Friday, October 30, 2009

S01 E12 – Parents' Night

We open on a shot of a rather mushy-looking birthday cake. Wheels is sitting on the couch, changing the strap on his bass guitar. The camera pans over the table, showing paper plates with crumbled-up pieces of cake (seemingly nobody found it too palatable despite its attractive blue-and-taupe icing) and a navy-blue birthday card with a painting of fishing boats, done in assorted shades of navy. It's the sort of birthday card that makes you happy you're one year closer to death.

Wheels's mother is ironing and lip-syncing to some English-language opera playing on the stereo. Her lip-syncing is actually kind of cute, although the music itself is suicidally bleak. "Now that's real music," she remarks, "not like that… rock noise you listen to, Derek. That's why we got you a good record." Wheels picks up the record (the South Pacific soundtrack) and sarcastically tells her he can't wait to listen to it.

Wheels's dad (he of the inept abstinence lecture from a few episodes back) then casually chimes in: "Derek, did you ever stop to think that maybe rock music is part of an alien plot to take over the world?" Apparently Wheels is used to his dad's deranged conspiracy theories, because he just laughs and answers, "Right, Dad." Well, I suppose there's not really much you can say to a question like that.

Just then, the phone rings. Wheels gets up to answer it, while his parents reminisce fondly about crooners. But when he picks up the phone, there's nobody there. Cut to a hand in a pair of fugly bright yellow leather driving gloves, hanging up a payphone. As some wildly over-elaborate drumming kicks in on the soundtrack, Wheels announces that the caller hung up. "That's strange," says his mother. "That happened earlier today." Everyone looks vaguely mystified.

After the opening credits, Wheels is arriving at school with some randomer. In the foreground, we can see a car parked just next to the entrance, and the driver is wearing fugly bright yellow leather driving gloves. These things are so bad that very few people can actually have bought a pair, so it's safe to assume that the lurker is the same person who called the Wheels house.

More importantly, Wheels and the other kid are engaged in some spectacularly bad improvised dialogue. The other kid asks Wheels what he got for his birthday, and Wheels answers: "Oh, my mum made me a big cake and it had three layers of chocolate and stuff and, uh, I got some clothes and stuff and – and – my mum and my dad? They got me a, a guitar strap? For my guitar?" The other kid, who's feebly trying to interject things, asks what colour the strap is. Wheels mumbles: "Aw, it's excellent! It's – it's kinda like, I guess it's, I'm not really sure, like, it's got, it's got brow – brownish colours and stuff…" The guy goes on about how the guitar strap sounds like the most awesome thing ever, and Wheels then rambles about how he's in a band with Joey and Snake, and really it would have been much kinder to all concerned if the writers had just written the kids some dialogue for this scene, because seriously, improv is not one of their strengths.

While all this is going on, the man in the yellow gloves gets out of his car, staring fixedly at Wheels, and stands there watching him go into the school. Wheels doesn't notice this, since he's busy giving this lengthy yet vague description of his guitar strap, but Snake sees the guy and eyes him suspiciously. As you do.

Inside the building, Snake catches up with Wheels and announces he's thought of a great name for their band: Snake and the Charmers. Wheels smiles politely and says he doesn't think Joey will like it. "Joey?" says Snake. "That guy knows nothing about names!" Oooh, burn. But apparently they've got to decide soon, because, as Snake says, "the talent show is next week, and we're going to be fabulous". I'm sure you are, Snake. I'm sure you are.

Snake asks Wheels if he noticed the man looking at him outside the school. "Looking at me?" asks Wheels. "Probably some pervert," says Snake cheerfully. How reassuring. The guys then discuss their report cards; neither of them did well. At least they have musical careers to look forward to, right?

On the PA, Mr Lawrence announces that a doctor from the Board of Health is coming to give a lecture on scalp hygiene, entitled "The Facts of Lice". I love this show.

