This week’s episode revolves around the 2008 election of Barack Obama as President of the United States, which is good. They needed to take the narrative control out of the hands of the castmates or else it would be another solid hour of crying about dirty dishes. What can’t Barack Obama do, right you guys?
So, the episode opens on November 4th, and the mood is giddy. Remember November 4th? That was great. I guess the shine has worn off a little bit, what with all the world falling apart, but still: GOOD TIMES! People in the house are excited about the change that is coming to America. Everyone, that is, except for Scott and Chet. Wanh wanh. Of course those two are Republicans, look at Scott’s jacket:
Total republican’s jacket. He bought that at Republican Men’s Warehouse. He bought that jacket at Republicanton Coat Factory.
To be fair, millions of people supported John McCain in the last election, and we would all be wise to remember that. Millions. Tens of millions. So many people. A lot of them weren’t total political junkies like Chet and Scott, though, who are basically a couple of Jonathans Krohn.
BOOM! He’s like the republican answer to Daily Kos, just slicing through the bullshit to get to the heart of things. Look, I think most of us will admit that when we were in our early 20s, most of our political viewpoints and cocktail party arguments were cribbed from what our parents raised us to believe, or what we could half-remember hearing someone say one time in the news. The difference is that we weren’t on TV, so we didn’t embarrass ourselves and open ourselves up to national public humiliation. That’s on Scott.
It’s also on Chet.
Mitt Romney? That’s a blast from the past. You guys remember Mitt Romney? No? Well it turns out he was the only person qualified to be president. Whoops! We fucked up! Redo!
That night at an election party, the look on Chet’s face is priceless.
Ryan, on the other hand, is lovin’ it. Obama’s going to end the war. (Cue foreshadowing music.)
Do you think he brought that Uncle Sam costume with him to the house, or did he buy it once he got there?
Earlier in the day, Chet had gone to Fairway, which is a giant grocery store in Red Hook, to have them take a picture of him and make a giant cardboard Chet cut-out, because that’s a thing you do. I’m constantly going to the grocery store and turning five precious seconds of nationally aired signage into an arts and crafts project. What?
High on the election (Ryan’s anti-drug is the democratic process), Ryan decides to cover Chet’s paper doll face with a photo of Obama. He also decides to paint Scott’s nails red, but the main thing is that he covers Chet’s paper doll face with a picture of Obama.
Chet gets so mad. Looks like Professor Pranks hasn’t been taking his own lessons. He keeps talking about how people defaces his property, and referring to the cardboard cut out as “art.” Total art. They should hang that in a museum somewhere. And then they should lock everyone in the museum and send it into space. (?). Reasonable.
The rest of the episode is about Ryan and his experiences in Iraq. Chet says that he “loves” that Ryan went to Iraq, because Chet is the King of Badatsayingthingsopolis. Anyway, Ryan thinks that he might need PTSD counseling (and also worn-out knees counseling), which is something I have been gently but earnestly suggesting since the first episode, and all of you commenters who gave me a hard time can submit your apologies in writing. Ryan’s brother, also in the military, comes to visit. Ryan goes to a Veterans Against the War event. Ryan walks in the Veterans’ Day Parade. Ryan hangs out with his old army buddies and pours some out for those who’ve been lost. Ryan goes to film school.
To be fair, MTV tries to play this up like it’s some sign of Ryan’s intense emotions over his experiences in Iraq, but it mostly just seems like as a sign of Ryan being really bad at filmmaking. Anyone who has studied even one film class at the collegiate level will tell you that all of the films are like this.
But later, Ryan gets a phone call from his brother, and it is one of the most touching moments of this show ever.
Yikes. One can only imagine. Obviously, they’ve been setting this moment up for weeks, like remember when Ryan’s girlfriend came to visit and Ryan was like “I will never go back to Iraq ever, I promise!” That is Gossip Girl-caliber foreshadowing. Not to mention multiple instances in which Ryan explains what it means to be on active reserve, just in case the viewer ever needs that information to make sense of what’s happening in the plot, but that will never happen, probably, but surprise, it happened. This is sad. I don’t want Ryan to go back to Iraq. I don’t want Ryan to have to put his parents through this again. At least he has Scott there to comfort him? Dim-witted, emotionally unavailable, protein-smoothie-brained Scott. Perfect.