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.

Pól is leaning against a wall lighting a cigarette, which along with littering, which we saw him enjoying earlier, is the universal symbol for “bad boy.” Of course, he is an ineffectual bad boy, so he can’t get his lighter to work, and may also be trying to light the wrong end of the cigarette. Fortunately for him, and unfortunately for everyone else in the entire world, just then a drunk Fia staggers past. He licks his lips grossly and shouts at her to bring her sweet cans over and light his cigarette for him. I’m paraphrasing, but not by much. Any other time, she would tell him to feck off and go be disgusting somewhere else, such as at a high velocity while falling off a cliff, but given what she’s been through lately, and the fact that she’s clearly plastered at approximately 10am, her resistance is lowered. She wobbles over and gives him her matches, and when he rudely demands to know who she is, instead of telling him her name is “Nunya Business,” she murmurs that she’s nobody, and disappears into the B&B. Pól stands there looking around creepily and then smiles yuckily, and we suspect that we will be yelling “No, Fia, no!” at the TV shortly.

Over at the shop, Pádraig runs into David and Gráinne on the cooking spray, chocolate biscuits, and outdoor furniture aisle. He’s found a letter for David on the kitchen floor and thinks it looks important, what with the “very important” and “do not leave on the kitchen floor” markings, so David opens it and discovers it’s an invitation to go interview for a job as a postman on October 12. That turns out to be today, so David hems and haws and says he’s not sure he wants to go, because he always thought his calling in life was to be repeatedly beaten up, taken hostage, and robbed by teenagers in his care, not delivering offers for double-glazing to shut-ins. Gráinne and Pádraig are very keen on getting him out of the house from time to time because he’s starting to depress the plants, so Gráinne says that in fact a lot of old shut-ins depend on the postman to make sure they haven’t died during the night, and Pádraig recounts the bible story about the postman who was transformed into a burning bush when Salome cut his hair. There is no way to argue with such compelling logic, so David rushes home to change clothes and remind himself which corner of an envelope the stamp goes on, and Gráinne and Pádraig look pleased with themselves, because they are very tired of having to look at him all the time.

Briain shows up at Berni’s with all his bags packed and pretends to be leaving town so Evan will invite him to live there. Berni wanders in and starts banging on about some nonsense involving the café’s website, so Briain introduces himself and then starts batting his eyes and flexing his various parts. He laments how sad it is that he has nowhere to live and will just have to go die in an alley, and casually mentions that his turn-ons include saintly prigs and staying at other people’s houses for free. At this point Evan has the brilliant idea out of nowhere to ask Berni if Briain can come live with them, and she protests for a while about how awfully difficult her life is, even for the woman Mother Teresa once called “The most selfless person I’ve ever known.” Briain agrees that he would be a sexy, sexy imposition and should just go die in an abandoned barrel, but by the way, did he mention he loves cleaning other people’s houses? He demonstrates this by putting the cutting board Evan’s just been slicing oranges on in the drying rack without washing it first. As a fan of both stickiness and ants, Berni relents and says Briain can sleep on the air mattress in Evan’s room for just one night, or two nights max, and he and Evan grin at each other. If this doesn’t turn into a five-sided love pentagon involving Briain, Pádraig, Evan, Fia, and Berni, I shall be very disappointed.

Fia, her hangover, and her rapid descent into alcoholism have managed to stagger over to Gaudi and start popping paracetamol. She looks wistfully at Emma’s Facebook page, which is full of pics of her having a good time in London with the Jubilee Line and drag queens and the Eiffel Tower and so on. She ignores another call from her mother, who is doing some serious stalkadóireacht these days, and then Máire bobbles in to deliver Liam Óg and a heaping serving of guilt. She claims Liam Óg was crying for his mother all night because Fia didn’t come home until 3am, and also talks about a story in a magazine about an irresponsible young mother who had a glass of wine and then came home to find her baby had fallen into a nuclear reactor. Fia ignores her and asks if she can watch Liam Óg while she goes for a “cup of coffee” with Evan, and Máire agrees, because she does not know that “Cup of Coffee” is the name of a new cocktail Fia has invented that consists of equal parts vodka, gin, and paint thinner.

