TV Party

rollins

Season 3, Episode 8

We’ve got nothing better to do than watch TV and have a couple of brews. – Black Flag

What the fuck, let’s get another one oot of the way.  It’s Sunday and it’s a hundred freaking degrees ootside, so it’s not like I’ve got anything better to do.

Dylan’s playin’ the blues all by his lonesome when Arseman knocks and enters the garage.  As I’m sure you can guess, she’s here to pay her condolences to Dylan for the stunning demise of his once mighty supergroup and to apologize for having called him a jerk when he fired Billy from the band.  She suggests that he get a fresh start with new musicians – “serious ones this time!” – but apparently he’s convinced that throwing in his lot with a rhythm-impaired pre-teen drummer and a short-fused dirt bag whose fingers never actually touch the strings of his bass represented his best and only lifetime shot at musical success.  He thanks her as she walks oot the door and I’m left to wonder why they wasted the first two and a half minutes of an episode on something so irrelevant unless it’s to foreshadow their Season 4 romantic involvement.  Regardless, while Arseman was droning on and on, I couldn’t help but notice the condition of the horizontal blinds on Dylan’s window:

blinds

Who Farted approaches Brooke at her locker and asks how her lunch went with Dylan.  Clearly unsatisfied with Brooke’s curt reply that “it went”, she continues to badger her with questions until Brooke finally screams at her to mind her own business.  Ashley and a couple of girls in cheerleader uniforms round the corner and start lavishing Who Farted with praise for her performance in the talent contest.  When Ashley expresses her amazement at Who Farted’s heretofore hidden “talent”, Brooke sneers under her breath that she has no talent, prompting our newly confident Whisperina to reply, “if i were you, i wouldn’t be talking”.  Brooke storms off, only to run into Roxanne at the water fountain in this labyrinthine Hell from which there is no escape.

Roxanne:  Hey, Brooke, aren’t you going to congratulate Stacy?

Brooke:  Well, she wasn’t that good.  I mean, okay, for someone who has little talent, she managed to pull it off, more or less.

Roxanne:  Yeah?

Brooke:  Of course, I was tutoring her…you know, giving her a few tips.

Roxanne:  Oh, sure.  Hey, here’s a tip for you, Brooke.

Brooke:  For me?

Roxanne:  Yeah.  A little tip for you.  On days like today, you should wear green.

Brooke:  No, but I find blue a lot more flatt-

Roxanne:  Green!  You know, to match your complexion.

Brooke:  Jealous?  You think I’m jealous of Stacy?  She’s the last person in the world that I’d be jealous of!

Roxanne walks off as Brooke furrows her brow, confirming the validity of the accusation.  But before you start thinking that Brooke deserves all the derision being leveled at her in this episode, I really need to stress yet again how awful Who Farted’s saxophone performance truly was.  The only people who come off like idiots in this scene are Ashley and Roxanne for treating Brooke’s little tone deaf protégé like she’s fucking Charlie Parker.

Oh, fuck me in the ass with a saguaro cactus, Headband and Black Eye are sitting in The Avalon, flapping their stupid gums in a futile attempt to pretend that their ill-conceived relationship hasn’t already gone belly-up.

Jake:  So, what do you want to do this weekend?

Courtney:  Dunno…what do you wanna do?

Jake:  We could see a movie, or we could get an old sixties video and laugh ourselves into oblivion.

Courtney:  Yeah, I guess that could be sorta fun.

Jake:  I know — you pick up some really disgusting junk food, I’ll get a really mindless movie and we’ll pig oot together!

Courtney:  Yeah.  Great.

Jake:  So, would you rather do something else?

Courtney:  Oh, no, no…really, that sounds like…fun.

Jake:  Hey, Courtney, what’s wrong?

Courtney:  Nothing!  Nothing’s wrong.

Jake:  Remember me, your boyfriend Jake?  I know when something’s bothering you.  Something’s definitely bothering you!

Courtney:  No, really…I’m okay.

Jake:  Come on, Courtney, I know you better than that!

