Recap: Brandon is at the Peach Pit, working and trying to cram in some study time during the slow periods. He sees his American history teacher enter the restaurant, but the old man is not the friendly sort. He's crusty, dismissive...and an appalling dresser. According to Nat, Mr. Crusty is a regular at the Peach Pit even though we've never seen him there before, and are unlikely to see him there ever again once this episode is over.
Brandon gets a C on a test, which surprises him. He thinks he deserves a higher grade. Steve got an A, which is the first clue that this episode will tackle the moral conundrum of cheating.
After class, Ahn-drea pesters Brandon about doing a story about the swim team for The Blaze. He complains that he has three tests to study for, not to mention his job at the Peach Pit, and just doesn't have the time. Ahn-drea bitches back and tells him to just suck it up. It's a mystery why no one at West Beverly ever blurts out the retorts this idiot truly deserves. Surprisingly she concedes and agrees to give the swim team story to someone else...but this doesn't really improve Brandon's mood, so Ahn-drea (who got an A on the history test) suggests that they study for next week's quiz together. Blech. Studying with Ahn-drea would most definitely not improve my mood, but Brandon seems to think it's a good idea and agrees to get together with her.
Kelly and Brenda eye Dylan McKay at his locker. Kelly says she would love to go out with him, but Brenda has heard he's trouble, which can only mean that he's irresistible, potential boyfriend material. They go over to him to say hi...and Kelly inanely asks him if guys prefer long or short hair, and he tells them he prefers blondes. That didn't really answer the question, but no doubt it made Kelly happy. Her smugness, however, is short-lived when he brazenly checks out Brenda and remarks that she's Brandon's sister - and then they lock eyes for a few seconds. I got goosebumps! When he walks away, Kelly sourly declares that he's weird.
The Walsh house. Brenda is fussing with her brown hair in the mirror. She imagines herself as a blonde in a very long wig that I can only describe as grisly, and fantasizes that Dylan is staring at her admiringly. Mama Walsh catches her and, like any good mother, assures her that she's beautiful just the way she is. Brenda argues that she's not "California beautiful", which is probably true, but not necessarily a bad thing. Papa Walsh arrives home, and Brenda announces to him that she needs to do something about her hair. That's nice. I doubt he gives a rat's ass.
Brandon's bedroom. Brandon and Ahn-drea are studying for the upcoming history test. He quizzes her, and she answers in her typical smug fashion, and he gleefully tells her it's the wrong answer. She gets all bitchy about him telling her she's wrong, and then he snaps that it's irritating that she always thinks she's right. Hee! It may have taken him a while, but I think Brandon is finally starting to see Ahn-drea for the self-righteous, pompous biddy that she is. I high-fived myself as he continued to rant about her manner of speaking, which always sounds condescending and business-like. Hee! Finally Ahn-drea is angry enough at him to leave, and storms out of the Walsh house as if never to return. If only.
American history class. Brandon gets another C. Steve gets another A and suggests that the two of them form a study group. Of course, Steve's idea of forming a study group is for him to lounge in his swimming pool and idly listen to Brandon while he reads through the assigned chapters in the history textbook. Steve isn't interested in doing any studying, but - with a knowing look - suggests some specific areas for Brandon to focus on for the upcoming quiz. Hmm...could it be that Steve knows the test questions in advance? Yes, he does. That's how he's getting so many A's.
When Brandon takes the quiz the next day, it has the exact question that Steve had told him to be prepared to answer. Later, Brandon complains to Steve that he's bothered about getting advance copies of the quizzes. Steve, however, has no moral compunction about cheating because he doesn't want Mr. Crusty to ruin his grade point average. Because I'm sure it's so impressive. Seduced by his A, Brandon grudgingly agrees to go along with it so that he can continue to earn better grades on the quizzes.
In the girls' bathroom, we see that Brenda has come to school with a big head of curly hair. Kelly calls it a "hair don't", and I couldn't agree more. Kelly urges Brenda to change her hair, and Donna suggests a stylist her mother goes to, but he charges $300 for a cut and color. Yikes. But then, this is Beverly Hills and I'm sure that Donna's mother is loaded. Donna looks in the mirror and suddenly notices that she's wearing both contacts on the same eye. There really is nothing like a moment of implausible stupidity to put one's hair problems into perspective.
