Guess who’s come to dinner? “Awkward” barely scratches the surface of the seething mass of tension that is Zaboo’s mum’s birthday dinner in the latest episode from The Guild.
The CompanionCast from The Knights of The Guild for ‘Awkward Birthday’ was recorded live from the set and has interviews with Felicia Day, Sean Becker, Kim Evey, Viji Nathan, Wil Wheaton, Vince Caso, Tara Caso, Jeff Lewis, Sandeep Parikh and lots of extras.
Codex’ confessional this week is replete with gaming references and reveals that it was Zaboo that told Fawkes about the dinner date, and also that she, er, was lacking in the coping department…
Back at the ‘Party From Hell’ Zaboo is struggling to remain positive in the face of overwhelming circumstance. Not only is his mum fussing and seated right next to him, Fawkes is pawing Codex in a most boyfriendly manner.
Fawkes is also in top smarm-gear and suavely checks Codex’ hand to read why he was supposed to not be there: “I am so glad that I was able to cancel my ‘emergency anarchist’s club meeting’ downtown.”
Codex still can’t seem to bring herself to punch Fawkes in the sporran (maybe because he isn’t wearing it? Couldn’t quite see what he had on under his rather charming open shirt/jacket combo), so has to content herself with pointed remarks and eye rolls. While Vork continues to snaffle bread rolls.
Zaboo introduces his mum to Fawkes, who makes an almost-lewd comment about Bruiser, Bladezz’ mum and swimsuit calendars. Any chance of offence was lost when Vork intones that his mother is dead and therefore an inappropriate choice for Miss September.
Zaboo’s mum covers the awkward by asking him what he’s been doing. Zaboo launches into an incredible narrative of his last few weeks. Truly this is a man who has suffered and yet he remains unquashed, because he’s “…just trying to understand women!”
Vork, unmoved by Zaboo’s woes or politeness, asks again whether the food is being paid for by Zaboo’s mum. She wearily replies yes which causes an unusual reaction in Vork. He smiles: “Happy Birthday to me!”
Back online, in the real world, Bladezz is crowing to the ladies what lunch about his impending stardom as the new Cheesybeards’ star in the making, and talks about making a sex tape to exploit his about-to-happen fame. Tink greets this news with her usual charm: “Now I have to go bleach my brain.” Get in line, sugar.
Clara is far too busy buzzing about her news to listen to anyone, though. Yes! The impossible has happened and they actually have a seemingly-viable business idea! ‘Pre-gamers’ (or Preg-amers’? Preg-gamers??) is about to be thrust onto the world – edgy tee shirts for pregnant gamers. It’s a niche, alright, and one that might just work.
Even Bladezz is impressed enough to want to buy one. Of course, they haven’t actually worked out all that boring, technical stuff yet. But Clara does think they need new models: “…Oooh! Text Codex and tell her to get the unprotected nasty on tonight!”
Codex is less than happy about that text but barely has time to worry about it because it’s Zaboo’s mum’s party and she’ll confess if she wants to. She has been going to AA meetings (Co-dependents Anonymous was too full of whiny people) and as part of her program she needs to apologise to Zaboo for all the wrong things she has done.
How noble, and how mistimed. Fawkes’ eyes grow wider and wider as Zaboo’s mum unburdens herself with tales of Zaboo’s child modeling exploits and his well-attended bris, while Zaboo squirms ever more helplessly. WHY MUST THE POOR MAN SUFFER SO???
Fawkes is moved to declare: “You are a market researcher’s wet dream. Please continue.”
Codex tries to reel Fawkes back but he is on a roll. After Zaboo, he turns to Vork and asks how his Guild Hall plans are coming along. Seeing as how The Axis has just purchased their DELUXE hall…”SASAFRASS!” is Vork’s eloquent reply. Codex jumps up and asks Fawkes to help her in the kitchen – just anything to get him away from the devastation.
Dena continues her torturing of Bladezz by barking actors and actions at him: “Mel Gibson: Scared!” She is enjoying the power way too much – hardly surprising when watching Bladezz suffer for his art is so amusing.
Back at the restaurant Zaboo’s mum is still ticking off her list, which must be at least twice as long as Earl’s. Zaboo just wants it over and accepts all her apologies. Vork is trying to recover from the body blow Fawkes handed him and then something curious happens. While asking him about his interest in real estate and commodities, Zaboo’s mum sparks Vork’s entrepreneurial spirit: “…wait a second. You may be of value to me. I’m shocked!”
