Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas, bitches!

Hells, yeah. It's Christmas EVE. You know what that means, right? LOOT!

I cut my teeth on Calvin and Hobbes as a teen, and as such some of my fondest Christmas morning were spend snuggled up sharing a blanket on the sofa with my big brother (still my hero, forever and always) reading the C&H giant special books we'd been bought, and laughing ourselves silly. Those comics never go out of style, by the way. I re-read them all the time, catching a hell of a lot of the hilarious subtleties I missed when I was too young to know some of the longer words.

With this in mind, I present to you a couple of Calvin and Hobbes Christmas spreads - the characters and drawings and writing all from the brilliant mind of Bill Watterson and by no means my own. Please don't sue me. Here's a link to Bill's webpage.

And here are some picks of my favourite Calvin and Hobbes Christmas moments:

Have a CRAZY GOOD Christmas, everybody. I really hope you get to spend some lovely time with some lovely people.

I know I will! I'm spending it with all my family and it's going to be AWESOME. I mean, once my Mum has more than two glasses of wine she's going to start messing with my hair and asking me if I'm not really too old for the pillar-box red these days. I will sigh and catch my Dad's eye across the room, who will make a witchy-face behind my Mother's back in silent solidarity with my plight. And then it'll be all 'Why haven't you married the Spy yet,' and 'A long engagement is only for couples with no intention of marrying," and blah, blah..

But it's okay! I'll retreat to library where my Grandad will be camped out with a thick book of something that looks like the dullest book in the word ('The Five Hundred Kind of Bricklaying' or something such) but which becomes the most interesting book ever once he starts reading excerpts to me. His voice is packed with gravel and soaked in whiskey, it's a voice Morgan Freeman would be jelly of.

TODAY I have been wrapping presents and watching reruns of Rock of Love. That, my friends, was the trash TV that got me into Reality TV. If you don't know about it, it was a 'dating' show starring Bret Michaels of Poison fame, and twenty skanks vying for his love. 

YOU GUYS. THESE PEOPLE. I have never.. I mean.. They're naked half the time, drunk off their faces, trying to sneak into Bret's room to give him head, as if his penis is even capable of doing what it's supposed to these days, after all the Poison roadies he's banged and the plethora of STDs that come along with that kind of lifestyle.

You know, I watched all of this back in the day, and came to the conclusion that Bret is actually a fairly decent guy. The women are all skank cuntknuckles painted in three-feet of stripper make-up (even the ones that AREN'T strippers). And they crazy, you guys. CRAZY.

I would need to devote an entire post to the crazy of those women, what with the shoving people into pools, one of them maybe being legit possessed, The Letter, Erin's circus tits, Rodeo.. being Rodeo. My GOD I love Rodeo. She is about the best, craziest person I've ever seen on TV - and I watch TV for a LIVING! Sort of. Not really. You know what I mean.

I would need a whole post just to focus on RODEO. I might do that.

I'll look into it after Christmas!

Until then, HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE, have the best time, get drunk, get loot, eat until you're rolling around, and laugh the whole time. It's good for the soul.

Peace, lovelies.


Tuesday, 18 December 2012

December the WHATETH?

Oh good Lord, it's Christmas in a week.

I should really buy presents.

Not right now at this moment because I'm watching Catfish. I didn't even know this show existed. It's about people who fall in love over the internet but have never met. This guy takes one half of the couple to meet the other without the other's knowledge and so far NO ONE IS WHO THEY SAID THEY WERE. I mean, there were a couple of clues with the first one, seeing as no one who is a model full time and a cue-card writer on the Chelsey Handler show and a tragic past involving three dead sisters is going to be that active online anyway. But it was a girl! A nineteen year old girl! People be crazy, y'all.

At any given moment recently I will hear a rustling noise and look over to see one, two or all cats in the Christmas tree. It's driving me up the wall. Their main reason for being in the tree is, apparently, to see who can knock the most baubles off it and subsequently make me huff and puff and complain about having to hang them again. I woke up yesterday and the angel from the top of the tree was on the lounge floor, looking at me with a kind of shell-shocked, traumatised expression. She'd been through things, man.

No matter how motionless you are, I CAN STILL SEE YOU, CAT.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Saturday naps and Kitchen Nightmares

I have become a nap aficionado. Despite prevailing insomnia, naps are freaking awesome. When I haven't slept the night before, there's nothing as awesome as swan-diving into my bed at midday and immediately becoming comatose for a couple of hours. Bed is softer, dreams are weirder.. I'm just a fan. I mean, I just had a Homeland style dream wherein my best friend and I were trapped at a railway station passport control because I didn't have a printout from my advanced English studies class in secondary school with me.  I mean, what IS THAT? So GD trippy.

It took me a while to write that, because River is sitting on my lap staring adoringly up at me and purring louder than a thunderstorm. Every time I put my hands back on the keyboard rather than stroking her she BOOPS me on the knuckles with her little paw. Cuteness overload, seriously. I'm 80% sure she's pregnant.

But obviously I'm awake again now, and I'm watching Kitchen Nightmares. This week Gordon is not only going to be fixing a down-on-its-luck eatery, but also a marriage. He's magic!

Even though at the start all the food is gross, watching this show always makes me hungry. Mmm, under cooked scallops.

Oh, this will be a hilariously awful one, I can tell. The owner decided he would save some money and fired the chef, figuring he could run the kitchen himself. Teehee! Schadenfreude.

Everyone's blaming the wife for Barefoot Bob's Beach Grill going down the crapper. It's okay though, because the wife doesn't give a f. She's playing Angry Birds on her phone! Or.. some current game trend, I don't know. Is there a new trendy game everyone's playing? It was Angry Birds, then Temple Run, and now..? I just don't know, I use my phone for leveling out tables and also as a paperweight.

Oh, this is a thing now. Last week Ramsey got up and messed around with the gross decor while he was waiting for his food, and accidentally dumped an urn-full of stinking, stale water over himself and half the diners. Today he's slouching around picking up plates from their shelves and complaining about all the dirt and gunk covering them. I mean, fair enough, when you're in a restaurant you want to know they clean their fucking plates, even the weirdly coloured ornamental ones up on a shelf so high I doubt anyone ever notices them.

Lisa: Bear in mind, he comes from a place where they think scones are delicious.

I TAKE OFFENCE AT THAT, LADY. Fuck you, scones are delicious.

Everyone hates the food at the observation dinner service, SHOCKINGLY. I think I could eat a toasted cheese sandwich.



Let's make up a Kitchen Nightmares drinking game. Every time Gordon shouts, take a sip. Every time Gordon says 'What the fuck', take a sip. When he calls someone 'big boy', take a si--

You know what, forget it. We'll die.

Gordon makes them a brand new improved best clam chowder ever, and they take it to the streets to give it to strangers. Everyone seems to like it, and I'm pretty sure I would as well, because Gordo put vodka in it.

Everyone is super happy about the shack's remodel except the bar manager, who is Lisa's brother. He's slamming shit around passive-aggressively and muttering about how it looks like a hoity-toity place now and how apparently no one is going to want to come in and watch a game on the new pair of giant flatscreens. I don't think this guy knows much about people, y'all. Oh, and then he quits, talking smack about Ramsey (behind his back) as he goes. SO BRAVE.

He doesn't actually stay away, unfortunately. When he comes back he's all "I HOPE RAMSEY IS HERE TONIGHT BECAUSE I HAVE SOME PARTICULAR WORDS FOR HIM." But then, of course, when Gordon does appear, those promised words do not. He just sort of looks fat, and stews silently. It takes Gordon directly addressing him to get any kind of words out of him, and they're not exactly fightin' talk: "I hope this works, man." OH, SO BRAVE, AGAIN.

I guess it all works out for the best. My copy of the episode froze at around the 38 minute mark. Everyone sounds very happy, at least.

Gordon should do a Domestic Kitchen Nightmares where he just turns up at people's houses and starts rooting through their fridges. I'd love to have him over to my place, but it wouldn't make for a very interesting episode - all I've got in my fridge right now is a bottle of water, half a bottle of wine and some cheese that's got more culture than I do.


Friday, 7 December 2012

Christmas Massacre??

I finally put the Christmas tree up this afternoon, which involved climbing into the attic to drag down my box of decorations. Something happens up there in the eleven months they're not used, and I wish I knew what it was, but I'm mostly glad I don't.

All I know is that all the ornaments went into the box neatly arranged and in one piece.

But, man..


What the hell did that Nutcracker dude do to deserve such an ugly death? He looks as if he's been drawn and quartered. I was rummaging through the box to try and find the tiny Joffrey & Iron Throne that must somehow have materialised in there to call down punishment like that. I couldn't find one, of course, but I would hang the shit out of a Tyrion tree topper. That would be amazing. In fact, if anyone wants to make me a whole set of Game of Thrones Christmas tree decorations, I would be really appreciative. I'd particularly like a Jorah Moremont one, since I am nursing a gargantuan crush on him.

Anyway, I stood looking at the sad broken pieces of Nutcracker dude for a while, wondering whether or not I should glue him back together, or if I should respect the decision of the rest of the decorations and allow them to keep their justice. I mean, I only turn up once a year, they have to maintain order somehow for the entire time they're packed away in the a--

What the actual fuck is wrong with me, sometimes.

A plague a' both your houses.


It's a dazzlingly bright, freezing day in Jolly Old England. I would actually go as far as to say it's beautiful. I threw the curtains open this morning and the pale winter sun damn near blinded me. This, I thought, this is a Hollywood English winter morning, and I really ought to make a movie moment. I had visions of leading ladies looking effortlessly captivating in their spotless white coats, quirky hats and impossibly thick scarves.

I have a white winter coat, bobble hat and chunky knit scarf.

So, that's how I found myself walking down the country lane behind my house, having taken more care over dressing and presenting myself than I usually would to go out for a night. I had my headphones in, I was listening to Going North by Missy Higgins - it was insanely cold but it was beautiful life in amazing clarity. From the frost-bearded leaves to the diamond blue sky, it was perfect.

Yeeeah. That lasted about two minutes.

I stepped on a frozen puddle and did that impromptu Broadway dance thing of suddenly flailing arms to stop myself from actually falling. Pretty sure I made a 'HOOOBARRGH!' noise.

Not the end of the world, though. I gave an airy laugh and carried on.

But then it happened again. And then I damn near twisted my ankle off because a pile of wet leaves were disguising a hole. And THEN a pair of squirrels ran over the tree branches above me, disrupting the boughs enough to send a shower of freezing leftover rain and dew down all over me. It went DOWN THE BACK OF MY NECK. That is NOT COOL. And did you know that even though bobble hats are ridic cute, they're not waterproof? Like, at all? My hair is dyed the red of the fires of Mount Doom at the moment, but the thing with red hair dye is that it never completely rinses clear when you wash it off. That means every time  you wash your hair the water looks like someone's been murdered. So when the unexpected shower hit me, little rivulets of red started to track down my face and the back of my neck, and yes, over my white coat.

