Case #2.06: "Higher Education"

Yesterday marked the 74th birthday of America's favorite trash-TV talk show host: Maury Povich. His show is one of my favorite guilty pleasures, especially his "out-of-control teens go to boot camp" and "Who's the father?" episodes. This episode would fit into the latter category; a teenage girl has accused Harry Ioki of being her baby daddy.

In a classroom, a blond girl in a blazer with shoulder pads stands at the front of the room. The young male teacher assigns the girl (Patty) a topic for her impromptu speech: "Why I like to party." Isn't that just a tad inappropriate, good sir? The class snickers knowingly at Patty, who's clearly been singled out for her reputation. 

Patty hems and haws that she doesn't know and puts her arms behind her back. "Do you stand like this at a party?" asks the teacher. He strikes model-esque pose with his hands on his hips and asks, "Or like this?" The students laugh again. 

The teacher tells her to stand like she would at a party. Patty poses. The teacher says she shouldn't be nervous because most impromptu speeches occur in front of people you already know. 

A brunette girl who seems to be doing some kind of chemistry experiment in the girls' bathroom. In class, Patty nervously says she likes to party because it's fun. The teacher instructs her to close her eyes and imagine herself at a party, then describe the party to the class. "Music, dancing, boys," she says.

The brunette is paces the bathroom now. We still hear the lesson. "Why do you like music, dancing, and boys so much?" asks the teacher. Patty replies, "Because it's better than school and homework and my parents."
"That's it!" cheers the teacher, who will henceforth be known as Mr. Creeper. 

In the girls' bathroom, the brunette is still walking back and forth in front of the sinks. The poor dear needs a fashion consultant; her unfortunate ensemble consists of an embroidered mint-green sweater with shoulder pads, a peach skirt, and huge pink cube earrings. Her watch alarm goes off and she freezes.

Patty is still talking about partying. Sitting on the counter in the girls' room is a box containing a Know Now Pregnancy Test: "Fast, accurate results in 10 minutes." The test tube has turned blue. The brunette seems shocked and upset as she hustles out of the bathroom, her wardrobe now the least of her problems. 

Patty advises the class to "party your brains out" as a stress-relief mechanism. 16,000 of my college classmates would agree. The students clap as the bell rings. Mr. Creeper tells that class that Patty's extensive research on the subject helped. I was right about Patty being the party queen.

Enter Bathroom Brunette, AKA Joy. Mr. Creeper comments that she's only 50 minutes late and asks if something's wrong. Joy confesses that she thinks she's pregnant. Um, once you have positive test, I'm pretty sure the "Am I? Aren't I?" part is over with. Mr. Creeper cocks his head and sighs a little as he says, "Oh, Joy." He sounds like he knew this was coming.

Joy goes home and tearfully apologizes to her mother. Joy's mom hugs her. Joy sobs that she doesn't know what to do. Joy's dad comes home from work and notices the women in his life are upset. Mom tells him they have something to talk about; Dad thinks it's ideas for their family vacation. "We're not taking a vacation this year," Mom informs him, "Joy is...going to have a baby." 

Dad wonders how they let this happen. He wants to speak to the other half of Joy's "problem." After some prodding, Joy says the father of her baby is Jimmy Young. However, Joy doesn't know where to find Jimmy because he dropped out. Oh, this must be making her parents feel so much better about their teenage daughter being pregnant. 

Cap'n Rufus meets with a female reporter, Denise. The media isn't normally allowed in the Chapel, what with it being home to an undercover program and all. Denise wants him to go on a local talk show since he doesn't do fieldwork...except that one time. Rufus's answer is an emphatic no. Denise asks him to think about it. 

Doug and Harry eye up the reporter from the corner, the Asian slurping noisily from a juice box. Seriously, guys, she is not an attractive lady. She looks like an ad for the dangers of red hair dye, AquaNet, and teasing combs. Doug purrs appreciatively as Denise leaves. 

Blowfish comes up to them, demanding $40 for some baseball tickets he's selling to Doug.
Doug wants Harry to come with him for some male bonding. He thinks Cap'n Rufus is in a good mood and won't say no when they request a day off to go to the game. Harry wants to finish writing a report and Doug calls him a wimp. 

