Let’s get something out of the way at the outset. This is a very good episode. It’s light, it’s airy, it’s ‘filler’, and it’s good.
The female populace of the school is swooning over the new substitute teacher. Meanwhile, Matt is forced to spend a couple of days with Fredo the Chimp.
As has been said before, chimps sell. This undeniable fact is proven once again in this episode. We last saw Fredo in a cameo appearance in “Over the Hill”. Prior to that he played a major role in “Mom’s Best Friend”. A fact that is referred to in this episode.
Once again, we see Sam’s softball buddies. This time they need to leave Fredo with Sam for a couple of days while they go to a lumberjack convention (!). The result is that Matt and Fredo must learn to get along. Something Matt is not too thrilled about at the start. But Jo and Sam suggest that they bond, which they end up doing. The bonding of “a boy and his animal” is a time-honored theme, and always warms the cockles of one’s heart. This time is no different.
A funny little bit is when Sam and Jo tell Matt to treat Fredo like a little brother. Matt agrees, but asks to see if he’ll be getting a real one any time soon. The look on Sam and Jo’s face is priceless! Apparently two kids are *more* than enough of a handful for them! *LOL*
As far as the main plot goes, Mr. Keith, the new substitute English teacher, is being drooled over by all the girls in his class, but the episode focuses on four in particular. Lizzie, Miranda, Kate, and Veruca. Veruca’s presence here is a bit of a surprise. Last season she was just another nameless extra who had a total of two lines in two episodes (widely spaced apart). But suddenly in this season she’s been in this episode, “Dear Lizzie” and “Clueless”. One wonders how Veruca’s part became to be increased to that of a reoccurring secondary character. She is the ‘latest’ ‘major’ secondary reoccurring character to be ‘introduced’. Her character is a good one, and is different in both attitude and body type from others. I would even go so far as to say that her addition is inspired.
While all four girls fight and jostle amongst each other for Mr. Keith’s attention, there does seem to be a clear ‘pairing off’ of ‘combatants’ as it were. Veruca/Kate and Lizzie/Miranda.
It’s a fact that there are few things as entertaining to a male as watching a fight. That entertainment factor is doubled when it is women fighting. And *that* goes up ten fold when said fight is over the affections of a male. Lovesick women fighting each other over a guy is practically every male’s fantasy. Pass the popcorn! ;-)
And speaking of the fight between the girls, one has to question Animated Lizzie’s assertion that she was going to be the one to “win this catfight”. While one has to admire her spunk, realistically speaking, it would seem doubtful. If ever it actually *did* come down to fisticuffs one would have to think that Veruca would have the clear advantage. What with her ‘heft’ and all. Don’t mess with the big girls. :-)
Also on display is the strength of Miranda and Lizzie’s friendship. Miranda gives up staying for Mr. Keith’s poetry reading, and thus her ‘chance’ at ‘landing’ him, in order to help Lizzie—whose story of need was so fantastic that anyone else wouldn’t have believed her.
And as a side effect, the two come out ‘smelling like a rose’ as a result. Due to Lizzie and Miranda’s going off to look for Fredo, they were absent from the food fight that ensued at Mr. Keith’s reading. As a result he views them as the only ‘mature’ students he has—they get noticed by the ‘cool guy’! What they were going for all along (even while they admit that they have no chance of getting him—as well they shouldn’t!)
But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Gordo’s exploration of his ‘Inner Scott’ (not to mention his ‘Inner Jew’). His great grandfather was from Scotland (thus the last name ‘Gordon’). His Scottish accent! *LOL* It was ‘worth the price of admission’ alone. His attempt at a suave ‘Double 007’ type of lit to his voice to attract girls is hilarious. But even *more* hilarious is when he sees the food of his ‘homeland’. “I’m going back to being Jewish. The food’s better”. *ROTFLMBO*
And really, who can blame him? Sheep innards? No wonder the Scots never won their war for independence. How can anyone keep up their fighting strength when eating garbage like that?!? *LOL* But apparently Miranda liked them well enough. She *heaped* her plate with sheep kidneys. Sheep kidneys! Ewww!
Gordo then immediately taps into his Jewish heritage by affecting a stereotypical ‘Jewish’ accent! Adam Lamberg does a lot of accents in this series. We’ve heard his Scottish and Jewish accents in this episode, and his upper crust British accent in “Clueless”. He and Hallie Todd seem to get the lion share of ‘voices’.
At the end of the day this is a very fun episode. We get ‘funny voices’. We get chimps. We get catfights. We get reoccurring secondary characters. All that plus a bag of chips (okay, not really). This is a great little episode. Great fun.