In the thirteenth episode of the first season of Dead Like Me, the reapers actually get a day off! Well, sort of. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Dead Like Me.
Well, this was a pleasant episode!
- A day off! A LITERAL DAY OFF. Holy shit, I couldn’t believe it.
- Except that it totally is not. As Rube explains that the gravediggers are taking a rare day off from causing chaos, the group’s day off turns into… well, George’s job. It’s a way for George to shine in a way she hasn’t, which is especially great considering how the last episode ended and this one starts. George can’t move on, no matter how much guidance she’s given, but she does learn that she still has something to offer the world in her undead life.
- And I would totally understand anyone’s frustration with the fact that this show has drawn out George’s growth. It is repetitious in that sense, but I’m okay with it. It’s like we’re watching her let go of each part of her old life. Perhaps it’s because I am slightly sentimental about the very few vacations I took with my own family that I enjoyed “Vacation” so much. I grew up poor, and the only places we ever went as a family were a few trips to Hawaii to visit my dad’s side of the family, and Disneyland once when I was around ten years old. After that, we didn’t really get the chance to do any trips over an hour away from home, so there’ll always be a part of me that views these trips with a golden hue like George does here. I got a chance last summer to go to O’ahu for the first time without my family, and it was a bizarre experience because the island is rooted in memories of my family vacations and my father’s funeral. Even then, nothing could tarnish the love and fondness I felt for that place.
- So while I do think George is going to continue having difficulty with her life, especially since she’s so close to where she grew up, I didn’t view “Vacation” as yet another example of that challenge. To me, there was far too much nuance for that.
- For one thing, this episode is framed by the very work the reapers do: They are categorizing people’s last thoughts before they died. It’s initially played for humor, but the overwhelming nature of the loneliness and regret that people experienced in their final moments begins to way heavily on one person in particular: Daisy. I am so floored by this show growing her as a character in these last three episodes, and “Vacation” gives us the context for a lot of her sadness. Her promiscuity is often just a joke for the other characters or the writers, but here, it’s a chance for Daisy to think about what she was lacking in her life while she was still alive. That’s not to say that promiscuity naturally breeds a lack of love in one’s life, but for Daisy, she died wondering why no one loved her. She was worshipped and coveted and fetishized and sexualized, but had anyone truly loved her? Now, of course I am going to project ALL OVER THIS EPISODE AND IT’S THEMES. It’s what I do FOR ALL OF YOU. I don’t know, I find it really cathartic to be able to look at a piece of fiction and say, “The writers had absolutely no intention of me interpreting this piece this way, but here are all of my feelings.” And I like reading comments to this nature, too! It helps me connect to the material and to other people more!
- It’s easy, then, for me to think about how my own journey through loneliness and love reminds me of Daisy’s sadness. I’m a queer person of color with an unconventional body shape, so my dating options have always been slim. Add in a whole bunch of self-hatred, social anxiety, PTSD, body image issues… well, you get the point. To this day, dating seems like an alien concept to me. I don’t think I’ll ever understand how people do it. That’s perfectly fine! I don’t need to. But growing up as a loner, I found that once I came out and lived far away from my hometown, I pined for companionship of any sort. I didn’t enter into my first relationship until after five years had passed since coming out. The best I could manage was a few dates, some sex (most of it terrible), and a whole lot of bitterness. (Which should explain why I came into Mark Reads with so much dislike for romance, if that’s something you recall me talking about.)
- Now, there are plenty of people who aren’t looking for love, who don’t experience sexual or emotional attraction based on what is considered “normal,” and who simply desire sexual contact only. For me, it’s what I always wanted, even if I denied it often.
- So I view “Vacation” as a story of how people find a way to connect with one another. We’ve got Daisy opening up to a friendship with Mason. Rube learns to respect George’s suggestion. CRYSTAL AND ROXY UNDERSTAND ONE ANOTHER AND NOTHING HURTS. And after a frustrating and depressing experience at the cabin they go to every year, Reggie and Joy finally take a big step towards loving and respecting one another. It makes me mad that Clancy is so careless about how his actions are perceived. It’s only worse when you see how he acted in George’s flashbacks. The man used to care, but his behavior is negatively affecting his wife and daughter. So can Joy and Reggie band together and kick Clancy out of the house? He sucks.
- Oh my god, the season one finale is NEXT. Ah, I’m so excited!
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!