Art class. Kids are goofing off and horsing around. Adam is shoving something -- Koosh balls? -- into his toque near his ears. Iris is twirling markers around each other like propellers. Helen arrives and greets everyone. The class falls into an awkward silence. She suggests five minutes of free drawing. I guess this is the first class after the review appeared, though it seems all screwed up timeline-wise. It seems like two or three days have passed since then. Spunky Booster pipes up, "Slammin' show, Mrs. Girardi." Pipes up? Sucks up is more like it. Helen thanks her. Iris kinda shrugs at Adam, as if to prompt him to say something. He does: "That critic is a wipe, yo." Helen smiles weakly and looks around: "So...you read the review?" Students nod sympathetically. Helen: "Well, he's just doing his job, I guess." Adam: "He wrote that Rossetti was an Impressionist." Iris: "Which is like saying Monet was a Pre-Raphaelite." Oh, good one, "I"! Except not. Shut up. Helen brightens up: "Really? He wrote that?" Adam: "Chah. He's a total poser, Mrs. G. The establishment press is totally wack." Iris: "Look at Manet, Lautrec, van Gogh..." I suppose it's good of Iris to be supportive after the way Helen's treated her. Still, I'm not cutting her much slack. She's too annoying. Adam: "Yeah, critics have this, like, great tradition of being totally clueless." Watch it, bub. Helen agrees, "That's true, isn't it?" Their efforts to cheer her remind me of this quotation I like from author Jean Kerr: "Confronted by an absolutely infuriating review, it is sometimes helpful for the victim to do a little personal research on the critic. Is there any truth to the rumour that he had no formal education beyond the age of eleven? In any event, is he able to construct a simple English sentence? Do his participles dangle? When moved to lyricism, does he write, 'I had a fun time'? Was he ever arrested for burglary? I don't know that you will prove anything this way, but it is perfectly harmless and quite soothing." Helen adds, "But...our job as artists is to press on. Continue creating, 'cause that's who we are. Um...even if some critic does squash you like a bug." She shrugs and smiles: "That's who we are." She and Adam smile at each other.
Joan (wearing a baseball cap -- not her best look) hobbles her way down to a step, to sit with Adam, Iris, and Grace, who are already sitting on the stairs. She struggles with the crutches, which Adam puts his hands out to steady, as she more or less falls to a sitting position. Grace is holding a meeting on the retaliation plan. She says that she asked Friedman to put his nerd cells to use -- wait, she asked Friedman for something? Rather than Luke? Man. She must really not want to talk to Luke. Either that, or it's something she thinks Luke wouldn't be willing to do. Adam says Friedman's going to hack in and destroy the photo. Um, so what? It's not the Rosetta Stone. It's a digital photo, and there must be ninety thousand copies of it floating around by now. Grace: "He knows how to replace your body with Christie Brinkley's." Joan tries to put her injured foot over Grace's shoulder, but Grace pushes it off. Iris adds, "Pre-babies, like early '80s." Joan hoists her foot onto Adam's knee instead. Heh. Iris looks slightly unhappy about it, but decides not to make an issue of it, I guess. Grace says, "Now, all we have to do is narrow down our course of action. Rove is against physical violence but I overrode him." Rove: "Yeah, apparently it's like the UN: her vote counts for more." Grace: "Here are my ideas, in order of inspiration: a) Whoopee cushion. Not evolved, but always effective. b) Water balloons on the morning bus. Bad hair all day. c) The classic trip-and-fall with trays in the cafeteria. d) Gum in the seat..." Come on, this is penny-ante stuff. Grace would have better ideas than this. Someone climbs over them to get down the stairs. Joan says that Grace is losing her. Grace: "Retribution: the oldest profession." Huh? Joan says she thought that was farming. Wrong again. Grace: "Listen to me. Don't wimp." Joan: "Hey, I'm injured, I'm tired, and I don't know if I can pull this off." Iris says, "But the beauty part, Joan, is that your friends do it for you." Joan: "I'm your friend?" Iris: "You're A's friend. I'm about A." Gah. I don't know how many more weeks I can listen to her call him that. Also, she's eating and talking at the same time and frankly, I don't need to see that, either. Joan wonders, with her finger in her ear, "Do you have to talk? Is there, like, an off switch?" Heh. I'd think that's a big old shout-out, except that I'm sure this episode must have been taped before Iris's first episode aired. Adam tells Iris she's joking. Iris: "Yeah. Ring, ring! That's my life calling." She leaves. I hope that's a long phone call. Joan says to Adam, "It's just...her voice..." Grace says, "Yeah, good luck with that," as Adam leaves without a word. Well, it is awful. Grace gets up as Joan insists, "It is!" Grace: "Right." What happened to "Kill it, Girardi"? Joan sits on the stairs, trying to cross her bad leg over her good one and arrange herself comfortably.