January 7, 2020

ER 5.10, The Miracle Worker: Maybe Even Doug the Pagan Is an Instrument of God

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 5:08 pm by Jenn

Someone needs to be visited by three ghosts

Summary: Doug and Carol are getting ready for the day, which will involve getting together with her family for Christmas caroling. Doug is uneasy with that, since he’s not religious. Carol calls him a pagan. Weaver’s in a great mood when she gets to work, while the usually cheerful Jerry is grumpy. Amanda has instituted a new charting policy that allows everything to move faster. It just means more work for Jerry. Amanda tries to ease the pain with Christmas treats, but he won’t accept her olive branch.

Despite their breakup, Benton still wants to give Elizabeth the present he’d already gotten her. She agrees to make sure their work is done early so he can go to dinner at his sister’s and see Reese for the first time all week. Elizabeth admits that she bought a ticket to some gala so she wouldn’t have to be alone on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, she’ll have to sit with Romano. He tells her to wear a “slinky black number,” preferably something short and off-the-shoulder. Elizabeth, go to HR. Go now. Romano also passes off his extra work to Benton.

Mark discovers that Jen sends Christmas cards to a bunch of his co-workers. It includes a newsletter, which talks about the new house she and her husband bought. Also, Jen made partner and got a new convertible. Meanwhile, Mark’s horrible, old car has broken down.

Carter reads a Christmas card he got from a patient he doesn’t even remember. Lucy asks if it bothers him that the patient is grateful to God for Carter’s work. Carter notes that “one can be called worse things than an instrument of God.” He doesn’t necessarily believe in God, but he “give[s] Him the benefit of the doubt.” Lucy isn’t sure what she believes. Maybe humans created him to try to make some sense out of the world. She catches her finger in a cabinet door and Carter teases that God is displeased.

Elizabeth meets with a patient named David Gardner who will be having his cancerous prostate removed the next morning. Wait, Romano operates on Christmas? Really? Even though this is good news, David is still a little nervous. He’s worried about losing sexual function. Elizabeth advises him to make a donation at a sperm bank in case he loses function; by storing up his swimmers now, he’ll be able to have children in the future.

Jerry surprises Amanda in the doctors’ lounge, where she appears to be snooping in Mark’s locker. She says she just saw the door was open and wanted to close it. Mark, Lydia, and Malik tend to a man dressed as an elf who’s so familiar with his heart condition that he knows exactly how to treat it. He just needs to be given a small shock and he’ll be on his way. Mark, of course, wants to follow the proper procedures.

Paramedics bring in an 18-year-old named Steven whose mother found him unconscious in his room. He had a headache and went to lie down, making Carter and Doug think he had a brain hemorrhage. Dwight was able to revive him once, so Doug tries again. Mark will only start the elf’s shocking at 20 instead of going straight to 50 like he requested. That doesn’t work, so Mark goes to 30. The elf gets nothing but pain. Mark finally goes to 50, which stabilizes the elf. “Thanks for nothing, Dr. Mengele!” the elf shouts as Mark leaves.

Doug sends Carter to talk to Steven’s mother, Mrs. Richards, while he keeps working on Steven. Carter tries to prepare her for the possibility that he’ll die. She begs him not to give up hope, since her son is all she has. When Carter goes back to the trauma room, Doug is just about to declare Steven dead. Carter talks him into keeping up the work, just in case they can bring about a Christmas miracle. He quickly gets Steven’s heart beating again and reminds Lucy that he’s an instrument of God. Of course, Steven might never wake up, and he’ll probably have brain damage if he does, but still: Carter got to be a hero!

Carol assures her mother over the phone that she and Doug are coming over for Christmas. She teases him that her uncle wants him to play “Silent Night” on the tambourine. Carol will be attending mass with her family, but Doug the pagan will skip it, and she wants her mother to respect his choice. Mark can’t find his gloves, so Jerry says that Amanda took them from his locker. Weaver and Mark tell him to stop making accusations just because he doesn’t like Amanda.

Just as Benton’s about to get through all his excess work and get out the door early, Romano dumps another patient on him, a man named DeMisa who’s coming in with post-op pain. Steven has no brain activity, but Carter wants to stay positive, noting that he could be an organ donor. Doug doubts it, since his blood type is AB, which is shared by only 2% of the population. He allows Carter and Lucy to talk to Mrs. Richards about allowing the donation anyway. On the surgical floor, Shirley tells Elizabeth that David is being taken to the ER because he’s having a heart attack.

Amanda asks Mark about the complaint she got from the elf about being tortured. Mark just says they had a disagreement about treatment strategies. Amanda brushes it off, since she reviewed the elf’s chart and thinks he’s a nutcase. Mark confides that he’s feeling down because of Jen’s braggy newsletter. Amanda can relate – this is her first Christmas since her brother killed himself in an apocalyptic cult ritual. I’m going to guess that Mark can’t relate to that. Amanda shares her grandmother’s attitude that positivity can go a long way.

Elizabeth meets David in the ER and helps him get his panicked breathing under control while Weaver tends to him. Weaver realizes he’s a trumpeter and chats with him about his talent and touring schedule. She diagnoses him with an anxiety attack instead of a heart attack. Benton examines DeMisa, who had his stomach stapled to help him lose weight but forgot about the part where he’d have to stop eating so much. Benton guesses that he busted a staple and will need a procedure to fix it. Also, poor Yosh will have to deal with DeMisa’s constipation.

Steven made a movement while his mother was speaking to him, so she thinks he can hear her. Carter tells her that he’s brain-dead, so that’s not possible. Lucy gently brings up the possibility of donating his organs. Mrs. Richards doesn’t want his organs removed while his heart is still beating, so Carter moves on to signing a DNR. Mrs. Richards may not want to prolong his life while he’s in a vegetative state. She would rather hope for a miracle.

Mark takes his new positive attitude to his next patient, making Lydia ask if he’s been huffing nitrous oxide. The patient doesn’t catch the positive contagion from Mark, getting mad when he can’t tell her how much she’ll have to pay for all the tests he wants to run. When he says her insurance will probably cover the costs, she accuses him of ripping off insurance companies. She demands any other doctor but Mark.

David’s eager to leave the hospital, even though there’s not much time left before he has to come back for his surgery. Elizabeth suggests that he postpone it if he’s too nervous, but he needs to be fully recovered by January 15th, since he’s doing a TV special with the Boston Symphony. The two chat about music, and she admits to liking disco.

DeMisa is stuck in his wheelchair, so Yosh pages Benton to help getting him out for a scan. Benton tells him to call someone from maintenance to dismantle the chair. DeMisa announces that he has to go to the bathroom (I’m guessing that laxative Yosh gave him has just kicked in), so Benton helps pull him out. DeMisa lands on Yosh, who’s having a very bad day.

Carter, like Mark, is finding it hard to keep a positive attitude now that it looks like all the work he did on Steven is going to lead to nothing. What could Steven have done to deserve a brain hemorrhage that led to him possibly dying on Christmas Eve? Lucy doesn’t have an answer for him. Meanwhile, the circle of life continues as Connie sends Doug to tell a teen patient that she’s pregnant.

Jerry shows Weaver a sex fantasy written on a piece of paper he found in one of Amanda’s charts. The subject of the fantasy is someone named M.G., and gloves are mentioned. Jerry guesses Amanda wrote it about Mark. Amanda interrupts and says the fantasy was described to her by a psych patient. M.G. is Merv Griffin. Weaver tells Jerry to leave her out of it the next time he wants to make a fool of himself.

Doug tells 13-year-old Laura that she’s pregnant and goes over her options. She chooses abortion, so Doug asks Carol to make the arrangements. Benton is also trying to make arrangements, desperate to see Reese on Christmas Eve. Romano and Elizabeth are supposed to leave for their gala, but Elizabeth is still wrapping up her shift. Romano leaves even more work for Benton. Don’t they have interns to do this stuff?

A 16-year-old girl is brought in suffering complications from a liver disorder. (She never gets a name, but her last name is Mikami, so I’ll call her Mika.) She’s been on the transplant list for months but no match has been found…because her blood type is AB. Mark has decided to work on unconscious patients for the rest of the day since no conscious patients have helped him stay positive. He feels like something about him just depresses people. Amanda teases that she’s suffering the same effects.

Carter sees Mika’s arrival as a godsend: If he can get Mrs. Richards to agree to donate Steven’s organs, Mika will live. But she’s gone for a walk after signing Steven’s DNR, and his heartbeat is no longer stable. Carter goes off to find her, because he just loves tracking down parents of children with rare blood types.

Carol goes to get Laura for her abortion, but now Laura’s not sure she can go through with it. She’s been raised to believe that it’s a mortal sin. She asks Carol if she agrees, but Carol says her beliefs don’t matter here. She suggests that Laura talk to someone in her family and determine whether she’s really sure this is what she wants. Laura agrees to talk to her mother.

Carter returns to Steven without Mrs. Richards and decides that since Steven still has a faint pulse, he can be shocked into stability. Carter says he’ll take full responsibility when it inevitably gets out that he shocked a patient with a DNR. Lucy and Chuny refuse to help. Carter thinks Steven and Mika’s arrival at the same time means something, and he can help make a miracle. Lucy covers Steven’s chest with her hands so Carter can’t shock him, but she moves in time to let him do what he wants.

Elizabeth and David chat about his job and how he’s single because he travels so much. He admits that his anxiety attack wasn’t so much about the surgery as it was about possibly losing sexual function. He jokes about having performance anxiety while by himself, about to make a donation at the sperm bank. Elizabeth invites him to get dinner with her.

Benton goes to tell DeMisa his scans were clear and he didn’t blow a staple, but DeMisa’s missing. Yosh realizes his disappearance is probably connected to the five patient dinners he’s missing. They find DeMisa in a supply closet, unconscious after really blowing a staple and ruining his intestines. Benton tells Yosh to page Romano back to the hospital.

Mrs. Richards is in the hospital chapel, and Carter interrupts her prayers to tell her about Mika. He plays the God card, saying that if He meant for Steven to die on Christmas Eve, it must be so Mika can live. Mrs. Richards can’t bring herself to think about another child’s problems when her own child is dying. She wants him to pass peacefully and be buried whole. Carter does a poor job of hiding his disappointment.

DeMisa needs surgery right away, and though Benton’s not supposed to operate without an attending, he gets started without Romano anyway. Doug spots Laura with her mother and a priest and complains to Carol that the priest will pressure Laura to have the baby. Carol says he might just counsel her. Doug’s annoyed that Carol didn’t tell him that Laura asked to see her mother. He would have tried to prevent the priest from joining them. And how do you think that would have gone, Doug?

Things are lighthearted in DeMisa’s OR, as Benton and the other members of the surgical team identify all the foods he ate. Romano arrives angry and tells Benton to leave. Benton ignores him and keeps working. Romano asks if Benton gave Elizabeth extra work to keep her around the OR so she couldn’t join him at the gala. He orders Benton again to leave, and this time Benton steps away from the table. He tells Romano that Elizabeth left an hour ago.

As Benton starts to leave, Shirley whispers to him that Romano’s drunk. He tells someone to find Anspaugh, then asks Romano if he’s been drinking. Romano loves that, of course. Benton asks him to step back, and when Romano refuses, Benton outright accuses him of being drunk. Romano takes a swing at him, but Benton easily ducks. The force of the swing makes Romano fall and hit his head on a cart. With the Grinch unconscious, Benton can continue DeMisa’s operation in peace.

Amanda has ordered a bunch of food and booze for an impromptu staff Christmas party. Jerry remains the only person who’s not happy with her. Mark can’t find his lab coat, and Jerry decides not to further embarrass himself by guessing where it is. Don’t worry, Jerry – it’s a dumb storyline, but it’ll be over soon.

Carter tells Lucy that he was wrong and there’s no such thing as miracles. He was sure he had God on his side, which was pretty arrogant of him. The two spot Steven being wheeled down the hall, followed by Mrs. Richards and Mika’s parents. Lucy explains that the parents met and started talking, and Mrs. Richards agreed to the organ donation. P.S. Lucy introduced them. Carter happily tells her she’s an instrument of God.

Doug apologizes to Carol for their fight, and she asks how sorry he is. (The answer: Not sorry enough to go to mass.) She forgives him anyway. Romano fills out a disciplinary report on Benton, hoping it’ll get him fired. Benton has his defense already planned: He had Romano’s blood drawn while he was unconscious, and a test shows that his blood-alcohol level was .12. Romano thinks he’s bluffing, since there are no marks on his arms from a blood draw. Benton says that’s not where they drew from.

Amanda takes a Polaroid of Mark as everyone enjoys the staff party. Jerry’s still grumpy. Time for a music montage! Carter and Lucy look on as a priest prays over Steven in the ICU. Doug and Carol go to Doc Magoo’s. Carla makes Benton’s night by bringing Reese to the hospital to see him. Elizabeth and David have a long, friendly dinner together. Carter sees Mrs. Richards off as she goes home to spend Christmas Eve alone. And in the dumbest ending possible, Amanda decorates a Christmas tree with pictures of herself and Mark while wearing his lab coat and wearing his gloves.

Thoughts: Julia Whelan, who plays Laura in this episode, posted some great tweets about her experience.

Elizabeth and David should have gotten together. End of story.

I love Yosh’s disappointed reaction to DeMisa’s eating, like he’s thinking, “How could you? We were all rooting for you.”

December 28, 2019

My So-Called Life 18, Weekend: Life of the Patty

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 1:24 pm by Jenn

Look at all of us, displaying perfectly normal behavior! There is nothing weird about this!

Summary: Angela voices over…oh, no. No, no, no. Danielle is narrating this episode. Sigh. Okay. Danielle voices over that her whole life has been spent waiting for something to happen. She pretends to play on a Gameboy while Patty and Camille discuss clothes. Camille insists that Patty will drive Graham crazy (in a good way) if she wears a backless dress. Patty doesn’t think it’s her style. She mentions that Graham is at a meeting with Hallie, then tells Camille to shut up.

