Monday, June 12, 2017

Bobbi-Lee: One-Woman Pride Parade

Season 21, Episode 80
First aired 8 June 2017

We open at the pub, where Colm is sitting alone in a daze, wondering when Anto is going to arrive to beat him to death. I think Anto operates on Kong Island Standard Time, which is two hours behind GMT. The assembled barflies ask Tadhg what’s up with Sideburns over there, and he says it must be something to do with women, because, you know, dames is trouble. I know when I think of high-maintenance mná, I think of Mo. Bobbi-Lee scoffs at the idea that women are the cause of all problems, and of course Tadhg points out that this is rich coming from the woman who’s single-handedly the cause of about 40 percent of the problems on this show. I love you, Wobbly, but he’s got you there. Tadhg wanders off, and Bobbi-Lee mentions to Vince that she just saw Adam working in the shop, which gives him the opportunity to mention for no reason that something may or may not be going on between Adam and Pádraig now. This piques Bobbi-Lee’s interest, because gossip is a lot more interesting than working, plus she wonders what her intermittent BFF Pádraig has been keeping from her.

Out in the street, Laoise isn’t looking where she’s going as she exits the Lying Friends Boutique and literally runs smack into Imelda, who’s on her way to the Sad & Lonely Café. Imelda innocently asks when she’s going to get to meet Laoise’s new mystery fella, and Laoise is obviously uncomfortable as she starts making up excuses about how he’s shy and lives in Canada and is also an invisible ghost from the future. She tries to walk away, but Imelda follows her, and reminisces for a while about the early days of her relationship with Eric, whom she mentions is exhibiting lovey-dovey signs of his own lately. We assume she’s going to try to get Laoise to spill the beans by saying something like, “It seems he’s got a mystery woman, too,” but instead she takes a much more deliciously devious approach and says, “I think he wants us to be more than just friends.” All of a sudden Laoise has to dash, because she’s just remembered that she’s got diarrhea back home she needs to attend to, so she flees, leaving Imelda grinning at how she’s got Laoise and Eric twisting in the wind. Ordinarily I might be opposed to this sort of thing, but the pair of them richly deserve it for the way they’ve been carrying on, so I’m glad Imelda doesn’t see herself as above this kind of nonsense and has instead waded in up to her waist.

It’s a typical booming day at the salon, i.e., there are no customers, so when Bobbi-Lee arrives, Caitríona pounces on her, offering to give her a facial. Of course Bobbi-Lee scoffs at this, hilariously pointing out that her face is already perfect, and in case you had forgotten during her recent lengthy absence how any scene on this show instantly becomes 200 percent more entertaining as soon as Bobbi-Lee enters it, here’s Exhibit A. It turns out she’s not here because she wants seaweed inserted in her various orifices, or to have additional colors added to her hair, but because she’s fishing for clues on this Adam/Pádraig thing. She mentions how nice it was of Vince to hire Adam in the shop, but Niamh, who’s been standing around sticking her fingers in various pots of goo and then sniffing them, huffs that she doesn’t understand why everybody’s being so nice to Adam all of a sudden, because gay or not, he’s still a sleazeweasel. This is very exciting news for Bobbi-Lee, because the only word that cheers her up more than the words “Grand Ole Opry” or “come quick, Berni fell down a well!” is “gay.” Caitríona explains that she put her foot in it when she started spreading rumors, but it was only because she saw Adam and Pádraig kissing. At this Bobbi-Lee’s face lights up, because this is the most delightfully exciting piece of news she’s heard since Berni fell down that well a few minutes ago. Caitríona tries to put the brakes on by warning her not to tell everyone in the pub about this, but Bobbi-Lee is offended by this suggestion because Pádraig is her good good friend, and besides, Caitríona already told everybody in the pub about it two episodes ago, and while Bobbi-Lee has no problem inventing her own gossip, she has better things to do with her time than pass on Caitríona’s old hand-me-downs.

