My So-Called Life
Father Figures

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Father Figures

Later (at 12:37 AM, according to the bedside clock radio), a wide-awake Graham promises, "I'll get the tickets back. I didn't think it through. I still awake?" "Just my brain," says Patty, adding, "I feel so ashamed -- I feel like I've been bad. The government's going to ground me." Graham reminds us AGAIN that Angela's been behaving differently toward him lately, like, thanks, Pops, we heard you the first forty times, and Patty ignores him as they continue talking at cross-purposes; she talks about the audit, and her dad, while Graham talks about his relationship with Angela. The gist of Patty's line is that she needs to ask her father to stay out of all the doings surrounding the audit, but she doesn't know how she'll manage it, since her father built the business out of nothing. Graham pays her a nice compliment about her business skills as compared to those of her father, and then picks up the remote control and turns the TV on. Patty complains that she "can't watch that guy" and that she "miss[es] Johnny," although at 12:37, The Tonight Show is over and, by then, they'd be watching Conan in his second season. Patty yammers on some more about Johnny Carson: "I felt for Johnny, married to all those Joannes. I think of him all alone on some godforsaken Malibu beach, with no guests. God, I miss him." Then she hatches the plan of taking her dad out for lunch to some restaurant with low-fat cooking in order to break the news: "It'll be on my turf, and my terms, and I'll wait for just the right moment, and I'll say..."

"...chili fries?" Patty and her dad are at a diner and he's proffering a plate of the not-at-all low-fat dish. Dad talks some shit about the restaurant she'd originally suggested.

After lunch, the waitress asks whether they want dessert; Patty says no, but Dad overrules her and orders her a piece of banana cream pie. Patty protests that she doesn't want any and Dad murmurs, "Well, I may have a little bite." Patty reminds him that he's not supposed to have sugar, and he argues, "It's banana! It's all-natural!" Ha! I think I've made that argument before, only about lemon creme cookies, or strawberry ice cream. Patty leans forward and tries to launch into her spiel: "Dad! About the audit --" "Oh, I almost forgot -- my driving log," he interjects. She can't believe he kept a driving log (which I happen to know you're supposed to do if you're going to write off any automotive expenses on your business return, because...god, KILL ME). The pie appears, Dad tucks in. Patty cautions him, "You know, not that you did, but they can tell --" "Patricia, it's a perfectly legal reconstruction of what happened, to the best of my ability. I spoke to her," Dad says. "To the IRS agent?" Patty moans. "Dad, we agreed --" Dad says that the agent has no objection to their going into the audit without an accountant, and Patty squeals, "Well, of course not! She's probably thrilled! They want to trip you up! They have got all sorts of techniques." Dad blusters, "Hey. I can handle the IRS. What I can't handle is my own daughter telling me what to do." Patty leans back against the vinyl booth and purses her lips disapprovingly. Dad takes another bite of pie and tells her she doesn't know what she's missing.

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My So-Called Life




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