Sunday, February 27, 2022

REVIEW: 'The Great North' - Beef Makes New Friends After Joining a Moms' Group in 'Beef Mommas House Adventure'

FOX's The Great North - Episode 2.12 "Beef Mommas House Adventure"

Beef joins a local moms' group, while Moon and his friends build a Dread Sled. The rest of the family digs into the investigation of Wolf and Honeybee's disappearing potholder. 

"Beef Mommas House Adventure" was written by Kashana Cauley and directed by Michael Baylis

This show does a great job in providing strong main storylines for each of its characters. One member of the Tobin family gets a prominent story while the rest typically make up some adventure in the subplot. It's rare for any episode to feature more than two stories. This episode features three. As a result, it does feel a little half-baked. Yes, it's clear that Beef joining a moms' group is more important than what is going on with his kids. The idea of how to get Beef into that story when he has a fear of groups and social interactions is what ultimately causes problems. Moon learns that he has been excluded from a bonding activity with his friends because their moms are part of a group that meets weekly. He can't be included because he doesn't have a mom. Of course, Beef has done plenty of parenting. In fact, the show has repeatedly pointed out that Moon has many parental figures. His life isn't lacking. His story reaches for importance though. It's all centered around him being the responsible one in the group. It highlights how dangerous it can be to live in this environment for young children. Moon's friends easily could have died if he wasn't worried about the hill they were going down with their makeshift shed. They are annoyed by him up until that point. They view him as someone who sucks the fun out of their activities. And yet, he is needed to ensure that no one actually gets hurt. He is responsible in that way. That's all that this particular story strives to do. It's simple. Again, it's a way to maneuver Beef into the main plot. Meanwhile, the rest of the family is given the sillier material with Wolf fearing that an oven mitt is actually haunted. It too has an overly simplistic setup. Nothing supernatural is happening within the house. Honeybee is the one moving the mitt around because it brings joy to Wolf. He's simply terrified by the thought of something otherworldly coming in and touching his family. It's not a bad story whatsoever. It simply suffers from being underdeveloped as a result of sharing a limited run time.

The trade offs made with the subplots don't particularly have an impact on the main story with Beef. However, it too doesn't quite have the amount of time the stories typically have. It's an issue of structure. After two seasons, the show has largely figured out what works for it. It should no longer be trying to innovate and figure out the best way to comedically showcase these characters. It's sense of identity is lost a little bit. However, Beef thrives upon hanging out with single parents his age. They know what happened with Kathleen and don't blame him for anything. In fact, they support him as a great father. They appreciate all that he has done. Plus, they love the gossip around town. They enjoy sharing it. Of course, Beef is put in an awkward situation when he sees the boyfriend of his new friend being intimate with someone else. He knows how it feels to be on the other end of that dynamic. He knows the pain the truth may cause. It's better to be honest. And yet, the feeling of betrayal has to be directed at the right person. Beef was angry at the person who told him about Kathleen cheating. That disrupted their friendship. It took years for him to accept what actually happened and how it changed his family. He is always on the verge of moving on. He's still an anxious character who worries about breaking out of his comfort zone. He typically thrives no matter where he is. He simply has to be honest and loving with those around him. That's not unobtainable for him. He exudes those qualities with his children all the time. They want the best for him. Moon may want a way to spend more time with his friends. He also genuinely wants Beef to belong with a group. This dynamic can be beneficial for both of them. Plus, Beef provides the moms' group with the tools to deliver the perfect revenge. It's cathartic for the betrayed. It's also a fun display of what kind of pranks can occur in this environment. All it takes is a few minutes for any water to freeze into ice. That makes it fitting when a prized snow machine is encased in it. It's a clean, simple joke that prioritizes the friendship that has just been created for Beef. He deserves that even in an episode that has a little too much going on to create meaningful stories anywhere.