Sunday, October 2, 2016

KNOTS LANDING Episode 060 of 344: INVESTMENTS



Episode Title: Investments

Season 04, Episode 07

Episode 060 of 344

Written by Patricia M. Green  

Directed by Nicholas Sgarro

Original Airdate: Thursday, November 4th, 1982

The Plot (Courtesy of TV.Com): Abby's mad when Gary and Kenny decide to go into business together to produce a record for Ciji, and then when Gary promises money to Richard. She tells Gary if they don't have a partnership she will leave him. Abby makes Richard sign a contract that she will be in control of Gary's investment in Daniel, and if he doesn't sign, she'll make sure he doesn't get any money. Val is upset that Lilimae invited Chip to live with them. Lilimae introduces Chip to Ciji, and they're attracted to one another. Diana gives Chip a car from Knots Landing Motors. Karen and Mack go camping for the weekend, but she refuses to sleep with him and they argue the whole time. Joe tells her that she's in love with Mack and that he's moving back to New York. Karen and Mack talk and realize they're both scared of getting into a relationship. They make love.


                After two straight eps of discussing crossovers and storylines going from show to show with the Dallas Interlude Jock’s Will followed by the KL episode New Beginnings, I’m excited to discuss Investments and get to keep the focus squarely on the glorious world of KL now.  This is a busy week with lots going on for all the characters, so let’s just dive right in.

                I’m still glad we watched Jock’s Will because, right away this week, we see that the whole inheritance plot for Gary is going to be very important and continue to fuel lots of storylines.  See, early in the ep, Richard and Gary are talking and Richard is saying how Gary should invest some of his money into the restaurant, Daniel.  Apparently Richard’s restaurant is becoming quite the happening scene, sold out every night and with reservations two weeks in advance.  As we continue through these eps, we will also see that Richard is having a hard time making a profit, despite all of this, but nevertheless, people are piling into his restaurant, so at least he’s developing a customer basis, no?  It’s not as if he invested all this money into the place and now there’s absolutely nobody coming whatsoever and all the food is going to waste.  Gary doesn’t immediately put money into Daniel, but he is considering it, and that amongst some of his other potential investments provides the catalyst for the story of, um, Investments.

                There are two different places Gary is considering putting his money; one is obviously Richard’s restaurant and the other is to provide a record label for Ciji.  I forgot to mention it last week, but we briefly saw Kenny and Ciji shopping around to find someone who will release her music.  They played Hole in My Heart for some record bigwig and got crickets.  Well, maybe they didn’t get crickets, but the guy was underwhelmed and didn’t feel like taking on Ciji.  Clearly he’s stupid, since I could listen to Ciji sing all day, but whatever.  Now that Kenny and Ciji are good and frustrated about how nobody wants to support them, in comes Gary with his ten million dollars (sorta), potentially interested in investing that money in making his very own record label just for Ciji.  As with his conversation with Richard, he doesn’t just flat out agree, doesn’t pull out money and hand it over, but he’s considering it. 

I want to say that while Gary clearly has a big boner for Ciji (just like Kenny does), I do not think that’s the only reason he wants to help her out.  Ciji’s singing is genuinely good; she has a fabulous voice and, in my opinion, a lot of her covers of songs are superior to the original version.  Of course, at this juncture we’ve only heard her sing a couple of songs, but I’m gonna be keeping track, folks, so wish me luck.  Every time Lisa Hartman sings a new song on the series, I shall add it to the song counter, so let’s take a peek at the counter now, shall we?  At the moment, we’ve only had two songs from her, Open Arms and Hole in My Heart.  We shan't have to wait long, however, before the songs have just piled up and gone well into the double digits, so let’s just have a little patience.  Oh wait, as a matter of fact, we get a new one this week, when Ciji covers that great power ballad Sometimes When We Touch.  Great song as it was originally, now made better by the magic of Lisa Hartman.

Oh yeah, one last thing, and I mean this as a real compliment towards Gary, is that he really wants to take his money and use it to help others.  I don’t know if it’s in this episode or the next one, but at some point he gives a speech to Abs about how he’s not going to be like his father or his brother, only obsessed with getting more money and power for himself; rather, he wants to use the money to make the world a better place.  In this case, Richard is his friend so he wants to help him make Daniel a success, and Ciji is a nice young lady with a real talent, so Gary wants to help get her voice out there and heard by as many people as possible.

However, Abs is having a real hard time hiding her blatant obsession with Gary’s money and what he’s choosing to do with it.  She is also far from pleased when Gary drives her and the kids out to a ranch and talks about how he’s planning to buy it.  He goes on and on about how ranches are the perfect place to raise kids because you’re out and about, interacting with nature and animals and breathing fresh air, but Abby’s having none of it.  She’s probably imagining the smell of horse manure and how dirty her expensive high heels would get wading through mud and thinking about how much she’d prefer a nice fancy mansion or even, perhaps, an amazing beach house (stay tuned!).

As for her obsession with Gary’s money, when she finds out that he’s considering going into the record business with Kenny and Ciji, she comes bursting into the office all angry and demanding a private conversation with Gary.  She gets mad at him for making these decisions without consulting her and says, “I want a partnership, a partnership, Gary; it’s that or it’s nothing.”  Of course, she and Gary are not legally married (indeed, Gary isn’t even officially divorced from Valene yet) and so she has no real right to any of his money nor any right to decide what he does with it, but whatever.  Abs is such a complex character (as most of my beloved KL characters are) that it’s sometimes even hard for me to think of what to say about her or her actions.  I’ve already said that I think she really loves Gary, and I do believe that, but I also believe that she wants to be a rich and fancy Mrs. Gary Ewing living in the lap of luxury.  She doesn’t want to be married to another boring Jeff Cunningham; she wants champagne and caviar and a maid and all the things white people in the ‘80s were supposed to have. 

My Beloved Grammy really hates Abs, by the way, and I mean that in a good way.  Abs is clearly one of the greatest characters in KL history, right?  Clearly one of the greatest charcters in television history, right?  Many fans list her as their very favorite character, and I think it’s specifically because she stirs the pot, because she’s so fascinating to watch, so wicked and yet so kinda likeable all at the same time, not just a flat out evil conniving bitch like she might be played if this was another ‘80s nighttime soap opera.  One of the things My Beloved Grammy always says whenever Abs is up to something wicked onscreen is, “Oooh, I can’t stand her,” and it always makes me smile.  I’m pretty eager to get to some later, even more amazing storylines that display a different side of Abs, such as Olivia’s drug problems during season eight (we’ve still got a ways to go before we get there, of course) to see if My Beloved Grammy either changes her mind on her or just starts to see her in a different way.

One question worth asking is why Gary sticks around for all this.  He’s not an idiot, even though he sometimes does stupid things and has a smidge of a problem with adultery.  He has seen Abby’s ways throughout the course of the last two seasons, and we’ve even had a few scenes where he’s called her on her ways (remember back in the concluding seconds of Power Play when he got so mad at her for trying to stab their partner in the back during that whole methanol thing that seems to have been completely forgotten this season?).  Here, when she comes bursting into the office ready to fight about how Gary’s spending his own inheritance money, part of me wonders why he doesn’t just tell her to take a hike, but then of course I look at her amazing face and sexy hair and those stunning baby blue eyes and I know the reason: Gary can’t resist her.  Hell, could you?  I don’t even like having sex with women and I would have sex with Donna Mills today if I had the opportunity (Donna, call me).  Since Abs first moved into the cul-de-sac, Gary has been in lust.  Every time he starts to see her pulling a J.R.-style evil move or displaying some greediness, he can’t resist the lure of that body and their sex just has to be sublime, wouldn’t you agree?

