A fun episode with some enjoyable character interactions, “Politician, Freemason, Scientist, Humorist and Diplomat, Ben Franklin” was another solid entry of Single Parents.
This recap of Single Parents Season 1 Episode 5, “Politician, Freemason, Scientist, Humorist and Diplomat, Ben Franklin”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
The title of this week’s episode of Single Parents, in case you were wondering, is “Politician, Freemason, Scientist, Humorist and Diplomat, Ben Franklin”, which is too long and unwieldy to fit into the title, and in any case has little to do with the half-hour, which is – somewhat inexplicably, given the next episode literally falls on the holiday – a Halloween special.
Admittedly Will (Taran Killam) does dress up as the titular Founding Father, but it’s hardly a giveaway. And a lot of the episode is devoted to him dialling it down, actually, as his daughter Sophie (Marlow Barkley) has invited to the annual party an older, second-grade boy, improbably named Carol, who believes he has outgrown the concept. He also wears a cardigan and enjoys soft French cheeses, so when he decides Sophie is too much of “a baby” for his company and Will takes the children and Angie (Leighton Meester) to terrify him, he’s more than deserving of the fate.
Speaking of Angie, her issue this week, beyond the recurring subplot of her son Graham’s (Tyler Wladis) sensitivity, is that she hasn’t told anyone she works with – including her boss – that she’s a mother. She’s afraid of being seen as someone who requires concessions and pity, which is an understandable concern, but as a result she’s forced to invent increasingly elaborate lies whenever parental duty calls. Her revelation in “Politician, Freemason, Scientist, Humorist and Diplomat, Ben Franklin” is that it’s quite alright to admit that sometimes she has to put her son first, which is hardly revelatory, but works well enough as it relates to working single mothers.
Miggy (Jake Choi) is mostly sidelined here, although he gets a moment or two to explain that he’s trying to create the perfect Halloween outfit so he can send a picture of it to baby Jack’s mother. (“Happy wife, happy life” holds true even in separation.) He’s fighting a losing battle, however, as the most perfect outfit belongs to Rory (Devin Trey Campbell), who is dressed, perfectly indeed, as Edward Lewis from Pretty Woman.
Dressed imperfectly, at least by his own estimation, is Douglas (Brad Garrett), who is attired as a giant-size Alvin the Chipmunk. (His twins are Simon and Theodore.) While in the getup he meets the woman of his dreams, and immediately panics that she’ll never be able to see him any other way. And he’s right, though it takes a while to get there. Poppy (Kimrie Lewis), insistent that Doug’s claim about women being equally as shallow as men is incorrect, befriends the woman and invites her to the party, where she reveals that she does, indeed, still see him as a chipmunk. Poppy immediately leaping to Doug’s defence is the best moment of the episode, proving yet again that having the children act like adults, and the adults act like children, is the smartest thing about Single Parents.
As a novelty episode “Politician, Freemason, Scientist, Humorist and Diplomat, Ben Franklin” worked well in its own right, but as a further examination of how these characters feel about themselves and each other, it was one of the best yet.