A group of food rights activists have filed a complaint to the State’s food safety board panning the practice of many Miami-based bakeries and delicatessens of pressing their sandwiches as firmly as possible, claiming the act disrespects the integrity of the bread.

Holding signs with slogans like “Free Gluten!” and “Not all Sandwiches!”, a crowd of baked goods gathered outside of Little Haiti’s Versailles Restaurant to protest the practice. “We don’t want special treatment. We just want to be treated like every other menu item. Don’t put extra pressure on us just because we’re bread,” said organizer Juan Cuban Sandwich, a recently constructed mojo-flavored roasted pork butt and smoked ham Cubano with Swiss and mustard oozing from its side. “Just treat us equally. It’s the yeast you could do,” he added before being attacked by hungry onlookers.

The activists say their protest is necessary given the increasing amount of pressure placed on all bread items throughout Miami. “This is no longer just a problem for the Cuban Sandwich community,” said Adele Bagely, a Garlic and Chive bagel pressed so hard that cream cheese covered the parchment she was then wrapped in, creating an uneatable mess. “This impacts us all.”

The protest is reportedly funded by bearded James Beard award nominee Zak the Baker, whose Kosher delicatessen has a strict “no press” rule. The Plantain asked to speak to the bucher, but were told by a spokesperson that the new Kosher delicatessen has a strict “no press” rule.

Undeterred, this reporter went to the Zak the Baker’s new Wynwood deli to speak with him directly, but upon arrival was corralled into a 45-minute long line to purchase an $18 Tongue Sandwich which, although very good, required me to press down on the sandwich in order to fit it into my mouth, an act that drew critical side glances from the restaurant’s other diners and an irate Mr. The Baker.

Darnell and Lisa Morales decided to divorce Tuesday evening after spending more than 72 hours together without the air conditioning, internet, or television needed for their marriage, and society in general, to remain civil. The Morales’ 11-year marriage is the latest wreckage caused by the [WHATEVER HURRICANE THIS IS I LOST TRACK], which has reportedly already caused upwards of 250 breakups, 180 called-off-engagements, and 110 divorces, numbers that are expected to rise dramatically after your spouse finds out how much it will cost to remove that fallen tree. You know, the one they asked you to trim months ago!

As for the Moraleseseses, the tension began to build between the normally blissful couple the Wednesday before the storm hit. Darnell insisted the couple “ride out the storm” at their South Miami home, while Lisa wanted to leave and “not just willingly stay in the path of a huge fucking storm coming right for us.” Ultimately, however, Lisa capitulated to her husband and agreed to “wait here and just needlessly suffer, Darnell, even though we don’t have to, if that’s what you really want.”

“It will be an adventure,” Darnell told his wife after she passively agreed. “We’ll be fine, you’ll see.”

After spending several days nervously watching local news reports about the storm in their shuttered and darkened home and failing to pick up literally any useful emergency provisions from crowded stores, the couple fell asleep in each other’s arms Saturday evening only to be awoken by the sound of a large tree falling in their backyard.

“I guess the powers out…” said Darnell as he turned on the one flashlight he found buried in his kitchen’s junk door. “Let’s go back to sleep,” he said to his wife, who obliged but was quietly freaking the fuck out inside about how loud the winds were. It was really scary.

By the next afternoon, the couple’s cell phones had run out of juice so they spent the day quietly staring off into the inactive TV, flipping through but not really reading magazines, and eating literally every snack they had in the house.

“I feel so disgusting,” Lisa told her husband as she ate a fourth bag of Entenmann’s chocolate chip cookies. When the winds began to calm Sunday evening, the couple went outside to survey the damage.
“It’s not as bad as it could have been,” Darnell said as he looked over their yard which contained several down trees. “We might not get power back for a while,” Darnell said as his wife just took it all in.

Without the Internet, television, or junk food to distract them from each other’s faults, the couple, who was also wildly uncomfortable from more than 24 hours without AC, began to slowly resent each other. “When do you think the power will turn on?” Lisa asked Darnell for the thousandth time.

