Monday, December 30, 2019

Mad Mams: Beyond Thunderdome

Season 24, Episode 34
First aired December 26, 2019

Happy Christmas! Hopefully you all had lots of awkward family time, like the kind Sorcha is having with her visiting mother in our opening scene. The mother probably has a name, but I don’t know what it is, so I’m going to call her Bettina. By the look in her eyes and her slightly-off mannerisms, plus the sick look on Sorcha’s face, we can tell that something is Not Quite Right with Bettina, who is currently touring the House of 10,000 Residents and declaring that she bets there are a lot of dance parties and quilting bees and so on happening there. Which particular brand of soap-opera problem mom is she? Let’s find out together!

Chez Daly, the entire family is crammed into the kitchen and everyone is looking nervous because Katy is saying and doing things. To be fair, that never ends well. There’s discussion of going to the annual Ros na Rún Fir vs Seanfhir football match, which is being held between the dumpsters at Recycle Bin Park because Aviva Stadium was booked, but things get chilly when Katy offers to stay home with Bláithín because of course Dee would rather gnaw off her own leg than let Katy borrow her curling iron, much less her baby. Katy even offers to make Bláithín’s dinner, but Dee thinks it’s not a good idea since Bláithín is very fond of her routine right now and is also allergic to poison. She and Mack leave, but she hangs out in the doorway to eavesdrop on Katy and John Joe discussing Katy’s plan to talk to Tadhg about resuming her mismanagement of Gaudi. We finally find something Bobbi Lee is good at—other than being fabulous, of course—and now Katy’s going to come bollix it up.

Monday, December 9, 2019

I Kissed A Boy And I'm Not Sure I Liked It

Season 24, Episode 28
First aired December 5, 2019

It’s the morning after the hen party, and we open with a close-up of a pile of vomit on the sidewalk that Máire is trying to sweep up. Dee walks by and nearly spews again at the sight and smell of it, and also the fact that she’s clearly the one who did it. She keeps trying to walk away, but Máire wants to have a quivery-voiced conversation about the general Sodom & Gomorrah-ness of it all. We knew this would happen if they let the gays get married. Eventually Dee gets recruited to push the vomit around with a broom as Máire repeatedly reconstitutes it by pouring water on it, which involves Dee having the dry heaves a lot plus many tight shots on the pile of sick so we can appreciate how realistic it is. OK, special-effects crew, we get that you put a lot of work into concocting this, or perhaps you all just took turns barfing on the pavement to see whose read the best on camera, but STOP SHOWING IT TO US.

Elsewhere, a hungover Mo, one of many people we will see today looking like they’ve been dragged backward through a hedge, staggers out of her bedroom and checks her phone, on which she finds a text from Bloody Fiach asking her how her head is. (If you have ever seen RuPaul’s Drag Race, you are laughing at that question.) She quickly deletes it, and the look on her face makes it unclear whether she is just starting to remember what happened with him last night or remembers it in appalling, terrifying detail. Either way, it seems picking hot-pink boa feathers out of every nook and cranny of her body and home is not going to be the worst thing she has to do today.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Girls Just Want to Have Fiach

Season 24, Episode 27
First aired December 3, 2019

You’re back! I missed you!

We open at the pub, where Bobbi Lee not-at-all discreetly stashes a bunch of shopping bags full of blow-up dolls wearing feather boas behind the bar so she can assure Mo she doesn’t have anything tacky planned for tonight’s hen party. She shouts from behind a giant vibrator that we will be experiencing PURE CLASS, and Mo reiterates, “I don’t want any nonsense or anything rude.” Unfortunately for her, Bobbi Lee’s middle names are “Nonsense” and “Something Rude.” Also “Jolene.” Anyway, Bobbi Lee assures her it will be extremely civil and posh, like having dinner at Buckingham Palace or walking in on Colin Firth and Dame Judi Dench having sex in a fitting room at Harrod’s.

Speaking of pure class, Caitríona waltzes into the shop just as Vince is stocking roll after roll of toilet paper, something Caitríona herself has never seen because she is JUST THAT CLASSY. She’s dressed to the nines for Maeve’s Nutty Pops commercial audition, and then summons our little Meryl Streep to show off her own, erm, “special outfit.” A grim Maeve emerges from upstairs wearing a number of pieces of clothing I do not know the name for in Irish or English, in various shades of Pukey Pink and Fugly Mauve, and so much makeup she can barely hold her head up. You know it’s bad when even Vince, who is up to his neck in Caitríona’s shenanigans around the clock, can’t make eye contact with anyone. Caitríona beams that she’s a shoo-in to get the part, and poor Maeve, whose hair is pulled back so tight her feet aren’t even touching the floor, looks grim, like Shirley Temple played by Morticia Addams.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

