Case #1.10: "Next Generation"

Mr. Laforse, obviously a very dedicated teacher, is sitting at his desk grading papers even though it's well after dark. A student named Hoagy (I'm not making that name up) comes in and asks why he's there so late. Mr. Laforse has been slacking on grading, duh. Hoagy says that's not all Mr. L is behind on; Mr. L argues he's only a day late and even banks give grace periods. Hoagie points out that he's not a bank, then leaves the room. Another male student comes in and proceeds to beat the crap out of Mr. Laforse.

Cap'n Rufus tells Harry that Mr. Laforse is barely alive and not the first teacher (or student) at Riverside to be on the receiving end of an ass-kicking. No one wants to talk. One kid's mother admitted that her son owed $5,000 to someone. Tom suspects that Tony Deleplant, a local small business owner/loan shark, is probably involved somehow because his son Hogart goes to Riverside.

Harry's assigned to check into Mr. Laforse's finances. Tom will be going undercover as a potential client. Come on, Rufus, a loan shark case is tailor-made for Doug! It wouldn't be the worst example of stereotyping I've seen on this show so far. Having Harry do math for one...

Cap'n Rufus warns that Hogart is a straight-A student and will be able to detect a bad setup. Tom has to do whatever it takes to sell himself as smart; Doug almost blew his last case because he dropped calculus. Speaking of Doug, Judy pops over Tom's shoulder asking if anyone's seen him. Doug had a late-night bust and was given the morning off.

At Casa de Penhall, a guy is helping his drunk friend off the floor. The place is littered with empty beer cans and boxes containing half-eaten pizzas. Doug is hustling his party guests out. A man in the background is trying to place a collect call to Australia. Doug snaps, "Get off my phone!" 

Doug's standing at the door and instructs one of his guests to touch his nose. Apparently, he flunks the sobriety test because Doug asks for his keys. Doug doesn't look entirely sober himself; his hair is a mess and he's got his aviator sunglasses on crooked. People file out, tossing their empty cans in a trash bag. A guy in a cowboy hat high-fives Doug. "Who are you?" Doug asks. Cowboy points to the girl he came with. Doug asks, "Who's she?" Neither one answers.

Doug sighs, shuts the door, leans against it, and says he's gotta settle down. He turns off the stereo and vaults over the back of his couch, landing across the cushions on his stomach. He's about to go to sleep when the doorbell rings. He reluctantly gets up. His pretty British neighbor Julie is standing in the hall holding her infant daughter. 

Doug invites Julie in and offers her a drink. Julie came by to ask a favor. She's a flight attendant; one of her flights was rescheduled and she doesn't have anyone to babysit Hannah. I don't think I'd be leaving my baby with my bachelor neighbor who still parties like he's in college, but that's just me. She really needs Doug's help because she's missed a lot of work since separating from her husband. Roger, it transpires, was a stay-at-home dad.

Doug's sorry to hear about her marital troubles, probably because he's attracted to her. He asks how long she'd be gone. Julie promises she'll be home before noon. Doug tosses a pizza box and a stack of beer cans onto his recliner and says, "What could happen before noon?" Julie is ecstatic. She kisses Doug on the cheek and invites him to have dinner with her that night.

Julie passes Hannah over and leaves to get her diaper bag. Doug smiles at the baby. Hannah chooses that moment to come down with a severe case of leaky diaper.

Tom arrives at Riverside. Student government elections are in full swing. The halls are plastered with posters, including one endorsing Hoagy Deleplant for president. When Tom sits down in class, Hoagy immediately comes over to introduce himself. Tom's teacher is impressed by Tom's phony transcript from his previous school and invites him to join the scholastic bowl team. Hoagy is also a member.

After class, Hoagy starts hassling a ginger named Davy who is behind on his payments.

Back at Doug's place, someone is hammering on his doorbell again. He scrambles down from the loft, calling Julie's name. Nope, it's Judy. She asks why he's not at work and why he didn't answer his phone. Doug, obviously frazzled, claims he didn't hear the phone. Judy says he better get moving; Cap'n Rufus has been looking under desks for him. Doug says he can't leave the baby. Hannah can be heard screaming upstairs.

