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: 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.
Ashley: at lunch, we’ll go down to the mall.
Ashley: forget it, courtney, no wimping oot. the decision’s already been made.
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!
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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!”
“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!”
“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.”
“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.”
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!
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.