Cutting her losses, Headband tells him that she’s worried aboot how Billy’s coping with the divorce and living with a new stepmom, knowing full well that Jake is clueless enough to buy this bullshit.  Cutting our losses, I’m just gonna go ahead and save us a lot of time by explaining how this whole stupid subplot resolves itself so that we never have to speak of it again.  Later in the episode, Jake tells Arseman that he only views Courtney as a friend but is afraid to tell her, fearing that it would crush her.  Later still, Ashley tells Arseman aboot Courtney’s lack of attraction to Jake.  Sassy Pants has a good laugh at the fact that they’re both unwittingly on the same page, Jake and Courtney go back to being friends, and Headband is now once again free to pursue her best friend’s ex-boyfriend (as soon as he gets oot of rehab, of course).

kiss
I know it was you, Fredo.  You broke my heart.

Deadpool sees Courtney at her locker and asks if she’s heard “the latest”: that Dad’s girlfriend already moved in even though their parents’ divorce hasn’t been finalized.  Headband inadvertently lets slip that Mom would like Billy to move back in with her and Courtney, but even though this might sound like a fairly major plot point, it isn’t and he doesn’t, so I don’t know why the fuck they even bothered to put it in the script.  Regardless, Deadpool manages to impressively eviscerate his sister for being so self-absorbed while he suffers through all this, so despite this scene’s lack of a discernible purpose, it’s still pretty satisfying to watch.

angry billy

At The Avalon, Who Farted is sitting at the counter, thumbing through a magazine.  It’s conspicuously open on a page containing an article with the headline “Who The Heck Is Henry Rollins?”  Roxanne approaches just as Who Farted flips the page to an advertisement for women’s boots, providing Roxanne with her opening greeting of “Wicked boots, huh?” and never have I been more disappointed in the timing of an idle page flip because I would have loved to hear Roxanne’s thoughts on My War and Slip It In.  Roxanne takes a seat and tells Who Farted that her performance at the talent contest “wasn’t too shabby”, but even better was Brooke’s jealous reaction to it.

Roxanne:  So do you really like her?  I mean…really?

WF:  I – I guess I don’t.  I sort of feel sorry for her, don’t you?

Roxanne:  No.

WF:  Well, I do.  You won’t tell Brooke I said this, will you?  I mean, it would really hurt her feelings.

Roxanne:  She has feelings?

WF:  Sure, everyone does…so just don’t tell her.

Courtney sees Dylan doing homework in the student lounge, so she walks over to his table and tells him that she’s worried aboot Billy and wishes he would have a talk with him.  He explains that Billy’s not exactly a fan of his anymore, so Headband changes tactics and tries to guilt him into it by exclaiming that she thought he was a decent guy, “but just forget it!”  As she starts to march away, he calls her back and tells her that he’ll “think aboot it”.  Courtney pivots to a nearby table where Ashley is sitting and catches some majorly judgmental shit from Pinky Dinks for failing to tell Jake that she just views him as a friend.

Speaking of which, I just now saved you from suffering through a full three-minute scene involving Jake and Arseman at The Avalon thanks to my economical summation of this otherwise interminable storyline.  So now Ashley knows that Courtney isn’t in love with Jake and Arseman knows that Jake isn’t in love with Courtney and all that’s left now is for everyone involved to get their fucking wires uncrossed, say what needs to be said and get the hell on with their stupid, depressing lives.

Dave enters the student lounge and sheepishly greets Who Farted near the bulletin board (which, incidentally, still has one of Cindy’s “If you love this planet…think!” flyers prominently displayed).  Apparently, these two dullards are in the same math class, but have never formally spoken prior to this moment.  He proceeds to gush aboot her stupid saxophone performance, of course, and Who Farted feigns humility while doing some weird gesture with her eyebrows that literally causes her entire head of hair to somehow recede several inches before rolling back into place like the first wave of a high tide.  I would probably describe their ensuing flirtation as the most painfully awkward exchange ever televised were it not for the benefit of hindsight.  When these idiots start dating in Season 4, they reach such an infuriating level of sustained retardation that it literally defies description – just one of the many reasons I’ve already decided that the entire final season will be summed up in a few posts as opposed to the episode by episode treatment I’ve thus far been providing.

