Thursday, October 22, 2020

KNOTS LANDING Episode 211 of 344: A FAIR RACE

 Episode Title: A Fair Race


Season 09, Episode 21


Episode 211 of 344


Written by Lynn Marie Latham


Directed by Lawrence Kasha


Original Airdate: Thursday, March 3rd, 1988


The Plot (Courtesy of TV.Com): Harold Dyer, who breaks arms for a living, takes Olivia out for a date. His uncle Manny tells him that Olivia is Abby's daughter. Olivia invites Harold and Manny to meet Abby. Manny tells Abby he rents yachts, and Abby introduces him to Karen, hoping to get his business for Lotus Point. Karen suspects Paige has a crush on Greg. Gary's tired of Lotus Point and decides to become a silent partner. Mack and Jill prosecute a little old woman for forgery. Jill dresses up in lingerie and cooks a romantic dinner, only to have Gary come home with Val and the twins. Gary thinks it’s hilarious. Later Jill's upset when she comes home to find a note from Gary that he's with the twins. Upset, she begins to drink. 




                Hello all my beautiful readers, and welcome back for another fun-filled disk of KL excitement.  Before I get started talking about this ep specifically, let me just say how much I enjoyed the overall experience of watching this disk, which spanned A Fair Race through With a Heavy Heart.  It’s been forever since MBG and I gathered together to watch, and this time Brother was able to come, so we had a trio of happiness and joy as we watched the melodrama onscreen.  Overall it was a lovely night and all three of us were very pleased with the contents of this block of eps, so let’s get started and dive right in.


                We last left off with the excellent Bouncing Babies, ending with Greg giving Meg over to the MacKenzies to raise and torching the playhouse he’d been building for her.  We kinda sorta open this week’s ep on Greg, although we technically start with Paige trying on different outfits, preparing to go out for the day and, presumably, meet Greg.  I’m sure I’ve said this before, but Paige’s beauty stuns me into silence.  I happen to think Paige’s little pink outfit that she’s wearing in this scene is super sexy and then I love the black jacket she puts on over it (but she makes the poor choice of switching over to a white jacket a little later).  I think, at this point in the saga, that Nicolette is consistently getting the best outfits and I wonder if she picked them out herself.  Paige has a fabulous style that is all her own and she’s always trying out new looks but they seem to always work. I’m also a big fan of her myriad of hats, although she doesn’t rock a hat for her little date with Greg.  Posted below is a random picture of Nicollette along with Michele and J.V.A.; this is not the outfit Paige is wearing in the episode, but it's just a cool photo we should all enjoy.


                Oh yeah, Greg; I already got myself distracted.  See, we start with Paige getting herself ready, but we also cross cut over to Greg at his house telling Carlos that he’s going out for the day or whatever, and then in the next scene he arrives at the MacKenzies to pick up Paige.  This is definitely a significant scene because as he pops in, he doesn’t even pay Meg a glance, instead saying he’s here to get Paige and then pretty much running off as soon as she arrives.  The scene ends with Karen and Mack exchanging a look and I’m sure they’re thinking that it’s weird for Greg to so blatantly ignore his own daughter, but I’m still in Greg’s corner on this issue.  As I said last ep, I think Karen was being a bit of a bitch by showing up at Greg’s place just to shit on the very notion of him being a father to Meg.  Give the man a fucking chance as he deals with the grief of losing his wife.  Now, Greg has made the decision to give Meg up and yet I get the sense that Karen and Mack are still passing judgment on him, now judging him for not paying Meg a glance in this scene.  I think it’s obvious that Greg is trying to make this a clean break and let Meg be raised by the MacKenzies, and maybe it’s just plain hard for him to look at her and know others are raising her, so let’s go easy on the man.  By the way, while we’re on the subject of Greg and Paige, I would like to note that MBG, usually eerily accurate in her predictions of what’s going to happen on the series, flatly declared, “I don’t see these two together.”  Well, she’s going to be proven wrong, and pretty soon, if I’m remembering correctly.  I’ll keep you all posted as we get further along and tell you how she feels when these two do eventually start shagging. 


                There’s a good, sweet scene early in the ep where Val shows up at the MacKenzies to offer her apologies to Karen and their friendship is strong again.  I liked this a lot because it ends some lingering tension we’ve been having the last few eps, ever since Val asked Karen to lie while giving her deposition.  I’ve said before how I like the fact that KL doesn’t draw stuff out forever when it doesn’t need to be, and this is a perfect example.  If it was another show, they’d probably want to draw this out, keep Karen and Val not speaking for a long time, maybe give them some big fights to have, but instead they make up and tell each other that they love each other and they move on.  I like all of that and I also like that they both say, “I love you” to each other, but it’s not like this big corny scene; it’s just a real expression of love between friends.  It’s a small sequence at the start of the ep that’s easy to gloss over, but I think it’s a good scene and worth noting.


                Also Karen-related this ep: She and Mack get into a little fight when he finds out about how she went over to Greg’s place just to squeeze out a hot wet fart in his face.  Thank God that Mack gets kinda mad about this, because if he found out what she did and was just totally cool with it, it would make them both kinda hard to like at this juncture.  I also appreciate how Karen tries to explain what happened and that she didn’t specifically go over there just to squeeze out the hot wet fart, but rather she went to say hi and the hot wet fart just sorta happened organically.  I still think it was a shitty thing for her to do, but I’m also perhaps being too harsh on her.  MBG was a little confused by Mack’s anger, saying how Mack loved having Meg around the house for that last bundle of eps, but I get where he’s coming from.  I honest to God can’t remember how all this stuff plays out, if Meg just stays with Karen and Mack for the rest of the series or if Greg takes her back at some point or what; I really don’t remember.  However, I’m sure Mack is worried about what complications this might cause, wondering what will happen if Greg randomly changes his mind at some point in the future.  Also, maybe Mack just liked having Meg around when it wasn’t a full time lifetime commitment; suddenly holding the responsibility of raising her for eighteen years might seem a bit more daunting.


                Similar to the way that I like Karen and Val making up rather than spending several eps pissy with each other, I also like how Karen and Mack don’t have some big explosive fight and stay mad forever, but instead enjoy a midafternoon shag together.  This scene was cute and all, although Mack spends most of it with his hairy left leg propped upwards in a way that had me convinced his balls would come tumbling out any second.  Also, I think the scene might be trying a bit too hard to be cute because they’re lying in bed and then they hear Barbara (that’s the nanny) returning from a trip to the park with Meg.  When they hear her voice, they’re like, “Oh no!” and it’s this whole comedic thing, but I thought it was kinda annoying.  Just put on your clothes and go downstairs and greet Barbara, and if she knows you’ve been shagging, who cares?  You’re a married couple and you’re allowed to have an afternoon delight.  I’ve just never been a person who understands the idea of being embarrassed by having sex; everybody needs to have sex or else they go crazy and it’s an important part of our being.  Isn’t it more embarrassing to be not having any sex?  But then of course I remember that we are Americans and we are supposed to be deeply ashamed of our sexual needs and desires.


