Sunday, March 05, 2017

MaY Cellphone Watch: "Ovulation Day"

Recently, Lynda and I have been watching Mad About You reruns. This is one of our favorite shows. But . . . looking back on it, you see how the plot of this show (as with many others) would have been utterly destroyed had they only had a cellphone.

[Season 4, Episode 10] "Ovulation Day"

In Season 4, the show shifted a bit and there was more emphasis on the improving careers of Paul and Jamie (she started working for the Mayor, doing public relations with her old partner and always friend Fran; he began working with the Explorer Channel brainstorming film ideas and then directing them for the network)

But, while they are adjusting to the increased pressures and more hectic pace of new job responsibilities, they also have agreed to start trying for a kid . . . because, television.

Thus we get this episode, in which Jamie begins the drama by stopping Paul from sexing her up because it would be a wasted effort, since she is not confirmed to be in ovulation. The comedy train speeds up as they go about their day, growing more and more sexually frustrated. (For instance, Paul is forced to edit documentary footage of horses mid coitus and other footage of pipe drillers literally laying pipe.)

Jamie has promised to give Paul an immediate phone call when she confirms that she is in ovulation and then they will meet back at the apartment for some Afternoon Delight. She gives Paul a beeper and makes him await her alert. During lunch, Jamie meets Paul's sister Debbie, who uses this opportunity to inform Jamie that she is coming out as a lesbian (pretty groundbreaking for 1995). When Debbie describes her first same-sex experience with her new girlfriend Joan, Jamie takes a great deal of delight in the details . . . if you know what I mean.

But . . . after lunch, Jamie confirms ovulation and uses a restaurant pay phone to call Paul at work and tells him to get home quickly. Paul hops on the train and is confronted at every turn by beautiful women in short skirts and low cut blouses . . . because, TELEVISION!

Jamie beat Paul home, find that he nightgown needs washing and rushes to the laundry room. Naturally, she gets trapped there when the doorknob breaks on the inside. But don't worry . . . because the washing machine is working and vibrating . . . if you know what I mean. She escapes the laundry room when the nosy British women opens the door to do her own wash. Jamie rushes back upstairs, she and Paul prepare to get busy . . . and then Joan and Paul's parents arrive. Naturally, this derails all of Paul's sexual mojo and it looks bleak for our two randy heroes.

In the end, after some mid-90s over-reaction to lesbianism on the part of Sylvia Buchman, P & J are alone again and it isn't long before they get their groove back . . . if you know what I mean.
How a cellphone would have helped: This may be the most cell-phone impacted episode of Mad About You ever. First of all . . . beepers are completely out of the picture. P & J would either have called each other directly on their mobiles or used a simple text. (And this would have been when the peach and the zucchini emojis were still in their original design, so that would have helped keep their libidos in gear as well--if you know . . .  yeah, I think you get it.

Also . . . Jamie would not have had to use a restaurant pay phone to tell Paul that she was ovulating. AND, when she got trapped in the laundry room, there would have been no time wasted lamenting the situation or being resourceful with the vibrating laundry machine. Jamie would simply have called/texted Paul to come and rescue her. And . . . most likely, they would have taken advantage of the situation and gotten down to business in the laundry room right then. They could have avoided the interruption with Bert, Sylvia, and Debbie--but they might have run afoul of the British woman.

So, a very significant episode for our cellphone watch purposes.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

LOST Rewatch: S.O.S.

Today it is Season 2 episode 19.

With a title like S.O.S. you can expect some discussion of rescue to be the focal point and you would be right.

What might surprise you is that the focal points of this episode are Bernard and Rose.

You see, as we've witnessed in the previous two episodes, the mysterious parachute drop of the DHARMA Initiative food pallet threw many personalities into conflict on Lostaway beach. And this time around, we see that Bernard is pretty salty that everyone seems pretty comfortable living on a mysterious island and not really committed to escape or signalling rescue or anything of that sort.

The reason that Bernard wants to get home so badly? (Other than the obvious, I guess.) Well, we learn through FLASHBACK! that Rose is suffering from some type of cancer. And Bernard is determined to cure her with whatever means are available. (Hence his commitment to getting off the Island.) Rose and Bernard were flying from Australia to the United States when the plane went down and Bernard is going to enlist whomever he can find into signaling a passing plane, I guess.

Unfortunately, all the other Lostaways are busy with their own problems and aren't interested in helping Bernard. Locke is still healing his leg from the blast door incident in "Lockdown." And he's very concerned that Henry Gale is lying to him about not punching in The Numbers, as was revealed in "Dave." So, John is undergoing a big confidence of crisis.

Jack, meanwhile, who--as we know--has never met a direct order he didn't want to break, is scheming to traipse back through the jungle and cross the imaginary line in the ivy that was established by "Mr. Friendly" and the Others in "The Hunting Party" (s2 e11).

