Tuesday, August 31, 2010

With a Little Help from My Friends

Eric is upset that Matt didn't show up for church. No one in the family knows where he is. They assume it has something to do with a girl. Given that it's Matt, that's probably a good guess.

Simon wonders when Happy will have her puppies. I had almost forgotten about that plot line.

The phone rings. Matt's sorry he wasn't in church, but he won't say why, just that he's helping someone. Eric lies about being upset. He's trying to trust him.

Lucy is super concerned about doing something special for her thirteenth birthday. Mary dismisses this desire because neither her or Matt made a big deal about turning thirteen. Apparently, celebrating birthdays isn't a big deal in the Camden household until the twins are born in Season 3. Lucy wants a boy-girl party, but her parents think she's way too young. Really? She snits out of the room.

Matt, it turns out, is helping Mrs. Peacock replace some light bulbs. Not sure why she wants to keep that particular activity a secret. She is worried about getting sent to a nursing home for needing too much help, but replacing light bulbs seems fairly inocuous. Matt looks uncomfortable at the prospect of lying to his father.

Morning. Simon can't find Happy. Lucy is whining about not having a party for her birthday. She explains her family's policy on gifts, which will continue through later season. The Camdens only give gifts that they make or find or are hand-me down. Jimmy Moon takes this as permission not to give her anything. Lucy passive-aggressively agrees.

Simon bitches Matt out for letting Happy into the yard by herself. He decides he's not leaving until they take Happy to the hospital to have her puppies. His parents explain that they don't need to take Happy to the hospital. Simon is way too much of a spaz to listen. He also refers to himself as Happy's "husband, master, only man in her life." Ew.

Eric is in a hurry to get to the church before someone gets there. He still takes time to needle Matt about missing church the previous day. Eric also needs tools to take the church. Apparently he's breaking things at the church so he can pay someone named Steve to fix them. That seems fiscally responsible.

Lucy's school. Some kid is inviting students to his birthday party. He's pretty rude when they turn him down, can't imagine why they don't want to go. His name is Dwight and he's a friend of Jimmy Moon's. Dwight invites Lucy to share his birthday party, but she's not that enthused. She makes an excuse about a family dinner. She's upset that Jimmy would rather go to Dwight's party.

Eric is breaking a drain pipe. He gets caught by that Steve fellow. Eric tries to give him some money from his family fun, but Steve thinks he should use it for someone in more need.

High School. Matt has been called to the office by a call from Mrs. Peacock. She's claimed to be Eric's sister. Hee. She needs Matt to come over right away. The office aide gives him permission to leave just as Mary happens by. Matt tries to dissuade her, but Mary is all too happy to ditch school.

Mrs. Peacock won't open the door, so Mary just wanders in. Mrs. Peacock is asleep on the coach, and Matt wakes her up. She can't remember why she called Matt because she was distracted by her tv shows. She offers to take them both for ice cream. Matt sends Mary outside. He tells Mrs. Peacock that he's not sure he's up to the helping her as much as she needs. He wants to talk to his dad. He promises to call her later. She looks sad and flustered.

Outside, Mary is suddenly worried about getting caught. Matt reminds her that she wanted to come on this trip, and that he promised to keep it a secret.
Camdens. Dwight is trying to convince Annie to let Lucy go to his party. Lucy is not happy to this turn of events. Simon is upset that Annie let Happy outside alone. Annie asks Mary and Matt to convince Lucy to go to the party.

Evening. Eric is working on his sermon, but he's having trouble because he can't stop thinking about Steve. Eric can't seem to find anyone who needs help right now. I wonder if that could possibly tie in to another story line.

Simon is still overly concerned about Happy.

The phone rings. Eric answers. He understands someone's concern. Hmm.

In the kitchen, Happy has had her puppies. Annie and the kids all gather around to stare at them.

This cute scene is interupted by Eric's revelation that the school secretary called to find out about Aunt Gladys. He doesn't make the connection to Mrs. Peacock, even though her first name is Gladys. He wants to know who lied to the school. They won't reveal who called the school. Annie is under some delusion that it had something to do with Lucy's birthday.

Annie wants to trust them, but Eric points out that they skipped school and lied about an emergency. And really, since they didn't tell him why, I agree they should be punished. Annie is basing her desire to let off entirely on intuition. She tells Eric to have a little faith.

Simon and Ruthie are trying to pick names for the puppies. Nothing else happens.
Lucy is still whining about the party. Mary is trying to help gain some perspective. Lucy doesn't want to share her party and thinks she has cooler friends that Dwight and Jimmy. Lucy, you're the one dating the Moonster. Mary is appropriately disgusted with her sister's attitude.

Morning. Eric is going to check on Steve. Simon apparently got up everytime the puppies ate to feed Happy. Cause he's stupid.

The phone rings. It's Mrs. Peacock for Matt. She wants Matt to come by before school, but he doesn't have time. And he's still worried about getting in more trouble. Mrs. Peacock is quite frantic about needing him to get a coffee can of money off a high shelf. He won't agree to come by unti after school.

Eric finds out that Steve and his family are living in their van. Steve is still optimistic and feels grateful to have the van. Eric offers him money, or to stay with the Camdens. Steve just wants Eric to pray for him.

Mrs. Peacock has decided to get the can herself. She's having trouble getting her footing. She falls.

Night. Lucy tells her father that she's not going to Dwight's party because it's not the same as having her own party. Eric bitches her out for complaining, saying she should be grateful for what she has. Lucy runs out of the room crying.

Girls room. Lucy is crying on the bed. Eric comes in to apologize for snapping at her earlier. He explains about Steve's family. It's really more of a guilt trip disguised as an apology. Lucy feels properly ashamed of herself.

Phone. Matt tries to rush off to the hospital. Eric calls him out on having more secrets and not trusting him and Annie. Matt calls Eric about on how he doesn't trust his kids, but does reveal that he's going to see Mrs. Peacock. He tells him the whole situation. Eric decides to go to the hospital with Matt.

Ruthie and Simon discuss giving the puppies to Lucy. Ruthie is horrified by the possibility of splitting the puppies up.

Mrs. Peacock's doctor is telling Eric fairly confidential information about her condition.

Mrs. Peacock is trying to convince Matt to steal hospital stuff. She invites Eric to come in and join them rather than snooping. She doesn't blame Matt, though. She notes the Reverend is a nosy guy. I love Mrs. Peacock.

Eric suggests she hire Steve and his wife to do some work around her house while she recovers. The plots are coming together.

Lucy's school. Jimmy reveals that Dwight's party was really a surprise party for her. She invites Dwight and Jimmy over for cake, but Jimmy turns her down. Lucy is even more ashamed as she walks away. Dwight pops out and gives Jimmy a big thumbs up. Wonder what they're up to.

Mrs. Peacock's. Steve is working on her stairs. Matt brings over a dish from Annie. Mrs. Steve brings Mrs. Peacock her pills. Their daughter is going to be hanging out with Mrs. Peacock during the day. She asks Steve if his family would like to stay with her, and fix up her garage into a guest house. Looks like the Reverend's plan worked out.

Night. The Camdens return from Lucy's birthday dinner. She's still upset about how she treated Dwight. Annie suggests they have cake in the living room.

And it's Lucy's surprise party! She apologizes for her behavior and she thanks her parents. Eric asks her to dance and then promises t go upstairs. She tells him he's welcome to stay. Annie dances with Jimmy. Mary dances with Dwight.

Dwight cuts in on Lucy, so that he can profess his love for her. Lucy looks positively disgusted.

Bedtime. Lucy is confiding in Mary while the rest of the family is listening at the door. Mary is trying to get her to shut up so the rest of the family can come in with her presents.

Ruthie lets Lucy use her imaginary friend for the day. Simon is going to give her thirteen days of making her bed, and reveals that Dwight wants the puppies. Matt and Mary give her a basket of stuff she'll need for her teen years. Eric, near tears, gives her a baby picture, causing her to cry. Annie gives her a necklas that her mother gave her when she was thirteen. It's pretty sweet.

The episode closes with everyone telling Lucy Happy Birthday.


I'm going to assume that Annie gave Lucy the necklas because Grandma died that year and not because she was waiting for her daughter to turn thirteen. Otherwise, it's pretty cold to have passed on Mary the year before.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Now You See Me

We open with the Camdens preparing to go to church. Annie has changed his sermon without asking. That seems rude. Lucy announces she's trying out for cheerleading. Mary does not approve. Simon is trying to become invisible. Matt announces that he's bringing a date to church. The family seems prepared to tease him mercilessly. Matt gives his sisters crap for listening in on his phone calls. Hypocrit.

After church. Lucy can't wait to start practicing for her cheerleading tryout, which disgusts Mary. She thinks that cheerleading is stupid.

Matt's girlfriend, Tia, is sucking up to the Camden parents. She gets invited to Sunday dinner. She would rather eat with his entire family than spend time alone with Matt-- she even offers to help Annie cook. Matt, this is clue #1 that she's not that into you.

Simon wants to ride home with Matt and Tia. She thinks it's a great idea. Matt, clue #2.
Simon asks if Tia thinks it's possible to become invisible. Tia thinks it's entirely possible.

Annie and Eric are cooking. He goes in for a kiss, but Annie pulls away. She's apparently feeling a lack of romance. She misses surprises. He's not picking up on the clues.

Mary is practicing basketball, and won't help Lucy with cheerleading. She thinks cheerleading trivializes women and women's sports. Way to dismiss your sister's dream there. Clearly she's never seen Bring it On.

Tia arrives and assumes they're playing basketball. She speculates on the joys of having a sibling. Mary takes another opportunity to insult Lucy, and starts to leave. Tia thinks it's about her, and Lucy tries to tell her it's not about her. Tia does not believe Lucy, but changes the subject to cheerleading. Lucy tries a cart wheel and falls on her face. Tia and I laugh at her.

Simon is still trying to become invisible, while Ruthie helps with the cooking. Matt comes in looking for Tia. Annie waxes poetic about meeting Eric and then stammers out that they were much older than Matt. Matt leaves the kitchen as quickly as possible.

After dinner. Tia offers to help with the dishes. She's still sucking up to Eric about his sermon. She asks him to requote Robert Frost. When he does, she bursts into tears. Annie sends Matt after her.

