brooke cry

Season 1, Episode 13

Remember us – if at all – not as lost, violent souls, but only as the Hollow Men – TS Eliot

Despite the fact that Jake finally lip-raped Courtney and developed a temporary set of balls in the wake of that disastrous mouth ambush, the penultimate episode of Season 1 failed to deliver the punch we’ve come to expect from the students of Hillside.  However, making the next to last installment a slow-burner is a common practice in the realm of soaps, as it retrospectively increases the potential excitement of the season’s coda.  Let’s see how well this manufactured anticipation worked in the case of Fifteen’s inaugural season, shall we?

We open at the Morgan Mansion where Brooke is looking over what she believes is a geography project completed by Kelly’s sister, clearly impressed at the level of work that went into it and deeming it well worth the $20 price tag.  Dutch Boy appears at her door wearing the original classic ootfit that inspired me to come up with her paint can-inspired nickname a dozen long episodes ago:

dutch boy2

Theresa stands there staring at Brooke for a ridiculously long time until Brooke finally tells her to stop spying on her and say something, leading to a puzzling semantic argument aboot the subtle differences between spying and lurking.  Finally, Dutch Boy makes a snide remark aboot the paper in Brooke’s hands having been written by Kelly’s sister, something I assume she already knows is untrue because I can’t imagine who else Kelly would have been talking to in the last couple of one-sided phone conversations she conducted at The Avalon.  Brooke gets up from her bed and strolls around the room reminding Theresa that today is the day she’ll be officially announcing her candidacy for Student Council President.  They trade a few more pointed barbs before Dutch Boy huffs from the room.

Cindy and Olaf enter The Avalon and approach Jake at the counter.  Attila The Hippie takes a seat next to Jake, remarking that he “doesn’t look so hot” and asking him what’s wrong.  For some fucking incomprehensible reason, Jake answers, “Oh, lots of things.  The ozone layer is breaking down, the rainforests are disappearing…” and for once, Cindy seems momentarily disinterested in environmental issues and presses him for what’s really on his mind, to which he answers, “Ashley”.  They discuss the fact that Pink Denim hasn’t been at school since she was caught cheating on her math test.  Olaf walks back from the cash register and offers his friends some Mentos or Rolos or perhaps some obscure Canadian snack that comes in a tubular package.  Jake asks him if he ever found his geography notes and Olaf responds in the negative, adding a few light-hearted quips to prove yet again that he is the only one among these terminal drama queens capable of meeting minor problems with something other than prolonged despair and self-pity.

With Kelly at her side, Brooke appears to be making the grand “official” announcement of her candidacy to a table in the lounge occupied by Mullet Dave (wearing a pink shirt over a powder blue turtleneck) and two unknown girls.  It’s established that as of now, she’s running unopposed.  One of the girls asks her whether she’ll push for more school dances if she’s elected as Dylan appears from behind.  Kelly spots him leaning on the banister and walks over to him.  They briefly mock Brooke’s presidential aspirations before Kelly discloses that she was sorry his concert got canceled because she was really looking forward to hearing him play.  Kelly might be flirting here, but it’s difficult to say for sure since we’ve never really seen her flirt before.  She is wearing a shirt with the logo of some clothing brand, the design of which appears to contain several dismembered floating penises in each of the corners, but I might be reading too much symbolism into her attire.  What the fuck do I think I’m reviewing here, Twin Peaks?  A moment later, her flirtation becomes apparent as she tries to obtain an invite to take in a private concert at Dylan’s garage, but her efforts are dismissed with a chuckle before he turns and walks away.  What the hell is wrong with you, Leather Boy?  You’re willing to get involved with an ugly parasite and a scheming inveigler, but you reject the coolest and arguably hottest girl at Hillside High even though she’s virtually throwing herself at your feet?  I guess there’s no accounting for taste.

Matt and Jake’s locker room.  Drinky Crow is menacingly interrogating Jake aboot whether he’d like to take back anything he said during his temporary testosteronal tirade at The Avalon yesterday.  Jake sticks to his guns, then asks Matt if he’s had a chance to talk to Ashley.  Matt tells him that he tried calling her last night, but she didn’t want to talk.  Jake responds that he’s not surprised considering how torn up Ashley is, then asks Matt again if he even cares.  Matt reluctantly concedes that he does, but he’s at a loss as to what do aboot it, at which point Jake stands up and faces him in yet another surprising display of machismo, shouting, “You’re an intelligent guy.  Figure it oot!”

Brooke and Kelly stroll into the student lounge discussing Ashley’s prolonged absence from school.  Kelly asks Brooke if she’s turned in her geography paper yet and Brooke confirms that she has before changing the subject to the campaign posters Kelly is carrying.  Kelly grabs one from the pile and displays it to Brooke upside down so that it reads “⊥NƎᗡISƎᴚԀ ᴚOℲ ƎʞOOᴚq”, which is far more interesting than the pathetically pedestrian slogan it displays when she realizes her mistake and flips it over.  Brooke sighs that it will have to do for now, then orders her frenemy to start putting them up around the school.

upside down

Jake and Olaf are eating their bag lunches together in the lounge, while Kelly is attempting to hang a campaign sign on the soda machine in the background.  Olaf explains to Jake that he’s going to have a talk with his geography teacher and ask for an “expansion” to turn in his project.  When Jake optimistically opines that the notes might still turn up, Kelly abandons her task at hand to plant the seed of an idea in their heads that perhaps the notes weren’t lost, but stolen.  When Jake and Olaf question in unison who would do such a thing, Kelly responds that it would most likely be someone in Olaf’s class.  Jake doesn’t buy this explanation, noting that if someone wrote a paper based on Olaf’s notes, “they’d get caught for sure”.  Kelly concedes that Jake has a point, but reiterates that the whole situation seems “awfully fishy” before walking away.


Courtney approaches Jake who is sitting on a bench studying.  They discuss Ashley for a few moments before Courtney tells him that she’s in a good mood because her drama teacher wants her to write a play for the “drama festival”, which serves as a subtle portentous trigger warning for those sensitive souls who’d be well-advised to tread lightly as they wade into the murky waters of Season 2.  Jake asks her what it’s going to be aboot and Courtney responds, “Maybe it’ll be aboot some stupid girl who acted like a complete jerk to a really good friend for no reason at all,” which is 29 superfluous syllables longer than the simple yet effective phrase, “Sorry, Jake”.  Regardless, they establish that they’re still friends.  Jake asks if she’d like to go with him to Shakespeare in the Park this weekend and Courtney accepts his pleasingly platonic invitation.

The next scene opens on Deadpool studying at The Avalon while Dutch Boy, who is pretending to read at a nearby table, keeps stealing discrete glances at him over the rim of her book.  A funky little synthesized ditty by maestro Matt Ender plays over this strangely random display of pre-adolescent puppy love before the weird interlude finally comes to an end when Dylan walks through the door and chuckles at the amusing little spectacle.  He takes a seat at Billy’s table and teases him aboot Theresa’s awkward flirtation for a few seconds before changing the subject and informing Deadpool that he’s thinking of forming a band and hopes his little friend will agree to be the drummer, an offer that Billy wholeheartedly accepts.

Olaf enters the school and meets Cindy by the stairwell.  In response to her inquiry aboot how his talk went with the geography teacher, Olaf gushes that “Mr. Henshaw is a wonderful man” for granting him a two week expansion extension to turn in his project.  They discuss some other shit that I happen to know has no relevance to any future plotlines (especially considering that we’ll never see these two again once this episode is done) and then they move on to discussing the intimate details of Jake’s sexual frustration.  If Hippie & The Finn had even an ounce of self-awareness between them, they’d realize how laughable is their concern for Jake since they’re both in the exact same boat.  When’s the last time you got any action, Cindy?  Hmm?

Kelly is in the girls’ locker room when Brooke breezes in holding a note from the principal (handed to her by Miss Leddingham) saying that he wants to see her in his office, proving that “Old Zimmerman” and Coach Williams share the unorthodox method of communicating with their students by passing notes.  Incidentally, I just mentioned all four adults that have been referenced by name in this show in the course of two paragraphs, a season-ending special treat for those who are still scratching their heads at the perplexing absence of Hillside’s version of Mr. Belding.  Kelly asks Brooke if she’s in some sort of trouble and Brooke cheerily replies that the principal probably just wants to congratulate her for her student council bid.  As she exits the locker room, Kelly tells Brooke to “say hi to Mr. Zimmerman for me!”

Jake comes down the stairs as Matt hoarsely calls oot to him from the bench by the soda machine.  He tells Jake that he went over to Ashley’s place and though she really didn’t feel like talking to him, he could tell that she’s not doing very well at all.  As he continues to morosely fill Jake in on the details of their abbreviated chat, he reveals that Ashley’s parents are considering pulling her from Hillside and sending her to a private school.  This whole time, I’ve been finding it hard to believe that Matt’s really on the verge of tears aboot the possible school transfer of someone he so recently claimed to despise, and the next thing he says to Jake confirms my suspicions:

“Turns oot you and Ashley weren’t the only ones who knew I was doing a little drinking.  My parents found a bottle in my closet…and they’re freaking oot.  It all blew up last night.  They actually think I should spend some time in one of those centers – the ones for teenagers with substance abuse problems.” Don’t sweat it, Matt.  You’ve got another whole season and a half of drinking before it actually comes to that, so party on!

Matt gets up and runs oot of the school with Jake trailing close behind, as Kelly enters from the same door.  She tries to catch Jake’s attention, but he’s too distracted to listen, so she walks towards the table where Olaf is sitting.  She blurts oot, “It’s incredible!” before informing Olaf that they found his geography notes.  He’s puzzled by this assertion, so Kelly sits down to explain: “Well, someone phoned the principal – no one knows who, exactly – but whoever it was told him where the notes were hidden, so he went to look and there they were – in Brooke’s locker!  And wait, it gets even better, ‘cause it turns oot Brooke’s geography paper was based on those notes.”  Though we weren’t afforded a glance of Courtney eavesdropping somewhere in the vicinity, her sudden appearance at the table accompanied by the exclamation, “I can’t believe it!” makes it clear that she was engaged in some hardcore lurking.  Kelly continues her tale: “Brooke got hauled down to the principal’s office and now she’s in major trouble.  They’re threatening to suspend her from school.  At the very least, she’s gonna be on academic probation for the rest of the year and that means no extracurricular activities, especially ones like running for Student Council President!”  Brooke, of course, has been slowly making her way down the stairs ever since Courtney insinuated herself into the conversation and has therefore been listening to Kelly’s gleeful account.  She takes slow, deliberate steps towards the table until she’s facing Kelly and hisses, “You did this to me,” but Kelly dismisses her accusation oot of hand.  Next it’s Courtney’s turn to rub salt in the wound by chastising herself aloud for having ever looked up to Brooke, and somehow this expression of disappointment from Shit Drapes is too much for her to bear.  With tears welling up in her eyes, Brooke turns and flees from the table of cruelly judgmental peers.

Cut to Jake at a booth in The Avalon drawing a somewhat competent but pathetically unimaginative mountain landscape in his sketch pad.  As Jake conjures a happy little tree in the lower right-hand corner of the drawing, Cindy walks up from behind and tells him that it looks good.  She sits down uninvited and tells Jake that he looks like he’s had a pretty lousy day, then attempts to remedy that situation by telling him that he’s “a pretty talented artist…and a pretty good friend, too…and for what it’s worth, I think you’re kinda cute.”  If the writers were planning to spin this unsolicited pep talk into a romance between Jake and Cindy, then I might have excused its otherwise unnecessary inclusion in the final episode of the season.  But in just four minutes’ time, we’ll have seen our last of Jake for an entire season and our last of Cindy forever, so I really don’t understand the fucking point of this.

cindy jake

Now we cut to Brooke in her bedroom delivering a tearful monologue to Theresa, the upshot of which can be summed up by the simple Latin phrase, “Et tu, Kelly?” She desperately implores her little sister to advise her what to do, but Dutch Boy just turns and exits the room.

Somehow, a full band consisting of Dylan, Deadpool, Cindy on keyboards, and an unknown bass player are jamming oot in the garage.  Long after the final notes of their song fade oot, Billy continues hammering away on the drums before Cindy turns and glares at him until he finally takes the hint.  Billy thinks they sound great but Cindy begs to differ.  This is stupid.  Dylan will indeed form a band next season, but Cindy and the unknown bassist won’t be a part of it so I’m not sure why Ian Weir is making us suffer through this cacophonous jam session.

Kelly is sitting at a booth in The Avalon when Theresa enters and sits down across from her.  Dutch Boy is having regrets aboot her part in Brooke’s demise, making me wonder exactly what her part was.  As far as I could tell, the execution of the plot was something Kelly accomplished single-handedly.  Anyway, Kelly of course informs Theresa that she has no regrets.  As Dutch Boy continues to berate herself for her involvement in the nefarious scheme, Brooke approaches the booth from the pinball room and fixes her little sister’s gaze: “So that’s what happened, is it?  You helped her plan the whole thing.”  Theresa denies having any part in it, but admits to being in the know and neglecting to inform her sister of what was aboot to happen to her.  Brooke continues: “You betrayed me.  My little sister…and my best friend.  Well…so now I know where things stand.”  Theresa starts to defend herself but Brooke cuts her off: “Save your breath, Theresa!!  I don’t discuss things with traitors.  But don’t you worry aboot me.  This won’t keep me down for long and let me tell you something else – I’ll pay you back.  Whatever it takes, I’ll pay both of you back!”

And there we have it!  The first season of the most incredible show ever televised is now complete.  Will Brooke somehow get her revenge even though Kelly and Theresa will never be seen again?  Does the fact that we never see them again tell us something aboot how far Brooke was willing to go in the pursuit of retribution?  Will Jake ever know the touch of a woman (or a man)?  Will Courtney ever learn how to dress herself?  Will Ashley return to Hillside?  Will Dylan manage to see his rock star dreams come to fruition?  Will Matt succumb to the pressure of 12 step recovery or will he stick to his guns and eventually graduate to shooting dope?

There’s only one place to find the answers to these questions and more, my faithful readers, and that’s right here at Notes From The Avalon, so stay tuned!  Anything else would be a downright tragic decision.

band finale


Kiss of Death


Season 1, Episode 12

We open at The Avalon where Ashley, on the verge of tears, recounts for Jake Matt’s confusing accusation that she told everyone in the school aboot his alcoholism.  As usual, neither of them has a clue how this information could have gotten oot (Kelly and Brooke?), with Jake going so far as to guess that someone must have seen them dragging Matt from the park, as there’s no other possible explanation (ahem – Kelly and Brooke?) since no one had any way of knowing what happened (except maybe KELLY AND BROOKE?!). Ashley is certain that she’ll fail an upcoming math test due to this upsetting and mysterious turn of events, but I think Pixie Dust has cried wolf aboot this exact same scenario so many times that even Jake must doubt its veracity.  Regardless, Jake tries everything he can think of to calm Ashley down, but this just gets her more upset until she finally moans, “i can’t, jake.  i can’t!”, rises from her seat and runs oot the door.  Ashley’s already fragile psyche is beginning its rapid descent into madness.

Courtney approaches Deadpool who is sitting on the stairs reading a comic book.  She asks if he’d like to accompany her to the mall after school but Billy tells her he has plans to hang oot with Olaf, prompting her to declare that “he sounds like an okay guy”.  Correct, Queeftain Obvious.  Now if you can just learn his name, you might be able to hold up your end of the conversation with your 12 year-old brother for a change.

Making the rounds, Olive Drab greets Ashley at her locker.  Somehow, Ashley’s hair has become noticeably unkempt and greasy since we last saw her at The Avalon exactly three minutes ago.  As this is the first time Courtney has emerged from her cocoon of all-encompassing Dylan infatuation in over two weeks, she’s trying to catch up on what she missed.  She asks her friend if it’s true that she and Matt broke up, a question that seems to catch Ashley off guard because she still fails to grasp the epidemic level of gossip-inducing chemicals contaminating the Hillside water supply.  Ashley reluctantly confirms the break-up, but refuses to address Courtney’s follow-up questions aboot Matt’s drinking, opting instead to feign a sudden mental breakdown and run away.

In the boys’ locker room, Jake is making another futile attempt to defend Ashley from Matt’s false accusation.  Jake is wearing his maroon balloon and Matt is decked oot in an ensemble from the Fall catalog of L.L. Beanpole:

lean matt

A highly hassled Matt hisses, “Look – there are only two people who could’ve spread stories aboot what happened on Friday night.  One of them’s Ashley.  The other one’s YOU.”  They look like they’re on the verge of coming to blows as Matt tells Jake that he doesn’t need Ashley and he certainly doesn’t need friends who “hassle him every time he has a beer” before giving Jake an ultimatum to decide whether he’s his friend or not based upon the new criteria he just laid oot.

Ashley is at a table in the lounge scribbling notes – cheat notes, to be precise – when Brooke approaches and asks if she’s interrupting something.  Ashley hastily closes her book and steels herself for another onslaught of insincere sympathy aboot her ongoing relationship troubles.  Ashley quietly asks Brooke to please leave her alone, but Brooke keeps pressing until Pink Denim finally blows her top: “just leave me alone, okay?  i’m busy and i don’t want to talk aboot it, so please just keep your nose oot of my life!!”  Ashley flees the table as Brooke feigns shock at her reaction.

