Six Feet Under
The Silence

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M. Giant: B | Grade It Now!
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Parenting Is Hard

Everyone's clearing out of Claire's office amid a hail of "Yeah, baby"s. Claire gets Nerd Drone's attention on his way out and asks if everyone's going to Doc's again. He looks pleasantly surprised that she's deigning to join the unwashed.

Victoria's party is of course at her beautifully designed home with indirect lighting and impeccably-dressed people everywhere, mingling to the sound of mellow jazz piano. Victoria either still has sitcom money, or that yarn store is some kind of front for McInerney's old coke dealer. Ruth arrives in the midst of this scene, and she probably would look a little less out of place if she weren't also carrying a ginormous aluminum-foil tub of famous potato salad. She looks like she's about to turn around and head right back out the door until Victoria calls out to her, saying she's excited for Ruth to meet "my friend Mitchell." She asks about the huge tray, and Ruth starts to say it's nothing. Victoria interrupts, "Your famous potato salad, now I remember." Victoria nicely leads Ruth over to the buffet table and makes room among all the dainty canapés and horvy-dorvys before taking the tray, setting it down, pulling off the cling wrap, and planting a serving spoon in it like the American flag at Tranquility Base. "Now start mingling," she orders. "No one's going to bite you. But maybe if you're lucky, someone will." Oh, that Victoria. She's so saucy.

Turns out Doc's is not only a mall bar, it's also got a mechanical bull that some blonde is riding as Claire and Kirsten watch. I'm surprised they didn't make this place a karaoke bar, but then Claire's not exactly in a position to mock karaoke after last week, is she? "You know, I'm really not drawn to mechanical animals," says Kirsten. Claire agrees. And now they've bonded. We see that Claire and Kirsten are in a little grouping of two at one part of the round table, while Perky Cubemate, Nerd Drone, and someone else are at the other, but not talking as far as we can see. It's a loud enough bar that the two groups can't hear each other, but even if it weren't, they probably still couldn't, because they're on TV and sound travels differently there. Kirsten asks if Claire's in a relationship, and Claire says she just broke up with someone she was living with. "And now I hear he's left town. Probably to go to some overpriced loony bin. He's kind of a nutjob," Claire cackles. Kirsten doesn't look amused. Chastened, Claire says she doesn't know why she said that, and that Billy's a great guy. To her credit, she blames herself, saying she wasn't ready for "something with challenges." Well, okay, if it's a "challenge" to be able to tell that your live-in boyfriend is off his meds when he suddenly can't tolerate things like, you know, clothes. "And he's in a different place than me," Claire adds. "He's older." Kirsten says she's also seeing someone older. "Well, a year and a half older." Kirsten plays coy while we all wait for Claire to figure out that Kirsten's talking about Lawyer Ted. Who's currently at a different table waaaay over at the other side of the bar with the other lawyers, by the way. Surprised, Claire remarks that she's never seen the two of them together, and Kirsten says they're trying to be discreet. And then she recounts a sequence of events that indicates that their "relationship" basically amounts to the fact that she and Lawyer Ted have had a couple of clandestine gropes. Claire sips her beer, suddenly understanding why Kirsten didn't laugh when she said "nutjob." "So now you're dating?" Claire asks. "I think we will be soon," Kirsten says excitedly. Claire says she gets it. I think we all get it. And just in case you didn't, the song playing in the bar is Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'."

Over at the party, Ruth's already met Victoria's actor friend Mitchell, who looks a little like Barney Miller but taller. She's trying and failing to keep up with his conversation about sitcoms, and somehow manages to be embarrassed at not knowing who Jennifer Love Hewitt is. I think I could live being with that kind of embarrassed. "Well, uh, Mitchell," Ruth says. "Yeah," Mitchell says. And then he just walks away from her. Snerk. Ruth looks forlorn standing there all alone until Other Knitter With Lines comes over to greet her and say, "You look so forlorn standing here all alone." She wants to help Ruth troll for "some nice, quirky guy" (because George's problem was that he just wasn't "quirky" enough), but Ruth isn't up for it: "I am seven million years old. And I have this emptiness that won't go away. I've gone everywhere and I've done everything." Her voice rises as she continues to bemoan her singleness, which has stretched out over more than half an episode now. "I just want to be left alone so I can shrivel up in peace! Please!" "Okay," Other Knitter With Lines chirps nervously, and leaves Ruth to her shriveling. Ruth turns and spots her famous potato salad, which is still sitting on the buffet table having yet to be indulged in by a single person, famous or otherwise. The symbolism does not escape her.

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