October 1, 2001
CD: First off, I have to confess as a recovering dork that the subject of teasing is a serious one to me, so I'm glad Seventh Heaven decided to address this important subject. "It's bad to pick on people, tease them, or give them dumb nicknames." That was this week's moral and it's an important lesson. But as usual, the show's good intentions are filtered through morons, and the result is silly. But they tried.
The ads for the show promised "a very special Seventh Heaven" tackling the issue of school violence. We begin the episode at the high school. Simon is defending a scrawny kid with a bad haircut who's being picked on by the school bullies. They're making fun of him by calling him "New kid! New kid!" or something equally damning. Simon defends the new kid and gets called "preacher boy" for his troubles. The bullies finally let go of their prey, who sulks off, and Simon reprimands them all. "You shouldn't make fun of him! He could come back with a gun and kill us all!"
As with every hamhanded script on this show I was amused by how fast they jumped to the "tormented nerds carry guns" conclusion. The percentage of nerds who go that far is so small, and the rest of us just suck up, obey the social contract and wait until we're old enough to be druggies or millionaires, depending on who we hang out with in college. When I was in fourth grade I was so pissed off at the world that I'd plan out really elaborate killing factories that could take thousands of people and grind them to paste. But c'mon, I never built one of them.
Meanwhile, back at the Camden household, the Ruthie - Robbie - Lucy love triangle is heating up. As we all know, Ruthie digs Robbie, Lucy digs Robbie, and Robbie is going to feel up Lucy as soon as he gets over Mary. And Ruthie's only eleven. And she's starting to need a bra. Wow! Where'd the summer go? Anyway, the tension heats up when Robbie gives Ruthie a nickname: "Snookie," because she likes to sneak cookies. Lucy doesn't have a nickname. Ruthie gives her one: "Lady Liberty," because she ditched her fiance in New York City and got her freedom by coming back to California. Lucy is unamused and strikes back at Ruthie by telling her that Robbie hates her. It's pretty ugly.
Come to think of it, everyone on the show gets a nickname this week, and most of the nicknames are "insulting." Here are the ones I remember: Matt, who still looks like he's coked up and who still needs a haircut, gets called "hot lips" for necking with his girlfriend outside of work. (This provokes, no shit, a sexual harrasment lawsuit.) Matt's slutty girlfriend Cheryl is "Blondie." (Because she's dumb.) I've listed the other ones. I have my own nicknames for all of them: "shithead," "dope fiend," "self-righteous little fuck," "slut," "slut-in-training," and "uglier than a bag of smashed assholes" (thanks, Dave Schroeder). You can match the names to the characters.
"It's hardly a Camden world out there." Too true.
One other good part: we find out why Lucy broke up with her fiance and left NYC. Apparently the fiance's family couldn't stand her. They're a pack of pot-smoking musicians who thought Lucy was too uptight.
The rev gets a couple of weird subplots. An old friend of his shows up for dinner: Morgan Fairchild. Her nickname is "Birdie," short for "Birdlegs." I don't really remember what she was doing there. Also, a guy comes to the church for help: the guy has one arm, and some folks he works with stole his prosthetic. I think if someone stole my prosthetic, or anything else of mine that costs thousands of dollars, I'd call the cops. But the Rev takes the law in his own hands and speaks with the person who stole the arm, who's a fat guy who likes to tease people. I don't even remember how that got settled.
The episode ends with the rest of Simon's teasing-at-school story. The nerdy kid calls Simon at home and says he's going to "do something" about the teasing. "I'm gonna blow them away." What was that scene in Austin Powers, where Austin comes out of hibernation and says, "It appears that I've lost my inner monologue"? Simon takes him seriously and calls our favorite cop, who goes over to check things out. The cop determines that the nerdy kid is not a risk for violence: he checks off a list of risk factors, which I pointedly did not write down or remember to watch for.
At the end of the episode, though, the kid turns himself in - or someone catches him - I'm not clear; either way, it turns out the kid wasn't fooling ... he had a handgun in his locker. Wow. Heavy.
This season's off to a slow start. I wish I could believe that Robbie's going to shtup Lucy, but I don't see it happening yet. Though she was always boy-crazy, she became bizarrely frigid last year around the time she started hanging out with the crazy kid and applying to seminary. Come on, even Bible schools allow kids to go to date and go to parties, they just have to hold a cantaloupe between their chests when they dance. Anyway, any real sexual tension between her and Robbie seems to be a distant hope. Ruthie freaks me out, not that that's anything new. Matt looks addled - whose idea was it to give him a job at the local free clinic, where he'll hang out with young pregnant girls? And why do they keep calling it "the free clinic"? Why couldn't it have a name, like "St. Agnes"? Simon has been a little pill. Mary is back on the show but has stayed in Buffalo where she can't annoy the rest of them - no fun there. And without Matt's black roommate, there's nobody to smack them around. I don't know ... it could be a long season.