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|:HOME:|:RANTS:|:FEBRUARY 16, 2000
"Doc Martin"
FEBRUARY 16, 2000

So itís time for a Very Special 90210 (and, accordingly, a Very Special 90210 WHY? Rant).

But first, I forgot to mention last week ≠ and was reminded in this weekís "Previously" scenes ≠ of the Horror of Donna-Toriís heaving bosoms chugging around on her chest as she ran to her fallen Daddy. Icky. It was almost as grody as Madonnaís new video (which made me think Madonna misunderstood the songís title to be "American Pies").

Anyway, since itís a Very Special 90210 about the Very Special Death of Donnaís Very Special Daddy, that means, naturally, weíre going to be absolutely bamboozled with how Very Special Donna is. Accordingly, we get the immediate Compare and Contrast Dealie of Gina not knowing anything about Doc Martin and Donna, of course, being able to provide the ambulance people with specific info about Docís doctor and heart condition and all that (choking through her tears, naturally).

How did that one ambulance worker manage to 1) walk over to the phone, 2) call information for Dr. Abramsí number, 3) be connected to Dr. Abramsí number, 4) have his answering service page him with the information that John Martin had just died of a stroke and they need him to verify cause of death all in less than 20 seconds?

Anyway, Donnaís overwrought, Ginaís in shock, and Felice shows up in a taxi and Donna runs out to tell her. And Feliceís reaction, actually, was the only one that rang as genuine (IMO) as she screams and freaks and shakes off Donnaís nurturing arms to run inside the house.

And after the opening credits and all that, we get the intro music, which is Sarah McLaughlinís "I Will Remember You." I know, I know. But I have to admit, that song sometimes just rips me up. See, the first time I heard it was for the memorial thing after Sergei Grinkov died about five years ago. He and Katya were my favorite pairs team, and Iíd followed their career since the mid-eighties, and when he died, he and Katyaíd only been married a few years, and I think their daughter Daria was barely two years old, and, damn, it was all just so shocking and tragic and absolutely heartbreaking that a 28-year-old athlete could drop dead of an unknown heart condition and leave behind his wife and partner and their baby daughter.... So, I admit, I bawled a lot over that, and over his memorial service, and over Katya skating alone for him, and just hearing that Sarah McLaughlin song still makes me feel all choked up. Yeah, I know, Iíve got this Majorly Cynical and Cranky attitude and all, but there are some things that just tear me up, and that was one of them. Believe it or not, I actually get surprisingly teary over some things, maudlin things, typically schlocky things... Disney songs, for instance, or Christmas commercials, or those TV specials about weddings or babies being born. So, I am ashamed to say, I was expecting to find myself weeping over Donnaís Dead Daddy, despite myself. Shhh... donít tell anyone I told you this, though. I have my reputation to think of. But anyway, at this rate, except for the music, Iíve been unmoved by Docís Death. But itís only the beginning, so weíll see....

For some reason, the writers this week have actually seen fit to bless us with numerous threads of continuity, because, at the PPAD parking lot, thereís a tow truck towing off Poor Noahís window-shattered red jeep, which I guess heís going to get rid of because the memories of his terrifying abduction are too much for him or something. And Poor Noah mumbles that "I donít [re]Ďmember smashing thí windshield at all." Thatís prolly Ďcos you DIDNíT smash it, Noah, THEY did... oh, wait, upon repeated viewings, I think Poor Noah said "I donít Ďmemberím smashing thí windshield...." Okay. And for some reason, Dylie and Noah mustíve bonded big time, because Dylanís there watching with Poor Noah as they hook the jeep up to the tow truck. And Skeevy Stevie has driven up in the SkeevyMobile to inform Noah and Dylan that Donnaís dad croaked, and Dylan actually reacts to the news more than Poor Noah does about his own ex-girlfriendís father. But, of course, this kind of news is going to hit Sensitive Dylan McKay hard, innit? So, Skeevy Stevie announces that Gina was there, and Dylan, for some reason, acts concerned and says "She SAW her father die?" as if heís ever cared a fig about Gina at all anyway.

I suppose this is setting the stage for all the Hillster Boyz to be presented in this episode as rilly Caring and Sensitive and Deeply Affected By Tragedy and all that... you know, to make the TeenGrrl Viewers rationalize that no matter what shitty behavior the Hillster Boyz have pulled in the past or will pull in the future, itís okay, because deep down inside, they really CARE about stuff! (Plus Noah is SO Hott!) And then they can apply that philosophy to their own lives and their own crappy boyfriends-

So the tow truck guy tries to be all personable, and asks Noah if he "hit a tree limb" or "cut an angry housewife off" or something, which causes Poor Noah "Angst In His Pants" Hunter to go off on him about "two thugs dragged me out of my car handcuffed me and stuck a gun in my face for two days," which is a problematic sentence, structure-wise. But Noahís a problematic guy, structure-wise. And heís been Deeply Affected by Tragedy, of course, because all guys react to tragedy by getting belligerent. And Dylan sticks up for his new best friend (and reveals his own Tragic Angst) by belligerently wanting to know if the tow truck guy has "got any more questions?" And the tow truck guy just huffs and wanders away without asking Noah to sign any kind of release form for his jeep or anything. And then Noah mumbles something incoherent, and I can make out the words "Tell Donna" and "something" and "not gonna make it," which, I guess, translates as him asking Dylan to tell Noah that heís not going to be paying a condolence call. And he also asks Dylan not to tell Donna "about Shane and Josie, I donít want her to worry." But, based on last weekís reaction to Kelly asking if "anyone has seen Noah," I donít think Noah needs to worry about Donna worrying about him. And itís really nice and sensitive of Noah to think that Donna would have the energy or effort left to worry about him when HER FATHER JUST DROPPED DEAD. Like, not even "tell Donna Iím sorry" or nuthiní, Noah? Jayzus.

So everyoneís gathered over at Dysfunction Junction to comfort Donna (which, in this case, consists of everyone sitting and just... STARING at her). And Donna bravely talks about "making phone calls" and "thereís so much to take care of" and then brokenly (okay, woodenly) wants to know "so how do you plan a funeral?" Which, of course, is cue for the Seagull Chorus to offer their condolences. And itís funny how NO ONE is paying the LEAST bit of attention or making ANY effort whatsoever to offer GINA any condolences. Anyway, they quickly do away with the troublesome issue of Donnaís store being closed, because Davy says Camille ONCE AGAIN is going to come in and run the place! What happened to Camilleís job? This is enough to make me think that sheís going to be moving into the third bedroom at Dysfunction Junction and taking her rightful place within the Hillster Tribe any day now.... And God knows that KELLY couldnít get off her selfish butt to take care of the store for a couple of days now that sheís basically washed her hands of the whole retail thing. Or else maybe Camilleís going to be so enamored of Donnaís store that, at the end of the season, sheís going to make Donna a Great Big Offer to buy her out, leaving Donna free to seek her fortune on Seventh Avenue, or in Paris, or someplace like that. That is, if our plans for the Barbie Dreamhouse Wedding donít come off.

And then Donna gets all Philosophical and Metaphysical about the nature of life and death, about how "yesterday he was fine... and today heís gone" which makes all the Assembled Hillsters gaze at her, stricken with sympathy some more.

And then Kelly- God bless sweet, sensitive Kelly... Kelly suddenly snips "Was he supposed to exercise?"

I mean, WHAT THE FUCK! Even if Gina WASNíT sitting right there, is that any way to comfort your friend? Thatís like saying to Kelly "Maybe your Instant Grampa shouldnítíve smoked so much, Ďcos cigarettes will kill you" by way of comfort. Or "Gosh, Dylan, your father mustíve had a death wish or something." Or "Hey, Noah, was your dad, like, a nut case or what?!" Or like an ever-insensitive friend of mine who, when my cat Mouse got hit by a car and I was freaking out that he wouldnít survive, chastised me for loving a cat so much. "It's JUST a cat!" Thanks for the comfort, good friend. And trust Kelly Taylor to spread a little sunshine and cheer.

And Gina looks up and says "Meaning...?"

And Kelly CONTINUES to be nasty and says all accusatorily "I was just wondering what the physician said. Thatís all," the whole time pursing her sour-candy lips at Gina and narrowing her dew-drop eyes and looking Gina up and down all scathingly and just being as snippy as can be.

