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Trust me! I won’t bite! – A Recap of True Blood’s “Fresh Blood”

Eric Northman:  Making mouths (and other body parts) happy since 950 A.D.

Tonight’s episode of True Blood belonged to Eric Northman, and, by extension to Alexander Skarsgard.  He was the one calling the shots.  His lead was the one that everybody followed.  His storyline was the only one that seemed to have any significant plot development.  Not that there is anything wrong with that . . .

And yet, despite Eric’s storyline being the most intriguing and forward moving, there WERE other things going on in this episode.  And if I had to tie them together somehow, I would say they all related to the theme of “Trust” (or, in some characters’ case, a lack thereof).  So, before we get on to the MAIN EVENT, lets take a look at the opening acts.  Shall we?

Performance Enhancement

“Performance enhancement?  I don’t need any of that sh*t!  I’m Jason F*cking Stackhouse, and I PERFORM just fine, if you catch my drift . . .”

“Well . . . most of the time.”

When we last left Jason, he was coping with a “wild animal problem.”

Crystal made for a pretty funky CGI-looking panther, didn’t she?  Those of us who read this books knew it was coming, but that didn’t make it any less bizarre seeing it on the small screen.  And, I don’t know about you, but was I the only one who was hoping she’d be pink?

“Take me, Jason!  I’m a REAL sex kitten!  And I’ve got nine lives.  You know what that means . . .”

So, anyway, Jason is having a little bit of trouble wrapping his head around the whole “Werepanther Thing.” 

“Trailer Trash Barbie say WHAT?”

(Other things Jason has had trouble wrapping his head around:  the “addition thing,” the “subtraction thing”, the “reading books that don’t contain pictures” thing, the “having sex with more than one person in a 24-hour period makes you slutty” thing . . .)

Crystal is a bit insulted that Jason isn’t totally down with her offers of bestiality.  “I told you I had secrets.  You said you were OK with it,” she whines.

“I thought it was shoplifting or something,” argues Jason. 

Then the two resort to name-calling and petty insults.  Jason calls Crystal a “Meth Dealer’s Daughter”  . . .

 . . . and Crystal accuses Jason of not being a “man.”

“Oh no, you didn’t!”

But before any “catfights” break out, Jason detracts his claws, and apologizes for not being more understanding of Crystal’s “predicament.”  “I’m sorry, Crystal.  My brains feel like Scrambled Eggs right now,” he explains.

“Nice Jason!  Way to pick on the guy you just shot.  And I’m not ‘scrambled!”  The appropriate word is ‘decomposing,’ thank you very much!”

Then, Crystal begs Jason to help her stop the raid on her family’s meth lab, in order to “save the children.”  Jason is willing to consider it.  But right now, he has more important things to do like head to the high school football field and re-live his Glory Days  find Sookie.

While Jason is driving around searching for  Sookie, he just so happens to wind up back at his only high school football field.  (Riiiiight, because there’s nothing that murderous bloodthirsty vampires love more, than tossing around the ole’ pigskin.)  There, he spies his mancrush archrival highschool football star Kitch.

I’m sorry, but what kind of name is that?  Is that supposed to be short for “kitchen”?  Perhaps, that was where he was conceived?  Whatever, it is, I don’t like it.  Fortunately, I’ve come up with a new name for Jason’s mancrush archrival, Douchey McTeen.

So, Jason watches Douchey McTeen toss around the pigskin for a while with his minions butt buddies friends, and figures out that Douchey’s “talents” can only be attributed to one thing: excessive V usage.  Jason confronts Douchey, and is all, “That’s not FAAAAIIIIR!  You’re a CHEAATTERRR!  I’m TELLING, you stinky Poopy Head!”

 Unfortunately for Jason, everybody already seems to know about Douchey McTeens steroids V problem.  In fact, his coach, the school principal, even his own parents ENCOURAGED it.  Plus, apparently, unlike other performance enhancing drugs, V is completely undetectable through medical screening.  Poor Jason!  Douchey McTeen is going to take his high school football record away.  And without his football record, what does he have?

I stand corrected!

Summer’s Days are Drifting Away . . .

Speaking of V . . . and perpetual V cards, the adorable Hoyt has just had a taste of both, thanks to the lovely Vampire Jessica.  “I feel muscles in places I didn’t know I had,” exclaims Hoyt.

Mmmmm hmmmm, we bet you do, Lover Boy  — strong, hard . . . muscles.

Coming down off her post-coital high, Vampire Jessica FINALLY confesses to Hoyt about her little “Trucker Snack” from earlier this season.  However, she promises Hoyt that she has since learned to control her feeding, so as to prevent the death of her . . . meals.  “I can’t live on True Blood.  I need human blood.  That’s how it’s always going to be,” she insists.

“So drink me,” whispers Hoyt, as he unbuttons his shirt, illustrating the extent to which he loves and trusts his dear sweet vampire lover.

