Monday, May 21, 2018

Rash Cash Trash Smash

Season 22, Episode 73
First aired 18 May 2018

We open at the café, where Gráinne presents Mo with an envelope allegedly full of the money they raised for her medical bills at the radio auction thing. She cautions that the money hasn’t come in yet for Cóilí Jackie’s Ming vase once owned by Superman, which leads to a discussion of how he acts like a belligerent old lunatic you’d see on the corner yelling at a lamppost, but that deep down, he has a good heart. Remember this for later. Mo leaves to go thank him for his generosity, and I have no idea why everyone’s assuming he had any idea how much the vase was worth when he donated it, but I’m sure it won’t come back to bite us all in the arse later this episode.

Over at Maggie’s, which Pól and his intermittent paramour Fia are quickly transforming into Squat II: Electric Boogaloo, he’s shoving Maggie’s old tat into bin bags to be taken to the charity shop and/or thrown at cars from a highway overpass for laughs. Pól is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get, and sometimes it turns out to be a laxative. Fia arrives from the shop, which you may recall is officially open now that Donny Osmond or similar has broken a champagne bottle over it, and she’s carrying a bag full of essentials for Squat Life, including the 3 B’s: beer, bog roll, and botulism. It’s unclear whether she’s still a vegetarian now that she and Niall are on the outs, but if so, there is probably also bok choy. There is light domestic dramedy during which they pretend to know who John Denver is, and Pól gives Fia an antique brooch she’s been admiring while he relates a story Maggie told him about the time she and Janis Joplin crashed a blimp into Woodstock while Jimi Hendrix was onstage. Fia decides they should spend the day listening to all of Maggie’s records as a tribute to her, which is sweet, and additionally a way for her to stay away from Máire and Liam Óg all day.

Back at the café, an emergency meeting of the town deadbeats and some extras has broken out because the Ireland’s Villagiest Village people have announced a surprise visit from the judges today. As usual when there is tepid community activism on display, Micheál is in charge, and I’m still not sure whether this is more or less exciting than last season’s windmills were, but then Pádraig didn’t give the entire town mass diarrhea and vomiting during the windmill storyline, so I guess I’ll give the edge to the contest. Caitríona, who has taken a break from her crime spree to be here, volunteers to give the judges a tour of the various Caitríona-related landmarks around town, pointing out that they’ve probably heard of her from that time she made Santa and all those orphans cry during the Toy Show. Micheál agrees that Caitríona giving the judges a tour is certainly an idea with a subject, a verb, and an object, but also wants to make sure people who are not Caitríona have a chance to propose ideas. For example, ANYTHING ELSE. Eventually it’s decided that since there are three judges, they will split them up because it is usually easier to murder people and steal their identities individually than in groups. Amy will take one to the community center because judges like windowless rooms full of IKEA furniture, Laoise will take one to the polytunnel because judges like to see places where David has been shot, and Caitríona will take the third judge to see Loinnir to be packed in seaweed and dug up 3000 years from now as a bog body. Micheál is satisfied with this plan because his sources tell him that so far the none of the other contenders for Ireland’s Villagiest Village have managed to keep more than one out of three judges alive till the end of the day, and besides, we’ve all forgotten what the point of this contest is anyway.

There is quarry talk between John Joe and Tadhg over at Gaudi, the gist of which is that John Joe isn’t allowed to tell Frances about this deal or else she’ll want half of Tadhg’s share because bitches be greedy and so on. It’s nice that all the qualities that drew Tadhg to Frances in the first place—i.e., the fact that she has a brain and doesn’t take any crap from anyone—are now the things about her that terrify him. John Joe considers mentioning the thing Ferdia told him about how the quarry business is dying because houses are made out of the Internet rather than stone these days, but then he remembers that having a conversation with Tadhg is pointless and that he would inevitably complain that he can’t understand John Joe’s hilarious accent anyway, so he drops it. Tadhg leaves and John Joe goes to ask a nearby Noreen, who is a noted expert on the stone industry, what’s the real reason she and Ferdia didn’t buy the quarry, and she tells him that it’s because she insisted she’d rather live in a house than in an open pit and that Ferdia is just making up all this “rock is dead” nonsense because he’s jealous. Surely there’s some kind of ointment at the pharmacy we could rub on Ferdia to make him go away.

At the pub, David, who is busily not working as usual, makes a big production out of telling Cóilí Jackie that his garbage vase sold for €3000, which causes him to throw up and scream a lot. We then cut to the café, where Niall and Máire are tut-tutting about Fia’s bad behavior, which brought them together as friends last week. Máire moans that she never sees Fia anymore, adding that she rolled in last night at 2 a.m., presumably smelling of patchouli and breath mints, which causes Niall to bug out his eyes and ask how she could be so baby-neglectingly irresponsible, because he wasn’t here to watch the last time she did EXACTLY THIS SAME THING. Máire agrees that this is very sad but completely unsurprising, but warns him that you’ve got to be careful with Fia because any little thing you say or do can cause her to chase you down the street and start slapping you.

