An E-mail From Deadpool

pc deadpool

About a month ago, in a rare burst of optimism, I e-mailed Ryan Reynolds at the address he uses for his Aviation Gin company with a link to Notes From The Avalon and a pathetic plea that he visit my blog page.  Naturally, I received a hilarious but impersonal auto-reply, meaning that I am no closer to getting Mr. Reynolds’ attention now than I was before the attempted contact.  This morning, I got an e-mail from ryan@aviationgin.com containing a forwarded exchange between Ryan and the head of Aviation’s advertising department, culminating in a link to his latest piece of self-promotional genius.  Thus, whether he realizes it or not (not), Ryan Reynolds has officially contributed to Notes From The Avalon and though it’s not nearly as exciting as if he had commented directly on one of my posts, I’m still pleased as punch to present it here.  Enjoy and remember to always drink responsibly lest you find yourself locked up in some hospital place with Matt.  Cheers.

Blue Velvet

crowd 1

Season 3, Episode 7

A smattering of vaguely grotesque patrons sits in a drab cabaret, facing the small stage whose dim back-lighting transforms the curtain of party streamers into a hazy blur of shimmering trepidation.  The phantasmagoric performance begins with a guttural yelp from the twisted and quivering lips of an elderly Vaudevillian chanteuse that’s met by anxiously enthusiastic applause from the assembled gallery of freaks.  On each of the tables, next to the flickering hurricane lamps, rests a severed hand, gnarled and petrified from decades of ornamental use.

Did the previous paragraph sound more like a description of a scene from a David Lynch film or a reminder that round 2 of the Hillside Talent Contest is rapidly approaching?  Ideally, it should have been the latter, but that’s literally only due to the lack of severed hands present in the nightmare that’s aboot to commence.  John Binkley’s imagery may be a tad more subtle, but it’s no less disturbing than any of the subconscious dementia with which Twin Peaks and Eraserhead were indulgently replete.

We open on Ashley studying alone at The Avalon when Roxanne approaches her booth.  Ignoring Whisperina’s desperate pleas to be left alone, Roxanne takes a seat and insists that they need to talk.  Ashley reiterates that Roxanne can have Chris because he’s a jerk, to which our increasingly inscrutable resident biker chick replies, “Yeah, I know.  I think that’s what I like aboot him.  Nice guys are boring.”  Directly on the heels of her coolly laconic summation of the bad boy allure, Roxanne starts to loudly defend herself against unspoken accusations, claiming that up to this point, she and Chris haven’t been involved as anything more than friends.  Ashley doesn’t seem to understand why Roxanne initiated this chat and to tell you the truth, neither do I, but she clearly thinks it’s important to dispel the rumor that she’s the type of person who’d steal someone’s boyfriend.  Loath to let Roxanne get the last word, Ashley advises her that if she’s planning to get involved with Chris, she’d better be careful, since he’s been trying to rekindle their relationship.

Courtney and Jake are in the student lounge discussing Courtney’s stupid fucking play that she wrote for English class.  Her lunatic of a teacher gave her an A+, so Jake is attempting to shatter Headband’s false modesty by praising her like she’d just penned A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  He recaps his effluvium of flattery: “This could get to be a real problem for me – going oot with someone who’s gorgeous and talented!” but Courtney’s tight-lipped reaction signals that things aren’t as rosy in that fickle little brain of hers as Jake’s ear-to-ear smile would lead one to believe.  After a long, awkward silence, Jake strokes Courtney’s hair, causing her to cringe visibly, though she’s quick to allay this uncomfortable moment by claiming that his hand is cold.  As he gets up to go to class, he asks Courtney if she’d like to go with him to see a play this weekend.  Her nervous and non-committal reply to the invite speaks volumes, though Jake is far too dense to read between the lines and pick up on the glaring indications of imminent rejection with which he was just bombarded.

At The Avalon, Who Farted brings a couple of beverages to the booth she’s sharing with Brooke and resurrects the topic of Dylan’s curiously disinterested reaction to her on again/off again mentor’s advances.  This is one of those tedious plot lines that never seems to approach any point of closure, probably because Ian Weir is at a loss as to what else he can do with these two increasingly incompatible characters.  Regardless, the coffee cake sitting untouched on a plate in front of Who Farted looks fucking delicious.  Switching gears, Brooke brings up the talent contest in which Who Farted will be performing this afternoon, claiming that she thought aboot entering, then decided against it so as not to show up the other performers.  All the while, Roxanne’s been sitting at the counter with her back to them, but upon hearing Brooke’s arrogant explanation for why she’s not entering the contest, she gets up and storms over to the booth.

Roxanne:  You know why Brooke’s really avoiding the talent contest?  It’s because she doesn’t have any talent.  Kinda tragic, really.

Brooke tells Roxanne to drop dead and exits The Avalon in a huff.

Chris is at his locker wearing a phlegm-toned tie-dye when Dylan taps him on the shoulder and asks if he told Roxanne that she’s oot of the band.  He responds in the negative, so Dylan tells him to bring her by the garage after school so he can tell her himself.  Chris splits as Brooke approaches and starts in on her pathetic attempts at flirtation until Dylan finally cuts her short and asks if she’s trying to get him to ask her oot or something.  Brooke plays coy until Leather Jacket mockingly asks her to lunch at The Avalon in a tone so overtly sarcastic that only a retarded toddler — or the president of the United States — could mistake it for a sincere invitation.

brooke happy
A retarded toddler

Roxanne is at the soda machine when Chris swaggers down the stairwell.

Chris:  Hi, Gorgeous!

Roxanne:  Are you talking to me?

Chris:  Well, who else? (he puts his apparently cooties-infested arm around her shoulder) Listen, it looks like we’ve got a problem.  I was talking to Dylan this morning—

Roxanne:  (extricating herself from his embrace) So how are things with Ashley?

Chris:  Ashley?

Roxanne:  I was talking to her before school.  Interesting little chat.  So I understand that you’re trying to kiss and make up!

Chris:  What?!  Oh, come on…

Roxanne:  That’s what Ashley said.  Are you saying she’s lying?  Ashley has her faults but I don’t think she’s a liar.

Chris:  Okay, maybe the day after we broke up, I asked her if she was sure.  That’s all.  Really!

Roxanne:  You don’t have to get all panicky.  It just means you’re not sure you want to start going oot with me.

Chris:  That’s not true!

Roxanne:  Which is good because I’m not sure I want to start going oot with you!  So let’s just see what happens.

Chris:  Roxanne, just listen!

Roxanne:  Don’t whine, Chris!  I can’t stand whining.

chris denied

Courtney is moping on a bench in the student lounge when Ashley walks by and asks if she’s okay, adding that she looks like someone who just lost her best friend (which is something Headband seems to do every other fucking day, so how the hell can anyone tell the difference?).  Courtney sighs her silent assent, then quickly recovers and asks Ashley if she wants to meet up at The Avalon later.  Pinky Dinks advises that she’s supposed to meet Dylan there this afternoon, but Courtney is free to join them if she wishes.  When Courtney declines the invitation, Ashley sits down and demands that she spill her guts.

Courtney:  It’s Jake.

Ashley:  what’s happened?

Courtney:  Well, nothing’s happened.  Not exactly.  It’s just…I really like Jake.

Ashley:  yeah, that’s pretty obvious.

Courtney:  I think he’s just a great guy.

Ashley:  well, he is.

Courtney:  That’s exactly the problem, because there’s nothing more than that!

Ashley:  i think i’m missing something here.

Courtney:  I have been trying really hard to convince myself that I like him…you know, in the other way…because he wants me to.  But I just don’t!  Kissing Jake is like kissing my brother…because that’s what it is!  He’s like a brother to me.

deadpool-fireplace-700-700x305
I’m down for a little incest, Courtney

Courtney:  Ashley, getting involved in a relationship with him was a really terrible mistake.  So what am I supposed to do now?

Ashley:  oh, boy.

