Saturday, September 25, 2010

Banned Book Week-- Fahrenheit 451

If you haven't read the book, please be advised-- spoilers abound.

There's a blaze of light in every word. It doesn't matter which you heard- the holy or the broken hallelujah. Leonard Cohen

Fahrenheit 451 begins with a fire of destruction. Our hero's (Guy Montag) job is to burn books, and he finds a great deal of pleasure watching them burn. But he is also beginning to wonder what the point of it all is. He is especially shaken when a woman elects to burn herself and her books together, rather than letting the firemen burn her books and haul her off to a sanitarium. This event takes place just after his wife's near overdose and his encounter with a questioning neighbor. Guy is a man on the cusp of decision, and events conspire to make him seriously consider the life he is leading.

He has been hoarding books for awhile, but hasn't actually brought himself to read any of them. But he becomes curious about their content, wondering what would compel someone to die rather than give them up. So he does read, and he is changed by it. So much so that he attracts the attention of his government. Eventually, he is reduced to fugitive status, and joins a band of people outside the city dedicated to preserving the content of books, if not the physical books themselves.

It is the preservers of books just outside the city that have always captured my imagination in this book. It is easy to read Fahrenheit 451 simply as a treatise against state sponsored censorship, and obviously it is that, but that's not what captures my imagination. What intrigues me is the impossibility of utterly destroying the books.

True confession time. I spent a huge amount of time studying religious history, which often involves burning of texts deemed heretical. It is amazing how many books people have tried to wipe off the earth that are being studied today. Whether they were read in secret for centuries or rediscovered after being lost for centuries, many texts have survived long after their persecutors have shuffled off this mortal coil. Aristotle was rediscovered by Europe during the Crusades, having been studied by learned Muslims for years. The Nag Hammadi texts were discovered buried in Egypt, lending current scholars insight into the development of Christianity.

And even in Bradbury's imagined future, the books have not 'gone gently into that good night.' (Dylan Thomas) People are hiding them, and almost more importantly, people remember them. Books seem to be immortal in ways humans cannot even imagine themselves becoming! They endure despite all our attempts to destroy them.

So to all you out there trying to ban or burn books, I have to ask: What is it that you think you are going to accomplish?

The titles you have been working so hard to eliminate will most likely still be read in 100 years or more. Some books have been contested for centuries, and yet they are still with us. You can't win this fight.

Bradbury shows us this by ending with a group of people dedicated to passing down books orally to preserve the memory. And that this brilliant treatise about the dangers and futility of burning books is in the top 100 banned books is ridiculous. Especially considering that some of the people challenging it think it actually advocates burning the Bible! (I mean, seriously, did you even read Fahrenheit 451).

One last thought: My mother forbade me to read exactly one book. This book was available in my school libraries and many of my friends read it as teenagers; it was also by an author I read avidly. Because my mother did not ban many books from our household, and because she had actually read the book, I did not pick it up until I was in my mid-twenties.* If you are worried about ideas your children might get from the books they are reading, take the opportunity to discuss the books with them, or at least explain why you have reservations. Because, really, the books aren't going anywhere.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dangerous Liaisons Part 1

A warning: Annie is fricking crazy in this episode, so don't read further if you are faint-hearted.

The show opens with Annie frantically scrubbing the inside of the refrigerator with a tooth brush. Eric makes a joke, giving Annie an opportunity to run through all the chores she has her family doing. Eric quite patronizing throughout the scene. Annie exposits that she's nervous about her dad visiting since it's the first time he's come to Glen Oak since her mom died. Aww, now I feel bad for her. I'm sure it won't last though. Eric tries to reassure her. Annie realizes that neither she or Eric know what Simon and Ruthie are up to...

Cut to Simon and Ruthie in the bath together, trying to lure Happy into joining them. I don't want to think about that for very long. The parents come in and see the mess they've made. Annie flips out, and Eric makes and unappreciated joke about getting his bathing suit. He promises that he'll make sure the mess is taken care of. Eric mentions again why Annie is nervous as the kids get out of the tub. I am relieved to note they are wearing swimming suits, but it still seems weird that they were in there in the first place given their ages. Simon says he feels sorry for his grandfather, thinking he must be sad and alone.

Cut to Grandpa's flight. He's assuring a nervous woman named Ginger that his family will love her because he loves her. Ruh-Roh.

Back at the Camden's. Annie is frantically making sure everything is in it's proper place. She flips her shit when she finds toys under the couch. She yells at Mary, who tells her the vaccuum didn't fit under the couch. Ruthie wanders in to find out what's going on. Annie sends them to the park. Annie at least apologizes for her insanity, and tells them to be back in half an hour. Mary offers to help and Annie tells her to find a home for a real potato jammed with Mr. Potato Head pieces. As they leave, she finds his wife. I don't think it's very sanitary to have food under your couch like that.

Simon is desperately shoving things into his closet. Lucy comes in without him noticing just in time for him to pull out the Cosmo he's hiding there. Lucy demands that he give it to her because he's too young to be reading Cosmo. He points out that it's not like it's Playboy. I want to know what kind of ten-year old boy reads Cosmo. He correctly asserts that Lucy wants it for herself. Lucy looks quite pleased with herself.

At the airport. Matt tells Eric that Grandpa's flight was delayed. Eric tells him to call Annie, but neither of them has a quarter. Ah, the days when people used payphones and they only cost a quarter. Eric gives him a dollar to break and Matt heads to the phone. He asksa girl for change, but she ignores him completely. She turns around as she passes, but doesn't respond to his question. Eric laughs at him, because that's what strong father figures do.

In her room, Lucy is looking through the illicit Cosmo. She takes some time to look at the cover model, and then gets up to play with her hair in front of her mirror. Simon sneaks in behind her and she gets all self-righteous about it, even though she did the same thing not ten minutes ago. Simon calls her on it, and then suggests she use the sample rinse in the magazine to lighten her hair. I can't figure why he cares at all.

At the park. A boy playing with a baby asks Mary about the potato she's caring. She launches into a long explanation, and then realizes that it's not interesting. The boy agrees with her and introduces himself as Wilson, and the baby as Billy. Mary introduces herself and Ruthie. Ruthie plays cars with Billy, while Mary and Wilson flirt.

Lucy comes into the kitchen to ask Annie if she can dye her hair blonde. Annie is not in the mood to deal with such things at the moment. Simon comes in and asks Annie about Lucy's hair. Seriously, why does he care?
Park. Wilson and Mary are talking when Mary realizes that she's late getting home. Wilson asks her on a date, and she says she has to ask her parents. She gives him her phone number.

Eric rushes into the house in order to tell Annie that her father brought a guest with him. Annie's is too excited about seeing her father to listen. Grandpa comes in and Annie gives him a big hug. Then he introduces her to his girlfriend. Annie is visibly shocked and Matt looks terrified waiting for his mother to react.

Cut to the kitchen. Annie is serving lunch. Or at least announcing the buffet to everyone. She sounds pissed. Mary notes that Annie's acting weird, but Matt's more honest when he says she's freaking out. Annie is in a full on pout that she's failing to hide. Everyone sits down to eat. Eric says a blessing, including a line about peace and harmony, while Annie shoot daggers at Ginger with her eyes.

Ginger tries to give her a compliment about the soup, but Annie brats that it's her mother's recipe. Annie doesn't want to give Ginger the recipe.

Eric tries to change the subject to Matt's attempted pick up at the airport. Ruthie takes this opportunity to tell everyone that Mary gave her phone number to Wilson. Mary admits that he asked her out, but that she wasn't sure because of Grandpa's visit. Simon's response: "I'm sure it'd be okay, I mean Grandpa brought a date." Hee.

Grandpa suggests that Mary should go on her date, and reveals that he and Ginger are staying in a hotel. He invites Annie and Eric out for dinner. Annie is shocked that they'll be staying in a hotel. Ginger assures her they got a 2-for-1 deal through their travel club. Simon notes that this sounds like the two plan to do some travelling together, causing Annie to make one of her many faces of disdain. The kids show their approval, and Annie pouts some more.

Upstairs. Mary likes Ginger, but Lucy is supporting her mom on this one. Because Lucy will do anything to curry favor with her parents. Ruthie is agreeing with Mary. Wilson calls Mary, causing Lucy and Ruthie to make kissy noises. She throws a pillow at them.

Living Room. Simon is asking for all the details of how Grandpa and Ginger met. He's really quite oblivious to the general tension. Basically, this scene lets us know that they've been dating for three months. Simon wants to know if their getting married and they laugh at him. It is also noted that Ginger's kids don't like Grandpa. Finally, Grandpa changes the subject by asking about Happy.

Kitchen. Matt is scrubbing the stove, while Annie frenetically scrubs the sink. He asks if she's okay, and she say no. Eric rushes in, having taken out the trash, and asks what else he can do. Annie tells him to get Ginger on the next flight out of her father's life. Matt has the balls to suggest that Annie is being to tough on Ginger. Annie turns to glare at him while he continues to talk her up. Behind Annie, Eric is making "quit-it" gestures. Matt misinterprets and tries to back track, but the idea that Grandpa is having a fling doesn't sit well with Annie. Matt is about to dig himself in deeper, when Grandpa comes in to ask for a ride to their hotel. Annie brattily offers Matt the honor. Grandpa asks what they thought of Ginger, giving Annie the opportunity to sarcastically say that she's swell. Overly cheerful, Matt suggests they head out. Eric promises to make a dinner reservation.

He then makes the mistake of trying to comfort Annie. She just wants to vent, and unloads a torrent of questions that boil down to her feeling like her father is disrespecting her mother's memory by dating so soon. Eric tries to make a joke, but Annie yells at him.

Lucy chooses this opportunity to ask again about dying her hair. Annie replies that, "It is unforgivable." But I think she's still venting about her father. Eric distractedly gives her permisison, and she takes off smiling.

