Return of The Phantom

ash back

Season 2, Episode 4

We open on Brooke moping in bed amidst a menagerie of emotional support (stuffed) animals.

animals

Of course, Brooke’s hastily fashioned happy place can’t withstand the onslaught of Amanda’s inevitable intrusion, so she reluctantly gets up and walks back over to her desk where she’d abandoned her homework in progress.  Brooke defends herself against her little sister’s bitterly sarcastic taunts by calling her “Daddy’s Little Darling”, to which Amanda responds with a mock apology for not realizing her elder sibling’s life was “so tragic”.

Dylan enters The Avalon and approaches the booth where Billy is sitting alone reading a comic book.  He greets The Little Drummer Boy with a cheerful “Hey, Kid,” only to receive a confusing dose of annoyed sarcasm in reply.  Fonzie asks if something’s bugging him, but since Deadpool is under the impression that he was fired from the band in absentia, he leaves Dylan to guess the source of the enormous stick that’s wedged between his (world’s sexiest) ass cheeks.  Finally, Billy starts to chew him oot but finds himself at a loss for words.  He gets up from his seat and shouts, “I thought you were a friend of mine,” before bolting oot the door.

In the student lounge, Matt is reading a magazine as he lobs a half-eaten apple into a nearby trash can.  From behind, The Headbanded Whore of Hillside shouts, “Two points!  Matt Walker does it again!” as she sensuously slides her ass into the chair next to him.  They proceed to repeat the same conversation they had yesterday, nearly word for word, so I let the video roll while I get up and make myself a sandwich.  Turkey breast, Swiss cheese, tomato and mayo on marble Jewish rye, to be exact.  I return from my brief repast to find that these two asswipes are still apology-flirting until Matt finally switches gears and tells Courtney that he was thinking of writing a letter to Jake, but “you know…writing letters?  Guys have to be careful aboot that sort of thing…people might start to think you’ve gone all sensitive.”  They both agree that it will be good to see Jake again in “just another few weeks”, or 9 ½ more blog posts for those who prefer to mark the passage of time by my online activity.  Courtney gets up to go to class, but before she’s oot of earshot, Matt asks her if things are getting serious between her and Jake.  Loathe to jeopardize any potential romance, she plays it safe and tells Matt, “Wanna know the truth?  I’m still wondering myself.  If I ever figure it oot, I’ll let you know.”  Great, while you’re at it, how aboot letting Jake know, too, you festering genital wart.

The next scene opens on these three total strangers walking through the locker vestibule reminiscing aboot some unknown kid’s “wild party” that raged on until 2:00 a.m. and its upcoming repeat performance:

strangers

They continue to talk as they approach the stairs when Brooke appears and says hi, indicating that she must be familiar with these episode interlopers.  Apparently, she’s expecting an invite to the party, but as soon as she makes this apparent, they beat a hasty retreat up the stairs.  Amanda is lurking close by wearing a satisfied smirk, so Brooke loudly laments the trio’s rudeness and “inexcusable” behavior.  Seemingly unfamiliar with her new sister, she sets Amanda up for some easy shots by wondering aloud, “What’s going on around here?  People used to look up to me.  I used to be popular!”, but Amanda merely grins and walks away.

I didn’t think the Nick cartoon “Doug” dated back this far, but apparently I was wrong aboot that, because the next scene opens on Leah wearing a Doug T-shirt as she discusses her upcoming sleepover with some other girl in the locker vestibule.  They greet Erin at the soda machine and continue debating what videos to rent for the party.  Erin asks them if they’re discussing Leah’s planned Friday night sleepover and they confirm that they are but again neglect to invite her.

Courtney schleps into The Avalon and Brooke calls oot to her from a nearby table.  Stevie Nicks of Saskatoon takes the opportunity to rip into Brooke for reading Jake’s letter and blaming it on Matt, so Brooke takes that as her opportunity to turn the tables with a torrent of self-pity: “Fine.  You can think what you like aboot me, it doesn’t matter.  I’m getting used to it.  People don’t have a clue where I’m coming from and can’t be bothered to find oot.  You know, you don’t have to put up with my sister, or my father, or with four hours of geometry homework every night!”  She then gets up from her seat and splits just when I was foolishly thinking that this scene might have a discernible point.