She claims to be okay with it, just annoyed that he’s not home when Neil and his girlfriend Marla are coming over soon. Camille can’t believe that Neil and Marla have been together for six years. Patty says it’s like a prison sentence. Danielle voices over that she has the power of invisibility. Suddenly that power fails and Patty remembers she’s there. She tries to send Danielle to the kitchen, but Danielle says Angela and Rickie kicked her out of there. Patty sends her away anyway. Danielle claims that her life is just different people kicking her out of different rooms.

Patty tells Camille that she and Graham haven’t had any time alone for a while. She knows they won’t really be alone, since they’re spending a weekend away with Neil and Marla, but she’s comfortable with them (or at least with Marla). She thinks their marriage needs this little trip. Camille has a better idea of what they need and gives Patty a box containing some handcuffs.

Danielle goes to the kitchen, where Angela immediately tries to send her off somewhere else. Rayanne calls asking for Rickie; he tells her not to put him in the middle of her fight with Angela. After Camille leaves, Patty chastises Angela for kicking Danielle out of the kitchen. She wants to make sure Angela is a responsible caregiver while Patty and Graham are gone. Angela says nothing will happen; it’ll just be her, Danielle, and Rickie hanging out all weekend.

Rickie’s still on the phone when Angela goes back to him, calling him Enrique. Rickie decides to hang up and avoid any awkwardness. Patty stashes the handcuffs under a pillow on the bed as Graham comes home and tells her he’s late because Hallie had car trouble. He looked under her hood (Patty seizes on that), trying to be all manly and stuff, since Hallie and Brad broke up. Patty doesn’t think he told her that before.

Neil arrives, but not with Marla. His new girlfriend is Cheryl. He gives Danielle a present, which she pretends to love, though she voices over that he gives horrible gifts. Graham pulls his brother aside for an interrogation, and Patty ditches Cheryl in the foyer to join the conversation. Neil says he and Marla broke up again, but he’s sure Patty and Graham will love Cheryl.

Cheryl talks the entire car ride to the bed and breakfast where the couples are staying. She excitedly tells the story of how she and Neil met, then laughs like some sort of wild animal. She searches her purse for pot, which, honestly, would probably make Patty and Graham bearable for the weekend. Angela tells Rickie he can go hang out with Rayanne, but he promises he wants to stay with the Chases. Angela asks if Rayanne asks about her. Danielle is thrilled to be with her older sister and her cool friend, even if Angela barely acknowledges her existence.

Camille made a good call picking out lingerie for Patty, but it’s hard for her and Graham to get in the mood when they can hear Cheryl laughing through the wall. Graham wants to forget about her and not let her ruin their weekend. Instead, they keep laughing over Cheryl’s mannerisms and loudness.

The next morning, Rayanne goes to the Chases’ claiming she’s there to get money Rickie owes her. She finds him on the phone in Patty and Graham’s room and makes herself comfortable on their bed. Rickie reminds her that he’s staying there the whole weekend, so he can’t hang out with her. She asks if Angela asks about her.

Rayanne finds the handcuffs and thinks Graham and Patty have been putting them to good use. She handcuffs herself to the headboard, joking about the dirty talk the couple must exchange. Rickie suddenly realizes the key is missing. When Angela comes in, Rayanne tells her she might be staying a little longer than expected.

Patty calls Camille and asks her to go to the house and check on the girls. She’d also like Camille to make sure the handcuffs get hidden in a safe place. At breakfast, Cheryl and Neil argue about what he says are crazy beliefs. No, not her spirituality or belief in aliens or anything like that – she doesn’t agree that the 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates were as great as he thinks. Patty suggests that the couples go ice-skating. She wants to plan out all the day’s activities. The guys disagree, but Cheryl thinks ice-skating is a cute idea, and Patty is equally cute.

Rayanne tells Angela that the handcuffs she’s currently trapped by belong to her parents. Angela denies this, of course. Danielle joins the group, refusing to leave a room in her own house. Rayanne and Rickie cuddle on the bed, trying to hide the handcuffs from her. Camille and Sharon come by, and Camille tries to sneak up to the bedroom while Sharon shows Angela her new jumpsuit. Angela stops Camille from going upstairs by asking to talk about justice.

Cheryl is impressed that Patty runs her own business. It’s something Cheryl would love to do someday – “that, or have a cappuccino cart.” She has lots of paths open to her, but Patty has a settle life, with all her choices behind her. Cheryl thinks that must be comforting. Patty says it is. She shares the day’s schedule with the others, and Cheryl asks Patty to plan her whole life for her. Neil and Cheryl quickly screw things up by deciding to go into town to buy booze, since the bed and breakfast doesn’t offer any. Patty sends the others off while she rents their skates.

Angela’s idea of a conversation about justice is really about whether she should be allowed to return clothes she doesn’t like. Sharon thinks she means a shirt she gave Angela for her birthday. Camille finally gets fed up and goes upstairs, where she finds Rayanne pretending to be sick and convalescing in Graham and Patty’s bed.

Angela cracks up so hard that Rickie thinks she’s choking. (The story is that a crew member got this reaction out of Claire Danes by appearing just off-camera in his boxers.) Camille is skeptical, even though all the kids back up the story, and pulls Angela outside to ask if Rayanne’s “illness” has anything to do with her drinking problem. Angela says no, and Patty definitely knows she’s there. Camille decides to let it go.

Patty’s been waiting for the rest of her group for a while, but they’re still off on their shopping trip. She tries to chat with Warren, the owner of the bed and breakfast, who, for someone in the hospitality industry, could stand to be a little more hospitable. Patty admires a happy, romantic couple who are keeping their plans to go ice-skating, unlike Patty, who has to skip it because apparently she can’t just go do stuff by herself.

Angela, Sharon, and Rickie try to explain the handcuffs to Danielle, who says she’s not interested. She’s lying. Patty makes an origami swan. Warren isn’t interested, for real. Her group returns with brandy and an inside joke. Cheryl’s wearing Graham’s sweater, since Neil wasn’t chivalrous to give her his jacket.

Rayanne asks Rickie to leave the bedroom so she can talk to Angela alone. Angela doesn’t want to talk about the whole Rayanne/Jordan thing, since talking won’t change what happened. Rayanne doesn’t want to talk about it, either – she has to pee, and she needs Angela to get her something to do it in.

Guess who has the handcuff key? Patty! She tells Graham about the handcuffs, and he seems bummed that she didn’t bring them. He’s also surprised that they’re something Camille has. Angela keeps denying that they belong to her parents. Sharon has an idea of who could help them get Rayanne out of the handcuffs without a key. Angela adamantly says no.

But, oh, yes, here comes Brian to try to brain things out. Danielle’s response to him brushing by her and touching her shoulder is exactly how Angela reacted to Jordan at the beginning of the series. Brian suggests wire shears, which any “normal dad,” like Graham (but not Brian’s father), would have. Danielle says he doesn’t. Brian says they can go to the hardware store on Monday.

Graham, Neil, and Cheryl pass the brandy around at dinner while Patty talks about all the stuff they can do tomorrow. She skips the booze, not wanting to break the rules. Cheryl says Patty’s the most adult person she’s ever met. But even adults give in to peer pressure every now and then, and Patty asks for the “hooch.”

Danielle gazes at Brian adoringly while he tries to puzzle through the handcuffs conundrum. He suggests finding a place that sells the same kind and getting a new key. Sharon says a store called the Pleasure Center could suit their needs. Everyone nominates Brian to go check it out, and Sharon agrees to take him.

Patty’s had plenty of brandy and has to try to play it cool when Warren comes over to chat with the group. Graham says he likes the food, but Patty stage-whispers that he’s lying because he’s a food snob and hates anything he doesn’t cook himself. Either Warren is too clueless to notice that the table’s been drinking or he doesn’t care. Patty celebrates with more hooch.

Brian and Sharon return to the Chases’ with Kyle and a friend (the guy Rayanne hooked up with previously), having run into them near the Pleasure Center. Sharon makes out with him on the porch while Brian tries to unlock Rayanne’s handcuffs. Rayanne realizes the key is the wrong size. Cut to Kyle entering the bedroom just as Rayanne yells, “No, it’s too big!” To make things weirder, Angela, Rickie, and Danielle are all piled on a chair in the corner. Kyle tells his buddy and the two laugh at the antics.

Patty (wearing a flower in her hair) and Cheryl are definitely buddies now, and Graham seems unamused. Warren returns to the table, trying to politely get the couples to leave so they’ll stop bugging the other guests. He does agree to get Patty an ice cream sundae, though. Patty spills brandy on her shirt and jokingly asks to borrow a sweater. When she starts to take off her shirt, Warren gets fed up and sends the couples to their rooms. Patty argues that she’s an adult, but Warren isn’t so sure. Graham and Neil carry her out of the dining room as she babbles about ice cream. “I really admire her,” Cheryl coos.

Danielle goes to check on Rayanne during the night, and Rayanne asks for some booze. Danielle tells her underage drinking is wrong, and her parents say Rayanne is a bad influence. She asks why Rayanne does the things she does. Rayanne says that when she looks at herself, everything’s in slow motion. She thinks something has to happen, but it doesn’t, so she has to make it happen.

Patty wakes up hungover the next morning and learns that the couples have been asked to leave the bed and breakfast. Angela finds Danielle and Rayanne sharing Patty and Graham’s bed. Patty apologizes to Neil and Cheryl for her behavior the night before and invites them to do something when they get home. But Neil and Cheryl have broken up, and he’s apparently ready to go back to Marla.

Brian’s next plan is to take apart the headboard to slip off the handcuffs. Instead, he breaks the bed. At a gas station on their way home, Patty apologizes to Graham for making a fool of herself, but she’s annoyed that he ditched her at the bed and breakfast. Really, though, she’s mad that he was late getting home two nights ago because he was with Hallie. Cheryl interrupts to say that she had a great weekend and they should do it again sometime. Just without Neil.

Brian finally frees Rayanne, who wants to run off to try to make the most out of what’s left of the weekend. Angela yells at her for causing trouble, then leaving Angela to deal with the fallout. She calls Rayanne a curse on her life. As Rickie and Sharon are trying to keep the two of them from killing each other, Danielle answers a phone call and reports that Graham and Patty will be home in 20 minutes.

Everyone cleans up the house and fixes the bed together, and when Patty and Graham arrive, it all looks normal. The kids all pile on the bed and pretend they’ve just been watching TV together. Patty puts the handcuff key on her dresser and Danielle nabs it and slips it to Angela. The girls give their mother a big hug to distract her while the others unlock the handcuffs still stuck on Rayanne’s wrist. Then everyone takes off.

Patty realizes that with everything else going on all weekend, she and Graham never got the chance to reconnect. They head to the bed together and find the handcuffs, realizing that Camille never picked them up. They decide to put them to use. Graham asks too late where the key is.

Angela sees her guests off but asks Rayanne to stay behind, though it’s just to get the key back. Angela dubs this the weekend from hell. Danielle says it was the best of her life. Angela thanks her for being cool but doesn’t want to go so far as to spend next weekend with her, too. Upstairs, the fishing show the kids were pretending to watch is still on as Graham looks for the missing key to free a handcuffed Patty. He gets distracted by a big fish, then suggests finding wire shears. He thinks he can borrow some from Brian’s father.

Thoughts: Cheryl is played by Laura Innes, in a role that’s about as far from Kerry Weaver as you can get.

I hate when TV characters use other people’s full names when there’s no need to. Stop saying “Hallie Lowenthal”! We know her last name! We know who you’re talking about! We’re not going to mix her up with Halle Berry!

There’s a nice little throwaway moment where Rickie calls Mr. K to say he’ll be home for dinner the next night. His aunt and uncle never cared where he was, but Mr. K does.

December 21, 2019

My So-Called Life 17, Betrayal: Sweet and Innocent

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 1:13 pm by Jenn

Bad! Idea!

Summary: Angela voices over that she spent a long time obsessing over and being in love with Jordan, but one day…she got over him. She gleefully dances around her room in her pajamas, the happiest we’ve ever seen her. She feels like Jordan has been surgically removed from her heart, and she’s free.

At school, people are auditioning for a production of Our Town. Abyssinia reads for Emily, doing such a good job that Rayanne, who also wanted to play Emily, gets psyched out. Angela thinks Rayanne can do just as great a job. Rayanne admits that she just channels Angela when she reads the part. Angela’s surprised that Rayanne sees her as sweet and innocent. She wouldn’t if she knew about the dream Angela had about Corey last night. (Rickie’s been there.)

Angela insists that she’s over Jordan. She’s gotten that they were never really meant for each other as anything other than friends. She feels like she’s gotten her life back. Mr. K calls for Rayanne to do her audition. Angela tells Rayanne that acting is like lying, which means Rayanne is a great actress. Rayanne teases her again about being like Emily, then goes up on stage.

Brian videotapes Sharon and Delia as they work on the school yearbook. He’s putting together a kind of video yearbook, but no one’s going to watch it unless they want to see a bunch of shots of Sharon’s chest. Okay, maybe a lot of people will watch it. She tells Brian to get a lot of shots of the places people hang out the most. Brian doesn’t know where those places are.

Rayanne is sure that Abyssinia got the role. Rayanne didn’t cry enough like Angela. As she demonstrates, Rickie comes up and asks why she’s crying like Angela. Heh. They spot Corey passing by, and Angela starts to tell her friends about her dream. He stops by to compliment Rayanne on her audition. Angela starts a conversation with him after she sees Jordan down the hall. She voices over that she likes Corey and really does want to pay attention to him, not just pretend she is because Jordan’s watching. She offers to help out with the sets for the play.

At the Chases’, Graham tries to avoid a call from Hallie. Camille calls and asks Patty to contribute to a church clothing drive. Graham says he has a couple of things to donate. Patty says he has more than a couple of things. He agrees to let her clean out his closet if she’ll answer the phone and lie to Hallie so he doesn’t have to talk to her.

Brian films at a …bar? Okay. It’s called Louie’s. Rickie and Rayanne are there, and she’s drunk. She’s trying to convince herself that she doesn’t want to be in the play anyway, since it’s dumb. Rickie’s tired of just watching Rayanne drink, so he leaves. She goes to hang out with Jordan, and they head outside to share a flask.

