Jill Kargman, Abby Elliott (Bravo)

This week, Jill is forced to throw a “Sip’n See” party for Brooke after Candace bails on the obligation. I had to look up this term—apparently, new mothers sometimes face stress when friends decide to drop by unannounced to greet new babies. Moms host Sip’n See parties for their friends where they serve cocktails and introduce their friends to their little ones in a relatively controlled environment. Many women consider these to be casual events, sometimes using them as excuses to skip more ostentatious baby showers. Meanwhile, people like Brooke go all out so they have yet another excuse to celebrate their babies, themselves, and every single step involved in establishing a nuclear family. There aren’t many surprises in the show’s depiction of the event; of course, it’s over the top, Brooke’s vapid friends are only interested in inappropriate conversation, and Brooke herself proves to be incapable of handling a party and her own baby.

The absurdity of Sip’n See parties isn’t pushed as far as it could have been, but there is some interesting fallout from the event. The pressure to be the perfect mother and think of someone other than herself is causing Brooke to melt down, the perfect material for a comedian like Abby Elliott. Whether staring off into space with a blank look on her face or having a temper tantrum, it’s difficult to tell where postpartum depression may begin and Brooke’s narcissism (never) ends. The suggestion that Brooke might actually suffer from the condition is probably a joke; it’s a good joke, but one that should have been exploited more. For a show that loves shock value so much that it’s willing to beat anal sex jokes into the ground, Odd Mom Out misses the opportunity to satirize a less-explored, sensitive subject that also happens to relate to the series’ premise. Still, the show deserves some credit for continuing to be willing to paint mothers of young children in an imperfect light. There’s no greater crime than being a bad mother, and the unapologetic depictions of Jill and Brooke simultaneously encourage the audience to sympathize with mothers trying to juggle their responsibilities and vilify UES mothers who don’t take care of their responsibilities at all.

Brooke may still come across as a fairly generic character, and making fun of her may be less daring and more like shooting fish in a barrel. As Brooke is becoming more and more reliant on Jill, however, their relationship is getting more interesting and hilarious. Brooke is already zeroing in on her infant child’s flaws, so she decides that Jill—her sister-in-law, a fellow mother, and a very imperfect person herself—would make for a very suitable ally. An overwhelmed Brooke is poised to take advantage of Jill at the same time that Jill finds herself becoming especially vulnerable. Jill may fancy herself as someone isn’t willing to conform to the UES mothers’ unappealing standards, but she’s also human and wants to feel included. At the Sip’n See, she’s informed that her child didn’t get into the exclusive school that all of the UES kids attend. The rejection destroys her confidence, and she begins to fixate on Brooke’s fixation with her. Ever the patient sounding board, Vanessa does a good job of calling Jill out for her hypocrisy; complaints about Brooke’s neediness is unconvincing when Jill is answering every text, seemingly getting off on the attention from her wealthy sister-in-law and the drama.

This is a very insightful, fresh look at the dynamics of human relationships. Unfortunately, the related subplot where Andy turns down Jill’s offer of anal sex because he had a bad day at work consisting of an intrusive waxing session is just as tired and cringe-worthy as it sounds. It reiterates the fact that Jill wants to fit in with Brooke and the UES moms, since that’s how they supposedly keep their relationships fresh, but these scenes don’t tell the audience anything they don’t already know or couldn’t figure out about Jill’s relationship with Andy or the working environment at Lex’s company.

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Thankfully, the ingenious idea to pair Vanessa and Candace up for a storyline partly makes up for the over-sharing about Jill’s sex life. In a twist on the familiar plot where a senile elderly person gets disoriented and can’t find the way home, Candace gets so soused at the Sip’n See and takes so many pills that she ends up passing out on a park bench on the lap of a homeless man. Vanessa just so happens to be on call when Candace is admitted to the hospital, and the two have an entertaining, if anti-climactic, conversation about relationships. Candace plays the typical role of the overbearing mother poking her nose into everyone’s business, prodding the single woman approaching forty about her love life. It’s increasingly clear why Brooke is turning into a perfection-obsessed, distant mom herself, although that relationship between mother and daughter still needs to be fleshed out in a more specific way. Nevertheless, this encounter hints at something resembling humanity in Candace when she tells Vanessa that “the more of a catch you are, the longer it takes to get caught,” referring to her own experience of finding love again at fifty. This scene may not resolve itself neatly, but it shows that Candace nags because she cares, Vanessa has a great bedside manner (endless patience is probably a byproduct of being Jill’s best friend), and this unconventional pairing has more common ground than one would have expected.

Stray observations

· “Well I guess I should go check on the baby nurse…and the baby.”

· “Talk to me? We’ll deal with that later.”

· Sitting on the bathroom floor and eating cake off of a toilet seat is the only way to party at a Sip ‘n See. “How did she know I was eating cake?”

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· “She couldn’t stand to have a day about me” “…and Langley.” “Right.”

· “Wow. Barbara Walters really isn’t handling retirement well.”

· “I had to drink or I’d think about my grandchildren sharing a room and get emotional.” It’s official; Brooke is the milder version of a Jane Krakowski character and Candace is the milder version of a Jessica Walters character. Fun fact: All four actresses in the same room is a sign of the Apocalypse.

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