Joan of Arcadia
Game Theory

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A Show Of Hands

Adam finds Joan at her locker. He has a little trouble getting her attention; Joan explains, "My mom burned a hole in my ear lecturing me about college." Adam wants to know what time to pick her up tomorrow for the field trip to Dawson State. ["Cute." -- Sars] Joan needs to be reminded of why they're going there. Adam explains that their guidance counsellor told him state schools offer more financial aid and advised him to use it as leverage for the Ivy League schools he wants to get into. Joan doesn't see the point in her going: her grades are crap so far this year, and the work is only getting harder. She shows Adam an Astrobrite yellow flyer advertising a seminar called "Hidden Rainbows / Alternatives to Higher Learning" offered by Mr. Dana Tuchman, the counsellor. She thinks it looks cool, and Tuchman said she was perfect for it. Adam: "No, this is the Slacker Symposium!" Joan: "No, don't say that! It could be interesting. Look, we'll still be together. I'll figure out a way to be wherever you are, just not in college. It's not for me. Why can't people accept that?" Adam says he accepts it, but thinks she's selling herself short. Well, I agree she has potential, but then…let's not forget that the girl sprained her ankle in a washing machine. We're not dealing with R. Buckminster Fuller here. Joan reminds him that he's an artist: "You of all people should understand that there are other ways of being happy and whole and creative outside of conventional education, right?" Adam: "I guess…" Joan claims to be really excited: "I just feel all these exciting new horizons unfolding." She opens the door to Tuchman's seminar and is hit in the head a couple of times with wads of paper being tossed around by the roomful of slackers, losers, and other underachievers. Adam: "Good luck, Jane." He takes off. Joan notices Goth God waving to her. He pats the empty chair next to him. She sits down and claims, "I always knew God was an underachiever." Theme song.

The galoot in front of Joan turns around and stuffs some snack food into his piehole, leering at Joan as he licks his fingers. Professor Frink: "Dude, you're hitting on God's girl." Tuchman comes in, and it's the first time we've seen him. He's sort of a Poor Man's James Spader (tm Gustave). He greets them: "Good morning, dregs of society! I will be your guide to the narrow alleyways of alternative achievement. If anyone understands what that means -- it's an Ivy League educated man who works for the public school system." What is with the attitude of the staff at Arcadia High School? PMJS seems like he's been sucking at the snotty teat of Price's negativity and arrogance. Aren't there any sincere, earnest, supportive, die-hard, go-kids-go staff members at AHS? I mean, apart from Helen, I guess? PMJS goes on to say that brings him to lesson number one: "Don't be bitter." I'll bet lesson number two is "do as I say and not as I do." Joan whispers to Goth God to ask why he's there. He replies, "It's a guidance session. I'm all about guidance." Joan gripes, "Maybe if you were a little more specific." Goth God: "Yeah, but you didn't like it when I told you what to do." Joan: "I like it less when you don't." Interesting. PMJS would like Joan to share her thoughts with the class. Joan laughs weakly and apologizes: "Sorry, we're -- we're just being…rude. Continue." PMJS carries on: "The point is, each of you is unique, and has hidden talents." Well, he gets points for not sticking an adverb in front of "unique" and for using the correct verbs. His attitude still sucks, though. "Some of them more hidden than others…sometimes one might say they're invisible. But up until now, you've been pumped full of dreams, most of which that [sic] aren't even your own." "Most of which that"? Yeesh. I'm taking those points back. Starting up his AV show, he displays a picture of a sunset and asks, "How about a few less dreams…and a few more…goals?" Not crazy about "few less" either, though it's become pretty common usage.

He shows a picture of a team scoring or something. "Because goals are attainable…and dreams are what happen when you eat cheese before you go to bed." Indeed. If you have not read Winsor McCay's sublime Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend, which contains some of the funniest and most wonderful drawings in the history of comic art, you must rush out right this minute and acquire it. Forget the recap. Go, now. It'll be here when you get back. And while you're at it, get a book that includes the Little Nemo in Slumberland, strips and you'll thank me for introducing you to some of the most beautiful comic art ever. Anyway, the kids are completely underwhelmed by all of this, so PMJS moves on to show them pictures of some people who didn't get four years of college. He inserts a picture of Shakespeare upside down. Heh. This elicits only the mildest titter from the nearly comatose audience. He mentions Charlie Chaplin, Rosa Parks, and Abraham Lincoln. How about Joan of Arc? No one's especially moved. PMJS: "People who changed the history of the world because of their unique and singular vision, and their belief in that vision, and not because of a diploma." Joan considers this, and then leans over to Goth God: "Hey, that's kind of true, isn't it? Guidance counselors can't lie, right?" He replies, "Guidance comes in many forms, Joan. It can point you in a lot of different directions. You have to develop a little bit of discernment." PMJS: "Okay, now you're just starting to piss me off." Goth God gets up and walks out as PMJS drones on about how the TV commercials for DeVry and like institutions aren't making up their success stories. Joan glances at the guy next to her, who's busy digging for treasure. I suppose we should be grateful he's using a Kleenex.

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Joan of Arcadia

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