If you’ll indulge me, my friends, I’d like to break the fourth wall one more time here at Notes From The Avalon for a quick year end wrap-up.
What a fucking relief it is to relegate 2019 to the rear-view. As the country in which I live descended further into the quagmire of racism, fascism and xenophobia, I knew that withoot a reliable diversion, I might very well have thrown in the towel and succumbed to despair. (Fifteen to the rescue!) In retrospect, such a decision would have been downright tragic.
If there is one single lesson that I hope my humble web page imparted, it’s this: no matter how bleak and frightening reality may become, you can always take refuge at The Avalon, where everyone is always welcome.
A few odds & ends to close oot the year:
Coming Soon: Fifty – The Reunion
The only planned future addition to this page that may will appear in the upcoming year is a script I’m fixing to write for the upcoming Fifteen reunion show that (currently) exists purely in my imagination. There’s no strict timeline for this as I’ll be spending much of the first half of the year getting certified as a veterinary tech, but it will be complete and online before 2020 fades into the long march of history.
Robyn & Randy
You are nothing short of royalty ‘round these parts. As a former online purveyor of philosophical pontification, I’m sure it comes as no surprise to hear that my sudden decision to devote all my writing in 2019 to the analysis of Fifteen was met by considerable confusion from my former readers. The fact that you both recently acknowledged and complimented this little project is nothing short of a total vindication, but that’s not the real reason for my enormous appreciation of your kind words. In case this wasn’t apparent through my chosen comedic style (i.e. an incessant barrage of vulgar mockery), the truth is that I was and still am a HUGE fan of the show of which you both were such an integral part. It means everything to me that you loved my tribute to your show. I love you back…
One Good Turn Deserves Another
…and that’s not all. Everybody knows what Ryan Reynolds has been up to for the past quarter of a century, but perhaps you’re unaware of the fact that Robyn Ross is a phenomenal actor. (If I’m not mistaken, we don’t say “actress” anymore, right? I wouldn’t want to be politically incorrect, lest people think I’m a fucking retard). If you met that claim with even a scintilla of skepticism, go watch a 2014 independent film called “Suck It Up, Buttercup”. It’s not for the squeamish, but this gritty and honest depiction of the insidiousness of addiction left me nearly speechless, and Robyn’s stellar performance was the indisputable heart of the film. Just brilliant.
…The Professor and MaryAnne
Just in case anyone else of direct significance should stumble upon my little Hillside-centric corner of the internet, all my love to the rest of the cast, too, of course — even (especially) you, Sarah (Douglas) and Lisa (Warner). Sometimes immature little boys don’t know how to express feelings of affection, so we resort to relentless ridicule. The fact is, Fifteen and by extension, this blog would have been nothing withoot you.
Reading Iz Fundamental
Speaking of exciting creative ventures emanating from the Great White North, loyal Avalon friend Suzanne of MyDangBlog! published her second book this year, entitled The Dome. Buy it. Read it. You’re welcome.
Happy New Year!
Friends of The Avalon, one and all: Jesse and I wish you a motherfucking awesome year to come, because you truly deserve nothing less.
The part of Brooke was played by a lovely Canadian actress named Robyn Ross. Unbeknownst to me (prior to a few days ago), I’d been in possession of another of her performances for over a decade. If you check her IMDB profile, you’ll notice that she was in the movie Juno, credited as “Vanessa’s Friend #2”. Though I’ve seen Juno many times, I watched it again after learning that she was in it, only to find that she is on screen for literally 3 seconds and doesn’t speak a single word (nor does “Vanessa’s Friend #1”, for what it’s worth). During the mall scene where Jennifer Garner runs into Ellen Page while she’s oot shopping with friends, Vanessa’s Friends #1 and 2 appear, giving her an excuse to cut the conversation short. If you blink, you’ll miss it, so briefly refrain from snapping your eyelids and gaze upon a grown-up Brooke doing what she can to pay the bills:
Matt and Dave trudge into the boys’ locker room. Slender Loris is uncharacteristically winded after playing one-on-one with Laundry Boy, so Dave tells him not to get down on himself, especially considering how long it’s been since he’s played basketball. In my last episode summary, I kind of glossed over the scene where Dave first sees Matt in the student lounge after his return from the treatment center and thus neglected to note that Matt indicated he frequently played basketball with his fellow drunks during his self-imposed incarceration. Thus, a rare lack of continuity from your humble narrator nearly got John Binkley and Ian Weir off the hook for another example of their perpetual lack thereof. Anyway, Dave counsels Matt to talk to Coach Williams aboot getting back on the team, but Drinky Crow doesn’t seem too keen on the idea.
