Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Roundup: The Middle, The Neighbors, Suburgatory, Go On, Ben and Kate, The New Normal, Guys with Kids

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Happy Thanksgiving! If you're up early watching the parade, cooking, or preparing for football, we thought you'd like a nice run-down of some of this year's new Thanksgiving episodes. You can find several of them online, so if you need a break later on today (and don't want to watch more traditional holiday programming), consider giving some of these a try. First, the nutshell reviews and then the full recaps with remarks. 

The Middle: Everyone loves a great love story, and this episode has Brick enjoying a book about Love Story, Axl starting a new relationship, and Frankie's parents re-living their first date.

The Neighbors: The Weavers deal with having the Bird-Kersees over for the holiday while entertaining Marty's parents as well. In addition, Larry has to come to terms with Jackie's rebellious sisters.

Suburgatory: Tessa heads to Manhattan to see her mother and grandmother for the holiday, but her mother is nowhere to be found. When she returns home to a motley crew of recurring characters in her home, she is greeted by her long-lost mother as well.

Go On: The group decides to have Thanksgiving together, and Ryan decides to host it at the radio station because a) he's working and b) he wants to keep Steven from moving in on a potential love interest.

Ben and Kate: The night before Thanksgiving is a high school reunion for multiple grade levels, allowing Ben and Tommy to be cool kids once more while Kate (who is now on boyfriend-girlfriend level with Will) struggles to confront a bully.

The New Normal: David, Bryan, Goldie, and Rocky all have painful past experiences with Thanksgiving but decide to invite their families to celebrate together for the future of the baby. Things don't go as planned and each guest is booted from the event anyway.

Guys with Kids: Sheila wants to host for Chris and all of his friends' families while Gary is obsessed with purchasing a TV on Black Friday.

The Middle "Thanksgiving IV" (S04E08): [I thought it was funny that Frankie won't pay ten cents per bag at the grocery store so she carries everything herself.] Axl continues to flirt with his tutor, Cassidy. His foot also healed two weeks quicker than expected, so he's excited to get back on the field for the big game. But, his tutor says that football is a waste, causing Axl to wonder what he's doing. He decides to not let fear get in his way and he confesses to Cassidy that he likes her, inviting her to watch him play. [interesting... is Axl maturing?] But, her boyfriend is coming into town so she can't. He tries to cover by acting like he's inviting everyone to the game. [this reminded me of the first time my now-husband ever called me...] Meanwhile, the mascot head has been stolen by a rival school and Sue recruits Brad to help her get it back. Brad tries to have a "dance fight" but he gets beat up. [yep!] Sue tries to make a head on her own, but when that doesn't work she winds up wearing a bear head to the game. [I found it odd that nobody else really got involved with this plotline.] Axl overthinks playing and fumbles three times, so Sue gives him a pep-talk and he gets it together. [and we're supposed to believe that he listens to her now? wow, maybe he IS growing up!] Things end well for him as a scout reminds him that East Indiana really wants him AND Cassidy kisses him, telling her she broke up with her boyfriend. 
Now, the dinner-part of Thanksgiving... Frankie wants to host a couple of marines and is incredibly awkward about it, even saying the Pledge of Allegiance before Thanksgiving dinner. [ha!] Her parents make things worse when her father keeps droning on about nutrition (he lost four pounds recently). Things go so haywire at dinner that the Marines leave before dessert! 

The Neighbors "Thanksgiving is for the Bird-Kersees" (S01E08): [loved the early Marty line: "What could be more American than eating food to make room for more food?"] Jackie is profoundly depressed because she misses her sisters, who were exiled ten years ago for trying to overthrow Larry. [what was up with that crop-circle-like design??] Dick and Reggie decide to go visit the prisoners and invite them to Thanksgiving. Against his better judgment and sense of self-preservation, Larry does decide to let them be free once again. [though I hope that they're not going to be regulars!]

