Boston Public
Chapter Three

Episode Report Card
Key Grip: D | Grade It Now!
Wherein Fyvush Finkel says, "You've been making eyes at their buttocks area."

Commercial. We're into the home stretch.

A classroom. Kevin comes in and tears into Lipschultz for a while, the gist being, "You stay away from my team!" Harvey puts his one week of experience trying new methods after fifty years of stagnation on the line: "Kevin, teaching today is not as conventional as it once was. Harry Senate is getting one of his students to read by allowing him to touch dead people." Yeah, and he's getting another of his students to do something else by allowing her to touch something else. But, then, he's not, really, so never mind. Harvey goes on, "The methodology has changed. I tried to appeal to football players as human beings." Kevin's having none of it, and storms out. "Oy," says Harvey.

The big meeting. The crowd says, "Murmur, murmur, murmur." As the camera pans across the row of faculty, they weigh in with their opinions. They're worried for Steven, but Harvey says, "People hate soccer." Heh. The meeting is called to order by an old white man. He lets us know what the agenda of the meeting is, because we haven't heard about it THOUSANDS OF TIMES ALREADY...ahem...they're here to discuss concerns about Steven. "Now, frankly, Mr. Harper," says Old White Man, "there are too many concerns to list." Really? I bet the Exposition Fairy could do it in less than five seconds. Steven tells Old White Man to start with just the most important concern, so they talk about the soccer season cancellation. Steven tells us the story of the cheating conspiracy AGAIN. Someone please write to David E. Kelley and explain to him what drama is. Anyway, a bunch of parents stand up and start yelling that this is just symptomatic of the second-class treatment the soccer team always gets. One says, "He just needed an issue to draw focus away from all this other...stuff." Murmur, murmur, murmur.

Big Boy's Office. Dana is talking to a man whose conduct is extremely professional, and whose speech and appearance are totally normal in every way. So what's so strange about Big Boy? Who knows. One of his eyes seems to wander a little, but he's not so off-putting. He's not even that big. I mean, he's not small, but he's not so big as to make Big Boy an appropriate nickname. Basically, he asks her a bunch of questions about kissing teachers: "Have you ever kissed any other teachers? Were you and Harry Senate having an ongoing relationship? Were you attracted to him?" And so on. Slow-lita thinks this is all ridiculous, and says no to everything. Big Boy is unimpressed, and one of his eyes looks at the wall.

The meeting. Old White Man seems to buy the suspicions about the timing of the soccer cancellation. Surprisingly, the Dragon Lady comes to his defense and supports his punishment of the cheaters. But she goes on, "My problem lies with the fact that Mr. Harper responds quickly and severely all the time. Assaulting a student? That's beyond the pale." Blah blah blah, nothing we don't know is revealed. Though she does, finally, ask the question on all of our minds: "Harry Senate actually fired a gun in his classroom. He's still teaching. How can that be?" I don't know. But it is. She even brings up the cannibal thing, and warns of losing federal funding, and the anti-defamation league, and then she makes the mistake of bringing up Marla's questionable mental health. Thus, as everyone whispers fiercely at her to sit down and shut up, Marla stands and makes this big speech: "I want to respond to this stuck-up ice queen. Let me tell you something, let me tell all of you something. The reason I've had it is because I have to go into a room day after day after damn day and try to break through to a bunch of damn kids who don't want to listen, don't want to learn, and don't want to give me the decency of being quiet. Mr. Senate shot off a gun? I woulda rolled in a big cannon if I knew where to get one. I'd have tried anything. And you show me a teacher who doesn't almost lose his or her mind sometimes, and I'll show you a teacher who's not trying. I can show you some parents who aren't. You send them off to school thinking, job's done. It's up to the teachers now." At this point, there's a shot of an Asian guy no older than twenty-five. Marla's still talking: "Well it doesn't work that way. You got to get in on this too. Kids coming in every day, singing that jingle: those who can't do, teach. They get that from their parents! Well let me tell you, we're in there doing every damn day, and a lot of the doing we do is parenting! You want to compare failures? Step right up! Who's first!" Awkward pause. Old White Man says, "Thank you, Ms. Hendricks." Parting-shot-cakes: "And that little stroll you took down there today, ma'am, so you could say you been there? Lady, you ain't been there. Stuck-up intellectual superintendent frappuccino bitch." Nice. Steven gives a look like, "Well, I'm screwed." The superintendent, as Guber predicted, uses this outburst against Steven: Blah blah, this is Steven's fault, a principal has to lead by example, is Steven Harper the example we want for our kids? Eh? Is it? Murmur, murmur, murmur. Murmur. Old White Man asks Steven to respond.

Awkward pause. Then Steven gets a big speech: "My attack on Malcolm White was inexcusable. Harry Senate was wrong to fire a gun in his classroom. Marla Hendricks is frustrated. Show me a faculty member who isn't, and I question his or her commitment. The reason I didn't fire Marla Hendricks, the reason I didn't fire Harry Senate: they're good teachers." Wait, this sounds an awful lot like the speech we just heard. That's because it is. In fact, didn't Marla's speech remind us of her first tirade in the first episode? Hmmm. So, let's skip to the end of Steven's speech: "And when a school is lucky enough to get people like that, you don't. Let. Go." Wait, that's not the end. "You live through their mistakes. You get in their faces. You stand in front of them. Tonight I stand behind them. I've made some mistakes. Keeping Harry Senate isn't one of them." And so on. Finally, the speech ends. Tense pause. Anthony Heald gets up. "If you get rid of Steven Harper, you will be getting rid of me. If he leaves, so do I." Coach Kevin, too. And Lauren. Milton Buttle as well. Marla also. They all find different ways to phrase their support. Harry Senate gets up and says, "I'll...stay forever." Funny. But, guh? Anyway, Lipschultz stands up and says, "I'm Spartacus." He doesn't, but how funny would that have been? Then Marilyn, who says, "We'll all leave." That's pretty presumptuous, don't you think? Lucky for her, all the teachers we don't recognize stand up, too. There are not five female teachers in the group, incidentally, more attractive than Lauren Davis. Old White Man says, "This is not a referendum. Nor will the board be held hostage by a popularity contest." But he then adjourns the meeting, as though the threat to Steven has been eliminated as a result of this. And all the parents who were against Steven five second ago start applauding, for some reason. I'm left thinking: who was on which side here? What is going on? I never felt for a second that Steven was in any jeopardy, and now I'm unconvinced that this series of events have saved him. Wow, this scene must really have made no sense, for that to happen.

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Boston Public




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