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.