Annie decides to call the hotel to find out if they're staying in the same room. But she fails because she doesn't know Ginger's last name. She chews out the poor guy who answered the phone when he doesn't know if anyone named Ginger registered for a room. Eric suggestion that she try to relax is met with a "Bite me."

In Matt's car, Grandpa is assuring Ginger that Annie will come around once she gets to know her. They also happen to spot the girl Matt tried to talk to at the airport. Grandpa encourages him to knock on her door, thinking this is romantic instead of creepy.

Unfortunately for us, Matt takes the advice. He knocks on the door and word vomits to the girl's mother until she agrees to let him talk to her daughter. He assures her that he's not a stalker. Heh.

Heather's mom goes to get her. Matt starts to word-vomit again. Until he notices that Heather keeps glancing at her mother. He glances up and sees her mom signing the conversation. Because Heather is deaf. Matt asks her out. Her mother encourages her to get to know her neighbors. Maybe
Heather's mom should date Matt. He asks her to a party and she relents.

Night. Matt is trying to get Simon to teach him any sign language learned from Sesame Street. Simon is not being very helpful, so Matt threatens not to give him advice about girls when he gets older. Simon doesn't want Matt's advice because Matt can't usually get past a third date. Finally, Simon remembers the sign for turtle. Matt is not pleased.

Eric tries to convince Annie to come out to dinner with him and her father. She's not hungry. Eric asks if she's told her father, to which she replies, "Why should I? He didn't tell me he was tom-catting around with that woman." Seriously, Annie? Tom-catting?

Eric points out that she can't ignore her father for the whole visit. But Annie believes otherwise. She's making a lot of scary faces.

Wilson comes by to pick up Mary. Eric gives him a hard time, and Mary is embarrassed. Wilson gives Mary flowers, and chocolates for Ruthie. He plans to take Mary to the Pool Hall. Wilson lays on the responsibility charm, but Eric isn't sure he wants to let Mary go out with a stranger. Turns out that Eric knows Wilson's father. Wilson offers him a beeper number, which Eric takes, granting the kids permission to go out. Eric turns to find Ruthie already digging in to her chocolats.

Eric again tries to persuade Annie to deal with her father. Grandpa calls, and Eric tries to hedge. Grandpa goes on to describe exactly how Annie's reacting to the situation. Eric hangs up, and Annie announces that she doesn't want to talk about it. But Eric can't resist giving it one more go. Annie breaks down in tears and says she really hates Ginger.

Matt and Heather's date. He insists on openin the door for her, but it's kinda awkward. She's helpfully brought a notepad so that they can communicate. Matt turns on the radio, realizes his mistake and turns it back off. Heather turns it back on, and writes that he shoudl drive. They head out.

Pool Hall. Mary is kicking Wilson's butt at pinball, when Michael Towner approaches and gives them a bunch of crap. Wilson tries to take control of the situation, but Mary takes control herself. Wilson is not happy.

Lucy and Ruthie wander into Lucy's room. Lucy has a towel on her head, and Ruthie is complaining that only Annie should be blonde. Ruthie doesn't think that Jimmy Moon won't like the change. Simon thinks otherwise and continues to show way too much interest in Lucy's hair style. He hands her a hair-dryer.

Party. Matt and Heather are dancing. Everything is going well until Heather glances up and sees some fellow party-goers making fun of her. Heather runs off, and Matt makes idle threats. He follows Heather, but she just wants to go home.

Cam-Mansion. Ginger comes over to talk to Annie, but Annie doesn't want to. Eric invites her in to talk to him instead. Eric is optimistic about his ability to fix this. Ginger exposits about how much Charles means to her, but that she thinks it's too hard since no one in their families approves. Eric encourages them to stick it out.

Lucy comes down stairs, very blonde. Eric's not sure what to think, but Lucy is clearly upset. It doesn't look great, but it doesn't look nearly as bad as her hair in later seasons. She blames Eric for giving her permisison. He's not very helpful.

Annie is curled up in bed when Simon comes in. She tries to brush him off, but he's determined to talk. Simon shares some of the insight that Grandpa shared about Ginger's kids. Annie sympathizes with them.

Mary and Wilson return, fighting about how she handled the situation with Michael Towner. Matt comes up to ask about it. Mary stomps off. Matt offers to talk to her for Wilson, and then introduces himself. Wilson expresses doubts that there will be another date.

Inside, Simon begs Matt to compliment Lucy and Mary orders him not to lecture her. Lucy and Eric come in with ice cream and Matt tries to compliment her. He doesn't do a very good job, and Lucy plans on killing Simon before she goes to bed. Eric tries to explain the situation to Matt.
Eric asks about the date. Matt admits he doesn't know quite what happened. Eric reccommends that he invite Heather and her mother to church. Matt doesn't think church is the answer to every problem, but Eric thinks it's "possible that it is." Thus explaining subsequent seasons of the program.

Matt decides to take Eric's advice. Eric eavesdrops from the other room.
Church. Annie and Mary are greeting people. Wilson comes up, with Billy, and apologizes for the night before. Mary apologizes, too. Annie introduces herself and Wilson introduces Billy. She assumes that Billy is Wilson's little brother. Annie excuses herself, and Wilson takes the opportunity to tell Mary that Billy is his son. Mary doesn't look like she knows how to react.

As everyone is sitting down for the service, Grandpa and Ginger arrive. This causes Annie to flee the church. Mary exchanges significant looks with Eric, and then gets up to follow her.

Outside. Annie has crossed the street. Mary calls out to her and starts to follow. But forgets to look both ways, and is hit by a car, complete with squealing tire sound effects. The car drives off, as Annie scream. Everyone comes out of the church as Catherine Hicks tries to convey panic.

To Be Continued...

Okay, I realize that not much time has passed since Grandma died, and that Grandpa maybe shouldn't have surprised his daughter, but wow, Annie was bitchy toward him and Ginger.

Also, if Grandpa knew how his daughter was going to react, why not give the family a heads up? Might give them time to get used to the idea.

Also, Simon, seriously, why do care what Lucy does with her hair? And why are you hiding Cosmo in your closet?

This episode marks both the beginning of Matt and Heather and the beginning of Wilson and Mary. Plotlines that will not be wrapped up until the sixth and eighth seasons. Joy.

The next episode is the season finale. I can't believe I've almost finished Season 1!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Say Goodbye

Annie brings Ruthie a snack. She brats that Annie is blocking the view of her imaginary friend. Annie is surprisingly indulgent towards this behaviour. The phone rings. The women calling Annie calls her by her maiden name. It's Rachel, an old high school friend, who has been married several times. She's just moved to Glen Oak, and is living near the Camdens.

While Annie is distracted, Simon comes into the tv room and changes the channel. Ruthie tries to interrupt Annie's phone call to tattle, but Annie basically ignores her, until she starts screaming like she's been killed. The cause of this commotion? Simon sat on the imaginary friend, and Ruthie is convinced that Hooey is squashed. That shouldn't amuse me quite so much. Annie gets off the phone to glare at Simon, even though there's no way he could have known where Ruthie's invisible friend was sitting.

Night. Simon and Eric are cleaning dishes when Annie comes in all dressed up. Simon comments that she doesn't look like a mom. She takes it as a compliment, but I have to think he meant she looks like a lady of the evening. I mean she's really dolled up, like she's going on a date. Eric worries and doesn't like the idea of letting her out of the house without him. She laughs at him.

Eric asks Simon about the Hooey-squishing. Simon denies it.
Doorbell. Matt answers the door to reveal Rachel, who mistakes Matt for Eric. I don't want to spend a lot of time contemplating that, though I guess it reveals that Rachel's first impression of Matt is far more adult than he actually is. Rachel and Annie hug and giggle. Rachel meets the family, and makes many inappropriate comments. Including asking Lucy and Mary to scout potential dates for her. She also reveals that she's been divorced twice. Shocking! Ruthie asks about Hooey, and Annie and Rachel depart for their night on the town. Just after Rachel reveals that she doesn't have a car, and is hoping Annie can drive. Man, Annie's skirt is short.

Matt mentions to Eric that, "Mom's got a new hanging buddy," and Eric pretends to be supportive. Matt just laughs at him.

Simon spends some time trying to convince Ruthie that he didn't squish her imaginary friend. It's not working, but Simon keeps trying.

Resteraunt. Rachel is unloading on Annie about how crappy her life is. Annie brags about all her college courses. Like way to make your friend who didn't finish college feel worse about it. Rachel gets a dig about Annie "just staying home with Eric and the kids." Annie defends her life choices. They offer a toast with what appears to be real wine. Because at this point the show still thought moderation was possible.

Cam-Mansion. Lucy's friend Suzanne announces that her formerly dead-beat dad found her mom a job at a car dealership. It sounds like a decent job with quite a few benefits. Suzanne is happy.

Simon begs for Eric's help fixing the situation with Ruthie and her imaginary friend. Eric actually reasonably explains that Ruthie is testing letting Hooey go. Ruthie comes in and asks Eric to have a goodbye party for him. Eric asks her to wait a few days, but agrees to have the party if she still wants to then. Simon seems way too invested in this thing judging by the way he grabs Eric by the collar and orders him to do something.

Matt and Mary play basketball. Matt wants Mary to set Rachel up with one of her basketball coaches. Because adults love being set up by the students they mentor. Mary is reluctant, but Matt talks her into betting on it. Um, y'all, just because she asked you to find her a date, doesn't mean you actually have to do it.

Lucy and Suzanne tell Eric about the job. Eric reveals that the dealership is in another town. Matt pops his head in to offer Suzanne a ride home, so he can study later. Suzanne wants to ask her mom about the move.

Annie and Rachel return, still giggling. Matt announces that he's taking Suzanne home, and Rachel talks him into driving her home, too. Annie tells Eric she had a great time. Eric pretends to be happy for her. Annie reveals that she agreed to lend Rachel Eric's car the following day. Eric comments that he admires Rachel's adventurous spirit, but Annie calls him on his lying. Annie suggests that he find her a man to spend time with if Rachel gets on his nerves.