“I don’t know, babe! Not for a while. Can we just try to relax? I have a headache.”

“So do I! It’s because we’re dehydrated and it’s like 100 degrees in here.”

“Yeah, I know. What do you want me to do about it? I’m suffering too.”

“I don’t see why we couldn’t have just left like I wanted to. We could be in a hotel in Ashville right now.”

“Can you stop bringing that up? We’re here. I wanted to be here in case our house got damaged.”

“Why would you want us to stay in a house you were worried would be damaged? It makes no sense, we may not get power back for a month!”

“Lisa, I can’t right now. Can you just fucking stop!”

For the next several hours, the couple took turns sucking on the already melting ice from their freezer and putting wet towels on their head.

By Monday evening, they finally left the house to just sit in their car’s AC, where they were able to charge their phones briefly.

Without cell phone service or internet, however, the two just sort of scrolled through pictures and ignored each other as they looked into their devices; Lisa angry she was forced to stay in these conditions by Darnell, Darnell angry his wife was making him feel so badly about what he knew was a stupid decision.

“Let’s just sleep in the car tonight with the AC!” said Darnell.

“We can’t sleep in the car, we’ll die of suffocation.”

“What do you mean? Not if we’re not parked in a garage, right?”

“No, I think it’s dangerous even if you are parked outside.”

“No…?”

“Do you want to risk it?”

“Fuck!” screamed Darnell, as he typed in “Will I die if I sleep in my car” into Google but couldn’t get any service to find out whether he would or not.

“Fuck!!!!” he screamed again at the thought of spending another night sweating in his dark and humid house.

“This is why I wanted to leave!”

“Lisa, enough! I get it. Can you just stop telling me this every 10 minutes and making me feel bad.”

“You’re scaring me. I’m going inside,” said Lisa as she left her husband to contemplate whether he should sleep in his car, and potentially die, or return to the wretchedly hot home and sweat through another night. He briefly cried to himself before deciding to go back inside.

The next day, the couple barely said a word to each other. They took a drive around the neighborhood to awe at the many down trees but found most of the roadways around their house blocked or flooded and no stores open to provide air condition or cold drinks.

“I know this isn’t ideal, but I’m sure we’ll get power back soon,” said Darnell as his wife looked off in the distance and quietly cried to herself.

“Why did you make me go through this? I hate this!” Lisa said to her husband.

“We’re in an air-conditioned car! What more do you want right now?”

“I want to not be in the middle of this fucking disaster area! God, I hate you so much right now!”

It was the first time she ever said that to him, and it hurt him to hear and her to say. “You don’t mean that,” he said and quietly drove back to the house.

For the next 24 hours, the couple alternated between rehashing this argument and several other dormant arguments from throughout their years together that both had thought were resolved but apparently weren’t. By Tuesday late afternoon Darnell finally said:

“So if I’m so awful and don’t listen to your feelings then why are we even together? You don’t have to be with me, Lisa.”

“Maybe I won’t then.”

As the words left Lisa’s mouth the couple stared at each other, both surprised at what the other was saying and how easy it was to say it. Was it possible this is what they really wanted? Would they be better off separated? At least for a while? They had been together for so long, maybe this was for the best.”

“What are you saying?” Darnell asked his wife, his heart racing.

“I don’t know. I think I may want a…” an electrical buzz stopped Lisa mid-sentence.

“What was that?”

“I don’t know. What were you going to say?”

“I was saying that I think I may want a…” suddenly another loud electrical buzz sounded, followed by the lights turning on and the sound of the air conditioner kicking in.

Darnell and Lisa stared at each other silently in a moment of elation before running toward each other in a loving, but disgustingly sweaty, embrace.

“WE HAVE POWER!” the couple screamed in unison as they danced around the house. After a few more moments of unadulterated joy, Darnell stopped his wife.

“Wait, what were you going to say? Do you want to get a divorce?”

“No! Of course not, I was just hot. I love you.”

