Even the actors on this show look bored. It’s a valiant effort, and their acting skills have never been tested so mightily, but the alternative is losing their income. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a billionaire’s daughter, so that shouldn’t really matter. And she’s swimming in Seinfeld cash. But the rest of the cast on The New Adventures Of Old Christine don’t have such resources to fall back on, hence a deep-seated feeling that they better clean up now while they can. For me at this point, the only reason to watch is to see how well JLD still rounds out a pair of jeans and hopes for a closeup of that matchless face. So I endure.
Last night, little Ritchie (Trevor Gagnon) made it on to the screen, even if just in snippets. As usual, he does a nice job, even showing off some budding slapstick skills, but his character is merely a plot device to send up the less than stellar parenting skills of big Ritchie (Clark Gregg) and Old Christine.
When Dad takes the tyke off for a day of skateboarding, OC gets him ready by duct taping every joint like an NFL linebacker and encapsulating his entire body in shock-proof catcher/goalie/umpire gear. Big Rich objects, remembering all the bumps and bruises of his own childhood, but OC is determined that LR will suffer no injury. As Dad carries LR off to the skate date, Matthew (Hamish Linklater) strolls in and drops the news he’s dating again. She’s a very nice lady and everything Lucy was not. Yep, she’s a lady all right. The lunch lady.
I’m a little offended that OC thinks a lunch lady is beneath Matthew’s station, since I dated a lunch lady once. But then I remember the day I did a pop-in at her school and caught her in that funky hairnet. I should have stuck to dinner. Matthew doesn’t care though. After his breakup with Lucy (Michaela Watkins, now serving up late night snacks on Saturday Night Live) he’s determined to find a normal girl, and where better to start than in the kitchen?
Ritchie comes home with a skinned elbow. It seems Dad cut through the red tape and let him skate unprotected. OC is furious at Richard and accuses him of being a bad parent. She’s never going to let Ritchie out of her sight again, which makes Barb (Wanda Sykes) point out that LR will grow up hating her. “I know” says OC.
When she tails Ritchie on his bike trip to a friend’s house, she’s distracted by a tailgater upset at the 3 mile an hour cruise and when she looks back to yell at the guy, there’s a sudden thump. Where’s Ritchie? Sprawled out in front of the car. A trip to the emergency room confirms he was barely scratched, and a fight breaks out between Richard and Christine over who is really the worst parent.
It turns out they both really suck.
Matthew meanwhile is moving fast. He takes Andrea the lunch lady to a motel for their next date a la the Final Three on The Bachelor and proceeds to do nothing but talk about his lovely Lucy. Andrea is hooked on Soaps so she can relate, but this relationship is doomed. Still he did get a good bang in. Again, a la The Bachelor. Hey, if it works on that show…
Barb does her best to calm OC’s anger at Richard and of course that means she blows the lid off his parenting technique. It seems that Ritchie has made some unplanned visits to The Neverland Ranch and Hooters. Richard defends himself. After all at that time he was a brand new Dad and wasn’t used to keeping tabs on his little boy. But he’s grown up now and learned his lesson. Which leads to a central plot theme dogging this show since the beginning: Where’s Ritchie?
Left behind at school of course.
So they both suck as parents. Who’d a thunk it?