Everybody Hates Chris - Sunday May 13

everybody hates chris
everybody hates malvo (5/23);
everybody hates the buddy system (6/23)
18.20–19.10

Continuing its second season on Five is comedian Chris Rock’s acclaimed semi-autobiographical sitcom set in Brooklyn, New York. The action takes place in the early 1980s and revolves around the antics of 14-year-old Chris and his family.

Chris is a smart kid who has to rely on his wits to escape the pitfalls that teenage life invariably throws at him. His sassy mother, Rochelle, is quirky and bossy, while his anxious father, Julius, works various jobs and worries about money. Completing the family are Chris’s younger brother Drew and sister Tonya. Chris Rock narrates.

The first episode of tonight’s double helping, ‘Everybody Hates Malvo’, finds Chris up against the neighbourhood’s most notorious criminal when Doc’s store gets robbed while Chris is in charge. The local ne’er-do-well, Malvo, orders Chris to hand over the contents of the till. “You better not tell nobody you just got robbed,” he warns Chris, before swiping the pickled eggs and leaving. Fear of reprisals keeps Chris from identifying the robber, even when the police show him a book full of suspects’ photos: “I couldn’t pick out a mugshot because I didn’t want to getshot,” Chris says.

However, Doc knows that Chris is lying when he says he cannot identify the thief and, feeling that he can no longer trust his employee, fires him. Faced with the terrible prospect of having to tell his father that he has lost his job, Chris decides to ask Malvo to return the stolen cash. Unfortunately, his request is met with laughter: “Man, you’re funny!” Malvo says. “You should be a comedian when you grow up!” It is a piece of advice that Chris may well remember, but in the short term, it will not help him get his job back.

Also in this episode, Julius is delighted to bring home a Betamax video recorder. But when Tonya accidentally records over Julius’s beloved soap operas, Julius berates her – only to provoke Rochelle’s displeasure. “You are acting like a child,” she says. Rochelle orders Julius to apologise to his daughter, but he stubbornly refuses.

Tonight’s second episode, ‘Everybody Hates the Buddy System’, is a homage to the classic movie ‘The Defiant Ones’. When new principal Mr Edwards (guest star Jason Alexander, of ‘Seinfeld’ fame) sees Chris being beaten up by school bully Caruso, he hatches an unorthodox scheme to teach them to be friends. His solution is to “figuratively” chain the two of them together using the ‘buddy system’. To this end, he pairs them together on a trip to the Natural History Museum. However, things appear to go horribly wrong when the bus leaves them behind and Chris and Caruso must find their own way back to Brooklyn.

After getting lost on the subway and spending all of their money, Chris has had enough of his ‘buddy’ and abandons him on a train full of threatening black youths. But Chris soon has second thoughts, and when he finally catches up with Caruso, he is surprised to find that he has teamed up with the gang on the train: “In the buddy system, you never leave your buddy!” one of the youths reprimands Chris, before stealing his wallet.

Also in this episode, Rochelle refuses to let Tonya borrow her earrings, so Tonya steals them from her jewellery box. And Drew begs his dad for a replica shirt of his favourite ice hockey player – but has to choose his words carefully when the shirt his dad finds has a glaring spelling mistake.

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