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Vicious: Freddie, Ash, Chloe (PBS)

Image Credit: PBS

'Vicious' recap: Ash's girlfriend is the absolute worst

Season 1 | Episode 5 | Aired July 28, 2014

It’s double-date night when Ash finally invites his new girlfriend to dinner with Freddie and Stuart.

After making out with girl after girl at the club last week, Ash seems to have finally settled down with a sweet young woman, Chloe. The two are infatuated, kissing and clinging to each other on the couch, which irritates Freddie to no end.

“It’s like a car crash,” Freddie says, downing scotch after scotch. “You can’t take your eyes off it.”

He’s not in a great mood in the first place. His acting agent hasn’t called for months. “Four older actors died last month,” he reasons. “The phone should be ringing off the hook.”

When Chloe arrives for dinner, brimming with incessant enthusiasm and decked out in a butterfly dress, she and Freddie are clearly not going to get along. Immediately after meeting Freddie, Chloe asks for a hug.

“I would prefer not, if that’s an option,” he deadpans.

Chloe and Ash present Freddie and Stuart with a gift—a homemade candle in a pink bag dotted with glitter and more butterflies. Freddie takes every opportunity he can to point out how much more useful a simple bottle of wine would have been.

Determined to have a “super-fun time,” Chloe (portrayed fantastically by Alexandra Roach) waxes on about how happy she is with Ash, which is  particularly absurd in comparison to Freddie and Stuart, who have been together for 48 years.

“Nothing gives me more of a high than being with Ash,” she croons. Freddie is not impressed. “Have you tried cocaine?” he replies.

It’s a stunning dichotomy of old-and-new relationship politics. While Freddie and Stuart snarl sarcasm at each other, their companionship is so much more genuine and substantial than Chloe’s coddling of Ash.

“I don’t know how two people in love could ever say cruel things to each other,” Chloe says.

Stuart and Freddie make Chloe wildly uncomfortable with their toxic tête-à-têtes. Ash tries to explain their personalities to Chloe, but she becomes immediately defensive, saying he shouldn’t tell her how to feel.

To stave off her discomfort, Chloe starts drinking. That’s when the night gets interesting.

Violet, meanwhile, is having weird jaunt in Buenos Aires with her Argentinian lover, Ignacio. She calls Freddie and Stuart while chained to a bed in a BDSM catsuit.

“[Ignacio] stepped out for a moment and he might have taken my wallet and passport with him,” Violet explains, pleading for Freddie to call the embassy. Freddie hangs up and promptly forgets. Poor Vi, but it’s a great little commentary on dating websites: That’s what you get for meeting lovers online.

Back at the Covent Garden flat, Chloe’s drinking gets on Ash’s nerves and the young couple starts bickering, with none of Freddie and Stuart’s lovingly biting wit. Freddie eggs on their arguments, with occasional, hilarious asides to Stuart.

“Do you hear how they talk to each other?” Stuart asks Freddie.

“Kill me if that’s ever us,” Freddie responds. Chloe glugs down another glass of wine.

“You remind me of my mother before she went prison,” Ash chides. We learn a bit more about Ash’s disturbing childhood in this episode, and that he often wakes up screaming in the night. Hopefully, we’ll learn more about that in next week’s season finale.

Vicious: Ash, Chloe, Freddie, Stuart (ITC/Brown Eyed Boy Limited)

Stuart can’t understand Chloe’s vegan lifestyle and keeps offering her chicken and bacon. Chloe natters on about how she can’t eat anything. Tensions mount, climaxing in a cold moment when Chloe chastises Ash for taking career advice from Freddie.

“You’re really going to listen to this washed-up actor that no one’s ever even heard of?” Big mistake, Chloe.

Stuart throws down his napkin and stands up, raising hell and his voice.

“I’ll have you know that Freddie Thornhill has worked on the stage, screen and television for over 50 years,” Stuart lectures her. “Do not presume to tell us anything about our lives, young lady!”

Couples can tease at each other and point out each other’s faults, but Stuart reminds us no one else is allowed to. It’s also a great line in the context of gay relationships in television history.

More than ever, the stage-play style of this sitcom shines through episode 5. The entire main story takes place in Freddie and Stuart’s living room. Every one of Gary Janetti’s over-the-top one-liners is delivered as an announcement. The episode wraps with Freddie finally getting a call for a part on “Call the Midwife,” thanks to his potato-dropping performance on Downton Abbey. All is well.

Vicious insult of the week: “What’s she going to do with it? Eat it?” —Freddie to Stuart, after Stuart’s mother again expresses her desire for a grandchild

Vicious airs Sundays at 10:30 p.m. on PBS.

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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