At Rachel's house. Matt has kindly walked Rachel to her door. She has trouble finding her keys, but then drops them out of her purse. She and Matt both reach down to get the keys, leading Rachel to lean in for a kiss. Matt pulls away in shock, and Rachel invites him in. Matt turns her down, so Rachel accuses him of not finding her attractive. Matt obviously does find her attractive, but points out that she's a friend of his mother's. Rachel flirts and tricks him into asking her on a date. She's taking him to see a band, only she says it like it's a euphemism. Matt looks confused. Aww, Rachel's already found herself a man.

Morning. Rachel has joined the Camden's for breakfast. Rachel is clearly a mooch. Matt and Mary come into the kitchen, and Rachel lets the Camden parents know about the band she wants to take Matt to. Annie assumes that Rachel wants to take Matt to a bar, but it's just a coffee-house. Mary invites herself, and Matt jumps on this opportunity to make the evening seem less like a date. Rachel barely covers her disappointment. Annie's not worried because Rachel is her best friend, who we already know she hasn't seen in like twenty years.

Lucy demonstrates that she's as much a pushover as her mother by asking if she can pack an extra lunch for her friend. But I thought Suzanne's dad was paying his child support. Why would she need the Camden's to feed her? Annie asks about whether Suzanne's moving. Lucy says she can't because she needs her friend to talk her out of her craziness regarding Jimmy Moon. Mary notes that she once filled a similar role in Lucy's life, but Lucy counters that Mary's advice usually sucked. Heh.

Simon is still trying to convince Ruthie to believe in her imaginary friend. I have stopped caring.

Lucy's class. Suzanne is not there. The teacher asks Lucy if Suzanne is sick. She says it's because she knows that Lucy and Suzanne are close, but I think it's because she knows how nosy the Camden's are. Lucy looks sad.

High school. Matt tells Mary she doesn't need to find Rachel a date. Mary is suspicious about his motives, but she's relieved to be off the hook.

Simon is setting a Hooey-trap. Still can't care.

Lucy calls Suzanne. It turns out that Suzanne is moving. The girls cry it out. Suzannes promises to call back.

Coffee shop. Matt, Mary and Rachel are waiting for the band to start. Matt reveals that Mary has a great voice. An ex-boyfriend of Rachel's is in the band, and he asks her to sing since his lead singer is late. Rachel reminds him that she's tone-deaf and volunteers Mary. Looks like the date is back on.

Mary starts singing. Rachel insists Matt dance with her. Matt says he doesn't really dance, but Rachel just counters with, "Great, I'll teach you." I don't think she just means dancing y'all. She leads him out to the dance floor, and leans in real close. From the stage, Mary looks seriously wigged by this development. Matt looks positively terrified.

As Matt and Mary enter their house, she accuses him of being on a date with Rachel. Matt tries to protest, but then admits it. Just in time for Eric to reveal that he's in the kitchen. Matt tells him that Rachel hit on him. Eric obviouses that the situation is not good, leading Matt to assert that he's not completely stupid. Okay, Matt, not completely, but almost.

Eric wants to tell Annie. Matt asks him about whether he was ever attracted to an older woman. It turns out Eric was also once attracted to one of his mother's friends-- the Admiral's wife. This is seeming weirdly Oedipal. Eric wants to tell Annie, but Matt doesn't want to. Eric tells Matt to make it clear to Rachel that he isn't interested. Matt expresses that he might be interested, leading Eric to threaten him with military school.

Morning. Mary announces that the band wants her to sing again. Annie and Eric are upset that she sang with a band because they think she's too young. Annie sends the kids out of the room so she can talk to Eric. She starts ranting about the dangers of coffee houses and bands. Eric thinks it would be fun to watch their daughter sing in public. This is enough to placate Annie, but she still wants to talk to Rachel about not getting Mary "involved in these types of situations." Because singing in coffee houses is really dangerous?

Simon gives up on the Hooey thing, meaning Ruthie asks Eric to throw a goodbye party. She wants him to give the speech. Eric seems pretty honored by this. Simon is obviously jealous.

In the kitchen, Annie tells Lucy that she packed a lunch for Suzanne. Lucy tells her that she's easing off of the relationship, so that the move won't be as hard. Annie gives her some advice about cherishing the time she has with Suzanne. Lucy is in no mood to be comforted.

Lucy gives Suzanne her lunch. Lucy tries to help her see the bright side, by noting that they have the rest of the school year to hang out. Lucy's shirt has a giant rubber duck on it for some unknown reason. Suzanne informs her that they're moving over the weekend. Lucy invites her to Hooey's goodbye party, but Suzanne's dad has visitation. They hug goodbye.

Rachel comes over to the Camdens to do laundry. Because she is a mooch. Annie takes the opportunity to announce that she wants to talk to Rachel about last night. Rachel assumes that she wants to talk about Matt, and tells Annie that Matt made a pass at her. I bet Rachel feels really stupid when Annie reveals that she was talking about Mary, and she tipped her hand unnecessarily.

Night. Annie is setting up for Hooey's party. It's quite the spread, considering he's imaginary and has been squashed. Matt comes in to ask about the party, and reveals that he plans to drive Mary to her gig and pick up Rachel. Annie snaps at him, and tells him he's baby-sitting. Matt suggests that Mary doesn't want her parents to go with her. Annie puts on her scary face and bitches Matt out how Mary's too young to sing with a band by herself. Matt clues in and asks if Annie is in a bad mood. Annie reveals that Rachel threw him under the proverbial bus. Matt is too surprised to deny it, so Annie takes the opportunity to lecture him. Annie doesn't blink for the whole conversation. Freaky.

Simon and Ruthie talk about Hooey. I still don't care.

Mary is trying to get Lucy to help her pick out an outfit. Lucy is not paying attention. Mary tries to make her feel better, but fails. Matt comes in to inform Mary that Eric and Annie are coming to hear her sing. Mary is upset. Mary asks Lucy to leave, and she stomps out of the room.

Matt tells Mary what Rachel told Annie. Mary thinks Matt should have told Annie the truth. Matt thinks he can take it because he's a man. Mary thinks this is stupid and sexist. Eric comes in and Mary tries to convince him to skip her gig.

Eric sends her out of the room so he can talk to Matt. Eric also wants Matt to tell Annie the truth. Simon knocks on the door and announces that it's time...

Mary is in the living room begging Annie not to embarrass her by attending her performance. Annie won't budge.

Doorbell. Rachel comes in, and Annie apologizes for Matt. Rachel brushes it off as no big deal, but doesn't tell Annie that she lied.

Suzanne surprises Lucy, so they can hang out before she leaves.

Eric starts giving his speech about Hooey. He takes the opportunity to lecture those in attendance about how easy it is to lie, and how it's always better to tell the truth. Annie looks increasingly confused. Eric is interrupted by Hooey's return. Turns out he had simply gone to visit his wife in space. Everyone gets ice cream.

Rachel asks to talk to Annie in the kitchen. She comes clean about how she hit on Matt. Annie gets on her scary face and bitches Rachel out. Annie notes that if a guy twenty years older than Mary hit on her, they'd have him arrested. Annie, I've got news for you-- the same rules apply to men and women. You can still call the police if you think your son is being harassed. Annie really tears into Rachel. Remind me not to piss her off.

Mary is still trying to convince her parents not to come to her gig. Annie sends Matt into the kitchen to talk to Rachel. She throws in an apology for accusing him of hitting on her friend.

Suzanne admits to Lucy that she kissed Jimmy Moon in kindergarten. Eric's speech jogged her memory. Lucy pretends she doesn't care because she wants Suzanne to leave on a good note. She ruins it by announcing to her parents that Jimmy Moon is a dead man.

Rachel apologizes to Matt. He's pretty nice to her all things considered. They almost hug, but awkwardly settle for shaking hands.

Coffee house. Mary is on stage trying sing to R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Eric and Annie are impressed, until they overhear to men discussing how hot she is. They then feel the need to butt in and announce that she's 14, and that Eric's a minister. The guy judges them as crappy parents, especially given Eric's vocation, and they look worried. Heh. Mary sings us into the credits.


Good lord, the Hooey sub-plot was tedious. I can't imagine why Simon would care about it at all.

Especially since it got so much airtime, while Lucy trying to cope with her best friend's move got so little attention.

I don't understand what's wrong with singing in coffee houses, but from the general reactions of the adults, apparently this is something for adult only. Weird.

Rachel behaviour towards Matt is pretty predatory.

Eric is so sanctimonious when he's giving his speech about lying.

Annie is so scary when she's angry.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

It's About George

We open with the Colonel (yea!) and the rest of the family waiting to take Julie home from Rehab. The Colonel thinks they shoud have waited for Eric to finish with some meeting. George gives him a pep talk. Julie comes down and expresses nervousness about seeing her parents and meeting George. Everyone tries to be reassuring. Julie and her parents make some awkward conversation. George promises to look out for her.

Eric is playing pool while he waits for the Chief of Police. Something about reacclimating a cop by the name of Will Grayson who just got out of the witness protection program. Will and the Chief meet with Eric. Will is going back on the force. His real issue is to locate his son, who he gave up for adoption before he testified in some Mafia trial. He reveals the kid would be about 10 and his name is George. Because no coincidence is too unlikely for 7th Heaven to take on.

Back at the Camden's, Mary and Lucy are trying to prepare Jimmy Moon for meeting the Colonel. Matt thinks this pointless, as the Colonel and Ruth will most likely tear him to shreds anyway. He and Mary role play to demonstrate how the meeting will most likely go. This causes Matt to uses a breadstick as a fake cigar. They do a fair impression of their grandparents. Jimmy thinks they're exaggerating. Lucy suggests he comes back tomorrow. To which he replies, "Whatever." Whatever indeed Mr. Moon.

