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5.4: "Altered Egos"

Summary: Chris is disturbed that Bernard's girlfriend, who is also Chris' ex-lover, cannot tell them apart in bed; Joel is obsessed that he is losing his New York edge; Marilyn snoops through Dr. Fleischman's medical files to pick a healthy man.

Moosechick's episode guide page.

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
icepixie
Apr. 12th, 2014 10:03 pm (UTC)
I like this episode a lot (Bernaaaaard!), largely because it's critical to Joel's development. At least, to what I imagine was the original arc of his development, before it gets waylaid next season...but let's not go into that. This episode kicks off a whole season's continued development for him, in a way. The first four seasons were Joel saying, "I'm different, I'm a New Yorker, I don't fit in here," and the fifth season is him discovering he's changed to the point where he does fit in, and it's freaking him right the hell out.

Maggie is right on the money each time she talks to Joel here. The obsession with NYC was holding him back, because after this he does get more involved with the town (joining the fire department in "Rosebud," for example) and the people in it (i.e. Maggie). She's also right that the missing ingredient was misery, and hey, he can be miserable anywhere, right? *hint hint*

At the same time, inside the episode is a moderate counterpoint to the idea that Joel fitting is necessarily a good thing, or at least something that doesn't come with consequences. Chris pontificates that uniqueness drives the male ego, and while he's referring to Bernard and himself, it applies to Joel as well. As the Jewish doctor from New York, he was unique, and now that he's fitting in, well, how can he have an ego and a self? What differentiates him? Like Chris and Bernard, he must find the difference in the context of his growing sameness to the other Cicelians.

That said, any fool can tell that Bernard and Chris are as different as they are the same. They talk alike, they sometimes think alike, but one is a calm, rule-abiding accountant while the other is a hotheaded former convict. Their respective feelings towards Anne are hardly the only difference between them. (I suppose Chris could've been speaking only in terms of their love/sex lives, but even so.) Thus, Joel's obvious differences from other Cicelians will remain obvious, and though he integrates better into the town, he's never in danger of losing his selfhood.

I'm not sure if that means they made three statements or one.
rowdycamels
May. 21st, 2014 04:35 am (UTC)
I like this episode a lot (Bernaaaaard!)

While I love Bernard, I got distressed watching him and Chris fight. JUST STOP IT AND HUG IT OUT AND QUOTE DOSTOYEVSKY UNTIL IT FEELS BETTER, GUYS!

him discovering he's changed to the point where he does fit in, and it's freaking him right the hell out.

WHAT IF YOUR FACE STICKS THAT WAY, JOEL?? WHAT IF THEY CAN SMELL IT ON YOU WHEN YOU FINALLY GET BACK TO CIVILIZATION??

She's also right that the missing ingredient was misery, and hey, he can be miserable anywhere, right? *hint hint*

Misery, and also yelling. That can be arranged!

That said, any fool can tell that Bernard and Chris are as different as they are the same.

When Chris looks at Bernard and sees himself, maybe that's just love. YOU GUYS, STOP FIGHTING, I CAN'T DEAL. (Also, narcissism. But love!)

(I suppose Chris could've been speaking only in terms of their love/sex lives, but even so.)

I think it's broader in terms of attractions. They can look at one thing and make exactly the same observations, but then Chris is all "I love it!" and Bernard says, "I could take it or leave it!" or vice versa, and each can appreciate the other's judgment while not sharing it. For instance, regarding fistfights, or Anne, or frumpy man-sweaters. Their vision is identical, but their tastes aren't.
icepixie
May. 24th, 2014 01:53 am (UTC)
While I love Bernard, I got distressed watching him and Chris fight. JUST STOP IT AND HUG IT OUT AND QUOTE DOSTOYEVSKY UNTIL IT FEELS BETTER, GUYS!

"Daddy and his doppelganger are fighting!"

WHAT IF YOUR FACE STICKS THAT WAY, JOEL?? WHAT IF THEY CAN SMELL IT ON YOU WHEN YOU FINALLY GET BACK TO CIVILIZATION??

He'll be prey for the hardened city folk!

When Chris looks at Bernard and sees himself, maybe that's just love. YOU GUYS, STOP FIGHTING, I CAN'T DEAL. (Also, narcissism. But love!)

Definitely narcissism.

I think it's broader in terms of attractions. They can look at one thing and make exactly the same observations, but then Chris is all "I love it!" and Bernard says, "I could take it or leave it!" or vice versa, and each can appreciate the other's judgment while not sharing it. For instance, regarding fistfights, or Anne, or frumpy man-sweaters. Their vision is identical, but their tastes aren't.

Ah, yes, the frumpy man-sweaters. (I actually like Bernard's sweaters.) True, true...
rowdycamels
Jul. 5th, 2014 06:18 pm (UTC)
"Daddy and his doppelganger are fighting!"

Nooooo!

He'll be prey for the hardened city folk!

He won't even survive the cab ride back from the airport! Like a baby moose walking into a den of wolves!

Ah, yes, the frumpy man-sweaters. (I actually like Bernard's sweaters.)

Oh, Bernard. Such sartorial trail-blazing.
icepixie
Apr. 12th, 2014 10:04 pm (UTC)
"[Anne and Chris] met at a feminist deconstruction conference at Northwestern." Of course they did.

Michel Foucoult! Scourge of my grad school years!

Awww, poor Joel, freaking out over all the money still being in his lost wallet. "Where's the panther?" The zoo, perhaps?

Hehehe, bear watching at the dump for a first date. How romantic.

