Hair of the Dog


Season 3, Episode 3

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

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

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

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

Matt:  What aboot it??

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

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

angry matt

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

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

Roxanne:  Are you asking me to go with you?

Chris:  Why not?

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

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

ashley enters2

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

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

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

ashley sad

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

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

jake eye

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

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

Dave:  What happened?

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

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

Jake:  Matt?  No…I didn’t, actually.

Dave:  I saw him last night.

Jake:  What did he say?

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

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

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

Dave:  How do you mean?

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

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

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

Courtney:  What are you talking aboot?

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

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

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

courtney enters

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

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

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

Chris:  What?!

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

Chris:  That’s crazy!

Ashley:  is it?

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

Ashley:  i’m not accusing you…

Chris:  Good!

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

Chris: I told you already, I just forgot.

Ashley:  you’re meeting her again after school?

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

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


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

matt dumps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

brooke mad

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

intervention crew

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

Dave:  We wanted to talk to you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arseman:  Matt, yes you are!

Matt:  And what makes you the expert?

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

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

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

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

Arseman:  Some of them.

Courtney:  Matt, you’re fifteen years old.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

brooke broods

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



Tragic.  Arguably the most egregiously abused term in the collective vernacular of the Hillside student body.  As usual, this is another case of art imitating life.  If you turned on your TV this morning, you undoubtedly heard the word being bandied aboot through a veil of crocodile tears by journalists who stubbornly refuse to admit that 29 more nameless victims added to the astronomical roll call of American gun violence statistics is anything but tragic.  You see, in order for an event to rise to the level of a tragedy, it has to be statistically uncommon; an aberration; something contrary to expectations; a “deviation from the norm”, if you will.  It also has to be avoidable, something which the exponential increase of errant violence from a nation full of cowardly gun worshipers is not.

Not too long ago, politicians and other high-profile Americans greeting our daily massacres with “thoughts and prayers” was the impotent cliché du jour.  Now, this cliché has been replaced by that of feigned incredulity at the inaction of those who think and pray, usually in the form of “fuck your thoughts and prayers, we need action,” as if there were any possible action that could be taken to override the unstoppable force of American ignorance and brutishness.

So today, I take one more stride to the farthest periphery of my own species because I’m not strong enough to make my home anywhere else.  From here, I can see that what we arrogantly view as tragic through our contrived lenses of politics and sociology is simply a case of the living planet doing what it must to safeguard itself from its most troublesome outgrowth – humanity.   This is the same planetary defense mechanism that causes 80% of those identifying as “Conservative” to ignore the dire warnings of the entire scientific community aboot our unsustainable impact upon our own habitat.  As our numbers approach the 8 billion mark, we should expect to see more, not less, of such natural phenomena.  In addition to natural disasters, you can count on wars and plagues of a magnitude that defies our current limits of imagination.  For those who still consider human beings to be exceptional or even worse, divine, I suppose this could reasonably be viewed as tragic.  But for me, it has no more impact than a dog shaking off a bothersome flea infestation.  I never feel sorry for the fleas, so why should I extend undeserved compassion to a different parasite simply because I belong to that particular strain of planetary pestilence?

Abandon all hope and enjoy yourself as much as you can for as long as you can, because there is truly nothing else to be done.  If you think Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and the cult of racism with which we currently live are bad, you ain’t seen nothing until you get a whiff of what the planet will pull oot of its bag of survival tricks when it inevitably decides to end its regrettable closed-ended experiment that we call Homo Sapiens.


Miscellany (Feeding Your A.D.D.)


I’ve decided that I’m going to let my S.3, E.2 post (Rage Against The Machine) sit and marinate for a bit before moving on to episode 3.  Why?  Because Matt punched Jake in the fucking face, of course!  I want to let that sufficiently sink in before exploring the inevitable falloot from such an earth-shattering turn of events.  Besides, y’all seem to like these little bite-sized between-episode diversions more than my lovingly crafted episode summaries even though they are this page’s indisputable raison d’etre.   So sit back and enjoy this medley of inconsequential odds and sods while you mentally prepare for Matt’s long-awaited alcoholic rock bottom.

Aboot That Punch

Take your index finger, hook it into the interior of one of your cheeks and pull – POP!  I shit you not, that was the sound effect employed at the moment Matt’s fist connected with Jake’s face.  The only way this could have been made more ridiculous is if the sound crew had instead opted for a full-on, Looney Toons-style “BOI-OI-OING!”

Making History

Take a look at the black and white Fifteen promo photo at the top of my last post (Friends of The Avalon).  You’ll notice a watermark bearing the inscription “HISTORIC IMAGES”.  Thus, Notes From The Avalon is far from the trivial, childish time-waster it’s sometimes accused of being.  It is nothing less than an important and faithful documentation of HISTORY.

Family Guy


Family Guy has been on the air for 20 fucking years, making me fear that it will soon suffer the same fate of eternal mediocrity that befell The Simpsons.  Regardless, I still occasionally catch moments of brilliance in some of the more recent episodes, though not nearly as many as there used to be.  The content of this hilariously uncomfortable phone call made by Brian (in close proximity to an eavesdropping Stewie) is one of those moments:

Operator:  Hello, Fundamental Industries, how can I help you?