And NO ONE in the room seems to think that this was a really rude, callous thing to say. NO ONE says "Hey, Kelly, chill." NO ONE says "Nowís not the time." NO ONE EVEN LOOKS AT GINA!

And Donna whispers that "They donít know what brought on the stroke."

And Gina announces that sheís going to "go get some air" but for some reason doesnít then pry Kellyís head off her shoulders. And Davy Looks at Gina and Donna Looks at Davy and Davy Looks at Donna and finally gets his butt off the couch and goes out to the back porch, where the seagulls are continuing to sing their funeral dirge and Gina is continuing to be ostracized. And for some reason, despite the fact that itís Southern California and the temperature rarely drops below 50 during the day, even at the beach, Davy must be really cold, because heís all rubbing his hands together and blowing on them.

And Ginaís weeping at the railing and hiding her eyes, but I guess she mustíve been able to smell it was Davy who came out there because she doesnít even look up or over to identify whoís coming to comfort her. And she announces "Look, Iím invisible" which is a really amusing pun.

And Davy explains that "Donnaís just dealing with a lot of responsibilities right now." (Overt praise for Donna! Overt praise for Donna!) Of COURSE Donnaís dealing with responsibilities. And why doesnít Davy just dump Camille now, because itís obvious that We the TV Viewers are meant to think that Davy thinks that Donnaís just the greatest person on the face of the earth since Jesus. But way more hot. Iím telliní ya, by next episode, theyíll be reunited (and it feeeeels so good). ĎCos nothing says loviní like a parentís death. (Or a parentís supposed death, but weíll get to Dylan and Kelly later....)

Anyway, Ginaís got snot under her nose, and snurfles and says "I feel like Iím not even allowed to be sad." Gotta give her credit for being up on Hillsterism... she isnít allowed to be anything if it takes away from a Real Hillster. At least, not without Hillster Permission.

And Davy, by way of comfort, says "A man died and you were there. It may be totally irrational but some people are wondering if maybe something else couldíve been done!" Like, God damn, Davy! Are you sure you and Kelly arenít blood related? Yeah, Davy is, in fact, really cold, isnít he? And the whole time, heís staring off and wonkying his eyes around and not even touching or looking at Gina. Nice guy.

And Gina, of course, laughs in painful disbelief, and repeats "ĎA man died...í He was my father." And Davy kind of nods, still not looking at her, and Gina continues in a rush "and the people whoíre wondering are Felice and Kelly and everyone else who thinks that Iím to blame for his death." Which is actually a rather redundant statement, because Ginaís saying that, in effect, "the people whoíre wondering if Iím to blame for his death are the people who are wondering if Iím to blame for his death." I personally just liked how she lumped Felice and Kelly together. Like we donít know that Dylan and Kelly arenít going to get married and have babies and Kellyís going to turn into a Society Matron with Control Freak Tendencies but with a Basic Inability To Take Care of Even The Most Everyday Tasks, just like Felice is portrayed.

And Davy, STILL not even looking at Gina, says "No one said they blamed you."

And Gina says "In this group no one has to."


Ah, yes, Hillsterism Exposed and Confirmed!

Anyway, then we see Kelly and LawyerBoy meandering down a city street, and Kellyís wondering "Do you need a license to be a personal trainer?" Just when you thought she couldnít sink any lower.... And LawyerBoy chastised "Kelly" and Kelly says "I was just asking!" all defensively while sighing and huffing "I know what youíre asking. And youíre not making anything easier for Donna by asking it." Like, what, Kellyís going to suggest that, I donít know, Donna and Felice SUE Gina or something? And I hate to break it to Kelly, but even on those super-cold 50 degree days in LA, who wears a scarf?

And then Kelly non-sequiturs that "Donna made it possible for Gina to even HAVE a relationship with Doctor Martin... I mean, she PUSHED for it!" Of course she did. Donna knows the value of family. Michael Landon, pshaw! Meet Donna "Family Values" Martin!

And then LawyerBoy in his stupid I Raided Felicityís Wardrobe sweater non-sequiturs "So. Tell me about this job offer of yours" And Kelly, of course, doesnít have to lift a freakiní finger to find a job, even in a place as big as Los Angeles... the jobs just come to her... including this "good one" through Pia ≠ oh, God, AGAIN!? I mean, now weíre re-hashing the already-re-hashed plots from, like, a season ago? YOU COULDNíT COME UP WITH ANYTHING BETTER THAN THIS? ≠ who is, naturally, working for a rilly big PR agency now and can offer Kelly this super-keen job with "good money" blah blah blah BLAH!

Rather than yammer on again about how unrealistic this is, Iím going to say two little words: Bull. Shit.

But LawyerBoy isnít listening to Kelly prattle on and on about herself and her job offer and her career opportunities, because his car is missing! And to my absolute and utter glee, an (ethnic) restaurant valet comes over to inform LawyerBoy that his car was towed from its metered spot BY THE REPO MAN! Awright! ...Although, despite my delight in this situation, I canít help wondering 1) HOW the Repo Man knew where LawyerBoyís car was parked and how he managed to find it on a random public street and 2) just how long itís been since LawyerBoy made a car payment, because the Repo Man doesnít strike unless youíre three months overdue. I know. I was a Starving Student once. And itís my understanding that the Repo Man doesnít, like, have a Lo-Jack type tracer on the car so that he can track it down at some metered spot, but rather comes to get it when itís parked at your home or at your place of business. My mom had a Nasty Altercation with the Repo Man once herself. Repo Man came and got her car while she was at work ≠ hopped in it and drove off (I guess he had a key and another Repo Man dropped HIM off) ≠ and she freaked, because she thought her car was being stolen. I mean, all she saw was some guy running up to her car, somehow getting in, and starting it. So she runs out there screaming "What do you think youíre DOING?!" and he gives her a filthy look, yells something along the lines of "thatís what you get!" and zooms away. The funny thing was, sheíd never missed a car payment... Ford Motor Credit (whom I hate hate hate hate with a passion) had made mistakes in processing her payments; sheíd never even received a "warning" phone call saying they had her account flagged or anything. They didnít even apologize to her. Idjits. Anyway, the Ethnic Valet can commiserate as well, because his little brother also had the same thing happen. And in a pointed dig at Kelly, Ethnic Valet says his brother is "a struggling painter. [Whispers confidentially] Heís not very talented," which must remind Kelly of her long lost love, Colin, because she smirks all closed-lipped at him. Or maybe the "not very talented" comment stung Kelly as a personal slap at her own lack of talents.

Anyway, stupid dorky LawyerBoy is all incensed because heís "an attorney, pal! I spent about three years and a hundred grand in law school!" And why doesnít the Ethnic Valet retort "Well then, you should know that your car lease is a legally binding document, and if you havenít made the payments, theyíre going to tow your car, you stupid asshole!" Or at the very least, why doesnít Ethnic Valet say "Talk about misdirecting your anger, loser!" But no, Ethnic Valet is merely an Ethnic Valet, and is fundamentally at the mercy of Hillsters and can only slink away, ashamed for even existing in the same world as Big White Bread Studs like LawyerBoy. Anyway, LawyerBoy adds, all pityingly, to his last statement about all heís spent "... For this." And gazes in consternation at his empty parking space. Heís prolly just peeved that all his Lionel Ritchie and Mac Davis CDs were still in the car.

And stupid Kelly huffs "Are you sure you donít want to call the police and make sure it wasnít stolen?" Like, what part of Repo Man are you not comprehending, dummy?

And LawyerBoy stomps and huffs some more and says "No!" all defensively and informs Kelly that he "got a call from a creditor last week" and then Kelly whines "I thought we talked about the finance issue! We agreed to be up front about it!" and LawyerBoy just goes off, all "You KNOW Iím out of work! I mean, do I have to give you a daily reminder of it, or maybe this did the trick!" Brandon Part Two indeed. And then Kelly makes another weird, tight-lipped face, because she better not think of speaking EVER AGAIN! See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil. Welcome to KellyWorld.

