Brother's Keeper

Season 1 Episode 23

The Duel (2)

Aired Friday 9:30 PM May 14, 1999 on ABC
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Episode Summary

The Duel (2)
Porter's scheme to win Dena's heart by trying to outwit Gino, her race car-driving boyfriend, in a battle of intellectual conversation begins to backfire on the lovesick professor. Meanwhile, when a small earthquake shakes up the usually unflappable Bobby, he demands to be traded to another football team in order to get away from the San Francisco tremors. But when the team owner and fans think that Bobby is just making a play for more money, public sentiment begins to turn against him. Just as Deena admits to reciprocating Porter's feelings, Bobby learns he has been cut from the team.moreless

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  • After suffering through his first San Francisco earthquake, Bobby hopes to be traded. Porter, meanwhile, hopes to win Dena's heart by proving that his intellect is superior to Gino's. Neither, though, plans for the potential backfires.moreless

    And so this Friday night sitcom came to and end way back in '99 with this game-changing episode, a cliffhanger in the finest tradition (or not) of spring finales. I actually missed this when it first aired, so I'm glad to see that I could finally view it thanks to Hulu. It was also the first episode of this shows I'd seen in nine years, so it made the first return impression as well. And did it impress? Mostly. It's clear that the show wasn't the finest sitcome out there, but it didn't make me cringe with its stupidity either. Sure, most of Bobby's antics were chuckle-inducing at best and annoying at worst, but I also thinks that helped me sympathize with Porter and his many issues. The idea of the boy trying to use his strengths to get the girl only to learn boy #2 is equal or superior in that way as well is an old story of course, but it's still fun to see here, probably because the show, flawed as it was, made me care about the characters. I wanted Porter to get a win after being shown up by his little brother so much. Granted, it's probably only in the fantasy world that is TV and other fiction that nerdy, straight-laced Porter might be able to attract sexy, smart, and independent Dena from amazing-in-every-way Gino, but it's still satisfying to see. Porter deserved something to got his way and he managed to stand up for himself while still staying true to the character, which leads to the even better moment Dena being herself and laying her foot down and cutting through Porter's insecurities. And that, of course, leads to what is probably the most satisfying moment in the series, their first and only kiss. Sure, the moment leading up to it made it pretty obvious (you don't usually see two characters with sexual tension between them standing that close to one another without one) but it's still great to see. Where would the series have gone from here? We'll never know, but I"m sure we could guess. Bobby either gets reinstated to the team or tries out and makes it or has to work in the "real world". Maybe all three. Dena and Porter go out for a while and break up. Or they go out for a while, have those rocky but comedic moments, break up, get back together, yada yada yada, grow closer, maybe get married and then they're all one happy dysfunctional family. And in the midst of all of it, Oscar grows up, always balancing his dad's by-the-book, safe world view with his uncle's live-now, enjoy-your-childhood, get-in-trouble influence. And maybe dealing with his potential new mom. Maybe it would have worked, maybe it wouldn't have. I would have liked to see it, but I won't shed in huge tears that it didn't. It was an entertaining, if somewhat forgettable sitcom. You can say that about a lot of them.moreless

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    • And so the series ends in mid-air. Will Bobby be forced to move away again? Will Deena marry Porter and become, however reluctantly, a mother to Oscar? We will never know -- because I seem to be the only person in the universe who liked this smartly written and surprisingly well-acted series, which should never have been part of the ABC TGIF lineup.


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