Thursday, January 10, 2013

Ben and Kate: Maddie isn't Gifted, but Neither is Ben

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

The "gifted test" must be much more publicly discussed than it was in 1990. When I took it (first grade), we weren't told what it was for or how it would be used, it was just another test. After classes changed up a bit, it took a while before any of us pieced together what had happened... and that was only because we were comparing homework assignments on the bus with other kids. When I took it in fifth grade (we had moved and different states required a different version or something), it was made very clear what it was, but only because I took it alone, rather than in a room full of peers or waiting in a line. I thought that the entire episode placed too much emphasis on the test and its outcomes - the kids wouldn't name themselves "B-Squad" if they weren't aware that they had friends who were now considered "smarter." Maddie didn't seem devastated but still could have used a little more nonchalance from the family. Of course, it didn't help that Ben ran around all episode being angry that he legitimately sold an idea to a college buddy, not thinking the guy would ever turn it into reality.

Ben and Kate "B-Squad" (S01E10): Maddie and her classmate, Norman, study for the gifted test. [were these kids given practice tests or something??] Kate is upset when Maddie doesn't make the cut, especially because it will be a whole year before she can take it again. In fact, Kate even steals the curriculum so she can enhance Maddie's education at home. [dang.] Ben decides to kidnap the entire "B-squad" of kids who didn't get into the gifted program and take them to the planetarium, which is where the gifted kids are going that day. [I understand that Kate called the other parents and all, but they didn't actually return the kids?? In fact, they kept them until after dark?? still, I laughed at "If I wanted these kids bored, I would have left them at school."] Ben uses a 16-passenger van from the country club, but Kate uses a map and gets them lost. When they finally reach the planetarium, it's 5pm and the place is closed. [Ben and Kate talk while leaving all of the kids alone in a public courtyard? not the best idea. and I didn't care for that random "Pledge of Allegiance" moment. That was like the first thing we learned in Kindergarten, LoL.]

BJ's mother is visiting, and in a desperate attempt to impress her, BJ pretends that she owns the country club, has Tommy as a foreign interior decorator, and talks about fancy proposals from rich men. [having an interior decorator is one thing, but owning a country club??] Tommy encourages BJ to tell the truth but she does nothing but lie until her mother walks into the bar and hits on Buddy, BJ's boyfriend. 
Cr: Jennifer Clasen/FOX
At the country club, Ben runs into an old classmate who built "bunkbed pizza," which is like two pizzas on top of one another. Despite the fact that Ben sold the idea for 11 beers and some martial arts manuals, he's still upset that the other guy did something with it and he never knew about it. 
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