Yoko

yoko

Season 3, Episode 12

Christ, you know it ain’t easy.  You know how hard it can be.  The way things are going, they’re gonna crucify me. – The Beatles

At the risk of committing musical blasphemy, I’m gonna let you in on a little secret: “Let It Be” is a shitty album.  Sure, it has moments of brilliance, but since the Fab Four were barely on speaking terms at this late stage of their existence, each of The Beatles recorded their parts separately and then cobbled them together in the studio.  To my ears, the end result reflects this schism within the band.  Had they soldiered on as a group for much longer, I’m guessing that their original magic would have continued to diminish with each new album, effectively sullying the glory days of the most popular rock band of all time.  Why do I say this?  One word: Wings.  Sir Paul’s post-Beatles career has been one of consistent mediocrity, and that’s when he’s at the top of his game (when he isn’t, we get shit like “Silly Love Songs”).  So to anyone who still harbors bitterness towards Yoko Ono for her alleged role in the demise of The Beatles, ask yourself: did she perhaps do us a favor?  Similarly, what aboot Chris’s accusation that Roxanne was responsible for the break-up of Teenagers In Love?

John and Yoko are at The Avalon trashing Dylan for his decision to drop oot of school and pursue a career in music.  After thoroughly exhausting this topic at the top of their lungs, Chris reminds Roxanne that they still need to find a guitarist and drummer for their band.

Roxanne:  Don’t worry.  I’ve taken care of it.

Chris:  You found a couple of guys?

Roxanne:  They’re not from Hillside.  They’re sort of…social acquaintances.

Chris:  How do you mean?

Roxanne:  Why don’t you wait and see?

While Chris and Roxanne are eviscerating Dylan from afar, Ashley’s back at the garage doing it up close and personal.  I mean, of fucking course she is.  This whispering hemorrhoid has been trying to nag her way into Dylan’s pants ever since she got back from private school.

Ashley:  dylan, this is crazy!  you can’t drop oot of school!

Dylan:  I already have.

Ashley:  then go talk to the principal!  tell him you changed your mind!

Dylan:  But I haven’t changed my mind and I’m not going to, either.

Ashley:  you just can’t do this – come on!  i mean, what do your parents think?!

Dylan:  They’re not too happy…but then again, they’re not too happy that I’m their kid in the first place.

Ashley:  that’s not true.  maybe you don’t always get along, but they still care aboot you.

Dylan:  Hey, what makes you an expert on my parents all of a sudden?

Ashley:  dylan, your mom and dad care aboot you a lot.

Dylan:  They’ve got a funny way of showing it.

Ashley:  maybe that’s true, but—

Dylan:  Besides, I don’t care what they think!  Dropping oot was my decision.  If they wanna freak oot aboot it, fine!  I’ll just move oot…find my own place.

She continues to badger him aboot the fact that he’s only fifteen years old (for the third year running) and that the odds of him forging a successful music career are slim to none, but Dylan counters that he already found an agent and he’s meeting with her this afternoon.  I can’t confirm the veracity of that last claim, but he’s speaking the truth when he says he’s going to move oot.  Since this is the penultimate episode of Season 3, they’re already starting to set things up for the next one and Dylan’s homeless odyssey is one of the few things of interest in that 26-episode shit smorgasbord.

ashley nag

At The Avalon, Dave and Arseman are rehearsing their lines.  Apparently, the performance is in just four hours, but if anything else of significance is discussed over their pastries and milk, I can’t tell you what it is because hitting fast-forward on these two causes relief to wash over me like someone having a nice cup of tea after enduring an afternoon of non-stop waterboarding.  Oh shit!  Rewind, rewind.  I knew we’d meet these guys in this episode since Roxanne already mentioned them in the opening scene, but I didn’t realize it would happen so soon.  As Dave continues to mangle his lines, two guys approach their booth from the pinball room.  Despite the fact that one of them has hair redder than a baboon’s ass, their attire and the way they carry themselves indicate that they represent the “bad element” in Roxanne’s heretofore unexplored life ootside of Hillside.

guys

Dirt Bag 1:  You guys seen Roxanne?

Dave:  Roxanne?

Dirt Bag 1:  Is there an echo in here?!

Arseman:  No…we haven’t seen her.  She’s probably at school.

Dirt Bag 2:  Well, if you do see her, tell her Tony and Ben are looking for her.  We’ll be back later.

Incidentally, the words “HAVE A BAD DAY” are scrawled in magic marker on the back of Tony’s denim vest.

Matt’s doing homework in the student lounge when Courtney nervously approaches his table wearing the “sexy” Cosby sweater/mini-skirt ootfit that Ashley Frankensteined onto her a few episodes ago.  She sits down and starts to explain herself when Matt cuts her off.

Matt:  Actually, there’s something I’d kinda like to say to you.  Look, I don’t have a clue what happened between you and me.  I don’t really want an explanation, either.  I just want you to know that I’m getting really sick and tired of you jerking me around!!

Courtney:  I know – and I feel really lousy.

Matt:  You feel lousy?  Courtney, this is the second time you’ve done this to me! (actually, it’s the third) You tell me you want us to go oot together, then all of a sudden, you turn around and tell me to get lost!

Courtney:  Look, I did not mean it to sound that way.

Matt:  Then how did you mean it to sound??

Courtney:  If you want to know what really happened, just ask Ashley!

Keep on passing the buck, Headband.  Even though you’ve only got another episode and a half before you start your merciful 30 year retreat into our distant memories, I have faith that you can manage to destroy every last friendship you ever had in that brief time frame with your stubborn refusal to take responsibility for your own abject shittiness.  Now go check up on your brother, Asshole.

matt yells

In a case of unfortunate timing, Brooke and Arseman run into each other at their adjacent lockers and immediately the sparks begin to fly over the Catherine character in Courtney’s play.  In a case of fortunate timing, they’re interrupted by Chris and Roxanne before I have a chance to throw my laptop against the wall.  Roxanne wishes Arseman luck before walking off, and I honestly can’t tell whether she was being sarcastic or sincere, but it does serve as an opening for some possible common ground between Brooke and Sassy Pants.

Brooke:  She really thinks she’s something, doesn’t she?

Arseman:  Roxanne?

Brooke:  Ugh – she’s so proud of herself just because she has Chris tagging along after her.

Arseman:  As far as I’m concerned, she’s welcome to him.

Brooke:  I really think someone should put Roxanne in her place.  Maybe – maybe someone a little more attractive should take Chris off her hands…and then dump him, just to prove a point.

Arseman:  I’m not exactly sure Roxanne’s a person you want to play games with.

Brooke:  Oh, I don’t play games, Arseman.  I never play games.  I just do what I like.

Courtney and Jake are discussing Dylan’s decision to drop oot of school while they finish preparing the student lounge for the play.  Headband changes the subject to her discussion with Matt aboot why she really broke up with him when Dave and Arseman appear.  Courtney greets them with an enthusiastic, “Hey, the costumes look great!” even though they’re pretty much wearing the same shit they always do.

Arseman:  Time to go!  Let’s get the show on the road!

Dave:  Good idea.  Let’s get it on the road…then run over it with a truck.

Jake:  Come on, you’re going to do just fine.  Believe it!

