The episode opens on Coach Armstrong’s math class. When I was in high school, my geometry teacher was also the baseball coach. I can’t remember his name, but I can still see his face, and he had a very small chin. Chris and Emma are busy taking seats next to each other, and both participate in the time-honored mating ritual of pretending not to be looking at the other one. Chris is wearing some hefty chains around his neck. He breaks the silence first by asking Emma if she did the reading for English class. She does her best impression of coy and asks him if it was supposed to be chapter two. Please, like goody-goody Emma wouldn’t know what the homework is. They exchange goofy smiles.
The bell rings and Armstrong calls the class to attention. Sean and Amy – the blond girl with the permanent ponytail – wander in late. Armstrong’s got an equation on the board, and he wants someone to “collect like terms.” It looks like this: (2x + 3)(4x + 2). I sucked at algebra so, so much. No one volunteers, so Emma gets called on. She actually narrates her work as she goes along. Teacher’s pet, yo.
She is interrupted by Sean and The Ponytailed One, who have chosen this moment to make out. Yes! The Hat of Evility has convinced Sean to grope Amy’s leg, and she’s totally pushing her arms together so that her cleavage bulges for his viewing pleasure. Unable to restrain himself, Sean pulls her desk up next to his and starts kissing her. In class. Emma is watching from the front of the room, and she’s furious…and extremely jealous. Armstrong puts an end to the smoochies. Chris looks at them, disgusted.
Emma finishes the math problem and glares at Sean all the way back to her seat. He looks pretty proud of himself. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that, if Amy and Sean were actual teenagers, they’d be partaking of the sex. Maybe they are as fake teenagers, too. Emma continues to fume, and doesn’t notice that Chris is trying to catch her eye to pick back up on the non-playful English-themed banter. Chris is sad.
I’m not sure I can make it through this recap. As a common courtesy, I feel that I should confess that I’ve watched this episode once, and was bored, bored, bored. It’s like hell to sit through it again, pausing and unpausing in the name of recapping.
Emma’s using a salad spinner. At least, I’m pretty sure that’s what it is. She has the exact same hair as yesterday, and it wasn’t good hair then, either. The front part is pulled back into a small ponytail and then she’s tied a thin ribbon like a headband, except it’s so thin that the un-ponytailed parts fall forward over it. It’s hard to explain, but it looks kind of dumb. Spike has purchased Snake a new laptop, a used one, to replace the super-cool green one that Sean stole. She needs for Emma to install all Snake’s backup info from the old machine, so that they can give it to him before his birthday party.
Spike wants to know if Emma’s going to invite Chris to the party. Emma explains that he just broke up with his girlfriend, and she doesn’t want to be his rebound. She’s lying, of course. She’s just not over Sean. Because she’s a smart cookie, Spike sees right through her. A picture of Emma and Sean miraculously appears on the laptop, and Spike asks if Emma isn’t letting something else hold her back. Em says that Sean is ancient history, “Jurassic.” She deletes the picture and says that, just like the dinosaurs, Sean is now extinct.
It’s the day after the math class disaster, but Toby and JT are just getting around to talking about Amy and Sean making out. They so would have had that conversation immediately after class. Emma joins them, prompting JT to say that the making out was mean and awful, and he hates Sean anyway. Emma doesn’t need JT to hate Sean. After all, she’s over him. Even after he carries on with Amy like you never existed? Totally. She’s put a little white knit hat on over her stupid hair, and it doesn’t look any better. JT wants to know what she thinks about all the rumors. The rumors, Toby tells her, that Sean’s gang has been stealing stuff from all over the school. Bad karma for him, Emma says. Ha! It’s funny because it’s true! JT points out that Snake’s laptop got nabbed right after Emma and Sean broke up. Emma says that Sean said a lot of things to make her believe that he took the laptop, but she doesn’t believe he would do anything that evil.
Jimmy’s following Hazel around, telling her that she can’t learn to parallel park by reading a book. She’s nervous because they are finally going to get behind the wheel of a car that afternoon, and she’s worried that she’s going to freak. Spinner is sitting in a chair with his hands in the air at 10 and 2. He’s repeating the rules of the road to himself with his eyes closed. Paige sneaks up and tickles him, but instead of being mushy lovey-dovey like usual, he’s annoyed. She wants him to play with her. He wants to make sure he doesn’t end up flunking driver’s ed. Nothing in the book makes sense to him. He says that Mrs. Gonzalez, AKA Satan, didn’t even let Sully take the actual test. He’s afraid everyone else will get licenses, and he’ll be stuck relying on his girlfriend to get a ride. Paige tells him to “take a page, from the book of Paige, and try a lower gear.” Neither Spinner nor I know what that means.
