February 23, 2010

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em

Ok, fine, I give up. Liz Tigelaar and her Life Unexpected writing staff win. Apparently I was the only person in America who was interested in seeing Cate and Ryan together and exploring the complex familial dynamics when bio-mom and -dad aren't a couple in this extremely non-traditional brood. All this time I've been talking about how Ryan was an interesting character with a lot to offer and how I'd like to see more interaction between him and Lux and even him and Baze, but then the last two episodes the writers elected to stop portraying Ryan as a good guy and start making him a schmuck and so now I just give up. Let's see Cate and Baze get together. I know, I'm as surprised as you are that I caved so soon.

Cate's problem at home: Ryan feels that Cate spends too much time talking about Baze. This is based on Cate walking in on Baze peeing in her toilet and throwing a conniption fit when she finds out that he's slept on her couch again after having stayed late watching a Real World marathon with Lux who's never even seen the show (so much the better since she was an infant the last time that show was even tolerable). After Baze leaves, Ryan proceeds to denigrate Baze's existence OVER a conversation Cate is having with Lux. Total dick move, dude. Do not bad-mouth a child's parent IN FRONT of the child. What the fuck is wrong with you?

Cate's problem at work: Ryan and the corporate big-wigs feel that Cate spends too much time - at the behest of her callers who keep asking the fucking questions, but whatev - on the radio talking about Baze and it is confusing to the audience. (Either this show thinks the city of Portland is lousy with complete morons, or that's just who makes up the vast majority of Cate and Ryan's audience. And as I was saying that I totally understood that it's obviously the latter because their radio show is kind of stupid.) So this horrible Dragon Lady from corporate comes to town and dictates that Baze will be on the radio with Cate and Ryan to help clarify who's who in Cate's life.

It's all a big contrivance to bring Ryan's suspicions about Cate and Baze, after he saw their hands touch at the bar last week, to a head. Cate and Baze spend the whole time arguing about how much they hated each other and found each other repulsive in high school and then some woman calls in to say that they have great chemistry and have they hooked up since Lux's conception? I find this caller disgusting on at least two levels - 1) saying mean stuff to and about each other on the radio does not equal great chemistry; 2) she's engaged to Ryan and he's sitting RIGHT THERE, dude! Anyway, cue the awkward over-protestations that immediately set off Ryan's bullshit detector.

While Ryan and Cate are busy dealing with his suspicions that she has feelings for Baze, Baze is busy taking a ribbing from Jamie who suspects, based on the fact that Baze hasn't indiscriminately fucked anyone since Lux came into his life, that Baze has feelings for Cate. Ok, in fairness, at first Jamie just thinks that Baze has lost his mojo due to his sudden interest in being a dad but then when Baze argues that he has had some meaningless sex recently and it happens to have been with Cate (shhh, don't tell Math), Jamie rightly argues that Baze actually loves Cate.

So now Cate is trying desperately to prove to Ryan that she didn't have sex with Baze (even though she did) and Baze is trying desperately to prove to Jamie that he isn't in love with Cate (which he is) by bangin' the next hot chick he sees. It just so happens that the next hot chick is Cate's nemesis, the Dragon Lady. And she and Baze are really goin' at it on the pool table up in his loft when Cate not only lets herself into the place unannounced, she barges into his room (when the door is closed!) and interrupts them when they were at least 1/2 way through ripping each other's clothes off. She storms out in a royal huff.

She's telling Baze that her indignation is because she's offended by meaningless sex as a matter of principle but then he's all, "really, you didn't seem so offended when we were having the sex you said meant nothing a few weeks ago!" She's exactly as speechless as people tend to be when they're called on the carpet and are 100% wrong.

Meanwhile, all this time that her parents have been busy acting like teenagers, Lux has been trying to keep her delinquent boyfriend out of prison for grand theft auto. At Bug's request, Lux pleads with Jones to drop the charges and Jones agrees on the condition that Bug give him his bike. Bug complies but with a hefty dose of unwarranted guilt for Lux who then takes the clearly smitten Jones on a field trip to see where Bug grew up so that Jones can get a better sense of who Bug and Lux are. Jones, who I think is a great character for the show, agrees to let Bug keep the bike but also drop the charges and then he goes in for a really ill-timed kiss. Lux ain't havin' it but the awkward damage is totally done. They head home to Lux's house where Bug is waiting and already in a lather before the engine is cut. He apparently doesn't know how to deal with his own feelings of inadequacy and fear and lashes out at both Jones (with a punch to the nose) and Lux (who he essentially calls a sad-sack, white-trash, slut). Cate sees it go down and runs over to make sure that Jones is ok, herding him and Lux into the house and giving Bug the boot.

Cue the mother-daughter heart-to-heart where Cate talks a really good game making sure that Lux knows she doesn't deserve to be treated badly just because Bug has issues and that it's ok for her to tell him that. She whores out some old "can't base a relationship on a lie" chestnuts and, to her credit, is clearly shamed by her own words. So while Lux is giving the "you're just like your dad" speech to Bug, Cate is off to Ryan's to come clean about her tryst with Baze.

Bug sees where Lux is coming from and agrees that he has been acting like his dad and that isn't good so he tells Lux that for her own sake, they shouldn't see each other any more. Cate is mid-way through her confession when Ryan flares his nostrils and DEMANDS that she not even think of telling him that she had sex with Baze. It's pretty obvious that he would take that news badly (uh, duh!) so Cate chickens out and ends it with "he kissed me and I pushed him away" which is a very weak place to end a story that in reality ended with multiple orgasms.

In the end there is another mother-daughter moment when Lux finds out from Tashia's boyfriend that Bug left town and is distraught and Cate comforts her and tells her that she did the right thing because you can't lie just because it's easier and your a coward. And then she looks chastened again.

Wave goodbye to Bug, ladies and gentlemen. And let's all hope that we see much more of Jones.

Look, it was a good episode and I enjoyed it a lot. I don't particularly understand why the writers insist on taking the easy way out of the relationships here and forcing something to happen between Cate and Baze when Shiri Appleby and Kerr Smith have such good chemistry together, but they've decided what they want their show to be about and I either need to go along with it or get out. I'm going along. I just want to request that if this is the direction they want to go, they get there sooner than later and give us more sexual tension and energy from the "adults" on the show because I refuse to believe that a lot of chemistry exists just because they say it does. I want to SEE it.

No comments: