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Ground Floor 1×04 “The Gift” Recap

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It’s Jenny’s birthday this week on Ground Floor, and the competition’s on to see who can get her a better present than her hole. (Yes, you did read that correctly.)

For a multi-cam sitcom (something that’s been consistently used on other networks to connect to more classic forms of comedy), Ground Floor seems curiously committed to using the form as a modern device, with edgier and edgier humour being the cause of all that studio laughter.

And this week, a lot of that laughter comes from inappropriate gift-giving down on the ground floor. While Brody comes out as ‘Mr. Selflessness’ with his well-thought out yet expensive gift for Jenny, the rest of the maintenance crew give gifts that, as Brody explains in mock courtroom-like scene, are remarkably not well thought-out at all. Derek, for example, gives Jenny a hoodie and fake dog poo from a foreclosed company on one of the floors above. And when asked why, he tells Brody that it was because the sweatshirt was too small to fit him. Tory, meanwhile, offers Jenny a share of her twitter followers. Without, of course, checking that Jenny actually does have twitter.  And as for Harvard, oh Harvard, he handcrafts a portrait of Jenny, made up of tiny little pictures of- who else? – himself. (As for the mole on her cheek? Don’t worry, it’s not what you think. Just a picture of his butt.)

Despite these terrible gifts being the only things that Brody’s cashmere hoodie is up against, Jenny hates his present. (Well she doesn’t hate it, she loves it, but at six hundred and thirty dollars, she really just hates it.) And so, as Mansfield said would happen at the start of the episode, we see the impact that can happen when money is introduced to a relationship. Mansfield bets Brody that giving Jenny the perfect gift, and introducing her to the world of surplus – the world that he and Brody live in up on the top floor – will ruin her taste for the life that she has.

But, naturally, Mansfield is proven wrong after Brody explains his thinking in choosing the hoodie. (“Do you know how many half movies we’ve seen this year? No? Well I do. Three. And it’s because you always get cold in the theater and we leave early, so I bought you the warmest thing that I could.”) Brody’s display of gift-giving (Brody’s a real Ted Mosby, and I absolutely love it) all works out for him in the end, as Jenny takes back her ridiculously priced gift, and shares a bottle of wine with him at the party.  A bottle of incredibly expensive wine that he won off of Mansfield, upon winning their bet. Something that, funnily enough, the big boss himself had sitting waiting for Brody, hoping- but not knowing- that Jenny would be  big enough to get over the cost of her gift. For Brody’s sake.

Each week on Ground Floor the group of workers becomes that little bit closer, and we get to see more and more of Mansfield’s fondness for Brody. The show isn’t anything revolutionary, but it’s truly funny, and you know what? When you compare that to other terribly un-funny sitcoms that are airing, it almost does feel revolutionary.

Memorable Quotes

  • Brody on Harvard’s gift of a thousand (literally) photos: “Well you certainly set the bar in a secret room in your basement.”
  • Jenny being called out as a reverse-snob: “How dare you, and what does that mean?”
  • Tory went in halves on the dog poop with Derek. “So you literally gave half a shit. Impressive.”
  • OH: And as for the hole? Jenny’s mom let her and her brothers dig a hole in the garden one year for her birthday. And before Brody’s hoodie, that was the best gift she’d ever gotten. (But by the end of the episode, she too realizes, yeah, how that story actually sounds.)

Grade: B+