Revisiting Season One

As usual, TV has been all over everything. I somehow missed this stellar interview with Nadia Bjorlin. While [info]kelinswriter was reporting live from Xena Con 2011!, I had the stomach flu. Maybe that was it. More recently, Crystal Chappell gave an interview. No spoilers, but that’s okay. We’re looking back tonight, anyway!

Welcome to the third in a series of post-season Venice: The Series commentaries. (Season Two Recaps: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 | Top Moments | Worst Moments) This post contains spoilers. Follow the Venice Episode Reviews at ryslerfic and follow the writers: Jaina, kelinswriter, rysler.

We did not blog Season 1, though friend ceridwyn2 did an excellent job. I, personally, was a fan of the season. It’s a pleasant watch with some highly enjoyable moments, especially in the back half, and as this review will show, it met all of my Gina and Owen needs. So I was nervous to revisit. What if Season 2’s excellence exposed even more of Season 1’s flaws? It did, in a way. But it also exposed some new moments of glory and insight. Season 1 was clarifying for – and clarified by – Season 2. The gulf is not unnavigable.

While hobnobbing in LA, [info]kelinswriter took a side trip down to Venice. ([info]kelinswriter: Some people go to Venice Beach and buy bongs. I buy books. Just how I roll.) The photographs throughout are hers and she’s awesome for sharing them! (The screencaps, of course, still belong to Open Book.) So, onward!

Episode One

[info]kelinswriter: I’ll admit that I can’t watch the first 30 seconds of this without a complete sense memory freefall back into Vegas on premiere night. That sense of hyperactive, overloaded disbelief still hits me every time – that this actually managed to get up on a screen in front of people, that after all the disappointment of losing Guiding Light, Venice actually happened. (The rum and Coke might have had something to do with that – boy that bartender was being generous.) After that I always feel such melancholy, because what became immediately apparent that this was not an Otalia happy ending – clearly that happened somewhere between move in day and pizza in Peapack.

[info]jaina47: The song that opens Season 1, Miss Me by Kat Parsons, feels almost as iconic to me as Venice Beach or Clean Slate. I really like the song. It’s probably one of my favorites that Venice has exposed me to (makes it sound like a disease) and I don’t know. I just really love it here. A stellar musical choice.

[info]rysler: I should say something profound about the sex that changed the world, but instead I’m going to point out that my parakeets not only chirped along to Kat Parsons, but imitated the kissy sounds of the opening scene.

[info]jaina47: Of course this scene in bed is the huge scene. I mean, half of what lured the Otalia fans to Venice was the promise of that kiss in the first thirty seconds. What better thing could you promise to kiss-starved fandom? But as much as I adored this scene, it’s not one that I go to rewatch often now. Not because it isn’t awesome in it’s own way, but because of how the scene makes me feel. It gives me that same jolt as The Dancing, but it’s a totally different feeling because the dance is fraught with possibilities. The whole thing about that scene for me is how I was practically holding my breath the whole time just waiting because I had no idea what was going to happen next. Anything could happen!

[info]jaina47: With this opening scene even then, almost as soon as it opens with them in bed you know that this is the end. There really aren’t any possbilities or place for them to go from there even before Gina is jumping out of bed like her ass is on fire.

[info]rysler: Ani’s in pain. She came back into town, ran into the love of her life, had amazing, rekindling, reaffirming physical connection, and it’s not even seven a.m. and she’s lost it again. This, mixed with the snark – “Fun?” – gives us a complete picture of Ani. At 1:56.

[info]jaina47: Everything is about the old, how they used to be, how they left things, not where they could go from there. Even Ani is just trying to recapture the past, not forge a future.

[info]jaina47: (And side note, the phone starts ringing on the DVD version, before Gina gets out of bed. Whereas in the original version, Lady Gaga doesn’t start playing into Gina is well out of bed. OMG, re-writing history! Okay, not that dramatic, but it does make Gina seems slightly more sympathetic and less like an ass. Before it was more “saved by the bell” rather than “I reeeeealllly have to go now”.)

[info]jaina47: I promise I won’t spend as much time on the rest of the season as I have on this scene, but…In light of Season 2, I wonder what was going through Gina’s head here. We have more context for them now, but I really wish we had more, like specifically why they broke up. I have theories about cheating. I have theories about Ani moving for work and Gina not being able to handle a long distance relationship. And that’s just scratching the surface. But it all goes back to me wondering why Gina was doing this.

[info]jaina47: Was it just as simple as she told Owen? She saw Ani at the grill, want, take, have. Did she sleep with her because she just wanted her? Because it doesn’t seem like she wants to be with her, just no strings attached. Is it revenge? Ani left, she got hurt. So now she can’t deal and just wants sex? I don’t know. Maybe she’s just fucked up. But in light of the way that we see the depth of what Gina feels for Ani, how much she loves her and that she’s willing to give up her own happiness for Ani’s that’s pretty impressive. And not just something that happens overnight.

[info]jaina47: Above and beyond it all, Ani’s eye roll at Gina and herself still remains awesome and one one of the best parts of the scene. Back to comparison contrast time: Ani is not there when Lara wakes up – or at least the once we were shown – but she is with Gina. And she’s snuggly and cuddly, and okay, maybe a little clingy. If you wanna call it that. I don’t know that I would. But she’s definitely trying to hold onto being the focus of Gina’s attention and Gina is having none of it.

[info]jaina47: Whereas she doesn’t even seem to try that with Lara. Maybe it’s a comfort level thing with Lara? Gina’s pulling away so Ani tries to hold on tighter, but Lara is there and available so she doesn’t have to hold on? Or maybe Ani already realizes on some level that letting go will be the problem with Lara. I don’t know. But it does go to show how she’s changed or is trying to with these two women. The problem is that she’s changing actions, not behaviors and their source. She does seem to have a thing for the Ladies who dig their jobs more than her. Just sayin’.

[info]jaina47: Dear God, I’m only 2:24 in. You’re gonna kill me.

[info]jaina47: “I will never give up on you” becomes such a loaded line, doesn’t it? If she really means that, then yay for Gina. But if it’s a broader statement about how Ani views all the important people in her life then it also lends more understanding to why she didn’t get the hell out of that house the moment Lara shoved her into that wall. “I don’t think I can be what you need me to be” echoes too, doesn’t it? Because Gina still thinks that. I mean, she’s not giving Ani the letter because she doesn’t want to cause drama in Ani’s life – and that’s all well and good. To a certain extent I approve of that sentiment. But on the other hand if she was confident of her reception with Ani, I have to think she would do more than just write a letter she was mostly planning never to send.

[info]jaina47: And uh, “Do you want to come?” Sends my brain to naughty places, damn you, Venice! Like simultaneously best/worse line ever. Or is that just my brain? Please say it’s not!

[info]kelinswriter: This is dark and painful and kind of makes me want to read the riot act to a couple of my exes. It just hurts to watch Ani sacrifice herself on the altar of Gina, because you just know it isn’t the first time, that this scenario has played itself out, on some level or another, probably many times in their relationship. And yet Ani keeps trying – she keeps wanting to love Gina in the desperate hope that somehow it will be enough. The other thing that became very apparent very quickly? That this was going to give Jessica Leccia a showcase unlike she’d ever had before. Ani is, in many ways, our point of view character. And I love that because I, like a lot of people, was a little worried this was going to become the “Gina” show. So even when Ani went MIA for several episodes, I knew she’d come back around because she’d been so clearly established in these first few minutes.

