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.

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