Synopsis of Reese's Job
Written by Petch
To pay for his car insurance, which will be a requirement when he shortly receives his learner's permit, Reese accepts a cashier job at a local burger joint. The catch is, his supervisor is Francis's miscreant buddy Richie, who somehow ended up assistant manager and who approves of cashiers occasionally skimming five or ten bucks from the register here and there as a 'morale builder.' Oddly, the usually-delinquent Reese privately disapproves of these 'pocket transactions,' but when his register comes up $400 short at the end of a shift, he is suspicioned of company theft. Malcolm puts two and two together and deduces that Richie is setting up Reese.
Speaking of Malcolm, life as a Krelboyne has just gotten a little more nerve-racking. Fans of the "Emancipation" episode earlier this season will be pleased to know that Chris Eigeman's role as Mr. Herkabe will apparently be a recurring one. In this outing, Herkabe introduces new student Barton, an eight-year-old "Little Man Tate" knock-off with a 280 I.Q. Possibly to settle his old vendetta with Malcolm, Herkabe assigns him schoolwork that is somewhat beyond his ability, then arranges for Barton to tutor him, much to Malcolm's embarrassment.
When Reese interrupts their tutoring session to brief them on his dilemma at work, the three make haste to Richie's house and confront him. It is Barton (whom Richie keeps mistaking for Dewey, in an amusing running gag) who spots a traffic citation against Richie which seems to exonerate him; the time and location of the traffic stop conflicts with the only window wherein Richie could have helped himself to the cash from Reese's register that day. Just after Reese and Malcolm apologize for their accusation, Richie's ditzy girlfriend, who also works at the burger joint, busts in with a new DVD player and loudly suggests that she steal an additional $600 for a surround-sound system, before realizing that she's just blown their cover. It's Richie's turn to apologize and to work out a compensatory arrangement with Reese and Malcolm.
In the midst of these proceedings, two secondary plotlines are interwoven into the episode. The funnier of the two takes place at the logging camp in Alaska, where Francis' grizzled old bunkmate Pete announces that he is taking a mail-order bride from Russia. The guys throw him a beer-drenched bachelor party of sorts, and Eric even has a phoned-in stripper on the line detailing each item of clothing she's taking off (how's that for sad?). It's clear that Pete has mis-read the catalog, though, because when the 'bride' eventually arrives, it's an inflatable sex doll. Meanwhile, Dewey has been promised a dog if he can keep his goldfish alive for two months. Although Hal and Lois never had any intention of fulfilling their end of the bargain, they also had no idea their youngest son might succeed in the challenge. Hal is unable to bring himself to assassinate Dewey's goldfish, so he substitutes an already-dead one in the fishbowl while his son is sleeping. When the fish is magically alive again the next morning, Hal and Lois realize that Dewey has been switching fish, and they bust him. Of course, Hal oafishly lets slip that he also has cheated with the dead-fish switcheroo, prompting a crying jag from Dewey. It's not exactly textbook, Hal rationalizes to Lois, but at least they're not getting a dog.
The conclusion of the episode finds Barton bidding farewell to the Krelboyne class, much to Herkabe's chagrin. He'd had high hopes of exploiting the boy's genius for his own self-aggrandizement. Malcolm and his classmates realize what a bitter pill their teacher is swallowing and present him with a framed picture of Barton and his father, but with Herkabe's head superimposed over the dad's. This seems to bring him a measure of peace.
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