Nanny 911, the McRoberts Family: Brothers For Life, If They All Survive The Week.
Welcome back fellow viewers of Nanny 911, the reality show that is 99.44 % effective as a method of birth control. Better than the couple who took turns by alternating days which would ingest the birth control pills so that they can both take responsibility for birth control. Yes, there are such cases. In college I took a class called “Drugs and Personal Health.” We needed science credits and as a clueless English major I didn’t want to have to dissect any poor creatures (after spending hours picking little bits of dissected worm out of my hair after a poor choice for lab partner in biology in high school) or risk blowing up the school by accidentally mixing the wrong chemicals (hey, it happened on Saved By the Bell, that must mean it’s true).
I pursued an entire course schedule arranged to avoid any hard sciences and actually got math credit for acing Logic class. Enough about my science aversion and why I won’t ever be a doctor no matter how cool I’d look in scrubs. In my fantastically useful Drugs and Personal Health class we had guest speakers who were recovering drug addicts. They were a living, breathing South Park’s Mr. Macky: “Don’t do drug. Drugs are bad. Don’t do drugs.” We also read studies about “birth control misconceptions” like you can’t get pregnant your first time *WRONG* or if you’re standing up *WRONG* or if you’ve already had triplets, you probably won’t have multiples in a subsequent pregnancy – well, let’s meet the McRoberts.
McFlurries and McFist-fights
We meet Doug and Dianna McRoberts, a couple who were blessed with 7 year old triplet boys, Nathan, Samuel, and Joshua, and then again blessed with 3 year old twins Jacob and Joseph. Yup, that’s five boys from two pregnancies, and the petite Mrs. McRoberts is in excellent shape, but the poor lady probably has stretch marks on her stretch marks after carrying five kids in only 2 pregnancies. She doesn’t need to join a gym because she’s a stay at home mom who spends every day running around the house yelling at kids and chasing them down the streets.
Five kids from two pregnancies, I’d make some comment about the McRoberts really knowing how to get the most bang for their bang, but that would be in poor taste. Did I mention that Doug is a tax accountant? I’m thinking that all of these boys were born in December to maximize his tax deduction for a full year while only having the children for the last month of the year. That would be the most prudent tax stance on this whole “having children” issue. Doug seems savvy like that. Let’s just say if you ask Doug McRoberts to go car shopping with you, you’d end up paying full price, but walking out with two or perhaps three new cars. They must love shopping at Sam’s Club.
Sadly the boys are pretty much indistinguishable, except for headstrong Josh. Josh is apparently the most stubborn and butts heads with Dianna more than any of the others. Because they are all multiples, none of these boys is clearly either the “oldest” or the “youngest” in terms of assigning traditional birth order roles, and instead we have a pack of bitter middle children, all acting out very inappropriately just hoping that negative attention is better than no attention or blending into the herd. Not that this herd is a passive group, like say the sheep and lemmings that roam the halls of the FORT saying only happy thoughts after a healthy dose of John’s Kool Aide. MMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmm, Kool Aid! This recap is GREAT!
Color Me Sibling Rivalry
As I mentioned, I can’t tell these five boys apart. I blame the editing. Why not, people on the website like to blame editing for pretty much everything including editing in a lousy personality. With better editing, I’m sure that we’d have some clue about each boy.
Perhaps they could all pick a favorite color and have their clothing and other personal articles all be in that favorite color. Hey, it worked for the Osmond family, and they had many more than five kids. Poor Donny was far enough down on the list of Osmond Brothers that purple was the “manliest” color left by the time he came around, leading to lots of silly “why did you wash your purple socks with my dress” jokes on the Donny and Marie show. I’m betting that baby brother Jimmy Osmond’s color was Puce or Salmon.
Yup, Donny Osmond, the King of Purple, long before Prince became, well, the Prince of Purple. And then the Unpronounceable Symbol Guy of Purple. And then the Prince of Purple once again. There isn’t much else to do in Minnesota except to watch for Prince’s latest name changes, and of course exude Purple Pride over the Vikings’ football performances. Right, lots of pride there the last couple of weeks. *cough, anothermidseasonchoke, cough*
Back to the McRoberts, we see lots of videotape of the boys fighting, the parents yelling, and the boys yelling:
The boys eat tons of sugary snacks, and then they tear into each other and the house.
They get into fights while raking leaves.
They are wrestling on the ground in some sort of leg wrestling threesome.
