Chapter 12 and Chapter 13 Summary
Hot Seat’s Stargirl episode is here. Students run the entire show, though there is a faculty advisor. The goal of it all is entertainment, and generally after the show is taped everyone—jury, guest, host, crew—mingles in a friendly and comfortable way. After the taping, the show is edited and broadcast later that night. More than half the student body watches the show, and it regularly gets higher ratings than any sitcom on TV. Tonight the numbers will probably be more like ninety percent, but secretly Leo wishes no one would watch.
The set is ready, and the jury enters. Almost always the jury is lighthearted and ready to have fun, but today they march in grimly—all twelve of them, including Hillari Kimble. Stargirl, on the other hand, is performing her usual kinds of antics, apparently unaware of the charged atmosphere around her. Kevin and “the victim” (the fond nickname the show has for each guest) put on their clip-on microphones in preparation for the interview, and Leo takes his place in the control booth, still with a sinking feeling about this interview. Suddenly Stargirl raises Cinnamon’s little rat paw and waves it at the control room, telling her furry friend to say hello to Leo. He is stunned that she even knows his name.
The jury (whose job it is to ask the embarrassing or provocative questions, not to be mean-spirited) takes its place, and the show begins. Stargirl asks if Kevin wants to hold Cinnamon, who promptly burrows into Kevin’s shirt. Ignoring the host’s opening question, Stargirl’s eyes widen and she appears frozen in some kind of pain. Finally Leo realizes she is taking the name of the show literally and pretending to be sitting on a true hot seat. With an incredible sense of dramatic timing, Stargirl lets the “heat” radiate down her arms and legs and out her fingers and toes. She eventually emits a scream and jumps to her feet, fanning imaginary smoke from her rear end.
Kevin realizes what Stargirl is doing and nearly falls over laughing. The rat is on the loose, the cameras are trying to keep up, and Stargirl continues her convincing charade. It is the best Hot Seat episode ever, but no one except those present will ever see it.
The uproar is over, and a few minutes later the show begins with a question about her name. Kevin asks a lighthearted question about her name, and Stargirl simply looks at him. A jury member takes a more accusatory tone and asks what is wrong with her “real” name. Stargirl calmly answers that her name is actually Susan and there is nothing wrong with it; she simply did not feel like a Susan any more. Then she lists all her name changes for them, including Mudpie and Pocket Mouse.
The jury reacts unkindly, and Kevin quickly intervenes to ask more about her name change. Stargirl explains that she changes when a name no longer suits her, and her parents allowed her...
(The entire section is 788 words.)