Thursday, October 26, 2017


Episode Title: The Confession

Season 07, Episode 16

Episode 146 of 344

Written by David Paulsen

Directed by Nick Havinga

Original Airdate: Thursday, January 16th, 1986

The Plot (Courtesy of TV.Com): Jill tells Karen that someone spoke to the Governor on Abby's behalf, but she'll do all she can to help her. Abby tells Karen that they won't choose her because of her drug problem. Karen tells them about her drug problem, but it's too late - the Governor has already chosen Abby. Peter lets Greg know he went to law school. He then visits his mother and they talk about how they'll have a lot of money soon. Cathy and Lilimae are grilled by police. The police tell Mack that they may be charged with murder - after all, Cathy was in prison for murder, and Lilimae was arrested for running over Chip. Cathy has a new saxophone player on her show, Sonny Harkins. He befriends Cathy and says he'll be there if she needs to talk. Unbeknownst to her, he tapes their conversations.

Welcome back for another exciting episode of KL and a fresh new disk of joy for My Beloved Grammy and myself, this particular disk spanning today’s episode, The Confession, through A Very Special Gift.  Okay, so what was going on when we last left off?  Well, the longest running story at this point in the saga would probably be the fallout from Joshua’s death, which continues to have ramifications with this ep.  Okay, so Lilimae is continuing to have trouble dealing with the actual factual of what went down in the final weeks and months of Joshua’s life, but I think she’s starting to get a little better at it by this point.  See, Lilimae and Cathy finally do go to see the police this week and tell the truth, but it takes a little bit of time.  Early in the ep, two detectives come to visit Lilimae at her house (or should I refer to it as “Val’s house”?) and they kinda sorta start grilling her, basically saying that they aren’t here to arrest her but kinda subtly impying that they may return later to do just that.  After they leave, we have a scene of several characters managing to get the truth, or at least part of the truth, out of Lilimae.  I can’t remember exactly how many characters are involved and in my notes I just wrote, “Lilimae interrogated by friends,” but I definitely remember Mack being an important part of this sequence.  In any case, it’s upon the urging of her friends that Lilimae finally decides to do the right thing and go tell the truth.

But wait, there’s still one more thing to talk about in this story, and that’s a kinda fabulous scene of Lilimae all alone, talking to herself in this long, Shakespearean soliloquy.  It takes place inside her bedroom, but at a certain point she walks outside and I realize that Lilimae’s bedroom connects to a fantastic outdoor patio on the upper level of the house, my goodness.  How did Lilimae manage to score the good bedroom?  Why aren’t Ben and Val sleeping in there?  Why didn’t Gary and Val immediately move into this awesome comes-equipped-with-a-patio bedroom as soon as they moved in back in the first episode?  Do any of the other bedrooms in this house have an outdoor patio?  Ugh, such questions.  Anyway, the long scene involves Lilimae sorta talking to Joshua as if he is still alive, and the reason I say the scene is kinda fabulous is because this could fall totally flat in the hands of nearly any other actress, but Julie makes it work.  Basically, the scene is functioning to remind us viewers of everything that’s happened in case we missed a few eps earlier in the season, because Lilimae just sorta goes over the entire Joshua arc all the way up to his death.  This could be bad, right?  It could scream obvious exposition at us viewers or it could just come across as clunky and badly handled, but Julie gives it heart and pathos and I believe her, so the scene really winds up working.

From there, it’s time to tell the truth to the police, but as can be the case on nighttime soap operas, things aren’t going to be quite as easy as our characters might hope.  I liked this scene because it continues a stylistic device that they’ve been using frequently this year, that of the crosscutting from one set of characters to another set of characters and sorta allowing them to finish eachother’s sentences.  I’m clearly obsessed with this device since I noted it as early as episode two, Community Spirit, and christened it The KL Rapid Cut.  Here, Lilimae and Cathy are being interrogated separately, so we get a lot of scenes of the cops, say, asking Cathy some question and then we cut to Lilimae supplying an answer.  As the scene unfolded, I kinda thought (or perhaps I should say “hoped,” to be honest) that this would serve as the final story beats in this whole affair and we’d be ready to wrap all this up pretty soon, move on to some new stuff for Cathy and Lilimae, but it doesn’t quite work out that way.  See, I thought that the cops would see their stories match up perfectly, they’d let them go about their lives, and that would be it, but instead the cops seem to start thinking that, somehow, Lilimae and Cathy were in on a conspiracy to murder Joshua together.

I’ve been watching season seven and enjoying the shit out of it, even going so far as to declare the first ten eps of the season (The Longest Day through Rise and Fall) to be equally as good as the sublimely brilliant and perfect sixth season of the show, and this whole time I’ve been paying close attention and watching really hard to see what other fans seem to dislike so much about this season.  Finally, in the sixteenth episode of the season, I am starting to see some problems, and they arrive pretty much right off the bat in the form of Sonny.  No, this is not James Caan from The Godfather, but rather Sonny Harkins, a new romantic interest for Cathy played by William Ostrander.  Real fast before I talk about why I don’t like this character, I should point out that even though I didn’t recognize him upon viewing this disk of eps, as soon as I looked up his IMDb I was like, “Oh yeah, it’s the guy from Christine!”  This man played Buddy Repperton, the most evil of the evil greaser bullies from that movie, the one who leads his gang of thugs to trash Christine and totally destroy her, only for her to heal herself a little bit later in one of the movie’s best scenes.  He’s also credited for Mulholland Drive, a movie I’ve seen many times but I confess I can’t remember who he was in that.  However, I’ll always remember his role in Christine, so it’s a little strange that I didn’t recognize him, but he does have very different hair on KL than he did in that movie, when he had a sorta Johnny Steele Power of the Night thing going on.

So yeah, let’s just get the cat out of the bag right now as soon as Sonny Harkins as introduced: I don’t like this character and I don’t like this storyline.  He’s only gonna wind up being in four eps, his last being The Key to a Woman’s Heart, but he represents the very first instance I think we’ve seen on the series since we entered the golden era of season four and beyond in which the writers clearly don’t seem to know what to do with one of their main cast members.  Perhaps I should provide a little context before I go on.  Okay, so Cathy is arriving to work at Pacific Cable Whatever and she’s being mobbed by evil paparazzi people seeking a statement on the recent developments in Joshua Rush’s death.  She has to sorta battle her way out of the crowd, but then new character Sonny heroically enters and rescues her, getting her safely inside the station.  Immediately he’s like, “Hi, I’m Sonny; I’ve never been in an ep of KL before, but here I am now and I’m all super charming and nice to you and you’re gonna like me right away!”  As soon as he popped up, I was like, “Uh oh,” and my heart-sinking feeling only intensified as we moved further through the disk.  See, next up is some scene of Cathy doing, um, you know, something, and she’s at the studio, and she’s stressed about something or other, and then here comes Sonny to be all “charming” and “nice” to her and tell her how she’s got a friend in him and she can tell him anything.  As soon as Cathy walks off, however, his eyes narrow and he looks really scary and wicked and I turned to My Beloved Grammy and said, “Okay, so he’s definitely evil,” and she agreed with me.  This is confirmed and underlined and broadcast to us viewers in big bold block letters at the very ending of the episode when he is, again, going on to Cathy about how she can trust him and tell him anything (and she just immediately believes him, argh!!!!), but then as soon as she walks away, he pulls an evil tape recorder out of his pocket and, I guess, we viewers are supposed to gasp and say, “My God, he’s evil?!” 