Of course, whenever Jack goes somewhere, Kate is bound to come as well. Remarkably, however, Sawyer decides NOT to tag along with time, so there is at least one corner of the Island's geography that might not be infected with their dysfunctional love triangle nonsense.

Back at Lostaway Beach, Bernard's efforts to create a press gang of workers for the S.O.S. sign are going poorly. Mr. Eko and Charlie are too busy constructing their weird church, Our Lady of the Tides. Hurley (not really featured in this episode) is probably enjoying some picnic-style Apollo Bars with Libby. Jin was helping Bernard briefly, but he is more interested in improving his English-speaking skills and as a dentist, Bernard is only interested in teaching him the words "rock" and "floss".

Soon, Bernard is toiling alone, increasingly frustrated.

Speaking of frustrated, Locke hobbled back down to Lostaway Beach and has a chat with Rose. He claims that he is done with the Hatch, since he is not entirely sure if Henry is telling him the truth about The Numbers countdown. Rose, ever serene, tells Locke not to worry. And she inquires about the pace of his leg healing. Locke says that Jack believes the injury will heal in four weeks. But Rose smiles and tells John that they both know it won't take that long.

As the FLASHBACK! informs us, Rose encountered wheelchair-bound Locke in the Australia airport and knows that the magic of the Island has healed his paralysis. So, it is no surprise when she informs Bernard to quit working on the S.O.S. sign--because the Island has cured her cancer and she has no intention of ever leaving the Island's magic again. Happily, Bernard and Rose embrace.

And speaking of embraces . . . Jack and Kate are having a typical interrogation of their complex feelings toward each other while traveling through the jungle. These two are distracted enough to get caught in one of Danielle Rousseau's net snares. But cooperation, uncomfortable body contact, and a well-trained gunshot get them free.

Jack and Kate never do make it to Mr. Friendly's  (formerly named here as "beardo") borderline because . . . who should come stumbling out of the trees in the episodes final seconds?

MICHAEL! (Whom, if you can't recall, we haven't seen since "The Hunting Party.") What has he seen and what will his return mean!?!!

More on THOSE questions . . . next time.

Road Variety

Cedit: Google Maps
Even though this map represents a Saturday morning filled with parental errands, it also is a significant bit of fun for a suburban dad like me.

I get to drive downtown to the art school and hang out for a few hours, pretending that I am hip. But when that was done, I drove back towards home and dropped Sarah at Easton to hang out with a friend, and then drove to pick up Grace from a different friend's sleepover and then dove back home once more through Westerville.

Hardly used the same road twice--which is a favorite goal of mine when I drive.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

LOST Rewatch: Dave

Yesterday, we relaunched the LOST Rewatch and I'm back at it again today with episode 18 of Season 2--"Dave."

Remember in yesterday's post when I callously joked about Hurley eating Apollo Bars because of the mysterious food pallet that parachuted down into the jungle? Well, that was an insensitive joke . . . but it is also a relevant one because this episode focuses on Hurley's problems with over-eating and his food eating compulsions.

Yes, this is one of those great moments in LOST when they devote an episode to our man Hugo--the soul of the Lostaways and the crash survivor you'd most want to hang out with in absolutely any circumstance. But, maybe not when he's moping--which he does quite a bit in this episode. For, as much as many boxes of CEREAL, PEANUT BUTTER, CHOCOLATE BARS, Dharma-brand WINE, and other delicious foodstuffs are to people who have been stranded on a tropical island for six weeks, Hurley is going to have to confront his demons.

And those demons--in part--go by the name of Dave.

For you see, as we learn in the FLASHBACK that Hurley was once a resident of a mental hospital. And his "Lenny" in that place went by the name of Dave. But as the flashback progressed, it became increasingly unclear whether Dave actually existed or if he was a manifestation of Hurley's mental issues and his eating phobia in particular. (For you see, we learn that Hurley checked into the Santa Rosa institution because an upstairs apartment balcony collapsed while Hurley was standing on it with others.

Hurley has since heaped that trauma upon himself and his weight, despite evidence which made it clear that the balcony was improperly constructed. In the institution, Dave served as Hurley's enabler--helping Hurley break out the building to steal food (even though Hurley is there voluntarily and could leave whenever he wanted).

Back on the island, Hurley reveals to Libby that he has been hoarding food and that he is very concerned that Jack has asked him to be in charge of this new bounty of parachute food. While Hurley is struggling to confront his issues, he is again confronted with Dave, who appears on the island in the middle of the jungle (wearing the same pajama/robe/slippers combo that he wore at Santa Rosa).

Dave tells Hurley that obviously this plane crash/castaway/crazy Hatch underground/save-the-world button pushing experience is a fantasy that Hurley is dreaming in the Institution. And Dave encourages Hurley to snap out of this Buffy-like delusion by forcing his brain to accept reality . . .

. . . by jumping of the island cliff. It totally won't hurt because it isn't real!