I took my coat off hurriedly as I stumbled as fast as I dared back towards my house, holding it at arm's length. I was nearly free and clear, then I tripped on what with later inspection turned out to be a frozen dog turd, and ended up on my knees in wet leaves and freezing mud.

At that very moment, a man came around the corner with his dog. I can't tell you what he must have thought, but he froze where he was and stared at me. I don't blame him, I looked insane. My hat was crooked, I was in a grey vest-top in the middle of winter on my knees in crap, with one arm thrust out holding what must have appeared to be a white coat covered in blood stains.

Man, I fled. I can't dress that up to be pretty, I had no words. I just peaced.

So, now I'm nursing a hot coffee and wishing it had whiskey in it, soaking my coat in Ace and applying plasters to my skinned knee.

I should have done what I always do and stayed inside, growing more and more pale and interesting and photosensitive.


Thursday, 6 December 2012

It's Horror Thursday!

I do look forward to Thursdays. It's the day I get to watch American Horror Story and have the bejesus creeped out of me. Amidst all the sappy, heart-warming sitcom Christmas specials, I doubt there'll be much to celebrate in Braircliff, what with all the aliens and devils and woodland melty-face creatures.

I'll be watching AHS first, then all the aforementioned seasonal sitcom specials, to ensure I'm manipulated into feeling Christmassy. I need a kick up the arse to put the tree up.

I can't recap AHS because I watch half of it through my fingers, but..


Deadwood was one of my favourite shows ever, and though I'm aware Ian McShane has been in a buttload of movies and TV shows, he'll always be Al Swearengen to me.

Anyway, I'm delighted to see him in American Horror Story, talking smack to Santa wh-- Oh, sorry, amend that to 'killing Santa'. Someone's on the naughty list! Boom-tish!

Okay, Ian McShane has knocked all the Christmas out of me by tracking down people with lots of decorations, trussing them up and shooting them. Suddenly I'm really glad my tree isn't up yet. My GOD, he's a good actor. I've got chills.

Speaking of chills, it's the opening credits! Freakiest opening credits since.. well, since American Horror Story season one. Every time the statue of the Virgin Mary smiles I spaz out.

Devil!Eunice is in the Christmas spirit though, and it's just delightful. She's prancing around taking hair and dentures from the inmates to use as tree decorations, since Sister Jude threw all theirs out last year with a promise that they would never celebrate Christmas again. It's super creepy. NEVER LET A DEMON HAVE YOUR HAIR OR YOUR TEETH, PEOPLE. Honestly, even I know that, and do I live in a freaky asylum run by the devil?

Anyway, I'll be quiet now and watch this.


Ugh, I'm NOT recapping this, I swear. It's just I get a bit giddy when things like this happen. And MAN, Jude has the devil down bang to rights, speculating that the only reason the devil can be around so many sacred icons and wear a cross is because of Sister Eunice's purity.

BOOO, stupid Dr Arden interrupts their smackdown and Jude gets escorted out. Man, I was really hoping she'd kick some unholy ass.

Oooh, Ian McShane is in solitary in Briarcliff! And Devil!Eunice has brought him a present. I'M SO EXCITED. Ian McShane's prezzie is a Santa suit, and ours is a flashback to the Christmas that made Sister Jude ban all Christmasses from thereon out - Leigh (For that is Ian McShane's character's name) spoils a photo for the newspaper that Jude has arranged. He does this by biting a man's face off in front of the photographer.

Devil!Eunice expositions that the reason Leigh hates Santa, presents, etc is because he got Jean Valjeaned at  Christmas when he was young (thrown into prison for stealing a loaf of bread) and when the prison guards went caroling five men held Leigh down and raped him. Which is.. horrific.

Shh, I'll be quiet, I'm watching, honest.

OH MAN, Dr Arden has bought Devil!Eunice a Christmas present. I'm so blown away by Eunice's performance, it's just incredible. She was this timid little mouse, and now she's just.. well, the devil. Ohhh, DR ARDEN. Giant ruby earrings, genuine, from the concentration camp where he took them from a woman who swallowed them every day and then pooped them out to hide them. Devil!Eunice gives the earrings a sidelong glance as Dr Arden mentions the poop, but then she does this hilarious half-shrug and continues to put them on.

It's amazing, seriously.

Dr Arden kind of impresses me by saying he gave them to her in the hopes that she would throw them back in his face and be horrified at the story of the woman who died from internal bleeding after swallowing her earrings and passing them so many times. He wanted a glimpse of that sweet girl who was too afraid to take a bite of his candy apple. But then I remember that creepy scene and go right back to being quietly revolted by Dr Arden. Then I remember he's a Nazi and feel really bad that I ever liked him even a tiny bit.

Lana is being sick. I hope she isn't pregnant, that would suck.

Arden seeks out Jude at the nunnery and the scene kicks ass. Those two are amazing combatants, it's a classic 'the enemy of my enemy' collusion.


Ugh, I predict Frank is going to get impaled on the special glass Christmas tree star. There's no way Devil!Eunice would let him hang around while he's ready to go to the police about Kit and Grace.

Oh, I was wrong. Ian McSanta tries to slash Frank's throat with the star, but he misses and gets thrown back in the hole for his trouble. Eunice finishes the job though, to Leigh's immense shock:


Sister Jude expected to be locked in the office with Eunice, but that wily devil has put Ian McSanta and a straight razor in there with her instead. I've paused it because I love Jude and I don't want her to die. Arghhh.

LANA, what did I TELL you about trying to escape? Now fucking Threadson is back and menacing you and knocking you around and being creepy as shit. He's burned all his Bloodyface paraphernalia at home and now wants BF to be born again. Oh, and Lana's skin will be the start of that. Which is nice. Always nice to be included, to inspire, even.

BLAMMO! Kit clocks Threadson with a rubbish bin! Or possibly an ashtray. Could things actually be looking up for the good guys?

Certainly not in Jude's office, where Ian McSanta has found the cane cupboard. Ugh. This isn't going to be pretty.

Kit won't let Lana kill Threadson, which is kind of the only good idea she has ever had. Sigh. They truss him up and chuck him in a back room instead.

Oh HURRAY! Jude manages to stab Ian McSanta in the neck. To death.

And aliens take Grace's body in front of Dr Arden.

This wasn't a recap, honestly. I know it wasn't because it didn't take six hours.

Man, that was a good episode! I'm looking forward to seeing how Eunice finds out Jude isn't dead, and what happens between the two of them when they face off. I want to see how Dr Arden tries to science away the alien abduction that happened right in front of him, and I'd really like to see Lana dispense some bloody justice on Bloodyface.

Time to watch something Christmassy and to try to scrub my mind of the image of a rape-y, Ian McShane Santa.

Watch American Horror Story, it's BLOODY brilliant!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Happy Endings: Series Three, Episode Five Recap

So ill... RUINED. Everything hurts.

But Happy Endings is goooood.

Holy Christmas, I love this show. It's just going from strength to strength at the moment, warring with New Girl for position of the program that cracks me up the most. Recapping it will take ALL MY SKILLS AS A BLOGGER (-5), since so much of it is visual back-and-forth between the cast. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

Fade in on the gang minus Penny at the bar. Max has found his 5th grade comedy set list and proceeds to lisp it off using a beer bottle as a mic to the trepidation of some, but the utter joy of Brad. It's adorable.

"What is the deal with these moms who make lunch? Have you seen this? Have you heard about this? Why write me a note, you silly goose? I know you love me, you told me this morning!"

Mixed reactions. It's okay, Max. Comedy is hard. I hear.

Alex puts her palm up in a little 'amen' gesture that's pretty cute.

"And wh-hat is the deal with these juice box straws? I mean, how hard does it have to be to get the facata thing in the hole?"

Brad giggles himself into a puddle and agrees, while Max goes on to say the rest of it is about the difference between little boys and little girls ("Little girls be sharing,") and Alex clarifies for us all that it's funny because it's a lisp.

Brad notices Jane isn't exactly laughing herself into oblivion with the rest of them and adorables his way through asking her what's up. Turns out she's feeling vulnerable because she can't get into the boys club at the car dealership, seeing as they bond over looking at porn at work and apparently it's a bit of a buzzkill when Jane's all "Wow, to think she's someone's daughter. She was once a baby. At a nursery!" over the photos.

"At a nursery!"

Brad's got the answer though, and cites Jane's sexy secret weapon as a solution. Jane thinks he's talking about her Jack Nicholson impression, which really does need to be seen (and heard, but I'm working with what I've got here) to be believed:


But no! Brad is, of course, talking about himself. He is awesome at guy talk, and all Jane needs to do to get an in with the boys is invite them over to their place, and Brad will be her guy guide. Her "guy-ide." ("Yep, already a word, heard it as soon as I said it.") Jane is pleased!

Enter Penny. I can't-- I mean-- I don't--

Just look:

"What, question mark, is, question mark, tha-at, question mark." - Jane.

Yeah, she's wearing a prescription helmet. She has a concussion from one of the half-hundred times she's hit her head in the recent past and the doctor has told her she has to wear the flesh-toned monstrosity for a month to give her brain a breather. A month!

The guys give her shit about it, obviously. They go around the table with solid helmet jokes until they get to Alex, who can only manage: "Yeah-- did you-- I wo-- Helmet joke! I just wanted in."

We're treated to a couple of cuts to Penny bashing the shit out of her head as she starts to realise that she doesn't remember any of the incidents and freaks out a little about it all. She can't even remember how she got to the bar! That's normal though, isn't it? I routinely tune out when I'm going some place I've been a bunch of times before. Either I get abducted by aliens a lot, or I'm brain-damaged, or it's normal. I dunno, man.

In any case, the gang decide to be super helpful and sensitive to Penny's sudden terror by talking reee-aally slowly and moving like they're in water to freak her out and make her think she's having a stroke. She whines us into the opening credits, and I giggle.

Alex THWAPS us into the scene by nailing a shot in Foosball and celebrating loudly. With many gestures. Max calls her a tiny hooligan and opines that it's humiliating to be beaten by someone only marginally bigger than the tiny Foosball men. Alex whips out a vuvuzela from nowhere and quite literally toots her own horn, only to be scolded by Max who then goes on to admonish Dave for taking Alex to a soccer game, telling him 'It'll never catch on here'.

Enter 'Brody':

THREE popped collars? Someone shoot him. Wait, there's no time, just shoot me.

Dave doesn't like him, but Max says he seems all right, though he bases that mostly on the fact that his name has the word 'bro' built into it. I'm with Dave though, Brody is a powerhouse of douchebaggery: he TOTALLY UNIRONICALLY addresses Dave as 'D-Rose', and when asked what's up replies that he's 'Just crushing life'. Alex sort of snarls when Brody refers to her as 'the nutcracker'. Max deems the joke to be classic, however, and offers Brody a fistbump. Brody 'turkeys' Max's fist, then peaces.

Max is traumatised.

"Your hand's a turkey, bro."