Exiting the locker room, Matt sees Ashley studying in the student lounge and approaches her table. I know, I know – but you knew this was inevitable, so we might as well just rip off this fucking Band-Aid now.
Ashley: so how are things? you know, things in general?
Matt: Oh, pretty good.
Ashley: must feel kind of different.
Matt: You mean…being sober?
Ashley: no. no, i just meant being back.
Matt: Oh, right. Well, being sober’s quite a change, too. You find oot how far behind you are. Anyway, guess I’ll see you around.
Ashley: matt? a few things have changed for me, too. i guess you probably heard…i’m…well…single again.
Matt: Yeah, I heard Chris turned into sort of a…jerk.
Ashley: not quite. he turned into a major jerk.
Matt: Yeah, well, I guess that happens sometimes.
Ashley: i guess. sometimes i like it a lot, you know…being on my own. other times, i’m not quite so sure.
Matt: You get used to it.
Forget it, Whisper Bitch. The first thing those 12 Step zombies drill into newcomers is the importance of refraining from new relationships within the first year of sobriety. Everyone hates a drunk until he gets sober, then they regret not having taken sufficient advantage of him while they had the chance. I speak from experience on this one, so you’d be wise to just continue on your current course of quiet martyrdom, Ash Blonde Ashley.
Okay, normally, when a scene opens on Dave and John waxing moronic at their lockers, I start whining aboot the task that lays before me right here in the first sentence of the paragraph. But this time, I have a feeling that if I’m patient, Deadpool will home in on them like a Great White catching the scent of distant prey. Let’s see (Da-dum)…they’re talking aboot math homework (Da-dum da-dum)…still talking aboot math homework (Da-dum Da-dum Da-dum Da-Dum)…oh, fuck me Agnes, Deadpool didn’t sniff them oot, but Who Farted did. (Pausing to shake my fist at the heavens.) Sorry, my friends, but if I have to suffer through this, so do you.
Dave: Uh, hi.
Dave: So…how are things?
WF: Oh…thing-ish. How aboot you?
Dave: Yeah, same here…really thing-ish. So…how’s cheerleading?
WF: Oh, you know…fine. Good.
WF: Guess I better run.
Jesus Tapdancing Christ!!! Who Farted scurries off to class and John asks Dave what that was all aboot, prompting Dave to ponder how it would feel to be at least “slightly more impressive”. He daydreams of basketball stardom and an adoring Gorgon cheering just for him.
Dave breaks oot of his reverie just in time to hear Big Ears remark that he looks like he’s “having a gas attack or something,” which is a surprisingly accurate description of what I just witnessed.
How much more drama do you think Whisperina and Headband can endure before finally dispensing of the ludicrous charade that they’re somehow “best friends”? Let’s find oot. Eating lunch in the student lounge, they’re discussing Dylan’s gig at The Avalon tonight. Courtney still has a touch of laryngitis, but obviously Sarah Douglas was a trooper who refused to be written oot of a single episode due to such a minor ailment. Next, they cover the topic of Dylan’s frequent truancy just to keep that fresh in our minds, then Ashley gets up to leave as Deadpool appears behind them in the locker vestibule. Courtney calls Ashley back to the table.
Courtney: Just a second…I was just wondering, um…have you seen Matt, I mean, since he’s been back?
Ashley: yeah, this morning. it was good to see him.
Courtney: So you guys had a chance to talk?
Ashley: well, sort of…i mean, we didn’t exactly say a lot. it’s kind of hard talking to him after everything that’s happened.
Courtney: Ashley…do you figure there’s any chance you’ll ever, you know, get back together?
Ashley: me and matt? i don’t think so. no. there’s not a chance in the world.
