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.

Across town, Áine is complaining to her mother that she doesn’t want to spend the night at Tadhg’s because she’s read the TripAdvisor reviews and they are, frankly, terrible. In his defense, throwing a slice of bread at the back of someone’s head does constitute a “continental breakfast” in some countries, mostly war-torn ones. Frances comforts her by agreeing that, yes, Tadhg and his house are terrible, but on the plus side, she is going to get really drunk at the hen party tonight, so: byeee! Tadhg materializes and is relentlessly cheerful, which makes all of us nervous, and brags to Áine that he’s put clean sheets on her bed. That puts him one step above the Travelodge. As she flees, Frances begs Tadhg to try to be semi-human just this once, and then he starts trying to butter Áine up, but she is having none of it and instead returns to crossing her arms and rolling her eyes so hard the fabric of space-time in her vicinity is bending. He oohs and ahhs over her new shoes, and she rightfully points out that he can knock it off, because we all remember last episode, when he found out Malachaí bought them for her and tried to throw them in an incinerator. He attempts to confuse her by speaking very obliquely, but she knows a clunky metaphor when she hears one and is not buying it. They argue for a while and eventually Tadhg brings up hurling again, which she has recently given up in favor of roller karate or something. She admits that she doesn’t want to play anymore because she’s the smallest and isn’t good at it, and in spite of his pep talk-slash-threats, she announces that this topic is closed and declares, “Sin sin.” Well, I’m sure that’s the last we’ll hear about this.

At the sperm bank or wherever Micheál works, he and Laoise are discussing how she tossed and turned all night, and she says she was burning up and soaked in sweat. It’s those asbestos sheets, I bet. He’s confused—I mean even more than usual—and asks if this has anything to do with all those hilarious bee stings she got the other day. She declares this theory seafóid and instead attributes it to her flu shot. Yes, I’m pretty sure the waiver I sign every year when I get my flu shot at work lists the possible side effects as soreness, headache, and menopause. She asks, “What else could it be?”, but before the audience can shout the answer at her pantomime-style, Bobbi Lee bursts in, drops off a bag with Laoise’s “outfit” for the hen night, and vanishes in a cloud of glitter and faux fur.

Speaking of outfits, Dee is wearing hers around the Daly Compound and it’s hard to describe, but imagine Starlight Express Barbie riding My Little Pony to a Jem & the Holograms concert and getting mauled by a Care Bear along the way. I mean, Dee is gorgeous, but she looks absolutely ridiculous here, which is no deterrent to Mack, who sees this is as his opportunity to fulfill his longtime Rainbow Brite fantasy.

Tadhg returns home with dinner for him and Áine, by which I mean he backs a truck up to the pub and begins unloading crate after crate of pizza, lasagna, spaghetti, veal marsala, cannoli, tiramisu, and the 2016 Italian bobsled team. Áine, as a child aged 10-16, cannot resist the lure of enormous amounts of food, so she goes to the kitchen and they start talking about hurling again, with Tadhg telling her a story about a player who was only three feet tall and yet overcame adversity to sliotar the camán into the goal six times in the final three minutes to lead Bray to victory over Malaysia in the 1972 World Championship. It is possible I do not know anything about hurling. Anyway, Áine is either a) 40 percent impressed by this story and 60 percent manipulating her dad or b) 0 percent impressed by this story and 100 percent manipulating her dad, but either way, she strikes a deal with him: she will go back to hurling if he lets her audition for the Nutty Pops commercial. I always enjoy scenes where Tadhg is surprised by Áine behaving exactly like him.

Mo arrives at Gaudi to find things in full “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” mode. She is aghast and makes a beeline for our esteemed hostess and party planner, asking her what happened to “keeping it simple,” because apparently she has never met Bobbi Lee before. Of course, in Bobbi Lee’s world, anything that doesn’t involve her riding down Grafton Street on a Pride float surrounded by go-go boys dancing in cages is keeping it simple, so she doesn’t see what the problem is and tells Mo to lighten up. Also, Adam, Niall, Vince, and John Joe are in the back getting oiled up and will start go-go dancing as soon as Bobbi Lee can have the kitchen knocked out and the cages installed in its place. Laoise sulks by to complain about the outfits, and I am torn, because on the one hand I get tired of Laoise being such an Eeyore all the time, but on the other, these outfits are truly hideous. Let’s just agree that a box full of bees would really liven this party up. Fiach arrives with enough cocktails to disable an entire sorority house, and John Joe passes through to tell Mo there’s a bottle of champagne on the bar, compliments of him and Katy. She tries to ask him to call the Gardaí or possibly Amnesty International on his behalf, but then Bobbi Lee shoves a more or less life-size blowup doll with Colm’s face taped to its head and a mat of hair drawn on the chest in her face, and Mo is so stunned by the brain-melting horror of it all that she can’t resist when Bobbi Lee and the others drag her off to the toilets to change her into her outfit.