Exit Dave, enter Brooke.  Who Farted informs her that Sally, the head cheerleader, is transferring to another school, so they’ll be holding tryoots for someone to take her place.  Of course, Brooke immediately decides that she’s the obvious choice for this prestigious position, but at least her emotive self-aggrandizing serves to drown oot the horrible guttural sound that Who Farted always makes with her throat whenever she’s unsure of how to respond to someone.

brooke and wf

Dutifully obeying Headband’s directive, Dylan approaches Billy at his locker and apologizes again for the way things turned oot, but Deadpool clearly isn’t in any more of a forgiving mood now than he was the first time Leather Jacket tried to smooth things over.  Billy mock-consoles Dylan for the band’s recent dissolution and starts to walk away as Dylan grabs him by the sleeve and pulls him back.  He asks Billy if he’d like to meet up at The Avalon some time to talk aboot the troubles he’s having at home, causing Deadpool to explode, bellowing “I don’t need you to talk to!  I don’t need you for anything!!”

dylan concerned

Who Farted and two nameless cheerleaders approach the lockers discussing the squad’s new vacancy.  One of the girls asks Who Farted if she’s planning to “run” for the head cheerleader position, but she tells them probably not, especially since Brooke indicated that she’s going to vie for the spot.  I don’t know who these girls are, but I like them already just based on their incredulous response to Who Farted’s revelation.  They remind Who Farted of how important it is to have a “strong head cheerleader” and urge her to consider running against her friend.

brooke girls
Brooke?!

Dylan’s sitting at a booth in The Avalon when a professionally dressed guy approaches and introduces himself as Jerry’s cousin, Richard.  I’m going to place a photo of these two chatting directly below this paragraph in lieu of explaining how utterly fucking ridiculous this is.  Anyway, he proceeds to rehash what Jerry told him aboot Teenagers In Love’s performance at The Avalon (“…it seems your drummer’s pretty weak, and the band couldn’t decide whether it was New Kids On The Block or Megadeth”).  Richard then tells Dylan that Jerry still thinks they have potential, so he’d like to book the band to play again on Friday night.  In the somberest of tones, Dylan replies, “What band?  We broke up right after that first gig.  There’s no band, Richard…there’s no band.”  Dylan gets up and exits the café as Chris, who was eavesdropping from the counter, saunters over and takes his seat across from Richard.  “So…you’re looking for a band, huh?

dylan and black jerry
Canadian Elvis and Black Jerry

Ashley and Arseman get some sodas from the machine while discussing the fact that Matt will be coming home from the treatment center soon.  For some reason, Ashley’s far more contrite in response to this topic than she has been for the entire season up to now, but she advises Arseman that she decided against calling him at the center the other night, assuming she’s probably the last person he’d want to hear from.  The topic changes to Courtney and Jake, so before this scene is done, at least these two meddlesome douchebags will have everything straight.  All that’s left now is for Headband and Black Eye to fucking dissolve their botched abortion of a relationship before I poke my own eyes oot with a salad fork.

Hey, here they are now, endlessly circling the drain at a booth in The Avalon.  THREE AND A HALF GODDAMNED MINUTES LATER (and three tentative swipes at my ocular region with the salad fork), their romance is finally, mercifully laid to rest.

jake smiles

Chris is retrieving his amp from Dylan’s garage when Leather Jacket walks in and makes a remark aboot needing new locks on the door of his depressing trash strewn shanty.  He tells Dylan to relax, then informs him that he’s just getting his amp because he’s in a new band that’s already a “great success” since Dick offered them a gig at The Avalon.  As Chris drags his amp oot the door, Dylan grabs a lawn chair and hurls it across the garage.

dylan chair
MY WAR!!! You’re one of them!

Christ.  My eyes are actually sweating.  If it weren’t for the clear warning against such a decision that this show has fortunately provided, I’d have spent my afternoon planning a move to Vancouver instead of fighting my way through another fucking episode of Fifteen in this relentless desert heat.

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.

 

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.

