Melissa & Joey Toxic Parents

Melissa & Joey Toxic Parents

MandJ

Melissa & Joey
ABC Family
June 5, 2013

As the episode begins, Mel and Joe discuss how well they’ve been getting along, lately, and reach the conclusion that it’s because they’re both dating new people and those relationships are completely separate. Both of their new people are single parents, and both of them consider these to be very “grown-up” relationships. When her date arrives, he has his son with him, since the boy’s mother didn’t arrive to pick him up when she was scheduled to do so. So, Mel and the man, Eric, go on the date with the little boy. The son, Daniel, is a bit…aggressive with her, and she doesn’t really look forward to seeing him again.

It doesn’t take long for our duo to realize that the woman that Joe is dating, Lauren, is none other than Daniel’s Mom! Suddenly, their nice, separate relationships are not so separate. At first, they try to ignore it, but they quickly discover that it’s simply not possible, since they both want to side with their half of a bitterly divorced couple. Joe suggests that Mel should break up with Eric, but she quickly refuses. They’re at an impasse.

While Mel and Joe try to navigate their complex and tangled relationships, Lennox and Ryder are up to their own mischief. While he tries desperately to find motivation to do schoolwork without school (which he finds that he desperately misses, now that he isn’t allowed to go), she finds herself having an argument with her boyfriend, Xander, over whether girls should get tattoos or not. Upon seeing him design a tattoo for his friend, Lennox asks him to make one for her, too. He refuses, telling her that nice girls don’t get tattoos, because they look trashy on girls.

Rather than dissuading her, this only sends Lennox on a war path. She goes to Mel for advice, asking her if a girl should let a guy tell her what to do, provided nothing illegal was involved. Mel tells her that she’s a smart girl and can make her own choices. So…she goes to the tattoo parlor, seeking the best fit for “trashy-lite” that she can find. Xander arrives just in time to stop her from getting the one that she selected. He tells her that he decided that she’s right – she should be able to do what she wants. He just thought that she would like a tattoo designed by him, more than one found in a stock book.

When Lauren and Eric both arrive with Daniel at the Burke house, it sends Mel and Joe into a frenzy to prove that they’re better for the child, and that they thus better deserve to keep their relationship. They end up taking Daniel to the park while the parents stay at the house to discuss pick-up schedules. At the park, they find him much more irritating than they planned. He asks to play with Mel’s antique watch, then throws it down the storm drain. She and Joe both try to reach it, then Joe finally lowers Daniel down to get it for them. Of course…then he can’t get him back out. So they call the fire department, and while they’re waiting Daniel asks to play with her phone. Eric calls while he has it, and they arrive just in time to see him pulled from the drain.

Declaring that Mel and Joe are unfit people, let alone parents, they dump them and storm off with Daniel. Mel and Joe return home, trying to convince themselves that they are, in fact, good parents. It seems that they might be wrong when Lennox shows them her new tattoo, but when she explains that Xander drew it on her with ink that would go away in a month, they feel reassured. They are good parents.

Meanwhile, Ryder’s been working on his school situation. He solves his problem by devoting his art project to constructing a school for himself in the garage. Things are looking up for the clan, as the episode comes to a close.

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The Secret Life of the American Teenager Thank You and Goodbye

The Secret Life of the American Teenager Thank You and Goodbye

The Secret Life of the American Teenager

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Secret Life of the American Teenager
ABC Family
June 3, 2013

So, Readers, this is it. The series finale. Our previous episode ended with Ricky giving Amy one last out. One last chance to say that she doesn’t want to get married and get out of the whole thing. This episode begins with Amy packing some things in her parents’ old house. Her expression is thoughtful, and we shift into a flashback. She’s about to go to her first marching band halftime, during freshman year, when she decides to tell her parents something important. Before she can say anything, she gets a phone call…from Ben.

Back in the present, George sees her sitting at the dining room table and sits down with her. They reminisce about all the family dinners they had around their dining room table before everything went crazy and they moved their discussions into the kitchen. She remarks that graduation is going to be a lot of everyone having an opinion about whether or not she wants to marry Ricky, but George assures her that the only opinions she needs to worry about are her own and her family’s. He reminds her that she does have a family, regardless of whether she marries Ricky or not. The next five minutes are spent on another series of flashbacks, which spans the whole series and accounts the evolution of Amy’s relationship with and feelings for Ricky Underwood.

George goes home to Kathleen, to find her setting the table. She explains that she wanted to give him a nice surprise, and that she wants to get used to having family dinners since their family will soon be growing, with Grace’s impending marriage to Jack. Grace asks why Kathleen let her date Jack, and Kathleen reminds her that she did her best to keep Grace from doing that very thing. This launches another series of flashbacks.

Ben arrives at school late, missing their graduation rehearsal, because of a dental emergency. Amy fills him in on what they’ll need to do, and he asks her if she’s really getting married the next day. She just smiles at him and there are more flashbacks, this time of Amy and Ben. When we return to the present, they share a look, and neither of them look happy, this time.

Following the graduation ceremony, Lauren and Madison come up to Amy in the hall. They talk about how they wish they were going to the same school, and invite her to a party the next day. Amy reminds them that she’s doing a little thing like getting married the next day, so she doesn’t really want to go to a graduation party. She and Adrian and Grace all make up from when Adrian had her breakdown and told the guys all their secrets a few weeks ago. Since Adrian came with Ben, when she, Grace and Jack leave that leaves Ben alone with Amy and Ricky. He makes it clear that he still doubts their commitment to each other, but Ricky just congratulates him on graduating from high school.

Amy admits that she wishes that they could go back and redo high school, doing everything better this time, but it’s too late for that. It’s time to go. It’s time to move on. So they leave the school, the door closing behind them with a click.

More flashbacks, this time about Grace and her revolving door with abstinence.

Jack takes Grace home and leaves her to dance by herself. Adrian arrives home to an empty apartment and tries to convince herself that she’s happy alone, and that she doesn’t need to be in a relationship to be happy. She remembers all the mistakes she’s made for the sake of having a man, over the years. The only one who she was happy with was Omar. A knock on the door brings her back to the present and she quickly tidies up before answering. Omar comes inside to give her luggage…and ask her to go to New York with him right then. By this point, she regrets having let him go before and kisses him with a grin, accepting his offer.

We cut to Amy and Ricky. He shouts at her and they’re both crying. She’s calling off the wedding. She can’t go through with it. He tells her that he gave her every opportunity to get out of the wedding, but she insisted on their getting married. He hates her. She hates him. She tells him that he might love her, but he’s never been in love with her. He only wants to marry her because of John. What difference does that make, he asks? It makes all the difference in the world. They will call their family and friends and tell them that they’re not getting married. She’ll leave, John will stay with him. Ricky tells her that they have to be real friends to raise John separately, and she tells him that they are friends. That’s the problem. She wants them both to be madly in love when they get married. He asks her if she’s madly in love with Ben, and she can’t answer.

After her parents go back and forth a few times about whether she’s doing the right thing or not, she’s ready to go to the airport. She second guesses herself a few times and tries to justify her decision. Ultimately, she decides to go. Upstairs, we see Ricky reading his son a story. He finishes the book, saying “and she lived happily ever after…and so will we.”

So there we have it. This was probably the most sensibly handled episode of the whole series (though I do wish they’d spend less time on flashbacks and more on the actual story). We don’t get a clean ending, because life is not clean. We don’t find out if Amy will be with Ben because she doesn’t know herself. She’s confused and doesn’t know what she wants, but in the end…they’ll move forward with their lives. And they’ll be okay.

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Melissa & Joey Works for Me

Melissa & Joey Works for Me

MandJ

 

Melissa & Joey
ABC Family
May 29, 2013

Melissa & Joey is one of the more charming sitcoms that I’ve seen. Starring such icons of my childhood as Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence, it’s the story of a city councilwoman, Mel Burke, who takes in her niece and nephew after her sister and brother-in-law are arrested in a Ponzi scheme. Since she’s a busy woman, Mel decides to hire a nanny. She ends up hiring Joe Longo, an executive who got caught up in her brother-in-law’s con and lost everything.

Since forming their odd little family, Mel and Joe have formed a good rhythm with each other. At the heart of this rhythm, though, are the reasons why Joe is there to begin with: Lennox and Ryder. As of the beginning of our third season, though, Lennox and Ryder are growing up. She has a boyfriend, who she spends all her time with, and he has friends with whom he’d rather spend his time. As a result of their growing, Joe is feeling less and less needed around the house. When he’s given a job interview, he’s thrilled to take it, thinking that it’s an opportunity to get back into business and away from the ironing board.

He lies to Mel, at first, out of fear that she’ll overreact to learning that he applied for a new job. Afterward, however, he’s happy to tell her exactly what happened. It turns out that the job interview was not for an executive position but instead an offer for a new nanny job. Feeling that his career as a businessman is over and he is to be trapped as a nanny forever, he admits that he feels useless. Mel compares him to a fire extinguisher (you don’t need it every day, but when you do need it, you need it a lot), but her argument does not help and he leaves, saying that he isn’t sure if he can come back.

Agitated for many reasons by the idea of losing Joe from her household, Mel tries to come up with plans to keep him busy and make him feel needed, including having solar panels installed on the roof. All she manages to do is make him feel worse and send him running to the neighbor who offered the new nanny job, to commit to watch their infant and eventually work for them full time.

While this is going on, Lennox is having some trouble with her boyfriend, Xander. He’s an artist and absolutely crazy about her. In fact, she seems to be all that he draws. When he rushes off to a guidance counselor meeting and leaves his sketchbook with her, she flips through to show her friend the pictures of her. At first, everything is fine…until they discover sketches of a different girl. Xander’s guilty attitude when he comes back for the sketchbook convinces Lennox that the girl in the pictures is real, so she and her friend go on a manhunt to find her; scouring his Facebook for someone who looks like her. Just when she’s convinced herself that the girl is just a figment of Xander’s imagination, she and her friend come across her in a coffee shop.

She confronts Xander, who assures her that he does not have a new muse. Far from it, he finds Lennox simply too complex, and he needed a someone easier to draw in her completion. He felt like he didn’t do Lennox justice. She’s satisfied with this, and all is right in paradise again.

Meanwhile, Mel makes one more attempt to convince Joe to stay. While they’re arguing, they get a call from Ryder’s school. He’s been away on a camping trip during the episode, and he was caught smoking marijuana while there. Mel and Joe go to pick him up, and he’s told that he’ll have a disciplinary meeting. Joe has already committed to take care of the neighbor’s baby, leaving Mel to handle the situation on her own. At the last minute, however, he packs up the baby and is able to make it to the meeting.

Ryder is suspended for the rest of the school year, meaning that he’ll be at home for the next three months. The school gives them a list of tutors, but Mel has someone of her own in mind. She asks Joe to tutor him. After all, he’s an intelligent man looking to do something worthwhile, and…what’s more worthwhile than helping a kid who depends on him? In the end, Joe agrees, and decides to break his commitment to the neighbors in order to keep his commitment to Mel and the kids.

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