This week’s Up All Night sees Reagan in direct conflict with two people in her life – her best friend/boss Ava and another mother in her daughter’s baby class. The “emotional chess match” between Reagan and Ava begins because Ava feels Reagan is putting the emphasis on her newborn child instead of her. It’s expected that a little bit of Reagan’s attention will drift away from her work – what with being a parent for the first time being a big deal and all – but the level of involvement Chris and Reagan show with Amy’s baby class is a little much.
The baby class in question is taught by none other than Mr. Bob (played by Christopher Guest regular Michael Hitchcock), and Chris a.k.a. Amy’s dad (everyone in the class is referred to as “x’s dad” or “y’s mom) soon finds himself getting more out of the class than his daughter. While he thrives and is even called on to take over teaching duties for Mr. Bob while he makes a phone call, Reagan spends her time in “Mr. Bob’s Toddler Kaleidoscope” arguing with Kayla’s Mom (played by Missi Pyle), another parent in the class. Kayla’s Mom is constantly undermining Reagan’s parenting abilities, implying that her not being a full-time mom is stunting Amy’s development. This sort of treatment leads Reagan to snap and get her family kicked out of the class, much to Chris’s chagrin.
Without Reagan by her side, Ava makes her inept assistant Missy into her “new gal pal,” assigning her to write an important speech for a fashion event for her, something that Reagan would normally do. Ava does well with Missy’s speech and things look like they’re going to work out with this new friendship, until Missy reveals that Reagan ghostwrote the speech. Missy assures Ava that Reagan is still there for her, causing Ava to realize how much Reagan cares about her. She rudely dismisses Missy as her best friend, not wanting to be disloyal to Reagan.
Without the baby class to occupy their time, Chris brings Amy to visit Reagan at work. Reagan, knowing how her husband had found his calling in the class, agrees to ask for Mr. Bob’s forgiveness. Chris is so excited to go back to the baby class that he runs off towards Mr. Bob’s – before realizing he left his daughter behind. With the spirit of forgiveness still in the air, Reagan makes peace with Kayla’s mom, bonding over their shared frustrations with a particular model of stroller.
As in past weeks, there are a lot of elements at play in this episode of Up All Night, and the show is still figuring out how to bring them all together and what types of storylines work best. “Mr. Bob’s” explores Ava and Chris more fully than usual, finally giving Chris a worthwhile way to occupy all the time he has on his hands as a stay-at-home dad – even if his level of obsession with the baby class are a little extreme. The scenes at Mr. Bob’s toddler school are some of the funniest and most effective in the episode, offering up a precise and mocking look at gentle, cheery child classes. Up All Night is still finding its footing, but the show is continuing to nail its central relationships down and the jokes are getting sharper each week.
Bradford Evans is a writer living in Los Angeles.