Sunday, March 25, 2018

They Tried To Make Sam Go To London, But He Said "No, No, No"

Season 22, Episode 57
First aired 20 March 2018

We open with Mack and John Joe leaning against a wall complaining that Tigh Thaidhg was mysteriously closed on St Patrick’s Day and therefore they had nowhere to have fun. I’m not sure which I find more unbelievable, the fact that these two couldn’t find any open pub within a day’s drive or the fact that Mack doesn’t consider hanging out at home with Dee great craic. Gráinne wanders by, freshly returned from a yoga retreat she also dragged David to for some reason and which is now, coincidentally, going to have to be torn down and a memorial garden erected in its place. Máire, drawn here by the sound of misery and complaining, explains to her that the pub has been closed for days and also that she heard that Tadhg and Maggie broke up. I have no idea where Máire would’ve heard this unless one of them quickly changed their Facebook status to “It’s Complicated,” but OK. Mack reiterates that the worst part of all this is that he had to spend St Patrick’s Day at home with Dee, whereas Gráinne and John Joe are worried that Maggie, who seems to straddle the line between this world and the next even at the best of times, is frozen in a block of ice up at her igloo. Máire volunteers that another thing they could all worry about is the possibility that Tadhg is lying dead at the bottom of the pub stairs, but nobody else seems very concerned about this, although their interest is vaguely piqued when she adds that Frances is away in Dublin and doesn’t know about any of this because both Tadhg and Maggie have blocked her from their Instagram.

At Berni’s, Bobbi-Lee is leisurely painting her nails and dressed so snazzily it appears she was misled about the dress code of this dump. In contrast, Berni frumps in wearing her sad fleece robe and hessian pajamas that look like they’d be worn by Debbie from Finance who nobody in the office likes even though she often brings cake. Berni complains that she has an upset stomach, which of course means she is pregnant, and also a sore throat, which means Bobbi-Lee has replaced her toothpaste with hemorrhoid cream to entertain herself again. As usual, Bobbi-Lee is unsure she gives a crap about any of Berni’s problems, so she asks about the only thing she’s interested in, which is whether Briain and his parts are coming back. Berni deflects by asking if she’s going to work today, but she replies that today is Day 5 of the pub being closed and that this is the easiest money she’s ever made, apart from all those fake slips-and-falls at Dunnes. Berni tells her she’s an idiot if she thinks Tadhg is going to pay her for not working, although as someone who’s seen what Bobbi-Lee calls “work,” you’d think Berni would understand that some days it’s worth it to pay her just to stay away.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

We Just Have To Face It: This Time We're Through

Season 22, Episode 56
First aired 13 March 2018

We’re back after a week away during which we got the biggest shock of the season: Mo and Gráinne implied that Bobbi-Lee was alive during the 1970s and she did not murder either one of them! Oh, also Tadhg found out that Maggie is his sister. Nobody got murdered as a result of that yet, either, though Tadhg reserves the right to go back to the church at any time, bash Father Éamonn’s head in with that African good-luck statue we spent so much time discussing, and then burn the place down.

We open with Maggie emerging from the pub and looking worried, but unlike every other morning, it’s not because she spent all night sexing up Tadhg and is now worried that one of them might be pregnant. No, according to the conversation she has with passerby John Joe, it seems Tadhg did not come home last night, and although we’re having trouble putting our finger on why exactly that’s a bad thing, she’s frowning a lot so we’ll take her word for it. You can tell John Joe is devastated by this alarming news by the way he continues bounding down the street whistling like Mickey Mouse in “Steamboat Willie.” On the plus side, if Tadhg turns up dead, we know where to find a hearse.

And right on cue, we cut to the infamous bridge, at which we’ve spent so much time this season it’s going to start charging us rent. There we find Tadhg, who’s suffering from a severe case of crazy eyes. We can tell it’s Emotionally Significant because there is a lot of fancy camerawork, with Tadhg spinning past on a turntable and then us pulling away in the famous TG4 helicopter, which we’re going to assume is being piloted by Áine, who’s stolen it and is flying it to Tayto Park, possibly with Réailtín tied up in the back seat.