Because at least 25% of the action in each episode must take place in a toilet, Wheels next runs into Joey in the boys' bathroom. Joey is busy forging his mother's signature on his report card, since he "forgot" to show it to his parents. As Wheels starts peeing (sigh), Joey remarks that he wishes he had Wheels's parents, since his own "have got, like, ZERO sense of humour". I don't know, his dad made that hilarious joke about child abuse before.

Also, Joey's decided that the band should be called Joey and the Joybuzzers. Wheels says it's fine, but Snake won't like it. "That guy knows nothing about names," sneers Joey. Apparently, "knowing something about names" was a prerequisite for coolness back in the day. Who knew?

Just as Mr Lawrence announces that one of the mythical other teachers has given birth to a bouncing baby boy, we cut to Spike and the twins. Nice. Spike is unwisely experimenting with power-dressing, sporting a huge shoulder-padded suit jacket and looking vaguely reminiscent of Hillary Clinton during her husband's first term in office. You know, except for the giant punk hairdo. She's complaining that Shane won't talk to her any more (really, probably a good thing, considering his classy treatment of the whole pregnancy situation).

Just in case anyone missed the end of the last episode, Spike quickly recaps her dilemma: "I'm too young to have a baby, I don't wanna be a mother, and I don't wanna have an abortion, either." Erika asks if Spike would have an abortion and tell her mother it was a miscarriage, but her line is mostly drowned out by the bell (I had to listen four times before I could figure out what she was saying), so… that goes nowhere.

People come into the classroom, and Shane very pointedly ignores Spike's attempts to catch his eye. Still a tool, then.

Everyone has to leave their signed report cards on Mr Raditch's desk, and when Joey leaves his, Raditch asks him what his parents made of it. Joey smarms that his parents said nothing because "they're not too concerned about school and stuff". This is probably not the best way to slip under Raditch's radar, because he announces that he'll have to "get them concerned" on Parents' Night, which is upcoming. At this, Joey collapses theatrically into his chair, and everyone stares and laughs at him, even Wheels. Traitor.

"I know some of you are worried about Parents' Night – don't be. It's not a conspiracy," announces Raditch. It would be a bit more convincing if he hadn't just tried to make Joey worry about Parents' Night.

After class, Raditch reminds everyone that there's a rehearsal for the Parents' Night talent show in five minutes' time. Once out in the corridor, Joey wails, "I forgot about Parents' Night!" while walking past a giant Parents' Night poster. Parents' Night is rapidly shaping up to be the new Photo Day. There's some light-hearted banter with Snake and Wheels over whether Joey's parents will kill him, or just break his arms, and Joey insists he only hid his report card in order to make his parents' lives easier. If only all kids were as thoughtful as Joey.

At this, Snake points out that Parents' Night was announced on the report cards, so Joey's parents have no idea it's on, so Joey should just forge a note from his parents saying they can't be there. Problem solved. Wheels points out that it's a stupid idea, but nobody listens.

Once they're gone, Heather and Erika drag Spike out of the classroom. "I don't know about this," Spike moans. "Oh look, he talked to me about it once. Wheels doesn't mind being adopted," says Heather. So… it turns out Wheels is adopted all of a sudden. Glad we got that straight. Spike says Wheels was just one of the lucky ones, and ended up with nice parents (even if they are fond of show tunes and alien conspiracy theories). The twins insist that there are lots of nice adoptive parents out there, and anyway, Spike doesn't want to have the baby or have an abortion, so she has no other option. So there.

Next we see the talent show rehearsal, and it looks like "talent" may be a slight exaggeration. Even by Degrassi standards, this is just completely bonkers.

So, some kid in a top hat and Timmy Mallett glasses is playing backing music on a keyboard. On the stage, Caitlin's wearing pink short-shorts, a Hawaiian shirt, an oversized pith helmet and a waist-length blonde wig; she's accompanied by Arthur, who's wearing a cavalier wig, a huge wooden necklace, and an "ethnic" shirt. This is his attempt at drag. Caitlin having caught the rap bug two episodes ago, she's somehow talked Arthur into doing a rap duet, with lyrics as follows:

Caitlin: "I'm Phyllis!"
Arthur: "I'm Fran!"
Both: "We're going south to get a man!/We'd better find one soon, we're getting really tense/And since he's got to be just right/We've stayed up all night/Making up a list of his requirements…"

Then, while attempting to dance, they trip over each other. Seriously, the whole thing is insane.

