The Brain Game

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Some Heads Are Bigger Than Others

Brooke yawns. It's the palace kitchen. Lily, Sam, Josh, and the aforementioned Brooke are studying for the SATs. Brooke is wearing a hot pink sweater made of some nubby material. Her hair has a straight part. Lily looks cute in a burnt-copper knit top over an olive shirt with a spread collar. Her hair is doing a double-layered flip. Sam is wearing what looks to be a yellow "pinny." Remember pinnies? Those things the gym teachers would make you wear so you could all tell what team you were on? That way, in the days of coeducational phys ed, you wouldn't have to do shirts and skins. Anyway, Sam is wearing one over a white sweatshirt. Whatever. Her hair is shorter and has been styled into these coil-like tendrils. Didn't Prince have a similar haircut circa the "Controversy" album? She's also got this pale make-up on. For about the forty-fifth time, why do they keep insisting that Sam is the no-nonsense "substance"-oriented teen while Brooke is the surface-oriented teen? Clearly Sam is the one spending hours on her hair and make-up every morning, while Brooke seems to just comb her hair and go to school. Josh, who is all of a sudden acting unusually dumb tonight, explains that analogies make no sense to him. The girls sing "Which of these things is not like the other?" from Sesame Street to remind him how to figure an analogy out. Josh is still confused but wants to move on to the math questions. Lily wants to make sure that Josh is really clear on what analogies are, and gives a little speech about how important good SAT scores are and how they'll haunt you for the rest of your life. For a second there, it looks as though she's going to go off on a tangent about how unfair and racist and hierarchical standardized testing is. But she doesn't. I'm sort of relieved, but another part of me thinks it feels unnatural for Lily not to touch something like that. "Don't just brush it off if you don't get it," she says. Brooke reads one of those problems with the trains heading towards each other from 215 miles apart. One goes a certain speed. The other goes another speed. When do they meet. Josh hears two trains crashing in his head.

Nicole and Mary Cherry happen to be sharing the mirror in the Novak. And I guess they're still honoring the plot line from last week in which the two girls aren't speaking to each other because things are chilly. While they primp, Nicole gives her "condolences" to Mary Cherry on her unsuccessful bid to grab a spot on Teen Tartz. Mary Cherry, instead of being a bitch back, opts to kiss ass instead, offering Nicole co-captainship of the newly resurrected Kennedy High Academic Decathlon Team in a bid to get some power back that was taken away from her when the Glamazons were canned for lack of student funds. "You're putting together a team to play The Big Head Challenge?" asks Nicole, referring to a show that apparently plays on some public-access station. Hi, could there be more of a shout out to our former nickname for Lily: Little Big Head? "I'll be seen by dozens," says Mary Cherry, pronouncing dozens "dough-zens" and making that gesture around her face with her manicured hand. She offers Nicole a spot on the team in exchange for a chance to be her best friend again. Nicole declines. Mary Cherry points out the benefits of being seen on TV. Nicole changes her mind and agrees to find a faculty sponsor.

The hallway. Lily and Carmen stand at their lockers while Carmen explains why she was missing from their SAT study group that morning. Her hair is candy-apple red and has been bullied into a That Girl flip. She is wearing tight black clothing. Carmen explains that she's going to postpone the SATs and devote the time she would have used for studying to take salsa lessons. She would just have to pick a dance that was also the name of a condiment. Lily reminds Carmen that the SATs are more important that "shaking your bon-bon." Like, she would just have to refer to candy when choosing a euphemism for Carmen's ass. "Don't judge, Lil," says Carmen. "I know it's unorthodox, but I really think I could better communicate my value to the world through my dancing than by pulling some average score on some stupid test." Before Lily can answer her, Josh comes up to them and asks Lily for some help on a certain SAT question. Carmen exits, and Lily tells Josh that she can't help him. Josh promises to make out with her if she'll change her mind and study with him. Lily tells Josh that she's got to study alone. She's been spending too much time helping him and she needs to help herself if she's going to get a scholarship for college. This is a perfectly sensible request of Lily's, but of course they have to make it all about how Lily doesn't think that Josh is smart enough, and Josh gets all offended. Lily tries to assure him that she doesn't think he's dumb and walks off to class. Josh watches her go with a melancholy look in his eyes.

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