1×02 The Fire and the Wood

….. by TeeJay

“Who’s the reject?”

Those are Joan’s words about Adam when she sets eyes on him for the first time. And perhaps rightly so, because he is crawling on the ground in the street, looking for “lost brain cells”, as Luke sarcastically quips. Joan just rolls her eyes. Are all people at the new school idiots?

The next time Adam makes an appearance is when Joan is waiting to see Mr. Price, the school’s vice principal. Joan witnesses how Adam is being accused by Price of taking drugs: “I may not be able to stop you from getting high away from school, but you are mine between 8 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon.” Adam, spacey as ever, disinterestedly plays with a hole puncher and doesn’t deny the accusations. He pretty much just walks away with a shrug. Joan gives him a condescending look. People at the new school are idiots.

And here we have the Adam that’s introduced to us, wearing baggy jeans, casual shirts and the ever-present beanie that has become his trademark. He comes off as a bit spacey, dreamer-like, maybe even slightly stoned. And him being the skinny person that he is, we pretty much know he’s not one of the popular jocks.

Joan is not at all happy when, after God tells her to do better, she is placed in AP Chem class, and has to sit right in between anarchist Grace and stoner Adam. What a trio.

Their AP Chem homework assignment inevitably brings Adam, Grace and Joan back together. They’re sitting at the Girardi’s kitchen table, trying to come up with something meaningful. And failing miserably; they’re all clueless. Adam says he’s got an eidetic memory, but that the formulas he remembers mean nothing to him. As Luke remarks, “It’s like watching three monkeys build a particle accelerator, using tin foil and a BB gun.” Adam gets up to leave when Helen and Will come back from a night out. He says to Joan, “Nice work, Jane.” Once he’s gone, Joan explains to her mother than Adam sometimes calls her Jane… “When he forgets that my name’s really Joan.”

We once again are reminded that Adam seems to be a bit scatterbrained at times because he forgot his bag at Joan’s place when they studied together. Grace tells Joan it’s probably full of booyah schwag (meaning weed). You’d think Grace would know that Adam’s not about that. But let’s ignore for a minute the fact that the writer’s obviously only decided around episode 12 that Adam and Grace had a long-lasting relationship as best friends from kindergarten on.

So anyway, after Joan secretly checked Adam’s bag and discovered there is no weed in it, she decides to bring it back in person. His neighborhood seems kinda run down, not the nicest and richest part of town. The house isn’t exactly a villa and Mr. Rove, whom we get to meet for the first time, looks just as scruffy. When Joan admires the weird sculptures that are scattered throughout the Rove’s front yard, Mr. Rove gruffly tells her that Adam made them all and that he can’t decide if they’re genius or crap. He says he’s going with genius, “But then, I am his dad.” He softens a bit and when Joan seems genuinely impressed and tells her Adam’s around back in the shed. Maybe Adam holds more in store than she first thought.

In his shed, Joan catches Adam welding together another one of his weird sculptures. When Joan asks him what it is, he tells her he doesn’t know. Joan thinks it’s really beautiful. She admits that she thought he had weed in his bag, but he tells her he doesn’t “do that”. He was just keeping Mr. Price’s illusion intact, so that Price wouldn’t find out his real secret. “Which is?” Joan asks. He tells her, “Cha, look around you. I talk to angels.”

Her eyes grow wide. Could it be that… he also has a special connection? It doesn’t look like he does, though, because he tells her, “Relax, Jane, it’s just a metaphor.” “What if you actually could talk to angels?” she asks him. “I’d keep my mouth shut,” he tells her. So she thinks it best to keep hers shut too for now. As she is still taken with the fact that there is so much more to this young man than she first thought. He gives her one of his smaller sculptures as a gift.

And she likes it so much that she later puts it on the kitchen table as a centerpiece at dinner, for everyone to see.

Trivia (by TeeJay):
There’s a really funny deleted scene that you get to see on the season one DVD box: Grace, Adam and Joan walk along the high school hallway, talking about homework and chemistry assignments and ambition to study. Adam concedes that he’s only in AP Chem class to foster his father’s delusion of him going to college one day. Then Joan tells Grace she’s just gonna get Luke’s notes to help them with their assignment. And Adam, completely oblivious to what’s going on around him, asks Joan, “You, like, know Luke Girardi?” And Joan goes: “He’s, like, my brother?”