Season 3, Episode 2
In a recent off-topic post, I compared the overarching views and attitudes of Americans v. Canadians as I perceive them. Since we’ve lately taken an extended break from the Hillside saga while I foolishly tried my hand at more “serious” writing (pfft!), I’m guessing that I can slip one more comparative non-sequitur past the goalie before revving up the Fifteen Zamboni again. I’ve been living in Albuquerque, NM since 2007 and prior to that, I spent aboot a decade sweltering in the geriatric swamplands of South Florida. In most ways, these geographical areas are two entirely different worlds, but as I was scanning the local news on my phone this morning, one odd similarity between my two most recent habitats came to mind. Men who run afoul of the law both here and in Florida are invariably shirtless at the time of their arrests. So now you know. (Knowledge is power!) Everything besides the Albuquerque man’s shirtless arrest that made the headlines today was as typically depressing as I’d anticipated. It’s so discouraging that I just want to hide oot at The Avalon with a milkshake or a root beer float for the rest of my goddamn life.
At The Avalon, Jake brings a milkshake and a root beer float to the booth he’s sharing with Ashley. Pinky is wearing an oversized blue sweatshirt while Jake sports a typical striped shirt buttoned all the way up to the neck. Ashley starts to grill Jake aboot his new relationship with Courtney, somehow managing to seem completely disinterested in the content of her own interrogation until she brings up the topic of the “torrid love letters” they were exchanging while he was in China. Jake protests, “They weren’t that torrid,” as if these two automatons were capable of expressing themselves even mildly so. Anyhow, Jake indicates that things are just peachy in Courtney-Land and they have a laugh aboot his initial awkwardness upon seeing Headband for the first time after their six-week period as blandly torrid pen pals. Jake finally changes the subject to Ashley’s new relationship with Chris, but the most he can get oot of his oddly defensive pal aboot this perplexing hookup is that she thinks Chris is “kinda neat”. Inevitably, Ashley checks her watch (which is upside-down on her wrist, 90’s style) and indicates that she’d better get going. Even more inevitably, Jake chooses this moment to ask her aboot Matt and whether she can shed some light on his strange behavior at the party. In an inordinately bitchy tone, Ashley tells him that she really doesn’t talk to Matt anymore and that if Jake wants to know what’s going on with him, he should bring it up with Matt.
At her locker, Brooke is asking Who Farted for her opinion aboot Jake and Courtney as a couple. Knowing full well that anything short of utter contempt for the newly smitten losers will probably meet with Brooke’s mocking disapproval, Who Farted wisely opts to remain non-committal. To her surprise, Brooke opines that she thinks they’re perfect for each other, since “neither one of them is very attractive, and it can be awfully lonely going through life like that, so I think it’s really nice that they found each other!” As Brooke stops to take a drink from the water fountain, Who Farted boldly responds, “Right. I guess you must feel a little lonely sometimes, huh? I mean, Courtney does have a boyfriend and you haven’t gone oot with anyone for ages.” Brooke doesn’t deny this allegation, but explains that it’s because Hillside is deficient in guys she finds worthy of dating, just as Jake appears and asks them to tell Matt that he’s looking for him if they see him around.
Arseman sees Courtney muttering to herself at a booth in The Avalon and asks her if something went wrong with Jake. Miraculously, the javelin thrust betwixt Headband’s ass cheeks has nothing to do with her seat-of-the-pants love life this time. She tells Arseman that she can’t believe “those jerks” kicked her brother oot of the band. This is news to Sassy Afro who apparently wasn’t consulted aboot such a personnel decision being made by the juvenile delinquent contingent of Teenagers In Love. Arseman reacts with shock before concluding that, “today’s a good day to have a little chat with them.”
Back in the student lounge, Brooke is distracting Who Farted from her homework by pondering why Jake seemed so worried when he asked aboot Matt earlier.
Brooke: All of which raises the question, what aboot Matt?
WF: Brooke, I really have to get this finished before class.
