The ‘Dead Like Me’ TV series is the creation of Bryan Fuller. This thread is a series of postings episode by episode of my notes and commentary, plus the welcome postings of anyone else with something to say, add, or just discuss.
What inspired Fuller to come up with such an original TV series? I nominate two possible sources although there are for sure many others.
The first one, of lesser influence, is a SciFi novel ‘On a Pale Horse’ by Piers Anthony, which made Death, the Grim Reaper himself, into a man with a touchable physical presence on Earth. Anthony’s Grim Reaper acted alone but under some higher power that identified souls for him to collect that were on the knife edge between Heaven or Hell and needed his judgment. When the GR was on his rounds he was more or less invisible and physical obstructions (e.g. fire, storms) of no consequence.
A second candidate is Alice Sebold’s novel, ‘The Lovely Bones’, a story told from the point of view a 14 year old girl who dies violently and then as she contemplates her life and death from the other side watches the impact of her death on her own family and the other living she knew, including the man who killed her. The book is intensely introspective as we listen in on the young girl’s thoughts searching for peace of mind, a coming to terms with her life, her death, and its impact on her family. Not the stuff for a TV format, which usually doesn’t achieve high ratings with a camera lingering on someone thinking intensely.
BF took the two added a little of his own creative story telling genius and came up with the ‘Dead Like Me’ universe. He transformed the disembodied ghost girl into a living breathing junior grim reaper working on a reaper team just a few minutes bicycle ride from her old family – a set up that allows the emotional twists from the novel to play out in a physical form we can see and appreciate on a TV screen.
With all the similarities though, BF’s DLM universe is a unique creation - a remarkable story about an 18 year old girl, Georgia Lass, who gives up on a living her life (she quits or walks away from anything challenging), has a fatal rendezvous with a toilet seat falling from orbit, and gets recruited into the ranks of an army of undead grim reapers who exist unrecognized among the living collecting the souls of people about to die and then escorting these souls to the whatever it is that comes after life (the souls go into their ‘lights’ and are not seen again).
Reapers exist in a sort of purgatorial limbo with limited freedom, always on call to perform their soul reaping services on behalf of the Powers That Be (PTB) as communicated thru the reaper boss. BF places his young George character in a small platoon of reapers just a short distance from her old home and family in Seattle. George’s attempts to quit her new undead existence (pretty much her standard approach when alive, too), but quickly finds out that the PTB aren’t so easily thwarted.
The series tells many interesting stories, but the two primary arcs concern George’s at first slow awakening to the possibilities of her new undead existence and her newly discovered concern for her sister Reggie. She starts to take a real interest in living even as she comes to terms with the fact that she’s dead. And, George’s realization – she’s watching her family as best she can given, as might be expected, that the PTB really frown on a reapers interfering with the living from their former lives - that her sister Reggie, in particular of her family, is not taking her death well, and then George’s resolution to do something about it – whatever her reaper boss and the PTB think of it.
Alone among the reaper gang George is assigned to, she is working close to her old life and family – the others are some distance in time and space from their former lives. However, George’s boss, Rube, spent his early reaper years – several decades prior – close to his living family in Seattle and probably went through much the same emotional turmoil that George is experiencing. For whatever reasons the PTB decided to put George so close to temptation, much as they seem to have done for Rube many years before. Unfortunately, we never get to learn very much at all about Rube’s early years and his relationship with his family. However, it is in watching Rube’s arc develop that we see hints of potential manipulations of the PTB and their patience in working things out as Rube’s attention is brought back to his daughter after decades of neglect.
Part of the charm of the reaper universe BF has given us in this series is in the details he denies us as viewers. There is so much left unexplained and it multiplies the attraction pulling the viewer into George’s situation and challenges. We don’t get angels and an easy breakdown between good and evil – it’s all left a bit messy – pretty much like life – full of difficult choices, and even as we occasionally are shown the power of whatever put George in her purgatory and the threat ‘they’ pose if she fails to go along, throughout the series (and into the ‘Life After Death’ movie) is a touching hint here and there that the PTB are pulling strings to help George (and all the reapers) come to terms with her own death, her fate and the impact of her death on her family, and finally her future – whatever that may turn out to be.
So these postings are some of my notes about the series often highlighting favorite dialogue or George’s voiceovers. The numbers in ( ) are markers for the approximate minute in the dvd version where the scene or dialogue begin. The SciFi (or SyFy) version differs from the dvd version in that some of the language is toned down, and a few scenes are deleted or added back in and this will throw off the minute markers. Also the iTunes version (as does SciFi) splits the Pilot into two throwing off the numbering of episodes. Here the Pilot is one – episode 101.
Throughout the series we are treated to George’s ongoing commentary, but we never really know from what point of view she’s making these comments – the where and when.
Dead Like Me - Background to Resurrection
Posted 12 April 2009 - 01:17 PM
The ‘Dead Like Me’ TV series is the creation of Bryan Fuller. This thread is a series of postings episode by episode of my notes and commentary, plus the welcome postings of anyone else with something to say, add, or just discuss.
Posted 12 April 2009 - 01:35 PM
Episode 101 Pilot
“I think that for me death was just a wake up call.” – Georgia Lass
(Early on the stage is set with George explaining her take on the universe.)
(2) George Voiceover: That’s me. I’d say I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I’m not. I excel at not giving a sh*t. Experience has taught me that interest begets expectation, and expectation begets disappointment. So the key to avoiding disappointment is to avoid interest. A=B=C=A or whatever. I also don’t have a lot of interest in being a good person or bad person. From what I can tell either way you’re screwed.
Bad people are punished by society’s law.
And, good people……
are punished by Murphy’s law.
So you see my dilemma?
George introduces her family and we see (7) invisible Reggie’s glasses floating at the dinner table signaling her presence and with how much attention George regards her.
(George at night on her bed contemplating.)
(7) George Voiceover: When I was little my Mom told me Santa Claus didn’t exist. Neither did the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, or the Great Pumpkin. Even though she didn’t say so specifically I just sort of assumed God didn’t either ….otherwise I would probably be praying right now.
(George in bed in the dark, notices Reggie hiding in the closet, and escorts her out of the room.)
GVO: I’d pray for world peace, etc and maybe even for a little guidance. I mean do you know what it’s like to be cusping on adulthood and not know who you are? What you want to be, or even if you want to be? It’s ten shades of suck is what it is.
(George gets hit by the toilet seat and her soul has just appeared nearby. First Rube and then Betty approach.)
(16) George Voiceover: They say there are like five psychological stages of death. Ironically, this applies even if you’re already dead. Number one – Denial.
George: This isn’t happening. This isn’t real.
Rube: Ohh Peanut, this is as real as it gets. You’re dead.
GVO: That’s Betty. Also undead.
Betty: This is yours.
R: Mercy, that thing made a horrible noise, didn’t it?
G: But. .. I don’t remember feeling anything.
B: Your soul was popped out before impact.
R: We do that for violent deaths as a courtesy.
G: But, I didn’t want to die.
R: Well, nobody does, except for suicides. They’re no fun.
GVO: Number two is Anger
G: I’m only 18. I haven’t done anything. This isn’t fair.
So what are you? like …angels or something?
R: Oh no, no Ma’am. Angels don’t like to get their hands dirty, ya know upper management types. We have the unfortunate distinction of being called ‘Grim Reapers’.
GVO: Number three is Bargaining.
G: Well then, can’t you take someone else? Like ahh an old person, or that homeless guy? I won’t tell. I promise.
B: All right.
G: Well, I want my life back.
B: It’s not like you were doing anything with it.
GVO: And then there is Depression.
R: I know what might cheer ya up.
R: Your autopsy.
(20-21) (Rube and George sitting on couch in her house during crowded funeral reception / she’s still a newly dead soul with no substance.)
Rube to a man who just sat into and thru George: Excuse me. This seat’s taken.
Man: Excuse me.
George: How come they can see you but they can’t see me?
R: Well Peanut, you’re dead.
G: So are you!
R: Bite your tongue! I’ll have you know I am un–dead.
G: What’s the difference?
R: Well, as an un-dead person I have certain rights and privileges. For instance I have a physical body. I can enjoy the sweet deliciousness of this tasty key lime pie. And, if I so choose I can even interact with the living. Observe. Ah, how do you sir?
R: See, you can’t do that.
G: That sucks!
R: Well, for you dead types, sure, but I like it. It keeps the riff raff in its place.
(In the above dialogue, BF seems to be preparing the way for his grim reapers to have the same abilities as traditional grim reapers in Western lore i.e. the ability to move unseen among the living to collect the souls, but not everyone agrees on this point. In any case, there are only hints of this ability early on and it seems to be dropped very early giving the reapers a lot more challenge in getting to their reaps. If this convention had been kept the tone and type of story told would have been very different from what evolved both after the Pilot and then especially after BF left after episode 104.)
(21) (Still at the funeral George’s attention turns to Reggie)
George Voiceover: And then there was Reggie.
(Reggie goes upstairs and George follows her)
(Reggie takes refuge in George’s closet and George, unseen, sits near her. A reversal of roles whereas Reggie was the invisible sister now George can’t be seen.)
GVO: After ignoring her for 10 years, I guess it was my turn to be the invisible sister.
(22) (Downstairs George makes her first attempt to contact her family, she asks Rube to give them a message)
R: You missed all the commotion. Your Mother ..bawling so hard she started to choke. They almost called an ambulance.
R: She’s a mess. She’s never gonna stop missing her little girl.
G: Well. Since you’re interaction man, can’t you just tell them I’m OK?
R: I’ll get right on that.
G: Then I’ll tell them.
R: How do you propose doing that? Rattling some chains? Making the lights flicker? Do you know how to make wind sounds? I could help ya. I could do that part for ya.
G: Why do you have to be such an as*h*le?
(23) (In the kitchen George notices that with some effort she can move physical objects and she makes her first successful attempt to communicate with her family – spelling the word ‘moist’ with refrigerator magnets which has a special meaning just for Joy.)
(24) (George and Rube outside the Lass home)
G: So what’s next? Onward and upward?
R: Onward not upward.
No pearly gates for you…
No choirs of angels neither…
G: You d*ck! You’re sending me to Hell?
R: Don’t flatter yourself. You’re not that interesting.
You little dead girl, are going to be a Grim Reaper.
(24) (The scene in the Waffle Haus with Rube and Betty, George finds out she has a physical presence. In front of Kiffany they say some revealing things about dying and hookers whatnot, and Kiffany doesn’t seem to notice. Kiffany it turns out has been waitressing for this gang for decades and they seem to talk openly in front of her about what they do, and what?? What Kiffany thinks of all this is never explained.)
(26) George Voiceover: They kept tossing around words like ‘destiny’ and ‘fate’. The word ‘choice’ was never mentioned. That’s because I didn’t have one.
And just like that I became a Grim Reaper. Swear to God. I was born again, but not in a creepy religious way. All around me was a bright, shiny new world, and Death was everywhere.
(Here we get another hint about how BF may see traditional religion. This series is certainly not targeting a broad network demographic.)
(28) (Roxy is introduced. Note she reaches thru the physical (piano debris) to get to the soul and remove it from the woman’s body. This is perhaps an early premise moved away from later emphasizing that the reapers exist in between the world of the immaterial souls (before they pass on) and the living physical world. So in the Pilot BF seems to set up a reaper universe in which reapers if they choose can be seen or not by the living, and can move thru the physical (potentially walls and doors (?)) in keeping with traditional supernatural grim reapers. This was abandoned by episode 102 probably because without some more challenge for the reapers the stories would of necessity lean heavily on the introspective and be too dark.)
(29) (Rube tells George about the Gravelings. They are not invisible – but they can only be seen out of the corner of the reaper eye. Gravelings actually cause the deaths relieving the reapers of the direct emotional burden of killing people both for themselves within the story and for us as the audience. It seems to me the real purpose of Gravelings is to encourage more empathy for the reapers’ plight given the heavy theme of death throughout the show and allow more room for lighter comedic touch.)
(30) (Mason is introduced. He seems more mature, wiser and more in control of himself in this Pilot episode than his character later becomes.)
(37) (Betty, Mason, and George are sitting high on top of a building.)
M: Do you remember the first time you asked your parents about the ‘d’ word? My dad just about sh*t his pants. He told me not to worry. He said that most people died when they’re so old they don’t care about living anymore.
B: I’m sorry I tuned you out. Were you whining?
M: I didn’t sleep for a month. As childhood traumas go nothing…nothing beats the realization that everything dies – including you. So much worse than anything your parents could ever do to you, ya know
B: I was always a happy child. I never thought about death that much.
(At this point the dvd version cuts away to the ice cream scene with Mason and George, but in the SciFi/iTunes version the dialogue continues with some things to say about how a reaper should view their prior life.)
G: Did you die before your parents?
M: Yes, I did.
G: Ever visit them?.. like after you died?
B: Strictly verboten.
M: No contact with people from your previous life.
G: Why not?
M: Well, because as far as they’re concerned you’re dead.
G: What if I bump into them at Starbucks?
M: Wouldn’t recognize you if they did. The living they don’t look at us and see the same person they saw when we were alive.
G: Who do they see?
M: Someone else.
B: You go knockin’ on your Momma’s front door and say you’re her dead daughter and she’s going to call the police.
M: So do everyone a favor and stay dead.
(38) (This is the video ice cream scene with George and Mason outside the store in which we learn that the living see another appearance than what the reaper had when alive. Reapers see each other as they were in life. The living see another new appearance – a very different look. However, the reaper can see what the living see when they look at their image as taken thru a video camera, or presumably a photo. However, when the reaper looks into a mirror they see their reaper appearance. In ‘The Lovely Bones’ the girl’s ghost can wander as she likes unseen among the living. For BF with his girl physically among and interacting with the living and by necessity near her family he had to change something to make it work, and so this double image convention was created, though it becomes confusing even for the writers later in their story telling.)
In the DVD version the story moves right on into the Bank Scene with George and Mason, but in the SciFi/iTunes version George and Mason detour through a deleted scene with the ‘Plague Boys’ in which a couple of problematical ideas are brought up. The Plague Boys are a group of reapers who died 600 years before of the plague, presumably in Europe (and why and how are they in Seattle?). Mason explains that they reap what they sowed – you reap what you die of. The Plague Boys are stuck trying to get quotas in a time and place when no one dies of the plague anymore. The hopeful look the boys give the squirrel’s approach on the picnickers is cute, but it got cut leaving a more open rule book for reaper assignments in the DVD version, with reapers assigned to more general categories. This is just as well, or George could be waiting an eternity to collect souls for people who die from objects falling from space.
(39) (The Bank Scene with George and Mason)
M: Be as the fly on the wall. Observe ..do not interact.
G: That’s very Zen of you. You must smoke pot.
M: Seriously, some reapers believe that your appointment with death is on the books before you’re even born.
G: What if they don’t make the appointment?
M: How should I know?
(51) (The Garage Sale Scene / George talks to Joy)
George Voiceover: It was the longest conversation I had with my mother since I started having my period, and she didn’t even know it was me.
(A reaper can talk to former family as long as they don’t know who they are, and, the reaper is not talking about anything shared from life that would reveal their true identity.)
Right after the Garage Sale Scene the reapers gather in the Waffle Haus for banana bonanzas all around, and there is a fork in the story road between the original Showtime/ DVD version and what SciFi/iTunes shows. The DVD version has dialogue about Betty’s hard nipples when she sneezes and at the end of the scene there’s Roxy’s comment referring to George’s first reap as getting her cherry busted. The SciFi/iTunes version has a few extra lines for Rube passing postits and asking for volunteers at the County General hospital – a question that gets asked in later dialogue in the very next episode.
Rube: Get yourself a place to stay?
Betty: I found a new place too.
Roxy: Oh, ya?
B: Very nicely equipped – all the amenities, a Jacuzzi tub, (etc.)
Rube: It’s all about the mattress.
B: Simmons Terrace Hill. Medium firm.
Roxy: You b*tch.
B: Babies don’t sleep that good. They can’t afford to.
Mason: So…Did the waitress come back? D*mn, I am thirsty. You don’t mind do you? Thank you.
Rube: Banana Bonanzas all around.
G: Actually, I was gonna have….
Roxy: The man said Banana Bonanzas …all around.
G: Banana Bonanza, and um, can I have some more juice please?
M: And some water.
(Betty sneezes X3)
Roxy: Bless you
B: Excuse me. (looking at George) Do your nipples get hard when you sneeze?
G: Ahh, ahh, I don’t..I don’t know.
B: Mine do. I could put an eye out. Yours?
Roxy: Like little diamonds.
Rube: Mine are always hard. I’m not sure why.
(Rube passes Roxy a postit)
Roxy: I already did this guy.
Rube: That was senior. This is ah ..junior.
Roxy: Oh…That’s sad.
M: They should have died together. Saved you a journey.
Roxy: Really though.
Rube: So, Peanut. Feel up to taking a soul today?
G: Nnn, not really.
Rube: That’s too bad. (passes George a postit)
Roxy: Time to bust that cherry.
Rube: Get yourself a place to stay?
Betty: I found a new place too.
Roxy: Oh, ya?
B: Very nicely equipped – all the amenities, a Jacuzzi tub, (etc.)
Rube: It’s all about the mattress.
B: Simmons Terrace Hill. Medium firm.
Roxy: You b*tch.
B: Babies don’t sleep that good. They can’t afford to.
Mason: So…Did the waitress come back? D*mn, I am thirsty. You don’t mind do you? Thank you.
Rube: Banana Bonanzas all around.
G: Actually, I was gonna have….
Roxy: The man said Banana Bonanzas …all around.
G: Banana Bonanza, and um, can I have some more juice please?
M: And some water.
Rube: One for you, one for you, .. and …. one for you
Roxy: I already did this guy.
Rube: That was senior. This is ah ..junior.
Roxy: Oh…That’s sad.
M: They should have died together. Saved you a journey.
Roxy: Really though.
Rube: Before I forget our friends down at County General are looking for a few volunteers to help with ah appointment overflow. Any takers? (no one responds) Just thought I’d ask.
Rube: So, Peanut. Feel up to taking a soul today?
G: Nnn, not really.
Rube: That’s too bad. (passes George a postit)
(1:08) (George to ‘little girl’ on train)
G: I don’t know if this is what I’m supposed to say….I….I mean you…Do me a favor and just close your eyes.