Brooke gets up and strolls over to the table where Olaf is doing homework.  She needs to express her offense at Ashley’s harsh words to somebody and The Dislocated Swede just happens to be in the vicinity.  Olaf’s surprise at hearing that Matt and Ashley broke up raises him another few notches in my esteem, but Brooke, of course, reacts by asking him what rock he’s been living under, and I must reluctantly admit that she has a point.  Brooke patiently explains what’s been happening, prompting Olaf to muse, “I didn’t know Matt had a drinking problem”.  She then grabs some paperwork oot from under Olaf’s nose and he tells her that he’s working on his geography project “for Mr. Henshaw”.  He advises Brooke that she’s looking at two full weeks’ worth of research which he must now work into a paper.  He jokes that every morning he wakes up hoping “the elves” will have written it for him, “but they never do”, to which Brooke replies, “maybe you’re not paying them enough”.

Shit Drapes traipses into The Avalon where Dylan is sitting alone at a table.  He springs from his chair and nervously tells her that he has something to say, but asks if they can go somewhere more private, which is impressive because no one else seems capable of understanding that The Avalon is the worst possible spot for engaging in confidential conversation.  She responds that if he has something to say, he can say it right here.  Dylan begins by telling her that he’s not too proud of the way he handled things, but he leaves oot the part aboot having been fucking browbeaten into this undeserved apology by a psycho hippie chick.  Courtney interrupts his slow-as-molasses display of contrition by telling him not to bother because, “I have a right to choose my friends, and let me tell you something – you’re not one of them!” before running oot the door.

Poor Olaf.  Just when he thought he could get back to work, here comes Kelly with the next round of cryptic questions to interrupt his geography project.  After he explains what he’s working on, Kelly says, “Oh, that’s right, you’re in Brooke’s class,” which she obviously already knew, considering she’s here talking to Olaf in the first place.  They find some momentary common ground in the acknowledgment that knowing Brooke is “a real treat” as Olaf gathers his paperwork while Kelly watches closely and makes a mental note of what folder it’s in and exactly where he placed it in his bag.

Rounding oot the triumvirate of uninvited guests to Olaf’s ill-conceived homework session is Deadpool dressed in a tie-dye.  Billy is still upset aboot what happened with Dylan, so Olaf tenders some typically sage advice that seems to set his friend’s mind at ease a bit.  This little interlude seems to have been inserted into the episode as mere filler, or maybe just to remind us that Olaf has more good qualities than living ootside of the gossip loop and being thorough in the completion of his geography assignments.

Some time later, Courtney is moping in the lounge as Jake approaches.  When he asks what’s wrong, she tells him aboot Dylan’s attempted apology and that she “let him have it – both barrels, right between the eyes” but her obvious ambivalence aboot the confrontation seems to escape Jake’s notice.  He sits down while Miss Beasley drifts into another fucking Dylanesque soliloquy that he endures with growing impatience for its typically self-deprecating conclusion that he’s hoping once again to utilize as an opportunity to win her affection.  She doesn’t disappoint, even wondering aloud if her innate unlikability caused her parents’ divorce before standing up from the table.

Up to this point, I’ve found the exposition of this episode to be an atypically boring task, as this has been a very slow chapter in the ongoing drama of Hillside High.  I even went back and inserted a couple of superfluous swear words in the hopes that they might keep my two or three readers from falling asleep before reaching its conclusion.  But if you’ve stuck around this long in the hopes of a payoff, here it comes.

Jake stands up, touches Courtney’s arm and tells her that everything’s going to be okay.  Standing dangerously close to her sexually frustrated pal, she reiterates her feelings of worthlessness as Jake moves even closer and puts his arm around her shoulder.  He reminds her that “lots of people think you’re great, Courtney…like me,” as Courtney seems to realize what’s aboot to happen here and starts giving Jake some classic side-eye, like Princess Leia in the clammy embrace of Jabba The Hut.  Her face distorts in disgust as the luckless lothario leans in and plants one on her lips.  She violently withdraws from his embrace with a look of utter revulsion and shouts, “Why did you have to do that?!  I thought we were friends!  WHY DID YOU DO THAT?!” before fleeing the scene, leaving Jake speechless with unadulterated humiliation.

bad kiss 2

Olaf enters The Avalon and walks over to the booth where Jake is sitting by himself.  Olaf notes that Jake appears to be deep in thought and invites himself to sit down.  He makes a remark aboot Jake looking like “someone who just lost his best friend”, which is oddly prescient considering that Olaf wasn’t around to witness Jake’s impetuousness destroy his friendship with either Matt or Courtney, and it’s already been established that he’s impervious to the rumor mill.  They commiserate aboot the fact that no one ever really seems to care how they feel or ask them aboot their problems despite their willingness to be reliable sounding boards for everyone else, but Olaf isn’t one to indulge in self-pity so he “hypothetically” tells Jake “Well, if this keeps happening to somebody, maybe he’s been trying too hard to pretend he doesn’t have any problems”.  Jake asks rhetorically what could be wrong with him before referring to himself as “the world’s biggest doofus,” prompting the world’s biggest doofus sitting across the table to question the meaning of the word “doofus”.  Jake continues to vent at Olaf for another minute or two, then gets up and leaves with a bit more spring in his step than he had at the commencement of this scene.  Olaf the Therapist is on fucking fire today.

Alone, Olaf unclasps his tote bag, pulls oot the folder in which he’d placed his geography project and finds it empty.  He continues digging through the bag until he realizes that somehow, all of his research work has disappeared.

Brooke is in the girls’ locker room when Kelly bursts in, obviously in possession of some particularly juicy gossip.  Kelly is wearing a white top with the words “Almost Heaven” printed in a continuous unbroken top-to-bottom line like this: ALMOSTHEAVENALMOSTHEAVENALMOSTHEAVENALMOSTHEAVEN.  She informs Brooke that Ashley just got caught cheating on her math test and Brooke finds it impossible to contain her delight.

Entering the locker vestibule, an inconsolable Ashley is telling Jake what happened.  The teacher found her cheat sheet and held it up for the whole class to see before sending her to the principal’s office.  Jake tries to get her to look on the bright side, but this is Ashley at her most disconsolate, a force of nature that can’t be constrained with mere words, even if they were spoken by someone more eloquent than Jake.  Brooke and Kelly sidle up and inform Ashley that they’ve heard the news, adding for good measure, “everybody has”.  The Dynamic Duo continue to harass and express their mock disappointment until Ashley reaches the end of her rope and runs away.  Jake chases after her, but not before turning to Brooke and shouting, “You wanna know something?  If you were a guy, I’d be tempted to bust you in the head!”

Dylan’s chilling in the garage playing his original Alex Lifeson guitar riff again when Deadpool comes a-knockin’.  Billy apologizes once more for the homework mishap and this time, Dylan accepts the apology, patting his little friend on the shoulder and inviting him to take a seat behind the drum kit.

Jake enters The Avalon, marches to the booth where Matt is sitting by himself and just stands there for so long that Matt finally barks, “You gonna join me?!”  Jake doesn’t answer and continues to stand there like he’s itching for a fight, finally asking Matt if he heard what happened to Ashley.  He has, of course, and he seems to relish the opportunity this gives him to continually refer to his ex-girlfriend as “dumb”, but Jake’s not in the mood to indulge his man-crush’s shit at the moment.

Jake:  Do you have any idea how torn up she is??

Matt:  And how do you think I feel?  The whole school thinks I’m some kind of alcoholic just ‘cause I had a few drinks on Friday night!  I’ve got 300 kids whispering behind my back!  How’d you like to put up with that?!

Jake:  Oh, I see – I’m supposed to feel sorry for you, am I?

Matt:  You can feel however you like!!

Jake:  I’m just supposed to sit back and sigh while you tell me your troubles, huh??  Well, forget it!  ‘Cause I’m sick of it!  You…jerk!

Matt:  What?

Jake:  Ashley tied herself in knots trying to help you and you turn around and dump her?!  Now that she’s having a nervous breakdown, you want sympathy for your troubles?  What sort of total jerk are you?!

Matt jumps up and approaches Jake with his hands balled into fists.  Jake invites him to go ahead and hit him, “…what a great way to prove you’re a man!” and Matt warns him not to push it.  Matt backs off as Jake questions whether he cares aboot anybody but himself before stomping oot the door.  The camera pans to Kelly on the payphone telling someone (Dutch Boy?) aboot the epic shouting match she just witnessed before changing the subject to Brooke, ending the episode with the literally phoned-in declaration, “I’ve done it.  It’s all set up.  Just another couple of days and Brooke is finally going to get what she deserves!”


There’s only one more episode in this season, my faithful and long-suffering friends, so don’t bail oot now!  Karmic justice is nigh.

The Sorrow & The Pity


Season 1, Episode 11

Holy shit!  Literally 2 seconds into this episode, before anyone has spoken a word, I already need to stop and point oot some things of great interest with a visual aid.  Unsurprisingly, we open on Ashley and Courtney sitting at their booth in The Avalon.  In the screen shot below, you’ll notice that Filth Pig is back, serving up a couple of OJs to Mesdames Misery and Despair, but his apron is clean and fresh, plus he’s ditched the disgusting rag that was always slung over his shoulder in previous episodes.  I’m a little torn aboot this.  On the one hand, this sudden dedication to hygiene threatens my ability to continue referring to him as Filth Pig, but the fact that I can now look at him withoot a puke bucket next to my desk is a marked improvement.  Now look at the girl on the far right sitting alone at a table beneath the “Café” sign.  Though she’s yet to be identified by name, I can tell you that this is Roxanne, someone we won’t meet until next season at which time she will become an integral part of the main cast:


Okay, back to the action.  Ashley is expressing muted exhaustion aboot the stressful weekend she just endured, punctuating her whispered weariness by declaring, “i feel like a hamster on one of those treadmill thingies”.  Those “thingies” are simply called “treadmills”, you fucking dolt.  I thought Ashley was supposed to be smart, but maybe she’s just studious, which isn’t the same “thingie”, of course.  Courtney begins to talk aboot her equally lousy weekend when Filth Pig the waiter returns and delivers what look like two pastries to the Booth of Anguish even though there’s no fucking way this mini-psych ward is going to take a single bite of food while engulfed in such an acute level of melodrama.  The ball back in Ashley’s court, she apologizes for leaving the party so abruptly on Friday night and starts to explain what happened, which means that these two either met at The Avalon or arrived together, sat down, ordered their drinks and pastries, then talked for several minutes or longer and yet, this is the first time that the fucking enormous pachyderm in the room is addressed by either of them.  Courtney asks if Matt got into some kind of trouble.  Ashley doesn’t just downplay but flat-oot lies aboot what happened, saying “no, it was nothing much, really.  he’s fine.  i just kind of needed to spend some time with him.”  She then looks at her watch and says that they have to get going or they’ll be late for school. They both take a sip from their oversized glasses of orange juice, gather their things and take the untouched pastries, plates and all, with them on their way oot the door.

Brooke and Kelly are in the girls’ locker room speculating as to what may have happened with Matt on Friday night.  After Brooke admonishes Kelly for not ferreting oot the gossip with her usual aplomb, Kelly assures her that she will find oot.

Cindy and Olaf are dragging one of their newly constructed recycle bins into the student lounge.  It’s a roughly 3 x 2 x 2 foot cardboard box with a felt or vinyl covering held on by yellow masking tape, and one of Cindy’s stupid “If you love this planet…think” signs scotch taped to the front, the tangible result of their sad little Friday night arts and crafts party.  Brooke and Kelly stroll up and Olaf informs them that it took them all weekend to construct four of these shabby eyesores.  Brooke responds with another oddly self-congratulatory statement aboot the “success” of the recycling program, but this time when Cindy calls her oot for taking underserved credit, Kelly backs up her frenemy by telling Cindy that Brooke has been talking up recycling to anyone who will listen.  As Brooke continues to pretend that she gives a flying fuck, Kelly gestures towards the locker vestibule, probably signaling that there’s someone more entertaining to harass over there than these two dullards.  Kelly and Brooke saunter off as Cindy turns to Olaf and asks him if he’s ever felt like throwing someone into a toxic waste dump, which is exactly the type of reaction you might expect from a hippie, if that hippie happened to live in a commune at Spahn Ranch.


Of course, it was the appearance of Ashley walking to her locker that prompted Kelly to coax Brooke away from her stupid conversation with Cindy and Olaf.  They corner her at her locker as Brooke proudly informs Whisperin’ Pink that she has decided to run for Student Council President.  Once again, she takes credit for organizing the “recycling program”.  As Ashley tries to leave, Brooke gets to the real point of the ambush – fishing for information aboot her mysterious disappearance from Friday night’s party and what type of trouble Matt might have gotten into.  Ashley says it was nothing, but these two are professionals who know a lie when they hear one.

Fucking finally, we’re back at The Avalon where Matt and Ashley are at a booth they foolishly believe is private enough for them to openly discuss what did actually happen on Friday night:

Matt:  Do I have to keep telling you until I’m blue in the face?!  I DON’T WANNA TALK ABOOT IT!!

Ashley:  matt–

Matt:  Look!  I went oot and I had a few drinks and I blew off a little steam.  SO WHAT??

Ashley:  you didn’t just have a few drinks.  you got falling-down drunk in the park.

Matt:  Here we go again!

Ashley:  thank goodness jake found oot aboot it and went to help, otherwise who knows what would have happened.

Matt:  I did NOT get falling down drunk!

Ashley:  what else would you call it?  when i got there, you were flat on your face throwing up.

Matt:  Give me a break!

Ashley:  we had to half carry you home and sneak you in through the basement door so your parents wouldn’t see you.

Matt:  So this is the first time in the history of the world that a guy’s had a little too much to drink?!

This keeps going on and on, with Matt claiming he was just buzzed and Ashley countering that he wasn’t just buzzed, he was pathetic, but at least we know what all the drama was aboot now.  And now that we know, Jake’s theatrical overreaction at the party is all the more ridiculous.  Nobody ever reacted to me getting sloppy drunk by ditching a shindig and treating the situation like a dire emergency.  In fact, they usually just got some magic markers and drew penises on my face, like rational people.  Matt declares the subject closed and menacingly advises Ashley to never speak of it again.

Cut to the lounge where Courtney is holding court over Jake in mid-bitch aboot what she perceives as Dylan’s cruelty to her at the party.  At least this time, she’s angrier at herself than she is at Elvis, apparently having had a slow-motion epiphany aboot what a moron she’d been for the past two weeks.  Unfortunately, she does this by recapping every last detail of the past fortnight, as if Jake were new in town.  She calls herself an idiot, sparing me the trouble.  As she continues to berate Dylan, the smile on Jake’s face grows incrementally.  Courtney thanks Jake for standing by her and giving her a shoulder to cry on, something Jake recognizes as the perfect opening for his twenty-seventh attempt to tell his Amish aphrodisiac how he feels aboot her.  If you thought his last attempt was pitiful, dig this:

“Listen.  There’s something I really want to say, too…it’s just…look, since it’s all over between you and Dylan…and if you’re feeling kind of lonely…what it comes down to…this may sound a little bizarre…I mean, this may sound really bizarre…but…look – there’s two and a half billion guys in the world, but none of them’s around right now…so, maybe you’d like to go oot with me?”

Fuck me with a plunger, I need a second to recover from that.  In the meantime, enjoy this:

tina gif

Okay, I’m back.  Courtney responds by laughing in his face before telling him that he’s sweet and asking if he gets that tongue-tied when he asks someone oot for real.  Look, I was in high school once and I can sympathize with kids who can’t get any attention from the opposite sex, but JESUS, JAKE, WAKE THE FUCK UP AND ACKNOWLEDGE THE FACT THAT THIS ANTEDILUVIAN SASQUATCH AIN’T WORTH YOUR TIME!!  Phew…that was cathartic, but ultimately pointless.  Courtney pats Jake’s hand, thanks him again for his friendship and walks away while Jake shakes his head in heartbroken exasperation.

Indicating Cindy’s crappy recycle bin with hand gestures inspired by Vanna White, Brooke is giving an impromptu dissertation to a group of kids aboot the recycling program.  As she’s explaining the difficulty involved in constructing the bins and the fact that it took “us” all weekend to build them, Cindy and Olaf appear behind her, just in time to hear her refer to them as “her committee”.  Cindy merely sneers at this familiar scene, but Olaf goes off on a sarcastic litany that even Kelly would find impressive, concluding with, “…next Spring, maybe Brooke will build a new runway at the airport!”  Brooke brushes it off by pretending to be on good-natured ribbing terms with her Finnish foil before taking her leave, which Olaf acknowledges by blowing her a kiss.  Clearly, character consistency ain’t Ian Weir’s strong suit.  Dave (who isn’t officially “Dave” yet) gets up from the table and throws a potato chip bag into the bin, causing Cindy to go apoplectic on him because she’s a fucking maniac.  She digs the bag oot of the bin and continues digging, producing an apple core and a pair of underwear, something Olaf finds far more amusing than the humorless bitch to whom he’s attached himself.

