Chasing The Bus

Episode Report Card
Sobell: A | Grade It Now!
Lab Rat Or Field Mouse?

We open with a shot of Vegas, because someone at CBS is apparently worried that the audience might think they've tuned in to a rerun of The District otherwise, then swerve out to empty roads in the desert. The camera focuses on a tour bus speeding along the road, then swoops inside. A soignée woman is leaning over her seat and talking to a balding guy with a why, God, why me? look on his face, telling him, "Come on! I earned this vacation! Have you ever been married? When it's good, it's great. And when it's over, it's even better. Uhhh-hmmm?" He smiles a little, and she settles down in her seat. The camera moves down the aisle and lingers on a youngish man in a suit, rolling dice across the copy of some generic book about gambling. He looks across the aisle and says, "I'm telling you: the seven comes up every six rolls. I got a system." One man just nods; the other queries, "You know what casinos say about guys with systems?" "What?" asks Systemic Stan. Heckling Hal replies, "Welcome." One row back, a portly, balding fellow snits, "He doesn't know what he's talking about. Everything you need to know about craps is right in this book." His wife, who looks as though she should be taking marital advice from the woman a few rows up, continues cross-stitching as she says, "I was talking to Shirley. She said the only way to make money in that town is slots." Well, if Shirley says it, okay. I vaguely remember seeing the best-selling book Shirley on Gambling. Chapter One: What Is The One-Armed Bandit? The camera and I lose interest and move on: first we see the driver steering the bus -- "ship of fools, bus of yokels," the husband opines -- then we go back to the interior, where we see a young man damaging his hearing, then an old man playing Gameboy and announcing his score to his disinterested wife, who'd rather inflict photos of her grandchildren on a captive audience. Well, now that we've seen pictures of little Tyler walking, I feel like I know everyone. I now have a personal stake in these people's lives. I hope the bus doesn't crash or anything; I wouldn't be able to cope.

In other, less wholesome parts of the bus, a couple is canoodling next to the lavatory. The door opens, and a dead ringer for Bruce Springsteen -- provided Bruce was both hungover and about ten seconds away from giving in to homicidal impulses -- staggers out, a bottle of Thunderbird in hand. As the bus driver benignly announces their location -- forty miles outside Vegas -- Bad Bruce heads down the aisle, arousing suspicion in all who behold him. The bus driver continues with his amiable patter, then resumes driving. Bad Bruce sits down in the front seat and offers the driver a swig; the driver declines with, "No. I know my limits." He then demonstrates that he does not know the speed limit, flooring the pedal and grasping the wheel of the bus in preparation for some serious driving. The wheel begins shaking violently; the bus driver looks alarmed. We see assorted passengers looking up, concerned -- even the canoodling couple disengages and looks around to try to figure out if they're still next to a bathroom (yup) -- and the driver fights to regain control of the bus. We switch to the exterior of the bus: a tire goes flat and the bus begins swerving, its bulky body swaying precariously atop tires that are barely on the road. Inside the bus, people are flung to and fro, making the usual assortment of panicky noises. The bus swerves wildly, and we see it running on the rims of the tires, then veering into a concrete barrier. We switch back into the interior for a moment to see panicky people, then watch the bus run off the edge of the road, bouncing down the cliffside. Tyler's Grandma! Systemic Stan! Ebullient Ex-Wife! Noooooooooooo!

Okay, I've collected myself.

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