(Behold, Hotel Erwin!)

[info]jaina47: Someone called out the slow-mo to me once, and every since then, I haven’t been able to not notice them and wonder why they chose to do that there. And yet…I don’t care really, because to me that’s one of the very few – maybe, only – moments in Season 1 that we actually get to see Ani and Gina happy together. The in bed thing so doesn’t count.

[info]rysler: In public, Gina is possessive. Ani is hers. To be near, to show off. Gina knows what she has. She doesn’t know what to do with it, but she knows what she has.

[info]rysler: OWEN. Scruffy bomber jacket Owen pegs Gina’s drunken mistake and walk of shame. Watching his sister fuck up her life gives Owen a migraine, but he’s not in a position to turn down free food.

[info]jaina47: Hee. Owen’s “Oh, Brother!” line always makes me grin punniciously. (Yes, I know that’s not a word.) How does Owen know that Ani never stopped loving Gina? Just curious. That last kiss was so darn…awkward!

[info]rysler: And thus, episode one. Seems so short, doesn’t it?

[info]kelinswriter: Where they started Gina was not the “real” Gina. That was Gina in a really really bad place. We are just now starting to see the “real” Gina. The one that Ani could fall in love with and Guya could think was the greatest niece ever and Owen could idolize.
[info]rysler: What created this place where she became a shitty-behaving person?
[info]kelinswriter: We don’t actually know. But clearly her father stuff played a part. I think Logan played a HUGE part but we haven’t explored that yet. Perhaps [CENSORED] with Richard messed with her too. I think there’s a lot to be explored yet about losing her own mother. think we’ll get that when the Katie/Amber thing sorts itself out.

Episode Two

[info]kelinswriter: This episode really is challenging to comment on because clearly, some structure problems popped up. So I will just concentrate on what’s important: Michele looking smashing and clearly being the genius who keeps Gina going, all that magnificent booze in the corner, the introduction of the word “fucktard” into my vocabulary, and GINA SPEAKING FRENCH.
[info]jaina47: It totally puts Michele’s four beers from this season into context.

[info]rysler: Then, Guya and Katherine meet for the first time.

[info]jaina47: You know I’ve been thinking Guya was more cracked out this season, but…she was pretty crazy last season too! I think I appreciate the humor of this scene more now than I did before. I mean, it was funny but I wasn’t its hugest fan before.

Guya: “Who’s Paco?”
Katherine: “He’s my dog. He’s adorable. Do you want to meet him?”
Guya: “…”

[info]jaina47: You know the thing about Guya is that I’m never sure if she’s faking it or if she believes her own messages or…if she was faking and the she started believing…I don’t know. But it seems like an important distinction, especially with Katie/Amber in the mix.

[info]kelinswriter: Is Guya a con artist? A psychotic? All I know for sure is she’s a person with NO NAME (hello we also never established that Owen is Gina’s brother in episode one, people) – but she’s awesome and I can’t take my eyes off her. Or Katherine, who is skizzing about as much as my mom did the one and only time I dared introduce her to one of my main gays and his boyfriend. This scene is hilarious and bizarre and I love it, but I’m still a little WTF about the whole thing.

Episode Three

[info]jaina47: Ah, Venice Beach, there you are. How I’ve missed thee. Um, power suit. Does that count as coherent commentary? As much as I’ve loved S2’s newer, softer, looser version of Gina, there is something about her kicking ass and taking names business mode that is just a thing to behold. I kind of missed it this season. Her confidence was stripped away, which was what made so much of her growth and discovery possible but this is pretty awesome too. I like it and I hope we get a mix/return to that with the “All About Eve” thing TM [info]kelinswriter.

Gina: “How am I doing, Alan?”
Alan: “I think you’re doing great.”

[info]rysler: Ah, meta. Really, it’s probably cliche, but I could watch Crystal Chappell and Michael Sabatino act together all day. There’s a true sense of fun, even when they have knives.
[info]kelinswriter: Every time I see Michael I tell him I feel like I need to apologize to him because I have spent much of my life swearing and throwing things at the TV every time he comes onscreen.

[info]kelinswriter: I really love Gina as Business Mongrel – I’d like to see more of her next season (and I’m betting we will, because don’t look now, Gina, but that hot chick in magenta behind you may have planted a knife in your back). My favorite moment? That quick sideways look at Tracy, when Gina really notices her for the first time. It’s so sly and almost primal – “I have found something I like and that something is you.” And of course there’s that lovely Sabatino-Chappell chemistry – like [info]rysler says, you can’t help but love the meta.

[info]jaina47: It never ceases to amuse me that all her attention is on Alan, but when she goes to brag it shifts to Tracy. She’s showing off just a little – and it doesn’t hurt that it might help impress this woman. You know, at this moment, I can’t remember what didn’t thrill me about Gina and Tracy, other than that they weren’t Gina and Ani. I do love the hints of subtext and the subtle undertones of this scene. The little thrown glances, sent and received. It’s nice, is what I’m saying. Carrying on the tradition of conveying a lot without saying anything at all. I appreciate that in my femslash.

[info]rysler: Tracy and Gina share an intense look. Michele, in the background, has a look of her own. How many times has she seen this? It’s interesting that they didn’t set it up that Gina slept with Tracy to get the job. As one-sided as it becomes, it’s built on genuine attraction and curiosity. It could have gone so differently. Sex for success. Sex as a weapon. Does it matter really that it’s Alan or the vixen at his right hand?

[info]rysler: Later, Gina is cooking Owen dinner, as promised. He’s grilling her on Ani, because he doesn’t want to see her hurt herself get hurt yet again. All the defensiveness in the world isn’t going to save her, brother.

[info]jaina47: It’s interesting how much of this conversation with Owen is kind of foreshadowing for the following season’s arcs. All the things Gina’s saying she can’t have are the things that she does…not necessarily get, but strive towards. And at the same time it’s kind of involuntary. She didn’t set out for that, but Gina does embrace it. She doesn’t think she can be who Ani needs her to be – but she wants to be that person.

[info]rysler: “I love Ani,” Gina says. “I love Ani.” The same tone of voice she uses for The Letter. Owen thinks she’s a fucking moron.

Owen: “Don’t you want to fall in love again?”

Gina explains that she doesn’t want to get hurt.

Owen thinks she’s a fucking moron.

[info]kelinswriter: I really love this first real example of the Owen/Gina chemistry and how they play off each other. I find it intersting that for the first few episodes, Owen was the person giving out sensible advice – somehow he wandered away from that into the paranoid doofus who wouldn’t tell anyone that he’d been fired. Also, this is where we see the seeds of the inevitable destruction of Owen and Sami – the Sarah story is pure foreshadowing. And Gina getting drunk off her ASS, which in retrospect makes me think she’s a lot more unsure about just bedding Tracy than she’d ever admit – maybe because she can’t get someone else off her mind? Idk but I find it 50 times less obnoxious now than I did then.

[info]rysler: Owen got a callback. He’s going to NYC. They do the callback dance and then Owen says Gina reminds him of his mommy. (::cough::) Gina wishes Owen could have known her better.

“Some days it feels like yesterday and others, a lifetime ago.”

[info]rysler: Gina asks Owen about Sarah. Owen has sent her texts, tweets, phone calls. “I even sent her flowers.” But no, Sarah has dumped Owen because he cheated on her. Gina has a theory. “If you don’t make a commitment, then that can’t happen. But if you do make a commitment, then you have to keep your pants zipped.”