Near the stairwell, Brooke is pressuring Kelly to start making campaign signs.  Kelly reacts to this as only she could, so Brooke refers to Kelly as her “campaign manager” in the hopes that this meaningless title might be suitable motivation for her frenemy to do gratis grunt work on her behalf.  Brooke suddenly changes the subject to an upcoming geography paper that she’d like to pay Kelly’s sister to write, but Kelly doesn’t sound so accommodating this time, so Brooke ups the price to $20.  Kelly agrees to arrange it and as Brooke ascends the stairs, adds, “You know me, Brooke.  Always happy to help you oot.  Always glad to do a favor for my good friend Brooke”, and judging by the look of mild concern on Brooke’s face, it seems she actually detected the blunt sarcasm, for once.  The scene fades oot on Kelly’s smirking face as she repeats to herself, “Always so glad…especially this time.”

Deadpool and Courtney are talking by the lockers.  Billy still feels awful aboot neglecting to turn in Dylan’s math assignment as Courtney repeatedly tells him to forget aboot it because “Dylan’s not worth it”, just as the worthless rebel descends the stairs.  Deadpool nervously beats a hasty retreat.  An uncharacteristically contrite Dylan walks up to Courtney and says, “Listen, I overheard what you were saying…” but Ma Kettle just brushes past him and says, “Good,” as Cindy emerges from behind her favorite snooping column.  The rebel and the hippie take a few steps towards each other, staring wordlessly for a very long time, before Dylan finally walks away, and I am left utterly fucking perplexed as to what that completely random stare down was meant to imply.

Jake and Ashley are at The Avalon discussing the only topic they’re capable of discussing: Matt’s drinking problem.  Jake suggests they do something drastic like inform Matt’s parents, but Ashley seems to be at the end of her martyrdom rope.  She gets up from the table and tells Jake in the most distraught whisper we’ve yet to hear escape her pouty lips that she “just can’t handle this…anymore.”  The camera pans to the back room of The Avalon where Kelly stands up from the booth she was using to eavesdrop, her mouth agape in shock and delight.

Kelly must have high-tailed it right back to Hillside because the next scene opens on her bursting into the student lounge to fill Brooke in on the juicy details of what she just heard.  After gleefully telling her that Matt is “a hopeless alcoholic”, she immediately splits, and I mentally add “the drive-by gossip drop” to Kelly’s impressively comprehensive list of bitch credentials.

Now we’re at Dylan’s garage and for some fucking reason known only to God and Ian Weir, Cindy is there.  Dylan stares at her as she wanders around his garage looking at the various pieces of garbage that pass for décor and deems it a “neat place”.  Dylan asks why she’s here as Cindy begins to tap at a professional grade Yamaha keyboard that just fucking materialized in the corner of the garage and responds that she was “in the neighborhood”.  Suddenly, she turns to face him and says, “You kind of blew it, didn’t you?” before laying into him aboot blowing his concert, being shitty to Deadpool, being shitty to Courtney, and maybe failing to broker a lasting peace deal in the Middle East, but I might be mistaken aboot that last one because I can only listen to the things that come oot of Cindy’s mouth in little quanta of sentence fragments lest I lose my mind and start sounding just like her.  She continues to berate him and punctuates her protracted psychotic lecture by wondering aloud if he’s got the guts to apologize to Deadpool and Courtney before storming oot the door.

cyn dyl

Matt is impatiently pacing in front of the soda machine as Ashley comes down the stairs.  Her Yearbook Committee meeting is running late, and it’s clear Matt is on the brink of feeling hassled.  With a nearly sociopathic level of annoyance, Matt agrees to come back in an hour and Ashley whispers her gratitude.

The Avalon.  Brooke and Kelly are at the counter as Matt enters through the door next to the payphone.  Kelly gets up and heads to the back of the café.  Perhaps she’s headed to the restroom, but I’m not entirely certain that any of these kids are equipped with digestive systems, so I could be wrong aboot that.  Wait – no, I was indeed mistaken.  She wasn’t going to the ladies’ room, just taking her spot at the eavesdropping booth in the pinball room.  Brooke asks Matt to join her at the counter.  She starts telling him aboot running for Student Council President, then abruptly cuts herself off and apologizes for “making chit-chat at a time like this”.  When Matt asks what she means by that, she replies that “we’ve all heard…aboot your alcohol problem”.  Brooke offers her insincere support, but Matt wants to know where she heard aboot all this, to which Brooke replies, “Well, Ashley, of course.  She’s really upset, so naturally, she’s telling all her friends aboot it, asking us for help.”  Astonished and seething with rage, Matt storms oot the door.  Kelly returns to the counter and a clearly satisfied Brooke declares, “There.  That should cause a few complications for Little Miss Perfect”.

Olaf’s hands are taping a sign above the recycle bin in the lounge that says “Paper Only.  No: Applecores (one word), Pop Cans, Underwear”.  Interestingly, the column upon which he’s taping this sign bears the message “Return Trays To Cafeteria”, adding yet another layer of inscrutability to this goddamn lunatic asylum of a school.  Deadpool approaches and raises a friendly inquiry aboot the inclusion of underwear on Olaf’s sign, then suddenly loses his nerve and starts to schlepp away.  Olaf calls him back.  He tells Billy that he understands he’s been going through a tough time and offers his fair-weathered friend a sympathetic ear if he ever needs to talk.  Deadpool is surprised that Olaf still wants to be his friend, so Olaf replies that he always thought they were friends and it was Billy who started acting differently.  Billy starts to explain himself, but Olaf helpfully interrupts and says he understands that Billy found oot people like Matt and Brooke think he’s weird and that maybe he was worried they’d start thinking he was weird, too.  Deadpool acknowledges the truth of Olaf’s words and just like that, Deadpool and The Dislocated Swede are friends again.  Warms my heart, that does.

Kelly is talking on the payphone at The Avalon.  She explains to the unknown recipient of her call (Dutch Boy, perhaps?) that “It’s all set up.  I cannot wait to see the look on Brooke’s face when she finds oot what’s happened to her.”

Now it’s Ashley pacing by the soda machine, nervously wringing her hands.  Matt enters through yet another door that didn’t seem to exist before this scene and meets her friendly greeting with intimidating silence.  Ashley whispers, “i thought you were gonna come at 4:30,” to which her motherfucking livid boyfriend fumes, “I needed to go for a walk to calm myself down a little.  It didn’t work!”  She timidly asks what’s wrong and Matt replies, “Oh, that’s good.  That’s really good.  The innocent routine!  I asked you not to talk aboot what happened on Friday night, and what did you do?  You went oot and spread it all over the school!  We’re FINISHED, Ashley.  I don’t ever want to talk to you again!  EVER!”

Of course, this sets us up for yet another episode closing on an extended shot of Ashley’s stunned little face, but I’m not going to bother inserting a screen shot of it this time.  As far as I’m concerned, these two assholes broke up two episodes ago, so I’ll reserve the next one of those for if and when the dissolution of their stupid relationship actually sticks.

At least Filth Pig made it through the episode with his apron still pressed and spotless.


Party Till The World Obeys

leave her alone

Season 1, Episode 10

Oh party, party, party!  I wanna have a party!  I need to have a party!  You better have a party! – Andrew WK

Before I even get into the blow by blow of this episode’s opening scene, I need to get a quick description of Theresa’s attire oot of the way.  It’s typical Dutch Boy fare (overalls with short bottoms over a long-sleeved turtleneck) but this time, the turtleneck is a kind of forest green and her overalls sport bright green polka dots on a white background with prominent clasps connecting the shoulder straps to the spotted bib.  Got that?  Right, let’s move on.

Brooke enters the school quietly fuming and marches over to the bench where Dutch Boy is sitting.  She glares at her sister until she finally looks up from her book and asks, “Did you wanna say something?” to which Brooke curtly replies that she was wondering the same thing aboot Theresa, specifically in reference to an apology Brooke clearly feels she deserves for enduring last night’s bold polemic from her little sister.  Brooke tells her that what she said was “totally untrue and vicious”, but to Dutch Boy’s credit and Brooke’s surprise, Theresa stands by what she said.  Aside from a priceless look she must have learned from watching Kelly in action, Dutch Boy’s only response is to ask Brooke if she’s talked to Dylan lately.  Brooke warns Theresa not to talk to her aboot Dylan or the way she broke up with him, working herself into a rage in the process, but Dutch Boy simply replies that she meant what she said and has nothing for which to apologize.  Astounded at this sudden manifestation of cajones in her fashion-impaired little sibling, Brooke loudly tells her to drop dead before storming off.  Dang, Dutch Boy!  If you keep this up and maybe ask your obviously wealthy parents to buy you a wardrobe that I can view withoot the aid of a pinhole projector, I might just start liking you as much as I do Kelly.

Matt and Jake’s private locker room.  Matt is wearing a polo shirt that’s an oversized hodgepodge patchwork of greens, purples, whites, yellows and blues.  He has one sneaker on as the other sits on the floor by his other foot that’s currently just clad in a sock.  As the scene opens, Jake is finishing the task of buttoning his shirt all the way up to the neck.  Matt declares that this afternoon, after school, he’s gonna have it oot with Coach Williams.  Jake once again advises Matt that this might not be a good idea, but Matt claims it’s his duty as team captain to advise the coach when he’s jeopardizing the team’s success and rather than cop to the fact that he’s still pissed off aboot being benched halfway through the last game, he claims that he just wants to advise the coach that “switching to a balanced offense won’t work because we’re not that kind of a team”, which might sound like some technical basketball shit, but really it’s just another way of saying that he’s still pissed off aboot being benched halfway through the last game.  Oot of nowhere, Jake abruptly loses interest in this conversation in favor of exaggerated moping.  Matt asks, “You’re not still feeling all tragic aboot Courtney, are you?”  Jake’s body language confirms Matt’s suspicions and after some redundant whining from Jake, Matt completely contradicts the sound advice he gave when the issue was raised as a hypothetical, telling Jake that he needs to come right oot and tell Courtney how he feels, no matter the ootcome.  Jake continues to moan aboot possibly risking his friendship with Aunt Bea if he divulges his feelings, causing Matt to bellow, “Look, do you have some kind of martyr complex or something?  Do you like keeping all this bottled up and feeling tragic?”  That’s two “tragics” in less than 30 seconds for those who aren’t keeping track (and why would you?  That’s my job).  Jake seems to accept Matt’s advice and resolves to talk to Courtney, as if he hadn’t been right on the precipice of doing so yesterday before she cut him off and fled The Avalon like it was on fire.

Olaf and Cindy are eating lunch together in the lounge as Olaf explains his unsubstantiated theory that Bart Simpson is Finnish, substituting the word “altitude” for “attitude” in the process to remind us of Ian Weir’s unsubstantiated theory that Olaf is Finnish.  Their asinine conversation is interrupted by Brooke who asks them how their “recycling program” is going.  Olaf tells her that they showed the petition to the principal and he agreed to install recycle bins in the school and an emotively delighted Brooke proclaims that “it’s good to know that we succeeded!”  When Cindy questions her use of the collective “we”, Brooke claims to have been talking up the cause to anyone who will listen and offers to help in any way she can.  Olaf says that they could use her help because Zimmerman agreed to install the bins, but first Olaf and Cindy have to build them.  I understand that this silly recycling subplot is boring and devoid of a point, and I also completely understand if your eyes are glazing over from reading my tenth fucking detailed episode summary, so let me explain how ridiculous this is.  First, Cindy dug through the school’s garbage cans, retrieved every piece of paper from within, and used these visual aids to shame her fellow students for not recycling.  We now know that at that time, there were no fucking recycle bins in the school, so Cindy was essentially chewing oot her classmates for not ditching school in search of the nearest recycling center every time they had a piece of paper to discard.  Then she circulates a petition in the hopes that it will convince “Old Zimmerman” to install the bins.  He is so impressed with the fact that they acquired a whopping 48 signatures that he agrees to “install” the bins – after Cindy and Olaf build them.  Got it?  Good.  Cindy tells Brooke that they’ll be having a “work party” after school and asks if she’ll be there.  Brooke exuberantly accepts the invitation before pretending to remember that she can’t make it because she promised her mom she’d help her paint the kitchen this afternoon.  As Brooke walks off, Olaf takes a long swig from his juice box and sarcastically asks Cindy, “What would we do withoot Brooke?”

Jake spots Debbie Wasserman-Schultz walking through the hall, gathers his courage and nervously calls oot to her.  Although it would seem he’s had some time to think aboot how he’s going to word his decree of adoration since Matt convinced him to do so a few scenes ago, here’s the best Jake came up with:

“Listen.  There’s something…I’m not quite sure how to start here.  I mean…I’m really not sure how to start…”. (Hint: not like this, Idiot). “…but the fact is…well, basically…Courtney, look…” and right at this moment, the crab-apple-of-Jake’s-eye seriously fucking interrupts him again with, “Sometimes I still wonder if it can work oot between me and Dylan”, proving that she’s incapable of hearing any words spoken to her that don’t address her stupid unrequited crush.  Jake begs her pardon, which is the same thing as saying, “Oh, please, do go on and on aboot Dylan for the next twenty minutes”, which, of course, she does.  Courtney decides that Dylan could probably use a shoulder to cry on right aboot now and resolves to “give him one more chance” while Jake silently assesses the pros and cons of carbon monoxide asphyxiation.

In the girls’ locker room, Brooke is explaining to Kelly that she’s having second thoughts aboot running for Student Council President because it seems like a lot of work, but quickly decides that she’ll go through with it anyway since “so many people” want her to run.  There isn’t much point to this interlude, but it’s been a while since we’ve seen Kelly and she’s at the top of her snarky game here, so it’s enjoyable just the same.

Matt and Ashley are sitting at The Avalon counter.  There are two cookies under the grimy plastic of the cake stand and a creepy dude that looks like Dieter from Sprockets wiping down the counter.  Matt is still bitching aboot Coach Williams as Ashley does her best to look interested.  We’ve heard all of this before.  I’m starting to suspect that the producers slyly insert scenes from prior episodes into the middle of the present episode in order to ensure a full 25 minute run time withoot having to pay the writers to come up with new plots.

Dylan is strutting through the halls when Jake comes down the stairs and asks if he’s got a minute.  Jake opens by telling Dylan’s he’s sorry the concert got canceled and Dylan responds that this is old news.  No shit, Jake, get with the program.  Anyhow, Jake finally gets to the point and scolds Dylan for playing with Courtney’s feelings.  Dylan patiently endures Jake’s laughable upbraiding, then looks him in the eye and says, “Wanna do me a favor, Jake?  Wanna do yourself a favor?  Keep your nose oot of my business!”, as he menacingly smacks the banister and stomps off, deliberately elbowing one of the nameless jocks on his way oot the door.

Kelly and Dutch Boy are at The Avalon knocking back some juice boxes.  They’re discussing Brooke’s general awfulness and the absurdity of her student council bid.  Kelly ominously declares that there are still a few weeks before the election, “plenty of time for something to go wrong”.  Though neither of them state it ootright, this scene marks the official formation of an alliance to take Brooke down.  Of course, Kelly is the Soviet Union to Theresa’s Bolivia, but it’s an alliance just the same.

Matt enters the lounge where Jake is waiting for him on a bench.  He’s just had his talk with Coach Williams.  Jake asks him how it went as Matt walks towards the soda machine.  The Jock Squad walk by single file, one slapping Matt on the shoulder and saying, “See you at the game tomorrow night”, the other, “Counting on you, Big Guy!  20 points, at least!”.  Incidentally, what I’ve dubbed “The Jock Squad” is always these same two guys.  Jake asks him again how the meeting went with the coach and Matt details the encounter: “I laid things right on the line.  I told Williams that he was making a total mistake and that I wasn’t gonna sit back and let him do it.”  Jake, clearly impressed, asks, “You said that?” and Matt replies, “Those words exactly…and a whole lot more,” then following an extremely pregnant pause adds, almost as an afterthought, “He kicked me off the team.” (Insert sad trombone here)

The previous scene actually goes on for a few more painful minutes, but since I feel it would have been far more effective if they just ended it right after Matt’s stunning revelation, I’m going to pretend that’s how it went down, other than to say that Matt is now more riled up for tonight’s party than ever.