“I love you too.”

Thousands of fans have gathered outside of Jackson Memorial Hospital to show their love and support for Gloria Estefan. The 63-year-old singer was admitted Tuesday morning for treatment for what has been confirmed to be advanced-stage conga. Reports suggest the Cuban-American superstar can not control herself any longer.

Mrs. Estefan reportedly started to feel overheated and began to shake uncontrollably Sunday afternoon as she danced to a particularly explosive reggaeton track during a party at her Star Island home. Doctors were initially concerned that Mrs. Estefan had experienced a seizure, but have since determined that her uncontrollable shaking was rhythm-induced and that the warmth she felt was indeed the fire of desire.

A distraught Emilio Estefan, Mrs. Estefan’s husband of 42 years, told the Plantain that a Miami ultrasound machine had confirmed what they all feared; Mrs. Estefan was suffering from stage-4 conga.

The Plantain has learned that doctors were forced to tie the music icon to her bed to stop her gyrations and prevent her from beginning a conga line. “Mrs. Estefan will begin an aggressive treatment plan that will include inducing an arrhythmia, which we hope will disrupt the dangerous rhythm and beat the beat,” said Dr. Norman Babo.

An Estefan family spokesperson released the following statement:

“Mrs. Estefan is in serious but stable condition. Her family and friends are gathered round now, waiting and praying by her side. Gloria has always been a fighter and we are confident that the doctors will be able to turn the beat around and are excited for Gloria to get back on her feet.”

When TJ Maxx Homegoods employee Jennifer Lorber arrived to work on the morning of November 1st she was greeted by a familiar voice:

♫I don’t want a lot for Christmas. There is just one thing I need…♫

“No! They can’t be playing “All I Want For Christmas Is You” already,” said the 26-year-old narcoleptic to herself. “It’s the day after Halloween! This isn’t right!”

I don’t care about the presents underneath the Christmas tree…

“It must just be Joey playing a trick on the rest of us. They wouldn’t start playing Christmas music this early.”

I just want you for my own, more than you could ever know…

“But Joey’s dead. So who would do this? They would at least have the decency to wait until after the election, right?” she thought as she made her way to the back office.

Make my wish come true, all I want for Christmas…

When she opened the door to the back office she saw her store manager Terry taking an inventory of the two-dozen or so cardboard boxes of Christmas decorations that had been delivered to the store that morning. 

“Merry Christmas, Jennifer! We get to put up the X-mas deco today.”

Is you..

“I guess this is really happening,” conceded Jennifer as she was tossed a red and white Santa hat by Terry. 

“Put this on, corporate wants us to start rocking our festive wear early this year.”

As the jingle bells, piano trills, and drum shuffle entered the song she clocked in and began to unpack a giant vinyl snowflake that was to go on the store’s outside windows. It was 89 degrees outside.

I don’t want a lot for Christmas. There is just one thing I need. And I…

“I wonder if Tara is still pissed about last night,” Jennifer thought as she pulled out her phone to see if Tara had texted back. She hadn’t.

Don’t care about the presents underneath the Christmas tree.

“It isn’t even my fault she’s upset. I don’t know why it’s my job to apologize. It’s not like I knew Jesse was going to show up last night.”

I don’t need to hang my stocking there upon the fireplace. Santa Claus won’t make me happy with a toy on Christmas day…

“I mean, I had an idea that he might be going. But whatever, we broke up like 6 months ago. Why am I’m supposed to feel bad about being “too friendly” with him? He’s my friend, I’m friendly.”

I just want you for my own, more than you could ever know. Make my wish come true. All I want for Christmas is you…

“Jesus, this really is a great song,” she thought to herself. “I really don’t like him anymore anyway,” she told herself as the rise of the song began to brighten her mood.

I won’t ask for much this Christmas, I won’t even wish for snow, and I…

“I understand why she’s upset. She feels insecure that my last relationship was with a man, I get that. But she needs to learn to trust me when I say I’m committed to her.”

