Night Shift Episode 2: Skin Deep
Previously on Night Shift, stuff happened in Port Charles in stories centered around a hospital, with only minimal mob involvement. Record numbers of shock- and confusion-induced coronaries were reported nationwide among General Hospital viewers. However, Jason Morgan is in jail awaiting trial on a murder charge in one version of General Hospital, but out and being heroic in the hospital in the other version of General Hospital, because apparently some level of mob entanglement is essential. But most importantly, Jason Thompson was hotly naked in a shower. A fake shower, sure, and not totally naked, I imagine, but Jason Thompson was hotly naked in a shower, for our purposes. (Which are lust and the suspension of reality.)
Promising Ingénue brilliantly kicked off the Night Shift recaps last week, so I have very little to add. There are just two things that really irked me, which are true of this week's episode too, so I thought I'd get them out of the way from the get-go:
1. Jason Basically Being Two Different People: Okay, I know Night Shift and General Hospital are two separate shows (most tellingly because the first is actually centered around a hospital), but they share most of the same characters. Therefore I cannot get past the fact that on GH at 3pm Jason is in state prison, and on NS at 11pm he’s out, rescuing old ladies who make terrifying clown needlepoints and then (spoiler!) serving out probation as a janitor. There’s no explanation for it! It’s not even a “businessman by day, Chippendale’s dancer by night”-like story, it’s just . . . stupid! Dumb! Idiotic! If they had to shoehorn Jason into this new show, they had plenty of notice and time to plan, so why didn’t they make his story blend like they did everybody else’s? You don’t see Robin staffing the ER on Night Shift but in a coma on GH, or Patrick hotly diagnosing people on Night Shift but hotly working as an auto mechanic on GH. Because they are the same characters. Ugh. I am majorly bugged by this. Also, I am SO SURE that if a known hitman got put on probation, they would assign him to a hospital. So stupid and contrived. But whatever. The "is he in prison or out" thing is way more bothersome.
2. The Weirdness and Randomness of Billy Dee Williams' Character: Somehow GH got Billy Dee to agree to appear on this thing. The man played Lando Calrissian! And he made malt liquor seem like something one might actually want to drink. He exudes charm and charisma. So they make him a janitor? Why not make him a doctor, someone senior who’s on Robin and Patrick’s side and can take on the human equivalent of an HMO plan, Dr. Ford? Also, I don’t know whether this is just because Billy Dee has been called a sex symbol for so long that I can’t think of him in any other way, or if in fact his delivery is overtly sexual, but everything he says sounds dirty! Whether he’s talking about elevator buttons, labor strikes, or floor mopping. I can't decide whether it is hilarious or creepy. Strike that, it's definitely hilarious, I just can't decide if it's also creepy.
Other stuff bugged me this week; these were just the spillover annoyances. Anyway, with my biased cards out on the table, on with the recap.
We open with Jason. Looking angry at the world. In a black t-shirt. With terribly cheesy hair. Hey, they’re right, this is TOTALLY DIFFERENT from what they can do on regular GH.
Epiphany greets Jason at the nurse’s station and she makes a joke about him being there for a bullet wound, and he says no, he wishes (!), and hands over some paperwork that makes her laugh uproariously. Considering what we know about Epiphany, that must mean the papers have something to do with someone else’s misfortune.
It’s Jason misfortune! Cut to him, in a janitor’s uniform (which, in combination with his hair, makes Steve Burton look 50 years old), mopping a hospital hallway. Billy Dee approaches and provides an awful “a dirty floor is like a woman” simile. He takes the mop and demonstrates proper technique, recommending “gentle, glide, smooth like choreography” movements, which sounds totally dirty. Jason takes the mop back and basically beats the crap out of the floor with it like it was trying to take over one of Sonny’s docks. (Okay, show, you got me, I give you a “hee” for that.) Billy Dee correctly ascertains that Jason isn’t really a janitor and Jason explains he got probation for shooting someone in the foot and is serving it out on the night shift. Billy Dee laughs, because he thinks it’s asinine too.
