“One Big Happy” recap (1.4): Wind Beneath My Windsuit

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Well, we all knew this day would come.  Eventually, inevitably, there had to be an episode about Luke. Let us bear it with brevity and grace.

obh4.1  I KNEW I WAS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PROMO PICS FOR A REASON.

obh4.2 YEAH, TO KEEP US FROM MAKING OUT.

We begin with Lizzy triumphantly bursting into the kitchen to announce that her morning sickness is finally over, and what’s even better, she had a sex dream about Beyonce last night. That’s lovely, of course, but as gay things go, it falls much lower on the scale than the overalls Lizzy is sporting. Now imagine her wearing those while working on a car, with a delicate smudge of grease on one cheek and…sorry these are private thoughts. Back to Luke. It turns out the only thing stronger than Lizzy’s stomach is the smell of Prudence’s gooseberry jam and blood sausages. And every time Lizzy gags, Luke does too.

obh4.3 I TOLD YOU NOT TO MENTION PETE AND MYKA’S RELATIONSHIP IN FRONT OF ME.

Luke and Lizzy are all set for their usual thrilling Sunday of crazy times at the farmers’ market. But Prudence wants to do something a little more her speed, which is a little faster than the motorized wheelchair her housemates ride through life. This episode is full of clunky jokes, but none more so than Luke’s suggestion that they spice things up by having sex in Lizzy’s room, and Lizzy’s rebuttal that they already have and she wasn’t sleeping. It’s the perfect example of the kind of lazy joke writers tell hoping for a quick laugh (which they only get from the laugh track anyway) and which seriously damages our view of the characters. We have to live with and like these people, and if you plant the image of two of them frantically shagging on the duvet of the third, it doesn’t just go away during the commercial break. Television is a long game, and if you don’t play it with that in mind, you’ll never have the kind of loyal fan base that keeps you on the air for more than your six episode order.

Writing aside, the actors still make the best of what they have to work with, particularly when Lizzy breaks it down to the beat of the farmers’ market smooth jazz trio.

obh4.4 ALL THE SINGLE LADIES EXPLORING PREGNANCY IN THE CONTEXT OF A PLATONIC POLY RELATIONSHIP, ALL THE SINGLE LADIES.

World-traveler that she is, it takes more than cauliflower to get Prudence’s adrenaline pumping.  She finds a “thrillseeker’s guide to L.A.” and begs Luke to join her at a bar where they let you tickle snakes. (The literal kind of snakes, y’all. This is NBC.)  Lizzy pulls him in the other direction, to the olive oil tasting.  Luke, like any good dog torn between two masters, flees in the opposite direction.

obh4.5 SQUIRREL!

Luke retreats to The Bowl Hole (I’m making a drinking game where you induce vomiting every time you see that sign) to share his problem with Marcus, who, like so many black characters before him, exists solely to dispense sage advice and one-liners. Marcus tells Luke that he essentially has two wives, and he needs to focus on the one who can please him in a way that a lesbian can’t. (Luke’s reply: “Technically, lesbians can. They just don’t want to.”) I would be kind of offended by this shit were it not for the fact that Lizzy and Luke truly are boring and I much prefer Prudence’s idea of a Sunday Funday.

Back at the house, Lizzy vents to Leisha (I would say take a shot every time they call each other “sissy” but you would all die and frankly this show can’t afford to lose the ratings). Leisha’s husband (has anyone said his name yet?) is also over, building their daughter a play castle for when Lizzy babysits. I really want to meet this holy terror of a child; I hope she lives up to her reputation. They reassure Lizzy that Luke is just acting like everyone acts in the throes of a new romance, and is in no danger of becoming a new person. And at that moment, Luke emerges, dressed like so.

obh4.6 I AM GOING TO JUMP OUT OF A PLANE AND INTO A BOWIE TRIBUTE BAND.

Luke says that he wants to make sure Prudence doesn’t get bored with him, and for that, he must fly. Cut to:

obh4.7 I KNEW WE SHOULDN’T HAVE HAD A SAFE WORD WITH MORE THAN TWO SYLLABLES.

Lizzy and Prudence fight over who knows Luke better, there’s a black sassy nurse, there’s a humorous bit where the bed goes up and down. It’s fine.

In the aftermath, Lizzy is thrilled to have been right about the dangers of adventuring.

obh4.8 I JUST FEEL SO AT PEACE AND ALSO LIKE LISTENING TO JAZZ AND GODDAMMIT LUKE DID YOU GIVE ME A WEED LOLLIPOP?

Prudence, meanwhile, feels pretty rotten about Luke’s injury and has taken to cribbing hangout plans from Lizzy’s copy of AARP magazine (“There was a Lily Tomlin cover story!”). Luke asks why her idea of fun has suddenly gone from sixty to zero and she confesses that Lizzy told her he was afraid that she would get bored with him. Then Luke is mad at Lizzy, but far more vitally and interestingly, Prudence wants to know why Luke hadn’t told her his fears. Upset, Prudence runs off.  And this is a moment worth slowing down for. Because communication is a huge problem in most relationships. It’s been a problem for Pru and Luke two weeks in a row, as they each try to be one another’s ideal partner. And as a sitcom, you can take that problem in one of two directions.

  1. Throw your hands up and laugh at the absurdity of the world. (Seinfeld)
  2. Make it an issue your characters are forced to reckon with time and time again and occasionally leave unresolved. (Friends)

Right now, One Big Happy is trying to straddle the fence between those two paradigms, and it makes for a sitcom where audiences feel like they’re supposed to care, just not too much. This show needs to come down on one side or the other, or else it’s just a string of hit and miss one-liners delivered by some pretty people cheating too hard to the camera.

Out on the patio, Luke and Lizzy rehash the trust issues at play. Lizzy admits she shouldn’t have gotten in the middle of their relationship, and Luke admits he should have been honest about how he felt. They both wish aloud that Prudence could hear these revelations, and with the magic I am convinced all British people secretly know, she appears in the princess castle.

obh4.9THIS IS MY CASTLE AND YOU CAN’T COME IN UNLESS YOU HAVE MORE WHISKEY. OR PIZZA.

Everyone agrees they need to work on sharing their feelings and one another. And that night, Prudence finally finds an adventure they can all agree on: climbing the Hollywood sign.

obh4.10SO WHERE EXACTLY WAS KRISTEN STEWART  STANDING IN “THE RUNAWAYS” MOVIE?

They gaze at the smog and bond. Right up until the moment that Lizzy finds out that this is illegal.

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 1.02.14 PMWOULD YOU PLEASE NOT BRING UP PYKA WHEN WE’RE HIGH UP ENOUGH THAT JUMPING WOULD KILL ME.

See you next week.

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