American history class. Mr. Crusty compliments Brandon's performance on the last quiz, noting that he got every question right. And then, to his embarrassment, the class claps. I wonder if anyone ever clapped for Steve, who's gotten A's on every test. Ahn-drea is disappointed because she got a C and she wants to study with Brandon again, but he tells her it's not a good idea and just walks away. Haha! What I enjoyed most was the casualness of that snub. Wait - what's this? We see Dylan and Kelly walking together, laughing and looking cozy. Brenda notices this and looks forlorn and jealous, wondering if maybe Dylan really does prefer blondes.
The Walsh house. Brenda tells her mom that she needs to book a $300 hair appointment with the stylist Donna's mother uses. She wants a perm, extensions, or maybe a great weave. A weave? Good heavens. Her mother is understandably appalled and has no intention of giving her daughter hundreds of dollars to ruin her perfectly good hair. Brenda pouts that she looks boring. Well d'yuh.
Brandon arrives home and unhappily announces his A on the history quiz...and my interest in this cheating scandal is slowly waning. I wish Brandon would either cheat and make peace with it like Steve has, or stop cheating and take his chances at getting more C's.
Brenda enters his bedroom, and the two talk about Mr. Crusty, and how everyone hates him. And then, in a total non sequitur, Brenda asks her brother if Dylan McKay is in his history class. Brandon says no, and Brenda snarks that he's probably busy chasing blondes. Either that or he's just in a different history class. She laments that guys prefer blondes, and Brandon laments that he can't study while she's in his room, mooning over Dylan, the blonde hound. Brenda stomps out.
The Peach Pit. Brandon stops in to pick up his paycheck. Mr. Crusty enters the restaurant and is super complimentary toward Brandon now that he's getting A's on the quizzes. But the cheating is taking a very heavy toll on Brandon, and he rips into Mr. Crusty about his shitty teaching methods. He complains that the constant emphasis on memorization isn't challenging students to think, and many of them are feeling alienated. Woo hoo! Let the backlash begin!
American history class. Mr. Crusty passes out yet another quiz. This teacher really does suck if all he's doing is giving quizzes every other day. How about doing some actual teaching, or maybe assign interesting history projects to engage the students? Brandon surreptitiously retrieves his cheat notes from under his seat - a move that Ahn-drea notices and reacts to by putting on her default mad face. After class, Brandon tries to explain to her why it's necessary for him to cheat, but she practically spews bile when she calls him a total hypocrite and declares that he's lucky she didn't turn him in. This seems like an ideal opportunity to remind Miss Judgmental that she's not even a legitimate student at West Beverly High due to her out-of-district status.
The Walsh house. Kelly is over, helping Brenda add highlights to her hair. Brenda tells her that her mother is not going to like it, so Kelly helpfully remarks that Mama Walsh is the one who needs to do something with her hair. Amen to that. The mousy brown limp perm Mama Walsh has been sporting since the pilot episode is in desperate need of a skilled hair stylist. After Kelly applies the dye to Brenda's hair, she tells her that the process takes all night, and that when Brenda wakes, she'll be a brand new woman. With completely fried hair. There's no way Kelly doesn't know that hair dye should be rinsed out within around forty-five minutes of application. But maybe this is her sneaky way of sabotaging Brenda's chances with Dylan.
Ominous tinkly music tells us that Brenda's follicles will not fare well with hair dye soaking into them all night. Sure enough, when morning arrives we hear several rounds of "Oh my God!" from Brenda. Brandon says it too and even laughs at her grisly appearance. It's too hard not to laugh; Brenda is a ghastly sight with her newly frizzled hair, complete with odd looking greyish streaks.
West Beverly High. Brenda wisely wears a hat to school that day. She runs into Kelly and Donna, and they ask to see her new hairdo. Kelly is horrified at the fried remains hanging from Brenda's head and mumbles an insincere compliment. As for Donna, she mostly looks startled during this uncomfortable interaction. Both girls then beat a hasty retreat and flee from Brenda. Shouldn't Brenda be a little pissed off at Kelly? Her ruined hair is at least partially Kelly's fault.