(The only time someone dies seemingly as a cause of being reaped. Normally, the cause of death is attributed to the Gravelings – perhaps to lighten up the story and help generate empathy for the reapers, something the audience might be less inclined to do if it was the reapers themselves who were always the ones associated with the dying or killing.)
(1:10) George with Rube seeing off the little girl
George to little girl: We’re going to go for a ride. OK?
(Little girl starts to run towards her lights)
R: You can’t go where she’s going.
G: What is it?
R: It’s not for us to know.
(The reapers are not to know what comes after – stuck in between the living world of which they are not allowed to take an active part, and the newly ghost dead who go off to where the reapers cannot follow or even have knowledge of.)
(1:11) George Voiceover: As we walked into the dark unknown or whatever you want to call it, I thought ….Is this it? Is this who I am? Am I really a Grim Reaper?
(Balancing the early scenes with George and Reggie in George’s room, the camera here shows Joy moving thru what is now Reggie’s room and not noticing that George is sitting in the closet. And, then a pointer towards a main theme of the George story throughout the series as George tells us:)
GVO: I think that for me death was just a wake up call.
Posted 19 April 2009 - 08:27 PM
Ep 102 Dead Girl Walking
“I wasn’t done liking things….. I wasn’t done not liking things.
I wasn’t done.
So I forged ahead. I found a way.
And I’m trying to let that be a good thing. As deviant as that might sound.
After all, it’s hard to p*ss and moan about not having a purpose in life,
when Death handed it to me on a platter.” -Georgia Lass
(In this episode George is as lost undead as when alive. She opens the episode an outsider without purpose and by the end finds some reason to go on. When she tries quitting Rube explains the consequences, which while not detailed don’t sound good. She finally decides to find a way to go on for herself, and when she finds out how screwed up Reggie has become, a new purpose takes shape as she sees Reggie in a new light.)
(16) (Standing with Betty on road)
George Voiceover: There was no signpost for me, at least not one I wanted to follow. I was rudderless. I didn’t belong. Was I the only bad person? Didn’t anyone else want to be bad?
(17) (At the Waffle Haus with George, Roxy, and Mason)
George: I used to think that ‘soul food’ meant it came from Seoul, Korea. You know…cause ‘Seoul’ is a city in Korea…
(18) (NOTE: food sensitivities: at the Waffle Haus Roxy, Mason, and George are discussing their various food sensitivities. Given they are impervious from physical harm or wounds it seems a bit odd that they would have digestive problems of any kind. Roxy doesn’t like beans – Mason custardy foods – George yogurt except with cereal.)
George Voiceover: I was undead and kicking, but at a loss on how to live, and frankly carving my own path seemed like way too much work.
(George here isn’t finding easy acceptance among the other reapers, and is setting herself up to try dropping out.)
(Rube here is giving George some ‘sage advice’ counseling her to patience in getting used to her new reaper existence.
People as waffles analogy with Rube as voiceover..)
(20) Rube Voiceover: Life is like an assembly line. First you have the great idea. Masterplan. You make a prototype. Then you start mass producing ….billions and billions. They don’t last forever. Nothing does. And it’s your job ….to take them off the shelf. You’re helping to restock life, Peanut.
George Voiceover: This pill wasn’t going down any easier.
(21) (Shift to Rube and George talking at counter)
R: But I do know if this were supposed to last it would. So don’t let that be a bad thing any more than it already is.
G: That’s some sage advice, but don’t you think it’s pretty stupid to put me in this position? I mean… I could have a nervous breakdown. And just so you know I’m very prone to anxiety attacks.
R: Big deal.
G: I don’t … I don’t think I’m supposed to be doing this
R: Well, if somebody else were supposed to be doing this, then I’d be sitting here talking to somebody else.
G: But I don’t know anything … about anything
R: You think I do? Most of the time I’m talking out of my *ss. I don’t know sh*t. When I’m supposed to know something I’ll know it. When you’re supposed to know something you’ll know it.
I lost my train of thought. What was I saying? Yes. Be patient for Christ’s sake. You’re learning. And just smell some f*cking roses, already.
(George looks skeptically at Rube)
R: You do the honors. (passing postit for Waffle Man behind the counter) Pick this up for me, will ya? I’m going to get some air.
Waffle Man: Can I help you?
G: Say, aren’t you one of them Roth boys?
George Voiceover: As I stood there staring at the soon-to-be-dead man. I began to think of him like a box of waffles and his expiration date had come up.
(33) (At the Morgue)
(NOTE: Soul can’t get out until Reaper reaps//soul trapped very much aware, but feeling no pain)
(35) (Rube sends the newly dead soul off with Roxy to find his lights. Rube talks to George.)
G: I can’t do this.
R: Sure you can. You have to.
G: I don’t have to do sh*t.
R: Do you like spaghetti, George? I like spaghetti. I like board games. I like grabbing the trifecta with that long shot on top. That ozone smell you get from air purifiers. And I like knowing the space between my ears is immeasurable. Mahler’s first Bernstein conducting. You got to think about all the things you like, and decide whether they’re worth sticking around for. And if they are you’ll..you’ll find a way to do this.
G: What if I don’t?
R: Then you will go away. And you don’t get to like anything anymore.
(37) (George finds reason to go on//Finds out how screwed up Reggie is when follows her to the toilet seat tree she’s created.)
George Voiceover: I stood there thinking about all the things I liked, and all the things I didn’t like. And I realized you can like something and not like it at the same time. Not like loving unconditionally. That’s an act of desperation. This was different.
Like respecting somebody for being a mess, because you’re a mess too.
It was reassuring to finally find someone else who wanted to be bad. And it was horrifying to know it wasn’t just what I do now that matters………It was what I did then.
I wasn’t done liking things….. I wasn’t done not liking things.
I wasn’t done.
(George goes to Happy Time to interview with Delores and she smiles at Delores.)
George Voiceover: So I forged ahead. I found a way.
Delores: Can I call you Millie?
G: Yea ..OK
George Voiceover: And I’m trying to let that be a good thing. As deviant as that might sound.
After all, it’s hard to p*ss and moan about not having a purpose in life, when Death handed it to me on a platter.
Posted 03 May 2009 - 04:51 PM
Ep 103 Curious George
“At the end of the day all you have are your experiences. I spent so much of my life avoiding experiences I didn’t have much to lose.” - Georgia Lass
A lot happens in this key Bryan Fuller episode. In the prior episode George is almost overwhelmed by the shock of being thrown into the reaper existence and attempts to just quit the whole reaper thing (something that always worked in life vs her Mother), but here she finds the going tougher. She can’t fit in and is unable to connect with the other reapers - a strong alienation theme runs throughout the episode.
She can’t stay away from home despite warnings from Rube and the others, and she does the obvious – makes an attempt to go talk to Joy and reveal who she really is – finding out that the Powers That Be have an answer for this sort of misbehavior by reapers – the loss of any memories the reaper tries to share.
The opening starts with a voiceover from George contrasting the heart and brain – a rational person, the brain, wouldn’t try to go back, but when emotion is the guide then the heart rules, and back she goes – first to steal undies and a family picture and then to go for the whole enchilada – a return to her family.
(2) (Heart vs Brain set-up)
George Voiceover: The average heart beats about 43 hundred times an hour. That’s 800 thousand times a week. Nine million times a crisp Fall. And 2.7 billion beats in a lifetime.
Well, what is an average heart anyway? And how many beats do broken hearts get?
If I had to choose between being a heart or a brain, I would definitely choose a heart, because at least you do something.
If you’re a brain, at the end of the day all you’re really good at is settling for sh*tty situations.
(4) (George with Rube at the gas station with the bear and protesters)
G: Do you really care how it’s going with me?
R: Sure. I make my face look like this and then .. then the concerned words come out.
Note: at (4-5) R&G show up with one postit for R. Luber. George reaps him but two people die. One reaped before death the other after. The one before shows no damage while the one after does. Rube angrily says that’s why you take the soul before death (to avoid the soul showing damage). Seems sloppy writing – only one postit with no evidence of their searching or awareness of the second one until it happens and then no surprise at a no postit death.
At (5) George gets sprayed across the front with blood – something repeated throughout the series.
At (6) BF pays homage to Bergman’s ‘The Seventh Seal’ with a march up a hill in single file by the reapers, Mason and George, leading the two reapees from the gas station.
(6-7) (At Happy Time)
George Voiceover: …..One desperate attempt after another to find something in common with someone else and then cling.
Hey, you have ten fingers. I have ten fingers, let’s be friends. We’ll make rules and slogans, then if we find someone with nine fingers we can beat the cr*p out of them.
(George sees Delores in her cubicle)
GVO: It bothered me she was in my work space. It bothered me more that I had started to feel some connection to three felt covered walls and a chair that smelled like pine sole when it warmed to my body temperature.
GVO: What kind of universe would give me the power to remove souls from people’s bodies and yet have to work at a suck *ss job if I wanted to eat.
(8) GVO: I wish people were more complicated, but they’re not.
(9) (The reaper gang is gathered around the at the Waffle Haus.)
GVO: Maybe it was the uniform, but it did make me wonder, What team was I on?
Rube: So. Still loving your day job, Peanut?
G: I don’t know.
R: Remind me.
G: Office assistant.
Betty (to George): You’ve got a whole Breck girl thing happening.
George: Ahe…..I don’t know what that means.
Rube: It means you’ve got too much stuff on your face.
(11) (Joy finds out that her own mother told Reggie she thinks Joy’s smile is fake. Joys mutters ‘B*tch’.)
(12) (George sneaks into her old house while the family is out getting the annual family photo done.)
GVO: .. That’s how I feel about this. It doesn’t make any sense, but I still have to try it. Going home was f*cked up. But I couldn’t help myself.
I didn’t give a gerbil’s *ss about all this cr*p when I was alive. Now it all seemed suddenly precious.
(She steals last year’s family photo and some clothes. While there she finds Reggie’s math homework, which she quickly does for her.)
(15) (George falls asleep on her old bed comforted by her own smell still on some of her old clothes.)
(18) (Reggie secretly uses an Ouija board to try to contact George’s ghost. Turns out to be not too effective. ‘Do you wear clothes?’ ‘No’.)
(19) (George blurts out to Betty while on a nighttime reap together that she went back home.)
G: I went home.
B: Everybody wants to go home, … but that doesn’t make it right.
G: Nobody saw me.
B: It’s not about them, it’s about you.
It’s what you see.
B: Mmmh. It’s very tempting to think that the little jewels from our lives will bring it all back. But they don’t.
(While Betty explains this to George we are treated to images of Betty digging up her own grave to get a ring she was buried with --- on her gravestone: Betty Rhomer/1899 – 1926)
B: You can’t go back.
G: Are you going to tell Rube?
(Concerning what to connect with/Birds as friends: at (20) we get another view on connecting with others when Mason and Roxy discuss her intention to get a pet bird.)
R: I’m gonna get a pet bird.
M: Don’t get a bird.
R: Why not?
M: Because they’re weird.
Man, I can’t relate to birds. They’re so far removed. They’ve got different chromosomes … And they come from eggs.
R: They got faces.
M: So do cockroaches.
M: Man, what are you going to do with a bird?
R: Stick it in a cage and feed it. What do you think I’m going to do with it?
M: Well, I think you should at least get one you can eat.
R: I’m gonna get a friend. I’m not going to eat it!
George Voiceover: She wasn’t the only one looking for a friend.
(22) (Returns to Betty and George walking together returning from the reap.)
George: So, what are you going to do now?
….I mean, because, if you want to get dinner, or something?
Betty: Don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m just not up to the whole bonding buddy girl thing, OK?
George Voiceover: Hard to think what the wrong way to take that would be.
George: Hey, I didn’t want to bond either. I’m just …. hungry.
(23) (Joy goes to exercise and finds the TV is missing. It appears George took more than the picture and undies.)
(26) (At Happy Time George has to man the phones while everyone else gets cake at a farewell party for someone.)
George Voiceover: Little moments like that prove to me that there is some kind of all powerful all knowing force that controls everything in the universe. And, it’s so f*cking bored it will actually take time out to orchestrate a petty let down like that. It’s not that I even cared about the cake, or the conversation. But I guess standing outside all that bullsh*t, I started to realize how warm and safe that bullsh*t might actually feel.
(26) (Joy confronts Reggie about her stealing the TV.)
Joy: Ya know, the sad thing here is that you can’t come up with a more original way to act out.
Reggie: I don’t have the television.
J: If you’re testing me you are going to lose. I don’t care what you do. You can set the car on fire, eat the cat. I will not give you extra attention because you won’t let go of this.
(Never understood why Joy wouldn’t want to give her own daughter ‘extra attention’ whether she wanted to ‘let go of this’ or not.)
(27) (We see Mason and Betty in some scheme to obtain extra cash. Mason is showing signs of here of weakness for Betty much like he will later for Daisy.)
George Voiceover: If there’s any poetry to being a reaper it’s in combining the business of taking souls with the pleasure of making money. If you can get a little self – awareness too, then you’re the Walt F*cking Whitman of reapers.
(30) (The reaper gang at the Waffle Haus as George shows up.)
Kiffany: Know what you want?
G: Ya, banana bonanza and ..
Rube: Heard you went home again.
G: ..wheat toast, ..
R: Big f*cking mistake..
G: ..and a glass of water.
Rube: I’m a reasonable man, George. That’s what I’m supposed to say, right?
Kiffany: I’ll come back.
R: I’m a reasonable man, George. Even though you flip me off.
Ehm I’m… you frustrate me, Peanut.
If I hear you have any contact with your old life again, you will have a torment come down upon you that you cannot imagine.
Mason: (smirking) Check please.
Betty: (also smiles)
G: I know that’s supposed to scare me, but I can’t think of anything you could do that’s any worse than what’s already happened.
(Kiffany brings check)
M: Oh, I was only joking. I’m really sorry.
(35) (George is reaping at the gas station again …. The bear scares the pee out of the TV guy who then gets electrocuted)
George Voiceover: I know a couple of things. I know that a few hours from now somebody will be standing in this guy’s closet smelling his shirts…trying to reconnect.
And, I know where that bear is going. She’s going in search of the relationship all of us are trying to recreate in one way, or another.
(officer tries to shoot and misses the bear due to George’s intervention.)
GVO: You’d think that since I know so much about everything I wouldn’t do what I’m about to do.
(36) (George goes to her old front door and rings the doorbell. Reggie answers the door.)
George Voiceover: I could do this .. It was no big deal after all reapers look different to the living.
Reggie: Do you want something?
George: How are you?
I’m a friend of your Mom’s. I like your hair like this. (George touches Reggie’s hair)
Joy: What are you doing?
Joy: (to Reggie) Get in the house.
Get in the house!!
(to George) I remember you!
G: The yard sale.
J: You should leave.
J: I don’t have time for this.
George Voiceover: I figured I wouldn’t have a lot of time at this point, so I worked out just the right thing to say. It was supposed to go like this:
George: When I was five I had an imaginary friend named Brockley Bee, and you took out one of your steno pads and we wrote a story with pictures on one side and words on the other.
GVO: But, it kinda looked more like this:
George: When I was five.. .. I ..um I .uu. I .. had a friend…and um ...
George Voiceover: That’s it. That’s all that would come out. I had lots of other things to say, but somehow they all kinda melted into a fine mist. Mom, on the other hand…
Joy: You are a real f*cking piece of work aren’t you?
(40-41) (Back at the Waffle Haus here’s the exchange between George and Rube.)
Rube: I know the menu like a first phone number… still have to read it to know what I want.
George: Can I get a number 6
R: Want this?
G: I went home again.
R: Pass me a napkin.
R: You OK?
R: You lose anything?
G: I don’t know…..I tried to tell my Mom a story and ….. and now I can’t even remember what it was.
George Voiceover: It’s cruel and simple. The more I held onto my life the less there was to hold onto.
G: So my whole life …. everything… all I get to keep are thoughts and memories?
R: It’s all we ever had, Peanut.
I’ll see you in the morning?
George Voiceover: At the end of the day all you have are your experiences. I spent so much of my life avoiding experiences I didn’t have much to lose.
GVO: I was just thinking that maybe I had done the whole thing wrong……..when breakfast came
(42) (The last scene is of the new Lass family photos - without George….)
For BF’s reaper universe to work – with multitudes of reapers existing on the fringes of the living world – without the living being aware of them, there has to be something to prevent the obvious desire by the deceased from returning to pay a visit on the former living acquaintances to reveal themselves. In BF’s story of George, an 18 year old angst ridden girl, the barrier is the threat of a loss of memories which is shown touchingly in this episode when George tries to go back. BF isn’t showing all the cards in this game though, but for this character in this story it works. With other characters – say an older experienced male with a greater potential for violence – the threat of a loss of common memories might not be enough. Imagine a bank robber betrayed who returns as a reaper – can’t be stopped by bullets or killed – he might need something more to dissuade him from visiting a no postit death on some of the still living.
For the George story, the basic rules seem to be that
1) Reapers may not contact any living from past life. But there's a loophole - even with family - that
2) Reapers can talk to family/people that they knew when alive as long as they are not crossing the identity barrier (the family/person doesn't know who they are).
3) They cannot communicate any shared thoughts or memories from their past life.
4) If they attempt to cross the barrier they will not be able to speak (or write or whatever) the shared memory and will lose it.
In the examples below, it’s also clear that the PTB are heavily involved in the enforcement.
1) See dvd's ep 103 'Curious George' at minute (20) by Betty and again by Rube at (31). In ep 205 note that Rube's letter many years prior got waylaid at the post office and then years later delivered back to him. What’s very interesting with Rube’s letter is that the PTB didn’t just destroy the letter, but seem to have used it to manipulate him towards some end of their own (for him).
2) See Pilot at (52-53) when George has a long conversation with her mother, who does not know that it's George. In the ep 109 'Sunday Mornings' at (39-41) George asks her father about herself, but he doesn't know who she really is. In both cases George has no problem talking and no loss of memories.
3) See ep 103 'Curious George' at (36-37) where George marches up to her door and tries to tell Joy something only she and George would know and can't say anything of substance leading to an angry rejection by Joy.
4) See same ep at (41) where George reveals to Rube that she went home again. Instead of blowing up in anger, Rube kindly asks her whether she ‘lost anything?’ and then, before she can answer suggests the key answer, ‘memories?’ – likely because he already knew what would happen in a situation like this. Then George says she remembers that she tried to tell her Mother a story, but can’t remember what it is anymore. So George finds out, the hard way, that she can’t go home – ‘all she gets to keep are thoughts and memories’. A point gently brought home by Rube: ‘It’s all we ever had, Peanut’.
