I felt that this episode focused on the importance of honesty and also provided many meanings to the term roll/role model.
The episode kicks off with JJ and Kenneth shopping in a rival grocery store of the store Kenneth works at, at Maya’s request. They run into Maya who tells JJ about a young boy, Owen, with cerebral palsy, and his father who have just moved to town. She wants her and JJ to be mentors to the father and son respectively, however JJ doesn’t want to be a mentor and disagrees with her about lying to Owen. JJ tells her it’s due to the fact that nobody lied to him, however he later discovers that Maya did lie to him.
This revelation wasn’t really a revelation as it’s typical of Maya and I could see it coming a mile away. While you can understand JJ’s anger and his reasons for not wanting to be a mentor, you can also understand Maya’s reasoning for lying to Owen, especially when they discover no-one has showed up to Owen’s birthday party, like both he and his father predicted. JJ reassures Owen that things will get better as they did for him and offers his support, while Maya tells Owen’s father not to manufacture victories for him.
Overall I found this A story was meaningful, and showed how Maya and JJ can be good role models (and it also showed that Maya could be a bad one). I also found it interesting that the revelation of Maya’s lies to JJ and Owen’s fears being realised, lead to the question being planted in the viewers’ heads of whether Maya is a good or bad role model.
The B story revolved around Ray and Dylan discovering hot girls at the school at night. The girls are hot due to coming from a modelling school and go to Lafayette at night as they are part of a teen support group that meet up there. Ray joins the group to try and find a girlfriend, while Dylan joins for free pizza. However when Dylan mocks Ray as a share and she is supported, she realises that she actually needs support, and tells Ray they’re not going to take advantage of the group anymore. Ray goes to the group anyway, only for Dylan to be there anticipating this move and tells the group why he’s really there. When Ray calls her out, Dylan admits that she needs the group as she has been experiencing “feelings” for a year and she doesn’t like it and needs to express them. This revelation did surprise me, however it was nice to see a rare moment of vulnerability from her. After being kicked out, they return to the group, and Ray asks them to take Dylan, taking the blame for the lies. The leader of the support group refuses.
Overall I found the B story to be both entertaining and meaningful as Ray and Dylan had strong moments of character development.
The C story revolves around Jimmy finding a flat screen TV at work as part of the airport’s “It’s Been Here a Year Now It’s Ours” annual giveaway to the employees. When Jimmy takes the TV home, he feels inferior. Firstly by seeing how drab the living room looks in comparison to the TV, so he buys drapes and a sound board, and redecorates the room. This continues on when he feels the need to wear a suit so he isn’t drab, and then feels like he can’t watch trashy shows. He eventually returns the TV after briefly losing control, and another employee claims it and ends up feeling just as inferior.
Overall I found this subplot to be silly and unnecessary, however it did provide some good comedic moments which broke up the deep and meaningful A and B stories nicely.
Overall this was a good episode, but I wouldn’t say it was the strongest one.
-Dylan eventually finds Ray’s graphing calculator and threatens to rip it apart piece-by-piece if Ray continues to take advantage of the support group.
-According to Dylan, Ray can barely ride a bike.
-When Kenneth hears music coming from Owen’s home, he calls an unseen friend of his by the name of Omar to come to the party, and then calls him back to tell him to turn around when he and Maya discover no-one showed up to the party. Who Omar is and why Kenneth would tell him to come to a child’s birthday party is never revealed.
-According to Dylan her “feelings” came in about a year ago.
-Jimmy’s idea of taking control of the flat screen TV situation was to destroy it with a baseball bat that just happened to be lying around. Luckily, Ray suggested the more reasonable approach of taking it back to the airport.
-The DiMeos (with the exception of Jimmy) seemed to love the box the TV came in more than the TV itself.
-Dylan’s breakthrough at the support group was that being a sibling of someone with a disability makes her feel like her problems don’t matter. Ray’s breakthrough was that he doesn’t think he deserves love just being himself. They also have a breakthrough when they are kicked out of the group when they simultaneously admit that they are both obsessed with having the last word.
Best one liners and interactions:
- “JJ good news!” “Open bag of cookies or strangers you can mould into your image?” “Both.” (Maya-JJ-Maya)
- “Forgot that you lost it, why even take my graphing calculator?” “You’ve got a machine that upside-down spells ‘hell’ and ‘boob less’, Ray. I’m not supposed to show that off?” (Ray-Dylan)
- “Ray be cool!” “Yeah this is when that happens.” (Dylan-Ray)
- “Wow! I feel like I walked into a catalogue for slightly fancy homes.” (Kenneth to Jimmy on the latter’s changes to the living room to accommodate to the flat screen TV)
- “You had me at ‘mom’s wrong’.” (Kenneth to JJ)
- “Success, I got a girl’s name!” “Don’t you mean number?” “I’m not Michael Fassbender.” (Ray-Dylan-Ray)
- “I’m wearing mom’s sweater so some girl can touch my arm. What could be more weak?” (Ray to Dylan)