Episode Report Card
Sobell: C+ | Grade It Now!
I'd Love to Stick Around, But I'm Running Behind

The Deckers swing by to take over housesitting duties, and Laurie picks that moment to break the news to her mom that she's going to stay home because, in the grand scheme of things, going to a Jackson Browne concert with her new boyfriend trumps trying to repair the family peace. Susan protests that this weekend means a lot to Bruce, but Laurie makes it clear that so far as she's concerned, her needs trump the needs of the person who makes fulfilling her basic needs possible. It was at this point in the episode that I was rooting for Susan to let Laurie stay home, if only so that she could get stalked and decapitated by one of those horror-movie killers who specialize in young women hanging out alone at home. Trina watches all this with the expression of a woman who's plainly glad to be childfree.

Bruce is apologizing for not inviting the Deckers along, but Tom shrugs it off because it gives him and Trina more time to be, as he puts it, "creative." Oh, the mind reels at the possibilities. Janet comes in right then with Rick and, noting both the full car and the Deckers, inquires hesitantly as to whether they're going. Tom reassures her, "Don't worry, Jan. If you're not going, I'm not going." Janet is flustered by this. Young Ricky looks confused -- whether it's because he wishes Tom would grin at him like that or because he's baffled as to why anyone would talk to his mom like that will be forever an enigma. Roger comes in right then, and Susan begins grinning like a schoolgirl, and I can think of nothing more awkward that behaving like a besotted adolescent in front of your spouse and kids. But you go right on ahead, Susan! You too, Roger!

The adults all take off, and there's one more moment where Laurie tries to declare her independence, but Susan stops her. Then Bruce says with firm resolve, "Let's go fix this family." We go to the credits all knowing how that is likely to turn out.

Meanwhile, in The Children, Won't Someone Think of the Children? ... Janet and Roger dispatch Ricky for the weekend because they're under the misapprehension that he's aware of anything outside of himself and BJ, and they don't want him knowing they're off to the therapist. So Ricky's stuck going to the cabin with the Millers. It's awkward because he's not speaking with BJ. But eventually, Ricky crawls out of the tent he and BJ have been consigned to, and he foreshadows his life in the 1980s (as a power bottom, in a Castro district bathhouse) by asking BJ, "Hit me. I kissed Samantha and you're never going to get over it unless you hit me." BJ is not upset about the kissing so much as he is over the emotional manipulation: "You told her I felt sorry for her." "Don't you?" Ricky asks. "No. I feel sorry for you," BJ says. This sets Ricky off: "Screw you and your stupid girlfriend! She kisses like a fish and she smells like o-- ugh!" That "ugh" you hear is BJ's fist connecting firmly with Ricky's face. What follows is a wrestling match, and when Ricky rolls off, he chokes off, "You feel better?" (Lord knows he probably does.) BJ concedes that he does, and adds, "I think my family's really messed up." Ricky -- who is more astute than I gave him credit for -- sighs, "Join the club." And the two of them just stay flat on the ground, looking up at the sky.

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