Over at Mo’s place, which I had never noticed has one grey wall and one brown wall, Colm is walking around screaming her name, but she has left the building. Fortunately she left him and Úna a note saying Mack is taking her to chemo and she’ll be back later, which she very considerately and neatly wrote in big block letters in black Sharpie so we could all see it. THIS IS WHY MO IS THE BEST. Úna arrives and Colm shows her the note, and then they both purse their lips to 100 kiloBernis and look grim, and each of them is probably silently blaming the other, because that is what they do now. They are so going to end up doing it before this season is over.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Let's All Blame Adam Just To Be On The Safe Side

Season 22, Episode 52
First aired 1 March 2018

We open on fabulous Sex Beach, which used to be called Chastity Beach until Berni and Briain got there. They’re in post-dirty weekend afterglow, which is only partially because the hotel they stayed in was dirty. If they’d checked TripAdvisor they’d have seen that the place only has one star, and it’s throwing up. Anyway, he tries to grab her various parts as they stroll along the beach leaning into the gale at a 45-degree angle, but she shrugs him off in case someone sees them. Eventually he convinces her that the only person within 20 miles is a jellyfish trying to mate with a plastic bag, so she relents and takes his hand, which hopefully means the #424 bus will now drive past them filled with the entire town on a shopping excursion to Euro Giant.

At Gaudi, Evan is desperately trying to reach Berni by phone while, on the next stool over, Amy is desperately trying to make Caitríona go away. She’s harassing Amy about when she’s going to get that scandalous story about dog herpes or whatever that she’s been promised, but she’s eventually distracted by a butterfly that looks like it’s got a secret and runs after it. Amy sidles over to Evan and says she’s not going to be able to put Caitríona off forever, explaining to him that she’s got bills to pay just like everybody else except, you know, him. She says she might be able to sand some of the edges off the story if he tells her what his problem with it is, but he’s evasive and pleads with her in vague terms to drop it and go back to her original plans for today’s Amy’s AccuReport NewsBlast, which is Mack talking about the time he found a crisp that looked like Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Back at Harold & Maude Beach, Berni and Briain are about to make out when suddenly she looks like she’s going to barf in his face, which seems a bit extreme even for her. It turns out she’s just spotted John Joe, who’s arrived to fix the ocean’s boiler. She tries to hide behind a seashell, but it’s too late: they’ve been spotted! She starts making up a story about how she and Briain happened to run into each other while they were out strolling on the same beach 27 miles from home and also she choked on a sultana so he was giving her CPR standing up, but John Joe just waves at them and then carries about his business off in the other direction, because contrary to what Berni thinks, she is only the 14th most fascinating person in the world, after the Spice Girls and those octuplets in California.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

The Lean, Breen Sex Machine

Season 22, Episode 51
First aired 27 February 2018

We’re back after a bit of a break, though I don’t know for how long since the TG4 player is only semi-working this week and I haven’t been able to make it show me Thursday’s episode yet. Still! Last week was full of excitement, most of which consisted of Máire discussing the sodium content of different types of flour in great detail, and also Úna and Mo having various fights about Colm, but I’m sure we won’t be hearing about that again.

As for today’s episode, it was written by Seán T. Ó Meallaigh, so we are pretty sure it will be good. It’s morning, and Maggie is living in the pub now. Because, unlike her cottage, the pub is located in the 21st century, she’s wandering around the kitchen looking befuddled by the modern technology, such as the toaster and the backsplash. She puts a slice of bread in to toast and then sighs plaintively, which we assume means she is going to start a fire and burn down the pub because she is accustomed to making her own bread on a rock by the river and then toasting it over a candle that she made on a rock by the other river.

Over at Gaudi, Frances is buying paella brownies and flan-on-a-stick for Áine, explaining to Pádraig that the poor thing deserves a treat after all she’s been through lately, and Bobbi-Lee and Caitríona are watching raptly because this purchase seems to be the most interesting thing they have seen in a while. Bobbi-Lee mentions that Maggie has moved into the pub now, which comes as news to Frances, who looks stricken. Bobbi-Lee decides that if she’s sinking in the icy waters surrounding this particular shipwreck she’s going to take everybody else down with her, so she grabs a nearby John Joe and forces him to explain to Frances that Maggie’s had to move into the pub because there’s a problem with her heat. I’m 80 percent sure that’s a euphemism. Since Frances hasn’t collapsed in a complete faint yet, Caitríona helpfully and smilingly points out that Maggie didn’t even wait for the sheets at the pub to get cold before she hopped into them, but then clarifies that she thinks that’s terrible, to remind us all what a caring person she is.

Back at the pub, as predicted, the smoke detector is going off and a black cloud is belching out of the toaster. This is why you should never leave time-traveling floozies from the mid-19th century alone in your kitchen. Maggie comes running in panicking and somehow causes the blackened toast to shoot two feet into the air, because the pub is equipped with a pneumatic toaster apparently, and Tadhg hits the smoke detector with a broom handle until it shuts off. He offers to make her some more toast, but she’s flustered by this entire ordeal and decides instead to take her horse-drawn carriage into town and relax over a nice cup of plague.

