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S03.E11: A Presumption Of Innocence

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Blackie and Blondie traded their usual colours this week, but...opposite again! Just saying!

 

Oh my Godzilla...poor SD's eye thing! I mean...that doesn't even look real.

 

Does this episode feature more Brandon Bray than usual? To Nikki & Steve, to Andrea, to Gil...also, how powerful the bray must be if he can be heard on the middle of the dance floor at a nightclub.

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Oh man. Poor Carteris. I remember when I was watching this show originally I tried super hard to relate to Ohhhhndrea because I was the studious uptight nerd, but how on earth did this poor woman get cast as a 17-year-old only to be styled at every turn to make it look like somebody's mom just happened to wander into class?

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Love the RIckie Vazquez shout out because no fake TV school dance will ever be better than MSCL's World Happiness Dance with Rickie and Delia busting several moves.

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Looking back on this episode now kind of freaks me out.  My boyfriend is a high school teacher and it's a real and legitimate fear that a student could file a false claim against him.  He cannot be alone with a female student and he cannot shut his classroom door if only one student, regardless of gender, is in the room with him.

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But in Canada, teachers absolutely have a duty to report suspected abuse.

 

Same as in the US currently.  I also thought it was not helping Gil's case that he was alone with Brandon at his house while being dismissed for molesting a student.  The guy has no sense of boundaries.  I agree with Tara that they did a good job making Gil creepy through he was obviously innocent in this case.  Well done, podcast.

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I actually didn't even need to hit play on that gif of Steve as Nikki yanks him to the dance floor, because I remember it from back when the episode first aired, his facial expression was so memorable! LOL.

That said, I did still play that gif, repeatedly, because it's so funny.

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I know I've said this before but I never realized how shrewishly Andrea was written. She was kind of my fave back in the day because because I found her the most relatable but now all I feel when I see her is the disdain the writers seemed to have for her. A disdain the wardrobe people clearly ran with.

You just know that these days Brandon would be harassing everyone on Twitter with whatever new cause catches his eye. He's basically a walking hashtag campaign.

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About the boom mic - I think that has more to do with framing and aspect ratio than with the skill of the boom mic operator. At least with movies, if the projectionist hasn't framed the film correctly, then you will see the mics. May have something to do with HD tvs having a different aspect ratio than the old ones on which the show was originally viewed. Here's a little discussion on it: https://www.datalounge.com/thread/10362338-thanks-to-hd-i-m-seeing-boom-mics-in-old-tv-shows

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Not that we want to waste any more time on this storyline, but... what's with the blatant continuity error with Donna's birthday? Numerous times they have told us that her birthday is on Christmas Day, and Christmas has not yet come to Season 3. (can we please please please skip it when it does? Worst. Episode. EVER.) So, how could she be old enough to vote but the rest of the gang isn't?

Stuff!

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Same as in the US currently.  I also thought it was not helping Gil's case that he was alone with Brandon at his house while being dismissed for molesting a student.  The guy has no sense of boundaries.  I agree with Tara that they did a good job making Gil creepy through he was obviously innocent in this case.  Well done, podcast.

 

Yep, teachers in the US are mandatory reporters. It's not even enough to report suspected abuse to a school admin, we're required to report directly to child and family services.

 

And I know it was 20+ years ago, but I can't believe a male high school teacher at the time wouldn't have been told not to be alone with a female student and not to have any unnecessary physical contact with students.  Even elementary teachers are discouraged from doing that.  That was one of the first things we were told at my job orientation when I started teaching.

 

On the other hand, multiple male staff members from the high school I attended have been arrested for statutory rape both when I was a student and since then, so for me it tracks that some people just make stupid decisions. Especially English teachers who don't know how to pronounce "Hawthorn."

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About the boom mic - I think that has more to do with framing and aspect ratio than with the skill of the boom mic operator.

Interesting! I was just thinking when watching a slew of eps on Hulu - how is it that there were THIS many mike mistakes, truly?! And I was also  thinking about how the playback on Hulu is weirdly square and the picture doesn't fill the whole space it should and how this is probably related to aspect ratios and film changes and something, and yet I didn't put the two together.

Edited by itainttippithebird

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Since when are Dylan and Gil such good friends? Dylan isn't in AP English and isn't on the paper, so... why is Gil at Dylan's birthday party? Also, Gil, make some friends your own age.

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Yeah, Gil's behaviour is all kinds of inappropriate. He's innocent, in this case, of the specific thing he's accused of, but the weird flirty buddy-buddy with his students is not cool. And given his history, it makes absolutely no sense, at all. 

