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Episode 207: Dad

Transcript

Before seeing this episode, make sure you see Episode 113 – Brendon’s Choice.

Cast:
Brendon Small/Ken Addleburg – Brendon Small
Jason Penopolis/Coach Jon McGuirk – H. Jon Benjamin
Melissa Robbins – Melissa Bardin Galsky
Paula Small – Janine Ditullo
Andrew Small – Louis Szekely
Linda – Laura Silverman

Paula vs. Andrew

Synopsis: Following "Brendon's Choice", Brendon meets with his father, Andrew. Awkwardness from many angles, including Andrew's girlfriend Linda, follow. Meanwhile, McGuirk becomes a father figure himself, to his new Little Brother, Eddie.

History:
· This episode introduces Brendon’s father, Andrew Small, as well as his girlfriend Linda.

Lawn Gnomes: (Click for picture)
· There appears to be a Lawn Gnome’s hat in Brendon’s box in his “studio”.

But I did wake you, my sweet little angelcake...

Brendon’s Filmography:
· “all’s Pharoah in Love & War” – A Roman king tries to appease his Egyptian wife, only to have her complain about him using her towels and her waking up late.

The Movie-Episode Connection:
· “all’s Pharoah in Love & War” is, as it isn't hard to figure out, Brendon’s feelings about Linda played out in a movie.

The Plotline Connection: (TheJazzFighter)
· McGuirk seems to be a father/big brother to Eddie. Brendon meets his Dad and Linda in this Episode. It connects. Also, McGuirk has problems with Eddie, as Brendon has problems with Linda.

Songs:
· “Jason’s Theme” is used quite well during the zoo sequence.

Doo-oo-ooo-oo...

Random Observations & Facts:
· Andrew’s license plate: MAD4LAW
· Brendon adjusts his hair in the car to look like Andrew’s.
· The car that passes Andrew on the road is McGuirk in his reckless-mobile.
· Brendon, Andrew & Linda “do the zoo”: Ride a camel, watch a gorilla play soccer, put their heads in one of those setups, go to the petting zoo (with Pandas and Platypuses), buy ice cream, go to “Snake Land”, go to the “Bat Cave”, go to the “Bird Cage”, look at the aquarium (and watch goldfish get eaten by a fish who then gets eaten by a polar bear), and see the prairie dogs (and pop up out of the holes themselves).
· All the bats cover their eyes when Andrew lights his lighter in the “Bat Cave”.
· The bird laughs along with Brendon & Andrew over the spilled ice cream in the “Bird Cage”.
· One of the animals at the zoo is named the McGuirkallacus, and bears resemblance to...take a guess who. (Thanks to Evan for this one)
· Advertisement for Black Hole Brew: “It’ll suck you in and blow you away!”
· One of Andrew’s cereals: “Sugar Crunch” (on the box, it says “With Added Sugar”)
· In the phone conversation between Paula & Andrew, it is shown that they are both left-handed. (Thanks Pathetic)
· You can see Eddie’s teeth fall out after McGuirk hits him with the soccer ball.
· One of Paula’s books she looks at while making the chicken: “101 Ways To Cook Chicken”
· Brendon stands on some steps when he talks to Paula about the chicken. (I don’t know what they are supposed to be, and this struck me as weird)
· Slave Jason eats all the grapes (leaving a big stain) during “all’s Pharoah in Love & War”.
· Brendon drinks milk while everyone else drinks wine during dinner.
· McGuirk goes to the same tiger that Brendon & Andrew were at.
· Sign at the zoo:
Don’t:
-Feed The Monkeys
-Shock The Monkeys
-Spank The Monkeys
· One of the monkeys eats a banana split.
· Ken Addleburg’s Book: “Chapter IV: Miserable & Repulsive Children”
· Ken’s book lists the following children: Eli (who looks like a zombie), Damon (who is standing in some sort of puddle), Jason (yes, Brendon’s friend Jason), and Eggmund (who looks a lot like Eddie, except without any eyes).
· Andrew is listed as Louis Szekely in this episode; later episodes have his name as “Louis C.K.”

Now take a hike while I tell them what's wrong with you...

Movie & Other References:
· Paula peers at Andrew & Brendon in a very "Psycho"-esque manner, mimicking Norman Bates. (thanks to Seth D. for this one)

Past Episode References:
· In Brendon’s “studio”, there is a platform with some hands holding “Vote Small” signs, a reference to the movie in Episode 201 – Politics.
· In Brendon’s “studio”, there is a three-wheeler with a flag that says “Holy Roller”, a reference to the movie in Episode 202 – Identifying A Body.
· On Brendon’s video shelf, there is Brendon’s “Best Young Director Award”, a reference to Episode 113 – Brendon’s Choice (the first part of this two-part episode, by the way).

End Credits: “Season Two Theme”

Are you using my dinosaur glass?

Reviews: WARNING: Spoilers

Randomguy: My God. That sucked. It was TERRIBLE; I am not kidding. Here we thought "Identifying a Body" was bad. Sorry if my opinion is so blunt, but any other HM episode can spit on this one. I was really looking forward to this episode, which was more or less the conclusion to "Brendan's Choice", and I was disappointed in every way. Just about everything that could go wrong did. These were the biggest problems:
-Eddy, the sick kid. This was a desperate attempt at laughs, which, much like the Freckles dog, seemed straight out of a teen gross out comedy. What's more, the portrayal of this gag, trying to make us laugh at the idea of a sick kid vomiting blood, was offensive. Speaking as someone whose best friend is in much the same condition, the insensitivity here was disgusting. I was mortified.
-Characters out of character. Be it Paula going on about how long its been since she was intimate with a man, or Melissa slapping her a**, pure and simple, every character here was out of character.
-McGuirk's big brother subplot. Tacked on and boring.
-The general treatment of the character of Brendan's dad. He was beyond all shadow of a doubt the dullest character the series has yet tackled. He wasn't funny, he wasn't likeable, etc. After the superb "Brendan's Choice", the entire focus of this episode, Brendan and his father, worked out miserably.
-Crappy way to lay out an episode. Heck, just the editing was bad. Subplots were mixed together in a confusing way. The episode started in a weird spot that should have been the middle. The ending was even more problematic. Just really disjointed and unprofessional.
-Bad beginning and end, as I mentioned. There was no build up to Brendan seeing his dad; you just sort of picked up there. The ending wasn't funny, dragged on, and didn't work as an ending.
-Just plain not funny. In the end, it's humor that makes Home Movies. And I didn't laugh once.

I LOVE this show, pure and simple. That's why this episode was such a disappointment. Heck, the ONLY good thing was Brendan, the only character who wasn't annoying here and didn’t' break character (his interactions with his dad's fiancé were the best part of the episode) Sorry for being so curt, but this was, no doubt, the worst episode of this series. It was uncharacteristically bad, a real stain which is probably gonna stick with the show for awhile.

Spectre: Randomguy... wow! How unexpected! ...your review, I mean! Didn't expect that, really... and onto my review:

Wow... this was a very good episode. Supposedly, this is the continued story of "Brendon's Choice." This episode works because of how the story content is presented -- in nearly the same manner of "Brendon's Choice," actually -- where we get both very original humor and content of a somewhat serious nature (at least for this series). We all know Brendon's father shouldn't marry that rather annoying woman, and (I think) even Brendon's father knows this.

The humor nearly completely works as well; the whole Eddy sequence was discomfortingly hilarious. Any scene where a person kicks a soccer ball to a disabled person only to have the disabled person fall down and... Well, also get their teeth knocked out, is, in a way, "sadly" funny.

Melissa also gets some rather good minor time in. Jason, while having virtually no time in at all, does pop up in on unexpected moments.

What about Brendon's dad? Well, his character is actually better than I expected -- he seems to be rather confused, but also seems to be able to communicate to Brendon (sometimes) well. His humor is nearly the same as Brendon's, and what can I say -- so is his hair.

We also get some uncomfortable, but hilarious-like moments of truth; Brendon, in many cases, has trouble talking to his father. It's happened to me so many times. And the way Brendon talks behind his future step-mom's back is... great. I felt the same way as he did.

I thought the episode was really great, actually. I'm also the one who thought "Business & Pleasure" was great too, so perhaps I'm just like that. Grade: A

Shnay: I'm really conflicted about this one. It seems like for everything they did right there was something else they did that really detracted from the overall show.

I'll begin with the positive.

In the early scenes between Brendan and his dad, they did a really good job of creating an awkward and uncomfortable feel. There were long pauses and the two characters often had to really struggle to find something to say. When dialogue was spoken, it was very forced and almost tense, with lines like "So, you look...taller." "Yeah, I'm...uh...longer than the last time you saw me." (Those lines are obviously paraphrased). Later, as the relationship developed (although it developed too quickly, in my opinion) they created a very interesting and believable dynamic between Brendan, his dad, and his dad's girlfriend (was Dana her name?) I also thought the dad's girlfriend was developed pretty well as a character in a short time. Sure, she's a stereotype, but she still seems to have some personality character that is her own (I'm not really sure how to describe it better than that). I especially liked her volunteering to either feel good about herself, or to have something to talk about inside her social circle, I'm not entirely sure why.

Now the negative.

As Randomguy said, the beginning was out of place. We're seeing what is supposed to be a life changing moment for Brendan and Paula just pushes him out the door? This scene may have been done so abruptly because there are still many unanswered questions and contradictions about his father and his past that they don't want to answer. It's been discussed before, but basically, the contradiction comes when some scenes from the first season act as though Brendan has never seen his father, and some make it seem like he and Josie (who is roughly a year old) have the same father, making the first impossible.
Anyway, the development of Brendan's relationship with his dad seemed rushed and unrealistic. Paula was out of character and could have contributed a lot to this episode, but was only used for bad jokes about sexual frustration and younger women.
And Eddie...I suppose he must have seemed like a good idea at some point. I love dark/tragic humor, but the joke here was all-visual. Basically, it was "Hey, that kid's funny lookin'!" Not only isn't this that funny in general, but it's been done by numerous idiotic teen comedies, and HM didn't add anything to the "joke."
[Although, I must admit, I did laugh when Coach McGuirk said "Go over there while I tell them what's wrong with you]

So...in the end, the episode failed to deliver to many people's high expectations because (I feel) they tried to do too many things (many of which weren't the best ideas to begin with) in one show, and the result was...well, "different."

The Condiment King: This is the long awaited introduction of Brendon's dad, who ends up being a nice, inoffensive guy. It really doesn't go the way I would have expected it would the first time I saw it. Brendon didn't have any problems with his father. His father was a genuinely likeable person. I don't know if they ever touched as to why Brendon's dad was never apart of his life, but that would probably be my question. He seems to keep tabs with Paula enough in the meantime though.

McGuirk's time with Eddie is similarly to many of McGuirk's relationships as caretakers such as Sammy the fish, Mr. Freckles the dog, and a variety of others. You could even go so far as to say Brendon would also fit into this category. I'm not even sure where this comes from, although I would guess it is McGuirk wanting to have a family or at least wanting to have a difference in someone's life, though he does that as a soccer coach as Brendon pointed out.

So Brendon's dad is getting married to Linda, who could be described as a more on-edge adult version of Cynthia. What really puzzles me about Linda is the fact that I guess she doesn't have any real tangible job, and yet she volunteers at a lot of places. This is odd to me. Why would you spend so much time volunteering at all these places without any real benefits? I guess just to make her think well of herself in the morning. She has all these commitments and yet they are volunteer jobs so its not such a big deal if she misses them as if it were a real job. Some continuity things: I noticed that Brendon sees an advertisement for the same beer that McGuirk brought to Fenton's party in "The Party" and that was lying around in his house in "Impressions". McGuirk was the one who passed Brendon's dad on the road, though oddly enough from the right hand lane, which is pretty bizarre. When Brendon shows his dad the basement where he keeps all his video stuff, we can see the holy roller thing from "Identifying a Body", the signs from "Politics", and the award from "Brendon's Choice". Finally, this is of course where Paula mentions the big thing about when the last time she was intimate with a man was, and that seems pretty realistic with how old Josie is at this present time.

