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!

1 comment:

  1. "Evan is secretly Labhrás’ son somehow"

    Whoa! Spoiler alert


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