Netflix’s ‘The Upshaws’ is a sitcom that sees comedy veterans Wanda Sykes and Mike Epps join hands as executive producers and co-stars with uproarious results. The eponymous African American family lives in Indiana, and the show centers around its quirky members and their friends. Bennie (Epps), the head of the family, is a well-meaning guy trying to do right by his wife, 4 kids, and “baby mama” Tasha. However, helped by his clueless friends, and much to the irritation of his wife Regina, he manages to do just about everything wrong.
The only one happy to see Bennie flounder at every turn is his catty sister-in-law Lucretia (Sykes). Alternating between outrageously funny and heartwarmingly cute, the family and its members have a lot going on. Let’s take a look at ‘The Upshaws’ and see if we can untangle the family’s myriad complications. SPOILERS AHEAD.
The Upshaws Season 1 Recap
‘The Upshaws’ introduces its namesake family in the opening episode. Bernard “Bennie” Upshaw is a mechanic who runs a struggling garage. On the home front, he lives with his wife Regina and their two daughters: Aaliyah, a teenager, and Maya, who is much younger. Bennie and Regina are high school sweethearts who got pregnant whilst in school. Their firstborn, Bernard Jr, is a grown man who holds a lasting grudge against Bennie for being a negligent father and lives apart from the family.
Bennie also has another son, Kelvin, with the local hairstylist Tasha from when he and Regina were on a break, something the latter is still quite irritated by whenever she sees Tasha. Bennie’s biggest critic is Regina’s sister Lucretia (Sykes), who thinks her sister could’ve done much better. She takes every opportunity to point out his flaws to his wife.
With Bennie being the serial screw-up that he is, she gets a lot of those opportunities. Lucretia has also supported Bennie financially in opening his garage and is a partner in the business, something she reminds him of often. We also meet Bennie’s long-time friend Duck, a recently released ex-con who became religious in prison and has since been trying to keep his criminal tendencies subdued.
Over the course of season 1, we see Bennie fumble on multiple occasions, much to the chagrin of his wife and to the delight of Lucretia. Bernard Jr. comes out to his parents, and we realize that Duck has a suspicious obsession with Regina. The family struggles financially, which irritates Aaliyah as she tries to rise in the popularity ranks in school. Things really begin to heat up when, fed up with his antics, Regina throws Bennie out of the house.
The Upshaws Season 1 Ending: Who is Bennie’s “New” Daughter?
When Regina finds out that Bennie has used up the money that she’s been saving up to get her MBA degree, she draws the line and throws him out of the house. Lucretia, of course, supports the decision and comes over to celebrate Bennie’s eviction with champagne. She does, however, give the clueless Bennie some harsh but helpful advice about how he might be able to fix things. Regina, though upset with her husband, soon finds that raising children, running the house, working, and preparing for her GMAT exam is too much to do alone. She eventually lets Bennie move back into the basement.
Bennie soon curries favor with the kids and becomes their favorite, and also helps Lucretia with an obnoxious ex-lover. His rising popularity once again irritates Regina as she feels like the “bad cop” of the family. Stressed out by her upcoming exam, she and Bennie have a loud confrontation. In between screaming at each other, they realize that they are both perfectly matched and fall into bed together. The next day, with the parents reconciled, things are looking up at the Upshaw household. However, the arrival of an unknown little girl claiming to be Bennie’s daughter threatens to make all hell break loose again.
Bennie, after all his experiences in season 1, it seems is right back where he started — in the doghouse. One of Regina’s biggest triggers and the source of many of their arguments is Bennie’s affair and child with Tasha. Though Regina eventually warms up to Tasha’s son Kelvin, she has always made her displeasure about it known. With another child showing up, claiming to be Bennie’s, Regina might just be at the end of her tether. The added pressure of her GMAT, which she fails the first time around and decides to retake, as well as the financial pressure of raising another child, might make Regina throw Bennie out of the house again.
Even for Bennie, who usually finds a way to fix things or just lucks out, this is one situation that will test him. How he explains the little girl to Regina remains to be seen, and possibly she was also conceived during the couple’s break. However, the other, more ominous situation would be if Bennie had a one-night stand with someone after one of his drinking binges. His scare with Lucretia when they both wake up together in a car after a night of heavy drinking shows that that is a possibility.
In either case, it is going to take a lot for Regina to get over the new addition to the family. The situation is definitely not going to be helped by Lucretia, who will use this opportunity to try and drive Regina and Bennie apart. The kids, who are generally more tolerant of Bennie’s blunders, and seem to get along quite well with each other, might be easier to deal with. However, just like with Kelvin, explaining to their youngest child Maya where the new daughter came from is likely going to be an awkward task.
How Long Was Bennie and Regina’s Break? How Many Breaks Did They Have?
Bennie and Regina have been together since they were in high school. As recounted sarcastically by Lucretia, the couple has gone through teenage pregnancy, a second mortgage, a “break baby,” and a third mortgage. In between all of this, the couple took a break around the time that Aaliyah was conceived (since she and Kelvin are approximately the same age). It is unknown how long the break was, but during this time, Bennie had Kelvin with Tasha, adding a whole new level of complexity to his family dynamic.
Though they don’t discuss the break much, it is obviously a very drastic step for the couple to take. Even at the end of her rope, we see Regina only kick Bennie out of the house for a few days. Therefore in all likelihood, they only took one break from each other. However, this could open up a whole new can of worms for Bennie, as the girl that shows up at their front door looks a lot younger than Kelvin. This means that if he and Regina did not take a second break, then most likely Bennie was unfaithful to his wife. This might be the biggest hurdle that the family has faced so far and could lead to an actual breakup between Regina and Bennie.
Read More: Is The Upshaws Based on a True Story?