The Songbird Drinks at Midnight (also, at 1am, 2am, 3am….)
We Interrupt Your Weekly Pearsoning for a Very Special Supporting Character Backstory
OK, so the gang’s mostly all there with Nicky and Kevin has a plan to save him, but then…
Randall: OK, I gotta bounce. I just remembered I have a wife who lost her job or her mom or her favorite sweater or something.
Kate: Yeah, I’m outtie. I’m pregnant!
Kevin: Everybody hates me!! Nobody ever listens to MY ideas!
Rebecca: I do! Kevin, I’ve left Miguel behind again so we can have some super special mom/#1 bonding! Oh, goodness, Nicky, you have Jack’s eyes…may I pluck them out and hang them on a chain for my rear view mirror?’
Anyway, Nicky is led to the promised land of a VA center, but he says, ‘nah…I like my trailer better.’ And Rebecca gives him some stern talking to about Jack, of course, and Nicky says, again, ‘OK…I’m going back to my trailer now.’ Kevin comes with him to replace a tile in the ceiling because Nicky has never heard of a stepstool and isn’t tall enough to reach. Or, he’s been too drunk to think anything other than, ‘oh, cool, waterfall….wait, waterfall…there were falls in Nam, right…drink more…whiskey….’
Kevin and a bottle of whiskey have a standoff. Whiskey wins. Kevin takes a slug and stares moodily out of the window of Rebecca’s car. And because the writers think that a character staring moodily out of a window is a new and novel way to jump into a flashback…here we go…
This is Kevin. He is mad. Kevin is mad at dad. Dad is in a bad mood. Dad can’t take Kevin to get his baseball card autographed because mood so his MOM has to take him instead. The blight on this poor kid’s soul! There aren’t enough tears in the world some days. Anyway, MOM threatens to screw the whole thing up and take them out of line to get lunch but Kevin curls up in a fetal position and screams, ‘you’re the worst mommy in the whole world.’ Rebecca says, ‘OK, fuck you, I’m going to get myself a nice hot Auntie Anne’s cinnamon pretzel while you roll around on this filthy floor. Sucks to be you.’
Rebecca learns that Kevin is actually a rather crafty stalker and wannabe celebrity assistant, having researched the baseball player’s options for entertainment in the new city, should he be traded. Baseball player says, ‘yeah, your kid needs to work on getting me the list of girls and booze and drugs for my after game. Now leave me alone. Brunettes are not my thing, honey.’
Anyway, so we’re back on the addiction roller coaster storyline for Kevin and pretty soon he’ll be telling Zoe the same thing he told Sophie and that ride will come to a complete stop amid tears a-plenty. And then maybe Kevin will move into Nicky’s trailer and they can spend their days swallowing whiskey to mask the pain and patching the ceiling from time to time. I call a spinoff. Two Guys and a Leaky Trailer (but not the fun meth kind of trailer).
Meanwhile, even though she presumably has to fly back to the West Coast, Kate’s in a car with Randall and I guess they can take a jog past their old house (which will be nothing like their old house because crockpot but hey, surely digging in the old DIRT might feel good!). Who needs to worry about changing flight reservations? Silly, silly reality. Kate is either really moved after meeting Nicky or so daft that after meeting her Drunk Uncle, Vietnam Vet Version, she starts nattering on about The Sequin Fight. Yes, it needs its own article, it was that EPIC. I’ve been to drag shows, Kate. You don’t know shit about epic sequin fights.
Anyway, the memory stuck in Kate’s peabrain like a piece of KFC gristle in her teeth is something like this: the day (Everyone Hates) Kevin was to get his baseball autograph, St. Greasefire sits home with Randall and Kate instead. Milo has studied Mommie Dearest, the film, and tries his best Dunaway impression and tells them not to make a mess. With sequins and paper and a million other little crafty sparkly things as they make homemade Valentine’s. Sure, that’ll end well.
For the record, Dunaway in a full face of moisturizer, wielding a wire hanger, is truly legendary, so I’m in no way invested in seeing Milo play tortured Dad.
So, St. Greasefire leaves the kids on their own and goes out to the…garage?...to pump iron. Ooooooh, ladies! Tightie whitey undershirt Milo time!! Me, I’m wondering who the hell pumps iron in JEANS? Where the hell are the zubaz or Richard Simmons shorts? Or even sweatpants? I mean, Kate and Randall? If you see a man doing bicep curls in an undershirt and jeans, you can be assured that he is, at least, a dumbass who should be left to experience a Darwin award by dropping a dumbbell on his head. Hmmmm….maybe that’s how he REALLY died (or asphyxiated himself doing abdominal crunches while wearing jeans) and ain’t nobody going to bring THAT shame to light.
Anyway, maybe because he’s lifting in jeans that cut off his circulation, St. Greasy is crabby now and when he sees a messy table, he….children, hide your eyes, St. Daddy Jack is gonna blow…yells. And throws a plate. My God, Vietnam has no end to its pain.
