Miss Grotke will be absent from school and has arranged for a substitute; A man without a first name.
Ms Grotke informs the class that, due to a bunion operation, she will be absent from school for a week, and has arranged for a substitute. The kids are excited, as they see this as a golden opportunity to goof off and play pranks. However, the substitute is revealed to be Mr E, a mysterious and imposing character who almost instantly asserts his authority over everyone, except T.J., who clashes with him.
E sets the class an Independent Study project, which will result in a presentation at the end of the week. T.J. still clashes with E, despite the other kids developing a great respect for him. Over the week, Mr. E begins to show a more caring side, by offering to help teach Gus self-defense, and providing constructive and supportive suggestions for Mikey 's poetry, which only helps to strengthen the respect of the kids. T.J. still refuses to submit.
The day of the presentations comes, with all of the kids providing great presentations. T.J. then reveals that he in fact did come up with a project, which turns out to be a "Get Well Soon" card for Ms Grotke, to represent all that she has done for the class. Despite T.J.'s badmouthing of him during the presentation, Mr E. leads the class in applauding him.
After class, Mr. E compliments T.J. on his project, and admits that he was wrong about him, and T.J. returns the sentiment. Mr. E signs T.J.'s card, and T.J. finally claims that he is cool, when he refuses to say what the "E" stands for.
- Mr. E writes "Independent Study" on the chalkboard, and then underlines it with the chalk. But in the next shot of the board, the line has vanished.
- "Mr. E" sounds like the world "Mystery".
- Dave is voiced by Klee Bragger in this episode.
- T.J. uses the word "Whomp" for the first time in this episode.
- This is the first episode written by Phil Walsh.
- This episode shares the same title as the movie that was released in 1996.
- This episode and "Gretchen and the Secret of Yo", (the episode it was paired with) aired on Halloween, however, it has nothing to do with the Holiday.
- T.J. Detweiler - Andrew Lawrence
- Vince LaSalle - Rickey D'Shon Collins
- Ashley Spinelli - Pamela Segall-Adlon
- Gretchen Grundler - Ashley Johnson
- Mikey Blumberg - Jason Davis
- Gus Griswald - Courtland Mead
- Miss Finster - April Winchell
- Miss Grotke - Allyce Beasley
- Principal Prickly - Dabney Coleman
- Dave/Phil - Klee Bragger
- Ashley Armbruster - Anndi McAfee
- Ashley Boulet/Swinger Girl - Francesca Smith
- Ashley Quinlan - Rachel Crane
- Clyde Philmore - Erik von Detten
- Mr. E. - David Rasche