'Necessary Roughness' slowly contemplates where to move Thorne and Stamos chess pieces

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Say what you will about USA Network's summer programming (read: about USA Network's programming) but unlike so many of its colleagues in the pop cultural firmament, nothing they put out ever feels too long. Man of Steel? Iron Man 3? Easily trimmed by 45 minutes. But something like Necessary Roughness, even as an hour-long program? Your eyes happen on a clock and you realize it's somehow 10:57pm, there are just three minutes left, and in the bottom left corner USA is already pushing their next show. The country from which USA draws its name can only dream of that kind of efficiency.

Even MORE remarkable is the lack of actual things happening in that time-warped hour. Want a recap of last night's Necessary Roughness? Here it is!

  • Dani discovers that her tempestuous, unlucky-in-love starlet client is actually a stalker. They hug as Dani assures the young lady "there are treatment programs for your addiction like any other."
  • Desperate to get his therapist back, Terrance tries to get signed by D3. It works!
  • Connor McClane and Dani enjoy a nice dinner together that ends with the line "let us show you some love, Santino" but does not pick up the next morning in either of their bedrooms.
  • Dani agrees to keep working for D3. Didn't she agree to do that last week?
  • Nico continues to love dusters; protecting Dani.

I guess that that Matt guy who took off last week is gone for good, which makes sense now that John Stamos is in the picture (and who's gonna compete with that? HAVE MERCY). Likewise Dani's kids, who I'm guessing were a source of storylines in seasons 1 and 2, seem to have died or gone to college. (Feel free to fill me in on Twitter!) What we're left with, then, is about as straightforward a dramatic circumstance as any show can offer: protagonist fulfills the duties of her job, each week under slightly different circumstances, while romance builds steadily in the background.

That is a perfectly fine hour (42 minutes) of television!

If there's one thing to really dig into with last night's episode, it's probably Dani's date with Connor -- specifically what it was actually about, and what if any subtext a) existed and/or b) I managed to miss. Ostensibly dinner was a "get to know you" affair that we can assume Connor has extended to every new employee over the year. But that roll-in wardrobe? With all the dress choices, names of which I even recognized? Slick, bro.

At the restaurant (where Connor, ever the smooth operator, knew the chef), we learned that Dani's new boss:

  • Speaks Mandarin. Or "some," anyway, brushing it off like an occupational hazard for launching "offices in Singapore"
  • Prefers the no-tie look, which I have to say I'm onboard with
  • Was a "middling student" with "undiagnosed ADD" (and look at him now!)
  • Is worth a "boatload of money" LOL

Dani seemed at least mildly intrigued by his ADD revelation, which makes sense considering she's a psychotherapist. The rest at best registered with her, but didn't suggest any sort of deeper connection or interest. Which...he's John Stamos, Dani. Come on!

Longtime viewers, help me out: how have these sorts of romantic entanglements (and make no mistake, they will get together) gone down for Dani in the past? Is she profoundly hesitant, unwilling or unable to make a move? Is Connor just not that into her? Minus that closing line we touched on above, there was little hint of flirtation or sexual chemistry. Were we supposed to feel it? I DON'T KNOW HOW THIS SHOW OPERATES.

And now I'm yelling at you, which -- I don't want to yell. I want this to be a safe space for all of us. Have you ever heard of "televisual jetlag"? Probably not. I just made it up. Anyway, televisual jetlag tends to occur in those jarring leaps from one viewing extreme to another. The same way your body struggles to adjust after an LA-NYC flight, so too does transitioning from, say, Game of Thrones and Archer to anything on USA. Just two weeks ago you were watching pregnant women get prison-shanked to death; you can be forgiven your confusion over a chaste, PG-rated dinner date. (By which I mean "I" -- I can be forgiven. Forgive me?)

We'll see what happens next week. Maybe one of our characters here will accomplish or experience real, meaningful change? I for one just want to get to some smooching action tout suite.