Saturday, September 4, 2010

Seven is Enough

We open with the Camdens at the airport. Ruthie wants to know why they call the Grandfather 'Colonel.' Basically, it's because Eric is too afraid of his dad to call him anything else, even if Annie does try to sell her kids on some excuse about respecting his military career. None of the kids are happy about the impending visit. They are also really ungrateful about some candy that the grandparents always bring. Man, they are being seriously bratty about the people flying across the country to visit their whiny butts.

Cut to the Colonel and his wife, Ruth. They are so awesome. They can't believe the whole family came to pick them up. The Colonel compares them to wolves. Apparently, the grandparents don't think too much of the candy either, but since they think the kids love it, they keep bringing it with them. See, this is why you should be honest with people. Everyone fake smiles as they greet each other.

Back at the Camden mansion, Annie has rewired the entire house to use the Clapper. Which means that nothing works because Annie doesn't know what she's doing. Music starts blaring. Grandma passes out the candy; everyone goes on about so that the tradition nobody likes can continue for the next visit. Ruth gets a dig in about how long Matt's hair is. Heh.

Annie sends them upstairs to relax and unpack. They offer their condolensences about her mother's passing. About four months after she died. Maybe they were in touch earlier and wanted to express it again in person, but that's not how the scene reads. The Colonel decides to send Annie's father some steaks. Cool?

Eric sends his children off to hide from his parents. Who just traveled across the country to visit them. Nice.

In the master bedroom, the Colonel and Ruth start snarking on their grandkids. It'd seem kind of mean if they weren't so spot on. Lucy has already been boring them to death about Jimmy Moon. Ruth is worn out by their perkiness. Apparently they do approve of Annie and Mary. Ruth thinks they should try to come out more than once a year, but the Colonel points out that the candy is too expensive.

Matt, Lucy, Simon and Ruthie are hiding in the garage. Simon asks Matt for advice about how to survive the next seven days because he seems to be under the impression that the Colonel may kill them all. Matt suggests that they not show fear or make eye contact. With their grandparents. Eric joins them and tries to pretend he's not hiding from his father. Maybe the Colonel and Ruth should have just bought tickets for Mary and Annie to visit them.

Annie invites the grandparents on an outing to the hardware store. I'm going to assume they agree only to get away from the rest of the family because it sounds really boring to me. Lucy invites herself along, even though she hates the hardware store, so that she can spend time catching up with her grandparents. They are suitably horrified at the prospect of hearing any more about Jimmy Moon, and suggest that they visit later. Mary offers to go in order to give Lucy someone to talk to. They all head out.

Simon has entered a raffle and is fully expecting to win a Viper. Because he's that lucky. He tries to explain how awesome a Viper is to Ruthie, but she's as bored with this subplot as I am.

At the hardware store, Lucy is still boring her grandparents with stories about Jimmy Moon. I don't know how she possibly has anything more to say about him, but she keeps on talking. Mary threatens to tape her mouth shut, and Ruth laughs in spite of herself.
Annie notices that the cashier has a new necklace. Because she spends enough time at the hardware store to notice such things as staff accessorizing. Although, with the number trips to the hardware store that occur in this episode alone, it's possibly her second home. They were a gift from her son about a month ago, coinciding with the car-jacking episode. Lucy and Mary think they look a lot like Annie's rings. Annie doesn't think the rings are hers, but she's the only member of her hardware store shopping party who doesn't. Including the grandparents.

The Colonel comes into Eric's office for a chat. With a lit cigar. I think he did that just to annoy Eric. He wants to talk to Eric about all the potential problems his family is in for. And find out about what happened with Julie. He's not very sympathetic to Julie's problems.

He accuses Eric of being a dreamer, but having no grounding in reality. Heh. He lists all the problems of the Camden kids as he sees it. He thinks Matt's a rebel, which is amusingly off-base considering later seasons. But considering that in this season, he backed into a cop car and got arrested just last episode, the audience is probably supposed to agree with this assessment. He's also noticed that Lucy is crying out for attention. True. And that Simon and Ruthie are spoiled. Also true. Eric thinks he knows his kids better. Probably from spying on them.

The Colonel challenges Eric's observation skills by asking him how many people are in the room. Eric incorrectly says two, but the Colonel finds a little boy hiding behind the vestments. He introduces himself as George the Orphan.