Upstairs, the Colonel and Ruth try to talk to Julie about her future plans. She's looking forward to spending sometime with her brother's family. Julie points out that she just got out of rehab and hasn't had time to think about it. The scene amounts to the Colonel and Ruth trying to get of sense of Julie's plans and Julie feeling pressured by it. They offer to put her up at their home, but Julie seems reluctant. Julie and her parents seem awkward and distant from each other. Julie looks like she's having trouble coping with her parents.

Garage. George and Simon still don't like each other.

Night. The family is sitting around the dinner table while Eric tells a story about the Colonel picking a fight with Mickey Mouse at Disney Land. Everyone finds it amusing. Except Julie, who suggests that the Colonel could take George to Magic Mountain and beat up Bugs Bunny. An awkward silence descends, which Annie breaks by telling everyone she's been building a boat for the Colonel and George. She leads everyone out to see it, so that Julie and Eric can talk.

She tells Eric that she's having a hard time, especially with her parents around. They have a sweet moment. Then she asks if something is wrong. Eric admits that there is, and that it's about George.

Outside, the boat looks like a disaster waiting to happen. With boards sticking out and random colors of paint. Annie tries to defend it as a work in progress, but that doesn't stop her children from laughing at her. Ruth joins in, but George asks the Colonel for permission to laugh and is denied. Instead the Colonel gives a speech about an incident in the Korean War. He tells Annie that he and George will be proud to sail in the boat. Everyone else is still laughing at Annie though.

Bedtime. Lucy and Mary are sharing their room with Julie and Ruthie. Lucy is prying into Julie's life plan, but Julie hasn't found any answers in the last few hours. She tells the girls that she needs to figure out where she wants to live. Then she changes the subject to ask about Mary's basketball career and Lucy's boyfriend. After making Lucy more nervous about the prospect of having Jimmy Moon meet the Colonel, Ruthie asks why Julie doesn't like the Colonel. Julie fudges an answer and everyone encourages her to give a chance because George has changed them so much. This causes Julie to get quiet. Everyone goes to bed. Lucy and Mary think somethings up.

The Colonel and Ruth are in the master bedroom. He's upset about how Julie's been acting. Ruth tries to make him feel better about it. They start talking about George, all happy about having him in the family.

Eric and Annie are trying to share Matt's twin bed again. Because that was so much fun the last time the Colonel was in town. Eric tells her about the situation with Will Grayson and his son. Annie thinks this is a good idea, until she learns that it's George that Eric is talking about. They both look sad.

Morning. Jimmy meets Lucy grandparents. The Colonel and Ruth replay the exact scene Matt and Mary performed earlier. It's actually pretty funny. Especially since Jimmy and Lucy both look terrified. The Colonel dismisses them and the two adults laugh at their joke. Eric pops in to ask them into his office to talk.

Outside, Jimmy and Lucy are discussing the meeting. Jimmy tries to pretend he wasn't properly prepared, but Lucy calls him on it. He agrees, saying he fell victim to his own arrogance. What teenager talks like that?

In Eric's office, Eric breaks the news about George to his parents. They take it pretty hard. The Colonel asks Eric to help them keep custody of George, but Eric says there's nothing he can do. The Colonel storms out, and Ruth asks Eric if he knew what it took for the Colonel to ask for help. She then asks Eric if he thinks that Will Grayson should get custody of George. Eric makes the mistake of indicating a yes answer, earning him a slap across the face. It's pretty awesome to watch. Ruth looks pretty shocked at her action, saying she and the Colonel don't know how to be helpless.

George reveals that is really is a Camden by coming out from hiding behind a cabinet. Eric convinces George to meet the guy. George leaves, and Eric actually starts praying. Which happens surprisingly little for a show about a minister.
George is hanging with Simon and Ruthie, preparing to meet his father. Ruth and the Colonel come in to assure him that they intend to fight for custody. Eric comes in to take George to the meeting. Ruthie gives him a hug and Simon gives him a pat on the shoulder for good measure. They both look despondent.

George is nervous about meeting his father. Eric talks him up. Will meets them there, and apologizes for uprooting him one more time. George asks for a timeline. He's pretty stoic about it. He announces that he'll wait outside. Eric and Will discuss him a bit, until Eric remembers that George has a history of running away. They both head outside, but George is nowhere to be seen.

Night. Julie is trying to comfort her mother, but makes the mistake of refering to Will as his father. Ruth corrects her, insisting that the Colonel is George's father. Annie is making tea. Julie is trying to be way to rational about the situation, which is not comforting to Ruth. Ruth confronts Julie on her behaviour towards her father. Julie calls her father 'a stone,' causing Ruth to go on a rant about how the entire situation is Julie's fault. Her rationale doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but her kid is missing, she's not thinking straight. Annie tries too late to head off the fight. Ruth tries to apologize, but Julie's not hearing it. She starts yelling at her mother about what a loser she is, but blames her mother for raising her that way. Ruth responds by denying respnsibility and leaving the room.

Church. George is stealing from Eric's office, when Eric catches him. George is feeling torn between the Camdens and his father. He thinks they're both great. How he knows Will is great after a ten second meeting, I'm not sure. Eric convinces him to come back to the Cam-mansion.

The Colonel is sitting outside alone. Mary comes out to tell him that George is back. Mary heads off to bed, pausing to tell the Colonel that she loves him.
Julie is sneaking around the kitchen with a bottle of wine. Matt catches her and talks her out of drinking it. Julie tries to make excuses, but Matt suggests she talk to her father instead.

He's outside, sitting in Annie's boat, crying. Julie goes out to comfort him. He feels as though he's lost his children, but Julie climbs in the boat next to him to tell him that she's not lost. They make up and comfort each other. Ruth watches from the window.

Morning. Julie tells Matt that she didn't take the drink. George asks Simon to look out for the Colonel and Ruth. Simon promises. The boys seem to be getting along better. Simon catches Ruthie listening at the door.

In Eric's office, the Colonel is trashing a plan that Eric has come up with. Will Grayson thinks it is ridiculous as well. The women in the room think it's a great plan. Eric tries to spin it as what's best for George. Annie suggests they fix up their guest house for George's father. Ruth reveals they were planning to offer it to Julie. This is news to the Colonel.

Will wants to know what he's supposed to do in New York, and Eric suggests that they need cops there, too. Will says applying for a transfer would take months, so Ruth offer's the Colonel's connections to speed the process. The Colonel doesn't want to, but Ruth lays down the law, even going so far as to call him John. Eventually all the adults agree.

The Colonel catches all the kids listening at the door and sends them to get their bags. He has George, Lucy and Jimmy Moon wait because he wants to talk to them. He sends the lovebirds to the living room, and offers George a choice between going back with Will or with them. He chooses the Camdens.

Julie wonders how they're going to get the boat to New York. She and Will go to look at it. It looks much more finished. He invites her to ride with him to New York, and she agrees. I sense sparks.

The Colonel and Ruth apoloogize to Jimmy Moon for their behavior at their earlier meeting. The Colonel still manages to freak him out, suggesting that if anyone were to hurt Lucy he'd hunt them down like a dog. Jimmy accepts the apology. He still thinks they're scary.

In the kitchen, Annie, Eric and Julie beg Matt and Mary to do their impression of the Colonel and Ruth. Matt and Mary are reluctant at first, but eventually give in. They really get into, and the adults find it amusing, until the Colonel and Ruth come into the kitchen. Fortunately, the grandparents find it as amusing as I do. Laughs and hugs all round.


Eric should not have been involved in George's situation due to the obvious conflict of interest. And also, how is it that none of these adults hired a lawyer?

Also, what if George had been adopted as an infant? It seems that whatever the situation, Will was unnecessarily disrupting George's life.

So, did the Camdens just leave their liquor cabinet stocked, knowing that they would be hosting a woman who just got out of rehab, or did Julie make the effort to buy that bottle of wine?

Matt and Mary's impression of their grandparents is pretty funny.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Faith, Hope, and the Bottom Line

Night at the Cam-Mansion. Simon is babbling to Ruthie about how awesome he is at baseball. I don't believe him. But he certainly is using a lot of metaphors. Ruthie is excited to have a class phone list. Simon points out that the phone numbers are probably wrong. Ruthie proves this by not remembering the Camden phone number. Ruthie is sad to discover this, but has faith that her classmates know their phone numbers. Simon tries to show off with his stellar knowledge of the Camden phone number, but Ruthie undercuts this by noting that no one ever calls him. Heh.

Eric is at a job fair, talking to a potential new organist/office assistant. The guy is a little surprised that Eric is so interested because he spent some time in prison. Eric doesn't seem to care and asks him to meet the vestry the next day. Hmm.

Annie is at the vestry meeting apologizing for Eric's lateness. Lou makes his first appearance, noting how much Eric hates the vestry meetings. They need to elect a temporary treasure, and decide to proceed without him. This would not fly at any church I've ever been to. The rector may not always get the final say, but they usually have an opinion on such matters. Especially since the vestry wants to appoint Annie to the position. Can we say conflict of interest?

Morning. Annie is making lunches for her off-spring. Eric is struggling to figure out how to put the sandwiches in the ziploc baggies. 'Cause he's not domestic. Simon comes in so that Annie can ask him if he wants to play Little League. He gives her a long winded answer that boils down to a yes. That means he needs a tetanus shot. He asks if Matt can take him to the clinic. Annie loves the idea. Eric offers to take him, but Simon points out that Eric's fear of needles causes too much anxiety in the waiting room. Eric orders Matt to take Simon of the doctor.

Upstairs, Lucy is thanking Mary for tutoring Jimmy. She also manages to insult Mary while making excuses for his lackluster science grades. Mary totally calls her on this. Lucy gives Mary some ridiculous advice about how to tell if Jimmy actually gets a concept or is just pretending to. It involves looking deeply into Jimmy's eyes. Mary is super annoyed.

