Thursday, September 28, 2017

Antisocial Media

Season 22, Episode 7
First aired 26 September 2017

In case Mack and Dee’s return from vacation and immediate resumption of hostilities was not awkward enough for you last time, this is the episode for you! But I get ahead of myself. We open with Gráinne and David discussing today’s upcoming remembrance ceremony for their lost child, to which she has decided not to invite any of their friends, and has only invited David because she sent him the Evite by mistake. She wants it to be small and intimate, just for the two of them, and David reluctantly agrees, but it’s clearly not what he wants.

Mack arrives home from work and explains to Dee that he could barely stay awake, so someone named Jimmy sent him home early. This is probably Mack’s hackney job we’re talking about, although I personally am hoping it’s that new scheme from last season in which he drives Japanese tourists around Ros na Rún and tells them it’s Paris. Today’s group will knock one star off their TripAdvisor reviews because of the part where Mack fell asleep at the wheel and crashed the bus into the polytunnel. Dee, who looks particularly lovely today in her stripey top, tries to make conversation with him, but he is completely disinterested in anything she’s saying, even though it’s about WiFi speed and is therefore inherently fascinating, especially to Mack, who is pretty sure WiFi is a girl he got off with one time behind the bike shed at school.

In the B&B kitchen, Evan is promising Máire he will throw up later because of her cooking. I swear I am not making this up. This is Fia’s opportunity to pull ahead of him in the Good Grandchild contest, but sadly she is nowhere to be seen. Anyway, Evan points out to Máire that the carbon monoxide detector we heard so much about last week is not doing her any good still in its box on the kitchen table, but she seems so detached and bored by all this that we get the feeling she may be willing to take her chances with the carbon monoxide. He senses that she’s upset about something, particularly when she says, “I’m very upset,” and she reveals that she thinks she caused a row between David and Gráinne yesterday. I’d say it was more that David caused the row and Máire facilitated it, but I suppose the important thing is that a row was had.

Dee has followed Mack to Gaudi so they can have a big fight about whether or not she is a complete wagon. Mack is in the My God, You’re A Wagon camp, whereas Dee is on the Screw You, You Bastard side. I expect there is enough support on both sides for each of them to pick up a few seats in the Dáil. He storms off, and then Gráinne arrives, at which point Dee immediately puts her foot in her mouth by offering her condolences about the baby, which of course she’s not supposed to know about, and then makes things worse by pointing out that at least Gráinne wasn’t too far along, so it’s, you know, not that sad. Gráinne isn’t sure which part of this to lose her shit about first, so Dee flees and Evan joins the fray. He tells Gráinne it’s OK to be upset about losing a baby because it’s a big deal, and she asks him how everybody knows about this, and also what the hell he’d know about such a thing in the first place. He sadly tells her that he and Niamh once lost a child, which we had kind of all forgotten about, and she looks chagrined.

Over at the community center, Micheál and Frances are discussing the “multimedia expert” who is coming by today to help the town prepare for the Ireland’s Villagiest Village contest. Of course Micheál does not think the town needs any multimedia, because he knows that if they get some, Réailtín will just use it to get herself Internet-kidnapped by her own brother again. Berni interrupts to try to make a pitch about how she loves everything about the approach they’re taking towards the contest, but just has one minor suggestion, which is to do the exact opposite. Her concept is that they re-paradigm the strategic visioning of the on-branding, i.e., make the entire campaign about how awesome the café is, and how people hardly ever find hair in their food there. Micheál does not have time for her nonsense and tells her to buzz off, and says tourists who come to town will just have to find out about the café the same way everyone else does, which is by eating there and then getting food poisoning. Just then a young woman arrives who turns out to be someone named Amy, whom I have never heard of, but who clearly annoys Berni, so I am in favor of her. Amy explains that she’s been off in Dublin earning a degree, and Berni rolls her eyes and acts snotty, and then Amy shuts her down by telling her she’d love to continue this conversation but can’t, because Berni is a bitch. It turns out Amy is the multimedia consultant, which really drives Berni around the bend, and I am liking this Amy person already.