Anyway, a little bit later, back in Gary’s shitty little apartment that Abs bought him earlier this year and that I don’t think we’re ever gonna see again after this (the shitty little apartment that looks just like Mitch Cooper’s from over on Dallas, making me wonder if the same set was recycled), Abs and Gary have a talk and work things out, sorta.  Gary explains how he hasn’t actually invested any money into Richard or Ciji; he was only considering it.  He says he was waiting to get some figures drawn up or whatever before he was gonna dive in, and then when Abs is like, “But why didn’t you tell me,” he reasonably says, “Because I shouldn’t have to tell you everything.”  If I’m not mistaken, this scene concludes, like so many Gary/Abs scenes from this era, with the two having a shag while a saxophone blares on the soundtrack. 

While all might appear well in their relationship, it’s not too long before we see Abs paying Richard a visit at his restaurant and doing something evil.  In this case, Richard’s like, “So, Gary’s gonna invest in my restaurant,” and then Abs whips out a check along with a big contract for Richard to sign.  Richard starts perusing it and realizes that this contract pretty much gives Gary and Abs all the power over the restaurant, including foreclosure rights if Richard misses a payment by so much as two seconds.  You’ll remember that Karen already invested money in Daniel, but since Karen is a nice person and loves Richard, she of course didn’t pull any vague threats about shutting him down if he misses payments.  When Richard gets up to call Gary and ask about this contract, Abs is like, “Oh, I wouldn’t do that if I were you, Richard.  Gary knows all about this and he’s with me 100% on it, but if you call him now, you’ll never see this money.” 

This is a good scene displaying Abby being duplicitous, but it’s also a smidge unrealistic for me, mostly because of the ease with which Abs gets Richard to sign it.  Seriously, he rolls right over and takes it.  After a few choice words from Abs, Richard gets a sad puppy dog expression on his face and signs the document.  We all know that Richard was a lawyer for over ten years, understands the importance of contracts and legal documents, and so on.  Not only that, but he has witnessed Abby’s ways over the last two years just like Gary, so I find it hard to swallow that he would simply believe her when she says Gary is cool with this contract. 

Meanwhile, what’s going on with Karen and Mack?  Well, remember how they discussed going on a camping trip back in New Beginnings?  This week we get to witness the camping trip, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  This little storyline could easily turn into something out of a sitcom, and it just almost threatens to, but never quite does.  Before the two head off for the trip, we get a quick reminder of the difficulty Mack is having getting Diana to like him.  While they’re driving off, Karen says they should just ditch that subject and focus on their trip into the wilderness.  Obviously things don’t do smoothly in this department.  Mack is an outdoors enthusiast and Karen is not.  Mack likes fishing and Karen does not.  Mack likes sleeping outside and Karen does not.  Mack likes peeing on trees and Karen does not.  Mack likes gutting fishes and Karen does not.  This last one is one of the funniest bits of the ep, by the way, because Mack is cheerfully narrating while he guts the fish, and he’s like, “Karen, you oughta learn how to do this; you cut his belly open and then you pull his guts out!”  FYI, I’m with Karen on this one.  I’ve gone camping a few times in my life and I’ve tried to enjoy it and I have enjoyed some aspects of it, until it comes time to try and fall asleep in a sleeping bag on the hard ground.  It’s hard enough for me to fall asleep in my regular life, so why subject myself to trying to do it on rock hard earth?  Clearly I am not the macho picture of heterosexuality that Mack is, God bless him.

Karen picks a slightly random fight with Mack after the sun has gone down, and I almost can’t remember even the context of this fight, but I believe it has something to do with him being crass or something.  In any case, Mack handles it like a pro by just opening the flap of the tent and gently saying, “Good night, Karen.”  At this point my heart warmed because My Beloved Grammy proclaimed the declaration that she likes Mack’s character, that she likes the way he handles Karen, and she added, “And he’s pretty good looking, too.”  Hells yes, My Beloved Grammy spent so much of season three saying how much she missed Sid and how Sid was her favorite character and I’ve been waiting for Mack to come into the series to charm her, and it looks like it didn’t take long.  He’s only been a part of the cast for seven episodes now, but already he feels established and comfortable, like he is meant to be here.

