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.

At the café, Berni is making up a story for Bobbi-Lee about how she had to skip yoga today because of her bad back, which is of course a complete waste of time because a) Bobbi-Lee is the queen of imaginary bad backs and b) she doesn’t give two shits about what Berni does or does not do. She’s more interested in ranting about what a brat Briain is, leading her on and then rejecting her in front of everyone, and when Berni asks if it’s possible she may have misread the situation just a teensy bit, she declares this seafóid, presenting into evidence as proof of his interest in her the way he was always hanging around the flat. Berni doesn’t point out that Briain hangs out there because he lives there, but it’s unclear how much of it is out of kindness and how much is because she doesn’t have the energy to sit through First Dates with Bobbi-Lee right now.

An episode of Law & Order: Labhrás Interviewing Unit has broken out at the community center, and he’s shaking his head smugly over the excellent point he has just made, which is that good communication is good but bad communication is bad. Micheál, Frances, and Evan come out of their comas long enough to ask if he has any programming ideas, so he tells them about the show he’s come up with that would combine the excitement of gardening with the thrills and chills of Irish grammar. He explains that it came to him in the garden in a blinding flash of inspiration, which may have actually been him getting hit by lightning. They all look at him blankly, and eventually Evan asks if he has any ideas for shows aimed at young people, which we have all long ago forgotten was supposed to be the purpose of this station in the first place. Labhrás replies that they will also be forced at gunpoint to listen to Grammar Garden, because young people are stupid and have got far too many silly ideas in their heads these days, such as “I don’t want to listen to this” and “stop pointing that gun at me.”

On the bin bags, tea leaves, and tomato sauce aisle of the shop, Pádraig is planning Adam’s future for him and saying things that make little sense but can easily be misinterpreted, and Adam responds by leaning in and laughing slightly too long and heartily at all of it, especially the bits that don’t make any sense. Pádraig returns Adam’s shirt from the other day and praises his broad shoulders and touches him a lot, as one does when one is with one’s good friend and also having a minor psychotic break, and after he leaves, Adam looks confused and vaguely aroused, which is the natural reaction to having a conversation with Pádraig this season.

It’s Round Two of interviews over at the radio station, which begins with Amy passing around handouts she’s made that include a lot of pie charts and bar graphs and other things that say, “I just learned how to use Insert>Chart in Microsoft Word.” She explains that Figure 1.1 shows that according to the latest census, Ireland’s chief exports are pastures and Niall Horan, and that its national motto is, “An bhfuil cead agam dul amach go dtí an leithreas?” Evan, Frances, and Micheál are very impressed by all this, because if it’s in a pie chart it must be important, and also because they didn’t know the town even had a color laser printer. She says a lot of impressive things that, as you can see in Figure 2.6, are far less stupid than anything Labhrás said, and also points out that 4000 percent of people in Ireland own radios, so someone should invent some programs for them to listen to.

Vanessa arrives at the café to discuss Something Important with Fia, but she’s too busy to listen right now because she’s just scheduled two job interviews and also carved a picture of a willy into the table with her penknife. It seems she actually has been very busy and done a lot of work looking for jobs, and Vanessa is impressed enough that she decides to shut up and go away, which is of course Fia’s ultimate goal anyway.

At the counter, Briain is threatening to quit his job because Berni keeps avoiding him. She acts like she doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and then suddenly he’s standing extremely close and whispering sweet nothings into her face. She looks confused, and then he wanders away, and I’m starting to suspect that his teeny-weeny T-shirts are so tight they’re cutting off the blood flow to his brain.

Adam has started his first day at his new job and is therefore dressed in Gaudi’s official colors, black and Incredible Hulk green. He ignores a call from Peter, the guy we saw him on a date with last week, and Pádraig is very interested to hear that Adam is planning to break up with him because it’s not working out. Pádraig says he’s very surprised to hear this, because, and I quote, “you looked nice together,” which is of course the best way to tell whether two people are compatible with each other. Has he suffered an off-screen head injury we don’t know about? Their conversation is interrupted when he gets a phone call, and Adam smiles meaningfully at the back of his head as he talks. I think Bobbi-Lee may have gotten her various schemes mixed up and confused Operation: Destroy Briain with Operation: Destroy Adam.

