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.

Back at the café, there’s a lot going on at once: Mo gets a phone call from the hospital confirming her appointment for two o’clock, Colm gets a text from Caitríona demanding his presence, and Fiach wanders in to insert himself in the middle of things. Mo tells Colm he should go see what nonsense Caitríona wants, but he’s hesitant to leave her, especially now that Fiach is buzzing around. He leaves and Fiach immediately plops himself down in his place and starts asking Mo to once again play go-between with Jennifer, who’s still refusing to speak to him. Based on everything I have ever seen of Jennifer, I am unclear why getting the silent treatment from her is a bad thing, really. Mo is hesitant, but eventually she gives in, possibly because she cares about him/her/them but probably also to make him stop whining about this.

Tony arrives at the radio station for some reason, but Sonia is the only one there, and she’s busy broadcasting her show, Pinafores, Homophobia, & Helicopter Parenting with Sonia. Frances pops in and says he’ll have to come back later, but he explains that he’s just here to request a special song for Berni. For his sake, we hope it’s “Thank You for Being a Friend,” the theme from Friends, or “That’s What Friends Are For.” This leads to a strangely detailed discussion about today’s radio technology, including the way the station’s Large Hadron Collider converts text messages into gamma rays and then beams them directly into David’s head or similar. Of course Tony stopped paying attention about two words into this conversation and says he’ll come back later, so the important thing is that we will have to wait until later for Tony to propose to Berni while DJ Sonia romantically plays “Luka” just for her.

At the café, Berni is running around like a chicken that’s cut off its own head to avoid ever having to deal with Tony again. Gráinne, who is clearly very diligently managing the salon, leans over the counter and asks how Tony took being kicked to the curb, but Berni admits she didn’t get around to telling him, mostly because that would involve speaking to him. Well, since they’re communicating primarily through song dedications these days, she could have Sonia play “Hit The Road, Jack” followed by “Let It Go,” “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” and, just for fun, “Walk Like an Egyptian.” Just then, Tony himself arrives, which leads to a very involved conversation about how he needs to borrow the key to Berni’s flat, punctuated by him doing a lot of lunges, Zumba-ing, and death drops on the counter. We really have no idea why Berni doesn’t want to spend the rest of her life watching this every day. Eventually he stops talking long enough for her to give him the key and shove him towards the door, but she makes sure to tell him she’s looking forward to having a nice, quiet evening WITHOUT HIM, which of course he will interpret to mean she wants him to find a way to clone himself so she can spend the evening surrounded by a throng of lunging Tonys.

Mo has tricked Jennifer into meeting her at the pub by forgetting to mention that Fiach would also be there. Jennifer is stroppy and annoying about it, and then Mo leaves them to it so they can be stroppy and annoying in private. I wish we could give them some privacy, too, because: ugh. They argue for about 27 minutes about how he doesn’t show her enough respect and she doesn’t act like a mother to him and how we would all be better off if there were a hard border between them, and I am really unclear whether we are actually supposed to care about any of this.

A colloquium on the future of radio has broken out in Caitríona’s living room, which mostly consists of her and Sonia sniping at each other while Colm wishes he were somewhere else. Caitríona tells Sonia she listened to her show earlier and didn’t like it, pointing out that if she had been doing it, she would’ve researched it better and included more “facts,” such as “other people’s opinions.” Buh? As for tonight’s show, Caitríona sternly tells her to stick to the script, and then tells her above all she needs to remember to thank the show’s sponsor, which we assume is one of the many local businesses we have come to love, such as Daly Family DNA Testing Inc. or Discount Cow Suppositories & Sons. Sonia is all, “Yeah, yeah, bite my ass” and so on, and Colm appears to be wishing he were anywhere else in the world right now, although he’d feel differently if he knew his other option was to be over at the pub listening to Fiach and Jennifer argue. Caitríona announces that they need to fill Bobbi Lee’s timeslot, which we guess means she went off on the 3-week cruise after all, and informs Colm that he’s going to be doing a second financial show. How much money advice from an ex-con does one town need?

At the pub, Jennifer tells Fiach she doesn’t want to go through another round of chemo that probably won’t work anyway, and he reminds her of “all the new drugs,” by which we guess he means all the new drugs they have invented since Jennifer finished her last round of treatment three weeks ago. There is back-and-forthing, and then a very long story about how Fiach was scared of horses when he was a child, and eventually Jennifer agrees to another round of treatment if it will shut him up already. I’ve never seen either of them before this year, so I have no idea how important they ever were to the show or whether they were ever likeable, but they are trying my patience, and this is all feeling like a backdoor pilot for a show that will never go to series.

