"Can the Camdens protect Robbie from the father who abandoned him and now wants him back?" the announcer asks in the last-minute promo. My question is, "Can the audience care less?"
On the phone in her room, Lucy wraps up her storyline with Jeremy. He had to move "East" because his father got a job with the Philharmonic. We see that Lucy is telling this to her friend Ashley's mom, Serena. Ashley tells Serena to quit hogging Lucy. Serena bids "Luce" goodbye and passes the phone to her daughter. Then she suggests that the three of them go play pool that evening. Lucy enthusiastically agrees, telling Ashley, "Your mom is so un-mom-like!" Why do I just know that Serena is the bad guy in this episode? Because Serena was the name of Samantha Stephens's evil twin, that's why. Way to connote, Mr. Spelling.
RevCam walks in on Simon and Simon's Friend O' the Week air-guitaring to some loud rock instrumental. I'm seeing Simon's new hairstyle for the first time, and it's frightening me badly. His friend looks exactly like Shawn from Boy Meets World. I wonder if they're related, but the opening credits don't tell me the actor's name. RevCam tells Simon to get his history paper done. Simon says he will, and then goes back to screwing off when his dad leaves.
RevCam goes downstairs, where Ruthie and her beribboned, newly straightened hair ask for a make-up kit. RevCam says no, and Ruthie pouts like a brat.
In the kitchen, StuporMom grosses me out by grunting contentedly when RevCam kisses her. Her hair took a turn under the straightening iron, too, and it's not an improvement. Alan Thicke knocks at the back door. He introduces himself as Ed Palmer in a drunk-sounding voice. He's Robbie's father, he informs the CamRents. Whoop dee doo for him.
Ruthie runs down to the kitchen to be nosy about Robbie's father. Then she hints around about the make-up. Annie tells her no. Ruthie stomps out. RevCam comes in, and he and Annie agree on their dislike of Ed Palmer. They go into the living room with a tray of coffee. "Did you have to go to Colombia for that coffee?" Ed asks. Then he starts handing out a lot of bullshit about leaving Robbie to help his sick parents, and working for the Peace Corps in France in the seventies. Annie calls him on that last bit, and he asks her to go make him a sandwich. On the one hand, Alan Thicke's doing a good job of acting like a punk. On the other hand, his punkocity is over the top. Why would anyone -- even the Camdens -- put up with behavior like that? Annie gets up to make the sandwich, like the spineless loser she is. She's wearing a big black jacket or sweater that makes me wonder if Catherine Hicks is pregnant in real life. Ed makes chauvinistic comments about Annie, and RevCam just sits there and takes it. I guess that's What Jesus Would Do (WJWD.)
Annie's angrily making the sandwich when Simon walks into the kitchen and whines that his friend Keith's parents never bug Keith about homework, and that they gave Keith a car. Annie tells Simon to get over it. He sighs and leaves, flashing his big bling-bling earrings as he goes. (I said "bling-bling." I'm so damned cool.) Wasn't there a very special episode about Simon not being allowed to wear earrings a while back? Maybe I'm just imagining things. Maybe I'm starting to hallucinate, like Ally McBeal. Maybe the constant family values are starting to get to me. There's a knock at the back door. It's Serena and Serena's cleavage. Lucy runs up and squeals, "That's my shirt!" at Serena. StuporMom already looks pissed. Serena borrowed Lucy's shirt from Ashley, and she's sporting one of those asymmetrical parts that are all the rage. She says something about Jeremy moving away, and Annie's annoyed because she didn't know about it. Ashley and RevCam show up. Annie does the introductions, and RevCam acts surprised that Serena is Ashley's mom. "People always think we're sisters," Serena says. "No, mom, that's what you always tell them," her daughter says cold-bloodedly. Serena smirks and leads the youngsters away while RevCam pops wood and Annie grimaces.