Season 8 episode 15
Sometimes, it’s just a lose-lose situation.Ally’s been invited to the 13th birthday party of Peggy’s daughter, Molly. The catch is that it’s to be held at a country club, and the girls are all expected to wear a specific dress – a $250 dress (that’s with the 10% discount for mentioning Peggy’s name.)
Naturally, the dress isn’t bought. Debra ropes Ray into going to buy it, and on confronting Peggy at the store we find that she just wanted the kids to dress nicely for one night. Ally reacts and Ray tells her he’s the adult and she has to accept what he says before he storms out of the store – after grabbing his cookie.
Debra thinks it’s expensive but she still would have got it, while everyone else agrees that it’s far too expensive for one night. Frank offers the wisdom that they should disappoint their children, as “if they like you, you’ve failed as parents” to which Robert congratulates him on a “magnificent success.”
Fast forward to Ray finding Ally in her room not getting ready for the party. She tells him that she’s not going, and she understands that it’s a lot of money. But fear not! Ray bought it after all! All smiles as Ally promises to do chores to pay it off (there goes the next year) and Debra finds out – only angry until she actually sees it, and then immediately gets distracted and offers to do her hair.
The “you can’t have it… yes you can!” part of the episode out of the way, you know what’s coming… the twist.
They get to the party, the door opens and… Ally’s the only one in the dress. She is of course mortified, not helped by someone calling her Cinderella, and a ticked off Peggy tells Ray he ruined everything; it turns out his “rabble rousing” in the dress shop resulted in all the parents agreeing to boycott the dress.
As a result, Ally’s gone from hating her father for not getting the dress to hating him for getting the dress. Poor Ray. But as Debra’s quick to point out, according to Frank he’s now a good parent.
Marie: When I was a child-
Frank: You were sitting around the fire wondering how it got there.
Debra: You’ve never been a 13 year old girl.
Ray: You’re running out of stuff to criticize.