I should probably take a moment for a brief aside in which I explain my brain and my memories of the series.  You guys might be reading this stuff and being like, “Well duh, of course you know he’s evil because you’ve watched the series before.”  True, I’ve watched the series before, but only once, and while I remember the big stuff, I’ve forgotten a lot of the little details, and this whole Sonny arc had completely fallen out of my brain.  I had no recollection of any of this stuff, not even of the character ever existing.  When he showed up onscreen, I felt a little confused and surprised by the fact that I didn’t remember this at all, but as we move along, I think we’ll see that my brain simply rejected the memory of this storyline because it sucks.  Why does it suck?  I feel like maybe I should save my thoughts for the upcoming eps as the storyline’s intensity (I’m being very liberal in my use of that word) ratchets up, but fuck it, I’ll just sorta blow my wad right now.  Cathy just got out of an abusive and psychotic and dysfunctional relationship two minutes ago (okay, it was five eps ago, but you all get my point) and you would think, realistically, that after going through something like that, she might have some issues with trusting men.  What I would do if I was writing the show (which would be impossible since I was still negative four years old when this was airing on television) is that I would give Cathy some good stories about being unable to trust men, about dating new men but being afraid of them and distrustful of them, convinced that they could all be just like Joshua.   What I would definitely not do is immediately introduce some random, completely made up and new character, have Cathy be super duper trusting of him right off the bat, and then expect the audience to be surprised when he turns out to be wicked.

Also, not to get too spoilerish, but Cathy is going to leave the series pretty soon.  Come season eight, she will be gone and I will be crying and missing her fantastic singing and that warm Lisa Hartman presence that, barring that span of eps from late season four to early season five in which Ciji was dead and Cathy hadn’t been introduced yet, I’ve become very used to ever since season four, when Lisa made her glorious debut to the series.  Anyway, we’ve got about fifteen eps left with Cathy, and I’d really like to see her getting some great material to work with in those fifteen eps, but instead it feels like the writers have no idea what to do with her and are content to just completely repeat what they did throughout season six and the start of season seven.  “Hmmm, so we just killed Joshua, and he was a bad dude, so, um, how about we introduce a new bad dude into Cathy’s life as a possible love interest?”  I think the fact that Cathy is so trusting of this character so quickly kinda tarnishes her a bit in my estimation, because it makes her character seem really really dumb.  During all the Joshua stuff, I never thought Cathy was dumb; I saw her as a woman in love with a man who was, for awhile, sweet and nice to her, unable to understand how he could change so fast and become so violent and scary.  Now, however, she is starting to seem dumb, and it also doesn’t help that this makes the third wicked dude to be a part of Cathy’s life, if we jump back to season five and remember that evil, like, ex-husband guy that was hanging around and bothering her for a few eps.  Hell, if we kinda sorta count Ciji and Cathy as the same character, this makes the fucking fourth wicked dude that she’s been in a relationship with, cuz we all remember Chip Roberts, don’t we?  Like I said, the writers are seeming to just go back over the same tracks, not sure of what new material to give to poor Cathy, and that's just really sad.

Oh yeah, and the last bit of vitriol I’ll spew towards all this Sonny nonsense for this particular ep: I absolutely hate when TV shows introduce some new, stupid, random, completely made up character to be a romantic interest and they give them one stupid little quirk to try and show us how the other character could be charmed by that person.  In the case of Sonny, he plays the saxophone.  Ugh.  So we get a scene of Cathy visiting him at a bar that looks a hell of a lot like Isadora’s (is it Isadora’s?) while he plays his stupid sax.  This is the writers being like, “Ooooh, Cathy’s a musician, and this guy’s a musician, so that’s why she likes him!”  Well, I hated it, and I hated the stupid way that they have a little conversation and then he spins around to face her while he’s playing his stupid sax and backing his stupid self up onto the stupid stage with his stupid band and it’s all just stupid.  

Also, I’m not loving how long all this Joshua death fallout stuff is lasting.  In the past, I have said how I love the slow-burn storytelling of KL, how I love that they don’t rush through stories too fast just to get to the next big epic drama, that instead they let the drama unfold organically and naturally and it works so much better that way.  However, in this instance it feels like it’s just going on forever; this is now the sixth episode since Joshua died and yet we’re still dealing with Lilimae and Cathy and the police not believing them and I am just ready for it to move on.  Even so, this story doesn’t bother me as much as the Sonny stuff does.  It’s a little boring and slow and it’s going on too long, but it’s not as stupid as the Sonny thing; it’s merely testing my patience at this point.  However, there is still one aspect to this that I liked and appreciated, and that is a small little scene where one of the cops mentions how Cathy has a previous murder charge and Lilimae tried to run over Chip with her car.  You all know how much I love callbacks of this sort, demonstrating that the writers remember where the characters have been and like to refresh us about events that have happened years and years ago.  This is something about KL I really appreciate and feel it does way better than Dallas, where after some bit of drama was wrapped up, the writers would usually just move on and forget about it.  A perfect example is the dead body of Kristin showing up floating in the Southfork pool.  For ten more years, the characters swam happily in that pool and we never once got one little line where something said, “Gee, isn’t it kinda weird for us to just keep swimming in this pool even though a dead body was found in it?” 

If it sounds like I’m doing a lot of bitching about this ep, I’m gonna shift gears here and talk about a scene I positively loved and have about a million things to say about.  This also goes right back to what I was just discussing, about how the characters deal with dramas and turmoil that are not shuffled under the carpet and forgotten immediately.  In this instance, we have a fabulous callback to Karen’s pill popping days of season five.  You all remember how Karen wants to get that spot on the governor’s planning committee?  And how Abs is trying to steal the spot from her?  Well, in this ep we get a great Karen/Abs confrontation that gave me a KL boner in which Karen says how Abs is only doing this to be spiteful, because she’s angry that Gary is no longer listening to her vote or her opinions on Lotus Point issues and is always backing up Karen.  Abs gets real wicked in this scene by saying how she wishes Karen good luck and then saying something like, “I wonder how the governor would feel if he knew that you had a drug problem.”  Ugh, so good, and you can really see the disgust in Karen’s face when she says, “I can’t even believe that you’re bringing this up.”  This scene is great, but it’s actually the next scene that I love even more.

