Melissa & Joey – Episode 1-10 Review

As the episode’s title In Lennox We Trust indicates, Mel and Joe’s faith in Lennox is tested when she’s accused of acting inappropriate around the mayor’s son and his friends. While not one of the best episodes aired so far, it highlights Mel and Joe’s different parenting styles, and puts troubled Lennox in a positive light.

When Mel disapproves of Lennox’s new friends, she brings the reluctant teen to a dinner celebrating the future leaders of Toledo. Lennox makes friends with the mayor’s son Brett, then much to Mel’s relief, starts hanging out with him and his friends. Mel, who was the “bad friend” when she was young, is thrilled that Lennox will be surrounded by such good influences. However, Lennox arrives home early one night with a story of how she left when the “future leaders of Toledo” drank and got high. While Mel is proud of her niece and is content to leave the situation at that, furious Joe marches down to the mayor’s office to tell him about Brett’s behavior. However, the mayor accuses Lennox of supplying the alcohol and throwing herself at boys based on Brett’s story. After Joe physically attacks him, nervous Mel – remembering her habit of lying constantly as a teen – wonders if Lennox is telling the truth. Joe encourages her to read Lennox’s email, and they find out that Lennox wasn’t lying. However, when they’re busted for snooping, Mel tells Lennox an embarrassing secret about a tattoo to even the score.

Meanwhile, in order for Ryder to complete his school’s required community service hours, the family takes in elderly neighbor Mrs. Geller for the weekend. She drives the family crazy, especially when she inadvertently tells Lennox that Mel and Joe were snooping. But in the end, she and Ryder bond over playing Just Dance 2.

First off, I have to point out that there are two guest stars in this episode – Katherine Helmond as Mrs. Geller and Ted McGinley as Mayor Hitchcock, both notable sitcom alumni. Helmod most recently played a recurring character in Everybody Loves Raymond, but she’s most known for her starring role in Who’s the Boss. Since Melissa & Joeyis often labeled a remake of said show, I would have thought more attention would’ve been drawn to her guest spot. They made such a big deal over Mark Ballas, yet unless a viewer was also a big fan of Dancing with the Stars, no one would know who he is. I was actually shocked that Helmond didn’t get a huge round of applause, as is typical when known actors appear on sitcoms. McGinley also deserves some recognition for starring on Married with Children (and to a lesser extent Hope & Faith).

My second issue is with the blatant sponsor promotion on this show. Yes, it didn’t really bother me before because it was funny. But this time, the way the mention of Just Dance 2is snuck into the tag scene, and how Ryder explains it as if he were selling it, really got under my skin. In my opinion, you can really only get away with shameless promotion once before it gets irritating. I sincerely hope this doesn’t happen again.

Anyway, yes, this episode does have some good points. There are several laugh-out-loud moments, like when Joe explains how he wanted to find Brett and beat him up. Mrs. Geller gets on my nerves, but I think that’s how the character is supposed to be played, so in that sense Helmond does a fantastic job. Actually, that goes for McGinley too – Melissa & Joeyseems to have a knack for using their guest stars very well. Lennox’s protest by texting her every move, and Mel telling her an amusing secret, is a great ending for the episode.

Story-wise my only major complaint for the episode is plot flow. The random scenes with Mel and Joe bonding, like when they’re running or making dessert, seem odd and out-of-place. Maybe the problem is that because the action is so focused on Mel and Joe, it feels like the two should be doing something more important, or that time should be devoted to actual story developments instead of showing off their “chemistry.” My apologies if this is obnoxious nitpicking – I know the show still has some growing to do, but I thought it was worth noting.

That all said, while not one of my personal favorites, In Lennox We Trust is a fairly decent episode. A Fright in the Attic airs next week.