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'Satisfaction' recap: Truth or consequence?

Season 1 | Episode 9 | “… Through Revelation” | Aired Sept 11, 2014

Remember the original tagline for Satisfaction, “Would you risk your marriage to save it?” Correct me if I’m wrong, but over the past eight weeks, I think the tally in the Risk column is somewhere in the area of four digits, and the tally in the Save column is a big goose egg. The latest episode doesn’t do anything to help even the score. Insert sad trombone here.

However, there are some heart-tugging moments, some sad revelations, and maybe the best thing that’s happened in about four episodes—the return of the metaphorical pool. Let’s jump right in.

Episode 9 begins immediately following Simon’s big final-moment confession. Grace, having just learned that Neil saw her and Simon doing the horizontal tango and that she’s (author’s paraphrasing alert!) a cheating liar, runs home in a panic with Simon chasing her inside, still professing the news she does not want to hear.

Grace, understandably, is hysterical and continues to accuse Simon of lying to her. After a heated conversation, Simon again professes his feelings for his former client. “I want to take care of you and live alongside you. The truth can be out,” he tells her calmly and—oddly enough—believably. Grace pauses to think this concept through for a split second before pushing him out the door. Truth? Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Meanwhile, at financial-advising-firm-turned-software-developer Bastion International, Mateo drops by unannounced to clear things up with Neil, who mistakenly thinks the boy who was bedding down his daughter when he walked in on them a few days ago is there to ask for her hand in marriage. Really? Next thing you know Anika, Mateo and his parents, Carl (Richard T. Jones) and Loretta (Marlyne Barrett), are showing up at Casa Truman, interrupting Grace’s hasty packing and escape plan. Apparently she has decided the truth leads not to a discussion with her husband, but to the land of love: Italy. As she reflects on moments over the past few months where Neil has dropped subtle clues of his knowledge of her affair as well as Simon’s declarations of admiration—both verbally and physically—it’s obvious she’s torn: torn between two lovers, feeling like a fool, loving them both is breaking all the rules. (Google it.)

When Neil arrives, Mateo and Anika leave the awkward get-together to retreat to her bedroom. Um, pretty sure that violates, like, every single parent code in the book, especially since the last time Mr. and Mrs. T saw those two together, they were on top of each other. The four parents are too consumed with their confusion at this impulsive meet and greet to worry about teenage sex, even though you know they’re wondering if they are all about to get the announcement that they’re about to be grandparents. Correction: Three of the four are consumed with confusion. Grace is still about to hyperventilate because she knows that Neil knows about her and Simon, but Neil doesn’t know she knows that he knows about her and Simon. You know?

Over at Simon’s pad, Adriana is lounging in his leather chair reading the book: Zen and the Modern World. (I Googled that particular edition to no avail. Sorry, folks, looks like Neil, Simon and Adriana are the only ones who get to be enlightened by this particular tome.) She’s there to end the “arrangement” she has with Simon and is mad at him for telling Grace the truth (she was spying on them during the big reveal). Adriana not only can’t understand why Simon has fallen off the love-’em-and-leave-’em truck, but why the one who’s made him topple is Grace. (“Grace gets all the hot boys! It’s not fair!” she whines while stomping her foot. Not really, but can’t you imagine that’s what’s going on in her mind?) He tells her most men want variety, but he’s had it all and has it all, and it’s not enough. Obviously disgusted by him and his newfound truth (which I’m guessing is really displaced envy), she tells Simon if he wants Grace, then go get her. Plus, you know she’s thinking that will free Neil up for her, so win-win!

Later on, Adriana has exchanged the Zen book for vodka, and lets it slip that she knows about how he and Neil met (the infamous red-phone debacle). When he finds out that Neil not only works (occasionally) for Adriana but gets top dollar, he’s furious. Hold on, Simon didn’t know that? In a strange turn of events, Adriana plays Zen master (because once again, the real one is noticeably absent) and advises Simon on the big meaning of life. “You don’t know something is missing in your life until you find something you want. You can relate to that,” she tells him. Wise words from one so unfulfilled.