Brooke sees Who Farted at her locker and gloatingly tells her that Dylan asked her oot for a lunch date.  In a momentary display of piquant wit, Who Farted asks if she’s sure she understood him correctly, but Brooke insists that Dylan was sincere and suggests that perhaps Who Farted is just jealous.

Roxanne is playing pinball at The Avalon while Chris leans over the machine and tells her that Dylan wants to meet with both of them at the garage, but he’s hesitant to fulfill this request because he knows that Leather Jacket wants to kick Roxanne oot of the band. (Was she ever in the fucking band?)  Always the pragmatist, Roxanne tells Chris that Dylan deserves a chance to say what he needs to say.  Chris counters that it will almost surely lead to an unnecessary fight, but Roxanne opines that she doesn’t mind a good fight.  Finally, Chris asks what will happen if Dylan just kicks her oot of the band, to which she cryptically replies, “Oh, I’ve got one or two ideas.  Wanna hear them?” as the incongruously dramatic background score leads me to wonder if murder and dismemberment are among the things she’s been brainstorming for such an eventuality.

Dylan and Ashley enter The Avalon where Brooke is waiting impatiently at a table.  As they sit down at the counter, Brooke storms over and goes utterly apoplectic.

Dylan:  Is something wrong?

Brooke:  You invite me to lunch and then you leave me sitting here for twenty minutes!  Then you show up with her and you’re asking me if something is wrong?!

Dylan:  (to Ashley)  I don’t know what she’s talking aboot.

Brooke:  What?!  YOU INVITED ME TO LUNCH!!

Dylan:  I did not!  You started talking aboot lunch!

Brooke:  And you said it sounded like a great idea!

Dylan:  Just a second…you mean you took me seriously?!

Brooke:  Of course I did.

Dylan:  Well, how was I supposed to know that?

Brooke:  Oh great, and now you’re trying to weasel your way oot of it!

Dylan:  Look, why on Earth would you think I’d wanna go oot with you?  I mean, when you come right down to it, why on Earth would you even think I’d like you?

Taken aback by the unintended harshness of his own words, Dylan starts to backpedal, but the damage to Brooke’s increasingly fragile ego is done.

brooke rejected

Some time later, Ashley says hi to Brooke as she passes by her locker and tells her that she’s on her way to the gym for the second round of the talent contest, which is interesting, because it’s being held in the student lounge and we’re never once afforded a glimpse of this school’s alleged gymnasium.  So Courtney thinks the student lounge is a cafeteria and Ashley thinks it’s a gym and I think John Binkley is a fucking maniac.  Make of that what you will.  Anyway, Brooke accuses Ashley of being in on Dylan’s “prank” and making her look like a fool, punctuating her self-pitying jeremiad with a loud declaration that she doesn’t care and doesn’t need people to like her.

ashley amazed

Dispensing of Arseman’s opening stage banter, we’re dropped right into the Talent Contest in progress with Russ wearing a shit-eating grin as he grinds a duotone dirge from an accordion.  I assume that we jumped into Round 2 of the contest withoot the usual fanfare because Russ isn’t officially Russ yet, so Arseman would have been unable to introduce him by name.

russ
Russ, smiling like he doesn’t have leukemia a care in the world

Arseman:  Wow, that was…interesting.  It’s not every day somebody plays the accordion.  Um, our next act is gonna be Dylan Blackwell doing Hamlet.

dylan hamlet
To die, to sleep, to bomb

Arseman:  Yeah, uh…Dylan with Hamlet.  Anyway, our next act is gonna be a stand-up routine.  Little John DiMarco making us laugh!

big ears stand up
“A family walks into a talent agency…”

Arseman:  Yeah, that was a good job.  Now, we have something even more interesting.  A saxophone player – by our own Stacy Collins! (What are you looking at? I didn’t write this shit.  Take it up with Ian Weir.)

sax
She Farted

After a perplexing round of thunderous applause for Who Farted’s painfully off-key abortion of a sax solo, a mousy bespectacled girl runs to Arseman’s side and hands her a note.

Arseman:  A surprise late entry by Brooke Morgan doing a tap routine!

brooke dances

What follows is the most singularly bizarre and confusing scene in the history of children’s television.  Brooke emerges from backstage wearing a top hat and cane, unfolds a small square of tap-dancing floor and places it on the stage.  The mousy girl enters stage left, steps up to the microphone and takes oot a harmonica.   As Brooke begins her clumsy tap routine, the girl in glasses holds the harmonica up to her mouth and proceeds to inhale and exhale withoot moving it left or right, producing exactly two notes in repetition to serve as musical accompaniment.  For roughly 15 seconds, Brooke alternately dances and goes tumbling to the ground as the audience intermittently breaks oot in laughter.  After one final trip and fall, she finally folds up the square of tap floor and exits the stage.

There’s so much more that needs to be said aboot this scene, but my words just aren’t up to the task.  If only Sailor and Lula had been in attendance.

wild at heart
Sailor, Baby, that whole act was wild at heart and weird on top!

At the garage, Dylan is advising Roxanne that she’s not good enough to sing for his band.  In the most nonsensical expression of defiance ever spoken, Chris counters that Roxanne isn’t fired, Dylan is, leaving them free to seek oot a more accommodating guitarist for “their band”.  (Incidentally, I’m planning to start a band of my own soon.  I’ll need a singer, guitarist, bassist and drummer.  Interested parties should inquire in the Contact section – knowledge of the Grapes of Wrath’s back catalogue is preferred, but not required).

Almost as a merciful return to normalcy, we end the episode in The Avalon, where Ashley and Courtney are having the exact same conversation aboot Headband’s lack of libidinous feelings for Jake that they already conducted less than five minutes ago in the student lounge.  Ashley tells Courtney that she needs to tell Jake the truth and just as Headband begins to whine that she wouldn’t be able to live with herself, Jake walks into the café.  He bends down and kisses Courtney on the cheek.

Jake:  Hi, Ashley.  Hi, Gorgeous!  So how’s it going?

Courtney:  Oh, you know…good.

Jake:  I’m just gonna grab a milkshake.  Can I get you anything?

Courtney:  No, no, we’re just fine.

Jake:  I’ll be right back then.

Courtney:  (to Ashley)  See what I mean?

courtney finale

Yes, Courtney.  I see exactly what you mean and that’s precisely why I feel that you deserve to be tarred and feathered in the middle of Robson Square, you fucking twat.  Unlike the Hillside Talent Contest, that would be a show well worth the price of admission.

Until the next time.

Post-Script

I would be remiss if I failed to provide a word for word transcription of the final joke of John’s stand-up act.  Not only did this elicit a considerable laugh from his humor-impaired peers, but it nearly prompted a standing fucking ovation: “My 4th grade English teacher – wooh!  Now, get this – his name is William.  Yeah.  That’s kinda strange, isn’t it?”  No, John.  No, it isn’t.

Get Cool, Daddy-O

beatnik ashley

Season 3, Episode 6

Ashley is an asshole.  Forgive me if that sounds like a patronizing statement of the obvious, but her friends seem incapable of coming to terms with her staggering disloyalty, self-absorption, and manufactured moodiness, so I thought a quick overview of her deliberate instantaneous image overhaul might be a good way to start this episode summary.  In Season 1, Ashley was presented as a shy, conscientious people-pleaser who spoke in a timid whisper.  She subsequently got caught cheating on a test and as a result, was sent to private school by her overprotective parents for three fucking days.  Then she ditched school, moved back and hid oot in Dylan’s garage until her folks finally caved to her demands and let her go back to Hillside.  It might be hard to remember that this is the sum total of events leading up to her present state of acute PTSD.  At least Billy had some real broken family and social rejection issues to account for his transformation into a pubescent prick.  But a couple of mildly stressful days in scholastic limbo is all it took for Ashley’s trademark whisper to morph into a spiteful hiss-per, yet her idiotic friends refuse to acknowledge the astounding alacrity of her manipulative bullshit.  When a small enough space is inhabited exclusively by assholes and idiots, nothing good can come of it.  I think there may have been some subconscious sociopolitical cynicism concealed in that last sentence, but who the fuck can tell anymore?

