And now, this week's contractually-obligated The Children, Won't Someone Think of the Children? plotlines. BJ is back from camp; presumably, young Ricky has been hunted and killed by some masked murderer down by the lake, as we haven't seen any evidence of him. Anyway, BJ made Sam a "wish bag," which is basically this little buckskin pouch with bits of nature (the non-sticky bits) inside. Sam is touched, but when Laurie smirks an invite to dinner, she takes off. As for Her Lady High Smirkstress ... neither Laurie nor her boyfriend Doug are quite as smart as they seem to think they are if they're collecting signatures for Jimmy Carter after the convention (credit the forum posters for catching that!), but it sets up this week's subplot: whomever collects the most signatures gets to boss the other around for the rest of the day. Fueled with the zeal to see Doug's apartment -- and probably to see Doug with his shirt off -- Laurie wins handily. They end up back at Doug's apartment, which looks like the logical end result of sending one of the Friends apartments back through a time warp. And then they end up making out on Doug's bed, so I'm guessing we'll find out next week whether or not Doug's done anything that could get him brought up on statutory rape charges.
Now, back to the plotlines we all care about. The Millers are sitting down to family dinner. Or, to be more precise, three of the Millers are sitting down to family dinner while Susan waits on everyone. Why bother having children if you can't conscript them? We can't have been the only household where the prevailing attitude was "If you're old enough to see over the counter, you're old enough to get your own plate." Anyway, Susan comments on Bruce's continued cologne use, and the neon sign reading I am attracted to someone else switches on over his head. He, of course, is painfully aware of this and so is made super-awkward. Laurie gives the conversation a kick-start by telling everyone about how she's volunteering for Carter, and Bruce protests, "Ford isn't all bad." That's a ringing endorsement for you. Laurie carries on in the Ford-is-Nixon's-lackey vein, and Bruce protests, "All Nixon did was keep a secret he shouldn't have. He handled it wrong. It's not unforgivable." Laurie snorts, "He's the biggest liar ever put into office." Oh, I wish this show traveled forward in time so we could see how Laurie's handled the last eight years. Bruce says heatedly that it's easy to be an idealist when you're young, but "people aren't always as black-and-white as you think."