The Irish Mackstop

Season 24, Episode 2
First aired September 5, 2019

It’s a peaceful morning in Ros na Rún, by which I mean nobody is being shoved screaming into a police car, burning down a building, or threatening to jump off a roof yet. Still, these people are very resourceful, so we should give them time. We open with an annoyed Mack ignoring a series of phone calls and texts from Katy, and we get the impression that this has been going on for some time, and also that the mental hospital should perhaps supervise their “more fragile” patients’ phone use more closely. The latest text asks “Have you seen the DNA test yet? [eggplant emoji eggplant emoji].” That last part is implied. He pulls the scrap of paper with her email login and password out of his pocket, considers chucking it in the bin, but then sits down at the table where someone’s “Masha” brand laptop has presumably been downloading and installing Windows updates for the past eleven hours. Masha: The Computer Made By Albanians For Albanians. Just as he’s about to enter the password to Katy’s email account, Dee bursts in with a gaggle of children, at least 80 percent of whom were fathered by Mack, so he slams the laptop shut, which of course makes it look like he was looking at porn.

Elsewhere, a drug deal reminiscent of the one in the opening credits is happening in the street. Upon closer inspection it turns out to be Sorcha slipping Briain a scrap of paper— which may or may not have been ripped out of the same pad as Katy was using at the hospital the other day—with the name of someone she knows at So You Ran Over An Old Lady Motors. He’ll be able to get Briain a mirror for his 1982 Reliant Robin to replace the one that broke off in Jude’s torso, she explains. Just then Berni pops out of a doorway and hilariously bugs her eyes out at the sight of her intermittent soulmate fraternizing with the enemy. She flies up in Sorcha’s face and starts screaming at her, hissing that she warned her not to show her face around here again. I knew the people of Ros na Rún would regret that referendum that gave Berni the right to decide who can and cannot exist. Furthermore, she rants, she can’t believe she was so stupid as to give Sorcha another chance after all the other times she has screwed things up and caused drama. It always pains me to admit when Berni is right about something, but this is one of those times. Berni says that trouble follows Sorcha wherever she goes, which is rich coming from the woman who has been almost murdered by half the people she's ever met. Anyway, Berni concludes she is done with Sorcha, DONE! Of course everyone else who has ever met Berni, including Briain and Evan, would be thrilled to think she was DONE with them forever, but Sorcha looks sad, and after Berni storms off, she and Briain exchange pained glances, which in Briain’s world constitutes foreplay.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Sometimes You Feel like a Nut, Sometimes You Don't (Season Premiere)

Season 24, Episode 1
First aired September 4, 2019

We’re back for another season of thrills, chills, and windmills in our favorite Connemara crazytown, Ros na Rún! You may recall that before we left for the summer, all hell was breaking loose: Briain and Sorcha had sex as foreplay to get them in the mood to hit-and-run Jude; Andy, in the role of Che Guevara, extorted tremendous amounts of money from Michelle; and Vince, Caitríona, and Maeve went to Tayto Park! Oh, also a screaming Katy got hauled off to the mental hospital in a police car while foaming at the mouth and clawing at the glass. So, a typical Thursday in Ros na Rún.

We open at the hospital, where Katy is sleeping off the six to eight tranquilizer darts it took to get her into the bed in the first place. It’s nice that they gave her a bed with linens that have clearly never been used before and in fact still have the straight-out-of-the-package creases in them. She starts muttering Jay’s name and then wakes up to look confusedly around the room, calling out “Jay!” again, although I suppose it is also possible she is trying to ask someone, “Cad é mar atá tú?” but loses consciousness halfway through the question.

Back in town, Mack drops Jay off at the crÁeche and then a radiant Dee takes his arm and they stroll happily across the road, with baby Bláithín in her stroller, and Dee has that classic I-just-gaslighted-my-sister-into-an-asylum glow about her, that’s for sure.

Monday, May 27, 2019

The Godfather Part IV

Season 23, Episode 75
First aired May 21, 2019

We open today’s tale of vague thuggery and pointed bitchery at Caitríona’s, which coincidentally is Europe’s primary exporter of both of those things. She’s not there, though, apparently off on a bad-will tour of the county, but Vince and Michelle are. Normally this would make things more pleasant, but Michelle is skittish and distracted, and though Vince tries to be sunny and cheerful, she and her glum ponytail are having none of it. You can tell things are bad because she didn’t even have the energy to put on her headband today. I was starting to assume it was tattooed on, really. Eventually Vince leaves, having failed to recruit Michelle to sub for him today as Caitríona’s personal social worker, and then Michelle gets a text from Andy demanding his money or he’s going to start breaking her everything. She looks scared and then goes over and dramatically locks the front door. Another option would be calling the police, but we’ll go with this, I guess.

