Joan and Grace are walking through an alley in what looks like a fairly poor and rough neighbourhood. There's lots of garbage strewn around, lots of graffiti on the walls, and there are homeless people wandering around or hanging out on discarded furniture. It's so cute how they're both wearing those long scarves. They're taking turns kicking a paper cup. Grace is also playing with a yo-yo. In the background I can see a streetcar go by. Joan's complaining: "Remember when we were just losers...subdefectives with no hope of friends or a social life?" Grace: "Something change that I don't know about?" Joan: "Yeah. Adam's all 'oooh!' about Iris. And Luke, who I can always count on to be more pathetic than me, has hooked up with Glynis, shining a big spotlight on what a total washout I am! If I was a Viking they'd put me on a flaming raft and send me out to sea." Grace: "You did the history reading!" Joan says that illustrates how desperate she is. Grace: "That thing with Rove is not gonna last." Joan sneers, "No? Why, are his lips going to fall off from making out too much?" Grace relents: "I was trying to be positive. It's not me. Rove and Iris are perfect for each other. They'll probably have a houseful of emotionally damaged babies by senior year." God forbid. Joan: "So where do I fit in?" Grace: "You don't. Isn't that how this whole conversation got started?" They come across a guy singing badly, and playing his acoustic guitar equally badly. Mind you, he's better than most of what you see on American Idol. Hell, if I played an oboe out of my ass, I'd be better than most of what you see on American Idol. Grace: "Why do I always want to punch street performers?" Because that's the natural, healthy reaction to attention whores. Joan posits that it's "clown trauma." Also a good explanation.
Anyway, the guy's singing "One of Us," which just made me howl with laughter. Self-referential silliness is always good. Grace: "Why are we stopping? We should be fleeing in horror. It's bad enough we had to come all the way downtown to the library to research Viking footwear." Viking footwear? Joan: "I kinda like this song..." Hee. He sings, "Just a slob like one of us..." as Grace tells Joan she's not hanging around for this, no matter what kind of breakdown Joan's having. Joan tells her she'll catch up with her. As Grace walks past the guy, she says, "You suck, dude." He shrugs and turns to Joan, singing as walks toward her: "'I said, yeah, yeah, God is great / I said, yeah, yeah, God is good / I said, yeah, yeah...'" I am just laughing my ass off. Joan grabs the strings and says, "That was really humiliating. God should know how to carry a tune!" God Marley (tm Professor Frink) says, "You seem awfully high-strung these days, Joan." Gotta love a paranomastic deity. "You need to lighten up, baby!" She begs him not to play another song. God Marley wants her to learn how to jump rope. She says she knows how and that she did it when she was little. God Marley: "Yeah, and didn't you enjoy it? The freedom, the joy, man. That perfect synchronicity between jumper and rope." He glances over to where some girls are skipping double Dutch and chanting to the girl jumping, "Casper, Casper, why you bugging / Your daddy's gone and you're left jumping / Jump! Jump! Jump! Jump! / Mama, Mama, took me to the park / Sun went down and it got dark..." Joan says, "You're kidding me, right?" God Marley starts singing "One of Us" again and walks off as Joan says, "Grace was right. You do suck." He does the Godwave as he rocks off. He's pretty cute, actually. They'd better bring him back. Joan glances back at the girls jumping rope. The girl jumping is really good; she can lift her foot and touch it while skipping. Joan looks like she's really relishing this assignment.
After the credits and commercials, Joan walks over to the girls who are jumping rope. They're a lot more "street" than she is, and you can feel her nervousness. She stands next to the girl who's jumping -- Casper (Erica Hubbard) -- until she takes note of Joan and stops, messing up the ropes. Casper comes over and asks, "What are you looking at?" Joan: "Uh, you. Um, that was amazing. How do you -- how do you do that?" Casper sneers, "You think I look like some kind of teacher?" Joan does not. She just would like to try. Casper informs her, "You need skillz to jump with this crew." Joan: "Oh, I got skillz. I got mad skillz. Well, not mad. More like loopy, loopy." Something makes Casper relent and give her a chance: "Yo, Maliya, Nikki. Give girlfriend here a turn." I'm sure she expects Joan to make a fool of herself. Joan prepares to jump in, and asks them to slow it down a bit: "I'm a little rusty." They smile, but don't comply. Joan keeps hesitating, and Casper says, "You said you wanted to jump. Jump!" She pushes Joan into the ropes. Of course Joan gets all tangled up, and the girls laugh at her. Casper laughs, "You said you had skillz! You lied!" Joan says Casper pushed her. Casper: "Buh-bye!" Joan picks her stuff up and stands off to one side as Casper goes back to jumping, the girls singing, "Casper, Casper, why you buggin'?" She replies, "Snow White tried to jump with me!" Then: "Casper, Casper, where'd she go?" Casper jumps madly as she replies, "Home 'cause the sad girl hit the flo'!" Joan looks more unhappy than angry.