5 Something; Bring me Stanton
I’m starting in the middle, or Whose turn is it for Mr. M to undermine this week?
The shop teacher. It’s the shop teacher.
Let’s start with Mr. M’s storyline. He, with the help of Maashous, his not really his foster kid foster kid. (Mr. M gets all of the child raising, none of the government subsidies. This cannot be legal. I look forward to the episode where child services comes and Maashous runs away to live in an abandoned factory or something.)
There was a thought here, what was it? Oh, yes, Maashous and Mr. M have created a mockup of the set. Admittedly this looks pretty cool and even has a working smokestack. It is a mashup of the actual setting of Spring Awakening I guess, I’ll take his word for it, and this old broken Pennsylvania steeltown in which they live in now. (Full disclosure, Spring Awakening is a show I have not seen) Mr. M, as with everything else to do with the show, is determined to make this set work despite costs and labor. Tracy (rightful drama teacher) is just over here in the corner not even bothering to really argue anymore, probably because she’ll just get another lecture about how Mr. M wants to bring something deep and meaningful to the town. She’s not the one who will be getting that speech in this episode.
Don’t get me wrong, the speech is happening. For sure.
Meanwhile, Lillette (Newbie usurper whose mom had an affair with the football coach, who by the way is also the usual star’s dad.) She has to pull double shifts at the diner where she works because her mom totally, justifiably, and literally kicked the ass of the boss who has apparently been groping her for years. Mr. M rearranges the entire rehearsal schedule to accommodate this because none of the other children have lives to attend to. I think they are starting at 9p.m. This is ridiculous of course, which the kids point out after one of the NPC’s moms storms in and yells at Mr. M. Like, they have jobs and midterms and homework and family too, Mr. M. Geez. Everybody starts arguing and blaming football guy, but this time his schedule isn’t to blame. Lilette speaks up for him, takes the blame… more arguing. Mr. M finally sends everybody home
You too have lots of family, teach. Somehow THIS late rehearsal wasn’t supposed to even run late and he has missed date night with his long suffering wife. She is already in bed by the time he comes home bearing chinese food that he begged the restaurant for because they had already shut the grills off for the night. She is the one who gets the lecture about how he wants to create something amazing and beautiful or whatever, and he somehow doesn’t have to sleep on the couch.
Meanwhile, Tracy is being a good and supportive teacher. One of the students is pregnant. She’s really upset and T is there to be a shoulder to cry on. Later she shows up at the students house to hold her hand and be there as she tells her dad. I don’t remember what this student’s name is yet because she’s been in the background thus far, but we shall see what the future holds.
As for football guy, who is a main character, but I don’t remember his name either. He’s over at practice forgetting is football lines (aka The Playbook) Coach has had it up to the ears with him since he blew the last game. When a scout was there no less! Les gasp! Coach benches him in favor of the second string QB who can at least call the correct plays and throw a pass. Our QB is upset at this of course. Nobody likes to be benched, so he goes and memorizes the playbook and begs coach to give him another chance. (We won’t mention how that would be totally unfair to backup QB, who is probably really excited about getting a start. Could you imagine Coach going up to that guy all “I know you probably invited your entire extended family out to watch you get some play time, but, Psych!”) Coach isn’t having it anyway and gives him an ultimatum basically. Football or Theatre. Ahh, a timeless choice. He is torn, and goes to the best man for advice… Mr. M.
The advice? Call coaches bluff. So that is what QB does. It remains to be seen if this works, because he is still benched come gametime. We don’t really see how backup QB does in this game, because we are focused on our QB’s sadness as he sits all alone on the sidelines. (How a single tear is not rolling down his cheek in this moment, I don’t know.) At least we are spared his dad’s surely OTT reaction at this development.
Quick update on Lilette: She has given her mother a list of jobs she can apply for, the responsible thing to do. Mom doesn’t want to be a Latina stereotype and take a job as a maid, so she has made other plans. She sees a lawyer about suing the diner boss for sexual harassment. This could set them up for life! Lilette is just done with her at this point, since she’s doing the work of two and Mom wants to sue the man who signs her checks on top of it. The rents due, the utilities are past due, and the kid is at the end of her rope with all of this and the show. Mom is all, god forbid, the show, and Lilette is like, yeah, far be it from me to have a little joy or whatever.
