SORBO Watch:
‘You get caught lying about cancer, you’re gonna get punched’

I realised when writing about the introduction of burly man-thing SORBO to glamorous Newport that his name (and actually the delivery of said name that I recommended) was somewhat reminiscent of alien newscaster from Futurama’s year 3000, Morbo. The coincidence was just that, a coincidence, and not intentional. Still, it makes it funnier in a way. Anyway, I thought it would be best if we kept an eye on SORBO, as he went about his, no doubt shady, business.

In fact, a moment of tension came about after SORBO’s attempts to meet up with his son Ryan (Benjamin McKenzie) got rebuffed in no uncertain terms. Sandy (Peter Gallagher) saw SORBO with Kirsten (Kelly Rowan) and Julie (Melinda Clarke), who both looked shaken – what could his final gambit be? I figured he was going to rumble about the male prostitution racket Julie had been running. Maybe something worse; he was a career criminal, after all. Instead, his blackmail was of the emotional stripe. Very clever, SORBO.

Of course, the subtitle of this post stems from this: SORBO declared that he was dying of lung cancer. That got him a chance to meet up with Ryan, head over to the Cohen household for dinner, and he acquitted himself well. I have to admit I have been watching SORBO with a vested interest. I’m not sure why, but I have rather a soft spot for the big lummox and, after his lowbrow TV roles, these episodes have been as much a probation for the real life SORBO as it has for the character he has been playing on screen.

While slightly wooden (fortunately the nerves of his character excused some of that awkwardness), SORBO did well for himself. He was likeable, but threatening when the need arose. And arise it did, as ever-resourceful Sandy did his homework on this man, phoning the prison medic and finding out that he was as strong and healthy as a strong, healthy ox that hasn’t smoked a cigarette in its life. When issued the ultimatum that either he would come clean to Ryan – or Sandy would – SORBO entered Hercules mode and went all you don’t wanna be doing this, Cohen. Anyway, posturing, one punch and lotsa heart to heart later, and SORBO drove off on somewhat decent terms with Ryan.

Something tells me, though, that this is not the last we’ll see of him. I bloody hope not, anyway: I’ve started up a damn SORBO Watch now, and I don’t want to have to reduce myself to watching repeats of Hercules: the Legendary Journeys (no offence Bella!).


Anyway, I have a feeling he might stay knocking about Newport as it looks like SORBO and Julie Cooper-Nichol-Cooper are going to hook up. Could we eventually be witnessing another marriage involving the serial bride? Perhaps Julie Cooper-Nichol-Cooper-SORBO, or maybe she’s grown tired of the name changes and will decide to force him into becoming SORBO Cooper. Oh, the intrigue.

Elsewhere, the now engaged Seth (Adam Brody) and Summer (Rachel Bilson) made this old (OK, I’m twenty six. Whatevz) TV viewer proud, as neither of them wanted to get married, but nevertheless did not want to call it off, out for fear of losing face in the relationship. You know, they would stay together and one would always enjoy the upper hand status of knowing their partner lacked the cojones (or, err, ovarios) to go all the way. So they engaged in a massive spite-driven bluff-fest that rivalled peak George Costanza in both its extreme pettiness and the lengths they went to.

For those unfamiliar with the George episode in question, it concerned his life after accidentally buying the toxic envelopes that killed his fiancée, Susan (season nine of Seinfeld, though the passing was the season finale of the seventh). Anyway, he gets embroiled in a set of lies, as is his wont, that includes his ownership of property in plush New York star holiday-fest the Hamptons. Of course he owns no such thing and Elaine, unbeknownst to him, tells Susan’s parents as much.

So, out of spite, they call his bluff and ask to see this place in the Hamptons. Equally out of spite, he agrees to take them. While on the way, he comes out with a few lies that I really loved, most notably the names of his horses: Snoopy and Prickly Pete. Quite why someone would call a horse Prickly Pete is beyond me, but that’s exactly what makes my ribs hurtle into my lungs with that most agonising of laughter. As one would expect, George ends up hiking through the surrounding Long Island beachland* before he eventually confesses, with great shame (less because he lied than because he was so out-bluffed), that ‘There’s no house! It’s a lie! There’s no solarium. There’s no Prickly Pete. There’s no other solarium’.

Back to the topic at hand: I loved the escalation that occurred in the game of nuptial chicken between Seth and Summer. Both well aware that the other did not want marriage (the original idea was predicated on a pregnancy scare), neither wants to step down, and they both keep bringing in new stipulations. Seth wants Summer to convert to Judaism. Summer wants Seth to look after their ‘child’, the pet rabbit Pancakes. Eventually they decide to elope to Las Vegas there and then, and it is after being on the road for a few hours that Seth eventually caves. In fact, the mood of the whole episode, SORBO madness included, can pretty much be summed up with the following George quotation:

‘Speak now, or we are headed to the Hamptons. It’s a two-hour drive. Once you get in that car, we are going all the way… to the Hamptons. All right, you wanna get nuts? Come on. LET’S GET NUTS!’

*Apparently. My New York geographical knowledge is spotty at best. And by ‘spotty’, I mean ‘non-existent’.

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