Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon The Kids Are Alright - Timmy's Poem - Review - Mesmerize the Masses

SpoilerTV - TV Spoilers

The Kids Are Alright - Timmy's Poem - Review - Mesmerize the Masses

Share on Reddit

After such a well-executed pilot, the pressure cooker was turned up on this episode. And what a clever, joyous time it was. Peggy Cleary and Timmy found themselves locked in a game of chicken in a PSA on the dangers of plagiarism. Being a copycat isn't an issue this show itself has had yet, and it continues to carve out a special place on TV. The battle of Timmy and Peggy's Poem entertained and delighted.

I was thrown for a couple minutes at the start of the episode, because some of the boys had changed slightly in appearance from the pilot. Lawrence shaved, while Timmy and Joey seemed to have different haircuts. There was a subplot about Lawrence wanting the family to eat healthier than protesting when Mike brought home food picked by oppressed migrant workers.
"Those are racist grapes." He skips out for most of the episode, while the family eats a lettuce/mayo/grape concoction to use the produce before it goes bad. Later, though, Lawrence apologizes to his dad, after Mike explains how he always worries about making sure there's enough food on the table. That's all well and good and perfectly okay.

Where things get really good is when Timmy enters a poetry contest. His goal is to win money to repair his puppet Knuckle's face (disfigured in a mysterious basement fire), so he can go back to performing with Knuckles at birthday parties. In a scene anyone who has ever needed to write anything can relate to, Timmy suffers a lack of creative inspiration. Peggy gives him an old rhyming dictionary of hers to help out. In it, he finds an excellent poem titled "Ode to a Tree" that Peggy wrote for a school project once and got an A-! He copies the poem, after a brief struggle with his conscience. After Timmy wins the contest, the committee writes that he will be reading it aloud at the local nature fair. Timmy panics, as Peggy marks the date on her calendar. The in-house fixer Joey helps Timmy out by altering the time of the reading. On the stage, Timmy delivers an epic performance, moving the audience almost to tears. (He really is a very good thespian.) Then he sees his mom in the audience, with Frank at her side. With Frank's role as household snitch fully established, it's officially a solid recurring laugh whenever he pops up. Even before Peggy says Frank reminded her of the correct time, we know that he is why she's there.
"You're no poet, and I know it." Frank makes it his mission to prove Timmy's plagiarism.

Meanwhile, Timmy spirals, worrying about why his mom isn't calling him out for stealing her poem. He proceeds to seek advice from William and Joey. William, for one, says he knew right away Timmy didn't write it.
“You’re not a big user of the word doth.”
Joey educates Timmy on how to handle the situation. He is familiar with Peggy's tactics, because he caused the basement fire. Peggy has evidence of this, but she chooses instead to hint about it broadly, trying to push Joey into confessing. He tells Timmy that Peggy's goal is for Timmy to spill the beans so she can indulge in the "Catholic guilt trifecta": punish him, pretend he learned a valuable lesson from the experience, and feel good about her parenting skills. As long as Timmy doesn't give in, he'll be fine. Peggy, though, is not to be underestimated. She brilliantly messes with Timmy, suggesting he enter another poetry contest and giving him his favorite cake (without sugar in it).

Then Frank confronts Timmy with a big revelation. He has the proof that the poem wasn't Timmy's. Proof he found in a library book. Take that everyone who apparently said that Frank was silly for laminating his library card. It is truly the key to secrets. Joey and Timmy exchange a wordless thrill. Timmy then puts all the cards on the table. In a really great scene, he confronts her as she sews another guilt item (a new outfit for Knuckle). He lets her know that he knows she knows he copied her poem, but he also reveals that he knows she plagiarized the poem as well. Timmy announces he's decided to enter it in the contest and asks for her signature attesting that his work is original. "In the sight of God!" They actually walk the submission to the mailbox, and neither one blinks. But they do hold hands as they walk away, as Timmy's voiceover tells us he realized then how much they had in common.
The outcome of the poem situation wasn't what I was expecting, but it was satisfying. The continuation of Frank and Joey's respective roles as spy and scoundrel from the pilot was great, and the number of cheesy "Remember, we're in the 70s" reminders was kept to a minimum. I also loved that Mary McCormack got to be front and center in this episode. We got to know Mike last week, so the show needed to give us more Peggy.

Another important note: It's summer vacation apparently. It is smart to (hopefully) wait a few episodes before introducing school-related plots, as we need to be invested in the Clearly family's home life first.

This week's very relatable moment: Peggy Cleary coming in to kick her kids off the TV to do chores.
“Nothing bugged my mom more than seeing us happy and relaxed.”

Also, William has a paper route. In addition to playing the piano and being an avid reader, he is the only Cleary child with a job at this point. That kid is going places.

Sign Up for the SpoilerTV Newsletter where we talk all things TV!


SpoilerTV Available Ad-Free!

Support SpoilerTV is now available ad-free to for all subscribers. Thank you for considering becoming a SpoilerTV premmium member!
Latest News