The Boy Who Cried “Blog!”

By my count, this post marks the third time I have announced a new blogging project with great fanfare in the hopes that all you Avalon denizens will show it just as much love as you did NFTA. But of course, all 3 of those were shit-canned before most people even had a chance to check them oot and thus I’d hardly blame you if you’re meeting this announcement with skepticism.

This time will be different. I promise. To ensure that my new TV-obsessed blog page TV Gumbo will survive longer than your average fruit fly, I have brought another writer on board. Her name is Juliette and she will be my co-conspirator for the duration of this project. Her encyclopedic knowledge of TV obscurities rivals my own and she’s funny as fuck.

So there you have it. Once this temporary post has run its course, I promise that I will never utilize Notes From the Avalon for shameless self-promotion ever again. Hope to see you there: https://tvgumbo.com/.

A Word From Deadpool

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Hey, Kids.

All good things must come to an end. Nearly a year and a half has elapsed since Notes From The Avalon’s glorious inception and honestly, there’s not much more that can be said aboot the phenomenon that is Fifteen.

Right?

Wrong, Suckahs! Stay tuned for an upcoming interview with the lovely, talented and inimitable Robyn Ross to be posted on NFTA within the next few weeks! Yep. That’s how frigging cool she is.

So that’s exciting. But it will also be the last post on this page…except for the temporary one that will follow it announcing a brand new blog page whose subject matter is as yet TBD. But whatever topic I ultimately choose, it will be funny, because I have lost interest in anything and everything that’s not funny.

But of course, everything’s funny, isn’t it? How’s that for spoiling a spoiler?

It’s been 564 days since I’ve had a job and I look like a hippie because I don’t see the point in going to the barber under these circumstances. But I can still make an N65 respirator mask look sexy as fuck, and that’s really all that matters.

 

Listen Up!

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Yeah, I know. Everything sucks ass to such a ludicrous degree that to elucidate it further would be a horribly tedious endeavor. But while a retarded racist demagogue continues to preside over my plague-stricken nation, I’ve been temporarily shielding my eyes and letting my laptop collect dust while I chill with my dog and await November with a sort of tired resignation.

Like I said…I know.

So what, you may ask, inspired this unlikely post in the midst of such a self-imposed online vow of silence? Well, it was brought to my attention today that Seasons 1 – 3 of Fifteen are now available on Amazon Prime! That’s right, Hillside fans, all the seasons that matter of the greatest TV show of all-time have finally resumed their rightful place in the cultural pantheon.

Go. Watch it. Now. Here’s that handy link again: Fifteen!

Shoo.

That’s A Wrap

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned aboot the modern animal we call “the blogger”, it’s that most of them never know when to shut the hell up.

Illustrative of this point: Notes From The Avalon came to its official conclusion a few days ago with the final post of the reunion story (and for those who thought Requiem was the final post, you ain’t done until you’ve sat through the credits, like any good discriminating viewer). And yet, here I am again, blabbing away. See what I mean?

So what comes next? Well, for one thing, I’m just going to keep on paying my annual URL fees to ensure that NFTA lives on for the betterment of future generations. As far as my next writing venture is concerned, I haven’t a clue what (or when) it shall be, nor do I particularly care at the moment. But whatever it is, I’m certain it will have a WordPress destination of its own and I’ll make sure to get the word oot whenever that comes to fruition.

The real reason I’m choosing to tie NFTA up in a nice little bow with this gratuitous epilogue is that I noticed something kind of interesting within a Ryan Reynolds promotional video on YouTube this morning. While researching various cast members throughoot NFTA’s run, I got the distinct impression that Mr. Reynolds isn’t very keen on reminiscing aboot the very show that enabled him to break into show biz. Why did I have this impression? Well, because he just doesn’t talk aboot it. Ever. Until today, albeit with great subtlety. Normally, I would post the whole video here, since Ryan’s stuff is always hysterical, but this one was just a little promo for some company or another, so it contained fewer jokes than most. Just take a close look at this screen shot of Ryan’s PC desktop, especially where my artistically-rendered arrow is pointing:

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Yup. Right there in the upper right hand corner for all to see is an icon named ‘Best of FIFTEEN.mov’.

And if it’s good enough for Deadpool, it’s sure as shit good enough for you. Now stop reading this nonsense and go watch Fifteen. That’s an order.