I just wanna keep on waiting underneath the mistletoe…

Jennifer pulled out her cellphone and scrolled through her Newsfeed to look for pictures of last night. “Jesus, why did I have to sit on his lap,” she questioned herself while enlarging a photo of her from last night. She was dressed as a sexy Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and sitting on Jesse’s lap. “How was I supposed to know he was going to come as a Ghostbuster.

Cause I just want you here tonight holding on to me so tight…

“Unless…could he have come to the party dressed as a Ghostbuster on purpose? He would have known about my outfit from my Instagram.”

What more can I do? Oh baby all I want for Christmas is you…

“Of course he knew. What a jerk, and all night he was telling me how good I looked and how crazy it was that we had matching costumes.”

All the lights are shining so brightly everywhere, and the sound of children’s laughter fills the air…

“And I was so drunk last night, no wonder Tara is mad at me.” As she walked toward the front of the store with a giant vinyl snowflake tucked underneath her arm she began to text Tara. Her last text to her read: “I’m sorry if u can’t handle me. I won’t be caged.”

And everyone is singing. I hear those sleigh bells ringing. Santa won’t you bring me the one I really need? Wont you please bring my baby to be quickly…

This time she sent: “Baby, I’m sorry about last night. I was wrong and stupid. I <3 u bae” 

I just want you for my own. More than you could ever know…

As she unwrapped the backing off of the vinyl snowflake she felt a buzz in her pocket. It read: “Thank you. I overreacted too. Let’s talk about this tonight, I love you.”

Make my wish come true, baby all i want for Christmas is you…

“This really is a great song,” Jennifer thought as she applied the snowflake to the store’s front window. As the song faded out Jennifer reflected on Tara and how special what was developing between them felt. “It will be nice to spend the holidays together,” she thought as she imagined watching Harry Potter marathons on ABC Family and exchange gifts with Tara. “Christmas really isn’t that bad. Maybe November 1 is a good start date for the holidays after all.”

Suddenly, Jennifer heard the opening notes of the song again.

I don’t want a lot for Christmas. There is just one thing I need

“Terry, why is the song playing again?”

“Oh, we’re playing this on repeat until January. Corporate said it puts customers in a happy and therefore shoppier mood.”

As Jennifer gazed down at her phone again she scrolled through pictures of her and Tara from the Halloween party. 

“I just love that she is the type of woman who would dress up as Ada Lovelace for a costume party,” she said to herself while examining a picture of the two of them embracing last night. 

“Maybe I’ll buy her a ring for Christmas,” she pondered to herself as the jingle bells, piano trills, and drums entered the song once again. “That will show Jesse. ”  


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City Commissioner Joe Carollo, who was once arrested for beating up his wife in front of his child, proposed a resolution banning all dancing in Little Havana, an act seen by many as part of a longstanding vendetta he has against Bill Fuller, the owner of Ball and Chain, a popular nightclub in Little Havanna.

Commissioner Carollo said his reasons for banning all dancing within Little Havana have nothing to do with Mr. Fuller but was instead about keeping Little Havana safe. “I would never use my office to retaliate against my enemies,” he said before laughing to himself and muttering something about “now this will show Bill Fuller not to mess with me because I can use my political office to retaliate against my enemies.”

We asked Joe Carollo whether he would support reinstating dancing after Coronavirus was cured, but the Miami Commissioner said this has nothing to do with Covid, which was a total scam, but was about protecting the morals of Little Havana.

“Dafuq?” we asked, to which Commissioner Carollo esplained:

“Okay, see, Little Havana is a Latin neighborhood so it’s important to me that we keep it safe. Latins are Catholics, everyone knows that. And Catholics don’t have pre-marital sex. Now dancing, you see, dancing can lead to pre-marital sex. So, that means dancing is anti-Catholic. Being anti-Catholic is a socialistic quality. Therefore, if you oppose me you are a socialist. And socialists are not wanted in Little Havana, because it is a Latin neighborhood, and we have to keep it that way,” said Commissioner Carollo, before accusing me of being a socialist. “Satire is the socialist’s propaganda tool,” he said to me before leaving the interview to beat up his wife.

