Welcome to the premiere recap of the new ABC Summer show, “Scoundrels.” After reading Lindsey’s “Deadliest Catch” recaps, and Tom’s “American Idol” and newly assigned “Top Chef: DC” articles, I decided I’d get in on the game also.
If you’re only reading, and didn’t watch the show, you can get the basic outline of the program here. Let’s dig in!
There was a promo for the show right before it started, and then the show started with a promo containing clips from the episode we’re about to watch. C’mon, ABC…I’m new at this. Don’t horn in on my gig. Jeez.
When we first meet Cheryl and Wolfgang West they are multi-tasking. In addition to scanning a BlackBerry and going over all of the various petty crime pies they have their fingers in, they’re also in bed getting down to other business. I’d have a callback to fingers and pies here, but this is a classy joint. Wouldn’t want to muck up the place with innuendo. Cheryl tells “Wolf” not to worry about anything, and to leave it in her “very capable hands,” one of which disappears off-screen towards Wolf’s full-frontal area. See…I don’t need to get clever with the double-entendres when the show is going to do it for me. Wolf still won’t let the work stuff go, and Cheryl orders him to shut up and get on top of her. Well, if he won’t, I will.
Oh Cheese, it’s the cops! Screaming down the street is a Crown Vic flanked by two black and whites. I guess Cheryl and Wolf can’t hear the sirens over the sounds of their vigorous business meeting. Driving the unmarked is Tony Almeida himself, Carlos Bernard! Good to see that Tony’s landed on his feet with the Palm Springs PD after he left CTU. Sure, there was that little foray into actual terrorism, but I’m sure he was pardoned or something. Anyway, Detective Tony has a mustachioed partner in the car with him. We’re treated to cuts back and forth from the cop cars to the copped feels and I start to think that…yep! Detective Tony is going to the West Residence. Totally called it. Coptus Interruptus. Cue the Title Card.
Wolf answers the door, and there are cordial greetings exchanged in the form of a search warrant and a naked-but-for-a-towel Wolf. Good thing this isn’t Cinemax. Wolf and Detective Tony are clearly well acquainted, giving off a very Duke Boys/Roscoe kind of vibe. Mutual respect is always key in their lines of work. Just ask Sam and Ralph. Anyway, it seems that Detective Tony and his still silent hirsute-lipped partner aren’t there for Wolf. They’re looking for Cal, the West’s boy.
While Wolf deals with the police, Cheryl is waking up the rest of the clan. She starts with Heather, who complains about sleep and regenerating skin cells or some other blonde girl nonsense. Cheryl and I both ignore her blathering and move onto Hope’s room. Hope is the anti-Heather, and is reading “Icons of French Cinema” surrounded by posters of foreign films. Maybe she’d write a column here at Pop Bunker? Hope snarks about the cops saving gas and moving in, but Cheryl’s on to the next room where Cal should be. Guess where Cal isn’t.
In the kitchen, one of the uniformed cops is dumping a box of flakes into the sink for no apparent reason. Hope’s right there to ask if they are under suspicion of raisin theft, whereas I would have accused the cop of being a cereal killer. Either way, you don’t go tossing another man’s scoops. That’s just bad manners. Detective Tony really wants to know where Cal is, but no one is talking. Apparently there was a home invasion nearby where someone got hurt and one of the assailant’s description sounded a whole lot like Cal. Cheryl claims there’s no way, as the Wests have a code: No violence, No drugs. They don’t seem to have a rule about No Coffee to Cops, though, since Detective – wait – Sergeant Tony is helping himself to a fresh cup. They have the nicest criminals in Palm Springs. The tourism board should really focus on that.
Wolf excuses himself to shower for today’s court appearance (dude is a total workaholic), and Sergeant Tony asks Cheryl about their other son and Cal’s twin brother, Logan. Cheryl scoffs at the thought, since Logan is the Black Sheep of the family. He’s a lawyer, and recently passed the bar exam. Sergeant Tony quips about how Logan is being admitted to the bar right before “his Daddy’s put behind them” and I say leave the clever to the professionals, Tony. The conversation is brought to an abrupt end when they hear Heather yelling from upstairs.
During what was, I’m sure, a thorough search of Heather’s underwear drawer, Deputy Dawg found a portfolio of classy black and white photos of Heather in the aforementioned unmentionables. Looks like GlamourShots has upped their game a little. Heather claims these pictures are her future, but Cheryl isn’t hearing any of it. Deputy Dawg is trying to get one last glance for the Spank Bank, and Hope is declaring this their Best. Raid. Evar.
Heather and Cheryl take this discussion into the bathroom where Wolf is showering, and Heather explains that these are legitimate photos taken by a legitimate photographer, as evidenced by the fact that he has a business card. Also, Heather still owes him $1,500 for the rest of her photos. Heather’s a criminal alright. Criminally stupid. Cheryl tells Heather that it isn’t going to happen and storms out. Heather gives Wolf – still showering – her best Valley Girl “Daahdeeee” and he totally Switzerlands her.
Cut to Wolf dressing for court. Did Sergeant Tony and the rest of the cop just see themselves out, or are they on their third cup downstairs? Cheryl’s worried about him being gone, but Wolf’s pretty sure he’ll be home in 4 months, tops. Until he jinxed it right there. Dummy. Cheryl asks Wolf if he knows where Cal was last night, and he pretty much lies to her like he did to Tony and says he doesn’t have a clue.
Downstairs, waiting to take Wolf to court, is Cousin J.J. While Wolf says goodbye to the girls, J.J. gives Cheryl the same “out in 4 months” line she just got from Wolf. She’s not impressed. J.J. must be their lawyer, because he’s got a briefcase. Don’t argue with me. I get paid big bucks to make these kinds of observations. I wonder if he’s got some DYN-O-MIIIITE! in there. Eh…probably not. Cheryl says that she’ll meet them there when the phone rings. It’s a neighbor of Wolf’s father, who claims the Elder Wolf’s unit is burning down. The things pills will let old people do these days, I tell you. Wait. She’s just talking about his apartment, isn’t she? Cheryl agrees to go check on Grandpa Wolf, and takes Heather and Hope with her. Heather is worried GW is going to move in, claiming he’s crazy, but as Cheryl would say if she had a Twitter account, “Family > Crazy. Lulz.”
At the Indio Municipal Criminal Courthouse (IMCC), Wolf is trying to get J.J. to relax when Logan walks up. There’s tension. You know, typical Father/Son stuff. If only Logan had turned out more like his brother. Sad, really. Sergeant Tony breezes by, but Logan and Wolf just keep staring at each other.
Cheryl and the girls arrive back at Casa West, sooty Grandpa in tow. Hope is ordered to get to school, and Heather is tasked with getting GW set up. Furthermore, Heather better be fully dressed when Cheryl gets home. Would she really prance around in her Victoria’s Secret in front of Grandpa anyway? Heather’s kind of a freak. Up pulls Cal in a beat up convertible, all surfer locks and baggy pants. Cheryl asks him where he was last night, and Cal says he was at a friend’s house. He also claims he doesn’t know anything about the “home invasion on some Asian guy,” but he answers that all shifty-like. Cheryl’s out of there.
For a family of criminals they aren’t very good at spotting surveillance. Parked right across the street is a limousine with a license plate that reads “THEHONGS.” I bet that has something to do with the Asian home invasion. Dude. I’m totally naming my next band “Asian Home Invasion.” THEHONG car drives off, right behind Cheryl. How do they not see a limo? Cheryl and Cal are both driving beaters in a neighborhood full of one-story ranchers. I would think that a limo would stand out, wouldn’t you?
Cheryl arrives at IMCC just in time to see Wolf handcuffed and taken out of the courtroom. He does not look happy. Neither does Logan, who is sitting in the gallery. Turns out Wolf got a little more than 4 months. More like 60. (That’s 5 years, kids. Stay in School. Math is your friend.)
Cheryl stomps out of IMCC ripping J.J. a new one over this unexpected sentencing. J.J. claims that the judge is being harsher on repeat offenders to increase his re-election chances, and plans to appeal the ruling. Cheryl quite pointedly calls J.J. brain dead, and claims that he will indeed appeal until that diagnosis is official. Logan says he’ll help J.J. when Heather calls. She’s locked herself in the bathroom because GW – who suffers from Alzheimer’s – thinks that she is Dead Grandma Rita, pregnant with the Wolf Cub. That’s kind of mean, actually. Heather’s got curves, but I wouldn’t call her Pregnant Fat or anything. Cheryl rushes off to get Hope out of school, and tells Logan that she’ll not miss the Bar ceremony for the world. THEHONG limo is still right behind her. Does her car not have mirrors?
At East Desert High School (home of The Vikings), Cheryl is informed by Hope’s biology teacher that Hope isn’t in attendance today, out sick again with her Lupus. Cheryl goes straight to the bottom (Vice Principal Valerie Bottoms, that is) of this ruse, only to be blown off. Apparently, Hope’s been out of school for months and Ms. Bottoms *snicker* hasn’t informed the family, and honestly doesn’t appear to know anything about it. She’ll look into it, though. Ms. Bottoms *snort* mentions Logan’s ceremony, and when Cheryl is surprised that Ms. Bottoms *chortle* remembers Logan, Ms. Bottoms *snorfle* claims that Logan was exceptional. In bed. Via flashback we see a young Logan taking Ms. Bottoms *chuckle* on the desk of her Spanish classroom. ¡Está muy caliente! (For the record, he was on top. Ms. Bottoms *heehee* is a bottom. Go figure.)
Cheryl’s next stop is Palm Canyon Video – a foreign film specialty shop on the corner of S. Palm Canyon and Pretention Avenue – and locates Hope in Aisle 2 (German Impressionists). She’s working on her screenplay, which is in a crucial second act crisis right now. Cheryl wonders why Hope wants to just throw away school, and Hope claims that she really wants to be a filmmaker, and “you don’t need an education for that.” Her words. Not mine. Save the hate mail. When Cheryl asks Hope how she got away with the Lupus Gambit for so long, we flashback to Logan and Ms. Bottoms *hahahaha* tener sexo, only now we see a younger Hope outside the classroom window taking photos. Hope has been blackmailing Ms. Bottoms *giggle* this whole time with the evidence of her Letourneau-like past. Genius! She just might make it in Hollywood after all. Cheryl informs Hope of Wolf’s new living situation, and they go home to tell Heather…
…who is measuring her thigh. Seriously, Heather. You look great. Focus on the inside. Heather is worried about how she’s going to deal with being “old” when Wolf comes home. Ugh. Fuck off, Heather. Or move to the San Fernando Valley already. Cheryl says they’ll get through it together, One Day at a Time. I miss that show. Cheryl’s off to open “the store while Charlie’s out getting new inventory” and tells the girls not to go anywhere. She notes Cal’s absence, who left because he had things to do.
Things that involve abandoned warehouses and stolen merchandise. Turns out Cal was involved in the Asian Home Invasion (we’ll be touring soon!) and is selling his bounty to another malcontent named Charlie. Coincidence? Sergeant Tony has paid Charlie a visit today as well, and Cal confirms that nothing will be said to his Mom about the origin of this new stock. Charlie takes note of the shiner Cal is sporting, and wonders what happened. Cal’s buddies start to laugh, and we flashback to the robbery. Turns out, the old lady that got hurt did so Kung Fu’ing the crap out of Cal, falling and injuring herself in the process. I’m with Cal’s friends…that’s good stuff right there!
Outside “the store” – which is West Family Surplus (New and Used Goods, Open 6 Days a Week) – THEHONG limo pulls up. Cheryl is at the counter doing stuff when Charlie comes in through the back. He consoles Cheryl about Wolf with an extended creepy hug, and Cheryl immediately asks about his new inventory, particularly anything in the Oriental department. Charlie hurms and haws and heads back into the back. Just in time, too, as a pair of vicious heels walks through the door. Vicious Heels is Penny Hong, come to avenge her grandmother’s suffering. Cheryl is certain that there’s a mistake, but Hong’s Heels ain’t hearing it. Seems that Cal left incriminating evidence behind in the form of his ski mask. DNA? No. Name Tag? YES! Wow…Logan got all the brains from that one egg, huh? Hong’s Heels only wants one thing back, else she goes to the cops, and that’s a dragon statue Cal lifted. And sold to Eddie for $50. Hong’s Heels beat feet, Cal’s toque in hand.
Back at Casa West, Heather is trying to catch flies with honey, only the Hope Fly sees through this move and answers Heather’s unasked question, stating that she won’t give Heather the $1,500 she needs because she doesn’t have it. Heather calls bullshit, having seen Hope’s bank statements. She also claims that she’s not smart, but she’s pretty, and that isn’t going to last very long so she needs to strike while the iron’s hot. Hope agrees to loan Heather $500 at 15% interest, and adds a 3-year First Dibs claim on the morning bathroom schedule. Heather agrees to these terms, with an addendum of her own for Hope to kill her if she’s still using that bathroom in 3 years. I’d be more worried about the 15% vig myself. That’s serious juice. Have I mentioned that I really like Hope?
Cheryl catches up to, and tries to run over, Cal as he exits a bar. He still denies being involved in the Asian Home Invasion (debut album, “Bring Me My Dragon,” drops soon!), until he’s informed of the Ski Mask of Criminal Incompetence. Cheryl reiterates the rules to Cal, and reminds him that Mr. Hong is affiliated with the Tong Gang. Cal and I chuckle about how Mr. Hong is a Tong, but Cheryl isn’t laughing. Cal says it won’t take him Long to right the Wrong and get the Hong Tong’s statue back. I cackle at that because I’m 12, and it’s very late.
Prison. Cal is visiting Wolf is what has to be the nicest, cleanest visiting room in the history of the penal system. Even the visiting area on “Arrested Development” was grimier than this. I’m telling you…crime is not a bad way to go in Palm Springs. After some small talk, Cal brings up the subject of the Hong’s statue. Cal figures that if the Dragon is worth so much to the Hongs then there must be a reason, and Cal jumps to the conclusion that it’s got heroin inside of it. Because it’s Asian. That’s racist. Cal knows the rules, but Wolf is less than discouraging, telling Cal that if he sees new opportunities then he should explore them. You know, for the sake of the family and whatnot. Clearly they’ve never seen “Weeds” or they’d know how this can backfire. “You’re the man now,” Wolf tells Cal. That won’t end well.
Over at the “modeling” shoot, Heather is explaining to the scummy photographer that she can get him the rest of his money after her first gig. She’s also wearing a dress that appears to have been formed out of the flag of some foreign country. PhotoCreep has other ideas about how Heather can make up the difference, and wants to discuss it over a drink. Would it shock you to know that he’s slipping roofies into Heather’s glass? No? Me either. PhotoCreep talks about how he sees potential in Heather, and wants to go over the terms of his “lay-away” plan. Subtle, show…real subtle. Heather starts macking on PhotoCreep even before she shotguns her champagne, and they toast to “the next supermodel.” Heather then does her first smart thing of the episode and fakes feeling loopy, passing out on PhotoCreep’s bed. PhotoCreep follows her, and immediately passes out right next to her. Heather gets up, looking very proud of herself. I’m proud too. Heather, I apologize for doubting you. That was a well-executed Vizzini Maneuver.
Warehouse. Cal is trying to buy back the Hong’s Dragon from Charlie. Charlie is happy to oblige, but his markup is 1000%. Do you really think that kind of business is good in a recession, Charlie? Cal forks over the $500, and Charlie leaves. Cal then places the statue very carefully in the trunk of his car, and cracks it open with a lug wrench. He’s much more surprised than I am to discover that inside the statue is simply more statue, and proceeded to bludgeon the pieces into dust out of anger. You see, Cal? Chasing the Dragon never truly gets you where you want to go, and always leaves you wanting more. Drugs are bad, M’kay?
Casa West. Cheryl gets home to an empty house (where’s Grandpa?) and sees the IOU for Hope’s loan to Heather. Mama’s gonna put an end to this herself, and fetches PhotoCreep’s business card out of the trash. Little does Cheryl know, but Heather is already on top of the situation. And by “situation” I mean “naked PhotoCreep.” She’s tied him to the bed, gagged him, and has woken PhotoCreep up to gloat. See, she’s a West, and Daddy didn’t raise no dummy, especially a blonde busty one who might find herself in situations with less than honorable men. She wants her negatives, and threatens PhotoCreep’s, um, telephoto lens with a staple gun. Heather starts counting to three, but before she even gets to two PhotoCreep is singing like a canary. Heather re-gags PhotoCreep, and is collecting her things when Cheryl starts pounding on the door outside. Heather turns up the stereo to mask the grunts coming from PhotoCreep as Cheryl MasterCards her way through the door. Does that still work? Aren’t most locks square now? Anyway, Cheryl’s halfway through a matronly “Do you know what you’ve put me through” speech when Heather shows her the photo negatives, procured for one-third of PhotoCreep’s asking price. Cheryl says she’ll hold onto them for Heather until Heather is mature enough to understand, or Cheryl dies of old age, whichever comes first. Oh, Ye of Little Faith, Cheryl.
Casa West. Heather and Cheryl arrive to find Cal jamming to some iTunes and eating a Pop Tart. Mmmm…Pop Tarts. Excuse me.
Back now. Cheryl, showing no concern for Cal’s munchie needs, starts right in on him about the Dragon Statue. Cal explains that there was a little bit of a problem. More than one little bit, actually. Cal states that he’s the Man now, and needs to look out for the family, like Dad said. Cheryl continues her interrogation, and restates (again! We get it!) that Drugs aren’t in their Mission Statement. Stomping out, Cheryl says she’s going to go talk to Wolf about this, and hopes for Wolf’s sake there’s a guard present. In that jail? I doubt it. They’re too busy polishing the fixtures to worry about prisoner safety.
The Clink. Cheryl sits, arms crossed, temper flaring. Wolf assures her that everything will be fine, and Cheryl explains that she may have been a little concerned when she saw Wolf being hauled off for five years, but since he’ll soon have Cal to keep him company she’s less worried. Or just the opposite, actually, because if the Hongs don’t kill Cal Tong-style first, he’ll get 12 years for the Asian Home Invasion (Our first single, “Under My Heels” is rapidly climbing the charts!) anyway. Maybe more, since “some bastard” told Cal to start dealing drugs. Wolf denies actually saying that, which is technically true, but Cheryl knows that Cal inferred that anyway. Wolf exposits that he told Cal to Be the Man, and to be smart, which Cheryl scoffs at. Wolf defends his boy, claiming that Cheryl never gives Cal any credit, unlike her precious Logan. He’s kind of got you there, Cheryl. Then Cheryl gets her Mama Wolf on, and threatens to take out anyone or anything – including Wolf himself – that could potentially harm any of her kids. She tries to appeal to Wolf, asking if having Cal in prison is what Wolf wants for him, or for her, and Wolf (who has been reading Forbes in his spare time) explains that you can’t succeed in business without taking risks. Wolf’s been watching “The Wire” too, and says that you have to follow the money. I don’t think he really absorbed the correct lesson there. God Help Him if Lester and Bunk get on his trail.
Then Wolf makes a critical error by going Alpha Male on Cheryl, explaining that she’s a “good wife and mother” and that she’s been great with the store, but that she’s not strong enough to handle “[Wolf and Cal's] side of the business. [She] doesn’t have the balls.” Anatomically correct, and if not for the armed employees of the Palm Springs Correctional Facility, that might go for both of you, Wolf.
Cheryl sits alone in her car outside the prison and has a meltdown. Then she calls Charlie and tells him to listen very carefully. Next we see Cheryl picking up her things from the store. She asks Charlie if he cleaned out the accounts she asked him to, and when she questions the sum of money, Charlie pleads “financial downturn.” How J.P. Morgan of you, Charlie. Cheryl says as much, and then throws Charlie the keys. She’s out of there.
Hong McMansion. Cheryl’s there to see Mr. Hong with a business proposition. She’s got the bag of cash with her.
Casa West. Cal, Heather, and Hope are on the couch, while GW sits in a chair saying how nice it is to be around young people. Hope asks him if it was worth burning his house down, but GW is saved from answering that when Cheryl walks through the door. Cal Beavis-laughs at something on TV, and gets Butt-Head – er – Heather, to join in. Cheryl starts a family meeting, and tells the Wolf Pack that their Dad was right. You follow the money, or you get out. So they’re getting out. Heather think this means they’re moving. Ahhh. Missed it by *that much*, Heather.
Cheryl says that they’re getting out of the Family Business, and starts handing out new assignments. Heather gets the 9am start at Rusty’s Burgers, and Cheryl has informed the California State Department of Labor to stop paying out Heather’s unemployment. How is Cheryl able to accomplish all of this in just one afternoon? We haven’t even been to Logan’s ceremony yet and I can’t get a human being on the phone at my state DOL in less time than it take me to grow a decent beard. She’s a miracle worker! This has Heather mortified, and Cal and Hope laughing and high-fiving. This revelry is short-lived, however, when Hope is informed that after having another talk with Ms. Bottoms *guffaw* it has been made clear that Hope will be making a run for the Perfect Attendance Award, Lupus or no Lupus.
As for Cal, he is now a slave to the Hongs until they feel he’s paid back the difference on the Dragon Statue, after Cheryl used all of the cash from the store to make the down payment. Cal isn’t thrilled about being the “Hong’s Buttboy” but Cheryl reminds him that in jail, he’d be everybody’s buttboy, and the risk of prison is unacceptable anymore as an occupational hazard. The family is going legit. “Just because we’re Wests doesn’t mean we have to be criminals.” Cheryl goes off to get ready for Logan’s swearing in, while the kids just sit there, gobsmacked.
IMCC. Logan is sworn in as an officer of the court while his family cheers. Nice stripper tank, Heather.
Casa West. Celebration. Cake. While Logan marvels at his Mom’s career shift, the other kids stand aside hoping she wasn’t serious. In walks Sergeant Tony. See. Nicest criminals ever! Cops don’t need warrants when they have actual invitations to the BBQ. Seems that the Hongs have dropped the charges against Cal now that Crazy Old Grandma now claims it was a tall West Indian that broke in, and Sergeant Tony is pretty sure that Cheryl knew that already. Cheryl tells Tony that the Wests won’t be a problem for the Palm Springs PD anymore (“You moving?” asks Tony. Heh.), as they are adjusting their business model. Tony will believe it when he sees it.
The Slammer. Wolf just heard the funniest joke and can’t stop laughing. Is it the one about the Pope, a Rabbi, and the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders? Because that one just slays at dinner parties, I tell you. No…apparently he’s just heard of the New and Improved Way of the Wolf from Cal, who very much does not share in his father’s amusement. When Cal says that Cheryl is dead set on this, Wolf just sits back and laughs some more. “God, you gotta love that woman.” The episode fades out to Wolf’s belly laughs.
Next Week, on “Scoundrels”: The kids aren’t adjusting well, Cheryl gets arrested, and Dina Meyer tries to eat Cal’s face. Looks like fun! See you then.