Apparently a fist-bump is a sacred contract between the fists of men, and Brody has destroyed all of Max's good grace by making a mockery of that.

Meanwhile, at Jane and Brad's place, the meeting of the boy's club is in session. Brad gives Jane a pep talk about what's about to go down, expositioning that all guys love college football and so after Brad brings the topic up, Jane is to launch into her pre-prepared tirade about... I don't know, some college football abbreviations. They do their own version of the football chest-bump, which is arm-arm-chest-groin, with accompanying 'uhh' noises. It makes me giggle.

It doesn't work, however, since the Car Czar isn't into college football. What he is into, however, is not-so-subtly ripping on his wife when she expresses an interest in Brad's homemade candles. "Uh-oh, you did it now, Brad, you found her hobby: making bad versions of things you can just easily buy in a store!"

The Czar's wife goes chilly at this, though it's all happening beneath the surface. Her smile stays in place, but it drops from her eyes, so she's not so much grinning as parting her lips with all her teeth showing. She begs Brad to show her how he made it, and spirits him off much to the chagrin of Jane who doesn't want to be left alone. She really shouldn't be left alone, if her small-talk to the Czar is anything to go by. She falls back on the only thing she knows he's into, which is naked ladies. She's all "So, you and the guys wanna go check out some porno?" It's awful. She keeps talking. It's awful some more. I cringe all the way into my seat and beg her to stop. "Get some eyes on some thighs? Some peepers on some creepers? Some rods and cones on some... bra-ows and tho-w-ngs?" Aaaah! The Czar declines her super weird offer.

We're at the bike store with Penny and Alex! They're trying to pick out a more stylish 'street' helmet for Penny to wear. As she's checking herself out wearing a pink helmet, Penny accidentally backs into a super cute guy, and they proceed to flirt all over the place. It goes very well, except for Penny's ill-advised: "Quaint? Isn't that the space between a gal's goal and her penalty box?" OH, PENNY. To her credit, she does apologise for it. The guy is called Pete, and he asks Penny out for coffee to which she enthusiastically accepts, before getting a glimpse of herself and her helmet in the mirror. She can't go on a date when she has to wear a helmet all the time! She revises her answer to no, claiming to be 'so slammed' at the moment. Pete accepts that excuse graciously and Penny slopes back over to Alex who pops up from behind a row of helmets all: "WHAT ARE YOU DOING HE IS BEAUTIFUL."

"He is so cyah. SO cyah."

Penny agrees, but cites her helmet as the reason she can't go on a date. Alex pooh-poohs all over that, urging Penny to take a chance in case Pete is '[Penny's] soulmate, [her] kindred spirit, [her] One Tree Hill.' Penny's in! Alex tests out a helmet by repeatedly running into the wall.

At Steak Me Home Tonight, Max is carbo-fuelling his rage for Brody by mainlining subs. Four and counting! Dave actually says the word 'sando', which drives me onto the website for the food van to find out which of the subs that is. Nooo, foolish. Sando is slang for sandwich, thanks Urban Dictionary. Sometimes you're a risky click, but not today. Max is sensitive about the fist-bump because this isn't the first time he's been handshake betrayed. Jimmy Nichols offered him a high-five in fifth grade (when Max was doing stand-up comedy?) and Max accepted, only to be counter offered a down-low-five and subsequently too-slowed.

Dave is horrified by Max's story, and goes into full-on melodrama mode. He grits his teeth and braces his hands against the edge of the counter, leaning in to mutter 'Down low, too slow' in an agonised whisper, as if it's a devil he knows all too well, an old adversary. Max is startled by Dave's reaction and asks him what's up, around a mouthful of sando. (I used it in a sentence! Now the word is MINE!)

Dave cracks me up by grizzling out in the same voice Liam Neeson uses to talk to kidnappers: "All that pain. It's my fault. I invented 'down low, too slow.' I did this to you. I'm sorry.. I'm sorry!"

He tosses his kitchen rag onto the floor of the van and books, driven by the ghosts of his past. Max is left baffled and also wondering what the hell he's supposed to do with Steak Me Home Tonight.

Back at Brad & Jane's, the party has split into gender groups. Brad is in the middle of all the wives, giggling and having a criminally good time. Jane is lurking near the Car Czar and the men, who are bitching about their wives and all the shit they buy/do/say. Jane throws a look back at the women and Brad (they're draping their hair on Brad's near-bald head) then sidles towards the Car Czar. She has found her in, but it isn't college football, or her sexy secret weapon. She throws out a joke/insult about how spoiled Brad is, and the Car Czar erupts into laughter before snagging a glass of scotch from one of the men and giving it to Jane. She's in!

Ah, Pete and Penny's date. This is a little cringe-worthy. To cover up why she's wearing a helmet, Penny has signed the pair of them up for Segway tours. She's already on her Segway, and proceeds to drive it into just about everything in sight after saying how intuitive it is to ride. I grimace and mutter something - you don't need this, show! You're better than this! Although, watching it the second time, it is pretty funny.

"It's actually an art, is what I'm finding."
"You're dragging a chair."

The party's over and everyone had a good time! Jane and Brad see the Car Czar and his wife out, and he thanks Jane for the great party and the scotch, which he deems 'the second best eighteen-year old [he's] had all week'. Barf. Jane fakes a laugh and the pistol fingers, before Brad closes the door behind the Czar and we don't have to listen to anymore of his gross jokes, or look at him. He looks like he should be sweaty, but he's not. It's baffling and uncomfortable, much like him! Brad agrees with me, then apologises to Jane for leaving her hanging with the men. Little does he know her jabs at him got her an in with the boys, and they 'talked bull' all night, then Jane was invited to watch a game with them after work. Success! Brad is super happy for her! He's also super happy for himself, since the wives want him to go to their spinning class and then have salads. He's way more stoked about this than I would ever be.

They congratulate each other, Jane calls Brad a trophy-wife (which he loves) and then they do their arm-arm-chest-groin bump again. Yaaay!

Funky musical montage of Jane and Brad hanging with the men and wives respectively! Brad goes spinning:

While Jane watches the game:

I want that sando.
Brad has salad with the girls:

And Jane pulls pranks with/on her guy buddies at the dealership.

"You just got Car-Czar'ed! That was the best ever!"

Meanwhile, Alex pours Penny a glass of wine and pokes her about her blossoming romance with Pete. Uh-oh, things are not going great! Penny is wearing her flesh-toned prescription helmet now they're inside her house. She really likes Pete and even gave the two of them a relationship name (PnP Romance Factory), but she's aware he's getting slightly weirded out that she only ever wants to go on dates where they wear helmets. Yesterday, they took a moped safety course.


Alex has - you're welcome - decided to fix Penny's helmet problem. She brandishes a large cardboard box. At that moment Max comes in and asks if they've seen Dave, since apparently he hasn't seen him since he ran out of Steak Me Home Tonight yesterday.

He turns around to this:

"Oh no, you can still tell I'm wearing a helmet, can't you."

He doesn't know what's going on - he thinks it's amazing and wants no part of it, however - and commands them to come and help him find Dave. Which they do! In the bar! Drowning his sorrows in sangria, complete with a wicked-bad case of sangria-mouth.

"And then the rhyme spilled from my lips like poison: 'Too slow..'"

The burden of being the creator of 'down low, too slow' is taking its toll on Dave. He's slurring and sloppy and sick with guilt. Alex and Max have a quiet aside about how this is a case of believing something when you're young and never being corrected; for the longest time Max thought 'L M N O' was one letter. Alex calls him an idiot, then Max taunts her into revealing her own childhood 'thing' - she pronounces Wednesday phonetically. Dave staggers to his feet and offers to teach Max a counter-move to the turkey fist-bump, using all his handshake trickery. Max is in! He chugs some sangria to seal the deal. Eew, sangria-mouth.

Brad breezes into the car dealership to bring Jane her lunch. The Car Czar remarks that she's 'got hers well trained' and quick as a wink, Jane throws back: "If only I could get him to stop spending so much on gossip magazines!" This is the first time Brad's heard her talk smack about him in front of the menfolk, and he takes her aside by the elbow to throw question marks at her over it. She tries to explain a little, but notices the men looking their way, and so pulls out her wallet instead and loudly tells Brad he seems crabby, shoving some bills into his hands and basically telling him to go buy something pretty.

Uh oh, you guys. It's on.

Penny appears in her helmet all: "Welp! Pete and I are done." Alex is sad at this turn of events! Penny planned a cute impromptu picnic for Pete and herself, but since she couldn't have a normal picnic, what with people not usually wearing helmets for them, and instead had them hunker down in a building site so she could wear a hard hat. They're next to the Portaloo. It's grim. Penny is super sad, because they haven't been physically intimate thanks to the helmet, so instead they've been emotionally intimate, talked a lot, had a real connection, yadda yadda. Alex tells Penny to TELL THE TRUTH, and Penny seems to take the advice to heart, saying she's going to call Pete and have him come over, and that she'll open the door wearing her flesh-toned prescription helmet.

Penny opens the door into our next scene and onto Pete, but d'oh! She's not wearing the helmet! Argh, this is pretty cringe-y as well. Casey Wilson is an incredible sport and she plays the slapstick humour well, but I hatehatehate cringing, and Penny is just pinwheeling off the walls trying to avoid Pete touching/kissing her, in case she bashes her head. She bumps lightly into a lamp, screams and nearly falls into the fetal position.

Jane is closing a sale on a black.. car, I don't know makes and models, don't ask me. Brad quite literally SCREECHES his way onto camera, giving out the most convincing impression of a spoiled, Valley-girl-esque wife I've ever seen. He's wearing a tennis outfit, there are shopping bags dripping from his arms, and he's carrying a coffee and a manpurse. He comes stomping in all: "OH! You would not BELIEVE! Zero parking at the Country Club, and she was all 'That's not your ottoman', and I was all 'Dressing on the side, bitch.' And Dante has a boat. You need to fix this. Right now. What?!" That last was to the customer Jane was so close to closing on. IT'S AMAZING. Jane is livid and mortified.


Jane drags Brad off to get him to explain this bullshit, and he drops the affected tone and theatrics long enough to tell her she ought to be careful what she wishes for - she wanted a trophy wife, now she has one.

Aaaand he's back! He drops the shopping bags and coffee cup (I think) in a dramatic display of malady, falling back against the hood of the car Jane's trying to sell with his arms outstretched and his eyes closed, letting out another tortured "UGH." He goes on: "And I crashed my car. So I need a new one. I want this one, but it has to have a special piggy airbag for my new BFF, Carnita." And here he pulls out a piglet dressed in a matching sweater. IT'S AMAZING.

Back at the bar, Alex, Dave and Max walk in like it's a Western and High Noon is just around the corner. Dave gives Max a pep talk about the upcoming conflict and the trio approach Brody and his gang of idiots.

"Let him make the first move. Remember, fist-bumps are a dance."