Oh fuck.  I knew the time would come sooner or later, but I guess now’s as good a time as any to rip off the band-aid and get our first taste of Stacy oot of the way.  Amanda comes down the stairs and sees a blue pom-pom laying on the floor, so she bends to pick it up.  A girl in a blue cheerleader uniform approaches, takes the pom-pom from Amanda and introduces herself as Stacy Collins.  This is the grotesque, groaning, awkward swamp thing I’ve dubbed Who Farted, and I will continue to refer to her as such for the duration of the series.  They chat for a few seconds and Who Farted makes it clear that she admires Amanda’s older sister, eliciting a less-than-subtle sneer from her new acquaintance.

stacy first

Back to the student lounge for round 2 of Dylan vs. Deadpool.  Before Billy can dodge him, Dylan desperately pleads with his little friend to tell him what the problem is, so Deadpool breathlessly blurts, “I don’t believe you!  You kick me oot of the band, you don’t even have the guts to tell me to my face…and then you pretend that you don’t know what the problem is!”  Dylan replies, “I kicked you oot of the band?  How come I don’t know anything aboot it?”  Billy explains that Amanda told him, so Dylan marches directly over to her locker to give her the third degree.  In an uncharacteristically nervous tone, she advises Dylan that Chris told her, prompting Dylan to declare, “I’m gonna kill him!”

Ugh.  Matt and Erin at The Avalon counter.  She tells Matt aboot how she wasn’t invited to Leah’s party and once again decries her lack of friends, so Matt gives her a pity invite to a movie on Friday night while Courtney conducts a wordless transaction with an employee at the register in the background.  Erin thanks her brother and leaves, so Herpes Simplex 2 saunters over to tell him that the conversation upon which she was eavesdropping was “really sweet”.  He shrugs off her compliment, but she continues, “I mean it.  Lots of guys wouldn’t even bother to notice that their sister was feeling lousy.”  Okay, that’s it.  FUCK YOU, COURTNEY!  Your brother was feeling lousy for the entirety of last season, but you wouldn’t remember that, of course, because you couldn’t bother to stop obsessing aboot Dylan long enough to notice, you fucking hypocritical flea-infested Yeti.

Jumpin’ Jesus on a Jitney, it’s like they’re playing musical chairs at the fucking Avalon counter!  Just as the last vapid conversation draws to a close, Arseman wanders up to the register to mutely pantomime buying a pack of gum.  She stares at Courtney as she walks past, eliciting a confused “What?” from her friend, to which she coyly replies, “Oh, nothing.  Nothing at all.”  In other words, Courtney, your flirtation is aboot as subtle as Charlie Sheen on a 3 day Vegas bender.

Back at Hillside, Erin is sitting on a bench when Leah walks by and says hi.  She asks her mopey friend, “Is 6:00 okay for you…for the sleepover Friday night?”  When Erin expresses surprise, Leah tells her that of course she’s invited, she just didn’t feel she had to ask her because they’re “best friends”, so she assumed it was a given.  Erin smiles, and so do I at the realization that this ridiculous and pointless plot line has finally resolved itself.

Shit…okay, it almost finally resolved itself.  Now she has to break her date with Matt, which the next scene mercifully takes care of promptly.  As Erin walks away from her brother, Dylan swaggers over to his nearby locker and Matt asks him if he’s ever tried to keep up with a 12-year-old, to which Leather Jacket cryptically replies, “Not lately.”  Matt smiles and says, “Don’t bother, it’s impossible,” before walking away from his…sworn enemy?  New friend?  Conveniently situated acquaintance?  This fucking show makes less and less sense by the second.