Back in a storyline we care about, sort of, Sonia weakly protests to Caitríona that she’s not sure she’s the best person to work with Colm, but Caitríona is not interested in any of this because right now she’s busy trying to hobble to the toilet before she wets herself. Once she’s gone, Colm says if they buckle down they can get this research done in no time, but Sonia is more interested in standing in the middle of the floor hissing about how there is NO WAY she can work with him after “everything that happened.” You may recall that “everything that happened” is that he leaned over to kiss her one night when they were drunk, which should not have happened, but which I’m also pretty sure doesn’t qualify as an “everything.” She makes it sound like she’s carrying his secret love child. This scandal clearly left such an impression on Colm that he has to ask her to remind him what she’s talking about, so she spits, “You nearly kissed me!” Once we all finish laughing, Colm tells Sonia to get over herself and that Mo is the only woman for him, even though it’s possible she will be making out with Fiach by the end of the week. Sonia carries on for a while longer, reminding him that she is absolutely irresistible so it is only a matter of time before he nearly kisses her again, and eventually she’s summoned to go help Caitríona off the toilet. Hopefully Caitríona will be able to control herself around you, Sonia, you little minx. Colm announces he’s got to bog off because Mo has an important appointment at the hospital, which causes Sonia to purse her lips so hard she sucks the wallpaper off the walls. I have no idea whether the show thinks it’s rehabilitating Sonia into a character we will care about, but we all remember what a complete monster she was all of last season, so they can forget it. I think I speak for everyone when I say we hope she crashes her scooter into a Pizza Hut at a much higher speed this time, and preferably with Jennifer and Fiach riding on the back.

There’s a really nice scene at the pub between Tadhg and Mo in which he expresses his conviction that she’s going to get good news today, and then Colm arrives to pick her up. Jennifer and Fiach, who are holding hands under a rainbow made of hearts now, wish Mo the best, and she looks distractedly into the middle distance, which is where all the biggest threats and opportunities lurk in this town.

After the break, John Joe is packing to go home from the hospital. Noreen is fluttering around like an angry butterfly, pointing out that she’s ironed his underpants and aorta and such while spitting nails at Imelda, who seems bemused by her nonsense. Imelda ventures cheerfully that he’s well on the mend and will be back to normal before long, which makes Noreen very cross, because she is a jealous lunatic now. She vows angrily that John Joe will be VERY UNWELL FOR A LONG TIME TO COME if she has anything to do with it. I’m paraphrasing, but not by much. She embarrasses us all by asking if John Joe is getting a commode when he goes home or just planning to poo in the bed and let Dee clean it up, and then she attempts to pour a pitcher of water down his throat, and Imelda smirks gently in the background as he tries to shoo Nurse Ratched off him. We really are enjoying Imelda a lot more these days, especially when she stays away from that Laoise, who’s nothing but trouble and will keep her from studying for her exams, that’s for sure.

Tony emerges from jazzercise class at the community center, clearly having worked hard for the money, and Mack razzes him gently. Tony announces that he’s taking this exercise thing very seriously because he wants to look good for Berni, and Gráinne awkwardly chimes in that he should be doing it for himself, not for someone who will be breaking up with him in the next ten minutes, just hypothetically of course. Tony responds pitifully that there’s no reason to get healthy for himself, and then adds that his muscles won’t be all he surprises Berni with later. Mack and Gráinne assume he’s talking about, err, Little Tony, whereas we know he’s talking about that engagement ring he got last episode, and frankly, we’re not sure which of those two things we want to see him waving around less.

Back at the hospital, Noreen has gone off to punch a nurse or has spontaneously combusted from rage or whatever, and in her absence it seems Imelda has helped John Joe get dressed, including putting him in his freshly ironed underpants. They joke around a lot and it’s very sweet, and then Noreen interrupts their tender moment, having returned from the pharmacy with his prescription and, hopefully, a little something tranquilizing for herself. She orders him to get his coat on and get in the car, but he tells her that Imelda will be his lift home, actually, and that her services are no longer required around here. Beat it, qween! Noreen throws his prescription down on the chair and hilariously storms out without a word. It’s OK, I’m sure we’ll be seeing her back on this very hospital set before too long when some combination of Katy, Mack, and John Joe is found unconscious at the bottom of Dee’s staircase.