Brian:  Yeah, uh…is this…is this Bang Brothers?

Operator:  Yes.

Brian:  Oh, okay.  I – I’d like to cancel my subscription.

Operator:  What’s your name?

Brian:  Brian Griffin.

Operator:  And what site did you belong to?

Brian:  Uh, Captain Stabbin’.

Operator:  And how are you spelling that?

Brian:  Uh…um, Captain, full word, then Stabbin’, S-t-a-b-b-i-n-apostrophe.

Operator:  Okay, I’m checking.

Brian:  You know, instead of a G at the end.

Operator:  I’m sorry, Sir, I’m not finding that site.  What was the subject matter?

Brian:  Um…uh…a guy doing chicks on a boat in, uh, a captain’s hat.

Operator:  Okay, I’m checking.

Brian:  The uh…the passengers had just signed up for a tour of the harbor and, um…and all that stuff happened.

Speaking of Porn

In the 1998 film “The Faculty”, Laura Harris (Ashley) appears in a full-frontal nude scene.  I refuse to watch this.  I know that she was an adult by the time this movie was released, but in my mind, she was, is and always will be fifteen years old.  But if you’re interested, I’m sure it’s readily available for online viewing…pervert.


The Kids In The Hall were Canadian, too

Therefore, I can close this post with a classic ditty from Canadian surf-gods Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet withoot straying too far from the main theme of this page.  Enjoy.


Friends of The Avalon


I am well aware that it takes a rare and special sort of person to appreciate Notes From The Avalon.  Let’s face it, a blog page that regularly features episode summaries of an awful and antiquated Nickelodeon teen soap opera that sometimes take the better part of 15 minutes to read isn’t everyone’s cup of Molson.  Even those who do see the humor (and the point) of this silly endeavor must need a break from reading my long-winded synopses every now and then, so to that end, I’d like to tender a few suggestions of other blog pages that I find highly enjoyable.  Some of these pages belong to literal friends of Notes From The Avalon and some do not, but that’s not the criteria I’m using for this incomplete list of worthwhile WordPress destinations.  All that matters is the fact that I find them enjoyable and predict that you will, too.  In no particular order:

The Apocryphal Abecedarian.  Philosophy flows like water from a kink-free hose here, but unlike my earlier freewheeling forays into complicated ontology, Anony Mole actually does his homework and gets all of the baseline ideas upon which he elaborates directly from the source.  So you can trust his accuracy, but that’s not what makes his posts so fun to read.  His approach to explaining and extrapolating the ideas of some of the world’s greatest thinkers is both accessible and brilliant, and more often than not, refreshingly hilarious.

A/K/A My Dang Blog!  I recommend this one at my own risk.  Why, you ask?  Because if uproarious humor straight outta The Great White North is your thing, Suzanne’s spit-take-prompting week-by-week summaries of the trials and tribulations that colored her last 7 days leave my silly faux-Canadian blog page choking in the dust every time.  I promise that if you read just one random entry on the basis of this recommendation, you’ll be back like clockwork every Sunday to read the latest dang post on one of the funniest dang blogs in existence.

By almost any measure, Tom is a better man than I to guide us through these trying times in which we live.  Most people who have been reading his work for a while note with admiration his seemingly endless supply of optimism, but that might give you the wrong impression.  While it’s true that whatever he chooses to discuss is usually approached from a glass-half-full viewpoint, Tom is anything but naïve, and that’s why is far more important than its author seems to think it is.  It’s the dose of pragmatic optimism all of us need, but maybe didn’t realize was lacking in our increasingly aggressive sociopolitical discourse.  Oh, and there’s plenty of dogs, so that’s a bonus.

A/K/A Coffee & Confessions To Go. Compelling and beautiful poetry mingled with take-no-prisoners social commentary makes this an essential destination for anyone in need of the type of intellectual stimulation that’s in depressingly rare supply here on the Interwebs.  Did you hear me?  I said essential.

Two of the funniest and most impressively thorough movie critics you’ve ever read share this highly addictive film-related blog page.  More than once, their reviews have served for me as reliable guides aboot a movie’s potential charms (or lack thereof) but even if you hate movies, I’d still recommend following this blog because it’s just too witty and ingeniously written to pass up.

Unflinchingly honest, no-holds-barred commentary aboot the degenerative effects of personal and institutional racism on every marginalized community in the nation (and sometimes the world).  The author is well-informed, well-sourced, and frequently downright brilliant in his thought-provoking analyses.  If you’re comfortable with this type of material, I recommend that you give this page a visit.  If you’re uncomfortable with this type of material, I demand that you give this page a visit and ask yourself why you find certain truths to be so unsettling.

The Bag Lady.  Unlike the frustratingly specific subject matter of the page you’re currently viewing, this blog is a virtual cornucopia of entertaining flights of literary fancy.  Have you ever visited the page of one of those bloggers that sit around waiting for some WordPress writing prompt to serve as creative inspiration for their otherwise barren imaginations?  Well, this ain’t that, though she does play ball with such writing prompts.  The critical difference is that when the Bag Lady works off of such a prompt, she invariably owns it and makes anyone else’s take on the same idea superfluous at best.  The most creative and entertaining use of WordPress prompts (which she doesn’t always use and obviously doesn’t need) that I’ve ever seen.

