Last week we met the Girone and Hammond families. The Girones are tattoo loving free spirits who don’t particularly believe in any god. The Hammonds are ruled by the mother, who has a strictly defined view of religion which apparently involves sucking the fun out of every known activity. In tonight’s conclusion, we’re promised a shocking end that no one expects, but this is Fox, so the range of possibilities is wide.
Elegant Seafood: Shrimp in Cocktail Dresses
We rejoin the scene in the Girone household, where TatTim is beseeching his son to be tolerant towards Alyce. Alyce has grasped that Vincenzo wants to have nothing to do with Alyce, says she never intended to make Vincenzo feel badly. So, to resolve the issue, she sets about praying for guidance. Divine intervention is apparently needed to overcome Alyce’s urge to be a hard core beyotch.
But over in California at the Hammond household, things are a bit different. Barb cooks dinner and helps the kids with their homework, or at least attempts to until becoming stumped at the giant brain bender of 3 times –3. CompuTim is no help, as he’s hanging out in the living room bouncing a giant exercise ball. Barb tells us in voice-over that CompuTim’s mom has called and invited her to lunch, which has caused Barb some anxiety after meeting
Aunt EstherJoyce, Alyce’s mom, who told her she was going to burn in hell.
CompuTim’s mom Moya arrives, and she’s not the spaceship from Farscape. Actually, she looks a bit like her son and a bit like Glenn Close. Moya says she’s glad to be invited over because it is her chance to feel like part of the family, which she doesn’t get when Alyce is around. Barb meets her and she immediately takes to Moya, even bonding over the fact that Moya has a small tattoo on her toe. They head out for lunch at an establishment called Elegant Seafood, which, for some reason, cracks me up.
At lunch, Barb gets the low-down on the Hammond household. Moya says Alyce is precise, picky, very religious, and stubborn, and those are her good qualities. Moya says she isn’t religious and she likes her wine from time to time, and Alyce does not approve. Moya reveals its taxing being around Alyce because she has to pretend she is someone she is not when around Alyce. Barb correctly figures out that Alyce wears the pants in the house, and keeps Tim in the background.
Shocker: Alyce has some fun.
Back in Pennsylvania, Alyce is still put out that Vincenzo isn’t warming to her or even giving her a chance. To be fair, Vincenzo is acting fairly petulant, whereas Alyce’s daughters have been friendly to Barb, so Alyce does have a point. She decides to take him to the scrap booking store, which is one of her pastimes. TatTim agrees, and Alyce and Vincenzo go together to the store. Alyce tries to draw Vincenzo out, but he won’t tell her why he doesn’t like her. He is fairly closed off once they get to the store and doesn’t show much interest initially in looking around. Alyce decided Vincenzo should scrapbook some pictures of his dog, since he’s so fond of the dog. This perks Vincenzo up, and, after a while, he’s interested in doing the project. Personally, I think she picked the “dog” theme because it’s the backward spelling of god, but maybe I’m just too cynical. Alyce and Vincenzo have a good time and Vincenzo is surprised he liked scrap booking.
Stop the presses: Wine is served!!!!!
Barb and CompuTim are going to hold a barbeque for the Hammond friends and relatives. Barb sees that CompuTim is not as involved as he should be, and maybe wants to be, so she decides to make him step up and take charge of the planning and preparing. This is a brave new world for him, since he usually lets Alyce take charge, or so he says. I doubt there’s much “let” about it at all. Barb and CompuTim head to the market to buy supplies, and along the way CompuTim mentions how he likes to cruise around and check out boats that he may one day buy and he talks about how he likes pools. Once they get to the market, CompuTim has no idea how to shop or what decisions to make.
They make it home with the supplies, and Barb drafts CompuTim into making the hamburgers. His daughters have to help him blend the meat and the onion and egg, but he is eventually making the patties and finds out he’ll be in charge of the grill. Once the guests start to arrive, they are extremely shocked to see CompuTim working the grill and having a good time.
