By Tom Rose
Last night on The New Adventures Of Old Christine we were reminded that OC is technologically challenged, totally self-centered and virtually friendless. So what else is new? Let’s find out.
When the episode opens OC is crying alone in front of the TV. Is she watching a chick flick? A sad news story? Her wedding video? None of the above. When Richard rushes in to find out why he’s been called over for “an emergency” he learns it’s because her TV is talking in Spanish again. After he shows her how to use the remote he asks if she’s weird about his wedding plans with New Christine. She flatly denies it and reveals that she actually feels that the issue has revived their friendship. But something sticks from her Spanish lesson when he tells her he’s glad to hear it, because he wants his mother’s engagement ring back. He wants to give it to NC. “Kiss my ass amigo!” she replies. Another rekindled friendship is nipped in the bud.
Later, when Matthew comes home, OC’s in a dither because she can’t find the ring. “You lose everything” says Matt. “No I don’t… where’s Richie?” Luckily he’s at school. But Matthew has other things on his mind. Today he sits with his first therapy patient. “Oh, you have a new crazy?” asks OC. But Matthew forgets his problems for a minute to counsel OC. It seems that OC always hated Richard’s “horrible, horrible mother.” New therapist Matthew tells her to stop looking for the lost ring, she doesn’t need a ring to forget her failed marriage. That’s when she finds it in a drawer and puts it on. Unfortunately, it’s obviously shrunk. “Or…” leads Matthew. She looks at it a moment and says “The diamond’s shrunk too.” The woman is in serious denial.
When Richard comes for the trinket she refuses to give it up. “Man it’s ugly!… God I love it!” So Richard offers to buy her a new one to replace it. Before going off to the mall they offer a critique on Matthew’s “first day as shrink outfit.” He looks a little too much like a bad bass player.
As he settles in at the office awaiting his patient, he decides he does look like a bass player and takes off the funky jacket. But it gets stuck around his wrists and by the time Suzy, a gorgeous “New Crazy” walks in, he looks like he’s wrestling with a straitjacket. Not the best introduction for a health professional. (Watch the Clip)
Suzy takes to the couch and reveals she suffers from anxiety. Matthew pretends to listen as he gazes at her lustfully and Suzy apologizes for boring him. He tells her she’s not boring, rather he finds her beautiful… in a clinical way. “Clinically beautiful.” Finally, years of Daytime Soap watching pays off. Looks like Matthew’s got an ethical problem.
At the jewelers OC and Richard shop for a new ring and the clerk offers up an inexpensive bauble that represents 3 month’s of Richard’s salary. Richard, a contractor, prefers the rainy months and balks at the $15K price tag. But actually they spar comedically and it starts to feel like old times. That’s when Richard reveals that it’s not his idea to take the ring back, but his mother’s. That’s too much for OC, filled with memories of “the Wicked Witch of West Covina” so she calls him a mama’s boy and storms out flipping him the bird – an engagement finger bird that makes it past the censors. (Watch the Clip)
In therapy Matthew finds out that Suzy’s problem is not anxiety, but her inability to stop falling for smart, powerful men. Like her professors… and therapists. Matthew doesn’t think that’s such a problem. “And did I mention my Master’s Degree?”
At home as OC and Matthew compete for whose problem requires more attention, her lack of friends and her jealousy over Richard’s upcoming nuptials, or his stirring love/lust for his new patient, OC realizes she’s lost the ring again. “You’ve got to retrace your steps” says Matthew. “what did you do last night?” What follows is pure Julia Louis-Dreyfus schtick: “I had a little to drink” (she slurps wine from a bier stein) “I had something to eat” (she orders enough Chinese food to feed a chain gang) “And I was reading a little” (she reads the inserts from dozens of fortune cookies.) Still no ring. “What else did you do?” asks Matt. It’s too embarrassing to tell so she demonstrates instead by coming out of the bedroom in her wedding dress. She’s distressed because “Richard will never be my friend and I think he’s my only friend.” She’s too worried to tell Richard she lost the ring because he’ll think she can never be happy about his wedding. Now we get it. (Watch the Clip)
Back at the clinic Matthew is forced to resign as Suzy’s therapist because of his unethical attraction to her, even though he knows that the moment he does, she will no longer be attracted to him. It doesn’t work out that way as Suzy lays a big wet one on him. Problem solved.
In the close OC reveals to Richard her feelings and that she’s lost the old ring. He tells her it’s OK. He got New Christine the expensive new ring anyway. He doesn’t want to be a mama’s boy and he’s grateful that his old/new friend Christine was the only one to tell him the truth. The moment causes them to peck lips in a buddy way but it turns into the beginnings of a passionate makeout session. Lucky guy. Just in time they pull away and as OC runs off she says “Bye Pal!”
Richard, you may wanna postpone. (Watch the Clip)