When 15 year-old Mallory comes down to the television station where her father works, a close family friend initially makes her uncomfortable with his hand-holding and gawking compliments, then gives her an in appropriate hug and a pat on the bottom. Mallory is mortified and ashamed, and initially confides in her brother, Alex. When it happens a second time, however, Alex insists she tell their mother, and Elyse creates a scene when she confronts the familial pervert on his actions in the middle of the station's live telethon.
Whoa, did this episode strike gruesomely close to home. At our wedding nearly two years ago, some of my husband's "friends" from his previous life were invited at his insistance. Being the bride, I was a little distracted but later heard from others at the reception how these barfy band of buddies of his were swarming my step-daughter, flirting with her, and making remarks about how much she'd grown up. It was the most sickening feeling you can get when other guests brought it to my attention. My husband couldn't bring himself to admit at the time that his friends didn't mean it innocently...until he saw some of the photos that the wedding photographer had snapped, and the drunken expressions on his friends' faces as they crowded around his daughter and leered. Ironically, my step-daughter's name is Mallory. The really nasty part is, though, that she had just turned 13 three weeks before our wedding and was getting this kind of attention from them.
This was a pretty good, obviously realistic episode and Justine Bateman did a great job of portraying the feelings of confusion and shame that a young girl would normally feel. There were two problems that I had with the plot, however: Elyse kept this news from her husband (naturally, it worked better for humor later in the story) and neither Stephen nor Elyse pursued prosecution with Arthur after he admitted he had done it and had a problem. Arthur lamely makes the claim that he will get help. Who is going to see that he does, and what motivation does he have to do something like that? Even if he does get help, he should still be prosecuted for his criminal actions, especially since Mallory was probably not the first nor the last of his victims.