And that was when the panties of the entire female fanbase of True Blood fell to the floor. 

Jessica straddles Hoyt, and begins kissing him gently, gradually moving up his stomach, toward his neck, where she finally moves in for a big bite.  The whole thing was so hot, I swear, I almost passed out.  Way to go, you two!  May you go on to produce many very attractive vampire babies . . .

Meanwhile, Summer . . .

 . . . whose offers of biscuits, a nude body, her virginity, and lots of antiques and porcelain dolls, had failed miserably in winning over Hoyt’s heart, still had one more desperate trick up her sleeve.  And so, in the middle of the night, she runs crying to the doorstep of Hoyt’s MOTHER!

From the sound of it, Maxine Fortenberry was SO determined that her son NOT end up with the vampire that tried to eat her, she more or less HIRED Summer to seduce Hoyt away from Jessica.  Is that sick or what?  When Summer tells Maxine that she was willing to give up her virginity to her son, Maxine doesn’t even flinch (or laugh, which was what I did, when I heard that).  “I’m sure the Lord will forgive you, even if you are a sinner,” says the self-righteous witch.  “Don’t give up hope yet.  This is not over,” exclaims Maxine triumphantly.

Talk about a Bad Mommy!  I think I liked Maxine better when she was possessed by the Maenad, and obsessed with Bill Compton’s Wii Entertainment System . . .

At least THAT was a game you could win, Honey.  Because you are going to LOSE this one!  Hoyt and Jessica Forever!

She’s STILL having a baby!

Speaking of Bad Mommies . . .

. . . Arlene has been so obsessed with getting rid of her Future Serial Killer Baby . . .

. . . that she seems to have completely forgotten about her other kids!

“Please help us!  We haven’t eaten or bathed since Season 1.”

I love how Arlene commandeered Holly to help her with her “baby situation,” because she doesn’t believe in abortion.  Yes, Arlene, the man (or woman) upstairs would much rather you perform some weird Wiccan ritual to magically kill your baby, than to do it in a doctor’s office.  After cutting out early from work, Arlene follows Witch Holly . . .

. . . out into the woods.  There, the two light candles, sprinkle salt in a circle, and talk to Mother Nature (?), as well as Arlene’s deceased mother.  To complete the ritual, Arlene is told to put her own blood in a cup, and drink this nasty tasting concoction four times a day.  “We did our best. But if the baby is meant to be born, it will be born,” cautions Holly.

“What, no 100% guarantee?  Can I at least get my salt shaker back, if it doesn’t work?”

That night, Arlene has a weird dream about going fishing as a teenager.  In the dream Arlene’s mother is calling to her, but Arlene can’t see her.  She is woken up by Terry, who is freaked out, because Arlene’s nether regions are covered in a pool of blood.  When Arlene tells Terry she might have suffered a miscarriage, the poor man starts blubbering like a baby, which is so sweet, considering he KNOWS now that this isn’t his kid.

At the hospital, Terry continues to bawl, while Arlene, secretly relieved that her plan has worked, tries to prepare him for the worst.  But it’s Arlene who looks ready to cry, when the doctor comes in to deliver the news.  Future Serial Killer Baby LIVES!

Really?  With all that blood?  That is one strong baby! 

Maybe Arlene has been right about this whole “evil spawn” thing, all along!

Two Broken Souls = One Hot Screw

“Let’s make some dysfunctional shapeshifter babies together!”

So, for whatever reason, the True Blood writers have decided that Sam should have a Dark Side.  It inexplicably resurfaced two episodes ago, when Sam, with little provocation, almost beat that meth dealer to death . . .

 . . . then, last week, we learned he was a thief, a con artist and a double murderer . . .

 . . . and this week, we got to  add “mean and belligerent drunk” to this lovely list of qualities growing under Sam’s name. 

(Speaking of Sam’s name, if he was running from the law, don’t you think he should have changed it at some point, rather than . . . I don’t know . . . NAMING A BAR after it.)

So, Sam stumbles into the bar, and starts insulting his customers and staff, like it’s his job.

“Man, you’re ugly,” slurs Sam to one of his patrons.  (How’d you like to be the extra who got saddled with THAT part?)

He then calls Sweet Terry a “Shellshocked” Loser, and Arlene a B*tch.  He also FIRES his little brother Tommy, who’s crestfallen face breaks my heart, as the latter argues feebly that he has no where else to go.

“At least the Mickens always gave me dog bones to chew on.”

And then he told Sookie . . .

 . . . oh wait . . . he didn’t tell Sookie anything . . . because she wasn’t there . . . because she hasn’t worked a day since Season 1.

Eventually, Sam kicks everybody out of the bar, except Tara, because she refuses to leave.

Ummm . . . yeah, because that’s what I like to do on my days off from work – hang out at the office.

