Monday, April 16, 2007

"I've met all the Joneses, and I've kept up with all of them too": Brothers & Sisters

A real step up from last week here (Libby, you were right on the money in your review). Instead of out-of-the-blue weepy melodramatics and breakups and such, we got what this show does right--a big showcase of the whole family bickering at each other. Todd pointed out the formula of this show a couple weeks ago (really, both of you did too good a job covering my shows while I was gone...I smell a coup), which is basically the various cast members talking to each other on the phone about various gossip, until they all get together and yell at each other/crack jokes/drink. When they get it wrong, it can be a really drippy hour, but when they get it right, it's a bundle of fun!

The setup here was great too--a game night against a punch of patrician Bizarro-Walkers, right down to the lesbian who was Kevin's beard in high school. Also, Jenna Elfman (honestly, this show always has some big guest star, even in the smallest roles--Jon Robin Baitz must have tons of friends from Broadway) was kinda funny as an endlessly pregnant anti-Kitty, although she couldn't resist playing it wayyy over-the-top. Also, wasn't that Susan Sullivan, aka Greg's mother from Dharma & Greg, as Elfman's mother? What a strange casting coincidence. The game night scenes, all frenzied shouting and Kevin loudly interpreting everyone's clues as abuse towards Kitty (because she set him up on a blind date without letting him know it was with McCallister's gay brother), were a riot--in fact, could have done with more of them. In fact, the setup beforehand was a little dragged out, the only major incident being Kitty meeting wayward half-sis Rebecca and Rebecca getting friendly with Sarah's husband (more on that later).

About McCallister, I'm really not sure where the writers are going with all of his Presidential campaign stuff. I love Rob Lowe in the show, he's doing a terrific job, and I'm totally excited that he'll be back next year, but I have a sneaking suspicion that his campaign is going to have to be a bust eventually. The show can't exactly relocate to Washington DC, and I'm not even sure it could accommodate the frenzied cross-country touring McCallister would have to begin soon. I mean, the ensemble of this show is quite expansive, but I doubt they can have no Lowe/Flockhart being with the family for weeks on end. Plus, the only seed that's been planted that could unseat McCallister's campaign is his supposedly dark secret, which is...that when he made his daring helicopter rescue mission, it was all a blur and he didn't really know what he was doing, but he's the only one who can testify to that so it's not really a big deal, plus it's not like he didn't make the rescue anyway. Which is literally the least shocking secret ever. I know it doesn't take much to smear a candidate these days, but...c'mon. They have to do better than that. As long as Lowe's still around though, I'll be OK. Even if all he does is live in public disgrace with Kitty and Nora and Justin.

So, let's touch on that big reveal at the end, shall we? When Rebecca got pally with Joe (Sarah's guitar-toting husband), I thought they were just bonding over being outside of the close-knit family circle. How innocent and naive I was, forgetting how soapy this show could really get. Plus, I had read Rebecca would have a dalliance with one of the cast (totally blanked on that). The whole thing made a DEGREE of sense, seeing as how the writers set up trouble in the marriage beforehand, but I sorta thought they'd gotten over that somewhat. The plot had laid dormant a little too long for them to totally pull off this twist, basically. Sarah and Joe had seemed fairly stable over the last couple of eps. The interesting thing was that we didn't see the kiss, so could Rebecca be lying? I imagine she'll be accused of such by the more hostile siblings, but I'd rather it didn't become an Oleanna-type situation. I was hoping Rebecca was just going to be smoothly accepted into the family fold (she's a regular, after all), but no path is that smooth on this show. Oh well. I guess Sarah and Kitty are gonna hate her again now.

Sigh. I had to blitz the last three B&S eps today so I could write this review, so I'm a little soaped out, to be honest. Thankfully there's a repeat airing next week, and then the run-up to the season finale, which I imagine'll be full of more twists. So, here's looking at sweeps.

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