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Designing Women S5 E9 - Charlene Goes to School

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

Charlene is having a rough time. She’s going to take some college courses, so naturally, Julia and Mary Jo insinuate she’s, oh how would Suzanne put it? Ah! Has more boobs than brains. Then her professor hits on her in THE MOST awkward way possible.

Meanwhile, we’re jazzed they’re threading episodes but have some questions about this timeline. We’ll also sidebar about three (Southern) psychologists who fundamentally changed the way we look at the world.

And, then, it’s finally happening. We’ve patiently waited for an opportunity to do a “Sweet Tea & TV After Dark” – and it has arrived. Come back Thursday for "Extra Sugar" - it's the Hite Report, y’all. NSFW nor children.

And if you want to look into the resources we used for this episode, here are a few things to peruse:

Come on y’all, let’s get into it!



Salina: Hey, Nikki.

Nikki: Hey, Salina.

Salina: And hello, everyone, and welcome to Sweet tea and TV.

Salina: Hey, y'all.

Salina: Hey, y'all.

Salina: That.

Salina: So we are now at season five, episode nine.

Nikki: Gosh.

Salina: If for some reason this is the first time you're tuning in for Designing Women, are you ready to take us into this episode's name and description?

Nikki: I am.

Nikki: This is a class act.

Nikki: The Designing Women online description is suzanne has trouble relating to Anthony now that he's become a partner in Sugar Bakers.

Nikki: And much to everyone's surprise, charlene is accepted part time into a prestigious university and must fend off the advances of her amorous professor.

Nikki: I'm laughing because much to everyone's surprise, like, why is everybody so mean?

Nikki: Air date November 19, 1990 we're calling this one charlene goes to school.

Nikki: It was written by Cassandra Clark and Deborah Pearl.

Nikki: I don't know if this means anything, but she was credited in the episode credits as Debbie.

Salina: Oh, really?

Nikki: Debbie?

Nikki: Yeah.

Nikki: And it was directed by Dwayne Hickman.

Nikki: This is the first episode written and directed by this trio since Odell back in season three.

Nikki: And it is the last episode that Hickman will direct.

Nikki: What you got in terms of general reactions?

Salina: Salina, I thought you were going to ask me what you got, Salina.

Salina: It's Salina's sidebar.

Nikki: And then you panicked a little bit because you're like, do I have a sidebar?

Nikki: I thought you had a sidebar.

Salina: There's too much.

Nikki: I have a sidebar.

Salina: But we'll get to it.

Salina: We'll get to it.

Salina: So my very first general reaction is about Anthony becoming a partner.

Salina: So yay.

Salina: That was very exciting.

Salina: I mean, I knew it was going to happen eventually, but I didn't know when in the timeline of the show it would happen.

Salina: Incidentally, Suzanne up your nose with a rubber hose for voting against his partnership.

Salina: What's wrong with you?

Nikki: So broken.

Salina: Y'all were just in love three episodes ago.

Nikki: She is so broken.

Nikki: There is something wrong with her.

Salina: I know.

Salina: Sitting on the contracts.

Salina: That's why I was saying, like, racism, man.

Salina: It's deeply seated.

Nikki: It is.

Nikki: Yes.

Nikki: That was my first general reaction as well, was the excitement of Anthony.

Nikki: But as I put it, I was excited he became a capitalist pig.

Nikki: That seemed like his biggest dream in life.

Nikki: I was very happy for him.

Nikki: My second general reaction is what I started the episode with.

Nikki: By laughing at that description, you've pointed out a few times now how Mary Jo seems to really have it out for Charlene.

Nikki: Her like, I just like a frenemy now.

Nikki: We've moved past best friend territory into some ugly shade of freneminess because she just kept saying stuff like, I can't believe he picked you to be the research assistant, or like, you applying to college.

Nikki: Just really sort of passive aggressive, uncomfortable stuff.

Nikki: That wasn't supportive of Charlene.

Salina: Well, her and Julia.

Nikki: Julia too, but it's just such a less of a surprise from Julia.

Nikki: She's always mildly condescending.

Salina: Mary Jo is, like, her best think.

Salina: Um, I think it does come across worse from Jo.

Salina: I'll just go ahead and say that since we're already talking about it.

Salina: That's my dislike for this episode.

Salina: So it's not like the episode itself.

Salina: The episode didn't do anything wrong.

Salina: It's not a pacing issue.

Salina: I think it's always a little disheartening to see that kind of attitude.

Salina: So I found all of that almost annoying to some extent.

Salina: So what other big reactions do you have on this one?

Nikki: That's it.

Salina: So my second biggest reaction to this one was, oh, my God.

Salina: It's the return of either Mr.

Salina: Peace or Mr.

Salina: Peace.

Salina: I don't think I ever really understood which one it was Mr.

Salina: Peace, but Peace okay.

Salina: And he's a creep again, so that's good.

Salina: I feel like his character direction that day was okay, so pretend like you're the nutty professor but a pervert.

Nikki: So I put this down in Strays because I was going to mention that as a guest star.