Brooke enters The Avalon and Who Farted hesitantly approaches her.  She tells her former mentor that she’s going back to school to watch the play, but Brooke indicates that she has better things to do with her time as she abandons Who Farted and sidles up to Chris at the counter.

chris sips

Brooke:  Well, hi, Chris!  And how’s every little thing?

Chris:  Uh…fine, I guess.

Brooke:  So where’s Roxanne?

Chris:  I think she’s still at school.

Brooke:  Well, we can’t have you sitting all alone now, can we?  So I guess you’ve heard aboot Dylan?

Chris:  Yeah, the guy thinks he’s gonna be a rock and roll superstar.

Brooke:  I know, that’s what’s so tragic aboot it – I mean, he doesn’t even have a chance!

Chris:  That’s kinda the way I see it, too.

Brooke:  Dylan isn’t a bad musician…still, he doesn’t have your talent.

Chris:  Yeah?

Brooke:  Absolutely!  You were the heart and soul of the band!  I mean, hey, you even look the way a guitarist is supposed to.

Chris:  How’s that?

Brooke:  You know – easy on the eyes.

As Who Farted looks on, the coy smile on Chris’ face seems to indicate that Brooke’s flirtatious display was a resounding success.

Over a shot of the Hillside exterior, we can hear Dave in mid-performance: “When…I…was…a…little…kid…I…used…to…pretend…I…was…invisible.”  I can’t fucking sit through this.  Stare at the picture below and imagine Dave delivering his lines like someone who just ate a fistful of Quaaludes while I go make myself a sandwich.

performance

Okay, I’m back.  How was Courtney’s play?  Was it everything you’d dreamed it would be?  Good.  Glad to hear it.  As the audience disperses, Matt follows Ashley into the hallway.

Matt:  Hey!  So what’d you think?

Ashley:  good play.  courtney’s really got something, doesn’t she?  i mean…as a writer.

Matt:  Yeah.  Ashley, listen, there’s something I wanted to ask you.

Ashley:  actually, i’m kind of in a hurry.

Matt:  It’s aboot…well, it’s aboot Courtney, actually.  This morning I was talking to her and she said something that, well, kinda blew me away.  She said that—

Ashley:  look, i’m sorry.  i’ve really gotta run.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!  Why in the living fuck does anybody even attempt to speak to this melodramatic little tampon, for Christ’s sake??  FUCK!!!

FUUUUUUUUCK!!!

*Phew* Alright, I’m all better now.  I lost my cool there for a second and that was terribly unprofessional of me.  Please accept my apologies.  Who Farted sees Dave still milling aboot in the student lounge and congratulates him on his performance, adding, I shit you not, “I mean…wow!”  Mercifully, Dave takes his leave, greatly reducing the heaping pile of awkward in the room, so Who Farted turns to her friend with the oversized glasses and gushes, “He was really good, wasn’t he?  Absolutely – he was just…you know, I think he’s a really great guy!”

infatuated

Arseman and Dave are chatting at the soda machine when Deadpool descends the stairs.

Arseman:  Hi, Billy!

Billy:  Hey, I saw the play – you weren’t bad at all!

Arseman:  Thanks!

Billy: (addressing Dave) And, uh, you weren’t so bad yourself!

Dave:  Yeah?

Billy:  Yeah, you were really convincing – playing a geek, which only makes sense, since it was typecasting.

Billy walks away as Arseman turns her spigot of sass on full blast, prying the truth oot of her horrible co-star aboot Deadpool’s new habit of picking on geeks.  Sassy Pants makes it clear that she’s going to take the matter into her own hands.

chat

Who Farted sees Roxanne at her locker and says hi.  She asks if “those guys, Tony and Ben or something” ever found her, adding, “They looked…a little heavy duty.”  Unsure how to handle the ensuing silence, Who Farted changes the subject and asks how things are going with Chris, prompting Roxanne to threateningly inquire whether that’s any of her business.

WF:  Well, no, it’s just…I thought you and Chris were supposed to be going oot, and in that case—

Roxanne:  In that case, what?!

WF:  Well, in that case, what’s going on between Chris and Brooke?  I mean, why is Brooke chasing after him all of a sudden?

Roxanne:  Brooke’s chasing after Chris?

WF:  Look, I probably shouldn’t have said anything.  I mean, I don’t really know for sure, and like you said, it’s none—

Roxanne:  Hey, thanks for the information!

rox pissed

Dylan’s playing pinball at The Avalon when Arseman walks in and asks, “How’s the life of the rock and roll star?”  Leather Jacket doesn’t seem in the mood for small talk, or even large talk when she changes the topic to his decision to drop oot of school, so Sassy Pants dispenses with the formalities and gets to the point.

Arseman:  There’s something else…Billy.

Dylan:  What aboot him?

Arseman:  Apparently, he’s turned into this world-class jerk, hassling David and shoving little kids around.

Dylan:  Since when?

Arseman:  Since he’s been having problems at home, I guess, but that’s no excuse for turning into a bully.  So anyway, you guys used to be pretty close and I’d talk to him myself, but I thought he’d listen a little better if it came from you.

Dylan:  Where is he?

Arseman:  The last time I saw him, he was still at school.

Dylan:  Right.

He leaves Arseman at the pinball machine to pay an unexpected visit to Hillside.

Roxanne takes what looks like an enormous bowl full of whipped cream from The Avalon counter to her table just as Brooke enters the café.

Roxanne:  Brooke!  Just the person I wanted to see.  Come here a sec.

Brooke:  So what do you want?

Roxanne:  Well, it’s just like this – I’ve been hearing these stories aboot you chasing after Chris…

Brooke:  I beg your pardon?

Roxanne:  …so I said to myself, “Gee, it just isn’t like Brooke to do something like that!”

Brooke:  Absolutely!  If you want to know the truth, Roxanne, it’s Chris who’s been chasing after me.

Roxanne:  Really.

Brooke:  It’s getting totally boring!  I mean, every time I turn around—

Roxanne:  Well, it really doesn’t matter one way or the other.  I’d just like to make one brief statement.

She grabs Brooke by the hair and smashes her face into the bowl of whipped cream, adding, “Stay oot of my face!”

brooke cream

Good shit, right?  Hell, this is an ootstanding episode all around, because here comes some more.  Dylan stares through the glass door into the locker vestibule and steels himself for the upcoming confrontation with Deadpool who’s getting books from his locker.

Billy:  What are you doing here?  I thought you dropped oot of school.

Dylan:  Yeah, well, I decided to drop back…just for five minutes.

Billy:  Hey, good luck with the rest of your life.  You’ll probably need it.

As Billy turns to leave, Dylan grabs him by the arm and drags him back, pinning him against the lockers.

dyl bill2

Billy:  Get your hands off!!

Dylan:  We need to have a little talk, ‘cause I’ve been hearing these really unfortunate stories, you know, aboot you pushing little kids around.

Billy:  Will you let go?!

Dylan:  You know, I’ve gotta be honest…I can’t stand bullies.  Know why?  Because bullies – they do things like this!

He slams Billy violently against the lockers.

Billy:  Hey!

Dylan:  See what I mean?

Deadpool makes another attempt to flee, but Dylan pulls him right back.

Billy:  CUT IT OOT!!

Dylan:  Bullies are cowards.  They pick on people who are smaller than they are.  See how it feels?

He shoves Billy so hard into the lockers that he falls to the floor.  Dylan looms over him and balls his hand into a fist.