Matt and Tia talk. Her parents just got divorced, and she really thinks he's really lucky to have such a solid family.

High school. Tia asks Matt for a ride to her dad's, and invites Matt over for a study date. But manages to turn it into an invite to his house. She has a car there that she's not allowed to drive to her mom's. She'll follow Matt to his house after they pick up her car. She also invites herself for dinner. Matt, clue #3.

Eric comes home early. And he's trying to use the the rare opportunity to be romantic, but it's not enough for Annie. She wants him to plan something special.

Lucy overhears her friends trashing her cheerleading ability and tries to rush Matt away from the school. Matt, being nosy, won't drive until she tells him what's wrong. He promises to get her on the squad. He also takes credit for getting Mary on the basketball team. Guess the Camden girls can't do anything without the aid of their big brother.

Simon appears in the backseat and his brother encourages his delusions of invisibility.

Tia and her mother and her mother's cell phone arrive at the Camdens' before Matt. Her mother overshares about her divorce and how she can't stand the possibility of running into her ex if she took her daughter herself. Then she rushes off, managing to insinuate that her condo will sell faster if the buyers don't know she has a teenage daughter. They're moving to a singles complex. Tia makes a sad face, while Annie gets all judgmental. The mom remains oblivious. Annie manages to be sympatheic to Tia though.

Eric picks Mary up from practice. She's whining about Lucy's interest in cheerleading. Mary, itt's really none of your business. Get a hobby. Eric tries to talk her into being more supportive, but she's not having it. Probably because he thinks cheerleading is stupid too and is only lecturing her on Annie's orders. Way to undermine your own point, Rev.

Simon is still trying to be invisible. Ruthie is talking, but can't be seen. She convinces Simon that she's achieved invisibility. Simon looks for her, but doesn't find her hiding behind the bedroom door. Well Simon, you just got outsmarted by a four year old, how do you feel?

Matt and Tia are still studying. His parents suggest that it's time for Tia to go home. She invites herself over for dinner tomorrow, claiming that she's sorry she didn't get more of a chance to talk to the Camden parents. Matt, clue #4.

Tia thanks Matt for the ride earlier, and Matt offers to follow her home if she's nervous about the late hour. She turns him down, but takes the time to mention how much she likes hanging out with his family. Matt, clue #5.

Later. The phone rings, waking Eric up. It's Tia's father and he's wondering if Tia is still at the Camdens. Eric and Annie go to check on what might have happened. They find her sleeping in her car, still parked in their driveway. She didn't want to go to her dad's. Eric says he's worried, but Tia points out it took him until 2:30 to notice her absense. Hey, at least he didn't assume it wasn't his custody night.

They go inside to call Tia's dad, who is more than happy to let her spend the night at the Camdens. This way it won't interfere with his date. He declines to talk with her. Ass. Annie makes up a bed on the couch, while Eric encourages her to talk to her parents.

Morning. Matt is surprised to find Tia still at his house. Simon wants to talk to Tia about invisibility. Mary wonders if Tia ever leaves. Simon offers her Mary's wardrobe, giving Tia the opportunity to make a comment about having sisters. Matt, clue #6.
Eric and Annie talk to Matt about Tia's situation. Eric asks permission from Matt to interfere in Tia's life. Seems like he should be asking Tia instead. The Camdens judge her parents. Matt thinks Tia could be the one, which freaks out Eric. Annie has picked up on the fact that Tia is using the Camdens as a replacement family. They elect not to mention it to Matt.

Eric leaves, kissing Annie on the forehead. She looks annoyed. He looks pleased with himself.

School. Matt breaks a date with Tia to help Lucy with her cheerleading. Tia's understanding and says she'll be at her dad's. They make a date for the weekend. Tia wants to go to church with Matt again. Matt mentions having some alone time together, and Tia says she doesn't mind if they don't because she likes his family. Matt, clue #7.

Eric goes to talk to Tia's dad. He's on the phone, and their talk is continually interrupted by more phone calls. He's really too busy to talk.

Matt takes Lucy to a gymnastics studio. They have the place to themselves. Matt's trying to build her confidence. We have a montage of Lucy becoming a competent cheerleader with Matt's help. Aww.

Night at the Camdens. Tia is hanging out with Mary and Lucy discussing Mary's new jacket. Matt comes up to talk to Tia, but she'd rather hang out with his sisters. Matt, clue #8.

Matt bumps into Simon in the hallway. Simon tells him that Tia wants to be a Camden. Matt is stupid enough to think Simon is talking about marriage. Simon, however, has realized that Tia would love the Camdens to adopt her. Matt is perplexed.

Eric and Annie discuss Tia's parents and their obliviousness. Eric wants to get them in the same room to discuss their daughter. They start kissing, and Annie goes to turn out the lights. Eric turns over to go to sleep. Annie is disappointed. Eric looks more pleased with himself.

Morning. Lucy thinks she's not pretty enough to be a cheerleader. Matt gives her a pep talk. It's actually kind of sweet.

Cheerleader tryouts. The whole family plus Tia has turned out to watch the event. Lucy is doing well, and the family is amazed. Mary doesn't think it's that stupid anymore. Aww.

Night. Matt and Tia decide to cool it because she's more into his family. Tia makes it all about her parents divorce.

In the living room. Eric and Annie are listening to Tia's mom excitedly discuss the blind date she thinks they're setting her up on. The Camdens are clearly judging her. The doorbell rings and her ex-husband comes in. They seem shocked to see each other. The Camdens leave to go get the person they want them both to meet-- Tia.

Eric gives them a condescending speech about how they're ignoring her. They start fighting before Tia has a chance to get a word in. Eric gives Tia a chance to say what's on her mind. In sum, she feels ignored and unloved by both her parents. She leaves the room so that Eric can lecture and give a psa on all the terrible things that can happen to kids whose parents are in the middle of a divorce. Then Eric leaves Tia's parents alone to discuss their daughter.

Tia's dad thinks the Rev has a holier than thou attitude. How right Tia's dad is. But Tia's mom thinks he's right about their daughter. They decide to get counseling from Eric, thus validating his intrusive behavior.

Annie tries to get her husbands attention, but he seems really busy.

Mary bought Lucy a sports bra to show her support for her sister's new sport.

Turns out Eric has planned a surprise picnic for Annie on the roof. He starts serenading her with "Up on the Roof." She joins him singing as the episode ends. I wonder how the neighbors feel about this.


Tia's parents are such caricatures of newly single people, that it's hard to take them seriously.

Annie and Eric are super judgemental of Tia's parents based on meeting each of them once.

Matt apparently knows enough about gymnastics and cheerleading to take Lucy from klutz to talented in a single afternoon. I wonder where he learned it all.

Mary is ridiculously obsessed with Lucy cheerleading for someone who plays a sport that often has cheerleaders present. Maybe in Glen Oak they only have cheerleaders at the boys' games.

Simon's invisibility plot is too ridiculous for words, but I guess they included it to have some tie in with how invisible Tia feels.

I like that the early episodes feature very little of Ruthie.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Last Call For Aunt Julie

We open with Eric arriving home, having pick up his sister at the airport. Everyone's excited to see her, she teases naturally with the family. She seems especially close to Matt. She's brought them all presents. Ruthie at four doesn't know what an aunt is. Simon is over grateful to the point where I wonder if he's ever received a present before.

Matt takes Julie upstairs, so that Mary and Lucy can ask about not having Thanksgiving with the family. Mary wants to see a movie; Lucy wants to spend time with Jimmy Moon. Matt asks Julie if she minds if goes skiing with his new girlfriend during her visit. Julie encourages him. He asks about her cool boyfriend, and Julie stammers that he's with his family this year. Matt leaves so that Julie can pull out the fifth she's carrying in her luggage and take a shot. She hasn't bothered to closed the door though-- she's lucky that no one in this nosy family happened to be walking by.

Dinner. Eric is happy that his kids haven't bugged him about skipping out on Thanksgiving. They give everyone permission to go through their plans. The kids are reasonably appreciative. Julie makes a toast and downs her glass of wine. Simon notes that his aunt drinks a lot of wine. Because she's got a secret problem. She covers that she lost track because of all her travelling. Eric enables her, saying that it's okay because she's on vacation. Because it's still a secret problem. Annie makes her kids clean the kitchen.

Annie and Julie discuss Annie's mom. Julie tells Annie that she's been really tired of her life lately. Annie is sympathetic. Annie leaves to tuck her kids into bed. And also so that Julie can sneak some wine out of their locked liquor cabinet. Who knew the Camdens were so welled stocked in adult beverages?

Matt is making out with the girl who invited him skiing. She's planning quite the romantic weekend. Including "lots of other stuff" while her family is skiing. She clearly doesn't know that Camdens only "do stuff" after they rush into marriage.

Eric's sorry he didn't get home from some meeting before his sister went to bed. Annie reminds him that she's here for a few days. Eric is nervous about preaching in front of his sister, given her perfectionist tendencies. Annie tells him he'll do fine, and is glad that she's here. She asks Eric if he thought Julie was drinking more than usual. Eric thinks she's just unwinding. Annie looks uncertain.

Eric is preaching. Julie is anxious. The family notices. Eric introduces his sister and she spills out her purse, so that Eric can further embarass her by calling her the family klutz in front of his parish. Nice.

Annie calls Julie's boyfriend. I guess to check up on Julie's excuse for his absense. Because she's that nosy. She finds out they broke up, and that Julie got fired from her job. Annie looks concerned.

Simon and Ruthie are playing Batman. Julie comes into get some more booze, but Simon playfully steals the key, so she can't get in. She plays along, and she and Ruthie start tickling him to get the key back. But Simon's not giving up quickly enough. So Julie very suddenly and very roughly grabs him by the neck demanding that he, "Give her that G-D key." Ruthie calls for their mother as Simon protests. Annie understably throws her out of the house.

Saloon. Julie is drinking with some random guy. Eric walks in. The bartender called him to tell him that his sister was there. Because Eric apparently knows the bartender well enough for him to know who his sister is. Eric tells Julie that it's time to go home, and when she resists, he literally drags her out of the bar. She's yelling at him to let her go, and nobody in the bar does anything to stop him.

