Can't Buy Me Love
Episode #: 148
Airdate: October 24, 1997
TiVo Synopsis: Karen and Dana are asked to pledge to a sorority; a builder tries to woo Carol.

It is my destiny to write up episodes of Step by Step. I must except this.

Okay, so let’s try to make this one quick? Because I can just taste me being tapped out. I know I’ve said that more than once already, but this time I mean it. No really!



We start off with Dana studying, probably some women’s lib propaganda. Women’s lib, can you believe that broad? Karen tries to shoe her away so she can welcome a couple of representatives from the DTZ sorority. Get it? It’s Ditz. Enter Tiffani and Cindi, who is played by Shannon Elizabeth. Now, I’ve always been a person who didn’t GET Shannon Elizabeth as a “hot babe.” Just never cared for her much. But in this episode she walked in and I kinda went “heeeey, whos thaaaat?” I can’t tell now if it was because I saw a pretty lady or if I was having a recovered memory of beating off to American Pie just because it was the only DVD I owned with tits in it. Naturally, this made me curious as to what she was up to nowadays. So I checked imdb. She’s up to a whole lot of nothing, it turns out, except making this guy mad:

“If she cant be any snobbish!she dont have any character!i saw her on ryan on air{ryan seacrest)she was rude,her looks just faded to ugliness!who carry dam dogs to a interview,i love dogs!but realy!big hounds!i dont often judge female actress but im not impressed she made fun of clay aiken being ryans side kick!”
-mitch1224-1 (an excerpt from “Shannon Elizabeth is a SNOBB!” dated January 18, 2004)

Big hounds! You know what? I LIKE SHANNON ELIZABETH NOW! I can’t explain it, but the idea of her being an ugly (meaning average-looking) has-been who loves and travels with dogs just to put a burr in the saddle of a famous gay is really appealing to me. Shannon! I LOVE YOU! PLEASE CONTACT ME! I hope you like dudes who treat getting a cold as a good excuse to gain 10 pounds!

So let’s get on with this. Karen is invited to pledge at the sorority, and surprise surprise so is Dana! They suggest she wear a little blush, she’s looking a little pale. Dana, don’t do a thing, you’re beautiful the way you are! Dana nearly flips one of her feminazi lids but Karen cuts off the rude insult Dana is about to say, telling the dumb bunnies that they’ll be at the pledge party for jerks. For some reason it’s really important to Karen that Dana shows up. I guess to not insult their invitation, I guess? Karen says that if Dana helps Karen get into the sorority then Dana will benefit with more space in the bedroom when Karen moves out and my dick in her mouth – I mean, a better shot at using the bathroom in the morning! Dana wouldn’t have to drive around the block to cry when she thinks about her life. Just run the shower, hop on the toilet and turn on the waterworks, sister! Just don’t turn out the lights, a ghost named BLOODY MARY is said to live inside the mirror and she’ll come and get you if you say her name!



After the commercial break we cut to plot B. We start off with JT & Rich Hoagie-ing out in the kitchen. Frank yanks the sandwich out of their hands, calls them parasites, and promptly starts bagging up the sandwich, which is either a metaphor for the condom he shoulda put on his pecker when he made JT, or it’s just a way to keep the sandwich fresh so he can take it to Brendon, who’s living in the attic, Anne-Frank style. Nobody tell Carol, it’s a secret!

Frank complains that he hasn’t had a building contract in ages. Carol has a hot tip for a potential job: A fancy hotel is being built in town and she knows the hot shot who’s heading up the operation from high school times. Carol was, get this, a cheerleader! And this dude was a football player, I guess? “It’s hard to forget those pom-poms” Frank quips. The audience members share a knowing laugh. Frank and Carol hug. Carol: “Frank, you’re crushing my pom-poms.” “Oh, sorry” Frank replies. “No no, I like it.” Way to go Carol. You took simple innuendo, couldn’t leave well enough alone and managed to creep everyone out with it.



