#1.5 Cheating

"There's a whole section on cheaters." -Noel

Aired November 3, 1998

In a nutshell: For reasons that are not completely clear, Felicity rewrites Ben's English assignment, and Ben gets accused of plagiarism. Julie is afraid that she won't understand a Russian movie Zack is taking her to, and prepares by watching it on video. Felicity turns to Noel for help with the cheating situation. Eventually, Ben takes credit for the essay that he didn't write, and they both get F's on the paper even though the professor decides not to expel them (note to potential cheaters: Don't do it. It happens!) In happier news, Elena ditches the Tin Man until she realizes that she might actually like the guy.

People who thought this up: Jennifer Levin (the writer), Joan Tewkesbury (the director)

Supporting cast: Ron Canada, Greg Grunberg (Sean), Shan Omar Huey (Blair), William Monaghan (Professor Rogalsky), Lorna Raver, Helen Siff, Eddie Kaye Thomas, and Devon Gummersall (Zack).

Tunes: Alpha (title unavailable--Come From Heaven), Eagle Eye Cherry ("Save Tonight"--Desireless), Heather Nova ("What a Feeling," "Head and Shoulders"--Siren), R.E.M. ("Drive"--Automatic for the People)


Long summary

Ben and Felicity are proofreading papers at Ben's loft, when Ben suddenly catches Felicity off guard. He leans towards her like he's going to kiss her, either that or try some new CPR technique that he learned at the pool. Instead, he proceeds to flick a piece of cilantro off her teeth--you know, that funny smelling green stuff that most people pick out of their food. Being the good sport that she is, Felicity recovers, and offers to run his disk through her spell checker (get your mind out of the gutter, I'm speaking literally here). He thinks his paper is pretty good.

Back in the dorms (and a counselor session away, I might add), Felicity begins highlighting and deleting large passages of Ben's prized essay to the tune of Eagle Eye Cherry's "Save Tonight." (serves him right for flicking her teeth).

Felicity tells Julie about the teeth flicking--no guy ever did that to her. Zack comes by and confirms their upcoming movie date for Solaris, a five hour yawnfest according to Felicity (but she was much younger then, by a whole year). Julie fears she'll hate it.

Elena approaches Noel about being harrassed--people are singing "Somewhere over the rainbow" while she's in the john. Noel suggests that it's actually entertainment, not harrassment, and that the Tin Man himself might be doing the talking. At that point, Tin Man drops by and asks Elena to dinner. She agrees.

In English class, Professor Rogalsky seems to be picking on Ben's knowledge (or lack thereof) of dramatic monologue, making Felicity uneasy. When class ends and they pick up their graded essays, Felicity and Julie learn that Ben's is good: so good, in fact, that the professor thinks he didn't write it. The department plans to launch an investigation.

Ben can't seem to figure out why they think he cheated, and a unusually quiet Felicity listens to him diss the professor over lunch. He asks her if there was anything in the paper that would make the teacher think he cheated. Too scared to admit the truth at first, Felicity catches up with him after lunch and 'fesses up. Naturally, Ben is furious. Now he knows why the professor was so interested in his knowledge of Shakespearian monologue. (and dramatic irony)

Meanwhile, Blair tries to get Elena to go out with him again, but she's too busy. Lab. Lecture. Work. So he offers her one last chance, dinner tomorrow night, be there or he'll hit the road. And he won't take her flakiness personally.

Felicity goes to Noel about the cheating situation, but he advises her not to do anything until he looks into the matter himself. See, he's got his trusty R.A. handbook, and thinks they should take it very seriously. Even though she's technically not a cheater.

Ben decides to take matters into his own hands when he asks Felicity for a copy of the essay--which he plans to take credit for. She, of course, doesn't think it's a good idea. But Ben doesn't think much of her judgment these days. (he's got more pressing concerns, like being expelled and finding time to shave).

Cut to a scene of Ben reading the essay in his apartment.

