Another Fall Friday, another Pumpkin Spice Rooibus in a novelty mug. This time it’s my homage to Season 1 of “True Detective,” and of course fully a propos given the continuing dire state of the market.
By the way, Season 2 of “True Detective” sounds like the bad idea I would make up in my head, if given the assignment to get the worst idea possible. Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughan? That is literally my answer to the question: “Which two movie stars would you least like to see on television, ever?” Fuck that show. You poked my heart.
Speaking of which, let’s rate some job ads.
1. The listing for Northern Michigan University begins with “Assistant Professor,” which is widely considered a tenure-track title. Like, advertising for a job as “Assistant Professor” and then not having it be TT is the same as advertising a position as “Project Manager,” and then in the ad you reveal that it’s actually a job as a minimum-wage, part-time telemarketer. And that’s what happens here! The ad, see, starts with “Assistant Professor” and then goes on for two more slashes: “Assistant Professor/German/Three-Year Term.” So this is just another visiting position, advertised on the fall JIL with the big guys. To their credit, they don’t explicitly state they’ll be interviewing at MLA. Don’t, guys. Don’t. Just because you pretty much live in Canada doesn’t mean you need to be forcing a bunch of suckers to get a passport just to come interview for your NTT job.
Aaaaaaand now here’s a thing that is happening.
2. Penn. Assistant Professor. You would have to be living under a rock made of memory-erasing, radioactive sludge not to know the story behind this vacancy. But as said story involves someone who is a total badass and personal friend and hero of mine, to honor the advertisement I thought I would…
RECAP THE SEASON PREMIERE OF “NASHVILLE.” You’re welcome.
Season 3, Episode 1: Rayna is Felicity, and How the Fuck Do We Write Hayden Panettiere’s Pregnancy Into This?
Previously: Scarlett unsuccessfully attempts to handle the trappings of fame by becoming so excited/so scared; Will Lexington is gay as fuck and the secret bedroom-camera records him coming out to his idiotic child bride; Juliette schtupped Jeff Fordham and I’m still grossed out about it, so obvi so is Avery; Luke and Deacon (aka Noel and Ben) propose to Rayna on the same night. Season 2! OK.
It’s Saturday at 6:00, and Rayna is deciding between two heavy-handed symbols: Luke’s respectable seven-carat ownership-rock, and Deacon’s deceptively simple silver band, which is also weighted down with two decades of heartache, lust, disappointment, and the mild fact that he is way hotter (sorry Wheeler, but you’re a milquetoast). Meanwhile, Juliette is freaking the fuck out about something and her handlers are trying to calm her down, but all I can think as a pregnant woman is, “Boy is Hayden Panettiere pregnant, and goddamn did she carry early pregnancy better than me.” As Juliette searches for a pair of scissors to tantrum-cut her hair with, all I can see is her boobs (pregnant), her face (pregnant), and her middle (pregnant). She looks fucking gorgeous, but girl. Maybe the reason you’re having mood swings is that you’re pregnant as fuck. Also, NPR is doing something NPR-ily at the Bluebird, and the melted-butter soporific tones of the host have already put me out. Nap!
Oh wait, it’s Will, getting ready to take the stage closet-case-ily, with his preening, selfish teenage bride glowering on. Your husband just confessed something that will put his career and almost certainly his life in danger, and all you can think about is the non-transformative power of your vagina. Back to my nap.
Oh, wait, Rayna’s making a call! SHE’S COMING TONIGHT. SOMEWHERE. TO DO SOMETHING. SHE’S MADE UP HER MIND. SHOW OVER. Wait, no. Meanwhile, Juliette cuts the shit out of her hair, because Hayden Panettiere knows that if there’s one thing that makes morning sickness even worse, it’s the smell of hair extension glue. Will sings a song and Layla has a tantrum about it, because she sucks a lot.
Meanwhile, Luke shows up backstage at the Bluebird in a chauffeured SUV, and Deacon is like super nonchalant, all like, “Yeah, that’s probably for me,” and then basically just shrugs while Luke straight clocks him in the fucking Angesicht, because that is what a hot guy does. Sorry not sorry, #TeamDeacon.