So get reading, my friends.  But of course, when you notice the Season 3, Episode 3 post hit your reader in the not-too-distant future, drop everything and hurry your ass back to The Avalon.  Remember, Wade Wilson is watching.

Rage Against The Machine

jake punched

Season 3, Episode 2

In a recent off-topic post, I compared the overarching views and attitudes of Americans v. Canadians as I perceive them.  Since we’ve lately taken an extended break from the Hillside saga while I foolishly tried my hand at more “serious” writing (pfft!), I’m guessing that I can slip one more comparative non-sequitur past the goalie before revving up the Fifteen Zamboni again.  I’ve been living in Albuquerque, NM since 2007 and prior to that, I spent aboot a decade sweltering in the geriatric swamplands of South Florida.  In most ways, these geographical areas are two entirely different worlds, but as I was scanning the local news on my phone this morning, one odd similarity between my two most recent habitats came to mind.  Men who run afoul of the law both here and in Florida are invariably shirtless at the time of their arrests.  So now you know.  (Knowledge is power!)  Everything besides the Albuquerque man’s shirtless arrest that made the headlines today was as typically depressing as I’d anticipated.  It’s so discouraging that I just want to hide oot at The Avalon with a milkshake or a root beer float for the rest of my goddamn life.

At The Avalon, Jake brings a milkshake and a root beer float to the booth he’s sharing with Ashley.  Pinky is wearing an oversized blue sweatshirt while Jake sports a typical striped shirt buttoned all the way up to the neck.  Ashley starts to grill Jake aboot his new relationship with Courtney, somehow managing to seem completely disinterested in the content of her own interrogation until she brings up the topic of the “torrid love letters” they were exchanging while he was in China.  Jake protests, “They weren’t that torrid,” as if these two automatons were capable of expressing themselves even mildly so.  Anyhow, Jake indicates that things are just peachy in Courtney-Land and they have a laugh aboot his initial awkwardness upon seeing Headband for the first time after their six-week period as blandly torrid pen pals.  Jake finally changes the subject to Ashley’s new relationship with Chris, but the most he can get oot of his oddly defensive pal aboot this perplexing hookup is that she thinks Chris is “kinda neat”.  Inevitably, Ashley checks her watch (which is upside-down on her wrist, 90’s style) and indicates that she’d better get going.  Even more inevitably, Jake chooses this moment to ask her aboot Matt and whether she can shed some light on his strange behavior at the party.  In an inordinately bitchy tone, Ashley tells him that she really doesn’t talk to Matt anymore and that if Jake wants to know what’s going on with him, he should bring it up with Matt.

ashley milkshake

At her locker, Brooke is asking Who Farted for her opinion aboot Jake and Courtney as a couple.  Knowing full well that anything short of utter contempt for the newly smitten losers will probably meet with Brooke’s mocking disapproval, Who Farted wisely opts to remain non-committal.  To her surprise, Brooke opines that she thinks they’re perfect for each other, since “neither one of them is very attractive, and it can be awfully lonely going through life like that, so I think it’s really nice that they found each other!”  As Brooke stops to take a drink from the water fountain, Who Farted boldly responds, “Right.  I guess you must feel a little lonely sometimes, huh?  I mean, Courtney does have a boyfriend and you haven’t gone oot with anyone for ages.”  Brooke doesn’t deny this allegation, but explains that it’s because Hillside is deficient in guys she finds worthy of dating, just as Jake appears and asks them to tell Matt that he’s looking for him if they see him around.

Arseman sees Courtney muttering to herself at a booth in The Avalon and asks her if something went wrong with Jake.  Miraculously, the javelin thrust betwixt Headband’s ass cheeks has nothing to do with her seat-of-the-pants love life this time.  She tells Arseman that she can’t believe “those jerks” kicked her brother oot of the band.  This is news to Sassy Afro who apparently wasn’t consulted aboot such a personnel decision being made by the juvenile delinquent contingent of Teenagers In Love.  Arseman reacts with shock before concluding that, “today’s a good day to have a little chat with them.”

arseman piss face

Back in the student lounge, Brooke is distracting Who Farted from her homework by pondering why Jake seemed so worried when he asked aboot Matt earlier.

Brooke:  All of which raises the question, what aboot Matt?

WF:  Brooke, I really have to get this finished before class.

Brooke:  He was acting pretty strangely at the party – just disappearing in the middle of everything.  Now Jake’s all worried.

WF:  How do we know that?  All Jake said was—

Brooke:  It isn’t what people say, Stace, it’s how they say it.  Jake was worried…which raises the question – good heavens, you don’t suppose Matt started drinking again?!

WF:  Drinking?

Brooke:  Maybe he left the party to get drunk!

WF:  I didn’t know Matt drank.

Brooke:  Stace, don’t be so dense!  Everybody knows aboot Matt, he’s a hopeless alcoholic!

WF:  You’re kidding!

Brooke:  That’s why Ash broke up with him.  It cost him most of his friends.  He was on the wagon for a while, but…if he started drinking again, then—

WF:  That would be awful!

