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

So let's leave them squabbling and join the most excruciating dinner party this show has given us. Tom and Trina are staring in horror at the giant, metallic tangle of daisies that's been given pride of place over the mantel. And before they've had time to recover, out comes Janet bearing a big ball of cheese. Now, I have nothing against a good cheese ball -- my brother and I usually go get one for our annual Black Friday movie marathon and eat it while marveling at modern science's ability to simulate dairy products -- but oh my gosh, is it not well-received here. Trina strains to find something to say about the mantel thing -- "It's unique!" and Tom grins, "Just like Jan." Ol' Jan holds on a little tighter to one cheese ball lest she inadvertently launch herself at the other one. After a few awkward pauses, Janet invents a pretext for Tom to join her in the kitchen.

Once he's in there, Janet is determined to follow through on Dr. Gardiner's advice: "Tom, I like you. I really do. But the attention you're showing me is making me uncomfortable." Tom goes to apologize and Janet plows ahead with "It's making me uncomfortable because you're not alone. I feel things too." We cut to Tom looking vaguely horrified, yet intrigued. Almost against his will, he nods, "Uh-huh" as Janet natters on, "You live in a world where you could have any woman you want. And I'm flattered that you think I can be a part of it, but I can't." The look of panic on Tom's face is absolutely priceless. But he recovers nicely with "I appreciate you bringing this up before things got out of hand. So thank you." Janet is relieved, and Tom moves on to surer footing: "You're pretty brave. You see something that needs to get done, and you do it. Why, I admire that -- as a friend!" This could be the start of a beautiful friendship.

Meanwhile, out in the living room, Trina has totally called Roger on his pining over Susan. She warns him, "Janet's trying, you know. She wants to be exciting and interesting to you, but it doesn't matter how much she tries if she's not the woman you want." Roger asks, "What do I do?" Trina says, "The way I see it, you have two choices. You can tell Susan how you feel and take the consequences -- and there will be consequences, Roger -- or you can find a way to get over her."

The love object in question is irritatedly wondering why her husband has to go scanning the radio for news. Susan fumes, "If someone hurts her, I will never forgive myself -- or you." Bruce says, "All we did was our job as parents." Susan calls BS on that: "We're at a party every other night. We're so busy trying to make ourselves feel good, or alive, or younger -- I don't know, like, we still love each other. The last thing we are doing is our jobs as parents!" Oh, look what just slipped out. Bruce protests, "You're a great mother! And of course we still love each other!" Bruce, you might want to reconsider on both counts. He adds that he still loves her, anyway. The DJ at WDEM ("Deus Ex Machina, playing all your greatest hits!") reminds everyone that Jackson Browne's playing at Alpine Valley that night, and this gives Susan a brainstorm. Before you know it, Susan's at a pay phone getting Doug Stephens' number from the operator.

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