We change scenes, but our rods and cones are so burned by the abundance of nuclear pink in the previous scene that it takes a minute for our eyes to recover enough to tell where we are. It seems Pádraig has organized another pop-up night in the café, this one involving DJ Nathan dropping some rump-rattling beats and so on. Since no one in Ros na Rún enjoys having their rump rattled more than Máire, she’s popped by to ask what’s going on and how she can most effectively make everyone there uncomfortable. Pádraig tells her it’s not really her scene, since Nathan will be playing Cybergrind, Breakbeat Hardcore, and Death Industrial music, plus maybe “Come On Eileen” if the crowd gets lethargic. Máire says she doesn’t know what any of these things are, being more of a Ghettotech aficionado herself, but then volunteers that she does enjoy “Wagon Wheel,” so she’ll be back later for that. Nathan looks brightly confused, which is his default look, whereas Pádraig looks wearily downtrodden, which is his default look these days, but also, unlike Nathan, for wbom this is all new, he has had years to grow tired of Máire’s antics.

Back at Gaudi, Dee is absolutely plastered and holding on to the bar for support so she can take a Kardashian-style “sexy” selfie and text it to Mack in order to, as she explains to Bobbi Lee and Mo, keep his motor running until she gets home. Mo, who I’m sure loves thinking about her uncle in this way, points out that Dee is drunk already, so Dee says it’s been ages since she’s been out, apart from all those trips to the mental hospital to torture Katy. She agrees to drink some water to sober up, but based on the glass she grabs, the Irish words for “water” and “champagne” are the same. Dee wants to play Truth or Dare, but because it is too close to the big Christmas episode for any of her truths to come out quite yet, Bobbi Lee changes the game to Let’s Embarrass Mo, producing the quiz she had her fill out the other day. Of course the question she chooses to read is the one in which Mo said that, besides Colm, the best kisser she’s ever been with was Tony, which causes a nearby Fiach to look distressed, but also lecherous. Mo, who is drinking a glass of what appears to be guacamole, is mortified, but Caitríona is thrilled to know she’s not the only one in town with a uniform fetish, oversharing that she likes to make Vince put on his pilot uniform before she handcuffs him to a radiator and spanks him with a Gucci handbag. That last part is implied.

Down the street, the pub is empty apart from Colm, John Joe, and an extra with memorable hair who played a photographer last week. Máire shows up to complain that she just stopped in the café and that it wasn’t Nathan Carter they were playing, or even that Daniel O’Donnell person I keep thinking this show made up but who is apparently an actual thing. She bangs on about the racket over there for a while and then sniffs that she even saw Mo and the hen party go in there, which causes John Joe to flip out, because his tedious hate-on for Pádraig is still going on.

Over at the café, we learn that the Colm blowup doll Bobbi Lee has been carrying around is not anatomically correct, or at least—for both Colm and Mo’s sakes—we hope it is not. Which reminds me, I learned while reading The Importance of Being Aisling this week that willy straws are a thing at hen parties in Ireland, and in the course of doing the type of intense research you have come to expect from this blog, I discovered from a Google Image search that they are very, erm, detailed. Everyone is having a good time, including Frances, who is walking like an Egyptian, but Mo tells Bobbi Lee they shouldn’t be there after the way Pádraig treated Katy. Oh, not this again. Why has Pádraig not told anyone that Tadhg is the one who orchestrated the entire thing and then threw him under the bus for it? I CAN’T. EVEN with this. Bobbi Lee responds that there are two sides to every story, and besides, Tony has just arrived and they should rip his clothes off! He’s here with a noise complaint, which he immediately forgets about when Bobbi Lee tells him Mo says he’s a great kisser, and also that he should strip for them. He notes that this is not the first time he’s been told what a great kisser he is, and that while he can’t strip on duty since it is a violation of Code Something Or Another, he’ll come back when his shift is over and give them a bit of a wiggle. OK, I am enjoying Tony more than usual here.

After the break, John Joe busts into the café to yell at everybody, but mostly Mo. She should shove drunk Dee in his face as a distraction and then run for it. It’s the usual from him—Pádraig is a snake, Katy bocht, Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig have no chemistry and we need to stop trying to convince ourselves they do—and then when he storms out, she follows him into the street. She protests that going to the café wasn’t her idea and that she’s still his mate, but he gives her the silent treatment for a while and then starts shouting at her. Eventually she stops trying to reason with him and tells him to go to hell, and storms off. Yay, Mo!!! Vince, who’s been watching from the door of the shop, then comes over and tells John Joe he can’t fall out with the entire town over this Pádraig thing. He understands where John Joe is coming from, since for a while he was consumed with anger over whatever happened to his daughter long before I started watching this show, but eventually he realized that fighting with everyone and being violently crotchety all the time wouldn’t help Róise, just as John Joe isn’t helping Katy by being a total douche.