An episode of Antiques Roadshow has broken out back at the pub, where David and his mail sack are trembling with fear as Cóilí Jackie demands to know if he means, like, the 3000, as in 2999 plus 1. David isn’t sure about this because, as we saw last week, Gráinne’s attempts to teach him to count have been fruitless, but he is able to explain that it turns out the vase was made by Leonardo da Vinci out of the powder of a thousand crushed Faberge eggs, but its true value comes from the fact that it was once owned by Deirdre off Coronation Street. Noted art connoisseur Cóilí Jackie doesn’t care if it was shat out by Zeus himself, he just wants it back so he can sell it himself and keep the money. David weakly protests, “Don’t you care about Mo’s medical bills?”, which of course Cóilí Jackie does not, and in fact offers to give David some medical bills of his own by pummeling the crap out of him if he doesn’t get his vase back.

As Cóilí Jackie chokes David as if they are Homer and Bart Simpson, respectively, Amy wanders past trying not to make eye contact and asks Bobbi Lee if it’s OK if she brings the Ireland’s Villagiest Village judge she’ll be handcuffed to later by the pub given that it’s one of the three places in town. She then notices that Bobbi Lee, whose name seems to have been de-hyphenated lately, presumably due to budget cuts at TG4, is scratching her neck, which is all enflamed and red. She explains that she thinks she’s having an allergic reaction to something, and you can tell it’s really bothering her because she was too distracted to volunteer to put on her cowgirl outfit and sing the judges a few songs. Amy volunteers that this reminds her of one time she got a rash because she used a contaminated batch of Boots Face & Toilet Scrub, which causes Bobbi Lee to rifle through her purse and dig out a jar of Áille na Gráinne, which, like Ireland’s Villagiest Village, is a story that keeps coming back every time we think it’s done.

The manure is deep over at Loinnir, where Caitríona is explaining to the judge that this place is called a beauty shop, where for over 1600 years locals have been coming to get their hair polished and nails curled for special occasions such as weddings and stabbings. Just as she’s about to show her their special new walk-in wig washer, Gráinne appears and offers to give her a complimentary seaweed treatment, i.e., hang her by her ankles and dip her into the Atlantic Ocean. The judge thinks this sounds iontach indeed, and as she heads off to change into a robe and sign a few legal documents absolving the salon of any responsibility in the unlikely event of her being dissolved, Caitríona hisses to Gráinne to make sure she uses an entire bottle of kelp juice to get the full effect of the molecularization.

Back at the pub, Fia is waiting for Bobbi Lee to boil her a couple of ham sandwiches, answering our question about whether her newfound vegetarianism would stick after Niall sobered up and pushed her off him. Tadhg materializes and starts shouting about how she’s wearing Maggie’s “stolen” brooch. Fia tells him that Pól acquired this brooch legally, citing the landmark court case of Finders Keepers v. Losers Weepers, and then he starts ranting that Pól isn’t even supposed to be in the house until probate expires or whatever and therefore he’s nothing more than a dirty squatter with a Red Wedge haircut. She’s defiant for a while until he looks like he’s about to grab her by the brooch and drag her across the bar, at which point she takes it off and slaps it down on the counter, telling him to forget it before fleeing. Well, I’m sure this is the last we’ll hear of all this.

At Loinnir, Judge Judy is being reduced to elements at the subatomic level in the back room while Gráinne tells Caitríona this is all a big success, especially now that the screaming has stopped. Just then Bobbi Lee strolls in and shows them the rash on her neck, which looks like she’s been bitten by a vampire, and blames the Áine na Sauna, which of course turns out to be the same batch Judge Judy is vaporizing in back in Treatment Room B. Gráinne insists that isn’t possible because natural products can’t be bad for you, adding that she uses the finest quality hemlock and arsenic in her products, but Bobbi Lee tells her that when the skeleton of poor Judge Judy is returned to Ireland’s Villagiest Village headquarters in Croatia, that will be the end of Ros na Rún’s dreams of whatever the goal of all this is.

Tadhg lets himself into Maggie’s with his key and, finding no one’s home, starts snooping around disapprovingly. He finds a silk scarf in a bin bag, and though it’s clearly never been worn it apparently smells like Maggie, which is enough to set him off. He starts lightly ransacking the place, turning over her old-timey accoutrements, throwing her spinning wheel at the butter churn and so on, and given his severe case of Crazy Eyes, it seems he’s really lost it this time. I suppose all the smashing is a case of “If I can’t have it, nobody can,” although it’s unclear why he doesn’t just take what he wants as reminders of Maggie rather than destroying it, and even more unclear why he hasn’t taken all this stuff in the 2 months since Maggie died if it’s so important to him. You can’t be expected to think clearly when your long-lost sister-lover has just died, I guess.