Over at Gaudi, Colm is fuming to Mo that the Ministry of Brokering, Peat Bogs, & Ballet Inspectors has denied his application for a broker’s license, which of course there was NO WAY to predict given he has a shady criminal background and is under constant police surveillance. He pouts that he was a fool for renting an office without having a license first, which should at least make him a shoo-in to have his idiot’s license approved. Mo assures him that something will come up – after all, there’s always banks that need robbing – but he’s despondent, and says there will never be any opportunities for him in this country … so maybe he should leave Ireland and start over! With Mo! And this has nothing to do with the fact that he’s about to be murdered by King Kong, that’s for sure! She’s taken aback because they’ve only been together for five minutes and therefore this idea is insane, and tells him that if he’s got itchy feet, perhaps they could go on holiday for a week or two. She already knows a caravan park that has hot and cold running Tony. He’s disappointed, and when she adds that they’d also need, like, money, plus she’s already got a mortgage and bills to pay, he admits defeat, and pouts it was just an idea. She tells him everything she needs is here, which makes us sad because we know she’s including him in that, and she is at least 700 times too good for him.

Over at a table, Eric tells Imelda that Janice has hired him to investigate the robbery at the pharmacy—clearly she has great faith in the local Gardaí, a.k.a. the David Monitoring Brigade—and she reminds him that he’s required to share anything he discovers about this case with the Gardaí. Particularly if it involves sleeping with Laoise, who’s just walked in and is standing alone at the bar. Imelda notices her arrival, and decides to slyly ramp up the torture by making a big production of putting her hand on Eric’s and leaning in close to tell him softly that the person who robbed the pharmacy could be dangerous, which is the kind of brilliant police expertise we count on O’Shea to provide. He takes her hand gently and smiles and promises to be careful, and over at the bar, Laoise, who can see but not hear this performance, looks like she’s just been punched in the stomach, even more so than people normally look when they’re eating at Gaudi.

Out in the street, Gráinne has been hanging out with her new friend Coinín Jackie, because she doesn’t have enough crazy people in her life. She tells David about their great idea to shoot the rabbits in the polytunnel. We’re still not sure why there is wildlife inside the polytunnel, but OK. David is aghast that she’d want anything to do with this violent plan, but she clarifies that she doesn’t want to shoot at the rabbits, she just wants to shoot in the air to frighten them off, and possibly shoot at their feet to make them dance comically. He hasn’t got time for this nonsense, because he’s got some other nonsense to attend to: picking his new ward Maírtín up at school. Gráinne can’t believe they’re taking care of that little Rick Astley-looking kid yet again, but David promises her this is the last time, and after today, they are gonna give him up, they are gonna let him down, they are gonna run around and desert him. He leaves, and Gráinne turns to Jackie and says, “Come on, let’s try out that gun!” Well, there’s no way this is going to end badly, especially with only two episodes left this season.

Back at Gaudi, Niamh is carrying all her clothes around on hangers for some reason we don’t understand, but for simplicity’s sake we’ll just go with it. Laoise casually asks if she thinks there’s any chance Imelda and Eric will get back together. Niamh replies that there’s no way this will ever happen, and besides, she thinks her dad is seeing a new woman, because she overheard him making a dinner reservation for two at Gaudi, and he can’t be taking Imelda, because she’s working tonight. She leaves, and Laoise looks very happy indeed. While I’m enjoying the O’Shea-as-puppetmaster aspect of this storyline, I’m otherwise not as engaged in all this as I suspect I’m supposed to be, especially since it’s keeping us away from what I really want to see, which is Bobbi-Lee in a sparkly Gloria Gaynor jumpsuit and Afro wig singing “I Will Survive” up on the counter at the shop to a very confused Adam.

We see a burly guy in a balaclava ransacking John Joe’s flat, and we know it’s either Anto, here to claim Colm’s money, or Mack, here to retrieve the Michael Bublé CD he loaned John Joe six months ago.