At the café, Micheál and Amy are arguing with Muireann about the radio station. They want it to be a way to get the local youth away from their roller discos and love-ins and instead get involved in the community, whereas Muireann wants it to be a way for her to acquire huge piles of money and maybe a tiara. Berni arrives, and Muireann, who looks even more like Celine Dion than she did last year, goes over to her and starts pushing her new radio advertising scheme, which would involve Berni emptying a wheelbarrow full of cash into the trunk of Muireann’s car in exchange for a few advertisements on the new radio station that may or may not ever exist. Berni seems convinced by this airtight sales pitch, especially when Muireann points out that the internet may work for foreigners, but that if you want to reach Irish people, you have to catch them when they’re just after picking potatoes and have gathered ‘round the town wireless. Berni remembers hearing legends of this “radio” of which Muireann speaks while growing up on the remote island of Themyscira, but never thought she might actually know someone who had one, so this is all very exciting for her.

Fia, who is about 40 percent drunk already, arrives at the pub to help the lads celebrate their victory in the Dungeons & Dragons tournament. The final score was 3 decapitated wizards to 6 gnomes who will never walk again. Fia decides they need to celebrate with a round of shots, although to be fair, earlier today she also decided a round of shots was the way to celebrate finding a paperclip between the sofa cushions. Evan and Briain quit after one shot each, but Fia keeps ordering rounds and slamming them all herself. I think I saw this same scene in a Mothercare advert once.

David is on his way home from his interview when Gráinne runs into him in the street, sadly not with her car. She asks how things went and he’s his usual cheerful self, moaning that there were lots of other good candidates there and also he may have vomited on the interviewer’s desk repeatedly. The camera pans by them to Briain fuming because the ATM is refusing to give him any cash on the basis of him not having any, and also having inserted a slice of cheese into the machine instead of a bank card. Just then his old friend John Joe appears, having come home from Tenerife with completely white hair, which he blames on “too much sun.” Either that or he couldn’t figure out how to say “a box of Just For Men Natural Light Brown, please” in Spanish. Anyway, he and Briain have a happy reunion because they are TOTALLY old friends, and then John Joe tells Briain he should drop by sometime for a cup of tea, asking if Briain knows where he lives. Briain affirms that he thinks he might know where that is, but is smart enough to shut up before he apologizes for stopping up all of John Joe’s toilets.

Back at the pub, Fia is barely upright, but still managing to knock them back. Adam arrives and Fia is a complete wagon to him, making some vaguely yucky remarks about him and the other boys at the gay bar drinking cocktails and prancing around. He tells her she’s being a bitch and then storms off, and when Evan asks what’s going on, she starts a fight with him, too, and then staggers out just as Pól enters. Bobbi-Lee and Mo are understandably like, “Oh, God” over his arrival, so Mo sends her to ring Tadhg while she goes to glare at Pól. He’s being surprisingly defiant and cocky considering Mo completely kicked his ass last time.

After the break, Maggie wanders past just in time to see Fia throwing up on the side of the pub. We appreciate the show’s attention to detail, but I for one really didn’t need to see anything actually pouring out of Fia’s mouth. Anyway, Maggie is sweet and helpful, handing her tissues and a bottle of water from her purse, and offering to stay with her until she’s “feeling better.” That’s a very tactful way of putting it. Fia semi-agrees, but says she needs to go inside because she’s cold, and Maggie looks on warily as she heads back into the pub. If only Maggie had a radio, she would’ve heard Berni’s advert and been aware that there is a café in this town where she and Fia could go sit.

Maggie leads her inside and helps her onto a stool, where Fia starts another fight with Evan while attempting to order another round of shots, but Bobbi-Lee has cut her off. Pól decides to insert himself into this conversation, so he and Evan yell for a bit before grabbing each others’ collars and shaking each other. Before the fists can start flying, Tadhg materializes and grabs Pól by the hair and the throat, screaming that he could’ve killed Áine during their little knife fight. He bends Pól’s spine into several uncomfortable-looking positions and then throws him out the door, shouting after him that if he ever sees him in his pub again, he’ll kill him. When the dust settles, Fia bursts out laughing drunkenly that this is the best drama she’s seen in ages, and Evan shouts at her to shut up and stop embarrassing herself. She gets angry and tells them all to go eff themselves before grabbing her beer and storming out in a huff, or as much of a huff as one can muster when one’s legs don’t seem to be working right now and one can’t get one’s eyes to point in the same direction.

