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S04.E07: The Dinner and the Date

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I am not that sympathetic with Kid Kevin here. We have seen Rebecca and Jack invite football people over for dinner. Of course, Kevin was an ass then too. But Rebecca and Jack were perfectly fine.

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My bookshelves are organized based on where a book would fit when I bought it so the teacher's system seemed over the top to me at first, but my husband is an audiophile and has a ton of cds. They are organized by artist and then chronologically so that he can listen to them in order and see how an artist/band's sound evolves as they grow. By that same logic, putting an author's work in chronological order makes sense; you can see their writing develop over time. Expanding on that logic, if you put all the books in chrological order, you can see how literature changes over time. You could see trends in styles and how authors/books inspired newer authors who then inspired the next generation. So I can see why a teacher might organize their classroom books that way, but you'd still probably need to organize them by genre first. 

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57 minutes ago, Neurochick said:

I disagree.  I think Kevin was just selfish, and wanted EVERYTHING.  He wanted all of the attention; even now he's all ME ME ME.  Look at MEEEEE

I agree completely.  I was so glad that we didn't get much of Kevin in this episode.  Of course young Kevin made a few snarky remarks during dinner, but at least his presence was somewhat limited.  Honestly, Kevin is probably my least favorite character.  He seems so self-absorbed.  And I have little patience or sympathy for people who live a life that many people would love to have, but still somehow want to be viewed as a victim.  So his life didn't turn out exactly as he wanted, but whose has?  He's still a good looking, charming guy with plenty of money and a family genuinely that loves him.  That's a lot more than most people have in this world.  I know that money isn't everything, but not having to worry about keeping a roof over your head and food on the table is huge, and that requires a certain level of financial security.  I've never understood the sympathy that some people have for Kevin.  I feel bad for Uncle Nicky, and I can certainly understand why he became an alcoholic.  But Kevin?  Not so much.

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It was an interesting parallel between the two dinners. At Randall's and Beth's, it was the wives who completely lost their cool and made things ugly (although I felt some of it was over the top - Malik's mother as first introduced seemed like a completely reasonable, no-nonsense woman, not this hideously rude witch who'd make a total ass of herself to the people who invited her into their home), while at Jack's and Rebecca's, the wives were the voice of the reason and stopped the evening from turning into a total disaster.

I had to check if "grooming" meant what I thought it did, and yikes. I'm so glad the show didn't go there and imply that's what Jack was having a problem with. I saw absolutely none of that in Randall's teacher - I saw a man who genuinely liked a kid, could identify with him and probably wanted to have a child of his own like that. Jack was certainly jealous of their bonding, and while jealousy comes in various forms, usually it's the one of sexual nature that's portrayed in popular culture, so it was interesting to see a parent being jealous of someone getting their child's attention and affection. It most certainly happens a lot. 

I don't have anything against Deja, but with so many characters and storylines being neglected and underdeveloped, I can't help thinking all this focus she's been getting could have easily been directed elsewhere. I do have a problem with her relationship with Malik, though. For starters, he simply looks too young, like people have already pointed out. I'm totally getting the "big sister - little brother" vibes from them when they interact. And then the fact that he has a baby makes it all even more confusing. Also, I can accept (to a degree) all the relentless speechifying when it comes from adults, but when teenagers talk like that, just nooooooooo.

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I don’t mind when shows cast actors who may look too young. Most of the time, it’s the complete opposite. I don’t think Malik look much younger than my nephews in that age bracket.

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In my school district, grooming doesn’t have to be sexual.  We had a P.D. recently about this, which is why the word grooming came to mind.  Giving special attention to one student, having a greater influence than necessary over a student or even contacting a student outside of school for any purpose (even unapproved communication relating to schoolwork) falls under this umbrella.

As a black teacher whose students don’t look like her, I get Mr. Lawrence’s draw to Randall.  They are two black men living in a world that wasn’t designed for them.  It’s hard to see a student of color and walk the line between teaching them and wanting to help them through this crazy world we live in as POC by giving them the extra attention, advise, and guidance that they need and yearn for. 

But the before school meetings, the dinner, wanting to take Randall to a cultural festival outside of school, and Randall’s wanting so badly to be like him (the library system) would raise red flags immediately in my district.  Kevin calling him a grown up Randall illustrates what a hold he seemed to have on this kid, even though it was just admiration and a similar love for nerdy things. But it can’t get to that point. That’s just the world we live in today.  

