Season 2, Episode 9
I want you to notice / when I’m not around / You’re so fucking special / I wish I was special / but I’m a creep / I’m a weirdo. – Radiohead
On June 6, 1962, an obscure quartet of Liverpudlian musicians sat in an antechamber of Abbey Road Studios anxiously awaiting the arrival of famed record producer George Martin. The rest, as they say, is history.
On an unknown date in 1991, an obscure trio of Vancouverite musicians sat at the counter of The Avalon anxiously awaiting the arrival of famed talent scout Jerry the Filth Pig. The rest, as they say, is asininity.
While Dylan tries to calm his nervous band mates, we learn that Jerry is The Avalon owner’s son, but there’s still no definitive confirmation that he was the hygiene-impaired “dumpy motherfucker” of a waiter we all came to know and love in Season 1. As if reading my thoughts, the Man of the Hour shows up wearing a meticulously clean and pressed white apron. Chris immediately starts to dictate the terms of the arrangement before Jerry reminds him that he hasn’t even heard the band yet and wants to know what kind of music they play. Deadpool volunteers, “we’re kind of into New Kids” causing Chris to roll his eyes in exasperation and declare that they’re not into New Kids, so Dylan clarifies, “Well, basically, we’re rockers…but we’ve got a pretty good range!” Chris asks Jerry to drop by the garage this afternoon, but Dylan advises him that today’s too soon and he’ll contact him later in the week to schedule the audition. First, they need to find a lead singer, the desperate pursuit of which will keep them idiotically occupied for the rest of the episode.
Headband sees Ashley at her locker and asks if she’d like to go to the mall after school. As usual, Whisperina overcomplicates the process of answering a simple yes or no question, so Courtney changes the subject:
Courtney: Listen, aboot Matt—
Ashley: let’s just…leave it, okay?
Courtney: When I said I’d go oot with him, I just – I really thought it was over between you two.
Ashley: that’s what i thought, too. i thought i’d let go…then when i heard he’d asked you oot, i started going through the roof. you figure it oot. maybe i just need more time than i thought…to get used to the idea of matt going oot with someone else.
Courtney: You still care aboot him, don’t you? You still care aboot him a lot…and if that’s the way you feel, you’ve gotta tell him.
A couple of takeaways from this conversation: 1) Courtney’s obviously been spending far too much time with Arseman; 2) Matt started drinking again just in the nick of fucking time.
Dylan and Deadpool are brainstorming at their lockers when Billy suddenly declares, “It’s gotta be someone good…I mean really good, like – like Janet Jackson!” I’m gonna let that one slide because I know with the benefit of hindsight that someday you’ll be a wisecracking, ass-kicking superhero, but I’m watching you, Billy. Headband interrupts their conversation to wish them luck in the upcoming concert.
Dylan: Even though I’m a jackass?
Courtney: Oh, you are not.
Dylan: Sometimes I’m a jackass.
Courtney: Let’s just say sometimes I think you’re sort of a jackass.
Hmm. That didn’t go as planned. I thought if I typed the word “jackass” three times, Corky Martin would materialize in my living room and I could beat him aboot the head with a Dust Buster. Oh well, fuck it. Let’s move on.
In the girls’ locker room, Courtney tells Janice (phew!) that she’s really good at volleyball prompting her to wax nostalgic aboot playing on the volleyball team at her old school. As Courtney starts to leave, Janice nervously asks her if she’d like to get together some time at lunch hour. Headband hesitates, but when she notices the distressed look on Janice’s face, she asks, “How aboot tomorrow?” Janice is ecstatic, apparently forgetting all aboot the fact that Courtney finds her irritating.
I introduced the character of John in my Season 2 infographic post, but neglected to mention that we don’t actually meet him until the ninth episode of the season. This is the diminutive dork with elephantitis of the ears that we see Deadpool holding by the ankles during the opening credits. Anyhow, John is pounding on the soda machine in frustration when Billy walks over and tells him that there’s a special spot that when struck with a certain finesse – voila! – produces the can of soda. John is audibly amazed at Deadpool’s super powers, so his new acquaintance informs him that “it’s all in the rhythm…just like drumming”. He goes on to tell him that he’s in a rock band and that they’ll be playing The Avalon before he’s distracted from his self-promoting diatribe by the appearance of Ashley in the lounge.
