is it even possible to dislike charlie

“Dennis’ Double Life” Defense & Explanations

In this post, I’ll attempt to explain/defend all of the controversial scenes in the Season 12 finale, “Dennis’ Double Life.” This write-up has helped me to appreciate the episode a lot better and it might help some people who have mixed feelings about the episode to view it in a different light.

NOTE: This is a mix of speculation and canon evidence.

Question 1: Why was Dennis a butt to Mac the entire episode, especially after he was so nice to him at the end of “The Gang Tends Bar”?

Answer 1: I will break this answer into three parts:

  • Part 1: I got the vibe that Mandy surprised Dennis with the visit, which explains why Dennis had mere seconds to tell the Gang to pretend that he was someone else. With the flesh-and-blood reality of Brian Jr. on his mind, I don’t think he had the mental energy to consider Mac at all. (In “The Gang Tends Bar,” Brian Jr. wasn’t there, so Dennis didn’t feel that immediate/strong pressure. Also, Dennis was emotionally vulnerable and available after having told the Gang about his “big feelings,” so he was able to react better to Mac)
  • Part 2: I’m not sure Dennis fully comprehends Mac’s feelings for him. I think he knows, to some degree, that Mac is attracted to him, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he sees Mac’s attraction to him as a kind of strange “hero worship.” Dennis verbally confirmed that Mac is gay in “Mac Day,” but he constantly acts weirded out or confused when Mac does/says something that shows that he has feelings for him. For example, in “Mac & Dennis Move to the Suburbs,” Dennis thought it was weird that Mac would name their dog Dennis Jr. That reaction, of course, mirrors Dennis’ reaction to Mac’s reveal that he perfectly recreated their old apartment. I don’t think he was trying to hurt Mac. He just flat out does not understand why Mac would go through all the trouble.
  • Dennis also doesn’t appear to understand his own feelings for Mac. He has asked Mac to “get off with him” (a “mostly sexual” manipulation game) and tried to get him to participate in a threesome with a male golf caddy in “Frank’s Back in Business,” admitted to Dee that he made his sex tapes for himself and Mac in “The Gang Group Dates,” stated that he has a thing with Mac where he picks out porn for them that he doesn’t want Charlie to join in on (“The Gang Spies Like U.S.”), and danced for Mac when he saw him avidly watching him in “PTSDee,” but he doesn’t see anything strange about this. It’s just par for the course in their relationship.
  • If Dennis has trouble seeing his own feelings, then like hell is he going to fully see Mac’s feelings. And if he can’t see Mac’s feelings, he can’t deal with them properly. 
  • Part 3: In the back of Dennis’ mind, he was seriously considering leaving the Gang and being a father to his son. He knows that leaving the Gang is going to hurt him, so he emotionally pushed them away. When the Gang becomes “lesser” in his mind, it doesn’t hurt as much to leave them.

Summary: Dennis was stressed the heck out about Brian Jr. and didn’t have the energy to deal with his relationship with Mac.

Question 2: Were Mac’s feelings for Dennis treated as a joke?

Answer 2: Not necessarily. Even though Dennis likes to act like he’s the smartest member of the Gang, Mac is clearly more aware and accepting of the nature of their relationship than Dennis is. Mac was 100% fine with them pretending to be a couple and raising Brian Jr. (with or without Mandy), not because he’s super desperate and lovesick, but because, no matter what they call their relationship (lovers, partners, pretend, friends), they’d still be together. Mac just loves being with Dennis and wants to help solve Dennis’ problem, so, of course, that would be his plan. (And it’s actually a good plan.)

It hurts the empathetic audience members to see Mac treated the way he is by Dennis, but it’s normal Dennis behavior that Mac has accepted. Mac has survived his internalized homophobia, his father’s dislike of him, his mother’s indifference to him, and the Gang’s occasional dislike of him. Mac is stronger than we think he is. And if he gets tired of Dennis, he definitely has the strength to walk away from their relationship relatively unscathed.

Summary: Mac was pretty much having fun playing a character (he even wanted his character’s name to be Griffin) and hanging out with Dennis and Dennis was stressed the hell out about Brian Jr.

