Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Jay and the Giant Strawberry

Season 21, Episode 70
First aired 4 May 2017

We open at the community center, where Adam is telling Máire that he’s on his way to see Fia, but she tells him it’s not a good idea because she’s not feeling well today. I’m unclear where Adam is coming from that the lobby of the community center is along the route to the B&B, but we don’t have time to ponder the always-confusing spacetime geography of Ros na Rún, because it happens that Pádraig is there, too, much to Adam’s delight. By “delight,” I of course mean “erotically charged confusing resentment.” Máire leaves, which gives Pádraig the opportunity to grab Adam by the collar and tell him if he pulls another stunt like last episode’s again, he’s going to … err…threaten him again and then give him one more chance, I suppose. He hisses that it’s bad enough that Adam was kicking his car, but to try to kiss him, too! I think I would’ve led with the kiss, but OK. Happily, Adam doesn’t deny the failed kiss happened, or claim that Pádraig was the one who tried to kiss him, or borrow a page from Mack’s book of excuses and blame a scary ghost or a big dog with a knife, but instead announces that Fia is waiting for him, so he’s got to go. Pádraig tells him he needs help and then exits, leaving Adam looking sulky and confused, or as I call it, “sulkfused.”

Over at the pub, Tadhg is complaining to Jason that he had to find out about Operation: Tenerife from John Joe, and then actually asks him with a straight face what Tenerife has that Ros na Rún doesn’t. Well, 70,000 sunburned English tourists, to start with. Also, probably a KFC. Jason doesn’t bother dignifying this with a response, and then Katy arrives carrying a baby seat, which we are all pretending has a baby in it. She asks Frances if she can look after Jay today because he is a total drag, and having him around makes it harder for her to spend the afternoon calling Dee at her office and, when she picks up, burping into the phone and hanging up. Frances makes it very clear that she can’t, because Tadhg has a funeral and she has to mind the bar, and remember this for later when Katy and Jason act like complete jerks about it. Tadhg suggests they leave him with John Joe instead, but Katy doesn’t want to because he has a hangover the flu, so they basically bully Frances into reluctantly agreeing. Oh, also Áine is hanging around, presumably because her teacher banned her from school because she's tired of trying.

At Gaudi, Colm is still sniffing around Mo, which makes us hope that Officer Tony is heavily armed and the jealous type, and then Micheál arrives for the most awkward exchange in history with Laoise. He offers to go house-hunting with her again if she wants, which she accepts, and then he asks her if she’d like to go out on a date, but then clarifies that what he actually meant to ask was whether she’d like to sell her vegetables in the pet store or wherever he works. Right, because “Would you go out with me?” and “Would you like to sell your vegetables in my shop?” are so similar. She thinks this would be iontach, though it’s unclear how much of her enthusiasm is actually about the vegetables and how much is about not having to go on a date with him. Meanwhile, Colm is standing in the middle of the restaurant on the phone yelling at Seán in great detail about their money-laundering scheme, which an eavesdropping Pádraig interprets as an invitation to butt in and offer his two cents about. Colm appreciates this about as much as you’d imagine, and while we understand that all the time Pádraig is spending with Máire is eroding his sense of personal boundaries, he’d be much better off to get back to meddling in Adam’s life. Adam may yell at you, grab your arse, and then call you a homo, but Colm seems like the stabby type.

Chez Daly, Noreen and John Joe are sitting on the couch sharing a sniffle while Dee stands around watching them and looking bored and annoyed. Katy arrives to drop off some medicine for them, so Noreen has her security team seal every entrance and exit and declares an emergency family conference on the topic of Tenerife: Not Going To. John Joe suggests that Katy and Jason wait six months and then go, because that will make it easier to say goodbye to Jay apparently, and when Katy ignores that, Noreen tries a different approach, claiming that Jay is too sick and weak for such a long trip. They argue for a while, and hilariously Dee’s contributions to the conversation are basically, “Let me know if I can help you pack” and “Have you asked the airline if you can change your ticket to today?” Katy ignores a phone call from Frances so she can continue arguing, and when Noreen whines that Katy and Jason won’t have anyone to help them take care of Jay, Dee actually points out that there are excellent babysitters in Tenerife. Hee. She is so ready for these bitches to get up out of her grill. Katy, having gotten in her recommended daily allowance of arguing, leaves in a huff, and Dee is so happy with all this she might actually let Mack sleep inside tonight.