Annie is talking to the kids about what happened. Lucy wants to know if Julie will still be staying with them, but Annie is opposed to having her around the kids. Because she actually tried to injure on of them. Annie explains alocoholism and that it's a disease. She explains about addiction. Lucy suggests that alcoholics "are really just trying to kill themselves," and Annie agrees with her. Way to oversimplify a complicated issue there. Matt sends Simon and Ruthie upstairs, so Annie can further explain things to the older kids.

Matt thinks it's cold to send Julie away to rehab when she needs her family the most, but Annie is concerned about the potential for more violence. Mary is super angry with her aunt and is ready to disown her. Lucy is crying as she recaps the situation. She feels sorry for everyone involved.

Eric brings Julie into the house. She can barely stand. Matt goes to help. Lucy is still crying. Mary calls Julie out on her behavior, and gets reprimanded for her efforts. Julie tries to apologize, but Annie's not really having it. I'm not sure why everyone's being so hard on Mary for her reaction, when Annie seems to be just as distant. The men take her upstairs. Wonder why Eric didn't take her directly to rehab. He seems the type to have access to places open at all hours.

Jimmy Moon calls and Lucy backs out of her Thanksgiving plans due to the family problems. Interesting tidbit-- apparently these twelve year olds spend a lot of time discussing Jimmy Moon's fear of intimacy. Like twelve year olds would even know what that means.

Matt comes in and cancels his sisters' plans for them. Because as their older brother, he can make that call. Though his father did just forcibly drag his sister out of a bar, so maybe this is how things work in Glen Oak. Mary thinks this is a ridiculous idea, and refuses to let "some drunk ruin her holiday." Matt tells her the holiday is already ruined and wants to know why Mary is so mad. Mary points out that Julie hurt Simon, and that she's looked up to Julie all her life and is upset because her aunt is too human. Matt points out that it's not her fault, but Mary isn't hearing it. Matt's upset about her general lack of compassion.

Annie asks Eric about where Julie will be going for treatment. Eric wants to keep Julie at there house and get her through the first few days himself. This seems like a terrible idea on so many levels. Annie agrees with me. Eric throws his qualifications in her face, but that's not why she's opposed to the idea because she's worried about her children's safety and she's not sure Julie even wants help. Eric really wants to do this for his sister because he thinks he's the only one who can help her through this. So modest, and also, even if you have the training, aren't there ethical issues involved in trying to treat members of your family? Annie looks super pissed.

Simon and Ruthie give back their presents. Julie looks devestated.

Matt tells his girlfriend that he can't go on the ski trip. She breaks up with him.

Eric talks to Julie about treatment. She's in denial about how serious her problem is. She wants to go home, but Eric won't even let her leave the house, let alone the town. I don't know why Julie doesn't call the police about his forced confinement.

Lucy and Ruthie offer to help Annie with Thanksgiving dinner. Mary doesn't want to because she's still upset that Julie is in their house. Annie sends her on a walk to cool off. Lucy begins the process of morphing into her mother.

Matt offers to give Eric a break from the 24-hour surveillance of Julie. This seems like a bad idea on so many levels. As soon as Eric is out of the room, Julie tries to con Matt into getting her a beer. Matt almost falls for it because he wants to believe in his aunt, but he doesn't want to get her a beer.

Julie turns on him, saying he's "just as self-righteous as [Eric]." She's got that right. Then she kicks him out of the room, shouting random insults. Matt's clearly hurt.

Evening. Simon is teaching Ruthie about drawing turkeys. She's not that impressed. Ruthie wants her present back. So does Simon. They go to get their stuff out of the other room.

Julie's having withdrawls in the other room. She's hallucinating about rats and screaming. I can't believe Eric is subjecting his kids to this. I mean they're all just down the hall, I imagine they can hear what's going on.

Morning. Julie, Annie, and Eric are asleep in the master bedroom, so the kids are making breakfast. Mary is still upset and snotty. Eric and Annie are impressed that the kids have started preparing Thanksgiving. Annie gives them all permission to go off on their other plans. Lucy declines on everyone's behalf.

Matt suggests that Mary get over her snottiness about Julie's situation. He tells her that he hopes if she ever needs help, that someone treats her with more kindness than she's shown her aunt. Of course, we all know that the minute Mary's family does not treat her with anywhere near the understanding they are showing Julie in later seasons.

Julie is calling a rehab place to see if they will take her as a patient. Looks like Eric's crazy plan worked. As she hangs up, she sees Mary hovering in the background. Julie apologizes, and thinks Mary is giving her present back. Mary's real plan however is to give her aunt a makeover. Aww, looks like she's not angry anymore.

Night. The table is set with a variety of unidentifiable food. The parents are having trouble figuring out what to say about it, and Matt won't let them in the kitchen. Probably because it's a disaster. The Camden parents decide to have water with there meal instead of wine. Which is good because that way it won't tempt Julie who has just come in with Mary.

Simon is a little nervous about being in the same room with his aunt. She promises that she's getting better, and that she loves him. Simon hugs her, shows her that he kept his present afterall, and all is forgiven.

The family sits down to dinner. Annie says grace, and everyone digs in. Julie makes a joke about being drunk when she brought Happy's present and everybody laughs. Too soon, y'all. Everyone digs into the food as the show draws to a close.


Eric is so creepy sometimes.

I know we're supposed to think that Eric is just being a protective brother, but it's really creepy to watch a man forcibly drag a screaming woman out of a bar while all the patrons ignore it. Even if they do know each other, the patrons don't know that, and there may be compelling reasons for her not to want to go with. The whole scene is just wrong.

Also, I think Mary's anger was a little over the top, but it seemed like a more natural reaction than Matt's and Lucy's instant empathy.

I can't believe Annie let Eric lock his sister in their bedroom so he could treat her for alcoholism while all their kids were in the house. I also can't believe there was anything legal or ethical about that situation. Julie expresses numerous times that she doesn't want to be there, and as an adult, she should have the right to make that decision.

There are quite a few references to Annie and the kids missing Annie's mother, which was a nice touch of continuity.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil

Night at the Camdens. Ruthie has chicken pox and Simon is afraid of catching it. He wants Ruthie to hold her breath while he's in the room. She fails, which is understandable, since they share the room and who knows how long he expected her to hold it in. She thinks he should hold his breath since he's so concerned. Once again, Ruthie seems to be the smartest Camden.

Matt and Annie are driving somewhere. The radio starts to fritz out so Annie has Matt pull over to fix it. On the side of an empty road. At night. With the windows open. Is anyone who has ever watched tv before surprised that they get held up?

Matt freezes up and Annie gives the robber their wallets and her wedding rings. She has trouble getting her ring off, so the thief grabs it off her, revealing his snake tattoo. Then he takes their keys and runs off into the night. Credits.

We cut to Annie and Matt reporting the incident to the police. St. Michaels advises them to change the locks. Eric tries to talk to Annie about what happened, but she insists that she's fine. Matt also declines to discuss the situation with him. I find it amusing that none of the Camdens ever want to talk to Eric about anything.

Annie is explaining the situation to Simon and Ruthie. Simon is so paranoid about catching Ruthie's germs that he's trying to sleep in a snorkel mask. Hate to tell you, Simon, but unless that mask is attached to an oxygen tank you're still breathing the same air as your contagious sister. Ruthie asks if her parents are still married if Annie doesn't have a wedding ring. Because she's four and sick, I won't pick on her too much. Simon wants to know if Annie was scared during the robbery. Annie is either lying or in deep denial when she claims that she was not scared.

Eric knocks and enters Mary and Lucy's room. Mary shows concern for her traumatized family members, but Eric can't focus on anything besides Lucy's new look. He thinks her dress is too old for her. She wants to wear something special to announce that she's running for class president. Mary teases her about her speech. Eric offers to help, but Lucy's not interested. She cleverly deflects his attentions by revealing that Mary wants a tattoo. Mary stammers to explain that the whole team is getting the school mascot tattos, and she doesn't want to be left out. Eric doesn't think much of this idea. I think it's a bad idea to get matching tattoos in general. For someone who is supposed to be so independent, Mary sure develops a tendency to follow her teammates lead.

Ruthie crawls up into Simon's bunk, because she's scared. Simon has a lot of confidence in his red lightening ring.

Lucy is still trying to figure out what to wear. Mary seems kind of bored by the whole thing. Lucy then prays to be elected class president and Mary gives her crap about it.

Morning. Simon has the chicken pox. He blames it on sharing a room with Ruthie. Annie sends him back to bed. Mary and Lucy tease him, but since they've already had the chicken pox his threats to breathe on them are ineffectual. Lucy is wearing a robe over her school outfit. She's trying to sneak to school in the dress that Eric thought was too mature. Annie sends her upstairs to change. Lucy apparently has not yet figured out that it is possible to change in the school bathrooms.

Mary asks how her mother's doing as a round about way of asking permission to get a tattoo. She's shot down. Matt comes in and borrows Eric's car keys. Annie is still insisting to everybody that she's fine.

The girls find Matt in the car. He's staring at the steering wheel and doesn't respond to them. Eric comes out and suggests Matt take the day off. They have a thoughtful discussion about Matt's reaction. Matt is pretty scared and Eric is understanding.

Middle School. Lucy finds out that Jimmy Moon is running for class president against her. He even steals her platform-- crime and safety. I didn't think school elections had any bigger issues than cafeteria food and more study hall. Anyway, Lucy is not pleased with this turn of events. Aww, her first fight with Jimmy Moon.

Matt is thinking about calling a victims' support group. Annie is talking to Mrs. Hamilton about the incident. She continues to deny having any reaction to it. She does admit to missing her wedding ring. Annie figures out that Eric sent her friend to check up on her. Throughout the conversation, Annie is changing the house locks.

Ruthie wants to continue to share Simon's bunk. She's scared of what might happen if someone breaks into the house.

Mary's teammates ask her about tattoos. She says she'll be there. Looks like someone is about to disobey her parents.

Church. The choir director begs Eric to fire the organist. Mrs. Hinkle is a long-standing member of the parish, and he's not looking forward to it, but she does seem to be playing terribly.

Matt decides that he's ready to drive again. Spending time with Simon and Ruthie has driven him to want out. He's also planning to check out victims' support. Annie is still not admitting to a reaction. Eric is skeptical about how well she's handling it.