________ Barrett lies bandaged in the classically soapy head-to-toe, openings-only-for-eyes-and-mouth fashion that you only ever see on a soap opera, and usually only in preparation for a big recast. Two of the student nurses, Jolene and Regina, look on and wonder aloud who the woman is and generally take pity on the mummy.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the hospital (I would like to note this is a phrase I’ve never before used, because on regular GH when are there ever TWO simultaneous hospital-based storylines?), a woman (who looks like a blonde Ms. Sneed to me, but I'm easily confused) comes up to the intake desk and tells Robin that she needs to see a doctor and it needs to be a doctor with a penis.
Just a few feet away, Patrick is hotly providing one of the other student nurses, Leyla, with some constructive feedback on her work. He stops and asks her if something is wrong because essentially she is staring at him and drifting off and wow, how unprofessional! At least when I do it I’m in my own living room. Patrick is hotly distracted by the sound of Billy Dee once again singing “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Leyla claims not to have heard the singing but I think she’s lying so that Patrick will hotly walk towards the sound and she can check out his butt.
Patrick thinks maybe he's not used to the night shift yet so he's hearing things. Leyla thinks Patrick is “tense” and has “sore muscles” and that she has “magic hands,” and therefore grabs a wheelchair, plops Patrick down in it, and proceeds to give Patrick a shoulder rub.
I think I should disclose here that I have a thing against shoulder rubs outside of committed relationships. I think I would rather my [currently hypothetical] boyfriend get a lap-dance from a stripper than get a shoulder rub from anyone. It’s so intimate! Anyway, I therefore found Patrick’s acceptance of the shoulder rub inappropriate. Oh, and Leyla is a whore. I kid, I kid! She’s just kind of desperate and needy.
So Leyla rubs away but disclaims that he shouldn’t get the wrong idea because she doesn’t go around indiscriminately giving out shoulder rubs and this is totally not like her. As virtually everyone knows, in the context of male-female interaction, anytime a woman says “this is so unlike me!” it is totally, exactly, completely like her.
Robin comes up and sees this happening, just as Patrick is hotly saying “deeper.” She gets peeved and storms off. Who could have seen this coming?! Patrick never inappropriately flirts and Robin never overreacts! Thank goodness we have this spin-off to explore new aspects of their relationship.
Patrick hotly follows her and hotly tries to persuade her to get it on in the supply closet, but apparently Robin has superhuman willpower and insanely says no, still in a snit over the shoulder rub. Instead, she says he should see the patient looking for the penis’d doctor, and when Robin says she’s attractive he jumps at the case. Ew. Where has all the professionalism gone?
Patrick hotly opens the door to the exam room, and the woman in search of a doctor with a penis reveals that her problem is related to her breasteses (which she helpfully clarifies by removing her shirt, in a scene that’s in the credits). Cue Patrick’s “buh?” reaction, and cut to those very credits.
Then there’s a behind-the-scenes bit with the actors who play Lainey and Stan in which they display 1000% more chemistry than they ever have in front of the scenes.
Dr. Julian is in the OR about to operate, when he discovers that there’s been some kind of mix-up and he was about to triple-bypass (I didn’t know that was a verb) a patient with a perfectly healthy heart. Whoops! I love these wacky, not-at-all-cliché or done-100-times-on-other-hospital-dramas medical stories!
Side note: Dr. Julian needs to CUT HIS HAIR. In addition to being highly unattractive (Don’t make me bust out that photo again. You know. The one I did before. I don’t like myself when I do that.), it’s unsanitary! It’s hanging out of his scrub cap thingie! Random strands can just fall willy-nilly into open chest cavities! Stop the madness!
Sorry, I got too worked up. But I really do hate Dominic Rains’ haircut. It disturbs the sexy.
Because Spinelli wasn’t over-the-top enough, he's bumbling off the elevator on crutches. He tries to man-up as he passes Jolene. Spinelli has a crush on Jolene, in case you lack the powers of sight and hearing and therefore missed that last week.
Regina calls him out though, because his appointment is on Tuesday and this is a Saturday. He lowers his voice (you know, more like that of a normal human) and machos that he’s there to return the heavy pain meds because he’s too much man for them. Jolene has in fact walked away, so his act was for naught. As it almost always is, with me.
We rejoin Jason mopping the floor, with Robin laughing at his predicament and in particular that he might have to scrub toilets. The idea of Jason scrubbing a toilet makes me laugh. Robin points out the irony that he’s never been convicted of anything but is now having to be a janitor to pay for a crime he didn’t commit. Aw, and me without my violin.