(Also, the routine seems so massively out of character for Caitlin that I can only assume it's some sort of feminist cautionary tale, in which Phyllis and Fran end up discovering political lesbianism before becoming Marxist revolutionaries in Peru.)

Backstage, Wheels and the guys are getting ready for their rehearsal. Joey wants to shoot their first music video on top of a building, but Snake thinks that's passé, and in true '80s style, wants to shoot it in a studio "with smoke machines and dancing girls!" "What do you do," asks Joey, "rent your ideas from Bozo the Clown?" Uh, yeah. Clowns are notorious for their clichéd music videos.

Joey, by the way, is wearing a huge black-and-grey wig. He looks like a badger. He is not in a position to criticise anyone else's aesthetic choices.

Just then, Spike appears in the doorway and asks Wheels for a word. They go out and sit on a convenient staircase. Meanwhile, Joey and Snake argue over whether the music video should have a dream sequence or not. But the real question is: should they lose the sax solo?

Spike asks, "You know I'm pregnant, right?" Wheels nods awkwardly. So yeah, I guess we're meant to assume that one of the twins talked, because it seems to be common knowledge from here on. Spike explains that she's thinking about putting the baby up for adoption, and Wheels nods awkwardly again. This isn't really going too well. "Seeing as you're adopted, I was wondering if you could ask you some stuff." Wheels finally realises where the conversation is going, and relaxes slightly.

Spike asks if he ever thinks about his birth parents, and he says, "Sometimes." She then asks if he knows anything about what happened, and he says all he knows is that they were too young to keep him and that he was born at 6am. When asked if he's mad at them for giving him up, he thinks and answers, "No… I don't think so." Basically, he's willing to help, but completely inarticulate.

Caitlin and Arthur have finished rehearsing. Arthur in particular is an awful dancer, and Ms Avery proceeds to damn them with faint, insincere praise: "Okay, not so bad… needs a little work but that's what rehearsals are for. Don't you get discouraged!" Both kids look completely crushed.

Next she calls for Joey and Snake and Wheels, and you can tell she's a freewheeling liberal because she actually calls Snake and Wheels by their nicknames. Wheels hastily tells Spike to let him know if she has any more questions, then joins the others on stage.

"I hope you guys know your music this time!" shouts Ms Avery. This raises the ghastly spectre of a previous rehearsal that went even worse than this one: Joey is just pawing at random notes on his keyboard, Wheels is playing the same note over and over again on his bass, and Snake's guitar seems to have no purpose other than making the speaker give off horrible feedback. "It sounds awful," Melanie whispers, while Ms Avery desperately tries to keep from laughing. Spike watches the guys for a minute, wondering if all adopted children go on to join atrocious bands, then beats a hasty retreat.

A little later, the guys are coming out of the building, and the worst part is that they actually think they sounded good. "That was the best rehearsal ever!" shouts Joey. "We've never played that well!" answers Snake. They all shout disjointed phrases like "excellent!" and "amazing!" and "all right!" and they are completely, utterly deluded.

Wheels goes off in one direction, Joey and Snake in another, and once Wheels is alone, the man in the yellow gloves gets out of his car and walks slowly to the school fence. Wheels sees him and stops walking. "You're Derek Wheeler, right?" asks the man. "I'm Mike Nelson. I'm your dad." And with that, a thousand Mystery Science Theater crossover fanfics were born.

Wheels stares back at the man, who keeps talking: "No, wait. It's true. You were born at Eastern General. 6am on a Friday. Your middle name is Michael. Let me show you something." He throws Wheels a little string of beads, some of which spell out "Nelson". "That's your birth necklace. They put it on you when you were born." Well, the name "birth necklace" would sort of suggest that, but has anyone else even heard of these things, or were they just invented so the writers would have something to hang some symbolism on?

