Jessica Shaw
September 25, 2012 AT 12:00 PM EDT

Tonight Bryan (Andrew Rannells) and David (Justin Bartha) threw a dinner party to prove to Nana (Ellen Barkin) that they have black friends. Which would mean they’re not racist. She said they were racist for voting for Obama because he’s black, even though they don’t have black friends. And as far as I could tell, they weren’t saying they’d vote for Obama because he’s black. I think they were planning on voting for him for other reasons, but if they realized that, there wouldn’t have been an episode so let’s just go with it.

Anyway, they figured they’d get the nasty Nana whose family has been voting Republican since the Lincoln-era by proving her wrong. So Bryan said some kind of funny, kind of intentionally racist stuff (“He’s of a hue,” about Amir, an Indian friend; “Maybe we can get the cast of Treme to come. I sat next to them at the Golden Globes last year.”)  and invited his black assistant Rocky  (NeNe Leakes, fabulous as ever) to a party to be attended by a Republican — which, in Ryan Murphy’s world, is clearly synonymous with the devil. Only problem is that no black people showed up. Even Rocky just brought white friends (or, as Bryan hoped they were, “black albinos.” He was hoping for “less Bronte, more Pointer.”). “It’s just that the blond imperial wizard is coming and everyone here is whiter than any woman who’s had Ambien sex with Tiger Woods,” Bryan said.

The dinner party had lots of fun party conversation involving topics like “affordable health care,” “a woman’s right to choose,” and “personal responsibility.” Fun! Fun! Sounds like some people prepped for their dinner party conversation by reading every page of the Democratic and Republican party websites. The one actual non-employee black guest was Rocky’s hottie brother who had a thing for Goldie. And hold on to your stereotypes, viewers! He’s a Republican. (In an earlier cut of this episode, Nana says to him, “You’re like the Loch Ness monster with an Afro.” And who said there were no wise censors?) Then Nana did some really evil (evil-evil, not Republican evil) stuff and tricked Bryan and David into revealing that Goldie is carrying their baby, because that’s the only way Nana could think of keeping Goldie from dating a black man.

All in all, another Issue-filled episode from this Issue-filled series. I’m pretty sure I got what they were going for, but you never know. They say so many racist things to prove that they’re not really racist. Or maybe they are and it doesn’t matter. Or maybe it does and they’re not. Or forget race, just vote. And don’t tell anyone who you’re voting for unless you’re voting for Obama. All I know is the last line of the episode (when the black husband to an Asian-American wife said, “This is perfect! We were just saying we needed some gay friends”) was kind of genius. And I’m starting to feel bad for Ellen Barkin for signing on to this sitcom. It’s one thing to play a Jack Donaghy-esque parody. It’s another to play just a downright mean person. Not much she does would be considered funny were it not on a sitcom.

What do you all think? Can you believe NBC aired such a pro-Obama episode? Do you wish Ryan Murphy would go for more laughs and fewer Lessons? Do you miss Shania’s Little Edie?

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