Karen and Mack have a few more cute little fights during their camping trip.  The next one occurs when Mack is fishing in silence and peace and Karen can’t keep her mouth shut.  He tells her how silence is ideal for fishing and how the very act of fishing is “almost meditative,” but Karen says how if she has a thought, she has to say it out loud, so they argue a bit about that.  There’s a great bit where Karen whispers, “Is this quiet enough?” and then Mack screams, “YES!!!!” real loud back at her.  All this fighting is a symptom of the real issue with this camping trip, and that’s the fact that Karen knows she and Mack are probably going to have sex (I think she says “make love,” but I simply can’t bring myself to use that expression).  Let’s recall that Karen has only slept with two men in her life, Sid Fairgate and Teddy Becker (remember One of a Kind?), so the whole thing is sorta a big deal to her.  I think the real reason she keeps picking fights or annoying Mack is because, deep down, she is afraid of the threat of intimacy with him; she knows that if they keep arguing, they probably won’t screw.

Anyway, it works, cuz they don’t screw.  Instead they drive home angrily (there was a lot of Mack speeding his car angrily into a driveway or parking lot on the disk My Beloved Grammy and I watched, by the way) and Mack drops Karen off and leaves her alone.  Next up is a scene between Karen and Uncle Joe and, praise God, this is Uncle Joe’s last appearance on the series!  I did not expect this, because for whatever reason I thought his final appearance was in the thirteenth episode of this season (I realized my confusion is based on the fact that he has thirteen episodes altogether to his credit, including the ones from late in season three).  First introduced back in Cricket, Uncle Joe is now packing his bags up and returning to New York, where some fancy new editor job that’s really important awaits him.  Karen is a smidge selfish at first (remember that when I say things like this, I say them with love; I could never insult Karen because I just love her too damn much) because she kinda pleads with him to stick around and keep living in Seaview Circle for awhile.  The real reason she wants him around is because she is afraid her and Mack are finished and she needs a strong male presence around the house to keep her spirits boosted.  For the last time, we get some sage advice from Uncle Joe where he explains how he needs to focus on his career goals and this opportunity and he’s been hanging around the house for awhile and it’s time for him to go.  Being that I still thought he had a few more appearances in him, I kinda thought this was gonnna just be a small side story where he’d wind up deciding to stay a few more eps; I was surprised/happy to find that this is his final scene on the series.

For the last time I should probably reiterate that there was nothing really wrong with Uncle Joe or with Stephen Macht’s portrayal of him.  But there was just something about the character that I couldn’t get into, something I found annoying and off-putting.  It might have been the way that he showed up and suddenly got so much attention from the writers; I mean, remember his boring-ass girlfriend from back in Letting Go?  It also might have been the way he seemed to become the advice-giver of the cul-de-sac during his stay on the series, always giving every character some wisdom whether they asked for it or not (although you’ll recall that I did enjoy his talk with Gary with the whole “The gambler wants to lose” analogy back in China Dolls).  So anyway, I just wanna make it clear that I don’t hate this character the way I hate Kenny and Ginger, and it’s also not like he hangs out for a very long time on the series; when you think about it, he’s only in thirteen eps so there are 331 eps without him.  But anyway, I just found him dull and slightly annoying (did I ever mention that I detest whenever he would refer to Karen as “cookie?”) and I’m not too terribly sad to see him exit the show.  I will keep my ears open to see if he ever gets mentioned again in the next ten seasons, by the way, because I’m pretty sure he doesn’t.  He was more plot device than character, and despite being Karen’s brother whom she is allegedly super close to, I don’t think he’s ever brought up or mentioned again.

