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.

Berni has arrived at the B&B to rant to Máire about what a little wagon Fia is. Well, at least today Fia’s activities are somewhat Berni’s business, given she’s the one who’s still picking her guts up off the floor after being disemboweled by Fia last episode. Berni bangs on for a while like butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth about how she’s never been so offended in her whole life, as if she had been merrily picking wildflowers and singing to bunnies when Fia swooped in out of nowhere and stabbed her with a pitchfork for no reason. Máire says she’ll have a word with Fia, but of course that’s not enough for Berni, who will settle for watching Fia be drawn and quartered in the town square and nothing less. 

Just then Fia herself arrives, and because she doesn’t drop to the floor in guilt-ridden tears quickly enough, or at all, Berni purses her lips so hard the overhead oxygen masks drop down and then passive-aggressively storms out. To her credit, and because she has actually met Berni before, Máire takes all this with a grain of salt, and while she does calmly tell Fia that she really insulted Berni, she also senses that something is deeply wrong. She makes soothing sounds and reminds Fia that she’s always here for her, even if Berni is a complete nuclear-powered space wagon. That last part is implied. And to Fia’s credit, she apologizes—even though she has nothing to apologize to Máire for at this point—and clarifies that it’s not her she’s angry at, it’s “other things.” For example, her life being ruined, and also pious café-owners from the remote Narnian Islands. Máire coos that God never closes a door without opening a third-floor window you can jump, which is genuinely her idea of being helpful, and suggests Fia go for a nice walk and stop by the community center, because she’s heard Caitríona’s Advanced Hypocrisy course is just starting. She even volunteers to look after Liam Óg while she goes, which of course causes Fia to explode that yesterday watching Liam Óg was a bridge too far but today she suddenly can’t get enough of him. Of course the two things are in no way equivalent, but I do get where Fia is coming from emotionally here. In the most accurate bit of psychologizing I’ve ever seen Máire do, she calmly and supportively tells Fia that she’s sorry if she’s upset, but that she cannot be responsible for her happiness. Fia grimly apologizes again, and then grabs her coat and heads out the door. Oh, dear.

Frances comes flying into the pub exclaiming that she’s got to go to Dublin immediately, because her dad has been taken to the hospital due to a severe case of fin rot or similar. Tadhg first acts like he is unfamiliar with this “Dublin” of which she speaks, but quickly composes himself enough to insult a nearby Bobbi-Lee for no reason. Frances says the doctors think her dad will be OK, but that he’ll need his tires rotated and a bionic neck installed. Bobbi-Lee presents into evidence someone she saw in a film this one time who turned into a fly but then seemed to get on all right, so Tadhg threatens her until she goes away. I’m not sure what Bobbi-Lee is wearing today, but it seems to be held together by sheer force of will. Frances tells Tadhg she’ll be gone for a few days and she’s gotten the parole officer’s permission to take Áine with her. He protests weakly for a while, but eventually says she should go, and that he’ll be fine here by himself pulling Maggie pints.

Evan tracks down Fia in the street and yells at her for a while about being mean to his mother. Fia is basically like, “Well, Berni’s the one who started it, but I’m the one who finished it.” He softens a bit when she explains that she’d just had to give up her fashion course, and that Berni had been encouraging Máire not to help her, and she just lost it. She’s leaving out the part where Berni followed her around town harassing and insulting her for two solid days. She promises to apologize the next time she sees her, and Evan seems satisfied with this, saying he just doesn’t want anyone to fall out with each other. He’s sweet to her in a vague way and then wanders off, and it’s as if we can see her slowly disintegrating before our eyes.

And now comes a subplot I am going to zip over in the interest of time, which involves Micheál trying to restart the local radio station, because Pobol y Cwm has one, so we should, too. He and Amy, who seem to have called a truce, want to get the Yoof Of Today involved, which he imagines means playing a lot of the Archies, but then shady Muireann the councilwoman or whatever from last season returns and interferes a lot. She sees the radio station as a moneymaking opportunity for the town, i.e., her, and takes over. Fia breezes through at one point and Amy helpfully informs her that since she has no qualifications or skills, she can always be a junior secretary-in-training, which is of course exactly what Fia doesn’t want to hear, so she leaves in a snit. This radio thing will probably be interesting at some point in the future, but not right now.

