Hi and welcome to the first recap of Venice the Series: Season 3. Kelinswriter (@jessiewolf), Jaina (@Jaina47) and I (@Ryslerfic) conceived this site to be a positive, safe place to squee about Venice the series. We will keeping our negative feelings to ourselves. Mostly. Probably. Unless TPTB totally fuck this up.
Kelinswriter: At the moment when, for me, the last hope for the broadcast legacy shows died, here was this show that proves that the new paradigm can work starting its third season. It was bittersweet but also a bit exhilarating. Something is being accomplished here. Something really important.
Everything is different. Everything is the same. A mix of new writers (hi Jill and Harrison!) and old, new directors and old. New sets and old. New actors in old parts even.
Kelinswriter: This show makes me happy. And damn but it looks pretty through my Apple TV.
Kelinswriter: Jill Lorie Hurst’s name in the credits makes me smile.
Kelinswriter: I’m going to pretend in my head that it’s September 18, 2009. Just for a second.
Did I mention everything old is new again? We open on a beach, and then a bedroom, where Gina and Ani have morning after sex. Only there’s no angsty shower, only the alarm clock. Gina wakes up alone. And frustrated. But her sheets are amazing.
Kelinswriter: This is such an interesting s1 ep1 callback. Love the notion that Gina is rewriting in her head what SHOULD have happened that day.
Jania: ZOMG, the nose stroking is the cutest thing ever. *dies* I um…I…I…um…I…yeah. Damn. Cooking, hot, food, hot. Yeah.
Kelinswriter: My God could they BE MORE CUTE? And slightly awkward and adorable. And did I mention cute? Also I like that painting. It’s like medieval cave art. Totally something I could see Ani having in her house. (Yes, I had to get in a cave reference. Sue me.) The first time I saw certain portions of this scene, I was standing next to Crystal, mid-conversation. I thought my brain had recovered from that near meltdown but, well…it hasn’t.
Jaina: I am amused – probably too much so – by poor Gina’s hard-up sex dream/memory. That would be one sucky way to wake up.
Kelinswriter: Venice…going where no broadcast show has ever gone before. Or maybe it’s just Ani who’s going where no broadcast show has gone before…
Rysler: Not to quibble, but there was some girl-on-girl oral in Buffy, too, on broadcast. Not quibbling, just pimping.
Kelinswriter: There was levitation in that. And singing. And they had clothes on.
Jaina: “I Can’t Think Straight,” too. Jessica is joining a long and noble tradition. (Yaaaay).
Kelinswriter: That fucking alarm clock. Also nice GL callback. I am totally reevaluating what Olivia may have been dreaming about that winter morning in the farmhouse.
“Yeah, it’s time.”
It’s morning and Richard gets out of his van. Barefoot, he greets the new day.
Kelinswriter: Barefoot running on Venice Beach? I hope his tetanus is up to date.
Dot! How great is it that Nurse Dot is back? She brought the funny. And made Gina suffer for it. Anyway, Gina talks Dot into taking over the Colonel’s rehab.
Kelinswriter: Her name is Stella, dude. (Yes, I read the credits.)
Jaina: “You’re bigger than he is. You can take him. You’ve got guns!” Fucking awesome. Though I do feel a tiny bit like we’ve been here already. It’s very what’s old is new again. Or something.
Kelinswriter: Thank God for that step. (Rysler: :: snicker::) Watching Gina play Nurse Stella is hilarious. All that experience in manipulating fussy creative types into finishing on deadline is coming into play here.
Jaina: “Oh happy day.” That line delivery was so fucking perfect. I’m loving it. I’m so glad we get to see more of Dot Marie Jones this season.
Kelinswriter: Football dance ftw!
Owen wakes up on red sheets.
Kelinswriter: Pretty sure Owen and Xena’s daughter (KMC shoutout) are having sex in Ani’s bed. Also pretty sure Owen isn’t certain who he’s waking up with. Owen is sad. Because Owen is, as he so accurately said, an idiot. Cute and lovable, but an idiot nonetheless. “I miss my other girlfriend so let me fuck you!”