Now for Simon. Dear, dear, simon. ~sigh~ He is now back at drama high. He was at that fancy private school for like .2 seconds before telling mom and dad that he wants to go back to public school. It was a surprisingly easy convincing after all of dad’s ragey disapproval. But, yeah, I feel like they’re angling for an ex-gay/conversion therapy storyline with dad, because the reason he gave in so easily is because sympathetic mom asked him to give one reason why this particular show and his son’s part in it are the straw that broke the camel’s back. And dad was just like, okay fine, go back to that devil school, we are not talking about this anymore. I maybe be wrong, but I’m just throwing out guesses on how everybody could be more miserable with more added dramaz and secretz.
So, Simon is back, and like, super desperate to keep the closet door shut tight. His scene partner has other ideas. I don’t know this guys name either, but he seems determined to have a talk bout the ~feelings~ that he is ~feeling~ toward Simon. It all seems a bit abrupt, because this dude hasn’t said a whole lot so far, mostly sidelong glances and whatnot. I think they maybe had one or two conversations on screen. I could have just dozed off during of Mr. M’s speeches though.
Anyways, Simon, basically trying to get as far away from this feelings talk as he can without breaking into a literal run, is all, Plz get away, you’re being creepy, wanting to hang out and run lines all the time, we are in the zone of friendship only!!
Dude doesn’t back down and ends up kissing Simon in the parking lot. Simon immediately jumps into his car and flees. Later on he is determined to take it to the next level with the girl he is dating whose name I also don’t remember, but she was Barb on stranger things. She’s all, cool lets do it, so Simon goes out shopping with BFF Lilette for condoms and sundries like he knows what he’s doing. Of course Lilette does her best to steer him away from this giant mistake in the making, but he has made up his mind.
Back in coachland, his daughter, former theatre company Star, whose name… Okay, I only remember a handful of names, I am sorry! I should make a cheat sheet! Anyway, she is still bitter at dad for continuing to divorce her mom. He’s not seeing Lilette’s mom anymore, but still the divorce, because it just wasn’t working either way. This is where we meet back up with Mr. M’s dream set storyline.
Mr. M has basically promised to buy all the materials needed for the set on his own dime, which he revealed to his wife in the speech that he’s spent 400 dollars on for plywood and such so far. He’s annoyed that the shop class has not made the smokestack round. It has to be round! Shop teach is like, this is a square smokestack, sorry about your luck, my students aren’t your personal form of slave labor, dude. Mr. M is put out about it of course. His wife later convinces him that he can build an amazing set on a dime. Next rehearsal, he and Maashous smash the set mockup with 2x4s and give the students the new plan. Their after school activity homework is to bring him deep and meaningful junk from around town!
(We get an old church window, a rusty railway crossing, and a jukebox that Lilette found in the back of the diner and made out with football guy on top of)
And for the crowning set piece, we will now revisit Star. She’s looking through an old trunk and finds a hard hat from the old steel mill that Coach used to foreman at. She gets a great idea and texts all her theatre buds + non theatre pal, Mr. M’s alcoholic son, Gordy. They break into the old mill to find that the Stanton Steel Sign and quintessential piece of town history she remembered from childhood is way, way huger than she remembered, and they can’t steal it for the show, for they are but teenageres and lack the power tools and trucks to remove it. Alas. At least they have booze and can hang, so it’s not a total loss. Star and Gord chill on a catwalk and chat about the glory days of milling and Gord gives his beer a meaningful look.
Meanwhile Simon and Barb sneak away for a cringey and awkward makeout sesh, but thankfully the cops arrive to bust up the party before they get too far. Star tells Gord to go, and she will take the blame, and later we find out that dad was able to get her out of an arrest for breaking and entering. She’s still mad at him though and tells him she just wanted the stupid sign for the stupid play. We can see where this is going, right?
Later, we are at rehearsal and everything looks pretty good for a cobbled together junk set, and who walks in, but guilty dad Coach and the pièce de résistance, the steel mill sign. Yay! One thing went right in this ep!
Gord arrives home from the B&E to finally tell his mom that he thinks he needs help for his alcoholism. So, I guess coach’s tough love approach wasn’t working out after all.
And finally, Lillette’s mom comes to a rehearsal, catches her daughter performing that “Mother” song from the show (I don’t know the actual title of the song), and decides to take a job as a maid after all. As it turns out her new job just happens to be at the motel where Coach is living now.
Because, of course it is!
Next time: Will someone new get the speech about how deep and meaningful theatre is? Will Gordy stick with rehab? Will QB get a chance to redeem himself footballwize? Will Coach and Lilette’s mom have an awkward encounter in the motel walkway? Will I learn anybody’s name? Stay tuned!