The Family Law, Episode 4: “Birthday Bash”


Image courtesy of SBS.

I didn’t intend to post this on Chinese New Year, but the backlog of posts I have here has made it possible. “Birthday Bash” is about Andrew, and I like the way we’re getting to know Andrew and Candy as well as Ben. Tam and Michelle haven’t had as much screentime as the older siblings, but there are two episodes left, so it could still happen. I’m not entirely sure of the order in which the Law children were born, but given that Ben is now 18, he’s probably the oldest. This is one of the reasons he’s less affected by his parents’ separation than his younger siblings – he’s an adult, and it probably won’t be long until he stops living with his parents altogether. That doesn’t make his decision to move in with Danny (who is still living in the restaurant) any easier for Jenny, but he appears to be the only one of the children who understands that his parents aren’t getting back together (Candy is too in love with Wayne to focus on her parents’ marriage, but I suspect she’s closer to Andrew than her younger siblings).

I liked the beginning of “Birthday Bash”, when Ben’s voiceover told the audience  Andrew wasn’t quite like the rest of his siblings. He’s quiet and reserved, as opposed to his loud and inappropriate siblings and mother, an introvert in a house full of extroverts. He’s turning 18 and he has a crush on the girl across the road – teenage boys are awkward around the girls they like without having their siblings make fun of them from the living room window. Of course this escalates into a war between Andrew and Ben, and it’s personal. Ben’s fake boobs don’t just hurt Andrew, they hurt Heidi. They’re only teenagers, so it won’t be something that affects them for the rest of their lives, but emotions are so much more extreme when you’re that age. Andrew’s retaliation is to attack Ben when he’s at work, which results in Ben losing his job. Ben hasn’t gotten many opportunities from Beryl (surely someone needs a token Asian in their show so that they can appear to embrace diversity), and getting fired from this job hurt.

Unfortunately for Andrew, Ben has the perfect opportunity for revenge: his birthday party at the restaurant. Jenny has been wondering what she can do for the party since Andrew decided to have it at the restaurant, and Ben suggests something she can do. We don’t see the boob cake until Andrew does, which results in Heidi leaving the party with Andrew running after her. Hopefully what Andrew remembers from his 18th birthday is the wonderful speech given by Jenny, but this is going to sting for a while. After all, the only way Ben is able to get Andrew to leave the bathroom is by luring him to the TV to watch a movie with Adult Themes, Sexual References and Nudity – the trifecta (it’s on SBS, but even if this wasn’t an SBS show, that’s where you would find a movie with A, S, and N). When Andrew tells Ben that he’s moving in with Danny, it’s possibly the first time that Ben really considers the possibility that his parents won’t get back together. The younger Law siblings (Candy excluded, since she basically lives at Wayne’s) never considered moving in with Danny, because they assumed that their parents would get back together.

It was a shock for everyone, but Jenny is heartbroken. Everyone knows how much she loves Andrew, she said it in her speech at the party, but he’s chosen to move out. Moving out of home is part of growing up, but for Jenny it’s a rejection. Not knowing what to do, Jenny and her four younger children sit around the kitchen table and eat what’s left of Andrew’s boob cake. Jenny doesn’t understand why Andrew was embarrassed, because “everyone loves boobies”. The girls all thought it was funny, too. Then Jenny tells Ben that he’s the man of the house now, and his face says it all – at least until his family (and mine) cracks up laughing.

Other thoughts:

  • I love watching this show with my family, we had a great time on Friday night.
  • If the show is renewed my mum would like to request some new #familycrackers, because the ‘sperm sheet’ one has diminishing returns.
  • This show really should be renewed. I don’t know what a second season would be about, but given how well this divorce arc was written, I don’t imagine that there would be too much of a problem.
  • As far as diversity in television goes, my mum pointed out that Play School does a really good job of having presenters from diverse backgrounds, which is great because it shows children that not everyone looks the same. Unfortunately this isn’t reflected in the rest of television, but we’re (very slowly) getting there.
  • Ben’s acting career takes a further blow when he learns that Beryl begged Klaus to become one of her clients. He gets better at his job by telling the ladies at the restaurant about his parents’ divorce and how much he loves his mother, it’s a pity he was fired.
  • After the restaurant was flooded, Danny slept at home. Ben is the only one who saw him in bed with Jenny, but he had time to tell Melissa, who says they’re definitely back together. That little bit of hope was crushed when Andrew moved out.

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