Edited by Spencer Hastings
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7 minutes ago, memememe76 said:

I don’t mind when shows cast actors who may look too young. Most of the time, it’s the complete opposite. I don’t think Malik look much younger than my nephews in that age bracket.

Malik looking young never bothered me (the actor is actually 18, but certainly doesn't look it).  I just kept thinking that he looked like someone I knew, but I couldn't put my finger on it.  Then I found out he's Samira Wiley's nephew.  Something about his eyes reminds me a lot of his aunt.

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6 hours ago, Neurochick said:

I don't get the Deja dislike that some people seem to have but to each his or her own.

I don't hate her.  I am not a fan of her parents.  I think Randell hovers over her too much to a point where she can't even breath, and I think Beth talks about being so open minded but she really isn't.  I don't know how any of the children can have an honest and open minded discussion with their parents.   Randall and Beth aren't very approachable.

I do remember Beth going home to see her mom and finding and smoking an old joint I think from behind a picture frame.  Smoking it in the laundry room.

I know that Deja is young, fourteen I think.  I am more than a bit surprised that she hasn't rebelled in a direction of drinking or smoking weed.  I know they just moved to Philadelphia, so perhaps if she is allowed to spread her wings a little bit, she might head down that path and experiment.

6 hours ago, topanga said:

What I don’t get is all of the Beth hate. Many people said she was hostile from the beginning if the dinner. Huh? She was the one encouraging Randall to be nice with her Open shoes-open mind analogy. And she didn’t respond to Malik’s mother’s numerous barbs until the mom called Deja a ‘fast girl’ at dinner.

She was talking a lot of trash behind their backs before she even met Malik's parents and they drew all sorts of conclusions about Malik without learning his backstory.

I don't like people who talk behind others backs and then are all sunshine and rainbows when they meet the people face to face.  

I don't like what Malik's mom said about Deja, but at least she had the guts to say what she felt she needed to say to Beth directly.

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On 11/6/2019 at 7:25 PM, Neurochick said:

Beth wasn't happy about the relationship between Malik and Deja, but she was willing to keep an open mind until Malik's mother threw shade at Deja.  That's when Beth turned into a Mama Bear, which she had every right to.

There is a difference between not being happy about that relationship, and ripping Malik and his parents to shreds before they have ever met them.  Passing judgement on them without really knowing anything about them.

On 11/6/2019 at 7:25 PM, Neurochick said:

I also don't get the "Mr Lawrence is grooming Randall."  Seriously?  I don't know, maybe I'm old but I remember as a child watching an episode of Leave it to Beaver, where Beaver's parents invited their son's teacher to the house for dinner.  I didn't think that was odd then.  But maybe I'm old and simple.  

The vast majority of dramas in this era are negative.  SVU has been on for a couple of decades and has been run into a ditch in syndication several times over on several channels, not to mention the new episodes.  Watch enough of that and anyone could start questioning any relationship between an adult and a child.  Even a teacher and student relationship.  I question their relationship simply because in the real world and in the world of television programming, all I see are horrible stories.

I would like to see more optimistic programming, and not so much negativity.  I am not holding my breath.

Edited by icemiser69
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4 hours ago, Blakeston said:

Of course, Kevin should have been resentful of Rebecca more than Randall, but unfortunately that's not how kids usually react. They direct their anger at the favored sibling, not the parent who plays favorites.

I agree 100% with this.  Rebecca is in a position of power being the mom.  It is far easier for Kevin to go after a person his age who doesn't have power, than his mom.

3 hours ago, memememe76 said:

I am not that sympathetic with Kid Kevin here. We have seen Rebecca and Jack invite football people over for dinner. Of course, Kevin was an ass then too. But Rebecca and Jack were perfectly fine.

Kevin wasn't raised to respect others.   Kevin doesn't have any boundaries.  He has crossed the line several times, as a child at the dinner table and other times as a child, and also as an adult.  Rebecca and Jack dropped the ball when it came to parenting Kevin.

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23 hours ago, watcher1006 said:

Hear, hear! I feel that boundaries have to be maintained between students and teachers. There is ever the possibility of improper conduct being perceived, whether it occurs or not. And there is the more mundane issue of favoritism among a teacher's students. I think he should have declined Jack's dinner invitation and suggested a different avenue for discussion.

When I was in community college, I took an introduction to education course. The professor opened it by going "Okay men in the class, you need to listen to this. You cannot do the majority of the things women can do. You cannot hug a student. You cannot help them put on their coats. You cannot zip anything up for them. You cannot have your door closed with one student in the room. If you do any of this, you will probably end up in handcuffs because a kid phrased something wrong."