Out in the street, Berni and Evan are arguing over who’s more embarrassed by whom and which of them has seen Briain’s willy more times and so on. He asks smirkingly if she enjoyed watching him hit on her age-inappropriate friend Úna last week, and she points out that Úna and Aidan are both Gardaí and that he’s lucky he didn’t get arrested for groping without a license. She storms off in a huff and leaves him in the street looking embarrassed, which is also how we all feel for having to be a part of this.

At Radio Please Let Us Know If You Figure Out What Our Format Is Supposed To Be, Caitríona asks Amy if she’s made any progress on her investigation of the windmills, which are once again a hot topic in town in spite of their not existing. Amy says no, and looks depressed because Radio Pobail is, unbelievably, not giving her the opportunities to do hard-hitting global investigative journalism she was expecting. This is what happens when you work for a radio station whose top-rated program consists of Mack reading imaginary lottery numbers. Caitríona informs her that the latest development is that Maggie has moved into the pub, which is proof that she’s in an anti-windmill conspiracy with Tadhg, but Amy is unsure there is any kernel of a story in this nonsense, and is also busy wondering which of her terrible life choices is most responsible for leading her to this moment. Colm interrupts to announce that he’s here to record some “vox pops,” which I’m pretty sure are those sugary alcoholic beverages all the kids were binge-drinking a few years ago in flavors such as Raspberry Puke and Baby Spice Fizz. I have no idea what’s going on here. Caitríona harasses Amy that the only decent thing she’s ever done around here was the “so, are you a top or a bottom?” interview with Briain, and when Amy reminds her that none of that was even true, Caitríona sighs that she needs to stop getting bogged down in whether things are “true” or “not” and just get people clicking on the station’s website or else she’ll get the sack. Why is it people keep hiring Caitríona for things again?

There’s some toast-based stupidity over at Micheál’s involving Eric not knowing how to operate a spoon, and then Laoise wanders in and complains about Eric’s dropping in unannounced and expecting her to put her life on hold for him. If you’re saying, “But wait! Wasn’t Laoise complaining last week that Eric never comes to visit her?”, you would be correct. They bicker for a while like people who hate each other, and eventually he says he guesses he’ll just go back to Dublin then. As they say goodbye with the type of awkward kiss usually seen at open-casket funerals, she grimly tells him she’ll see him next weekend, though it’s unclear whether this is more of a promise or a threat.

Over at the café, Berni is being a snot to Tadhg, although you may recall that a couple of weeks ago they were BFFs united in their crusade against the blight of gossip and also their mutual interest in minibuses. He tells her he came in for a cup of bad coffee and a burnt salad, not to be interrogated, which is Amy’s cue to materialize and ask if he’s got time for a few questions, which goes over about as well as you’d expect. After she finishes picking her guts off the floor, she goes to the counter and tries to order a cup of coffee from Briain, who’s still annoyed about the whole “can you give us the homo perspective on soccer?” thing. He forgives her, but when she immediately starts grilling him about why a big (?) sports star (??) like him would leave Australia to come serve soup with hair in it in Ros na Rún, he tells her if it’s a story she’s after, she should Google Map her way to the nearest library. Not really, but that’s what he should’ve said.

Elsewhere, O’Shea is hilariously carrying a single stalk of broccoli around the shop and asks Vince if he has any smaller vegetables. Instead of flexing his parts and telling her he’s never had any complaints about the size of his vegetables before, he informs her that, why, yes, in fact the vegetable lady is in the back right now and he’ll see whether she has any individual broccoli florets for sale today. Of course then Laoise appears from the back, which leads to some light-to-moderate awkwardness between her and O’Shea as well as a vegetable-size discussion forum that could be Radio Pobail’s new hit show if only Colm were here with his microphone. Happily, it seems Laoise has finally decided she’s tired of fighting with O’Shea over nothing, which gives us an opportunity to wonder if we have ever seen a fresh produce aisle in the shop before this exact moment.

