Mark Watches ‘Dead Like Me’: S01E11 – The Bicycle Thief

In the eleventh episode of the first season of Dead Like Me, each of the reapers plays a vital role in someone else’s life. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Dead Like Me.

Oh god, I have many things to say.

  • Initially, this episode is kind of a huge mess. The plots are all over the place, and everyone aside from Rube comes across as a huge asshole. Seriously! Mason is insulting the very couple he’s reaping by being homophobic, Daisy is ruthlessly dismissive of the artist she is reaping, and George completely downplays how much she matters to Delores. None of these people are that like likable at all at first.
  • I also wanted to start off by bringing up the issue of racial stereotypes. This episode in particular uses them twice, but each has a totally different intent and effect. Now, if y’all have been following me for years, you know that I have basically subsisted on public transportation for over a decade. I don’t drive. I don’t have a driver’s license. It’s a long story, DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT. I started riding a bike to replace public transportation (for the most part) in 2007, and these days I combine the two. So, let me first say that largely, what this show depicts is pretty much true? It’s different based on geographical location, subways versus light rail, how poorly planned out bus lines are in terms of infrastructure and frequency, but lord. It’s a constant adventure that is sometimes entertaining and sometimes mortifying. I managed to live in Los Angeles for six years and got around by Metro and bus, and I mostly enjoyed it! The options here in the Bay Area are even better (except MUNI trains during rush hour WHY WOULD YOU PLAN SOMETHING IN A GIANT METROPOLITAN CITY SO POORLY), and I love using public transportation when I travel.
  • So I understand what the show was trying to portray in a 20-second scene, but then they have to go and drop a horrendous stereotype of a loud black women on my screen and it just distracts me. The writers rely on this image to convey something to you: buses are annoying. Black people take them. Obviously, they’re not consciously trying to do this, but they reach for the lowest common denominator to sell us what they’re saying. This is then followed by an ANGRY BLACK MAN. Literally seconds later! Okay, we get it. Surely, you could have used both the woman who was sick and the rude child to give us the same idea?
  • And then we’ve got the party that Delores throws. It’s full of even more stereotypes, this time completely desecrating Mexican culture, but it’s done in a way that feels like it’s satirizing how corporate parties are the worst. Instead of the scene coming off as, “HA HA, MEXICANS,” it’s more like, “HA HA, WHITE PEOPLE.” Because there’s no basis for the use of Mexican cultural stereotypes here! Delores is the type of person to throw theme parties for any reason, and she considers her dedication to said theme a positive quality. She’s not thinking about whether it’s appropriate or not. She just wants to impress George.
  • This all left me feeling super weird about “The Bicycle Thief” until the various storylines started to come together. It was Mason’s assignment that started gelling the theme for me. He was faced with an enormously difficult task: take the soul of one man and then allow his partner to kill himself. He knew that stopping the man from committing suicide would have disastrous consequences for the entire world, but the time he spent with that couple humanized them in a way he didn’t expect. I mean, look at how he treated them when he showed up. He asked invasive questions that demonstrated how little he knew about gay couples, and he did this over and over again, despite that these people let him in their house AND fed him. He got attached, simply put, and when the first man died, he came to realize the role he was playing. What was he supposed to do? Stop the other partner? Instead, he helps provide a moment of peace. Granted, this whole plot is just monumentally fucked up, but it was kind of comforting to know that Mason helped send these two off in the best way they could come up with.
  • The same goes with Daisy, whose arrogance and egotistical view of the world makes her a nightmare to work with. She truly believes that the artist whose soul she reaped is stalking her because he’s got a crush on her. Now, I kind of felt the artist was annoying initially, because… well, he’s one of those I AM THE ONLY PERSON WHO UNDERSTANDS ART kind of guys. But this whole plot really exposed how unwilling Daisy was to just do her job! She’s supposed to help people move on to their next life, and she tried to pass this off on to Rube.
  • I don’t know how long her kindness will last, but it was refreshing to see it. The same goes for Mason, who actually traded his house for the crappy apartment George and Daisy were sharing.
  • I WAS SO WORRIED THAT THIS WOULD BE THE LAST EPISODE WITH DELORES. Oh god, she totally adores George!!! She was so hurt when George was going to move on to another company, and George was extremely callous about the fact that someone could actually enjoy her company. And while George felt like she was important because she helped Stephanie, I think George helped her own family, even if she made no big deal about it.
  • WHICH IS BREAKING MY HEART. Joy and Reggie were getting SO GODDAMN CLOSE TO BEING WONDERFUL WITH ONE ANOTHER. And there are two very important moments in “The Bicycle Thief” between them. There’s the scene where Reggie tells her mother not to blame herself, and when she nearly chides her father for calling her mom “stupid.” Through JD, Joy and Reggie are starting to respect one another, and that’s why it makes me so mad that Clancy is off in his little world, unknowingly tearing this all apart.
  • Rube got George a bike. Excuse me, I need to go wipe away the tears.
  • MORE ROXY, PLEASE.

The video commission for this episode is now archived on MarkDoesStuff.com for just $0.99!

Mark Links Stuff

– I have been nominated for a Hugo in the Fan Writer category! If you’d like more information or to direct friends/family to vote for me, I have a very informational post about what I do that you can pass along and link folks to!
I have announced what the next books I am reading on Mark Reads will be, as well as updated y’all on the events, cons, tour dates, GOING TO EUROPE OH MY GOD, and general shenaniganry going on in my life. I have a similar post up on Mark Watches, detailing the next two shows I’m doing as well as the return of Double Features, and I finally explain what happened with my Vimeo account. Check these posts out!
– Mark Reads Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is now published and available for purchase! It’s available in ebook AND physical book format, and you can also get a discount for buying the ENTIRE SET of digital books: $25 for 7 BOOKS!!!
– Video commissions are open, and you can commission a Mark Reads/Watches video for just $25!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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