He tries to talk about Angela, who Rayanne says talked her into auditioning for the play. She knows she could never be Emily. Angela could, though, since she’s just like Emily. She’s so innocent that she doesn’t even know it. Jordan asks if Angela’s into Corey. Sometimes he feels like he really knows Angela, but other times, it feels like they’re strangers. They start giving each other meaningful looks, and then there’s touching, followed by kissing. Ruh-roh! They stop there, but then Rayanne invites herself into Jordan’s car. Brian’s filming the whole thing. Double ruh-roh!

The next day, Brian has a hard time looking at Angela at school, and Rayanne avoids her altogether. This makes Angela feel lonely. She runs into Corey, who invites her to help painting sets after school. Rickie invites himself along. Jordan avoids Corey, then approaches Rayanne, who’s waiting for the cast list to go up. They briefly mention the previous night but clearly don’t want to talk about it.

At the Chases’, Patty and Camille are sorting clothes for the drive when Hallie comes by. She thought they were meeting at the house, not their office. The three women bond over how many notes they have to write themselves to remember things. Graham calls, having guessed Hallie would be at the house, and Patty relays a message to bring home paper towels. Hallie coos over one of the girls’ dresses from childhood. Patty invites Hallie to come over for dinner again sometime, clearly not aware that she and Brad broke up.

Sharon asks Brian if he taped anything interesting at Louie’s. Brian is vague and refuses to hand over the tape. He sends Delia away (that’s not going to help their already shaky relationship) and fills Sharon in. Later, Sharon spills everything to Delia in the bathroom, wondering if she’s obligated to tell Angela. If she does, she’ll come across as saying she warned Angela that Rayanne was a bad person. But Sharon would want to know if she were in Angela’s place. It’s a moot point, because Angela was in a bathroom stall and heard everything.

Brian is bursting to talk to someone about what he saw, so he picks Rickie. Later, Rickie joins Angela and Corey with the stage crew, feeling awkward for knowing something that could hurt Angela. Angela tells him first, though she thinks Sharon lied about Rayanne sleeping with Jordan because Sharon’s still jealous. Rickie confirms that it really happened.

The next morning, Angela surprises Brian at home, where he’s listening to music in bed, shirtless. She wants the tape so she can see for herself what Jordan and Rayanne did. Brian tries to keep it from her, thinking that watching it would just make her feel worse.

In gym class, the girls are doing gymnastics. Angela jumps the line so she’s partnered with Rayanne, but the bell rings before they have to actually interact. In the bathroom, Rayanne taunts that Sharon now has a great excuse to never talk to her again. She thinks Sharon was eager to tell Angela what happened. Sharon says she just wanted to protect Angela and tell her the truth, like any real friend would. She says Rayanne brought this on herself. Rayanne thinks Sharon’s happy with how things turned out, but Sharon says she’s not.

Graham and Hallie meet up at a restaurant, though she hates the food there and has brought her own. She guesses that Graham hasn’t read her prospectus yet because it means their plans become real. He tells her she can be a real pain, but he says it in a nice way. Hallie says she’s a Jewish girl from Texas, Graham’s worst nightmare. Patty’s worst nightmare, maybe. She tells him he’s hard to deal with, too. He tells her he’ll finally look at the prospectus.

Rayanne goes to the Chases’, but Angela’s still at school, painting scenery. Patty invites her in, and Rayanne asks her not to tell Angela she was there. She figures Angela has told Patty what happened, which of course isn’t right, since Angela never tells Patty anything. Patty catches on that Rayanne hooked up with Jordan. Rayanne guesses that Patty hates her, but Patty just says she can understand how Angela feels. Rayanne admits that she’s never hurt anyone this badly before. She guesses that means Angela really matters to her.

At school, Brian gets nervous when Jordan approaches him. Brian destroys the tape, saying that won’t matter anyway, since it doesn’t erase what happened. Jordan just wanted to talk about tutoring, and had no idea the tape existed. Rayanne confronts Rickie for freezing her out, though Rickie doesn’t think she should be surprised. Rayanne whines that Angela won’t even let her tell her side of the story.

Rickie goes into the girls’ bathroom looking for Angela (poor Delia gets surprised), who’s understandably furious with Rayanne and Jordan. He tells her that both of them are avoiding each other, so she definitely won’t have to see them together. He advises her to stop letting Jordan and Rayanne’s actions affect her. She has to live her own life. Angela decides it’s time to stop being an innocent doormat.

The cast list is up, and Rayanne is shocked to see that she’s been cast as Emily. Her first instinct is to share the news with Angela, who doesn’t care. Camille has heard that the girls aren’t speaking, so when she’s over at the Chases’ again, she asks Patty for details (Sharon won’t tell her the gossip). Patty pretends she doesn’t know. Camille tells her that she doesn’t like Hallie. Patty just appreciates that she and Graham get along well. Camille says that’s a great sign. If they start fighting, it means there’s passion there.

At school, Jordan tries to talk to Angela so he can give her back a pen she loaned him. She says it’s not hers but takes it anyway. He asks for it back, if it’s not yours, but she refuses. She throws it in the trash right in front of him. Brian’s hanging out with the stage crew, talking to a girl about his directorial style (“like Tarantino, only less violent”). Angela shows up dressed up like Rayanne and pulls Corey aside. Doing her best Rayanne impression, she asks him for a drink. He’s surprised, which she thinks is because she comes across all innocent. She kisses him, but he’s not ready.

Rayanne comes over and calls Angela out for acting so different. She tells Angela she got the role she wanted, but Angela doesn’t care. Rayanne says Angela isn’t the only one who got hurt. Angela only lost a selfish friend and a guy she never really had. Rayanne has lost a great friend – “everything.” After Rayanne leaves, Rickie tells Angela he’s glad she got the part, because she really wanted it. He’s on Angela’s side in the fight, but he also feels for Rayanne. She’s always wanted to be Angela, in a way, and getting the role of Emily meant she could be Angela, even if just for a night.

Rickie then asks why Angela is going after Corey when she knows Rickie likes him. Angela reminds Rickie that he said he was over Corey. That doesn’t mean it hurt any less for Rickie to see his friend pursuing his crush. Angela realizes she’s the Rayanne of this situation.

Patty gives Graham a shirt she bought him to replace some of the old stuff she made him donate. She tells him about Angela and Rayanne’s fight. Graham thinks Rayanne did something low, though Patty notes that Angela and Jordan weren’t together. Graham doesn’t think that’s the point – Rayanne did something self-centered.

Patty admits that she dated a guy Camille had a crush on in college. Camille was mad for a while but eventually forgave Patty. Graham realizes that Patty slept with five guys before him, not four like she’s always said. She tells him the new shirt is for the restaurant. He complains about how Hallie’s always late and never parks legally. Patty tentatively asks if they ever fight. Graham says yes, but it’s never that major. Patty gets him back by flushing the toilet while he’s in the shower.

Mr. K oversees a play rehearsal, where Rayanne’s line readings aren’t exactly spectacular. Mr. K enlists Angela to take an absent girl’s place in a scene with Rayanne. He tells Rayanne to stop acting – her character is dead, and she’s just now realizing how precious every moment of her life was. Rayanne only needs to imagine what it’s like to take something for granted, then lose it.

This time, Rayanne does the scene beautifully, reading lines about not realizing how wonderful things were until they were over. She’s ready to go back to her grave, but first she wants one last look at the world so she can say goodbye. Once she’s said it to her loved ones and family, Angela’s character asks if she was happy. Both girls are crying. “Emily” says she should have listened to Angela’s character, but everyone’s blind. The girls leave the stage in opposite directions.

Thoughts: I’m so mad I used “Sex, Lies, and Videotape” as a previous recap title.

I’ve never noticed how much A.J. Langer looks like Blake Lively.

How in the world did Sharon think her conversation with Delia in the bathroom wouldn’t get back to Angela (before she realized Angela heard them)? She wasn’t exactly being quiet.

’90s music alert: Violent Femme’s “Blister in the Sun”


December 3, 2019

ER 5.5, Masquerade: The Scariest Thing This Halloween Is the Stupidity of the Future Doctors of America

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , , at 4:51 pm by Jenn

Peter Benton (can ya dig it?)

Summary: It’s Halloween, and Jerry’s plotting something. He stashes something behind a Dumpster in the ambulance bay, then tries to pretend he didn’t. Mark and Chuny meet an ambulance bringing in a woman named Coco who’s babbling. She claims to be pregnant, but the paramedics don’t think she is. Jerry calls someone to report that their plan is in motion.

Weaver tells Lydia that the night shift isn’t wearing costumes this year, since they might scare the patients. I don’t think Lydia’s French-maid costume will scare anyone, except maybe a patient who thinks he or she is being treated by an actual maid instead of a certified nurse. Weaver suggests festive pins instead. She thanks Randi for reading her memo about costumes, but Randi, who’s wearing a suit not unlike one Weaver might wear, has dressed up as “a total stiff.”

Yosh sends Doug to the new pediatric area of the ER, telling him there’s a child with puncture wounds. It’s just a prank organized by Carol, who wants to kiss her boyfriend with vampire fangs. He’s not amused, which is pretty interesting since, as Carol points out, he’s pulled plenty of pranks in the past. He wants to be more serious now that he’s an attending. He’s also asserting some power by insisting on signing off on all pediatric patients. That means he’ll be looking over Mark and Weaver’s shoulders.

Mark asks Carol to help him with Coco, who continues to claim to be nine months pregnant without any evidence. Mark asks for a tox screen and psych consult. Elizabeth has dressed up as a milkmaid, I guess, because she loves Halloween. Benton teases her for thinking that Halloween involves romantic hayrides. After all, they’re in Chicago. He says he has something against costumes. Elizabeth is sure that when he was a kid, there was someone he wanted to be. Benton claims there wasn’t. Dale ruins Elizabeth’s bad mood by giving her annoying work to do.

Weaver brushes off a man who comes to the ER looking for Mark; she’s busy trying to get a computer to work. Lily brings a wheelchair and some medical supplies into the ER, saying she found them in the ambulance bay. Jerry offers to take care of putting it away, then takes it right back outside. Carter arrives with Roxanne, who’s going to a teamster party that night, which gives her an excuse not to help Carter chaperone a dorm party. Lucy catches them as they’re about to make out, and she doesn’t get the hint that Carter wants her to go away. He gives her a fake arm so she can practice inserting IVs.

Weaver gives Carter a bunch of files so he can present a case at a conference the next day. She notes that it would be good experience for someone who eventually wants to be chief resident. Paramedics bring in a drunk man named Joe who claims he wants to quit drinking. Carter tells Lucy to set him up for detox.

Mark meets up with the man who was looking for him, Dan Litvak, a potential new chief for County. Weaver recognizes his name and beats herself up for not being more polite to him earlier. Doug gets a real patient, a kid named Jared who had an allergic reaction to his clown makeup. That means he’ll have to skip trick-or-treating. Jeanie promises to find him something fun around there instead. “Fun stuff around here sucks,” Jared declares, possibly making George Clooney break character and laugh.

Mark checks in on Coco, who would like to know where her baby is. He tells Carol to give her Haldol, an antipsychotic. Weaver finds an excuse to talk to Mark so she can wrangle an introduction to Litvak. She pretends not to know who he is or why he’s there. She learns that he’s there for his second interview, and the search committee plans to vote tonight on who to hire. Weaver didn’t think the vote was until next week. Litvak isn’t very impressed with his supposed competition for the job.

Lucy does well with the fake arm, so Carter agrees to let her try an IV on a real patient. She’s apologetic for not being truthful with him before, but he admits that he wasn’t supervising her closely enough. They head off to take care of Joe, but he’s fled the hospital. Lucy hopefully asks if anyone else needs an IV.

As Elizabeth tries to guess who Benton wanted to be as a kid, they meet up with Reese, who’s come by for a visit. He’s adorably dressed as a bee. Carla says they just came from a party at Jackie and Walt’s, and she was unable to convince Walt to put on one of his ’70s “supa-dupa-fly” costumes and come with them. Elizabeth makes sure to get a picture of Reese with his parents.

Thanks to the Haldol, Coco is now coherent, but she still says she’s pregnant. Carol tells her she’s not, but Mark realizes they didn’t get a pregnancy test, so it’s possible she is. Coco tells them she has schizophrenia and stopped taking her medication when she found out she was pregnant. The Haldol could leave the baby with malformed limbs.

Benton and Weaver work on a trauma patient together, debating whether a sternal saw should be used in the ER or just the OR. She thinks his preferred way of doing things is too slow. Mark confirms that Coco’s pregnant, but they don’t know if the Haldol affected the fetus. Coco wonders if she’s really up for carrying the pregnancy to term, since it means staying off her meds. Mark thinks she should wait a little while before she makes a decision.

Later, Mark tells Carol that he thinks Coco might terminate the pregnancy. Carol notes that that would get him off the hook for possibly harming the baby. She invites him to get a drink after work, but he has plans to meet up with Jen for some kind of talk. Carter tells Lucy that she can leave early, since everything in the ER is under control. She heads off to get ready for the party he’s chaperoning.

Joe is brought back in, repentant over leaving earlier. He says again that he wants to quit drinking and make a fresh start. The drink he left the hospital to have will be his last. Mark says he’ll get Joe a detox bed if he promises not to run off again. He’s decided to believe Joe when he says he’ll stay; he was a cynic with Coco, and look how that turned out. Carol decides to get some extra insurance by taking Joe’s clothes.

Weaver tries to examine a little girl named Amanda who won’t stop screaming. Doug steps in to come up with a way to test her without using needles. Benton, Elizabeth, and Jeanie tend to a preteen named Barbie Klingman who was in a car accident. She has an abdominal bruise from her seatbelt, which may mean she has a bowel injury that will require exploratory surgery.

Litvak observes as Doug and Weaver keep tending to Amanda, using a pad that gives her a painkiller without an injection. Weaver, never Doug’s biggest fan, is very pleased with the method. Litvak is familiar with it, as his hospital participated in some trials. Lucy’s one of only a few people at the dorm party, so Carter feels comfortable going off to do some work for his presentation. Lucy offers to be in charge while he’s gone, as if the three med students there need a chaperone.

