Everybody Hurts

Episode Report Card
Aaron: C+ | 1 USERS: A+
Stuck In The Middle Review

God bless Daylight Savings Time.

We open on an artfully-conceived pan across Christopher's couch, showing that he and Adriana have opted for a nice relaxing evening of drug use and documentaries about stonecutters. In what I'm taking as an homage to Claire's drug scene in the Six Feet Under pilot, Adriana's little mutt is munching on the piece of pizza she's dropped in her lap. You know, where I come from, we call those things "field goal dogs," because they're just the right size for kicking. Maybe I shouldn't have admitted that. Anyway, this lovely domestic tableau is interrupted when Tony calls and orders Christopher to meet him in a parking lot somewhere. Desperate to snap out of his drug-induced haze, Chris sets down the syringe in his hand and slaps himself across the face a few times.

Flick…ahhhh. Cut to a mop-topped young man lighting a cigarette and pontificating on the possible resumption of the draft to an audience of AJ and some other adolescents. One of whom, by the way, is blonde, female, quite cute, and draped all over AJ. But more on her later. Meanwhile, two other young boys, whom I've decided to call Ping and Pong because their only characterization comes from the various games that they play, announce that AJ will never have to worry about joining the military because "his old man will put a horse's head in some senator's bed." Heh. Then again, I'd be kinda surprised if Tony even knows who his senators are. Oh, wait. Torricelli. Never mind. AJ's friends go on to display a vast knowledge of the intimate details of the Godfather series, which I find difficult to accept amongst a demographic that's mostly going to be lined up outside theaters to see Jackass this weekend. They tease him about everything from having attack dogs on the property ("She got hit by a dog") to his father's "legit" "business" of "waste management" ("Garbage?" "Recycling."). Mop-Top's ears really perk up, however, when the Bada Bing is mentioned, and much to the dismay of AJ's female friend, they all decide to go check the place out.

A parking lot. Christopher is dozing in his car, a cigarette dangling precariously from his lips, when Tony and Furio screech up beside him. After a quick nudge from Foreshadowing, Furio notices Christopher slapping himself awake while Tony climbs out of the car. He and Chris head over to a darkened corner of the lot, making small talk about hijacked washing machines and vacuum cleaners as they go. Perhaps noticing that the boy ain't entirely right, Tony wonders if Chris has been drinking. "Me and Ade had some wine at the house," replies Christopher, which, for a variety of reasons, is only true if you add an extra "H" to the sentence. Before he gets down to the nitty-gritty of the meeting, Tony reaches into Christopher's jacket pocket for a cigarette, with a motion that could also be interpreted as checking him for a wire. Remember that later when Tony tries to decide if being Machiavellian comes to him naturally. Finally, he delivers his little spiel: "I gotta make it my number one priority to limit my exposure to potentially damaging conversations and wiretaps," he says. "So over the next couple of years, more and more, I'm going to be giving my orders through you. And finally, only through you." Christopher asks about the implications of all this for Paulie and Silvio, and Tony replies that those guys aren't "[his] blood" and that, in keeping with the episode's Billy Joel motif, the whole thing is "a matter of trust." And while we're on the subject, I'm beginning to wonder if Tony's newfound obsession with blood is somehow related to the writers' newfound obsession with foreshadowing his doom. I'm just saying. "You're gonna take this family into the twenty-first century," explains Tony, like the proud uncle he only barely is. "We're already in the twenty-first century," answers Christopher, before recovering and explaining that he would follow Tony "through the gates of hell" as payback for Tony finding the man who killed his father. "I only hope I'm worthy," he adds, as Foreshadowing and Irony fight over who gets to shove a hand up his butt and make his mouth move. Finally, they hug, and the scene comes to an oddly abrupt end.

In another part of town, AJ and crew are cruising around, looking for the strip club. When he finally spots someplace familiar, AJ orders Pong to pull over. Aww. I miss Pong. And now you'll have to excuse me while I take a quick X-Box break. When I get back, the gang has discovered that AJ has led them to Satriale's instead of the Bada Bing. "Oh shit, this place is the pork store," realizes AJ. "It's a gay strip club?" wonders Ping. Heh. AJ explains, "This is where my father's office is," which prompts Mop-Top to ask if it's a front, "like Genco Olive Oil." "It looks very clandestine," adds Blondie, in what has to be the most pathetic attempt at winning someone's affections since I last begged Sars not to fire me. On the other hand, how funny is it that AJ can't even remember basic directions?

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