Here we are, ladies and germs! The final episode of Season 1 of BraceFace. I thought we would never get here, but we did. And I can’t wait to start reviewing Season 2 next week. Now, this is another episode that was aired out of order because our friends are still in middle school. But hey, this will be the last episode we see Mary Pickford Junior High so take a good look at it and reflect on all of the memories:
Sharon and Maria are on their way to class and Maria is complaining about homework interfering with her personal life. Sharon assures her that she can deal with it since they only have a month of class left. Brock sees Maria walking in and decides to trick her by putting gum in her seat. Maria isn’t falling for it and decides to play along. She ends up taking the gum and putting it on him. Haha.
Brock asks Alden if he wants to come over and practice. Alden can’t since he’s doing homework with Sharon. Brock complains about Alden putting his ho before his bro. Alden shrugs it off as Brock being jealous that he doesn’t have a girlfriend. Alden is correct and this will come up next season. Just then, the principal comes in and announces to the class that their teacher, Ms. Morton has just given birth and will be on maternity leave. The class gets excited, but the principal informs the students that they will have a substitute teacher: Mr. Riley:
The class groans as expected, and the principal lectures them on being their best behavior. While he’s doing this, Mr. Riley is mocking the principal behind his back. The men step into the hallway and Brock starts drawing on the board. Mr. Riley comes in and Brock rushes back to his seat. Mr. Riley stares at the chalkboard, erases some of the drawing, and draws glasses (which look like Brock’s) on the drawing. He also jokingly criticizes Brock’s drawing and the whole class laughs. I like this guy. We’ve all had cool teachers before.
Mr. Riley tells the kids to come out outside. Everyone seems to like him, especially Maria. Yeah, I think we all know this episode is going to pan out.
Brock asks Sharon if he can study with her and Alden and invite Maria to join them. Sharon isn’t so sure about it since we all know Maria can’t stand Brock. Brock convinces Sharon that he’s a nice guy and to just ask her. Sharon agrees to ask so he’ll shut up. Mr. Riley explains to the students that their teacher left him a note about their oral book report due this week. Since he doesn’t know who’s reporting on what, he decided that they’re going to play Charades based on books and authors. Maria volunteers to go first and Mr. Riley correctly guesses 1984 by George Orwell. He also thanks Maria for going first and says he can’t wait to see her report tomorrow.
After school, Sharon asks Maria if she wants to study with her, Alden and Brock. Maria says she can’t because she’s going to get started on her book report. Nothing like starting a book report the day before it’s due. Sharon mocks Maria and Mr. Riley passes them on his bike saying hi to the girls. Maria starts gushing about his mountain bike. Sharon mentions that Brock also has a bike, but Maria doesn’t care. At home, Josh is playing on the piano and our favorite couple has to do homework wearing headphones. Lol.
Sharon asks Alden what he thinks of Mr. Riley. He thinks he’s okay and Sharon tells him that she thinks that Maria has a crush on him. If I were Sharon, I would never tell anyone something like that. Just then, the door rings and it’s Maria. She asks Sharon if she could borrow a skirt for tomorrow. Sharon is surprised because Maria never wears skirts, but she has a reason to now. This is quite entertaining. The next day, Sharon gets a drink from the water fountain and Brock comes along and sprays the water in Sharon’s face.
Brock brings up that Sharon never called and assumes that Maria wasn’t interested in studying with him. Brock wonders what he has to do to get Maria interested in him and wants Sharon to be honest. He even asks Sharon if he has a chance with Maria.
Sharon starts feeling bad for Brock because he’s acting like a lovesick puppy and he probably has no chance with Maria. She doesn’t want to hurt his feelings so she lies to him. Sharon goes in the bathroom and sees Maria wearing an outfit she wouldn’t normally wear.
We cut to Maria doing her book report. She’s putting people on the spot and I love it! She walks around the classroom with a camcorder to give the class an idea of “Big Brother”, who’s watching your every move.
Everyone applauds her for her presentation and Brock is acting like a groupie and gets ignored. Mr. Riley compliments Maria on her assignment and of course she smiles nervously. After class, Maria starts gushing over Mr. Riley touching her shoulder and him complimenting her in front of the whole class. Sharon tries to convince Maria to give Brock a chance by telling her she’s got all of these guys interested in her. Maria grosses out when Sharon mentions Brock and tells Sharon that you can’t force someone to like you. She’s right. Maria is convinced that she and Mr. Riley have a connection. Sharon tells him he’s old like 25. -__- This is a nice little callback from the pilot when Connor (he’s in this episode, but he’s been reduced to a background character tsk tsk) thought that 21 was old. Maria says she’s just into “mature guys”. Just because someone is older doesn’t mean they’re mature. Sharon tells Maria that Brock matures every year and we cut to Brock being gross to disprove Sharon’s statement.
Brock notices Maria and tosses her the mixtape he told Sharon he was going to make for Maria. Oh boy. The girls listen to the tape and Brock is singing (badly) a corny, love song and spells Maria’s name. Maria is turned off by this, but Sharon finds it cute. Maria changes the subject to Parent-Teacher night and starts worrying about what she should wear. Not even Sharon acted like this with Alden. Fast forward to Parent-Teacher night and although Maria didn’t change outfits, she did change her hair!
Maria notices Mr. Riley walking over to Maria’s parents and Maria is praying that they don’t embarrass her. Mr. Riley tells Maria’s parents everything parents want to hear during PTC (thank God those days are over. I hated PTCs). Sharon starts to believe that Mr. Riley might like Maria as well. Brock and Alden are standing together and Brock thinks he has no chance with Maria. Alden advises Brock to act more mature (since that’s what Maria’s into) and offers him another opportunity to impress her. He tells Brock to meet him, Sharon and Maria at Life Cycles tomorrow. Alden is much better at giving advice than Brock.
We cut to the next day at Life Cycles and Alden puts his straw in Sharon’s drink. They’re so fucking adorable, I can’t stand it:
Just then, Brock comes in looking ridiculous:
Sharon laughs at Brock’s attempt to be mature. Brock goes over to the front desk and orders a smoothie. Not too long after, Maria comes walking in and she’s wearing her hair down again. She was late because she was helping Mr. Riley with his lesson plan and announces to everyone that she’s in love. Brock comes over and asks Maria if he can buy her a smoothie in a deep voice. She declines and asks about his chin, which has fake facial hair on it. He completely ignores her question and asks if she wants to go listen to CDs next door (Spinning Disk). She turns him down again. He asks her if she wants to come over and hear the latest song he recorded. She turns him down once again, a little harsh and Brock seems to finally get the message and leaves. For a moment, I kind of felt sorry for him.
The next day, Maria joins Sharon at lunch and has a shit ton of books with her. She starts reading them so she can get some extra credit. Sharon tells Maria that she’s taking this too far and that she doesn’t even know Mr. Riley’s first name. And speak of the devil, Mr. Riley shows up and asks if he can join the girls for lunch. Maria is more than happy to have him join them. Sharon lies to Mr. Riley and tells him that she and Maria were just leaving. Maria tells Sharon to go ahead and that she’ll catch up with her later. Mr. Riley asks Maria what she’s doing on Saturday and invites her to meet him at Chez Renee for lunch. Maria gladly accepts and Mr. Riley jokingly tells her not to tell anyone because they might get jealous. Before he leaves, he tells her that reservations are under his full name, Chris Riley. And Maria goes gaga over knowing his real name.
Maria shows up to gym late. Knowing how athletic Maria is, that is so unlike her. She catches up to Sharon, who’s running laps around the field and gushes about her “date” with Chris. Sharon finds a teacher and a student hanging outside of school weird (and so do I unless it’s class-related). Maria does the ol’ “Why can’t you just be happy for me?” shtick. She also adds that she can just be herself and Sharon stops her right there because Maria has never worn skirts or worn her hair down. Maria takes offense to this and she thinks Sharon is saying she looks bad in skirts and wearing her hair down. Sharon tries to explain, but Maria cuts her off and tells Sharon that she can’t handle the fact that she’s found someone who “likes” her. She also complains to Sharon about having to hear about Sharon talk about Alden. Maria runs off and Brock tries to get her attention by doing pushups, but he gets ignored.
