Helen's on the phone at school with some lying truant or other: "First of all, Eminem's birthday does not count as a religious holiday, and second, his birthday was October 17, so you have to come to school." Heh. Luke's waiting to talk to her when she gets off the phone; he asks for a "maternal dispensation" in order to drink coffee. She reminds him their agreement was that he couldn't have coffee until he could shave. Luke explains that his TriMathlon competition is this afternoon. Helen: "Waiting for the relevance..." Luke argues that caffeine is a "proven smart drug." Then why are so many people paying five bucks a pop for a cup of coffee? Luke: "Mom, none of the other competitors have to ask their mom if they can drink coffee. Of course, most of them are seniors who shave. If I medal in this TriMathlon, it's $30,000 toward a scholarship at MIT." "Medal" in it? Yeesh. Math's important, bud, but so's English. Helen: "Fine. For thirty grand, drink coffee." Luke: "Plus, unlike most of the competitors, I'll need a ride home from the event." Frink yells from his office next door, where's he programming an Access database for a client but can overhear me recapping, "Tell them to stop making Luke such a loser!" Then we get into a ten-minute through-the-walls discussion of whether or not Luke's being stereotyped or characterized as a loser, my point being that I think we need to give the show a little more time to develop all the characters. We're only ten shows in, and there are five major characters and about twice as many secondary characters (not even counting all of the God avatars) and there's only so much screen time to go around. But I think the show requires -- and will reward -- the patience of viewers. I think I've won Frink over, but I can hear him singing softly, "All we are saying...is give geeks a chance."
Anyway, Helen asks, "Won't the cheering crowd bear you home upon their shoulders?" Geez, Mom, cut the kid some slack. You think Joan's going to win any five-digit scholarships? Weren't you worried about paying for the kids' education just a little while ago? You'd think she could be a little supportive or excited for him. Luke: "You're mocking..." He starts to walk out and bumps into Joan, who's coming in wearing a toque. Wow. It's a bad hair day and a bad hat day all in one. Luke's all nervous about bumping into his "pregnant" sister, asking, "God, are you all right?" Joan: "Step off, weirdo." Luke cautions her to be careful before he leaves. Joan asks her mother, "What's with him?" Helen says fondly, "He's the nice one in the family. And no, you can't go home just because your hair looks funny." Joan asks if she remembers that her driver's test is today at lunch. Helen forgot: "Well, I'm not going to give you an excuse to cancel. I'll get Marlene to cover for me." Joan waves a limp hank of hair at her mother and asks sadly, "How funny does my hair look?" Helen says, "The hat is cute." Joan sighs, "I'm never going to get a boyfriend." Helen says she's okay with that. Joan gives her a stink-eye and leaves. Helen: "Next?" A kid steps up with his finger stuck in a volumetric flask.