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.

Evan runs into Fia in the shop and for some reason says her name as if he can’t believe she’s got the nerve to show her face around here. I have no idea what’s going on with him this season, but I’m hoping it involves his being addicted to fake drugs he bought from Áine. It seems he has a cold, and he sensitively tells her that whoever you are, whenever you’re sick or down, you just want your mother. It’s a good thing Fia’s semi-estranged mother doesn’t live on the other side of the planet. OH, WAIT. Evan wanders off when Liam Óg starts crying, and Fia looks downtrodden. I can’t tell whether she’s visualizing abandoning Liam Óg on somebody’s doorstep again or abandoning Evan on a ship full of Somali pirates.

New BFFs Frances and Maggie join Pádraig and Berni at the café, and the conversation immediately turns to the contest, because they do not know yet that Mr. Wilmott-Brown is back on EastEnders, GASP! Frances says she supposes all three of their establishments are in with the same chance, so of course Berni is like, “No offense, Frances, but your dump is disgusting” while Pádraig sticks his finger down his throat and makes retching noises in the background. I’m paraphrasing. Berni adds that she doesn’t think a ham sandwich in a plastic cover is the image they want to project for Ros na Rún (hee), and Frances stammers that they have other things, like cheese sandwiches with a bite missing and those crisps you can only buy in Latvia now because of the high nickel content. She adds that Tigh Thaidhg is also an old-fashioned pub with great hospitality, primarily when Tadhg isn’t there, and that they offer heartfelt traditional music, like that year Bobbi-Lee was singing “Blurred Lines” when she fell off the bar into the Christmas tree. Berni is rude, although not inaccurate, for a while longer, and then noted USA expert Maggie points out that Yanks love traditional Irish pubs, with skiddly-deedle-dee music and bodhráns on the wall and leprechauns serving Guinness out of shillelaghs. OK, Maggie might know one or two things about Americans. Berni starts banging on again about the foreign shite they serve at Gaudi, and Pádraig points out that her menu board is full of famous Irish specialties like lasagna. Also paninis and Cajun chicken. I think we all remember that scene in Ulysses where Leopold Bloom sits down for a nice gluten-free panini.

Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week continues at the hardware store, and we should all remember that 2/3 of carbon monoxide poisonings are caused by breathing. David runs into Gráinne there and tells her the doctor says he’s recovering nicely and he can even resume driving. Gráinne wants to know if he asked about That Other Thing, because she is less interested in driving than in riding, so David acts embarrassed and evasive. She tells him she knows it’s awkward, but she really misses him and his various parts. He squirms uncomfortably, and it seems that even that Barry White gospel album Gráinne bought is not going to be enough to get her into David’s pants.

Over at the Spanish Slop Hut, the world’s worst waitress drops a tray full of cutlery in the middle of the floor and makes a big racket, causing Mo to flip out because she’s right on the ragged edge at all times these days. She storms out, nearly knocking Mack down as he comes through the door, and when he sits down with Dee, she tells him that something’s up with Mo, because she went apeshit over a little noise. He muses that Gráinne’s right, something is wrong with Mo, but then frowns that she’s like “a closed book,” because books are the most inscrutable things he can think of. Another option would’ve been, “She’s like one of those water-saver toilets with multiple flush buttons but no instructions.” It seems the closed book metaphor is also apt because she keeps things to herself and doesn’t reveal her secrets, like those 3-D images from the ‘90s you had to stare at until the hidden image popped out, or Ros na Rún when you can’t figure out how to turn on the subtitles. We then have a discussion in which Dee tells Mack that perhaps he’ll get more out of a conversation with Mo if they’re not both drunk, and also has to explain the difference between him and a professional counselor. Well, Lady Dee, if you’ve ever seen a professional counselor with stubble as comforting as Mack’s, I’d love to know who it is. Of course Mack dismisses this as seafóid, telling her that the only difference between an uncle and a psychologist is that one of them is a word he can spell and the other isn’t. My guess is that if Mo doesn’t have PTSD already, she will be the time Mack’s through with her.