He’s a little blitzed. Adrienne, his I-Saw-Sami-Kissing-Van-One-Night-Stand is pretending to not be angsty, but she totally has moody!face. She’s good company, though, and Owen appreciates that. All I can think is Galen naked. Mmmm.
Jaina: I’m still exploring this idea but I think I might like Owen better as a player. I mean, why not? He keeps cheating on his steadies, hasn’t expressed a desire to settle down so why not go the fun route? He’s not Gina by a long shot, but fun!Owen is…fun. And less sad and guilty looking and stressed than Last!Season!Owen.
Sinister Van is sinister. I like him so much. He meets Sami outside while she’s loading her car and manages to worm back into her good graces with charm, apologies, and implying that it’s all her fault anway. Recently single and sad, she’s not about to turn down friends. They hug.
Jaina: “I value your friendship too much?” Really? REALLY?
Kelinswriter: Okay, I’m sad, but I’m adjusting. And I like Annika and Eric in the roles. But I’m sad. Also, Van is full of shit.
Gina visits the Colonel to tell him about Nurse Dot. The Colonel feels dumped, but he understands. He gets in a few digs about Ani. She’s like, “I don’t care about business” but her entire face is “oh god my business.”
Kelinswriter: You thought those were digs? I thought he was trying to be nice. In the world of asshole, what he’s doing is nice.
Kelinswriter: “My work here is done.” Okay, we could analyze the layers of meaning in this line for about an hour. And are probably going to.
Kelinswriter: Gina looks really great in this scene. Hot, but also…settled. She’s gotten through this rough patch, dealt with some of her mess, and now life is starting over. She’s still not sure how to take The Colonel saying nice things to her.
Jaina: I…wow. The Colonel, he really has come so far hasn’t he? I mean he’s thanking her. Sure with a pat on her ass on the way out the door, but still he’s thanking her in the gruff, slightly rough way that he only knows how now, in this post-Katie world. But still, for him I think that’s an effort. He’s making it. And Gina, she’s finally in a place where she can see that. She’s being just as nonchalant as he is about it but I love it. A lot. I can haz more of Gina and the Colonel?
“What about Ani?” So defensive, so guilty, so oh god am I busted? And in that scene I love how up in her face the camera seems to be. It’s just her, a little too close, like she’s in the viewer’s personal space and it helps create and maintain the feeling that she’s giving off of being shy and vulnerable and in need of defenses that she doesn’t necessarily have. Her voice is wobbly. She’s so thrown by the Colonel actually showing an interest – and in Ani of all people – that she can’t even form sentences. How many times does she fumble around? It’s so damn perfect. And I love how she pulls Ani into life with the Colonel, with that comment about talking to her about him. It makes her a part. She’s family. Love!
Morning continues over at Casa Guya. Honestly, it wasn’t until I saw Guya squatting over a lawn chair that I really felt Venice was back. And then I immediately thought SHAWN CHRISTIAN IS HOT. Jesus. (Jaina: BRANDON’S WEARING A BLUE SHIRT. Yeah, that’s all.)
Guya is hungover this morning, and a bit worried that she can’t remember what she said to her detective boyfriend last night.
Jaina: Guya, peeling herself up, trying to answer various things that are not a phone? LOVE HBS.
Kelinswriter: This music cue is hilarious and perfect. Welcome Kelly Moneymaker! I am tempted to watch this scene with the sound off, just to watch Guya’s facial expressions. I keep waiting for her to start looking for tattoos.
Jaina: That is one hell of a hangover. And I love the “call me later I have to figure out wtf was going on around here omg” closing.
Flip Flop Wine. It’s a sponsor.
Ghost!Sister!Katie shows up! I squee! I think if Liz Keifer had a bigger part she’d tear this show in two. She’s so damn striking.
Kelinswriter: So…now that Guya has processed that she’s seeing Katie’s ghost, Katie gets to have awesome hair?
