The premise of this episode is summed up perfectly by a speech that Maya makes to her brother-in-law, Billy:
“We’re so focused on the fact that you don’t understand our problems, we didn’t even consider that you might actually have problems of your own.”
I’ve always felt that each Speechless episode focuses on one of many aspects of a family with a special needs child. Almost like the family and the show is an onion and each episode peels back a layer of their lives. Interestingly and some would say inevitably, this episode pointed out the fact that even though Maya, Jimmy and co. constantly have problems, they aren’t the only ones in the world that do.
This episode also introduced other DiMeo family members for the first time. The family itself was really just a bunch of cliches–the pretentious more well-off brother, the overly emotional sister-in-law, the bratty son and the inappropriate mother-in-law. However what gave this family a reprieve and made the premise of the episode interesting, was the eventual reveal of the cause behind the family’s annoying traits through the reveal of Maya’s game.
This episode contained more cliches than I would have liked, such as the reveal of Billy’s family going broke and the turkey being ruined, however there were some subtle and strong moments showcasing the concise writing. These moments included the exploration of the benefits of being a family with a special needs child, Kenneth revealing his issues with his father, and Billy’s ads acting as bookends for the episode. The Black Friday sale and the flatscreen TV provided a nice background for both DiMeo clans to make amends.
Overall, writing-wise the episode was solid but it wasn’t really all that gripping, it almost felt like a filler.