Back at the party, Bobbi Lee notices that Mo is missing, and is annoyed that half the guests are putting on their coats to leave. Caitríona explains that Maeve is at home throwing up Nutty Pops, Frances says she needs to get back to the pub before Áine finishes killing and dismembering Tadhg and making it look like suicide, and Laoise is, well, Laoise. Bobbi Lee pulls her aside and asks what’s up with her: it seems like she hasn’t had fun in a while (“a while” = “since the Bay City Rollers broke up”), and Laoise starts explaining how terrible she’s felt lately, with exhaustion and palpitations and so on. She says she can’t take it anymore, but then Tony, now out of his uniform, wobbles over holding the blowup doll and drags Bobbi Lee onto the dance floor. Laoise yells at her to come back, but Bobbi Lee apologizes and says she couldn’t really hear anything Laoise was saying over the music anyway.

Áine and Tadhg return home triumphantly from the Nutty Pops audition, which she’s sure she nailed. It will be a while before we know whether her taking hostages and waving a knife around helped her or hurt her. Just then they hear Frances at the bottom of the stairs, so they rip off their jackets and fling themselves onto the sofa as if they have been there all along, because as you may recall, Frances didn’t want Áine to audition for the commercial for reasons we have forgotten. They get themselves into place just as Frances arrives, although she quickly notices that Tadhg is reading his newspaper upside-down. Snerk. They explain that everything is ceart go leor and go deas and such, claiming they’ve just settled down to watch this DVD, and by the way, Áine has decided to pick up the ol’ bat/racket/stick and take up hurling again. Frances immediately knows they are up to something and tells them they might as well tell her now since she’ll find out eventually anyway, but they both plead innocent, claiming they’ve been on the couch all day and that if there’s one thing they didn’t do, it’s go to Galway and audition for a Nutty Pops commercial, that’s for sure!

There’s a lot of John Joe and Vince commiserating over how hard it is to be a TV father to problematic soap-opera children, and then we’re back at Gaudi, where Mo and Fiach are cozily drinking elbow-to-elbow at the bar, and we do not like where this is going at all. They complain about what a jerk John Joe is, and then when Mo asks Fiach to make a bunch of whatever they’re drinking now at the wedding, he points out that he wasn’t invited. She’s all, “Well, I’m inviting you now, and also that pink elephant you’re sitting on!” because she is tuh-RASHED. I should point out here that a lot of the cast have been good—perhaps TOO GOOD—at playing drunk this episode, but that Marie Bheag Breathnach is really knocking it out of the park, being believably drunk and funny as hell without turning into a cartoon character. Anyway, I am trying to avoid describing what happens next, which is that Fiach invites Mo back to his place, where he claims his housemates are having a party. We assume it consists of Sorcha trying to grope Nathan inappropriately even though he is a) possibly gay and b) not there; Adam on the sofa with his phone Grindr-ing frantically; and Michelle being everyone’s best friend and confidante, including people she has not even met yet. She really has become the Poochie of this show: “Whenever Michelle’s not onscreen, all the other characters should be asking, ‘Where’s Michelle?’”

Elsewhere, Dee staggers into her living room with a bag of chips, her lovely hair going in 900 directions and her face covered in curry sauce. Mack has presumably been waiting for her on the sofa with his engine revving all night, and if the warnings in the Viagra commercials have taught us anything, it’s that being in this condition for longer than four hours requires a call to a doctor. She flops down on the couch next to him and in the process of taking off her shoes, err, sexily, she kicks him and then turns the coffee table over before leaning in for a sultry kiss. By “sultry” I mean “covered in curry and reeking of vodka.” Mack has started to suspect that perhaps sexing her up is not the best idea right now, so he suggests that she looks tired and emotional and should probably get some sleep. She protests for a while, because she really wants to get Macked right now, but then realizes she’s lost her phone and needs to stagger all over town looking for it and also throwing up intermittently. He thinks this is a bad idea and offers to go look for it for her while she goes to sleep, and they are last seen in the doorway hilariously falling out of frame together.

At Gaudi, Mo and Fiach are behind the bar, and we really, really do not like where this is going. She’s wondering where her taxi is, and can’t find her jacket, so he tells her she can borrow his. They bicker a little, and then suddenly they lean in and they are kissing, which: NOOOOOOO. When we regain consciousness, they are still kissing, and in the background the door opens and it’s…Mack, in search of Dee’s phone! He sees what’s going on and makes one of his classic “Oh, this isn’t good” faces. You’re halfway right, Mack: this situation isn’t good, but my goodness, this episode was.

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