[8.5/10] A great “three stories” episode of the show -- possibly the best of them! I especially love the conceit that the kids are retelling imaginative versions of their expectedly ramshackle middle school productions. It allows us to filter each story through the kids’ individual perspectives, and makes for some creative animation and design choices in telling each story on the stage.
I also really enjoy Bob’s minor part in all of this, where he uses an old video camera and runs into problem after problem when trying to film the kids’ performances. It’s such a tired sitcom setup, but Bob’s exasperated and frantic attempts to make it work are quick but funny. The same goes for Linda’s sickness-spewing cold and commitment to not missing the Mother’s Day celebration.
As for the three stories themselves, I think the first one was my favorite. Louise imagining herself as the black hat in an old western, saving Regular-Sized Rudy from his tormentor, is a really fun genre spoof that puts the rabbit-eared moppet in her element. Making the central issue in the story that the bad guy has locked away all the moms, and Louise, as the estranged badass mom, has to go in and save her son from “Meanie McQueen” with rubber bands instead of six-shooters, makes for an amusing mother’s day twist on the tropes of the genre. It was quite a fun spoof.
The weakest story was probably Gene’s, but it wasn’t bad. A myth mishmash where creator gods have to create moms is an amusing enough premise. The musical parts of it were hit and miss, but I enjoyed the faux-stagecraft of Gene and his cohort fighting while flying over the audience on wires, and Linda’s disbelief at the production values of this show. (Louise’s commentary about the steadfast devotion of the crew kids was a funny accent to that.)
Last but not least, Tina’s story was the most creative. Mashing together Aliens and Freaky Friday into one big show is a worthy follow up to Work Hard or Die Trying, Girl, and the riffs on both films were funny, particularly as filtered through Tina’s teenage worldview. Again, the “stagecraft” on the alien queen was a nice touch, and the inventiveness of the idea and the laughs involved made it a winner.
Overall, a fun flight of fancy with plenty of laughs and lots creativity. The best three stories episode the show has done yet!