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ElectricBoogaloo

S01.E02: Seeds and All

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As Moody’s friendship with Pearl deepens, Elena’s relationship with Mia grows increasingly strained. Unsettled by a faulty reference, Elena snoops into Mia’s past while Lexie worries about her Yale admissions essay. Mia bonds with her immigrant co-worker Bebe Chow, who makes a confession with far-reaching consequences.

Original air date: 3/18/20

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I continue to enjoy all the late 90s references like Buffy and Fiona Apple.

Ugh, the counselor SUCKS. I dealt with that exact same issue when I moved in the middle of the school year. For some reason, my new school refused to believe me when I told them that I'd already completed a certain level. I have no idea why they didn't just call my old school and have them confirm what level I was in. They tried to put me in a lower level until I told my mom. Then the school said that they would LET ME take the final exam for the level that I told them I was supposed to be in (keep in mind, this was the middle of the school year so I hadn't completed that level yet). I missed one problem on the entire exam. Since I clearly passed that level, they really should have put me in the next level. Instead they oh so graciously finally agreed to put me in the level that I told them I was in.

The sad thing is that what happened to Pearl is far too common. Not only was the counselor an ass to her, but as soon as some nice blonde lady came in to advocate for her, he was all smiles and eager to put her in the class that she's already told him she was supposed to be in.

OMG, Senta Moses! She will always be Delia Fisher to me.

Bill continues to be mostly clueless. He strikes me as well meaning but passive and a bit lazy (meaning he doesn't want to put in a lot of effort into fixing or addressing anything).

Heh, I didn't know there was such a heated debate between bread crumbs vs Ritz crackers in meatloaf. Mia's passive aggressiveness fluctuates between amusing me and annoying me. I have to admit that it cracked me up when she ignored Elena's request for brisket and made meatloaf instead.

I laughed at the incredulous looks on Izzy's and Moody's faces when Lexie announced she was going to write her Yale essay about a hardship she overcame by talking about how she didn't get cast in the lead for South Pacific. But then of course Elena had to chime in about how Lexie is being punished for having good parents. Ugh.

Reese tends to play very tightly wound flinty control freak characters, but she is great when she gets to do something different like her Emmy bait monologue about being a mom.

I felt bad for Elena because she finally broke through with Mia and they were having a good time and relating to each other and then Mia closed herself off again for no discernible reason (at least not discernible to drunk Elena). Part of Mia's problem is her possessiveness of Pearl. I understand it's been just the two of them for the past 15 years, but it makes me sad when parents can't be happy when their kids connect with someone. Her need to keep Pearl to herself is really selfish and unhealthy.

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Can someone give me a brief recap of both 1) the issue with Pearl's class placement and 2) the essay that Lexie stole from Pearl?

I had a band conductor exactly like the one on this show.  I was shocked.  I didn't realize -- is it really that common?  He would scream at us, full of rage, and tell everyone to mimic his model student instead (me).  He would also throw his baton at the percussionist in frustration.  He was nuts.   

Edited by Ms Blue Jay
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1 hour ago, Ms Blue Jay said:

Can someone give me a brief recap of both 1) the issue with Pearl's class placement and 2) the essay that Lexie stole from Pearl?

 

1 - Pearl had taken the sophomore class (geometry?  Can't remember) at a previous school and wanted to be put into the next higher class.  The counselor wouldn't let her do it because he said her education at other schools wasn't as good and she needed to retake the sophomore class, but it came out later that minority students were never put in challenging classes.

2- It wasn't an essay, but a letter Pearl had written, asking to counselor to reconsider his decision regarding the math test.  As for Lexie stealing the essay--that's unique to the show, so we'll have to see where it goes.

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I hope they reveal why Mia is being such a freaking pill to Elena.  For someone who has had to move around a lot, she doesn't act like she knows how to be friendly.  It seems to be a very deliberate choice by Kerry Washington to have Mia be very abrasive and contemptuous to the Richardson family.  I actually felt sorry for Bill when he introduced himself to Mia and she sort of looked at him weirdly.  

I was also surprised at the brisket/meatloaf thing. As someone who had immigrant parents, we didn't have meatloaf so I have no idea about the Ritz vs breadcrumb debate. And which is more "elegant".  

As for the Pearl/math class, I think part of advocating for yourself is using all your resources available.  Pearl could already tell that Elena had clout and buttered her up by having her read her letter.  Forcing the issue may not have worked.  I still don't get the look of utter horror on Mia's face with this. 

Is Elena so clueless that she can't see Izzy is in pain? At least ask WHY she cracked the bow.