An exterior shot of a high-rise apartment building is followed by an interior shot of…Deadpool’s Dad’s apartment!  10 episodes in and this is the first scene that takes place somewhere other than the school, The Avalon or Dylan’s garage.  Courtney, dressed in a 250-thread-count cotton percale queen fitted sheet, is strategically placing bowls of chips and Cheetos on various surfaces in the living room.  She places a bowl of chips on a table behind the sofa, another one on an end table next to the rotary phone, then walks back behind the sofa, picks up the bowl of chips she just placed there and moves it to the coffee table.  She moves on to fluffing the couch pillows when Deadpool walks in and asks her why she’s doing all this when the party doesn’t start for another three hours, saving me the trouble of shouting the same thing at my monitor.  Billy tries to warn her that she should hide items like the TV and VCR so they don’t get destroyed by their wild bunch of nearly zombified friends, but Frau Farbissina would much rather talk aboot whether Deadpool thinks Dylan will show up.  This sets Billy into a panic, as he’s afraid of the reception he’ll get from The Fonz after ruining his concert opportunity.  Billy runs oot of the room and Courtney resumes shifting the bowls of chips around.

party prep

Back at The Avalon, Ashley is expressing her incredulity to Matt aboot his getting kicked off the team.  She tells him she’s “really, really sorry” and Matt replies that it’s no big deal, setting up his pink storm cloud of a girlfriend to insist that it IS a big deal.  Ashley suggests that they skip the party tonight, but Matt’s not hearing any of that shit.  Ashley says okay and asks what time he wants to pick her up, but Matt tells her he has some things to do (glug glug glug), so he’ll just meet her at Deadpool’s place at around 8:30.  Ashley says she would rather they go together, prompting Matt to look at his watch, rise from his seat and say, “I gotta go,” which is freaking awesome because it allows us to thoroughly enjoy another one of these:

party sad

And now IT’S MOTHERFUCKING PARTY TIME!!  The scene opens on Brooke and Kelly wondering how Matt is taking being kicked off the team, even though Jake and Ashley are the only two people who have any possible way of knowing aboot it (hive mind).  Kelly thinks it’s tragic and Brooke quietly agrees before they both burst oot laughing.  Brooke thinks it’s just priceless that so much misfortune befell both Matt and Dylan this week until Kelly reminds her of their common bond, “they’re the two men in your life”.  Keep pushing those buttons, Kel.

In a normal episode, there are usually two to three interchangeable extras utilized to make the school and The Avalon appear at least mildly populated beyond the 11 person cast, but for this party, they pulled oot all the stops.  The awkward pantomimed background “partying” in which these extras are engaged would need a post unto itself if I wanted to do it proper justice, but one girl in particular just wanders around the living room, constantly cutting in between the main characters to create the illusion that the room is considerably more crowded than it really is.

Enter Ashley in a long, black trench coat over a pink top tucked into a conservative khaki skirt (party clothes!).  Courtney greets her and asks where Matt is, and Ashley expresses (sus)sur(us)prise that he isn’t here yet, so it must be after 8:30.  Brooke and Kelly interrupt to antagonize Pink Denim aboot Matt’s absence, successfully causing her to become more worried than she already was.  Courtney takes Ashley’s coat as her tormentors continue to tail her around the living room no matter how hard she tries to dodge them.

Dylan makes his entrance through a different door that I thought led into the kitchen, but I guess much like The Avalon, this apartment – you know what?  Fuck it, I don’t care.  I could spend the rest of my life trying to dissect the locales these little assholes inhabit because the sets were designed by a fucking lunatic, period.  He exchanges some brief words with Brooke and then goes to mingle.


Next, he’s accosted by Courtney.  Come to think of it, why the hell did Dylan even show up at this menagerie of teasers and stalkers in the first place?  While Courtney fawns all over Dylan, Deadpool is looking on nervously in the background.  Dylan tries to flee, but Courtney pathetically clings to the arm of his leather jacket so tenaciously that he actually has to violently wrest his arm from her grip.  Just when he thinks he’s got a clear exit plan, here comes Deadpool vomiting apologies all over his former mentor.  Dylan tells Billy to forget aboot it and Courtney grabs his arm again, eliciting this ootburst from the object of her infatuation on his way oot the door: “Would you just leave me alone?!  Just let go of my arm and stop bugging me!  I don’t like being grabbed and I don’t wanna talk aboot anything!  CAN’T YOU GET IT THROUGH YOUR HEAD I’M JUST NOT INTERESTED??”  Great party, Courtney, good job.

Courtney turns around in tears only to walk into Brooke and Kelly who launch into their typical insincere apology schtick.  Ashley walks over to Courtney’s side as her friend tells everyone to just leave her alone and runs towards the kitchen (?), just as Jake is entering from the same door in an obvious panic.  Ashley starts to go after Courtney as Jake grabs her arm and says, “Ashley, wait!”  She replies, “not now, jake, this is important” and Jake declares, “No, this is important!  It’s Matt!  He’s in trouble.  He’s in really bad trouble and we don’t have time to talk!  You’ve got to come with me…NOW!”  They rush oot the door withoot retrieving their coats, which I assume are in a pile on the bed in the kitchen.

Soaps are all aboot the cliffhanger, my friends, so if you want to know what happens to Drinky McDrunkface, stay tuned, same Bat Time, same Bat Channel.

Revolving Doors To Hell

billy lunch

Season 1, Episode 9

“You think Ryan Reynolds got this far on his superior acting talent?” – Wade Winston Wilson

If you, like the students of Hillside, had a choice between bringing a bag lunch to school and eating it in the student lounge or grabbing a bite at The Avalon, which would you choose?  If you answered, “both”, congratulations!  You have something in common with Hollywood powerhouse Ryan Reynolds aside from being a carbon-based lifeform.

Deadpool and Betsy Ross are sitting at a booth in The Avalon.  Courtney has schoolwork spread oot in front of her as Billy opens the bag lunch that his dad packed for him and informs his sister that it contains two sandwiches, a slice of cold pizza, a drumstick, an apple, cookies and a donut, a smorgasbord he finds ludicrously excessive.  Switching gears, Billy asks Courtney if she’s still upset aboot Dylan, but she’d rather not talk aboot it.  Deadpool spills the results of his fact-finding mission anyway and tells Courtney that “Dylan likes you…as a friend.”  While stuffing his seven-course lunch back into the bag, Billy tells his sister aboot his conflicted feelings regarding Olaf.  For now, Billy still considers him a friend, but since no one else seems to feel that way aboot Olaf, he’s wondering how others will view their friendship and whether he’ll be deemed “geeky” by the rest of his horrible schoolmates.  Gathering her things, Courtney offers an uninspired, “You can be friends with whoever you want”, leaving her tween brother to work oot this moral dilemma on his own.

Brooke and Kelly enter the school as Brooke makes a typically stentorian announcement that she’s decided she’ll never write a paper again since she can just continue to pay Kelly’s sister to do it for her.  Dutch Boy is conveniently situated for maximum eavesdropping potential as her sister informs Kelly that the last product of her sister’s handiwork resulted in an A+.  Theresa approaches them and sarcastically congratulates Brooke for making the honor roll, “…and it only cost you $10”.  Hitting her sarcasm crescendo, Dutch Boy proclaims that Brooke may as well run for Student Council President.  While Kelly duly notes the sarcasm, Brooke dreamily ponders her sister’s mock idea with serious interest, prompting the most over-pronounced eye-roll we’ve yet seen from Kelly, who I already considered the undisputed master of this time-honored facial expression.

Ashley and Jake are sitting on a bench whining aboot the general trials and tribulations of being alive.  Ashley doesn’t get much sleep, Jake can’t get no action, nothing new to see here.  This dialogue is so god-awful that I cannot morally reproduce it here for fear its effects upon my (ever-dwindling) readership will be the digital equivalent of electroconvulsive therapy.  So all I’ll say aboot the rest of this scene is to note that Jake’s shirt is a more pronounced shade of pink than Ashley’s denim jacket.

Cindy and Olaf march towards a table in the lounge occupied by a dorky hermaphrodite listening to music on a Walkman and a mullet-sporting kid that I happen to know, with the benefit of hindsight, is named Dave.  Starting next season, Dave will become a major cast member and temporary Jake replacement even though the character and the actor himself are the very embodiment of terminal boredom.  Cindy slaps a clipboard onto the table between them and barks, “Okay, guys.  Start signing,” before even explaining what her stupid petition is aboot.  Only after her two cornered victims question her motives does she explain that it’s a petition to demand that the principal install recycle bins in the school.  As Dave the Dork picks up a pen to sign the petition, Matt and the Jock Squad approach and start mocking Cindy’s never-ending crusade in such a contrived and moronic way that I can no longer decide who the fuck I’m supposed to hate more, the screeching hippie or the hassled boozehound.  As Geddy Lee once crooned, “if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice”.  In that spirit, I’ll simply reaffirm my fondness for Olaf and move on.

matt green jerk

Dave’s signature acquired, Cindy and Olaf walk on and run into Brooke, who expresses interest in the fact that they’re circulating a petition which is something she seems to feel should be of interest to a potential Student Council President no matter what issue it may address.  When Cindy explains what it’s all aboot, Brooke flamboyantly feigns support and grabs the clipboard to add her signature.  With a flourish, she then approaches the table where Dave and the hermaphrodite are still sitting and declares, “Environmental issues are something we should really be concerned aboot – and that’s why I try to take a leadership role!” before walking away, leaving Cindy and Olaf to wonder how they should feel aboot Brooke’s blatant co-opting of their pet issue.

Ashley is still sitting on the bench where we last saw her, but Jake is gone, leaving this prime piece of Hillside real estate open for Brooke to park her ass and harass her favorite pink target.  But this time, she’s not here to harass but to see what the activity-obsessed little prude might know aboot other potential candidates for the Student Council President position.  Con una voce bassa, Ashley replies that she hasn’t heard anything but since the election’s still three weeks away, she expects that someone will eventually throw their hat in the ring.  Brooke brags that “a lot of people” have been encouraging her to run while drifting into another dream sequence fantasy involving her standing at a campaign podium dressed in a man’s suit, regaling her adoring constituents with the most narcissistic decree of humility ever televised.

Deadpool walks into the Avalon where Dave is sitting at the counter, another clear sign that the producers are priming this mulleted insomnia cure for a starring role next season.  Olaf is sitting at a nearby table.  He stands up and greets Billy enthusiastically, something Deadpool clearly hadn’t anticipated since he reacts by backing away from Olaf as if he had bubonic plague.  Over the course of 65 fucking episodes, it doesn’t dawn on any of these colossal dullards that if you go to The Avalon, you WILL run into someone you don’t want to see.  No, instead, they just keep treating it as a private haven for confidential conversations despite daily overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  Olaf has heard aboot the party.  He tells Billy, “Back home in Finland, I was famous for my partying!”, which is probably the first truly ridiculous thing he’s said thus far, unless the Finnish translation of “partying” is “playing chess by yourself”.  While this is going on, Cindy can be seen listening to their conversation from a stool at the counter right next to Dave and his mullet.  Deadpool improvs a hasty excuse aboot it being a small party, “because it’s a small apartment”, especially since his sister has already invited numerous friends.  Olaf understands this to be the blow-off that it is as Cindy comes over and touches his arm affectionately.  Before they have a chance to speak, Kelly bursts into The Avalon and announces to everyone present that the principal just called off Dylan’s concert because he neglected to turn in a math assignment.  Billy nervously digs into his backpack and dejectedly pulls oot Dylan’s math homework.  Deadpool, you are fucking up royally today.

Matt and Jake are alone in the boys’ locker room again because it’s been firmly established at this point that Matt and Jake are the only students that ever utilize the boys’  locker room, or maybe it’s a separate locker room constructed just for them, similar to their convenient stand-alone hallway lockers.  Jake is moping melodramatically enough for his tosspot of a friend to notice and ask what’s wrong.  Matt incorrectly guesses that Jake is still upset aboot their last contentious conversation, of course getting himself riled up again in the process and capitalizing on yet another opportunity to point oot his distaste for being hassled.  His friend reluctant to tell him what’s on his mind, Matt sits down and reminds Jake that they’ve been friends since they were five years old, adding this touching illustrative anecdote: “I’m the guy who stuffed you head-first into the garbage dumpster in the third grade.  If you can’t talk to me, who can you talk to?”.  I know that’s the kind of thing I always demand of my closest confidantes.  Why the fuck would I divulge my deeply personal issues to someone who hasn’t proven their merit by throwing me in a dumpster?  Anyway, Jake finally tells Matt aboot his feelings for Courtney.  While Matt attempts to give Jake some friendly advice, one of the jocks bursts in through a door I hadn’t noticed before and announces the news that “Dylan’s concert just went down the toilet!”  Who needs Reuters when you have the students of Hillside?  Jake and Matt can barely conceal their glee.

“Just like that?  They just turn around and cancel the concert?” At their lockers, Billy and Courtney literally pick up the conservation where Jake and Matt just left off, as if these kids all share a hive mind that connects their words and actions in a grand web of interpersonal knowledge aboot the fact that Dylan’s concert got canceled.  Deadpool tells her that it’s all his fault and castigates himself for forgetting to turn in Dylan’s homework assignment.  Courtney is dressed like a turn-of-the-century steno pool clerk as she expresses satisfaction at Dylan’s bad karma despite her brother’s obvious distress over his part in it.  Deadpool chastises her for not understanding why this is a big deal, slams his locker (which bounces back open) and runs away.

Brooke and Kelly are at The Avalon discussing the same fucking thing that everyone else in British Columbia is talking aboot – Dylan’s canceled concert.  In front of Brooke is a juice box and a cookie on a plate, while Kelly appears to just be drinking a Coke.  They note that Dylan hasn’t been in school today and wonder if he’s even aware of what happened (as if it wasn’t already the banner headline of the morning edition of The Vancouver Sun).  They try to anticipate how he might react while Brooke picks at her cookie one chocolate chip at a time.  Kelly asks Brooke how she feels aboot all this, “since you’re Dylan’s girlfriend,” prompting Brooke to categorically deny such a relationship…that is, until eventually, Kelly successfully convinces Brooke to be mortified by the sheer optics of dating a guy who can’t even pull off a free lunch hour concert in the gym.  Brooke exclaims, “He comes oot of this looking like a total loser and people think I’m going oot with him!! So how does this make ME look?”  Kelly is a fucking ninja when it comes to pushing Brooke’s buttons.

The camera pans toward the door as Matt and Ashley stroll into The Avalon talking aboot – fuck, you know what they’re talking aboot, ferchrissakes.  Ashley feels sorry for Dylan and Matt doesn’t, but more importantly, Dave and his mullet are still sitting on the same stool at the counter.  Ashley continues to whisper her empathy as Matt shouts his lack thereof.  Finally, and to absolutely nobody’s surprise, Matt accuses her of having a crush on Dylan.  Ashley tells Matt he’s a self-centered jerk and he backs off a bit, but not before adding, “but don’t expect me to feel all tragic aboot poor old Dylan, either”, just as James Dean himself swaggers through the door.  He approaches their booth and addressing Matt as “Hot Shot”, asks him how it’s going.  Matt says “okay” while Dylan just stands there running his hand back and forth over the table before dropping his voice to a strangely low pitch and enunciating with confusing intensity, “Good to hear.  Things are going alright for old Matt Walker.  That makes my day.”  Finally, Ashley breaks the uncomfortable silence that follows by offering Dylan her condolences, which he coolly brushes off as unnecessary.  Matt refrains from showing his delight and even offers a heartfelt, “Too bad, man” to the guy who had the audacity to touch his raiment, so Dylan turns and walks towards the table where Brooke and Kelly are sitting, perhaps in the hopes that his presence will court more controversy there.  He’s just kind of aimlessly staggering around The Avalon like a drunk in an unfamiliar house, with no agenda other than to pointlessly engage with whoever he may bump into.  Kelly says hi as Brooke hides behind a menu and offers a curt, “Afternoon.”  The hermaphrodite with the earphones is sitting at an adjacent table.  Dylan asks Brooke if she wants to go to the mall with him and she snottily declines.  He asks if she wants to go somewhere else then and receives the same response.  This fucking café is such an inescapable hellscape of funhouse doors that I can’t even confine myself to describing this conversation in the foreground withoot alerting you to the fact that in the background, Dutch Boy walks into The Avalon in the middle of all this and just stands there by the door through which she came in, not even trying to hide the fact that she’s listening in.  Dylan can take a hint, apparently, and forces Brooke to say what’s on her mind.  As voluminously as possible, she tells Dylan that she can’t date someone she doesn’t respect and right now, she doesn’t respect him at all and before he can even respond, goddamn Dutch Boy runs over and starts apologizing to Dylan on her sister’s behalf.  In an effort to dodge Theresa, Dylan flees towards the door by the payphone only to run into Billy and Courtney on their way in.  Billy starts to apologize profusely while Dylan finally extricates himself from this claustrophobic triangle of insufferable acquaintances and makes his way oot the door.  If you watch this whole scene carefully from the beginning, you’ll notice that Dylan slow-motion ricocheted off of every single table in the establishment, even though the balls in the Avalon pinball machine don’t ricochet off of anything because it’s never plugged in.

dylan bails

Finally, we get a merciful change of pace and the next scene opens on Olaf and Cindy in the lounge.  Olaf tells her that they have 49 signatures on the petition, which he deems not too bad.  Cindy corrects him and points oot that there are really only 48 names, because one student signed “Sylvester Stallone”.  Ever the optimist, Olaf opines that this still isn’t so bad, but Cindy begs to differ, seeing as how there are “over 200 kids in this school” (I assume all but aboot 15 of them are locked up in the basement).  She points oot that there’s no time to get more signatures because “Old Zimmerman wants to meet us at 4:15”.  Cindy notices that Olaf looks sad and asks what’s wrong.  He begins by saying, “I honestly thought Billy was my friend,” and Cindy interjects that Billy’s just a kid and doesn’t know what he’s doing before offering Olaf her friendship which I thought had already been established, but what the fuck do I know.  Suddenly, Dylan trudges by and Cindy jumps up to offer him her condolences even though a friendship between Cindy and Dylan has never been established.  They talk for a few seconds, which is just long enough for Cindy to shoehorn in another reference to “Old Zimmerman” before Dylan sulks oot the door.  Walking back to Olaf’s side, she says, “There’s a guy who’s carrying around a lot of pain.  One of these days, he’s just gonna let loose…and then, watch oot!”  Before you get excited, this seemingly prophetic line presages nothing at all, so don’t start imagining that Dylan will come back and firebomb the school or anything awesome like that.  Shit, who do you think he is, Deadpool?