Benton, Romano, and Dale operate on Barbie, who still has glitter on her face from her princess costume. Romano makes some Benton-seriously-report-him-to-HR comments about how Benton and Elizabeth should check into a jungle-themed hotel room for the night. The surgeons find a couple of masses in Barbie’s abdomen that appear to be abnormal lymph nodes. Instead of letting Elizabeth scrub in, Dale sends her to pathology to get the masses tested.

Jeanie tries to get Doug to realize that he can’t see every pediatric patient on his own, so he needs to send some to the regular ER. Rachel comes by to hang out in the lounge while Mark and Jen talk. She mentions that she and Jen are moving to St. Louis, which is news to her father. Elizabeth returns to the OR with results from the biopsy of the masses. They’re testicles.

Carter returns to the dorm, where the party has really gotten going. Maybe a little too much. For example, the med students have set some furniture on fire and are in the process of throwing it out a window. These people are studying to be doctors. Pray you never get sick. Lucy’s been drinking, so she’s not much of a chaperone. Carter gives the fire-starters a fire extinguisher, then declares the party over. A tipsy Lucy doesn’t get why and asks if they were too loud. “No, the furniture was too on fire,” Carter replies.

Mark complains to Carol that once again, Jen has made a major life decision and he’s the last to know. Carol laments that it’s right on the heels of Mark getting to spend extra time with Rachel. Mark was able to convince the necessary people to give Joe a detox bed, but he’s taken off again. Mark is having a really bad night.

Elizabeth sits with Dale as he tells the Klingmans (Klingmen?) that Barbie is biologically male, but her anatomy didn’t develop properly, making her appear female. She’ll need estrogen to continue life as a girl. They had to remove the testicles because other people with her condition have developed malignancies. Elizabeth tells the Klingmans that Barbie’s genetics don’t matter; she was raised as a girl, so she’s a girl. However, her male anatomy means she’ll never have children.

Elizabeth says they’ll get the Klingmans in touch with a genetic counselor to figure out how and when to give Barbie the news. As they leave, Dale compliments Elizabeth on her skills at speaking with patients’ family members. Just when it looks like he might not be a 100% horrible person, he cracks that the Klingmans will have to change Barbie’s name to Ken. IT’S CALLED INTERSEX, DOCTOR. Look it up.

Lucy and some fellow med students keep drinking in their lounge, complaining about the horrible assignments they’ve been given by their residents. Lucy uses the fake arm to hold a shot for her. At County, Weaver tells Romano how important it is for the ER staff to be able to use a sternal saw in traumas. Romano doesn’t think it would get enough use or would fit within the standard of care. Weaver says the current standard of care is poor anyway. Romano advises her to do a study and enlists Benton to work on it with her. Benton doesn’t support the idea, but Romano thinks Weaver’s proposal will fail anyway, so it doesn’t matter.

Elizabeth’s good mood from earlier is faltering, and she’s not sure she’ll be up to a date with Benton after they’re off work. He calls Walt to ask for help in turning things around. Mark goes to Doc Magoo’s with Jen and Rachel so they can talk about how Jen is moving to another state and hasn’t said anything yet. Mark surprises her by not fighting her decision to move. They can’t both spend every day with Rachel, and he accepts that. Spending extra time with her over the summer helped him see that he and Jen need to think about her more than themselves.

Barbie wakes up after surgery and laments not being able to go trick-or-treating. She at least had fun making her costume with her mother. Elizabeth finds her tiara and puts it on her. Lucy, Bernard, and a third student are now pretty drunk, and think their fourth friend, Willie, has passed out from overindulging. They pull the prank on him where you put shaving cream on someone’s hand and then tickle his nose with a feather. Willie doesn’t regain consciousness, making Lucy realize that something’s really wrong. She sends the guys to call 911 while she gets Carter.

Carter determines that Willie’s not breathing, so he gives Willie CPR. His reward is vomit in his mouth. As an ambulance arrives, Lucy realizes that Willie took liquid ecstasy. Another student says a classmate, Branch, also took some, so Lucy rushes off to check on him. Mark settles a sports bet with Officer Al, then learns that Joe has turned up at a liquor store. Mark offers to call off the bet if Al will get Joe and bring him back to the ER.

Lucy and Carter find Branch passed out in a bathroom and give him CPR together. Benton checks on Elizabeth, who’s working late with Dale (though he calls her a “great little intern”). Benton pulls rank and tells Dale to let her leave already. Elizabeth is back to being excited about Halloween and wants to put her costume back on before she and Benton go out. She’s also still trying to guess his childhood dream job.

Al brings in Joe…only he’s not Joe. He’s Lloyd, Jerry’s cousin, and has used the hospital supplies Jerry took for him to enter a costume contest. He’s proud to have won an honorable mention. Weaver compliments Doug on all his work over the day, then gives him charts for all the patients the other doctors saw, since he said he wanted to sign off on all of them. Suddenly Weaver likes this new process. Carter and Lucy accompany Branch and Willie to the hospital, but since Lucy’s been drinking, Carter won’t let her assist.

Elizabeth exits the hospital to find Benton in one of Walt’s “supa-dupa-fly” suits, leaning against a vintage card. He’s filled the backseat with hay and gotten his nephew, Peanut, to take them for a hayride. Music comes on, and Benton notes that Elizabeth never figured out who he wanted to be as a kid. She recognizes the song as the theme from Shaft.

Weaver gives Jerry a bill for all the supplies he borrowed for Lloyd. He doesn’t have the money, so he’ll get some of it taken out of his paycheck for the next ten weeks. Mark tells Weaver that the search committee voted to hire Litvak as the new chief. He has a huge ego, so he wasn’t Mark’s first choice. He admits that he voted for Weaver. Jerry has a question about his paycheck garnishments, but now that Weaver won’t be in charge anymore, she decides to tear up the bill. She puts on some devil horns as she leaves for the night.

Carol stays late with Doug as he unloads some supplies in his new workspace. He gets her back for her earlier prank by pretending to cut himself with a box cutter. Carter meets up with Lucy back at the dorm after determining that Branch and Willie will be fine. Lucy says she didn’t know they were doing drugs, but Carter blasts her for not being better at being in charge. Lucy notes that she wasn’t responsible for policing everyone – he was supposed to be in charge. Carter chastises her for not being more mature. You were supposed to be in charge, Carter! Gaaaah!

And now, my favorite Benton/Elizabeth moment ever: As Peanut drives them around Chicago, Benton leans back coolly, channeling Richard Roundtree. Elizabeth sings along with the song and he teases her about not having rhythm. She cracks herself up by playing air tambourine badly enough that Benton has to ask what she’s doing.

Thoughts: You still can’t convince me that Benton was ever actually a child. He’s like Chidi from The Good Place – a 40-year-old in a child’s body.

Parents, don’t name your kid Barbie. She’ll never be able to escape “where’s Ken?” jokes. Also, don’t name your child Branch. That’s just mean.

Bravo to Kellie Martin for doing all the party scenes on skates, since Lucy was dressed as a roller-skating ’50s waitress.

November 30, 2019

My So-Called Life 14, On the Wagon: I Wanna Be Sedated

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:19 pm by Jenn

I have absolutely no words

Summary: Rayanne has been sober for 33 days, but she doesn’t seem to care. Angela voices over that she and Jordan are over, but still friendly. She hopes he’s about to tell her he still wants her and can’t go another moment without her. Instead, he starts complaining about Tino.

Mrs. K has told Rayanne that she has an oral fixation (which explains why she’s always eating lollipops), and Rayanne has a theory that it stems from not being breastfed by Amber. She’s done with sessions with Mrs. K, who’s worried that she doesn’t have a support system in place. Rayanne has felt distant from her friends, especially Angela, since her overdose. Rayanne says Angela’s just been busy with Jordan. Everything’s fine.

Rickie mocks an AA pamphlet Mrs. K gave Rayanne, though Rayanne has said she likes Mrs. K. Now she’s changed her mind, saying Mrs. K is too sensitive. She also thinks Angela’s the one who needs therapy. Jordan tells Angela that Tino quit the band, possibly taking the name Frozen Embryos with him.

Rayanne joins the two of them under the bleachers, so Jordan dismisses himself. Angela tells her about Tino quitting the band, which Rayanne has somehow not yet heard from Tino himself. Angela invites her to come over after school so they can regain some of the time they’ve lost while Angela was hanging out with Jordan so much.

Rayanne makes it to the Chases’ house before Angela and passes the time cooking something with Graham. Patty comes home and tries to treat Rayanne like any other friend of Angela’s. She’s happy to hear that Rayanne’s been sober for over a month. When Danielle arrives, Rayanne watches the three Chases acting like a happy family together. Patty invites Rayanne to stay for dinner, but Rayanne says her mom is cooking. Patty notes that Rayanne never thanked her for saving her life.

At home, Rayanne watches Sesame Street while Amber makes herself a margarita instead of cooking dinner for her daughter. Rayanne’s especially hungry because she missed lunch to have a session with Mrs. K. Amber has either forgotten about her sessions or never listened when Rayanne told her about them. Rayanne complains that she never gets a real meal, then complains that Angela ditched her at her own house.

Amber thinks Rayanne must have done something to make Angela mad at her. She thinks Rayanne can hang out with Angela while she’s with Jordan. Amber gets excited when she finds leftover Chinese food in the fridge, because now Rayanne can have her desired “real meal” without Amber having to cook anything. She tells Rayanne that Angela is a special kind of friend she needs to hold on to.

Jordan is still complaining to Angela about Tino. This should be enough to end her crush on him, right? Rayanne joins them in Jordan’s car, pretending she’s totally fine with Angela ditching her the previous day. Angela tells her that the Tino-less band has a gig lined up next week, but they need a lead singer. Jordan wants to mope alone, so he kicks the girls out of his car.

Rayanne realizes that she should be the band’s new lead singer. Angela doesn’t think it seems realistic. Rayanne notes that a month of sobriety doesn’t, either, but she accomplished that. Now she’ll have a good reason to hang out with Angela while she’s with Jordan. She begs Angela to present the idea to him.

Danielle has a boyfriend! Or at least she did. Now they’re “keeping it loose.” Patty wonders how much of her daughters’ lives she’s not aware of. Angela says that Rayanne has also complained about missing time with her. She and Patty are on different pages about whether Rayanne is still seeing a counselor or whether she’s done. Jordan comes by to give Angela a ride to school, and Patty asks if she’s ever going to get to meet him. Angela says Graham did, which should be good enough. She doesn’t think it matters anyway, since they broke up. Patty gets glummer when Danielle won’t talk about her boyfriend.

Jordan is STILL complaining about Tino. Angela asks about the possibility of Frozen Embryos having a female lead singer, like maybe, hypothetically, Rayanne. Jordan thinks that’s a ridiculous idea. Rayanne asks Rickie if he’s heard anything about being asked to join the band. Rickie tries to gently bring up the possibility that they won’t want her. Rayanne thinks her cuteness, singing voice, and tendency toward exhibitionism will be enough to convince them.

She wonders if Rickie thinks she’ll fall off the wagon. He says Angela gave him the impression they don’t want a female lead singer. Brian overhears and asks what Rayanne did. Rickie says she hasn’t done anything yet, but in the past, when she’s been excited about something like this, it’s led to disaster.

Sharon catches Rayanne singing to herself in the bathroom and compliments her voice. Rayanne pretends not to care about her opinion, then asks if she’s good enough to perform in front of people. Sharon suggests that she change her wardrobe. Rayanne tries to run the Angela situation by her, wondering why Angela wouldn’t put in a good word for her with the band. She realizes that Angela might be worried that Rayanne will make a fool of herself.

Rayanne goes to a Frozen Embryos practice, where things are falling apart without Tino in charge. The band members are so busy fighting that they don’t even notice Rayanne. Jordan calls Angela at home to tell her that Rayanne showed up at practice. Patty takes the phone from Danielle, telling her to respect Angela’s privacy, then listens in herself. Jordan says Rayanne’s acting like she’s high. Angela says she has nothing to do with Rayanne inviting herself there. Jordan mentions that they’re all just sitting around, drinking beer.

Graham catches Patty eavesdropping and hisses at her to stop. Angela tries to keep Jordan on the phone, pleased that this is the first time he’s called her, but Jordan has more important things to worry about. Graham chastises Patty for listening in, though he’s pretty amused about it. She complains that that was the only way she could find out what’s going on in Angela’s life.

She adds that Jordan was the caller, and he reported that Rayanne’s drinking. She’s worried, but Graham thinks Angela’s lack of concern means everything’s okay. Patty has a feeling it’s not and wonders if she should talk to Amber. Later, Patty lies awake, trying to convince herself that everything’s fine. She doesn’t get why you can’t speak to other parents honestly about their children. Graham says that no one wants to be accused of not being a good parent. Every family’s business is their own.

Patty doesn’t think it would be that big of a deal to tell a parent that you’re a little concerned about his or her child. Graham notes that she wouldn’t take that kind of conversation well. Patty agrees, thinking that talking to Amber about Rayanne would just make things worse. She suggests having sex to distract herself from obsessing over the situation.

At school, Angela tells Jordan again that she had no idea Rayanne was going to crash the practice. She doesn’t want him to feel pressured to let her into the band. But the drummer, who’s Rayanne’s new boy toy, has made the decision for the group and brought in Rayanne as the new lead singer. Now Rayanne has a new guy to spend time with instead of Angela.

Guess who didn’t stop obsessing after all? Patty, who calls Amber to talk about Rayanne. Amber says she just had a dream about herself, Rayanne, Angela, and Jordan. She laughs at Patty’s claim that Angela and Jordan are over. Patty asks how Rayanne is, and Amber jokes that she’s no fun anymore since she’s on the wagon. Patty asks if she’s sure that Rayanne’s sober. Amber says she’s as sure as Patty is that Angela and Jordan are just friends.

At the next band practice, Rayanne doesn’t even get a chance to sing “I Wanna Be Sedated” before the other band members can’t get it together. At school, Jordan tells Rayanne that their audition at some club is that night. They still need to come up with a name. Rayanne says they’re not ready for an audition. Jordan tells her to just wear something tight. She wanted a chance and she got it. Now she needs to not screw up.

