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Sando–Season 1 Finale (Family Business)

As it’s the season finale, this episode kicked off with a Sando’s ad, only Tony’s version for a current ad.

The contrast between the Sando’s ads from the 90s and Tony’s ad and plans for Sando’s now and in the future were clear as day. Obviously the board weren’t going for it and before they could tell him this, Sando walks in and tries to win them over. She makes a deal to shoot the ad and if they don’t like it, she’ll go on her own accord.

Sando then has to complete the task of convincing her family members to participate in her old ads again. Susie refuses as Sando’s Warehouse is her competitor and Kevin has sold his car to invest in her company, Don refuses as Nicky got him a singing gig at the same time, and Eric refuses as he’s too upset over Nicky rejecting him. However she eventually gets the numbers as Eric is jealous at the thought of Vic Junior taking his place, Don sees the ad as an opportunity to promote his song to a larger audience than the singing gig would provide, and Kevin’s car was stolen and the buyer wants his money back so Susie has no other options.

The scenes of Sando and the family filming the ad gives an insight into their dynamic and what it’s like being a famous family. However this isn’t the highlight of the episode, the highlight of the episode comes right after this when Susie joins in.

The secrets come out and the story arcs of the season come to a head when Rian overhears Don and Sando via the studio headset talking about sleeping together, which leads to Susie telling Nicky this information over the phone, then Tony comes in and asks Susie how Sando convinced her to do the ad, which leads to Tony revealing that Sando’s assets are frozen and she can’t give her the money she needs, which leads to Susie losing it during filming with Eric following her lead moments later, and Nicky arrives to confront Sando, which leads to her telling Eric about the affair and Susie finding out, which leads to a brawl between them all. This chain of events was pulled off seamlessly, with every emotion portrayed realistically and beautifully.

The episode then cuts to an ABC News Breakfast crossover with Sando making an appearance revealing the edited ad, complete with the brawl, as part of her “re-branding strategy” changing Sando’s Warehouse to Crazy Sando’s. Sando then reveals that Susie is the head of the company, with Kevin and Gary working for her.

The episode and the season ends on a rather dark note with Susie partially revealing she plans to destroy Sando, Tony being fired, Eric being admitted to a mental hospital of some kind after a breakdown, and Nicky having opened her therapeutic practice and revealing to an unknown person over the phone that she’s writing a tell-all about the family. Obviously these moments were hinting at time jumps and possible story arcs for the next season, if the show is renewed. The episode and the season also ends in a full circle of sorts as the pilot started with an old Sando’s ad and this episode and the season ends with Sando turning on the TV to watch her new Crazy Sando’s ad with Don.

Overall this was a well done season finale as all the story arcs for this season were successfully concluded with no loose ends, while the final minutes of the episode perfectly set up story arcs for the next season. Whilst the season overall got off to a shaky start by going overboard with outlandish jokes and slapstick moments, but thankfully turned a corner at the fourth episode where the season focused more on the family dynamic, character and subplot development, which lead to a natural and fitting season finale.

I’m hoping this isn’t the last I see or review of Sando.

 

Stray Observations:

–This episode marks a crossover with Sando appearing on ABC News Breakfast.

Best one liners:

  • “Vomiting my guts up at the back of our yacht at the start of the Sydney to Hobart was not a good look.” (Sando to the board).
  • “Mentally he’s still in year 8” (Don describing Eric to Nicky).
  • “How can I advertise furniture when my heart is broken” (Eric to Sando).
  • “Eric’s walking like a re-animated giraffe!” (Sando to Susie)
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Sando–Season 1, Episode 5 (Lockdown)

Again the episode kicks off with a 90s-ish Sando’s ad, this time focusing on dodgy furniture contracts.

This episode mainly focuses on Don and Sando as they are locked in Don’s “man cave” for most of it, both of them needing to escape as they have important events to attend–Don, his first pub gig, and Sando, the board meeting. While this is a simple and cliche premise, it worked well for this episode as it allowed for character development. Don and Sando resolved some of their issues and ended up having sex, but didn’t end up getting back together.

While they eventually escaped by going through the floor and eventually made it to their respective events, the character development achieved while in “lockdown” goes one step further with Sando as she decides to miss the board meeting to attend Don’s gig, proving that she can be selfless. Another interesting moment is when Sando finds herself attracted to him, voices it and Nicky hears her, feeling threatened, however this isn’t addressed in the episode. Not surprisingly, Don’s gig fails him when he tries his original songs but he ends up succeeding by embracing his jingles as Sando and the rest of the family suggested.

