Adam catches up with Joan at school and asks about her tutoring session with Roger. Joan's happy; he helped her with her history paper and she aced her math quiz. Adam shows her a catalogue from Bennington, extolling their art department: "Plus all the liberal arts stuff for you." Joan's all, "Vermont?" Hey, don't slag Vermont: it snagged apple pie as its state pie. (State pie? That was a new one on me.) What, were all the other states asleep at the wheel? Its state beverage is milk. Apple pie and milk: how much more American can you get? And you gotta love a state song with lyrics like these. ("Sing we a song! / Sing loud and long! / To our little state so peerless!" Ha ha ha! I'm dying to hear the melody to this.) Okay, that's the old state song, but it's way better than the new one, if you ask me. And you gotta love a place that names "talc" its state mineral. Joan dismisses Vermont as having way too much snow. Maybe it's not snow, Joan. Maybe it's talc. Adam: "Yeah, but they don't have grades there." This elicits much derisive snorting from the guy on the other end of the couch, the one with the engineering degree from the prestigious school. (The guy, not the couch.) Now Joan's interested: "Really? I do love maple syrup." Glancing at the Bennington catalogue, she makes a sound of disappointment: "Hold the pancakes. Tuition's, like, a car and a half. I think my family's going to be living out of a barrel after this lawsuit." Adam suggests Berkeley, but Joan dismisses it as totally impossible to get into, and adds that Roger suggested she try to get into some small places: "You know, like Oberlin…" Adam: "Oberlin? Isn't that in the middle of a cornfield? I mean, what are we gonna do, shoot squirrels and join a militia?" Heh. Is it in the middle of a cornfield? I wouldn't know. But I'll bet Oberlinites (Oberlinians? Oberliners?) are complaining about this on their campus message board. Adam insists they've gotta be next to a city, and Joan agrees.
The bell rings. As he's waving goodbye to her, he bumps into the school secretary, a.k.a. Queer Deity for the Straight Girl. QDftSG hands Joan a flyer advertising chorus auditions for the school musical: For the Love of Zombies. Joan can't believe God wants her to audition for a musical. QDftSG: "The chorus. Where it all begins." Joan objects weakly: "You're not serious." QDftSG: "I'm always serious. Which doesn't mean I'm not fun." Yeah, that's what I tell people, too. Which doesn't mean anyone buys it. Joan lights into him about how hard she's working to get into college so she can have a future. QDftSG: "The future includes more than just you." Joan knows, adding that's why she and Adam are applying to schools together. She asks for some help with her essay. QDftSG declines on that front and tells her, "You'll need an up-tempo and a ballad. Anything from Les Mis[érables] is fine." Obligatory Hatred of Musical Theatre Warning: I hate musical theatre. I'm not even all that big on theatre, though there are times when I don't have to be dragged at gunpoint to Shakespeare or experimental theatre. But most theatre, and musical theatre in particular, makes me feel like I'm a conscript in a trepanning study. Or wish that I were. I hate Broadway music and show tunes and all that jazz. So please, abandon all hope that I'll point out things like whether or not there are any up-tempo pieces in Les Mis, or whatever. Please don't write to tell me how if I just saw [fill in the blank] it would change my mind, because it ain't gonna happen. Anyway, QDftSG wanders off to hand out more flyers (giddily proclaiming, "Singing, dancing, zombies, oh my!") as Joan shouts after him, "Do you remember in fourth grade when they dressed me up like a daisy?" She sighs, "That didn't go well." Theme song. Which, thankfully, is nothing like a show tune.
The director of the play -- the drama teacher, presumably -- is leading a bunch of students through some dance steps when Joan arrives to find him shouting, "Now kick it! Now kick it! Now kick it! Now kick it!" He backs them up and turns around to face them, kneeling. They all dutifully kneel. He tells them, "You're reaching up from eternal damnation. People, let me see those zombie hands! Grrrrrrr!" They all gesture menacingly with their hands, at which point the teacher turns and sees Joan. He tells her she's late and starts in again on another routine as she joins the group. Joan asks Friedman, who's shuffling around clumsily at the back of the group, "Who's Ryan Seacrest?" For the benefit of viewers who did not actually, you know, view this episode: I find this guy to be nothing like the overly coiffed, unfunny lump of smug who hosts American Idol. I find him more reminiscent of Jerry Seinfeld, but less smarmy. Much less smarmy. Friedman says, "He's the guest musical director. Rumour has it he was in Rent, or he needs rent, or something. I don't know." Okay, so he's not a teacher. Friedman: "The drama geeks call him Johnny Broadway." I can work with that. Joan wonders what Friedman's doing here. Other than flailing around awkwardly, I guess she means. He replies, "Musical theatre? It's the straight man's paradise." Joan: "Gross."