Cap'n Rufus is now in his office talking to someone on the phone. He promises the caller he'll take care of the problem and shouts, "Ioki!" The captain asks Harry to sit down and wants to know how his life is going. Harry says things are fine. Rufus inquires if Harry has a girlfriend. "No," Harry says, a little unsure of where this line of questioning is going.

Harry thinks Rufus is trying to set him up on a date. Rufus asks if he knows Joy Prentiss. No, Harry doesn't. Fuller drops the news: "She says you're the father of her baby." Harry sinks back in his chair, looking stunned.

Joy's dad tries to bully the whereabouts of Jimmy Young out of his daughter's principal. Fuller comes in and explains that Jimmy Young is the undercover alias of Harry Ioki. "This is great," Joy's dad says sarcastically and I can't say I blame him for his reaction. Fuller's not sure Joy and Harry even knew each other while Harry was assigned to the school.

Joy's dad says angrily, "I'm sure he introduced himself before inviting her into the backseat of his squad car. Or was he pretending to be a high school student when he seduced her?" He threatens to sue the school district, city, state, and police department. He also wants Harry arrested for statutory rape.

The principal speaks up. In a ludicrous plot even for this show, the school's computer club sponsored a dance. Students were matched with dates by a computer personality test before the event. Joy and Harry went to the dance together.

In Rufus's office again, Harry explains that he filled out a questionnaire in homeroom one day. I participated in something pretty similar as a high school sophomore hoping to ease the pangs of Valentine's Day singlehood, but most of the listed people they matched me with already had girlfriends. I was pretty upset, both by not finding a date and wasting $3 to have my survey processed. 

Anyway, Harry was matched with Joy. At the time, Harry believed Joy was dating his suspect. They went to the dance together, after which Harry learned a different Joy was the perp's girlfriend. He went home early by himself. Fuller asks if he ever saw Joy with any other boys. Harry didn't notice. Cap'n Rufus puts Harry on desk duty until his name is cleared.

Harry and Tom run around a lake together at sunset. Tom is having trouble keeping up, seeing as he hasn't run since the academy. His workout attire is rather interesting: a flat-billed ballcap, sweatpants, a '50s letterman sweater, and what seem to be combat boots. Harry can't stop thinking about the mess he's in. "She musta been somethin' else." says Tom. Tom Hanson jumping to conclusions? Gasp! 

When Harry gets upset, Tom reassures him that Joy probably panicked and told her parents the first name that popped into her head. Harry will be off the hook in 9 months when a DNA test reveals: "Harry, you are NOT the father!"

Harry goes to visit Joy's parents. Her dad is glad that Harry is willing to take responsibility. Harry says he isn't the father. He takes a step forward when he sees Joy watching them from the stairs, but is blocked by Joy's dad. Dad tells Joy to go to her room.

"Why are you doing this to me?" Harry asks. Joy snaps that he knows why. Harry repeats that he's not the baby daddy. Dad gets angry because he thinks Joy is being called a liar. He tells Harry to leave. Harry refuses. Dad shoves Harry into an end table, knocking over a lamp in the process. Dad calls the police. Harry still doesn't leave. 

In an unintentionally hilarious moment, Dad pauses his conversation with the 911 operator and covers the mouthpiece with his hand. "Are you armed?" he calmly asks Harry. Harry confirms it. "Yes," Dad says into the phone, just as calmly. 

A handcuffed Harry is frogmarched out of the house by 2 uniforms and put into the back of a waiting squad car. And I thought Doug would be the first one to get in serious trouble for his hot temper.

Tom and Cap'n Rufus arrive at the police station to pick Harry up from the interrogation room. Tom breaks the news that Harry is suspended. Joy's dad has taken out a restraining order against Harry. Jump Street officers can't investigate one of their own, so there's nothing Rufus can do to help.

In the office, Rufus assigns Doug and Judy to tail Joy. Tom is like "I thought we couldn't investigate Harry." Tom's job is to keep Harry out of trouble. Rufus gets ready to meet with Denise. She's actually not a reporter; she's a producer for a talk show host named Barry Prince. Most shameless takeoff on Larry King's name ever! Doug warns Cap'n Rufus to watch his step; Barry roasts guests he doesn't like.