The B subplot was just ridiculous with Rian finding an old picture of Susie when she had pointy goblin-like ears and of course she assumes Susie is a goblin and puts herself in “lockdown” in her closet. While it’s natural for a child her age to see something like this and make such an assumption, what’s unnatural and ridiculous is Gary falling for it, even Eric doesn’t fall for it. Eventually all is sorted, just in time for Don’s gig. In all honesty, while it provided an insight into Susie, this subplot didn’t add anything else to the episode.

Overall this was a good episode, especially as the family were brought together and seemed happier. The unresolved moments of Sando’s decision to not attend the board meeting, Susie meeting with Kevin as a potential investor for her business, and Nicky’s insecurity about having Sando around Don, provide a great springboard for the finale.

 

Stray Observations:

–Vic Junior hates kids.

Best one liners:

  • “I’ve been banned from TAFE” (Eric).
  • “You’re not high from sniffing a Birchgrove lounge set are you?” (Sando to Tony).

Sando–Season 1, Episode 4 (Therapy)

In my previous review, I asked for improvement in the second half of the season and this episode certainly showed promise.

The episode kicks off again with a 90s-ish ad establishing the episode’s theme–hypnotism.

Susie wants Sando to have a therapy session with Nicky to get her to change, during this session Nicky tries to get Sando to open up, even trying to manipulate her, but to no avail as Sando outwits her. When she hypnotises Sando into being a selfless person, the A story is established.

Sando gives Susie her cup of tea, offers to get Kevin to stop coming around, does the grocery shopping, cooks breakfast for everyone, and motivates Kevin to become a pilot. Of course everyone in the family is surprised by her selflessness and enjoys it until she decides to have a family dinner, which includes Kevin. It is at this dinner that tensions are brought out into the open, specifically between Susie and Gary, which leads to Susie ordering Nicky to change Sando back to the way she was. She seems to do so, only for her to apparently make things worse as Sando puts the house on the market the next morning.

It is at this moment that Sando reveals she was faking being hypnotised the entire time and calls everyone out on their feelings for her brilliantly in one sentence–“you need me because I make you feel better about yourselves”. This moment shows great character development and writing as it shows Sando is aware of what everyone really thinks of her and it also displays the other main characters’ flaws.

The B story has Kevin and Gary meeting for the first time and becoming friends to Susie’s chagrin. Kevin makes an appearance seemingly trying to win Susie over with his delicious biscuits, when in reality he actually tried to win over Vic Junior’s teacher. He is also more supportive of Susie’s business ideas than Gary and displays his I.T. skills, which makes Gary feel threatened, until he sees Kevin’s sports car, which Kevin allows him to take a spin in. I at first thought that Kevin was trying to manipulate Gary to win Susie back, especially during the dinner, but in reality he cares about them deeply and probably did both of them a favour by getting their tensions out in the open. I appreciated that the writers avoid the “ex-boyfriend-trying-to-win-his-girlfriend over” cliche, and I’m looking forward to seeing where Kevin’s friendship with Gary and Susie goes.

Overall this episode was a huge improvement from the last one, with improved writing and character development and going without the outlandish jokes.

 

Best one liners:

  • “This is the hardest session I’ve ever had to do since I had to convince Eric the tooth fairy isn’t a real girl” (Nicky to Sando on their therapy session).
  • “Alright settle down Pete Evans!” (Susie to Nicky)
  • “A pilot can’t risk getting accidentally hypnotised” (Eric to Rian when he puts his sunglasses on during Nicky’s second hypnotherapy session with Sando).

Sando–Season 1, Episode 3 (New Mum)

While Sando has been filled with outlandish jokes, unfortunately in this episode the A story itself was outlandish and ridiculous, which brought down the episode and made it a failure.

The episode kicks off with its usual 90s-ish Sando’s ad of an “out with the old, in with the new” sale, which of course is the theme of the episode. We then see Sando on the phone with Tony, she is talking about Susie coming back to the business and Tony is altering the Sando’s logo to feature his face, which I know will be focused on in a later episode. We then cut to Sando and Eric talking at the pool, with Sando providing a backstory on Susie’s business skills and talent, which again will most likely appear in a later episode, but let’s get back to this one.

Sando catches Don and Nicky in the act, which leads to her blackmailing them into convincing Susie to let her stay longer. While the blackmail was pulled off well, it’s a shame no more came out of it. Shortly after this deal is made, Gary admits to Don that he is addicted to skinny dipping. While a skinny dipping addiction is ridiculous and Gary’s confession to it is a little cheesy, it did provide some great comic moments, such as when Gary near falls off the wagon and wants to dip his toe in, and when Gary actually does fall off the wagon to his relief and everyone’s shock.

