Breaking The Band

ash sings

Season 2, Episode 8

Before I jump into today’s episode, I thought it might be fun to give you a little backstory aboot my relationship with Fifteen.  In 1992, I was a drunken 22-year-old college dropoot living with a roommate in a shithole apartment in New Brunswick, NJ.  I spent much of my time splayed oot on the sofa with a six pack, staring idly at the television.  These were the early days of Roseanne, and I remember taking in many episodes of that sitcom in its indisputable heyday.  But there was one show that was prominent above all the rest in my viewing rotation and that, of course, was Fifteen.  Initially, I just stumbled upon an episode in progress and immediately understood its infinite potential for parody, which in those days consisted of me yelling stupefied vulgarities at the TV screen.  But that alone wasn’t enough to make me obsess over a poorly produced Nickelodeon children’s soap opera.  It would take something more than that to jumpstart my lifelong fandom, something that reached into the very depths of my soul and made me question everything I believed.  That something was Laura “Liz” Harris, the actress who played the part of the soft-spoken, inappropriately libido stirring, infuriating, bipolar waif named Ashley Fraser.  In other words, it was L-O-V-E that made me a lifelong devotee of the students of Hillside.

And that’s why it’s all the more confounding as I revisit Fifteen a quarter of a century later to realize that Ashley is a fucking self-absorbed moron whose affections I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy.  Alcohol can really mess with a lonely young guy’s sense of discrimination.  Just ask Matt.

guilden
Curmudgeon, circa 1992

Matt, Dave and four members of the Jock Squad are crammed into a booth at The Avalon after the game.  Apparently, Matt scored two points during his brief time on the court and now he’s feigning humble embarrassment while Dave and his teammates shower him with effusive praise as if he’d just bested Wilt Chamberlain’s all-time scoring record.  Following an impromptu chant of “MATT-MATT-MATT-MATT!”, the four jocks get up to leave, and a briefly audible moment of their simultaneous banter while they gather their things reminds me that “turkey” was still considered a viable insult in 1992.  On the one hand, it’s a relief to be rid of this boisterous crowd of cliché-spouting stereotypes, but on the other, their departure just leaves us with Dave sitting across from Matt and I fear that taking in much more of his deadpanned verbal chloroform may trigger a spontaneous acute encephalopathic coma from which I’ll never awaken.  Such are the risks of great endeavors performed for the betterment of humanity.

I’ve meandered too far from the action at hand, and for that, I apologize.  Dave gives his hero a boring little pep talk, telling him that in no time, he’ll be back to scoring 18 to 20 points per game and “it’ll be just like old times.”  Matt responds, “Not exactly.  If it was like the old days, I’d be sitting here with Ashley.”

In the student lounge, Brooke is giving Who Farted’s old lady thrift store ootfit a thorough once over.  She concludes that her new little minion could look really good, “if you just put yourself together a bit better.”  Who Farted moans that her “clothing allowance” doesn’t allow for her to make high fashion choices, and Brooke is absolutely dumbstruck at the idea of being so financially limited.  Brooke offers to accompany her to the mall at lunchtime to help her pick oot a more suitable ootfit, but Who Farted expresses hesitation at using her dad’s credit card for such a frivolous purpose.

Dylan enters The Avalon and approaches Chris at the counter.

Dylan:  Mind if I sit down?

Chris: It’s a free country.

Dylan:  Yeah.  Listen, the band’s going nowhere unless we get it together.  Together, like all of us.  You, me and Billy.

Chris:  You, me…and Billy the Kid?  Terrific.

Dylan:  He’s okay.

Chris:  Yeah, sure.

Dylan:  Aboot the other day…

Chris:  Yeah, what aboot it?

Dylan:  Could we just forget it?

Chris:  Forget it?!  You tried to show me up…in front of Ashley!

Dylan:  You were being a jerk.

Chris:  Don’t push it, Dylan!  Ashley’s a big girl now.  Besides, she can take care of herself.

Dylan:  She’s a friend of mine.  Okay, look, could we just get on with it?  I’ll stay off your toes, you stay off mine, deal?

Chris:  Yeah, okay.  Deal.

Dylan:  Have you got that?!

Chris:  I said deal, didn’t I?

Dylan:  Okay.  Now aboot the band…we need a good lead singer and I think I’ve got an idea.

Deadpool sits down next to Ashley in the student lounge.  As they engage in small talk, Billy’s mannerisms betray more than mild infatuation with his sister’s former bestie, though she doesn’t seem to be picking up on that vibe.  She asks him how the band is doing and he replies, “Hey, we’re getting real good!  We’re doing some New Kids stuff…and some metal.”  Ashley feigns interest before asking Billy if he’s seen Courtney.  She asks him to tell his sister that she’s looking for her, and he invites her to stop by the garage some time to hear them play.  In case you weren’t paying attention, what she’ll be hearing if she decides to take him up on his offer is some New Kids stuff…and some metal.

Pivoting from one pubescent crush to another, he walks over to Amanda’s table.

Billy:  It’s great to see her back, huh?

Amanda:  Yeah.  You two seem to get along real well.

Billy:  I guess not everyone finds me hopelessly immature.

Amanda:  No?  Then why don’t you ask her oot?

This is a tangled fucking web in which you’ve ensnared yourself, Wade Winston Wilson.  And since you mentioned it, who’s balls did you have to fondle to get your very own movie?

Dylan spots Ashley at her locker and asks her if it’s rough being back, leading me to wonder what the hell they’ve been talking aboot since she set up camp in his garage almost a week ago.  They’re interrupted by Matt greeting Dylan with a sarcastic, “Hey, it’s the Big Rocker!”, to which Dylan replies, “Hey, it’s the Hero of the Hoops!”  Somebody needs to school these two idiots on the nuances of trash talk stat.  As Dylan stands awkwardly between them, Matt and Ashley exchange some words aboot Friday’s basketball game and the fact that Matt had been hoping to see her there.  Reluctantly realizing he’s a third wheel, Matt finally takes his leave.  Ashley tells Dylan, “i wish you guys would get along,” to which James Dean replies, “Hey, we get along.  We have a great relationship.  I can’t stand him and he can’t stand me, either.  It’s perfect!”  He changes the subject and tells Ashley that he didn’t just come here to watch her throw around books and lunch bags as she struggles to locate her math book.  This leads to Dylan’s previously quoted declaration that “there’s more to life than a math book,” and when Whisperella retorts, “like what?”, he enthusiastically responds, “Rock and roll!  R & B, metal…heavy metal!”  This is, of course, Dylan’s lead-in to asking Ashley to audition for the band’s lead singer spot, a proposition she deems ludicrous because she can’t sing.  She insists that it’s a crazy idea, but he just tells her to be at the garage to audition after school.

this is crazy

Oh man, I didn’t realize it would happen so early on, but we’re aboot to get our first glimpse of the fabled mall to which these little douchebags are always referring.  The scene opens on this generic shot of shoppers strolling past various stores and kiosks:

mall

However, the only establishments we will ever see these kids patronize for the remainder of the series are the clothing store in which we now find Brooke and Who Farted that boasts approximately four racks of shirts and skirts and the tiny café adjoining it.  Don’t any of these adolescent shit stains ever get a hankering for Orange Julius?

