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Sobell: A | Grade It Now!
Teach Your Children Well…
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We open the episode over at the Deckers', during the cocktail hour. It's a small dinner party: Brad & Sylvia Davis, Bruce & Susan Miller, and, of course, the Deckers. Brad is telling a joke: "What's the difference between Ford and Nixon? Nixon couldn't tell the truth -- Ford couldn't tell the difference." Bruce politely smiles and tries to float a Carter joke, but it falls flat with this crowd. Sylvia launches into a soliloquy on the horrors of our two-party system -- you just know she'll eventually vote for Ralph Nader in 2000 and be completely defensive about it even now -- and Tom is like, "Sylvia's talking politics? Time for another drink!" Susan melts into the kitchen to keep Trina apprised of the party. As Trina finishes making shrimp cocktails (mmm!), she asks Susan whether things are cool with Janet. Between Susan and Janet, things are improving. However, Susan says, "I don't think she seriously believed [Trina meant to seduce Roger.] I think she felt more excluded than betrayed. It might take her longer to forgive me than you." Trina muses that she'd like to do something nice for Janet -- a pedicure or a shopping spree. Dang, Trina needs to become my friend if that's what the gig entails. Susan gently says Trina's headed in the right direction, but "you might want to think of something a little more Janet."

We cut to Roger typing up a list labeled "JOB OPTIONS." The ones that pique his interest: city planner, firefighter, electrician, real estate agent, reporter. And let me just say this now: unless Roger has a hidden stubborn streak we haven't seen, plus near-psychotic nosiness, a passion for accuracy and a compulsion to tell everyone everything he's learned, he'll make a terrible reporter. (Disclosure: I say this as a reporter, married to a reporter.) Janet comes into the den and comments, "Can't remember the last time I saw you at the typewriter. It must be serious business." Roger says he's nailing down his options. His hunt-and-peck typing is killing Janet, so she sits down, reminds him that she can still type 100 words per minute, and takes over. Roger totally lets her. First of all: I love that we have a crumb of backstory on Janet, as this suggests some time in an office. Second of all: Janet, you need to not mow over your husband ... like you're doing now. Third of all: Given how easily Roger caved, I'm thinking he'd be the kind of reporter who just takes a publicist's word as law. Take that as you will. Anyway, Janet manages to pull it out of Roger that he's applied to DeVry to finish his engineering education, and he's talking to Bruce about working on the Exchange. You'd think he would have told her in an effort to get some breathing room. Argh -- these two! Maybe they should start swinging, given that it apparently makes you talk, talk, talk constantly about your relationship.

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