Question 3: Charlie wanted to have sex? With The Waitress?

Answer 3: Yes. In “Charlie Has Cancer,” Charlie was visibly disappointed when he realized that he missed the chance to possibly have sex with The Waitress. In “Who Pooped the Bed?” a drunk Waitress stated that she would get drunker and bang a random dude and Charlie asked her if it could be him. In "The High School Reunion Part 2: The Gang’s Revenge,” when a drunk Waitress told the Gang that she’d bang the next person who talked to her, Charlie opened his mouth and stepped forward, but Schmitty came out of nowhere and The Waitress went home with him.

Summary: I know some people headcanon Charlie as ace and/or sex-repulsed (I personally headcanon him as gray ace) and that’s fine, but Charlie has expressed interest in having sex with The Waitress in the show.

Question 4: Why did the Waitress have sex with Charlie?

Answer 4: Surprisingly, the possibility of that happening was set up in a previous episode. In "Charlie and Dee Find Love,” (which was written by RCG) the Waitress reacted in an arguably jealous manner towards Charlie’s then-girlfriend Ruby (“Who the hell is this, Charlie?!”). Also, at the end of the episode, the Waitress told Charlie that she needed him in her life and that she was thinking about reducing his restraining order. Admittedly, the Waitress’ strange behavior was after Frank accidentally put rat poison in her shampoo (which made her sick) and hit her with his car (which put her in a hospital), so she could have some kind of permanent brain damage.

In the beginning of the show, the Waitress wasn’t attracted to Charlie, but was concerned about his well-being sometimes. (In "The Gang Gives Back,” she tried to help Charlie with his alcoholism) It’s possible that after “Charlie and Dee Find Love,” the Waitress’ view of Charlie started to change. As the years went on, the Waitress’ problems started to get worse and worse, and, like Cricket (her male counterpart), she still found herself continually drawn to the Gang. Even though she still thinks Charlie’s a mess, a part of her might think that he’s all that she has left. (And that might, sadly, be true) And, if Charlie can help her to fulfill her dream of having a baby, maybe things can get better for her.

Something I noticed as well is that the Waitress never said she loved Charlie back. It’s possible that she still doesn’t love Charlie and never will, but sees him simply as a partner that can help her to take care of her child. (Also, in order to get Frank’s money, she needs to be partnered with Charlie)

Question 5: What’s the deal with The Waitress acting the way she did after having sex with Charlie?

Answer 5: We don’t know that much about The Waitress, but we do know that she sometimes does/thinks weird stuff like the rest of the Gang. (In "Mac Bangs Dennis’ Mom,” The Waitress slept with Frank, a man she’s not attracted to at all, in an attempt to get back at Dennis because she thought he was cheating on her with older women. In “Charlie and Dee Find Love,” it’s hinted at that The Waitress might be stalking Dennis because she has his phone number even though he changed it. In “The Gang Group Dates,” after years of Dennis’ mistreatment of her, The Waitress was still excited about possibly being Dennis’ girlfriend.) Also, even though she was kind of aggressive towards Charlie, all of her points were valid, some of Charlie’s responses were dumb, and her dislike of Charlie is totally understandable.

Question 6: What’s the deal with Charlie freaking out after finally getting The Waitress’ attention?

Answer 6: Surprisingly, the possibility of that happening was set up in a previous episode. In Season 9’s "Flowers for Charlie,” Frank paid The Waitress to hang out with Charlie because he was getting worried about him after he started taking “intelligence” pills for an experiment. When the Waitress began talking about her life, Charlie immediately started getting annoyed, started hearing a ringing in his head, and had to leave. We found out at the end of the episode that these pills were placebos. Basically, this was a strong hint that Charlie might be in love with the idea of The Waitress, not the actual person. So, even though he has been stalking The Waitress for 15 years, he might not really want to be with the real her. (The fact that he thought of The Waitress’ negative reactions as a “game between them” is another hint, of course)

Also, even though Charlie fantasized about raising multiple children with The Waitress in “The Gang Saves the Day” (which aired before “Flowers for Charlie”), it was still a fantasy. Charlie might fantasize about having a nice house, a wife, and children, but he still likes living in his unfancy and dangerous apartment and doesn’t handle stress well. There are huge conflicts that he doesn’t see.