BF, in order to make his reaper universe work and to tell the story of a young reaper existing right next door to her old family, had to set up a solid barrier to make sure that all reapers couldn’t reveal themselves to former living acquaintances. Without something like the threat of a loss of memories (and probably much more) the reapers’ secret existence among the living wouldn’t last long at all.
A final key point that will come up in the Life After Death movie is that this rule is manipulated by the PTB towards their own ends – the primary example first appears in the series in a later episode with Rube’s letter to his family several decades before.
Posted 03 June 2009 - 05:13 PM
Posted 14 June 2009 - 05:26 PM
Ep 104 Reapercussions
"Maybe Fate doesn’t always have the last word.
Maybe Fate doesn’t always want the last word." - Georgia Lass
In the Pilot, we get our introduction to Georgia, her family, and the reaper universe into which George is thrown kicking and screaming. In ep 102, she flounders a bit and then finds a reason(s) to go on. In ep 103, she tries to ignore her fate and go back home and finds out the PTB thought of and prepared for that possibility. In this episode, p*ssed about her own irreversible fate when she finds out that the PTB aren’t perfect in their decisions as to who should die when, she sees an opportunity, a loophole, and decides to take the initiative by preventing someone else’s death. She quickly finds out that substituting her own judgment for the PTB can have very bad consequences.
I don’t think BF’s point here is to explore anything deep about predestination. He’s more interested in exploring George’s emotional reaction to her own death and her growth towards accepting her own fate. Early in the episode when she finds out that on occasion the PTB make mistakes and people scheduled to die somehow once in a while can escape their fate, she’s p*ssed that something or someone didn’t interfere with her own untimely and unfair end at so young an age. She resolves to do what she can to help someone else, in part probably because it’s in her nature (and age) not to cooperate with higher authority (even really high up authority). Rube as the local physical manifestation of authority (and someone who very long ago gave up resisting his own fate and assigned role as a reaper) is getting seriously upset at her deliberate and careless refusal to go along with the reaper role in the balance of things.
We also see more and more signs of Rube’s lifestyle. He’s long since found his groove. He lives in a modest apartment and focuses on simple personal pleasures – eating and music. He shows no sign at all of questioning the decisions by the PTB as to who dies and the when or the why – the perfect cog in fate’s machine – with his nose to the grindstone. George tho has questions and doesn’t like the first round of answers and pushes back.
George Voice Over: My name is George Lass. I take souls.
(In the opening a little review to remind the viewer of some key points to understand in this episode.)
They set things in motion.
They make the accidents happen.
G: They kill people?
R: Life and death. They have to exist in perfect harmony. Yin and Yang..call it what you want. That balance has to be maintained.
G: Or else?
R: Or else things get out of hand and that ain’t pretty.
(2) (The peanut poppy opening)
GVO: Long and gnarled is the fickle finger of Fate. But that finger has a p*sser of a hang nail. It can be crippling and in the game of Life and Death, it’s good to know Fate has a weakness.
(The loophole itself - not everything is perfectly set beforehand)
(3) GVO: Something as insignificant as a peanut poppy can change fate.
(Roxy and George are sitting and talking in her parking scooter waiting for a reapee, J H Arnold, to show for his appointment with Death.)
GVO: I wish she had a tail. If it was wagging at least I’d know she liked me.
(3) (Back at the Waffle Haus)
Roxy: My guy’s a no-show.
Rube: Were you on time?
Roxy: I was on time for the time you gave me.
George: Soo does this mean a soul is gonna rot now? I mean – he had an appointment, right?
Mason: He missed it.
Roxy: So buttons, B*tch. Don’t you listen?
Rube: Somebody doesn’t show up for an appointment, the appointment gets cancelled. It’s rare, but it happens.
G: So he gets to live? Like consequence free?
Rube: Well, ???? appointment can be rescheduled, sure.
G: You said you can’t reschedule. You can’t change Fate – cardinal rule, everybody dies. You said these things.
Rube: Well every so often things don’t go as planned. It’s not personal.
G: So like on a whim or on a wild hare, he goes to pick up donuts, and he gets to live?
Rube: Sounds like instant Karma to me.
GVO: No one mentioned that Death had a loophole
G: That’s really f*cking unfair
(My feeling watching this is that George is really mad because her death didn’t get rescheduled – not any peevish reaction to the fact the PTB might not be perfect.)
(The beginning of the end for Betty. It seems that in real life the bad consequences of her driving aggressively with a cell phone in hand caught up with her. The PTB at MGM, either as a pretext or maybe they really believed that the resulting fatality justified her removal from the show, wanted Betty removed. Things were apparently messy and so the exit a bit clumsy.)
(5) Roxy: Where’s Betty?
Rube: Incapacitated. She’s working on it.
(Shows a drawer in the morgue with ‘Jane Doe’ written on it and can hear Betty calling out.)
(5) GVO: Fate isn’t always fickle. Sometimes it’s sticks to what it knows.
(7) (Her own fate eats at her)
GVO: As I worked thru the dregs. I couldn’t help but ponder the day I died.
What if I stayed in the office for my 35 minutes lunch hour? What if I ate in the break room? What if I missed by appointment? What if it really was unfair? I may not have been able to save my life, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t save somebody else’s.
(10) (Rube and Mason talking during reap assignment – the one where they go off together to take care of a large gambling group on a bus.)
(This early much more wise Mason shows some interesting insight. Rube is upset that George is not being part of the team and then Mason – to Rube’s irritation - tells him maybe he should say it to George. Mason is clearly artfully jerking Rube’s chain.)
(13) (Re: Mason’s smuggling drugs)
GVO: But tempting Fate is another issue altogether, … especially when you’re supplementing your income smuggling drugs up your *ss.
(14) GVO: While Rube was being fickle fingered (for his kill the baby remark) I was returning to Happy Time with a click in my heal. I was strong. I was invincible. I beat the system, righted a universal wrong, but what about the variables?
(see Crystal licking Dolores’ phone)
GVO: Not even Herbig who sanitizes herself to the point of pathology can account for all the variables.
(18) (Dolores offers George a 3rd day / week of work)
GVO: Somehow I was failing …upward.
I stood out, because I was the only one standing.
(21) (A big flood of reaps is flustering Rube / he mentions there’s an 8 hour window (for reaping?) and George finally gets around to telling Rube she had a no show.)
GVO: It seemed like a good time to slip in under the radar.
G: Oh ..Umm..I forgot to tell you. My last guy didn’t show up. Just thought you might want to know.
(to Kiffany) What’s the soup today?
Rube: Cream of b*llsh*t!!
(Rube forcefully takes George to the men’s restroom)
G: I stood at the intersection for like an hour and nothing happened.
R: Do me a favor. Pretend a couple of days have gone by and you rethought this little lie. You’re sad, repentant, because you’ve had an epiphany. Grown the f*ck up!!
G: I’m not lying!
R: Sure you are, Peanut. People lie all the time. It’s not a bad thing. You’re just misguided. Now how’s about trying some honesty on for size.
What have you got to say for yourself?
G: I’m not.. lying!
GVO: Sometimes if a lie is big enough there’s an instinctive need to protect it. It’s almost maternal.
I could only pray there wasn’t any surveillance footage or eye witness accounts linking me to P J Monroe and his non-death.
It was my plan to call as little attention to myself as possible from here on out.
That was the plan anyway.
(24) (George sees a TV news broadcast and gets an education.)
GVO: It slowly dawned on me that I may have made a mistake.
(26) (George crying hard in the restroom)
R: You’re taking this awfully hard.
G: I just feel … really bad about all the people that had to die…accidently.
R: Oh, is that it? I thought maybe you saw the news and were feeling sh*tty about what you did.
(George opens the door)
R: You pulled the wrong piece out of the Jinga Tower little girl.
You know what a hiccup is?
R: You gotcha self a hiccup – something happened that’s not supposed to happen - system has to figure out what that something is and fix it. P J Monroe.
G: I’m sorry.
R: What did you do? Slash his tire: Have him arrested?
G: I just talked to him.
R: Must have been some conversation.
G: I guess.
R: I hope it was worth it. What’da got the hots for the guy or something?
R: What.. he give you some money?
R: Help …me…out.
G: I …just …wanted to see if I could do it.
R: I need somebody to give me lessons on how to communicate with you, Peanut, because I’m at a loss. The coin’s in the slot and gumball’s on its way and I’m plumb out of wisdom.
I’d start sleeping with the lights on if I was you.
GVO: I didn’t know if that was a threat or a warning.
GVO: Rube washed his hands of me, but that didn’t mean I was off the hook.
(28) GVO: It only got worse. I broke the rules. The gravelings declared hunting season on my *ss.
GVO: Rube was only responsible for us ….up to a point.
(Shows Rube helping Mason thru his drug overdose.)
(29) GVO: It was sad to realize he’d have my back…if I hadn’t already turned it on him.
(31) GVO: All around me the bridges were burning.
(31) (Rube and Mason open this dialogue in a booth at the Waffle Haus mentioning getting poisoned. Here the dialogue brings into focus the difference between George and Rube – one feels the need to question Fate and act on it – the other .. no such compulsion.
But a lot else is going on. Some fans believe this is where we find out how Rube died – poisoning – but that doesn’t seem at all clear. Eventually in the two seasons of episodes we do get to find out how each of the reapers died except for Rube it’s not revealed anywhere. Somebody correct me on this if I missed it.
Here again Mason plays big brother to George. George who was so abruptly removed from her comfortable context with nice compliant parent figures to rebel against is here up against Rube. She clearly is desperate for his approval – and guidance? – but on her terms. He on the other hand needs to get her to toe the line as soon as possible to avoid some really bad consequences for her. He alludes to these bad consequences, again, here when he gives her a postit. Rube’s tough love approach –withholding any positive interaction - is causing George some emotional pain as she tries to recover from her mistake in interfering with her Monroe reap.)
Mason: I feel like I’ve been poisoned. Have you been poisoned?
Rube: No, not on purpose. Had some bad salmon once. I don’t touch the stuff anymore.
M: Was it salmon mousse?
R: I don’t know. It was canned.
(George shows up)
R: Good morning.
G: Good morning.
(Rube prepares to leave.)
G: Why are you leaving?
R: Well, because if I stay you’ll put me in a bad mood, and it’s a beautiful day and I don’t want to be in a bad mood.
G: Do you not like me anymore?
R: Well, not right at this minute. You’re a constipater, Peanut. You disturb my sh*t and that’s annoying.
M: I think you’re marvelous.
R: This (indicating Mason) is not your role model.
G: In case you haven’t noticed, I’m really sorry.
R: And you’ll be really sorry till I decide to forgive or till you decide to stop doing all the stupid things you do that make you sorry.
G: Haven’t you ever tried to save anybody?
G: Have you (Mason)?
M: I need to be unconscious.
G: I know I p*ss you off, but you p*ss me off, too!
R: Oh, I p*ss you off?
G: Why is it so easy for you to accept everything the way it is? Why don’t you ask questions?
R: Well, because, I’m not that curious.
If you don’t get this (passes a postit to George) right someone’s going to drop another toilet seat on your head, and that will be that.
Give this to Roxy when she shows up. (passes Roxy’s postit to George)
(Rube gets up to leave)
R: Here. I got something. (Hands cash to George) Buy yourself a waffle….cherry on top
G: Do you think I’m a constipater?
M: Heed his advice and stay on his good side - He’s like a volcano, George. He … erupts. He spews lava and all the little villagers, they run around, they run around for their lives. But, you know, he stops and you can go back to the safety of your own home.
G: How long is he going to stay mad?
M: I’ve seen him stay mad for years.
I’ve seen it, but it’s not like this … this pit bull mad. It’s like this disturbing simmering quiet rage mad.
But he likes you, George. He’ll stay mad for less time.
G: Days? Weeks?
M: What was that other one? After that last one?
M: Ya, ya that’s the one.
(35) (Meanwhile back home Joy is having a sit down with Reggie over her own little rebellion (in part for keeping a dead bird in her room). Sadly Reggie and Joy can’t find each other no more than George and Rube can -- at least at this point.)
(36) (Here we return to the peanut poppy opening and what motivated Roxy to interfere with Fate. Roxy is angry and ranting about something and George is thinking ……and she grows up a bit – gets a bit wiser. Reapers don’t age, but they have open the possibility of personal growth.)
GVO: In that moment I understood Roxy more than I ever did before. A piece of the puzzle had just fallen into place. It was like finding out someone’s parents are psychiatrists or … raised Catholic.
Roxy had an even sh*ttier job than me. I don’t know how she put up with it.
I didn’t know that J H Arnold was a sunshine, after a long dark night of *ssh*les.
I didn’t know he greeted his ticket with a smile, and said ‘You got me’.
I didn’t know he shared his favorite candy – a candy his silvered haired mother in Athens, Georgia, shipped to him special on birthdays and holidays.
And, I didn’t know she got his name on a postit almost a year to the day after their brief, but .. fateful meeting.
But I do know there was something about him she thought was worth saving …..because she changed his Fate.
I don’t know how……but she did.
Even tho they made her breath smell like *ss, it was the peanut poppies that won her over. She’d never admit it. So there was no point in asking.
(38) (George applies her new hard won wisdom to her Crystal problem etc.)
GVO: So I brought Crystal a present. A shoe gift-wrapped in dog t*rd.
I’d been b*tch slapped by Fate,
but does that make me Fate’s b*tch?
They say if you mess with the bull you get the horns. But what if the bull hung that little cape over your shoulders and said red was your color?
I could easily replace the light bulb, but the smell of dog sh*t under her desk was gonna linger.
Whether it be wrestling with Fate, or engaging in the art of war sometimes a cease fire is necessary.
After a long protracted battle was I finally forging an ally?
(39) (We see Reggie and Joy forging a tentative connection in a taxidermy class.)
GVO: Maybe Fate doesn’t always have the last word.
Maybe Fate doesn’t always want the last word.
Posted 21 July 2009 - 11:58 AM
Maybe Fate doesn’t always want the last word.
The above is so vague. What about one of these quotes - also from George's voiceover - to capture the meaning of the episode?
Posted 06 August 2009 - 03:35 PM
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God." (Matthew 5:9)
Let's declare 2015 as the Year We Move On.
Posted 15 August 2009 - 07:25 PM
Ep 105 Reaping Havoc
George: Why do I keep losing all the things and people that I care about?
Rube: That’s what life is, Peanut.
This episode could have gone so very badly because of the turmoil surrounding the departure of Bryan Fuller and the demands by MGM to remove the Betty character. Despite the multiple directions and duties it works well.
Whatever BF’s original plans for this episode it became a very nicely done farewell to Betty showing in early scenes her reaper birth and ending with her jumping off into George’s reap’s lights. To make room for Betty’s story, they dispensed entirely with George’s family - the only episode to do so, I believe.
This episode reaffirms Rube as a father figure for George in a couple of places.
In the opening dialogue between Rube and George, they’re discussing her prior screw up and then Rube – in a way that strongly reminded me of Joy trying to get thru to Reggie – asks / offers to George ‘Wanna talk?’ and is rejected. These parallel relationships continue to develop throughout the series. Joy tries so hard to reach thru to Reggie. In the end Reggie grows to the point where she not only is in control of herself, but also exerts a calming influence on Joy – changing her for the better. Rube here and elsewhere is trying to force George to behave – communication problems galore. By the last episode, it’s Rube that becomes resigned to George’s point of view (regarding contacting living family).
George in a voiceover labels Rube as ‘comfortable and safe’.
George confirms Betty as her friend, and then loses her by the end of the episode.
Another theme is the one brought up by Betty - people are pretty much alike - ‘People are not snowflakes’
(Opening scene shows Betty jumping to her death and rebirth as a reaper)
George voiceover (GVO): From the moment we are born we hit the ground running. Put one foot in front of the other and anything is possible. Of course, that’s all b*llsh*t. The truth is from evolution to revolution things hardly ever change gradually. They change suddenly in great leaps. For those who understand this life is a constant search for the next big jump. For the rest of us all that jumping seems kinda stupid.
(Minute 1 on DVD version) (Usual booth at the Der Waffle Haus (DWH) - Rube and George)
G: Are you mad at me?
R: Beside myself.
G: Fine. Go ahead - give it to me - both barrels.
R: You don’t mess with Fate, Peanut. People die when they’re meant to die. There’s no discussions, no negotiations, and there’s no wiggle room. Life’s done, it’s done.
G: I know that.
R: You of all people should know that.
G: I have to go to work.
R: Wanna talk?
G: I don’t wanna talk.
R: Have some French fries.
G: They’re cold. I gotta go.
GVO: That’s when it occurred to me. I really didn’t have any friends. I just had co-workers. And I really wanted a friend.
(6) (Betty and George in DWH - Betty is explaining how peeling wax from cheese is like taking a man’s clothes off. Betty is becoming a friend to George.)
GVO: Could Betty be a friend?
B: You’re really beautiful, you do know that?
GVO: Definitely a friend.
(8) (Rube and Betty next to river right after she jumped to her death.)
GVO: Betty could get excited by the littlest things. Being undead made her more alive than any living person I know. But nothing surprised her.
R: How’s the water?
B: Chilly. It woke me right up.
R: It doesn’t look like he’s interested in taking the leap.
B: Terrible when a man’s lily livered isn’t it? So unattractive.
R: It’s a little high.
B: Bigger splash from up there.
R: Is that a fact?
B: Say aren’t you a friend of the ‘ frotteurist’*? The man at the picnic rubbing himself on people? I made his acquaintance at the dessert table.
R: I didn’t see a dessert table.
B: Well then you need to get your peepers checked, because it was right there in plain sight. Your friend cupped my buttocks reaching for a piece of blueberry buckle. Probably figured that I didn’t notice, but I did.
R: Well, he calls that ‘soul popping’.
B: Well call it what you like. I think you should keep better company.
R: I apologize on his behalf.
B: Well that’s sweet of you. But I think a man should take responsibility for his own actions.
R: Couldn’t agree more.
B: Then I expect a formal apology. So go on, march your friend down here for what’s what.
R: Well he's already gone.
B: Well, where did he go?
R: He got a promotion I guess. He’s going wherever he’s going. If it’s any comfort at all, yours is the last touché he’ll grab.
R: Where you headed?
B: Well, I’m going again. That was a hoot.
R: So you like falling do you?
B: It’s not the falling - it’s the jumping.
R: Well actually I’d feel a whole lot better about the jumping if it weren’t for the falling.