Rayanne borrows some clothes from Angela, who isn’t sure she can come to the audition. Rayanne tells her there will be plenty of people there, since Rickie invited half the school. Then she realizes the band never told her what they’ll be singing. She runs for some of the Chases’ booze and Angela scrambles to keep her from drinking. Rayanne laughs her off, just joking. At home, she gets ready for the audition, practicing with Amber. She’s nervous but knows she’s going to have an amazing night.

Patty tells Graham about her brief conversation with Amber, thinking Amber blew her off to get off the phone. Angela tries to passive-aggressively get her parents to let her go to the audition by saying she doesn’t even really want to go, but she feels like she needs to support Rayanne. She admits that things have been weird between them since Rayanne’s OD. She basically blurts out everything she’s been dealing with the past few weeks, then hugs Patty and thanks her for listening. Graham teases that Angela will ignore her for another month to make up for that. Patty notices the booze Rayanne poured but didn’t drink.

Brian shows up to the audition, reminding Rickie that he begged Brian to come. Rickie admits that he invited a bunch of people because he was afraid there wouldn’t be an audience. His voice is raspy, something that happens whenever he gets nervous. He prays before the audition, which is part of an open-mic night. The band still doesn’t have a name, so Jordan tells the MC that they’re between names. She misinterprets this, announcing them as Between Names.

The band starts playing, but Rayanne freezes up. When she finally starts singing, she’s not her best and can’t keep the rhythm. The audience is completely unimpressed and starts leaving. Rayanne runs off, but the band keeps playing, so Jordan steps in to sing. Rickie and Brian chase after Rayanne, who says that everyone – including them – must have known she would screw up. Rickie knows that Rayanne’s distress could lead to something bad.

He calls Angela, who’s at home, and Patty takes the phone, sensing that something’s up with Rayanne. The next morning, Patty goes to Rayanne and Amber’s place, where Amber starts babbling about the two of them, Rayanne, Angela, and Rickie maybe being part of the same karass, a group of people who get entwined in each other’s lives. Patty announces that Rayanne has been drinking again. Amber insists that she hasn’t, claiming she knows her daughter well enough to know she’s still sober.

Patty tells Amber that Rayanne is missing. She knows it’s not her place to tell Amber how to parent Rayanne, but Patty can’t stand by and watch Rayanne’s life fall apart. But Rayanne seems just fine – she’s at home, she’s sober, and she spent the previous night eating cookie dough with her mother. She even wants to go to school. Amber tells Patty that she’s a good mother, so Patty can stop looking down on her.

Patty gives Rayanne a ride to school in a weak attempt to smooth things over. Rayanne tells her that while she poured the drink at the Chases’, she didn’t drink it. She promises that she’s been completely sober since her OD. Patty asks why she stopped seeing Mrs. K, and why she didn’t tell Patty she’d stopped. Rayanne says she wanted to seem okay so Patty would approve of her staying friends with Angela. Patty gets that Angela means a lot to Rayanne. She says that they’re in the same karass, so Rayanne can call her Patty instead of Mrs. Chase. Rayanne thanks her for the ride and for saving her life.

She tracks down Rickie, who’s furious with her for disappearing the night before and making him worry. He was terrified that she had started drinking or using again and would end up dead. Angela finds Rayanne on some fire escape or something (I don’t know) and tells her how scared she and Rickie were. She thinks Rayanne’s mad that she didn’t come to the club. Rayanne admits that she made a fool out of herself at the club, which Angela has seen many times. She knew Angela wouldn’t come.

Rayanne says she’s tired of seeing the looks Angela and Rickie give her. They obviously think she’s going to lose control at any moment. She knows Angela thinks she’s too messed up for them to continue being friends. Angela promises that’s not true. Nothing’s changed. Angela voices over that they both know that’s not completely true. Rayanne misses when Angela would come to her for advice, before her whole life became about Jordan. Angela says she should have come to the club to be there for her friend.

Rickie joins them and Rayanne apologizes for the night before. Later, the three friends go to a James Dean movie and talk about guys they like. Rayanne has a thing for Latinos, like Andy Garcia and Luis on Sesame Street. She admits that she still watches the show every day. Rayanne turns the theme song into a kind of lounge performance, entertaining everyone in line for the movie. Angela and Rickie are happy…until Rayanne grabs someone’s beer bottle and takes a drink.

Thoughts: This episode was directed by Jeff Perry (Mr. K).

Remember when we all had landlines with multiple extensions and you could listen in on other people’s calls? Cell phones really cut down on siblings eavesdropping on each other.

Between Names actually isn’t a horrible name for a band. I’ve heard much worse.

November 2, 2019

My So-Called Life 10, Other People’s Mothers: Prisoners of Happiness

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:16 pm by Jenn


Summary: Rickie and Rayanne are at the Chases’ house, where Rayanne is waxing poetic about refrigerators. She says that the Chases’ fridge tells her all she needs to know about the family. She also thinks mustard is somehow related to sex. Rayanne snags a beer from the fridge and the conversation continues as the kids head up to Angela’s room. Rickie says there’s an empty mayo jar in his fridge, but no one will admit it’s empty. Angela says her mother won’t throw anything away.

Patty and Danielle come home, and Danielle sees Rickie holding Rayanne’s beer. Patty sends her outside, so Danielle complains that her life is “totally edited.” Rickie hands the beer over to Patty and promises this won’t happen again. Patty tries to give the kids an anti-alcohol speech but can’t get the words out. She pulls Angela into the kitchen for a lecture. Rickie’s upset that now Patty hates him. Rayanne says she never liked him that much to begin with, so it’s okay. Patty would never give anyone a break. It’s obvious by her vegetable bin.

Patty tells Angela that Chuck is in the hospital for some tests, but he’ll be out in time for anniversary party that weekend. Then she tells Angela to never let Patty catch her drinking in the house again. Angela argues that she wasn’t drinking, but the message stands. Rayanne decides they’ll hang out at her house the next day.

Angela makes her first visit to Rayanne and Amber’s place, which she compares to entering another country (though she’s never been out of the U.S.). There are beads and crystals everywhere, which says more to me about the family than Angela’s fridge could ever say. Rayanne is thrilled to get a birthday card from her father, along with some money. Amber is even more thrilled to finally meet Angela. Angela immediately loves her.

Amber, an x-ray tech, is constantly happy and always trying to live life to the fullest. She brings out some tarot cards and gives some insights into Patty’s attitude. Angela thinks that Patty has abandonment issues, since she was adopted. Rickie says he has them, too. Amber says Angela is covered by the moon, which is a deadly mother, like a wicked witch. It may mean that one door opens and another closes.

Angela calls home just as Patty and her mother, Vivian, are arriving. Patty wants Angela home for dinner, but Vivian tells her to let Angela stay at Rayanne’s. Clearly, Patty and Vivian don’t get along any better than Angela and Patty do. Vivian worries that Chuck won’t be well enough for the party. Plus, he’s diabetic, and the fondue restaurant they’re going to could prepare something badly. Patty says they can call off the party if she wants, but Vivian knows Chuck will be disappointed if they do. She suggests moving the party somewhere else, like the Chases’ house. But she could never do that to Patty, of course.

Patty goes up to her bedroom and begs Graham to help her with her mother. Graham tells her to stand up to Vivian. Patty tells him he’s naïve. There are papers all over the bed, and Patty tries to figure out what Graham’s up to. He says he’s looking into some jobs and thinking about his goals. He doesn’t want Patty to get enthusiastic just yet. She asks him to go downstairs to entertain Vivian; she would do the same for him. Graham says he enjoyed his mother’s company before her death, so Patty would never have to entertain her. He finally goes downstairs when Vivian yells up that she’s just going to look around the kitchen.

Angela is impressed with Amber’s tarot reading and asks how she learned to do it. Amber offers to loan her the book she used to teach herself. Patty arrives to get Angela and puts on a happy face. Rayanne considers sending back the money her father gave her. Amber learns that Patty is hosting her parents’ party and says it’ll be a great way for her to work through her issues about being adopted. “I think I might’ve given up a baby in a past life,” she says. She loans Angela the book and some cards.

The next morning, Angela practices by using the cards on Danielle. Patty asks her to help decorate and clean for the party. Angela scoffs at the idea of being asked to move furniture. Danielle anticipates that Vivian will drive everyone crazy like she did at Thanksgiving. Patty has found a recipe for no-fat chicken, but Graham tells her she can’t cook chicken without the skin. Patty’s trying to stay optimistic, but she’ll need her family’s help to pull off the party. Angela tells her that life is for living, obviously something she heard from Amber.

At school, Rickie’s back to hanging out in the girls’ bathroom. Sharon’s having a bad hair day, so Rayanne gives her some mousse. Her dad’s money falls out of her bag, but Rayanne doesn’t care. Rickie guesses that she’s been drinking. She tries to give Rickie the money, saying she doesn’t deserve it. Rickie tells her to think about something she really needs, like new makeup or CDs, and spend the money on it. Rayanne decides to throw an endless party instead. There’ll be so much going on that they’ll be prisoners of happiness.

Vivian brings some things by the Chases’ house, delaying Patty as she’s leaving for a meeting. Vivian says Patty can go about her day and let Vivian do whatever she needs in the house. Patty warns her that Graham gets “emotional” about food when he’s cooking, so Vivian should let him handle all that. Vivian says she’s just providing a turkey.

Rayanne and Rickie spread word about her party, and she uses some of her money to get booze and drugs. Sharon watches her running around drunkenly, clearly headed for disaster. At the Chases’, Graham is sad about the turkey and can’t stop staring at it. Rayanne’s party has become such a big deal that some girl at school tells Rayanne she thinks she can get her in. Rayanne tells Angela that she was just invited to her own house.

Angela realizes that the party is set for the next night, when her grandparents’ party is taking place. She offers to help Rayanne get ready anyway, maybe by moving furniture. Rayanne drinks more alcohol as she, Angela, and Rickie decorate. Amber’s rules for the party: no eating on her bed, don’t let things get out of control, and don’t make too much noise. Drinking is okay. Angela is totally in love.

Danielle uses Amber’s tarot cards as Patty regrets agreeing to host the party. Vivian calls, and just as Patty is about to try to cancel the party, Vivian tells her that Chuck is out of the hospital and healthy. Now Patty can’t come up with a reason to cancel. It’s almost time for Angela to leave, but Amber suggests that she find a way to attend both parties. She needs to go where her karma takes her. Angela doesn’t think Patty will agree to that.

She goes home, where Patty’s decorating so she can tend to other things in the morning. Angela brings up Rayanne’s party, which she says is for Rayanne’s birthday. She asks if she can attend her grandparents’ party for a while, then go to Rayanne’s. Patty’s upset that Angela told Amber about her life. She tells Angela that she needs to be at the family party. Angela says the karma in the house is ridiculous. I don’t think she knows what karma is. Anyway, Patty says she won’t be going to Rayanne’s.

The next night, both parties begin, and one is going to be much more lively than the other. Also, Chuck didn’t want to come to his own anniversary party, so Vivian arrives alone. She thinks it’s for the best; she can never enjoy herself fully while he’s arrive. Graham is annoyed that he cooked a special non-fat, sugar-free meal to accommodate someone who isn’t even coming. Danielle whines about hating her dress and wishing she was dead. When Patty calls her on that, Danielle asks if Angela is the only person in the house who’s allowed to have feelings.

Angela watches from upstairs as guests start arriving. She voices over that Patty might be better at being happy for real if she didn’t fake it so well. Over at Rayanne’s, everyone’s having a good time except Rickie, who’s concerned about some of the guests they don’t know. Danielle changes clothes and braids her hair, making Vivian say she looks like Pippi Longstocking. Danielle decides to change again.

Angela still hasn’t made an appearance, so Patty goes to get her from her room. She’s wearing a Rayanne-like outfit and tells Patty she thinks she’s going to the other party. Somehow, Patty doesn’t say, “Oh, you THINK you are, do you?” Instead, she just goes back downstairs and puts her happy face back on. Yeah, I guess it’s best not to murder your daughter when there are so many people in the house.

Rickie catches Rayanne taking some pills, but she ignores his disapproval. Vivian tries to season the chicken, but Graham stops her. He tells her to do whatever she wants to her turkey as long as she leaves his chicken alone. Angela finally comes down, and Vivian tells Patty to stop worrying about her outfit and let her wear what she wants. Angela complains that she has to stay at the party when Chuck didn’t even come. Vivian tells her she can go do her own thing if she wants.

Patty argues that staying there would be doing what’s right. Vivian backs up Angela’s decision to go to her best friend’s party (though Patty denies that Rayanne is Angela’s best friend). Patty complains that Angela wants to go to Amber’s house, where there are no rules and Rickie can drink beer. Angela says he doesn’t drink and accuses Patty of hating Rayanne on sight. Patty admits that she doesn’t think Rayanne is the right friend for Angela.

Angela goes to Rayanne’s and tries to have fun. Rickie’s trying, too, but is still keeping an eye on Rayanne, who’s really drunk now. Rayanne is thrilled to see Angela and hugs her tightly. They fall over and some tarot cards get spilled. Rickie comes over as Rayanne starts babbling about getting a tattoo. Rickie assures Angela that Rayanne will be fine eventually; this happens all the time.

Amber decides that things have gotten out of control and kicks everyone out. Rayanne’s in her bedroom with a guy who’s ready to give her a tattoo. Amber yells at Rayanne for throwing a bigger party than she’d let on. She’s displeased that Rayanne drank too much; Amber talked to her before about moderation. She heads off for a date, telling Rayanne to have everything cleaned up by the time she gets home.

Rayanne drunkenly tells Rickie she loves him, then says she’s cold. He cries and rocks her, saying everything’s okay. He and Angela take Rayanne to the bathroom to get some water and try to keep her awake. Distressed, Rickie says he’s never seen her like this and doesn’t know what to do. Angela does – she calls her mother. Vivian answers the phone, but Patty seems to sense who’s calling. Angela calls her Mommy and says she needs her. Vivian tells Patty to go tend to her.