Max is greeted as 'Maximilian', Dave as 'D-Rose' again, and Alex as 'almost Mrs D-Rose'. Max gives a totally disingenuous laugh and 'Good one', offering Brody a fist-bump. That CAD Brody immediately TURKEYS Max's fist again! There's a moment of tension - there's blood in the air, we can smell it - Dave gives Max an almost imperceptible nod and Max hits back with, "Too bad it's Thanksgiving", SLICING his free hand across the top of his knuckles to sever Brody's turkey fingers from the fist-bump Brody perverted.

There's a moment of triumph, Alex laughs and Brody's cronies get to their feet, sensing their leader in trouble. Turns out Brody's douchebaggery is enough to see him stand alone, however, as he comes out swinging: "Thanksgiving, huh? What's Thanksgiving without the mashed potatoes?"

Max freezes - he hasn't been trained for this! While Brody's cronies high-five each other in the background, Max snaps and lunges for Brody with a bloodcurdling: "I'LL KILL YOU!" Alex and Dave manage to hold him back, and Dave explains Max's situation to Brody.

Brody seems sincere in his apology ("I had no idea, sorry broself.") and even offers Max another fist-bump as a show of good faith. But! As Max extends his fist to meet Brody's, the VILLAIN pulls his fist away, pursing his fingertips against his thumb-tip and smarming "Squid away.. Squid away." Max is devastated. Alex leaps to his defense, hurling herself onto Brody echoing Max's earlier sentiment: "I'LL KILL YOU!"

Back at Penny's place, there is some a-wine drinking and some a-smooching going on. Penny deflects Pete's hands whenever he moves to touch her head/face as they're making out, and when they end up against the wall, Penny grabs a big ol' roll of kitchen towels and shoves it behind her head to make sure she doesn't accidentally bonk herself. She doesn't do it without being super weird about it, of course, running it over Pete's face and then her own and proclaiming it 'Ooh, quilted'.

In the end, Pete is ready to peace. Penny is acting like a real weirdo and he's had enough. Penny drops the act and explains that it's because she is a real weirdo. She hits her head a lot. Like 'a cartoon coyote a lot'. She comes clean about the month-long helmet thing and says she has been covering it up because she likes him so much, but if he wants to go, he totally can. Pete seems like he's going to do just that, then he comes back with Penny's pink bike helmet and plops it on her head, with an ADORKABLE 'Every queen needs her crown.' Penny melts into the floor.

Yay, it's Trophy Brad again! He's screeching into his cell phone, bringing Jane stalking across the polished floor to yank the phone out of his hand and rake him over the coals for embarrassing her in front of her co-workers. Brad drops the act immediately and says he doesn't have a problem with it, since she clearly didn't have a problem doing it to him. Jane snorts and accuses him of doing the exact same thing to her with his co-workers at his old job. Brad clarifies that no, actually, he didn't, because Brad and Jane are a team, and you don't talk smack about your partner.

This rings true to Jane and she is AWASH WITH GUILT. She apologises and they make up, because they're the cutest thing EVER.

The Car Czar comes schmoozing over to leer everywhere and drip awfulness. He tells Brad he thought he'd be at a bar with the girls by now, 'boobs deep in a Red Velvet martini', talking about Cartier friendship bracelets. Brad lunges for the Czar, (who puts his hand into his jacket pocket, hilariously, like he's got a gun in there) but Jane throws out a soccer-mom arm, and tells him she's got this.

Jane tells the Czar she's done talking smack about her partner, and if he has a problem with that he should go sit on a hood ornament. The Czar is not pleased! No one talks to the Czar like that! Ever! But he likes it! Then he's all: "No, what, I don't like that. What boss would ever like that?" Oh, show. I see what you did there. But Jane is his top salesperson, so he's not going to do anything. He leaves.

All is well in Brad and Jane World, except the matter of the tiny pig who Brad says he bought in anger, and he's going to be '60lbs heavier in like three weeks'. But there's another wrinkle - Brad's learned to love him.

Jane says that if Brad loves him, Jane loves him, but they can't hear each other now, because Brad's taken the pig out of the bag and it's squealing like someone's trying to slaughter it.

"Sing, baby!" Brad is gleeful, and the three of them sing/squeal us into the credits.

That's all for this week. That recap took an unconscionably long time to write when I can't keep hold of a sentence for more than four words. I'm going to collapse on the sofa now and eat ice-cream. Watch Happy Endings, it's awesome.

December is the season for PLAGUE

Ugh, ugh.

Fuck this virus, seriously. I'm so disorientated today, I'm trying to write a Happy Endings recap and I keep forgetting-- IT HAPPENED AGAIN. Completely lost my train of thought mid-sentence. Hateful, hateful virus. I have fever confusion, which is a malady I just made up but you know what I mean.

I just accidentally punched one of the cats in the face when she tried to jump on my lap while I was sitting on the loo. I can't tolerate noise of any kind, I nearly knifed the binmen to death in the face, with my face. FACE. Oh, hysterical laughter. Great, I've actually cracked.


Trying to cheer myself up by wearing a crown but I just noticed two of the fake rubies have fallen out, which frankly has upset me much more than it has any rights to. I like how I felt the need to say they are fake rubies, just in case anyone is under the impression I have the actual crown jewels lying around. Good one, Jen. Fake rubies. Frubies.

Great, I've watched so much Sister Wives while poorly that Cody's verbal retardation has spread to me.

Also, I had a fever dream last night about beating Christina Aguilera at a dance competition, then arranging a fashion show by being number two in a big company, then being on an airplane that was as big as an airPORT and had its own Blockbuster.

I know, crazy right? Blockbuster doesn't even exist anymore.


Send help. And re-hydration sachets.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Oh, and..

Yeah, I've ended up watching more Sister Wives upstairs in bed. Turns out that I only watched two episodes through the night, interspersed with a 3am urge to tidy and then a 4am shower, and lots of Reddit in between.

Everyone is crying a lot more this episode.

Favourite lines so far:

"It's not a circus, it's a goat-rodeo." Cody, the master wordsmith.

"It's the sharing of the doodies." Janelle, who was actually saying 'duties' but because I'm English and half-mad with insomnia, I giggled myself into a puddle over this.

See, there's more of them now, I'm not crazy.
Must. Try. To. Sleep.

Sister Wives, Merlin and Motherfucking Insomnia

Reality TV, man.

I have a complicated relationship with Reality TV. On the one hand, I'm mad that it even exists because it's just this giant time sinkhole in which I'm not learning anything or using my brain, or doing anything constructive with the relatively short time I get on this planet. But then on the other hand, there's the fact that I can watch it with completely dead eyes, a slack jaw, and drool gently pooling on my lap, and when I snap back to semi-coherence I haven't missed anything important or lost track of what's happening at all, because nothing actually happens. Essentially, you can watch reality TV in a fugue state and not lose any of the experience.

It's perfect for an insomnia night. It JUST SO HAPPENS I had one such night last night, and filled it with Sister Wives.

I really want to be snarky and mean about these people, but they're kind of spoiling my fun a little by genuinely seeming to care for each other. Is polygamy kind of baffling to me? Yes, but then I won't share my fries. There a moments where I call bullshit on the wives' whole 'everything is sunshine and roses' schtick - sometimes their eyes get a little too wide and you can see a silent scream going on underneath - but for the most part they seem happy with their life choice. Christ, this is weird. I think I'm too tired to snark.

I mean, who here doesn't look happy?


I WILL SAY, that half of what comes out of Cody's mouth makes me cringe and a good percentage of the rest of it makes me want to vom. If he says 'courting' one more time like it's an actual word anyone used after the eighteenth century I'm going to throw something.

There's a hell of a lot of photos of Jesus in their house, too. We all know what he looks like, guys. I used to hang posters of Dieter Brummer and Leonardo DiCaprio in my room when I was twelve, but I grew out of it. It seems unnecessarily creepy to have Jesus in every room. ALWAYS WATCHING. Jesus doesn't want to watch you get to business with your four wives. Nothing against, Baby Jee, he was a stand up guy.

I've gone on a mad religious iconography tangent.

Last night I also watched possibly the best episode of Merlin I've ever seen, which involved the young sorcerer turning into a woman for ten hilarious minutes. There were plenty of HOYAY moments to keep me entertained as well.

I am way too tired to make any sense today. I'll just publish this and go swan dive into bed. 9:22am seems like a good time to sleep.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Punch. Innaface.

I'm watching this new TV show, The Wedding Band, while I'm wrapped up in a hundred layers of clothing, shivering and feeling utterly sorry for myself because I've got the 'flu. It's a horrid, ANGRY strain of 'flu too, the vomiting and pooping one as well as all the earache and sore throatishness and snot. Seriously, it's the worst. I slept all day, and I hatehatehate waking up when it's dark outside. Completely throws me, I am now confused and frightened.

I had the weirdest 'flu dream about going to see a Game of Thrones museum that was set in some old, half-ruined castle. When you got to the top floor there was all this memorabilia in one room, then a beardy guy came and ran through a presentation that required audience participation because evil Direwolves came out of the walls and attacked everyone until a piece of paper was thrown in a vase. What? I don't know, it was a dream. Anyway, I decided to stay there and put on a red ballgown that was part of the exhibit. And THEN it was an actual medieval castle and I made out with Sean Bean.

But enough of that. This new TV show centers around a group of middle-aged dudes who have - you guessed it - a band that plays weddings. For the event they're hired to do this week (not a wedding, a re-reunion) they're required to hire a female singer so they can do duets.

Cue wacky audition montage. I mean, that was ridiculous in itself. These scantily clad women traipse up to a microphone and make terrible off-key mewling noises. I guess the show didn't want to pay any more silly song royalties, so none of them actually sing a song. The first woman goes 'La-la-la, waaah,' the second goes like 'Boom-tish-tish' or something, I can't remember and I'm certainly not going to watch it again. It was just baffling. None of these women came to the audition with a song prepared? Even the worst of the auditionees on Idol have a fucking song to sing. They don't just go 'La lalala, ooooOOOoooh-a.' SO FUCKING STUPID.

Then this 'cool' woman rocks in and is all 'Let's do [Some song], start playing on my count, one-two-three..' Like, there's this band they're auditioning for and none of the other women thought to have them play, either. I guess she's supposed to come off as ballsy and a woman with attitude, but she just seems like a dick. I rolled my eyes so hard they almost got stuck up there.

Then there's the fact that she's dressed like this:


Oh God, I can't even look at her. Fingerless leather gloves, woolly slouchie hat, some sort of zebra print bra.. Granted, I may be overreacting because I'm poorly and she exists, but if she walked into my audition I'd punch her in the face before she had a chance to speak, let alone sing. I certainly wouldn't hire her. FINGERLESS LEATHER GLOVES?


Not cool, show. I don't need that kind of shit today.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Cake or Death?

Look, let's get real for a moment. That's right, we're getting real.