Back at the pub, Frances is running around in a panic. Imagine the phone ringing, the kettle whistling, the smoke alarm going off, and the toilet overflowing, and you are about halfway there. She puts the baby seat, which now has an actual baby in it, on the sofa next to Áine and asks her to look after Jay for a second while she goes to sign for a delivery and also possibly run away forever. She instructs Áine to leave the baby alone and let him sleep, and Áine agrees, which means the next time we see them, they will be up on the roof practicing their gymnastics.

Tadhg and John Joe are in the shop arguing about who is more irresponsible, Katy or Jason, and that the hearse is out of petrol because John Joe is from Donegal, and so on. Along the way Tadhg insults new restaurant manager Pádraig in absentia, sneering that he “couldn’t steer a flock of sheep across the road.” Heh. Tadhg softens, and asks John Joe how he actually feels about them heading off to Spain. John Joe says it sounds like a good opportunity for them and he’s happy for them, and Tadhg agrees, though they note that Noreen and Frances are all bent out of shape because, you know, dames. I know when I think of people on this show whose feeble brains are constantly overwhelmed by their out-of-control emotions, I think of Frances.

Back at the pub, Frances is running around like a chicken with its head cut off, serving drinks and making change and playing Wi-Fi engineer for Colm. Upstairs, the baby starts crying, and because calling downstairs to her mam is fruitless, Áine decides that perhaps he’s hungry, and fetches a pot of strawberry yogurt from the fridge. Duh, everybody knows babies prefer sharp foods, like Doritos. Back downstairs, everyone on the show, plus half the cast of EastEnders and one of Mack’s busloads of confused Japanese tourists, are all crowded around the bar shouting orders. No, wait, it’s just Gráinne ordering an orange juice. Anyway, Frances is in a tizzy, and when Mo arrives, dressed for a date, Frances grabs her and asks if she can help behind the bar until Katy deigns to come back to fetch the baby. Gráinne offers to go up since she’s his godmother—shame Katy didn’t remember Gráinne’s existence when she was bullying Frances into babysitting, eh?—and just then Áine starts screaming for help from upstairs.

Over at the B&B, Fia is sitting in Adam’s lap, as if she’s at the mall telling Santa what she wants for Christmas. My guess is a new boyfriend. He apologizes for yesterday, explaining that he’d had too much to drink, but she tells him that, sure, it’s not great that he’s a complete alcoholic, but she’s more bothered by the fact that he’s a homophobic drug-dealing asshole. I’m paraphrasing. He says, “I don’t want to be like this,” presumably not for the first time, though possibly never before with an audience. She tells him she likes him just as he is, and wishes he could like himself, too. Oh, Fia. You deserve so much better than this. She asks him why he can’t accept Pádraig for who he is, and Adam says it’s complicated because he was raised to hate gay people. Of course, as with almost everything Adam says, we have no idea whether this is true, but this seems more plausible than a lot of the things that come out of his mouth, so we’ll believe him. Fia tells him that hate is a bad habit, and that bad habits can be changed. He says that changing is what he wants more than anything in the world, and this is the thing that makes you not want to give up on Adam completely: just when you can’t take anymore and are ready to run over him repeatedly with your car, he says something that reminds you that there’s a scared, confused, angry little boy in there under the attitude and sneer and suspicious-looking hoodie. They hug, and he tells her that she’s the first person who’s ever believed in him, and that’s why he’s in love with her. I think this is the first time I’ve actually believed that Adam loves Fia, and now I understand why he’s drawn to her. I think he really believes he’s in love with her, because the concept of love is so alien to him that he doesn’t know the difference between “loving” and “being in love with.” Seán Ó Baoill is so good at showing Adam’s confused, conflicted feelings that he makes us feel confused and conflicted about Adam. We are probably not going to go kick his car, though.