Patty calls an ambulance on her way to Rayanne’s, then immediately takes charge. Rickie says she took ecstasy but still has a pill left. Patty asks him to find the remaining pill. She gives it to the paramedics who come to take Rayanne to the hospital. In the waiting room, Rickie brings Patty some chips and thanks her for her help. He asks if she’s ever tried to protect someone so much that it hurt. Patty realizes that the beer she saw him holding the other day wasn’t his.

Rayanne is stabilized, and she’s asleep when Amber arrives, distraught that her daughter is in such bad shape. The police have some questions, which concerns Angela. Patty says they’re just filling out reports. She invites Rickie to come to the Chases’ “very dull party.” When they get home, Patty sends Rickie inside and stays in the car with Angela, who expresses regret at screwing things up for Patty. But Patty’s happy that Angela called her when she needed help.

Patty says that her college roommate was a lot like Rayanne. The same thing happened the roommate that happened to Rayanne, which is how Patty knew what to do. Unfortunately, the roommate died. Patty liked her roommate, and she’s worried that Angela is seeing the good things in Rayanne without thinking about reality. She guesses that forbidding Angela from seeing Rayanne wouldn’t work. Angela asks Patty to trust her. Patty says she does.

Angela heads inside to rescue Rickie from having to spend time with their family. But Rickie’s having a great time being doted on by Vivian. Patty cries in the car, then puts herself together and returns to the house. Her mother gives her a nice hug, as if everything’s okay between them.

Angela voices over about tarot cards and what they depict. They represent tests, challenges, and twists of fate. Cards can be good or bad depending on where they fall; none is all good or all bad. When you do a reading, someone thinks of a question. Each card moves to the next, from terror to loss to good fortune: “Out of darkness, hope is born.”

Thoughts: I can’t believe I would pick Patty over anyone in this category, but I would rather have her as a mother than Vivian.

Who knew Patty was so good in an emergency?

If you played a drinking game where you drank every time Patty put on her fake smile, you’d end up in the hospital with Rayanne.

’90s music alert: “Fall Down” by Toad the Wet Sprocket

August 17, 2019

My So-Called Life 1, Pilot: The Red Hair Diaries

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:26 pm by Jenn

This is not an exaggeration. We actually dressed like this in 1994

Summary: Angela Chase and Rayanne Graff are trying to find someone who will give them change for a phone call. They spin some different stories – they were robbed, their mother’s in a coma – but no one takes the bait. Angela voices over that she started hanging out with Rayanne for fun; it felt like, if she didn’t, she would die. “Things were getting to me,” she says. “Just how people are.” They expected her to act a certain way, like her best friend.

That best friend is Sharon Cherski, who keeps up a one-sided conversation while Angela checks out boys in the school hallway. She feels like she has to pretend she doesn’t notice them noticing her. She’s annoyed by cheerleaders – “can’t people just cheer on their own? Like, to themselves?” Angela spots Rayanne running across campus with Rickie Vasquez and voices over that “school is a battlefield for your heart.”

Rayanne talks Angela into dyeing her hair red, which she thinks will change her entire life. The first thing it does is surprise Angela’s mother, Patty. She’s next surprised to meet Rayanne and Rickie, who are over at the Chases’ house for the first time. Patty offers them a snack and leaves them alone. Angela tells her friends that she only pretended to be calm about her daughter’s hair because they had company.

At dinner that night, Angela voices over that she can’t bring herself to eat a well-balanced meal in front of her mother. Chewing in public seems weird to her. Her father, Graham, pretends he doesn’t notice Angela’s new hair. Her sister, Danielle, says she would never dye her hair red. Angela corrects that it’s “Crimson Glow.” Graham foresees a better social life. Angela voices over that he thinks everyone in the world is having more fun than he is, which might be true. Graham has no problem with the dye job; Angela’s allowed to do whatever she wants to her own hair. Patty notes that they won’t be able to lose her in a crowd.

Later that evening, Graham encounters Angela as she’s leaving the bathroom in a towel and is shaken. Angela voices over that they used to be close. She tells Graham that she’s starting to like Anne Frank. “Is she a sophomore, too?” he asks. Angela knows that her newly developed breasts have made her father unsure of what to say around her.

Graham tells Patty to tell Angela not to walk around in a towel. Patty says he can tell her himself. Graham says that’s not possible. Patty ignores him and talks about the article she’s reading about Chelsea Clinton. She has no privacy and is always being watched by the Secret Service. Patty wishes they had that for their kids.

Graham tells her it could be a lot worse. When the alternatives are doing drugs, having sex, and cutting class, Angela’s dye job is nothing. Patty thinks Angela dyed her hair to get a reaction out of her mother. Patty won’t give her that reaction. It’s just hard to look at her daughter now – she looks like a stranger.

Angela tells us that she’s in love with Jordan Catalano. He’s older, having been held back twice. He closes his eyes a lot, as if it hurts to look at things. She runs into Sharon at school, and they look at each other awkwardly before Rayanne pulls Angela into a bathroom. She knows that Angela likes Jordan and thinks she wants to sleep with him.

Angela says that Jordan’s always leaning against things – “he leans great.” She’d settle for a conversation over sex, though she’d like to have both with him. Rayanne invites Angela to Tino’s the next night, telling her Jordan will be there. Angela voices over that Rayanne always knows who’s going to be places.

Leaving the bathroom, Angela again runs into Sharon, who can’t believe she dyed her hair. They go to a meeting for the yearbook, where Brian Krakow takes pictures of Angela, making her self-conscious. She ducks her head into her sweater to hide. She hates school and knows her parents don’t really care how it is when they ask her. It’s like a drive-by shooting you’re lucky to survive. Everyone votes on yearbook themes except Angela, who walks out of the meeting with the announcement that she doesn’t want to be in the club anymore. She declines to offer a reason to the teacher, Ms. Mayhew.

The next morning, Sharon comes by the Chases’ house looking for her copy of The Diary of Anne Frank. She mentions in front of Patty that Angela quit yearbook. Danielle finds the book in Angela’s disaster of a room and gets sassy when Sharon doesn’t thank her. Patty’s annoyed that Angela didn’t say she quit yearbook. She hates that Angela’s behavior has turned her into a nagging mother.

At school, Angela, Rayanne, and Rickie hang out in the girls’ bathroom together. Rayanne announces that Angela’s in love with Jordan, so they need to get them together. She invites Angela to Tino’s again. Rickie’s contribution of the male perspective is to repeat Angela’s admiration of how Jordan leans. Angela realizes she’s late for class and tries to pretend that she’s just going because she’s not too busy with anything else. She runs through the hall, passing a crying cheerleader.

Angela’s biology class is half-asleep and led by a teacher who can’t engage anyone. Brian is the only person in his history and English classes who cares to answer any questions. Angela’s distracted by a buzzing light. When Ms. Mayhew asks how the class would describe Anne Frank, Angela murmurs, “Lucky.” Ms. Mayhew is appalled. Jordan arrives late, distracting Angela again. She thinks Anne was fortunate to be trapped with a guy she liked for three years.

Ms. Mayhew keeps Angela after class to talk about why she quit yearbook. She’s worried that Angela’s starting the year on the wrong foot. Angela says that it feels like people agree to keep a certain personality their whole lives, but they can’t be sure that’s who they really are. Everyone’s in a hurry to make yearbook to remember what happened, but it’s not what really happened, just what they think was supposed to. If they made a book of what really happened, it would be upsetting.

At home, Angela voices over that Graham works in printing. He was only supposed to work for a business in Patty’s family for a little while, then go to chef school. She’s not sure why he never did. Patty took over the business and is technically Graham’s boss. Graham tells Angela that sometimes she’s too hard on her mother. Patty just wants everyone to be happy. Angela says that’s Graham, not Patty.

Graham continues that Patty does so much for Angela. Angela complains about Patty’s sudden moods, which lead her to blame things on her daughter. Graham says that’s not the real her. Angela just needs to try to be nicer, like an experiment. Angela hesitantly asks if she can go to a thing at Rayanne’s, a rehearsal for a play they might do for extra credit. Graham buys her lie.

Angela goes to the party at Tino’s, which is the same as pretty much every other party you see on a teen TV show. There’s a live band and alcohol. Angela gets knocked into some mud and goes inside to get cleaned up. Jordan’s there, watching TV on an enclosed porch, and when Angela can’t get the door to the house to open, she’s stuck with him. He comments that it doesn’t seem like a Friday. Well, that’s because it’s Thursday. Jordan’s friends whisk him away to someplace more fun.

Patty’s learned that Graham let Angela go out on a school night, so they’re fighting about his failure to ever be the mean parent. She thinks Angela loves Graham more. When Angela gets home, Patty lays into her, telling Graham that Angela lied about where she was going. The noise brings Danielle downstairs, and when she tries to get involved, Graham tells her to shut up. Not cool, Graham.

Patty asks how Graham expects Angela to ever have any respect for her. Angela says she does respect her mother. Graham thinks they should all go to bed and sort things out in the morning. He and Patty both leave, but Danielle stays behind to ask Angela what she was really up to.

At school the next day, Rayanne invites Angela to a rave that night. Again, she’s sure Jordan will be there. They’re in the cafeteria, which Angela thinks is the “embarrassment capital of the world.” Rayanne offers to loan Angela something to wear that night so she’ll look tough.

After lunch, Angela and Rayanne go to the bathroom, where three other girls are trying to figure out the difference between “fat-free” and “low-fat.” Stay in school, girls. Angela knows she’ll need to come up with a lie to tell her parents again. Rayanne says to just tell them Angela’s sleeping over at her place. Sharon comes in as Rayanne invites Angela to stay over for real; her mom won’t be there.

After Rayanne leaves, Angela tries to extend an olive branch to Sharon, who isn’t interested. She tells Angela that people are saying she thinks she’s above everyone, and is just Rayanne’s hanger-on. Sharon’s sure that Rayanne’s just using Angela the same way she used a previous friend. Sharon wants to know what she did to make Angela turn on her. Why did Angela drop her oldest friend for no reason? Both girls get emotional as Angela says there isn’t any one thing Sharon did. She still wants to be friends, but Sharon’s over it. She asks if Patty lost it when she saw Angela’s hair. Sharon, for one, hates it.

Patty wants the Chases to go ice-skating that night like a normal, happy family. Danielle would prefer to stay home and watch a movie about a girl who makes obscene phone calls. Graham has plans to play pool with his brother, their second time hanging out that week. Patty tries to rally her daughters, which Angela thinks is punishment. She asks if she can go to Rayanne’s instead. Patty doesn’t like Rayanne, since she ate all of Patty’s cheese when she was at the house the other day.

Graham doesn’t think it’s a big deal if Angela goes to Rayanne’s, even if they don’t know Rayanne or her parents. Danielle does that patented sibling thing where she bugs her parents while they’re distracted by their troublemaking child until they give in just to shut her up. Graham tries to get Patty to loosen up by noting that there’s no way her parents knew all 900 of her friends. Angela voices over that her parents went to the same high school but didn’t know each other. Patty was popular and beloved, while Graham was a nobody.

Angela says that her parents don’t even have to drive her to Rayanne’s, since Rickie’s cousin is going to pick her up. That doesn’t make anything better. Danielle interjects again, trying to get attention. Patty comments on Rickie’s appearance, which Angela says doesn’t matter; he may be bi, but that doesn’t mean his cousin can’t drive. Patty seems shocked that Angela knows the word “bi.” Danielle also knows what it means.

Patty says Rickie’s a child and can’t call himself anything. He must be confused. Angela defends him, but Patty notes that Rickie wears eyeline. When Graham expresses surprise, Patty says she thought he was on her side. Graham says he’s not on anyone’s side. Patty tells him to grow up and choose. Graham asks if Rayanne’s mother will be at the house. “No, Rayanne lives by her wits, in an alley,” Angela replies sarcastically. Of course Rayanne’s mother will be home.

Done with the argument, Patty gives in and tells Angela to go to Rayanne’s and Graham to go be with his brother. Angela thinks Patty’s just going to use this to hold a grudge. Danielle continues seeking attention. Someone get this child a puppy or something. Angela avoids her family by staying on the front porch, then sneaks into some bushes to change clothes. Brian spots her and tells her she’s breaking a bunch of laws. He thinks she looked better before. She doesn’t care what he thinks.

Brian mocks that she’s going off with her cool friends to do stupid things. He thinks she’s going to meet Jordan. Angela tells him she’s going to the rave, but he doubts the club, Let’s Bolt, will let her in. He tells her she’s not stupid, so she shouldn’t act like it. She tells him everyone’s acting, including Brian. He continues mocking her as she heads off with her friends.

They have to wait outside the club for Tino to come get them in. Rayanne tells Rickie to be patient; he’s waited for things before, right? He says he’s waiting for his life to start. They pass around a bottle of alcohol, and by the time people have arrived at the club, the girls are drunk. Rickie asks what they would want their sexual partner to say right before they get busy. “This won’t take long,” Rayanne suggests. Second choice: “Don’t I know you?” Angela wants to hear, “You’re so beautiful, it hurts to look at you.” Rayanne laughs, but Rickie likes it.

Rayanne runs off, threatening to tell Jordan what Angela said. She runs into a couple of older guys and asks for help getting in the club. The guys extend an invitation (just to the girls) to go somewhere else. Rickie says he doesn’t mind being left behind. One of the guys wants Rayanne to get closer, though his friend warns that the girls are too young for them. Rayanne approaches that the guy puts her up against his car and starts feeling her up. “Something was actually happening, but it was too actual,” Angela voices over.

Just as things are about to get illegal, Angela pulls the guy off of Rayanne. Rayanne falls to the ground and rejects Angela’s attempts to help her, saying she can take care of herself. She throws a bottle at the guy’s car, setting him off again. His friend holds him back. Rickie tells Angela that Rayanne won’t remember any of this tomorrow, since she blacks out when she drinks.

A police officer approaches, so Rickie runs off. The cop puts the girls in his car to drive them home, promising that they’re not under arrest. As they’re leaving, Rayanne spots Jordan and his friends arriving. He recognizes Angela and even knows her name. Rayanne tells Angela that she knew what she was doing. She promises to always watch out for Angela and look after her. She teases that, with Angela’s hair like that, it hurts to look at her. The cop takes Rayanne into her house, where it’s clear no one’s home.