The guests seem to be a mix of Tim’s family and some friends, both secular and religious. Moya shows up with some bottles of wine to add to the wine Barb bought at the market. Barb knows Alyce isn’t fond of alcohol, but she reasons that, as people in the bible drinks wine, it isn’t that big of a deal. Joyce shows up to the “Jaw” like music the Trading Spouse people are fond of to denote people who are giant pains. She sniffs around, spots the wine, and is displeased. I don’t get why all these adults are so afraid of Joyce or Alyce for that matter. The whole lot needs to collectively grow a pair and stand up for themselves. But the party does continue, and everyone has a good time. CompuTim even plays in the backyard with his girls.
Possibly the most Christian action on the show.
Just as the Good Samaritan was specifically a Samaritan to teach a lesson about the “godless” people, the most Christian action on the episode was when TatTim allowed Alyce to do a devotional with Vincenzo, despite devotionals being outside the bounds of his beliefs. TatTim thought that Vincenzo had warmed up to Alyce through the scrap booking experience and, for her efforts, TatTim decided to let Alyce share her religion as she wanted to all along. They read a story and talk about how everyone is made in god’s image, and that’s why everyone looks kind of alike. Alyce says TatTim’s actions were sweet and made her feel part of the family.
Very uncomfortable looks.
It is now time for the moms to write their letters and pack to leave. Alyce says her goodbyes and says it’s like leaving friends. Barb gets teary-eyed, and everyone says they’ll miss her. Both moms have things they want to bring up at the meeting, and Barb is kind of anxious about it. They arrive at the super secret undisclosed location, which is a large house with a very nice spiral staircase. After some intense looks, without anything being said, Alyce finally breaks the silence and says that TatTim made her feel very at ease. She continues that Vincenzo did not want to have anything to do with her, and relates the crying incident we saw last week. Barb starts to get a bit weepy at hearing her son had some trouble, but once Alyce says that Vincenzo acted the way he did because they don’t have religion in their lives, Barb’s eyes dried up.
Barb then rejoins, stating that CompuTim is a great guy with a free spirit, and Alyce is basically bullying him into not participating in the family life. She’s not quite that blunt, but that’s the point she’s driving home. Alyce says Barb has CompuTim all wrong, and that he just likes being alone. With that, the moms depart and head back to their homes.
Barb makes it back to Pittsburgh and she is happy to be home and her family is happy to have her. In California, CompuTim decides to make dinner for his wife, and the kids pitch in too. She comes home, and the daughters excitedly tell her that they made her dinner, and she dismisses them offhandedly, saying she’s not hungry. Alyce asks what went on while she was gone, and as soon as the barbeque is mentioned, the oldest daughter rats out her dad and says that alcohol was present. First she says that Moya bought it, then they blame Barb. Alyce has fit and carries on about alcohol not being allowed in her house. The oldest daughter insists that Moya has brought wine before, but Alyce is adamant that no such thing happened. We get the sense that the house is now sullied and they must move to get away from the haunting of the empty wine bottles.
Finally, it’s what we’ve been waiting for: the division of the cash. The Girone family gets $6,300 for a savings account, $10,000 for bills and debts, $1,000 to give to a church, $5,000 for a vacation, $20,000 for Vincenzo’s education fund, and $100 for Vincenzo to go scrap booking. They are happy with the allotment, aside from the grand to the church. TatTim sums up the experience by saying he has a much greater appreciation for the family he has.
Over at the Hammond family, things are not as chipper. Alyce is still mad about the wine, though she kinda/sorta apologizes. Barb has allocated $3,000 for the girls to go shopping, $1,000 for art or other creative classes, $20,000 for a pool, $20,000 for a boat, and $6,000 for a vacation. Barb’s note says she tried to pick things that would bring the family together. Alyce thinks art is stupid, useless and a waste of time (ummm, what about that scrap booking crap she does?), no one wants a pool or a boat, and the family is together all the time. Barb missed the chance to either fund the divorce lawyer or a really good couple counselor with the cash. That’s what I would have done—all $50,000.
Of course, Alyce then can’t let the wine go. She keeps going on and on about wine having been in her house, and Tim keeps wanting to defer the issue and not discuss it in front of the children. Alyce uses the kids as her audience to argue how Tim disrespects her and ask why he would do such a thing. Eventually, she storms off to bed, and Tim and the kids watch television while the welcome home flowers lie sadly on the table, without a vase. “Happy reunion” indeed.