suggests suspicion, pinging gaydar, and/or acute gas pains.

Over at the pub, Tadhg is complaining to Frances that his dire prophecy from last episode has come to pass, i.e., first Áine wanted a party, and now she wants a cake at the party. Verily, this is all spinning out of control. Next she’ll want cups and plates at this party, like a bloody Kardashian. He doesn’t understand why she needs her own cake, given that there will be one for the christening that has taken over her party, and she will be allowed to, like, look at it and stuff. Frances tells him to buzz off, so he does, but finds time to harass David and Annette on the way past, something we are very much in favor of. He’s telling her all about some youth personality-assessment app that sounds completely stupid, and explains that while he didn’t exactly invent it himself, he might as well have, because he had a similar idea one time. So, basically, he sort of knows what an app is. Annette wets herself in excitement over this, because all of a sudden David is totally dreamy apparently, and she’s throwing herself at him like crazy, all giggling and tossing her hair and rubbing his bicep between her breasts and so on. She’s all, “Ooh, I love the way you can hold a phone and talk at the same time!”, and even dense David knows this is messed up. It’s like he thought he was in an instructional YouTube video on using this pointless app, and all of a sudden has found himself in a remake of Fatal Attraction.

Back at Gaudi, Laoise is excitedly telling Gráinne she’s got a big date tonight, and then we cut to Jason and Mack, who are having a semi-civil conversation for the first time in a while. Apparently once you’ve bought your one-way plane ticket to Tenerife, Mack becomes a lot more bearable. Jason even goes so far as to ask him if he and Dee will be at the christening, and poor Mack is completely confused, even by his standards, by Jason’s sudden thaw. He replies that he’s not sure, since Dee is really busy with work right now, and also hates everyone who will be at this christening with the burning fury of a thousand suns, but he’ll see what he can do. Then Máire arrives for some more nonsense with Laoise, in which she first tries to extend an olive branch, but then smashes Laoise over the head with it instead when she remembers what a whore she is.

At the pub, Annette is sitting so close to David she may get her nose caught in one of his pores, and she’s carrying on about how unreliable Seán is, unlike David, who she can depend on, is a good listener, and totally gets her. Also, karate. He pulls that face where he furrows his brow and looks like a baby trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, and desperately tries to extricate himself from this nightmare by getting up to leave, at which point she kisses him on the mouth, and Tadhg cackles maniacally like the wicked witch from Snow White. This really is the scariest thing we’ve seen on this show since that time Andy strangled Bobbi-Lee into unconsciousness in the forest.

After the break, during which we threw up a lot, John Joe and Colm heckle Laoise from across Gaudi for a while, as if they are Statler & Waldorf from The Muppet Show, and then we return to the pub, where Pádraig is telling Frances that a 12-inch cake for Áine’s party will cost €50. Bloody hell, it must be a chocolate cake stuffed with money. Frances thinks this seems reasonable, but Tadhg practically drops his teeth, and I can’t say I blame him. Buy a box of Flake bars and a tub of ice cream and call it a day, I say. Adam arrives and shoots a strange look at Niamh, who is sitting at a table having a drink with some girl we’ve never seen before, and he turns around to leave, but Pádraig calls him over to ask if he agrees that this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race is totally disappointing (bring back Alaska!), and also what his favorite Madonna album is. Adam nervously tells him he’s just going to go home and have a can, because that is what hetero dudes do, but Pádraig tells him that being a secret drunk is sooo 2015 and that he should instead sit down and join him for a gay, gay pint. Adam swallows hard and protests that he’s not doing anything in secret, and Pádraig gives him another “Gurrrl, please” look, and this is all just too, too delicious.

At the Taiwanese bakery or wherever Micheál works, David has arrived to buy some emergency flowers for Gráinne. Amazingly, Micheál does not seem to have any flowers, despite the fact that the goods we can see for sale include such flower-adjacent wares as a toilet plunger, a 50,000-Watt outdoor floodlight, and cow medicine. Gráinne shows up, and Tadhg, who has materialized to annoy everyone, basically says to her, “Hey, ask your boyfriend to tell you how I just caught him making out with Annette.” Gráinne turns her laser death-stare on David, and he tells her that he was showing Annette an app, as if that explains anything. Instead of running out in tears or telling him she hates him and never wants to see him again, she takes the high-ish road and opts for, “I told you so,” and he admits that she was right about Annette. Really, it’d be safer for him to just assume that whenever he and Gráinne think two different things, she is the one who is right.

Back at Tigh Thaidhg, Pádraig and Adam are still drinking together, and Adam keeps looking at a gentleman with a beard who has joined Niamh at her table, who Pádraig proclaims is majorly setting his gaydar off. Adam pretends not to know what gaydar is, because that’s JUST HOW STRAIGHT HE IS, or possibly does not actually know what gaydar is, because he has just arrived on this planet. Anyway, Pádraig explains that he can identify a fellow ‘mo within five seconds, which causes Adam to shift uncomfortably on his stool and try to remember how Mack, the straightest dude he knows, drinks a pint. He better get real stubbly, real fast. Once Pádraig starts using scary gay words like “swish” and “shoes” and “Ricky Martin,” Adam suddenly remembers he needs to go, and runs out as fast as his sexually confused legs can carry him, leaving Pádraig sitting there squinting his eyes homosexually, clearly deep in gay thought.

Gráinne is angrily folding the hell out of some laundry while David is on the phone with Annette. Yes, when your girlfriend is angry at you for kissing another woman, the best course of action is to immediately get on the phone with said floozy and make sure your girlfriend is there to see. He tells Annette it’s OK, that misunderstandings happen, and that he knows women find his Barney Rubble looks and charm irresistible. He continues, though, that he doesn’t think they should see each other any more, and that he’ll arrange a new counselor to deal with the son. Maybe Pól is available. He hangs up, and Gráinne, who is still emitting serious “I told you so” vibes, says that’ll teach Annette to try to steal another woman’s man. Stupidly, David decides this is his cue to defend Annette, and explain what a hard time she’s had, but because we’ve almost reached the end of the episode, Gráinne doesn’t have time to start the fight again, and instead they kiss and make up.

At the pub, O’Shea is telling Micheál to stop giving Laoise such a hard time about this Réailtín crap, which everyone is tired of. He says he’s still angry with her, but admits that he likes her, and that she’s great fun. Clearly this has all been happening off-camera. O’Shea tells him it’s never too late to forgive someone and start over again if you really like them, and is clearly talking to herself about Eric as much as she’s talking to him about Laoise. Micheál gives a look that suggests he may finally be letting go of this phone idiocy, so hopefully next episode he will find out that Laoise has bought Réailtín birth control pills, or a gun.

Adam comes back to the B&B, where Fia has been sitting at the table waiting for his return so she can ask him about his sister. He explains that he didn’t want to get into it earlier with weepy busybody Máire and Lady Gaga-liking Pádraig there, but now that they’re alone, he tells the story of how 9-year-old Danielle fell in a lake and drowned, and that he’s felt guilty all this time, because he was supposed to be looking after her. I have no idea whether any of this actually happened, but he looks sad, or at least what he remembers from the “Sad” page of his Big Book Of Manipulative Faces. There is no way to tell with Adam. Fia thanks him for finally sharing this story with her, pointing out that keeping things inside can eat you up. Well, it’s a good thing Adam isn’t keeping any other secrets, huh? Baby, he was born this way!

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