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Breeders Season Two All Episode Discussion

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S2.Ep1 - No Surrender: The kids are growing up fast – Ava is now 10 and Luke is about to turn 13. With their burgeoning independence comes the question of whether Paul and Ally’s parenting style still works. Clue: no.

S2.Ep2 - No Fear: Luke’s anxiety is becoming a problem at home and school. Would a medical diagnosis make his life easier or harder? Ally faces further tension after her mother Leah is robbed.

Airdate 3/22/2021

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I am confused. Why did they time jump so much? What was it, 5 years time jump and we don't really know what happened to Berlin, or anything else? Did I miss season 1 1/2?

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1 hour ago, circumvent said:

I am confused. Why did they time jump so much? What was it, 5 years time jump and we don't really know what happened to Berlin, or anything else? Did I miss season 1 1/2?

I'm guessing that Ally returned to working near home and never made a huge pile of money working in Berlin because they are still in their 2 bedroom apartment.

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4 hours ago, circumvent said:

I am confused. Why did they time jump so much? What was it, 5 years time jump and we don't really know what happened to Berlin, or anything else? Did I miss season 1 1/2?

 

2 hours ago, ItCouldBeWorse said:

I'm guessing that Ally returned to working near home and never made a huge pile of money working in Berlin because they are still in their 2 bedroom apartment.

 

Seems like the time jump is so that they could get more mature child actors.  Now it's a heavier tone with the son's melancholy, so they're having to carry more dialog?

As for Ally, they seemed to have dropped it, as well as the boy's sickness towards the end of the first season.

I must have missed it but they changed their minds on not giving the boy a birthday present and certainly not a phone and then discover that he was going off to the park on his own to be alone because he's having difficulty coping?

I don't recall the flashback from the first season with the previous boy actor, being scared to go into the school.  But looks like he didn't adjust, because the older Luke doesn't have mates.

Both of the first two episodes were focused on the children, especially the son.  They had some good scenes last year with the parents.

They showed the flashback of Paul screaming obscenities at the younger ones and he's defiant about not giving up his anger because it's his way of imposing order.  What a git.

But maybe they could do more with contemporaries or maybe other parents.  The girl presumably has friends but maybe they could have cousins or at least children of Paul or Ally's coworkers?

I guess at the end of the first episode, Ally and Paul had come around and gave Luke a new phone so that Ava could have his old one.  Then she could walk home alone and they could track her phone.  That is kind of a lesson learned by the parents -- not that if something happened to her, the parents could get to her in time just because they were tracking her phone.

OK, there will only be 5 episodes this season?

Guess it's great that they managed to produce a season 2 just 1 year later.

Edited by aghst
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7 hours ago, aghst said:

I must have missed it but they changed their minds on not giving the boy a birthday present and certainly not a phone and then discover that he was going off to the park on his own to be alone because he's having difficulty coping?

Paul's father was right about how they had backed themselves into a corner and didn't really want to deprive Luke of a birthday.  They were all miserable, including Ava,  even though they told her it wasn't about her. They were subconsciously trying to keep Ava from growing up, thus insisting on no phone and Luke walking her home. (Still doesn't make it right for Luke to disobey, though.)  As to the phone, it's a good thing Paul didn't get Luke the camera, because after buying one for himself, he realized that even he didn't want it!

7 hours ago, aghst said:

I don't recall the flashback from the first season with the previous boy actor, being scared to go into the school.  But looks like he didn't adjust, because the older Luke doesn't have mates.

I think that might be a new scene and they are still using the younger Luke actor for flashbacks?

Unfortunately, Luke is an extremely anxious child, and it doesn't help to have a father who at one point was extremely verbally abusive.

Ally's mom's neighbor, who was installing the locks, was certainly attractive.  I wonder if they will develop that any further.

Edited by ItCouldBeWorse

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6 hours ago, ItCouldBeWorse said:

Unfortunately, Luke is an extremely anxious child, and it doesn't help to have a father who at one point was extremely verbally abusive.