                Let’s shift our attention on over to Olivia and Harold.  You’ll all remember that we met Harold for the first time somewhere in our last batch of eps.  Well, this ep he meets up with Olivia and the music swells, but I should probably mention a scene that happens before that.  We first see Harold this ep as he pays a visit, alongside his uncle Manny, to some guy named Frank (weird to have another Frank on the show at same time we have Frank Williams, but whatever) who owns an Italian restaurant.  We find out that Harold broke this Frank’s arm because he owes them a lot of money, and then we get a nice little bit of mafia smoothness when Harold is like, “I’m very sorry I over-exceeded my authority and broke your arm.  I should have given you a 24 hour notice; this is your 24 hour notice.”  With that, he walks away, cool as a cucumber, and MBG reiterated her claim that she’s made many times in my life that she loves mafia and thinks they’re the coolest.  I’ve always found this to be a very endearing trait about her, the fact that she’s the sweetest and kindest old lady anybody could ever know in their life, but she loves super violent things and is really into mafia movies.  Anyway, this first scene helps us to see that Harold and his uncle Manny are into some shady dealings, which should make our sphincters tense up when he meets Olivia and takes her out for pizza.  Personally, I’m not too concerned about Olivia; she’s a big girl and she’s gotten over her cocaine habit and I’m not terribly worried that Harold is going to hurt her; why would he?  I guess we should be nervous cuz he’s in the mafia, but I’m just not terribly concerned.  Oh yeah, one last thing I appreciate in this storyline so far is when Olivia is talking to Abs about how she should be able to date whoever she wants and she says, “I’m seventeen.”  I appreciate the fact that Olivia has always played her actual age.  Tonya is seventeen in real life at this point, so Olivia is seventeen on the show.  I think her age has always been consistent and she’s never suffered from SORAS and I really like that.


                What makes all this Harold/Olivia business so sordid is that it also intersects with Abs and involves her recently-ended relationship with Basil Exposition.  Don’t worry, Basil is gone from the show and will never be back and we never need to speak of him or think about that storyline ever again, but I do remember Harold and Manny being introduced through Basil, like they were working with him, something about expanding the marina at Lotus Point or whatever.  This ep ends with Abs meeting Manny and then boldly announcing to Karen, “I’d like you to meet Manny Vasquez; I think we can do business together.”  I don’t remember where any of this stuff leads, but I’m sure I will like it because I like it so far.


                Let’s move on over to Gary.  In this ep, he decides he’s tired of Lotus Point and he doesn’t wanna work there anymore.  He’s super excited about it and has some brilliant line of dialogue towards Karen and Abs where he says, “If you’ve got a problem, work it out, and if you’re stuck and still can’t come to an agreement, I still don’t wanna hear about it, so figure it out yourselves.”  He delivers the line perfectly and is of course hilarious and wonderful and I love it all.  His excitement at leaving Lotus Point leads to a fantastic sequence in which my much loved and much cherished J.B. decides to put on a sexy outfit and wait for Gary to come home for a romantic dinner and a shag.  The only problem?  While she’s adorned in her sexy nighty and waiting on the couch, Gary shows up with, you guessed it, twins Bobby and Betsy.  The scene works as comedy because of J.B.’s nighty and Gary’s jolly reaction, but it’s also doing some tremendous seed planting for future stories, especially since we see J.B. starting to drink a bit too much, obviously jealous and upset that Gary’s attention is so focused on the twins and barely at all on her.  I keep saying how this is all leading us to the season finale, but I’m kinda hesitant to say anything else in the chance that someone reading this hasn’t gotten to the finale yet.  I would be so ashamed of myself if I spoiled what’s in store in the closing hours of this season, so I think it’s best I tread lightly and not say too much right now.


                I think that oughta do it for this ep.  The only other things I have written in my notes are, “Sexy Michael jogging with Johnny = Yes,” and “I missed the Williams family.”  Both of my notes are obviously true, because Sexy Michael goes jogging in a fabulous pink shirt and white short shorts that are so short the balls threaten to come out (and oh how we all want that to happen) as well as a super sexy headband.  Ugh, fitness is sexy and when you combine fitness with Sexy Michael in this amazing outfit, you just have pure gold.  I again wish I could enter this show and live in this world and go jogging every day with Sexy Michael on a California beach.  As for my other note, I did really miss the Williams family in this ep, but I don’t hold it against this one because they’re gonna get a lot of focus in the next few eps.  I would have liked to see them this week, but it’s not the worst thing in the world that they sit this one out.  Aside from that, a very solid ep that kicked off this disk nicely.  I’ve got no complaints except for the nitpicky stuff like the overly cute scene between Karen and Mack.  I’m liking everything going on right now and I wanna keep watching to see what else is gonna happen.  With that said, our next ep is Full Disclosure and I think we should move right on over to start discussing that one. 

Thursday, October 8, 2020



Episode Title: Bouncing Babies

Season 09, Episode 20

Episode 210 of 344

Written by William Devane

Directed by Nicholas Sgarro

Original Airdate: Thursday, February 25th, 1988

The Plot (Courtesy of TV.Com): Paige tells Johnny that he's just for sex, and she won't go out with him. Abby loans Lotus Point the $2 million to build the marina. Olivia's really upset that Abby called off the wedding, and yells at her for stealing husbands and not keeping a man or giving her a normal life. The MacKenzies are very upset and miss Meg terribly when Greg brings her home. Greg builds a playhouse for Meg, but realizes how tough it will be to raise her. Upset, he brings Meg back to the MacKenzies and asks them to be Meg's parents. He wants them to tell Meg about Laura, but says he will stay out of their life. Seeing how upset Mack and Karen are without Meg, Val has a change of heart. She signs the paper saying Gary is the twins' father. She gives it to him and says she knows he loves them, and would want him to raise them if anything ever happened to her. He says she's a good mother and rips the paper up. They hug.

                Welcome to Bouncing Babies, an episode that I predict will be a highlight of season nine.  Now that we’ve evacuated the toxically boring Basil Exposition storyline out of the show, we can move our focus over to more interesting affairs and we’re also gonna get to do some serious exploring of the character of one Gregory Sumner.  It’s worth noting that Devane penned this ep himself, his second writing effort for the show after season eight’s very mediocre Survival of the Fittest.  Season eight seemed to cultivate badness around it, so I won’t blame him much for that episode being pretty forgettable, especially since this one is going to prove so much better.  As you can probably tell from reading that description, this ep is gonna heavily focus on Greg, so I suggest we begin by talking about the other characters first and saving Greg for last.

                Probably last on my list of currently compelling characters would be Paige and Johnny Rourke.  Now, please understand that I love Paige and the way Nicollette plays her and all her fabulous outfits, but I’m fairly indifferent to Johnny’s existence and he’s kinda sucking Paige into his material right now.  I guess some fans really hate Johnny, but I don’t hate; I just sorta don’t care.  Anyway, in this ep, he meets up with Leland Palmer in the happiest place on earth, the men’s locker room.  Johnny compliments Leland Palmer’s little ‘80s yuppie tennis outfit and says something about how he spends a lot of money on clothes just to chase rubber balls around and sweat, to which Leland Palmer says, “I don’t sweat.”  Obviously this line is meant to come and go and we’re supposed to not think about it much, but I obsessed over it forever and wondered what it’s supposed to mean.  Is Leland Palmer just trying to sound cool?  If so, he has failed, because why else do you go a health club and play tennis or racquetball or whatever unless you’re going to, you know, sweat?  If you do an entire workout and don’t sweat at all, have you really had a workout?  Isn’t that why they provide the showers for you to clean up after you’re done working out and sweating?  In any case, I guess the line is meant to sound cool, but I just thought it was weird and dumb, but I still love Leland Palmer and I note with sadness that this is the last time we’re going to see him on this series.  While he didn’t really do all that much except give Johnny money and kill a blonde chick, I enjoyed looking at him and his unique face and line delivery, mostly because Ray Wise is such a great actor who can make anything interesting, even the tiniest of characters.  Anyway, let’s all say goodbye to Leland Palmer.