Judy goes to home economics class, where they're doing the classic "treat this egg as your baby for a week" parenting lesson. There aren't any more boys, so Judy will be a single mom. She joins Joy at a table. Joy thinks the point of the exercise is that taking care of an egg means you can take care of an actual baby. Not hardly. I've heard the same argument used in reference to pets.

Two of the other girls discuss how bad it would be to have a baby. You wouldn't be able to do anything fun. Joy deliberately tries not to react, meaning that none of her friends know she's pregnant.

At the marina restaurant, Denise promises to buy Cap'n Rufus dinner if the show goes well. Rufus isn't interested in publicity; Denise says it's more about politics and gaining more public support for the Jump Street program.

At a bar, two vacationing girls try to pick up Tom and Harry. They ask for a tour of the town. Harry tells them to get lost. Tom looks away, embarrassed. Harry thinks the girls are with Internal Affairs, which is pretty paranoid.

Doug and Judy compare notes in her car, which is inexplicably a red convertible instead of the green roadster from Season 1. Joy's name hasn't been the subject of any locker-room gossip. Doug roughly picks up the cardboard bed Judy made for her "baby." She admonishes him and sets the cradle on the dashboard.

Doug thinks she's taking the egg project too seriously. Judy asks if he's ever considered fatherhood. "If you're gonna be the mother, I'm interested," he flirts. Wait, I thought they established they wouldn't be starting an office romance? Continuity counts, people! 

Doug goes right back to his old self, joking about how he knows what to do with the egg; it involves a frying pan and butter. Joy backs out of the garage in what is presumably her parents' station wagon. Judy hands him the egg cradle so she can concentrate on driving.

In the process of following Joy, Judy very nearly causes an accident. Doug yelps for her to slow down. "Just put Madilynn in her carseat, Douglas," she says. He banters back with slight lisp, "Why don't you slow down, Judith?"

Joy stops at the library to return some books, then continues her journey on foot. She runs up the front steps of a duplex and knocks. Mr. Creeper answers.

Joy asks Mr. Creeper for money to leave town. Mr. Creeper wonders where Joy is planning to go; she's an uneducated, pregnant, 18-year-old girl. "How would it look?" he says, "A teacher giving a pregnant student money." Mr. Creeper answers a phone call and makes an appointment for a private tutoring session with another girl. 

Joy is upset that he calls it tutoring. She threatens to tell on him. Mr. Creeper tells her nobody would believe her since she already accused Harry of being the father. It's Joy's fault that she got pregnant. Joy protests it has to be Mr. Creeper's baby because she lost her virginity to him. Mr. Creeper thinks he can get someone to say that Joy sleeps around.

Cap'n Rufus sits on the set of Barry Prince's show with an attorney. The lawyer calls Jump Street "a police state on our high school campuses." Rufus says their records are open with the students' and schools' names redacted. The lawyer accuses him of entrapment and violating students' civil rights.

Barry has Denise broadcast some callers on the air. One of them is Joy's dad, who accuses Harry of getting his daughter pregnant. Afterward at lunch, Denise congratulates Cap'n Rufus for helping the show get its highest ratings in 6 months. Rufus isn't happy about getting set up, the exact thing Doug warned him would happen. He's not so dumb after all, is he, Rufus?

Denise offers Rufus another appearance on the show and he thinks she has real nerve. "Controversy makes for good television," says Denise sweetly. 

In the squadroom, Harry warns Tom that a guy from Internal Affairs is watching them from a ladder. Nope, it's just Blowfish fixing a light. "You ever wonder what he really does around here?" asks Harry. Tom exasperatedly replies, "He's a janitor." 

When Cap'n Rufus comes in, Tom announces with a grin that he saw the show. Doug and Judy fill them in on Joy ditching her car and visiting Mr. Creeper. It could be a stretch but Rufus tells Judy to talk to Joy about it.

At school, Joy sits by the track and tells Judy to leave her alone. Judy reveals that she's a cop. Joy accuses Harry of being the dad and denies that it's Mr. Creeper. Judy thinks Joy is protecting Mr. Creeper out of love, but she needs to come clean before the accusations ruin Harry's life. "No. I don't love him." Joy sobs. 

