Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Mommies on the Bus Go "Puff, Puff, Puff"

Season 22, Episode 16
First aired 26 October 2017

All hell breaks loose this episode, so let’s get to it! It’s a lovely sunny day, but Fia can’t enjoy it because she’s pushing a stroller down the street that unfortunately for her has Liam Óg in it. He’s crying and whining, “Waaaaaah, Mommy! Mommy! Buh, huh, huh, AIEEEEEEEE!” and that sound, plus Fia’s downtrodden demeanor, is the best advertisement for not having unprotected sex with your mother’s boyfriend of all time. She pushes him into the community center, which now has dueling signs by the door, one for the daycare center (in Precocious Crayon font) and one for the radio station (in Millennial Anarchist Who Also Likes Ed Sheeran font). She looks torn by the signs, because on one hand, the opportunity to deposit her screaming toddler in a holding facility is her salvation, but on the other, Amy was a complete wagon to her about the stupid radio station, which we still suspect will be a front for Muireann/Celine Dion to launder some money or traffic some humans.

At her kitchen table, poor Gráinne is once again clutching and stroking the baby outfit with the sun on it from several weeks ago. For her own sake, maybe she needs the Brigid’s cross to fly off the wall and knock it out of her hands.

Meanwhile, at her own kitchen table, Maggie is once again playing with the pages of the book Tadhg gave her back in 1768, 1868, or 1968, and sighing a lot and making ambiguous faces. Her table is covered in about 14 different layers of what appears to be embroidered lace and would win the gold, silver, and bronze medals in the Ireland’s Doiliest Doily contest. As far as I’m concerned, the only people in the world who should be allowed to possess this much lace are Victorian ladies and Stevie Nicks, and to my knowledge, Maggie is not either of those.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Please Mr. Postman

Season 22, Episode 15
First aired 24 October 2017

Jaunty music plays as we open to find Tadhg dancing around the pub with a broom, which is less like the dancing brooms in Fantasia than you might imagine. It’s quite disorienting to see him smiling and happy because, you know, Tadhg. We cut to Maggie’s, where she is also sweeping the floor, what with the official sport of Ros na Rún being drudgery. The same happy music is playing over there, and it’s unclear whether we are supposed to imagine it’s coming from a radio (surely not Micheál’s imaginary station!) or we’re all suffering a mass hallucination or what. Anyway, Maggie finds Tadhg’s watch where he hid it on her windowsill last episode, and she gives a gravely ambiguous look, which is of course the official facial expression of Ros na Rún.

Over at David and Gráinne’s, which today is more like the Love Shack, he’s trying to have sex with her at, in, or on the kitchen sink, but in spite of his raging libido and freshly starched pajamas, she’s decided that everybody needs to keep it in their pants right now. She consents to a little light eating each other’s faces off, and then he once again tries to migrate things to the bedroom, or possibly to Pádraig’s bedroom, where they will spread all his clothes on the floor and do it on top of them. Fortunately for all of us, and mostly for Pádraig, she reminds him that she can’t right now, because she’s got to go to the salon. It’s unclear whether she is actually going in or if this is another one of her pretend days at work, but either way, they will not be sexing each other up right now. He’s disappointed, but then when the blood starts returning to his brain, he panics: he’s forgotten to go to work! It seems David’s latest career is going to be just as glorious as all the earlier ones.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

8 Questions with ... Production Manager Louise Richardson

In my Ros na Rún Q&As I've been working hard to talk to people who work on the show in various ways to give a well-rounded idea of what it takes to bring it to life and to our TV screens. Today's Q&A is with one of the people at the center of keeping the production running and making sure everything comes together like it's supposed to: production manager Louise Richardson! Here she tells us about all the plates that have to be kept spinning to produce the show, how Ros na Rún is a family business for her, and why she thinks Tadhg and Caitríona would be good bosses!

(Louise with her aunts)

What do you do as the production manager at Ros na Rún and what is a typical day like?

My main role as Production Manager is to look after the day-to-day running of the production so that it all runs as smoothly as possible. We work at such a fast pace that it’s important to keep things on track. I put together the production schedule for the season so that everyone knows what we’re filming and when and also what transmission dates the episodes have.