At the pub, Tadhg emerges from upstairs and is dismayed to find Maggie hanging around talking to Frances. After he runs back upstairs and changes his underpants, he returns and Frances tells him that Maggie’s come up with a great idea, and that he needs to go get his wellies and a bucket. Well, of course since Maggie came up with this plan, it involves Tadhg going down to the beach. My theory is that Maggie is a mermaid who is trying to get Tadhg to evolve fins and gills so he can go live with her in her magical undersea kingdom.

David returns home to find Gráinne has set up a sexy dinner for them, by which I mean she’s given him a curly bendy straw to drink his milk through. There’s wine, there’s, I don’t know, penis-shaped Weetabix, you know the sort of thing. Trust me, it’s all very sexy, but daytime sexy. He starts making excuses about his medications and whatnot, and then she’s basically like, “OK, let’s skip the meal and just do it on the table,” so then he starts carrying on about being tired and how God is watching and it’s Yom Kippur and so on. Oh, FFS.

Over at the B&B, Fia is Skyping with her mother, who’s telling her that when she was her age, she’d seen half the world, starred in the West End production of Dreamgirls, and shagged all but one of Kajagoogoo. She says it in a kindly tone, but her message seems to be, “And meanwhile, you sit around like a frump in some old lady’s kitchen with your illegitimate baby and your macramé vest.” Her mother, whose name I cannot remember so I am going to call Toyah, proclaims that furthermore, there’s nothing that says you have to look after a child until it’s 18 just because you gave birth to it, and asks which would be better for Liam Óg: a happy mother who goes out and has fun, or a mother who’s a depressed shut-in who collects thimbles from every county? Finally Toyah clarifies that this doesn’t mean Fia should go out partying every night, and that she should still make sure Liam Óg is fed periodically and gets rotated when he starts leaning towards the light, but that she should also go out and have some fun. If in doubt, ask yourself, “What would Bananarama do?”

Back in the Red Light District, Gráinne has moved David to the sofa and is trying to make out with him, but he keeps cringing and yelping every time she brushes against one of his off-limits bathing-suit parts, which on David extends from his chin to his ankles. To get around this, she constructs a harness so she’s hanging from the ceiling like Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible and therefore only their lips are touching, but then he starts fretting that Pádraig is going to walk in on them. Trust me, as a fellow gay man I can assure you that Pádraig is not interested in seeing any of this. 27 minutes later, he finally can’t take it anymore, and jumps up and tells Gráinne he hasn’t been completely honest with her: he’s infertile!

After the break, which I have now said 100 times, Mack is pretend-jogging along the beach and runs into Mo, who is busy staring at the sea and having a Grade 3 Freakout. She muses that she wishes she were at sea on a 6-month cruise, but he assures her that those aren’t as much fun as they sound, because he saw Titanic and remembers the part where George Clooney got sucked out into space and then Sandra Bullock had to figure out how to get back to earth by herself. She agrees to meet him at the gym later, or possibly for some gin later, and he jazzercises away.

Fia is playing darts alone at the pub when Pádraig drops by to tell her he’s going to have to cancel their plans for tonight, because some orders have come in and now he has to learn how to cook. She’s sad and calls herself Billy No Mates, which is an exaggeration, because there was that girl we saw her to talking to that one time, and also Síle, the town slapper. They make vague plans to get together over the weekend, and on the way out Pádraig stops to flirt with Briain. He’s very concerned with Briain’s lodging situation all of a sudden, though you will recall that last week he couldn’t make him homeless fast enough. Pádraig leaves, and then Briain chugs what’s left of his pint and decides to go chat up Fia. They make semi-plans to semi-see each other at some point, and now I’m modifying my Briain storyline prediction from “torrid affair with Pádraig” to “bisexual love triangle with Pádraig and Fia.”