Brooke is sitting on her bed reading a magazine when Dutch Boy appears in the doorway and glares silently.  Finally, she walks in and freaks the fuck oot on Brooke, which is something I didn’t think she had in her, but it still doesn’t come close to compensating for what she’s wearing.  She shouts at Brooke for leading Dylan on.  When Brooke tries to blow her off, Dutch Boy treats her to this shit: “I always tried to look up to you, Brooke.  I really did.  Because you’re my big sister.  But I can’t do that anymore because I KEEP SEEING WHAT YOU’RE REALLY LIKE!  You’re TOTALLY SHALLOW, you’re TOTALLY SELFISH, and you’re TOTALLY EGOTISTICAL.  You don’t really care aboot anyone.  You just USE people!  One of these days, you’re gonna get what you deserve!  You just wait.  One of these days, somebody’s gonna get you back!”  For once, Dutch Boy’s words carry weight.  The episode ends with Brooke looking shocked, trying to process her sister’s biting words, as I finally decide on an unmentioned option #3: I would buy my lunch at The Avalon, then carry it to school and eat it in the lounge.

brooke dang

Only 4 episodes left in this season, y’all.  Strap yourselves in.

Sturm und Drang

cyn think

Season 1, Episode 8

The episode begins with an extended shot of a bulletin board in the student lounge displaying a Hillside emblem emblazoned with the single word “Sports”.  Two hands appear and tape a green sheet of paper that says, “If you love this planet…THINK” over the cryptic “sports” message.  The camera pans oot to reveal that the hands are Cindy’s as she steps back to admire her cheap, trite, artless, mimeographed sign like it was the fucking Mona Lisa.  Courtney strolls by dressed in a ghastly ensemble of earth tones and excrement, greeting Cindy with a friendly hello.  Cindy responds by self-righteously belching, “Just trying to raise a few people’s consciousness,” as she continues to assess the possible efficacy and impact of her stupid piece of scotch-taped copy paper.  Courtney sits down at a table looking like she’s getting ready to do homework when Cindy asks if she’d like to “lend a hand” even though you can see that she only has aboot 4 more copies of her dumb little sign spread oot on the table, the posting of which hardly seems like a two-person job.  Courtney politely declines, a decision she’ll live to regret for the next several minutes of her life as she’s treated to a bitchy tirade aboot how “it’s only the planet that’s at stake.”  I hate to break this to you, Cindy, but you’ve done more damage to the planet with your idiotic signs than Courtney did by refusing to help you litter the school with them.

Cut to Ashley and Jake at The Avalon sulking over two stiff glasses of milk and what look to be pastries infused with elephantitis and cheese.  Ashley is wearing her oversized sweat jacket and Jake appears to be clad in a helium-filled maroon parachute.  She’s somehow even whisperier than normal as she recounts to Jake the upsetting conversation she had with Matt aboot his drinking yesterday.  Jake, as usual, can find nothing constructive to say but eventually tells her that he’ll try talking to Matt, though he doubts it will do any good.  This redundant scene finally ends the way they always do, with Ashley looking at her watch, realizing she’s late for her planned homework session at the library, and high-tailing it oot the door, apparently sticking Jake with the tab.  I guess you’ve got a pretty good con going there, Ash, but I notice you didn’t touch your pastry, so maybe I’m not as hip to your game as I thought.

Dylan enters the school and saunters over to the table where Courtney’s still doing homework and pretending not to notice him.  He attempts to cut through the chill by grabbing one of Cindy’s signs that are still littering the table and asking, “If you love this planet…think what?” but gets little response from Courtney.  Trying a different approach, he tells her that he’s doing poorly in science and this might cause the principal to call off his concert.  Strike two.  Next, he employs the tried and true method of asking her how she’s doing and this, of course, is the straw that breaks the back of this repugnant dromedary.  Courtney unleashes a snotty harangue aboot feeling foolish for thinking that it meant something when he kissed her in the garage, to which Dylan retorts, “Who says it didn’t?”  She accuses him of going oot with Brooke and Dylan counters that “She’s going oot with some guy named Terry in the 12th grade,” in a tone that definitely implies frustration aboot Brooke’s alleged unavailability, but Courtney’s too fucking dense to pick up on that vibe.  She immediately begins to smile as Dylan walks off and Deadpool enters the lounge with the obligatory query, “Did I just miss something here?”  Yeah, Billy, you just missed the 135th occurrence in less than 8 episodes of your dopey sister ignoring all evidence that Dylan views her as nothing more than the ugly but convenient drunk chick at the party.  Billy and Courtney yawn into their usual parent-related conversation.  Billy is still wearing the zoo t-shirt and I can’t tell the difference between any of Courtney’s fashion atrocities anymore, so I have no idea at what point in the timeline this is all happening.  In the previous scene, Jake and Ashley seemed to have moved on from yesterday, so maybe Billy just forgot to change his shirt.

The siblings rise from the table and begin to stroll the halls.  Billy tells Courtney that since Dad is going oot of town for the weekend, he’ll be coming home to spend it with her and Mom.  She half-jokingly suggests that maybe they should both spend the weekend at Dad’s empty apartment and “throw a major party”, just as Matt walks by and catching the last sentence of their chat, exclaims, “Is this for real?  A party at your place next weekend?  Sounds great!” before running off to tell everyone in earshot aboot it and essentially ensuring that they now have to go through with it whether the idea was raised as a joke or not.

The boys’ locker room.  Jake seems to be having a difficult time tying his shoes, probably owing to his strangely aeronautical shirt.  Matt enters and after some inane small talk, Jake asks Matt if he has a few seconds to talk aboot something and then immediately pussies oot of his promised attempt to lecture Matt aboot his drinking.  On his way oot the door, Matt tells Jake aboot the party at Billy’s on Friday:

Jake:  Sounds great.

Matt:  Yeah, should be a blast!  Their dad’s gonna be away – an empty apartment, just waiting for us!

Jake:  Sure.  Get the guys together.  Pick up a few cases of beer.

Matt:  You betcha!

Jake:  Of course…I guess…we could always try it withoot the beer…just to be different.

Matt:   Is that supposed to mean anything in particular?!

Jake:  Yeah.  I guess it means you’re drinking an awful lot lately.

Matt:  Here we go again!  You’re starting to sound exactly like…hang on – have you been talking to Ashley??

Jake:  Yes, I have.


That’s just your girlfriend who does the whispering, Matt, but I digress.  Matt screams at Jake to “get off his case” and storms oot of the locker room.  Jake slams his locker in frustration and it bounces back open even wider than it had been before, so he slams it again and it bounces open again.  It’s almost as if the producers of this fucking train wreck are proud of their budgetary corner cutting.

Brooke stops Matt on the stairs and they talk aboot the party at Billy’s for a few seconds until Cindy stomps between them carrying a handful of loose papers that she dug oot of the garbage can like a fucking crazy homeless woman.  Though I haven’t a clue who she’s addressing, she starts screaming aboot how paper belongs in the recycle bin, not the garbage can, like a sociopathic, crack-addicted Erin Brokovich.  Matt and Brooke greet her vocal castigation with typical sarcasm, prompting Cindy to declare, “It’s disgusting!  This school is an ecological disaster area!” before switching gears and loudly shaming the school for selling tuna fish sandwiches (Where?  Where do they sell these alleged sandwiches, Cindy?  This school has no fucking cafeteria!).  As she continues to explain to her puzzled audience that tuna are caught in drift nets that also kill dolphins, Olaf walks up from behind and quietly jumps to her defense, opening himself up to more mockery aboot the fact that he hails from Finland.  A few feet away, a morally conflicted Deadpool takes in the scene as Cindy stomps off grumbling aboot having to deal with “a bunch of zipperheads”.

At Ashley’s locker, Courtney’s filling her in on the planned Friday night party while Pink Denim piles aboot thirty textbooks into her arms.  Courtney mentions that Friday is also the day of Dylan’s concert, so Ashley asks how things are going between them.  Courtney’s ecstatically optimistic response based solely upon Dylan’s annoyed revelation that Brooke is dating some twelfth grader is too pathetic for me to watch a second time, so I move the timer on the YouTube video a few clicks to the right where Ashley is wisely warning her slow-witted friend to be careful.  This whole time, Ashley has been making it as clear as possible, shy of ootright screaming it in Courtney’s face, that she has something far more pressing on her mind than an imaginary romance between Shit Drapes and Leather Jacket, and finally, Courtney breaks oot of her self-absorption long enough to notice and ask what’s wrong.  Ashley responds with an unconvincing “no, I’m fine,” and resigns herself to another day of quiet martyrdom.

Dylan’s alone at a booth in The Avalon writing song lyrics when Brooke enters and makes a beeline to where he’s sitting.  She flirtatiously asks if she can see what he’s writing but tragically, Dylan declines to show her (or us) the poetic workings of his rebellious teen mind.  She sits down uninvited and asks him if he’s going to the party Friday night, to which Dylan responds, “Sure, you’ll probably have a great time with Terry What’s-His-Face.”  Brooke informs him that she broke up with her imaginary boyfriend yesterday, adding that she’s “far more interested in someone else” as she leers at Dylan across the table.  Finally, Dylan asks Brooke if she’s “inviting him to ask her to the party or something”, which is at least one extra layer of inviting than I’m accustomed to, but admittedly I’m not very familiar with how they handle this kind of thing in Vancouver.  She treats his question as an actual invitation and enthusiastically accepts while Dylan shrugs his shoulders and goes back to writing lyrics.

Later or tomorrow or maybe in a completely different space-time continuum altogether, Dylan walks into the school still wearing the blue t-shirt he’s had on for this entire episode and is immediately accosted by a psycho-grinning Courtney galloping down the stairs.  She’s obviously bursting to say something to him and when she opens her gob, a fucking apology pours oot for giving him minimal shit earlier aboot the fact that his hard-on for Brooke is aboot as transparent as his tired tough-guy schtick.  Then she tells him aboot the party and informs him that not only is he invited, he’s “very invited”.  Dylan responds with a perfunctory “Sure,” before hurriedly extricating himself from her odious presence.

Oblivious to Dylan’s passionate disinterest, Courtney strolls along and runs into Brooke sitting on a bench.  She proudly proclaims that Dylan will probably be at her party and Brooke replies, “Oh, yes.  He’s going with me!”  I don’t know if the audio guy hit a button prematurely or what, but the dramatic scene-change music starts playing right at this moment – but the scene isn’t over.  Brooke gloats for a bit, then pretends to suddenly realize that this homely schoolmarm might not be so happy aboot what she just divulged and launches into an over-the-top apology for forgetting that Courtney “had a little crush on him”.  Courtney skulks off in humiliation as Deadpool saunters over and asks Brooke why his sister looks upset.  Brooke deflects the question and points oot that his friend Olaf is sitting nearby (playing chess by himself).  Brooke stands up and leaves as Olaf stands up and greets Billy with his characteristic good cheer.  The rest of this scene pains me because I like Olaf and if I didn’t like Olaf, this fucking show would be utterly unbearable, and hence, so is what’s coming next.

Olaf invites Billy to play chess but Billy uncomfortably informs him that he doesn’t really feel like playing.  Deadpool then graduates to the next level and tells Olaf that he doesn’t really like chess, but the deeper implication in his words is that he doesn’t really like Olaf.  Billy tells Olaf that he’s got to run, and run he does, leaving Olaf to stare after him in sad confusion.  Fuck you, Deadpool.  And after all the nice things I said aboot you in the last post.

At The Avalon, Courtney is torturing Jake with her indignation aboot Dylan.  This fucking Colonial dildo has the nerve to tell Jake that “you either ask someone oot or you don’t – you don’t sort of ask them,” completely disregarding the fact that she’s saying this to the same guy that’s been sort of asking her oot for the last seven episodes.  They agree that Dylan’s a jerk so many times that eventually Courtney says, “He’s a derk” and the director just decides to let it stand because I’m sure he’s fully aware this is the worst television show that’s ever been broadcast on either side of the Frontière Internationale.  Jake (with absolutely no ulterior motive, of course) advises Courtney to just forget aboot Dylan with some uncharacteristic and, as it turns oot, undeserved confidence because she immediately retorts that she can’t just forget aboot him because she’s in love with him.  As Jake struggles to process her unexpected declaration, Courtney lapses into self-pity and chastises herself for believing that any guy could ever be interested in someone like her (stick with this line of thinking, Courtney…you may be on to something).  Jake counters that “lots of guys think you’re terrific” and Courtney defies him to name one.  Garnering all of his confidence, Jake says, “Well, ME, for instance,” to which this insufferable musk ox replies, “That’s not what I mean.  You’re just a friend, it’s totally different,” and somehow Jake refrains from leaping across the table and strangling her to death.  In fact, he retains his atypical courage and momentum, desperately blurting oot, “Is that really what you think?!  Courtney, there’s something I’ve got to say, there really is, because—” as Courtney cuts him off, gets up and says, “I’ve gotta run!” like the human crotch she is.

But this time, we don’t even get treated to a long shot of Jake’s frustrated face because Cindy, who apparently was standing behind a pillar eavesdropping the whole time, comes oot of the shadows and asks if something’s bugging Courtney.  Jake says he doesn’t know, so Cindy sits down uninvited and says, “Well, there’s sure something bugging me.  You wanna know something?  We go to school with a bunch of zipperheads.”  Ok, first of all, Cindy, buy a thesaurus and discover some new pejoratives.  Secondly, zipperhead is a derogatory term for an Asian and if you’re not familiar with Asians, just look across the fucking table at the guy to whom you’re speaking.  She accosts Jake with her unhinged environmental psychosis for a bit, then glances at the sketch pad he’s been scribbling in for the past few minutes.  She picks it up and looks at it with admiration.  Jake drew a frog.  Cindy deems it “not half bad” and I don’t have the slightest fucking idea why they felt it necessary to insert this pointless scene into the episode but at least we now know that Jake can sketch a badass frog.

Deadpool enters Dylan’s garage and asks if he’s seen his sister lately.  Apparently, Billy is just getting around to his promised fact-finding mission aboot Dylan’s feelings for Courtney, an episode and a half too late.  Dylan responds by saying, “I like her…as a friend.  I think she’s a good kid,” placing her into the exact same category as his young inquisitor.  Mission apparently accomplished, Billy starts to leave, but Dylan calls him back, hands him a math assignment that’s due tomorrow morning, and asks Billy to turn it in for him because he’ll be ditching school to practice and write songs.  Billy agrees and Dylan warns him not to forget, “it’s important”.  Almost oot the door, Deadpool turns around and asks Dylan what’s going on between him and Brooke.  Dylan concedes that they’re “sort of going oot…maybe” leading Billy to remind him that not long ago, he warned Deadpool that girls like Brooke are “big trouble”.  Aware that he’s being called oot by a 12 year old, Dylan acknowledges his earlier admonition, adding, “but only if you get hung up on them.”

The Avalon.  Matt and Ashley are together at a booth even though I’m pretty sure Matt dumped her whispering ass yesterday.  Maybe he was in a blackoot when that happened.  She whisper-worries, he yells, and round and round they go.  The word “hassled” is bandied aboot liberally, as always.  Just when you think a plot is finally resolved in this goddamn show, it rises from the dead and plays itself in an endless loop.  Don’t get me wrong, this is a classic whisper-shout showdown between these two, but it’s one that we’ve already seen several times over and its placement at this particular point in the show makes no sense whatsoever.

Brooke is at Dylan’s garage asking him why he’s planning to skip school tomorrow.  She warns him aboot jeopardizing his concert in a way that approaches genuine concern.  They talk some more and then she gets up to leave.  Before she reaches the door, Dylan tells her that there’s gossip going around aboot them going oot, then asks her if she thinks they’ll work as a couple, all the while stroking and caressing his guitar in a way that makes me increasingly uncomfortable with every interminable second of this sequence.  Brooke’s reply is noncommittal.  Dylan puts down his guitar, stands up and walks towards Brooke, saying, “You know something?  I must be crazy…because I’m almost starting to think that I could get…hung up on you.”  They embrace for a long, passionate kiss, at least by Fifteen standards, and Dylan reiterates that a guy being hung up on someone like Brooke “could get torn up”.  You should’ve listened to Deadpool, Idiot.  He’s wise beyond his years.

dyl brooke kiss

The Grapes

brooke dyl

Season 1, Episode 7

We are the Grapes of Wrath, we never take a bath.  It is our style to seldom smile and never laugh! – VeggieTales

We open at The Avalon where nary a main cast member is to be seen, just the nameless Jock Squad loudly patting themselves on the back for pulling off a close 61-60 victory.  An unknown girl sitting at one of the booths joins in the fun until our favorite group of buzzkills enters, instantly obliterating the celebratory atmosphere.  One of the jocks says, “Good game!” to Matt, who responds with a sarcastic, “Yeah, right.”  Matt, Ashley and Jake trudge over to their usual booth.

