The Torkelsons | Revolvy
In the first episode, Dorothy Jane meets year-old new neighbor Riley Roberts .. Brittany Murphy - Murphy at the Australian premiere of Happy Feet in As a single mother of five, Mrs. Millicent Torkelson is a do-it-yourselfer with a flair for finding ingenious ways to make ends meet and making the best of bad times. Most people are unaware that a very young Brittany Murphy got her start here. Meet Millicent Torkelson (Connie Ray), a kind, pretty and single mother with five His only sibling- his sister Molly Morgan (Brittany Murphy)-thinks that he is.
Randy later returned and was seen in several episodes, and the couple ended up divorcing. The pilot episode deals with Millicent being so far in debt that she even has her home appliances repossessed. To support her family, Millicent gets a boarder named Wesley Hodges William Schallert who ends up living with them for the year in the house basement.
Millicent's children were year-old Dorothy Jane Olivia Burnettesweet and exceptionally articulate for her age, who also served running commentary throughout the show by having talks with the "Man in the Moon" by her bedroom window; year-old Steven Floyd Aaron Michael Metchikthe athletic second-oldest; year-old Ruth Ann Anna Slotkywho was musically inclined; 8-year-old Chuckie Lee Lee Norristhe bug collector, always recognizable with his thick-rimmed glasses; and the youngest, 6-year-old Mary Sue Rachel Duncanwho acted as if nothing was ever wrong.
In the first episode, Dorothy Jane meets year-old new neighbor Riley Roberts Michael Landes for the first time and becomes infatuated with him. Throughout the first season Riley remains oblivious this, mainly because of her being a high-school freshman while he was a senior, but they do develop a strong connection. Meanwhile, pesky but well-meaning Kirby Scroggins, a plaid-clad nerd, was forever chasing an uninterested Dorothy Jane.
Although her family embarrasses her, Dorothy never let anyone else make fun of them. The pilot also featured Ernie Lively as Jacob "J. All these actors were originally to be permanent parts of the show so were credited in the pilot's opening sequence, but the children were subsequently recast and the character of J.
I'm going to the Frostee King. And I'll try to come to terms with the fact that in this town, the only place you can go on a saturday night is The Frostee King. That Dorothy Jane loses the competition to go study in Paris at the end of the episode, is a foregone conclusion knowing the episode is titled "An American Almost in Paris".
Kirby regularly climbs up the tree that goes right up to Dorothy Jane's window, just to look at her—without her knowing. In one episode, she gets aware of this, and tries to stop him from peeping on her. Visit by Divorced Dad: Two episodes in Season 1 have Randall, the kids' dad, show up in town.
What Happened to the Mouse? What happened to "boarder" Hodges when the Torkelsons foreclosed their house and moved away as of beginning Season 2? Of course the Real Life explanation is that the producers didn't want to let Hodges' actor return to shoot just one scene, but he isn't even mentioned in any dialogue, so Hodges' fate is left completely in the dark Writers Cannot Do Math: During Season 1, oldest daughter Dorothy Jane is repeatedly stated to be 14 years old, and her mother Millicent mentions she's 35 years old, so she would have given birth to Dorothy Jane at Come the episode "Educating Millicent", it is revealed that Millicent actually got pregnant with Dorothy Jane during her Senior year at high school, establishing she had Dorothy Jane at age 18—contradicting the facts stated earlier in the series.
Almost Home Season 2 contains examples of the following tropes: Brian comes home very late from a date and gives a contrived story including him being attacked by a guard dog as an excuse for this, which is ridiculed by Millicent.
First it's implied he made this story up, but in the very last split-second shot of the episode, his clothes are shown to be shred to pieces, suggesting the dog story is true after all.
It never becomes clear what's the case. In the very last shot, after just having rejected him and him giving her a kiss as a good-bye, she suddenly says "Oh, wait It's strongly implied she at least went to kiss him again, and possibly they became more seriously romantically revolved.
