Friday, May 31, 2013

Dead Like Me, Season 1, Episode 2: Dead Girl Walking

A week after being dead, George snarkily recaps the last episode. Much as I hate recaps, I have a soft spot for snark. She sums up her less than ideal life and how she’s continuing to live in a dead guy’s awful, filthy house. Which gets worse when the dead guy’s family show up. While she’s on the toilet no less. She manages to pass herself off as his girlfriend, briefly – before they get more suspicious and things become awkward. She should never have tried to claim the TV

Of course, squatting isn’t her only worry, it seems her little sister, Reggie, has been telling the neighbours that her mother won’t let her go to the bathroom for a reason she just can’t explain to her mother who is already a little frazzled after George’s death. And, to be fair, was pretty frazzled before as well. Frazzled seems to be a default setting for her.

Roxy is busy earning her living as a traffic warden (with Mason looking on and slacking). And she gets grief for writing a ticket and chews the guy out masterfully. Standing ovation for Roxy. When things seem to be escalating she slams it down by flashing a gun and making it clear (as politely as possible) that she will fuck him up. Well that ends any objections he might have.

We get a hint of how the appointments work – Rube gets an envelope put under the door from an anonymous figure and from that he writes out the post-its of all the deaths. Which he hands out at his next breakfast meeting where we have their awesome group interactions (including excellent TMI sharing over various deaths. Seriously, Roxy and Betty could be a stand up act on their own). Rube asks for volunteers for extra work but George asks what they get – which sums up what everyone’s thinking. Also, because George did that whole intervening thing which was naughty, she has to work with Betty today.

Which leads to them hitchhiking out of town to their location because there’s no bus and George doesn’t have money for a taxi. She’s also wary of hitchhiking but Betty very politely insists she get in the damn car – designer shoes are not meant for 10 mile hikes, but it turns out the man is their target. Betty charms the man with skill George admires (admittedly George isn’t the most charming of people) before George does the soul claim – though Betty has to nudge her. George still considers it akin to being an accomplice to murder. For a brief moment she thinks Betty also wants to save the man’s life – but she watches as he dies in a car accident.

After his instructional day with Roxy, Mason tries to pick the lock of a parking meter for the money inside. That failed, he pulls out a baseball bat. It knocks it off the pole – but doesn’t do much else.

So to the cafĂ© with George and Roxy where he disgustingly distracts them both by eating the gum from under the table (ew ew ew) and manages to sneak Roxy’s key off her ring. After that moment of disgusting food arrives and George ends up eating chips that Mason scrounges – Roxy tells her to get a job. Poor George, she can’t keep up with their banter either.

Back with George’s family, poor Joy (George’s mother) has to go to the school because Reggie has stolen a toilet seat. No, really.  At dinner that night she reveals that Reggie took all the toilets seats in the school and sends her to bed before telling her husband, Clancy, that she’s interviewing child psychologists. Clancy dismisses the idea.

Back in the Waffle House, George whines to Rube about how she hates her life et al and he gently and nicely tells her to, basically, suck it up and deal. And hands her a post it telling her to reap their server; after a gremlin, kids with a cherry bomb and heavy sign combine to kill the poor man. George also gets impaled with a fork – but Reapers heal awfully quickly.

Even if she does have to cough up the tines of the fork later that night. George decides she’s done – afterall, they can’t make her.

So the next morning in the Waffle House, she’s missing (and Mason pays his bills with a surprising amount of coins – and other pieces of traffic meter). After banging on George’s door, he slips the post it under it. And a mysterious wind blows it closer to George’s feet. She tries to ignore it for the day while it preys on her mind – what exactly happens when you have a date with death and death doesn’t show up? She misses the appointment – and the note gets even closer, impaled on one of the springs in her awful mattress. And a graveling visits her – she begins to worry if death gets penalised.

Back at her old home, Reggie tries to use a Ouija board (presumably to contact George) and Clancy tells her she doesn’t have to go to therapy –much to Joy’s annoyance. George watches from outside on one of her many visits to her family and the hole she left in their lives.

To make matters worse for George, there’s a note on her door demanding rent. She discusses a day job – with Mason who is very against the whole idea, as we can see from him using Roxy’s key to steal money from the traffic meters. She doesn’t trust everything Mason says because he died by actually drilling a hole in his head because someone told him it would give him a permanent high. Yes, really. This is your brain on drugs is nothing compared to “this is your brain on a drill bit”

Roxy has her own opinion on steeling from meters – she rams her vehicle into Mason at speed, taking the chance to take her key back and deliver the news that Rube wants to see George at the morgue. There she gets to see the body of the man she didn’t Reap. There was no forfeit, but nor was he spared death.

George protests that she didn’t make the appointment, but Rube doesn’t care, she had an appointment. He’s still dead so George thinks mission accomplished – but no. His soul is still in his body. Still aware. And was aware during the autopsy. Aaaaargh and you thought Mason eating the table gum was going to be the worst thing ever. At least he doesn’t feel physical pain. George protests it’s not her fault – and reaps his soul

The ghost comes out calling for god and desperately thanking George. Rube has a simple lesson on cause and effect – what she does or doesn’t do matters and has consequences and tells her to say she’s sorry. She apologises and Roxy takes the man away. George has another “I can’t do this and I don’t have to!” moment and Rube has another good speech on finding something to like in the world and holding on to it.

George has a voice over about finding things to like – and liking things even if they’re imperfect or a mess while outside her house watching her sister sneak out after another neighbour arrives to complain about her taking something – a toilet seat we assume. George follows her to find a tree she has covered with toilet seats. It makes her reflect on cause and effect how what she did then affects her sister.

And Georgia decides to keep going – she isn’t finished liking things, she hasn’t finished not liking them – she hasn’t finished living. She goes to the temp agency again to see the annoying Delores Herbig; using the pseudonym of Mildred.

And she finishes with “it’s hard to piss and moan about not having a purpose in life when death handed it to me on a platter."

I am torn between my love of Roxy and her firm refusal to take shit, her stern examination of the world and people’s sense of entitlement and the horrible people that it’s the WOC who is the angry aggressive one. That horrible feeling when you love what a character does but you have to accept they’re a pretty large stereotype.

Reggie and her odd behaviour – a reaction to Georgia’s death apparently. I’m glad that Joy is seeking medical help for her, but if she considers Reggie to be ill and needing help, it doesn’t follow that she also punishes her.

George’s rejection of her role does come off as childish – but why not? She didn’t chose this, she’s not getting rewarded for this, she’s not getting paid for this and her life is extremely rotten besides to the point of her not being able to afford to eat. A time consuming, gruesome job with no pay? Plenty of mature adults would tell that where to go, let alone petulant 18 year olds!

Yes it’s unfair – but then there’s Rube with awesome lessons on how that doesn’t matter. Stuff happens, fair doesn’t come into it.

I think the episode wasn’t as compelling as the first one, but was kind of fun anyway