Over on Daly Estates, Cóilí Jackie and Noreen have come to visit Dee, presumably separately since we can’t imagine she would allow him in her car. She’s being all sweetness and light, thanking him for saving the baby’s life by helping Dee give birth in that ditch and so on. If he really wanted to be helpful he would’ve told her it would be a lot easier for the baby to come out of she weren’t sitting up, a problem he rarely has with his cows. I will give you a moment to picture a vertical cow standing on end like a child’s drawing rotated 90 degrees before we proceed. Anyway, Cóilí Jackie appears to be understanding about 30 percent of what is being said, which is pretty good for a non-Donegal character in a scene full of Dalys, and everyone is having a lovely time until he brings up the fact that Dee’s asked him to be Bláithín’s godfather, at which point Noreen develops a sudden case of diarrhea face and stops talking for the first time ever.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

A Romantic Bottle of Wine by Gaslight

Season 23, Episode 72
First aired May 9, 2019

Aaaand we’re back! A lot has happened since the last time I was able to recap, much of which involved Michelle being in every scene for no apparent reason, but I will try to catch you up as we go along. We open at Gaudi, which is somehow still in business, just as a power outage plunges the place into darkness. Pádraig arrives and asks Katy why she’s standing at the till in the dark, which at first seems a stupid question, but then we remember that he’s been watching her Dee-facilitated descent into madness for a while and probably just figures this is the next logical step, after ordering 600 lbs. of beef instead of 60 but before getting into an argument with a jar of olives.

At their place, Berni and Briain are discussing the fact that Jude kept them up half the night, and it’s clear they are both fed up with this shite but know they will go to hell if they say it out loud. He presents her with a spa gift certificate and says they’ll go there this afternoon, and you can tell he’s serious because it’s from a legitimate spa in Galway and not just Gráinne kicking you in the spine at Loinnir. He even volunteers Bobbi Lee in absentia to look after Jude while they’re gone, but Berni reminds her that Bobbi Lee has an appointment to see a fortuneteller today, which is apparently a thing she does now. Briain’s suggestion that perhaps Evan could get his arse over here and acknowledge his grandmother’s existence for a change goes nowhere, because, as Berni explains, Evan finds Jude eepy-cray, and is also selfish. Briain frowns a lot at this, which history tells us means he and Evan will be wrestling in the street in the next 15 minutes.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Recaps resuming week of May 6

The craziness that's severely limited my recapping for the past couple of months has mostly passed, so I'm planning to resume recapping the show next week! Watch this space for new recaps soon and thanks for your patience!

Monday, April 29, 2019

8 Questions with Pól Ó Griofa

If you’ve read and paid attention to any of my recaps—which: apologies again for being too busy to do them lately!—you’ve probably noticed that Mack is one of my favorite characters. He’s been involved in so many of the biggest and best storylines the past few years, and wherever there’s excitement to be had in Ros na Rún, Mack usually isn’t too far away. So I’m thrilled to be able to share a new Q&A with Pól Ó Griofa, the man who brings Mack Ó Riain to life! Pól is one of my absolute favorite actors, not just on Ros na Rún but in general, and he manages to careen between comedy and drama so effortlessly he makes it look easy. Let’s find out what makes the man tick!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Daly Descent into Madness: Katy Edition

Season 23, Episode 47
First aired February 12, 2019

Today, on a very special Ros na Rún, everyone expresses their emotions honestly and constructively and honors themselves and those around them by acting in ways that reaffirm human dignity and show compassion and empathy to all. Ha ha, I’m kidding, everyone is a complete fucking basket case as always.

We open with a montage of various people flipping through a prop magazine printed on an extremely stiff paper stock that is definitely used by a lot of actual magazines, that’s for sure. The pasted-on photo that catches first Dee’s and then Tadhg’s eye features Jason in a tux with a pretty blonde woman identified as his “partner,” Somebody Ní NotKaty from Cork. I should point out that Dee and Tadhg are looking at their magazines in their respective kitchens, although I do enjoy the mental image of the two of them hanging out flicking through magazines and pointing out hairstyles they do and do not think would look good on themselves. Anyway, there is a lot of eyebrow raising, presumably because they subscribed to Hiya! magazine to see photos of celebrities, not Effing Jason, but then Tadhg is interrupted by Frances, who has let herself in to argue pointlessly with him about how they need to divide their assets and, you know, get divorced already. He’s rude and dismissive before walking out on her, and she sighs loudly and looks surprised, because she has never met him before.