"This is fake," says Wheels. "No, it's real," the guy answers. So that settles that question. Anyway, the guy, who I might as well refer to as Mike, says he just wants to talk, and there's no pressure, but he leaves Wheels a piece of paper with his phone number. He drives off, and Wheels takes the piece of paper and heads towards home, trying valiantly to look conflicted but actually just looking like the sun's in his eyes.

Later, Wheels is at home, staring at the necklace and the piece of paper, and I'm 99% sure he has a frieze of the Bayeux Tapestry on his bedroom walls. I'd mock him, but I'm actually pretty jealous. Also, that ridiculously elaborate drumming is back again. Derek's adopto-mom comes up to check that he's doing his homework, and he runs to his desk and pretends to be working.

"You know I don't like to nag you, but your report card wasn't very good," she tells him, in case we'd forgotten his earlier conversation with Snake. Wheels promises that he's nearly finished his homework, then, once she's gone, goes back to staring at the necklace and piece of paper. I love how people on TV can't think about a topic unless they're looking intently at some relevant object.

Next morning, Joey and Snake are still arguing over their conflicting visions of fame. "If we wanna sell the album we've got to go on tour!" Joey insists. "It'll be great – there'll be groupies, we'll have T-shirts that say 'Joey and the Joybuzzers'…" "I don't think my parents will let me miss that much school," Snake answers. Joey just points out that rock stars don't have to go to school. Which is admittedly true, but very few rock stars are 14 years old.

Up in the library, Wheels is staring morosely out the window. Joey comes over and shows him the fake note he's giving to Mr Raditch, and Wheels reads it out for our benefit. "Dear Mr Raditch: we regret to inform you that we are unable to attend parent-teacher night due to having a highly communicable disease." As forged notes go, it's pretty awesome, but Wheels just hands it back and goes back to angsting out the window. The others stare at him for a bit, then Snake asks him what's up.

Wheels explains about what happened yesterday. "Are you sure the guy's for real?" asks Snake. "There's a lot of weirdos out there." Yeah, perverts are always hanging around outside schools, pretending to be people's birth parents. Wheels points out that the guy did know a lot about him, and Google hasn't yet been invented, so he must be telling the truth.

And Wheels has made a massive miscalculation in telling his troubles to a pair of teenage boys. "This is great! I wish I was adopted – my parents are so boring," says Joey. "We could do a song about this!" Snake exclaims. "That's right!" Joey answers. "This is research!" Then they both start drumming on the table and chanting, "My dad is back, he's got lots of money…" Wheels goes back to staring out the window and inwardly vows never to tell them anything ever again.

Oh hey, speaking of birth fathers, here's Shane. He walks in and drifts over to sit on a couch, carefully ignoring Spike and the twins. Spike runs through her pregnancy dilemma yet again, for the sake of the more forgetful viewers: neither of them wants her to have an abortion or to have the baby. Hm, I'm getting the impression that teen pregnancy is a complicated issue with no easy answers… thanks, Degrassi writers! Also, Shane is in deep denial about the whole thing. "I just wish he'd talk to me," she sighs, as Shane buries himself in a textbook. Well, he may have screwed up two lives, but at least his grades will be really good.

Later on, Joey is frogmarching Wheels to a phone box. Wheels tries to voice some doubts, but Joey's having none of it. Wheels is so whipped he doesn't even close the door on the phone box before dialling, and just lets Joey stand there, breathing down his neck. As he gets through to Mike, Joey nods solemn encouragement, and there's a wholly inappropriate little synth flourish on the soundtrack.

After the commercial break, we are shown the most depressing restaurant ever. The shop front is a deathly grey and half the letters have peeled off. It's called [somebody]'s Grill, but the owner's name is now completely illegible, either because the sign is a million years old or because the place is so bad that nobody wanted to be held accountable. This is where food comes to die. Inside, Mike makes some chitchat with the waitress, then brings two milkshakes over to the waiting Wheels. "Pretty neat, eh?" he says chirpily. "We both like chocolate milkshakes – must be heredity." Wheels rolls his eyes, then semi-relents enough to ask Mike what he wanted to talk about.

