Monday, January 22, 2007

"Junebug!": Everybody Hates Chris

Spoilers for Everybody Hates Chris inside. Not that that will matter all that much.

Everybody Hates Chris seems determined to revisit every single old family sitcom storyline and rejigger them just enough to make them new. I don't know if this makes them lazy or brilliant, but I know I didn't need to see another episode where the main character had to care for an egg as a baby (I still think Frasier did it best by having fussy NILES be the one who had to care for a bag of flour baby). Every episode hits all of the same plot points -- kid thinks it'll be a snap, kid tries to get out of doing much, kid can't get out of doing much, kid learns how hard it is to be a parent, kid has a new appreciation. Granted, Chris tacked on a storyline where Chris left his egg at the store where he works and it got mixed in with other eggs, but it hit all of the other plot points note for note.

That aside, Chris managed to avoid making this too boring by grounding it in the characters. The long montage where all of the people in the Bed-Stuy neighborhood that is the show's setting gave Chris advice on how to raise his egg was both amusing and seemed to confirm all of those "It Takes a Village" theories. And the fact that Chris' mom sort of rubbed his face in how much work a baby would be gave the episode an extra bit of resonance, as Chris' mother's greatest fear is that one of her kids will come home with a kid (as Chris Rock remarked as the narrator -- his mother STILL hasn't met his kids).

The lost egg subplot, fitfully amusing as it was, felt sort of tacked on, but the episode concluded with a new way in to the "your parents have it tough! they worry so much!" messages that these types of episodes always impart.

A subplot about Chris' sister's fear of werewolves was also a bit of a non-starter, but the other characters all added the warmth that makes Everybody Hates Chris such a fun show to watch (I was particularly taken with Julius' desire to name the egg baby Junebug, which was hilarious, shout-out to the movie starring Amy Adams or not). Chris is at that stage where spending time with the characters is such a pleasure that even a lackluster episode like this one flies by relatively painlessly.

Also, congrats on the third season, kids!

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