This episode kicks off on a hilarious note with Maya thinking the family is holding a meeting but to her horror discovers it is an intervention for her.
Jimmy reveals that USC called to schedule an interview for JJ and then called back to schedule an interview for Maya. Jimmy firmly tells her that she is not following JJ to college. Maya then admits that she needs to find something to fill her time when JJ is away at college. This moment kicks off the A story.
At her special needs mother’s group meeting, Maya tells the group that she needs to find something to fill her time and they are getting sick of her dominating the meeting. At the end of the meeting, Melanie reveals her husband, John, has left her for another woman. Maya then decides to spend her time helping Melanie through her marriage break-up, however Melanie runs off to a strip club, which Maya discovers when Melanie mistakenly calls her.
When Maya arrives, she finds Joyce with her (although Joyce was already there). When a popular stripper, Javier, goes up on stage and rips his pants off, which Maya catch, it gives her the idea of an adaptive clothing line. She calls JJ to get to the strip club and when he does, he tries on a pair of Javier’s pants and Maya points out that the pants are accessible but don’t compromise on style. However Maya is left feeling a little down when Javier points out she doesn’t know much about business. When Maya calls Melanie to tell her about her business idea, Melanie tells her that her and Joyce are at John’s house in the bathroom hiding from him and his new girlfriend, Tondra. After they are caught and spend their time throwing John’s wine bottles in the backyard, Melanie reveals she studied business and reassures her the adaptive clothing line is a good idea. Maya then asks Melanie to work with her and she agrees.
I enjoyed the A story as it provided much needed character development for Maya. Although applying to get into all the colleges JJ is applying to is typical of her, at least she concede defeat on her plan and admits she needs something to fill the impending void in her life, and manages to do so by the end of the episode. I’m looking forward to seeing where hers and Melanie’s new business venture goes.
The B story revolved around Jimmy unsuccessfully trying to teach Ray skills after Jimmy blows a van tyre and finds out that Ray taught himself how to change a tyre. Jimmy pretty much sums up the B story when he tells Maya that he’s worried that they spent so much time focusing on JJ that they left Ray behind. When Jimmy tries to teach Ray how to put up a shelf and Ray gives him a tip on drilling, Ray informs him that he learnt how to drill and other skills by watching instructional videos on YouTube.
Over the course of the episode, Jimmy tries to reach Ray several skills only to discover that Ray has already taught himself. The last straw for Jimmy comes when Ray pretends that he doesn’t know how to grill a steak, only for Jimmy to find Ray’s custom made tongs, and for Ray to admit he does know. When Ray finds Jimmy’s search history asking “how to be a better dad”, Ray asks Jimmy to teach him how to tie a McBjornson Knot. When Jimmy looks up the knot, he finds a video Ray made for Jimmy to show him appreciation for his fathering skills, telling him that he may not know how to do the little things but he’s always gotten the bigger things right. Jimmy eventually bonds with Ray by using travel vouchers from work to take him to Wyoming, where it’s legal for a minor to drink a beer in the presence of a parent, and decides to focus on the father/son moments to come rather than the ones he’s missed.
Overall I found this B story to be touching and solid, as it also provided character development with Jimmy and Ray, and an insight into their relationship.
The C story focused on Dylan joining the basketball team after being suspended from the track team for bad sportsmanship. JJ lures her to the girls’ basketball team’s training session and Kenneth tells her he’s going to teach her about teamwork. Dylan encourages the team to use trash talk to scare the opposing players, which Kenneth is against until the team wins their first game in a long time. The team keeping winning games, getting to the finals, until JJ becomes aware of their tactics and gives both Kenneth and Dylan a “staring-to.” They get the team to go back to being supportive and using good sportsmanship rather than winning via trash talk, to the point where they are happy at the result, even though they clearly lost. Overall, I found the C story to be a little lacklustre as there was no character development and JJ’s staring-tos were cheesy.
All three stories tie together when Maya and Jimmy explain what they go up while they are at Dylan’s basketball game.
Overall this was a strong episode with major character development in the A and B stories and strong comedic moments, especially with Joyce in the A story, she was hilarious.
-Maya assumes at the “family meeting” that Ray has provided visual aids and pre-writes jokes to undercut him. Although I’m not sure why she assumed it would revolve around a chore wheel. That being said, he does have a chore wheel and brings it up, but not before everyone leaves the room.
-Jimmy drives over potholes for fun.
-A JJ “staring-to” is like a normal talking-to except you have to guess what he’s saying.
-It takes JJ ten minutes to get out of his jeans. According to him it’s the “price of looking fly”.
-Joyce’s mysterious plan includes a first step of building up an immunity to laxatives to put in cakes to give to other people, however we don’t find out what the other steps of her plan are and how/why she came up with it in the first place.
-Joyce was apparently a physical therapist for one of the strippers.
-Dylan wore a cup to the basketball game, why she chose to do this is never revealed.
-Jimmy tried to teach Ray the following skills: how to change a tyre, how to put up a shelf, how to shave, how to put on a tie, and how to grill a steak.
-How and where Ray got his custom made tongs is never explained.
-Joyce rear-ended Tondra’s car.
-Ray has an online video series of him doing impressions.
-JJ lured Dylan to the gym by telling her a dog was there playing basketball.
-Maya also got into Emerson.
-When the basketball team were winning, Kenneth made the time to get a matching purple three-piece suit tailor-made for him.
Best one liners and interactions:
- “Why is no-one piling on Ray? And what’s Kenneth doing here?” (Maya at the family meeting/intervention)
- “He’s here to block the door.” “You said you valued my input!” (Jimmy-Kenneth to Maya, answering her question on why Kenneth is at the family meeting/intervention)
- “They said your submission film was ‘weird’.” “It’s called ‘avant garde’!” (Jimmy-Maya on USC’s phone call to schedule an interview with her)
- “Please no German, it scares the dog.” (Maya to Melanie when she is talking about John in German)
- “Am I failing as a father?” “What? No! Well, which child?” (Jimmy-Maya)
- “I’m sure the window’s still open, DiMeo windows usually are. That’s why we have bats in the summer.” (Maya to Jimmy when talks about the father/son window on his and Ray’s relationship possibly closing)
- “Hey Joyce. Can I ask you a question about your dad?” “Did he come here?! What did he say?! He’s a liar!” (Jimmy-Joyce)
- “Okay, here’s what you do. Step one, build up an immunity to laxatives. Most men are suspicious. They’re gonna make you eat the cake too.” (Joyce to Melanie)
- “You made us cupcakes once.” (Maya to Joyce after Joyce encourages Melanie to put laxatives in cakes to give to other people)
- “Hey do I know anything? If I don’t teach Ray something soon he’s gonna change his last name to Tube.” (Jimmy to Maya)
- “But she’s six feet tall.” “Save the analytics Poindexter!” (Kenneth-Dylan on an opposing basketball player)
- “She called me! Okay I was already here.” (Joyce to Maya when she asks Melanie what Joyce is doing there with her)
- “I’m sorry dad, I’m a very curious boy.” (Ray to Jimmy when Jimmy discovers Ray already knows how to grill a steak)
- “You’re right I do look like Grimace.” (Kenneth to JJ when JJ gives him a staring-to on his custom made purple suit that he wears to the basketball games)