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S01.E11: Zoey's Extraordinary Mother

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This may have been the worst episode of the season. The only good scene was between the 2 women discussing their husbands’ deaths.  The other scenes were either poorly done or just not necessary.

They just need to end the “battle” between 2 floors of the same company.  The bake off was a complete waste of resources.  Plus, why would Max be fired outright given it was Leif who was supplying Joan’s team with the code?  He should be the one fired.  This show acts like none of the viewers have ever had a job or been involved in personnel or business decisions.

How did Joan go from being a hard ass boss to a friend to everyone now?  All of a sudden she is understanding?

Mo’s character adds nothing to the show other than giving Zoey someone to talk to.  Branching off into Mo’s own storylines is a mistake.  Plus, his boyfriend didn’t even get the job.  Jeez.

This show was great for the first half of the season. Now it has become just another random dramedy. 

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So Bernadette Peters is a stealth salesperson for the cemetery, it'll be interesting to see Chekov's gun go off next week.

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I'm another confused how Sprqpoint operates with having two competing departments. I work at a tech company and we have an area that needs special security clearance to enter. Because they work on Government projects. Which is what I thought the 6th floor did. So I could buy them competing over getting the stupid chirp thing for a government contact over personal use one. But that was never mentioned, they were just competing to see who could get it first which seems counterproductive. 

I think Ava was covering her own ass by firing Max. She signed off on letting Leif transfer. Firing Max looks like she did something. Or they are trying to turn Joan around to being actually caring even if she rarely shows it. I didn't mind her recognizing Zoey was dealing with family issues. Because the chirp got the funding and its just getting a prototype made now. She can think about something else when she wasn't before. 

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5 hours ago, Cthulhudrew said:

I fast forwarded through it. Not so much because it was uncomfortable, but because I just didn't like that particular arrangement of The Animals' "We've Gotta Get Out Of This Place."

 

4 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

For me, it wasn't the arrangement of "We've Gotta Get Out Of This Place" so much as the implied meaning (Zoey's mom wanted to get out of the funeral home and cemetery) that seemed almost sacrilegious to me, since I always associated it with either the Vietnam War (see wikipedia.org/wiki/We_Gotta_Get_out_of_This_Place#Impact ) or teens wanting to be adults and leave town, or some variation on either of those meanings. Usually I'm okay with a new twist on an old standard, but this didn't work for me. But maybe that was what they were going for (to make the viewer feel out of place like Zoey's mom did).

I wasn't offended by it, and though I'm of the same generation, have never related it to Vietnam. That's interesting, and I could see where you would.  I could see they were going for the desperation of the "gotta get out of this place" sentiment, which having been there and done that, I understand. What threw me out of it that the the song itself is about something else, and it's a song I love, and relate to other things. It just didn't nail the emotion for me, but maybe it did for someone else.

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I don't blame Maggie at all for being overwhelmed with all the coffin/burial plot/engraving font decisions. It's A LOT. I get why Zoey asked why her parents hadn't decided this sooner but let me turn that question around on her: have you, as a 30 year old, made all those decisions, written them down, and given them to multiple people you trust? Lots of people mean to do stuff like that and never get around to it, partly because it seems like stuff you don't really need to think about yet and partly because it's depressing as FUCK to think about.

Mo gets a high five for already making all of those decisions. I have already watched my mom and Mr. EB's mom have to make all of these decisions for their spouses and parents and if you think it's tough to think about coffin linings now, it's even harder to think about when someone is actually dead and you're grieving.

My friend's mom had cancer so she knew she was going to die. She planned every detail of her service from what songs she wanted to the readings. She handed folders to several family members with all the info and she also had a separate page for each of them with what their specific role/responsibilities were. It may sound like she was a control freak but it was actually a gift that they didn't have to agonize over coffin linings or fight about which song they thought she would have wanted or second guess if they were making the right decision about flowers or coffins or anything. She gave each person one thing to do so that they would have a small goal to achieve aka have something to focus on that they could easily check off their to do list.

OMG is Leif a 10 year old girl? Drawing a picture of a broken heart necklace of him and Joan on his notebook at work? FFS, dude. I do feel for him though. Unrequited love is painful, especially when you have to see the person all the time. I'm honestly shocked that he hasn't tried to sabotage her or get any kind of revenge and was in fact trying to surreptitiously help her through Tobin.

Even though what Joan said about how family is more important than work, it was very touching to hear her specifically tell Zoey that it's more important for her to spend time with her dad while she still can instead of worrying about this stupid competition.

