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Was it just me, or was this week’s episode of About a Boy less cringe worthy than in the past? Well, if you don't count the amount of cringing involved with middle school parties, that is.

Marcus, a well-travelled social outcast, has some trouble scoring an invite to his crush Hannah’s birthday party. Will and Fiona go about Marcus’ problem in different ways. Will tries to give him girl advice, telling him to play it cool and disinterested. Marcus’ attempt results in a small explosion in science class, and a pledge not to be a bad boy anymore - probably a good decision on his part. Fiona tries to help him by arranging a mom’s “talk group,” complete with feeling stick, but the middle schoolers’ moms are just as cliquey as their children. In the end Fiona ends up scoring Marcus a pity-invite, leaving him once again the outcast at the party.

It was nice to see Will willingly give up sexytimes with Dakota (in a surprise appearance - I didn’t expect to see her back), in order to try and protect Marcus from further social embarrassment. Will, Fiona and Dakota all teamed together to help out Marcus, which was nice, although two adults cornering a preteen in a bathroom is a little odd. Will tries to distract him while nerding out over rootbeer, but even their bonding time can’t keep “Mucus” from his dance date. The adults’ odd tactics work, somehow, and Marcus ends up dancing with Hannah. In a move that feels very typical to the show, Marcus surprises everyone with his skill at slow-dancing - a skill that he practices with his mom all the time, of course.

This episode felt a lot more balanced than the previous ones; funny, sweet, and true to the characters. All the characters had their flawed moments and their growth moments - except Marcus, who’s just always a nice kid. About a Boy is usually pretty big and silly, which makes it hard to believe sometimes that it exists in the same universe as Parenthood (Will and Crosby are friends), but it was easier to see with this episode. I hope the show continues down a similar path as the characters slowly creep down the path of character development while providing laughs with their wacky situations.

A small note, but I am glad that the dumbwaiter door is back open between the two halves of the house. It allows for little moments like Marcus popping through to show Will his invitation, then jumping back through the wall and leaving.  Another great moment?  Fiona thinking that Will is making fun of her accent when he says "Potato, potahto."

What did you think about the episode? Do you think the show’s finding its stride, or are you not feeling it? Do you think it’s weird that two grown women cornered a 12-year-old in the bathroom? These are the things I’m wondering - tell us what you think below!

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