Meanwhile, Dee and Mack’s Fighting World Tour 2017 continues, and the latest stop is the community center. Dee asks Mack if Gráinne was the one who told him about the baby, and he says no, it was Mo, because Gráinne isn’t telling anyone, duh. Dee confesses that she just put her foot in it, so Mack yells at her and then storms off again. Well, on the plus side, having Mack around hating her probably makes Dee miss Katy less.

Back at Gaudi, Gráinne tells Evan that today’s ceremony is going to be just her and David, because she doesn’t want people to think she’s making a big deal about nothing. After all, she explains, she shouldn’t be crying over “a heap of cells that were no bigger than a grain of sugar.” He tells her she’s got to open up and let people help her get through this, and just then Mo arrives. Evan says something about Jesus and a cross, which makes Gráinne glare at him until he goes away, and then she asks Mo if she’ll do her a favor and contact a few people for her.

Across the restaurant, Micheál arrives with Amy in tow, and she and Evan exchange a wave that suggests they are friends, although it may turn out they are frenemies, or frenemies with benefitemies. Micheál tells her the town has no need of her and her so-called “web design skills,” but she begs to differ, given that the only thing on the community center’s current website is an ad for a cake sale that happened in 2015. Well, there’s also that dancing baby and a Y2K preparation checklist. Micheál doesn’t see the big deal, since 2015 might roll around again and this way they will be prepared, but she continues that the only website in town that’s not a complete embarrassment is Gaudi’s. We’re sure Pádraig has learned a thing or two about social media while checking out cake recipes and celebrities who accidentally showed their willies while posting bathroom selfies on Instagram. (Hey, I’m not judging.) Amy’s argument falls apart a bit when she calls the town a hole and everyone who lives in it old, and Micheál gets all bent out of shape about it because, you know, old people can’t take a joke. He storms off, and then Evan slithers over and smirkily marvels at the fact that Amy has just arrived and is already causing trouble, ha ha ha. I’m sure Amy will reveal herself to be a pain in the ass before long, but right now, Evan is the one who’s coming off looking like a jerk in all this.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, today played by Pádraig and Bobbi-Lee, have miraculously shown up at the community center to tell Frances how the town website and the Villagiest Village campaign need to focus on two key growth areas: his cake business and her CDs. Frances basically looks at them blankly, so Pádraig wanders away to take a phone call from Mo and Bobbi-Lee plops herself down at a table to wait for Micheál to return so she can continue trying to flog her music. Dee comes over and is all, “Oh, you seem to have not noticed that all my stuff is at this table because I was sitting here,” and Bobbi-Lee, without even looking up, says, “Tough luck, honey. I’m here now!” This quote immediately goes into the Bobbi-Lee Hall of Fame, along with her previous personal philosophies “I was only trying to help” and “How hard can it be?” We imagine normally Dee would tell Bobbi-Lee to go eff herself, but she’s feeling vulnerable today, so she starts to slink away, and Bobbi-Lee asks if she’s been crying. Dee sits down, and in the course of the conversation Bobbi-Lee tricks her into telling her that Gráinne had a miscarriage, and that’s what all this plotting around town about a secret ceremony is about. I love how the Bobbi-Lee train goes between Getting What She Needs With Laser-Like Accuracy and Completely Getting The Wrong End Of The Stick And Making Everything Much Much Worse with no stops in between.

At the B&B, Adam is complaining about how hung over he is from the previous night, while Fia, awesomely, is as bright as a shiny penny and showing no ill effects. Now we know which of these two can hold her liquor, or, more accurately, which of them has to hold back the other’s hair while he pukes in the alley behind the club. She puts the kettle on and tries to make conversation, but he’s not listening because he’s busy playing with his phone. It seems he met some guy at the club last night, an encounter he semi-remembers due to his hangover, and is now waiting for a response to the Fakebook message he just sent him. Fia tells him to forget about it, and that he can instead go to the crèche with her to pick up Liam Óg, but then he smiles when he gets a message back from his gentleman friend, and she looks dismayed. It seems she’s not as ready to see Adam with someone else as she thinks she is.