Brooke:  Oh, of course it would.  It would be just terrible.  Poor Matt!

brooke shocked

Dave greets Matt at his locker and asks him how it’s going (apparently, the only greeting Dave has in his repertoire).  Drinky Crow indicates that he’s not doing so great, but instead of an explanation for his behavior at the party for which his little friend is obviously fishing, he goes off on the fact that Coach Williams just chewed him oot for “a full 10 minutes” due to his absence from practice last week.  As Matt starts to walk away, Dave summons his courage and tells Matt, “Actually, that’s not what I wanted to talk to you aboot.  Friday night…I was wondering why you left the party so early?”  Better watch it, Dave, you’re getting dangerously close to hassling.  Matt erupts, “Maybe I was bored, okay?!” before getting a grip on himself and alleging that he left because he was still feeling sick.

Having successfully dodged that frying pan for the moment, the raging fire consisting of Brooke and Who Farted sweeps down upon him on this accursed Monday of Infinite Hassles.  Brooke opens by asking Matt if Jake found him yet, adding that “he seemed awfully worried aboot something”.  She gives Matt a second to shrug this off before launching directly into a pointed inquiry aboot his disappearance from the party, guessing that “it must have been awfully hard watching Chris and Ashley snuggling up together!  Pretty excruciating, actually!”  Matt bellows that what Ashley does is her business, prompting this rather interesting exchange:

Brooke:  Matt…are you alright?

Matt:  Of course, I am.

Brooke:  No, I mean really alright?

Matt:  What is this with everyone?  Of course, I’m alright, I’m fine!  I’m perfectly fine, so JUST GET OFF MY BACK!

Deadpool is reading a comic book at a booth in The Avalon pinball room when Arseman approaches and tells him that she just heard he was kicked oot of the band.  Billy finds it hard to believe that she was ignorant of Chris and Dylan’s plans since she’s the lead singer, but eventually accepts her version of events and tells her that “it’s no big deal”.  He continues to shrug off her words of consolation until she tells him that she intends to have a few words with Chris and Dylan.  Well acquainted with Arseman’s super sass skills, he perks up a bit and asks, “Like what?”, to which she responds, “Oh, you’ll hear it.  So will everyone else within six blocks.”

Fuck me lengthwise, here comes another goddamn conversation that’s guaranteed to prove far too insipid to be described other than through a verbatim transcription.  Jake and Courtney are eating lunch on a bench in the student lounge.

Jake:  So I’ll drop by your place after supper?

Courtney:  Sure.

Jake:  Is that okay?

Courtney:  I just said ‘sure’.

Jake:  Well, I wanted to make sure you were sure.  I mean, I don’t wanna seem pushy or anything.

Courtney:  Jake, could you just quit being so considerate all the time?  Couldn’t you find a corner of yourself that’s mean, selfish and obnoxious or something?

Jake:  Hey, I’ll work on it.

You know what?  Fuck these two assholes.  Until they learn how to speak like sentient beings instead of complimentary Tickle Me Elmo dolls, I hereby refuse to transcribe the drivel that stillbirths its way oot of their mouths.  The rest of their conversation is just another rehashing of concerns aboot Deadpool and Beanpole, respectively.  Nothing to see here.

Dylan and Chris are in the garage arguing like a couple who’ve suffered through a half century of arranged marriage when Arseman sweeps through the door.  Correctly surmising that she’s here to chew them oot for dumping Billy from the band, they start to defend their decision before she cuts them short: “Fine.  So you’re looking for a new drummer…and while you’re at it, find yourself a new lead singer, too!  You guys wanna be rock and roll superstars?  Then I’m not the singer you need.  Go oot and hire Madonna…I’ve had it with you guys up to here!  I’m sick of the bickering, I’m sick of the egos, and firing Billy was the last straw – I quit!  Want me to spell that oot for you?  Q-U-I-T, quit!!”

arseman quits

Wow.  That was something, eh?  I wonder how I can calm down enough to get through the rest of this episode after taking in that dramatic harangue.  I don’t keep anything like Valium or Xanax around the house anymore, but maybe if I step away from the laptop for a bit and take a brisk walk ootside – oh wait!  Here comes a Jake and Dave scene; that oughta do the trick.

Jake spots Dave at his locker and asks him if he’s seen Matt, adding that he’s starting to get the feeling that his troubled friend is trying to avoid him.  Dave has nothing constructive to say, of course, but tells Jake that he’ll let Matt know he’s looking for him.  That’s it.

For fuck’s sake, Binkley, I said I wanted to be calm, not comatose.

Dylan sees Billy at the soda machine and apologizes for how things went down.  He tells his former drummer that he hopes they can remain friends, but Deadpool makes it abundantly clear that it’s far too late for that shit.  Halfway through this Mengele experiment of a series, Ryan Reynolds isn’t quite Deadpool yet, but he’s pretty close to being Van Wilder.  That’s all I’ve got.  I’ve never seen Van Wilder, so I don’t have a joke with which to follow that up.

Let’s check in on Chris and Ashley at The Avalon:

Ashley:  so…arseman told you guys to drop dead?

Chris:  Well, she didn’t exactly put it that way.