Oh, yeah, and they ordered pizza. But not just any pizza. It’s a PEARSON pizza. With a topping that everyone likes! Genius!! I’ve never heard of such a thing! Now every Valentine’s day, the Big Three Narcissists order a Pearson Pizza and have a sequin fight after Red Leader dresses up like Jack, puts Nicky’s stabbed out eyes in his head, and yells at them. It’s hawt and full of feelz in thirty minutes or less.
So, Jack has a temper fit and the kids cry and look scared and then Jack starts throwing sequins. Yay! Sparkle! Now, I haven’t made homemade Valentines in a while, so I’m not an expert on the size of sequin dispensers, but good lord almighty, what kind of a VAT do they have that this flinging of sequins goes on for what seems like hours? Or are we now also trapped in Kate’s perfect little pretty pony memory? God help us.
Kate, meanwhile, is still babbling happily about the sequin fight and Randall, desperate to shut her up, decides that stopping by their old house is just the thing. The random, smiling family now living in the newly constructed house is first, like, ‘um….OK, we’re busy, please go, bye.’ But then their moppet approaches the car with big eyes and asks, winsomely, ‘do you want to see my room?’
Kate says, “It’s not your room, BITCH! It’s MINE! MINE! Sequin fight! Sequin fight!”
Randall, “Kate, I’m an elected official now. Not that you’d ever know it from how little it’s impacting my life, but I’m only allowed a certain number of crazy, broken down relatives, OK?”
So the moppet leads them into the house for a full Pearsoning. The family sends silent pleas for help to the cameras as Randall and Kate wander around and yammer about the Great Sequin Fight. Randall gently breaks it to Katie Girl that, hey, ya know, dad was actually kind of a bastard that day? Kate marvels at this feat of ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder.’ Huh, she thinks, how’d I forget my dad smashing a plate against a wall? Are my traumatic memories so easily suppressed with a shower of sequins? What does that say about me? She then uses this newly acquired wisdom to instruct Tobe Babe that their child will actually have the PERFECT childhood, full of doing whatever said child wants. Just like….wait for it…St Greasy!
Tobe Babe says, ‘oh, so you want to spoil our kid and make sure it grows up to be like you? Will that finally make you STOP trying to turn me into your daddy-o? Cos, if so, I’m in like Flynn!’
Randall returns home and gives gifts of hotel lotion. Dude. You’re an elected official now. Looks are everything. Don’t give your kids the freebies from the hotel and expect it to be like Christmas, OK? Although, maybe he also helped himself to the lightbulbs from his hotel room and, first thing, he’s finally going to replace those burned out bulbs in St. William’s old apartment complex to instantly stop crime.
Well. I can totally see why a two-parter was necessary for this Feelz-a-Palooza.
And let’s just get the next one over with while I’m here. More wine. More Baked Cheetos (shut up, DON’T JUDGE ME, I have to get my feelz from somewhere and a nice orange powder chased by a pinot gris is about my only option, all right?!)
Ohhhhh kay, it’s time for Supporting Character Filler episode. OK, I’m hoping for the mystery of why in hell Beth puts up with Randall and in-laws with egos that rival a certain president’s, but I’m guessing this is going to be titled something more like, ‘My Name is Beth. I am Helpless Over my Pearsoning.’ “HI, BETH!”
As it turns out, this was actually a nice palate cleanser. I don’t have much to snark on this ep, but I will say that this show has crashed the bar through the floor if the best I can say about the ep that features the most talented actors on this show is that it was OK to watch. Not the most original story in the world (young dancer has to give up dream because Life), but it is remarkably refreshing to watch an hour of anyone but the Pearsons. I give all credit to the acting and even these writers can’t screw up with Phylicia Rashad as Tiger Mom. Also, JACK, if you’re watching from heaven in your tightie whities, THAT is how you parent and support a talented daughter without convincing her that the world should totally stop when she enters the picture because she’s so awesome. Because, see, we get invested in Beth’s success because we see her WORKING for it.
Also, the anvils were of the lighter variety, which my aching head appreciated after the solid hour of being Wile E. Coyote I just endured. If I didn’t’ know this show, I might have gotten my hopes up that maybe we’d see more of how being the sole black dancer for a long time in her dance school affected Beth. But that’s not this show, so Beth magically reconciles her past (with support of her Pearson husband, of course) by waltzing into a dance studio, totally wowing the random teacher/owner who happens to be walking by as Beth freestyles a dance that made me feel guilty about even the baked Cheetos and made my knees hurt. Beth announces, like a goddess on Olympus, “I want to teach!” Well OK, then. That was easy. Make it so. The End.
However, the seeds are there for a spinoff. Ditch the Pearsons, Beth. Be free. You know you want to. I want you to want to. And you don't want me to keep sounding like a Cheap Trick song, do you?
I haven’t seen many promos for this show touting how I MUST WATCH for the amazeballs kick in the feelz lately. Is the hype finally waning? Have they pumped every last ounce of promotion into this mess and are now ready to quietly close the patient on the table and call it? Is it time to harvest whatever viable characters are left in a spinoff? Will it go quietly or will it put up a sequin fight?
Meanwhile, back to hoisting the anvils back into place and regreasing St. Jack’s hair. Next time: sushi and pinot noir, maybe. Guess which I’m looking forward to more? Cheers.