Outside, Simon is trying to convince Matt to forge the shot record on his sign-up form. Matt refuses on reasonable grounds, but Simon thinks he can talk Matt into the plan.
Eric tries to discuss Annie's new church position with her. He doesn't seem that thrilled that the vestry appointed her. This is why you shouldn't skip meetings, Rev. Annie is confident that she can handle everything. Eric's worried that vestry is going to make him get a security system, but Annie points out that they are only looking into costs.

Ruthie comes down and reveals that she's certain her siblings will leave her behind someday. She then discusses her dessert. Annie suggests an elaborate trade with the other siblings, causing me to wonder why she didn't just make the lunches that way in the first place. She also talks about her phone list. It's fairly dull.

After the kids leave for school, Eric mentions the ex-con he wants the vestry to meet. Annie asks him straight out if he minds that she's acting as treasurer, and he lies that he's thrilled. Annie pretends to believe him.

Middle school. Lucy gives Jimmy advice on handling Mary. Jimmy sums it up as "smile, show some teeth, basically look pretty." I'm not sure why that would help him learn science from anyone. Lucy give terrible advice.

Church. The ex-con, Ron, is wowing everyone with his mad organ playing skills. Lou, however, is skeptical about hiring an former convict to act as church secretary. Tension...

Doctors. Simon has a pointless conversation with a girl in the waiting room. It's really just a set up for him to freak Matt out about needles and waiting rooms. Matt won't agree to forge anything on the form, but he does agree to bring Simon later. That it succeeds is a testament to Matt's stupidity. How did someone this squemish become a doctor? Simon refers to himself as "the puppet master" as they leave.

Church. Eric is trying to convince Annie about how awesome Ron is and why they should hire him. She points out that the vestry isn't sure they want to test out Ron's rehabilitation with the church's limited resources. Eric is upset that she's not on board with his intuition, and she refers to herself as the practical one. What she's basing that statement on, I can't even imagine.

Eric really steps in it when he suggests that they elected Annie treasurer in order to influence him. Annie is obviously hurt by the comment, but Eric doesn't apologize. Because he sucks.

Ruthie is on the phone with the fire department. Lucy catches her, and gives her a lecture on not calling emergency numbers when there is no emergency. Ruthie tries to blame Simon, and Lucy tells her to stay off the phone. I hope she appreciated the irony of that statement.

Mary is tutoring Jimmy. Lucy is spying on them. Mary is taking Lucy's advice by staring into Jimmy's eyes. Jimmy is also taking Lucy's advice to smile a lot. Lucy has a wacky hallucination-- Mary undoes her ponytail in what is supposed to pass for attraction and uses some breath spray, while Jimmy runs his hands through his hair, and the two move in for a kiss. Jimmy Moon displays more emotion in the fantasy sequence than he has in any other scene in the series. Lucy is jealous.

Church. Lou and the vestry are touring the facility with a guy from a security company. Eric jumps to the conclusion that the vestry has made a decision. He also accuses Lou of not giving the ex-con any more thought. Lou claims they have thought about it, but have not changed their minds. Eric reveals that he didn't even find out what Ron served time for. I find that highly ridiculous, even for 1996. What if Ron had been violent or something. Lou calls Eric on not rethinking his position. Eric thinks the church should be open to anyone, Lou is worried abou t general liability. Annie looks thoughtful.

Night at the Cam-Mansion. Lucy accuses Mary of trying to steal her boyfriend. Actually what she says is that Mary thought "if [Jimmy] had six more arms, he could be a babeloctopus." Not sure what that means, but Mary certainly finds it ridiculous. She responds with, "I didn't think that. What kind of mind would?" Lucy is not be convinced by logic or the fact that Mary thinks Jimmy is useless. She's insane with jealousy. And in case anyone thought she hit rock bottom with the "babeloctopus," she makes even less sense as the conversation continues. Mary finally leaves.

Ron is trying to get into the church. Lou is lurking. Ron asks for a hymnal, but Lou tells him they don't have the money to fill that position. He also asks Ron what his conviction was. He tries to be clever, but it boils down to embezzlement. Lou maintains an air of non-judgment, but it's clear he doesn't think much of Eric's plan to hire the man.

Eric confronts Matt about not waiting for Simon to get his shot. Eric admits that he a Simon ducked out of the shot last year. Eric suggests he brings headphones to prevent Simon from talking to him while they wait. That the two discuss it like they're going to war is a little unnerving.

Lucy is on the phone with Jimmy Moon, accusing him of having designs on her sister. Jimmy is repulsed by the idea, and points out that Lucy told him to smile, and set up the tutoring. Ruthie starts eavesdropping on the conversation, but she's not savvy enough to pick up the phone without being noticed. Jimmy hangs up on them.

Lucy goes to find out why Ruthie wants the phone. She wants to Poison Control because her imaginary friend drank Happy's water. Lucy talks her out of this idea, explaining that emergency numbers are for real people and real emergencies. Ruthie is not pleased with this.

Matt tells Simon that they're going back to the doctor tomorrow. He also describes the shot in such detail that Simon is now terrified about getting the shot. Way to go, Matt.
Church. Eric and Lou have it out about Ron and the security system. Lou thinks Eric's job is to represent the parishoners and their values. Eric sums up his job as representing the church, and it's values. I'm not sure how often he succeeds with that. Also not sure why he considers the church and parishoners separate entities. Lou suggests that if Eric persists in this, he might be looking for another parish.

Morning. Eric is ranting to Annie. She's explaining what Lou is thinking, but Eric doesn't want to hear any other view point. She points out that not everyone has as much faith as he does, and Eric finally hears her. He apologizes for being so one sided. They make up. He asks to see her report early, but she's not budging.

Matt and Mary are trying to get Simon out of his room. He's barricaded himself in to avoid the shot. Mary offers to find a screw driver to take the doorknob off. Not sure if that will work. Ruthie, upon learning about the situation, decides to use her phone tree and call the police.

Srgt Michaels knocks on the door, and demands Simon open up. The cops find out that Simon is all right. The audience and Ruthie are treated to a lecture about calling the cops when it's not an emergency. Too bad the Rev. wasn't here to benefit. Lucy takes the phone list away. About time.

Simon gets his shot, but turns out Matt needs one, too. Matt is not pleased until Simon gives him a lollipop. Seriously, how did this guy become a doctor?

Night. Mary confronts Lucy about Jimmy cancelling the tutoring. Lucy feels about her freak outs. Mary tells her that she wouldn't ever do anything to hurt her, until later seasons anyway. Lucy apologizes, and they make up. Annie comes into to announce that Jimmy is at the Camden's to talk to Lucy.

Jimmy gives Lucy a long speech that boils down to that he needs the passing science grade and that Lucy should trust him. Except he uses the phrase that he's 'not a free love kind of guy.' Jimmy, shut up. Lucy goes to get Mary.

Annie is trying to fix the door to Simon's room. Ruthie is watching. Which gives Annie the opportunity to talk to Ruthie about the phone. That they are talking about the phone list like it's a drug is unsettling, to say the least. Ruthie wants to know who told Annie. Turns out it was everybody and their brother.

Matt asks Eric if they're going to hire Ron. Eric is surprised that Matt knows about the situation. Matt notes that there are no secrets in their house. Very true. Turns out Eric hired him, and is trusting that he will show up. He also trusts that Matt took Simon to get his shot. Matt hands him the lollipop as proof.

Church. Annie is giving a speech about what to do with the budget. It's way longer than it needs to be. She doesn't actually tell us what her recommendations are though.
The service starts, sans organ. Lou is quick to note that Ron is late. When Ron shows, he explains the tardiness by blaming the bus.

The hymn closes out, as Annie hugs herself self-importantly.


Lou is pretty awesome when he's sparing with Eric. He's another character that is less inclined to bend to Eric's will.

Lucy, no one else cares about Jimmy Moon. Especially your sister. Save your jealousy for when she is actually trying to steal your boyfriends (or ex-boyfriends).

The timeline on Simon's tetanus shot is weird. If Eric took him the year before, I don't know why he'd need another one. The last time I got a tetanus shot it was good for ten years. Maybe Simon convinced his dad to sign the form without getting the shot?

I can't imagine that a vestry would be able to appoint the minister's wife to treasurer in a meeting that the minister didn't attend. I'm not sure why a vestry would even want to.

I also can't imagine Eric wouldn't have found out what Ron had been convicted of before hiring him. I know churches preach forgiveness, and certainly congregants are from many walks of life. However, to hire someone with a more checkered past, a rector would generally be inclined to do a little more research. Or at least understand the vestry's reservations.

Also, Srgt. Michael's arrived at the Camden's minutes after Ruthie called. I'm telling y'all, he is way too involved with this family.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


High School. Mary nervously approaches detention. Mary you got two detentions in the last episode, you shouldn't be so nervous. She sits down next to Keri Russell, aka Felicity, (character name in this show Camille). Felicity assures her that no one bites. They introduce themselves and swap stories about why they're doing time. Mary is shocked that Felicity was smoking in the boys locker room. I can only assume that she is shocked by the smoking since she spent much of the last episode in a Men's restroom. Felicity invites her to hang out at the mall, and suggests that Mary find a way to get her parents to loosen up. Felicity, the Camden's are control freaks-- they will never loosen up.

Camden Mansion. Ruthie is begging her mom to get her a pet. Annie is not on board with this plan. The kids come home from school, sans Mary. Matt covers for her, saying she's at an off-season basket ball practice. Annie is impressed.

Annie tells Lucy that Eric wants to talk to her. Lucy worries that she's in trouble, and Annie wants to know why she'd think that.

A cab pulls up to the Camden Mansion. The man drops a $50 as he's paying the driver. He rings the doorbell, and Annie greets him with such excitement that I wonder if this explains the mystery of Ruthie's origin. That Eric is decidely unpleased to see him doesn't do much to change my mind.