So the high school dude comes to dinner and he’s paying all kinds of attention to Carol, not letting Frank get a dull word in edgewise. They can’t even talk business! Eventually Carol steers things in the right direction, and High School Charming instantly gives Frank the job! They toast, Frank guzzles down his wine like a slob. “AUGH, that’s good Vino!” he says, punctuated with a belch.


Cut to the Sorority. Dana and Karen arrive at the party and all the dingbat sorority sisters are chirping around, basically acting like a cult. In fact I thought that’s what the plot-twist was gonna be, that they are a banana-head cult. Dana quickly finds out what’s going on: They want Dana for the sorority simply because they need to keep their grades up. They actually used Karen to get to Dana. And here’s the kicker: If Dana doesn’t join, KAREN can’t join neither!


Man, this write-up is ruining my life. Okay, so back at home, high school dude has sent a big fruit basket and flowers to Carol and family. Frank comes home to see, surprise, JT & Rich pigging out on the gift-food in the living room. Frank suspects something is not right. Then there’s a wide shot. SURPRISE! Al and Mark are there too, trying to conceal his copy of DRY HOOTERS MONTHLY.


Back at the sorority house, Dana has caught up with Karen. Dana gives her the full scoop and Karen runs out in a big emotional huff. Dana then tells off the sorority: “Here’s a newsflash, Bimbos!” Dana hollers. She then calls everyone a cunt and they don’t even bleep it. She then pulls off her panties and lifts up her skirt and shows her c. to everyone, laughing. There are weird magic marker marks all over it that don’t look like anything legible. Dana then starts miming that she’s jerking off an invisible dick, still laughing. The director actually steps in and begs her to stop doing this. It’s weird that they left all that in the actual episode!



Back at home, Dana reconnects with Karen, who is throwing all her clothes and make-up out. Dana gives her a pep-talk, tells her she doesn’t belong in that sorority because they’re jerks and Karen is, allegedly, not. No kissy faces this time (see episode 146). Early in this episode the sorority sisters actually greeted Karen with air-cheek kisses, but I only care about step-incest lesbianism, so I didn’t feel the need to mention it or jerk off to it.



Time to finish off this Frank and Carol horseshit. High School Sweetheart shows up to present Carol with more extravagant gifts, this time including a beautiful diamond necklace! Carol can’t accept it, because she’s a married woman. High School tells Carol not to worry about it, “Now that Frank is working on my hotel he’s gonna be a busy man.” Carol of course is horrified by High School’s advances. “Don’t be small town” High School shoots back. Oh man, I can’t wait to say this in real life. Frank comes home, High School Creepo tries to intimidate Frank with the threat of firing him when Frank tells off—Hey what the fuck! Step By Step, you mounted TWO sub-plots that each contain their own telling-off-snob scenes? For shame! High School Jerk splits and Frank and Carol walk upstairs together. “Looks like we’re going to have to tighten our belts!” says Frank, quickly mentally adjusting to being re-unemployed. As they disappear around the corner, Carol gets frisky and tries to get her dick wet: “Honey I said TIGHTEN our belts!” Frank screams, just like a baby.


The End: Carol gets flowers, doesn’t realize they’re actually from Frank, throws them away, it’s sitcom funny, even though they ripped it from the pages of an Ingmar Bergman movie.


Karen and Dana are real sisters not step!!!

I actually have a few notes on this one:

If I can give the Step by Step producers credit for one thing it's that they had the brains to give Shannon Elizabeth a mostly-non-speaking role, which makes them smarter than 90% of the people who made rated-R teen comedies in the dark times after American Pie and before Apatow and decided Shannon Elizabeth should be a movie star. Shannon Elizabeth is the worst actor to have ever appeared on Step by Step.

Dana makes fun of Candi for spelling her name with an I! You sure you want to go there, Staci? Later she makes a crack about counting nose jobs. Again, not so fast Staci.

I would have bet ANYTHING, absolutely ANYTHING that the High School Jerk was going to be played by Fred Willard. Don't be like me, kids.

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