"William" Kennedy "Smith" High. Brooke and Sam are manning a peer counseling hotline. A banner reads, "If you share, we promise to care." Oh God, we haven’t even gotten to the credits yet and already I’m having a panic attack. When I was in high school and I needed someone to talk to about a personal problem, there was no way in hell I would have called a student-run hotline. But to get through this episode I’m just going to have to suspend disbelief and assume that a) Kennedy High can’t afford to have a guidance counselor on staff who usually deals with teen problems confidentially and b) that Sam and Brooke are actually qualified to counsel their peers. Furthermore, I’m not even going to delve into the whole issue of how Popular really shouldn’t have "very special episodes," but instead should really stick to what they do best, which is high camp. Nor am I going to ask how in the hell is it that every single week, come rain or shine, Sam and Brooke have their dicks up each other’s butts within yet another improbable situation. Sam explains to Brooke that "for every scenario there is a scripted response readily available." Oh yeah? Then why don’t you just distribute copies of this script to the student body as a reference guide and let Sam go run the school paper and let Brooke go be a Glamazon? Sam goes onto explain that since she went through the training, she’ll show Brooke the ropes. Wait! So now you’re telling me that Brooke hasn’t even been trained to do this? It’s only a TV show. It’s only a TV show. It’s only a TV show. Breathe! Dear God, please grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Oh yeah, and please help me remember that this is just a TV show and no real high school would ever leave a couple of girls like Sam and Brooke in charge of a confidential peer hotline. Thank you Lord, Amen.
The line rings, and Sam suggests that they handle the first call together. Brooke, all nervous, picks up the line. "Peer hotline, we care," she says. "Yo, do you have Prince Albert in a can?" asks a crank teen caller. As Brooke dives through her index cards to find the scripted answer, Sam tells Sugar Daddy to stop cranking them. "Yo," says Sugar Daddy. "How’d you know it was me?" "Yo," says Sam. "I don’t know." "Yo," says Gustave. "I’m thirty-one and even my parents were too young to be making the ‘Prince Albert in a can’ chicken call." Mary Cherry grabs the phone from Sugar. "Sugar, you leave Brookie alone," she says. "Now that she’s dumped Nic as her best friend, she needs her private time to reflect on her new independent lady life and the Hermes riding saddle I gave her this mornin’." Dear Lord, I would like to express my gratitude to you for putting Mary Cherry in this show. Not only does her campy presence rescue this show from preachy teen bullshit, she is also clearly tying up this peer hotline so that hopefully no teens with real problems will actually get through to Sam and Brooke and have their lives inexplicably ruined. "Uh, Mary Cherry?" says Brooke. "Now that I have you on the line, I don’t have a horse." "All in good time, new best friend for life," says Mary Cherry. "All in time. Bye hon, see you at lunch!" Please dear Lord, creator of heaven and earth, please go to a commercial before someone calls with a real problem. Please? I’ll stop drinking vodka and sleeping with men.
The hotline rings again. Sam gets it. "Peer hotline, we care!" "I just don’t know what to do," says a male voice on the other end of the line. "Just relax," says Brooke. "We’re here to help." "I can’t sleep. I can’t eat. School has become a never-ending nightmare. " Brooke and Sam start panicking over how to help this caller although he hasn’t even told them what his problem is yet. "I’m being tortured," says the caller. "Today I was called a Rose of Sharon. The day before, Daffodil --" "What part of this botanical torture do you find so unbearable?" asks Sam. "It’s not about the flowers," says the caller. "This person is insinuating that I’m gay." Hey! No fair. Everyone at my high school knew I was gay, and no one compared me to a flower. The caller goes on to explain that he’s not gay, but now everyone thinks he is. Just before any gay activists can call the WB and protest, the caller smartly adds that his "choice" has been taken away from him. Sam promises to take it up with Principal Hall if the caller will just tell her who the harasser is. Oh great, now Principal Hall will really fuck things up. Praise sweet Jesus: the caller talks about feeling great despair and hangs up before he can name the perpetrator. But no, it’s not over. Next we see Sam and Brooke searching the halls of Kennedy looking for the guy and his perpetrator. "Can you believe how cruel guys are?" asks Sam, checking out the groups of menacing-looking men in the halls. "Does testosterone erode brain cells?" "You know what it is?" says Brooke. "It’s obviously some sick, insecure, self loathing --" They see Nicole pass Freddie Gong. "Hey, tulip," says Nicole to Freddie. "-- loser," finishes Brooke. "Great," says Brooke sarcastically. They watch Nicole walk down the hall triumphantly while Freddie Gong scampers into his class. Hey, didn’t Harrison mention in Hope In A Jar that there were three openly gay students at Kennedy? Wouldn’t that, coupled with the fact that Bio the hermaphrodite and openly gay Mr. Bennett are on the faculty, imply that Kennedy was a pretty sophisticated and tolerant high school? Wouldn’t Nicole depend on a fleet of gay male fashion and beauty industry professionals to keep her adequately clothed and groomed, and therefore not care much about the sexual preference of a member of the chess club? Whatever, just show me the credits with those happenin’ parents.