Billy:  DON’T!!!

dyl bill3

Bending down to meet him face to face, Leather Jacket delivers his final warning.

Dylan:  You’re lucky I don’t kick your butt from here to downtown, ‘cause THAT’S what you deserve.  Take my point?

dyl bill 4

Damn.  Wait, what the fuck, there’s still three minutes left?  How the hell do they think they’re gonna top that shit?

Chris walks into The Avalon and sees Roxanne sitting at a booth with Tony and Ben.  After she chides him for being ten minutes late, she introduces him to her friends.  Chris extends his hand and says, “How’s it going?” but neither of Roxanne’s mysterious thugs can be bothered to acknowledge the greeting.  This is the dirt bag food chain, y’all.  Chris takes a seat next to Roxanne.

Chris:  So, how do you guys know each other?  You don’t go to this school or anything.

Tony:  We belong to a kind of…club.

Ben:  Yeah, that’s what it is.

Roxanne:  And they’re also just excellent musicians!  So, hey – this is our new band.

ben tony

Dylan’s playing guitar in the garage when Ashley enters withoot bothering to knock.  She asks him how it went with the agent, causing Leather Jacket to sigh and explain that 15 year old musicians apparently aren’t in high demand.  Clearly relieved, Ashley tells him that he gave it a shot, but since it didn’t work oot, now he can come back to school.  To her shock, Dylan makes it clear that he has no intention of returning to school.

Ashley:  so what are you gonna do?

Dylan:  Wanna know the truth?  I don’t have a clue.

That makes two of us, Dylan.  But at least you got a chance to oot-Deadpool Deadpool, which is more than I can say.

Joe Superstar

superstar

Season 3, Episode 11

Fall is fast approaching and if I’m to capitalize on the invigorating chill in the air and maybe, I don’t know, find a job or something, then I need to finish this project upon which I so impetuously embarked way back in April.  That means three more episode summaries to finish up Season 3 and a brief synopsis of the major events that occur in the god-awful, shark-jumping fourth season.  We’re in the homestretch now, so let’s waste no further time (and wipe that grin off yer face, Mole, you know damn well you’re gonna miss these comfortingly apolitical visits to Hillside High).

We open at The Avalon where things get weird right oot of the gate, as Who Farted approaches Jake who’s busy studying at a booth.  To my recollection, these two haven’t exchanged a single word up to this point, so let’s see what the fuck this is all aboot.

WF:  Hi, Jake.

Jake:  Oh, hi.

WF:  Homework for breakfast?

Jake:  Right.  Eat your biology, it’s good for you.  I should have finished yesterday but I kinda ran oot of weekend.  If only there wasn’t so much other stuff to do — you know, watching ball games, hanging oot at the mall.  Anyways, I’ve still got 15 minutes.

I guess now we know why they hadn’t exchanged a single word up to this point.  It turns oot that Who Farted is trying to pry some verbalized jealousy oot of Jake aboot Matt and Courtney’s PDA at Dylan’s concert, a rare solo gossip-gathering mission.  Brooke’s friendship may be a thing of the past, but I guess old habits die hard.  Of course, this attempt to shake some drama from Hillside’s resident Zen master is a bust, right down to having to weather a mild scolding for acting like “Catherine”, a character in Courtney’s stupid play that apparently bears striking similarities to Brooke.  I wonder if John Binkley ever considered suing Jerry Seinfeld for the blatant theft of his intellectual property when the most celebrated sitcom of the 90s introduced the plot of a TV show that was nearly identical to the TV show it inhabited.  Anyway, the fact that Headband created a character based on Brooke seems to excite Who Farted just as much as if Jake had broken down crying over Courtney’s new relationship with Matt.

excited

Good Lord.  In the student lounge, Dave is practicing his lines with Courtney.  Imagine the most wooden, emotionless actor on earth performing a scene wherein he needs to somehow act like a significantly more wooden and emotionless actor, and you’ll have some idea of why I am at this moment cursing cruel fate for the fact that I have an electric oven.  After delivering the same line several times with all the emotive gusto of Stephen Hawking, he throws up his hands and sighs, “I can’t do this!” while Headband compliments and encourages him, incredibly managing to keep a straight face.  She tells him that “nobody expects you to be Mel Gibson or anything,” and now I’m starting to wonder who on Fifteen’s writing staff was so obsessed with Australia’s aging anti-Semitic hunk.  For a show that makes relatively few pop cultural references, they sure do name drop Mel an awful lot.

Emerging from the girls’ locker room, Brooke walks past the table of two kids that are gushing aboot how great Dylan’s concert was.  Naturally, she can’t resist nosing into their conversation and tendering her less than flattering opinion of his performance, but the girls just ignore her as they get up to go to class.  Of course, this little display of public humiliation causes the dreaded Roxanne to just fucking materialize oot of thin air carrying a rucksack of insult to add to Brooke’s injury.

Roxanne:  Was it something you said?

Brooke:  Beg pardon?

Roxanne:  Don’t worry – they’ll all start paying more attention once they find oot you’re a star.

Brooke:  Roxanne, you’re making even less sense than usual.

Roxanne:  Haven’t you heard?  You’re gonna be famous!

Brooke:  What are you babbling aboot?

Roxanne:  Courtney’s play.  Apparently, there’s this character – her name’s Catherine.

Brooke:  Why should I care?

Roxanne: ‘Cause the character’s patterned after you!

Brooke:  What?

Roxanne:  That’s what I hear.  A hypocritical, mean spirited witch.  Should be lots of fun!

Okay, so in the last episode, Matt told Courtney he thought Dave would be good for the part of the brother since the character is shy.  Now we find oot that Roxanne also has significant advance knowledge of Headband’s theatrical debut.  What the fuck?  Did Courtney post the fucking script on the bulletin board next to Arseman’s vivisection poster?  And even if she did, don’t these little douchebags have anything better to talk aboot?  I’m starting to gain enormous respect for Deadpool’s terroristic approach to these insufferable retards.

Ah, finally something into which we can satisfyingly sink our teeth.  Courtney is at her locker when Ashley breezes by, trying to avoid eye contact.

Courtney:  Hey!  I’ve been looking all over for you!

Ashley:  courtney.  hi.

Courtney:  Where have you been?

Ashley:  oh, i just had…something to do this morning.

Courtney:  And all weekend?  I called you a few times.  I even left messages, but you never called me back.

Ashley:  i was pretty tied up…down at the public library, studying.

Courtney:  Well, why didn’t you let me know?  I would have come with you.

Ashley:  i didn’t want you to.  i mean…it was all really boring.  i just figured you had better things to do.

Courtney:  Listen, um, aboot Friday night…the concert.  Look, I’m really sorry if I didn’t get much of a chance to talk to you – I guess I was just sort of wrapped up in, you know, the excitement, the music—

Ashley:  —matt.  yeah, the concert was great.  i’ll see you later.

Courtney:  Sure.  Um, how aboot we meet at lunch or something?

Ashley:  actually, i’ve got a lot of homework to finish.

Courtney:  Well, what aboot after school, then?

Ashley:  i don’t know.  maybe.  see ya.