Owen thinks she’s a fucking moron. But he also knows what a loser he is, so he’s kind of bummed.

[info]kelinswriter: So…I also had a Season 1 thought based on Season 2. When Owen gives Sami the hippo, he says, “to remember the good times.” That made me think of the “my girlfriend dumped me” story early in Season 1. Owen expects all his relationships to fall apart. The pattern is he cheats and screws them up.

[info]kelinswriter: I think that the shorter episodes exacerbated the random. Now, with the longer episodes, we can see the coherent structure… Owen’s breakup with Sami is very much in pattern for him. He finds a girl he likes – a commitment-type girl – and then he screws around on her and sabotages the relationship.

[info]jaina47: Apparently cheating whilst in a relationship is a pattern for Owen. Is it problems come up and then he bails instead of deals? It’s not like Owen has a plethora of relationship role models in his life. And yet, Gina lecturing Owen on cheating never ceases to amuse me/make me laugh in disbelief.

[info]jaina47: I do love the whole running sibling vibe beneath this conversation. For me it’s them at some of their most connected, most family-ish, just the two of them. I love it. I think I’m also incapable of liking more than one Brogno sibling at a time. Last season it was Owen, this season it’s Gina.

[info]rysler: It’s sunset at Venice Beach and Gina has brought Alan some fabulous spangled boots at Jamie’s bar. He says he’s working on a dream.
[info]jaina47: I do find the whole “My BOOTS!” thing much funnier this time around. I think the hype killed it for me before.
[info]kelinswriter: “My wife wants me to get a hobby/women are like that” banter still makes me giggle.

[info]rysler: Owen, meanwhile, is getting a talking-to from Jamie. Jamie tells him to leave town. NOT LIKE THAT.

[info]kelinswriter: Jamie in this purple jacket…we need to see this jacket again. Though I’m now a tiny bit saddened by Gina’s assertion that “you need to have sex to take the edge off.” It seems like Gina’s been shaving a lot of edges off for a long time, and it makes me sad for the Gina I got to know in season 2.

[info]jaina47: You know this thing with Sami and Owen lying about this gig. I had remembered the cheating that Owen did but I hadn’t thought of it in the context of him having come out of a bad breakup too. Maybe because I was more focused on Gina and Ani. But losing that previous relationship, mind you to cheating, but still Owen seems to take it hard, it makes sense that he would cling tighter to Sami and be more worried about that relationship and telling her the truth than he might otherwise be. Also? I wonder if this chick he cheated on Sami with is the same woman that he cheated on Sarah with. Some great love is more interesting than random chick from the beach.

[info]rysler: Gina has thrown a classy jacket over her slovenly tee shirt and jeans, for her clubbing. She snuggles up to Owen like she hasn’t seen him in months. Gina tells him to have sex. Gina is the only one who is going to have sex soon in this scene, and neither Jamie nor Owen appreciate it.

[info]jaina47: You know, I do like Season 2 Gina so much better than Season 1 but it is nice to see her just straight up happy and not melancholy. She spent so much of Season 2 brooding.

[info]rysler: Tracy appears and Gina hugs her. It is not the Gina/Ani hug, but it’s a little weird and way hot and I think Tracy like, smells her.

Episode Four

[info]rysler: The next episode opens on video-poker-playing Gina – is her gambling addiction her season five arc? – and a book and a note from Van.
[info]jaina47: Okay, the Van reference really only makes sense now – now that we know who he is. I was less interested and more just straight up puzzled last season. Maybe if they’d in some way connected that Van was their cousin for me I would have mustered some caring? If there’s significance other than introducing Van though, I still don’t get it.

[info]rysler: Then we see the Colonel for the first time. Guya is yelling at him. He wants to sell the ranch. She thinks the kids will be sad. He doesn’t give a fuck about the kids because they never see him.

[info]jaina47: This living room looks so much prettier in Season 2. I don’t know. Just saying. God, I like Season 2 version of the Colonel so much more. Not that he’s changed, but he has layers now.

[info]rysler: Guya goes off on him about the kids. “Katie dying wasn’t part of the plan.” And just as he’s sickened by how things have fallen apart – his son is not a doctor, his daughter is not a lawyer – she’s sickened too. She owes it to her sister to take care of the family and in this sense she’s failed. She hates it.

[info]kelinswriter: This scene between Guya and The Colonel is so much more poignant now – all that unspoken guilt simmering under the surface hurts my heart. Also, it kind of makes me think of my parents, who were products of the 50s, and my older cousins (only a few years younger) who were products of the 60s, and how they would fight like cats and dogs about everything (not just the gay). That cultural divide is huge and I think you see it reflected in their differing attitudes to Gina and Owen’s “unconventional” lives.

[info]jaina47: Is this Katie’s theme music playing in the background of the Colonel and Guya’s scene at the end? Just curious. She’s not quite as much of a presence as in Season 2, but almost. Maybe hindsight makes her more so. But each time Guya mentions her I flinch a little – for her.

[info]rysler: Tracy and Gina are having morning-after martinis at the rooftop bar.
[info]jaina47: THEY ADDED BACKGROUND AND CROWD NOISE. I’m not sure why I care so much. Maybe just because it adds depth? It feels more like a real bar.

[info]rysler: Tracy is taunting Gina. “Don’t you want to know why I didn’t sleep with you last night?” I don’t think Gina gives a rat’s ass, but she comes up with a chiding, snarky answer. Tracy wants her to try harder. Tracy offers her a game. “I decided when I met you that you were going to want me more than I want you.” Gina accepts. With a blasé grace and arrogant charm. Owen thinks she’s a fucking moron.

[info]jaina47: Okay, Gina and Tracy’s chemistry…I think it’s winning me over more than last time. I don’t think I remember how I felt actually. Probably grumpy about the lack of Jessica Leccia. I’m predictable like that. But their flirting and their little power dynamic/game playing is pretty fun.

[info]kelinswriter: Gina and Tracy are so cute, the way they’re each trying to play the other. I kind of want to smack them and tell them to grow up…but at the same time, it’s good to see Gina knocked back on her heels in a fun way. After all the drama of Season 2, I like going back and seeing Gina’s playful side (even if a lot of that playfulness was an attempt to avoid the demons lurking under the surface).

Episode Five

[info]rysler: Gina and Owen are at the gym together. “So get this,” Owen says. “I let Aunt Jane talk me into a blind date with one of her friend’s daughters.” Gina takes a break from texting Tracy to tease him.
[info]jaina47: “Granola munching minions” remains awesome and hilarious.

[info]rysler: The Colonel calls Gina to invite her to brunch. Owen giggles all the way through the conversation, which includes, “I know I have to eat.” Can’t you jut see the Colonel saying that? Gina invites Owen. Owen is not amused.

Owen: “Ten bucks says he hits me with an acting jab before he hits you with a gay jab.”
Gina: “I’ll take that bet wearing motorcycle boots.”
Owen: “I’ve never loved you more.”

[info]rysler: Gina takes Tracy for a picnic on the beach at sunset. Tracy asks Gina what she likes to do and the answer is basically, “Work and go to Italy.” Tremezzo, to be specific.
[info]jaina47: The scene on the beach makes me wonder if she went to Italy with Ani. But that’s the fan ficcer in me.