I know PI covered this last week, but damn, Steve Burton is just a different person in scenes with Kimberly McCullough. (I’ve mentioned before that I think she has amazing chemistry with everyone she’s paired with, and I must admit that Steve Burton pretty much does too, so the combination of the two of them is compelling.) I could not want a Robin/Jason romantic pairing less, but if the two of them can re-kindle a friendship, including back on regular GH, and Robin can continue to make Jason tolerable the way Kate does Sonny, I'm all for it. If nothing else, if Robin and Jason become better friends then Robin and Patrick should get more airtime by association.
The scene is actually somewhat sweet. Robin says she’s glad Jason’s there so she has someone to talk to, Jason wonders why she can’t talk to Patrick, Robin says “Patrick can be inaccessible.” He just tried to be highly and hotly accessible, missy, but you got all self-restraint-y on him!
Back in the exam room, Patrick says breasts are not his expertise, “professionally speaking” (oh my hell, they’re turning him into Jeremy from Days), and the woman says she’s actually not looking for a professional opinion. Um, what? He says they look good. Um, what? Basically, she had a boob job and now they hurt. Patrick says she should take that up with her surgeon, but Boob Job says she can’t because her surgeon’s a woman. Um, what? She asks Patrick to take a “closer look.” The tingly background music says I’m supposed to be finding this hilarious. But I am not. Reluctantly, I must abandon the “hotly” designation for the remainder of the episode. The hotness departed here and did not return.
Robin and Jason walk down the hall discussing what made that ambulance go boom last week. Robin says the canister of laughing gas was accidentally punctured, but Jason wonders why the laughing gas was in the ambulance to begin with. I wonder why nobody associated with GH’s writing staff bothered to do any research and find out that laughing gas alone isn’t flammable.
Jolene is emoting (poorly) to ______ Barrett. She is telling _______ how ________ was moments away from being autopsied alive, which is exactly the kind of thing I would want to hear if I was emerging from unconsciousness. _______’s eyes are open but she’s flashing back to the explosion, and Jason.
The guy dubbed “Unsavory” in last week’s recap was revealed on today’s GH episode to be one of Coop and Logan’s military buddies (well, not buddy, exactly, since he hates Logan), so of course we can’t continue to refer to a guy who served our country in wartime as Unsavory. Therefore, he will hereinafter be referred to as Sergeant Unsavory. Anyway, Sgt. Unsavory wants to talk to Lainey about nightmares he’s been having. He recounts a bad dream in which a grenade goes off in his hand and shreds his body into a thousand piece on the desert floor. Oh, and God talks to him. Lainey, excellent physician that she is, responds thusly: “Get the hell out.” Sgt. Unsavory gets all righteously indignant and Lainey explains that she’s “not about to fall for that crock of rehashed psychobabble you’re trying to pass off as a nightmare” in order to score some prescription dope. He leaves. Geez, I hope she’s right. She almost never is, though.
Old Chatty Clown Tapestry Woman from last week is getting chatty with Jason again, thanking him for saving her and telling him she wishes she had a granddaughter to set him up with because he is “a catch.” OH MY GOD what do I have to do to get a little subtlety around here? This is an insane amount of Jason-propping, even for these writers. Jason inquires as to how she got stabbed in the ribs, and she helpfully explains it was the broccoli. Is she stoned, or just crazy? It's hard to tell.
Maxie and her terrible extensions come into Ms. Sneed’s hospital room (she’s still there with that busted knee from last week). Maxie is itching…something. Ms. Sneed is bellowing at some lesser member of the species via her cell phone, an item that in my experience is not allowed to be used in a hospital room, Ms. Rules-y. Sneed sees Maxie and uses one of my favorite phrases ever, “What fresh hell?” Maxie explains that she brought flowers to apologize for the whole handcuff-sex incident that ultimately hobbled Sneed. Maxie babbles a bit, including saying that Cooper is “kind of hot” (which is like saying Jason has the occasional minor brush with the law), but Sneed interrupts to inquire as to why Maxie is “stimulating [her] butt.” Ha! Sneed then turns down the flowers but – incredibly inappropriately – asks Maxie if sex is better when you’re “restrained.” In comes the twinkly, you-should-be-amused-not-creeped-out music. Shut up, music. You don’t know me.