Judy looks around the apartment. There's toys and baby powder everywhere. She discovers why Doug didn't hear his phone: he took it off the hook. Judy's confused as to why there's suddenly a baby around. Doug comes back with Hannah and lays her on the counter to change her diaper. Judy notices him putting a T-shirt around Hannah. He takes the safety pin out of his ear to hold the shirt in place. Yeah, that seems sanitary.

Judy learns exactly why Hannah is there and asks if Doug's babysitting to move in on Julie. Doug wraps Hannah in his leather jacket like a blanket and has Judy grab the carseat. She can't believe he's taking a baby to the Chapel. He asks Judy if they can pick up more shirts on the way. I think diapers would be better.

At a dry cleaning business, Hoagy is doing the books for his father. Hoagy wants to help with more than just the laundry, but Mr. Deleplant says no. He wants Hoagy to focus on his grades, the scholastic bowl, getting into college, and the election.

Riverside is hosting a scholastic bowl tournament and the current category is U.S. Law. Tom, unsurprisingly, gets all 4 questions right. Of course, one was about the Miranda decision. The teacher who recruited Tom is practically salivating in the front row. Riverside will go on to the next round.

The teacher treats the scholastic bowl team to dinner. Davy the ginger calls Tom from a payphone inside the restaurant. Davy wants Tom to run against Hoagy for student council president. Tom doesn't want to. Back at the table, the teacher announces that if Riverside wins the next round, they'll go to the televised finals.

"Television? Are you kidding?" We hear Cap'n Rufus's voice from outside the Chapel. Tom says not to worry because there's no way the team will make it to the finals. Rufus reminds him that Tom being on TV would blow his cover at every school in town. Like continually sending him in as Tom something-or-other isn't a little suspect?

Harry comes in with the scoop on Mr. Laforse: his credit cards were maxed out and he was facing foreclosure. $10,000 was recently deposited in his bank account. Tom thinks Hoagy's dad is helping his little shark.

Doug is sitting at his desk wearing Hannah in a Snugli. He wants Judy's help, but she isn't crazy about babies. "You're a woman, aren't you?" Doug asks. Uh, you're lucky you have the kid in your arms or she'd probably slap you. He digs himself a deeper hole by saying she's more biologically qualified to watch Hannah. Blowfish thinks Pee-Wee Herman is more qualified than Doug.

Cap'n Rufus
 comes out to ask Doug why he hasn't finished an arrest report. He starts to lecture him, but melts a little when he sees Hannah. Doug assures his boss that Julie is probably stuck in traffic. Julie calls just then with some bad news: she's grounded in San Francisco due to trouble with the plane. She promises to make it up to Doug when she gets home. Doug likes the sound of that. He lies to Rufus by repeating his initial suspicion about traffic.

When he hangs up, Judy comes over to his desk. She thinks he must be pretty serious about Julie. Doug loves Julie's body, accent, and Hannah. Hannah goes to the bathroom all over Doug again.

That night, Doug and Julie enjoy a candlelit dinner in her apartment. Doug's gone the extra mile and worn a suit. (Looks pretty good too). Julie's impressed by how good Doug is with Hannah. They go into the living room for some more wine. Julie thinks she could make room for Doug in her life; Doug replies that he doesn't take up a lot of space. 

The phone rings before they can kiss. The airline is calling. Julie will lose her spot on the route if she doesn't take a red-eye flight to Omaha that night. She's been on that route's waiting list for 2 years. Julie begs for Doug's help. Doug thinks he'll get in trouble if he brings Hannah to work again, but Julie promises to be back before he has to leave. A kiss is all it takes to make him say yes.

The next morning, Doug comes into the kitchen, turns on the radio, and starts to make coffee. According to the news, Omaha is experiencing a lot of thunderstorms. Doug pours water all over his counter in shock. "Don't close the airports!" he screams at his radio. Hannah starts crying. He contemplates punching the radio, but goes upstairs to take care of Hannah instead.

