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.