Episode Report Card
Heathen: C+ | Grade It Now!

Abby asks Chuny for help getting a patient history. Chuny snots that last she checked, that was a doctor's job. God, I hate these people. Is it a doctor's job to bitch-slap annoying people? Because that would be a really handy privilege right now. Abby thinks to explain that she needs the help because her Spanish is insufficient. Chuny immediately softens and asks if this is the girl who came in with her aunt. "Not her aunt," Abby says. Chuny promises to be there; the foundation for the clumsy repair of their rift is in place.

Stupid Tank Cleaner is wheeled in as everyone frets about the health of the shark. These people add up to be the Roy Horn of the fish-loving world. As Sam pokes at the skin around the bite, Howard rounds a corner and runs right into her, knocking over her tray and sending Stupid Tank Cleaner onto the floor. Monticore the Shark starts chomping away merrily on all that delicious leg fat. This is the last we see of this stunt patient -- maybe we're supposed to think this is a happy ending. The man's leg downsizes and the shark gets fed and grows up to be a hardy and strong nurse shark. Everybody wins, except for people like me who hate, hate, hate sharks.

But there is a funny cut here: We smash from the gobbling shark to ketchup plopping onto a plate with that special, inglorious noise. Neela and her parents are grabbing a bite to eat at the convenience store across the street, and her father is questioning why she doesn't want to be a skin doctor and make piles and piles of sweet, sweet cash. The show takes great pains to have an Indian man serve them so that Neela's father can say, "What do you want -- to be like this man here?" Neela says for the bajillionth time that she doesn't know what she wants, and that is the whole point of this excruciating exercise. "I've heard enough," Ajay says. Yes, so have I. Thank you. Mrs. Rasgotra pipes up to order Ajay to find them a cab. Ajay stands up and announces that they will collect Neela's things, rent a car, and drive her to Michigan. Doesn't Neela already have a car? Why can't she drive them? Ah, I see -- no corporate sponsorship in this episode. Maybe Chrysler was unhappy that Buick won their head-to-head battle in the premiere, and yanked its support.

Neela figures that this is a moment of bonding with her mother, wherein they can roll their eyes at what a stubborn oaf her father is. Neela is wrong. "You think he doesn't get it?" her mother hisses. "You're the one who doesn't." Irritated that nobody is giving her cuddly hugs, Neela flips the script and decides that she doesn't want to hear this from her mother. Mrs. Rasgotra -- why didn't she get a name? -- goes off on a predictable monologue about how she had hopes and dreams of her own, but she married her father and their life became running a curry house in Southall. Oops, Mrs. Rasgotra -- you want Desperate Housewives. Head straight for Lost and make a left. Neela explains that she just wants to find her own path, but her mother doesn't think that passing up a big opportunity like this is the way to do it. "I've worked hard for it," Neela points out. "So have we all," her mother says. Oooh, score one for her. We have a tie. And nothing breaks a tie better than a little childhood story about a musical instrument -- usually one that either got stuck in a closet after one use, or one that suppressed or repressed personal growth. Neela chooses the latter, because I guess nobody puts the viola in the closet. "When I was a girl I had to learn to play the sheet music and play it perfectly," she begins. "I was never allowed to play what I wanted." Her mother tsks that Neela wanted to play rock music. Oh, what I would give to hear some '80s hair metal played on a viola. Neela bristles that her point is, she never got to improvise or be creative. And that leads to my favorite line ever: "You can't improvise the viola!" I don't know why that's so brilliant, but it is brilliant. "You can try," argues Neela. Her mother misses the point completely and thinks Neela wants to be a musician. "No, Mum. I want to improvise," Neela says, exasperated.

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