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'Brothers & Sisters': Surprise! A dinner party gone wrong!

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Brothersandsisters_l“Wow! Dinner and a show.” With just five little words, Paul (an amusing, if too camp by half Dave Foley) summed up the weekly episode outline of Brothers & Sisters. And while, yeah, it’d be nice (and indeed a tad more realistic) if Nora and her kids could get through the occasional meal without some kind of full-scale drama explosion, there is something oddly comforting in watching the Walkers gossip and bicker and meddle by phone, in person, and through third-party stand-ins, as they prepare their meals and down their many, many glasses of wine.

Still, there was nothing warm and fuzzy about the week’s central arc — focusing on the finance and real-estate issues of Kevin and Scotty. Unfortunately, last week’s previews hinted at the fact that Kevin was going to give Scotty the gift that was going to keep on taking from the joint bank account they didn’t even have: A $750,000 mansion that Nora had been hoping to purchase as HQ for her new home-away-from-home for families of sick, hospitalized children.Now here’s the thing about Kevin: As a human being, he’s absolutely dreadful (most of the time). As a TV character who stirs up drama and makes for exciting television, he’s pretty great (almost all of the time). I could feel myself going into a full-body cringe when Kevin started to formulate the idea of stealing Nora’s high bid right out from under her, and making a massive financial and emotional commitment without even so much as a preliminary discussion with his lovely and way-too-forgiving partner.The fact that Kevin actually gave Scotty grief about his decision to storm out of the “Yay, Scotty!” party was off-the-charts self-centered, and so I was thrilled to see the up-and-coming chef call out his partner for being threatened by their shifting balance of income and power. (Side note: Anyone else think the show can’t afford both Luke Macfarlane’s Scotty and Sarah Jane Morris’s Julia in the same episode?)

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Yet while it was nice to see Scotty call Kevin on his crap, wasn’t the whole conflict resolved too quickly, and just a little too smoothly? Kevin’s own mother was repulsed by his brash “bull in a china shop” behavior, so how come Scotty let his spouse off the hook with such stunning ease? I mean, it’s not like Kevin bought a new flatscreen TV, or even a car, without Scotty’s okay; he spent three-quarters of a million dollars. And yet, after five minutes of discussion, Kevin was coming to the realization “I didn’t realize how amazing I was” instead of being kicked to the couch where he belonged. I repeat: $750,000. It’s stressing me out to think about it even now.

At least Justin’s colossally unsuitable setup between Uncle Saul and his fellow NA-er Paul provided some comic relief from a pretty uncomfortable episode. The night’s funniest moment was a stern Sarah alerting her little brother that “You and I will be having words,” after his pal arrived two hours early for her soiree. First and second runner-up prizes go to Paul’s comments to Justin (“Oh, Justin, I’m so flattered. But I’m afraid I’m way past my twink phase.”) and Nora (“We have similar taste in men. I just go from one cheater to another!”).

What did you think of this week’s episode? Were you as excited as me to hear someone acknowledge Justin’s lack of a job? Who else was happy to see Robert reluctantly (but nonetheless definitely) get pulled into a round of Walker scheming? And who else would have found it funnier if Kitty’s telenovela watching hadn’t been acknowledged by her sister, and instead been left as a hilarious background detail?

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