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Archive for July, 2014

We open with Rachel in her kitchen putting finishing touches on a large roast. I wonder if the prop people/food stylist sourced it from Sanagan’s Meat Locker, a hip artisanal butcher shop in Toronto’s Kensington Market that Meghan Markle frequents (so do I! though, it’s more like I infrequent it, which may explain why I haven’t seen her there), according to this photo fashion/lifestyle story posted about her by Holt Renfrew, a high-end, high-fashion department store that I do not shop at, ever.

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I’m not sure it’s a great idea to cook a big meaty dinner when a) your boyfriend has just been fired, and b) you’re about to tell him you made out with your douche-y ex, but b) doesn’t happen because Mike is all down on himself about his failures and mistakes so Rachel goes into supportive girlfriend mode and comforts him instead.

Harvey delivers some kind of legal letter to Cahill in a bar and says he will see him in court for harassing Harvey and his clients (or for just being annoying). Harvey does his tough guy routine and offers to fight Cahill mano a mano anytime.

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Forstman (still on the show!) does a Town car drive-by, in the classic Chuck Bass style, to Mike, outside the Toronto Ugg store on St. Thomas Street. Forstman calls Mike an “obsequious little shit,” again offers him a job, and hands over a million dollar cheque that would be a signing bonus if Mike accepts. Mike says no way, but Forstman gives him a day to mull it over.

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Jessica offers Louis a thank you reward for his help with the Wexler shares – she’ll give him anything he wants except the one thing he does want: to be made a name partner. When he seeks Katrina’s help in brainstorming a suitable reward, a funny scene happens where she says she is almost attracted to him at that moment and he tells her not to creep him out with that gross attraction talk. He eventually settles on some provisions to his contract for telecommuting and extra vacation that he thinks might improve his chances of a reconciliation with Sheila (though wasn’t children the dealbreaker issue with those two?).

Donna, wearing a black dress I could not get a decent pic of that has a built-in superhero cape, uses her powers to send Harvey over to see Mike on a sympathy visit. Mike reveals that the devil Forstman got him fired AND has offered him a job. Harvey offers to find Mike a better job, but Mike despairs about his future, what with his fraudulent past and all. Harvey pays a visit to Sidwell (also still on the show!) and offers him what sounds like an insider trading tip in exchange for Sidwell hiring Mike back, but in a scene blocked so that extra tall Brandon Firla does not stand in the same frame as regularly tall Gabriel Macht, Sidwell will have none of it.

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On Harvey’s suggestion, Mike meets on the Hart House quad at U of T with Stan, a fraudster of his acquaintance from season 1 who posed as an accountant for years but now does statistical analysis for a fantasy football site. After Stan opines that the people in your life are more important than money, Mike goes home, makes spaghetti sauce for Rachel, who is wearing one of her signature is-it-underwear-or-is-it-clothing tops, and tells her she’s all he needs. She starts to cry and spills the beans on having kissed Logan, though she’s so sorry and it meant nothing. Mike reacts to this revelation as if she’d been sleeping with Logan for months, and goes over to Logan’s condo to tell him to keep his hands off Rachel. Logan taunts him (because he would) with a “she loved it” line – like Logan is such a superior kisser and ass-grabber – and a fistfight ensues that leaves Mike with a split lip and Logan with bruises around one eye.

When Mike confronts Rachel the next morning at her office building about “loving it,” she fails to deny having enjoyed the Logan makeout sesh, and Mike tells her they’re done. She tearfully confides in a sympathetic Louis that she is crushed because she loves Mike but love doesn’t conquer all, as he should know re: Sheila. She then runs into Logan in her office and tells him they’re done – she will never speak to him again, about anything. Harvey later guarantees Logan’s exit when he gives him the final paperwork on the takeover and announces he is dropping him as a client, and no backtalk unless he wants to get punched again. Bye-bye Logan.

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Jessica has a run-in with Jeff over having asked Louis to check his work, which leads to Jeff huffily suggesting they keep things strictly professional from now on, because he’s pissed she didn’t trust him and that she treats him like any other partner. Later, wearing a navy dress/outfit with a wide cummerbund that looks positively regal on her, she apologizes, and admits she doesn’t want to stop sexing with him having a personal relationship due to work bullshit.