It’s truly humbling how kind and supportive of this silly little venture of mine you’ve all been. With that in mind, I have just one more favor to ask: please take that kindness and spread it around. A lot of people could really use it right now.

Happy trails.

 

The Credits!

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Phew! That was one hell of a ride, wasn’t it, Kids?

At the conclusion of this magnum opus, it occurs to me that I am a 50 year old man who spent the better part of the last four months channeling his inner Tina Belcher, though I doubt I could ever match the sheer titillation of her criminally misunderstood erotic fan fiction.

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And since you’ve come this far, why not stick around for the credits, eh? If you read all the way to the end, you might just be pleasantly surprised. You might also be in serious need of a social life, but who am I to judge?

Some Douchebag’s Miniseries

Starring God’s Perfect Idiot

A Few Hot Chicks

A Moody Teen

More Gratuitous Cameos Than I Can Count

Produced by:
Asshats

Written by:
The Real Hero Here

Directed by:
An Overpaid Tool

The Cast

Dylan Blackwell……….Christopher Martin

Ashley Walker……….Laura Harris

Matt Walker……….Todd Talbot

Chris McDonald……….Andrew Baskin

Roxane Lee……….Roxane Alexander

Brooke Morgan-Hoffman……….Robyn Ross

Courtney Simpson……….Sarah Nakatsuka (Douglas)

Bill Simpson……….Ryan Reynolds Hugh Jackman

Arseman Harrell……….Arseman Yohannes

Jake Deosdade……….Ken Angel

Stacy Collins……….Lisa Warner

Janice Patel……….Rekha Shah

Theresa Morgan-Reid……….Janine Cox

Kelly Lavoie……….Enuka Okuma

Jerry Dalla-Vecchia……….Randy Dalla-Vecchia

Tabitha Hoffman……….Cree Cicchino

Elliot Hoffman……….Chris Parnell

Isabelle Simpson……….Blake Lively

Valerie Lavoie……….Lisa Bonet

Nia Lavoie……….A Baby with Shitty Parents

Sister Regina……….Kristin Schaal

Craig……….Kevin Connolly

Leslie……….Aubrey Plaza

Olaf Koskinen……….Aubrey Nealon

Anna Koskinen……….Emily Ratajkowski

Barbara……….Miranda Cosgrove

Tony……….Jed Carpenter

Ben……….Bill Burr

Marjorie……….Allison Janney

Judge……….Ryan Stiles

James……….Patton Oswalt

Cindy……….Ahnee Boyce

John……….John Boyd

Marvel……….Marvel

Merci Beaucoup: David Makowski, Suzanne Craig-Whytock, Dave Cline, Tom C., and of course, Randy Dalla-Vecchia and Robyn Ross.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                

 

 

 

Fifty!

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Happy Birthday, Curmudgeon!  You’re fifty years old today.  How does one properly celebrate such an important milestone in the illustrious lifetime of a sexy young thing like you?  Well, first of all, I will continue to tolerate your flagrant copyright infringements withoot unleashing the unmitigated fury of my overpaid legal team upon your pop-cultural appropriating ass.  But more importantly, after reading the first few chapters of your reunion story, I’ve decided that not only will I appear in the series, I intend to bankroll the entire production and even let you crash at my pad in Vancouver while it’s filming!

Holy shit, you’re a dumbass.  See you in court.

Nubbies,

Deadpool

Fifty: YYZ

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Episode 1, Part 3

Toronto Pearson International Airport
January 19, 2022

Ashley sat at the counter of Tim Horton’s Express just ootside the Terminal 1 security gate, nursing a latte with her eyes fixed on the arrivals board.  Air Canada Flight 1899 from Las Vegas was still marked On Time for its scheduled landing at 2:35 pm, just as it had been the last 20 times she checked.

Finally, the moment to which she’d been looking forward and dreading in equal measure arrived.  Ashley rose from the counter and walked over to the reception area.  As the throng of passengers streamed oot of the gate, she kept her eyes peeled for a familiar face until she suddenly jumped at the sensation of two hands grasping her shoulders from behind.

Great to schee ya, Schweetheart!

“dylan!!!”

They wrapped their arms around each other for an extended embrace as Dylan softly stroked the back of her hair.

