Dabney worries that a second job might interfere with Gweerin's studies, and a shot of Michael asleep in class elicits the laffer, "I think I can handle it." And so Dabney wants to "cut to the chase, Gweerin. You already have a job flipping burgers. Why do you want a second job?" Michael notes that there are many reasons, and we GET IT when we cut to a shot of Michael at a fancy-ish restaurant, making a pursed-lipped expression of sorrow when his date, "Madame Toussaud's" Maria DeLuca, snaps, "Please don't tell me the words 'Maria, can you pick up the check' are gonna come floating out of your mouth once again." Michael tells Dabney that his reasons are "financial." As opposed to one's usual desire for simultaneous vocations in the "short order" and "infrastructure protection" industries: namely, "starfucking." But nevertheless, Dabney seems impressed by this answer, and even more so when Michael pulls himself out of this Dream On-meets-Inside Schwartz narrative structure and gives Dabney the straight dope: "And I guess I sort of want to see what it's like out there in the world." Dabney smiles and stands, walking to Michael and congratulating him on getting the job. Orientation starts tomorrow night at "0200 hours." Grrrr. Don't you hate it when civilian types like heads of security at pharmaceutical companies and Really Stern Dads and stuff use military time because it makes them sound all tough? Michael concurs, bristling as if to say, "Let's go ahead and leave the military time to the actual military. Capiche, Pete the Pill Protector?" opting instead for an incredulous, "That's 2 AM." Indeed it is, Crabney Coleman indicates: "You're working the graveyard." Crabney walks away. Michael looks around, the Roseanne Barr Twangy Chord Of Misbegotten Blue-Collar Scheduling Conflicts serving as a valuable public service announcement for us all to never, ever, ever be poor.
Opening credits: Shut up, bitch.
Our long-lost epistolary convention of "cheesy voice-over narration" finally gets a fucking pen pal, and we return to find Max "Dugan Returns, And Returns And Returns And Returns" Evans sitting on the dock of the landlocked state of New Mexico, reading a letter. Liz "P.S. I Hate You, You You You" Parker's voice is everywhere, which is all places too many: "Dear Max: It's so horrible and so unjust to pass you in the school and have to wonder whether some teacher's gonna call my father." Boo hoo, Liz. You had me until "it's so horrible to see you." And then you lost me. Let's go see if she can get us back: "But no matter how hard my parents try, nothing can keep us apart." This would all probably be a lot more touching and gay were Liz narrating this sequence with an emotional investment slightly higher than that akin to "reading stereo instructions that have been translated from English to Japanese and then back to English again." Like, "Dear Max: Me like preset stations long time" or some such equally well-written thing. She goes for the jugular: "I love you." Max smiles ever so imperceptibly, and the pier on which he sits threatens to tear loose from its moorings and float itself back to an actual state with some goddamn water. "Even when I can't see you in the day, I see you at night. In my dreams. And I have been. Dreaming about you." Because every time she's telling secrets, she remembers how it used to be. And she realized how much she missed him. And she realized how it feels to be free.