Brothers & Sisters
brings a bucket of awesome to the table when someone finally — finally! — calls the family on their tendency to, shall we say, overshare at the most inconvenient times. There aren’t many shows that can get away with having someone explicitly state what’s maddening about the main characters, but this one pulls it off with aplomb.

This spoiler is incensed about what was written about it on page 72.

So, Kitty accidentally wrote — and apparently sold — a book. great news, right? Well, yeah… except she never told Robert she was writing it. Plus, she writes about her family extensively, and the Walkers — well, they have been knows to take offense.

The book is discovered right around the time Kitty and Robert are meeting with a social worker for a pre-adoption checkup. Kitty tells Robert about the book right before the social worker gets there, and he quietly freaks, but deals with it. Oh, he’s pissed, but he’s keeping his eye on the prize. He only throws in a couple gentle jabs during the interview ("We never keep secrets from each other!"), and is calm and collected in contrast to Kitty’s obvious nerves.

Kitty asks Nora to make dinner for the social worker, and invites the whole family can over to impress the bureaucrat. Oh, Kitty… Kevin discovers the book, passes it around, and all hell breaks loose.What’s everyone so made about? Well:

  • Nora is described as a liberal who talks a good game (and even had a minor marijuana bust in her past), but was actually content to be a 50s-style housewife who lived in the kitchen and lived for the family. In other words, a hypocrite.
  • Justin is described as  impulsive, immature, uninformed and disaffected. Plus, Kitty implies he joined the army after 9-11 just to impress his dad.
  • Tommy comes off as the prototypical  chauvinistic angry white male who doesn’t’ realize that times have changed.
  • Kevin is described as a cynical contrarian, argumentative, unreasonable, and prone to playing identity politics.
  • Sarah comes off best — she’s an overachieving supermom who can’t help but fall short of the expectations of society — and herself.

Now: Tell me what, precisely, is inaccurate about any of those?

But the Walkers won’t let reality get in the way of a good head of steam — everyone but Sarah is sniping and making thinly veiled comments about what Kitty wrote. When Nora realizes that the chicken is inedible, (she accidentally used cayenne instead of paprika) she deliberately spills water on the social worker to preserve her tastebuds. The social worker chalks it up to nerves and leaves.

And that’s when the fun begins. Nora accuses Kitty of being a horrible person and how dare she and blah blah blah. Robert tells her to shut the hell up. Nora tells Robert to back off — this is about Kitty and the family. What Robert replies… well, it’s worth quoting:

Robert: No, tonight is about Kitty and me, it’s not about anybody else. All you needed to do was keep your opinions to yourself for two hours.
Nora: We tried!
Robert: Well, you didn’t try hard enough. Look, I spend all my time dealing with spoiled, self-centered politicians, and tonight, I felt like I never left DC.
Nora: (something about how he doesn’t know how it feels to be betrayed like this.)
Robert: I know how you feel. I know how all of you feel. Because  the minute you have a feeling, you start spewing with complete disregard for anyone else, like children. You’re adults — get a filter!

Then I had to pause, because I was cheering. Then I had to rewind and watch it again a few times. And then I moved on.

Kitty was amazed Robert would defend her like that, and gives him the book to read. She also delivers the book to Nora, who is touched to discover the Kitty dedicated it to her. Sally Field (and the writers) does an amazing job with this — I had been so pissed off at Nora for her behavior the night before, and Field completely sells her pain and confusion and shame. She was so used to feeling like Kitty saw her as "just" a housewife, just the chauffeur and cook and domestic drudge. Then Kitty was asking for help, and Nora felt like Kitty was seeing her as a whole, valuable person. But skimming the book, it seemed like Kitty "still saw [her] as the person who made your lunches." That makes sense … but I still think the Walkers should learn to repress on occasion.

Other plots

  • Justin gets all wiggy around Rebecca when they’re making out, and goes to Sarah for advice. Dude, you like her, she says, so maybe you just need to take it slow. Turns out Rebecca feels the same way.
  • Holly decides to give Rebecca full access to her $2 million trust right now. Rebecca thinks Holly is trying to bribe her way into a relationship. Rebecca signs over the trust to Nora –it’s not her money, Rebecca says, and maybe it should go to Ryan. Nora wants nothing to do with Ryan — Rebecca got mangled enough coming into the family; why would they want to do this to someone else?
  • Holly finds out Ryan’s last name. She takes a state bureaucrat out for drinks, then spins a story about her daughter being depressed, blah blah trying to track down an old friend who could help her out. Then she gives him Ryan’s name, and asks him to find the boy for her. Yipe!
  • Holly is causing problems at the office, too — she’s demanding extra work from all and sundry. Sarah looks like she’s about ready to break.

Highlights, thoughts and odds and ends

  • Saul! Nice to see you! Maybe next week you’ll have more than three lines.
  • Of course, those lines were damn good, as he refused to answer Holly’s questions about William’s other mistress(es): "This is driving you crazy, isn’t it? Good. Then you know how Nora felt when she found out about you."
  • Justin vents to Sarah about the lack of sex with Rebecca, and why it’s weird: "My bedroom has had a revolving door since puberty! My mattress has crash tested…" Sarah cuts him off: "Thank you, not an image I needed."
  • Tommy complains about being portrayed as an old-fashioned chauvinist, but check out his advice to Justin: "Rebecca is smoking hot, she wants to have sex with you, it’s not complicated, just do it….You’re acting like a girl. Just cut the melodrama and get busy."
  • Robert, on the political process: "Lower emissions passed. And with only one highway to nowhere and a building named after Sen. Eisendrath’s kid."
  • Nora and Robert both love the book. Kitty is thrilled. Then Robert drops this bombshell: If she publishes it, she’ll have to resign.
  • The social worker ends us giving Kitty and Robert the go-ahead for the next step in the adoption process. Kitty keeps insisting that they’re not getting any special consideration because Robert’s a senator, but I’m not so sure.
Posted by:Sarah Jersild