This episode should have been called Restylane because it had more filler than Madonna’s face on Instagram. Some of it was fun filler, like seeing Patricia try to educate her son and new butler Whitney about the difference between a champagne coupe and a flute. (I have a feeling that Whitney is more used to spraying champagne all over strippers than he is drinking it out of either shape of glass.) I do not think I will tire of this schtick of him being the replacement butler all season.
But then there is the bad filler. Craig and Austen going to play golf? What in the SXSW lanyard is this bullshit. Even Axe Body Spray looked at this brotastic bullshit and was like, “Naw, dude. I’m out.” Austen was even chewing on a golf tee. Do you know where that has been, dude? The ground. And if that is not disgusting enough for you, it has also touched another man’s balls. If your ingrained homophobia works to get a little piece of sports equipment out of your Jell-O Shot hole, then I will exploit it for everything it is worth. I couldn’t even stand watching the two of them workshop a text to Olivia. Who cares if you use “so” or not in a text. Do you think girls are reading your texts at such a microscopic level? I do agree with Craig, though; if you use punctuation in a text, you are a sociopath. For the record, my texts look like they are right out of a Funk & Wagnalls, so I am going to Travis Bickle this shit real hard.
There was so much filler. We had to have a whole dinner between Kathryn and Olivia just to find out that Kathryn doesn’t know how to pronounce “edamame” or “tempura” which are like the “taco” and “burrito” of Japanese cuisine. Then again, Kathryn probably thinks that monstrosity with a giant Cheez-It from Taco Bell is authentic Oaxacan cuisine. At the dinner, the only real thing we learn is that she wanted Chleb to be more in touch with his emotions.
Then we get some filler with Chleb and his cousin Chelsie who is fine and looks cool. Get this man on the show. It seems like they’re just giving berths away at this point. If Leva and Olivia and Whitney and Marcie and anyone else who has ever shown his or her tits at Mardi Gras can be in the cast, why not Chelsie? Anyway, the only real thing we learn is that Kathryn wanted Chleb to be more in touch with his emotions, but we just learned that over mediocre sushi, so what are we even doing here.
The worst filler of all was Shep’s date night with Taylor, where he tries to get her to high-five that she is not pregnant and has, therefore, not ruined his life. Taylor’s problem with Shep is he used this news as an excuse to go full Nakashima Chernoblyn (note to future Drag Race contestants, this is an excellent name). She wants a partner who says he will be there for her and support her. She wants someone who will “do the right thing” if she gets knocked up and by that she means force him into an unhappy marriage and make him resent her and have that wear off on their children to perpetuate the John Cheever novel that so many of us are currently living in.
Shep says he doesn’t want to be any of that. Shep says he wants to be free. Shep says a lot of things, but most of the time, I just imagine him punching both sides of his mouth and spraying mashed potatoes everywhere like he’s in Animal House. Taylor pushes Shep about what he wants their future to look like. She is basically saying she wants him to agree to marry her and have kids. He won’t do that. “We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” he says. But when they get to it, they will both see there is no bridge. Shep blew that bridge up but kept telling Taylor that the bridge was there until the water level rose too high and now they’re both stuck on this side of the bridge where Shep and all his boyhood fantasies are safe and Taylor is sad and lonely and resentful. Looks like we get Cheever no matter which way we look. Or maybe this is Updike?
This all rolls up to Madison and Venita’s joint birthday party, which is really looking like Madison took the whole damn thing over. She gets to break the news about her engagement to everyone, they comment on how it looks like a bridal shower, they ask her if she’ll show them A-Rod’s D pic. You know, the usual. Poor Venita feels left out, especially when Kathryn and Olivia, two people she does not enjoy, show up.
I thought, “Okay, filler, at least now we’re going to get some fight at this party,” but we didn’t get any. As soon as the F-bombs start to fly like the spittle off of the tee Austen takes out of his mouth, we get a “to be continued.” God, it is like an unsolved murder mystery at a plastic surgery clinic, this is all filler and no killer.
The one conversation on consequence is when Kathryn is talking to Venita and a friend of hers whose name I don’t think we were told. Kathryn says something about how children are stuck in a system that doesn’t want them to learn or better themselves. Venita then asks a clumsy question about whether or not Kathryn is teaching her children to be racist or anti-racist, and Kathryn doesn’t know what she’s asking or how to answer, she just says whatever she thinks is right to keep Venita off her tail. I think Venita’s question is valid, especially given what we saw Kathryn go through last season, but what she was asking or how she asked it didn’t make sense to Kathryn at the moment. As a viewer, I also found it hard to follow. I think Venita was trying to be tactful when she just should have said, “Kathryn are you raising anti-racists or what?”
Finally everyone sits down for cupcakes (is there real food at this party or just like tiny sandwiches and treats?), and Patricia wants everyone to have a clean slate from this moment forward. Oh, that is so sweet of her. Bless her heart (which is a phrase that Dolly Parton owes the trademark to). Then Leva, wearing a peach dress with an enormous bow on the hem, which she ordered from a 1987 prom catalog, says, “There are people who might want to call clean slate at the table, but there might be people at the table who have issues with each other who don’t want to call clean slate. Let’s fix it in an environment when we don’t get heated.” God bless this mess because you know it will immediately get heated and that is Leva’s intention. Too bad we have to wait until next stupid week to see any of that heat.