John From Cincinnati
His Visit: Day Two

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Mr. Sobell: C | Grade It Now!
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Wait, So Now The Parrot's Jesus?

Bill finally arrives on the floor, taking great pains to disguise the squirming, apparently living thing that's hiding in his coat's breast pocket. "Like my heart's beating in a cartoon," he says awkwardly, before exchanging an oddly familiar glance with the sad-eyed doctor. "Are you here to see Shaun?" the doctor asks. Well, I hope it's for that and not to pretend like he's going to the bathroom, because that part is already filled. Bill goes into see Shaun, where Butchie is still standing. Butchie goes to greet him: "You've been more father to him than I was," Butchie whispers before leaving Bill with Shaun; the surfer-groupie nurse leaves.

More toilet antics with John. Ugh.

And with that stupidity out of the way, Bill can now reveal the worst-kept secret in all the hospital: Yes, that is a parrot in his pocket, and yes, he is glad to see us. Out comes Zippy -- "Now don't hold back on me, pal," Bill says with a wag of his finger.

And we're hanging with John again, who walks outside of the restroom and says to Kai, "I just took a dump a grown man would be proud of." Kai congratulates him. "A-plus for fume control, Butchie?" John asks plaintively. "A-plus, John," Kai says. John notices Linc skulking about the waiting area. "The end is near," he says. Of this stupid restroom sequence? Good.

Zippy the Undead Parrot is bobbing is head, much to Bill's encouragement. Bill extends his hand out to Shaun's face, closes his eyes, and touches his head with his free hand: "And kiss Shaunie, too as long as we're being stupid," he says. Zippy does. Shaun's eyes pop open. "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph," Bill exclaims. Yes, they're all surprised too.

So, some interesting things in that episode, but the show sure took its time getting there. That last sequence -- the harrowing scenes at Shaun's bed-side interspersed with the Jackass-esque sight of John pretend-pooping -- was a study in how to irritate the audience and kill any dramatic tension you've worked hard to build up. I don't mind a show that has its own ideas about pacing, and I certainly don't mind when a show demands that you pay attention to all the little things going on. But if I have to watch something a couple or three times just to make heads or tails of it, I'm pretty sure that's not my failing. Then again, as we've established, I'm a tongue-clucking grump. I think I've already asked you kids to get off my lawn.

Next week: Mitch still think Shaun is at death's door and that Cissy's in denial. Freddy predicts an unpleasant end for Butchie. Cunningham takes another shot at visiting Room 24. And John makes Kai pass out. Hopefully not from boredom.

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John From Cincinnati

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