Monday, January 15, 2018

Scream If You Want to Get Married

Season 22, Episode 38
First aired 11 January 2018

David begins what may be the last day of the rest of his life half-heartedly dropping letters through random mail slots. You can tell he’s distracted because he’s only stomping on the parcels marked “fragile” with one foot today. You know, all of this could’ve been avoided if he’d planned more carefully and made sure Annette was the one who got shot in the polytunnel last season.

At home, Pádraig is frantically leaving voicemails for Sonia for some reason, having forgotten that it’s better to ignore raving lunatics until they go away than to engage with them. He hangs up, and Gráinne starts banging on about centerpieces for the wedding, asking him whether he prefers the pink and white fairies or the white and pink gnomes, and he pretends to be interested for as long as he can, which today is 1.5 seconds, before biting her head off and telling her no one cares before storming out, hopefully to initiate Operation: Push Sonia Off A Cliff. Gráinne is so deep into Wedding World at this point that neither light nor sound nor hope can escape from her gravitational field, so she rings up the Makes Downton Abbey Look Crap Inn and brightly tells them that she and David have narrowed down their processional music to either “Blurred Lines” performed by a string quartet of elves or “Under the Sea” played on a xylophone made of seahorses. Things take a turn towards the fatal, however, when the person on the other end informs her that because David didn’t pay the deposit yesterday, they’ve given the venue to someone else and are also on their way over in their Deposit Enforcement Van to burn Gráinne’s house down. She hangs up, and by the look on her face it seems she is wondering if the Buddhist doctrine of nonviolence precludes her from running over David repeatedly with his own mail truck.

Frances is putting Áine’s hair into a ponytail, although it looks a awful lot like she just wants an excuse to pull someone’s hair, and reports to Dee that they should be out of the way in a day or two. Dee tells her she’s welcome to stay as long as she needs to, by which she means the locksmith is coming over to change the locks tomorrow at 8 a.m., but Frances thanks her and bravely says she has to learn to stand on her own two feet sooner or later, preferably on Tadhg’s windpipe. However, noted attorney Dee advises her that it may not look so good in the divorce proceedings that Frances vacated the pub so readily, citing the legal doctrines of “possession is nine-tenths of the law” and also “Áine, barricade the doors while I shoot at your father from this window.”

And now we start building up to the screaming. Gráinne finds David hiding under his van and asks why the deposit hasn’t been paid and also why there isn’t any money left in the wedding account. He gives a meandering answer that begins with “can any debt ever really be paid?” and travels through the teachings of St. Heroclitus of Aphrodite before eventually settling on the fact that he can’t tell her because, uhh, it’s a surprise. Fortunately for him, Gráinne has been suffering from a brain-eating parasite for the past couple of weeks and immediately burbles that she loves surprises and that he’s totally iontach for being so thoughtful and that she thinks that for their honeymoon they should fly to Jupiter in a balloon. There is a lot of giggling, and then she coos, “What’s going on in that head of yours?”, which is of course a question we’ve all been wanting to ask David for some time now.

At their place, Colm tells Mo he’s been getting an endless string of texts congratulating him on his excellent radio show, only half of which are close-up photos of local genitalia. She’s still staggering around, what with being knocked up and all, but she insists she’s got to go to work today and suggests he get his toast out of the vicinity of her face, which has been designated “the splash zone.” He goes off to wherever he goes during the day and then she glumly looks in her purse and pulls out what at first looks like a 6-pack of pregnancy tests, but it turns out the big “6” on the box means it can tell you if you’re pregnant 6 days before you’ve even had sex.

Out in the street, Gráinne is telling Caitríona all about the big surprise David has planned for the wedding, speculating that it probably involves a glass gazebo in the woods or possibly a bridge over the Grand Canyon made out of bubbles. Caitríona, who’s normally the first to dive into a big pool of seafóid like this one, is more interested in the fact that David cleaned out the bank account without consulting Gráinne, saying there’d be hell to pay if Vince pulled something like that. For example, when he bought a new set of golf clubs without asking her first, she made him go get a vasectomy. Gráinne thinks Caitríona needs to stop being so practical all the time and let David be romantic, and then they go their separate ways, neither of which is in the direction of their jobs, we’re sure.

