Season 1, Episode 5
“So this is hell. I’d never have believed it. You remember all we were told about the torture-chambers, the fire and brimstone, the ‘burning marl.’ Old wives’ tales! There’s no need for red-hot pokers. Hell is—other people!” – Jean Paul Sartre
The episode opens at Hillside with Billy trying to convince his loathsome sister that the latest scheduled Simpson Family Announcement might constitute a glimmer of hope for the fate of their parents’ marriage. Not a chance, Detective Pikachu. Courtney is wearing a top that’s slightly less frightful than normal and in lieu of her usual drawing room drapes, she’s rocking a black mini-skirt. The monomaniacal pursuit of Dylan has officially begun.
Jake and Matt are at The Avalon counter as Matt basically informs his friend that he’s been entertaining murder fantasies aboot Coach Williams. Jake responds with some lame attempt at humor as Matt goes over the entire thing again even though just 3 minutes ago, we were shown scenes from last week’s episode: “It’s getting ridiculous! Last week, Williams hauls me into his office to say I’ve got to start working harder in practice and yesterday, he does it in front of the entire team! He stops practice and spends five minutes telling me I’m a hot shot!” Now I feel obligated to do something I’ve yet to do in this series of posts, and that’s to defend the writer of this particular segment of dialogue. While it may seem ridiculous for Matt to rehash every last detail of his problem with the coach every single time it comes up, this actually rings true and perfectly illustrates how most people sound to me when they’re flapping their jaws. Most people already have a predetermined agenda before assaulting others with their unsolicited garrulous accounts of irrelevant events, so even if you find a moment to point oot that they told you all this yesterday, it will do nothing to stop their momentum. You WILL hear yesterday’s story again and if you continue to spend time with your overly loquacious friend, I’m sure you’ll hear it again tomorrow, too. (You owe me for that one, Ian Weir).
Brooke is in her room using one of her superfluous computers to prop up a notebook in which she’s hastily completing a social studies assignment. Theresa enters wearing a polka-dot patterned turtle neck. Words are spoken. There’s really nothing else to say aboot this pointless interlude.
Cut to Matt and Jake’s stand-alone lockers where Courtney the Seductress is for some fucking reason trying to convince her friends that Dylan’s the greatest thing to happen to rock and roll since Bryan Adams. If you look closely at the inside of Jake’s locker, you’ll notice he’s got a Charlie Chaplin sticker and an old promo for The Who’s “The Kids Are Alright”. Matt asks where she heard Dylan play and Courtney tells him that she stopped by his garage yesterday. This doesn’t sit well with Jake who seems to have resigned himself to playing second fiddle to Ashley, but now Dylan? It’s like God is mocking him. Better go to church and beg forgiveness for almost saying the b-word yesterday, Jake, or it’s just gonna get worse. God’s a fucker like that. Courtney fishes for compliments aboot her new skirt but instead just gets an emotionless, “It’s different,” from Matt, so she runs off to go find somebody who will shower her with the proper effusive flattery she obviously thinks she deserves for finally dressing like someone from her own century.
Dutch Boy catches up with Kelly in the hallway and eats up almost 5 minutes of the episode trying to get up the courage to ask her what really went down on Friday. Kelly tells her to ask her sister and Theresa retorts that Brooke told her it was all Kelly’s idea and asks her again if this is true. Kelly’s eyes go red as she replies, “Well, if Brooke says it’s the truth, then it must be the truth, right? I mean, after all, your sister Brooke would never tell a lie.” Believe it or not, a common bond of Brooke hatred will prove a strong enough impetus for an alliance to form between the coolest girl at Hillside and its reigning Queen of the Dorks.
