Monday, May 31, 2021

REVIEW: 'Duncanville' - Annie's Competitiveness Forges a New Bonding Activity with Duncan in 'Who's Vroomin' Who?'

FOX's Duncanville - Episode 2.03 "Who's Vroomin' Who?"

Duncan starts racing stock cars to get away from his mom, but it turns out they make a great racing team. Jing demands a room renovation, so she can secretly spend more time with Kimberly, while Jack struggles with the project.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 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.

"Who's Vroomin' Who?" was directed by Corey Barnes with story by Julie Thacker Scully & Mike Scully and teleplay by John Viener & Jerron Horton

Duncan is an average teenager. He doesn't want to hang out with his family. He is annoyed by them - especially his parents. He would rather be with his friends. Now, they aren't doing anything notable or exciting. It's simply him connecting with his peers as they have the same approach to life in this town. Annie sees Duncan as her baby though. She is devastated when she realizes he no longer wants to spend time with her. Bowling was always an activity they could do together. But now, he is completely embarrassed by her. Instead, he wants to be terrible at bowling with his friends. Annie is betrayed because her son is no longer interested in the things that used to bring them together. She reminisces over the past. She also yearns to foster this connection once more. Sure, she crosses some lines along the way too. And yet, it's all in service of an amusing plot. Duncan is a terrible driver. That has been a recurring plot point. He essentially can't be left alone to make his own decisions. He listens to his parents in the car. That keeps him safe. He has still had many close calls on the road. His family is in the vehicle with him sometimes as well. As such, it's insane to image him as a champion race car driver. But again, that enforces the idea that he is competent in this area of life when his mother is also in the car with him. When she gets competitive, he has the freedom to act the same way. It's a celebration they both enjoy as well. A crowd of people are cheering for them. It's only when he gets labelled as a mama's boy that he starts to regret everything about this new activity. He doesn't want to be bullied or demeaned because of the perception that he depends on his mother in order to survive. He wants to be independent. He wants to be his own man who makes his own decisions. Of course, even his fantasies can be terrible and overbearing. Annie is always there to support him. She gets caught up in the heat of the moment. She makes it about herself. She isn't ensuring that Duncan remains protected in this world. Instead, it's all about the two of them bonding together. That's what she desperately needs. She isn't ready for her kids to go off and no longer need her help. She wants to be of service to them. She believes she has years before she has to accept that the dynamics have changed. She has a teenager in the house though. He is embarrassed by her. When faced with the truth, Annie can confront her own ego and take the necessary step back. She wants Duncan to be independent as well. He just happens to be a terrible driver on his own. He spins out of control. The car is on fire. It takes a miracle just for him to cross the finish line. He doesn't dramatically change the narrative. He just finds a way to be comfortable in this dynamic celebrating and cherishing his mother. That's all that she fundamentally needs. He is growing. He still relies on her for a lot. Similarly, Jing projects a sense of earnest intrigue onto Kimberly. She needs to bond with her sister. That bond is sacred. Her sister can teach her how to be a woman in today's world. Of course, this plot is all caught up in Jack's own existential crisis of not being able to deliver a bedroom that is deserving of all of Jing's hopes and dreams. He puts so much pressure on himself after talking up his skills. It takes Kimberly to make the hard decisions. She is capable of doing so as well. She is motivated by getting Jing out of her room. But she also wants to do right by her younger sister. When she understands the motive at the center of this, she extends empathy and a willingness to connect. She is sweet despite her overall annoyance. It only took one episode for Kimberly to offer Jing the friendship she desires. That too contrasts with Duncan last season being reluctant to give Jing the attention she craved when she was similarly obsessed with him. She looks up to her siblings. They give time to her. And yet, they can't keep their parents from also wanting to be involved - and thus embarrassing everyone in the process.