Tessa has been invited by her grandmother Helen to come to the city for Thanksgiving, since her mother will be flying in from Berlin to join them. She tells George, who will be spending the holiday with the Royces alone this year and seems to be at least moderately supportive of his daughter’s desire to meet her flaky mother. However, once Dallas hears about Tessa not making an appearance this year, she fires Chef Alan, in hopes that she can keep George occupied through cooking the dinner themselves. As this is Suburgatory, things don’t go quite as expected, even though Dalia’s allergy to “anything nasty” doesn’t get aggravated.
George and Noah talk about Alex popping up again, the latter comparing her to Michael Vick, before Dallas comes over to tout her backless aprons and introduce the idea of them cooking dinner. Noah will be joining them, though, since Carmen took Opus to a witch doctor, Jill’s on her book tour, and Jana is spending the holiday with her friend from Brown. Chef Alan and Mr. Wolfe also have a place at the dinner table, but the former is invited partially due to George’s inability to cook…well, anything. Dallas isn’t any help in the kitchen and there are questions of turkey hairs and salty potatoes that he just can’t answer by himself.
Meanwhile, in Manhattan, Tessa’s nervous about meeting her mother. For 16 years, she’s been The Girl Who Doesn’t Have a Mother, so much so that it’s well-ingrained into her identity, and that’d be changing. Who would she be without that part of her? Once she gets to Helen’s apartment, she’s informed that Alex hasn’t shown up yet and there’s been no contact with her to determine how far she is from coming or if she’s coming at all. After waiting for quite a while, not having eaten a thing, Tessa decides to head home, at least somewhat relieved to not have to deal with the change that would come from meeting her mother.
Alex did in fact show up, though – to George’s house. She had gotten a fax from Helen that said that Tessa would be at home for the holidays, although she mistakes Dalia for her daughter and calls her beautiful, which Dalia happily accepts. When she finds out that Tessa actually isn’t there, though, she flops on the floor and gets emotional, which makes Dallas feel sorry for her. George, on the other hand, knows how Alex used to be and doesn’t give in that easily; she tended to make people feel sorry for her when she was in the wrong and he refuses to fall back into the old patterns that helped break them up years ago.
When Tessa comes home, Alex is hearing about her from Dallas and Dalia; not sure what to do, she awkwardly salutes her mother and heads up to her room. Alex soon joins her and they have a noticeably nervous conversation, where Alex brings up Tessa’s favorite band and fake-falls asleep to relieve some of the tension. The two end up laying on the floor giggling, George listening intently while sitting on the stairs, and Alex does in fact fall asleep; George lets her stay the night before heading home the next day, getting confirmation from Tessa that everything’s okay and that Alex seemed cool.
The two end the episode sharing food from Chef Alan, who ended up getting to cook the dinner that he wanted to cook today. At a high cost to George, though.
Groove is in the Heart
Over at the Shay’s, Sheila is being extra nice to Malik, which is worrying Lisa. While shucking corn in the dining room, the Shay matriarch puts on a certain ’90′s hit and dances around the room with him and Fred before inviting Malik to Thanksgiving dinner. As his family eats early in the day, he can come, despite Lisa’s protests.
The evening of the dinner, things aren’t any better between mother and daughter. While Ryan calls the wishbone and Fred measures the distance between the silverware, Sheila is calling Malik the “Keenan Ivory Wayans of opening doors” and, according to Lisa, trying too hard to be “down” due to Malik’s race. For his part, Malik arrives to dinner sweaty and in casual clothes, having rushed over to the Shay’s following a game of touch football with the family. He did bring dress clothes, though, and gets a chance to shower, which Sheila inadvertently walks in on while looking to restock the cabinet with fresh towels. The two don’t have a problem with what happened, all the while never breaking eye contact, but Lisa walks in on them talking and freaks out.
At the dinner table, the event is brought up and laughed off by everyone but Lisa, who storms out of the room having been made to feel uncomfortable. Malik follows her outside, where she claims that all she sees is her mother walking in on him. Lisa’s upset that her mother and Malik have been farther than her and Malik, but Malik can’t hate Sheila because Lisa does and tells her to grow up. The two break-up and Lisa leaves him outside wondering how things escalated to that point.
Later, Lisa’s crying in the bathroom and notices an envelope on the mirror with her name on it. In the envelope is the wishbone from Ryan, a gift meant to make her feel better after what happened with Malik.
Additional thoughts and observations:
-Chef Alan likes the movie Cool Runnings. Like any normal human being, of course.
-The “guess who’s coming to dinner?” joke made me laugh more than it should.
-Sheila took life-drawing classes with nude models and performed invasive tick checks, while Malik has a female pediatrician and was, in fact, born naked.
-Dalia’s “there he is” re: Tessa entering the room was the funniest thing of the night.
-Suburgatory is off next week, but when it returns on the 28th, Dallas gives George a Chatswin makeover and Lisa becomes attached to Tessa without Malik around, which leads to a case of food poisoning.