In a more just world, women — much like men — would be able to conceive well into their 50s and 60s. They wouldn’t worry about an unseen biological clock ticking down to some arbitrary deadline, just as their career — or, as in Rebecca’s case — their marriage was hitting its stride. But our world isn’t always fair, and even as recently as the late 1970s, it was pretty rare for a woman to wait until her 30s to begin having children. (In fact, according to CDC data, only 1.7 out of 1,000 women in 1970 gave birth to their first child between the ages of 35-39.) So, needless to say, Rebecca finds herself in a unique position during tonight’s “The Game Plan,” one I’m sure many women can sympathize (and empathize) with.
The episode opens further in the past than we’ve ever been before: Rebecca’s childhood. We see her watching her parents: Dad, reclined in his Barcalounger watching the football game; Mom, waiting on Dad hand and foot. It’s understandable Rebecca is annoyed when we see her some 20 years later, as Jack’s attention is fully focused on the big game while they’re on a date.
“I refuse to be my mother staring at my father as he stares at the television,” she tells Jack. But, in the spirit of compromise, she asks him to explain the sport to her. And man, that must have been one hell of a lesson — she quickly becomes a Steelers savant. So much so, she agrees to sing at the local watering hole, Froggy’s, on Super Bowl night. (Did everyone’s “Candy”-coated dreams come true here?) And guess who else is going to be there? Miguel and his wife, Shelly. But only if they can get a babysitter for their kids.
“Why do people have kids?” Rebecca asks, as she pours a morning shot (and I don’t mean espresso) for herself and Jack.
Later, when they meet up at the bar with Miguel and Shelly — and hear their parenthood horror stories — Rebecca again mentions how she never wants to have children, which visibly upsets Jack. When Miguel and Shelly make an awkward escape to the bar, he asks her for clarification.
“What did you mean before, when you said ‘Promise me we’ll never have kids’?” Jack asks.
“Oh, I shouldn’t have said that,” Rebecca replies, trying to delay this heady conversation until they get home.
But Jack won’t have it. He admits that coming from his family (more on that, please!), he didn’t think he’d ever want kids. But the older he got, the more he couldn’t help but wonder if there was “something more than just the two of us.”
Rebecca reiterates how she doesn’t want to turn into her mother, beholden to a checked-out husband and a bunch of children.
Their incessant arguing draws the ire of a particularly rabid Steelers fan, and he threatens to beat up Jack…who only eggs him on further. The two finally come to blows (or should I say, Jack comes to blows with the fan’s face), and Rebecca huffs out of the bar in disgust.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” Rebecca replies. When she pictures their future, she does imagine kids. And it’s a vision Jack’s had many times, too — sitting and watching football with his kids, letting them talk as much as they want (as opposed to Jack’s dad, who only let him watch the big game if he was quiet).
Ultimately, Rebecca concedes, it’s all about timing.
“I love our life, I love it right now,” she says, making the episode’s final moments all the more bittersweet. But we’ll come back to that…
NEXT: The circle of life