What better way to honor the late Uncle Julius (or, per Mrs. Freeman's faux-pas, "Uncle Julian") than by passing the mantle of Seinfeldian hijinks to Reggie and Missy? The self-proclaimed power couple of Survivor's Remorse spends most of "The Thank-You Note" in their own separate domestic sitcom, splitting hairs over the best way to formally express gratitude to high-society Atlantans for taking their minds off Julius/Julian's passing with a little pheasant hunting.
The irony isn't lost on Reggie that he and Missy have spent hours deconstructing how to convey appreciation for a gesture that's arguably inappropriate to begin with. Unless one takes the view that firing rifles at innocent birds and spinning them around by the neck until they whistle is a traditional mode of condolence.
Allison most certainly dissents, as we see when she lectures the Calloways (and Chen) on why game hunting is tantamount to rebuking evolution. Cam's in her corner, and Chen agrees in principle, though not to the extent that he'll say no to chef Bridget's spread of pheasant-inspired entrées. He is truly a man at peace with his moral and intellectual inconsistencies. This is a guy who can surgically satirize Southern tradition mere moments before cavalierly raising his weapon and advising anyone in his path, "I do not wish to Dick Cheney." No wonder Cassie's in love: Her bae is fundamentally a pragmatist, which may as well be her religious order.
That's precisely why M-Chuck presents such a conundrum. Mary Charles is, for all her armor, a sensitive and curious person, particularly when it comes to her father's mystery identity. (Did we know she and Cam had different dads?) That's a hot button for Cassie, which becomes clear when she storms off the "set" of her podcast for a "black five" when pressed for information on the topic.
The podcast itself is a fairly random means to get mother and daughter together on a therapist's couch. But the subsequent scenes of Cassie and Cam getting real and Cassie clutching M-Chuck's hand as they await Doctor Roycroft are feel-good wins for the show. And more crucially for Mary Charles, who's apparently fed up with everything and everyone from her slit-jugular-like monthly cycles (her words, not mine) to Cam, whose all-world talent continues to overwhelm her "neighborhood talent." Hell, she's still pissed about having to pay 50 cents for that can of Coke.
M-Chuck's sliced-and-diced succession of rants — a real platform for Erica Ash to do her thing — is the closest she's come to confession since we've known her, given how the average Georgia church responds inhospitably to her homosexuality. Though, regardless of sexual preference, who can't relate to the frustrations of waning attraction?
Not Reggie and Missy, apparently. Even in the throes of a communication breakdown — one which, fittingly, devolves until they're bribing an ornery mailman and staking out the Freemans' house to swap notes so they don't get caught having dropped the "h" in Diahan — Missy persuades Reggie to do her bidding by threatening a boycott of oral sex. These two can hardly hash out the pros and cons of killing for sport without arousing primal lust. No wonder they ultimately side with the cavemen when it comes to conquering one's prey.
"The Thank-You Note" belongs to Reggie, Missy, Mary Charles, and Cassie. Credit Cam and Allison with the intermittent assist, and consider Chen a qualified sixth man. (As for Bridget, Georgia native Julie Ivey does her technical best eking humor out of fowl.) It's phase one in Survivor's Remorse, as it moves past its indebtedness to Julius and Mike Epps, with the focus squarely back on Missy and Reggie's mission to move on up and be "recreationally sophisticated"; Cassie coming to terms with her historic choices and helping M-Chuck feel emboldened to be who she wants to be; Cam getting back to the business of basketball, and, as his mom reminds him, being a role model by going to "talk to some fuckin' kids" instead of minding her business. Now, if only anyone could figure out where the elevator is.
Apart From All That:
- Even when this show's not trying to be timely, it is. (Seconded via the Bradley Cooper bit.)
- Teyonah Parris is slowly becoming Remorse's Susie Essman. Her "go fuck yourself" is a thing of beauty.
- Not sure if Missy being right is a twist or a cop-out.
- Allison just facilitates, but she's there long enough to inspire M-Chuck's TED Talk zinger.
- Diapers to bed. Eww.
- Naturally, Missy knew "homies" was "retro when I said it."
- I would have thought "ventriloquy" was a word.
- Thank-you notes are terrible.