We reached out to Ball and Chain’s owner for some free drink tickets, but the request was denied. We also asked what started his feud with the Commissioner and he said it was something about Carollo being pissed that Fuller supported a different candidate for Commissioner or something. I don’t know, I lost interest because it was so stupid.

When asked whether he thought Carollo would succeed in banning all dancing in Little Havana, Fuller was pessimistic. “Of course not, it’s like Dirty Dancing. They couldn’t ban dancing there and they won’t be able to ban dancing in Little Havana. People will revolt,” Fuller said, proud of himself about the reference.

“Actually, it’s like Dirty Dancing: Little Havana Nights!,” he added with a laugh, really happy with the pun.

As we parted I thanked Mr. Fuller for his time, before gently reminding him that it was the town in Footloose that banned dancing, not Dirty Dancing. He was embarrassed so I used the opportunity to ask again for some free drink tickets. He declined.


In all seriousness: Joe Carollo (pictured arrested below) is on a vendetta against Ball and Chain because he is a petty bitch. His newest line of attack is trying to manipulate Covid fears to create regulations that make it impossible for the bar to reopen.

If you want to see Ball and Chain open you can sign the petition HERE

South Miami’s Shops at Sunset Place has suffered low consumer turnout and a plague of store closings since its opening in 1999. This trend was originally set by its predecessor, the Bakery Centre Mall, which closed in 1996 after a decade providing a movie theater, 9 acres of perpetually vacant shop fronts, and one fully-functional TCBY Yogurt. A document recently leaked to The Plantain reveals that the beleaguered shopping center may be suffering from setbacks of the metaphysical variety: it was built on an ancient burial ground.

The leaked document dates back to surveys of the original Bakery Centre site, stating: “Archaeological consultants strongly advise against building on this property after groundbreaking unearthed interment mounds of a previously-unknown indigenous tribe. Building here is strongly discouraged due to high likelihood of an enduring curse.”

The anonymous informant found the Bakery Centre zoning report after researching the site’s background following complaints from Michael Stevenson, Sunset Place’s night security.

“I’d monitor the halls at night and I’d hear shrieks and my spine would just freeze,” said Mr. Stevenson who was recently turned down for the third time from the police academy for “personality reasons.” “At first I thought the noises were just from some kids, likely Black, that were leaving the movie theater, but there was no one there except for some very suspicious and ethnic looking poltergeists,” said the 33-year-old security guard who plans to apply for the police academy again in September. “I shot the unarmed ghost a dozen times, but the bullets went right through it.”

Mr. Stevenson’s account matches other complaints from Sunset Place employees and visitors, who have also reported hearing footsteps where no one has traversed, experiencing feelings of emptiness and purposelessness when patrolling the western portions of the mall, and witnessing apparitions in the former Virgin Megastore/Bodies Exhibition/Furniture Showroom/Seasonal Halloween Costume Outlet installation, despite it “totally not being October.”

An official statement from Sunset Place management announced that plans are underway to rectify the situation and, hopefully, provide mall-goers with incentives to visit attractions other than the movie theater and restaurants.

Improvement plans include raising the volume on mall PA systems while they loop Gloria Estefan’s 1985 album “Primitive Love” to drown out the wails of distraught ghouls who tend to haunt the former Hot Topic installation. The mall’s owners are also planning to commission several murals, statues, and toilets by local mall artist Romero Britto, to “brighten the landscape with imagery that inspires visitation” and to cover up any walls that are consistently dripping blood.

The mall also plans to convert the continually-failing west wing formerly housing a Virgin Megastore into a permanent museum and education center celebrating “whoever it was that left their dead people here.”

The Plantain, in its dedication to journalistic integrity, sent several staffers to Sunset Place for a midnight seance, equipped with pendulums, dark candles, and a Ouija board. While no spirit arrived corporeally to give an interview, the board did channel one terse message: “Shut. Those. Fucking. Teenagers. Up.”

