Joan walks into school with Adam, her arms wrapped around his. Grace is behind them. Joan wonders what's for lunch; Grace volunteers that it's creamed chicken. Joan complains, "Can't the cafeteria make anything else?" Adam: "Chah, it's Tuesday. Tuesday, the chicken gets creamed." Joan giggles. It's nice to see her so happy. Then they run into Iris, who says, "Hey," kind of stiffly. Joan drops Adam's arm as Iris walks alongside, telling them, "This bowl of fruit I drew totally blows. I'll be lucky to get an F." Adam: "Your shading is totally brutal, yo." I must be getting old, because at first I can't actually tell if he's using "brutal" as a negative or positive. I know "brutal" is usually bad, but it seems highly unlike Adam to be so blunt. But it's accompanied by a quick, dismissive nod, and he immediately turns his attention back to Joan. Iris agrees: "Total brutality!" Adam makes sure to include Joan in the conversation as soon as possible: "Your mom's teaching us so many techniques, like hatching and cross-hatching…" Iris: "Stippling, scaling…" Joan makes an effort to look politely interested; Grace can't be arsed. In unison, Adam and Iris say, "Stippling is so cool." Then there's a teensy little awkward pause while everyone briefly ponders the uncomfortable implications of the simultaneous declaration. Joan: "Sounds cool." Grace: "I fell asleep when she started talking about fruit." Ha! I love Grace. I think Grace needs her own entire show. Maybe they could call it Grace of Leave Me the Hell Alone.
Grace wanders off, as Iris looks slightly bummed but not surprised, and backs away slightly toward the classroom to give Adam a little space while he asks Joan to meet him on the roof after class: "I gotta do this life sketch and I was hoping I could use you." Iris permits herself a mild snipe: "Very Titanic." But her voice wavers just a bit, and it comes off more like brokenhearted envy than Grace-like sarcasm. Iris takes off as Adam watches her with slight dismay and Joan shakes her head to herself. Adam tells Joan, "She's really okay with us." Yeah, you think? Joan: "Happy…stippling." They part, and Joan moves to her locker, where Grace is waiting, bored and impatient. She informs Joan, "Look, now that you and Rove are tickling molars, we need to lay down some new ground rules." Joan: "What do you mean? Nothing's different." She tries to smile innocently and totally fails. Grace: "Yeah, it is. You're totally into that whole whisper-giggle thing." Joan doesn't know what Grace means, so Grace explains, "You know, you get some lame little secret, and you whisper it to each other, and then you push your heads together, and you do that moron giggle thing." Yeah, she pretty much nailed it. Joan giggles to herself, already fond of the whisper-giggle thing: "No, we don't." Grace: "Trust me, dude. Today, in chemistry! I mean, sitting behind Friedman is enough to make me want to hurl. I don't need the extra help." Joan denies this and offers to tell her what it was about, but Grace interjects: "No, no! God, no. I'm just saying, if it happens again, there'll be physical pain." Joan complains that it's hard for her to find things she has in common with Adam: "I should at least be able to enjoy them." Grace: "Tongue wrestling getting old already?" Joan says that's not it: "Adam's an artist, and Iris is, too. I'm, like, nothing. How can I compete?" I love the "Go Away" sticker on Grace's locker. Joan continues, "Hey, I can colour in Ronald McDonald and not go outside the lines. Which, by the way, is a lie."
As they walk off, Grace reminds Joan that Adam dumped Spunky Booster for her. Joan wonders why. Grace is thoroughly disgusted now: "Oh, see, this is why I'm not getting sucked into the whole dating ritual. You got what you wanted and you're more of a mess than you were before." Grace notices Joan's brother and Glynis yakking by the lockers, and she comments, "Luke and the Ostrich seem pretty happy, though." Ha! Ostrich! I call a shout-out. Joan: "That's because they can talk for days about Einstein's hair." Grace can't quite take her eyes off them as they pass, and she says, "I didn't think they would last this long." Joan: "Do you care?" Grace sneers, "Have I ever?" Kinda looks like you might. Joan: "Hey, we're talking about me here, remember?" Grace: "I got bored." She wanders off. Granola Bar God comes up behind Joan and breezes past her, saying, "You seem down, Joan." Joan snots about God's perceptiveness. Granola Bar God asks Joan why she's so upset. Joan: "I don't know, maybe because the All-Knowing One forgot to give me a life." Oy, this girl. First she was whining endlessly about wanting a boyfriend, and finally she woke up to the one God put in front of her in, like, what, the second episode? Now she has a boy with a place in the Lloyd Dobler Boyfriend Hall of Fame and she's still not happy. Granola Bar God: "Oh, I've supplied everything you need for a perfect life." Joan gripes, "Yeah, you just won't tell me where you hid it." Granola Bar God: "Maybe you're not looking." Joan insists she is, and whines that she has nothing to "bring to the party" compared to Iris: "I mean, I want to be good at something. You know, everyone around me has their thing. I want a thing." God tells her the yearbook is going to the printer in a week and they need help. Joan realizes that since her mother's the yearbook advisor, she'd have to be advised by her mother: "Unless…yearbook is where I'll find my 'thing.'" Granola Bar God says knowingly: "Work at the yearbook." She walks off as Joan gets all excited and says she will. She calls out, "And if I win a prize or an award one day, I'll thank you, in front of everyone, just like they do at the Grammys!" Just as long as you remember to pay tribute to your hair and makeup people first -- just like they do at the Grammys. Granola Bar God disappears around a corner with a Godwave. Joan laughs and gloats to herself: "My thing!" I realize that when Joan's giddy or gleeful, her expressions and especially her voice remind me of my yoga teacher.