Boston Public
Chapter Eighteen

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Finkel on his students: "I think Marla's done something with them."

Props to, of all people, DEK, for firing Robert Downey Jr.'s ass from Ally McBeal. He really needs a no-tolerance policy, and no work in Hollywood, and no support from anyone, so he can hit rock bottom and start to get better. Good for you, DEK. ("You fire him, David, right now, or no more nookie." "Yes, Michelle.") Now write some good dialogue for Boston Public, please.

Previously on Boston Public: The Bus Lady figured out that Steven had never really met her daughter; Coach Lamprey, in the only plot line he ever had, tried to convince Christine "Blob" Banks to wrestle on the boys' team; she did and kicked major butt; Blob's Dad tried to convince her to stop wrestling 'cause it's humiliating; Blob kept winning, and people cheered for her using the name "Blob"; the mother of the girl who puked in the morgue yelled at Steven and ordered Anthony Heald to smell a shoe; Harry told Dana "Slow-lita" Poole that they could still be friends even though she turned their measly kiss into a huge deal for the first five episodes of the show; Blob told the wrestling crowd that she wants to be called "Christine" and so they started cheering "Christine."

Scott "Look At Me" Guber stalks the halls, lookin' for trouble. Peering into an open classroom, he finds Harvey Lipschultz sitting at a desk, alone. "Harvey? May I ask what you're doing?" Harvey says that he's waiting to teach History, but his class didn't show up, and neither did Marla Hendricks. "I think she's done something with them." Yes, because she stopped taking her crazy pills. Anthony Heald asks if Harvey really thinks Marla did something with all of them, and Harvey says yes, gesturing emphatically to the empty room, in front of the large model of the solar system that graces every high school History classroom. "Do you see any, Scott?" says Harvey. Scott says, "No, and it might cause me concern, were this in fact your classroom, Harvey. You're on the wrong floor." Scott leaves. Harvey says, "Dammit." Yes, Harvey, the score now stands -- You: Zero. Senility: Eleven Thousand.

In the real History classroom, one floor down, "Men Are From" Marla "Women Are From" Hendricks is teaching a classroom chock full of students. She's saying how wonderful it was to spend the last few nights grading the students' exams. Hmmm. My sarcasma-sense is tingling. Marla says, "I was overwhelmed. Ms. Stuart, could you stand up please? Ms. Stuart, when was World War Two?" Ms. Stuart asks if she got that wrong, and Marla's all, "Did you get it wrong? I don't know. You answered late sixties. How many here think World War Two was in the late sixties?" No one raises their hand, not even Ms. Stuart, which begs the question: why did she put that down, eh, if she doesn't think it's the answer? Maybe she's familiar with the fine art of subtlety, as demonstrated by Marla in this scene. Marla now turns her attention to another student, who apparently said that General Patton "invented General Electric, and now whenever somebody invents something, he has to get a Patton on it, so no one will steal his idea." Well obviously there are no Pattons on storylines and characters from other shows and movies about high school, because otherwise there's lots of Patton violations right here in this room. Anyway, Marla asks how many people studied for the test, and only a few people raise their hands. "You wanna be high school dropouts? Fine. Let's all be high school dropouts. I want everybody out in the parking lot, now. We're all gonna be janitors. That's what high school dropouts become. Up. Everybody's gonna go outside and pick up trash." Wow, that's a pretty broad generalization. But I guess Marla's just trying to make a point. About janitors. The camera focuses on one kid in particular, who looks down, stung. He probably comes from a long line of janitors. Another girl objects to this punishment: "I studied for that test. I bet I did good on that test. So why do I have to pick up garbage, when I did good?" And before I can type "I guess the test didn't involve grammar," Marla's all, "You're picking up garbage for having awful grammar. And whether you did 'good' or not, school is not an institution that gives customized treatment. We treat the masses, and the masses in this classroom didn't do 'good.' Now go pick up some garbage, before I send your little do-goody self to Guber." That stuff about treating the masses sounds an awful lot like the "too many of them, too few of us" speech Steven gave to Courtney B. Vance in the pilot. I guess Steven didn't get a Patton on that monologue. Anyhow, all the students file out of the room, just in time for Harvey to wander in. He looks around the now empty room, perplexed. He checks the clock. He says, "Hm. Where is it?"

Credits. I hope Thomas Newman got a Patton on this music, or else people might listen to it while stoned at laseriums across the country.

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