Locker room. Dr. Julian is shirtless, and congratulations, they've found something to distract me from the bad hair. How you doin’, Dr. Julian? Dr. Ford overacts about the near-bypass on an appendicitis patient. Ford overacts/bellows. Julian attitudes. Ford overacts/says “nincompoop.” Julian accuses Ford of being concerned only about liability. Ford overacts/PSAs about little hospitals getting taken over by conglomerates. Julian attitudes, then throws food at the door after Ford leaves. (Even walking through a door, the dude playing Dr. Ford overacts.)
Dr. Ford continues his bellowing, this time at Regina, who is at the nurses’ station. Apparently she entered the wrong code into the computer and that’s how the dude with the bad appendix almost ended up with a carved-up heart. Not for nothing, but if a single keystroke determines something like that, that seems to me to be more of a flaw in hospital process, Dr. Administrator-ier Than Thou.
Things go really bad when Dr. Ford says Regina was lucky to have this opportunity but then she screwed up and “reinforced stereotypes” by being “sloppy” and “lazy” and that she should “reconsider nursing as a profession.” Whoa. What the….?
After Ford overacts/storms off, Regina tells Leyla there’s no way she made that error and is not comforted even a little bit (as I am) by Leyla referring to Dr. Ford as a “paper-pushing moron.”
Maxie is in the hall, itching her butt. (This show really is expanding my repertoire of sentences.) Epiphany finds her and examines her. It turns out Maxie has a staph infection. And it requires a culture with a very long q-tip, which neither Maxie nor the viewers really want to know the destination of.
Jason asks Billy Dee what kind of name “Toussaint” is (that’s Billy Dee’s character’s name, not that I can use it as a general rule, because come on, it’s Billy Dee freakin’ Williams!) and Toussaint thinks Jason is trying to pick a fight with him. Dude, if Jason picks a fight with you, you’ll know it. Probably by the semi-automatic weapon at your temple. Toussaint, it turns out, was named for a Haitian hero who freed slaves. (This causes me to think about Cher’s “Hay’-tee-ans”/garden party debate speech in Clueless, which necessitates me pausing and then rewinding the TiVo because I got distracted. I sometimes wonder how I keep a job.)
Stan comes up to Jason dressed as an orderly, explaining that he’s there “doing his thing,” “organizing the workers into a wildcat strike.” What the hell? Stan, the mafia computer hacker, moonlights as a labor organizer? Jason points out that Epiphany is going to lose her shit over this, but Stan thinks his mom will be just fine because it will mean she makes more money. Has Stan actually met Epiphany? Also, what the hell? Stan rants about how GH is in the toilet since Alan died and blahblahblah corporate-America-is-evil, while Billy Dee listens in. Jason introduces Stan to Billy Dee, who says he didn’t realize there “were any left” like Stan, who is happy to meet Billy Dee and refers to him as “my smooth brother” as he gives him a hug. What the hell? Stan leaves Billy Dee with literature. Billy Dee makes a “joke” about being nice to the elevator and the working class, or something, and does this:
They both laugh. What the hell? Billy Dee then hints to Jason that he was involved in the civil rights movement, I think. I'm so confused. Why couldn't they have cast Billy Dee as Dr. Ford?
Dr. Lee has examined Stacey (Jenna from Another World to me) and says there’s nothing to worry about, the cramps were just Braxton-Hicks, and the baby won’t arrive for a month or so. Uh, Stace? I think I’d get a second opinion. Robin is there, because she has to be in every scene with the HIV-positive pregnant woman. Robin gets a bit personal and asks about the baby’s dad, and Stacey explains she used a sperm donor. She found dating difficult due to the HIV. The two women bond over the loneliness that can come with the disease. This show is about as subtle as the Vegas strip.
Jolene says “that new janitor” (Jason) seems “out of place” and doesn’t seem like the “type” to be janitoring. Epiphany, because she is physically incapable of not stirring shit, is all oh yeah, what type should be a janitor and what do you mean by that, etc. Then she tells Jolene that Jason is way out of her league. Jolene gazes at Jason. Finally, a woman is falling for Jason! That never happens.