Jesus, for a girl who tries so hard to be inscrutable, Pinky sure does work oot of the exact same playbook every time she feels betrayed by Shit Drapes.  I feel like we’ve watched this scene before.  More than once.  Whisperina wafts off to class but when Courtney turns around, she finds herself face to face with a stone-faced Brooke who proceeds to rip her a new one for writing a familiarly one-dimensional bitch into her play.

Brooke:  This is slander with malicious intent!  I could sue you!

slander

Courtney reacts with the obligatory paraphrased disclaimer that any similarities between characters in her play and real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

In the boys’ locker room, Matt and Jake spend a few minutes illustrating why guys are infinitely better than gals at dealing with the fact that exes move on.  I’m not so sure this applies IRL, but as a TV trope, it’s unquestionable.  In keeping with this time-tested stereotype, Jake selflessly expresses concern aboot how Ashley might have felt upon witnessing their public smoochery at the concert, but Matt assures him that Ashley has no interest in him whatsoever.

In the student lounge, Courtney, Dave, Arseman, Jake and the as-yet-unnamed Russ are clearing furniture oot of the way to facilitate a rehearsal of Headband’s play.  As Courtney symbolically mounts the director’s chair, Arseman and Dave proceed to compete over who can deliver their ham-fisted dialogue more robotically.  It’s a stalemate.  I really don’t possess the requisite lexical aplomb to make you understand how torturously bad this is.  If John Binkley consciously set oot to find the most terrible actors in Vancouver to play the most terrible actors at the fictional Hillside High, then color me impressed.  Courtney yells “cut!” and directs Arseman to stop holding back and fully embrace her role as “a real witch” before instructing them to start again from the top.  For some fucking reason known only to Binkley and God, Arseman’s interpretation of this constructive criticism is to resume speaking her lines in an emotionless monotone, but this time with a British accent.  Luckily, she doesn’t get very far before Brooke storms into the lounge and threatens legal action over the inclusion of the slanderous Catherine character in Courtney’s play.  Oddly enough, she manages to do so quite viscerally withoot the slightest hint of a British accent.

rehearsal

Ashley enters The Avalon and sees Matt sitting alone at a table.  She stands in the middle of the café wringing her hands like an idiot until Matt finally calls oot to her.  Drinky Crow tries to make friendly small talk with his ex, but it’s immediately clear that she’s in full-on bitch mode.  Amazingly, Matt’s too stupid to put two and two together and ascertain the obvious source of the enormous stick up her petite derriere, but Ashley The Inscrutable certainly isn’t going to shed any light on what’s troubling her, at least not until she’s had her fill of being mysteriously moody for several more days.

Jake storms up to Brooke at her locker and reams her oot for the scene she made during the rehearsal.  They yell at each other for a spell, until Brooke’s lip begins to quiver as she looks Jake in the eye and asks with seeming sincerity, “What is it aboot me?!  What did I do to make you all think I’m so awful?  I’m not a horrible person, you know.”

jake puzzled

Dylan enters the school carrying his guitar and is immediately set upon by Arseman and a gaggle of unknown kids showering him with effusive praise for his shitty performance at The Avalon.  Some girl in glasses with ludicrously oversized frames tells him that he “looked like Bono”, to which Leather Jacket replies, “Sonny Bono?”  Hm.  Maybe Chris really did have a point aboot the need to drag his former band mate into the nineties.  Extricating himself from the crowd, Dylan walks over to a table with Arseman as Chris lingers behind them at the lockers.  He asks Sassy Pants for her honest opinion aboot his concert and she obliges with the vaguest musical critique ever tendered just as Chris strolls up to the table.

Chris:  Look at this – Joe Superstar.  Next stop, MTV.

Christ At The Cracker Barrel, somebody really needs to teach these morons how to talk trash.

Have you ever had a festering sore that you just couldn’t stop obsessively picking at, no matter how grotesque the ensuing wound might prove to be?  Courtney sees Ashley doing homework in the lounge and makes her second attempt at friendly conversation with her bestie that somehow goes off the rails even quicker than the first.

bitch ashley

Courtney:  Hey!  What are you doing here?

Ashley:  homework.  i just figured it would be a good place…you know, no interruptions.

Courtney:  Sorry.  Look, um, how aboot you tell me what’s wrong?

Ashley:  nothing’s wrong.

Courtney:  Well, then, how come you’ve been avoiding me ever since Friday night?

Ashley:  i’ve just been busy…and friday night has nothing to do with it.  (painfully pregnant pause)  alright.  it’s true.  i just couldn’t stand it.

Courtney:  What do you mean?

Ashley:  seeing you and matt together.

Courtney:  What?!  But you said that—

Ashley: –i know what i said.  i said i didn’t care aboot him anymore.  when i saw the two of you together, i just knew that wasn’t true.

Courtney:  Oh, no, don’t tell me this!

Ashley:  i know it isn’t fair.  i know i’ve got no right to feel this way…but i just can’t deal with it!

Wrong, Ashley.  You have every right to feel that way, you’re just a horrible shrew for making such a public display of it.  There’s a difference.

Courtney bounds down the stairs and finds Matt loitering at his locker.  As they greet one another, Matt affectionately caresses her shoulder causing her to shrink from his touch like he has leprosy.  Unfazed, he asks her if they’re still on for their planned trip to the mall to “admire the CD players and fantasize aboot having enough money to buy one”.  FOR THE THIRD FUCKING TIME THIS SEMESTER, Headband drops the unexpected bombshell on Drinky Crow that “This just isn’t gonna work.  Us.  You and me going oot together.”  By way of an explanation, she lies that it’s too soon after breaking up with Jake to start dating anyone else before tearing up and fleeing his presence.  Hey, Matt, remember this Big Book gem from your time in rehab? “If we were to live, we had to be free of anger.”  Should you experience a moment of clarity and realize that Bill W. was a charlatan withoot any logical approach to the problem of alcoholism whatsoever, I understand Deadpool’s eager to buy you a beer.  I heard him say so.  I’d take him up on it, if I were you.

Chris is playing pinball at The Avalon when Arseman approaches.  They proceed to snipe at each other for a while before Arseman turns to leave.

Chris:  Hang on.  When me and Roxanne get our band together, then you’ll hear some music.  We’re gonna blow Dylan right oot of the water!

Arseman:  I’ll tell him you said so.

Chris:  And you can tell him something else, while you’re at it.  Tell him to enjoy the glory while it lasts.

Arseman:  Meaning what?

Chris:  Well, we’re talking aboot Dylan, right?  He’ll find a way to mess it all up.  He always does.

chris pinball

Later at the Avalon counter, Matt is filling Jake in on having been dumped by Headband yet again. Although I get the impression that there’s some pretty priceless stuff in their dialogue, I can’t linger on this scene long enough to get the full gist of it because the dueling stripes on the shirts they’re wearing are literally giving me vertigo.

stripes

I know this has been a long one, but good things come to those who wait, my friends.  Dave is getting books from his locker when Deadpool rounds the corner.

billy threat

Billy:  There you are!  I figured you’d drop by after basketball practice, so I thought I’d drop by, too…just to say hi.

Dave:  Hi.

Billy:  So, I hear you’re the big actor now.  Wanna be a star, Dave?

Dave:  Guess I’m giving it a shot.

Dave starts to walk away, but Billy blocks his path.

Dave:  Listen, you want something?

Billy:  Yeah.  I want you to disappear.  You get in my way!

Dave:  Give me a break!

