BraceFace: S2, E2 “14 Candles”

Nina is celebrating her birthday and Sharon’s is coming up in 6 days. I’m glad it’s not one of those annoying “Arch nemesis is having a party the same day as mine” clichés. A chef brings out a big cake for Nina and apparently Nina has a boyfriend. I guess she’s given up on chasing Alden:

This, of course gets Sharon thinking about her own birthday. After school, Sharon helps her mom with gardening and Helen tells Sharon that Richard will be in town for her birthday. Sounds nice, right? Then, Helen tells Sharon that her Aunt Katie and Uncle Bernie will also be in town for their annual Leaf-changing trip (seriously who does that?). But, wait! There’s more! David is also free that night and he’ll be bringing his twin daughters along. You think that’s bad? Oh, it gets worse. Helen made reservations to a Chuck E Cheese typed restaurant called Mindy’s. Sharon, of course, doesn’t like this idea and is upset that Helen is only considering David’s daughters and not her. Helen defends herself saying that she was trying to find something for everyone. I don’t think Mindy’s is a restaurant that five adults and a teenager would enjoy. Sharon tells Helen that spending time with David’s twins and two relatives she could not give a shit about is not her idea of special. Instead, it’s Helen’s idea. Helen agrees with Sharon and apologizes for not thinking. She asks Sharon what restaurant she wants to go to. Sharon doesn’t want to go with them and decides to spend her birthday with her friends.

The next day, Sharon tells her friends that she’s free on Saturday (her birthday). Unfortunately for her, Sharon’s friends already have plans. Connor has to go apple picking with his family (he’ll be disowned if he doesn’t go, which is silly) and Maria has a volleyball game out of town. Sharon, understandably, is disappointed and her friends fell badly about it. Sharon goes in the bathroom and Nina and Allyson just so happen to be there. Nina and Sharon have a lovely, witty cat fight (I see Dion is teaching her something) and Sharon leaves with the last laugh. Sharon realizes she forgot her brush and goes back into the bathroom. When she opens the bathroom door, she overhears Nina and Allyson talking and thinks that someone is throwing her a surprise party.


Allyson grabs the toilet brush that the janitor left behind and rubs it on Sharon’s hair brush. Ew.


That’s just low even for these two.

Sharon comes in and grabs her brush and leaves, having no idea what just happened. That’s just disgusting, man. Sharon finds her friends in the hallway studying and hypothetically tells them what type of party she would want. Maria and Connor have no idea what’s going on. Man, Sharon is setting herself for disappointment. Before Algebra class, Alden asks Brock what he should get Sharon for her birthday. According to him, she kept touching her ear and he doesn’t know if she wants earrings or if she has an itchy ear. Lol. Brock advises Alden to either take her out on a date or give her a gift. Alden asks why can’t he do both and Brock says that you don’t overdo it for a girl’s birthday. He also mentions that if you take her out on a date and give her a present, she’ll be expecting more and that’s how guys go broke. (sighs) This is why Brock doesn’t have a girlfriend. Alden decides to go the gift route and get her a bracelet. Brock tells him it’s not a good idea and that he should get Sharon a mouse pad since she said tomato juice spilled on her other one. Alden, please stop listening to Brock. He has no idea what he’s talking about. Alden doesn’t think that sounds special and Brock tells him he has to take Sharon out to dinner and maybe take her to a movie. Alden can’t afford all of that and Brock tells him to take Sharon to his parents’ restaurant so he’ll have enough left over for a movie. No. No. No. No. No. That’s the worst advice I’ve ever heard in my life. Sharon comes in and Brock tells Sharon that they weren’t talking about her. This has Sharon believing that Brock and Alden were talking about Sharon’s non-existent surprise party. Sharon gets home from school and her dad is home:


He gives her a gift and it’s a doll to add to her collection:


Sharon thanks him for the gift and tells him that she stopped collecting dolls and you can see the disappointment on Richard’s face:


Poor Richard.

He changes the subject by asking her about her birthday plans and Sharon keeps hinting at the surprise party and Richard is completely clueless. Adam comes in and overhears Sharon talking and he’s confused as well. The more this happens, the more I keep feeling bad for Sharon. We cut to Life Cycles and Adam asks Maria about a surprise party. She tells him that there’s no surprise party and that her and Connor won’t even be there for her birthday. They put two and two together and realize that Sharon thinks that they’re throwing her a surprise party for her, but they’re not. Adam asks because he doesn’t want Sharon to be alone on her birthday. Aww that’s nice of Adam. At lunch, Alden tells Brock that Sharon’s expecting a surprise party and asks him what to do. Oh, God. More advice from a guy who doesn’t know diddly squat about relationships. Brock tells him to get a new girlfriend. (heavy sigh). Alden is starting think that Sharon is a little high maintenance and Brock is thanking the lucky stars that he’s not attached. Weren’t you just complaining about Maria not wanting to date you a few episodes ago? Shut up.

