The grilling begins early in the living room. Trista's father, He Runs With Enormous Glasses (I've forgotten his proper Christian name, so I've been forced to resort to this less conventional but no less appropriate Native American moniker) asks Charlie what kind of hours he keeps at work. Because talking work hours makes for riveting television at all times, always. Those trendsetters at the Human Resources Network will see to that, as in their new reality show Time Won't Give Me Time: A Look Behind The Scenes of Payroll Processors. And that includes the hidden footage that they didn't want you to see. Charlie continues on that his "true love" is "the stock market," which he mentions is "booming." I'm sorry, wasn't this show taped in October of 2002 and not instead during some past year that maybe contained any number of "9"s? The market sucks. Who doesn't know that? I mean, besides this unemployed "Wall Street" guy who I don't think has ever been to New York. He Runs With Enormous Glasses changes the subject to mention that it's time for dinner, and that he's going to "bring the questions." The aforementioned "questions" refer to a white porcelain bowl filled with questions the family has written down, up to and including the obvious "Why'd you let that new tramp wife of yours come ruin our dinner?" which I'm sure will be read in conjunction with its follow-up question, "Maybe if you hadn't have been so frigid all those years I wouldn't have needed to step out on you." Those two. Always fighting. And that last one wasn't even a sentence.
You know what? They were Cheez-Its, not Cheez Nips. Which is the inferior non-union counterpart of the other? And, more importantly, how are you now supposed to believe anything I say? Trust me when I say this question will be important later.
Hey, do you think you could pass the...oh, you say you can't? You say you'll be hogging every damn thing in the house including all of the conversation, Charlie? Well, all right. Just as long as you're somehow forced to pay for it later. In fairness, though, I must say that Charlie kind of kicks ass at dinner, and if anything this meal reasserts Charlie and Trista's overall "rightness" for one another in a smarmy, plastic, public, wholly performative, we're-turned-on- when-this-thing's-on kind of way. HRWEG certainly sees it (as well he should, what with his enormous...oh, never mind), toasting the couple and wishing them "many good days ahead." Which I'm sure they'll experience. With other people. HRWEG requests the aforementioned bowl of questions as Trista voices over that she thought the questions would be intended for everyone, and not just a full-out third degree-ing of Charlie. Somehow, though, when HRWEG was unable to formulate a cogent reply to the repeatedly chosen, "You cheated on me with her HOW MANY TIMES, you craven BASTARD?" they were forced to abandon the socialist "everyone's playing" concept they'd apparently told Trista about. Back in the dining room, HRWEG asks the first question, practically taking one out of the bowl and holding it up to his forehead like Carson with a killer joke about the Ayatollah or how many times he nailed Jerry Hall. Carson. Not Trista's dad. But it's Trista's mom who instead asks the first question, inquiring of Charlie, "Are you a morning person or an evening person?" Trista's NotMom has the next probing question, standing up (come back! You haven't even eaten your poorly-edited-together after-dinner mint yet!) and wanting to know, "How would you feel if your wife made more than you?" Charlie cracks up the crowd with a deadpan "All right." They love him. Love him! Well if they love him so much, why don't they marry him? Hey, hear that, everyone? Lisa's gonna marry a carrot! Ha ha! Lisa's gonna marry a carrot.