Mike takes out his wallet and produces a black-and-white studio photo of a girl holding a baby. It's presumably Baby Wheels and his birth mother, although this isn't actually made clear. "She's pretty, eh?" asks Mike. Wheels forces an awkward smile; possibly he doesn't feel all that comfortable evaluating the attractiveness of his own mother.

Mike explains that he and Wheels's mother lost touch, and were only 16 when they had him, but didn't want to give him up, and they wanted to do the right thing, but didn't know what that was. Wheels listens, but it's fairly clear the whole encounter is torture for him. "We were just kids," says Mike. "I'm still a kid! Who else would go from town to town playing in a band?" I'm not sure if he's really being self-deprecating, or just pretending not to think he's the coolest guy ever. Anyway, Wheels's whole face lights up at this revelation, and he eagerly asks what Mike plays (drums) and says he plays bass. You know, just the one note for now, but hopefully he'll learn more some day. "That's heredity!" says Mike. Wheels grins and drinks his symbolic milkshake. Happy music plays.

Later, Wheels and Mike leave the restaurant, Mike giggling hysterically so we know they're still having a good time. Wheels asks, "How'd you find me? I thought you weren't supposed to know where I was." "We weren't supposed to know where you were," Mike admits, "or who your foster parents were. But I found out, kind of by accident." And that's all the explanation we're getting on that front. "I sort of kept tabs on you," Mike continues. "Whenever I'm in town I check the phonebook, make sure you're still here." Oh, and Wheels finally realises Mike was the crank-caller from the start of the episode (making him basically the last person on earth to figure this out).

Wheels turns to go, but Mike calls him back again. "We rehearse afternoons," he tells him. "We're not bad for a bar band. Why don't you come on down and check it out? How about tomorrow?" "Great, thanks, so I'll see you tomorrow!" says Wheels. So… tomorrow, then. As they go their separate ways, we see that bad mullets are also hereditary.

That night, Wheels is on the phone to Joey, and he's clutching the birth necklace so we know he's still thinking about Mike. He enthuses wildly to Joey about how Mike is nice and is in "a real rock band!" and invites Joey along to watch them rehearse. Joey, of course, is tied with Kathleen for the position of "last person you should ever bring along to any kind of possibly sensitive encounter".

Just then, Wheels's parents get home, and once Wheels hangs up, his dad earnestly asks him, "Hey Derek! Ever heard of a group called the Gourmet Scum?" Ahahaha, best band name ever. Wheels says the Gourmet Scum are "amazing", and his dad proudly produces a pair of tickets to their concert tomorrow. Wheels looks stricken, and says he can't go tomorrow, because he has a rehearsal for the talent show. And it looks like Wheels's special talent is shattering his dad's hopes and dreams, because Old Man Wheels is utterly crushed.

Next morning, at school, Spike and Shane are having a vicious row. Spike tells him to face up to what's going on, and he says he can't do much more than he's already doing (i.e. nothing at all). Well, at least they're talking. Meanwhile, Joey and Snake are still arguing about band names.

Joey heads into the bathroom, still talking to himself about how "Snake and the Sneeze" is a stupid name, and finds Wheels moping in the corner. And who could blame him? He's wearing a white poloneck under a brown diamond-pattern sweater vest. I'd hide in the bathroom too if I was dressed like that.

Joey, in an unusual display of awareness of other people's feelings, asks Wheels what's wrong. Wheels explains that his dad asked him to go to a concert last night. "I thought you were going to your other dad's band rehearsal," says Joey. "Mike's not my dad, ok?" Wheels snaps. "I've already got a dad." Joey is completely baffled, but apologises anyway. In case the audience is as stupid as Joey, Wheels explains that he feels bad for lying to his parents. "Come on!" says Joey, back to his old insensitive self. "How many times do you get to see a real live band?" Uh.. but Wheels is passing up the opportunity to see an almost certainly better band, so that just doesn't make a lick of sense.