Katy, whom you will recall left Jay with Frances against her will so she could go take emergency care of her seriously ill parents, is having a leisurely stroll through town drinking a latte and playing with her phone when she sees an ambulance outside the pub. She sees Tadhg go running by, and then Jason grabs her as he goes flying past and screams that Jay is in trouble, and she drops her coffee and looks distraught. About the baby, I guess, but probably also the coffee.

After the break, poor Áine is apologizing to Frances as she watches the paramedic perform CPR on a pile of towels in the shape of a baby. Frances, who understandably is barely keeping it together, tries to comfort her, and then Jason and Katy come bursting in asking what’s happened. Frances tells them that the baby had an accident, in that Áine tried feeding him yogurt. Katy is distraught as she watches the episode of Jay’s Anatomy that has broken out in front of her, but Jason is more interested in yelling at Frances for leaving a nine-year-old to look after an infant. Well, to be fair, Áine may only be nine, but half the time she’s the smartest one on the show, and she also steals and lies at a college level. She explains that she thought strawberry yogurt would be OK since Cuán eats it, so Katy screams at everybody, and then Jason screams at everybody, and as the paramedics leave with the baby and Tadhg offers to follow, Jason explains that after careful consideration, he does not believe he would like to spend any more time with Tadhg right now, and storms out.

Downstairs, Jason flies past the bar after the paramedics, and Mo asks Gráinne to go upstairs and tell the Ó Díreáins that she’ll look after the bar until things calm down. Colm wanders over and asks Mo, “Are they gone to the hospital?”, and somehow she manages to resist saying, “No, they’ve gone mini-golfing, you fool.” Dull Tony arrives for their date, and Colm ignores another call from Seán, because he doesn’t have time for money-laundering right now, he’s only interested in Mo-laundering. I have no idea what that means, either, but use your imagination.

In an exciting development, we cut to our first-ever scene inside the polytunnel, which is not as glamorous as you might have imagined. When they first started talking about it ages ago, I thought it was some kind of high-tech underground transport system. Micheál tries to ask Laoise out again, but she changes the subject to Vince, not only because he is one of the top hunks in the village, but also because he’s going to be selling her vegetables, too. This is not a euphemism, although I wish it were, because it would really piss Caitríona off if she walked in on Vince “selling” Laoise’s “vegetables.” Eric arrives, and there is the first of a few uncomfortable love-triangling scenes, which I will skip over because they don’t involve a baby choking on a strawberry or Adam having confusing feelings while watching Ross Kemp putting a Somali pirate in a chokehold.

John Joe and Noreen are at the pub having a light, flirty conversation, or at least as light and flirty as they are capable of. Considering how casual they’re being, we assume they haven’t heard about Jay vs the strawberry, but it turns out they have, and have decided that dwelling on it won’t help save the strawberry, so they might as well sit around talking shit about Ferdia instead. John Joe’s phone rings and it’s Jason, and after calling everyone over to watch him stand there listening while his mouth hangs open ambiguously for about 11 minutes, he finally smiles and reports that Jay is fine, and will be home this evening. Sadly, the doctors were unable to save the strawberry, which is a shame, because I was hoping it would be a new love interest for Micheál. At the bar, a relieved Frances says she’ll go over and visit them this evening, but Tadhg tells her she’ll do no such thing until they give her the apology they owe her. Yes, knowing how gracious Katy and Jason are, I’m sure the “We’re sorry!” card and accompanying Starbucks gift certificate are already in the mail.

Micheál and Eric are taking turns eating Laoise’s cake, and then O’Shea arrives to transform this love triangle into a love square. If we get to smush somebody else into this mess to make it into a love pentagon, I vote for Dr Tiarnán, whose dynamic Easter Island-head sex appeal I’ve missed this season.