Karen meets with J.B. (God yes; I’m so glad she’s here to stay now) along with some governor guy or commissioner guy or whatever, played by Sid Conrad, who is a Transmorpher (he appeared in a 1985 Dallas called Lockup in Laredo).  In the scene, Karen is facing a real moral quandary, but she does the correct, ethical thing and tells the Transmorpher about her season five drug problem.  She is very honest and forthright and says how she got addicted to prescription pills and had to go to rehab to get over her problem, but that she’s clean now and has been for two years.  The real kicker of the scene is that the Transmorpher looks kinda surprised and uncomfortable and then he reveals that she didn’t need to volunteer any of that information because the governor has already decided to give Abs this spot as part of the planning commission.  Ugh, poor Karen looks so dejected at this news and your heart really goes out to her. 

I love this scene very much, and it’s always stuck with me and I’ve always remembered it from first viewing.  I think by this point in my college days, I had officially been converted into a fulltime KL fan and I was running around telling anyone who would listen that not only is KL a brilliant show, but it’s even better than Dallas.  During that time, I remember watching this scene and loving the fact that Karen has to make a moral decision and that she wrestles with that decision, does the right thing, and then winds up kinda humiliated because of it.  One of the things I love about KL in general is that you have lots of characters who are actually good, decent, ethical people, and you can actually watch them and take some cues from them for how to live an ethical life, while at the same time these characters never become boring.  On lots of shows, the nice characters are the least interesting ones, but on KL, all the characters are super interesting and compelling, whether they lean towards the wicked, like Abs, or they lean towards the good side, like Karen.  Also, I want to note that David Paulsen wrote this episode and even though I’m being critical of some aspects of this script, I’m continually impressed by how many callbacks he manages to infuse into his scripts.  This makes me wonder if he was a regular KL viewer even as he worked on a number of seasons of Dallas.  Do you think that he would work on Dallas but just enjoyed watching KL on Thursday nights because he simply liked the show?  Or do you think he got the job of supervising producer for this season and did a real quick marathon of the first six seasons of the show to get up to date?  Or, a third option, do you think he just sat down with established writers and producers and David Jacobs and Michael Filerman and they gave him a rundown of what all the characters had gone through throughout the previous 130 eps?  Ugh, such questions I may never have answers to, but David Paulsen, if you’re reading this, please reach out to me because I now have Skype and I can easily conduct an interview with you this way and there are such questions I want to ask you.

Let’s talk about Greg, who has actually managed to steal My Beloved Grammy’s heart by this point in the saga, as she now declares that he is her favorite character on the show.  If you wanna track My Beloved Grammy’s character opinions, during the first two seasons, she said Karen and Sid were her favorite characters, and during season three it was Karen.  Somewhere during season six, she told me that Mack was now her favorite character, but now as we are deep into season seven, Mack has been trumped by Greg Sumner.  My Beloved Grammy laughs at nearly everything Greg says and she says all of his lines of dialogue are hysterical and she likes his storylines on the series the best.  Anyway, the most important thing to note about Greg right off the bat is that we hit Cigar #10 on the Sumner Cigar Counter.  We don’t get a lot of time with this cigar, as the scene cuts just after it’s been lit, but in any case, Greg puts it in his mouth in his sexy office while speaking with Peter and Peter lights it with one of those fabulous gigantic table lighters that have gone out of style since everyone quit smoking. 

Aside from Cigar #10, we also have the first shag between Laura in Greg in what feels like forever.  Seriously, when was their last shag?  I feel like it was probably in late season six in that ep where Ava Gardner pissed off Laura so she rushed home to her bathtub and Greg came in and put his hand under the bubbles (I just double checked my notes and that was episode 128, One Day in a Row).  After that, Ava and Abs pulled their little scheme to break up Laura and Greg and I’m pretty certain the two haven’t shagged since then, although obviously Sumner has been shagging call girls (“Whatever”) to fill the void.  Well anyway, it’s glorious to see Laura and Greg lying naked in bed together all snuggled up after a good, solid evening of nonviolent sex, and I also loved a little detail here where Greg says, “You’ve got a great neck.” Why do I love this detail?  Because it calls back to the first time we saw that Greg was interested in Laura, when he got up all close to her and smelled her neck way back somewhere in season five.  Greg liked her neck then and he likes her neck now.  Also, Greg tells Laura, “I could get used to having you around again,” which made my thighs melt.  Greg and Laura, man; I remember enjoying this couple upon first viewing but I don’t remember enjoying them this much.  Honestly, at this point in the saga, they might be my favorite couple on the series.

The last really important bit of business for this ep is the introduction of a new character, Sylvia Lean, played by Ruth Roman, who’s kinda a big deal and has been in a ton of stuff, her first movie credit dating all the way back to 1943.  In the pantheon of old famous women showing up on KL, I’d say she’s not up there with Ava Gardner, but she’s still a name, and My Beloved Grammy immediately recognized her name in the guest credits at the start and said how she used to see her in a ton of movies.  Her stint on KL will span seventeen eps (according to IMDb so, again, take that with a pinch of salt) and she will make her last appearance in 1987 with My True Love.  Actually, her stint on KL represents some of her last acting ever, because all that’s left after this is three episodes of Murder, She Wrote.  Anyway, Sylvia is introduced in an inauspicious way, which I always appreciate, just cooking up something nice and yummy in her little kitchen.  Then Peter comes in and gives her a kiss on the cheek and we quickly establish that she is his mother.  That’s told to us directly, but the rest of the dialogue in the scene deliberately stays on the vague side, with them talking about how soon they will be coming into a lot of money.  I’m enjoying this development and the slow way it’s unfolding, and I’m also finding myself enjoying the character of Peter Hollister a lot more than I remember from first viewing.  This is all we get with these two together for this week, but this is major seed planting and this shall all grow into big flowers as we power along through this season and the next one.

I’d say that about does it for my thoughts on The Confession.  Hmmm, what to say in my wrap-up thoughts?  This ep had lots of things I like, especially all those nice callbacks to events from the past, any scene with Laura and Greg, and the introduction of Sylvia into the story.  At the same time, I was bored by the continuing Lilimae developments, aside from her lovely soliloquy scene, and I hated the Sonny/Cathy developments, the first time I have used the word “hated” towards anything relating to KL since way back in season three’s Silver Shadows.  So it was a mixed bag, and even though I really passionately liked the things I liked about this ep, those flaws damaged it for me, so I’m actually gonna declare this the worst episode of the season that we’ve seen thus far.  Hopefully this is just a little speedbump and not a harbinger of how the rest of the season shall unfold, because I remember just loving this season and being baffled by so many fans seeming to have major issues with it.

