Aliens in America: Family Bonding Gone Awry
We got another fine example of Franny as a force of nature on Aliens in America, and we learned the Tolchuck mantra: "You know she's going to grind you down eventually, just submit to it!" Yes, please do -- it makes the Tolchucks' lives easier, and it makes our show that much funnier.
What's more, the entire cast had the opportunity to show their stuff. In addition to Franny's trademark funny/tender scenes, Justin got to stretch as a bit of a ladies' man, Raja got to show off his American accent, Claire got to show her depth of feeling, and Gary -- well, Gary got to crack us up. This may be the episode where we once and for all stopped thinking of him as Luke Danes.
We loved Franny's freakout this week -- it seems she's got an empty nest calendar, counting the number of days until Justin can flee for college. With only 500 days left, she decides they need a mother-son activity. She suggests community theater, and Justin reluctantly agrees -- if he can spend his time building sets. No way does he want to take the stage -- at least, not until he meets Zoe, the leading lady, a college girl who asks him to audition. Suddenly, Justin wants to be a star and Franny is all but forgotten.
But Justin's joy that he's spending time with a hot college girl is nothing compared to Gary's pride happiness when he finds out. Finally, Justin is becoming a man! He happily appears in Justin's room with a 12-pack of condoms and shows him how to don the equipment (using a banana, thank god.)
When Justin's friends refuse to believe he's (1) going on stage and (2) anywhere in the same vicinity as a hot college girl, he shows the only evidence he has -- that 12-pack of condoms, minus the two he and Gary practiced with. The friends are impressed, and of course they show up at the play to see if they can score with Zoe's friends. Zoe is not pleased that Justin lied, and she storms out. There goes the lead in the show... fortunately, Franny is available! One problem: The show is Rent, and Franny will be playing Mimi opposite Justin's Roger, and those two characters kiss. Eek! Fortunately, Franny finesses it by kissing Justin on the forehead. Whew.
Meanwhile, Claire is "voluncheering" at the student helpline, and is pissed off that the only calls she gets are from heavy-breathing perverts. The rest of the Tolchuck family thinks that's just as well -- Claire isn't exactly the most helpful, caring person around. Raja decides to boost Claire's confidence by impersonating an all-American high-school student with problems, which leads to long, innermost-feelings-filled talks on the phone. So of course, Raja gets caught.
Claire is furious, and we really have to give it to Lindsey Shaw -- she completely nails the scene where she confronts Raja. She's hurt, humiliated, and righteously pissed, and she's not willing to let Raja explain. Eventually she forgives him, and we've got to wonder if this is hinting at more of a relationship between Claire and Raja...
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