And now, the thing we’ve been waiting for! Vince leaves Adam in charge of the shop while he goes off to take more photos of Caitríona for the new “Drag Queen or Salon Owner?” quiz in Attitude magazine, and just then Bobbi-Lee arrives with a huge grin on her face, which is always a worrying sign. She gushingly asks Adam how he’s doing and smiles a lot, which of course he finds confusing since she has never been anything other than hostile to him in the past, and then she asks, “So, yourself and Pádraig will be going on a date soon?” Snerk. This elicits a “WTF?” from Adam and a “God help us” from Vince, so she digs herself deeper by announcing how thrilled she is that Pádraig has finally found someone, even if it’s an age-inappropriate drug-dealing blackmailing thief. That last part is implied. Adam tries to tell her that he and Pádraig aren’t a couple, which gets a classic, knowing, “Come on, honey,” out of her, followed by, “There’s nothing wrong with being gay! Bobbi-Lee is a hero among you!” And, really, the only way to sound better while declaring yourself a gay icon is to talk about yourself in the third person while doing it. Hilariously, she adds her name to the highest echelon of gay goddesses – Liza with a Z, Madonna with an M, Judy Garland with a bottle of pills.... Of course none of this has anything to do with Adam anymore, but living with Berni all these years has made Bobbi-Lee an expert at taking any subject and making it all about herself. When she finally stops to take a breath, and to get out her sheet music for “YMCA,” Adam interrupts to tell her that people like her with their silly clichés and stereotypes are what keep people like him from coming out, and then storms off. Well, it’s probably also the gay bashings, harassment, being disowned by their families, unequal legal protections, and ostracism by straight people, but sure, we’ll say that Liza and Judy are what’s keeping the LGBT community in the closet. I say this as a gay man who couldn’t give two shits about either of them, or Barbra Streisand either, for that matter. (However, Bobbi-Lee is totally my gay icon, and also my spirit animal.)

Laoise and Eric are canoodling over at the B&B, and when she asks him to go see a production of Harold Pinter’s Disney On Ice with her in Galway tonight, he says he can’t because he’s working. She’s confused and dismayed because she knows he’s made dinner reservations for two at Gaudi tonight, and we all hope this means there’s yet another point being added to this love square, such as an internet stranger who turns out to be Réailtín.

John Joe comes home and finds his apartment a wreck, and just as he notices a crowbar on the couch, the masked goon hits him over the back of the head and sends him crashing to the floor, unconscious. Sadly he seems to be wearing gloves, so O’Shea won’t be able to dust John Joe’s head for fistprints. She will, however, use her police expertise to surmise that the person who did this might be dangerous.

After the break, during which I danced vigorously to “It’s Raining Men” and then cried about it, we find David at home showing Maírtín how to do his homework. Well, as if Maírtín didn’t have enough problems already, now he’s going to have to repeat this year of school, too. Maírtín is frustrated because he’s pretty sure the capital of India is not “Chicken Vindaloo,” but before they can get into it, Gráinne arrives home carrying a gun. David is furious, not just because she’s brought a gun into the house, but also because she doesn’t even have a permit to be carrying it in the first place. She explains that she got it from Coinín Jackie as a favor for cleaning out his shed, as if this addresses any of David’s concerns, but before he can argue with her some more, she reminds him that Maírtín is still there, and needs help with his sums. She takes the gun to the bedroom, and David fumes as he sits down to teach Maírtín that 7 + 3 = the Battle of the Boyne.

John Joe has regained consciousness, at least by his standards, and is sitting on the couch watching cops walk randomly around the flat carrying bin bags. O’Shea asks him if he saw the robber’s face, and he snarkily tells her that yes, he looked straight into his eyes and then turned his back on him so he could hit him. Heh. Just as he’s telling her he doesn’t know why anyone would break in there, Colm and Mo arrive right on cue. Colm lies and tells O’Shea he can’t think of anyone who’d want to harm him, apart from everyone who’s ever met him, but he and John Joe both know this all bears the simian hallmarks of their pal Anto.