I make sure we have all our crew for the season. I attend meetings with the scripting department, liaise with the editors regarding episode deliveries, and generally deal with the production staff.

I’m not sure that any two days are ever the same at Ros na Rún! But that’s what makes it so enjoyable.

What was the career path that led you to Ros na Rún and what are some of the other jobs you’ve had?

I’ve actually always wanted to work in Ros na Rún, ever since I was 15 and I did a week’s work experience as part of that school year. I fell in love with it instantly. I like to believe it’s in my blood as three of my aunts and my uncle (all siblings) have worked or still do in Ros na Rún. The current series producer is my aunt Déirdre Ní Fhlatharta. Her sister Kate Ní Fhlatharta is one of our senior script writers. Their other sister Marguerite Ní Fhlatharta is the props buyer and my uncle Michils has done carpentry work with us too!!! My mother, Bernie Ní Fhlatharta is also in the media (a journalist), so it seems like I was destined to follow in their footsteps.

I came to Ros na Rún shortly after finishing college. I applied back in 2008 when they were looking for crew and ended up being hired as the production secretary. I did that for a year and then was trained to be a stage manager for the following season. After a year of that, there came an opening as a floor manager, so I got the opportunity to train as that and continued in that role for 4 seasons. After that I took the role as production coordinator, which in Ros na Rún meant I was responsible for putting the shooting schedule together every week. That was a tough role, let me tell you! And now here I am as production manager.

Ros na Rún has a longstanding reputation for training and I feel like I’m a prime example of the benefits of that training.

What do you think people would be most surprised to know about making Ros na Rún?

I know other people who’ve done your Q&A’s may have already answered with the same thing, but the amount of work that goes into it! Or how far ahead we are. We’re just finishing up our Christmas episodes even though it’s mid-October. We’ve also already storylined the first 18 episodes for Season 23, which begins filming in August 2018.

How many people are involved in making the show? 

There’s about 160 people employed with us throughout the year. The majority of our crew, and our actors, only work for the six months we’re filming. We have a huge scripting department and story team who work non-stop (we chain them to the desks!) throughout the year to come up with all our amazing stories.

That’s a joke about the chaining to desks of course….

Do you have a funny/weird/interesting anecdote about working on Ros na Rún you’d be willing to share with us?

What happens on set stays on set!! I joke. I’ll always remember, I wasn’t long working in Ros na Rún we were filming and Eoin Mac Diarmada who played Donncha, Vince’s son, was filming the scene of his own funeral. He was laying in the coffin and just after the scene began he sat up and let out a roar which scared the life out of everyone as they weren’t obviously expecting it! It was very funny!

Which Ros na Rún character would you most want as your boss and which would you least want as your boss — and why?

I think I would like Tadhg as a boss. He’s a hard nut to crack but I think if you managed to work for him you could work for anyone…just don’t get on his bad side.

If I was the type of person who didn’t want to do a whole lot of work, then I think I’d like Caitríona as a boss. She’s usually too preoccupied with her own life to notice if anyone is actually doing any work!

Not including Ros na Rún, if you could work on *any* TV show, which one would you want to work on and why?

I’d love to work on a crime drama I think….I’m a little obsessed with Criminal Minds and Law & Order. I used to want to be a lawyer, so that’s probably why! That said, our crew are all such close friends that I’m sure I would miss them (#clannrosnarún).

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be and what would you be doing?

I would be on some sunny island by the pool with a cocktail in one hand and a good thriller novel in the other! But I’ll have to wait until we stop filming in February for that. I consider myself extremely lucky to be in involved in this industry and getting an opportunity to learn new skills everyday by being surrounded by really talented people.