Over at Dysfunction Junction, Ginaís making like a Real Hillster Girl by moping on one of Kellyís green patio chairs. And Dylanís doing his knight-in-shining-armor routine again, swooping in when things get really rough. And Gina starts babbling all maniacally about how Donnaís at her momís and sheís (that is, Ginaís) there watching the phone in case any of the family calls or anything despite the fact that Donnaís left her cell phone number on the "outgoing machine" (sic) neener neener neener nee. And Gina is, indeed, "watching the phone": sheís holding it≠ with her sweater cuffs pulled over her hands, of course ≠ and staring at it, pretty much underscoring the fact that she has no purpose and nothing to offer and no place in the family even though the guy who kicked it was also her dad. See, Victim Blather Du Jour can be inferred, too.

And Dylanís come over to visit Gina, in an attempt to either 1) make up for being such a nasty, selfish shithead to her or 2) in the writersí attempt, to make We the TV Viewers believe the usual 90210 Rationalization that Dylan really isnít such a meanie-weenie... heís just got his demons to battle and is so sensitive that things pain him deeply and he canít express those feelings, but instead lashes out in confusing behavior patterns.... or 3) is still being a nasty, selfish shithead, continuing to manipulate Gina to fulfill his own agenda and is merely showing sympathy because heís transferring his own Pains and Losses onto Gina and itís easier to deal with his feelings that way.

Guess what I think?

So anyway, Dylie doesnít really pay attention to Ginaís blather, but instead... pets her, totally patronizingly, and rasps "Iím sorry about your dad." You know, Poor Gina, the little girl who never really had a father... and she, of course, doesnít swat Dylanís condescending hand but, rather, just slumps and gets all teary and whispers thickly "I screwed up" (Overt Victim Blather Du Jour). And Dylan rasps "I donít believe it. Do you?" And Gina blathers "I donít know, I checked his pulse. I was trying to make sure he wasnít overexerting himself but..." And Dylan rasps "Oh, címon, he was a doctor if he didnít know it was gonna happen there is no WAY you could have." Um, Dylie? Generally speaking, I donít think doctors actually know when the Reaper is gonna come aíknockiní.... Anyway, Gina blathers "Yeah, but I knew he didnít want to work out. He just wanted to spend time with me." And Dylan rasps "Because you walked into his life and said ĎHey. Iím your daughter. And... I forgive you.í" And I just crack up laughing at that, while Dylan continues rasping "Do you have any idea what that mustíve meant to him?" And Gina kind of nods and cries some more. And I thank the gods that I had the foresight to run over to the yummy deli across the street before the show started and pick up a pastrami sammich and some Ben & Jerryís Fudge Brownie ice cream, Ďcos thatís the only way to make THIS experience palatable. This whole thing has been about as moving as a stationary bike. (Because, see, a stationary bike doesnít really move... I mean, it MOVES, but itís a pointless, non-moving movement, and-)

Anyway, so I predict a big old Dylanís Father Angst Onslaught, because it doesnít really matter that Ginaís hurting... sheís outa Hillsterland within a matter of minutes, anyway. No, what matters is DYLANíS hurt... Dylan saying "Hey, Iím your son" ...Dylan knowing what he mustíve meant to Jack... blah blah blah Oedipuscakes. And no, Iris doesnít count.

So over at the Martin Mansion, Felice is asking Donna if sheís hungry and offering the quiche in the fridge (Gawd, what ARE they going to do with all those frozen dinners?), which Donna of COURSE refuses, because not only is she too overwrought and heartbroken to eat, she never eats anyway. And Donna of COURSE is so wondrously responsible that she starts asking Felice about funeral expenses and if sheís located Docís life insurance, which of COURSE Felice hasnít, so of COURSE Donna says "Itís okay, Iíll look" because of COURSE Felice canít handle any of this and of COURSE Donna has the strength and fortitude to keep on keepiní on, despite everything. So of COURSE Donna starts digging in Docís file cabinet and of COURSE Donnaís getting funeral details organized and is gently asking Felice about what unit of the armed services Doc was in and of COURSE Felice is befuddled and doesnít know, and of COURSE Donna knows and they need to get a flag for his coffin and of COURSE Felice canít deal with the word "coffin" and starts breaking down and Donna of COURSE wants to know where Docís date book is, because thereís people she should call and Felice of COURSE doesnít know... she doesnít know anything... "I donít know, Donna! I donít know! I donít know if the mortgage has been paid, I donít know where his checkbook is, I donít know anyTHING!" and her voice rises to a hysterical pitch at the end and of COURSE Donna sighs all pityingly "Oh, Mommie" (which Iíve spelled that way on purpose because Donna is) totally sounding like grownup Christina Crawford at the end of Mommie Dearest looking at her motherís embalmed body and of COURSE Donna goes to hug Felice and of COURSE Felice breaks down and of COURSE Donna, all flatliner style, utters that Famous Hillster Platitude "Itís okay we can get through this" and of COURSE Felice sobs "No we canít!" and of COURSE Donna says all flatliner style "We have to" and of COURSE the doorbell rings, which of COURSE Felice canít handle, so of COURSE Donna says sheíll go get it and of COURSE Felice stays behind in Docís study, crying.

Actually, Felice was really emotionally compelling in this scene. I didnít cry or nuthiní, but it was kinda a Moment.

So then Donna goes to answer the door, and itís Davy and Camille, bearing a plastic-wrapped basket of food and vase of flowers, and Donna is all bravely accepting their condolences. And it turns out that the basket was sent by Nat, who took Joanie on a cruise but is naturally flying back for the Big Funeral (not that weíre going to see him, much less Joanie. And naturally Nat and Joanie would cut short their vacation cruise to attend the funeral of the father of one of, well, basically, his regular customers, because Donna of COURSE means so much to Nat and Joanie and of COURSE theyíd want to be there to show their support, Iím sure.) Anyway, they carry their Offerings over to a table already laden with tons of plastic-wrapped food baskets, and Davy says "You know, Iím surprised people think you want to eat in this situation." Actually, Davy, itís my understanding that the food is brought not only so the mourners donít have to worry about fixing meals, but also so they donít have to worry about fixing stuff for all of the other people who come to pay condolence calls. I doubt Felice and Donna are going to be partying it up with the Anjou pears and Hickory Farms beef logs or anything.

And then Donna says "Yeah. The weird thing is, you do." Oh, címon, Tori, whoíre you trying to fool? "You suffer this huge lose and everything just kinda stays the same." O-kay. And then she tells Davy that she "heard my favorite song... on your show... Thank you" and breaks down again. Um, Davyís show? Since when? I guess that means that weíre supposed to believe that, despite the fact that we havenít seen evidence of it in any way lo these many months, Davy still has a radio show somewhere... one that plays music (instead of taking advice calls?).... Anyway, Davy and Donna hug all over each other and Camille takes the hint and walks away, and Iím sure sometime next week, sheís going to give Davy the speech about how she knows he still cares for Donna and Donnaís a great person and all that crap. And if there was any doubt in our minds about the Donna and Davy Reunion, Davy seals their fate by uttering the "weíre meant to be together" version of Famous Hillster Platitude: "Itís okay... Iíll help you get through this."

And Donna, all sadly brave, says "And then what? You guys all have your own lives [do they?]... this was [emphasis Donnaís] my family." So I guess Donnaís Daddy was, in fact, the whole family. Davy says as much, and Donna chokes that "without my dad, I donít know what we are anymore" and tells Davy that "my mom is... freaking out about everyday things, things my dad took care of." You mean, with a husband as busy as Doc Martin, Felice has NEVER had to deal with everyday things? Okay... are we REALLY meant to believe that Felice Martin, Ass Kicker Extraordinaire, has never ever ever ever had to deal with even paying a bill, but only pulled out her checkbook for the occasional bribery scheme? Felice, with all her charity work and Junior League stuff and Alpha alumni events and speech-giving, canít deal with the basic organization of a funeral, but needs her 23-year-old daughter to do it? Jeepers. I mean, I guess we got a preview of this when Doc Martin had his previous health problems, but still... Felice was the strongest character in Hillsterland, and Iím kinda pissed that they had to dilute her into a helpless, incompetent mess. Anyway, then Donna blithers about how "what he took care of best was her" and how she keeps telling her mom "Ďweíre gonna be fine, weíre gonna get through thisí ... but it just all seems like such a pathetic lie!" And Donna sobs some more and Davy hugs and comforts some more and Camille must be making pretty good headway in a basket of honey-roasted almonds or something by now. And yeah, yeah, Donna NEEEEEDS Davy and heís "there" for her, which means that we should start taking bets on what theyíre gonna name their first three children. (Baby Number One will be a boy and theyíll name him John. John Martin Silver. Long John Martin Silver. No, John David Silver, and theyíll call him J.D.-)

Was this scene supposed to be moving? ĎCos it wasnít.