Sharon doesn’t feel right about this and she consults Alden about the situation. I do like that she went to him for advice. She tells him about Maria and Chris and he doesn’t know how to feel about it. Sharon asks Alden not to tell anyone and he promises. We cut to a scene with Alden telling Brock about Maria and Riley while they’re rock climbing. Geez, no one on this show knows how to keep a secret. Alden tells Brock he needs to step it up if he wants to win Maria over. Brock feels hopeless because he doesn’t think he can compete with taking a girl to an expensive restaurant. Alden tells Brock that money doesn’t matter. The big “date” is here and Sharon tries one more attempt at getting through to Maria. She calls her on her cell phone, but Maria doesn’t answer.
Sharon and Adam are washing the dishes and she tells Adam about the situation. Damn, is everyone going to be told this? I guess Helen is going to hear about this and call up Chris Hansen to show up at Chez Renee. Adam goes into big brother mode and says that this guy needs to be locked up. He advises Sharon to keep a close eye on Maria and Sharon heads over to Chez Renee. We cut to Brock in his room playing the guitar all depressed.
Alden’s words from earlier play in Brock’s mind and he fantasizes about him going to the restaurant on a unicycle and handing Maria a Flaming Eddy. She’s immediately falls for Brock, tells Chris to take a hike and Brock carries her while on a unicycle:
Brock snaps out of his fantasy and heads down to the restaurant. We cut back to Sharon just arriving there and she peeks in the bushes to see if she can find them. No sign of either of them so she pretends to have a reservation under his name and is seated at the table. She looks up and sees Maria and Chris and hides under the table. Chris tells the waiter that they need a bigger table and Sharon wonders why they need a bigger table. Chris also orders a lot of Flaming Eddies as he way of saying thanks. Brock and Alden are standing across the street from the restaurant and Brock has a unicycle. Alden talks Brock out of living his fantasy because he doesn’t know how to unicycle. He reassures Brock that he’ll find another way to impress Maria. We cut back to the restaurant and two other girls have a seat at the table with Chris and Maria. And more kids start joining at the table as well.
Chris reveals that he teaches at different schools and they’re all the brightest students he’s taught. He explains that he brought them here to recruit them as tutors for his volunteer literacy program. Maria looks like the biggest idiot in the world. The waiters bring over the flaming eddies and places them on the table. Some of them fall on the table and Sharon accidently touches Maria. The whole table is on fire and Chris tries to put the fire out with a pitcher full of water. Sharon has no choice but to come out of the table and she gets water poured on her. Maria asks Sharon what she’s doing here and Sharon tells her that she doesn’t know that she was just worried. It’s pretty awkward considering all of these people just standing there watching them. Sharon and Maria go inside the restaurant while Sharon dries off. Maria starts crying and is embarrassed that she made a fool of herself.
Sharon consults Maria and tries to cheer Maria up by telling her that she would make a great tutor and all of this was for her to get a good opportunity. Such a sweet moment. We cut to everyone’s favorite couple at the park on their roller blades.
Brock and Maria are also there and Maria pulls Sharon away from Alden. Maria tells Sharon that she’s having fun hanging out with all of them and Brock is not the best part. While Maria does “like-like” or “love-love” Brock, she says that she can barely tolerate him.
This was a great episode! It’s a much better episode than the last one and it’s a great setup for Season 2. I think everyone was likeable in this episode. I love how helpful Sharon and Alden were to their friends. Alden gave Brock some great advice and it was nice to see Sharon concerned about Maria and consulting her. Maria and Brock were well done in this episode and they were pretty relatable. I’ve been in Maria’s shoes before. I know what it’s like to finally have someone like you for a change when you never experienced it. It happened to me my freshman year of college, but unfortunately he was the wrong one (I’ve spoken about him a few times in my reviews). I’ve also been in Brock’s shoes when you really like someone and you try so hard to get them to like you. Every guy I have ever liked has never liked me back and it sucks. You think you can try to make them like you, but you can’t. Maria said it in this episode that you can’t force someone to like you and I had to realize that. Even though he only appeared in this episode briefly, I liked how Adam mentioned about older men preying on young girls. I’ve experienced this before and I still do despite being 24 because I have a baby face. And the topic of girls being attracted to their teachers is nothing new, but I’m glad that Mr. Riley didn’t do anything. That wraps up this review; I can’t wait to review Season 2 next week!