The double episode premiere last night ("Suddenly, Last Summer" and "First Days") wasn't as dreadful as we'd feared, but the funny stuff easily could have been cut down to make one solid episode instead of two uneven ones. Here's what we liked and what we could have done without:
Loved: Evil Claire
The manipulative woman who can look at a white board and figure out how to get rid of her kids and husband for some quiet time? She's the best. She was also absolutely outstanding when she was coming up with ways for Mitch to propose.
Skipped: Cam & Mitch's Proposal Competition
Don't get us wrong, the actual proposal was sweet and very befitting, and we enjoyed that the proposal hullaballoo made the two other grown-up couples recount their own engagements and indulge their more romantic sides. But seeing Cam and Mitch try to avoid getting proposed to so they could do it their perfect way was really annoying.
Loved: Alex Teaching Cam
Cam showing up in full George Washington regalia in order to teach a classroom full of jaded and driven AP kids wasn't really that much of a surprise, but the twist of Alex getting up and teaching everyone was nicely played. As was Cam actually realizing that he was out of his league and bowing out gracefully. We thought for sure we were going to get an episode of him trying to cram to teach this class and instead we got him coaching football and taking on a position as the new gym teacher.
Skipped: The Trip to Columbia
Having Manny get shipped to this relatives really didn't pay off at all, aside from the letter. But really, he could have gone to the beach for an afternoon and written a letter and Gloria (and Jay) would have been crying.
Loved: Lily Being Tolerable
When in extremely small doses (we're talking one-liners here), Lily's kind of great. Her off-handed line about not going home to her parents was darkly brilliant, and we also liked her screaming at Mitch's clients on the phone. Maybe she's not great at the physical comedy (we see our own kid run into doors much more frequently than that) but this is a massive improvement over being rotten to babies.
Loved: Luke's Girlfriend
She likes magic and Dirty Dancing and Luke, and her mom seems like she might have been separated from Claire at birth. So let's hope we see more of that because we really like confident high school Luke.
Skipped: Awkward Claire at Work
Can we get more of the Evil Claire? Because this one behaving weirdly is just depressing. Everything form the watercooler to the lunch with the IT guy was just so off-putting and not in a remotely entertaining way.
Loved: Haley Flirting With Mitch's Boss
The Haley and the older guy thing could get worn out quickly (we already had Jason Mantzoukas last season), but we're not tired of it yet. Seeing Mitch's absentee boss (Justin Kirk) come in with his helicopter and immediately turn his attention to flirting with Haley was great, and her deadpan comment about the sleeping arrangements was perfect. It's such an odd match-up, and makes Mitchell so uncomfortable that we wholeheartedly approved.
Skipped: The Entire Coffee Shop Commercial
What the hell was that? Gloria and Phil and the coffee shop overacting as background extras was excruciatingly painful.
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