Katherine has Alan over for morning tea. (Alan, btw, loves Michelle’s designs. I think. Gina certainly isn’t fired and he’s in a really good mood.) He was her dead husband’s business protege. And apparently they had a one night stand. Katherine and Alan. Not Alan and the dead husband. Alan is like, the only straight person on this show right now. They share a moment. The moment lingers. Then Alan gets back to business, and Katherine stands at the mantle, alone.
Kelinswriter: I called that Katherine was one of the investors in Alan’s project. I’m pretty sure someone somewhere owes me money.
Jaina: Can I give a yay for finally tying Katherine back into the script? It’s probably a little crazy how much it’s been bugging me trying to figure out how she fits. Maybe I’m just a little slow. Also, I never don’t love the meta with Alan and Gina. It never fails to amuse. Her living room/parlor is so…eighties. That night? Eyebrows. Forehead. Shooting up. Heee. This episode is so soapy. Like more so than normal even. And I’m seriously love it. Eeee.
Meanwhile Jamie and Drew are bonding at Harrison’s rooftop bar. And apparently I am Harrison because I say that shit to my girlfriend all the time. Luckily she is as cool as surfer boy. But yeeeah. Mirror.
Harrison shares his personal coming out trauma and leaves the story a bit unresolved (do his parents love him as much as we do, or did he run away to gayland?). I often feel like Harrison carries the gay movement of the 70s and 80s with him, and I like how much that anchors and resonates in the show (remember, the web series born out of two women not being able to kiss on TV). It matters and Harrison reminds me in a lovely way.
Kelinswriter: I love this story. And I love that Harrison wrote this story. And I love Harrison.
Jaina: Awwww, Jamie and Drew are sooooo cute! I love their little banter, so coupley and perfect. They made me smile a dreamy smile. And that was just the coffee. The rest of the conversation was just…I don’t quite know what to say about it. But I loved it and the song behind it. I think Jen Foster might have been one of the best things to happen to Venice and so is Harrison White. I’m so glad he seems to be getting an ever bigger role each season because I love his character, the acting and everything else. I think behind Gina and Ani I might be suddenly rooting for him and him and Drew the most.
Also boys kissing, squee!
Then Ani’s morning. Isolated. Worried. It’s so wonderful to see Jessica on screen again. Her eyes are doing all the work.
Kelinswriter: This feels like a couple days have passed. She’s been hiding out at her place, purposely NOT calling Gina, even though I would guess she almost picked up the phone a bunch of times. She’s dangerously close to totally shutting down.
Jaina: Ani. Jesus. When you’re coming you’re long, long bangs over her face well, it leaves me feeling like the grim, kinda pissed off look on Ani’s face a second before. Damn.
On the other hand, nun-bowling? Hilarious.
Kelinswriter: I get the feeling there are some recovering Catholics on this writing and producing staff.
I’m a little worried that the Brogno family routine in the morning when at least two of the three are already hungover/blacked out is to have cocktails and confessions. (Kelinswriter: At what time of day did this cocktails and confessions session start? Cuz it feels like midnight, but it’s bright daylight in the rest of the Venice world.)
But it’s hysterical. They all need it (and such a soap trope, right? All these secrets). Owen offers up that he lost his job. And Guya does tell them that she sees dead people. But not who. Gina would rather focus on panties and lemon pie than Ani. But who can blame her?
Kelinswriter: That pause where Owen and Gina decide who’s going to say “You see dead people?” is priceless. You can FEEL it coming, which makes the payoff all the sweeter.
Kelinswriter: The lemon pie thing almost makes me wish I had a sibling. Almost.
Jaina: And now, fifteen minutes in Venice is stalling. Wtf, youtube? I mean, fuck you very much apparently. Heee. Oh. Oh! And the look Gina gives Owen like, are you getting a load of this shit, dude? This is not the usual Aunt Janie crazy! Backup!
Kelinswriter: I would like an aunt who feels comfortable saying “well fuck you very much” to me.