Both parents have issues that aren't great for the kids.  The dad with his verbal swear filled outbursts then the mom with her "if I just stick my head in the sand long enough my depressed kid will somehow not be depressed without us getting him any help. "  It's funny, depending on the episode (or heck even the scene) I go from "mom's the worst" no "dad's the worst".   It seems like the mom took after her mom "everything is fine" while the dad went the opposite of his dad and instead of holding his emotions in he yells.  I don't have kids but surely there has to be a middle ground between those two approaches? 

Wow, until others mentioned here about Luke's illness and the mom's job out of town I had completely forgotten.  I vaguely remembered something about her job and a co-worker but that was it.  Guess that's all so five years ago now 🙂

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What I find astonishing is that neither parent talks to the kids at all or asks them how they are or what's going on, until about 10 rounds of yelling and denial and general exasperation. And then when they do actually take 2 minutes to connect with the kid or listen at all, they're actually great and everything is manageable. 

It's not that they aren't quite good at it once they bother to try. But they don't seem to think of it until several other people make the suggestion.

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This used to be, at least for me, a realistic portrait of what raising children is like. Too many people have kids because 'its the next thing one does after getting married' when they should never be parents in the first place. But these two should never have been parents in the first place IMO, and this season is decidedly dark already. Given we've just all been through one year of a pandemic, and that shit is dark enough, I don't know that I'll continue tuning in. Is this realistic in terms of a child dealing with anxiety issues, of course. But is it what I want to watch for entertainment? Not really.

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S02E03 — No Connection.  Paul wants the whole family to watch some ice dancing show — must be a UK thing — as a family but everyone else would rather do their own things on their own screens.

So he unplugs the router.  
 

Along with getting a new phone for Ava, this seems like another commercial for a tech product or service.  But certainly Watching TV is no longer a communal thing.

He doesn’t curse at them but still yells out obscenities to make the kids watch with him.

then he later takes Ava to Tae Kwon Do.  He mispronounces it so it shows he’s not that involved with what interests his kids, other than serving as the driver, paying for the lessons.

 

Now tables are turned, he tries to help out his parents, who’ve seen their neighbors over the years get replaced by younger working people.  Paul asks one of the new neighbors if his mother can tend to some roses in their garden.  But there’s a mixup and cops are called.

 

Some small comfort, the kids try to do the dances on the dumb show Paul made a big deal about.

 

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On 3/24/2021 at 1:36 PM, possibilities said:

What I find astonishing is that neither parent talks to the kids at all or asks them how they are or what's going on, until about 10 rounds of yelling and denial and general exasperation. And then when they do actually take 2 minutes to connect with the kid or listen at all, they're actually great and everything is manageable. 

As I was watching the most recent episode with everyone all doing their own thing it was like this family seems more like 4 roommates (I know the kids aren't old enough to live on their own but you know what I mean) they don't seem like family at all. There's no affection no nothing.  I forget what Paul does for a living but Ally's job is doing sound over it's not like either of them are out on the front lines so why are they so exhausted?  I don't know I'm just not finding anything funny of late.  I'll give another episode and see if I enjoy more otherwise I guess I'll find UK Ice Dancing 🙂

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Ava was afraid to tell anyone in her family about her faith.  Paul asked her if she feared that he’d be rage-y.

Luke didn’t hide the fact that he is a vegan.  Ally tried to support him by trying to be vegan as well but found herself wolfing down uncooked bacon in the fridge.

Guess they’re getting better as parents.  Paul recognizes that he and Ally can’t make the kids do what they want any longer.  They might actually be their own persons with own interests and views which diverge from their own.

Just in time, Ally finds that she’s pregnant.

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S02E05:  No Baby:

Quote

As Ally contemplates her pregnancy, a new piece of information blows her world apart; a worried Ava tries to help her mom, while Luke regrets lying.

Quote of the episode:

"I'm decanting the Shiraz"

Luke goes to a party, smokes, then denies doing so to Paul, who subsequently finds cigarettes in his bag.

Paul and Allie tell Luke that he must not smoke, how bad it is for you, while they're puffing away madly on his cigarettes.

Allie thinking she's pregnant goes through unpleasant memories of her pregnancy with Ava, how Paul grimaced at the news, how she was losing her mind dealing with the new infant Ava.

