Depending on your interpretation, the final school-shooting sequence is either a powerful statement or distasteful plot twist. "My job is my job, and I focus on that," says Heffington when asked about criticism of the scene. "I put a lot of time and love and research and input into it, and then I let it go. There's been so much feedback over the years -- even with like, 'Elastic Heart,' we got all these really interesting perspectives that I didn't understand, really, but I've learned to let people have their opinions."
One thing that's easier to agree on: the commitment of the performers in the scene, particularly Phyllis Smith, who plays lonely high school teacher Betty, aka BBA. She brings an intensity and rigor to each hiss, thrust, and hand gesture. Though most audiences know her from her time on The Office, Smith was also a cheerleader and burlesque dancer before working in TV. "She's just a joy," says Heffington.