Bad Words

Episode Report Card
Sobell: C+ | Grade It Now!
A hot temper

As Sam continues to light matches, Warrick gets his story out of him: Sabrina knocked on Sam's window and asked him to let her in, as she forgot her key. She thanked him and headed back to her room. Sam, awake and now hungry, went rooting through the kitchen cabinets for a snack and found the Sterno. "Mom uses it for the chocolate pot on our birthdays," Sam explains. Warrick thinks that sounds like fun, but Sam scowls, "Except stupid Grandma's not allowed to have chocolate, so we couldn't do it this year." This is where I wonder why Grandma can't have a nice strawberry shortcake while everyone else dips their angel food cake and strawberries into the fondue pot that's kept strategically out of reach. We used to have to come up with workarounds like that for my grandmothers, both of whom were saddled with both dietary restrictions and dementia. Then again, I love a good fondue, so I'm motivated to be creative with getting it whenever possible.

From there, it's only a short trip to Sam admitting, "Ever since Grandma moved in, we can't do anything fun." Warrick asks what happened next. What happened is that Sam took out his grandma issues on the kitchen floor, set it on fire, and went to bed. He's thrilled to have all the firemen show up. Warrick looks mildly disturbed that Sam's so happy to be hanging with the firemen, and not at all able to comprehend -- or, if he is, not at all remorseful about -- killing his sister with his actions. Warrick says, "You know, Sam, that word you wrote on the floor…that's a really bad word." Sam lights a match and points out that he hears the word all the time from the womenfolk in his family: "My grandma says it --" Pssst! A match drops in the cup and fizzles out. "My mom says it --" Pssst! "-- and my sister says it." Before Sam tosses that match out, he stares at it a while and says evenly, "Well. She used to say it." Then he blows that match out. Warrick looks sick. And the camera zooms in tight on the smoke curling out of the cup as Sam drops the match in.

And we end the episode, all wondering, "Couldn't this all have been prevented with an electric fondue pot?" Ah, well. We'll never know. In the meanwhile, let's ponder how, once again, we're presented with a member of the under-18 set who treats taking lives like it's no big whoop. What on earth could be desensitizing our children to such an idea? Is it…increased exposure to televised deaths? Is it…an inability to write a plot where a child might actually comprehend the consequences of his actions? Is it…a dislike of children? We'll never know.

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