Out in the street, Pádraig insists to Bobbi-Lee that there’s nothing going on between him and Adam, and she sighs that it’s no wonder Adam was offended then. Also, she's disappointed that now she won’t get to use the Lady Gaga/Dixie Chicks/Jimmy Sommerville medley she’d put together for their wedding. Pádraig reminds her that Adam is “still getting used to everything,” as if he’s a newly arrived exchange student, and if that’s the case, he should be thankful for the Gay 101 class Bobbi-Lee gave him. Today’s young homosexuals are such ingrates. As they continue down the street, Pádraig spots Adam in front of the shop, and shoves Bobbi-Lee in his direction to apologize to him. Well, I can't think of any reason this won’t go smoothly.

Back at the scene of the crime, which is not the kitchen at Gaudi for a change, John Joe tells Colm he wants the truth about what’s going on here. After some light hemming and hawing, Colm admits he thinks it was Anto who did this. John Joe is furious that Colm’s involved with that big ape again, especially since this time his head is the one who suffered. Colm apologizes and says he didn’t want to be involved in any of this, but an annoyed John Joe points out that, well, he is involved in it, so he better find a way to get un-involved, and quick. He limps off to soak his head, and then a frantic Colm is relieved to find that his giant stack of cash is still safe where he hid it, inside a speaker. It does seem like the net is closing around Colm right now, and as much as I dislike the character, Pól Penrose is doing a great job of conveying the desperation he’s feeling.

Outside the shop, Bobbi-Lee sincerely apologizes to Adam, and tells him this whole experience must have been very hard for him. He seems shell-shocked and doesn’t want to talk to or look at her, but eventually he tells her he’ll be fine, at least partially in hopes it will make her go away. She still feels bad, so she brightly tells him that she and Pádraig are planning to go to Starbar tomorrow, and he should come with them. He’s reluctant to go to a gay bar, probably because one’s first trip to a gay bar feels like a very big step and an admission that this is real, and also because he’s worried she will try to fix him up with somebody in the toilets. As usual, she will not be deterred, and tells him what a great time she and Pádraig always have there. Pádraig agrees, although he points out that they have more fun there when she’s not drunk. Oh, loosen up, Pádraig: most people would pay good money to spend an evening in a gay bar with you and a drunk Bobbi-Lee. No? Just me? OK, then. She also points out that this will be a chance for her and Adam to get to know each other better, which may or may not be something he wants, but he finally gives in and agrees to go. Maybe after Bobbi-Lee passes out and they send her home in a taxi, Pádraig can take Adam to one of the other places that might interest him, the gay sauna. That would certainly answer a few questions he might have.

Colm tracks down Seán in the street and is furious, hissing that he needs to know where Anto is, because his hitting Colm is one thing, but beating up John Joe is bang out of order. Seán agrees that this is too much, but says he doesn’t know where Anto is. Have you tried looking at the top of the Empire State Building, with biplanes buzzing around him? Seán adds that Anto will kill him if he opens his mouth, but Colm threatens to shop him to the police, which clearly makes Seán wish he’d never bothered to leave the bookies’ today.

A determined-looking Laoise arrives at Gaudi and finds Eric at the bar with an unknown woman. She goes over to them and creates a scene, all “Working! Hah!” and “You liar! I should’ve known! Hah!” It’s very Mrs. Krabappel from The Simpsons. Just as she’s about to start talking about floozies and hos, the floozy ho leaves in a huff, and Eric asks Laoise what the hell she thinks she’s doing. Umm, I think it’s pretty clear she’s jealous. He and Imelda must’ve been quite the crime-fighting duo back in the day.