Over at the café, intermittent hoodlums Sorcha and Adam are celebrating the fact that she has completed her extensive health and safety training and been certified by the EU to start pumping gas today. I hope there is money in the special effects budget for the inevitable fiery explosion we get when she flicks her lit cigarette at a puddle of spilled gasoline to “burn it off.” Cóilí Jackie arrives and she starts haranguing him because he is dressed inappropriately (i.e., the exact same way he is always dressed) for his court date today, and he pahs and bahs that he’s not going because they’ll fine him either way, and also he’s curious whether failure to appear is a misdemeanor or a felony or what.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Domhnall O'Donoghue Talks about His New Novel and What's Coming for Pádraig

We all know the stars of Ros na Rún are great actors, but they’re also a talented bunch in so many other ways. Annamaria Nic Dhonnacha is a singer, Colm Mac Gearailt is a scholar, Máirín de Buitléir is a dancer, and, of course, Domhnall O’Donoghue is a writer. The man we all know and love as Pádraig is a travel journalist, magazine columnist, and a novelist, among other things, and his second novel, Colin and the Concubine, is out this week. I caught up with the man himself for this brand new Q&A, where he tells about the new book, how he balances writing and acting, and what we might expect from Pádraig in the weeks and months to come.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Mo + Colm - Fiach = ♥

Season 23, Episode 44
First aired January 31, 2019

I’m a bit off schedule, recapping an episode from last week, but this one is too special to miss, so here we go. It’s directed by our pal Eamonn Norris, filmmaker extraordinaire and all-around good guy, who if I ever meet in person I will ply with round after round of drinks, a) because I like him and b) in hopes of getting scandalous tales of Domhnall O’Donoghue’s lurid past out of him.

We open out in the street, where Mo asks the increasingly skeevy Fiach how Jennifer is doing after yesterday’s chemo. On one hand, it’s nice that Mo cares about Jennifer’s well being in spite of her relentless awfulness, but on the other hand, we can’t help feeling that if she’d stop encouraging them, Jennifer and Fiach would both go away. I’m just saying. Anyway, Fiach says that Jennifer is tired, probably of him but possibly also of other things, and that she’s not up for visitors, so therefore Mo should come over for dinner tonight. Oh, good lord. Mo agrees, because she believes in the innate goodness and dignity of all human-type beings and has also apparently suffered a series of recent head injuries, and as she walks off, Fiach looks smirkily pleased with himself. I am, of course, a consummate pacifist and am against violence of all kinds, but also hope somebody punches Fiach in the junk in the near future.

Speaking of people who need to be punched in the nether regions, over at Caitríona’s we are subjected to the return of Tommy, whom we last saw being hilariously Thelma-and-Louise-d by Berni and Bobbi Lee. It seems she has hired him to go install hidden cameras over at the radio station to monitor Sonia’s activities, because Caitríona hates her and has tortured Vince till he’s a smoldering husk and therefore needs a new toy. Surprisingly, Tommy asks her whether this is legal, a word we wouldn’t have thought would be in his vocabulary, but she insists it is. This will be a good case for Dee to take on the next time she needs a break from murdering Katy. Tommy agrees to do it, but protests weakly that he doesn’t think it’s right, another concept we doubt he’d concern himself with, so she tells him she’s not paying him to think about what’s right and wrong and that he’ll shut up and get installing if he knows what’s good for him. He flirts with her grossly for a while before she throws him out, at which point she looks somehow surprised that someone she found in the Uncredentialed Day Laborers section of is morally questionable.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

If You Like It, Then You Shouldn't Put A Ring On It

Season 23, Episode 39
First aired January 15, 2019

We open this episode with Mo and Colm, who are very nervous, and not just because they’re eating Berni’s special of the day, sushi soup. Mo’s due back at the hospital this afternoon for what will hopefully be her last visit for a while. Katy breezes in to order scones for her dad, who it happens is coming home from the hospital today with a clean-ish bill of health, by which we mean his heart is beating much of the time and he’s hardly bleeding from any of his orifices. The doctors were worried when his face was suddenly covered with blood, but it turned out it was just from Noreen repeatedly stabbing Imelda with a pen.

