Joan comes to the apartment of that crying woman on the bus, whose name I don't think we ever find out. It's Sylvia, though. I wish we could get characters' names more consistently. It's the one place I cut the Exposition Fairy a lot of slack. Sure, I can look it up online -- the information can usually be found somewhere -- but what did those poor saps do back in the day when they were recapping shows before the internet? Wait... Anyway, Joan knocks on the door, and a little kid answers. It's David Dorfman, who was the kid (Aidan Keller) in The Ring, in which most of you probably know Amber Tamblyn also appeared. David Dorfman is perhaps on the verge of "Hey! It's That Kid!"-dom. Is there such a thing as "Hey! It's That Kid!"? (Sars?) Most child actors probably don't have busy enough careers to achieve this status before they're pushing things on the "kid" front. ["I concur." -- Sars] Anyway, this is probably a good place to mention that after I found out last summer that I would be recapping this show, I went and rented The Ring -- I thought I should see it since Amber's in it. Well, she was fine in her part, and David Dorfman seemed good, too, but I found the movie pretty boring -- so boring I fell asleep about a third of the way into it. And I am not a person who normally falls asleep during films. (My idea of a good Saturday is to take in the seven-hour presentation of Hans-Jürgen Syberberg's Hitler: A Film From Germany -- which was actually nine hours with the two-hour intermission -- so I know from butt-numbing cinematic endurance tests, people.) So if there are some obvious jokes related to the movie to be made here, you're on your own.
Anyway, the kid, Rocky, doesn't really let Joan in, but questions her at the door, asking her how old she is. Joan says she's sixteen. (But for all the people out there jonesing for her and feeling vaguely guilty: Amber Tamblyn is twenty. She's over the age of majority. And her birthday is the same day as Professor Frink's.) Sorry, the show. Yes. Then Rocky asks her if she smokes. Joan seems to need to think about that, which is odd. Isn't it? I wonder if she's thinking about whether dope counts. Not that I have any evidence she smokes dope. In fact, she told her father she doesn't do drugs, and I have no reason not to believe her. But why the hesitation? Rocky asks if she exercises moderately. Joan: "I guess." She laughs weakly. Rocky announces, "Your current life expectancy is approximately eighty-five." Sylvia appears at this point and asks Rocky not to "creep Joan out." Sylvia tells Joan, "He likes facts. Come on in." He likes facts? Maybe Kevin should baby-sit him. Kevin's all over the facts these days, like lies on Bush. Rocky informs Joan that his mother used to smoke, so her life expectancy is seven years less than Joan's. Sylvia says Rocky's eaten dinner and can have a snack at seven o'clock when he's watching the Discovery Channel. Rocky tells Joan, "It's Disaster Week. Tsunamis tonight. Thousands dead." He sounds kind of...pleased about it. Maybe not "pleased" so much as "satisfied." Sylvia says she'll be back by 10:00 PM at the latest, and that her cell phone number is on the fridge. She takes Joan over to a desk and opens the top drawer, saying Rocky has some "breathing issues." She shows her a bunch of inhalers and medications and says that Rocky knows exactly which ones to use: "But if it gets bad, I need you to call me." Joan mentions she's got chemistry homework, and Sylvia tells her son, "Don't talk her to death." Heh. Sylvia assures Joan that once the disasters start, he'll be glued to the set. Sylvia kisses Rocky and leaves. Before she's even out the door, Rocky says, "I can list all the organic poisons in alphabetical order." Joan doesn't know what to make of that. But hey, maybe he can help with your chemistry homework.