After the break, during which we are forced to watch the same 8-minute-long Woodie’s commercial twice in a row, John Joe and Ferdia are having yet another argument they might as well go ahead and settle by dropping their pants and getting out the tape measure. They’re also dressed for a sub-Arctic day in layers of cable-knit sweaters and parkas, which is making me start to suspect that perhaps this show isn’t broadcast live!!

Mo enters the pub with David in tow, and he’s carrying the infamous vase as if it’s a royal baby with a dirty diaper: very important, but also stinky. She tells Cóilí Jackie she hears he wants his vase back and then nods at David as if she’s a mob boss, which she kind of is, really. Cóilí Jackie kisses it and coos at it, but fortunately Bobbi Lee throws him out just as it looks like he’s about to start making sweet, sweet love to it. They all hiss a variety of curses at him, and he gloatingly tosses the vase in the air and catches it in a way that is completely unbelievable, and then he wanders out of frame and we hear a crash, because it seems he has dropped the vase off-camera for some reason. My guess is that it didn’t look right the first time they filmed him doing it, but they couldn’t do a retake because they only had one vase. Anyway, he is distraught and everyone else looks pleased with themselves, except of course the curators at the National Museum who lent this authentic Ming vase to Ros na Rún Inc. on the promise that they’d take good care of it.

We see John Joe signing the papers making him the owner of the quarry just as he sinks out of view in its quicksand, and then we return to the pub, where Mo is sweeping up €3000 worth of history and the people at Trinity College count their blessings that they said no when the producers asked if they could borrow the Book of Kells for a few days. Tadhg stomps in and waves Bobbi Lee off when she excitedly tries to tell him about what’s just happened, and when Mo follows him to the bar and tells him she can’t pay her medical bills anymore, he pours them both a drink and makes a toast to their health and to Cóilí Jackie’s grisly demise.

Back at Loinnir, Judge Judge emerges from the back room dripping wet, having clearly been hosed down by Gráinne and the local fire brigade. She thinks they didn’t leave the seaweed on long enough, what with there still being a few spots where you can’t see her skeleton, but Gráinne says you have to rinse it very thoroughly because of the minerals and high poison content. The judge asks if she can have some Soya LaToya to take back to wherever she lives, but Gráinne and Caitríona quickly explain that, err, they’re out of it because demand spiked. And all these dozens and dozens of jars and tubes of it stacked everywhere are for display only. And if she asks any more questions, they’ll shoot her.

Pól and Fia arrive home to find the place lightly turned over, suggesting that Tadhg wore himself out before he could do a thorough ransacking. You’d think he’d do a better job of this sort of thing considering how many times he’s done it. They immediately figure out Tadhg is the culprit since he’s the only other one with a key, but Pól explains that they can’t report it to the Gardaí because he’s technically squatting, sadly depriving us of a sighting of the hunky cop who looks like Jason Statham. As they start picking things up, Fia notices a package taped to the bottom of an overturned chair, and when she opens it, she produces a stack of money about 8 inches thick. Well, I have to say I wasn’t expecting that, although I suppose people who grew up during the Great Depression like Maggie had good reason not to trust the banks.

Back at the pub, Tadhg tries to scam John Joe out of 25 percent of the newly purchased quarry, but John Joe outmaneuvers him by threatening to tell Frances about it, which sticks a potato in his tailpipe for the time being. We then cut to the café, where the handful of people who care about Ireland’s Villagiest Village are watching the three judges frown at a clipboard, as if there will be any resolution to any of this today. They’ll be less excited about this contest when they discover the winning town will be bulldozed to build a multistory car park.

At her place, Mo gets a call from “OSPIDÉAL,” and it’s lucky for her that all the calls from every department of the entire hospital come from the same number. Anyway, it turns out to be DeFwan from billing or similar calling to say that Mo’s bill has been paid in full, but that there’s no record of who did it. My guess is that after he left Maggie’s, Tadhg went to the hospital and turned their computer upside down, causing Mo’s file to fall out and be lost.

Back at Maggie’s, Fia has laid the money very neatly out on the table and announces that there’s €36,000. Guards from the bank who lent it to the producers are standing by just off-camera making sure Cóilí Jackie doesn’t drop and break it. Fia supposes they’ll have to report it to the Gardaí since it’s not theirs, but Pól thinks she’s out of her damn mind, because Maggie’s will clearly left him the house and the entirety of its contents, including any hidden money. I tend to agree with him, though we may need one of the Ireland’s Villagiest Village judges to come make a ruling. She asks him what he’d do with €36,000, since that many beer cans wouldn’t even fit in the house, and he says they should run away together, for a few months or forever. She looks intrigued, especially since summer is coming and the place will be crawling with annoying American tourists, but she can’t help feeling that there’s something she’s forgetting who possibly used to be named Nollaig.

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