Gordo’s Grandmother (on his father’s side?) comes to visit. Only she’s not the gentle old gel Gordo remembers. Now she’s into experiencing the zest of life. Whereas before she was making Brisket, she’s now whipping up Sushi. And her manner of dress has become more ‘funky’ and ‘hip’.
Gordo’s expectations have been rocked, and he becomes, well, sulky. As Lizzie (and Miranda) pointedly point out to him, he’s always the one who says that people should act how they want to act, not to go along and be part of the metaphorical ‘heard’. Touché. As we saw in “A Gordo Story”, Gordo’s philosophical sense gets fuddled when the given event happens to directly affect him.
But, before anyone could get the idea that it’s just his being ‘selfish’, we find out that Gordo’s concern seems to hinge on wanting to make sure that his grandmother is there for him like she was before. He’s afraid that with all the changes his grandmother’s made in her manner that her always being there for him when he needs her has changed as well. It comes down to a boy needing his (grand) mother, which adds an additional layer to the episode.
Unlike in “When Moms Attack” where Lizzie is embarrassed of her mom (while her friends think she’s cool) simply because she’s embarrassed, Gordo has deeper, valid, reasons for his attitude towards his grandmother.
His grandmother on the other hand is acting all ‘different’ in part because she feels that since her husband has died, and her family is grown, that she’s no longer needed. Lizzie convinces her that it is otherwise (and in so doing again shows the depth of communication and friendship shared between Gordo and herself). She ends up bringing Gordo and his grandmother together.
As for the subplot, Jo and Sam are in bed sick—leaving Lizzie and Matt in charge of themselves. In the course of these events we learn something about Lizzie: that she’s a slob! She allows the house to be turned into a war zone without so much as a word of reproof. When left in defacto charge she just lets Matt run wild (and even pitches in to help!). What happened to the hard earned responsibility she gained after the events in “Misadventures in Babysitting” and “The Longest Yard”?
Something else interesting comes out of this situation: Matt and Lizzie seem to get along with each other just fine when there is no prospect of parental supervision. They don’t even bicker once when they are left in control! Fascinating.
The lighthearted nature of this subplot balances nicely with the ‘seriousness’ of the main plot. And the two overlap at some point, which always makes things better.
On a fashion note, Lizzie has got to dump that blue and red blotches shirt she wears at one point in the episode. It looks like she’s been in a splatter house movie! Those splotches look too much like blood for my taste.
Musical cues too are featured in this episode. We hear not only the ‘Gordo Theme’ (that seems to come up whenever Gordo’s ‘Jewishness’ is on display) but we also get to hear the ‘Romance Theme’ that we’ve only heard (up till now) played between Lizzie and potential boyfriends. But in this one that music is transposed into the background of Gordo and Grandma Ruth’s little talk.
On an acting note, Hallie and Robert do a great job acting sick.
And then there’s the reoccurring secondary characters, or the distinct lack thereof. There are none! Only three episodes to date have been able to boast that. This sort of occurrence is a rarity indeed in the series.
At the end of the day, this is a ‘Gordo-centric’ episode in that it is Gordo’s grandmother, and his reactions to her, that are at center stage. It is another ‘growth’ episode for Gordo.
Family togetherness, acceptance, and learning that one still needs (and is needed). A nice message to learn. Not to mention finding out that one has needs to live up to one’s responsibilities when one’s parents aren’t around. ;-)
A good one.