Katy and Jason are at Gaudi cooing over the baby seat when Frances arrives. They’re all going to be alarmed when they look closer and realize the carrier is empty because Áine has got Jay out practicing their knife-throwing act for Ireland’s Got Talent. Frances calmly tells them that Áine didn’t know what she was doing, and then in a moment that will go on permanent display in the Wagon Wing of the Katy Is Unbelievable Hall of Fame, she snots back, “She knew well what she was doing.” Yes, Katy, your forcing Jay on Frances even after she repeatedly asked you not to was all an elaborate plot to allow Áine to murder Jay with a strawberry. Idiot. Sadly, Frances does not yank Katy out of her chair by her ponytail and drag her into the street for the ass-whupping she so richly deserves right now, but instead calmly apologizes to them, but says that she deserves an apology, too. Of course Katy acts like a complete shit some more, and Frances explains that she left the baby with her with no warning, was late coming back, and ignored all her phone calls. Katy jumps up and screams in her face that there was a good reason for all that. Let’s pause for a moment and remember Katy’s urgent, time-sensitive business, i.e., wandering around sipping a Frappuccino while playing Candy Crush on her phone. Frances says poor Áine is at home crying her eyes out, and Katy snots, “The poor thing! I feel so sorry for her!”, and this is where a David-like karate chop to Katy’s windpipe would be most welcome. Sadly, before Frances can drive her car at high speed through the restaurant, sending Katy flying into the air, Jason interrupts to say that the important thing is that they all love Jay, and want the best for him. Frances agrees, but Katy gives a look that suggests that in her opinion, loving Jay is only the third most important thing, after 1) Katy is right and Frances is wrong and 2) Dee is a dirty hoor.

On the other side of the restaurant, Caitríona drops by Micheál’s table to do some light meddling, basically telling him that she heard that Laoise totally wants him to sex her up, and that he should take advantage of the great sales in Galway right now by going into town and buying himself some new clothes. She leaves, and he looks intrigued, which I hope to God means he will show up at the polytunnel next episode dressed like Olivia Newton-John at the end of Grease, grinding out a cigarette with his stiletto heel and then carrying Laoise off to space in a flying car.

Back at the pub, Colm is grimly watching Mo and Tony eat each other’s faces off in the corner, which we were not expecting. This is all wasted without Bobbi-Lee there to leer at them and make obscene hand gestures in the background. They leave in a hackney, and mercifully John Joe stops Colm when he threatens to follow them out and have a word with her. I’m not sure kissing Mo’s ear and then throwing up down her blouse counts as “a word.” At a table, a very jolly Mack, who seems more high than drunk, is discussing with Dee how iontach it is that the baby didn’t, you know, die or whatever, and that it’s a good thing that they didn’t move away after all, now that Katy and what’s-his-name are moving away instead, hee hee. He makes stubbly, crinkly eyes at her, and she and her ponytail seem very happy indeed. You can tell she’s been praying for Katy to go live in a different country her entire life and cannot believe that God is finally coming through.

Laoise and Eric are flirting with each other at Gaudi, and there’s talk of how she told O’Shea that she had an upset stomach back at the polytunnel to get out of something, which I skipped over because I didn’t think you needed to hear about Laoise’s diarrhea, real or imagined. She explains that she doesn’t want O’Shea’s feelings to be hurt by thinking there’s something going on between them, and when Eric leans in to kiss her, she pushes him away. I’m not sure if there’s a female equivalent of “bros before hos,” but if there is, that seems to be what’s going on here.

EXT. STREET – NIGHT, and Colm runs into a bloodied Seán, which is not the same as “runs into bloody Seán.” He’s busy spitting out teeth and coughing up his spleen and so on, and when Colm says he’s going to call an ambulance, Seán tells him he doesn’t want the Gardaí getting involved, because Anto is not a patient man. They’ve got to get this money-laundering operation over with ASAP, he explains, or they’re both going to be in big trouble. It's a good thing Gráinne isn't there to see this violent scene or she'd be so turned on she'd run out and book the church for Mo and Colm’s wedding right now.

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