 

And speaking of making-no-sense-given-history, wasn't Nikki in Beverly Hills to get out of an abusive relationship? I know we don't know that yet but I find it hard to buy that she'd just shrug off Brandon braying at her like that in the middle of a club with a sad look, given that history - or, I don't know, maybe the fact that she responds by continuing to try to please him is a sign of some unhealthy patterns in her relationships, where she gets treated like garbage and just keeps trying to make it work, but IMO there's something really unsettling in the way it's written but never acknowledged. I know Brandon is never abusive, but he can be physically intimidating when he's in full-bray mode (at least, if you're under five-three). IDK, I'm not 100% sure what I'm getting at there except... discomfort. 

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Echoing the "poor Carteris" posts... looking at these pics from the episode, if you didn't know she was supposed to be a student, you'd think that maybe that character was the Cool Hip Counselor not long out of grad school who Hangs With The Kids and Relates. I don't know if it's her bone structure or hair or both or something else, but she just looks 30 no matter what.

Meanwhile, Brandon makes every Ugly Brayface in the book. I remember watching this back in the day, I thought he was the cutest -- now I just want to smack him right in the gazoo.

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Since when are Dylan and Gil such good friends? Dylan isn't in AP English and isn't on the paper, so... why is Gil at Dylan's birthday party? Also, Gil, make some friends your own age.

 

Biggest WTF going into that episode. 

 

Man that episode is dark on so many levels

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Yeah Zuckerman really looks out of place. So many things wrong

 

1. Brenda telling school stuff to everyone

2. No one getting Sue help

3. Gil not going to Teasley

4. Gil talking to Dylan and Brandon

5. Andrea being so grating. Would not want to tell her stuff. Wonder what happened to the rap-line

 

 

Also man if David taught Brandon how to dance, could have had a Footloose montage. 

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That picture of Andrea with the cake...honestly, she's a secretary who works in the principal's office at these kids' school, no way in hell is she their peer.

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Not that we want to waste any more time on this storyline, but... what's with the blatant continuity error with Donna's birthday? Numerous times they have told us that her birthday is on Christmas Day, and Christmas has not yet come to Season 3. (can we please please please skip it when it does? Worst. Episode. EVER.) So, how could she be old enough to vote but the rest of the gang isn't?

 

Don't people with late birthdays sometimes get held back -- particularly ones whose parents, like Donna's, think they're dumb? Maybe she didn't start kindergarten until she was six.

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Don't people with late birthdays sometimes get held back -- particularly ones whose parents, like Donna's, think they're dumb? Maybe she didn't start kindergarten until she was six.

 

I'll subscribe to the Donna was held back in Kindergarden notion. Makes sense of a goof.

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And I know it was 20+ years ago, but I can't believe a male high school teacher at the time wouldn't have been told not to be alone with a female student and not to have any unnecessary physical contact with students.  Even elementary teachers are discouraged from doing that.  That was one of the first things we were told at my job orientation when I started teaching.

 

I agree that Gil was way too hand-sy with Sue, and that kind of touching just leads to trouble (particularly since Gil said he had a similar problem with a previous student).  Having said that, I'm not really sure how practical (or fair) it would be to demand that a male teacher never be alone with a female student.  How would that even work?  If a female student stayed after class to speak to the male teacher, would he have to order her to leave?  If a female student asked for extra help after school, would he be required to bring a third party in to watch the entire interaction?  It just sounds humiliating for both the student and teacher.  If the teacher was gay or lesbian would he or she not be allowed to be alone with students of the same sex?   

 

 

Dylan isn't in AP English and isn't on the paper, so... why is Gil at Dylan's birthday party? Also, Gil, make some friends your own age.

 

I thought Dylan was in AP English?  Did I make that up?  

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That picture of Andrea with the cake...honestly, she's a secretary who works in the principal's office at these kids' school, no way in hell is she their peer.

 

It always amuses me how little they try with Andrea.  I get that her character wouldn't necessarily have access to the latest fashions, and would dress on a budget, but they don't even bother trying to have her dress like a teenager. 

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After weeks of listening I finally caught up - I've been enjoying the podcast so so much! What I mostly remember from this episode is when Nikki is trying to teach Brandon how to dance and he says to her that the only dance he knows is "the Brandon waltz". Even as a 14 year old who was totally into Brandon I found that stupid. Shut up Brandon! Donna is good in this episode, just being a nice person - which nobody else seems to be.

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And speaking of making-no-sense-given-history, wasn't Nikki in Beverly Hills to get out of an abusive relationship? I know we don't know that yet but I find it hard to buy that she'd just shrug off Brandon braying at her like that in the middle of a club with a sad look, given that history - or, I don't know, maybe the fact that she responds by continuing to try to please him is a sign of some unhealthy patterns in her relationships, where she gets treated like garbage and just keeps trying to make it work, but IMO there's something really unsettling in the way it's written but never acknowledged. I know Brandon is never abusive, but he can be physically intimidating when he's in full-bray mode (at least, if you're under five-three). IDK, I'm not 100% sure what I'm getting at there except... discomfort.

