Speechless – C-A– CAMP
By: Taylor Gates
Like always, Maya (Minnie Driver) drives like a madwoman to drop her kids off at their last day of school. Ray (Mason Cook) goes through his yearbook signatures and realizes he has been rejected by every single girl in his grade except Heather (Asia Jackson). He tracks her down, but she cuts him off saying she only likes him as a friend.
The DiMeos get JJ (Micah Fowler) ready for camp. Ray and Dylan (Kyla Kenedy) are worried about how calm Maya is acting considering her baby is going away for ten weeks. Maya is determined not to let her emotions get in the way of giving JJ a calm and happy sendoff. Dylan and Jimmy (John Ross Bowie) talk about how bummed they are that they don’t get to do anything, as they spent all their vacation money on JJ’s trip.
Kenneth (Cedric Yarbrough) and JJ attend physical therapy with Joyce (Liz Cackowski). JJ has been working hard on his exercises to get ready to go. Joyce shares her terrible experiences at a five-week camp, warning JJ that kids can be cruel and it’ll be a challenge to be away from his loved ones. However, she clears him to go and encourages him to look for a bright side, but her horror stories have made JJ nervous to leave his family all summer.
A random girl waves to Ray in the car, which makes Ray realize the one thing every girl who rejects him has in common: they know him. He wants to reinvent himself as someone completely different so, once girls become interested in him, they’ll stay that way. Dylan begins rattling off suggestions of things he should change about himself.
The DiMeos throw a going-away dinner for JJ, complete with Jimmy’s lasagna, a handmade dreamcatcher gift from Dylan and an original, cringe-worthy poem from Ray. JJ is ungrateful and rude, telling everyone that their presents suck and not acting enthusiastic about any of their generosity. Clearly, he is doing this to make his upcoming goodbyes easier.
Maya calls a family meeting. (Minus JJ, plus Kenneth.) They collectively refer to moody JJ as being in his “Big Whoop” stage, as he is using horribly outdated slang to pick fights and make it easier to leave. Maya tells them that, although it’s hard not to take JJ’s bait, they can’t lean into his insults and have a big fight with him right before he leaves.
Jimmy and Dylan decide they’re going to take a mini vacation while having a layover in the Miami airport. They’re looking forward to frequently-cleaned bathrooms and a themed burger restaurant that makes you feel like you’re at the beach.
When they get to the airport, JJ tells Maya he doesn’t want all the drama of a big goodbye. Maya says that’s too bad—in order to have the world’s best mother, he also has to endure a big goodbye. JJ says she should get her own life and stop bothering his, telling her not to come to drop him off. Maya stubbornly drives the van back home. Jimmy calls her, telling her to come back, but Maya wants to give JJ the best goodbye, even if it means he’s not there for it. Jimmy panics, realizing he’s also responsible for Ray and Dylan while Maya is away.
On the plane, Ray searches through his yearbook for popular boys he wants to emulate. The kid with no picture intrigues him, as there’s a sense of mystery. He tries to embody this with the flight attendant and ends up getting both peanuts and pretzels.
Maya comes home to find Kenneth in their house, about to take a bath. Kenneth gives Maya a speech about how JJ is pushing back because he’s a regular kid. His biggest bouts of stubbornness happen before his largest growths. Maya realizes this information came from JJ’s care book and is surprised and happy that Kenneth actually read it. Maya has one of Jimmy’s airline vouchers left and brings Kenneth along to drop JJ off. Kenneth is relieved, as this gives him an excuse to cancel on Joyce.
Dylan and Jimmy find that the burger restaurant is closed. Dylan doesn’t mind, knowing that Jimmy will still be able to make things fun, but Jimmy breaks down and wishes that he didn’t have to try so hard to make things not suck. For once, he wishes he could give Dylan an actual good time. Dylan takes Jimmy’s hand and they ride in a taxi to the ocean for a few seconds of uproarious fun.
JJ starts getting cold feet in the cabin, telling Jimmy to give him a “mom speech.” Jimmy attends to be inspirational with a British accent, but it doesn’t work. Dylan and Jimmy go with JJ to find the bonfire. It looks exciting and fun, but it makes JJ miss Maya more. Luckily, Maya and Kenneth are able to convince a police officer to aid in their arrival. The two swoop in via a helicopter. Maya says she tried to find a reason that JJ would need her but couldn’t so she came for her. JJ says he did want Maya there to say goodbye.
Ray wanders around the camp, trying to be mysterious with a pretty counselor, Taylor (Sedona James). However, he quickly drops the act once she threatens to call security, helping her fold a wheelchair that is like JJ’s. They go for a walk and sit by the campfire together. It’s soon time for Ray to leave, but he and Taylor make plans to be summer pen pals. They also miraculously live in the same part of California and make a date to meet up in the fall. The two share a sweet moment with a kiss before Ray departs.
Maya and the rest of the family tearfully say their final goodbyes while JJ goes to make camp friends.