Night at the Camdens'. Eric has somehow gotten permission to keep George for the weekend. We get some back story about his many foster homes. The Colonel thinks this might teach his grandkids some gratitude, which annoys Eric. Who was bitching about Lucy's lack of gratitude not more than two episodes ago. He slaps his head, which turns out the lights. Because the Clapper joke hasn't gotten old yet.

Simon and George are discussing the Viper. George doesn't think much of Simon's supernatural luck. The point of the scene is that they don't get along. And to facilitate another wacky Clapper mishap. The lights won't turn off, so George has to get up and turn them off. Wacky.

Ruthie asks Matt, as he's preparing a bed on the couch, if she can stay in the living room with him. She feels too sad around George because he's an orphan. Matt agrees to let her sleep on the couch.

Annie and Eric are trying to share Matt's twin bed. It's not working out. They discuss the possibility of adopting George. Apparently they'd always planned to adopt, but since they don't seem to have a working birth control method, they never got around to it. They decide to try to adopt George.

And Eric doesn't feel comfortable having sex while his parents are down the hall. Annie gives him crap about it, but if I recall, she didn't want to have sex when her parents were visiting either.

The Colonel is lying in bed, lighting up a cigar. He and Ruth flirt a bit before breaking out the five-card draw. They have a brief panic moment when someone knocks on the door, but it's none of their grandkids-- only George wanting in on the game. They let him play.

They start grilling him on what he's really doing there. Ruth knows that he saw the Camdens as an easy target for his adoption plan. George is not thrilled that they have so many kids. He then challenges the Colonel about whether he's seen any real action. Let the games begin.

Morning. The Camdens are having a family meeting in the garage. Annie and Eric tell the kids that they want to adopt George. The kids are not thrilled. They raise some fairly valid concerns about finances and the amount of time another child would take, which annoys the parents terribly.

The grandparents find George eating breakfast alone. He tells them about the family meeting, and is ready to stoically accept his fate. No, George, get out while you can! The Colonel and Ruth reasonably think Eric and Annie should not be adopting George.

Matt and Mary discuss the possibility of having more freedom if their parents are distracted by another child. Matt offers Mary an impromptue driving lesson. This will end well.

The Colonel and Ruth confront the Camdens about the idiocy of adding another kid to their family. Eric suggests that their involvement shouldn't really extend beyond the extra bag of candy. The Colonel is rightly insulted. He lays into his son about finances, which lets Eric make a snide comments about paying his own way in seminary. Which leads into a fight about how Eric thinks he had terrible parents and the Colonel defends his parenting choices. I love when Eric encounters someone who won't bend to his will. He just has no idea what to do in such situations.

Simon and Ruthie are playing in a cardboard car. Simon and George continue to not get along and Ruthie is just kind of there. George offers to teach them how to hotwire the Camdens car. This will end well.

Lucy tries to apologize for bugging her grandparents with her endless tales of Jimmy Moon, but gets tongue-tied and runs off. The grandparents are confused.

They ask Annie if they could borrow a car to go to the hardware store. Really? The hardware store? I wonder what is so fascinating about the Glen Oak hardware store that people visiting from New York state would want to make repeat visits. Lucy overhears this because Camdens can't help but eavesdrop. Eric is upset about lending his dad a car.

Matt and Mary return home upset. Mary scratched the van while crashing into a neighbor's mailbox. The Colonel and Ruth offer to drive Matt to a barber shop and make fun of his hair some more. Did I mention that I love them?

Annie finds Lucy crying in her closet. She's been trying to get close to her grandparents, but doesn't know how. Lucy, here's a hint, no one else cares about Jimmy Moon. Lucy also thinks they went to the hardware store to get Annie's rings back. That would actually make some kind of sense, I suppose. Annie and Eric panic at the possibility.

In the meantime, George has broken into their van with Simon and Ruthie. They all climb in. And promptly get caught by the rest of the family in their dash to head off the Colonel at the hardware store. George pulls an "I'm a poor orphan" face, and everyone gets sent to their room.

Eric leaves for the hardware store and Matt tries to prevent Annie from seeing the scratch.

Eric wanders around with a plunger, until he finally asks the cashier about seeing his parents. He asks her about the rings and offers to buy them off her. The cashier notes that Annie said the rings weren't hers, and that they have sentimental value to her. Eric leaves her with the plunger.

Turns out the Colonel and Ruth didn't go to the hardware store. Instead, they've gone to see George's social worker about the possibility of adopting him themselves. Heh. The case worker likes the idea, noting that the arrangements were easier when the governor calls ahead. The Camdens are quite connected.