Brooke is holding up a black skirt with white polka dots to Who Farted’s shapeless frame, declaring that she looks “really good!”  Who Farted is still hesitant to use her father’s credit card for the purchase of new clothes, but when the girl behind the register presumptively asks, “Will that be cash?”, Brooke’s subsequent antagonism causes her to cave and buy the skirt.

Ashley sheepishly approaches the table in the lounge where Courtney is doing homework and apologizes for how she acted yesterday.  Headband turns the tables and apologizes for almost dating Matt and it seems all is right with the world again before Ashley dramatically whispers, “things have changed, haven’t they?  a lot of things are different.  i gotta go.”  Maybe it would be best if you just kept your apologies to yourself, Asshole.

At The Avalon, Matt is either pretending to play or dry-humping the dysfunctional pinball machine when Dave tells him that he was talking to Coach Williams earlier and the coach “wanted to know if you had your…problem under control.”

Matt:  My problem?

Dave:  Yeah…you know.

Matt:  No, I don’t know.

Dave:  You know, your drinking and all.

Matt:  Hey – I don’t have a drinking problem!

Dave:  Yeah, I know, but—

Matt:  So what is this?!  The coach got you spying for him?

Dave:  No!  Hey, look, he was just worried.

Matt:  He’s worried?  So you told him I have it all under control, right?

Dave:  Yeah, I told him—

Matt:  That’s just great!  Thanks a lot!  Man, I used to have a couple beers on Friday night and all of a sudden – wham! – everyone thinks that I’m some kind of alcoholic or something!  Well, I’m not, so do me a favor, will ya?  Run along and tell Coach Williams that I haven’t had a beer in weeks!  Nothing!  Not one drop!!  ZIP!!!  That oughta satisfy him.  And while you’re at it, do me another favor – STAY OOT OF MY FACE!!

matt mean

That was fucking awesome, but it would have been even better had it been Jake instead of Dave on the receiving end.

Back at Hillside, Ashley’s still searching for her math book in the student lounge when Deadpool walks over and asks if she’s looking for something.  When she explains her predicament, he reaches down to the chair right next to him and holds up the missing textbook that this moron somehow failed to locate even though she’s been ostensibly hunting it down since the beginning of the fucking episode.  She tells Billy that he’s sweet and that she’ll see him after school when she comes to Dylan’s garage to audition, sending him into a daydream involving him and his newest crush in formal wear at a candlelit table.  In his fantasy, Ashley showers him with adoring praise and declares that he “really made it” while Deadpool casually brushes off his myriad accomplishments with false humility.  She tells dream-Billy that he’s got “a boyish charm with a macho edge” and that he’s “dangerously irresistible”.  What’s ironic, of course, is that in aboot 20 years’ time, young Billy’s fantasy will pale in comparison to Ryan Reynolds’ reality.

dinner

Who Farted is wearing her new ootfit when she enters the locker vestibule with Brooke.  Chris, leaning over the stairway bannister, leers at her as she approaches and asks her if she got a new haircut or something.  While she’s drinking in his flattery, the Jock Squad gallops down the stairs and each of them immediately starts fawning all over her as if she actually acquired a new face rather than a fairly standard-issue polka dot dress from the only clothing store at the only mall in town.  She walks off with the jocks, bumping into Amanda who enthuses, “Nice ootfit!”  Finding herself alone with her little sister, Brooke complains aboot the shallowness of people who overreact to something like a new dress, when “it’s what’s on the inside that really matters.”  Amanda sneers, “Right.  You know, you’re looking a little bleak.  You should get Stacy to go to the mall with you…maybe she can give you a few tips.”  All of that would probably have been quite amusing if I didn’t fucking hate Who Farted with every fiber of my being.

new dress

It’s audition time!  Even though we’re only afforded two verses of Ashley’s cringe-worthy performance of some hastily penned fake pop song, I feel compelled to say so much more aboot it than I’m probably capable.  You know, I used to devote my blog to things like quantum mechanics, Zen Buddhism, and a host of other ontological and epistemological topics, but never have I found myself so bereft of adequate words as when I need to verbally illustrate the indescribable phenomenon that is Laura Harris’ portrayal of this pink lunatic.  Billy gushes that she was great while Chris makes it abundantly clear that he thought she sucked, so Dylan asks Ashley to come back later so that the band can discuss things.  The ensuing band meeting goes exactly as you’d expect, with Chris advising Dylan that it’s his responsibility to tell her that she’s too shitty to sing for their shitty band: “She’s rotten, and you’ve got to tell her.  Your problem, Rocker.”

At The Avalon, Brooke is trying to get Who Farted to rethink her perplexingly popular new look, declaring that she may have made a “terrible mistake” for talking her into something that “basically just doesn’t suit you.”  Sensing that her newly stylish underling isn’t persuaded by her insincere words, she steps it up a notch and tells her that she looks fat, just as Deadpool walks past and enthusiastically tells her that she looks great.  You decided to play Dr. Frankenstein, Brooke, and this is your monster.

fat

Ashley returns to the garage where Dylan proceeds to nervously inform her that she didn’t make the cut.  He seems enormously relieved when it becomes apparent that she doesn’t give a flying fuck, even though she made it pretty clear when he first approached her aboot this that she didn’t give a flying fuck.

In the boys’ locker room, Dave is making to leave when Matt calls oot to him.  He starts to apologize for blowing up at him earlier but ends up getting all riled up again in the process of explaining how much it bugs him when people think he has a drinking problem.  I seem to recall several such “apologies” from Matt over the course of the first season.  Regardless, Dave indicates that everything’s cool between them and Matt thanks him with an affectionate pat on the shoulder.

In the garage, Dylan is noodling on some pedestrian blues riff when Chris enters to make sure that Ashley was informed of her inadequacy for their crappy band.  After Dylan confirms that she was, Chris advises that they’ll need to find a decent singer fast because “Jerry down at The Avalon just offered us a gig.”  It seems that The Avalon is starting to host bands on the weekend and Jerry (Filth Pig?) has been tapped to scout oot talent for this new venue.  However, Chris slightly overstated the situation because first Jerry needs to check them oot and, “if he likes what he hears, we’re in.”  He again tells Dylan to find a good lead singer ASAP before they ecstatically high-five each other in reaction to their big break.

high five

Have you noticed that Janice has been AWOL for two whole episodes now?  Where could she be?  I’m starting to get a little concerned that something tragic may have befallen her — and so are you.  So stay tuned, Motherfuckers!

Boiling Point

ashley pissed

Season 2, Episode 7

Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.  Courtney is doing homework at a booth in The Avalon when Arseman enters.  Nothing oot of the ordinary there.  However, before sitting down, Sassy Afro greets the mute Avalon waiter with a cheery, “Good morning!” and he acknowledges it with a friendly wave like an actual interactive human being with volitional capabilities and social skills.  I don’t know what to make of this.  When zombies develop self-awareness, the implications could be frighteningly grim.

Courtney:  You know something?  It’s the pits!

Arseman:  What is?

