Sunday, November 26, 2017

Daddy Issues

Season 22, Episode 24
First aired 23 November 2017

We open on the stationery, cat food, and garden hose aisle of the shop, where Gráinne peeks over Mo’s shoulder and sees she’s obsessively looking at photos of herself and Colm on her phone. You know: Mo and Colm having an argument on a boat; Mo watching Colm launder money in Lanzarote; Mo and Colm being held hostage in a shed. All the usual Instagram stuff. They talk about whether Mo is over Colm yet for a bit (spoiler: no) and then agree to meet for lunch to discuss it further. Mo suggests Gaudi, because of course she does not want to eat a disgusting frozen sandwich out of a plastic box in the place where she works, but Gráinne insists on Tigh Thaidhg because it’s “close to Loinnir.” I wasn’t aware Gaudi was an exhausting slog from the salon requiring pack mules and Sherpas, but OK. A nearby Mack invites himself to join them, but when they point out that this is a girls’ gossip session, he announces he’s going to send Dee in his place, which gives Brídín Nic Dhonncha an excellent opportunity to remind us that she makes the best facial expressions on TV, in this case: “Ehhhhh……” Gráinne, who suddenly has access to Dee’s Google Calendar, tells him she’s pretty sure Dee is busy at lunchtime, but he assures her that he’ll make it work, so she and Mo mutter an unenthusiastic “Iontach” in unison. I’m not sure how to punctuate that to convey their lack of excitement, but if there’s an opposite of an exclamation mark, imagine that.

Vanessa pushes Liam Óg into the B&B kitchen in his stroller and she and Niall flirt with each other for a while about how GILFy they both are. Of course in this case Niall is also DILFy, but neither of them knows this yet. He points out that he’s not technically a grandfather yet, which is truer than he knows, and just as Vanessa is about to hand Liam Óg to Niall to hold, Fia comes hurtling through the doorway so fast her feet don’t touch the floor. She somehow makes a U-turn in midair and goes flying back through the door pushing the stroller, announcing that she needs to go change Liam Óg’s diaper in, umm, Portugal. After she vanishes, Vanessa gives Niall a “Kids! Who’d have ‘em?” look, and he puffs air ambiguously through his cheeks.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Dial N for Niall

Season 22, Episode 23
First aired 21 November 2017

We start out in the street, where Mack’s giddy mood is dampened by Dee’s arrival, as usual. He tells her he’s just gotten off the phone with a very very dear old friend of his from childhood, who’s arriving for a visit today. Gee, I wonder if this has anything to do with Vanessa’s casual revelation last episode that her husband Niall, who is also Fia’s babydaddy, just happens to be a very very dear old friend of Mack’s. Dee asks why this guy wasn’t at the wedding to watch everybody having a fistfight with everybody after enjoying their choice of chicken or fish, but Mack explains that this friend has been “away” for many years. “Away” is what my late grandmother always called it when one of my cousins was in jail—“Joe won’t be at Christmas again this year because he’s away”—but in this case “away” means Australia, which I suppose is basically the same thing.

At the pub, Caitríona innocently announces, apropos of nothing other than the fact that Mo is standing there and this will get a reaction out of her, that Colm seems to be getting on well in his new job. This is Mo’s cue to freak out and pour coffee in Caitríona’s purse, which still makes her the best service-industry employee in town. Once the mess is cleaned up, using what I’m sure is the same rag Bobbi-Lee uses to wipe the toilets, Caitríona explains that Colm is working just up the road in Galway as a financial advisor. Just the other day I read that hiring in Ireland’s money-laundering sector increased this year for the first time since the Celtic Tiger, so this makes sense. Satisfied that she’s stirred up trouble, Caitríona wanders off, and when Mo goes to have one of her nervous breakdowns in the corner, Tadhg follows her and tells her she needs to a) forget about that blackguard Colm and b) get her act together, because she’s been as useless as Bobbi-Lee around here lately. She tells him to mind his own business and leaves to take her third break of the morning, which means her transformation into Bobbi-Lee is complete.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

All Right, Frances Has Officially Had Enough of Your Nonsense

Season 22, Episode 22
First aired 16 November 2017

It’s the 22nd episode of the 22nd season, which probably means you are supposed to send me a gift, but I’m too busy being terrified by the robot elf in the eir commercial that screams “IT’S CHRISTMAS!” and then threatens to kill everyone that I can’t think about it right now. We open at Berni’s, where she and Briain share some light awkwardness before Evan swings through to tell Briain about some dumb friend of theirs who couldn’t get into a sex club because he looked too young or something. I think the point of this is to remind us that Evan and Briain are young and stupid, whereas Berni is a vine-ripened lemon. Evan leaves, and then Briain grabs her hand and informs her that she may not know it, but she enjoyed it when he kissed her last night. She seems aroused by washing the dishes, and he is 24 so he is aroused by everything, but finally she tells him nothing can ever happen between them and it’s best if he moves out. He can’t believe what he’s hearing, I guess because no one has ever been able to resist his hunkitude before, and it’s also worth noting that he looks so much better today in a shirt that actually fits him than in all the child’s football jerseys they’ve been squeezing him into lately. Oh, also he seems sad about whatever is happening here.