Clearly frustrated at having to address this issue, Ashley grabs her lunch bag and splits as Deadpool saunters over and gives Headband a well-deserved guilt trip for being the douchebag that she is. As Courtney hems and haws, Billy gets more specific and mentions that he heard she asked every guy in school to play the part of the younger brother in her play, “except for me, of course”.
Billy: No big deal, of course. I was just sort of wondering how come you asked aboot 300 other guys but you haven’t said a word to me.
Courtney: I don’t believe it! Why didn’t I think of you? You’d be great! I mean, you’d be perfect!
Billy: So, uh…does this mean you’re offering me the part?
Courtney: Absolutely! I would love to have you in the play!
Billy: Well, forget it! I wouldn’t be caught dead in your play! I was just kinda wondering how come you didn’t even bother to ask.
At the garage, Dylan’s noodling on his guitar when Ashley enters and tenders a cheery greeting of, “hey, rock on!” She lets him vent his nervous energy aboot tonight’s show for a bit before embarking upon the redundant unsolicited lecture she came to deliver. Jesus, this girl is a dolt. The pragmatic tough love of Ashley Fraser already sent one guy to rehab, but I guess she won’t be satisfied until she nags Dylan so persistently that he drops oot of school just to spite her. I know I would.
Whenever I’m fixing to fuck over a friend, I prefer doing it right away so unnecessary concerns like guilt and shame don’t have time to start clouding my lack of judgment. Apparently, Courtney agrees. Spotting Matt at the soda machine, she descends upon him like a succubus. As Headband endlessly dances around the periphery of libidinous betrayal, Matt interrupts and tells her that he heard she’s looking for someone to play the part of the brother in her play and suggests that she ask Dave. Unprepared for this rapid change of subject, she stammers that she hadn’t thought aboot asking Dave because he’s so shy, but Matt retorts that the character is, too, so he might be perfect for it. Withoot waiting for a response, Matt walks away leaving Headband to wallow in frustration.
Ready for some more bullying action from Deadpool? Fuck yeah, you are. John is doing homework at a booth in The Avalon when Billy strolls up from behind.
Billy: Hey, just the guy I was looking for! Gee, you look a little tense. You must be working too hard.
John: What do you want?
Billy: Well, let’s put it this way: it’s lunchtime, right? And I’m starved. So, uh, I really hope you brought some money.
John: Just leave me alone.
Billy: Hey, John – is that any way to treat a friend?
John bolts oot of his seat and tries to flee, but he’s no match for Deadpool’s lightning fast reflexes. He grabs John roughly by the shoulders as Dave walks into the café and observes the interaction.
Billy: I asked you for money! I asked you nicely! So you better hand it over, or else I’ll have to kick your—
Dave: Or else you’ll have to what?
Billy: Mind. Your. Own. Business. What are you staring at?!
Dave: I’m not staring at anything. I just don’t think I like what’s going on here.
Billy: Yeah? Well, hey, maybe you’d like to do something aboot it. We’ll get together again real soon – and that’s a promise!
Later on, Dave spots Courtney in the student lounge and takes a seat next to her. He tells her that he was “just talking to Billy at The Avalon” and wants to know if he’s okay. Headband asks him what he means but rather than divulging that her brother is a ruthless bully, he simply adds, “he just sort of seemed…uptight or something.” Courtney briefly explains that Billy’s not in the best mood today before giving Dave an obvious once-over and asking, “How’d you like to be a star?” She spends the next three and a half fucking minutes convincing him to take the part before abruptly leaving the table, still oblivious to her brother’s ongoing reign of terror.
Chris and Roxanne bluster into The Avalon complaining aboot the sheer injustice of Dylan being offered a solo gig. It’s hard to know whose side Roxanne is on in these exchanges because her voice is just as antagonistic in response to Chris’ whining as it is to the infuriating topic at hand. Backpedaling on the excoriation of his former band mate, Chris proceeds to accuse Roxanne of making him break up the band. They spend the next few minutes yelling and sneering and making one hell of a public scene that somehow none of the café patrons seem to notice (except for Brooke, who’s talking on the payphone nearby). Roxanne gets in a few more digs before storming off, as Brooke saunters over to Chris and asks, “Trouble in paradise?” She patiently endures his venomous response before strategically batting her eyelids and coquettishly noting, “Surely a guy like you can find someone better than her!”