                Aside from his rendezvous with Leland Palmer, Johnny also inserts his penis inside of Paige and then we later catch up with them in the morning.  Paige is getting dressed and complaining about her crumpled dress and getting ready for whatever her day entails (“Meeting a client” is all she says).  Then Johnny starts talking about how Paige only wants sex, not romance, not love, and Paige says affirmative, telling him, “I like to think of it as quality time, and when I do see you, I don’t want to waste any of it.”  Honestly, I don’t understand why Johnny is acting like such a girl here; what kind of a man turns down the opportunity for guaranteed no-strings-attached sex?  I would imagine straight men spend their lives trying to find that kind of arrangement, so why complain about it when you get it?  If I was able to plow Paige nightly, I would just be happy for the opportunity and I wouldn’t give a shit about having some deeper relationship with her.  I suppose Paige has some sort of magical sexual powers because she also turned Sexy Michael into a groveling twelve year old girl last season, something I hated to witness, and now here’s Johnny wanting some sort of deep, meaningful relationship with her. 

                Later, we get a quick scene between Paige and Greg where Greg is running off to the MacKenzies to pick up Meg.  It’s actually kinda a douche move, in my opinion, because Paige has gone through the effort of driving all the way out to Greg’s ranch (which, geographically, I’m having a hard time getting a handle on as far as its distance from Seaview Circle, but I get the feeling that it’s pretty far away) and when she arrives, he’s already speeding away in his own car.  When Paige says how she thought Greg wanted to see a sculpture, he just says another time.  Couldn’t he have called her?  Nothing pisses me off more than getting all prepared and going off to meet somebody only for them to ditch on you; it’s totally bad form.  However, I still enjoy the scene because of the sizzling chemistry between Nicolette and Devane, particularly when Greg gets wind of the fact that Paige never came home the night before and, when she tells him she was having a pajama party, he asks, “Who’s pajamas were you in?”  I’m gonna take a guess and say that this line was probably in the script, mostly because Devane wrote the script himself, but I also still wonder if he just improvised it on the set as they were filming.  Oh sigh, how I wish I could sit down with Devane to have a beer and discuss all ten glorious years of his time on the show.  How I would love to go through each and every line of dialogue with him and ask, “Was this improv?  Was this?  How about that?”  Bill, please, I know you’re out there, I know you’re reading this, please call me and we’ll set up a nice lunch date.

                The big drama of Gary and Val and the battle for parental rights continues and, I think, concludes in this ep.  We first catch up with Val and her lawyer, and real fast, I want to note that I was trying to figure out the actor who played this lawyer, but I couldn’t because I don’t remember the lawyer’s name (if they ever even say it) and I just sorta looked through the IMDb credits for this ep and tried to find a definite match but had no luck.  I have a feeling that this actor may have been in Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, playing the crazy teacher that Lisa Zane meets up with when they go to explore Springwood.  Am I way off on this?  What is this actor’s name?  In any case, I suppose that’s not as important as the contents of this scene, in which he sorta goes over the timeline of the babies with Val.  He asks if Gary raped her, and I really like Val’s reaction, which is like total horror, and the way she says, “What?”  I like the fact that rape is not this thing that happens on KL and then gets shuffled under the carpet like on, say, Dynasty.  I feel like on other nighttime soaps, they might have had Gary rape Val at some point and then they would have just sorta gotten over it and Gary could still be our lead male protagonist (again, look no further than Blake Carrington flat-out raping Krystle in early season one of Dynasty, and let's not even get into Adam raping Kirby and her proceeding to fall in love with and marry him), but KL is a better series that doesn’t use something awful like rape for such crass purposes.  I like that you can tell from Val’s reaction that Gary would never rape her or anybody.  Gary has his flaws but he would never do something like that, so it’s a small detail of the scene that I liked.  I also like how the lawyer asks her if she was married to another man when they conceived the babies and all that stuff.  Remember that this baby stuff has been going on since late 1983 and we are now in early 1988, so the writers are doing a good job of keeping us up to date and explaining how things went down without it feeling like a big exposition dump.  I also enjoy Val’s timid reaction to the questions; it’s like she’s kinda embarrassed to have to admit all this stuff to her lawyer.

                Anyway, the basic plan via Val’s lawyer who may or may not have been in Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare is that they will go to court, but the judge will probably dismiss the case.  However, things don’t quite work out that way, because after a bit of waiting, Val’s lawyer comes out and tells her the judge wants to keep reviewing some elements of the case; he didn’t just throw it out.  At this point, Val kinda freaks and starts screaming at Gary and J.B., telling Gary how he’s not going to win, that he doesn’t have a chance, and then she asks, “Did she put you up to this?”  I’d say this officially makes Val and J.B. into mortal enemies, something that will only grow and expand beautifully as we propel ourselves through the rest of season nine and then hit season ten.  I appreciated this scene because, even though there’s of course drama with Val yelling, it’s still done in that fabulous KL way in which it’s not too over-the-top.  Val screams and yells a little, but then Gary and J.B. leave and she sorta calms down and we move on to a new scene.  On the other nighttime soaps, I feel like Val would pick up a chair and throw it at J.B. and then they’d have some big cat fight right in the courtroom or something like that.  On KL, we get a little more subtlety.

                Another thing I love about this storyline is the way it concludes, which is also done in that most fabulously down-to-earth KL way.  On another show, this business with Gary and Val and the twins could lead into an entire year-long custody battle or something like that.  Instead, Val talks to Mack at the midway point of the ep, just after Greg has taken Meg back, and when she sees how sad Mack is to not be around Meg anymore, she realizes the cruelty of what she is doing to Gary.  Our next scene is her meeting up with Gary and, at around the 34 minute mark of the ep, something very significant happens.  Val gives Gary an official, notarized piece of paper and when he asks her what’s going on, she says, “The truth is that you are their father.”  Wow, this is big.  We viewers have known who the real father is and Val has known who the real father is and Gary has known who the real father is for some time, but this is the first time that Val has said it officially, out loud, and now there’s no going back from it.  This kinda concludes something that’s been going on all the way since 1983 with …And Never Brought to Mind, when Gary and Val shared their night of nonstop passion and conceived the babies.  Now here we are and Val is finally making it official; there shall be no more questioning about the true father of the twins, for we now confirm out loud that it is, in fact, Gary.  This scene is also very touching because Val tells him that, if anything ever happened to her, she would want Gary to raise the twins, saying, “I know you love them, and whatever differences we have, it’s just not fair to keep your children away from your love.”  I love that Val chooses to do the right thing without a lot of lengthy drama, and I love how she tells Gary the truth, and I love how she confesses that the twins love him and want to see him.  The whole thing is just mondo moving and almost brought tears to my eyes.  As I say over and over again, Gary and Val are the heart and soul of the series, and whenever the stories are really shining a spotlight hard on them, we get great material and I thought this whole storyline was great material.