After school, Joey and Wheels arrive at a stabtastic-looking pub called the Duke of Connaught, which apparently existed until quite recently: one review site claims, "This dive bar was the classic place to hang out back in the 90's. Unfortunately it was closed most likely due to illegal activities and depressing people." And it's about to get pretty depressing now, let me tell you.

Inside, the place is empty except for the band (Mike and the Drifters, which: first of all, what kind of band is named after the drummer? also, that name seems sort of copyright-infringey). And oh Christ, are they awful. I mean, they can carry a tune, more or less, but it's horrible rambling instrumental cock-rock, and even though we only hear them play for about 20 seconds, it feels like it goes on for fucking ever. Give me Caitlin and Arthur's drag rap any day.

Anyway, once the horror has temporarily abated, Mike jumps up to say hi to Wheels, and proudly introduces him to the others. "Hey guys, check it out – this is Derek, my kid!" Wheels stares at him in outrage, while the band express their amazement: "Hey, you never told us you had a kid!" (ouch), "Man, he sure looks like you!" (untrue except for the mullet), "Does this mean we get to call you Dad?" (buh?).

Wheels flips out at this: "I belong to my mum and dad! I'm not his!" Joey frantically tries to shush him, and Mike tries to reason with him, but Wheels just keeps ranting: "Stay away from me. What did you come back for? You're messing everything up." Ugh, the kid misses one Gourmet Scum concert and apparently his life is ruined. Teenagers. "I'm not trying to mess anything up. I care abote you," Mike protests. "Yeah," says Wheels. "You care abote me so much you got rid of me? I was a mistake." He turns to go, then stops: "And I don't want your stupid necklace, either." In all fairness, jewellery is rarely a good gift to give a 14-year-old boy.

Wheels storms out, and Joey runs after him. "Forget it, Joey. I'm not going back. Ever," Wheels emos. "But they're a real baaaand!" wails Joey. Like I said: pretty much the worst person Wheels could have brought along.

Later, Wheels gets home, and… why the hell is there a framed photo of some jellybeans on the wall? Anyway, his parents are sitting in the pitch dark for some reason, waiting for him. "Everything's going to be all right," his mother announces out of nowhere. "What?" asks Wheels sensibly. "Mike telephoned," his dad explains, and yes, he actually says "telephoned". Because he is just that old-fashioned.

"He apologised for any trouble he caused, as well he might," says Wheels's mom, who is also old-fashioned. Anyway, Wheels's parents tell him that it's ok to be curious about his birth parents, and they totally support him. And this backfires spectacularly: "Don't you want me any more?" asks Wheels. "I don't want Mike. I want you! I wish things were like the way they were!" And then he storms off to his room, possibly the only teenager ever to have a tantrum because he loves his parents so much.

Next morning, Joey and Snake are still arguing about band names (yawn) when Raditch calls Joey over. "Real shame my parents can't come to Parents' Night," Joey remarks. Raditch tells him, "The note was so sad that I just called your parents to express my sympathy… they were very curious about the note and they promised to be here." So, Joey is rumbled, to the surprise of nobody except himself, and that whole scene was basically filler.

Oh hey, Spike and Shane are having another argument. "I don't like being told what to do!" yells Spike, who's wearing a handmade grandma cardigan, in a shade of pinky beige that thankfully doesn't exist any more, yet again betraying how the wardrobe people on this show had absolutely no idea how punks dress. "You didn't get pregnant by yourself, you know – I have some say here," says Shane. "One dumb mistake and you're in charge of my life?" Spike retorts. Wait, what? Yesterday they were fighting because he didn't take an interest, and now they're fighting because he does? Dammit, show! Make more sense!

"I thought you liked me," Shane sighs, irrelevantly. "Sure I like you," says Spike (I really don't know why, since he's been completely unlikable throughout), "but we're only fourteen, and we're not in love or anything." Shane responds calmly and maturely by flouncing off in a huff.