Joy breaks down and admits that Mr. Creeper is the father of her baby. She wanted him to stop touching her, but he didn't. Judy explains that constitutes rape. Sidebar: With her hair down, Joy looks a lot like a young Sally Field. 

Cap'n Rufus and Tom go to Mr. Creeper's house, where a teenage girl is doing her homework at the coffee table. They ask her to give them privacy and she leaves. "We're here to talk about the alleged rape of one of your students," says Rufus. Mr. Creeper acts as if this is the first he's hearing of it.

When they tell him the victim is Joy, Mr. Creeper calls Joy a liar. He and Joy had some drinks and consensual sex during one of their tutoring sessions. It's not a statutory issue because Joy was 18. Tom says they'll make sure he never teaches again.

"If you deprive me of my right to earn a living, I'll sue you," Mr. Creeper threatens. Tom informs Mr. Creeper that he can still be prosecuted for date-rape. Mr. Creeper shows Cap'n Rufus a photo. It was taken a month after Joy got pregnant and shows them happily eating ice cream cones at a street fair. "I dated her, Officers, I didn't rape her," he finishes. So either he tricked Joy into thinking she had the rape coming while continuing to see her or Joy really is a pathological liar.

Harry goes with Cap'n Rufus to Joy's house. He tells her parents he's sorry about all the unpleasantness that's happened. Joy's dad still wants to press charges and discuss Harry's responsibility concerning the baby. 

Rufus drops 2 bombshells: Joy has been in a sexual/romantic relationship with her speech teacher. She has also accused him of rape. Joy's mom looks like she might faint. Rufus says the relationship continued after the alleged rape, which could make prosecuting the matter difficult. But he points out that relationships often do continue after unwanted sexual activity. 

Joy's dad looks enraged. Cap'n Rufus tells him that Joy's credibility is questionable after accusing Harry of being her baby's father. A trial on her behalf isn't likely if Mr. Creeper doesn't confess. Joy's mom asks Dad if he's okay. "No," says Dad as he leaves the house.

Joy's dad goes to the school armed with a baseball bat. He barges into Mr. Creeper's classroom, interrupting a boy's speech about heavy metal bands. He introduces himself as Joy's father, advancing menacingly on Mr. Creeper. 

The two men play cat-and-mouse around the desks for a minute before taking it to the hallway. "Somebody call the police!" yells Mr. Creeper. Joy's dad says they've already been called. A throng of students forms behind Joy's dad as Mr. Creeper backs away. 

Joy's dad lands a solid blow against a row of lockers. He shouts angrily about how Mr. Creeper took advantage of his daughter. He hits some more lockers and swings wildly at Mr. Creeper's head, but misses. 

Harry and Cap'n Rufus arrive. Mr. Creeper is now sprinting down the hallway and through the boys' locker room. He locks himself in the sports equipment cage. Boys in various states of undress watch as Joy's dad enters stage left with his bat. 

Mr. Creeper repeatedly begs for the boys to call the police. Joy's dad hits the cage, asking if the teacher is scared. Harry shoulders his way through the crowd and takes the bat away. He asks if Mr. Creeper would like to confess to raping Joy. "I most certainly would not," growls Mr. Creeper.

Harry advises Joy's dad to keep the label up so he doesn't break the bat. He lets Dad hit the cage some more. A now thoroughly terrorized Mr. Creeper confesses that he did it. Cap'n Rufus comes in and catches the tail end of the confession. Sadly, this case will probably be thrown out anyway for coercion.

Joy's dad now has the answer he was looking for. He opens the equipment cage so Harry can arrest Mr. Creeper. Dad sinks onto a locker room bench, crying with his face in his hands.

Judy and Joy are sitting outside the school together. "I didn't mean to get him in trouble," Joy says sadly. She changes the conversation entirely by asking what happened to Judy's egg. "A friend of mine ate it," Judy explains. Joy laughs.

Then Judy asks the big question: What is Joy planning to do about this unplanned pregnancy? Joy admits she doesn't know. Judging by the silver cross she's worn around her neck for the whole episode, I'd say an abortion is probably out of the question. Judy watches her walk away. End of episode.

No comments:

Post a Comment