                Let’s get to the main meat of this ep, which concerns Greg taking back daughter Meg from Karen and Mack.  Meg has been staying at the MacKenzie house for quite awhile now, a good long stretch of eps, although I can’t remember exactly how many.  At the start of this ep, Greg’s nanny (Barbara) tells him she is quitting, that there’s really no reason for her to hang around if Meg is never here.  When Greg says how she could go work at the MacKenzie house and he’ll keep paying her, she says, “I don’t want to be around when things blow up,” and then she elaborates by saying, “You can’t just keep bouncing Meg back from home to home; she’s going to be a very confused little girl if she doesn’t have a stable home life.”  At first, Greg is kinda dismissive of her opinion, being like, “Well, whatever, I grew up at the MacKenzie house and Mack’s mother raised me and I turned out alright,” and then he dismisses her for the night.  However, Barbara’s words clearly ring in his ears, because next up he calls Mack and says how he’d like to come over the next day and take her back home.  Next, we see Greg enjoying Cigar #34 while lying on his outdoor patio bed, looking at the stars and telling Carlos that Meg will be returning home tomorrow.  He also tells Carlos he’s going to sleep outside, something that sounds just lovely to me.  I think I want to live on Greg’s ranch more than any other current location we’re seeing on the series at this point.  While I think my heart will always belong to The Beach House from season four, Greg’s home is pretty boss, too, and I love the idea of having a bed outside that you can just sleep in when the weather is nice.  Another thing I appreciate about the scene is that we see Greg looking sadly at a photo of him and Laura and Meg.  It’s a lovely photo and my heart goes out to Greg, who had finally found the true love of his life and was just getting started with her and their new baby only for her to be taken from him so abruptly.  This might be a bit of an interruption from my train of thought, but I have to say that, so far, I have no problem with Laura’s character being killed off.  I think it was perhaps done a little too quickly in the opening hours of the season, but aside from that I think her death is bearing rich fruit now, great stories that can keep us going all the way until 1993.  I lamented Laura’s lack of material in season eight, how she was still part of the main cast but barely got anything to do, so I think I would honestly rather have her character be killed and lead us to great stories instead of just sorta hanging around and not getting any stories of her own, you know what I mean?

                Anyway, Greg shows up at the MacKenzie home to pick up Meg, and we get some immediate tension between him and Mack.  See, Meg is having her afternoon nap, but Greg is like, “Well, whatever, I’ll just wake her up,” and then Mack gives him a scolding about how you don’t just go around waking up a sleeping baby.  Greg says something about, “She’s my baby and I’ll do what I please.”  I like the acting from both Devane and The Dobsonator and I like how they’re both conveying their own different emotions.  Mack is obviously sad that he’ll have to give up Meg, who he has fallen in love with over the course of the last five eps or so, while Greg is looking at it more like she’s his damn kid and he’ll do what he wants; he doesn’t need Mack’s judgment.  Anyway, he does eventually take Meg home and then he gets to work building her a big epic playhouse.  The playhouse is cool enough, I suppose, although Greg tells Meg that he modeled it after Gone with the Wind and says, “You’ll be the only kid on the block with a playhouse like Scarlett O’Hara’s.”  Now would be a good time to take a radical detour and say that I kinda hate Gone with the Wind and think it’s a terrible, annoying, bloated, racist movie that sucks.  To be clear, I’ve only seen the  film once and I’ve been known to change my opinions when I rewatch things and find more to appreciate in them, but I don’t know that I’ll ever watch that movie again.  My distaste for this film also links well with My Beloved Grammy, the same Beloved Grammy I’m watching this series with, because I took her and a bunch of her friends to see Gone with the Wind in the theater a few years ago when they were screening it.  I had never seen it and had always been waiting for a theatrical screening since I’m a pretentious film douche and I think moves are meant to be seen on the big screen, especially really old epic ones like this.  Anyway, I think I started to turn on the movie almost immediately when we first got started with a scene of jolly whistling black slaves working in the plantations and I was like, “Uh oh, are we going to be spending this whole movie being asked to sympathize with a bunch of white plantation owners?”  The answer is yes, and Scarlett O’Hara has got to be one of the worst characters ever put onto film.  What an annoying, shrill, awful, disgusting human being, and why the fuck are we supposed to care about her romance with Clark Gable?  Plus the movie is four fucking hours long and has absolutely no reason to be that long, and of course it’s super racist and the character of Mammy is just…  I wonder if my age and youthful beauty had anything to do with my hatred for this movie, because all of the 70+ year old white women I took to see it loved the shit out of it and didn’t think it was racist at all, but my research later showed that, yes, anyone with a brain in 1939 would be able to see this was racist the day it came out, but since white people have never exactly been the sharpest knives in the drawer, most of them probably didn’t realize it in 1939 and maybe don’t even realize it today, since white people are so insulated and unaware of other people with different skin colors.  Anyway, that’s the end of my rant about Gone with the Wind; take my word for it and never watch this film, because you could make the much better decision to spend four hours watching KL and you could probably squeeze five eps in and have a much better experience with much more interesting characters. 

                Later, Karen pays Greg a visit while he’s working on the playhouse and basically takes a big shit in his face.  Well, maybe I’m being unfair here, but I’m not quite sure.  Meg is Greg’s daughter and I personally believe that, if given the chance, Greg could shape up and be a great father.  The man just recently lost his wife and he needs some time to grieve for her, but I’m not sure that means he’s a totally lousy father who should give his baby away, but that’s kinda what Karen says.  I do appreciate that there are subtle things within this scene to show that, perhaps, Greg is just kinda inattentive with the baby.  See, he’s running a saw to cut some wood, and he says how he knows it’s kinda loud but that Meg shouldn’t be able to hear it from her bedroom on the other side of the house.  Then Karen asks if Meg is sleeping now and Greg says, “I don’t know,” and continues working on the playhouse.  It’s a small thing, but I think it shows that, while Mack would always know throughout all 24 hours of the day what Meg is up to, Greg isn’t as interested in things like that.  Anyway, Karen gets straight to the point and says how she thinks she and Mack should raise Meg.  Greg says, “You’re a very presumptuous lady,” and I think I agree with him.  Have I turned on Karen?  I don’t think I have; I still love Karen and find her an endlessly watchable and complicated character, but she’s definitely no longer my favorite character,  the way I declared way back in season one.  She can be annoying and she definitely has moments of a superiority complex and, you know what, I think this might be such a moment.  Aren’t you even gonna give Greg the chance to be a father before you shit all over the idea?  Greg has had Meg back for two seconds when Karen shows up and says how she’d be better off with the MacKenzies. 

                Now, the episode concludes with Greg giving Meg back to Karen and Mack, but I wonder if he would have even ever thought to do this if Karen hadn’t shown up and planted the idea in his head.  Right after Karen leaves, Barbara brings Meg down to see the playhouse and Greg is trying to get her all excited about this wonderful tribute to a boring and racist movie that he has built for Meg, but Meg seems to want nothing to do with it, crying instead of going into the playhouse to explore.  We’ve seen a scene like this before, back in TheGift of Life when Laura was driving away to go die and, just as soon as she handed Meg to Greg, Meg started to cry.  We see that again here and I think Greg notices it big time, because next up, he’s standing in Karen and Mack’s living room and giving a speech about how giving Meg to them will be the right thing.  It’s really a tremendous speech and some of Devane’s best acting, particularly how he says, “I’m nowhere near as bad as you all think, but I guess Laura was the only one who knew that.”  He says how Meg will be happier and safer growing up with the MacKenzies and then the really sad line comes when he says, “I’ll do this for Laura and for Meg; somewhere along the line, you might wanna tell her what a wonderful mother she had.  You won’t need to mention me.”  Then we cut to the final scene of the ep, which is him torching Meg’s playhouse.  This has always stuck with me as one of the most memorable episode endings; ever since I first saw the series, the image of Greg staring at the flames with his face in the background and the flames dancing in the foreground has always stayed in my brain.  It’s a very sad ending that could possibly make me cry, but I think I just wasn’t in the crying mood either time I watched this.  I felt moved, but no tears spilled.