Back at the community center, Bobbi-Lee tells Dee that they had a little ceremony when Lee died, and it really helped her. Dee doesn’t think she should attend given the way she put her foot in it earlier, especially since she got the invitation from Mo, not Gráinne, and besides, she hasn’t gotten a text from Mack asking her to go. Bobbi-Lee’s opinion is basically that Dee needs to stop feeling sorry for herself, and also that Mack is an idiot. She’s all, “Come on, let’s go!”, and when Dee points out that Bobbi-Lee is not technically invited, Bobbi-Lee declares it seafóid, because she and David are extremely close. Yes, we remember when David woke up in her bed a few years ago and then decided they had to get married.

Set-up has begun down at the beach, and Pádraig apologizes to Gráinne for not realizing anything was wrong with her. She tells him he has nothing to apologize for, because she was deluding herself as well, and they hug. Aww. David shits a brick when Father Éamonn arrives, but Gráinne assures him it’s OK: she invited him, because she thought his presence might bring David comfort. You know, psalms and so forth. Máire and Gráinne make up for yesterday, and meanwhile David goes over and has a quiet word with Father Éamonn. That word is: “don’t mention the fact that I got shot in the junk.” Fr. Éamonn thinks this dishonesty is a bad idea, because as it says in the Good Book, “I have never seen a dead body or a female nipple. This is what comes from living in a cul de sac.” It’s possible the book I am thinking of is The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole. Mack comes over and apologizes to Gráinne for what an idiot Dee was earlier, pointing out that she’s constantly saying and doing terrible things, and of course then turns around and finds that Dee is standing right behind him. She storms off, leaving him looking confused and stubbly on the windswept shore.

After the break, we are at the new shop, which looks exactly like the old shop, except with Briain in it. He’s on the phone with his mother telling her he needs her help getting his back pay from Australia or something. He really, really needs the money, man, like, right now, which doesn’t sound sketchy at all.

We return to the beach, which we barely recognize without Maggie sitting on it waiting for Tadhg to come by. Fr. Éamonn says some comforting words, only about three-quarters of which are about how David should stop lying about not having been shot in the penis. David shoots him a lot of dirty looks, and then we cut to the community center, where Amy is trying to apologize to Micheál. He interrupts her apology to tell her what they need is a professional media consultant, not a brat who insults everybody and is questionably dressed. That last part is implied. Frances reports to him that so far the two people who care about the contest are Pádraig, who wants to know if there is prize money and if so can he have it, and Bobbi-Lee, who is 80 percent sure she’s lined up Beyonce as the opening act on her next tour. Frances also informs him that people think the town should have a website, and he’s dismissively like, “Website? What kind of website?”, so she suggests that, just hypothetically, it could have, like, information about the town, and maybe some pictures. This is all very confusing for him, because his promotional idea had been selling rainbow terrycloth headbands that said “IRELAND IS COOL” on them. Eventually he and Frances admit that they don’t know anything about creating websites, especially the complicated kind that—I swear I am not making this up—have links on them, so perhaps they need young Amy and her vivacious rudeness after all.

Back on the beach, Gráinne lights a candle, and a few people say amen, and then Bobbi-Lee announces she’d like to say a few words, which of course causes everyone to have immediate ice-cold diarrhea. It actually starts out really well, as she says that she understands better than anyone what it’s like to lose a child, but then things start to go off the rails a bit when she says that at least David and Gráinne have got each other, so they can try again and produce lots of babies in the future. Mack hilariously hisses, “For God’s sake, shut up,” out of the side of his mouth in the way only he can, but she carries on for a while longer about what good parents they’ll be. I swear I thought she was going to burst into song, perhaps about how she believes the children are our future, but she controls herself, and I am somewhat disappointed. Gráinne actually finds all this extremely comforting, but David, on the other hand, looks like he just found a rat swimming in the tub he’s just had a nice long bath in.