Brooke is standing at the head of a table occupied by three unknown girls, loudly complaining that her social studies teacher noticed that she probably dashed off her assignment in a matter of minutes while using an otherwise useless computer as a desk and being assaulted by irrelevant and repetitive questions from her annoying little sister. The odd thing aboot these nameless girls is that none of them become main cast members in later seasons. A peculiar ongoing phenomenon in Fifteen is that if an extra is occasionally seen mutely milling aboot in the background this season, chances are that person will become a major character with a name and a functioning larynx next season. In fact, if you go back a couple of posts to the season 1 intro video, you’ll notice that in the final shot, you can see Janice (season 2) walking through The Avalon, and sitting at the booth with Matt and the gang is Arseman, another character we don’t meet until season 2. This is the weirdest fucking audition process ever.
Courtney enters the lounge and Brooke abruptly abandons her captive audience to go remind Deadpool’s sister that she’s a frumpy eyesore whether she’s wearing a miniskirt or an AIDS quilt. Brooke antagonizes her aboot having “secret meetings” with Dylan and for reasons beyond my comprehension, Courtney reacts with stunned offense (“No, it’s nothing like that!”) even though she just spent the entire morning sashaying around the school telling everyone in earshot aboot her secret meeting with Dylan. Brooke resumes sarcastically praising her new ootfit when she spots Dylan at the soda machine and makes a big show aboot taking her leave so Courtney and Dylan can talk in private.
Grandma Clampett quickly recovers from this upsetting exchange and sidles up to Dylan at the vending machine. Dylan’s replies to her opening pleasantries are short and more than a little annoyed. She asks him if everything’s okay and then this conversation ensues:
Dylan: Everything’s fine, I guess. More or less. I just haven’t had such a hot morning.
Courtney: Oh, what happened?
Dylan: I spent all morning being bugged by people who wanna know if I’m some kind of rock star or something.
Dylan: Yeah. I don’t suppose you had something to do with that?
Courtney: Me? No, of course not. Well, maybe I told a few people that I think you’re a pretty great musician because you are…but I didn’t think you’d mind.
Dylan: Well, then, think twice!
Courtney: I’m sorry! I just – I didn’t –
Dylan: Look, my music is my own business, okay? It’s not a topic open for general conversation, so let’s just keep it that way!
This coming from the guy who brings his guitar and his amp to school so that he can play in the student lounge. Regardless, this confuses and upsets Courtney greatly, so who gives a shit if it makes any sense.
The Avalon. Ashley is alone at a booth doing homework as Jake approaches and asks her if she minds if he joins her. She makes it pretty clear that she’s really busy but he sits down anyway. He’s fishing for information aboot Courtney’s possible feelings for Dylan, a prospect that he continually refers to as “bizarre”, but when Ashley replies that she’s been wondering the same thing herself, Jake clearly regrets instigating this conversation, or maybe he’s just not getting enough oxygen to his brain because never have we seen him withoot his shirt buttoned all the way up to the neck.
The next scene opens with Brooke asking Kelly, “Are you gonna say something or are you just gonna sit there pretending I’m invisible?” as her frenemy sits on a bench idly flipping through a magazine. Withoot looking up, Kelly responds, “You know me, Brooke. I’d never pretend something like that,” as she goes on reading and pretending something like that. Brooke tries to turn the tables and accuses Kelly of having an attitude problem. Finally, Kelly snaps, “You’re right. Let’s just forget aboot it,” and Brooke fails to note the sarcasm. She sits down on the bench, puts her hand on Kelly’s knee and Kelly abruptly removes it like it’s covered in scabies. Finally, Brooke succeeds in breaking the ice by bringing up Courtney’s ootfit. As Brooke is listing the myriad reasons that her new look is a fashion disaster, Courtney of course wanders into view and hears the entire exchange. Courtney runs off on the verge of tears as Brooke turns to Kelly and says, “Oh well. She might as well know the truth,” proving once again that even a broken clock is right twice a day.