After school, there is a meeting of S.I.T.E., Emma’s environmental group. Ashley’s there, too. They’re going to watch a DVD about pollution in the Great Lakes. Or, they would, if someone hadn’t stolen the DVD player. Emma sees Sean walking by with Crazy Jay and the gang, and storms out to confront them. She flat out asks Jay if he knows where the DVD player is. Her eyes look all glassy and crazy, like she’s been possessed. She affects a cheesy, little girl voice and asks Sean if he’s seen it. He hasn’t. The posse leaves, but Sean stays behind long enough to get in Emma’s face and demand to know how she could even ask him about the missing DVD player. If I didn’t figure, you know, that he actually stole it, I’d feel bad for him.
The scene is interrupted by the sound of beat boxing. It’s Chris. He’s strolling around the corner, making noises to himself. He’s no Justin Timberlake, Human Beat Box, is all I’m saying. When Emma doesn’t squeal with joy over his lack of talent, Chris asks her what’s wrong. She’s still looking after Sean. She was trying to remember what she saw in him. Personally speaking? I always admired his hot arms. Chris tells her that, “Slim Shady ain’t worth rememberin’.” Instead, he wants her to go get a milkshake with him after the meeting. Like a date. He says please. This kid is a dreadful actor, but he’s mildly cute. Emma nods, but can’t even work up the enthusiasm to say yes. Chris is happy enough that he does a little dance down the hall.
Jimmy, Spinner and Paige are waiting outside the school for their driving lesson to begin. Spinner is bouncing his leg erratically. He’s nervous. Jimmy says that his cousin was so nervous her first time driving that she ran over her mother. Twice. Spinner looks horrified. Jimmy punches him in the stomach and makes a crashing noise. The driving school car pulls up and out pops a person who is definitely not Mrs. Gonzalez. I expect porno music to start playing any moment now. The instructor is tall, dark and has a chiseled jaw. His name is Mr. Falcone. Paige falls all over herself to tell him how happy she is to be learning from him. Spinner mistakes her bumbling for nerves. The boys pile in the back while Paige takes the driver’s seat, and after she’s made sure everyone is properly secure in their seatbelts, she tries to turn on the car. The engine is already running. She lurches off down the street.
At The Dot Grill, Chris has managed to suck down his milkshake in record time. He wants to know how Emma is enjoying her strawberry milkshake, and his request for a taste turns into an awkward flirtation. Ew. She’s just about to give it up when Sean walks in with Alex and Crazy Jay. Like a moth to a flame, Emma’s attention is drawn to them, despite her promise to Chris that Sean won’t ruin anything. She starts to explain to him about a petition that she’s working on. While she’s talking, Crazy Jay is slipping what looks like Cliff bars off the counter and into his pocket. Emma cannot stand the injustice. She stalks up to the counter and asks Jay if he’s going to tell the manager what’s in his pocket. Just then, the manager walks up to find out what’s going on. Busted!
Chris is walking Emma home. I keep typing “Sean” instead of “Chris,” because I like Sean better. Emma wants to know what Chris does when he’s not spinning. He reads and listens to music. How exciting! Emma must think so, because she invites him to Snake’s birthday party. He accepts. Jay pulls up beside them in his car and jumps out. He wants to know why Emma can’t mind her own damn business. He doesn’t see the big deal about stealing a couple of chocolate bars. Now they’re banned from The Dot for life.
Chris puts himself between Jay and Emma, and tells Jay to go eat somewhere else. Jay looks like he might kick Chris’s ass, but Sean gets out of the car and tells him to back down. Jay has decided that, if Chris and Emma are going to ruin his fun, he’ll start ruining theirs. And what is Jay’s idea of fun? Stealing the school’s DVD player? Jay says that it’s not nearly as much fun as stealing a laptop. Sean stares at Jay incredulously, while Emma looks at Sean the same way. Sean tells Jay to get in the car. Jay says that if Emma’s smart, she’ll shut up for once. Fat chance. She’s just been handed her next crusade.