Ashley:  i’ve actually gotta be getting home soon.  i mean, it’s 9:15—

Matt:  I DON’T BELIEVE IT!  I score 14 points in the first half and what happens?  I get benched!

Jake:  Yeah, that was kind of—

Matt:  BENCHED!!  For the entire second half!  I’m just sitting there getting splinters in my butt!

Jake:  Nobody else understood it either.

Matt:  I score 14 points and then my coach accuses me of being selfish!  He stands up in the dressing room at half time and tells me I’ve got to put the team first!

Ashley:  well, maybe he was—

Matt:  I put the team 7 points in the lead – that’s where I put the team!  And then I have to put up with that garbage??

Ashley:  you can always look on the bright side


Ashley:  the team still won…even though you weren’t playing

Yeah, that’ll calm your dipsomaniacal boyfriend right the fuck down, Ashley.  Matt retreats to the pinball room leaving Jake to pointlessly opine that this probably isn’t a good time to talk to Matt aboot his drinking problem.

Hillside.  Les Chiennes enter the school as Brooke is loudly asking Kelly, “Ever see a jaw bounce right off the floor?”  She continues describing the scene at Dylan’s garage and how Courtney just stood there with her mouth hanging open, then took off.  All the while, Lurky-Loo is eavesdropping from a nearby table wearing an abominable Cosby sweater that is definitely not part of the Garanimals collection because there isn’t a color in the known spectrum that would match this nightmare of wool and vomit.  Brooke segues to the topic of the English paper she asked Kelly’s sister to write.  Kelly produces the paper but doesn’t hand it to Brooke until she coughs up the $10 fee.  This is a bridge too far for Dutch Boy who marches over to the table and admonishes Brooke for cheating.  Brooke calls her a little priss and makes tracks, leaving Theresa and Kelly to stare at each other in awkward silence.

I have just now watched the next scene no fewer than five times and I still can’t wrap my mind around it.  A close up shot of a girl working behind The Avalon counter near the cash register.  Suddenly, Jake enters the shot from the left and Matt from the right, seeming to imply that they just ran into each other, but Matt’s first words are those of a conversation in progress: “I’ve had enough of this, Jake!”  They lean on the counter as Matt resolves to have a showdown with Coach Williams and Jake attempts to warn him against it.  The girl behind the counter appears to be writing something while they talk.  The cake stand is empty, but still somehow disgusting.  The camera pans back and forth between Matt and Jake and the next time it focuses on the gal behind the register, we see that she’s placing to-go bags and a juice box on the counter.  Their conversation concluded, Matt grabs the juice box (Jake’s treat, I guess) as Jake stays behind to pay the tab with a handful of loose change.  In TV time, this is a pointlessly long scene.  Jake grabs the to-go bags, counts oot the change and places it on a tray next to the register withoot a word, then takes his leave withoot so much as a “thank you”.  The two main cast members gone, the camera for some reason lingers on the employee as she gathers up the change and counts it in silence.  Not one single word was spoken between Jake or Matt and the girl at the till even though she was right in the center of the action for the whole scene.  The entire Avalon staff reminds me of the Underworld shades of Greek mythology.

Olaf is sitting on a bench trying to teach Deadpool the finer points of chess.  I guess the writers realized that it had been a while since Olaf spoke as if English were anything other than his native tongue, so they decide to have him misstate the expression “oot of left field” as “oot of right field”.  Olaf notices that Billy looks distracted and asks him what’s wrong, so Green Lantern vents aboot living with his dad for a spell.  Olaf offers to be Billy’s sounding board whenever he may need one and Deadpool seems to realize that he wisely befriended the one kid at Hillside worthy of befriending.

Little Twat On The Prairie lumbers over to her locker which is located just two down from Brooke’s.  Brooke correctly guesses that maximum antagonism of this homely cretin can be achieved by a simple cheery greeting.  She lets Courtney express her pathetic self-righteous indignation for a few minutes, then assures her that her visit with Dylan was completely innocent and it doesn’t take long for Courtney to buy this explanation hook, line and sinker because she’s a…well, you know what she is.  I’m running oot of insults for this nauseating asshole.  Before walking off, Brooke assures Courtney that “Dylan’s all yours”.

Another shirt-tucking scene in the girls’ locker room, but this time, the fact that Courtney is simultaneously tucking her table cloth into her drapes while Ashley does the same with her more era-appropriate garments prevents me from engaging in more middle-aged-dude creepery.  Courtney rehashes the events of the past few hours, then expresses concern that Dylan doesn’t seem to be at school today and hopes he isn’t jeopardizing his concert opportunity with Mr. Zimmerman.  Her oversized gym bag stuffed and zipped, Ashley cuts Courtney off because she’s late for band practice and asks her to tell Matt that she’s looking for him if Courtney should see him.

Brooke comes down the stairs and approaches Dylan who is reading a book on the lounge sofa.  He explains that he stayed home this morning to finish a book report, even though the only person who was questioning his forenoon whereaboots is nowhere to be seen.  Brooke asks him how he always seems to get away with such truancy causing Dylan to launch into another soliloquy aboot how his parents don’t seem to care aboot him very much which causes me to wonder where the hell is Emilio Estevez when we need him to react to Dylan with a sarcastic, “Please…you’re breaking my heart”?  Brooke attempts to flirt, I assume, by telling Dylan that “Eddie Van Halen never had to write a book report,” which makes absolutely no sense unless Eddie Van Halen dropped oot of school right after kindergarten.  Brooke makes to leave, then stops and pretends to have just remembered something.  She fishes in her bag, pulls oot a small wrapped present and hands it to Dylan, saying it was something that she found at the mall yesterday.  Dylan opens it with suspicion and reveals a silver-plated music box.  Brooke leaves with a smile as Dylan examines and lovingly strokes his unexpected gift.

Matt and the jocks stroll into the lounge and I notice that a girl sitting nearby on the stairs is the same strangely mute cash register attendant from The Avalon a few scenes ago, still wearing the same ootfit.  Dylan is playing with his music box on the sofa so, of course, Matt must stir up some shit.  He asks Dylan if he “stole the music box or something”, proving that Matt really only has one go-to insult to utilize in the presence of leather jacket wearing rebels (his reaction to Dylan’s use of the word “raiment” in the first episode was to ask him if he “stole a dictionary or something”).  Dylan’s hand is balled into a fist as he counter-attacks by saying he heard it was a good game last night, “especially the second half”.  Dylan obviously has more of a knack for trash talk because Matt reacts by saying, “You want a piece of advice?  Watch your mooth!”  Dylan asks if Matt’s looking for trouble and Matt replies, “No.  I’m just looking at a wuss with a music box”.  Dylan launches himself at Matt and they tussle for a few seconds until the jocks break them apart as the Avalon employee scoots oot of the way to avoid the scuffle.  Backing away, Matt shouts, “One of these days, I’m gonna take your head off!” while the gal from The Avalon hides behind a pillar.  The scene closes with a few bars of scene-ending music that is far more menacing and dramatic than the actual pseudo-fight we just witnessed.

The Avalon.  Jake and Ashley are at a booth talking aboot the events of the previous paragraph, even though they weren’t there at the time.  Ashley picks idly at what looks like a blueberry scone while wondering what it could mean that Matt is going around starting fights.  Jake reveals that he has a feeling Matt “snuck oot at lunch hour to have a drink”, which means that these two are still circling the drain of Matt’s drinking problem but still haven’t figured oot a course of action beyond whining at each other aboot it.  Ashley once again tells Jake that they’ve got to talk to him, but this time she appends the word “now” to the end of the sentence.  I’ll believe it when I see it, Dope Whisperer.

Courtney is at Dylan’s locker attempting to console him for Matt’s “unforgiveable” behavior, even though the biggest reaction she can get oot of him aboot the incident is a dismissive shoulder shrug.  Dylan tells her to forget aboot it, which of course does nothing to stem the tide of her clingy, repetitive and unsolicited concern.  Remember, Dylan, you have no one to blame for the endless and inept flirtation of this walking kudzu vine but yourself.  Dylan walks away and Courtney stares after him in an infatuated trance, leading to our next incredible dream sequence:

Dylan emerges onto a neon-lit stage, guitar slung low over his leather-clad shoulder.  The crowd – composed entirely of the Fifteen cast and a few of the more familiar extras – goes wild.  Dylan high-fives the front row and mouths, “I love you!  I love you!” to his adoring fans.  A keyboard riff that sounds like it was composed by Asia or Saga fills the arena as Dylan extends his hand to Courtney and pulls her up onto the stage, a la Springsteen and Courtney Cox.  Dylan revs up his electric guitar as Courtney dances by his side.  I don’t have words to adequately describe this.  This is Courtney’s own fucking fantasy, yet she dances more ridiculously than Elaine Benes, bopping around woodenly and throwing elbows like she’s having an epileptic seizure.

court dream

Kelly and Brooke are sitting on a bench randomly trashing Olaf for being “pretty weird”.  Honestly, this is the only scene that causes me to dislike Kelly for a little while, because come on…why pick on poor Olaf when you could be ranking on Courtney instead?  They mock his wardrobe, his (nonexistent) accent, and his fondness for chess as Billy comes down the stairs and overhears them.  He asks them what’s wrong with chess and they inform him that it’s “a game for weenies”.  Deadpool presses further and asks if they think there’s something wrong with Olaf in general.  They opine that he’s “not one of us” but concede that Billy should feel free to be friends with whoever he likes.

Courtney shows up and pulls Billy aside to talk.  Before she can say whatever it is she wants to say, Billy asks her what she thinks of Olaf.  Completely oblivious to the fact that her little brother is having a social-moral crisis, she tells him to “forget aboot Olaf” and then CHANGES THE FUCKING SUBJECT TO GODDAMN DYLAN AGAIN, FOR CHRIST’S SAKE!!  Holy shit, do I hate this wench.  She’s wondering if Dylan “ever talks aboot her” as Deadpool finally gets a clue aboot her all-encompassing obsession with his mentor in delinquency.  Billy thinks this is hilarious, and I find it hilarious to watch him react with hilarity to his sister’s pathetic infatuation.  You see, THIS is why Ryan Reynolds is a Hollywood A-lister and Sarah Douglass is probably bagging groceries at a Loblaws in Vancouver.  Finally, Deadpool agrees to fish for information aboot Dylan’s feelings for Courtney on the condition that she rent him 2 videos this coming weekend, an arrangement to which she of course concedes.  Incidentally, I think this scene was Deadpool’s finest moment for his entire 4 season involvement with the show.

Brooke is in her room voguing in the mirror next to a poster of Madonna’s “Vogue”.  Enter Cosby Sweater who proceeds to give her sister some unsolicited shit for making a move on Dylan.  Dutch Boy’s got more fire in her loins than usual today, and she threatens not only to tell Dylan aboot Brooke’s ulterior motives, but also to tell her English teacher aboot the illicitly obtained papers she’s been turning in.  Finally, Brooke stands up and tells her not to dare even think aboot doing such a thing, instigating a stare-down test of the wills which Brooke wins handily, of course.  Defeated, Dutch Boy says that no, she would never tell on her sister, but it would serve her right if someone did.

Billy enters The Avalon and walks back to the booth in the pinball room where his sister is waiting for his report aboot what Dylan thinks of her.  He tells her that he didn’t get a chance to bring it up because Dylan was busy with “someone” who was over at his garage.  Withoot speaking Brooke’s name, Deadpool generously and with a flair for empathy that clearly isn’t genetic tells her to forget aboot renting him the videos.  Courtney is crushed and I realize that this episode is making me smile far more than usual.

Cut to Dylan’s garage where Brooke is asking him if he likes the music box.  He tells her that he does.  Since Dylan is conveniently holding his guitar for no apparent reason, she requests that he play something and he asks if she wants to hear anything in particular.  Yes, in fact, she’d like to know if he knows any songs by The Grapes of Wrath (according to Wikipedia, “The Grapes of Wrath are a Canadian rock band formed in 1983”. Knowledge is power!).  Dylan says that he knows a few songs and that they’re “a pretty good band”, so Brooke informs him that they’ll be giving a concert nearby next Saturday in the hopes that he’ll ask her to go.  He does, but she declines, saying that she’ll be going to the concert with some guy named Terry, an obviously fictitious 12th grader with whom Brooke alleges to be going oot.  She then suddenly exclaims that she needs to go meet Terry at the mall right now and scurries oot the door leaving Dylan to stare at the camera in bewilderment.

Brooke and Kelly are back at The Avalon counter as Brooke explains how she led Dylan on, but then made up a story aboot dating some guy in the twelfth grade in response to Dylan’s invite to the Grapes show.  (I just call ‘em “The Grapes” now.  Even though I’m completely unfamiliar with them, I think I’ve earned the right to call them whatever I want just for mentioning them so many times on my blog page.)  Kelly asks if she’s going to “reel him in” now and Brooke says that she thinks she’ll just “let him dangle for a while”.

There’s precious little time left in this episode, but just enough, it seems, for one more round of deliciously frustrating conversation between Matt and Ashley in the pinball room.  Ashley says she wants to talk and Matt says sure while preparing to slip a couple of quarters into the dysfunctional pinball machine.  She tells him to stop – she wants his undivided attention, apparently – and he reluctantly obeys, stepping away from the machine.  Matt guesses aloud that she wants to lecture him aboot starting the fight with Dylan earlier, but no, this time Ashley is equipped with an unusually firm resolve and she tells him that she wants to talk aboot his drinking.  Before he can effectively shout the topic away, she comes right oot and says that she thinks he’s an alcoholic (“there.  I said it.”)  On a roll, Ashley tells him that she found his flask which is the same thing as admitting that she was snooping through his knapsack behind his back.

Matt:  I.  DON’T.  HAVE. A. DRINKING. PROBLEM.  What I’ve got is a girlfriend who won’t mind her own business!

Ashley:  but it is my business because I love you.

Matt:  We’re gonna drop this subject, okay?  RIGHT NOW!

Ashley:  no, we’re not gonna drop it.  you’ve got a drinking problem and you need to face it.


Ashley:  Yes, you do!  i’m worried sick and I can’t stand it anymore!

Matt:  Then maybe you need a new boyfriend.

Ashley:  matt—

Matt:  If that’s the way you feel, then it sounds to me like it’s time you found someone else!

And with that, another episode ends with a close-up shot of Ashley doing her damnedest to look even more distraught than she did the last five times an episode ended on an extended shot of her distraught little face.


Life is unbearable.


billy hates court

Season 1, Episode 6

The Mayo Clinic worked up this list of common symptoms indicative of Social Anxiety Disorder:

Emotional and behavioral symptoms

Signs and symptoms of social anxiety disorder can include persistent:

  • Fear of situations in which you may be judged
  • Worrying aboot embarrassing or humiliating yourself
  • Intense fear of interacting or talking with strangers
  • Fear that others will notice that you look anxious
  • Fear of physical symptoms that may cause you embarrassment, such as blushing, sweating, trembling or having a shaky voice
  • Avoiding doing things or speaking to people oot of fear of embarrassment
  • Avoiding situations where you might be the center of attention
  • Having anxiety in anticipation of a feared activity or event
  • Enduring a social situation with intense fear or anxiety
  • Spending time after a social situation analyzing your performance and identifying flaws in your interactions
  • Expecting the worst possible consequences from a negative experience during a social situation

If you find it depressing to imagine someone who suffers from such a preponderance of debilitating emotional roadblocks, imagine attending a high school where the entire student body suffers from each one of these symptoms every waking moment of their lives.  Well, don’t stretch your imagination too hard – what that would be like, of course, has been the very crux of my web page since the 8th of April.  So strap in for the next installment of existential malaise courtesy of the students of Hillside!

Pink Denim and Noose Collar are discussing Matt’s drinking as they walk into the student lounge.  The scene opens on the conversation already in progress, implying that they’d been talking aboot this for some time before the start of the episode, but it isn’t until they sit down at a table that Ashley informs Jake aboot the flask in Matt’s knapsack.  Since the flask discovery obviously wasn’t the impetus for this conversation, we’re shown once again that these kids are incapable of discussing anything other than the one or two most recent events involving their closest peers.  Jake reacts like the ignoramus that he is and asks her what was in the flask, causing Ashley to reply, “buttermilk.  what do you think? look, i’m sorry, i’ve got no right to take this oot on you,” with absolutely no pause between the end of the sarcasm and the start of the apology, rendering her simple response unnecessarily confusing.  Finally, Ashley attempts to look on the bright side by guessing that someone can’t become an alcoholic at fifteen.  Jake, sounding like he’s been waiting for this exact conversational opening for the last several weeks reacts with almost joyous enthusiasm, “OH YES, YOU CAN!