Speaking of Beelzebub, here she is at The Avalon recounting for Courtney her public break-up with Chris, adding so much spice to this otherwise unremarkable tale that just listening to her is causing my intestines to contract.  Regardless, she more or less arrives at the reasonable conclusion that she made a bad choice and smiles warmly at Headband in lieu of an apology for having reacted in such a shitty way to her expressions of concern throughoot the whole self-made ordeal.  Of course, Courtney immediately ruins this otherwise poignant moment by ceaselessly gushing aboot how wonderful it is to be talking like friends again.  After they acknowledge the warm and fuzzy feelings of renewed friendship to the point of redundant equinocide, Ashley curiously changes the subject to something far more pressing.

Ashley:  well, listen, if we’re best buds again, there’s something i’ve wanted to ask you for ages.

Courtney:  Oh, well, ask away!

Ashley:  courtney…how come you dress like that?

Courtney:  Like what?

Ashley:  i’m not saying you look awful or anything, it’s just…well, you’re really pretty!

Courtney:  Come on!

Ashley:  no, really, but you dress like you don’t want anyone to know that.  so why don’t we change the image a little?

Courtney:  Look, I don’t know—

Ashley:  i’ll do your hair and help you pick oot some new clothes.

Courtney:  Well…

Ashley:  courtney

Courtney:  Tell you what – I’ll think aboot it.

Ashley:  no, you won’t.  if you think aboot it, you’ll wimp oot!  so we’ll do it tomorrow.

Courtney:  Tomorrow??

Ashley:  at lunch, we’ll go down to the mall.

Courtney:  Look—

Ashley:  forget it, courtney, no wimping oot.  the decision’s already been made.

ashley happy

Well, then!  I think the breakneck speed at which Ashley just went from morbidly depressed to conceitedly confident actually somehow managed to break the sound barrier.  Pretty impressive coming from a girl whose voice rarely exceeds five decibels.

Arseman sees Dave at his locker and asks if he’s ready for this afternoon’s talent show.  This afternoon!  Holy shit, I didn’t expect the utterly surreal phantasm that is the Hillside High Talent Show to creep up on us so quickly.  Arseman’s question caught me off guard and I can only hope that my compositional prowess is up to the task.  Dave tells her that he’s not planning to enter because he doesn’t have any talent (self-awareness is a wonderful thing), and it’s also established that the talent show will consist of two “rounds”.  What this means for us, unfortunately, is that this spectacular shit-show will span the better part of two episodes.  Dave changes the subject and tells Arseman that Matt called him from the treatment center last night.  I don’t know aboot you, but if I were locked down in a 28-day inpatient facility, I think I’d make better use of my allotted nightly phone call than pissing it away on this tedious jock-strap scrubber.

Who Farted is at the Avalon counter when Brooke blusters into the café and announces that she’s decided to join the cheerleading squad.  As she’s scolding Who Farted for her less than enthusiastic response to this news, Dylan walks past the counter.

Brooke:  And here he is again!

Dylan:  Hi.

Brooke:  Dylan, we’ve gotta stop meeting this way!

Dylan:  Yeah, exactly.

Dylan turns and exits the café.

Who Farted:  Brooke, can I ask you something?  Are you sure Dylan has a crush on you?

Brooke:  Of course, he does!  It’s common knowledge.

Who Farted:  Then how come he never even stops to talk?

Brooke:  Well…well, I’d prefer you didn’t tell people this but the fact is, Dylan and I once started going oot together.

Who Farted:  Yeah?

Brooke:  Yeah.  I actually agreed to go on a date with him.  He kept begging and begging, but then, at the last minute, I decided that we just weren’t right for each other.  He was crushed.  Heartbroken, actually.  You know, I just can’t stand breaking guys’ hearts, but it’s something that just seems to happen and that’s why he’s been avoiding me, obviously.  The memories are just too painful.

Alright, this goes on for far longer than I’m willing to continue transcribing, but the upshot is that Brooke informs Who Farted that maybe she should start dropping hints to Dylan that she’d be willing to try going oot with him again, “if it would make him feel better”.

Ashley is getting books oot of her locker when Chris approaches and starts stammering a pseudo-apology for their “little misunderstanding”.  As he nervously struggles to find his words, Ashley interrupts and asks if he’s trying to get back together.  He confirms that he’d like them to give it another chance to which Pinky Dinks replies, “chris, drop dead…but have a nice day.”

chris dumped

In the girls’ locker room, Courtney gives her new ootfit a once over and declares that she looks ridiculous.  Ashley counters that she looks great, even though she somehow managed to make her fashion-impaired friend look even worse than usual with this preposterously mismatched style makeover.  I shit you not, Courtney is wearing an extra thick Cosby sweater tucked into a denim skirt over black stretch pants, but at least she momentarily ditched the headband, so I guess that’s something.  She sits down on a bench so Ashley can brush her hair when Brooke bursts into the locker room dressed in a cheerleader uniform and asks, “Well, what do you think?” with a flourish of pom-poms.  She proceeds to treat them to some typically Brookian self-promotion until Ashley asks her what she thinks of Courtney’s new ootfit.  Brooke concedes that “it’s not as bad as some of her old ones” and exits their makeshift hair salon.

hair

Dylan comes down the stairs conspicuously carrying a folded piece of paper and runs into Deadpool in the hallway.  Seemingly oblivious to Billy’s palpable disdain, he asks him how it’s going while taping the note to a locker.

Billy:  Good.  Hey, is that a love letter or something?

Dylan:  This is Chris’ locker.

Billy:  I didn’t know you two felt that way aboot each other!

Dylan scoffs at the insult and walks off as Deadpool snatches the note off the locker.  As he’s reading it, Chris arrives at his locker and Billy informs him that he just missed Dylan and that the note in his hand states that Leather Jacket wants to meet him after school.

Chris:  Hey!  Just where do you get off reading something that’s addressed to me?!

Billy:  I guess I just like to keep tabs on what my pals are up to…and naturally, you and Dylan are two of my most favorite people in the whole wide world!

Chris:  I don’t believe this!  Are you still sulking aboot the band?

Billy:  Who’s sulking?

Chris:  You are!  Look, it didn’t work oot ‘cause you’re just not good enough.  I mean, nothing personal, man, I mean, I’m sure you’ve got a million talents.  It’s just that, well, to be honest, you were the lousiest drummer I’ve ever heard.  So why don’t you just grow up and deal with it?

Chris starts to walk away when Deadpool grabs him forcibly by the arm.

Billy:  Let’s get something straight!  I couldn’t care less aboot your band.  I’ve got better things to do.

Chris:  I’m glad to hear it.

Billy:  But I’ve gotta admit – sometimes you really tick me off.

Chris:  I beg your pardon?

Billy:  You heard me.

Chris:  So, you planning on doing something aboot it?

Billy:  Maybe I should.  Yeah…maybe I’m getting sick and tired of the way you treat people, acting like you’re Mr. Hot Shot or something.  So maybe I should do something aboot it.

Chris rapidly raises his hand and Deadpool jumps back in alarm.

Chris:  Let me give you a piece of advice, Bill.  Do yourself a favor – stop trying to pretend you’re so tough…’cause you’re not.

billy grabs chris

In the student lounge, Ashley presents the glorious results of her Extreme Courtney Makeover to Arseman and Jake who react with predictable over-enthusiasm to the fashion atrocity standing before them.

Jake:  This is gonna take some getting used to!  I mean, I’m not sure if I can handle going oot with someone who looks this good.

Courtney:  Come on, let’s not go overboard.

Jake:  You look wonderful.

Arseman:  These two are so happy together, it actually makes you sick!

