After spending the first several episodes playing the will-they-or-won’t-they game all sitcoms have been required to follow since the Malone-Chambers Act was passed in 1983, last week Grandfathered finally set Gerald and Vanessa onto their own respective paths, thereby allowing the series to explore the characters individually rather than as the couple we all know they’ll end up being by, oh, let’s say the season-two premiere.
Gerald’s path is—to the surprise of precisely no one—one which takes him straight to a dating app called Boofinder, which provides him with a grand total of eight seconds to deliver the message that will represent him on the app for the long haul. After repeatedly managing to pack the angst of all of Mike Peters’ answering machine messages from Swingers into those eight seconds every single time he hits “record,” Jimmy finally steps in, decries the internet as only being good for sex (“and in my experience, it’s only just okay for that”), and informs his son that it’s time for him to get a little naughty. This inspires the requisite eye-rolling from Sara, who reminds Jimmy that their son is 25 and that he needs take a step back and let the lad make his own decisions like she’s decided to do. Alas, Sara’s status as “L.L. Cool Mom” matters not to Jimmy, as he’s already decided that the time has come for him to step in and play the part of Gerald’s sexy guardian angel, which—since this is Jimmy we’re talking about here—means that he’s going to take him out to a nightclub, they’re going to do some drinking and dancing, and Jimmy’s going to serve as his son’s wingman. Yeah, because that’s going to end well.
Vanessa’s path is one that’s less romantically inclined, which comes as no real surprise after her admission to Gerald that’s she’s basically never had a relationship that didn’t go up in smoke. Instead, she’s taking a shot at a career. Mind you, by “career,” I mean that she’s convinced Jimmy to let her pitch him on Donkey Tonic, an absolutely repellant new energy drink that she’s shilling, and by “shilling,” she actually admits outright that the whole thing is a pyramid scheme. Before Vanessa can dive headlong into her next pitch, which is apparently some scam involving tennis shoes that are supposed to make you a better basketball player (“If you don’t have socks, I have cling wrap”), Jimmy decides to throw her a bone, asking her if she’s ever thought of a mentorship. This thrills Vanessa beyond belief, which is approximately the opposite of Annalise’s reaction, as she instantly realizes that Jimmy’s drafting her to serve as Vanessa’s mentor.
As it turns out, Jimmy’s phrasing was a little more vague than either he or Annalise had realized at the time, which Annalise realizes when she visits Vanessa at home and discovers that Vanessa thinks that she’s supposed to be the one doing the mentoring. What might well have been a wacky misunderstanding on another series turns here into a snippy back-and-forth, with Vanessa being surprised that Annalise is surprised at the situation and Annalise quickly underlining her reasons for finding Vanessa’s perception laughable, which really comes down to this: Vanessa is the most scattered person she’s ever met, and she needs to set aside her dreams, tighten up her act, and get real. Not that Annalise didn’t have her own dreams once upon a time, but when push came to shove, she gave up her goal to become a soul singer and got a real job instead. Speaking of pushing and shoving, that’s exactly what was starting to happen when super-cute Edie wandered into the room for some mama time, cutting the tension and giving Annalise an opportunity to take her leave.
While all of this is going on, things are unfolding with Gerald and Jimmy, and about as well as one might expect, which is to say not very well at all. During their big night out, Jimmy steers Gerald toward a highly intoxicated—and, to be fair, highly attractive—young lady named Frankie (guest star Lyndsy Fonseca), and when she’s on the verge of being swept out of the joint by her unbelievably annoying friend Priya (less-hyped guest star Noreen DeWulf), Jimmy makes the ultimate sacrifice: he starts up a conversation with her. That she’s in his Jimmy’s bed the next time we see them is hardly a surprise, but it turns out that she was so trashed that she passed out before she could tell the Uber driver where she lived, and now that she’s awake, he’s got a hangover smoothie in a to-go cup for her and is doing everything in his power to steer her toward the door when he gets a call from Gerald. Although the young man did manage to come up with enough game to have a happy ending, he’s bypassing his one-night stand and has already made plans for a picnic and tandem bike ride.
This, Priya assures Jimmy, can only end in tragedy, as Frankie is—for lack of a better phrase—a total skank, a revelation that causes Jimmy’s fatherly instincts to kick in, and his concerns only become more cemented when he visits Priya at her place of employment, where Frankie also works, and is told by virtually everyone in the office how unabashedly Frankie sleeps around. Indeed, he’s assured that her absence is because she’s busy taking a “long lunch” with the boss. Even though he’s watched Gerald trying to develop an interest in Armenian folk music even as he’s working out what he can possibly hock in order to finance a trip to Vegas for himself and his new girlfriend, Jimmy can’t quite bring himself to meddle in his son’s affairs. He abruptly changes his position, however, when the couple strolls into the restaurant for dinner, with Sara in tow.
It’s at this point that the A-story and B-story collide, and it’s also where the episode actually does indulge in a bit of wacky-misunderstanding material, with Jimmy swaying Sara onto his team when Frankie gets a seemingly-incriminating text while she and Gerald have stepped away from the table. (To be fair, Sara was already out to get Frankie pre-text, after the big bread blowup.) Suddenly accusations are flying fast and furious, but—wouldn’t you know it?—there’s actually a perfectly reasonable explanation: Gerald designed a new app that allows him to send texts at a pre-set time, so the seemingly-incriminating material was actually composed by him, and as for the nasty rumors about Frankie’s apparent nymphomania, those were started by Priya, who pops into the restaurant just in time to acknowledge that she was to blame and then departs almost immediately thereafter.
In the midst of all of this, Vanessa and Annalise make up, and Vanessa decides to help Annalise fulfill her dream of becoming a soul singer by letting her front the house band, at which point Annalise grabs the mike and breaks into a version of Squeeze’s “Tempted” which is hilariously wretched. I probably should’ve seen that coming, but I was so thrown by the song choice—I’m a massive Squeeze fan—that I was a little distracted, so her vocal performance hit me like a ton of bricks. Very, very funny bricks. At the end of her performance, Vanessa asks Annalise outright, “You know you sang like ass, right?” Indeed she does, and it serves to remind her that choosing not to follow her dream was the best decision she could’ve made. And what a reasonably priced reminder it is, too: it only sets her back $185!
Things wrap up with Gerald and Frankie less than thrilled with Jimmy and Sara, but they’re still together and heading to Vegas, and Jimmy—still riding on his good-dad high—makes sure his son has enough money for the trip, which is a reasonable concern given that Gerald has pre-made sandwiches for their expedition. Not that it wouldn’t be great to see Lyndsy Fonseca on a more regular basis, but dear God, just don’t let them come back from their trip married.
Actually, now that I think about it, it’d almost be worth it to see Sara’s reaction. Not quite, but almost.
- Q. How can you tell Justin Bieber’s having a comeback? A. There’s a punchline about him pissing himself in this week’s Grandfathered!
- If there’s an MVP this week, it’s got to be Noreen DeWulf, who is super sexy, super annoying, and completely hilarious.
- “I’m a cool mom. I just found out when Burning Man is.” A beat. “I can’t make it.”
- Least surprising revelation of the episode: Jimmy used to date Tila Tequila.
- Smiles don’t get any cuter than the one Paget Brewster delivers when she tells Edie, “I knew you were lying.”
- “That bitch has got to go.”
- “THAT COW HAD A PRE-EXISTING CONDITION!”
- To wrap things up, and with all due respect to the lovely Kelly Jenrette, here’s a palate cleanser for all you Squeeze fans out there.