Ashley:  i’m surprised.  she’s usually pretty blunt.

Chris:  Well, she let us know she wasn’t too happy, so now I’ve gotta find a replacement.  It’s too bad you can’t sing.

Ashley:  i don’t know.  i even sound awful in the shower.

Chris:  Yeah, but, uh…I bet you look pretty good.

Ashley:  chris!

Chris:  So, hey, what aboot tonight?

Ashley:  what aboot it?

Chris:  Why don’t we get together?  Catch a movie or something?

Ashley:  well…

Chris:  You got something better to do?

Ashley:  no, it’s not that, it’s just…well, it’s a school night.

Chris:  Oh, come on!  You’re not turning into a schoolgirl again, are you?

He finally browbeats his whispering little girlfriend into submission and she agrees to go to the movies.  Satisfied with her sniveling acquiescence, Chris tells Ashley that he’s supposed to be meeting someone soon and when she asks who, he replies, “Just someone I know.”  Chris gets up to leave just as Dylan enters the café.  After they trade a few barbs, Leather Jacket takes a seat across from Ashley.  They engage in small talk for a few seconds until Dylan just comes right oot and asks, “Are you really sure you want to go oot with a guy like Chris?”  This, of course, goes over aboot as well as his earlier attempt to smooth things over with Billy.  Although Fonzie clearly isn’t having the best of days, nothing brings more sunshine to my own quite like listening to Ashley’s laughable attempts at indignant vociferation.

I’m pretty sure this next scene was inserted into the episode just to serve as a warning to viewers that cute, fresh-faced little Deadpool has turned a critical corner.  As Billy studies on a sofa in the student lounge, Dave approaches from the stairwell.

Dave:  You still here?

Billy:  No…what’s it look like?

Dave:  Looks like everyone else is gone.

Billy:  Is there some sort of law saying that I’ve gotta leave when everyone else does?

Dave:  Of course not, do whatever you want.  Listen, I’m uh…I’m really sorry to hear aboot what happened with the band.

Billy:  No big deal.  Doesn’t bother me.  In fact, I made the decision myself…decided the band wasn’t taking the right, you know, artistic direction.  So I figured it was probably time to leave…maybe start my own band.

Dave:  Well, it’s good to hear you’re feeling okay.  The fact is, well, to tell you the truth, I know how it feels to be left oot of things.

Billy:  Hey, I’m not surprised you get left oot of things…’cause you’re a geek!


Some time later, Courtney sees her brother playing pinball at The Avalon and asks if he’s okay, dredging up the whole dreaded topic of his unceremonious departure from the band yet again.  Headband asks if he wants to talk aboot it, causing Deadpool to erupt, “What’s to talk aboot?!  They decided I’m no good, so I’m OOT!” as he smacks the pinball machine in frustration.

Courtney:  Come on, Billy!  Who says you’re no good?

Billy:  They do, Courtney!!  I knew I wasn’t the greatest drummer in the world but I was really trying to get better…I figured it might be the one thing in my whole stupid life I might be good at!

Courtney:  Come on, Billy, you are good at lots of things.

Billy:  Name one!  I’m lousy at school, I’m no good at sports, and I don’t even have any friends!  I thought Dylan was my friend…I really thought we’d stick by each other…and then he just turns around…

Courtney puts her hand on Billy’s shoulder but he pushes her away and runs oot of The Avalon the long way, past the counter and the payphone, even though we’ve seen on many occasions that there’s a fucking exit door directly behind him.

And now comes the Mother of All Fifteen Scenes, so brace yourselves.  Everything you’ve read up to now, all 27 ½ rambling episode summaries were all leading up to this.  Excited?  You should be.

jake faces matt

Jake comes down the stairs and sees Matt at his locker.

Jake:  So here you are!

Matt:  Jake, how’s it going?

Jake:  I’ve been looking for you all day!

Matt:  I’ve been around.

Jake:  You weren’t in any of the places I was looking.

Matt:  Guess you were looking in the wrong places.

Let me interject here and note that this is the first and only time that Matt actually almost appears to be drunk, which is to say that his hair’s a bit messy and his cheeks are slightly red.

Jake:  I was just down in the library…I guess you were at basketball practice?

Matt:  Yeah.

Jake:  How’d it go?

Matt:  Imagine your worst nightmare, then square it.

Matt proceeds to gripe aboot Coach Williams for a while, then declares that if the coach yells at him like that again, he’s going to quit the team.

Jake:  You don’t mean that.

Matt:  Don’t tell me what I mean.  Well, I guess I better get going.

Jake:  Hang on…I mean, we’ve hardly had a chance to talk to each other since I got back.

Matt:  We’ll have lots of chances.

Jake:  Yeah?  I’ve got to admit, I’ve actually started to wonder if you’re, like, trying to avoid me or something.

Matt:  Why would I want to avoid you?

Jake:  I’m not sure.  Maybe ‘cause I’ve known you for so long – ‘cause I know you better than anyone else does.  Matt, aboot the party Friday night…

Matt:  What aboot it?  I wasn’t feeling so well, so I left early.

Jake:  Withoot even telling anyone?

Matt:  What, I’m supposed to ask people’s permission?

Jake:  That’s not what I mean.