We’re back to Patrick, who is examining Boob Job’s boob job, including by giving her his opinion about their “weight.” Ew. He has these terribly awkward lines about how the breasts didn’t need to be so symmetrical because natural ones aren't. I feel like I need a shower, and not in a remotely good way. Dr. Lee busts in because Robin told her Patrick might need a consult. From an ob-gyn? For a patient who explicitly requested a male doctor? Well, it is Kelly so maybe . . . Sorry, I think I’m just supposed to appreciate the wackiness of Kelly finding Patrick in this awkward situation. Those crazy kids and their boobies hijinx!
Stan is trying to encourage a couple of orderlies to strike. Epiphany catches him. Dun dun duuuuun!
Jason startles Spinelli, who bumbles and drops his laptop and falls and…whatever. He’s wacky. You get the idea. Spinelli tells Jason that he’s grateful Jason took the blame for the foot-shooting thing, but that it’s wrong because –- I shit you not –- Jason “should be out there making the world safe for Mr. Corinthos sir and his god-princes in training.” Mobsters are heroes, don’t ever forget! Jason is like, whatever, this is not a big deal, just steer clear of firearms.
Jolene comes in and Spinelli refers to her as his “drop-dead gorgeous angel of mercy.” No human being talks like this. Spinelli machos about laughing at pain in his big boy voice, and Steve Burton provides a truly hilarious reaction shot basically disavowing all things Spinelli:
Billy Dee finds Regina bawling in the hallway and comforts her, including by calling Dr. Ford a jackass. Regina backstories about her family and her “responsibilities to [her] ancestors, to [her] race.” Okay, I'll just say it: Who thought it was a good idea for the people who run GH to tackle serious issues about race? And who put it in the hands of a writing team that is incapable of being anything but heavy-handed? Ugh.
Boob Job is buttoning up her shirt as Patrick, a bit slow on the uptake, says “you didn’t need medical attention, did you?” Boob Job admits she was lying in order to get a man to “admire” the twins. Apparently she’s recently divorced from a commitment-phobe who ultimately wanted his freedom back after two kids and 15 years of marriage. Wow, that doesn't sound remotely analogous to Patrick or anyone close to him! (THIS is how the writers chose to have Patrick confront his commitment-phobia? Seriously?! Idiots.) Patrick inappropriately tells Boob Job she’s beautiful and doesn’t need to fake being sick to get attention. Boob Job flirtatiously asks if he’s taken, and at that moment Robin comes in. Who could have seen this coming?!
Robin is pissy about Boob Job. And here’s where things went really rapidly downhill for me.
Patrick: Okay you know what, you’re the one who sent her to me. And to be honest, I kind of felt for her.
Robin: So I noticed.
Patrick: She’s lonely. She just got out of a 15-year-marriage. She wanted to feel attractive again, so she got her boobs done. I mean…::GLANCES AT ROBIN’S CHEST AND SHRUGS HIS SHOULDERS (!!!)::
Robin: Don’t even think about it.
Seriously, did that just happen? I may have to permanently revoke the “hotly” adverb. When did the writers decide to have Patrick go from “shameless but harmless flirt” to “total asshole”? And if he had to make that transition, is there a reason he had to be fully clothed while doing so?
Regina chats with Old Chatty Clown Tapestry Woman. The old lady babbles about how her kitchen utensils have turned on her, but that “on the plus side, you have some of the hottest guys around here – whoo!” Regina laughs. I cringe.
Epiphany pulls Stan into the break room and yells at him about not making something out of himself, yadda yadda, and Stan, in a very doofus-y moment, says he loves himself just as he is. Epiphany, while holding the strike literature that she just saw Stan carrying, says “please tell me you don’t have anything to do with this strike gossip.” Stan says it was all his idea and she should be proud and can’t something finally be good enough for her. Stan, seriously, have you met your mother?
Jason is mopping the floor again, ignorant of the big “BARRETT” name tag outside _______’s room. I'm sure that's a hint about something, if only we could see through the layers and figure it out. (BTW, if “Barrett” is supposed to be as significant as the writers are now making it, why wasn’t it when Cooper came to town and introduced himself to various of Brenda’s closest friends with barely a glimmer of recognition?)
