Melissa & Joey – Episodes 1-27 and 1-28 Review

As the season winds down, Melissa & Joey shows no indication of the nearing season finale in “Play Ball” and “A House Divided.” Mel convinces Joe to save her office softball team from humiliation, then in the second episode, the two must reluctantly play nice with an annoying neighbor.

When an intern, aka the best player on her team, is injured, desperate Mel makes excellent athlete Joe her “office manager” so he can be on the team. But her rival suspects foul play, so she’s forced to give Joe actual work to do, and he’s more than up for the challenge. After Joe drives her and her employees absolutely crazy for a week, Mel snaps at him right before the game starts, revealing the plan and causing her team to forfeit.

Meanwhile, Holly wants Ryder to get Lennox to publish her short story on the school literary blog. Lennox thinks it’s awful, but agrees to work with unsuspecting Holly to save Ryder’s relationship. The meeting goes sour anyway when indignant Holly refuses to admit there’s anything wrong with her work. Feeling bad for her brother, Lennox gives in and publishes Holly’s story as-is anyway. However, that still might be the last of Holly, since in the ending credits she takes another break from Ryder when Mel doesn’t want to hire Holly as a summer intern.

In “A House Divided,” a dispute with neighbor Arnie (John Ratzenberger, aka “Cliff Claven” of Cheers) leads to an unsettling discovery. Technically, Arnie owns half the land on which Mel’s house was built, and until her five-year anniversary there in a few weeks, he has the choice of claiming it back. Mel and Joe must keep their tempers in check and make friends with the inadvertently annoying man who owns a variety of strange pets.

Meanwhile, Ryder needs to make a short PSA video for his class, and he doesn’t really care how it turns out because the class was supposed to be an easy A. But nothing is easy when Lennox and a jock crushing on her play the two stars. When the jock and Ryder don’t get along, Joe embraces his inner Danny Zuko to fill the role. (The jock’s crush reminded me – whatever happened to Roman, Lennox’s secret boyfriend?! I hope he shows up in a future episode, maybe early season two?! *crosses fingers*)

Neither were my favorite episodes, but I think “Play Ball” wins the week for me. Amazingly enough, I see real chemistry between Mel and Joe for the first time – when they’re congratulating each other after a win. Naturally they go back to bickering right after. But the short incident is enough to make me wonder if this show would’ve been better off writing them as normal friends, instead of the cliché “romantic tension beneath the angry surface” route. I might actually buy them as a couple if they were the type to playfully flirt rather than insult each other.

And of course I love how Lennox caves and publishes Holly’s story because she feels bad for Ryder, again showing the great relationship those two have. Yes, I’ll admit it, I wish the show was called “Lennox and Ryder.” Or, at least not “Melissa & Joey” so every episode doesn’t have to focus on them. I’m still waiting for an episode that brings up Lennox and Ryder’s lingering feelings on the scandal and how they’ve been doing without their parents. If anything, maybe we’ll get a glimpse of it during next week’s season finale hour.

By the way, just want to apologize for the delay on this review. It’s been a hectic week.

Tomorrow’s the season finale, everyone! Who’s excited?! “Do As I Say, Not As I Did” and “The Settlement” air August 14th. I’m definitely curious about that second one!