Dave desperately tries to flee the scene, but Deadpool positions himself to prevent him from leaving each time.

Dave:  Knock it off, Billy, I don’t want any trouble!

Billy:  Yeah, well, you got it now!  You’ve got big trouble.  LET’S GO!!

Dave:  We don’t have anything to fight aboot.

Billy:  Yeah?  What aboot this?

He gives Dave a shove, knocking him back a few feet.

Billy:  Come on!  You chicken or something?

Dave:  What’s your problem?!

Deadpool slams him into the lockers and in a mocking baby voice asks, “You wanna run home to Mommy?”

Dave:  No!

Billy:  LET’S GO!!!

He pushes Dave hard enough for all the books to fall oot of his hands and puts up his fists.

Dave:  Go ahead, hit me!  Maybe that will make you feel like a really big man!

Deadpool kicks Dave’s textbooks across the floor and splits, leaving his quiver-lipped prey to stare after him in shock.

billy mad

At Dylan’s garage, Leather Jacket is suffering through another of Ashley’s “be cool, stay in school” lectures.  I’m guessing this one is a little less irritating to endure than the others, since after he waits it oot, he nonchalantly informs her that he dropped oot of school this afternoon.

Courtney is sitting alone at The Avalon when Jake storms up to her booth and demands to know what’s going on with Matt.  Apparently, Jake’s pretty pissed off that she used him as her excuse to kick Drinky Crow to the curb, so Headband admits that she lied and tells him that the real reason she broke up with Matt is Ashley.  Black Eye’s not having any of her shit today.

Jake:  So this is all aboot Ashley’s feelings and your feelings.  Well, let me ask you something – what aboot Matt’s feelings?  The guy gets oot of detox, he’s trying to put his life back together, and you jerk him around in circles to protect other people’s feelings?  Well, what aboot Matt’s feelings, Courtney?  Why not try thinking aboot him for a change?!

jake mad

Hell, yeah.  Sleep on that, Shit Drapes.  You know something?  Jake’s alright.  He may even have just risen as high in my esteem as Janice and she was the best thing that ever happened to Hillside.  I wonder how she’s doing.  I miss Janice.  If you’re waiting for a closing joke to tie that all together, I’m sorry to disappoint you but I’m too busy getting misty-eyed over Janice to engage in any further tomfoolery today.

Wild Sex In The Working Class

court matt sex

Season 3, Episode 10

The part of Brooke was played by a lovely Canadian actress named Robyn Ross.  Unbeknownst to me (prior to a few days ago), I’d been in possession of another of her performances for over a decade.  If you check her IMDB profile, you’ll notice that she was in the movie Juno, credited as “Vanessa’s Friend #2”.  Though I’ve seen Juno many times, I watched it again after learning that she was in it, only to find that she is on screen for literally 3 seconds and doesn’t speak a single word (nor does “Vanessa’s Friend #1”, for what it’s worth).  During the mall scene where Jennifer Garner runs into Ellen Page while she’s oot shopping with friends, Vanessa’s Friends #1 and 2 appear, giving her an excuse to cut the conversation short.  If you blink, you’ll miss it, so briefly refrain from snapping your eyelids and gaze upon a grown-up Brooke doing what she can to pay the bills:

Inkedjuno_LI

Matt and Dave trudge into the boys’ locker room.  Slender Loris is uncharacteristically winded after playing one-on-one with Laundry Boy, so Dave tells him not to get down on himself, especially considering how long it’s been since he’s played basketball.  In my last episode summary, I kind of glossed over the scene where Dave first sees Matt in the student lounge after his return from the treatment center and thus neglected to note that Matt indicated he frequently played basketball with his fellow drunks during his self-imposed incarceration.  Thus, a rare lack of continuity from your humble narrator nearly got John Binkley and Ian Weir off the hook for another example of their perpetual lack thereof.  Anyway, Dave counsels Matt to talk to Coach Williams aboot getting back on the team, but Drinky Crow doesn’t seem too keen on the idea.

Exiting the locker room, Matt sees Ashley studying in the student lounge and approaches her table.  I know, I know – but you knew this was inevitable, so we might as well just rip off this fucking Band-Aid now.

Ashley:  so how are things?  you know, things in general?

Matt:  Oh, pretty good.

Ashley:  must feel kind of different.

Matt:  You mean…being sober?

Ashley:  no.  no, i just meant being back.

Matt:  Oh, right.  Well, being sober’s quite a change, too.  You find oot how far behind you are.  Anyway, guess I’ll see you around.

Ashley:  matt?  a few things have changed for me, too.  i guess you probably heard…i’m…well…single again.

Matt:  Yeah, I heard Chris turned into sort of a…jerk.

Ashley:  not quite.  he turned into a major jerk.

Matt:  Yeah, well, I guess that happens sometimes.

Ashley:  i guess.  sometimes i like it a lot, you know…being on my own.  other times, i’m not quite so sure.

Matt:  You get used to it.

Forget it, Whisper Bitch.  The first thing those 12 Step zombies drill into newcomers is the importance of refraining from new relationships within the first year of sobriety.  Everyone hates a drunk until he gets sober, then they regret not having taken sufficient advantage of him while they had the chance.  I speak from experience on this one, so you’d be wise to just continue on your current course of quiet martyrdom, Ash Blonde Ashley.

ashley pensive

Okay, normally, when a scene opens on Dave and John waxing moronic at their lockers, I start whining aboot the task that lays before me right here in the first sentence of the paragraph.  But this time, I have a feeling that if I’m patient, Deadpool will home in on them like a Great White catching the scent of distant prey.   Let’s see (Da-dum)…they’re talking aboot math homework (Da-dum da-dum)…still talking aboot math homework (Da-dum Da-dum Da-dum Da-Dum)…oh, fuck me Agnes, Deadpool didn’t sniff them oot, but Who Farted did.  (Pausing to shake my fist at the heavens.)  Sorry, my friends, but if I have to suffer through this, so do you.

Dave:  Uh, hi.

WF:  Hi.

Dave:  So…how are things?

WF:  Oh…thing-ish.  How aboot you?

Dave:  Yeah, same here…really thing-ish.  So…how’s cheerleading?

WF:  Oh, you know…fine.  Good.

Dave:  Great.

WF:  Guess I better run.

Jesus Tapdancing Christ!!!  Who Farted scurries off to class and John asks Dave what that was all aboot, prompting Dave to ponder how it would feel to be at least “slightly more impressive”.  He daydreams of basketball stardom and an adoring Gorgon cheering just for him.

dream wf
Yay, Dave!  Yay, Dave!
wf huge
“You’re just great!”

Dave breaks oot of his reverie just in time to hear Big Ears remark that he looks like he’s “having a gas attack or something,” which is a surprisingly accurate description of what I just witnessed.

How much more drama do you think Whisperina and Headband can endure before finally dispensing of the ludicrous charade that they’re somehow “best friends”?  Let’s find oot.  Eating lunch in the student lounge, they’re discussing Dylan’s gig at The Avalon tonight.  Courtney still has a touch of laryngitis, but obviously Sarah Douglas was a trooper who refused to be written oot of a single episode due to such a minor ailment.  Next, they cover the topic of Dylan’s frequent truancy just to keep that fresh in our minds, then Ashley gets up to leave as Deadpool appears behind them in the locker vestibule.  Courtney calls Ashley back to the table.