 

Hair of the Dog

stairs

Season 3, Episode 3

Three episodes into the current season, Binkley & Co. have yet to address the massive pachyderm in the room:

What the fuck keeps happening to Brooke’s little sisters??

I know that in the premier episode of Season 2, Brooke explained to Matt that Theresa was “off at that school for the arts” but I’m skeptical of that premise, considering that we were never given any reason to believe that Dutch Boy was artistically inclined.  But now Amanda has also disappeared withoot a trace (though I’ve no doubt her permanent sneer will live on in our fondest memories).   I mean, if Claire Langlois simply opted not to return to the cast after her Season 2 run, this could have been so easily explained had the writers attempted to thread even a scintilla of consistency into their scripts.  The last plot in which she was involved was the theft of Courtney’s stupid necklace.  So why not open Season 3 with Brooke gleefully telling Who Farted that her little shit of a sister got shipped off to juvie?  Because that would make too much fucking sense, I guess.  But enough of these rhetorical questions.  Matt’s got a serious reckoning to face, so let’s waste no further time.

Dave yawns into The Avalon and greets Matt at the pinball machine.  Somehow failing to notice his friend’s extreme agitation, he kisses Matt’s ass by commiserating with him aboot how harshly Coach Williams came down on him at practice.  The way they’re talking (along with Matt’s familiar ootfit) leads me to believe that this is still the same day where we left off and thus, Matt decided that the most reasonable course of action after punching his best friend in the face was to play a little pinball.  Dave starts to leave through the rear door, then pauses and asks Matt if Jake ever found him.

Matt:  What aboot it??

Dave:  Well, he was looking for you, so I was just wondering—

Matt:  Well, you know what I’d like?  I’d like people to stop wondering and just leave me alone!!

angry matt

Stock footage of the Avalon exterior appears, indicating that although the upcoming scene also takes place at the café, it’s now later…or earlier…or in a completely different space-time continuum.  Chris and Roxanne are at the counter discussing the difficulties of being in a band with Dylan.  Roxanne opines that he is a good guitar player, but Chris protests that his affinity for music that’s “thirty years old” will doom the scant remnants of the once mighty Teenagers In Love to wallow in obscurity.  After a few more tired decrees that Dylan needs to be dragged into the 90s, Chris changes the subject to something slightly bolder.

Chris:  Listen, um…there’s a pretty good band playing downtown Friday night.  It might be worth checking it oot.

Roxanne:  Are you asking me to go with you?

Chris:  Why not?

Roxanne:  Well, what aboot Ashley?  She might be able to think of a few reasons ‘why not’.

Wait for it…one Mississippi, two—hey, look, here comes Ashley now!

ashley enters2

Chris: (molto voce) Well, I go oot with her – she doesn’t own me.

Roxanne:  I’ll give it some thought…if I don’t have anything better to do.

On her way oot, Roxanne greets Ashley with a friendly hello and tells Chris that she’ll see him after school as Whisperina’s face ties itself into a Gordian knot of pained confusion.  She sits down on the stool next to Chris and stammers her surprise at finding him here when he’d promised to stop by her place on the way to school, carefully refraining from broaching the topic of the date she just overheard him make with Roxanne.  Chris responds with a half-assed apology and declines Ashley’s invitation to join her for a bite to eat because he has to go meet up with Dylan.  He gives her a peck on the cheek before exiting the cafe, leaving Ashley alone at the counter to indulge in her favorite pastime of silent suffering.

ashley sad

Brooke sees Dylan at his locker and greets him with her typical over-the-top enthusiasm.  She weathers his snidely sarcastic reaction to her manufactured good cheer with atypical patience before getting to the point and telling him that she heard aboot Arseman’s “tragic” departure from the band.  Her transparent attempt to convince Dylan to let her audition for the open slot proves less than successful, of course, as Leather Jacket walks away and Who Farted approaches from the locker vestibule.  Brooke treats Who Farted to a presumptively detailed account of Arseman’s angry reaction to Chris and Dylan’s decision to boot Deadpool from the band, adding further spice to this alternate reality by claiming that Dylan asked for her advice aboot choosing a new lead singer.  Who Farted reacts with skepticism while Brooke arrives at the inevitable implicit conclusion that she’d be perfect for the job.

