Season 1 | Episode 2 | “Health Club” | Aired June 11, 2014
As if Jennifer hasn’t suffered enough indignities, the episode opens with her car being repossessed. Chasing after the truck dressed in a skimpy exercise outfit, she definitely gets a workout as the driver trades the contents of the car for another block of Jennifer bouncing after him. Jennifer agrees to the sleazy deal with exasperation. What does she have to lose at this point, anyway? Right?
Next up on the tour of humiliations is a visit from Jennifer’s mother, Maggie, to Wayne’s bar. Jessica Walter is starting to play Maggie like we want to see her: critical, invasive, and coolly and covertly mean. She doles out the mother guilt without the slightest shift in inflection, and her deadpan delivery makes me relieved I’m not one of her children. Without raising an eyebrow, she belittles both children in one swoop, deriding, “I’m just disappointed to see my little MBA working in a seedy dive bar.” Oooh, burn.
However, Maggie can’t waste time belittling Jennifer at the moment, as she has bigger issues at hand: the organization of her son’s baby-making. She says now is the time for them to start because, as she warns, “Look at your hairline, Wayne. Tick-tock.”
Wayne stands up to her and thinks he’s beat her at her own game. But little does he know, Maggie did what she does and has influenced Stephanie into wanting a baby right now, despite the five-year plan. Always the thoughtful mother, Maggie presents Wayne and Stephanie with presents to celebrate their compliance: Wayne gets boxers to keep his old sperm cool, and Stephanie gets an ovulation kit. Weirdest present from a mother-in-law ever.
As creepy as it sounds, Maggie loses interest in having a new grandchild when she remembers how much work they are, and Wayne and Stephanie become much more interested in making a baby now that Maggie isn’t micromanaging it. What better circumstances are there to make a baby than dysfunction and heavy-handed manipulation? That’s sexy stuff.
Jennifer is missing her old life, and it becomes especially acute when she finds the membership card to her old health club and spa. When they won’t refund her the money (a whopping six grand!), she sets out to get her money’s worth, even after she denied enjoying it to Dina.
While at the swanky spa, Jennifer runs into Carrie and Francine, former coworkers, and she completely lies to them (What? Me? Live with my mother? No way!) From there, the episode devolves into the aforementioned hijinks. Jennifer tricks the ladies into paying for the expensive dinner by telling them it’s her birthday, but doesn’t end the dinner in time to make it to bowling with Dina. Jennifer shows up just as Dina is leaving the alley.
To make up for standing Dina up, Jennifer takes them to the nosebleed section of the Black Keys concert, but runs into Carrie and Francine again. Instead of just coming clean about where she’s sitting and the box of wine she’s carrying, she goes to great lengths to fool them into thinking she is still the old Jennifer. She is so committed to the scheme that she hands off the entire box of unopened wine to a stranger. GASP!
They finally all wind up in the same place. Jennifer is caught in her lies, Three’s Company–style, and Dina is hurt to realize Jennifer was standing her up again. Jennifer comes clean with the meanies and admits to living with her mom and working in a bar — and says that she’s right where she wants to be. Jennifer and Dina wind up having a heartfelt moment when Jennifer apologizes and agrees to be up front about her lies in the future. Dina seems OK with this, and all is well with the ladies. Dina is a way better friend than I am.
The episode ends with a very funny scene of the two friends at the spa discussing their made-up estate in Ireland in snooty nasal accents. They both agree that someone has to feed the falcon. Not it.
What do you think about Jennifer? Is she a good friend? Does she deserve Dina? Tweet me your thoughts.
Jennifer Falls, rated TV-PG, airs Wednesdays at 10:30/9:30 C on TV Land.