Dr. Julian comes into Maxie’s exam room, dressed in civilian clothes and carrying a guitar. He starts playing the guitar and singing, badly, which of course Dr. Ford walks in on and bellows about. Turns out Maxie’s got some drug-resistant strain of staph (MRSA), they say probably from gettin’ busy with Cooper in the supply closet, which I submit is a totally fair trade-off. Dr. Julian is there for a cardiology consult since Maxie has a donor heart and MRSA is aggressive and could attack it. Do the writers not remember that we just did this less than a year ago, with Maxie almost dying from the monkey virus because of her heart? Oh, but that’s a totally different show. Sorry, I'm so obtuse.
Leyla is watching as Old Chatty Clown Tapestry Woman sleeps. Weird.
Lainey is walking to her car in the garage when Sgt. Unsavory grabs her from behind and puts his hand over her mouth. Which he gets all self-righteous about and says that’s nothing compared to his PTSD. He “dramatically” demonstrates how his hand always shakes and asks whether she’s going to help him. I know I find physical violence by an unstable guy who is trained to kill people to be very persuasive.
Dr. Julian is tending to Maxie, who has apparently been admitted and is on oxygen (as every hospital patient on a soap always is) and monitors, etc. Dr. Julian exposits that he’s only a cardiologist to please his parents so they won’t cut him off because they are “exceedingly” rich. Classy.
Spinelli sees Jason in the hallway and taints my memories of The Karate Kid by referring to himself as “Daniel-san” and Jason as “Mr. Miyagi”. Shyeah, right. Let’s see Jason catch a fly with chopsticks. (Seriously, could I see that? After the toilet scrubbing? This could be fun. Let’s see what else we can make this Totally Different Jason do!) Spinelli gives Jason the thank-you gift of a video game called The Saga of Stone Cold that opens with a silhouette of a guy with a pistol and has graphics roughly equivalent to those I made on my Mac in 1993. Jason "smiles" and looks confused.
_______ Barrett is flashing back to the explosion again, and this time says Jason’s name. She DOES know Jason. Who could have seen this coming?!
Patrick is up on the roof, inquiring as to whether anyone knows where Robin is, while Robin is chatting with Jason in some room that I hope isn’t a supply closet about possibly having a baby in the future. Patrick comes up and overhears this. Who could have seen this coming?! Robin explains that Patrick has commitment issues and would be out the door if she brought up the topic of kids. Jason is the voice of reason (!) and says Robin should give Patrick the benefit of the doubt. Robin says Patrick should have intuited from how excited she was about Stacey that she wants to discuss it, but that instead they’ll just end up going to breakfast wherever Patrick wants to. Patrick looks sad; about the substance of what she said and that she said it to Jason, I imagine.
Because apparently we’ll end every week with a bad cover of a classic song, this week it’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” which starts during Robin and Jason’s heart-to-heart and continues as
- Billy Dee stands in the hall admiring his bracelet (?)
- Lainey gives Sgt. Unsavory a prescription and solicits his promise to come to his next session; then he asks her to get a cup of coffee (?)
- Kelly showers and some guy with a great body comes up naked behind her and they start making out, and it’s Stan! (I admit, I actually did not see that coming; now do I pretend on regular GH that Stan is not sleeping with Kelly while wooing Lainey?)
- Jason’s on his cell phone talking to Sonny, who apparently has called to mock Jason about the whole online video game thing
- Jason gets in the elevator with Billy Dee and instead of angrily pushing a button, smiles at Billy Dee and gently pushes one, which Billy Dee responds to with a “yeeeaaaah” that sounds crazily dirty (I’m going to need help understanding the metaphor of that elevator, by the way)
- Maxie plays Dr. Julian’s guitar with his help
- Robin joins Patrick on the roof, and he asks her to forgive him about Boob Job; Robin makes a joke about getting back at him via a patient who OD'd on Viagra; they laugh (oh fine, he hotly laughs); and he then lives down to her expectations by asking if it’s okay if they go to breakfast at Kelly’s
So I don't know if I'm just in a mood, or if not having Jason Thompson naked in a shower makes every episode after the first pale by comparison, but I thought this week's show was significantly worse than last week's. I was much more optimistic after the pilot than I am right now. Patrick being a total jerk, these writers taking on serious racial issues, Jason in every other scene (but not in prison), clichéd medical stories, way too much Dr. Ford . . . I hope things look up next week. And the week after that too, because we're alternating weeks and I don't want to get stuck with only crappy episodes. I want to say nice things!
...What? I'm serious!