Friday, June 28, 2013

Dead Like Me, Season 1, Episode 6: My Room

George’s sister, Reggie, is still being kind of creepy with her taxidermy raven and George and Rube are still moping in the Waffle House over Betty. Until Mason arrives anyway, I don’t think Mason is that capable of moping. And it seems that George isn’t talking to Rube, Rube’s not a 100% sure why but is guessing that she’s blaming him for what happened to Betty. While George practices her passive aggressive funk, Mason desperately tries to flirt with an uninterested woman behind them who is not only uninterested but far far too busy being picky and difficult with the waitress.

Mason’s pathetic and very creepy flirting attempts don’t impress George either, but it turns out that the blonde woman is Daisy – the new Reaper to replace Betty. And Daisy’s first act is to decide she’s going to call George by her full name, Georgia, because she finds it prettier. George declares instant loathing. I kind of agree with George. That hatred backs down a little when Daisy pours her drink down Mason when he continues to creepy flirt with her. Again, I find myself agreeing with George.

At the Lass household, the tension is thick in the air as Joy, in her bath, tries to get her husband Clancy to open up, pay attention to her or express some interest. That failing she turns to Reggie, who has missed school again because she is still have problems over George’s death. Joy again tries to raise the idea of therapy – something he nixed before – but he’s keeping his head in the sand and wants to just talk to her, see how she’s going. To which Joy, with perfect accuracy, points out “we” means her, since Clancy is never there. Healthy relationship it is not.

George, meanwhile, is adapting to living alone and really loving the quiet that comes with it. And she should know better than to say things like that – because Daisy knocks at the door. Guess who has a new room-mate! But she brought potpourri. Yay – y’know you could probably have summed up that entire character with “she brought potpourri” and you’d know there’d be absolutely no hope of you ever liking her.

Let’s seal that – Mason brings up her luggage being a creepy fool who thinks creeping around after an uninterested woman will make her pay attention and, I kid you not, a homeless man called Raol she picked up off the street for booze to carry her bags. I know they’re trying to make us hate Daisy – but really? Why not just have her kick some puppies and have done with any pretence at subtly

We get some of her backstory – she was an actress in Gone with the Wind and she regales George and Mason with a wonderful; tale about how she thought she was giving oral sex to Clark Gable under the table but it turns out she got the wrong guy. I think this is supposed to add to our hatred of her because sexual woman = evil.

Confirming that, the next day Daisy, who doesn’t work, monopolises the bathroom when Georgia, who does, is waiting to get ready for said job. Is Daisy going to be a regular character, because at this point she’s pretty irredeemable.

At the Lass house. Joy tries to talk to Reggie about skipping school, running into Reggie’s lies and tripping up trying to find a nice way to talk about it. Poor Joy. When Reggie refuses a lift to school, Joy follows her to see where she’s going – and is lead to her tree. The tree Reggie has decorated with many many toilet seats. Poor Joy.

At work, George finds more things to annoy her – a broken photocopier and Delores. Delores seems to exist to be annoying and is currently battling a work drama about Jimmy being transferred, George looks as confused and indifferent as I am; Jimmy’s leaving is apparently going to cause problems for the Happy Time bowling team. George continues to have a bemused look on her face. Of course, with someone missing on the team, Delores instantly hones in on a replacement – her favourite Millie (George). At this point if I were George I’d find the nearest window and jump out of it – sure if it’s an upper floor it’ll hurt but it’ll be less painful in the long run. At least her rehab lie is biting her in the arse; I heartily approve.

To the Waffle House, Rube is disturbed by the eggs, George is apparently in pain from sleeping without a pillow and Daisy is still horribly annoying. And George gets to chaperone her. Lucky George

With the discovery of the toilet seat tree, Joy finally takes Reggie to therapy. Reggie’s very passive aggressive but one thing that does get highly hinted at is that there’s no mention of or attempt to deal with George’s death. It was brushed under the carpet, her stuff packed away and, after the funeral, no time was spent on it, not even any photos. Joy is so defensive that the therapist speaks to Reggie alone.

And outside in the waiting room, Rube is waiting to reap someone. Which means all the awkward questions to try and find out who, exactly, that person is and in the meantime take the chance to talk to Joy about why “moving on” isn’t something you have to run into, you move on when you’re ready and don’t have to rush it. He uses an inspiring tale about people from Nigeria to make his point which is part “the west doesn’t have all the answers” and part “exotic natives!”. Before reaping the man delivering the water cooler bottle.

And George goes to bowling where the eternally well meaning Delores is finally frustrated by her bowling team who recognise that a complete non-bowler “Millie” is going to completely sink them. And then George has to go home to Daisy who is eternally more annoying.

Still she gets some karma because the guy taken into the bowling team gets a tattoo – and reaped by Mason and shot by the guy going to kill the tattoo artists for putting the wrong woman on his arse. That evening she goes to the cubicle filled with notes of grief and commiseration and is surprised by Delores who, after much babbling asks if she wants to steal something. George is shocked but Delores says that’s how people grieve – they take pieces of the people they love, hold them as mementos and keepsakes (George just wants the larger cubicle). George flashes back to when she took the toy from Joy’s yard sale of her things – and she understands.

The next day she takes the toy back to her old home, to Joy and Reggie, and leaves it on the porch. Reggie sees her leave. Joy and Reggie go through George’s things finding things that Reggie wants to keep – including George’s bowling trophy. But when she goes to bed she has turned her room into a virtual shrine to George – poor Joy trying to figure it out

One issues touched on – back to Daisy. Over bowling, George complains to Rube about her and he gives lots of advice it basically coming down to Daisy being arrogant and thinking she’s special and exploiting that George doesn’t think she’s special, is too insecure to fight back. George goes home determined to have it out with Daisy and thinks she finds her crying, insecure and repentant – but she’s just practicing lines and hasn’t heard a thing George said

To bowling and “Millie” is on the team the last bowl to play and she remembers why she hates team sports – because she hates the pressure. But then she flashbacks through how she completely failed to live her life because she was paralysed by fear or running from things – and bowls a perfect strike.

Ok, there was a bit of a trite message about not being too afraid to live here. I don’t know, I think it’s a bit too simple and happy dappy for the more cynical and snarky Dead Like Me. It’s too light and fluffy for George

Far better and meaningful is the messages about grief, how people grieve and going through the process – unlike Joy who seems to be burying the process – and how that affects Reggie. It’s a far more well done story. In fact I think Joy, trying so hard to connect with Reggie and her distant husband, trying to make things work when she’s not an emotionally fluffy person, is a wonderful storyline all by herself. Which is good because I think the other storylines – the introduction of Daisy, was a bit lacking

Daisy – I do not like, not even slightly even if she did shut down Mason’s creepiness. We’re clearly meant to hate Daisy – which, fine, I can accept that we hate Daisy (though with Roxy disappearing it makes the only present female Reaper except George hateful) though some of them – like the exploitation of the homelessman feel like exploitative comic relief. But still, I’m happy to join the Daisy hate – but less so some of the things I’m supposed to hate her for. The way she was presented, I think I’m equally supposed to hate her for the fact she was having oral sex with an unknown guy as much as I for the way she moves in and tries to take over George’s life