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S01:E04 The Workplace

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It’s “Take Your Son to Work Day” and Dean heads to band practice with Bill. But the “grown folks’ business” at the music studio prompts Lillian to have to pick up Dean. While at her office, Dean finally learns what his mom does while he’s at school all day, gaining a newfound respect for her career and ambition.

Original Air Date: October 13, 2021

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My mom still has those Tupperware cake carriers! One for round layer cakes and one for rectangular sheet cakes.

Was the sister wearing heels or is she really taller than everyone else in the house?

Edited by ams1001
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The episode started lighthearted and then......wow. Lillian is such an amazing character.

I loved hearing "With a Little Help From My Friends" 

Edited by Snow Apple
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Seems like a total crossover night. Goldbergs had a Wonder Years segment, Wonder Years (2021) had “Little Help from my Friends” segment, and The Conners have a Fred Savage appearance. 

Edited by SoMuchTV
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5 minutes ago, SoMuchTV said:

Seems like a total crossover night. Goldbergs had a Wonder Years segment, Wonder Years (2021) had “Little Help from my Friends” segment, and The Conners have a Fred Savage appearance. 

Yeah, they've been promoing it all week. Danica McKellar is on Home Economics (after The Conners).

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7 minutes ago, SoMuchTV said:

Seems like a total crossover night. Goldbergs had a Wonder Years segment, Wonder Years (2021) had “Little Help from my Friends” segment, and The Conners have a Fred Savage appearance. 

Yeah, they called it "Return to Wonder Wednesday." 

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What was that? 6 cupcakes for the entire department? 

But yes, good episode. The show is kind of simple, but they make the most of the simplicity.

I wonder how much it cost them to use even a small portion of "With A Little Help From My Friends".

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28 minutes ago, ams1001 said:

Yeah, they've been promoing it all week. Danica McKellar is on Home Economics (after The Conners).

 

27 minutes ago, Brian Cronin said:

Yeah, they called it "Return to Wonder Wednesday." 

Ha. I guess I haven’t been watching enough network tv promos. 

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12 minutes ago, possibilities said:

 

I wonder how much it cost them to use even a small portion of "With A Little Help From My Friends".

I wondered about that too. The Goldbergs used the song on tonight's episode too.

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2 minutes ago, SoMuchTV said:

 

Ha. I guess I haven’t been watching enough network tv promos. 

Can you ever watch enough?

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37 minutes ago, possibilities said:

I wonder how much it cost them to use even a small portion of "With A Little Help From My Friends".

Fun fact: It costs the same to license the song whether you play the song in full or five seconds of it. I heard it and thought, that's half to a quarter of thier music budget right there (only slightly joking, but Beatles songs are expensive, even if it isn't the Beatles version of it). 

Somethings that confused me: What is Lillian's job? I do not understand what her job is other than it's something with money and accounts. Is it full time or part-time? 

This is going to come as more negative and nitpicking than I want it to, but it's how I felt about the episode. I am not a fan of the imagine/daydream spots. I understand that Family Guy is popular and has had a huge impact on comedy, but it hurt the show tonight. They could have used the time better. They only have 18 minutes and to me, the imagine spots are coming at the expense of the story. They don't add anything. Kim asking her mother to hem her skirt didn't come off as intended; it did not have the emotional impact it should have. I think part of my problem was that we did not get to see what Lillian was giving up because of the demands on her time (a magazine/book she wanted to read, or time to have a quiet cup of coffee or tea). 

"Take Your Son To Work Day" isn't a thing. "Take Your Daughter to Work Day" started in the 1990s. The line should have been something like "Today's the day I have to follow a parent at work for a school assignment." 

This episode was clearly inspired by "My Father's Office." That episode worked almost flawlessly, and this one didn't. Part of problem I had with "The Workplace" was that Act 1 didn't set up Act 2 as well as it could have. They should have set up that Dean does not know what his mother does for a living, how demanding the job is, and has never even been to her office. As cool as it was to see Bill and his band play, it didn't work for me.   

I did think episode did an excellent job of showing the pressure she was under and the office politics (for lack of a better term) she had to deal with as well as how isolated she was at the office. 

Edited by Sarah 103
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I loved Dean yelling at his dad and sister at the end of their workday on behalf of his mama, 🥰.

He's so adorable, lol.

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7 hours ago, Sarah 103 said:

I am not a fan of the imagine/daydream spots.

I think that there have been, like, three good usages of dreams in television history (and two of them were by Matthew Wiener), so I'm totally with you. They're terrible. My wife also recoiled a bit when it happened, but then I reminded her that, as terrible as they are, they were a regular fixture in the original, so I'm just going to chalk it up as an homage. A silly, stupid, but ultimately inconsequential (does anyone even remember the daydreams on the original series?) homage. So long as they don't go overboard, I'll give them a pass (like I give every other show a pass when they do them, and they're always terrible when they're done). 

TV shows just loooove to do the dumb things.

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I was a little annoyed by Dean at the recording studio. Dad said "stay out of the way" and five seconds later he's asking to join in? 