They show one boy pulling one of the younger brothers down the flight of stairs on a blanket, causing him to bump on every step all the way down.
And then Mom yells at them.
And nothing changes and the chaos continues.
Doug is skeptical that the Nannies will be able to help as “they’ve never seen this mess before.” But they have, Doug. This group is no more unruly than the other families these Super-Nannies have been dispatched to help. These are no ordinary nannies . . .
Meanwhile, At Nanny Central . . .
Our group of Super Nannies are gathered around the telly, watching the video of the McRoberts’ clan. While trying again this week to figure out the butler Fraiser’s role on the show, it came to me: he is Chairman Kaga to the Nannies’ Iron Chefs!
Nanny Yvonne would be Iron Chef French, based on name only, as we’ve yet to see an episode where she actually gets to leave Nanny Central.
Head Nanny Lillian would be Iron Chef Italian because she looks like she makes quite the “Mama Mia, Whatta Meatball!”
Nanny Deb and Nanny Stella would be Iron Chefs Chinese and Japanese, as their style is very similar and would be an “Asian Fusion” style of traditional English Nannying. Oh spell check, don’t try to tell me that Nannying isn’t a word. It is obviously the only correct word describing the act of being a Nanny. Time to add a new word to Ye Olde Dictionary on this computer. Suddenly I feel like the John Madden of recap writing, inventing words on a whim. Oooooh, it’s so liberating. But scary. Very, very scary. We need order. We need discipline. We need . . . Nanny Deb to come lay down the law in the McRoberts household.
Nanny Deb is dispatched and starts evaluating the McRoberts in action. There is a lot of yelling, but no follow through with punishments. The boys clown around instead of eating at meals, but why should they, because an enormous bag of candy is available for post-lunch and pre-dinner snacks. Dianna is hoarse after another day of yelling like a felon. She isn’t gelling. Someone should get her some Dr. Scholl’s insoles.
A Taxing Tangent
Doug isn’t around for most of the evaluation, as he’s escaped this self-made purgatory of sibling strife into the sanctity of his tax accounting firm. Oh, I know the allure of escaping into the Internal Revenue Code. It can be quite a seductive little siren, with its proposed yet never finalized and superceded yet never updated Treasury Regulations, contradictory Announcements, and Revenue Rulings and Procedures. I’ve found something on point, but alas, it is a Private Letter Ruling, and cannot be relied upon except for the party seeking the ruling. If only it had been a Field Service Bulletin! Is that an above the line deduction I spy! Yes, it is a peaceful little world with rules and great periods of silence, in Tax Accounting Sangra-La (especially in November, not so much in April). I can see why Doug would like a little tax accounting retreat from the hootin’ and hollerin’ down at the McRoberts’ Ranch. Meanwhile, back at the Ranch . . .
There’s a New Sheriff In Town
Doug comes home. Nanny Deb, much like Congress at the end of a lame duck administration, lays down the law fast and dirty:
1. Brothers For Life – you will always be brothers, so treat each other with respect and protect each other. Be friends, not enemies. I want to be a brother for life. I’m oozing penis envy as I type this.
2. Communicate – talk to each other in a calm voice, don’t shout. Kids live what they learn, and will only learn that shouting is ok if you shout at them. OKAYYYYYYYYYY!!!! I HEAR YOU!!!!
3. Nutrition – junk food is for very rare occasions only, as a treat, and not as a daily alternative to eating a healthy diet. It’s a good thing Nanny Deb doesn’t know that I had a Twislers Pull and Peel and Funyons with a Diet Pepsi for lunch. Nanny Deb locked up all of the junk food in the pantry and hands mom the key. The kids look devastated. Mom feels a rush of pure power that she hasn’t experienced in years. MUHAHAHAHAHA, Mom controls the candy cupboard. You know what they say: “The hand that locks the candy cupboard rules the world.”
4. Teamwork and Consistency – Doug and Dianna need to work together and back each other up. Doug isn’t around as much and needs to get on the same page as Dianna after she’s spent a couple days learning some mad child-rearing skilz from Nanny Deb. They need a plan, so Nanny Deb whips out the dreaded Schedule.
Next, On a Very Touching Episode of Blossom . . . only without Joey Lawrence
Doug goes back to work the next day and that leaves Dianna home alone with the Nanny to implement the new rules. How will she do? At first Dianna thinks Deb is clearly mental and that there is no way her boys will listen if she just gets down to their level and speaks to them. So Dianna watches while Deb tries. Deb reaches deep into her bag of magic tricks, and voila, the kids start listening. That was easy. Almost too easy. What show are we watching again?