I'm so glad that Maggie has Deb. As much as Zoey and David love and support her, she needs someone like Deb. And as a daughter who's been through the same thing, it's better for both Maggie and Zoey that Maggie has someone else she can lean on. When my dad died, my mom's grief allowed no room for my own. She was such a wreck that I spent all my time consoling her and I really didn't get to grieve at all until I left two weeks later. I hope we see more of Deb because I need her to sing some more. She was criminally underused on Katy Keene.

On a similar note, I really hope that Renee Elise Goldsberry gets to sing a kick ass solo (or at least a duet unencumbered by Lauren Graham). Ava firing Max because Leif was passing information to Tobin was some grade A bull shit.

I'm glad that Zoey and Max are in a better place but he's been a shitty nice guy "friend" who thinks that if he puts enough quarters into the friendship meter, he's entitled to demand that she reciprocate his feelings. Pouting about it and not acting like a friend was not a good look for him.

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4 minutes ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

have you, as a 30 year old, made all those decisions, written them down, and given them to multiple people you trust? Lots of people mean to do stuff like that and never get around to it, partly because it seems like stuff you don't really need to think about yet and partly because it's depressing as FUCK to think about.

This is an excellent point. EVERYONE needs to have an end-of-life plan. You can always change it when your life circumstances are different. To put it off because you don't want to think about it is understandable, but do you want to make your loved ones do it because you didn't?

I think because of our funeral home heritage, as it were, my family has a different view of death and everything that comes with it, though it's not as if we sit around the dinner table talking about different casket woods on a regular basis. Similar to what @ElectricBoogaloo described, my dad had a "When I'm Dead" note on the computer that had info like where to find certain documents that would be immediately needed, who to talk to right away, what sort of service he wanted, etc. It made things so much easier on my mom, especially because my dad died suddenly and it wasn't something they'd recently discussed. There was still a mountain of decisions to make, but knowing what my dad wanted (and didn't want) saved her some anguish. It prompted my mom to make her own note for us. My brothers and I also have let one another know the basic outlines of our wishes so we can help the spouses if they want it.

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15 hours ago, Darian said:

I loved the pep talk they gave Maggie about resisting the high pressure sales techniques in the car. I've been terminal and in bad shape for so long that we joke that I'm immortal or a zombie, so I've made my arrangements. But I've lost enough family members to know how they push you to overspend, playing on your grief and love, and I wanted to make sure my husband doesn't fall for it. 

My grandmother was in a nursing home (about 5 minutes from our house) for the last couple years of her life, and before she moved in my dad took her down to his hometown (where my grandfather was buried ~11 years earlier), and she made all her arrangements (basically the same as what they did for my grandfather) and prepaid. As far as I know, when the time came, the only bill my dad got was for the engraving of her dates on the tombstone (which was already in place because it was for both of them...and which was also made by the same company my grandfather worked for most of his adult life; somewhere around here I have a picture of him working on a stone, from a local newspaper article from the 60s or 70s). They also sent a photo of the finished stone with the bill, which was nice to have since the cemetery is about 2 hours away. And the only decisions they had to make were which pictures and crafts they wanted to display at the service.

5 hours ago, possibilities said:

Simon wasn't around when they were having the joint meeting for 4 and 6, was he? Or was it only the coders in attendance?

I think it was just the coders. Simon's the marketing guy, right?

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On 4/27/2020 at 7:13 AM, chaifan said:

Funeral planning - to take this out of the show for a minute...  first, don't plan someone's funeral within earshot of them, unless you're including them in the discussion.  Second, there is no logic to planning, wanting graves in a certain place, etc.  Third, for those who want to be cremated, you can still do so and have the urn interred in the gravesite with your spouse/family.  It doesn't have to be an either/or. 

My grandfather died young, and the funeral home wouldn't sell my grandmother the plot next to him, because they assumed she would remarry. She never did, and when she was dying several decades later it really upset her that she couldn't be buried with him. But, my mom spoke to the graveyard, and since she was being cremated, they were willing to let her be buried in the same gravesite. My mom told her mom, and my grandmother's reaction apparently was "Oh good, I always wanted to try being on top, but he would never let me". 

But, because of that, I definitely was surprised with the whole "we won't be together forever" thing, because urns can definitely be buried. Or you can scatter half and bury half, or whatever. 

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4 hours ago, HappyBerry said:

My grandfather died young, and the funeral home wouldn't sell my grandmother the plot next to him, because they assumed she would remarry. She never did, and when she was dying several decades later it really upset her that she couldn't be buried with him. But, my mom spoke to the graveyard, and since she was being cremated, they were willing to let her be buried in the same gravesite. My mom told her mom, and my grandmother's reaction apparently was "Oh good, I always wanted to try being on top, but he would never let me". 

