Similar to last season’s “Happy Birthday, Mr. Duvet,” this episode is entirely set at a party with Sam’s family, free of the advertising world, and while it’s not as funny as that episode, it’s fairly breezy (as the show always is) and serves as another look into the world Detroiters has built.
The two major plots of the episode: Sam’s dad hands over grillmaster duties at the family reunion to him, and Sam brings a new girlfriend to the reunion, which causes Tim to freak out in predictable fashion. (If you remember how poorly he reacts when Sam even meets women, this won’t be a surprise.) Sam’s new girlfriend is Shannon Coyne, a singer and member of a family of gospel singers. Tim acts like a lunatic, which leads to a conversation with Chrissy where she tells him he acts too harsh and he freaks out again. (Really impressive job by Robinson to go red-faced.) Tim ends up trying to gossip about Shannon with the older ladies in the family, having fun at first but eventually pushing it too far since he’s genuinely angry.
The resolution to this, in probably the funniest gag, comes when two kids make Tim see the error of his ways:
BOY: You want to hear a joke?
TIM: No, I don’t. I just don’t think a little kid’s joke is ever going to make me, an adult man, laugh. Thanks anyway. Just don’t have the life experience.
GIRL: Sometimes I think things, but I don’t say them out loud. Because then people hear them and it might hurt their feelings.
This makes Tim realize he’s been too harsh and apologize to Shannon, Chrissy, and Sam.
Meanwhile, Sam’s dad gives him a speech handing off grillmaster duties to him (which leads to a pretty funny speech of his own), but then while he’s grilling, his uncle (who isn’t drinking anymore, in a runner that’s darkly funny) keeps criticizing him, saying he should have gotten the job, and his dad keeps doing some… uh… is back-seat grilling a term? All this frustrates Sam and comes to a head in the basketball game, at which point he finally quits in frustration. Cue the eventual talk Sam and his dad have.
This is kind of a short writeup because, well, I don’t have a lot to say about a fairly light episode that wasn’t particularly laugh-out-loud funny, and because I was saving the stuff that did make me laugh for the stray observations. What I will say is that I love the way the show continues to add to its universe in a manner that makes it all feel real and fully thought out beforehand. Sam’s family in particular is a delight in this regard, and I’m pleased to see we got to meet so many more of them.
Oh, one more thing: THE GODDAMN FORK BANDIT IS REAL!
- My God, Sam’s speech. “It’s an achievement I’d rank up there with my black belt in tae kwon do… oh, never did that… never did that either… something about Grandpa Charles, but he’s dead…” It goes on like this for a while.
- “Marry Mom? I was seven years old when I wrote this… but that still seems too old.” Also, his Mom’s reaction!
- Speaking of: “Take it easy on your daddy, I need him in tip-top shape today.” “Ugh, Mom, gross!”
- “Money!” Cue hideous airball.
- “Looking like a lollipop in knockoff Ann Taylor.” I guess Tim was right!
- “I’m sorry I said [BLEEP] in front of your mom. And Aunt Lacey and Old Shirley.”
- “It took a weird little kid with a shitty joke I never heard, but I’m gonna be a better man.”
- “I can’t dunk, Tim!” “I think you can, Sam!”
- “Lou Dobbs is a fat crackhead.”
- “Whoopsie-daisy! That ain’t apple juice! That’s Hennessy! Tastes good, though…”
- “I think there’s only one thing left to say: LET’S HUSTLE!”