Speechless S3E6 Review


As with the previous two Thanksgiving episodes, this one continues to explore Jimmy's relationship with his older brother, Billy (Rob Corddry) ... and chart the decline of Billy's personal life: In s.1, he was introduced as a successful dentist running his own practice, as well as a married man with a catchphrase-spouting teenage son and a baby on the way, but he was revealed to be broke due to gambling losses; by his return in s.2, he had bought a new car as a trial-separation gift to himself after his weepy wife had left him and taken the kids; and now he's dating a girl probably young enough to be his daughter, reluctantly going vegan, and taking heart medication.

One of Billy's pills is inadvertently given to JJ by Kenneth (who sees a prescription bottle out and automatically assumes it's JJ's medicine). After last week's ep featuring Jimmy's privileged pal Dane and a Goodfellas homage, here is yet another "M-A-- May-Jay" callback of sorts -- the DiMeos having "juice" (favored treatment) at the hospital where JJ is a frequent patient: Since JJ will have to be kept overnight for observation, and Maya is determined to make the best of her son's favorite holiday having gone awry, she takes advantage of her family's hospital privilege by raiding the supplies for table settings and decorations, and she aims to secure the best possible room -- the VIP "celebrity" suite -- for him.

Also eyeing that room is Melanie Hertzal (Roseanne and Scrubs alum Sarah Chalke), introduced in the s.2 Christmas ep as a fellow special-needs mom who had cheated Maya over a decade ago (when their sons were vying for a single opening at an elite school). Her son, Logan (Cole Massie), who is recovering from a tonsillectomy, happens to be JJ's rival from summer camp (introduced in the s.2 Thanksgiving ep); alas, the root of the boys' feud remains a mystery, not unlike "the Noodle Incident" from Calvin & Hobbes. Maya and Melanie were great putting aside their differences and working together in s2e16 "One A-N-- Angry M-- Maya" (prolonging their jury-duty mini-vacation), and here they're equally fun carrying out an elaborate plan to rid the celebrity suite of its current occupant, an attention-seeking hypochondriac. (Their special-needs parent juice may be overridden by "famous" juice in this instance * ; but the moms, in their scheme, still seem to get away with an awful lot of crap that the hospital likely wouldn't tolerate coming from most other families.)

However, when it comes to choosing whose son ultimately gets the room, neither mom has a coin to flip, so Melanie suggests sharing it; and when Maya goes to tell JJ, he insists she just take the room, as Logan and his mother cannot be trusted. (Indeed, Melanie eventually admits she would've done the same thing.) I was disappointed that Maya would stoop so low, as she had made it a point that (unlike Melanie) her doing anything for her son would never extend to "screwing over" other special-needs parents; fortunately, she ends up being the one to call a truce after Melanie tries to drive her, JJ and Dylan out by somehow messing with the air-conditioning, alarm and lights.

Meanwhile, Kenneth -- wanting to make up for what he did to JJ -- agrees to keep an eye on Billy. Jimmy's newfound resolve to try to find the good in his brother (after expecting and finding only the worst for so long) is soon tested when he stumbles upon Billy and Kenneth having way too much fun playing with novocaine; after Jimmy wants to join in and Billy turns him down, Jimmy admits to Kenneth that he misses the fun he and his brother used to have growing up. Later, when Kenneth tries to help the brothers get along better, Jimmy and Billy rediscover their old magic by poking fun at the aide's attempt to encourage deeper, more mature bonding -- Billy may have enjoyed playing with Kenneth like a new toy, but he and Jimmy have a lifetime of in-jokes to forever bind them. (Of course, Kenneth gets his revenge by mocking a heart-to-heart talk Jimmy has with Ray.)

As for Ray, in the s.2 finale he resolved to work on himself before pursuing ex-girlfriend Taylor (Melanie's daughter) again, as she seemed open to giving him another chance after her mom had supposedly promised his mom to put in a good word for him; but apparently all it takes is growing his first chest hair to boost his confidence. At the hospital, after Logan informs him that his sister's on a ski trip with her boyfriend, Ray is plunged into deep despair; he sweetly bonds with a pregnant girl named Mary (Azura Skye) who welcomes his "boring" yet calming tale of woe, and witnessing the birth of her son gives him renewed hope. Before long, though, that sweetness is undercut by Mary getting creeped out at Ray's method of calming her baby (lying down and holding him to his shirtless chest), as well as the closing tag in which she finds him saying goodbye to the wrong baby; beyond even Ray's usual awkwardness, I found this maybe just a couple steps too far into cringe-y.

(* Indeed, as the DiMeos, Kenneth, Billy, Melanie and Logan enjoy Thanksgiving dinner together in the VIP suite, it's revealed that "they need to be out in five minutes -- James Van Der Beek sprained his toe.")

Musical Moments: Ray reprises his Taylor ode "Unforgettable Pain" (from s2e15) for Mary; Bing Crosby's "I've Got Plenty to Be Thankful For" (from the 1942 classic Holiday Inn) plays over the Thanksgiving-dinner montage.

Fun Fact: Longtime friends Corddry and John Ross Bowie (Jimmy) came up through Upright Citizens Brigade NY and LA together in the late '90s-early '00s, and had their own improv sketch troupe (with Brian Huskey and Seth Morris) called "Naked Babies."

In Three Weeks: "F-O-- FOLLOW T-H-R-- THROUGH" (airing Dec. 7).

Grade: 7.5/10. Lots of funny stuff -- I especially enjoyed Kenneth getting involved in Jimmy and Billy's relationship, and Maya and Melanie's scheme to get the celebrity patient out of the celebrity suite -- but very disappointing regression for Maya, and Ray's otherwise sweet plot turned out a bit over-the-top awkward for me.

Share this

Related Posts

Next Post »