John and Dave exit the boys’ locker room discussing Billy’s new hobby of tormenting dorks like themselves. Dave is still trying to get to the bottom of what may have initiated all this, but Dumbo insists that nothing happened that could explain Deadpool’s sudden fondness for violent intimidation. John points oot that now it’s Dave’s problem, too, since Billy made it clear that he’s coming for him next.
John: So what are you going to do?
Dave: Same as you. Stay oot of his way.
John: And if that doesn’t work?
Dave: I guess we’ll find oot, huh? I don’t feel like fighting, but I don’t feel like running, either.
Good choice, Dave. If you don’t fight and don’t run, maybe Deadpool will have a chance to punch the boring right oot of you.
Spotting Matt by the stairwell, Courtney tells him that she took his advice and offered Dave the part in her play. He thanks Headband and affectionately touches her arm before turning to walk away.
Courtney: Listen, there’s actually…well, there’s something else I’ve been wanting to ask you. If I could just figure oot how to say this…
Matt: Is something wrong?
Courtney: Oh, no, nothing like that. It’s just…a while back – quite a while back – you asked me to go oot with you. Remember?
Matt: Uh, yeah. I seem to have vague memories. Of course, I remember. Why?
Courtney: Well, things didn’t exactly work oot because of…well, because of how complex everything was. But since things have changed and, you know, since things aren’t as complex anymore, I was just wondering…I mean, if you’re still interested.
Matt: Let me get this straight. Are you saying…I mean, are you asking me to go oot with you?
Courtney: No, I’m not exactly saying that, I’m just – well, I guess that is what I’m saying. So what do you think?
Matt: Well, listen, maybe…why don’t we go to Dylan’s concert together?
Courtney: Sounds great! Yeah, why don’t you come over to my place around 7:30? We’ll walk over together.
Matt: Sure, that’d be great! Just one more thing…just so we both have this straight. Are we going to this concert as, like, old friends, or are we going as, like, something else?
Courtney: Well, why don’t we start off as old friends and then just sort of see what happens from there?
Oh, fuck you, Headband. I hope Deadpool pummels your goddamn face until it turns to jelly.
Now it’s Dave’s turn to ask the object of his desire to Dylan’s concert, but Who Farted is either too conflicted, too stupid, or in too much of a hurry to acknowledge his nervously stammered invite. (Who do you think he is, Tom Cruise or something?)
Dylan comes down the stairs carrying his guitar and runs into Matt. They exchange a few antagonistic words until Matt sincerely wishes Leather Jacket good luck in his concert.
Dylan: Yeah? Look, I know I haven’t exactly had a chance to talk to you since you got back so, um, I just wanted to say, just, you know, I hope stuff’s going okay for you.
Matt: You know something? We better be careful. People are gonna start to think we don’t hate each other after all!
No, they don’t proceed to lock lips right there in the hallway, but if I had a nickel for every time that last sentence is spoken by both of these idiots in Season 4, long after they become clearly established friends…well, I guess I’d have at least ten nickels. Maybe I should have opted for a higher denomination there for maximum literary efficacy, but I’ll just let it stand. 50 cents is 50 cents.
A few tinny blues notes play over a shot of The Avalon exterior. Inside, Dylan’s “concert” is in full swing, with the entire Hillside student body gathered around the stage while Fonzie hesitantly plucks at his guitar. It turns oot that this is actually a song, not just a public display of guitar tuning, as evidenced by Who Farted’s enthusiastic “That was excellent!” that fills the ensuing silence. Standing behind her table, Dave considers saying something to her, then pussies oot and heads for the exit just as Deadpool is coming in.
Billy: Well, look who’s here! What I said earlier – I meant it. Sooner or later, I’m gonna catch you alone, and look oot!
Think that was dramatic? Dig this. Ashley is sitting at the counter behind the table that Courtney and Matt are sharing. Headband makes a few comments aboot Dylan’s performance before just throwing caution to the fucking wind. I think a few screen shots will do better than a description here, especially since you’ll be able to pinpoint the exact moment Ashley’s heart rips open like an overripe mango.
