July 24, 2001
Join the Panty
"Valen-tomb's Day!" Coral intones with foreboding, and it looks like this a holiday not to celebrate, but to flee. Nobody in the house is in a settled, loving relationship, and indeed, the mere thought of four sad single dames under one roof seems to strike fear into the hearts of Kevin and Malik. They plan to run upstate for a monkish retreat.
Lori still maintains she's getting over Kevin. Kevin still gushes about his Emily, his friend in Austin, using superlatives like "fun" and "awesome." He remembers that last year, she sent him a Valentine and he didn't return the favor; he vows to make it up to her this year. So, now we get boring people involved in boring long-distance wooing. Is this treacle what Valentine's Day is all about, my duckies?
So far, so bland. What we need are bloody hearts and arrows, some psychodrama. However, all that is available to us is yet another spat between Mike and Coral, so we'll have to be satisfied with that. It all begins when Mike gets a phone call from a school acquaintance named Becky. She's in town with some of her friends and would very much like to visit Mike.
Now, Mike doesn't know Becky all that well, but he invites them to Chez Bunim-Murray anyway. As soon as he hangs up the phone, he utters this moronic, creepy phrase, "Some freak panty-droppers are coming over tonight! And one of them is dropping her panties for sure!" Rachel overhears this outburst, and her jaw- not her panties- drops to the floor. And then Coral hears about it, and you just know this whole episode is going to be hard on the ears.
Instead of dropping her panties, Coral gets hers in a bunch. Mike tries to plead a case for semantics: when he says "panty-dropper," he means a bee-yoo-tiful lady! That's his sense of humor! But Coral isn't buying Mike's palaver, not for one second. And, actually, I don't buy it either, dearies. I can think of plenty of ugly women who would drop their panties in a New York minute. Why, there are at least two or three in our neighborhood alone!
But that was uncharitable of me. Coral is offended by Mike's lack of respect for his female "friends," and she, Nicole and Rachel try to get out of the house in order to avoid the legendary panty-dropping crew when they arrive. Horror of horrors, the movie they had planned to see is sold out! They must come cheek to cheek with yon Skivvy Slingers, whether they want to or not!
For some reason, Coral and Rachel take out all their disgusted aggression at Mike upon the visiting Lingerie Launchers. Lazily resorting to stereotype, Coral snipes, "They sure are dressed like panty-droppers!" Rachel smirks and giggles behind their backs. Mike grows increasingly distressed as Coral begins to taunt the visitors with "the panty story." Mike grabs the girls and runs, but not before remarking that, "I can't think of a better word to describe Coral. She's a bitch."
Mike is mostly upset because he claims to have courtesy. Why, if a girl dropped her underwear, he would pick them up with a flourish and a smile! And he would be nice to Coral's friends, if she had any. But, his ire at Coral doesn't get in the way of his good time with his friends, even if nary a panty is dropped.
One of the reputed panty-droppers, Becky, returns for a date with Mike the following night. After a full night of giggling and stuffing creamy substances into each other's mouths, Mike is fully impressed with her. He regrets that he thought she was stupid, just because she was blonde. "First impressions suck!" he cries. Another stereotype bravely overcome by a Real Worlder! It's things like this that make the world a better place!
Nicole calls a house meeting about night-time noise levels, but in two shakes of a lamb's tail, the meeting becomes a re-hash of the whole panty episode. Mike confronts the girls with their rudeness to his friends. They confront him with his disrespectful attitude towards his own friends. Coral yells and snarfs down cookies at the same time. It's not pretty, darlings. By the end, there are cookie crumbs all over the place, and Mike is glowering.
But it's Valentine's Day, and suddenly Mike grows as mushy as a chocolate-covered cherry. He complains that his female housemates love everyone but him. So, he tries to buy their affections with little vases of daffodils and a sappy note. He scrawls on each vase (in ugly black magic marker no less! Sacre bleu!) a term to describe each girl: "cutie" for Rachel, "fashion queen" for Nicole and "singing beauty" for Lori. I held my breath to see if we would see Mike's favorite B-word on Coral's vast, but nope. Coral is "strong." Well, that's one way to put it.
The girls totally fall for this mush and smear their lipstick all over Mike's corn-fed mug. Coral's response is the most surprising and also the most icky. She leaps on Mike like a leech and refuses to let go. "No one's ever been this nice to me!" she screams. With Kevin and Malik out of town, Mike may be thinking that he's in good with the girls; his Valentine's Day is going to be sweet, punctuated only by the muted thumps of falling panties.
Mike has only disappointment to look forward to, however. The girls dress in black and run off to get loaded in a anti-Valentine's Day bacchanalia. Mike is left alone in the house with only the cold glare of the computer screen to comfort him. He's lonely and misunderstood and stupid in New York. What could be worse?
Meanwhile, Lori has already replaced Kevin with a British bartender with the ridiculous moniker of Stevie B. He certainly does flirt with her. But, he's a bartender, for heaven's sake! I believe flirting is some sort of professional requirement for those guys. Lori says she knows it's nothing serious, but that she likes a bit of drama in her life. She says that crushes entertain her; sadly, it doesn't matter whether they entertain us.
Stevie B. gives Lori a box of chocolate roses, which doesn't seem to impress anyone, even Lori. Oh, she says she's flattered, but it's in that dull tone which means, "It's better than nothing." I can just imagine, sweeties, that this Stevie B. fellow has this whole warehouse full of old boxes of drugstore chocolate. He's handing them out on street corners, on the subway. Dusty old chocolate roses are floating all around the Big Apple. But you know what? I would eat them anyway! Who cares if Lori and Stevie B. have a future; she got free candy out of it! And that, my friends, is what Valentine's Day is all about.
Who's Shirtless: Mike's torso is on full view, but that's old news. In the confession booth, Lori and Coral wear naught but towels! It's all very Go-Gos.
Most Annoying: I can deal with Coral's anger. Anger is good. But, why must it be a screechy, squawky anger? Does she have a volume control anywhere?
Best Quote: "She's so dumb, that when you talk to her, you feel dumb," remarks Mike. Actually, Mr. Cowlick, that's just you.
Next Week: This season, the kids get to be incompetent and ineffectual at Arista Records!