When I was a kid, PreK-2, I was in self contained special ed classes (with some mainstreaming) - the teacher who had a big impact on my life, Mrs. S, we invited her to parties. she would come from time to time - then we'd usually run into each other in town.

A teacher should not go into a student's bedroom.

They should have done a much more casual thing - like a lunch, or meeting up at that festival the teacher mentioned (Look! A way for Jack to feel jealous!)

People have their careers ruined over accusations - my therapist (male) used to be a school counselor. As I understand it, one day, a female student (high school) came into his room, distraught. He was the only counselor in that day - the others were either out sick or at another school in the district. An accusation occurred, was proven to be false, a settlement was reached, and a career change happened.

Edited by bros402
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4 hours ago, The Ringo Kidd said:

Wow they really wasted Pam Grier. I am very disappointed.

I agree. If Deja’s going to have flashbacks I want Pam Grier in them!

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I’ve lived in the Philly area (the Delaware Valley to locals) for over fifty years and never once heard it called “Killadelphia”. Nice though that they used the real thing for the exteriors and not Vancouver or Atlanta. 

It seems like every member of the Pearson family can never get along with anyone not named Pearson.  Their initial reaction to meeting a new person is always suspicion and distrust.  Sounds like projection.

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16 hours ago, Eureka said:

DS18 has an early-in-the-school-year birthday and spent most of his senior year still needing us to sign him out, even though he was 18. He was not amused.

My parents enrolled me in school a year early and my birthday is during spring semester so I never got to sign myself out or call in sick for myself in high school. I was so jealous of everyone who got to do that!

9 hours ago, Rockstar99435 said:

My bookshelves are organized based on where a book would fit when I bought it so the teacher's system seemed over the top to me at first, but my husband is an audiophile and has a ton of cds. They are organized by artist and then chronologically so that he can listen to them in order and see how an artist/band's sound evolves as they grow. By that same logic, putting an author's work in chronological order makes sense; you can see their writing develop over time. Expanding on that logic, if you put all the books in chrological order, you can see how literature changes over time. You could see trends in styles and how authors/books inspired newer authors who then inspired the next generation. So I can see why a teacher might organize their classroom books that way, but you'd still probably need to organize them by genre first. 

I organize my books by the size of the shelf too. I have a bazillion books so I have to maximize the space on my bookshelves.

When Mr. EB and I moved in together and we merged all of our music together, we talked about the best way to organize it all. We ended up doing the same thing as your husband - alphabetical by artist and then chronological. It just seemed the most logical way.

I remember when I read High Fidelity and Rob decided to reorganize his records in the order he'd bought them. He admitted that he was trying to make himself seem more complex than he really was. It just seemed way too complicated.

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7 hours ago, icemiser69 said:

She was talking a lot of trash behind their backs before she even met Malik's parents and they drew all sorts of conclusions about Malik without learning his backstory.

I really hated her line about boys who "put babies in" girls (right after they first met him). As if it was all his doing. Unless he raped her, which there was no indication of, he and his girlfriend are equally to "blame" for the fact that she got pregnant. Yes, they should have used protection (and maybe they did; we don't know). But just as girls don't get pregnant all by themselves, (rape aside) neither do boys get girls pregnant all by themselves. And the implication that because he has a baby he would attempt to impregnate Deja (I guess?) is pretty gross. If anything, the fact that he is raising his daughter without her mother in the picture would probably make him more careful not to risk it again. The (stereotypical) young man who has multiple kids by multiple women is usually not the one actually raising those kids.

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It was good when Rebecca told Jack not to make Randall choose, but I also wonder if part of it was guilt about denying Randall a black role model with his father William.

Malik does look a bit young, but I think part of that is being so used to shows/films using buff 20+ year olds playing teenagers!

I'm fine with him and Deja, I thought it was sweet that their day made her remember her day out with mom and grandma. I do agree though that has to be some serious discussions about how the dating works with his kid, Deja needs to know Janelle is his priority and he can't be expecting her to step into any mothering role. Also as Janelle gets older need to be clear on what Deja's relationship will be to her, will she be "aunt" Deja, or will she just see her occasionally

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24 minutes ago, ams1001 said:

I really hated her line about boys who "put babies in" girls (right after they first met him). As if it was all his doing. Unless he raped her, which there was no indication of, he and his girlfriend are equally to "blame" for the fact that she got pregnant. Yes, they should have used protection (and maybe they did; we don't know). But just as girls don't get pregnant all by themselves, (rape aside) neither do boys get girls pregnant all by themselves. And the implication that because he has a baby he would attempt to impregnate Deja (I guess?) is pretty gross. If anything, the fact that he is raising his daughter without her mother in the picture would probably make him more careful not to risk it again. The (stereotypical) young man who has multiple kids by multiple women is usually not the one actually raising those kids.