As Ashley flees the café, Courtney apologizes to Matt for being so impetuous, but he makes it clear that he didn’t mind at all.
The part of Courtney was played by a shitty Canadian actress named Sarah Douglas. If you check her IMDB profile, you’ll notice that the only other role to her credit is “Audience Member” in one episode of some TV show called Hollywood Off-Ramp. And after just three more episodes of Fifteen, you will never have to see her again. That’s a fucking promise.
Up there is a picture of Brooke delivering a heartfelt fuck you to my virtual friend and consummate blogger Tom of TomBeingTom. Now why would she say such a thing to a cool and unassuming guy like Tom? Because he nominated me for one of those blog award things wherein my prize is that I get to answer questions he devised via a new post on my page that is supposed to be entirely devoted to the analysis of Fifteen. In an effort to avoid raising Brooke’s ire any further, let’s get this oot of the way quickly, eh?
Do you consider yourself a reasonable human being? Do you consider most other human beings to be reasonable?
What constitutes a reasonable human being is entirely subjective and the disparity of opinion as to who should be considered in possession of “sound judgment” renders the question itself unreasonable. That said, analyzing myself and others as objectively as possible, I must answer both questions with a resounding “no”. I see myself as unreasonable for some pretty significant reasons, most of which set me firmly to the ootside of my own species. Psychologists and biologists consider a sense of importance in all of the following things to be inherent to the animal known as Homo Sapiens, and yet, I seem to lack respect for every last one: 1) a belief in a personal god, afterlife, and human superiority/significance; 2) a desire to reproduce and pride in my ethnic heritage and family name; 3) patriotism; 4) competition; 5) money; 6) power; 7) fear of death and desire for eternal life; 8) social communication; 9) a sense of meaning and accomplishment; 10) deeming anything to be inherently joyous or tragic, right or wrong; 11) a belief in any sort of justice, whether it be legal or cosmic; 12) self-protection/survival at all costs. That’s right, folks, I have analyzed the meaning right oot of every last thing that others utilize to make themselves feel meaningful. In my view, we are nothing more than temporarily sentient galactic flotsam and jetsam, but don’t think for a second that this makes me sad or depressed. Frankly, it’s fucking awesome and enormously liberating to be free of the concerns and delusions of the “common man”. I do occasionally still experience bursts of narcissistic disgust at the stupidity and/or willful ignorance of others, the most recent occasion being this past Thursday, a day that most Americans apparently still call “Independence Day”. Independence from what or whom? There’s a fucking idiot dictator where the president used to be and there were literally tanks rolling through the streets of DC for his fucking Nuremburg Rally, yet people still think that this is just a temporary setback, as if American fascism wasn’t already a done deal. So be reasonable, for fuck’s sake, and at least cop to the obvious fact that your former democratic republic is no more, my fellow American idiots. Or am I just being unreasonable? Perhaps.
If space aliens exist, and find us, do you presume they would be mostly malicious or benign?
Again, a very subjective question. I don’t consider sharks or tigers to be inherently malicious, nor do I consider puppies and kittens to be inherently benign. What I presume I’d probably think upon their arrival is, “Holy shit, that fucker with the orange hair and the crazy Greek name was right!”
Who is your favorite comic book superhero?
Come on, man. Deadpool.
If you could go back in time to your early teens, and you developed a mutant power, what do you suppose it would be?
I think I actually did develop a mutant power and I already described it in my first answer: the ability to be unmoved and unimpressed by virtually anything.
As #4 above, except what would you HOPE it would be?
The ability to talk to animals.
If you’re driving down the ocean in your jet ski, and the wheel falls off, does it still take the same amount of pancakes to cover a doghouse?
Wubba lubba dub dub!
You’re on the Starship Enterprise . Are you wearing gold, blue, or red?
Orange. That’s what I get when Kirk throws me in the brig.
What would you do with an extra $1000 a month in free money?
I could almost live on that, so I assume I’d quit the half-assed, uninspired job search I’ve been conducting for the past few months.
Do you prefer beer that is crisp, cold, and good or hoppy, warm, and sucky?