I would have loved your grandmother, @HappyBerry. 🙂

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36 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

I would have loved your grandmother, @HappyBerry. 🙂

She was pretty great! One of the great disappointments of my life is she died when I was 16, so I never really got the chance to know her as an adult. 

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I liked this episode - Joan was much more human in this episode, still not a great singer, but she was a good boss.

I like that they are having Mitch's disease progress like it might actually progress in real life - no sudden slowdown, no miracle drug, he's dying and that is that.

They should have tried to get his input on the stuff, though - that was just disrespectful of them talking about it in front of him.

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On 4/27/2020 at 11:21 PM, jaigurudeva said:

I ended up liking Deb, even though that first impression of her singing "Feeling Good" while dancing on her husband's grave was not a good look. I get that they were trying to convey that she's coping well after his death or something, but it looked super callous before we got to know her. Again, I wish the writers paid attention to the full lyrics and its connotations instead of just the song title or chorus, not to mention the staging and choreography choices.

I originally inferred from that song that she had killed him and was now gloating about it!

Deb's costuming was great.

Edited by ItCouldBeWorse
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This episode just made me really glad my immediate family and I all just want to be cremated. Picking out an urn feels less overwhelming than all the different options for a coffin and a plot and a view and plants and upkeep and what if we end up moving far away from the cemetery eventually, etc.
 

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On 4/28/2020 at 4:26 AM, shapeshifter said:

For me, it wasn't the arrangement of "We've Gotta Get Out Of This Place" so much as the implied meaning (Zoey's mom wanted to get out of the funeral home and cemetery) that seemed almost sacrilegious to me, since I always associated it with either the Vietnam War (see wikipedia.org/wiki/We_Gotta_Get_out_of_This_Place#Impact ) or teens wanting to be adults and leave town, or some variation on either of those meanings. Usually I'm okay with a new twist on an old standard, but this didn't work for me. But maybe that was what they were going for (to make the viewer feel out of place like Zoey's mom did).

It's one of those songs that has changed as the generation for which it was written has aged. Viet Nam era sorts like me are no longer looking at the injustice of being sent to fight a war that made no sense; we're looking at long term care, managing incurable illnesses and end of life decisions.

I watched a video of The Who performing "Who Are You?" at Prince Albert Hall last year and burst out laughing. They were on point, but the lyrics that originally spoke of youthful defiance and questioning authority now sounded like someone with memory issues.

Come on tell me who are you?
(Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
Alright who the fuck are you?
(Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)

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Skylar singing Bye Bye Bye was so freaking hot. It sucks that Max got fired. He didn’t deserve that.


I hate that Mo is nothing more than another person that Zoey can go whine to. She’s really been grating recently. I also didn’t like Mo getting upset at his boyfriend for wanting to take a good paying job. 

I missed Simon this episode.

Poor Maggie. I still don’t understand that when he was diagnosed with the neurological disorder why they didn’t plan all of this together, but I get that a lot of people probably don’t. I did enjoy Maggie’s conversation with Deb.

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6 hours ago, twoods said:

Skylar singing Bye Bye Bye was so freaking hot. It sucks that Max got fired. He didn’t deserve that.

I wonder if they're going to reveal that as part of the Ava-Joan rapprochement, Ava fired Max so Joan could hire him back, while Ava kept Leif so Joan didn't have to deal with being the boss of her jilted lover.

Edited by shapeshifter
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35 minutes ago, twoods said:

Poor Maggie. I still don’t understand that when he was diagnosed with the neurological disorder why they didn’t plan all of this together, but I get that a lot of people probably don’t. I did enjoy Maggie’s conversation with Deb

Denial. Just before they got the news that the doctors were switching to end of life care Zoey was hopeful that Mitch was well enough to remove his back brace. They were in deep denial. 

Also Mitch may not have cared about his funeral arrangements. We know that Mitch wanted to talk about what he wanted medically so if he had preferences for his funeral it most likely would have come up then. 

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I thought that Mitch sitting on the couch with his mouth open staring into space was very realistic. My mother (who has some sort of neuro-degenerative disease but not PSP) often does the same thing but with her eyes closed. 

I thought that Ava fired Max so that he would be the fall guy for Leif sharing secrets. 

Bernadette Peters was great. 