Elsewhere, Pádraig is leaving Terrible Sonia yet another voicemail, explaining that he can’t just uproot himself and leave town overnight because he’s got a business and a life here. The fact that he’s even taking her nonsense threats seriously rather than telling her to get over herself and then farting into the phone before hanging up on her makes me want to grab him by the collar and shake him.

And now we drop in on the happy household of Micheál, Laoise, and Réailtín, a sort of reverse Who’s the Boss? situation we’d kind of forgotten existed. It seems there’s a teen dance for teenagers coming up at the teen school for teens, and teen Réailtín wants to go, but Micheál of course thinks she has no business at a place like that. Furthermore, instead of wanting things all the time, he thinks she should try being grateful for the things she’s already got, such as all those childhood vaccinations he paid for and never sees her playing with. Oh, the therapy bills Réailtín is going to have someday! Laoise counters that she’s sure Micheál went to a few discos, céilí dances, or raves in burnt-out warehouses when he was a child, but of course he retorts that when he was a teenager he stayed at home doing his lessons and having the plague, and it wouldn’t hurt Miss Réailtín to try a bit more of that sort of thing herself.

At the pub, Mack is complaining to no one in particular that living with a houseful of womenfolk is really doing his head in. For example, now you have to sign up to use the toilet seven days in advance, and if you try to go off-schedule, Dee charges you a €150 change fee, if there’s even availability left. In unrelated news, Dee doesn’t understand why their back garden is full of poo all of a sudden. John Joe wonders what’s going on with Tadhg and Frances and asks Mo if she’s heard anything, so she bites his head off and tells him to mind his own business. As usual, it’s service with a smile at Tigh Thaidhg. Just then Gráinne bursts in and starts carrying on about how they should ignore the bit on the invitations about the Makes Downton Abbey Look Crap Inn, because the wedding is actually going to take place at a location that’s a secret, but that may or may not rhyme with “Stembley Arena.” Of course Mack and John Joe had completely forgotten any of this is happening, but before Mack can ask “David who?”, she literally tells him that she’s going to “arrive in a carriage, just like Maid Marian.” Oh, for pete’s sake. It seems the brain-eating parasite has done a real number on poor Gráinne.

Back in the latest Archie comic, Réailtín shows Laoise the dress she’s bought to wear to the school disco, which Laoise declares scandalous and hooker-y—and she should know, because as you may recall she was branded the town slut by noted expert Máire—but it just looks like an ice-skating costume to me. She explains her plan to sneak out of the house and go to the dance while Micheál is busy writing his Naked Attraction recap blog, but Laoise thinks she should try being honest and reasoning with him, because she has never met Micheál before. She continues that Réailtín needs to demonstrate to her dad how responsible she is, for example, by making dinner tonight and also doing Laoise’s laundry and taking her car for an oil change. I think Laoise may be confusing “liberated teen” with “indentured servant.”

At the pub, Annette is sitting four inches from David’s face and begging him not to tell Gráinne what’s going on, because if she finds out she’ll probably call the Gardaí. Annette does not want to go to prison because she knows all her gang tattoos will rile up the other inmates. He counters that he can’t keep lying to Gráinne, who of course walks up and overhears the end of this sentence and then wants to know what exactly he’s been lying to her about. Umm, it’s a surprise?

After the break, we’re upstairs at the pub, where Tadhg finds Frances searching for the switchblade Áine needs for school. He asks how Áine’s adjusting, and Frances is basically like, “Well, she’s fine except for the part where she’s crying all the time and keeps pushing Mack down the stairs.” She says she can’t keep avoiding Áine’s questions, and Tadhg says he’ll tell her what’s going on today when he picks her up from flamethrower practice.

Downstairs, Gráinne is screeching at David and accusing Annette of trying to steal her man and telling everyone to go to hell. This is a new side of Gráinne, and I kind of like it. Annette tries to explain that David helped her when she was in trouble, behind on her mortgage and running out of tricks like “accidentally” mailing the gas payment to the phone company and the phone payment to the gas company. Gráinne, speaking for the audience, couldn’t give less of a shit about Annette’s problems, so finally Annette confesses that she stole the charity money and David emptied out the wedding account to keep her out of jail. Gráinne can’t believe the maelstrom of idiocy she’s wandered into, and when she realizes this is why the wedding venue was lost and that there is no big surprise, she starts screaming all over again. If you’ve ever wanted to see Gráinne go completely berserk, this is the episode for you.

