Joan of Arcadia
Wealth Of Nations

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The Wages Of Sin

Kevin's in his room, practicing his material in front of a mirror. "Sometimes…when nobody's looking…I used the non-handicapped toilet. But then I feel guilty." Behind him, Joan quietly starts to come in, but Kevin doesn't see her. When she sees Kevin before the mirror, she backs out and watches from the doorway. He continues, "It's really not so bad being in my position: nobody ever yells, 'Down in front!' And uh, I don't want you to think my equipment is all broken down there…the chair reclines…" He demonstrates as Joan bursts out giggling. Kevin wheels around (literally), startled. Joan: "What are you doing?" Kevin: "What? Nothing. Why are you here?" She says she has to ask him a question. Kevin points out, "You were laughing!" Joan: "Yeah, that's because you're sick." He asks if she thinks it would be nuts if he tried open mike night at the comedy club. Joan sits on the bed: "I had a question, remember?" Yes, we remember. It's all about you. She flops back on the bed. "Then we'll get to Shecky Girardi." Ooh, a cultural reference outside Joan's narrow experience. Kevin sighs, "Fine." Joan absent-mindedly scratches her navel as she asks, "So, um, if a girl did something really crazy cool for you, you know, like bought you something totally expensive, something that you really needed…would you freak?" Kevin's distracted by her scratching: "Is that what I think it is?" Joan raises her head, glances down, and then sits up, exasperated with her carelessness. Pulling her shirt around her, she says, "No. Yes. It…if you promise not to tell." Kevin: "You did that for Adam?" Joan: "No! Well, maybe." Kevin makes a little gesture of equivocation with his hand and asks, "Is that what he…uh, needed?" Joan: "Could we please just focus?" Kevin agrees. Then he wheels forward, asking, "What happens if I pull on it?" She flies off the bed: "Oh, Kevin, forget it!" Aren't brothers great? Kevin says he would say no to the gift: "If he really needs it, it'd take away his manhood, and it'll shrivel up." Oy. I wish I had a buck for every time I've wished I could just be cryogenically packed away and thawed out once "manhood" isn't such a flimsy construct. Joan: "What will?" Kevin gives her a meaningful look. Joan wilts a bit: "Oh, God." Kevin says it's not Adam's fault: "It's what happens when girls do stuff for us we're supposed to be able to do for ourselves." Joan: "That's too pathetic to be true." Kevin starts citing evidence: "Family vacations: how many times did Mom drive?" Joan argues that this is going to change Adam's life, and hers. Kevin relents: "All right, then, do it. But make him feel like you didn't really do anything." Joan wonders if she's supposed to lie. Kevin: "It's that, or, uh…" He hunches his shoulders up and starts to wither to one side. Joan: "Okay, I got it! Don't need the visual." As she leaves, he calls, "Hey, what about The Laugh Riot?" Joan says she'll be there: "Just don't shrivel up if you don't get all your laughs." These two almost always have really good scenes together.

Joan's following Friedman through the halls, begging. There's a sentence I don't want to write again. "I have $250 cash!" Friedman, clutching his laptop, says the software alone is worth that. Uh-huh. And the laptop's only worth $175? Seems unlikely. Frink points out that it's the same laptop he has (which, by the way, cost about four grand -- Canadian -- two years ago). He's considering that a shout-out. He adds, "Hope it comes with an adapter. It's only got two hours of life." He spots Judith lifting a bag of clothes and zooms over, saying, "Strain not thy lithesome frame, fair Ophelia…" Joan grabs his arm and says, "Hah! Stay, Droopio." Friedman hangs by the bin as Joan grabs Judith and asks, "Any more treasure?" Judith: "Just ratty sweaters and some tighty-whiteys. Who donates old underpants?" Who knows? Wouldn't knowing be worse, somehow? Joan tells Judith she doesn't have enough money to buy the laptop: "He's gonna put that thing up on eBay in an hour." Judith reassures her: "Chill. He'll cough it up for me." Joan: "Judith, it's Friedman. He's the ebola virus in tube socks." Hee! Judith: "You get to spend more time with Adam; I get to knock the rust off my flirtation skills." There's rust on those? I don't even buy that there's dust on them. Whatever. She's being awfully nice about this. Joan shrugs and gives her the money. Judith prowls over to Friedman. She totally reminds me of someone here but I can't figure out who. "Listen, Shakespeare, you want to make Judith happy, don't you?" She touches his hair gently. "Couldn't you cut JoJo here a break on that computer of yours?" She keeps fiddling with his hair. Friedman's falling apart at the seams: "But she -- she doesn't -- uh, she doesn't --" She strokes his arm and says, "My, you have such a…big…laptop." Oy. What was that headline? Oh, yeah. "Recapper Rolls Eyes And Swears." Honestly, is even a high school horndog like Friedman going to fall for this when it's poured on this thick? I feel sure she could have conned Friedman out of his laptop with a third as much BS. Friedman stammers orgasmically. God, I need a shower. I need to exfoliate several layers of skin. Judith wheedles, "If you deny JoJo, you deny me…" Friedman hands over the laptop, still incapable of normal speech, and makes like he's going to caress Judith's hair. Judith presses the money into his hand and kisses him near, but not on, his mouth. She sallies back to Joan, triumphant: "Girl's still got it." Yeah, that was hard. Friedman stands there frozen in the hallway.

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Joan of Arcadia




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