Ava overhears Allie talking about her difficulties after her birth.  Allie tries to reassure her.

Turns out Allie isn't pregnant, just perimenopausal!  Too old to have another child, what a relief!

 

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They did it again! They caught Luke smoking and yelled at him. They didn't pause for even a moment to think: our kid with disabling anxiety is self-medicating with tobacco because he says it calms him down. Clearly whatever they are doing to help him manage his anxiety isn't enough. Breathing exercises are nice, but they aren't enough. So yell at him! That will solve the problem!!

I used to like how the show was honest about how exhausting parenting is, how it's not all cuteness and cuddles and joy. But they've tipped it into actually I think these people are borderline abusive/neglectful and in any case just not really any good at the job.

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I think the yelling is for comic effect by now or a parody of the first season in a way.

Luke may have problems socializing but the kids seem otherwise to have turned out okay.

They may not be the most popular kids in school but how many kids are?

So the scene with them on the terrace telling Luke he must give up smoking is done for comedy because both are smoking while telling him not to smoke.

We will see by the end if their kids are broken by this parenting.  We won't see how they do in their adult relationships, which are suppose to be heavily influenced by what they witness of how their parents get along.

But this show isn't going to get heavy or anything like Luke becoming a killer or sexual abuser of some kind because of the way he was raised.  Or Ava becoming an alcoholic and having horrible relationship issues.

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Ally is under huge pressure, but no one seems to want to listen to her; Jim and Jackie are excited about a possible move to the coast and, much to Paul's surprise, so is he.

S02E06:  No Choice

 

so now they’re actually trying to get pregnant after the false alarm, ready to do IVF.

Paul’s parents want to move to a coastal community because London has become poncey.

Paul gets the idea that they may want to also move out to the coast or at least further out from London to get more space for the new baby.

But Allie doesn’t want to leave.  She doesn’t even bring up her job?  That would be a good reason to shoot down Paul’s idea of moving.

Allie decides she doesn’t want the baby or move so she kisses another man and tells Paul that she did it because he wasn’t listening to her.

Well no drama with the kids this time at least, but they had plenty for each other.

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Allie came across as very selfish in this episode. Her son doesn't have a proper room, he is complaining about it and she doesn't want to move to a bigger house because *she* likes London, so everyone else has to feel miserable and guilty for "pushing her" on everything. 

In this context, she is simply a bad mother

 

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I didn't see her even trying to tell Paul she didn't want the pregnancy. It's one thing if she did tell him, but she didn't. So I can't blame him for not cluing in. 

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Having been through 4 IUIs and 1 IVF, I cannot fathom just blowing off the transfer appointment.  If she felt that strongly, she shouldn't have done any of it.  It's incredibly taxing on a woman's body.

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I think Allie said it last week;  it's not that she wants another baby, it's that she wants to be able to have another baby 

Why they would tell the kids about any of it before she is pregnant is beyond me. They really have put them through a roller coaster of pregnant, not pregnant, trying to get pregnant, not trying.  It's not fair to the kids they already have.

Maybe Allie and Paul should trade their room for Luke's "space."  Does he have to go up 3 flights to use the bathroom, or at least, to shower?

Edited by ItCouldBeWorse
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Paul can’t deal with revelation that Ally kissed another man.  Drives around London all night but he’s also pissed that Luke, who admits to having a panic attack, Wong go into school.

How likely is someone who’s verbally abusive to his son to keep it just verbal?

Situation resolves by end of episode.  He promises to try to deal with Ally’s revelation and Luke goes to school.

But the next crisis, will it escalate?

 

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No Friends

first this episode burns up the annual quota of F-bombs on basic cable.  I guess it’s on pay TV in the UK.  But Ally says she prefers the friend part than the fucking part of the relationship.  Presumably talking about Paul.

Luke finds a friend because they both like the Beat generation?  Two young English tweens in 2020?

Paul realizes that he doesn’t have friends other than through Ally.  But runs into an old chum who’s raising a daughter by himself.  He reconnects and conveniently sets up his friends daughter with Ava.

So these middle aged guys go to some club with a mosh pit, one an ad exec and the other a management consultant?  Friend has some coke and Paul asks if he could take some.