Marty is excited about Thanksgiving because he thinks he'll be able to impress his parents for once, but Debbie is stressed because she always gets criticized over her cooking. Marty suggests that they un-invite his parents and do things their way, and he makes up a lie about how the oven is broken. [...really?] But, as his parents begin to think that his new house is too small, he decides to let them come to show that he's doing well. [I'm surprised that Debbie isn't more upset about Marty's cowardice there!] But, they'll still be doing a deep-fried turkey. When the duo arrive, Marty's father doesn't even want a tour of the house while his mother gives the children hand-knit sweaters. [yeesh!] After Marty's mother starts in on everything about Debbie, her house, and her children, she stands up for herself and Marty defends her as well, sending his mother to sulk in the car. Dick decides to help by talking to Marty's mother about "changing the game" and not forcing mothers-in-law to keep their daughters-in-law "on their toes." [odd coming from Dick.] When she comes in, she actually compliments Debbie on her turkey, though everyone else dislikes it. 
Suburgatory "The Wishbone" (S02E05): Tessa wants to spend Thanksgiving with her mother in Manhattan. But, George plans to go to Dallas's for Thanksgiving this year, though without costumes. Dalia wants a Caribbean theme, but after Dallas finds out that Tessa won't be there, she decides to fire the chef and cook herself to "rally around" George. [um, I smell disaster!] But, George tries to cook and ruins potatoes trying not to have to pay "guest Alan" for advice. [I did think that $8 was a bit steep for a small pinch of advice! and, Carmen took the baby to see a witch doctor??]

Over at Lisa's, she's freaking out over how close Malik is getting to the family when Sheila invites him for Thanksgiving. Malik played touch-football with his family so he takes a shower when he gets there, but Sheila winds up seeing him naked, distressing Lisa more. 
In Manhattan, Alex, Tessa's mother, is a no-show. She was supposed to bring the main course, so Tessa leaves early. When she gets home, Alex is there, initially thinking that Dalia is Tessa. [ha!] George is pretty upset that Alex didn't do what she was supposed to, but after some initial shock, Tessa and Alex talk. [the fake-snoring thing was awkward.]

Go On "Dinner Takes All" (S01E09): The group decides to have Thanksgiving together. ["Peter? sweetie, that's low self-esteem!" was hilarious! and cute The Brady Bunch moment with the heads!] Amy, a girl Ryan and Steven knew in college, is in town for a job interview and is staying with Ryan. [can we keep Lauren Graham, please? love her!] Amy and Ryan try to joke with Steven about how he doesn't know sports. But, Steven and Ryan both have feelings for her, and because of a broken fold-out couch, they share Ryan's bed, which makes him uncomfortable. [I bet!] So, when Steven announces that he's going to take Amy to Santa Barbara for Thanksgiving, Ryan decides that he should host Thanksgiving at the office and make his assistant do the cooking. [I thought that was rude, even for him!]

Ryan orders the group to create a de-sexualized atmosphere, but things get awkward quickly when Lauren offends Owen's mother and several of the others start bothering Amy. [Ann's two adopted children adoring Ryan wasn't as funny as I think it should have been.] Ryan decides to confront Steven, asking him to step aside because he might want to make a move in the future. So, they go to a bar and play an old game of see-how-many-sips-of-other-people's-drinks-you-can-take-before-getting-punched. [seriously? has anyone heard of anything like this before?] Ryan wins, almost breaking the ten-drink barrier. Ryan admits to Amy what's going on, and she tells him he has no chance with her right now - she won't be the first one after Janie, though she's always had feelings for him. [meh. I thought that was a weak way to end it... some far-off-future nonsense?]
(Photo by: Colleen Hayes/NBC)
Ben and Kate "Reunion" (S01E07): Ben and Tommy rescue a live turkey from the mall (people were bidding on it to eat for Thanksgiving) and Kate decides to let them keep it, though they later drop it off at a preserve.

Kate and Ben's high school reunion is the night before Thanksgiving, and Kate isn't looking forward to it because there was a girl who made her life miserable. [such an informal reunion! and I'll never understand how the multiple-grades thing plays on TV, with the exception of teeny schools like on Wings.] Will decides to go and help Kate "slay the dragon." [Kate AND Ben played Jesus Christ in Jesus Christ Superstar? how often did their school do that musical??] It's been eight years and Kate isn't thrilled with where she is in life, so she's not thrilled when the mean girl plays innocent.
Cr: Jennifer Clasen/FOX
Will tries to get the girls to do a sing-off, but Kate doesn't think she needs to prove anything. [um, okay?] She decides to brag about her awesome boyfriend, and that's the end of it. Plus, Tommy wants to make an entrance at the reunion, and resorts to asking Maddie for ideas. [not sure why this happened.] She suggests that he "lose the fro." Luckily, he doesn't go through with it.

