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S03.E21: THE S-T-A-- STAIRCASE

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When JJ's attempts to make a good impression on Izzy's parents fail, he changes course to make a bad one instead. Maya is jealous when Melanie is the recipient of a public display of mom-love. Meanwhile, Kenneth leans on Jimmy for support after a tour of his alma mater reveals a few surprises. (airs April 5)

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I thought all three plots this week were incredibly sweet:

JJ/Izzy -- Apparently, Izzy hadn't told her parents about JJ's power-chair; when her dad meets him and starts being patronizing to him (not seeing him as a sexual being that he would normally want to protect his daughter from), it upsets Izzy as much as JJ. But after JJ is further upset over having needed so much help getting up to her bedroom and her loft bed ("I tried to show your dad that I'm a man -- I wound up showing you that I'm not"), she reassures him that everyone needs help sometimes, and that as hard as it was getting him up to the bed, there's no other boy she'd rather be with there. ❤️ (I did have a pretty good laugh at Izzy's dad after he catches JJ in her bed, how he ends up angrily threatening him yet trying not to be too insensitive as he carries him downstairs.)

Maya/Melanie -- At a Cerebral Palsy Foundation event (for which Fashion 4 All is a sponsor / supplying clothes), Maya envies Melanie because her son Logan was able to attend and give a speech praising her; when she later apologizes to Melanie for the scene Ray and Dylan made, Melanie admits she's a little envious of the strides JJ has made (he was too busy to come to this year's event because he was with his girlfriend) but also says that they shouldn't be comparing their kids and Maya should be proud of JJ, to which Maya replies that Melanie really did deserve her moment of glory. They've both come such a long way since this season's Thanksgiving episode!

Kenneth/Jimmy -- The first college JJ receives an acceptance-letter from happens to be Kenneth's alma mater; but when JJ (who's still holding out for a possible acceptance from NYU) doesn't want to hear his dad's arguments for going with a school that's more affordable and closer to home, Jimmy invites Kenneth to go with him to Long Beach Technical College and make a little tour video for JJ (thinking his son will be more likely to listen to his friend). When Jimmy asks Kenneth if he's ever thought about finishing his degree, he's surprised and touched to have his question actually taken seriously; but as they look into re-enrollment for Kenneth, a glimpse of his old transcript (which reveals just how much of a screw-up he'd been as a student) sends him into a funk, and he later admits he's afraid of reverting to his old self after JJ (who's been largely responsible for bringing out his best self) leaves for college; Jimmy apologizes for having pushed re-enrollment too hard on him but assures him of his support. :)

Choice cues: "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell (as Izzy and, later, Joyce help JJ up the stairs); "My Boy Lollipop" by Millie Small (as Jimmy and Kenneth have some campus fun after finishing their video for JJ).

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Izzy's dad is cool! Like Penny's dad, Wyatt, with Leonard (TBBT). And like the girl's father in "American Pie." I can't believe Izzy wouldn't know know how her dad would really react before putting JJ in that position. Whatever he did or didn't know about JJ, he knows his daughter.

Good for Kenneth! I hope he does well this time around. And good for Jimmy for encouraging him to try college again.

Maya and Melanie can be proud of their own kids and jealous of each other at the same time for different reasons.

I laughed out loud at Maya's discovery at the end -- and JJ coolly rolling out of the room! Micah can do so much with just an expression. Being "speechless" can be an advantage.

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I loved the Izzy and JJ subplot! I can understand why Izzy wants to go to college at NYU her dad is too overprotective. I loved the use of Ain't No Mountain High Enough. I didn't like the Kenneth subplot it turned JJ into a inspirational cripple which Kenneth should know JJ doesn't want to be.

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That was a good episode - I liked the JJ subplot.

Kenneth-Jimmy plot was a bit odd, but I guess now we know how Kenneth will stay on the show next season 😛

Edited by bros402
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13 hours ago, possibilities said:

I love Izzy.