Exiting the boys’ locker room, Big Ears is telling Dave that his five-minute act for the talent show will consist of some opening jokes, a little orange juggling, a few impressions and some songs.  Sort of like a condensed episode of The Merv Griffin Show, I guess.  He starts to walk away when Billy swaggers over and sneers, “Hey, Twerp!  Been in any good lockers lately?”  Dave looks on with concern as Deadpool menacingly fixes his gaze and asks, “What’s the problem?  Don’t you have any friends?”

Dave:  What do you mean?

Billy:  You know, you can always tell when a guy’s really unpopular.  He starts hanging around six-year-olds!

John:  I’m thirteen!

Billy:  Same difference!

Dylan is at his locker when Brooke and Who Farted descend the stairs.  Brooke tells him the “big news” that she’s joining the cheerleading squad, so Leather Jacket sarcastically responds that maybe she can bag herself a jock boyfriend who’s “strong like ox, smart like tractor”.  I’m not going to say anything else aboot this scene, because you’ve seen similar attempts by Brooke to impress Who Farted with her alleged desirability a million times and I want you to really roll Dylan’s “witty” remark around in your head for a while because I’m a fucking asshole and I refuse to suffer alone.

arseman mc

Stock footage of a far more diversified cross-section of students than we’ve ever seen at Hillside clamoring to enter the school signals that the Talent Show is aboot to begin.  A makeshift stage has been set up in the student lounge, complete with a set of stairs for the tuxedo-clad Master of Ceremonies (friggin’ Arseman) to theatrically descend until she’s standing on a red carpet at audience-level.  She introduces herself as Arseman Harrell, which I believe is the first time her last name has been divulged, and announces, “Our first act is gonna be The Great Chris MacDonald and his lovely assistant Roxanne Lee doing mysterious and wondrous things!”

satanic majesties
Their Satanic Majesties Request

“Wasn’t that fantastic!  Wow!  Our next act is gonna be David O’Brien doing wonderful juggling.  He’s gonna be using fruits and balls – David!”

dave juggles
Ball Fondler

“Thank you, David!  God, that was awesome!  Okay, our next act is gonna be something that’s totally, totally mysterious.  Jake Deosdade and Billy Simpson doing hypnosis.”

billy jake
Deadpool once peed himself with stage fright before playing the part of a turnip

“I told you we had talent here!  Okay, our next act is gonna be something really interesting.  Something you don’t see often.  Courtney Simpson and Ashley Fraser are doing a poem — with bongos.”

beatniks
burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars

Okay, so I abdicated the responsibility of describing round one of the talent show to Arseman and some visual aids, but that’s only because round two is so incredibly bizarre that it will take much more than that if I’m to impart even the faintest idea of its sheer lunacy.  That’s something for which I’ll need to be far more prepared than I was today when Arseman frankly blindsided me with the show’s imminence.

Dylan is noodling on his guitar when Chris storms into the garage and gives him a world of shit for leaving notes on his locker.  Leather Jacket informs him that Roxanne isn’t good enough to be in the band.

Chris:  Oh, get real!

Dylan:  Look, it’s my band.  It’s my decision.

Chris:  What, you want me to go tell her she’s fired?

Dylan:  Yeah, exactly.

Chris:  Well, forget it!

Dylan:  Look, she isn’t good enough!  And I don’t care if you like it or not.  End of story!

Chris:  One of these days, Dylan, you’re gonna push it too far and then, look oot.

Dylan:  Is that a threat?

Chris:  No, that’s a promise!  Trust me!

dylan finale

Boy, boy, crazy boy – get cool, Boy!  Got a rocket in your pocket, keep coolly-cool, Boy!  Go man go, but not like a yo-yo schoolboy!  Just play it cool, Boy.  Reeeeal cool.

Sister Margaret’s Home For Wayward Girls

scary deadpool

Season 3, Episode 5

Deadpool’s been awfully quiet lately, hasn’t he?  I fear that’s starting to make me look bad.  For all my foreshadowed teasing of Billy the Bully that began somewhere towards the end of Season 2, we’re already at the fifth episode of the third season and aside from calling Dave a geek, we’ve seen precious little of his alleged metamorphosis into a teenage terrorist.

Deadpool enters The Avalon and greets his sister who is at a table studying with a glass of orange juice (or maybe eggnog).  Courtney makes it clear that she’s too busy for small talk, so Billy tries oot some of his new attitude on her, sarcastically apologizing for being such a bother.  Courtney confirms the efficacy of his manufactured contempt by calling him back to the table and asking if everything’s okay.  Deadpool tells her that Dad is getting remarried to his girlfriend Colleen as soon as the divorce is final, but the ambivalent tone with which he delivers the news makes it impossible to discern whether he considers this turn of events to be good, bad or neutral.  Regardless, he chides Courtney for not asking how he feels aboot the prospect of living with a new stepmom and when she does, he breathlessly responds, “Hey – I feel LOUSY!  I feel totally, absolutely, 100% lousy!!  THANKS SO MUCH FOR ASKING!!!

billy mad

Dylan comes down the stairs and sees Ashley at her locker.  After fighting their way through some horribly maladroit dialogue representing Ian Weir’s best guess as to how 90s teens speak to each other, Dylan apologizes for getting all up in her business regarding her stupid relationship with Chris.  She accepts his apology but reminds him that she’s a big girl who can take care of herself…except, of course, when she’s so afraid to face both her parents and her peers that she needs to seek sanctuary in his garage for several days.

Courtney is still sitting at her table in The Avalon when Jake enters and starts apologizing so profusely for being fifteen minutes late that – wait, sorry.  I promised that I wouldn’t subject you to any more of the insipid romantic banter between these two shamelessly saccharine boob pubes until they learned how to speak like human beings, and I intend to honor that vow.  Like the trooper I am, I waited oot the interminable stomach-churning dialogue on your behalf only to realize that the sole point of this scene is for Courtney to reiterate what we already know: Dad’s getting remarried, Deadpool’s not happy aboot it, and she’s starting to worry aboot him.

You know what?  I fucking love Brooke, and I love Robyn Ross even more for bringing this relentlessly antagonistic character to life.  The following encounter between Brooke and Ashley at Whisperina’s locker perfectly illustrates why I feel this way.

Brooke:  Ashley!  So here you are.

Ashley:  brooke…hi.

Brooke:  So, how are you?

Ashley:  not bad…so what do you want?

Brooke:  Nothing, I just thought I’d ask how you’re doing.

Ashley:  fine.

Brooke:  Good.  I’m glad.  So how’s Chris?

Ashley:  what’s that supposed to mean?

Brooke:  I’m just asking.

Ashley:  as far as i know, he’s fine.

Brooke:  Good…and things are alright between the two of you?  I mean, I know it’s not exactly any of my business…

Ashley:  right.

Brooke:  It’s just that I’ve been hearing all these terrible rumors!

Ashley:  what sort of rumors?

Brooke:  Well, aboot Chris spending so much time with Roxanne.  I mean, I know these rumors are totally false.  Chris would never do anything like that to you and you musn’t get upset just because people are whispering behind your back!  I just want you to know that I’m rooting for you and Chris – I really am – and it would be just awful if all of this ended up in broken hearts and tears!

brooke smug

The world’s lamest couple is eating lunch in the student lounge while Jake mock-complains aboot the soggy egg salad sandwich he packed himself for lunch.  Mercifully, Dylan walks over and interrupts before Jake’s retarded improv routine can go much further.  It seems that Leather Jacket has nowhere else to turn aboot his mounting concern over Ashley’s troubling relationship with Chris.  I guess that’s understandable since Pinky continues to meet his friendly concern with stubborn offense, but personally, I’d prefer suffering in silence to seeking the witless advice of Black Eye and Headband.  He fills them in on Chris’ philandering and ill-treatment of their fragile little friend, departing with a gentle admonishment that they should talk to her aboot it.

Jake:  Have we been missing something?

Courtney:  Looks like it.

Jake:  I guess I haven’t spent a lot of time with Ashley.

