Kathleen’s alcoholic mother cockblocks her from hooking up with Rick. Scooter and Short Shorts buy cigarettes from a vending machine. I’m not sure what the moral is here.
Season 2 Episode 7
Airdate: February 15, 1988
Well, well well. It’s been nearly 4 months and I’m sick of these screenshots cluttering up my desktop, so here goes nothing: Bottled Up, the episode about a drunken leprechaun.
This is a Kathleen-centric episode which means it’s going to be a tragedy. I mean, come on, in the very first shot, Kathleen’s alcoholic leprechaun mother is passed out on the sofa while Kathleen is trying to tell her that she made the school quiz team. And then she calls her neglectful father and he doesn’t give a crap either. Awesome.
Meanwhile, Son of Gary Coleman and Short Shorts are discussing their latest forays in Dungeons and Dragons when the always-super-cool Arthur struts his tubby self straight through their conversation and calls them nerds. Short Shorts knows it’s bad when the losery-est loser in the school calls you a loser, so he decides to follow in the path of Rick, who in Scooter’s words, is ‘as cool as a popsicle.’
I don’t remember what this scene was about so this is just an educated guess. Nancy is gabbing about chicken nuggets and the rest of the kids are probably quizzing each other for the quiz bowl show thing that is going to be on television. Ms. Avery brings the group a video tape but since this is 1800 and nobody but Kathleen’s family has a VCR (due to leprechaun magic), the group will get to take a fun little field trip to visit Kathleen’s broken household.
You know, before I saw this episode, I almost forgot that cigarette machines existed. I never understood how they kept kids from buying cigarettes under aged. But now I know: they didn’t. Short Shorts and Scooter snatch a pack of cigs from a pizzeria and exit with only a glance from the preoccupied employees.
Nancy takes special care to note how filthy Kathleen’s house is, which is ironic because she lives in a sty and eats from a trough. Anyway, the kids are watching an old ‘Quest for the Best’ rerun when Kathleen’s mother pops in for a little fun, whiskey-in-hand.
“If they’re so smart… Why don’t they say anything?” she exclaims, in her leprechaun accent.
Needless to say, the kids are totally repulsed by Mrs. Meed’s weird accent and her kelly green wardrobe and are scared away. Kathleen goes upstairs to cry and Mrs. Mead crashes in the living room, free to watch ‘Quest for the Best’ all afternoon to herself.
Rick’s such a stud, even the boys want a piece of him (and some of his licorice).
Rick proposes to Caitlin or something. I don’t remember. Just admire the studliness. The eyebrows. The lisp. The peach fuzz. This is middle school bliss.
Short Shorts is all, “Meet me in the bathroom after school, or you’re a square.” Scooter is like, “no way, man,” and spouts some PSA-esque bull, but eventually gives in, I guess.
Caitlin approaches Kathleen about her mother’s alcoholism, which is a total no-no. First of all, Caitlin has failed at activism and social work about a hundred times before, so what makes her think it’s going to work this time? Second of all, Kathleen is tough as nails at convincing herself that her mom isn’t an alcoholic.
Scooter and Short Shorts are puffing away in the boys’ room in between classes. Of course their badly-acted coughing makes The Chubby Chinese Kid and a Shane look-alike turn their noses up, and then we hear more about how smoking is bad for you, blah, blah, blah. But I’m not convinced, it sounds like they’re having a pretty awesome time to me.
Kathleen forgets her sweater so she calls her drunken mother and asks her drunk self to drunk-drive Kathleen’s sweater to her at the school. A marvel idea, isn’t it?
Suddenly, the dashing hunk Rick storms the office and shakes ol’ Doris Bell down for some quiz show tickets. Doris Bell is obviously smitten by his charm but she is out of tickets. Back in the hall, the actors playing Scooter and Short Shorts are still coughing very loudly and incompetently and they catch a glimpse of their idol, Rick. Since they can’t go to the quiz thing because they are coughing too loudly, they give their tickets to Rick. Gee willickers, everything just works out fine in the end!
Kathleen’s mom is too busy watching Quest for the Best on her futuristic VCR so Kathleen has to go on the show without her sweater. That is, until Mr. School Sprit himself, Rick, jumps up on stage and graciously lends his sweater to Kathleen. We’ve never seen Rick so interested in school spirit before. The quiz show host politely curses Rick out and throws him off his stage.
Now that Kathleen has Rick’s Magical Sweater of Knowledge, she answers every single question correctly. The audience (all twelve of them) goes wild.
Caitlin ditches Rick because “it’s a school night,” or lame something like that. It’s a good thing Kathleen’s parents neglect her, because she scores a night out with Rick. Or something like that. You know what, though? I didn’t notice how short Rick was until I looked at these pictures again. But in the picture on the left, Kathleen just looks freakishly tall, with a head on both Caitlin and Rick. But now that I think about it, when I was in 7th grade, all the girls were taller than the boys. Granted, I was about 5′ tall then, but yes, that means I was once taller than someone else my own age.
I don’t remember exactly what went down later but I think Rick is trying to “get it on” when he mentions Kathleen’s alcoholic mother and she gets upset. This is further proof that Kathleen is a monster: She turns down Rick, the baddest kid in school. She returns Rick’s sweater, muttering something about it stinking like cigarettes and licorice.
Kathleen’s mother can’t believe she turned down Rick’s magical luv’ins and smacks her around a little bit.
AWKWARD FREEZE FRAME.
Kathleen realizes Rick was right about confronting her alcoholic mother or calling a helpline. Which is exactly the same thing Caitlin said. In the end, Rick is won by Kathleen, not Caitlin, showing us that having inattentive parents can get you ahead in life. Wait, what was the moral of this episode?
A. Having an alcoholic leprechaun for a mother gives you more freedom.
B. Smoking cigarettes makes you cough very loudly for hours at a time.
C. If your name is Caitlin and your headband is restricting your brain then you need to keep your mouth shut.
D. Rick is pretty good-looking for a middle schooler.
E. All of the above.