I didn’t think I’d have time to write about this week’s episode, but I wanted to throw up a quick post, in part because we got some great HEATHER WATCH moments, but we’ll get to that in a second…
Jack is back to trying to impress his ex-girlfriend Meredith (Collette Wolfe, previously of Observe and Report and Cougar Town), so the cold open has him trying to convince a student to staple his hand so he can go to her clinic to get it removed. None of them will do it, but he does learn that Victor’s parents are out of town and tries to convince the kids to have a party there. They don’t want to, so Jack admonishes them: “Parties are how memories are made. Nobody has memories about making good grades. They have memories about getting in fights and waking up in tunnels and crazy stuff like that.”
He ends up stapling his own hand, and upon meeting Meredith at the clinic, discovers that her boyfriend (who of course his diagram to the students describes as irrelevant and out of the picture) is also a doctor there. (Chase is his name, and he’s played by Mike O’Gorman, who was Bill Hayden in Vice Principals– does this show have Jody Hill’s casting director?) When the venue for Meredith’s fundraiser for the clinic cancels, Jack volunteers Victor’s house.
We finally get a plot that brings in the teachers and Principal Durbin, too, in fashion that keeps the story tight and makes sense. Jack invites the teachers to the fundraiser, and Durbin overhears and talks to Jack about the party. He doesn’t get invited, and tries to figure out if he got invited, then decides to go anyway.
Complications ensue when Jack’s advice hits home for the kids, who decide they need to have a party after all. Jack herds them into the basement so they won’t interrupt the fundraiser and encourages them to go nuts– but to be quiet. (Also, there isn’t a bathroom in there, so this whole operation is obviously a ticking time bomb from the start.)
The teachers are just there to find single men. (Jack suggests one of them bang Chase to help him out, but they don’t want to be told what to do.) Durbin gets a hilarious sequence where he’s trying to psych himself up into walking into the party even though he’s not invited, keeps chickening out as other people beat him to it, and then strides confidently into and through the party… and all the way back out.
Jack and Chase continue their petty swiping at one another, culminating in a pretty hilarious “dueling pianos… at one piano” sequence. Then the floodgates (so to speak) break open: A kid finally has to pee, decides to use the plant in the basement, then smells the gin on it. Victor’s been dumping out the gin because he doesn’t want to drink. Everyone apologizes for pressuring him, even though they really weren’t, and he clarifies that, even calling them great guests. Then he decides he wants a shot. Heather, of course, does one with him. And the booze does not sit well with him. Cue all the kids rushing upstairs.
The scheme falls apart, but Jack still gets a nice moment where he gives a speech telling the attendees not to let his screwups be the reason they don’t donate to the clinic. And we get a couple of other great moments with Heather and Victor, but let’s save those for the next two sections.
And yes, I rather enjoyed this one too. Quite a few laugh-out-loud moments, and my favorite characters got some extra showcasing.
- Jack announces to Victor he’s commandeering his house for the fundraiser by barging into his literature class, then promptly spoils The Great Gatsby for everyone.
- Jack to Victor: “I’m gonna need you to talk faster, or if you’re gonna keep the same speed, use less words.” “Holds. Two. Wednesday.” “Yeah, that’ll work.” “Can’t. Do. Whole. Life.”
- Patton Oswalt mumbling to himself is a real treat. “See ya. See ya. ‘See ya, Ralph.’ Wait, did not say ‘See you there, Ralph.’ Maybe he left the ‘there’ part out. Maybe– okay, you’re talking to yourself. You’re frightening the students again. Ahhhhhh… go in your office. That’s where it’s good. That’s where it’s… good. Okay, here we go.”
- Jack’s attempts to undermine Chase takes some pretty great turns: “Does it ever feel weird to you that your name is a verb that describes what rapists do?” “What?”
- The teachers are pretty unsuccessful in finding single men; the only one they meet has a toe thing. Fine with Mary, as long as he doesn’t lick her bellybutton for ten minutes.
- Victor is under the impression he will black out after one shot.
- Colin keeps insisting on a panty raid, because every 80s party movie has one. I don’t recall seeing him pull it off in the episode, but one of the press photos on NBC’s website seems to indicate he succeeded.
- Jack inadvertently teaches another one of his students a lesson, as we see in the tag with Victor and his parents. “What if my parents find out?” “You say, ‘I know about your affairs.’ That always works, and it’ll buy you a little time to think about your next move.”
We get her calling Jack “boss” again, which I never get tired of. And she knows about Victor’s rich neighborhood: “Ottawa Hills. It’s really nice. I know because my father’s whore lives there. She’s a rich whore.”
But more importantly: Heather’s goal for the party is to get into a fight, and after she gets drunk enough, and Jack’s cover is blown, Chase makes a crack about it and Heather socks him in the gut. Not enough to do anything, but still. She’s a champ. And she follows it up by cracking her neck and telling Meredith, “Now you, lady. Punch me in the face.”
Jack: “What are you– oh, no, no, no. I didn’t ask her to do that. that’s– That was just gravy. Heh-heh.”
— A.P. Bio (@NBCAPBio) March 30, 2018