Courtney:  Neither have I…and when we do get together, I guess we don’t really talk aboot stuff.  Well, not like we used to, anyway.  Ashley’s been kind of distant, I guess…like she doesn’t really feel comfortable around us anymore.

Jake:  Well, a lot of things have changed.

Courtney:  You know, to tell you the truth, I kind of wonder if that’s why she went oot with Chris in the first place…you know, to prove some sort of point.

Jake:  No more responsible straight-A student?

Courtney:  Exactly.  And if what Dylan says is true – we know what she was like with Matt.  When things started going wrong, she figured it was all her own fault.  She got herself tied up in knots just trying to fix everything!

Jake:  Yeah, I know.

Courtney:  And if she starts doing that with someone like Chris—

Jake:  –Ashley’s gonna get herself stomped on.

Courtney:  Right.

Jake:  In a really major way.

Courtney:  Oh, boy.

courtney oh boy

As Brooke struts past with her nose in the air, Who Farted sheepishly calls oot to her while getting books from her locker.  Brooke returns her greeting in an icy monotone before informing Who Farted that she thinks she’s prepared to forgive her for her part in yesterday’s “childish, stupid, mean-spirited little prank”.  Astoundingly, Who Farted sticks to her guns and replies that she thought it was pretty funny and is surprised Brooke doesn’t feel the same “since you have such a great sense of humor”.  Though having her own words thrown back at her would normally be a bridge too far for Brooke, she sucks it up with minimal protest because she wants to know if Who Farted has any more dirt on Ashley and Chris.  To Brooke’s disappointment, Who Farted indicates that she doesn’t think it’s any of their business, so Brooke wonders aloud why Ashley would go after Chris instead of Dylan.  When Who Farted asks whether Brooke finds Dylan attractive, she replies that she doesn’t but that lots of other girls seem to, and that it’s actually Dylan who has an “embarrassing” crush on her.  Enter Dylan from the stairwell whose sarcastic monosyllabic responses to Brooke’s over-the-top display of friendliness cause the performance she’s putting on for Who Farted’s benefit to backfire spectacularly.

Chris runs into Dylan at The Avalon and preemptively tells him not to bother with any of his Ashley-related rebukes.  He tells Leather Jacket that he found a new singer for the band as Roxanne walks into the shot.  Dylan asks, “Who, Roxanne?” as Chris puts his arm around her in a silent confirmation of her new status as lead singer and main squeeze.

chris rox

Hiding behind a row of lockers, Big Ears winds up a joy buzzer that’s situated in the palm of his hand.  He greets some nameless Kid ‘N Play wannabe with his hand extended, but despite this extra’s ridiculous haircut, he’s too smart to take the bait.  Next, Roxanne approaches and similarly avoids the consummation of his archaic prank, adding that it’s “the oldest trick in the book”.  I guess that’s as good a way as any to eat up 27 seconds of an episode.

Who Farted comes down the stairs in her cheerleader uniform and pumps some change into the soda machine.  Brooke approaches and starts to mock her ootfit (and cheerleading in general) when two jocks walk up and tell Who Farted that she’s “looking good!” in a manner that’s very reminiscent of the reaction she received to her new polka-dot dress last season.  It’s almost as if Who Farted paid a few of these guys to linger around various spots in the school so that they can jump oot and pay her undeserved compliments whenever Brooke needs to be put in her place.  They tell her that they’ll see her after school and walk away.

who farted jocks

WF:  I guess not everybody thinks cheerleading’s dumb.

Brooke:  Of course not!  It isn’t dumb at all.  As a matter of fact, I’ve been thinking of joining the squad myself.

WF:  You’re kidding!

Brooke:  Why should I be kidding?  Are you saying you don’t think I’d make a good cheerleader?

WF:  No, I’m not saying that at all!  As a matter of fact, we could use another member.

Brooke:  Well!  Then maybe this is something that I should seriously look into.

At a booth in The Avalon, Chris is trying to convince Dylan of Roxanne’s vocal capabilities, but Leather Jacket is more concerned aboot Chris going over his head and offering the spot to Roxanne withoot consulting him first.  The animosity between Guitar and Bass is reaching critical mass.

At Courtney’s locker, Deadpool is trying to arrange a time for them to get together and hang oot, but Headband’s schedule is too full of Jake to allow for something as comparatively pedestrian as spending time with her increasingly psychotic little brother.

Some time later, Billy is at the soda machine when Jake approaches and tells him he heard aboot his father’s plans to remarry.  Deadpool responds to Jake’s ensuing interrogation with non-committal replies that graduate into sneering mockery as Dylan enters the school and lingers in the locker vestibule.  Just as Billy nearly executes an escape from this pointless exchange, Jake changes the subject and asks if he’s planning to enter the talent contest.  He starts to tell Deadpool that he has an idea for his performance, but he’ll need a partner, when Dylan cuts in between them and asks Billy how it’s going, providing him with the merciful excuse to beat a hasty retreat for which he’d been searching ever since making the ill-fated decision to buy a soda.  Hey, Kim Mitchell, I thought nobody ever got hurt going for a soda.  So how do you explain this?

Uh oh, Courtney and Ashley decided to go for a soda at The Avalon and I highly doubt that this carbonated beverage will be any too painless, either.  Courtney gushes aboot how great it is to just be hanging oot and talking like they did in olden times before segueing to the elephant in the room.

Courtney:  So how’s it going…I mean, between you and Chris?

Ashley:  it’s going fine.

Courtney:  Yeah?

Ashley:  look, if you’ve got something to say, why don’t you just say it?

Courtney:  Hey, I was just asking—

Ashley:  no…you weren’t.

Courtney:  Well, it’s just…I’ve kind of been hearing things.

Ashley:  what kind of things?

Courtney:  Well, actually, it’s aboot Chris spending a lot of time with Roxanne.

Ashley: (heaves a sigh) so you wanna know if the rumors are true.  if you want to listen to rumors, be my guest.  i don’t know if they’re true or not.  if they are true, i’ll deal with it, alright?  i’ll just deal with it.

Ashley gets up from the table and storms oot of the café just as Jake enters.  He takes the seat Ashley vacated and Headband informs him that the only thing they can do considering Ashley’s reluctance to talk is “just sit back and watch a really good friend get really badly hurt”.  Finally, Shit Drapes says something that makes sense!  I didn’t think she had it in her.

Third time’s a charm, Big Ears.  Seeing Deadpool at his locker, John walks over and thanks Billy for being a friend while extending his joy buzzer-rigged hand.  Billy grasps it and predictably gets shocked, setting off Big Ears’ uncontrollable laughter.  You done fucked up, Son.  Deadpool grabs John by the shoulders and slams him up against the row of lockers while pulling open Big Ears’ locker door, shoving him inside, slamming it shut and hastily spinning the combination lock.  He sneers “You little twerp!” before strolling away, leaving John to scream in desperation from inside his locker.

big ears locker

At the garage, Roxanne’s audition is in full swing.  Dylan strums his guitar while Chris’ bad-ass biotch shimmies and shakes in rhythm to what’s either the act of singing or performing tone deaf moose calls.  The only lyrics that can be discerned are “come on back, ooh, baby, come oooon back!” making me guess that this is the song “Come On Back” that Roxanne referenced in her Season 2 critique of the Teenagers In Love concert at The Avalon.  When the song finishes, Chris tells her that she was great, but Dylan says that they need to talk.  Roxanne sneers, “Are you saying there’s some sort of a problem?” as Chris puts his arm around her and leads her oot of the garage.

roxanne sings

Jake enters the locker vestibule and hears John screaming for help from his locker.  He pulls it open and frees Big Ears from his undeserved incarceration, setting off a torrent of vocalized disbelief that “he” would do such a thing on a Friday afternoon knowing full well that he could have been stuck in there all weekend, all withoot mentioning Billy’s name.  He punctuates his curiously anonymous anti-Deadpool harangue by screaming, “I hate him!” before running off, leaving Jake to wonder to whom he was referring.

