Seriously folks, if you haven't already been watching this show, this may be your last chance this season to see an episode on its own without having any major plot points revealed. As with last season, the last two episodes will likely wrap all the mysteries up very nicely, and if you pick the show up then, you'd surely ruin the magic of seeing the season from an earlier episode. (Forget what Richard says later about Scrubs -- watch 'Mars!)
Last night's episode of Everybody Hates Chris focused on a sibling rivalry between Chris and his younger brother Drew, who is better than Chris in everything that matters to young teenage boys, especially fighting and getting girls. Jealous, Chris decides to enroll in a karate class, where his instructor informs the class that karate is about learning ways to kill people, and then not doing it.
I grew up with two siblings, an older sister and a younger brother, and all three of us were so radically different in our personalities and interests that there was never any real jealously between us. I couldn't really empathize with Chris' desire to do something better than his little brother, but I do remember wanting to take karate at a young age. My reason for wanting this, as is the case for most boys, was so I could beat the living crap out of anyone who tried to beat me up at school. I never did take lessons, but I did develop my own form of karate which involved placing one foot in front of the other, and using this motion to propel myself quickly in the opposite direction of my assailant.
So let's quickly go through what we know from this episode...
"Each week, as the latest episode comes to a close, I am eager to see the previews of next week's scenes -- yet I'm always left with the feeling that something is missing from the series as a whole ...week after week, Veronica Mars, without fail, delivers incredible snappy dialogue from all its quirky characters, yet there is still an emptiness behind these words and conversations."
Readers: agree or disagree? I was a huge Buffy fan, but I've only seen a couple of eps of Veronica Mars (even though it seems like the type of show I'd love).
[via TV Tattle]
(S01E18) If you bail Chris out every time he doesn't like something, that means he's going to run to you every time he has a problem, which means he'll never learn how to be a man. And if you can't teach him to be a man that means you're a bad father. And if you're a bad father, that means I picked the wrong husband. And if you think I'm about to let people run around here talking about "I just marry anybody" you must be out your damn mind. -- Chris' mom
Last night's episode was directed by creator and narrator Chris Rock. This is the first time he's helmed an episode since the show debuted last year.
We've known since the first episode that Chris doesn't get along with anyone at his school, including the faculty, save for his friend Greg and one teacher who mistakenly sees Chris as an endless font of information on black history and culture. After being duped into an ambush in which he's bombarded with water balloons filled with white paint, Chris asks his parents to let him transfer to a new school. His mother wants Chris to tough it out, but she eventually caves in. Of course, once Chris realizes he could actually be stabbed to death at his new school rather than just punched out on occasion, he decides to go with the lesser of two evils and returns to his old school.
This episode was filled with all sorts of dream hints and clues from Veronica's point of view, though their interpretation shouldn't be anything more than what Veronica herself has figured out on her own; these aren't ghosts she's talking to.
I remember briefly receiving an allowance when I was growing up, but for the most part I never received any kind of weekly stipend from my parents, nor did I ever ask for one. It was pretty much understood when we were growing up that money had to go to more important things like food and shelter, and like Chris' father in last night's episode, on those rare occasions when I would ask for money I would get a speech from my father about all the free food and utilities I was able to enjoy on a daily basis without having to work at all.
Chris' father, in some ways, reminds me of my own father, but he's probably like anyone's father who worked more than one job to support a family. There's a great moment in the episode where Julius (Chris' father) is trying to squeeze the last little bit of toothpaste out of the tube. It's shown for about two seconds, but it illustrates how important it is for him to make money stretch as far as it can go. When Chris decides he wants a leather jacket like everyone else seems to have, his father lets him come to work with him. The work turns out to be much more difficult than Chris bargained for, but their night together adds a new dimension to their relationship. By the end of the episode Chris has a better understanding of who his father is and how hard he actually does work.
Last night's episode seemed more character driven and less reliant on "gags" than other episodes, and it also focused heavily on the financial situation of the family, which is what really draws me to the show. Too many sitcoms focus on affluent families, or people who live extravagantly without any visible means of support. Those shows aren't bad necessarily, but when I watch Everybody Hates Chris I feel a kind of empathy and camaraderie toward the characters I never felt, say, listening to Mr. Huxtable steer the ever-malleable Theo on the right track with some instantaneous words of wisdom. Chris is funny, not just because the writing and jokes are solid, but because the characters actually feel like real people.
The other thing we've seen tonight is what could possibly be the theme for next season or at least one of the mysteries of the season: who's the mysterious rapist? It also seems Veronica will likely be attending Hearst College, though I wonder if she'll start with everyone else or partway through a semester.
When you're young and a grandparent passes away, it can be a surreal experience. You see weird relatives you never see normally, and people bring all kinds of food to your home, as if stuffing your face with tiny ham sandwiches is better than talking about your feelings. What can be especially disconcerting, though, is watching your parent deal with their own parent's death. They're no longer the stalwart pillars of authority they once appeared to be. In a word, they become human.
Last night UPN managed to sneak another new episode of Everybody Hates Chris on the air, and this one dealt with the death of Rochelle's father, played by Jimmie Walker. When the extended family descends on their home, Rochelle becomes more aloof and detached, finding respite and solitude in her box of Turtles chocolates. Chris becomes concerned for his mother, and begins to lash out at family members who give her a hard time.
Given the subject matter, this wasn't going to be the funniest episode of the season, but it managed to delve deeper into the character of Chris' mom, which I appreciated. When the show opens we're treated to a montage of Chris' mom yelling at each of her kids and her husband. It ends with her actually yelling at herself in the mirror. The scene is funny enough, but it's in stark contrast to the mousy person she becomes once her family shows up. If a funeral episode seems trite and cliche, you're right, it is. But at least it gave us a chance to pull back yet another layer of one of the characters.
I'm really hoping this is a good sign for Veronica Mars' future with the new CW network, though there's also the possibility that they're doing the shuffle-o-death.
Also, while it was great to see Mac again (they really need to put her in more episodes), Wallace and Weevil were sadly missing.
Last night's episode of Everybody Hates Chris was a rerun, so I didn't watch it. However, I did tune in for the last few minutes and noticed something I didn't catch when I watched it before. The family is sitting around the table, and Julius, the father, who works several different jobs, is wearing a pair of overalls with the name "Overlook Hotel" over the left pocket. Would that be the same fictional Overlook Hotel in Stephen King's novel The Shining? What exactly was his job there, cleaning up the blood every time the elevator doors opened? I thought it was pretty cool, though I'm not sure what the point was exactly.
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