Anyway, we’ll see how these developments continue to play out as we jump into our next episode, Alterations.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

KNOTS LANDING Episode 145 of 344: WEB OF LIES

Episode Title: Web of Lies

Season 07, Episode 15

Episode 145 of 344

Directed by Nicholas Sgarro

Original Airdate: Thursday, January 9th, 1986

The Plot (Courtesy of TV.Com): When Abby hears that Karen is being considered for the planning commission, she tells Greg that she wants the seat. Abby tries to talk to Gary, but he says it's over, and he invites Jill for a drink. Ben is angry that Gary knows about the twins, but Val swears she didn't tell him. Greg sends Laura a note that says "I Love You Very Much" and takes her out for a romantic evening. Laura asks Mack how she can get divorced, since she can't find Richard. Cathy still wants to tell the truth, and is depressed over the situation. Ben tries to cheer her up. Cathy finally tells Mack the truth, and Mack tells Val to talk to Lilimae. Val tries, but Lilimae says it would tarnish Joshua's memory. Finally, Val gets through to her by saying that Kenny has a mother, too. Lilimae goes to the police station.

                Welcome to Web of Lies, a very accurate title for this ep as we are now deep into, well, a web of lies involving many characters.  The most obvious example of this would clearly be Lilimae/Cathy/Linda The Waitress/Arthur Fonzarelli, so let’s get started with all that stuff first, shall we?  Okay, so in the concluding moments of Unbroken Bonds, we found out that, due to Lilimae’s lies, Arthur Fonzarelli was being arrested for the murder of Joshua.  Cathy’s conscious is eating away at her while Lilimae continues to stay silent, insisting that they must not tell anyone the truth about the circumstances surrounding Joshua’s death.  Honestly, the exact details of this storyline sorta slip my mind for this ep and it appears that my notes spent a lot more time focusing on other characters and events, although I do remember the conclusion of this ep, which is that Lilimae finally agrees to go and tell the truth.  What brings her to this decision?  Well, Cathy finally goes off and tells the truth to Mack and Karen, in a scene that I remember enjoying (I think she cries and stuff).  After that, Mack speaks with Val about it, probably knowing that she’s not a card carrying member of The Joshua Rush Fan Club and probably won’t throw a hissy fit if she finds out the truth of what was going on before her brother took that high dive.  Well, Val isn’t particularly shocked to hear the truth, probably because she was one of the first people to see Joshua’s true colors right around the time she returned from being Verna over in Tennessee (remember that spooky-ass scene between her and Joshua in the kitchen?) and she was also one of the first people to speak out against him when he became violent.  She and Lilimae have a nice little scene together where Lilimae goes on about how she doesn’t want people to know the truth and besmirch Joshua’s memory, but Val reminds her that Arthur Fonzarelli has a mother, as well, and that she's going to be suffering plenty if her son is sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

                I honestly like this storyline, I really do, and I’m sorry to be so dismissive of it two eps in a row, but once again, it’s just because I find myself so much more compelled by the other events throughout the ep.  Why don’t we go ahead and shift our focus over to Greg and Laura and all that good stuff?  According to my notes, we have another cigar to add to The Sumner Cigar Counter.  This makes Cigar #9, and it shows up when he’s in his bathrobe and speaking with Peter at his office.  Let’s take a parlay to speak about cigars.  I am actually a big fan of cigars, although as with all tobacco products, they are hazardous to your health so I try to limit my intake of cigars to a couple of times a year.  So yeah, I like cigars, they are delicious and fabulous, especially when paired with a nice liquor or a fine wine, but I’ll be the first to admit that they are smelly.  Actually, it’s not so much the smell while they are being smoked, which I would argue is rather pleasant (cigar smoke tends to have something of a cinnamon undercurrent that’s kinda pleasant to smell, unlike the harsh tar-and-rat-poison smell of cigarettes), but rather the smell of yourself and your clothes after you’ve finally finished a big fat cigar.  Whenever I’m finished up with a cigar, I usually hop into the shower and change my clothes and do a thorough teeth-brushing and mouthwashing to get the smell off of myself.  Anyway, my basic point is that I love watching Greg smoke his cigars, but when I see that he’s all dressed up in his bathrobe and probably ready to head to bed, all while smoking the shit out of a giant cigar, I do find myself wondering how funky he must smell.  Do you think he at least bothers to do the brushing and mouthwashing thing before going to sleep or do you think he climbs into bed with the cigar in his mouth and then just puts it into an ashtray by his bedside and drifts into a peaceful, alcohol-infused sleep?  I’m pretty comfortable voting for the latter option, which would also mean his bedsheets would stink like old, stale cigar smoke.  In any case, it doesn’t really matter because he’s so unbelievably charismatic that it doesn’t matter if he smells like a smashed-out cigar all the livelong day; when you have the kind of charm that he carries with him, you can smell like anything you wish to.

                Greg’s best moment this ep comes when he serves up another nice fancy dinner to Laura, but this time it comes complete with a love note to her, and this is BIG STUFF, ladies and gentlemen, so let’s take note of it.  He attaches this cute, sweet note to a tray or something and when Laura reads it, it goes on about how they can go out to eat at any restaurant she wants to go to, and then it concludes with, “PS: I Love You Very Much,” and then Greg sorta smirks and says, “I especially like that last part.”  Ugh, I don’t even have a vagina, but I could still feel my vagina loosening up a little because of how unbelievably charming and cute this letter was.  With the type of person Greg is, you can understand why he might be hard to get close to, but he definitely loves Laura and I really appreciate the fact that he tells her so.  You know what, I loved this scene so much that I’m doing it, here it comes, folks; I am officially declaring that, if you put a gun to my head and told me I must pick between watching Laura and Richard or watching Laura and Greg, I would pick Laura and Greg.  They are just fucking amazing whenever they are onscreen together, and they are both such interesting characters and they are both played by such wonderful actors and I just fucking love their relationship and could watch them all day every day. 

                Oh yeah, one last little thing Laura related that I noted and found interesting.  Late in the ep, she asks Mack about the proper procedures necessary to get an official divorce from Richard, who remains MIA and has been MIA since 1983.  I found this very interesting because, if I were watching this as a first time viewer in 1986, I think I would predict that Richard is about to return unexpectedly.  There’s just something about the feeling I get from Laura bringing up Richard at this juncture and mentioning divorce.  I think I would probably think that what’s about to happen is Laura and Greg decide to get married and, at that precise moment, Richard returns from wherever he’s been and tells Laura he still loves her and wants to be with her.  Spoiler alert, but that’s not gonna happen, but it’s just an alternate storyline that I feel like I could see happening, particularly if I was watching all of this week-to-week, having no idea what could possibly come next.

