The Austerity Games
Family Tree | Season 1 | Episode 3

The Austerity Games

TV-MA | 27 MIN

Written by Christopher Guest and Jim Piddock
Directed by Christopher Guest

"She's in denial, but fortunately I have access to the truth." -Monkey

Bea Chadwick pitches her act to a couple planning a birthday party for their 5-year-old son. A portion of her gig will be Monkey talking about drugs: "kids need a warning these days." The parents opt not to hire her

Tom and Bea Chadwick visit their family's plot in the cemetery. Tom proclaims, "Bingo! 1-2-3 dead Chadwicks!" as they see the graves of their Great Aunt Victoria and their grandparents, William and Lydia, who died in a hot air balloon mishap. The siblings vaguely remember singing "Staying Alive" by the Bee Gees at the funeral.

"I've realized that not all voids are bad." -Tom

Tom takes several artifacts from his Great Aunt Victoria's chest to Glenn Pfister for examination. Mr. Pfister identifies a vest from the 1948 London Olympics, also known as the "austerity games" because of budgetary restraints. Pfister explains, "First poster: 3 rings instead of 5." Glenn's daughter Lucy drops by with a cake for her dad, and she and Tom commiserate about their recent break-ups. Tom explains that break-ups are "tricky" because when it comes to your ex, "sometimes you wish they had never been born."

"It was always physical, everything we did." -Mildred Budgens

After finding Victoria's will online, Tom learns she left her flat to an old friend named Mildred Budgens. He and Pete go to meet her. Over beers with her, the men admire the apartment's décor of "stripped down naked art" -- all depicting nude women. Mildred tells of the life she shared with Victoria, which included meeting her siblings. Tom learns Victoria had another brother named Brian and that his grandfather William was a boxer known as the Tufton Terror. Victoria was also an athlete who invented a shot putting technique called the Chadwick Chuck. Victoria shared with Mildred that she saw something special in Tom and hoped he might "be the one to carry it on." Tom isn't sure what this means exactly, but solemnly agrees to do so. He leaves with parting gifts; a shot put, boxing gloves, and his grandfather's jockstrap.

"In our clan, family is what disappears when you're not looking at it." -Keith Chadwick

Tom visits Keith, who explains that he only met Brian once at his father's funeral. Keith digs up William's old gym membership card, and Tom goes to the Jack Perry Gymnasium to see if any of the patrons remember the Tufton Terror. He meets former boxers who share stories of training for the London Games; the events included an egg-and-spoon race, a sack race, and tug-of-war. While Tom chats, Pete loses a boxing match with a diminutive 13-year-old.

Armed with new information, Tom heads to his father's home. Keith tells his son that it's time for him to settle down. "Women are scary now," Tom explains, "with their hair and their thoughts." He presents his great-great-grandfather's birth certificate revealing that Charles Chadwick was born in Greensboro, Maryland. Keith is shocked he's American. Tom exclaims, "Another reason for you to hate the French!"

"For any was a total and outright failure." -Monkey

Bea and Monkey book a professional comedy gig of 20 minutes at a wedding. At the reception, the pair addresses their Greek audience: "It's nice to see you here despite the economic downfall." Bea heads off-stage after a brief, poorly received set. Despite the flop, Bea was touched by the togetherness of a large family. She muses, "Maybe Tom is onto the right track..."