I know the theme of tonight’s episode was Cathy’s role as an object of desire, but to me it was also “Things You Could Get Into Serious Trouble For.” A teacher watching porn on her computer at school. A girl letting a boy touch her breasts on a bright sunny day on a busy athletic field. A guy causing a quasi-violent scene in a civic office. A teacher showing her freshly-denuded vagina to the school hallway. Cathy went from being the lady who naughtily smokes cigarettes on the sly to the lady who could get arrested at school for lewd behavior.
The episode starts off with Cathy at the garden center, admiring the titular irises and pulling the cancer card when some lady tries to cut her off in line. When she gets the flowers home, she finds Adam watching porn in his room. She attempts to be useful by looking at the porn with him and “educating” him on it but like most of Cathy’s attempts to parent progressively and proactively, it just gets weird.
Cathy meets Paul for dinner to discuss whether Adam’s having sex (which he doesn’t think is happening.) Paul points out that it’s funny that she watched porn with their son when she’d never watch it with her husband. Then Paul embarks on one of his little speeches where he tells Cathy how boring she is: “I like to stand out and you like to blend in.” I’m not quite sure what to make of these times when Paul tells Cathy about herself: why would he be with her if he found her so charmingly bland? Why doesn’t she stick up to him for all these nasty little backhanded compliments, especially if she has nothing to lose?
Back home, Cathy starts planting the irises and Sean sneaks up behind her and burps in her ear. He complains about all the bees in the world getting killed by pesticide before he requests that she make copies of some charts he made to save the building he’s squatting in. I’d really like to see Sean’s character expanded sometime soon because now he’s squatting in cliche-ville. At the very least, maybe he can admit why he hangs out with his boringly evil sister so much? I think we know why but let’s hear him say it.
Cathy tries again with Adam, giving him condoms in case he needs them some day. Gabriel Basso was quite good in this scene, trying to smile and act like he knew what his mom was talking about in order to get her out of his room. I could see some viewers taking issue though with Cathy’s advice to Adam that “Women like attention, even if they act like they don’t.”
Back at school, Lenny (played by Idris Elba, who finally gets to speak in his natural accent) is painting a cheesy school mural when Andrea hits on him. I like that Cathy’s exploring her sexuality finally but sometimes the writing of the show lacks a little subtlety, like when Lenny compliments Cathy’s skirt after Paul notes how much she dislikes wearing skirts because they show off her legs. Feeling restless, Cathy looks up “sex” on her generic search engine while her students work on an assignment.
After having caught Sean going through Cathy’s things, Marlene has him over to try on her dead husband’s suits for his visit to City Hall. They end up jokingly dancing, Sean transitioning from being held at gunpoint to grabbing a septuagenarian’s ass.
In the next scene, Cathy re-enacts most of the waxing scenes ever shown on Sex and the City. As a woman I kind of call bullshit on this scene, because most ladies would not go in for their first major wax just for “me,” with no particular guy or event in mind (and a deep wax is not how I’d want to spend my last time on earth.) I also wouldn’t tell my brother that I want to “show it off” but that’s what she does.
Cathy’s not the only one feeling like an exhibitionist: while jogging around the field, Andrea teases Adam about looking at her breasts and then offers him a feel. I like the relationship between Adam and Andrea but again it seems like there’s more to explore there, especially as he’s the son of the teacher who’s meddling in her life.
At City Hall Sean starts off very calmly requesting a meeting to discuss his place of residence but he gets turned down without an appointment and he loses his shit, fighting with the security guards and throwing the phone on the floor. Cathy, newly emboldened herself, flashes her goodies at Lenny who later comes by her classroom for some sensual boning. “I can’t stop looking at you; you’re so beautiful,” he murmurs to her, and then we cut to the irises, which Cathy had earlier said existed only to be looked at. I think I get it now.
I enjoyed this episode enough as I watched it but going back over it now, I realized I’m more frustrated by certain aspects of the show than I realized. I hope the season branches out more before I get too fed up by tell-don’t-show writing and characters that don’t break out where they need to.
—“I think I’m gonna get the pulled pork poSOLE.”
—That jacket still fit Sean suspiciously well.
—I am having a hard time figuring out how to grade these episodes so if my grading system seems a little off, that's because it is. Maybe I need to watch more porn as I grade.