Courtney:  Just a second…I was just wondering, um…have you seen Matt, I mean, since he’s been back?

Ashley:  yeah, this morning.  it was good to see him.

Courtney:  So you guys had a chance to talk?

Ashley:  well, sort of…i mean, we didn’t exactly say a lot.  it’s kind of hard talking to him after everything that’s happened.

Courtney:  Ashley…do you figure there’s any chance you’ll ever, you know, get back together?

Ashley:  me and matt?  i don’t think so.  no.  there’s not a chance in the world.

Clearly frustrated at having to address this issue, Ashley grabs her lunch bag and splits as Deadpool saunters over and gives Headband a well-deserved guilt trip for being the douchebag that she is.  As Courtney hems and haws, Billy gets more specific and mentions that he heard she asked every guy in school to play the part of the younger brother in her play, “except for me, of course”.

Billy:  No big deal, of course.  I was just sort of wondering how come you asked aboot 300 other guys but you haven’t said a word to me.

Courtney:  I don’t believe it!  Why didn’t I think of you?  You’d be great!  I mean, you’d be perfect!

Billy:  So, uh…does this mean you’re offering me the part?

Courtney:  Absolutely!  I would love to have you in the play!

Billy:  Well, forget it!  I wouldn’t be caught dead in your play!  I was just kinda wondering how come you didn’t even bother to ask.

forget it

At the garage, Dylan’s noodling on his guitar when Ashley enters and tenders a cheery greeting of, “hey, rock on!”  She lets him vent his nervous energy aboot tonight’s show for a bit before embarking upon the redundant unsolicited lecture she came to deliver.  Jesus, this girl is a dolt.  The pragmatic tough love of Ashley Fraser already sent one guy to rehab, but I guess she won’t be satisfied until she nags Dylan so persistently that he drops oot of school just to spite her.  I know I would.

Whenever I’m fixing to fuck over a friend, I prefer doing it right away so unnecessary concerns like guilt and shame don’t have time to start clouding my lack of judgment.  Apparently, Courtney agrees.  Spotting Matt at the soda machine, she descends upon him like a succubus.  As Headband endlessly dances around the periphery of libidinous betrayal, Matt interrupts and tells her that he heard she’s looking for someone to play the part of the brother in her play and suggests that she ask Dave.  Unprepared for this rapid change of subject, she stammers that she hadn’t thought aboot asking Dave because he’s so shy, but Matt retorts that the character is, too, so he might be perfect for it.  Withoot waiting for a response, Matt walks away leaving Headband to wallow in frustration.

Ready for some more bullying action from Deadpool?  Fuck yeah, you are.  John is doing homework at a booth in The Avalon when Billy strolls up from behind.

Billy:  Hey, just the guy I was looking for!  Gee, you look a little tense.  You must be working too hard.

John:  What do you want?

Billy:  Well, let’s put it this way: it’s lunchtime, right?  And I’m starved.  So, uh, I really hope you brought some money.

John:  Just leave me alone.

Billy:  Hey, John – is that any way to treat a friend?

John bolts oot of his seat and tries to flee, but he’s no match for Deadpool’s lightning fast reflexes.  He grabs John roughly by the shoulders as Dave walks into the café and observes the interaction.

billy bully avalon

Billy:  I asked you for money!  I asked you nicely!  So you better hand it over, or else I’ll have to kick your—

Dave:  Or else you’ll have to what?

Billy:  Mind. Your. Own. Business.  What are you staring at?!

Dave:  I’m not staring at anything.  I just don’t think I like what’s going on here.

Billy:  Yeah?  Well, hey, maybe you’d like to do something aboot it.  We’ll get together again real soon – and that’s a promise!

Later on, Dave spots Courtney in the student lounge and takes a seat next to her.  He tells her that he was “just talking to Billy at The Avalon” and wants to know if he’s okay.  Headband asks him what he means but rather than divulging that her brother is a ruthless bully, he simply adds, “he just sort of seemed…uptight or something.”  Courtney briefly explains that Billy’s not in the best mood today before giving Dave an obvious once-over and asking, “How’d you like to be a star?”  She spends the next three and a half fucking minutes convincing him to take the part before abruptly leaving the table, still oblivious to her brother’s ongoing reign of terror.

Chris and Roxanne bluster into The Avalon complaining aboot the sheer injustice of Dylan being offered a solo gig.  It’s hard to know whose side Roxanne is on in these exchanges because her voice is just as antagonistic in response to Chris’ whining as it is to the infuriating topic at hand.  Backpedaling on the excoriation of his former band mate, Chris proceeds to accuse Roxanne of making him break up the band.  They spend the next few minutes yelling and sneering and making one hell of a public scene that somehow none of the café patrons seem to notice (except for Brooke, who’s talking on the payphone nearby).  Roxanne gets in a few more digs before storming off, as Brooke saunters over to Chris and asks, “Trouble in paradise?”  She patiently endures his venomous response before strategically batting her eyelids and coquettishly noting, “Surely a guy like you can find someone better than her!”

brooke flirts

John and Dave exit the boys’ locker room discussing Billy’s new hobby of tormenting dorks like themselves.  Dave is still trying to get to the bottom of what may have initiated all this, but Dumbo insists that nothing happened that could explain Deadpool’s sudden fondness for violent intimidation.  John points oot that now it’s Dave’s problem, too, since Billy made it clear that he’s coming for him next.

John:  So what are you going to do?

Dave:  Same as you.  Stay oot of his way.

John:  And if that doesn’t work?

Dave:  I guess we’ll find oot, huh?  I don’t feel like fighting, but I don’t feel like running, either.

Good choice, Dave.  If you don’t fight and don’t run, maybe Deadpool will have a chance to punch the boring right oot of you.

Spotting Matt by the stairwell, Courtney tells him that she took his advice and offered Dave the part in her play.  He thanks Headband and affectionately touches her arm before turning to walk away.

Courtney:  Listen, there’s actually…well, there’s something else I’ve been wanting to ask you.  If I could just figure oot how to say this…

Matt:  Is something wrong?

Courtney:  Oh, no, nothing like that.  It’s just…a while back – quite a while back – you asked me to go oot with you.  Remember?

Matt:  Uh, yeah.  I seem to have vague memories.  Of course, I remember.  Why?

Courtney:  Well, things didn’t exactly work oot because of…well, because of how complex everything was.  But since things have changed and, you know, since things aren’t as complex anymore, I was just wondering…I mean, if you’re still interested.

Matt:  Let me get this straight.  Are you saying…I mean, are you asking me to go oot with you?

Courtney:  No, I’m not exactly saying that, I’m just – well, I guess that is what I’m saying.  So what do you think?

Matt:  Well, listen, maybe…why don’t we go to Dylan’s concert together?

Courtney:  Sounds great!  Yeah, why don’t you come over to my place around 7:30?  We’ll walk over together.

Matt:  Sure, that’d be great!  Just one more thing…just so we both have this straight.  Are we going to this concert as, like, old friends, or are we going as, like, something else?

Courtney:  Well, why don’t we start off as old friends and then just sort of see what happens from there?

Oh, fuck you, Headband.  I hope Deadpool pummels your goddamn face until it turns to jelly.

