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'Finding Carter' recap: CarCrashes and dropouts

Season 2 | Episode 14 | “Anywhere But Here” | Aired Oct 13, 2015

Finding Carter‘s teenage characters go through a lot of unconventional situations and make a lot of unconventional (for TV) decisions. Sometimes, those unconventional decisions are outlandish, and sometimes they’re shocking for the world of television, but surprisingly honest when compared to real life. Carter is not perfect. She’s tempestuous and willful and not always nice. She can be a brat. She makes the wrong decisions a lot, but she sticks to her guns and has, for the most part, a strong sense of self. This week, she made a big decision, one that many would consider objectively bad, but that she felt strongly and completely was right for her: At age 17, Carter dropped out of high school.

The decision came after a few weeks of living a double life working in the bar (the one she’s too young to work at and that she fraudulently applied for with a fake ID, so, you know, that will probably come up again). She realizes that the working life suits her. Her skills, her sass, her coyly confrontational natural attitude all suit her work as a waitress in the bar. She feels at home and valuable and more comfortable than she’s ever felt in a classroom. And so, she skips class to make her shifts and stays out late, lying to her family about where she is to finish them. When a truancy officer comes calling, she drops the bomb to her parents that she wants to drop out. When they immediately and forcefully refuse (since she’s underage, they have to sign a consent form), she goes to Lori for permission. For some reason I don’t really understand, Lori has the legal authority to sign Carter’s release. I really don’t understand the legal framework of the Finding Carter universe, but I guess I’ll just have to go with it.

Lori signs and Carter drops out — but then she gets hit with a snippet of David’s book about her (he’s decided to publish it after all, since a gossip blogger is writing a book about the case and they want to make sure the true story is out there if the story is going to be told anyway) and realizes that she was a colossal brat when she first arrived in the Wilson house. It’s a sobering moment. David and Elizabeth find out that she went to Lori for the signature, but Carter tells them she didn’t turn the form in after all; she still wants to drop out (more than anything she’s ever wanted in her life, apparently), but she doesn’t want to disrespect their wishes to do so. Realizing that they’re fighting a losing battle and risking driving Carter away, David and Elizabeth finally (reluctantly) agree to let Carter drop out. There are rules though — she has to get a job (they still don’t know about the bar), she has to get her GED, she has to help out around the house, she can’t sleep in until noon every day and she has to drive Grant anywhere he needs to go. Carter decides this is a small price to pay for freedom from high school and agrees happily.

I should make it clear that I’m a Taylor, not a Carter. I loved school and learning, and I was that Type A nerd who did the homework and took on extra curriculars and spent more weekends flipping through college brochures than partying. I would never have dreamt of dropping out of high school and, if any of my friends or my younger sister had ever floated the idea of dropping out to me, I would have probably tied them to a chair and forced them, Clockwork Orange–style, to watch an elaborate PowerPoint about the benefits of staying in school. And I would have made the PowerPoint. There might have been accompanying literature to go with it, also produced by me. The point is, I would have gone all out in the most ridiculously school-positive ways to illustrate what a bad decision I thought dropping out would have been.

But even still, I think it’s actually pretty brave that Finding Carter made the decision to have Carter drop out of high school and to have her parents (the responsible, good parents) give her their blessing. Back when I was in high school, I would have thought that was the most damning decision anyone could make, and even now, as an adult, I can’t say that I love the idea for anyone — but I do respect it. I respect that Carter felt that it was the right decision for her and, even if it isn’t, I respect her right to make that mistake for herself. What’s more, I respect Finding Carter for being willing to go there with Carter’s character. The show manages to toe the line between treating Carter’s life choice with respect without glorifying or romanticizing the idea of dropping out. It’s clear while watching the episode that the road ahead of Carter is going to be a tough—but not impossible—one.

There was, however, a moment when the episode almost started to romanticize Carter’s new dropout status. Crash has received his new assignment, and it’s taking him to California. When Carter drops out and is fired from her job in the bar (she gets the job back by the end of the episode), he invites her to move with him, and she really, seriously considers it. She wants to go live the dream they talked about back at the beginning of their relationship, traveling up and down the coast and living without a care. But Carter ultimately realizes that “without a care” isn’t what she needs right now; she does care, and she wants to stay because of the things she cares so much about. When she breaks the news to Crash that she isn’t going to move with him, she promises to call and text and plan visits, but he has a much more heartbreaking plan: A clean break.

CarCrash is no more. Crash says they shouldn’t call or Skype or make any plans, but that if there’s justice in the world, their paths will cross again. (Deep, Crash. Deep.) It’s sad, but fair. He’s going to be on the other side of the country, and they’re young and both looking to find themselves and their paths. They can’t do that while hanging on to someone who’s 3,000 miles away. And just like that, Carter’s life has changed dramatically, yet again.

Oh, and the episode ends with Lori creepily approaching Carter in an alley by the bar where she works in the middle of the night, because Lori is the creepiest ever.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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