Kirsten catches up with Ryan's lightest of leitmotifs in the kitchen, asking him how his first day of school went and how his assignment is going. But just as she starts espousing on the many benefits of a college education, Figure 1-1: The Non-Collegiate Archetype walks into the room in the form of lovable loser and wacky neighbor, Archie The Contractor. The laugh track roars. Can this guy do anything right?!? Apparently not, as Sandy rants that Ryan figured out by himself that the reason the construction was so over its schedule is that they ordered the wrong something something and instead had been trying to work with an inappropriate doohickey. Ryan grabs the blueprint and asks Archie if he can use the whats-it that he received if he moves the wall out about ten inches. So after thinking about college and having really good scores on his Ambiguous Tests, the job for which Ryan is best suited is...construction worker? That seems a bit despairingly like waking up a thousand years from now and finding out you're still a delivery boy, but they're going to treat it as kind of a "eureka" moment, I think, so who am I to get in their way besides the hot-ass D.J. with the totally killer abs? Archie wants to know if Ryan is an architect, and upon finding out that he's not...wait a sec. An architect! That requires, like a diploma and a year of fellowship at Vandelay Industries. Archie storms out and tells the punk-ass bitch to finish the job for him (I'm paraphrasing), and Kirsten tells Sandy to apologize. And out of seeming nowhere, Sandy rants, "I am sick to death of putting myself on the line for this family and getting nothing." Sandy storms out, and Kirsten exchanges a glance with Ryan and follows Sandy into the next room, where, always the hardliner, Sandy immediately recants, "I'll call Archie and apologize." You tell him, you big brute of a...oh. But Kirsten tells Sandy that he's right, and that she'll call a new contractor. And, while we're at it, how about a heart-to-heart? Kirsten first: "I know I wasn't the easiest person to live with this summer. I was just really upset about the boys' being gone and I took it out on you. I'm sorry." Sandy tells her that his impassioned kitchen cabaret wasn't directed at her, and she tells him that he usually reserves that level of vitriol for her father. Upon hearing that, Sandy flinches, and Kirsten immediately asks, "What did he do?" First, he drank Orange County. Then he bored everyone to death.
Seth lies on his bed listening to the next in a litany of bands whose songs feature the words "heart," "ache," "pain," and "[whispered, painful, heartache]" because Seth Cohen is a Tickle Me Emo plush toy and WE GET IT. Ryan soon enters and asks if Seth is okay, and with little provocation, Seth worries aloud that it's too late for him and Summer and that she'll never want to be his friend or his anything else. For more on this, I would link to other places where this topic has been mentioned, but if I try to link to this recap during this recap, the entire internet will fall into the Matrix and I don't want to break the internet.