(Louise, in purple at right)

And there you have it! Thanks to Louise for this fun and interesting look at her work on the show and for revealing more of what goes on behind the scenes at Ros na Rún. I thank her for her time and efforts! Stay tuned for more Ros na Rún Q&As, and if you're a part of team Ros na Rún who'd like to be the subject of a future Q&A, please contact me. I'd love to feature you!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Once Upon A Tadhg

Season 22, Episode 14
First aired 19 October 2017

It’s morning, and Gráinne is in her kitchen doing a tarot card reading on herself. Is that allowed? She’s very excited because she draws The River, which she announces is a good sign and means something about opportunity. David is happy that she’s happy, but is also wary and warns her not to take “those cards” too seriously. Either he’s worried she’ll be disappointed when she does not actually win a cruise down a scenic medieval river as pictured on the card or he thinks tarot cards are sacrilegious graven images and pagan idolatry that will cause Zeus to come smite them. He leaves, and then Pádraig, who is wearing an utterly gorgeous GQ jacket/shirt combo complete with elbow patches and a pocket square so chic it would make Tom Ford weep, asks Gráinne what exactly The River means. I should note that Gráinne is standing beside this vision of sartorial splendor wearing an aqua terrycloth bathrobe and fuchsia character turban, which suggests that one of them drew the High Fashion card this morning, and it wasn’t her. Anyway, she explains that The River means “fruitfulness and abundance, and miracles, of course,” which I am interpreting to mean she will stumble across an all-you-can-eat pineapple buffet even though pineapples are NOT IN SEASON. She sighs happily, looks meaningfully at the Brigid’s cross, and then grabs a bag of cotton balls and heads off to the bathroom. It looks like she’s having a slumber party and Pádraig did not get the memo about the dress code.

At the pub, Breadgate continues, with Bobbi-Lee demonstrating that the new slices can be used to hammer in nails and sand down the bar for varnishing. She asks again about the possibility of Maggie resuming her bread delivery, which is only kind of a euphemism, and Tadhg pretends not to know who Maggie is and then tells her to shut up and set out the feckin’ bread. There’s a bit of confusion in which Tadhg thinks Mo and Bobbi-Lee are talking about how he’s clearly missing Maggie and should go up to see her, when in fact they are of course talking about Frances. It’s important to be able to correctly identify the woman who is about to kill you, especially when she’s your wife. Máire arrives, and of course she’s once again looking after Liam Óg, who at this point spends more time in the pub than Bobbi-Lee does. She sidles up to Micheál and puts in a plug for Fia as the perfect radio employee he’s been looking for. Fia’s qualifications include dancing to the radio with her eyes closed while off her head on mystery pills and also being able to spell “radio” with 70 percent accuracy. He can’t seem to find her CV in the pile of applications FOR SOME REASON, but Máire assures him he’ll be receiving it soon, because Fia stayed “at a friend’s house last night so she could work on it.” Oh, dear. Further down the bar, Mo, who may or may not be working, is playing on her phone and is shocked to discover on Facebook that Katy and Jason just got married! She asks Tadhg why he didn’t tell anyone, and it’s clear from his reaction it’s because they didn’t bother informing him. To be fair, maybe they tried calling him, but there’s no mobile coverage deep in Maggie’s hedges.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Stairway to Evan

Season 22, Episode 13
First aired 17 October 2017

We open at Stately Gráinne Manor, where David has just learned that he got the job as Ros na Rún’s new postman. He cautions her that it’s only a short-term contract, which means he will be sacked the first day when he panics and throws all the mail down a sewer, but Gráinne is happy for him, presumably because it will involve him leaving the house sometimes, and because we have no idea how they’ve been paying the bills since June. Residual seaweed income, I guess. They discuss how today is her first day back at work, and parenthetically what a pain in the ass Caitríona is, but when David leaves the house, Gráinne picks up the phone and rings her to say she won’t be in today. Well, that was a short-lived comeback.

Over at the B&B, which Evan only visits when he wants to whinge endlessly about Fia, he’s, well, whingeing endlessly about Fia. Máire is today’s unfortunate audience, and his complaint is a two-headed snake involving a) how irresponsible Fia is and b) how it’s all very inconvenient and upsetting to him. Fia and her hangover lurch into the kitchen, which is Evan’s cue to be loud and snotty, and while I’m sure dealing with her has not been easy lately, I don’t think his being a complete tool about it all the time is the best way to improve the situation. Fia ignores him for a while until she can’t take it anymore and then puts him in his place with a one-sentence verbal smackdown, but he’s too high up on his soapbox to realize what’s going on. Máire encourages Fia to go upstairs and take a nice hot shower, which we are going to hope is to sober her up rather than because she smells bad, and Evan just sits there sulking. I like Evan, but the saintly prig act he’s learned from his mother isn’t the best color on him.