The last bit of story going on this week that I find significant is the burgeoning relationship between Diana and Chip.  Last week we saw them flirting and dancing a bit, to the horror of Lilimae.  This week, the pair really are hanging out a lot, and we get to see a hint of how Chip is able to manipulate Diana to really become the bitch she was meant to be.  Diana is starting to go bad here, much like Jessica Biel in the fifth season of 7th Heaven (although this story is of course not nearly as stupid).  Chip makes some mention of how he needs a vehicle and Diana proclaims that she can produce one.  Jeez, where can Diana find a random car right away? 

This works nicely with our very last scene of the ep, where Mack comes to visit Karen and the two stand in the driveway and discuss their relationship.  See, while they’re talking, Diana goes running off with Chip and is like, “Bye, Mom, I’m just going off to be a raging mega-bitch with Chip for a little while!”  As they speed away, Karen’s eyes kinda narrow and she’s like, “I think that’s one of my cars,” meaning one of the cars from Knots Landing Motors, of course.  What I really like about this is the subtlety; after Karen mentions this, she kinda forgets about it and it’s not brought up again (at least not on the entire disk we watched upon our most recent visit; we’ll see if this subject comes up a little later in the season).  Instead, Karen’s little line sorta tells us, the viewers, that Diana went off on her own and stole (borrowed?) the car from the dealership so that she and Chip can cruise around. 

After Diana speeds off, Karen tells Mack that the boys are at school and they have the house to themselves.  We all know what this means, and we get a cute little shot of the two of them kinda peering around the neighborhood, making sure nobody’s spying on them through a window or perhaps catching a view of them while out watering the yard or whatever, and then the two disappear into the house and shut the door behind them, just as our “Executive Producers” credit pops up.  That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, it’s the middle of the afternoon and it’s time for Karen and Mack to go inside and have their very first shag. 

Busy episode, huh?  I think we’re gonna find that pretty much every episode from season four and onwards is just packed full of material.  There’s so much going on that I almost struggle to keep up, and it’s so good and so exciting to watch that it’s almost hard for me to take notes.  I’ll start taking notes like a fiend and then become so enraptured in the wonder and magic of KL that my eyes just get glued to the screen and I freeze and stare, the love flowing through me.  For all that, I think I did a pretty great job remembering all the details of the episode, wouldn’t you agree?  So anyway, how was Investments?  Well obviously it was great.  I’m almost afraid that I’m gonna start sounding like a broken record, that pretty much every episode from this point until well into 1991 will culminate with me just saying, “Boy, that was a great episode!”  But what can I say, I have almost no complaints.  Karen and Mack’s story manages to be funny and cute and touching and poignant all at the same time, the saga between Gary and Abs is nighttime drama at its very finest, and the sleazy little manipulations we get to witness between Chip towards Diana plant seeds that are gonna grow into fabulous flowers throughout this season and the next one.  If I have any complaints, it’s just that Abby’s blackmail of Richard came off as a smidge too easy, that I think Richard is smart enough to see through her and probably would have called Gary to check with him before signing such a big, scary legal document.  But that’s a relatively minor complaint in the grand scheme of the episode.

The plot is only gonna thicken next week when we get to know Chip Roberts even better as we dive right into Man in the Middle.

3 comments:

  1. I always like the restaurant set and was sorry to see it go. Richard and Laura getting to have scenes/fights/encounters outside the cul-de-sac made they even more interesting to watch.

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  2. Minor correction: Abby doesn't tell Richard that Gary is okay with the contract. She tells him that his business is with her, and that if he calls Gary (which he threatens to do), he will never see that money because he knows Gary and he knows Abby and he knows that what Abby wants, she usually gets. Richard may be a lawyer, but he's also extremely self-centered and selfish. He is running his restaurant like his law career -- straight into the toilet because he wants success too quickly and he is willing to cut corners and be irresponsible in order to get it.

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  3. Once, when Knots Landing was running on TNT (circa 1991) and on hiatus for the holidays, I watched this episode EVERY DAY, at least several times a day. This one and The Karen/Mack engagement episode (I've lost the name right now). I have no regrets.

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