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Louis still hates on the illegal tax-sheltering money maneuvers Forstman insisted on, and is further compromised when he is forced to sign a letter that Forstman will keep as insurance against Louis later blowing the whistle on him. Or something like that. (Look for this incriminating letter to bite Louis in the ass later this season.) On his way out of Forstman’s office, Louis runs into Mike, who is coming in to accept the job offer from hell, now that he has nothing else (that is, Rachel) to live for. Louis can’t and won’t let Mike work for the devil Forstman so he goes back to the office and announces to Harvey and Jessica that he has hired Mike back to the law firm as his thank you reward and forget the other things he asked for, except he would still like to have Rosh Hashanah off. In a deftly and amusingly acted scene, Harvey shows that he’s pleased because he had asked Jessica to hire Mike back, and Jessica that she’s pissed because she had told Harvey no. And Mike is back at Pearson Specter!

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Mike has been staying at Harvey’s apartment since the break up with Rachel. After Mike and Harvey indulge in some bromantic insulting/joshing, Harvey advises Mike to forgive Rachel despite the fact she cheated on him (kissing is cheating now), which is Harvey’s pet peeve, as Donna reminded us when she instructed Harvey to speak to Mike about this. Anyway, Harvey knows that the love Mike & Rachel shares is real and real love is hard to come by, so forgive her already. Rachel comes home and finds Mike there, which gets her hopes up for a minute, but he’s packing to move out to a place unknown. The only conceivable way their relationship MIGHT be saved is if they spend some time apart, he says. But hey, see you at work tomorrow!

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Multiple appearances by Suits USA merchandise (mug available in the online gift shop on your way out), tense meetings, blue files handed back and forth, tight dresses worn well, Rachel bringing her hotness to makeout scenes, Eric Roberts pwning crisp white dress shirts worn open at the collar, and Harvey taking a break from being angry to joke that he’s George Clooney’s better-looking brother – this episode has it all!

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Louis, in good spirits (because of his triumph as Shylock last week?), dance-walks through the office handing out his You’ve Been Litt Up mugs to deserving colleagues. Donna, who looks fetching in a sexy-widow-type black cocktail dress, receives a mug containing a necklace that’s a replica of one worn by Dame Judi Dench when she played Ophelia (Dench actually did play Ophelia in London in 1957). Donna is touched by this gift. Louis is grateful Donna helped him overcome his stage fright and asks her to give Harvey a mug too.

Sidenote: I’ve recently discovered wornontv.net, a website that identifies selected styles (and provides info on where to buy them) shown on selected TV shows, including Suits. The site is how I found out that some of the beautiful dresses worn by Donna and Jessica can be bought at retail for prices that begin around the $1,000 mark, and go up from there. Of course they cost that much.

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Jessica is worried about “exposure” on her sneaky purchase last week of those boring-as-hell Wexler shares so she asks Jeff Malone to double-check his work. When he refuses, Jessica, wearing a pink top I don’t like with lovely silver-rimmed pink crystal (quartz?) earrings that made me want to get my ears re-pierced so I can wear them, takes Louis out to lunch and asks HIM to double-check the transaction.

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Louis praises Jeff’s work but finds a small error that will allow the firm to cancel the sale and not get caught doing something untoward. Jessica is pleased but tells Louis not to take any action until he checks with Harvey. When Harvey doesn’t return Louis’s calls, Katrina (She’s back! With her hair as beautifully styled as ever, though Amanda Schull must be bummed at how little screen time she’s gotten in the last three episodes) urges Louis to act quickly before Jeff figures out his mistake, corrects it and gets the glory.

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Louis offloads the shares, Forstman scoops them up, and Harvey gets super pissed off, like he has done every episode this season – being without Mike is making him SO cranky. Louis meets with Forstman and puts on a convincing performance (no stage fright there) as someone who hates Harvey with a passion (the diary he produces that lists, by date, every insult Harvey has ever hurled at Louis, is a nice touch) and will do anything to fuck up his deal.

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Louis gets the shares back from Forstman for Logan to purchase, and his successful subterfuge makes Harvey happy enough to suggest that he and Louis drink Scotch together in Louis’s mugs, which is not a euphemism. (Or is it?) Except Forstman makes Louis do illegal tax-evasion things with the money, which Louis does not tell anyone about except Katrina, nor will he refuse to comply, because Harvey likes him again and that’s worth being dishonest and compromising his principles for.

