Tuesday, October 23, 2018

REVIEW: 'The Kids Are Alright' - Peggy Is Surprised by Timmy's Creativity and Champions It in 'Timmy's Poem'

ABC's The Kids Are Alright - Episode 1.02 "Timmy's Poem"

To Peggy's dismay, Timmy decides to enter a poetry contest to win the money he needs to repair his ventriloquist dummy. Stumped, he decides to plagiarize a poem and soon realizes he's not the only one who passed it off as his own. Mike and Lawrence continue to butt heads when Lawrence complains that there are no fresh vegetables in the family's diet.

In 2018, it has become very difficult to keep up with every television show out there. It's even more difficult to provide adequate coverage on this site about the episodes that air every week. Not every show can get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. As such, some reviews will now be condensed to give only some summary thoughts. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my thoughts on this week's episode of ABC's The Kids Are Alright.

"Timmy's Poem" was written by Lisa K. Nelson and directed by Randall Einhorn

The Kids Are Alright produced one of the stronger comedy pilots this fall broadcast season. As such, that creates the expectation that the show will be able to maintain that strength moving forward. Of course, the premiere was mostly just charming and had a strong sense of identity. It wasn't a laugh-out loud, consistently strong pilot. The same is also true of the second episode. It still relies on the same character traits and pairings. But those were very effective in the premiere and continue to be quite strong here. Timmy is the artistic and creative one of the family. In the premiere, he was auditioning for a musical. Here, he is trying to win money by entering a poetry contest. He miraculously wins as well. That sends a whole story into motion about how he stole the poem from his mother who actually stole it from a famous poet. As such, it's a bunch of back-and-forth between each other trying to guilt them into admitting what they had done. It's actually pretty impressive to see neither of them back down and admit their deceit. They have full awareness that the other already knows the truth too. And yet, they were both willing to fight alongside each other whenever someone else questioned them. Frank continues to present himself as the member of the family always listening in and sharing secrets. But even he can't break up this bond between Timmy and his mother even though he is correct in saying that neither of them should be proud of what they have done. The story takes itself to some extreme places. However, it still remains grounded and relatable as well. Elsewhere, Lawrence remains in conflict with his father. He wants the family to start eating healthy. Mike is accommodating to his demands. And then, Lawrence keeps finding some new reason to be upset with the way that his parents see the world. It's his go-to response for everything. He just sees a father who doesn't care about the plight of others. In reality, Mike is just trying to do what's best to provide for his family. He wants to ensure that all of them remain safe in this household. That's been his responsibility since the day that Lawrence was born. And now, he is just as demanding as ever before. But he hopes to be building strong sons with s strong sense of character as well. It's a solid B-plot. However, it's starting to become very apparent and noticeable that the show uses voiceover from its narrator a bunch in order to get its main point across. So much of the main story between Timmy and his mom is dictated through the older version of the character laying everything out. He is explaining every single action, reaction and feeling. Again, it can be amusing because of how absurd it all is. And yet, the show also utilizes this device to try to make some grand argument that connects this tale of life in the 1970s to the present day. Sure, that argument can absolutely be made. Right now, it is mostly producing some lame and easy jokes about the moral compass of the country being determined by the President while also highlighting how some social issues haven't changed all that much in the last four decades - like the plight of the immigrant worker.