Monday, October 16, 2017

24-Hour Party Fia

Season 22, Episode 12
First aired 12 October 2017

We open with suspiciously hunky Briain skulking out of John Joe’s house in a manner that screams, “HELLO! NOTHING SUSPICIOUS IS HAPPENING HERE, THAT’S FOR SURE! HA HA!” And speaking of suspicious, we pan down the block for the return of last season’s teen tearaway Pól, who you may recall was last seen being hauled out of the pub in handcuffs after Mo knocked him unconscious with a hurley. Other items on Pól’s CV include poisoning a dog, getting in a knife fight with Áine, and beating up David in Recycle Pod Park. And it just so happens that, as he’s making a big production out of throwing his trash on the ground, he runs into David and Gráinne in Recycle Pod Park, to which they have come to recycle their hopes and dreams. The three of them get in an argument that goes exactly the way you’d expect: David asks Pól what he’s doing there; Pól snots that he has as much right to be there as anyone else, being gross to Gráinne in the process; David tells him to watch it; Gráinne grabs David’s arm and says, “Let’s go! He’s not worth it!” Oh, and Pól notes that he heard David got fired from his job, which he declares shocking given what a great job David has done helping yobs like him turn their lives around. Well, to be fair, under David’s direction the An Teaghlach kids did learn valuable new skills like kidnapping, arson, and poitín appreciation.

At the pub, Tadhg and Mo are arguing about nothing. This is what happens when Bobbi-Lee isn’t there to attract their ire: they turn on each other. He disappears upstairs and then Maggie arrives looking for him, for TOTALLY INNOCENT REASONS we’re sure. During their conversation Mo accidentally reveals that a) Frances is out of town and b) Tadhg lied last night when he said he couldn’t come evaluate Maggie’s melons because the pub was packed. Mo reveals that in fact the pub was completely dead, just like Tadhg is going to be when Frances finds out what’s going on here, and Maggie looks stricken and leaves.

At the shop, Mack happens to mention to Evan and Briain, the Senior All-Ireland Twister squad, that he’s on his way to pick up John Joe at the airport. This gives Briain instant diarrhea face, because given John Joe’s laser-focused powers of deduction, he knows he can only continue living there two or three more weeks before John Joe remembers he is not supposed to be there. Maybe he can buy himself another couple of months by putting on a Donegal accent and looking aggrieved all the time to convince John Joe he is actually Colm.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Daytime Drinking, with Your Host Fia Ní Chonghaile

Season 22, Episode 11
First aired 10 October 2017

We open in the B&B kitchen, where Máire tries to tempt a depressed Fia with a pamphlet advertising the lame course offerings at the community center, as if Micheál teaching shorthand or Labhrás teaching roller disco is equivalent to a fashion course in London. To really shove it up Fia’s ass sideways, Máire has made sure to let Liam Óg scribble all over it with a crayon before giving it to her. Nice. Fia looks through it, and when she states matter-of-factly that she’s not interested in Mack’s 17th-Century Continental Philosophy course or Áine’s car-theft seminar, Máire tut-tuts that there’s no pleasing her. Fia ignores a Skype request from Vanessa just as an annoyed Evan arrives and says he wants to have a word with her, but she JUST. CANNOT. with him right now and breezes past him, saying she’s got to go water and repot Liam Óg.

At the pub, Tadhg harasses Mo about her looking miserable all the time. There’s only one person who’s allowed to scare off the punters by glaring at them, and that’s him. Bobbi-Lee is, however, allowed to scare them off by offering to show them her back catalog. Mo’s in a strop because she’s hung over from last night’s party at Dee and Mack’s, which suggests it got a lot better after we left it, because it looked pretty damn sad last time we checked in on it. Frances arrives for more of this season’s ongoing discussion of Tadhg’s poor eating habits, and takes away the terrible-looking doughnut he’s bought himself and gives it to Mo. I don’t know why Frances is so concerned about his diet, because given the way this season is going, it’s much more likely he’ll be killed by carbon monoxide poisoning, or by her when she finds out what’s going on with Maggie. Speaking of, Tadhg mentions that he ran into Maggie outside, by which we assume he means that rock by the ocean she always sits on, and after pretending that he doesn’t know her name and barely remembers who she is, he tells Frances she had a long list of gardening work for him to do. She tells him a little bit of hard work and a good airing out won’t hurt him, and besides, Maggie’s pistils aren’t going to pollinate themselves.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

