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October 8, 2015

Sons & Daughters: House Party / The Homecoming

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 5th 2006 12:35AM
Sons & DaughtersI am so conditioned to seeing a 22-episode television season, that I keep forgetting that Sons & Daughters is now only one episode away from the end of its current run. Maybe it was the back-to-back airings that threw me, too. But the order was for only 11 episodes, and we saw numbers nine and ten tonight. But maybe it's just as well; the show's hitting its creative stride, and that is something that might have gotten blunted by having to fill 22 episodes. Maybe the Brits, with their limited series runs, have the right idea.

Anyway, both these episodes were very funny, and the second, "The Homecoming" was unexpectedly touching, as well.

In the first episode, "House Party", Cameron sees his nephew's illicit party (Sharon and Don are going to a No-Tell Motel for their "only chance in the entire year to get it on," as Carrie so sweetly described it) to try to capture a youth that never happened, in the process dragging a reluctant Henry in with him. Meanwhile, Liz -- who Cam left at his parents' house with Aunt Rae and her "friend" Flo -- and Jenna play a drinking game where they take a drink of "Irish" coffee every time the two old biddies make a "lesbionic" move, as Jenna put it. Needless to say, both women were drunk at the end of the night.

Funny scenes: After the old ladies go to bed, Liz and Jenna sloshingly speculate on what's going on in their room. Liz is particularly funny -- didn't know the beautiful Gillian Vigman had this in her -- imagining what Rae's orgasm would be like, moaning like Katherine Hepburn: "That's my J-spot! In my day, we called it a J-spot, not like you kids." Cameron tells some guys at the party that the hottie that their admiring in the pictures is his wife: "I hit that on a daily basis! Well, not daily... maybe biweekly... weekly... we have two small kids, so it's tough... every two weeks." Henry gettin' some from a goth chick who likes to do "the panther." Don and Sharon's body paint and Sharon's obsession with dirty sheets: "It's like our own sexual India, with bunches of dirty, dirty people... billions of 'em!" It was also funny to see them enjoy the party after Carrie asks them to come back home.

The next episode, "The Homecoming", shows what happens when Cameron and Sharon's estranged dad, Merv, comes back. Cam's pissed -- Merv left the family when Cam was five -- but Sharon is overjoyed, to the point where she forgets about all her stepdad, Wenda, has done for her over the years. She asks Merv questions from a sheet of paper she's been carrying around since third grade -- "What's your favorite Led Zeppelin song?" -- and childishly competes with Cam for his attention -- "I'm gettin' him his drink!" she screams.

Then... Merv dies, right in the middle of playing "Beauty Shop" with Cam's little daughter Marnie. Apparently, Merv knew that his time was short; his will was duct taped to his right buttock. When Sharon, at the memorial service, finds out from her mom that her only childhood memory of her dad, a favorite blanket, was actually bought by Wendal, Sharon has an emotional scene with her stepdad, realizing the error of her ways. Good stuff.

Oh, and Whitey gets a little closer to Jenna after his "relationship" with a stripper goes awry. This is after getting shitcanned in the last episode from his pizza delivery job -- I knew as soon as he said he got a company car that his job was pizza delivery -- after delivering pizzas to the party at Don's house and never coming back. Also, in the homecoming episode, Henry makes Cam realize that if he can try to build a relationship with the dad who abandoned him at a young age -- Cam, silly! -- Cam could do that, as well.

Fred and Nick are letting more of the serious family dynamic through in each episode, and it's really starting to help build up the characters. I really want to see what happens with Whitey and Jenna (with more of Wiley, too!). I want to see Sharon and Don finally have sex. I want to see Carrie tell the unvarnished truth. And I want to see more funny stuff out of Liz (What I don't want to see is Fred Goss shirtless. I never would have pegged him as a tattoo guy, and I don't really want to see them any more than necessary).

But -- sigh -- there's only that one episode left. If you're like me and want to see more, go over to Fred's blog and leave a comment on why you like the show. Maybe ABC will see it and realize they have a gem on its hands that needs a second season. Well, I can dream, can't I?

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Michael G

When does the DVD come out.

April 05 2006 at 6:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Sadly, 11 episodes of this wonderfuls show may be all. SF Gate's Tim Goodman says Gillian is signed to a new tom Cavanaugh vehicle."

That deal is second to "Sons." If the show gets canceled, she will go with the Tom Cavanaugh project. If the show survives, she'll stay with Fred and Co.

April 05 2006 at 5:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sadly, 11 episodes of this wonderfuls show may be all. SF Gate's Tim Goodman says Gillian is signed to a new tom Cavanaugh vehicle.

What can I say? He loved oil wells and In A Gadda Di Vida.

April 05 2006 at 1:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree with having shorter seasons. Mainly because in terms of creativity, it takes a hell-of-a lot to create 22 funny, brilliant episodes (by the end of the second season, you're scraping the barrell for stories, jokes, different "spins" on characters and situations).

I worked on sitcoms with writers for 5 years. Trust me when I say 22 episodes is rediculous, grueling and counter-productive to longevity.

April 05 2006 at 11:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Less is more, unless we are talking Cheetoes.

TV is about making money and a longer running show will make more money than a short run show. In the UK a lot of the really good stuff is made by the State, which vomits in the general direction of making money. And so you get things like the Office, which pays little heed to lining the silk pockets of executives with the green stuff and more on the ingrity of what is being made.

You do need the cash to make money though, but if you make what people want wont you make bucket loads of cash?

April 05 2006 at 5:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think the brits are absolutely right on the money with their limited number of series. I think HBO have caught on to that too. Sex and the City as well as Six Feet Under won Emmy's, yet ran for only five seasons.

April 05 2006 at 1:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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