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8 hours ago, twoods said:

Poor Maggie. I still don’t understand that when he was diagnosed with the neurological disorder why they didn’t plan all of this together, but I get that a lot of people probably don’t. I did enjoy Maggie’s conversation with Deb.

There's denial, of course, but there's also expecting more time and then everything happens faster than you expect. Which, I think she said at some point (that it went faster).

When my mom was given a 3 to 6 month prognosis, we thought there was time. She died in two weeks. So I totally related to Maggie's experience.

Edited by Clanstarling
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5 hours ago, Clanstarling said:

There's denial, of course, but there's also expecting more time and then everything happens faster than you expect. Which, I think she said at some point (that it went faster).

When my mom was given a 3 to 6 month prognosis, we thought there was time. She died in two weeks. So I totally related to Maggie's experience.

Yes, I thought early in the season there was still hope that he’d get better, and not that much time has passed. 
 

@Clanstarling, I shudder for my adult kids who could have had the same experience 4 years ago with me if the chemo hadn’t worked. 😞

 

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3 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

Yes, I thought early in the season there was still hope that he’d get better, and not that much time has passed. 
 

@Clanstarling, I shudder for my adult kids who could have had the same experience 4 years ago with me if the chemo hadn’t worked. 😞

 

I'm so glad it worked, @shapeshifter.

It was tough, but at least we knew she wanted to be cremated, and because of my dad's military service, where she would be buried. It was still terrible, but at least I didn't have to decide on fabric, wood, etc., etc. 

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I've been mulling Max's firing versus Leif, and I'm coming to the result that Leif is a better coder than Max is a manager (at least in Ava's eyes). So she felt she had to fire someone, and Max got the thumb.

I also very very VERY much enjoyed Bye Bye Bye (it got really hot in here during that song 😉) and I was fairly so-so on Skylar Astin before this show, but I can certainly appreciate what others saw in him after that number! It's a shame that the writers threw Max under a bus, but at least it looks like there is some hope for redemption?

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2 hours ago, saoirse said:

I've been mulling Max's firing versus Leif, and I'm coming to the result that Leif is a better coder than Max is a manager (at least in Ava's eyes). So she felt she had to fire someone, and Max got the thumb.

I agree that she felt she had to fire someone but didn’t think it had anything to do with ability. Ava’s first reaction was to fire Leif but Joan blocked her. 

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18 hours ago, Dani said:

I agree that she felt she had to fire someone but didn’t think it had anything to do with ability. Ava’s first reaction was to fire Leif but Joan blocked her. 

Max might have ended up fired even if Leif got fired. One of the people he was supervising was improperly sharing information right under his nose without him being aware of it, and he made a poor judgment call in hiring Leif, since he knew Leif wanted the job for nonprofessional reasons and Max wanted to hire him for nonprofessional reasons. Max hired Leif to get back at Zoey, knowing that Leif was really hung up on and messed up by his relationship with Joan. That was a disaster waiting to happen, and then Max didn't notice what Leif was up to or think to keep an eye on him in spite of knowing that there might be some unresolved issues there. I can definitely see why Max's head would roll, regardless of what else happened.

In other news, Bernadette Peters remains utterly incredible and weirdly semi-ageless. I've wanted to be her since I was a teenager.

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12 minutes ago, Shanna Marie said:

Max might have ended up fired even if Leif got fired. One of the people he was supervising was improperly sharing information right under his nose without him being aware of it, and he made a poor judgment call in hiring Leif, since he knew Leif wanted the job for nonprofessional reasons and Max wanted to hire him for nonprofessional reasons. Max hired Leif to get back at Zoey, knowing that Leif was really hung up on and messed up by his relationship with Joan. That was a disaster waiting to happen, and then Max didn't notice what Leif was up to or think to keep an eye on him in spite of knowing that there might be some unresolved issues there. I can definitely see why Max's head would roll, regardless of what else happened.

I agree that Max may have been fired either way. I was responding to the idea that Max was fired because he was deemed the less valuable of the two by pointing out that Ava was blocked from firing Leif. 

I disagree that Max hired him out of spite for Zoey. When the best programmer on your competitions team asks to transfer ignoring him would be stupid. Max was naive to trust Leif completely but there were plenty of legitimate reasons for Leif to want to jump ship. Plus Ava and Joan signed off on it. The bake-off failed because the company is dysfunctional and Max seems like the handy scapegoat. 