Nikki: Yes.

Nikki: What?

Nikki: You just said he played Mr.

Nikki: Peace in season four.

Nikki: My thought was, could you imagine the phone call?

Nikki: Hey, you played a weirdo creep so well, boy, do we have another role for you.

Salina: Your face just screams creepy guy.

Nikki: We have got something lined up for you.

Salina: That's funny.

Salina: So we were basically having, like, similar same reactions.

Salina: So I think the rest of my general reactions are all kind of related to him, which is I'm going to start with the plotline in general.

Salina: I thought it captured pretty well an unfair situation that many women have faced in these know, sinceever we were allowed to enter these, like, am I here because I'm good or because someone wants to sleep with me?

Salina: And I think this is a fun little system where a woman gets to second guess herself in her.

Nikki: So I think that's probably why the Julia and Mary more Mary Jo thing bothered me the most, because in addition to second guessing her worth in the system, she's second guessing her worth within her girl group.

Salina: That's how the isms work.

Salina: They're so deeply rooted that we can't even see them playing out when they know better.

Salina: They're supposed to be feminists anyways.

Salina: I also thought it was pretty progressive that she called him out for abusing his position.

Salina: I almost thought she said abusing his power, which feels very like today terminology, but it was abusing his position, and I thought that felt a little ahead of its time.

Salina: So I also wanted to point that out as well.

Nikki: Charlene is the consummate Girl Scout, so I think she's always on the lookout for any sort of bad behavior.

Nikki: So it doesn't surprise me that she saw what was happening and called it out.

Salina: I liked that she stood up to it, and I liked that's the decision that they made within the narrative because they could have taken it another direction to be honest.

Salina: I mean, it is a sitcom, but they'll get serious, and they have in this sitcom before, so they could have taken it to another less funny place.

Salina: But I think when things are happening that shouldn't be happening, you almost have to model a behavior that might be unusual, someone who may have not been as assertive with him in return.

Salina: And I think that's really important because I think people even need to see that that's possible.

Salina: I think that is the power of TV on a certain level about him now that I've gotten out of my the more, you know, soapbox about him, specifically.

Salina: Obviously, we've already said how we feel about them bringing him in to be a little bit of a strange one, but what did you think of him in this episode?

Nikki: He was a weirdo.

Nikki: He was a weirdo.

Nikki: Actually, one of the things that maybe kind of bothers me a little bit, it definitely stuck with me after the episode, was she stood up to him, he acted inappropriately, and then she let him come to lunch with her friends.

Nikki: So part of it is Charlene like, she's always going to give people a little bit of a pass.

Nikki: So, yeah, she stood up to him, but then the second he sort of modeled not so great behavior again, she was just like, come on, it wasn't quite so bad.

Nikki: He was just inviting himself to lunch.

Nikki: But in a creepy way, somehow I felt creepy.

Salina: I don't know.

Salina: He can help it, though, which is kind of my reaction to him.

Nikki: Yeah, maybe so.

Salina: He's keevy, don't get me wrong, and he's annoying, but he's so awkward that it was almost hard for me to hate him.

Salina: Like, I can kind of see what their connection is.

Salina: So go with me on this journey, if you will.

Salina: Maybe, well, we're already here.

Nikki: I might get off.

Nikki: I might push the eject button.

Salina: So they're both people who fall outside of what is deemed normal, and I think that's what we get a little insight into in their interactions.

Salina: And again, it's whatever normal means, but depending on the room you're in, it's not being perceived as whatever, or it's not being whatever is perceived as either under educated or too smart.

Salina: And I think while they might have fallen on two different sides of that spectrum, I think that kind of helped them see each other.

Salina: He said he graduated Harvard when he was 14, and well, I have all my degrees from Harvard, so people get both easily intimidated, though, and they like to feel superior.

Salina: I think that also means that perhaps she is currently getting poked at by her own friend.

Salina: So it's literally friendly.

Salina: It's not literally friendly fire, but it is friendly fire going on back at the office.

Salina: He's always been treated like an outsider.

Salina: It's kind of that outsider energy that I think even though she's annoyed and frustrated that he hit on her that she also feels bad for him.

Salina: So I am not in any way excusing the behavior, but I do think that they have that in common.

Nikki: Sure.

Salina: Also, when he made that move on her, that was brave.

Salina: He didn't try and kiss her.

Salina: He just went straight to motorboating.

Nikki: I couldn't help himself.

Salina: He just went right for the winnebagos.

Nikki: I think it was the way he asked at the end if he could go to lunch with the friends.

Nikki: The tone with which this man delivers nearly anything is going to put me on edge.

Nikki: Just so now you can invite me to lunch with your friends.

Nikki: There's something about it that was so.

Salina: I mean, I told you in the last episode, I thought he reminded me of Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs.

Salina: So I think you know where I stand now.

Nikki: You can put the lotion.

Salina: I don't know.

Salina: That just sort of hit me as this thing where I was like, I don't like him.

Salina: I don't think it's okay.

