It’s Imogen’s birthday! She’s pretty unassuming, as pupils go. All she really wants on her special day is a ring made from paperclips from love of her life Connor. Instead she gets her mum drinking a lot of wine and trying to have sex with one of her classmates.
Nobody said sixth form was going to be easy.
Some of the kids are doing a sponsored row (the thing you do in a boat, rather than arguing) in order to raise money for Tariq’s new kayaking gear. Tariq’s fine now, by the way, after his little episode last week. He even makes a joke about how he can’t feel his legs, at which everyone looks alarmed and disgusted, while mentally noting the location of the nearest buoyancy aid.
The fundraisers are rowing the equivalent distance of Edinburgh to Greenock (about 80 miles) but it seems girls aren’t allowed to take part in the exercise bit, and are instead coerced into putting on skimpy outfits and performing an impromptu cheerleading routine. In 2012.
Speaking of skimpy, Imogen’s mum is a Scottish version of Jill from Nighty Night, which is completely terrifying. She’s been having a bit of a midlife crisis since her husband left her, and wishes her daughter happy birthday by shrieking at her to stop being such goth unless she wants to get left on the shelf, to the point where Imogen’s being a bit of a goth and not wanting to have friends over is entirely understandable.
Scottish Jill accompanies her daughter to the school in her capacity as person in charge of rowing machines, and peels off her lycra to reveal more lycra and a hideous line in innuendo, highlights of which include ‘Remember to stretch or you’ll be too stiff to go again later’. The boys promptly place bets on which one of them is going to ‘smash’ her. Just as well all volunteers at school events are subject to the appropriate CRB checks. Ahem.
Despite having some kind of PowerPoint projector set up to track the actual and target distances covered by the rowers, there is seemingly no facility for basic maths. So everyone waits with baited breath while a girl adds up 32, 31 & 18 on a bit of paper, and declares them to have succeeded in their challenge. Not before doing the classic ‘sad face…happy face’ reveal, of course.
That’s right, girls can do comedy! We’re allowed to vote these days, too. And I dream of a day when we’re permitted to use sporting equipment.
In non row-a-thon news, loads of parents have been removing their kids from Waterloo Road, after word got around that the head teacher is an attempted murderer. Michael does much to allay their fears by standing on the enormous hilled entrance to the school, growling ‘I can assure you I pose absolutely no threat to your children’, while staring them down with his cold, dead eyes.
Nude heels teacher tries to rectify the situation, wheeling out the victim of Michael’s folly, his dad, to admit that he had the attempted murder coming, on the grounds that he himself was a wife beater. Michael’s not happy about the family reunion, and stomps off up the hill, leaving Sian in such a flap she has to cling onto the bumper of a passing Micra in the playground, for fear of falling off her nude heels and down the hill into actual Scotland.
Dramatic scene of the week: Connor is a secret arsonist, when the writers remember he is. To this end, we have a five minute slow motion shot of a cigarette burning down in a boiler room, which was not at all dramatic, followed by Tom bumbling around with a fire extinguisher for lack of literally anything else to do, all episode. I’ll be honest, it was a slow week.
Byker Grove / School House 101: If you want to throw a birthday party, the School House is the place to be. The freezer is well stocked with canapés and, if you happen to pull a fellow student’s personal trainer parent, you can get full access to an empty bedroom for as little as a tenner.
Lesson of the week: Girls can row too, dammit!