Joan of Arcadia
Vanity, Thy Name Is Human

Episode Report Card
Deborah: B | 2 USERS: A+
Maybe He's Born With It...Maybe It's Maybelline

Will and some other cop (who I think might be Carlyle from last week) go into a drugstore so that the other guy can get some Charleston Chews, whatever they are. No need to write me about it. I'm sure it's some kind of junk food. Will reads a tabloid magazine: "Wow…Bigfoot had a kid. We'll have to send a card." Some young woman with a Russian accent (according to the closed captioning) is arguing with the pharmacist, trying to get him to fill some prescription he already filled twice last week. He won't do it, and tells her to get lost or he'll call the cops. She gives him a snotty look and leaves. Will overhears all this and, showing the pharmacist his badge, asks what the deal is. The pharmacist says these girls from Russia or someplace come in daily, trying to scam him. Will wonders if the prescriptions are phony; the pharmacist says they're real, but they're trying to get more than the doctor prescribed. The drug is misoprostol, which is an ulcer medication. Will: "You can get high on ulcer medication?" That might explain James Joyce. Will cracks, "No wonder my grandfather was always smiling." The pharmacist says, "It can induce miscarriage. It's an off-label use. Without a doctor's supervision, it's pretty risky." They glance at the girl, who's still in the store, picking through candy or something. Will: "Do-it-yourself abortion. And it's not just her?" The pharmacist confirms this. The other cop (maybe I'll just call him Chewy) walks up with a big paper bag and a chocolate bar, doing his own little commercial for the product. He notices Will's not really listening; he's watching the girl go outside and be rebuked by some older guy in a leather coat. Chewy: "We got trouble?" Will, in Lenny Briscoe mode: "Why should today be any different?" Chung! Chung!

AP Chem. Luke is telling Glynis something inaudible, but it sounds like it has to do with M-Brane theory. Is that really something a fifteen-year-old could expound upon knowledgeably? It seems unlikely. If he were that much of a big-ass prodigy, shouldn't he be interning for Stephen Hawking or something? Adam holds the hot pink balloon, saying, "I'm not seeing the giraffe." Try squinting. Joan: "Never mind. Two-for-one smoothies at the mall tonight. Who's in?" Friedman, to whom she was not speaking, turns around: "I'm in." Joan: "You're so not." Friedman swivels his head forward again. Adam: "I don't do the mall." Grace: "I've got Hebrew class." Joan, with her usual mixture of empathy, sensitivity and awareness of other people: "The bat mitzvah thing? Isn't that over?" Grace: "You'll know when it's over. There'll be a big, embarrassing party with rubber chicken and old Jews dancing to Donna Summer." Ha! We so need to see that. I think I'll plotz if they don't include that in the show. Joan stares ahead, and then asks Adam, "You're really not going to go with me?" Adam: "The mall gives me a rash, Jane." Sing it, brother. It gives me a migraine. On bad days, it gives me homicidal impulses. He continues, "The aesthetic is rude." That, too. Ms. Lischak suddenly comes by, handing out fliers and saying, "Listen up, my noble warriors: one week seminar starting today. Counts for two whole points on your final exam if you decide to partake. I advise you to partake." Grace reads the flier: "The Ancient Ritual of Cosmetology." Joan mutters, "What, like the zodiac? How's that science?" I don't know if it's got to do with the makeup plot, but there's an awful lot of pink -- especially hot pink -- in this episode. Particularly in this scene. The balloon's pink; the fliers are hot pink; Joan's wearing a pink shirt and a pink sweater; Lischak's wearing a pink shirt over a fuchsia T-shirt or sweater… Lischak explains: "Cosmetology. Face paint. Takes us all the way back to the Egyptians. What's more, it's the marriage of compounds to create colour and texture. It's chemistry, people!" Joan, quietly: "I don't get it." Adam: "It's makeup." Joan: "You mean like a makeup class?" Lischak whaps her pointer on a desk and says, "Let me see a show of hands." Glynis and Friedman's hands shoot up as Joan's eyes widen, realizing this is what Balloon "Artist" God was talking about. Her head drops to the desk as she raises her hand. You know, if this had aired much earlier, I don't think I would have believed that there could be a class about cosmetics in high school, but a few weeks ago, one of the women in my Strength & Stability class at the gym was talking about her teenage daughter's makeup class. I was rather incredulous, but apparently things have changed a lot since the olden days, when I was in school and they forced all kinds of stoopid book learnin' on us.

The cosmetology class is being taught by Shelley Long, in a (what else?) pink suit and a blonde Ivana Trump updo. She is heavily but perfectly made up. As two rows of students fool around with cosmetics, she lectures: "The Egyptians, the Aztecs, the Mayans, all believed that to paint one's face was an expression of power…of nobility…of health…even spirituality." Joan manages to fumble her attempt to use an eyelash curler, and I know Frink is squicked. He doesn't believe me that it doesn't hurt if you do it carefully, and it freaks him out to watch me use mine. Mind you, just yesterday I saw a woman using one while driving and I thought that was just nuts. Joan: "Ow! Oh, I'm blind. I'm blind. No, I'm okay." As the teacher continues telling them that both men and women used makeup -- "if anything, the men were more adorned" -- she adds that it's a fairly recent development that men are supposed to be ashamed of preening. Friedman dispenses a softball-sized gob of mousse into his palm. As he rubs it through his hands and into his hair, he tells the teacher, "Straight up." Joan yelps again, still struggling with the eyelash curler: "Ow! Oh, this is like torture!" The teacher hustles over to Joan to give her some pointers about resting her pinky finger on her cheek in order to apply the eyeliner. Frink: "She's a total Mary Kay commando." Then there's a funny bit where Joan does follows the teacher's instructions very carefully, with her mouth open in that tentative way, and Mary Kay mimics her facial expression exactly. Joan manages it, and they both laugh and smile a bit. Mary Kay beams at Joan: "There's no need to apologize for the pursuit of beauty. Ancient civilizations understood this." Joan: "So, it's important to look your best while…being a human sacrifice?" Hee. There's a thought: would those cultures sacrifice the best-looking ones in order to honour the gods, or the worst-looking ones, figuring, let's tidy up the gene pool while we're at it?

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Joan of Arcadia




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