Episode Report Card
Djb: D | Grade It Now!
Parental Guidance Suggested

Fade in on an all-too-familiar red Jetta tearing down the one paved road under a desert blue sky. Christina Aguilera's best-double-entendres-concerning-sex-and-teddy-bears-since-Brittany-did-it-two-weeks-ago classic "Genie in a Bottle" rages on the car's stereo. Cut to inside said vehicle, where Maria jams along karaoke style, crossing one hand over the other on the steering wheel and doing her best "Cyndi Lauper in the video for We Are the World" impression. Incidentally, it is becoming quite clear that the Roswell hair stylist has committed to memory the "Good Hairstyles Now Deemed Bad And Vice Versa" article from last week's Bad Hair Weekly and liberally applied its teachings to Maria. In three episodes, this girl's hair actually appears to be getting shorter with each passing moment. Between the dubious locks and the Army-surplus denim tank top, Maria's transformation into GI Jane's lesbian-chic daughter continues almost entirely unabated. Then something actually happens in the show, and I become angry that I can't continue ragging on Maria's hair anymore.

And what happens is this: Maria sees a car being towed up ahead and realizes that the stranded driver is none other than Isabel Evans. Isabel stares at the only approaching car for miles and recognizes Maria, cynically muttering, "Of course." Whoa, Isabel -- where ARE you from anyway, Planet Martyr? We're the ones who have already endured over thirty Maria-soiled seconds (yes, I know I've only recapped thirty seconds at this point, but, well, THAT HAIR), so get hip to the fact that this Maria-centric episode cannot be avoided, and start thinking of constructive ways in which you can keep her cartoonishness in check for an hour at a time.

Anyway, Maria pulls up and immediately puts her big foot in her mouth before Isabel even has a chance to try and make nice, querying, "Going home?" before noticing that the tow truck has a spaceship in the act of taking off on the top of it. And right off the bat, there's excruciatingly little doubt as to where Isabel would most like to see her own foot go. Regardless, it's Maria's last chance for a zany quip of any kind for some time, as we quickly learn that Maria is terrified of Isabel. On the ride back to town, Isabel molecularly manipulates the Jetta's AC to make it blow colder, and the car's stereo to make it jam phresher. After all, this car needs some help because it's so ancient; "it's a 1992." I quickly take stock of my rapidly advancing age and realize that most of my favorite TV series had already been either canceled or doomed to syndicated obscurity on the Fox Family Channel by 1992. I scream raspily at the screen, "You rotten kids, with your rock music and your video games! Why, you better get offa my TV. Don't make me take off my belt!" Digression, thy name is this recap.

Anyway, Isabel's cavalier display of her powers freaks Maria out something fierce. Looks like this week it's her turn to unravel. Isabel attempts a bonding moment on the topic of mothers, but her patience quickly fades at Maria's question: "Does she know -- that, um, you and Max are, like, y'know, different?" But Isabel takes it from there, retorting, "You mean horrible, disgusting creatures from outer space who sneak into your room at night and perform excruciating experiments?" At which point Maria, who has not been watching the road, pauses for about five too many seconds, gasps in horror, slams on the gas, and goes careening into the car in front of her. "It's Valenti!" my two roommates yell, and I chuckle nervously as an apology for the six thousand times a week this show plays repeatedly on the one TV in our otherwise docile home. Sure enough, out of the front car step two snakeskin, too-high-heeled boots covered by perfectly tapered jeans (indicating that Maria has broken that first cardinal rule of the New Mexico highway system: "Watch your speed when the gay rodeo comes to town"). The boots assess the damage and stride over to the Jetta. And sure enough, there's Officer Porno himself, ducking his head into the driver's side window of the Mariamobile. ["Can he arrest them for ripping off a plot point from Outside Providence? Because he should." -- Sars] He smirks, "Ladies?" And so we begin with another classic showdown of good-versus evil-versus-just-plain-bizarre. You figure out who's who.

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