2010s Franchises and Super-Producers in 10 Charts: Part 2

Welcome to part two of the duo of articles discussing the franchises and super-producers in the 2010s. Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Grey’s Anatomy Is A Franchise...
Kind of. ABC currently has Grey’s Anatomy and Station 19 in the way NBC has Chicago Med and Chicago Fire, and the decade started with ABC holding onto Grey’s Anatomy’s spinoff Private Practice as well. The flagship show here is Grey’s Anatomy, with its ratings looking stronger lately. Station 19 appears to be the kind of show that doesn’t have a ton of interest outside of its time slot, but is holding its own there nonetheless. Then again, so was Private Practice, which crashed when moved away from Grey’s Anatomy to the point where it was canceled.

...And Shondaland Had Its Ups and Downs
Shondaland, the production company of Shonda Rhimes, does not stop at Grey’s Anatomy and its spinoffs. The company has also given ABC other hits, such as Scandal. Scandal was a true success story, starting out modestly but continuing to build an audience to the point where it was one of the biggest hits on television. It came back down to average ratings by the end of its seven-season run, but still had ratings that any network would want. For a couple years, three Shondaland shows came together to form “TGIT”: Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder. How to Get Away with Murder started off as a very strong show in the ratings and had very high ad rates, bringing in revenue and critical acclaim to ABC. It has since faded, but still ended up with a six-season run. Shondaland did have its fair share of flops, starting with Off The Map. Still Star-Crossed aired almost entirely as a burn-off after starting low in the summer as The Bachelorette’s lead-out. The Catch and For the People didn’t work out either, despite ABC’s efforts to keep them alive for two short seasons. As long as ABC has Grey’s Anatomy, they’re probably happy, but don’t expect to see Shonda’s presence to be huge in the 2020s decade now that she has a Netflix deal and ex-ABC head Channing Dungey has joined her.

The Bachelor Gets More Spin-Offs
The importance of The Bachelor franchise should not be understated. The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and Bachelor in Paradise have all gotten much stronger on average in recent years, to the point where the 2019 cycle of The Bachelor rated almost double the average broadcast show’s ratings for the season. The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise have helped ABC do more than just keep the lights on in the summer. They aired Bachelor Winter Games to counter-program the Winter Olympics in 2018, which didn’t do great but could plausibly come back if they’re trying to counter-program the Olympics with this franchise again. The only problem ABC has is finding a show to air after them, with most being short-lived or having iconically bad retention. Even Bachelor-related shows aren’t doing well after them. Bachelor Live lasted only one season, and Bachelor in Paradise: After Paradise had two low-rated seasons with poor retention. They couldn’t even get a Bachelor-derived show (The Proposal) to work. Still, the franchise is impressive, especially given it went into the decade with a below-averaged-rated The Bachelorette and a barely-passable Bachelor Pad that would go on to get canceled in 2011 after an abysmally low-rated season.

Seth MacFarlane’s Relationship with FOX is Complicated
Seth MacFarlane has publicly criticized FOX News, which up until recently had the same parent company as FOX. The broadcast network has been ordering his shows, but there’s not much to tell if they’re going to renew them or not. Family Guy has been chugging along throughout the decade, but its better days are clearly behind it in Live + Same Day ratings, and it no longer anchors an hour. American Dad! had around average ratings on FOX before it moved to TBS. A similar fate came to The Orville, which was doing decent before it was announced it would become a Hulu Original. It took several years to get Bordertown on the air, and it was quickly moved to 7pm in the spring. Dads was canceled with ratings that were low, but not abysmally low, Family Guy’s spinoff The Cleveland Show was cursed with a bad time slot for the latter part of its run, and Cosmos Season 2 has been in limbo for years. With Disney taking over ownership of Family Guy, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Seth MacFarlane off or almost off of FOX for most of the 2020s. He shouldn’t have much of a problem getting a deal elsewhere though, such as Netflix, Hulu, TBS, or Cartoon Network.

Saturday TV Ratings 12/14/19: Trolls Holiday Grows From How to Train Your Dragon, Rudolph and Frosty Lead the Night

Final numbers to come.
Time
Show
18-49 Rating
Viewers (mil)
Channel
8 PMRudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (R)0.63.058CBS

The Masked Singer (R)0.31.517Fox

The Little Mermaid Live! (R)0.31.395ABC

How to Train Your Dragon
Homecoming (R)
0.21.347NBC
8:30 PMTrolls Holiday0.31.443NBC
9 PMFrosty the Snowman (R)0.63.057CBS

Dateline NBC (R)0.41.443NBC

The Masked Singer (R)0.31.797Fox
9:30 PMFrosty Returns (R)0.42.307CBS
10 PMSNL Vintage0.42.492NBC

48 Hours (R)0.32.417CBS

20/20 (R)0.31.696ABC
11:30     Saturday Night Live                             1.4 (Top 25)    TBA                 NBC        

TVRGO December News Day


Welcome to TVRGO’s December News Day! News about many TVRGO shows can be found below. Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Finally Together: The Christmas Season
The first season of Finally Apart was written start to finish in late July-early August with individual episodes published weekly in the fall. As has been the plan since writing the finale, Finally Together will return for a second season after all.

The 10-episode Season 2 premieres on Sunday, December 22 and will wrap on Tuesday, December 31. One episode will be posted every day, with the events of the series taking place on the same day that the corresponding episode is posted.

Additionally, Finally Apart has been renewed for a second season.