Why didnít Davy go offer condolences to Felice? Itís not as if he hasnít known her for almost 10 years.

And over at LawyerBoyís stupid office, Kellyís totally sulking and pouting lying in wait for him, already having fetched his morning coffee, which, when he shows up, she hands to him with a forgiving smile. Ainít love grand? Hey.... Gosh, I really like Kellyís hair! No, Iím serious! Honest! Iím not being sarcastic! Anyway, LawyerBoy says "I hate talking about money" which I guess is supposed to take the place of "Sorry I was such an asshole and took my problems and irresponsibilities out on you, which was really mean, immature and disrespectful." And Kelly says "I noticed" kinda snippily, but sheís smiling too, so I guess thatís supposed to take the place of "Yeah, youíre a lunkhead, but you also gave me an engagement ring and God knows I donít want to jeopardize the possibility of getting married, so Iíll let you treat me shabbily sometimes" and they go into his office carrying their empty coffee cups. And then LawyerBoy announces "Hereís the thing... I want you to trust that Iím in control of my finances. The hard part is... because of this suspension... Iím basically starting at ground zero with clients." And this whole time, Kelly is just smirking and huffing in annoyance and looking at him all put-out like. And then she bravely offers up the money that she has "from my share of the store-" Kel, hon, itís gonna take more that fifty bucks and change to get LawyerBoyís car outa hock. "≠if you need any-" And LawyerBoy Brandonfully interrupts "No! No no no no no, please do not finish that sentence." Yeah, Kelly, how DARE you insult LawyerBoyís penis and testicles in such a way? And LawyerBoyís shaking his finger at Kelly, still managing to keep hold of his empty coffee cup. And LawyerBoy stalks over to Kelly and, I swear to God, LawyerBoy says to her: "I love you so much but you have no idea how guys define themselves." Yup, you got it. The Stupidest Thing Uttered in Tonightís Episode! And that would be enough for me to immediately break off the engagement and run screaming out of stupid LawyerBoyís stupid office.... But not Kelly "KELLY TAYLOR WANTS THAT!" Taylor. Then LawyerBoy magnanimously offers to go back to working for a big firm, because he and Kellyíre getting married and need the security, even though he hated working for a big firm. And, Chumpy Asshole, what makes you think that any big firm would have you and your stupid suspended butt? I mean, a friend of ours graduated from COLUMBIA LAW SCHOOL several years ago, and because competition is so tough in the legal job market in big cities like NY and LA, he had to start doing basic schlep work at a big legal firm. Itís not like LawyerBoy can peddle his suspended ass into some big firm and theyíre going to, like, set him up with a corner office and let him go wild fighting cases or anything. Thatís about as realistic as some big Los Angeles PR firm calling Kelly up (AGAIN) and begging her (AGAIN) to work for them on Big Important Projects. Anyway, LawyerBoy tells Kelly that he doesnít want her to take the PR job in order to "hold me up" and Kelly downplays it by saying the job "hasnít been offered yet." And then Kelly goo-goos at him "I believe in you" which I think was her first mistake in this whole situation. "Weíre gonna be fine!" she baby-talks earnestly, immediately hearkening back to Donnaís telling her mom "Ďweíre gonna be fine, weíre gonna get through thisí ... but it just all seems like such a pathetic lie!" And Kelly pets LawyerBoyís face with her engagement ringíd hand and gazes at him adoringly. I think Kellyís actually been reclassified as an invertebrate at this point.

And back at the Martin Mansion, for some reason weíre supposed to believe that Felice would be putting plastic wrap on casserole dishes and putting them away in the refrigerator instead of having her Salvadorian housekeeper do it for her. And Ginaís there just watching, not even lifting a pathetic, self-pitying finger to help, and wants to know "Are you okay?"

And Felice says forthrightly "No..." And then says "Thatís not the answer you were hoping for, is it?" After all of the Typical Hillster Relationship Games, itís such a relief to hear Felice just out with things.

And Gina wrings her fingers and plays with her sweater cuffs and looks pathetic and victimish and whispers "Iím so sorry."

And then Felice wants to know if Gina knew that Doc Martin was an usher at the Orpheum Theatre downtown when he was in high school, and Gina says "no" but is kinda smiling, either at the joyous knowledge about her father that Felice has just imparted or at the fact that Felice is confiding in her or something. And Felice zings "I read it in his obituary. A reporter had called his brother and he mentioned it. To find out something about your husband after all these years...." Which, I guess, in typical Hillster philosophy, is implying that thereís a point when a coupleís relationship is "done" and thereís supposedly nothing left to learn or discover about each other, as opposed to a relationship being a viable and organic thing. And then Gina blathers about how she thought the article was really nice, but she just wishes (*choked sob*) that she had been mentioned in it as his daughter. Like, yeah, Gina, way to be tactful AND realistic, hon! And Felice, bless her, says "For heavenís sake, Gina, what difference does it make now?"

And Ginaís growing more pathetic by the minute and snurfles "Well, he was my father!"

And Felice rips back "Well he was my life! [Yeah, sheís a Hillster Female all right.] What do you want, to destroy his reputation now that heís not here to explain to everyone what a... stupid, thoughtless mistake he made?"

And Gina, even more pathetic, insists "He didnít see it that way. He- he didnít see me that way." Like, yeah, Iím sure that within the matter of a week or so, everything was just peachy for you and your new Dad, Gina, and all old issues were forever laid to rest and you were going to live happily ever after. Iím sure, Gina, that Doc Martin knocked boots with White Trash Bobbi just because he wanted so much to conceive a child with her! Why, he prolly gave it lots of thought and decided it was a smart thing to do, huh?

But praise the Lord and pass the ammunition, because Felice starts screaming "Well dammit, Gina, this is not about you! Donít you see how one careless moment can destroy everything? ...Did you check his blood pressure? Did you think at all?" And Gina is, like, the Pathetical Victim Poster Child as she implores "Please donít do this!" but thereís no stopping Felice, who continues to demand "Did you THINK?" until Gina turns away, all brokenhearted.

Was THAT supposed to make us feel sorry for Gina? ĎCos I felt sorry for Felice, frankly.

And speaking of family, where is Doc Martinís so-called brother whom weíve never heard of before? Whereís White Trash Bobbi? She couldnít manage to come pay her respects to her own widowed sister?

God. The stupid PPAD. So. Why are Stupid Steve and Stupid Janet are so traumatized over DONNAíS FATHER DEATH that they AGAIN had to dump their newborn with a sitter (again, in a shout-out, with Janetís mom) to go to a stupid dance club to "unwind"? Yeah, glad to see parenthood isnít cramping your lifestyle, guys. Doesn't there come a time in adult life when hanging out at the same old club 'n barseveral times a week is really just... pathetic? Why is Janet taking on Noah as a charity case, all wanting him to come over for dinner (Ďcos thatís what married couples do... they have friends over for dinner)?

And, of course, along with everyone else, Noahís all angst-ridden and contemplating life and death and all that stuff, because this Very Special 90210is going to be Very Special for everyone involved and prove a turning point, a watershed in Hillsterland. Actually, Iím hoping since they got rid of Doc Martin ≠ a character who I never considered would leave Hillsterland ≠ then maybe we can hope for the sudden and prompt departure of other characters as well. Yeah, I know, thankfully Ginaís on her way out. But maybe... maybe we can hope that Noah, as a result of his Near Death Experience, will decide to do us all a favor and go back to Hawaii. After all, thereíre no Hillster Girls left for him to date. Maybe, once Kelly and LawyerBoy split up so that Kelly can be with her soulmate, Dylan, LawyerBoy will pack up all those books and go back to New York. I mean, itís not like he has any use since thereíre no other Hillster Girls for him to date, either. And maybe we can hope that Natís superfluousity will be resolved with a heart attack or retirement. Maybe Steve and Janet will take Maddy and move to a tract home far, far away. Maybe Kelly and Dylan will run off to Bali or the Australian outback or something. Maybe Davy will decide to relocate to Seattle (or wherever) to be near his mom, or he and Donna will decide to elope and set themselves up in some Vegas penthouse-

Oh. I guess that wouldnít leave anyone in Hillsterland, then. Bummer.