Anika and Mateo are not having sex in Anika’s bedroom. They are, instead, devising a plan where they convince their parents to fund a six-month tour to kick-start their music careers. Anika is so nervous she vomits (and blames it on “private-school-tuition guilt,” which I believe to be a very real ailment). Mateo, however, is in control. Having taken pre-law classes (he was on a dad-chosen path to become a lawyer before veering off to chase his musical dreams), he’s prepared an official-looking contract for them to present to their unsuspecting parents, who are out in the family room awkwardly making small talk and drinking wine. Carl and Loretta are psychologists who share an office and who tell the Trumans that they believe the biggest issues facing couples nowadays are communication and intimacy. They obviously have their sh*t together, because psychologists. Grace can’t take it. She needs to escape. Neil follows her into the bedroom and is stopped cold by the sight of Grace’s open, half-packed suitcase. As she whimpers out a whispered, “I’m sorry …” and seems to be thisclose to opening up, Anika and Mateo burst in. No time for the truth, folks—it’s time for the show!

As the two hand their parents the contracts, Anika gives an impassioned—and very mature—speech. “What if the ideas you have for our lives are not what our lives are supposed to be?” she asks. She then points to Grace as an example (good grief, hasn’t the woman dealt with enough today?) and mentions the fact that she didn’t follow her passion: “You have to follow your dreams because they’re not gonna follow you.” BRB, I need to go log into CafePress and make that into merch.

As the other parents immediately explode into refusal, Grace drifts off into a daydream where she and Simon are packing to escape to Italy together. In her fantasy, Neil is cool with the situation and is even happy for her—that she’s getting to finally live her dream. Insight into how she hopes things turn out, perhaps?

Back in reality, everyone is still arguing. When Mateo snaps at his father about having too much to drink, Carl retaliates by bringing up Mateo’s old girlfriend, whom he apparently had devised a similar escape plan with. News to Anika. She freaks out … and walks out. Grace follows her daughter, who is despondent and embarrassed over the entire situation. Anika admits she’s a bit relieved; while she wanted to follow her dream, she wasn’t ready to leave her family to find it. When she wonders if something is going on between her parents, Grace tells her that everything is fine (lies don’t count when you’re lying to your child; everyone knows that). Anika tells her mother that she’d be devastated if they got a divorce. Grace hugs her close and tells her not to worry. Guess someone has some unpacking to do.

Carl and Mateo’s fight is getting out of hand, and in the course of the argument Loretta discloses that Carl has lost all of Mateo’s college money. She’s had it with secrets and lies, dammit. It’s time to come clean! Let me get this straight—there is one couple who is being honest and possibly splitting up, and it isn’t the Trumans? Huh.

After the feuding couple leave, Neil gives Grace another chance to come clean herself. “Is there something you want to tell me?” he asks. Sadly shaking her head, she softly tells him no and suggest couples therapy (because the couples therapists who just left were a walking advertisement for the success of that). Who knew it would be Anika who’d be the one to add the first tally mark to that “save” column?

Adriana, on her way home from Simon’s, takes her own advice and calls Neil and apologizes for her earlier offer to be his client. Neil hangs up on her.

As Grace plays Anika and Mateo’s single, “Come Clean,” we see all the players grappling with the directions their lives have taken as the result of the decisions they’ve made:

  • Grace sadly looking at a family photo from happier times.
  • Neil watching Anika and Mateo arguing (working it out?) and being struck by the power of truth and consequences (not to mention communication).
  • Simon making a call to a mystery person to call in a favor.
  • Adriana driving—and crying—after putting herself out there for Neil and being shut down.
  • Simon in his storage unit, unrolling something from a tube. Plans?
  • Grace, finally unpacking her suitcase with Neil’s help.

Instantly the scene switches to Neil’s eyes popping open as he is awakened from a nap by Anika, who needs the car keys right now because Grace isn’t home. WAIT A NEWHART MINUTE HERE. Was this all just a dream? Please tell me it wasn’t was just a dream! Neighbor Lawrence bangs on the door. Seems the Trumans’ pool has a major crack in it, because most of the water has drained out into his yard. That’s right, folks. THE METAPHORICAL POOL—the pool that is a reflection of Neil’s life—IS SLOWLY DRAINING.

“This does not look good,” says Lawrence. It does not, indeed.

But hey, at least it’s clean.

Satisfaction airs Thursdays at 10/9C on USA. “Come Clean” is now available on iTunes and Spotify!

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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