The Nine Best Episodes Ever
It sounds horrible, right? Well, it was horrible, kind of, in that it's not what anyone wanted to see. But in a trio of fabulous scenes, the show -- so blunderingly off its game all season long -- painted a really nice picture of how this one family ignored all the cynical rules about the importance of turning into a spiteful asshole when things don't go well. First, while Tammy hunted for the bean, Papa Bill discussed with young Billy how difficult it was to watch and not be able to help. They managed to share immense frustration without assigning blame, and if every team on this show could master that skill, you'd have a hell of a lot less fighting. Second, in the car after the bean debacle, Bill worked to buck up the kids while Tammy stared out the window, wrestling with guilt and embarrassment and everything you know you'd be feeling if one of those needle/haystack tasks went bad on you. And on the mat, of course, as Phil broke the news of their Philimination, everyone in the family coped just the right way -- Mom and Dad praised the kids and smooched, Billy went big-brother, and Carissa pressed on her cheeks to will herself not to burst into tears. It was horrible, but it was also great, because the battle is the game show and the war is not sucking, and if the team you love can only win one of the two...well, you know.