Annie goes downstairs to get a midnight snack. She makes sure to take Happy with her. She double checks the door is locked and sinks down by the door, clinging to the dog. I think someone is having trouble pretending not to be scared.

Eric fires Mrs. Hinkle, but only after making sure she's not carrying her pepper spray. She takes it well, much to Eric's surprise. She wants one more Sunday, he agrees. And then plays chopsticks on the organ. Seriously.

Annie is making a baking soda bath for Simon to soak in while she and Mary go to the store. Simon asks her to buy red light bulbs. She's confused. Simon dumps the rest of the baking soda that Annie left by the tub into his bath.

Jimmy Moon stops by the church to ask Eric to dump Lucy for him. Eric is stupid enough to be talked into this plan.

Store parking lot. A man rushes up to Mary and Annie freaks out. Turns out he was just returning her sunglasses. Annie breaks down and Mary tries her best to comfort her.

Simon is covered in baking soda. He looks like a piece of human chalk. He wants to know if he can get out of the tub, but Annie's not home. He asks Matt if he's done and Matt makes him take a shower.

Eric confronts Annie about what happened at the grocery store, and Annie bursts into tears. They talk about what happened. She admits she's afraid. Simon overhears and asks Matt about it. Matt notices that Happy is itching and might have fleas. Did Matt secretly go to vet school? That's the only way I can think of that he always seems to be the first to know what's going on with their dog.

Annie is cleaning up her kitchen when the phone rings. It's the police, they want her and Matt to come down and identify the robber in a line up. She agrees, but then lies to Eric about who called. Maybe she's not quite finished with her denial.

The next day. Eric is going through his to do list when Annie overhears him mention that he needs to talk with Lucy. She thinks Eric should stay out of it, because every once in a while, she's the sane one in the household. Lucy interupts them, and she and Eric head out together.

Simon is making a nightlight for Ruthie, presumably in an effort to get her back into her own bed. He uses the red light bulbs he asked for earlier. Ruthie seems satisfied.

Jimmy Moon comes over to the Camdens. Annie doesn't seemed pleased to see him. She makes him help her plant tulips while he waits for Lucy to come back. Which is about a second later. Eric tries to get rid of him, but Annie makes them talk to each other.

Once inside, Matt asks Annie about the lineup that they missed. Eric and Matt get ready to head to the police station, leaving Annie alone in the kitchen, stewing about getting caught in her lies.

Lucy and Jimmy get way too introspective about their relationship. They decide to stay together and withdraw from the election. Gag.

Annie and Matt are looking at the lineup together, which means that the case will be thrown out if Law and Order is to be believed. They don't recognize anyone.

Looks like Mary got her tattoo. Matt notices, and predicts trouble ahead. The parents are not happy. They bombard her with pointed questions until she reveals that it is fake. She apologizes for tricking them, but it did trigger a memory for Annie. The guy had a tattoo. Back to the lineup that any defense attorney would have thrown out. Annie recognizes the tattoo and agrees to testify.

Sunday. Mrs. Hinkle plays surprising well on her last Sunday. She reveals that she was hoping to get fired. She felt too bad quitting on the church to retire. Eric doesn't deny her claim that quitting a church activity would lead her directly to Hell. Maybe he was too shocked by this convoluted plan. Or maybe he's just a crap minister.

Simon needs Eric's help with a special project. Eric gives Annie Simon's red lightening ring to help her feel less afraid. And we fade out on them hugging.


If Mary had any sense, she would have gotten the tattoo without asking her parents first. Or maybe she was planning to, since it was Lucy who spilled the beans.

Jimmy Moon is such a tool. Who asks their girlfriend's father to break up with her for him? Doesn't he have friends who could do this? That seems more reasonable for a kid his age.

Eric is still an idiot for agreeing to it.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What Will People Say?

Annie is picking up Matt and Mary at school. The other kids are already in the car. Mary makes Lucy sit in the back.

Eric and another women are in car outside a hotel. He talks her into going inside. His entire family drives by just in time to see them walk in together. Annie thinks it has something to do with the church, but Simon is suspicious. Is it possible the good reverend is being unfaithful to his wife?? No.

The hotel is pretty swanky. Eric checks in. The woman seems really nervous. They get to the room, and she reveals that her husband is abusive and Eric is helping her get away from him. He's fairly sympathetic. She refuses to go to a woman's shelter, which is why they're at a hotel. Eric's using his discretionary fund to pay for the hotel. She's not sure if she wants to leave him for good. Eric suggests she call her sister in New York, but she needs time to think. She insists that she doesn't want anyone else to know about her situation.

Camden house. Mary and Lucy are suspicious of their father. Matt thinks Mary shouldn't be talking to Lucy about the situation, because Matt is under the delusion that what his sisters talk about is any of his business. Matt doesn't want to talk about Eric and his non-affair. He wants to give Mary crap about the guy she's dating. He thinks Mary is getting to close to the boyfriend, which is really none of his business. Shut up Matt.

Simon is doodling a girl's name in a notebook while Happy struggles to get his attention. Annie pries, but Simon just wants to know if Eric is dating. Gee, it's good to know that the family has such faith in the reverend. One trip to a hotel, in the middle of the day, in broad daylight, and it's the affair of the century. Annie says she trusts him, but she doesn't sound sure.

Eric comes home. Simon pries, but he's not giving any answers.

Doorbell. It's Mary's new boyfriend, Richard, to play catch with Mary. Eric tries to deny permission, but Mary doesn't give him the chance.

Mary and Richard play football in the front yard. She doesn't want to kiss in public, and she's worried about grades. Richard doesn't care about grades. They flirt.

Simon asks Lucy for advice about love. Lucy babbles about Jimmy Moon. Simon looks confused, and wanders away. Heh.

Ruthie pries into Simon's life. He asks her about love at first sight. Ruthie is not that helpful, but then she is four. Simon's having fantasies about marrying the new girl in his class. Because it's never to early to pick one's future bride.

The family is talking about sports at dinner. Most of the kids are quoting things that their love interests or crushes said about it. Simon accidently mentions the girl in his class. Eric can't resist prying, but Ruthie turns it around on him and asks about the mysterious woman at the hotel. Eric doesn't answer.

Morning. Eric is explaining to Annie about his confidential counseling work. She seems a little suspicious. They have an akward conversation about when he'll be home for dinner and Annie looks concerned.

At a school cafeteria, Simon is smelling some girls hair. Creepy.

Eric and the woman are having a counseling session over coffee. She stil doesn't want to call her sister, and she hasn't decided whether she's going to leave him. He tells her that she's capable of taking care of herself and encourages her to leave.

Annie and Ruthie run into a neighbor, Mrs Beeker, while walking Happy. Annie clearly hates Mrs. Beeker. You can tell by her smile. Mrs. Beeker starts gossiping about the woman Eric's counseling. Annie tries to act like she's above gossip. Mrs. Beeker should sleep with one eye open.

Simon wants to give the girl whose hair he was smelling a love note. It is intercepted by the racist kid from episode five. Much mocking ensues. The girl is embarrassed.
Matt confronts his dad about the affair rumor. Apparently, the reverend's non-affair is being gossiped about all over the high school. Eric refuses to divulge confidential information.

Simon is trying to fake sick because he's too embarrased to go to school. Ruthie blows his cover. He's not talking. Annie gives him a mental health day. Aww.

Mary is waiting for Lucy to get dressed. She can't wait to see Richard. They have a study date that afternoon. Eric overhears the part where Mary says she and Richard are serious about each other. He pries, and Mary calls him out on sneaking around. Lucy is also upset about potential affair.

Annie acts super needy in the hallway. She wants Eric to come home for lunch, but he's made unspecified plans. Matt interupts to tell them that the asswipe husband is downstairs, and Eric wants Annie to keep everyone else upstairs while the two men talk. Annie agrees and looks concerned.

The asswipe asks if Eric is having an affair with his wife. Eric denies the affair. He tells the reverend about how his wife is always making up stories to trick guys into cheating with her. Eric suggests that the asswipe file for divorce. He doesn't believe in divorce. Eric suggests the guy get some counseling without calling him out on the abuse. The guy is clearly a creep.

Matt sees Mary's boyfriend buying something from another student in front of the school, and immediately accuses him of buying drugs. Yeah, Matt, drug deals always happen right in front of the school. The boyfriend just pays someone to type his papers. The boyfriend also assures Matt that Eric is not having an affair. So a near stranger has more confidence in the reverend's fidelity than his entire family. Nice.

Annie is vaccuuming when Mrs. Beeker drops by. She's a brave woman. She's brought a casserole, and some serious gossip about the reverend going to a hotel in the middle of the day. Annie rejects the casserole, even almost swearing. I hope Mrs. Beeker has a good lock on her door.

Evening. Mary and Richard are studying. Richard just wants to make out. Simon wants to watch. Ew. He's trying to make himself sick so he doesn't have to go to school again. Annie says he has to go back to school. Simon wants to know why Eric wasn't at dinner. This would be a lot more interesting if we didn't already know that he's not having an affair.

The hotel. Asswipe shows up and tries to trick the manager into telling him where his wife is. Eric follows him in. Matt is spying on Eric.

Eric confronts the husband. He leaves without finding his wife. Abby is still in her room.
Eric confronts Matt about spying on him. Basically, he criticises Matt's technique, but encourages him in the behavior because he was spying for a good cause-- looking after his mom. No wonder stalking each other became such a bonding activity. Eric is going to wait around to make sure the husband doesn't come back, but he sends Matt home. Matt tells him that Annie fed his dinner to the dog.

Richard wants to take a study break. Richard doesn't want to study. Mary is not tempted even when he offers to take her to a chick movie. She doesn't like chick movies. They start kissing just in time for Annie to walk in and ask to talk to her in the living room.
Mary's teacher called because she forgot to get a math test signed. Her grades have been going downhill for the past three weeks. Annie thinks it's because she's spending too much time with Richard. Mary thinks the class has gotten harder. Annie bans study dates and Mary goes to get her test.

Annie enters the kitchen and catches Richard having a really hard time reading. She gives him the name of a tutor. She keeps his illiteracy a secret from Mary, which is pretty cool of her. Richard leaves so that Mary can study.