Christmas Specials
Bake Your Heart Out and The Bullpen will be returning from hiatuses for Christmas specials. The dates for these specials are:

Bake Your Heart Out: Thursday, December 19
The Bullpen: Saturday, December 21

New Show Alert
TVRGO’s new comedy, Bar Exam, will be the first new entry in 2020. It premieres Tuesday, January 7 with two episodes. The first includes character crossovers from The Bullpen, while the second introduces the characters that will be followed throughout the season.

A preview of Bar Exam will be posted on Tuesday, December 17. It will feature short excerpts from episodes 2 through 6.

Winter Premieres
TVRGO is starting off 2020 with some shows from fall 2019, as well as others. Here are the winter premiere dates for returning shows.

Planet Z: Wednesday, January 1 (Season 2 Premiere)
Bake Your Heart Out: Thursday, January 2
Network: Sunday, January 5
Marietta: Monday, January 6
Writer’s Block: Thursday, January 9
College: Wednesday, January 29

Our House will return on Thursdays when Bake Your Heart Out finishes its winter run.

Friday TV Ratings 12/13/19: American Housewife Rises for Midseason Finale, Hollywood Christmas Parade Higher Than Regular CW Lineup

Final numbers to come.
Time
Show
18-49 Rating/Share
Viewers (mil)
Channel
8 PMWWE Smackdown0.7/42.34Fox

Hawaii Five-00.6/46.45CBS

American Housewife0.6/43.41ABC

The Blacklist0.5/33.84NBC

Hollywood Christmas Parade0.2/10.90The CW
8:30 PMFresh Off the Boat0.4/32.39ABC
9 PMMagnum PI0.6/43.31CBS

Dateline NBC0.5/33.51NBC

20/200.5/32.72ABC
10 PMBlue Bloods (R)0.5/35.30CBS

Finally Apart Season 1 Episode 10: Changing Times [SEASON FINALE]


CATHERINE [thinking to herself]
My life is kind of going awesome right now. I'm spending more time than ever with Nate--crap, I was supposed to come over to his house like 10 minutes ago. He's probably waiting outside. Or maybe another person who works for that driving company. I'll have to see.

CATHERINE exits her apartment building to find a new driver waiting for her. They ride in silence until she gets to NATE's house.

CATHERINE
Thanks Bill.

BILL
I never told you my name. 

CATHERINE
Bye now.

CATHERINE walks up to NATE's door.

NATE
Hey Catherine, come on in.


CATHERINE
That was my plan.

NATE
I'm glad we're getting to spend more time together. Sometimes it's almost like you live here.


CATHERINE
Yeah, I should keep my apartment though.

NATE [laughing]
Of course, wouldn't want to take that beautiful thing out of the family! 


CATHERINE
Or I could also sell it. I need money somehow.

NATE
You're right about that.


CATHERINE
So what do you say?

NATE
What?

CATHERINE
Where do you think we go from here?

NATE
Would we be moving too fast if I asked you to move in with me?


CATHERINE
Nah, that's exactly my speed. Did you know I wanted to date around until I met you?

NATE [laughing]
No? I'll take that as a compliment, unless you mean you changed your mind about men after me.


CATHERINE
Already tried that, was very fun until it wasn't. Not that I'd want to go back, for some reason I actually do like having kids a little. Just, the ones I have now came way too early with the wrong guy, and one of them kind of sucks. She's all sane and everything. 

NATE
OK then. I have to admit, I don't think I understand your old family dynamic at all. 

CATHERINE
Eh, you don't have to. I'm sure the stories I have of them is more than enough if you ever want to hear about them.

NATE
From what you've said, I'm actually not sure I do want to hear about them. I mean, I guess I could talk to the kids a little bit, up to you.


CATHERINE
Let's focus on getting me out of that apartment first. I mean, I'm grateful Josh and Andrew let me stay in that place, but how else do I make money? And don't say a job. 

NATE
That mom blog of yours.

CATHERINE
That gets no visitors, but thanks for the reassurance I guess. Anyways, let's talk logistics. Which bedroom do I get.

NATE
Mine, if you think that's appropriate.

CATHERINE
Then where would you sleep?

NATE
Same bed...


CATHERINE
Ew no. I need my own bed. Tell you what: we put two beds in the same room. 

NATE
That's weird, but then again,

CATHERINE
I'm weird too, I know. 

NATE
You know, I actually know a woman who might be interested in purchasing your apartment unit.


CATHERINE
Oh yeah? Who? 

NATE
My mom. She'd do anything to get me to move in with you. 


CATHERINE
How did I not see that coming?

NATE
Not sure but you'll get used to it. In fact, let me call her now.


NATE calls his mom, MEG, on the phone.

NATE
Hi Mom, I have a question for you: would you pay to move into Catherine's apartment full-time? I think she's going to move in with me but wants some money, which she can get by selling that apartment unit...Yeah, I know, the unit has been in the family for years...No not that long, not even a decade!...Oh awesome! Talk to you later. Bye.

NATE [to CATHERINE]
She's moving in.

CATHERINE
This is great!

NATE
I know!


CATHERINE
Just to be clear--she's moving into my apartment unit, not here?

NATE
Yes, don't worry.


CATHERINE
Hey, we both have different family dynamics. I wasn't ruling out her misinterpreting what you were saying.

NATE
I couldn't be more happy for us.

