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:
Jake is doing homework in the student lounge when he’s approached by Canadian actor Christopher “Corky” Martin.
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.
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.
Ashley: jake says he’s leaving this afternoon…for some treatment center.
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!
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.