Brooke: He was acting pretty strangely at the party – just disappearing in the middle of everything. Now Jake’s all worried.
WF: How do we know that? All Jake said was—
Brooke: It isn’t what people say, Stace, it’s how they say it. Jake was worried…which raises the question – good heavens, you don’t suppose Matt started drinking again?!
Brooke: Maybe he left the party to get drunk!
WF: I didn’t know Matt drank.
Brooke: Stace, don’t be so dense! Everybody knows aboot Matt, he’s a hopeless alcoholic!
WF: You’re kidding!
Brooke: That’s why Ash broke up with him. It cost him most of his friends. He was on the wagon for a while, but…if he started drinking again, then—
WF: That would be awful!
Brooke: Oh, of course it would. It would be just terrible. Poor Matt!
Dave greets Matt at his locker and asks him how it’s going (apparently, the only greeting Dave has in his repertoire). Drinky Crow indicates that he’s not doing so great, but instead of an explanation for his behavior at the party for which his little friend is obviously fishing, he goes off on the fact that Coach Williams just chewed him oot for “a full 10 minutes” due to his absence from practice last week. As Matt starts to walk away, Dave summons his courage and tells Matt, “Actually, that’s not what I wanted to talk to you aboot. Friday night…I was wondering why you left the party so early?” Better watch it, Dave, you’re getting dangerously close to hassling. Matt erupts, “Maybe I was bored, okay?!” before getting a grip on himself and alleging that he left because he was still feeling sick.
Having successfully dodged that frying pan for the moment, the raging fire consisting of Brooke and Who Farted sweeps down upon him on this accursed Monday of Infinite Hassles. Brooke opens by asking Matt if Jake found him yet, adding that “he seemed awfully worried aboot something”. She gives Matt a second to shrug this off before launching directly into a pointed inquiry aboot his disappearance from the party, guessing that “it must have been awfully hard watching Chris and Ashley snuggling up together! Pretty excruciating, actually!” Matt bellows that what Ashley does is her business, prompting this rather interesting exchange:
Brooke: Matt…are you alright?
Matt: Of course, I am.
Brooke: No, I mean really alright?
Matt: What is this with everyone? Of course, I’m alright, I’m fine! I’m perfectly fine, so JUST GET OFF MY BACK!
Deadpool is reading a comic book at a booth in The Avalon pinball room when Arseman approaches and tells him that she just heard he was kicked oot of the band. Billy finds it hard to believe that she was ignorant of Chris and Dylan’s plans since she’s the lead singer, but eventually accepts her version of events and tells her that “it’s no big deal”. He continues to shrug off her words of consolation until she tells him that she intends to have a few words with Chris and Dylan. Well acquainted with Arseman’s super sass skills, he perks up a bit and asks, “Like what?”, to which she responds, “Oh, you’ll hear it. So will everyone else within six blocks.”
Fuck me lengthwise, here comes another goddamn conversation that’s guaranteed to prove far too insipid to be described other than through a verbatim transcription. Jake and Courtney are eating lunch on a bench in the student lounge.
Jake: So I’ll drop by your place after supper?
Jake: Is that okay?
Courtney: I just said ‘sure’.
Jake: Well, I wanted to make sure you were sure. I mean, I don’t wanna seem pushy or anything.
Courtney: Jake, could you just quit being so considerate all the time? Couldn’t you find a corner of yourself that’s mean, selfish and obnoxious or something?
Jake: Hey, I’ll work on it.
You know what? Fuck these two assholes. Until they learn how to speak like sentient beings instead of complimentary Tickle Me Elmo dolls, I hereby refuse to transcribe the drivel that stillbirths its way oot of their mouths. The rest of their conversation is just another rehashing of concerns aboot Deadpool and Beanpole, respectively. Nothing to see here.