CATHERINE
Me neither. I get to move in with a guy with money, and not have to have the commitment of marriage just yet. And I actually like him, for an added bonus!

NATE
We are talking about me right?

CATHERINE
Of course.

NATE
This really is great.


CATHERINE
Hold on, I'm getting a call from Josh right now. 

NATE
Oh wow, I can't believe my mom actually called him about this!


CATHERINE answers the phone.

CATHERINE
Hey Josh.

JOSH
Catherine, huge news.

CATHERINE
I know! Thanks!

JOSH
What? No--Mom and Dad are at our front door. They're back from Poland.

CATHERINE
OK, why?

JOSH
I have no clue. Andrew has no clue. I think we might need to either stay with you for a while or redirect them there. 

CATHERINE
That's not happening. I'm moving in with my boyfriend, and his mom is gonna buy my unit. Oh also it's Nate, who apparently was a friend of yours for some time.

JOSH
Your boyfriend is Nate? Wow I thought he'd never get a girl, good for him. 

ANDREW [yelling to JOSH]
GET BACK TO TALKING ABOUT BRIAN AND FRAN, WILL YOU? I'M FREAKED OUT RIGHT NOW.

JOSH
OK yeah, so Catherine, what do I do?

CATHERINE
Open the door and pray they come in peace with no bad news, I guess. 

JOSH
As if realizing neither I nor Andrew can find a job down here is painful enough. Wish me luck, bye.

NATE
Everything OK?


CATHERINE
Apparently my mom and dad are back--wait, getting a call from my daughter, sorry.

CATHERINE answers the phone.

CATHERINE
Hi Britney 2. Why are you calling and do I want to know?

WILLIAM
Hey.

CATHERINE
William?


WILLIAM
Yeah, that's right, I actually did call you. Just doing my due diligence to let you know I'm getting remarried. Aren't you happy for me?!

CATHERINE
I'm not sure I care, we had a good run but when you think about it, that kind of ended a day less than nine months before Britney was born.

WILLIAM
Yeah speaking of her, she's also getting married. The guy has a kid. 

CATHERINE
What?!

WILLIAM
I'll leave you to whatever you're doing now.


WILLIAM hangs up.

CATHERINE
What the hell is going on with my life? 

NATE
Everything OK?

CATHERINE
Everything between you and me is going great. Hold on, getting another call. 

CATHERINE answers the phone.

CATHERINE
Hello?


MARY
Catherine! So, I was thinking about that mom blog of yours. You seem so happy over where you are, and it's got me thinking that maybe I should get a divorce from David. Start over, right? Think of the possibilities.


CATHERINE
Don't do it. Or, do it. I'm really not sure since we barely talk, I wish I could tell you more but our extended family is kind of a mess right now. You'll get the calls soon.

MARY [sarcastically]
Can't wait. 


MARY hangs up.

CATHERINE sums up everything that just happened to NATE.

NATE
Wow. I think there's really only one way this can be solved?


CATHERINE
I know, I know, ignore them and focus on me and you.

NATE
No. Well, yeah, focus on me and you. But also--[NATE pauses]

CATHERINE
What?

NATE
I think there should be a family reunion.

CATHERINE
I think you're right.

[TO BE CONTINUED]



Thursday TV Ratings 12/12/19: Greatest Night of Giveaways Steady for Finale, The Great American Baking Show Low in Return, Superstore Down (UPDATED)

Finals Update: Thursday Night Football (+0.9) adjusted up.
Time
Show
18-49 Rating
Viewers (mil)
Channel
8 PMThursday Night Football3.4/139.02Fox

Ellen's Greatest Night of Giveaways (F)1.0/55.89NBC

Young Sheldon1.0/68.21CBS

Olaf's Frozen Adventure0.6/43.27ABC

Supernatural0.3/11.11The CW
8:30 PMThe Unicorn0.7/45.62CBS

Toy Story That Time Forgot0.6/32.64ABC
9 PMMom0.7/46.19CBS

Superstore0.6/32.83NBC

The Great American Baking Show (P)0.5/32.88ABC

Legacies0.3/20.93The CW
9:30 PMCarol's Second Act0.6/35.00CBS

Perfect Harmony0.4/21.80NBC
10 PMEvil0.5/33.63CBS

A Legendary Christmas (R)0.3/21.68NBC

NCIS: Los Angeles S11E11 'Answers' Review




In an episode entitled "Answers", there is a natural assumption that there will be, well, lots of  answers.  That is certainly how the CBS promotional clips presented this week's show, that many fans questions will be answered.  Trouble is there are a lot of fans and so many questions about each of the characters.  So how to decide which are the most important?  Veteran NCISLA writer Kyle Harimoto had the audacious task of deciding just that...which questions do the majority of fans care about?  How do you fit so much in-depth dialogue in to an episode, and just how much of an answer will be given?  Remember there is still the second half of the season to come, and of course the inevitable season 11 cliffhanger next May.  If all the answers are given now, there would be nothing left to tease or reveal later.

