Props to David E. Kelley. Not for this show, which is as subtle as a train wreck, and which rises above mediocrity mainly because of a superb cast, but rather for being married to Michelle Pfeiffer. Rrrrrowrrr. With her waiting in bed, I wouldn't bother to work on my scripts until they made sense either.
There are no opening credits for this show. There may be, in the future, but there aren't any tonight. Instead, just the title, written in what is, I guess, a scholastic font.
Fade up on a mural of some stuff. A thumping beat, which thankfully does not turn into "Gangsta's Paradise," accompanies a tracking shot that takes us to the principal's office, where an angry father is lambasting a young social studies teacher, whom we will come to know as Lauren "Not Scorin'" Davis. In all likelihood, we already know her from the previews, as the teacher who finished seventh in the online poll of whom the male students want to sleep with most ("Seventh?"). And, while she's not the most beautiful woman in the world, by which I mean she's no Michelle Pfeiffer, she's hot enough that I wonder whether we're going to get to see all six of the female teachers who beat her. I certainly hope so. I can't believe I get paid to do this.
Anyway, while Dejected Son and Disapproving Mom look on, Angry Dad is insisting that his son's grade on a test be raised from an F to a D, advancing the highly persuasive argument that "it's a subjective thing. He failed because you didn't like his answers." Ms. Davis counters, "It's American History, Mr. Harrelson, the questions are not subjective. Who is Abraham Lincoln? Jason's answer: He invented the log." Just then, the principal arrives. He's probably wondering how four people got into his office, but he does not remark on this. Instead, when Angry Dad calls him "Harper," he takes the opportunity to let the audience know what his name is: "Steven. Or Mr. Harper. Or this meeting is over." I guess his name is Steven Harper. Good to know, because no one will use his last name for the rest of the episode. I'm hoping Mr. Harrelson will call him This-Meeting-Is-Over, like it's his Native American name, but he doesn't. Anyway, Principal Steven backs up Ms. Davis, asserting that Jason failed the test "because he thought Lincoln was a log, Washington was a Redskin, and Hamilton -- what was Hamilton?" A blender, naturally. Heh. Principal Steven also warns Angry Dad not to point his finger, so we know that he's no-nonsense. Ultimately, of course, it turns out that the Jason needs the grade raised, because otherwise he can't play in the Big Game against Norwood, which will be attended by Important College Scouts. Mr. Harrelson closes with the old "I am not a tree trunk" conjecture -- "I am not some tree trunk," he says, "I am a parent trying to maximize my son's academic opportunities, which happen to coincide with this game. However much we might hate that idea." Well, he's not a tree trunk, so the rest of that must be true. Principal Steven takes a long beat and then says, evenly, "This school fully supports Ms. Davis' decision." I gather that we're supposed to think he's going out on a limb, but it sounds to me like Jason failed that test pretty unequivocally. Perhaps sensing the growing implausibility of his "subjectivity of history" and "tree trunk" arguments being entertained, Mr. Harrelson leaves.
A young woman, perhaps the school secretary, pokes her head into Principal Steven's office and says, "Lipschultz." Steven says, "Gesundheit." No, actually he says, "What now?" Apparently, Lipschultz is trying to send Dana Poole home for not wearing a bra.