Positive or negative? Yes or no? Church or…brunch? These are the choices the Johnsons are confronted with in tonight’s episode.
It all starts when Dre and Bow realize that they’re “no” people — which, more crucially for the kids, means they’re also “no” parents. They more often decline and/or reject all sorts of offers, from sleepovers to parties, by coming up with fake excuses, like a dead “Aunt Condoleezza.”
Yet that just-say-no policy is starting to hurt the twins’ social life, so they try becoming the house of yes. This leads to all sorts of unexpected results: parties, margaritas, and (gulp) church.
While at a birthday party for the (white) Cooper family’s kid, Dre and Bow are asked to join the family at church the next Sunday. Harmless enough, right? Not quite: At the Johnson house, Sundays have gotten a little less Biblical — like many the seventh day has become a busy one full of college prep, field sports, basketball practice, court-mandated therapy…and no church. As Dre puts it, the Johnsons have slipped into becoming “CEO churchgoers” — they see the pews on “Christmas and Easter only.” In your face (slash forehead), Ash Wednesday!
So, perhaps out of guilt, Dre thinks maybe it’d be good to get back into a church-going habit. Bow — who was raised by a liberal, hippie, multiple-goddess-worshipping, “naked church”-attending mother — is opposed at first but relents, deciding it’d be good for the kids. Besides, it was those very kids who begged the parents to get their yes-game on.
When their parents give them the news, 75 percent of them are utterly devastated. Their feelings can be best summed up by Zoey’s protest cry: “We just went six months ago!”
Yet a quarter of the children are more enthusiastic — and that 25 percent represents, of course, Junior, who can always be counted upon to go against the grain of his generational peers. He, for one, is eager to wear his Easter suit one more time “before it gets too small. I’m growing like a weed.”
Also: Grandma Ruby has an opinion, too! She’s skeptical of all this. She particularly resents that, after avoiding going to her church with for years, Dre’s faith is suddenly resurrected just because some pale-skinned people suggested it. “Now white folks call, and here you come!” she laments.
And it gets worse for Ruby: In the midst of this impromptu religious-ish debate, it’s soon revealed that Dre and Bow never got around to getting the kids baptized. This is just too much for Ruby. She warns the small children that when they die, they’re destined to go somewhere worse than hell. “I’m going to get helmets for these babies’ heads,” she declares.
The twins each interpret this prophetic omen differently. Jack is instilled with the fear of God (or at least grandma) and decides it’s best to stay on the nice list. The reliably naughty Diane, on the other hand, reasons that if she’s already doomed, she may as well go hard. She starts eating all the cupcakes.
Yet for most of the family, any doubts about church are reversed once they join the Coopers at their suburban (and largely white-ish) Sunday services. Everyone is pleasant! There’s a band! The band is wearing fashion hats! And playing “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)”! And the reverend speaks in relatable everyday metaphors!
WANT MORE? Keep up with all the latest from last night’s television by subscribing to our newsletter. Head here for more details.
Needless to say, Dre and Bow are smitten. Jack is obedient. The daughters are less thrilled, but they’re surviving. And Junior is thriving. “This could be our spot!” Dre marvels. “Tight 45-minute service? The rev got us out in time to beat the Methodists to brunch?!” The Coopers love it all, too — and invite the Johnsons back for a second week. Everyone is happy!
Until Dre gets back to
the writers’ room the ad agency where he works. “You’re not getting churchy on me, are you?” asks his boss Mr. Stevens. He views church-going as a slippery slope, where one-too-many visits can quickly translate into a destructive habit. “The same way you sleep with a woman for the third time, she becomes your mistress,” he warns. “The next thing you know, you’ve bought her an apartment on the Wilshire Corridor.”
Things continue trending downward on the family’s second Sunday. There’s… a band. The band is wearing…fashion hats. And playing…“How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)”. And the reverend…speaks in relatable everyday metaphors. “It’s like the second night in Vegas,” Dre determines. “We’ve already played blackjack, ate the steak dinner, and paid extra for the poncho at the Blue Man Group show. We’ve got to go now.”
NEXT: Junior joins the band