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'The Americans' fan react: Girls just wanna have fun

Season 3 | Episode 4 | “Dimebag” | Aired Feb 18, 2015

The Americans learn teenage girls can be a real pain in the ass, whether they’re sneaking off to a park to roll joints with a creepy older man or ruining mom’s plans both for taco night and Russian world domination.

Will the daughter drama affect this week’s USA versus USSR face-off?

Of all the ways Elizabeth and Philip successfully blend in as square, suburban Americans, their children might be their biggest success story. Henry whizzes through state capital flash cards (though dear old Dad gets mixed up on a few—should they teach that in spy school?). Paige, while making a peanut butter sandwich on white bread, probably with the crusts cut off, talks about her dream birthday dinner: her family and her pastor sharing a nice meal, with chocolate cake for dessert. +USSR for the Jennings’ disguise of their family as the Cunninghams of the East Coast.

Philip gets cool points for giving Paige a Yaz album, which sparks the most vicious verbal fight over Paige’s future yet. Elizabeth lays her cards on the table and admits she has been working her daughter all this time, just as Philip suspected. “It is happening. It is just happening, Philip. And yes, I am doing it. With or without you.” +USSR and Mama Grizzly Bear

Now might be the worst time ever to finally let Paige in on the secret, though. She uses her birthday dinner with Pastor Tim to announce what she wants most for her birthday isn’t Guess jeans or a subscription to Bop, but to be baptized. After dinner, Elizabeth and Philip debate what will more likely implode their family: Paige’s call to religion, or her parents admitting they’ve lied to her for her entire life. TBD—no points

Nina is told her time in prison might be reduced if she can get her cellmate, Evi, to admit she’s a spy. The masterfully manipulative Nina tries every trick: apologizing for not being more welcoming, sharing just enough of her own story to seem relatable. She even fakes a nightmare to gain sympathy from Evi, who falls right into the trap. +USSR

americans_s3e3_philip-kimmyDisguised as Carrie Bradshaw’s strung-out, much older sister, Elizabeth spies on Paaswell’s babysitter/Breland’s daughter and friends buying drugs at a park. Using their teenage rebellion as a way in, Philip chats up Kimberly (or Kimmy, to her friends) outside a nightclub they can’t get into, and makes new and improved fake IDs for the girls. Later, they smoke weed and snuggle while listening to Yazoo on her boombox. +Matthew Rhys for acting appropriately uncomfortable at having to hit on a girl his daughter’s age, and while watching that creepy Love’s Baby Soft ad

(I have to wonder whether this newest spy identity, combined with his growing outrage and helplessness about Paige, will ultimately push him to stand up to the KGB, possibly even quit for good.)

It breaks my heart to imagine this scene going down, but if anyone is ever going to bust the Jennings, it’ll be Stan. And if Zinaida the defector really is a double agent, Stan will be there to make sure she never enjoys another Milky Way. He was a bad husband to be sure—something he finally confesses to Sandra outside in her new yard, admitting he was a real asshole—but he’s one of the few people on this show we don’t have to feel bad rooting for. And when we start to get suspicious, we know Agent Beeman will dig into it for us. You can see him mentally wavering at the diner, questioning his own instinct and wondering whether Zinaida has fooled them all or he’s got trust issues. It takes destroying the ladies’ room, and getting a toilet-paper dispenser right to the junk, for him to let the issue slide … for now. (Me? I don’t trust her.) +USA

WINNER: USSR. Total number of points go to Russia. But it’s like the 1980 Olympics: Russia only won all the gold medals because the rest of the world gave Moscow the middle finger and refused to participate on principle.

USA’s Agent Stan Beeman earns integrity points; the Jennings kids get awesome points just for enjoying the amazing things America had to offer in the early ’80s.

The Americans airs Wednesdays at 10/9C 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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