8 Questions with ... Máirín de Buitléir

Ros na Rún features one of the best casts on television, and it keeps us entertained with a mixture of new characters and those who've been around since the beginning. Since her introduction in season 20, Dee Daly has been involved in some of the show's biggest and most explosive storylines, from her battles with her sister Katy to legal wrangling in the courtroom to her never-boring relationship with Mack. So I'm thrilled to share with you this interview with the woman who brings Dee to life herself: it's "8 Questions with ... Máirín de Buitléir!"

London Calling

Season 22, Episode 10
First aired 5 October 2017

We open at Berni’s, where Fia is awakened by her cellphone ringing. She sees that it’s from Máire and puts the phone back down, and it’s obvious she has a terrible hangover, like in that movie, Toy Story 2 The Hangover.

At Stately Gráinne Manor, she’s just received an invitation in the mail to attend a christening for her friend Emily’s baby or cactus or whatever. It’s in London, however, and only two weeks away. David tells her she should go if she wants to, but Gráinne protests that she doesn’t feel up for such a thing at the moment, and besides, they don’t have the money for her to bop off to London anyway. This is why I keep sending letters to Transport For London demanding they extend the Northern Line to Ros na Rún immediately. In related news, I am no longer allowed on the Underground. David agrees that they need to be saving money since they’ve got their own special day to think of, but at the mention of a wedding Gráinne freezes in her tracks, like they say you should do if you’re being attacked by a mugger, because they can only see you when you’re moving. It’s possible I may be thinking of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, not a mugger. Anyway, Gráinne freezes in her tracks, but unfortunately for her David is not a mugger or a Tyrannosaurus Rex, because he can still see her. She abruptly says that this isn’t the time to discuss a wedding because everything feels like a mess right now, so he makes comforting sounds and gives her a hug, but we can see in her eyes she’s not sure she believes his promises that he’s here to stay this time.

Back at Berni’s, she’s gotten out her extra-loud industrial vacuum cleaner, which sounds like it’s made from a souped-up 747 engine, and is hoovering Fia’s face. Fia sputters to life and groans about the noise, which is of course Berni’s cue to start up the “Oh, Sleeping Beauty awakes!” routine she’s been practicing in the mirror for the past 3 hours. She snots that when she arose from her crypt at the stroke of midnight last night, she found Fia passed out on her sofa, and then starts carrying on about how nice it must be to stay out partying all night with no cares about whether your baby is falling off a cliff somewhere. When she adds that Fia is also a bad influence on Evan, Fia responds that he’s perfectly capable of going out drinking without her assistance, and that Berni might try having a drink herself to see if it makes her less of a wagon. At this Berni says “gabh mo leathscéil?!?” in offended disbelief, which is of course her trademark line. It’s her “Whatchu talkin’ ‘bout, Willis?” Fia says she has nothing more to say, which is no problem for Berni, who proclaims that she herself has plenty to say. Berni is a lot like Máire in that she can talk nonstop for 30 minutes before stopping for breath and realizing the person she was talking to left 29 minutes ago.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Hurls Gone Wild

Season 22, Episode 9
First aired 3 October 2017

We open in a church, where David is praying for guidance on the whole “lighting Gráinne’s fire” issue. Well, in the US if your pilot light goes out, the gas company will come out and relight it for $75, so that might be an option here. He asks for the strength to do the right thing, and we’re not sure what he thinks that is, but we wish he would hurry up and do it, because watching him go around in circles is getting tiresome.