Courtney and Arseman sit down at a booth in The Avalon with some drinks and a couple of plates of French fries.  They’re discussing Ashley and the fact that no one has heard from her since she left for private school.  Courtney resolves to write her “best friend” a letter.  Switching gears, Arseman straight up asks her what’s going on between her and Matt.  When Courtney asks what she means, Arseman tells her that the way they act around each other is “not exactly like Romeo and Juliet, but not exactly like Shredder and the Ninja turtles, either,” and I am impressed at the durability of my laptop while I proceed to pummel it violently with my fists.  Courtney protests that since he was Ashley’s boyfriend, she never even thought aboot him that way before finally conceding that “he’s kinda cute” and wistfully pretending that this is the first time she’s ever stopped to think aboot any potential attraction.

At the Blackwell garage, Dylan is perched on a sawhorse noodling on his guitar when Chris enters and asks how it’s going.  Not only are Chris and Dylan’s jeans identical, but even the Ramones-style holes in the knees are in the exact same spots.  Dylan gets up and faces Chris, telling him that he knows he told Amanda that Billy was kicked oot of the band.  Chris acknowledges this fact, brushing it off as “just a slip of the tongue, I guess.”  Dylan grabs him by the shirt prompting Chris to snarl, “Get that hand off me…NOW!!”  Releasing his grip, Dylan sternly warns his delinquent bandmate, “Just don’t you ever pull a stunt like that again.  It’s my band…and Billy stays.”

chris dyl fight

Who Farted enters The Avalon with two other girls and tells them that she’ll “catch up with them in a sec” upon seeing Brooke sitting alone at a booth.  She stands there awkwardly groaning flattering platitudes at her idol before inviting her to come join her and her friends in the pinball room.  Brooke snottily declines, but then seems to realize that this is the biggest display of undeserved adulation she’s received in quite some time, so she instead invites Who Farted to join her.  She does, of course.  Who Farted is annoying enough in these early episodes, but at least at this point when she’s still a little kid that hasn’t yet blossomed into full ghastliness, I can still listen to her speak withoot simultaneously plotting oot the details of a multi-state killing spree.  She tells Brooke that she’s always wanted to talk to her, but finds her a little intimidating, which seems to please Brooke immensely, and a new friendship is born.  Christ, I wish Kelly was still here.

oh

Band practice at Dylan’s garage, with Deadpool back behind the drum kit wearing a shit-eating grin.  The song (for lack of a better word) ends and Billy and Chris immediately begin sniping at each other, causing Dylan to shout, “Alright, THAT’S ENOUGH!!  We’re a band!  We’re in this together, so let’s just get on with it!”  Chris lays off Billy long enough to growl that the band needs a singer, and Dylan agrees.

Brooke and her new protégé enter her room as Who Farted marvels at its opulence.  Who Farted suggests they go to the mall, but Brooke advises she’s loaded down with geometry homework.  Not missing a beat, Who Farted officially gets into Brooke’s good graces by telling her that her brother is a whiz at geometry and he might be willing to “help” her (the going rate is $20 a pop, incidentally).  Enter Amanda with a message from Dad who wants to know how her homework is going, prompting Brooke to respond, “Tell Dad it’s completely under control and tell him my friend and I are at the mall.”

A waiter at The Avalon delivers some food to the table of a solitary girl who looks strikingly familiar from behind just as Dylan enters from the pinball room and spots her.

ash avalon

“Ashley!  What are you doing here?”

“just having some fries.”

“No, I mean what are you doing in town? I thought you were at private school.”

“i was.”

“Well, then, how come you’re back?”

“i’m not.”

“Sorry?”

“i’m not here.  you didn’t see me.  so just don’t tell anyone, alright?”

“Look…um…I don’t get this.”

“just don’t tell anyone…please.”

She gets up and runs oot the door as I heave a sigh of relief that Whisperina hasn’t lost her flair for annoyingly cryptic dialogue.  I hope she finds Matt and Courtney oot in the parking lot drunkenly groping each other on top of Filth Pig’s car.

7 thoughts on “Return of The Phantom

    1. Ha! Post-private school Ashley is just going to make you ask “what gives, girl?!” every time she speaks. What you just witnessed was the precise moment when she transforms from a whispering priss into a self-consciously enigmatic mental patient. And perhaps this goes withoot saying, but if she doesn’t want to be seen by anyone, why the hell is she hanging oot at The Avalon?

      Liked by 1 person

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