Courtney:  What isn’t?

Uh oh.  First the self-aware waiter and now a dose of early morning existential nihilism from Sweaty Headband and we’re only one minute into the episode.  There’s a sense of formless impending doom brewing in my gut.  Courtney proceeds to castigate herself for breaking her date with Matt, a regret that gained exponential steam after she called Ashley last night and felt like she was “talking to a stranger”.  Arseman tries to assure her that “best friends talk…maybe not right away, but sooner or later”, but I’m not so sure aboot that since Ashley is clearly determined to convince everyone she knows that she is suffering from the most acute mental breakdown in the annals of abnormal psychology.

Who Farted walks through the locker vestibule and asks a couple of girls if they’ve seen Brooke around.

you like brooke

Unnamed Girl With Weird Haircut:  Stacy, can I ask you something?  Do you actually like Brooke?

WF:  Well, of course.  She’s my friend.  What’s wrong with that?

Unnamed Goth-y Girl:  Nothing, if you like people who are stuck up, snobby—

Unnamed Floral Blouse Girl:  — mean!

WF:  Come on, Brooke isn’t like that!  I mean, she isn’t always like that.  Nobody’s perfect, but even so

Unnamed Floral Blouse Girl:  Face it, Brooke’s a witch!  And one of these days, somebody should tell her that.

This, of course, serves as the cue for Brooke’s wordless entrance to the scene followed by her immediate offended departure at having once again overheard too much unvarnished criticism from a couple of kids who don’t even rate a name or a mention in the credits.  Running after Brooke, Who Farted briefly turns to face the trio and shouts, “Now it’s all going to be my fault!  Thanks a lot!”, an impotent scolding which they clearly find highly amusing.

Deadpool is leaning over the pinball machine as Dylan plays and distractedly reacts to his little friend’s annoyed account of his dad’s increasing flakiness.  In the course of his breathless monologue, Billy derisively refers to his father’s new girlfriend as “What’s Her Name”, implicating her as the probable cause of Dad’s dereliction of fatherly duties.  Switching gears, Deadpool asks Dylan for advice on how to convince a girl that he’s mature.  After a few attempted witticisms that fail to land, Leather Jacket advises Billy to do what every other guy does: “Fake it.”

In the student lounge, Brooke is stress-shredding a piece of scrap paper with her hands when Who Farted walks up to the table and says hi.  She sits down and tries to comfort Brooke by telling her that people only talk aboot her that way because they’re jealous before gushing, “Anyway, you know what I think of you!”  As Brooke is all aboot guilt by association, Who Farted’s compliments fail to defuse the tense vibe, especially since she recently dared to question Brooke’s capacity for basic compassion.  Regardless, Brooke eventually concedes that since so many people seem incapable of handling her honesty, maybe she should try to act nicer, with great emphasis placed upon the word “act”.  Despite the obvious spuriousness of Brooke’s reluctant declaration, Who Farted looks thrilled to hear of her horrible friend’s new resolve because she’s a fucking dingbat.

In the girls’ locker room, Courtney is attempting to get Ashley to reply to her incessant inquiries with something more enthusiastic than the disinterested monosyllabic blow-offs she’s thus far been receiving.  Good luck with that, Moron.  Finally, Courtney confronts her enigmatic friend with an admonishment for having been back for three days withoot even attempting to contact her, adding that the way she’s been acting towards her is “really bothering me”.  The newly bitchy assertive Ashley responds with an icy glare, “okay.  it’s bothering you.  does that mean we have to deal with everything right now?” Courtney shakes her head in astonishment and replies, “You know something?  I really think you’ve changed.”

lockers

Chris meets Dylan at his locker and gives him a world of shit for not finding the time to hold band practice this week.  Dylan decides to blame an inordinate amount of homework for this lack of rehearsal time, rather than explain that he’s been harboring a fugitive mental patient in his garage.  Chris responds by snarling formless derision at his bandmate before reminding him that they need to find a singer, so Dylan agrees that they should discuss the matter “in 15 minutes.  Meet me at the garage.”  As Dylan walks off, Chris sarcastically mutters, “Atta boy” under his breath, seeming to imply that he views Dylan as nothing more than his leather-clad lapdog.

Ashley is buying a cup of coffee at The Avalon counter when she’s approached by Brooke and Who Farted.  With painfully forced graciousness, Brooke tells Whisperina that “it’s really good to have you back” before pretending to empathize with her manufactured post-private school crisis.  At one point in her awkward attempt at affectionate affectation, she turns to look at Who Farted for confirmation that she sounds convincingly concerned.  Brooke concludes by telling Ashley that they should get together some time and is shocked to receive nothing but a sarcastic snort by way of a reply.

Courtney spots Matt at the soda machine and asks him how it’s going.  He replies that it depends upon to what particular “it” she’s referring.  Feigning ignorance of her starring role in Matt’s current morose mood, Headband asks, “Well, how’s basketball, then?”  He responds with a dismissive “okay” before turning to seek oot a Courtney-free spot in the lounge where he can mope in peace.  She starts to explain why she broke off their date, but Matt doesn’t appear too interested in what she has to say.

Arseman’s bionic ears were attuned to this conversation occurring behind her back, so she gets up from her table to have a talk with Matt.  For once, Arseman is rendered speechless by Matt’s emotionless response to her pointless concern: “Life goes on.” I gotta admit, I’m really starting to dig Matt’s newfound embrace of defeated stoicism.  It’s the closest I’ve come to almost relating to one of these melodramatic little assholes over the course of 20 fucking episodes.

Meanwhile, at a nearby table in the lounge, Erin and Leah are waxing moronic aboot corned beef until Erin advises her friend that she doesn’t eat meat.  Clearly dissatisfied with the results of her last attempt at verbal hostage taking, Arseman approaches their table and expresses excitement to learn that Erin is a fellow vegetarian.  Deadpool overhears this exchange and opines that vegetarianism may be okay for girls, “but a guy’s not gonna last long on lettuce and alfalfa sprouts”.  Billy ignores the resulting sass that spews from Arseman’s self-righteous piehole and explains that it wouldn’t make much sense for a hunter such as himself to be a vegetarian.  As Deadpool saunters off, Arseman reaches Sass Level Defcon 1 to the delight of her giggling pre-teen audience.

In Dylan’s garage, Chris is sitting on the floor tapping on his bass guitar when Ashley enters.  The conversation that ensues is too classic for my superfluous commentary, so I’ll just step back and let you enjoy it in all of its unadorned glory:

Ashley:  oh, sorry…i thought – i’ll come back later.

Chris:  Hey, come on in.

Ashley:  i was just looking for dylan.

Chris: (leering) That sly dog!  He tried to say he was doing homework.  Nice homework!

Ashley:  just tell dylan i was here?

Chris:  You’re Ashley, right?  I’m Chris.

Ashley:  i know.  would you stop staring at me?!

Chris:  Hey, don’t mind me.  I’m a pretty charming guy…once you get to know me..

Ashley:  i’m starting to wonder if i want to know you.

Chris: (reaching oot to touch her) Now don’t be like that—

Ashley: (jumping back) knock it off!