B: Fallin’s easy - you just fall. Jumping requires strength of will.
R: Unless you’re on a plank.
B: Then it isn’t your choice, but if it is, it’s the best feeling in the world.
R: And you don’t care where you land?
B: Landin’s a lot like falling - you just land.
R: Uh, you’re a force of Nature.
B: You should really try the jumping. It’s the greatest feeling in the world.
(Betty notices her own body floating past)
Oh no, she’s wearing my bathing suit.
GVO: And that’s how Betty learned. Sometimes jumping is your last feeling in the world.
* frotteurist - yes this is a word. I had heard photoist on the DVD, but JustIcy at IMDb did the research and figured out it’s most likely this old never used word. Evidence the writers have a sense of humor.
(10) GVO: Maybe Betty was right. Maybe there is a place for everything. Maybe everything is in its place. But what if you’ve seen all the places and everything is already in its place, and you still can’t sit still?
(11) (Rube, Betty, and George are in their booth at the DWH and Betty is showing George her bag full of devices to remove anti-theft devices on clothes in stores. Rube listens and doesn’t react to her stealing habits and when she asks if he wants anything he encourages her to pick something up for him if appropriate.
Mason shows up and starts explaining he’s heard that people – ‘little yellow people’ – in China are dying due to a poison dust cloud. Rube looks skeptically and asks if he’s been talking to ‘Gary’ again – mentioning he shouldn’t talk to or believe him in an early indication of a larger reaper community that our gang is interacting with out of our sight.
The possibility of special trips to take care of disasters comes up – another indication of a larger organization directing reapers where needed.)
(12) (Mason takes a couple pieces of George’s left over fruit. In an indication why she may be short a friend or two she makes him pay over a dollar.)
(13) (Betty sticks up for George vs Rube. Showing Rube isn’t singling out George, when he hands out the post-its Mason complains asking for help which Rube rejects. George asks for a ride and he tells her to walk.)
B: Rube, she’s just a kid. Do you have to be such an *ssh*le?
(Through out) (Mason reaps the old lady getting her house and social security checks. This interaction between the old lady and Mason is one of the longer meditative talks in the series. Another that comes come to mind is also by Mason - near the end of S2 – the camper at the lake with the purple postit.)
(15) (Betty shows up at George’s place with bags full of her reaping pictures)
(16) (Betty explains to George her previous identities. Maxine, Candice, Sandy, and the current Teresa)
B: Every few decades you’ve got to shake things up a bit, or folks will get suspicious.
(This need to change identities periodically was set up probably as intended by BF, but in practice later gets ignored as it becomes clear that several of the reaper gang have been hanging out at the DWH for several decades with Kiffany – no less.)
G: Why can’t people be more different?
B: Well, there’s a finite number of personalities in the world and I have met them all.
G: Why did you bring all of these sacks over here?
B: To illustrate my point.
G: Which is what?
B: People are not snowflakes
And, I needed to clear out some room in my closet. You don’t mind do you?
GVO: I liked to think Betty was wrong. People couldn’t be clumped together in sacks and shoeboxes. But after spending time at work, I started to think maybe they could. Maybe people really weren’t that different from one another.
Sacks and shoeboxes might not be a bad idea.
For everything you love or hate, there’re hundreds and thousands of other people who love or hate the same thing.
GVO: That’s why God made support groups. But there’s no support group for everything.
No cure, no quick fix. One way or another you find your sack, crawl inside…..and make the most of it.
(21) (Mason explains to the old lady about death and crossing over ---- ‘not always pretty’. Since DLM writers have always avoided getting into what comes after death – is there a Heaven? Hell? This is one of the few hints that not all the ‘lights’ seen when crossing over are a positive experience. Regarding what’s on the other side in the DLM universe– no hints)
(22) (George is fending off potential friends at work making up a ‘one month sober’ lie for Delores to get out of a lunch invitation which backfires -- instant bonding, for Delores, because it turns out she has a history of drug abuse.
Talking to Delores George is delayed meeting up downstairs with Rube who comes up to get her suddenly making his appearance joining Delores and George.)
GVO: I prayed for something, anything, to prevent more words from coming out of Delores’s mouth.
Delores: May I help you?
Rube: Ready to go?
GVO: Anything but this.
George: (whispers towards Rube) You’re supposed to wait downstairs!
D: Hi, I’m Delores Herbig as in her big brown eyes.
R: Hi, nice to meet you and your big brown eyes.
D: Are you Millie’s sponsor?
G: Yes. In fact we’re on our way to the park right now to fly kites.
D: You said that.
R: Hey. Are these (candies in jar) communal?
D: Think of them as a well-deserved reward. It’s a wonderful thing to be a Sheppard to a young person. I myself am very happy to be Millie’s Sheppard from 9 to 5.
R: Well, how’s Millie working out for you?
D: Wonderful. She’s a very industrious young woman.
R: She doesn’t give you any lip? Does what she’s told, or ya gotta give her an occasional time out?
D: She’s an angel!
R: This Millie right here?
G: She said I’m an angel! Drop it!
R: That’s great.
G: Can we go now?
(As Rube and George are leaving they pick up Betty who’s engaged in talking to Crystal about her hair – ‘Promise – I will not touch my hair – say it!’ - Is this Betty just being friendly to everybody she meets or does she know Crystal somehow?)
(25) (Rube, Betty, and George are at the Bowers’ family reunion picnic looking for MJ Bowers)
GVO: Betty always seems to go a different way than everyone else. It was mysterious and reassuring. I wonder if she had a stack for mysterious and reassuring. If she did I‘d put her picture in it. Age and wisdom had no impact on her, just that strange light bulb that lived in her stomach. Somehow knowing that made my afterlife a little more comfortable.
(27) (George in passing makes a reference to how she views Rube vs Betty.)
GVO: There’s a subtle distinction between an MJ Bowers and the MJ Bowers….(Rube) comfortable and safe or (Betty) mysterious and reassuring?
(29) (Rube, George, and Betty are talking to the newly deceased MJ Bowers in a booth at DWH. Rube in the discussion makes a comment on why the dead can’t communicate with the living. The explanation later becomes an issue in the George’s conversations with Reggie in the Life After Death movie.)
M J Bowers: My sister lives right around the corner - write something on a napkin!
R: You don’t want to tap dance on her head like that. People can’t be getting notes from their dearly departed. You want your sister to go insane? (nudging George on her shoulder) This goes double for you.
(30) (Delores and George have a real conversation when Delores hands George her first paycheck. George’s face - vs her usual - radiates friendly and her eyes sparkle - George is coming alive again.)
(35) (Happy Thoughts -- George takes picture of Betty – just before she jumps off into the lights with the Irishman.)
(36) GVO: We lead our lives. And when they end sometimes we leave a little of ourselves behind. Sometimes, we leave money, a painting. Sometimes we leave a kind word.
And sometimes we leave an empty space.
(37) (George is crying in booth talking to Rube - about Betty.)
R: Can’t go where she went.
G: I know.
R: She’s a pistol.
G: I don’t understand. Where did she go? She’s coming back right?
R: I don’t know.
G: God, I hate this.
R: Betty told me that Millie had an older brother?
G: No…She had an older sister….. And she was fearless.
R: Ya, she’s a real pistol.
G: Why do I keep losing all the things and people that I care about?
R: That’s what life is, Peanut.
(38) (Happy Times’ scrapbook meeting – George showing off her scrapbook of Betty’s pictures.)
GVO: How does Death deal with Death? I guess the same way the living do - trying to make sense of something that’ll never quite make sense.
G: Mysterious and Reassuring.
All these people. They all have it. Around their eyes and their smile. The reassuring part is what lulls you into the sense that everything is going to be fine. And then……boom!...they pull the rug out from underneath you. That’s the mystery part.
(39) (Rube puts up the postit on his door asking ‘What happened to her?’.
(40) GVO: When you can’t make sense of someone leaving, you sometimes try to make sense of what they left behind. And it makes it a whole lot easier when what they left you is beautiful.
(George puts Betty’s final picture into the scrapbook. According to the rules laid down in the Pilot this should be a picture of Betty’s double image and maybe have some of the fringe look, but this scene wouldn’t really work with a picture of Betty’s double, so they ignored the rules to wrap things up nicely for Betty. Fifth episode and already one of the main characters is down.)
Posted 28 August 2009 - 12:19 AM
Death aka The Grimm Reaper = Azreal(The Angel of Death)
Angels come from heaven and yes so did Azreal.
Heaven is not science so it cannot fall under science fiction.
Therefore it kinda like Historical Fiction, but we can call it Theological Fiction.
Sorry I'm a Christian and that one really bugged me.
Posted 03 September 2009 - 08:38 PM
Posted 01 October 2009 - 10:10 PM
Fuller and the later writers making Dead Like Me seem to stay away from bringing into the show any details about angels from the Bible or anywhere else.
And then there are aspects like the gravelings, which seem to be pulled from basically nowhere in particular for their own purpose. In this case to take responsibility away from our merry band of Grim Reapers - a traditional Grim Reaper might be too much for the audience to empathize with.
In other words the DLM series is very far from 'Theological Fiction' and I'm not even sure what that might be - perhaps 'Saving Grace' would qualify?
DLM has affected a great many people in many ways. You're not alone in that.
Posted 06 November 2009 - 12:44 AM
Ep 106 My Room
“Why didn’t I live when I could have?”
“ I felt something I’d never felt before.
That in some strange undead way I was alive.” - Georgia Lass
Instead of ‘My Room’ this episode might better be called ‘Rube’s Bowling Pin Therapy’.
Now that BF and Betty are gone, the story pivots back to focus on its main themes.
George struggles to find the will to live she lost somewhere while alive, and Reggie to deal with the loss of her sister.
Both George and Reggie go to therapy.
George and Reggie find communication pathways (evading the strict rules against doing so as laid down by Rube – the PTB’s representative here on Earth). George finds ways to bridge the chasm between Joy and Reggie (although she can’t do anything for Joy and Clancy).
At first George’s death threatens to accelerate Reggie’s move down George’s path, but we see in this episode how the loss of George in a strange way becomes the catalyst permitting Reggie to avoid George’s fate and to learn to deal with Joy.
Joy has a lot of trouble making and sustaining connections with others and this is especially true where it counts the most with her family. George was a dead end. And George’s death worsened the disconnect between Joy and Reggie with Reggie floundering badly stealing toilet seats, hanging them in a local tree, and skipping out on school altogether. It’s painful to watch the Joy character watch Reggie in pain, but at a loss how to connect.
Thru the first part of this episode George shows a stiff neck due to Daisy the bowling ball. As George loses her inner identity as a pin and starts feeling herself more the bowling ball (Rube’s bowling pin therapy), her neck recovers too.
There seems to be symmetry around the bowling – young George and reaper George, and then a parallel working as both George (vs Daisy and Delores) and Reggie (vs Joy) learn to deal with the big challenges they’re confronted with.
Joy pushes the young George into bowling (George picks a green ball) molding her into a nice pin and setting her up for the Mother/Daughter competition in which George fails.
Delores pushes the undead unwilling reaper George into the bowling team and this leads to the high pressure finale although this time she comes thru for the team (she learning to come alive as a reaper). And this time, after some counseling from Rube, George learns how to be the bowling ball and stand up to Daisy. Reggie seems to take strength from George’s unboxed stuff and finds a small victory in learning how to deal with Joy. Joy doesn’t seem to learn anything easily, but she gives a little after therapy – just enough room for Reggie to grow a little.
George Voiceover: Since the dawn of man, we yearn to emulate a bird’s ability to break free of is earthly bonds – you know, fly like an eagle. Whatever. But while you may soar to great metaphorical heights, none of us really has wings. And gravity never really lets up. All things eventually come back to Earth.
There seems to be a gravity for relationships too. No matter how high they fly - they always seem to find their way – well- they find their way back home.
(2) (Daisy’s grand entrance to the series--- Rube and George are in the booth – both look tense)
(Mason pops into the booth)
M: Good afternoon
R: Good afternoon
M: (Noticing George’s mad/glum face) Have I done something wrong?
R: I don’t know for sure. She’s not talking to me.
M: Are you not talking to him?
G: (Shakes her head)
M: (Sees Daisy enter and take the adjacent booth) Oh, bloody H*ll!
R: I think this is about Betty. I think George has her own personal Warren Commission in her head and somehow has implicated me in Betty’s disappearance.
(Looking at George)
Am I right, or am I right?
G: (To Mason) Can you pass me the ketchup?
M: (To Daisy) How ya doing?
D: I don’t think so.
R: (To George) Is that all you want from me – ketchup? Because the ketchup I can handle. But the guilt trip about Betty -- that I cannot.
(Puts the ketchup bottle in the middle of their table)
I don’t know where Betty is.
M: (To Daisy) Hello, I’m Mason.
D: (over her shoulder) I – don’t – think so
M: (To Rube and George) What does that mean?
G: It means she hates you.
R: You lost your friend, and I’m sorry. Reapers come and go - that’s life.
GVO: I missed Betty like crazy. I had a thousand and one questions and I didn’t know where to begin.
Where was she?
Was she OK?
Was she coming back?
What did Rube know?
Somebody had to confront Rube and ask these questions, and hopefully that person will be along soon.
(Waitress – Casey – brings Daisy a Diet Coke)
D: This isn’t chipped ice (…etc)
M: You see that Diet Coke - that’s on me. I’m Mason.
G: (To Mason) you’re a f*cking moron.
D: (To Rube) Is your name Rube?
R: It is.
D: Well, I’m Daisy, Daisy Adair.
R: Well, your two days early, Daisy Adair.
D: Well, aren’t you lucky? (Daisy moves to their booth)
R: This is Mason - as we know. And, this George.
Daisy’s one of us – Daisy’s a reaper.
D: George? Is that your given name?
D: That’s much prettier. I think I’ll call you Georgia.
(5) GVO: I hated her instantly - with all my guts.
G: What is she doing here?
R: She was transferred.
D: New York - Soho.
G: Why were you transferred?
D: Well, that’s kinda personal.
(Casey the waitress returns with the Diet Coke)
Casey: One Diet Coke -- chipped ice.
D: Thank you so much, Casey.
M: So Daisy, now seriously, that Diet Coke is on me.
(Daisy pours entire glass into Mason’s lap)
((How many takes to get this right?))
D: Excuse me Miss. I need a refill.
GVO: I hated her a little less.
(6) (Joy is in the bathtub drinking in candle light and Clancy walks in -- no communication here – focus is on alienation – the heading for divorce. Notice the rain and thunder in the background - a storm is hitting Reggie. Joy tells Clancy about the phone call from school -- Reggie hasn’t been going.)
(7) (George is in her apartment - the rain and thunder can be heard in the background– just before Daisy knocks - a storm is about to hit George too.)
GVO: This was the first time I lived alone and I liked it. At first it was a little too quiet, but then the quiet became my friend.
(Daisy shows up with lots of luggage and Mason in tow - Daisy starts right off regaling George and Mason with her blowing escapades.)
(10) (Joy and Reggie are talking getting ready for school. Joy is looking for the right opening to talk about Reggie’s not going to school the last few days. Reggie knows something is wrong, but doesn’t know Joy got the phone call from school. Notice that in laying out clothes for Reggie, Joy puts her tennis shoes in front of her, but Reggie rejects them as not fitting. Joy says they fit just fine. Later when Reggie gets access to George’s boxed things and insists that George’s obviously too small shoes fit just fine. An indication of her obsession with all things George.)
(12-13) (Joy decides to follow Reggie to school and discovers her toilet seat tree in the woods. Reggie clearly has issues and this wins her a trip to see a real therapist. Note this tree becomes one means of communication between George and Reggie.)
(14-15) Delores reveals to Michael and George that Jimmy – star of Happy Time’s bowling team - The Cobras – is being transferred. And Delores decides to draft George into the team.)
Delores: Nope, my gut’s telling me Millie may be our answer.
D: We’ll make it work. A team isn’t the sum of its parts - it’s a Karma thing.
D: I’ve made my decision. Let the others know.
G: Ah, Delores. Delores, I’m not joining the bowling team.
(George here is trying to assert her own will and it gets trampled by Delores.)
D: Aah, It’s not about you, Sweetie.
G: Then why am I feeling that it’s going to be me who’s renting the shoes?
D: It’s about your substance abuse problem.
GVO: Aha. The rehab lie back to bite me in the *** again.
D: Think of bowling as two and a half hours a week where you won’t have to think about sucking blow thru a bendy straw off a fast food restroom sink.
(17) (The great egg confrontation)
(Rube complains about the eggs to Casey commenting he wants to cure the disease not the symptom. AJ Cook comes over.)
AJ Cook: Who’s complaining about the eggs?
R: No complaints just an observation.
AJ: Such as?
R: The eggs are not good. It’s normally a moot point at the a la carte price of $2.95. I love eggs……..These I didn’t love. So who do we blame? The hen or the cook?
(AJ stares at Rube)
R: Let’s blame the hen.
(AJ walks away)
R: He’s a nice guy.
(When Rube assigns Daisy a postit he tells George to tag along as a chaperone. Here’s a very early indication of George’s potential - Daisy has been a reaper for how many decades? And George for less than a year? Maybe Rube knows about those ‘personal reasons’ for Daisy’s transfer from NY.)
(17) (Therapy - Joy and Reggie are sitting across a desk from a therapist)
(18) (Joy explains to the therapist the nature of Reggie’s problem - her sister died by toilet seat and Reggie’s now stealing them for display on a tree. The therapist finally gets it and turns to focus on Reggie. But Reggie deflects by asking about cookies. After some back and forth the therapist picks up on Joy as perhaps being a part of the problem asking how the family honors George’s memory. The therapist asks about Reggie playing with her sister’s things and Reggie deflects again back towards Joy putting her on the defensive. ‘She packed them all up’. Joy counters, but now the therapist ejects her from the session to focus on Reggie. ((Later in the second season with another therapist Reggie wins completely with Reggie leaving so the therapist can focus on Joy – The Problem.)) Here, Joy looks hurt and gives Reggie a warning look as she leaves. Reggie looks satisfied.)
(Joy leaves the office to wait in the reception area where she meets up with Rube who has his own postit appointment.
Joy doesn’t recognize Rube from George’s funeral, and Rube doesn’t seem to recognize Joy either.