Simon is trying to get his sister to give him a concussion. Man, he really doesn't want to go to school. Lucy gives him a pep talk about how some other kid probably did something embarrasing and that no one will even remember the incident, and he decides to go to school.

Eric tells Annie about the woman and her husband. He had the woman's permission, so he's not breaking his confidentiality agreement. Annie is not surprised when she thinks about it. And starts listing all the little signs that suddenly fit together. Though, to her credit, she didn't think Eric was having an affair.

Simon's school. The racist kid gives him a hard time, but then splits his pants, so Simon's off the hook. Simon lends him a shirt to tie around his waist.

Richard dumps Mary so he can focus on school for awhile. Mary takes it pretty well. Maybe she just wasn't that into him.

Everyone arrives home from school at the same time that Eric brings the woman he's been counseling to the house. Annie starts cleaning the table. The woman has decided to move to New York.

Her husband shows up. Annie has Matt call the police. Eric confronts him. They start fighting in the front yard. Eric tells the asswipe that if he follows his wife to New York, he'll have "a couple of friends who work outside the system. Bad people who turn good but occasionally slip up." Dude, I think the reverend just threatened to have this guy killed if he goes to New York. I'm pretty sure that's not how the church is supposed to work.

The cops show up and arrest the asswipe.

The Camden kids are all shocked to learn about the domestic violence. Eric tells them that the woman will be okay.

Annie is comforting her in the living room. They promise to help her through this. The whole family watches her cry as the episode closes.


They handled the actual plotline dealing with domestic violence fairly well.

I wish the subplot had been less silly. If you're going to have everyone suspect an affair for the episode, you shouldn't reveal that there is no affair in the first five minutes of the episode.

Side note: I'm going on vacation for a week. But check back next Thursday for the episode where Annie and Matt get car jacked.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Morning at the Camdens. Everyone is dressed in school colors. Lucy doesn't want her parents kissing in front of her friends. Eric takes the opportunity to tell Lucy not to be kissing boys. Geez, one track mind that man. Simon and Ruthie are trying to bring their own snacks to the game.

Matt reveals he's got a job, and will meet them at the game. He's tutoring a girl in English. His siblings show way too much interest in his personal life.

Mary comes in, and rolls her eyes at her family's encouragement. She asks them not to come to her game, and they are shocked. Mary you were so awesome two episodes ago, don't blow it now!

Lucy takes the disinvitation personally, and Mary explains that her family makes her nervous and distracted. Lucy's really worried about looking stupid in front of the friend she invited. They compare stories about feeling out of place.

Simon and Ruthie are whining about not going. Well, actually Simon is complaining and Ruthie is agreeing with him. They decide to play detective.

Eric is giving Matt crap about shaving. Eric is way too excited to be going to the store with Annie. Mary needs the restroom, and Eric and Matt start bombarding her with advice.

Lucy asks Annie to make Mary let her go to the game. Annie tells her she's baby-sitting instead. Lucy does not want to make her friend baby-sit her younger siblings. Lucy can't believe Annie is letting Eric grocery shop with her. She's really whiny in this scene. Annie responds to her torment with sarcasm.

Matt arrives at his tutoring job. The dad is way too excited to see him, and over shares about how many times the girl changed her outfit. Clearly, this girl is desparate.

Simon and Ruthie are playing detective. Ruthie isn't playing by Simon's rules.

Lucy's friend, Ahsley, shows up. She's played by Jackie from that 70s show. Ashley gives her crap about her outfit, and Lucy reveals that they're not going to the game. Ashley is a brat. She decides to hang out when Lucy promises they can call boys.

Eric and Annie leave for the store. As they leave, Simon and Ruthie are sitting outside, and Lucy is no where in sight. Way to make sure your kids are being looked after Camdens!

Simon and Ruthie decide to pretend the mailman is their criminal, and follow him as he delivers the mail. They take Happy and leave. Lucy doesn't notice.

Eric and Annie shop. Annie pretends she's not upset about Mary. She's not putting any of her produce in bags. That seems strange.

Simon and Ruthie are still following the mailman.

Annie is now venting about Mary. She admits to having been a constant support to Mary since she was seven years old. What happened during the first six years of Mary's life? No wonder she had a downward spiral in seasons 4-6! Eric diminishes his wife's feelings by making jokes.

They spot a boy who is clearly a troubled teen. Eric apparently got him into drug rehab a month ago. They watch him steal a watch. Eric follows him out of the store and interferes with the security guard who is busting him. The guard complies. Just what kind of connections does the reverend have in this town? Cops know when his kids are grounded. Security guards let shop lifters off. Weird. He makes the poor kid play pool with him. Shoulda taken your chances with the security guard, kid.

School. Mary and her team arrive. Mary reveals that she uninvited her family and her teammates give her a hardtime about it. She calls home to reinvite her family, but the line is busy.

Because Lucy and her friend are on the phone. Lucy is talking to Jimmy Moon, trying to find out if his friend likes Ashley. Jimmy, not knowing Ashley is on the phone, says his friend thinks she talks to much and is boring. Ashley storms out. Jimmy is confused.

Lucy finally realizes that Simon and Ruthie aren't home. Somewhere in Connecticut Kristy Thomas' head just exploded upon hearing of such terrible baby-sitting. Lucy leaves the house to look for them.

Billiard Club. Eric is on the phone with Annie. She's surprised that no one's home. They think the kids snuck to the game, so Annie goes to check. Eric and the kid play pool. Kid doesn't want to talk about rehab. Some other loser kid comes over to tell him about some drug deal. Eric busts the kid for skipping out of rehab. Apparently, he made some arrangement to keep the kid out of juvie if he completes a rehab program. Isn't that a better job for the kid's lawyer? The kid doesn't want Eric's help.

Simon and Ruthie are still following the mailman. They realize that they don't know where they are. Simon tries to figure out which way to go. Ruthie doubts his assurance that everything is fine.

Eric goes to talk to the kid's parents. They PSA about drug abuse for awhile. Eric starts to get paranoid about his own kids.

Matt is tutoring. She wants him to read Romeo's lines to help her better understand Shakespeare. Then she leaps on him, kissing him liek the desparate girl she is just in time for her father to walk in with snacks. She runs away, and her father wants to have a word. He gives Matt permission to date his daughter, saying she's as attractive as her mother. Matt quits, and the father's demeanor shifts to threatening as he fires Matt. These people are creepy.

Lucy is running around the neighborhood trying to find her younger siblings.

Mary's game. The pointguard, Cory, seems to have a problem with her.

Simon and Ruthie flag down a cop to help them get home. It's the first appearance of Sargent Michaels! He agrees to take the kids home.

Annie arrives at the game. Cory won't pass to Mary.

No one is home at the Camden's so Sargent Michaels takes them to game to see if the family is there.

Eric confronts the rehab-ditching kid in a bag alley. The kid says it's just pot. Apparently it is only pot, because Eric doesn't list any other drugs when he starts listing all the ways its ruined this kids life. All this trouble for pot? In 1996? The kid doesn't want anyone's help. Eric predicts that he won't survive long on the streets.

The game. Cory still won't pass Mary the ball. Matt shows up to watch the game. Annie gives Matt crap for losing his job.

Eric arrives at the school at the same time as Simon and Ruthie. They tell him about wandering off. They all decide to watch the end of the game. Now, I know Mary changed her mind, but her family doesn't know that. They're just blatantly disrespecting her request.
Cory finally passes Mary the ball and her team wins the game. Yea!

Lucy's home alone, worried about what happens when her parents find out she lost Simon and Ruthie. She doesn't seem to concerned about Simon and Ruthie. If kids I were baby-sitting were missing for that long, I'd have called the police.

The whole family arrives home, and Lucy is upset that she's the only Camden to have missed the game. She feels left out. And it's lectures for everyone. No punishments are distributed. Annie is annoyed. Apparently, their system is for Eric to punish the kids and Annie to be a haven of support. Seems like they'd do better as a united front. Annie sends him up to punish them.

Matt comes in and explains why he lost his job. Annie laughs at him, and orders Eric to punish him. Eric and Matt talk about drugs. Matt's not interested in drugs because apparently Eric shares the stories of drug addicts he's counseling with his kids. Um, I'm pretty sure you're supposed to keep that information confidential Reverend.

Eric asks Matt if he thinks any of the other kids might be interested in drugs. Matt rules out Mary because she's into sports. Not sure that holds true, Matt. A lot of kids on teams feel pressure to fit in with the team. Matt thinks Lucy is the only Camden at risk for drugs because she always feels left out. Eric decides to talk to her.

Mary and Lucy talk about the game. Lucy is feeling left out, especially after Eric reveals that everyone ate at Mary's game. He invites her out to dinner, and she offers to baby-sit every weekend for the next three weeks. Eric takes her up on it. If Lucy were my kid, I'd wait along time before letting her baby-sit again.

Matt helps Annie unpack the groceries she left on the counter before she headed to the basketball game. I hope it's nothing that required refrigeration. She reveals that Eric had a lot of trouble keeping a job when he was younger.

Eric comes up to punish Simon and Ruthie. Simon tries to get out of church as his punishment. Eric throws in an anti-drug PSA. His four year old daughter has a little trouble with the concept. They remain unpunished.

Annie gives the family dog an anti-drug PSA to make sure that the dog doesn't feel as left out as Lucy. I think she's lost her mind. Happy is smart enough not to eat Annie's cooking.

Eric is having trouble figuring out a punishment for Simon and Ruthie. Annie tries to get him fired up by telling him they lost his binoculars. Matt suggests Eric tell them the story about how he used them to watch sorority girls while he was in seminary. Yes, apparently the good reverend was a peeping tom while studying to do the Lord's work. Annie decides they don't need the binoculars back.

Eric and Lucy have dinner. She's talking his ear off and he looks bored, but he is listening. Lucy is surprised that he's actually listening. That's sad. None of Lucy's friends do drugs.

Mary made her mom popcorn to apologize about the univitation. The family is allowed at all future games.

Eric and Lucy return. Mary gets the same anti-drug PSA the rest of the Camden kids got.

Eric can't believe how boring his daughter is. That's just mean. Annie wants to "go to bed early," but the doorbell rings. It's the pothead from earlier. He's pretty banged up, and asks Eric to help him, validating the Reverend's nosy behavior for years to come.