Their conversation is cut short by the appearance of Matt.  Jake leaves to give them privacy and Matt starts grilling Ashley aboot what she and Jake were discussing because they “looked pretty intense”.  Casper the Clinically Depressed Ghost whispers, “oh, this and that…i guess,” as she tries to work up the nerve to tell him that she found his flask while rummaging through his belongings behind his back.  Before she accomplishes this, she’s interrupted by the Jock Squad descending on their table like a flock of hungry buzzards eager to peck at the rotting remains of Ashley’s soul by waxing vociferously moronic aboot basketball.

Deadpool is filling Olaf in on the Simpson family drama as they walk through the locker vestibule.  Dad has moved oot and wants Billy to come live with him in his new apartment.  It is again established that Olaf is the only kid in this school that doesn’t deserve to be drawn and quartered, like a heaven-bound soul who finds himself in the pits of hell due to a clerical error.  Olaf passes Courtney on the stairs and says hello.  Before he’s even oot of earshot, Deadpool’s vacuous sister asks, “What’s his name? Omar?”, which is an understandable mistake.  I mean, who among us doesn’t occasionally confuse Scandinavians for Arabs?  They look so much alike!  Just when you think her stupidity couldn’t possibly reach loftier heights, she reacts to Billy’s corrections by telling him that Finland and Sweden are “the same thing” because “they’re both foreign”.  But wait, it gets worse.

Courtney, to her credit, spends at least 20 seconds feigning concern for her little brother before the centrifugal force of her Dylan-obsession finally overcomes her faculties.  For those who haven’t been paying attention, that’s 20 seconds longer than she’s managed to pull off since becoming moist in the panties for Master Blackwell two full episodes ago.  She asks Billy if he’s planning on going over to Dylan’s after school just to inform him that he’s not welcome because she and Dylan “are composing some songs together and we need privacy for that”.  Before taking his leave, Deadpool makes it clear that his sister is a fucking asshat while she pretends to be wounded by his harsh words but is obviously just forcing a look of sad concern while she continues to indulge in wet fantasies aboot Dylan.

Ashley is waiting alone at The Avalon when Courtney farts her way into the establishment and wastes another three minutes of airtime apologizing for being late.  This jackass actually sent Ashley a note asking her to please meet her at The Avalon just so she could fucking gloat aboot the fact that Dylan kissed her.  All hyperbole aside, I honestly don’t know who is more skilled at causing me to feel uncharacteristically violent at their very appearance, Courtney Simpson or Sarah fucking Sanders.  After sitting through some additional dialogue that’s more painful than having one’s fingernails extracted with a pliers, Courtney suddenly decides that she’s in love with Dylan, prompting Ashley to whisper, “wow.  that’s just great…i guess.”

Some time later, Ashley and Jake resume their insufferable conversation in the lounge aboot thus far being unable to find a good time to broach the topic of drinking with Matt.  Ashley then tells Jake that she was just at The Avalon with Courtney talking aboot “private girl’s stuff” and Jake somehow manages to acknowledge that whatever they were discussing is none of his business even though he can’t find the words “boy” or “guy” and instead refers to himself as an “un-girl” (as good a description of Jake as any).  Ashley, of-fucking-course, proceeds to tell Jake every last detail of the “private girl’s stuff”, including the fact that Courtney thinks she’s in love with Dylan.  I suppose that since Courtney is mercifully uninvolved in this scene, someone had to step up and ensure that Jake is as tortured by all of this allegedly privileged information as humanly possible.  Whisperina reacts to Jake’s look of shock by asking, “are you gonna say something or are you just gonna sit there with your mooth hanging open?” as if he hadn’t already given her copious clues aboot his incomprehensible feelings for Courtney.

Now Theresa, who is wearing a button down shirt over a turtleneck, is at Kelly’s locker whining aboot the fact that Brooke caused her to miss her (probably imaginary) friend’s birthday party.  She clearly wants Kelly to say something that will make Brooke’s behavior more understandable, but she’s tapping the wrong source for that.  Kelly’s awesomeness and Dutch Boy’s dorkiness cancel each other oot rendering this scene somewhat watchable, and an unlikely alliance starts to take shape.

Courtney is wandering the halls with her hands thrust into the pockets of what looks like a dirty shower curtain when she runs into Jake carrying a sketch pad.  For a brief moment, it actually seems like Courtney is a human being capable of sparing a thought for someone other than herself (or Dylan) as she tells Jake that she likes his drawing.  However, I can’t state “brief” emphatically enough in relation to this nearly tolerable moment of Courtney’s life because she immediately hands the sketch pad back and begins scanning the halls for Dylan, no longer hearing a word that her friend is saying.  Clearly sensing all of this, Jake changes the subject to the one topic he knows will retain her interest (“What’s this I hear aboot a big romance?”), indirectly implicating Ashley in the process.  Courtney starts to complain aboot Ashley betraying her confidence before seeming to realize mid-sentence that Ashley did her an enormous favor by giving her yet another opportunity to bloviate aboot Dylan’s impromptu kiss.  Jake throws caution to the wind and warns Courtney that Dylan is “a walk on the wild side” with a reputation for breaking girls’ hearts.  Things get heated.  Jake might even be jeopardizing his tenuous position in the Friend Zone here, but his concern ootweighs his unfathomable Courtney crush as he tells her that Dylan was “hauled down to the principal’s office” earlier today.  Enter Brooke who immediately sets Jake straight by telling them the real reason Dylan was called to the principal’s: someone (I wonder who) told the principal that Dylan is a great musician, so the principal offered him the chance to play a concert in front of the entire school, because of course, this is a thing that happens all the time in high schools throughoot British Columbia.  Courtney thinks this is just the bee’s knees while Jake makes a mental note to up his Paxil dosage.

Matt and Jake are in the boy’s locker room.  Jake spends a full two minutes whining aboot Courtney and Dylan while Matt spends the same two minutes putting his sneakers on.  Finally, Jake “hypothetically” asks Matt what a guy should do if he finds himself in unrequited love.  In perhaps the most sensible moment of his life, Matt tells his friend that such a guy should just give up, forget aboot it and move on.  Jake’s day just keeps getting worse.

Brooke and Kelly are at their lockers.  Brooke is trying to persuade Kelly to ask her older sister to write a book report for her (for a small amount of cash), a black market transaction that their conversation makes clear has gone down many times before.  When Kelly tells Brooke that her sister is starting to feel guilty aboot writing her papers, Brooke expresses amazement that Kelly’s sister has any morals at all.  Kelly responds, “Thank you, Brooke, that’s very sweet of you.”  Again ignoring the clear and ominous signs that Kelly is itching to give her a beatdown for the ages, Brooke changes the subject by saying “let’s talk aboot something else, like, say…Dylan!” as Dylan comes into view behind them.  Brooke expresses her interest in making Dylan interested in her, “which might be interesting”, and I heartily concur because if there’s anything worse than a petty, scheming heartbreaker like Brooke, it’s a fashion-impaired, self-centered monstrosity like Courtney.

Deadpool approaches Dylan and congratulates him on the upcoming concert while simultaneously hoping that Dylan will ask him to accompany him on the drums.  Before Dylan can respond, Billy’s abominable shit stain of a sister materializes from nowhere and interrupts her brother mid-sentence no less than 5 fucking times in her unstoppable resolve to gush aboot Dylan’s concert like a five year old girl in the presence of Justin Bieber.  Recognizing the utter futility of trying to speak over this fucking crone, Deadpool rolls his eyes and cedes the floor to Courtney.  Dylan is comparatively underwhelmed aboot the prospect of his upcoming gymnasium gig, guessing that “Old Zimmerman” will pull the plug if he doesn’t keep his grades up, something he obviously has no intention of doing.  Courtney offers to help him with his schoolwork and as Dylan expresses his disinterest in such an arrangement, Brooke arrives and inserts herself into the conversation.  Dylan leaves and Courtney lets slip with the fact that she and Dylan are “going oot together” (wrong), something Brooke already suspected but perhaps just wanted to confirm before setting her next superb evil plan into action.

Matt, Ashley and the nameless Jock Squad are at The Avalon.  As usual, the jocks are in the process of applying second-hand lip balm to Matt’s ass but when Dylan enters through the door by the payphone, the jocks immediately abandon their enthusiastic daily adoration of Matt to swarm Dylan with curious excitement aboot his upcoming concert.  Matt raises his voice and tries to complete his sentence, but his fickle groupies are already gone.  Ashley politely invites Matt to finish what he was saying, but he makes it clear that all the people he was trying to impress have left, so why the fuck would he finish his voluminous self-promotion for the benefit of his crappy girlfriend?  He’d much rather bitch aboot the fact that people suddenly find Dylan interesting.

Brooke is in her room searching for the perfect ootfit in which to seduce Dylan.  Theresa enters and starts speaking, which abruptly kills my motivation to finish describing the scene.

Back at The Avalon, Ashley whispers her confusion aboot Matt’s visceral reaction to Dylan’s newfound popularity.  She even tells Matt that it sounds like he’s jealous, which initiates an endless back and forth regarding which of the two keeps bringing it up: “I don’t keep talking aboot it, you’re the one who keeps bringing it up!”  Finally, Matt pacifies himself by guessing (at Ashley’s prompting) that maybe “Old Zimmerman” is just giving Dylan this opportunity oot of pity.  An uncharacteristically bold Ashley then attempts to raise the topic of the flask when Matt looks at his watch, tells her he’s late and splits, leaving her alone at the booth to wallow in melancholic frustration.

Olaf is in the lounge playing chess by himself again.  Billy mopes his way over and Olaf invites him to play.  Deadpool doesn’t seem too interested in the offer because it only takes Olaf 45 seconds to beat him.  Always the stand-up guy, Olaf responds, “Exactly!  I’ll beat you in 45 seconds and then you can swear at me for a minute and a half and you’ll feel much better!”  Here’s hoping you find your way oot of this hellacious alternate universe, Olaf.

Brooke is at Dylan’s garage dressed to kill, explaining that she “wasn’t exactly looking for him”, but just happened to be passing by.  She asks Dylan to play something for her and cozies up real close as he picks up his guitar.  If anyone reading this can’t guess who knocks on the garage door right at this moment, I’m utterly appalled at the intellectual capacity of my extremely limited following.  But despite the lack of surprise to be had at Courtney’s appearance and rapid distressed retreat, it is, as usual, completely worth it just for the extended look of pained confusion on Hillside’s human coffin liner:


Brooke, you are my hero.


No Exit

court kiss

Season 1, Episode 5

“So this is hell. I’d never have believed it. You remember all we were told about the torture-chambers, the fire and brimstone, the ‘burning marl.’ Old wives’ tales! There’s no need for red-hot pokers. Hell is—other people!” – Jean Paul Sartre

The episode opens at Hillside with Billy trying to convince his loathsome sister that the latest scheduled Simpson Family Announcement might constitute a glimmer of hope for the fate of their parents’ marriage.  Not a chance, Detective Pikachu.  Courtney is wearing a top that’s slightly less frightful than normal and in lieu of her usual drawing room drapes, she’s rocking a black mini-skirt.  The monomaniacal pursuit of Dylan has officially begun.

Jake and Matt are at The Avalon counter as Matt basically informs his friend that he’s been entertaining murder fantasies aboot Coach Williams.  Jake responds with some lame attempt at humor as Matt goes over the entire thing again even though just 3 minutes ago, we were shown scenes from last week’s episode: “It’s getting ridiculous!  Last week, Williams hauls me into his office to say I’ve got to start working harder in practice and yesterday, he does it in front of the entire team!  He stops practice and spends five minutes telling me I’m a hot shot!”  Now I feel obligated to do something I’ve yet to do in this series of posts, and that’s to defend the writer of this particular segment of dialogue.  While it may seem ridiculous for Matt to rehash every last detail of his problem with the coach every single time it comes up, this actually rings true and perfectly illustrates how most people sound to me when they’re flapping their jaws.  Most people already have a predetermined agenda before assaulting others with their unsolicited garrulous accounts of irrelevant events, so even if you find a moment to point oot that they told you all this yesterday, it will do nothing to stop their momentum.  You WILL hear yesterday’s story again and if you continue to spend time with your overly loquacious friend, I’m sure you’ll hear it again tomorrow, too.  (You owe me for that one, Ian Weir).

Brooke is in her room using one of her superfluous computers to prop up a notebook in which she’s hastily completing a social studies assignment.  Theresa enters wearing a polka-dot patterned turtle neck.  Words are spoken.  There’s really nothing else to say aboot this pointless interlude.

Cut to Matt and Jake’s stand-alone lockers where Courtney the Seductress is for some fucking reason trying to convince her friends that Dylan’s the greatest thing to happen to rock and roll since Bryan Adams. If you look closely at the inside of Jake’s locker, you’ll notice he’s got a Charlie Chaplin sticker and an old promo for The Who’s “The Kids Are Alright”.  Matt asks where she heard Dylan play and Courtney tells him that she stopped by his garage yesterday.  This doesn’t sit well with Jake who seems to have resigned himself to playing second fiddle to Ashley, but now Dylan?  It’s like God is mocking him.  Better go to church and beg forgiveness for almost saying the b-word yesterday, Jake, or it’s just gonna get worse.  God’s a fucker like that.  Courtney fishes for compliments aboot her new skirt but instead just gets an emotionless, “It’s different,” from Matt, so she runs off to go find somebody who will shower her with the proper effusive flattery she obviously thinks she deserves for finally dressing like someone from her own century.

Dutch Boy catches up with Kelly in the hallway and eats up almost 5 minutes of the episode trying to get up the courage to ask her what really went down on Friday.  Kelly tells her to ask her sister and Theresa retorts that Brooke told her it was all Kelly’s idea and asks her again if this is true.  Kelly’s eyes go red as she replies, “Well, if Brooke says it’s the truth, then it must be the truth, right?  I mean, after all, your sister Brooke would never tell a lie.”  Believe it or not, a common bond of Brooke hatred will prove a strong enough impetus for an alliance to form between the coolest girl at Hillside and its reigning Queen of the Dorks.

Brooke is standing at the head of a table occupied by three unknown girls, loudly complaining that her social studies teacher noticed that she probably dashed off her assignment in a matter of minutes while using an otherwise useless computer as a desk and being assaulted by irrelevant and repetitive questions from her annoying little sister.  The odd thing aboot these nameless girls is that none of them become main cast members in later seasons.  A peculiar ongoing phenomenon in Fifteen is that if an extra is occasionally seen mutely milling aboot in the background this season, chances are that person will become a major character with a name and a functioning larynx next season.  In fact, if you go back a couple of posts to the season 1 intro video, you’ll notice that in the final shot, you can see Janice (season 2) walking through The Avalon, and sitting at the booth with Matt and the gang is Arseman, another character we don’t meet until season 2.  This is the weirdest fucking audition process ever.

Courtney enters the lounge and Brooke abruptly abandons her captive audience to go remind Deadpool’s sister that she’s a frumpy eyesore whether she’s wearing a miniskirt or an AIDS quilt.  Brooke antagonizes her aboot having “secret meetings” with Dylan and for reasons beyond my comprehension, Courtney reacts with stunned offense (“No, it’s nothing like that!”) even though she just spent the entire morning sashaying around the school telling everyone in earshot aboot her secret meeting with Dylan.  Brooke resumes sarcastically praising her new ootfit when she spots Dylan at the soda machine and makes a big show aboot taking her leave so Courtney and Dylan can talk in private.

Grandma Clampett quickly recovers from this upsetting exchange and sidles up to Dylan at the vending machine.  Dylan’s replies to her opening pleasantries are short and more than a little annoyed.  She asks him if everything’s okay and then this conversation ensues:

Dylan:  Everything’s fine, I guess.  More or less.  I just haven’t had such a hot morning.

Courtney:  Oh, what happened?

Dylan:  I spent all morning being bugged by people who wanna know if I’m some kind of rock star or something.

Courtney:  Really?

Dylan:  Yeah.  I don’t suppose you had something to do with that?

Courtney:  Me?  No, of course not.  Well, maybe I told a few people that I think you’re a pretty great musician because you are…but I didn’t think you’d mind.

Dylan:  Well, then, think twice!

Courtney:  I’m sorry!  I just – I didn’t –

Dylan:  Look, my music is my own business, okay?  It’s not a topic open for general conversation, so let’s just keep it that way!

This coming from the guy who brings his guitar and his amp to school so that he can play in the student lounge.  Regardless, this confuses and upsets Courtney greatly, so who gives a shit if it makes any sense.

The Avalon.  Ashley is alone at a booth doing homework as Jake approaches and asks her if she minds if he joins her.  She makes it pretty clear that she’s really busy but he sits down anyway.  He’s fishing for information aboot Courtney’s possible feelings for Dylan, a prospect that he continually refers to as “bizarre”, but when Ashley replies that she’s been wondering the same thing herself, Jake clearly regrets instigating this conversation, or maybe he’s just not getting enough oxygen to his brain because never have we seen him withoot his shirt buttoned all the way up to the neck.