At Maggie’s, Gráinne has dropped by to deliver some coupons for 20% off face removals at the salon, which she’s the new manager of since Caitríona is now off staring into space and Googling her own name all day at the radio station. Of course Tadhg is there and stands very still in hopes Gráinne won’t be able to see him, but because she is not a mountain lion, she spots him immediately. Fortunately for him, though, she has no curiosity about what he’s doing there because she could not possibly be less interested in him and his antics. She’s more interested in the fact that Maggie has just had a load of turf delivered, and warns her to be careful who she buys it from, because apparently someone’s been stealing it from her good friend Coílí Jackie, who I always think is called Coinín Jackie. You may recall that he’s the town lunatic who gave Gráinne the gun everybody got shot with at the end of last season, and whose dog Pól poisoned, and who kept getting into fistfights with Uncle Pest. Now that we’ve run through Coinín Jackie’s CV, which is much more impressive than Fia’s that we heard about every day for 3 weeks, Tadhg decides he’s had enough pleasantries and puts on his jacket to go, so Gráinne volunteers him to give her a lift back to town, and you can tell he’s trying to impress Maggie with his charm because he agrees to do so rather than calling Gráinne a bloody hippie and pointing out that she’s got feckin’ legs as he normally would.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Radio Ga Ga

Season 22, Episode 21
First aired 14 November 2017

We open this fun episode at the community center, where Evan is wearing a suit because he is an expert in radio station human resources now. To refresh your memory, this happened because Frances needed a third warm body to serve on the interviewing committee to vex Muireann, and while I’m not sure this is a compelling reason for Evan to be there, I’m in favor of anything that annoys Muireann, so I’ll allow it. Berni arrives for yoga class dressed from head to toe in sherbet colors, but then Briain also shows up because of his intense interest in yogurt or whatever, so she and her ponytail suddenly remember that they left the house on fire and flee.

At the B&B, Vanessa is on the phone with Niall, whose extremely sick/elderly/imaginary mother in Donegal has come down with a case of something that elicits sad tsk-ing and At least you’re there with hers. Having listened to him talk about his mother’s case of root fungus as long as she can, she tells him she wants to talk to him about Fia, and after he finishes having diarrhea, she adds that it’s very important. My guess is that it’s about which of them has to go get a job so they can make this year’s Take Your Daughter To Work Day the best one ever.

Labhrás arrives for his interview and seems about 40 percent aware of what’s going on, which is pretty good for him. He’s surprised that someone has hung a necktie on the station’s transmission tower, but once it starts talking he realizes it’s actually Evan, who is very, very tall. Muireann arrives for more of her usual moustache-twirling scheming, and also what appears to be flirting and batting her hair at Labhrás, which is unpleasant for everyone except him. She’s all, “Ooh, Labhrás, why so formal? Call me Celine Dion!” and suggests they get together later to celebrate the new job he is obvs going to get, and maybe while they’re there, they can discuss ways in which she can use him to do her evil bidding like the flying monkeys in The Wizard of Oz. He thinks this all sounds go halainn, but the rest of us are pretty sure it sounds go away, Muireann.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Bobbi-Lee's Day Off

Season 22, Episode 20
First aired 9 November 2017

Everything you watch on the TG4 Player now begins with an advert in which a terrifying robot elf whose face has melted off screams at you, sends you on an LSD trip, and then offers to sell you an eir prepaid phone that only shows Keeping up with the Kardashians. Jesus, I forgot what I was even trying to watch after sitting through that nightmare.

Anyway, it seems what I was trying to watch was Ros na Rún, which opens with Bobbi-Lee making a big production out of sneaking out of Briain’s bedroom in her sexy nightie as loudly and disruptively as possible, shouting that it’s OK because they won’t get caught. Of course Berni is standing right there, as Bobbi-Lee knows full well or she wouldn’t be doing it. She turns in an Oscar-worthy performance of “Oh, Berni! I didn’t see you there!”, combined with, “Umm, yes, I was coming out of Briain’s bedroom and might be pregnant now.” Berni falls for this and swallows her tongue, and it seems it’s going to be One Of Those Days here at Thelma and Louise’s house.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Bloody Hell

Season 22, Episode 19
First aired 7 November 2017

Halloween rages on for a second week, like Hanukkah. We open at Maggie’s, where she moves her new/old engagement ring from her left ring finger to her right, and when Tadhg squawks about it, she explains that it’s a secret for just the two of them right now. And, as soon as Tadhg leaves, Maggie’s 8 million Instagram followers. A quick cut to the squat shows Pól returning from his volunteer work at the elderly orphans’ home or wherever, and he finds Fia on the floor unconscious, so he starts screaming at her to wake up and shakes her a lot while looking crazed. This is what happens when you allow your life to turn into a Velvet Underground record.

