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'Jennifer Falls' recap: Mahalo very much

Season 1 | Episode 5 | “Staycation | Aired July 9, 2014

It sucks to be poor. Just ask Jennifer and Gretchen as they embark on a “staycation” to their backyard Bora Bora. This week on Jennifer Falls, Jennifer has to make good on a promise she made to Gretchen when they were rich. The only catch is, they can’t afford to go to Bora Bora anymore, so Jennifer has to work twice as hard to deliver half the goods. It’s a sight to behold.

Aww_DinaThe episode opens with Jennifer telling Dina about her plan to surprise Gretchen with a backyard luau she’s calling a “staycation.” Once Jennifer tells her the details, Dina tells her she is “such a good desperate mom” and that her mom merely paid her off in menthols. Gretchen is lucky to have her.

In order to make this dream a reality, Jennifer must ask for the weekend off, but she knows Stephanie won’t go for it, so she asks Wayne because she knows she can take advantage of his sweet, childlike nature. Jennifer distracts Stephanie with the threat of a shirtless vagrant so that she can get Wayne alone, and of course she relents. All that’s Steph_Jenn_wayneleft is to convince Gretchen.

When Jennifer talks with Gretchen, she tells tales of Ebay tiki torches, coconut cocktails and promises of mutual hair braiding: every 15-year-old girl’s dream. Gretchen seems reluctant, but Jennifer convinces her, proving that Gretchen has very little in common with the average American teenage girl.

To fund this well-intentioned but misguided attempt at mother-daughter bonding, Jennifer must stop by the bar to pick up her paycheck. She finds Stephanie hard at work, but when Stephanie tries to pawn her armful off on Jennifer because “Carrying boxes is not a job for a lady,” Stephanie is surprised to learn Jennifer has the weekend off. Now she must rely on Sad Megan to cover the busy weekend shift—whose husband left her and whose daughter stole money to get that face tattoo. They are all in trouble now.

skeptical JenniferJennifer won’t be deterred—not yet, anyway—and she returns home to arrange the perfect staycation for Gretchen—including a crock full of pig, courtesy of Rachael Ray. Dina angles for an invite, but when Jennifer balks at the extra company, Gretchen begs for fun almost–Aunt Dina to join the party. Dina still wants to go to fake Bora Bora, even after Jennifer promises her a “drunken ho road trip,” which sounds way more fun than the backyard road trip and cheap ukulele player Jennifer has planned.

While Jennifer sets the scene for the world’s saddest vacation, she gets an opportunity to interview with a big corporate company, but instead of just telling Gretchen and Dina about it, she tries to juggle everything at once. She handles it fine at first, but when Wayne shows up, as a result of a fight they voicemailhad about Jennifer’s weekend off, things start to go south pretty quick.

To me, though, it seems like such a better party with Uncle Wayne there: Jennifer feels obligated to fix things between Wayne and Stephanie because her advice for Wayne to “sack up” backfired. She insists he leave, and when he doesn’t, they race to leave tattletale messages on their mom’s voicemail. Jennifer goes to see Stephanie just to rid the party of the “big blubbery black cloud,” leaving Dina in charge of Gretchen, and winds up texting an apology and admission of guilt to Stephanie from Wayne’s phone.

Dina_GretchenRumWhile Jennifer is off making nice with Stephanie, Dina catches Gretchen putting rum in her drink, and Dina is torn between being “cool almost–Aunt Dina” or “narcky almost–Aunt Dina.” She doesn’t want to be an authority figure, and remembers when she and Jennifer were kids and “caught fireflies and played tag in the park,” which of course is a euphemism for “got drunk off our asses.”

Jennifer gets caught up in interview after interview and winds up missing most of the luau. When she finally does return, she finds Dina asleep (read: passed out), and Gretchen is at a party with her friends. Jennifer, in an attempt to juggle so many things at once, has dropped everything and blows the interview, excusing herself to go get Gretchen. When Jennifer goes to leave, she finds Wayne and Stephanie playing video games, having made up over their mutual anger toward her.

Because Stephanie couldn’t get any madder, Jennifer borrows her car, and goes to get Gretchen, drunk, from her hugfriend’s house. Standing on the lawn in front of the friend’s, they have the real mother-daughter moment that Jennifer has been trying for all along. They hug, and that is that.  They go eat some Crock-Pot pig and promise to not visit Switzerland on their next nonvacation.

Do you think Gretchen was too light on Jennifer? What about Jennifer? Did Gretchen get let off the hook too easily?

For more of my thoughts and opinions about the shows I watch, find me on Honest Reviews Corner and TV Megasite.

Jennifer Falls, rated TV-PG, airs Wednesdays at 10:30/9:30C on TV Land.


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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