As it turns out, Tara’s been having a kind of crappy day herself.  She spends the whole morning crying in front of Eggs’ grave . . .

She then tearfully confronts Andy about his “taking credit” for Eggs’ murder.  After that, she drowns her sorrows in tequila, as her and Sam wax poetic about what not-nice people they are.  And, let me tell you, nothing says “lets bone” like a conversation in which both parties prove themselves to be total and complete a*sholes.  But bone they do, and it’s hardcore — like something straight out of a porno . . . Not that I would know ;).

“Oh yeah!  I needed a cigar after that one!”

Welcome to LaLa Land

“It’s OK.  We don’t understand our storyline either . . .”

So, while his cousin Tara was busy getting laid, Lafayette was busy . . . umm . . . NOT getting laid.  After that one trippy hit, his once holier -than-thou “Just say no to drugs” boyfriend is all about getting more V.  Jesus claims he wants to do it to “reconnect with his family.”  Right, just like those guys who say they read Playboy just “for the articles.”  But Lafayette, or, as he now calls himself, “LaLa” . . .

Lala?  But I thought Tinky Winky was supposed to be the gay one?

 .  . . is hesitant.  And that hesitation is only confirmed when he has a hallucination of Jesus looking like this . . .

Ummm . . . why is Jesus suddenly wearing the Shredder mask from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?

More than a bit freaked out, “Lala” kicks Jesus out. But soon after, his toys religious figurines start dancing and talking to him again.  That will teach you to keep creepy figurines in your house, Lafayette.  You should have stuck with the Care Bears . . .

At least they won’t talk back . . .

And finally, the storyline we’ve all been waiting for . . .

Let the Sunshine In .  . .

Since you apparently lack experience in the whole sunlight thing, allow me to enlighten you.  Wearing black?  It’s only going to make you hotter.  (And you are hot enough, as it is.)  Might I suggest a certain Baby Blue Panty Dropper Sweater for your next daytime stroll?

When the episode begins, Beeaaallll heads to Fangtasia in search of Sookehhhhh.  Instead, Bill finds Pam, who beats him up and sprays him in the eye with silver.

Bill whines about how much he loves Sookie and blah, blah, blah.   But Pam isn’t having any of his sappy lovesick B.S.  “This isn’t about your relationship, you infatuated teen!”  She lectures.

Pam then admits to Bill that Eric plans to sacrifice Fairy Sookie to Big Gay Vampire King Russell in order to save his own life.  Meanwhile, down in the dungeon, to everyone’s surprise, the one who ACTUALLY rescues and unchains Sookie is YVETTA!

Sookie and Yvetta commiserate for a bit about what an ASS Eric is, and then they dash upstairs.  Bill then escapes with Sookie, while Yvetta absconds with the cash.  Poor Vampire Pam is left to drown her sorrows in the blood of Screaming Ginger . . .

Meanwhile, Eric is at the Jackson mansion, confronting Russell . . .

Silly, Screwed Up Russell!  Still clutching his Goblet o’ Talbot, he actually seems hurt that anyone would think to betray him in this way.  “Why did you kill Talbot?  He has done nothing to you!”   Russell whines.  (Right, Russell . . . as if that newscaster did anything to you . . .)

As someone who clearly has more patience, and less of an appreciation for the ironic than I do, however, Eric is willing to explain.  “You killed my parents, in order to obtain my father’s crown for your vast collection of meaningless sh*t,” he offers.

Meaningless sh*t, indeed.

Russell plans to kill Vampire Eric immediately, for his transgression.  However, Eric makes him an offer he can’t refuse.  The wise Viking entices Russell, with talk of vampires walking in the sun.  He asks for an extra day of life to prove he is telling the truth.  Russell agrees. 

That night, Russell and Eric literally hold up a car . . .

The car contains within it Bill and Sookie.  And the action thankfully interrupts the two from their cheesy conversation about what they would do, if they were a NORMAL couple.  (Bill as a school teacher?  PLEASE!  Mr. Compton can barely take care of Baby Vamp Jessica, let alone a classroom full of young kids he wants to eat.)

Sookie looks genuinely  freaked out that two  vampires are “high” jacking her car.  Bill just looks bored . . .

Russell and Eric hop in the car, and the foursome head back to Fangtasia.  There, Vampire Eric stages a fake fight with Bill, so that he can inform the latter of his ingenious, but risky, plan to save Sookie and kill Russell, in the process.  Meanwhile, Russell drags Sookie inside. 

At Fangtasia, Eric explains to Russell that Sookie is part-fairy, and that fairy blood is, as Sookie so eloquently put it, some form of vampire sunscreen . . .

Eric also admits that he learned this important piece of information from Vampire Bill, who spent some time in the sun after ALMOST KILLING Sookie!