Turns out Charlotte is a little monster who causes Ava to lose her best friend.  So Paul has to chose between forcing Ava to continue being friends with Charlotte or stop hanging out with Charlottes father.

 

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I don't get why  Paul thinks there's a rule that says your kid and your friend's kid have to be friends with each other. It makes the dads seem like brats. SOMEONE has to be the adult in the situation! I guess that's not going to be Paul OR his friend.

Do kids that young drink coffee? None of my friends did when we were that age, but that was a couple of generations ago, so maybe things have changed. I think it's perfectly plausible that Luke would have a friend with quirky-for-their-age interests, since Luke himself also doesn't really fit in. But I don't like how Luke seems to basically have a crush on the guy and be following him because the other kids is waaaaay more confident. Not sure if that ends well... it might be fine if it's mutual, or they really do have a deeper bond that just that Luke worships him. 

Ava "joking" by saying mean things about her best friend makes me give her the side eye. Maybe Chloe is a turd, but maybe Ava isn't the greatest either. 

Ally and Paul bonding over how much they nitpick and scoff at other people is a pretty terrible basis for a marriage, but I guess if they're happy then they'll keep doing it.

I felt terrible for Paul's parents. Being forced out of the home you've lived in for decades is rough. 

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Paul tells a guest to fuck off and then berates Luke in front of the guests.

How likely is someone who is so verbally abusive, so given to letting his anger boil over, avoid also being physically abusive as well?

Ally didn’t want Paul to find Luke, probably worried it would escalate or he’d further drive Luke away.

But he’s only this way with Luke or else Ally would have left him.  Luke does do questionable things but arranging a pot purchase via a chat using his fathers account seems so mild.  He did defy the “no devices” grounding — was it for 3 months? — but how did the kid ruin this celebration?

All because a couple of British tweens in 2020 are into the Beats?

It’s believable that he would cool down enough to apologize to the guest but why didn’t he get agitated later at the park?

Luke punching him would have happened eventually.  In a few years he could kick his old man’s ass physically though he’s fragile emotionally. 

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How is Ally still with this guy? There must be some redeeming qualities that happen off screen because what I've seen of him would make me throw him out.

I'm no prude. "Fuck" comes out of mouth lots of times. But never calling out my kid with that word. Verbal abuse is abuse.

And while I don't condone violence Luke punching Paul was very satisfying.

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3 hours ago, aghst said:

but how did the kid ruin this celebration?

Luke used Paul's laptop until the battery was nearly discharged.  The battery couldn't be recharged because of the blackout. Since the video was saved locally on the desktop, it couldn't be shown until the power returned.  This "ruined" the party.

Paul's abuse could definitely cause a child to self-harm.  I don't know why he seems so unaware of this since he certainly.knows Luke has mental health issues.

3 hours ago, aghst said:

It’s believable that he would cool down enough to apologize to the guest but why didn’t he get agitated later at the park?

I feel that he did get agitated again when Luke said that Paul was his problem.

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I can't get the link to work, but in 3/9/2020 interview with the Irish Times, Martin Freeman said of his character Paul, “I think he’s probably less of a (expletive) than I am." 

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Supposedly Freeman came up with the idea for the show.

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1 minute ago, aghst said:

Supposedly Freeman came up with the idea for the show.

Yes, several years ago. I am still clinging to my erroneous idea of him as a sweet John Watson 😪

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On 5/12/2021 at 4:21 PM, QQQQ said:

I can't get the link to work, but in 3/9/2020 interview with the Irish Times, Martin Freeman said of his character Paul, “I think he’s probably less of a (expletive) than I am." 

That is disturbing.

This show started out as a fairly unsentimental comedy about how stressful it is to be a parent and has now become something much more serious. It's not even remotely funny at the moment, even though they do sort of try to play Paul's parents for laughs sometimes.

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Maybe Ava needs to have a breakdown based on Paul's abusive treatment of Luke. Then he'd change his behavior for her sake,  since he seems to really care about her.

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49 minutes ago, ItCouldBeWorse said:

Maybe Ava needs to have a breakdown based on Paul's abusive treatment of Luke. Then he'd change his behavior for her sake,  since he seems to really care about her.