Over at the B&B, Máire is saying that prayer about our father Art who is in heaven, Halloween be his name. She really does have a prayer for all seasons. Evan arrives and tells her he finally got Liam Óg to fall asleep after reading him three stories: Little Miss Neglected, Paddington Bear Goes to the Methadone Clinic, and The Cat in the Hat Meets Janis Joplin. As a librarian, I know the importance of tailoring a child’s reading material to his or her own life experiences. Máire frets for a while and then they agree that there’s nothing they can do at this point but wait for Fia to come home of her own accord, or to leave a new baby on their doorstep. Máire announces she’s going to bed, and Evan says he’s going back out to search the greater Europe area for Fia one more time. So much for waiting for her to come home of her own accord.  

Back at Maggie’s, where she’s coughing occasionally for effect, there’s frantic just-out-of-prison knocking at the door. Oh, I hope it’s David delivering last week’s mail. Tadhg gets his punching arm warmed up as he goes to open the door, and then Pól bursts in and looks surprised to find these two in this mystery house, which is apparently the closest neighbor to Suzanne’s Holiday House of Horrors. This is quite a neighborhood. He yells that his friend needs help, and Maggie starts out the door despite the fact that she’s in her bathrobe, but Tadhg yells that Pól is a knob and can go get help somewhere else. Maggie, however, remembers her Girl Guides training (“Make sure as many people see you in your bathrobe as possible”) and announces she’s going to help Pól and his alleged friend whether Tadhg likes it or not.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Back to Blackout

Season 22, Episode 18
First aired 2 November 2017

We open at Maggie’s funeral, where Bobbi-Lee leans over and whispers to Mo, “Well, that was a lot of buildup for not much payoff.” No, no: it’s still Halloween, which makes sense, because otherwise costume and makeup would’ve blown a lot of money on stuff we saw for five minutes in one episode. The town is still having a blackout, like the ones Fia keeps having where she wakes up working the till at a KFC in Derry and doesn’t know how she got there. Tadhg seems happy because this means his power bill will be lower this month, so he tells Mo to plunk down a few candles and muses that the customers can still find their mouths in the dark. Dee wanders past, and Mo tells her how great her scary tale was, awarding her the prize for the best story of the night. Dee beams, and hopefully this is the end of the “Dee is an outcast” storyline, which started out comically but then went terribly wrong when all our favorite characters turned into Mean Girls.

Áine, who makes a much more compelling pirate than Johnny Depp ever did, appears behind the bar waving her sword around and explains to Frances that she is, and I quote, “Getting ready to rob and kill people.” So, it’s basically a normal Tuesday night for our Áine. Amusingly, Frances declares this go hálainn, and then tells Tadhg she’s heard that the power is out all over Ros na Rún. This is what happens when you put Bobbi-Lee in charge of paying the town’s bills. Áine worries about poor Maggie all alone in the dark, and Frances thinks they should ring to check on her, but Tadhg assures them that she’ll be fine on her own, what with her being a semi-American and therefore heavily armed at all times.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Nightmare on Maggie Street

Season 22, Episode 17
First aired 31 October 2017

We open on a dark street to the sounds of children screaming, not at the sight of Labhrás and Muireann as you’d expect, but because it’s Halloween. Evan arrives at the B&B to find Máire alone at the table, praying and crossing herself furiously, and when he asks what’s wrong, she cries that Fia is out of control. On the plus side, Liam Óg isn’t crying in the background for the first time all season, so maybe Fia needs to have chemsex with Pól and then slap Máire more often.

We have a quick glance at the squat, where Pól is dead to the world, unfortunately not literally, but Fia is wide awake, or at least in an upright stupor, and looks distraught. Back at the B&B, Evan is ranting that he can’t believe Fia hit Máire, and additionally announces that Fia is a bitch. I can’t decide whether “bhitseach” sounds better or worse than “bitch.” Máire quickly adds that she thinks it was an accident—the hitting, not the being a bitch—and is more upset about the fact that Fia’s “spending time” in the biblical sense with famous hoodlum and sleazecopter Pól. She reminds us of all the yucky things Pól has done, including getting in the knife fight with Áine, burning down an Teaghlach, and the time he forced his way into the B&B and threatened her, which we had forgotten about. Pól’s CV is much more impressive than Fia’s. Furthermore, she adds, the squat is nasty, and needs to be on one of those BBC2 shows like The Cleaners v. an Edwardian Toilet That Has Never Been Flushed, Let Alone Scrubbed. Evan storms out and informs her that he’s going to bring Fia home, which is easy for him to say since he does not actually live here and can just deposit her here to fight with Máire some more and then bog off home.