Sookie is not pleased about these recent developments, as they, once again, illustrate Vampire Bill’s penchant for lying to her, and keeping secrets from her.  Unfortunately, however, Sookie doesn’t really have a say in what’s about to happen to her next.  The Fairy Waitress is forced to lay flat on a bar table.  The oh-so-gallant Russell, waits for Eric to take the first bite.  However, Eric hesitates, undoubtedly, thinking about “other” things . . .

Eventually, Russell grows impatient and takes the first bite himself, with Eric reluctantly following suit.  So much blood is taken, that Sookie eventually falls unconscious . . .

Pam and Eric then head off to a backroom to set up the security cameras, and prepare Eric to take his first walk outside, thus proving to Russell that it can be done.  An unusually emotional and vulnerable Pam cries tears of blood, at the prospect of losing her maker to the Sun.  “You know I love you more, when you are cold and heartless,” whispers Eric into Pam’s ear, as he brings her in for an affectionate hug.

I LOVE THESE TWO!

With a final goodbye to Pam, Eric takes his first steps outside, and gets a bit emotional, as he meets the Sun for the first time in centuries.  Russell watches in awe and with anticipation, from the security cameras inside Fangtasia. 

Just as Eric’s skin begins to burn, Pam cajoles Russell to follow Eric outside.  Eric turns his head away, praying in an ancient tongue that Russell will not see that he is burning and ruin the whole plan.  When Russell DOES begin to burn, Eric handcuffs himself to the Big Gay Vampire King, and attaches them both to the floor, his once beautiful face now hideously scarred.  “Now we will die together,” Eric says ominously.

We hear Russell’s pitiful screams, as the final credits roll. 

(Wait, couldn’t Eric have just chained Russell to a post and ran back inside?  I don’t really get the whole “dying together thing.”  It seems a bit overdramatic, if you ask me.  It makes for a good ending though . . .)

So, there you have it, the last episode of True Blood, before the Season 3 finale, which is set to air in two weeks.  What did you think?  Are you a fan of the new Dark Drunk Sam?  Are you as confused by “LaLa’s” storyline as I am?  Can you imagine a True Blood without Vampire Eric?  I mean . . . obviously . . . he’s going to survive . . . right?

See, you in two weeks, fangbangers!

[www.juliekushner.com]

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The Return of Freddy Rumsen (and Creepy Glen): A Recap of Mad Men’s “Christmas Comes But Once a Year”

“Ho, ho, ho!  Don’s a ho, ho, ho!”

Tonight’s installment of Mad Men marked the “return” of a number of important people and things:

First, there was Freddy Rumsen . . .

A man whose vast talents include: pissing himself before client meetings, taking “six-month leaves” and playing Mozart with his fly . . .

Also, returning for this episode was Glen Bishop . . .

His talents include:  creeping everybody out, watching grown women pee, asking for locks of their hair, and being show producer, Matt Weiner’s kid in real life!

“That’s my boy!”

The final addition to the “People Returning” category is Lee Garner, Jr. . . .

His talents include trying to rape Sal . . .

 . . . getting Sal fired because he tried to rape him, and making fans HATE HIS GUTS for getting rid of Sal.

Other non-human returnees included:

Peggy’s virginity . . .

But it left a few minutes later . . .

And Don’s misery and lack of good judgment . . .

But, when you think about it, has that EVER really left?

So, now that we’ve given all the old -newcomers a warm welcome, what do you say we get on with the show?

The Case of Creepy Glen and the Phantom Phone Calls

“I don’t know about you.  But I’m just really happy to be involved a storyline that doesn’t involve someone dying, or me getting screamed at by my Mean Mommy.”

When the episode first opens, the new “Francis family,” led by the “about as exciting as watching paint dry,” Henry Francis . . .

“What exactly is wrong with watching paint dry?  I very much enjoy watching paint dry.  It’s scintillating . . .”

 . . . are searching for a Christmas tree that won’t scrape the paint off their ceiling.  While there, Sally runs into Creepy Glen . . .

“I heard you got a new dad.  My mom said that would happen,” offers Glen conversationally.  (Ohhh  BURN!  Take that Mama Betty!  You should have really thought twice about giving this boy a lock of your hair.  He’s out for revenge now!)

Glen then shows Sally his red twine dispenser, and Sally remarks at its beauty, before being called away by her brother.

“I might call you sometime,” threatens Glen, as he ponders putting a lock of Mama Betty’s hair on a squirrel he just killed, and making it into a voodoo doll.

Creepy Glen DOES call Sally.  But instead of revealing his true identity when Housekeeper Carla picks up the phone, he refers to himself as STANLEY, his evil alter ego.  As if Creepy Glen wasn’t creepy enough before, he now has multiple personality disorder too! 

Sally, who, unfortunately, has never seen the film Fatal Attraction (both because it’s Rated R, and because it hasn’t come out yet in 1964), takes this brilliant opportunity to pour her heart out to Creepy Glen / Stanley.  “I hate it here.  I really, really do,” she gripes.

