There were some periods during the series where Brenda frustrated me very much as a character, but as the series winds down, I start to see her as the character who has both grown the most, and tried the hardest to grow. Nate continues to repel me (which is interesting, considering he was my favorite character in the beginning of the series) with the way he seems to view people as objects to be shifted about, and seems unable to evolve beyond the expectation that he will remain the center of the universe. This episode, in particular, made me sad: I agreed with Brenda's sentiment that Nate should want the child with her or he should have been more honest about it- he lies to people and then expects their actions and reactions to reflect what he's *really* thinking... but how could they? He takes out his frustration and self-doubt on those around him, as though he assembles people to be a buffer between himself and reality. He uses, and he scorns those who let him use them. I do sympathize with "feeling lonely with people around you," but I also choose not to hurt people by fooling myself into believing that I can take on the responsibility of supporting others' happiness... I also feel sorry for Billy and his illness- I actually think that this and the last episode (during the time he has dated Claire) that we've seen the most about him... it's quite interesting to hear how the writer's understanding and research of bipolar disorder shapes Billy's character. I am a little miffed at the fact that Claire seems to either have no grasp of reality or no sympathy, or both, when it comes to Billy (who I can honestly say is the only man I ever thought was incredibly hot with a beard! hehe). She seems to not take his illness seriously, one exhibit among many of an immaturity that, over the course of the series, has only marginally decreased. I feel disappointed, in her character. Although I'm young myself, and have no children of my own, I feel that I understand quite well Ruth's loss of patience with Claire, who seems unable to move beyond being flippant and selfish. As for Ruth at this point- I both sympathize with her situation regarding George, and believe she is quite hateful and unfair to him. Quite often, he seems lucid and makes no comment or suggestion that is out of keeping with his essential personality, but because Ruth feels anger toward him, she constantly belittles him, and if I were standing in the same room with her I would say something about that. I absolutely loved the part with Billy and George on the front porch... how it calls to one's attention the way that mental illness affects the ill individual's self-perception. Both Billy and George seem to be caught between a need to get better, and a desire for others to accept them as they are... a very poignant conundrum, which is very much the signiture of this show. Another thing that is great about this show, as exemplifed by the birthday party, is how so many events and situations in the lives of regular human beings start out with grand intentions and deteriorate into drab and somewhat disturbing melodrama. I suppose, by that, I mean it captures humanity in all its faded realism. Oh.. and the entirely irreverant ending... tragic and fabulous, just like this show, which I must add, is hands down the best show ever to air on television. ;]
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