I think both she and Melanie have been wonderful additions -- the best things that could've happened to JJ and Maya, respectively -- and are as freakin' adorable as the main cast. :D

14 hours ago, bros402 said:

Kenneth-Jimmy plot was a bit odd, but I guess now we know how Kenneth will stay on the show next season

Jimmy being as proud of Kenneth as he would be his own kids was cute, but I did feel something was a little off about the reveal of Kenneth's transcript -- it didn't sound like it jibed with what the big guy had told Dylan about getting kicked off his b-ball team after taking bribes from alumni "boosters" (in 1x20 "R-U-N-- Runaway")... though I suppose it's possible he felt the truth was too embarrassing or, judging from his reaction here, he could've simply forgotten about all the other stuff. (Sort of like how he casually referred to his dad as The Colonel in s.1, but in s.2 Maya had to be corrected when she assumed the man had served in the military.)

Edited by GRChereck · Reason: clarity

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14 hours ago, GRChereck said:

I think both she and Melanie have been wonderful additions -- the best things that could've happened to JJ and Maya, respectively -- and are as freakin' adorable as the main cast. 😄

Jimmy being as proud of Kenneth as he would be his own kids was cute, but I did feel something was a little off about the reveal of Kenneth's transcript -- it didn't sound like it jibed with what the big guy had told Dylan about getting kicked off his b-ball team after taking bribes from alumni "boosters" (in 1x20 "R-U-N-- Runaway")... though I suppose it's possible he felt the truth was too embarrassing or, judging from his reaction here, he could've simply forgotten about all the other stuff. (Sort of like how he casually referred to his dad as The Colonel in s.1, but in s.2 Maya had to be corrected when she assumed the man had served in the military.)

I was confused when Jimmy said that the family was paying for college themselves. Vocational Rehabilitation should be helping JJ and he should qualify for financial aid since the family isn't rich.

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TV always forgets about financial aid for college. It's weird.

But a lot of people do wind up in a lot of debt, and it's not like they can count on a full ride to an expensive school like NYU, necessarily. It is generally the case that if you go to a local school, and a public vs private one, you wind up having a lot less money you  need to come  up with overall.

Edited by possibilities
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11 minutes ago, possibilities said:

TV always forgets about financial aid for college. It's weird.

But a lot of people do wind up in a lot of debt, and it's not like they can count on a full ride to an expensive school like NYU, necessarily. It is generally the case that if you go to a local school, and a public vs private one, you wind up having a lot less money you  need to come  up with overall.

Loans wouldn't be enough to get JJ into college - and the DiMeo's probably don't have the best credit score, so I think they would be denied private loans 

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There is need-based financial aid in the form of grants, and at least when I was a student (which was a very long time ago, so I admit it may have changed since then), there were federal guaranteed student loans that did not depend on credit rating.

But I agree that even with that, it's cheaper to go to a public rather than a private college, especially a place like NYU, unless you get a full ride scholarship, for which JJ would probably need much better grades than we've been led to believe he has. NYU was always a long shot dream, with JJ's academic record.

At least in my experience, Voc Rehab will not pay for expensive schools. They have a budget and if you want to do anything fancy, you have to find another way.

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Awww the Izzie and JJ plot was really sweet and funny. I cracked up even more every time they went back to playing Aint No Mountain High Enough, and generally all of their hijinks. "Sorry, I blew my kiss too hard!"

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23 hours ago, possibilities said:

There is need-based financial aid in the form of grants, and at least when I was a student (which was a very long time ago, so I admit it may have changed since then), there were federal guaranteed student loans that did not depend on credit rating.

But I agree that even with that, it's cheaper to go to a public rather than a private college, especially a place like NYU, unless you get a full ride scholarship, for which JJ would probably need much better grades than we've been led to believe he has. NYU was always a long shot dream, with JJ's academic record.

At least in my experience, Voc Rehab will not pay for expensive schools. They have a budget and if you want to do anything fancy, you have to find another way.

Here in NJ, Voc Rehab contributes $2500 a semester to college tuition, $500 a semester for books. At least they did when i was in college (2008-2013). It was 3500/750 the year before I started college, then the economy started to go down and they started cost saving measures.

State grants exist - but I *think* JJ would have to be a NY State Resident to get them, even then, they would not cover it. Here in NJ, based on expected family contribution, they give a different amount based on the school you attend (and a rate for schools not listed) - they do not take debt or anything else into account, just your parent's income and how many kids are in college.

