Llanview's Halloween Makes Good (And Bad... So, So Bad)
Oh, Afternoon Television Program, how you toy with me! How you break my heart and fill my heart and anger my heart!
Sweet mercy, what a rollercoaster today's episode was. Should I start with the good and the awesome because I'm super-giddy about it and can't wait to talk about it? Or should I start with the bad so I can get the ranting out of the way and leave you all (well, and myself as there's certainly no guarantee you derived joy from the same things I did) with a little happytime joy on this Halloween night?
Honestly, if this isn't your first time paying a visit to Serial Drama you probably already know what I loved and what I am mad about. I hate being so predictable! Wait! I didn't totally hate the whole business with Aubrey and Rex and Cutter and Stigi. I didn't love it either, but...
Oh it's hopeless. I'm falling right in line with my usual point of view, so why don't we do it the way that feels better at the end and start with the crap.
Ford. Oh, Ford. Saint Doofus of the Martyrdom was on full display today. Y'all, did you know that Ford is a wonderful man? Did you know that he'll do anything for his son? Did you know how magnanimous he is? Did you know that he stands up to mean old bullies who have the nerve to hate him for sexually violating their daughter and preventing her from getting help for her mental illness? Did you know that he rescues the neighbors from flaming bags of dog poo? Did you know that he's so blandly flawless that he's basically a perfect man?
Today was seriously enough to make me puke. And not in a fun too-much-Halloween-candy sort of way (wait, I'm just not realizing I had no Halloween candy. Not cool, world, not cool at all!), but in a every-line-of-his-dialogue-sickens-me sort of way.
And again I need to point out that this isn't about thinking Ford's past sins make him beyond redemption. I don't think that at all. It's about the laziest redemption in history. One day he was a player who was blackmailing serial killers and breaking crazy ladies out of mental hospital, and then next he was a saccharine-sweet, naive, guileless, Dudley Do-Right who never says or does anything wrong because he is just super-duper. You know, I half feel like this is a desperate effort to rehab him with the section of the audience who hates as much as, oh, say, I do. (Because I am on the internet, I know he has a fan club. A huge one. One that thinks he needs no reworking to set him up as a viable and interesting character. I'm not talking about this fan club, as they are more than taken care of already.) I don't mean to overthink how much they actually sit down and try to plot out how to win us over with this guy, but I can't help but feel like they looked at the complaints and thought, "Fine, we'll no longer give them anything to criticize!" and that is just so wrong-headed it makes my stomach turn. No one enjoys Blair or Tea or Clint or Natalie or Todd or John or Dorian (or whoever it is on this show that people like) because they're perfect. Depth, flaws, complications, contradictions. Did Todd catch on as a character because one day he woke up feeling super-guilty about all of the gang-raping and terrorizing and assaulting and accidental-killing and immediately turned into a swell, nice, smiley, schmoopy-goopy Blandy McBlanderson?
I assure you, he did not.
Alas, today we got Ford bopping around Clint asking him annoying questions trying to pretend he's interested in Clint's health and recovery.
Clint: Come on Ford, even you aren't dumb enough to think we could ever get along.
Ford: At least I'm making the effort.
Clint: Well, don't. Because you always will be an unscrupulous dog, led around by his... hormones. [And see? We know Clint's wrong about Ford being like that now, so it doesn't matter that he ever was, nor should Clint hold a grudge about what Ford did to his daughter because y'all, that was, like, so long ago! Am I getting this right? --Ed.] I will never forget how you took advantage of my daughter.
Ford: And you're a miserable old bast-- (notices Bree) miserable old coot, bent on making your daughter's life as difficult as possible. [(a) Really? This is Clint's goal? Good interpretation, Ford. (b) He's such a saint! He won't swear while he's self-righteously insulting Bree's grandfather in front of her! --Ed.] Jessica's accepted my place in Ryder's life, why can't you?
Clint: Because a one-eyed, rabid, three-legged dog would be a better father to Ryder. [Get it? All we see is Ford being the world's most perfect father, so Clint is just wrong, wrong, wrong! --Ed.]