Salina: But at the same like, I think they made it difficult on purpose.

Nikki: He seems like a nice guy.

Nikki: That's my favorite Tommy boy.

Salina: Suzanne's carrying a gun.

Salina: They'll be fine.

Salina: What about stray observations?

Nikki: We talk a lot about the women's fashion on this show, but we don't usually talk about Anthony.

Nikki: Yeah, he's really upgraded to early 90s yuppie chic with his mock neck turtleneck and blazer.

Nikki: And I think that was to meet the standard as a new partner.

Nikki: So I felt like I should call that out.

Salina: Yes.

Nikki: On Hulu, they cut out like a whole bit of Anthony answering.

Nikki: Suzanne calling him from Know.

Nikki: She's in the main sitting room.

Nikki: He's back in the storeroom, and she calls him to come settle the tiebreaker over end tables.

Salina: This is with dreams.

Nikki: They cut out everything that happens after that.

Nikki: So basically he comes in and says, how can I be of assistance?

Nikki: They say, which of these end tables do you like?

Nikki: And he picks one and I can ounce on them.

Nikki: And every single one is like, what a terrible you can't be serious.

Nikki: Don't let her bully you.

Nikki: I'm not bullying him.

Nikki: You're pulling rank.

Nikki: Well, he doesn't know.

Nikki: There was just a whole bit of back and forth.

Nikki: That one, I think would have just been entertaining to see.

Nikki: But two, I think it would have been this really nice sort of reminder of what Anthony is struggling with being a new partner here and a good.

Salina: Setup for later in the episode when Charlene turns on him for the human sexuality quiz.

Salina: Yeah, exactly.

Nikki: I don't want to be your tiebreaker.

Nikki: There was also a cut between Charlene and Elliot the professor, where Mary Jo and Suzanne were like out in the hallways trying to find the classroom.

Nikki: I read it all.

Nikki: It doesn't really matter.

Nikki: The gist is that Charlene shared.

Nikki: She always wanted to be like Madame Curie and invent some kind of vaccine.

Nikki: She had an agreement with her dad that if she got an A, he'd let her drive the tractor.

Nikki: It's really only relevant because it bridges the two scenes.

Nikki: So they're standing next to the filing cabinets.

Nikki: The next time you see them, they're sitting down, eating a snack together.

Nikki: It was sort of bridging them, getting to that point of sitting down, eating the snack, and sharing personal things about each other.

Nikki: She had sort of started opening up about herself, so I thought that was an important cut.

Nikki: And then the last thing I wanted to mention was a guest star alert.

Nikki: Yeah.

Nikki: Adam Goldberg, the Oreo man.

Salina: Sure.

Salina: I love that he's credited as the Oreo Man.

Nikki: So he's the guy that's the experiment they're all sort of observing who's not allowed to eat Oreos.

Nikki: Elder millennials probably remember him from Dazed and Confused.

Nikki: He also shows up in one of my seasonal favorites, son in Law.

Nikki: It's coming up on Son in Law season for me, Polly Shore movie.

Nikki: It's excellent.

Nikki: He was also in how to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, and he was Chandler Bing's roommate Eddie, in a three episode arc of Friends in season two.

Salina: All very good.

Salina: Millennial.

Salina: All of it references.

Nikki: Yes, all of it.

Nikki: Did you have any strays?

Salina: I do.

Salina: So just that.

Salina: This is our third threaded episode in a row because Charlene hearkens back to everybody feeling like they're in a rut.

Salina: That Rut was threatened or seeded first in old Rebels and new models.

Salina: Young Mott.

Salina: Thank you.

Nikki: If we just stare at each other like this long enough, we'll get there.

Salina: I mean, look, we have to memorize that name.

Salina: We have to memorize the name we name.

Salina: It gets tough.

Salina: But anyway, so I like that we're seeing more of that.

Salina: I have some nitpicks, though, in questions from this episode.

Salina: The timeline for Charlene's college application and acceptance made no sense.

Salina: She was like, I decided I wanted to go to college.

Salina: I called them last week.

Salina: Here's my acceptance.

Salina: I'm like what?

Salina: I mean, it doesn't matter.

Nikki: Things were different in 1990.

Salina: Do we need to talk about the fact it's a little weird that Charlene is dressing up like a schoolgirl midway through the episode?

Nikki: I think there's a psychological thing to that.

Salina: Yeah, it's just like, she wanted to.

Nikki: Be taken seriously, so she put in pigtails and put on a plaid skirt.

Salina: What could be more know?

Salina: He's like, So I took off my pants.

Salina: I just don't understand the Oreo study coming back to that.

Salina: So Adam Goldberg, he's put in the room with these various foods and a note that says that they can eat anything they want, but don't touch the Oreos.

Salina: Okay.

Salina: I just need to say that on the table was also, like, an apple, a banana, and like, a piece of fuzz.

Salina: So I do not think that this was a very fair study.

Nikki: Meaning there was nothing else to tempt him.

Salina: That's right.

Nikki: That's the whole idea, though, is to study one human temptation.

Nikki: Yeah.