Or maybe Ally needs to take the kids and get away. 

They are doing counseling aren't they about his anger issues?  So she gave that a shot, she should kick him out.  I don't know if that is common in the UK, for the wife to stay in the home with the kids while the husband has to find a new place.

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Well, I saw where that was going half way through.  Best solution for all involved.

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I guess it's a cliffhanger.

If there is another season, it will be a question of whether Paul gets back to the house.

Seems like family counseling with the kids would be in order.

Luke's motivation would be to do as well as possible in school and get to boarding school or vocational school or wherever, to get out of the home as soon as he can.

Or send him to military school.

Otherwise, are they going to do another season of Paul cursing at his son?

 

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2 hours ago, aghst said:

Or send him to military school

I don't know that military school would be a good idea for someone who suffers from anxiety (I don't think that Paul is completely responsible for Luke's anxiety,  even if Luke currently feels fine when apart from him.)

Paul still doesn't get that it's not about letting Luke do whatever he wants. It's about not calling Luke worthless and blaming him for everything that goes wrong in the family.  He never even apologized for the terrible things he said to Luke, as far as we saw, because he really doesn't understand what he did. And, if Allie has to consider at all whether it's necessary for Paul to leave so that Luke can return home, then she's not the "Mama Bear" she thinks she is, along with not understanding how she should have shut down Paul years ago.

Paul's therapist must know about the situation.  How have Paul and Luke avoided family therapy? And I don't really believe that the child welfare system did not get involved in this.

So, now poor Ava has to suffer, along with Paul, who richly deserves to. I hope she doesn't blame Luke for the situation 

I thought Paul's mother's dreas at the wedding was lovely.

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On 5/14/2021 at 5:02 AM, possibilities said:

That is disturbing.

This show started out as a fairly unsentimental comedy about how stressful it is to be a parent and has now become something much more serious. It's not even remotely funny at the moment, even though they do sort of try to play Paul's parents for laughs sometimes.

That's how I feel about it too. I don't even look forward to it anymore. Themes like anxiety and depression are important but the way they are dealing with those issues is heavy handed and not integrated into the comedy anymore

 

16 hours ago, aghst said:

Or send him to military school.

Someone like Luke, with low self-esteem and anxiety in a military school (where bullying is a qualifier) would be at risk of becoming suicidal

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8 minutes ago, circumvent said:

Someone like Luke, with low self-esteem and anxiety in a military school (where bullying is a qualifier) would be at risk of becoming suicidal

Or it toughens him up.

As bad as Paul has been, there's a good chance Luke is going to run into worse antagonists during his life.

Avoidance or running away is not a great path either.

 

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58 minutes ago, aghst said:

Or it toughens him up.

What does that even mean? How do you "toughen" someone who has anxiety? Beat the anxiety out of the kid? It is the same premise as sending boys who might be questioning their sexuality to military school to "fix" them and "man them up". It does not work like this. Anxiety is not something that a person chooses to be, it is a neurodivergence, it is part of them.

1 hour ago, aghst said:

As bad as Paul has been, there's a good chance Luke is going to run into worse antagonists during his life.

Avoidance or running away is not a great path either.

I agree with that. Therapy, in some cases medication, practices that the person can develop to go through their day are valid and used by people who have anxiety. I do have some anxiety and for me a good crying and reading a book do wonders most of the time. For some kids scheduling things for the day also help. 

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I think it's interesting how Paul can't resist immediately going in for the kill. There's no finesse or working into the subject. It's just a blunt "You can't do X, you're going to do what I say" even when that's not the topic. I think he's being driven more by his ego than concern for Luke (who is an asshat, IMO).

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Paul should look to work more.

Be away from the home for awhile.

In season 1 they showed him more at work but in season 2, he's around home all the time.

Ally also was shown more at work in season 1 than 2 as well.

If anything, with the time jump and the kids becoming tweens, they should be spending less time with parents, more with their peers.  Luke is at an age when kids tend to branch more away from the family.

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Sure you will find bullies in life, but you should not have to suffer bullying at home, least of all from a parent. 

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This show needs to be moved to Drama because it's just not funny, like at all.

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