Ford: Sticks and stones. [OMG he's such a good role model! He knows that words can't hurt him! He's out there fighting the good fight for victims of bullying everywhere! He's so dreamy, y'all! --Ed.] I'm not going anywhere. And you can either accept that, or you can rage yourself into another heart attack. [Was that line directed at ME?! Shut up, Ford! I will rage at you all I want! --Ed.] You don't want me in Jessica's life, that's fine. But don't be surprised if that costs you her respect. Go ahead, make my life miserable. Because while you are picking on me, I'm going to be the picture of niceness. I will smile and say, "Yes, sir," even when you blast me when nobody's looking. Because there's nothing I won't do to make my son proud of me [right about here he got a little choked up, just in case we hadn't gotten the point yet. --Ed.] and if you end up looking like a nasty son of a -- S.O.B., then that's on you, but --
Oh for fuck's sake. This is where Clint cut him off and said he'd tolerate him and Jessica and Viki stood in the background looking so impressed by Ford's magnanimity that it was laughable (not as laughable as Jessica being so downright inspired by this saintly behavior that she swallowed her pride and brought Bree by Natalie's party, though). I can't believe Clint's perfectly reasonable anger at Ford has been rewritten as "mean old schoolyard bully picks on poor defenseless fellow when nobody's looking!" Hey, show? Clint and Ford were not your bullying storyline. Do I need to bring up how your originally-well-executed bullying storyline has now devolved into a plastic-surgery-back-from-the-dead-sibling-doppelganger storyline? One of two of those storylines currently on your scripts' pages? Because that's what's going on.
Do not even get me started on the stupid The Man with One Red Shoe discussion and all of Ford's effing potential at the end in his "sweet" moment with Jessica. My stomach just cannot take it.
Okay. My need for a mini-rage-fest has been satiated.
It might surprise you to know that oh my god today's episode was awesome! I know it's hard to take me seriously on that, but I can take it. I can take infuriating garbage when it's balanced with heaping tablespoons of spectacular.
I mean first of all...
Of course. Right?
And second of all...
Of course Todd is dressed as some sort of weird Goth werewolf. I mean that's basically who he was in the nineties, right?
And third of all...
Of course that's how Todd looked at Blair today. Am I supposed to be articulate after that? And he wasted no time starting in on the Halloween double entendres with her. "You know I love a freak, and you have the best candy." "I'm not gonna get any sugar from your bowl?"
And fourth of all...
OH EM GEE, of course little Sam is dressed as Jaws and his mother is dressed as a lifeguard! It is too much to take. And he wanted Todd to go trick-or-treating with him and his mom and got it all sorted that Todd is his uncle and he shouldn't call him Scarface.
And fifth of all, Todd then looked at Blair like this...
For serious, he might have been about to devour her. It would have worked for me.
Sixth of all...
Of course Sam and Todd made jack-o-lanterns together! And yesterday's entry was called "It Gets Cuter"? What was I thinking? It never stops getting cuter.
I need to calm down. But then Todd made fun of Blair, saying she should go throw on a costume! And then she thanked him for being so kind to Victor's little boy and he said, "He's your little boy, too, right?" and I just don't have any brain cells left. Is this what a fix feels like to a drug addict? I've been rendered a total idiot here and it feels so good. And then they started playing Todd and Blair's sad old wistful theme song and Todd started talking to himself about how he needs to tell her he wants her back and then he started practicing telling her. On jack-o-lanterns.
Todd: Blair? I floated on a raft across the ocean to get to you. Broke out of a paramilitary institution, I think you owe me. Wanna make out? (He shakes the Blair-pumpkin head "No.)
And then he tried a more simple, direct approach.
Todd: I love you, Blair. I always have. I want you back.
I need another hit.
Lest you think there was nothing else worth mooning over in today's episode, Viki and Clint took a sweet trip down memory lane.
Viki: Oh, you don't give up, do you? You still are challenging me.
Clint: Well, that's what I do best. Ever since we first met. You remember?
Viki: How could I forget? When I met you, you were an arrogant pain in the... butt. You thought you knew everything there was to know about journalism.
Clint: Joe agreed. That's why he hired me!
Viki: He hired you to keep an eye on me.
Clint: And look at me, still on the job.
Viki: Oh, I think that's a career you can finally retire from!
Clint: No can do. It was a lifetime appointment.
Aww. It got cuter!
As for the rest of the episode, there were some decent moments of Roxy having a good time and Aubrey recognizing Cutter by his nipples and Natalie's excellent smackdown of Aubrey on behalf of Joey, but does any of that really matter when the most important thing in the history of recorded time finally happened?
Eeeee! Cord and Tina kissed! Cord and Tina kissed! I am a child again. This is my happy song. My happy happy song. A Halloween-y kiss. They are so magical!
And we got this little gem...
Tina: Cordero Roberts, you are the world's worst liar! You know how I knew that? 'Cause I'm the world's best. Except... when it comes to you. You always see right through me.
And then they kissed some more! And then they kissed some more! And moved out of the screen like they're totally gonna get it on in their little matching cowboy and cowgirl duds right there in the hay! Do you hear that sound? That's me doing a happy dance here on the isle of Manhattan. What is my name again? I have no idea.
Happy Happy Happy Halloween!