Matt:  Then what do you mean?!

Jake:  Matt, are you drinking again?

Matt:  What?  Of course, I’m not drinking again!  What kind of accusation is that?!

Jake:  Are you drinking a lot?

Matt:  I just told you I’m not drinking at all!!  Great…I thought you were supposed to be my best friend!

Jake:  That’s why I’m asking.

Matt:  You fly off to China, then you come back and make these stupid accusations?!  Man, I don’t need to hear this from you!

Jake:  Matt, you’ve got a real problem and you’ve got to face it!

Matt:  No…no, you’re the one who’s got a problem!!  Making these crazy accusations…how do you know if I’ve been drinking or not?!


Matt:  Don’t be stupid…I was at basketball practice.

Jake:  Are you telling me I don’t know what booze smells like?


Jake:  Matt, you’ve got a problem!

Matt:  I said get oot of my face!!!

mad matt

Matt turns to leave but Jake grabs his sleeve and continues to harass him.  His patience exhausted, Matt tears himself from Jake’s grasp and cold cocks him in the face, sending Jake tumbling to the floor.

Matt stammers, “Oh man…I didn’t mean—” before running oot of the school, leaving Jake to stare after him while clamping a hand over his injured eye.

jake punched 2

Yeah, all that just happened.  And it only took us four months to get here.

We’re Back!

deadpool heart

Because we love you.  Also, because after dipping his toes back into the waters of “philosophical” writing, Curmudgeon found it to be uncomfortably cold; not to mention, he made the impetuous decision to re-submerge himself in the pool of amateur metaphysics a mere 20 minutes after he’d eaten a green chile burrito.  I tried to warn him, but I guess we all have to make our own mistakes. So withoot further ado, let’s sashay our fine little asses back to Hillside and catch up on what we’ve missed!



Danse Macabre

dyl chris pinball

Season 3, Episode 1

This ain’t no party!  This ain’t no disco!  This ain’t no foolin’ around! – Talking Heads

Welcome back to Hillside!  I’m going to make a special effort to ensure that your Season 3 experience is as enjoyable and engrossing as possible.  There are two main reasons for this planned attention to quality as I embark upon another season of Canada’s greatest TV show: 1) because you deserve it just for sticking around this long and humoring me in this pointless and juvenile endeavor; 2) Season 4 sucks so bad (and it’s double the length of the previous 3 seasons) that I don’t even know if I’m capable of giving it the same episode by episode treatment I’ve thus far been providing.  At the very least, when the time comes, I will summarize the Season 4 plots that revolve around the few remaining “classic” characters, but I really don’t think I can stomach watching all 26 episodes again, let alone try to extract humor from the stories involving the dozen or so terribly unsuited (and sometimes – gasp! – American) additions to the cast.  That said, this third 13-episode installment of Fifteen is chock full of jaw-dropping, heart-wrenching, stomach-churning surprises, so strap in and enjoy the ride!

Our ride begins in a ’79 Ford Pinto that’s been parked ootside of Dylan’s garage for the past decade, as the season’s premiere episode opens on Courtney and Arseman flapping their jaws in the student lounge.

Courtney:  Of course I’m looking forward to seeing him.  I can’t wait to see him!  The only thing is…I mean, what am I supposed to say to him?

Arseman:  You can start with something really original, like, say, “Hi, Jake!”  Then, “good to see you” and “how’s it going?”

Courtney, wearing a top-shelf headband for this long-awaited reunion, protests that it’s not as simple as all that, and you can be rest assured that she’ll complicate it beyond comprehension when she comes face to face with Jake at tonight’s party.  Brooke strolls over to their table at the mention of the word “party” and essentially invites herself to Jake’s homecoming bash.  If her behavior at the last shindig thrown at the Simpson homestead is any indication, at least she’ll probably serve to keep things interesting at this transcontinental snooze-fest.  Giving us a sneak preview, she tells Courtney that she “must be scared stiff!” at the prospect of seeing Jake after their six-week pen-pal pseudo-romance.

Brooke corners Who Farted at her locker and lays a guilt trip on her for being incommunicado in recent days.  Who Farted’s uncharacteristic reaction of mild annoyance seems to indicate that she may have finally had her fill of Hillside’s Gossip Queen, though it might have more to do with a budding infatuation for Brooke’s bold new detractor Roxanne.  After all, withoot someone to shamelessly emulate, Who Farted might very well vanish into thin air.  Who Farted tries to extricate herself from the conversation before Brooke lays it on the line, “Stacy, just oot of interest…is it just my imagination or are you trying to avoid me these days?” but her former admirer just brushes off the question and hurries off to class.

who farted forgot

At The Avalon, Dylan is having simulated sex with the unplugged pinball machine while Chris continues to make his case for firing Billy from the band.  I wonder what the fuck Leather Jacket said to Deadpool last season after his ominous opening statement, “Listen, there’s something I gotta tell you,” because he obviously wussed oot of shit-canning him from the band.  The rest of this scene just illustrates that nothing’s changed in the relationship between these two, which makes sense since the stated timeline of events puts this moment just two days later than where we left off.  That being said, the fact that Chris’ hair has grown several inches longer since we last saw him poses quite the conundrum.  Dylan finally caves and tells Chris that if he sees Billy, “tell him to meet me at the garage after school”.  Chris gives Dylan a patronizing pat on the shoulder as he takes his leave, causing Elvis to fantasize aboot stuffing his ootspoken little antagonist into a garbage can.

