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The Love Lives of the Early Birds

This Week on ‘Sunset Daze’

Jenny Merkin
May 14, 2010
Sunset Daze(NYT)
Sunset Daze(NYT)

When I last left the Sunset Daze girls, they were ready to conquer the world. But in this week’s episode, hiccups such as chiropractic Debbie downers and the cock block that is a comb-over derail their dreams. A dream of being Ms. Senior Arizona, a love life, a road to recovery from drugs, and the factors of old age came in their way of the residents of Surprise, Arizona.

The focus of the episode was a new character, Eileen. “I am having the time of my life,” she tells us. “I didn’t go into retirement to sit in a rocking chair.” Her latest mission is to win Ms. Senior Arizona. She considers getting lip implants to better her chances: “There are young women doing it and certainly we need it more than they do.” However, the recovery period from surgery would be too long for her to qualify for the pageant, so she nixes the idea. Next up: Finding the perfect ball gown. “Thank God there is no bathing suit competition in this pageant,” she remarks. Final challenge: Coming up with a dance routine. Eileen takes a dance class but her bad back flares up. The next day, she and her husband, Gary, visit the chiropractor. His final diagnosis is fodder for next week’s episode.

Meanwhile, Jack has decided to break up with the elusive Kathleen. Although he is very enamored of her, he knows she is not invested in their relationship. He ends their courtship and insightfully tells the viewer, “Time wounds all heels or time heals all wounds.” He decides that the time has come to start dating again.

He and his friend Gary (apparently Garys are aplenty in Surprise) set out for a guy’s night to pick up women. In order to prep for the night out, Jack stares at his wardrobe of shiny shirts and asks, “What would John Travolta wear?” He meets a woman named Sandy (apparently Sandys are aplenty in Surprise), and describes her thusly: “She’s hot, she’s sexy, she’s dumb as a rock.” “I don’t mind his comb-over,” Sandy informs us.

She gives him her number, and he calls her promptly. After she accepts his invitation, Jack turns to his dog and commands, “Moses, get me my Viagra.” The couple goes to a nearby pool hall and flirt, Jack commenting, “Anytime you want to move my balls, feel free to do so.” Jack invites Sandy –referred to as “Sandy ‘Sure Thing’” in the mini-box that states who the characters are— to come see him fly in a fighter plane. At first, their tryst seems promising, and Sandy confesses, “I love dangerous men.” But after the flight, Jack cannot stop vomiting, and Sandy has a change of heart: “I don’t think Jack and I will work—we’re too different.” Jack, ever the trooper, shrugs it off.

Sandy’s daughter, Dawn, has moved into Sandy’s house to recuperate from a longstanding problem with drugs. Sandy meets with a friend to discuss children who move back home. (As a recent college grad who has moved home, should I send my mother to one of these apparent support groups?) In order to celebrate Dawn’s newfound sobriety, Sandy takes her daughter out for drinks with her friends (?). Sandy acknowledges, “I don’t know if you call it ironic that we’re all toasting her with our drinks and she is drinking a soda.” Afterward, Sandy (described on the bottom of the screen as “Sandy ‘Party Girl’”) meets with Dawn’s counselor, Stephanie. Sandy expresses her concern: “I just want to make sure that my lifestyle doesn’t make her relapse.” Stephanie assures Sandy that she deserves all the fun she can have, and that it shouldn’t affect Dawn too much as long as it’s not around her. Drink on, Sandy, drink on!