This episode is really all over the place. The plot is interesting, and I like the arc Mike goes. The biggest problem is this episode just sorta ends.
The episode starts with the Seavers having dinner. Boner bursts in and asks Mike, “ready for the big night?” Turns out no one in Mike’s family had any idea about this “big night.” Boner then tells everyone that Mike won and award, and he should let his parents be proud of him. Boner leaves one time, but he quickly comes back. Before he really leaves, he tells Mike, “you’re wrong not to tell your parents. Like our photo teacher said, the naked photo of the human body is nothing to be ashamed of.” Now Maggie and Jason really want answers.
Jason and Maggie make Carol and Ben leave the room, so they can talk to Mike. Turns out Boner wasn’t lying as Mike really did get an award. He got an honourable mention for the reception of the Alf Landon Junior Community College Photography Exhibit. Mike thinks he’s off the hook now, but they make him tell him the whole story around this. Here’s something I’m confused about, which I feel like I say that in every one of these. Mike’s telling them some bullshit story and, to himself, he says, “boy I hope they buy what I’m saying here. I mean I sure can’t tell them the real story, and what a story it is.” So we’re seeing the real story, but he’s telling his parents a different story. How do they know the same stuff we do then? Did Mike just tell them a slightly different version?
In the real story, Mike and Boner are looking for the easiest college classes. They both decide on taking Introduction to Photography. The hours and days work for them. There are also no paper and tests. The real kicker, however, is the final product is they have to photograph a nude subject. They’re really excited about it, which Jason sees and is happy Mike’s embracing college.
Mike and Boner are in the photography being shown a bunch of paintings and photos of nude women. One of which we see. After the slideshow, the teacher directs everyone to the lists they can pick up with all the names of their potential nude subjects.
It’s the night of Mike’s photoshoot. He claims he’s doing something for school, but everyone thinks he’s got a date.
He’s go to the studio and Boner’s just finishing up. Turns out Boner posed nude and the woman who was suppose to be his subject took his picture. Boner claims she’s on the women’s wrestling team, but there’s no women wrestling team. This woman just got her $20 dollars and didn’t even pose nude. They leave and Mike’s subject enters. She’s so adorable. From her voice to her facial features to her mannerisms. She’s really nervous, but Mike is also. Then it’s revealed that her name is Carol. She also looks like Tracey Gold (Carol) too. This makes Mike really overprotective all of sudden. He just gives her a robe to wear and tells her he’ll take her photo like that. She’ll get $20 extra too.
Now Mike will fail because he didn’t take any nude photos. He also tells Carol once again that he didn’t have a date. Carol leaves and Ben tells Mike that Carol needs to take a good look in the mirror before saying anything. That gives Mike an idea.
We cut back to present time. Jason and Maggie knows Mike’s been thinking one thing, but he’s telling them another. They give him three seconds to tell the truth (or they’ll go down to the school), but he doesn’t tell them.
All of them go down to the school and seem the photo Mike submitted. We don’t see it, but it’s a photo of him taking a naked photo of himself in the mirror. Ben comes across this role of him with all these nude women on it and Mike tells him that women aren’t sex objects, despite how he’s previous happening. Part of when this is going on, Jason and Maggie think if the reason Mike didn’t take a photo of a naked woman is because he’s gay. They dismiss the idea. Turns out they hear Mike talking to Ben and they think he really means it and Mike has changed. Mike leaves the room the exhibit is being held in and that’s the last we see him.
End scene: With all this naked photos and talk going on, Maggie and Jason talk about the nude beach they visited in Maine during their first year of marriage.
Like I said, I really liked the arc Mike went through. Hopefully it sticks. I wouldn’t be surprise if it doesn’t. That being said, I don’t think the episode did enough with him. The final scene before the end scene seems more like the middle of the episode. It seems like there should’ve been another big scene after there. The different structure is interesting, but it just feels incomplete.
And That’s the Point.