Fia emerges from the shop, stopping long enough to transfer the bottles of booze she’s bought from one bag to another so we can see that we are going down a Daytime Drinking road now. She’s very considerate that way.

Down the road, Tadhg is sweeping the outdoors when Maggie stops to flirt with him, offering to show him her tart if he shows her his rhubarb and so on. He gives us more detail about things he likes to suck than we ever wanted to know, and then Maggie wanders off. Frances appears and innocently asks if he and Maggie have made plans to hoe around together, and there are inadvertent double entendres about Maggie’s sweet stuff that make us expect Mrs. Slocombe to show up and tell us about her pussy. He’s suddenly very nervous and starts suggesting that he should go to Dublin with them so he can vandalize the Book of Kells and such, and you can tell he’s desperate because he volunteers that Bobbi-Lee could look after the pub. Oh, she’d just take it to market and sell it for a handful of magic beans again.

After the break, we’re down at the rocky shore, which Maggie has vacated temporarily so Fia can drink alone there. She looks around shiftily and then reaches into her bag and produces one of her bottles, which has become a can since the last time we saw it, and starts drinking while looking meaningfully at the sea.

There is discussion of what size file cabinet the radio station will need and so on, during which Labhrás and Muireann and transform into pantomime villains, or possibly Boris and Natasha, and then we return to Fia’s daytime drinking, already in progress. Fortunately for her, another of this season’s sponsors is the Irish Jogging Association, so Evan jogs by and finds her propping up a wall. They bicker for a while about how she’s throwing her life away, and when she blames all her problems on having to take care of Liam Óg, Evan reminds her that he was not an immaculate conception, and that he has a father who is also responsible for his care. Of course Fia flips out at the mention of Niall, as she does even when sober, and she is most definitely not sober here. Evan suggests that Niall could pay for childcare while Fia’s in London, or at least buy Liam Óg an annual pass to Madame Tussauds, but she shouts that there’s no way she’s asking that scumbag for anything, and besides, her place in the course is gone now anyway. He agrees to drop it, which means Niall will probably arrive in town shortly, since the last time Evan promised to drop something related to Fia, Vanessa suddenly appeared on the doorstep.

There is some radio seafóid, which includes Gráinne praising Micheál for “enticing the local youngsters,” which sounds like he’s driving around in a van asking them to get in and help him find his lost puppy.

Back at Maggie Rock, which is not the same as Fraggle Rock, Evan is doing a good job of keeping his promise to drop the thing about Niall by continuing to talk about Niall. Fia reiterates that Niall is a butthole and that she also can’t ask him for anything because her mother might find out the truth. I looked at an old recap and was reminded that Vanessa continues to think that Liam Óg was fathered by Fia’s loser ex-boyfriend, whose name is Ganja and who passes the dutchie on both the left- and right-hand sides. When she worries that she’s going to grow old and die alone as a crazy cat lady, Evan tells her she’s young and will meet someone. She notes sadly that she already met someone: his name is Adam and he is currently on tour with Lady Gaga dancing on a box. Evan has to go, so she thanks him for being there, and then goes back to sitting alone on the rock with her 2-liter bottle of cough syrup.

Upstairs at the pub, Tadhg is sucking on Maggie’s candy, and you should get your mind out of the gutter. He’s primping in the mirror before going over there to chaff her wheat, but then he looks down and sees photos of himself with Frances, and several with Áine holding up a sign saying “Please don’t cheat on mommy with some American blow-in.” That seems to slow his roll, and he looks around anxiously, clearly in a moral quandary.

Radio stuff, in which Micheál learns they have the Internet on computers now and then struggles with the technology of a 3-ring binder, and then we return to Fia by the sea, but today it does not seem to be better down where it’s wetter. She crumples her empty can and throws it down, in the process killing a barnacle who was only two days away from retirement, and then ignores a call from Máire, as one does. She looks simultaneously wistful and angry, or “wangry.”

Bobbi-Lee appears upstairs at the pub to—SHOCK—ask Tadhg if she can go home early and leave Mo to do all the work, and he actually lets her go without condemning her and all her ancestors to hell, so we know he’s distracted. He stands around thinking for a while, and then picks up his phone and calls Maggie to tell her he won’t be able to make it today after all, so she will have to trim her own hedges. Let me know if any of these gardening jokes are working for you.

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