The Simpson-Nelson house is half awake in the middle of the night. Snake is mucking around with his new computer, which keeps crashing. Emma can’t sleep, either. Snake gets the Blue Screen of Death, and says that he’s touched that Spike spent her savings to buy him a piece of crap. It just needs some fine-tuning. He’ll upgrade the RAM. Emma says that Spike shouldn’t have had to buy him a new one in the first place. Snake is still pretending that he lost the computer in the confusion of his chemo. Emma says that he didn’t lose it. When Snake pressures her for an explanation, she says that she didn’t mean anything. She’s just tired. She goes off to take a shower, while Snake reboots.
The next day at school, Emma is enrolling Chris in her latest scheme. Poor kid just wanted to tell her about the cool CD he found for Snake’s party. She wants to get the laptop, but Chris tells her that they probably sold it the day they stole it. So what. Emma wants to know what they can do. Chris suggests telling Radditch. Tell him what? That they sort of know that Jay and Sean are stealing stuff? They need proof. Emma says that she NEEDS to get Sean. Chris begins to get an inkling of an idea about what’s really going on.
Poor Paige is dealing with the ramifications of having a crush on her driving instructor. Apparently, many orange plastic cones lost their lives during her time behind the wheel. Spinner and Jimmy give her crap about it, but she’s saved by the bell. Hazel taps her on the shoulder to tell her that she heard that Mr. Falcone is hot. This would explain why Paige lost her cool, and Hazel gets that. She is, after all, a red-blooded woman herself. Paige doesn’t want to talk about it with her boyfriend, Spinner, looking at her from across the room.
Emma’s digging around in her locker, and a picture of her and Sean falls out. It’s a good picture. Sean’s not wearing the evil hat, and Emma’s having good hair. On the PA system, Radditch is telling the students that he wants any available information about the missing DVD player. All tips will be kept completely anonymous. Emma crumples up the picture and goes about getting her things.
Meanwhile, Sean has walked into the school carrying a box just about the right size to hold a DVD player. Emma sees him and decides to follow. He catches her in the act of playing Nancy Drew, and wants to know why she’s trailing him. Perhaps she thought he was actually dumb enough to walk around school with the stolen DVD player. He opens the box to reveal something for shop. Sean tells her that he knows their breakup sucked, and he’s sorry she got hurt. But that was months ago, and what he does with Crazy Jay and Amy now is none of her business. Emma tries not to cry.
Lunchtime, and Jimmy, Spinner, Paige and Hazel are eating outside. Spinner and Jimmy start to hassle Paige about her crappy driving. Hazel says that Paige wouldn’t have had any trouble with Gonzalez. Spinner doesn’t get it. Mr. Falcone is a great teacher. Spinner likes him. And he’s not the only one. Paige tries to get her to ixnay on the alcone-Fay, but Hazel just keeps on keeping on. Jimmy catches on. Falcone is hot! Spinner calls him Marco. Jimmy hastens to add that he’s not the one who thinks so, Paige is. Spinner gets all jealous and storms off.
JT’s playing a basketball game on one of the computers in the Media Immersion lab. Chris takes a seat next to him, and says that Sean really messed Emma up. No shit, Sherlock. JT wouldn’t want to be Emma’s next boyfriend. No offense. On the computer game, JT misses a rebound. “Rebounds suck,” he says out loud. Emma arrives to drag Chris away. They HAVE to DO SOMETHING! She knows that Sean and Jay stole the DVD player, they just need to find a way to get someone to search Jay’s car. Chris isn’t crazy about being a snitch. Emma promises that, once it’s over, she’ll never mention Sean’s name again. She’ll be free to move on. Chris wants to date her so much that he agrees. Sucker.
Chris and Emma are in Radditch’s office. The door is open, which seems like a bad move, since the tips are supposed to be anonymous and all. Radditch wants to know if they can back up their charges. Chris starts to say that they really can’t, but Emma interrupts and says that they can. Radditch wants to know when they saw the DVD player get stolen. Once again, Chris tries to tell the truth, but Emma cuts him off. Yesterday around four o’clock, Emma says that she and Chris saw Jay and Sean loading some equipment into the back of Jay’s car. Chris looks taken aback that Emma would lie. Radditch picks up the phone and has his assistant call the police. Emma looks fine with her decision.