Nikki: Because they wanted to sense his control.

Salina: But I just think even if you are someone who's in control and you've got two crappy snacks and a good snack there, you need, like, a couple of more things that balance it a little bit.

Nikki: Like what?

Salina: A honey bun?

Nikki: Okay.

Nikki: But then they would just eat the honey bun and be happy.

Salina: I think that you only can have one thing in there that is enticing.

Nikki: That's right.

Salina: Okay.

Nikki: That's right.

Nikki: They want to limit choices.

Salina: All right.

Salina: See, this is why I have to talk I take that one back.

Nikki: There is a similar study of children and Eminems or something.

Nikki: Something like that.

Nikki: And if you have too many temptations, then they'll just settle for something else.

Nikki: You want to sort of test how long they can hold.

Salina: So they needed that piece of that's right, okay.

Salina: And then actually, I wound up mentioning a couple of episodes ago, we were talking about Suzanne being our purveyor of good advice.

Salina: We were talking about that.

Salina: But here's something where I think we're on the opposite end of that.

Salina: It's this thing, like, where I also think we need the segment of is Suzanne smart or is Suzanne dumb?

Salina: Okay.

Salina: Within the span of one scene, she makes a comment that Charlene looks like a big, blonde Henry Kissinger in drag.

Salina: That is an awfully witty reference for someone who's supposed to be dim.

Salina: And then a minute later, she doesn't know what Erogenous means.

Salina: So I don't know.

Salina: That's my last nitpick for the episode.

Nikki: Okay.

Nikki: I should have segued better into I have a little bit of a sidebar.

Salina: Well, I think Erogenous zone is a great segue.

Nikki: Yeah, you might be right.

Salina: Yeah.

Nikki: I was going to segue with the Oreo man, but I think you're right.

Nikki: It's a sidebar.

Nikki: Nikki sidebar.

Nikki: She's got a keyboard looking for a reward by digging deep in the obscure, taking us on a detour.

Nikki: What you got, Nikki?

Nikki: Nikki sidebar.

Nikki: She's moved on to a different dance.

Nikki: So originally I had thought it was time to sidebar on women in Stem and science, Technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Nikki: And so I started doing research.

Nikki: I learned about cool programs that are aimed at increasing the number of women in these disciplines.

Nikki: I learned about the historical contributions of women to science and engineering adjacent fields.

Nikki: I told you, Salina.

Nikki: One of the cool things I learned was that the very first computer was actually just a woman and sort of, like, leveraging her brain power to do some of these complex computeristic things.

Nikki: Things that computers do.

Salina: You bet it is.

Nikki: I don't know.

Nikki: And so I learned about the pros and cons of the recent hyper focus on Stem in education.

Nikki: This is something like, I think parents probably identify with.

Nikki: There's a lot of focus on Stem.

Nikki: There are pros to that.

Nikki: There are cons to that.

Nikki: But then I switched gears.

Nikki: I went rogue.

Salina: Love it.

Nikki: I went rogue.

Nikki: What we're actually going to talk about today, Salina, is three psychologists who fundamentally changed the way we look at the world, but with a southern slant.

Nikki: How's that for a plot twist?

Salina: Grit.

Nikki: So if Stem is your thing and that sounds interesting to you, if you like that, we did a sidebar way back in season three, episode 13.

Nikki: In the episode we called the Hatfields and the McCoy's atl Style about women inventors.

Salina: If anybody wants to go back.

Salina: I was like, where are you going with this?

Nikki: It was your idea to bring it back to this one, which I thought was your sidebar, but actually I think it was mine.

Salina: It was yours?

Nikki: That's painful.

Nikki: So I have three psychologists that I want to talk about.

Nikki: The first one, it's probably a bigger surprise to me than anyone else, but sort of at the last minute, I found an influential psychologist from my family small town in South Carolina, travelers Rest, South Carolina.

Nikki: Okay, so we'll start there.

Nikki: John B.

Nikki: Watson.

Nikki: This blew my mind.

Nikki: Traveler's Rest is like you never know.

Nikki: Anybody who even knows what Traveler's Rest.

Salina: Is, I know what it is.

Salina: Because of you.

Nikki: Yeah, right.

Nikki: So much less someone who influential in a big field was born there.

Nikki: But John B.

Nikki: Watson was born there in 1878.

Nikki: So it's a little while ago.

Nikki: But he was born to a devoutly religious mother and a father who left the family early.

Nikki: And then, despite his mom's commitment to religion, john had a really troubled teenage period.

Nikki: Like, he went to jail a few times.

Nikki: He performed really poorly in school.

Nikki: Despite that, because of connections and privilege and whatnot, his mom was able to get him into Furman University, which is, incidentally, my dream college in Greenville, South Carolina.

Nikki: So good for him.

Nikki: So after all those years of performing academically, he got to go to my dream college.

Nikki: And at Furman, he turned it around.

Nikki: He graduated at 21 with a master's degree and headed off to Chicago in search of a PhD in psychology, which he obtained.

Nikki: Watson's research falls into the category of the behaviorist theory.

Nikki: In short, he believed that humans learn everything through their interactions with the world around them.

Nikki: So think more nature versus nurture.

Salina: Okay.

Nikki: Honestly, the more I read about his theories and his approach, the sadder it got.

Nikki: These all very 1920s.

Nikki: Send them off to a really cruel mental health facility to cure them of the drinking and all that sort of stuff.

Nikki: For instance, he's most well known for his little Albert experience sorry, experiment in which he explored classical conditioning using a nine month old boy.

Nikki: In the experiment, he demonstrated that little Albert could be conditioned to fear something like a white rat when no such fear existed initially.

Nikki: So he combined a really loud noise with the appearance of the rat in order to create fear in the baby.

Nikki: So it's that pavlovian thing, rightly?

Nikki: So ended up being really controversial, and a lot of people question the ethics behind it.

Nikki: But his research did lay the groundwork for an understanding of how significantly humans are affected by their experiences.

Nikki: The next person I wanted to talk about was Mamie Phipps Clark, who was born in 1917.

Nikki: She was from Arkansas.

Nikki: In fact, she's from Hot Springs.

Nikki: And despite her privileged upbringing as the child of a black, well respected physician and a stayathome mother, her psychology research would be forever influenced by the racism she witnessed firsthand growing up in the Jim Crow South.

Nikki: So after what she described as a warm, supportive, and protective childhood, she attended Howard University in DC.

Nikki: On an academic scholarship.

Nikki: In her early days at Howard, she went to math and physics classes intending to be a teacher.

Nikki: But she thought the teachers were cold.

Nikki: She just really didn't like them.

Nikki: So one day, she had what she called a prophetic experience when she met Kenneth Clark, a psychology student who introduced her to that department and encouraged her to enter the field of psychology, which she did.

Nikki: Between graduation and entering a master's program in psychology, she did secretarial work at an NAACP lawyer's office, where she learned the office was making plans to challenge racial segregation around the country.

Nikki: Her thesis work, influenced by both her time working in the lawyer's office and her time working at a local nursery school, was around identifying at what age African Americans became aware of their race.

Nikki: She would go on to publish three major articles around the findings.

Nikki: She and Kenneth eloped during this time, and both went to Columbia University to study for PhDs.

Nikki: They were the only black people in the department.

Nikki: She became the first black woman to graduate from Columbia with a PhD in 1943.

Nikki: Shortly after this, Mamie conceived what became possibly her most notable research project, quote the Doll test.

Nikki: So you're familiar with this one.

Nikki: So in this work, the clerks so it was Mamie and Kenneth together observed 253 black children aged three to 7134 attended segregated nursery schools in Arkansas, and 119 attended integrated schools in Massachusetts.

Nikki: So I'm going to pull this next bit word for word from an article I found on the National Women's History Museum's website.

Nikki: Because it articulates the study really neatly, probably in a way I wouldn't be able to do, shown four dolls, two with white skin and blonde hair, two with brown skin and black hair.

Nikki: The children were asked to identify the race of the doll and which they wanted to play with.

Nikki: Overwhelmingly, the children wanted to play with the white doll and assigned it positive traits.

Nikki: The Clerks concluded that African American children formed a racial identity by age three and attached negative traits to their own identity, which were then perpetuated by segregation and prejudice.

Nikki: So this work would land Mamie a spot testifying as an expert witness in a lot of school desegregation cases.

Nikki: It even took her toe to toe with her PhD advisor who argued in favor of segregation in Brown versus Board of Education which is sort of like the case on school segregation.

Nikki: NAACP lawyers used her research in their successful arguments.

Nikki: Regrettably, history books tend to credit Kenneth with most of the work.

Nikki: But many times over the years he has acknowledged that it was Mamie's party that he crashed.

Nikki: This was fully her baby.

Nikki: He just got to be part of it.

Nikki: She passed away of lung cancer in 1983.

Nikki: So the last person I wanted to talk about also sits in this kind of world of racism, racial inequity and segregation because I think, unfortunately, because of the nature of the south when you want to study the human brain and the human experience you can't overlook racism.

Nikki: It's all hand in hand.

Nikki: So this last psychologist falls into that lane and he's another Arkansas.

Nikki: Arkansas.

Nikki: He's from Arkansas.

Salina: Arkansas.

Nikki: Arkansas.

Nikki: Whatever.

Nikki: He's from Arkansas.

Salina: Yeah.

Nikki: Robert Lee Williams II was born in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1930.

Nikki: His dad was a mill worker and his mother cleaned houses.

Nikki: After he graduated high school, he very briefly attended junior college.

Nikki: He quit because he was really discouraged by his low score on an IQ test.

Nikki: So he got married, had eight kids and worked in construction and as a car hop until he got the courage to try college again.

Nikki: He enrolled in Philander Smith College, graduating c** laude in 1953 and then attended Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan where he earned a master's degree in educational psychology in 1955.

Nikki: For a bit, he worked as a guidance director in Mississippi until he was hired on by the Arkansas State Hospital as the staff psychologist there.

