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'A to Z' react: Funeral crashers

Season 1 | Episode 4 | “D is for Debbie” | Aired Oct 23, 2014

This week’s A to Z, “D is for Debbie,” is the most on-the-nose episode yet, as far as names go. While the past couple of weeks have brought us vague topics, like “Big Glory” and “Curiouser and Curiouser,” “Debbie” refers pretty directly to the subject of the episode: Zelda’s Aunt Debbie, who has passed away.

Zelda calls Ben to tell him the news because she has to attend the funeral and that means skipping a date they had planned. Were it not for their concrete plans that she had to cancel, I’m not positive Zelda would have mentioned the funeral at all until after it was over. She’s Mrs. Closed Off. That makes funerals (especially of the festive, celebrate-life variety that Debbie’s friends and family throw) more than a little awkward for her.

Zelda does not invite Ben to the funeral. I got the feeling during the episode we’re supposed to judge her or feel sorry for her for not inviting him to the funeral, like it would prove she was in a better place in her life if she had asked him to go and support her. But, as a fellow person who never knows how to behave at funerals, I feel like I need to step up and show support for Zelda.

First of all, she’s the one who suffered a loss and she should be allowed to grieve in whatever way makes her the most comfortable. If that involves her significant other supporting her, that’s fine. If it involves a healthy dose of alone time to process her grief, that’s fine too. The fact that Andrew just showed up at the funeral, completely uninvited, is honestly kind of violating and I’m shocked that Zelda took it so well.

Second, let’s point to the pivotal fact (the one that’s used as the excuse for why Zelda didn’t invite Andrew to begin with): They’ve been dating for three weeks. The funeral is their ninth “date.” It’s absurd to expect someone you’ve known for less than a month to invite you to a funeral. The point of the episode seems to be that, if it’s the right person, there’s no such thing as “too soon” to invite him to the big stuff. And maybe that’s true, but let’s not forget the first point: Zelda doesn’t need an excuse not to invite him.

But Andrew isn’t the only funeral crasher. When Big Bird threatens to fire Stu (he falls into her “honey trap” by playing with a foosball table she leaves out to lure unsuspecting employees into being unproductive and flag themselves for a firing), he needs to come up with a big, profitable idea for the company by the end of the day or else. It’s the most transparently sitcom-y plot of A to Z‘s short life. He notices a YouTube star, Tyler Ward, in the background of a photo from the funeral and inspiration strikes. His plan is to get Tyler to sign up for a Wallflower profile to drive more users to the site. Business-wise, it’s not a bad idea. Friend/human being-wise, it’s kind of terrible that he goes to the funeral to try to convince him to sign up.

Overall, I’d have to call this my least favorite episode of A to Z to date. Even Big Bird was off her game, and you know how I feel about her:

What did you think of this week’s A to Z? Were you a little disappointed too? Sound off in the comments!

A to Z airs Thursdays at 9:30/8:30C on NBC.

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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