                I really loved this ep, but are there any flaws?  The only possible flaw I can think of is that perhaps things move a little bit quickly in this ep.  Meg has been staying with Karen and Mack for a good long stretch of eps, but then we have Greg taking her back, spending a bit of time with her, and then returning her to Karen and Mack, all within the same ep.  I think we could have possibly stretched this out a little longer, maybe had a few eps of Greg trying to be a father and not being very good at it, but it’s all packed tightly inside of this one single ep.  However, it’s very well written and I think Devane shows a tremendous improvement from his last effort.  I’m always very interested in the blending of the actors and the characters, how the cast was allowed to have so much involvement in their stories and the way their characters would behave.  In this case, much like the brilliant eight scripts that The Plesh delivered to us throughout the first four years, Devane is being given the opportunity to write his own script to really explore his own character, a character he’s been playing for nearly five years now.  I feel other shows would just prefer to move their characters around like chess pieces and wouldn’t particularly care about how the actors feel, but on KL, the actors get to have some say in what their characters do, which I appreciate.

                This was the best ep on the disk and one of my faves of season nine so far.  Great script by Devane, some solid directing from veteran Nicholas Sgarro, and just a lot of interesting character moments.  Next up, we’ll start a new disk of excitement and joy with A Fair Race.    


Thursday, September 24, 2020



Episode Title: Lawfully Wedded

Season 09, Episode 19

Episode 209 of 344

Written by Bernard Lechowick

Directed by Lawrence Kasha

Original Airdate: Thursday, February 18th, 1988

The Plot (Courtesy of TV.Com): Pat returns from testifying. Frank is upset because if Pat hadn't agreed to testify, they wouldn't be in the Witness Protection Program. The MacKenzies wonder if Greg is ever going to pick up Meg. Val tells Gary he won't get custody of the twins. Abby tells Charles that Lotus Point can't afford to expand the marina. Charles says it will be her wedding gift, and gives her a check for $2 million. Abby and Charles get married in Lake Tahoe. The next day, Abby has her attorney annul the marriage, and tells Charles she knows he only wanted Lotus Point. He admits he did, but then fell in love with her. Charles wants his money back, but Abby has already cleared the check. His investors tell him to just let her have it to avoid publicity. Charles goes back East. Abby is really upset, and Olivia gives Abby her wedding gift - a star she had named after them.

                Welcome to Lawfully Wedded and I’m very excited to announce that, yes, this is the very last time we have to suffer through any footage featuring Abs and Basil Exposition.  If IMDb is to be trusted (and I think they are accurate in this case), this is the last time Michael York will be infecting KL with his snooty “I’m better than this show” attitude and now he can return to work he deems more artistic, like Austin Powers movies and Shakespeare productions (as if Shakespeare ever came anywhere close to creating something of the quality of KL).  Anyway, since this is the last time we have to deal with this boring storyline, I’d like to get started talking about it right away and then we will move on to more interesting stuff.

                Okay, so when we last left off, Abs and Basil were making plans to get married even as Abs had discovered that Basil made his plans to, like, expand her marina at Lotus Point, like, way before they had reconnected or, you know, whatever.  As we get started with this ep, Abs is talking to her, like, attorney guy, about whether she should marry Basil or not.  I mostly mention this attorney guy because he looked insanely familiar to me and also because I found him very amusing based on appearance alone.  I just did my research and this actor’s name is Jordan Charney and, yup, as soon as I looked him up I knew why he was looking so familiar to me, and that would be because he’s in Ghostbusters as Dean Yeager, the guy who fires the ghostbusters at the very start of the movie (“But the kids love us”).  In addition to that, he is also a Transmorpher who appeared in three very early Dallas eps (so early that KL still didn’t exist when these eps aired).  He was in The Red File: Part One and The Red File: Part Two as Lieutenant Sutton and then I guess he somehow morphed into a different person because his final appearance is Whatever Happened to Baby John: Part Two as Detective Rollins.  So anyway, that’s why I recognized him, but why did he amuse me so much in this ep?  I’d say it’s just because he has this constant face that makes it look like he’s severely constipated and, well, it just tickled my funny bone.  In addition, he has lots of funny little lines like when Basil tells him to go to Hell and to take Abs with him and Dean Yeager responds with, “I understand; you wish for me to go to Hell and take my client with me,” or something brilliant like that.  This is the only ep this guy is ever going to appear in, but I kinda fell in love with his character over the course of this 48 minutes.

                Anyway, around the twenty minute mark of this ep, we cut to stock footage of the Sahara at Lake Tahoe, which I’m pretty sure doesn’t exist anymore (a Wiki search tells me it morphed into the Horizon Casino Resort at some point between 1988 and today) and then we cut inside to see Abs and Basil tying the knot.  This is all taking place after Abs has cleverly tricked him into agreeing to give her two million dollars as a wedding gift and to even handle the tax on the two million dollars.  Abs has a wicked plan up her sleeve and usually I would care enough to describe it in better detail, but not in this case.  Really, I just want this storyline to be over and I’m grateful that this ep is answering my request.  Okay, so basically the two get married and then Basil gives Abs the two million dollar check and she puts it in the bank right and quick and then immediately gets the marriage annulled.  I’m a little confused by the whole business of divorces versus annulments, but I guess an annulment means that the marriage never happened, that you are erasing the entire thing from existence, whereas a divorce is saying that you were married but now you are not married anymore.  I kinda freaked out for a moment because I wondered if I was incorrect so long ago when we were getting ready to introduce Abs to the series and I referred to her as “Abby Fairgate Cunningham Ewing Sumner.”  Should I have actually written, “Abby Fairgate Cunningham Ewing Exposition Sumner?”  I believe the answer is no because this ceremony is a total write-off after Abs gets it annulled, so the ceremony officially never happened and we never have to think or talk about it again.  Now Basil is leaving and don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.  Before we leave this unpleasantness behind us forever, I would like to remind everyone that I actually think Michael York is a good actor and I have enjoyed him in a myriad or roles, but this is simply not one of them.  I can smell his snootiness radiating off the screen and I can tell that it just hurts him to have to be on this set and that he thinks this is totally beneath him.  If you feel that way, don’t sign the contract to be on the show.  This show is brilliant and it’s probably the best thing your name will ever be attached to, so you should play the part with pride and be glad you’re part of television history. 

                After Basil is out of the picture, Olivia arrives home excitedly and busts out her newest gift to her mother.  She tells Abs that she called up the, like, solar system people that are always looking at the stars through their big telescopes and she bought a star and had it named after Abs and Basil.  So now, up there in the millions and millions of stars sparking in the sky, there is a star named after this power couple, even as the power couple is splitting.  When Abs tells Olivia that she and Basil aren’t getting married because he’s boring and his storyline was boring, Olivia kinda freaks out and I’m a little confused about why.  Did Olivia really have deep feelings about Basil and want to have him as her new father figure?  Is she just frustrated that her mom can’t keep a man?  Is she pissed cuz she just went and bought them a star and now they’re splitting up?  I dunno, but usually I’m in Olivia’s corner and can understand her feelings, but I’m not with her here.  Who gives a crap if Basil leaves town and never comes back?  That’s what we all want to happen, so why the hissy fit from Olivia?  In any case, let’s move on from this dull-as-dishwater storyline and hope the-powers-that-be can cook up something decent for Abs to do for her next one year and some months on the series.

                Oh yeah, and here’s a total nerd moment from Brett that probably nobody else will notice or care about, but here it comes.  At the fourteen minute mark of this ep, Abs is talking on the phone to somebody and then she hangs the phone up, folds her two hands under her chin, and gazes off, looking like she’s cooking something up.  I mention this because it will be her credit shot throughout all of season ten, when the opening ditches the silly arty black-and-white poses of the cast and instead replaces them with ep footage.  So yeah, this is Abby’s credit for next season, and it’s a good choice because she looks so stunningly beautiful and her eyes tell us that she’s got some wicked plan up her sleeve.

