So, yesterday, jaina47 and I went through all the Behind the Scenes materials, chattering and gossiping about what we’ve seen and haven’t seen, who we’ve seen and haven’t seen, and engaging in some mild speculation. Not too much. I like to approach my shows as virgin as possible. But some fluffytimes. And I swear to God, half of what we predicted came true already. Served up on a silver platter.
What we couldn’t have predicted is nearly a full episode devoted to Hillary B Smith and Jessica Leccia wandering around being awesome. You would think that would practically be the name of the show by now. But this was EVEN MORE THAN EXPECTED.
I know they have this all filmed in advance and it’s done, but I feel like they’ve answered all my prayers. How do they do that? Magic! We open on the Colonel and Gina, a la The Brogno Bunch: But Really Fucked Up. Gina tries to negotiate exercise with the Colonel. She offers chips, refuses a burger, and then tells him the glass is half full, because he’s not dead. He says her mother used to say that when he bitched.
jaina47: “‘Well she must have said it all the time then!'”
First screenshot of the evening goes to Gina’s hilarious face.
jaina47: “‘If I go out with a man, will you get on the bicycle?’ Now THAT is some desperation right there. She really did reach the end of her rope.”
The Colonel tells her to STFU and GTFO. She threatens to do just that.
I love the crazy energy of their scenes. They must have shot them all at once, in a row, and there’s a consistent raw, jittery buzz. Half the time they look ready to start laughing. (kelinswriter points out that they were all filmed on “crazy neighbor day.”) Also, thank you for letting me see so much of your legs, Gina.
jaina47: “Well, okay so it wasn’t exactly morning after, but I’ll take it! And I’m liking Gina and the Colonel way more than I thought I would this season. They’re almost shaping up to be the comedy? Who would’ve thought.”
The next scene is Ani coming to Lara’s apartment. Ani has brought flowers. What’s higher than World’s Perfect Girlfriend? I mean, she BROUGHT FLOWERS. Lara is at her computer, working and drinking. Drinking and working. She points out, non-judgmentally, that Ani was gone when she woke up. This is because Ani went to yoga class.
Is there anything cuter than that? I THINK NOT.
kelinswriter: “They’re so cute how they keep patting each other as if to prove the other is actually real.”
They make sex jokes. Then talk about sex. And then Ani sings, because she loves sex so much. WE ALWAYS SUSPECTED. When Ani is furtive at 2:53 or so? She is looking at Lara’s mostly empty wine-glass. (Not half-empty, like the Colonel’s life, but mostly empty. Not good, right?) Despite her love of sex and her happiness, Ani denies herself sex and suggests dinner on the beach for herself and Lara. Because she doesn’t know how cold the beach is.
Happy transition music plays. Happy palm trees!
I am not drunk this week like I was last week, but geez.
As much as I love the Colonel and Ani/Lara, my first moment of sheer bliss was watching Guya wave incense everywhere. I was just so in that moment with her. She brought me in. And it was festively melancholy. Like, if this was the whole episode, then I’d be so happy.
This and the gnome.
jaina47: “I now think of Guya’s aura like a little lost puppy.”
LIZ KEIFER SHOWS UP.
jaina47: “SHE SPEAKS!”
I love how happy Guya is to see her. That surprised, but bold smile. Like she’s greeting a long lost love or something. And though it’s mostly self-evident with this cast, Liz Keifer is beautiful.
kelinswriter: “Hillary B Smith and Liz Keifer are so great.”
rysler: “Yeah. Liz, especially. I’ve never seen her like this.”
rysler: “I know I’m supposed to have seen her like this…but I really haven’t.”
kelinswriter: “It’s so NOT Blake.”
kelinswriter: “No this is distinctly different from her Blake energy.”
kelinswriter: “Guya is all about shoving things up people’s noses and getting into their personal space.”
Liz Amber-Who-Has-a-Name-Now is very lost. She’s been wandering around without any sense of purpose. She’s drawn to Guya. As we all are.
jaina47: “I…really wanna give Amber a hug or something. Geez. Talk about lost puppy. :(”
Guya makes Amber touch her cards. She sees pain. And blue. And…
Guya: “I got nothin’.”
Amber vanishes when Guya tries to schedule another appointment. In Amber’s place stands Shawn Cristian, looking stunningly hot. Stunningly, ominously hot.
jaina47: “Coincidence that Guya saw a bunch of blue and then Brandon showed up wearing blue? I THINK NOT.”
Meanwhile, in some tropical bamboo paradise, Michelle is sketching. Jamie comes to exposition with her because neither of them have any other friends right now that aren’t busy with DEATH or ANI.
Michelle tells Jamie she’s drawing designs. Jamie says they’re really good. I’m very excited that Michelle has a plot going that’s not man-related, and that Gina could possibly be a mentor and/or Michelle’s going to save the day with Alan!
Jamie, meanwhile, has tried this online thing and wants to hook up with a seeming non-pervert named Drew. Which reminds me of this song I’m embedding and kelinswriter approves:
So topical, right?
JAMIE MAKES ME BURST INTO SONG. (And we know he loves Broadway, so shoutout, buddy.)
jaina47: “Jamie squeeing about getting a tweet from his crush was the funniest thing ever.”