Dave enters The Avalon and sees Jake sitting at the counter.  He says hi and starts to make small talk, but when Jake swivels to face him, he notices the black and blue shiner on his eye.

jake eye

Dave:  Wow!  I was gonna ask you how it’s going, but—

Jake:  Hey, nothing to worry aboot…just a black eye.

Dave:  What happened?

Jake:  Oh, I…slipped and fell.  Dumb move, but I’ll survive.

Dave:  So, uh, did you ever catch up with Matt yesterday?

Jake:  Matt?  No…I didn’t, actually.

Dave:  I saw him last night.

Jake:  What did he say?

Dave:  Nothing, really.  In fact, he really didn’t seem to feel like talking.

Jake gets up to leave, running into Roxanne on her way into the café.  She reacts with similar astonishment to his injured eye, proclaiming that he’s sporting the biggest shiner she’s ever seen.  When she asks if he got into a fight, he gives her the same explanation to which he treated Dave, adding some embellishment aboot hitting his head on the banister while he was running downstairs to answer the phone.  Jake leaves and Roxanne notices Dave sitting at the counter.

Roxanne:  You’re good in math, so tell me, does this add up?

Dave:  How do you mean?

Roxanne:  I’ve heard a lot of unconvincing stories, but that one?

Courtney and Arseman enter the locker vestibule in mid-conversation aboot some play Headband’s writing for English class.  For now, we’re spared the impending horror of this upcoming theatrical abomination as Courtney uses the topic to pivot to the subject of Jake, who gave her some “really great suggestions” for the play over the phone last night.  Trust me, suffering through the ensuing romantic gushing aboot Jake’s infinite wonderfulness is a relative joy compared to experiencing the finished product of Courtney’s ham-fisted literary skills.  As Courtney serenades Arseman with a starry-eyed decree of how wonderful it is to be in a relationship with someone so open and devoid of secrets, Roxanne comes down the stairs just in time to overhear.

Roxanne:  No secrets?  Then I guess you know all aboot Jake’s fight to the death with the banister.

Courtney:  What are you talking aboot?

Roxanne:  Haven’t you seen him this morning?  He’s got a black eye like you wouldn’t believe.  He claims he just slipped and fell.  If you guys are so open with each other, I’m surprised he didn’t tell you.

Let me step in here and clarify something because the typewritten word is inadequate to convey the implications of a character’s vocal inflections.  When I read back my verbatim dialogue transcriptions, Roxanne often comes off sounding an awful lot like Brooke, but the difference between these two Hillside attendees is as vast as the shore to shore span of Lake Koocanusa.  Withoot a doot, Roxanne’s a busybody, but she seems to get involved in other people’s business oot of genuine concern, even if her tone is inherently sarcastic.

Courtney storms into The Avalon like she’s on a mission from God.

courtney enters

She takes a seat next to Jake and asks what happened, to which he replies, “What do you mean?” as Headband takes in his impressive shiner.  Her open and decidedly un-secretive boyfriend then gives her the same inaccurate account of slipping on the stairs and eye-fucking the banister to which he’s treated everyone since the after-hours encounter with his punch drunk best friend (see what I did there?  How the hell did I not think to title the last post “Punch Drunk”?).  Courtney’s expression is more than a little skeptical, so he finally dispenses of the bullshit and tells her the shocking true story of what happened with Matt.

Let’s get back to the student lounge so we can eavesdrop on some trouble a-brewin’ in Paradise.

Ashley:  chris, there’s something i have to ask you.  is there something going on…between you and roxanne?

Chris:  What?!

Ashley:  this morning, i couldn’t help wondering.

Chris:  That’s crazy!

Ashley:  is it?

Chris:  Look, there’s nothing going on between me and Roxanne.  Nothing!  Nada!  Zip!

Ashley:  i’m not accusing you…

Chris:  Good!

Ashley:  …but i don’t think you can blame me for wondering, either.  i mean, you met roxanne this morning instead of coming over to my house.

