In the sixth episode of the first season of Dead Like Me, George’s patience is tested when Betty is replaced by someone who is hard to like. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Dead Like Me.
- I figured out multiple things while watching this episode. MANY THINGS.
- First of all, I can finally tell y’all why Dead Like Me has seemed strangely familiar. No, I haven’t seen it before. But during “My Room,” I realized that this is like a happier, funnier version of Todd Solondz’s body of work. Dead Like Me definitely skewers middle class suburbia in a way, it’s constantly uncomfortable, and entire sequences are built around explorations of topics most other shows would shy away from. Now, I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily a fan of Todd Solondz? Some of his movies are too uncomfortable for my taste, but I’ve seen nearly all of them anyway. I don’t know how that happens.
- Then I realized why Joy seems so familiar: SHE IS TRISH MAPLEWOOD FROM HAPPINESS. (Which has the distinction of having the simultaneously most disturbing and hilarious ending I’ve ever seen.) It’s a vaguely similar role to Joy on the surface, but I find Joy to be far more genuine than the parodic elements found in Trish’s characterization.
- Anyway, I don’t feel as if Dead Like Me is necessarily a parody of anything. Sure, I think the writers poke fun at a lot of things through characters like Delores, Michael, Joy, Reggie, and Mason. But at the same time, these are real people, and they don’t feel like they exist just to make a point. This show is too sincere for that, and I think the ending of “My Room” makes that clear. We’re not meant to just laugh at these people. We care, too.
- (By the way, where was Roxy this episode? We didn’t see her once! She didn’t get to meet Daisy. I have a feeling she would have smashed Daisy into the ground. JUST SAYING.)
- So. THIS EPISODE. Oh god, y’all, I told you that I love stories about identity, and so much of Dead Like Me is exactly that! We get an entire episode about how George needs to stop letting her identity get in the way of her happiness, and that’s given to us in a bowling metaphor. Bless! BLESS.
- It’s not long for Betty to get replaced, which makes me SUPER SAD because I really liked Betty. I’m torn between loving Daisy’s manipulative persona and absolutely hating it. Like, I am all about her coming in and not giving a shit about these people’s perception of her. I love that she gets what she wants from Mason, who is barely more than a human puppy dog for all of “My Room.” At the same time, she treats George like shit! It’s clear, though, that Rube put the two of them together to get George to finally start standing up for himself. That doesn’t mean the process is something that happens immediately, but it’s a step in the right direction.
- At Happy Time, George discovers what it’s like to be desired, something she had never experienced in her life. Oh my god, CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT ALL OVER THE PLACE. And look, I really don’t care, but I fucking love Delores with not a shred of irony. She is fantastic, I would genuinely want to spend time with her and get to know more about her fascinating life, and I am convinced that I was wrong about the “facade” I suspected she had at work. Rather, I think we’re seeing the real Delores all of the time, or at least who Delores has chosen to be in her post-addiction life. It’s not lost on me that a great deal of this show is about transition, too! Delores left a life of cocaine addiction behind, and she made a new life for herself. At the same time, three of the main characters are all dealing with their own transitions: George, Joy, and Reggie. Granted, they’re not always successful at it, but they’re still figuring things out.
- In Reggie’s case, she’s still unsure how to move on from her sister. I know that George is trying to help her by leaving all these cryptic clues about, but she really does need the support of her mother, too. That’s where Rube comes in. I’ve noticed that he has been getting involved in George’s growth more than he’d like to let on. He put Daisy in George’s room, and he spoke with Joy at the psychologist’s office to get her to open up to the idea that moving on? Well, it can kind of be bullshit for some people and cultures. And that really is what we’ve seen from Joy. After George died, she wanted to shut out all the memories of her by boxing up and selling any physical object that reminded her of her daughter. Now, that might be what’s best for Joy and how she copes, but she’s forcing that onto Reggie, which is clearly not working.
- It’s fascinating to me that a show about death is also about a second chance at life, and ultimately, that’s why I can only see a cursory sense of parody to Dead Like Me. There’s too much genuine (and even saccharine) thoughtfulness here. George is finding that she can live a new life and change in her undead existence, even if things are unendingly weird. We see her accept happiness, and we see her find the courage to stand up to Daisy. Of course, the writers of this show aren’t too positive, so Daisy is quick to upstage George’s furious rant about her manipulation. That’s who Daisy is. I definitely want to see if there’s another dimension to her character. She’s been a reaper for a long time, perhaps even longer than Rube and Betty. Why so long? What’s taken her so much time?
- I’ll end this with a factoid about myself. Every time I bowl, I bowl the worst game in my life followed by the best one. This happens without fail. Late last year, I bowled a 72, and then a 194. I don’t understand myself.
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