(20) Rube’s open mind –talking about the living dancing with the dead – the talking drum people of Nigeria – something possible in Rube’s world – seems to be off putting to Joy. Perhaps Rube recognizes Joy, knows very well the office belongs to a child therapist, and can guess why she is there with Reggie. With the story about the tribe that knows how to keep hold of their dead family members, perhaps Rube is gently counseling Joy encouraging her to keep hold of George’s memory – both for her sake and Reggie’s.)
(23) (The bowling parallel gets developed thru out this episode. George, in both life as a little girl and in death as a reaper, picks a bright green ball. The bright green ball kinda jumps out – forcing a link in our minds between these two different events from different times connecting George’s life and death.)
(25) George after picking up her green ball overhears the team’s true feelings about her joining - ‘We don’t want her to play’ and …
GVO: I was finding that the most important rule of my life was equally valuable in death: Quit before you’re fired.
(25) (George returns defeated from bowling to her apartment. To emphasize her defeat the scene there with Daisy doesn’t go so well for her either.)
GVO: Peace at last. Maybe Daisy was out blowing the rich and famous.
(But no Daisy pops up. George tries to reason with Daisy about sharing the bed saying she can’t sleep another night in the chair. Daisy skillfully deflects and again ends up with the bed and George the chair. George is the pin and not the ball, and her neck is still stiff.)
GVO: Maybe some day when computers get big enough and can keep track of the universe, we’ll see that everything balances out.
For every death there’s a birth. For every tear spilled there’s a smile.
(30-31) (Delores and George run into each other at Happy Time at 10:00 PM after Russ’s death (he replaced George on the bowling team temporarily!). Delores waxes on about the importance of remembrances – keepsakes for the dead in connection with Russ - somebody George could care less about, but … we flashback to George’s return to Joy’s yard sale selling much of George’s stuff - the yard sale Reggie complained about to the therapist – where George found and managed to get back the little red plastic monkey she cherished when alive as her keepsake of herself. The screen comes back to Delores and George with George achieving some insight into why this might be important to Delores, and, deciding to acquiesce, she picks up something she cares even less about than Russ – his PC screen squidgy. George decided to make Delores happy - she’s thinking about someone else – not just her self – a break through of sorts for George.)
(32) (The scene shifts again to George walking up to her old house. She pulls the little red monkey out of a paper bag and leaves him on the front porch for Reggie and then departs.
It seems that in thinking outside of herself George is finding some new aspect to her identity that eluded her thru out her short life. Here she recognizes that Reggie might need the little remembrance more than she does and she decides to give it to her - maybe she needs it more. This is good for George and good for Reggie.
As George is leaving at the front gate of the yard Reggie sees her from an upstairs window. She will later find the monkey (in a later scene she has it on her night stand) and link this image of the girl leaving who from the back probably looks and walks a lot like George. No doubt from the front a double looks very different, but from the back can we guess that the walk and general appearance might be a lot like the original? More evidence for Reggie that George is around and is paying attention to her.)
(32) (Here’s the big key scene of this episode. George and Rube are bowling.)
G: Daisy is like an oil spill that just keeps creeping further and further into my life.
G: I haven’t really slept in two days.
R: It’s your apartment …right?
G: Tell her that!
R: You tell her.
G: She doesn’t listen to me.
R: Well, you’re not speaking loud enough.
G: You didn’t get me a place when I first arrived. Why did you tell her she could stay with me?
R: I thought you guys would hit it off.
G: I’d like to hit her.
Can’t you just talk to her?
R: All right. Fine.
It’s not my battle. I’m certainly not going to get between two women fighting over some crappy apartment.
G: My crappy apartment!
Mine! Who does she think she is?
R: She thinks she someone. And she senses that you don’t.
G: That I don’t think she’s someone?
R: That you don’t think you’re someone.
R: Do ya want to be a bowling pin your whole life? Just standing there perfectly content to be knocked down time and time again? Or, would you rather be the ball? I gotta tell ya being a ball feels a hell of a lot better.
Daisy’s a ball. You’re a pin.
G: Am not!
R: What ever you say, Peanut. You’re not a pin.
Come on. Play another? You can get back at me.
Nice way to work out a little aggression.
(Rube holds the green ball offering it to George and George knocks it out of Rube’s hand)
(34) (There’s a cut away to a scene with Reggie and Joy. Reggie has won the battle with Joy via the therapist – she’s a ball not a pin. Joy has pulled out the boxes of George’s stuff and Reggie is going thru them. Reggie finds George’s old shoes from an age younger than Reggie is now and therefore the shoes are smaller, but Reggie insists she wants them despite their being to small - asserting her connection to George.
Next Reggie finds a second place trophy for bowling in a mother/daughter competition that Joy and George won. Joy drafted her into it and they came in second – Joy blaming it on George says ‘She blew that last frame’ and ‘Your sister didn’t like team sports’.)
(35) (Back to the bowling alley where Rube and George are practicing…….
George finding the inner ball is practicing with new resolve on her face. Rube is watching the transformation from pin to ball in George with an ………almost paternal affection (?).
We can see that a replay of the bowling defeat young George got hit with is coming in this episode, but George’s resolve here is a hint that this time things are going to be different.)
G: I am not a f*cking pin.
R: (to himself) Hmmph. What do ya know.
(But in a hint that this transformation may not be complete - one pin is left standing.)
(36) (George charges into her apartment.)
G: Daisy I have some things I want to say to you.
(Still some pins standing tho. Daisy has been around manipulating people and knocking pins over for a lot longer than George has been alive and dead and it shows here. Try as George might, Daisy still comes out on top. However, George has made real progress because Daisy has failed to pull George into her game completely - marked by George throwing down the script book instead of helping Daisy practice her lines.)
(38) (Reggie is also making progress in her struggles with Joy in contrast to George’s own failures with Joy when alive. Here Joy comes into Reggie’s made over room - decorated with George’s recovered stuff including the little red plastic monkey that George just left to Reggie which she has now recovered and is displaying on her night stand – and makes it clear she’s not happy with the new George theme, but Reggie holds firm and actually tell her to ‘Get out’ and she does!
(39) (Things are coming to a head now. The scene is George with the Happy Time bowling team. All hangs on George’s last frame - pointing to the PTB having a sense of humor?
GVO: This is exactly why I never joined a team.
B*llsh*t camaraderie leads to b*llsh*t pressure.
And b*llsh*t pressure builds to a moment of paralyzing fear.
It’s bizarre what goes thru your head standing frozen in a moment of shear panic.
And my thought was: Why did I die? Or, more to the point: Why didn’t I live?
(Flashback to that moment in the plaza just before George died - she sees something heading her way and she didn’t move.)
Why didn’t I move? Why did I just stand there like …. a bowling pin?
(Flashback to when little Georgia at the mother/daughter competition is facing her final frame and she blows it.)
What made me dead set against having an experience? Why didn’t I talk to the people who liked me?
(Flashback to a teen Georgia - at college?- getting up and walking away from a guy showing interest in her.)
Why didn’t I ever talk to my little sister?
(Flashback to a teen Georgia finding Reggie in her closet and walking her out of her room without a word.)
Why didn’t I live when I could have?
(Scene returns to the bowling alley with everyone watching George about to release the ball.)
G: Ah sh*t.
(But with resolve on her face. She releases and gets a strike winning for the team.)
GVO: I felt something I’d never felt before.
A hand on my *ss. Who the hell was cupping my *ss? Probably that perv from IS.
Oh God, I hope it was that perv from IS.
I also felt something else.
That in some strange undead way I was alive. I was flying.
(So George is coming alive. This reaper existence can’t be a normal life - she threw that away, but perhaps the PTB were giving her some chance to find a compromise – not a perfect one by any measure, but enough to get by.)
Posted 01 December 2009 - 11:12 PM
Ep 107 Reaper Madness
“We all create in our heads who we are and who we want others to be.
And how we view ourselves -hero, victim, loved, unloved - changes over time.
Those little neurons spark along working overtime creating what we believe.
So in that way, the mind kind of works like magic -
making what we desire happen.
And in the end maybe the trick to sorting it all out is trusting your voice
and being true to yourself. Chasing your bliss.
You know all the clichés on parade cr*p like marching to the beat of your own...whatever..” –Georgia Lass
There’s a lot packed into this episode. We watch George achieve some new insight into her life and her relationship with Joy and this empowers her in a new direction to ‘mentor’ Reggie. The Daisy character starts to fill out. We get a peek into the darker side of reaper existence, and maybe a hint that the PTB – never mentioned directly, but always pulling strings behind the scenes – are in some ways guiding / encouraging George’s growth.
This episode’s primary story arc concerns Ronnie Dobbs, a schizophrenic who can see gravelings. George mentors Fiona at work, which sparks George into new directions with Reggie. The Joy and Clancy relationship shows growing cracks, and Joy and Reggie seem like they’re heading down the same path as taken by George until George’s intervention helps nudge them into choosing another direction.
Running with this new idea that she can be a role model, George leaves a box of pictures – ideas for new directions for Reggie - from magazines hanging from the Toilet Seat Tree that Reggie frequents - a neat way to circumvent the restrictions limiting her ability and scope of communicating with still living relatives.
George has Ronnie Dobbs’ postit for a scheduled death, but just after they catch sight of each other, Rube suddenly pulls George off saying Ronnie is not to die yet – the postit was a ‘clerical error’. This turns into a one week reprieve during which the unlikely couple –reaper and reapee - strike up a quirky little romance. Given the impact Ronnie has on George’s thinking and behavior, was it really a clerical error?
At one point George in the voiceover asserts that the line between crazy and normal people is thin – both have voices in their heads – inviting us to cross that line and make the comparison here in the story. When Robbie and George are talking together on the couch in her apartment he mentions the voice he calls the Sheppard in his head who ‘spends most of his time yelling at me, making me feel stupid’ to which George makes the link to Joy for us saying ‘maybe it’s my Mother.’ Joy has issues in her connecting to her husband, and to her daughters. Thru flashbacks we learn how, in one example, Joy’s handling of the Tooth Fairy ends up sending little Georgia down a prematurely cynical pathway, and that George believes the same is being done to Reggie. Joy seems like a living embodiment of misfiring neurons in the brain sending out the wrong signals to those around her.
The impression is there that the PTB didn’t commit an error, but deliberately put Ronnie in front of George, because their interactions awaken a sense of empowerment within her. The idea that ‘We create in our heads who we are and who we want others to be. And how we view ourselves – hero, victim, loved, unloved – changes over time. Those little neurons spark along working overtime creating what we believe. So in that way, the mind kind of works like magic making what we desire happen. And in the end maybe the trick to sorting it all out is trusting your voice and being true to yourself. Chasing your bliss.’
Ronnie + Fiona = George gets the idea to act on the problems she knows Reggie is struggling with up against Joy, and George adroitly maneuvers the two past a tough spot that George and Joy failed to overcome themselves.
We learn some new things about the DLM reaper universe.
George mentions that she’s undead not dead dead and that her biological urges are still intact. This makes for a better metaphor, but probably not the most efficient reapers – think of Daisy running loose – among the living – not staying on the fringes.
Mason, thinking that George is troubled by insomnia, explains to her that ‘breathing in all that death’ makes insomnia ‘part of the gig’. Rube takes this up later when George views a coming group reap at a wedding as ‘f*cked up’ schooling her – using Charlie Chaplin – not to get too close to the reaps – to keep her distance – ‘far enough to see the funny in everything.’
Daisy tells the group she had an up close and personal with Mr. Chaplin. And she gives everyone ample reason to dislike her with her various personality quirks – on food, not using used things - but she does sleep with married men - to which Rube gives a perfectly toned rejoinder – ‘Oh ya? How many?’
Rube is about 127 years old here vs George’s 19 or 20. He shows his adeptness at handling people when Ronnie secretly following George shows up at the Waffle Haus. Rube immediately connects the two and does an impromptu impersonation of a Dr leading a therapy group getting Ronnie to go away. In an example of how the writers sacrifice the basic rules of the reaper universe in order to keep a well paced smooth story, Rube gives Ronnie his real name not the one all reapers are supposed to have for the living.
This episode also shows George rapidly growing in her reaper job. It’s still a bit rough, but well along. When Rube and George are talking in his apartment and then later in the Waffle Haus booth George is much more cooperative about seeking Rube’s guidance regarding how to handle her reap assignments. George is willing to bring potential problems to Rube to discuss before they blow up in her face.
(2) George Voiceover: I remember once learning that the average human head weighs 20 pounds. I know a lot of that is skull and flesh and hair - if you’ve got hair, but that still leaves a couple of pounds of pure grey matter. And that means tons of tiny neurons firing away sending little messages to each other – like ‘I love to do the Salsa.’ Or, testing other neurons with questions like ‘Why am I only having sex with myself?’ And while we work hard making our brains work for us a little war is quietly underway. Half of those brain cells up there are telling the other half to chill. Too many firings at once and we’d be having seizures day and night. I wasn’t about to take that risk.
(3) Delores: Ahem.
This is Fiona. She’s going to be joining us part time ….. helping us get a handle on that mess in data input.
G: Welcome aboard, Fiona.
D: I was hoping … you could be…. Fiona’s mentor – get her up to speed?
GVO: Mentor: A promotion without a pay raise.
(4) (In the back storage room George is ‘mentoring’ Fiona already.)
Fiona: I’m going to be in this storage room all the f*cking time.
I’ve been at Happy Time a long time. And, if I’m going to be your mentor…I’m just saying, you know, you can …..really…benefit from my experiences.
What are you doing?
F: I’m stealing pens.
G: Well, ….the really good ones are up there.
(5) (George back at her desk.)
GVO: So, when you think about it, half of your brain is up there telling you not to do stuff. And, for the first eighteen years of my life I listened.
And then I died.
(Scene shifts to the Reggie’s tree hideout decorated with toilet seats)
GVO: Truth is when you finally do eat it, or bite it, or get hit by a flaming toilet seat, it’s not the big stuff you regret. You know, the live your dreams cr*p.
Near as I can tell it’s the small stuff.
(George is hiding watching Reggie sitting under the tree)
Like not reaching out to those who needed you most.
(Scene shifts again to show Ronnie Dobbs at the bottom of an office building with Mason and George sitting out front)
(6) GVO: Imagine yourself journeying thru a world that is deranged, empty, and devoid of anchors to realty.
That is the daily struggle for those suffering schizophrenia.
A struggle where they can no longer distinguish what is real from what is unreal.
(Mason reaps the window washer, but just as George is about to reap Ronnie Dobbs Mason gets a call on his cell phone calling off her reap.)
(7) (At the Waffle Haus - Mason, George, Daisy, and Rube in their booth discussing the aborted reap. This is not the first time that mistakes have been made by the PTB showing not everything is perfectly preordained.
But is it an accident and are the PTB so clumsy and mistake prone? Given the positive impact Ronnie has on George in his extra week of life – after he was introduced to her by the almost reap – perhaps it wasn’t an accident at all.
G: What do you mean ‘clerical error’?
R: What can I tell ya, Peanut. They had the date wrong.
G: So this guy, Ronnie Dobbs, is not supposed to die?
R: No. He’s supposed to die - just not today.
(Daisy’s looking at a magazine.)
M: (to Daisy) See anything you like?
D: No. I’ve never owned a used car. I just don’t see myself starting now.
R: My first car was an 1898 ‘systemy panhart’. It’s actually a little more buggy than car, but …it had beautiful lines.
It was actually a little jarring on my nuts.
D: Used cars are for ….well.. they’re for other kinds of people. (Says the reaper living ‘on the fringes’)
(Waitress puts s plate in front of Daisy and she’s not happy)
R: (Notices her unhappy face) Is there a problem there, Princess?
D: This is not small curd cottage cheese - it’s large curd.
D: And it’s just too much curd.
I can’t eat it and I won’t.
G: What is wrong with you?
D: There’s nothing wrong with me. I like things the way I like them, and I despise big fat globules of cottage cheese. Does that make me strange?
R: A little bit.
G: This Ronnie guy gives me the creeps.
He looked at me as if he knew what I was up to. He gave me this weird look.
M: The guy’s a schizophrenic. All he has is weird.
D: Ya know what?
I don’t think I’ve ever been in a used car.
R: (Handing out postits) One for you. And, one for you (George).
D: I don’t think I’ve ever used anything used.
R: Mind if I look at this?
G: Congratulations (to Daisy)
D: Ahh.. I slept with married men.
R: Oh ya? How many?
M: Oh can I go watch the window washer fall to his death?
R: Sure! (!!!! Doesn’t he or another reaper have to be there to escort the soul? And it seems he took the soul a very long time ahead of his scheduled death.
D: Oh, can I come?
(9) (Ronnie Dobbs is talking to his Dr and outside he sees a graveling climbing up toward the window washer.)
(9) (Ronnie watches Mason walk away with the window washer’s soul. He can see gravelings. (Can he also see newly deceased souls? In the story only gravelings are mentioned.))
(10) (Ronnie see the graveling high up on the building, and then he notices George looking at the same graveling.)
(10) (Fiona finishes her back room job astonishingly fast and George goes to check and finds it not done as she instructed.)
GVO: That’s when I realized my favorite trainee was lying down on the job.
I had been a caring and compassionate mentor and she threw it back in my face.
G: (to Fiona) Because you’re not doing your job!
F: But you said it was all b*llsh*t.
F: So, I believed you.
You seem like you know what you’re doing.
(11) GVO: I wasn’t disappointed.
In fact, I was kinda proud of myself.
I’d convinced her like me not to care.
I, George Lass, could be a role model.
((Like for Reggie???))
GVO: And with that epiphany long ignored neurons went to work igniting new connections.
(George sees magazines thrown away and takes several.)
And reconnecting old ones.
(12) GVO: Like the memory that when I was a kid the Tooth Fairy never came to my house.
Sure, I lost plenty of teeth. And, sure, I stuck them under my pillow expecting a cool reward like cash or candy.
But my Mom thought cash and candy were crass, so tooth after tooth was instead rewarded with a thoughtful note meant to inspire:
(‘You Are Loved!’)
At the time I thought it was a total rip off.
(Flash back to little Georgia throwing away the note and then Joy finding the crumpled discarded paper in the trash can.)
Like I said it’s the little things you regret.
(Joy is hurt.)
The next time I lost a tooth it was still under my pillow in the morning.
(Current day scene showing Reggie approaching her secret tree.)
And then my young brain started putting it all together –
- No Tooth Fairy
- No Easter Bunny
- No Santa
(Reggie finds a box hanging from the tree.)
And I know my sister, Reggie, must have felt the same.