As Erin and Leah look on from a nearby bench, Deadpool tells Ashley that he “really let Chris and Dylan have it” for rejecting her as the band’s singer. She blows off his unnecessary concern, but he continues to insist that he thought she was great. Ashley affectionately touches Billy’s arm and again tells him that he’s sweet as she gets up to go to class.
Erin: Major crush! Major crush! Major crush!
Leah: Isn’t it hilarious how a crush can turn an intelligent boy into an idiot?
Erin: Only Billy wasn’t that intelligent to begin with.
Leah opines that she doesn’t even know any intelligent boys, so Dumbo Ears who was eavesdropping by the soda machine this whole time chimes in to inform her that he’s not surprised, since “intelligent boys don’t go anywhere near girls!”
Deadpool is leaning over the back of the booth in The Avalon pinball room asking Dylan incessant moronic questions while Leather Jacket tries to work on a book report. Billy takes a seat and tries to get Dylan to advise what he should do if he’s unsure whether a certain girl likes him or not, ignoring his mentor’s annoyed attempts to brush him off. Realizing that Deadpool won’t leave him in peace until he gets an answer, he tells him to “buy her something expensive”.
Courtney and Arseman stroll through the student lounge discussing Dylan’s quest for a lead singer. Courtney thinks that he must be desperate, because he even asked her if she’d like to audition, so Arseman hands her a ruler as a prop microphone and orders her to sing. To my horror, she obliges Sassy Afro and begins to drone “Michael rowed the boat ashore, allelu—” before mercifully cutting her song short and whining, “I can’t!” Those of you who’ve been reading Notes From The Avalon since its inception will understand the significance of what follows.
Arseman: Well, that’s kind of a lame song anyway. See, a rock singer’s gotta be really aggressive. Like, um, you know that old song “Mama Says Be Glad”?
Courtney: Sort of.
Arseman: God, how does it go? (singing into the ruler while gettin’ jiggy wit it in the middle of the student lounge) Well, I’m too young to fly and I’m too old to cry, but Mama says be glad I’m young and I don’t ask why, ‘cause I’m fifteen, not old enough to be free! Yeah, I’m fifteen years old, and that’s the trouble with me!
The curiously large crowd in the student lounge (which Courtney referred to as “the cafeteria” just a moment ago) responds with thunderous applause as Dylan approaches from the locker vestibule and excitedly asks Arseman if she’d like a job.
An exterior shot of the school signals a scene change, but in its wake, we’re right back in the lounge listening to Dylan insist that Arseman has to audition for the band. She vacillates for a bit before Dylan tells her to be at the garage at 4:00.
Next we see Leather Jacket ambushing Ashley at her locker with the news of Arseman’s heretofore hidden talent: “She’s really got a…a style! I think we finally found our lead singer!” Ashley jokingly tells him aboot Deadpool’s allegation that he lit into him and Chris for rejecting her and they have a laugh before Dylan thanks her for understanding and then pulls this shit…
…a bold public display that unwittingly causes this shit:
At the mall clothing store, Billy is inspecting the price tags attached to several garments he has laid oot on the counter, hoping to find something at least moderately affordable with which to impress Whisperina. When he expresses consternation that something as simple as a scarf can be so expensive, the same obnoxious employee that helped to convince Who Farted to buy an overpriced skirt with her dad’s credit card starts to play the same poverty-shaming game with Deadpool. Incidentally, just over Billy’s shoulder, the black skirt with white polka dots that enabled Who Farted to take Hillside by storm is hanging on the wall. I’d really like to buy it for Janice, but if the merchandise in this place is oot of Ryan Reynolds’ price range, I’m sure I can’t afford to make such a gesture.
Arseman and Courtney are having a stupid conversation by the soda machine when Janice comes around the corner and deliberately avoids eye contact as she walks by. Arseman calls oot to her, so she immediately begins to apologize for eavesdropping, then nervous wrecks her way through an over-the-top effluvium of encouragement aboot Arseman’s upcoming audition. All the while, Arseman and Courtney are condescendingly staring at her like she’s a retarded kitten caught up in a ball of yarn. Janice finally runs off and Courtney decides that “she’s actually kind of okay” and Arseman seems to agree, adding that “she just needs to calm down a little”.