garbage can

Dave enters The Avalon wearing a multi-colored polo shirt that looks like something straight from Matt’s abominable wardrobe as he greets his gym class hero at a booth.  He asks Matt if everything’s okay because he didn’t make it to practice yesterday.  Matt responds that he “just had some 24 hour flu or something” which is the exact same euphemism for an excruciating hangover that I used to employ when confronted aboot unexcused absences.  Dave goes on to inform him that “Coach Williams was kind of peeved,” but Matt brushes this off and tells his boring little friend that he’ll see him at the party.  Dave responds “probably not” before explaining that he wasn’t invited, setting Matt off on a self-righteous display of anger at this inexcusable slight, punctuated by a decisive, “I’ll deal with it!” as he rises from the booth and storms oot of the café.

Chris sees Billy at his locker and tells him that Dylan wants to see him at the garage after school.  He entertains Deadpool’s naïve enthusiasm aboot the band for a few moments before spotting Ashley walking through the lounge.  They flirt for a spell until Chris informs her that he’ll pick her up at 7:30 for the party to which she replies, “i’ll be waiting!”  Say what you will aboot Chris and this whole ill-advised romance with Pinky Dinks, but at the moment, he’s already proving himself to be superior boyfriend material just by this simple confirmation that he won’t be too busy getting sauced to accompany her to Courtney’s stupid party.

Brooke and Who Farted enter the student lounge just in time to witness Chris and Ashley’s affectionate interlude.

Brooke:  Did you just see what I just saw?

WF:  Well, obviously.  I mean, I was standing right here.

Brooke:  Chris and Ashley?!  Mister Rebel and Little Miss Perfect – they can’t be going oot together!

WF:  Well, they seem to like each other.

Brooke:  But that’s impossible!  How could they like each other?

WF:  What’s so weird aboot that?

Brooke:  Because there’s nothing to like aboot either one of them.

WF:  Oh, come on…

Brooke:  Face facts, Stace!  Chris is insufferable and Ashley – she’s even worse!  Our little schoolgirl, batting her eyes and pretending to be so totally sweet and so wonderfully clever.

WF:  Brooke, you wanna know the truth?  I have been avoiding you lately and it’s because you keep acting like this.

Brooke:  I beg your pardon?

WF:  You can be so – you’re so sarcastic and snobby that I just can’t stand it anymore!

Brooke:  What?

WF:  I used to look up to you – I actually did!  But if this is what you’re really like, well, I don’t need to hang around with people like that!

Before you start warming up to Who Farted for delivering this bold and justified admonishment to her former mentor, don’t.  Trust me, just don’t.  Brooke is a bitch, no argument there, but Who Farted is a maggot-infested mutant that only grows more intolerably grotesque with the passage of time.

Matt confronts Arseman at her locker with an intimidating accusation that she intentionally neglected to invite Dave to Courtney’s party.  This quickly turns into a case of the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object since the only thing that can rival Matt’s hangover-fueled hostility is Arseman’s infinite sass.

The next scene opens on Courtney and Ashley at the Simpson residence preparing for the upcoming festivities.  As Headband nervously places bowls of chips and cheese doodles on various end tables, it dawns on me that with the exception of Ashley’s presence and a banner that reads “Welcome Home Jake” hanging on the far wall, this is the exact same pre-party scene we already witnessed back in Season 1.  Ashley tells her to calm down and Courtney replies that she just wants to ensure everything goes off withoot a hitch since Mom is trusting her to throw a party in her absence.  They then proceed to have the exact same conversation aboot Jake and his letters from China and her nervousness aboot how they’ll react in each other’s presence that we’ve heard ad nauseum since the start of last season.

Just as I’m preparing to throw my laptop oot the window and abandon this masochistic writing project forever, Jake walks through the door unannounced, narrowly ensuring that Notes From The Avalon will live to see another day.  Ashley greets him with a hug while a speechless Courtney prepares herself for maximum discomfort.  Whisperina makes tracks, leaving Jake and Courtney to hem and haw for what feels like an eternity before clutching each other in the most awkward embrace ever televised.

jake court hug

Brooke enters The Avalon and marches over to the booth where Who Farted is doing homework.  Apparently having realized that she’s literally one person shy of being completely friendless, she concedes that perhaps she sometimes expresses herself too bluntly, quickly adding that “it’s only because I care so much aboot my friends”.  Remember what I said earlier aboot Who Farted?  Well, ugliness isn’t just an external phenomenon, because this fucking shit-for-brains boob pube immediately buys Brooke’s ridiculous explanation for her gleefully cruel behavior towards pretty much everyone and apologizes for “overreacting”.  Sensing that Who Farted is back under her spell, Brooke turns the tables and chews her oot for daring to speak her mind while Who Farted sits there and takes it like the chameleonic retard she is.

Now we’re back at Dylan’s garage for his second attempt at kicking Deadpool oot of the band.

