A show like The McCarthys was built for Thanksgiving episodes. Last week’s episode got caught up in set pieces and a plot that attempted to turn and spin out of control way too rapidly. So, I was happy that this episode was a Thanksgiving episode. That setting provides a perfect chance for the show to do what it does best: put all these family members in a room together and just let them go, bantering back and forth. I was optimistic and this episode did not let me down.
The episode begins with a simple premise: Gerard is back together with his terrible ex-girlfriend Katrina (guest star Jessica St. Clair from Playing House and Best Friends Forever). Everyone in the family is concerned for him and then they become concerned for themselves when she ends up invited to their Thanksgiving dinner. Unlike last week’s episode, where all the plot turns were incredibly unnatural, this plot escalated well with Gerard deciding he should propose to Katrina at Thanksgiving in a decision that felt rash, but in-character and believable.
The family set off on a mission to prevent him from proposing. This gave each of them moments to shine. It was great seeing Marjorie enjoy being a plotting villain, followed by Ronny taking on the same plotting villain mannerisms as his anger towards Katrina grows. But the stand out scene of the episode came from Arthur. Marjorie instructed him to dissuade Gerard by telling him all of his complaints with his marriage to Marjorie. She had to assure him that this time it’s not a trap and he can actually vent. When it comes time for him to get the job done, he tells Gerard that Marjorie sometimes makes plans when he doesn’t feel like doing anything and her feet are cold. He pauses and then says, “…I thought there were more.” It dawns on him that marriage is the best thing that ever happened to him. Marjorie and Arthur are definitely one of the best sitcom marriages on TV right now. So many sitcoms say “they fight but they still care about each other” but don’t deliver on the latter part of that in any real way. Here the mix of insults and true affection is absolutely perfect.
By sticking to the basics and playing to its strengths, The McCarthys delivered a solid, feel good episode with laughs from all of the characters throughout.