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American Housewife - Bed, Bath, and Beyond Our Means - Review: "Bob be with You"


The Ottos find themselves facing more obstacles this week. Will they rise to the challenge?

Katie and Greg are enjoying the perks of being a two-income household, like being able to afford to buy artwork for the walls that aren't made by the kids. But, to keep that money coming, Katie has to work some weird hours, like going in on a Sunday to have one of her infamous speaker calls with her boss Whitney. Katie arrives at the office and is met with a shock - Whitney is actually there in person, not over the speaker! And she has a quick turnaround assignment for Katie - she needs her to plan her nephew's party in just a few days. Except the party isn't actually for her nephew, it's for her nephew's iguana, who's name is Lizzie, by the way. Yep, that's right. Katie's throwing a party for a reptile.

Meanwhile, the older kids are each facing their own limitations. Oliver's plan to do a bunch of volunteer work to get into Harvard has hit a roadblock. There isn't a whole lot of volunteer work he can doing being barely mobile for the next half a year. And Taylor, thanks to a not-so-subtle reminder from Anna-Kat, has realized that there's a lot on the "Adulting List" she still doesn't know how to do and finds herself wondering how she'll be able to successfully navigate life after high school.

Katie meets with Angela and Doris and tells them about her strange new assignment. They encourage her to quit her job. She wants to. Katie resists the idea though. Greg likes them having 2 incomes, and besides, he needs all the support he can get right now because he's "going through something." Katie reveals to a horrified Angela and Doris that, for reasons unknown, Greg's started wearing a leather bracelet! Later that night, Katie catches another sign that something's up with Greg. He's wearing bacon socks! She confronts him and he admits that he's been thinking about his own mortality a lot since a colleague of his passed away. Greg watched his colleague sit at his desk and do the same thing every day for years, "until he died." And now Greg's trying to figure out who he is, what makes him unique. Katie assures Greg that she supports any version of himself he wants to be (unless he starts wearing transitional lenses - that's gonna be a deal-breaker!)

At the iguana party, Katie is horrified to discover that Whitney took credit for the whole thing. She's already fed up enough having to plan such outrageously stupid parties and deal with super horrible people. Katie tells her coworker Kevin that she can't wait for Whitney to go back to Newark and leave them alone. Unfortunately, Kevin's got a bit of a bomb to drop on her. He heard Whitney's staying in Westport! This sends Katie over the edge and she resolves to quit. After all, you can't "put a price on dignity," right? Actually, you can. That price? A very nice promotion and raise handed to Katie right as she's about to tell Whitney she quits. Apparently, she'll be staying in the iguana party planning business for a while yet!

Katie confides in Greg that she's scared now that she's accepted a promotion, she'll end up stuck in her job, like him since he accepted tenure, but resolves to stick with it because the money's good. At the next day's "BBQ and Botox" party, Whitney tells Katie that she did a great job, but something's got to be done - about the "frowny parts of your face!" Whitney and a reluctant Kevin pull the wrinkles up on Katie's face and Whitney declares she needs Botox. And finally, Katie starts to realize she's had enough. Then she gets a surprise. Greg shows up, with all the components of her "quitting fantasy" - "a boombox, a baseball bat, and an industrial fan." He wants to thank her. Katie's talk about hating her job has made Greg realize something. He loves his job. He loves teaching, and he's already exactly who he is supposed to be. And he wants Katie to love what she's doing as much as he does - and that obviously isn't planning stupid parties for rich people.

Thus Katie goes out with a bang, fulfilling her "quitting fantasy." It involves hair blowing in the wind, Joan Jett's "Cherry Bomb" blasting through the boombox speaker, and the destruction of an ice sculpture with a bat. And it's epic! Yes, the Otto's are going to have to adjust to being a one-income family again for a while, but Katie has no regrets. She's setting out to find the perfect job for her - something she loves as much as Greg loves teaching.

Now that she's got Taylor down in the dumps, Anna-Kat ropes Franklin into helping cheer both her and Oliver up. This involves some very strange impressions, some homemade instruments, and a couple of super trippy Princess Bride chin puppets ("My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!") Unsurprisingly, none of these things help to cheer Taylor and Oliver up. Franklin mentions that the only thing that helped his mom when she had "a bad case of the sadzies" was talking to the church counselor. Anna-Kat agrees it's worth a shot to get God involved. In Franklin's words, "religion can be very helpful when used as a tool..." (Just don't get him started on religion being used as a crutch. For that, tune into his podcast!)

Anna-Kat and Franklin bring in Eve, an "elder" at Franklin's mom church, who has helped Franklin's mom. ("She blinks now!") For a moment, it looks like Eve might have some promising advice about growing up and finding your place. Then she shares her own "success" story with the church. She joined the church and met Bob. "Bob owns the compound we all live on. He's our leader and our husband...Bob must take many wives so he has enough people to take care of him at the end of days. Then he will reunite us with the Great Leader and deliver us to our home planet," Eve excitedly tells them. Turns out, Franklin's "mom doesn't go a church, she's in a cult!" And honestly, it all kind of makes sense to Franklin now. ("Ohh. That's why Grandpa keeps trying to kidnap us!")

So, the church/cult thing didn't quite work out as planned, but Taylor still may have gotten some inspiration out of it. Taylor reasons that "compared to a grown woman with pigtails who's in a cult, [she's] killing it!" (And she's not wrong!) Cult lady didn't do anything for Oliver though, and he's still depressed. So Anna-Kat moves on to her next best idea. She brings home a bunch of pamphlets from her former special ed teacher Dr. Ellie. These include "Are You Being Bullied?," "How to Come Out to Your Family," "My Changing Body," and "Teen Helpline." Yeah, Anna-Kat seems to have missed the mark again.

Except maybe not. Turns out Oliver does call the teen helpline, just not necessarily for life advice. Apparently, a lot of the teens who volunteer with teen helpline end up going to prestigious schools like Harvard. Yep, Oliver's finally found a way to pad his resume without ever having to get out of a chair. Greg's just happy to finally hear "helping people" in the same sentence as "Harvard."

Random Thoughts:
-"They're two white kids in America. What do they have to be sad about?" "Strand down Franklin. This isn't your podcast." I really want to hear Franklin's podcast now!

-"I'm sorry. I can't lose this job. I owe $67,000 in student loans." Poor Kevin. On the bright side, he did make me feel remarkably better about the amount of student loan debt I have! (And as terrible as Whitney is, I got a pretty big kick about her comment on Kevin being a philosophy major in college - "You can't Botox your way out of being an idiot Kevin!")

-I am simultaneously interested and creeped out by Greg and Katie's performance of Abe Lincoln and Mary Todd chin puppets. Wonder what Greg's students will think?

-Most out of touch (if hysterical) quote goes to Doris - "Money aside? Is that something the poors do like family game nights and voting?"

Were you surprised to see Katie quit her job? What do you think of Oliver's new gig as a helpline counselor? Let me know below!

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