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17 hours ago, bros402 said:

Here in NJ, Voc Rehab contributes $2500 a semester to college tuition, $500 a semester for books. At least they did when i was in college (2008-2013). It was 3500/750 the year before I started college, then the economy started to go down and they started cost saving measures.

Here's the full cost of attending NYU for one year:

Tuition and Mandatory Fees:                         $53,310

Room and Board:                                           $18,684

DIRECT EXPENSES:                                        $71,994

Books and Supplies                                             $752

Transportation                                                   $1,110

Personal Expenses:                                            $2,758 (This amount represents an average cost                                                                                         for one round-trip travel home during                                                                                           the academic year.)

Indirect Expenses to Consider:                          $4,620  (Federal Loan Fees, etc)  

TOTAL                                                             $76,614

On 4/7/2019 at 3:25 AM, possibilities said:

But I agree that even with that, it's cheaper to go to a public rather than a private college, especially a place like NYU, unless you get a full ride scholarship, for which JJ would probably need much better grades than we've been led to believe he has. NYU was always a long shot dream, with JJ's academic record.

I agree.

Another point that no one has considered is that NYU doesn't have a campus in the traditional sense; it's spread out all over Greenwich Village, and getting around involves crossing many NY streets.  JJ would be far better on a small campus.

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6 hours ago, ItCouldBeWorse said:

Here's the full cost of attending NYU for one year:

Tuition and Mandatory Fees:                         $53,310

Room and Board:                                           $18,684

DIRECT EXPENSES:                                        $71,994

Books and Supplies                                             $752

Transportation                                                   $1,110

Personal Expenses:                                            $2,758 (This amount represents an average cost                                                                                         for one round-trip travel home during                                                                                           the academic year.)

Indirect Expenses to Consider:                          $4,620  (Federal Loan Fees, etc)  

TOTAL                                                             $76,614

Yeah - I know NYU is suuuper expensive. My cousin went there - she got a mix of merit based scholarships, loans, and her parents paying for tuition. She wished our great-grandmother and our grandfather had kept the lease on an apartment there (It was rent controlled, at like $50 a month in the 80s) - it was in the west village, I think the rent control would've lasted through like 2035 or something ridiculous like that?

Also, I do not believe books at NYU would only be $752 a year. I went to a small state school in NJ, majored in education, books were $600 a semester, at least for the first two years - gen eds require expensive books

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The whole idea of JJ going to NYU started because Izzy is going there. I really like Izzy and it's a bummer to think they're going to lose her as a character. Maybe they wanted to show JJ dating in college, not arriving already paired up, but I will still miss Izzy.

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13 hours ago, possibilities said:

The whole idea of JJ going to NYU started because Izzy is going there. I really like Izzy and it's a bummer to think they're going to lose her as a character. Maybe they wanted to show JJ dating in college, not arriving already paired up, but I will still miss Izzy.

Did we actually get confirmation she got into NYU? Or was she just hoping.

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On 4/10/2019 at 1:53 AM, bros402 said:

Did we actually get confirmation she got into NYU? Or was she just hoping.

IIRC, at the end of "G-A-- Game N-I-- Night" JJ said she was "going to college in New York" without saying where she'd been accepted, and he wanted to go to film school there (specifying NYU as a "great school" for that at the beginning of the next episode).

Edited by GRChereck · Reason: correction

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I also don’t know how good NYU’s Student services department is. They are required to have one, but as a pricey, selective school, may well not have a lot of experience with a range of disabilities. Back when I was looking at schools, there was a special college guide by Petersen’s that rated not only the selectivity, average test scores, etc, but also things like how wheelchair accessible the campus was and how supportive the school was for various disability categories.

And, as mentioned above, vocational rehab tends to try to do things on the cheap-they only provided limited funding for an out of state school for me because I had won a full scholarship, so they had to pay less than they would in-state-and many families with kids with disabilities look better off on paper than they really are. 

