718/Stealing Burt's Car
Paul's parents are planning a trip to Buffalo, to house sit for the weekend, in their 25-year-old car and this worries both Paul and Jamie. Paul thinks the car is a piece of junk and this view is not helped out by the fact that when Burt and Sylvia are over telling them about the trip, Burt is carrying the rearview mirror. Paul tells Jamie that the car is so old it was the car Henry Ford drove to the place where he invented the car.
So in an effort to get Paul's parents to buy a new car, Jamie comes up with a plan to steal and abandon the car. This, of course, unnerves Paul but he goes along with it just because he wants to help his parents out. The plan goes relatively well until they get caught.
After Paul and Jamie are arrested, they are taken to the local police station where they are seperately grilled by a cunning detective with a wry sense of humor. In the end, Paul's parents refuse to press charges so they're set free. On the way out of the station they both tell each other how, under questioning, they stuck for each other. Yea, right!
Also, Ira's ex-wife, Marianne, keeps a date at the Hayden Planetarium they made in 1979. Ira found out about the date when he was putting on an old pair of jeans and found the note, with the date, in one of the pockets. These pants are so tight that Paul thinks Ira is walking like a "really timid monkey". After they both relate sad tales of lives which are not going so great, Ira offers to let Marianne move in with him. Come to find out there are still "sparks" betweeen the two. Is it fate?
This episode spent the better part of the first half threatening to be really kind of boring and I was especially not looking forward to seeing the Buchman's involved in yet another crime. I mean, does nearly every episode have to involve either a crime or an arguement? But thanks to a truly wonderful performance by guest star Richard Belzer, as Detective Sharp, the last half of this episode was really funny. The way he talked to everyone like he was doing a take-off on a "Hill Street Blues", or "N.Y.P.D. Blue" detective was great.
It was also nice to see Marianne (played by Cyndi Lauper) again even with her shorter hair and that slightly obnoxious voice. It wasn't hard to guess that something was going to happen between those two, so that made some of the dialogue a bit difficult to get through (though it wasn't terrible). As you might guess, their reunion was relatively early on in the episode.
Burt and Sylvia Buchman's appearance was underplayed, but it was still good.
And surprise, surprise, Mabel made another appearance! I guess Paul and Jamie got the baby on loan from her real parents just for the show. And surprise, surprise, after Mabel's brief appearance she was nowhere else to be seen. I still think the whole show could have used more stories hence more episodes written around having a baby. That's why I still bitch and moan about the show using crimes and arguements for plots. That stuff should be used these days at best rarely. I'm really tired and disappointed that Jamie is constantly coming up with another way to skirt the law. Shame on the writers and producers for taking this route. They are really passing up on a golden opportunity for "baby humor". That's not to say every episode should have used exclusively the baby, but why else would they bring a baby into the show, and then practically abandon it? It called ratings.
Well, enough of the soapbox. I don't really intend to lecture the show, but in a way they ask for it. Yet, really, don't let my moralistic rantings give you the impression that it takes away from my enjoyment of either the show or in particular this episode. This episode may have started out slow but, thanks to the second half, it turned out quite well. Hopefully the show can keep this up for the next few weeks.
I wanted to not like this episode, but thanks to a great perfomance by Belzer, I have to give this episode a 7.5. Maybe it's not a very high rating, but it would've been lower without Belzer.