Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving “Classic” Recap: Speechless: “T-H-A-Thanksgiving”

“What did I tell you? So they bug you, deal with it.”
- Ray

We may not have spent much time with the DiMeo family yet but we get to spend Thanksgiving with them. Now, before we get into the meat of the episode, I feel I should point out that for the most part, Minnie Driver’s character still annoys me. Most of the time I stick around for the sweet moments between Jimmy and the kids (especially Ray). So it’s Thanksgiving at the DiMeo residence and they are not looking forward to spending the holiday with Jimmy’s brother and his family. According to them, Billy (Jimmy’s brother) is super rich and loves to rub it in Jimmy’s face. Each of the other members of Billy’s family are equally annoying and weird. As the family is out trying to find things to wear, Jimmy spots an amazing Black Friday deal for a TV (they need a new one because he broke the old one after he kicked the old one over during his brother’s latest dentist commercial). So they are going to beg off of Thanksgiving by claiming JJ is sick. Kenneth is also going to share the holiday with them (because he claims he didn’t feel like traveling).

Unfortunately, Jimmy’s attempt to get the family out of dinner backfires when Billy says they will come to May and Jimmy instead. As everyone kind of freaks out, Maya comes up with a game. For each thing that the other family members do that’s annoying, our gang will get a point. At first it looks like they are going to have to dig deep to get their points but then things just start rolling. Ray is the only one not “playing”. He doesn’t handle drama well and in fact it gives him an ulcer (or at least the start of one). So Kenneth manages to convince Maya to let him and Ray do the cooking. In hindsight, that is a terrible idea because Kenneth has no clue what he’s doing and the totally ruin the turkey. Ray also learns that Kenneth has his own family drama that he’s trying to avoid this year. His sister and parents tend to gang up on him and give him crap for being a disappointment. I don’t know but maybe they’d feel differently this year seeing as he’s got a pretty sweet job as an aide for JJ. But Ray kind of panics when Kenneth starts losing his mind about his own family drama. Ray just wants to avoid everything because he’s just kind of a wuss I guess.

As Billy continues to humble brag like nobody’s business, Jimmy gets really fed up. So he they end up almost doing a street race. It’s also interesting that Billy’s family treats them all like they are pathetic and need to be pitied. They also just yell at JJ (like he’s deaf). Speaking form experience, that shit just pisses me off. But as the guys get ready to race, we learn that Billy and his family are completely broke (thank you Ray for outing the rest of the family and their “game”). He gambled all the money away and then he tried to make it back by charging unnecessary procedures. You know, this reminded me a lot of one of the first “Fresh off the Boat” holiday episodes where we first met Jessica’s sister. I guess it’s kind of a theme for family comedies to too. Billy’s side of the family also gets to have their digs at Maya and Jimmy (although by comparison they are very minor things … I mean really Maya does a “fake” British accent?). But given that everyone in the DiMeo clan is now poor, they end up bonding a bit over Black Friday sales. They aren’t afraid to use JJ as a way to cut the line to get into the store and get everything they want. They also kind of find that they have more commonalities between them than they originally realized. Then, as Jimmy and Billy come out of the store with the last 60 inch flat screen, Jimmy decides to auction it off and he gives Billy the money (something Billy has done in the past for Jimmy). So in the end, they all learn that maybe they should be nicer to each other (and hey JJ even gets to be in Billy’s new commercial). So I guess the DiMeo clan has learned some valuable lessons, hopefully one of which is don’t trust Kenneth in the kitchen. I did like that in the end, Ray was able to get him to try and talk to his family about what’s bothering him and why he feels the way he does.

Overall, I thought this episode was decent. I’m not super in love with the show but as I said at the start of this post, there are parts of it, usually that involve Jimmy that are sweet and touching and the characters learn something. I have to admit I found Jimmy’s side of the family more annoying than our regular characters for a lot of it. Their characteristics just seemed really over the top (and I get that was the point). And maybe Maya was a little less grating than usual. When she wasn’t really focusing on being JJ’s advocate I think she’s more tolerable. Yes, she had a bit where she reminded her sister-in-law that JJ had perfect hearing but he just couldn’t speak, but that was really it. I understand that she wants to be a zealous advocate for JJ, especially because it is difficult for him to advocate for himself but most of the time she’s just obnoxious. Maybe I was spoiled with watching my own parents advocate for me and deal with having a special needs kid that I’m biased. I do still wish they’d give Dillon more to do or some other purpose. To me, she is still the weakest link on the show. It really wasn’t necessary to have two normal kids to the one disabled one. I mean, at least with Ray he’s kind of interesting and he’s got real problems. Dillon is just kind of a generic tom boy who isn’t very interesting.

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