American history class. It's backlash time. Mr. Crusty puts Brandon on the spot with a series of history related questions. Brandon unfortunately doesn't know the answers, but smug brown-nosing Ahn-drea does. Gaa. Mr. Crusty announces to everyone that Brandon has disputed that there are merits to memorization and that he prefers being challenged to think. And then he humiliates Brandon by snarking that he had just "challenged" Brandon and it didn't work. What a passive aggressive dick. It's sad to see a man of Crusty's advanced age be so bloody insecure and prickish about accepting any constructive criticism. It's well past time for him to retire from teaching and check into a rest home.
The Peach Pit. Steve rails about Mr. Crusty and encourages Brandon to continue cheating so that he won't also get busted. He pulls out a piece of paper and hands it to Brandon, and it's a copy of the upcoming midterm. At that very moment, Mr. Crusty enters the restaurant and sees the two of them with the paper. Duhn! Duhn! Duhn! But hmm...well, nothing really happens as a result of that. However, it does remain an open question if Mr. Crusty ever suspected what was on that piece of paper.
When Brandon finishes work, he walks over to the parking lot and sees Mr. Crusty standing by his car. The old man has a flat tire, but is incapable of fixing it, so he's waiting for the auto club to help him. Brandon offers to change his tire for him, and the two talk about Mr. Crusty's imminent retirement, which is happy news for everyone. Mr. Crusty proves to have enough self awareness to know that the students at West Beverly don't like him, and that they make fun of his clothes. No duh. He's a malevolent man with horrible teaching skills who dresses in stuffy, old man clothes every day, even though he lives and works in sunny L.A. He also reveals that he wears these awful grey suits because his wife used to pick out his clothes, and wearing them helps him remember her. That's sweet, Crusty, but it's still no excuse. If you want to remember your wife, carry a photo of her in your wallet like a normal person.
The Public Library. Ahn-drea is studying for the history midterm...and Brandon is doing the same thing, several tables away. When he notices Ahn-drea, he packs up his stuff and moves to her table - and as usual she's totally hostile, but this time Brandon calls her on it. And it is so delicious. He expresses his annoyance about the way she acts like she has a personal stake in everything he does, as if they were a couple or something...the implication being that she has no reason to act like this since they are not a couple. Ha! In yer FACE, Ahn-drea! Brandon then admits to feeling guilty for cheating, and says he needs support and understanding from his friends, not bitchitude. Ahn-drea is unmoved, and so Brandon leaves her table saying, "Thanks for nothing." Awesome.
The Walsh house. Brenda decides to take her frizzled hair out for a jog. She really should skip the jog and rush over to the nearest drugstore to buy some anti-frizz hair products. While she's jogging, Dylan McKay passes her on his motorcycle. He stops to chat, and notices her, uh, different hair. He remarks that it's not that bad. Compared to what, Dylan? He tells Brenda that he has a friend who does hair and can help her de-frizz. She takes him up on his offer, and also gets on his motorcycle for a ride home.
Brandon comes home from the library. A concerned Mama Walsh tells him it's OK if he doesn't get an A on his history midterm, and Papa Walsh tells him he just wants him to be happy, regardless of what grade he receives on the test. These Walsh parents are sure involved in their kids' lives on the most microscopic level.
Brenda's hair is suddenly completely back to normal! I guess Dylan's hairdresser friend came through and restored Brenda back to her default settings. Brenda is also raving about how much Dylan likes her hair now that it no longer resembles straw.
West Beverly High. Ahn-drea apologizes to Brandon for her general douchebaggery, and he assures her that he's not cheating on this test and therefore won't mess up the curve. Ugh. I much prefer it when there's a wall of acrimony between these two. So anyway, the midterm exam has one essay question...a challenging question that is designed to make the students think. Mr. Crusty shoots Brandon a friendly smile as if to say, "This one's for you, kid."
Steve, of course, is totally screwed.
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Recapper: Isabel K. French
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