It’s Spinner’s turn to drive. Mr. Falcone is giving Spinner instructions, which he is refusing to follow. He’s being a total pissy bitch to his driving instructor. Falcone is being a good sport about it. He’s also wearing a baby blue polo shirt, which brings out the color of his eyes. Hi, Mr. Falcone! I could use some help with my parallel parking! Paige tells Spinner to stop being an ass. Falcone tells her not to distract Spinner. Just because she did well that day doesn’t mean everyone is as good as her. Spinner needs to improve. Spinner calls Paige a teacher’s pet, except he can’t remember the words for it. Meanwhile, he runs down a cardboard cutout of an innocent family. Sometimes he really is a big, dumb boy. Falcone tries to get him to pay attention one more time, but Spinner says, “She’s my girlfriend, dude,” and runs into the back of a parked car.
The police are searching through Jay’s car, while all the students stand on the steps and watch. The car is coming up clean. As if they’d leave the stolen goods sitting around in the car. Emma prances down the front steps to watch the action. The Hat of Evility spies her there, and orders Sean to confront her. So he does. He knows the anonymous tip was hers. She knows he’s on probation. Radditch isn’t about to let Sean berate the school snitch, so he asks Sean if there’s something he wants to say. “Yeah. Go to hell!” And, thus, Sean gets detention every Saturday for the next two months. Emma is beside herself with glee.
Chris is meandering down the hall alone, thinking about the evils that women do. He’s so guilty, this one. Emma runs up to tell him the news. They found nothing in Jay’s car, he says. No, no. Emma meant the news about Sean getting detention. What about Snake’s computer? What about it? Sean got detention. He got what he deserved – he’s finally going to pay for what he did to her. She means Snake. What he did to Snake. Chris tells him that she lied to Radditch, and that because they got away with it, the whole situation is just going to…I actually have no idea what he says here. I listened on a loop. Feed them? The situation will feed them? Anyway, he says that Emma isn’t over Sean. She protests. He feels like he’s wasting his time.
Spike made Snake an enormous birthday cake shaped like a computer. It’s huge. The thing must weight a ton. Or, it’s Styrofoam with icing on it. That’s my bet. Also, the way I paused the show just now makes it look like the guy sitting on the arm of the couch is totally into watching Spike and Snake make out. There’s some smoochies, Snake blows out the candles and thanks her for the great cake, and Spike runs off to get a knife. Snake tells Emma that he’s looking forward to meeting Chris. Emma has to confess that Chris isn’t coming because he’s off somewhere hating her guts right now. She admits that she went psycho. Because he’s a parent, it is Snake’s job to give Emma good advice, and that advice is, “if he’s worth his salt, he’ll cut you some slack.”
Every dollar Spinner makes for the next 10 years is going to go toward fixing the car he ran into. Paige thinks it’s sweet that he crashed because he was jealous over her. Sure, she thinks that now. She won’t be feeling so warm and fuzzy when he can’t buy her dinner or take her out because he’s paying off his debt. Spinner is still angry about Paige thinking Mr. Falcone is hot. The dumbest thing about this situation is that Paige is easily 10 years younger than that guy, and she has no chance. He totally did not give off that skeevy “I sleep with teenagers” vibe. Spinner tells Paige that he’s not allowed to talk to her while he’s working, so she tries to get him to take her order. He can’t. He’s just a dish pig. Aw, but he’s HER dish pig. Spinner confesses to switching their instructor back to Gonzalez. Paige starts to list off the things that she loved about Falcone, but then admits she was kidding. They hug.
Chris is hanging out at the music kiosk in the mall, where Emma finds him. She tells him that she likes track three of the CD he’s listening to, but he is determined to blow her off. He’s doing well until she tells him that she likes him better when he’s smiling at her. Then he melts like butter. These are the things Emma likes about Chris: He has great taste in hats, better taste in music, and he makes her feel fun again. Oh. There is so not any chemistry between these two. It’s painful to watch. She wants him to give her another chance. She promises to never talk about Sean again, except to say that she only did what she did because Sean broke her heart. Chris wants to know if it’s getting any better. It might, if he’ll consent to coming home with her and eating birthday cake. That would be nice. They hug as if they would rather do anything than touch each other, and then walk off arm in arm.