Up All Night: A "Birth" In The Family

The first of several heartfelt, hand-holding scenes from last night's ep.
The first of several heartfelt, hand-holding scenes from last night's ep.

Didn't they used to preempt regular programming when the World Series was on? Am I thinking of something else (NBA playoffs, perhaps)? In any event, I was a little bit surprised after the end of Game 1 last night when I checked my DVR recordings and saw that Up All Night was, in fact, a new episode. Guess that Rangers-Cardinals series was about as "hotly" anticipated as everyone said.

Then again, way to hedge your bets by playing a flashback episode (roughly 18 months previous). On the off chance anyone outside of a narrow corridor of US-75 and I-44 is watching the Series, they at least won't miss any critical plot development. Everyone else got to sit through what has to be viewed as a step backward for the show as it rolled out the same tired jokes and cliches about childbirth we've heard since Carol Burnett was still doing stand-up.

Kids, childbirth is not sexy. A fact driven home by the DVD Chris and Reagan watch in preparation for the Big Day ("It's like hair coming out of hair!"). Nevertheless, Reagan - almost "fit to pop," as they say in the medical profession - is still working on Ava's show. Ava, to her credit, continues her denial of the situation by maintaining Reagan has merely gotten fat.

Chris, on the other hand, is trying to reconcile his high-powered asshole lawyer career with his pending paternity leave. His plan is to take a couple months, but his co-worker (played by that guy who's in everything) reminds him about "Bruce," the poor bastard who took his full leave and never came back. Truly among professional males, the life of a stay-at-home dad is a fate worse than death.

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The asshole neighbors (Gene and Terry! I finally remembered their names!) make an appearance. And while they provide a nice foil to Reagan and Chris's uncertainty, their continued perfect presence is a bit unrealistic. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm Facebook friends with enough parents of toddlers to know ain't nobody doing everything right all the time.

Or maybe my friends are just negligent monsters.

Most of what transpires in "Birth," however, is simply a rehash of every pregnancy-related comedy of the last 30 years. Only with more over references to defecation. Yes, the physical act of giving birth to another human being is a messy, often terrifying experience, but aren't we done with jokes about epidurals yet?

At best, last night's episode helped refine our understanding of these characters somewhat. Chris' decision to take a leave of absence was a little rushed, but mostly believable, and Ava managed (for the second straight week) not to seem wholly out of place. That said, the third act descended almost irretrievably into schmaltz with repeated scenes of Chris and Reagan gazing adoringly into each other's eyes and reassuring each other. This is a comedy, right? Bring on the defecation.

If anything saved the episode, it was the nurse waving goodbye as they were about to take Amy home. I guarantee you Reagan's line about "don't we get any instructions?" has been uttered, in some form or fashion, by every first-time parent out there.

Other Highlights:

A whacked-out Reagan singing "Lightning Crashes."

Reagan making Chris promise he "won't look over the curtain" during the emergency C-section. Should've paid attention, brother.

I didn't catch what the original birthing song was supposed to be, but it ends up "Jump Around" by House of Pain. Which is exactly what we played when my oldest was born (shh, my wife thinks it was Enya).


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