We return to Villagiest Village HQ, where Berni is trying to strong-arm Micheál into putting her menu on the new town website. I’m not sure why everyone in town has decided this contest is the chance they’ve been waiting for to find out what the Internet is. Micheál once again tells her to sling her hook, adding that the town has more important things to worry about than her stupid menu, like cleaning up the graffiti in the park and figuring out where all those zombies with swords are coming from. She eventually agrees to leave—FOR NOW—but not before giving him a copy of her new menu on a USB drive, which he looks at as if it’s come here from the future to destroy us all, or at least give us indigestion. She departs, and then Amy sidles over and says, “Come on, Micheál, you need the internet,” which we did not know still needed to be said in 2017, but then again, this is Micheál. He still listens to Tony Orlando and Dawn on his 8-track. She tells him if they put “this” on Facebook, hundreds of people will see it, and she lists everything the town has to offer, including the seashore, an Ghaeilge, the opportunity to be insulted by Tadhg, and the local radio station, which as she points out, we had all forgotten about because it doesn’t broadcast anymore. This last point intrigues Micheál, because it explains why he hears nothing but static coming from his sad kitchen radio now, even when it’s not switched on.

The ceremony is over down at the beach, and David has pulled Fr. Éamonn aside to explain that he hasn’t had the heart to tell Gráinne about his infertility yet because she’s already got so much to be upset about, such as the miscarriage and having him as a boyfriend. They argue for a while, and then Fr. Éamonn makes the case that thanks to this ceremony, Gráinne is happier than she’s been in a long time. He never expresses the end of the point he’s making here, but it seems to be, “She’s happier than she’s been in a while, so now’s the time to knock her back down.” We find it hard to believe Gráinne hasn’t looked at the significant injuries to David’s groinular region and asked, “Wow, are the doctors sure you’ll still be able to have children?”, which suggests he’s probably lied to her face about it, but we don’t think David is supposed to have been that dishonest with her, so we guess we’ll suspend our disbelief around it, just like how we’re pretending nobody has noticed Briain is staying in John Joe’s supposedly empty house.

Mack arrives home, where Dee is sitting at the table hate-drinking a bottle of wine. He’s brought her a chocolate bar, so it seems he comes in peace this time, or is at least trying to soften her up so he can break the news that he accidentally got Amy, Janice, and Bobbi-Lee pregnant on the way home. She seems willing to exchange olive branches, either because she still loves him or because even a Daly gets tired of fighting eventually. His apology includes an “I told you so,” an accusation that her feelings are seafóid, and a reiteration that the thing she did today was really, really bad, even by her standards. Mack isn’t much better at apologizing than he is at making up believable lies. She sees that we’re running out of time for today, though, and agrees that she’s pretty awful indeed, just so they can stop fighting and she can get back to her bottle of wine. He finally tells her that Gráinne knows she meant well, and what’s important is that the thing Dee said isn’t nearly as bad as the thing Bobbi-Lee said, which he seems very excited to tell her about. Having Bobbi-Lee around means never having to say you’re sorry.  

We end at Gráinne and David’s, where she’s getting dinner ready and he’s sat in his chair deep in thought. If you looked inside his head, you would see Dino the dinosaur running on a giant hamster wheel. Sensing that something’s wrong, mostly because he’s not talking incessantly, she leans around the world’s largest peppermill and says he’s been quiet ever since that conversation with Fr. Éamonn in which he kept miming small explosions in the vicinity of his crotch. He explains he was just thanking the father for his remarks, and she agrees that he was helpful, although the one who really made her feel better was Bobbi-Lee, who’s totally right that they have plenty of time to have lots more children together. Once again Bobbi-Lee saves the day! Oh, wait.

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