Brothers (1984)

Season 1 Episode 13

I Remember Papa

Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM Nov 01, 1984 on Showtime
out of 10
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Episode Summary

I Remember Papa
After an uncle's funeral, Joe and Lou become estranged following an argument about the memory of their father.

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  • A feud between Joe and Lou starts after an uncle's funeral. The only thing worse than the ridiculous reason for the feud is the way it's resolved at the end.

    Greg Antonacci, one of the creative minds behind "Brothers", had more than his share of excellent episodes to his credit as a writer, director, or both. This, the final regular episode of the first season, does not qualify.

    After going to an uncle's funeral, Lou and Joe get into an argument over the memory of their father. That isn't unusual. What IS unusual -- and completely out of character for both characters -- is that they stop talking to each other. It's almost a Smothers Brothers-esque "Mom always did like you best" fight, only the argument being over dad instead of mom (of course, Tom and Dick never stopped talking to each other over the debate on who was the favorite) -- and not NEARLY as funny.

    That's not to say that this episode doesn't have its moments. Unfortunately, they are in the sub-plot (Donald's misadventures from dating a hypnotist) instead of the main story. Most enjoyable (one of the best bits of the entire first season) is Donald ordering a dive bomber to drink. When Cliff suggests that Donald should eat first, Donald meticulously orders veal (down to how many minutes the capers and onions should be sauteed), then shouts, "Then throw it in the garbage and give me a dive bomber!" It's a great moment.

    The worst part of the episode is the resolution of the conflict. The hypnotist Donald is dating offers "family therapy" to the Waters brothers after Donald gets them together for dinner (not telling the two arguing Waters men that the other is coming). The three have a hypnotic flashback to their childhood. This "flashback", although humorously presented (the adults as children with oversized stage props such as milk bottles nearly as tall as Robert Walden), simply put, stinks.

    First, the flashback is absolutely impossible in the timeframe that the series puts forth. Cliff says he is 25 in this episode (which aired in 1984), which would have put his birthday in 1959. However, according to other episodes before and after this one, Lou was a Korean War veteran, meaning he would not have been living at home when Cliff was a baby. Also, Carmine Caridi, who played Pop Waters, actually appeared YOUNGER than Lou! That contradicts the rest of the series where Pop Waters was portrayed as an old man who died not long after Cliff was born.

    The worst part of the flashback, however, is when Cliff shows up. Pop asks him who he is, and after Cliff tells him, Pop puts him in an oversized high chair. While that part is good, what comes after it is NOT. Cliff says, "This isn't real, I'm 25 years old." (This is another continuation problem, as Cliff's 25th birthday was shown in the second season.) Pop then says, "I'm dead, right?" From there the dialogue sinks into ridiculous nonsense until the end of the flashback. When the hypnotist brings the three Waters boys out of their trance, they are one big happy family. Nowhere in the "flashback" do we see anything that showed what kind of man Pop Waters "really" was -- which was what the argument between Joe and Lou was over in the first place!

    This episode had a good subplot and a bad main plot. Perhaps, in order to make the episode more enjoyable, the two plots should have changed places of importance.moreless

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