Moral of the story: Drugs are bad, m'kay!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Night, with a full moon. Matt is telling scary stories to his siblings, about someone called Mutant Mike. Mary thinks Ruthie is a little young, but Ruthie isn't scared. Everyone's getting a little creeped out, so they scream real loud when Eric comes into the room. Annie pops in and is upset that she wasn't invited. Eric isn't interested, because as the family points out, he hate Halloween. They're not sure why though...

Morning, Ruthie is waiting for the bathroom. She finally just walks in. She flushes the toilet and Mary screams in discomfort. Rude much? She starts to dry her hair, when Simon walks in without knocking. Then Matt comes into use her deodorant. Why is Matt wearing women's deodorant? And don't the Camdens teach their kids any manners at all? Walking in on someone in the bathroom is no okay!

Ruthie's drawing pumpkins. Simon is upset because she wants to enter some contest. Probably because he's worried she might beat him. Ruthie isn't sure what she wants to be for Halloween. The day before Halloween.

Annie tells Eric she ran into someone from his hometown. When she reveals the family name, Eric drops his full cup of coffee. Looks like the reverend has a secret past.

Lucy, Jimmy Moon, and some other kid are discussing the Mutant Mike story. They decide to go check out his alleged residence.

Annie is making Ruthie a dinosaur costume, when Ruthie comes in and announces she wants a store bought costume. Annie gives in, because Ruthie is a spoiled brat.

Eric is lookin through an old yearbook. I sense a flashback coming on.

Mary is helping Matt score a date for the Halloween dance. Mary is planning to attend the church carnival instead. Matt doesn't really need Mary's help, because this girl is desparate for date.

Lucy and her friends ride their bikes to Mutant Mike's trailer. The boys dare Lucy to steal a pumpkin. Mike comes out due to the noise. The kids panic and run away. Lucy still has the pumpkin.

Annie and Ruthie costume shop. Ruthie doesn't like anything. This is why you aren't supposed to wait until the day before to pick one out. Annie is being way too accomodating. Ruthie decides to settle for the dinosaur Annie was making earlier.

Matt and Eric discuss Halloween costumes. Matt calls him out on hating Halloween. Eric thinks Mary is going to the dance, and Matt corrects him. Eric disapproves of Matt's choice of costume. Matt wants to be a hobo; Eric thinks this is insensitive. Matt tries and fails to tell him why he's not insensitive. Eric is still looking at that yearbook.
Mary's on the phone with a friend. Apparently she's telling her friends she's going to the carnival and her family that she's going to the dance. She's up to something.

Simon doesn't like any of the pumpkins Annie bought. He tries to get Lucy to give him the pumpkin she stole. She evasive about where she got it. Annie figures out she stole and sends her to return it.

Back at Mike's trailer, Lucy returns the pumpkin. Mike comes out, and they both scream. Mike is played by Bull from Night Court. It's clear Mike is mentally disabled.

Mary is looking for a costume. Her dad asks her about the carnival. She continues to lie about her plans. She finds a coonskin cap, which sends Eric on to a nostalgia trip.

Lucy and Mike are talking. He tells her he can keep the pumpkin. She asks about a scar on his head, and he tells her he got shot. He doesn't like visitors, and doesn't want to meet her family. Mike yells at her a bit and locks himself in his trailer. He tells her that she can come over, but that he doesn't want anyone else to come over.

Night. Eric's tossing and turning in his sleep. Ooh, it's flashback time.
Kid Eric wants to get the coonskin cap for his Halloween costume. Apparently, his school handed them out to the students. Did schools ever really do this? Eric's friend gets the cap and Eric beats the crap out of him to get it for himself. His friend reveals that he got for Eric. Lamest secret ever!

Halloween morning. Annie asks Eric about his nightmare. He doesn't want to talk about his lame, lame secret guilt.

Simon couldn't sleep either, because he was too worried about the pumpkin carving contest.

Matt's date doesn't like his costume idea either. She wants to go as Cyrano and Roxanne. She hands Matt a costume. He's reluctant, but easily convinced when the girl starts talking about passion.

Lucy and her dad are painting a sign. They both hate Halloween. She starts to tell him about meeting Mike. He knew him before the shooting, but hasn't had much contact after. Because Mike became reclusive afterwards. They have a pretty good conversation about it. Eric encourages his daughter to befriend him. If this were another show, that would seem like a really bad idea. It doesn't seem like a great idea on this show.*

Ruthie is trying on her dinosaur costume. She hates it.

Matt hates his Cyrano costume, too. Annie tries to help him fix it, but it doesn't work.
Simon finds a pumpkin on the front porch for Lucy. He worries that she's entering the contest.

Mary helps her mom set up the carnival. They can't find the curtains because Ruthie is sleeping on them. Annie doesn't want to disturb her. Mary wishes people would leave her alone too.

Lucy rides her bike over to thank Mike for the pumpkin. Dressed up as Little Bo Peep. The creepy factor on this storyline is not going down.

She catches her friends egging his house, and sprays them with a hose to get them to leave. She checks on Mike, whose undestandably scared. Lucy doesn't quite know what to say to him. She helps him clean off the egg, and they talk a bit more.

Annie's trying to find a baby-sitter because Ruthie can't figure out a costume. Mary offers to get Ruthie to wear a costume.

Matt shows up for his date dressed as a hobo. She's not impressed, and breaks the date. Matt tries to reclaim his dignity, but we all know he's a loser.

Simon and Annie are waiting for Ruthie. She emerges from her room dressed as the family dog. Mary is excited her nefarious plan is working.

Eric goes to apologize to his friend about pushing him down over the coonskin hat in elementary school. It's still a really lame secret past. So lame that his friend didn't even remember the incident at first.

The Carnival. Everyone seems to enjoying themselves. Matt shows up since he got dumped. Eric loves Halloween now that he's resolved his terrible secret. Lucy has a mysterious friend painting faces in the hallway. I wonder who it could be.

Matt blows Mary's cover. Annie figures out that Mary stayed home by herself.

She's dancing around and eating ice cream out of the carton. She's excited to have some alone time. She takes a bubble bath wearing a tiara.

Simon loses the contest because the pumpkin Mike carved won. Lucy introduces him to the community, and no one's scared of him anymore. Simon's a good sport about it. The kids who egged his house apologize for it and promise to clean it up. All is well in Glen Oak.

Daddy, are you bigger than the bad guy?
Eric: I'm bigger, I'm stronger and I work for God.

*I think I'd feel better about this if her dad insisted on meeting him, or supervising, or something. I know the story line is encouraging the viewers to get to know people before judging them, but it seems to me that a parent should also be ensuring his child's safety, and might be a little nervous about encouraging his twelve year old to be friends with a reclusive adult. Even though Eric knew him well before his head injury, that doesn't mean that the injury didn't cause some personality changes. Eric admits to having tried unsuccessfully to contact him afterward, and Mike behaves a little eradically. I'm not saying Lucy should shun him-- just that her parents might want to keep a closer eye on the situation than Eric appears to be doing here. Of course, he is distracted by his guilt over his 'terrible' secret.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Color of God

Annie feeds Eric a pancake. He enjoys and they kiss passionately at the kitchen table. About five feet away, Matt is trying to convince Mary that salt and butter generate heat. This is really just an excuse to get Mary to place her hand over the butter so he can smash it into the butter. This will continue throughout the episode with various characters. Mary chases Matt out of the kitchen, while the parents look on, amused.

Ruthie is watching tv, but Simon's channel surfing is too much for her.

Lucy is upset that she missed pancakes while walking Happy. Because no one tells her anything. Annie offers to make her more, while Eric dismisses her feeling left out.

Mary plays the salt-butter trick on her. Lucy chases her out of the room.

Simon lands on a news channel. The footage is of a local church that burned down. He shouts for his dad. Turns out to be the church of a friend of the Camdens. I'm just gonna say this up front: The Hamiltons are a family that is very similar to the Camdens. Two parents, Dad's a minister. They are also black, and the church burning is racially motivated. Simon wants to know what they are going to do and Eric helpfully answers, "Something," several times.

Turns out Something is to invite the Hamilton's church to share the Camden's church facility. Everyone seems pretty dejected. Understandably so. Eric introduces Morgan Hamilton to give the sermon. He asks everyone to examine what they are teaching their children, and not to return hatred with hate.

Cut to the Camdens' living room. Five teenagers, all look really bored. Mary and Matt try to initiate conversation awkwardly, but John and Keisha Hamilton are pretty non-responsive. John seems particularily annoyed. Mary invites them to play basketball, and John overreacts to her potentially racist assumption. Keisha reminds him that Mary's on a team, and is probably not making gross generalizations. John cops some attitude with Matt and Mary pokes Lucy to get her into the small talk. Lucy is even more awkward than her older siblings, which I didn't think was possible. She makes a hasty exit, claiming that she needs to change. Mary and Matt follow her lead, leaving John and Keisha alone in the living room.

Simon and Nigel are playing some game that involves a lot of shooting noises, while Ruthie and Lynn prepare a tea party. Ruthie asks about why someone burned the church, and Lynn says she thinks it's because they didn't want them to have a place to talk to God. They invite the boys to tea, but their not interested.

Simon and Nigel discuss the church fire. Nigel tells Simon that people have been burning black churches for a long time, trying to scare them.

Cut to the kitchen. Morgan is cooking, Annie is offering to help. Eric is making a mess of his salad duties. His wife convinces Annie to take a walk, and leave the men to the kitchen.

On their way out, Annie asks Lucy to pick up Simon and Ruthie's toys. Lucy starts to protest, but is silenced by a look. Keisha decides to teach Lucy how to stand up for herself. She tries to get Simon to pick up his toys. Simon doesn't want to. So Lucy does the logical thing-- she decides plays the salt-butter trick on him. Not sure how that'll make him pick up his toys, but whatever works for you Luce.

Eric talks to Morgan about the fire. He's worried about whether the arsonists are coming back. Eric invites them to stay with Camdens until it's safe to go home. Morgan wants his family to stay with the Camdens but return to his house himself to prove that he can't be scared out of his home.

