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'Vicious' recap: Dancing queens

Season 1 | Episode 4 | Aired July 20, 2014 (PBS)

After his disastrous foray into the world of acting last week, Ash finally finds a new job: handing out fliers at a local nightclub called The Shadow Lounge. In need of more customers, Ash invites the septuagenarian gang for a night out.

“You see, I get paid by the head …” Ash explains.

“He gets paid to give head?” Freddie repeats. God bless you, Ian McKellen.

At first, Freddie and Stuart don’t want any part of it. “The last time I went clubbing, Grace Jones punched me for stepping on her pet snake,” Stuart says. But they finally acquiesce to help Ash score a better paycheck.

And just like that, we are graced with McKellen and Derek Jacobi donning their best club wear from the 1960s, complete with pinstriped pants and snakeskin loafers. Props to the wardrobe department for Freddie’s bedazzled martini brooch—possibly the best prop I’ve seen since Matthew McConaughey’s Big Hug Mug on “True Detective.” The only thing better would’ve been a montage of Freddie trying on different outfits from the dusty part of his closet.

The couple’s friends, Grumpy Mason and Forgetful Penelope, come along to the club, impeccably dressed and looking splendidly out of place.

“Oh, there’s somebody older than us,” Freddie exclaims upon entering. Alas, it’s just a mirror.

Stuart doesn’t care much for the club’s atmosphere, but the group mulls over seeing straight and gay couples at the same club together.

“It is lovely they don’t herd us into police vans and throw us into prison anymore,” Stuart observes, in a moment of thought-provoking honesty for a sitcom.

Iwan Rheon as Ash and Ian McKellen as Freddie and Iwan Rheon.

Iwan Rheon as Ash and Ian McKellen as Freddie

Freddie wins over the club crowd (probably thanks to those striped pants, or the X-Men movies) and quickly abandons the gang. “One person buys him a drink and suddenly he’s Paris Hilton,” Stuart complains. Ash quickly invites Freddie to return again the next night.

Hurt, Stuart goes home early and refuses to go back to the club. For the entire day after, he gives up on all his favorite things, including answering the door and offering biscuits to guests.

Meanwhile, Freddie has trouble keeping up with Ash’s young mates on his second club night out. He pretends to know what Jägerbombs are (“I’d love to smoke one”), and realizes he’s the old bloke footing the bill for all the 20-somethings. They ask where he wants to go next, a concept he can’t fathom.

“Leave this location and go to another location? Tonight?” Club-hopping is hell when you’re over 50.

Derek Jacobi as Stuart and Ian McKellen as Freddie.

Derek Jacobi as Stuart and Ian McKellen as Freddie

Back home, Stuart turns to Penelope for relationship advice, since his best friend, Violet, is off with her new lover in Argentina.

“I feel so old,” Stuart whines. “What is the point of even going out and doing anything?”

Penelope has a rare, flickering moment of lucidity, convincing Stuart he’s a brilliant man who doesn’t need to rely on his looks. Of course, the entire time she thinks he’s Freddie, but it still gives Stuart the spark of confidence to get up and go out.

Stuart finds Freddie face-planted on a table at the club, and rescues him from another night of trying to keep up with the kids.

“I want to sit at home until we die,” Freddie admits to Stuart, exhausted.

Having learned his lesson, he tells Stuart, “You look very handsome tonight,” and asks him to dance. They do for one joyful minute, before agreeing to go home and go right to sleep.

Vicious insult of the week: “Your back was cracking so much last night, I thought you were making popcorn in bed.” —Stuart to Freddie

Vicious airs Sundays at 10:30 on PBS.

TV Families | EW.com
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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