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Maggie Gets Advice and Makes a Friend

Zoey and Max Make up

Alex Newell as Mo Sings Julia Michaels' "Issues"

 

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WOW. The number in the funeral parlor with the caskets was a TERRIBLE song choice with TERRIBLE creative decisions in terms of choreography, performance, etc. I don't think it was supposed to be comedic. It didn't have the sharpness of something satirical or like dark comedy. It just felt like it was in terrible taste. I think it was supposed to be earnest. And just... YIKES.

Bernadette is a treasure. She almost makes me want to watch Mozart in the Jungle. Almost.

I hate Max and his dumb handshakes right now.

It's weird to get this confirmation that Leif is able to sing just as well in real life as in his heartsongs.

As much as I dislike Max right now, Skylar is still great at the boy band songs.

Loved the scene at the pie shop with Mary and Bernadette.

Mo's wine-colored top was SO CUTE. 

That duet. I mean, come on. Ava and Joan should totally get together. Am I the only one seeing this?

Weird end to the episode. I expected Ava to double cross Joan, not fire Max. Where is this going?

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All this talk about Mitch having a terrible view of an ugly fountain or a noisy highway (although the latter could make for a noisy funeral) - does Maggie think Mitch's ghost is going to be hanging around the cemetery?

Yes! So weird. It was also strange how the brother's wife didn't want to be in the ground... because she's claustrophobic? I feel like a fancy gravestone or statue is to memorialize someone and show that they were important and loved. I understand not wanting something anonymous. As for location, I think it's more about finding somewhere peaceful that you would be inclined to visit. Coffins are scams. I think if you want to be buried, the most important thing is choosing something that the elements can't get into.

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That is the main reason I am withholding judgement on Max. He’s been complete ass but most of that feels like really bad writing.

Yeah, Max started as a solid character and Skylar is very charming and a great performer. And then the writers just started shooting arrows at him. 

Quote

I wish we heard about the fourth floor vs six floor rivalry a lot earlier, because it would have been fun to explore from the beginning.

It makes me think they made it up in the middle of writing. If it was going to be important, there was no reason to introduce it so late in the season. There could have been throwaway comments earlier. 

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I get that it's hard to think about funerary arrangements when you're also dealing with a terminally ill family member, but it's still shocking that both Mitch and his family pushed considering his arrangements so far that they couldn't even have his own input. I could understand if this were a sudden thing, but he's been ill for months. 

I feel like the writers sidestepped the question by having Maggie tell Zoey that they were young and never thought something like this would happen. BUT fairly recently, Mitch was able to communicate with the point/click keyboard Zoey set up. It felt like a contrivance.

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For quite a while, I honestly thought Joan owned the company, and I had no idea she was essentially middle management, and that there were different "floors" or departments, with different managers.

The introduction of the flaky CEO or founder or whatever he is, made it clear she's not the boss. But in the episode where she was trying to get her husband to show up to boost her product launch, I really thought she was the owner.

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Yay, Bernadette Peters!

I'm glad that they had a subplot focusing on Maggie, and that she made a new friend closer to her own age and experiences. Because Zoey certainly isn't qualified to be everyone's therapist.

"Contract states 'until death do us part', after that I'm free to be on my own again" -- Hee! I think that's the most I've liked Zoey's sister-in-law (whose name I still don't know).

Yeah, I'm still don't like this Leif/Joan romance subplot even though it's over now. Just seemed unnecessary. Kinda funny how Leif started wearing black to fit in on the 6th Floor. The writing for Joan has been sooo inconsistent.

I tend to not really pay attention to the tech side of the show, but no, it didn't make sense for teams in the same company to be competing on the same project.

Which episode was the Oatmeal Bar? Because the Cereal Bar was back this episode.

This is a musical show, so I guess a karaoke scene was going to happen eventually!

Missed looking at Simon, but it made sense he wasn't in this episode.

Mo is overreacting, but I assume the situation gets fixed next episode? Dropping off Whatshisname's bag at his audition didn't make sense. But they wanted to give Mandy Moore a cameo, I guess?

Zoey and max kinda made up? I don't know why they have him acting so childish (in some ways) when I think they want us rooting for him and Zoey. And he's fired? Because of Leif?? Was not expecting that.

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I thought Mo bringing the bag to the audition was an attempt to sabotage the audition, so The Boyfriend would not get The Job. It was HIGHLY disruptive and it's the first time I really disliked Mo/disapproved strongly of his behavior. He wanted to punish, not just break up.

Oatmeal, bread, cereal... we've seen a variety of carb themes for the food on offer to Joan's people. It's weird, because she's anti-carb herself. You'd think she'd have some say in what kind of food her floor gets, if it's not the same all the time or on every floor.

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