Our Emma Anquillare breaks down the latest episodes of A&E's Southie Rules.
We got a double dose of Southie Fun this weekend, with four new episodes debuting in the show's new Saturday night time slot. But we have to wonder: With the new time and TV-14 rating, is Southie Rules upping its game? Or are this show's days as numbered as the Red Sox's World Series wins? (Above, after all, is the cast jumping the shark to the tune of the "Harlem Shake.")
First, Matt and Devin (the real children of the family) are up to no good, racing Liana's stroller down the sidewalk (heads up, the helmet usually goes on the person in the moving? err, vehicle, not the person pushing him). When the stroller breaks, Matt and Devin must once again scrounge up some cash to replace it, and decide to do so by becoming Beantown tour guides.
After their first venture fails (What? No one wants to take a tour from two guys driving around asking you to hop into their dirty van? Shocking!) Devin's clever trickery gets them running a classic Duck Boat tour, and Jenn's celebrity real estate know-how saves the day. (Wait, celebrities other than Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen live in Boston? Celebrities live in South Boston? Does anyone know about this? Can The Herald stalk them instead and give Tomsele a break? Please?)
Meanwhile, old Badass Patriarch Walter is smoking again, and it's up to Jon and Leah to get him to quit while Camille is out at work. (Does no one else have a day job in this family?) After trying to duct-tape him to a chair, smothering him in nicotine patches, and even hiring a professional hypnotist, not only do their efforts fail, but they are aptly subtitled as "Jon and Leah—Really In Need of a Hobby."
In the second episode, we wait with bated breath to see if Jon's girlfriend Jess is Southie enough to hang as an inner-circle family member, or if she will be exiled forever (hint: She has appeared in the opening credits all season long). As she meets Leah and Jenn wearing pearls and an argyle sweater over her shoulders, we wonder if Jess is actually a Yuppie Spy, sent to infiltrate the Southie forces and? oh wait, sorry, this show clearly gave up on that a while ago. Way to update your website, A&E.
In short, in order to prove her worth, Jess must: 1) dress like a St. Patrick's Day shot girl; 2) consume a giant phallic hoagie; 3) answer a bunch of way-too-personal questions about Jon (because this is a Southie bar, where everyone knows your name?and the name of the first girl you got to second base with, who just happens to be sitting at the next table) and 4); go Polar Bear swimming. If you ask me though, her true worth was proven at the very end, where she is seen nonchalantly walking barefoot on a Southie sidewalk. Between that and Leah's cringe-inducing consumption of "The Murphy Shot," it's really a Southie miracle no one in this family has been hospitalized yet.
Meanwhile, the boys are on a mission to kill the infamous "Southie Turkey." While any kid in the rural Northeast can certainly relate to their own game of turkey hunting, I was pretty surprised to see one roaming the city streets as if they were the grassy knolls on the side of the Pike. But, who knows, maybe the Yuppies have infiltrated the turkeys' home, too? Perhaps the turkeys are the real victims here? Can't we all just get along?
In the third episode, the couch that Devin has inhabited seemingly since he left the womb (Or maybe it somehow gave birth to him, too? Where is his family, anyway?) is in dire need of cleaning. Matt and Devin decide that the best way to do this is obviously to take it to a car wash and run it through on the back of a flat bed truck. (Forget about Matt and Jenn, I think by now it's clear that Matt and Devin are the true bromance at the heart of this show.)
To make things interesting, Matt says he'll pay Devin a hundred bucks to sit on the couch while it goes through the car wash. Usually, I would just point out that the car wash owners who would probably object are conveniently missing; but I'm too jealous that Devin actually got to go through a car wash and live to tell the tale. (Oh, c'mon, like you've never wondered what it would be like to do that?)
Meanwhile, Jenn and Jon do enough indecipherable bickering over a slice of chocolate cake to make you think that you're actually watching an episode of It's Always Sunny in Southie, not Southie Rules. Ultimately, Jenn uses her "feminine charms" to get her way, banking not on Jon finding her attractive, but on how awkward she can make him feel by hitting on him. Is she really just playing chicken, though? Matt still appears to do absolutely nothing productive, so it's actually an understandable tossup between the father of her child and a single piece of cake.
O.K., who called it? This Recapper, right here! In episode four, Jenn finally becomes so fed up with Matt's laziness that she moves out (though obviously not for long, as we know she'll be back in the next episode). We finally learn what Jon and Matt do during the day (work at the family tattoo parlor), though Matt 's immaturity causes him to lose both his job as well as his Jenn. Meanwhile, the show goes back to its roots as Jarod, Leah and Devin stand up against the Green Yuppie Recycling Nazis. Perhaps I spoke too soon? Perhaps the turf war is not yet over between the Niedzwieckis and the Newbies after all?
To tell you the truth, I actually have no idea. This episode seems to have mysteriously disappeared from the A&E website, iTunes, Hulu, YouTube, and a variety of other reliable (yet questionably legal) sources for online TV. What are they hiding? Have things taken a turn for the worst? Could the upbeat Southie clan not deal with this much real-life drama?
Sure, I could have just watched the episode the moment it aired, but seriously what do you expect when they move the time slot to 10PM on a Saturday?
· Our Southie Rules recap archive [Curbed Boston]