The first point is how the narrative structure of the episode will change to allow the necessary time and space for the characters to have such conversations.  The answer is to use a formula which was touched season in 'Searching', when Callen was shot in the leg during the opening, and the team then had the day off. That also allowed for some interesting conversations between Kensi and Deeks in their bar, Callen trying to bond with his nephew whilst Sam and Fatima assisted DOJ Agent Lance Hamilton on an op. 'Answers' also uses a cold open to conclude an unknown case. The team are undercover in the field, after some minor action the case is over and the team relax with breakfast at the Squid and Dagger, they are called back to work when Army CID Special Agent Evans has a strong lead on an impending large scale terror attack on either LA or Chicago. The team are on alert, ready go tactical, and are left hanging around the mission, waiting for the call to arms. This provides ample opportunity to pass the time by talking about their personal feelings, issues and concerns, conversations not usually seen onscreen (Kensi/Deeks excepted). The episode has a very different pacing than usual, particularly after the frenetic tempo of last week's 'Mother'.

The tone too changes with move to the Squid and Dagger, becoming much more sombre. Kensi asks the first and probably most important question that has been thought of by many fans. Is Hetty going to retire from NCIS? Hetty has not been consistently present for several seasons now, sometimes that has been covered through an underlying story arc, for example with her in Vietnam (S9), but frequently she is just absent, and referenced occasionally. Kensi also asks if Sam or Callen would step in to Hetty's role. Sam instantly states he has no interest and Callen deflects. He is adamant she is not going anywhere and is clearly in denial, in fact rather than discuss the matter further he excuses himself to the kitchen to get more breakfast.

From here on, the characters really branch off in to their pairs, the closeness allowing for frank conversations.  Kensi and Deeks' talk is a further development from Kensi's concern about possibly being pregnant earlier in the season.  These two have had countless conversations about marriage, children and careers, most of which have built on previous ones.  In S11E04 Yellow Jack, Kensi realised how much she does want a baby with Deeks. This is developed further here when for the third month Kensi has failed to fall pregnant. She verbalises her feelings and emotions, which are so true and valid and experienced by many women. Three months is not really that long but feels like an eternity. In a very telling line, Kensi reveals how frustrated she is about not being able to control her body, when her professional life is all about control and protocol. Deeks too opens up, admitting that he is terrified of everything involving children because of how he was brought up. They share the fear that they may have left it too late to have a baby together. The big news is that Kensi really is all in, and has grown tremendously over the seasons. However there is one big elephant in the room that was not addressed at all: what will Kensi and Deeks do when she falls pregnant and has the baby? Will Kensi be desk-bound? Will she leave NCIS or continue working? Will Deeks give up his career in law enforcement? The outcome would have a tremendous impact on the show as they are an integral part of the show's success and continuing attraction. On the plus side, Kensi is not yet having a baby so they remain on screen.

Callen and Sam's in-depth talk is something that is rarely seen, mainly as Callen has a tendency to shut Sam down as soon as it becomes personal. The entire team is suffering from lack of sleep which triggers some barbed words between Callen and Sam, leading to worrying talks about their future. Sam pushes Callen about why he doesn't want Hetty's job, with him admitting if he did, it would be permanent. Remember Callen has been harking back to his lone wolf days recently and now Sam has the key, that Callen can't handle permanency in his life, citing his relationship with Anna when Callen pushes back.  The pair come to verbal blows when Callen bites back that not everyone can be perfect like Sam, the heartbreaking moment comes when Sam says if he was perfect, his wife would still be alive. The guilt is written across Callen's face and he cannot apologise enough, and it is probably this guilt which allows Callen to open up a bit more to Sam.

Sam too opens up, talking about the future and the opportunities he has now he's on his own for the first time in many years.  He talks of his future, his vision as well as talking about Michelle and their kids. Just because he doesn't mention her doesn't mean he's not thinking of her or hurting. Sam admits he overcame the darkness he felt after her murder - he is not that kind of person at heart. Conversely if that was Callen or Deeks, the story would play out very differently. His revelation that he had considered leaving NCIS for the DOJ shook Callen, who even asked if Sam was the kind of person who would up and leave in the middle of the night. A true bromance!

Sam's talk of the future involves NCIS and it involves Callen, and he lays out his plans of finding raw young agents with potential, that he could mould and mentor out in the field, with Callen running the Operations by assuming Hetty's role, so they could make their team the best it could ever be. It is an interesting seed to plant, setting up the possibilities for several more seasons, taking into account Hetty's (impending) departure, the possibility of Kensi and/or Deeks becoming (temporarily absent) if/when they have children. It also lays the groundwork for the introduction of new team members, even if it is one every week until Sam finds the perfect recruit. The one person who springs to mind is Finn, the teenage boy Callen told he had 'potential', in a throwback to Hetty's words to a fifteen year old Callen.  It would be most fitting and delightfully completing a generational cycle, if this were to happen. What is worrying about this, is that Callen will take Hetty's job for Sam but not because he wants it for himself.

Both Kensi and Sam raise the point of promotion from within which makes perfect sense. How many times have outsiders come in and failed? Hunter, Granger (for a few seasons), Rogers and Mosley have all butted heads with the team and Callen in particular. However Callen is a great field agent and undercover operative and it would be a struggle for him not to be in the thick of the action and thinking on his feet.

Sam has a kind of tough love for Callen and often tries to force him to voice his thoughts although it seldom works. This time it does, twice! Callen is never seen with a shrink although Granger once underlined that he'd seen Callen's psych evaluations and confirmed he has issues! Repeatedly during the episode, Sam puts Callen in uncomfortable situations, particularly pressing him to discuss whether he wishes to have a relationship with Anna Kolcheck.

Callen: I just don't know what kind of relationship I would be even capable of having. I-I think a shrink could spend a year trying to unpack all the... 
Sam: That's because you don't know who you are.
Callen: What?
Sam: You spent your entire adult life trying to find your father and uncover your identity. You've done those things. Now you don't know who you are without that weight on your shoulders.

