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'Derek' recap: Battle against the bureaucrats

Season 1 | Episode 2 | Aired Jan 30, 2013 (UK Channel 4)

When a pilot rocks your socks, it’s hard for the second installment to keep pace. The series pilot did a nice job of tying up its loose ends, with the exception of Hannah’s new potential flame, Tom. Right from the get-go, I’m desperately hoping things work out between our favorite caretaker and the wonderfully direct grandson. The relationship makes sense due to Hannah’s affection for Derek: they are both honest and speak their mind with no filter, so I’m really hoping for good things in the coming episodes.

And with the opening of episode 2, we’re off to a good start. Right away, Derek mentions Hannah’s new “boyfriend,” and the cutaway to her confessional has her glowing with girlish glee. She’s all a-twitter about her new flame and we couldn’t feel happier for it.

Of course, Kev has to get all creeper on young Thomas by congratulating him on his new squeeze. In Kev’s world, not being pregnant and lacking “venereal disease banging around in her basement” is grounds for a solid relationship. As Kev backs up and clarifies that he wouldn’t care either way (of course he wouldn’t), Hannah sweeps in to break up the uncomfortable conversation. And what does Tom do? He tells Hannah exactly what’s going on: Derek is contemplating the outcome of every possible animal fight, and Kev would be happy to bang her, VD and all. Tom rules. This had better work out!

The main drama comes in the form of a visit from the local council. A pair of bureaucrats are taking a tour of the home to check for anything out of order. Hannah is used to these inspections, and while she knows the residents are well cared for, she still feels nervous about them.   Before their arrival, she’s buzzing around the day room, trying to get everything in order: Get rid of the vacuum in the middle of the floor, pick up the drill on the table, stop the poker game, etc. They’re just the usual ins and outs of a normally running rest home.

When the suits sit Hannah down, they have bad news. Due to the rising cost of health care, they feel it would be best to relocate the home’s residents to a bigger facility.

“Moment of Hannah” Awesomeness: When the council reps talk about the “twenty or so residents,” Hannah quickly interjects, “Twenty-two.” She knows exactly how many people are under her care — further proof she’s exceptional at what she does.

Hannah quickly responds there’s no way she’ll re-home them and says they’ll find funding privately. The bigwigs balk at the notion and say, with more than a touch of douchebaggery, “We need to know you’ll follow all the necessary standards. You can’t just let people live here and fend for themselves.” Burrrrnnn …

In the confessional, Hannah expresses her exasperation at the idea that human health has to have a price. Back in office, the suits frankly suggest she should “trim the fat” from her current staff. Hannah bristles at the suggestion and so do we. Derek’s a angel, Dougie does the labor and Kev … oh, no. Kev.

It’s immediately decided that having Kev drink beer amongst the elderly is less than desirable, and Hannah asks Douglass to get him out of there. Kev goes without a major struggle, despite Doug having to touch him. Evidently, he stinks. (Let’s be honest, there’s no way he doesn’t.)

As the suits take their tour, they meet Doug, who has a hard time explaining what he does, and meet Derek, who greets them with his signature smile. The bureaucrats spend a decent amount of time grilling Douglas on his qualifications, to which he replies …

“Desperate Attempt to Save a Gig” Moment: “I told you, I do everything. I got a broken cup here that needs fixing, I got a solar-powered meerkat from the garden, it’s not good, I fix that. I fixed a toaster this mornin’. Pop by next week, all this will be sorted. I don’t know what you want from me.”

The upper brass seem less than convinced. After hearing from Douglas that doing electrical work is “three little wires. It’s not that hard,” and that “the toaster was fixed. It’ll make toast again,” they take their notes and head on their way. Doug tells the camera how the suits create more problems than they solve. Perhaps their presence makes the residents uncomfortable and creates unnecessary tension. He’s got a strong point — one of many.

Next, Hannah asks Derek to remove the tadpoles from the sink and place them in the pond. After Derek refers to her as “tadpole Hitler,” he leaves and returns, in full view of the suits, with the fish in a bedpan. Don’t worry, folks from the city council: “It’s not wee. Just tadpoles.”

Another complication comes from the home’s volunteers, one of whom is serving time on court-ordered community service. According to the law, felons are not permitted to be serving time in elder-care homes. But according to Hannah, he’s done nothing too bad. Just a minor case of assault against his neighbor’s wife. No big deal!

But what happened to Kev? If you thought he was going to hide out in a train station or underneath a bridge, you’ve underestimated his ingenuity. Luckily for the investigators, they catch him in bed, naked, with one of the residents. Just another day in the life of live-in health care.

After all the chaos, a quick meeting is held. Hannah decides to send Derek, Douglas and Kev down to a bustling neighborhood to sign a “save the home” petition. The trio heads down, but rather than collect signatures, Kev tells tasteless jokes to nuns, stares at every woman who walks by, and proclaims an attractive lady “wouldn’t want anything to do with him, unless she was a prostitute.” Douglas hangs back in the van, lamenting the lame attempts of the home’s “saviors.” It’s not looking good. Despite how great Kev is to watch, he isn’t helping.

Back at the home, the local pet shelter comes in to spread some animal love to the home’s residents.

“Tearjerking Because Puppies Are Awesome” Moment: Over the next few minutes, we watch the elderly spend time hugging and petting the furry friends from the shelter as soft piano music plays, Sarah McLachlan-style. I grew up in an animal-friendly home, and know that having therapy pets visit assisted-living establishments is a great way to raise spirits. With my Pekinese at my side, watching the joy these homeless animals give to the home’s residents, my heart can’t help but swell, pushing fresh tears to the edges of my eyes. Another touching moment. Damn you, Derek.

Hannah wishes they could keep the animals longer, but the shelter worker says no. If they were to stay, someone would have to stay up all night to watch them. The next shot shows Hannah, cat in lap, burning the midnight oil so her patients can have a sleepover with their newfound friends.

“F**k Yeah” Moment of Defiance: As she stays awake so the residents can spend more time with the animals, Hannah says, “We’ll get through it. We’ll just do what we have to do. You have to, don’t you? Ninety percent of care-home residents die within six months of being re-homed, so I’m not going to let that happen. This is their home. They have every right to stay here till the end. Not a lot to ask, is it?” Get ’em, Hannah. Get ’em.

The next morning, the head suit informs Hannah the council will not be able to fund the home. Hannah isn’t surprised and dismisses him, saying they’ll find their own income. But there’s another concern. Not Dougie, not the convict, not naked Kev. Derek. Hannah immediately bristles as the suit asks what his situation is, and carefully asks if he’s “handicapped.” After Hannah replies, “Yeah, he’s too nice for his own good,” the suit lays the hammer down. Is Derek autistic?

Before she can answer, Derek walks in, and the big brass grills him on if he’s been ever tested for autism. Derek isn’t quite sure what he means and asks what the testing would prove. Would he die right away, would he have to get experiments done, would it change him as a person? When the shocked supervisor has no good answer and Hannah assures Derek he’d be the same without the label, Derek replies, “Don’t worry about it.” His eyes show perfect clarity, clear in the knowledge that he’ll always be Derek regardless of what anybody says or the labels they place on him.

Luckily, Douglas is there to save the day, and tells the bureaucrat to pound salt in the most brilliantly sarcastic way possible. Don’t worry — the toaster works, nobody died, and Hannah pulled 68 hours last week because of people like him. And he calls the suit a “knobhead.” Thanks to my many Scottish friends, I have an intimate knowledge of what that means. Look it up. Your guess is probably right.

As the credits roll, we watch the residents play with the puppies and kitties, sound in the comfort only a furry friend can bring. We leave the episode unsure of the home’s future, but so long as Hannah is at helm, we can only hope things turn out for the best. Douglas’ solid “F off” to the suit gives us a warm feeling, but in the end, there may be trouble brewing for Derek’s favorite people.

Until the next episode, keep your friends close, keep your pets closer and always strive to #BeLikeDerek.

Derek is now available on Netflix.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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