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Once and Again

Season 2 Episode 4

Feast or Famine

Aired Unknown Nov 21, 2000 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
16 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Feast or Famine
It's Thanksgiving and that means both the Sammler's and Manning's get together for dinner, whether they want to be there or not. It turns out that the two mothers get along quite well. It's Rick and his mom that have issues. She questions whether Rick knows that his children aren't doing as well as he would like to think. Barbara sees her son Aaron for the first time since Phil's funeral.moreless

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  • Perhaps the show's finest hour; Should have won Barbara Barrie a guest actress Emmy.

    "Once and Again" is always at its best when it is exploring, in glorious and exquisite detail, the institution of family. In few episodes is this done as pitch perfectly as it is in "Feast or Famine." This episode is simply perfect from start to finish and is one of the best examples I can think of as to why millions of people are as devoted to this show as we are.

    The episode begins with Rick and Lily planning a Thanksgiving feast to be shared between their respective familes at Lily's place. Rick's mother, Peg (Barbara Barrie), arrives from Kansas and is excited to finally be meeting the woman in her son's life. She quickly notices some of the underlying problems brewing in Rick's relationships with Eli and Jessie. (Rick and Eli are constantly sniping at each other and Jessie does not appear to be eating.) While making note of these things, she also makes a plea with Rick to patch things up with his estranged brother, Mikey. These "suggestions" do not sit well with Rick and the tension builds between mother and son throughout the episode, reaching a boiling point after the Thanksgiving dinner. Meanwhile, Barbara (Bonnie Bartlett) and Aaron (Patrick Dempsey) join the Mannings for the holiday, as the family celebrates their first holiday without Phil.

    The script, direction, acting, lighting, etc. for this episode are perfect. The entire ensemble delivers their usual fine performances. This is, however, a mostly Sammler focused episode, so the acting honors in the main cast go to West, Wood, and especially Campbell, who conveys Rick's pain and vulnerability so very well. Barbara Barrie is just wonderful as Peg, a genuinly loving mother and grandmother, whose good advice to her son often falls flat because of its pushy and self-righteous delivery. She has such lovely and natural chemistry with Campbell, West, and Wood that it is very easy to believe that she is part of their family. Her performance is subtle and heartbreaking and she deserved an Emmy nomination and win for it in the guest actress in a drama series category. "Once and Again" was always criminally ignored by the Emmys, but if Barrie's performance here, which is one of the finest guest star performances I have seen on any show, can't get a nomination, I don't know what can.

    This is one of the finest hours of television you will ever see and one of the best "Once and Again" has to offer.

Barbara Barrie

Barbara Barrie

Peg Sammler

Guest Star

Patrick Dempsey

Patrick Dempsey

Aaron Brooks

Guest Star

Bonnie Bartlett

Bonnie Bartlett

Barbara Brooks

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions