Speechless – B-R-I-British I-N-V-Invasion
By: Taylor Gates
Maya (Minnie Driver) is making the DiMeo family practice for Thanksgiving, as her cancer doctor mother Andrea (Holland Taylor) is visiting for the first time in five years and she wants it to go smoothly. Jimmy (John Ross Bowie) doesn’t like it when Andrea comes around, as Maya turns into a completely different person. Jimmy suggests that, instead of desperately trying to gain Andrea’s approval, she should just be herself, but Maya says that’s not realistic. She gives Dylan (Kyla Kenedy) a book on the Chelsea Football Club to catch up on, a customized board filled with British witticisms for JJ (Micah Fowler), and tells Ray (Mason Cook) to catch up on her mom’s favorite British TV show.
Jimmy takes the kids and Taylor (Sedona James) to a sushi restaurant to get away from Maya’s craziness. He orders an enormous, $200 Godzilla roll—if he can eat it within an hour, the whole table eats free. He’s never had a problem with it before, but this time he can’t do it. He tells the kids to go to the ice cream shop so they don’t see him fail, and the crushing defeat leaves him sad for the entirety of Thanksgiving.
Dylan and JJ haven’t been studying their assigned topics, but Ray has fallen in love with the dry British drama he was instructed to watch. Maya tells Ray to get his siblings up to speed. Jimmy’s brother Billy (Rob Corddry) arrives at the house solo since his wife and kids have a nasty stomach bug. Taylor also comes, her little brother Logan (Cole Massie) in tow, who turns out to be JJ’s rival from camp. Kenneth (Cedric Yarbrough) barges in, saying how much he hates his dad, and Kenneth’s dad The Colonel (Keith David) gets there seconds later, looking for Kenneth. Maya reluctantly lets them both in before trying to bring her meat and cheese plate to the table. As she’s doing this, she trips over a vacuum cord and her mom enters the house, ambushing her.
Maya is nervous when talking to her mom, rambling and apologizing for everything. She goes into the kitchen and tells Kenneth and his father to stop yelling at each other and leave. The Colonel refuses to go until Kenneth shows him some respect. Maya thanks him for this service, but it turns out he wasn’t in the army—The Colonel is his stage name. He and Kenneth used to sing together, but Kenneth quit because his father wouldn’t stop bossing him around.
Much to Maya’s dismay, Jimmy and Billy talk to Audrey about Jimmy’s upsetting 10-pound sushi roll situation. Maya gives Billy her blessing to take Jimmy out to cheer him up and leave her and her mother alone.
Ray grills Dylan and JJ on soccer and British lingo, but it’s no use. They’re not interested in learning. When Taylor and Logan follow Ray into the living room, Audrey mistakes them for Dylan and JJ. Ray and Maya cease the opportunity and decide to go with it, and Ray tells real Dylan and JJ to stay in Dylan’s room.
Billy admits he lied earlier. His wife doesn’t have the flu—she left him. He takes Jimmy to an Irish pub for a drink, putting on a terrible wig so he can hit on a girl. He asks Jimmy to be his wingman and pretends that he and Jimmy are graduate students. The woman he tries to flirt with has a boyfriend and is not at all into Billy, punching both him and Jimmy in the face. Billy apologizes for ruining Thanksgiving, but Jimmy says it actually helped. He was worried he was losing a step in his life, but if Billy’s pathetic display is what that step is, he’s glad he never had to go through it.
Hearing Kenneth and his dad bickering again, Maya asks what she can do to get them to stop. The Colonel wants to sing “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” the song he and Kenneth were supposed to sing at the gig Kenneth abandoned him at, and suddenly father/son karaoke is happening in the kitchen.
Kenneth and The Colonel invite themselves to stay for dinner, much to Maya’s dismay. When they go around the room and say what they’re thankful for, Audrey is impressed by Taylor’s soccer knowledge and fake British accent. Ray is also smitten by it, leading to an awkward moment of sexual chemistry considering they’re pretending to be brother and sister. Maya accidentally spills wine onto Audrey. Audrey says the whole dinner is vulgar and American, and real Dylan barges out the door. She patriotically declares that, in this country, they don’t drink tea: they drink soda. She chugs an entire 2-liter, which makes Jimmy proud.
Audrey tells Maya her house is a circus and Jimmy sticks up for her, telling Audrey that Maya bends over backwards just to appease her. Maya’s mother storms out after taking one last dig at Jimmy and his failure at eating the Godzilla roll.
Maya feels bad for not being the one to stand up to her mom, and Jimmy tells her to go do it now and be true to herself. Jimmy finally tells the kids the truth about the sushi roll, but they encourage him, saying there’s nothing he can’t do. The Colonel tells Jimmy to hold onto the admiration of his children for as long as he can, and Jimmy goes to prove himself at the sushi place once again.
Maya shows up at Audrey’s hotel room, telling her that her family is messy and loud but that she likes them that way. Maya thinks that, if Audrey really got to know them, she would like them too. Audrey says she’s never been good at family and feelings, as her work has always come first. She apologizes for not being the person Maya needs her to be, and Maya says they can work on that together. Maya asks her mom why she wanted to come in the first place, and Audrey says she just wanted to try. Plus, Jimmy insisted that she show up.
Kenneth and his dad sing together at the sushi restaurant, changing the words of “My Girl” to “My Dad.” Maya shows up and proposes a toast to family, making Jimmy realize that it doesn’t matter if he can’t finish the sushi, it only matters that he tried. Maya reminds him they can’t pay for it, pressuring him to eat it all. She realizes there’s shrimp in the recipe which is why Jimmy can’t finish it. Taylor gives him her little brother’s allergy pen so he can force the rest of the sushi down after stabbing himself with it. He manages to eat it all, and the whole family cheers.