Last night we were watching episode nine from season two of Veronica Mars. It was pretty lame (with the exception of a scene featuring Buffy alumni Charisma Carpenter and Alyson Hannigan), and featured an old television convention. Here’s an excerpt from the TV.com episode recap:
Neptune High School, classroom Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Ms. Hauser’s sex education class is in session. Veronica and Duncan are in attendance. It’s welcome to parenthood as the students are asked to couple up and look after a baby doll which has sensors to detect how it is cared for.
This is a TV classic. In sex ed (or ‘health’ or ‘family planning’) class, students are forced to take care of an egg or baby doll for a week. The intent, of course, is to impress upon them how much work it is to take care of a baby, and thus compel to remain baby-free.
Hijinks always ensue, and there’s usually a moral lesson about who’s really the responsible kid, or a disclosure of someone actually being pregnant, and so forth.
I never did this in high school, despite it apparently being quite fashionable at the time. Did you?
Name That Plot Device
I started assembling a list of all the shows that have used this convention:
- Veronica Mars
- Beverly Hills 90210 – Julie says she remembers this, but I couldn’t find it. Does anybody recall egg-related fun on this show?
- Degrassi Junior High – In the first opener of season two, the kids have to take care of eggs. If I recall correctly, Spike gives her egg to
SnakeShane, the father of her baby. I think Snake screws up and breaks the egg.
- Buffy The Vampire Slayer – In “Bad Eggs”, the Scooby Gang is given eggs to take care of. In a Whedonesque twist, there are nasty things inside the eggs which take over the minds of the eggs’ owners. Xander boils his egg for safe-keeping. In unrelated news, a couple of cowboy vampires come into town.
Can you name other examples of the egg-equals-parental-responsibility gimmick?
It wasn’t a high tech baby or anything, but for freshman health class we had to carry around a 10 pound bag of flour for a week as a powdery baby simulation.
This would have been around 1991.
I still remember that there was some jerk who went around stabbing everyones flour baby bags with a pencil (thinking back, this was probably an indicator of future incarceration potential).
Yep, in my high school, only the seniors could take Psych/Soc, and the highlight of the spring semester was the egg baby week. And yes, we did actually have girls who had kids of their own already and also had to do the project! (Maybe that project should have been done in freshman year instead.)
The animated sequel to Batman — set about 30 years in the future with teenager Terry taking over Batman from a very old Bruce Wayne — had a version of the egg baby! Of course though this was The Future, so they all had little robot dolls to care for. And of course teen Batman had to take his robot baby along while he was fighting crime. The little robots could record how much time the parents spent with them, so it actually ended up Terry’s baby was well stimulated by spending time with him, and he got an A in his project. And all the girls thought he was Sensitive. That was actually a pretty good show.
I’ve reacted like you did more than once to plot devices that seem common, but I don’t recall ever happening in reality.
On the other hand, I did find this news story. But if this is common, then it really wouldn’t be a news story, would it?
I’m not 100% sure WHICH silly adolescent teen series it was, but I know I read a book like that when I was 12 or so. I THINK it was babysitters club… or sweet valley twins… something like that. 🙂
I had to do the egg thing in Grade 7 “Family Studies” (no sex ed, though). I ended up cracking my egg after a few days and my partner kept yelling out in class, calling me a murderer. Good times.
-Gillian (not having kids)
You keep writing Snake and egg and I keep seeing “Snake egg” and squirming. :S
The father fo Spike’s baby was actually Shane. She did eventually marry Snake in The New Generation that is airing these days. 🙂
The ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN comic book has had this plot thread running through it for the last few issues.
I think SAVED BY THE BELL did it, too, but I can’t recall the specific episode. Maybe I’m auto-inserting it for being so obvious.
The American sitcom “Frasier” used this plot device as well. It was in a Season 2 episode named Flour Child (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0582398/), except instead of a doll or an egg, it’s a bag of flour, and instead of a high school student, the participant is Niles, a psychiatrist thinking of having children.
Quite a good episode, actually. Frasier was certainly quality TV, if you can forgive the recorded laughs.
Jean-Philippe: I agree, that episode was excellent! Didn’t Niles accidentally skewer the flour bag while practicing some fencing moves?
Recently saw a rerun of a South Park episode that did the ol’ care for an egg assignment. Not one of the best episodes by a long shot.
well i took Health class two times since i missed it in 9 grade but my health teacher didn’t really tell us nothing only to not have sex and if we did use a condom, that was about it no egg baby or doll. the odd thing was i was looking forward to the baby doll or egg.
i’m doing that project now i am 17 and my partner is a girl and i am a girl. it’s cool cause she’s my bff we have to take care of a egg baby for 3 weeks. and the 3 weeks started on friday. so we’ve had the egg maybe 2 1/2 days we are doing well
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This was in middle school I believe. We had to carry around a 10lb bag of sugar with a doll head and limbs, gave it clothes too, it was mentally disturbing. I can’t remember if we went as far as a diaper though.
The baby made my cornflakes taste much better.
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