He likes the ducks.
Sophy says: I FIND DUCKS VERY RELAXING. I just. That uptight therapy-hag had just been going on and on about aromatherapy and pilates and then we pan to Danny and it’s all ducks. I agree, Danny, ducks make a lot more sense than chamomile. AND HIS LITTLE FACE. SO TIPPED-UP AND GLORIOUSLY UNAWARE OF HIS OWN RIDICULOUSNESS. I laughed and laughed.
Well, I laughed and laughed for about a second. Then I wanted to cry on account of how ducks and Tix and for the love of god why does this show have to be so mean all the time?
Rin says: I love Danny, and I love that we’re getting more of him this series. And that we get to explore him as a person apart from the guy who liked Tix. He breaks my heart a lot a lot.
Fuck you, swing-set. Fuck you.
Sophy says: Speaking of being mean, if you’re going to break our hearts, and then come back to stick the knife in some more, and wiggle it around, whilst pointing and laughing, COULD YOU AT LEAST NOT DO IT WITH SWING SETS INVOLVED?
Swing sets are the televisual symbol for big, broken dreams, friends you haven’t seen for so long you’re not sure you can call them that, all the things we thought we would be when time was for wasting and one day and somewhere and I hope.
Swing sets should not be allowed near other emotional trauma. For real.
But okay, I loved this mean old scene anyway. I loved that Finn’s not ready to be friends, because why the hell should he be? Rae dumped him with no explanation, and although he knows she’s got ‘stuff’ and that’s probably part of it, there is clearly a part of him that feels like he just plain wasn’t good enough. When she gave him back his jacket and ran away, he asked her what he’d done. And I think that’s still where he’s at.
The thing is that it’s not just fat people who take rejection to heart. It’s not just fat people who find it easy to feel unworthy. And whilst, sure, I do think that Finn is emotionally healthier than Rae, this is still pretty brutal for him. After all, his mother tried him out as a son and apparently didn’t like him enough to stick with him. Now the same thing is happening with this girl who is by no means a mother-figure, but who is important the way his mother is – who matters so much more to him than the Stacey Stringfellows of this world – because she’s complicated and elusive – because the more he has her the more he needs her – because she understands things about himself he can’t put his finger on – because she’s funny – because she’s cool – because she’s not like everybody else or anybody else, actually, at least not in his eyes.
And hey, because she likes the right music. That matters, doesn’t it? It certainly matters when you’re young and I’m not sure that it ever really stops, not if you’re one of those people who really cares about art and story. There’s a line in a song I love that has always spoken to me. “How can she love me if she doesn’t even love the cinema that I love?” Now don’t get me wrong, Hefner’s bread and butter was self-involved cynical not-love songs and as such their oeuvre by no means constitutes a guide-book for life type thing. But nevertheless, it’s true. If you feel things about art – I mean really, really feel things – if you thrive emotionally on something beautiful or clever or true… how could you be with somebody who didn’t understand that? How could you be with a girl who obsesses over the Backstreet Boys and boasts that she’s the only one who “really listens to like, a wide variety of music, really.”
Finn’s joking when he makes a big deal out of the Bowie. Or he’s lying, as he states so agonizingly bluntly a moment later. But still, the music matters because it represents the thrill of the connection between them. Finn giving Rae back her CDs was heartbreaking enough. Rae remembering the time she impressed him at the jukebox with who she really is, just as she’s letting herself down with who she really isn’t… TOO MUCH HEARTBREAKING.
But at the same time, I love that Rae is sticking to her guns. Yes, if she was the sanest, most sensible kid around she would be fairer about this – she would have sat Finn down and explained that this is about her and not him, that she’s not ready to be with him at college or in places where they’re naked, and that she needs to take a break to try to sort herself out. But then if she was the sanest, most sensible kid around she wouldn’t need to break up with the boy of her dreams in the first place, would she?