50 Shades of Grey is a nightmare of a book. It haunts me. I hate it to such a degree that if I see some idiot reading it on the train/plane/street I have to actually restrain myself from slapping the offending book out of their hands and stamping on it. Obviously that would cause more problems for me than it would solve if I chose to do it while cruising at 20,000 feet, but honestly, I think the end would justify the means. I'd at least get a little newspaper article about it where I could say, on the record: "I genuinely felt for the long-term mental health of the woman in question. I wasn't in any way trying to harm her. I was trying to save her. I'm Batman."

I meant to start this entry with a sort of 'do no harm' self-edict, but then I went on a tangent about destroying books, so that's bang out of the window. LOOK, I get that some people like these atrocious books. I get that some people are fanwanking over who may or may not play Christian Grey in a fucking abhorrent movie. I get that. And that's actually okay. Clearly I'm not going to be able to convince all these people that the books are poison and EL James is actually a low-tier demon sent to spread sedition and subtly vilify the BDSM community. So long as you don't make me listen to you talk about how much you love the books, and how that guy from White Collar would be ermagurd the best Fifty ever, then we're okay. If I can't see it, I can pretend it doesn't exist.

With this in mind, I may have to delete my Facebook account, because THIS? THIS, PEOPLE? THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE AND I NEED YOU TO EXPLAIN THIS BULLSHIT:

Are those.. are there stains?
I don't want to see your fucking 50 Shades birthday cake. My GOD.

UGH. CHRIST. I don't have enough expletives in my vocabulary to explain my reaction to this popping up on my Facebook news feed. I want to die.

It probably tastes like bodywash.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Tra-la-la, something about Christmas.

So, yeah! It's December 1st tomorrow, how the hell did that happen? I know it is, but only because I did the song in my head, otherwise I never know how many days a given month has. It's probably a requirement for being a grown-up, knowing things like that. Sort of proves that even though I've just turned thirty, I'm unlikely to be an actual, proper grown-up for, well, never. Thirty days has September, April, June and Novemb-- Ah! November has thirty days, result.

I'd usually have enraged the Spy by already having the decorations up by now, flashing and twinkling and driving the electricity bill to as yet unseen dizzy heights. The tree would have been up a fortnight ago, already looking like Christmas vomited on it, but I'm angling for a NEW TREE this year, so it's still up there in its sad battered box.

We can't have a real one because the animals would use it as pissing post/scratching thing/excavation dig site/feast of needles. I'd come down one morning and there'd be poop and wee everywhere, the dogs would be borking up needles and the cats would have found some raptor bones in the pot and would be conspiring as to how to grow claws that big. Oh god, the horror.

The Spy was telling me earlier about how one of his co-workers has a WHISKEY ADVENT CALENDAR! How amazing is that? Instead of gross chocolate shaped vaguely like bells and evil santas, you get a wee dram o' whiskey every morning! I mean, sure, not so great for the kids I should imagine, but for us?!! (Oh, see how I suddenly want to be a grown-up. Hypocrite.) INTRIGUED by this, I set off to find my own Mecca of advent calendars, which clearly would be one with a wine bottle for every day.

They don't sell them, so I'm going to fucking trademark it. I'll make them. They'll be classy as fuck, all done in the finest plywood Homebase can sell me on the cheap, and the Christmas day bottle of wine will be vodka, because families are hard, y'all. Well, I'd like them to be super classy. It would probably turn out like some kid's failed woodworking effort.

I tried to find a photo from the internets to illustrate what I mean, but my Google-fu failed me. Between pictures of Lady Gaga, Dame Judy Dench and still from some movie thrillingly entitled 'Bad Kids go to Hell' (Bear in mind, please, that my search string was 'Terrible kid's school woodwork projects'. Dame Judy Dench, really?! I mean, Gaga, I could maybe buy that, But DJD is National Treasure) I found this picture which more or less captures the spirit of what would happen:

Classy as.

Oh, oh - and I like that Google things THIS is a failed school woodworking project:

"If only you'd applied yourself!"

That's all I've got for you today. The Spy will be shaving off his 'Mo later on, I'll be cracking open a bottle of wine, and we'll see if my favourite Blogger Amber wants my help wading through the shitefest that is 50 Shades Freed.


Thursday, 29 November 2012

Today is an asshole.

Today, I am in mourning.

My hamster, Hurley, is a master of escapology. He's been found in various comical places since I got him: cupboards, beds, bookcases, lampshades. I've always marveled at his ability to safely navigate a house full of other animals who instinctively want to chase small furry things.

Last night, his luck ran out.

I am the saddest girl in all the world.

I buried him with his wheel and his bed.


Okay, okay. I'm okay.

In other news, American Horror Story continues to impress with its sometimes campy, often terrifying tales from the asylum. Today's episode had all the AHS staples: awful Pseudo-oedipal rape (no really), suicide both real and imagined, Frances Conroy as the Angel of Death, and melty-faced monsters eating nuns.

Good times.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Don't Wanna. Can't make me.

I've watched four minutes of Liz & Dick and I want to shoot myself in the face. With my face.


In other news, the stupid dog got lost in our own backyard today. After calling her for ten minutes, I went out in search and found her behind the shed, quivering in fear at the sight of a garden hoe.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Dominoes, bitch.

So, I'm watching The Mentalist, and we jog onto a typical stakeout at a gang-house scene. As usual, the cops are parked outside in those vans that they must sell somewhere in bulk, doing their last minute serious talks about strategy and what-not. (Not that I'm being picky here, because I love The Mentalist, but honestly guys, if you're going to take down a notorious gang hideout, get your shit planned and sorted out before you're sitting outside in the vans.)

Then they all peel out of the vans with their guns and their vests and their shouting, kicking down the doors, all "FREEZE, CBI!" and then, and then I dissolved into a pile of giggles, because someone somewhere in the writer's room or on the production team decided that poker was too much of a cliche for the hardened criminals to be clustered around a squat table playing, and that they needed something fresh and unsullied.




DOMINOES! Dominoes aren't tough. Dominoes are things you stand up and make a line with then enjoy the satisfying noise they make when you push them down. No one actually knows how to play dominoes, especially not these bozos.

My Grandpa and Magneto, they're the only two people who know how to play dominoes.

And Billy Connelly. I don't know why.

Fucking dominoes. Hilarious.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Oh, those pesky teenage pranksters.

The dogs didn't want to walk far because it's raining and they're afraid they'll melt.

So I get to watch an random episode of Glee! Haven't seen this show since the start of the third season, and this one I'm watching is episode six of season four. They're doing Grease! Whee! What fun.

Glee is so easy to watch, I don't have to think about anything, just l--

Wait, did that Poor Man's Quinn just tell Rachel 2.0 to binge and purge? Oh, GREAT. ISSUES. I just wanted to watch some pretty people fling themselves around to the songs of musicals. Now I have to look at this:

I don't want to be picky or anything, but throwing eating disorder triggers around on a teenage TV show isn't the best idea, no matter how much inspirational music they throw over the heart-to-heart which will inevitably happen next. I had issues with food until my mid-twenties, and if they wanted to show off what bulimia REALLY looks like, that girl would have her fingers so far down her throat her knuckles would be scraped bloody on her top teeth. Her eyes would be bloodshot and watering so much that it'd dribble down and mix with the bork on her chin.

JUST SAYIN', Y'ALL. Fuck, no one wants to see that anyway. Still, this girl is fishing around in her molars for that last delicious piece of Doritos, as far as I can see.

Apart from THAT, Glee is being super fun. I might recap it at some point, if anyone's interested. I like all the new players, and it's fun that half the old cast are around in various ways. Half? All. It's grand. And KATE HUDSON'S ABS should be credited separately. I think I got a new girl-crush. She just gave me blue tubes.


Dumbest dog EVER.

A few weeks ago I posted about the new addition to my family: Sophie, the five month old Springer Spaniel. I may have mentioned about how intellectually-challenged she seemed to be, from getting lost in moderately sized cardboard boxes to licking the TV to try and figure out if it was food.

You guys - this dog. I'm not even kidding. I thought perhaps her startling idiocy was due to some kind of settling in period. Everyone acts a bit weird when they go to a new house. I overcompensate too when hurled into an unfamiliar place; toss my hair, laugh like royalty, tell too many off-colour jokes, drink too much wine and fall into plant pots. So I was willing to accept that she was just finding her feet.

Turns out that, no, actually. She's just brain-dead. When Jester (my Lab) looks at me, I can see that she's working things out, or that she's feeling especially loving at that moment. When Sophie looks at me, all I can see is: "????" It's a very happy "?????!!!!!" but it's indicative of the fact that there's nothing knocking around inside her skull at all. I wonder if it has something to do with her pedigree. That many years of inbreeding really has to leave a mark somewhere down the line.

I tried one of those doggy IQ tests with her and Jess. You know the ones, you put a bit of food under a can and time how long it takes the dog to find it; you put a blanket over their head and time how long it takes them to free themselves, that kind of thing.

One of the tests has you call your dog 'Refrigerator' and then 'Movies' - the idea being you're calling them by a different word than their name, but using the tone of voice you generally use to call her by.

In my house, Jester went first. Sophie was put in another room. This test went like this:

Me: Refrigerator!
Jester: [Puzzled stare. Didn't move.]
Me: Movies!
Jester: [Gave me an odd look. Lay down.]
Me: Jester!
Jester: Christ, finally, I thought she was having a stroke. [Trots over to accept some lovin'.]

Then I took Jester out of the room and brought Sophie in.

Me: Refrigerator!
Sophie: OH, ME, ME ME ME! THAT'S ME!
Me: No, you beautiful idiot. Go back and sit down. Right - Movies!

She also failed the blanket test. You're supposed to drop a blanket over the dog and see how long it takes them to get out of it. It took Jes about a second. When I dropped the blankey on Sophie she immediately lay down and started to eat it. A minute later, still no sign of freedom, I took it off her myself. She's special.

I'm obsessed with this iPhone game at the moment, which is MAD because I am terrible with mobile phones. Since they tend to break, combust, explode or ignite in my presence, I deemed it a duty to society to just not have one. Computers are great, I love them, I can fix them, use them, I need them. Mobile phones? IDK, it's like they're from a different plant. They probably are.

Anyway, the Spy made me have this iPhone after a disastrous night wherein I got lost coming out of a club and had to walk through Birmingham on my own dressed like Sookie Stackhouse. It was a Halloween thing, I'm not crazy. I have to say this phone is pretty awesome. I've had it for like two years now and it still lives. IT LIIIIVES!

I recently discovered the joy of apps, after thinking they were  for idiots who didn't have any proper computers. (Sorry! I'm educated now.) I did the Temple Run thing until it made me scream bloody murder in frustration. I did the Draw Something thing where everything I drew had some kind of sexual innuendo embedded, because I am secretly sixteen. Now I'm on to the WORD games. I'm not ready to play other people yet (I have to practice in secret until I become some kind of Arch-Pirate Knight-Captain Grand Champion, then I oh-so casually say "Oh, what's that game you're playing? Looks interesting.."

I'm playing Whirly Word.

