Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"Look Joey we caught our first fish, a big-mouth Gibbler" or The Last Dance (7.17)

Holy hell the Milkman has been resurrected from her dormant state. I truly apologize to all of my faithful readers who may have been constantly checking for new updates and were inevitably disappointed each and ever time. I deeply apologize for my unscheduled hiatus, let's just say there was a lot of personal drama, heartache, mean girls, problems at the office and just a whole bunch of shit that compiled together and dropped me into a blogless funk. But, I just ate a shit ton of the new kickass Volcano Tacos(c) from Taco bell and polished off my 2 liter of Coke, so I'm all wired and ready to mock the hell out of a certain fug troll known as Michelle Tanner. Ironically enough, I'm making my return with one of the most legitimately sad episodes, but rest assure, the shitty acting of the Olsen twins results in much mockery. This is also my first recap from Season 7... expect lots of anecdotal segues.

The family is in the kitchen stuffing grape leaves in preparation for the arrival of Grandpa "Papouli" Katsopolis. I do love any episode about the Greeks as the traditions they reference bring back memories of my childhood. For instance, the stuffed grape leaves, which subsequently I hated. I'd probably like them a lot more now if I tried them as in more recent years I've become a lot more adventurous in what I put in my mouth (yes, that sounds dirty, but I'll allow it), but I don't have the most pleasant memories of eating them as a youngun. DJ's on her way to the mall to buy the coolest pair of sunglasses. She begins describing them,

just as Kimmy comes in wearing the same exact pair! Oh snap! This results in a little tiff as DJ's pissed because apparently she called "dibs" on them. Hey, you snooze you lose, Deej. I was shopping with my friends for a Playboy mansion themed party a few weeks back and my friend who's about 30lbs heavier than I am picked up a corset I'd already tried on and decided to buy and demanded that I put it back because she wanted it. I'm a stubborn asshole, so I said hell to the no, and bought that bitch. Besides, it wouldn't have fit her anyway. Not being mean, it's just totally true.

Jesse comes home with Papouli and Papouli has the damndest time identifying his great granddaughters. He guesses them all wrong, and when they correct him cheerfully replies "Of course you are!" It's pretty cute, I love the old guy playing Papouli. UgTwat is extremely rude and disrespectful making comments such as "You have no idea who any of us are!" and when Papouli says "Who could forget Rebecca?" she snots, "I bet you could." Like seriously? I know it's supposed to be "funny" but who the fuck was ever allowed to speak to their elders like that? So he can't remember their names, he's met them what? Twice? I so wanted someone to smack Michelle down or scold her for speaking to Papouli like that, but of course, no one does. Unfuckingbelievable.

More Greek food name-dropping, this time Moussaka! Mmm, I haven't have Moussaka in so long, I should ask my mom to make some. But, I'd probably be better off going to the Greek Cafe downtown. My mom's kind of out of practice with executing Greek recipes. DJ whines about her feud with Kimmy and Papouli tries to tell her a Greek fable and she pretty much blows him off. Where did these girls learn their manners? Fucking A! Papouli and the girls appear to be moving a lot of flour around on the kitchen table, perhaps in preparation to make some Kourabiedes (which, btw, I spelt right without aid of a dictionary, (insert self-congratulatory pat on back of shoulder))? Papouli wipes flour on their noses and cheeks and this launches a full-on flour fight. They yell "Opa!" and I can't help but notice that my, that's an awful lot of flour they got there. Jesse comes down and acts like a stiff and comments that they're making a mess, but he eventually loosens up and joins the fun.

In the living room, Papouli is teaching Ug how to dance. He tries to get Jesse to, but again he acts like a poop and says that someone has to clean up the mess in the kitchen. He claims he doesn't dance to which Papouli replies, "If you're Greek, you dance." To which I reply, only when I'm hammered or I don't think anyone is watching. But allow me to reference Jesse's future attempt at dancing in a genie themed rap video for "Forever" and say that the Jess man is seriously lacking in the rhythm department. Papouli's pretty much the cutest thing ever, teaching them a lesson about Greek pride and explaining that the reason they dance is because they can't contain their happiness. Ug asks Papouli if he'll come with her to show and tell to teach her class the Greek dance (they literally refer to it as "The Greek Dance") and he agrees and she says "I love you, Papouli." Oh sure, you sass him all day for his poor memory and then when he agrees to do something for you, you love him. What a little shitkicker.

As we transition overnight, the background music becomes a sad Greek instrumental. We see the entire family gathered around the kitchen table the next day, all somber with red, teary eyes. Ruh roh. I remember watching a rerun of this episode in college with my hardcore/goth/industrial/hardass roommate, and at this point she became all verklempt and tearful. It's hard for me to snark on any of them because they're really selling the sadness. Especially Jesse who says he feels helpless and guilty... he must be reaching back to his days as Blackie Parrish on "General Hospital." Jesse fights through the pain and tears and refuses to let the rest of the family help him make any funeral arrangements. Just then, Ug comes home all smiley and hideous from her Honeybee meeting. Because her head's so far up her ass, she fails to immediately notice that the family's all dressed in black and on the verge of tears. Finally she surmises "Something's wrong..." Uhhh, ya think? Seriously, is she the world's biggest idiot or what? Don't answer that, I think we all know that's the case.

