I had to interrupt my viewing of the heart-swelling, throat-closing Parade of Nations for this?
Janet decides Roger's depressed and books a counseling appointment for them. They go see a therapist -- ostensibly, it's for Roger, but Janet tells the counselor she'll be riding along because "Roger and I are a team," and next thing you know, it's couples therapy. Badly off-the-rails couples therapy, and when Janet goes back to tell the therapist that she has no intention to pay for the session, Janet ends up having an impromptu therapy session and completely spilling the beans on her crush on Tom. The therapist tells her to fish or cut bait on that situation, and encourages Janet to maybe work outside the home because it could help take some pressure off both her and Roger.
Bruce dooms the entire family to a miserable weekend when he hauls them off to the cabin and decrees, "This family is going to have so much fun for the next couple of days …" Well, "this family" plus Rick, who is being packed off so Janet and Roger can have some privacy to work out their issues. Since Rick and BJ aren't speaking -- and Laurie's trying to secede from the family -- you can imagine the fun posse that hits the cabin. Poor Susan's left to try and reduce the friction between Laurie and Bruce, but Laurie is intent on making sure everyone is as miserable as she is. (She is the best advertisement possible for the adverse affects of unprotected sex -- have it, and look what you have to deal with later!) After fighting with both parents, she hitchhikes with an old lady who gives her a lot of unsolicited advice. Susan and Bruce track her down -- helped with a phone call to Doug who, no fool he, spills the beans on Laurie's location. Doug then mans up and meets up with everyone at the diner. A place of peace-offering pie later, Doug's managed to win over the parents. However, there's a definite chill between Bruce and Susan now.
Also, BJ slugs Ricky. It's very satisfying to watch. I'm beginning to think that every week, someone new should beat Ricky until his nose bleeds buttermilk.
Finally, Trina and Tom are trying to stave off the boredom of monogamy by resorting to props and costumes. Finally, they engage in the freakiest of closed-couple activities ever: they have dinner over at the Thompsons'. It is such an excruciatingly awkward clash of sensibilities; I needed a drink to get through it. And then when Janet confesses to Tom in the kitchen that she's got a thing for him … oh, I shrieked for some more Pimm's to help blunt the edges of the hot embarrassment I felt watching all that. Meanwhile, Trina smoothly calls Roger out on his feelings for Susan. She is awesome.
Line of the evening: "How can an evening be freaky and boring at the same time?" -- Tom, after Janet's dinner.
MVP: Doug Stephens, who actually acted like an adult and acted in Laurie's best interest at the same time.
Remember how last episode, Bruce hit the roof over his daughter dating her ex-teacher? Well, apparently, Laurie isn't really grounded, because she's busy necking with Doug in his pristine and fully-decorated apartment. No, wait ... it turns out she was picking up ice for a family trip, and tarried so long at Doug's, the ice melted. Doug is like, "On the bright side, your parents' bourgeois Republican lifestyle has afforded you the option of hanging out in the bucolic wilderness of Wisconsin!" but Laurie would rather be in town and attending a Jackson Browne concert. Doug says he could have talked to Laurie's dad, because maybe something could have been worked out, but Laurie's convinced "my dad is totally irrational where you're concerned." Yes! How dare he be concerned that someone might have been preying on his daughter! Stupid parents, looking out for her best interests! Laurie decides that she'll just tell her parents she's not going on the trip. I bet that'll go over well with Bruce, as she's proven so trustworthy lately.
We cut to Janet in her kitchen, reading something titled Wake Up and Be You!. Roger comes in and comments on the title, and Janet delivers the news that the book is actually for him. "I wake up me everyday," Roger protests, but Janet thinks not. Drawing on her vast psychoanalytical experience -- or just the intro to the book -- she tells Roger she's decided he's depressed and suffering an identity crisis because he lost his job. Roger protests, "I'm looking for a job. What else can I do?" Janet then breaks the news that she's booked him an appointment with a psychiatrist that Brad Davis recommended, because she thinks it'll help him deal. And that's how Roger lets his wife browbeat him into going to therapy. Perhaps while he's there, he can work up the nerve to talk about his passivity.
Back in the Miller kitchen, Bruce is dancing around as he packs, fully immersed in the kind of fantasy that has both children saying, "Thank you, Father, for your wisdom and generosity as regards this vacation" while Susan gazes upon him with a mixture of lust and rapt adoration. Susan comes in and Bruce swirls her into a dance. Still in the throes of hallucination, he coos, "I love you, and I love our kids. Even Laurie. This family is going to have so much fun in the next couple of days." Susan kills the buzz by reminding Bruce that Ricky's coming, and Bruce irritably asks, "Why are we taking that kid? The whole point of this weekend is that our family is together." Susan protests that it'll help the Thompsons' marriage, and they move on to the next complaint -- why, if Bruce grounded Laurie, Susan thought it was okay to send Laurie out for ice.