Monday, September 24, 2018

The House That Mack Built

Season 23, Episode 6
First aired 20 September 2018

The last scene of the new opening credits, where someone is sneakily handing someone else a €50 note, is supposed to be a drug deal, right? Anyway, we open with a possible hostage situation in which Mack has covered Dee’s eyes with the world’s most fashionable blindfold and led her to a remote part of the countryside where no one can hear her scream. Well, we all knew this marriage was going to end with one of them under a pile of rocks somewhere along the R336, but I think we all thought it was going to be the other way around. He removes the blindfold and, unimpressed, she notes that this is his dumb old field, and she has no idea why he’s wasting her time with this when she could be at home comparing various family members’ hair under her electron microscope. He brightly explains that he’s decided they should build a cottage on this site using plans he’s acquired from someone named Micilín Jimmy, which is Irish for “Jimmy Hovel-Collapse.” He asks, hopefully rhetorically unless he’s prepared to get a response he doesn’t like, “Isn’t it a lovely spot to raise a family?”, which of course causes Dee to swallow hard and make a face like he’s just asked her, “Isn’t it a lovely spot to raise 22 children and have dysentery all the time?”

In town, it seems to be morning, and Micheál is trying to sneak Laoise out the front door. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to do a quiet walk of shame in Ros na Rún, where Máire is doing round-the-clock surveillance of the entire town in an elaborate crisscross pattern learned during her time in Afghanistan. She starts carrying on about how “thank God, you’re safe!” and “thank God, I was up all night worrying!” and “thank God, I was only about two-thirds of the way through planning your funeral!”, which is also known as “Máire Morning Greeting #3.” Laoise explains that she didn’t come home last night because she was, erm, staying with a friend who lives, uhh, two towns over and is named, errr, Fionnuala O’Shacking Up. Máire questions this story, especially since she’s almost positive she attended Fionnuala O’Shacking Up’s funeral, but Laoise explains that, err, that was Fionnuala’s mother who was also named Fionnuala, and that furthermore she and Fionnuala fell asleep on the sofa during Fair City because, uhh, Fionnuala has a lot of gas leaks at her house, and also because Fair City is boring, especially now that Emmet isn’t there fighting with everybody all the time. Furthermore, she explains unnecessarily, she hasn’t been sleeping well lately, which is certainly a good reason to watch Fair City, and then she and Micheál flee in opposite directions. Well, I’m sure Máire is satisfied with this explanation and will meddle no further.

(I kid, I kid, Fair City fans. Please don't send me angry letters. I get enough of those from the Berni fans.)

At the pub, Tadhg is harassing Frances about her torrid non-affair with Cóilí Jackie, which you may  recall consisted of his ruining her trip to see the new calf by offering to show her his udders. She, however, does not have time for his seafóid today because she’s been examining the bank statements and notices that earnings have been way down the past two months, and also that there have been a lot of checks made out to “Chernobyl Quarry” and “Upstairs Heat Vent & Sons.” He says this is because he had to order a lot of stock in July and August, such as 50,000 bags of crisps, and denies her request to see the books because he’s sent them to his accountant, Fernando Mac Money Laundering. She gives him a “Bitch, PLEASE!” look and then walks out, and it’s clear he’s nervous because he only mildly insults her as she walks out the door.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Putting the "Dee" in "DNA"

Season 23, Episode 5
First aired 18 September 2018

We begin this episode in which everyone suddenly has new hairdos Chez Daly, where Katy has rung Jason in order to wish Cuán a happy birthday. As usual, Jason’s default response is to hang up on her, which on one hand seems a little crappy given that Katy was effectively Cuán’s mother for an extended period of time, but on the other hand, I suppose he’s decided she’s not going to be part of Cuán’s life moving forward so he might as well cut the cord, and is also kind of a jerk. The least he could do is let Cuán go on a fun birthday drive to the seashore with Auntie Dee! And speaking of our favorite temporary kidnapper, just then she and Mack arrive. Mack is on crutches, which Dee dismisses in passing as a football injury but which we suspect involves her hitting him in the spine with a blunt object, such as a bat or a refrigerator. They explain that they stopped by the pub to see Katy but that Tadhg told them to get lost, plus it doesn’t have a ramp or elevator, so Mack couldn’t go in anyway. They stand there and watch while she spins a yarn about how Tadhg is difficult and John Joe needs round-the-clock nursing care and Jay is allergic to pubs, leaving out the part about how Tadhg caught her stealing money from him. It’s hard to tell how much of this Dee believes, whereas Mack is waiting for Katy to get to the part with the cow in the road and/or time-traveling robots, which in his mind are an integral part of any lie. They then give Katy a giant gift to take to Cuán when she visits him in Dublin later this week, so she has to explain that, erm, she’s not going this week because, umm, Jason was kidnapped by the Terminator. No, two Terminators! Also Dublin fell in a volcano.