We fast forward to Sharon’s big day! Nothing special happened during the day other than Sharon spending time with her aunt and uncle. So let’s get to the evening where Sharon believes her surprise party is going to take place. Sharon is about to go in her closet and try on outfits when she opens her closet and finds balloons and a present:


She opens the present and finds a video tape inside. Downstairs, everyone is about head out to Mindy’s and Helen asks Sharon for the last time if she wants to come along. Sharon is positive she doesn’t want to go. Sharon plays the video tape and Maria and Connor made Sharon a birthday video. They apologize for not being able to spend time with her on her birthday and Sharon thinks they’re lying. Poor Adam doesn’t have the heart to tell his sister the truth.


Adam gives her a vague advice and leaves with the rest of the family. Alden, stupidly takes Brock’s advice and takes Sharon to his parents’ restaurant. Sharon is constantly checking her watch and eating through her food like it’s the last food on earth. They go to the movies and Sharon keeps checking her watch. Alden is starting to get pissed:


I laughed at his expression for a good 5 minutes.

Oh, I see. He thinks she’s being ungrateful. He asks her if she enjoyed everything and she says yes in a nonchalant kind of way. Sharon keeps looking at her house and walks away without saying anything to Alden. Alden is sad and Sharon notices him walking away thinking that he’s pretending to walk off. She waves bye to him and Alden is just over it. Sharon lets “everyone” know that she’s opening the door and is shocked to see no one is home. Alden comes back to give Sharon the mouse pad that Brock told him to get.


Sharon is so upset that she runs upstairs to her room leaving Alden at the door. Maria calls Connor and asks him if Sharon has called him. He tells her no and Maria says she hasn’t called either and is mad. We cut to Alden at Life Cycles with Brock and tells him about their date. Alden isn’t sure if he wants to be with Sharon anymore. Brock assumes that Sharon is one of those girls who expect too much and Alden agrees. Alden’s phone rings and it’s Sharon. Brock tells him not to answer because he’s “been through enough” and Alden does so. Sharon leaves a voice message for Alden apologizing and thanking him for everything. She also leaves a message for Maria. She looks at the clock and she’s “officially 14”.


Sharon hears a knock at the door and it’s her father. He comes in and wishes Sharon a happy birthday. Wait? You mean to tell me she didn’t hear anyone coming in the house? Okay. Helen comes in and wishes Sharon a happy birthday. We get the story of Sharon’s birth. Her parents were at a U2 concert and three songs in, Helen’s water broke. Why would you go to a concert and you’re pregnant? Especially at nine months (I assume)?  Her parents start saying some sappy, shit and tell Sharon that they love her.


After this, Sharon starts being all grateful and decides to do something for the people that love her. Sharon made spaghetti (ah, that’s why she was picking tomatoes) for everyone. She apologizes for the 10th time (according to Alden) about how she acted and thanks him for the mouse pad. He said it’s okay. Are you sure about that?

This episode was just…idk. I see what the writers were trying to do, but it wasn’t executed well. Watching this, I never got the impression that Sharon was being ungrateful. Sharon overheard Nina talking about a surprise party and assumed that she would be getting one. She got her hopes up and was disappointed. Anyone in her shoes would be. However, I could see how everyone around her would see her as being ungrateful. I guess it’s because I sympathize with Sharon a bit. Yeah, she shouldn’t have gotten her hopes up like that, but we’ve all gotten our hopes up about something and ended up disappointed. It pissed me off that no one outright told Sharon that she wouldn’t be getting a surprise party. They all knew that Sharon was expecting one and no one had the balls to tell her the truth. I get that they didn’t want to hurt her feelings, but I think not telling her was worse. However, I could also see that Sharon would probably not believe them if they did. It was a lose-lose situation from the start. Alden pissed me off in this episode and so did Brock. Brock is the definition of a cheap guy. No girl should accept a shitty date from a guy. Granted, they’re teenagers so they don’t have full-time jobs but that was just awful. He gives awful advice about girls and he wonders why no one wants him. And I’m even more upset at Alden for listening to Brock. He should have gotten Sharon a bracelet instead of a mouse pad. Also, knowing that Sharon wouldn’t be getting a surprise party I think Alden could have made more of an effort to make her birthday more special.



About rosecoloredglassesreviewer

Just a 20-something year old who loves writing and critiquing 90s/early-2000s TV shows. NOTE: I don't hate the shows I review. I enjoyed them as a child and I still enjoy them as an adult. My issue is with people who are blinded by nostalgia and believe that the shows they grew up are the best of all time and who believe today's shows suck.
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