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'The Fosters' fan recap: You're what makes me feel better

Season 3 | Episode 15 | “Minor Offenses” | Aired Feb 22, 2016

“It’s not where you come from, it’s where you belong …” The theme song of The Fosters reminds us of this fact every week, but in “Minor Offenses,” it also acknowledges that where you come from can significantly impact who you are and where you wind up.

Stef and Lena have always been pillars of empathy and compassion for children born to parents incapable of taking care of them. They adopted Mariana and Jesus. They took in Jude and Callie, ultimately adopting them as well. They temporarily fostered AJ and helped him find a more permanent foster home with Mike. They are constantly looking our for kids who have been abandoned by their parents and by the system.

Yet when it comes to Ty, Stef can’t see past her anger. Had Stef been introduced to Ty under different circumstances, it’s likely she would have been moved to help him. Mike appeals to this part of Stef when he asks her to speak in court on Ty’s behalf. Stef instinctively says no, but Callie reminds her of what Stef once said to her: You are not disposable. So, Callie wants to know, why is Ty?

Callie’s challenge succeeds at convincing Stef to appear in court for Ty. It wouldn’t be an episode of The Fosters if tears weren’t streaming down my face at some point, and this week, this was it. Stef beautifully explains to the judge that as the officer investigating the case, she is certain that at least one of the charges against Ty is false. She further points out that Ty has been a victim of a justice system that has failed him. He has never been given a fair shake and, though she doesn’t condone his running away, she can certainly understand it. Obviously this kind of turnaround would never have been possible had the accident resulted in any permanent damage, but since everyone managed to walk away basically unscathed, Ty has been granted the second chance he so desperately needs. He still receives a sentence of 18 months, but it’s better than it could have been. He assures AJ that he’ll be okay, and charges Mike with taking care of his little brother.

Ty isn’t the only one who’s been acting out as a result of bad childhood experiences, and he’s also not the only one who’s struggling to garner empathy. For the first time this week, we get a glimpse into Nick’s early years and a father who clearly abused him. It’s a moment of clarity that makes Nick a bit more palatable. Those warm feelings promptly disappear, however, when Nick decides to drag-race while on a double date with Mariana, Jesus, and Lexi. He is inexplicably encouraged by Jesus (nothing about their friendship makes any sense), and deaf to the pleas of Mariana to stop immediately. (How did Stef’s warning not scare the life out of him?) When he does finally pull over, Mariana and Lexi exit the car and walk home, giving them time to deal with the issues in their friendship.

Of course there needs to be some kind of obstacle between Mat and Mariana, but does it have to be this guy? I’m sure we are going to see more of his background and better understand why he is how he is, but no matter how much he grows on me, he’ll never be right for Mariana. #TeamMatForever.

Stef and Lena continue to amaze with their love and support. Ten days after Stef’s surgery, and Lena has been changing in private so as to avoid flaunting her intact breasts. Stef calls her out on it, telling her that the effort is appreciated but entirely unnecessary. And then in the second scene of the episode that had me sobbing: “You’re not what makes me feel worse, you’re what makes me feel better.” Things aren’t exactly simple in the Adams Foster home, but when all is right with Stef and Lena, everything makes a whole lot more sense.

Fost and Found

  • Mariana tells Stef and Lena about Jesus contacting their birth father and the fact that he’s on the registered sex-offender list. This prompts Stef to get more info about Gabe. He’s on the registry because Ana was underage at the time of their relationship. She was 15; he was 18.
  • The Fosters always thrives at dealing with important issues without hitting us over the head with it. I love that they’re dealing with the problematic ways in which people can get stuck on the sex-offender registry for their entire lives.
  • Jesus tries to smooth things over after learning the truth about Gabe, but his biological dad wants nothing to do with him (or so he says).
  • Justina has Callie in an ad for foster-care legislation. The bill supports privatization, even after Justina assured Callie she was against the idea. It’s super-shady, but Callie is very easily swayed by Justina’s explanation, despite Rita’s warnings that her rationale is garbage. My question is: If Justina supports privatization and believes it’s best for the kids involved, why did she lie?
  • Callie and AJ. I ship it so hard.
  • Speaking of shipping so hard, gonna need more Mat. Thanks.
  • Babysitting really does it for Brandon! After spending the night caring for Cortney’s toddler, Mason, Brandon (who has the best haircut he’s had in ages) finally gets his kiss. Cortney warns that this is a bad idea, and Brandon correctly informs her that he has lots of those. Not sure if this is heading anywhere good, but on the bright side, she’s not his sister.

The Fosters airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on Freeform.

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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