Wheels comes over to ask what's up. "Shane and I aren't going to see each other any more," Spike explains. Wheels stares at the floor awkwardly. He did ask. "I'm still thinking of putting the baby up for adoption," she continues. Wheels keeps staring at the floor. "But what happens if I love it too much to give it away?" she asks. Wheels unhelpfully tells her to "do what's right", but Spike complains that she doesn't know what that is. Oh hey, that sounds familiar! Do I sense an impending lesson?

Wheels goes over to his locker, and Spike follows him, clearly reckoning that a confidant who gives no advice at all is still better than Erika "you can't get pregnant your first time" Farrell. "If I do give it up for adoption, I'd like to meet it later on, just to explain why I had to give it up," she says. Wheels remains completely silent and is looking acutely uncomfortable with this whole conversation. "You don't think that's wrong, do you?" asks Spike, possibly just to check if he can still hear her. "No," says Wheels hastily, perhaps because he suddenly understands his bio-dad's motivations, or perhaps because he just wants Spike to leave him alone.

That evening, he's at home practicing the bass, and he's clearly had a breakthrough because he can now play two notes. Go Wheels! His mother passes his door, and he calls her back to make sure she knows about Parents' Night, and to ask if she and his dad will stay to watch his band afterwards. "We wouldn't miss it for the world!" she says. "My son, the star!" Even Wheels knows that she's slightly overstating things (two notes is still not a lot), but she just tells him, "You don't see it through our eyes." So, despite the fact that they previously teased him for his taste in music, it seems his parents still love him enough to sit through an awful talent show. Awww. Wheels ponders this for a moment, then goes back to playing his two notes. Not terribly well.

Aaaaugh, wait. I take it back. I will gladly listen to Wheels playing two notes for an hour rather than have to watch another scene of Mike's horrible band playing. Thankfully, Wheels turns up again, and eventually they notice him and shut up. Oh ew, the guitarist is wearing a leather waistcoat.

Under the watchful eyes of his bandmates, Mike goes over to Wheels and apologises for, you know, stalking Wheels and going behind his parents' backs and so on. "I was afraid they'd say no and I couldn't see you," he explains. Yeah… that makes the stalking more creepy, not less.

"Is it ok if we don't see each other for a bit?" asks Wheels. "But I'd like to call you some time. Later." "Yeah, sure," says Mike sadly. "See you, Derek." This whole thing is made much more awkward by the fact that Mike's bandmates are all standing about two metres away, not even pretending not to listen.

"Most of my friends call me Wheels," says Wheels. Mike smirks like he knows what a stupid nickname that is, but all he says is, "Ok, Wheels." "You still got my necklace?" Wheels asks. "Your necklace?" "Yeah, my necklace." If you say "necklace" too many times it doesn't sound like a word any more. Mike digs around in his pocket and throws the necklace to Wheels, who catches it and smiles. End credits.

Oh, and we never find out what happens on Parents' Night.

Dubious lessons of the week: Adoptive parents are boring; birth parents are cool. But both kinds of parent will give you crappy birthday presents. Also, never ever talk to a 14-year-old boy about your problems.


Anonymous said...

The blog is great but you're being a bit hard on Shane. He can't do anything to support Spike as she still, at this point, is undecided whether to have the baby, keep it, give it up or abort it. Wheels who gets his nickname as his last name is Wheeler would've been better off sticking with Nelson seeing how badly a set of "wheels" (aka car) would lead him to disaster not once, but twice

And Mr Raditch is pretty good looking, especially by this shows standards. I wonder why that was never played up on

Ms Avery said...

Well, I still think refusing to talk to Spike for days on end is kind of a dick move, yanno?

Yeah, I wonder if Wheels's name was some kind of twisted foreshadowing.

Did someone get a crush on Raditch in the next generation, or am I completely making that up?

63Kraft said...

Another dubious lesson: Parents Night is not a conspiracy.