In the nick of time, Dylan walks through the door and asks Chris if he’s interrupting something.  Staring down his chauvinistic little bandmate, he menacingly advises him not to hassle his friends while the background music warns of an impending tempest brewing between these highly competitive dirt bags.

hassle

Arseman sees Courtney at her locker and showers her with unjustified optimism at the fact she saw her talking to Matt earlier.  Headband responds that she doesn’t know if she’d call it talking, exactly, “just sort of exchanging sentences,” which is an interesting distinction.  Arseman asks her if she’s told Ashley that she was considering going oot with Matt, so Courtney reiterates that Ashley hasn’t been very open to conversation lately.  For some fucking reason, Arseman still thinks it’s Courtney’s obligation to do so, an opinion she makes abundantly and repetitively clear.

Pinky Tuscadero is studying at The Avalon when she’s startled by the sudden appearance of Matt.  They manage to spend the next two minutes of airtime talking withoot saying anything at all before Matt finally invites himself to sit down.  He opens by telling Ashley that it’s good to see her and wondering if perhaps they can “see a little more of each other,” oblivious to her absurdly defensive body language.  When he assures her that what he’s proposing is purely platonic, she seems to relax a bit, sort of like a vampire who just saw a crucifix and then realized it was only a couple of French fries randomly laying in cruciform on her plate.  For no apparent reason, he proceeds to tell his emotionally fraught ex-girlfriend that he asked Courtney oot on a date while she was away at private school.  Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ll let you gauge her priceless reaction for yourself:

ash shock

She weathers this emotional blow as best she can, insincerely telling Matt that she thinks it’s a great idea for him to go oot with Courtney before desperately fleeing The Avalon.

Deadpool is standing over Erin and Leah’s table delivering what sounds like a paraphrased version of Robert Deniro’s “one shot” aesthetic from The Deer Hunter.  Apparently, Billy’s reasoning faculties abandon him in the presence of the opposite sex, because he continues to try impressing them with his carnivorous braggadocio right up until the moment of Arseman’s inevitable intrusion into the conversation and its attendant unsolicited sass.  Deadpool seems relatively unfazed by her sarcastic barbs until she calls him a “little macho weenie…with a Rambo complex”.

Dylan is playing pinball at The Avalon until he’s startled by Brooke and Who Farted entering from the rear door.  Apparently, this is Brooke’s second attempt at image-related damage control because she proceeds to vaguely but enthusiastically offer Dylan “help” if there’s “ever anything you need a hand with”.  Pretending to take the bait, Dylan asks, “You mean, like, laundry?” before poking his head into the main dining area and asking everyone present if they need their laundry done, because “Brooke’s offering!”  Mortified, Brooke turns to leave and nearly runs smack into Chris who’s approaching the pinball room from the opposite direction.

brooke flees

The pinball room cleared of extraneous ears, Chris confronts Dylan for how he acted in front of Ashley at the garage:

Chris:  You showed me up, Man!  Don’t ever try that again!

Dylan:  I think you want to be careful, Chris.

Chris:  Just don’t do it again!  Ever!  Take my point?!

The animosity is reaching critical mass between these two.

Who Farted follows Brooke into her bedroom as she vents her frustration at the skepticism she received from her classmates in response to her awkward attempts at basic humanity.  “Dylan laughed in my face and Ashley treated me like I was some kind of disease!”  Who Farted tenders a feeble pep talk to her aggravated mentor but Brooke has already resolved to drop this pointless act and go back to being the awesome-ass bitch she was always meant to be.  Her first order of business is to point oot the atrociousness of Who Farted’s dumpy ootfit: “It looks like someone threw it on you with a pitchfork”.

It’s almost as if the writers of this particular episode share my impatience with any of the ongoing plots other than that of the newly demented Ashley, because before the previous scene even has a chance to find a point, we’re back at The Avalon where an alarmingly pissed off Whisperina is confronting Courtney aboot the fact that she considered dating Matt in her absence.

Ashley:  nice speech you made this morning—

Courtney:  Speech?

Ashley:  the one aboot best friends?

Courtney:  I meant it!

Ashley:  i’ll bet!  especially the part aboot not talking.  and you complained aboot me!

Courtney:  Well, because you hadn’t phoned to let me know you were back in town!

Ashley:  and when we did get together, what was it you didn’t tell me…aboot you and matt??

Courtney:  I meant to!  Really!  But I didn’t go oot with him anyway.  I mean, as soon as I knew you were back in town—

Ashley:  great!  we now have a new definition of “best friend” – someone who only does sneaky things when she thinks you won’t find oot aboot it!

Courtney:  Ashley, that’s not fair!

Ashley:  oh, you can think whatever you like, courtney!  just do me a favor – find yourself a new best friend!

court shocked

Holy fucking shit, I loved this episode!

Janice: A Psychological Profile

janice lurk

We haven’t even reached the apex of Janice’s Season 2 story arc that will culminate in the most over-the-top meltdown ever televised, but I’m guessing that this character has already managed to pull at the heartstrings of the handful of stalwart readers of Notes From The Avalon oot there.  Assuming this to be so, the reason that Hillside’s hopeless ootcast elicits our empathy is simple: to varying degrees, all of us have felt her desperate sense of isolation from our peers (or even our species) at one time or another.

A real-life incarnation of a similarly unpopular teen would therefore evoke natural feelings of empathy, but this doesn’t mean that she would deserve an ounce of our sympathy.  Feeling sympathetic to someone’s plight, regardless of its degree or nature, implies an acceptance of that individual as a victim of circumstance, of causes and conditions beyond her control.  This viewpoint is indicative of humanity’s ultimate folly: the failure to recognize the holistic nature of all phenomena, including (especially) ourselves.

When Sigmund Freud posited the Ego and the Id as the polar drivers of our individual personalities, Western culture, as usual, couldn’t follow his necessarily abstract psychological theories withoot solidifying them into something concrete.  Taken together, popular Western interpretations of Freud’s described tension between man’s levels of consciousness wind up sounding an awful lot like the Christian notion of the soul, an “eternal essence” unique to the individual struggling against the temptations of nature in all its amorality.  Usually, when I point oot the arrogance inherent in such a self-absorbed viewpoint, I am met with a mere shrug of the shoulders, the verbal translation of which would be along the lines of “who cares, Asshole?”  In other words, we’re cool with our conceit insofar as it mirrors that of our most arrogant creation of all: God The Father (in whose image we’re made, according to scripture).  Our popular ideas of god are the natural extension of our ignorant ideas aboot ourselves that grew oot of our necessarily limited perception and refusal to investigate anything more subtle that may be underlying our surface perceptions.

Janice willfully embraces her role as a victim in the hopes that it will conversely draw people to her compassionate defense.  In the last episode, Arseman tried to boost Janice’s self-esteem with some kind and pragmatic words, but this backfired because Janice was too deeply submerged in delusional feelings of helplessness to recognize a simple act of humanity.   Whenever we throw up our hands in defeat and declare, “I’m hopeless!”, we are similarly ignoring that quiet wisdom which knows that we are something special precisely and only because in isolation, we are nothing at all.