Yes I hate that too! Malik has a child, he didn’t commit a crime or hurt anyone!

22 minutes ago, peace355 said:

Also as Janelle gets older need to be clear on what Deja's relationship will be to her, will she be "aunt" Deja, or will she just see her occasionally

I’m really not expecting things to last that long. The baby is an infant, they are in HS, again Malik should have MINIMAL time for socializing etc as his priorities are school, work, childcare. I would think time with Deja and friends would be the 1-2 hours a week he can get away from the baby outside of school hours. I don’t expect Deja to care for her at all or be around when she’s 3-5yrs old. 

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10 hours ago, TheLotusFlower said:

I agree completely.  I was so glad that we didn't get much of Kevin in this episode.  Of course young Kevin made a few snarky remarks during dinner, but at least his presence was somewhat limited.  Honestly, Kevin is probably my least favorite character.  He seems so self-absorbed.  And I have little patience or sympathy for people who live a life that many people would love to have, but still somehow want to be viewed as a victim.  So his life didn't turn out exactly as he wanted, but whose has?  He's still a good looking, charming guy with plenty of money and a family genuinely that loves him.  That's a lot more than most people have in this world.  I know that money isn't everything, but not having to worry about keeping a roof over your head and food on the table is huge, and that requires a certain level of financial security.  I've never understood the sympathy that some people have for Kevin.  I feel bad for Uncle Nicky, and I can certainly understand why he became an alcoholic.  But Kevin?  Not so much.

I like Kevin (and Kate) because I have reasons to relate to both of them.  Yes Kevin had all of his physical needs met, but Rebecca and Jack did neglect his emotional needs.  That has been a constant throughout all of the seasons from The Pool part 1 to this past episode.  There was no need for Rebecca in her apology to Mr. Lawrence and his wife to drop Kevin's name.  Why tell them that Kevin is the "slob" and Randall is the neat one?  Rebecca had to denigrate Kevin to prop up Randall.  This dynamic is fairly well entrenched in the Pearson family.  Kevin has grown up knowing that even when is not being a shit that he will be blamed for something (Randall losing his glasses at the cabin) even if he had nothing to do with it.  This stays with someone even as an adult. 

Adult Kevin knows that he grew up privileged and that he is a cisgender straight white male who has every opportunity handed to him.  I don't see him as wanting to be viewed as a victim.  Both Rebecca and Jack hurt him as a child, and I don't see Kevin wanting that acknowledged as anything bad.  Kevin can't move on from these past childhood hurts if they are not acknowledged and Randall is not trying to gaslight him.  Kevin's feelings are just as valid as anyone else's feelings.  I do think that part of Kevin's problem with alcohol stems from him bottling up his feelings (like Jack) because he knows no one wants to hear an attractive white guy feels sad.  Out of all the Pearson kids, I find Kevin to be the most self-aware.  

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On 11/6/2019 at 5:33 AM, Ohiopirate02 said:

I was surprised too by Randall and Mr. Lawrence's system.  The books shown were mostly fiction and libraries file fiction alphabetically by author and then by title.  Filing by date of publication is absurd and would make it very difficult to find any book.

It's not really an organization system they were using. They did this to prove they could. It's basically a brain puzzle. How pretentious it is depends on if the teacher filed them that way and told his students about "the method" expecting them to mimic it and act like it's an actual filing system, or if the point was always just a challenge.

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On 11/5/2019 at 10:44 PM, TheLotusFlower said:

Seriously?  I absolutely loved Beth in this episode.  Malik's mother completely disrespected Beth from the moment she got there.  First by talking about Deja as if she was some stray that Beth and Randall took in off the street, trying to blame the whole skipping school thing on Deja, and then with her ignorant passive aggressive comment during grace.  I didn't view Beth as hostile at all.  Was she supposed to slap on a fake smile and pretend everything was fine while being disrespected in her own home?  Malik's mother got exactly what she deserved.

Not to mention that she was a guest a a house where she doesn't even know if people are of the same religion as hers and she imposed the grace on everyone. I absolutely despise people like her (my brother is a pastor and in my non-religious/non-believer home he is warned to keep him mouth shut)

But the whole thing was rushed. A dinner to discuss the kids's relationship? A meeting, fine. But dinners should be an enjoyable event. Too much already known awkwardness from the get go. 