Perhaps the bigger story, however, is that Ben and BJ got married seven years ago and kate doesn't know. Ben wants to tell because mail is coming to her house addressed to "Mr. and Mrs. Ben Fox," but BJ thinks that the appropriate window has passed and they should just keep it a secret forever. Well, BJ decides to break the news during Kate's Thanksgiving toast... being even more honest than Ben expected. He thought it was a green-card-marriage when really BJ has dual citizenship but made Ben marry her so that he'd be around if Kate needed him, as he was going to head to Indonesia right when Kate became  pregnant. [I understand how this is supposed to be sweet, but it's a bit too odd.] 

The New Normal "Pardon Me" (S01E09): Goldie, Rocky, and the guys dish about how they don't like their family Thanksgivings so they decide to start their own traditions. [haha, Rocky wants to charge for the time spent having Thanksgiving with them!] Bryan and Shania go to get a turkey but didn't know that they'd have to choose a live one and kill it themselves, so they buy them all to liberate them, keeping them as pets. [what kind of theme is this??] After David's mother gives him a guilt trip, Shania suggests that everyone bury the hatchets and invite their families, including Goldie's grandmother, Shania's dad, Rocky's half-brother, and David's parents. [nobody for Bryan? I laughed at Jane as "the last real American, along with Newt Gingrich."] David's parents get through a fight and then get wild with one another. Then, Clay goes to hit Rocky's brother when he realizes that the guy has had a relationship going with Goldie for some time now.
(Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)
Plus, Jane flips at the idea of a meatless Thanksgiving (they're having tofurkey at Shania's request) and goes hunting the backyard turkeys with a cleaver. [seriously??] All of the extra folks get kicked out, the tofurkey is terrible, and the core group orders pizza, deciding that they'll deal with families on Christmas but keep Thanksgiving sane in the future.  

Guys with Kids "Thanksgiving" (S01E09): Gary has decided that six months is too long to go without a television, so he plans to spend three days in line to get a Black Friday ultra-deal: a $4,000 television for $100. [say WHAT?? also, my brother will be spending the holiday in a similar situation, so I don't fault people who choose to do so.] Marny isn't upset that he could miss Thanksgiving with the family because she thinks he'll quickly wimp out. He starts out as the second person in line, but nobody will huddle with him and he gets upset. Marny tries to reason with him after one night on the street, but no dice. By Thursday, Gary has made peace with the cold by swapping spots with someone to be on top of a heating event - still keeping him sixth in line. Still, there's some fierce competition. 
Photo by: NBC
It's Ernie's first Thanksgiving so Sheila and Chris decide to celebrate together, at her place. [um, his birthday has already happened, so how is this his first one? perhaps he was in the NICU or something and didn't celebrate out of the hospital? or maybe the episodes were meant to be aired in a different order?] To make things less awkward, Chris invites Gary, Nick, and their families, having to cash-in a favor to get Nick and Emily to change their plans. Sheila wants to make a big fuss and theme everything, choosing to go for "historically accurate," complete with a boiled cod instead of turkey, no alcohol, no Oreo pie, and maple sap-soaked hickory nuts. [wow. that's worse than the Pilgrim-inspired meal on Everybody Loves Raymond! and what was Emily's outfit??] Yoda and Clark give the adults advice on how to get rid of the host's food and eat something else, but Sheila catches them snacking on stuffing in Emily's bag. [I didn't understand why the adults couldn't come up with a plan themselves... hiding food isn't new!!] Sheila freaks out and throws everything from the table out the window before she realizes that this group is so casual that she doesn't need to impress them. [her insults during this process were pretty intense.] Marny decides that they should all join Gary, and Sheila brings Subway sandwiches for everyone. [seriously, she wants them to pay her back??] When the doors open, Gary sicks his older kids on slowing down others, allowing him to actually get the big-screen!
Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email This Pin This

No comments: