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'Derek' recap: The birthday boy

Season 1 | Episode 3 | Aired Feb 13, 2013 (UK Channel 4)

Patton Oswalt has an incredible bit about how you’re only allowed 20 birthdays in your life. Up to age 10, it’s yearly but once you become a teenager, forget it. Sweet 16, lucky 21, and from then on, the start of every decade. For Derek, his 50th is right around the corner. This installment celebrates his big day in an unconventional way.

The episodes open with the crew doing some party planning. Derek (Ricky Gervais) wants to pick everything (including his presents), to which Kev (David Earl) suggests a proper “cherry-popping” as a potential gift. Douglas (Karl Pilkington) sighs and laments on his station in life:

The Enlightening Confessional Moment: Douglas says, “He’s 10 years older than me. You’d never guess. That waggles away at a little bit. But he’s younger in here, you see.” (He points to his head.) “No stress.”

As Derek goes through his music and menu requests (Susan Boyle, Robbie Williams, chicken kiev, sausage rolls), Kev proves his worth by taking a dump in his pants. The group leaves in horror, but Kev seems rather pleased with himself, doing a sickening duck walk back to his flat. Douglas comments that despite his awful existence, he’s at least never shat his pants. Score! Doug 1, Kev nothing!

After the bathroom break, we meet Vicki (Holly Dempsey), a young teenager starting her court-ordered community service by working at the center. Derek kindly reminds us she’s probably not a terrible person. She just needs to work here awhile “to say she’s sorry.” Derek is good at boiling life down to its simplest essence, which makes him a joy to watch.

Heartbreakingly Honest Moment #1: Lizzy, one the home’s residents, wanders in front of the camera as Derek is talking. As she stares blankly into the lens, Derek tells her to move on, but the camera follows her as she sits down. Her eyes are empty, they lack understanding and they’re completely sad. Moments like this remind us exactly who Derek cares for and the reality of their situation. We also see a rare moment of frustration from our pal. Maybe that leads into something else down the road?

Being ever eager, Derek offers to take Vicky around to meet the residents. Vicky comments that they smell bad in the confessional, and it’s obvious her head is filled with teenage nonsense. She’s instantly kickable.

On the tour, she meets the leering Kev — who, in classic Kev fashion, sleazes up to Vicki and starts telling an awful joke. Derek doesn’t get it and Kev leaves in frustration, without finishing. As Vicki starts to explain the punchline, Derek reveals he knew it all along. He just likes annoying Kev by pretending to be oblivious. Nicely done, D! Fight brainlessness with brains!

Derek - S1 - E3 - hannah gives Vicki a dose of tough loveHannah (Kerry Goldman) spends some time with Vicki, and learns her life ambitions are to “be like the Kardashians.” Hannah, having seen it all, remains polite as she takes her to her duties. Vicki is disgusted with everything around her, even asking Doug why he has hair like a pedophile (prompting a smart-ass answer) and balks at the idea of making beds without gloves. Hannah replies she’s better off saving them for the urinals, prompting a “fuck’s sake” from Vicki. Hannah won’t have that, and gives her another dose of tough reality. Hannah reminds her that she’s been in a similar position, and there’s lots to learn outside of school. She levels with Vicki where everybody else in her life has probably talked her down.

Hilarious Doug Moment: In the confessional, Doug despairs over the fact his hairstyle has never gone into fashion. Through all the latest trends (long sideburns, platform shoes and dungarees), none of the Hollywood heartthrobs have ever rocked his signature look. Just another example, according to him, of how he’s been unlucky in life. Don’t despair, Doug. Brad Pitt will one day be stealing your style!

Derek - S1 - E3 - Doug hairHannah, who finds the good in everybody, explains to the camera that Vicki isn’t a bad kid. She’s just never had anybody to look up to except celebrities, models and footballers. Of course, Hannah herself wouldn’t mind a bit of David Beckham, provided he didn’t speak, but there’s more to life than emulating pop stars.

Vicki continues to mope around her work until one of the residents asks her where she gets her nails done. After admitting she does them herself, the next shot shows Vicki painting the nice lady’s nails. Hannah offers her some tea, and for the first time, Vicki experiences genuine appreciation. The next montage shows Vicki hard at work: She makes the hated beds, delivers tea and converses with the residents. She’s learning and growing before our eyes.

Derek - S1 - E3 - Vicki NailsBack with his mates, Derek thinks back to his coming age, prompting a discussion. Albert, a fellow resident, gives him the “50 is the new 40″ speech. When somebody asks, “What about 80?” Douglas curtly replies, “Doesn’t mean anything. You’re fucked.” Brutal! Sadly, Lizzy’s dementia comes through again when Derek says to her, “You’re 80,” and she replies, “Am I?”

As Hannah prepares for Derek’s birthday, Douglas takes him, Kev and some of the residents to the library. Doug again waxes philosophical on Justin Beiber biographies, the undue amount of cooking books and why the elderly even bother reading. According to him, it’s not like they are going to finish it. Kev, after finding a photography magazine with some lovely nudes in it, learns he can’t take it out and asks where the bathroom is. What he does with it, I don’t even want to know. But I do. We all do.

When Derek returns, the whole group surprises him with a birthday cake, confetti and a host of presents. What follows is an old-fashioned shindig. The residents boogie, Derek dances and everyone has a great time. It’s refreshing to see a day room usually full of resting residents full of life, music and energy.

Tear-Jerking Moment: During the festivities, Hannah asks Vicki to join her as she fills out her assessment form. When Hannah reads her glowing endorsement, Vicki breaks down in tears. She admits nobody has ever been nice to her like that, and wants to stay on after her community service is up. It’s a sweet moment that proves how dramatically one person can change a life — if only they take the time to care.

It grows late and the party is getting a touch rowdy. With Hannah occupied with Tom, Kev starts feeding Derek booze by the can. Before long, Derek is smashed and needs help from Hannah to hit the bathroom. As Derek yacks, Kev pisses and another resident has a minor accident that he blames on his wonky prostate. Hannah sighs and says, “My life.” Something tells me she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Derek - S1 - E3 - Derek SmashedThe episode ends with the party closing down. The residents go back to their chairs, Kev crashes out in the day room and Derek spends the evening with his head in Hannah’s lap on bathroom floor. As the credits roll, we see shots of the resting elderly, cut together with pictures and grainy video of them as younger people. It reminds us they were once young, vibrant and full of life. Regardless of age, infirmaries and aliments, good music and better friends can bring out old passions and a lust for life. Staring down the end of a time line doesn’t mean you have to give up. It simply means you have the time to reflect on a life lived well. It’s a poignant end to an important episode.

Epsiode 4 is next on the horizon. As always, #BeLikeDerek.

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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