However, in a What Happened to the Mouse? Bad Job, Worse Uniform: Dorothy Jane and Molly both get a job at fast-food joint "Chicken in a Hat". The job itself is pretty boring, but to top it off they have to wear chickens on their heads hats shaped like chickens, made from yellow feathers. What Millicent thinks of Brian, comparing him to her apparently Consummate Liar ex-husband Randall, after Brian comes home extremely late after a date and tells a contrived story as the reason for this to Millicent and his teenage daughter Molly.
That's the best that you can do?! I was married to the Mark Twain of long-winded excuses; he could have done better than that in a coma! There's tension between Millicent and Brian Morgan. They repeatedly bicker a lot, but through their looks at each other and body language it's clear they're attracted to each other. In one scene, they do a Slap-Slap-Kiss and share a passionate kiss which isn't mentioned again in the series. When Dorothy Jane comes home with her report card, she's very frustrated and disappointed, because "There are letters on it that I've never seen before".
Turns out she's talking about her one B—she usually is a straight A student. Inverted for Molly, who in the same episode is very proud of her B, because it's the first time she's scored above a C.
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Dorothy Jane in this Season is shown eating a lot somehow. She often walks into the family kitchen to take food out of the fridge, and there are a few scenes where she eats at night when she can't sleep including a Cut a Slice, Take the Rest she once does.
In-Universe, Molly even remarks, when she sees Dorothy Jane eating a big bowl of ice cream, that she herself can't eat as much as Dorothy Jane. In the aptly-titled "Bowling for Daddies", all of the Torkelson and Morgan family members go bowling together and bond over this especially Chuckie Lee with Millicent and Brian.
Molly is this is spades, to the point it almost is a parody: Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: When Molly is freaking out over what her father's reaction will be over a wrong she did: He's going to send me to military school. No it's worse, he's going to put me in a convent.
But what can be worse than a convent? Brian Morgan has become widowed, and thus the single father of his two teenage children, just before his appearance in Season 2. He fumbles a lot in his new role as the sole caretaker of his children, and Molly and Gregory have a tendency to take advantage of his naivety; but with the help of Millicent, over the Season he grows in his role as dad.
Dorothy Jane and Molly get jobs at a fastfood place "Chicken in a Hat" where they have to wear embarrassing work clothes, and Dorothy Jane even admits the job is boring. She wasn't even intending to drive the car, she was just using it as a place to make out with a boy her father had forbidden her to see.
Dorothy Jane and Molly get handcuffed to each other at the most inconvenient of times. Dorothy Jane is going to a school ball with a date, Molly won't be going and is sitting on the couch with a facial mask on and in a bath robe. Just as Dorothy Jane's date arrives, Chuckie Lee cuffs them to each other and finds out the handcuff key is taken by Millicent who's a chaperone at the ball to the ball.
They didn't just get left behind but they were retroactively considered to never have existed, because Millicent calls Chuckie Lee "my only son" in Season 2 - she wouldn't have if the other 2 kids would still have existed back in Oklahoma in this continuity. Brian Morgan fights with his brother Jim over Millicent; it starts as a bet between them that whoever wins a basketball game, will get her, then gets a bit out of hand. Cut a Slice, Take the Rest: Dorothy Jane is fretting about something Molly did to her, to the point she can't sleep.
To kill her frustration, she goes downstairs, takes a whole big pie, cuts a slice out—and takes the rest of the cake to eat. Distinction Without a Difference: Molly's defense after she has handed in Dorothy Jane's book report as her own at school: You copied [my report] word for word! I didn't - I changed the date and the name on it! See also Bratty Teenage Daughter.
She arguably qualifies for Valley Girl as well. Kevin, the guy who Dorothy Jane tutored and then dated for an episode. He's on the school football team, only cares about sports and needs the tutoring because poor school performance, but doesn't even take it seriously, as he mocks the books he's supposed to read.
Molly prides herself in her fashion sense, wears flashy and hip well, for the early 90's clothes and also frequently criticizes Dorothy Jane for the latter's clothes, which are more modest.