(It’s interesting how Betty CLAIMS to be squatting in Don’s house with her new husband for the “children’s sake” and the “children” themselves, don’t even want to be there.)

“Bad Mommy!”  (says Creepy Glen, as he stabs a pin in Voodoo Betty’s heart).

“Don’t worry.  One day your parents will wake up and they will want to move.  You’ll see,” Glen offers, cryptically, before hanging up the phone.

That night, while the “Francis’s” (I’m never going to get used to typing that) are out for dinner, Glen once again calls the house.  This time, no one answers.  He and his friend then somehow break into the house and vandalize it, by pouring food from the fridge all over the place.  “There’s eggs in my bed,” complains Bobby, who has had more to say in this episode then he did throughout the entire third season of this show.

“My room is fine,” exclaims a confused Sally, as she walks toward her night table and finds Creepy Glen’s red twine dispenser – clearly, a gift of love . . .  FROM HELL! 

(Insert maniacal laughter here.)

“Mark” Your Man?

You know who wasn’t getting stalked by a creeper this week?  Peggy!  But she WAS getting pressured into sex, by her clingy, nasally voiced loser of a boyfriend, Mark.  (PEGGY!  You can do SO much better!)

I rest my case.

“I want to be your first,” whines Dweeby Mark, uttering the most unintentionally hilarious line in the entire episode, about the girl who got knocked up by Pete, and who Duck Phillips gave “a go around like she never had before.”

Like a virgin .  . . touched for the very tenth time . . .

Born Again Peggy tells Marky Mark with his Pants in a Bunch that she “wants to wait.”  He responds by laying on her the slobberiest, most unsexy, kiss of all time.  “Think about THAT!”  He says triumphantly, as he struts out of her apartment.  Oh, she’s thinking about it, all right . . . and so are we . . .

After admitting to herself that she “doesn’t want to be alone on New Years,” Peggy receives some advice from Freddy Rumsen about “men.”   Freddy tells her that she should “not lead the boy on,” because that’s PAINFUL . . .

Ahem.

 . . . and that if she “really likes him, she should wait,” Peggy decides to screw Marky Turd anyway.  Hey Mark, get the hint . . .

But, hey, at least you won’t have to worry about THESE anymore . . .

Freddy Rumsen Doesn’t DO Santa Claus!

(Insert sad zipper music here.)

Well, I, for one, enjoyed seeing Freddy Rumsen return. (Now we just need Sal, Ken and Paul!)  Unfortunately, the poor guy didn’t seem to be enjoying himself all that much this week!  It’s tough being on the wagon in an office filled with alcoholics, isn’t it Freddy? 

 Just ask THIS GUY . . .

Sorry, wrong Duck.  I mean THIS GUY . . .

Kind of blew the punchline there, didn’t I?

Speaking of Duck, I never did forgive him for what he did to poor Chauncey . . .

So NOT cool!

But I digress, back to On-The-Wagon Freddy  . . . 

He comes to the offices of Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce, sober 16 months, and armed with a two-million dollar account, Ponds Face Cream.  When asked how he managed to receive such a windfall, Freddy explained that he and the CEO were “in the same fraternity” (more on that later). 

Interestingly enough, the heretofore, happy-go-lucky (happy-go-drunky?) Freddy specifically requests that Pete not have anything to do with the account, as it was Pete who ultimately got Freddy canned for The Piss Heard Round the World.  Now, not that I blame Freddy at all for his decision, but I would be careful, messing with Pete, if I were him.  After all, the dude IS armed . . .

 . . . and REALLY likes to hunt!

Freddy might not be happy to see Pete, but he’s thrilled to see Peggy, at least initially.  Upon entering the office, he lovingly refers to her as, “Ballerina,” and gives her a big bear hug.  If you recall, it was Freddy who first convinced Don and Co. to give then-secretary Peggy a shot at being copywriter for the old agency.  And look how far she’s come since then!

“I’ve come VERY far!  I now wear granny suits, and have the haircut of an 85- year old, despite being in my mid 20s!”

Peggy’s and Freddy’s reminiscences are cut short when Roger Sterling comes back from lunch with the Ponds CEO, clearly wasted!

Not THAT wasted!

“That man sure knows how to have a good time!”  Roger proclaims about his lunch companion, before stumbling back to his office. 

“That’s some job he has,” scoffs Peggy upon Roger’s exit, echoing the same thoughts many of us Mad Men fans have had throughout the course of the series.  Seriously, does Roger ever work?  (He does have the best one liners-though!)

“I also have the best sex life.  Unless you count Don . . .”

Freddy is not paying attention to Peggy’s gripes, however.  He’s worried about the CEO of Ponds.  He gets up and rushes to make a call.  “I heard you went out with Roger Sterling today.  Do you have something to tell me?”  Freddy says into the phone.