I assume Dad wanted him to count a few beats after the end before playing so they could easily cut it off after.

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11 hours ago, Sarah 103 said:

 

Fun fact: It costs the same to license the song whether you play the song in full or five seconds of it. I heard it and thought, that's half to a quarter of thier music budget right there (only slightly joking, but Beatles songs are expensive, even if it isn't the Beatles version of it). 

Somethings that confused me: What is Lillian's job? I do not understand what her job is other than it's something with money and accounts. Is it full time or part-time? 

 

Can't get a break from Michael Jackson's estate on The Beatles songs to this day

She got her Master's and since no one in Alabama would offer anything she became a Fed. What specific department will take a re-watching

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Even Coach Long wouldn't eat lunch with her at work. Does that mean he's in a clique with the white men at the office and he doesn't want to risk being downgraded if he sits with Lilian? Her boss took credit for her work (with her assist) and yet he also gave her a promotion/lead job, so it's not like he doesn't recognize her skills. But he still made her tell Long about it, so he wouldn't have to dirty his own hands. I can't believe the amount of stress she would be under, having to do everything at work, then come home and do all the mom stuff too.

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1 hour ago, Cress said:

Even Coach Long wouldn't eat lunch with her at work. Does that mean he's in a clique with the white men at the office and he doesn't want to risk being downgraded if he sits with Lilian? Her boss took credit for her work (with her assist) and yet he also gave her a promotion/lead job, so it's not like he doesn't recognize her skills. But he still made her tell Long about it, so he wouldn't have to dirty his own hands. I can't believe the amount of stress she would be under, having to do everything at work, then come home and do all the mom stuff too.

Women do a lot of heavy duty emotional lifting whether it's at the workplace or at home. I liked how Dean appreciated all the hard work his mom does both at home and at work.

 

Edited by Bookish Jen
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1 hour ago, Cress said:

Even Coach Long wouldn't eat lunch with her at work. Does that mean he's in a clique with the white men at the office and he doesn't want to risk being downgraded if he sits with Lilian? 

I think he wants to be accepted by the other men in his department/at his level. I got the sense that Coach Long and Lilian did not have the exact same job, and that she was doing something slightly different. 

9 hours ago, Brian Cronin said:

I think that there have been, like, three good usages of dreams in television history (and two of them were by Matthew Wiener), so I'm totally with you. They're terrible. My wife also recoiled a bit when it happened, but then I reminded her that, as terrible as they are, they were a regular fixture in the original, so I'm just going to chalk it up as an homage. A silly, stupid, but ultimately inconsequential (does anyone even remember the daydreams on the original series?) homage.

In the original series there were maybe 3 or 4 dream sequences per season. I remember some of them, but not all of them. In this series, we are getting 2 or 3 dream sequences per episode. There are far more of them in this series than the original, which is a problem because as I mentioned earlier the length of a sitcom has decreased (same 30 timeslot, but there are more commerical breaks than in the 1980s).

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20 hours ago, Sarah 103 said:

“Take Your Son To Work Day" isn't a thing. "Take Your Daughter to Work Day" started in the 1990s. The line should have been something like "Today's the day I have to follow a parent at work for a school assignment." 

I had the same thought. I did laugh when Dad was like “this is my TWELVE YEAR OLD. He is TWELVE.” In other words, keep it child-friendly.

7 hours ago, possibilities said:

I think it was the Treasury Dept, but I'm not trusting my memory.

It was the State Treasury Department, yeah.

That cupcake thing killed me. I actually refuse to do that kind of party planning stuff at work because there is almost never any professional benefit to it - it’s just more work. 

The “Black women in a position my mom was in in the 60s” thing isn’t that much better now, sadly. The fact that she’s the only one with a master’s isn’t surprising either, and you’ll see that in lots of workplaces today. It’s often said that we have to be twice as good to get half as far, and I’ve seen and experienced countless examples.

Was that Dule Hill singing? He was kinda nice with it!

Edited by Empress1
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I did laugh that their last album only sold 70 copies.

But does this mean they actually aren't making any money with music, and mom is supporting the entire family financially while dad pursues his hobby?

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15 hours ago, Sarah 103 said:

I think he wants to be accepted by the other men in his department/at his level. I got the sense that Coach Long and Lilian did not have the exact same job, and that she was doing something slightly different. 

I think they are both account reps, all of whom are male except for Lillian.  I agree that the Coach wants to fit in with the other men at his level (which probably was not a given back then.)  All the other women in the department are secretaries.  When she unveiled her cupcakes, her boss said something about how hers were always better than the other secretaries', even though she clearly is not a secretary.  So, she really does not belong anywhere socially. 

6 hours ago, possibilities said:

But does this mean they actually aren't making any money with music, and mom is supporting the entire family financially while dad pursues his hobby?

The dad is a music professor, but didn't have class that day.  The band is a side gig.

 

Edited by ItCouldBeWorse
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I really enjoy this show.

I wouldn’t be shocked if we get a Coach and Lillian reveal eventually. I’ve gotten chemistry vibes from them since the pilot.

