Episode Reviews (2)
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Get on the right track
Poor Jaye. She’s a shadow of her former wise-crackin’ beer-drinkin’ cynical self. Her heart has been well and truly smashed by Stubbly Eric and Hussey Heidi and worse, she is forced to go to therapy by her mother. No wonder she jumps at the chance to “save him from her”, little guessing at the identity of the *real* him and her, so wrapped up is she in her problems (although it was pretty obvious to the discerning viewer, wise to the animals’ peculiar messages).
I do like Dr Ron the therapist; he has the same calm, down-to-earth demeanour of Shepherd Book in Firefly, although he’s obviously not very good at dealing with his patients’ transference issues. Maybe he should stick to only seeing older clientele, like Jaye’s mum, rather than disturbed young women. Although why Karen needs to see a shrink twice a week is unclear - hasn’t she got the perfect life, marriage, family? Her worrying about Jaye is touching – real maternal concern rather than the usual interference. All of the Tylers pull together for Jaye’s semi-collapse; Aaron is still interrogating the toys (“Are you guys ambulatory?”), much to Mahandra’s shock, and Sharon runs up 14 flights of stairs (only stopping for a fag break) to warn her mother of Jaye’s borstal breakout. She may believe Jaye capable of crime, but she’s quick to demand the removal of the cuffs when the truth comes out at the thundery climax, which of course is nothing to do with the attempted murder of Dr Ron, but is all about Jaye’s breakdown in front of the brass monkey as he bargains with her (the first conversation one of the animals has ever had with Jaye, rather than merely commanding her) in the (frankly erotic) light-switch licking scene and finally reveals that they talk to her BECAUSE SHE LISTENS. I wonder if the revelation that the monkey was telling the truth, as well as almost being murdered, may send Dr Ron over the edge. If schizophrenics are actually sane, then his whole belief system is up the swanny. He might even start praying, like Aaron.
I don’t pretend to have an understanding of American TV networks, but to cancel this fantastic show after only showing 4 episodes is disgraceful. The first half of the series was amusing, clever and entertaining self-enclosed episodes; the 2nd half has been The Story. We accepted in the first few episodes that the animals knew best and that their cryptic messages were the truth and would lead to the Right Thing for the individual of the story and most often for Jaye as well. But their true purpose, it is hinted at, will be made clear. With only two episodes to go, will we discover if their intention is to make Jaye less self-involved and more open to other people? To break her heart and make her fall in love? Or was it just to get Heidi and Eric, Mahandra and eyebrow-wriggling Aaron together?
Eric was again an ambiguous character in this episode. If Mahandra is right and he’s staying in Niagara for another two weeks purely for the sake of Jaye, then that seems a little unfair on Heidi. She may be the archetypal one-dimensional beeyatch with little in the way of features that could be considered redeeming, but to marry the girl twice and then consider dumping her if Jaye speaks up is inexcusable. And if Mahandra *is* right, then why was he so cold to Jaye when she tries to protect him from a presumed murderess? I suppose accusing one’s wife of trying to kill oneself might make one a little snappy. He does look sweet when he’s embarrassed about his potency-drug, erm, issues. But still, he’s soiled goods, I certainly wouldn’t want him anymore. Maybe Heidi is counting on Jaye feeling this too – is she insane, going back to Jersey and leaving Eric and Jaye still making moony eyes at each other? She must know that a gaol cell couldn’t hold little Ms Getaway.
Finally, I refuse to believe the Barrel bar is laying off staff. It’s stuffed full with customers and the Tylers, for one, never eat anywhere else. Perhaps there are drugs in the beer that bring people back. Talking of which, haven’t Heidi and Eric being doing the do since they affirmed their vows? You’d think after a few months of frustration with Jaye, Eric’d be gagging for it. What *did* he do about the effects of the stimulant?
When the animals command Jaye to \"save him from her,\" Jaye may need saving herself.
Jaye\'s life is crashing down all around her: Eric married the Heidi-Ho (again), her mother is forcing her back into therapy with Dr. Ron, and now the animals have done what appears to be an about-face by telling Jaye to \"save her from him.\" Jaye naturally assumes that they want her to save Eric from Heidi, but this seems a cruel and unusual punishment. After all, didn\'t she just get the two of them back together, at the cost of significant heartache?
Of course, it turns out that the animals aren\'t really referring to Eric and Heidi, but that doesn\'t stop Jaye from tumbling over the edge in one of the series\' darkest episodes yet. Convinced that Heidi is out to kill Eric, Jaye digs up some old headlines from Heidi\'s college days that Jaye misconstrues so that she can transform Heidi from a spoiled brat into a murderer. And when Jaye sees (and photographs) Heidi purchasing small white pills in the alley behind The Barrel, Jaye\'s suspicions all too easily become her reality.
There\'s quite a bit of drama in this episode, drama that kept me on the edge of my seat for the entire 45 minutes. \"Cocktail Bunny\" has more of the feel of \"Wound-up Penguin\" or \"Karma Chameleon\"; it\'s far more dark drama than quirky comedy. Don\'t get me wrong, there\'s some humor here, too--particularly in Aaron\'s continued attempts to get the animals to talk to him--but it\'s less of the gleeful, laugh-out-loud variety found in episodes like \"Barrel Bear\" and \"Lovesick Ass.\"
Caroline Dhavernas is at her absolute best in this episode. It\'s refreshing to see an actress who can make portray a character as so light-hearted, charming, and witty in one episode and so distrustful, self-pitying, and insanely jealous in the next. Jaye is clearly on the verge of a nervous breakdown here, and at the end of episode we\'re not convinced that she\'s going to get better anytime soon. Oh sure, she averted this episode\'s crisis and saved Dr. Ron\'s life, but the larger issue of Jaye\'s mental health remains. She turned a corner in this episode, and in doing so she went from a misanthropic but ultimately kind-hearted Gen Y-er to an unstable and unpredictable (to outsiders, anyway) young woman. It\'s clear that the animals\' commands are taking their toll on Jaye\'s psyche, and it doesn\'t help that Dr. Ron\'s brass monkey doesn\'t really answer her \"why me?\" pleas. (Then again, when do higher powers ever answer such questions?) The animals have driven Jaye right to the edge of her sanity; can they pull her back?
As Jaye says to Eric at the end of the episode, \"Everything is weird now, isn\'t it?\"moreless