Joan of Arcadia (2003–2005): Season 2, Episode 12 - Game Theory - full transcript

Jane !




I've been calling you all the way down the hall.

Ohh. Well, I'm temporarily deaf.

My mom burnt a hole in my ear lecturing me about college.

Ah. Yeah, well, what time should I pick you up tomorrow?

For what?

The field trip to Dawson state.

Oh, yeah.

Well, what are we doing that for?

Well, state schools offer more aid,

and you know, Tuchman told me to use it for leverage for the Ivys.

Yeah, but why am I going?

Because we're on the same college track, remember?

Adam, face it.

My grades are in the swamp this semester,

and the work just keeps getting harder,

and this looks kind of cool.

Mr Tuchman's seminar.

And he said I'm perfect for it.

No. This is the slacker symposium.

No! Don't say that.

It could be interesting.

Look, we'll still be together.

You know, I'll figure out a way to be wherever you are,

just not in college.

It's not for me.

Why can't people accept that?

I accept it.

I...I just think you're selling yourself short.

You're an artist.

You of all people should understand that there are other ways of being happy

and whole and creative outside of conventional education, right?

I guess.

You know, actually, I'm really excited.

I just feel all these exciting new horizons unfolding.

Good luck Jane.

Hi, Joan.

Have a seat.

I always knew God was an underachiever.

Good morning, dregs of society.

I will be your guide through the narrow alleyways of alternative achievement.

If anyone understands what that means,
it's an Ivy League educated man who works for the public school system,

which brings us to lesson number one.

Don't be bitter.

So you're gonna tell me why you're here?

It's a guidance session.

I'm all about guidance.

Well, maybe if you were a little more specific.

Yeah, but you didn't like it when I told you what to do.

I like it less when you don't.


Can I get in on this?

Ah. Sorry.

Ha ha. We're...we're just being...rude.



Thank you.

The point is each of you is unique and has hidden talents,

some of them more hidden than others.

Sometimes one might say they're invisible.

But up till now, you've been pumped full of dreams,

most of which that aren't even your own.

How about a few less dreams and a few more goals?

Because goals are attainable,

and dreams are what happen when you eat cheese before you go to bed.


All right.

Let's talk about a few people who did not get 4 years of college.

Anyone ?

No ?


Charlie Chaplin.

Rosa Parks.

Anyone ? Rosa Parks ?


Abraham Lincoln.


People who changed the history of the world because of their unique and singular vision
and their belief in that vision and not because of a diploma.

Hey, that is kind of true, isn't it?

I mean, guidance counselors can't lie, right?

Guidance comes in many forms, Joan.

It can point you in a lot of different directions.

You have to develop a little bit of discernment.

Ok, now you're just starting to piss me off.

But seriously, yes, I'm sure you've all seen
the commercials for Devry and I.T.T. Tech.

Those success stories aren't made up,

and they're not the only alternative, either.

You can always join the military.

Joan !


I was surprised to see you with......that guy this morning.

Did you and Adam break up?


No. That guy was, uh, somebody else.

How did you know about me and Adam?

Guidance department knows everything.

The better to guide you, my dear.

I'm psyched you gravitated toward design.


I like it.

I like interior design and furniture and, you know, drapes.

Joan... you can't think of this as a failure.

You have to think of it as pragmatism.

Hit me on my cell phone if you just want to talk.


Design ?

I like it.

That's why I put it everywhere.

Aren't you perfect?

I have a specific assignment for you, since you miss them so much.

Ha ha ha. Ok.

Go with Adam tomorrow.

Take a look at college.


Now you want me to go to college?

Informed choices.

They're better than the other kind.

Besides, you already told him you'd go and I like follow-through.

Well, I like privacy.

Now that we're listing what we like...privacy and autonomy!

I just used "autonomy" in a sentence. Hmm.


Lucy kept you late.

She didn't keep me.

She's my boss.

I had work.


A possible breakthrough on Judith's case.

We brought in her killer's drug supplier.

Lucy's agreed to sweat him until he turns the guy over.

She's really something.

You know, if you're gonna hate my boss for a hobby, this is gonna be a long year.

I don't hate her, Will.

So what's the almighty up to?

Passing out boils and leprosy?

Hey, um, Adam's taking Joan to Dawson state tomorrow.

When do you take your vows?

