Season 1, Episode 11
Holy shit! Literally 2 seconds into this episode, before anyone has spoken a word, I already need to stop and point oot some things of great interest with a visual aid. Unsurprisingly, we open on Ashley and Courtney sitting at their booth in The Avalon. In the screen shot below, you’ll notice that Filth Pig is back, serving up a couple of OJs to Mesdames Misery and Despair, but his apron is clean and fresh, plus he’s ditched the disgusting rag that was always slung over his shoulder in previous episodes. I’m a little torn aboot this. On the one hand, this sudden dedication to hygiene threatens my ability to continue referring to him as Filth Pig, but the fact that I can now look at him withoot a puke bucket next to my desk is a marked improvement. Now look at the girl on the far right sitting alone at a table beneath the “Café” sign. Though she’s yet to be identified by name, I can tell you that this is Roxanne, someone we won’t meet until next season at which time she will become an integral part of the main cast:
Okay, back to the action. Ashley is expressing muted exhaustion aboot the stressful weekend she just endured, punctuating her whispered weariness by declaring, “i feel like a hamster on one of those treadmill thingies”. Those “thingies” are simply called “treadmills”, you fucking dolt. I thought Ashley was supposed to be smart, but maybe she’s just studious, which isn’t the same “thingie”, of course. Courtney begins to talk aboot her equally lousy weekend when Filth Pig the waiter returns and delivers what look like two pastries to the Booth of Anguish even though there’s no fucking way this mini-psych ward is going to take a single bite of food while engulfed in such an acute level of melodrama. The ball back in Ashley’s court, she apologizes for leaving the party so abruptly on Friday night and starts to explain what happened, which means that these two either met at The Avalon or arrived together, sat down, ordered their drinks and pastries, then talked for several minutes or longer and yet, this is the first time that the fucking enormous pachyderm in the room is addressed by either of them. Courtney asks if Matt got into some kind of trouble. Ashley doesn’t just downplay but flat-oot lies aboot what happened, saying “no, it was nothing much, really. he’s fine. i just kind of needed to spend some time with him.” She then looks at her watch and says that they have to get going or they’ll be late for school. They both take a sip from their oversized glasses of orange juice, gather their things and take the untouched pastries, plates and all, with them on their way oot the door.
Brooke and Kelly are in the girls’ locker room speculating as to what may have happened with Matt on Friday night. After Brooke admonishes Kelly for not ferreting oot the gossip with her usual aplomb, Kelly assures her that she will find oot.
Cindy and Olaf are dragging one of their newly constructed recycle bins into the student lounge. It’s a roughly 3 x 2 x 2 foot cardboard box with a felt or vinyl covering held on by yellow masking tape, and one of Cindy’s stupid “If you love this planet…think” signs scotch taped to the front, the tangible result of their sad little Friday night arts and crafts party. Brooke and Kelly stroll up and Olaf informs them that it took them all weekend to construct four of these shabby eyesores. Brooke responds with another oddly self-congratulatory statement aboot the “success” of the recycling program, but this time when Cindy calls her oot for taking underserved credit, Kelly backs up her frenemy by telling Cindy that Brooke has been talking up recycling to anyone who will listen. As Brooke continues to pretend that she gives a flying fuck, Kelly gestures towards the locker vestibule, probably signaling that there’s someone more entertaining to harass over there than these two dullards. Kelly and Brooke saunter off as Cindy turns to Olaf and asks him if he’s ever felt like throwing someone into a toxic waste dump, which is exactly the type of reaction you might expect from a hippie, if that hippie happened to live in a commune at Spahn Ranch.
Of course, it was the appearance of Ashley walking to her locker that prompted Kelly to coax Brooke away from her stupid conversation with Cindy and Olaf. They corner her at her locker as Brooke proudly informs Whisperin’ Pink that she has decided to run for Student Council President. Once again, she takes credit for organizing the “recycling program”. As Ashley tries to leave, Brooke gets to the real point of the ambush – fishing for information aboot her mysterious disappearance from Friday night’s party and what type of trouble Matt might have gotten into. Ashley says it was nothing, but these two are professionals who know a lie when they hear one.
Fucking finally, we’re back at The Avalon where Matt and Ashley are at a booth they foolishly believe is private enough for them to openly discuss what did actually happen on Friday night:
Matt: Do I have to keep telling you until I’m blue in the face?! I DON’T WANNA TALK ABOOT IT!!
Matt: Look! I went oot and I had a few drinks and I blew off a little steam. SO WHAT??
Ashley: you didn’t just have a few drinks. you got falling-down drunk in the park.
Matt: Here we go again!
Ashley: thank goodness jake found oot aboot it and went to help, otherwise who knows what would have happened.
Matt: I did NOT get falling down drunk!
Ashley: what else would you call it? when i got there, you were flat on your face throwing up.
Matt: Give me a break!
Ashley: we had to half carry you home and sneak you in through the basement door so your parents wouldn’t see you.
Matt: So this is the first time in the history of the world that a guy’s had a little too much to drink?!
