Old Habits – New Beginnings

On this “painfully special” episode of Strangers With Candy:

We first meet 46-year-old Jerri Blank at a high school Anti-Drug Rally. Jerri explains that since her recent release from jail she has returned to the old life that she gave up long ago. For 32 years Jerri lived the life of a teenaged runaway, but now she is living back at home and she has re-enrolled as a freshman at Flatpoint High.
All she wants is to be popular, but nobody in Mr. Noblet’s History class is interested in accepting her invitation to the party she’s throwing on the upcoming weekend. Even after she tells them there will be “hot fruit” she still has no takers. Jerri seems to be as much of a pariah to the faculty as she is to the student body. Mr. Noblet expresses concern about Jerri’s party plans and informs her that she’s in danger of failing his class, even though they’re just three days into the term.

At her locker, Jerri tries to ingratiate herself with the popular Poppy Downes by inviting her to Mini Strokes for some putt-putt, but Poppy uses the excuse that she has a fitting for the Homecoming crown.
Orlando (left), Jerri’s only ally, doesn’t think that she should be bending over backwards to befriend the popular girls. He tells her that she should hear the kinds of things that they say about her face behind her back. This friendly advice doesn’t dissuade her, though.
Jerri seeks the advice of her art teacher, Mr. Jellineck. He appears to have a soft spot for Jerri and his advice to her is simple, “Go with what you know.”

Jerri runs into Poppy, Cody, and Brittany in the Girls Room and she tries to make conversation with them about cockfights and female troubles. After Poppy’s friends slink away, Jerri offers to whip up a batch of drugs that’ll make Poppy trip her “tight little ass off.” Poppy seems doubtful, but she accepts the offer.
That night, after consulting the urn that contains her dead mother’s ashes, Jerri concocts a batch of her homemade Glint. She fills a plastic bag with the substance and the next day, in the locker room before gym class, Poppy spreads a little too much of the Glint on her lips and is quickly whisked away to wonderland.
Poppy then impresses Coach Wolf with her agility, speed, and strength, but she appears to be in a trance. Then, believing herself to be a bumble-bee who must return to the hive, Poppy makes a fatal dash toward the gym doors in an attempt to fly through the keyhole. Poppy ends up in a coma and is hospitalized.
Principal Blackman wants to find the culprit who supplied Poppy with the Glint, but his investigation is fruitless. He tries to squeeze a confession out of Jerri, but she feigns ignorance. Blackman is certain that when Poppy emerges from her coma she will reveal the name of the responsible party.

Jerri goes to visit Poppy in the hospital to make sure that she won’t open her big mouth. After entering Poppy’s room Jerri pulls a plug out of the wall to shut off her life support. When this causes the patient in the next bed to gasp and groan, Jerri realizes that she’s pulled the wrong plug and she loses her nerve. Then a male nurse enters the room and, thinking that Jerri is Poppy’s uncle, he informs her that Poppy passed away about an hour earlier.
The next day at school, Blackman gathers the students together to discuss the tragedy and to dedicate a time capsule in Poppy’s honor. Jerri takes advantage of the situation and asks for a show of hands to see who would like to attend her “Poppy Downes Memorial” party. Of course, all hands go up for Poppy’s sake.

At the party Jerri tries to make out with Poppy’s boyfriend, Brad, and she tries to convince Poppy’s grieving parents that she was Poppy’s best friend. The party is a success until Amber, one of the guests, tells Jerri that the hot fruit has made her lips numb. Jerri then realizes that she made her hot fruit in the same bowl that she mixed the Glint in. One reveler, named Paul, is obviously under the influence of the Glint and he gets hold of Jerri’s pet turtle, Shelly, and starts tossing her around. The turtle meets a tragic end when she’s swatted with a golf club and is thrust through a sliding glass patio door.

In the end, Poppy’s parents have lost a child and Jerri has lost a turtle. Who can say which is the greater loss? I don’t know, but I don’t think that Jerri will be mixing up any more Glint or hot fruit any time soon.