                I forgot to mention it last ep, but we actually met a character who’s gonna be fairly important, Harold Dyer, played by Paul Carafotes.  Yeah, he first popped up in our last ep and he’s going to stick around until Home Sweet Home in 1990 and appear in 40 eps.  This actually surprised me, because in my memories, this character stuck around until the final ep.  Am I thinking of some other guy?  Isn’t this character going to get involved with Paige at some point?  Am I thinking of somebody else?  Anyway, Harold is here now and we first saw him in a meeting with, I think, Leland Palmer.  In this ep, we see him in a scene along with some forgettable white guy and Basil and then he leaves the room and makes a phone call and we cut over to Leland Palmer receiving the call.  He picks up the phone and Harold just says, “We’re in business,” and then Leland Palmer hangs up the phone without saying goodbye.  Okay, so I guess Harold is connected to Leland Palmer somehow and I guess we’ll find out more in the future. 

                Meanwhile, on the Gary/Val front, this whole custody battle court hearing Bob Loblaw is really heating up.  What I find most significant in this ep is an early scene in bed between Gary and J.B.  First, I’d like to note that it appears Stanley Kubrick directed this scene, because we have this totally arty and cool shot of a mirror and I love the way the mirror is used to show us what’s going on with the two characters.  See, we start the scene in this tight closeup of Gary and J.B. in bed, all naked and rolling around with Gary about to attempt re-entry, but then the camera does this slow zoom-out and we realize we’ve been looking in the mirror.  I am an insane sucker for mirror shots and if you give me a mirror shot, I will generally become very excited and immediately proclaim whatever I am watching, no matter how badly made, to be this incredible landmark masterpiece of artistic expression.  However, in addition to the brilliant mirror shot, this scene provides some important seed-planting for the future.  Note the way that Gary just wants to have a nice shag, but J.B. keeps bringing up both of his ex-wives and asking weird, paranoid questions about them.  She asks what Gary thinks of his second ex-wife getting remarried and Gary simply answers “I don’t,” and then she asks something or other about Val.  This tells me that J.B. has a jealousy burning within her that ain’t going away anytime soon, that she’s very concerned about Gary’s feelings for his two ex-wives. 

                Our newest arrivals on to the cul-de-sac, the Williams family, also get a good chunk of attention this ep and I’d say this is probably my favorite material in the ep in question.  We begin with a scene of Frank taking the garbage in, which everyone should know I love by this point.  If you show me characters either taking their garbage out or taking it back in, I will love the scene.  But I also love this scene because Frank is cool and sexy and assertive with Mack.  See, late the night before, Karen was pulling her little Peeping Tom act and staring out the window as Pat left in a taxicab with some mysterious woman.  In this early scene, Frank basically catches Mack lying because Mack says how he got up for a glass of milk or whatever.  Frank is like, “You close your drapes at night?” and Mack says affirmative and then Frank asks, “The milk is in the kitchen?”  Then he says how you can’t see the street from the kitchen, so he says, “You got your glass of milk and went out of your way to spy on your neighbors.”  He says how he thinks it’s strange that Mack has to spy on him in the middle of the night and how they shouldn’t judge because Karen and Mack are both raising a child that isn’t even theirs.  I appreciate Frank calling Mack out on this because, to be honest, at this point I’m a bit annoyed with both Karen and Mack.  I get that they want their neighborhood to be a safe place (but if that’s the case, they should probably move based on all the shit that has happened in this cul-de-sac in the last nine years), but they are being way too nosy and it’s just making them hard to like.  If I was Frank, I’d be pissed, too, and I like how he just comes out and says it.

                A little later, we get a nice montage of paranoia with Frank hanging around the house, not going to work (he gets fired a little later in this ep, or maybe it’s in the next one, with the reason being that he is never showing up).  At one point, he sees a shadow passing by the window outside, so he grabs a baseball bat and heads out to take care of this intruder.  The intruder, however, just turns out to be a Transmorpher meter reader.  This meter reader is played by Dinah Lenney, also known as Nurse Shirley from ER and pregnant lady from the first episode of The Bradys, and whom I talked about back in season seven’s Irrevocably Yours.  In that ep, she played the woman who saw J.B. and Mack on the street and recognized J.B. as “Dotty Simpkins from Franklin High.”  Well, now she has morphed into this meter reader, although I suppose you could justify it as the same character.  She didn’t get a name back in that ep and she doesn’t get a name here, so perhaps J.B.’s old pal from high school also works as the local meter reader of Seaview Circle.  Anyway, after Frank almost kills this woman with a baseball bat, he spots Mack off in his yard, having witnessed the whole strange exchange.  In this instance, even though I’m on Team Frank, I do think he’s coming off looking pretty bad, throwing histrionic fits at meter readers and pooping his pants every time there’s a knock at the door.

                Later, Pat returns home and we learn that she went off to testify against someone.  Ah, so the pieces of the puzzle are beginning to come together.  Now we know for sure that the Williams family are in the witness protection program and we know that Pat is testifying against someone, presumably someone very powerful or perhaps with ties to the mafia based on all the caution and paranoia.  Anyway, later on in the middle of the night, Pat wakes up only to find Frank and their little witness protection lady getting everything packed up and preparing to blow town.  At this point, Pat gives a tremendous speech about how she doesn’t want to spend her life running away, how she wants to settle down and give Julie a real place to live and grow up, how she wants Julie to be able to look at the sidewalk and say, “That’s my sidewalk.”  It’s a nice, powerful speech, and it manages to sway Frank back into sticking to Seaview Circle, at least for awhile. 

                That ought to do it for Lawfully Wedded.  This was probably my second favorite ep out of the whole five contained on this disk.  I was very grateful to see the back end of Basil as he made his way out the exit doors and I really have no complaints about any of the other stories, with my favorite one being everything involving the Williams family.  I also thought this one had some notable style like that sexy mirror shot and a pretty clever script by Lechowick that had some pretty sharp dialogue and retorts.  Coming up, we get a script penned by William Devane himself, a very memorable ep called Bouncing Babies.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

A Tribute to Kevin Dobson (1943-2020)


A Tribute to Kevin Dobson (1943-2020)

                I love Mack MacKenzie and I love Kevin Dobson, the man who brought Mack to life on television for eleven years.  Like many Knots fans, I was very upset when my phone buzzed on the evening of September 7th with a news alert that Kevin had passed away the day before at the age of 77.


                Kevin Dobson was born on March 18th, 1943, in Jackson Heights, New York.  Before getting into acting, he served in the army during the Vietnam war as an MP and was very proud of his service.  His official death notice states, “In lieu of flowers, as Kevin would always say, if you love America, thank a vet.”  After his military service, he began his acting career, first appearing on One Life to Live in 1968 as Governor Harrison Brooks.  During this time, he also had a small appearance in the movie Klute in 1971 as well as appearances on television with The Mod Squad, Cannon, and Emergency! 

                Kevin’s big break came in 1973 when he was cast as Detective Bobby Crocker on Kojak.  He stayed with that series for its entire run until 1978 and I know that for lots of people, that would be the first thing they think about when they hear his name.  I feel a bit unprepared for this tribute because I’ve also never seen Kojak, although I’m familiar with it as part of pop culture. 