Nikki: His supervisors encouraged him to go even further with his education.

Nikki: So he studied clinical psychology at Washington University in St.

Nikki: Louis, Missouri where he earned his PhD in 1961.

Nikki: So after that, he worked lots of different jobs leading him up to the point in time where Martin Luther King, Jr.

Nikki: Was assassinated.

Nikki: After the assassination in April 1968, williams helped to organize the association of Black Psychologists in San Francisco on September 2, 1968 and he would serve as the president of the association from 69 to 70.

Nikki: After the assassination, he says he became more aware of his own black identity and his life experiences that had been shaped by that including that low IQ test that led him to drop out of college the first time.

Nikki: In a paper he presented to the American Psychological Association in 1972 Williams described the results of 100 question intelligence test he had created.

Nikki: Again, pulling this from one of my sources because I think it plainly describes his work.

Nikki: Quote.

Nikki: It was called the black intelligence test of cultural homogeneity or the B**** 1000 questions used a cultural context.

Nikki: Yeah, that's just what it was called.

Nikki: I don't know.

Nikki: Questions used a cultural context more familiar to African Americans and consequently white takers of the test scored lower than their black counterparts.

Nikki: This work has become part of a larger body of evidence showing how standardized IQ tests exhibit racial and cultural biases that result in lower scores for black students.

Salina: It almost sounds like logical I mean, not like, oh, this makes sense and that's good.

Salina: Not like that, but like logical, if it's written largely by one race and you grow up in two different or multiple experiences or whatever, then the other experience it's almost like trying to put on someone else's clothes or something.

Nikki: So I'm having a bit of a journey with standardized tests myself.

Nikki: Now, as a parent, it's like you go through it yourself as a student, then you go through it as a parent.

Nikki: And it's layered by all these years of experience in between.

Nikki: But it gets at what you said earlier, like this acceptance of what's normal.

Nikki: And you assume that this test is written for a normal person, but what is normal?

Nikki: And my context of normal is different than your context is different than yours.

Nikki: In a school setting we might have similar contexts of normal, but when we go home it's very different.

Nikki: And from district to district, what's normal in my district is different in yours.

Nikki: But we're all taking the same Darn test.

Nikki: So how is that fair?

Nikki: There's no perfect answer.

Nikki: And I'm not presenting a perfect answer here.

Nikki: I'm simply talking about psychologists.

Nikki: But that is why I find this work so mind blowing.

Salina: It's pointing out a very important hole in a system that we just take as lockstock and barrel.

Nikki: Exactly.

Nikki: And you have these really amazing people who are willing to sort of put themselves out there a little bit and say like, but if we tried this, what if we tried it, what would happen?

Nikki: So he's actually much better known for his research on Ebonics, which is a term he coined in 1973 to refer to an English vernacular that's spoken by some African Americans.

Salina: It's absolutely what I was thinking about.

Nikki: Yeah.

Salina: Honestly.

Nikki: So before he coined the term, it was referred to as non standard Negro English.

Nikki: And today it's mostly called African American Vernacular English.

Nikki: So I read something that said it's almost pejorative in its own when you call it non standard, it's pejorative in its own right.

Nikki: Like you're just immediately out of hand dismissing it as a way that people talk to each other.

Nikki: Yeah, but so his work was really obscure until the mid ninety s.

Nikki: And this goes back to when a California school recognized Ebonics as a language that a lot of its students spoke in a bid to secure funding for bilingual education.

Nikki: It became a very lightning rod issue and he actually made a ton of TV appearances explaining it.

Nikki: So he kind of pushed that conversation forward.

Nikki: A little bit.

Nikki: I don't know that there was a satisfying solution for anyone.

Nikki: But today we do have a more nuanced conversation around this different vernacular of English that a lot of people speak.

Nikki: So he died in August of 2020.

Nikki: And then I thought this quote from his daughter after his death summed up his life and his career really beautifully.

Nikki: She said, although his education and knowledge of psychological issues related to African Americans laid the foundation for his career, his greatest strength was Rosie Lee Mitchell.

Nikki: His mother, a Christian woman with a second grade education who valued education when he was little.

Nikki: She told him, Boy, go get that piece of paper.

Nikki: And he did.

Nikki: So I really liked that anecdote at the end, and it was an interesting segment to research.

Nikki: So what did you like in this episode?

Salina: I thought that might be where that headed.

Salina: Well, I was thinking that there were some ways where Julia really might have been finding her way back into my good graces besides some of her bad behavior from time to time.

Salina: In the beginning, she says this thing, this is in the Cold Open by Marvel Ann.

Salina: We could unpack that name for 3 hours.

Salina: I can't.

Salina: If you don't like those curtain rods, please feel free to bring them back too.

Salina: We four will beat you to death with them.

Salina: It just was pretty good.

Salina: Then she calls out and threatens to hurt Suzanne if she doesn't cut it out with Anthony.

Salina: I like that Suzanne redeemed herself when she broke the news to Charlene that Mary Jo and Julia were calling her stupid.

