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''Tell Me You Love Me'': Over- and underdressed

On ”Tell Me You Love Me,” Katie hides in her turtlenecks; meanwhile, Carolyn, thinking she’s pregnant, opens up, and Jamie tries and fails to get footloose

Posted on

Alan Fraser

Tell Me You Love Me

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Jane Alexander, Adam Scott, Sonya Walger, Michelle Borth, Tim DeKay, Luke Kirby, Ally Walker

”Tell Me You Love Me”: Over- and underdressed

This was the episode of Katie’s turtlenecks, Carolyn’s breasts (ba-zooooo-ka!), and Jamie’s ankle socks. Oh, and what each said about the state of our women’s hearts.

Poor Katie, always so covered up. She looked as if she might jump out May’s window when David showed up unexpectedly during her couch time. ”We’ve done everything together,” he shyly told the good doctor. ”I didn’t want her to do this alone.” Katie beamed, charmingly giggling into her husband’s ear that she tripped on her way in to the appointment, and planted a spontaneous peck on his cheek. Their flurry of united joie de vivre faded fast when May suggested they get a lock for their bedroom door to shut out the rug rats for a mere 30 minutes a day. Judging from their dropped jaws, you’d have thought she suggested dropping the kids off at Arby’s on a Friday afternoon with 10 bucks in their pockets and a promise to pick them up Monday morning.

Dave went ahead and bought the lock but then made the mistake of employing it to have some quality alone time with his box of Kleenex while Katie snored away on the living-room couch. Katie, aghast at being shut out, whined about the injustice of it all. Nonetheless, she has yet to work up the nerve to go anywhere near his (let alone her) body, preferring the safety of her wool sweaters. Throughout the episode, she struggled for control elsewhere in her life, pathetically trying to stanch the flow of her daughter’s puberty by exiling baloney (nitrates! hormones!) from the house and Coke (sugar! caffeine!) from the softball field. Incidentally, Katie and David are a different couple when they’re at a safe distance from the threat of intimacy. With a snoozing child in between them, they are relaxed and in love. On the softball field, with Dave in firm control of the Little League team and Katie cheering like a high schooler from the stands, they are the picture of domestic warmth and stability. In another neat moment of interweaving plotlines, Jamie walked by the field and looked longingly at their image of happily-ever-after suburban bliss.

Unlike Katie, Carolyn was shirtless for much of this episode, rocking a helluva rack, and providing a glimpse of her rarely seen softer side. After teasing a sleeping Palek with an affectionate rubdown, she firmly rebuffed him so they could save his sperm for the insemination at the doctor’s office. Palek preened about his millions and millions and millions of sperm, and then Carolyn got on all fours to better their chances of conception. In her humiliating pose, Carolyn was feral and shiny eyed with hope while Palek looked as if he were choking back bile at the prospect of one of his swimmers actually making it through the hoop. Later, when he saw a beleaguered father at an electronics store trying to calm his mewling, scrabbly young son, he looked as if he were tasting vomit again. Off he ran to the home of his terrifying mother, who, while crucifying Carolyn in smooth, devastating fashion, stroked and fondled her son like a woman might a new fur coat. When Palek brought up his dad, whom he hadn’t talked to in three years, the woman’s face froze, waiting for news of her son’s betrayal. She’s the scariest mother-in-law we should all hope never to meet. And she’s a dead ringer for Carolyn. Palek might want to consider upping the appointments to twice a week.

Oh, sweet, sick Carolyn. After cupping her massive breasts, massaging them like mounds of pliant dough, she decided she was finally pregnant. Palek, who was drooling at the sight of her womanly charms, suddenly realized his wife had moved from sexual to maternal in a flash. So, like a dog, he asked her, ”Do you feel the way you did before when you were pregnant?” Lost in a rosy haze of prenatal glow, she let his dagger pass right through her. Her angry lion is tamed, replaced by a purring kitten, and she looked younger and calmer than we’ve ever seen her. At the firm, she blurted out to the sandwich cart lady (I want a sandwich cart at work, potato salad wheeling right up to my desk!) that she was preggers. The dear lady looked at her and sputtered, to Carolyn’s dismay, ”You?” It’s hard to tell why Carolyn wants so badly to be pregnant. Is it because she wants above all else to succeed at whatever it is she sets her mind to, or is it more likely because she’s hoping that mothering someone else might heal some of her own loneliness and despair? (I remain convinced, without the benefit of backstory, that Carolyn’s mother committed suicide when she was young and the woman is still reeling from the abandonment.) She reveled in her perceived symptoms until she ripped through a dozen pregnancy tests, all of which kept coming up negative. Hulk angry! Palek terrified! ”I’m done, we’re done, I can’t do it anymore,” she announced.

NEXT: The bachelor and the bobby-soxer

Elsewhere, Jamie continued to look cute and drown in her sexy vague depression. Beer in one hand, cigarette in the other, she announced to Mason (Carolyn’s man-eating sister) that she was quitting sex. She’s sober, man. ”Good sex hides everything that’s bad about a relationship.” And then, in the next scene, she invited the new tall drink of water (Lost‘s Ian Somerhalder) out for a beer. They ended up making out at a bar — with Depeche Mode’s lyrics ”Words are very unnecessary; they can only do harm” pounding suggestively from the jukebox — before moving on to her sofa. They danced around each other lamely, with him threatening to leave, until they ended up almost doing it with her socks on. Why won’t this girl ever take off her socks? Is it supposed to signify that she’s afraid of totally exposing herself? Is it because guys dig girls in cheerleader anklets? Does she have a foot fungus? She balked, sent him home, and then stalked him at the softball field the next day. Psycho!

Two errors in the writers’ judgment irked me to no end during Jamie’s scenes today. (Well, her scenes bother me in general, but I won’t bore you with that again.) First, when Mason cackled to Jamie about the image of her sister in therapy: The Carolyn I’ve come to know and fear would never ever deign to confide in her sister of all people that she’s seeking help from a professional. Then, in a lame scene where Jamie was searching for some mood music, she sadly looked at icy blue eyes and said, ”The song I was thinking about isn’t in this iPod.” Okay, we get it, you’re not over Hugo. But this type of pat dialogue seems more fit for a CW show than for this smart, subtle, bleak world we’ve now been living in for five episodes.

What did you all think? Did Palek marry his mother? Do you still eat baloney and drink Coke? Are you old enough where socks and nothing else is a bad look for you? Is Carolyn’s doctor the ex-girlfriend of 90210‘s Brandon?