All human suffering is the result of this gross misapprehension of ourselves and our universe.  In fact, the entire problem was laid oot in a fragment of the previous sentence: “ourselves and our universe”.  This unfortunately inescapable twist of language has taken on a life of its own well beyond mere linguistics.  In order to make ourselves understandable, we must refer to apparently separate things as “this and that”, “him and her”, “us and them”, “god and nature”, “god and man”, etc.  Precious few of us have done anything to cultivate a meditative mindset, therefore, we take our words as true representations of the phenomena being described, and this is where all the trouble begins.  The tension between man and nature has no basis apart from our own misinterpretation of ourselves as something apart from nature, even in conflict with it.

Quite literally, you cannot be apart from nature because you are a microcosm of nature itself.  By extension, you cannot be apart from any segment of humanity no matter how odious or confusing you may find them by your moral and cultural standards.  We hate some people and love others because we fail to recognize every single consciousness as a manifestation of the same potential emptiness from which all phenomena spring.  When we delineate our tribe at the exclusion of even a single life form, we are attempting to extricate ourselves from those aspects of reality that frighten or disgust us, never understanding that we can only be afraid or disgusted by things which we have directly experienced and we are thus judging ourselves by casting others oot of our sphere of influence and empathy.

Regardless, if you go to your grave grasping at this illusorily competitive and judgmental view of reality, nothing tragic will have occurred.  Billions have already expired in the midst of such wholesale delusion and most people will continue to do so, honestly expecting an indefinite extension of individual experience in some heavenly paradise.  So it goes.  But if you, like Janice, suffer immensely from the incompatibility of such a philosophy with the reality of mundane experience, you’d do well to take a penetrating look into yourself.  Go deep, right down to the cellular level, and what you’ll find is the Universe in all of its impartial glory, swirling, changing, expanding and contracting in the perpetual dance of creation and destruction, birth and death.  One cannot exist withoot the other.  Those who love life would do well to embrace death, lest they fall victim to the inevitable disappointments of their own arrogant eternalism.

So keep your chin up, Janice.  Not only are you just as worthy of respect as Brooke, Dylan and the rest of the Hillside A-listers, you are, quite literally, each and every one of them.  Except for Deadpool, of course.  There’s only one fucking Deadpool.

Baguette Battle

talbot

I wish I had more Canadian followers.  To my knowledge, Suzanne, the mind behind the hilarious My Dang Blog! is my only north-of-the-border reader and as such, she is able to notice little subtleties that may not be apparent to others.  Case in point: while everyone recognizes Ryan Reynolds, Suzanne recognized Matt as Todd Talbot, currently one of the hosts of Love It Or List It Vancouver.  Go check oot Suzanne’s blog — it’s a whole lot funnier than this interminable crapfest.  When you return, check oot these short videos illustrating Mr. Talbot’s career arc from alcoholic teenager to baguette-battling real estate agent:

***

Entropy Storm!

ash dyl

Season 2, Episode 6

In case you were curious, I don’t have a clue why Brooke was decked oot like a Nazi Schutzstaffel officer throughoot the last episode.  If it’s really bothering you, skip the middle man and submit your question directly to the source: https://johntbinkley.com/

Ashley walks in on Dylan who seems to have finally perfected Alex Lifeson’s guitar riff (and here I thought it would take him until at least 2112 to do so) and tells him that he sounds good.  She advises him that she’s doing lousy because she “finally had it oot with them last night”.  Dylan’s new leather jacket crinkles audibly as he performs his signature nervous move of reaching over his shoulder to touch the back of his head, asking, “Your parents?”, as if there were anyone else to whom she could possibly be referring.  She whispers a melodramatic account of the confrontation, the upshot of which is that she gets to stay at Hillside although her parents aren’t too happy aboot it.  She tells Dylan that she doesn’t think she can handle going to school today, so he offers to let her hang oot at his garage.  She thanks him and he tells her that he’ll stop by at lunch to see how she’s doing, which warms my heart because that’s exactly what I do for my dog and I love to see people treat their pets with kindness.

Arseman and Courtney enter the locker vestibule with their inane conversation already in progress.  Shit Drapes is still belaboring her self-made dating dilemma so Sassy Afro tells her that the best course of action may be to “join a nunnery”.  Courtney continues to feign concern aboot the fact that Matt used to be Ashley’s boyfriend, prompting Arseman to remind her that Ashley doesn’t even live here anymore and they broke up before she left.  To her mild credit, Courtney also brings up the little matter of Jake and the letters they’ve been writing to each other, but Arseman brushes off this concern by mock-quoting overly romantic phrases as if those two dullards would ever deign to indulge in such sentimental prose.  Finally, she tells Courtney that she just needs to ask herself whether or not she wants to go oot with Matt just as Drinky Crow himself appears from the stairs, prompting Arseman to make tracks so they can talk in private.  Matt and Courtney capitalize on this opportunity by spending the next five minutes asking each other how it’s going before finally addressing the elephant in the room:

Courtney:  Matt?  Listen…aboot what you were saying, you know, aboot getting together some time?  Well, I’ve been thinking – I mean, I’ve really been thinking, and what it comes down to, I mean, basically…

Matt:  It’s okay.  I mean, I know it’s kind of complicated, so—

Courtney:  I’d love to go oot with you!

For someone who finally made her decision in favor of Matt, she sure as fuck sounds just like Jake in the comically clumsy expression thereof.

At The Avalon, Janice is sucking the fumes from the bottom of her empty glass with a straw as Brooke calls oot to her.  With Who Farted tagging along at her side, she tries to get Janice to spill the deets aboot her private rendezvous with Dylan, but Janice just turns and walks away causing Brooke to surmise aloud that something must have gone “disastrously wrong”.

janice alone

Tenacious as ever, Brooke and Who Farted are back at Hillside trying to shake the same info oot of Dylan, who tells them that “maybe I just wanted to talk to her aboot homework or something”, but Brooke seems unwilling to buy such a pedestrian explanation.

Tenacious as ever, Deadpool sees Amanda reading in the student lounge, takes a seat next to her and asks why she hasn’t stopped by the garage to hear the band yet, oblivious to the sneering contempt he receives by way of a reply.  Oot of nowhere, he mentions that he won’t be around this weekend because he’s going on a hunting trip with his dad but he will be around on Friday night before Amanda interrupts and virtually vomits the question, “Are you asking me to go oot with you?”.  Billy confirms that he is, so Amanda shakes her head in disgust and tells him that she’d rather go oot with people “a little more mature than you”.

Tenacious as ever, I am now at the halfway point of the episode that marks the halfway point of Fifteen’s second season.  Slow and steady wins the race.

Back at The Avalon, Brooke continues to ponder the puzzling perplexity of why Dylan would ask Janice to come to his garage, causing Who Farted to wonder aloud if it’s even any of their business.  Brooke begs her pardon before declaring that it is their business, based solely upon the fact that people are refusing to answer her questions.  Finally, Brooke has a sudden epiphany that Dylan was, in fact, telling the truth aboot inviting Janice over to discuss homework, and that Janice seemed so upset earlier because she had “jumped to the wild conclusion that Dylan was actually interested in her!”  That’s some first rate sleuthin’, Matlock.

