The show opens in the Great Lesbian Kitchen, which is where most of the action seems to happen in this house. Not that kind of action, though that sturdy table could take it. Jesus rides his skateboard into the kitchen and Lena tells him he shouldn’t do that and I agree because that would be hell on the floor and then I wonder what type of flooring they have because I am easily distracted by flooring. This burning question goes unresolved.
Lena looks out the window and Steph the Cop Mom is sitting outside with Brandon the Piano Man. He says that he did a dumb thing “last night” which means this is the morning after the trips to and from Not Mexico and the House of the Shiny Gun and they all seem surprisingly chipper. He tells Steph, “It won’t happen again.” and she says, “You’re darn right…” and then says that she was about to drop the hammer on him and, with restraint unknown to most, I resist making the stereotypical lesbian and tools joke. It turns out that Lena feels he’s suffered enough and they aren’t going to ground him. I disagree with Lena but this show already has an abundance of moms so I let it go.
Steph and Brandon enter the kitchen and Lena says, “Steph, your pancakes are burning.”
Digression 1: Were the pancakes waiting for Steph to return? Is Lena pancake-flipping impaired? Is Steph the Cop Mom also Steph the Pancake Mom?
Digression 2: Marianna complains that her hair makes her look like a Lhasa Apso but she doesn’t really look like one – no underbite. Also, my sister has Lhasa Apsos and one of them bit my son in the face and now I don’t like Lhasa Apsos and this is unintentional foreshadowing because it turns out I don’t like Marianna much in this episode either.
Steph serves pancakes and then Jesus runs over Steph with his skateboard and Steph says, “Have you taken your pill this morning?” He says, “Yes.” She says, “No.” and he says, “No.” This foray into ADD/ADHD and medication is clunky; however, I have this conversation with one of my kids often. Even when I’m saying it, I hate myself for it and, watching this scene play out, I hate it even more. Vikki the Recap Mom got a valuable reminder – sometimes kids are just kids and they do stupid things and we shouldn’t always follow their stupid things with that question and, Jesus! Stop skateboarding in the house!
Jesus takes the wheel. No, he doesn’t – he takes down the wicker basket to get his pills and I wonder what happened to the Burberry basket from last time and suspect that Lena sold it to buy more taupe clothing and bangles. We get a close-up of Jesus’ hand with his pills and the plot thickens.
As the opening scene fades, we get the first true show opening with music and credits. There are shots of homework, cluttered stairs, a sponge, arms, height marks on a wall, pancakes, sheet music, a rubber duck in a top hat and Steph and Lena’s hands in bed together. Just their hands. They could each be sitting on the floor on opposite sides of the bed. Who knows? I had three thoughts: 1) Why the hell is there a sponge? 2) We have that duck in a top hat! 3) I am a stupid sap because this opening gives me warm, fuzzy feelings and a craving for pancakes.
Then we have a series of quick scenes…A mean girl approaches Marianna and says, “Do you have any more…?” and I yell, “SKITTLES!” because even mean girls shouldn’t do drugs and also Skittles are delicious. Marianna says she can’t get anymore. Lena tells Steph she worries about her being a gun-toting cop and wishes that she pulled cats out of trees instead. Then, we see Talya (This is the weird but correct spelling because an obligatory iPhone product placement told me so) asking Brandon if his moms sent Callie back to juvey. Brandon says no and then they make-out because juvey talk is such a turn-on.
The next scene takes place in the Great Lesbian Kitchen with Bill, the foster care guy. He tells the lady lovers that Callie’s mom died when she was 10 and she and Jude have been in and out of foster homes since then. Lena asks if he is looking for a permanent placement for them and he says, “Always,” and then Steph clears her throat and looks out the window and sees a young boy in their tree. At first, I think they have a trespasser but then I realize Steph is looking through a magical window to the past.
Back at school, a teacher brings Lena a note and the only word we are supposed to notice is “PILLS” and Lena says, “Well, you know what that means?” and I say, “Medication” but she means “Locker searches.” As a security officer searches the lockers, Lena looks at Marianna like “I’m sorry for the inconvenience, my innocent cherub.” and Marianna looks back like, “I have nothing to hide and you look great in taupe and did you do something different and fabulous with your hair today?”
In the next scene, Mike and Steph are driving around in a police car and Mike brings up the events of the previous night and Steph mentions that they decided not to ground Brandon because he is a good guy who plays a mean concerto and Mike says, “You’re kidding, right?” Steph is not kidding and says, “Lena thought…” and then Mike exhales dramatically and says, “Lena thought…” And I think of that Mr. Morton song from Schoolhouse Rock and think that Lena is the subject of the sentence and what the predicate says, she does. My happy song is interrupted when Mike goes on a tirade in which he refers to Lena as “hippy dippy” and makes light of her “PhD in Child Whatever the Hell It Is” but then Steph gives him a verbal lashing before challenging him to a duel at high noon. Or, you know, says nothing to defend Lena. Steph, Steph, Steph.
