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'Jennifer Falls' recap: You have a sandwich?

Season 1 | Episode 6 | “Three Dates With My Mother” | Aired July 23, 2014

We all have mommy issues, but when Jennifer sees a psychiatrist to help with hers, she quickly realizes that she’s not frustratedjennthe only one who could benefit from a little therapy. While Jennifer is trying to cope with the stress of her family, she learns a lot about Maggie in the process.

In the first moments of the episode, we see Wayne negotiating with psycho Steve over the Ragin’ Cajun wings that may or may not be on the menu. Stephanie changed the menu again without Wayne knowing it, and we see how easily he is railroaded into doing what Stephanie wants.

wholewheatWhen Maggie arrives with an artisanal ham-and-brie sandwich, Wayne jumps at the chance to have it. He loves brie, but Maggie ignores him; even when Jennifer declares she doesn’t eat wheat, she still doesn’t give it to Wayne. Maggie tells Jennifer, “I don’t know why you work so hard to push love away,” prompting Jennifer to take the sandwich anyway. Wayne is left empty-handed, no brie to speak of.

While Maggie is there, she informs Jennifer that Gretchen has gone out, and Jennifer reminds her she told her she wasn’t allowed to leave until her homework is finished. Maggie reminds her, “There is no point in telling me things if I don’t hear them.” Jennifer looks at the audience in her doleful, exasperated way, and we understand she’s had it up to here with her family.

This week we get to see Dina in her element, in her delivery truck, and Jennifer is along for the ride. She confesses to dinaintruckDina that she’s seeing a psychiatrist to help cope with all the stress that her relationship with her mother is causing. Dina is skeptical, and tells Jennifer the only thing she needs to do is find her happy place. Dina’s happy place includes a cabana boy named Alejandro and day drinking. When happyplaceJennifer tries it, she can’t shake Maggie, and her mother shows up even in her fantasies.

Jennifer also tells Dina that the therapist wants to do a family session, and when Jennifer tells Maggie this, Maggie is incredulous. As a psychologist, she has a running feud with all psychiatrists; she proclaims this family session to be a transparent ploy to “blame the mother.”

When the family arrives at the session, everyone has their own issues to air. Stephanie can’t help but control Wayne and everything he says or does; Gretchen feels micromanaged by her mother; and Maggie spends the session online shopping, saying she might as well get something out of it.

The therapist gives everyone homework as a way to work on their issues, based on the mess he’s witnessed during the session. Wayne wants power, so he gets to make a decision and follow it through; Stephanie must support him no matter what. Gretchen gets a whole week in which she can make decisions without her mother’s input. Jennifer and Maggie must go on a “date” and discuss some things that feel uncomfortable to them.

No one’s homework works out as well as hoped. Jennifer and Maggie’s date is disastrous, and Maggie spends the eveninggretchencar picking up the man from Tulsa at the table next to them. Jennifer heard cool jazz and giggling come from her room later that evening, so it’s obvious what Maggie’s takeaway was. Wayne buys a karaoke machine and implements a 24-hour happy hour, essentially giving away food and drinks while Dina belts out “Danny Boy” and dedicates it to Alejandro. Gretchen goes bananas, getting more and more extreme in her freedom, and Jennifer watches as she comes home with more and more outlandish proof from her week without rules.

They meet back in therapy to discuss how wrong it all went, and the therapist encourages them to stay the course; naturally, it gets increasingly worse. Jennifer accuses Maggie of never showing any vulnerability, while Stephanie is so wired over her loss of control that she has ground down a Styrofoam cup in a nervous rage. gretchentanGretchen bursts in with a deep tan to announce she’s not showing up to the appointment, and the therapist has to use the bullhorn usually reserved for his prison sessions to get them under control. Maggie is delighted that he is losing control. She acts competitive and dismisses his advice, scoffing at his degree from Florida State.

Jennifer and Maggie don’t make much progress until they are stranded in an elevator; Maggie confides in Jennifer about her own mother—specifically, how critical and cold she could be. Jennifer understands now why jennmaggieelevatorMaggie has a hard time admitting when anything is wrong. Just when she thinks she might see her mother cry, Maggie is caught with a sandwich.

The episode mostly ends there, but not before we see Gretchen beg to have her boundaries back because she just can’t take the pressure of having to outdo herself over and over. Stephanie gets permission from Wayne to regain control, and she takes it out on the karaoke machine with a bat. There is also a bit of resolution as Jennifer and Maggie go out to eat again, but this time they get along just fine.

I’m ready for Jennifer and Dina to have love interests. Who do you have in mind? Anybody with me in wishing for Jason Lee? Tweet me your hunky nominations for Jennifer.

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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