Danny gently informs her that Papouli died in his sleep the night before and with absolutely zero emotion or inflection, Ug deadpans "What?" and continues in her monotone "No. He's not dead." I shit you not, the flatness with which she delivers the lines is completely laughable and ridiculous. It completely takes you out of the scene. Why didn't they have an acting coach work with those trolls to invoke some semblance of emotion. Gaaa this shit is painful. Michelle then takes the fug craft she made at her Honeybee meeting for Papouli and smashes it on the ground. Ohhh...kay. Man, she's a little shit.

Up in their shared room, Stephanie goes to talk to Ug and emphasizes the importance of staying strong for Uncle Jesse. She says they can't let him see them cry and advises her that whenever she feels sad to imagine Joey stuffing an entire donut in his mouth. Methinks that would make me sadder. Just then, Jesse comes in to check on the girls and Ug has this psychotic fake smile plastered on her face. My, she's a little freak.

The next day, Danny tells Jesse that Papouli's death made him realize how short and precious life is, so he went out and bought a boat which he named Papouli. They have a really manly brotherly embrace, and my heartstrings, they are being a-tugged. Jesse fights back the tears, and I wish to God this show had some continuity and that we ever saw this boat again. On a random shallow note, Stephanie has been sporting some truly awful and horrendous braids all episode. The braids are too far forward, as in they are braided over her ears and with Jodi Sweetin's awkward tween features it's... not a good look. I'll just chalk it up to this being her "mourning hair."

Kimmy comes over to offer her condolences to DJ and Deej finally realizes the point of Papouli's story and there are apologies all around. Hooray! Friends again. Those sunglasses were fug anyway, ladies!

Jesse, meanwhile, receives a phone call from Michelle's school because apparently the little troll never showed up to school. As if Jesse doesn't have enough on his plate to worry about, he has a mild panic attack wondering where the little fugnasty went. He sees her hiding in the boat and catches her by her grubby little hand by leaving out a chocolate pudding lure. Jesse and Michelle talk and she says that if she acts sad and cries, then she can't be strong for Jesse. He asks where she got the idea that she needed to be strong from, and she totally throws Steph under the bus. Jesse says that what Stephanie told her was wrong and that he'll "have a talk with her about it." Way to go, UgTwat.

Michelle whines that Papouli was supposed to come with her to school that day to teach the dance to her class and she was afraid that if she went and he wasn't there, she'd be sad. Jesse tells Ug that she should always show her feelings and Michelle's all "I loved Papouli. I was his Little Michelle." Jesse replies, "I was his Little Jesse." The undertones of that which I read are "I was really his favorite as he knew me way longer and actually could put a name to my face, so back the fuck up on this sadness because this is MY bag, troll!" And like seriously, this was the second time she ever met him. Get over it, Michelle. Attention whoring little shit. Jesse is much bigger than I am and says that it's okay to be sad and Ug asks, "Uncle Jesse, is it okay to cry?" Oh my GOD, the acting by whatever Olsen this is in this scene is KILLING ME. I am now deader than Papouli after being subjected to this drivel. Why couldn't they have done these scenes with Stephanie? He says "You bet" and they cry and hug and I die a little more inside.

Jesse brings Michelle to school and drops her off. She attempts to show her class the Greek dance, but only remembers the first step. Seriously? God she sucks at all aspects of life. Luckily, sexy brooding Uncle Jesse was still lurking nearby, and he comes in and saves the day and they Greek dance their pants off.

This episode is actually pretty good, and the entire family besides Michelle is really great and convincing in their grief, so I wish they'd gone a different route than the typical UgCentric episode. Apologies again to all the readers (that is, if you all didn't abandon ship during the lengthy hiatus)- I promise to be better in the future.


Molly said...

Glad to see you back! And you came back with a truly classic episode.

I never got why Michelle was so sad over Papouli's death. Maybe I was just a little sociopath, but if someone I met a couple of times died, I wouldn't have cared all that much, even if I'd been related to them. Hell, I'm still not going to be that sad when most of my family dies. We're just not that close. *shrug* And she suddenly "loves" him just before he dies? WTF? Again, maybe I was/am a sociopath, but it takes me more than ten minutes to love someone.

And I know Jesse lets Michelle get away with tons of shit, but being a little douche to someone he loved? I'm surprised he let her pull that shit.

I always feel so bad for Jesse in this episode, though. I lost my grandfather - damn, I was going to say "not that long ago," but it's been almost two years; how the fuck did that happen? - and lord, the guilt that inevitably comes with losing someone you were close to just really, really blows.

MilkMan said...

Thanks for the warm welcome back!

That's kind of what I was getting at... it's almost degrading that they insinuate that Michelle was taking it the hardest because she hardly knew Papouli. Sure she was young, but when my Great Grandmother Big YiaYia died when I was around that age, I was sad, but wasn't as moved because I just wasn't able to forge the proper bond. The same goes with the deaths of my grandparents. My grandmothers died when I was 6, and I was sad, but wasn't able to really express it. But then when my grandfathers died while I was in high school, I was an emotional wreck. I think you need the proper emotional maturity and longevity of relationship to really feel the loss and that's why the way they portray Michelle is almost insulting to me.