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Mia is so possessive of Pearl, she cant even handle another mom being nice to her. Maybe she can tell how much Pearl is being drawn to this shiny suburban world that Mia seems to hate, and thats why she is extra defensive, but it isnt healthy at all for Pearl. She needs people in her life besides her mom. 

That counselor was seriously pissing me off. Not only was it clear he making tons of assumptions about Pearl based on her race (you must be from Cleveland! You must need lunch assistance! You cant possibly take that advanced class!) but he was just not doing his damn job in seeing what credits Pearl had or letting her try and test into classes that she wants to test into. Of course when Elena shows up though, its all good. 

I did really feel for Elena when she was talking about being a mom and how she feels her daughter slipping away and that she feels like she hates her. Elena really needs to talk to Izzy, she is clearly miserable and struggling and lashing out, but they arent really having conversations as much as one sided eye roll sessions/lectures. It probably wouldn't be easy to get Izzy to open up, but she could at least try a bit more. 

I am loving the 90s references so much. Buffy! Ellen! Fiona Apple and her VMA speech!

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On 3/20/2020 at 1:17 PM, CurlyATX said:

I hope they reveal why Mia is being such a freaking pill to Elena.  For someone who has had to move around a lot, she doesn't act like she knows how to be friendly.  It seems to be a very deliberate choice by Kerry Washington to have Mia be very abrasive and contemptuous to the Richardson family.  I actually felt sorry for Bill when he introduced himself to Mia and she sort of looked at him weirdly.  

I was also surprised at the brisket/meatloaf thing. As someone who had immigrant parents, we didn't have meatloaf so I have no idea about the Ritz vs breadcrumb debate. And which is more "elegant".  

As for the Pearl/math class, I think part of advocating for yourself is using all your resources available.  Pearl could already tell that Elena had clout and buttered her up by having her read her letter.  Forcing the issue may not have worked.  I still don't get the look of utter horror on Mia's face with this. 

Is Elena so clueless that she can't see Izzy is in pain? At least ask WHY she cracked the bow.

I read the book and I don't remember Mia being this bad. I've never had any issues with Kerry as an actress but I'm also wondering why she is portraying Mia this way. She's making some odd facial expressions. 

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3 minutes ago, MaggieG said:

I read the book and I don't remember Mia being this bad. I've never had any issues with Kerry as an actress but I'm also wondering why she is portraying Mia this way. She's making some odd facial expressions. 

I've only seen Kerry Washington in Scandal but her face annoyed the ever loving hell outta me in that, too. I hate the way she moves her face. It's even more annoying here since Mia is just really hard to like right now.

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1 hour ago, peachmangosteen said:
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I read the book and I don't remember Mia being this bad. I've never had any issues with Kerry as an actress but I'm also wondering why she is portraying Mia this way. She's making some odd facial expressions. 

I've only seen Kerry Washington in Scandal but her face annoyed the ever loving hell outta me in that, too. I hate the way she moves her face. It's even more annoying here since Mia is just really hard to like right now.

Okay, I'm glad to read this because I was saying the same thing. Don't watch Scandal and have only seen KW in a random movie or two, so I wasn't sure if this was an acting choice or if she really does grimace THAT frequently. It was very distracting and hard to determine what kind of emotion she was trying to convey.

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I hope they reveal why Mia is being such a freaking pill to Elena.  For someone who has had to move around a lot, she doesn't act like she knows how to be friendly.  It seems to be a very deliberate choice by Kerry Washington to have Mia be very abrasive and contemptuous to the Richardson family.  I actually felt sorry for Bill when he introduced himself to Mia and she sort of looked at him weirdly.  

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I read the book and I don't remember Mia being this bad. I've never had any issues with Kerry as an actress but I'm also wondering why she is portraying Mia this way. She's making some odd facial expressions. 

Thanks to those mentioning the facial expressions!  I'm not that familiar with Kerry so I don't have anything to go on as far as how she normally appears.  The "stank face" where she pulls back her upper lip is off-putting enough to practically make me want to stop watching.  I started out wondering if she was wearing fake teeth?  She's so unlikable at times, when it doesn't warrant such hostility.  She also will just abruptly stop speaking and do the stank face combined with a stare until the other person gets uncomfortable and leaves (like the conversation with Bill).    

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28 minutes ago, Kiki620 said:

She also will just abruptly stop speaking and do the stank face combined with a stare until the other person gets uncomfortable and leaves (like the conversation with Bill).    

I put some thoughts on the book section, but I wanted to comment on this.  For work I'm doing a lecture on reading people, particularly micro-expressions.  Kerry is full on portraying contempt in almost every scene, aka the "Stank Face".  