Lucy is playing the trick. They've got quite the audience. He falls for it. He wipes the butter grease on his pants. Dude, that could stain! Keisha approves of Lucy's methods. We don't actually find out if Simon picked up his toys though.

John and Mary are playing basketball. Matt is watching. John seems to be taking it a little too seriously. Matt asks him to stop taking his anger out on Mary. John tells Matt to butt out, and that he doesn't know anything about his anger. Mary tries to talk Matt into being more understanding, but Matt doesn't seem to want to do so.

Annie and Patricia discuss the fire on their walk. They start complaining about how hard it is to married to men of the cloth.

Everyone sits down to dinner. It is announced that the Hamiltons will be staying with the Camdens. The younger kids are super excited. None of the other kids look like they know how to react. John's angry. Eric and Morgan will be staying at the Hamiltons. Nigel says the blessing over the meal: "Dear God, please stop the fires."

We jump ahead to Friday morning at the Hamiltons. Eric still can't cook. Morgan and Patricia haven't really discussed the fire together. Eric encourages Reverand Hamilton to talk to his wife. Morgan seems relunctant to do so. Apparently, they have some communication issues.

Eric's church is donating some church funding to rebuilding the Hamilton's church. Morgan is grateful.

At the Camdens, everyone who attends school is waiting for Keisha and Lucy. They're worried about being late for school. The girls come out, and Keisha has styled Lucy's hair into a lot of tiny braids. Everyone else is amused. Lucy starts talking about Rosa Parks for some reason. Simon hasn't heard of her, so Mary explains. Keisha tells Simon that the point is that they don't ride in the back seat. I guess that explains why there are four people sitting in the front seat, but it looks pretty uncomfortable.

Eric greets Annie as she's vaccuuming. Annie seems a little stressed. Eric tries to talk to her about it, and they discuss it. They miss each other. Ruthie and Lucy come in, and Annie promises to let them help mop the floor. They're really excited about it.

Playground. Simon and Nigel are playing with other kids. Some kid is picking on Nigel, so Simon tells him off. The kid is upset that Simon ended the game, so when he hands him back the toy, he actually calls Simon a "n-lover." Full word, on my family friendly dvd. Simon confronts him, demanding that he take it back. Some random kid announces that he wants no part of this and wanders off. Why was he even there? Nigel tries to talk him out of violence, but Simon punches the kid anyway.

The rest of the kids pull up to pick Simon and Nigel up from school. Only Nigel is waiting outside. He's not sure where Simon is, so Mary goes inside to check. Everyone else stands by the car to wait. They are harassed by a random security guard. Matt gets defensive. They are ordered to leave. The security guard thinks they're vandals, and harasses them until Mary comes back to announce Simon was suspended, and they leave.

Eric and Annie sit at the kitchen table, discussing Simon's situation. They're a little proud, but Annie wants to be clear that violence will not be condoned in their household.

Matt and John discuss the security guard incident. John accuses Matt of being afraid of him because he's black, like the rest of the world is. Matt says he's scared by John's attitude more than anything-- what with the giant chip John's been sporting on his shoulder this whole episode.

Simon is having a tea party with Ruthie, because he thinks his mom will be more leniant if he plays with his little sister.

Annie and Patricia have the same conversation that Morgan and Eric had earlier that morning. Patricia's ready to go home.

Keisha and Lucy are dancing to hip-hop while Mary is trying to study. She's not happy about it. Keisha thinks Mary doesn't like her. Mary doesn't actually disabuse her of the notion.

Dinner in the dining room. Ruthie brings out the butter and decides to play the salt-butter trick on John. He falls for it, and there's this tense moment where no one knows how John's going to react. But then, he laughs-- and just like that no more anger.

The Hamiltons are going home in the morning, and Matt and John are friends. The adults decide to play twister. Matt and John are suitably horrified.

Morgan and Patricia finally talk. They blame the Camdens for rubbing off on them.
They make a date, thinking Morgan is giving the sermon on Sunday. Annie's idea of a date is Sears home and garden. Hot.

Matt has a date. He invites John to play pool.

Keisha confronts Mary about not liking her. Turns out she's jealous of all the time Keisha and Lucy are spending together. Keisha thought she was being helpful by keeping Lucy out of Mary's way. Nobody wants to spend time with Lucy.

Then, because they haven't had a chance to discuss race issues yet, Keisha asks Mary if she didn't say anything sooner because Keisha is black and Mary might have been worried about seeming racist. Mary isn't sure, but Keisha assures her and the girls hug it out.

Morgan tells Eric that he wants to hold the service at the site of his church.
Lynn and Ruthie head to bed, they love everyone.

Lucy asks Keisha about the church fire. I think that covers all the Camdens.
Eric calls off the date so he can write his sermon, but then he gets an idea-- one that apparently involves everyone.

Cut to people arriving at a church service outside on the Hamilton's church property. Including the Camdens, and people from a variety of other faith traditions. Morgan is touched. He gives the service with Nigel's dinner prayer, and the choir sings us to the close of the episode.

All in all, a decent episode. It was a little heavy-handed with some of the race issues, but no where near as heavy-handed as it got in later seasons.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

No Funerals and a Wedding

The episode begins at Grandma's burial. People are offering condolences to the family. Everyone seems drained. Grandpa seems to be withdrawn, and is making weird jokes. He leaves for Arizona before the reception. Annie feels abandoned. Everyone else is shocked.

The reception is being held in the Camden's home. The kids make jokes about everybody bringing food. Annie expresses her understandablt anger at her father leaving, and Eric tries to make excuses for him. She's not having it though.

Eric tells Simon and Lucy that Annie really needs everyone's help today. Simon is acting way too cheerful.

Matt and Renee are discussing her pregnancy. It is revealed that her family is out of town. She nicely offers her condolences to Annie, but follows it by commenting about how her mom abandoned her. Really, Renee? Is this the time to play the poor-abandoned child card?

In the most annoying of the subplots, the Reverend is watching a couple being over the top affectionate. Really people, you're at a funeral reception, save this kind of sickening sweet baby talk for the privacy of your own home so that no one has to be subjected to it. They've been married for almost 8 months.

Annie asks Matt to see if anyone needs coffee, and he asks if he can go to his friend's afterwards. Seriously. Matt, you're at a funeral reception for your grandmother. You cannot just leave to go hang out with your friends. Annie agrees with me, wanting the family to be together for the day.

Ruthie wants Annie to sing her Grandma's song. Annie promises they'll sing it later.

Mary and Lucy discuss that they miss their grandma. Mary's boyfriend calls and she doesn't want to talk to him.

A nosy parishoner won't stop asking Annie why her father isn't at the reception. They are interupted by Simon asking about the exact location of heaven. He is not satisfied by Annie's answer.

Mary thinks her boyfriend is clingy. Matt doesn't think men are capable of being clingy. This could explain all of his future relationships. Matt offers to straighten the boy out, but Mary admirably wants to break up with him herself. Matt is upset that Mary is dumping his friend.

Simon is trying to get his father, the minister, to tell him where heaven is. How has the family not addressed this before? Simon notices a woman crying hysterically in a corner of the yard. It's the same woman who was cooing over her husband in the earlier scene.

Eric goes to talk to her, thinking she's upset about the death. Turns out she just thinks her husband is having an affair. Seriously. Maybe this would be more appropriate for a day when you're not at a funeral reception, and talking to a member of the deceased's family. Eric tries to have her make an appointment, but the woman refuses be to detered from ranting about her husband's alleged affair.

Mary's boyfriend shows up and tries to be supportive. Mary doesn't want to deal with him right now.

The overly affectionate man is waiting for Eric in his home office. He at least acknowledges that his timing is inappropriate, but that doesn't stop him from venting about his marital issues. Seriously, this can't even wait until the next day??

Instead of suggesting this, Eric invites him to talk it out. Turns out the actual issue is not that he's having an affair, but that his divorce from his first marriage wasn't quite final before his second wedding. Really? How did they get a marriage certificate then? The guy hadn't even bothered to tell his wife that he'd been married before.

Matt is trying to save his sister's relationship with her boyfriend. I don't know why.

While Eric is busy playing marriage counselor, Annie is crying alone in their bedroom. Eric sucks. Ruthie asks to sing Grandma's song and Annie tells her the story behind it, which was related in the previous episode. Annie's about to start singing, when Renee wanders in to announce that she's in labor. Of course she is.

Simon is still trying to figure out where heaven is physically located.

Matt takes Renee to the hospital in the limo. Annie is upset that he's leaving, but Matt doesn't want her to be alone at the hospital. Eric is surprised that Annie let him go, but he doesn't get an opinion anymore. He does comment that watching Renee deliver her baby should be more effective than a birth control lecture. Heh. But Eric, you still suck.

The boyfriend tries to be aloof. He fails.

Lucy is crying in the hallway. Eric comes by looking for Annie. They talk. It's a pretty well done scene. Still doesn't make up for the continual abandonment of your wife at her mother's funeral reception, Reverend.

Simon and the boyfriend discuss heaven.

Annie and Mary talk. Annie feels abandoned and Mary lets her know that she's there for her. Aww. I like season 1 Mary. She encourages Annie to talk to her father about how she's feeling. At least someone in the family is trying to comfort Annie.

Lucy reveals that Mary is planning to dump the boyfriend.

Renee is in having contractions and Matt is freaked out. He goes to see if any of her family is around., but really it's just an excuse to leave the room.

Eric is still trying to fix the stupid couples marital problems. Really, Eric, your wife's mother just died, this can't wait a day??

Annie calls her father and chews him out on his answering machine. She's pretty harsh, but her mom just died, and most of her family is ignoring her, so it's understandable.

Matt wants his mom to come bail him out of hanging out in the delivery room, but Mary won't let him talk to her because she's finally resting. She also says that if they figure out where their father is, that it will be more important for him to be with Annie. Lucy is trying to get her attention, as well. Mary tells Matt to suck it up and handle the situation at the hospital. Mary rocks this episode.

There's a crash, and everybody goes to see what happened. The stupid couple is screaming in Eric's offices. Vases are thrown. Eric blows off his grieving wife.

Simon is still annoying people with his heaven question.

Mary breaks up with her boyfriend. She calls him on his crappy timing for the discussion, considering that they are at a reception of her grandmother's funeral.

