Chicago - Welcome back to "Welcome to Flatch" recaps! In this week’s episode, "Dinners, Dresses and Dumps," Kelly plans a special dinner when her dad comes home. Meanwhile, Shrub and Beth start spending a lot of time together and Cheryl breaks out her lucky dress for a date with Jimmy. Just starting the show? Here’s our recap of the premiere. Ready to binge? The first eight episodes are streaming on Hulu.
Welcome to Big Stuff Friday! That’s what the residents of Flatch call the day when the church helps people dispose of their big items down at the local dump. But it’s the show’s characters who are down in the dumps this week, as things get complicated on several different relationship fronts.
So grab your favorite junk yard treasure and settle in as we recap "Dinners, Dresses and Dumps."
WELCOME TO FLATCH: L-R: Sam Straley and guest star Erin Bowles in the "Dinners, Dresses and Dumps" episode of WELCOME TO FLATCH airing Thursday, May 5 (9:31-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2022 FOX Media LLC. Cr: Brownie Harris/FOX
It’s a bit of a "be careful what you wish for" situation on this week's "Flatch." Though lovably aimless Shrub Mallet (Sam Straley) insists that his new girlfriend Beth (Erin Bowles) is like his "dream girl" and his "fantasy girl" rolled into one, it turns out she's also a little bit clingy. And the newly coupled up Mallet is struggling with how to maintain at least some sense of independence while dating a girl whose ideal day is keeping up a non-stop text conversation — even when they're literally sitting next to each other.
Shrub’s cousin Kelly (Holmes), meanwhile, is feeling left out now that her best friend is busy with his new girlfriend. Initially, at least, it seems like that’s going to be the big conflict of the episode. But "Dinners, Dresses and Dumps" takes a hard left swerve when Kelly comes home to find her flaky dad Bobby (Jason MacDonald) reuniting her with mom upstairs.
"I always knew he’d come back," she excitedly tells the camera as she flips through old scrapbooks and explains that Bobby left home about a year ago after he got his girlfriend pregnant. Yet as "Flatch" keeps drilling home, Kelly’s dad isn’t actually the great guy she makes him out to be.
WELCOME TO FLATCH: Holmes in the "Dinners, Dresses and Dumps" episode of WELCOME TO FLATCH airing Thursday, May 5 (9:31-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2022 FOX Media LLC. Cr: Brownie Harris/FOX
Indeed, as in the fourth episode "Naked Lady Day," "Welcome to Flatch" isn’t afraid to lean into a more bittersweet tone when it comes to Kelly’s dysfunctional relationship with her dad. There’s a particularly heartbreaking sequence where she plans a perfect family dinner of his favorite takeout ribs only to watch him grab a plate and eat upstairs without her.
Dress for success
The other big throughline of this episode belongs to Cheryl (Aya Cash), who’s struggling to figure out the exact nature of her relationship with her new beau Jimmy (Desmin Borges). Cheryl hopes he’ll finally ask her to be his girlfriend after she shows up to their eighth date in the dress — a sequined navy blue number that inspired her ex Joe (Seann William Scott) to confess his love back when they started dating. Unfortunately, that plan winds up backfiring when Jimmy fails to pop the question and Cheryl ends up stuck in the dress after spending the night at his house.
WELCOME TO FLATCH: L-R: Seann William Scott and Aya Cash in the "Dinners, Dresses and Dumps" episode of WELCOME TO FLATCH airing Thursday, May 5 (9:31-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2022 FOX Media LLC. Cr: Brownie Harris/FOX
Things get even more complicated when Joe spots Cheryl in the dress and realizes things are getting more serious between her and Jimmy. And that inspires some sparks between the will-they-won’t-they couple at the heart of "Welcome to Flatch" — especially once Cheryl asks Joe to help unzip the dress and he accidentally rips the whole thing off her, leading to a brief embrace when he wraps his coat around her.
"Sometimes you gotta get out of something old to get into something new," Cheryl explains of her torn ensemble. "Or something new with someone old," Joe counters before trying to write off the whole thing as a joke. But that dress and the hug sure seem to be lingering in his mind. "I forgot how perfect she fits in my arms," he tells the camera. "In a platonic way, of course," he quickly adds.
WELCOME TO FLATCH: L-R: Holmes and guest star Jason MacDonald in the "Dinners, Dresses and Dumps" episode of WELCOME TO FLATCH airing Thursday, May 5 (9:31-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2022 FOX Media LLC. Cr: Brownie Harris/FOX
Meanwhile, Shrub and Kelly’s storylines wind up intersecting when he comes to her house to hide out from Beth. When Shrub discovers Bobby is back, however, he immediately knows this isn’t going to end well for Kelly. He compares his uncle to the "Cheeto Bandito" — a "simple and offensive stereotype" who nonetheless sums up Bobby’s habit of taking what he wants and moving on without caring about those he hurts. "He’s gonna destroy her," Shrub explains. "And then guess who has to pick up the pieces after Hurricane Bobby blows through? Moi truly."
Indeed, that’s basically what happens when Bobby tells Kelly that his relationship with her mom is more like a once-a-year fireworks show than a permanent thing. ("I think there should be a July Fourth every month," Kelly suggests.)
Even worse, Bobby pulls some classic psychological manipulation on his own daughter, arguing that she should totally get why he’s leaving because they’re both wild cards who can’t be tied down. And "Welcome to Flatch" gently dips its toes into the idea of generational trauma this week, when Kelly later pulls Beth aside and ends her relationship with Shrub using almost exactly the same harsh speech her dad gave her.
Of course, this being "Flatch," the show still keeps things light. Beth hilariously responds to Kelly’s tough love speech by excitedly deciding that Kelly is her new best friend. But there’s definitely some lingering tension in the air — especially since Shrub didn’t actually want to break up with Beth, just take a break for a bit.
WELCOME TO FLATCH: L-R: Guest star Erin Bowles and Holmes in the "Dinners, Dresses and Dumps" episode of WELCOME TO FLATCH airing Thursday, May 5 (9:31-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2022 FOX Media LLC. Cr: Brownie Harris/FOX
Though "Dinners, Dresses and Dumps" ends on a lighthearted note at the dump, it definitely feels like "Welcome to Flatch" is headed towards some drama in the second half of its season.
"Welcome to Flatch" airs Thursdays on FOX. The first eight episodes are also currently available to stream on Hulu. Recaps run weekly, and you can read them all below.
About the writer: Caroline Siede is a film and TV critic in Chicago, where the cold never bothers her anyway. A member of the Chicago Film Critics Association, she spent four years lovingly analyzing the romantic comedy genre one film at a time in her column When Romance Met Comedy for The A.V. Club. She also co-hosts the movie podcast, Role Calling, and shares her pop culture opinions on Twitter (@carolinesiede).
This station is owned by the FOX Corporation.
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