The original premise of NCIS: Los Angeles centred  around Callen and the search for his identity. Over the seasons he has found out about his family history and found living relatives so it is natural the show needs to develop his character in other ways. The above lines expand on the season 7 episode 'Head of the Snake', when Nate kidnaps Callen and challenges Callen that even though he knows his name, he does not know who he is. It certainly makes a change for Callen to reveal so much and 'Answers' manages this is a perfectly credible manner.

Finally Eric and Nell also experience their own heart to heart and basically, their relationship is a mess.  A lot is revealed here. Eric has moved out of their apartment as Nell's sister Sydney has temporarily moved in, and her mother is still extremely ill. Further to that Nell admits it was her idea for her sister to move in and Eric to move out. And Eric is fine with it. On the plus side, the pair are happy, but hopefully there will be no more appearances by Sydney, that would really be a negative. 

'Answers' was excellently directed by Frank Military. The transition between scenes and partners, all talking in different areas of the Mission, showed how connected yet disconnected they are their worries are. The case of the week is negligible and may go down in history as the quickest case ever. They still managed a quick action gunfight and the obligatory explosion, showing how quickly the team focus after their respective conversations. While some questions were answered, many were just verbalised and more questions generated, ranging from why Kensi remained in his stunning red dress for so long when cooking, and did she really cook the loco moto breakfast? On a serious note, there is now so much potential for the future which will start to play out as the second part of the season progresses early next year.


NBC Renew/Cancel Week 5: Perfect Harmony is in Far from Perfect Shape, but Its Fate Is Less Certain

It's been a while since my last NBC Renew/Cancel, and I feel like it's the right time to check in on the Peacock Network. This week's update features an upgrade for one show and an update on another. Keep reading to find out which shows I'll talk about this time around!

Certain Cancellation:
Bluff City Law (0.6)

Likely Cancellation: 
Perfect Harmony (0.5)

Leans Cancellation:
The Blacklist (0.5)

Leans Renewal: 
N/A

Likely Renewal:
Law & Order: SVU (0.7)
New Amsterdam (0.8)

Certain Renewal:
Chicago Fire (1.2)
Chicago PD (1.1)
Chicago Med (1.2)
Saturday Night Live (1.2)
Superstore (0.8)

Already Renewed:
Brooklyn Nine-Nine
This Is Us

Already Canceled/Final Season:
Blindspot
The Good Place
Sunnyside
Will & Grace

Coming Soon:
Council of Dads
Good Girls
Indebted
Manifest
Lincoln
Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist
Perfect Harmony: I've been pretty hard on this show, and for good reason. Its 0.45 season average is pathetic. It makes it the lowest-rated new show of the season behind the already-canceled Sunnyside. So why am I upgrading it? My gut is just telling me that this show has a chance, no matter how small, or coming back. And since I have that small doubt in just how inevitable its cancellation is, I can't leave it as a certain cancellation. Make no mistake, the ratings and its 20th Century TV ownership should mean it's certainly a goner, but NBC has made strange comedy renewals in the past (albeit, under different leadership). For now, it's a LIKELY CANCELLATION.

Bluff City Law: Since our last update, NBC's only new fall drama wrapped up its first season run with an awful 0.56. Somehow that puts it smack dab in the middle of this season's crop of new shows, but it had a better lead-in than most of the other shows and no real excuse to bomb as badly as it did. I'm absolutely certain that this is a CERTAIN CANCELLATION.

What do you think of my predictions? What are your predictions? Let me know in the comments below and don't forget to vote in the poll of the week!

Our House Season 2 Episode 6 - Our Wonderful Life (Midseason Finale)