Now it’s Dave’s turn to ask the object of his desire to Dylan’s concert, but Who Farted is either too conflicted, too stupid, or in too much of a hurry to acknowledge his nervously stammered invite.  (Who do you think he is, Tom Cruise or something?)

Dylan comes down the stairs carrying his guitar and runs into Matt.  They exchange a few antagonistic words until Matt sincerely wishes Leather Jacket good luck in his concert.

Dylan:  Yeah?  Look, I know I haven’t exactly had a chance to talk to you since you got back so, um, I just wanted to say, just, you know, I hope stuff’s going okay for you.

Matt:  You know something?  We better be careful.  People are gonna start to think we don’t hate each other after all!

No, they don’t proceed to lock lips right there in the hallway, but if I had a nickel for every time that last sentence is spoken by both of these idiots in Season 4, long after they become clearly established friends…well, I guess I’d have at least ten nickels.  Maybe I should have opted for a higher denomination there for maximum literary efficacy, but I’ll just let it stand.  50 cents is 50 cents.

A few tinny blues notes play over a shot of The Avalon exterior.  Inside, Dylan’s “concert” is in full swing, with the entire Hillside student body gathered around the stage while Fonzie hesitantly plucks at his guitar.  It turns oot that this is actually a song, not just a public display of guitar tuning, as evidenced by Who Farted’s enthusiastic “That was excellent!” that fills the ensuing silence.  Standing behind her table, Dave considers saying something to her, then pussies oot and heads for the exit just as Deadpool is coming in.

Billy:  Well, look who’s here!  What I said earlier – I meant it.  Sooner or later, I’m gonna catch you alone, and look oot!

Think that was dramatic?  Dig this.  Ashley is sitting at the counter behind the table that Courtney and Matt are sharing.  Headband makes a few comments aboot Dylan’s performance before just throwing caution to the fucking wind.  I think a few screen shots will do better than a description here, especially since you’ll be able to pinpoint the exact moment Ashley’s heart rips open like an overripe mango.

court kiss 1

***

court kiss 2

***

ash flees

As Ashley flees the café, Courtney apologizes to Matt for being so impetuous, but he makes it clear that he didn’t mind at all.

The part of Courtney was played by a shitty Canadian actress named Sarah Douglas.  If you check her IMDB profile, you’ll notice that the only other role to her credit is “Audience Member” in one episode of some TV show called Hollywood Off-Ramp.  And after just three more episodes of Fifteen, you will never have to see her again.  That’s a fucking promise.

 

JoJo Siwa On Infinite Repeat

mean deadpool

Season 3, Episode 9

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable. – A.A. Preamble

Matt, you poor sucker.  If you thought navigating the halls of Hillside High was a hassle before, just wait until you try it sober.  I’ve never heard you discuss your conception of a Higher Power, but I’m sure it’s not up to the torturous and terrifying task that lies before you.   Unless, of course, your Higher Power is Deadpool.  That could work.

We open at The Avalon where Brooke is treating my two favorite nameless cheerleaders to an emotive self-promotional announcement of her bid for the head cheerleader position.

cheer girls

She then makes her way over to the booth where Courtney is studying and strikes a somber tone, advising Headband that she just heard “the terrible news”.  When Courtney croaks oot, “What terrible news?”, Brooke assumes that she’s too choked up to talk, but it turns oot she just has laryngitis.  It would be awesome if this were a chronic ailment, but alas, it’s just a small and temporary blessing.  Anyhow, the “terrible news” to which Brooke is referring is the fact that Jake and Courtney broke up, but Headband’s unshakeable good cheer throughoot the inquisition isn’t quite the reaction for which she’d been hoping.  Still skeptical, she takes a seat just as Jake enters the café and sits down next to Courtney, effectively ending Brooke’s ill-conceived reconnaissance mission.  He announces that it’s “the big day” when Matt will be coming home from the treatment center.  As if verifying her increasing irrelevance, Brooke makes one final and unsuccessful attempt to wrap her mind around the spectacle of a former couple hanging oot as friends.  (Spoiler alert: none of the people involved in this scene will appear in the final season.)

Q:  What do you call a conversation between a girl with laryngitis and a girl who never speaks above a whisper?

A:  Something Curmudgeon refuses to fucking acknowledge.

whisperers

Don’t worry, I didn’t abdicate my responsibility there.  Everything they said was just a rehashing of shit that’s already been rehashed so many times that it’s making every episode start to feel like a rerun of the previous one.  Oh, and Courtney’s stupid English teacher is letting her cast, produce and direct her stupid play for a public performance, so we’ve got that to look forward to.

At Who Farted’s locker, Brooke is pretending to be disappointed that she’s running unopposed for the head cheerleader position while Who Farted pretends that she’s not planning to run against her.  Eventually, the charade comes to an end.

Brooke:  …so, it looks as though I’m the new head cheerleader!

WF:  Not quite.

Brooke:  What do you mean?

WF:  I decided to run.

Brooke:  You what?

WF:  I just thought that there should be some competition – you said so yourself.

Brooke:  Well, yeah, but not from your friends.  Besides, you didn’t even tell me!

WF:  I just…sort of decided and…I’m telling you now.

Brooke:  Isn’t this interesting.  May the best person win.  And Stacy – don’t get your hopes up too high.  I’d hate to see you disappointed.

arse court.JPG

Alright, now Courtney’s irritated esophagus is croaking at Arseman aboot her dumb play and if ever a scene could be deemed unwatchable, this is it, but I’m going to briefly transcribe Headband’s plot synopsis so that you can understand what’s going on here.  Quite simply, this dialogue is from a script aboot a script that’s aboot the very script of which it is a part.  Got that?  No?  Here, take a look:

Courtney:  See, this sister is just so self-absorbed, you know?  She’s really wrapped up in herself.  She doesn’t even realize when her brother needs someone.

If I can stray off topic for just a moment, I know many of you must be wondering what my next venture will be when I finally finish this interminable ode to Fifteen.  I was thinking of writing a play.  It will be aboot a guy in his late 40s inspired by terminal boredom to create a blog page, the content of which is an interminable ode to an early 90s Canadian teen soap opera.  My working title is “Notes From Notes From The Avalon”.  It’s gonna be fucking brilliant, so don’t miss it.  Anyway, Courtney recruits an annoyingly reluctant Arseman for the role of the sister before dramatically sighing that she still needs to find someone to play the part of the younger brother.  (For fuck’s sake, Courtney, your younger brother is Hollywood royalty, you clueless twit.)

Ryan Reynolds poses with his award during the 22nd Annual Critics' Choice Awards in Santa Monica
I’d like to thank my disgusting manatee of a sister for giving me my first big break…

Dylan is moping at a booth in The Avalon when Ashley approaches and asks him what’s wrong.  He tells her that he was just hauled down to the principal’s office because his teachers have been reporting him for truancy and failure to turn in homework assignments and that he might have to repeat the grade if he doesn’t get his act together.  Ashley tries to inspire him to buckle down, finding his retort of “maybe I just won’t worry aboot it” too exasperating to accept.  Christ, this whispering little twat would fucking hate me: “Hey, Paul, have you found a job yet?”  “Nope.”  “What are you gonna do?”  “Maybe I just won’t worry aboot it.”  (Spoiler Alert: Dylan refrains from worrying aboot it for so long that eventually he just drops oot of school and gets a dead-end job busing tables at the shitty mall café.)

By the lockers, Headband is trying to recruit Jake for the role of the brother in her play, but he’s wise enough to understand the benefits of being romantically unencumbered, and so respectfully declines.  If only there were someone who could play the part of a troubled younger brother…

deadpool swagger

Deadpool swaggers through the rear door of The Avalon where John is playing pinball.  With an evil grin, he puts his arm around Dumbo’s shoulder and commences to antagonize his prey.

Billy:  So, John, how’s it going?

John:  Uh…fine, I guess.

Billy:  You here for lunch?  Me, too…but the problem is, I just don’t seem to have any money.  So, uh, you think you can help me oot?

John:  I, uh, don’t have that much myself.

Billy:  Then why don’t you just give me what you have?

John:  Well, then I wouldn’t have enough for myself.

Billy:  John, you’re missing the point.  Give me the money!

John:  Come on, Billy, leave me alone.

Billy:  Hey, Kid – the money!

John tries to flee, but Deadpool grabs him by the sleeve and drags him back into the pinball room.  In desperation, Alfred E. Newman bellows “It’s not fair!” as he hands over his paltry cash supply.

Billy:  That’s life, Kid.  Get used to it.  And, uh, I’ll probably need some money for lunch tomorrow, too.  So bring some!

Finally free of Deadpool’s iron grasp, John runs past Courtney as he flees The Avalon.  Oblivious to what just transpired, she asks Billy if he’d like to get together later, after she and her friends welcome Matt back from the treatment center.

Billy:  Oh, right, Matt’s back from that drunk place!

Courtney:  The treatment center.

Billy:  Okay…the treatment center.

Courtney:  Hey, I’m really looking forward to seeing him.  Aren’t you?

Billy:  Well, yeah, it’ll be good to see Old Matt again.  Maybe I can buy him a beer!

Courtney:  What is wrong with you?

Billy:  What’s wrong with you?  Can’t you take a joke?  And, uh, hey, aboot that brother-sister thing after school…I think I’m busy.

courtney aghast

Dylan is tenderly stroking his guitar on a sofa in the student lounge when Chris spots him and assesses this as a perfect opportunity for maximum harassment potential.  He sarcastically asks if Dylan wants to wish him luck at his Avalon gig, then goes on to inform him that he and Roxanne decided they’re going to play as a duo, dispensing of the complications brought on by a full band.  Clearly disappointed in Dylan’s laissez-faire response to the news, he instructs his former band mate, “Friday night.  The Avalon.  Be there,” before taking his leave.

The next scene opens at the stairwell where Leather Jacket and Laryngitis are discussing Billy’s increasingly worrisome behavior.  Moving along…

Oh, fuck, here’s what I get for trying to rush things along – Jake and Dave eating lunch in the student lounge while Who Farted lingers in the background.  This is worse than being locked in a 4 x 4 cage at Guantanamo while bombarded by JoJo Siwa songs on infinite repeat.  Dull and Duller are in the midst of discussing what goes on in treatment centers when Who Farted awkwardly approaches their table and vomits her best attempt at flirtation all over Dave’s letterman jacket.  She walks away and Jake, quick to pick up on the vibe, advises Dave to ask her oot, to which he replies, “Who do you think I am, Tom Cruise or something?”  Hmm…nah.  Trop facile.  I’ll just let you insert your own jokes here, dear readers.

gaah
The Floating Head of Death

Brooke sees Arseman at her locker and announces that the votes are currently being counted for the head cheerleader position, but Sassy Pants counters that the votes have already been counted, so she should ask Miss Leddingham for the results.  Brooke continues to arrogantly surmise that it must have been a landslide, so Arseman confirms that it was – 8 to 2, in fact, in Who Farted’s favor.

Brooke:  You mean…I lost?

Arseman:  Well, basically…yeah.  But, well…better luck next time.

brooke rejected

Matt’s sitting in the student lounge waiting to be noticed, but the best he’s gonna get right now is Dave, whose always questionable relevance severely dissipated once Jake returned from China.  The ensuing conversation is as tedious as you’d imagine.

At The Avalon, my two favorite cheerleaders are showering Who Farted with praise and congratulations for her easy victory.  Just as Who Farted tells them, “I really feel sorry for Brooke,” Miss Morgan enters the café and gives their table a wide berth on her way to the counter.  Who Farted gets up and tells Brooke that she feels awful, but her former mentor accuses her of having set the whole thing up, “campaigning behind my back!” and refuses to listen to Who Farted’s conciliatory explanation.  When Brooke’s accusations become too much to bear, Who Farted divulges that she actually voted for Brooke, which is what brought her vote tally to two.  “I didn’t want you to be totally humiliated – so I voted for you!”  Brooke continues to assault Who Farted with sneering derision and accuses her of trying to make a fool of her, leading to Who Farted’s boldest proclamation yet: “Nobody ever does that, Brooke! Nobody ever makes a fool of you!!  YOU’RE THE ONE WHO MAKES A FOOL OF YOURSELF!!!”

who farted mad

Okay, let’s pause and take stock of where we stand.  Courtney and Jake split up?  Check.  Ashley and Chris split up?  Check.  Dylan and Chris?  Check.  Brooke and Who Farted?  Check.  What the fuck is left?  That was a rhetorical question.  Four more soul-crushing episodes, that’s what’s left, whether or not there are any remaining plots worth a shit.

Student lounge.  Matt, surrounded by Jake, Dave, Arseman and Courtney, recounts his experience at the treatment center in the vaguest of terms.  I’m guessing that not one of these dummies owns a TV because they don’t seem to know the difference between rehab and a Siberian gulag.  Regardless, Matt seems to appreciate the warm welcome, though he doesn’t seem to notice Headband’s shameless laryngitic flirtation.  Maybe he’s too hungover.

matt and jake

Dylan walks into the Avalon pinball room and sees Chris moping over a soda at the booth.  Leather Jacket immediately starts antagonizing him, accurately guessing that the audition for Richard (now exclusively referred to as Dick) didn’t go so well.  He pumps some coins into the pinball machine and informs Chris that he spoke to Dick, so he already knows that they bombed.  It seems that Black Jerry stopped by the garage and told Dylan that White Jerry thought he was the best thing aboot the band, so Dick offered him a solo gig next Friday night, no audition required.  Karma’s a bitch, Chris.  And so are you.

Some time later, Matt and the gang are drinking sodas at The Avalon.  As Matt gets up to leave, Courtney grabs his sleeve and with stars in her eyes declares, “Matt, it’s really good to see you again.  It really is!”  For fuck’s sake, Headband, just flash him your goddamn tits already and spare us any more of your disgusting hoarse coquetry, you shameless whore.  Matt and Jake split, leaving Courtney free to gush to Arseman aboot how great Matt looks and basically make it as obvious as possible that she’s pining to get into his pants.  Arseman smiles her approval of the impending romance.

arseman smiles

If it seemed like I just kinda phoned this one in, that’s because I did.  What do you want from me?  Do you realize this was the 35th fucking episode of this shit-show that I’ve summarized in less than 6 months?  I still don’t have a job, you know.  I feel like someone should be paying me for this.  Someone with a vested interest and a buttload of money like, say, Ryan Reynolds.  I’d hate to have to shake him down for his lunch money, but you know…times are tough.

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.