There is another series of rapid-fire scenes… Jude gets in a fight defending Marianna’s nice friend, Lexi. Callie checks in on Jude. Jesus is in Lena’s office for fighting and she asks him if he took his pill and he says, “Can’t I just have a bad day?” and Lena sighs and doesn’t call the psychiatrist and I probably wouldn’t have either because I, too, am hippy dippy. Marianna is waiting for Jesus outside of Lena’s office and he tells her that he didn’t take his pill to save her ass and this is such a tangled web, children! The moral of this story – as the moral of every story ever should be – is that you should never lie to your lesbian mothers. Then, Callie is in the music room drinking bottled water without any regard for the environment (which is how we know she’s only lived with lesbians for a few days). Brandon comes in and Callie plays a C chord on the guitar which is the key to her heart and she opens up to Brandon a little bit and he puts his hand on her thigh and Talya sees that through the window and we all know where this is heading.
In the next scene, Steph enters the kitchen and says to Lena, “I’m sorry. Mike is right behind me.” Mike enters on cue and things get very deep lez when Steph says, “He feels that blah blah blah” and Lena says, “I hear that but blah blah blah” but then Mike reveals that he is not a lesbian and says, “What you think isn’t really my concern.” and Steph finally wakes up and jumps to Lena’s defense with the ever articulate phrase of “Hey, wait a minute”!” Mike then asserts his role and I worry he is going to lift his leg and mark his territory and there is a lot of bickering about who the parents are and it’s ugly and I want to find Marianna and ask her if she has any more Skittles! Then, Steph makes a grave error. She says, “I think Mike has a point.” Before the parental cage match really gets going, Brandon enters and Mike tells him he is grounded and then Brandon implies Mike has never really cared and leaves and the three parents exchange awkward looks. Mike leaves. Steph sighs. Lena fidgets. Mr. Morton walks.
We then see Jesus in his room and he is typing on his Apple product and listening to music and checking his phone and flipping through skateboarding pics so fast it looks like a flipbook. He’s doing this because he has The ADD…or he is a blogger. I did the exact same things today but the pics were of Lhasa Apsos. Marianna apologizes but Jesus and I are still mad at her. Then, we see Jude doing his homework and Callie helping him by telling him to divide it by the Y and I need Callie to come help my kids because I hate algebra. Math is interrupted by Callie and Jude bantering and then tickling each other and that is interrupted by the Music of Emotional Reflection and Jude asks how long they’ll be staying and Callie says she doesn’t know.
We head down to the kitchen and see a close up of a knife furiously slicing a cucumber.
Digression 3: I don’t think she washed that cucumber. It has that weird matte finish that unwashed cucumbers have and I can’t help but judge Lena for the cucumber hygiene issue.
Steph walks in and I am distracted from the cucumber long enough to wonder if she has to wear that cop radio thing clipped to her shoulder even when she’s at home. Steph apologizes for “ambushing” Lena and that is not a euphemism for surprise sex. Lena chops and clenches her jaw and Steph drops the great lez-exit line, “When you feel like talking, let me know…” and it works like magic! Lena says, “I thought we were on the same page. I thought we agreed.” and she is breathing heavily like “ambushing” wasn’t a euphemism. She adds, “I have never felt like such a stepmother in my life.” and I want to step into the TV and say, “You are a stepmother.” Then, she would wave her knife at me and I would try to disarm her by adding, “But that’s not a bad thing.” and then we would hug and I would burrow into her cardigan to see if she smells like patchouli. She wouldn’t but Mike got in my head with that hippy dippy comment. But I’m not there and Steph just stands there watching Lena wave the knife around and rant hyperbolically about being the “good time step mom from now on” and she says, “You want some candy, Brandon? Sure! Help yourself! Cigarettes? Heroin?” Dramarama lesbian mama – though I do love a good hyperbolic rant. Makes everything more fun – even heroin!
Digression 4: My favorite hyperbolic parenting rant always ends with, “And that’s how they’ll end up in prison!” So, all you kids out there – use your napkins or you’ll end up in prison.
Steph tells Lena to put down the knife and use that cucumber to make her a Pimm’s Cup and I no longer care about anything but the nice definition of Steph’s left bicep. Lena then says, “You humiliated me in front of him.” and Steph says, “What was I supposed to say?” and Lena says, “You lie.” Lying is wrong but Lena is right. See: lesbianism leads to moral ambiguity. Steph reassures Lena and then exits and Lena is relieved because she has to make Pimm’s Cups for 30. Steph then goes to talk to Brandon and says that Mike is a good dad or something equally bland and then says, “By the way, if you ever need heroin, Lena’s happy to help.” Brandon says, “Huh?” and Steph says, “Never mind. It was funnier in my head.” Oh Steph. Heroin jokes are always funnier in your head and most of my jokes are funnier in mine. Sisterhood is powerful.