                After Kojak went off the air, Kevin played the lead role in a short lived series called Shannon which aired during the 1981-1982 season.  That series was quickly cancelled, but that only meant Kevin was available for the role I and most people probably associate him with, that of Mack MacKenzie on Knots Landing.  Kevin joined the cast at the start of the fourth season in 1982 and stayed with the series all the way until the final episode in May of 1993.  He ranks #4 when it comes to overall cast member appearances on the series, behind Michele Lee, Ted Shackelford, and Joan Van Ark.  According to IMDb, Kevin appeared in 291 of the series 344 episodes.  You can’t talk Knots Landing without talking about Kevin.

                For me, Kevin’s entrance onto the series marks the beginning of the good times for the show.  As those who have read through my blog will know, I love all of Knots Landing but I believe that perfect trifecta of seasons four, five, and six represent the show at its artistic peak, and Kevin is a huge part of that.  The character of Mack is first introduced to fill a hole in the series, a void that was left by the departure of Don Murray one year earlier.  The show needed a new strong male lead and a new romantic interest for Karen.  I think Mack rather quickly proved himself to be a more interesting character than Saint Sid, no offense intended to Don Murray who was also wonderful in his role.  To me, the character of Mack represents what makes Knots so special, because I really don’t believe a character like him could exist on any of the other big ‘80s primetime super soaps.  He has a realistic quality that is uniquely Knots; he seems like a guy we could all know in real life.  He provided the necessary boost of masculine energy to the series, but he also provided some fabulous humor and moments of levity, particularly when it came to his chemistry with Michele Lee.   Many of my favorite moments on the series are the moments of comedy between these two, and I think you can tell just by watching that both actors loved working with each other.  Indeed, I listened to a recent interview with Michele and when asked what her best memory of the series was, her immediate response was "working with my wonderful husband, Kevin Dobson.” 

                After Knots, Kevin continued to keep busy acting with roles in F/X: The Series from 1996 to 1997 and The Bold and the Beautiful from 2006 to 2007.  He was also the final actor to play the character of Mickey Horton in Days of Our Lives.  Kevin died on Sunday, September 6th, 2020.  He is survived by his wife of over fifty years and their three children. 

                By all accounts, Kevin was a generous man and a beloved actor.  I’ve never heard of anyone saying an unkind word towards him.  I know that I was very sad to hear of his passing and, even though I never met the man, he felt like a large part of my life because of how much I love the series and how much I love his character.  Kevin Dobson will be missed but he will never be forgotten; I believe the best way we can all honor him is by watching his work throughout the decades and appreciating his contribution to the television landscape.  


Thursday, September 3, 2020



Episode Title: The Blushing Bride 

Season 09, Episode 18

Episode 208 of 344

Written by Lynn Marie Latham

Directed by Nicholas Sgarro

Original Airdate: Thursday, February 11th, 1988

The Plot (Courtesy of TV.Com): Paige continues to be jealous of Greg's interest in other women and sleeps with Johnny. The MacKenzies are suspicious of the Williams family and speculate that Frank and Pat don't have custody of Julie. They see a woman come and pick Pat up in the middle of the night. Karen and Mack tell the truth in their depositions, and convince Val to tell the truth, that Gary wants visitation, not custody. Charles suggests to Abby she expands the marina at Lotus Point. He loans her the money, not telling her he is the front for investors. Charles gives her plans he had drawn up, but Abby finds they were made before he came back into her life. She hires a detective to investigate him. Charles's divorce is final, so Abby wants to get married ASAP.

                Hello all, and welcome back.  Today we shall be discussing The Blushing Bride, which I am very pleased to announce is the penultimate appearance of Basil Exposition.  As has probably become achingly clear at this point, I do not like this storyline and I am ready for it to end and I have been ready for it to end since pretty much the second it started.  And while I say I am very pleased that this is the penultimate ep featuring Basil, I also can’t stress enough how tired I was of all of this by this point.  As we begin the ep, I can’t believe this is still going on and I can’t believe that we still have to suffer through an entire other episode before it ends.  With that said, let’s start exploring the ep, beginning with that storyline because I just wanna get it out of the way. 

                I’ll be honest and say that, were it not for the little description that I put at the start of my essays, I would probably just skip over this storyline and not even talk about it because I’m not really paying any attention to it.  Fortunately, the description helps to remind me of that’s going on.  So, in this ep, Abs is wanting to marry Basil or whatever, and then Basil says how she should expand the marina at Lotus Point or something like that, and he’s gonna draw up the papers, and Bob Loblaw.  Basically, he gives her these plans but then later she finds out that the plans were made long before Basil reentered her life, meaning that he’s been plotting some sort of a ruse (a cunning attempt to trick her) for quite some time.  Then Abs hires a detective to investigate him and, well, that’s about it, and it’s boring, so let’s move on.  Actually, wait, I have one more thing to bitch about and then we’ll move on.  At a certain point near the start of the ep, Abs meets with some mysterious dude who says to him, “Everything going according to plan?”  This is just the worst type of writing ever, and I’ve always mocked it whenever I’m watching a show and someone says, “Everything is going according to plan,” but says nothing else to further elaborate on what they might be speaking about.  It’s a terrible writing device and it’s terrible in everything and it’s terrible here. 

                You know two characters who I would much rather talk about?  The answer is Gary and Val, who continue to have sizzling material this week as the drama of the big court battle starts to intensify.  There’s a lot I want to address from this storyline, starting with the way that J.B. is kinda lurking in the background and pulling the strings to keep Gary and Val fighting.  Anyone who has seen the finale of season nine should have it burned permanently into their memory banks and should be able to see all the foreshadowing we are getting right now.  It’s very subtle, but it’s there to the discerning viewer who is paying attention.  J.B. has begun her transformational from the J.B. of seasons seven and eight and is turning into the J.B. we all truly know and love when we think of J.B.  It’s small at this point, because she’s mostly acting the same as ever, but it’s definitely important that she’s helping to get Gary riled up and working to move forward with all this court crap; it shows that J.B. is tired of Val and is ready to start fighting dirty with her.  At the same time, Gary is not exactly being 100% manipulated; he has agency and is a free man making his own decisions.  I think there’s a chance that all this drama would be happening with or without J.B., but J.B. is definitely working to push it further along.

                Gary is such an interesting character and with every passing ep, I appreciate him more and more.  I totally see where he’s coming from in this instance and, if I were forced to pick sides, I would be in his corner.  Ever since his season four bender, he’s really cleaned up and is a very different person now.  I can fully understand why Val would be unwilling to trust him based on past behavior, but the man really has changed and it’s merely cruel to keep him away from the children that everyone knows he fathered.  By the way, this ep is interesting because we get a Lucy shoutout, something exceptionally rare at this point in the KL saga when the show is existing in a separate universe from its parent series.  In this instance, Gary is walking down the street with J.B. and saying, “You think I don’t know how I look in all this?  I don’t want anyone’s support; I don’t expect it,” and then he says, “I had my first daughter taken away from me but I am not gonna give up on these twins.”  Both MBG and I sorta perked up at this line and she said how we never ever hear about Lucy on this show and I agreed.  Back in the early years we would get fairly frequent Lucy shout-outs and she of course crossed over for her one and only time way back in season one’s Home Is for Healing.  Since Bobby came back from the dead and Dallas turned into 100% turd sandwich, the spinoff hasn’t mentioned any characters from over in Texas, and I think this is the first mention since Bobby’s revival in the shower.  Now, if I’m remember correctly, we do actually get one more reference to Lucy in the very final season, but I think that’s it.  If we get any more mentions between now and then, I shall make sure to note them.