Clearly, the “fraternity” Freddy and the CEO were in together only has two Greek letters in it . . . and both of them are “alpha.”

Later, Peggy and Freddy argue over the Ponds campaign.  Freddy wants to use more mature models as spokeswomen, and Peggy wants to use young beautiful ones.  Gone are the days of prim and proper Peggy, who would either hold her tongue completely or politely express her disapproval, when one of her colleagues made a campaign suggestion that was ill advised.  She really let poor Freddy have it, basically telling him, in no uncertain terms, that he was “old-fashioned” and had no talent. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for women sticking up for themselves.  And Freddy’s notion that young women idolize and want to look like old ones, simply because old women are MARRIED, is pretty laughable.  And yet, the diatribe seemed a bit tactless on Peggy’s part.  Talk about biting the hand that once fed you!

Freddy wasn’t much better, telling Peggy that if she didn’t work so hard, maybe she’d actually find a man that would want to marry her (and impliedly allow her to stay home barefoot and pregnant).  Riiiiiiight, because MARRIED women are always SO MUCH happier than single ones . . .

Need I say more?

When Freddy didn’t show up for the office Christmas party, Peggy became concerned.  So, she was understandably relieved to see Freddy in the office the next day.  “I don’t want to have to worry that you are going to go out and get drunk, every time I hurt your feelings,” scoffs Peggy.

REAL NICE!  Pick on the former alchy, why don’t you?  What happened, Peggy?  Did Marky Turd steal your sensitivity chip?

As it turns out, Freddy didn’t skip the Christmas party because Peggy “hurt his feelings,” he simply didn’t want to be Santa, because, for whatever, reason, Freddy associated wearing the Santa costume with getting wasted in it.  Whatever the reason, he manages to stay sober. 

 Good for you, Freddy!

But you know who most certainly, DIDN’T stay sober this episode?

Don (Juan?) and Roger Claus

Not only is Don drunk for much of this hour, he is also having a REALLY difficult time getting laid.  First he tries to hit on his new neighbor, Reed from Grey’s Anatomy . . .

 . . . who has miraculously been brought back to life after her untimely death, and reincarnated as a nurse.  “Reed” (who according to Wikipedia is called “Phoebe” on this show) is initially a very friendly new neighbor to Don, flirting with him mercilessly, and expressing concern over his habit of returning to his apartment inebriated on a regular basis.  Upon confirming that Don is not the Scrooge he appears to be, (“I don’t hate Christmas.  I just hate THIS Christmas,” he clarifies), she even invites him to her Christmas party, an invitation that he declines. 

 But when “Phoebe” helps a drunken Don into his apartment, and he tries to pull her into bed with him, she refuses.  STRIKE ONE!

Don’s next target is a pretty market researcher . . .

 . . . whose presentation Don walks out on, because he doesn’t want to answer a questionnaire about his parents . . . (That’s understandable, Dick Whitman Don Draper).  When the researcher calls Don out on his evasive and rude behavior, he asks her out on a date.  She declines, condescendingly telling him that he’ll be married in a year to someone else, anyway.  STRIKE TWO!

But Don isn’t the only SCDP owner lowering his batting average this episode, Roger strikes out himself when he mistakenly invites Lucky Strike scion, Lee Garner, D-Bag (a client who more or less OWNS SCDP) to the office’s small “belt-tightened” Christmas party.

“Is Sal going to be there?  I really miss Sal!”

Suddenly, the tightened belt must be loosened A LOT!  “[You] have to take this party from Convalescent Home to Roman Orgy,” Roger instructs Joan.  (She does.)  “Wear that red dress with the bow on the back that looks like a present.”  (She does.)

SUCCESS!

Lee, meanwhile, uses the party held in his honor, to basically make Roger’s life miserable.  First he hits on both Roger’s new wife, and “Joanie,” his former lover.  He then forces Roger to don a Santa suit, and takes pictures of him, with all the male employees sitting on his lap.  (Fodder for the Lee Garner Jr. Spank Bank, no doubt.)

“But where’s Sal?  I want Sal in the picture!”

To Roger’s credit, he’s an exceptionally good sport about the whole thing.  The same can’t really be said for Don, who copes with the awkward event by getting completely sh*tfaced.  He does share a sweet moment with Peggy, though.  (“Merry Christmas, Sweetheart,” he tells her, and we can tell he really means it.)

When Don arrives home to find he has left his keys in his office, he calls his secretary, Allison (played by Alexa Alemanni), who is still at the party, but is about to leave with New Guy Joey and friends.  She locates Don’s keys and agrees to bring them to his apartment.  When New Guy Joey finds out that Allison is headed to La Casa de Drunk Don, he is not pleased.  “He’s pathetic,” grumbles New Guy Joey about his boss. 

