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About a Boy - Episode 1.10 - About a Boy's Dad - Review

This review is going light to serious, because who doesn’t like to end on slightly more emotional and somber note? Almost everyone? Oh well, it’s too late now.

It’s spring time now and with spring comes Field Day -- a dream for all the semi-coordinated kids and a nightmare for those decidedly less so. In an unsurprising revelation, Marcus is not very good at sports. Although Will tries to work with him on it, there’s only so much to be done in the few days leading up to Earth Day/Field Day. Luckily Marcus manages an unintentional bunt and feels the support of his enthusiastic mother and…neighbor? Friend? Surrogate uncle? in the stands. Who doesn’t come support the young athlete? His dad, Hugh Womple.*

(*Small, vaguely interesting side note: I mentioned this in my teases earlier in the week, but it is very apparent from where Marcus gets his fashion sense -- aka knitted beanies and colorful shirts/sweaters. Maybe his dad even brought him that beanie for one of their annual visits, or maybe I’m drawing lines where there are none and I’m due for a visit with my own family. It’s definitely one of the two.)

Although Hugh’s in town for a bit on a break from doing research/bonding with penguins in Antarctica, he seems more interested in discussing his aquatic bird friends than hanging out with the son he only sees once a year. Hugh’s visit is a big deal for both Fiona and Marcus, and Will tries to help out however he can.

The first way is in providing accommodation. Will gives up sex with DR. SAM in order to help Fiona/Marcus out by letting Hugh crash at his house. Not only that, but he sleeps naked all over the leather couch, and then jumps into Will’s bed with him. There’s no way the Will of the start of the season would have done that favor, even just giving up a fling, much less the woman he’s been pining over for weeks. Of course, the reason that Hugh’s over there at all is because Fiona can’t seem to resist his nerdy charms and wants to put some distance between the two of them.

Later Will tries to encourage Hugh to hang out with Marcus, and then finally tries to clean up the emotional mess Hugh leaves behind. Will, who either has parental issues of his own or just an empathetic heart, tries to convince Fiona to tell Marcus the truth, instead of leading him on. Though in the end, of course, he can’t bring himself to crush Marcus like that, and makes up another lie for Mr. Hugh Womple -- penguin fanatic, scientist, and lousy dad.

Although this episode’s not overwhelmingly dramatic, this is definitely the most serious role I’ve ever seen Tony Hale play, and he did a great job of playing the more heartbreaking beats as more grounded. It wasn’t some crazy penguin man escaping in the middle of the night, it was an absent father leaving the son for whom he never really made room in his life to go continue the work he’s passionate about. A really heartbreaking scene and nicely played by both Hale and Minnie Driver. Girl’s got range -- I’ve got a feeling she’s gonna make it one of these days. Although Hugh seems like a generally affable guy, the truth is he cares more about penguins than he does about his own son. Luckily Marcus has some other crazy adults that care about him, and take care not to let him down. Or at least most of the time -- Will’s working on it.

This was a nice emotional break from the goofiness of last week, and a deeper look at the core group of characters. Will stepped up when Hugh fell short, and Fiona lamented the fact that her son’s father doesn’t have any interest in being a father to him. Marcus pretended to be a penguin with his dad and hit a ball in Field Day. It was a big week for everyone.

“About a Boy’s Dad” serves as a nice, fun, bittersweet contemplation on family, and the difference between the family you’re born with and the family that develops around you throughout your life -- whether that’s your mom, your friends, or even your neighbor.

What did you think of the episode? Do you think Fiona and Will did the right thing by lying to Marcus? What did you think of Hugh? Were you surprised that Marcus was actually able to hit the baseball? Let us know below!

About the Author - Kimberly
Kimberly is a college student studying Writing for Film & TV, and a big TV nerd - willing to talk any show, any time. Her tastes are various and sundry, but she’s got a soft spot for comedy. She currently writes the SpoilerTV reviews for Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and About a Boy.