Chris: I told you already, I just forgot.

Ashley:  you’re meeting her again after school?

Chris:  Look, what I do is my own business.  If you want a guy who comes complete with an owner’s manual, then you’d better find somebody else!

He finally softens his tone and assures her that he’s only meeting Roxanne after school because she told him that she might be able to find the band a new lead singer.  She quietly nods before the sneer returns to his voice for the delivery of one last l’ avertissement : “But you’ve got to understand something – if you want this to work, then you’ve got to learn to give me a little space!”

lunch2

The next scene opens on the exterior of an unfamiliar suburban home.  Inside, Matt is watching TV in the basement when Erin comes downstairs in search of her social studies book.  She asks her brother what he’s doing home in the middle of a school day and he replies that he skipped school because of a scheduled doctor’s appointment.  When she asks a follow-up question aboot the nature of his appointment, Matt stands up, shuts off the TV and hisses, “What, you don’t believe me?” She tells him that she does, then nervously asks why he and Dad were yelling at each other last night.  After confirming that she didn’t hear the actual content of their shouting match, he downplays it as a simple disagreement with his father aboot “things in general”.  As Erin ascends the stairs, Matt asks her to tell Jake that he wants to see him.

matt dumps

At a booth in The Avalon, the hastily assembled Committee To Save Matt Walker From Himself is convening over a half-eaten spread of waffle fries and egg salad sandwiches.  Jake tries to place some of the blame for his confrontation with Matt on himself, declaring that such a direct approach isn’t the right way to handle these things, but Arseman begs to differ.  I mean, of course, Arseman begs to differ.  Staging an intervention sounds like just the sort of thing to maximally stroke her self-righteous ego and satisfy her preternaturally nosy disposition all in one shot.  In an effort to convince Jake and Courtney of her authoritative qualifications in the matter, she tells them that she has an aunt who is an alcoholic and the only way they were able to convince her to face it was to have the entire family confront her.  Courtney raises the possibility that perhaps Matt isn’t an alcoholic.  Just as Jake begins to detail all of Matt’s behaviors that fit the description of alcoholism, Erin approaches the booth.  She delivers her brother’s message to Jake and walks off, prompting Arseman to insist that “all of us” should accompany Jake on his visit to the Walker residence.

Dylan is at the soda machine when Brooke and Who Farted descend the stairs.  Fully intending for Dylan to overhear, she tells Who Farted, “Oh yes, I’ve always been a singer!” before taking a seat on a bench in the student lounge.  What follows is something I’ve already displayed on this page back when we were still in the midst of Season 1 (Mama Says Be Glad), but since that was such a premature and impetuous thing to do, I’ll post the brief clip of Brooke’s description-defying impromptu vocal performance again so it can take its proper place in the Hillside timeline:

Leather Jacket emerges from his crouched eavesdropping position and tries to stifle his laughter while Brooke explains that her whole family is musically inclined.  When Dylan asks if her whole family sings like she does, Brooke replies in the affirmative, setting him up for an easy slam dunk: “I feel sorry for your neighbors!”  Despite the fact that anyone with a second-grade education could’ve seen that joke coming, Who Farted still seems to find it enormously amusing.

Ashley meets Chris in the locker vestibule and wishes him luck in his meeting with Roxanne.  Although you can sense that she’s trying to try oot a new approach to dealing with her perplexingly mercurial boyfriend, her repeated insistence that she’s not “checking up on him or anything” proves that she possesses insufficient cunning to master the art of subtle manipulation necessary to counteract Chris’ default reliance on intimidation tactics.  Regardless, she’s rewarded for her comparative restraint with a parting peck on the cheek.  Chris exits stage left as Courtney approaches Ashley by the stairwell and asks if she’s got a minute to talk.  They sit down at a table in the lounge and Courtney fills her in on Matt’s relapse and the planned after-school intervention.  Headband desperately tries to convince Ashley to enlist in their kamikaze mission, but Pinky declines just as Brooke waltzes into the scene and begins to eavesdrop from behind a nearby column.  Getting up to go to class, Ashley continues to insist that Courtney just leave her oot of it.  Brooke pounces on this opening and volunteers to join in the intervention, a notion that leaves Courtney visibly horrified.  Brooke continues to bloviate as she advances towards Courtney, decreasing Headband’s slim circumference of personal space with each step.  Just when it seems that Courtney’s oversized head is set to burst, Arseman appears and comes to her rescue.

