This episode was pretty funny, but it wasn’t as funny as the Cougar Town premiere that came after it. Check that out. Both of those episodes are up on hulu.com.
Mitchell and Cam spotted a stranger using their hot tub. (“Mitchell, there’s a stranger in our hot tub!” “Who is it?” “You do know what stranger means, don’t you?”) The stranger turned out to be a potential Reiki master/hippie named Barry, and he was played by the super-hot James Marsden. Barry told his new neighbors that he had moved into the upstairs apartment and thought that the hot tub was for all residents. By then, Mitchell and Cam had seen Barry without his shirt on, so they didn’t care anymore. Barry used some Reiki on Cam’s arm, causing Mitchell to think Barry was a nut. Cam got on Mitchell’s case for being too judgmental, and Barry won Mitchell over and used Reiki on Mitchell’s whole body. In the end, the landlady told Cam that the upstairs apartment was empty. Then her husband honked the horn and the landlady said, “You so lucky they not let you get married.” Annoying joke, because it wasn’t that funny, the “my spouse is a pain” joke is so 90s, and we’re sure that the fact that some straight people have unhappy marriages comforts gay people who are treated unequally (sarcasm). Cam discovered that Barry was living in Lily’s princess castle and tried to get him out of it. Barry does not like to be touched, so this turned into a little tousle. Mitchell won and got to hear Cam tell him that he was right.
We love James Marsden, but we thought this character was a little too over-the-top. Too zany and cartoonish. And after the season two Cougar Town premiere with the hippie Jennifer Aniston AND this episode, we are starting to think that ABC has something against new age types. Eckhart Tolle, look out. We know plenty of people are into energy work, and they are nowhere near that crazy, and they have homes. True, there are a few crazies who do that, but most of them are too hastily judged. Besides, Reiki is to energy work as lifting up your friend to crack their back is to chiropractics. Basic, and likely done by people who don’t know a whole lot about even holistic medicine. But having an energy worker who doesn’t like to be touched is funny, because there isn’t a lot of touching involved.
Claire was angry at an unknown driver who was speeding and driving recklessly down their street. She stood on the side of the road with an air horn, ready to yell, “Slow down, you jerk” at the driver when she passed. Phil took the air horn from her, turned to Luke, and said, “Luke, I am your father!!! That’s what I said when you were coming out of your mom’s lady parts.” Oh, Phil, this is why you are Ern’s favorite character on this show. Claire put called the cops, chased the driver, and even put up signs that said, “Slow Down Your Neighbors” with the license plate number of the care in the middle of the phrase. This was a running joke, because the sign was supposed to read like Claire was saying, “Slow down, (sincerely/from) your neighbors,” but instead it looked like a command for neighbors to slow each other down. (Did we really have to explain that? Possibly).
Phil got a new client and a house to sell, and he had to win over the client to keep the job. Sadly, the seller turned out to be the speedy driver. Anxious to beat a competitor and be the number one salesman this quarter, Phil tried to keep his wife away from his client and started taking down Claire’s signs. Claire rode home with Phil’s client and found out the truth. Her face looking at Phil standing on the side of the road as she rode away in the client’s car was classic. Claire felt betrayed, but Phil told us, “I called the florist and ordered on dozen Mylar balloons. Good luck staying mad, honey.”
Manny wanted to ride bikes with a group of cool kids at his school. As he was heading to school on his new bike, Jay spotted a couple of big training wheels. (“You don’t know how to ride a bike?” “I know how to ride this bike.” “Steven Hawking could ride that bike.” – Jay and Manny) He confronted Gloria for never teaching Manny how to ride a bike, and it turned out that Gloria couldn’t ride either. Manny put on lots of padding (he looked like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle), and Jay easily taught him how to ride, despite the fact that Manny is usually so clumsy that he falls on moving airport walkways. Gloria did not take to the bike so well. She was worried about falling, being embarrassed, and people grabbing her. Gloria determined that Jay was too harsh of a teacher, so she sought out someone “gentle, womanly even” to be her new teacher. Naturally, she goes right for Phil, because the “this man is girly” joke never, ever gets old (sarcasm). No wonder kids who watch more TV have gender stereotypes more deeply rooted in their brains. Phil had to work, so Luke stepped in. (“I never taught anyone anything, but my playdate was cancelled, so I was wide open” –Luke) His way of teaching Gloria was to shoot her with a giant squirt-gun until she rode away from him. This worked very well, and it was one of the funniest things about the episode. Gloria DID get grabbed though (by Claire, who needed the bike to chase down the speeder). When everyone realized what a great teacher Luke was, they sicced Luke on his oldest sister who was trying to do her homework.
Episode Grade: B
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