Also, keep in mind that he came up with the plan only a few hours earlier and he mentioned that he wanted to get The Waitress pregnant so she would be tied to him for life. (clearly no thought about the actual baby and being a father)

So, with Charlie being Charlie and the reality of the situation crashing on him, he is starting to freak out.

Summary: Charlie freaking out is 100% in character.

Question 7: Why was Charlie a butt to Dee after having sex with The Waitress?

Answer 7: Charlie is an idiot and a misogynist, so he projected his issues with women and The Waitress onto Dee. Also, as Charlie mentioned, Dee possibly tried to have sex with him an additional time after “The Gang Misses the Boat” and he didn’t want that to happen again that night. So, overly-stressed and tired Charlie absentmindedly begged Dee not to be a whore numerous times before immediately falling asleep on top of her because even though he has issues with women, he feels comfortable with Dee.

Summary: Charlie and Dee’s relationship in a nutshell.

Question 8: Why did Dennis want to leave the Gang to take care of Brian Jr.?

Answer 8: I get the vibe that this might have been the first time that Dennis actually held Brian Jr. (or he hasn’t held him in a while?). Holding the child made him really understand that he is a living, breathing being he created and not just an obstacle to overcome to get back to his usual life. And then the child knew who he was, which made everything feel even more heavy. This is the first time in Dennis’ life that he’s been responsible for someone other than himself. He knows that if he stays with the Gang, he’ll feel guilty for whatever happens to the child. He’ll feel guilty that the child knew who he was but couldn’t see him. And the fact that the Gang doesn’t comprehend this at all (Mac, for example, excitedly told him “The plan worked!”) pushed him even further away from them and towards his child.

Question 9: Why didn’t the Gang seem to care when Dennis left?

Answer 9: The Gang has a great track record of unusual responses to deaths and departures.

In “Dennis and Dee’s Mom Is Dead,” Dennis reacted to his mother’s death by partying/hazing guys in his mom’s house and Dee and Frank seriously considered grave robbing her. In "The Gang Gets a New Member,” Mac and Dennis had no problem kicking Charlie out of the Gang and replacing him with Schmitty. In "The Gang Beats Boggs,” Mac’s only response to a drunk Dennis spontaneously leaving their plane was to write the number of beers he consumed on his forehead. In "The Gang Misses the Boat,” the Gang “broke up,” yet everyone just spent the episode doing their own thing. In "Frank Retires,” the rest of the Gang started cheering and clapping after Frank declared that he would be retiring from the Gang. I could go on and on, but you get the point.

It’s very likely that the rest of the Gang is still in shock/denial about Dennis leaving and they are expecting him to come back soon like everyone always does.

Since the highlight of the night was firing Dennis’ RPG, they decided to not let Dennis’ departure stop them. (It also doubled as a nice, fiery distraction)

As for blowing up the Range Rover? They think Dennis intentionally left it and it’s the perfect target to take out any frustrations they had/have with Dennis. (This is also one of the reasons Mac, who gave Dennis his cherished RPG, is the one blowing up the Range Rover, one of Dennis’ most prized possessions)

When Dennis comes back, they can excitedly tell him that they blew up the Range Rover and it was awesome.

Question 10: Why did Dennis leave the Range Rover?

Answer 10: Dennis wants to take care of his child, which is a good thing, but he is clearly going through a crisis and is not thinking clearly. He mentally/emotionally disconnected himself from the Gang (notice that he said “The bar’s done” and turned off the lights even though the rest of the Gang is still there and can run the bar) and left everything that reminds him of the Gang behind (which explains why the Range Rover is still there). He did not even think about packing, called a taxi, and headed straight to the airport to fly to Mandy and Brian Jr.’s location. This is one of the reasons the ending feels so “off.” It mirrors Dennis’ mindset.

Question 11: Why did Dennis name his child after Brian Lefevre?