Over at the café, Tadhg encourages John Joe to take his time repairing the heat over at Maggie’s house, which is just as well because it’s been difficult to find parts for a coal-powered steam turbine at Keanes anyway. We then return to the shop just in time for Frances to arrive and start screaming at everyone there that she knows they’re all staring at her and talking about her and that they should take a picture instead because it’ll last longer and also AIIIEEEEEE. Of course they’re all completely confused because none of them give two shits about her and in fact were continuing to speculate about the size of Vince’s broccoli. She freaks out for a while longer and then storms out in a huff after shouting that she doesn’t want their pity. After she goes, Vince and O’Shea exchange wide-eyed looks that I like to imagine mean, “Does anybody know who that was?”, and then we pan over to Dee and Pádraig, who are talking about an access request, which I am going to go out on a limb and guess is Irish for “the access request.” It seems he’s trying to get her to file some paperwork about Sam, but as usual with Dee it turns into a discussion of barristers versus solicitors, so we will return to this later if there are future developments.

Over at Micheál’s, Réailtín is hanging out with her friend Áine, or possibly babysitting her, because we are unclear what the age difference between them is supposed to be now. Anyway, Áine whips out a bottle of vodka and says she’s going to drink her sadness away, which of course Réailtín is opposed to because there’s only room for one underage alcoholic in this town, and it’s her. She tricks Áine into giving her the bottle and then hides it in her backpack, which we genuinely think is actually an attempt to keep it away from Áine and not a sneaky plan for her to drink the whole thing on the bus and then throw up later, but since this is Réailtín, there’s no way Micheál is not going to find it and send her to a convent.

On the beach, Amy is trying to get information out of Evan about why Briain left Australia, informing us that she’s discovered that he was Southern Hemisphere Pole-Vaulting And/Or Pie Face Player Of The Year two years in a row, but then his team mysteriously didn’t renew his contract. My guess is that the ball kept getting stuck in that slammin’ cleft in his chin. Evan tells her a confusing story about how Briain was aggrieved by the fact that the Australians couldn’t pronounce his name and kept spelling it “in a funny way,” which causes a light bulb to come on over Amy’s head. Speaking of Amy’s head, she has beautiful hair, and it’s nice that after some early trial and error they’ve found a style that really accentuates it.

After the break, Frances’ Freakout Tour has made a stop in the pub kitchen, where she’s yelling at Tadhg that he’s humiliated her by moving Maggie in. He retorts that it’s his house and he can do whatever he wants, including moving in a Victorian lady who recently woke up from suspended animation and has never seen a hot plate before. Frances starts rattling off a list of Tadhg’s assorted murders and other crimes and says it’s time she told Maggie exactly what kind of man he is, but just then the unfrozen cavewoman herself strolls in with a self-satisfied look on her face and says she already knows who Tadhg is, thank you. There’s back and forthing, and eventually Frances slinks off looking defeated. Oh my God, I cannot wait for someone to wipe that smug look off Maggie’s face, or for the pub to burn down with her inside because she couldn’t operate an alarm clock.

Amy has found her way back to the radio station and is Googling Briain, which is sadly not a euphemism. She searches for his name misspelled “Breen” and, after finding a few boring things like his Fast & The Furious fan blog and his InstaSnap selfies with dog noses and bunny ears on, she suddenly stumbles across something that makes her look very pleased with herself indeed, commenting what a naughty boy Briain is. I strongly suspect Google would have asked when she searched for “Briain McDonagh” if she was actually looking for the apparently infamous “Breen McDonagh,” but I suppose the important thing is that we are finally getting somewhere with this.

Micheál arrives home and Áine immediately throws Réailtín under the bus in a most genius fashion, complaining to him that Réailtín won’t share her dictionary even though it’s RIGHT THERE IN HER BAG. Réailtín’s eyes grow enormous when she realizes what’s about to happen, but it’s too late, because Micheál looks in her bag and flies into a rage when he discovers the bottle of vodka. Poor Réailtín; Áine’s got her in checkmate when she’d thought they were playing Scrabble.

We cut briefly to the radio station, where Caitríona is, to no one’s surprise, trying to steal Amy’s story, but Amy tells her to buzz off. We then return to Micheál’s house, where we join some yelling, already in progress. Réailtín weakly tries to tell him the bottle of vodka isn’t hers, which is the first time any teenager has ever said this truthfully. When she tries to explain whom it actually belongs to, Áine pretends not to know what it is and, furthermore, says she was sitting here innocently practicing her ABCs with her dolly when Réailtín rode in on a motorcycle smoking and trying to give her a tattoo. Micheál shouts at her some more and then she replies that this is all a big load, which of course it is, but then she somehow tries to make it about the fact that her mother is dead and storms out. We were with you right up there till the end, Réalz.

