The teaser for this episode is a work of art. While the music they stole from The Exorcist tinkles away in the background, the announcer intones solemnly that "Mary Camden will do . . . the unthinkable." I swear some WB promo producer must have been laughing hysterically while putting it together. After the usual upbeat welcoming message from RevCam, the episode begins.
Simon and his friends are roughhousing in the schoolyard. We're subjected to repeated belching and armpit-farting, treated in a way that makes you think the guys have just discovered both activities fifteen minutes ago. Never having been a thirteen-year-old boy myself, I have to ask Mr. Cate if this scene is in any way realistic. Um, no. Amidst all the hilarity, they suddenly employ the type of slo-mo camera technique that makes me think someone's about to get shot. Regrettably, no one does, but it's almost as bad, as Simon flips off his friends -- TWO-HANDED! He looks about as pleased with himself as if he'd just invented the cure for cancer. Okay, I read the previews, and I'd been waiting for this episode with a somewhat unbecoming glee, and now there they go, shooting their wad in the first thirty seconds of the show. Why would I bother watching the rest? Well, maybe to see the weirdly edited triple-take, complete with Psycho music, of Annie's reaction from where she sits watching in the car. Why is she there? I wonder briefly if her overprotectiveness has caused her to start hanging around the school, stalking her own children, but maybe she's just there to pick them up. Ruthie is with her, and she asks, "What does that finger thing mean anyway?" SuperMom is too dumbfounded to respond. Simon notices that both his mother and the school principal have caught his performance, and he looks chagrined, to say the least.
Back inside the school, Mary and the rest of the basketball team are sitting outside the gym, waiting for practice. The coach is holding a folder, and he asks if anyone knows what's inside it. Some basketball-related guesses are made that are not very interesting at all. Then one girl suggests, "The names and addresses of all the girls who won't go out with you?" The uproarious laughter that results makes me thankful once again that I never had the bonding experience of participating in any high-school team sports. It turns out Coach is holding their academic progress reports, which he has read "over and over and over." Life much, Coach? He natters on for some time about how the team has not heeded his warnings about bringing their grades up. His soothing voice and crappy dialogue cause me to doze off for a bit, but I do wake up in time to see him chain and padlock the gym. Until the team members improve their grades, the season is cancelled.
After the opening song that wants to think it's cool and the commercial break, we're back at school, where Lucy and some other goody-goodies are presiding over something called "Kennedy High School Court." Okay, does any high school actually do this? I can't imagine what planet you'd have to hail from in order to think that having students disciplining other students is even remotely a good idea. I mean, couldn't some of these kids be armed? The advisor calls up a teacher, Mr. Donnelly, and two students who are obviously a couple. The students start making out, and everyone watches for a while, until Mr. Donnelly puts a stop to it by sliding a file folder between the students' faces. The advisor bangs her gavel and declares them, "Guilty." It's obvious the writers are oh-so-in-touch with the youth of today. Anyway, I think it's supposed to be a comic moment. I keep waiting for all the students in the room to start coughing in unison while muttering, "Blow job," in an homage to Animal House, but unfortunately this moment never arrives. Instead the scene just lurches along uncomedically with a few more stereotypes about bad, non-Camden kids.