Who do you leave your kids with when you’re gone? It’s a tough, important, serious question for parents. And much like the solutions to a lot of their problems, the answer for Dre and Bow comes from an unlikely and somehow totally obvious place.
“The Leftovers” begins innocently enough: With a movie night at the Johnson’s. Tonight’s movie choice? The Lion King, which all of the kids groan about the overplayed classic Disney film. No one knows who keeps picking it (Dre), but whomever it is (Dre) must feel really passionate about the choice (clearly Dre). Diane says that if they have to watch the movie again, they can’t fast-forward Mufasa’s death, which takes Jack by surprise who thought the family was forwarding over lion sex, not a famous death scene.
As Jack attempts to get over the shock of this news, he asks Dre and Bow who will be the kids’ meerkat and warthog, their new guardians, after Dre and Bow are gone. As normal parents always do, Dre and Bow tell their kids they will be around for a long time, then retire to go privately freak out for not knowing that answer.
DRE & BOW
Apparently along with financial planning, Dre and Bow didn’t really do much guardian planning. In fact in their brief discussion with Dre’s accountant, James Brown, all the not-quite King had to say was that Zoey would become a ward of the state in the event of Dre and Bow’s deaths. Not the greatest idea in the world, but apparently it’s a helluva plus on the taxes…?
Dre and Bow realize that it’s time to make some difficult choices — so naturally they get drunk and begin arguing about which of their family members would make the best guardian. Dre says the kids should go to his parents and not Bow’s because “they’re our kids and we love them,” and because apparently living with Bow’s parents means traveling on a bus powered by human poop.
But Bow won’t relent and let Dre’s parents take the kids because with Pops always being gone, she’s worried they’ll always wonder if he’s still alive (a question Dre also has considering the phone call he makes to his Pops begins with some shouting in a foreign language and a giant thud). And Ruby is just out of the question because who knows what crazy antics she’ll pull on the kids.
The rest of Dre and Bow’s family members are nixed for various reasons, Bow’s sister literally hates children, and two of Dre’s closest relatives are frequenters of the San Quentin and Folsom prison facilities.
As per usual, Dre’s co-workers are of no use (aside from Lucy, whom Stevens always relegates to the nickname “diversity female hire”), but the scene in which Stevens offers to raise Dre’s kids does make for a fun gag on Diff’rent Strokes when Dre imagines how his kids’ lives would be if they actually lived with Stevens with the fake series Diff’rent-ish Strokes. Dre realizes that even his friends are of no use; Gigi’s extravagant life and lack of maternal instincts spells trouble, and of course Charlie’s not actually an option, Dre just misses him and wanted to give him a shoutout. (We miss him, too, Dre. We miss him, too). In the end, even “cut from the same cloth” Drake is vetoed because, well let’s face it, he’s from Canada.
At the end of the workday, Dre and Bow come together to realize that neither of them have found more suitable alternatives than their respective mothers. It’s time for a MOM OFF!
Dre and Bow sit Ruby and Alicia down (Alicia via video chat) to ask them a few questions and see who would in fact make the better guardian in the event of Dre and Bow’s deaths. Ruby pulls a politician (and specifically Donald Trump) move by saying phrases like she’ll “do something big” and “make this family great again.” On the other hand, Alicia wants to sit the kids down and discuss energies and spirit animals (although it’s strange, who doesn’t want to know Diane’s spirit animal?).
Once again, Dre and Bow are at a standstill over what to do, so all they can do is harp on each other as the night ends. But in the morning, they come back together and Bow gives in. She says that Ruby is definitely the choice for the kids, but Zoey has other ideas.
NEXT: The kids are in for some rude awakenings
While Dre and Bow realize they have to figure out who will Raising Helen their children, the kids have some pretty major revelations themselves. After Jack discovers the truth about Mufasa, he sits his fellow siblings down to get the truth on other, more important life matters. And Junior does not hold back. He reveals harsh truths to not only Jack, but also Diane, who gets a little too smug when Jack’s world starts to come crumbling around him:
1. Three scoops of ice cream will not kill you.
2. Disneyland is not closed on the 4th of July.
3. The family’s old dog, Nacho, is dead. He’s definitely not on a farm.
4. Cursive is just busy work you don’t use again after third grade.
5. All of Jack’s arts and crafts projects from school don’t go to Grandma Alicia’s “basement museum”; much of it is used in dinner that night.
As for Diane:
1. Squeaks the Frog isn’t quite the same after every adventure he has with Diane. In fact, Dre buys those things in bulk and stores them all around the house.
But then again, Junior doesn’t quite realize that his annual birthday call from the President is really just Dre playing a giant practical joke on his eldest son. (Side note: What is this family’s obsession with the word “buttress”?)
In the end, Zoey has to be the one to pick up the many shattered pieces of her younger siblings. And that’s what she tells her parents. Ruby’s not to be trusted to take care of the kids, she’s basically half teenager and half old person, the type of person who falls asleep in a bathtub and doesn’t wake up when the candles fall over and start a fire. And Dre’s videos of his “Dre’s ways, or Dways” are definitely not going to help.
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Zoey reveals to her clueless parents that while they have been arguing over who should take care of their kids, Zoey has been actually taking care of the kids by fixing some of the harshest reveals of truth telling. Zoey makes Jack a museum in the dining room for his art; she runs over Squeaks the frog a few times to look like the worn-in original one, and she writes a letter from the President to alleviate the Junior problem.
Once again, the episode ends with a sweet wrap-up quote from Dre: “Who would’ve thought that at the end of the day, the best person to take care of our children is one of our children.”
BEST QUOTES OF THE NIGHT:
“Don’t look at me, I wanted to watch Think Like a Man, Kevin Hart’s ‘hello’ to the world.” —Jack
“Ex Machina: The story of a genius who built a hot naked robot program to do anything he tells her… Maybe I should watch that alone” —Junior
Dre: “I choose to outlive you.”
Bow: “Good luck with that buddy. I woke up today and had a kale smoothie — you woke up and had a sleeve of Pop-Tarts and a pack of bacon. I like my odds.”
Dre: “It was low sodium Canadian bacon.”
Bow: “Mhmm still ham.”