Hey, those are my clothes! Dorothy Jane and Molly get into a physical fight over their mutual crush Jeff at work—which happens to be a fast food joint. They splash each other with soda Molly: Molly mistakenly states that the Torkelsons are from Louisiana, only to be corrected by Gregory, leading to a Shout-Out.
Brian's brother Jim visits the family and goes on a date with Millicent. Brian is jealous of this he has Belligerent Sexual Tension with Millicent himselfand they end up fighting over her.
More generally, Brian has also reason to be jealous of Jim because Jim is a playboy and lives a flashy lifestyle. When Millicent tries to have The Talk with her son Chuckie Lee, he makes it clear he isn't comfortable to discuss the subject of sexuality with his mother by repeatedly smashing his head on the table. Millicent then Lampshades it when she tells Brian "The problem isn't having [this talk]; the problem is how to keep him from knocking himself unconscious".
Molly is played as an almost exaggerated Bratty Teenage Daughterwho's not so bright on top of that, but She sometimes opens up emotionally in O. Is Serious Business momentswhich indicate that deep down she's very sad about her mother having died and her father now emotionally neglecting her.
She also at a certain point is given the book "Jane Eyre" to read by Dorothy Jane, which she reads, and then admits to liking again an O.
Is Serious Businessas she normally constantly bashes Dorothy Jane for liking books. In a Played for Laughs way, she confides to Dorothy Jane making a big point about that she's never told anyone this that It's All About Me: Upon that, even though it's entirely her fault, she expects to be given Dorothy Jane's room and for Dorothy Jane to be sent to sleep on the couch in the living room, instead of the other way around.
When her father tells Molly she'll have to move in with Dorothy Jane, she lets Dorothy Jane carry all her luggage upstairs. And then expects Dorothy Jane to sleep on the cot in her [Dorothy Jane's] own room and give the bed up to her [Molly]. Dorothy Jane and Molly happen to share the same 16th birthday, and Molly's party is extravagant and she is very demanding towards her father about the party having to be perfect.
The Torkelsons (Series) - TV Tropes
Mainly to impress her classmates Candace and Kimberly. Deconstructed when Molly overhears Candace and Kimberly trash-talk about her and her party, gets upset and insecure, and admits to Dorothy Jane that close family bonds are what happenings like birthdays should be about, instead of impressing peers with material wealth.
When Dorothy Jane gets a job at fast-food joint "Chicken in a Hat", and Molly finds out Dorothy Jane's boss is actually an attractive boy, she takes on a job there as well, purely to pursue Jeff even though Dorothy Jane met him first and has indicated to have a crush on him already; even worse, Molly is Lazy Bum and lousy co-worker doing so.
Subverted in the end. Sam is Gregory's tomboyish best female friend; in a gender-inverted as opposed to how it's usually played way, Sam is actually in love with Gregory which he doesn't have a clue about initially while he only sees her as a friend. Encouraged by Millicent, Sam asks him to a dance, and they kiss at the end. In an episode later in the Season, she is his girlfriend. Dorothy Jane and Molly's co-worker Mel at Chicken in a Hat is supposed to look after them when their manager is absent.
He sits down and goes to read the newspaper and smoke a cigarette, and completely ignores Molly and Dorothy Jane - who are on their first day on the job. He rebuffs Dorothy Jane when she asks for assistance.
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When Dorothy Jane and Molly, now unsupervised, get into a fight and nobody is there to tend to the customers, a customer asks Mel to help him—and Mel rebuffs the customer and doesn't do anything about Dorothy Jane and Molly fighting, leaving the entire joint unattended. Molly copies Dorothy Jane's book report to hand it in as her own at school, but can't even be bothered to copy it entirely and just leaves out the last page reason she got a B while Dorothy Jane got an A for it.