Having said that, there is probably a SUNY or CUNY campus that would meet JJ’s requirements and put him at least a close train ride to Izzy. And for his first two years, a really good film school doesn’t matter much. My daughter got a prospective students mailing from NYU yesterday, and the film program is a 5 year composite with Tisch. And I would LOVE to see a tv show where the high school senior ends up at a school that is actually commensurate with their level of academic performance and is a good fit, as opposed to always ending up at Ivy League schools, MIT, NYU, or UCLA, whether the class valedictorian or a total slacker. 

Edited by dmmetler
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According to this preview clip from the s.3 finale (supposedly not a spoiler), neither JJ nor Izzy get into NYU (so given what JJ said about her "going to college in New York" at the end of 3x15, I assume she must've applied to another New York school that did accept her -- unless I had that wrong and JJ simply meant New York was where she most wanted to go...), but they both have been accepted to schools closer to home (Chapman University for her, and he says he got into Irvine). 

Edited by GRChereck

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18 hours ago, dmmetler said:

I also don’t know how good NYU’s Student services department is. They are required to have one, but as a pricey, selective school, may well not have a lot of experience with a range of disabilities. Back when I was looking at schools, there was a special college guide by Petersen’s that rated not only the selectivity, average test scores, etc, but also things like how wheelchair accessible the campus was and how supportive the school was for various disability categories.

A lot of the private schools are usually okay with disabilities - they would probably be more familiar with physical disabilities than learning disabilities (A lot of schools are more comfortable with physical disabilities than LDs or behavioral disabilities) - JJ would just be a higher level of physical disability than what they are used to. 

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15 hours ago, GRChereck said:

According to this preview clip from the s.3 finale (supposedly not a spoiler), neither JJ nor Izzy get into NYU (so given what JJ said about her "going to college in New York" at the end of 3x15, I assume she must've applied to another New York school that did accept her -- unless I had that wrong and JJ simply meant New York was where she most wanted to go...), but they both have been accepted to schools closer to home (Chapman University for her, and he says he got into Irvine). 

Following a significant other to college, especially a recent significant other, is rarely a good idea anyway. If Izzie had gone to NYU and JJ followed her there, she would feel guilty if she wanted to break up. Each should go to the school that is the best fit for them among those that admit them. If the relationship is strong enough, they'll stay together. They're only 18/19.

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On 4/11/2019 at 8:50 AM, dmmetler said:

Having said that, there is probably a SUNY or CUNY campus that would meet JJ’s requirements and put him at least a close train ride to Izzy. And for his first two years, a really good film school doesn’t matter much. 

This. It's one of my biggest peeves how on TV, they always have the kids aiming for huge, top-notch schools, clear across the country - and if for some reason they aren't, it's because they are poor students (Haley on Modern Family) or otherwise made different choices. (For example, on Gilmore Girls, Rory only considered Yale or Harvard, and her ex Dean ended up at SCSU, because he's not wealthy and married young. As a CT resident, I myself attended CCSU and pretty much everyone I knew attended that, or one of the other state universities, such as SCSU. They are not in the least "loser schools," and we all got good educations without having to mortgage our souls to anyone.)

On a side note, who else LOVED Izzy's bedroom?? I swear, the long-buried adolescent girl inside me just squee'd at that loft bed! It was like a picture out of Teen Magazine.

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3 hours ago, SnarkySheep said:

This. It's one of my biggest peeves how on TV, they always have the kids aiming for huge, top-notch schools, clear across the country - and if for some reason they aren't, it's because they are poor students (Haley on Modern Family) or otherwise made different choices. (For example, on Gilmore Girls, Rory only considered Yale or Harvard, and her ex Dean ended up at SCSU, because he's not wealthy and married young. As a CT resident, I myself attended CCSU and pretty much everyone I knew attended that, or one of the other state universities, such as SCSU. They are not in the least "loser schools," and we all got good educations without having to mortgage our souls to anyone.)

On a side note, who else LOVED Izzy's bedroom?? I swear, the long-buried adolescent girl inside me just squee'd at that loft bed! It was like a picture out of Teen Magazine.

Beautiful bedroom, yes. :D

Also, I liked how 'The Middle' had both Axl and Sue go to a school fairly close to home (East Indiana State University) -- given the Hecks' economic situation, as well as for storytelling purposes (they could have their own story-lines at college, while still getting to come home frequently and share plots with their parents and brother).

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