Episode Report Card
Sobell: C+ | Grade It Now!
I'd Love to Stick Around, But I'm Running Behind

We cut back to the world's most excruciating dinner party -- I have a knot in my stomach from all of the tension, and I'm not even there -- and the Deckers make a very hasty retreat. They also fall off the monogamy wagon. (Trina: "Do you think Anthony and Michelle are available? I think it's time for us to step out of the penalty box.") I'm not sure Janet would be so pleased to know that her hostessing has that effect on people.

Susan is seeing Laurie off with a wishy-washy, "I can see why you like him ... see you tomorrow night." Really? Really? The woman who became a mother at sixteen is busy sending her teenaged daughter off for an overnight with the older boyfriend? Why? Because becoming a mother before you're legally able to vote worked out so well for her? "Oh, well, dear, I just want you to have everything I had: shotgun wedding, hardscrabble early years, empty materialism trying to fill the gaping hole in the middle of my emotional landscape, self-destructive crushes on men it would be a bad idea to pursue ..." How have Susan and Bruce managed to raise kids who are not bigger monsters is one of God's private mysteries if this little misadventure is any indication of their parenting skills. Anyway, Laurie then hits her apex on the smug-and-irritating line graph, lecturing her mother with, "Life is short. Be happy now." Susan replies, "Sometimes life is long, Laurie." "Even more reason," Laurie says. Oh my God, just leave already. Then there's almost a scene with Laurie and Bruce, but he just hands over some money and stammers, "If you need something." Laurie hugs him, then drives off with Doug. Susan and Bruce watch them leave, all "Aww! Our little girl's about to repeat our mistakes!"

Back at the Thompsons', Janet makes a show of throwing out the shrink's number. Roger says, "You really hated her, didn't you?" Janet admits, "I went back to see her earlier today. Turns out she's a pretty smart lady after all." Then, before Roger can comment on Janet's impressive personal growth, Janet plows ahead to the next item on her to-do list -- she wants to sign up with an employment agency. Roger's cool with this. Janet seems surprised, kisses him passionlessly, then excuses herself from the kitchen.

As the musical montage kicks in ("Running on Empty," of course), Roger calls the cabin and hangs up just as Susan answers. We then see him weighing whether or not he'd like to wreck a few lives with his crush -- including the back-on-speaking-terms Ricky and BJ. Then Roger pulls Dr. Gardiner's card out of the trash. Across town, we see Trina and Tom tied together, back-to-back, and swinging with Anthony and Michelle. Small historical note: I do believe Anthony and Michelle have just managed to integrate Swingtown. Seriously, this show was making Friends look like it was set at the U.N.

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