Also, when she gets a job at a fast food joint, she's a lazy, sloppy worker—ignoring customers and not paying attention to instructions. When Molly has to move in with Dorothy Jane, the former brings an absurd amount of stuff with her—making Dorothy Jane remark "It looks like something exploded Molly also tricks Dorothy Jane into actually carrying her stuff upstairs, and spends the entire episode complaining that she has to sleep on a cot instead of a real bed.
The second, Almost Home, season is this compared to the first, The Torkelsons, season. After it got completely retooled, the tone of the show changed drastically from more dramaticto more pure comedy. Molly and Dorothy Jane come to the titular dance handcuffed to each otherwhich of course is Played for Laughsand makes it a slapstick scene.
Then we cut to a very Played for Drama scene between Gregory and Sam, talking about their changing feelings for each other and how to handle their relationship.
Dorothy Jane and later, also Molly gets her first job at fastfood place "Chicken in a Hat" and remarks that it is going to learn her responsibility.
She soon finds out the job is boring. New Season, New Name: As a result of the Re Tool that also had the family sans two of the kids moving to Seattle, Washington. Averted and Played for Laughs: Molly has no less than three best friends called Heather. Combined with Molly being glued to the phone a lot, this gives stuff like: Molly is on the phone a lot goes with her being a Bratty Teenage Daughter.
Her father Brian, though he doesn't fit the age of the Trope, is also phoneaholic mostly for his business; often his taking phone calls interferes with talks with, and parenting of, his children. Between Molly and Brian, the phone of the household was used a lot especially considering this was pre cell-phone age, and the family shared one land line.
When Molly gets a job at fast-food joint "Chicken in a Hat", she rather unprofessionally What's the difference between Louisiana and Oklahoma? He opens the fridge and does get the pie all over him. Gregory is a Star Trek fan and frequently references this: Molly frequently wears this see 2nd picture at the top of this page. Brian's children Gregory and Molly are pretty spoiled and entitled. Gregory also uses his father's credit card without asking for expensive stuff he isn't supposed to do such as when he buys incredibly overpriced, second-hand tickets to a rock concert.
A big point is made of when Chuckie Lee almost enters puberty and his mother Millicent tries to have a big talk to him explaining sexuality, but he dismisses this saying he can't discuss that with his mother; Millicent, feeling that it's not something a mother can discuss with her son, then begrudglingly asks Brian Morgan to step in to connect with Chuckie Lee in a father-son manner.
Jane Eyre; every romance novel ever written, was based on it. Chuckie Lee brings home a big Boa Constrictor, which is his class' pet, apparently freely allowed for the 3rd graders to bring home. When Molly sees it, she freaks out and is clearly very afraid of snakes. The snake also is a Chekhov's Gunas at the end it serves to scare partying teenagers whom Molly had invited to a party, out of the house, conveniently preventing Dorothy Jane from getting punished by Millicent for the not allowed party.
The Torkelsons and Almost Home both contain examples of the following tropes: Once it becomes Almost Home and the Morgan family comes into play, it is mostly the Morgan kids due to their being played as spoiled and not well parented by their father who learn the Aesops, from Millicent and sometimes even Dorothy Jane.
Beware the Nice Ones: Millicent is a nice and friendly woman, but certainly does vehemently stand up for herself if necessary. Kirby has an uncle called Herbie, who's known to be good with the ladiesand actively tries helping Kirby getting together with Dorothy Jane though that's ultimately unsuccessful.
Molly and Gregory have their uncle Jim Brian's brotherwhom they adore. Jim lives a cool lifestyle, gives them presents and just acts cool with them. Ruth Ann, Dorothy Jane's Annoying Younger Siblinghas no qualms about frequently expressing her disdain of Dorothy Jane with sarcastic and cynic remarks also non-verbally.
Brian has some snarky moments towards his children at times when he drops the loose parenting and has to discipline them. I can't sleep here by myself, I'm scared to be down here in the dark In the same episode, when the car is shown to be torn to pieces: Well, this ought to make parallel parking a snap.
Both seasons were about a familiy in one household the first, about the original family of six; the second, about the two blended families sharing a house.