So yes, Rae is hurting Finn here, by not being with him and especially by not explaining why. But at the end of the day she’s sticking up for herself. She’s giving herself what she needs. And I have to give her one thing: she’s doing her best not to be wishy-washy about it. Yes, she asks to be friends, and yeah, that’s too much to ask at this point. But I like she doesn’t equivocate. She doesn’t string Finn along – kiss and hide, rinse repeat. And she does her best to give him the space he needs even though her friends – their friends – are a lifeline.
I just can’t wait for the day that she’s able to actually share the things that scare her with him, because I think when she does it will be a weight off both their shoulders. But that’s entire series finale stuff, right? So I’ll be patient.
Rin says: AHAHAH it better be series finale stuff. NOT LIKE, YEARS SPANNING. Look okay, I’ve had enough of that. And yes it sometimes makes the payoff a whole lot sweeter and you find yourself exploding into tears, BUT I WON’T WAIT SEVEN YEARS AGAIN OKAY? I’ve done my waiting.
You know what swing sets will always remind me of? Mini’s episode in series 5 of Skins. Which makes me want to cry over how perfect that entire episode was, but in particular those final scenes of the aftermath. I JUST CANNOT AND WHERE DID WE ALL GO SO WRONG. And Sophy is right, swing sets and playgrounds etc. are symbols for big broken dreams. And all the ways we wish things were as simple as they used to be. Plus they are, almost always, very pretty.
Sophy says: Can you tell the Veronica Mars movie happened to us this week? Lest we forget.
SHHH SHHH DON’T TALK TO ME ABOUT MINI MCGUINNESS AND THE SWING SHHHH I STILL CAN’T TAKE IT.
“Be not afeared, the isle is full of noises. Sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not.”
Sophy says: I don’t venture out much into MMFD fandom, but I have a sneaking suspicion there are a fair few Liam haters out there, right? Or at least Liam/Rae haters. I get that. Finn/Rae is beloved by us all and it’s a pretty bold move for the writers to introduce a new love interest for Rae at all, let alone so quickly after one of the most brutal and infuriating break-ups of all time.
OF ALL TIME.
But it works for me. Liam works for me. Liam/Rae works for me. And I guess part of that is because there is no question in my mind that Finn/Rae is not a thing that is over. We will be returning to them and probably sooner rather than later, so I don’t mind this detour. I don’t mind this new relationship because it has the potential to give us new insight into Rae.
Plus they are really cute.
I have to give major credit to Sharon for the way she is around the guy who plays Liam. She seems lighter somehow – brighter – more at ease with herself. They barely know each other and yet there’s this definite sense that she is more comfortable and joyful around him than she is with… anybody. Ever.
And it’s not just that the chemistry is there. It’s that the writers – and the director and the actress – are making a point.
Finn represents Rae’s goal – her endgame – everything she wants to be and wants for herself. He’s uncomplicated – or relatively so. He’s beloved. He’s fit. He’s good and warm and dependable. There is nothing about him that is a fuck up.
Liam represents who Rae is – the parts of herself she hates and the parts of herself she secretly loves, too. And I swear I was already getting this before I saw the next episode, but I guess I’ll save some of the discussion for the next recap, since it will apply more keenly there. But what I was getting, particularly in their last scene together, is this sense that because Liam and Rae are alike – funny, loud, screwed-up, fat, frank – her acceptance of him – her enjoyment of him – represents her acceptance and enjoyment of herself. It’s easy for her to be happy around him because there is no scope for judgement. And without the fear of judgement? She kind of forgets to judge herself.
So I love them, for now. I love the hotdogs and the readiness to share. I love that Liam says plainly what Stacey will say meanly. I love the Shakespeare and the applause. I love chips and beer being his chamomile. I love the wink he gives her. I love Rae’s girly little smile and the fact that she can eat around him, however delicately.
I LOVE IT ALL.
But I think most of all I love the image of Rae walking towards this kid and smiling like a clear day – totally relaxed and herself, no matter how dressed-to-impress-a-stupid-bitch she is.
Rin says: I am usually not very accepting of new characters, because usually they’re just here to fuck things up for everybody, or try to replace somebody that I used to know. It takes a bit more for them to win me over because I’m so surly about it all, but Liam basically won me over by having 4 hot dogs on his plate, and what looks to be pizza underneath. It was the most absurd contrast to Rae’s inability to eat in front of other people that it just made me laugh.
