The prize is £5,000 towards your university fees, which is funny because, if one thing’s going to make you stand out for all the right reasons on your Oxbridge application, it’s the fact that you’re the winner of your school’s prestigious ‘Dezine-a-Bench’ competition. Yes, really. And yes, they really have all built full sized benches, and dragged them up The Hill to be judged.
In non-bench related news, Connor is still defending his poor old drunken mum. ‘Alcoholic,’ he tells Imogen ‘is just a word people throw at someone who drinks’. Yep, and someone who’s been told by her doctor to stop drinking or it will categorically kill her.
Christine is keeping up her end of the mother/son bargain by being a completely useless teacher, openly swigging from a vodka bottle in the middle of her empty classroom and not doing any marking. Connor tries to cover for his mum again by marking the long-awaited coursework himself. (Tip: if you’re going to do all your mum’s marking for her, it’s always best to set up on the staircase of a main corridor, with a red pen in one hand, and a copy of the marking procedure in the other).
For some reason, this doesn’t end well.
Of course any bench building competition wouldn’t be complete without the addition of random new characters. This week we get student Morag and her recycling control freak dad.
Morag’s dad is very passionate about their way of life, and comes out with wise words such as ‘I should come into the school and give a talk on Freeganism.’ Which is definitely in the top five things you always wanted to hear your dad say to your teacher.
Morag makes a really good bench for her entry, but when her dad hears there’s a cash reward, he makes her smash the bench up with an axe, while chuntering about how ‘it takes 32 kilos of Co2 to manufacture one mobile phone’. This may be so, Mr Murray, but I bet I can get an app on my phone which locates the nearest park bench in a one mile radius. Meanwhile you’re just sitting on the floor surrounded by moralistic values and a pile of splintered wood.
Back to adventures in alcoholism, Christine in the zone. Connor’s so fed up of it all that he momentarily remembers his secret arsonist past, but is rudely interrupted before he can flick the lighter. However, a discarded bottle of white spirit is found, and causes Tom to run around screaming ‘We’ve got a situation! Someone tried to set fire to the benches!’
The police are called, and the kids are assured that the suspect will be caught. But then Michael gets into an argument with Lorraine while holding the white spirit bottle (the only piece of admissible evidence), and shakes it at her so hard, like a big wagging turpentine finger, that all the arsonist fingerprints will surely be long gone.
On to Nude Heels Teacher, who’s been trying to ditch her pupil/housemate Madi for absolutely ages. Especially since she found out Madi was her step daughter last week (ok, I found out last week. I’m pretty sure Nude Heels already knew). Luckily, Madi’s beaten a rigorous recruitment process in order to land a job cleaning toilets on a cruise ship. Being a teacher (apparently) Nude Heels is legally obliged to try and talk her around. She does so by telling the kid that academic success isn’t the be all and end all, and that she could perhaps learn a language while changing bed sheets.
Does anyone else think Nude Heels is completely disillusioned and is about to jack it all in to join the circus / become a Kate Middleton impersonator / build benches?
As if one new character (and her mad dad) wasn’t enough, this week we’re also introduced to Kevin. Kevin is a maths superstar but, exactly like Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting, hides it behind a layer of smart arse remarks. He’s also in foster care, not that he tells anyone. Luckily (and coincidentally), maths teacher Chalky is applying to be a foster carer, and bonds with Kevin over a Sudoku in the waiting room. And it’s probably just as simple as Chalky going into the office, pointing at Kevin, and saying ‘I want that one’. Especially when you have quite a big cast and only two episodes left to tie up all the loose ends of the series.
While we’re on loose ends, a quick update on Janeece: happily sunning herself in Ibiza, apparently. No word on whether or not she remembered to unpack her kid from the suitcase when she got there.
Dramatic scene of the week: Look, it was an episode almost entirely about benches. What do you want from me?
Lesson of the week: ‘Playing with fire is no laughing matter. People can get hurt. Or even killed.’ Also, Michael’s dad doesn’t like minestrone soup.