However the skinny dipping addiction isn’t what makes the A story outlandish and ridiculous, it was Susie’s desire to divorce Sando and subsequently ask Nicky to adopt her and be Rian’s grandmother. Nicky obviously can’t adopt Susie and Rian’s teacher going along with this charade was unrealistic. Nicky becoming addicting to darning, wearing glasses and acting like a grandmother was both funny and ridiculous.

Meanwhile, Eric, hoping to take over the family business, applies to work at one of the Sando’s stores, where he is immediately hired by Mikal (Michael Denkha) once he makes his identity clear. While it was obvious that Eric would do a bad job, it was hilarious to see his downfall, not to mention it was good to see that Sando is capable of conducting business and being selfless at the same time, even if the intentions were dubious.

While I’m critical where I need to be when I’m reviewing, I’m not usually this scathing. The reason why I’m so scathing of this episode is not only the obvious ridiculousness of the writing but the fact that the characters themselves, mostly Don and Sando, point out how ridiculous the A story actually is. While you could argue that the writers and characters are poking fun at themselves, it’s one thing to poke fun, another to completely ridicule.

Hopefully there’s improvement in the second half of the season.

 

Stray Observations:

Here Come the Habibs alumni, Michael Denkha (Fou Fou) and Sam Alhaje (Toufic) make an appearance.

-Vic Junior didn’t make an appearance.

-Don doesn’t like Gary calling him dad.

 

Best one liners:

  • “You guys would make terrible teenagers” (Sando to Don and Nicky).
  • “I wore my best interview socks” (Eric to Mikal).
  • “Is it because I eat beef stock cubes in bed, because I can stop!” (Gary to Susie when she announces she wants a divorce).

 

Sando–Season 1, Episode 2 (Sorry)

Now that the pilot has established the premise and characters, we can get into subplots and story arcs.

Again the episode kicks off with another 90s-ish furniture ad featuring Sando, Don and the kids when they were younger. The ad is about a “don’t be sorry sale”, which fits the episode’s name and main theme, which I’ll get to.

Another theme of the episode is the mother-son relationship between Sando and Eric, especially with the first appearance of Vic Junior (Zane Ciarma), her son with Kevin. In the first few minutes of the episode, Eric is clinging to Sando in an unhealthy and creepy way, to the point where Sando kicks him out of the pool house, and the contrast between both Eric and Vic Junior, and the relationships that Sando has with the two of them are made explicitly clear when Vic Junior shows up at the house.

When Vic Junior shows up to the house, he comes across as obnoxious as he refers to his parents by their names, however he shows his intelligence as he points out to Susie that he didn’t do anything wrong and neither did she and that they were two innocent bystanders in the Sando-Kevin situation. Interestingly, after this interaction it is revealed to the viewers that Susie felt hostility towards Vic Junior and she herself admits that now she has met him she not only likes him, but likes him more than Eric. While Eric is immediately jealous of Vic Junior and Sando’s bond from the moment he shows up, especially when he witnesses their weekly ritual of watching Canterbury Bulldogs games whilst wearing personalised Bulldogs shirts.

Vic Junior is not the only character from the past that makes an appearance, Kevin makes a reappearance as well. With his reappearance it is revealed that he and Sando are not together and unlike Sando, he sincerely apologises to Susie and she in turn forgives him. Now that Susie has forgiven him and has met and likes Vic Junior, and she is starting to show some selfish qualities similar to Sando’s, it will be interesting to see where her character development goes over the course of the season.

I felt that the kidnapping jokes after Eric left Vic Junior at the movies fell a little flat, but was nevertheless written well as Eric’s decision to leave and then change his mind, and Vic Junior’s choice to call an Uber home and mess with Eric’s head was true to both their characters. Vic Junior said Eric would pay for his actions but doesn’t specify how, I’m looking forward to seeing their bond grow and if it doesn’t, how Vic Junior will get his revenge.

The end of the episode provided not slapstick comedy so much, but more of an outlandish joke with Sando making a film starring Sigrid Thornton to apologise to Susie. While I love Sigrid Thornton, I felt that this joke fell flat. That being said the film led to a significant moment between Susie and Sando, as Sando calls Susie out on her unwillingness to forgive her for her actions, especially as while they were unacceptable, they did provide Susie with the opportunity to find a man better suited to her. After this, there seems to be hope at the end of the episode of the start of a reconciliation only for Sando’s selfishness to get the better of her again, which brings her back to square one.

