Friday, July 19, 2013

Dead Like Me, Season 1, Episode 9: Sunday Mornings

The theme this week is George and good memories she looks back on. And speaking of things we look back on - Roxy’s back! Thank you – and her first line is pointing out an annoying habit of Daisy’s! Is this why they got rid of her for a while? Because there’s no way Roxy would tolerate the newly arrived Daisy’s shenanigans? Anyway, Daisy accuses George of being “internal” which is why she has no friends. Roxy snarks more at Daisy (deservedly) I think Roxy is going to make Daisy far more tolerable.

In other things getting better, it looks like the Las household may be heading up with Reggie being much happier and brighter with JD the dog with even Joy and Clancy bonding. Things are looking up

Less so for George going to a college for her death appointment (accompanied by Mason for the usual skeevy reasons), reminiscing about their families and how George was so close to her dad as a child but they drifted apart. George goes all internal with the stress presence of the college while Mason, of course, finds some drugs (and declaims his theory that colleges are invented by bacteria). She finds her target – a ridiculously enthusiastic college student with big big hopes that are now very much dashed. And Mason’s peeping Tom ways let him see an attempted rape, to which he promptly clonks the guy on the head with a fire extinguisher.

Afterwards, George and the woman Mason rescued talk about reaction in crisis and how they think they’re ready but then have a brain freeze; and George bonds over how alike they are. Goerge sees a friend and actual friend – and Mason develops a crush. And more than just he-wants-to-have-sex-with-her crush. To which Daisy, seeing Mason with some vulnerable feelings, promptly stomps all over everything.

The problem with undead characters is you can’t wish them dead.

And Roxy is being given grief on her job, as usually – and then he touches her. Touches her when she told him not to. This is where we learn that a pissed off Reaper can rip the soul out of your body, hold it above their head and give dire warnings before putting it back.

At work, George tells Delores she has lunch plans – and Delores very kindly, very patiently tells George it’s fine to say no to her without having to lie. Which shows again how Delores is both kind and annoying – and how insular George normally is. Of course she does have lunch plans this time and she and Charlotte continue to enjoy each other’s company; Charlotte complains about how the guy trying to rape her also hit her joy of the sonnets she was reading at the time – joy George used to share because her dad (a university professor) used to read them to her. In fact, Charlotte invites her to a seminar about them lead by – yes, Clancy Lass, George’s dad. And she’s struck by how engaging and entertaining and clever he is in the lecture hall – completely different from how he was at home. George reflects on how Clancy changed and realised she changed and became a teenager and started avoiding him so stopped seeing Clancy as he was.

While George his having deep epiphanies about her family, Roxy has a problem because Chuck, the guy she sorta-reaped, has now decided she’s god. And he won’t accept her claim that nothing happened. And at the Waffle House Mason is very very depressingly crushing on Charlotte (awww, he’s cute when he’s stressing), Daisy actually says something I almost agree with; and Charlotte arrives early. Cue introductions including introducing Rube as her step dad – and get an “errand” from him; a Reap on the way. She handles it pretty subtly though.

Oh methinks she will pay for that later. But first he has a heart to heart with Roxy about her creating a new religion she really shouldn’t have. He was supposed to get a parking ticket – not enlightenment. With additional threats of pipe insertion if she reaps the living again.

And George starts to ruin her relationship with Charlotte by talking about her dad, whether he’s sad or not over her death and objecting quite rudely to Charlotte’s suggestion that Clancy move on. Hurt, George leaves quickly and says she will call her – her way of saying she’ll never see her again.

When she died, George had the opportunity to see her loved ones lose their shit with grief – except her dad. She reflects that maybe he had no problem saying goodbye to her because he already had many years before.

But Charlotte is more mature, sensible and kind than expected and arrives at George’s with an apology (which George admits is unnecessary because she did nothing wrong) and a determination to preserve their friendship. And Mason is still crushing hard. George encourages Charlotte to give the sonnet about moving on to her dad.

This moves to an awkward discussion with George, Charlotte and Clancy. Let the awkwardness reign and Clancy finally discuss George – he knew she would grow apart, he just thought she’d come back if he gave her her space – but she died before she had chance. And Charlotte comforts him… and George is most cynical about it; which is when mason walks in and sees Charlotte comforting Clancy and has a sad moment. Just like Joy, at home, waiting for Clancy.

Roxy decides to solve the divine intervention thing by having the guy’s car towed and telling him about it. It doesn’t work, he just puts it down to a vengeful god. So she goes for the crotch. That works.

I don’t mind the introspection that comes with Dead Like Me, but I think when touching on the deeper issues especially with George’s family, we tend to lose the snarky, cynical hard edge that so characterises the voice of the show. The humour leaves and I don’t know if George’s deep introspection about her life, the massive humanisation and exploration of her family really makes up for it.

Sure it does come down a few notches, but it still remains high – because there are some good messages that are well maintained and we have some really powerful well fleshed out characters. But… characters are what we have and I’m not sure if it has much else than characters

I’m glad to see Roxy return but not to have her absence ignored as if she had been there all along.