                While the relationship of Greg and Laura is returning to the forefront and my thighs are melting, we also have an interesting little scene between Abs and Peter Hollister taking place in the slowest elevator of all time.  I’ve always enjoyed this trope, by the way, which happens in tons of movies and TV shows, and that would be the trope of people standing in an elevator and having a conversation that goes on for seventeen minutes all while the elevator goes down just a couple of floors.  Poison Ivy is a great example of this, as we have a scene between Tom Skeritt and some dude in an elevator, and I’m fairly certain they are only going down one floor, yet they are able to have a long and intimate conversation about life together.  Well, that happens here, because this scene lasts, as I said, seventeen minutes, and Abs and Peter have plenty of time to talk and get to know each other.  I’m sure important stuff happens in this scene and all that, but sorry, I’ve forgotten it, and whatever, Peter’s gonna be with us for awhile and I’m sure we’ll get lots more scenes of him and Abs together, so I’ll pay more attention later down the line.  In this case, I was more interested in how slow the elevator was and forgot to pay attention to the dialogue, so I do apologize for that.

                Meanwhile, we have the stirrings of a possible affair between Ben and Cathy.  I remember this happening, but as I think I mentioned before, my memories were that the affair kinda came out of nowhere, and now I’m seeing that this is not so.  Nope, instead the affair is being nicely built up to and hinted at good and early, and we saw the first hints of Ben starting to get a boner for Cathy back when Joshua was still alive, and now that boner is just getting bigger.  This episode has a positively fantastic and amazing scene that I’d forgotten all about between the two of them, a scene taking place late at night at Pacific Cable Whatever.  Ugh, yes, I love this so, and I hate to keep saying this over and over again, but these characters are sooooooo interesting; couldn’t you just watch them all day?  See, the scene is basically that, through a series of circumstances, both Ben and Cathy are still hanging around late while everyone else has gone home, but then they start talking and bonding and all that, and then when we cut back to them after awhile, they are playing the organ together and acting, in the words of Jan Brady, positively goofy. 

                I gotta say I like seeing these two acting positively goofy together, although My Beloved Grammy asked a question that made me do some serious thinking.  She asks if Ben is drunk in this scene, and after she mentioned it, I did notice that he’s acting elated and silly in a way that does seem slightly drunken.  Hmmm, does Ben keep a secret bottle in his office like Lou Grant or something?  Or is he just drunk on life at this moment and enjoying his time with Cathy?  See, even though he acts sorta drunken, we don’t see a bottle or anything lying around, so I guess that we could also ask if Douglas Sheehan was pulling a Ken Kercheval and just getting drunk while acting, but I also have no way to answer this question aside from tracking Douglas Sheehan down, forcing him to watch this scene with me, and then ask him if he was drunk in real life while filming it.  What do you think?

                I also wanna take a moment to talk about people having affairs and how I’m not nearly as judgmental about it as many people tend to be, mostly because I can understand the urge and the reasons why a person might have an affair (also, just to be clear, I have never had an affair; I’ve always maintained relationships where I instigate The Honesty Policy and I never tell a lie about anything when I’m dating someone).  In this case, I think it’s another example of that fine, special, perfect, brilliant KL writing in which all the characters are rich, complex, and intricate individuals.  It’s been a couple of minutes since I talked some shit about Dallas, so now seems like a good opportunity.  On Dallas, almost all of the affairs conducted by any character (it usually tended to be J.R. or Sue Ellen cheating on eachother) tended to feel like the writers reaching for drama, throwing in an affair to be soapy and dramatic without particularly caring about exploring the rich complexities of the characters.  It was more like, “Oh, Sue Ellen’s just been sitting around the house reading and being boring for a couple of eps, um, let’s have her have an affair with, um... Jack Scalia!”  With KL, however, it all feels complex and layered and I find myself able to connect to all the characters.  Follow me along here on this long rant.

                Ben is a good person.  He is inherently decent and honest and strives to do the right thing in his life.  However, at the same time, he just married Val and he can already see the effect Gary has on her life along with the fact that Gary probably isn’t going anywhere ever; he will always be a huge part of Val’s life.  Also, Ben is trying to raise and love two kids who he knows are actually biologically related to Gary, and he knows that Gary knows that, as well.  Finally, he and Val have most likely not had a good shag since their honeymoon when they have some time alone; I imagine that whenever they try to get a good shag going together, one of the babies cries or takes a shit or needs to be fed or any of those other awful things that babies do that require so much time and attention.  So Ben is probably horny as fuck, which is a natural biological feeling because sex is an inherent need for all humans, no matter what (and no matter how much religious people like to try and pretend it’s not) as well as feeling kinda depressed and inadequate about how he can’t possibly compete with Gary, Val’s one true soulmate since she was fifteen years old.  Meanwhile, he’s starting to bond with Cathy in a special way because of her sharing secrets with him, such as how Joshua really treated her.  You put all those factors together and, if Cathy and Ben were to have an affair, I wouldn’t feel judgmental towards them because of all those factors.  Yet, at the same time, Val is also a good person who strives to be a good wife towards Ben.  She can’t control the fact that Gary is her soulmate; it just is and it’s just always been that way.  She also can’t control the fact that the babies are Gary’s; they had their little shag way back in season five and it came and went and that’s how she got pregnant.  So, I don’t want to see Val cheated on and hurt, but I also understand why Ben might stray from her.  It’s just the great writing, the fascinating characters, and the dynamic acting that all comes together to create this glorious cocktail of joy and complexity. 

                Oooh, and speaking of affairs, who do we have going out for a nice intimate dinner this ep?  Why, it’s Gary and J.B.!  Two characters I love with all of my heart and soul are now coming together and it’s most fabulous to witness.  Again, I love the way Gary is so blatantly having affairs, not even bothering to hide it from Abs, because when Abs confronts him about it, he’s just super direct with her and says how they barely have a marriage anymore and he’s gonna do whatever he wants.  Yup, we can all tell that Gary is already feeling emotionally divorced from Abs, so it’s only a matter of time before they go ahead and get a real, physical divorce, as well.  In the meantime, we viewers get to watch Gary and J.B. interact together, something to relish. 

                Also, I like how two separate little stories collide this week when Gary and J.B. are spotted by Mack and Karen.  See, Mack and Karen are getting all nice and dressed up and going out to a big fancy dinner together, which I appreciated.  This demonstrates how they keep the spark alive in their marriage, because they still act silly together and they still enjoy going out and getting all dressed up and having a big romantic dinner together.  If I ever make the horrible, crushing mistake of getting married, I’ll probably take a cue from Karen and Mack’s marriage by doing stuff like this, because I feel it’s very important.  Anyway, they’re all dressed up and cute and ready to eat at this fancy place when they spot Gary and J.B. and have a little conversation with them.  They invite them to eat with them and Gary and J.B. decline, saying how they already ate, and then they walk off.  They walk off, but I’m pretty sure they don’t shag just yet.  Gary escorts J.B. to the elevator and says something like, “Can I come up?” and she says they’d better not.  Ugh, I want them to shag, I want it so bad, but I have the feeling (based on my memories, mostly), that we won’t have to wait too long to see this shag taking place.