The show takes us back to the kitchen where Lena is putting a salad on the table and Jude enters and asks for chores because foster families usually enjoy child labor. She asks him to help with the salad forks. They are Salad Fork Lesbians. I am not a salad fork lesbian so I defer to their table setting prowess. We then have our Very Special Gay Moment. Jude asks, “Are you and Steph married?” and Lena says, “Not exactly, not legally, no. We’re married in our hearts, I guess.” Jude nods, “That’s basically the same thing, right?” I want to say, “Hey Jude, don’t make it bad. It is basically the same thing except for legal authority to make decisions for your partner and inherit their salad forks and get their pensions and all that.”
After dinner, the moms call all the kids together in the living room, which continues to be the darkest room in the house.
Digression 5: Have these ladies not heard of Ikea? I know they are on a tight budget with all those kids but Ikea has some cheap and stylish lamps.
The moms inform everyone that Callie and Jude will be staying until a permanent family is found and that Jesus and Jude will be sharing a room and Callie and Marianna will be sharing a room and Greg Brady will get his own room. Typical.
More quickies of the non-ambush variety…Lexi comes over to hang with Marianna and Jesus kisses her. Then, it’s Miss Scarlet in the study with a candlestick – I mean, Callie in the living room with Brandon’s guitar. The next day, Talya chats with Brandon and is obviously jealous of Callie. Steph and Mike are in the cop car and Mike says he wants to be more involved. Kelsey, Marianna’s mean friend with the Skittle problem, implies that Marianna’s home life is like Grand Theft Auto sealing our deep hatred of her and her teal short shorts. Callie joins Talya’s lunch table for awkward conversation and bad school lunches. Lexi and Jesus discuss their kiss.
Then, we head to the Bathroom of Pretty Little Pills where Kelsey is snorting Ritalin in the bathroom stall.
Digression 6: Kelsey is the messiest snorter I’ve ever seen. It’s all over the little metal shelf and her hands and her face. She snorts drugs with the grace of a one year old eating a cupcake.
Lena hears the sniffles and because she has a PhD in Child Whatever the Hell It Is, she assumes drugs while I would assume weeping and she catches Kelsey with drugs on her face. She says to Kelsey, “What is it and who gave it to you?” and I say aloud, “Oh Lena! Do you really want to know?”
Next, Steph and Lena are waiting for the kids to come home and Marianna, Jude and Callie walk in and one of the moms (I can’t remember which one. They all look alike. Heh.) says, “Marianna could you take Jude upstairs. We need to talk to Callie.” My mouth drops open in surprise. Kelsey, I underestimated you and your mean spirit. They ask Callie if she took the drugs and she denies it and they let her go upstairs. Steph! You are a cop! You call that an interrogation?! Steph says, “What should we do?” and Lena says, “I don’t know. Maybe we should call Mike.” Perfect line. Absolutely perfect. Lena is funny which helps me set aside our parenting differences.
We then go through a few more short scenes…Jesus tells Brandon that Talya is insecure. Brandon tells Talya he’ll sneak out to see her that night. Marianna finds Callie sitting under a tree and asks her what happened with the moms. Marianna is surprised Callie didn’t rat her out. Marianna goes to her room and Jesus tells her to tell the moms about the drugs and Marianna says, “The other night, when Ana took all that money from me like I was an ATM or something, not even a person, much less her daughter – I thought ‘Well hey, at least I have 2 moms at home who love me. They’re gonna hate me.” And I want to say, “Come here my precious Lhasa Apso” and give her a big hug but then she goes downstairs to tell the moms the truth and lets Jesus take the fall for her. Yeah.
Lena and Steph go outside to talk to Callie who is still hanging out under that tree like a guitar playing wood nymph and they apologize to her. Then, Steph says, “Trust is something that has to be earned.” and I am outraged that Steph is talking to Callie about trust after the assumptions they made about Callie and then Lena says, “We’d really like to start earning yours.” I actually put my hand to my heart when she said that because I am a sensitive soul and my emotions are easy to manipulate.
The episode ends with Callie playing guitar and Brandon playing piano and the music accompanies a montage of Jude in his room getting a text from Lexi calling him an idiot for taking the fall for Marianna and Brandon blowing off Talya via text to hang with Callie and Marianna sitting alone with her conscience and Lena and Steph in bed, facing opposite directions but then clasping hands.
Overall impression: There was so much going on in this episode but they actually dealt with things with some depth.
Favorite line: Lena says, “You want some candy, Brandon? Sure! Help yourself! Cigarettes? Heroin?”
Really? Did they have to do that?: What are they doing with Brandon and Callie?