By Derek Chavis
For The Baltimore Sun
8:31 AM EDT, September 17, 2013
In tonight’s episode, we learn a few new facts of life as we deal with two central confrontations: The age old “Will I ever be good enough for my in-laws?” problem and the struggle of keeping children together while the parents are fighting.
Normally, I think Lisa’s issues with her in-laws are quite contrived, but tonight I’ll put aside my skepticism and go with it.
Lenny’s parents are visiting Miami for seven days from good ol’ Virginia. They’re originally from Russia and were starting their 40th anniversary celebration of arriving in the United States with $300 in their pockets. While this is quite the accomplishment, the ladies with the Hochstein name seem to want to overshadow it with some old-fashioned banter. We learn that Lenny used to date a “gorgeous Russian Playboy model” from his mother, Marina, as Lisa assures us that she is the one who wound up with the rock on her finger. The things these two women say to each other go above and beyond the normal mother/daughter-in-law repartee; sometimes it gets just plain rough!
At dinner, Marina calls Lisa out, seemingly out of nowhere, about the fact that she never answers the phone when Marina calls. To this, Lisa plainly states that is because she feels Marina has ill-feelings towards her. Marina swears that she’s never been rude, but then the viewer sees something that we never see: Lenny go off.
Lenny is usually the calm guy in the bunch; level-headed, professional. He never seems to get lost in his own mind... until today. He tells his mother that though she thinks herself to be a very kind person, she’s very rude to most of the staff she has and that he is done taking her side in the matters of wife vs. mom. He married Lisa and that is on whose team he will forever reside.
Now that mom has been put in her place, Lenny feels the need to attempt to solve things with Romain and Frederic, which he does. It turns out that when the men of Miami get together, conflict resolution is on their minds. I guess they wouldn’t make the best show, huh? I also see why Lisa likes to try and “fix” things all the time. She gets it honestly, at least.
Alexia lets us into one of her son, Frankie’s, therapy sessions. While he seems to be making great strides in his physical capabilities, the mental capacities are what worries Alexia. He seems to be suffering from something called aphasia, which, in an overly simplified definition, means speechlessness after a severe trauma to the head. Alexia says she fears her son will not fit in socially, and worries that he has to go through so many things that a 16-year-old shouldn’t have to deal with. The whole thing is very heartwarming and I personally hope to see Frankie continue to make great strides in his recovery.
This episode also happens to include Lea’s son, R.J.’s, birthday party -- to which he invited his best friend (and Adriana’s son), Alex. Lea extended an open invitation to the entire family, as she doesn’t want RJ’s best friend to miss the party simply because the moms are having issues. Alex shows up with both Frederic and Adriana and then, in true Miami fashion, it starts raining, and the entire party has to be moved into Lea’s house. This is, of course, an issue, since Lea’s house is being completely renovated; you know, plastic on the couches, cranes in the ballroom. That’s not a joke. There was actually a CRANE in Lea’s BALLROOM. Has that sunk in yet?
Let’s also just talk about the party a little bit, shall we? Lea finds out that R.J. has ordered top hats, neck ties, a six piece orchestra and...war games? Literally, the kid has ordered an arsenal of toy machine guns, plus the iron gloves that you would find on a knight with gauntlets. Very interesting mix, I say. It’s so painfully obvious that Adriana’s son has grown so much since we saw him last season, whereas R.J. is, unfortunately, just as awkward as Ana had alluded to in the reunion last year.
Joanna again barely makes an impact in this episode, but sets up the chance for a girls trip (she, Lea and Lisa) to L.A. for some bridal shopping. We also see a bit more into her true feelings about not living near her sister, Marta, any longer. She feels Marta should be throwing down her entire life to want to be in Miami helping Joanna plan the wedding. Sadly, Marta’s too busy living her own life with NASCAR beau Marco Andretti in Pittsburgh. I wonder if Joanna feels this way because she no longer has control over her younger sister? Discuss.
Finally, Adriana shines some insight into her wedding by asking Lisa to be a bridesmaid but firmly stating that she wouldn’t LOVE it if Lisa was Joanna’s bridesmaid also. She doesn’t want to deal with a “double agent.” She also wants to let the ladies know that she found a People magazine article from 1995 stating that Lea Black had apparently married her husband and kept it secret for four whole months! Hey Adriana, in terms of keeping your nuptials secret from friends: 4 years>4 months. Get it? OK, good.
Adriana also wins best quote of the night (with that fantastic Brazilian accent of hers) when she says the word PLE-thora. I can’t be the only one who thinks that... It’s in the name of the episode.
Next week we jet to the West Coast! Fasten your seat belts, ladies and gentlemen. I have a feeling the ride is about to get very bumpy.
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