 Our House Season 2, Episode 6
Our Wonderful Life

Teri steps into the house and finds the family arguing.
Cindy: Mitchell, you said you were running to the store for a strand of lights for the porch and then you’d be back to decorate. You were gone all day and we never decorated! Christmas is in two weeks and we look like a bunch of grinches!
Mitchell: Hold on a minute! I was driving there but I felt nauseous on the way to the store and I had to pull over and throw up.
Cindy: So you just disappeared all day? We were worried about you! We had to go look for you!
Mitchell: I went to the doctor.
Tammi: Mitchell, you smell like beer and smoke. You were clearly at the club.
Velma: That’s unfair.
Ralph: You’re right, that’s always what he smells like. It could’ve been from yesterday.
Mitchell: None of you believe me? Seriously?
Cindy: Maybe if you’d stop making up excuses when you break promises, we’d believe your lies. But this is clearly a lie. Christmas is ruined and it’s your fault.
Betty: Please, everyone, stop fighting!
Cindy: Keep out of this mom.
Karl: Don’t talk to your mother like that.
Teri: Could you all just shut the hell up?!?
Cindy: Oh, now you’re gonna chime in.
Velma: This really isn’t your business, Teri.
Teri: I live here. I just spent five hours shopping of presents for you people. I deserve some peace. It’s my business.
Mitchell: I’m just mad that nobody believes me and you’re all blaming me for “ruining Christmas!”
As he finishes talking, Mitchell swings his hands, knocking over a ceramic Christmas decoration on the shelf behind him.
Betty: Mitchell! What did you do?
Mitchell: I’m so sorry.
Betty: My mother made that! How could you?
Mitchell: It was an accident! I swear, I didn’t mean to!
Betty: I don’t want to hear it. My Christmas is entirely ruined, thank you very much.
Teri: Mitchell, that wasn’t cool. My mom love that so much, and so did the rest of us. We’ve been living with each other for a little more than a year and how much stuff have you seen in here that was from my grandmother? Not much. You just destroyed a priceless memory. Now if you excuse me, I’m tired and I’d just like to go to bed. Merry Christmas to none of you.
Teri walks to her room with multiple bags of gifts in tow, tossing them onto her floor and changing into her pajamas before collapsing into her bed.
Teri: Oh, how I wish I was never born into this family.
Teri falls asleep soon after and wakes up in the middle of the night with a man standing over her bed.
Teri: AHHHHH!!!! Help me! There’s a man in my room!
Man: It’s no use. Nobody’s going to hear you.
Teri: Oh my god, is this how I go out?
Man: I’m not here to kill you. I’m your guardian angel, and I’m here to grant your wish.
Teri: What wish? That the Tree didn’t get eliminated on The Masked Singer?
Angel: No, that you wish you weren’t born.
Teri: Oh, that.
Angel: I’m going to show you what things would be like if you were never born. All the way back to when you would’ve been born, in 19-
Teri: Don’t. Don’t say it.
Angel: 1983.
Teri: Angel! I said no!
Angel: You can call me Clarence, by the way.
Teri: You are ancient, so that name checks out.
Clarence: Hey! Don’t insult your guardian angel! Now come on, back to your childhood home in 1983.
Teri: Why does everyone look so sad?
Clarence: You weren’t born. The pregnancy that resulted in you never happened. After your uncle died, your mother’s pregnancy was what brought your parents together.
Teri: But why do Cindy and Ralph look so upset? It’s not like they’d know what was going on.
Clarence: Your parents were going through a bit of a rough patch when you came into this world. You brought them together, and since that pregnancy didn’t happen to provide them with some happiness, they started to have loud and sometimes violent fights. Cindy and Ralph were devastated to see their once-happy home fall apart.
Teri: Violent? My parents attacked each other?
Clarence: Can you just watch?
Teri: Jeez, fine.
Betty: I lost my brother and cried for two weeks straight and you start hanging around the bar and leaving me alone with the kids every single night? You didn’t even care about me!
Karl: Think about how I felt! My wife and I are finally starting to rebuild our relationship and then she becomes cold and distant for weeks on end because of something that I didn’t even do! I was devastated. And you didn’t care about me! Just about you!
Betty: Karl, I lost a brother. Someone who was there for me all of my life. Everything was seemingly fine, and then it wasn’t.
Karl: But that wasn’t just you. He was my friend, too.
Betty: Everything’s all about you, isn’t it? You turn everything around on me when I just needed some time to heal.
Karl: I want a divorce.
Betty picks up a vase and throws it at Karl.
Teri: Why are they crazy now?
Clarence: This is what they were like back then. At least, ever since you didn’t exist.
Teri: Okay, this is not my fault. You can’t blame my mom throwing a vase on me.
Clarence: Nobody’s blaming anyone. We’re supposed to just be observing, not fighting with each other.
Teri: I wouldn’t be fighting with you if you weren’t being condescending.
Clarence: I’m an angel. For that reason I will resist the urge to say anything mean right now. Now, let’s take a trip to 1987.
Teri: Nothing interesting happened then.
Clarence: Well…
Teri: Why is my mom packing up the car?
Clarence: Teri, just watch.
Teri: Fine, Clarence.
Betty: Cindy, Ralph, get in the car. It’s time to go home.
Cindy: I don’t want to go home!
Betty: Cindy, I know you like going to see your dad. But it’s been two weeks, we have to get home.
Ralph: Why can’t things be like they used to be?
Betty: Sometimes people drift apart. That’s what happened to me and your father. It’s been a year since we’ve lived in New Jersey and I know you miss him but this is for the best. None of us would want for us to all be living together again if that meant we were always fighting.
Teri: Wait, mom moved to New Jersey? No way.