Angela and the cop discuss Anne Frank as he drives her home. Angela says Anne was hiding, but at the same time, she stopped hiding. She was free. The cop tells her not to do this sort of thing again. Angela asks him not to take her to her front door. Brian, who’s hanging out in a tree, watches as he lets Angela out of the car. The cop asks him to watch out for her.

Brian walks Angela home, and she tells him what happened at the club. He tells her that the yearbook club picked a theme. She wonders who told him she likes Jordan. He says no one did. They stop when Angela sees her father talking to a woman outside the house. Angela heads off in another direction with Brian following her. He tells her the yearbook theme is the year 2000. They both think it’s dumb.

Angela sneaks into her house and takes off her makeup and borrowed clothes. She goes to her parents’ room and lies that Rayanne’s mother drove her home. She voices over that Patty’s adopted and looked for her “real” parents for a while. Angela thinks that’s what everyone’s looking for. She starts crying as she tells her mother she’s sorry about everything, including her hair. Patty says it’s not that big a deal, and now that she looks at it again, it’s not that bad. Angela falls asleep in her mother’s arms.

At school on Monday, Jordan asks Angela if she’s out on bail. She tries to start a conversation, but he leaves. Rayanne and Rickie are telling a friend about their weekend adventure, thrilled that they “had a time” with Angela. Angela’s equally thrilled to have friends who are happy to tell fun stories about their time together.

Thoughts: One of the girls in the bathroom having the “fat-free”/”low-fat” conversation is Bianca Lawson, in her very first TV appearance.

’90s music alert: REM’s “Everybody Hurts”

Angela saying that she once almost touched Jordan’s shoulder gave me flashbacks to every teen crush I ever had. And then the Angela/Sharon scene in the bathroom punched me in the gut, because I’ve been Sharon.

Teens who have a loud party outside with alcohol and a live band deserve to be busted by the police.

November 6, 2018

ER 2.17, The Match Game: You Can Cut All the Tension With a Scalpel

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 4:54 pm by Jenn

I guess they give them white uniforms so they can be bleached, but it’s still a dumb idea

Summary: Mark rides his new motorcycle to work and tells Jerry he feels like a Hell’s Angel. Jerry admires the beard he’s growing, though it’s taken him a week to get it to where it is. He’s also ditched his glasses for contacts. Someone’s having a midlife crisis! Jerry tries to invite himself along on an evening out with Doug and Mark, but Doug doesn’t take the bait. Hicks tells Benton that Vucelich published his study, so Benton’s accusations haven’t gone anywhere. Since he isn’t willing to take it to the ethics committee, Hicks thinks he should keep his mouth shut.

Carter’s so nervous about finding out which hospital he’s matched with that he’s throwing up in a bathroom. Harper is unbothered and possibly amused. Susan and Chloe meet up for breakfast, and it’s super-awkward. Chloe credits Susie as her motivation for turning her life around. She’s been clean for five months and is engaged. (If she’s getting married to a guy she’s known less than five months, I don’t think she’s as put-together as she thinks.) Chloe says she wants to be Susie’s mother, and Susan replies that Chloe leaving was the best thing that’s ever happened to the baby.

Carol has to wear an all-white nurse’s uniform to work, now that she’s signed on with a temp agency. Her hours were cut in half, and her earthworms died, so this is her best chance to make some extra money. Doug teases her by making sure she sees that Jeanie has been named Employee of the Month. Up in daycare, Susan finally puts some security in place, ordering the staff not to let Chloe see Susie without permission.

Mark treats a patient named Mr. Bartoli who had chest pain after a romantic encounter with a postmistress. Mark recognizes his enhancing ointment as digitalis, which can cause a heart arrhythmia. Mr. Bartoli thinks Mark can relate to being a bald guy with low testosterone who needs some help. Carter thinks his hopes of being matched with County are going to be dashed, which he deserves after the way he’s been acting over the past few weeks. He vows to put his patients first from now on. He gets his first chance with a teenager named Brett who was in a car accident, then with the teen’s grandfather, Mr. Bowman.

Shep is back at work, now partnered with baby EMT Riley. He’s not happy about it. Mr. Bowman is more worried about Brett than himself, so he doesn’t let Carter give him a full exam. Carter quickly moves on to try to help other people. Brett has a leg injury, and Mr. Bowman notes that he injured the same knee a few months ago playing basketball. Benton asks to see his previous chart.

Other car accident victims arrive, including Freddie, who claims to be sober but has track marks on his arms. Mark runs around helping various people, and assists Susan in saving Freddie’s life. It’s hard for her to be happy about it since Freddie caused the crash and killed one of the victims. Carter examines a man named Mr. Ledbetter who wants to go to work so he can continue trying to make partner. Carter says he wouldn’t feel right about letting Mr. Ledbetter leave without a full workup.

Brett’s leg isn’t broken, but Benton thinks he has the beginnings of a tumor. He can’t believe the doctor who treated him the last time he was there didn’t catch it. Carol checks the chart and sees that the doctor was Doug. Mark thinks the tumor is small enough that it would be easy to overlook, but Benton doesn’t think that changes the fact that Doug misdiagnosed Brett. Mark tells Benton not to say anything to the family – he’ll talk to them.

Carter gets his match letter and is thrilled to see that he’ll be doing his residency at County next year. He wants to spend his lunch break celebrating with Harper. Lydia brings in a filthy man named Hugo, and the nurses try to figure out whose turn it is to clean him up. After a round of Rock Paper Scissors, Carol gets the task. She tries to hand it off to Jeanie, but Jeanie knows this is a nurse’s job.

Freddie’s mother arrives and denies that her son uses drugs. Susan says he tested positive for cocaine, but Freddie’s mother says it was wrong. Susan yells that he got drunk and high, drove a car, injured a bunch of people, and killed a girl. She gets a slap in return. Carter calls his father to share his good news, but their phone connection is bad because his father’s on a boat and Carter has a ’90s cell phone. He tells Mr. Ledbetter that he’ll need to see a hematologist for severe anemia, then takes off to hang out with Harper.

Mark tells Doug about his missed diagnosis, then calls in Kathy Snyder, a hospital lawyer. Kathy says that they have no legal obligation to tell Brett’s family that they missed the tumor on his last visit, which means they won’t know that they can sue for malpractice. Mark agrees that they should keep quiet. Doug volunteers to tell Mr. Bowman about his grandson’s condition; it’s his case and his responsibility.

Hugo sings “Younger Than Springtime” while Carol hoses him off in a shower. Jeanie comes in to get Carol for something, and Carol accidentally sprays her with the hose, making herself feel better. In the lounge, Susan tells Mark that she’s fighting to make sure Chloe can’t take Susie back. She notices that his usual brown eyes are now blue, thanks to his new contacts. She gets a page and frantically tells Mark to send security to daycare.

Jeanie asks Carol to tend to a patient who’s throwing up, since that’s a nurse’s job. Carol gets her back by telling her to stitch up Hugo’s bleeding hand, as that’s a job for a physician’s assistant. Susan races up to daycare, thinking Chloe has shown up, but it turns out the staff paged her so she would be able to watch Susie take her first steps.

Doug tells Mr. Bowman that Brett has a tumor, but the doctor coming to take care of him is terrific and has had a lot of success with patients like Brett. Later, Benton approaches Mr. Bowman and realizes that no one told him that Doug missed the tumor four months ago. He complains to Mark, saying that whether or not they have a legal obligation to come clean, they should do so for ethical reasons. Mark brushes him off.

Doug pleads with a doctor to take on Brett’s case, offering to pay part of Brett’s bill and make up some of the cost by working in the doctor’s clinic. The doctor accepts the offer. Carol gleefully tells Mark that Hugo tripped on his way out of the hospital, and now Jeanie has to give him more stitches. Susan tells Mark that Susie took her first steps, which has turned her whole day around.

As Mr. Bowman thanks Benton for what he did for Brett, the little devil and little angel on Benton’s shoulder scream in his ears for a few moments. The little devil wins, and he decides to come clean. Mark examines a woman named Iris who suffered a minor head injury while working on an infomercial. Haleh laughs silently as Iris hits on Mark, equally hoping to cast him in an infomercial and get him into bed. Mr. Ledbetter’s still waiting for test results, since Carter hasn’t returned and hematology never showed up. He tells Susan to fax the results to his office, since he’s leaving.

Mr. Bowman confronts Doug for not telling him that he missed the tumor four months ago. Doug apologizes, but Mr. Bowman doesn’t think he’s sincere. Doug wants to continue trying to set up Brett’s care with the oncologist, but Mr. Bowman is done with his “help.” Meanwhile, Carter and Harper celebrate at a hotel with sex and champagne.

Iris also wants to celebrate, inviting Mark to dinner once he tells her that her brain scans are fine. She wants him to do an infomercial about a blood-pressure drug that also helps with male pattern baldness. Mark was led to believe that some women see baldness as a sign of virility. “Who told you that, some bald guy?” Iris laughs. Jeanie hands Hugo back off to Carol to get him a cab, because this stupid plot still isn’t over.

Susan has to give Mr. Ledbetter the bad news that he has leukemia. Carter and Harper have moved their celebration to a giant bubble bath, which he accidentally drops his pager into when it goes off. Shep and Riley bring in a girl who was injured at gymnastics practice, and Shep complains about Riley’s sloppy IV-insertion technique. The tension spreads to Doug and Benton, as the former doesn’t want to work with the latter, knowing that Benton was the one who ratted him out to Mr. Bowman. Mark has to step in and send Benton away.

Carter finally returns to the hospital, taking his sweet time to respond to his page. Susan blasts him for not realizing from Mr. Ledbetter’s examination that he has cancer. Carter’s tipsy, so when Hicks invites him to scrub in on an operation, he has to decline. Hicks tells him that ignoring his pages was bad enough, but drinking while on call is truly horrible. In fact, it’s grounds for expulsion. Carter whines that he just matched at County. I highly doubt she cares, dude.

Doug and Mark decide to call off their guys’ night out, though Doug thinks Mark should go without him. Haleh and Lydia agree with each other that Benton did the right thing by telling Mr. Bowman about the missed diagnosis. Carter’s received enough congratulatory gift baskets to feed the entire hospital, but he’s back to puking in the bathroom. Mark assures him that he can’t be expelled without a hearing, though he could lose his match. Mark will try to help.

Shep comes in to tell Carol that Riley backed into a homeless man in the parking lot. Yep, it’s Hugo. He was out in the ambulance bay, waiting for the cab Carol never called for him. Doug and Benton encounter each other in the lounge, both keeping their mouths shut this time. Carol and Jeanie tend to Hugo together, realizing that their rivalry has caused enough damage.

Mark confronts Benton for going against his orders and causing trouble for Doug and the hospital. Benton says that if Doug had done his job, Brett wouldn’t be facing amputation. Mark says that telling the family wasn’t Benton’s decision to make. He knows Benton is trying to ease his guilty conscience since he didn’t blow the whistle on Vucelich. “The truth is a lot easier to tell when it’s not your own career on the line,” he notes.

Carol chastises Shep for being so hard on Riley. Shep thinks he’s being punished for going into the fire and causing Raul’s death. Carol reminds him that he saved three kids, but to Shep, that’s not as important as the fact that he killed his best friend. Doug tells Susan that he saw dozens of kids the day he treated Brett, so he didn’t have time for an extensive exam. He acknowledges that Benton didn’t do anything wrong in telling Mr. Bowman. Susan notes that Doug is the one who has to pay for the mistake, but Doug says Brett’s the one who has to face the worst consequences.

Mark goes out to a bar and runs into Kathy. She helps him look for a lost contact, which somehow got stuck in his goatee. Susan takes Susie home, trying to avoid Chloe, who’s staked out the apartment. Chloe has gotten a lawyer and plans to file for visitation rights. Susan announces that she’s adopting the baby, no matter how badly Chloe wants her back.

Jeanie runs into Benton at Doc Magoo’s and tells him he did the right thing. Benton says he “broke the code,” which reminds Jeanie of a story Mae once told her. As a child, Benton turned in a kid for stealing money, and wound up blacklisted with a broken nose. Benton says he’s never learned to keep his mouth shut. At home, Susan reads Susie Goodnight Moon, clinging to what might be one of her last nights with her baby.

Thoughts: Mr. Bartoli is played by Richard Schiff. Iris is played by Joanna Gleason.

“Ha ha, my patient got hurt and now Jeanie has to do more work!” Shut up, Carol.

The number of times Carter should be fired, or at least harshly disciplined, throughout the series is probably in the double digits.

March 15, 2016

SVU #53, Truth or Dare: SVU’s Elections Are a Gay Old Time

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , at 4:43 pm by Jenn

The love child of Wentworth Miller and Brian Austin Green

The love child of Wentworth Miller and Brian Austin Green

Summary: Neil is our star in this book. Yay, Neil! He and Jessica go out to a club, where girls keep hitting on him. Then a guy named Dave hits on him, but Neil doesn’t want to get involved with anyone; something happened at Stanford to turn him off of dating for a while. Jessica has decided to run for pledge chairwoman at Theta, and Neil is a little jealous that she has an activity she’s so excited about. At Stanford, he was in student government, fencing, and debate, but at SVU, he hasn’t found a club yet.

So Neil goes to the Student Center to sign up for something, only to learn that SVU has no debate team or fencing club. The budget has been cut so much that only the frats and money-making teams like football and basketball have survived. Neil then runs into a guy named Chip who’s running for SVU president. Chip is a frat guy and only really cares about getting more funding for Greek life. A girl Neil complains to suggests that he run for president as well. He latches on to the idea, deciding to ask Jessica to be his campaign manager, since she’ll be great at getting his name and message out to the other students.

Jessica’s happy to be in charge of something, and I have to say, she makes a great campaign manager. Neil starts campaigning right away, telling the students that he wants to make SVU more democratic. They should be able to choose activities to be offered, rather than having to pick from the few available. Who can say no to that idea?