Isn't that getting close?

I'm not becoming a nun, Will.

I'm getting confirmed, and we haven't picked a date yet.

But you're on board with everything.

God created us, God can destroy us,

nobody asked to be here, nobody gets to know why.

Ok, so I'm not having this discussion with you.

What kind of faith crumbles under a few questions?

These aren't real questions, Will.

It's a hostile attack.

I'll strike a deal with you.

You don't pry into my higher power, and I won't pry into yours.

Then what happens?

They give you a lie detector test?

Look inside your soul?


They basically just interview me and look at my portfolio,
fall in love with me and offer me thousands of dollars to come here.

And then I take that interest to Stanford and get them to match the price.

That's awesome.


You know, you should try to set up an interview while you're here.

No, no.

I'm committed to interior design.

I checked with Tuchman.

There are millions of schools in California,

what with earthquakes, things fall down,

you have to redecorate them.

Yeah, yeah, but you know, I just kind of like the idea of us at college together.

You know, and Tuchman's such a wart.

You know ?

No, I mean, he's old and has an earring.

He called me "rocker" once.

Well, he went to Brown.

So ?

All that means is he's smart enough to put a spell on you.

Oh, Adam, I'm not under a spell.

Don't worry about me, ok?

I know what I'm doing.

Just go get your scholarship.

Midterm fire sale.

Sweet deals on the Mongol invasion, byzantine empire, m-brane theory.

Selling tests?

That's kind of gross.

I could be some kind of narc.

Not tests, just virtuosity.

I'm a tutor.

You good with all your classes?

Oh. I don't go here.

I'm still a junior in high school.

You applying?


Actually, I'm gonna go to interior design school.

Grades suck?

Shouldn't you be moving along, Ernest?

Roger, actually.

This jacket's just a fashion statement.

And you are ?


Well, Joan, if it's just grades, I can help.

Getting into college is a process.

All a big game. You just have to be coached.

It's just not my game, that's all.

Look, I've been there.

If you change your mind, call me.

You'd be a nice addition to the campus.


This is a brilliant idea.

Much better than, say, the warmth and coziness of a coffee house or your dorm room.

People are supposed to get at least 20 minutes of sunlight a day.

It helps convert vitamins and increases dopamine in the brain.

Yeah, but you know what else helps?

Making out to Al Green records.


I've just been studying all day.

I needed some air.

No, no, it's good.

I mean, I'm only freezing from the waist up...


So, uh... what does it feel like?

I mean, do you get used to it?

Uh... it feels like you're carrying a drunk, passed-out friend around.

You keep thinking he's gonna wake up,

and, uh, you know, you get used to it.


what's the rest of it like?

I mean, assuming that you have since.

Ahem. Yeah, I have since.

Uh... it's fine.

It's not that much more awkward than normal sex.

My legs don't move...

but pretty much everything else does.

Interior design has so much school stuff in it.

There's math.

You have to measure.

And geometry, shapes, angles, uh, fabrics, colors.

You even have to know what taupe is.

Joan, if you want to go to design school after college, I'm completely in favor.

We won't pay, but I'm in favor.

Why is this such a big deal?

It just is.

What if I told you God said it was ok?

Leave my religion out of this.


Wasting away.

10 minutes.

You'll live.

Hey, one of you take out the trash, please.

2 out of 3.

4 out of 7.

No way, dude.

I won.

It's algebra, Joan.

You can't beat me...


It's a game.

What do you think math is?

Come on, just 4 out of 7.


Trash, please.

Ohh. In a minute, mom.

Luke, now.

You're out of there.


You defy logic. Hmm.

Your future plans.

Ohh. Great. Spammage.

Nice to see you embracing technology, Joan.


God is a pop-up ad.

That's perfect.

Appears out of nowhere, impossible to get rid of.

So, you visited that college with Adam.

What did you find there?

People playing Frisbee, which I could do.

But I also saw huge books, tons of homework, and term papers.

So if you could please just move out of the way...

there's somebody promising me huge money in interior decorating.

You found more than Frisbees and homework.

What, tutor man?

You want me to call tutor man?


Thanks for coming all the way up here to meet me.

Oh, anything to encourage higher learning in someone who has great potential
and incredible eyes.

Well, what makes you think I have great potential?

I was a goof-off in high school, too,

until junior year when I realized I was headed straight for aluminum siding school.