[info]kelinswriter: Gina is so annoyed that she didn’t get Tracy into bed on the first go. For once she’s having to work and woo and pursue and it’s terribly unfair. Also, the way she so cheerfully fucks Owen by including him in brunch over is one of my favorite moments of the season. I have to say the thing that threw me back then – the concession that Gina’s doing this in her mother’s memory – is now terribly poignant. That’s a glimpse of the Gina we didn’t really see in Season 1 but saw a ton of in Season 2 – the person who doesn’t give up on her family for the simple reason that they are her family.

Tracy: “So dinner and bed.”
Gina: “You make it sound like a bad thing.”

[info]kelinswriter: Gina, you whore. But I think Jaina’s right about that whole Ani and Italy thing – she’s just a little too rhapsodic, and it has the ring of that “cherished memory” she can’t let go of. I think it’s interesting to get these glimpses of Gina the workaholic who can’t hold still. She’s always running from something: The Colonel, Richard, Ani. There’s more to this – I want to know what, exactly. Was it one thing, or a lot of little things, that made Gina into the train wreck we first met in season 1?

[info]jaina47: Something tells me that Gina’s never had romance demanded of her before. With Ani I’m assuming she wanted at times to give it, but Ani knew her – she wasn’t DEMANDING.

[info]jaina47: Love the little bit at the end about the workout. So cute. 😀 This beach does not actually look like they’re freezing their asses off. Positive change! So much pushing other people’s hair out of their faces whilst on the beach. Hee. Different actors/characters, same actions!

[info]jaina47: You know, I don’t have anything against Tracy/Gina – other than the accent. Having someone who demands from and challenges Gina isn’t a bad thing, but i’ve never understood the point of their relationship, at least as it applies to the endgame which I see as Gina and Ani.

[info]jaina47: I mean it makes sense if Gina is going after essentially the first woman she sees to distract her from Ani’s return but then Tracy starts making demands and basically saying she wants a real relationship or nothing. Which is the exact same thing Ani wanted so if Gina is running from that then why stick around for this? Does she just think she can play along until she gets in Tracy’s pants? I’d like to give her a little more credit here than to be that blatantly a user. I tend to think more that she’s not thinking at all, just feeling and being in the moment and in that way Tracy’s demands make an even better distraction than anything else because she does have to put forth effort. I wonder if they had originally planned to let these relationships run parallel or what? Dunno. Maybe that I couldn’t find the pattern is what annoyed me about this. Of course the parallel of Tracy being a grown up version of Gina was fairly well cut. I’ve always thought dating “yourself” was a little weird though.

[info]rysler: Gina feeds Tracy a grape. Initially, I laugh, because grapes. But it’s a sweet, romantic, seductive moment. Tracy appreciates the gesture.

Gina: “I love the concept of sitting on the beach and staring at the water. I think it’s… hard.”
Tracy: “Hard to be alone with yourself?”
Gina: “Maybe.”
Tracy: “I was like that… parties, bars, one-night stands… until I realized… I was unhappy.”

[info]rysler: This would be the scene of Gina’s life. But since she doesn’t know it yet I’ll talk about Tracy. Tracy has flown across the ocean and has met this intriguing, beautiful, smart, pain-in-the-ass woman. Someone well-traveled. Someone rich and powerful. Tracy hasn’t met many women like this. There aren’t as many in the world as you’d think. And even fewer that are gay. This is the package she’s been seeking. But is it real? Can it be real with someone as fucked up as Gina? Hence the tests. Gina’s attracted to her, Gina likes a challenge. I think Tracy mis-interprets this as a mutual recognition. Tracy wants to be seen, she wants to be adored. Gina essentially tricks her. I mean, I hate Tracy and the way she preys on Gina, but I’m starting to get her. She’s had a solitary life. She thinks Gina will appreciate her. She doesn’t know Gina likes girls who will break her heart.

Episode Six

[info]rysler: We meet Sami! She asks about the wind that has forced them to shoot a scene in the back of a car covered in Obama/Biden and peace stickers. Ah, the wind. It’s Season 1’s cold beach.
[info]jaina47: Hee! You know the weather in jokes really started in season 1 with the windstorm on Sami and Owen’s date. It’s just like Jessica’s pregnancy though. We mentally chose not to see it – and I have absolutely no problem with that. I dig in jokes. 😀

[info]rysler: Sami’s hair is a totally different color, too. It looks really good. She was in the Peace Corps, yadda yadda. Owen thinks she’s crazy.
[info]jaina47: See Sami remains a mystery wrapped in an enigma to me. Most of the time when people go around saying that they don’t have much of a social life there’s a reason for it. Mine happens to be that I’m an introvert, but I don’t think that’s Sami’s thing. I still think it has something to do with Africa or even the reason that pushed her join the Peace Corps and go halfway across the world. I mean, yes, charity and service. Good things, but it’s possible to do those at home without going halfway across the world. I just always feel like there’s more to Sami, stuff that we don’t know is under there yet and I want to see what it is, what made her HER.

[info]jaina47: You know, Sami and Owen’s first date might be my favorite of their scenes. It’s just so cute and funny and I like their immediate commiserating connection over their mutually horrible blind dates. It’s all [info]kelinswriter’s fault that I noticed the whole AIDS Vacination thing. I’m not sure what it says about me that I didn’t pick up on that the first time. I’m pretty sure all I heard was blah blah good deeds blah blah.

[info]kelinswriter: Owen the whiny boy-man and Sami the person who spends her time keeping people from dying of starvation. Yeah, that’s gonna work. But it’s lovely to see what might have been here – the sparkly, meet cute-ness of it all. Owen is so surprised by Sami – I think he’s spent so much time dating girls from acting class that he doesn’t quite know how to handle someone who’s done something real with her life. I think he catches a glimpse of the possibility that he could be more – maybe grow up a bit with Sami. *sigh*

[info]rysler: They like each other, and celebrate with beer. “I figured no matter how the date turned out, beer would come in handy,” Owen says. Sami: “I was going to pack a flask.”

These crazy kids were made for this show.

[info]rysler: The Colonel’s house! The same house, even, with the garage and the porch! Sans roses, though. 🙁

[info]jaina47: I now find Gina’s whining in front of the Colonel’s house more amusing. I think Season 2 has made me more charitable to Season 1.

[info]rysler: Owen is drinking beer. BEFORE BRUNCH. Gina has a bottle of whiskey and is wearing her jacket from before. They snuggle on the porch before Guya interrupts.

Guya: “It’s such a special day. I’m even wearing panties.”

[info]rysler: The kids go inside. The Colonel shakes Owen’s hand, but does not touch Gina, because she has the gay. But he appreciates the whiskey she brought. The Colonel offers them bloody marys. They accept. I recognize the door from the opening scene of season two. Set re-use is eerie. There’s surprisingly little of it. So far just the rooftop bar and the Colonel’s house.
[info]jaina47: It’s so…awkward and formal between them all now. So different from Season 2. I’ve always found that it’s hard to be formal AND yell at someone at the same time.

[info]rysler: Owen brags about his commercial and his possible role in an indie film. He’s proud. These are his biggest accomplishments. These are the best he has to offer his father.

Colonel: “So, you’re still bartending, huh?”

[info]rysler: Owen shrugs it off, the way he does Van at the beach. The way he does everything. Gina goes ballistic. She tells the Colonel off, for the first time ever, and Owen has to drag her out of the house. The Colonel just gives Guya an “I told you so” glance. Their first chance in years, and it’s over in two minutes.