It's addictive. I feel a little discriminated against though, because twice today I have seen words that are in my personal dictionary, but clearly don't exist in theirs. Arl, for example. (ARL HOWE, I WILL NEVER FORGIVE YOU, YOU SONNABITCH!) Ogg. Ogg should be a word recognised in ALL dictionaries.

Time to take the dogs for a walk. I mention it only because it's raining, and I realised today that when I put my hood up or down I don't do it like normal people. I do it in that fantasy movie way, you know what I mean? As if I'm revealing my identity, or hiding it. You know? I like adding a little bit of mystery to walking dogs in miserably cold rain.


Friday, 23 November 2012

Kitchen Nightmares: Season Six, Episode Three.

Season SIX? My God, Ramsey gets a lot of money for calling people donkeys, and apparently he's not going to stop any time soon. I watch this show from time to time for a giggle, primarily because Ramsey seems to be aware that the whole thing is ludicrous and he doesn't give one single shit. He's getting paid.

The beginning of this show is always RIDIC. Thunder rolling, lightning striking, the-apocalypse-is-now kind of melodrama, and this week is no exception.

TONIGHT! ON! KITCHEN NIGHTMARES! Ramsey is shining white in his chef's coat against the black night behind him. Brutal camera cuts combined with bursts of white noise give him a kind of Supernatural ghost vibe. Quick! Get the salt! (Kidding, we know Gordon can't be a ghost, he LOVES salt.)

He also looks chilly.

CHEF RAMSEY! HEADS TO BROOKLYN! A ambulance screams down a street, Ramsey opens a freezer full of Tupperware (the horror!), mauls an awning-canopy thing, chucks a planter full of water on some customers. Wait, what? THERE'S NO TIME FOR EXPLANATIONS! This is the weird beginning of the show which tells us everything that's about to happen. The VO guy is telling us that the Italian restaurant has been open for fifty-five years, and apparently it's not doing so well. Obviously. Ramsey declares in front of the staff that he's just eaten one of the most disgusting lunches he's ever had. The owner's name is John and apparently he's clinging to the past, also he's in desperate need of a chin. John works in the pizza place attached to the restaurant, and so when shit goes wrong he's all "IDK what's going on in there, LA LA LA!"

Or something. I'm paraphrasing.

Various cuts of sad-looking frozen spaghetti, John is nowhere to be found, Ramsey is shouting and grimacing a lot. Quick shots of the food going out. It looks beige. It's all beige and damp and not appetising in the least.

One of the chefs is embarrassed to work there! Ramsey finds mould on what looks like a little cake! He smashes a frozen Tupperware of something beige on the ground! POW! Apparently it's moudly AND frozen. Oh dear, he doesn't like that at all. More quick cuts of John being elsewhere, Ramsey rubbing his forehead, horrible food going out.

Reaction shots of almost everyone in the damn world as Ramsey announces to the kitchen staff that there's someone vomiting in the loo, RIGHT NOW. Gross.

The VO guy promises it will be a Kitchen Nightmare's inspection which will have me in shock. I dunno, dude. You seem pretty stoked about really remarkably mundane shit. I reserve my judgement until I actually see it. Speaking of which, START the damn EPISODE already. Stop with this "Oh, this is what you're gonna watch in a minute" bullshit and let me watch it.

The conditions! Are so bad! That a customer! Pays the price!

The ultimate price? Ooh, maybe it will be worth watching after all. Kitchen Nightmares takes a dark twist. Although, being a reality TV show, he'll probably just be complaining about having to pay his bill or something entirely boring. Like, they won't take his coupon or something. THE DRAMA!


John weeps us into the titles.





No, seriously. That's the titles. Just mildly evocative words bleeding into scenes of people crying and throwing food and/or tantrums, and Ramsey yelling a lot. People sob, food is gross (DISGUSTING! Oh God, that's so good. From here on out if I see something that's even a tiny bit gross I'm going to yell 'DISGUSTING!' at the top of my lungs.) At some point, a distressed woman squeaks: "Mimi takey me mo!" That's all I can decipher. Ramsey points, Ramsey shouts, Ramsey hugs. He really is a modern-day Jesus.

Over shots of the Brooklyn bridge, the VO guy tells us that they're in the historic location of Cobblehill, which is a hip, thriving area home to Sal's Pizzeria. (Note: I presume he means 'hip thriving' as in 'a place enjoyed by those ballsacks who like giant prescriptionless glasses', and not 'hip-thriving'. Pfahaha, can you imagine? It's where post-op elderly folk go to recover. I would prefer the latter SO much - old people are fucking awesome - but by the quick shots of the fedoras and skinny jeans parading around, I think it's safe to say it's the former. Boooooo.)

Sal's Pizzeria is run by Sa-- Oh no, my bad. It's run by John. John looks defeated already, and kind of like he's in the middle of a Terms of Endearment, Beaches, Sophie's Choice marathon.

Alternatively, he looks as if someone just diagnosed him with cancer of the puppy.

John made the A+ decision to flunk out of high school at fourteen and go work for his Mama and Papa instead. At the time, their pizzeria was flourishing, probably because you could get away with mouldy, frozen whateveritwas in the 60's. Maybe John should grow a Hitler mustache because he looked way fucking happier when he was rocking one.

"I was happy once. It was awful."
By the 90's, they bought the restaurant next door. THRILLING, isn't it? Let's fast-forward all this talky rubbish and get to Ramsey insulting the food. The gist of it is that after his parent's passed, John was left alone to deal with both places, and it began to take its toll on him. First his moustache fell out, then his chin left him. He'd rather do that cool thing flipping pizza dough around than deal with asshole people in his restaurant who don't like his beige food. Aint nobody got time for that.

Lori the waitress tells us that John is always making pizzas and covered in flour. At no point this evening will I see John covered in flour. I can only conclude from this that Lori is a lying whore. I have to say, I don't really understand why the owner of the place can't do what he wants to in it. Hire a restaurant manager, leave that shit to him. Stay where you're happy, regrow the toothbrush mustache, whatever.

The staff bitch a bit more about how pizza places and restaurants are totally not the same thing, one of them uses a dumb accountant analogy, I don't know. Lori is whinging about how John uses the places like a second home, and how his (adorable) kids are always there. Well, FUCK YOU, lady. If I had a restaurant I'd have my imaginary kids running around in it as well. You know why? Because I own it. Go carry this plate over there and shut your hole. The kids are never mentioned again in the whole episode, leading me to believe that not only is Lori a lying whore, she's also barren. She ends that weird kid-hating segment by saying that it doesn't look good for the restaurant. You know, children smiling and playing, creating a family feel, yeah, NO ONE would want to eat THERE. Yuck.

(I feel it only fair to add that I probably wouldn't eat there because I don't have kids. But I live in England, so it's not like I'm their target demo.)

Oh CHRIST, I was right about the hipsters. The area used to be old school, and (probably drawn by the scent of something pure to corrupt) the fucking glasses and slouchie hat brigade moved in. To prove my point, some lackwit in thick black-rimmed glasses sort of oozes up to the counter and drawls about his spaghetti not tasting right.

John wins 10 internet cool points from me by saying he's not going to put on any fucking plastic glasses to please these a-holes. He then loses those points by saying he's not going to get a funky haircut or earrings either, both of which I have. This week, my hair is cotton-candy pink. John would not like me.

All of this, of course, serves to remind us that John is stuck in the past and doesn't want to change anything, and yet remains baffled as to why the shit that didn't work twenty years isn't still working now.

Ramsey arrives and is immediately repulsed by the awning outside of Mama Maria's. (That's the name of the restaurant, did I say that yet? Trying to repress it as I'm typing.) There's holes in it, and the letters are falling off, and it kind of looks like a place you might be stabbed in. Chef Ramsey does what any rational human being would do when faced with such an eyesore: he dubs it 'Ghastly', then jumps up and down trying to tear bits off. Whee!

"I'm going to yank it down and throw it at his face. With my face."
John's nowhere to be found when Ramsey walks in; instead he's greeted by Fabio, who is the manager of the restaurant. Oh, okay, so John did hire a manager - he's just about twelve and sporting a really unfortunate goatee. He's also a big snitch, since he gives up John as the culprit behind the Sign of Doom without even a little bit of water boarding.

[CAN I JUST INTERJECT TO SAY: It's really, really hard to watch this TV show at the best of times. It's ridiculously hard while one of the cats is sitting on my shoulder like a parrot and eating my hair.

INTERJECTION OVER -----------------------------------------------------------------------------]

Fabio says something incomprehensible about how John cut the letters out of the awning because it was tearing, and he wanted to complete the whole thing. I don't know. He's scratching his neck nervously while he's talking to Gordon, as if expecting him to suddenly attack and go for the throat. Ramsey is a modern day vampire Jesus.

Man, the Foley guys just go all out on this show. Ramsey can't do anything without someone adding a wacky sound. I'm presuming that's the reason, I've never met Gordon in person so I guess it's technically possible that his head makes whooshing noises when he looks around, or that his fingers go 'tinkle-tinkle-tinkle' when he taps them against his brow in consternation.

Chef wanders off to Sal's to find John, who is treating Ramsey with that muted blend of distrust and terror that I've come to recognise in these owners. Gordon pretends he doesn't know shit from shit by scratching his head cartoon-style and wondering if John's in the pizzeria because someone called in sick. He also quizzes him on the canopy, which John blames on the wind. Foley adds whimsical plinky-plonk to Gordon's smirk.

Ramsey and John sit down to talk and it's so interesting that I cZZzzzzz...

Oh, when I wake up, Gordo's ready to order food. Yaaay! My favourite part.

Gordon is going to be waited on by Lori, which means I have to watch more of Lori, and I am kind of sick of Lori's raggedy face already. Her mouth goes down when she smiles. She opines that the problem in the restaurant is lack of leadership. She calls John both frantic and chaotic, behind his back of course.

Then there's this:

Pretty sure the top portion is in some bastardisation of Comic Sans, too.
Homemade pasta.

Who here wants to bet that Gordon is going to immediately hone in on that? And that when his food is beigely delivered, the pasta will taste frozen and not, as the menu boasts, homemade? Congratulations! You've seen this show before! He confirms it with Lori, but since we know she's a lying liar who lies her 'Yes, that's right,' doesn't mean a damn thing. A damn thing.

I have a thing where I really like to pause on the menus to read what's on offer, but I can't here because most of the page is taken up with that bullshit HOMEMADE PASTA declaration. Now I'm in a bad mood. Good move, Mama Maria's.

Ramsey orders tortellini de patate, spaghetti meatballs and a Margarita pizza. Ten pounds says it's all beige.

In the kitchen, at least one of the chefs has caved to the influx of hipsters - either that or he was wearing thick-rimmed black specs before they were cool, which kind of makes him the hipster that hipsters worship. They toss green leaf in a pan, and do other chef-y things, including grumbling at each other and declaring that although the food at Maria's sucks, it's not their food. The head chef tells everyone in earshot that he's cooking for Ramsey the same way he cooks for everyone else, every other night. The Hipster that Time Forgot lets out an entirely hilarious "Oh, boy."