For Rae, Liam is like another Tix. Someone she can be herself with, and a big part of that is definitely being without fear of judgement. As much as her other friends know about and try to understand Rae’s problems it’ll never be as easy as it is with Liam. I’m very happy for him to stick around, as long as it allows Rae to become more comfortable and accepting of herself. It’s entirely necessary for Rae to form relationships where she can start to see herself in other’s peoples eyes in a positive way, to see herself in all of her Rae-glory. And I think she’ll be able to with Liam, in a way that she’s not able to with Finn. At least not yet.
In some ways I don’t think Rae really sees Finn as anything other that perfect. To her, he is the perfect person and she puts him up on a pedestal. Which is all fine and dandy because they’re young and in love and there’s the honeymoon period. But it’s also a dangerous way to carry out a relationship, especially for someone like Rae who already has low self-worth. It’s all just a little too one-sided for them at the moment, and I think some time with Liam will be a good experience for her. She’ll start to feel what it’s like to be in a more even relationship and how that’s something she needs to learn in order to move forward. It’s a part of growing up, I guess.
RAE YOU CAN’T ONLY SEE FINN IN THE WAY THAT I SEE DIANNA AGRON AND EXPECT THINGS TO WORK.
It may be glorious, but it’s not healthy.
Sophy says: I would have to break up with Dianna Agron because she is Dianna Agron and I could not handle the Dianna Agron. But I would not give back her jacket.
Rin says: Oh my god, we would bring it out for special events.
Head In Hands
“‘Someone should say something.’ Someone is saying something, Stacey. I’m saying something.”
Sophy says: A head-in-hands with a side of ‘Fuck yeah!!’ basically. I mean, we were already flailing everywhere when Rae stood up, told Stacey some home truths, and ate a bite of the fucking pizza just to wipe the smug expression off her face. But the irony is that as fearful as Rae is – as keen as she is to stay under the radar – in some ways she’s actually much, much braver than most people. Much braver than Chloe, certainly.
And that’s why it’s so fucking wonderful when Chloe stands up for Rae – for herself – for all of them. Because it’s especially hard for her to do. Remember how important it was to Chloe to be accepted into Stacey’s group? Remember how she hyperventilated over the possibility that she’d been blanked and ran after this golden girl calling out?
This – being a part of a group – being legitimized by the people she spends time with – this matters to her. I mean, it really, really matters to her – enough to allow herself to be humiliated and used on a regular basis. Or at least it mattered to her before Rae showed her how hollow it was.
I think my favourite thing about this scene is that it’s made clear that Chloe planned this herself – that at some point she made a decision to ‘say something’ – because how else would she wind up with an audio recording in her hands, ready for a smackdown? This wasn’t some last minute trembled uprising. It was a calculated overthrow. And it will be interesting to see where it leads in terms of Chloe’s college experience. She’s queen now, right? Or she could be. We shall see.
AND YEAH I LOVE THAT IN THE END SHE’LL CHOOSE RAE OVER THESE ASSHOLES ANYWAY.
On the subject of Stacey, I have to say that the whole thing was incredibly well handled, in that it was genuinely hard to tell whether she was friend or foe throughout the episode. I think it was important that the audience couldn’t quite nail her to the wall until Rae could, and beyond that… Stacey is a bitch, yes, but she’s not a cartoon villain. She’s a person like everybody else on this show – someone who is capable of moments of decency, as long as they happen on her terms. I guess what I’m saying is that I got the impression Stacey genuinely didn’t see herself as a terrible person and that’s generally the case in these situations. It’s all a failure of perspective. She thinks it’s her place to pass judgement – she even thinks it’s helping. In reality she’s playing out all her own anxieties and insecurities through other people, but I doubt she really realizes that. She doesn’t set out to be cruel to people so much as she sets out to soothe herself. Stacey’s behaviour is commonplace among teenage girls, but that doesn’t mean it’s not pathological as much as Rae’s can be. I like that even though she’s the bad guy in this situation, the show handled her characterization with sensitivity.