                While Gary is off charming J.B. and having romantic dinners with her, Abs is sitting home at Westfork, looking bored and reading magazines by the fireplace.  I think we are starting to get the first hints of that super rebellious Olivia, as well, because she’s starting to get pretty darn sassy with her mother.  In this ep, she has an argument with Abs about what color fingernail polish she can wear, and Abs says how she can wear clear polish and that’s it (she might have mentioned some other color, but I forgot) and then Olivia gets this great glare on her face and says, “No wonder Gary doesn’t want to come home anymore.”  Ooooh, nice burn, Olivia, and you can tell it really works on Abs, who probably knows that her marriage is on its last legs. 

                The last, and probably most important, thing worth talking about in this ep is the fact that we see Sexy Michael shirtless and playing basketball in a scene that made me want to start masturbating right away.  Fortunately, I was able to control myself for the sake of My Beloved Grammy, but I definitely had a real Dr. Strangelove battle with my hands during this sequence, because fuck, the wardrobe department has once again dressed Sexy Michael up in almost nothing, no shirt, just the shortest pair of ‘80s short shorts imaginable.  Again, I am convinced that the producers and writers and everyone were now well aware of what a fucking goldmine they had in Sexy Michael, as they probably knew that their fan-base was 99.9% gay men (I’m just kinda kidding here, by the way; I know that KL has a rich and diverse fan-base of both men and women, some straight, some gay, some bi, Bob Loblaw).  I wonder if Pat Petersen knew how fucking beautiful and stunning and perfect his body was when he was playing out scenes like this, or do you think he was just like, “Okay, so in this scene I’m playing basketball shirtless?  Okay, got it”?  This is still a decade or two before all straight boys suddenly became super insecure and uncomfortable with their bodies and they would still play shirtless basketball and shower together after team sports and stuff like that, something that, in my opinion, is a very important of male bonding for both straight and gay boys and something that sadly seems to have died off in the 21st century.  I guess everyone is so puritanical and full of body shame nowadays that we have forgotten that everyone has bodies and God made all of our bodies and they are all beautiful, although obviously no body has ever been more beautiful than Sexy Michael’s body right here, which is clearly the greatest work of art that God has ever created in his entire time of creating bodies. 

                Okay, so enough about me drooling over Sexy Michael and thinking about how I need to call Doc Brown up so I can travel back in time and sodomize 1986 Pat Petersen; how was this ep?  It was good, really good.  I should take this moment to say that I think we hit two separate crescendos of drama this season, the first being the culmination of Joshua’s time on the show and the second being Gary blowing up Empire Valley, and now I think we are sorta in a seeds-planting stage of the season, getting new and exciting plotpoints fired up for the second half of the season.  However, I’m still captivated by everything going on, I still think the show has the best cast on television at this point, and I still think each and every character is fascinating and intricate.  We are now precisely halfway through season seven, and I am still enjoying the shit out of the series.  With that said, let’s move right along to our next episode, entitled The Confession.

Thursday, October 12, 2017


Episode Title: Unbroken Bonds

Season 07, Episode 14

Episode 144 of 344

Directed by Roy Campanella II

Original Airdate: Thursday, January 2nd, 1986

The Plot (Courtesy of TV.Com): Peter tells Laura that Greg needs her, so she invites him to dinner. Gary tells Val that he knows the twins are his. She tells him that he needs to respect that she, Ben, and the twins are a family. Gary continues to hang around the twins, so Ben tells Gary it has to stop. Abby gets mad when Gary sides with Karen on a Lotus Point issue. He says that he trusts Karen, and doesn't trust Abby, so he will always side with Karen, and she'd better get used to it. Gary also sleeps with another woman. Jill is in town and tells Karen the Governor wants to know if she'd be interested in being on the State Planning Commission. Karen says yes. Jill is very cool towards Mack, who introduces Gary to Jill. Kenny is arrested for Joshua's murder. Cathy wants to tell the truth, but Lilimae says they will release him if they keep quiet. However, Kenny is charged with the murder.

Welcome to Unbroken Bonds.  Fuck, there’s a lot to talk about this ep, and it’s all good stuff, really good stuff, so let’s just dive right in and get started with Linda The Waitress and Arthur Fonzarelli.  You’ll all remember how Arthur Fonzarelli brought a six pack over to Linda The Waitress’s apartment and bragged about how he "was there” when Joshua died and “saw the whole thing,” right?  And you all remember how Linda The Waitress went to see Lilimae and when she said something about Joshua killing himself, Lilimae got angry and snapped, “He did not;” you all remember that, right?  Then Linda The Waitress took it upon herself to go to the police and declare that Arthur Fonzarelli killed Joshua, and that glides us nicely right into the very first scene of this ep, which is her at the police station.

Things don’t go so well for Arthur Fonzarelli this week, because Lilimae is holding strong in her resistance against telling anyone the truth of what happened.  Cathy is really plagued with guilt at this point, wanting to just tell the truth and then move on with things, but Lilimae keeps saying how they can’t tell people the truth, especially not at this point when the lie has gone on so long.  Now, I’m of course a proponent of honesty, and this is kinda a prime example of why.  You tell one lie, thinking it’s not a big deal and you’ll be able to move past it, but it snowballs into a million other lies and eventually other people start being hurt by your lies.  In this case, I certainly don’t like Arthur Fonzarelli and I certainly don’t think he’s exactly a great, stand-up kinda guy, but he didn’t kill Joshua and he doesn’t deserve to go to jail for his murder.

My notes are kinda loopy on this ep (probably because I was so gripped), so forgive me if I’m mistaking this ep for the next one, but I’m fairly certain it is in this ep that Arthur Fonzarelli is sent in for questioning and a police lineup and Cathy and Lilimae are both asked down to the station to identify the man.  The police lineup is filled with lots of scary looking dudes, one of whom is Arthur Fonzarelli, and I’m sorry, but for the life of me I can’t remember if either Lilimae or Cathy say, “Oh, yeah, it’s that one guy there, the one who looks like an extra from Grease 2,” or if they choose to just remain silent about the matter.  I’m pretty sure they pick the latter option, just sorta saying, “Oh, we don’t recognize any of these guys,” or whatever, but by the conclusion of the ep, for some reason or other, Arthur Fonzarelli has been charged with Joshua’s murder.

Do I like this storyline?  Well, personally, yes, I do, but I’d be curious to see what other fans think of it.  I know some people seem to have a real problem with season seven and especially with season seven after Joshua’s had his big rise and fall, but so far I think the show is powering along just fine, and that includes this story.  They could kill Joshua and just forget about him, but we all know the show don’t play that way.  We saw how they killed Sid and then spent a whole year dealing with Karen’s grief and working at being a single mom, and I think the same is true here.  It wouldn’t be good drama to have Joshua fall off the roof and die and then just move on and pretend he never existed; we need to deal with ramifications and it’s also not like they invented Arthur Fonzarelli and he’s coming completely out of nowhere now; he was introduced when Joshua was still alive and he was hanging around the big building and stuff right before Joshua took his plunge.

