….. by TeeJay
Joan and Grace are having a deep conversation on their way to… where exactly? Well, as deep as two 16-year-olds can have a conversation. And of course Adam is part of that conversation too. Grace tells Joan she thinks Adam and Iris are not gonna last. “Why, are his lips gonna fall off from making out too much?” Joan sarcastically asks. Grace is a little of a mystery here. “I was trying to be positive. It’s not me. Rove and Iris are perfect for each other. They’ll probably have a house full of emotionally damaged babies by senior year.” What is she saying? That she thinks Adam and Iris are hitting it off? Or is she being cynical after all? Or is it just me not getting what she’s playing at? And why emotionally damaged? Is that a knock on Iris or Adam, or both?
Bit of a funny moment here, because there’s Black-Musician God, giving us a very very bad rendition of “One Of Us”. This is when God tells Joan to learn how to jump rope. Soon it becomes clear that this is about Casper, a young African-American girl whom Joan is supposed to… well, she doesn’t really know. Become friends with, for a start. Which Casper doesn’t really make easy.
In school, there’s Adam with his arm around Cousin It in the hallway. Being giddily happy, smiling at something Baby-Voice said. Ughch. That’s also exactly Joan’s reaction. Looking at Grace, she says, “And still I fall.” Adam walks up (Iris still in his arms) and proudly shows her his latest sculpture for art class. Joyfully, he asks Joan what she thinks about it. And he wants her approval so bad. But then Baby-Voice opens her mouth. God, I wish she didn’t. “It’s awesome, right? A’s so talented.” Joan is agape. A? Yes, Iris is calling him ‘A’ now. Dumb, much? Confidently, Adam says to Joan, looking at the sculpture, “I think your mom’s gonna be blown away.” I think not, but more on that later.
So Grace can’t really like Adam being with Iris that much, can she? Because she tries to assure Joan, “He’s not that into her. Trust me. He’s hot for someone else.” Joan asks who. Grace says, “Your mom. Sorry, dude.”
Oh, Jesus! Glynis and Luke kiss in public. In the school hallway. So not sexy. Not at all.
In art class, Adam proudly presents his artwork to Helen, smiling, expecting her to like it. She doesn’t. She tries to find some connection of it to their assignment, which was to do a self-portrait. When Helen sees a turtle in it, Adam explains, “It’s a catalytic converter and an exhaust pipe.” “You see yourself as a catalytic converter and an exhaust pipe?” Helen asks. Well, clearly not. It seems that he didn’t really do the assignment but just did what he felt he wanted to do. And of course Iris is totally supportive of that.
Helen wants to talk to him about that after class, but Adam suddenly grows a backbone (where’d that come from??) and confronts Helen in class, in front of all the students. Way to go, Adam. Not. Helen takes his bait and bluntly tells him what she thinks about his latest work of art. That there is no feeling in it. She assigned a self-portrait because she wanted introspection from everyone and Adam avoided it. “Real art, it takes risks, it creates a dialogue. Do the assignment, Adam. Take a risk.”
Joan does indeed make friends with Casper and even brings her home to have dinner with the Girardis. But as soon as Will takes off his police badge and Casper sees it, she bolts, making excuses that she has homework. Wonder what’s up with her? What’d she do? Turns out she lives at a shelter and doesn’t go to school. To Joan that means God wanted her to help Casper find a better life, get back into school.
Kevin’s dating some girl. Didn’t even remember her… And it ends with a kiss in a café. I have to admit, I didn’t pay much attention to her or Kevin here.
Why does Adam wear a toque during PE? That is seriously weird. And Friedman’s adorably dorky. And he calls Grace Marge. Not cool, dude! Iris is hovering sickeningly close to Adam. Does she ever leave his side? Is it weird that I want an Arcadia Eagles t-shirt? Grace plants an idea in Joan’s head to steal a utility bill to get Casper enrolled in their school. Yeah, real smart, that.
In the art room, Adam is alone with Helen, showing her the self-portrait assignment he finally finished. He pulls the black plastic cover off it, and it reveals… a really disturbing collage of some sort, having ripped and glued back together photos of Helen’s face and eyes all over it, bound by rope. Adam knows it’s daring and bold and only just manages to look Helen in the eyes. She’s disturbed, all right. “What are you trying to say here?” she asks Adam. “You wanted me to look inside myself, so I did. That’s what was there,” Adam replies. So, what does that mean? That Adam sees a broken Helen Girardi inside of him? Or that he sees Helen as holding him back, shackling him? I mean, that is kinda creepy. Helen doesn’t know what to say, so she doesn’t. Adam walks out, embarrassed and maybe just a little ashamed.
Apparently, Joan’s scam to get Casper into Arcadia High worked, because she’s introduced in to the class in PE. Good work, Joan. Or not, because Mr. Price busts her ass for it when he learns that they used fraudulent documents. So Casper has to leave school again. Bummer.
In the meantime, Adam tries to fix whatever went wrong with Helen Girardi. He waits for her in the art room and tries to apologize. “I kinda freaked. I’m sorry.” But Helen tells him she doesn’t want an apology. “Your piece, it hurt me, it made me angry. I hated it. But it is what I asked you to do.” Adam is confused. “You wanted me to hurt you?” No. Helen wanted him to take a risk. Which he did. “I wanted to put yourself in your work. To make people think, to make them feel something. That isn’t always pleasant or pretty. But it is art.” Adam is actually kinda flattered. And Helen says with a smile, “That turtle? Let’s be honest. Crap on a stick.” Oh yeah.
At home in the Girardi household, Luke and Will finally have a talk about how they see each other, how they feel about each other. Loved that.
The next morning, Joan finds out Casper bolted. Apparently her dad came back and took her away with him. And Joan asks Black-Girl God what kind of sick sense it makes to first form a connection with Casper , only to have it severed again after a few days. And God tells her, “The connection you and Casper have, you think that’s gone just because she went away? Is your connection with Adam gone because he’s with Iris? Real connections, they can’t be broken by time or space. You can’t fix everything, Joan.” Apparently not. Let hope she can fix Adam some time soon. Because Baby-Voice just doesn’t suit him.
Trivia (by TeeJay):
There’s another deleted scene in this one that involves Adam. And I wish they would have kept it. It’s before he confronts Helen to apologize about his artwork. And apparently, he had a really hard time with it. Because in the school hallway, he walks up to Joan to talk to her. Alone. (Thank you, there is a God!) At first Joan suspects he might have broken up with Iris. But, no, no such luck. “We’re cool, yo,” he tells her. Hmpf.
But sometimes Iris just doesn’t understands things. Like Joan does. Because he had this thing with her mom. “I messed up… pretty… totally. I made something… that— I think I hurt her.” Joan asks him why. And Adam confesses that Helen is the only one he wants to like his stuff. And that he didn’t want to freak her out. And that’s he’s not good at talking about those things. “Well, you better get good if she means something to you,” Joan tells him. Obviously Adam did, because he later managed to work it out with Helen. Thank goodness.