SHOW NOTES: S02E11, "The Liar and
Welcome back to a completely bonkers episode of television! Let's dive in.
Our special guest this week is Erica Jensen! Erica is a casting director at the multiple Artios Award-winning Calleri Casting. She casts film, television, and lots of theater. Currently her office is casting Apple TV's original series Dickinson, which is about Emily Dickinson and not Charles Dickens. Six Feet Under is one of her favorite shows of all time, definitely in the top three on a list of ten.
Naturally, the first thing we wondered after watching this episode was whether anyone in real life had ever been murdered by hot dog. Fortunately (unfortunately?), it doesn't appear that anyone has. The closest news stories we could find were this one, in which a Minnesota man was linked to a murder twenty-six years prior when the police retrieved his DNA from a napkin he used to wipe his mouth after eating a hot dog at a hockey game, and this one, a horrific story about a woman who beat her two-year-old son to death because he wouldn't eat the hot dog she tried to feed him for breakfast. Yikes. We kind of wish we hadn't looked this up.
On a MUCH lighter note, Caroline notes that Bay Breeze, the name of the nursing home Vanessa worked at, sounds like a cheap liquor. A Bay Breeze is in fact a cocktail containing pineapple juice, cranberry juice, and vodka. It looks delicious. (Photo by Dole)
In this episode, Brenda and Nate perplexingly attend premarital counseling with Rabbi Ari even though neither of them is Jewish. (Brenda's father, as we found out in episode eight, was raised Jewish, but she's non-practicing and a self-proclaimed atheist.) We were curious whether a rabbi would even agree to provide premarital counseling for a non-Jewish couple that wasn't planning to convert or join a congregation, so we did a little research. Rabbi Joel Alter of Glendale, WI was quoted in a 2018 article about Jewish premarital counseling as saying that he helps couples "articulate their hopes and dreams in the context of their Jewish identity," something that a therapist wouldn't be equipped to do. In the same article, Rabbi Noah Chertkoff says he helps his congregants understand the Jewish traditions that will be part of their wedding ceremonies, and Rabbi Marc Berkson often provides information about genetic disorders that are common in Jews during his counseling sessions. As all of this would be utterly useless to Nate and Brenda, I think we can safely assume Rabbi Ari had ulterior motives for agreeing to counsel them. (What a shocker!)
Brenda goes out to mope at Winchell's Donut House in this episode, and our hosts and Erica wondered if it was a real place. Not only is it real, it's a thriving chain founded in 1948 that now has 170 locations in six states (plus one store in Guam!) They're open twenty-four hours and have an extensive list of doughnut varieties on offer. (Producer Alison is currently drooling over the cinnamon crumb.)
We fear you may come away from this episode terrified of James Pickens Jr., who plays the stern and abusive Mr. Charles (or, as Caroline likes to call him, "Mr. Keith".) Fortunately, you can watch him play total sweetie Dr. Richard Webber on Grey's Anatomy to cleanse your palate. Here's a compilation of some of his best moments on that show.
We've got one song for you this week: "Poverty Train" by Laura Nyro, which plays at Brenda's parents' sex party in her flashback. We encourage you to imagine something other than sad and confused baby Brenda while you listen to the whole thing.
And finally, in case you're jealous of Ruth's insane harlequin pants, we found you some that are available for purchase online at farfetch.com... for the low, low price of $1351.00. (We wish we were kidding.) And these don't even have bells on them. Isn't Ruth lucky she got hers for free? If we had pants like this, we would also wear them till the day we died.