Amanda passes by Janice’s locker and antagonistically asks, “So how’s Dylan?” as Brooke and Who Farted appear from around the corner.  As Amanda listens in, Brooke tells Janice not to be so hard on Dylan because he has trouble in school and frequently needs people to help him with his homework.  Janice runs off mortified, but Amanda is nothing short of ecstatic to hear of Dylan’s continued availability.  Never one to leave well enough alone, Brooke tells her sister not to get her hopes up because Dylan doesn’t like her, either.  As they start to walk off, Amanda faces Who Farted and sneers, “She’s my sister.  I have to put up with her.  What’s your excuse?”

whats your excuse

Dylan arrives for his promised lunchtime check-up to find Ashley sitting in a lawn chair staring into space.  She asks him the time and he answers, “quarter to one”, which leads me to conclude that she’s been hanging around his garage sitting and staring in absolute silence for nearly five hours.  Dylan suggests that she should come to school, but Ashley protests, doubting that anyone will understand why she’s been home for three days withoot contacting them.  He tells her that they’ll understand “because they’re your friends”, to which she replies, “i don’t know” before embarking on a sad soliloquy aboot how so much has changed in the past few weeks.  Dylan tries to assuage her anxiety by reminding her that “they’re still the same people…and so are you,” but even this simple statement is met by an unnecessarily cryptic reply from the Sexy Sovereign of Susurration: “am i?”  After a pointedly pointless silence, she finally acquiesces to return to school with Dylan.

ashley lawnchair

Matt and Dave are getting changed in the boys’ locker room after a game of one on one.  Matt tells his boring little friend that the coach is going to let him play in the next game and that he has a date with Courtney on Friday night, adding “Everything’s going too well all of a sudden.  Things have to even oot somehow, so now I’m waiting to get hit by a bus!”  Although his unsubstantiated even-Steven philosophy is patently ridiculous, it seems he’s on to something just the same.  Just substitute the word “Ashley” for “bus” and presto – we have some impressive prognostication.

In the lounge, Courtney is mock-castigating Arseman for encouraging her to go on a date with Matt when Brooke’s bellowing voice rings oot from behind their table: “Ashley!  What are you doing here?”  They jump up and surround their wayward friend while Dylan protectively barks away Brooke’s attempts to antagonize her.  Ashley is bombarded by questions from her confused classmates, but she’s saved by the bell spared the trouble of answering by the sound of the school bell signaling the start of class.  As she hurries off, she runs into Matt who shouts her name in surprise.  He turns to follow her, but Dylan grabs his arm and growls, “Just give her some space!” before Arseman steps between them to stave off a fist fight.  Brooke yells, “Dylan, what is going on?!” but he just shakes his head and replies, “Can’t you figure it oot?”

give her some space

In the girls’ locker room, Janice is packing clothes into a duffle bag when Arseman walks behind her and says hi.  She notices that Janice is nearly in tears, so she takes a seat on the bench next to her and asks if she’s okay.

Janice:  I thought I was.  At least I used to think so.

Arseman:  What’s the problem?

Janice:  You tell me.  What is it that I’m doing, anyway?  I mean, what am I doing wrong?

Arseman:  Who says you’re doing anything wrong?

Janice:  Then how come everybody hates me?

Arseman:  Come on.

Janice:  It’s true!  Nobody even wants to talk to me!

Arseman:  I’m talking to you right now.

Janice:  You know exactly what I mean!  People treat me like I’m some sort of virus!  That never happened at my old school.  I had lots of friends.  So what’s going on?

Arseman guesses that maybe she’s just coming on a little too strong and that people would like her more if she gave them some space, but Janice counters that they’ve all ensured themselves plenty of space from her, “acres of it”.  She gets up and walks oot of the locker room, telling Arseman “I don’t even care anymore”.

For some stupid fucking reason, the next scene opens on Erin and Leah discussing Ashley’s mysterious return to Hillside.  For a much more obvious reason, I am choosing to close this paragraph after only two sentences.

Courtney and Arseman skip down the stairs and ask Dylan if he’s seen Ashley.  He tells them that she probably left, so they start to grill him aboot what’s going on.  Dylan replies, “Well, she’s here and she’s not going back to private school,” eliciting this face from the ever-emotive Arseman:

eye roll

Realizing that his inquisitors won’t let him off that easily, he tells them that she had it oot with her parents last night, but stuck to her guns aboot not going back to private school.  Courtney asks when she got back and Dylan’s reply of “two or three days ago” doesn’t sit too well with Ashley’s (former) bestie.  Arseman asks her if she’s still planning to go oot with Matt now that Ashley’s back and Courtney responds by heaving a sigh and walking away.

At the Morgan mansion, Brooke is treating Who Farted to an overjoyed synopsis of the deliciously stunning day through which they just lived: “What a day!  I mean, what an amazing day!!  First Janice, and then Ashley!  Slinking back home after getting kicked oot of private school!”  Who Farted points oot the arbitrary nature of Brooke’s declaration and deems it unlikely that Ashley got kicked oot of school.  Brooke reacts by trashing Ashley incessantly until Who Farted musters some uncharacteristic courage:

WF: Brooke, can I say something?  Sometimes…I mean, every once in a while, couldn’t you sort of be a little bit nicer?

Brooke: I beg your pardon?

WF: I mean, Ashley’s probably having a really hard time right now, so—

Brooke: Are you saying I’m not nice?

WF:  Well, you sometimes say things—

Brooke:  I speak my mind!  Absolutely!  I’m a very honest person.  Is there something wrong with that?

WF:  That’s not what I meant.

Brooke: THEN WHAT DID YOU MEAN?!

WF:  Well…

Brooke:  Stacy, sometimes I think you have an attitude problem!

Matt enters The Avalon, approaches the booth where Courtney’s sitting by herself and tells her he’s been looking for her.  He asks her if she knew that Ashley was back and reacts to her negative reply with shock that her ostensible best friend didn’t even call her.  In response to Courtney countering with the same question, Matt pulls a familiar phrase from his obvious assfull of precisely worded familiar phrases: “I’m probably just aboot the last person she’d call.”  He then changes the subject with a smile and tells Headband that it’s really good to see her.  To absolutely no one’s surprise but Matt’s, Shit Drapes uses this as her opening to break their Friday night date and any potential future dates because, “I just can’t.  It’s too complicated.”  She gets up and flees the café revealing Dave lurking from the pinball room.

Dave:  Hey.

Matt:  Dave.

Dave:  So, uh…how’s it going?

Matt:  Fine.  Perfect, even.  It’s all turning oot just the way things are supposed to turn oot.  I mean, remember that bus I was telling you aboot?  Well, it’s arrived…right on schedule.  Typical, huh?  Just typical.  Just when everything seems to be coming together, it all falls apart!

That’s called entropy, Matt.  I used to have a blog that was all aboot it.

 

Dear Jake

headband2

October 4, 1991

Jake Deosdade
Novotel Beijing Peace
3 Jinyu Hutong, Wangfujing
100006
Beijing, China

Dear Jake,

I’ve been thinking aboot you, too.  In fact, I guess I’ve been thinking aboot you a lot.