Overall this episode was an improvement on the pilot with increased character development and decreased slapstick comedic moments and outlandish jokes.

 

Stray Observations:

Running gags: “belt broken” as a reason/excuse to have sex, Don and Nicky having sex in confined spaces, and Don and Nicky using peanut butter while they have sex.

-Sando’s son is named Vic Junior, yet his father’s name is Kevin.

-Sando’s and Vic Junior’s laughs are identical.

Best one liners:

  • “I’m allergic to confrontation” (Gary).
  • “Not bad, I definitely heard some regret” (Gary to Susie on Sando’s attempt at apologising).
  • “I’ve got to do everything in this house! Answer the door, drink all the wine…” (Sando).
  • “Rivers, oceans, Don’s throbbing….” (Nicky to herself, trying to keep calm and focused).

Sando–Pilot (Prodigal Mum)

The job of a pilot is to establish a show’s premise and characters, and set up story arcs for the season, I felt that this pilot did a good job.

The episode kicks off with a 90s-looking television ad of Sando’s–a discount furniture store, with the “package deal queen” and namesake, Vicki “Sando” Sandringham (Sacha Horler), with her family advertising the discounts on offer. We are then brought forward an unidentified number of years to the wedding of Sando’s oldest child, Susie (Krew Boylan) to Kevin (Firass Dirani). We are given a brief insight into how Sando’s fame has affected her as a person, and the background on the furniture business, before the reveal that Sando is pregnant with Kevin’s baby. Sando fails to comically explain away the affair when Kevin admits at the altar he’s in love with Sando and we then see Kevin kicked through the church doors by Susie, before Sando runs off and Susie rushes back to the catastrophe of her fallen-through wedding.

We are then brought forward 10 years into the future, to the present day, where we see a more current ad of Sando’s, albeit without her family. Sando’s have become successful, however Sando herself is still as immature as ever, deciding to throw a crazy EOFY party without a second thought, which leads to the CFO, Tony (Rob Carlton), revealing she has been thrown out of the company and her paid-for home.

Then the viewers are brought up-to-date with Susie’s life, which has changed mostly for the better, as she found love with husband, Gary (Uli Latukefu) and had a daughter, Rian (Sierra Lewis) however she is living with her father, Don (Phil Lloyd), and younger brother, Eric (Dylan Hesp) to save money as her online business is struggling.

Sando showing up at Rian’s birthday party on a horse and trying to make amends was hilarious, especially as it led to scenes which gave more of an insight into the family and their dynamic. Don can’t build a music career due to his only success amounting to the jingle he wrote for the furniture store and is having an affair with Susie’s best friend, Nicky (Adele Vuko), Eric is still a child, and Gary is working four jobs to support Susie’s business idea which isn’t going anywhere. Another insight into the family dynamic is provided when Susie and Sando’s conflict comes to a head at the birthday party when Eric reveals he told Sando about Susie’s business, and Susie tasers Sando.

Ultimately it’s Gary, the family in-law who doesn’t know Sando, who suggests she moves in to help them out, and here the premise of the show is set up.

Overall this pilot did a good job with establishing it’s premise and characters. While this pilot was packed with great one-liners, I’m not sure if the slapstick comedic moments such as Kevin being thrown through the church doors, the EOFY party, and Sando being tasered, really suit the show, I felt they were a little over the top.

I’m looking forward to reviewing the rest of the season and seeing where it goes.

 

Stray Observations:

-Susie allows her anti-vaxxer friends to bring their children to Rian’s birthday party on the condition that they stay in a pen. Susie display some new age qualities, but isn’t completely anti-western medicine.

-Sando’s furniture displaying skills are shown in the last five minutes of the episode when she manages to clean up the pool house that has been used as storage for years.

Best one liners:

  • “You’ve turned my beautiful boutique store into a bargain basement furniture whorehouse for bogans!” (Sando’s mother, Catherine to Sando).
  • He was all over me like a fat kid on a biscuit!” (Sando on her and Kevin’s sexual encounter which led to her pregnancy).
  • “We’re like fake tan on a bra–we’re everywhere!” (Sando to her colleagues on the store’s success).
  • “I’m the reason people run through those doors and blow their baby bonus on a flatscreen” (Sando to Tony).
  • “It’s not my fault that you’ve burnt every bridge you ever had with anyone who ever loved you!” (Tony to Sando).
  • “Stop using my life as a routine” (Gary to Eric).
  • “Vicki, what have I told you about showing up here on one of your redemption benders!?” (Don to Sando when she shows up at Rian’s birthday party on a horse).