This episode's emotionally tough to watch especially because my grandfather on my mother's side, the one I last lost we called "Papou" so it really hits close to home. If it weren't for my intense hatred of Michelle Tanner, I'd probably be pretty bummed out right about now.

nikki said...

Great recap...well worth the wait :)

Jen said...

The undertones of that which I read are "I was really his favorite as he knew me way longer and actually could put a name to my face, so back the fuck up on this sadness because this is MY bag, troll!"
I totally snorted out loud when I read that and am now getting odd looks :)

This episode always grated on me because I was very close to my mom's dad and the way they tried to make us feel bad for "poor Michelle" really pissed me off. Why not focus on D.J. or Steph, who probably knew Papouli a hell of a lot better than Ug did? When Grandpa died I was 10 and a wreck. My brother - who was 4 or 5 and who had spent time with him but was never as close as I was - was a little sad but never that upset about the whole thing.

And welcome back! Life happens; I'd rather wait a little longer for a recap that includes gems like that ^^ than something that was basically phoned in.

Jan said...

Sooo glad u are back!! And yeah Ug was totally a rude little troll to Papouli. She SUCKS!

Opanga-Tay said...

Sorry to hear about the crap-tastic things that are happening in real life, but I'm glad to see you're back! And with a kickass recap.

I totally remember those glasses Kimmy and DJ fight about. I know they were fairly stylish for the time, but gah. They're fairly hideous.

The first time I saw this episode, I thought it was soooo sad. Having watched it recently for the first time in years...well, not so much. I think you pretty much nailed it though - had the episode not been centred around Michelle, it would have been a truly sad one. The Olsen twats - I mean twins - completely ruined it with their "acting."

And total word about Michelle supposedly being more heartbroken than Jesse about the situation. How well did she really know him? That's what kinda sucks about the later seasons, they centre practically every episode around Michelle. And no one wants that.

Michelle said...

So glad you're back!! Great recap. The only thing I don't remember about this episode is the whole boat scene with Michelle and Jesse. Oh, well...maybe that's better!

Anonymous said...

I LOLed at most of your recap - thanks!

colleenn said...

Sorry for being late on commenting on this one... I saw it recently too, and my thoughts were the same as yours--could've been a great, actually moving episode if they'd taken the focus off goddamn Michelle for half a second. The twins can't act, and they totally take you out of that scene where the whole family is grieving. I don't see why they couldn't have had a Jesse-focused episode and had him be the center of it since he could actually pull it off as an actor.

I did love though that Papouli was the same guy who played him back in the first episode he shows up in. And I totally agree with you about Stephanie's awful "mourning braids." :)

Sadako said...

Just went back and read this--HA. I love your "undertones" for the "Little Jesse" line. So true!

Speaking of awkward braids, remember Stephanie's weird Princess Leia do for when she had to cover her pierced ears? Heh.

Vani B. said...

Wouldn't this episode technically have a Very Special Episode label? I actually saw this for the first time around the time my own grandfather died (back in 2002). I had seen all but that episode at the time. I bawled my eyes out at the scene where everyone's crying... although I did notice during the scene where Michelle and Jesse were talking on the boat that Mary Kate-or-Ashley was only making an attempt at squeezing out a few tears, like a little kid desperately trying to get sympathy after he got in trouble with a teacher or something. Still, good episode to watch when you're grieving the loss of a loved one.

And I know I'm totally echoing everyone else's sentiments, but yeah, good call on what a little skank Michelle was to her great-grandfather. What the hell was that? In traditional Latino families, if one of the kids disrespects Abuela or Abuelo (which are the Spanish equivalents of Yia Yia and Papouli, respectively) the way Michelle did, Mom comes around once with the ol' backhand, and that's the end of it.

Megan said...

Hi. I've been reading your FH episode reviews and they're really well written. The only thing I don't understand is why you seem to hate Michel so much? She's actually one of my fave chars, next to Steph and Uncle Jesse.

The Last Dance" is a very special episode for me. I’ve seen it a lot over the years. I've even seen the uncut version a few times which has an uncut scene between Michelle and Danny which is sweet. I, like Michelle, had a very close relationship with my own great grandfather and was very heartbroken when he died a year before this episode aired. I could really relate to Michelle in this one. I think her acting was superb. And she did inflect when she says, "No, he's not dead!" That scene makes me cry every time. Also, when she says “I bet you could,” in reference to Papouli not knowing anyone, I don’t think she was being mean. She wasn’t being nasty at all. She was just making an observation.

Even though I enjoy your reviews, I Think you need to cut Michelle a little slack, especially as far as the episode “The Last Dance” is concerned.

Vani B. said...

MilkMan already made the point that Michelle wasn't close to her great-grandfather and only met him twice throughout the duration of the series. And Michelle was indeed rude to Papouli, and throughout the series she's rude to other adults and gets away with it. Not to mention they spoiled her rotten.

Anonymous said...

And besides, its HER blog. She can be as judgy as she wants.