Meanwhile, we’ve still got plenty of mystery and drama swirling around the newest arrivals to the cul-de-sac, the Williams family (I try not to say “The Williams’s” because then I would have to add that ugly extra “s” and it would just look weird).  In this ep, we see a side of Karen that, frankly, I don’t care for that much.  See, she keeps being super pushy with Pat Williams, basically forcing her to give this interview to the local newspaper about moving into town.  This scene takes place outside, and I noted with amusement the fact that there’s a very minor amount of rain falling from the sky and yet Karen busts out a gigantic umbrella all so she can go fetch the paper and Pat is wearing a fucking poncho.  Seriously, Pat, a poncho?  It is going to take you all of two seconds to go out to the street corner and grab your newspaper, so is the poncho really necessary?  Or Karen’s stupid umbrella?  While watching this with Brother, he said how this just shows how California people behave, but I’m not sure I agree.  I’ve been to California many times, but I’ve never lived there, and I don’t know how people generally react to rain.  I do know, however, that people in Seattle act like they’ve never seen a raindrop before even though it rains nine months of the fucking year here.  I always feel insanely judgmental of the way people freak out when rain starts falling, as if it’s acid or toxic waste instead of just, you know, rain. 

But enough about my feelings towards Seattle people and their weird reaction to rain, let’s talk about the contents of this scene and why Karen is annoying me right now.  Basically, it should be very clear to anyone in the vicinity that Pat has no interest in giving an interview to the paper or having her picture taken.  She’s trying to be polite about it, starting with, “Gosh, Karen, I just don’t know that we’re that interesting,” but then Karen just keeps going, giving her this laundry list of reasons for why she should do the interview.  Jesus, Karen, the woman isn’t interested, so leave her the fuck alone.  Honestly, at this point, which is right near the start of the ep, I can’t tell if Karen is just being kinda dense and genuinely can’t tell that Pat doesn’t wanna do this, or if she’s being nosy on purpose.  I’m kinda tempted to go with the latter, and her behavior only gets worse as we move along.  See, later on Mack finds Karen crouching in, um, I think…..their bathroom?  I’ll be honest and say that I had a hard time getting a sense of the geography in this scene, because Karen is lurking in the dark by a window and then Mack walks in and heads over to a sink and mirror, so I assume this is the bathroom that connects to their bedroom?  If that’s the case, however, where did this window come from?  Have we ever seen a window in this bathroom?  In fact, how much time have we spent inside this bathroom altogether?  I have the feeling that we haven’t had a whole lot of time in the bathroom, mostly seeing it in the background during scenes taking place in Karen and Mack’s bedroom.  Okay, so anyway, Mack finds Karen lurking and acting like James Stewart or Craig Wasson and he even calls her out on it, saying that she’s acting like a peeping tom. 

By this point in the saga, I have come to understand why some fans find Karen annoying.  The subtle Karen of seasons one through four is long gone and now she’s generally much more hyperventilating and over-the-top, and this business of her being a little snoop and trying to get some dirt on the new neighbors is just….I don’t like it.  I get that Karen has lived in the cul-de-sac for a long time and feels protective of it, but do you really have to stay up late spying on the neighbors through your window?  The whole thing just gives me kinda an icky feeling, and I do wonder if some of that has to do with the Williams family being black.  Some of Karen’s suspicions towards them just feel a little weird, and I find myself thinking of how black people can’t do anything or go anywhere without snooty white people giving them the suspicious eye, something that’s still painfully clear to the present day.  So I find myself imagining how it must feel to be the Williams family and just want to settle quietly into this neighborhood only to have to play twenty questions with Karen or have her busting out a gigantic telescope to spy on them all night long.  Ugh.  However, I would like to point out that my “ugh” is more a reaction to how Karen is behaving and not a reflection on my feelings towards this storyline, which I love.  I love the Williams family and I love how they come to the show with an aura of mystery and I love everything that comes out of their time on the show.  I’m just pointing out that Karen’s behavior is, at this point, starting to annoy me. 

Let’s see, who’s next on the agenda?  Looks like Paige and Sumner, two fabulous characters whom I love.  Right now, it appears Greg is trying to wash away his grief over losing Laura by sleeping with a ton of forgettable women.  There’s some sort of Lotus Point gathering late in the ep (in which Johnny Rourke sings; more on that in a minute) and Paige has obviously got the hots for Sumner because she keeps trying to set up a date with him.  Unfortunately for her, Sumner shows up at Lotus Point along with, um, some forgettable chick.  There wouldn’t be too much for me to say about these developments were it not for the fabulously hilarious charisma of one Mr. William Devane.  See, Paige is sorta glaring over at Greg’s table, being jealous of the forgettable woman, and then Greg spots her and gives this fabulous wink that is so funny it made me laugh three times.  I laughed at the end of our prior ep when we had the “Next on KL” preview, I laughed when we started this ep and once again saw the wink in the thirty second preview, and then I laughed thrice when we finally hit the moment in the ep in question.  I love how Greg is going through something that’s really profoundly sad, the loss of his wife after only one year of marriage, and Devane is showing all those complexities and intricacies, yet he also knows how to make things funny.  As I so often do, I find myself wondering if Devane improvised this wink.  What do you guys think?  It just has that positive ring of authenticity that leads me to think Devane made this up.  Another beautiful thing worth noting in this scene?  Paige’s fabulous outfit.  See, at the Lotus Point party, Paige has chosen to come adorned in a fantastic all white outfit with a gigantic white hat.  

                But do you wanna know the fatal flaw of this scene?  If you guessed Johnny Rourke singing, you are correct, because he sings in this scene and he’s truly awful.  I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this in the last year or so, but I really do miss Cathy terribly and think she could still be contributing good material if she were still on the show, but alas, she is not.  And while I miss all aspects of Cathy’s character, the one aspect I miss the very most is of course her singing.  Cathy (and, of course, Ciji before her) sang so well and I loved listening to all her songs, and listening to the diarrhea coming out of Johnny’s mouth as he stands up on stage only makes me yearn for Cathy more.  Jesus Christ is he bad, and he’s so bad that it almost seems like it’s intentional, like it’s a joke, like when all the nuns in SisterAct sing for the first time and Whoopi is so horrified to hear how bad they are.  I’m not very good at describing why someone is good or bad at singing, but the most I can say about Johnny is that he seems super flat.  Whenever he hits those high notes, they just fall, well, flat, and even though I think the background instruments are kinda okay, everything is ruined by this terrible singing.  I have to ask: Who’s idea was this?  Who brought Johnny Rourke onto the series and then demanded that he sing?  Was this some sort of weird contractual obligation courtesy of Peter Reckell?  Does he fancy himself a singer and did he show up on set and be like, “I’m gonna sing”?  I sure hope not, but then I must conclude that the powers-that-be ordered this singing to occur for some reason.  Anyway, it’s awful, I miss Cathy desperately, and that’s all I have to say about that.

                In fact, that’s about all I’ve got to say about this ep.  I bitched about Basil and Abs, but aside from that, this ep was solid, and I would like to reiterate that I’m thoroughly enjoying this season even if I’m not loving every single storyline going on.  This is still a huge, huge, huge step up from season eight, and I’m pretty impressed that the same creative team was able to do such a good job of damage control after things got so off the rails last year.  If I’m sounding a little more blasé about the eps or not giving them as much attention as I usually do, part of it is that we’re up to episode 208 and I am tired and another part is that, right now, the eps are sticking out as unique little snowflakes the way they used to.  In the early to middle seasons, I could kinda think back over the season and immediately remember what made this episode special or that episode special or whatever, but right now, they kinda blur.  I’m not seeing as many little directorial flourishes as I used to and they’re just, you know, a little less singular. 

                Alright, we’ve got two more eps left on this disk, so let’s move on to Lawfully Wedded.