Parents' Weekend

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Parents' Weekend

The talent show. It's not very large; there's a cluster of round tables and it looks like attendees got a meal out of it. A good violinist plays on the modest stage; Senior Shag praises her talent. "I bet she could do that professionally," Shaggy says pointedly. "Maybe if she's happy clearing twenty-two thousand a year teaching eight-year-olds," snorts Senior Shag. His son pouts.

Steven clears his throat and breaks the awkward silence at his table by asking Hal and Debra how they enjoyed the afternoon. "Great!" Hal says with his signature too-loud perkiness. "This college is fun!" Debra looks guilty and whispers that she needs to speak with Hal outside -- alone. Hal is still grinning, because Hal is more oblivious to reality and good sense than FOX executives.

Lizzie grabs Rachel and angrily hisses that this little deception can't continue. She's scared that when Mary calls her psychiatrist parents, they'll put her on antidepressants. "I'll lose my highs and my lows and I'll have to live in the middle," she wails. Rachel's spine returns from its weekend bender and resolves, a bit nauseously, to put things right. She turns, gulps, and shouts, "Mother! Lizzie didn't do anything wrong!" Mary turns from the sink, pretty sure that owning condoms, booze, and fake IDs is rather wrong. I wonder why she didn't look at the IDs and notice they resembled Rachel more than Lizzie -- but then again, a white guy I knew at ND used a black female's license as a fake ID and successfully got into the local underage hangout, so forget I said anything.

Mary is astounded that Rachel is standing up to her; Lizzie hugs the doorframe so that Rachel and her freshly sprouted testicles can own the limelight. Rachel argues that college has broadened her perspective in a healthy way, pointing out that many perceived geniuses (John Lennon, Freud) were on drugs (heroin and coke, respectively, according to her). "People take journeys, they make mistakes -- that's how they learn," she argues. Lizzie slowly approaches her, shooting Rachel an absolutely priceless look of utter annoyance tinged with murderous rage. She can't believe Rachel isn't absolving her. Mary sternly asks if Rachel is back on "one of [her] journeys," and the reality of standing up to her mother hits Rachel, so she crumbles again and insists that she isn't -- but we have to embrace the errant lives in this world, rather than pass judgment upon them. Lizzie is steaming, but silent. I can't believe Rachel is such a wuss. She's a rebel without a rebellious streak. "I mean, Mom, not everyone is like you!" Rachel argues, emotionally. Mary's face makes it clear that she agrees, and considers herself a lone warrior in this crusade against teenage debauchery. "You were such a great mother, and [Lizzie's] parents didn't even come to Parents' Weekend," continues Rachel. "So Lizzie turns to drugs and men to fill her empty void." Lizzie gives up and rolls with it. "I do," she says without enthusiasm. That part cracked me up. Lizzie's a damn good sport. Mary, charmed, embraces the two girls and gushes that Lizzie is lucky to have a friend like Rachel. Behind her mother's back, Rachel gestures an apology to Lizzie, who just looks relieved that the madness ended without involving her parents.

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