I like Boston Public, really I do. It's not on my A-list of must-watch shows (*cough* Buffy! *cough* Angel! *cough*) but it's a solid drama that I find strangely compelling, and catch when I can.
The first rule for enjoying Boston Public is to recognize that the standard dictat of television applies: that something interesting must happen every episode --- preferably multiple somethings --- and that therefore far, far more noteworthy events happen to the characters than would ever occur to real-life counterparts.
Boston Public takes this philosophy to the extreme. It's Apocalypse School: a bizarre and chaotic vision of public-school life in which every single possible crisis, controversy, and calamity that has ever happened in any school all happen in one school.
The writing is good, and the acting is stellar. So: fine stuff, as long as you know how to approach it.
But last night, Boston Public irked me by subtly, but powerfully, arguing the case for the state-as-nanny. The scenario:
In the basement of the school lies the Senior Study Lounge, a room reserved for seniors-only where they can go to study and relax between classes. By unwritten agreement, the lounge is off-limits to faculty, reserved as a space for students.
Goober, the assistant principal, however, finds that it is being used for more than studying, uncovering an intricate scheme in which a student has set the lounge up as a ready-to-use motel room for couples seeking a spot for sex. For $25, he finds, students can receive clean linens, condoms, student lookouts and decoys to ensure the couple does not suffer any unexpected interruption.
Naturally, the straight-laced Goober is apoplectic. But restraining his martial urges to expel every last student who ever came near the place, he decides to instead put the student entrepreneur on trial --- enlisting a prosecutor, defense attorney, and jury from the ranks of the student body itself.