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Rachel, Rachel, Rachel. Rachel does that thing we’ve all done where we go see the guy we used to be into and pretend we no longer have feelings for, with an ostensibly above-board and high moral ground excuse that nevertheless requires dressing up in a low-cut top that looks like the top half of a nineteen forties bathing suit underneath a fabulously chic light grey wool coat (by Burberry, according to wornontv.net, and it costs only $2,495!) that’s all business. She also visits Logan at his condo in the early morning (again) when everyone knows early morning drop-ins end badly. Especially when you indulge in shivery flashbacks on the way over in the cab of that time a few years back when Rachel acted completely out of character and steamily seduced Logan, the married man, in the law firm library, when he just wanted to do the right thing and go home to his wife.

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Logan sees through Rachel’s fabulous coat to her looking-for-trouble bathing suit top right away, calls her on her motives in coming over, recites back her come-on line from the flashback about their sexual chemistry, and starts a makeout sesh with her full reciprocation (though he goes awfully quickly to the two-handed butt grab, didn’t you think?) until she shakes herself out of her sexual stupor and runs out of the apartment. She spends the rest of the episode confiding in Donna and wringing her hands about is she a bad person and how could she betray Mike and should she tell him what happened. Donna says Rachel is a good person who had a bad moment and warns her against telling Mike. Rachel decides she must tell him anyway, because drama. And conflict.

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Mike spends this episode in a series of one-on-one meetings with Harvey, Sidwell and Forstman, and a two-on-one meeting with Logan and Harvey. Throughout, he acts clever, cocky, secretly nervous, and like he might manage to complete the takeover and find a way to not cut Sidwell out of the deal as per Forstman’s decree. But it all blows up in his face, because Forstman is the devil, and Mike won’t leave his personal animosity toward Logan out of his business dealings, and let’s face it, Mike can’t succeed without Harvey at his side to complete him.

Sidwell – played by a Canadian actor named Brandon Firla, who has a very amusing, self-deprecating bio on imdb.com and who is hella tall (6’5”+), enough to tower over not-short Patrick J. Adams in their final scene – fires Mike. So much for Mike’s investment banking career. Wait till he gets home and Rachel tells him what she’s been up to with Logan! Fisticuffs will ensue, also attractive facial cuts and bruises, according to next week’s preview. And weed smoking, I bet.

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Rachel is asleep alone in bed (in full eye makeup and a cute sleep T-shirt and shorts) when her cell phone vibrates, Logan calling. She does not pick up, but freaks out when she sees it’s past 9 am, and figures out Mike turned off her alarm so she could sleep for all of 6 hours. But she can’t afford to sleep what with the demands of law school and law work and Harvey the mean boss, can’t Mike see that? He suggests she ask Harvey for a day off.

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Harvey catches the end of a Cahill-prosecuted trial on the courtroom set and engages Cahill in a pissing contest in the aisle. Actually it’s more of a silly who-played-with-tougher-toys-as-a-child contest, which Harvey wins by saying he was a Rock-Em-Sock-Em guy as opposed to Cahill and his wussy little Battleship barbs. Which means they were both not tough at all since actual tough kids play with kitchen knives and bent crack spoons, duh. Harvey threatens to have Cahill fired if he keeps going after Harvey’s clients, but Cahill is not scared.

Mike exposits to Amy, who looks a little more mature this week (because she’s not wearing a girlish tunic dress?), that he hasn’t taken Forstman’s money yet. Maybe he can just use it as leverage (again with the leverage!) against Harvey and Logan. He meets Harvey by an elevator bank and tries to do this but Harvey sees through his bluff right away and says no dice. Foiled again.

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Harvey goes up the elevator (continuity!), and talks to Jessica about some Gillis Industries shares that the Wexler hedge fund  will soon be offloading. (These Wexler shares will be discussed far too many times during the episode.) Jessica acts all bossy when she tells Jeff Malone to find a way to acquire these shares, by hook or by crook, but she says this while wearing a tight white dress that verges on being bridal, with basketweave panels on the bodice and the hip and an off-the-shoulder sleeve/strap thing. The dress looks good on her but the costumers are just fucking with us now – the dresses Jessica and Donna wear are gorgeous and flattering, but they are so not office-wear.