In the dean's office, the dean makes it clear to Noel that cheating is very serious business, and suggests that Noel tell his "friend" to come clean--or else.

Noel passes this info. onto Felicity, who asks him to talk to Ben. Of course he'll do it, being the nice guy and smitten R.A. that he is. But she'll definitely owe him a few.

In other serious stories, Julie attempts to locate a copy of Solaris to prepare for her upcoming date. The video clerk sums her situation up to a tee: film student, undergrad, Elmore Leonard fixation. Just remember: the power of love in a hostile and indifferent universe. "He'll eat it up." (standard freshman courtship ritual, which doesn't scare Julie one bit).

What's weirder is that Elena's looking to Felicity for guy advice, accomplishing this task by kidnapping her in the dorm elevator. Lately, Elena can't seem to squash dead all those unwanted males (no, she doesn't eat 'em), which prompts Felicity to suggest that she may actually like this one. Only next time, she can do without the kidnapping.

Sean's latest entrepreneurial idea, unfortunately, doesn't help either Ben or Noel when Noel suggests that Ben not take credit for the essay. At the very least, he could be suspended. But Ben doesn't want or need Felicity's help, leaving poor Noel to bite his head off -- quite literally, when Sean tosses him his newest invention (an edible Marzipan boxer).

Zack wants to make sure that Julie is still on for Solaris when he stops by her dorm, which she is, since she's got the video running. Only she tells him that she's studying, so he won't know that she's actually studying for their upcoming date. And he's already bought the tickets. Which worries Julie.

Cut to a scene of Felicity sitting on a bench. Tomorrow, they face off with Rigofsky.

The witch trial begins when Dean Allison, the head of the English department, asks Ben to define dramatic irony (it's complicated). Felicity is watching from outside, when Noel shows up and announces that this cheating thing may be more serious than anyone thought--since an investigation into Ben's record might reveal the whopper lie in his application essay (about his dead bro "Jonathan"). At this point, since the truth will probably come out regardless, Felicity throws herself into the kettle and calls herself black. This, after Ben has just admitted that he didn't write the essay (because he's stupid, which is the real lesson). The faculty are baffled by the whole incident.

After the trial, Felicity catches up with Ben and explains that it was the geek, the teacher's pet in her that made her do it, honest. He was the cool guy in high school with all the friends and the looks. But she knew how to pass tests and write papers. What she didn't mean to do was make him feel anything less than amazing.

Blair is irked that Elena didn't bother to show for their dinner date, which prompts him to talk about nozzles and her overachieving, Charlie Parker loving ways. As much as he loves those qualities, he just can't handle the Elena that pushes people away. So he offers her some orange chicken as a peace offering (good choice of food, IMO).

In other couple news, both Julie and Zack admit that the movie was a doozy. Besides, it's not the movie that Zack really likes, it's her. Aw. Not to mention that he happened to fall asleep for a little while, too. And he doesn't care one whit that she already fell asleep the first time around.

Rigofsky "man with backwards hair" decides to let both Ben and Felicity off the hook, believing that the two displayed poor judgment more than anything else. Neither of them will be expelled, either, although both will receive an F on their essay. Rigofsky tells Ben that he would have gotten a B. Felicity tries to apologize once more, but Ben remains distant.

Cut to a scene of Zack and Julie cuddling on the sofa. In a voiceover, Sally explains how she's spent a few days in the desert, thinking things over.

Cut to a scene of Noel taking his R.A. handbook off the shelf.

Cut to a scene of Ben reading the handbook. Sally believes that everyone has expectations for who they think people should be.

Cut to a scene of Elena, reading and eating Blair's orange chicken.

Cut to a scene of Ben biting off the head of the Marzipan boxer.

Felicity is walking down the street (in slo-mo with background music, as the CSFWS would say) as Sally reads a line from one of her favorite poems:

If equal affection cannot be, let the more loving one be me. (ed note: I have no idea who wrote this).

Fade to credits.

1999 jenoy@pacbell.net Please do not reproduce without permission.