Not much is new here at Hillside.  I wear headbands now.  You should see me, I look really hot.

Remember Matt?  He was your best friend, right?  When you write back, would you please answer a question for me?  This may sound kinda bizarre – in fact, it might sound really bizarre, but when you were here, did Matt ever talk aboot me?  Not, like, talk aboot me talk aboot me, but talk aboot me, you know?  It’s nothing, really.  I’m just kinda curious.

Everyone really misses you and can’t wait until you get back from China.  How is China?  Do people eat Chinese foods there?

Well, I should get going because I’m supposed to meet Matt at The Avalon in a few minutes.  Remember Matt?  I know you haven’t seen me in one of my new headbands, but does Matt like headbands?  Did he ever tell you if he likes headbands?

Write back soon.

Miss you!

XOXO

Courtney

 

Hell Is For Children

dungeon

Season 2, Episode 5

One needn’t be a professional screenwriter to realize that you don’t open an episode with a scene whose only merit is as an effective insomnia remedy.  Regardless, it seems that John Binkley and Ian Weir were able to break into the business withoot grasping this fairly obvious fact.

Today’s installment of Hillside histrionics opens with a thud as Matt and Dave get changed in the locker room and wax catatonic aboot basketball practice.  Dave tells Matt that he looked “really good oot there” as Slender Loris protests that “throwing airballs and coughing my head off” isn’t his idea of looking good.  I know it’s sometimes difficult to gauge how much time passes from episode to episode or even season to season on this show, but even a very liberal estimate would have had Matt sidelined from the team for a few weeks at the maximum.  If that’s all it took for Matt to revert to throwing airballs and coughing his head off, then his drinking problem must be far worse than we’ve been led to believe.  He changes the subject and asks Dave what he thinks of Courtney, a question which seems to inordinately confuse his bland little friend.  Matt elaborates, “Lots of guys think she’s, you know…kinda good looking”, which might shed some light on why he’s throwing airballs.  It’s time for a trip to the optometrist, Walker.

Courtney and Arseman take a seat at their booth in The Avalon and immediately proceed to spew pure excrement at each other.  Here’s a fun little activity to perform while fighting your way through my 18th episode synopsis: with no editorializing from me whatsoever, try to pick oot as many ridiculous and/or utterly false statements Shit Drapes makes in the following run of dialogue:

Arseman:  Are you okay?

Courtney:  Oh yeah, sure.  Just sort of…thinking.

Arseman:  Jake?

Courtney:  Yeah, that’s part of it, I guess.  It’s just really strange.  I mean, you’ve been friends with a guy for years – good friends, but just friends.  Then, boom, as soon as he goes to China for a month—

Arseman:  — he starts writing you every day.

Courtney:  Well, not every day…but he tells me what he’s doing, where he’s going, what he’s thinking…how much he misses me.  And just when I’m starting to get used to it, you start in on me aboot Matt.

Arseman:  I just asked if you liked him.  So do you?

Courtney:  Like I said, I’ve never really thought aboot him that way…but now that I’ve started thinking aboot it – I mean, he used to go oot with Ashley.  He was my best friend’s boyfriend!

Arseman:  Not anymore.

Courtney:  Yeah, but…why are we even talking aboot this?  He’s not interested in me in the first place.

Arseman:  How do you know?

Courtney:  Well, because he hasn’t said anything…has he?

Arseman:  Well, not to me, if that’s what you mean.

Courtney:  Right.  That’s what I’m saying, so it wouldn’t make a difference even if I did feel…you know, that way aboot him.  So there’s nothing to worry aboot.

Arseman:  If you say so.

Okay, I have to admit, I was just playing with you in presenting that activity as some sort of a challenge.  Every single word that oozed oot of her gob was pure unadulterated bullshit, of course.  I apologize.  Here’s a little treat to atone for my mischievous trickery: click here

Brooke and Who Farted descend the stairs to the lounge where Janice is sitting on a bench fiddling with her backpack.  Fully intending for Janice to overhear, Brooke begins to express consternation at the fact that “some people” just can’t take the hint that they’re not liked or even welcome to fraternize with their fellow students.  To her credit, Who Farted admonishes Brooke that Janice can hear what she’s saying, but that’s clearly the point of her otherwise random vocal ruminations on high school social graces.  She concludes her diatribe by wondering aloud why she even makes an effort to be nice to such people, but “I guess you have to try, even when you’re dealing with someone who’s so totally irritating.”  The second application of the I-word by a fellow student in less than two days proves to be the straw that breaks the dromedary, as Janice rises from her seat to confront her tormentor:

“You wanna know something, Brooke?  I wish I’d never transferred to this school.  At my old school, at least people gave you a chance, even if you were new…and there were a lot of nice people there, too.  Not like here.”

janice lurk

On that note, Janice walks away from the table, leaving Brooke to explain to Who Farted that “people need to know where they stand”.

Dylan approaches Courtney at her locker and tries to engage her in small talk, but obviously Shit Drapes isn’t one to forgive a betrayal so easily.  To forget an entire semester of Jake’s flirtation culminating in a kamikaze kiss is one thing, but a mild betrayal from a guy with whom she’d been infatuated?  Oh, hell no.  Taking the hint, Dylan dispenses with the pleasantries and asks her if she’s heard from Ashley.  She tells him that she hasn’t and asks him if he has, but Dylan keeps tight-lipped aboot his encounter with the melodramatic idiot who still thinks The Avalon is her own private hideaway.

Some time later, I guess, the cow is grazing from her feedbag in the student lounge as Matt saunters by and asks, “having lunch?” which is actually a fair question since she just appears to be picking oats oot of a brown paper bag while simultaneously chewing her cud.  Matt invites her to join him for lunch at The Avalon, but she tells him that she has plans with Arseman, then asks if he’s heard from Ashley.  He replies that he’s “probably aboot the last guy she’d want to get in touch with”, and Courtney tells him that Dylan just said the exact same thing.  Matt nearly pops a blood vessel at the mention of Dylan’s name, but quickly recovers and asks Courtney if she’d like to get together for a movie or something on Friday night.  Still trying to convince herself that she’s morally conflicted, she gives him a non-committal reply before running off.

Deadpool approaches Amanda in the lounge and tells his obviously disinterested crush that what Chris told her was a joke and in fact, he and Dylan are considering kicking Chris oot of the band.  This doesn’t seem to interest her, but the appearance of Dylan coming down the stairs clearly does.  She rises from her seat and tries to engage him in conversation, but in reply, Dylan just asks her if she’s seen Janice around.