A girl wanders out to Ramsey's table and introduces herself as Fran. Fran is the desert-shower-girl! I didn't know that was a thing. Clearly, I'm going to the wrong restaurants. Or the right ones, whatever. Fran presents him with a plate brimming with slices of various cakes and desserts, and says "Everything is made fresh on premise," which makes me giggle, because oh, Fran. 'Premise' is not the same as 'on the premises'. Don't worry about it though guys, she's pretty, she'll be fine.

This is the first thing Ramsey picks up. It looks like a chocolate cake topped with a slab of butter (???) and garnished with a strawberry:

Garnished as well with what looks like limp lettuce. Or mint leaves? Christ, I don't know.

Ramsay asks about the blob of butter and apparently it's there for display to represent ice-cream. Okay. If I can tell from a video it's butter, people can probably tell in person. Just sayin'. Oh, and it's also there to hide the mould. No, seriously.

Aw, it almost looks like it has a smiley face.

Fabio goons on by and Gordon calls him over to EXPLAIN THIS BULLSHIT. Fabio doesn't look in the least phased by the mould and butter decoration, instead echoing what Fran has already said about it being for display purposes only. Ramsey's head spins around all the way as Fabio goes on to derisively insist there's no need to make a new dessert plate every day, because they'd just have to throw it in the garbage after dinner service was done. He also says that as long as it's fresh, it's good.

DUDE. FABIO. THERE'S MOULD ON IT. Ramsey's eyes glaze over a bit as he asks Fabio if he has lost the plot. Fran stands there looking prettily confused. Fabio would like Gordon to know that he has not, in fact, lost the plot, but as Ramsey pulls out more and more gross, rock-hard, culture-growing examples from the plate, it would seem otherwise. Also, apparently it stinks. Yum.

During all this, John is darting around in the background clutching his pearls and fretting about Ramsey laying into Fabio. He doesn't actually do anything about it, I hasten to add, he just mutters to himself and goes to comfort himself with a pizza dough pillow.

Ramsey excuses himself to 'go wash the pus off [his] hands' and when he's back, it's time for the eats! I can't even remember what he ordered now, after that dessert tray fandango.

Oh, right. The beige thing. The bland, beige thing, according to Gordon. Visually, he says, it looks like someone ate the whole mouldy dessert tray and shat it out onto a plate. Mmm. He has such a a way with words. He identifies a grainy texture in the dish and thinks it down to something [Read: Everything] being frozen. Lori, the liar, tells him nothing is frozen at Mama Maria's. After suffering a skeptical glower from Gordon, she scuttles off to check with the kitchen and - suprise! - turns out all the pasta is fresh-frozen. One of the chefs mutters something about that being the most mind-boggling thing about the whole place. I dunno, dude. That dessert tray was pretty gross.

Ramsey bitches about how they advertise in giant letters on the menu how all their shit is fresh, but that apparently Lori isn't the only big fat liar in this place, since all of their food is frozen. He thinks something is very wrong here, and the cameraman treats us to a lingering shot of Fabio looking creepy, leaning against the bar. Lori goes to tell him about her conversation with Gordon, and Fabio apparently didn't even know the food was fresh-frozen, and bemoans it not making any sense. Come on, dude. If you're the manager, manage this shit.

Gordon, apparently bored with picking apart the terrible food, gets up to bitch about the dirt festooning the place. Fabio has no idea how often it's cleaned because Fabio doesn't actually know anything. I kind of suspect Fabio was hired this morning for reasons unknown.

Following his nose to a funky smell sees Gordon manhandling one of those decorative urns people put plants in, and then dumping the rotten, stinking water inside it over an innocent couple just trying to enjoy their beige meals. At least Ramsey offers to pay for their dry cleaning.


Ramsey tucks into his spaghetti and (frozen) meatballs. Fabio's whole body is cringing now that he's discovered that everything in the place is frozen. He's a broken shadow of a man, grimacing and fighting the urge to hang his head. John, on the other hand, keeps shrugging and looking generally sort of limp.

At least it's not beige. Well, more or less.

Frozen! Rubbery! Disgusting! (DISGUSTING! Heh heh heh.) Gordon isn't a fan of the meatballs and sends them back with nothing but negatives. To their credit, the guys in the kitchen seem to know that they're being forced to serve up shit and accept the damning reviews with resignation (I mean that they're resigned to it, they don't throw down their coats and walk out) and mutterings of 'He's right'.

One of the chefs folds his arms and grumps: "Everything here is frozen. When I first started here, I cut up a leg of veal and I'm still waiting to use it." I don't think that veal is still good, my dude.

It's pizza time! Oh hell, no. That doesn't look tasty at all. Did John make this? John who claims he's been making pizzas since he was eight years old? Yeesh.

It's all burny and blobby. It looks sad. It makes my tummy sad.

Gordon declares the pizza waaaay too greasy, while John peeks out from the bar and makes little voodoo dolls of him. Lori is over this bullshit by now, so when Ramsey tells her to go take the greasy pizza to John and make him taste it, she hops right too it. Gordon is scratching his head as to why he's even there if the owner doesn't care to do anything other than play peek-a-boo with him.


Lori tells John he should be tasting all this shit before it gets sent to Gordon. John proceeds to flip the fuck out. It's amazing. Oh my God. It's this weird, slow-burn of a freakout. I've never seen anything like it. I didn't know it was POSSIBLE to lose your shit in such a passive-aggressive loser-y manner. First he slides the pizza REALLY FAST YOU GUYS into the bin, without even tasting it like he was told to.


Then he walks perfectly normally into the kitchen while all the chefs do the kitchen equivalent of taking the expensive bottles from the top shelf when a drunk blazes into a bar. He starts to stomp around muttering "I've had it. I've had it with this. Fuck this. Fuck this." He sort of contorts himself into a display of anger that looks more like a really serious dance move, while the alien from the first Men in Black movie stands in the background and waits for him to stop acting the damn fool.

I can dance if I want to.

In his BLIND PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE RAGE, John picks up a stack of cardboard pizza boxes, stomps across the floor, trips on something and the boxes fly everywhere, including an innocent server who's doing something in the corner on a desk. SO ENRAGED, is John at this ill turn of fate that he flails his arms trying to catch all the boxes, and when that fails miserably, he grabs one, lifts it above his head and HURLS IT AT THE GROUND WITH ALL HIS MIGHT.

Yeah, take that, world.

I hate everything, especially these boxes.


There is no coming back from this.

I will take out my anger on this box. Because that makes sense.

When we come back from the adverts, John's calmed down. Phew, I was starting to think he was going to do some real damage for a moment there. Ramsey marches everyone out of the kitchen to explain themselves, noting that he just had the displeasure of eating one of the most disgusting lunches he's ever had. I think 'tasting' would be a better word to use, Gordo. It's not like you actually powered through it, like some of us have had to do in the past when faced with a Grandmother's soggy Sunday lunch.

All of the chefs are on Gordon's side and aren't afraid to be vocal about it. When John mutters something about them not having the time to make meatballs every day, his chef makes an adorable snorting noise and says it takes ten minutes to make ten pounds of meatballs, actually. John counters with the old chestnut 'It's the way we've always done it', and Ramsey shouts him down because it's not 1969 anymore.

John makes this face, it's ace:

"I'm imagining you as a pizza box right now, Ramsey."

As you can probably imagine, the rest of the conversation doesn't go well for John. His chefs are mutinying, they think his menu and his methods stink and Gordon agrees with them. John has his heels dug in in and head in the sand while listening to all this, repeating his mantra of 'It worked before, why can't it work again'? Gordon tells him he's running on nostalgia and that he's in love with the memories, which don't pay the bills now that the rest of the neighbourhood has moved on. He tells John he should be nowhere near this business and tells him to shut it down, before prowling off to take a shower in a bid to rid himself of the 'plant juice' he spilled over himself and half the restaurant earlier.

John sulks and doesn't agree with Ramsey.

It's supervised dinner service time! You know what that means, right? Flocks of people attracted by Gordon's presence in the town [Read: Bribed by the production company] pack into a restaurant that hasn't seen more than two people a night since last Christmas. The food will be shit, people will be waiting forever, Gordon will swear a lot and rub his brow.

Okay, GO! Things hustle and bustle. Gordon embodies consternation  John is pounding dough behind the counter of the pizzeria (don't be crude) and when Gordon quizzes him about his usual dinner service behaviour he confirms this is it. Ramsey grimaces and goes off to glower at something else. John glances to make sure Gordon's gone, waits an extra five seconds to be sure, then says in a passive-aggressive micro-whisper: "You can leave." Amazing.

Things in the kitchen are rolling, they're getting food out at a quick pace. It's a pity it's all beige and tastes like crap, really. Complaints come hard and fast: the food is bland, part is frozen, all one guy can taste is rosemary, a girl finds a bone in her vegetarian sauce--

WRRRRKKKKKK. The needle comes off the record.

I choke on my mouthful of wine a bit (Shut up, I need it for this show) while some poor vegetarian girl tells Ramsay that there's a shard of bone in her tomato sauce. Since plants don't have bones (and if any do, I don't want to know about them) something is amiss here. Ramsey curses his way into the kitchen, where Joe (the chef, I suppose I had to learn his name at some point) tells him they put pork bones in the tomato sauce and always have, and that's it's another case of John's way or the highway.

Ramsey boggles at this. He actually boggles.

Once he's done boggling, he screams for John, who slouches his way in from the pizzeria to explain that they've always put sausage and pork in the vegetarian sauce to add the flavour. I actually half fall off my chair laughing at this point, and that's only partly because of the quarter bottle of wine I've ingested. Gordon is about an inch away from throttling John Homer Simpson style and shouting "VEGETARIANS DON'T EAT MEAT, YOU DONKEY!" but instead he tries to explain how feeding vegetarians pork sauce isn't A+ behaviour. John just whargarbles and shrugs a bit, and when Ramsey stalks off in disgust goes back to pounding his dough. I know I said no innuendo, but the angle they've shot this at makes him look like he's furiously masturbating. Bork. If I knew how to make GIFS, I'd do it.

A customer is talking to someone through a closed toilet door, which almost never means the person inside is pooing because they're so freaking happy about their meal.

"You okay in there?"
"Fine! It was just so delicious!"
So the guy had the lobster tail, and when Ramsey makes Joe cook him exactly what the sick man ate, turns out the lobster is bad. Like, really bad. Like Joe and Ramsey can smell ammonia coming from it in waves, which apparently is the smell decomposing bodies give off. MMM, ANYONE FOR LOBSTER? Joe clarifies for John - this sort of shit kills people. John calls an ambulance (at Ramsey's insistence), then goes to take a shot of vodka, because only pussies deal with life-threatening food poisoning with clear heads.