[info]kelinswriter: Gina and Owen hovering on the doorstep with booze as a peace offering – I’m sad to say this scene is not entirely unfamiliar. And then there’s the awkward “catchup” talk – God, it hurts to watch Guya work so hard. It’s almost like they’re running lines from a script – only The Colonel won’t cooperate. Can’t blame Gina for snapping, though if I were her, I would have gotten a little Bloody Mary in my system first…I mean, why turn down the free booze, especially when you’re going to go out and get drunk afterwards anyway? The thing that gets me the most is not the speech, but the “When will I fucking learn” afterwards. Poor Gina has been kicked in the teeth so many times, and yet she was willing to go in there one more time for her mom’s sake. There’s something awfully heroic about that. (Side note: I showed this scene to a friend the other day and by the end she was frantically turning down her TV whispering “Shhhh Crystal” so we wouldn’t wake her bitchy neighbor. Welcome to CC-land, noob!)

[info]jaina47: You know, I feel like we’ve discussed this but I can’t remember specifically…it seems to me that Gina is kind of the Colonel’s “favored child.” I mean, he does disapprove of the gay thing, but it seems like he dislikes the way Owen chooses to live his life even more than the way Gina does. It’s like Owen is probably in his eyes a slacker and not manly enough – while Gina is okay, if she’d just make some better choices or something. I don’t know. Just how it seems to me. It makes me curious if Gina and her Dad were closer pre-Katie dying. I’m sure that changed so much.

[info]jaina47: Okay, here’s the thing. I’ve never been the hugest fan of this scene with the Colonel – the big fight. I know that Gina’s frustrated and defending Owen and she’s taken years of shit from the Colonel, and it’s just a vibe and an attitude that he gives off of disapproval, but…she’s the one who brings up the gay thing this time. I’m not saying it should be something she should have to hide, but I don’t know that it’s necessarily something that she has to bring up either. I mean, I get that’s not a popular opinion, but there’s a difference between not hiding it and not having to bring it up every five minutes and this time it just seems like Gina’s out to pick a fight. Not that she’s wrong – or anything that she says is wrong – or that the moment that it’s on the Colonel doesn’t continue to show his homophobic bigoted side.

[info]jaina47: I guess how it started doesn’t really matter, but I just feel like, especially in light of Season 2 that maybe Gina jumped the gun on this. Sometimes people have to be given a chance – that’s what she does with him in S2. And he changes a little, over time. Maybe that’s all I’m trying to say here. I think they both came in with their own agendas, carrying past hurts and jumped to fast into the fray without giving each other a chance to do anything different this time around. But it does seem somewhat cathartic for Gina, so that’s good. Maybe finally yelling at him was what allowed her to give him the space necessary for things to change between them after his stroke?

[info]kelinswriter: I agree with [info]jaina47, Gina walked in ready for the fight. She’d gotten herself wound up for it in the car on the way over, the way you do when you’re rehearsing all the things that could go wrong instead of just letting the moment happen and listening to the people you’re with. It’s sad, but I think in some ways she needed that for the events of season 2 to happen as they did.

[info]jaina47: Sidenote: Do you think Katie knew Gina was gay?

[info]jaina47: In retrospect, I think I actually like this scene better than I did the first time. The way Gina sounds so hurt on the way out the door actually made me wibble.

[info]rysler: Owen gives the house the double-finger.

Episode Seven

[info]jaina47: Ye gads. One of my all time favorites. Jessica!

[info]kelinswriter: This is the episode where, I think, they started to figure this show out. What it’s about, where the focus is going to be, how the character dynamics work. The crux of this is not Gina – it’s Ani and Gina, together and separate, figuring out how to make “them” work. The other characters are important, but that chemistry is the lifeblood of the show.

[info]rysler: Ani shows up at the beach, all hoodied up for the wind. Gina is apologetic and confused. Why would Ani still be in town if Gina rejected her? Ani explains that she HAS A JOB. Gina dumps on her about the Colonel. And cries.

[info]jaina47: Maybe I love this scene because it’s proto-season 2. There’s vulnerability and honesty and Gina actually letting Ani see who she is. She’s letting her in, not holding up this fake wall of distance and animosity between them.

[info]jaina47: You know, the way Gina says that she’s finally told her father off…it’s like she’s never done that with him before. Which…fair enough. She’s outspoken and wild enough that I almost have a hard time buying that but everything is different with a parental figure. I can see it. But! I’m curious if Gina’s telling her Dad off has anything to do with Ani being back in her life, not that she’s spurred on by that but that she’s kind of taken her negative emotions of Ani being back – hurt, uncertainty, anger, fear – and just let it out on her Dad because he’s there and she kind of can’t do that with Ani. Not that she doesn’t have plenty of reason to let lose on the Colonel, but as to why she picked NOW – this time – to have it out with the Colonel… just a thought.

[info]kelinswriter: The first scene slays me for so many reasons. I love how Ani’s initial hesitance yields to shock – like she’s been waiting for Gina to stand up to The Colonel, secretly hoping she would do it so they could move on. Only now it’s happened and it hasn’t solved anything – Gina is still the same neurotic wreck she always was. What’s refreshing in this to me is how straightforward Ani is – that she flat says to Gina “He makes you feel bad about yourself.” I didn’t expect that from her – that challenge to Gina’s operational blueprint. Yay for healthy Ani, who loves Gina enough to call her on her bullshit! Which is what makes the last part of the exchange, from that fragile, resigned “I know” onward – so hard to watch. God, they are so fucking much in love and so damn clueless about how to get it right. (But does it really matter, when you’re being snuggled like that?)

[info]jaina47: There’s really something about holding someone – just holding them – that’s almost more powerful than the sexy fun times the season opened with. This is definitely one of my favorite scenes – and this is totally one of my all time favorite episodes. Still. Even now. Because for this one scene, they’re not pretending anything. They’re not pretending that things aren’t fucked up between them but they’re also not pretending that they don’t love each other. It’s a hard line to walk and it can’t be managed for long. Fragile balance and all that.

[info]jaina47: It does make me wonder what about having that emotional connection/moment with Gina exactly made Ani realize that she needed to finalize their break up once and for all.

[info]rysler: Jessica shines in this. She and Hillary have the most life, the most breath in them – which is throughout season two also, but here the contrast is so strong. She really is the heart of this show.

[info]rysler: Before Gina and Ani talk on the bench, Gina has a conversation with Michele in which she tells Michele that she doesn’t want to lose Ani. Because she loves Ani. (Owen thinks…)
[info]jaina47: Yeah…almost killed Michele…I’ve always felt like she meant that literally. Please to be more backstory?
[info]kelinswriter: I love Michele and Gina’s little girl talk heart to heart. And I want to know about this “last one” of Michele’s. She really does need a man – I’m hoping maybe one wanders her way in season 3.
[info]rysler: Pure speculation here, but this conversation may be taking place after Ani has called and demanded Gina meet up with her later on the bench. Gina is replaying in her mind all the conversations she’d had with Ani before. Ani’s demands. Ani always being there for her. Ani holding her and supporting her.

[info]jaina47: The Breakup was probably my favorite scene of Season 1. Yes, I’m an angst-ho, I know. But, still. The highly ironic part is while after sleeping with her, except for the thing with the Colonel Gina made virtually no effort to have anything to do with Ani, the moment Ani says it’s over Gina wants to call her. I’m not sure if this is just because it’s the first time they’ve spoken after the conversation on the beach. Maybe that moment had an effect on both of them. Maybe it reminded Gina of what she missed most about Ani and the breakup speech was just an unlucky coincidence. It would actually explain somethings about why Gina’s so upset. I mean, not that she wouldn’t be otherwise.

