Sunday, February 23, 2020

REVIEW: 'Duncanville' - Duncan and Kimberly's Video Game Competition Escalates Quickly in 'Red Head Redemption'

FOX's Duncanville - Episode 1.02 "Red Head Redemption"

Duncan's friends replace him with Kimberly in their online video game tournament, so he joins the opposition to betray them and humiliate Kimberly. Meanwhile, Annie tries to force Jack to throw out all his old memorabilia cluttering the garage.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of FOX's Duncanville.

"Red Head Redemption" was written by Julie Thacker Scully and directed by Jake Hollander

Duncan and Kimberly may only be able to bond over feeling embarrassed by their parents. That feeling can bring them together no matter what. It's easy for them to disagree and be at each other's throats. They are naturally competitive with one another because they view the other as trying to be destructive of their individual lives. Their sibling relationship is one that feels like an obstacle that needs to be overcome in order to do or have anything fun. That isn't necessarily true in the slightest. Again, the main story pivots around Duncan fundamentally doing whatever it takes to remain a good brother. He will never cross some boundaries. And yet, he is upset when Kimberly so casually seems to invade his life and replace him. He is no longer the one his friends need in order to win their video game tournament. Instead, Kimberly is the psychopath with the bloodlust necessary to emerge victorious. It's so outrageous to watch as well. Duncan believes there has to be a code of ethics in the virtual reality. That just means he's off making bread instead of being useful to his team. That isn't an important skill that helps them advance on their mission. Instead, Kimberly can use it to create a diversion and actually help lead the team to success. When Duncan is motivated to fight back and reclaim what he believes to be his, then he can be just as vicious. He is willing to embarrass his sister just to exert his dominance once more. He doesn't want to be taken advantage of by everyone in the world. His sister can overpower him. Even raccoons can gang up on him and steal the Mountain Dew he was carrying. He feels emasculated. It's a feeling that extends to Jack as well. These men don't feel validated in a world where they believe they should be respected and revered no matter what. That is no longer required though. They have to earn it. And yes, the subplot with Jack and Annie is completely outrageous because of just how silly and random it gets. It just proves how difficult it is for people to get rid of their old things. For Jack and Annie, they associate these items with the memories they come with. It's easy for Jing to throw away an old toy that she no longer has any use for. To her, it no longer serves a purpose. Her parents remember it fondly though because of how difficult it was to get. In the end, they may forever keep everything that they want because they are incapable of embracing change. Their children came into the world rolling their eyes at them. And now, that is still the case. Duncan and Kimberly are embarrassed the moment that their parents come into the gym to witness this tournament. They don't understand what's going on. Nor did they know that this was happening. Their children certainly don't invite them to events anymore. They don't want to deal with the unexpected. Their parents arrive in ridiculous outfits because they got into a childish fight about the past and what they can still aspire to have in their lives. They don't have to get rid of any of this. They just have to be more practical with the piles of stuff they already have. Meanwhile, Duncan has to be willing to stand by his sister even when it comes at more personal embarrassment for himself. He knows exactly how much he can handle. Him being the source of that pain is more tolerable than whatever he is feeling as a result of his parents' actions. In the end, life may never be as embarrassing as teenagers fear it to be. As such, the exaggerations of this episode have to be the source of the humor. That doesn't make it all that specific or funny though. It's just another okay reflection on how teenagers view life as if it has these grand stakes when they really don't. The parents can get caught up in those fantasies as well. Annie navigating the mess in the garage is a perilous journey that nearly ends with her getting her head chopped off. That may even be what Jack wants for himself when hanging out with Alice Cooper. And yet, it's just a fun escape for them which is a universal theme no matter what ultimately happens.