Mickey, Ben, Sabrina, and Alba at Ben's birthday party (Source: FOX)

This episode was an amazing blend of disturbing and really sweet, probably because it focused on the youngest kid, Ben. According to the doctor who sees him, poor Ben is reacting to his parents’ negligence by eating random objects – things like tacks and even Mickey’s keys. He should pass them all, says the doctor, but asks Mickey if she’s up for this. Mickey goes on a little monologue about how she totally knows what she’s doing and everything’s fine! She ends it by saying, “I’m doing okay! Right?” in that nervous tone of voice people use when they know their whole life is balanced on them not even asking that question at the end.

Worse, she finds out that Ben’s birthday was last week, which went uncelebrated. She yells at Chip and Sabrina for being terrible siblings, but they brush it off, calling it “mom’s job,” and telling Mickey that before she got there, they never forgot their brother’s birthday! They decide to promise Ben to whip up a birthday celebration that weekend. Of course, Ben’s immediate concerns are on whether his parents are going to show up, but Mickey and Sabrina manage to get him excited about a simple celebration.

I know I’ve already talked about how much I love Ben, but he’s such a sweet core to the rotten apple that is this show. He also seems to be the one thing that everyone – the older kids, Mickey, Alba, and Jimmy – can agree on, the one person they want to make happy. The actor is also very sweet – or at least, very good at playing sweet. I mean, how many kids are even that sweet in real life?

And while I’m getting a bit bored at Sabrina trying to sabotage Mickey – it’s just very repetitive and uninspired – I do like how she and Chip decide to throw Ben a huge birthday bash, even if he ends up just sitting and eating crayons at it. But then, Jimmy saves the day by bringing Sully, the actual clown he and Mickey remember from when they were kids. And I know he doesn’t look great but he actually doesn’t look that bad for a guy who was clowning around at least more than twenty years ago. Of course, while he’s getting ready to show off to the kids, Sabrina and Chip decide to play their wild card: a pony Chip got for Ben.


It’s a surprisingly thoughtful gift, until it turns out Chip thought very little about the reality of the situation and ends up stuck on the pony as it wanders around the complex. Mickey’s clown surprise is even worse, though, with the guy choking on his multiple ribbons as he shoots up in the bathtub.

This all leads to the worrying climax of Ben swallowing a balloon full of what Jimmy, Mickey, and Sabrina believe to be heroin. But since, as Mickey points out, calling 911 might lead to Ben being taken away, they try another tactic. What follows is an excruciatingly long and gross sequence of Mickey trying to make Ben throw up by putting her fingers down his throat and jiggling. It didn’t effect me as much as it did the characters, but ewwwwwww.

Luckily, Chip comes to the accidental rescue when he finally makes it back to the party – just in time for Ben to freak out and throw up that balloon. Of course, it turns out all that freaking out was for naught, because Sully the clown just turns out to be a pretty bad diabetic who eats way too much birthday cake.


The final touch was when Mickey presents Ben with a gift “from his parents” that is full of all the weird things he likes, like My Little Pony and a mouse, which he promptly swallows. It’s very sweet, but also a little sad to remember the primary reason Mickey’s here: because the parents aren’t.

Stray observations:

  • So, did y’all remember your family birthdays when you were kids? I remember them now but I remember being overwhelmed and confused when I was a kid because all my family’s birthdays – grandparents’, nearby cousins’, sibling’s, parents’ – happened in quick succession over three months.
  • On that note, I love Mickey and Alba’s fake birthday song. I know every sitcom has to have one because you have to pay copyright otherwise. Or at least, that used to be true! Did you guys know that “Happy Birthday” might become part of the public domain soon?
  • Guess I should stop calling Jimmy Mickey’s “not boyfriend.” But it sounds like “Mickey’s guy” wouldn’t mind having a label! Will we ever hear them talk about their true feelings for each other? Not without one of them getting violently hurt, I expect.
  • Maybe it was the editing, but Sully grabbing a bird out of the sky didn’t look that great. But when he made it into confetti?? Whaaaat.
  • I lost it when Sully folded up the birthday cake and walked away with it.
  • Also hilarious was Chip’s screeches as he was carried away by the pony. Poor Chip, neglected at the end when he was the one who picked up the pony! Alas, poor middle children.