Lily and Rick are taking Zoe out...somewhere. Details, details. So unimportant here, apparently. They are moving frantically, and yet Lily stops dead in her tracks and says she wants to change...long-distance services! Because Sprint is the best deal in town. Lily then requests time for a change of clothes, if Rick doesn't mind waiting. "Of course not," Rick says, patiently. And that is how I know Rick is not a real person. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if he whipped out his Rocketeer fun-pack and flew away. While he waits and Zoe steals something from the cookie jar -- I'd guess a cookie, but it looks more like a gumball -- Rick decides to call Eli, because he hasn't uttered the word "college" quite enough for one day. Jessie answers, and she's fixing Anti-Inflammatory snacks. Wait, no, she's not...she's fixing snacks for Anti-Inflammatory. If she was doing the former, she'd be a Nobel-winning chemist, not a pubescent black-belt. Jessie tells Rick about the band's gig, and Rick fakes interest. He then pretends he wanted to talk to Karen, who is busy shagging Leo like the minx he is and thus can't come to the phone. He disconnects, dejected, and repeats to Lily and Zoe the news of Eli's gig. Lily is thrilled, and Zoe is irritated because, despite her constant harassment while Rick was on the phone, he didn't score her an invitation to rehearsal. He should have -- an Anti-Inflammatory rehearsal might reduce the apparent swelling in the part of Zoe's brain that controls her obnoxiousness. Zoe decides to change -- her clothes, sadly, not her personality -- and she runs upstairs.
Rick descends upon Karen's office and follows her around, barking at her about how this is a critical point in Eli's life, far too important for him to spend all his time on a rock band. "You're blaming me," Karen says. Rick denies it and apologizes for her reaction, but she knows he doesn't mean it. She sits, looking harried. "I'm just as worried...about his options," Karen sighs. "I can't stop thinking about it." Rick exhales loudly and sets his coffee on her desk and his bum in a chair. Lucky chair. Karen insists that being reasonable is the best solution here. Rick promises -- swears up and down -- that he'll be fair and reasonable with Eli, and Sela Ward calls me on Sprint's Nickel Nights plan just to giggle about how the actress who plays Karen got dizzy from being bashed over the head with foreshadowing.
Eli's listening to loud music through headphones. He sees Karen and Rick bend over him, and their mouths are moving but he hears nothing. That's some serious volume -- I've never had music so loud that I can't hear a single peep out of someone's mouth when they're all up in my face. I'd like to borrow those headphones. He pulls them off, and his parents repeat themselves. Karen whips out the word "important." Eli grins, "Sounds ominous." They look startled until he mumbles, "SAT word." Nice that Eli's parents assume he's too dumb to use any word with a syllable count that's greater than two. I mean, he had a girlfriend with a three-syllable name, for God's sake. "The next few months are crucial in terms of your future, and getting into college," Karen begins. "You've worked so hard...overcome so much just to get to this point, and we want to acknowledge..." Then Rick cuts in that "the work is just beginning." He pushes for Eli to visit schools and hammer out some essays. Karen tries to interject that Eli might be spreading himself too thin with the band. He freaks. "That's what this is about," he seethes. "You are both so obvious!" Before Karen can pat him on the back for the big-word choice, Eli continues his rant, refusing to quit the band. Rick asks him to postpone the songwriting just for a while, but Eli reminds him of their gig. "We'll have to talk about that," Rick spits. Eli screams, "That's screwed up. It's my life, isn't it?" No. It's Sela Ward's life, and you get to guest-star whenever she asks for time off.