Also, I love that this setting is almost as tiny as the red curtain. A little more festive, but still oh so practical and wee.
And now the beach, where Ani is photographing Lara, who’s all self-conscious. kelinswriter points out that Lara loves the attention. She’s preening.
jaina47: “‘And…take your top off!’ Yes, PLEASE! Lara: Gasp Ani: Just kidding…mostly.'”
This is one of my favorite scenes of the series, I think. A great echo of Ani’s last photograph with Gina, and her life in general. But I know some fans saw it as perhaps filler. So, sound off! What does Ani’s camera mean to you?
Meanwhile, segue: GUYA IS SAD, GUYS.
But her gnome. Her gnome.
I have to like, not watch the gnome to listen to the dialogue. I love that Guya says Gina is like Katie. I’d love to know more about that. Guya is happy/freaked out about Shawn Christian. As we all are.
Back on the beach, Ani and Lara are having their promised dinner picnic. Lara makes a joke about “empanadas” when she really means “bozongas.” Ani is adorably appreciative. But eating carrot sticks. Which she should already know not to do in front of Lara.
Lara’s very concerned for her health, which is the sweetest thing Lara’s done thus far. (And I am making my private desire public: Hurt/Comfort Ani/Lara fic NOW.)
We had a lively debate about whether or not Ani not sleeping over a lot and leaving early for yoga is intentional:
kelinswriter: “I don’t think she’s balking. I think she’s pacing. Trying not to U-haul. Because you get the sense with Gina it was U-haul all the way. There’s a wariness in Ani still. What they’re subtly bringing through is she really doesn’t think a whole lot of herself. Not really. And Jessica is playing that perfectly.”
rysler: “It makes me sad to think that Gina contributed to that.”
kelinswriter: “Gina’s a fuckup. People like Gina ALWAYS contribute to other people feeling like that. I notice that Ani keeps saying ‘I had a bad breakup’ repeatedly. It’s almost a warning.”
rysler: “I don’t know if that works, Ani.”
kelinswriter: “a. Please don’t hurt me like Gina did because I can’t take it again. b. If you do, it will not be pretty.”
rysler: “‘Do not tell me I am not enough for you, because I cook for you and I bring you flowers and I do dinners on the beach. Do not tell me I am too much for you because I’ll barely stay over, –I let you work–, I’m not throwing myself at you.'”
kelinswriter: “She’s kind of like a puppy. ‘Love me love me love me please love me…but don’t hurt me.’ It’s almost like she’s self-sabotaging so that if the floor does get ripped out from underneath her she can point to things that made it her fault because telling herself it’s her fault is easier than trusting another person who treated her like shit.”
kelinswriter: “/Overidentify much.”
rysler: “Right. She’s not asking for anything from Lara, it seems.”
kelinswriter: “She’s scared to because she asked for that from Gina and look what happened.”
rysler: “Maybe that’s why Lara jumped on how Ani might be feeling. A chance to engage.”
kelinswriter: “I think Lara truly wants to connect. for her own reasons.”
Maybe they want me to like Lara before they destroy everything. That would be how good TV is made.
kelinswriter: “…The fact that both GL and Venice were female driven. And food seemed to be a metaphor in both stories. Connection, family, togetherness, sex.”
rysler: “I think food is just…everywhere. meal scenes are always important. It’s cultural.”
kelinswriter: “It seems particularly pervasive in these stories though. I mean I watch other TV shows or movies and yes there’s eating but there’s not so much TALKING about food.”
I admit these are cues I don’t pick up on. kelinswriter teases me because I’m on the more existential side of things. But for Ani this has gone from a cute “fucking cheeseburger” scene to an actual plot. What are the implications? Why does everyone want a burger on this show?
Let us delve deeper into Ani’s food issues. AUNT CARMELA.
Lara: “Seriously, stop it. ::push:: I want to kick…”
Lara: “…the fucker who put that in your head.”
Ani tells the BEST STORY EVER about her Aunt Carmela’s 80th birthday party. I cannot do it justice. If you somehow were not convinced to subscribe by the sex scene, or by Gina and Ani kissing on the beach, or by Shawn Christian or Wes Ramsey or hippo porn or whatever you’re into, DIOS MIO, WATCH THIS STORY.
I could watch Ani tell these stories forever. Lara tries not to laugh at her. They really like each other. Really really.
And so do I.
Some final thoughts from jaina47: “I’m…interested that Ani’s self-image is being a them for the season and that we’re getting tiny more pieces about her breakup from Gina. I felt so bad for the Aunt Carmela story. 🙁 You know my thoughts on Sad!Jessica already. But Gina and Ani are still being all so adorable. As much as I’m ready to bring on the angst, I’m still loving them. They’re very cute together.”
Michael Fairman interviewed Crystal and Peter at Days of Days. I mean, yes, didn’t everyone interview them? But this one is hilarious and worth watching.
And since there was no direct shout-out this week, I’ll just point to a particular Otalia scene that has 1) Liz Keifer, 2) body issues irony, and 3) 0.28.
Music: “Beg, Borrow, Steal” by Shannon Hurley.