Tony has let himself into Berni’s place and is practicing the various ways he could propose to her, such as “gratingly,” “boringly,” and “in a funny Donald Duck voice.” In one of his rehearsals he says Berni is the nicest person he’s ever met, which explains a lot about it him, actually. Anyway, this is going to be cringeworthy, and we can’t wait!

Mo, who is actually the nicest person Tony has ever met, arrives at the pub and, after some unnecessary yanking him and us around, tells him the good news: she’s cancer-free! BUÍOCHAS LE DIA! Not just because I love Mo and Marie Bheag Breathnach more than I can even tell you, but also because I want this storyline to be over. Tadhg gestures to the photo of Séamus and says he must’ve been looking over Mo today, and then proceeds to pull a pint for her and, at her request, one for Colm, who had to stop by the radio station to pick something up, which may or may not be Sonia. Colm then arrives, carrying a surprise for her: those pink running shoes she bought herself and then threw in the garbage when she discovered she had cancer. It seems he pulled them out of the bin and has been saving them till she got better. Awww. It’s moments like this we realize we like Colm, in spite of much of his own behavior.

Back at Berni’s, Tony has dirtied every pot in the kitchen in the process of making dinner for her, which consists of a head of cabbage, two leeks the size of his leg, and enough parsnips to give an elephant diarrhea. He hears her key in the door and hides under the counter, because a) women love it when they think someone has broken into their homes and made a huge mess and b) he is a big child, and then scares her by jumping up screaming, “Surprise! It’s me!” This is such a trainwreck.

Vince arrives home, where Caitríona is rolling her eyes and making vomiting sounds in response to DJ Sonia announcing, “And that went out to Berni Ní Neachtain from Tony Ó Boring!” We don’t hear the song, of course, so I am going to imagine it’s something completely random, like Jive Bunny or the Macarena. Vince tries to make conversation with her, but she shushes him because she wants to hear Sonia thank the sponsor…which of course she forgets to do. Sadly, Ros na Rún will have to wait till another day to hear about Discount Cow Suppositories & Sons’ clearance sale. Everything must go! She’s furious, and it seems Sonia is going to get it, but not right now.

Chez Daly, Mack—still on crutches, mind you—is hanging banners and getting the house ready while Dee stands around being pregnant and Katy stands around ordering him to hurry up because this is boring. Snerk. Mack, who is still annoyed with Katy after Dee’s elaborate-yet-brilliant plan last episode to have him walk in on her on the floor massaging Katy’s feet, shoots her a filthy look, while meanwhile Dee can’t praise him enough. This is actually some pretty successful scheming on Dee’s part, though we’re sure she’ll bollix it up and send Mack into Katy’s arms by the end of the month somehow. John Joe arrives home and Katy knocks everyone down to give him a big hug, which gives Dee a look on her face like she’s just smelled something terrible…

…for example, Tony’s…soup? I’m going to guess it’s supposed to be soup that Berni is attempting to get out of the bowl, though I don’t usually think of soup as being so…granulated. Good lord, it’s foul. Berni stops throwing up in her mouth long enough to declare it “interesting,” and then Tony tells her if she liked that, she’ll really love the bacon, which he got from the butcher in Galway who sells everything for half-price on Tuesdays. I wish I were making this up, but I’m not. Berni chokes on a piece of gristle as Tony adds she’ll really love the “dessert,” wink wink, and grabs the ring box in his shirt pocket, which just makes it look like he’s fiddling with his pec for no reason. Oh, God. Berni ventures hopefully that they’d better wrap things up since Niall will be home soon, but it seems Tony has sent him to Máire’s for the night so as not to spoil “the surprise,” which with the giant ring box bulging in his shirt pocket appears to be that he slammed his nipple in the car door. He puts his foot in his mouth about eight more times, and when Berni finds out about the radio request, she declares it the straw that broke the camel’s back, even though at this point he’s down on one knee. Hilariously, she shouts that now is not the time for lunges and orders him to get up off the floor, and then yells that they are done. DONE! He looks stunned and silently exits through the front door, stopping in the hall to look sadly at the ring. We would feel sorrier for Tony if he hadn’t been such a complete arse to Mo when he was dating her, but we have to admit this is pretty sad. We didn’t even get to hear him brag about how much money he saved by giving her an engagement ring he found at a crime scene on some dead lady’s finger!

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