Arseman walks off and Courtney approaches Janice at a table in the lounge. Shit Drapes proceeds to break their lunch date for tomorrow and Janice understandably interprets this as yet another blow-off before Courtney clarifies, “How aboot this afternoon?” Good save, Headband. For a second there, I thought I was going to have to make an impromptu trip to Vancouver and go all Deadpool on your sorry ass.
Chris shows up late to the garage for Arseman’s audition. Not wishing to waste any more time, Dylan asks everyone present, “You wanna do ‘Mama Says Be Glad’ again?”, which I assume is a rhetorical question because it’s the only fucking song we’ll hear them play from here on oot. Billy gets up to adjust his snare and excitedly asks his bandmates, “Oh, hey, did you guys see that New Kids special on TV last night? They had some really great dance moves! We should try something like that!” Okay, Deadpool, listen up. In a couple of decades, you’ll have more than enough cred to get away with publicly airing your abysmal musical tastes – hell, when the time comes, I’ll even forgive you for ear-raping me and millions of other viewers with Chicago’s god-awful eighties abomination “You’re The Inspiration” – but those days are pretty far off, so you might want to keep your appreciation of audio atrocities under wraps for now. Chris responds, “The New Kids are goofs – and so are people who like them” before they launch into a painfully uninspired rendition of MSBG. When the song ends, Billy and Dylan seem ready to offer Arseman the gig but Chris asks her to step ootside so they can discuss things. As soon as she exits, Chris explains that he thinks she’s alright, but he doesn’t want her to be “too sure of herself” and wants to ensure that “she knows her place”. After a few more seconds, they ask her back in and tell her that she’s hired, but the Sass Master turns the tables and wonders aloud whether she even wants to be hired. She tells them that since she auditioned for them, it’s their turn to audition for her. Taking a seat and crossing her legs, she confidently instructs the dumbstruck trio, “Whenever you’re ready, Guys. Rock on!”
At The Avalon, Courtney is giving Janice tips on how to play pinball. After tapping lightly at the buttons for aboot a nanosecond, Janice throws in the towel and declares, “See? I totally blew it!” which doesn’t illustrate her lack of self-confidence as much as it does the fact that THE FUCKING PINBALL MACHINE ISN’T EVEN PLUGGED IN!! Courtney points oot that her initials, along with Matt’s and Jake’s, are displayed on the high scores list, prompting Janice to gush, “Wow! You guys are famous!” She expresses her envy towards pretty much everybody who isn’t her, gaining exponential psychotic steam with every word that wind sprints oot of her mouth as she treats Courtney to the most exquisite mental breakdown ever captured on celluloid:
Janice: I want to do something. Like at my old school. I was on the soccer team…everybody liked me. I was smart…and I come here and it’s not just that I’m not popular anymore, it’s also…I’ve turned into this idiot! I open my mouth and the stupidest things come oot! (a kid enters through the rear door and hurries away from her presence) There, see? I hear what I’m saying and I see people look at me like I’m crazy and I think, ‘Janice, SHUT UP’, but I can’t!! I’ve forgotten how to talk and I’ve forgotten how to shut up! SEE?! I CAN’T EVEN SHUT UP NOW!!”
More so than any of the performances we’ve seen from Laura Harris, Rekha Shah’s delivery of this glorious public meltdown defies my ability to describe it. Blindsided by this unexpected display of lunacy, Courtney tells her that it’s okay as Janice collapses into her arms and hugs Headband with all of her might.
Back at the garage, Arseman’s stone-faced reaction to the band’s performance seems to be the last straw for Chris who shouts in frustration, “Hey, take the job or don’t take it!” Sassy Ass goes off on some shit her father taught her aboot never signing a contract until you’ve thought aboot it for at least 24 hours before sashaying her self-satisfied derriere oot the door.
Matt trudges into The Avalon and Ashley says hi from her table by the door. He reluctantly returns her greeting before walking back to the pinball room. Whisperina heaves a sigh and grumbles to herself, “how come the girl always follows the guy?” before getting up to follow him. She stands, arms crossed, next to the inoperable pinball machine:
Ashley: so, how’s it going?
Matt: Hey, fine. Good, thanks.