(Note: A lot of fans on the message boards seemed “appalled” by Joey’s lack of respect for Don.  But was I the only one that saw something more here?  Does anyone else think Joey has the hots for Allison?  After all, he did draw her what looked like it might have been a personalized caricature in her likeness, earlier in the episode . . .

 . . . and he DOES have a cute butt!  I wasn’t really a fan of that hideous RED velvet suit he was wearing during the office party though . . . That was HORRID!)

Anyway, Allison arrives at Don’s house to find him sleeping on the floor outside his apartment.

She lets him inside, sits him on the couch, and gets him a glass of water and some Aspirin, which he quickly downs.  But as she is set to leave, he grabs her hand, and pulls her onto the couch with him.  He then begins to kiss her, as he caresses her neck.  “Don’t,” she says softly and without much fervor.

“Don’t, what?”  He asks, laughing a bit, before beginning to kiss her again.

Allison manages to pull away one more time, but when the third kiss comes, she is completely swept away.  “Oh,” she says with surprise, as Don falls on top of her, on the couch.

A few short minutes later . . . (because, lets be honest, Don had A LOT to drink), it’s all over.  After a few moments of surprisingly tender petting, Allison sheepishly rights her clothing, and tells Don she has to go meet her friends.  “Are you sure?”  He asks.

Allison nods and heads for the door, “I . . . um,”  She begins, not sure of how to broach the issue.

“I understand,” says Don.

The next day, however, it becomes pretty obvious, that Don does NOT understand!  He basically lets Allison know, in no uncertain terms, that, in his mind, this was a “one time thing.”  “I’ve too often taken advantage of your kindness,” he says.

Allison takes the hint, and, blinking back tears, accepts the envelope Don hands her, containing her Christmas bonus.  She eagerly opens the envelope, hoping for some sign that there was more to all this than Don “taking advantage of her kindness.” 

But along with the cash, is a card containing only one phrase: “Thank you for all your hard work.” – which, admittedly, can be interpreted in one of two ways, both of which make Poor Allison feel like a hooker  . . . (At least Don never asked her to slap him.)

Bad Don!

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Back to School – A Recap of Grey’s Anatomy’s “Time Warp”

When I heard that this  Thursday’s installment of Grey’s Anatomy was going to be a “flashback episode,” one that intermingled the characters’ present day experiences with events of the past,  in order to shed some light on the characters’ current behavior, I found myself struck with an overwhelming sense of deja vu.  I couldn’t kick this feeling that I had been here before.  That I had seen this before . . .

Oh, yeah . . . now I remember . . .

In an effort to differentiate himself from former Chief Webber McBoozy (although after 45 days of sobriety, I guess it is no longer appropriate, nor fair, to call him that), and to make a name for himself as the “touchy feely” Nu-Chief, Dr. McDreamy Shepherd reinstitutes Lecture Day at Seattle Grace.

“See?  I’m the sensitive one.  Look into my puppy dog eyes,  and tell me I’m not sensitive.  Just don’t make me cry, because I’ll punch your lights out, if you do.”

As guest lecturers, Shepherd commandeers Bailey, Callie, and Chief McBoozy Webber (sorry, force of habbit).  Webber takes a bit of extra persuading on Shepherd’s part.  After all, learning that you have just been demoted from “Chief of Surgery” to just plain “surgeon” does not exactly make one feel all “happy-go-teachy.”  Nonetheless, Webber ultimately agrees to guest lecture, and what appears to be the entire staff of Seattle Grace packs a rather large auditorium to see him do so. 

(Seriously, Seattle Grace?  Your entire staff?  This is why you aren’t ranked in the top ten!  This is why your patients die all the time!  Doesn’t anyone practice medicine here any more?)

But I digress . . . Here’s what we learned from our three lecturers:

Webber’s Lesson: “When I was your age . . .”

Our first flashback took us all the way back to 1982 – a time when the medical profession was very much an all-boys club, an all white boys club;  a time when doctors were largely ignorant about and frightened of immune system-related diseases and homosexuality.  It was also a time when people dressed like this . . .

Back then Webber was a just teetotaling, ambitious young resident trying to make a name for himself at Seattle Grace, while, at the same time, boinking Meredith’s Mommy, Ellis Grey, in the on-call room.  Yes, apparently, they did that in the 80s too.  Talk about sexually transmitted diseases . . .  How often do you think they sterilize that place?

“28 more years of this and we will ALL be under quarantine . . .”

When Ellis and Webber encounter a patient with a rare bacterial infection, they begin to suspect that he may have GRID, Gay Related Immune Deficiency Disorder, or AIDS, as it is now commonly called.  This was a highly sensitive subject for any doctor to broach during that time, let alone a young resident with minimal job security.  After all, few cases of the disorder had been discovered at this point, and very little was known about the disease. 

Apparently, homosexuality was just not something you talked about back then, it being a time before

 Will and Grace and . . .  well . . .

Grey’s Anatomy!