Annie serves her guest, Tom, tea, while Eric tries to hold it together. Tom used to be Eric's associate rector. Annie can't stop gushing. Tom wants his old job back, and Eric seems not at all sorry to tell him that there's no openings. Tom offers to get a hotel, but Annie insists that he stay with the Camdens. Maybe she's hoping for another go? Though if that's the case, a hotel would be easier to sneak out to than trying to keep secrets at home. Maybe she's trying to avoid temptation.

Eric tells her that he's never liked Tom, and Annie is shocked. Eric revelation that Tom seems to be hiding something causes Annie to hightail it out of the room. Annie, you're not helping ease my suspicions.

Lucy comes in to talk to Eric. He tells her that she can start confirmation classes. Lucy is relieved that she's not in trouble.

Simon and Ruthie are walking Happy. They find Tom's $50. They debate about whether to keep it. I think we can all see where this is headed.

Mary tries to sneak in through the kitchen, but Annie catches her and asks about practice. Mary asks about going to the mall with Felicity, and Matt seems to think he has a say. He denies her permission before Annie can even respond. Annie asks some questions, but does give permission. She also reveals that Tom is visiting. Who Mary describes as the really good looking guy. Annie concurs, and leaves to set the table. This gives Matt an opportunity to try to control Mary's social circle, but she doesn't let him. Because Mary is almost normal in season one.

Simon and Ruthie decide to keep the money. They debate it for awhile, but eventually that is the conclusion they come to.

Tom is reading in the living room, when Lucy pops in to say hello. She asks him to help her study for confirmation classes, at her mother's suggestion. He manages to impress upon her the seriousness of the choice. Lucy is surprised to hear she has a choice...
Eric is picking at the salad Annie preparing for dinner and whining about how he knows Tom has a secret. Annie starts extolling his virtues to such a degree that I'm sure Eric is unaware of the mystery of Ruthie's origin. Because otherwise, she's being quite insensitive. Eric is surprised to hear that his wife finds Tom attractive, and Annie does little to ease his mind when she sarcastically tells Eric that he is more good looking than Tom.

Tom interupts to offer to help with dinner. He and Annie bond over recipes and don't notice when Eric sneaks out of the kitchen.

Simon and Ruthie ask Eric to take them to the mall, but Matt suggests that they go with Mary and her friend. Matt, butt out, it's just the mall. Mary expresses her annoyance by chucking her basketball at Matt's head.

Annie and Tom giggle in the kitchen. He almost spills his secret, but decides that he's not ready. When Annie goes to set the table, Tom pulls out a bottle of pills and takes one. Dun, dun, dun.

Evening. Eric is avoiding Tom by claiming he has paperwork to do. Annie tries to encourage him to hang out with Tom. Lucy interupts them to ask her dad for a book on Buddhism. She's interested in looking at all her religious options. She picked Buddhism because of Richarch Gere. Eric pretends to be cool with his daughter's exploration.

At the mall, Simon and Ruthie are tired of watching Mary and Felicity shop for clothes. They ask permission to go to the nearby pet store. Felicity convinces Mary to let them.
The girls go to try on dresses and Felicity invites Mary to a fraternity party. She also introduces Mary to the concept of sneaking out.

Tom and Annie are playing cards. Annie is having way too much fun. Eric comes in and announces that a parishoner called and asked him to drop by. There's a lot of back story, but since we never see this woman again, I don't care that much. Eric invites Tom to come with him, but Tom refuses. He heads to bed abruptly. Eric reiterates that Tom has a secret, and Annie offers to go visit the parishoner with him.

Annie asks Matt to watch Lucy on her way out and Matt agrees on the grounds that he "has no life." Matt, you have never been more right.

At the pet store, Simon and Ruthie try to buy hamsters, but the store owner is sensible enough to refuse to sell them anything without a parent. Ruthie is overly concerned that the hamsters be married. I think it's supposed to be cute.

Having been refused, they are easily convinced to buy some black market ferrets from a guy lurking outside the pet store. They spend the whole fifty on the pair. This will end well.

Lucy and Matt are reading in Lucy's room. I guess Matt took his instructions to watch her very seriously, otherwise he'd be reading in his own room. Lucy tries to engage him in conversation about Buddhism, but he brushes her off. Matt tells her that she'll be in confirmation classes on Sunday. Lucy is naive enough to believe her dad is open minded about her exploration.

Eric and Annie talk to the random parishoner. She's sorry Tom didn't come with them. She also describes Tom as the good looking one.

Mary, Simon and Ruthie arrive home. Simon and Ruthie rush up to bed in order to hide their ferrets. Mary also heads to bed. Matt is suspicious of the early hour, but Mary insists she's tired.

Once upstairs, Mary begs Lucy to distract Matt while she sneaks out of the house. Lucy agrees, saying Mary owes her.

Lucy distracts Matt by trying to engage him in a conversation about religion. Matt has no patience for the discussion, but Lucy persists.

Mary sneaks out of the house. Happy chases the ferrets down stairs.

Outside, Felicity hands Mary a stolen dress. She rips off the security tag, giving the dress a slit up the leg. Mary starts to change as they head to the party.

Inside, Matt is bored with Lucy very interesting concerns about choosing a religion. Maybe because he's too stupid to follow her line of thought. He's relieved to see his parents come home. Matt reveals that Simon and Ruthie having been coming down for snacks and that Tom went out for a walk. Lucy tells them that Mary went to bed, which concerns Annie. She wants to know if her eldest daughter is feeling okay. Lucy offers to go check.

Eric decides to have a snack. Annie notices that something has chewed through a cereal box. She thinks it's mice. Matt is disgusted that Eric eats the cereal anyway. As am I.

Pool hall. Tom is drinking Slice, and chatting with the bartender. He notices that he's missing $50. The bartender asks him if he's sure he's okay and Tom replies that he never said he was. Deep.

Frat house. Turns out the party is Mary, Felicity and two guys. Mary is not comfortable with the situation, and refuses the offer of a beer. Felicity suggest that she relax. Felicity and her date leave Mary and her date alone. Mary is nervous.

Simon and Ruthie notice that the ferrets are missing. Annie tells them about the mice.
Annie pops in to say goodnight to Mary and Lucy. Lucy covers by asking about confirmation class. Annie buys it.

Lucy returns Eric's Buddha book, and asks for a book on Quakers. They talk briefly about different religions until Lucy gets tired. She asks again if he minds her looking into other faiths. Eric says it doesn't bother him, but then he nearly breaks his chair when he sits down. Eric is a terrible liar.

Annie tells Eric if he's upset about Lucy's inquiry he should say something. He lies some more and says he doesn't want her to pick his church just because it's his church. Annie comments that's very liberal of him and sends Eric out to look for Tom. She thinks he's hiding something.

Frat house. Mary and her date are sitting awkwardly on a couch. He offers her a beer, but she still doesn't want one. When she gets up to talk to Felicity, her date expresses doubt that she's really 18. Probably because she's 14.

Mary asks Felicity to take her home. Felicity suggests she ask her date for a ride, but Mary notes that he's been drinking all night. Felicity joins the boys, and Mary looks upset.

Camden Mansion. Annie sees the ferrets in her drawer and starts screaming about mice. Simon rushes in to explain about the ferrets. Annie is not happy.

Lucy is on the phone with Mary, who orders her to, "Get Matt now."

Simon is trying to sell his mom on the excellent investment he and Ruthie made when they purchased the ferrets. Annie isn't buying it. Lucy comes in and tells Matt to take the phone call in another room. She notes that the mice seem mutated.

Matt comes back in and tells Annie that he needs to pick up a friend at a party. Annie lets him go, admonishing him to go straight there and come straight home.

Church. Eric finds Tom praying. Tom reveals that his big secret is epilepsy, and he had a seizure in the middle of a sermon. Eric suggests that he give the congregation a chance. Eric also no longer doesn't like Tom.

Matt picks Mary up at the frat house. He starts to give her a lecture. Felicity comes out to ask if Mary's leaving. Matt insists that he's taking Felicity home as well. Felicity isn't buying it. Matt threatens to put her in the car and starts counting down. I'm sure that it's supposed to seem protective, but it just seems creepy. Felicity gets in the car, sparing the viewers Matt's attempt to force her.

Annie is talking to the ferrets when Eric comes home with Tom. He wants the ferrets, so he's not mad that Simon and Ruthie spent his money. Annie is pleased that Eric likes Tom now.

Matt and Mary come home, giving Annie a chance to figure out that Matt picked up Mary at the party. Mary explains the situation, to which Eric replies, "How many ways could you go wrong in one sentence?" Heh. Matt orders Mary to talk to him after the parents finish they're lecture. Because he is under the impression that he is Mary's third parent.

Annie asks if Mary is okay, and Mary says she is. Annie chews her out. And grounds her for a month. They ask if Lucy was covering for her. Mary starts to head upstairs, when Annie calls her back to say that they're glad she's home safe and that they love her. Only she says it in a super pissed off tone, which strains the credibility of the statement. Mary offers a weak, 'yeah,' before heading upstairs.

Annie wants to ground Lucy for two weeks for covering for her. Eric wants to use the situation to force Lucy into confirmation class. Because he was lying when he encouraged her to search. Annie pretends to be surprised by this.

Mary actually did go up and talk to Matt. So he's lecturing her on the difference between guys and girls. He's shocked at her dress. He tells her he's going to be watching her like a hawk. Mary pretends this is protective instead of creepy.
Eric is eavesdropping on them. Annie pretends to disapprove.

Eric pops his head in to say goodnight to Lucy. She in the middle of covering for Mary, when Mary walks into the room. Lucy decides that she will be in confirmation class on Sunday. Huh, I guess his plan worked.

Tom is preaching. He's using the Camdens latest adventures as examples of facing choices. They don't mind, since they're listening to a rehearsal. The parishoner Eric and Annie visited is there, too. She wants to stay and think in the church awhile. The Camdens head to take Tom to the airport. Simon wans to know if they still have to come to church on Sunday.

