On the way home from Ruston, Rene pulls over to a clearing on the road, and checks it out; Arlene's nervous and jumpy about leaving the kids with Bill. He stands nervous behind the truck awhile, hands shaking. The music gets ominous. "Bébé! Pass me that Maglite, will you?" She rolls her eyes and gets out, following him into the night. She tries to turn it on, but it won't light. "Are you sure? You better check it. I just put some fresh batteries in there..." She unscrews it, and something falls out. She looks around on the ground, but he's found it. He holds it up in the light, and it sparkles; he is on one knee. "Arlene Fowler..." She gasps, staring at the ring. "Would you do me the honor of being my wife?" She starts to cry, and he puts it on her finger, kissing her sweetly. Laughing and crying with her arms around him, she looks into his eyes: "Why didn't you say anything at the Red Lobster?"
They laugh and hug, and I realize trashy poor people and the trashy poor things they do must be funny to some huge portion of the population, or else the Coen Brothers wouldn't have careers, but I don't really get it. Like proposing at Red Lobster is all that much more abject than hiding an engagement ring in a flashlight? Diamonds are at least as distasteful as cocaine, and for the exact same reason, which is the blood of innocents all over both, and I know I always rant about this but my God. Meth, coke, diamonds, limousines, the institution of marriage: just cut it out, already, because much like heterosexuality, they are fundamentally tacky, and I can't pull it together to point and laugh at that, because even racist Americans like Arlene are my people. I don't know. I'm not saying it's evil or wrong, I'm just saying I have never gotten the attraction or the humor. It's like Monty Python: I get that it's funny, I just lack that gene.
"I know I've done it four other times, but it never gets old!" My brain stopped! Sookie squeals at the kitchen table and takes Arlene's hand; she barely has to ask Sookie to be her bridesmaid, again, and Bill and Rene smile at each other as Sookie and Arlene crawl all over each other, possessed by wedding demons. "Maybe you two are next, huh?" asks Rene, and the whole room goes quiet; Sookie looks down, because that's one of the cracks, isn't it. "...Well, I mean, when it becomes legal..." Everybody smiles guiltily, but it's still weird. Thank God for Lisa, who comes in rubbing her eyes and asking what the fuss is about. "Sweetie, you're gonna be my flower girl!" Arlene screams, and they hug. Saved again, by a man with a diamond. Sookie's loving it, and Bill once again flashes an honest smile: a family, taking shape before your eyes. All those breakfasts still to come: