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On this "painfully special" episode of
Strangers With Candy

    After an eye-opening slideshow presentation illustrating "trowelling", Coach Wolf comes up with an assignment for her health class reminiscent of the baby experiment from first season episode "A Burden's Burden". Students are paired up for pretend marriages that have to last for one week. If the marriage fails, the students fail. Tammi Littlenut is "married" off to Jimmy Tickles and Jerri is paired with Ronnie Leggett {Other student pairings: Diana and Ross, Carly and Simon, Joni and Mitchell }. Because of an odd number of students in the class Orlando is deemed a widower; it seems his pretend wife drowned in a fire. To set an example for the class, Cherri and Geoffrey Jellineck become the "model" couple for the class to emulate. After admonishing the class to avoid divorce at all costs, Cherri presents Principal Blackman, who presides over a quick mass ceremony. Chuck Noblet enters the class after the bell rings and, despite his amiable smile, he does not appear to be pleased by the prospect of his secret lover pretending to be Coach Wolf's pseudo husband. Chuck presents Geoffrey with a "wedding gift", a buck knife for their upcoming weekend hunting trip. Ronnie takes the assignment seriously at first and he wants to work on their budget, but Jerri thinks that they should use the commune approach of "take what you need, leave what you have." Jerri is disappointed to learn that Ronnie doesn't want to beat her or screw her, "bring a book." Tammi and Jimmy try to give Jerri some valuable advice. Tammi asks her, "If you can't make a pretend marriage work with an assigned spouse who doesn't love you and who you hardly know, how can you expect to make a real one work?" That evening, Noblet and Jellineck are together at the bowling alley, but Geoffrey has to ditch Chuck to hook up with Cherri. Meanwhile, everywhere Jerri looks she's tormented by the institution of marriage. When she gets home she interrupts Sara and Stew's lovin', which infuriates Stew (Sara: "Don't overheat, Stew"). Jerri questions Sara about being unattached vs. being married and Sara tells her that she can't wait to be married again and to be filled with Stew's babies. Stew returns from his attempt at taking a dump (a false alarm) and when he's told that the ladies' topic of discussion was marriage he rhapsodizes about the sacred covenant of the blessed institution, which reminds him that he has to go home because he promised his wife that he'd bathe the kids. Even Jerri's favorite TV show, "Monkey Danger", reminds her of her failed marriage because the latest episode features the wedding of Bonzo and Koko. Jerri finally decides that she has to make her fake marriage work, however, Ronnie has decided that compared to being stuck in a fake marriage with Jerri he's looking forward to getting an "F". Of course, Jerri doesn't give up so easily and she begs Ronnie to reconsider his decision. Geoffrey and Cherri demonstrate their give-and-take approach of budget making. It appears that Cherri is the one who has to compromise and sacrifice, though. Cherri sets beans and a dishwasher as her top priorities, but Geoffrey wants a 50-gallon tank with exotic puffer fish and a Turkish bidet. When the bell rings, Ronnie's girlfriend Nancy is waiting for him at the classroom door. Tammi teases Jerri about having to keep him on a short leash. Jerri chuckles, but she takes the situation very seriously and she corners Nancy in the bathroom to warn her to stay away from Ronnie. Then, in the school's firing range, Geoffrey tells Chuck that he has to cancel their upcoming weekend getaway because he has made plans with Cherri. Geoffrey offers to come over to the casa de Noblet that evening, but Chuck says that Claire will be home. This inspires Geoffrey to suggest that he bring Cherri along to meet Claire. Meanwhile, Ronnie discovers that Jerri has broken into his locker and replaced his pictures of Nancy with pictures of herself. That evening at the Noblet's house, it's apparent that Jellineck and Coach Wolf are acting more and more like a real married couple because they've shown up wearing matching outfits. Geoffrey even snaps at Cherri during dinner. The next day, though, Cherri has forgiven Geoffrey and she reveals to him that she really does love him, which sends Geoffrey off running when Ronnie conveniently interrupts them. Ronnie wants to switch partners, but Coach Wolf won't hear of it. Jerri shows up and it is obvious that she has lost touch with reality, which frightens Ronnie. Cherri sends them to Principal Blackman's office to get their fake divorce. Onyx lectures them on the sanctity of marriage just as Iris, his assistant, comes in to tell him that his ex-wife's lawyer is on the phone. This enrages Onyx and incites him to spout off about how that woman isn't getting another cent out of him. The episode closes with a Public Service Announcement from the multi-talented Bebe Neuwirth.

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Episode Title: "To Love, Honor, and Pretend"

Tony's Rating:

Original Airdate: 3/6/00

Production Number: 2-07

Directed by: Peter Lauer

Writers: Paul Dinello, Amy Sedaris
Additional Writer: Matt Lappin

Regular Cast: AS, DD, DR, GH, MT, OP, PD, SC, ST

Guest Cast:  David Pasquesi (Stew), Jack Ferver (Jimmy Tickles), Zach Shaffer (Ronnie Leggett), Lindsey Gates (Nancy), Carolyn Popp (Claire Noblet), Bebe Neuwirth (herself)

Extra, Extra:  Liz Fagan is in Coach Wolf's class.

Flatpoint Lexicon:

Madame Precious dolls (mă'·däm prĕ'·shŭs) n. 1 a series of collectible poppets representing different ethnic groups from around the world  2 a cheap knockoff of Madame Alexander and Precious Moments dolls  3 not playthings 

pachysandra (păk'·ĭ·săn'·drä) n. a hardy, evergreen, spurgelike plant much cultivated for ground cover; also called shade grass

shake and seeds (shāk ănd sēdz) n. 1 remnants at the bottom of a bag of marijuana  2 anything or anyone worthless

trowelling (trŏw'·ĕl·lĭng) gerund oral sexual act in which one person's tongue is applied to an orifice of another, like a hand shovel used in gardening or bricklaying

Public Service Announcement
from Bebe Neuwirth

The multi-talented Bebe Neuwirth
"Half of all marriages end in divorce. That's over 75%. And the other 25% end in drunk driving deaths. Don't get married then drink & drive. It's a recipe for disaster."
Additional Episode Information

Stephen Colbert does the voiceover narration for "Monkey Danger".
· When Coach Wolf asks her class if they have questions regarding "trowelling", 18 hands go up, which she says is a new record.
· Noblet and Jellineck bowl on Lane 6.

Alternate Ending:  On April 24th this episode was rerun with a different ending. The following summary is courtesy of the ever-helpful Joe Barco:

    In the first airing, after Stew left the house Jerri sat down and watched Monkey Danger. They cut to the commercials after she said "Monkeys sure are stupid". In the new version they went to commercial after she sat, but before she turned on the TV. In the last scene they added an extra line for Blackman, "I'm not paying that woman another cent. So what, I had a few indiscretions, but I always kept the house clean". Then Coach Wolf came into the office spouting on about how sorry she was for Jerri and Ronnie because she herself was in a wonderful fake marriage. Jellineck then came in wearing hunting garb to tell Cherri that he had to cancel their weekend together because he felt a little sick. He told her that he was going to stay home grading papers and drinking tea. Then Noblet popped his head in, also in a hunting cap, and summoned Geoffrey. As Jellineck left, Noblet made a finger gesture of a gun, aimed at Cherri, and made a "kapow" sound. Cherri turned around, furious, and stated that "marriage is a sham for fools" and for failing at it she gave Jerri and Ronnie an "A+". Ronnie said, "A+, good deal." while Jerri just sat there. Onyx granted them their divorce with some gibberish magic words. Then they had the Bebe Neuwirth closing, which was crammed into the corner during the dance sequence.

In The Background:
A poster in Coach Wolf's class that says, "C.P.R. Learn to blow"
· Principal Blackman's face is on Nancy's paper towel, just before Jerri confronts her.
· A sign in the bowling alley that says, "Bowling builds body & mind"

The Best Things In This Episode:
· Sarah Thyre's facial expressions! Especially when Noblet points an imaginary shotgun at her and fires or when Geoffrey shouts "God damn it" at her.
· Noblet's random selection of the Leviticus 20 Bible passage that condemns man-on-man action as an abomination.
· After Jellineck and Noblet leave Flatpoint High's shooting range, Jellineck carelessly drops his pistol in the hallway and Noblet waves his gun around and points with it.
· The way Noblet uses a "hands on" approach to help Jellineck to perfect his bowling stance.
· Jerri's relentless, out-of-control, "Fatal Attraction" stalking of her "hubbie" Ronnie.
· Seeing Jerri pee standing up.
· Bebe Neuwirth's public service announcement at the end of the show.

Closing Credits Dance Sequence:  The cast enjoys a disco wedding reception, with a little "Hava Nagilah" thrown in for good measure. In the first rebroadcast of this episode, the alternate version included the Bebe Neuwirth P.S.A. (public service announcement) crammed into an upper corner, but some later airings removed the segment altogether.

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