Rin says: Yeah, the entire time Sophy and I were confused about whether or not Stacey was an actual bitch. Or just sometimes coming across as one. BECAUSE SOMETIMES SHE SHOWED SHE CARED. Those moments were entirely necessary, not only for the reasons Sophy has said, but also for the benefit of the other three girls. The fact that Stacey had brief moments of kindness, manipulative or not, meant that the other girls weren’t automatically resigned to be mindless drones. They gave us a legit reason for us to understand how they would actually be friends with Stacey, it makes it more believable. Which is important seeing as they keep them around and expect us to empathise with them as their own entities outside from Stacey.
I love Chloe. I love her a lot. Probably because she’s the most ‘normal’ out of everyone. All the others have their own things that are uniquely theirs. Rae’s mad, Archie’s gay, Finn’s perfect, Izzy’s sweet and Chop is Chop. Chloe’s just kind of scared of being invisible. She’s just a girl, you know? So when she triumphs it’s a big fucking deal.
Sophy says: I love how you chastise Rae for thinking Finn is perfect and then you’re like that’s his superpower.
Also Chop’s Chop. So true.
Thank you for the music
Eat your heart out, JJ.
Sophy says: HIS RAE. OF. SUNSHINE. HIS RAE OF SUNSHINE.
HE WROTE HER A SONG, YOU GUYS? AND SANG IT OUTSIDE HER WINDOW? HE PULLED OUT THE ROMANTIC CLICHE FOR A PLATONIC APOLOGY? HE IS THE GREATEST?
I would have forgiven him immediately. Till the end of time.
Rin says: AND MR AND MRS RAE CAME TO WATCH AND APPLAUDED FOR HIM.
Oh Archie. I’d pretend to be angry with him just so he’d serenade me from time to time.
Biggest kick to the emotional shins
OH NO SHE DIDN’T.
Sophy says: I pretty much thought my head was going to roll off my shoulders when this happened. I just? What? No? She didn’t? It happened but it never happened?
This is terrible. This is something terrible that Rae did to someone who deserved better.
Was Archie being a shit by leading Lois on to places he would never really be able to go? Sure. Is it the end of the fucking world? No.
Eventually Archie would have broken up with Lois and Lois would have been upset and Lois would have gotten over it like thousands of other teenage girls get over it every day. Sure it might have been painful and confusing not knowing why, blaming herself, feeling like she can’t trust the next person who seems to be all about her… is this ringing any bells? Because all I can think about right now is how this is more or less what Rae did to Finn – led him on to places she wouldn’t really be able to go – not never, as in this case – but not in the foreseeable future unless a whole lot of things fell pretty miraculously into place. She split up with Finn because there was something that prevented her being able to be intimate with him or public with him. The same is true in Archie’s case with Lois, and I don’t see that the fact that in his case it’s his sexuality rather than just his ‘stuff’ should make any difference in terms of judgement.
Because at the end of the day Archie’s sexuality is his ‘stuff’. Being gay doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with him, but struggling with being gay in his particular social milieu… that’ll screw with your head.
What he was doing with Lois was shitty, but it was no more shitty than what every other straight teenage boy does with a girl just because he can. I hate that Rae judged him for it instead of perceiving the stark similarity with her own treatment of Finn. I hate that she didn’t see how much more important it was that her dear friend be able to confront and navigate his sexuality on his own terms than that a girl she barely knows might – maybe – get hurt – hurt in a way that it is commonplace – almost a rite of passage, actually. I hate that she focused on her own pain about Archie standing her up last year and prioritized that over everything else. I hate that she couldn’t see past the end of her pissed off nose in this moment.
I hate what Rae did. But I don’t hate Rae.
This just in: Rae isn’t perfect. She lets people down sometimes. She hurts them, even. She can be selfish and sarcastic and stubborn. But that’s a good thing because it’s an interesting thing – because it’s a whole thing.