If that wasn’t shock enough, Codex and Fawkes are about to take things to a whole new level. Codex is royally pissed that Fawkes is there pretending to be her boyfriend but Fawkes is unrepentant (no, that isn’t the shock). He’s there acting like that because – wait for it – he is ROLE-PLAYING HIMSELF! And, does Codex want a quickie in the Ladies room?
Again Codex misses the perfect opportunity to administer swift sporran-justice, and instead says she’s officially breaking off with him tomorrow. Fawkes is sanguine: “You’re breaking off the fake relationship with the pretend me? Hmm. This is indeed a meta-meta-moment.” Quite. Codex goes for the goodbye handshake but Fawkes has other ideas and pulls her into a passionate clinch that literally blows her (hair) away in a most romantical fashion. Just Fawkes’ reminder of what she’s missing.
Codex is left quizzical and panting “Is there a breeze in here…?”
Hot darn, Ms Day! How can you pack so much into such a short episode? These episode reviews are taking almost as long to write as they took to shoot! So much is happening, if you blink you miss it. Excellent work all round. Obviously the writing is top-notch, but the performances in this episode are outstanding, even for The Guild.
Zaboo’s description of this last few weeks is hilarious and heart breaking. Sandeep Parikh imbues Zaboo with so much purity that it is stunning. Last season it was hard to watch Riley’s debasement of Zaboo because he just kept on trying to be the person she wanted him to be. Clearly his years of abuse at his mother’s hands have made him into a terminal pleaser and since Codex is one, too, she finds it unbearable. But rather than make him seem pathetic, his struggles to become something more are taking on a heroic quality. He even appreciates his mother’s apologies – up to the point where she tragically overshares.
Vork is on fire. His is an internal fire so deep that to the casual observer he appears almost catatonic, but he roils inside. His pilfering of the food and massive and well-planned over-ordering were masterfully done. Seven pork tenderloins? Why the heck not! Life is looking up for Vork. You can tell because he actually smiled this week. Who wouldn’t at the prospect of free food for the foreseeable future? Happy birthday, indeed.
Zaboo’s mum is always a revelation, but this week she surpassed herself. Even as she is apologizing to Zaboo she still manages to pull his strings. The prospect of her and Vork pairing up is terrible and hypnotic. Who knows what they could achieve together?
Clara and Tink are the ultimate tragicomedy double act. Their plans for world domination through pregnant gamer tee-shirts are both comic and tragic (for everyone roped into helping, like Wiggley will undoubtedly be). And also astute. Seemingly by accident they have stumbled upon a potential goldmine. My money is on them to clean up. I mean – what pregnant gamer could resist a tee with ‘Don’t frag my baby!” on it?
Bladezz and Dena are the perfect sibling pairing. Bladezz’ macho-yet-clueless posturing is defenseless in the face of Dena’s knowledge of – well, everything. I particularly liked the way that Dena wielded her walking stick in this episode. That, plus her white ensemble, was Fame by way of Super Villian. It really works.
Fawkes. Ah, Fawkes. As someone who usually eschews violence I’m not prone to advocate beatings. But for Fawkes I’m willing to make an exception. He is a dick of the worst kind. His smarmy, superior attitude coupled with his joy at other people’s pain is topped off with his consuming need to dominate in-game and out. Plus he scrubs up really well and is a kick-ass kisser. That’s quite a package. And speaking of packages, why hasn’t anyone punched him in the sporran yet? Someone should get onto that, pronto.
And Codex. Poor, deluded, pliable Codex. What monsters have you unleashed? Fawkes is out of control, but Codex is more so. She thinks that Fawkes really likes her. She is simultaneously attracted and repulsed by him. Thank goodness she didn’t relent and try out the fainting couch – if she had Clara might well have had her wish.
What will tomorrow bring??
Season 4, Episode 8 will be out on Tuesday 7th September.
WorldofHiglet is the online persona of writer Mary R. Higgins, a born-again geek reclaiming her heritage bit by bit. A youth filled with sci-fi, horror and adventure in TV, films, computer games and books was crushed by years of office grind. Buffy brought her back into the fold after years of denial. Discovering Firefly sealed the deal. Now she geeks fulltime on her blog ‘the last geek bus home’ . Her first novel ‘Turning left at Albuquerque” is complete and she has just launched HigletFilms.com, a new webvideo entertainment site serving new, original videos every Monday.
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