Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: C | Grade It Now!
Black Like Monica
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

Bit of a fumble, this one. Disappointing, kind of frustrating after last week actually, but you've still got Lip, you got Ian, and you've got the Jacksons doing their shit, all of which are actually really well done, so whatever. Generally when this show has nothing to say it does so with aplomb and a lot of moving parts and charming poor-people antics, but we've eschewed that plan by completely ignoring the majority of the ensemble and focusing on having the same conversations fifteen times, between the least interesting characters, and then abruptly solving the central conflict of the episode pretty much out of nowhere, plus some bonus loud music to fool you into thinking you feel something.

Monica and Bob have a stage-whispered expository conversation about how Monica can't handle the kids hating her, they want to steal the baby, Liam is probably not Frank's, etc. They are still caricatures with a Boris & Natasha agenda and it's still a lot of show-don-tell. Because they are hanging out directly outside the boys' room, having this conversation, Ian and Lip have a very long stare at each other about how it's all so bleak and dire.

Next door, Fiona is listening on the baby monitor to what's going on in Debbie and Liam's room; what's going on is that Debs and Carl are playing Battleship, the game based on the upcoming blockbuster hit, and so Fiona sends them off to bed and they're sweet and Fiona is five steps ahead of them ("No reading under the covers!").

Next morning, all the kids need stuff, money and permission slips and lunches and things, and Monica rushes around acting dipshitty and everybody's unhappy. Bob sits at the table not moving a muscle and barking out stepfather orders and generally being just wretched. Perhaps you have a problem with authority in this way, and if so this is the show for you, but either way, as usual, the senseless autocracy of terrible parents comes down squarely on Lip and on Karen, separate geniuses in separate fucked-up houses; one assumes that they talk about this but maybe that would be taking the whole thing too far. It's hard to be Fiona but I think it might be harder to be Lip and Karen.

Fiona watches all this from across the way and bitches about them -- "This is a woman who burned a hole in Liam's footie pajamas when she fell asleep smoking while nursing!" -- and starts a fight with Steve about nothing, really, just total stress. He tries to be understanding about how much it must have killed Fiona when Monica left, and Fiona is super not having that, so he tosses her an iPhone and money for a couch and generally pretends like she's actually going to live there with him and not go rushing back the second Monica fucks up.

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