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Donna is going to perform the role of Portia that evening in an amateur production of The Merchant of Venice with a three night run. I know, what? But just go with it, because this subplot is the big (and only) story line in which Donna and Louis appear in this episode. Louis finds her rehearsing her lines in the file room, is shocked to discover she is not yet off-book, and offers to help her learn her lines, even if it takes all day. He is well-equipped to do this because he happens to have memorized every word of every Shakespeare play. (Like I said, just go with it.) She confides in him that she gave up her acting dream when she was younger to get a paying job but has always wondered if she would have made it as an actress, and what if it turns out she is not good? He gives her a rousing pep talk that includes a mention of the stage fright he has suffered since grade school when he wanted to play a molar in the school play and was assigned the part of Plaque Man (heh) instead, then mocked for it.

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Mike and Sidwell (whose first name is Jonathon) have a bonding moment over Sidwell’s tombstone awards, which are these cheap acrylic trophy things that are apparently imprinted with details of financial achievement and given to banker types on completion of big deals. (Talk about nerdy toys.) Or it would be a bonding moment if Mike weren’t worried about having to cut Sidwell out of the deal as Forstman has decreed.

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After listening to and smiling at a voicemail from Logan saying his Board loved her takeover suggestions from last week, Rachel, in a suitable shirt for once, asks Harvey for “a day or two” off so she can do some of her law school homework. Harvey gives her total shit and says no. Joke’s on him when she faints in class the next day and is hospitalized for exhaustion, and he’s called because he’s one of her emergency contacts. Bad Harvey.

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Donna tells Louis she triumphed on night one of her Merchant of Venice run (though, if you ask me, there’s a pretty gaping plothole here that Louis didn’t go see her perform after coaching her the whole day). She asks Louis to fill in as Shylock for night two, because the show’s Shylock broke his ankle. Louis agrees, gets dressed up like this (that’s some expensive getup for a community theatre production), but is seized with stage fright just before his entrance. Donna talks (yells) him out of it, and he goes on to his own triumph, only to withdraw from night three because he’s happy being a lawyer. Donna reveals the play’s lead did not actually injure himself (but agreed to give up his part for one night? How likely is that? Not. Gaping plothole number two) and that she wanted to give Louis a chance to shine. Donna and Louis compliment each other in their own bonding moment.

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After a meet-awkward at the hospital where Rachel is “resting” under sedation (?! ) – totally not how I was treated when I fainted in a public place and was taken to emergency by ambulance a few years ago, but never mind – Harvey calls off the dark pool bidding auction he and Mike were about to have for those damned Wexler shares, and the two go out for a steak dinner. Noted vegetarian Gabriel Macht gamely puts food that could be fake steak in his mouth in this scene, and Patrick J. Adams doesn’t even pretend to eat. They share the third bonding moment of the episode when Harvey shows Mike a pic of Louis in his Shylock costume, complete with codpiece, and indulge in some not unfunny speculation about the size of Louis’s dick.

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Harvey and Mike are almost kind of getting along like they used to when they worked together when Cahill ambushes them on the sidewalk outside the restaurant. He’s having them watched and he thinks he can make a case for the two of them colluding on this takeover deal what with Rachel working for Harvey and living with Mike and the number of clandestine meetings Harvey and Mike have been having at elevator banks, hospitals and steak houses. He also tells them someone (Jessica!) bought the damned Wexler shares, which makes Mike feel like Harvey played him, and makes Harvey swear he will “fix it” but when he tries, Jessica won’t let him. Oh and Mike tries to return the money he got from Forstman but he can’t because Forstman has now told Sidwell about it without telling him that Mike will cut Sidwell out of the deal. Meaning that Mike is now not only in bed with the devil, he’s being … FOILED AGAIN.

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Rachel wakes in the hospital from a bad flashback/dream in which Logan proposes to her, then morphs into Mike, whom she calls a fraud she could never marry. She’s soon back at the office, where there is a thoughtful bouquet with a warm but not cloying note from Logan saying he’s glad she’s okay. On the way out of the office, Donna, wearing a pretty lace-trimmed blue dress that reveals too much lace-framed cleavage for work, runs into Harvey, who waits for her holding a bouquet of flowers and standing next to a lingeringly and lovingly shot product placement Lexus. He’s going to drive her to the theatre and catch her closing night because he may not be a Shakespeare fan but he’s a Donna fan. Good Harvey.