Anyway, Noah is all Faux Dylanly raspily mumbling about how "this former child star abducts me at gunpoint, right? I was thinkiní about it, I mean, could I actually die like this? After allís said and done, I mean, yeah.... I coulda died like that. ĎS a pretty good way to go, right?"

And Janet "Asian Claire" Sanders is making Whatever Faces (tm xix) and then she and Stevie exchange big olí "What the hell is this loser talking about" looks.

Noah really did say that death at the hand of a former child star was a "pretty good way to go" didnít he? But he never says (you got it) WHY! Instead he wants Skeevy Stevie to introduce Beth "Faux Sheryl Crow" Hart, because he (despite hanging out at a busy club) doesnít want to "deal with the crowd."

Say. Weíve got Matt "Faux Brandon" LawyerBoy... Noah "Faux Dylan" Hunter. Janet "Faux Claire" Sosna. Gina "Faux Valerie" Kincaid.... Why wasnít there ever a Faux Brinda? A Faux Ohndrea?

Anyway, Stevie kisses Janet good bye before he leaves her for two minutes to introduce Beth Hart... aw, arenít they cute and domestic?

And at the bar, Kellyís grilling an angst-ridden alcohol-drinking Dylan about "So what happened at that warehouse?" And Dylan all brazenly declares "Not much other than me almost getting killed. It was a day at the beach." And Kelly looks consternated. So whereís LawyerBoy? You mean Kellyís hanging out at a club without Her Fiancť? Whatís he doing? We know he ainít working....

Anyway, Kellyís snit is interrupted as Stevie introduces some chick whoís wearing all the two-inch-long circa 1971 rings from my Grammaís junk jewelry drawer. And then thereís the tedium of Beth Hartís song "Out of LA" which is all about Hillsters. Think about it:

She hangs around the Boulevard

Sheís a local girl with local scars

She got home late, she got home late

She drank so hard the bottle ached

She tried and she tried and she tried and she tried

But nothingís clear in a bar full of lies

So she takes and she takes, she takes and she takes

She understands when she gives it away

She says "Man I gotta get outa this town

Man I gotta get out of this place

Man I gotta get out of this town

Out of this town... out of LA."

See, like with the Hillsters, weíve got the whole "local" character(s) whose problems are all (supposedly) a result of "this town" and its inherent deceptive qualities. And, like with the Hillsters, weíve got the drinking problems that result from pain and anguish, the "bar full of lies," greed, and manipulative/destructive/conscious/deliberate [sexual] self-sacrifice. And thereís the whole 90210 theme that everything is based on being "in" Beverly Hills/LA... as opposed problems and conditions being based on a person and their own personal shortcomings and emptinesses.... Of course, the song goes on to say as much, but we really only get the first bit and the repeated chorus throughout this episode.

Anyway, after listening to the first verse, Kelly, on cue, turns back to Dylan and continues to bitch at him. "Tell me something, do you get a rush out of testing yourself? Or is it just a test for your friends... to keep us on our toes?"

And Dylan, GOD BLESS DYLAN, snips at Kelly "Yeah, thatís right, itís all about you".... Man, if that ainít a shout-out, then what is?

And as Dylan continues to drink (well, he keeps raising the cup and touching it to his lips) and brood, Kelly continues to harangue: "No, Iíd like to know what it is... risking everything so you can feel something?" Like, write a pop ballad about it already, Kelly.

So then Dylan castigates Kelly with a little unctuous invective of his own about how he "didnít volunteer" for this latest Drama in the life of Dylan McKay, and he actually refers specifically to past show details, even the Laker tip-off and "playing Russian roulette" and he pointedly/offhandedly throws in how he "incidentally risked my life" and "laid down a lotta cash" to save Poor Noah. And he finishes by adding a little public service announcement about "and it wasnít fun, it wasnít sexy, I wouldnít try it at home, kids," which Iíll take as a personal shout-out to the times that Iíve Ranted about the dumb, young viewers who canít fully differentiate TV Reality and Reality Reality when it comes to Hillstersí actions and how their Bad Behavior is supposed to be all rebellious and attractive and exciting. And, actually, it was a pretty funny line, too, cominí outa Dylan McKayís bad boy mouth. (Now if only we could get a Hillster to make the same claim about their deplorable and insalubrious romantic relationships.)

So Kelly, of course, is all contrite and repentant with her wide and earnest eyes and her ripe-strawberry lips and pleads for mercy as she says "Oh, Dylan, I had no idea...."

But thereís no stopping Big Bad Dylan McKay, who snaps as a final insult that "the real bright spot was, as my life flashed before my eyes, your lectures went by a lot quicker." Haw. And he leaves his drink and stomps away, leaving Kelly to pout and sulk and work her jaw and huff a lot.

And over at the Martin Mansion, itís the middle of the night, and Davy, instead of working his supposed night-shift yeah-right radio show is instead there to comfort Donna, whoís called him because she couldnít sleep. Um, Donna? What about your best friend Kelly Taylor? And Davy "Performance Fleece" Silver is hugging Donna and kissing her forehead and holding her hand and being all sweet and concerned and extra-protective, and Donna gazes up at him sweetly and guilelessly and piteously. And if this was anyone other than Donna, Iíd take to mean that theyíll be mackiní down on each other within minutes. But Donna is too devoted and too good and too sensitive and too Very Special to indulge in such potentially insensitive and controversially selfish behavior the night before her Daddyís funeral such as making out with a boy. But even so, her nipples are, like, on red alert ≠ "smuggliní peas" (tm Sars) ≠ and, despite the fact that sheís had 24 boob jobs, her boobies are still flolloping down mid-chest. I feel soiled now.

Anyway, so Donna leads Davy to one of the living rooms, where sheís "set up camp" because she "canít sleep." And the Pitiful Music starts up as Donna begins her Soliloquy about parental love and protectiveness: "You know, when I was kid, I would climb into my parentsí bed... with my favorite book, Charlotteís Web... and my dad, he would... he would turn the pages, but I swear he knew every word by heart...." And Charlotteís Web is a book for ages 8-12, well over a hundred pages long, so itís not like this is some little picture book that Donna could have read to her in a ten minutes or anything. And how many 8+ year olds do the sleeping-with-the-parents thing? Isnít that something for, like, 4-6 year olds? Even my little brother, who didnít sleep in his own bed for years because, when he was about three, I told him there was a "little man under the bed whoíll come out and get you when youíre sleeping," stopped sleeping in my momís bed by the time he was seven. (Yes, heís still pissed at me for that one. Soís my mom. What can I say... I was an imaginative child....) And Davy laughs with his finger stuck behind his ear, "Well thatís unconditional love, your mom hates spiders." And Donnaís all leaning on Davyís skinny, underdeveloped, zip-fleece-clad chest as she continues "He kept reading... and she never complained... and Iíd lean against him... and sheíd stroke my hair Ďtil I fell asleep." And of COURSE Davy is stroking Donnaís hair and of COURSE she sighs and smiles and looks all protected and content and lifts her hand to his chest and immediately closes her eyes and pretends to sleep while Davy of COURSE continues to pet her hand hold her hand and look Sincere and Protective.

And weíve got a really perverse combination of parental and romantic love happeniní here, donít we?

So I guess Davyís just going to spend the night sitting in the Martin Mansion, letting Donna sleep on him. Which Iíll bet will make Felice REALLY happy come morning.

But Davy isnít the only Protective Male in Hillsterland! Over at the Royale With Cheese Hotel, Dylanís come to be all Protective and Sincere to Little Miss Self-Loathing. And thank GOD that Ginaís already got her one-way ticket out of "this town," because I canít begin to tell you how sick I am of this stupid Dylan-Gina relationship. And Gina launches into Victim Blather Mode, basically recapping the Beth Hart song because she doesnít know "what it is about this town, you know...? It doesnít matter how hard you try... eventually you just... are what people say you are." Yeah, thatís it, Gina... itís all because of "the town." Emotionally healthy as ever, arenít we? Well, yeah, because when Dylan rasps about how he "got a taste of that myself this evening and I didnít like it much" and that "we [yes, Dylan said "WE"] should, uh, go somewhere else," Ginaís pathetic, insecure countenance lights up. "Were would you like to live?" rasps Dylan. "You mean for good?" trembles Gina hopefully. "Thatís the plan," rasps Dylan.