Well, interior decorating for me.

Suggested by your, oh, so encouraging, mildly condescending,

I'm-your-buddy guidance counselor?

Tuchman ?

How do you know him?

Every school has a Tuchman.

Oh. Look, the point is everybody's ready to write you off every minute,

especially if your skills are not on the surface.

Like, I discovered last night that I have some idiot savant thing with rock, paper, scissors.

Like, I never lose.

That sounded dumb.


Uh, you could have an instinctual feel for algebraic theory.

Yeah ?

See, I figured it out.

There's always a way to work the system.

College is no different.

Just figure out the formula.

And think you can teach me how to do that?

You're a quick study.

I can tell.

Your syllabus, reading list,

and my hourly rates and cancellation policy.

Hourly rates, right.

That's a lot of money.

So I think maybe the dream dies here.

Tell you what, I'll cut half off my rate.

You treat me to a hamburger once a week and you mention me in your memoirs
when you're famous.

Ok, that sounds like a good deal.

The dream is back alive.

So it comes up in conversation that I've never seen an x-rated film,

and he's all, "how is that possible?"

And I'm like, "hello? What part of nun don't you understand?"

They weren't screening them at the convent.

So he says, "we'll have to rent something."

And I'm all, "where's a time portal when you need one?"

Can we get to the beatitudes?

'Cause I think I finally memorized them.

Hey, usually hearing about my pathetic love life is your favorite part.

Yeah, I know, but I'm getting into fights with my husband and....

I'm not sure I believe any of this anymore.

Wow. Well, that will certainly interfere with your confirmation.

You and Will are fighting about religion.



And not about that babe who's his boss.

Are you suggesting that my husband is cheating on me?

Because that's ridiculous and offensive.

Why would you even say that?

I didn't.

You did.

So you're abandoning this to keep the peace?

I mean, you were drawn to it for a reason, and now you're just gonna shut it down?

All your questions and curiosity about the point of existence?

Hey, plenty of people get through their lives without needing to know what it's all about.

Get through.

I'm sorry.

I...I don't think we're gonna get much work done today.

Well, I think we got a lot of work done.

You might assume she wins because of random strategy.

Not knowing the math, she can't apply it.

Chaos theory.

Middle school stuff.

However, with that approach, one can only expect 50%-60% accuracy. Watch this

Watch this.

She never misses..


I'm totally freaking the geeks out with this.


I waited an hour at the bus stop,

and then I missed the last one,
so I had to hitch a ride on the back of Friedman's motorized razor.

Oh, that sounds like fun, kind of like performance art.

Where were you, Jane?

I had an early meeting.

I tried to call you, but you didn't pick up.

Because I was on the back of Friedman's razor.

That is not shouting material, dude.

What...what kind of meeting?

This guy is gonna tutor me so I can go to college with the rest of you gear heads.

Perhaps it's the psychology she's using, not algebra.

You know, rock is id, paper--ego, scissor--superego.

You people are seriously warped.

It's a game.

It's about luck.

No, Grace.

Games are never about luck.

Everything has a strategy from government to romance,

such as the time when I gave you a gift...

a calculated gambit designed to throw you in a state of imbalance.

You worked me?

No, no.

You used a gambit on me?!

No, Grace.

I'm making an analogy.

That was some bad math, dude.

Yeah, but where'd you find this guy?

I thought you wanted me to go to college.

I do.


So then be happy.

I am.

Vladimir Karpovich, A.K.A. Vlad the inhaler.

I see the cocaine business has a sense of humor.

And your accommodations, I trust, suit you?

Your wooden plank is comfy?

I did not kill that girl.

You have no business keeping me.

We have a video of you running a pharmacy out of your place.

The feds are just begging for a shot at you.

We're holding off because we know you're a man of conscience,

pushing drugs to schoolchildren notwithstanding.

Joey Edwards, Judith Montgomery's killer.

I believe you've been doing business with him for some years.

You hide a killer, you're an accessory.

My first choice is to cooperate, but I need compelling reason.

Reason enough?

She was my daughter's friend.

It's personal.

I think it's a good time to bring in attorneys.

I don't want to make a deal with this guy.

Look, once he's lawyered up, we are not in the driver's seat anymore.

I think we need to focus on what we want out of this situation.