We cut to the community center, where we see that Pádraig’s phone call is from Labhrás, who’s making a reservation for two tonight at the nicest table they have. Right, that’s the one where the air conditioning vent doesn’t drip on the food then. He hangs up just as the Three Bears are saying goodbye to Amy, who has created a graph showing that the door is the best means of leaving a building in 80 percent of cases. Labhrás bellows that he’s sure the panel will be announcing their decision soon, but Micheál tells him there will be no announcement until they’ve finished interviewing all the candidates. And, oh look, here’s the third one now, entering in a cloud of smugness and off-white ruffles: Caitríona! Snerk.

After the break, we join a fight Vanessa and Fia are having, already in progress. Vanessa is standing around the B&B kitchen with her hand on her hip disapproving of the fact that Fia is applying for cleaning jobs, because they are beneath her and because she is a total slob. She wouldn’t be saying that if she’d seen the way Fia tidied up at the squat that one time by kicking that dead rabbit behind the sofa. Fia patiently tells her it’s hard to find a job around here with her qualifications, because Milan has really started siphoning jobs away from the Ros na Rún Fashion District, and Vanessa agrees, which is why she thinks Fia should go back to Australia with her and Niall instead. Fia doesn’t want to, because she has so much keeping her in Ros na Rún—Máire, Evan, the new ice cream machine at the shop—and besides, she’s afraid of kangaroos. They argue for a while, and finally Vanessa proclaims that she’s going to hang around annoying Fia until she gets her act together, and she is unanimous in that.

It’s part three of Interview Day over at the radio station, which makes this the Return of the Jedi of this trilogy, and Caitríona is in rare form. The manure is getting so deep in there that they’ll all need snorkels soon. The panel seems hypnotized by her shiny hair and soothing, honeyed voice, and when asked for her specific plans to make the station a success, she responds, and I quote, “With programs of the highest quality, but also with good management and proper marketing.” Well, I’m convinced. She concludes her presentation, such as it is, by wrinkling her nose cutely, tilting her head, and cooing that she’ll use the same business model that’s made Loinnir such a success, except for when they have no customers for weeks at a time apart from the ones who’ve slipped on seaweed and need to wash the blood off their faces.

Bobbi-Lee returns to the café to complain about Briain some more, spitting that she just saw him swanning about town like he owns the place, what with his walking around and breathing and whatnot. The dirty bastard! Adam arrives, and Bobbi-Lee asks him how things are going with loverboy Pádraig. He replies that he definitely thinks she’s right, because Pádraig has been acting very mysteriously, such as praising him for his good work even though we all know he’s completely incompetent. He adds that Pádraig seemed very pleased when he found out he was breaking up with Peter, so she tells him that now it’s time to move on to Stage Two of the Bobbi-Lee Seduction Plan, which is like the five stages of grief, only more likely to end in a restraining order. She instructs him to run the plan’s next step through the Bobbi-Lee-to-Adam converter, which means instead of hoisting his breasts up to his chin and then shoving them threateningly in Pádraig’s face, he has to go ask him out on a date and maybe do a little light bumping-and-grinding. Well, there’s no way this is going to go badly.

The interviewees are hanging around nervously at the community center when the panel returns, and I’m going to be very disappointed if they don’t make them do a sing-off. It seems they’ve reached a decision, and the new director of the radio station is … Caitríona! Oh, for feck’s sake. She spews honey-coated humility all over the place, like a treacle-covered Eva Peron, while Amy looks disappointed and Labhrás stands around in shock with his mouth wide open like the Strait of Gibraltar. Micheál quickly adds that they want to offer the other two positions as well, though, especially since they know Caitríona’s going to sit around on her arse doing nothing and somebody will need to do some actual work. He asks Amy to be assistant director of programming, and you can tell she’s desperate because even after he tells her they’ll be paying her 50 cents per hour and all the expired spaghetti hoops she can eat, she accepts graciously instead of shouting that this is a complete load and storming out. Oh, and they ask Labhrás to return to his seat on the board, which makes him look sad, because there’s no way he’s going to get his show about putting the names of different mosses into various grammatical cases now.

Back at the B&B, Vanessa is oohing and ahhing over Fia’s innovative new business plan, which is to make clothes and sell them on the internet. Apparently this brilliant idea never occurred to her until just now because, well, we have no idea. Vanessa offers to stay and help her get this business off the ground, but Fia insists that’s not necessary and casually asks if she’d prefer a window or an aisle seat and notes that the Dublin airport is now suggesting that you arrive 48 days in advance for international flights.