The Plantain has confirmed that “¿Qué Pasa, USA?”, the popular-in-Miami 1970’s sitcom about a Cuban family living in Miami, is being remade, but with a twist.

“We want to make sure the new “¿Qué Pasa, USA?” remains as relevant in 2020 as it was when it debuted in 1976,” said the new series’ creator Harold Weisenbaum-Steinman. “So, whereas the original series featured the Cuban Peña family navigating an anglo-majority Miami, the new sitcom will feature the anglo Peterson family relocating to a Hispanic-majority Miami from Rhode Island.” In keeping with the show’s new anglo-lead, the reboot’s title will be “What’s Happening, Miami?”

“What’s Happening Miami?” will see Jonathan Peterson (played by John Lithgow), a white, Hispanic studies professor at the University of Rhode Island relocate with his wife Barbara (Cheryl Hines) and three children (Chad Michael Murray, Leighton Meester, Chloe Moretz) from their lily-white hometown to a newly renovated home in the heart of Little Havana. Rounding out the odd-ball cast of Cuban characters that make up the Peterson’s new community will be George Lopez (actually Mexican), Paul Rodriguez (also Mexican), and Gabriel Iglesias (he’s Mexican too). Gal Gadot (Israeli) will guest star as Usarmy Santos, a potential love interest of Chad Michael Murray.

“We hope the new series retains the heart and humor of the original series, but with the profitability that comes from maintaining a primarily white main cast that only has to interact with minorities for humor,” said Weisenbaum-Steinman.


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I don’t like political documentaries. I find them self-righteous and am frankly at the point in my life where I’ve heard just about enough out of Doris Kearns Goodwin, thank you very much. But I do like drugs and football, which means I’m a fan of local Jewish filmmakers Billy Corben and Alfred Spellman and was willing to check out their new documentary “537 Votes,” despite its political subject matter. It was the biggest mistake of my entire life.

537 Votes is a horror film that recounts (get it?) how the Republicans stole the 2000 Presidenital election from Al Gore. As with most bad things, the trouble started (Elian) and ended (Palm Beach) in Florida, and the film makes the case that the ever-present political manipulations of the local Cuban diaspora community’s trauma resulted in George Bush’s election, as well as, extrapolating the consequences of his Presidency out: EVERYTHING THAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD TODAY.

It’s been three days since I watched the film and I can’t sleep. That isn’t an exaggeration, I literally can’t sleep because I just keep thinking about what the world would be like if Al Gore had won. Would we be further along in our fight against climate change? Would we have been thrown into an endless unjustified war in the middle east? Would Trump be President? Would my wife have left me?

Seven years ago I met Marissa in Seattle on the weekend of its annual FrasierCon. She had been raised in Kosovo, and as a little girl, took comfort from the war and economic uncertainty that ravished her Country in the 1990s by watching episodes of Frasier on her village’s only TV. Every night she’d sit with her father and watch for the list of the dead and wounded on the news and then would laugh at Frasier’s antics, Niles’s quips, and Roz’s unbridled sexuality before returning to her home for dinner of one bean split three ways with her father and family goat.

“One day, I’ll be in America,” she told her father, “like Dr. Frasier Crane, and you will live with me like his cop father Martin Crane,” she would say in between bites of her bean sliver. In 2014, she was able to join me in the United States after I purchased her through an online forum that connected eastern European women with men who had $700. When I took her out of her crate at the Port of Seattle, she was over the Daphne Moon to be in the United States. It happened to be the weekend of the City’s annual Frasier convention. “This was meant to be,” she told me, so we headed over to the convention center and were married by a Jane Leeves impersonator who turned out to actually be Jane Leeves.

“I love you,” she told me as we exchanged vows. “As much as Niles loves Daphne.” I told her I did too, although I didn’t understand the reference because I don’t like Frasier. The few episodes I remember seeing as a kid were pretentious and distractingly unfunny. That night, we flew to my home in Miami to start a life together.

