Sherman Oaks

Season 1 Episode 5

The Contest

Aired Unknown Aug 13, 1995 on Showtime
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  • Delightful Dysfunction

    If there was ever a list of the most enjoyable dysfunctional families on television, The Bakers of Sherman Oaks would rank high on that list!

    In this episode, Tiffany decides to enter a bikini contest in order to win a trip to Hawaii. Her father, Sanford, is against it, and offers to just buy her a trip to Hawaii, but Tiffany wants to win the trip on her own. She enlists the aid of the bar owner, Leni Lemoyne, to help her with her routine.

    Meanwhile, "Doctor's" cousin from Mississippi, Anthony, visits Los Angeles for the first time. He experiences quite a culture shock - not so much the city itself, but mostly at how crazy The Bakers are. Anthony is thrilled to watch Tiffany cavort in her teeny, breast-baring outfits, and he's confused as to why Tyler thinks that he is black. However, when Beverly asks Anthony what he'd like to see most in L.A., he tells her "Disneyland, and a Jew."

    The family housekeeper, Elena, is sick of being yelled at by moody Beverly on how to correctly to the laundry ("Elena, you mixed the Ralph Lauren sheets with the Christian Diors. Never do that. Never, never, never!"). So to get even with her, she tells Leni, who is a lesbian, that Beverly is attracted to her.

    Poor Leni, thinking that Beverly has feelings for her too, tries to seduce Beverly at the bar. A flustered Beverly knocks Leni out with a smack to the face. Leni, however, is a good sport, and Tiffany manages to win the bikini contest and the Hawaiian vacation. And Anthony - well, he got to see not one, but five Jews.

    The writing for this series is consistently hilarious, off-color and witty at the same time. It also helps that the entire cast is game enough to deliver such outrageous dialogue with aplomb. It's no surprise that many of the cast members went on to other series after "Sherman Oaks." This episode belongs to Phyllis Katz, as the amusingly naive Beverly. Everything she does is just laugh-inducing: scolding Elena, attending her "suburban streetfighting" class, freezing in a panic during an earthquake, and fighting back after Leni's seduction attempt.

    This family is so gleefully deranged, they'll make you wanna pack up your things and move in with them in that hotbod of hilarity, Sherman Oaks, California.


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