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We open with Donna, showing cleavage and doing her best tight-dress-and-heels sexy walk through the Sidwell offices. She struts right into Mike’s glass box before his Wannabe Donna assistant – whose name is Amy, it pains me to have learned, because I want her, with her unearned sassy attitude, to go away – can stop her.

Donna tells Mike she’s pissed he used the personal info she told him about Harvey’s father’s recordings as a weapon against Harvey. Mike apologizes, asks if she has received the guilt gift he sent over (an expensive handbag, I believe) and while she acknowledges that the bag was a good idea – of Amy’s! – she warns Mike never to betray her again. Mike looks amused rather than alarmed by this warning, because he is NOT GETTING the message of this episode: betrayal is bad.

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Harvey drops by Eric Woodall’s house (that’s supposed to be in Montclair, New Jersey, but I’m thinking Oakville) wearing a full suit and tie at 7 am (as one does), so he can catch Eric opening his door to pick up a newspaper in his pajamas and bathrobe. Harvey threatens to have Woodall fired again, and Woodall laughs evilly and says the issuance of the Seven Subpoenas to Pearson Specter’s clients by the SEC is not his doing but the work of his old buddy from the Justice department who also works at the SEC and whose name I thought at first was Keogh or Keyhole but turns out to be Cahill. I prefer to call him Keyhole.

Sidwell, in asshole mode, fake-admonishes Mike for using Sidwell’s money to buy more shares of Gillis Industries without asking, flip-flops and compliments him for acting brashly in classic investment banker style when he did buy them, then says Mike had better de-leverage Sidwell from the holding within a week, or he’ll be fired. That’s two threats of termination in as many scenes. Mike asks Amy to help him approach Giannopoulos, Sidwell’s former boss, and noted rich jerk.

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Jeff has an I-can-benchpress-more-than-you-can conversation with Harvey about who is in charge of the SEC case which Jessica settles when she walks in wearing an elegant gold-trimmed jacket and long skirt that look more appropriate for evening than daytime and tells Harvey to let Jeff do the job she hired him to do. Later, Jeff tells Jessica he doesn’t need her to babysit him, and Jessica says he should think of her as a bazooka. Hard to imagine saying that line without laughing. They work together for the rest of the episode and bring about an apparent defeat of Keyhole and the withdrawal of the dreaded Seven Subpoenas, only to discover that Keyhole had manipulated them into this move. Ruh-roh.

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Logan pops by Rachel’s office to ask her to evaluate five companies as possible targets for his next takeover, since the Gillis deal might tank, partly because Rachel made him promise he’d lay off Mike. She bristles at first, then agrees to do the work because she is his lawyer. And because things are a little tense at home what with Mike being an asshole and all. She later brings Logan five other companies to consider that have underperforming assets rather than disposable ones, and after a lot of disagreement, some eye-fucking on Logan’s part (Brendan Hines is quite good at doing the sexy eyes, as previously noted), and an attempted kiss that Rachel rebuffs, he decides to present her more constructive takeover ideas to his board of directors.

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Harvey asks Louis to help him take Mike down with regard to the takeover bid, causing Louis to reference The Karate Kid and strike this pose as if, once again, he will be all about the comedy this episode. He goes to court pumped-up and ready to slay Mike, but Mike hoodwinks him into thinking that his former fiancée Sheila (the Harvard admissions director) has become engaged to some studly guy (later revealed to be a photo-shopped-in Lorenzo Lamas, circa 1995, which is a pretty funny idea). Louis takes this pretty hard as he is still devastated by his breakup with Sheila, and he fails to win the court battle, which leads to Harvey yelling at him for shitting the bed.

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After interfering Amy (who claims to be doing a Ph.d in psychology on the side – yeah right) counsels Mike to solve a problem for Giannopoulos to get him to invest rather than approach him with a proposal, Mike presents G with a legal workaround for a problem he is having with some Southampton beachfront property. G likes this but he will not consider investing in anything Mike suggests. In the building lobby, Louis is waiting to explain to Mike that actions have consequences and business people hold grudges. Louis told G that Mike gave Sidwell a way out of G’s company, so G will never forgive Mike for besting him and neither will Louis ever forgive Mike for the low blow of the Sheila engagement prank.

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Mike seeks out an overly tanned but fit-looking Eric Roberts, AKA another rich jerk, name of Forstman. Forstman has a grudge against Harvey with regard to some past business dealings. Forstman agrees to invest in Gillis Industries solely to irritate Harvey, but only if Sidwell gets no cut of the deal, because Forstman is mean that way.

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In a nicely written scene made quite moving by Rick Hoffman’s delivery, Harvey reluctantly, on Donna’s advice, comes to Louis to thank him for thwarting Mike’s pitch to Giannopoulos. Louis confesses he has blown it again, because his gloating over Mike is what gave Mike the idea to contact Forstman. When Harvey says Louis shouldn’t let his emotions lead to stupid mistakes, Louis says, “It’s not fair. I’m emotional, you’re cold. You’re loved, I’m hated.” Harvey claims he’s not as cold as advertised, but I was too busy feeling genuinely sorry for Louis to pay him much attention. And to think that gazing at Gabriel Macht in all his suited, pompadoured glory used to be the reason I watched this show!

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Harvey thanks Mike for returning his father’s recordings and warns Mike not to get into business with the evil Forstman. Mike says he has no choice, Harvey says there is always a choice. A closing montage shows Rachel looking very rattled by Logan’s advances, Mike apparently doing the deal with Forstman and Sidwell, and that Jessica’s choice is to show up at Jeff’s house at night with some DVDs (All About Eve!) and rekindle their romantic relationship. And I must at this juncture state that D.B. Woodside, despite my earlier stated predictions to the contrary, has done an admirable job of keeping his shirt on so far this season, while still appearing to be straining the fabric of said shirts with his manly chest.

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The food:
Cream Cheese Sandwich Loaf AKA Frosted Ribbon Loaf AKA Run for your Life

Party Sandwich Loaf, as per Betty Crocker

Party Sandwich Loaf, as per Betty Crocker

The story:

In a scene from my new novel The Oakdale Dinner Club, Alice, one of the main characters, attends a wedding shower – in 1992 – of her best friend Mary Ann. Mary Ann is a traditionalist who has asked her mother, an accomplished cook, to prepare ancient-fashioned wedding shower fare, including a Cream Cheese Sandwich Loaf, which, for the uninitiated, is one name for a loaf of bread that has been sliced horizontally; stuffed with layers of things that don’t go together well, like deviled ham, shrimp salad and egg salad; ‘frosted’ with cream cheese; and decorated like some kind of bizarro savoury cake.

When I wrote the scene, the cream cheese sandwich loaf I described was based on one I had sampled, probably in the 70’s, and that looked, in my mind, something like the pic above, courtesy of Betty Crocker – click here for a defies-belief recipe.

What the sandwich loaf in the story was not meant to resemble was this monstrosity, produced in my very own kitchen, in an act of food preparation that convinced me I am not and will never be the cook Mary Ann’s mother Sarah is in The Oakdale Dinner Club.

Cream Cheese Sandwich Loaf as per the Hungry Novelist

Cream Cheese Sandwich Loaf as per the No-Longer-So-Hungry Novelist

Look at that thing! Between the squished layers of bread (I used a higher fibre white loaf from Cobs Bakery which could not stand up to my Hulk Smash slicing attempts, through no apparent fault of its own), there is a layer of tuna salad and frisée lettuce, a layer of egg salad, and a layer of cream cheese and cucumber because I started thinking about tea sandwiches but should I have used watercress? I don’t know. And those are pecans and gherkin pickles on top of the cream cheese frosting, because why not. (Also, why.)

How did it taste, you ask? Yes, I ate a slice – I wasn’t about to throw the perfectly good ingredients away. And it tasted okay, if okay means it was too bready, too cream-cheesy, and its components would have been better served up as a scoop each of tuna salad and egg salad on a bed of lettuce with maybe a slice of buttered whole wheat bread alongside.

Like Alice in the novel, I found this dish a mite too exotic. But it makes for a good punch line. Both here and as item #5 in this very funny Buzzfeed list of 21 Truly Upsetting Vintage Recipes.

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