This keeps going on and on, with Matt claiming he was just buzzed and Ashley countering that he wasn’t just buzzed, he was pathetic, but at least we know what all the drama was aboot now. And now that we know, Jake’s theatrical overreaction at the party is all the more ridiculous. Nobody ever reacted to me getting sloppy drunk by ditching a shindig and treating the situation like a dire emergency. In fact, they usually just got some magic markers and drew penises on my face, like rational people. Matt declares the subject closed and menacingly advises Ashley to never speak of it again.
Cut to the lounge where Courtney is holding court over Jake in mid-bitch aboot what she perceives as Dylan’s cruelty to her at the party. At least this time, she’s angrier at herself than she is at Elvis, apparently having had a slow-motion epiphany aboot what a moron she’d been for the past two weeks. Unfortunately, she does this by recapping every last detail of the past fortnight, as if Jake were new in town. She calls herself an idiot, sparing me the trouble. As she continues to berate Dylan, the smile on Jake’s face grows incrementally. Courtney thanks Jake for standing by her and giving her a shoulder to cry on, something Jake recognizes as the perfect opening for his twenty-seventh attempt to tell his Amish aphrodisiac how he feels aboot her. If you thought his last attempt was pitiful, dig this:
“Listen. There’s something I really want to say, too…it’s just…look, since it’s all over between you and Dylan…and if you’re feeling kind of lonely…what it comes down to…this may sound a little bizarre…I mean, this may sound really bizarre…but…look – there’s two and a half billion guys in the world, but none of them’s around right now…so, maybe you’d like to go oot with me?”
Fuck me with a plunger, I need a second to recover from that. In the meantime, enjoy this:
Okay, I’m back. Courtney responds by laughing in his face before telling him that he’s sweet and asking if he gets that tongue-tied when he asks someone oot for real. Look, I was in high school once and I can sympathize with kids who can’t get any attention from the opposite sex, but JESUS, JAKE, WAKE THE FUCK UP AND ACKNOWLEDGE THE FACT THAT THIS ANTEDILUVIAN SASQUATCH AIN’T WORTH YOUR TIME!! Phew…that was cathartic, but ultimately pointless. Courtney pats Jake’s hand, thanks him again for his friendship and walks away while Jake shakes his head in heartbroken exasperation.
Indicating Cindy’s crappy recycle bin with hand gestures inspired by Vanna White, Brooke is giving an impromptu dissertation to a group of kids aboot the recycling program. As she’s explaining the difficulty involved in constructing the bins and the fact that it took “us” all weekend to build them, Cindy and Olaf appear behind her, just in time to hear her refer to them as “her committee”. Cindy merely sneers at this familiar scene, but Olaf goes off on a sarcastic litany that even Kelly would find impressive, concluding with, “…next Spring, maybe Brooke will build a new runway at the airport!” Brooke brushes it off by pretending to be on good-natured ribbing terms with her Finnish foil before taking her leave, which Olaf acknowledges by blowing her a kiss. Clearly, character consistency ain’t Ian Weir’s strong suit. Dave (who isn’t officially “Dave” yet) gets up from the table and throws a potato chip bag into the bin, causing Cindy to go apoplectic on him because she’s a fucking maniac. She digs the bag oot of the bin and continues digging, producing an apple core and a pair of underwear, something Olaf finds far more amusing than the humorless bitch to whom he’s attached himself.
Near the stairwell, Brooke is pressuring Kelly to start making campaign signs. Kelly reacts to this as only she could, so Brooke refers to Kelly as her “campaign manager” in the hopes that this meaningless title might be suitable motivation for her frenemy to do gratis grunt work on her behalf. Brooke suddenly changes the subject to an upcoming geography paper that she’d like to pay Kelly’s sister to write, but Kelly doesn’t sound so accommodating this time, so Brooke ups the price to $20. Kelly agrees to arrange it and as Brooke ascends the stairs, adds, “You know me, Brooke. Always happy to help you oot. Always glad to do a favor for my good friend Brooke”, and judging by the look of mild concern on Brooke’s face, it seems she actually detected the blunt sarcasm, for once. The scene fades oot on Kelly’s smirking face as she repeats to herself, “Always so glad…especially this time.”
Deadpool and Courtney are talking by the lockers. Billy still feels awful aboot neglecting to turn in Dylan’s math assignment as Courtney repeatedly tells him to forget aboot it because “Dylan’s not worth it”, just as the worthless rebel descends the stairs. Deadpool nervously beats a hasty retreat. An uncharacteristically contrite Dylan walks up to Courtney and says, “Listen, I overheard what you were saying…” but Ma Kettle just brushes past him and says, “Good,” as Cindy emerges from behind her favorite snooping column. The rebel and the hippie take a few steps towards each other, staring wordlessly for a very long time, before Dylan finally walks away, and I am left utterly fucking perplexed as to what that completely random stare down was meant to imply.
Jake and Ashley are at The Avalon discussing the only topic they’re capable of discussing: Matt’s drinking problem. Jake suggests they do something drastic like inform Matt’s parents, but Ashley seems to be at the end of her martyrdom rope. She gets up from the table and tells Jake in the most distraught whisper we’ve yet to hear escape her pouty lips that she “just can’t handle this…anymore.” The camera pans to the back room of The Avalon where Kelly stands up from the booth she was using to eavesdrop, her mouth agape in shock and delight.