Ashley: you know, i’ve been talking to courtney. we’re getting to be friends again.
Matt: That’s good, too.
Ashley: yeah. even when people care aboot each other a lot, they still have misunderstandings. but then they find ways to clear them up, right? and they can start over?
Matt: Why? You having misunderstandings with DYLAN?
Matt: ‘Cause you sure don’t seem to misunderstand each other! You seem to “understand” each other just fine!!
Ashley: what are you getting at? there’s nothing going on with dylan. we’re friends.
Matt: Yeah, real good friends from what I’ve seen! So where do I fit in? You having fun keeping me on a string while you’re playing with Dylan?!
Ashley: what are you talking aboot?
Matt: Or do you just keep me around so he doesn’t take you for granted?
Ashley: this is crazy!
Matt: Either way, it’s nice to feel useful.
Ashley: you creep! how come I never noticed what a creep you are?! were you always like this?
Matt: Were YOU?!
Ashley: you know something? i’m just really glad we broke up because now i don’t have to put up with any of this!
Matt: Hey, I’ll drink to that!
Ashley: you probably will! and it’ll be all my fault, won’t it? like everything was always my fault!!
Well, I wouldn’t go that far, Ashley. I’m pretty sure you weren’t responsible for the Crusades or the rise and fall of the Third Reich, but when it comes to Matt’s obvious alcoholic relapse – yeah, that one’s on you. Hell, you nearly drive me back to the bottle every time I have to transcribe one of your ridiculous whispered tirades. So nostrovia, Matt! How aboot we go for some beer and baguettes, eh?
9 thoughts on “Sanitarium”
I know I’m out of sequence here but I was just strolling through the reader while the town skips the appliance store to get to the lakes early to celebrate the birth of a collapsing nation, and I thought, “what the hell, jump in!” I found out, while reading, that Matt quit drinking, only to start again, and that he and Ashley have broken up. Sad. The party life can be so hard on a young relationship, which I remember from my church youth group days when I was … oh yes … fifteen. Somehow I have faith that this pair will find themselves back together again if Dylan and Deadpool can keep their dirty damn hands off of her.
Although, think about how much richer and more famous Ashley would be today if she chose Deadpool in this love quadrangle.
At any rate, I better grab the phone; probably someone wondering what time we’re open tomorrow (we are not) so they can get in an buy a filter before the military parade begins. “All Hail the Chief” will be playing throughout this witless town tomorrow.
Say, do the New Kids have a rendition of that tune? 🤔
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You nearly employed psychic abilities in your predictions aboot what will ultimately happen between Drinky Crow and Whisper Wuss, but the saga won’t necessarily end there! Season 4 is a mess, but the shit that goes down between the remaining classic characters is pretty good, so I’m gonna have to tackle it when the time comes. I thought the New Kids wrote Hail to the Chief, didn’t they?
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Now that you mention it it must be true!
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You /are/ using speech to text to write this, correct? (I’m amazed at how accurate that tech has become.) You’re not actually tapping all that out, every time, manually. Are you? Hmmm?
July 4th. Doesn’t seem like much of a celebration day anymore. What do you think?
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It’s all manual, appropriately old school for such a nineties-centric endeavor. As far as the non-holiday that is today, I thought aboot posting a sarcastic Happy Canada Day thing, since that occurred on July 1, but then I realized that I’d be incapable of holding back my snark and pointing oot the fact that there are literally tanks rolling through the streets of the capital today in cowardly acquiescence to King Stupid’s demands for a fucking Nuremburg Rally.
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Wandered across Doctor Martina’s Medium article and she mentioned Seneca. I haven’t heard from her for more than a year…
View at Medium.com
Maybe it’s time for a piece on Stoicism at the Avalon…
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I think it’s time you wrote another thriller.
I bet you could come up with some spicy characters and a hot plot that revolved around peppers.
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When I moved to Florida in the late 90s, the first thing I got tired of were the prolific tropical tiki bars with god-awful Jimmy Buffet tunes emanating oot to the beach. When I moved to New Mexico in 2007, the first thing I got tired of was the constant chile pepper worship. Although now that I’ve been here for a while, I think the annual Balloon Fiesta is far more annoying than the ubiquitous question, “red or green?”.
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