I totally get what you're saying BUT...

Does the show expect us to think of Brandon as anything other than the Walsh Golden Child? I'll admit that I'm only listening to the podcast and not watching, but my impression and memory was/is that we are expected to think that yes, Nikki was in the wrong and Brandon's Golden Ego was hurt by her and her Nasty, Nasty Dancing.

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I agree that Gil was way too hand-sy with Sue, and that kind of touching just leads to trouble (particularly since Gil said he had a similar problem with a previous student).  Having said that, I'm not really sure how practical (or fair) it would be to demand that a male teacher never be alone with a female student.  How would that even work?  If a female student stayed after class to speak to the male teacher, would he have to order her to leave?  If a female student asked for extra help after school, would he be required to bring a third party in to watch the entire interaction?  It just sounds humiliating for both the student and teacher.  If the teacher was gay or lesbian would he or she not be allowed to be alone with students of the same sex?   

 

I thought Dylan was in AP English?  Did I make that up?  

 

I'm pretty sure he wasn't in AP English.  Remember when he was looking over Brandon's reading list and commenting that he'd already read them all (eye-roll)? If Dylan was in AP English, he would have already had that list himself.

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I totally get what you're saying BUT...

Does the show expect us to think of Brandon as anything other than the Walsh Golden Child? I'll admit that I'm only listening to the podcast and not watching, but my impression and memory was/is that we are expected to think that yes, Nikki was in the wrong and Brandon's Golden Ego was hurt by her and her Nasty, Nasty Dancing.

This is a good point (although seriously in what kind of twisted writers room is Brandon not a giant baby in this scene? Oh, that's right...). The braying probably isn't written to be physically intimidating, it's just that's the way Priestley plays it. It just makes me uncomfortable whenever he does it, and doubly so in this case. 

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I agree that Gil was way too hand-sy with Sue, and that kind of touching just leads to trouble (particularly since Gil said he had a similar problem with a previous student).  Having said that, I'm not really sure how practical (or fair) it would be to demand that a male teacher never be alone with a female student.  How would that even work?  If a female student stayed after class to speak to the male teacher, would he have to order her to leave?  If a female student asked for extra help after school, would he be required to bring a third party in to watch the entire interaction?  It just sounds humiliating for both the student and teacher.  If the teacher was gay or lesbian would he or she not be allowed to be alone with students of the same sex?

 

You leave the door open (and as it was pointed out in the podcast, if the student closes the door, you open it back up) or better yet, go work in the library or another public area. There are ways to work one on one while protecting both the teacher and student (without making it weird).  And it's not a great idea to be alone behind closed doors with any student, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

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Yep I finished school nearly 20 years ago and this was just starting to be a thing then. I remember having lunchtime detention with a male teacher who mentioned having to leave the door open and "joking" that it was so I couldn't accuse him of anything. Ew. 

I did laugh a bit when Sarah mentioned it not really being an issue at her school because the teachers were married and/or old. Those can be the sleaziest ones!

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You leave the door open (and as it was pointed out in the podcast, if the student closes the door, you open it back up) or better yet, go work in the library or another public area. There are ways to work one on one while protecting both the teacher and student (without making it weird).  And it's not a great idea to be alone behind closed doors with any student, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

 

I honestly didn't love where the podcast went when talking about Gil and his role in the situation.  (And let me make clear that I think Tara and Sarah do a wonderful job and look forward each week to the episodes they cover!  I just didn't like this one thing.)  I would agree that Gil should have done more to protect himself (and some of his behavior with Sue was just bizarre), particularly with what we are told about his history, but I also believe if Sue was going to lie, she was going to lie, and having a door open wouldn't have changed that.  The whole thing makes me feel terrible for teachers, for having to work in a profession where they are de facto treated as a potential child molesters. 

Edited by txhorns79

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I honestly didn't love where the podcast went when talking about Gil and his role in the situation.  (And let me make clear that I think Tara and Sarah do a wonderful job and look forward each week to the episodes they cover!  I just didn't like this one thing.)  I would agree that Gil should have done more to protect himself (and some of his behavior with Sue was just bizarre), particularly with what we are told about his history, but I also believe if Sue was going to lie, she was going to lie, and having a door open wouldn't have changed that.  The whole thing makes me feel terrible for teachers, for having to work in a profession where they are de facto treated as a potential child molesters. 

I don't know. I kind of agree with your last sentence - especially for male teachers, and I think (IMO experience at least) for male grade-school teachers? It seems to have changed a lot recently but when I was a kid male teachers were rare and always seen as a little strange.