FLASHBACK. We are now FLASHING BACK a day. Keep track, because there will be flashes back within this flashback. 90s hair will be involved. Gird your loins.
Luke sneaks into Rayna’s bed to have a threesome–him, Rayna and that seven-carat rock. Rayna does a pained camera-take but engages in the menage regardless. Juliette bum rushes Avery’s apartment and demands to know if he’s going to dump her just because she let Jeff Fordham put his thing in her that one time. Although to be fair, Jeff Fordham’s semen is so laced with evil that I read in a medical journal that it actually changes the DNA composition of whoever’s vagina it touches. Maybe they used a condom (semi-spoiler: I’m pretty sure they didn’t). Anyway, Avery’s not having it, and if Juliette insists on squatting in his modest abode, he’s Audi.
Scarlett’s moving, y’all, presumably back to Australia where she can use her real accent, and she wants her coffee mug (unwashed) and her pen back from Deacon. In stumbles Avery, and in case we didn’t know he was drunk, he’s carrying a fifth in a paper bag, because apparently when Jeff Fordham cuckholds people, he turns them into old-timey hobos.
Will brings Layla some coffee, and instead of her asking him about the immense amount of anguish he has been in for his entire adulthood (and, presumably, teenagehood) living in the closet, it’s all about her and her vagina. “Can you change?” she whimpers, as if he’s Marcus Bachmann. Listen, Layla, I get that it’s a bummer to find out your man is gay, but you are part of a very large club. I don’t blame her, to be honest; I blame him for choosing a petulant teenager as his beard. A progressive mid-30s music executive with a secret of her own would have been a much better choice, Will. Next time — although something tells me you’re going to be forced out of the closet soon.
Meanwhile, Teddy has yet another heart-to-heart with Maddy and Daphne, whose actresses have officially (despite being actual sisters with actual shared DNA) gone the Rudy and Vanessa Huxtable/Sasha and Malia Obama route of one sprouting up to be adult-sized, and the other remaining a tiny little pip-squeak. OMG Daphne you are such a pip-squeak I just want to eat you. I WANT TO EAT YOU YOU ARE SO CUTE. Meanwhile, two seasons of murder and intrigue have turned Teddy into the most level-headed person on the show and he just wants to talk to Maddy like the adult she now appears to be. Teen angst, #TeamDeacon, etc.
Meanwhile, Scarlett and Avery pile into the power-blue Volvo 240 and before I have time to do a mental eulogy for my own dearly departed (by which I mean sold; Volvo 240s drive literally forever), in jumps Gunnar, Britishly, getting into a two-fake-accents argument (three, if you count Avery’s — also did we mention that Avery is drunk? AVERY IS DRUNK), which ends in all three of them “gunning it” (Volvo 240 style) for the world’s most convoluted and fake-accented road trip. I feel like there’s a joke in there somewhere: What do you get when you put a British guy, an Australian lady and a guy who looks disturbingly like my worst-all-time ex-boyfriend in a Volvo? You get the OPENING CREDITS, FIFTEEN MINUTES INTO THE SHOW. Callie Khouri, do you know what opening credits are?
Juliette’s handlers break into Avery’s house where Juliette is wallowing — but she needs to get her (pregnant) butt to the Patsy Kline biopic audition STAT! NOW! THIS IS A BIG DEAL! Pep talk. Let’s go. Meanwhile, on the world’s least fair Volvo 240 cameo, Gunnar and Avery get into a fight that I literally cannot describe without using the sexist and unfair epithet of “hitting like girls.” AND THEN comes the least probable plot line in “Nashville” history, and that is saying a lot: Scarlett’s 240 breaks down. I AM SORRY, NO. No. The Volvo 240 is a lot of things: gutless, boxy, tough to park, easy to mock. But unless you severely — I’m talking criminally — neglect its basic maintenance, that car will outlive the nuclear apocalypse.
Meanwhile, Deacon and the NPR guy have another conversation and thus I take another nap, which is punctuated only by the heart-to-heart Rayna has with Luke while his poor horse collapses under the weight of the giant rock she’s wearing while she pats him. She tells Luke, from behind the safety of her aviator sunglasses, what Deacon did, and that she and Deacon have history, and I am almost as lulled to sleep as I was by the NPR guy’s voice.