Dylan and Chris are in the garage arguing like a couple who’ve suffered through a half century of arranged marriage when Arseman sweeps through the door. Correctly surmising that she’s here to chew them oot for dumping Billy from the band, they start to defend their decision before she cuts them short: “Fine. So you’re looking for a new drummer…and while you’re at it, find yourself a new lead singer, too! You guys wanna be rock and roll superstars? Then I’m not the singer you need. Go oot and hire Madonna…I’ve had it with you guys up to here! I’m sick of the bickering, I’m sick of the egos, and firing Billy was the last straw – I quit! Want me to spell that oot for you? Q-U-I-T, quit!!”
Wow. That was something, eh? I wonder how I can calm down enough to get through the rest of this episode after taking in that dramatic harangue. I don’t keep anything like Valium or Xanax around the house anymore, but maybe if I step away from the laptop for a bit and take a brisk walk ootside – oh wait! Here comes a Jake and Dave scene; that oughta do the trick.
Jake spots Dave at his locker and asks him if he’s seen Matt, adding that he’s starting to get the feeling that his troubled friend is trying to avoid him. Dave has nothing constructive to say, of course, but tells Jake that he’ll let Matt know he’s looking for him. That’s it.
For fuck’s sake, Binkley, I said I wanted to be calm, not comatose.
Dylan sees Billy at the soda machine and apologizes for how things went down. He tells his former drummer that he hopes they can remain friends, but Deadpool makes it abundantly clear that it’s far too late for that shit. Halfway through this Mengele experiment of a series, Ryan Reynolds isn’t quite Deadpool yet, but he’s pretty close to being Van Wilder. That’s all I’ve got. I’ve never seen Van Wilder, so I don’t have a joke with which to follow that up.
Let’s check in on Chris and Ashley at The Avalon:
Ashley: so…arseman told you guys to drop dead?
Chris: Well, she didn’t exactly put it that way.
Ashley: i’m surprised. she’s usually pretty blunt.
Chris: Well, she let us know she wasn’t too happy, so now I’ve gotta find a replacement. It’s too bad you can’t sing.
Ashley: i don’t know. i even sound awful in the shower.
Chris: Yeah, but, uh…I bet you look pretty good.
Chris: So, hey, what aboot tonight?
Ashley: what aboot it?
Chris: Why don’t we get together? Catch a movie or something?
Chris: You got something better to do?
Ashley: no, it’s not that, it’s just…well, it’s a school night.
Chris: Oh, come on! You’re not turning into a schoolgirl again, are you?
He finally browbeats his whispering little girlfriend into submission and she agrees to go to the movies. Satisfied with her sniveling acquiescence, Chris tells Ashley that he’s supposed to be meeting someone soon and when she asks who, he replies, “Just someone I know.” Chris gets up to leave just as Dylan enters the café. After they trade a few barbs, Leather Jacket takes a seat across from Ashley. They engage in small talk for a few seconds until Dylan just comes right oot and asks, “Are you really sure you want to go oot with a guy like Chris?” This, of course, goes over aboot as well as his earlier attempt to smooth things over with Billy. Although Fonzie clearly isn’t having the best of days, nothing brings more sunshine to my own quite like listening to Ashley’s laughable attempts at indignant vociferation.
I’m pretty sure this next scene was inserted into the episode just to serve as a warning to viewers that cute, fresh-faced little Deadpool has turned a critical corner. As Billy studies on a sofa in the student lounge, Dave approaches from the stairwell.
Dave: You still here?
Billy: No…what’s it look like?
Dave: Looks like everyone else is gone.
Billy: Is there some sort of law saying that I’ve gotta leave when everyone else does?
Dave: Of course not, do whatever you want. Listen, I’m uh…I’m really sorry to hear aboot what happened with the band.
Billy: No big deal. Doesn’t bother me. In fact, I made the decision myself…decided the band wasn’t taking the right, you know, artistic direction. So I figured it was probably time to leave…maybe start my own band.
Dave: Well, it’s good to hear you’re feeling okay. The fact is, well, to tell you the truth, I know how it feels to be left oot of things.
Billy: Hey, I’m not surprised you get left oot of things…’cause you’re a geek!