But... ultimately I think the focus has to be on protecting the kids - I'm in Australia and we're currently in the middle of a royal commission (I don't know what the US equivalent is - it's a looong government enquiry) into child sex abuse in institutions - mostly catholic schools - and it was not a rare thing. Nothing is going to stop someone who's going to make something up from doing so, but, as I understand it, that's actually a much rarer thing than TV would have us believe (ditto false accusations of rape, spoiler for next season). 

And definitely Gil was innocent in this case. But he was also... inappropriate. Not just with Sue. That doesn't make him a bad guy or mean he deserved the accusation, but it's not great. He shouldn't be talking about 'pretty girls' and having kids come by his house, and he should be shutting the kind of comments Sue was making right. down. right. away. Especially since he knows what it can lead to. I think that's more what Tara and Sarah were getting at? YMMV, of course. 

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And definitely Gil was innocent in this case. But he was also... inappropriate. Not just with Sue. That doesn't make him a bad guy or mean he deserved the accusation, but it's not great. He shouldn't be talking about 'pretty girls' and having kids come by his house, and he should be shutting the kind of comments Sue was making right. down. right. away. Especially since he knows what it can lead to. I think that's more what Tara and Sarah were getting at? YMMV, of course.

 

I may have misunderstood what they were saying.  I certainly have done it before, and I will certainly do it again. 

Edited by txhorns79

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I'm pretty sure he wasn't in AP English.  Remember when he was looking over Brandon's reading list and commenting that he'd already read them all (eye-roll)? If Dylan was in AP English, he would have already had that list himself.

 

 

I agree that Gil was way too hand-sy with Sue, and that kind of touching just leads to trouble (particularly since Gil said he had a similar problem with a previous student).  Having said that, I'm not really sure how practical (or fair) it would be to demand that a male teacher never be alone with a female student.  How would that even work?  If a female student stayed after class to speak to the male teacher, would he have to order her to leave?  If a female student asked for extra help after school, would he be required to bring a third party in to watch the entire interaction?  It just sounds humiliating for both the student and teacher.  If the teacher was gay or lesbian would he or she not be allowed to be alone with students of the same sex?   

 

I thought Dylan was in AP English?  Did I make that up?  

I think it's in an upcoming episode (spoiler alert! ;) ) where he joins the class late. I feel like it is Ohhhhhdrea who helps convince him to get into the class.

 

Every single time Tara & Sarah follow "The Blaze" with "a lot of parents read it", I laugh. Every. single. time. 

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I don't know. I kind of agree with your last sentence - especially for male teachers, and I think (IMO experience at least) for male grade-school teachers? It seems to have changed a lot recently but when I was a kid male teachers were rare and always seen as a little strange.

 

Male teachers are still pretty rare at the grade school/elementary level (at least in the US), but I think that has more to do with cultural biases agains men working with young kids.  It's much more socially acceptable for men to teach at the secondary or post-secondary level.  A lot of people still see teaching younger children as "women's work." (Ahem, let me just hop down off my soap box.)

 

And definitely Gil was innocent in this case. But he was also... inappropriate. Not just with Sue. That doesn't make him a bad guy or mean he deserved the accusation, but it's not great. He shouldn't be talking about 'pretty girls' and having kids come by his house, and he should be shutting the kind of comments Sue was making right. down. right. away. Especially since he knows what it can lead to. I think that's more what Tara and Sarah were getting at? YMMV, of course.

 

Yeah, he was super inappropriate. Brenda's comment about how he "flirts with all the girls" is a major red flag. (Because, ewwww.) If he had that reputation, he was already making some very poor choices. Mrs. Teasley needed to get her house in order before any of this happened. But I'll give the show this: it's not like there aren't any teachers, male and female, who are like that IRL. They think they're being friendly or charming but they're really just gross.

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Male teachers are still pretty rare at the grade school/elementary level (at least in the US), but I think that has more to do with cultural biases agains men working with young kids.  It's much more socially acceptable for men to teach at the secondary or post-secondary level.  A lot of people still see teaching younger children as "women's work." (Ahem, let me just hop down off my soap box.)

Yep - same in Australia. And the younger the kids the worse it is. In all the childcare centres I know of in our area, there's one male carer. The parents that I know with kids there have conceded that he seems really great and well-liked by the kids but they're uncomfortable about it (and they know that that's probably their own bias, but one they struggle to overcome). Which is sad, and a major obstacle for changing the gender breakdown in those professions. 

 

+1 on your second point too - Gil the gross-friendly-but-ultimately-usually-harmless teacher is a very real thing. What makes it ring false is the history. He's not just young and trying to be liked and doesn't know any better. He knows what can happen. How has he not learned from that?  

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