Billy:  So…what are you trying to say?

Dylan:  I’m just saying that – look, we all want this to be a really good band.

Billy:  Well, of course.

Dylan:  But it’s just not working.

Billy:  Then we’ll practice more.  We’ll get better—

Dylan:  That’s not the point.  The point is – look, Billy, you’re my friend, but sometimes friendship isn’t the…I wish you were a better drummer, I really do.  And I wish I had more time to work with you, but the way things are going, I—

Billy:  Do you mean you’re kicking me oot of the band?

Dylan:  No!  No, I’m just asking you to understand the band is really important to me and…I think we need a new drummer.

Billy:  Like I said, YOU’RE KICKING ME OOT!!

like i said

And now it’s time to PAR-TAY!  Once again, one or two wandering extras cutting in between the handful of main cast members make Courtney’s sparsely populated living room appear to be hosting a blowoot in full swing.  The camera zeroes in on Jake and Courtney’s conversation in progress wherein Jake is explaining that his mom’s overprotective tendencies ensured that he spent the entire six weeks holed up in a Beijing hotel room.  Unable to craft a response to something even this simple and innocuous, Courtney excuses herself to “go mingle”.  She finds Arseman and declares, “This is awful!  We can’t even talk to each other.  We just stand there with these stupid grins on our faces!”  Arseman tells her to just relax but Headband deems that an impossible proposition since she “doesn’t even know who I’m talking to.  Is this Jake my old pal or Jake my new boyfriend?”  She storms oot of the room declaring that she wishes she never even had this party.

Dave arrives and sits down on the sofa next to Jake.  For a few seconds, Jake starts to whine aboot how weird it feels to be back before abruptly changing the subject and wondering aloud where Matt is.  Dave replies that “he was supposed to be here right at 7:00”, causing Matt’s rivaling ass-kissers to commence an eerily familiar round of “Where’s Walker”?  Just as Jake seems poised to say something worrisome aboot Matt’s history with parties and alcohol, Beanpole walks through the door causing Jake to jump up and exclaim, “Hey, Big Matt!”  They engage in some insufferable small talk before Matt finally asks Jake to tell him all aboot his trip to China.  Literally half a sentence into Jake’s reply, Matt gets distracted, starts looking around the room and abruptly declares, “Listen, I’m just gonna get a bite to eat,” leaving his long absent best friend to stare after him in confusion.

While Jake is still standing alone in the middle of the room, Brooke makes her elaborate entrance and pulls him to the sofa where she demands that he tell her all aboot his trip before immediately talking over him and declaring that she’s always wanted to go to China, “…or Japan!”  She launches into a narcissistic diatribe aboot how she’d be a very popular model in Asia since “fair-haired girls” are so popular there, so Jake decides to take a cue from his drunken man-crush as he gets up and walks away while Brooke’s in mid-sentence.

Next to arrive are Chris and Ashley, hand in hand, while Matt glares at them from across the room.  Immediately upon entering, Chris shouts, “See?  This is boring!  This isn’t a party!  Come on, let’s liven things up a little.  You go crank the music up to 400 decibels and I’ll go steal the VCR!”  Matt approaches and asks, “How’s it going?” In lieu of a reply, Chris smirks as he puts his arm around Ashley and leads her away.  At that moment, Courtney comes back into the living room carrying another bowl of chips, but if you look real closely, you’ll notice Matt discretely backing oot the door.

Courtney goes to adjust the stereo when Jake suddenly appears, effectively cornering her.

Jake:  Me again!

Courtney: (wringing her hands) Ah, yeah.

Jake:  Courtney, listen.  I’m, uh, not too sure how to put this.  Is it just my imagination or are we both feeling like totally weird?

Courtney:  Weird…yeah, that’s a good word.

Jake:  And what I’m wondering…well, where are we?

Courtney:  In the living room?

Jake:  Yeah, besides that.

Courtney:  Well, where do you think we are?

Jake:  That’s what I’m not too sure aboot, but I know where I’d like us to be.

Courtney:  Where’s that?

Jake:  I’d like us to be together as more than just friends.  From what you said in your letters, I thought you wanted that, too, but look, have I got this all wrong?

Courtney:  Nope.  No, you’ve got it exactly right!

court exactly right

Great Fucking Luke Perry’s Ghost, that was excruciating!  They lean in and hug each other only slightly less awkwardly than they managed to pull off when Jake first arrived, cementing the official commencement of their new train wreck of a relationship.

Arseman spots Dave wandering around the room and apologizes for neglecting to invite him to the party, but he’s too concerned aboot Matt’s sudden disappearance to pay attention to what she’s saying.  Jake approaches and Dave informs him that he can’t find Matt anywhere, apparently reigniting a deep concern aboot which Jake hadn’t given a thought for the last six weeks.

Jake:  Dave, what’s going on with Matt?  I mean, is he okay?  This is the sort of thing that happened before, when Matt was drinking.  Look, you’ve been around, I haven’t, so you’ve got to tell me, do you think Matt’s drinking again?

Dave:  I’m not sure.

jake ending

In the immortal words of Ray Davies, “Now we’re back where we started — here we go ‘round again!”  Welcome the fuck home, Jake.