((The box contains picture clippings for Reggie from the magazines. George is giving Reggie ideas for new directions in her life. This unmarked box is one way the two are communicating – a bit haphazard, but communication and it seems overlooked or permitted by the PTB. When Rube addressed an envelope to his wife containing cash the PTB waylaid the envelope for decades. In this case the box is unaddressed and left where it could have been found by anyone. Also George doesn’t actually write anything directly to Reggie by name.))
(13) (George is in a park to find her reap, sees Ronnie Dobbs, and sits on a bench next to him.
Ronnie, of course, comes on to her.)
GVO: In case I haven’t been clear I’m undead – not dead dead. All those biological urges still apply.
(Logically, if you were going to set up this worldwide system of reapers hidden among the living to collect souls, probably one thing you would not want to equip them with is ‘biological urges’. However, that kind of DLM universe wouldn’t be as good a story or as insightful a metaphor, so…)
OK, another regret was I never learned to flirt.
I guess it had something to do with the fear of rejection.
(14) Fortunately, fear’s grip loosens when you’re already dead.
(Ronnie admits to George that ‘I’m trying to flirt with you.’)
And with that, we weirdly bonded.
The only thing standing in the way of even more bonding was that I may have been his Grim Reaper……that I was as close as he’s ever been to Death.
G: I have to go do something now (her reap).
(with that she looks toward a likely candidate to reap)
Ronnie: He’s going to die.
(George is startled.)
That guy over there - Death’s coming for him. You know it too, don’t you?
(15) GVO: I admit he’d caught me off guard, so I played dumb.
G: I…I…..don’t know….Ahh?
GVO: Real real dumb
(They both look at graveling climbing in a nearby tree.)
(16) (Post reap conference – Rube and George – in Rube’s apartment. It’s a big change from George’s former uncooperative behavior regarding reaps. Here George is bringing a potential problem to Rube to discuss before it blows up in her face - The discussion’s a little rough, but a beginning.)
R: You got sloppy. He’s seen you on the scene one too many times.
G: He knew the guy was gonna die.
R: You said the guy on the bike died.
G: He knew someone was gonna die.
G: So you talked to him?
R: He talked to me. I …talked back.
R: Young fella?
G: Young enough.
G: What the h*ll was I supposed to do?
R: Not be sloppy!
G: I know this is cliché to hate your boss, but you’re a real d*ckweed.
R: You know what you’re feeling right now? The rage and frustration all knotted together? Binding everything from your head to your digestive tract? That’s my life with you.
G: The guy talked to me. What was I supposed to do?
R: Steer clear of people. We’re undead, Peanut. Undead are meant to exist on the fringe of the living world. We’re facilitators - not participants. ((Daisy must have missed that memo.))
(17) (Reggie opens up the box from George and it’s filled with picture ideas for new directions for her to try.)
GVO: What I didn’t tell Rube, was that I should be good at this, because I’d spent by whole life on the fringe.
(18) I was determined not to waste another. ((as in Reggie’s life))
(18) (Joy and Clancy are discussing Reggie - and not able to connect)
Clancy: She lost her sister.
Joy: And she’s lost. She lives in her head. God knows what’s going on in there. She’s inscrutable.
(20) (George approaching her apartment door where Ronnie Dobbs is waiting for her just outside.)
GVO: I was doing my best to stay on the fringe.
It looked like someone had followed me there.
G: Why are you stalking me?
Ronnie: Why are you stalking me?
G: I’m not!
R: What were you doing with that window washer the other day?
G: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
R: Ya, what I say to you right now is probably the last words that I’ll ever speak.
GVO: I was pretty confident it wasn’t a pick up line.
R: You saw what I saw climbing on that building. It’s Death. It’s been following me around. It’s come to collect me.
GVO: I knew better. I didn’t have his postit anymore. And, I sure didn’t see any familiar faces lurking in the shadows.
G: It just likes to keep an eye on us.
It watches me all the time and I’m still here.
(Ronnie Dobbs and George in her room watching music videos on TV)
(21) GVO: Except for the fact he was mentally ill and I was undead it was starting to feel like a date.
(22) (George and Ronnie talking on the couch)
R: Kinda self un-medicating.
G: You’re on medication?
R: - was – voices.
Sometimes I see things that aren’t really there.
G: So umm, do you hear a lot of voices?
R: No, just one. I call him the Sheppard.
G: Does he tell you what to do?
R: Well, he doesn’t control me.
He spends most of his time yelling at me, making me feel stupid.
G: Mmm, maybe it’s my Mother.
(23) GVO: If I gave speed racer soap and a toothbrush, this place would shine by morning.
(23) (Mason shows up at George’s door with a big bag of drugs. Mason explains that George’s insomnia is part of being a reaper - ‘because we’re forced to breathe in all that death’ – another of the few times when the writers bring up the dark side of being a reaper.)
G: Nothing too gnarly. Just something to help me to sleep.
M: What no one’s told you is that insomnia goes with the gig. It’s because we’re forced to breathe in all that death.
Like working around asbestos.
Ah, there you go.
G: Thank you
One? Is one enough?
M: No. You’ve got that undead metabolism, remember.
G: Well, how many would a normal person have to take?
M: (Smiling) Have you got a fella in there?
G: It says one.
M: Your perversions are coming into disturbing focus, Georgie.
(24) GVO: There’s a thin line between crazy people and the rest of us. I mean, we all have voices in our heads.
Our parents are in there - our doubts, our fears, our desires. And just like crazy people we all struggle to know which voices to listen to. Maybe one trick to sorting it all out is being careful which voices you let in in the first place.
(25) (Rube, George, Mason, and Daisy in the booth. This scene is an example of Rube explaining to George about one of the defense mechanisms experienced reapers use to deal with the issues created by all the death they’re forced to breathe in as Mason put it.)
D: I was thinking about looking at hotel rooms today. I’m going down to the Four Seasons. Something in a suite would be nice.
(Where is she getting this kind of money???)
G: I think that’s a great idea, Daisy.
D: I’m sure you do, Georgia.
M: Daisy darling, if you need a place to crash, you know you can….
D: Not in that life.. Not in this one. .. Not ever, but thanks..
(Waitress puts a plate of eggs in front of Daisy)
D: Hi. How did I say I wanted by eggs? I think I said soft poached. These are obviously hard poached. They’re not runny at all, so I can’t eat them, and I won’t.
G: I think they’ll come back runny.
D: I think you’re right.
G: Because she’s gonna sneeze on them.
R: OK, here we go everyone. Because I cannot get enough of your sweet sweet company, we’re gonna have a little group job tomorrow.
M: St Michael’s?
R: Ya, it’s a wedding.
M: Oh, good!
G: Does anyone else find this f*cked up?
R: Are you familiar with Charlie Chaplin, Peanut?
G: The silent movie guy?
D: I once blew Charlie Chaplin.
R: Charlie Chaplin defined that thin line between comedy and tragedy.
Say you see some poor slob get hit in the head with a bucket of wet cement, fall on his *ss. From 20 ft away that’s funny as hell, but you get too close. You get close enough to see that pain. Then it’s no longer funny.
R: So, it’s like that with jobs like this. You gotta learn to step back like the rest of us have - far enough to see the funny in everything.
D: Well, I’ll need a new outfit. You (to George) want to come shipping?
G: Not really.
M: You need to blend in.
G: I have to get dressed up for this?
We get to see you what you look like all gussied up.
D: Do you know this guy? (looking back at Ronnie Dobbs sitting at the counter)
D: Well, he definitely knows one of us.
He’s cute in a check-the-oil kinda way.
R: Excuse me.
(Rube figures out the connection to George – not surprising given that at this time Rube is somewhere about 127 years old - and leaves the booth to join Ronnie for a one on one talk.
Rube explains to Ronnie that he is disturbing his therapy group session and asks him to leave.)
(Note: Rube introduces himself using his real living name - not any undead fake ID)
(29) (Clancy and Joy are watching Reggie ride a horse. Clancy tries to reach out to Joy, but she can’t respond / shuts him down)
(30) (Rube and George are in booth discussing Ronnie Dobbs. George has already come a long way - she’s making herself here part of the solution vs the problem – talking things over with Rube.)
G: I didn’t just pick the guy up. He said he could see gravelings. You can’t get mad at me for that.
R: Do I look mad?
G: A little.
R: Thank you (to waitress)
Do you have any idea what would happen if the living caught word that we are here? Among them, breaking bread? It would up end the world. Believe me, you do not want to be responsible for that kind of biblical panic.
G: I didn’t tell him anything!
R: You didn’t mention that you were a reaper?
R: You didn’t talk about gravelings?
G: I said that I could see them too. That’s all!
He thinks they’re Death.
R: He told you he’s schizophrenic?
G: He said he was on medication for seeing things.
R: Well, maybe what we really have is a mentally unstable young man who thinks you’re the cat’s meow.
G: Oh, so this is all some plot on his part to get in my pants.
R: Peanut, all men are liars where pretty girls are implicated.
You can see they’re noses growing.
G: So, you think I’m pretty?
(Once again we have George alluding to her insecurity about her looks)
(31) (Daisy and George walking together on their way to ‘shopping’)
D: So tell me about this guy.
G: What’s there to tell? He’s crazy and sees gravelings
D: That’s a first.
G: Rube says it’s not possible.
D: That’s Rube.
G: What do you mean?
D: Rube’s too smart for his own good. If he can’t wrap his brain around something weird or unexplained, it doesn’t exist. It’s sad really.
So, do you like him?
G: Did I mention he’s crazy?
(Odd comment by Daisy, one reaper, about another reaper - about not accepting the weird and unexplained.)
(32) (Joy and Reggie collide again - Joy gives Reggie a box with a riding uniform and Reggie rudely rejects. Reggie reaches out to Joy, but …..)
J: Well, my job is not to give you your every demand. Especially when you throw it back in my face.
In the future, when someone gives you a gift you might want to have the common decency to say ‘Thank you’ even if you hate it.
R: Thank you
J: Umph… Why does everything always have to be such a struggle?
R: I don’t know
R: I don’t…
(Joy softens a bit)
(35) (Wedding - at the Church with reapers in the pews - note Mason’s idea of blending in as he urged George to do.)
GVO: I’m not a big fan of weddings, but……a job is a job. So I sat there watching those 50 happy people gather to celebrate a marriage dressed in their Sunday best about to hear some priest’s flowery words about the joining together of two souls uniting as one blah, blah, blah, blah…until death do them part, which would be in about 11 minutes.
(George looks at her postit with Ronnie Dobbs’ name on it)
(As she looks at it Ronnie pops up in the pew just behind her. She tells him he’s ‘got to get out of here’. ??? Is she thinking about not reaping him or helping him to escape his rendezvous with death?)
(They stand off to the side to talk, and Ronnie Dobbs wants to kiss George and does.)
(36) GVO: It was my first post death kiss. That alone made it memorable.
(Ronnie says goodbye)
It was my first post death kiss off.
(George looks miserable listening to Ronnie go on about heading off to Boise, Idaho)
(37) (Ronnie and George are forced from the Church hall into the foyer.)
Ronnie: We have to warn them.
G: Don’t! Stop!
R: Why wouldn’t we?
You want this to happen?
G: Trust me. This has nothing to do with what I want.
R: But you’re Death
R: This makes perfect sense.
Death taking the form of a beautiful girl trying to trick me.
(37) GVO: Don’t think I was getting all mushy because he said I was beautiful.
G: No! I’m not all that. I’m just a cog. I sort of work for Death.
R: Rube? He’s Death?
G: No! He’s… He’s … middle management. But he knows about you, which means upper management knows about you. And in this case……upper management … probably is Death.
G: So you may have to run farther than Idaho.
(38) (RD and George are sitting together in the upper level pews. George kisses RD.)
GVO: Can’t exactly tell you why I needed to kiss him.
I just knew I’d regret it if I hadn’t …..and then, I did my job.
(George reaps RD)
(40) (Shifts to Reggie’s toilet seat tree and George popping in to check to see if Reggie picked up her box of pictures and such. The box is hanging there.)
GVO: In Ronnie’s head maybe he thought he could fly, or that I had some kind of special gift.
I guess he was right.
Maybe I do.
(George finds and takes down the box)
We all create in our heads who we are and who we want others to be.
And how we view ourselves -
(George finds a note from Reggie and smiles - it’s a picture of Reggie’s drum set with a big ‘Thank you’ written in her hand beneath the picture.)
-hero, victim, loved, unloved - changes over time.
(Next we see George climbing out of the basement window of her old house after placing Reggie’s note under Joy’s pillow)
Those little neurons spark along working overtime creating what we believe.
(41) (Joy is having trouble sleeping listening to Reggie’s drumming)
So in that way, the mind kind of works like magic -
making what we desire happen.
(She finds the note under her pillow)
And in the end maybe the trick to sorting it all out is trusting your voice
(Joy sees ‘Thank you’ and ‘I Love You’- added unknown by Joy by George - and she beams a radiant smile -- something we rarely see her do – and it makes the drumming a bit easier for her to take.)
and being true to yourself. Chasing your bliss.
You know all the clichés on parade cr*p like marching to the beat of your own…….whatever..
(Note that George has not only successfully communicated with Reggie via the box - pictures – but she knows what sort of issues are hindering an emotional connection between Reggie and Joy, and she acts - George adds the little extra note - ‘I Love You’ – to Reggie’s note and places it where she knows Joy will find it. A big step forward in making sure Reggie has a chance NOT to follow in George’s footsteps in her relationship with Joy.)
Posted 07 March 2010 - 07:27 PM
Ep 108 A Cook
“Maybe that’s what happens to some souls. Maybe they get lost. Maybe they have to wander because they’re not quite at peace yet. Maybe there’s some kind of unfinished business with these kinds of souls…..like they’re holding onto something - holding their breath. And when the business is done they can finally let go, exhale, and sleep.” -Georgia Lass
This one’s named after the cook that makes up the subplot with Rube upgrading his cooking skills, but a major part of camera story in this episode also revolves around George finding JD, and her decision, finally, to give JD, the dog, to Reggie.
One of Rube’s reaps, Angus Cook, refuses to cross over - a stop and smell the roses theme or ‘unfinished business’ contrasted with Delores’ frenetic ‘Getting Things Done’ lifestyle put out onto the web.
George tries to keep JD and accommodate Daisy, which leads to George losing too much sleep and finally cracking – finding her backbone - and confronting Daisy - and this time Daisy can’t deflect George. George has reached a new stage in her coming back to life. We also see this in her developing relationship with Delores as the two bond - George becoming more of a person and growing new dimensions as a person.
In the voice over George talks about some souls with unfinished business, but leaves, who it refers to ambiguous. At one level it refers to A. Cook’s refusal to cross over and maybe lost souls in general or maybe people in general lost without a purpose with unfinished business in unfinished lives.
But towards the end we get guided to something more specific and that pertains to our characters – the reapers – caught in an undead limbo among the living.
Reapers are souls of the dead held over. Perhaps the PTB detain them for some purpose of their own. Is anyone’s life ever finished? In any case these people, these reaper characters, get held over.
The reapers themselves seem to believe that it’s just a matter of reaping some unknown number of souls and then they’ll be released to cross over.
In this episode in the final scene Rube is at the funeral of A. Cook standing off to the side apart from the living and then we watch him walking away alone still here - still held over – still working on his unfinished business? Like all the reapers?
And what business has George left unfinished?
George Voiceover: Stop and smell the roses. When someone is flying thru their life that’s what you’re supposed to tell them. Slow down. Take stock. Appreciate what you have. Use all your senses.
Stop and smell the roses. It’s advice you tell someone when they’re 30 I guess. Not something you’d ever tell an 18 year girl.
I wish someone had told me.
Before I died and all.
Aaaah, I wouldn’t have listened anyway.
(3) (George, Rube, Daisy are in their booth. Daisy accuses George of using/stealing her stolen (from dead) very expensive eye cream. George protests looking to Rube for support, but Rube says this kind of stealing from the dead is OK implying certain other kinds are not.)
(4) (Rube takes issue with how his eggs were prepared instigating a face to face with the cook – Angus Cook.
(8) (Daisy and George are in the park closing in on George’s reap)
D: What kind of moisturizer do you use?
G: I don’t.
D: Georgia, sweetheart, just because you’re dead doesn’t mean you have to give up.
(These reapers can take a bullet to the head and heal just fine within minutes - and Daisy worries about wrinkles??)
D: Your ‘T’ zone is so dry.
G: My what!?
D: Your ‘T’ zone, silly.
G: I have to go do this.
D: Be sweet about it. You may be the last face she sees.
(And in comes JD, a Golden Retriever, as George goes off to reap his owner.)
(9) GVO: This one shouldn’t have been so hard for me. I mean she was old. She wasn’t like me. She had lived a life. But somehow I felt guilty. I wasn’t sure why. Maybe it was the stupid dog.
It was definitely the dog.
GVO: I shouldn’t have responded the same way every time someone tried to hand me some stupid responsibility when I was alive. I should have said. “Thanks, but I’d prefer not to.”
Polite. Firm. Hard to argue with.
(George’s reap her into taking care of JD. Only after George agrees does she cross over – without lights. Once her dog was taken care of she was ready.)
GVO: Then it was just the two of us. I wanted to tell JD he’d be better off without me. And even though that sounded like some sappy break-up line, it really was the truth. The fact is I had a rather sordid past when it came to animals.
That probably sounds like I used to molest them, or light them on fire, but it was nothing like that.
I actually loved every pet I ever had.
First there was my mouse, Speedy Gonzales. I fed him a Jalapeño, because it seemed only natural that he would like them.
After Speedy Gonzales passed away, I was on the rebound hard. There was a void. And I told my Mom that only a new puppy could fill it.
(Clancy and Joy present young George with a baby chick.)
(12) GVO: I named my chick, Tweety. Problem was our cat Sylvester ate Tweety, ….and promptly choked to death. It was a grisly scene – possibly a murder suicide pact.
I don’t know what the f*ck happened. I never really made peace with it.
It went on and on like that. The more I loved my pets, the quicker I killed them. Which is why it wasn’t for purely selfish reasons that I wanted to lose JD. His demise would be sure and swift and I knew somehow I’d be the cause of it.
And frankly, I had enough guilt and regret without adding to (sic) the death of this beautiful dog to the mix.
(13) (As Rube goes into his apartment he picks up the envelope from upper management with the new reaps. He looks it over, gets angry, and goes down the hall to the elevator looking for the messenger who’s just going down the elevator. In other scenes it’s clearly implied that Rube can’t catch or see the messenger as he delivers the envelope. Here it would seem he would have had to pass the messenger in the hall outside his apartment to get to his door.)