Pádraig is outside Gaudi working on today’s menu, trying to remember how to spell “nimhiú bia,” when Bobbi-Lee stops by to pat herself on the back for the way she sussed out the hints he’s been dropping Adam and to give him a heads up that he might start receiving a lot of compliments or possibly unsolicited dick pics. He looks terrified, and just then Adam appears, so Bobbi-Lee vanishes, content in the fact that the trainwreck she’s orchestrated is going off without a hitch. Adam smiles shyly, and Pádraig tries to stop him, but he barrels over him and asks him out on a date. Pádraig apologizes and says that sure, he’s been saying a lot of nonsensical and easily misinterpreted things lately, but he’s not interested in him in that way. Adam is all, “Then why were you so excited that I broke up with Peter?”, and instead of lying, Pádraig actually responds, “Oh, I was going to ask you for his number so I can ask him out.” Well, this is mortifying for everyone.

At the community center, Muireann asks Labhrás what time their celebratory dinner at Gaudi will be, and he says it’s 6:30, but it’s not exactly the celebration they’d planned because he didn’t get the job. She instantly turns from frozen sugar to frozen vinegar, wonders aloud whether Caitríona would be interested in politics, and then turns her back on Labhrás and walks away. It seems things may be on the rocks between Boris and Natasha here. Meanwhile, across the room, Frances and Berni are talking about nearby Evan and Briain, who are throwing slow-motion play punches at each other while making explosion sounds and generally acting like 12-year-olds. Frances muses that the youngsters are lovely, and Berni agrees and purses her lips ambiguously.

Frances arrives at the pub, interrupting Tadhg and Maggie in mid-flirt. She mentions that Caitríona has been named director of the radio station, and he rolls his eyes and quips that she was bad enough before, and now she’ll be completely unbearable. Tadhg Ó Direáin: Voice of the People. Maggie says some nonsense about how she wishes radio had been invented when she was young, which is her way of introducing the topic of whether there might be a job there for Pól. Once Frances and Tadhg finish rage-vomiting at the preposterousness of this idea, they warn her about how awful Pól is and how she better stay away from him if she doesn’t want to, you know, die. Frances heads upstairs and Tadhg reiterates to Maggie that Pól is trouble, and in fact, since he lives up there by her, perhaps SOMEONE ought to start spending more time up at her place looking after her. She smirks, and I think I’m reaching the point where I want Frances to find out about this and grind Maggie into a fine, molecular powder.

Over at a table, Fia chokes on her tea when Máire suggests Niall come for a lovely visit, but Vanessa says he’s busy up/down/over in Donegal nursing his mother back to health after her bout with distemper and can’t get away. There’s a nice scene in which Vanessa tells Fia she’s proud of her, explains that she only interferes because she loves her, and says she thinks Fia is doing a really great job as a single mother. Steady on there, Vanessa.

At Gaudi, Labhrás is dressed to the nines, or at least to the threes. He’s literally wearing an ascot and looks like Mr. Howell from Gilligan’s Island. He gets a text, which surprises everyone—including him—because we never imagined he’d have such a modern phone, and it’s from Muireann, who is of course cancelling their dinner plans because she has no need for him anymore. He’s disappointed, which shows how out of touch with reality he is, because everyone else in the entire world would be relieved not to have to have dinner with Muireann. Caitríona enters, resplendent in shades of beige and off-beige, and gets him to confess that Muireann has stood him up. She tells him he’s better off without her, anyway, because she was only using him. He sadly replies that it’s bad to be used by someone, but even worse to be of no use at all. Well, that got existentially grim.

Back at her place, Berni is doing dishes when Briain arrives in an even smaller child’s sized T-shirt. If they get much tighter we’re going to be able to see what he had for lunch. He flirts with her for a while, because he has a thing for older women wearing rubber gloves, and she tells him this has to stop because he’s Evan’s friend. He once again stands very close to her and tells her nostrils that they need to hear his side of the story, which consists of him sticking his tongue down her throat. She leans in and kisses him back for a second, but then pushes him away, says they can’t do this, and flounces off. He gives her a brooding, longing look, and I’m unclear whether Briain is supposed to be psychotic or just unshaven, but I suppose the important thing is that he will either try to kill Berni or steal her kitchen, since those are qualities she looks for in a man.

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