Over at the B&B, Fia is kissing Máire’s ass so furiously Máire can barely sit down. She quickly realizes Fia wants something, what with having met her and all, so Fia grins bashfully and giggles that she’s hoping Máire will babysit Liam Óg tonight so she can go out with Evan for a cider and perhaps some light bible study. Translation: “do shots off Briain’s abs all night and then throw up in a bush.” I think that’s in the Old Testament. Máire agrees, and Fia looks pleased with herself, because just last episode her mother was telling her via picture-Victrola that she should be more drunk and irresponsible.

At Stately Gráinne Manor, formerly known as the bachelor pad, David arrives home and tells her he’s been at the church. She asks him what he was doing there, and when he says he was praying, she seems vaguely disappointed, or maybe just bored. She had probably convinced herself there was going to be bingo in this story, and there’s no way to recover from that. He announces gravely that he’s decided to go home for a while, but is not taking his car for some reason, because he “won’t need it.” Kerry’s comprehensive subway system and plentiful hover-buses will get him everywhere he needs to go, we guess, or maybe he’s just planning on being too drunk to drive at all times. Gráinne is basically like, “WTF?”, so he informs her that she needs some space and time to get her head around things. Yes, clearly Gráinne and her poor coping skills are the problem here. He proclaims that this is what’s best for both of them, and then leaves her standing there in annoyed disbelief as he heads off to the bedroom to pack his various karate uniforms for the trip. This time of year is hard because you never know whether you’ll need your light cotton one or your insulated wool one with the attached mittens.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Quaint by Numbers

Season 22, Episode 8
First aired 28 September 2017

This is my 100th Ros na Rún recap, apparently! Although I didn’t count them, so in case that turns out to not be strictly true, let me remind you that we have a firm no-refund policy here, just like at Tigh Thaidhg, where all sales are final even if you find no carrots in your carrot soup or a tooth in your beer.

We open at Gaudi, where Gráinne is trying to talk to David about carbon monoxide alarms, as one does, but he is not interested for some reason in spite of her convincing graphs and flip charts. It seems this season is sponsored by the carbon monoxide lobby, or, as we call them in America, Big Carbon Monoxide. At the conclusion of her PowerPoint presentation, she asks him if she should go buy an alarm, and he’s like, “Yes, yes, your hair looks very pretty today,” because, as he eventually admits, he’s been paying no attention and didn’t sleep any last night. Gráinne says she didn’t sleep either, and was also barely paying attention to whatever she was talking about, but tells him they have to remain positive because, as Bobbi-Lee says, “You can always have more babies.” Also, “Tough luck, honey, I’m here now.” She really is the Confucius of our age. Mack stops by, and Gráinne tells him she’s worried that Mo’s not getting on as well as she’s letting on. Her first clue was Uncle Peatsaí’s report that Mo keeps chasing him around the house with a shovel as part of her night terrors. Mack says he’ll go check on her, and Gráinne assures him that with the support of family and friends Mo will be good as new, just like the support David has been giving her. For example, right now, when instead of listening to her, he is busy drawing willies with frowny faces next to them on his placemat.

At the café, a hopeful Pádraig is trying to go through Gaudi’s menu with Micheál, who of course doesn’t know fancy words like “focaccia” and “spaghetti” and sniffs that in his day, you just ate an clump of old peat off the ground and you liked it. We forget that Micheál grew up in Victorian times. Berni comes over and interrupts with a tempting gluten-free turnip or whatever but Micheál says he can’t eat another bite or else he’ll fall asleep in his meeting with the Ireland’s Villagiest Village people. She and Pádraig argue for a while about whose gaff Micheál is going to eat his lunch of pickled tea and potato gelatin at, and then Berni explains that they can’t take the contest people to Gaudi, because they want traditional Irish food like she serves and not the Spanish slop Pádraig dishes out. She adds that the café is what the Yanks would call “quaint,” and as a Yank, I can assure her that while the café looks perfectly OK, it is not quant in any way, and in fact most Americans live within a 5-mile radius of at least 3 places exactly like it. Pádraig accurately tells her she seems to have confused the words “quaint” and “passé” (snerk), and they bicker for a bit. Eventually Micheál reveals he has no say in where the contest people have lunch, at which point Berni and Pádraig suddenly remember that they hate him and huff off. Well, I’m sure that’s the last we’ll hear of this.