Kelinswriter: Owen and Guya’s combined reaction to the hair removal announcement is so hilarious. Guya’s all “Oh, damn, been there” and Owen is so “Please God TMI.” I love the contrast. I heard a rumor that they were ad libbing in this scene a LOT. This doesn’t exactly surprise me.
Jaina: …OMG, punctuation has never been this fun before. I may have almost fell out of my chair laughing. For reals. And? I have a cold. So all the laughing turned into coughing. What I’m saying is Crystal Chappell almost killed me.
Lara appears as Ani’s leaving for work. She’s brought a gift and she’s never looked more pathetic as she begs Ani to love her. She wants to change her life and she won’t do it if she’s lost everything, that’s a little too existential for her right now. Which I understand. And Ani does too. But Ani can’t help hating her.
Jaina: “I just have to put some more concealer on it?” Really? Talk about a relationship metaphor. Just smack some more lying and it’ll be okay on there and everything will be just fine…just as long as nobody can see anything.
Kelinswriter: Lara’s dry drunk “I can’t do this without you” bullshit makes me want to slam her into a wall. She’s putting responsibility for her sobriety onto Ani, which is an incredibly crappy thing to do to someone you claim to love.
Jaina: “As long as I know you’re with me?” That made me so squirmy because “if you leave me I’ll be a loser alcoholic” is pretty much classic. It guilts Ani into staying by making Lara’s sobriety Ani’s fault. And that just is so not cool. You know I think the thing that makes this so hard is that I genuinely like Lara’s character. I think I still might. I mean, I’m rooting for her or something. Clearly I hate all her actions, and what’s she’s doing and what she did and all of that. And I don’t even really think she should be with Ani, but I guess because I like her in some sense or liked something about her – because she’s not a clear cut villain, I can see why it would be hard for Ani to leave her. It’s more understandable. If not wise. At all.
“Can we talk more later?” “Sure.”
Jaina: Ani’s defeated little sure? Was basically a stab in the heart. Lara is basically being held together with spit and bailing wire. Or something suitably shoddy. Geez.
Lara from 19:28 to 19:34 is my favorite moment of the season so far.
Meanwhile, Alan runs into Michele on the rooftop bar. Awkward. Michele wants to hide and Alan wants to fangirl her. Cross-purposes much?
Jaina: Michelle? LOLOLOLOL Soooooo. Guilty. But in the funny way. Not the Lara way. God. And she is so bad at being busted. Also? This is the inside of Michelle’s head. OHGODOHGODOHGODOHGOD!
Kelinswriter: Michele is stewing in her liquid self-loathing. And looking mighty fine while doing it. Her conscience is eating her alive.
Guya makes a toast. She wants her wonder twins to feel loved. And that’s the weight of the whole series, isn’t it? I couldn’t help flashing back to Van and the ghost and Ani right there. Even if Gina and Owen have no idea what she’s talking about, I do. Because HBS is that awesome.
Jaina: Everyone’s got something they want to keep to themselves. O rly, Guya? JUST THAT LITTLE MATTER OF YOUR DEAD SISTER’s GHOST. That’s all.
Kelinswriter: “Everyone’s got something they want to just keep to themselves.” THEME! WE HAVE THEME. Once again, Venice is about the truths we can’t admit to others because we can’t admit them to ourselves.
Throughout the episode, whatever Crystal was doing, I couldn’t keep my eyes off her. Even when she’s not the center of attention, she’s riveting. She’s interesting. The trailers for Season 3 have made me a little nervous about character bloat, but here we are and it’s just all my favorites suffering their morning-afters, still in the mix. Everyone’s waiting for the other shoe to drop. And it’s gonna be awesome.
Kelinswriter: This was a nice recap/refresher on where everyone is at as the season gets underway. Not a lot of plot movement yet but the threads are in place. I expect things are going to start moving fast next episode.
So what was your favorite moment of the episode? Where do you think this runaway train is headed next?