What I want is Joey Edwards 8 pieces in the river.

Will, we will get him.

Then no deals yet.

We let him sweat it out for a few more days.

I guess I could lose his paperwork.

I told you before not to do that.


I thought it was harmless.

It's not.

You know it.

Working here is awesome.

It's like a salad bar for the mind.

I guess I should put a sneeze guard up over the books.

You want to get into a good college,
take advantage of what you have right in front of you.

Ahh. I'm already buried in homework.


Pre-packaged factoids crammed down your throat
so you'll be just like every other kid in the assembly line to college.

You would like my friend Grace.

"I want to set before my fellow human beings a man in every way true to nature,

and that man will be myself."

That's Rousseau, he knew how to get into college.

So I'm supposed to fulfill my true nature.


Heard that one before.


'Cause that's what colleges want...

the real Joan.

What if I'm still trying to find out who that is?

Start by finding out what turns you on.


Kicking geek rump at rock, paper, scissors was pretty sweet.

Winning definitely turns me on.

A little militant, but...

Game theory?

Art of war.

Sun Tzu.

Kicking rump for more than 2,000 years.

If you like that, you might like...

Vonnegut, George Elliot, actually a chick.

Tolsto?, Langston Hughes, Plato, Hobbes.


Does this look like a library?

They will come out of your pay.

Chill, dude.

She's just sampling.

You schmutz it, you buy it.

He's not really into the whole, uh, salad bar thing.

This is a lot of books.

I can't...

Yes, you can.

Read one page of each.

If you hate it, put it back.

If you connect, you'll find the time.

You really think I can?

I see something in your eyes.

An intelligence.

You do ?




Hey, this is Adam, my boyfriend, who I told you about, the artist.

Oh, yeah.


Hi...Fred ?

It's Roger.

I'm Joan's tutor.

Uh, I have to get to class.

I'll call you about our next session.


You have to find a way to take psychology out of the game.

Following a predetermined gambit like the avalanche...

rock rock rock or the scissor sandwich, paper scissors paper.

Which takes the decision-making away from the player,

giving us the advantage in a zero sum situation.

Mathematical purity, statistical certainty.

I have chills.

What am I supposed to do?

Only get tutored by an old smelly guy?


I'm just saying it's obvious what the guy wanted.

I mean, you telling me you can't see that?


You know what?

It's fine, Jane.

Just do what you gotta do.

All guys are psycho.

There has to be another way to procreate.

I can't believe this.

Well, are you sure there's nothing going on?

I mean, it wouldn't be a first.

College boy dazzles impressionable high-school girl so he can...

do I have to go on?

The word "pants" is involved.

Is that what you think of me?

I'm blaming the dude, dude.

He said he saw intelligence in my eyes.

He gave me those cool books.

Ok, Girardi, 2 out of 3.

Let's go.

Not now, toe jam.

Ooh, scared.

I guess she realizes that the analytical mind does in fact trump dumb luck.

Are you calling me dumb?

Oh, excusez-moi.

Intellectually challenged.

Shall we dance?

Bring it.

Rock, paper, scissors, shoot.

Rock, paper, scissors, shoot.

Rock, paper, scissors, shoot.

Yes !

Balance has been restored to the universe.

He's right.

I am dumb.

Oh, easy, Girardi.

It's a stupid kid's game.

Not to them.

To them it's some bizarro math problem I'll probably never understand.

Roger is such a poser.

I can't believe what an idiot I've been.

Hey, pull up.

The plane is spiraling out of control.

You know, I really wanted to be as smart as everyone else, but I'm not.

You were right, Adam was right.

I totally got scammed by Roger.

Girardi !

What the hell happened?

Calm down, Will.

I heard Karpovich just got traded to the feds without talking.

I understand you're upset.

If you need to break something, my ex gave me this clock.


See, this isn't funny to me.

We agreed to let him sweat it out!

He was willing to give up his European connection.

And what about Judith?

Does that kid's death mean nothing?

I made the deal on this one, Will, because you couldn't..

What deal?

What kind of deal couldn't I handle?

Trust me, Will.

Judith's case is not over.

I haven't let you down yet, have I?

Do you mind scooting in?

This is the waiters' station.

Where do you expect him to go?


I'll be back with your food.

It's ok.

I mean, is he blind?

You seem a little tightly wound today, huh?