[info]kelinswriter: The transition between the Michele talk and seeing Ani again is so interesting to me because I think Gina had resolved herself to the notion of letting Ani go. And then she sees her, and Ani says “Time to let you go” and Gina realizes she has made the biggest mistake of her damn life. It’s gut wrenching. I find it interesting that Gina has virtually no dialogue in this scene – it’s just Ani, forcing these words out before Gina can say anything to mess them up. The photo and the kiss is, in some ways, the moment the series really began for me because I think it’s where they really found the tone of the series – the underlying melancholy of broken people trying to find some way to be whole.

Episode Eight

: The song that opens Venice, the one where Gina and Ani are in bed. It’s Kat Parson’s Miss Me. It’s also in Episode 8! It plays over the scene after the breakup scene where Gina and Ani are talking on the phone and Ani is telling Gina not to call and Gina is desperately flailing not to let Ani go in some capacity. You know the lyrics that play over the scene in Episode 1 but the last half of the song which they used in 8 is perfect symmetry.

And I was trying to hold on to you
But why hold on to someone
Who hurts me so
And this is good-bye…
I want you to miss me
The way that I am missing you

How perfect is that? And I love the symmetry of them using the first and the last half of the song in perfect parallel like that.

I thought this might be the last time
So left my t-shirt
And hope behind

: And well, that just made me think of Season 2, so I had to share.
[info]rysler: So both Season 1 and Season 2 are songfics. I’m cool with that. “Miss Me” by Kat Parsons and “It’s You” by Jessi Lynn. What will Season 3 bring to our iPods?

Ani: “What?”

[info]kelinswriter: Don’t we all know that tone. Also, I adore that top. And those earrings…and. Well. You get the point.

[info]rysler: Ani told Gina, in essence, that she never wanted to see her again. Ani asked her not to call. Gina calls. And calls. Gina is terrified. Just like Tracy, Gina likes to be adored. Regardless of her feelings, she likes that Ani loves her. She likes that it’s Ani – fun, sweet, snarky, full of life. She’s never met anyone like Ani. There are fewer people like Ani than you realize. Ani would really, really like her to stop calling. “I’m here if you want me, okay,” Gina says. The very last thing she has to offer – other than her fidelity – is now on the table. Ani calls her a liar and hangs up on her. But it’s true.

[info]kelinswriter: Gina is so clueless here, and so back on her heels. What happened to the Ani who loved her no matter what? How did she turn into the person who hurts Ani every time she turns around? I think Gina is starting to wake up here, just a little bit. She’s not ready to really deal with it, but all the hurts are piling up. In retrospect, I think this phone conversation was very important in setting the stage for Gina’s healing process in Season 2.

[info]jaina47: Shy, uncertain Gina is one that I like. Maybe this is why she thinks she has no shot in hell with Ani. Maybe this is her actually trying, but it’s too late. She doesn’t know how to not be a fuck up but she doesn’t want to hurt Ani. Wow. She even says it. “I’m here if you want me.” But obviously Ani doesn’t, because she goes and meets Lara and dates someone else. Not that I’m blaming Ani here. She needs that space to get HER head on straight. In this moment she caves in to Gina too easily; she can’t say no and that won’t work either. Neither of them are in a place to be together, but it’s still painful to be apart. But, you know, at the same time Gina can’t say goodbye. 🙂 She can’t stop caring, no matter how much she may sometimes want to.

[info]rysler: Gina goes to meet Alan and Tracy. Too perky. Too out there.

Alan: “We knew you wouldn’t disappoint.”

[info]rysler: Gina has had to sacrifice her whole life to be the best at what she does. She can’t think of Ani and do this at the same time. Tracy makes her feel like she’s made the right decision.

[info]jaina47: Yay for subtextual flirting during drinks with Alan? I do love a sly wink and nod infused with some lingering glances. I am a femslash fan, after all. 😀 So maybe Tracy is just a demanding distraction? Something shiny and complicated to keep her brain occupied so she doesn’t have a breakdown over Ani? I could live with that.

[info]rysler: Gina still has her family. Guya and Owen. Between these three, in this room (with its gorgeous fireplace and candles) there is nothing but love. Owen and Guya and Gina are pretending this is all they need. Because it’s all they have. Guya is less subtle about the whole Ani issue than Owen. Ani, after all, is the first person Gina let in after Logan.

[info]rysler: WHO IS LOGAN.
[info]jaina47: I want more info about the Logan Debacle. Please? Pretty please? With a cherry on top.
[info]kelinswriter: [CENSORED]

[info]jaina47: You know, speaking of cutting some slack, I think I’m giving Gina more of a break now about being genuinely confused about the way that she feels rather than just be a player, jerking Ani around because she can, because she’s just that insensitive.

[info]rysler: Guya tells Gina to leave Ani the fuck alone. Gina thinks this is a bad idea because then she’ll lose Ani forever.


[info]rysler: Gina’s almost…protective. Like, of Ani’s character.
[info]jaina47: Oh, totally. And that makes perfect sense to me. Especially given Ani’s all grown up now line in Episode 12. Like she was someone young and who Gina needed to protect in the beginning but she’s had her heart broken and she’s struggling/has to grow up now. But see, I don’t think she’s fully hatched yet. Remember how innocent she is in the flashback? I think that’s why she didn’t leave Lara immediately.
[info]rysler: Lara freaking out is still a “first time” to cope with and learn from.

Owen: These are some big grapes.

[info]rysler: Okay, they’re doing that on purpose.

[info]rysler: Factoid Alert: Owen brings up Uncle Dan, who is apparently Guya’s ex-husband.

[info]jaina47: Wow, we really do have Gering to blame for the soonish thing, damn. I’d forgotten about that line.

Episode Nine

[info]kelinswriter: Okay fangirl alert – I pretty much love the staging of this entire episode. The walk toward the camera, the two-shot in the coffee shop – kudos to Ms. Chappell for using some really interesting setups in her directorial debut.

[info]rysler: A new day, a new phone call from Gina. Because Gina LISTENS.
[info]jaina47: Ani swearing is the cutest thing ever. I had an entire summer than felt like the day she’s having. Hee! (Though it’s only amusing in retrospect.)

[info]kelinswriter: How adorably frazzled is Ani in this opening moment as she walks toward the camera while swearing under her breath? I love the immediacy of that – we’ve all been in that moment where absolutely nothing is going right and you just want to crawl back into bed and pull the covers up high.

[info]rysler: A beautiful and well-dressed woman pays for Ani’s coffee, mainly so Ani won’t shoot up the coffee shop. Ani’s still tempted. She settles for venting and trying to get through the next minute without her day getting worse.
[info]jaina47: Ani is adorably flustered – and adorable when flustered.
[info]rysler: So. Ani and Lara have met each other. Ani calls her a smart-ass. She likes those.

[info]kelinswriter: The coffee shop “meet cute” with Lara is a little harder to take at face value now. Part of me wants to yell “run for your life” at Ani – because this coffee-buying angel with the great…laptop…who seems too good to be true IS too good to be true. But…what can you do, they’re so damn pretty together. And you have to admire that Lara moves faster than Gina, while still getting Ani to be the one who really asks for that first date.