Are we really supposed to believe that Dylan is so self-destructive and self-loathing that he would leave "this town" WITH GINA, whom he has insulted repeatedly, treated like total shit, clearly has no respect for, has complained about because sheís too clingy and demanding and "pushes too hard".... Is Gina really stupid enough to believe this bullshit? Yeah, I guess, because after two seasons of manipulating and scheming and being a Professional Victim Bad Girl, she can finally be with sweet, kind, loving, generous, funny, responsible, charming, protective, trustworthy and emotionally available Dylan McKay whom she loves so much and has had such a healthy and fulfilling past history with. Yeah yeah yeah, this kind of co-dependant dysfunctional whatever pop psychology jargoned Mars/Venus relationship is supposedly a sign that Dylan and Gina are merely struggling with their demons- SOMEONE GET THE FREAKINí HOLY WATER AND PERFORM AN EXORCISM ALREADY!

The actress who plays Pia the PR Person must be, like, Toriís new girlfriend or something, because they keep bringing her back on the show. Anyway, why on earth would Pia be conducting a job interview with Kelly not, say, at her office, but AT THE PEACH PIT? And Pia tells Kelly that sheís "creative... and talented" ≠ um, Pia? At what? How so? ≠ and sheís "seen the energy you put behind things youíre committed to," which must mean that sheís seen Kelly devoting years of her life to saving Dylan or training LawyerBoy or achieving her Primary Goal of Marriage, so Pia figgers she can put Kelly on some tedious and drawn-out PR project that she herself canít be bothered with, and Kelly will ceaselessly expend her boundless energy on something with little promise of reward or healthy outcome

And Kelly earnestly baby-talks about how "believing in what Iím working on is very important to me." And according to Pia, Kellyís first assignment is helping to pass a ballot initiative, and the issue is "gay student clubs in public high schools." And in my notes that I take when Iím watching the initial airing of the show, I have scribbled: canít see this one coming! Because, of course, Kelly only says she "feels very passionately" about the issue and Pia never clarifies if theyíre pro or con. And I think thatís all the attention we need to pay to this stupid subject which is only serving to illustrate Kellyís Eventual Revelation that what she really really really wants to do and is meant to do is be a counselor at West Beverly High School and impart her wisdom on the teen masses. Anyway, Piaís going to "messenger" Kelly the campaign details. Cool! Kelly doesnít even have to strain herself to go to an office to pick anything up or download some files on her computer! Is this a dream job or what? And Dylan approaches as Pia leaves and Kelly doesnít even say "hi" or "howíre you?" or "are you still pissed off?" or "any post-traumatic stress syndrome from your unfortunate stay at the Requisite Kidnapping and Ransom Warehouse?" or nuthiní, but rather, announces that she has a new job and that was her new boss, because of course all anyone is going to care about is what sheís just done. And Dylan says "a PR firm... I knew you were looking for something I hope this is it." To which Iíll just repeat my earlier comments: "canít see this one coming!"

And then Kelly earnestly apologizes for telling Dylan he was "reckless," which Iíll take as a shout-out to our Dylan-as-Luke-Skywalker plot on the LWOOE board. And, woo hoo, back to back shout-outs, because Dylan responds "Whatever." And then Dylan rasps that "after the funeral Iím gonna be leaving" and it takes him a couple times to make sure that Kelly in her self-centered frenzy understands that heís leaving because "see, Iíve been looking for something too" and he doesnít "think itís here... not anymore." And Kelly, whoís done nothing much this episode except pout and sulk and huff and earnestly widen her eyes at the two boys in her life goes into said repertoire right on cue as Dylan wonkies his Great Big Forehead Creases at her for a few moments before he stomps away.

And over at the Martin Mansion, Davy is "being there" for Donna some more by taking stuff to the funeral home. Heís got a dress bag, which ostensibly has the clothes that Docís gonna be buried in. But for some reason, heís also carrying a suitcase. And I can only wonder what else he could possibly be taking to the funeral home... like, maybe heís got a few of Docís favorite things to be placed in the coffin with him (like a set of encyclopedia and a stash of surgical instruments, judging by the size of the bag). So, of COURSE Donna tells Davy how much itís meant to her that heís "being here" for her. Yup, weíre down to days now before theyíre embracing joyfully on the beach. And then Davy opens the front door, and Ginaís there, having come to announce that sheís "leaving LA" but of COURSE first has to thank Donna for how wondrous sheís been the last couple of months... "and so was Dad... I just wish I could say the same for everyone else" which is a really brutal slam to Davy standing right there, isnít it? And Davy snips to Gina about "I just said people wondered" and Gina snips back and Davyís shifting his eyes around and Gina wonders if Donnaís suspicious and Donna looks Tragical and mumbles the Hillster Platitude that sheís "just trying to get through this right now" and Gina snips about how "hard" it is for her "knowing that people could actually be suspicious of me" and Donna gets snippy and says "Iím sure it is" and Davyís shifting his eyes around some more and Gina Victim Blathers that Donna isnít comforting her and that "he was my father too!" and Donna snips "And if you hadnít found that out, maybe heíd still be alive!" Hello, Donna? WHO TOLD GINA THAT DOC WAS HER FATHER TOO, HUH? And Gina snips "So you DO think itís my fault?!" and Poor Tormented Donna snips "I donít know whoís fault it is and right now I really donít care!" and stomps away. Um, does Docís death have to be someoneís "fault" ladies?

And over at the PPAD Kellyís paying tribute to her relationship with Dylan by earnestly lisping that "If you are gonna leave, then I donít want our ... bitching and moaning about the... ridiculous amount of pain we inflict on each other to... obscure the fact that youíre one of my best friends.... And Iím gonna miss you. There. I said it." Cute, innit? Should we start with the obviousness of the "ridiculous amount of pain we inflict on each other" or jump to the selfishness of "youíre one of MY best friends"...? Can we begin to count the shout-outs contained in that one sentence? Anyway, then Kelly wants to know where heís going, and Rebel-Man Dylan is, naturally, off to the whole entire big continent of South America. Or, make that, "we" are off to South America and then Kelly wants clarification on who "we" is and Dylan says "Gina" and Kelly just goes wild with the huffing and eye-rolling and actually SNORTS and says "Huh! She didnít grieve long." And Dylan half-heartedly defends Poor Fatherless Professional Victim Gina by saying mildly, "Heeey, donít do that.... What was it you were saying just a moment ago about, uh, inflicting pain...?"

And dear, generous Kelly tells him "I want to be happy for you. If I felt like you were running towards something instead of running away from something...." Yeah, itís that stupid "Dylanís always running away from something" crap again. I mean, this was such a Essential Dylan Characteristic that it was actually incorporated into his personal wedding vows with Toni: He rasped about how he realized he was (of COURSE) running to her. And Toniís personalized marriage vows consisted of only, "You donít have to run any more Dylan." Yeah. Thatís what Sensitive Rebel Men do. They run.

And Dylan snips back at Kelly "Or could it be that me leaving narrows your options...? By the way, how is Matt?" Well, at least Dylan sees through Kellyís extreme selfishness. Prolly because he shares that quality with Kelly, because when she snips "Go to hell!" and stomps off, he gives a put-upon sigh and announces to the empty room "Oh, believe me... itís on the itinerary." Which is outright admitting to himself (and We the TV Viewers) that he has hooked up with Gina PURPOSFULLY AND KNOWINGLY TO PUT HIMSELF THROUGH HELL. Wotta guy, huh? And then he takes an angst-ridden sip of his coffee. Poor, Tragical Dylan.

And at the Homeslice Home, Noahís sulking tragically at the kitchen table, listening to Elevator Rock&Roll Muzak at top volume when Davy comes in. And Davy calls Noah and finally turns the music off, but Poor Noah is too Angst-Ridden and Tragical to respond. And thereís the whole homoeroticism of Noah grabbing his big phallic bottle of booze and Davy grabbing it away and stroking the neck of it and saying "Why donít we just try talking instead?"

