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

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

Grace walks by and boldly broaches the subject of the band, saying she's heard "great things," which, when pressed, she admits really only means that she's aware of its existence but would really like to dive into Eli's trousers and learn to master his woodwind instrument. Eli is dismissive, so Jennifer pipes up and invites Grace into the lyric discussion. Grace giggles. "The patient's losing consciousness," she suggests, following up with a semi-geeky explanation of how it ties into the word "fading" at the very beginning of the song. Eli and Jennifer both love the suggestion, but are interrupted when Grace's friend G.I. Jolie approaches and utters what can only be a shout-out at the highest cosmic level. "What are you doing? Making the band?" Now, I'm not sure how the Once and Again writers foresaw that I'd be pinch-recapping this particular episode, but somehow they knew and are rewarding my patience with the ultimate reference to my first MBTV show. Let's hope it stops here, though, and that no one tries to work Oliver Platt into this week's script. "I like the guitar," G.I. Jolie says. "My dad says has a pre-war Martin." Eli is impressed, and I get the distinct feeling faux-Jolie wants to bag him. Jennifer obviously feels the same way, because she leaves abruptly, but not before accepting an invitation to watch Eli's afternoon rehearsal. "Wow," Eli says to no one. Indeed. Man, that one's never on the SAT, either.

Eli delves into the coat closet just as Rick arrives home. Eli's heading out to band practice, assuring Rick that his homework is complete. Rick wants to talk for a minute, but Eli doesn't have time for such trifling things as paternal concern, so he blows off his father. Before he gets out the door, Rick drops the bombshell: he made a Thursday afternoon appointment with Mrs. Geddes, the high-school guidance counselor. Eli rolls his eyes and rejects the proffered college pamphlets Rick is holding. Sighing as his son storms out in surly style, Rick slams the closet door and wonders why I couldn't have kept the "s" alliteration going.

Eli sings, his voice throaty and husky. He's not good. The song stops halfway through, because that's all they've written. One band member says, "It wasn't that bad," and Coop bitches that his fingers hurt. Jennifer is impressed, and accepts Eli's invitation to help make the song flow a little better. Jessie comes downstairs and squeals when she sees Jennifer. They hug. Leo follows Jessie into the basement and declares that he's found Anti-Inflammatory its first gig. Well, more accurately, he says, "I may have scored you a gig." Coop snarks, "Is this My Three Sons?" I laugh, even though I'm not really sure I get the reference. Who cares. Leo's an idiot, and that's all that matters. Leo explains that it's not a paid gig, but it is at a coffee shop across the street from the university -- excuse me, that's The University ["you know, the one in the greater Chicago area? That one." -- Wing Chun] -- and as such, it's right near sorority houses. Everyone immediately perks up and embraces the idea. It'll be an acoustic set, which the band agrees is doable. Coop suddenly gets cagey. "This isn't going to be one of those things where now you get to be in the band, is it?" Coop asks warily. "Because we've got four." Leo stares at him. He wanted to be the fifth, because everyone knows all the great boy bands have five members. He wanted sex, drugs and rock-n-roll, although he'd have settled for an Old Milwaukee and a nice chocolate-dipped strawberry. But no. Total rejection. "Get over yourself," Leo sputters before retreating to Karen's boring kingdom.

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Once and Again

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