Wrapped Around Your Finger
Jack and Joanne Allen throw Eugene Meltsner and Katrina Shanks a Valentine's Day engagement party. Eugene wants to give Katrina a ring, but Katrina's father gives her a family heirloom ring the same day.
After Eugene Meltsner installs a national antiques database for use in Jack and Joanne Allen's store, they convince him that the upcoming Valentine's Day holiday is the time to finally give Katrina an engagement ring. Furthermore, they offer to throw him an engagement party that weekend since her parents will be in town. Eugene picks out a ring from their inventory to surprise Katrina at the party.
At Whit's End, Connie, Tom, and Bernard quiz Katrina about her relationship with Eugene. Connie urges her to be more openly affectionate, while Tom grills her about her parents’ feelings about Eugene. When Eugene announces the engagement party, Katrina is thrilled and grabs him and kisses him!
At the party, they are mutually surprised when Katrina's father presents her with a family heirloom, a fabulous engagement ring that has been passed down through the family for generations. Embarrassed, Eugene hides his ring until later. That evening when he finally presents his ring to Katrina, she is thrilled with his choice and decides to wear it instead of the family heirloom.
When Katrina's parents discover this, they insist that she wear the ring they gave her out of respect for them and the family heritage. Although Katrina prefers Eugene's ring, even he agrees that she must honor her parents by going along with their wishes, and they set out to return the ring to Jack and Joanne. Katrina's parents stop by the antique shop on the way out of town just as Jack announces that he has discovered that the supposedly priceless family heirloom is really a piece of costume jewelry, worth only $100, while the ring that Eugene chose is worth substantially more. Horrified that the heirloom is worthless, Mr. Shanks agrees that it is better for Katrina to wear Eugene's token of love because of its greater value. Jack and Joanne press Eugene and Katrina to say when they will marry, but the pair hints that they might elope.
- Why did Mr. Shanks put so much importance on the family ring?
- When Katrina was faced with the dilemma of which ring to wear, Eugene said that "In the name of family peace, you should wear your great-grandmother's ring." For the greater good, have you ever had to do something that you didn't like?
- Eugene and Katrina were committed to their relationship so much that they wouldn't let material things get in the way. Can you think of any other "material things" besides a ring that could get in the way of a friendship?
Heard in episode
- At the end of this episode, Eugene and Katrina allude (most likely tongue-in-cheek) to eloping (running away to get married). Interestingly, this would actually happen later, in #484: “Plan B, Part 1: Missing in Action”.
- Katrina's emphatic statement in this episode that her parents would be awful planning a wedding is also confirmed in #570: “For Better or For Worse, Part 1”.
- Eugene makes a reference in this episode's opening scene to Jack and Joanne's long-distance courtship that began in #367: “The Decision” and ended in #372 – #374: “For Whom the Wedding Bells Toll”.
- This episode marks the final appearances of Bernard Erhard and Pamela Hayden in the respective roles of Armitage Shanks and Millie Shanks. Erhard would pass away two years after this episode's airdate and Hayden would make her final acting credit on the program in the same year as his death. In later seasons, the role of Armitage would be played by Brian Cummings and Millie Shanks by Julia Kazarian.
- "Armitage Shanks" is a porcelain and plumbing company in England. Armitage Shanks says the ring was a gift for Katrina's great grandmother — Porcelain Shanks.
- The description of Katrina's engagement ring sounds similar to the famous engagement ring of Princess Diana and later Kate Middleton.
Katrina Shanks: Eugene, Connie thinks a kiss hello would be appropriate behavior.
Eugene Meltsner: Connie wants me to kiss her hello?
Katrina Shanks: No, me.
Eugene Meltsner: She wants you to kiss her hello?
Katrina Shanks: No, Eugene.
Eugene Meltsner: We should all kiss hello? One big, sloppy smooch fest?
Bernard Walton: Well, when you put it like that...
Katrina Shanks: Oh, Eugene! I love it! It's wonderful! It's magnificent! It's colossal!
Eugene Meltsner: I thought so, too, which is why it took the proverbial wind out of my sails when your father suddenly came forward with the family ring.
Katrina Shanks: I don't care about that, Eugene. I'll wear it on my other hand. This is my engagement ring.
Armitage Shanks: I'm sorry, Eugene, but we're men. Let's call a spade a spade.
Eugene Meltsner: Mr. Shanks, had I given Katrina a shovel, then yes, we could call a spade a spade. As it is, we're discussing rings!