Chris and Roxanne are discussing the audition in The Avalon when Ashley marches over to their booth.

Roxanne:  Oh, hey!  Why don’t you join us?

Ashley:  no, thanks, i wouldn’t want to interrupt anything!

Chris:  You, uh…you upset aboot something?

Ashley:  don’t even bother asking, chris!  i don’t have anything to say to you! (turning to Roxanne) but i do have something to say to you.

Roxanne:  Yeah?

Ashley:  this guy’s a total jerk.  if you want him, hey – take him, because i don’t ever want to see his face again!

ashley mad

Less than a minute left, but just enough time for one more good Avalon confrontation.  Billy enters the café where John is waiting at a table.

John:  That was really lousy!  I could have been stuck in that locker all weekend!

Billy:  Poor ba-by!

Deadpool snags the milkshake from John’s table and starts drinking it.

John:  Give me that!  You have no right to do that and I’m gonna tell the Principal!

Billy:  John, do me a favor, would you?  SHUT YOUR MOUTH OR I’LL SHUT IT FOR YOU!!

big ears finale

How Deadpool resisted the temptation to grab him by both ears and lift him off the floor, I’ll never know.  But I guess that’s what makes him a superhero.

 

Ashley & Chris: A Reader Poll

ash chris

It’s time to let your voice be heard!  The unlikely romance between Ashley and Chris is already tumultuous, to say the least, so I thought it would be appropriate to have you, the loyal readers of Notes From The Avalon, weigh in on how you feel aboot this unlikely and controversial coupling.  In the comments section, choose one of the entries from the following multiple choice list and, if you’re feeling particularly ambitious, elaborate on the factors behind your decision.  Do you think Ashley and Chris are a good fit?

A.  Yes! Ashley and Chris were meant for each other.  Ashley Fraser is a fucking drama queen and the only thing that could potentially inspire her to raise her voice above a whisper is trying to maintain a relationship with a volatile dirt bag like Chris MacDonald.

B.  Yes! Ashley and Chris were meant for each other.  Ashley Fraser is a fucking drama queen and the only thing that could potentially inspire her to raise her voice above a whisper is trying to maintain a relationship with a volatile dirt bag like Chris MacDonald.

C.  Yes! Ashley and Chris were meant for each other.  Ashley Fraser is a fucking drama queen and the only thing that could potentially inspire her to raise her voice above a whisper is trying to maintain a relationship with a volatile dirt bag like Chris MacDonald.

D.  All of the above.

I Get A Pass

brian tweet3

I have a tendency to read between the lines.  In fact, I’ve noticed that even when I listen to someone speak, I similarly tend to listen between the lines in an effort to suss oot the underlying psychology behind a person’s stated opinion.  Some seemingly uncharacteristic gripes of a few old friends of mine recently brought this into starker focus.  Now, what I’m aboot to say may sound hypocritical coming from a purveyor of knowingly offensive online content such as I, but stay with me on this one: the growing wave of self-appointed social justice warriors on a mission to shame anyone and everyone for their choice of words may be annoying, but in the larger context, it is just the type of visceral over-correction that may be needed if the modern collective consciousness is to transform into something more civil and egalitarian than it has been since time immemorial.

The aforementioned gripes of people I’ve known for many years go a little something like this: Initially, I hated Trump just as much as everyone on the left, but now I think he may be right aboot destructive political correctness.  I am so tired of people telling me how to speak that I can’t imagine voting for another left-wing asshole who’ll monitor everything I say.

Talk aboot a knee-jerk reaction!  Are these friends of mine actually trying to say that they’d rather live in an authoritarian, white supremacist state as long as those at the helm don’t encourage verbal and linguistic micromanagement from their constituents?  If so, then they are suckers who have fallen for the very games of intentional divisiveness from Trump and his ilk that they allegedly once despised.

How do I square all of that with my unshakeable defense of free speech?  Quite simply, by speaking freely, but with the understanding that if someone takes issue with something I say or write, that person is also exercising their right to free expression.  Your typical Fox News pundit would have you believe that “PC culture” is an epidemic threatening the very foundations of the nation and its constitution.  However, they do so in defense of those who have all but run that “sacred” document through the fucking shredder, and it is only the threat to their continued dominance in the social, racial and ethnic hierarchy that they fear.  The only reason there has been such an uprising of public protest by those who take offense at racist, xenophobic, homophobic and misogynistic speech is because those people have been on the receiving end of the institutional discrimination allowed by hateful and/or cowardly public sentiment for the entire history of the United States.  If, like me, you have enjoyed the privilege afforded to those of us who are straight, white, American born males, you must ask yourself how you would react if you found yourself on the wrong end of the cultural stick and subject to the hatred, violence and lack of opportunity that has gone along with the experience of being a minority in this country for so many people who are only just finding their voices and a platform on which to raise them now.  That platform, of course, is the internet, the same one utilized by those who peddle in hatred and division, as is their right.  To many, the downside to freedom is responsibility, however, an unfortunate but necessary element of free expression is that those who use words to divide and incite are exercising the same rights we use when we call them oot on it.  Thus it could be said that some of us use our right to free expression responsibly and others do not.  Shy of direct threats of bodily harm, we must allow them this irresponsibility.  And it is that very irresponsibility against which we now hear a rising chorus of equal and opposite free speech.

When I referred to the content of my writing as potentially offensive in the opening paragraph, I wasn’t really talking aboot my fondness for vulgarity.  Swear words are something over which someone must choose to take offense, especially since there are inoffensive and “acceptable” terms that have the exact same literal meanings as their verboten four-letter synonyms.  What I was referencing was my use of terminology that was a-okay in the social climate of the early 90s (the era of the TV show to which this ridiculous blog is dedicated) but has become largely taboo in the intervening decades.  Specifically, off the top of my head, I can count at least a half a dozen times that I used the term “retard” or “retarded” as a pejorative so far in my parody-heavy analyses of Fifteen.  Why would I use such a word when I know that there are those who cringe at its very existence?  Because, whether thoughtlessly or with awareness, I along with many others used it quite liberally back in 1991.  The reason you don’t read any racially charged or homophobic language here is because I never really utilized such terminology, even when it was more “socially acceptable” to do so.  I don’t court controversy by saying things that are antithetical to my own values.  But “the R word”, as I’ve more than once heard it called?  Yeah, that one still escapes my lips with the ease of unconscious respiration.  Apparently, I’m not alone:

From Rick & Morty

Rick:  Your sister’s boyfriend gave me a microscope that would have made me retarded.

Morty:  Ooh, oh boy, Rick, I don’t think you’re allowed to say that word, you know?

Rick:  Uh, Morty, I’m not disparaging the differently abled.  I’m stating the fact that if I had used this microscope, it would have made me mentally retarded.

Morty:  Okay, but yeah, I don’t think it’s aboot logic, Rick.  I think the word has just become a symbolic issue for powerful groups that feel like they’re doing the right thing.

Rick:  Well, that’s retarded.

Regardless of the fact that I obviously side with the fictional Rick Sanchez on this one, would it be wrong of someone to tell me that my use of such language is offensive or hurtful?  Of course not!  In fact, I’m guessing that the only reason I’ve yet to receive such admonishments is because Notes From The Avalon has a whopping readership of 37 people.  Granted, a year or two ago when my blog was more opinionated and diverse in its subject matter, I had a much bigger following, yet I still never caught any shit for my frequent evisceration of people’s religious and political beliefs because I was preaching to the choir.  In other words, the only people who tend to follow someone’s personal blog are those who agree with its author on most issues.  This is why it seems that no matter what I say, I always seem to get a pass.  I’m sure this wouldn’t be the case if I started writing aboot shit that a preponderance of people might actually be interested in reading as opposed to analyzing the crap oot of an awful Nickelodeon children’s program.