Clarence: Her job moved there, and she went with it. Your dad begged her not to take the kids, but she took them anyway. They drive five and a half hours every few weeks. Your mom stays with your grandparents over the weekend so she doesn’t have to do eleven hours of driving in one day, and she heads back to New Jersey on Sunday. The kids will stay in Virginia for two weeks, then she comes back down and they go up to New Jersey.
Teri: How does the work with school? Surely it has to be a disaster.
Clarence: Home schooling.
Teri: But if they’re both working, how does that work?
Clarence: Can you stop asking questions for just a minute?
Teri: Fine.
Clarence: It’s time to make an even further leap, to 1997.
Teri: 1997? Please don’t show my hair, Angel, it was terrible back then. I was going through a phase.
Clarence: Teri, you were never born.
Teri: Oh, that’s right. That’s just my first reaction whenever anyone says 1997. Trust me, my hair was really bad.
Clarence: I’ve seen it, and I agree.
Teri: You’re supposed to be an angel, you’re only supposed to be nice!
Clarence: Who told you that?
Teri: You did.
Clarence: No, I said I wouldn’t say anything mean. Not that I couldn’t agree with your assessment of your hair. Anyway, let’s pay attention to what’s going on. So you don’t ask another question, I’ll set the scene. It’s the holiday party that Velma and Mitchell met after. The one -
Teri: Where I got arrested for underage drinking! I forced Mitchell and his friend Paul to take me with them, and then the old lady that lived next door to the kid throwing the party called the cops on us and we all went to jail! And then Velma and Mitchell fell in love. So romantic.
Clarence: Exactly! Now watch.
Mitchell: Paul, I think I’m going home. My stomach isn’t feeling well, I don’t think I should’ve drank that beer.
Teri: Aww, he’s still faking nausea even when I don’t exist.
Paul: Come on Mitchell, it’s only 9:30. We haven’t even been here an hour, just stick around for a little while. I heard some of the girls from the Swann School are coming!
Mitchell: I don’t even know any of them, you’re gonna need to do better than that to make me stick around.
Paul: I drove.
Mitchell: Yeah, my car.
Paul: Crap.
Mitchell: So, I guess I’m gonna get going. Call me when you’re ready to come home, I’ll come pick you up.
Paul: No worries, I’ll get a ride. Just go home and rest if your stomach feels that bad.
Mitchell: Alright, thanks. See you later.
Paul: Bye Mitch.
Teri: So what you’re trying to show me here is that because I didn’t delay Mitchell and Paul by having to pick me up, they got there too early. Then Mitchell got all scared to be at a party he didn’t think he was cool enough to be at, so he pretended to use that single beer he drank as an excuse to leave. So therefore, he didn’t meet Velma and they didn’t get together.
Clarence: Pretty much. But let’s just watch it all play out. I’ll skip ahead about two hours to the interesting part.
Teri: Oh my god! Velma, what are you doing?
Clarence: She’s kissing Paul. By this point, you had already turned up the music so loud that the neighbor called the cops and Velma and Mitchell got to know each other in the jail holding cell. Since you and Mitchell weren’t there, she formed a connection with Paul.
Teri: I have so much impact.
Clarence: How about we jump forward three years to 2000?
Teri: You’re the one in charge.
Clarence: Before you ask, we’re at the hospital on the day that your sister Cindy is about to give birth to her first child.
Teri: I’m assuming where you’re going with this one is that Tammi and Zeke never existed because Cindy didn’t meet Jerry because she lived in Jersey and she never became a teen mom.
Clarence: Yes, that’s what I’m trying to show you.
Teri: But does this also mean that Frank never becomes a part of the family?
Clarence: Yes, Cindy only had sons.
Teri: You must be crazy if you think that I see this as a negative in any way.
Clarence: Cindy did marry someone I’m sure you’ll hate even more than you hate Frank.
Teri: That is literally impossible.
Clarence: She’s married to Dan Brent, the congressman.
Teri: Former congressman.
Clarence: Not if you weren’t born.
Teri: How did me not being born change Dan Brent’s electoral fate?
Clarence: Your mother was one of Alicia Spanheim’s most enthusiastic supporters and volunteers. Since she didn’t move back to Virginia when Cindy did, she never volunteered for the Spanheim campaign, never gave Alicia the debate advice, and Dan Brent was re-elected.
Teri: This is extremely far-fetched.
Clarence: I’m an angel, you should probably believe me.
Teri: So you’re telling me that Cindy is married to current congressman Dan Brent, never had Tammi and Zeke, moved away from mom, and this is all because of me?
Clarence: Yes.
Teri: Alright, I’m done with Cindy. Show me Ralph.
Clarence: I wish I could.
Teri: What the hell’s that supposed to mean?
Clarence: To explain that, we’re going to have to backtrack.
Teri: Guess you made a mistake. Got you, angel.
Clarence: Alright, it’s Christmas Eve, 1998. Ralph is driving back from Virginia to spend Christmas with your mom.
Teri: What is he doing? Why is his car going off the road.
Clarence: Along the way, he started to fall asleep behind the wheel. It’s late, it’s dark. His eyes shut for a brief second. He drifts off the road, and runs into a traffic light. He doesn’t make it.
Teri: Oh my god. Poor Ralph. Why was he driving? We doesn’t drive.
Clarence: He had to learn if he ever wanted to see both of his parents.
Teri: You have to be showing me the worst case scenario in every situation. There’s no way that me not being born had a unanimously negative result.
Clarence: It did. You are a good person, one that’s responsible for a lot of good things happening. But just to convince you more, how about a look at Danielle’s life.
Teri: Let me guess, she fell off a cliff on that trip we took to Utah?
Clarence: Actually, yes.
Teri: Seriously?
Clarence: No! She probably turned out the best out of all of them. She ended up moving back to Bensonhurst in 2002.
Teri: She always used to say she was going to.
Clarence: Except without you there to beg her not to leave, she actually did it. Since she moved in with her mom, her and her sister started driving each other crazy and they became estranged. They’re great together in small doses, but for too long, they run each other up the wall.