So yeah, I like this story, but it’s actually probably my least favorite story going on right around now because I find all this other shit sooooooo compelling.  Why don’t we start with the triumphant return of the one, the only, J.B. (and that’s “Jill Bennett” for those of you who have already forgotten my abbreviation; it’s not “James Bond”).  God, yes, and I’m so glad I didn’t peek ahead to see when she’d be coming back, because it was so wonderful to be powering through this disk and then be so delightfully surprised when she reemerged.  You’ll all remember that J.B. was hanging around at the start of the season, crushing on Mack, dealing with the stolen baby cases, all that crap, and then she confessed that she had fallen in love with Mack and she left town, but now she’s back!  I think she’s BACK BACK, by the way, that she doesn’t run off for a series of eps again, not until her glorious time on the show finally comes to an end around 1989.  Until then, we can soak up all the J.B. a person could possibly need in their life, and I thank God for that, I truly do.

So what’s J.B. up to right about now?  Turns out she’s in town to talk to Karen, but she also makes some sort of mention about how she’s been coming back to town frequently throughout the last arc of eps while Joshua was going crazy and dying.  This time she’s interested in offering Karen a job with the governor’s planning commission, or something like that.  I don’t honestly know what a “planning commission” even is, but I don’t think it’s particularly important.  Perhaps they plan parties, perhaps they plan, like, big important government stuff, perhaps they plan stupid and unnecessary road construction projects that take years and have no actual purpose except to justify more money being given to construction projects (not to say that I’m bitter about how the exact road I take to work every day has been “under construction” for the last 72 years and now that they’ve finally completed it, all that’s changed is the addition of one stupid new stoplight).  Anyway, Karen is very excited about this opportunity, but if I recall correctly, it’s not like she’s handed the job outright; it’s more that the governor is interested in talking to her, but she’ll still have to have an interview and all that good stuff.  This should build more and more over the course of the next few eps, so stay tuned. 

So Laura and Greg have sure been split up for awhile, haven’t they?  Fortunately, in Unbroken Bonds, Laura finally manages to get past the gatekeeper known as Peter Hollister and have a private dinner with Greg, and it’s just lovely to have the two of them back onscreen together, that sizzling chemistry all fired up and ready to go again.  As I sat watching them, I tried to decide who I like watching more: Richard and Laura or Greg and Laura.  God, talk about your Sophie’s Choice decisions (except obviously this decision is much, much harder); how can one possibly pick?  On the one hand, the Laura/Richard dynamic of seasons one through four was my favorite thing about those early years and they were the most fascinating couple on the cul-de-sac throughout those years.  Watching their fights and inner turmoil was just dynamic drama and also superbly realistic and splendidly acted, but now here we are with Laura and Greg and it’s equally good in a totally different way.  In this case, while Richard and Laura always felt dysfunctional, Greg and Laura clearly have a deep and special love for each other and I think the most beautiful thing about their love is how fantastically unplanned it’s all been.  I can’t remember what ep it was, but it was somewhere in season five that Greg took it upon himself to get up close to Laura and her mullet and smell her neck, and then they started shagging, but somewhere along the line, we viewers started to really see that this wasn’t just a couple having a fun shag together, but a couple that loved each other.  Richard was the most fascinating man on the show during the first four seasons, but now I’m willing to say that Greg is the most fascinating man on the show at the moment, and he’s played with such oozing charisma by Devane that, fuck, I just can’t decide.  For now, I’m gonna put that question up on a shelf and not even bother to compare, because they are both so perfect in their own ways. 

I loved seeing Laura and Greg’s little dinner together, which takes place outside on Greg’s absolutely fabulous balcony outside of his absolutely fabulous office in his absolutely fabulous skyrise.  It’s wonderful to see the two together, but Greg is feeling down right now, seeing his life as an absolute failure.  Laura tries to boost his spirits by reminding him of all his good qualities and encouraging him to just dust himself off and try again.  We also have a fabulous exchange where she tries to write off the whole Empire Valley mess as, “You screwed up; it happens,” and Greg responds with something brilliant like, “No, ‘screwing up’ is when you accidentally wear black socks with a brown suit,” and then reminds her how his entire Empire Valley operation was, you know, blown up completely by Gary, which is certainly more than one small screw up.  So while Greg is currently very sad, I am currently very happy to see this fabulous and fascinating couple getting back together and having dinners and chemistry and all that good stuff that makes the series so very good and so very rich.

As much as I love me some Laura and Greg, I have to say the most sizzling and dramatic stuff in this ep comes courtesy of pretty much anything involving Gary, Abs, Val, and Ben.  Oh jeez, where to even start?  I think I’ll start with a small but significant scene that I really appreciated, and it takes place at Lotus Point between Gary, Abs, and Karen.  See, Karen is talking about something or other and Gary says how she’s got his vote and he trusts her and Bob Loblaw, and then Abs give some speech about how he’s not considering anything she has to say and Gary gets so fabulously direct with her and says, “I trust Karen, so she gets my vote every time.”  Ugh, yes, this is all so good.  I definitely feel like the whole Empire Valley mess was the last straw for Gary in terms of Abs and her duplicitous behavior.  Since they first got together officially in 1982, he has put up with a lot of crap from her, probably the worst of which was all the season five shenanigans involving Wolfbridge and Apolune.  After that happened (culminating with Abby’s terrifying experience of hanging out on a nice comfortable yacht for a couple of minutes before Greg came along to shoot Mark St. Claire), Gary kinda sorta forgave her while also making it clear that he didn’t trust her.  Back then (early season six), he kinda laughed at her when she talked about trust and said something amazing like, “Oh Abby, I love you but I don’t trust you,” but he seemed rather jolly about the whole thing.  Now, after attempting to figure out what the hell was going on at Empire Valley, after that big speech he gave about morals and ethics that concluded with, “God, are we different,” I think he’s finally done with her.  He might not be ready to get an official divorce yet, but he’s definitely giving her a mental divorce at this point, and he’s making it very clear to her that there’s no chance of him ever being able to trust her again.