Across town, Laoise, whose sudden new hairdo features a lot of highlights and looks completely fab, is looking at a photo of herself with Peadar. Micheál and his same old haircut wander in and comment that they can’t believe it’s been two years since he died. That does seem hard to fathom! As they reminisce about his passing they start making out, as one does, and we get our first Réailtín sighting of the year (hurrah!) when she strolls in and starts rolling her eyes and making barfy faces like Mr. Yuk, whom those of us who were American children in the 1970s remember warning us that poison tastes bad and therefore we should hold our noses while drinking it. Anyway, Micheál advises her to shut up and eat her breakfast, which gives her an opportunity to point out that he wouldn’t have to feed her or watch her being sullen all over the place all the time if he’d send her to boarding school like she wants. Hmm, if that’s the upside maybe he should send Laoise to boarding school, too. He ignores her and heads off to the lipstick factory or wherever he works, at which point Laoise tells Réailtín she’ll be moving back in soon, but that it’s a secret so she can’t tell anyone. Réailtín’s response is basically, “Don’t worry, I don’t have anyone to tell because I don’t have any friends here and am miserable, unlike at boarding school, where I would be popular and happy.” I tend to think of being sent to boarding school as punishment, which is why when my coworkers complain about their annoying, out-of-control children, I always suggest they send them to an out-of-state military boarding school. Because she is The New Girlfriend trying to win brownie points, Laoise agrees to have a word with Micheál on Réailtín’s behalf instead of telling her to knock it off and go to school like she would’ve last season, or telling her to go jump off a bridge as she was always telling her nemesis Fia.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Eric's Gonna Buy You a Diamond Ring

Season 23, Episode 2
First aired 6 September 2018

We open at Gaudi, where Berni, Caitríona, and Máire are discussing Runaway Jay, which Berni charitably chalks up to Katy’s bad parenting. Of course Katy herself walks up behind them just in time to overhear this, so she shoos them all away and then plops herself down on the barstool beside Mack and complains that she sure wishes she had something to worry about other than everybody in town thinking she’s a bad mother. Right on cue, Dee wanders in and sees Mack putting his hand comfortingly on Katy’s, so she decides this is the perfect moment to come over and stick it to Katy by announcing that she and Mack are having a baby for completely non-manipulative reasons. Mazel tov, I guess?

Over at the café, Eric and Laoise are both pretending to care about getting her an engagement ring. The only one in this scene who is at all excited about this prospect is Bobbi Lee, not because she gives a crap about either of them, but because it gives her an opportunity to be jealous about the fact that she doesn’t have a giant diamond ring, although of course if she wanted one she could strong-arm any number of eligible bachelors into getting her one, such as Pádraig or that guy who works at the pub sometimes when all the actual characters need to be available elsewhere for story purposes. Eric finally says firmly that he wants to buy Laoise a ring, but she doesn’t bother responding and instead smiles uncomfortably into the middle distance, which we can safely proclaim is The Official Facial Expression Of Laoise And Eric. For all our sakes, Bobbi Lee interrupts the terrible awkwardness by making it about herself again, and after Eric and Laoise giggle politely, he suggests they make a day of ring-shopping in Galway, complete with lunch and, depending on how things go, possibly also dinner. Laoise is torn, because on one hand, lunch and dinner are meals she has heard of, but on the other, she may completely despise Eric. That is quite a dilemma.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Jay Ya! (Season Premiere)

Season 23, Episode 1
First aired 4 September 2018

And we’re back! After a long, hot summer of ennui, existential despair, and hot meaningless sex, Ros na Rún has finally returned to bring our lives meaning, and also Bobbi Lee. We begin with a helpful “Previously on Ros na Rún…” montage to remind us what was going on 3 or 12 or 72 months ago on the last episode. For some reason it spends an inordinate amount of time reminding us that Frances had to set up her meeting with the still unspellable, unpronounceable hidirghabhálaí at the B&B due to intricate scheduling problems at the community center, most of which involve Labhrás being a dick, but we are also reminded that Laoise agreed to marry Eric, but rather tepidly, which is really the only possible way to agree to such a thing. Oh, and also Dee went crazy and kidnapped Jay and possibly threw him into the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean.

And now for new excitement! First of all, we’re in HD now, which our new title sequence takes advantage of by being blurry and high-speed and showing us that Ros na Rún is a very modern place in which people’s elbows and crotches zoom in and out just like ours, except in high-def and as written by Sonia Ní Oibicín. Katy and Mack are still running around town in circles, and my goodness, they must be tired since they’ve been doing it nonstop since June. On the plus side, it’s excellent cardio, which is why 9 out of 10 doctors recommend having your sister kidnap your child as part of any weight-loss regimen. Tadhg has joined them to “help,” by which I mean yell at them for being incompetent and blame everything on the fact that Katy is from Donegal. So, it’s exactly what you would expect. When Mack volunteers that this happened because he left the front door open, which of course he didn’t, Tadhg grabs him by the neck and starts throttling him Homer-Simpson-style, and after Katy pulls them apart they all run off screaming in opposite directions. As they say, it takes a village to kill each other while looking for a missing child.

Meanwhile, down at the shore it’s a lovely day at whatever this stone structure Dee has driven to is. It seems to have been designed to provide convenient parking when you need to throw someone in the ocean but are in a hurry, once again demonstrating that Ireland is more advanced than the rest of the world at everything. We don’t see her or Jay, though, suggesting they have perhaps popped into Spiddal for a falafel, and then we quickly return to downtown Ros na Rún, where there is running in circles screaming, already in progress. Katy is relieved to see Tadhg pull out what is apparently the only cellphone in the village and assumes he’s using it to call the cops, but she and Mack are dismayed when they discover that he is instead calling Jason in Dublin to tattle on them. It’s just as well because obviously the local police are busy at all times arresting Pádraig for something Sonia has accused him of doing, such as Living While Gay. After some light arguing, Tadhg assures them that he’ll call the Gardaí to report their incompetence as soon as he’s done ratting them out to Jason, so Mack runs off to recruit local childcare experts such as Adam and Peatsaí for assistance while Katy resolves to stand firm in the middle of the street and cry a single dramatic tear.