My point is, nobody is trying to take your right to free speech away, just like nobody is trying to take your guns away.  If weathering the occasional online scolding for how you express yourself is the only price you have to pay for the potential increase in universal civil and human rights, then my advice is to just suck it up.  But for Christ’s sake, don’t overhaul your entire worldview into something racially exclusive or even fascistic just because the PC Police hurt your feelings on Twitter.  In other words, please choose your battles wisely.  Perhaps we can revisit your gripes aboot having to occasionally defend the language you use after we’ve dispatched of the racist authoritarian threatening to tear us apart with his strategically divisive Oval Office megaphone.

Some Hospital Place

matt suitcase

Season 3, Episode 4

In lieu of an opening riff for this episode summary, here’s a 2014 photo of Canadian actor Christopher “Corky” Martin:

dylan 2014

Jake is doing homework in the student lounge when he’s approached by Canadian actor Christopher “Corky” Martin.

dylan jake

Aside from a Season 1 scene in which Jake and Dylan nearly came to blows when Jake confronted him aboot playing with Courtney’s feelings, I don’t ever recall these two interacting in any way.  Regardless, they shoot the breeze aboot the trials and tribulations of doing homework like two old friends until Dylan sighs that sometimes he thinks it would just be easier to drop oot of school, prompting Jake to respond, “You’re not serious?” as if he had any reason to be concerned aboot Leather Jacket’s scholastic future.  Dylan replies, “When was I ever serious aboot anything?” (spoiler alert: he is) before changing the subject to Jake’s black eye.  He tells Jake that he heard aboot what happened, as well as Matt’s imminent departure for a rehab facility.  After acknowledging his less than civil history with Drinky Crow, he adds, “Listen…if you see him before he leaves, just…just tell him I said hi and…and hang in there, okay?  Hey, I mean, you don’t kick a guy when he’s down, right?”

Arseman enters The Avalon and sees Erin sitting alone at a table with a glass of milk.  She reacts to Arseman’s cheerful greeting with tearful silence, so Sassy Afro takes a seat next to her and tries to comfort her aboot her brother’s impending rehab stint.  As if taking part in a completely different conversation, Erin replies, “Dad just told me…Matt has to go away to some hospital place.”  Alright, let’s stop right there.  According to several exterior shots we’ve seen of the school, the institution both of these girls attend is called Hillside High School, not Hillside Elementary.  Although some of the students look like pre-teens, none of them can be much younger than 14 unless they’re child prodigies capable of skipping grades and Erin’s last choice of words certainly makes me doubt that she’s among the precociously gifted.  Another clue aboot the general age of these kids was when Matt indicated that Billy was 12 years old, only to be corrected by Ashley that he’s actually 14.  So even though Matt and his immediate peers have self-identified as 15-year-olds for three fucking seasons now, the youngest Erin can possibly be is thirteen.  If I had a 13-year-old daughter who referred to a substance abuse treatment center as “some hospital place”, I would enroll her in a school for the learning disabled in the hopes of increasing the slim chance that she may grow into a semi-functioning adult.  Anyhow, it’s established that Matt will be leaving for the rehab center this afternoon before Arseman asks Erin if she’d like to help her with “a project I’m working on at school”.

The next scene opens in the student lounge with Arseman channeling Cindy, Hillside’s former resident hippie, by enlisting the help of a fellow student in the Herculean task of hanging a fucking sign on the wall.

vivisectioni

While Cindy’s stupid “If You Love This Planet…Think!” signs were frequently the object of Brooke and Kelly’s sneering derision, Arseman and Erin now have to deal with Brooke and Who Farted’s similar reaction to her curiously bold stance against vivisection.

Who Farted:  Vivisection?

Brooke:  Yeah, I think it’s the name of a thrash metal band.

Arseman:  It means cutting up animals for medical research.

Brooke:  Of course, I know what vivisection means…I just wanted to make sure that you did.

A couple of things: 1) Who Farted is even more severely retarded than Erin; 2) Brooke is correct, Vivisection is actually the name of FOUR separate thrash metal bands (https://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Vivisection); 3) I vow not to waste anymore time describing yet another pointless plot revolving around these pathetic attempts at student activism.  Anyway, Who Farted finds the cajones to imply that Brooke is in the wrong for being so critical of Arseman’s “political awareness”, illustrating that the gulf is continuing to widen between the former thick-as-thieves duo.  Moving on.

Finally, something worth digging our teeth into!  Ashley and Chris are eating lunch at The Avalon.

chris bandana

Ashley:  jake says he’s leaving this afternoon…for some treatment center.

Chris:  So?

Ashley:  it’s not exactly the most cheerful thing to think aboot.

Chris:  Well, if Matt needs treatment, a treatment center’s exactly where he belongs!

Ashley:  yeah…but i still feel bad.

Chris:  What, you’re saying you’re gonna miss him or something?  Like you can’t live withoot him?

Ashley:  don’t be ridiculous!  i’m just worried aboot him…and i feel…i feel like i let him down, too.

Chris:  What are you talking aboot?

Ashley:  he’s been going through all this and i haven’t even talked to him.

Chris:  Look, are you gonna spend all my lunch hour trying to tell me how much you miss your ex-boyfriend?!

Ashley:  i’m just trying to tell you how i feel.

Chris:  Oh yeah, and it’s coming across loud and clear!  You wanna get back together with him or something, don’t you?!

Ashley:  that’s not what i’m saying at all!

Chris:  Hey, don’t let me stop you!  Maybe you should stow away in his suitcase and go to the treatment center with him!

Ashley:  chris…

Chris:  Do whatever you want!  I’m just getting sick and tired of hearing aboot it!!

Meanwhile, Shit Drapes and Black Eye are eating lunch in the student lounge, rehashing the grisly details of their involvement in the traumatic confrontation of their drunken friend like two combat veterans discussing their experience in ‘Nam at a PTSD support group.  As Jake gets up to go to class, Courtney stops him and starts to explain that there’s something she needs to tell him before chickening oot and saying they can talk aboot it later.  He bends down to kiss her on the cheek as Arseman saunters up to the table.

Arseman:  You guys!  Hanging around with you two is like being trapped in a rerun of The Love Boat!

Jake:  Yeah, well, try changing channels or something.  See you later.

Arseman takes Jake’s seat next to Courtney and asks if something’s bothering her.  Headband starts to explain that there’s something she needs to tell Jake, but she’s not sure how he’ll take it, just as Big Ears reminds us of his pointless existence by running up to the table and asking Arseman if she’s been to her locker lately.  He informs her that he saw “something kind of gross”, so Arseman gets up and follows him to her locker where she finds this:

chicken2

Okay, there are now two simultaneous quasi-plots for which I’m going to cut to the fucking chase instead of following Ian Weir’s ludicrously drawn-oot treatment of these largely irrelevant matters.  First plot: Brooke got pissed off that Who Farted seemed to side with Arseman aboot the importance of animal rights, so she hung a chicken from Sassy Afro’s locker.  When Arseman arrives, her locker is surrounded by a gaggle of curious unnamed kids until Brooke breaks through them wearing a fox fur stole and spouting sarcastic remarks aboot the chicken’s rights having been violated.  Brooke blows Arseman a kiss and splits, so the Sass Master turns to Who Farted and says, “Stacy, tell me something.  You’re intelligent and you’re not a person with an IQ of a breath mint, so why on Earth do you hang around with Brooke?”  All good on that one?  Good.  Here’s the second stupid plot that I’m going to condense for the sake of brevity: Courtney feels obligated to tell Jake that she almost went oot with Matt while he was in China.  Eventually, after torturing herself aboot it for the better part of the episode, she breaks the news to her new beau and he turns oot to be completely cool with it.  There.  Now I need not speak of these matters again.

Ashley and Dylan are drinking sodas at The Avalon.

Ashley:  i just don’t understand him sometimes.

Dylan:  Who, Chris?

Ashley:  this morning, i mention matt’s name and all of a sudden, we’re in the middle of this huge fight.

Dylan:  What, did Chris get jealous or something?

