Three episodes into the second season of Beaver Falls I’m starting to think the writers of the British drama are anti-women. Or at least American women (aka Queens English speaking actresses putting on sometimes convincing American accents).
In this episode alone we see Rachael (Kristen Gutoskie), the responsible born again Christian guidance counselor when the series opened what seems like a lifetime ago for her, continue her downward spiral when she gets loaded and starts undressing at the camp dance. That she even still has a job – her behavior the previous summer notwithstanding – is thanks to her frenemy Hope (Emer Kenny), who manipulates Bobby (Todd Boyce) to keep her on board presumably so she can continue to be evil toward her and wrap A-rab (Arsher Ali) even tighter around her finger. Hope edges out Rachael this week for most annoying character on the show by continuing her ditsy but ruthless takedown of anyone and anything that gets in the way of what she wants.
Meanwhile, though less annoying and easier on the eyes than the Jar Jar Binks duo of Hope and Rachael, Kimberley (Natasha Loring) doesn’t do much to redeem the female mystique in this episode when she plays the game of pretending her ex-boyfriend isn’t her ex because she’s ashamed to admit to her dad she’s dating a guy he wouldn’t approve of when her skeletons-in-his-own closet father pays a surprise visit. Kimberley fears he’s discovered that she dropped out of college so her excuse is that she doesn’t want to double up the bad news by introducing him to “Barry the boyfriend.” So instead she convinces Jake (Jon Cor) to cut his hair and beard (am I the only one who didn’t realize that the hippy Buddhist guy has been Jake all along?) and pretend to still be her boyfriend for a dinner out. Barry (John Dagleish) of course loses it but not because of Jake – he’s discovered what he thinks is a positive pregnancy test in Kimberley’s cabin that makes him absolutely mental.
Camp director daughter PJ’s issues are clearly more with her mom than her dad, but she doesn’t win too many points either with her continued efforts to outplay the player Flynn (Sam Robertson). A story she tells Flynn about her mom making out with her prom date only adds to the drama that’s sure to come out about how Flynn slept with her mom the first night of camp last year. But it’s never really clear whether it, like anything PJ (Scarlett Alice Johnson) tells Flynn, is true or not. In the Beaver Falls universe where the men are almost always the sympathetic characters, the double standard never occurs that Flynn was just as much responsible for what happened with Pam as she was.
As it turns out, Pam (Alison Doody) is the only female lead to show courage and conviction in this episode as she holds her head high in the face of her husband-in-name-only Bobby’s attempt to ruin her birthday by announcing every chance he gets to the camp that it’s her 50th birthday and remind them how much she loves people recognizing that fact. Bobby’s morning flagpole announcement alludes to several famous people who died before the age of 50 and the fact that Pam would not be joining them. Seeing her bite her tongue and squeeze out an aging beauty queen smile, it’s clear to see that Pam is angling to get the last laugh and finally put that cretin Bobby, the lone unsympathetic male character in the show circa series 2, in his rightful place. It also appears as though Jake cutting his hair may have triggered the opposite of a Samson moment, bringing closer to reality Barry’s nightmare that opens the episode of Jake as vampire stealing Kimberley back.
In the midst of all this oversexed and American Pie-style juvenile drama, the depleted Chunk bunkers – who seem to be seeing less and less time each episode – hatch a plan to hide a returned-to-camp-against-his-mom’s-wishes Thurston to the dance without detection. The plan: to dress up like Halloween with Thurston (Alex Wall) playing the sheet-with-two-eye-holes-cut-out ghost. As all Chunk bunk plans go, it goes swimmingly, for about 10 minutes. The sheet quickly becomes the cover-up for a derobing Rachael in the middle of the dance floor, thus revealing the return of the not-so prodigal son and yet one more problem for Bobby to sort out with the help of his manipulative sidekick and recently promoted guidance counselor Hope. Fortunately, for the show’s sake the most loveable of the Chunk bunkers wasn’t gone long. Let’s just hope there’s more storyline given to their antics than there is to the continued loathing and scene gobbling of the female leads behaving annoyingly.