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'Brothers & Sisters': Business + Pleasure

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Brothersandsisters_lOne of the best exchanges on yesterday’s Brothers & Sisters occurred when Sarah (Rachel Griffiths) tried explaining to Ethan that “Business is like dating.” To which the goofy Internet geek declared, “Oh NO!” But oh YES, in the B&S universe, love and commerce go together like a chorus and verse. And not having an MBA of my own, I needed to sit down this morning and chart the way the Walkers have commingled their romantic and financial interests over the past three seasons, as follows:

Last Night, Sarah took a business meeting/cocktail break with Graham (Steven Weber), with whom she had previously had an affair; last season, Graham’s consultancy work led to a deal that financially crippled the Walker family’s Ojai Foods business, leading to the exit of Sarah (and her uncle Saul), and to the rise of Sarah’s dull brother Tommy and his business partner Holly, who just so happens to be the former mistress of Sarah and Tommy’s father William, and the former romantic interest of the now gay Saul. (Whew!) Holly then proceeded to promote (from temp to ad exec) her daughter Rebecca, once thought to be the half-sister (via the affair with William) of Walker siblings Tommy, Sarah, Kevin, Kitty, and Justin, but who after taking a paternity test went from being Justin’s lost sibling to Justin’s sexytimes partner/girlfriend. Did I mention that Tommy once had an affair with Rebecca’s best friend while that chick briefly worked at Ojai? And that he and Saul are now plotting to topple Holly from atop the Ojai tree? Or that Ethan semi-jokingly offered to take care of Sarah’s sexual needs after she gave Graham the old heave-ho at episode’s end? Am I forgetting anyone in the flow chart, B&S fans?

addCredit(“Richard Cartwright/ABC”)

On paper, it all sounds a little ridiculous and very much incestuous,but somehow the blurred lines between the personal and the professionalwork on this show. For instance, while I applauded Sarah’s ability tonegotiate a huge deal for Kyle and Ethan — “I made a necessary andfinancially lucrative business compromise. They’ll be thanking me whenthey’re 40.” — I was secretly a little thrilled when she ditched thedeal in an effort to ensure their creative control over the companythey founded. Quick prediction time:

Sarah will eventually have adalliance with:
A) Kyle
B) Ehtan
C) Neither
D) Both

Still, as much as I love the Walkers’ inappropriate business dealings,the renovations at Nora’s “Cancer House” provided a nice change of pace– and plenty of comic relief. I loved seeing the well-dressed clan getdust all over their duds (particularly Kitty’s trenchcoat, which I’dnoted earlier in the episode was particularly fetching). I loved thegleeful fist bump between Robert and Kevin. I loved Saul’s shout-out topinot grigio. And I also loved his quip about home-refurbishingterminology: “Basic demolition is what we do to each other at dinnerafter we’ve had copious amounts of wine.” That said, I have to admit Iwas looking down to take some notes when the final bit of wall crumbled(and crushed Nora’s spirit) and was momentarily worried that Scotty hadtumbled to an untimely death. Or maybe MIA Julia, because she has a wayof popping up and disappearing at the oddest moments. Thankfully bothof the Walker-in-laws will live to see another episode. (Though onlyone at a time, of course!)

As for the rest of the episode, I leave it to you to discuss: WHY didJustin respond to his girlfriend’s huge promotion by immediatelydubbing her unqualified for the job? How’s everyone feeling about thewhiplash-inducing back-and-forth over Kitty and Robert’s efforts tobecome parents? (The “it’s running for president!” line at theultrasound was a classic.) And what exactly is Holly’s endgame? Is shereally bad to the bone, or simply looking out of her own interests in ashow that invariably favors Team Walker?