“Pound Pinchers” tackles some universal anxieties as Brenda and Betty ply a comedy routine around Greenpoint’s self-help meetings, and Jenny takes off the dangerous night shift at The Last Supper.
This recap of Bless the Harts season 2, episode 5, “Pound Pinchers”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
The theme of the week is getting older and fatter — something we can all relate to. There’s a little bit of Betty in all of us, shaking our caboose in front of a girder-full of construction workers hoping for a catcall or a wolf whistle. Well… some of us, anyway. Betty might have once been the reason why nothing in Greenpoint got built, but no longer. Now, she’s in need of the titular Pound Pinchers, a meeting of which she attends with Brenda, who’s in the same predicament but dealing with it ever so slightly better.
Jenny, meanwhile, becomes the new night manager at The Last Supper, a position she’s inclined to take in part because of Wayne’s inadvertent sexism. (I like the montage of Jenny being stubborn — we’ve all been there.)
These are both plots, you’ll note, about female identity; the twin prongs of getting older and wider, and trying not to live up to outmoded stereotypes like women being more vulnerable on night shifts than men. These are pretty universal themes, and it’s relatable how Betty, Brenda, and Jenny respond to them in different ways. The former two retreat into jokes, initially at the expense of other women at the Pound Pinchers meeting; Jenny is stubborn and endures the shift anyway, even as The Last Supper fills with eccentrics and she ends up so on-edge that she goes home and starts thwacking Wayne with her handbag.
Betty and Brenda’s comedy goes down a treat, and they get so used to the laughs and admiration that they begin taking the routine on a tour of other support groups. And Jenny, totally unwilling to admit she was wrong, continues working among the debauchery — and satanism! — of the night shift. Wayne can’t help himself but intervene, in a bad disguise and with the creative pseudonym “Dwayne”, so he’s there when an attempted robbery takes place.
Naturally, everything goes wrong everywhere. Betty and Brenda get banned from every self-help meeting in the town, while the robbery at The Last Supper goes ahead anyway, despite Jenny trying to hide it, and Wayne won’t intervene until Jenny admits she needs him in this situation, which she won’t. Progress only comes when Wayne admits that it was him who couldn’t deal with Jenny’s night shift — the anxieties were his, projected onto her, which is how stereotypes, especially gendered ones, take root in the collective consciousness. Betty and Brenda are even able to disprove the old “women aren’t funny” myth — the men in the audience might not be able to figure out how they’re being funny with their tops on, but at least they’re laughing. It’s a start.
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