We close with a shot of the ferrets running through the church.


Annie is way too excited to see Tom. And she has way more chemistry with him than her husband.

It was cool of Matt to pick Mary up from the party, but it seems less cool that he intimidated her friend into getting in his car. I almost wish the girl hadn't gotten in the car, just to see whether he really would have put her in the car.

The ferret subplot was ridiculous.

It was pretty hilarious to watch Eric try and fail to be supportive of Lucy's religious exploration. Just like every other time he tries to be supportive of his kids making independent choices.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Brave New World

Night. Simon is giving Ruthie advice about her first day of pre-kindergarten. Mostly no crying and no picking. Ruthie is a little nervous. Annie seems sad to see her youngest old enough for school.

Matt wants to make sure that Mary turned down a date with some guy named Michael Towner. She did, but doesn't thinks it's Matt's business. Matt disagrees.

Eric and Lucy are dropping Lucy's friend off at her house. He wants to wait to make sure gets inside, but she tells him it's not necessary. They drive off, but turn around because Suzanne forgot her homework. They see Suzanne walking and call out to her. She tells Lucy that she was trying to catch up with their car to get her homework. I think Suzanne sucks at lying. Eric insists on driving her home, saying that she shouldn't be walking alone at night. Suzanne seems unhappy about this turn of events. Someone's got a secret.

Breakfast. Lucy asks her dad to check in to what's bothering Suzanne. He tells her that he can't butt into someone's life because they have a feeling something is wrong. Lucy points out that he does that all the time. Heh. He says he only helps people who ask for his help (not really true) and Lucy takes that to mean that her asking isn't enough. She storms off.

Ruthie isn't eating her cereal. Simon tries to give her advice about eating so she doesn't throw up. Ruthie just doesn't like the cereal.

Lucy's science class. Suzanne is late. She's wearing a shirt she borrowed the night before. They make jokes about their science teacher. Lucy takes the opportunity to ask Suzanne why her mom said she wasn't home yet when Lucy called last night. Suzanne says her mom is the kind of a flake who doesn't notice when her daughter is home. Lucy pretends to believe her.

Annie, Eric and Simon drop Ruthie off at her pre-kindergarten class. Simon offers to take her in for them. He heads to his own class. Annie gives him a kiss on the cheek. It leaves a giant mark. Annie, it's called blotting, learn it, love it, live it. You're lipstick should not leave that large a mark without smearing. Simon is horrified.

Ruthie's new teacher makes a comment about the last of the Camdens. If only that were true. Annie assures Ruthie that she will be back and gives her Eric's beeper number. Ruthie is decidedly unworried, and excited about modelling clay. Annie starts crying over the fact that her "last" child just started school. If only this the last of her offspring.

High school. Michael Towner slams Mary's locker on her. He's giving her crap because she turned him down. Her friend Cory tells her that there's something written about her on the guys bathroom. She suggests Mary get Matt to check it out, but Mary prefers to handle her own problems. She heads to the Men's room after the bell rings, where she finds this 'clever' remark: You'll always score with Mary Camden because she loves to go one on one. She's upset.

She hides in a stall when she hears someone else come in. It's Matt and a friend of his. They're talking about a Rave Party they attended over the weekend, and all the illicit things that happened there. Matt is unhappy about the comment and plans to do something about it. Whatever he has planned, I'm sure it won't be helpful.

Lucy and Jimmy Moon are hiding behind a bench in what is supposed to be the poor side of town. You can tell because there is graffiti on the bench and the apartments have dingy paint. They have followed Suzanne home from school. They go to look at the mailboxes and note that Suzanne's last name is on one of them. Lucy comes up with a convoluted explanation as to why this might be so, but it's clear Suzanne is poor and ashamed of it. Lucy feels bad about spying on her friend.

Mary blackmails Matt into signing her detention slip. She uses the Rave. Matt is upset that she was in the guys bathroom. She insists that she can handle her own problems. He's doubtful because of the current blackmail situation. He tells that this will only lead to "ugly recriminations and tears." Mary awesomely replies, "Only if you plan on crying."

Annie and Eric are reading an advisory from Ruthie's school. They are shocked by the many weapons that are prohibited in pre-kindergarten. Mostly that they have to make an effort to prohibit them in kindergarten, I think.

Simon asks to talk to Annie privately. He tells her in no uncertain terms that she can never kiss him in front of his friends again. He makes her promise. She agrees, but is near tears about it. His friends gave him a hard time about the kiss earlier. Ruthie comes in, and is surprised to learn that she has to go to school everyday. Ruthie is not pleased. She blames Simon and punches him. She notes that she learned that in school, and refuses to go back.

Lucy confesses her spying to her father and asks him to look into the situation. He's upset with her about it because it's not a safe neighborhood. She tries to tell her father that she was safe because Jimmy Moon knows accupressure point defense. Is that a real thing? She tries to demonstrate by touching Eric's temple, but he's skeptical. Lucy convinces Eric to get involved.

Eric goes to Suzanne's apartment the next day under the guise of dropping off a shirt. Suzanne's mother invites him in for a brief cup of coffee. He asks about Suzanne's lying regarding her address. Suzanne's mother reveals that her ex-husband isn't paying child support. Eric asks permission to talk to the ex-husband. He doesn't leave before Suzanne gets home from school and Suzanne runs off, upset that her secrets been discovered.

High school. Michael harrasses Mary some more. Her friends think she should let Matt take care of him. Mary decides to confront him herself, but he and his friends just laugh at her. Matt still wants to get involved, but Mary tells him to butt out. I love independent Mary.

Camden home. Ruthie tells her dad about how much she liked school. Annie is pleased to hear she's made a friend.

Lucy comes in and demands to talk to her dad. She bitches him out about embarrassing her friend. Her dad gets on her about her tone. He tells Annie he's going to check on a dead-beat dad.

Simon is trying to talk to Ruthie. She's ignoring him, because she's got a new best friend. Simon is not pleased. Ruthie tells him to talk to the hand, mirroring behavior she learned from Skylar. Simon demonstrates he's learning from Matt by butting into Ruthie's friendship. Annie doesn't pay attention to him.

Matt and Mary are fighting about whether he should get involved in the Michael Towner situation. They keep storming in and out of each others' rooms. She says she'll let him know how she's going to handle it "in her own way and in her own time." Matt says he won't stand for someone talking trash about his sister. Mary doesn't like his choice of words and tells him, "One guys warped ego is enough for me to deal with. I don't need yours too." Did I mention that I love independent Mary?

Matt calls out that he's sorry he's more bothered than her. But it's clear Mary is bothered because she curls up with a teddy bear in tears. Poor Mary.

At a used car dealership, Eric confronts Suzanne's father about not paying his child support. Suzanne's father is an ass, and doesn't want to pay child support because Suzanne took her mother's side.

Dinner. Everyone's picking at their food. Lucy is upset about Suzanne. Eric invites her out to play pool to cheer her up. For some reason, this works on Lucy. Mary asks to be excused, and Matt won't tell the parents about their fight. Matt tells them not to worry. Matt, I know I often tell you to butt out, but this might be something that you do want to discuss with your parents. Sure, Mary will still be mad at you, but it's probably more productive than whatever plan you have to take care of the guy.

Ruthie announces that she's not talking to Simon. No one cares, except Simon who is jealous of her friend.

Pool Hall. Eric and Lucy enjoy some father-daughter time. Suzanne's father is also there. He wants to know if the reverend is following him. Lucy is confused. Suzanne's dad challenges him to play for money. Lucy bets money on her dad. I wonder how this will end...

Eric enters his master bedroom to show Annie all the money he won off Suzanne's dad. Annie wants to know if he robbed a liquor store on the way home. He says it's a little overdue child support so that we know he was gambling for a good cause.

The next day. Eric is heading to give the money to Suzanne's mom. Suzanne's dad is already there, he wants to give the money to Suzanne himself. Suzanne's dad is upset about the neighborhood that his daughter is living in, and promises to catch up on his child support. Now that he's been proven right, Eric can pretend to apologize for overstepping his bounds.

Suzanne's dad knocks on the door and tells Suzanne he loves her. He promises to be more involved. Aww, Rev Camden succeeded where lawyers and judges had failed.

High school. Michael snaps Mary bra. Her friends tell her to ignore him. She's decided she not going to take it anymore and follows him into the men's room. So do her two friends and Matt. She confronts him and he suggests that Matt has shown up to fight her battle. Matt tells him she can handle her own business. Mary demands that he erase the comment about her. Michael knocks the pen out of his hand. When he goes to pick it up, saying that she can have her pen back as a "lovely parting gift," Mary shoves his head in the toilet and flushes. Go, Mary!

By now, quite a crowd has gathered to watch Michael's swirlee. Matt sticks up for Mary and they head out of the bathroom. And bump into the principal. She sends them both to detention and arranges to have a meeting with their parents after school.
Lucy's science class. Suzanne and Lucy make up. It's sweet.

Camden home. Lucy thanks Eric for helping Suzanne. Eric and Annie ask Matt to watch the kids while they go to the meeting about Mary. Simon is upset that Ruthie's friend is over. Annie busts Matt for not telling them about the harrassment and Matt says he had the situation under control-- he worries so the parents don't have to. Annie seems to be won over by this insanity.

Ruthie's friend is teaching her some karate moves. They seem to be having fun. This is more than Simon can stand. Matt stops him from interupting and gives him a pep talk about looking out for each other. Just then Skylar's sister shows up to pick him up. Simon is smitten.

Principal's office. Michael and his parents are waiting with the Camdens. Michael wants to file assault charges. The principal encourages Mary to file sexual harrassment charges. Michael is confused, so the principal explains that his behavior constituted harrassment. Michael's dad is not happy about the obvious special treatment. C'mon Mr. Towner, Mary's a Camden-- they always get special treatment.

