'Merry Happy Whatever' Episode 3: Don's patriarchy creates a passive-aggressive battle between the sexes but loses to an empowering finish
Sexism is evident throughout as Patsy is always in the kitchen, cooking for the family. Joy also makes a snarky comment that she has to decorate the Christmas tree because she's got ovaries
This contains spoilers for 'Merry Happy Whatever' Season 1 Episode 3
Being a patriarch of the Quinn family puts Don in control of all their lives. In this episode, we see that he is too psyched about the game as his favorite team is going to play.
All the men of the family are sitting in front of the TV watching the match as they gobble and spill nachos and chips all over the floor. Although the energy exhibited by Sean and Don is phenomenal, we see that Todd gets sidelined by the father-son duo because he is not yelling and jumping with the same amount of energy!
Todd is conscious and shy around Don because he does not want to wake the dragon. Being bullied is something he really wants to avoid. That's how much power Don exercises on the family.
Being a hypocritical man, Don changes family "rules" as and when he wants to. It is always about his convenience and what he wants. When the game is supposed to be a family affair only, he ditches them to watch the rest of it with Nancy. So, technically, he went on a date that disappointed his son Sean.
Sexism is evident throughout the episode with women, mainly Patsy being in the kitchen and cooking for the family throughout. Since the beginning of the show, we have seen Patsy condemned to the kitchen making "eggies" for everyone.
While the men are engrossed watching the match, she casually tells Sean jr. (Joy and Sean's son) that she never gets the credit she deserves for her work. Not just her, but Joy also makes a snarky comment that she has to decorate the Christmas tree because she's got ovaries.
The ladies get annoyed with Don stealing their thunder as he only puts the North Star up on the tree and everybody is going nuts praising the patriarch.
Women in this show are typically under Don's thumb, being responsible, doing their wifely duties and cooking food for the family, while the men just scream and shout while watching an "important match".
Kayla reveals to Matt through a worded puzzle that she may be a lesbian. She should have been recovering from the traumatic divorce, but by the looks of it, she seems very happy to find more avenues in her life. So, we can hope to see Kayla find newer love interests in the upcoming episodes.
However, on the brighter side, things may have changed over generations as Sean Jr. emerges as a thoughtful person in the family. He is the breakthrough youth of the lot, who actually believes in gender equality.
It is amazing to see such a young person having thoughts so complex and diverse that it hits at patriarchy mellowing down. Towards the end, we see Don coming back home during the climax of the game because he felt the need to be with his family at that time.
By then, the tree is decked up by Patsy and she's waiting for Don to put the Christmas star. But then she's pleasantly surprised when Don actually appreciates her work for the first time in so long and even lets her hang the star!
With all the rules going on a break, this too was essential for Don to tone down his patriarchal self and be with the family. Maybe, it is Nancy's effect that has caused such a drastic change in a man like Don.
Catch the premiere of 'Merry Happy Whatever' on November 28 only on Netflix.