Out in the street, Frances tells Dee she’s found a place for her and Áine to live that’s reasonably priced and conveniently located near all of Áine’s probation officers. In the course of the conversation Dee starts to realize that Frances’ plan is to use Áine as a weapon to hurt Tadhg, but Frances clarifies that she’s actually using Áine as a weapon to trick Tadhg into getting back together. Having been married to Mack for some time now, Dee knows a terrible plan when she hears one, but Frances assures her it will all work out because she knows Tadhg better than anyone. That’s like saying, “I’m going to survive this case of Ebola because I’ve read a lot of Wikipedia articles about it.”

Upstairs at the pub, Tadhg has sat Áine down on the sofa and is telling her that he’ll always love her and there’s nothing he wouldn’t do for her, but he’s decided he wants “a different life,” one without Mommy, and she’s not very happy about it. Áine suggests he fix things by doing what they do at school to solve conflict, such as saying “I’m sorry” even though you don’t mean it or locking the teacher in the closet and driving off in her car. He tells her it’s more complicated than that because he and Mommy are not in school anymore, but promises that it will all be fine eventually. She breaks all our hearts by asking him, voice cracking, if they broke up because she’s “bold sometimes,” and then does it again by asking plaintively, “But the three of us will never be living together again?” and then beginning to sob quietly when he shakes his head “no.” Brilliantly, she’s clutching a roll of candy in the hand she’s using to wipe her tears, which is so exactly what a child would do, and it really is devastating to see it from Áine’s point of view, where all of a sudden one day your old life disappears and you never got to say goodbye to it or even look at it wistfully one more time before closing the door and being dragged away from it forever.

Downstairs, Mo returns from getting change at the bank, an errand that should’ve taken ten minutes but that she seems to have turned into an all-day affair. Bobbi-Lee is annoyed because Mo is pilfering from her bag of tricks, so Mo basically tells her to shut up and then insults John Joe for good measure before wandering away. Bobbi-Lee and Mo are each filling in for Tadhg in their own ways. Now Bobbi-Lee is annoyed that Mo’s disappeared again without actually giving her the change, which was the whole point of her errand in the first place. She goes digging through Mo’s purse looking for it, and of course finds the pregnancy test along the way. At first it looks like she’s going to keep this discovery to herself, but as soon as Mo wanders back through Bobbi-Lee is like, “I found something very interesting in your purse here,” and Mo pulls her aside and hisses, “You didn’t see nothin’!” as if she’s the Mafia and Bobbi-Lee has just seen her dumping a body in the harbor.

Back in the disco chicken story, Réailtín unveils the dinner she’s made, and it actually seems lovely and not the smoldering toxic mess we expected. Micheál is very impressed, and then a reenactment of the Camp David Accords breaks out, with Micheál as Menachim Begin, Réailtín as Anwar Sadat, and Laoise as Jimmy Carter. The result is that Réailtín will be allowed to attend the dance on the condition that she a) be home by 10:00, b) stay in the girls’ toilets the entire time, and c) wear a burqa. This seems to satisfy all parties, at least until next episode when we will discover drunk Réailtín in a leather bikini dancing on the roof of a stolen ice cream van.

At David and Gráinne’s, he’s hunched over the kitchen table in silence as she paces back and forth ranting and yelling. When she pauses for breath, he weakly argues that he felt like he didn’t have a choice, and she retorts that he did have a choice, and that choice was to use the tongue in his mouth to tell Annette no. He says he was only trying to help, and she shouts, “You’re a bigger idiot than I thought!”, and it’s all very Kirsty MacColl hissing “Well, so could anyone!” at Shane MacGowan. There is back-and-forthing, and eventually he points out that they can still get married, to which she spits, as if it’s the most ludicrous thing in the world, “And have a barbeque out in the street afterwards, is it?”, which is actually exactly the sort of wedding I would’ve imagined her wanting until all this “riding a flying carpet to a tent made of marzipan” nonsense started a few weeks ago. She grabs her coat and heads out the door, stopping to sneer that it’s just as well that they don’t have any money because they were probably wrong in thinking they should get married anyway. Ouch.

Back at Mo’s, the wee stick is on the kitchen table, and after a slight delay in which she has to hide it from Colm as he passes through, it reveals that she is indeed pregnant. Has there ever been an intended pregnancy on this show?

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