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14 hours ago, Neurochick said:

I also don't get the "Mr Lawrence is grooming Randall."  Seriously?  I don't know, maybe I'm old but I remember as a child watching an episode of Leave it to Beaver, where Beaver's parents invited their son's teacher to the house for dinner.  I didn't think that was odd then.  But maybe I'm old and simple.  

On the last day of school my third grade class walked to my teacher’s house for a backyard cookout! Her husband grilled hamburgers and hot dogs and we kids played games. I remember on the walk back to school it started drizzling... my poor Afro. I still remember the look on my mom’s face when I got home! 
 

When I told my mom about the picnic she asked did I have a good time and that was that. This was back in the early 80s.  Unfortunately, since then there have been plenty of horror stories about inappropriate teacher/student relationships that it’s made people skeptical and suspicious whenever a teacher bonds with a student. It’s understandable. However I don’t think Mr. Lawrence has ill intentions regarding Randall.

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21 minutes ago, woodstock said:

On the last day of school my third grade class walked to my teacher’s house for a backyard cookout! Her husband grilled hamburgers and hot dogs and we kids played games. I remember on the walk back to school it started drizzling... my poor Afro. I still remember the look on my mom’s face when I got home! 
 

When I told my mom about the picnic she asked did I have a good time and that was that. This was back in the early 80s.  Unfortunately, since then there have been plenty of horror stories about inappropriate teacher/student relationships that it’s made people skeptical and suspicious whenever a teacher bonds with a student. It’s understandable. However I don’t think Mr. Lawrence has ill intentions regarding Randall.

It's different if the whole class is involved, though. Then it's just a field trip, really. (And I would assume the teacher had the okay from the school to do that. Though when I was in school something like that would also require a permission slip from the parents. Third grade for me was 1983-4.)

I never thought the teacher had nefarious intentions, but the optics of such a relationship with just one student are...not good. Even in the olden days of 1992. (And if nothing else, it probably doesn't endear Randall to his classmates. I get why Randall wants to connect with someone who looks like him, but most middle school kids don't want to be seen as the teacher's pet, either.) 

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I thought the dinner would have been a good time to tell the story of Janelle’s mother and why Malik has the baby.

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42 minutes ago, ams1001 said:

I never thought the teacher had nefarious intentions, but the optics of such a relationship with just one student are...not good. Even in the olden days of 1992. (And if nothing else, it probably doesn't endear Randall to his classmates. I get why Randall wants to connect with someone who looks like him, but most middle school kids don't want to be seen as the teacher's pet, either.) 

I don't think the plot has anything to do with the optics of a teacher/student relationship as much as to show how young Randall was searching for his place, as a black kid in a white family and neighborhood. He was trying to find out how to fit in a black culture being the only back kid in school and family. 

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I'm sorry but I cannot get over the fact that Malik and the baby's mother were having sex at what 15/16 years old?   Perhaps I'm a prude or just old fashion but come on...that is the real issue.   If he was having sex with her, he'll want to have sex with Deja.   And I don't want to hear that Deja is special, that she makes his heart pitter patter...unlike his baby momma did and he'll never think about having sex with Deja because you just don't go there with that kind of girl.   Puhlease!!!  

I was on team Beth last night, she was on fire!!!  

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For me, the problem is Deja overload.  I think the Deja storylines sucked up most of last season, so I'm tired of Deja-focused storylines.  Then, they couldn't just give her a boyfriend; he had to be a single teenage father. 

That's my problem with Deja as well.  A lot of last season was spent on her; let's give her a rest for awhile.  We now know almost as much about her new boyfriend as we do about Miguel, who is a significant character in all timelines.  He was Jack's friend and co-worker, annoyed the Big Three by being (in their opinion) too helpful after Jack's death, and ended up married to Rebecca!  I would rather see more time spent on characters like him (Miggy Stardust!) and Tess and Annie.

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My mom, my sister and I all have identical voices (so I'm told by everyone that knows us 🙄).  My sister once skipped school & I don't believe there was any phone call so I'm assuming in her sneaky ways, she called herself out as our mother that day. 

Maybe Deja called herself out upon deciding to go with Malik.