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I don’t like the Coach so far. Maybe cause I love Dule Hill. I wonder if that was him singing.

I hate dream scenarios too. I just ignore them but they are annoying,

Lillian is now my fave character.

I really wanna see Bruce! I hope they don’t kill him off.

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7 minutes ago, Marley said:

I really wanna see Bruce! I hope they don’t kill him off.

I don’t think they’ll kill him off. They’ve shown pictures of him and he was in a flashback. If they were just going to kill him off, I don’t think they would have invested in showing him. They would have just referred to him.

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Wonder Wednesday - blergh!

Loved this episode. Lillian is so competent and accomplished. Overlooked as both a woman and Black, pretty much the norm back then. Dean is adorable. 

On 10/13/2021 at 10:17 PM, Sarah 103 said:

I am not a fan of the imagine/daydream spots.

I didn't even notice an imagine spot! I guess they don't bother me.

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On 10/15/2021 at 12:53 AM, Aileen said:

I really enjoy this show.

I wouldn’t be shocked if we get a Coach and Lillian reveal eventually. I’ve gotten chemistry vibes from them since the pilot.

I love the show too.

No, please no.  We don't need a fling with these 2 to happen!

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6 hours ago, cinsays said:

No, please no.  We don't need a fling with these 2 to happen!

THIS. I am not here for Coach and Lillian not even a little bit.   Nope.  

Lillian's story worked hard for me especially the skirt bit because at first it was a call back to the double standard the daughter has felt in previous episode and I felt both for Lillian that if the girl needed her skirt hemmed she could do it herself, and I felt like hey if mom has all this time to dote on her brothers she has time to hem the skirt.  I saw both sides.  But then after the day at work she's had and she hasn't been home five minutes and everybody is demanding of her time and she's had her whole day plus made cookies for Bruce (Bruce?) and cupcakes for the office (but seriously 6 cupcakes were weird) then really, seriously, kid can go to the hamper to find her own skirt.  

But my mom worked full time from 1964 when she graduated with a math degree.  And she travelled all over the world because she was super boss at her job.  She was often the only woman she worked with especially after secretaries stopped being as much of a thing and she never, ever, ever went t lunch with the guys (although she was invited) because she had 5 kids at home and that was an extra hour she didn't need to take away from her job.

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Lillian's quickly becoming my favorite character too. I did love how Dean slowly came to appreciate all his mom did at work. I love him yelling at his dad and sister at the end of the day. I loved her "I'm too young to be a grandmother" while throwing condoms into the box she's sending to Bruce. 

Edited by andromeda331
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7 hours ago, andromeda331 said:

Lillian's quickly becoming my favorite character too. I did love how Dean slowly came to appreciate all his mom did at work. I love him yelling at his dad and sister at the end of the day. I loved her "I'm too young to be a grandmother" while throwing condoms into the box she's sending to Bruce. 

I guess that is another one of those generational things that didn't ring true for 1968 Alabama. Bruce was said to be infantry would be in Vietnam a year tops and long gone before the mom knew knew to tell him of a child if his unit could be found. Maybe sometime in the 70's the "Dust child" could somehow track Bruce down. Disease even  15 years before HIV is known makes sense for mom to worry about

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3 hours ago, Raja said:

I guess that is another one of those generational things that didn't ring true for 1968 Alabama. Bruce was said to be infantry would be in Vietnam a year tops and long gone before the mom knew knew to tell him of a child if his unit could be found. Maybe sometime in the 70's the "Dust child" could somehow track Bruce down. Disease even  15 years before HIV is known makes sense for mom to worry about

Maybe I missed something. Do we know that Bruce was drafted? Is it possible that he is serving multiple tours? 

I agree with you that the odds of Bruce knowing he fathered a child with a Vietnamese woman and the mother finding him were slim. 

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1 hour ago, Sarah 103 said:

Maybe I missed something. Do we know that Bruce was drafted? Is it possible that he is serving multiple tours? 

I agree with you that the odds of Bruce knowing he fathered a child with a Vietnamese woman and the mother finding him were slim. 

Well most volunteered, except for the Infantry. In any case the tour of duty was 1 year, 13 months for Marines and then you rotated back for the remainder of an enlistment 

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I loved learning more about Lillian along with Dean, seeing everything that she does at a job she is great at but doesn't give her the respect she deserves. And I loved Dean yelling at his dad and sister for getting on her about doing stuff the second she gets home. 

Lillian tossing condoms (balloons!) into the box for Bruce was hilarious, but the constant references to Bruce in Vietnam has me worried. I keep waiting for them to end an episode on hearing that he died. 

Hearing the opener of "With a Little Help From my Friends" was really cool. 

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8 hours ago, tennisgurl said:

Lillian tossing condoms (balloons!) into the box for Bruce was hilarious, but the constant references to Bruce in Vietnam has me worried. I keep waiting for them to end an episode on hearing that he died. 

I don't think they're going to kill him off. There are far too many interesting plotlines they can do if they bring him back alive. The story of a Black Vietnam Veteran seems like something worth exploring. 

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