Some time later, Courtney sees her brother playing pinball at The Avalon and asks if he’s okay, dredging up the whole dreaded topic of his unceremonious departure from the band yet again. Headband asks if he wants to talk aboot it, causing Deadpool to erupt, “What’s to talk aboot?! They decided I’m no good, so I’m OOT!” as he smacks the pinball machine in frustration.
Courtney: Come on, Billy! Who says you’re no good?
Billy: They do, Courtney!! I knew I wasn’t the greatest drummer in the world but I was really trying to get better…I figured it might be the one thing in my whole stupid life I might be good at!
Courtney: Come on, Billy, you are good at lots of things.
Billy: Name one! I’m lousy at school, I’m no good at sports, and I don’t even have any friends! I thought Dylan was my friend…I really thought we’d stick by each other…and then he just turns around…
Courtney puts her hand on Billy’s shoulder but he pushes her away and runs oot of The Avalon the long way, past the counter and the payphone, even though we’ve seen on many occasions that there’s a fucking exit door directly behind him.
And now comes the Mother of All Fifteen Scenes, so brace yourselves. Everything you’ve read up to now, all 27 ½ rambling episode summaries were all leading up to this. Excited? You should be.
Jake comes down the stairs and sees Matt at his locker.
Jake: So here you are!
Matt: Jake, how’s it going?
Jake: I’ve been looking for you all day!
Matt: I’ve been around.
Jake: You weren’t in any of the places I was looking.
Matt: Guess you were looking in the wrong places.
Let me interject here and note that this is the first and only time that Matt actually almost appears to be drunk, which is to say that his hair’s a bit messy and his cheeks are slightly red.
Jake: I was just down in the library…I guess you were at basketball practice?
Jake: How’d it go?
Matt: Imagine your worst nightmare, then square it.
Matt proceeds to gripe aboot Coach Williams for a while, then declares that if the coach yells at him like that again, he’s going to quit the team.
Jake: You don’t mean that.
Matt: Don’t tell me what I mean. Well, I guess I better get going.
Jake: Hang on…I mean, we’ve hardly had a chance to talk to each other since I got back.
Matt: We’ll have lots of chances.
Jake: Yeah? I’ve got to admit, I’ve actually started to wonder if you’re, like, trying to avoid me or something.
Matt: Why would I want to avoid you?
Jake: I’m not sure. Maybe ‘cause I’ve known you for so long – ‘cause I know you better than anyone else does. Matt, aboot the party Friday night…
Matt: What aboot it? I wasn’t feeling so well, so I left early.
Jake: Withoot even telling anyone?
Matt: What, I’m supposed to ask people’s permission?
Jake: That’s not what I mean.
Matt: Then what do you mean?!
Jake: Matt, are you drinking again?
Matt: What? Of course, I’m not drinking again! What kind of accusation is that?!
Jake: Are you drinking a lot?
Matt: I just told you I’m not drinking at all!! Great…I thought you were supposed to be my best friend!
Jake: That’s why I’m asking.
Matt: You fly off to China, then you come back and make these stupid accusations?! Man, I don’t need to hear this from you!
Jake: Matt, you’ve got a real problem and you’ve got to face it!
Matt: No…no, you’re the one who’s got a problem!! Making these crazy accusations…how do you know if I’ve been drinking or not?!
Jake: BECAUSE THERE’S LIQUOR ON YOUR BREATH RIGHT NOW!
Matt: Don’t be stupid…I was at basketball practice.
Jake: Are you telling me I don’t know what booze smells like?
Matt: JUST GET OOT OF MY FACE!!
Jake: Matt, you’ve got a problem!
Matt: I said get oot of my face!!!
Matt turns to leave but Jake grabs his sleeve and continues to harass him. His patience exhausted, Matt tears himself from Jake’s grasp and cold cocks him in the face, sending Jake tumbling to the floor.
Matt stammers, “Oh man…I didn’t mean—” before running oot of the school, leaving Jake to stare after him while clamping a hand over his injured eye.
Yeah, all that just happened. And it only took us four months to get here.