[info]jaina47: Okay, so as much as I like this scene. It’s very meet-cute, but…awkward and random? I think it bugs me more now than before, because it was just a little out of the blue, the asking out. I mean, I like the rest of that just…maybe a little more easing into it after all the teasing and flirting and significant glances between Gina and Tracy.

[info]rysler: Gina and Owen are hungover at Guya’s house. Which means that Gina either drunk-dialed or hungover-dialed Ani while STILL IN GUYA’S HOUSE. Guya also drunk-dialed someone. It’s genetic.

[info]kelinswriter: I love the morning after of aspirin, blue cow, and drunk dialing. Owen can’t wait to get away from these girls now that there’s no booze available. And as a side note, I adore CC and HBS saving the scene when drinks started spilling everywhere. Btw, this was the scene that had us all convinced that Guya was going to die at the end of Season 1. Really glad we dodged THAT bullet.

[info]jaina47: I wonder if the dude Guya was drunk dialing was Brandon. But if so that makes investigating the dead hooker a huge coincidence unless he was actually investigating the Colonel pre-Candy Cane dying…which could kind of make sense. I like that better than the coincidence theory.
[info]rysler: You’re so suspicious of Brandon. Guy wears one blue shirt…
[info]jaina47: Hee. I’m hardwired for suspicious.

[info]jaina47: To me the rest is just more fun and family bonding time. It’s enjoyable. I like these characters. It’s not their finest or most dignified moment, but I don’t have a problem with that per se. They’re just people and I’m cool with that.

Episode Ten

[info]jaina47: Another one of my favorite episodes. I start saying that more from here on out.
[info]kelinswriter: For some reason, this scene always reminds me that I haven’t had a date in almost three years. /pathetic

[info]rysler: Lara has taken Ani to Street, which is a restaurant run by a lady I’ve seen frequently on Top Chef. Ani, who is a media fangirl, is duly impressed. Lara is pleased that she’s impressed.

[info]jaina47: Lara definitely wins on the charming, romantic gesture front. When you can get your girlfriend and entire trendy restaurant for your first date to yourselves, well, good job, I reckon.

[info]rysler: Factoids: Lara has two sisters. A model and a journalist. Her parents are in Florida, where Lara grew up. Lara has a gay uncle. So she says. She’s kind of cagey about this reveal. Ani has two brothers who beat her up all the time when she was little, and try to scare off all her dates. Ani’s older brother is not cool with the whole gay thing but the younger one thinks it’s great and her parents don’t really care.

[info]jaina47: Of course, the foreshadowing for Season 2 is so obvious here it’s practically bludgeoning you with a baseball bat. But there’s nothing more awe-inducing than Lara adoring “Goodnight Moon”. It’s just a minor details, but those are what redemption – or saving graces – are made of right? The little things about a person. I don’t know. I haven’t figured out how to feel about Lara yet.

[info]kelinswriter: I remember some people getting really upset about Lara talking about her alcoholic parents while drinking wine. I now find it an extremely interesting juxtaposition, especially in light of s2 events. Lara might pretend that books and music were her safety net, but now we know what it really is. But I also like that Lara and Ani can connect on a geeky fangirl level, because it gives them a plausible foundation for a relationship. I can’t help but like how much they “like” each other, even if it is now more apparent than ever how careful Lara’s being with what to reveal (or not).

[info]rysler: Owen has brought Sami to the rooftop bar to meet the sister. Gina and then Jamie appear. Jamie is in more scenes than the Colonel in this season.
[info]jaina47: After seeing Jamie in Season 2 he stood out for me more in Season 1. He had a lot more scenes and interactions than I’d thought he’d had.

[info]jaina47: Owen is so not good at reassuring his nervous girlfriend that his sister is not going to eat her alive…in the bad way. Watching Gina and Sami face off is fun. I…don’t know. I don’t have a lot to say about Owen and Sami. I like Sami, but I don’t particularly have strong feelings about them as a ship.
[info]rysler: Gina reacts with disbelief to Sami’s whole concept. Owen yells at her. Gina sulks.
[info]jaina47: Hee. I do find Gina’s subtle snarking amusing though…and feel just a little sorry for Sami though she does seem capable enough of holding her own.

[info]kelinswriter: Sami waxing rhapsodic about Owen having a sister who adores him is now a big red flag. All those little things I noticed this season about how much it bugged Sami that Owen hated his dad now become glaring. This is someone who doesn’t have a family, who’s been hurt terribly by family or lack thereof. I want to know more about this…soonish.

[info]kelinswriter: Gina’s paranoid big sister act is really rather hilarious – which doesn’t mean I don’t want to smack her upside the head for it. Also, where did Sami wander off to? Cuz if that was a potty break, it was the fastest one in history.

[info]rysler: Meanwhile, Ani and Lara are done with their date. Lara wonders if they should kiss or hug or just say goodnight. Ani looks as adorable as possible. Lara figures it out out and kisses her. Ani’s subtle signals. (I watched them kiss like, four times.)
[info]jaina47: The end…the kiss…I’ve always liked these two and their chemistry. There’s just something about Lara and her forthrightness that charms me though. And Ani apparently. Hee. It’s a good date and she seems to be enjoying that without any hint of ambivalence. Is she just trying to hard or really ready to move on? I don’t know. She’s not over Gina, that’s for sure. Maybe Lara is just fun like Tracy, but totally not like Tracy.

[info]kelinswriter: God, I love this kiss. It’s just so sweet and sexy and beautiful and innocent – everything the kiss in ep 1 was not. You can feel Ani’s hope that maybe, just maybe she’s met someone who could love her for her without any hangups or bullshit. And you can’t help loving it for that, despite how season 2 ended. It makes it all the more beautiful and tender – like I want to protect and nurture that fragile little hope, even knowing what I know now. (Okay, now I’m all teary eyed. Dammit.)

Episode Eleven

[info]rysler: Owen got the gig in an indie film and everyone’s celebrating by drinking little beige things that are possibly White Russians. I approve. [info]jaina47: Yay for Owen and his extremely short-lived movie gig! I do feel a little bad for him here, because after all this partying and celebrating and being excited it can be so very hard to let people down – even when it’s through no fault of his own. Or even something he had any control over.

[info]rysler: Tracy is there, and curls her arm possessively around Gina’s when Ani shows up.

Gina: “Hi, I didn’t know you were back in town.”
Ani: “I didn’t go anywhere.”

[info]jaina47: Best Shit Hit The Fan Moment of the Season. Hee.

[info]kelinswriter: Oh the awkward, awkward interrupted celebration. I love it so (almost as much as I love that shirt Crystal’s wearing). That look of daggers Ani shoots at Gina – and the “I didn’t go anywhere,” and the “Hi Tracy” (translation: Step off, bitch), this is Ani’s screaming at The Colonel moment. This may actually be the angriest moment of the entire season – and honestly, I’d like to see it explored more because it’s pretty obvious Ani doesn’t deal with anger all that well and I think that’s going to play a big part in season 3. I want to see how swallowing down her hurt and disappointments has played into her feelings about herself and her willingness to accept being treated badly by others, because I think it plays a big part in why she seems to turn things inward.

[info]rysler: Gina does not introduce Tracy, nor does she apologize when Tracy introduces herself and Ani says “Hi, Tracy” in the bitchiest way possible. Tracy is aghast at this. Aghast! Gina just looks like she wants to throw up.

[info]jaina47: Introducing the exes to the currents. No that’s not awkward at all.

[info]rysler: Lara, of all people, is the most demure, responsible, friendly one. Ani seems satisfied with how shell-shocked Gina is, and also at how her date compares to Tracy. Lara is certainly more polite.

