Men In Trees
The Caribou In The Room

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Why Can't We Be Friends?

Annie opens the door to her apartment to see Patrick standing there, a plastic container in his hands. She gives him a big "hi," sounding relieved, and asks what he has with him. "You promise you won't laugh?" he asks. Looking somewhat alarmed, she agrees. Turns out it's his retainer; he's supposed to wear it every night. Annie says that he didn't have it the other night. He says that he was embarrassed, and then he takes it out, and we see why -- it's not just a retainer, but headgear and the whole bit. The saddest detail is that the strap that goes across the back of his head is striped, like someone (probably his mom) thought it would be less humiliating for him to wear it if it had a jaunty pattern. But once Patrick's put it on, we can see that nothing could make this thing any less humiliating. Maybe a strap that went over the top of his head; do they make those anymore? Annie's face falls: "Did your mom tell you about me?" Patrick, around his ridiculous headgear, says he doesn't care what Celia said: "I'm going to love your snoring." Ohhhh, no you're not. Annie, tortured, says that Patrick has no idea, but he says he wants to know -- he wants them to know everything about each other, good and bad. She finally agrees, and goes in for a kiss, whereupon they learn that the retainer is not so conducive to that.

Over Louis Armstrong's "A Kiss To Build A Dream On," we pan across the mess Marin's made of Jack's kitchen to make him his promised home-cooked meal. Jack takes a bite and reacts with surprise that it's good. Marin says it's "Marin Marinara" (okay, heh), made special with a little truffle oil imported from Anchorage. Jack says he supposes city girls can cook, and she says she's glad to have someone to cook for. Er, and a kitchen to cook in, Eloise. Jack leans over his plate and tells Marin, "Thanks." She shrugs it off, and Jack explains, "I mean, you know, for coming home with me. I know Anchorage has a lot of appeal." Marin nods seriously: "Turns out Elmo has a lot of appeal, too. But if you really want to thank me--" "No more opera," says Jack immediately, like he's still having night terrors from the limited exposure he's had to it. What Marin actually wants is to make Jack her emergency contact, since all her other names are in New York. Jack, seeming moved, agrees: "That's what friends do, right?" Marin smiles.

Marin's voice-over takes it home: "Friendship between a man and a woman is complicated -- especially if they've shared something more." Theresa packs her car as she leaves Ben's. "There are times when love can be stronger and even more rewarding if it's built on a foundation of a really great friendship." In bed, Annie snores; Patrick, with his retainer, wakes up with a grin and fastens his earflap hat on his head. "But wherever it's headed, wherever it's been, being just friends doesn't have to mean settling for something less." At Jack's, Marin gets two bottles of beer from the fridge, brings Jack his, and clinks hers on it. "Sometimes, it can be the brass ring after all." She sits, and they drink their beer right from the bottle, like a couple of common stevedores. Marin, this is how it starts. You'll be scratching your balls with your keys in no time.

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Men In Trees

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