“You’re still beautiful.”

“thanks, dylan.  you look great, too.”

“Yeah?  Maybe our first stop after the airport should be the optometrist…but thanks for saying so.”

“actually, dylan, i don’t have a lot of free time today.  matt invited some realtors over for dinner tonight and right now, he thinks i’m getting my nails done.  it’s already been a pretty long nail appointment.”

“Ashley, relax.  I’m home now and we’ll have plenty of time to catch up.”

“home?  i still don’t understand why you flew into toronto, dylan.  i mean, it’s great to see you — it is.  but home is pretty far away, unless i’m missing something here.”

“Home is a state of mind, Ashley.  Anyhow, if you can just drop me off downtown, there’s a condo I saw online that I want to check oot.”

“you mean you’re staying?”

“Yeah, I’ve been thinking aboot it.  But don’t worry, I’ll be plenty busy.  Toronto’s a big place and I’ll be too occupied looking for gigs and N.A. meetings to get in your hair…unless, you know…”

Ashley smiled and grasped his hand.

“i’m so glad you’re home, dylan.”

*************************

Greenwich Village, New York City

Arseman and Leslie descended the escalator to the lobby of the Union Square Tech Space after a grueling 10-hour day spent in the futile attempt to locate the bug in their company’s new software.  Ootside, they pulled their coats tightly around themselves to brace against the biting wind and began their usual Saturday evening trek to Christopher Street for their favorite weekly drag revue at Pieces.  Both close friends and co-owners of Harrell Logistics agreed long ago that the only effective antidote to a long day of coding was a long evening of cocktails and queens.

Inside the establishment, they sat down at a table next to the stage and ordered up two Long Island Iced Teas from the world’s most beautiful woman in possession of an Adam’s apple.

“Good Lord, Leslie!  Did you see him? I’d kill for cheekbones like that.”

“Maybe that’s why you’re still single, Babe.  Gender dysphoria’s a bitch, ain’t it?”

“Oh, suck my ass!  I don’t think I’ll ever meet a bigger fag hag than you.”

They burst oot laughing as the voice of the DJ filled the bar:

OOOO-kay, Ladies and Gentlemen and Everything In Between!  Let’s put our hands together for Pieces’ Precious Pearl of the East, Miss Jacqueline!”

Strobe lights danced across the walls and floors as Miss Jacqueline ascended the stage and the opening beats of “Groove Is In The Heart” caused their glasses to rattle on the table.  As Miss Jacqueline danced around the pole situated in the center of the stage waving her feather boa seductively at the patrons, Arseman got a close glimpse of his face and nearly spit oot her drink.  Leslie leaned over the table and shouted above the music:

“What’s wrong, Hun?  You look like you just saw a ghost.”

“Yeah…I think I just did.”

As Dee-Lite faded into a drone of crowd chatter, Arseman got up from the table and ran over to the dressing room door into which the dancers disappeared after their sets.  As Miss Jacqueline approached, Arseman caught his eye and glared hard until he finally noticed and stopped in his tracks.

“Oh my God – Arseman?!”

“Jake!!!  How have—”

Shhh, not here.  It’s Miss Jacqueline until we’re oot of earshot.”

He grabbed Arseman by the sleeve and led her to the dressing room as she motioned to Leslie to hold tight.

“Have a seat, have a seat!  Oh my god, Arseman, how wonderful to see you!”

“You, too, Jacqueline!”

“It’s Jake.  This is just for extra cash, not a new identity.  It’s so weird that you came in here tonight of all nights.”

“How come?”

“I hadn’t thought aboot Hillside and all you guys for the longest time…until yesterday – I got a call from Matt, completely oot of the blue!”

“Oh yeah?  What brought that on?”

“You got a good stiff drink oot there on your table?”

“A Long Island.”

“Good, let’s go sit down and order up three more.  Have I got some news for you!”

*************************

Sunset Las Palmas Studios
Hollywood, CA

“Mr. Simpson, call time’s in 10 minutes if you want to come check oot the kids.”

“Thanks, Rose.  I’m gonna take a rain check on that – go ahead and narrow the field down to five or six kids that look like good mutant candidates and I’ll meet them this afternoon.  Oh, and don’t tell them they look like mutants.  Tell them they’re talented actors, okay?  Their parents eat that shit up.”

