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TV Review: Everybody Hates Chris

The key to comedy, the best comedy, is the small stuff. This week’s Everybody Hates Chris asks the question: What if Rochelle (Tichina Arnold) found out Chris (Tyler James Williams) got an F in a class at school? The result is one of the funniest episodes of the season.

The episode opens up with the older Chris explaining how his younger self used to get by in his classes. Since black folks apparently all know and love Martin Luther King, Jr, he used that to his advantage to pass his classes. He couldn’t pull that off in his weakest subject; math.

Chris gets an F in that very subject on his report card. Knowing his mother Rochelle would find out about it, he tells her that he never received it. Meanwhile Greg (Vincent Martella) gets him help with Fisher, the local forger. In exchange for a book report, he agrees to take the real report card and put his mother’s signature on it while making another copy of the report card with an A as the grade.

Back at home, Julius (Terry Crews) develops the gout and is unable to work. Not able to do much in his condition, he is given a chance to do one of his favorite past-times; watching The Young and The Restless. Checking in on him is Keisha’s mother Shelia (Keesha Sharp), who also loves the Young and the Restless. This creates a bit of Jealousy in Rochelle knowing that Julius is attracted to Shelia, which doesn’t help matters when more of her friends come over to talk soaps.

Chris’s math teacher, Mrs. Morello, calls on Rochelle to come to the school and handle the business with Chris’s grade. At first she uses kindness to get him (fixing him his favorite food at breakfast) to admit to changing the grade; that doesn’t work. This means only one thing; going to Corlone and sitting in on Mrs. Morello’s math class.

Mrs. Morello (Jacqueline Mazarella) asks a question with Rochelle present. Chris gives the wrong answer and heads outside with his mother to tell her the truth. This time around her threats are minimal and she doesn’t whoop him, she does however make him aware that he can come to her with the truth. At episode’s end, Julius recovers from the gout and develops a new ability; he can now converse with Rochelle on something as normal as soap operas.

This episode marks a turning point; it’s one of the first times Rochelle has to go to Chris’s school. For awhile, he’s has been able to deal with problems at school by himself. With her getting invovled in this episode, it breaks the wall between his house life and his school life. This should provide interesting conflict later on in the season.

Tichina Arnold’s Rochelle has improved a lot from the earlier episodes. Lately, she’s become a bit more decisive in how she handles the kids and her husband. Rather than blow up in their face with threats and become over-dramatic, she figures out psychological ways; this is a different twist on the stereotypical image of black women, while still being funny.

This episode marks another change for Terry Crews’ Julius character; he begins to click better with Rochelle. While the soap opera interest between them may seem rather silly to some folks, it does make life easier when you have more then bills and kids to talk about. In earlier episodes it seemed they either were battling each other, or trying to one up each other. With this episode, they actually might love each other.

During the first few episodes before the Christmas break, I thought that EHC was going to be toned down. To an extent it has in the way they use foul language; now it’s just lesser and lesser than it used to be last year. I suppose the network (UPN) felt that since the main characters are mostly kids, the respective audience would be as such.

Let us hope that Drew (Tequan Richamond) and Tanya (Imani Hakim) get an episode that makes them more than mischievous kids.

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