I agree with those who find this storyline trite. Deja became a main protagonist as though we were dealing with too few main characters as it is. I keep forgetting Beth & Randall have two biological children and two full time careers going on. They add characters like Nicky, Cassidy, Deja, Malik and get rid of people like Sophie in one fell swoop. It's baffling to me. I wish we could keep delving into the characters and what they go through in life with flashbacks to the past...like Beth's relationship with her mother etc. Jack's rejection by Rebecca's family is another.  I don't feel like we needed extra characters pushed on us before getting into the meat of our already beloved characters.  J.m.o.

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21 minutes ago, MamaBird said:

That's my problem with Deja as well.  A lot of last season was spent on her; let's give her a rest for awhile.  We now know almost as much about her new boyfriend as we do about Miguel, who is a significant character in all timelines.  He was Jack's friend and co-worker, annoyed the Big Three by being (in their opinion) too helpful after Jack's death, and ended up married to Rebecca!  I would rather see more time spent on characters like him (Miggy Stardust!) and Tess and Annie.

I don't remember too much Deja in the last season, it was more Nicky, Randall running for council and almost splitting with Beth, Kate's pregnancy that sticks in my memory.  I think with two and a half more seasons yet to come, there is a lot of time for all of the Big 3 plus Rebecca and Miguel and all the grandchildren.  They have to have some filler and string out revealing what eventually happens to all of them that we have seen (and not yet seen) in the future.  Teen romance doesn't float my boat at all, but I think this whole thing with the baby and missing mother is going to tie in with Randall and his mother, and we're going to have to get some Philadelphia stories with Randall's family living there. 

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Did everyone lose the thread that Malik wants to be a drug dealer? He asked the dealer who was getting his car fixed if he could work for him. Beth has good instincts and should discourage this relationship.

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5 hours ago, Ohiopirate02 said:

Yes Kevin had all of his physical needs met, but Rebecca and Jack did neglect his emotional needs.

I liked your entire post but quoted a sliver. I agree w/ you. Kevin is self-aware. He can self deprecate at times so that shows. Young Kevin reminds me a lot of myself as a child. My mother always did the "she's the this one but *she's* the *that* one" game.  Comparing & contrasting. I developed quite a few complexes and self esteem issues into adulthood. I get  it.  Maybe Kev is the blessed one on the surface but he has had his own share. 

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I'm sorry but I cannot get over the fact that Malik and the baby's mother were having sex at what 15/16 years old? 

Janelle is 6 months old (that's what Malik told Deja in "Unhinged" and Randall in "Flip a Coin"). Deja is 14 and Malik is two grades higher than her.  As Malik is a straight A student, he probably didn't fail a grade so he is probably around 16.  That means Malik was probably 14 or 15 when the baby was conceived.  About the same age Deja is now...

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1 hour ago, MamaBird said:

We now know almost as much about her new boyfriend as we do about Miguel, who is a significant character in all timelines. 

Totally agree with this!  Miguel has been there since day 1 but we don't really know much about him at all.  

Sometimes I feel that the show should be called This is Randall (featuring Kevin and Kate).  I don't know if anyone has been keeping track, but it just seems like more time has been devoted to Randall and his family than the other family members.

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5 minutes ago, 3 is enough said:

Totally agree with this!  Miguel has been there since day 1 but we don't really know much about him at all.  

Sometimes I feel that the show should be called This is Randall (featuring Kevin and Kate).  I don't know if anyone has been keeping track, but it just seems like more time has been devoted to Randall and his family than the other family members.

I agree with you about the disparity of stories between the main actors.  I find that season 1 and the first part of season 2 had a better split between the different characters.  Then Sterling won the Emmy and his stories became more frequent.  The idea that this was an ensemble show with all the actors getting equal billing went out the window after that point.  The jury is still out on this being a showrunner decision or a network decision.  I honestly do think that the reason why William keeps on popping back up is Ron's Emmy win for the role.  They also found more than one way to shoehorn Gerald McRaney into subsequent seasons after he also won an Emmy.

I know NBC looks at specific social media posts to gather their data on what is "popular" along with focus groups and those all report back about the significance of Jack.  We are in season 4 and we have know that Jack is dead in the present day since episode 2.  The fact that we have not gotten any more information about Rebecca and Miguel is starting to annoy.  I imagine someone at NBC telling the showrunners that we cannot have Miguel become a romantic hero because of potential backlash about him usurping Jack's place.  Nevermind that he had been dead at least a decade before Rebecca and Miguel got together.

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2 hours ago, S.Batts said:

I'm sorry but I cannot get over the fact that Malik and the baby's mother were having sex at what 15/16 years old?   Perhaps I'm a prude or just old fashion but come on...that is the real issue.   If he was having sex with her, he'll want to have sex with Deja.   And I don't want to hear that Deja is special, that she makes his heart pitter patter...unlike his baby momma did and he'll never think about having sex with Deja because you just don't go there with that kind of girl.   Puhlease!!!  