Are your boots big enough, Joel? But aw, you know, he's fun and engaging before he freaks out because he knows so much about winter clothing!

"Peppery—firm—very good moisture." EW.

Hehehe, Dostoyevsky.

"I heard last night a mama bear with two cubs got into a naugehyde sofa. Turned it to confetti."

I love Marilyn and Ted bonding over Nintendo Thumb because they play with their niece and nephew.

"You're more relaxed. I saw you laughing out loud with Holling the other night."

"You do seem more involved. At the town meeting last month, you...sat there. I remember registering that." ...Thanks for your interest?

Joel as the old codger codgering it up with Holling is one of my favorite dream sequences. "Everyone had to take a few elk in their home, otherwise the whole herd would've froze to death." Bwah!

Emergency Zabar's. Right.

An actual bicycle built for two. Huh.

"Metaphysically, we're GM cars. Call him a Chevy, call me an Oldsmobile—under the hood, we're both V6s."

Oh, Marilyn. I applaud your industriousness, but...HIPAA? (Wait, was HIPAA a thing in 1993? Did it get legislated in the nineties?)

NO ONE in snowpacked Alaska is going to be hauling their laundry to a laundromat all winter, I don't care how cheap they are. I guess I can see why they might want another central meeting place (irritatingly gendered as it gets), but let's be realistic.

Yes, the obsession with New York is a part worth losing! Although, er, Joel, she just compared you to a snake in that little pep talk. I suspect a Freudian slip.

Cicely has an electronics repair shop? Maybe it's a side business for the guy who usually handles cars and snowmobiles...

Annnnd Joel is happy because he has a broken VCR, a pending lawsuit, and an enemy for life. Of course he is.

Awww, Marilyn and Ted at the end. I don't think we ever see Ted again, but aww!
rowdycamels
May. 21st, 2014 04:47 am (UTC)
"[Anne and Chris] met at a feminist deconstruction conference at Northwestern." Of course they did.

Where else could you possibly meet ladies in the 80s??

Awww, poor Joel, freaking out over all the money still being in his lost wallet.

Holling should've stolen a few bucks to make him feel better.

Hehehe, bear watching at the dump for a first date. How romantic.

...maybe don't bring a steak picnic.

But aw, you know, he's fun and engaging before he freaks out because he knows so much about winter clothing!

Wearing aluminum foil shiny-side down, lol!

"Peppery—firm—very good moisture." EW.

Not. Appealing.

I love Marilyn and Ted bonding over Nintendo Thumb because they play with their niece and nephew.

Cute!

"You do seem more involved. At the town meeting last month, you...sat there. I remember registering that." ...Thanks for your interest?

....and then he got up and walked out after fifteen minutes. Baby steps!

Joel as the old codger codgering it up with Holling is one of my favorite dream sequences.

And of course Holling hasn't aged a day.

An actual bicycle built for two. Huh

I've seen those on the street in Chicago, but.... I'm not sure I believe in mountain bikes built for two. That's a little out there.

Wait, was HIPAA a thing in 1993? Did it get legislated in the nineties?)

Maybe it took a few years to trickle up to Alaska?

NO ONE in snowpacked Alaska is going to be hauling their laundry to a laundromat all winter,

And doesn't Marilyn have a house now? What kind of house doesn't have a washer/dryer? Also, MAGGIE, THAT'S ONLY HALF A LOAD OF LAUNDRY, WHAT ARE YOU DOING.

Although, er, Joel, she just compared you to a snake in that little pep talk. I suspect a Freudian slip.

But he's going to be a bigger snake soon! Hehehe.

Cicely has an electronics repair shop?

I was thrown by anyone having an electronics repair shop. Oh, the nineties. Back when electronics had a usable life longer than 18 months.

Annnnd Joel is happy because he has a broken VCR, a pending lawsuit, and an enemy for life.

And a yappy dog to yell at! So much joy!
icepixie
May. 24th, 2014 01:58 am (UTC)
Where else could you possibly meet ladies in the 80s??

Geraldine Ferraro rallies?

....and then he got up and walked out after fifteen minutes. Baby steps!

One day he might actually vote on something!

And of course Holling hasn't aged a day.

Holling: secretly the Highlander. Or a vampire. Does he sparkle in the sun?

I'm not sure I believe in mountain bikes built for two. That's a little out there.

Oh, ye of little faith.

Maybe it took a few years to trickle up to Alaska?

Many things do.

And doesn't Marilyn have a house now? What kind of house doesn't have a washer/dryer?

...Personal washers and drier took a few years to trickle up to Alaska?

Also, MAGGIE, THAT'S ONLY HALF A LOAD OF LAUNDRY, WHAT ARE YOU DOING.

Making excuses to talk to certain someones...

But he's going to be a bigger snake soon! Hehehe.

Which is arguably even LESS of a compliment!

P.S. Where are you on discs for this season? I was thinking I'd post 5.6 this weekend, but I could wait if you're not there yet.
rowdycamels
Jul. 5th, 2014 06:21 pm (UTC)
Or a vampire. Does he sparkle in the sun?

That would tip off the bears!

Oh, ye of little faith.

...That doesn't seem rugged enough to handle anything bumpier than a lawn. I foresee lots of crashing in that little kid's future.

...Personal washers and drier took a few years to trickle up to Alaska?

....like boulders being dragged by glaciers...

P.S. Where are you on discs for this season? I was thinking I'd post 5.6 this weekend, but I could wait if you're not there yet.

Now have disc two!! I'm on a roll!
icepixie
Jul. 6th, 2014 10:14 pm (UTC)
Now have disc two!! I'm on a roll!

Yay!
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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