Scarlett and her two ex-boyfriends and the INACCURATELY portrayed 240 wait for the tow truck. Scarlett has a parasol. I kind of love it. Why don’t I have a parasol? Juliette’s at her audition, and sings “Crazy” and breaks down crying — you might say crazily — in the middle. And thinks this means she’s done a bad job. At an audition to play the wounded, agony-soaked Patsy Kline. You know the only thing that could make such a ridiculous thought seem reasonable? Hormones, friends. Hormones.
OK, now we are having a DOUBLE FLASHBACK within the FLASHBACK and stay with me. Rayna is deliberating the age-old Noel/Ben dilemma via musical flashback. There’s the Deacon of now, with their sexy duet. But there’s also the Deacon of way back when, passed out face down in a puddle of cheap bourbon and unreliability, unable to go on with a hilarious-bordering-on-self-parody 90s-haired Rayna. AND WHO SHOULD COME TO THE RESCUE but a similarly parodically-coiffed LUKE WHEELER. Wheels up, bitches.
Aaaand the tow truck driver, who is actually named Cletus, recognizes Scarlett from her Jessie Spano moment and is rude about it, as she swipes her credit card into his product-placed iPhone credit-card gizmo. Oh look, Avery’s gone into a nearby bar, because just in case we didn’t remember, he’s drunk.
Meanwhile in the Felicity subplot, we’re back to present time (I THINK) Deacon makes his case, hotly. #TeamDeacon. “We’re in love with each other, Rayna.” You’re too good for her, man. She seems to be blowing him off, but then he grabs her into a hot, passionate embrace and invites her to come sing it out at NPR night at the Bluebird, instead of going to Luke’s big charity shindig. CLIFFHANGER!
Back to Avery at the bar, who has found the wrong chick to commiserate with. The plot turns to the Pee Wee/Simone moment of “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure” as said chick’s ginormous ex chases them into the 240, which — miracle of miracles — starts. AAAAAND back in Juliette’s glam bathroom at her Melrose Place beach house (I swear, this show has throwbacks to every 90s melodrama there was), she’s cut off her weave, and she is freaking the fuck out. But listen, say her long-suffering (albeit well-paid) handlers: She got a callback! Doing Patsy Kline’s “Crazy” crazily was just the right way to do it. A-duh. And she’s happy, but she also feels sick. I WONDER WHY????????
At the Bluebird, Luke and Layla have a very annoying closet-based spat outside the stage door, which Deacon peeps with AA-style non-judgmental concern. And back Chez Rayna, the queen of country music ponders her banal choice ponderously. AND THEN back in the comfort of Will’s trailer, he and Layla decide to call off their sham marriage — which infuriates the slimy producer of their reality show, who then reveals that she knows Will’s secret, blackmail-ily. Oh eff you, lady. And, back in the 240, Avery. Is. Drunk. I suppose to the show’s credit, they didn’t have him yarf. Aaaand it turns out Scarlett’s changed her mind and she, Morrissey and my ex-boyfriend’s less-evil twin are headed back to Nashville.
At Juliette’s, she’s just had a “haircut” (i.e. written the liberation from her extensions into the plot) and a urine test, after which her concierge MD beckons her for an aside. “If this is about doctor-patient confidentiality,” she jokes, “they already know I take Xanax.” “Well,” counters the physician, ethically, “I’m not giving you any.” “And why the hell not?”
The sexy secret your boobs, face, middle and glow told us about 40 minutes ago. Except it’s not sexy, because there is a very real chance that what Juliette is now carrying is the demon spawn of Jeff Fordham. Which, bright side, might come full term in two months (as demons tend to do), and claw its way out of her in the dead of night. That’s how she’ll know it wasn’t Avery’s, bee-tee-dubs.
Aaand finally, the resolution to the least-interesting plot point in the show’s history: Rayna chooses Luke. Consolation: More Deacon for the rest of us.
Meanwhile, Penn wants everything by Nov. 10 and you have to use their stupid, time-sucky proprietary portal, so allot some extra time. Best job listing rating ever, AMIRITE?