Ashley:  how could he be jealous?  there’s nothing to be jealous aboot.  i mean, i don’t want to get back together with matt.  all of a sudden, chris starts making all these accusations.

thumb suck

Dylan:  What a jerk.

Ashley takes offense and furrows her brow.

Dylan:  Well, hey, if that’s the way Chris acted, then he was being a jerk!

Ashley:  you don’t need to call him names.

Dylan:  I’m just saying—

Ashley:  chris isn’t a jerk, he’s my boyfriend, okay?  i don’t know, maybe it was my fault.

Dylan:  Ashley—

Ashley:  no, really, i mean matt used to be my boyfriend.

Dylan:  And that means you can’t even mention his name?

Ashley:  that’s not the point, it’s just…maybe i’ve gotta try a little harder.  i’ve gotta make chris realize that he’s the one i care aboot.

Dylan:  Woah, I mean, it sounds like Chris is the one who should be trying harder.

Ashley:  stop criticizing him!

Holy fucking smegma-filled dildos, listening to these two converse is like getting a Medieval colonoscopy.  I obviously wasn’t in a properly lighthearted frame of mind to tackle this episode today, because while I sit here trying to figure oot which of these idiots is more deserving of a good throttling by the neck, I find it increasingly difficult to stomach another word of their preposterously moronic dialogue.  Sigh.  But such is the burden of those who suffer for their craft.  Pressing on:

Dylan:  Ashley, Chris is the one who started the argument, right?  So how come it’s turned into your fault all of a sudden?  Stop blaming yourself!

Ashley:  all i’m saying—

Dylan:  If Chris has a problem, Chris has a problem!  You can’t let him dump it on you!  I mean, if you start reacting that way—

Ashley:  look, i can react any way i like, okay?  so just stay oot of it!

In the student lounge, Big Ears is attempting to juggle two oranges with all the finesse of a Parkinson’s-stricken musk ox when Who Farted approaches and asks what he’s doing.  He advises her that he’s practicing for the upcoming school talent contest.  As she turns to walk away, John calls her back and asks for her help in the execution of “something really hilarious” that he’s planning to pull on Brooke. Who Farted displays her enthusiastic assent with a devious smile.

Courtney and Jake descend the stairs to their lockers and eat up the next minute and a half of the episode resolving the stupid plot that I already took it upon myself to dispense of over five paragraphs ago.  The scene ends with mutual verbalized wonderment aboot what each of them could possibly have done to deserve the affections of someone as intrinsically wonderful as the other.

Arseman is getting books from her locker when Brooke storms over and accuses Sassy Pants of stealing her fox stole.  They erupt into a shouting match until Who Farted marches in between them and tells Brooke that she needs to come with her right now, leading her away by the arm.  At the soda machine, Who Farted tells Brooke that her fox stole was pilfered by a militant animal rights group.  As Brooke expresses her incredulity at this ridiculous premise, Who Farted pulls a string behind her back that’s attached to the fox stole on top of the soda machine, causing it to drop and wrap around Brooke’s neck.

fox

As Brooke screams and flails, a group of students gathers and laughs uproariously at the spectacle, including John (who masterminded the prank), and Russ, a character I’m pretty sure we won’t officially meet until the final season, but that I’ve conveniently identified in the picture below with an artistically rendered arrow:

russ

Needless to say, Brooke FREAKS. THE. FUCK. OOT.  Better watch your back, Who Farted.  A betrayed Brooke Morgan is nothing to be trifled with.

Chris swaggers into The Avalon and approaches the counter when Ashley calls oot to him from a table by the payphone.

Ashley:  chris!

Chris:  Oh, hi.

Ashley:  i was really hoping you’d be here.

Chris:  I was just heading over to Dylan’s.  I stopped by to get some gum.

Ashley:  just listen.  i just wanted to say…i want to apologize for what happened this morning.

The mixture of surprise and sly satisfaction on Chris’ face seems to indicate that he’s just as amazed at Ashley’s utter lack of self-esteem as I am.

Ashley:  i shouldn’t have started talking aboot matt.  that wasn’t really fair and i know how you must have felt.

Chris:  Yeah, well… (he turns back to the counter)

Ashley:  chris, wait.

Chris:  I told you, I’m in a hurry.

Ashley:  chris, i’m starting to get really worried…aboot us.  i really want this to work, but i think we need to talk.

Chris:  Aboot what?

Ashley:  aboot the way things are going.  i’m starting to feel like i’m walking on eggs…all the time.  chris, you’ve gotta understand—

Chris:  Ashley, I told you, I have to get over to Dylan’s.

Ashley:  what aboot after rehearsal, then?

Chris:  Yeah, sure…around 5:00?

Ashley:  i’ll meet you here?

Chris:  Fine.

dumbass

In Matt’s basement, Jake watches as Drinky Crow packs his clothes for the treatment center.  Matt soliloquizes aboot how weird it will probably feel to spend a month in the company of a bunch of kids with drug and alcohol problems as Jake cuts in with the occasional lame joke in an impotent attempt to ease their mutual discomfort.  After Matt calls himself a loser, Jake responds with the most uninspiring and monotonous pep talk he could possibly deliver.  Regardless, it seems to do the trick and they shake hands, bidding each other a fond adieu.

shake

Erin is playing pinball in The Avalon when Jake walks in and tells her that Matt’s leaving soon, so she should get home to say goodbye.  She dutifully obeys and scurries off to wish her brother luck at the hospital place.

In Dylan’s garage, Leather Jacket stops noodling on his guitar long enough to tell Chris that the band isn’t going anywhere withoot a singer and a drummer, as if this needed to be clarified.  Chris counters that they also won’t go anywhere unless Dylan drags himself into the 90s and they proceed to bicker in their inimitable, repetitive way.  Eventually, even Chris can stomach no more of this, so he turns to leave, but Dylan holds him back and tells him he wants to talk aboot Ashley.

Chris:  What aboot her?

Dylan:  She’s a friend of mine.

Chris:  So?

Dylan:  So maybe you better start treating her a little better.

Chris:  What’s this aboot?  Ashley’s been running to her pals complaining aboot mean old Chris?!

Dylan:  No, she isn’t like that, but I can see what’s going on…and I don’t like it.

Chris:  So why don’t you try minding your own business?

Dylan:  What’s the deal?  You found oot you can have lots of fun jerking Ashley around?

Chris:  Did you hear what I said?  IT’S MY BUSINESS.  STAY OOT OF IT!

In the Walker basement, Matt’s nervously wringing his hands over his packed suitcase when Erin comes down the stairs and asks what will happen to him in the rehab center.  He jokingly gives her a horrifying account of being locked in a cement room and beaten with sticks until he swears off beer, then quickly changes course when he realizes that his fucking moronic little sister is too dense to recognize obvious sarcasm and tells her that he’ll just be talking with other alcoholics and drug addicts aboot their common problems.  Erin tells Matt that she’ll miss him and they embrace each other tightly.

hug

With one minute and four seconds left in the episode (including the closing credits), Ian Weir finds it necessary to shoehorn one more scene into this interminable chapter of the Hillside saga.  Ashley is reading a book at The Avalon when Arseman comes in and sits down across from her.  Sassy Ass asks if she wants some company and Ashley responds that she was supposed to already have company, but Chris is twenty minutes late.  Who Farted just happens to be walking past their booth to the pinball room when she overhears Ashley’s words.

WF:  You’re waiting for Chris?

Ashley:  yeah.

WF:  He’s not here.

Arseman:  Hey, brilliant deduction.

WF:  No, I mean I just saw him a couple of minutes ago…down at the mall with Roxanne.

Ashley gets up from her seat and flees the café, leaving Arseman and Who Farted awkwardly staring at each other.

WF:  Did I say something wrong?

arse fart

No, Who Farted.  In fact, this is one of those rare moments wherein you actually managed to say something right.  But I still wish you wouldn’t make a habit of speaking, just the same.

30 down, y’all.  35 to go.