At the café, Berni is writing Celine Dion a check for €500 for a series of radio adverts. I’m unconvinced there is a lot of café awareness remaining to be raised using a local radio station in a town that’s a block long and only has 3 restaurants, but OK. Maybe if the spot mentions the days and hours when Berni isn’t there, business will spike during those times. Berni leaves and is replaced at the table by Labhrás, and I’m not sure whether that constitutes a trade up or a trade down. There is more of their Boris-and-Natasha-style scheming, which I will not summarize other than to say it stops just short of him holding up a bowling-ball-with-a-wick-type bomb and threatening Moose and Squirrel with it.

At their place, Gráinne and Pádraig are discussing the fact that tomorrow is her first day back at work at the salon. I guess we’re just quietly forgetting about her seaweed business, which is probably for the best for everyone’s sake, including the seaweed’s.

Berni, Máire, and Liam Óg arrive home, where Evan is in the kitchen making coffee. Máire is worried because Fia was supposed to be home ages ago but isn’t answering her phone, and asks Evan if he knows where she is. He says they were at Tigh Thaidhg together earlier, but admits that he left her there and is not exactly sure which local landmark she might be passed out on top of, behind, or under right now. After trying to ring her fails once again, he says he thinks he knows where she is and goes looking for her.

Out on the street, drunk Fia is having an argument with a lamppost, but in her defense, the lamppost jumped out in front of her and started it. Pól whistles at her, and she weakly protests that she’s headed home, so he leers at her and she staggers over, because clearly what she needs in her life right now is an additional steaming pile of shit. They complain about what a dump Ros na Rún is, and he tells her he knows a place where they can forget all their troubles and forget all their cares, but it is not downtown with Petula Clark, it is an abandoned estate out in the woods. The location may not be great, but it’s all-inclusive. They take some mystery tablets he produces from a plastic bag, which is of course the packaging all the best medications come in, and then she follows him off to wherever the hell he’s going. No, Fia, no!

Back at the café, another meeting about Radio None has broken out. Micheál is impressed with all the money Muireann has raised, so Labhrás says he’s appointed her to the station’s executive board. Amy complains about the young people being pushed out, but Muireann assures her there will still be a place for them, and that place is out in the park sniffing dry-cleaning chemicals. Labhrás complains for a while about the Yoof Of Today, with their jump-roping and comic books and poodle skirts, and Micheál agrees to make Muireann Taoiseach for life just to shut Labhrás up, but Amy looks annoyed.

At the pub, Tadhg and Maggie are doing their usual semi-flirting and reminiscing about the olden days when they were backup dancers for Herman’s Hermits or the Human League or however old they are, and then she brings up the topic of Frances, and whether she’d get the wrong idea if she were to walk in the door right now. On one hand, Tadhg still has his trousers on, but on the other, he is having a pleasant conversation with someone, which is clearly not a thing he does, so I agree that Frances would be suspicious. Maggie says she can see that Tadhg is uncomfortable with what’s going on, so she says she’ll leave and return some other time when Frances is back. Yes, it will be easier for Frances to murder them if they’re where she can see them.

Pól and Fia arrive at the “old estate” he’s squatting at, and it turns out to be Suzanne’s House of Horrors from Season 20, AIEEEEE!!!! Now when I try to picture Suzanne I see Edina Monsoon in a kaftan and character turban, which I suppose was the look she was going for anyway. Pól clearly has “menacing,” “sexy,” and “yucky” mixed up in his mind, so he blends the three of them together in his mental blender and serves Fia a big glass of it. He tells her this dump is better than the last place he lived, which was prison, and I’d say it’s also better than the place before that, which was in a doghouse where Coílí Jackie shot at him periodically.

Fia is unnerved by all this, but she’s trying to play tough, and is also clearly off her head and flying so high an Aer Lingus crew is offering drinks and duty-free on her arse. Pól produces a bottle of something clear from behind the sofa, and then Fia puts on some music and starts dancing like Bez out of Happy Mondays, except without the maracas. Pól leers at her for a while and clearly wants to get on, get on, get on, get on, get on her groovy train. If you get these references, congratulations on still being able to read such tiny print at your advanced age. Stay safe in the hurricane, a chairde!

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