Predictably, the rest of the customers are somewhat perturbed at the arrival of an ambulance. Hilariously, John tells the EMTs that someone had the lobster and 'reacted badly' to it. Yeah, someone ate lobster and the ammonia it was saturated in didn't sit well with him. John ponces round and is all "We need to kill the cameras, kill the cameras.." I think you're doing a good enough job killing the customers, leave the cameras out of it. He also does the throat-cutting gesture when he asks them to turn the cameras off, which for some reason makes me want to punch him right in the face. With my face.

Ramsey SHUTS IT DOWN. The kitchen, not the restaurant. Yet.

It's serious talk time. Ramsey talks seriously. John sweats a lot and looks pasty. I don't know, I'm not really paying attention when no one's almost dying from ammonia poisoning. That reminds me, I have recently been trying to harden myself to horror movies because I can't watch them without shrieking and staying up for a fortnight with terrible nightmares. I feel like this is a skill I should master. It led to a terrible hour on Youtube watching all of the Saw 'games'. By the time the Spy got home I was a gibbering mess in the corner, rocking quietly and weeping about my own mortality. Moral of this story? Don't watch horror movies if you don't like them. Their plots are usually lame anyway.

It's the turning point for John, or something. He calls HIMSELF a donkey, which is a startling change for a Ramsey show. John says he loves his family and wants to provide for them, which is fairly adorable. He's tearing up. Gordon gives him some tough love, and tomorrow will be a new day.

The next day, Gordon throws himself into the freezers. There is a lot of frozen food. Like, all the food. In the world. Maybe John is preparing for a zombie apocalypse, ever think of that? It doesn't matter if your shit isn't named and dated if you're in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.

TUPPERWARE! Chicken, freezer burnt, five years old, oh my God! All words like this. A lot of shit is frozen AND mouldy. I snicker into my wine glass and watch Gordon pick stuff up and throw it around.

He decides a good idea is to bring all the frozen shit upstairs and chuck it all over the tables. Oh, and the vomiting diner from the night before is OK  I know everyone is breathing a sigh of relief. Gordon says he's never seen so much frozen stuff in his cooking career.



And there's more downstairs, apparently! John, at least, accepts responsibility for it all. He says he's buying as if they're still busy, and Ramsey looks fairly sympathetic. The specials menu has been around since his parents died, and that's why he hasn't changed it. Gordon says that he's 'still treating this business as if Mum and Dad are here' which is pretty heartbreaking, really. Oh GOD, now I'm feeling sorry for fucking JOHN? UGH. CHRIST. Stupid manipulative plinky-plonky reality TV music!

There's a weird lightning shot next to the Statue of Liberty as John talks about growing up in the kitchen at the restaurant and that he doesn't want to be there anymore. Gordon basically tells him to suck it up, because he's not going to have much of a TV show if every fucker went around quitting every time their parents died.

Oh, fine. There's also some motivational speech-ifying by Gordon, where he appears very sympathetic to John's plight, especially when the poor man starts crying and has to take his specs off to wipe away tears, choking back his sobs as he talks about wanting to do better for his kids and to not fight with his wife anymore. Ramsey promises to help him turn it all around as long as John promises not to hide behind the pizzeria anymore - to start making the dough instead of just, snigger, pounding it.

Tomorrow, is as promised, a fresh new day! Boy, an apocalypse would have really put a dampener on things. Especially since Ramsey threw away all of John's frozen zombie plague supplies! All the staff are wearing sleep masks outside of Mama Maria's, which means that either Gordon changed the sign, or they're all about to get hazed.

Bring in the hooker-clowns!

Ramsey greets them all and seems genuinely peppy. He welcomes them to the new Mama Maria's and invites them to take off their masks. John is the last one to take off his mask, so while everyone else is 'Wow!'-ing over the new sign, he's still processing it. It's pretty hilarious, to be honest, that I've been waffling on about the apocalypse during this recap, and by the looks of it someone in the production/design team decided that they could just run a search for 'apocalyptic' on daFONT and whatever came up would be good to use. It's not classy. It's not special. It's not inviting, except I suppose if you're an asshole hipster writing his zombie version of Twiligh-- OH WAIT! The whole neighbourhood is comprised of asshole hipsters! Well played, Gordo.

"Make it look like it has bullet holes. Or make it look old-but-new, hipsters love that shit."

Anyway, what do I know, because everyone loves it. Oh, synthetic happiness. Gordon goes on to say he's made a few minor changes inside, which we know means two things:

1) 'He' did fuck all. He went to a hotel and drank the minibar while the production team made children and puppies do it for tuppence an hour.
2) 'Minor' changes means the whole thing will be unrecognisable.

Apparently we're going to 'shit our pants when we see it'. Why? Is it covered with lobster tail?

Look at Gordo's mischievous little smile as he leads them in. WHY, YOU LITTLE-- You're just a big teddybear, aren't you?!

Whenever I write 'Gordo', I accidentally and without fail type 'Grodo'. I'm telling you, The Fellowship of the Ring would have been WAY different if Ramsey had the One Ring. "What do you mean, 'what's taters', you plonker?"
In they traipse and there are gasps and squeals and general exclamations of surprise and glee. I mean, yeah, it's very nice. They've opened it up a bit with light and better colours on the walls, they've replaced the old twee tables with ones that appear to be made out of papier mache, but somehow they work just fine. They've got some nice new lighting and a painting of the Brooklyn Bridge, as well as the word BROOKLYN down the side of the restaurant in case someone really forgets where they are. What's particularly nice is that Ramsey's [Read: The production company] had arty black and white photos of his parents blown up on big canvases and hung on the walls, doing a fair enough - if heavy-handed, but I like a bit of heavy-handedness from time to time, just ask the Spy - job of mixing the old in with the new. Also, the newspapers printed onto the tables are all about Mama Maria's through the years. N'aaaw, John gets all teared up.

I know you're just dying to see, and I am ever your wililng slave:

Of course everyone is delighted with the results.

Everything starts to happen super-fast now that there's very little chance for anyone to breakdown and/or throw pizza boxes around. Ramsey rolls out the new menu, complete with dishes (no mould, not for display purposes only.) I can only see it from afar, and it's already making me hungry. I'll kill the hunger pangs with wine, don't you worry.

Everyone oohs and aahs over the food too, and Ramsey runs them through the menu. The music in the background is very "LALALA BRAND NEW DAY, SOMETHING ABOUT A BABY PROBABLY, AND BIRDS FLYING, LALALA". I mean, there's no lyrics, but that's the gist.

A VIBRANT bruschetta. Earthy, rustic and charming. Like a barn.
Incredible mussels to 'get the juices flowing'. Oh Grodo, there's no time for romance, we must get to  Mount Doom!
Margarita pizza. Doesn't ring my bell, but whatever.
Ossobuco, served in the cooking jucies over mashed potato, gremolata and a demi-glace. I don't know what any of these words mean. 'Ossobuco' according to Chef Google is also known as 'the bone with the hole'. IDK, man.

Gordon promises to push John in the pizza oven if he sees him anywhere near it. Now THAT would make for good viewing. Hansel and Gretel his ass, Gordo! John is delighted with the whole menu (well, as delighted as John gets. He sort of smiles) and takes the black chef's jacket Gordon offers him with good grace, only grumbling once about having to abandon his bitchin' teal polo shirt.

Gordon's brought some very influential journalists and bloggers coming in for dinner service. What the actual fuck, why wasn't I invited? I want to eat on papier mache tables too, you know.

Once they're all changed and ready for dinner service, Gordon amps them up and freaks them out by listing his 'big hitters' who'll be coming to dine tonight. He wants every hipster in this damn neighbourhood to know that Mama Maria's is the new cool place to dine in Brooklyn. I don't think Gordo understands how hipsters work. Also, I was wrong about John's new jacket, it's not a chef's one, it's just a black shirt. It's also miles better than the sweaty pizza one. Coming to critic the restaurant are:

RATHER TELLINGLY, I can find not a-one mention of Mama Maria's on any of these sites. (Can I just say, in doing a bit of research to try and find out WTF is going on with that radio silence, I stumbled across a site where Gordon was referred to as a 'wrinkly shoutbot' and giggled myself into a puddle. Whoever wrote that, marry me. Don't worry about the Spy, he'll be fine.) ANYWAY! It's the moment of truth, the post-makeover, relaunch dinner service! If it doesn't go well, Gordon's going to cut a bitch, I can just tell.

Diners file in to take their seats, including the hallowed bloggers, none of which are me. Not that I'm bitter or anything. I mean, sure, do I know anything about food? Only that I like it. Did I have to look up all the names of the dishes Gordon was rattling off earlier by typing them into Google phonetically? Yes. An invite would have been nice, that's all.

So dinner service starts off really well. Chef Joe is killing it, pushing out really good food at an admirable pace. The diners are all making yummy faces and saying nice things about the food. The sauce is delicious! This meat is just right! Everything is unicorns!

But then John, oh John, drunk on his own success, starts to slow things down by chattering away to the customers about the history of Mama's. I understand why, he hasn't HAD a lot of success, this is probably what he thinks being a popstar feels like. Still, the kitchen is starting to back up because he's too busy flirting. OH NO! The weighty influence of the NY Observer food blogger who has only ever written four things for the paper is being soured by the wait! (It's four more things than I've written for a newspaper that big, or you know, any newspaper, so I should really shut my mouth there.)

"It's a blogger's table, guys!" Gordon shouts with aplomb and annoyance.

I wish that was a thing. I wish people shouted that at the chefs when I go to a restaurant. That would be the best and most hilarious moment of my life. BUT I DIGRESS!

Gordon pinwheels off the walls in his search for John, and finds him - in a giggle-worthy moment of serendipity - when John's saying to the couple he's been chatting up roughly forever: 'There's this guy, right, he's around here in a white chef's jacket, blonde hair--'

Ramsey's sharp: "JOHN!" makes him fill his pants a little and he scuttles off after him, accepting all the mild abuse Gordo throws his way and also the metaphorical kick up the arse. The kitchen starts moving again, hurrah!

Once all the food is out, John does the rounds and asks various people how their meals were. All the answers (THAT WE'RE SHOWN) are positive and full of praise, as is Ramsey as he slaps Chef Joe about his shoulders and congratulates all the chefs on a job well done. Aww, it's like those movies when they're at odds at the beginning, but a wacky series of events and some life-changing conversations leads to one of them saving the other one's life at the end! Speaking of saving lives, I can't believe they led with that whole 'one of the customers pays the ultimate price' bullshit. I didn't see bodybags. Ugh, MANIPULATION. Explosive diarrhea is not the ultimate price. That's a Tuesday in a restaurant.

Ramsey and John have a nice conversation and then Gordon peaces.

Outside, he says that Mama Maria's has belonged to John's parents for the last 55 years (ghost cooks would be an amazing TV show, by the way) but now it belongs to John. Gordo's rooting for him!

Well, that's that, more or less. We get some parting shots of John being manger-y once Gordon's gone, keeping away from the pizzeria and mingling with people. The VO guy says that Mama Maria's is well on its way to becoming a fixture in Brooklyn. Sweet.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a bottle of wine to finish.