These kids are starting to listen and be nice to each other. Dianna gives talking to them a try and has a very sweet emotional breakthrough with the most stubborn, Josh. They both cry and want to get along and not always be fighting with each other. It is very sweet.
Wait until they are teenagers, Dianna. I can’t even imagine that household when those boys will be 17 and 13. Simon Delivers will be making daily runs to the house to drop off milk and pizzas. You might want to keep Deb’s number handy. Or at least this videotape to remember when she made a breakthrough with a tough point in parenting. There will be more. That is one of life’s certainties, like death and taxes. Speaking of taxes, has anyone seen Doug?
The boys decide that they like being Brothers for Life. What if Brother for Life met up with P. Diddy? This could drastically alter the course of “Vote or DIE” to perhaps include some alternative outcomes, like Living with Apathy. In the year 2020 when the three older McRoberts boys will be old enough to vote in their first presidential election, let’s hope that this youngest age bracket scores higher than their average age in voting percentages. Of course Eminem will probably be on the ballot by then, with running mate Paris Hilton. Never mind, that future is terrifying.
Time To Put “Old Yeller” Down.
Dianna is now fully engaged in Deb’s plan of action, but Doug hasn’t been around and thinks it’s all a pipe dream. The only real solution for dealing with his rowdy sons is yelling at them. That’s been working soooooo well so far that they’re appearing on a TV show about poor parenting, but Doug, you must be the expert.
Dianna is firmly committed to positive communication, which Doug proclaims a ‘band-aid fix’ as he tells Deb that she “doesn’t have a clue.” Have I mentioned that this show features real Nannies? Yeah, they have a clue. Being a nanny is not a cakewalk (or catwalk, for that matter). Has Doug learned nothing from watching Adventures in Babysitting, besides how hot Elizabeth Shue is?
It’s the weekend. Two whole days and Doug can’t escape to the nirvana of his accounting firm, so he’s on the spot with Nanny Deb, who jumps in to show Doug alternatives to yelling. Doug reminds me of the actor who plays Portia Del Rossi’s husband on Arrested Development, so I’m seeing his talking to the boys, but I’m picturing him covered in blue paint. Doug resists at first, but with a complete lack of sugary foods, he can’t fight it for long. Deb and Dianna team up and wear him down. He sees his boys listening for the first time in 7 years. That’s longer than the IRS can audit a personal income tax return, except in the case of fraud.
There is yet another touching moment when Doug realizes that all of the yelling has been scaring his son, Sam. Doug doesn’t want to rule the house by fear. Machiavelli would be very disappointed, but it is actually good advice for parenting healthy children. So, “take that” all of the critics who are calling for the death of this show. Another Nannying Success Story.
Let’s Put It To the Test: The Neighborhood BBQ Party
For some reason, every single family appearing on this show has “an important event” that the family has been invited to which occurs shortly after the end of the Nanny’s time with them. I could buy it the first episode, but now it’s so contrived, it’s just lame. Trust me, I’ve recapped lots of shows, including Meet My Folks and Temptation Island Three and The Ultimate Love Test – I can ferret out lame plot devices and this one is a turkey, and not in a cheery Thanksgiving way either.
For the Rocks it was their own 10 year wedding anniversary. Last week the McCrays had an important “family dinner” in a restaurant. This week the McRoberts have a neighborhood barbeque party that requires all five boys to behave well or risk embarrassing the parents (and revealing a flaw in the show’s premise that one week with a super Nanny can change everything.) Things go swimmingly at the party, and the Nanny swings by with prizes for the family. There are matching Brothers for Life T-shirts for the boys and something for the parents. I can’t remember the other gift, as the boys were genuinely sad to see Nanny Deb leave, and then I was too distracted with all of the screaming and hitting in the previews for next week. *shudder*
What’s up next week? Another contrived important family event occurring about a week after the Nanny leaves, or course. We have no idea what family will be featured in next week’s episode, as the ads haven’t been right yet. Families are dropping out of the lineup as soon as the first ad featuring their episode airs. Yeah, I’m sure seeing your kids’ lousy behavior airing all over the nation is embarrassing, but it seems it is driving the families into hiding. Don’t be surprised if you see the Johnstons or Pauls on milkboxes soon.
Are you my long-lost Sibling for Life? Email me at email@example.com m