Let’s binge-watch like it’s 2015.
“Odd Mom Out,” aka the UES-skewering Jill Weber (Jill Kargman) is back, this time on the Peacock Network available for free. For three seasons (until 2017), we tuned to see how the native New Yorker and her lawyer husband Andy with whom she shared three kids, would contend with his wealthy, blue-blooded family: status-obsessed mother Candace, former frat boy cum successful Wall Street trader brother Lex and his Tory Burch wanna-be wife Brooke. Jill’s BBF, ER doctor Vanessa, balanced out the group with a dose of down-to-earth sanity.
But thanks to COVID-19, the show’s LOL scenarios are not so much dated as they are a slice of NYC lore, like Tower Records and CBGB’s.
There were a number of storylines that involved restaurants where the characters dined indoors amongst a crowd. Remember having to weave through a packed house, where patrons had to move their chairs in so you could get to your table?
Other episodes touched upon spa days, non-Zoom school events, summer camp, and “Hamilton” tickets. (Insert collective sigh for The Great White Way.)
And then there was the one where Jill and Vanessa hopped on a plane (mask-free) destined for (currently locked down) Los Angeles for Jill’s freelance photography gig (when there were jobs to be had) as well as a rock ‘n’ roll adventure. (Remember adventure of any kind that didn’t involve a rapid COVID test before and after with a 14-day quarantine upon return?)
Some situations though have transcended the pandemic.
Dad As Everyday Hero: Andy drops the kids off at school, a pretty mundane task that Jill and other mom’s do M-F without fanfare. But when the father of Hazel, Miles, and Dottie did it a halo appeared and an imagined brass marching band followed him down the street. Back in the day, my husband Neil did a.m. drop-off. At pick-up, other parents would speak of him to me as though Mother Theresa had left Calcutta to ensure my son’s safe arrival. Since March, Neil has #WFH. His culinary skills formerly reserved for the weekends translated into his cooking dinner every night. Now people act as though the dearly departed, modern-day saint has risen from the dead to guarantee food on our table.
Influencer Worship: Brooke becomes a disciple of “The Joy Manifesto.” “After a very challenging time, I have it all: a booming company, several fabulous homes, a husband who loves me so much he wants to marry me a second time...four healthy kids...And I couldn’t have arrived at this moment without [manifesto author and fraud] Joy Green (Molly Ringwald.) In 2020, according to time.com, depression has skyrocketed, as has stress and anxiety, and a desperation for coping skills. Has now not been the most likely time for “experts” to exploit the vulnerable?
The Whistleblower Assistant: Devon was Brooke’s loyal assistant. On call 24/7, imagine his chagrin when Mrs. Lex Von Weber saw no reason to give him a raise, a promotion, or anything but a disdainful eyeroll. His tell-all is nothing new, but now with people hurting for dough and New Jersey, New York, and California having enacted legislation to prohibit employers requiring employees to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) that would prevent them from exposing discrimination, assault or harassment, can an onslaught of “My Year As Celebrity So-and-so’s Put Upon Assistant/Nanny/Chauffeur” be far behind?
Poor Little Rich People: After falling victim to a Ponzi scheme, Lex and Brooke have to rough it at their house in the Hamptons where they’re operating with only a half staff, five out of seven days a week. When the coronavirus hit and NYC was declared the epicenter, many of our denizens high-tailed it to their second homes in the Hamptons. Alec Baldwin for example moved his beautiful, young family from their apartment on lower Fifth to what could be one of the most palatial houses on the East End. Almost daily the star does an Instagram video where, when not reeling about Trump and the Republicans, discusses how the COVID is “kicking his ass.” I’ll just let that sit here.
Lorraine Duffy Merkl is a novelist whose upcoming book is “The Last Single Woman In New York City.”