Initially, the patient takes Webber’s inquiry into his sexual orientation very badly.  He leaves the hospital in a huff, refusing treatment.  Unfortunately, a few weeks later, he returns, now extremely ill and desperate for help.  The problem is that, now that his secret is out, most of the doctors and nurses at Seattle Grace are afraid of infection and unwilling to help him.  THIS MUST BE A JOB FOR  . . .

 . . . no, not them, just Young Webber and Young Ellis Grey.

The dynamic duo risk their careers and, as far as they know, their lives, to save this patient.  Fortunately, the surgery goes well.  (Yay!) But . . . then the patient dies anyway (Boo!)  But, not before Webber learns of his own fallibility and the importance of maintaining your humanity as a surgeon.  (Yay!)  Then, afterwards, Ellis bullies the future Chief McBoozy into taking his first alcoholic drink. (Boo!)   But, before, that, we got to see how adorable Meredith looked at age 5.  (Yay!)

Needless to say, it was a very emotional rollercoaster-esque lecture.  Yet, at its conclusion, Webber gives a rousing speech about the importance of doctors adhering to the Hippocratic Oath.  He then raises his right hand and recites the Oath himself.  Admittedly, it was some pretty powerful stuff, and really served to highlight Webber’s true love of medicine.  Clearly affected by his own speech, the Old Chief ultimately decides to accept McDreamy’s offer and return to work.  (Yay!)

Bailey’s Lesson: Shark tales, a.k.a. The Birth of the Nazi

Before Miranda Bailey became the Nazi; before she turned into a strong, smart, powerful, but often angry, woman who looks like this . . .

Bailey was an overachieving but painfully shy and polite-to-a-fault intern, who looked like this . . .

The year was 2003.  While medicine had come a long way since 1982, there were still many obstacles for women who wanted to succeed in the healthcare industry.  And for many women, their biggest obstacle was one another.  That’s right.   Mean girls, unfortunately, stuck around long past the 80s . .

This movie came out in 2004 . . .

Despite the fact that Mean Girls wasn’t due out in theaters for another year, one of them had managed to sneak into Seattle Grace.  Bailey’s resident “advisor” is  a bitch with a Capital B.  And, like any two-dimensional villian, this 30-something year old woman tortured Young Bailey with the zeal, intensity (and maturity) of a 16-year old cheerleader who just found out that her boyfriend has decided to go to prom with the class nerd.

Be careful Bailey!  This never ends well for people like you . . .

Fortunately, for Bailey, she is due for a major personality transplant and stat!  And who performs said transplant, you ask?  None other than Superman Webber of course!  “Surgery is a shark tank, and sharks have teeth.  Be a shark, not a minnow,” the then-Chief instructs Bailey. 

And I bet you know what happens next . . .

That’s right!  Our Neo Nazi Bailey solves a difficult medical mystery.  Then,  in what we now know was the first of her eloquently angry, yet rousing, monologues, Bailey hands her bitchy resident advisor her ass on a platter for ordering countless unnecessary surgeries for a patient, who merely required medication.  “You are going to be a brilliant surgeon one day,” commends Webber (and we know that he is right!)

In addition to being an awesome surgeon, Bailey is also terrific public speaker.  She owns both the stage and her audience, awarding them for class participation with chocolates.  And as a nearly perpetual student, I can tell you that candy bribes WORK and work well!

Callie’s Lesson: “Everybody f&*ks Alex.”

You know who’s not so hot in the public speaking department?  The typically loud and brash Callie.  After vomiting up her breakfast in anticipation of the big event, Callie stumbles around stage, head tucked inside her notes, mumbling almost incoherently about the club footed patient her and Alex cared for back in 2006, when she was a new resident.

With Alex’s help, however, Callie ultimately recovers nicely.  She recounts for the group the immensely gratifying experience of repairing the leg of a 28-year old student who was told he could never walk.  When all of the other doctors discounted the patient, and berated Callie for mismanaging his expectations, Callie refused to give up.  As a result, this formerly bed-ridden man can now roam freely (with the help of some crutches, of course). 

And this wouldn’t be Grey’s Anatomy if the story didn’t end with an on-call room boink fest between Alex and Callie . . .

“I am so much better at doing this than public speaking  . . .”

Apparently, Alex has screwed the entire staff at Seattle Grace, and most of its patients.  That is one dirty boy!

Not only is Alex a slut, he is also, apparently a liar.  And Callie catches him in a real whopper.  As punishment, she forces him to perform the surgery he claimed to have already done by himself in an elevator shaft, even though that surgery was actually completed by Callie’s ex-hubby, the now deceased, George.

R.I.P. Dude!  The show hasn’t been the same since you left . . . really.

So, there you have it, folks.  A love letter to medicine, with three flashbacks, two sex scenes, lots of chocolate, and a shout out to an old friend.  Not bad for a single episode.

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