Night. The Colonel and Ruth have brought dessert. Eric grills them about where they've been. The Colonel comes right out and tells them that they want to adopt George. Eric doesn't think his parents are loving or supportive. The Colonel defends his parenting choices. So much yelling. The Colonel suggests that Eric's opposition has more to do with spite than anything else, and storms out of the kitchen. Eric goes for a walk. George is proving himself adept at the important Camden skill of eavesdropping undetected.

Annie and Ruth talk it out. Ruth wants Annie's honest opinion. So Annie gives it to her. Basically, saying that they are distant, and slightly cruel. She thinks they're too tough on people. Ruth note that the Colonel would say only the weak see them as tough, which allows Annie to suggest that Patten was weaker than the Camden grandparents. Ruth responds, "Too late, don't try to kiss up now," and the women start laughing through their tears. Aww?

Ruth thanks her for being honest, so Annie asks her to make some attempt to connect with Lucy. Ruth promises to see what she can do.

Simon and Ruthie discuss the Viper and Simon's luck. He thinks George is a jinx.

In the master bedroom. George begs a packing Colonel and Ruth to take him with them. Good plan, kid. Get away from Eric and Annie while you can. The Colonel gives him a pep talk about how great a man Eric is. George really wants to go with them. Of course, Eric and Annie are listening at the door.

Parking lot of the closed hardware store. Matt confronts the cashier about the rings as she's locking up. He overshares about how scared he was when they got robbed, not realizing that confronting a women alone in a dark parking lot can be pretty frightening, too. She gives him the rings, probably realizing that if she keeps the rings, she will never be free of the Camdens.

Ruth comes into try to connect with Lucy. She gives her an old love letter from the Colonel, saying that Lucy's stories about Jimmy Moon suggest she is a person of 'great passion'. She asks that Lucy return the letter in the morning, and keep it a secret from the Colonel. Lucy is touched. Mary and Lucy read the letter together.

Morning. Matt returns Annie's rings, saying she can let the car-jacking go. Annie is touched, instead of upset that her family harrassed the cashier so much that she gave up a present from her son that may or may not have actually belonged to Annie.

The Colonel and Ruth are taking a taxi to the airport. Lucy returns the letter. George is in tears over having to stay with Eric and Annie. I feel for you, kid. Eric and Annie give the Colonel the adoption papers. They decided that George should be able to pick his family because the producers didn't want to pay for another regular cast member just yet.

Eric and his father agree to try to be more friendly with each other. It probably won't last.

They get ready to take George with them on the flight they're about to board. I hope there's an open seat.

There's a knock on the door. Turns out Simon did win the Viper. The family starts to go outside to check it out, giving Eric a chance to bust Mary and Matt for the impromptu driving lesson. Simon can't keep it because he isn't old enough to enter, but the Colonel intimidates the guy at the door into letting Eric drive it around the block.
The episode ends with Eric and Simon peeling out in a Viper, while Simon notes that George is now Eric's brother. Aww.


Apparently, the Camdens have been trying to adopt random children since season one, but none of them managed to move in until season five.

I can't believe the family harrasses the cashier so much, including Matt's surprise visit in an empty parking lot. If the family really thought those were Annie's rings, shouldn't they have contacted the police?

I love the Colonel, if only because he is consistently telling Eric how messed up his family is and that it's basically all Eric's fault.

Lucy, I only want to tell you this one time, shut up about Jimmy Moon and develop some independent interests.

Simon, please never refer to yourself as Lucky Man ever again. Thank you.

Also, that has to be one of the quickest, easiest adoptions ever. Especially considering that it's crossing state lines.


  1. I liked the Colonel, too. There's an episode where Eric is being filmed and has to work on a sermon so the Colonel basically shows up, does a lot of housework, helps the kids with their problems, including tutoring Lucy in American History, and is an all around supportive guy. He was a thousand times more awesome than the rest of the Camdens.

    And I, too, hate Jimmy Moon. He has this weird blank stare about him...and the last name...I can't be the only tone thinking, "Moonie" whenever he's on screen, can I?

  2. Sadako, that is a great episode. It's coming up in season two. The Colonel is so great at undermining Eric!

    Also, you're right about the kid who plays Jimmy Moon. His line delivery is so wooden. Moonie is an apt description.

  3. You've totally inspired me to start watching episodes, so I've been doing that. And netflixing some, too. So addicted...