SCOUNDRELS “Mary, Mary Quite Contrary” Review

Scoundrels (ABC)

Cheryl’s working hard for the money as a Big Foods cashier in the “Mary, Mary Quite Contrary” episode of SCOUNDRELS, but she’s the only member of the West clan who’s happy about it. She constantly battles Wolf and her kids over the decision to go straight as the bills pile up. After a particularly tense family dinner, Cheryl finds $1500 in an envelope from Wolf and refuses to touch it, further angering Wolf. Plagued by her creepy and suspicious boss Lawrence (CSI‘s Marc Vann) who likes to squeeze the female employees, Cheryl unleashes her silliest inner Norma Rae and takes toilet paper off the shelf for the store’s ladies’ room. Before you know it, $500 is missing from her cash drawer and she’s out a job with Sergeant Mack breathing down her neck. When a Big Foods truck carrying a lot of toilet paper is hijacked, there is yet another police raid on the West home. Lawrence promises Cheryl to clear her name and rehire her, along with the female employees striking in protest of Cheryl’s firing, if she can get the toilet paper back, so she offers the $1500 Wolf gave her as a reward for information. Mr. Hong tells her where to look, but it takes Mrs. T, a Native American Big Foods Employee, to get the toilet paper back. At episode’s end we learn Wolf was behind it all along despite his earlier denial to Cheryl.

Heather hates waitressing in a diner while being plagued by frenemies and zits and she still dreams of becoming a model, so she seductively convinces Hope’s friend Tad to photograph her. Hope seethes and eventually convinces Tad to destroy the pictures. Hope is also still blackmailing Valerie the assistant principal for having sex with Logan while he was a student, unaware they’re still sleeping together. She agrees to stop since extortion of a family member is against the West family code and the pictures all burned in Grampa’s fire, but Logan soon wishes she hadn’t when Valerie thinks the freedom from blackmail means they can talk marriage. Cal has his own marriage-related problems when he starts sleeping with Mr. Hong’s beautiful and insatiable wife (Dina Meyer).

There are some funny moments in “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary.” The cheesealicious family dinner felt natural and real and Hope is full of win (“Traitors and airheads”—hee!), but so far Scoundrels is too heavy-handed in the Cheryl against the world theme. Sergeant Mack threatening Logan felt off and Lawrence was almost too pervy to be believed. I also wish it were a bit less predictable. Of course someone would swoop in and discover/claim to discover Heather as a model and Cheryl would use the money from Wolf. Luckily Virginia Madsen is terrific as Cheryl and there are a lot of potentially good storyline possibilities, so it’s easy to give the show a pass for now and hope it finds its footing. The laughs are enough for now.