Alone in his dressing room, Bill looked at the unexpected message from Courtney again.

I hate it that we don’t talk.  I’ve lost my faith and I don’t know what to do.  Please call me when you can.

With a heavy sigh, Bill clicked oot of his messages and fired up a game of Toon Blast.

*************************

Metro Toronto Convention Centre
Toronto, Ontario

The auditorium was filled nearly to capacity as Brooke nervously fidgeted with the metal clasp of her purse.  Her daughter Tabitha and husband Elliot were sitting on either side of her, but she paid them little mind as she scanned the room over and over, seemingly searching for someone or something of great importance.  As the Master of Ceremonies returned to the stage to announce the nominees for the Accessory Designer of the Year Award, Brooke started to rise from her seat before Elliot grasped her arm.

“Brooke, where are you going?  The Womenswear category is next.”

“I know, I’ll be back in a minute.  I just want to go fix my make-up in the ladies room.”

“But you look fan—”

“I said I’ll just be a minute.”

Brooke eased oot of the aisle and walked to the lobby where she began searching the modest crowd of mostly disinterested spouses and teenagers milling aboot waiting for the ceremony to end.  At last, she spotted her leaning against the bar holding a glass of champagne.

“Well, if it isn’t Stacy Collins!”

“Brooke, there you are!  I got here a little late, so I didn’t want to go inside and miss you.  I was hoping you’d come oot and look for me.  You look great!”

“Thank you.  And you’re still rocking the Nouveau Trash, I see.”

Brooke—

“I’m sorry, Stacy.  Really.  Old habits die hard, I guess.  I really appreciate that you came.”

“Are you kidding?  I was so excited to hear from you and now I find oot that you’re getting an award!”

“We don’t know that yet…but I didn’t invite you here to show off.  Can you grab a drink with me after this is over?”

“Well, sure, but isn’t your husband—”

“He’s a big boy, he can find his own way home.  I’ve wanted to reach oot to you for a while now, but it’s been so long and I couldn’t think of a pretense until I got this nomination.  Things are bad, Stace.”

“What do you mean?  I thought you were on top of the world.”

From the auditorium, the voice of the MC just barely carried to the lobby: “And the winner of the 2021 Womenswear Designer of the Year is…Brooke Morgan-Hoffman!

A tear slowly cut a path down Brooke’s heavily mascaraed cheek.  She wiped it away with the back of her palm and grabbed Stacy by the arm.

“Come on.  I have to go pull off the performance of a lifetime.”

Boxing Day Eve: Recognizing Recognition

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Happy Boxing Day Eve, Hillside Fans!  First-rate blogger and long-time Avalon denizen Tom of TomBeingTom.com has chosen me, among others, to be an honored recipient of a non-existent award aptly entitled The Blogger Recognition Award, necessitating this temporary, set-to-self-destruct post recognizing Tom’s humbling recognition of the web’s indisputable premier destination.

Apparently, we’re to tell our blogging origin story as part of this online acceptance speech, so I’ll keep mine as succinct as possible.  Notes From The Avalon was not my first blog, but it is the only one worth mentioning since it is the only one still in existence.  Earlier this year, while wasting time on YouTube for the better part of an afternoon, it became apparent that the “Information Superhighway” contains precious little information aboot the greatest television program that ever aired.  “Somebody should do something aboot this,” thought I, and thus Notes From The Avalon was born.  If you were hoping for something a bit more detailed regarding my relationship with Fifteen, I elucidated much of that in this post from back in June, along with the only picture of my ugly mug to appear on this page: Breaking The Band.

Thank you, Tom!  And to all of my friends north and south of the border: I wish you all a blessed and joyous Boxing Day and a prosperous 2020.

 

Post Script: Vindication!

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I completed the final Notes From The Avalon post over three months ago.  To say that it’s a pleasant and humbling surprise to see so many people still reading my Hillside summaries each day would be one hell of an understatement.  While most readers choose to remain anonymous, one emerged from the shadows and identified himself as Randy – the one and only “original Filth Pig”.  Short of a direct endorsement from Ryan Reynolds as part of a Golden Globes acceptance speech, Randy’s message to me represented the pinnacle of this page’s possible achievements.