Answer 11: This was probably Mandy’s idea and Dennis went along with it because he couldn’t think of anything else. He also probably wasn’t in the right headspace to complain since he wasn’t ready to have a child.

jalousie | rucas prompt

this was requested by @rilxyfriarr and i hope you like it! i apologize in advance if it’s rushed or anything. xx thanks for sending in a prompt !!

side note: jalousie = jealousy in french.

… 

Junior year of high school. It’s the first year for prom and a multitude of other things, each less interesting than the previous. You would think that perhaps by now, two people who had been best friends and presumably have feelings for each other since seventh grade would finally get their individual lives under control and get together.

You would be wrong.

My teeth lightly dug into my bottom lip as I struggled to hold my heavy history textbook, smartphone, coffee, and notebook all at the same time. Typically one of my friends would come over and help, but considering the fact that none of them were currently in sight, something made me believe that wouldn’t be happening anytime soon.

“Riley?” a overly familiar voice called, apparently noticing my complications. Of course. Charlie.

We had drifted apart a bit after the disastrous New Year’s Eve back when we were both just confused fourteen year old kids, nothing more than eighth graders with lives more complex than they probably should have been. It hadn’t been until about last month that he had actually started talking to me again. Maya seemed to interpret the entire situation as shameless flirting, and even Farkle warned me to be cautious about whatever signals I was planning on sending Charlie.

Personally, I thought they were completely out of their minds. Your feelings for someone you had a tiny, feeble little crush on back in middle school would not suddenly reappear a few years later. It sounded like the worst possible cliche a human being could stumble across.

Managing to plaster the smallest of halfhearted smiles on my face, I reluctantly glanced away from my personal mess of various items. “Hi, Charlie.”

The dark-haired boy chuckled quietly, his eyes fleetingly darting down to my full arms before carefully grasping my textbook and notebook, leaving me with only my cell phone and coffee. “Better?” he questioned, his tone surprisingly soft. It was almost difficult to hear over the cluster of talkative students surrounding us, too caught up in their own individual lives and problems to take much notice of either of us.

I smiled, this one feeling a tad bit more sincere. “Much better. Thank you, Charlie. I haven’t been thinking as straight as I usually would have, and apparently grabbing a bunch of different delicate things at the same time wasn’t the greatest idea.”

“Don’t worry, we’ve all done it,” he reassured me, his bright smile and eager-to-please attitude vaguely reminding me of a faithful golden retriever. The thought itself caused a slight blush to warm my rosy cheeks, an awkward laugh escaping my lips. “I’m guessing you’re heading to your dad’s class?”

The history textbook most likely tipped him off. “Yeah,” I mumbled, not bothering to ask him if he was heading in the same direction. We had been in the same history class throughout all of high school and most of middle school. There wasn’t really any reason to ask pointless questions.

Charlie grinned, gently grabbing my hand in his own before silently guiding me to my father’s class. He lingered by my desk once we finally did arrive, mentioning something about having two amazing tickets to an upcoming Knicks game before my dad finally asked everyone to sit down. I watched him as he took his typical seat behind Isadora, my insides turning with something that was either anticipation or downright nerves - and not the positive kind.

My gaze locked on Lucas for the briefest of seconds, immediately taking notice of the fact that his jaw was clenched, eyes pointedly fixated on anything that was nowhere near me.

Definitely not anticipation.

It went on like that for a rather long time, repetitively. Charlie would try to spend as much time with me as he possibly could, even when my friends were surrounding me. I could never keep myself from dwelling upon the fact that Lucas consistently found something “important” to do whenever Charlie was hanging around. Zay and Farkle had been the first people to catch onto this, and it wasn’t until this had practically become a tradition that they started bugging me about their apparent disliking of Charlie Gardner.

“All he does is hit on you, therefore running Lucas off. It’s a daily tradition, Riley. When are you just going to do everyone a favor and just shoot the guy down?”

I shot Zay a reproachful look, my eyes falling downcast afterwards. He had a good point, of course. Deep down I knew that my feelings for Charlie could never progress past anything more than platonic. We had already gone down this unfortunate road after getting back from Texas back in middle school.

My feelings hadn’t changed. It had always been Lucas.