The next scene opens with Brooke asking Kelly, “Are you gonna say something or are you just gonna sit there pretending I’m invisible?” as her frenemy sits on a bench idly flipping through a magazine.  Withoot looking up, Kelly responds, “You know me, Brooke.  I’d never pretend something like that,” as she goes on reading and pretending something like that.  Brooke tries to turn the tables and accuses Kelly of having an attitude problem.  Finally, Kelly snaps, “You’re right.  Let’s just forget aboot it,” and Brooke fails to note the sarcasm.  She sits down on the bench, puts her hand on Kelly’s knee and Kelly abruptly removes it like it’s covered in scabies.  Finally, Brooke succeeds in breaking the ice by bringing up Courtney’s ootfit.   As Brooke is listing the myriad reasons that her new look is a fashion disaster, Courtney of course wanders into view and hears the entire exchange.  Courtney runs off on the verge of tears as Brooke turns to Kelly and says, “Oh well.  She might as well know the truth,” proving once again that even a broken clock is right twice a day.

The student lounge, some time later.  Courtney’s sitting on the lounge sofa wearing her trademark shit-colored drapes.  Dylan wanders towards her making some weird nervous gesture with his hand that looks like he has carpal tunnel syndrome and apologizes for being snotty earlier.  Before taking his leave, he asks her why she changed her clothes because he thought she looked, “you know…hot,” in the miniskirt get-up.  Dylan splits and Courtney orgasms in her potato sack.

Next up is a pointless exchange between Theresa and Dylan who are each at their respective lockers.  Dylan calls her “kid”, just like he does to Deadpool and I guess anyone else that’s at least one year younger than him.  Dutch Boy has a painting of unicorns in a meadow hanging inside her locker.  She leers at Dylan as she drifts into a lovestruck reverie and we’re treated to our first, albeit least entertaining, dream sequence of the series featuring Dutch Boy in a ball gown waltzing to Blue Danube with Dylan who is wearing a tuxedo that looks like it once belonged to David Byrne.  So Theresa has a crush on Dylan.  Whoopie.

Jake brings two sodas, each with two straws, to the booth he’s sharing with Courtney at The Avalon.  The first full minute of their conversation is so stupid that I can’t even pay attention until finally – in-fucking-evitably – Courtney asks Jake what he thinks of Dylan, because she’s a self-absorbed, obsessive, insulting, horrible, ugly sea cow with the social skills of an autistic reptile.  Of course, she fails to notice the misery all over Jake’s face as she serenades him with an endless and nearly orgasmic paean to Dylan’s wonderfulness.

Brooke’s room.  Dutch Boy’s pointed inquisition makes it clear that she has a crush on Dylan causing Brooke to laugh in her face.  Enough said.  Theresa bores me.

Courtney enters Dylan’s garage carrying a folded piece of note paper.  She’s again swapped oot the Shroud of Turin for her new miniskirt, marking at least the fourth time in a single day that she’s changed her ootfit.  Dylan’s sitting there holding his guitar, but not playing it.  Courtney starts in on her writing again and Dylan appears to be mildly interested.  It turns oot that the piece of paper contains lyrics she took it upon herself to write for “that new song” Dylan’s been working on, as if Neil Peart hadn’t already beat her to the punch.  She hands the paper to Dylan, he glances at it for a fraction of a nanosecond and deems it good.  He suggests that maybe they should write a couple of songs together.  Thrilled at the suggestion, Courtney nervously starts to explain that she has to be home for dinner (not supper) as Dylan puts his guitar down, stands up and kisses her on the lips.  Courtney is dumbstruck.  Dylan dismisses her with a casual, “Guess I’ll see you around.”  Yes, you will, Dylan, because this beastly parasite has all the qualities of a fungus and you just provided all the moisture it needs to germinate.

Deadpool is at The Avalon, crying and cradling what looks suspiciously like a beer.  Courtney enters and asks him what’s wrong.  In my earlier zeal to point oot what awful parents these two have, I already explained what happened here.  This time, Mom pulled Billy aside before the “family announcement” and gave him the sneak preview that it will be aboot their imminent divorce.  To recap: Mom announced to all that a family announcement would be made at supper.  Then she pulled her younger child aside to tell him that she and his dad are getting divorced, but don’t tell your sister because that would ruin the family announcement, knowing full well that the siblings would talk but still fully intending to go through the charade of the “official” family announcement regardless.  Got that?

And now we come to one of the best final scenes of the season.  Ashley is in the lounge waiting for Matt to be done with basketball practice.  Matt shows up and complains aboot Coach Williams for a few seconds, hands his backpack to Ashley and goes to get a soda at the vending machine.  Ashley tries to sling the backpack over her shoulder but finds it unusually heavy.  She places it on the table and hears an odd metallic sound.  While Matt is in the background counting change in front of the soda machine, Ashley decides to unzip the bag and investigate.  She finds a flask, opens it, puts it to her nose and jumps back in shock.  As Matt continues to struggle with the process of purchasing a soda, dramatic episode-closing music plays over the most priceless shot of Ashley’s tortured face to which we’ve yet been treated:


The horror…the horror.


kelly find out

Season 1, Episode 4

It’s two days later and Matt is on the Avalon payphone pleading with Ashley to let him explain what really happened with Brooke, because apparently Matt’s family doesn’t own a telephone so he has no choice but to conduct this embarrassing conversation on the one phone in all of Vancouver that affords the least privacy to its users.  Ashley hangs up on him leaving Matt to wallow in public humiliation.

At Hillside, Courtney and Deadpool walk through the corridor and continue to flog the dead horse of their parents’ marital problems because if it weren’t for this convenient ongoing family drama, these two would have absolutely nothing to talk aboot.  Billy is wearing an incredible T-shirt emblazoned with the logo of some local zoo and Courtney looks like she’s aboot to audition for the role of scullery maid on Downton Abbey.   They debate whether it’s wiser to adopt an optimistic or pessimistic ootlook regarding the fate of their parents’ marriage but since these siblings are repellent magnetic poles, the question is rendered moot.  Their conversation comes to a halt when Ashley mopes down the stairs with some oversized rucksack slung over her shoulder looking more like someone whose entire family was just murdered than someone who caught her boyfriend staring at another girl’s ring.  She tells Courtney that she’s ok, albeit sleep deprived.  Courtney asks her if she’s spoken to Matt and Ashley responds, “matt who?”, indicating that she’s suffering from early onset dementia or just being a little twat.  I’ll leave that for you to decide.  Courtney suggests that perhaps Ashley should allow Matt to explain himself, but this is aboot as successful as her suggestion to Deadpool that he should adopt more of a glass-half-empty view aboot their parents.

The boys’ locker room.  Jake is rocking some form-fitting jeans as Matt fills him in on Ashley’s refusal to talk to him, leading to this exchange:

Matt:  I don’t believe this!  I spend two minutes talking to Brooke and Ashley has a cow!

Jake:  Sounds like she had the whole herd.

Matt takes offense at Jake’s attempted witticism, so Jake tries another approach: “Don’t be so macho.  You can talk to me.”  Jake, Jake, Jake…no 15 year old boy’s go-to word should be “macho”.  Haven’t you ever wondered why even Courtney treats you like a fucking eunuch?  Matt admits that he really cares aboot Ashley and then these two geniuses, each of whom received a forged note from the other right before it all went down, finally figure oot that Brooke must have intentionally set the whole thing up, which is a bit like watching the monkeys in the opening sequence of 2001 gradually learning to wield clubs.  Jake offers to have a talk with Ashley and Matt thanks him as he gets up to leave while Jake conspicuously leers at his ass on its way oot the door.

Billy sees his sister sitting in the lounge staring at her unopened bag lunch and asks her if she’s seen Dylan.  Her surprise at the inquiry prompts Billy to gush aboot Dylan’s awesomeness and tell her that they’ve been hanging oot and Dylan even lets him play the drums.  Courtney wonders whether it’s good for her little brother to be hanging oot with “someone like Dylan” – and that’s when he goes all Deadpool on her ass.  Billy grasps Courtney’s neck and twists it 180 degrees until you can hear her spinal cord sever from her brain stem.  Her body collapses to the floor as Billy straddles the motionless carcass and says, “Never underestimate the stupidity of idiots!”  Just kiddin’.  He just sorta whines for a bit while his cunt of a sister suddenly decides that Dylan may be a bad influence on her brother, but he sure is one fine piece of ass.

Jake is desperately chasing after Ashley so that he can put in a good word for Matt.  She resists in the most animatedly bitchy way that Ashley can muster until he mentions the forged notes and tells her that Matt is waiting for her at The Avalon so they can talk.  As Ashley ponders what to do, we see Courtney flat-oot spying on this little scene from behind a column.  Ashley continues to hesitate until Jake positively begs her to go talk to him – “Please!  Just for 5 minutes!”  Damn, Jake.

Finally, Ashley begrudgingly agrees to go meet Matt for 5 minutes as Jake’s yenta of a girl-crush comes oot from behind the pillar and asks, “So, what do you think?”.  Rather than telling this horrible douche canoe to mind her own fucking business, Jake crosses his fingers to superstitiously enhance the likelihood that Matt will realize Jake is the love of his life did him a solid.

Matt is at The Avalon, nervously tapping his fingers and brooding over a sandwich and a glass of milk with two straws.  Ashley enters and approaches the table in her signature vulnerable stance, which is to place both of her hands behind her ass (usually, she employs this move when running oot of a room in tears, but here she puts a subtle spin on it to make it more appropriate for nervously entering a room).  Matt tries to explain what happened but Ashley’s responses sound like she’s having a completely different conversation with some invisible entity at the table (a very common dialogue oddity on this show).  Finally, Matt asks her why she was hanging oot with Kelly on Friday, but even this fails to cause any light bulbs to activate above her moronic blonde coconut.  Jeez, this girl is dense.  All possible attempts at reason exhausted, Matt pulls oot all the stops and tells her that he thinks he loves her.  Incidentally, he doesn’t appear to be drunk.

Courtney sees Dylan sitting in the lounge, shoves her hands into the pockets of her grotesque floor-length frock and saunters over to him in a way that I assume is meant to be seductive despite the fact that she looks like an anthropomorphic yeast infection.  She stands in front of him like an idiot for what seems an eternity until he finally looks up from his Auto-Finder magazine and asks, “Did you wanna talk to me or something?”  Courtney says no, then she says yes, then she says “not really”, before at last settling on thanking him for being a friend to Billy.  Then, a mere 10 minutes after warning Deadpool that Dylan is a bad influence, she proceeds to invite herself to come hear him play sometime.  Dylan responds with a mumbled, “Yeah, right.  Sometime, maybe.  Who knows?” while Courtney’s face contorts in disappointment over the fact that her completely unplanned plan to seduce Dylan was a dud.  We haven’t even scratched the surface of this swamp donkey’s awfulness.

At their lockers, Kelly informs Brooke that she saw Ashley this morning and she looked, “Gray.  Just gray.”  They congratulate themselves on the stunning success of their plan just as Matt and Ashley come down the stairs, hand in hand.  Our favorite bitches’ mouths drop open as they stare at each other in stunned disbelief.

Olaf is sitting on a bench in the lounge wearing a green cardigan with an iron-on patch of what looks like a cartoon Viking on the sleeve.  He’s playing chess by himself.  Deadpool is getting a soda from the nearby vending machine.  He says hi to Olaf, they briefly discuss chess and Finland and just like that, a new friendship is born.  I realize that this whole paragraph was uncharacteristically light on the jokes, but that’s because Olaf is the only character on this show who doesn’t make me feel like going on a cross-country killing spree.

In the girls’ locker room, Ashley is regaling Courtney with her incredulity that Brooke could possibly do something as mean as she did.  This whole time, Ashley is tucking her purple turtleneck into her jeans and I realize with mild alarm that I can’t tear my lecherous eyes away from her slim little waistline to pay attention to what she’s saying.  Obviously, Courtney’s not paying attention either, because as soon as Ashley takes a brief pause, Courtney immediately changes the subject to ask her what she thinks of Dylan.  Know what, Courtney?  Because you’re such a narcissistic asshole, I’m not even going to listen to what you say for the rest of this scene.  Ashley, I think your shirt’s still untucked, you better fix that.

Kelly and Brooke are walking through the hall when Jake spots them and marches over like he means business.  Jake starts to give them what-for and Kelly splits, leaving Brooke alone to absorb his wrath.  Brooke capitalizes on her hasty exit by telling Jake that the fake notes were all Kelly’s idea and Jake believes her because he’s a fucking numbskull.

Cut to The Avalon and a close-up of Matt shouting at Jake in bewilderment, “…and you believed her?!”  The camera pans oot and we see that Courtney and Ashley are sitting at the booth, too.  Jake appears to be cradling a copy of the Vancouver Yellow Pages that’s on the table in front of him.  Courtney floats the possibility that maybe Brooke was telling the truth “even though she’s a…” – Matt interjects, “What’s the word she’s looking for?” setting Jake up for the boldest line of the entire series, “Five letters, I think…rhymes with ‘witch’”.  Jake is in the presence of both objects of his libidinal desire at one booth here, so he’s bringing his A-game.  Courtney continues to defend Brooke which sets Matt off on a rant that somehow takes a U-turn and lands squarely on Ashley, the girl to whom he just moments ago declared his love.   With the benefit of hindsight, I can tell that the viewers are supposed to suspect that Matt had been drinking before arriving at The Avalon, but I prefer to pretend that he came to his senses and remembered what an infuriating little dipshit he’s dating.  Enter Brooke, who approaches the table and starts apologizing on behalf of Kelly, saying that since Kelly’s her friend, she “feels kinda responsible” and hopes that she can still be friends with all present.  The buck successfully passed, Brooke retreats to a counter stool while the brain trust at the booth continue to wonder whether she’s being sincere.  Matt finally says, “Let’s get oot of here,” and they all get up to leave except for Courtney who just can’t resist staying behind to make an ass of herself in front of Brooke.  Courtney tells Brooke that she believes her, then compliments her top and says she’s been thinking of buying a similar one that she saw at the mall, which is obviously a lie because Brooke’s top isn’t made of age-yellowed flax.  Brooke correctly guesses that Courtney’s trying to impress a guy and rather than just say, “yeah”, she reacts with horror to the inquiry and swears that “it’s nothing like that!”, which is the second most commonly spoken phrase on this show even though Courtney’s the only one who says it.

The Blackwell junkyard.  We hear some bluesy guitar notes coming from Dylan’s garage as the camera lingers on the exterior shot long enough for us to make oot a winch (?), a gray pick-up truck with a busted windshield, and what looks like a late-70s Crown Victoria with both the trunk and the hood open.  Inside, Dylan’s doing what Dylan does as Deadpool enters, still wearing his amazing zoo t-shirt.  Billy tries some of his parent-related optimism oot on Dylan but is once again advised not to get his hopes up.  Sensing Billy’s disappointment, Dylan explains how he doesn’t get along with his “old man”, sounding like John Bender in an edited-for-television broadcast of The Breakfast Club.  His angsty speech is interrupted by a knock on the door and – guess who! – it’s fucking Courtney slithering her uninvited way into her little brother’s only port in the storm.  From ootside of the shot, Billy asks, “What are you doing here?” and a horrifying close-up of Courtney aw-shucksing herself into Dylan’s world abruptly closes oot the scene.

At The Avalon, Kelly enters and approaches Brooke’s table.  She. Is. Pissed.  Brooke pretends not to understand what the problem is as her tight-lipped and motherfucking livid friend sits down and glares at her in intimidating silence.

Ugh! – Dylan’s fucking garage again, and just when things were getting interesting at The Avalon.  Deadpool’s banging away, Dylan’s playing guitar and Courtney is staring at him while perhaps trying to discretely hide the growing damp spot on her horrible dress.  The song ends and both Billy and Dylan make it clear to Courtney that her pathetically transparent plan to get into Dylan’s pants is pathetically transparent (but thankfully, her dress isn’t).  Oblivious, she invites herself to stay and asks Dylan to play something he wrote himself.  He says sure and then treats her to the same riff from 2112 that we’ve already heard him play even though this is only the second time we hear him play.  Courtney gets all googly-eyed with infatuation while Deadpool glares at her from behind the drums.

YES! – back to The Avalon.  Kelly is tearing Brooke a new one for telling everyone that Friday night’s escapade was her idea.  Brooke attempts to defend herself, but Kelly isn’t having any of her shit.  Kelly menacingly looks Brooke in the eye and says, “I won’t forget this, Brooke.  Never.” Clearly rattled, Brooke desperately changes the subject to concocting a new and better plan, rises from her seat and tells Kelly not to worry because although it may take some time, sooner or later, they will get revenge.  A now solitary Kelly closes oot the episode with this line which drips from her tongue with more venom than a colony of box jellyfish: “Oh, yes.  It may take some time, but there’ll be revenge, Brooke.  And you can take my word on that.”

Damn straight.