Once and Again
Unfinished Business

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Unfinished Business

As the show opens, we see Lily and her brood bustling out the front door, going over the contingency plan for after-school rides. Lily's on her way to an interview and is pretty nervous at the prospect. Zoe wants to know what's going to happen to her and Grace if Lily gets a job and works all the time. Lily points out that they're quite capable of fending for their own dinner, and besides, it's not like anyone's "exactly jumping up and down to give her a job." Phil comes sauntering out the front door making grand gestures and reciting a line from Shakespeare's King Lear: "Blow wind and crack your cheeks!" It's the beginning of Lear's raging speech to Nature, after he's been put out into the storm by both his rotten daughters, but somehow when Phil says it, all I can think of is passing gas. He follows this line with part of another famous line from the opening scene, when Lear is deciding how to divide his kingdom: "How [now] Cordelia! Mend your speech a little." Phil then begs to hear a line from Grace but she refuses. Beg, beg, beg. No, no, no. Finally, though, Grace relents and, in a painfully mechanical recitation, gives him Cordelia's response to Lear, sort of: "Good my lord, you have begot me, bred me, loved me. I return those duties blah blah something something." I tell myself her lines sound terrible because she's just humoring Grandpa and that she hasn't given it an honest effort. Phil insists he's not going home without hearing her say her lines on stage. So we can all breathe a sigh of relief -- Phil hasn't flipped his cookie, he's just excited because Gracie's in a school play. She jokes that she'll faint onstage when she forgets her lines, and Grandpa says not to worry -- he'll be there to shout them out to her. She says that's what she's afraid of.

From this warm and fuzzy family moment, we shift to Lily and Phil sitting in a diner, where Lily is anxiously gesturing for the bill. Phil checks his watch and points out she's still got an hour to get to the interview. Lily sniffs her armpit. Who knew beautiful people get b.o.? I never even suspected they have sweat glands. I'm compelled to rewind and watch it again, I find it so reassuring. Lily complains she's sent out four resumes and hasn't had any interest. Wow, four huh? And you haven't been offered your dream job yet? What the hell is the hold-up? Phil launches into a lecture on self-worth pointing out that she's beautiful, educated, smart. I know it's a lookist, shallow world we live in, but really, being beautiful isn't generally considered a qualification unless you're applying to be a spokesmodel or Baywatch chick. I'm not saying the editors I've worked with aren't attractive people, I'm just saying.

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Once and Again




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