Central High ends up winning the next round of the scholastic bowl. Davy gets on stage and grabs the microphone to announce Tom's candidacy for student council president. The judge takes the mike back and informs the audience that Central has been disqualified for cheating; therefore, Riverside will be going to the televised finals. Everyone but Tom looks excited.

Tom confronts Davy in the hall because he doesn't want to be class president. On his way back from Riverside, Tom almost gets into a car accident. The driver of the other car gets out, sticks a gun in Tom's face, and tells him not to run for president. That's just fine and dandy as far as Tom's concerned.

Outside school the next morning, Davy is taking bets on the student council election. Tom drives right up to Davy asks why Davy set him up. Davy explains that he owes money to Hoagy and was trying to pay him back by running Tom as a longshot. He's sorry but he didn't want to end up in the hospital like Mr. Laforse.

Tom paces Cap'n Rufus's office shouting about having a gun put in his ear. Rufus says at least he wasn't shot. He wants to see if Hoagy can handle a big loan, say $40,000, or if he'll pass Tom off to his dad. 

The next time Tom goes to Riverside, there's a poster with his picture on it saying he's running for president. Flyers are being passed around as cheerleaders wave their pom-poms. Davy, of course, is behind the campaign. Tom finds Hoagy and fills him in on what it's like to have a gun in your ear. That again? When you're a cop, people pointing guns at you kinda comes with the territory. Davy runs up to Tom saying that Tom's car is being towed.

Tom rushes outside. Harry tells him the car is being repossessed because Tom hasn't made a payment in 6 months. Doug would be so much more believable as a grease monkey. Hoagy's been watching and offers to loan Tom money if Tom drops out of the presidential race.

Doug gives Hannah a bath, using a rubber shark, a toy boat, and crazy voices to reenact the finale of Jaws. He takes her out of the tub when he hears Julie's voice on the answering machine. At least he knows not to leave her in water unattended. Julie won't be able to come home that night because of the storms in Omaha. She hopes Doug and Hannah are having fun.

Doug sinks onto the couch, looking a little overwhelmed. He grabs one of Hannah's toys with his mouth and gently plays tug-of-war with her. Awwww.

Tom shows up at Hoagy's door with an assortment of fake bruises from bouncing a check. With his face. He claims he's in trouble with a drug dealer named Frazier that he worked for and needs $50,000 by the next day. Hoagy goes outside to talk to his father about the loan. Mr. Deleplant doesn't want Hoagy to go through with it. He slaps Hoagy when he finds out that Hoagy's been loan sharking for 2 years. Mr. Deleplant refuses to front his son the money.

Doug, back in his suit, knocks on Julie's door. He checks his breath as he waits for her to answer, but it's her husband Roger who opens the door. Roger invites Doug in. Julie sends Roger into the kitchen. She knows how this must look. Yeah, even Doug knows and he doesn't seem all that bright.

Julie explains that Roger surprised her by buying himself a ticket for her flight to Omaha. They had a lot of time to talk during the layover and decided to get back together for Hannah's sake. Doug is remarkably understanding. He even offers the couple tickets to a ball game that afternoon since his date (odds are on Julie) cancelled on him. He'll even watch Hannah while they're gone.

Before Julie leaves, she lets him know that Hannah needs a diaper change. Doug grins at the baby once they're out of sight. "Let's see if we can find one of Roger's shirts," he says. So much for taking it well. Can't say that I blame him, though. He was used as a free babysitter with the promise of something more later and had the rug pulled out from under his feet.

Tom and Cap'n Rufus walk along a bridge. Hoagy meets them. He lays out the terms of the loan, hands over the cash, and is arrested. At the jail, Mr. Deleplant says he's not getting a lawyer or bailing Hoagy out. It's part of the business to end up there every once in a while. He asks Rufus to send Hoagy somewhere nice. Good luck 'cause juvenile hall isn't a suite at the Ritz.

End of episode.

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