And then I die laughing as Poor Poor Tragical and Angst-Ridden Noah Hunter drunkenly plays "this little piggy" with Davyís fingers on the bottle, mumbling and slurring "This lilí piggy went to thí liquor store... aní this lilí piggy right here, well, he stayed home...."

And Davy interjects, almost flipping Noah the bird, that "this lilí piggy right here had scotch and water... and lemme guess, this lilí piggy had none." Yeah, Davy, youíre such a morally upstanding adult, arenít you?

And then Noah slurs "This lilí piggy right here... lemme tell yuh Ďbout him...." And because this is a Big Tragical Angst-Ridden Moment, Poor Noah has to grab the bottle and pour himself another jigger of scotch. "Yísee he got to... actually hear his father blow his brains right out...." So I guess this is suddenly a Big Issue for Noah again? Okay.

And Davy lectures Noah that "well that lilí piggy right there [i.e. the scotch] is not the answer!" And that little piggy, i.e. Davy, is?

"One shot... Pop." And Noah holds two fingers to his head like a gun to illustrate. "...I hope Iím that good when my time comes," he mumbles. Oh, could it be true? Dare we hope... that Noah... that Noah might off himself!? Please please please please....

And Davy ainít joininí Noahís Pity Party. He sneers "Stop. All right Noah, just stop. Here it is! This right here is your turn... and yay, Noah! Youíre killing yourself!" And Davy actually applauds Noahís stupidity.

(Please, please, please, LET NOAH DIE!)

And Noah is staring off into space, all angst-ridden.

And Davy continues to preach it. "Do you have any idea what youíre talking about?"

And Noah isnít listening, but mumbles all angst-ridden "Itís like some kinda curse, the whole familyís..."

(Oh, please, Noah, do it, do it!)

And Davyís continuing "I do... Noah. I know exactly what youíre talking about. You know what? You have a choice. The problem is, you donít find that out until the end."

And Noah, all angst-ridden, is still staring, and he runs his hand through his hair, brooding hard.

(Címon, Noah, choose to die! Please! DIE!)

And Davy continues "Itís not a curse. If you want to do it... if you want to jump [hearkening back to Valís lecture on the freeway overpass lo these many years ago]... or pull the trigger... welp... that responsibilityís all on you." And Davy screws the top back on the bottle and stomps off, leaving angst-ridden Noah to brood.

(Die, Noah, die die die die die!)

And whoa, thereís been, like, an uncharacteristic amount of Past References and Threads of Continuity in this episode, huh?

Ah, the Martin Mansion again, where Dylan, dressed in a fugly light gray suit, is so self-centered that he has to come pester Donna an hour before her fatherís funeral to "say good-bye." Like, he couldnít even wait a DAY to leave?

If Dylanís leaving right after the funeral, does this mean heís already packed all his stuff back at the hotel? Called and gotten plane tickets? Or the vaccinations that you usually need to travel to most places in South America? Or made ANY arrangements at all?

Anyway, Donnaís all slumped by the Martin pool where a drugged Dylan once knocked her in a year or so ago. And she "canít deal with" Dylanís good-bye right now, because she mustíve expended all of her energies on picking out the really short, slit-up-the-side black skirt and stripper ankle-strap high heels and trendy pashmina ensemble that she somehow deemed appropriate funeral attire. And then Dylan launches into his big Soliloquy about leaving a place and then coming back and being able to see how different things are, which naturally segues into Majorly Overt Praise for Donna-Tori as he rasps about "when I left, you were this... incredibly shy... sweet... decent kid... and when I came back... youíd become this capable... confident... successful person. Youíre ready for this."

But of COURSE Donnaís still all atwitter, and in a panic about what to say in church. And Dylan rasps about how he meant sheís ready "for the responsibilities that ... will ... come afterward. Youíre a lot more prepared than I was when my dad died."

And as if she didnít know, Donna asks him "Howíd you deal with it?"

And angst-ridden Dylan rasps that "I ran... from my responsibilities.... I ran from commitment. [*Shrug*] Iím still running." Good grief. Heís supposedly this self-aware, and yet continues to act like a 14-year-old?

And Donna says "I donít know why."

And Dylan says (Overt Praise for Donna! Overt Praise for Donna!) "Nah, of course you donít. And that is why youíre gonna do great."

And Donna announces "This is my home. This is... where I gather what little strength I have." Yeah, enough with the "Iím so insecure and modest" shit, already! And, hey, since when did we see Donna "gathering strength" at her home? Or does she mean LA is her home? Are we back to the underlying thread of "this town" again? Because, you know, those Hillster Ties to the Hills are strong. Donna couldnít marry Joe primarily because she couldnít leave LA. She couldnít be a debutante in Houston for that same reason. Ohndrea was afraid to leave LA at first too. Dylan was drawn back LA. Brenda came back to LA from the University of Minnesota, but that was more for Dylan, really. Brandon and Brenda and Valerie and Gina, all original Outsiders, were desperate to belong to "this town." Yeah, it must be "this town" because Donna continues by asking Dylan "Donít you feel that way?"

And Dylan broodingly rasps that itís "more of a love-hate kind of thing."

And of COURSE Donna, even in her time of Great Despair, is showing Poor Tormented Tragical Angst-Ridden Dylan McKay the light, as she informs him that "you should stop taking what you have for granted. Because the more responsibilities we have, the more help weíre gonna need." Ahh, yes, because not only should the Hillsters always stay in "this town," theyíre always going to "need" each other to "help get through this," whatever the "this" of the moment might be.

And of COURSE Dylan, as a result, starts brooding extra-super-dooper hard.

Was this supposed to be dramatic and moving? It wasnít. And do I dare count how many times one of my favorite rant issues, "responsibility," has been mentioned in this episode?

Over at Dysfunction Junction, Little Miss Self Absorbed with her sour-candy mouth all squonched up is for some reason going through her PR stuff right before her best friendís dadís funeral. And she tells LB she took the PR job and LB tell her he ... he needs her help (yeah, sheíll be guiltily dumping his chumpy butt any day now). And ("canít see this one coming!") of COURSE Kellyís "been hired to stop" the gay high school students and all their rights. So within an episode or two or three, after breaking up with LB, Kellyíll be establishing Gay Student Clubs at West Beverly, wonít she?

So itís funeral time. And of COURSE Poor, Rejected Professional Victim Gina has been banished from the front "family" row of the church as Davy coldly informs her "Felice asked me to seat you here." And Davy couldnítíve even bothered to shave for the funeral? And why was Camille with him? Wasnít she supposed to be watching Donnaís store?

Why was there no priest at the funeral of a supposedly prominent Catholic family? Aw, heck, who needs a priest when thereís Donna! And itís not so much an actual funeral service as it is a Big Grand Overt Praise For Donna-fest as all of her friends gaze at her and are moved to tears by her words. And of course Donnaís eulogy for her father is all the schlock weíd expect from Donna-Tori about being a "Daddyís Girl" and Daddy could never say no to her big brown eyes and how loved and protected Daddy made her feel and how she was always perfect in Daddyís eyes and Daddy was and always will be the most important man in her life and Daddy is her hero blah blah blah Freudcakes. And then Donna unfolds some "incredible gift" letter that Doc supposedly wrote to her when he was recovering from his stroke (um, wasnít he, like, paralyzed back then?). And itís full of sentence fragments about what really matters to Doc: "ĎFaith, which can bring you peace. Love, which can bring you joy. And a family-í"

And here, Donna completely breaks down, and struggles bravely to continue reading but, of course, has to choke out "a family" a couple more times. You know, just in case we didnít get it already. "Ď... which can bring you meaning and purpose...í" And Donna starts bawling and again repeats "a family" as Poor Tragical Gina bravely gets up from her seat and approaches the podium and hugs Donna from behind and whispers "Do you want me to finish?" And Donna, all overwrought, nods.

So Gina picks up where Donna left off, of COURSE reading AGAIN "Ďand a family, which can bring you meaning and purpose... and unexpected wonder.í" And she continues "ĎI have been blessed with all three and will do my best to honor these blessings... every minute of every day that God allows. All my love, Dad.í" And sheís all Tragically and Angst-Riddenly smiling, as if Doc was even THINKING of Gina when he wrote that, as if she, Gina, could even think herself to be the "unexpected wonder" of the family in any way, shape or form.

