Writer: Herb Engelhardt
Director: Jim Simon
Original Air Date: Saturday, October 17, 1987 (assumed)
It’s not a good sign when the episode’s title card fails at basic spelling and punctuation.
On the plus side, the show is actually calling her Ms. Grundy (at least in this title), so I’ll be calling her that from now on.
The segment opens with a shot of Ms. Grundy’s ride, a beat-up old Jeep that’s in worse shape than Archie’s eventual car will be.
Looks like Ms. Grundy had put in a fence and bought a new mailbox since the last time that we saw her house:
She carries out a stack of books, kicks her gate closed, and is surprised that her fence needs painting again already; last time, it cost her two weeks’ pay.
She gets “some more bills” out of her mailbox.
Wow, her Jeep really sucks ass.
At Riverdale Junior High School, Ms. Grundy’s class is goofing off, chatting, or just being bored while waiting for her to show up. Has anyone ever actually had a late teacher, or is this the kind of thing that happens only in sitcoms?
Amani makes fun of a fashion.
Veronica declares “New Wave is history” and offers herself up as a model. Bitch, you wear the same ridiculous outfit every day. You are not one to be making fashion declarations.
Reggie guesses they’re gonna start with history. Wait, so they have Ms. Grundy for the entire school day? I hadn’t had only one teacher since elementary school. Is that what the kids are in? Granted, it hasn’t been specified up to this point, and I’ve been calling them tweens and junior high schools based on assumption. If they are elementary kids, then…why were they de-aged so much for this series? But Betty and Veronica are cheerleaders on this series, and elementary schools don’t have those (nor sports teams for which to cheer). They’ve gotta be junior high students, and someone on the staff simply was confused.
Anyway, Archie agrees, and then he falls victim to a prank by Reggie, who got smoke to come out of his textbook. Some. Fucking. How.
Betty’s frustrated over…something (I can’t understand her). She crumples up a sheet of paper and throws it toward the trash can.
It makes it in after “comically” sliding across Ms. Grundy’s desk, and…wait a minute. Ms. Grundy’s been sitting here the whole time? Then why was everyone goofing off?
An unenthusiastic Ms. Grundy tells everyone to sit down and shut up, so they can begin. Moose is still lifting the girl and her desk, so Ms. Grundy yells at him.
Moose responds by dropping the girl, and the force of the impact with the floor is so great that the desk breaks into pieces (to say nothing of the girl). Yeah. Let that sink in. No one can be that stupid, so I can only assume it was deliberate cruelty.
How does Ms. Grundy react? By being mildly frustrated at Moose’s stupidity.
Moose gets up off the floor (having not been shown sitting down) and walks over to his desk. The class “oohs” or gasps or something for whatever reason.
Notice the bits of debris from the girl’s desk on the floor. Is that all that’s left of her?
Reggie quickly slips a whoopie cushion on Moose’s seat before he sits down. The class cracks up. Moose is pissed, but Ms. Grundy tells them to knock it the fuck off. She says they’re beginning with geography and tells them to get out their maps.
A tardy Jughead does a piss-poor job of trying to sneak in undetected. Ms. Grundy asks him about what he’s carrying and guesses it’s related to him being late. Jughead says they’re samples for his biology project.
Jughead Jones: animal abuser
“Kill him! Kill him!”
Veronica invites Betty to pet the bunny.
There’s some animal-related hijinx.
Ms. Grundy’s so over this shit. She tiredly opens a window to let the animals out. We learn she’s been teaching for thirty years.
There’s some more hijinx. Reggie and Eugene jump out the window. Whatever.
Jughead decides to take Violet (the skunk) to lunch…at the beginning of the school day. She’s Jughead’s cousin Frank’s favorite pet.
“I’m so fucking over this bullshit.”
Later, in the faculty lounge, Ms. Grundy is too exhausted to eat. She decides to read her mail.
If Archie Comics is so adamant about not specifying Riverdale’s location (they actually will in one story decades later: Kevin’s car has a New York license plate), then why did they show the envelope? A real piece of mail would never be sent like this.