Saying this out loud didn’t seem like the most brilliant strategy, knowing that Zay Babineaux had never been exceptionally talented when it came to keeping important secrets. So I shrugged simply, muttering some unrealistic excuse about extra science homework before striding away from his locker.

A fortnight passed since Zay’s confrontation in our crowded school hallways. No one had bothered to bring the subject up again, although nevertheless my friend’s words passed through my thoughts so frequently they might as well reside there. He had an amazing point, but life had never been as easy as everyone attempted to make it seem. Everything was complicated, despite the fact that there was no actual love triangle anymore. We had all sorted that out ages ago. It had nothing whatsoever to do with that anymore.

But what was the huge problem, then? Why was it so hard for Lucas and I to get together if we really had feelings for each other?

My muddled thoughts were so painfully centered around trying to distinguish the big complication in this mess that I hadn’t even bothered to pay attention to whatever Charlie was going on and on about. It wasn’t until he had said my name for the fifth time that I finally snapped out of my careless daze, my eyes snapping towards his somewhat tentatively.

“I’m sorry,” slipped from my lips almost reflexively. Apologizing to people had basically become a habit nowadays. “I’m a little tired. Do you mind if we continue this conversation some other time?”

Despite his crestfallen expression, Charlie nodded once. “Sure, of course. Whatever you want.”

I forced a tiny, grateful smile before stepping out of my mom’s cafe. Pretending not to notice the disappointed green eyes following my every movement as I walked away from Charlie, the familiar voice of my best friend barely sinking in as she tried to capture Lucas’s attention.

There was never a right time for his moment with me. Maybe that was the biggest issue here.

“All he does is flirt with you, Riley,” Lucas hissed. “You’re either dragging this out or you’re leading him on. Either way, there’s nothing right about it.”

An exasperated laugh fell from my lips as I shook my head, complete and utter disbelief finally taking over. “This isn’t really any of your concern,” I snapped. Although it was. Just like it would be my concern if the roles were reversed.

Breaking off an unofficial thing with somebody was a lot harder than you would believe.

“You know that it is,” he said dully, already catching onto my general thought process. “You know why it would be so concerning to me, too.”

“How am I supposed to know?” I asked, my voice sounding exasperated to my own ears. “You never tell me anything about how you feel, Lucas. We keep dancing around the subject of our relationship, but whenever it honestly comes down to it, you just dodge the question. What am I supposed to think?”

Lucas paused for a long moment, his eyes locking on mine with such an intensity that I could practically feel my knees weaken. It was really unfair, how easy it was for him to make me so unbelievably nervous.

Taking a couple steps closer to me was enough to almost completely seal the gap between us, his forehead lightly pressing against mine. There were still traces of annoyance in his brilliant green eyes, but there was also something else now. Something that seemed to resemble determination. “I love you.”

“Lucas,” I breathed. My heartbeat was instinctively quickening over his words. The words I had been hoping he would say from that very first night we actually got to know each other in the library. It had been such a naive, innocent thought back then. Just overly hopeful daydreaming.

Not so much right now.

“I’m in love with you. I’ve been in love with you for as long as I can remember,” he mumbled quietly, his gentle voice causing my pulse to thud abruptly in my wrists. “Does that change anything?”

I swallowed hard, my nerves so insanely out of my control at the moment. Of course it did. It changed quite a lot. “Everything,” I answered truthfully, my voice barely anything more than a simplistic whisper.

The corners of his lips twitched upwards, forming a small smile. “That’s good enough for me,” Lucas mumbled softly. His eyes glanced down towards my lips for the slightest of instances before he leaned forward, gently pressing his lips against mine. My eyes fluttered shut reflexively, my hands lightly knotting themselves in his hair and tugging him closer.

And suddenly it was nearly impossible to recall the name of the boy who had been flirting with me for so long.

It was impossible to focus on anything besides the pressure of Lucas’s lips against mine. 

It felt like finally being okay. Finally not being tired anymore. Finally feeling at home; safe; content.

He broke the kiss, breathing inevitably becoming a necessity yet again. There was a bit of reluctance in his retreat, his forehead pressing against mine once more. “City girl?”