We see that Gary is pretty much done with Abs rather clearly in this ep, because he sleeps with somebody else.  My question is: Who does he sleep with?  It’s a Hispanic looking chick, and for a minute I thought it was his loyal housekeeper, Maria.  Am I crazy?  I don’t mean to do the white guy thing where I can’t tell any dark-skinned person apart (I really don’t have that problem; the issue with Maria comes from the fact that she’s barely ever shown and I think she morphs actresses a few times, as well), but I’m pretty sure this isn’t Maria, that it’s just some random chick.  In any case, I love the fabulously KL way that this is shown, we just have Gary climbing out of bed after shagging this chick, and that’s about it; we don’t need any big dramatic pounding music to say GARY’S HAVING AN AFFAIR!  I don’t know if I’d even call this an affair, and not just because it seems to be a one-time shag and nothing more, but because I’m pretty sure if Abs asked him if he was sleeping with someone else, he would just be like, “Yeah, so?  I don’t like you or trust you anymore.” 

But Gary’s little shag with some chick who might be Maria and might not be Maria is nothing compared to a very pivotal scene that takes place early in this ep at Westfork.  See, he’s having Val over for some reason or other; I think she’s actually taken it upon herself to come see him and ask that he stop sending gifts to Bobby and Betsy all the time, which is something he’s been doing rather frequently for awhile.  However, the big scene which occurs and which I had somehow completely forgotten about (HOW?!) is that when Val asks him to stop doing that, Gary tells her, “I know,” and when Val tries to act confused about it, he says, “I know those babies are mine.”  Ugh, just watch the look on Val’s face and the way these two amazing actors are able to play off each other in the scene.  Don’t we all just want sooooooooo bad for them to get back together?  Can’t we all see that they are each other’s true soulmates and they are made to be together?  And as I’ve blathered on about before, we are now at a point where we are nearly 150 eps deep and Gary and Val truly feel like real people and not television characters; Shack and J.V.A. have been playing these two for so long that it must be like second nature to them at this point.  Val gets very serious on Gary and says how he can’t keep hanging around, that she and Ben have their own family now and he needs to respect that.  She neither confirms nor denies his suspicions, but I think we can see that she knows denying would do no good. Gary just knows they’re his kids, and it’s not just because they look exactly like him and the timing of the one-time-only shag between him and Val back in season five lines up for their birth, but I think he just knows down in his core, in his soul. 

Later in the ep, Ben confronts Gary and tells him to stay away, yet another great scene in an ep littered with great scenes.  The genius of KL is often so profound that I don’t think I am smart or deep enough to even begin to understand it or properly explain it.  How can I properly explain how basically every single character in this situation is relatable and easy to understand, while the complexities of all this drama also remain exciting and captivating and strangely realistic?  What I mean to say by that is, it would be so easy for Ben to be a nothing character (the way he was in my memories, my memories that were completely and 100% wrong because Ben is fucking great and I’m now declaring him a highlight of this era of KL), a guy the writers ship in as merely an obstacle for Gary and Val.  He could so easily have just been a bland “nice guy” meant to fill the role for a little while, but he’s just as complex as anyone on the show, really.  I feel so sorry for him as he tries to build this life with Val and the twins but probably knows, deep down, that while Val loves him, she just has a deep and unbreakable connection with Gary that goes beyond time and space.

But the relationships are so complex that we can’t even just dismiss this as, “Oh, Val loves Ben, but she loves Gary way more.”  I believe that there are all sorts of love, that we can love a lot of people throughout our lives, all in different and special ways.  As of this writing, I have only been in love with one person, and that was a long time ago, but I also love my parents, My Beloved Grammy, the kitty I live with (Connie), my friends, teachers that have affected my life; love is complex and wide-reaching.  Also, the way the writers manage to keep Gary and Val apart for so long doesn’t feel inorganic or contrived like it would on a bland show like Friends, where the constant obstacles thrown up in Ross and Rachel’s relationship were just annoying and stupid and way too drawn out over ten years (why does any sitcom need to be on the air for ten years; can someone please explain this to me?).  With the Gary/Val stuff, it all feels real and true.  Ugh, it’s just so good.

What’s Cathy up to this week?  Well, like I said, she’s involved in all the Lilimae/Linda The Waitress/Arthur Fonzarelli drama, but she also gets to sing not one, but two songs.  I don’t really remember the first one except to say that I wrote in my notes, “Cathy singing a slower song in a hot black outfit with bra showing.”  I’m sure that song was very good and I’m sure her hot black outfit was very hot, but I like and remember her second song better, How Am I Supposed To Live Without You?  Real fast, let me talk about the weird track that my brain and My Beloved Grammy’s brain went on when we heard Cathy sing this song.  As it started, we both were listening and were like, “I know this song; what song is this?”  Then we both became convinced that it was originally an Olivia Newton John song, because it just sounds so Olivia Newton John-ish.  Well, then I went and looked it up and it turns out that it’s a song that’s been sung by, um, everybody, but the first prominent one was Laura Branigan in 1983.  I kinda like Laura Branigan and I am also kinda underwhelmed with her at the same time, if that makes sense.  I think this is due to the fact that my first Branigan song was Gloria, which is just the fucking greatest, but then I went and bought a few of her records on vinyl and, you know, they’re good and all, but they also suffer from that thing where all the songs sorta sound exactly the same, so I don’t think she gets to join the ranks of my favorite artists.  By the way, since I know you’ve all been reading the last 143 essays and wondering, “When, oh when is Brett going to tell us who his favorite artists are?”, I shall tell you now.  They are Carpenters, Blondie, ABBA, Michael Jackson, Olivia Newton John, David Bowie, The Cars, The Pointer Sisters, Bette Midler, and, um, well I’m sure there are more but I can’t quite remember right now. 

In any case, obviously Cathy’s rendition of this song is brilliant, and I double checked by listening to the Laura Branigan version and the Michael Bolton version just to confirm that Lisa's is better, and yup, of course it’s better, because her covers are always better than the originals (with the exception of Time After Time, just because that song will always belong to Cyndi).  I do wanna try and get deeper and explore what this song is really saying rather than just compare it to other versions.  Who is Cathy singing about?  Is she singing about Joshua?  If that’s the case, it doesn’t really make much sense, since Joshua spent the last few minutes of his life trying to slice her throat and throw her off a roof (this coming after he threw her into a pile of garbage, of course), so I dunno.  Maybe she’s just singing a song cuz it’s a good song from the ‘80s and maybe it’s not as deep as I’m trying to make it. 

Anyway, enough about all that; how was this ep?  Well, I thought it was great, and maybe you guys should just get used to me saying that, cuz so far I think season seven is pumping along just fine; I continue to fail to see why so many fans act like there’s something horribly wrong with this year.  In the case of this ep, I can immediately point to several amazing scenes in order to prove my case.  Right off the top of my head, you have Cathy singing a great song, you have that sexy crosscutting early in the ep along with the sexy birds-eye angle, you have a stunning Gary/Val scene, a great Ben/Val scene, and a lovely dinner between Greg and Laura.  I think those are more than enough reasons to say that this episode is great and belongs in the pantheon of great television episodes to live on for all time.  So without futher ado, let’s move on to our next ep, the final ep of the disk My Beloved Grammy and I watched, the aptly titled Web of Lies.