Judging Amy
Not With A Whimper

Episode Report Card
Not With A Whimper

Bruce wonders, with the rest of North America, why Amy had a book about Eleanor Roosevelt in her desk. Amy doesn't answer him, but merely congratulates herself on being so "smooth." She tells Bruce that she has "a good feeling about that kid. She's feisty." See! Am I in tune with this show, or what? Bruce and Amy, turning the corner on their way to chambers, run into the High Priestess of Wacky Hi-Jinks herself, Donna, wrangling with the snack machine. She's got these cast-like things on her hands, which she explains are part of her treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. Donna informs Amy that she shouldn't even be working, but, you know, she can't leave her idol in the lurch. Amy advises Donna to go home, because they'll be fine without her. Donna's sweet, President of the Amy Gray Fan Club face falls. Bruce elbows Amy, who backpedals and corrects herself, telling Donna that they'll "struggle through." Donna toddles off home to Vincent. Amy and Bruce share a "what the hell was that?" look.

Back at the Ranch, Lauren helps Amy dress for her date. Maxine asks that Amy help her move "that highboy" in the hallway before the carpet men get there, but Amy doesn't want to move heavy furniture in her fancy ensemble. Wow, roof guys, carpet men, Amy must finally be paying enough rent that Maxine can afford a total overhaul of the ranch. The doorbell ding dongs and Lauren runs off to let her father in the house. Amy eyes her outfit and tries to put on her game face.

Downstairs, Maxine sings Lauren's praises to Michael, her father. Lauren tells Michael that later, she plans to read to him from "Ramona the Pest. It's so funny!" This is the only thing that Lauren has ever said that I can get behind, 100%. Ramona the Pest does, indeed, kick all kinds of ass. Amy makes a grand entrance, descending the stairs like Norma Desmond. Lauren invites Amy to come along, but then takes it upon herself to tell her father that Amy has a date. There's some yammering about an art folder, but it's all plot contrivance to get Michael and Amy alone. They wonder why the divorce is taking so long, and banter lightly about expensive lawyers and red tape.

Oh, dear sweet Jesus. Amy and her date are arguing about Portnoy's Complaint. How the hell did they get on that subject? Amy says that Roth's portrayal of women is cartoonish. The date, who, I guess is an English professor at Yale, doesn't respond the way that anyone who's read the book would respond, which would be by telling Amy that the cartoonishness is, in fact, the entire point, and that Portnoy's opinion of women is reflection on the character's mores, not the author's, and that, in fact, it is dangerous indeed to assume that the voice of a first-person narrative is equivalent to the voice of the author. Instead, he just says that Roth is presenting an honest portrait of the way that men actually view women. Clearly, he's a very bad teacher, because I don't think he's read the book. Amy asks, disgusted, if all men view women "as castrating?" The date looks uncomfortable and says, "Yes." They both smile warily and the date excuses himself "for a moment." Amy digs into the bread. He appears to be gone for quite awhile, since she manages to devour the entire basket. Maybe Mr. Portnoy climbed out the bathroom window. Nope, he finally returns and tells Amy that he isn't hungry anymore and that sitting there with her made him want to call his ex-wife. He throws down his plastic and tells the waiter that he'll "take [his] to go." Whoops. Maybe they should have talked about the part in the book where Portnoy, ahem, pleasures himself with the family dinner, instead of the whole "woman as castrating" part. Just a suggestion.

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Judging Amy




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