Anyway, Ms. Grundy reads the letter from “the fanciest boarding school in the state”. She looks at the letter for less than a second before declaring they want her to head their English department.
Daydream time! Ms. Grundy says this is like a dream come true.
In his office, Mr. Weatherbee is bored, so he takes out his wallet, looks at an old photo, and declares his love for Ms. Grundy.
Ms. Grundy ignores Archie’s greeting and walks right into Mr. Weatherbee’s office (which is right next to a hallway instead of inside a main office), surprising him. Archie listens in, somehow undetected. Ms. Grundy explains her job offer to Mr. Weatherbee.
He then reads the letter and is somehow shocked over the same information in written form. He tries to dissuade Ms. Grundy from taking the job.
She’s giving it “serious consideration”. Check out the cute background detail of Archie’s eyes bugging out. Anyway, Ms. Grundy favorably contrasts the “well-mannered young ladies” against the assholes in her class. She starts to bring up the incident from this morning.
The frog somehow finds its way back into the school.
“I could just croak!” <— actual quote
Ms. Grundy gets up to leave, and Archie quickly leaves before he’s spotted. I like how Ms. Grundy is so over this shit that she doesn’t even bother with the frog and seemingly gives it a ride back to her classroom.
Mr. Weatherbee is worried, and so is Archie. Archie decides this is a “gang” mission.
A super-speed sound effect is added as he runs off, but he just runs at normal speed.
Having somehow not made contact with his friends for the rest of the school day, Archie tears over to Pop’s to make the announcement, because it’s not like his friends could have gone home or anything.
Moose is like “Shut up, asshole! Jughead’s on a roll, and Pop’s giving us a burger for every nine replays!” Yeah, Moose makes it sound like they all get a burger based on Jughead’s gameplay.
Anyway, Jughead loses, earning them only three burgers each. He announces this like it’s a bad thing.
Later, Moose and Jughead are enjoying their burgers.
Amani’s like “What’s up with Archie?” Betty’s like “Beats me, but he got us out of cheerleader practice, so it’s gotta be some serious shit.” She then cheerfully asks Archie what’s going on.
Amani says Ms. Grundy is the best teacher that they ever had and guesses they’re offering her more money.
Betty takes charge, demanding everyone be on their best fucking behavior.
She puts Moose in charge of beating up the troublemakers.
It’s a pact!
That night, Betty tutors a tired Moose in math.
The next day, in class, Ms. Grundy is surprised – and a bit weirded out – that her students are silent and well-behaved. She tells everyone that has their homework to pass it forward.
Archie presents her with the homework – from everyone.
Ms. Grundy is surprised and then decides to quiz them – by asking anyone to answer a geography question. I’m not sure what that’s supposed to accomplish.
Ms. Grundy is shocked that “Forsythe Jones” raised his hand. She mispronounces the name of the river, and Jughead seems to get the information wrong, but she’s impressed.
Reggie can’t resist trying to get Jughead with the whoopie cushion, but Moose stops him…
…and threatens his life.
Reggie gets the message.
There’s a dramatic zoom-in on the clock right before the commercial break. It’s 9:30 AM. Right before the fade-out, the image gets fuzzy, as if they were going for a simple scene fade and then decided to stick the commercial break here instead.
After the commercial break, we see the same clock, and it’s now 3:30 PM. There’s a dramatic zoom-out.
Ms. Grundy is confused over her students’ “almost perfect” homework and their behavior in general. She doubts it’ll last, because it’s “too good to be true”.
After school, Archie meets Jughead outside Pop’s. Jughead wants to “play [Archie] a game”. I guess he means play video games with Archie.
Archie declines in order to study division, and Jughead decides to study with him, because nobody’s at Pop’s anyway.
In class, Ms. Grundy praises Archie for the “fine solution”, and…it is. Yeah, it’s actually correct. Props for accurate details.
Archie praises Ms. Grundy for her great teaching.