A guy named Chris approaches Neil, happy that a gay student is running for president. Record scratch! Neil is barely out and is shocked that someone has caught him on gaydar. Chris is with the GSG, the Gay Students Group, who wants to offer Neil their support and endorsement. Neil fears that he’ll end up getting outed, and that his sexuality will overshadow his platform. But the damage is done, and soon everyone on campus has heard the rumor that Neil is gay. This brings the bigots and homophobes out of the woodwork.

During a chaotic night at the duplex, Jessica gets a call from Chris letting her know that the GSG wants to endorse Neil. Jess hasn’t yet talked to Neil about this, so she doesn’t know that he’s not happy about being the GSG’s new mascot. When she tells him, he argues that his sexuality and personal life should be kept separate from his campaign. Jess doesn’t see the harm in being known as a “gay candidate” – after all, Neil is gay, so he’s automatically a gay candidate. Of course, Jessica’s straight, so she doesn’t get why Neil might not want to out himself. The two of them fight, and Jess quits the campaign.

Neil turns down the GSG’s endorsement, which Chris isn’t happy about. Neil figures out that Chris wants to take advantage of having a GSG ally in student government; he doesn’t care about Neil’s platform at all. Chris refuses to withdraw the endorsement – the GSG will support Neil without his consent, and everyone at SVU will learn that Neil is gay.

Anti-Neil flyers start circulating, calling him “queer” and urging people not to vote for him. The Thetas are horrified and vow to help bolster Neil’s reputation. Jess talks to her buddy Alejandro, who encourages her to make up with Neil and return to his campaign before it becomes a total disaster. Before she can, someone from the school’s paper tries to ask her about a statement made by the GSG about how Neil is in the closet because he’s ashamed. Jess is smart enough not to give a comment. Neil is also questioned, and he proves to be very media-savvy – he won’t comment on his personal life, and he won’t distract from his platform.

The twins confer with Steven, wondering if they can sue the GSG. Steven teaches them about a little thing called the First Amendment. The twins decide to write an article for the paper about Neil’s campaign, trying to do a little damage control. Meanwhile, the GSG circulates flyers telling people to prove they’re not homophobes by voting for Neil.

Jessica and Neil make up, but she still doesn’t get the big deal about letting himself be outed. After all, there’s nothing wrong with being gay, so why shouldn’t people know? Neil finally tells her what scared him back into the closet: He fell for a closeted professor at Stanford, and they snuck around behind the guy’s wife’s back. Eventually the professor came clean, and his wife made him quit and move away in exchange for keeping his secret. So Neil lost his first love, then came out to his parents, who disowned him. Jess feels horrible and now gets why Neil is so private.

The two friends work on Neil’s campaign at the Red Lion, but Neil’s now pretty well-known, and the bigots are still angry. A guy yells at him, but Lila, in one of her most awesome moves to date, stands up to him and announces that the Thetas are endorsing Neil. Neil then heads to a dinner with the two other candidates, who turn out to be friendly and supportive. They clearly couldn’t care less that Neil is gay, and they think he’s tough for trying to overcome everything that’s being said about him. They’re also happy that he’s inadvertently getting people interested in student government. Neil realizes that even though the other two are just assuming he’s gay without confirmation, he doesn’t actually care.

Dave pops up again, admitting that he told Chris that Neil is gay, which drew the GSG to Neil in the first place. Neil forgives him, since Dave didn’t mean to start the whole Neil/Chris mess. The candidates have their first debate, and Neil does okay, but not better than his cheerleader opponent. Then someone in the audience starts yelling for him to comment on the rumors that he’s gay. Neil ends up announcing that, yes, he’s gay, but that’s not the important part of his campaign. He gets support from the audience, and later, a date with Dave. Awww!

Over in not-so-happy plots, Dana’s lonely now that Todd is working long hours. She cheers up a little when she hangs out at the bar where he works, which makes her think she can make the rest of her life better. No such luck: She embarrasses herself in music class and runs out. That, combined with the reality that it’ll be hard to become a professional musician, and her lack of free time to spend with Todd, make Dana decide to drop out of SVU.

Todd thinks this is a terrible idea. He points out that they won’t have more time to spend together, since he’s still working and going to school. Plus, her parents will probably cut her off for dropping out, so she’ll need to get a job to help with the rent. Dana then talks to Tom, who’s a little more supportive. He suggests that she give cello lessons, which Dana thinks is a brilliant idea. But her first is a disaster, as she’s basically a glorified babysitter, and her charge is a monster. Todd thinks this is funny. Todd spends a lot of this book sleeping on the couch.

Dana tries to cheer herself up by cooking a special dinner for Todd, but she didn’t confirm that he would be home for dinner. He gets called to work, and Dana throws a fit when he won’t stay home with her instead. She gets suspicious when she learns that the guy Todd was supposed to be covering for is at work, too. She calls Tom to complain, and he invites her to a frat party, where they both get really drunk…and end up in his bed. When she confesses to Todd, telling him she was so drunk that she thought she was with him, he kicks her out of their apartment. With no money and nowhere else to go, Dana heads home to her parents.

Chloe is desperate to become popular, and she thinks landing Jessica as a BFF and Sam as her boyfriend are the keys. No one actually knows Sam, who doesn’t even go to SVU, so I’m not sure about the logic here, but that’s really the least of Chloe’s problems. The biggest is that Sam and new duplex resident Nina are warring, and Nina doesn’t appreciate that Chloe’s always at the house. What’s interesting is that Chloe doesn’t completely hate Nina – she admires her for being assertive and confident.

Things with Sam go nowhere, as he’s content to just hang out at the duplex and listen to music with Chloe rather than doing anything romantic. After he tells Nina that Chloe isn’t his girlfriend, Chloe runs off to feel sorry for herself. She hears her dorm-mates talking about joining Theta, and how Chloe will never be allowed in (not that Chloe actually wants in).

Chloe watches a talk show about ways to make a man fall for you. It’s the most ridiculous, feminist-movement-setting-back crap, and I cringe at the thought of girls watching it and thinking it’s the way to go. Chloe’s too dumb to resist, so she does things like agreeing with everything Sam says, pretending she likes everything he likes, etc. It doesn’t go anywhere, since Sam doesn’t realize that Chloe likes him as anything more than a friend.

So Chloe pulls out the big guns, putting on some lingerie and a trenchcoat to give Sam a little peep show. She goes to his room and opens her coat to greet him. Only he doesn’t open the door – Elizabeth does. The idea of Elizabeth getting flashed by another girl makes me giggle, because how would she process that? I don’t think she would have any idea what to do in that situation. Sam doesn’t realize anything has happened, but Chloe is fully embarrassed.

In other news, Elizabeth thinks she keeps seeing Finn around town with another woman, even though he’s supposed to be out of town. This doesn’t go anywhere. Also, Neil tries to stop Nina and Sam’s fighting, cracking down on the twins a little in the process. Seems to me he would make a very good president.

Thoughts: Giving cello lessons shouldn’t be such an out-of-left-field idea for Dana. After all, when she entered the series, she was giving lessons to Tom’s little sister.

“How do you have time to make your bed every morning?” Jessica knows it takes, like, ten seconds, right?

Jess has a lot of compassion and sympathy for Neil, so clearly we’re dealing with an alternate universe here.

“If someone sees the garbage is full, that person has to take it out.” Nice try, Neil. Everyone will just claim they didn’t notice it was full.

December 19, 2015

BH90210 10.18, Eddie Waitkus: Phony Deaths and Other Fakes

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , at 1:31 pm by Jenn

It's like a really lazy version of Where's Waldo?

It’s like a really lazy version of Where’s Waldo?

Summary: David and Donna are hanging out at the Walsh house, cooing over Maddy. Janet wants to set Donna up on a date, promising that she’ll arrange something casual for a group. Noah shows up to play that pinball machine that’s been in the house for years. He’s drunk, so Donna drives him home. At the Beverly Royale, Steve and Dylan watch Rock and Roll Jeopardy, which Steve sucks at. He changes the channel and comes across a news report about an emergency landing at LAX. One of the passengers getting off the plane looks just like Jack McKay.

The next morning, Kelly gets ready for her first day at her new job, dreading her anti-gay-club assignment. Donna let Noah spent the night on the couch at the beach apartment, wanting to pay him back for how he offered her help her after her father died. Dylan and Steve go to the airport for some answers; Steve thinks there was some big stunt and Jack faked his death. He asks if Jack’s name was on the list of passengers on the flight, but the airline won’t disclose the information.

Kelly has to rewrite a speech at work, and she’s clearly the only one who’s not in support of their mission. At the Walsh house, Steve and David talk about Jack, and David worries about how Dylan will be affected. He overhears Donna, Janet, and Camille talking about a fur coat but thinks they’re talking about orgasms. (For example, Camille has only had fake ones, and Donna knows David will never give Camille one.) Donna’s sort-of date, Irv, shows up for dinner, and Donna’s pleased that he’s both nice and attractive. Then Noah crashes the party, guessing that Irv is Donna’s date.

At the Peach Pit the next day, David tells Steve and Matt about his hopes of having sex with Camille that night. Steve’s eager to hear about other people’s sex lives because Janet’s pregnancy and Maddy’s birth have left him a little wanting. David’s worried since he’s under the impression that “Camille can’t be satisfied.” Matt and Steve promise to help him be prepared. I already hate this plotline.

Pia disapproves of Kelly’s speech, since she’s not painting gay students as villains, basically. They’re supposed to do the job they were hired to do, not take sides. Dylan and Steve go to a storage facility so he can look through Jack’s papers and find a way to get in touch with Christine. Steve thinks she’s behind everything. Dylan discovers that the lock on the storage unit has been broken. Inside, it’s clear that someone has already been there, looking for something.

Outside the boutique, Donna tells Janet that she’s brought Camille on as a partner at the store. They complain about how sickeningly romantic Camille and David have become. They’ve only been together two weeks, by the way. Janet assures Donna that she and Irv will be great together, but right now she’s worried about where things stand between Donna and Noah. Donna says that Noah’s going back to AA, and everything will be fine.

Dylan ambushes Christine at her office and asks if Jack is alive. She claims he’s dead, so Dylan gives her a tape of the news broadcast. She also claims that she doesn’t know about anyone breaking into the storage unit. Dylan reminds Christine that she loved Jack. She says that if he were alive, she would still be with him, but he’s not. David and Camille have a date at his house, then start to get it on.

At the Peach Pit the next day, David tells Steve that things seemed to go well with Camille; in fact, she enjoyed herself “several times.” Steve’s confused that a woman who has supposedly never had an orgasm, and presumably faked it with every other guy she was with, went from 0 to 60 with David. Kelly arrives, and Steve asks her about her job assignment. Janet saw the speech on TV, and it changed her mind. Kelly’s not as happy as she should be that her speech changed one person’s vote.

Christine calls Dylan to her office to tell him that Jack’s name wasn’t on the passenger list. Dylan’s not surprised – he’s probably in witness protection, so he wouldn’t be traveling under his real name. Christine continues that the storage unit was broken into a while ago, along with a few others. The police weren’t able to get in touch with Dylan. Dylan notes that he never actually saw Jack get in the car, and he never saw a body, so it’s possible that he’s alive. Christine tells him to give up on the investigation already.

At the boutique, Janet helps Donna pick out a dress for her next date with Irv. David shows up, and Donna and Janet tell him that Camille was very happy with him on their first night together. David brings up the conversation he overheard, and they tell him they were talking about furs. Now he feels dumb. Noah calls, and Janet and David keep Donna from picking up the phone. Janet thinks Noah’s using his trauma to keep Donna in his life. Donna’s mad that no one else is being a good friend to him.

Camille hangs out with David in the After Dark radio booth that night; the theme is dumb assumptions people have made about their significant others. He comes clean about the fur coat/orgasm confusion, and she’s horrified to realize that he talked to Steve about her in the context of sex. David advises his listeners to keep their mouths shut about those assumptions until it’s necessary to talk about them.

Donna and Irv are there for their date, but it’s not going well. She tells him he’s great, and she was looking forward to the date, but she feels like she should be with Noah right now instead. She’s worried that he hasn’t shown up to work tonight. Irv decides that Donna isn’t as single as he thought she was. Dylan returns to the storage unit to sort through Jack’s things, telling Kelly that he hasn’t gotten anywhere with the investigation. She thinks he should use this opportunity to reflect on his life. He tells her he misses his dad.

Donna tells David that she tried to smooth things over with Camille for him, but now she’s going to stop helping him, since he’s been giving people bad advice. Then he gives her some more: She needs to stop dropping everything to help Noah. David’s worried that she’ll keep losing out on great guys because Noah keeps coming first.

Pia’s pleased that Kelly was able to put her feelings aside for her job. Kelly talks about the possibility of having a gay child, and how she would prefer to support him instead of making him feel isolated. She’s not cut out for this kind of job, so she quits. She goes to the hotel, where Dylan’s watching the news report again. He gives her the tape and tells her to get rid of it. Kelly reveals that she was able to get the passenger list through connections at the PR firm.

Camille goes to David’s to give him a second chance, so…whatever. David gets to have sex. Good for him. At the beach apartment, Kelly and Donna wake up in the middle of the night, hearing noises on the deck. They call the police while Matt goes to check things out. Someone crashes through a window and Matt knocks him out with a baseball bat. When Kelly turns on the lights, they all realize the intruder is Noah.

Steve pays Dylan a late-night visit to express his regrets for making him think his father might be alive. Dylan reminisces about singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” with Jack, and how much they liked watching baseball games together. They especially liked The Natural, which includes a character who disappears, then returns. The character in the book was based on a real person named Eddie Waitkus. Dylan found the same name on the passenger list, and he’s sure it’s a fake used by Jack.

Thoughts: Call me crazy, but maybe if you’re hiding from the mob, you should make sure you don’t show up on TV?

Remember Rock and Roll Jeopardy? That show was awesome. That was before I started yelling at Jeff Probst for being annoying on Survivor.

I don’t remember Noah offering Donna any kind of help in the last episode. In fact, I remember him avoiding her the entire episode.

Irv? No. No twenty-something is named Irv.

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