R: What the f*ck is wrong with you!?
(Just as we hear the elevator taking the messenger down.)
(14) (At the booth opening with Daisy and Mason. Rube arrives - followed by George and JD. Rube quickly figures out that George picked up JD from her last reap and reacts badly. This is not taking very expensive eye cream.)
R: OK, folks. How many times can I f*cking say this? Do not get emotionally involved with these people. You do not owe them anything. Just do your job.
(Rube takes JD out of the restaurant. As he does that George and Mason take a look at today’s reap postits noticing that A. Cook is up for today.)
(15) (George and Rube outside the Waffle Haus discuss what JD stands for and then Rube takes a walk.)
GVO: He said just do the job like we were hit men. He said don’t get emotionally involved. Clean your gun, go home, wait for the phone to ring. I guess that’s what those guys did. But what we did for a living – what we did for the living – was not as easy. Death happened. It happened a lot. And it happened randomly. Chances were you were going to know someone personally who was about to die.
The sheer numbers actually kind of calmed me down about JD. I decided that even tho this dog would die someday, nothing would hurt him while he was with me. I mean, I wasn’t the only kid who had accidently offed a pet. My little sister was just as star crossed as I was.
Reggie had already boned thru an aquarium full of fish. And, now had moved on to mammals.
(18) (Joy, Reggie, and Clancy talk about the death of a gerbil.)
GVO: And so it began for Reggie. Things she cared about suddenly began to disappear from her life.
(19) (A. Cook dies choking on a sandwich)
(19) (George brings JD home to her apartment where Daisy meets her at the door.)
G: Oh, hi.
D: What are you doing?
G: I’m going into my apartment, …..
D: No, I mean what is the dog doing?
G: The dog’s going into the apartment, too.
D: Georgia, This is a very small space you and I share.
GVO: Share! I can’t believe this woman even knew the f*cking word!
D: Well. I know this isn’t something you care about, but I own some very beautiful clothes.
G: What’s your point?
D: He looks like a shedder.
G: Aah, that’s absolutely something I can live with.
D: OK. The truth is Georgia, I’m wildly allergic to dogs
G: Wildly allergic?
Seems you might have started with that.
D: I don’t really like talking about my flaw.
Thanks for understanding.
(Daisy gives an affectionate pat on JD’s head as she leaves)
D: I’ll see you later.
G: (to JD) If she’s allergic, why did she just pet you?
(20) GVO: JD and I wandered thru the park for the better part of an afternoon. The kind of wandering that takes place when you really didn’t have to be anywhere. But I think in our hearts, both JD and I knew we were just killing time.
And we needed a home.
(George and JD show up at Mason’s house.)
(21) (Displaced and not getting enough sleep at Mason’s, George falls asleep at Happy Time getting marked up by her co-workers.)
(22) (Rube and Daisy are sitting at a WH counter discussing A Cook’s demise. Rube remarks that he felt so bad he didn’t stick around when A Cook went down. Maybe that’s why he didn’t cross over?)
(24) (When Rube decides to fill in as cook A Cook reappears and Rube looks shocked to find he hasn’t crossed over.)
(24) GVO: Work was unbearable that day. Not just because it was work, but because I did’t know what was going on with JD and Mason.
Mason said he would walk him and take good care of him, but I wasn’t really sure what that meant.
I wondered what he was doing with my dog.
(Mason, JD, and women in hot tub.)
GVO: OK, so maybe it didn’t make any sense, but I really didn’t like the idea of Mason using my dog for some evil scheme to bag women.
That’s right. My dog. I knew something had to be done. Something drastic.
(25) (George and JD show up at Delores’ place. Notice to keep JD and Murray from meeting Murray is off getting dialysis. In this scene George is growing as a person, and she’s really bonding with Delores.)
(27) (Rube is working on his cooking skills as A. Cook hangs around to coach him.)
(28) (Back at Delores’ place George looks so miserable folding the laundry. Her look when confronted with the choice of which contact paper to use to line the cupboards is also memorable. And, her reaction when Delores reveals her computer website ‘Getting Things Done’ and that people are watching them 24/7….)
GVO: No …f*cking …..way!
(…..everywhere but the bathroom, where people watching her there would be ‘wrong’.)
(30) GVO: As opposed to watching her everywhere else, which is just plain…... insane.
(Delores announces her favorite charity is the American Amputee Association.)
GVO: Oh Christ! My boss has a wooden leg.
(31) (Rube and Daisy at the Waffle Haus discuss A. Cook’s failure to cross over.)
D: So he didn’t cross over.
What a pain in the *ss. What do you think happened?
R: I have no clue.
(A. Cook comes over to tell Rube about a new order.)
A. Cook: It’s a cheeseburger. Try not to f*ck it up.
R: See the way he talks to me?
(32) (George, Delores, and JD are in bed - Delores and JD are sleeping, but George is wide awake.)
GVO: The thought that people were watching me sleep kept me awake. I couldn’t help wondering who actually liked to watch Delores getting things done? And what were those people getting done while they’re watching her?
I needed to find a place to sleep.
(33) (A little loss of sleep finally pushes George to the edge – she snaps and finds something from within herself - something that couldn’t make it to the surface before – to tell Daisy to her face how she feels. And this time Daisy can’t deflect George as she did in a prior episode.
George storms into the Waffle Haus and confronts Daisy and Mason sitting at the counter.)
G: (angrily pointing her finger in Daisy’s face) Don’t say a word!
It’s my life, my apartment, my dog! You’re the guest! You’re the freeloader, and if you don’t like it you can kiss my dead *ss goodbye!
Are we clear?!
(Daisy nods yes - and so George turns to Mason)
And you! A dog…in the hot tub? That’s just sick.
(George leaves – Daisy and Mason are shell shocked)
D: Dog in the hot tub?
M: No clue.
(34) (Rube, the short order cook subbing for A. Cook, puts up an order and gets into a discussion with A. Cook, which is noticed by the living waitress - one of view times reapers interacting with ND Souls is noticed by one of the living. And, once A. Cook sees Rube stand up to a customer he crosses over without fanfare i.e. no lights – he just let’s go …. and is gone.)
(37) (George shows up at Happy Time and Delores breaks the news to her that didn’t make the cut at ‘Getting Things Done’ - she’s ‘lethargic’ ‘uninspiring’ and George seems relieved to fail at this particular thing.)
(39) (George and JD back at the park)
GVO: So JD and I wandered through the park one last time before I took him home.
I think some people wander because that’s who they are. Wandering is what gives them oxygen. It’s the wandering that allows them to live. I was beginning to think that that’s the kind of person I was. The kind of person for whom one job, one love, even one life wasn’t going to be enough to hold me.
And then there were those who wander because they don’t have a place to go …. to call home.
So I took JD home.
(The Lass house - George leaves JD with a red ribbon at the Lass front door and rings the doorbell.)
GVO: Maybe that’s what happens to some souls.
Maybe they get lost.
Maybe they have to wander because they’re not quite at peace yet.
(Is the writer thru George the narrator really talking about the reapers being held over for unfinished business, or maybe reapers are a sort of metaphor for the living getting lost in their lives? Or, maybe it’s both?)
Maybe there’s some kind of unfinished business with these kinds of souls….
(Camera shows Rube alone in the Waffle Haus reflecting on whatever people think about who’ve been around for over 120 years.)
……like they’re holding onto something - holding their breath. And when the business is done they can finally let go, exhale, and sleep.
(41) (Reggie and JD - she decides it stands for Just Dog – settle in for the night.)
(42) (At the A. Cook funeral we see Rube on the fringe of the funeral group and then as he walks away alone – not yet able to let go, exhale, and sleep.)
Posted 16 May 2010 - 11:09 PM
Ep 109 Sunday Mornings
“Clichés are clichés because they are the things that have stuck to the wall.
Our greatest arrogance is to believe we are all special.
Because the truth is we are all unbelievably the same.” – Clancy Lass
“My Dad was right. Human beings are simple, predictable, clichés.
Broken hearts, betrayal. It’s all been done a billion times before.
The problem is every time still hurts like the first.
And if you’re lucky enough to recover,
you can be sure that just as you finish filling in all the cracks in your life,
the next one is starting to open.” - George Lass
With the last episode the producers/writers opened new directions even as they continued the main themes started by Fuller. The story, A Cook, centered on Rube but we learned something about the plight of reapers caught on this side with the living and unable to cross over.
In this episode an early scene has the gang in their booth. George is accused by Daisy of being an ‘internal little creature’, which George denies perhaps signaling to the audience a shift from Fuller’s early emphasis on George’s internal emotional cross currents to something more. This shift in emphasis doesn’t mean an abandonment of the main themes revolving around George. George and her relationship with her family will continue to be front and center.
In George’s opening voiceover on the nature of memories – the example offered is of little George and Clancy’s early Sunday morning outings to a local restaurant, when George loved to listen to her Dad, a professor teaching poetry we learn, read Shakespeare sonnets to her. This memory – for both of them – will be an important nexus for a reunion of the two at the same location years later in this episode.
However entertaining Shakespeare was to the average Joe and Jane in his day the passage of time has rendered his wit and wisdom accessible only to a few in our day, so this group of writers, by using Shakespeare quotes front and center are perhaps announcing their intention to set some very high standards - to entertain while not flinching from commenting on the human condition. This episode certainly pulls it off smoothly. Just to make sure we get it Clancy explains to us ‘the truth is we are all unbelievably the same’ and then George in her closing voiceover tells us ‘My Dad was right. Human beings are simple, predictable, clichés. Broken hearts, betrayal. It’s all been done a billion times before. The problem is every time still hurts like the first. And if you’re lucky enough to recover, you can be sure that just as you finish filling in all the cracks in your life, the next one is starting to open.’
Another part of a Shakespeare sonnet (with the wording changed slightly) pops up again when Charlotte, Clancy’s student, wants to give him a framed copy to help him get over and move on after George’s death - something George, when she hears Charlotte explain this goal, is very unsettled by. She’s not at all ready to have her Dad move on after her death. She wants to know he still thinks about her.
How is it that we can sympathize with George’s (or any of these reapers’) plight? Forcing an audience to confront death each and every episode and making it entertaining enough to sustain profitable ratings is an ambitious undertaking. Fuller’s perspective on reapers is really very new. The traditional grim reaper is something from the murky other side not just a bit scary when they make their appearance, which brings death, and then they return to the unknown where they stay. Fuller’s version of reapers has them fully planted here among us – but on the fringe trying to eke out a living - your eyes wouldn’t linger on them in a crowd they’re so ordinary. And these undead reapers don’t know anything of the other side any more than the living. They don’t represent a conspiracy nor are they themselves a threat, since they don’t bring death, they just make the person’s death easier and escort the soul to the gateway to the other side and no farther.
Anyway, this episode also has plenty of interesting twists involving Roxy (she screws up with Chuck getting a religion started), Daisy (definitely the b*tch here abusing poor Mason), and Mason (he gets the short end of the stick in his abject crush on Charlotte – that dark side of the human condition - rejection).
Roxy, for the second and last time (first time was in the pilot), demonstrates that reapers can move thru the physical, when she takes out Chuck’s soul to shock him a bit. This ability of the reapers is predictable. They are not reanimated or transformed bodies from this world (a vampire or werewolf for example). They are loose souls that are given a physical manifestation after their bodies are buried or disposed of implying they have one foot on the other side already - something not really of this world or the living. Unfortunately, this ability Roxy demonstrates is never seen again and never developed. It certainly would make getting to reaps easier, but it would also remind the audience of their undead nature. They are only left with their ability to heal from anything quickly (and oh they don’t age).
Daisy’s treatment of Mason offers some insight into the two and perhaps why she was brought in to replace the Betty character. Daisy already shows much more potential than Betty. Take the scene in the booth in which poor Mason is reading his little book of Shakespeare sonnets as part of his plan to court Charlotte. Daisy shows Mason no mercy at all when she picks up immediately on what’s going on. In her mocking Mason she is also telling us something about the contradiction the reapers are forced to exist within. They look and act like the living – their minds retain all the issues and personal idiosyncrasies they had at the time they died - and they exist among the living, but they can never follow anything close to a normal life pathway. Fuller and the follow on writers leave some of this ambiguous (we never really know for sure how ‘involved’ Daisy is with the living for example), but it seems there are serious restrictions on interactions with the living. Reapers can’t get married to a living person, for example, as part of a blending in, and can’t have children, etc. Instead they must stay on the fringe constantly confronting the death of their reaps and never having a normal life. Does this fringe thing extend to living friends? Daisy knows/feels this contradiction and is not at all gentle in pushing it into Mason’s face. Mason, of course, is playing the fall guy in the story - the rejectee – so his character in this episode shows no awareness of the absurdity of what he is attempting in his doomed affections for Charlotte. Note that this Mason is markedly different from the one we saw introduced in the pilot.
Another signal of a shift in storytelling - that George is going to back off a bit from the intense introspection of the first few episodes - this George - all of 2 months undead reaper experience under her belt - is getting much more comfortable with herself as a reaper. Note the laid back walk in several scenes and the sunglasses she wears or carries around.
George’s family still is a core interest. There are some touching scenes which seem to show the Lass family is recovering from George’s death – some rare happy interaction among Joy, Clancy, and Reggie playing with JD.
Turning to George’s other family -when George is unexpectedly caught together at the booth with Charlotte by Rube, George introduces Rube as her stepdad - and Roxy as his wife – letting us know how George, in her mind, is working out the moving parts over on the undead side of her existence. It’s also a signal to the audience repeated later in the series as to how this reaper gang is to be understood - as a loose family of sorts. As much as they might squabble among themselves, they have relationship grooves and unbreakable bonds holding them together and apart from the surrounding world of the living.
The primary arc of this episode is that George stumbles upon Charlotte who just happens to lead her into a collision with her dad, who George discovers isn’t the man she thought she knew. This odd collision between father and daughter also is fated to help tear apart the family as George’s provocative question to Clancy leads directly to an emotional connection (soon to be physical) between Clancy and Charlotte dooming anything Joy and Clancy might have put back together.
George made an early clumsy approach to reveal herself directly to Joy in the first season that ended badly with her losing a cherished memory and learning a hard lesson. Now that she’s more settled into her new existence as a reaper and has gained some confidence she uses this ‘accidental’ run in with Charlotte to attempt a calmer stealthier approach to Clancy.
Every time George intervenes in her family’s goings on there are consequences – unpredictably good or bad. She’s already helped Reggie and Joy. She gave JD to the family– a positive boost. But was her meeting with Clancy a positive or a negative?
George says she suspects the Universe (the Powers That Be) cocked the f*ck-with-me gun and pulled the trigger when Charlotte pulls her into visiting her class taught by Clancy. But did they? As with Ronnie, the guy who could see gravelings, perhaps this is another case in which the Universe or the PTB are helping George find a way to resolve her issues by bringing her closer to her Father. The PTB choose which reaper gets which reap so is it possible that they sent her to meet Charlotte who already had pretty concrete leanings toward Clancy?
If the series had continued into a 3rd or 4th season, we might have seen more interaction between George and Clancy culminating in a get to together in which he would know Millie is his daughter - all within the rules of course i.e. George can’t ever directly communicate who she is nor can she share memories as any attempt results in her losing them. As to how this might come about think how Reggie’s suspicions that George was still around slowly unfolded (via Charlie the pet reaper for example) ending in the somewhat hasty culmination at the end of S2 in the cemetery when Reggie met George and knew who she was. Forget the Life After Death movie, which didn’t have the time or patience to do it right and instead, trashed this interesting set up laid out in the two seasons.
This story angle between George and Clancy never got developed to its potential. It leaves me with two disappointments - two arc pathways I would have liked to see developed by the writers. One is that the friendship with Charlotte got dropped completely. It would have been worth seeing extended in any of several ways with a growing tension as Charlotte came to sense more is going on with George than meets the eye. Then perhaps Charlotte would have been a useful pathway for George back to Clancy even as Charlotte and Clancy go on with their affair. A second is the before alluded to approach by George getting closer to Clancy culminating in a meeting in which he knows exactly who she is.
One of the best episodes.
(0) George Voice Over: Every reaper has their own distinct style. You know, those little personal touches that make death so special.
(2) GVO: The best memories don’t have a chance.
You keep coming back to them. And every time you do, you cook them a little more.
(In a warmly lit flashback we see little George with Clancy eating pancakes in a restaurant on a Sunday morning.)
GVO: After a while all you have left is this tiny, crispy fragment.
It’s not like you even remember what happened anymore. It’s more like it’s the idea of what happened. And Sunday mornings were the best.
(3) (We see Roxy, Daisy, Mason, and George eating breakfast at the Waffle Haus. Perhaps signaling the transition in emphasis in the DLM stories to come Daisy accuses George of being so internal (‘a very internal little creature’) and George denies it. Roxy she says is as external as they get. George gets a reap at the local college – and Mason offers to go along.)
(4) GVO: You know that moment after you’ve been dead a while, when you begin to suspect things might be coming back to normal in your family?
OK maybe you don’t.
(We see Clancy and Joy watching Reggie playing with JD - everybody’s happy and all smiles. Might the Lass family heal/recover from George’s death?)
GVO: Well, I think that might have happened to my family.
The weird part is that my family was never normal before.
(4) (Clancy and Joy - talking – sharing memories – while Clancy shaves - getting along and smiling.)
(5) (George and Mason show up at a dorm as they approach George’s reap location - they’re discussing college experiences or the lack there of.)
G: My mother was more excited about me going to college than I was. It was like ‘Hey here’s a socially acceptable way to evict my daughter from our house.’
M: But you didn’t go.
G: No, I went. I just dropped out. And she hated me for it.
M: Well, mission accomplished.
Your father must have sh*t.
G: He didn’t say much really. We weren’t really close at that point.
G: I don’t know. When I was a kid we were really close. He used to let me drink coke at breakfast. I thought that was really cool.
(6) (Little George and Dad - bonding on a Sunday morning)
(6) GVO: College is two things. Forget what they put in Latin around the seal. It is not about veritas or fraternitas. College is about stressitas and bingitas. Stress. Binge. Stress. Binge.
I don’t know what I was worried about. I didn’t have any papers due. I hadn’t just broken up with my boyfriend. I didn’t feel stupid and alone, but just being near all these people who did made me want to scream or cry.
(We see a very focused George looking for her reap while Mason is easily distracted collecting drugs.