Salina: Charlene says, what are y'all saying?

Salina: They're saying they think you're stupid too.

Salina: I get that all the time.

Salina: They think since we got extra helpings in the b*** department, we got skimped on everything else.

Salina: They just have such a real all the writers on this show because now we have several.

Nikki: Love the boobies.

Salina: Well, they really know how to get creative in that area.

Salina: And then I did like it when she shouted to Anthony from the storeroom after Julia asks her to get his attention or go get him.

Salina: That's her way of doing it.

Salina: I'm going to run through these and then I just figure and then I'll pop it over to you, if that's okay.

Salina: When Dr.

Salina: Newhouse has just told Charlene professors really take a personal interest in their students and then the student pops in, is like, hey, Dr.

Salina: Newhouse, and shut up.

Salina: Can you help me?

Salina: No.

Nikki: Get out of here.

Nikki: I don't have time for a personal interest in you.

Salina: We get really good little hints along the way that this pass at Charlene is coming.

Salina: I thoroughly enjoyed Charlene asking the ladies the human sexuality questions in the office, which I will say is a nice tee up for what we'll talk about in Extra Sugar later this week.

Salina: But Anthony also we already alluded to this earlier, but she tries to involve him, and he snaps back, just leave me out of it.

Salina: A man can only take so much.

Salina: Apparently, he didn't want to be asked about premature ejaculation.

Salina: And then Mary Jo and Suzanne showing up to the college.

Salina: I really like.

Salina: That entire scene was just wonderful.

Salina: Suzanne's misinterpretation of social intercourse is dirty.

Salina: Then she pulls her gun.

Nikki: The gun was really funny.

Salina: The firearm fetishist, if you will.

Salina: And because I'm a sucker, of course you're not going to like this one.

Salina: I was kind of okay with Charlie and going back and getting them.

Salina: You were to take them to lunch for whatever reason.

Salina: I just thought it was a way of, like she told him it was unacceptable.

Salina: I think he understands it's unacceptable, and it doesn't mean he has to be ostracized forever.

Salina: If he really will change his but I'm maybe I'm just a sucker, and that was me.

Salina: How about you?

Nikki: What were your also, I really liked Anthony's random tiebreaker pop ins.

Nikki: Elliot super creeped me out, but I still enjoy that guy.

Nikki: I can't help myself.

Salina: He's good at being a creep.

Salina: He's so quirky.

Salina: You need those kind of characters in it.

Nikki: They're color characters.

Nikki: They add color.

Nikki: I also did appreciate, and I think this is probably what led to me kind of being okay with him as a character.

Nikki: I do think he genuinely appreciated some of Charlene's unique characteristics.

Nikki: I don't think that was all made up so he could sleep with her or whatever.

Nikki: I think he really found her charming.

Salina: She was plain languaging that whole time.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: They would say some obscure term that nobody gives a crap about, and then she would be like, oh, like ink on a paper.

Nikki: So that takes a certain amount of intelligence to translate something complicated into something most people can understand.

Nikki: He appreciated that, and I think that he also identified how good she is at connecting with people and how smart she is.

Salina: Positions her as stupid.

Salina: I've never thought that Jarlene was stupid in this show.

Salina: I think maybe she talks about things that aren't as serious.

Nikki: But you know what I enjoy?

Nikki: Really?

Nikki: Yes.

Nikki: They really try to position her as slow on the uptake, and they've ramped it up a lot this season.

Nikki: It has not been this way the whole time we've watched this show.

Nikki: The first season, she was like, a borderline serious character.

Nikki: And over time, they have moved her into this ditzy.

Nikki: Like, season one, I never would have questioned that Charlene would be going to school.

Nikki: That wasn't even a question for me.

Nikki: So it's weird to me that Mary Jo and Julia do, because, like no, like, she's smart.

Salina: She's smart.

Salina: She has lots of goals.

Nikki: Yeah, exactly.

Salina: More goals than anyone I've ever met.

Nikki: So that's actually the one dislike that I had for this episode, was that I just can't handle the Charlene slander.

Nikki: It's too much.

Salina: Yeah, I think we're on Lean too far into that.

Nikki: It's too much.

Salina: Yeah.

Nikki: She's a nice gal.

Nikki: Leave her alone.

Nikki: Let her live her life.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: I just think all of it is tough sometimes if you don't want someone to get hurt.

Nikki: Right.

Salina: And I do think there was some of that in the mix when it came to the school.

Salina: You want the landing to be easy, and I understand that.

Salina: But the way that they were doing it in this episode, mary Jo, and just there was clearly things underneath it.

Nikki: Yeah.

Nikki: I mean, there was literally a point when they were like, he wants you to be his research assistant.

Nikki: They didn't think she was going to get into college.

Nikki: So it's one thing to set reasonable expectations.

Nikki: So gently telling your child, like, Harvard may be out for you because you only got a 1250 on the SATS.

Nikki: If you'd like to go take it again and see if you can get it higher, we can do that.