As soon as I realized that I was communicating directly with a cast member from the show, I put up a temporary post here entitled “Big News From The Avalon” but, as is the unwritten rule here at NFTA, I removed it after a week or two because the Episode Guide should be the first thing people see when they visit the blog.  However, I need to rise above my techno-fear and figure oot how the fuck to keep this as a permanent post on the site while retaining the Episode Guide at the top position.  In other words, your intrepid “webmaster” is aboot as computer savvy as your average tapeworm.

For those who missed it, here is Randy’s initial message via the Contact page:

I am the original, one and only, season one “filth pig”, there were other Avalon workers, but I was the original one with the dirty rag and apron. If you want to know anything about the show when it was filmed in Canada, feel free to ask away, I recently found call sheets from the show that have all the names of everyone on it very cool pieces and I would say very rare, anyway, love what you did here, take care.

Of course, I enthusiastically “asked away” and this guy is so fucking cool that not only did he answer my silly questions, he sent me an email full of awesome reminiscences of the audition process along with a ton of other fantastic Fifteen insider info.

Here are some of the more interesting takeaways from Randy’s generous trip down Memory Lane:

  • Although Randy has now hilariously taken to calling himself “Filth Pig” in our correspondence, everyone’s favorite hygiene-impaired waiter had a name: Jerry. Now, Randy was not the same actor who played the much older and larger Jerry in Season 2, mind you – but in the Hillside universe, it’s a near certainty that mute/Filth Pig Jerry and non-mute/band-auditioning Jerry are one and the same character, sort of like the two Darrin’s on Bewitched or the two Becky’s on Roseanne.
  • Randy initially auditioned for the role of Olaf. Perhaps you think that Aubrey Nealon came oot on top in this situation, but did he really?  Was Olaf’s picture the first visual aid on the very first episode post on this page?  No, it wasn’t.  It was Filth Pig’s picture that ushered in our extended visit to Hillside over nine long months ago.

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  • The audition process was open to any kids within a certain age range, regardless of whether they had any acting experience. Commercials were run on BCTV inviting anyone interested to show up at the studios on a certain date and time with a bag lunch.  When Randy arrived, there were literally hundreds of kids lined up to audition, so a guy named Garth Lewis began bringing in aboot 30 at a time where he instructed them to form a circle and deliver a pre-written line, one by one.  Those who displayed the requisite enthusiasm in the delivery of the line were asked to step forward, so Randy belted it oot with as much gusto as he could muster and was therefore given a script of Olaf dialogue to take home and memorize.  Of course, Aubrey Nealon ultimately landed the role of Olaf, but I take issue with Randy’s assessment of Jerry the Waiter as an “extra”: as far as I’m concerned, Filth Pig was just as essential to the show as anyone else, setting the entire tone of the next 65 episodes with his very first on-screen appearance.  For all of my tongue-in-cheek mockery of show creator John Binkley, I’ve gotta admit: opening auditions to any interested kids, regardless of experience, is pretty fucking cool.
  • Those fucked up sets? That nauseating apron and dishrag?  Randy’s elucidation of these conundrums is priceless, so rather than continue to paraphrase, I’ll let him take it from here: “Try imagining a massive gymnasium, now imagine in that gymnasium all the sets you see on the show.  They were all literally built side by side, one leading to another; the Avalon to the garage, the bedroom to the lounge area, locker room to the stairs hallway area, stairs led to no where, just behind plywood walls; there were several of these at this studio.  Next to us was a talk show, there was a news room, a cafeteria, offices, etc.  It was massive. The soda machine wasn’t plugged in and I remember hearing the actor put in change and it making the noise it makes when it goes straight to the coin return slot, and a soda can was just placed there to be picked up by the actor. I was told to make the apron look like it was a bit dirty but all I had to work with back there that I could find was some ketchup and mustard so that’s what they got, filth pig was born!”

As if all that wasn’t cool enough, Randy also found some old call back sheets that were given to the actors each morning on the set and sent me JPEG copies of these instructions from September of 1990, which is beyond fucking awesome.  I’ve appended these priceless artifacts to the bottom of this post.

I’d like to extend my sincere gratitude to Randy for taking the time to send all of those great stories and for having an excellent sense of humor.

Now how aboot a reunion show?  If someone can get Ryan Reynolds on board, I’ll write the script, free of charge.

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