By Michael Slezak
Updated November 10, 2008 at 11:34 PM EST
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Finally! After a multi-week slump, Brothers & Sisters delivered an episode last night that justified my long-term adoration of the Walker clan and their wacky-melodramatic shenanigans. (Justin, please don’t throw a hissy fit about the way I professed my love, okay?) Of course, the opening 15 minutes had me a little worried that I’d have to write another installment of my weekly series: “What the hell is going on in the B&S writers’ room?” There was the gratuitous opening shower sequence with Rebecca. There was Saul’s exceedingly lame “I’m out of the closet now” response to Nora’s “Screw Holly!” exclamation. And there was Rebecca’s “thank you” to Justin’s “I love you,” the same exact exchange we saw between Natalie Zea’s Karen Darling and Blair Underwood’s Simon Elder just a few weeks back on fellow Greg Berlanti-produced ABC drama Dirty Sexy Money. (Just because you copy from yourself doesn’t make it right!) The only positive, really, was hearing Suzanne Vega’s “As You Are Now” during the opening sequence.

But while the opening quarter of the episode lacked that patented B&S brand of humor, the writers more than made up for it with a magic-themed anniversary party for Tommy and Julia that jumped from one hilarious (Nora-centric) scenario to the next. Perhaps funniest of all was the way Nora introduced sons Tommy and Justin to her date George Lafferty (incognito as “Elton Richards”), running off a list of the former’s personal and professional accomplishments, then adding, “and this is my son Justin.” I don’t know what made me howl harder, the awkward silence that followed Nora’s terse description of her recovering addict son, or Justin’s blunt declaration, “Well that about sums it up.” Either way, the moment of pure comedy only primed the pump for Nora’s later attempts to lie to her kids about the true identity of her date, who just so happened to be the widower of Nora’s late husband’s second significant mistress (!). First runner-up for funniest conversation had to be Sarah’s question to her mother (“Have you guys done the dance with no pants?”), and the way she tried to squirm out of the subject matter when talk turned to her own sex life. Nora: “You’re the one who brought sex up.” Sarah: “Well, I regret it.” And then, of course, we had Nora completely dismissing the results of her tea-leaf reading while simultaneously urging the fortune teller to cough up more predictions. Priceless!

addCredit(“Michael Desmond/ABC”)

Sure, a lot of the plot developments at the party didn’t make a lot ofsense — would Tommy really invite Holly to a family gathering givenher history with Nora? what advantage was there to Nora sneaking Georgeinto a party under an assumed identity? — but when the writing iscrisp and funny, it makes it so much easier to forget common sense andjust enjoy the ride.

Funny business aside, a lot of dramaticadvancement occurred this week as well. Both of Robert’s story arcsmade me dislike him a little more than I already do. I understood hisoutrage that Kitty would mess up their relationship with a stellarbirth mother, but how come he feels the need to teach a lesson everytime he has a fight? His “If you’re not ready to have your heartbroken, you’re not ready to be a parent” was casually beastlyconsidering Kitty only lost the baby she was carrying a few monthsback. And his sense of righteous indignation in all his dealings withKevin this week didn’t sit right, either. Don’t hire a completeneophyte to be your communications director if you’re not expecting alittle on-the-job learning curve, dude!

Am I the only one hoping Robert eventually chooses politics over Kitty,and frees her up for more fun nights out with Kevin and Sarah andScotty? Who acted like more of a whiny baby this episode: Robert orJustin? And finally, what in the world do you think dastardly Hollysaid to George to get him to flee the party? Discuss these subjects,and the genius “YOU’RE DATING RYAN’S DAD?”/Heimlich maneuver revelationscenes in the comments section below.

Brothers & Sisters

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