Colm is sitting in O’Shea’s car and tells her he knows who broke into the pharmacy, attacked John Joe, and sank the Lusitania. She’s quite familiar with old Anto, and asks why he didn’t report this sooner, but he reminds her that Anto is terrifying, like Grape Ape with rabies, or Frankenstein with a gun. He tells her Anto’s after him because he refused to do an illegal deal for him, and when he gives her the address where Anto can be found, he warns her to be careful, because he’s very dangerous. She assures him that the Gardaí know what they’re doing, which means next episode, Anto will be holding half the local cops hostage while the other half are driving around the streets of Budapest because they put the address in Google Maps wrong.

Over at the pub, Niamh is unhappy because Caitríona has dressed and styled her for the photo shoot like she should be carrying a tray of nachos in a Mexican cantina. Imagine Sofia Vergara playing Naomi on Mama’s Family and you’re about halfway there. Tadhg hurls some half-hearted insults at Caitríona just for fun, and, surprisingly, Janice takes it upon herself to come up and put him in his place. He looks chagrined, and Janice and Caitríona exchange knowing glances and small smiles, and it seems as if a new alliance may be forming.

Back at Gaudi, Eric has explained that the floozy he was meeting with was actually the client he’s currently working for. Laoise apologizes, telling him she knew he had a meeting here tonight and assumed the worst. To be fair, “Laoise” is actually Irish for “assuming the worst.” He’s aghast, which I sort of get, but also accuses her of following him, which is a bit much considering there are only three places to go in this entire town. It’s not like they happened to end up in the same sushi bar in Tokyo. He accuses her of acting like a jealous teenager, but she counters that it’s his fault because he’s secretive about everything. He tells her to grow up and storms off. Let’s just admit that you’re both at fault and concentrate on the important thing here, which is that we are totally over this storyline.

Caitríona and Janice are having a friendly, surprisingly deep conversation at the bar about confidence and feminism and Germaine Greer and so on, and when Tadhg starts buzzing around to annoy them, Janice swiftly swats him like a fly. Caitríona is impressed, and they clink glasses, though it’s unclear how much of it is that Caitríona may actually like and respect Janice now and how much is that she realizes Janice is a powerhouse she doesn’t want as an enemy. 

At Gaudi, an anxious Colm springs up expectantly when O’Shea arrives, but is disappointed when she tells him they went to the address he gave them, but Anto was gone. The problem is that she asked Siri, “Take me to Anto,” and Siri gave her directions to Nando’s. She assures him that he can’t have gone far, and that they’ll get him, but Colm is skeptical, and wonders when the next flight to Antarctica might be leaving Ros na Rún International Airport. O’Shea leaves, and Eric, who’s been eavesdropping this whole time, slips Colm his card and tells him he’d be much better off coming to him rather than the Gardaí if he hears anything new from Anto. Colm semi-tells him to get lost, but Eric calmly informs him that he’s known Anto a very long time, and he also knows how the Gardaí operate. He continues that his approach is not as “restrained” as the police’s, if Colm gets his drift. He leaves, and, drift gotten, Colm seems to have a lot to think about. He better think about it fast, because the season finale is next week.

It’s 9:35 p.m., and Annette has finally come to collect her various children. As he closes the door behind them, David sighs to Gráinne that he doesn’t want to see any more children in this house EVER AGAIN. Uh-oh. Gráinne smiles knowingly, and when David complains about how helping Maírtín with his coloring homework really wore him out, she volunteers that Rick Astley Jr. wasn’t so bad after all, and puts her arm around him. Well, she’s changed her tune, and I think we are all starting to have a sinking feeling why.

Over at her place, Mo tells Colm she’s exhausted, so she heads off to bed and he tells her he’ll be in shortly. She disappears to the bedroom, and then we see him frantically running around the house closing the blinds, triple-locking all the doors, and setting up Home Alone-type booby traps. He grabs the heaviest, pointiest fireplace tool he can find, the one you use to stab at the flames when they come to life and take human form, and sits down in the dark with it, clearly anticipating a long night. What we really need to heighten the suspense right now is a visit from O’Shea, who will point out that getting murdered can be very dangerous.

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