Teri: So I tore another family apart. Great.
Clarence: Technically it was the lack of you doing that, not you. You kept them together.
Teri: I guess I did.
Clarence: There’s one more thing I’d like to show you.
Teri: Man, you take forever to make a point.
Clarence: Thank you.
Teri: That wasn’t really a compliment, ole’ Clarence.
Clarence: Welcome to Christmas 2019. Two weeks into the future. At your dad’s house in Lakey. He’s arguing with Dan, while Cindy sits awkwardly in the corner. Their kids are out in the kitchen making Christmas cookies with your dad’s wife, Karen. 
Teri: Karen?
Clarence: Karen.
Cindy: Hey Dan, are the rumors true?
Dan: What rumors?
Cindy: Oh come on, you know.
Dan: No, I don’t. What are you talking about?
Cindy: I know you’re cheating on me.
Dan: No I’m not!
Cindy: I saw your texts, Dan. I don’t know who Shari is but I sure hope you have a nice life with her. Now get out of my father’s house.
Dan: Cindy, let me explain.
Cindy: Let me explain something. We’re getting divorced, I’m taking you for all you’re worth, and I’m going to run for Congress against you. Because I want to take everything you love away from you.
Dan: You’re acting crazy.
Cindy: I’m not crazy, you’re crazy. For pissing me off. When has that ever went well for anyone else?
Dan: I’m going to leave now.
Ralphie (Dan’s son): What’s going on, mom?
Cindy: Get in the kitchen, Ralphie. You don’t need to hear this.
Ralphie: We heard it all, the door was open.
Cindy: Dammit Karen!
Karl: Dan, you should leave now. Happy holidays!
Teri: Wow, that unraveled quickly.
Clarence: Sure did.
Teri: So Christmas still sucks even without me, what a shock.
Clarence: The point is that without you, your family is miserable. Now, let’s go somewhere else.
Teri: Where to?
Clarence: Your mom’s house. Take a look.
Teri: There’s no way she isn’t celebrating Christmas.
Clarence: Well, she’s not. Not anymore. Cindy and her family haven’t been to see her for Christmas in ten years. Your grandma passed away five years ago, and your grandfather ten years ago.
Teri: At least that didn’t change.
Clarence: No, you didn’t have any impact on their lifespans. But…
Teri: Back to mom, please.
Clarence: Oh, right. Your uncles both passed away many years ago. Your aunt Cheryl is on tour for the holidays. Your mom didn’t have any reason to celebrate the holidays this year. Her favorite time of year, and she didn’t even bother decorating. She knew she’d be the only one to see them.
Teri: What about Mitchell? Is he not visiting her?
Clarence: He’s spending the holiday with his wife’s family, in North Carolina.
Teri: Man, I really messed everything up, didn’t I? I never should’ve wished that I was never born.
Clarence: You shouldn’t have. But things can all go back to the way they were before.
Teri: How? Tell me how, Clarence!
Clarence: Just say that you wish you were born.
Teri: Alright. But wait, you didn’t show me anything about Carlene. What happened to her?
Clarence: You didn’t really have much of an impact on her yet. The only difference is that her and Betty never would have met. That’s all.
Teri: I figured as much. Guess you can influence everyone you meet. Alright, I want to go back now. I wish I was born.
Teri is back in her bedroom, where it is now morning. She immediately runs down the stairs.
Teri: Guys! You’re all here!
Betty: Of course we’re all here.
Teri: Mom! You and dad are still married!
Karl: Of course we are! She may be crazy but I still love her.
Teri: And mom doesn’t live in Jersey!
Betty: Jersey? Why the hell would I live there?
Teri: Velma, where’s Mitchell?
Velma: I don’t know, he hasn’t been home since I woke up.
Teri: Oh no, everything’s not the same! Darn you Clarence!
Velma: Huh?
Teri: Ralph, I’m so happy you’re still alive! And still not driving, I suppose.
Ralph: Of course I’m not driving. When have I ever?
Teri: Jerry, I have never been so happy to see you!
Jerry: Thank you?
Teri: I’m even happy to see you, Frank!
Frank spits out his coffee.
Frank: WHAT?
Teri: Tammi, Zeke, Steven, I’m even more excited to see you.
Frank: Aww man.
Teri: Danielle, call your sister.
Danielle: Okay? Will do, Teri.
Carlene: Any weird comment for me, Teri?
Teri: Nah.
Betty: Teri, why are you acting so strange?
Teri: I’m just really happy.
Betty: I’m glad you are. I’m still upset about your grandma’s ceramic snowman.
Teri: I did the dumbest thing. I wished that I was never born. And then this angel was there, and he showed me what life would be like if I wasn’t born. It was terrible! Ralph was dead, and you and dad were divorced, and Cindy married Dan Brent, and Velma got together with Mitch’s friend Paul, and Danielle. went back to New York and became estranged from her sister, and so many things were just different. It was a nightmare.
Betty: Teri… you were only dreaming. You inserted yourself into the plot of It’s a Wonderful Life.
Teri: Oh my god, you’re right! How didn’t I realize that? The angel was even named Clarence!
Just then, Mitchell storms into the house.
Teri: Mitchell! Give me a hug!
Mitchell: You want to give me a hug? You wanted to kill me last night!
Teri: None of that matters! Cherish every moment, no time to be angry.
Betty: Unless your mother’s antique ceramic snowman was broken, then you get to be angry.
Mitchell: About that. I’ve been outside all day fixing that snowman. It doesn’t look quite as perfect as it used to but I fixed it pretty well. And Cindy, I finished putting the Christmas lights up. I’m sorry for the way I acted yesterday.
Teri: Look at me bringing this family together. I’m so needed.
Cindy: Thank you, Mitchell.
Betty: Yes, thank you. I really appreciate it that you used yesterday as a learning opportunity.
Teri: Alright guys, I think the only answer to all this goodness happening is to watch a Christmas movie together!
Betty: It’s A Wonderful Life?
Teri: I’ll pass on that one. How about Elf?

What did you think of tonight's episode? Make sure to comment your thoughts below and make sure to read the show when it returns in early 2020!