Kelly must have high-tailed it right back to Hillside because the next scene opens on her bursting into the student lounge to fill Brooke in on the juicy details of what she just heard. After gleefully telling her that Matt is “a hopeless alcoholic”, she immediately splits, and I mentally add “the drive-by gossip drop” to Kelly’s impressively comprehensive list of bitch credentials.
Now we’re at Dylan’s garage and for some fucking reason known only to God and Ian Weir, Cindy is there. Dylan stares at her as she wanders around his garage looking at the various pieces of garbage that pass for décor and deems it a “neat place”. Dylan asks why she’s here as Cindy begins to tap at a professional grade Yamaha keyboard that just fucking materialized in the corner of the garage and responds that she was “in the neighborhood”. Suddenly, she turns to face him and says, “You kind of blew it, didn’t you?” before laying into him aboot blowing his concert, being shitty to Deadpool, being shitty to Courtney, and maybe failing to broker a lasting peace deal in the Middle East, but I might be mistaken aboot that last one because I can only listen to the things that come oot of Cindy’s mouth in little quanta of sentence fragments lest I lose my mind and start sounding just like her. She continues to berate him and punctuates her protracted psychotic lecture by wondering aloud if he’s got the guts to apologize to Deadpool and Courtney before storming oot the door.
Matt is impatiently pacing in front of the soda machine as Ashley comes down the stairs. Her Yearbook Committee meeting is running late, and it’s clear Matt is on the brink of feeling hassled. With a nearly sociopathic level of annoyance, Matt agrees to come back in an hour and Ashley whispers her gratitude.
The Avalon. Brooke and Kelly are at the counter as Matt enters through the door next to the payphone. Kelly gets up and heads to the back of the café. Perhaps she’s headed to the restroom, but I’m not entirely certain that any of these kids are equipped with digestive systems, so I could be wrong aboot that. Wait – no, I was indeed mistaken. She wasn’t going to the ladies’ room, just taking her spot at the eavesdropping booth in the pinball room. Brooke asks Matt to join her at the counter. She starts telling him aboot running for Student Council President, then abruptly cuts herself off and apologizes for “making chit-chat at a time like this”. When Matt asks what she means by that, she replies that “we’ve all heard…aboot your alcohol problem”. Brooke offers her insincere support, but Matt wants to know where she heard aboot all this, to which Brooke replies, “Well, Ashley, of course. She’s really upset, so naturally, she’s telling all her friends aboot it, asking us for help.” Astonished and seething with rage, Matt storms oot the door. Kelly returns to the counter and a clearly satisfied Brooke declares, “There. That should cause a few complications for Little Miss Perfect”.
Olaf’s hands are taping a sign above the recycle bin in the lounge that says “Paper Only. No: Applecores (one word), Pop Cans, Underwear”. Interestingly, the column upon which he’s taping this sign bears the message “Return Trays To Cafeteria”, adding yet another layer of inscrutability to this goddamn lunatic asylum of a school. Deadpool approaches and raises a friendly inquiry aboot the inclusion of underwear on Olaf’s sign, then suddenly loses his nerve and starts to schlepp away. Olaf calls him back. He tells Billy that he understands he’s been going through a tough time and offers his fair-weathered friend a sympathetic ear if he ever needs to talk. Deadpool is surprised that Olaf still wants to be his friend, so Olaf replies that he always thought they were friends and it was Billy who started acting differently. Billy starts to explain himself, but Olaf helpfully interrupts and says he understands that Billy found oot people like Matt and Brooke think he’s weird and that maybe he was worried they’d start thinking he was weird, too. Deadpool acknowledges the truth of Olaf’s words and just like that, Deadpool and The Dislocated Swede are friends again. Warms my heart, that does.
Kelly is talking on the payphone at The Avalon. She explains to the unknown recipient of her call (Dutch Boy, perhaps?) that “It’s all set up. I cannot wait to see the look on Brooke’s face when she finds oot what’s happened to her.”
Now it’s Ashley pacing by the soda machine, nervously wringing her hands. Matt enters through yet another door that didn’t seem to exist before this scene and meets her friendly greeting with intimidating silence. Ashley whispers, “i thought you were gonna come at 4:30,” to which her motherfucking livid boyfriend fumes, “I needed to go for a walk to calm myself down a little. It didn’t work!” She timidly asks what’s wrong and Matt replies, “Oh, that’s good. That’s really good. The innocent routine! I asked you not to talk aboot what happened on Friday night, and what did you do? You went oot and spread it all over the school! We’re FINISHED, Ashley. I don’t ever want to talk to you again! EVER!”
Of course, this sets us up for yet another episode closing on an extended shot of Ashley’s stunned little face, but I’m not going to bother inserting a screen shot of it this time. As far as I’m concerned, these two assholes broke up two episodes ago, so I’ll reserve the next one of those for if and when the dissolution of their stupid relationship actually sticks.
At least Filth Pig made it through the episode with his apron still pressed and spotless.