They see Charlotte reading poetry to a guy in her room.)
Reading poetry to a good looking guy in my dorm room. This is something I’ll never do.
Something else I’ll never do. (as George looks at some guys moving a tank of gas)
(9) (George finds her reap - he’s a talkative one. He tells George about a girl he just met – Jenny – and wanting to drive to San Jose with her.)
GVO: Jenny may get to California someday, but it won’t be with him.
Meanwhile the class clowns were f*cking with the laws of physics.
(10) (George’s reap meets his end. Note that George is standing between the reapee and the wall in a direct line with the missile’s pathway that takes him out. Since her rendezvous with the toilet seat George has learned to get out of the way of fast moving oncoming objects.)
(10) (Meanwhile Mason fatefully rescues the poetry reading college girl – Charlotte- from her situation, and all three end up talking outside the dorm.)
C: So was that kid in the hall really dead?
G: Yaa, he was.
C: God, I’ve never seen a real dead person, before - have you?
C: Well, most guys on campus are like you (looking at Mason). They’re normal, sweet. I don’t even know why I was studying with this guy.
G: It looked pretty bad.
C: Well, that’s the thing. I had pepper spray right on my keys, but I was just like - ‘Is this really happening?’
G: You had a brain freeze. I get them…all the time.
C: Ya know, sometimes I wish just like..be awake, you know, in the moment, when it’s happening.
G: Or have like a pause button or something, so you can have time to react.
C: Ya ya exactly. You know I’m such an expert on life after sh*t happens. God life is just too fast.
GVO: Is it wrong to decide someone is such a great person because they’re so much like you?
(12) GVO: Rube always said “Don’t get too close to the living. Just stay in the periphery. Don’t tell her who you are. Give her your undead name.”
(13) GVO: As you get older the chance of making a really good new friend is probably about the same as being hit by a truck. And if you’re hit by a truck, which is to say dead, the chances of making a good friend are even slimmer. So when I remembered I had a lunch date with Charlotte, I felt something new since I died. I felt lucky.
(14) GVO: Mason was feeling something new, too.
(Mason, alone in the booth, reading a book of Shakespeare sonnets.)
(14) GVO: Meanwhile Roxy was just doing her job - working for the Man, when she ran into a bad one.
(Roxy runs into Chuck and ends up starting a new religion, when she gets p*ssed and pulls his soul out for a talking to and he takes the experience for a divine intervention.)
(15) GVO: And that’s when Roxy decided she didn’t care about breaking the rules either.
(Out pops the soul.)
R: Let me tell you something. I am trying to do my job, which is definitely my day job. If you keep f*cking with me, there are other skills I can employ that will give your life a turn for the strange and painful. Do you understand me?
(16) (Scene shifts back to the booth. Mason is joined by Daisy who quickly figures out that he’s trying to impress a college girl by reading his little book of poems. Daisy wastes no time in crushing Mason’s delusions about where this is going to end for him. Daisy pretty much cements an impression that’s she’s a b*tch with this exchange with Mason - she manages to offend Mason! But the exchange is interesting for another reason. Daisy is much older than Mason and perhaps has struggled with her own problems being a reaper for far longer. She also is giving comment here to the deeper cross currents of the reapers caught in a purgatory denied the normal potential rewards of the living even as they’re denied any knowledge about the other side. Mason sometimes forgets just how screwed they are - Daisy reminds him of it here – just not with any kindness.)
D: Wait. Is there a girl?
Someone special you want to shag?
M: I don’t want to shag her, Daisy. I do want to shag her, but not in the usual way.
I .. I like her.
D: Oh my.
M: She’s different. She’s sweet. She’s sophisticated. She’s a college girl.
D: A college girl? Mmmm.
M: Umm. What is that supposed to mean?
D: Nothing. How did you meet?
M: Uhh. I hit some bloke on the head who was trying to date rape her.
D: Ummm. A story to tell the grand kids.
M: You….forget it.
D: Mason, come on! It’s a bit strange seeing you this way.
M: She’s different.
D: I get that.
M: You are too different (?????)
D: Oh, no. It’ll be fine. You’ll sweep her off her feet. Show her there’s more to life than book learnin’. She’ll teach you about salad forks, the romantic poets, and you’ll teach her about car theft and amphetamines.
M: F*ck you, Daisy.
D: I’m sorry. I hope it all works out, Honey.
(17) (Delores sees George sitting at her desk ready to go out and asks her lunch. When George declines saying she’s waiting for a lunch date to show, Delores is skeptical and gives her a long speech on ‘embracing’ her aloneness, or whatever. This Delores character has really grown larger than perhaps intended, but in any case the way she projects her own flaws and past onto George’s current situation is a delight to watch.)
(19) (George and Charlotte bonding outside during their lunch)
G: Hey, have you ever heard from that &sshole?
C: No. I haven’t seen him, but I filed a report with the campus police.
You know, what I was thinking about? You what totally sucked about the whole thing?
G: That he tried to rape you?
C: Ya, besides that?
The sonnets. I loved the sonnets and he tainted them for me.
(20) GVO: This is where I felt it for the first time. The Universe was cocking the f*ck-with-me gun.
(The screen shifts to little George and her Dad in their Sunday morning restaurant. Clancy is reciting Shakespeare to an enthralled little George.)
(Back to George and Charlotte on campus - George’s face looks like she knows that gun is pointed at her head.)
C: Oh, I’m taking this incredible seminar. The professor’s a total trip. You should come.
(Shift to a close-up of a perplexed George sitting in on Clancy’s classroom lecture. Clancy is reciting from the exact same sonnet as we saw/heard above for little George so many years before.)
Clancy: (quoting from Sonnet 73)
“That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.”
Shakespeare is trying to paint that emotional moment of a love lost. I know. I know. It’s so old school – ‘tree in winter’ ‘boughs shaking against the cold’ blah, blah, blah. It’s so familiar. But, let me ask you a question. Who here has had their heart broken? - Ya, OK. Now we know who the dramatic ones are.
But here’s my point. When you’re suffering, I mean you’re truly suffering; it’s the clichés that heal you. When I’m sad give me George Jones or Willy Nelson. That’s the brilliance of these sonnets. They state the obvious. Clichés are clichés because they are the things that have stuck to the wall. Our greatest arrogance is to believe we are all special. Because the truth is we are all unbelievably the same.
(21) GVO: Watching this man entertain his students - be sweet, insightful, and touching, I was struck with one question. Who was this guy? And, what had he done with my Father?
(22) (At class end Charlotte approaches Clancy and introduces George (Millie). We see the Millie face here at first to remind us that Clancy sees someone other than his daughter. This meeting up of dead / undead daughter with her Father is one sided. George is heavy knowing her connection to Clancy, but he is oblivious as to who she really is.)
G: I loved that poem. It was real helpful - especially the part about not being alone.
(George is speaking from the heart here – she no doubt was hugely shaken up getting killed and torn from her family forced to suddenly be alone as a new reaper among strangers doing strange things collecting souls, etc.)
GVO: And that’s when I knew I’d never net Clancy Lass before. I don’t know if anyone in my family had.
(Undead George realizes she never knew her Father – and he never knew her? In real life and death when you realize you really don’t know some close relative when you’re face to face on their death bed, it’s too late - opportunities past unrecoverable now, but in the magic of the DLM Universe it’s not yet over.)
(22) GVO: I brought home a stray cat once.
(The scene is the fight over keeping a stray cat between Clancy and Little George that caused a major rift between them and ended their Sunday mornings together.)
(23) GVO: I wanted a kitty cat. And, I got a little sister instead. And, as simple as that, that was the end of something between me and my Dad.
I started sleeping in on Sunday mornings. It never occurred to me that he hadn’t changed. That it was my fault. I’d just become a teenager. I wonder if he had a coke for breakfast when I wasn’t there.
(23) (Roxy returns to Chuck’s haunts to find that events have careened off in directions she hadn’t expected. Chuck has started a new religion. )
(25) (In this scene we get some real insight into how George sees her relationship with Rube and Roxy when she is caught unexpectedly having to introduce/explain Rube/Roxy to Charlotte. It opens with George alone reading a magazine in the Waffle Haus reaper booth. Mason joins sitting across from her.)
M: Hello Georgie.
G: I don’t know where she is.
M: Give me her number!
G: She’s not interested in you. If she were interested in you, she would have mentioned you.
G: She didn’t mention you.
M: Ask her about me.
No! Don’t ask her about me, cause you’ll tell her things about me. You’ll stress the negative.
Ask her about me! George.
G: I’ll ask her about you.
(Daisy joins sitting next to Mason.)
M: With that expression on your face, well f*ck it!!......F*ck you!!
(George puts her hand up to calm Mason down a bit.)
M: So, we’ll both be like Romeo and Juliet, we will.
G: You do know how that story ended, don’t you?
D: If Romeo had just masturbated a couple times a week, he would have saved both those nice families a heap of trouble.
(Mason catches sight of Charlotte approaching to sit at the booth – he hits Daisy to warn her - she hits him back – like two little kids.)
(She sits down next to George who is surprised by her entrance.)
Uhm, what time is it? We, you were supposed to meet me out front.
(Daisy is smiling enjoying George’s situation while Mason can’t take his eyes off Charlotte.)
C: I’m early I know.
D: Daisy Adair. I’ve heard so much about you, I feel I know you already.
(One of the few times she doesn’t say Daisy, Daisy Adair.)
G: And you know, Mason. Uhh.
C: Of course, my hero.
G: Well, we better be going.
(As she’s pushing Charlotte out of the booth, she looks up and sees Rube and Roxy approaching. Now things are getting interesting and we get some idea of just how George sees her relationship with Rube and Roxy.)
(Mason zips it - Daisy looks a bit dazed.)
G: Uhh, hi.
G: This is my friend, Charlotte.
Charlotte, this is my……Stepdad..and.. his wife.
Ahhh, we … we really have to go.
(more pushing of Charlotte)
Rube: Nice to meet you, Charlotte.
Rube: Can you run an errand for me, sweetheart?
It’s just a few blocks away.
Do it for your Stepdad?
(Rube hands her a postit so amused he (Mandy?) can hardly contain himself.)
G: Sure, no problem.
Rube: Might want to hurry.
(27) (Next we see Charlotte walking with George along the promenade. Notice George is relaxed again – with her sunglasses – relaxed – casing the situation looking for her reap.)
(28) (George reaps her guy and then walks off with Charlotte to get lunch. She’s again very casual. It’s odd here that we have one of the few cases in which the reaper leaves the soul unattended after death.
(29) (Roxy and Rube have their talk about how religions can get started by careless reapers removing souls unauthorized (no postit). He makes it clear she has to fix it and that removing souls without a postit – authorization –is not acceptable.)
(30) (George and Charlotte undergo more bonding - on a sidewalk. Again the sunglasses and a very relaxed attitude signal a more confident George at ease with her new reaper role. However, she still has issues about her family.)
G: Do you think he looks sad?
G: Professor Lass.
C: I don’t know.
G: I guess not, huh?
C: Well, you do know his story, right?
G: What story?
C: His daughter was the girl that was killed by the falling toilet seat.
G: No sh*t! That was his daughter?
C: Yah, and I think his relationship with his wife is totally f*cked up.
G: How do you know all this?
C: I don’t know, he gives away clues in class.
G: Does he talk about it?
C: His wife?
G: His daughter….. the one that…..
C: He doesn’t really say anything.
G: I guess he doesn’t really think about it.
C: No, I know it’s there….in how he talks about the poems.
I don’t know. You can tell his heart.
He suffered you know? It’s so stupid, but…I had this one sonnet framed, and I don’t know, I thought it might help him. I never gave it to him, tho.
G: What was it?
C: I memorized it. I know I’m such a geek. (from Sonnet 71)
“No longer mourn for me when I am dead
Nay, if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it; for I love you so
That in your sweet thoughts I’d be forgot (actual line reads: That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot)
If thinking on me then should make you woe.”
You know. Move on. She’d want it that way.
(One of the charming aspects of DLM is that we don’t have to guess what the dead might or might not want - the character can tell us. In this case the dead girl isn’t ready to have her Dad move on just yet!)
G: I think that’s a mistake.
C: Well, I just thought that maybe, you know, it would give him some comfort.
I don’t know. He seems ready to move on, I don’t know.
G: That’s right. You don’t know.
You know, I didn’t realize what time it is. I gotta go.
C: Ahhh uhmm
(32) GVO: Charlotte had hurt me. So I told her I never wanted to see her again the best way I know how.
G: I’ll call you.
(32) (All this speculation on Dad moving on or not moved George to go check up on the misery her family was going through. The scene shifts to a happy Clancy taking JD for a jog being watched by George.)
GVO: One of the silver linings of dying is watching the people you love really lose their sh*t cause they miss you so much.
I was having a little trouble seeing it here.
I had to wonder. Maybe the reason it was so easy for my Dad to say goodbye to me 2 months ago was that he had already said goodbye to me a long time before that.
(33) (George is on the couch and we hear Daisy’s voice thru most of the scene loudly practicing voice exercise drivel, as there’s a knock at the door.)
D: Wulu wulu wulu wuzu meilei meilei veilei………………
G: Someone’s knocking at the door.
(George finally gets up to answer the door and we begin another round of bonding with Charlotte.)
C: I’m not going to let you breakup with me.
OK? I’m here to apologize. This is for you.
G: Ahh. You didn’t do anything wrong, Charlotte.
I’m just screwed up.
C: Look. This is the part in our friendship where we start to admit that we’re not perfect.
(George pulls gift out of bag to look over.)
C: What is that noise? (with nervous suppressed laugh)
D: Cute top.
C: So ahm. Do you want to go do something?
(Now poor love struck Mason slides diffidently into the scene all dressed up in a suit but with an obviously much too short tie.)
M: Ehhh. I was ahhh.
M: Ahhh. I was passing by. I’m going to go out for the evening and I thought I would stop by and see some old friends and….
D: Mason, you look stunning!
Wait, wait. I’m getting the image of a naked Jehovah’s Witness bleeding by a dumpster somewhere.
M: Oh, Charlotte. Ya, what a pleasant surprise.
C: Hello Mason.
G: We’re going out.
M: Really? I wha…. I’d love to join you.
G: Well, it’s girls night out. We’re going out to lesbian bars to drink Jack Daniels and make out with big women. Eh.
You can’t come.
(George and Charlotte exit leaving Mason and Daisy facing at the open door. Daisy steps front and center into the door planting her elbow on the frame. Here Daisy tries to bring her fellow on the fringe undead reaper back down to Earth.)
D: Oh, give it up.
M: Hee, I like her.
D: Sweetie. That young woman is going to give her heart to a nice young man who has reading glasses and a tweed jacket, and who has never done blow off the belly of a dead prostitute.
M: I like her.
D: I know.
She doesn’t like you.
(And with that Daisy closes the door on Mason’s face.)
(35) (George and Charlotte get into more bonding talk on a rooftop drinking to get drunk and discussing their virginity. They decide to meet with Clancy and give him the poem that Charlotte framed. Charlotte mentions in passing that she sees a connection between George and Clancy.)
C: Look. I know you’ve been thru stuff. Ya know, I can just sense it. Ya know, you kinda remind me of him. The way he talks about love, and loss, and his eyes.
(37) (Roxy hunts down Chuck again to undo his religious conversion.)
Chuck: You’re a vengeful god.
R: I can appreciate that you think you had some kind of revelation. But I am just a meter maid, and you are just a dumb*ss redneck. That’s who we are. So we can forget all this b*llsh*t and just get on with it.
C: I know you do this just to make me stronger.
R: Chucky, I want you to listen to me, OK?
God made a mistake. He wants you to go back to the way you were. God wants you to be an &ssh≤.
(Here’s the big scene in which the dead girl, Georgia, gets to meet face to face with her Dad, and she has issues. Hindering her resolving any issues - he doesn’t know Millie is his daughter.
Here the writers invite us to make a connection directly - George (or Millie) and Charlotte are meeting with Clancy in the very same Sunday morning restaurant in which little George felt so close to her Dad - there are issues to be resolved as George in her voiceover states.)
(39) GVO: So, here I was, sitting opposite my Father, my friend about to give him a poem encouraging him to let go of me forever. And I thought things were twisted enough when I was alive.
Charlotte: I didn’t mean for the message to be so dramatic.
Clancy: I like drama.
G: I hope we’re not pulling you away from your family.
Cl: That’s OK. What did you want to talk about?
(40) GVO: Charlotte wanted to give him a poem. And I wanted to ask him about his oldest daughter. I wanted to know if he thought about me.
G: So, the comedies next semester. Fun eh?
Ch: I, we just wanted to take you out to lunch, um. What you say in your class. It really makes us think about stuff and we just wanted to say thankyou.
GVO: Charlotte was chickening out. I should have too. But I was the only dead girl I knew who could get an answer.
G: So, do you miss your daughter?
(long uncomfortable silence)
Cl: You know, I think the poets do the world a favor, by turning themselves inside out. I teach poetry - that’s close enough.
Ch: You don’t have to…….
Cl: When she was younger we had been very close. I thought it was this bond that could never be broken. But it was – almost effortlessly. I knew that she had to grow – and grow apart from me. I had faith that if I just didn’t meddle, if I let her fly away, eventually she would come back to me.
I didn’t know that was all the time we’d have.
Ch: eh (tears forming)
(spills water on George)
God! I am sorry.
G: OK. Hang on.
(George gets up to get a towel.)
G: Can I get a towel or something?
(George looks back to see Charlotte moving to sit next to Clancy and put her arm around him.)
(41) GVO: And that’s how my Dad moved on, with a little help from his friends.
(George looks over to the door to see Mason entering.)
My Dad was right. Human beings are simple, predictable, clichés.
(Mason looking at a piece of paper (poem for Charlotte?))
Broken hearts, betrayal. It’s all been done a billion times before. The problem is every time still hurts like the first.
(Joy working in the garden with Reggie and JD playing in the background. Joy looks to her watch (where is Clancy?))
And if you’re lucky enough to recover, you can be sure that just as you finish filling in all the cracks in your life, the next one is starting to open.
Posted 17 May 2010 - 11:52 PM
Posted 27 May 2010 - 10:02 AM
Live every moment, of every day, as if it was your last day on Earth. Yesterday is gone, Tomorrow is not here, but Today is NOW!
Posted 14 June 2010 - 11:06 AM
Live every moment, of every day, as if it was your last day on Earth. Yesterday is gone, Tomorrow is not here, but Today is NOW!
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