Negra Modello, cold. That’s sort of both.
When was the last time you got drunk on the deck alone listening to Bruce Springsteen?
Well, the last time I got drunk was quite a few years ago, but since I have a balcony and that’s sorta like a deck and I love Springsteen…it was probably at the recent end of quite a few years ago.
Wasn’t there supposed to be 11 questions?
Dunno. “Supposed to” is another phrase that tends to aggravate me. “Supposed to” according to whom?
The Glorious Results of a Courageous Fifteen Info-Gathering Mission
Good Lord, how do you people do it? For all of my apprehension of the world at large as an overcrowded hive of noisy automatons, viewing it through the lens of Facebook makes it seem so much worse. Yesterday, I created a temporary FB page for two purposes: to inform more people of the existence of Notes From The Avalon, and to see what I might be able to find oot aboot what some of the cast members are up to in 2019. I lasted for 6 hours before I had to delete the account in order to retain my tenuous grip on sanity.
As far as informing more people about my blog is concerned, I re-rediscovered that aside from my sister, nieces, brother-in-law, and one or two of my cooler cousins, I can no longer communicate with people from my extended and extensive Irish-Catholic family. Cousins who were former dirt bags and Deadheads are now Trump supporters, Jesus freaks, and right-wing conspiracy theorists. Blood may be thicker than water, but so is diarrhea. Fuck ‘em all, the miserable pricks. Old friends from New Jersey were all there in spades, too, of course, but as soon as they realized I was back on Facebook, I was inundated with instant messages from distant acquaintances that seem to still be fine people, I guess, but that doesn’t mean I give a flying fuck who they married, where they last went on vacation and whether the next generation of little monsters they created have mastered the art of taking a dump on the commode. No, thanks. Get back to me in 25 years or do something interesting before assaulting all of your friends with photographic proof that you eat, work and reproduce.
I was much more successful in gleaning some recent info aboot the Fifteen cast. First of all, there IS an official Fifteen fan page that’s been active since 2011 and has just over 100 followers. One of those followers is the lovely Robyn Ross (Brooke) whose inside access to the restricted personal pages of her former castmates makes her the only worthwhile contributor to the fan page. I get the impression that she’s extremely cool and down to earth. She posted a comment aboot running into Arseman Yohannes (seasons 2 – 4) in Brooklyn recently, but that was as much info as I could find aboot Arseman. Robyn Ross is on the show Riverdale now and she looks like this:
Ryan Reynolds, of course, is untouchable, but Robyn did re-post this recent gem from his Twitter feed:
And of course, we all know what Ryan looks like now:
Todd Talbot (Matt) is the co-host of Love It Or List It Vancouver, so you can find plenty of videos of him talking aboot home buying and renovation in British Columbia. He looks pretty much the same, but seems to have adopted the ridiculous habit of wearing bowties. At least he seems to be having fun:
Laura Harris has a page that can be viewed but there’s no option of friend requesting her. She looks great, but I can’t tell you whether she’s learned how to speak above a whisper.
Enuka Okuma (Kelly) is also seemingly untouchable due to her starring role on Rookie Blue, which is a TV show, apparently.
Chris “Corky” Martin (Dylan) still acts, but I’m not sure if he has any notoriety ootside of Canada.
Aubrey Nealon (Olaf) is a writer, producer and director, but humble enough to have a public and accessible page. He looks exactly the same, something I found oddly comforting.
Ahnee Boyce (Cindy) still exists and seems to have aged well.
Janine Cox (Dutch Boy) looks like this now:
I couldn’t find diddly-squat aboot Ken Angel (Jake).
And that brings us to Sarah Douglas (Courtney). For some fucking reason, she now goes by the name Sarah Nakatsuka although there was no photographic evidence that she’s married to a Japanese person. I guess I can’t blame her for the possible alias, because if I were her, I’d be trying to put as much distance between myself and the horrible role I played as a teenager as humanly possible, too. Check a look:
So there you have it! The hard-fought results of a brave six hour long experiment performed by your humble narrator. I hope y’all appreciate the sacrifices I make for my art. Stay tuned for the episode 8 synopsis coming soon!