There are a lot of sickies in this episode, so let’s go visit another of them by cutting over to Caitríona. The neck pillow she’s ordered has just arrived, and she immediately starts moaning rapturously about how much more comfortable she is with it on, even though she’s been wearing it for half a millisecond while standing at the kitchen counter where it is doing absolutely nothing. “Placebo” is Latin for “shut up, Caitríona.” Poor Vince seems skeptical, but we also suspect he’s popping so much Xanax to combat his shellshock that at this point he thinks she’s two talking snowmen. She hobbles over to the couch and places an order for the radio and her laptop to be delivered to her so she can listen to what a bad job Sonia is doing while simultaneously sending menacing emails to Maeve’s teachers and spying on the salon via the nannycam she’s implanted in Gráinne’s neck. Even here on the brink of death, Caitríona is a multitasking pain the ass.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Litigation Nation

Season 23, Episode 37
First aired January 8, 2019

We open in the shop, where a disheveled Caitríona comes hobbling in on crutch with her arm in a sling and wearing the remnants of her evil stepmother costume. She looks like Stevie Nicks after spending the night in a ditch full of Klonopin. Vince narrates that she broke her collarbone and ankle when Bobbi Lee dropped a house on her, demonstrating that Bobbi Lee actually can work efficiently when she wants to. Caitríona is in a foul mood and takes it out on innocent bystander Berni, which we are totally in favor of, but then Briain comes in and takes Berni’s mind off it with a drive-by suggestive smirk.

Over at the café, Bobbi Lee is holding court about how her natural superstardom saved the day at the panto, but Gráinne helpfully (i.e., unhelpfully) notes that Caitríona was the real star because her adlibs were funnier than anything in the script, which, by the way, they all know Niall wrote. Bobbi Lee appreciates this about as much as you’d expect and lashes back that Gráinne won’t be so smug when Caitríona sues her for her panto-induced injuries. In case you’re wondering why Caitríona would sue Gráinne, I’ll save you some time now by telling you that later on we are reminded that Gráinne was the producer of the panto. You’re welcome. Anyway, she looks pained, presumably due to PTSD from the various seaweed-related lawsuits she’s been involved in the past few years, such as when the viewers sued her for not ensuring Annette’s slip-and-fall injuries were fatal.

Monday, January 7, 2019

The Show Mustn't Go On

Season 23, Episode 36
First aired 3 January 2019              

We’re back after a couple of months away, most of which involved Adam getting arrested for things he didn’t do, Cóilí Jackie almost shooting David in the crotch, and Dee slowly losing her mind. So, business as usual. We open today, which features the long-awaited return of a familiar stubble-faced hunk from ye olden tymes—I’m talking about myself, of course!—at 3Arena or wherever the panto is taking place, which is a busy hive of activity, and also bees. You might think of Christmas as a distant memory now that all the crackers have been cracked and decades of built-up family hostility have been buried for another year, but here in Ros na Rún the holidays rage on, mostly in the form of Vanessa. She’s carrying a black garbage bag in Berni’s direction, but sadly is here to apologize to her rather than fill it with oranges and bludgeon her with it. She explains that she bit Berni’s head off last episode because she was surprised to find out Niall and Bobbi Lee are a thing, what with her expecting him to be celibate from now on and all. Well, when you leave your DILFy ex-husband on a soap opera full of known floozies, you deserve what you get. Berni accepts her apology, agreeing that this is all pretty messed up, and then reminds her that the important thing is Liam Óg, who is now at the critical developmental age of two or twelve or something.

Onstage, Mack stops stringing fairy lights up a donkey’s arse long enough to tell Niall that he’s really bollixed this situation up. Niall sadly agrees, adding that there’s no way he could’ve predicted a relationship involving Bobbi Lee would be problematic in any way. He realizes he needs to apologize to Vanessa, who’s walking around looking sad everywhere. Another option would be for Vanessa, who broke up with him, to grow up and stop making everything about herself, but maybe that’s just me. Niall goes down to gabh Vanessa’s leithscéal, but is interrupted by Gráinne, who is here to make everyone do her work for her. Caitríona has taught her well. She drags Vanessa off to iron the walls, and Niall looks sad, partly because of this Vanessa situation and partly because he has read the script of the panto that’s coming later.

In town, on-again-off-again frenemies Imelda and Laoise seem to be on for the moment, although Laoise is doing her best to stir up trouble and make everyone around her miserable. She asks how noted patient John Joe is doing, and Imelda has to admit she doesn’t really know since nobody from the hospital will tell her anything and Noreen is guarding the place like it’s the end of a Super Mario Bros. level. It’s OK, the princess is in another castle anyway. Laoise helpfully reminds her that Katy and Dee are a couple of bitches, and when Imelda reasonably replies that she doesn’t want to go someplace where she’s not welcome, Laoise retorts that if it were Micheál down at the hospital set, she’d be down there marking her territory posthaste, no matter how much of a wagon Réailtín is. That last part is implied.