And fucking two-faced bitch Kelly actually has the audacity to be all weeping over this, as if she hadnít been bitching about Gina being responsible for Docís death just a day or so ago.

And Donna and Gina hug and cry and all the Hillsters cry and Feliceís icy heart melts and as Donna and Gina walk down from the podium together, of COURSE Felice says "Gina...? Will you sit with us?" And Tragic, Pathetic, Fatherless Professional Victim Gina starts blubbering all Tragically and Pathetically and Fatherlessly and Victimly as she hugs Felice and, with that Benediction, takes her rightful place in the front row pew.

But lest we forget whoís reeeeeally most important, Felice squeezes Donnaís hand and then kisses it.

And thereís still no sign of a priest or any other speaker or officiant.

So after the funeral, of COURSE there has to be more Overt Praise of Donna as Janet proclaims "What you said was so beautiful." And Kelly kisses a little ass by adding "What you both said." And Gina grovels "Thanks" and I guess everyoneís forgotten that Gina didnít so much say anything as opposed to reading something that Doc had written.

And then Skeevy Stevie announces "Weíre thinkiní of going back to The Beach Apartment" and Donna says sheíll meet them there later, after she gets her mother "settled with her friends," which is, of COURSE, the underlying message of this whole funeral episode: you donít need your family to help you get through this so much as you need your friends. And off she goes to hug her mother, whoís just come out of the church with some man. You know, despite the fact that the Martins have always been portrayed as this devout Catholic family, thereís been no real mention of God, no mention of Heaven, no mention of taking comfort in their beliefs, nothing.

And Noah rasps to Dylan "Tell Donna Iíll catch up with her then" or something and Dylan rasps back "You sure about that?" And Iím really hoping Noahís going to go someplace and off himself. (Please, die, Noah! I WANT YOU TO DIE!)

And then Gina approaches Dylan, who tells her that "what happened in there was nice" and hints not-so-subtly that it was "the kind of thing that could... change somebodyís mind about, uh, running away" and tells Gina that sheís "in the front row now. Thatís where you always wanted to be." Because, of COURSE Ginaís always been aspiring to be included as a Hillster. And of COURSE Gina the Poor Fatherless Bulimic Self-Loathing Professional Victim just wanted "closure" and "now" sheís "got it." Let the party begin! But who cares about Gina? Dylanís watching the painful sight of LB and Kelly hugging. And Gina, of COURSE, is SO miraculously recovered from Insecurity by her Hillster Inclusion that she can suggest to Dylan "But maybe you donít [have closure... God, I hate that word!]. And Dylan, all angst-ridden, rasps "You heard the man [Well, not really HEARD him, Dyl-head, so much as heard his words read, which isnít exactly the same thing]. Lifeís about love, faith, family... I donít have any of those." Oh, Poor Tragical Dylan McKay. And Gina smiles at this and prostrates herself before Dylan one last time and says hopefully "So weíll find them together." And Dylan rasps "I wish I believed that.... I gotta stay." And somehow Gina, after endless months of this absolute shit-heap of an emotionally abusive relationship with Dylan is now ready to just let him go now, to let him off the hook with nary a "but you promised me!" or "what about me?" or nuthiní... but just a pathetic, tragical "Yeah..." and another smile and a bunch of nodding. Oh yeah, that makes total sense.

And back at the Homeslice Home, Davy "Bawitaba" Silver is scratching and laughing and deedling and telling Camille how "great" sheís been this week. Yeah, sheíll be gone by next episode. And then they have some disgusting, incomprehensible conversation about "incredible (sic) cute guy things" and "turning it on full blast" or whatever because now that the funeralís over, theyíre ready for action! But hormonesíre gonna have to wait, because no sooner do they start mackiní down than Poor Tragical Noah Hunter comes in with a bag of groceries. Damn. He didnít off himself yet. And Davy gets all aggro about inspecting Noahís groceries for booze but, satisfied when he finds none, he and Camille bail. And Noah pulls out a bottle from his jacket pocket and starts chugginí. WHY ISNíT NOAH DEAD YET?

And back at the Martin Mansion, Gina comes to talk to Donna in Daddyís office, which is some sort of Shrine to Donna-Tori with all these pictures of her everywhere, including one of her in pigtails that looks just like Drew Barrymore when she was in ET. And Gina, Pathetic Insecure Tragical Professional Victim Gina has no real game plan or destination or nothing, but is just going to "drive across the country" and "figure it out on the way." Does Gina even have a car? Anyway, Donna thinks thatís "brave." Because Donna, of course, has never done anything on her own. She doesnít have to. She doesnít have to journey or explore or adventure, oh no. She belongs in "this town" and has her friends for support, so why should she ever look elsewhere for experiences? And Professional Victim Gina reminds Donna that "itís nothing new for me to be on my own." And Gina and Donna get all sappy reminiscing about when Gina visited when they were kids and all their Antics in Docís office and such. And if Gina was a professional skater and her whole childhood was sacrificed to training, how much time would she and Donna have to spend together when they were kids? And then they laugh and hug and Gina smiles bravely and says "Well. Iíll see ya" and takes her leave, because, like Brandon did a couple years ago, I guess Ginaís going to leave for a cross-country drive that night. Howís jobless Gina going to finance this venture? What a lackadaisical departure this was, huh? And Donna, left alone in her Rightful Place in Daddyís office, surrounded by pictures of herself, whispers "see ya" all sadly.

Was THIS supposed to be emotional and moving? I, the biggest baby in the world when it comes to seeing people cry and get all emotional, have yet to feel even the slightest snurfle.

And over at Dysfunction Junction, all the Assembled Hillsters are paired up around the living room, and Kelly, of COURSE with a glass of wine, gets up to go talk to Dylan in the kitchen, where heís surrounded by alcohol... yet... opening... a bottle of Perrier? This must mean Dylanís turning over a new leaf (again)! And Kelly announces all earnestly with her big, wide eyes "About us being in this really weird place... I donít want that." Of COURSE you donít, Kelly. And Dylan rasps "Neither do I." And Kelly wants to know if he thinks "we can get out of it?" (Through it, out of it, same difference), and Dylan rasps "I hope so.... Thatís one of the reasons I stayed" and walks off, leaving Kelly to pout her skwunchy lips and ponder. Are people really this stupidly uncommunicative? Dylan, supposedly so self-aware and Kelly, supposedly the Psych major are playing the kind of Relationship Games that one usually sees at the Junior High School level. Kelly, whyíd you bring your wine to the kitchen with you?

So then thereís a shot of the ocean waves crashing on the beach, and then a cut to Donna crying on the balcony and contemplating a really bad, motionless bit of painted ocean scenery. And Davyís come to comfort her and wants to know "Are you... [majorly long pause... he even buttons his big baggy suit jacket] ...okay?" And Donna all bravely admits, laughing "No... no" as Beth Hartís song reprises in the background with the line about "a local girl" just in case we didnít make the connection the first couple times. And Donna says sadly "Itís life, huh?" And Davy says "Losing a family member is never easy. I found that out when my grandfather died." Whoa! Lookit the continuity and past references workiní it all over this episode! And Davy reminisces about how Donna was "there for me" and hopes she knows "we are here for you... we always will be." And then he kisses her forehead and strokes her hair some more while Beth Hart continues to sing about getting "out of this town... out of LA." But we know, because the All Powerful Hillster Invocation has been spoken, that Donna and Davy and Kelly and Dylan and Steve and even Janet ainít goiní anywhere, are they?

Now Noah... oh, if only Noah will kill himself, I will be oh so happy.

WHAT was up with those hideously vampy shots of Kelly and Donna during the "stay tuned" bit?

And next episode... (dun da daaaaaaa!) Dylan finds his father! Gee. How DO they come up with these things? If the car blowing up was supposedly some elaborate ruse to get Jack in hiding or something, how did Kelly know to call Dylan at just the right moment to get Dylan talking on the phone all distracted from Jack sneaking off? Or are we going to find that Jack suddenly discovered an opportunity to bail ≠ like being thrown a hundred feet by an explosion ≠ and took it?