I have a paper and stuff.

Well, you know what they say..

all work and no play makes Beth a cranky lady.

What's this?

"Pine lake cabins."

I was thinking maybe Friday after work I could pick you up.

We could get away from your roommate for a couple nights.

This weekend?

I can't this weekend.

I just told you that I have a paper.


Maybe next month.

Well, then I'll have finals and...

I mean, I have to get a summer job.

I'm just saying I don't think that I can, you know, make any plans.

Oh. Sure.

Uh, forget it.

I'm sorry.

I wanted it all to be the same...

just like you did.

I know.

I didn't lie to you.

I mean, I...

I thought I could handle it.

When we kissed, I'd closed my eyes and...

it was like it used to be.

But then you had to open them again.

I want to be the type of person that can do this.

I mean...

I love you.

But I'm...I'm 21.


Don't, I...

It's not your fault.


I get it.

We're friends.

It's cool.

Sorry it took so long.

Want to play, Joan?

What, now God wants to beat me, too?

You have to stay in the game.

I am, as a decorator.

There's nothing wrong with that.

No, if that's what you really want.

You know, I have a very good color sense.

Even Adam thinks so, and he's an artist,

even though he hates me right now.

I know you've had a difficult time lately, losing Judith, questioning me.

But you've learned so much.

Use it.

How ?

Every time I think I've learned something,

something else gets thrown at me.

You know, Adam or Roger or feeling like a loser.

Just makes me feel clueless again.

That's because you see each event as an end in itself.

But they're all just small parts of something much greater,

something that never ends.

You're very matrix-y today.

You do everything that I ask without knowing where it'll lead because you have faith.

Have some in yourself.

Other people do.

I do.

You're being really nice to me.

That's weird.

Because I want you to see how much stronger you are than you think.

Failure and disappointment...

you've been through it before.

It's all part of the game.

But this isn't a game.

This is my life.

Every act you undertake...

working at the bookstore,

helping someone,

even playing rock, paper, scissors...

each of those choices is a move,

and every move informs the next and changes you and everyone else, like moves on a chess board.

So there has to be a way to win.


By playing.

Yes? Can I help you, dear?

I'm Joan Girardi.

Does Mr. Tuchman live here?

Oh, yes.

Come in.

Come in.

Dana! Dana!

Honey, there's somebody here to see you!

So he still lives at home?



They grow up so fast.

Joan ?!

Did you put your bowl in the sink, honey?


Because if the oatmeal dries on there...

I know.

I'm with a student, mother.

Ok, ok, ok !

But if you don't hurry, you're gonna be late for school.

Mothers, huh?


Coming over this early, this must be really important.

Look, Mr. Tuchman, you've been trying to tell me what I should expect in my life,

and, well, yes, I've made a few mistakes, blown a few tests,

but this is still my life.

Of course.

I want to go to a 4-year college.


Look, I'm trying to help you avoid pitfalls and disappointments that could...

What ?

Make me wind up living at home until I'm...

what are you, like 40?


29 and I'm saving for a place of my own.

Look, when you get out into the real world, you'll realize...

Look, believe whatever you want about yourself, me, or anything, ok?

I am back in the game, Mr. Tuchman,

and I will be making my own moves.

You have to run water into the bowl, Dana.

I put water in the bowl!

She manipulates you, reels you in, and then pulls rank.

Sounds like my ex.

Karpovich could have handed us Edwards.

She gave him away.

You had her job, Will.

The feds start putting on the pressure, there's only so much you can do.

If it had been for a friend, if it had been for you, I'd have found a way to make things right.

Male, 24, single shot to the head.

No witnesses.

Sanitation found him on the morning rounds.

Sounds like a professional hit.

That's Judith's killer.

That's Edwards.


Seems like deals were made.

Slow down.

I'm losing weight.

I'm making a move.

Yeah, a fast one.

What happened?

I thought you crashed and burned.

It's because I wasn't playing.

Other people were making the moves for me.

I stayed up all night reading those books that Roger gave me on psychology, game theory.

Do you realize that a player gives off a hint of aggression when he throws rock

and there are strategies in the art of war...

Nodding off.

Bottom line: I am not giving up.

Luke, Friedman, the whole mess of them, are going down.

If you want to stand by your man while I hand him his ass, I understand.

No way.