I was on team Beth last night, she was on fire!!!  

It is the issue, and it happens. Why not have it in the story? Yes, they (characters) should address that instead of being awkward without really talking about it.

I don't know if you are a prude or not, but your position is if you are addressing only the fact of teen sex. I think there are many ways to make this story be a good one, not necessarily a "lesson on social inequalities and class disparities" or an "education issue" but something that encompasses a bigger reality. There is a lot to explore. Malik is a teenager who is a good student, has a kid and takes care of the kid, at the same time muses about selling drugs. He is not neglected by his family, as urban legend would want us to believe, especially concerning black boys/young man. 

And there are comparisons to be made between how they write Deja - mature beyond her years as a result of the life she had, and Malik, trying to be responsible. There are so many possibilities that the writers can explore.

Teenagers everywhere are having sex at a young age. Nothing new here. 

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21 hours ago, Neurochick said:

Here's my thing with Malik.  If his girlfriend had either had an abortion or put the baby up for adoption or sent the baby to live with relatives in the South.  No one would judge because the baby wouldn't be THERE. 

Well, they might not judge because they wouldn't know about it. But they do know about it. And as for Beth blaming him (he puts babies in girls) and not Jennifer, sue, both had responsibility, but Beth's issue is that ONE of those two people responsible wants to date her daughter. Malik did NOT stop to use protection, or not have sex at all. Sure he now bears responsibility for that, but Beth and Randall don't know yet how responsible he is regarding sex with the next girl. And maybe they think 14 year old Deja is too young for sex anyway! (I sure do.)

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17 hours ago, Spencer Hastings said:

In my school district, grooming doesn’t have to be sexual.  We had a P.D. recently about this, which is why the word grooming came to mind.  Giving special attention to one student, having a greater influence than necessary over a student or even contacting a student outside of school for any purpose (even unapproved communication relating to schoolwork) falls under this umbrella.

"Grooming" is about conditioned the child to accept the adult so that the adult eventually can have sex with the child. Your school's insurer/attorneys are likely telling employees not to do the things that groomers do, even though your goal is just to be kind to the students, because it could be perceived as grooming, and they don't want to have to defend a lawsuit.

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2 hours ago, The Ringo Kidd said:

Did everyone lose the thread that Malik wants to be a drug dealer? He asked the dealer who was getting his car fixed if he could work for him. Beth has good instincts and should discourage this relationship.

I forgot and am thankful for the reminder.  Yes, he's dealing with the consequences of his actions with his child, but he still has poor judgment by thinking dealing drugs will bring him financial security.  

ETA:  I think Tess' immediate bond with the baby is meant to foreshadow her social worker future.

Edited by Earmuffs Mom
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2 hours ago, The Ringo Kidd said:

Did everyone lose the thread that Malik wants to be a drug dealer? He asked the dealer who was getting his car fixed if he could work for him. Beth has good instincts and should discourage this relationship.

I remember it, so far he hasn't done it.  I also remember Jack was ready to commit a serious crime right before he met Rebecca, at a much more advanced age than Malik.  The jury is still out on Malik, but let's face it, his decision-making and risk-assessment capabilities aren't even fully developed at his age, whereas Jack's were.  I hope he doesn't go through with it.  I do happen to agree that these kids should not get involved.  Too many downsides.  But they're going there, and drama will ensue. 

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Beth and Randall have every right to shut down Deja and Malik dating, because biology and hormones happen.  Always have and always will.  If I had a daughter or son, neither would be dating before 16 period end of story.  Group outings yes, one-on-one time together, no.  How Malik's parents can trot into the Pearsons' home with their grandchild in a baby carrier and their son two years older than Deja, and try to blame Deja for being a fast girl and acting all high and mighty with the grace thing is beyond me.

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This kid is bad news. I know we have to pretend that having a baby mama before you hit puberty is no big deal but you add in the fact that he aspires to be in the drug trade I think they need to send their daughter to boarding school. 

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I think the twist with Jennifer is going to be that she died during childbirth.  

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I think the twist with Jennifer is going to be that she died during childbirth.

With modern medicine, it's very rare for a healthy young woman to die during childbirth. But, on this show, Jennifer probably did die.

When Malik told Deja about how he came to have custody of the baby, he said that Jennifer's parents wanted to give Janelle up for adoption. Now, it could be that he meant that the parents made their daughter give up the child or it could be that she died leaving them with the decision. 