Mary wants to let it go, but the principal lectures them about everything Michael's done in the last week. She tells him that if he harrasses anyone else, he will have no friend in the administration. If I was Michael's parents, I'd be really pissed about this obvious favoritism.

The principal then encourages Mary to speak up sooner if someone's giving her trouble. No punishment is giving, which seems weird. I'm pretty sure it's still against school policy to shove someone's head in a toilet for any reason.

Mary confesses her detention, and forgery. She gets grounded for the weekend. Eric also encourages her to speak up if someone is trying to destroy her self-esteem and dignity. She thanks him and wanders off. Eric suggests that they keep Ruthie at home for the next fifteen years. Like that's a healthy solution. Annie, however, is so excited about having her first nap in a while, that she decides Ruthie will continue to attend school. They discuss how long Ruthie will be in school as the episode closes.


If the principal knew about the harrassment, why didn't she interfere earlier? I'm fairly certain school administrators don't have to wait for a complaint to correct someone's behavior.

Simon and Matt need to stop being so jealous about their sisters having lives outside of the family.

Matt also needs to realize that he really has no say in how Mary lives her life unless she's actually asking him for advice.

Also, even if it is pre-kindergarten, why is Ruthie starting school in February?

Something I do like about the earlier seasons is that Mary's independence is generally considered to be a positive trait, rather than a sign of her inherent evilness that it was in later seasons.

Plus, it was pretty awesome when she shoved that guys head in the toilet.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Happy's Valentine

Breakfast with the Camdens. Annie wants to go camping with the Hamiltons. Just the adults. Eric has some doubts. Matt can't baby-sit because he's got a date. Mary and Lucy don't want to baby-sit. Simon is worried about giving the puppies away. Annie is determined to go camping, so she comes up with a plan to make it happen. Eric knows he has no say in the matter. The kids will be on their own for the night. Expect hijinx.

HIgh school. Matt and John make plans to hang out with their dates in an adult free house. Matt notes that the sisters won't go for it. John tries to ask Keisha, but it doesn't fly. He orders Matt to ask Mary.

Home. Ruthie is upset about giving the puppies away. Annie explains that their big enough to be on their own. She compares it to Ruthie still living with her parents at 30. This is early enough in the series that Annie can pretend she wants her children to be independent.

Matt is trying to get Mary to change her plans so he can have his date at home. Here's a thought, Matt, no one is at the Hamiltons. Why don't you and John take your dates to the actually empty house? They agree to split the house into the living room and the den. Lucy joins them to whine about breaking her date with Jimmy Moon. Matt suggests she can go if she takes the younger siblings. Lucy demands ten bucks from each of them because she knows they're up to something.

Eric comes home to find Annie packing for their trip. He's whining about his day and he doesn't want to go camping. Simon comes in the puppies fully packed. Annie tells him to keep an eye on Happy, since she might go looking for the puppies. This is known as foreshadowing.

Lucy is suggesting the movie plan to Jimmy Moon. He's not sure about taking the kids because the Reverend wouldn't approve, and because he's taking her to a French film. The same film they watched in episode three. Lucy convinces Jimmy to go to the movies and send the kids to a cartoon movie in the next theater. So much scheming.

Ruthie sees her parents off on their trip. She doesn't want to kiss them good-bye, but complies anyway. She announces to Eric that she's moving out one day. Eric tries to weasel out of camping. The Hamiltons arrive. Annie and Eric give some last minute instructions and head off for the weekend. Are you ready for some hijinx?

Lucy tries to convince the kids to go to a movie. None of them are interested. She tells them that they're going.

Dwight comes by to pick up the puppies. His mother is way too gushy about their cuteness. Dwight wants to name them Simon and Ruthie. Heh.

Matt convinces Simon to go to the movies by promising to keep an eye on her. Simon buys it because he doesn't know about foreshadowing. This will end well.

At the movies. Lucy gives the kids their tickets and when they figure out that they're seeing it alone they demand a bribe. Everyone heads to the theaters.

Matt and John arrive at the Camden mansion with their dates. They come in through the kitchen and Matt offers everyone something to drink (no, not adult beverages). John and his date start kissing, and it looks like Matt and his date are about to kiss. They are interupted by a noise from the living room. They all go to tell the girls to keep it down...

And find a rather large party, complete with boys. Matt and John are not happy. Should've gone to the Hamilton's actually empty house boys. Mary and Keisha are pretty relaxed about the whole thing. Matt, John and their dates decide to enjoy the party while they can.

Camping. Morgan and Eric are huddled around a fire. Eric hates camping, so he's whining a lot. Morgan offers him the sermon he's going to use, but since he's drawing parallels between Moses and Martin Luther King, Eric isn't sure he can pull it off.

In a tent, Annie and Patricia are comparing lingerie. If this were another kind of show, I'd wonder if they weren't about to engage in some spouse swapping.

Morgan's beeper goes off and Eric lends him a cell phone. The wives aren't happy that they brought methods of communication with them. Although, considering they left a total of 9 children on their own, it seems like they might want to be in some kind of radio contact. I can't believe they're even getting service in the woods.

The phone call is for Patricia. It's her first husband, who calls her every Valentine's Day. Morgan is angry about these phone calls. Patricia points out that he had the beeper.

The cartoon. The kids seem to be enjoying the antics of Elmer Fudd.

Lucy and Jimmy exchange cards in the theater of the French movie actually titled "Parlez-Vous?" Jimmy got Lucy a joke card, and she gets angry.

At the party. Keisha and Mary flirt with boys. Matt is too interested in Mary's flirting. John notices that a couple guys are drinking beer. Matt tells them to get rid of it. They put the bottles in a nearby lamp. John busts in on Keisha's flirting. His date is bored by this and starts to dance with someone else.

Camping. Everyone is eating around the campfire making small talk about the stew. And trying to ignore the tension between Morgan and Patricia. Patricia and Annie both head to bed, leaving the men to clean up the dishes. If this were a different kind of show...

Eric and Morgan decide to check up on the kids. They call Sargent Michaels and ask him to drive by the house like he's on a routine patrol. Because Sargent Michael's is Eric's bitch.

Cartoon. Simon and Nigel are throwing popcorn at other movie-goers. Brats. Lynn and Ruthie have fallen asleep. An usher busts them and kicks them out of the theater.

Jimmy and Lucy make up. She tries to make him kiss her, but the moment is interupted by the usher with Simon and Nigel.

Party. Srgt. Michaels enters and walks straight up to his son, inquiring about whether alcohol is being served. It's just the son and his friend. He makes the kid call his mother. This doesn't fit with later expositions about Srgt. Michael's family.

Matt drags Mary into the room, lecturing her about talking to a guy in the kitchen. Matt, butt out. They notice Srgt. Michaels and start babbling about how no one was drinking, except for the two he already busted. The policeman tells them that Happy was hit by a car. He's already taken her to an animal hospital and offers to give Matt a ride over. That is some fine service provided by the Glen Oak PD.

Camping. Morgan and Patricia talk. She gives him some of the details about her first marriage. Morgan is shocked to find out that her first husband was white. This convinces him to stop asking questions.

Annie and Eric gossip about their friends after some "alone time." They decide to call the kids to see how they're doing, but the phone rings first. It's Srgt. Michaels calling in with his report. I really want to know what dirt Eric has on him, as this is only the beginning of favors and special treatment for the Camdens.

Matt paces at the Animal hospital. Srgt. Michaels is waiting with him. June Lockhart comes out to give them an update. She sends Matt home to tell Simon. She's planning to stay the night to keep an eye on Happy.

Annie is ranting about what a stupid idea camping was as the adults pack up to head home early. Eric tries to make her feel better, but Annie doesn't really want to be comforted. Patricia and Morgan are ranting on their own. He's still harping about her first husband. Dude, it's been 20 years-- get over it.

Mary and Keisha try to clean the party mess. Ruthie and Lynn tell them about Simon and Nigel. They get sent up to get ready for bed.

Lucy and Jimmy say good-night. He doesn't kiss her, but promises to someday. She buys it.

Matt tells Simon about Happy's accident and Simon chews his ass out for not keeping an eye on her. Crowning moment: Simon tells Matt that he hates him. He demands to go to the vet to be with Happy.

At the animal hospital. Simon is talking to his injured dog. We still don't know if Happy is going to be okay, but Matt tells his sister that the dog is doing a lot better. June Lockhart busts him for lying.

Mary doesn't think Matt was telling the truth. The parents all come in. The Hamiltons get ready to leave. They decide to interagate the kids separately.

Thus follows a scene which cuts between each of the kids trying to downplay and/or excuse their participation in the various unapproved activities. Basically they're all lying enough so that the parents have no sense of what might have happened. They give up. It's actually an amusing scene.

Morgan and Patricia finally make up, so we don't have to hear about her first husband until season two. The Hamiltons leave.

Matt calls to give an update on Happy. The Camdens all decide to head down to the animal hospital and wait with Simon and Happy. If I were June Lockhart, I'd be pissed about having to spend my night with the Camdens.

Matt takes responsibility for the various events. Eric tries to make him feel better, and promises to punish everyone later.

June Lockhart is watching Happy and Simon sleep on the exam table. There's nothing new, and June doesn't seem to encouraging about Happy's recovery.

In the waiting room, all the girls are asleep.

Morning. Everyone is sleeping in the waiting room of the animal hospital. June Lockhart has fallen asleep on her desk. That's gonna be sore later. Happy wakes up, making a miraculous recovery. Everyone is glad that Happy is going to be fine.

Simon and Matt make up. Simon makes everyone apologize to Happy. They all play along. And all is right with Camdens once again.


I can't believe the Camdens and the Hamiltons decided to go camping and leave all their kids unsupervised with less than 24-hours planning. Seems more than a little irresponsible.

I also can't believe that Jimmy and Lucy have been dating for several months and he hasn't kissed her. Is this normal for thirteen year olds?

Sargent Michaels is way too involved with the Camdens.

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.