I stopped watching Scandal, my Kerry doesn't routinely make this face.  I think this is a deliberate acting choice. I may be too close to the book since I just finished reading them a few weeks ago.  But I can't help but wonder why Elena just doesn't tell Mia that this entire thing "isn't working out".  

I also thought it was weird as hell for Mia to step in on the book club.  

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1 hour ago, CurlyATX said:

I also thought it was weird as hell for Mia to step in on the book club.  

I was wondering if maybe Mia was arrested, and trashed her own record but kept the rest. And then tried to maybe save Elena during the book club to throw her suspicions off/have her feel indebted to Mia.

Edited by Natalie25
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2 minutes ago, Natalie25 said:

I was wondering if maybe Mia was arrested, and trashed her own record but kept the rest. And then tried to maybe save Elena during the book club to throw her suspicions off/have her feel indebted to Mia.

I thought the same thing! Though is she were trying to get on Elena's good side, her sudden turn after wine talk didn't help.  Mia can't be this clueless on how to work people, can she?

Also, unrelated... but I was a bit perturbed by her crazy sex scene flashback.  in the car with baby Pearl.

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1 hour ago, CurlyATX said:

Also, unrelated... but I was a bit perturbed by her crazy sex scene flashback.  in the car with baby Pearl.

Right? Also, I found it disturbing they seemed to try to be saying “Look at what a good mother she is, she kicked the guy out. “ The woman had a (presumably) strange man she didn’t know in very close, secluded from the outside world, quarters with her daughter. That’s serious. Not only was she putting herself at risk, she was putting Pearl at risk. Not cool.

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Kerry Washington is VERY Kerry Washington.  She's extremely intense ALL the time.  I mean, I saw her in stuff before Scandal and she was more subtle.  But this, and Scandal, she's dialled up to 11 at all times.  Her face is always working overtime to convey about 100 things.

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The continual sneering is making it very hard for me to watch Kerry's scenes. Not that the Richardsons don't sometimes deserve it, but not to the extent she does it.

This show is really capturing the casual racism of well-off liberal white suburbanites.

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On 3/20/2020 at 1:17 PM, CurlyATX said:

I hope they reveal why Mia is being such a freaking pill to Elena.  For someone who has had to move around a lot, she doesn't act like she knows how to be friendly.  It seems to be a very deliberate choice by Kerry Washington to have Mia be very abrasive and contemptuous to the Richardson family.  I actually felt sorry for Bill when he introduced himself to Mia and she sort of looked at him weirdly.  

I think part of it is that Elena's whole being is devoted to not addressing the very real differences between her and Mia. She is of the "we don't see color" school of thought. She's also of the belief that if you just "make good choices," as she's said many times ("if you can't afford a baby, don't get pregnant," "why should you be punished because your father and I made good choices to ensure you grow up without hardship?"), your life turns out well, without addressing (because she has never had to) the idea that sometimes there ARE no good choices. She's the classic "born on third and thinks she hit a triple" person.

Mia, on the other hand, cannot pretend that there are no differences between them and isn't interested in trying to pretend. She is a poor Black single mother who rents her home from Elena. Elena has just asked her to be her maid, and Elena is PROUD of herself for doing this. 

I did not grow up poor; I've had a lot of advantages. But I am also Black, and I have spent my entire educational and professional life in white spaces, and the micro aggressions from white people are constant, and sometimes you just get fed the fuck up. I think Kerry Washington is portraying Mia as someone who is just not interested in playing that game.

(Having said that, I did feel a bit sorry for Bill when Mia met him. She was rude.)

I also think, because her life has been so transient, that she probably doesn't get close to people as a general rule, which is part of why she doesn't want Pearl getting close to people (in addition to a general "me and you against the world" possessiveness since it's been the two of them for Pearl's whole life). 

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Very good points.  I'm Indian and grew up fairly middle class- small business immigrant story.  Currently I am almost always the only POC in a room.  I've sort of been conditioned in this "model minority" way not to show any negative feelings about this, so having the forthrightness that Mia has to show Elena that she isn't excited and grateful is something I've never thought about.  Your point is really spot on.  My husband (also a POC but with a different back story) most likely would agree with Mia.  (ie I'm supposed to kiss up this gal who is generously renting me the house that she freaking inherited and now wants me to be her maid and be so grateful and honored). 

And the point about being transient is an excellent one- again, one that isn't part of my DNA. I'm a big connector and find "friends" everywhere (even loosely like through blog and message boards).  I can see how if you moved several times it would be easier to just say distant.  Plus, it seems like Mia is running from something that would make keeping in touch harder. 

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On 3/23/2020 at 2:55 PM, CurlyATX said:

I thought the same thing! Though is she were trying to get on Elena's good side, her sudden turn after wine talk didn't help.  Mia can't be this clueless on how to work people, can she?