Ms. Grundy dismisses the class. Everyone respectfully walks past her desk in silence. Betty offers to erase the board, but her mouth doesn’t move as she walks into frame. Anyway, a happy Ms. Grundy thanks her and offers her appreciation.
The other students leave. Veronica notably stops and looks back into the classroom with a smile before closing the door. This is never addressed. I just thought it was a nice moment.
Ms. Grundy can’t believe her students are “still acting so wonderfully” after two weeks. She realizes High Point won’t wait forever and wonders what to do.
Mr. Weatherbee comes in through the open door (the one that Veronica had just closed) and congratulates Ms. Grundy, because her class got the highest test scores in the school. He’s proud of her for turning things around in here. Ms. Grundy thanks him but can’t take the credit.
Mr. Weatherbee is confused, because she’s their teacher. She sadly says they’ve learned to motivate themselves and don’t need her anymore. She then happily declares her work here done and then adds she’s going to accept the position at High Point.
This so shocks Mr. Weatherbee that he loses his grip on his print-out. Betty is surprised as well.
As Betty and Ms. Grundy talk, Mr. Weatherbee spins counter-clockwise, seemingly intentionally wrapping the print-out around himself. What the actual fuck?
Betty says Ms. Grundy can’t leave them now. Ms. Grundy says they’re doing fine; just keep up the good work. Betty says they want her to stay. Ms. Grundy is surprised but says she can’t; she must do what’s best for herself. Betty sadly goes off to break the bad news to the gang.
The gang meets at Pop’s. Jughead’s lost his appetite. Reggie blames Archie for suppressing his humor (I think that’s what he was getting at; the score has brief moments of loud guitar). Amani says Reggie’s only fan is himself. Betty says it was her idea to act like angels that made Ms. Grundy decide to leave. Then she adds “So lay off, Archie!” That’s…odd. Archie wasn’t casting blame on anyone. Maybe Betty was telling Reggie to “lay off Archie”, but Lisa Coristine delivers the line in a way that suggests otherwise.
“I have a line – and an idea!” Yes, 9:29 into the fucking segment, and Eugene finally speaks.
Hilariously, Archie, Jughead, and Betty are excited by this. Yes, I realize this was probably meant to be a reaction to Eugene having an idea, and they put it in too early, but it comes across as them simply reacting to the fact that Eugene is speaking. “Our token black male friend can talk! Amazing!”
Anyway, we don’t actually get to hear Eugene’s plan. Instead, he basically just restates the problem (as already stated by Betty), and then the gang gets in a huddle, and he does that cartoon-whisper thing that sounds like buzzing.
Well, they didn’t get it right on the banner either, but at least it’s better than the title card.
They’re having a goodbye ceremony for Ms. Grundy in the auditorium.
The gang is up to something.
Eugene says they’ll give Mr. Weatherbee a minute to get going, and then they’ll “cut it loose”.
So Mr. Weatherbee starts speaking, and he’s obviously sad about this.
Eugene lets Mr. Weatherbee speak for only eight seconds before leaping into the air and putting his plan into motion. Why telegraph it like this? Subtlety, dude, learn it.
The plan consists of paper bags…
…that contain party favors.
They raise the curtain (somehow) and pass out the party supplies.
Eugene projects some graphics on the screen through…science shit. Also, Mr. Weatherbee and Ms. Grundy turn into floating apparitions. Or the animators cut off their legs. Hard to tell which.
Reggie hits Ethel with a water balloon, because he’s an asshole.
Mr. Weatherbee demands the students stop this, because this is a “serious occasion”, but they ignore him.
“Sit down and shut up, you fucking assholes!”
She lectures them, totally falling for the idea that they’re prematurely running wild before she leaves.
She decides to stay. Everyone’s happy.
Archie calls Eugene a genius. Eugene makes a joke. They yuck it up.
This segment was pretty nice. We get an exploration of Ms. Grundy’s relationship with her students and with Mr. Weatherbee. I wouldn’t call it realistic. Then again, I never had a teacher in elementary school (nor, to my recollection, in middle school) that left or (to our knowledge) was thinking of leaving. Still, good story.
Tune in next Wednesday!