Mack and Mo have just finished their workout at the community center, and she tells him she knows what he’s up to. It takes special powers of insight to see through one of Mack’s elaborate plans. He confesses that he understands depression, because he suffered from it once himself, and that exercise is all that saved him. Well, exercise and going out with his friends. And, like, talking, and Vitamin R, and sleeping 17 hours per day. OK, he doesn’t remember what helped, but the important thing is, he tried to commit suicide, but is pretty sure he didn’t. Since it’s Mack, this is all a little vague and diffuse, but we’re sad to find out he was so depressed, and are glad he didn’t kill himself, because we love him even though he makes us crazy sometimes. Fortunately Mo is able to cut through the all-over-the-placeness of this story and remember that she’s surrounded by people who love her, and she gives Mack a big hug. Awww.

The local restaurateurs, such as they are, have gathered at the pub to wait for Micheál’s announcement about which place the Villagiest Village people are going to visit or feature on their website or burn down or whatever. Berni and Pádraig are smug and snotty about the pub grub, but before Frances can punch them in their respective windpipes, Micheál arrives and announces that the panelists have chosen the place with an atmosphere that would entice tourists, especially Yanks, and has a creative menu, i.e., mussels, homemade bread, and beer. Also, the place where you don’t have to pay to use the toilets. Maggie and Frances start celebrating, and Pádraig and Berni are pissed because the pub has never served mussels, and also the ham sandwiches are full of spiders. The two of them huff off, and Tadhg announces that the mussels guy will deliver a batch tomorrow, which means now they have to find out what mussels are and how to cook them. I’m imagining mussel sandwiches in a plastic cover. Frances exclaims that it’s a good thing Maggie came around to share her excellent ideas, ISN’T IT, TADHG? Somehow I think Maggie isn’t just interested in Tadhg for his mussels.

Back at their place, we discover that Gráinne has responded to David’s news with grace and kindness, because she is Gráinne, and is even teaching him the difference between a fork and a knife. This will cut down on all his dinnertime trips to the face hospital. She tells him she knows he was only trying to protect her, but he interrupts to admit that lying to her was wrong. Well, in his defense, he didn’t think she would find out. She says it’s funny, because she never thought of herself as wanting children, but as soon as the doctor confirmed she was pregnant, she felt like a light was switched on inside her. She concludes that they’ll be all right, though, but the slow zoom into David’s facial pores suggests he’s not so sure.

At the pub, Frances calls it a night, because she needs to go upstairs and make sure Áine hasn’t taken any hostages that need feeding. Maggie confirms that she’ll bring her homemade bread to the contest people tomorrow, and after Frances disappears, she pulls a paper bag out of her purse and tells Tadhg she’s brought him a present. God, I hope it’s not a DVD of Fatal Attraction. It turns out it’s a bag of bullseyes, which are the candy, nut, or amphetamine the two of them keep reminiscing about from their childhood. She leaves, and Tadhg pops one into his mouth lusciously, and my guess is that as soon as Frances finds out about all this, we’re going to discover if bullseyes can be administered rectally.

Back at the former bachelor pad, David sadly tells Pádraig he feels like he’s wasting Gráinne’s life by not being able to give her children. Pádraig speaks for everyone in the entire world when he says that, yes, this is very sad, but there are other ways to become parents, such as IVF, sperm donors, and adoption. David’s response, and I quote, is “Those work for some people. But us, well….” and then makes a face as if he thinks that explains anything. Pádraig, sensing the futility, makes no attempt to follow up on this line of, err, reasoning, and instead offers that this is indeed heartbreaking, but that David and Gráinne are solid as a couple. David isn’t really listening, though, and repeats the bit about Gráinne feeling a light switching on inside her, and says that no matter how long they’re together, he’ll never be able to ignite that light in her ever again. This has felt like a slow-motion breakup for a while, and if that is indeed where we’re going, I wish we’d hurry up and get there, so everyone can start kicking and punching David.

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