Chozen: Family Weekend review

What happens when Chozen's parents show up? Bad things...but a good, surprisingly well-developed episode!

Tracy and Chozen’s divorced parents show up on campus to watch Tracy receive an award, affording the entire family a chance to deal with some long-festering issues, namely their mother’s thunder-stealing sexuality and their father’s discontent with Chozen’s… uh… everything. Thank you, writers. Thank you. Maybe I’m a little too highbrow for my own good, especially when it comes to appreciating certain forms of comedy, but I’m a sucker for character development. I’m incredibly forgiving of low production values and weaker-than-average storytelling if we get some meaty character interaction, especially if it serves up some backstory. In this sense, this week’s episode of Chozen, “Family Weekend (or How Gary Got His Groove Back) delivered a season’s worth. Any more at this point would be gravy.

Tracy’s issues with her mom, Brenda, have her chain-smoking by the window in dreadful anticipation of her arrival. It all comes down to Brenda’s epic cougarosity. Tracy barely had tits, and Brenda was stealing her thunder at pool parties. Tracy is so tired of being outdone by her own mom that she gets wasted on booze she doesn’t like and nearly has a threesome with two strange guys just to keep up. Now, let it be said that I have nothing but respect for anyone who wants to get their groove on in any fashion they see fit, provided that’s what they’re into. It’s clear, though, that Tracy’s only motivation is to not be left in the dust yet again by her own mother. It’s ironically her self-awareness—the one quality her mother lacks—that keeps her from doing something she’ll only regret later.

Meanwhile, Chozen spends some fucked up quality time with his father, Gary, when he binds and gags an old rival of Gary’s, who happens to be the asshole dad of one of the frat douches we’ve seen in previous episodes, and dumps him in the trunk of Gary’s car. This works out fine until they get carjacked, at which point Gary completely loses his shit, telling Chozen he’s rolled with enough things (including catching Chozen en flagrante in the tool shed) and has hit his limit. For Chozen, who has always seen his half-assed weekend dad through rose-colored glasses, it’s his moment to say “enough” and find comfort in a gay strip club.

For the first time in weeks, we’re treated to a genuinely good musical interlude, during which we actually get to see in flashback some of the shit Gary alluded to just moments before. I think it’s telling about Chozen’s character that even after being hardened in prison and being flat out rejected by his dad, he’s more hurt than angry. I mean, hey, parental approval is a pretty powerful motivator, and no matter how far we grow beyond our need for it, it’s never unwelcome.Unless your parents are Nazis or something. In that case, their approval might imply something rather unflattering about you and it wouldn’t be the most comforting thing to have, but… you know…other than that.

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Things pull together in the end. It’s a fucked up happy ending, but I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. For a show like this, the fucked up parts are what allow such genuine sentiment to go down smoothly. The humor in this episode was almost flawless. Jimmy showed up just long enough to be completely disgusting and Troy was absent altogether. Ricky and Crisco get only a passing mention, but…like anyone missed them? Their spirit did move in the room, however, when we got some racial humor about crackheads in alleys which Chozen refers to as “creatures of the night.” Look, I’m not saying racial humor isn’t funny. I laugh at racial jokes of all kinds, even those I’m the butt of, and this is a show all about racial stereotypes and the role they play in pop culture, but as it’s been said before, if it’s not clear your humor is satirical…your satire has failed. Whatever.

Bottom line, though, this episode was strong. It was funny, engaging, developed the HELL out of two major characters, and even had a little real emotion. The absence of half the cast was rather conspicuous, but maybe that’s the answer. Maybe, due to the nature of the characters and their connections to one another, this is just the kind of show that works best when you pick one or two to focus on and don’t stress about shoe-horning the others into the story. Because if that’s the answer, maybe what Ricky and Crisco really need is for Chozen to make a brief appearance in an episode that’s actually all about them. Maybe if the ethnic sidekicks get the spotlight, they might become more than just the ethnic sidekicks.

Ah, well. Time will freakin’ tell.

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3.5 out of 5