The narrative around the 2000 election has always been one of Floridian incompetence, but that undermines the seriousness of the crimes that were committed against our democracy. George Bush was installed as President as a result of a concentrated effort to steal the election by making sure votes for his opponent were never counted. That’s a scary enough thought in normal times, let alone two weeks before another election in which Florida is once again responsible for safeguarding our democratic institutions and whose electoral votes will turn on the ability of Miami’s Cuban community to recognize a dictator asking for their support. God help us.

Since coming to the United States, Marissa had been joyfully disinterested in politics. After years spent living in an anti-Democratic regime, she relished that under Obama, it was possible to ignore what was happening day-to-day in Washington. Since 2016 though, like many of us, she started watching the discourse around national politics grow more and more divisive. “I don’t like where this is going,” she’d tell me after recanting whatever scandal of the day made its round on Twitter before finally tossing her phone to the side and putting on an episode of Frasier to clear her head.

“How many times can you watch that damn Ski Lodge episode?” I asked her a few nights ago, but all she could do was cry and mutter something about Russian bounties. After pressing the issue, I convinced her to turn off Frasier and put on the 537 Votes documentary instead. “It’s supposed to be funny,” I told her. “Probably a lot funnier than Frasier, at least.”

And 537 Votes is funny, at first. The editing is frenetic and the film is as weird and quirky as you would expect in a story about Miami fuckery. But as with the case with most stories about South Florida, behind its bizarre patina, 537 Votes offers something sinister and awful: The realization that our democracy is broken and has been for a long time.

After the movie, Marissa and I sat in silence thinking about what we just saw. “It’s all a lie,” she said. “American democracy is just a lie.”

“I wouldn’t go that far,” I said.

“It’s all a fucking lie! They stole that election and they are trying to steal the next one too! This place is no better than Kosovo. It’s all just tossed salad and scrambled eggs!”

I tried to tell her that she was overreacting but she wouldn’t hear it. She just put on the Ski Lodge episode again, but unlike the hundreds of other times she watched it over the years, this time she didn’t laugh when Frasier storms out at the end after realizing no one wanted to have sex with him. She just stared at the TV, her mind very obviously somewhere else.

When I woke up the next morning, I found a note on her pillow that she was leaving, along with $700 in cash and her wedding ring. “I know what it’s like to grow up under an undemocratic regime. I won’t subject our child to that.”

She’s pregnant?

In the letter she said she was returning to Kosovo, and told me that I should consider joining her and our son.

With a son?

In the three days since she left, I’ve been thinking about the future of the country and whether Marissa is right to want to leave it. As I did, and maybe in an effort to feel close to her, I put on Frasier and started watching it for the first time. As the episodes flowed into one another, I found myself able to push the disgusting grins of Republican operatives bragging about disenfranchising voters in 2000 that featured so heavily in the documentary out of my head.

After 72 hours of watching Frasier, I’ll acknowledge that it is a great show. But almost no episode is individually very remarkable. It’s dumber and more vulgar than how it’s marketed, and some of its episodes are bad. Just embarrassingly bad.

But you can’t judge Frasier by its worst episodes because the series gets, on a whole, better and better as it goes on.

And I think that’s true about America as well.

When I finally got a hold of Marissa in her village in Kosovo, no easy task since the nearest cell tower was knocked down recently by a sheep, I begged her not to give up on the United States.

“If Frasier teaches us anything, it’s that even the most arrogant and selfish of us can improve over time if we work on it,” I told her. She said she was doubtful about the U.S.’s ability to ever live up to its ideals and even whether its leaders even saw those classic-American principles of freedom and equality as worth striving for, but would nevertheless be returning to Miami, because she forgot how Kosovo was still massively underdeveloped, and she figured that if she is going to be in an undemocratic nation without fair and free elections, she should at least be in one with plenty of Targets and a Massage Envy.

537 Votes can be seen on HBO MAX.
Plantain Score: ★★★★★