Arseman:  Forget it, Brooke!  You wanna help?  Then go home.  Go wash your hair or something.

Brooke:  Matt Walker and I happen to be dear old friends!  If he needs my help, then I’ll be there for him!

Arseman:  Brooke, just keep your big nose oot of this!!!

Arseman leads Courtney away by the arm as Brooke shouts after them: “Just where do you get off, Arseman?!  Pushing people around and insulting their noses?!  Just who do you think you are, anyway?!

brooke mad

Another shot of the Walker house signals that the intervention is nigh.  Jake comes down the basement stairs and finds Matt on the sofa watching TV.  Beanpole springs from his seat and turns off the television.  He apologizes for what happened but gets right back on the defensive as soon as Jake reiterates that he needs to face his problem.  Matt tells Jake that he’s starting to sound just like his Dad, who apparently raised the prospect of sending his son to a rehab center after he smelled alcohol on his breath last night.  This serves as the cue for the rest of the Intervention Squad to come down the stairs and make their presence known.

intervention crew

Matt:  What is this?  Is this supposed to be some kind of set-up?!

Dave:  We wanted to talk to you.

Matt:  Well, forget it!  You’re not welcome!

Arseman:  We’re here because we care aboot you, Matt.

Matt:  Didn’t you hear what I just said?

Arseman:  You’re an alcoholic, Matt, you’ve got to face that before your whole life goes down the tubes!

Matt:  This is crazy!  If you guys think that—

Courtney:  We’re here for you, Matt.  You’ve got to admit—

Matt:  I don’t have to admit anything because I’m not an alcoholic!

Arseman:  Matt, yes you are!

Matt:  And what makes you the expert?

Arseman:  I’m not an expert…I’m just your friend.

Matt:  If I was an alcoholic, I’d be the first to know!

Dave:  No, you wouldn’t!  You’d be the last to know…the last to admit it, anyway.

Matt:  I’M NOT AN ALCOHOLIC!!  I like to have a few drinks – so do millions of people!  Are they all alcoholics?

Arseman:  Some of them.

Courtney:  Matt, you’re fifteen years old.

Matt:  What does that have to do with it?  I know what I’m doing!

Arseman:  Drinking every day and punching oot your best friend?!

Matt:  I don’t drink every day!  And even if I did, so what?  That doesn’t always make you an alcoholic.  Besides, you can’t be an alcoholic at fifteen…it takes way longer than that, right?  Even if I was an alcoholic, I could deal with it myself.  I could stop drinking any time I wanted…any time at all.

Courtney:  But you don’t have to do it alone.  You’ve got friends.

Matt:  I don’t want to be an alcoholic.

Sensing that Matt’s façade is beginning to crumble, Arseman chimes in and tells him that it’s a disease (no, it isn’t) and as such, it’s nothing to be ashamed of.  Jake dismisses the intervention crew and takes a seat next to Matt, telling him that “everything’s going to be okay now”.

In The Avalon, Brooke is shouting her indignation aboot being excluded from the intervention at Who Farted.  Erin walks through the door just in time to hear this:

Brooke:  Who does she think she is, anyway?  Matt and I happen to be old friends and now it turns oot he’s an alcoholic.  Do people actually think that I don’t care that my old friend Matt is a hopeless, pathetic, falling down drunk?!  I mean—

Erin:  It’s not true!  What you just said aboot my brother – it’s just not true!!!

Erin flees The Avalon as the episode closes with an extended shot of an uncharacteristically dumbstruck Brooke.

brooke broods

Brace yourself, Matt, because unlike Arseman, I know of which I speak.  No matter what anyone may tell you, spouting trite recovery slogans through coffee breath in an unventilated church basement is no substitute for a rocking good bender.