The student lounge, some time later. Courtney’s sitting on the lounge sofa wearing her trademark shit-colored drapes. Dylan wanders towards her making some weird nervous gesture with his hand that looks like he has carpal tunnel syndrome and apologizes for being snotty earlier. Before taking his leave, he asks her why she changed her clothes because he thought she looked, “you know…hot,” in the miniskirt get-up. Dylan splits and Courtney orgasms in her potato sack.
Next up is a pointless exchange between Theresa and Dylan who are each at their respective lockers. Dylan calls her “kid”, just like he does to Deadpool and I guess anyone else that’s at least one year younger than him. Dutch Boy has a painting of unicorns in a meadow hanging inside her locker. She leers at Dylan as she drifts into a lovestruck reverie and we’re treated to our first, albeit least entertaining, dream sequence of the series featuring Dutch Boy in a ball gown waltzing to Blue Danube with Dylan who is wearing a tuxedo that looks like it once belonged to David Byrne. So Theresa has a crush on Dylan. Whoopie.
Jake brings two sodas, each with two straws, to the booth he’s sharing with Courtney at The Avalon. The first full minute of their conversation is so stupid that I can’t even pay attention until finally – in-fucking-evitably – Courtney asks Jake what he thinks of Dylan, because she’s a self-absorbed, obsessive, insulting, horrible, ugly sea cow with the social skills of an autistic reptile. Of course, she fails to notice the misery all over Jake’s face as she serenades him with an endless and nearly orgasmic paean to Dylan’s wonderfulness.
Brooke’s room. Dutch Boy’s pointed inquisition makes it clear that she has a crush on Dylan causing Brooke to laugh in her face. Enough said. Theresa bores me.
Courtney enters Dylan’s garage carrying a folded piece of note paper. She’s again swapped oot the Shroud of Turin for her new miniskirt, marking at least the fourth time in a single day that she’s changed her ootfit. Dylan’s sitting there holding his guitar, but not playing it. Courtney starts in on her writing again and Dylan appears to be mildly interested. It turns oot that the piece of paper contains lyrics she took it upon herself to write for “that new song” Dylan’s been working on, as if Neil Peart hadn’t already beat her to the punch. She hands the paper to Dylan, he glances at it for a fraction of a nanosecond and deems it good. He suggests that maybe they should write a couple of songs together. Thrilled at the suggestion, Courtney nervously starts to explain that she has to be home for dinner (not supper) as Dylan puts his guitar down, stands up and kisses her on the lips. Courtney is dumbstruck. Dylan dismisses her with a casual, “Guess I’ll see you around.” Yes, you will, Dylan, because this beastly parasite has all the qualities of a fungus and you just provided all the moisture it needs to germinate.
Deadpool is at The Avalon, crying and cradling what looks suspiciously like a beer. Courtney enters and asks him what’s wrong. In my earlier zeal to point oot what awful parents these two have, I already explained what happened here. This time, Mom pulled Billy aside before the “family announcement” and gave him the sneak preview that it will be aboot their imminent divorce. To recap: Mom announced to all that a family announcement would be made at supper. Then she pulled her younger child aside to tell him that she and his dad are getting divorced, but don’t tell your sister because that would ruin the family announcement, knowing full well that the siblings would talk but still fully intending to go through the charade of the “official” family announcement regardless. Got that?
And now we come to one of the best final scenes of the season. Ashley is in the lounge waiting for Matt to be done with basketball practice. Matt shows up and complains aboot Coach Williams for a few seconds, hands his backpack to Ashley and goes to get a soda at the vending machine. Ashley tries to sling the backpack over her shoulder but finds it unusually heavy. She places it on the table and hears an odd metallic sound. While Matt is in the background counting change in front of the soda machine, Ashley decides to unzip the bag and investigate. She finds a flask, opens it, puts it to her nose and jumps back in shock. As Matt continues to struggle with the process of purchasing a soda, dramatic episode-closing music plays over the most priceless shot of Ashley’s tortured face to which we’ve yet been treated:
The horror…the horror.