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Death Becomes Them

Opening credits: Shut up, bitch.

Crash Bandicoot, I don't think we're in Roswell anymore. Stock footage of The First Chartered Bus In The History Of Earth (if you look really closely at that ancient, decrepit thing, you can always make out that its intended destination is "Prussia") accompanies some long-lost voice-over narration compliments of Liz "Time To Call Your Agent…(310) 273-6700" Parker. And here is what it says: "Dear Maria: Spending a week on a cramped, smelly bus was one of the most liberating experiences of my entire life. The further away I got from Roswell, the more I felt like myself again." Like Shiri Appleby? Neglected and unemployed? "Like a normal teenager." Oh. "In fact, when I finally got to the Winnaman Academy, it was like…coming home." Dear Liz's Endless Internal Monologue: Wasn't this the very same hackneyed script convention that almost got your show canned in the first damn place? I can just see the "writers" sitting around the "Writer's" Room, brainstorming for ways to reinvigorate the action, listening in rapt attention as Jason Katims stands up, indicates the glowing light bulb shimmering just above his head, and quietly but intensely intones, "I know the way to save this show! We'll…we'll make the whole thing epistolary! It's the literary wave of the future! Why, look at how many copies of Howards End have been sold!" The "writers" ponder whether there are any staff positions left open on As If as a way to stifle their otherwise incessant sobbing.

Accompanying said narration, Liz carries a suitcase made up of a poly-blend of "every gaudy couch cushion in the greater Boca Raton area" up the stairs of Chilton -- er, "The Winnaman Academy." Catholic school girls in plaid uniforms (oh, hello, absent male audience…welcome back, temporarily) carrying textbooks entitled I Was A Teenage Gilbert Gottfried USA Up All Night Movie Cliché walk past Liz. Liz walks up the stairs of the main building and places the letter she was just writing to Maria in the mailbox. Even though she's mailing a letter describing the feelings she's experiencing right now, which means she was writing the letter before she was to be experiencing those feelings for the first time. She smiles a shiny-haired smile. Awwwww.

Liz is easily able to impress people in positions of authority who sit behind desks and judge silently. Last week it was when she got herself into Harvard by being all, "Me Liz like book," and this week it's when she responds to the initially imposing "Dean Hackett's" speech about "strict rules here at Winnaman" with a deadpan, "That's exactly what I want right now." Liz walks through the hallways of Winnaman, hearing what those rules are: "Curfew is at nine, no boys allowed on campus. There will be no smoking, no drinking, and drugs will not be tolerated." There's one quick, artsy shot of floor upon floor of staircases looming above Liz's head, but the "director" quickly thinks better of it and returns to the safety of pointing one camera directly at Liz and hoping that she can somehow make it from one end of the hallway to the other without tripping or quitting or forgetting she has legs. Such a natural, this one is.

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