I’m very late on this review and for that I do apologize; my life has been more hectic than usual and nobody is paying me well enough (or at all) to get these out on time.
I’ll almost certainly be late with the next one, too, so I wanted to open up this space to discuss episode 4 when it hits tomorrow.
As far as episode 3 goes, it was rather different than usual, but I enjoyed it and felt like it was a good sign that the show had more stories to tell than what we’ve come to expect.
The entire episode– “Wednesday Morning, 8 AM”– takes place in a single half-hour before the school day begins. In a rarity for this show, the kids have a small role, and it’s the faculty, staff, and administration who are all trying to put out fires before the day begins. Durbin is trying to put together the morning announcements and hold off disaster. Michelle is trying to write a eulogy for the crossing guard, Eugene, so Durbin can read it during the announcements. Durbin and Helen are waiting for the heat to be repaired. Coach Novak takes Eugene’s jacket, finds reading glasses he gives to Helen to appropriately attempt to follow Eugene’s and his family’s wishes (she throws them in the trash), then also finds ten dollars he keeps for himself. Helen is of course being Helen. (Jack naturally walks in and is openly talking about killing Helen at this point.)
Speaking of Jack, he comes to get his massage chair back from Durbin, only to find he’s given it to a lady in Accounts Payable. Jack of course goes to retrieve it, and is stunned to run into, well, a stunner– and not only that, Lynette (Elizabeth Alderfer) can match wits with Jack and expertly deflect his attempts at argument and deflate his self-importance. Naturally, after a couple more failed attempts, Jack hatches a complicated plan to get it back from Lynette… which she stumbles in upon as she’s returning his chair. But there’s a spark there (though Jack doesn’t get crushes, because he’s an adult).
Meanwhile: Coach Novak feels guilt about the ten dollars he kept and offloads the breakfast burrito he bought onto “Non-athlete” (Victor). “The curse passes to you now.” Michelle cuts the eulogy to a manageable length, but is still bizarrely focused on Eugene’s infidelity. And just as everything seems to be smoothed over (including a fight outside between two science teachers), Durbin gets word of a runner we’ve seen all episode; namely, that the boys’ bathroom is… well, broken. (It’s a fun little runner to see the janitor’s moment of Zen interrupted, and then progressively making the problem worse.)
Well, of course Heather was going to be important to Operation Get Jack’s Chair Back. We also see a glimpse into Heather’s “meat locker,” where she seems to have a thing for guys with classic 70s mustaches (and also, of course, Dan Decker).
Also, I found this photo on NBC’s website, which I don’t remember from the episode but which really kinda underscores the difference between how Allisyn Ashley Arm normally looks and how she portrays Heather:
Please leave your thoughts below– especially favorite moments and lines, because I really skimped on that. Also, feel free to fire up an episode 4 discussion once that airs Thursday night.