Nikki: But I just want you to know it's going to be hard.

Nikki: That's one thing that's based on facts.

Nikki: I can tell you 90% of Harvard students get in with an Sat score higher than that.

Nikki: But it's an entirely other thing to be like, how could you even consider college, you big dumbo?

Salina: Right.

Nikki: You answer phones, which I feel like is what they did.

Salina: You pair a walking knocker.

Salina: Exactly.

Salina: You want to rate this one?

Nikki: Yes.

Nikki: My rating scale is inappropriate social distances.

Nikki: I gave it a three out of five.

Nikki: Okay.

Salina: This one already said I'm going to.

Nikki: Dare to say it was boring.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: Okay.

Nikki: I thought it was boring.

Salina: Yeah, that's understandable.

Salina: So I gave it a 4.7387 out of five motorboats, but for research.

Salina: And I went with a very precise number.

Salina: Because this is a science episode.

Nikki: Yes, correct.

Salina: I wanted to honor the science in this one.

Salina: I like this one.

Salina: I thought it was just fun.

Salina: It was also a little bit of a fish out of water story for Charlene.

Salina: I think this idea not really just not this idea.

Salina: They keep trying to position her as not as smart, quote, unquote, but, like, this idea of her also being an older student, too, going in there.

Salina: She's, like, obviously quite in a different place than the 212 year olds that are in the classroom.

Salina: And I just thought this one had a treasure trove of good lines, and I thought the pacing worked pretty well.

Salina: I did notice we spent a third of the episode in the office, but because at the very beginning, before she goes to school, but because the lines were so snappy and quippy, it didn't bother me as much as it did, like, in the running episode, where I was like, can Mary Jo please start running 90s things?

Nikki: Anthony having business cards printed.

Salina: Same.

Salina: Yeah.

Nikki: The Ed McMahon sweepstakes, which is what Suzanne thought she had entered when she signed the contract for Anthony to become a partner and waiting on a mailed college acceptance.

Nikki: I'm old and even mine was by email.

Salina: That's right.

Nikki: Yeah.

Salina: Except there's no reason to throw around mean things like any you got all of mine.

Salina: Did you have any Southern things?

Salina: I didn't either, and I tried to find some this morning.

Salina: I was looking all over the place, still couldn't find none.

Salina: References we need to talk about.

Nikki: So there was Three Rivers Secretarial Academy and Claritin University.

Nikki: In season three, episode 13, we talk about Three Rivers Junior College, which is a real school in Poplar Bluff.

Nikki: Okay, I don't know what Clariton University is except where you go to get your allergy allergy medicine.

Salina: Yeah, I didn't know.

Salina: I was, like, thinking it was like a stand in for, like, an Emory situation, maybe.

Salina: Maybe even a little bit more obscure and prestigious.

Salina: I'm so unprestigious.

Salina: I pronounce it prestigious.

Salina: When you said it, I was like, oh, she's so fancy.

Nikki: Oh, did I say that?

Nikki: When did I say that?

Salina: At the beginning.

Nikki: I don't always know what's coming out of my mouth, if I'm being honest with you.

Nikki: Especially when I'm reading.

Salina: You just describe a podcast, so the only one I had was Adam Goldberg and you covered that one.

Salina: All.

Nikki: Oh, I'm sorry.

Salina: Why get this train of moving?

Nikki: So our next episode will be season five, episode ten, keep the Home Fires Burning.

Nikki: We'd love everyone to follow along with us and engage Instagram and Facebook at sweet.

Nikki: TNTV TikTok at sweettvpod.

Nikki: We're on YouTube.

Nikki: Just search at sweet.

Nikki: TTV 7371 our email address.

Nikki: I can never say that with a straight face.

Salina: Well, who can?

Nikki: Our email address is and our website is WW dot

Nikki: On that website, you can find all our show notes, all the links to the references we use.

Nikki: There is a Support US tab where you can find ways to support the show.

Nikki: Please also tell your family and friends about us.

Nikki: Rate and review the podcast wherever you listen.

Nikki: And then your last to do after this is to come back Thursday because we're finally going to talk about something we first talked about two years ago.

Nikki: What do we got, Salina?

Salina: We are going to have our first After Dark extra sugar.

Nikki: I should have thought ahead for some theme music.

Nikki: I'm sorry, I don't have any theme music balance.

Nikki: I don't know what's happening in your world.

Nikki: That's not what I was going to do.

Salina: I don't think that you've read the height report.

Salina: That's what it's about.

Salina: You'll have to come back on Thursday to find out what that means.

Nikki: Sure.

Nikki: Sexy, isn't it?

Nikki: Hold on.

Nikki: We can also do those are crickets.

Salina: I was like, what is that?

Salina: I thought it was like windshield wipers on a dry windshield.

Salina: It's crickets.

Nikki: Or a bed squeaking.

Nikki: I don't know.

Salina: It could be anything.

Salina: I mean, I could do that, but I'm not going to.

Salina: I'm just kidding.

Salina: All right, well, we'll see you around the Creaky Bend.


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