Once and Again
I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down

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Eli's no poet. He doesn't know it.

Eli almost starts to cry about the SAT -- not, in fact, Spectacularly Aromatic Toe-jam, but that other thing with which he just dealt. Rick is almost accusatory when he asks how Eli knows he did worse. B/W Rick and Karen, intertwined in a montage, both say that seeing your child in any kind of pain is horrible. "I just want you to talk," pleads Karen. "We would like to explore whatever it is you want to do." Eli insists that he wants to be in a band, under the erroneous impression that he's really talented and good at it. "Now is not the time," Rick says quietly. Eli bristles, noting that he's seventeen and can do as he damn well pleases. Never mind that legal emancipation isn't until age eighteen. Rick leaves in a huff, and Karen excitedly stares at his retreating behind -- which actually is kind of exciting -- and then looks at her son, who is throwing around power cords in a doozy of a tantrum. Brimming with all kinds of nothing, Karen just stands there.

Upstairs in the Kitchen of Tedium, Rick stops and pants. Someone needs to buy a Stairmaster. B/W Rick notes, "My dad left me without any kind of map." He wrings his hands. "Without any way of knowing how to raise a son. And I try. I've tried really hard. But the truth is, I may be doing everything wrong." Welcome to parenting, Rick. Stay awhile. He weepily stares at the camera, panicked. Back to life: Karen comes upstairs, considerably less out-of-breath than her ex, suggesting that Leo nooky is a lot more athletic than what Lily's offering. Rick leaves without turning around to face Karen, and she does what she does best: stares after him. Karen stares a lot. If she keeps this up, we'll have to sit through an entire episode where she deals with the consequences of premature eye-strain.

Eli tacks colorful flyers onto lockers. They advertise his gig. Jennifer sidles up to him and smiles, earning an immediate apology from Eli for not calling her. "I didn't expect you to call," she says. Liar! Eli starts to make excuses. "What happened, happened," Jennifer smartly notes. "Not that I regret it or anything, but I'm not assuming that it changes things between us." Is this reverse psychology? I could never be that calm and collected and detached about it. And wasn't she a virgin, anyway? Man. "I hope you know it meant something to me," Eli says. Jennifer nods. Eli blahs about how he doesn't know what he wants to do in life, then invites Jennifer to the concert. "I'll be there," she says, touching his face and acting every inch like a girl who really does pretty much want the hell out of Eli. He credits her with the song. "You did it," she grins, leaving. Eli stares after her. I suppose she's his muse. I could be a muse. Maybe he could set my recap to music. Or, he could just keep taping up those flyers. He picks option B.

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Once and Again

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