While Hurley struggles to determine what is real and what is not, Libby shows up at cliffs edge and talks him off of it. Hurley is sad that everything is so confusing, but Libby gives him a nice smooch on the lips and we leave the episode behind with some happiness that our man Hugo has found some love and appreciation in his castaway life.

Oh . . . a brief look at "Other" stuff--

Remember how Sayid and Ana Lucia were off searching for Henry Gale's balloon? But maybe it was an Other's trap? But Henry totally said it wasn't a trap? But maybe Henry has been lying the whole time and confusing John? And maybe he's really an Other who let himself get captured so he could find out what the Lostaways were doing? But then Henry helped Locke punch in The Numbers to prevent catastrophe? But Locke saw the blacklight painting? Remember . . . ?

Well, turns out that Sayid and Ana Lucia come back from their search, interrogate Henry and force him to finally reveal his true nature. He is NOT Henry Gale, hot-air balloon enthusiast from the upper Midwest (Wisconsin?). He is actually a member of the mysterious jungle-loving Others.

Oh, and he definitely did NOT punch those numbers in. He just stood there and watched the counter flip over to 000:00 and NOTHING HAPPENED! Or at least that is what he tells an increasingly frantic and confused John Locke.

Poor Locke! Will he ever learn the truth behind the numbers?!

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

LOST Rewatch: Lockdown

Oh man. Who would have ever guessed that I was going to bring this cul de sac of an idea back to life? For that you can thank my co-worker Jennifer who foolishly chose to ignore my advice (while taking Dean's advice) to watch "Deadwood" before beginning her exploration of LOST. I am so energized by trying to convince her otherwise, that I need to spend some time getting back into my pointless recapping of a show that was off the air just after the Affordable Care Act became law and was (probably . . . to most people) last relevant to people when George W. Bush was the most embarrassing president in living memory.

(And now that I've driven away half of my audience . . . let's get back into it.)

We ended our previous journey mid-way through Season 2, with the episode "The Whole Truth." Now we are going to learn more about Hurley in the strangely titled episode "Lockdown". (No . . . I'm kidding. In case you missed that ACME anvil of a title, this episode devotes itself to our favorite true believer John Locke.)

Now . . . this episode was one of the most pivotal of the entire series, so it is really great that I took about a decade off before getting to this recap. In summary, we'll say that Henry Gale begins the episode munching on the same bowl of cereal where we left him, smirking at the worried Locke and Jack (who are now very worried that they have let Gale lead Sayid's search party into a Other booby trap where Henry's hot air balloon is supposed to be).

But don't worry! Henry was totally kidding with his buddy jailors down underground. He consents to being locked back in his Hatch closet, while Locke frets that he's been duped again.

Again, you say? When has our Jungle Man John been tricked before? That wooshing noise and facial closeup means we're headed for a . . .


Here we see functional-legged John getting ready to propose to Helen (once again played by Katey Sagal). But when Helen notes that John's father has died, the secret plans he has are put on hold to attend the funeral. We later learn that Locke's dad has faked his death to avoid being caught in a con and The Man from Tallahassee wants his gullible son to get some cash for dad from a safety deposit box that is surely being watched by the angry people who were conned. Locke is prepared to do this to win his dad's love . . . but Helen wants John to keep away from this criminal. Which John won't do . . . and Helen gets so mad that she breaks up with John and he is left alone--with no girlfriend and once more estranged from his absentee grifter of a dad.

So . . . back in the Hatch, John is riding Desmond's stationary bike when he hears some mysterious static from the "stereo-system." There are still plenty of minutes on the Button's countdown clock, so this is a weird development. As he's investigating . . . a claxon begins to blare and John sees some blast doors begin to descend in the living areas of the Hatch. He quickly wedges a tool box to stop one of the doors from shutting him out completely. He tries to shimmy under the gap, but the metal buckles and the door comes down on his leg, shattering some bones. Stuck and injured, Locke has no choice but to shout through the vent system to Henry to crawl through the ducts, get into the computer room and input The Numbers (4 8 15 16 23 42 . . . remember?) before the timer completely reaches zeroes.

Henry thinks this is all a bit nuts, but he agrees to it--as long as he knows Locke will owe him a favor. But! While Henry is negotiating the ducts and punching in the numbers, the countdown warning begins to blare and John gets worried that time will run out. And then . . .

the lights shut off/blacklights switch on/ and John sees THIS on the wall:

And THIS is the reason this episode is so important! A brand new mystery is revealed and the world of the Hatch expands even further! What could this mean?!!

Oh . . . and back on Lostaway Beach, Kate sees a beeping light in the jungle and she and Jack head off to investigate. Turns out. . . somehow a big pallet of food was parachuted into the jungle and isn't THAT an odd development?


Somebody tell Hurley that there are Apollo bars and peanut butter! There will be a feast on the beach to tide everyone over until I sit down to write a new recap for Season 2, episode 18--"Dave".