Also, unrelated... but I was a bit perturbed by her crazy sex scene flashback.  in the car with baby Pearl.

I was actually kind of confused by the flashback because I couldn’t understand why they’d need to recast for 14 years earlier. It would've been really easy to make KW look younger, especially in a scene set in a car at night; I thought for a minute that it wasn’t supposed to be Mia, but a friend who was babysitting Pearl. Also, the actress looked exactly nothing like KW, which didn’t help, either.

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While I couldn’t agree more with Mia’s feelings about Elena—two episodes in and I want four out of the six Richardsons to be forced to live out the rest of their lives in Mia’s car—I feel like KW’s portrayal is pretty one-note so far. She’s got three primary looks: stink eye, sad, and disdainful. Oh, and blank stare. It’s intense, all right, but not, for me, in a good way.

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Please remember to keep all book talk in the Book Talk thread.  I've kept posts that have book information under spoiler tags, but from now on any posts with book information in the episode threads will be removed (even if it is under spoiler threads).

For the sake of the episode threads, please assume that the book does not exist.

Thanks!

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On 3/19/2020 at 6:17 AM, ElectricBoogaloo said:

I have to admit that it cracked me up when she ignored Elena's request for brisket and made meatloaf instead.

Could that have been a mini-scam on her part: taking the money to buy expensive brisket, but then buying cheap hamburger and Ritz crackers instead, making a meatloaf that everyone will love and counting on Elena to not rock the boat by asking where the additional $$$ went?

On 3/23/2020 at 11:55 AM, CurlyATX said:

Also, unrelated... but I was a bit perturbed by her crazy sex scene flashback.  in the car with baby Pearl.

 

On 3/23/2020 at 1:27 PM, MadyGirl1987 said:

Right? Also, I found it disturbing they seemed to try to be saying “Look at what a good mother she is, she kicked the guy out. “ The woman had a (presumably) strange man she didn’t know in very close, secluded from the outside world, quarters with her daughter. That’s serious. Not only was she putting herself at risk, she was putting Pearl at risk. Not cool.

Take it from someone who was the center of a child custody dispute years ago: having sex in the same room and/or car as the child will absolutely get you declared an Unfit Parent and have your child taken away forthwith if the authorities find out (nothing like that ever happened to me, but my mother and her lawyer once explained to me exactly what an Unfit Parent was and how someone would be declared one -- having sex in front of the kids, exposing them to illegal drug use, or abusing them in any way are the big No-No's).

Other thoughts:

That woman in the book club was just looking to pick a fight with Elena. Elena tried making an argument, the woman took offense, Elena tried walking it back, but she just kept needling Elena on and on. Methinks it would have destroyed the friendship had Mia not intervened.

Why must Mia have this constant chip on her shoulder? Elena's been very good to her, and her family has been VERY kind and welcoming towards Pearl.

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On 4/16/2020 at 7:56 AM, Sir RaiderDuck OMS said:

Take it from someone who was the center of a child custody dispute years ago: having sex in the same room and/or car as the child will absolutely get you declared an Unfit Parent and have your child taken away forthwith if the authorities find out ust kept needling Elena on and on. Methinks it would have destroyed the friendship had Mia not intervened.

That's interesting.  Years ago I followed a "mommy blog" (many hours of my life I'll never get back!) and co-sleeping was a very hot topic. The pro-co-sleeping moms would describe in great detail the many ways they had figured out how to have sex without waking their child, and they were darn proud of it.  I always wondered why that was considered perfectly acceptable.  

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On 4/18/2020 at 4:52 PM, MaryPatShelby said:

That's interesting.  Years ago I followed a "mommy blog" (many hours of my life I'll never get back!) and co-sleeping was a very hot topic. The pro-co-sleeping moms would describe in great detail the many ways they had figured out how to have sex without waking their child, and they were darn proud of it.  I always wondered why that was considered perfectly acceptable.  

Wow. That just goes to show that there are always people who’ll make a non-mainstream idea look weirder than necessary. My ex-husband and I did co-sleeping with both our kids and as long as there were babies in the room, that bed was used for SLEEPING (and 3 a.m. nursing sessions) ONLY. Sex was had when the babies were napping in a bassinet that wasn’t in the bedroom. Done, and done.

The only reason I could think of for Mia to have sex with the baby in the car is that she was living in the car at the time? And yes, as a custody-battle veteran (and parent, frankly) I was cringing. I guess it’s possible that she knew the guy better than it seemed, but I’d personally have trouble getting my freak on with anybody in such close proximity to my sleeping baby. 

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