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Image Credit: Ian McKellen as Freddie Thornhill and Derek Jacobi as Stuart Bixby.

'Vicious' season 1 finale recap: Coming out to Mom

Season 1 | Episode 6 | Aired Aug 3, 2014

Before Freddie and Stuart celebrate 49 years together, Ash accidentally lets news of the anniversary party slip to Stuart’s mother.

Stuart is furious at first, but after some reflection, he decides to take this opportunity to tell his mother that he and Freddie are a couple.

“I think it’s time,” he tells Freddie, earnestly. After nearly half a century, he’s hilariously correct. But thanks to superb acting by both Derek Jacobi and Ian McKellen, it’s a suddenly poignant moment for the sitcom.

Assuming the show takes place in 2014, Freddie and Stuart got together in the mid-1960s and stayed together through some of the most tumultuous moments of gay liberation and history around the world. From the Stonewall riots and the AIDS crisis to the strike-down of DOMA and successful runs of shows like Modern Family and Will and Grace, Freddie and Stuart have prevailed.

And now, their greatest challenge is finally facing Stuart’s mother, Mildred, played by Hazel Douglas (Bathilda Bagshot in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1).

Perhaps it’s the high of filming a season finale, but the whole gang brought their A-game to the anniversary party. Penelope is dottier than ever, exclaiming, “Happy birthday, Stephen!” to Stuart. Human Grumpy Cat Mason (Philip Voss) is especially sharp-tongued this week, likely because his birthday also falls on the couple’s anniversary, and nobody gives a damn.

More important, Ash nearly busts a blood vessel when Stuart asks for the thousandth time, “You know our friend Violet?”

“We’ve all had dinners together, we’ve been to pubs together—we even went to bloody Stonehenge,” Ash scolds Stuart. “Of course I remember Violet! She practically gives me a handjob every time she says hello!”

Iwan Rheon as Ash and Frances de la Tour as Violet.

Iwan Rheon as Ash and Frances de la Tour as Violet

Freddie and Stuart hug him for saying exactly what’s on his mind. “Welcome to the family!” Freddie announces. “How heartwarming,” Mason grumbles. “You’re both going to turn that sweet boy into a gargoyle like you.”

Meanwhile, Freddie has invited none other than Dame Judi Dench to the anniversary party, whom he knows thanks to a Smarties commercial they both did decades ago. Much like Freddie’s fawning over Dame Maggie Smith earlier this season, his excitement over Dench is especially fun considering McKellen’s longtime friendship with the dame. They played Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, respectively, for a 1978 TV drama.

No one expects Judi Dench to show up, especially after Mildred arrives and commands everyone’s attention. Within a minute of stepping into Freddie and Stuart’s Covent Garden flat, Mildred calls Violet a slut, hears Stuart’s news and promptly faints. The party quickly becomes a countdown to when Mildred will wake up and if she’ll remember that Stuart and Freddie are lovers, not flatmates.

On Vicious, it’s important to remember that Freddie and Stuart show affection with theatrical play-hatred. Is there anything more delicious than hearing Jacobi call McKellen a “big bitch?” But every once in a while, one barb goes too far, and the episode follows the other as he tries to make up for it.

This week, however, Violet is on the receiving end of a far-too-personal insult. Fresh off another failed love affair in Argentina, Stuart points out how Violet has never had an anniversary party, since she’s never been married. Fighting back tears, Violet leaves the room in a huff. Ash follows her.

“When am I going to meet somebody?” she asks Ash, moving closer to him like a circling vulture. “I don’t want to be alone anymore.”

Ash makes the mistake of calling Violet a “wonderful woman” and kisses her cheek. She pounces, nailing him to wall and making out with him for a full 12 seconds as he flails around, eyes wide open, like a petrified gazelle being eaten alive.

Iwan Rheon as Ash and Frances de la Tour as Violet.

Iwan Rheon as Ash and Frances de la Tour as Violet

“Thank you, Ash,” Violet says afterward, licking her lips. “I feel much better.” Ash backs away slowly, with his hands in the air.

Back in the living room, Mildred finally wakes up and refuses to acknowledge Stuart’s news, which drives Freddie to the tipping point.

“I’ll have you know he’s the the most wonderful man in the world, and I’m proud to call him my lover,” Freddie announces, shocking Mildred and, incidentally, Penelope, who had no idea Freddie and Stuart were a couple either.

“I can’t imagine my life without him,” Freddie continues, much to Mason’s dismay over the “graphic” nature of the speech. “When you talk to him, you talk to him with respect.” Mildred stares at the couple for a beat and gets up. “OK,” she says. “Congratulations. Call me tomorrow. And the food was awful.”

Stuart can’t believe it.

“After all this years, my mother finally accepts me,” he says, breathlessly. He opens the drapes of their apartment for the first time ever, letting the moonlight in.

By the end of the show, viewers are left to assume Dench never showed up, but a series of voicemails played over the ending credits reveals she had every intention of showing up:

“Hello, Freddie. It’s Judi Dench. It’s so wonderful to hear from you after all these years. Yes, I’d love to come to your party, but you didn’t leave me your address. So if you could just ring back with that, that would be fantastic.” Beep.

“Hi Freddie, It’s Judi Dench. I still haven’t heard back from you. I canceled plans with Daniel Craig for this, so do phone back.” Beep.

“It’s me again, Judi. It’s 10 o’clock, and I still haven’t heard from you. Right after I throw your gift out, I’ll be heading to sleep, so don’t bother ringing me back. I’ve got an Oscar; I don’t need this bullshit.” Beep.

Oh, Gary Janetti, please bring Judi Dench on for season 2. Please.

Vicious insult of the week: A tie between two of Freddie’s lines: “Why don’t you get us some drinks and stop standing there with your mouth gaping open like a cheap Italian fountain?” and “You’ll know she’s arrived when you hear the gates of hell creaking open” (on when Stuart’s mother will come to the party).

Vicious 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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