Friday, June 7, 2013

Dead Like Me, Season 1, Episode 3: Curious George

Another day another reap – and today finds George and Rube outside a petrol station that keeps a real live bear in a miserable small cage as a tourist attraction. This is being protested by some warmly wrapped people with signs holding hands and trying to convince people not to buy petrol. George claims not to need a chaperone but, given her last two performances, Rube decides otherwise – and gives her some other hints as well, like makeshift plastic covers from binbags for when the deaths are messy. He unveils his not-very-cunning plan for finding out who the person is (calling their name) and she gets to reap his soul with a simple handshake.

It’s how they simplify things without convoluted, difficult plots that really makes it seem more like a daily activity for them more than anything else.

Then the graveling moves in – and the guy gets mauled by a bear, spraying them with blood. Nasty. Which is when Mason arrives (with his own plastic slicker), late, to tell the bloodstained George she really needs one. Ok what really makes it seems more like a daily activity for them is how gloriously  casual they are around violent horrible death. Rube points to another of the dead protestor’s – Mason’s target – whose ghost now has graphic facial scars. This is why souls are reaped before death. Time to lead the souls away with both of them lamenting how they never told the other how hot they were in life – all that time they could have been having sex. Ah, wasted opportunities.

George goes to work – apparently working for the temping agency – and has some wonderful snark about office politics she doesn’t care about, office events she’s indifferent to and office cliques she doesn’t understand and forming little groups so they can demean and attack people who aren’t members. And she has some extra insightful snark about how she feels disturbed by Delores being in her cubicle – disturbed at her in her territory and disturbed by how quickly she felt territorial about a cubicle! She’s late but covered in blood – which lets her play on Delores’s sympathy for the day off! Except she doesn’t get paid if she goes home. Time to work in borrowed clothes – but at least she got to bond with Delores by explaining her password, “rimjob.”

Of course, because Dead Like Me snark has to have some depth to it, George has gone from “silly cliques” to wondering which group she actually belongs to when she arrives at the Waffle House and Roxy and Betty have their usual awesome dinner conversation. And Rube still tries to draw her in, awww. Mason has hockey tickets – from a dead person’s widow of course. I kinda love how they fit in their casual grave robbing into the conversation so easily.

At George’s old home, Joy is wrangling George’s little sister Reggie who wants to go to school on picture day wearing the dress she wore to George’s funeral. And in her wardrobe are George’s pyjamas.  Poor Joy makes a desperate attempt to talk to Reggie with a her shaky relationship with her own mother. George is watching outside as Joy tries to give Reggie a sweater and ends up dropping it in the drive when Reggie refuses to take it. And even while acknowledging what a bad idea it is, George lets herself in to her old home, finding old pictures and toys precious that once she had casually ignored. And she does Reggie’s maths homework for her, since she knows she hated Maths (one of the few things she learned about her).

She goes into her old room - now all packed up – to claim some of her old clothes, and falls asleep on her bed, smelling her old scene (another comment on things you miss). Which means she’s still in, losing track of time, when Reggie, Joy and Clancy return (Clancy talking about missing dinner again – and he makes an unfortunate comment about letting the “girls” use his office before catching himself).  George sneaks out a window and throws the discarded sweater to the house – meaning Reggie sees it has moved.

Later Joy tries to help Reggie by encouraging her not to think about George if it hurts (not the best advice ever but she’s trying) and Reggie goes to George’s room with a ouija board.

George goes on a job with Betty – a body in a tree. After several abortive attempts to climb the tree they resort to throwing rocks instead while George asks lots of questions about souls Betty doesn’t have an answer to. Finally George tells Betty she went home and Betty tells her it’s a bad idea – even if no-one saw her, trying to get back what you’ve lost doesn’t help. Nor does taking your old stuff – she has her own flashback to digging up her body to get her ring back after she died in 1926. George tries to make friends with Betty as they take the soul to his odd tetris heaven, but Betty dodges her

At the Waffle House, Mason and Roxy have an awesome argument about the merits of a pet bird. Yes, it’s silly but it’s silly little arguments like this that make people seem like friends of long standing.

Next day and she’s woken by Mason, they talk about dreams and frogs and Mason borrows a big knife. We probably don’t want to know why. And at work George feels left out because the whole office gathers for someone’s retirement and she’s left manning the phones – and then feels weird for feeling left out since she doesn’t actually want to be part of it.

Meanwhile Mason and Betty go on a job, filling in a personality test while they wait (which Mason takes way too seriously). He goes into a building with his knife, leaving her behind, shortly afterwards gun shots sound and an injured man rushes out chased by Mason. They circle the car while, inside the car, Betty reads out his personality results. Another man comes out and shoots the wounded guy again, giving Mason chance to reap him. And get shot himself – but he escapes with the bag of money; leaving Betty with the dead guy. She asks him a personality question.

Yes yes she does.

To the Waffle House and George sits down to be lectured by Rube about visiting her old life. He’s warned her before and has an epicly dramatic warning for her if she goes back again. It doesn’t go down well, with half the table giggling at his threat and George pointing out the worst has already happened to her. Out come the post its – and George is going back to the bear again!

This time people are protesting its pending euthanasia once it’s transported to animal control. A lot lot lot more people. Time to play “guess how they die!” with Roxy (who tries to sit in silence by George keeps poking her).  Roxy guesses a long shot and George goes for the man in the cage with the barely sedated bear, though Roxy points to the name “D Kostakovitch” means that the Black man in the cage is unlikely to be the victim.

They enter the crowd and hearing the news presenter comment on how he changed his name to something easier to say, George guesses he’s the man – just as the bear escapes. One odd electrocution later and she has a soul and chance to have another voice over about connections. George also saves the bear from being shot by a guy with a handgun.

And against all advice, George goes home and talks to Reggie. Until joy arrives and sends Reggie inside and starts to close the door. In desperation, George calls her “mom”. Oops. George tries to recount a story from when she was a child to make Joy believe it’s her. Instead Joy screams at her assuming she’s a con artist and George runs, watched by Reggie from the window. George is picked up by Roxy and cries in her car. She takes George to the waffle house.

George tells Rube she went home again. Rather than get angry he asks if she’s ok and if she lost anything – like memories. She says she can’t remember the childhood memory she tried to tell her mother. She asks if all they can hold onto from their old life is thoughts and memories and he tells her it’s all they have, while we see an old black and white photo of a woman in his wallet.

One of the reasons why those 2 ghosts weren’t having sex was apparently because the woman was pretending to be in to another woman to aggravate her parents. Uh-huh – thin ice on a show with zero GBLT inclusion.

George going home is a powerful scene in its own – her memories, even doing her sister’s maths homework especially after previous episodes when she called her invisible because she ignored her so much. It’s a really well done statement of missing what you’ve lost without being too maudlin or derailing the tone.

I think the voice overs were a little forced though – the whole pushing the idea of connections and friendships was already made without laying it on with a trowel.

Still love the snark – and there’s a real strong feel that these people are friends who have known each other a long time, they have that quality of banter.