Renee is delivering her baby. Matt holds her hand, and pointedly stares in the other direction.

Eric and Simon discuss heaven as he's hanging a 'Do not disturb sign' on his door. He's about to go find his wife when he gets sucked back into the marital fighting. Good lord, he sucks.

Annie calls her father again and apologizes about her first message on his answering machine. She's also worried that he's not home yet.

Mary and her ex talk it out. They decide to be friends.

Simon brings his mom a tray of food. She's touched. They discuss his question. Simon notes that Eric is no help. Very true.

Renee has a girl. Matt is amazed, once he gets the courage to look at the baby.

Eric breezes into the bedroom, and Annie asks where he's been all day. He starts unloading the whole story of the fighting couple. She is understandably disgusted and tries to talk about it. He actually tells her he has one more thing to take care before he can spend time with his grieving wife. He asks her to meet him at the church in ten minutes. She reluctantly agrees to go. If I were her I'd be looking for a good divorce lawyer.

Ruthie manages to answer Simon's question about heaven. Her answer suggests some pretty new age theology.

Annie arrives at the church in time to see the couple get married for real. She starts mouthing her own vows. No, Annie, get out while you can.

Matt comes home to find Mary and the ex playing basketball. He orders that they break up, because of witnessing the birth of Renee's baby. They let him think he convinced them. No, Mary, now he'll never butt out of your personal life!

Annie has forgiven Eric. She thinks she was transfering her anger about her father leaving onto her husband. I think her husband spent the whole day ignoring her, and she has every right to be upset with him.

The kids are eating pie straight from the pie plate. Eric carries Annie through the door. Ruthie wants to sing Grandma's song. Annie promises to sing it to her after she gets ready for bed.

Renee's gonna name her baby after the grandmother. Simon didn't know what his grandmother's first name was. Really Simon? You're ten. You should know these things.

Annie gives Ruthie a speech about always being there for her. Her father, who never actually left Glen Oak, overhears. He apologizes for leaving her after the funeral. He explains why he left, and they sing the Camp Granada song.

The family hears them from the kitchen downstairs and all join in as the episode draws to a close.

Final Thought:
I cannot believe how badly Eric treats Annie at her mother's funeral reception. Someone probably thought the subplot would be light, comic relief, but it's really just appalling.

Mary was a pretty cool character in season one.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

In the Blink of an Eye

Everyone sits down to breakfast. Matt tries to drink coffee, but Annie takes it away. Simon is way too excited about getting the prize in the cereal box. I mean the kid's ten. His parents announce that he will be getting bunk beds. He's pretty excited about that until he realizes that it's a bribe. He will now be sharing a room with Ruthie. He is appropriately disappointed. And really, who decided the best new sleeping arrangement is to make a ten year old boy share a room with his five year old sister? Ruthie, however, is looking forward to the new arrangement.

Lucy is trying to ensure that her dad won't interfere with her first date with Jimmy Moon. Annie has a plan to keep him out of the house by volunteering him to drive for Meals on Wheels. Mary wants to go to a party, but her parents don't know enough about it to let her go. She's worried about how it will look to her boyfriend.
Matt is still grounded and he is annoyed about it.

The grandparents call to postpone their arrival. Annie is worried enough to fly to Arizona. The new plan is to have Matt drive for Meals on Wheels so Eric can supervise Lucy's Date.

Ruthie starts moving her stuff into Simon's room and he is not happy about it.

Mary thinks if she suggests going to an R-rated movie, she won't look like such a dork when she can't go to the party. I'd agree with her thinking, but the movie she wants to see is Strip Tease. Really Mary, you can't come with a better movie than that?

The girls find out about Annie's trip, and Lucy thinks she'll be able to have a date with no parents around. Annie quickly disabuses her of this notion. Lucy begs Mary to run interference for her instead of keeping her date. Mary tells Lucy about their dad embarrassing her the first time a guy came to visit her. Lucy blackmails her with the R-rated movie.

Simon tries to postpone Ruthie's move, but Annie rejects this idea. Ruthie is skeptical about Eric's ability to feed the family while Annie is out of town.

Mary breaks her date. I just realized the actor playing her boy is the guy who played Todd Wilkins in the Sweet Valley High TV show. Mary Camden and Elizabeth Wakefield-- this poor boy is need of a serious upgrade. Anyway, Todd's upset about the broken date and has already seen Strip Tease. He gives Mary crap about waiting so long to tell him, and she leaves in a snit.

Eric leaves Ruthie in the car coming home from the grocery store. Cue the Mr. Mom antics.

Matt is making out with some blonde chick in the family station wagon. They make plans for a date later that night. I think I know why Matt was so willing to drive for Meals on Wheels.

Annie tries to call her parents from the airport, but they don't answer.

Ruthie has finished moving into Simon's room. He's creeped out be her dolls. They are pretty creepy looking. Matt convinces Simon to use his status as the oldest in the room to treat Ruthie like his personal servant. She's fairly comlicit.

Lucy is worried that Mary won't know when to run interference with Eric. She reveals that she expects to be kissed tonight, or as she puts it, "His lips, my lips. Sparks, passion." Mary thinks Lucy is way to young to be kissed, even though Lucy is only one year younger than her. Mary seems way too upset about the prospect of Lucy kissing boys.

Ruthie wanders in and unintentionally reveals that Simon is using her as his personal servant. Mary tells her not to take any of his crap.

Annie rings the doorbell at her parents' house. When no one answers she lets herself in. No one is home and she worries. She starts calling local hospitals.

Her parents come home and she panics at them a bit. Turns out they have been living it up while they still have time. They decide to head to Glen Oak on first class. They do seem to be burning through a lot of cash. Wonder if Annie is worried about inheritance.

Eric is making dinner and instructing Matt about Meals on Wheels. Matt tries to get out of the car restriction. He is unsuccessful.

Eric's dinner sucks. He tries to tell a funny story about it, but it still sucks. The kids try to ditch the food while he's out of the room. He pops back in to announce that he's ordered pizza. Why waste all that food making a fake dinner? I'd think a single pay-check household with five children would try to watch their money.

Matt speeds through his Meals on Wheels deliveries.

Annie and her parents eat at the airport. She's surprised that her parents are drinking wine and eating steak. Annie is freaked by her mother's acceptence of her impending death.

Simon gives Ruthie crap about her imaginary friend. Ruthie wonders how Happy is going to sleep on Simon's top bunk. Simon orders her to switch bunks but Ruthie doesn't want to comply.

Matt picks up his date in the Meals on Wheels van. Hot.

Jimmy Moon shows up for his date with Lucy. She breath sprays in front of her dad before opening the door. He's brought a bootleg French film. He's even made a copy for Eric so he can watch it. Mary ignores Lucy's cue to save her from Eric.
Simon is trying to bribe Ruthie to switch beds. She's not having it.

Jimmy puts his arm around Lucy. This annoys Mary, who is spying on them. She convinces Eric to pull out his guitar and sing "Froggy Went A-Courtin'" He also is starting to wonder where Matt is.

Matt and his date get in the van. She pulls out a beer. They make out while Matt is backing the van out of his parking space. That seems like it could be distracting. He manages to back right into a passing police car. His date spills her beer on him. Somebody's in trouble.

Jimmy gets distracted from having his arm around Lucy by the music in the hallway. Lucy storms out to the hallway to confront Mary. Simon and Ruthie are fighting, Lucy reveals the R-rated movie.

Jimmy Moon wants to know if the dates over. Lucy spazzes out and runs upstairs. Eric offers to take Jimmy home when the phone rings. Eric doesn't look to happy.
The cop knows that Matt's grounded. Why does the cop know Matt's grounded?

Mary and Lucy fight. Mary wins when she reminds Lucy that Eric drove Jimmy home.
Simon and Ruthie and Happy are all trying to share the bottom bunk. It's not pretty. I don't blame Happy for leaving.

Annie and her parents arrive home and everyone comes down to greet them. It becomes obvious that everyone's fighting, and that Matt is still not home. Nothing in the household functions unless Mom is home to keep an eye on things.

Eric picks Matt up at the scene of his accident. He's upset that Matt broke his car restriction. Matt tries to blame Eric for not letting him drive in the first place. Eric yells at him.

Annie sends Simon and Ruthie to bed with ice cream. She settles the bunk argument by telling Simon that Eric can put Happy on the top bunk when he gets home. That seems like a really bad idea.

Mary and Lucy tell their grandma about Matt's accident. She reminds them about how lucky they are to have each other and they apologize and make up. Mary thinks her grandparents are acting weird. I can't believe Matt is the only kid who knows that grandma is sick.

Grandma also makes Simon feel better about sharing a room with Ruthie. Simon wants to give his cereal prize to Grandpa. I don't know why.

Annie sends Lucy and Mary to bed just as Eric and Matt get home. Eric doesn't want to talk and heads to bed. Grandma tells Eric to forgive him.

Eric and Annie are making out, but Eric really wants to rant about Matt. Annie seems a little flippant about her son backing into a police car when he was supposed to be grounded.

Eric is on a rant when Annie spots his guitar. She equates Eric playing his guitar to embarrass Lucy to Matt's indiscretion. Driving while distracted could actually kill someone, and I suppose Lucy could have died from embarrassment. Eric's still mad, though.

Todd is throwing rocks at Mary's window. He wants to make up. Eric gives them five minutes, and tells them that Jimmy Moon promised to call tomorrow.

Lucy seems to think she needs Mary's permission to get kissed. That seems weird.

Todd and Mary make up, and she tells him that she wasn't allowed to go to the party. She also rules that movies might be out for a bit. They start kissing on the porch.

The grandparents are dancing in the living room. They reminice about Annie. Apparently when she was at camp, the only thing that would make her feel better was the Camp Grananda song. They start to sing it, but are interupted by Matt finally coming home.

Grandma makes Matt feel better about the whole evening. They have a pretty nice conversation.

Eric and Matt make up. They hug. I can only assume that Matt is still grounded.

Morning. Grandma says goodbye to a sleeping Annie. Annie seems to be dreaming. She wakes up and meets her father in the hallway. Grandma passed away in the night.

So this episode ended on a pretty sad note, and the scene was well done by the actors. However, the episode centered on the funeral reception has many wtf moments. Stay tuned.