EW Community TV Show Episode Guides and Recaps from EW's Community

'Married' recap: A playdate with destiny

Season 1 | Episode 5 | “The Playdate” | Aired Aug 14, 2014

Sometimes friendships—those between children and those between adult couples—are the most complicated parts of a marriage. Your kid is a little too introverted? It’s probably your fault. Or at least, that’s the logic employed by Russ and Lina in this episode of Married. Maya’s teacher notices she’s been having a hard time interacting with other kids in the class. Because apparently this behavior is learned (rather than simply genetic), Russ blames Lina and her curmudgeonly ways.


In an attempt to socialize more, Russ and Lina reluctantly agree to a playdate with a family from Maya’s soccer team. The couple (Michaela Watkins and Patrick Fischler) has a reputation for being kind of crazy, but beggars can’t be choosers.

On the other side of the city, Jess and Shep are picking up AJ to take him out for brunch, but there is a slight delay; AJ’s “gazelle” (“three-legged gazelles” are what he calls damaged women, according to Jess) has locked herself in the bathroom to protest his treatment of her, and he can’t leave until she does. Shep, who doesn’t want to miss out on the brunch menu, is prepared to ditch him, but Jess decides to be a good friend and attempts to lure the girl out.

Russ and Lina show up to the playdate to find that the crazy lady’s house is beautiful—and huge. Oddly, she was expecting them to bail without explanation, but when the whole family shows up at her door, she urges everyone to stay. Russ, Lina and the girls are immediately in awe of the impressive house and pool. While they each try to make small talk, they realize that there may be a reason these people were so open to hanging out—they’re pretty awkward.

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Lina escapes from an uncomfortable conversation to seek out Russ, whom she finds searching for porn on a child’s laptop. Apparently the house is familiar to him, because he saw it in a porno. Honestly, I’m exhausted by this storyline already. Classic Russ, I guess?

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While Russ befriends a porn-loving 12-year-old, Lina realizes that she and Unnamed Michaela Watkins Character might actually have some chemistry. They sneak into her neighbor’s house and steal some really expensive wine before hopping in the sauna for a quick steam, until the cleaning lady comes in and sends them running, in towels, out of the house.

AJ (sort of) opens up to Jess about his struggles with his divorce—not like he’s usually quiet about those things—but in the process, he draws a critical eye to Jess’s relationship with Shep. Is there ever really an emotionally vulnerable or supportive moment in these friendships? (Answer is: Nope.) Meanwhile, Shep is the one to finally succeed in luring the gazelle out of the bathroom, and the trio heads out to brunch, which they of course miss.

Lina and Russ leave the playdate on a good note, with a few new friends for themselves and their kids. It makes sense, really, that Russ and Lina need a little bit of crazy in their lives. It’s a defining characteristic of all their other friends too.

Overall, this episode is a nice break from the usual Russ/Lina marital-problems storylines that make up most of the show. This week they have to focus on their lives outside of each other, and while Jess’s storyline underlines the important fact that sometimes friendships can be overwhelming and even detrimental to a marriage, Russ and Lina get the more positive spin of friendships being crucial.

But one “nice break” episode isn’t enough to boost the quality of a show like Married, which may just be fundamentally flawed in its conception, despite a spirited execution. Five episodes in and even Nat Faxon and Judy Greer can’t make this dark comedy work—specifically because it’s too dark.

It’s an interesting experiment in storytelling and a subversion of the typical sitcom-marriage tropes, but in terms of week-to-week consumption, it’s simply too dark and too depressing and too crude … to an unrealistic point that makes it hard to swallow. Some of the best shows on television employ this same kind  of cringe-worthy, difficult humor—Louis C.K.’s Louie of the same network comes to mind—but the difference is honesty and relatability. Relationships can suck. Marriages can really suck. But no one wants to wallow in that for too long.

Married airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on FX.

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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