You would think that while Malik was telling Deja about the baby because he was afraid she would hear it from others first, he might mention the dead ex-girlfriend as well. Heck, it would be normal for Deja to at least ask about where the mysterious Jennifer is.

The baby's name is Janelle, but it could be spelled Jennell and be a portmanteau of Jennifer and Kelly (her Mom and Grandmother). In the show we hear the Mal-eja ship name (typically portmanteaus), we also learn Jennifer's and Kelly's names so perhaps that is a clue. Or maybe it's a nod to his father who is Darnell. Or both. Or he just liked the name. Who knows.

I know one thing for certain. When we hear the entire story, there will be tears. From me.

And then Randall will do a grand gesture and Beth will be ????

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21 hours ago, TheLotusFlower said:

Then I found out he's Samira Wiley's nephew.  Something about his eyes reminds me a lot of his aunt.

Glad it's not just me that there was a familiar look to him.  Definitely share similar features. 

I agree with those on Deja.  I don't hate her and I think she's a solid actress.  But there has been way too much focus on her since her introduction.  We only started scratching the surface with Tess and she's been here from the beginning.  Half the time I even forget about Annie which sucks as she's got a quiet spunk about that I love.  I was rolling my eyes at the promos for this episode and the episode lived up to that disappointment. (Except Beth's pantry wine.  Been there.) 

12 hours ago, peace355 said:

It was good when Rebecca told Jack not to make Randall choose, but I also wonder if part of it was guilt about denying Randall a black role model with his father William.

I think she would have been more guilty if she had found William had straightened his life out by the time she found him and still decided not to tell Randall.  

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41 minutes ago, kili said:

With modern medicine, it's very rare for a healthy young woman to die during childbirth. But, on this show, Jennifer probably did die.

When Malik told Deja about how he came to have custody of the baby, he said that Jennifer's parents wanted to give Janelle up for adoption. Now, it could be that he meant that the parents made their daughter give up the child or it could be that she died leaving them with the decision. 

You would think that while Malik was telling Deja about the baby because he was afraid she would hear it from others first, he might mention the dead ex-girlfriend as well. Heck, it would be normal for Deja to at least ask about where the mysterious Jennifer is.

The baby's name is Janelle, but it could be spelled Jennell and be a portmanteau of Jennifer and Kelly (her Mom and Grandmother). In the show we hear the Mal-eja ship name (typically portmanteaus), we also learn Jennifer's and Kelly's names so perhaps that is a clue. Or maybe it's a nod to his father who is Darnell. Or both. Or he just liked the name. Who knows.

I know one thing for certain. When we hear the entire story, there will be tears. From me.

And then Randall will do a grand gesture and Beth will be ????

Sadly,  Jennifer would be a black woman and the maternal mortality rate for black women in America is not good.   Look at Serena Williams.   She almost died from a blood clot after giving birth because her doctors failed her.  If that could happen to the most famous female athlete on the planet, just imagine what a lower income young woman like Jennifer could face.  Her death is not out of the realm of possibility.

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Kevin's "Holy crap, he's like a grown up Randall" made me LOL.

I also got a laugh that Beth cooked Cornish game hens for dinner. Made me wonder if Props Dept. had them left over from Rebecca's debacle dinner last episode.

Which makes me think ... if invited to dinner by any of these people, DO NOT GO.

School skip is one thing, but Deja and Malik would have gotten home WAY after dark since they viewed that light show in the pitch black night. I'm surprised both of their ultra-responsible parents hadn't called the police for missing/abducted kids.

I thought it rude (not that it was the only rude thing) that no one asked the baby's name, nor was she acknowledged, when Malik carried her into the Pearson home.

Otherwise, I kinda liked this episode, but maybe that's because no Kate (except for one view of her teen face at dinner) and no Toby. Thanks show, I needed a break.

Meanwhile, maybe talk to Deja about birth control and how babies happen instead of grounding her for a decade.

We still don't know what happened to Malik's baby momma do we? I thought he might reveal she's dead or something similar. Partly or mostly dead maybe.

Edited by saber5055
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I want to pronounce Malík’s name, Mal-ik rather than Mal-EEK.....

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22 minutes ago, PRgal said:

I want to pronounce Malík’s name, Mal-ik rather than Mal-EEK.....

I think of the devil demon on Sleepy Hollow every time I hear his name. Okay, so that was Moloch, but this show should have picked a better name for this kid who obviously is going to be around until the end of time.

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