[info]rysler: Tracy chastises Gina. In front of Owen and Michele. Gina chases after her. She’s not even embarrassed. She’s just confused.

(Caption: Hi, we’re in a soap opera. Can you tell?)

[info]rysler: Ani gleefully points out Gina to Lara, but Lara calls her on her shit in the nicest way possible. Ani is ashamed and honest. But oh how she wants to lie. She summarizes for Lara that she and Gina were together for over a year and then Ani had to leave for work and Gina freaked out and it all got complicated.

Lara: “Thank you for not being an asshole and lying to me. But you are not coming home with me.”

[info]jaina47: So, according to one of my many millions of theories about why Gina and Ani broke up, one of them is that Ani left for work reasons and Gina couldn’t deal with a long distance relationship and the uncertainty thereof. I mention all that because maybe that explains Gina’s constant assumption that Ani has gone somewhere? Like snarking so subtle that only the person who’s intended to be on the receiving end of that jab would feel it? I could dig that. Gina is clearly flipping out at seeing Ani with another woman. Obviously that’s only okay when she does it. I think it may never have occurred to her that Ani would actually move on to another person when she said gave the break up speech or whatever.

[info]jaina47: Ani is so cute admitting that Lara is the first person that she really likes post-Gina. Two seconds post-Gina, but still! The liar is not one of them line by Ani feels portentous to me. I’m not sure why, but it does.

Lara: “I don’t want a threesome in my bed…well, metaphorically speaking.”
Ani: “I’m a lot of things. Liar is not one of them.”

[info]kelinswriter: There’s still so much going on under the surface, not just because Ani’s still seething angry, but because she’s trying so hard to let that go and be in the moment with Lara. You gotta love her for trying – she even pulls out the dimples and the pout in the hopes she’s gonna get lucky. And Lara setting limits is interesting in the context of later behavior – clearly, she’s doing her best to make this relationship a healthy one. That makes me think even more strongly that Lara’s been down the train wreck relationship path she went on with Ani more than once. Again I say, needing more on this…soonish.

[info]rysler: Meanwhile, back in fucked up land, Tracy has decided, and this feels important, that she wants Gina more than Gina wants her. Possessive jealousy wins. Gina might have enjoyed a one night stand at one point. It would have made her feel bad about Ani, good about herself. Or vice versa. But now it’s all about her pain. She’s not trying to forget. She’s trying to remember.

[info]jaina47: Um…Gina/Tracy…sex…whatever. Gina’s trying to patch this gaping hole that in her relationship with Tracy and fix it with sex. Maybe that’s worked for her in the past, say with Ani? Maybe that’s what she was trying to do at the Grill with Ani? But it’s not gonna work here. Tracy sees to much. And ironically at this point in time, it’s Lara who’s refusing to take that quick fix with Ani and trying to form a real relationship and make it work. Maybe that’s part of why I like(d) those to so much.

[info]kelinswriter: Gina, Tracy, a wall. Clearly Tracy’s liking that shirt too.

“I wanna drown,” the song goes.

Episode Twelve

[info]jaina47: The incredible occasional accent! Blech.

[info]jaina47: And this is where it goes downhill, er, more downhill, when Tracy demands that Gina start to define things and determine where they stand. Because that’s what she couldn’t handle with Ani, what she was running away from for starters.

[info]jaina47: “In love with you” is like the opposite of the magic words for Gina. It just makes her wince, which…harsh. I don’t know. Maybe Tracy is the final thing that breaks Gina. Or the thing that starts the ball rolling for the apparently fucking disastrous day Gina is having. Girlfriend dumping, redux of dumping with ex, then dead hooker and stroking out estranged father. Yeah, that’s a hell of a day. Tracy: “Who hurt you so badly that you move from bed to bed without ever getting attached to anybody?” Gina: “This is really hard for me.”

[info]kelinswriter: This is, I think, the crux of Gina’s arc for s1 – she is once again getting smashed in the face by the fact that she is, generally, kind of a lousy person. But part of me can’t figure out exactly where Tracy is coming from with this – I mean, she knew what she was getting into with Gina from the word go, and now she’s pissed about it. It’s almost like she wants to convert Gina into the person she knows (suspects) she was (or once was) with Ani – the person who could stand on the shore of the ocean and say “I want to take you somewhere” in a voice so dreamy and full of promise that you’d pretty much do anything in return. But Tracy also likes the danger of predator Gina – I think she’s challenged by it in a way that she wouldn’t be by uber-romantic Gina. If we see Tracy again, it will be interesting to find out if she is ally or adversary. I know where I’m placing bets…

[info]rysler: Gina feels awful. And she feels like this is all Ani’s fault. She demands to see her. She insists Ani make it all okay.

[info]kelinswriter: When Gina and Ani are fighting, I can’t help but feel like Gina is constantly contemplating the notion that she could simply fix this by just closing the divide between them and pinning Ani to the couch. What interests me more is that she doesn’t do it – she tries to talk through their impasse like an adult (or as close to one as she can manage). Ani is trying so hard to stick to her guns, to be implacable – to be like Gina was to her.

[info]jaina47: Sidenote: From the first moment Ani said that she was the one who had wanted more than just to be friends with Gina I’ve wanted more DETAILS for that. Please to be giving us that with flashbacks and not forgetting it. I’m begging here. It’s pitiful!

[info]jaina47: Hmm, I wonder what Gina was thinking when she called Ani. Tracy walked away, but was that Gina’s way of passive aggressively choosing Ani? ‘Cause it wasn’t like she was begging Tracy to stay. What does she want from Ani? I’m thinking not the conversation she’s actually having. More like she still wants to reconnect, she just can’t figure out how to get it right. She can’t even say Lara’s name. Okay, wow, I think I like this scene even more now. That is what Gina wants. She can’t verbalize it or commit to it, but at the same time she can’t lose Ani from her life.

Ani: “We get off the roller coaster.”

[info]kelinswriter: Yeah. That’s gonna happen. But I love that Ani actually said it, because I think that’s huge for her. What I can’t quite figure out is how we went from that determined!apathy Ani to the Ani who simply had to find Gina on the beach at the start of Season 2. It feels like a stretch to me. (There, I said it, [info]rysler. And I’ll shut up about it now.)

[info]rysler: Gina goes home. To her video poker. To the non-ringing phone that’s right by her side. She can’t see Tracy and Ani won’t see her. The Colonel calls. As usual, he has the power to make everything worse.
[info]jaina47: Gina can’t comprehend of not having Ani in her life. I love that. Kind of. In the epic romance way, not the really bad breakup way. Poor Gina. 🙁 She’s so hurt when Ani walks away. She keeps doing that to Gina and Gina can’t figure out how to make it stop no matter what she does. So she takes it out on her poor laptop. I hope it was a piece of shit and that no actual laptops were harmed in the making of this webseries.

[info]jaina47: The Colonel’s lean back away from what he’s witnessing, the subtle horror and disbelief he conveys…that’s my favorite thing. It says so much with so little. That and the kind of just blank look that Gina gives him. Because for all she thinks of him, she can’t believe he’d go and do a thing like THIS.

[info]kelinswriter: I think it’s interesting that Gina’s fury with The Colonel (and life in general) has dissipated by the time she reaches his doorstep. She’s resigned at this point – she just wants to get through and go back to her video poker and her soon to be busted laptop. Too bad there’s a dead hooker in the basement…


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