I broke into a smile, pecking his lips briefly before responding, “I’m in love with you, too.”

Here's my 2 cents (if anyone cares)...

Ok, all this talk about V/M vs D/W (specifically in regards to their chemistry), is so ridiculous I don’t even know where to start.

First, I will preface this by saying I’m American, and an ice dancer (don’t get excited, nobody famous, lol).
While, it’s obvious I’m a V/M fan, I also want to make it a point that I do not hate, or even dislike D/W as people. (Although, I will say I haven’t been a fan of Meryl as much the last few years… love Charlie though).

In regards to their technical skating alone, the reason I’m such an admirer of V/M is because they represent EVERYTHING that is ice dance. They float. They are so pure in their technique, with deeper than should be possible edges and soft knees. If you are a skater (particularly ice dancer), you should know, and your coach should harp on you over and over, about your knees and getting into the ice and lilt and edges and all that “stuff” they have. Tessa and Scott just have it. The it, that seemingly comes so easy to them… that many others in the skating community (including Charlie) comment and rave about. The it, that while continuing to advance the sport every year with their lifts and other technical aspects, doesn’t feel like they’re working to improve from the previous year. It just looks like they have a new program that happens to have even better content than last year/program, as well as further push the boundaries of the sport.

In Sochi, V/M should have won the individual gold. I knew the results going in (if they both skated clean), the judges knew the results going in… I think anyone paying attention the last few years knew. Not that I didn’t hope, but I knew. That’s how this sport goes. Tessa and Scott know. They’ve said it. Doesn’t make it right, but it is what it is, and if you’re a part of it, you agree that it’s going to happen sometimes. All you can do is skate your best and hope for the best.

Now for the chemistry…
I have been watching (and skating) for a very long time. And I have never seen a couple so in sync with each other as V/M. There have been other exceptional (and favorite) World and Olympic ice dance teams…Torvill/Dean, The Duchesnays, Usova/Zulin, Bourne/Kraatz, Belbin/Agosto, etc., that have had great chemistry and/or advanced the sport with creativity, but it’s not the same. The closest I can come are Klimova/Ponomarenko and Dubreuil/Lauzon-and they’re both married, so just gonna let that one lie… ;)

Every movement, every touch has a purpose and meaning for V/M. And not just meaning for the sake of the program and the show. It’s for them and everything they believe in and the trust they have for each other. I’m not even saying this is necessarily from a romantic place either-although I don’t begin to pretend to believe they are platonic. Some of that can be taught or enhanced, but sometimes it’s just innate.
The difference I see/hear is this: In regards to Tessa and Scott, the question over and over is, “Wait, they’re not together?” Or the statement, “How long have they been together (romantically)?” And this is not solely based on their performances, or warm-ups, or even what they say in interviews… it’s the behind the scenes moments-when they don’t know or think about the camera being on them, the touches/caresses, the way they look at each other and unspoken communication. In regards to Charlie and Meryl, from friends and fans (mostly non-skating, Americans, all within the past few years, and mostly since the Olympics), is “Oh, they’re so cute! They should date/hook up”.

I do see an improvement in D/W’s chemistry recently, as it’s clear they’ve been working on it. But that’s precisely the point. They’ve been WORKING on it. Tessa and Scott don’t need to work on it. It’s just there. (Don’t even get me started on the stupid, scripted reality show that implied they did and goes against so many real life examples stating otherwise-rolls eyes).
In addition, I also happen to like Tanith very much, and while they try to keep their relationship quiet, it’s clear how much she and Charlie care about each other. D/W have as much history (in years) as V/M, and I believe they are very close and always will be. You can’t erase that much time and memories. They share something no one else ever will between them… however, the way they interact with each other is very clearly different than V/M both on and off the ice, as evidenced in those aforementioned quotes.

I know this debate will continue no matter what I say… and I know there will always be fans on both sides who can be rude and disrespectful and insistent on what they say is in the right, and this won’t change their minds. Am I gonna get hate for this? Probably. But, I wanted to get this off my chest and at least give my opinion. That’s what social media is for, right? :p