Asserting female superiority.

I'm there, dude.

Coming through!

You should wear more leather.

You're home early.

Found Judith's killer.

Well, that's good, isn't it?

He's dead.

Looks like a professional hit.

The guy was a drug dealer.

Occupational hazard, I guess.

Are you ok?


I don't know what's right or wrong anymore.

I thought you'd be at confirmation class.

I got halfway there and I turned around.

I think I'm gonna put it off for a while.

Because of me?

I've been having some doubts...

and things are...

there's just been...

such a distance between us.

God will wait.

I miss you so much.

Rock. Paper. Scissors. Shoot.

Rock. Paper. Scissors. Shoot.

Rock. Paper. Scissors. Shoot.

This is so intense.

Me next.

It's payback time.

Joan, I'm sorry.

We don't handicap players here.

Button it, fro-man.

Let's play.

Flatten him, Girardi.

There's no reason for hostility here.

You're next, squidboy.

You and your friends think I'm some kind of bonehead?

Think again.

Let's play.



Music's a little distracting...

Well, not for me.

2 out of 3.

Don't throw scissors.

Rock. Paper. Scissors. Shoot.

Told ya.

Rock. Paper. Scissors. Shoot.

Rock. Paper. Scissors. Shoot.

Yes !

Hey !

Who's the bonehead now?

Next ?


What, you think I'm some kind of idiot, huh?

That it would just be easy to take me out?

I never said you were an idiot.

Yeah, but you let them say it.

Just do it, man, redemption.

I'll cut you some slack, hmm?

We'll play sets.

2 out of 3.

Why are you doing this?

'Cause I wanna win.

Just like you.

Rock. Paper. Scissors. Shoot.

Rock. Paper. Scissors. Shoot.

Rock. Paper. Scissors. Shoot.


Rock. Paper. Scissors. Shoot.

Tie again.

Rock. Paper. Scissors. Shoot.



Don't lose it, Girardi.

I got it.

I thought you'd root for me, Grace.

Make out with you, root for her.

Rock. Paper. Scissors. Shoot.

All right, Luke.

Rock. Paper. Scissors. Shoot.

Female Girardi.

Rock. Paper. Scissors. Shoot.

Yes !

Last set.

Last set.

Up a notch.

Rock. Paper. Scissors. Shoot.


Rock. Paper. Scissors. Shoot.

Rock. Paper. Scissors. Shoot.


Rock. Paper. Scissors. Shoot.


Let's go.

Let's go.

You got her.

You got her, come on...

You sweat like a pig.

"As the probability of duplicating a tie decreases with each tie thrown,

human behavior becomes the deciding factor."

This is the domain of the philosophers and the poets and not the mathematicians.

That was so hot.

Rock. Paper. Scissors. Shoot.

Rock. Paper. Scissors. Shoot.

Luky G.

Rock. Paper. Scissors. Shoot.


Yes !

I thought I had him....

I thought I had him.

You did.

You did.

You see how much you made him sweat?

I can't even get him to do that when we're alone.

Good try Joan.

It's just a game.

That was awesome, Jane.

I lost.


I don't really think so.

I mean, that look in your eye.

Eye of the tiger.

You know...

if this guy Roger can help you like this,

you know, help you get what you want,...

I'm sorry if I made that harder.

I just wanted us to be together at college, you know?

I didn't think that was gonna be possible.

I'm not gonna think like that anymore.

I'll get him next time.



Caramel corn ?

It'll get stuck in your teeth for a year.


What's the occasion?

I'm going for college.

People are going to have to pick their own colors.

All right.

Oh, this looks good.

And it will sail someday.

You used to sail with Beth, right?


So that's why you're working on it again.

Beth dumped me.

What ?

Why ?


She couldn't handle dating someone hotter than she was.

Uh, you know, all the stares, paparazzi.


Hey, you know, I had to face it sooner or later.

I mean...

I actually thought that being like this wouldn't make any difference.

You know, that...

what we felt for each other was all that really mattered.


Relationships are that easy.

Kevin, even if you had 12 legs, it wouldn't work like that.

I just shouldn't have...

tried, you know.

Not with her.


You should have because it was her.

I just can't go through this again.

Kevin, sure, you can...

Sure, you can.

You gotta stay in the game.

I guess.

I mean...

if you can go to college.