At The Avalon, Dylan spots Janice sitting at the counter and asks her if she’d like to get together some time.  As Brooke lurks in the background, he tells the delighted ootcast to stop by his garage at around 3:30, so they’ll “have time to talk” before his band shows up to rehearse.  (Directions to Dylan’s garage: three blocks down, first house on the corner.  Pay him a visit!)  He leaves and Brooke takes the stool next to Janice to marvel aloud at the fact Dylan just asked her oot, punctuating her incredulity with a disgusted “Good Lord!” that wipes the smile right off Janice’s face.

janice1

Back to The Avalon for the continuation of Arseman and Courtney’s impromptu Mensa meeting.  Courtney is trying to figure oot what Matt meant earlier when he prefaced his invite with the statement that he’s found himself “dateless” for Friday night, and whether it’s an indication that he was asking her oot on a date. For some reason, the normally intuitive Arseman also seems incapable of wrapping her mind around such a simple concept.  Listen, you fucking retards, if a guy approaches you and tells you he’s dateless for Friday night before asking you to a movie on that very same night, IT MEANS HE’S ASKING YOU OOT ON A DATE.  Problem solved.  But no – nothing’s ever that simple with these two simpletons.  Arseman tells Courtney to ask Matt what he meant, but she resists the idea: “What if I sweat?  What if I just stand there dripping and babbling?”  He’ll throw up in his mouth like I just did, that’s what, you disgusting horny cretin.

At her locker, Brooke is filling Who Farted in on Dylan’s perplexing invite to Janice at The Avalon when Amanda walks by.  Brooke teases her aboot her “secret romance” with Dylan, then gloatingly advises her that she just heard him ask Janice oot.

Amanda walks into the girls’ locker room where Janice is getting changed.  She pretends to have misplaced her science book until Janice points oot that it’s in her hands before returning to the apparently challenging task of tying her sneakers.  After a brief pause, Amanda asks, “So, what’s this I hear aboot you and Dylan?  Brooke tells me he asked you oot.”  Janice confirms that he asked her to come to his garage, which is “sort of his special place, huh?”  Amanda downplays the specialness of Dylan’s derelict digs, lying that she’s been there “lots of times”, adding, “he invites everyone over.  It’s no big thing, so don’t get your hopes up.”  I’m sure you don’t yet realize this, Janice, but you have just made a formidable enemy.

Coming down the stairs, Brooke tells Who Farted, “I’ll handle this,” as they approach Dylan at the soda machine.  She tells Dylan that Janice is “a really good friend” of hers, so she’s interested in knowing how things are going for her, to which Leather Jacket replies, “So what’s your point?”  She tells him that as Janice’s friend, she wants to know what his invite was all aboot, and Dylan counters, “So as a snoop, you figured you’d come right oot and ask?” which seems to greatly amuse Who Farted.

brooke stacy

Dylan enters his garage to find Ashley just hanging around like she’s owns the fucking place.  She explains that the door was open and she didn’t think he’d mind before making sure that he didn’t tell anyone she was back.  He confirms that he kept his word (though he never really gave his word, because she ran the hell oot of The Avalon before he even had a chance), then asks her again what this is all aboot.  Ashley whispers that she just needs someone to talk to, prompting Dylan to ask “So why me?”  Slowly and painfully, Pink Pixie Dust does her best to sound slightly less inscrutable and explains that she thought he might understand a few things aboot parents.  He replies, “Like how not to get along with them?  Yeah, I’m an expert on that,” before advising her that someone’s coming over in a couple of minutes.  She agrees to come back at 5:30 when he has time to talk, then walks oot the door, although I feel it would have been far more effective if they’d somehow had her exit by disappearing into thin air.  I guess much like functioning lockers and pinball machines, it just wasn’t in the budget.

ashley garage

Courtney walks over to the booth where Dave is sitting in The Avalon.  Once more, the verbal shit show to follow is beyond my capacity to describe, so I’ll just transcribe the painful conversation verbatim:

Courtney:  Listen…I don’t suppose you know where Matt is?

Dave:  Not now, but I’m supposed to meet him at the mall around 4:30.

Courtney:  Oh, could you do me a favor, then?  When you see him, could you ask him to meet me here at around 5:30?  There’s something I kinda need to ask him.

Dave:  Sure thing.

Courtney:  Thanks.  Oh, David, I was just wondering – I mean, this may sound kind of strange and it’s really none of my business, but do you and Matt ever, like, talk?

Dave:  Well, sure, I mean we don’t use sign language.

Courtney:  I didn’t mean it that way.  I meant talk.

Dave:  You mean, like, personal?

Courtney:  Well, yeah, sort of…basically.

Dave:  Nah.  Guys don’t talk aboot personal stuff.

Courtney:  Right.  But what I was wondering – I mean, this may sound really strange – but do you happen to know if there’s anyone he’s, like, interested in?

Dave:  Well, funny you should ask, actually.

Courtney:  How do you mean?

Dave:  Well, I don’t know this for sure so I probably shouldn’t say anything at all…but this morning I kinda got the feeling, like, well, like, maybe there is somebody he’s interested in.

Courtney:  Really?

Dave:  Yeah.

Courtney:  And do you know who it is?

Dave:  I think…you.

If you’re expecting an apology for subjecting you to that verbal brain aneurism, don’t hold your breath.  I had to watch it and transcribe it, so you’ll get no sympathy from me.  No one’s holding a gun to your head and making you read Notes From The Avalon – or are they?  That would certainly shed some light on why this ridiculous blog seems to get so many anonymous views each day.

Janice arrives at Dylan’s garage and compliments his trash strewn hovel like it was The Beverly Hilton.  She follows him around in her usual throes of psychotic verbal diarrhea before catching herself and wondering aloud if he thinks she’s “hyper or something”.  With considerable effort, she calms down and asks him what’s up, so Dylan informs her that he asked her over because he wants to know if he can use her science lab notes for the rest of the term since she’s so much better at science than he is.  On the verge of tears, Janice upbraids Leather Jacket for leading her on and with one foot oot the door, whimpers, “I honestly thought you liked me.”

Brooke and Who Farted are drinking sodas at The Avalon, dying to know what’s going on with Janice and Dylan at his garage.  Brooke adds that Amanda would probably like to know, too, and Who Farted takes this opportunity to ask her mentor why she seems to have such disdain for her little sister.   Once again, we’re treated to the ridiculous story of how Amanda told their father that Brooke cheated on her geography project, this time with the addition of the same exact vow of vengeance she swore to unleash on Theresa and Kelly in last season’s final episode: “One of these days, I’m going to pay her back!”  She then drifts into a reverie that materializes on the screen as a fantasy sequence featuring Brooke as a dungeon master ignoring the desperate pleas of her chained and tattered sibling.

brooke avalon

Back at Dylan’s garage, Ashley explains that she told her parents she has the flu, so they think she’s in bed right now before adamantly declaring, “i am not going back to Waverly”.  When Dylan advises her that she needs to tell that to her parents, she whispers that it will lead to “the world’s biggest fight” and she just doesn’t know if she can deal with it.

Matt walks up to a booth in The Avalon pinball room where Courtney’s doing homework and asks why she wanted to see him.  Still unsure whether his invitation for Friday night was romantic or platonic, she asks him to clarify and he tells her that she can interpret it however she wants, and basically he’s cool with it either way.  Somehow, this still fails to penetrate her dense fucking Neanderthal skull, so she asks, “So are you asking me for a date?” and he confirms that he is.  Shit Drapes is too tongue-tied to respond in a manner that makes any sense, and the smile that spreads across Matt’s face seems to indicate that he finds this endearing.

Fucking beer goggles, eh?