Its funny seeing Jason in the list of kids that need a big brother when McGuirk is talking to Ken Addelberg about getting a new one. What's hilarious is McGuirk telling his old little brother that he sucks at being a little brother. So, out of this episode we have a new character set up and a new direction for the rest of season two to go in. This season is really more plot driven than episodic at this point. ****

StrangerAtaru: Before I begin this, let me just say that the first time I saw this episode, I thought this was the worst thing I had ever seen. I thought this episode was a tad dull, with several unnecessary characters and couldn't really find too much redemption in it except for a couple little things here and there. (such as Jason being in that book at the end) But now I have stepped back and looked at it, I still think this is a weak episode in some ways, but pretty good in others. For starters, let me just say that I like Andrew Small and how he is introduced in this episode. He knows that he had not been there for Brendon for many years and was now trying to make up for lost time, even if it meant going to the Zoo with his son. Sure it is a tad abrupt how quickly the two bond, but I sort of see it as Brendon finally trying to let in a true father figure outside of McGurk, whom while still helpful, is not really that reliable all the time. With that said, the introduction of Andrew brings about the introduction as well of another annoying character: Linda. However, while I don't like her whiny attitude and how she does act to everyone she interacts with, she does loan herself to some good comedic situations. One of those is "All's Pharoah in Love and War", which we see Brendon, Jason and Melissa re-enact everything going on between Andrew and Linda as Brendon hopes that the upcoming nuptuals could be called off. (more of this sort of stuff shows up in "Therapy") As for how Paula takes all of this, I think that she did a good job in trying to let Brendon meet his father, yet at the same time cope with her own life and the aftermath of everything she had been through. Sure she is sarcastic about it, but still bitter over everything that was said and done. Then there was the most unneccesary plot to grace this episode: McGurk and Eddie. McGurk was not needed in this episode (other than that funny cameo early on) and he doesn't bring anything to it except this extremely sick kid who looks more scary or pitiful than funny. They tried to squeeze as much as they could out of both this and McGurk's sudden realization that he wants to be a Big Brother in the second act, but none of the scenes worked to me. And to top it off, Eddie reminded me too much of "Mr. Freckles", which I thought worked better considering that Mr. Freckles did stuff and caused funny conversations to happen while Eddie just did nothing but try to tack McGurk in the episode in the worst possible way. In the end, I still don't like this one much and still consider it one of the worst HM, but at least I have discovered a couple of redeeming factors.

Mynd Hed: Good episode all around, EXCEPT for the McGuirk / Eddie subplot. It was just... there. Seemed like the writers were pretty desperate for filler. The main plot was great though, yes Linda is annoying but that's kind of the point, it's great to see Brendon react to the various annoying characters in this show, like Linda and Fenton.

Overall Grade: C+ (Would've been an A+ if they'd had a decent subplot instead of Eddie.)

The Landstander: Despite some flaws, I've always liked this episode and thought it was a good (if rushed) introduction to Andrew and continuation from "Brendon's Choice".

Brendon finally meets up with his father, Andrew, and they don't seem to have much to say to each other at first. But really, what could you say in that situation? After agreeing to go to the zoo, Brendon meets up with Andrew's girlfriend, the self-centered and obnoxious Linda. The biggest problem here is that quick movement; they don't spend enough time making Brendon and Andrew's relationship seem legitimate. The dialogue in the car is awkward and realistic, but it seems like, somewhere in that video montage, everything works out, to a point. As the show goes on it becomes more complicated, but it seems like they could've used more relationship development time.

Nonetheless, the episode works beyond this impairment. Linda is a great character because she comes off realistic in her less admirable qualities; her "volunteer work", her attitude, her condescending manner of speaking. At the same time it's not so overdone that you get the impression that Andrew couldn't legitimately like her; it seems like there's something legitimately there, even beyond Linda's looks. Paula has some nice one-liners about the whole situation, as well.

I also enjoyed the McGuirk plot. It's cheap in theory, but hey, it works! It also nicely thematically connects to the episode, as McGuirk (especially this season) has been a bizarre and awkward father figure to Brendon, it's appropiate that he'd have some inspiration to legitimately care about a kid (even if that kid happens to be Eddie). McGuirk's insensitivity doesn't seem mean, he just seems pretty ignorant. He probably legitimately thought Eddie could catch the ball.

The various aspects of the episode are a bit oddly paced, but work, though I think the next Andrew/Linda episode, "Therapy", does it much better. Recommended.

Alright Eddie, I'm kicking this one a little harder...