No Ordinary Family

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Cindy McLennan: D | Grade It Now!
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No Ordinary Jasper

While the Staffords are being invaded by masked marauders, the Powells are being invaded by the Cranes. The Cranes are Stephanie's parents, and if you were expecting anything other than trite, cliched in-law angst, you haven't been paying attention. If you were expecting the Powells to buck the secret superhero trope (like they did with their friends and their couples' therapist in the pilot) you were wrong. If you were expecting to learn that the Cranes are somehow involved in the Global Tech/super-power intrigue, you are writing a way better show in your head, than you're getting on your screen. Here, it's just the same shit, different show, and I'm sad to say there's no indication that it's going to improve.

When I first heard Cybill Shepherd was going to play Stephanie's mother, I was thrilled. I mean, she's Cybill Freaking Shepherd. But what do they write for Ms. Shepherd? They write her as a mother who is critical of her highly respected scientist-daughter for the cardinal sin of achieving some modicum of professional success and academic glory. Really? In this day and age? That's a plot straight out of the 1970s.

Look, I'm a stay-at-home-mother, and I haven't been back to work all that long (and my back-to-work work happens right in my home office). I'm a sahm by choice; it's a choice I always wanted to make; it's a choice I've been fortunate enough to be afforded. But? I have never looked down my nose in distaste at my sisters who either have had to work, or who have -- heaven forfend -- chosen to work. That's because I wasn't born in the 1930s. I mean seriously, Show? You get a beautiful, successful, talented performer like Shepherd and you write this anti-feminist claptrap for her? Yeah, yeah, I know your point is that Barbara Crane is wrong. My point is that we got there -- 25 years or more ago, so your Barbara Crane is pointless, not to mention less than credible. If you get stars like Shepherd, you write the crap out of their roles and get down on bended knee to pray that they'll return. You don't plop them in an unimaginative role that any person who looks to be at least 15 years older than Julie Benz could play.

Bruce McGill's Allan Crane is just as disappointing and it is so not McGill's fault. When he's not challenging his son-in-law and GRANDSON to dick-measuring contests, he's playing stereotypical daddy of the girl for whom no man would be good enough. We get it. Fathers like their daughters and are suspicious of their daughters' romantic partners. Jaysuzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Is there now some Mad Libs-like screen-writing software on the market that comes preloaded with plot, and only requires writers to input their characters' names? Can I get it for this show's weecaps, because that would free up a lot of my time, and take my blood pressure down a couple of notches, too.

The only development of note in "No Ordinary Visitors" is that Daphne's powers have increased. Now she doesn't just hear people's thoughts -- she sees them. But this is revealed right after JJ rags on her for trying to read a lost dog's thoughts (as if dogs think in English). Since Daphne can now see people's thoughts, shouldn't she have been able to see the doggy's thoughts? That might have been fun. That could have been the comedy in this week's dramedy. But nope, it's a throw-away line that contradicts her story in the rest of the episode. If that's what passes for misdirection on this show, please don't expect me to buy into it, or to care.

Unless Tubey sends me off for anger-management therapy, I'll be back next week with my recaplet of "No Ordinary Mobster" which is likely to be perfectly ordinary. Now comes the part where I tell you to join us in our show thread, but I've lost the will to add a quippy little reason why.

Cindy McLennan is a much happier camper when she's covering The Vampire Diaries, and is way less bitter in email (CynthiaMcLennan[at]gmail.com) and on Twitter.

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No Ordinary Family

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