Usually the fat girl is the sidekick. Usually she’s the kind of sidekick who’s just so funny and lovable though. Usually she’s everybody’s soft place to fall and can’t afford to put a foot wrong because, well, she’s just not hot enough to get away with being naughty, right?
I love that the writers are breaking that mould with Rae – smashing it, actually. Rae is a real person. And yes, there are real people who are practically saints – eg. Finn, oh my god – but they are rare and they are usually not the kind of people whose diaries you want to read.
So the deal is that Rae is going to fuck up and you are going to be expected to forgive her for it.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t want to smack her sometimes, right? Because boy did I want to smack her.
I hope there will be consequences here for Archie, not because I want to see him suffer – you guys, I really, really don’t want to see Archie suffer – but because if there aren’t there’s a risk it’ll come off as though Rae did him a favour.
There is some truth in saying ‘better out than in’. In the long run it is liberating to be truthful about yourself and hang the consequences. But sometimes it’s not that simple and Archie is a boy just building his identity at college in the 1990’s when being gay was not nearly so accepted and understood as it is today and especially not when you’re a guy who likes guys in the friend way.
I need there to be consequences that Archie suffers on account of Rae’s actions, because if there aren’t Rae won’t learn anything. And she needs to learn something here. She needs to learn that other people have feelings too – feelings that are just as mad and as fat as hers.
It’s a peculiar paradox, but Rae is sensitive and insensitive at the same time. She understands so much more than your average teen because she’s had to think about so much more just to try to figure herself out. But then on the flip-side, she spends an awful lot of time thinking about herself, right?
I want her to think about Archie now. I want her to think about the fact that there is this thing he cannot change about himself – this thing that isn’t wrong or mean or ugly – that people are randomly going to hate him for for the rest of his life.
Maybe she has it easy. Or maybe she could if she’d just go easy on herself.
The world has to change for Archie to fit in it. Rae just has to work on fitting in her own skin.
Rin says: I was so SHOCKED she would actually do such a thing. But it was brave, very very brave of the show to have their main character do such a nasty thing. Something that could potentially be unforgivable to their best friend.
Rae is very much in the wrong in doing what she did. But it’s shows like MMFD that can get away with doing things like this simply because it’s such a well written show. I trust them enough to know that this will have some proper repercussions and won’t be dealt with in a frivolous manner. Which is why I’m okay with it happening, even if Rae is an asshole for doing so.
This scene definitely brought up memories of the Mash Off episode of Glee. And how violently different our opinions and reactions were. This is what an outing looks like. What Finn said to Santana, and Santana alone, isn’t. We care about Rae, 200% more than we ever cared about Finn (Hudson), and probably cared about the same amount for Santana then, than we do about Archie. Yet when Rae told Lois that Archie is gay we were both instantly outraged and couldn’t believe that Rae would do such a horrible, malicious thing. I just think what Rae did is miles worse than what Finn did, yet I’m sure there’s less violent fandom reactions about it. Probably because the Glee fandom is pretty insane and unreasonable at times. BUT STILL. Okay okay, enough about that. It was a horrible time in our blogs history, let’s move on.
Poor poor Archie. When he’s down, Sophy wishes more suffering upon him.
Sophy says: I WANT TO TASTE HIS TEARS.
But um. Yeah, as soon as I started writing this recap I was thinking of writing the recap for Mash Off and how outraged some people were that we weren’t more outraged at Finn… honestly, it’s just a completely different kettle of fish. For a lot of reasons. One of which is that Glee is… Glee.
Let’s not talk about Glee. Ever. Can you tell that the 100th episode happened to us this week? Let’s all bleach our brains and move on.
“Come on then, let it all out of your system before we get in there.”
“Right. Backstreet Boys make me want to scald my inner thighs with the hottest substance known to man – strawberry jam Pop-Tarts.”
Sophy says: The above immediately took me back to this. Although as I pointed out at the time Rin’s head exploded doing what it loved.
BUT JUST. RAE. DID IT HAVE TO BE YOUR INNER THIGHS? DID IT REALLY?
Of course it did.
Rin says: Rae only ever thinks about her inner thighs.
AHHHH HEAD EXPLOSIONS. A great pastime.