Back at None FM, Amy is delighted to tell Evan she’s discovered that Briain, under the airtight alias of “Breen,” got fired from the Australian or New Zealand Twister or Monopoly Junior team due to a sex scandal! Involving the coach’s wife! Who was much older than he is! And was named Berni! That last part is implied. Evan is initially thrilled until he thinks this through and realizes it has, you know, implications, and he becomes even more alarmed when Amy reveals that there’s a sex tape she’s in the process of tracking down. At this point he hilariously starts tut-tutting that Amy is better than this, and that she really ought to be off reporting on the environment, which he’s pretty sure he heard somewhere is, like, a hard Brexit or something. It’s at blustering moments like this you wonder if Evan is secretly Labhrás’ son somehow. After Amy finishes rolling her eyes at him, she says this story is exactly the kind of trash Caitríona is looking for, and as soon as she figures out how to transmit a sex video over the radio, it’ll be gold.

It’s dinnertime upstairs at the pub, and tonight’s special is steamed gristle à là Maggie. As she serves it, she complains to Tadhg that it took twice as long to make dinner as it usually does because she’s not in her own kitchen and therefore couldn’t find a rock to beat it against. He’s too distracted to notice the Andean plane crash on his plate, though, and starts telling her that he may have done a few bad things she doesn’t know about, such as not paying his parking tickets or killing a bunch of people. She stupidly says she’s sure she knows him better than anyone, what with her having no contact with him for 40 years and all, and besides, we all do questionable things sometimes, such as telling our doctor we exercise more than we actually do or breaking up a family because of some nonsense from when we were teenagers. These two really do deserve each other.

At Gaudi, we see Evan frowning at his phone as he contemplates calling Berni to tell her the news about ol’ Breen, but he decides against it and instead starts frowning at his plate because he is pretty sure authentic Spanish gazpacho should not have hot dogs floating in it. We then pan over to O’Shea and Laoise, who are in the process of burying the hatchet, only partially in each other’s skulls. We begin with some light apologizing, then move to our main course, which is some hearty blaming and savory guilting, and then conclude with dessert, which is a cake with “I’m Not Sure About You, But I Don’t Have Any Other Friends, So Let’s Give It Another Go” written on it.

Over at the pub, Pádraig is telling Dee the sordid story of his marriage to Sonia. Of course, any story involving Sonia is automatically sordid. Dee has trouble processing all the confusion and the doing-it-in-the-alley-that-dare-not-speak-its-name, but she is also an ally to the gays, having danced to “It’s Raining Men” at a wedding one time. Pádraig confesses that he slept with another guy, who brought favors to the party Sonia could not compete with, and then there was breaking up and Will & Grace box sets being thrown out windows, and now here we are. Whatever mistakes he may have made, he says, Sonia shouldn’t be using them to keep him away from his son. Incidentally, the two of them are wearing incredible outfits in this scene, which is probably not what we should be taking away from all this, but they’re really good clothes.

We return to Gaudi, where Evan is still frowning at his phone and also his dinner, which seems to be a French-fry salad of some kind, and then we once again pan over to O’Shea and Laoise, who are reminiscing about the time they roofied U2 at Live Aid and so on. It seems they’ve made up, so Bono, the Edge, and the other two better watch out.

Evan arrives at the radio station, where Amy is waiting for the Briain sex tape to download because nobody has told her about streaming porn sites. They start watching and confirm it’s definitely Briain, because Amy recognizes his face and Evan recognizes all his other parts, even the ones that won’t stop going back and forth long enough to facilitate a positive identification. Apparently Briain gets started without the coach’s wife, but eventually she wanders into the frame, at which point Evan slams the laptop shut and says this isn’t news and Amy is above all this. We discover that she’s taking a higher journalistic road than we thought, because it seems she thinks the newsworthy part of this is that the team unlawfully fired Briain over a sex tape, but she also has to admit this is the kind of smut Caitríona has been gagging for. We’re pretty sure Caitríona’s interest in this will be less about Australian labor law and more about trying to estimate the size of Briain’s junk on the air. Evan switches his approach from guilt to begging, pleading with her not to go public with this story if their friendship means anything to her, but she says she’s sorry, but she needs this story if she wants to keep her job. Because Evan is one of the world’s foremost experts at playing “good cop, bad cop” all by himself, he now starts screaming at her to go screw herself, and she retorts that no, he can go screw himself, so there! He grabs his jacket and starts to leave, but on his way out he spits that if she runs this story, she won’t have many friends left in Ros na Rún, including him. Well, given that we never see Amy with any friends to begin with, and we’re not sure who would care about this other than Berni and Briain, who already hate her, I’m not sure this is as big a threat as Evan thinks it is, but: take that, Amy!