Can you believe we’re not even two full episodes into the reunion and I already have to put my tail between my legs (note: I don’t really have a tail) and acknowledge some less than consistent things aboot the story thus far? In order to distinguish my writing from that of the endearingly sloppy Ian Weir, I feel it necessary to clarify a few things:
- I originally had Dylan’s near death experience occur on December 24, 2021. I went back and changed the date to December 28, 2021. What the hell difference does that make, you ask? A big one, really. I followed up that scene with Ashley receiving Dylan’s text informing her that he almost died “last night”. That would mean that Ashley received his text on Christmas Day, yet Matt was on his way to show a house. Realtors don’t show homes on Christmas Day. Ever.
- Some of you may have already seen my editor’s note on this one, but in case you missed it: Ashley and Matt are currently living in a suburb of Toronto, not Vancouver as I originally indicated. This is significant, since several plots revolve around their current locale. This has been corrected, too.
- Are there already too many major coincidences going on for you to continue suspending disbelief? Are you upset aboot my decision to afflict Brooke with a frighteningly serious health condition? If so, my reply on both counts is “too bad”. Concerning the unlikely synchronicity of events, remember this is still a soap opera, thus such fantastical events aren’t just forgivable, they’re downright de rigueur. And if you think I’m throwing too much at any individual character, I’m pretending that the original cast are reprising their roles as I write this. Thus, if I found it appropriate to give Brooke cancer, that’s because such a nuanced performance of an empathetic adult remaining consistent with the narcissistic teenager she once was could only be pulled off by a top notch actor. Robyn Ross would be more than capable. You might have noticed I didn’t bother with much of a backstory for Who Farted. Same reason, in reverse.
- Where the hell is Olaf, right? Patience, dear readers. Good things come to those who wait.
Thanks for your kind understanding. We’ll return to our regularly scheduled program shortly. In the meantime, here’s a word from our sponsor:
Now that I know the precise location and function of Jesse’s duodenum, I think it’s time to start filling the gaps between online lessons with the first draft of my Fifteen reunion show script. Alright, it’s a bit of a misnomer for me to call what’s to follow a “script” because I’ve decided to present it in more of a narrative form for easier reading because this is a blog (<– the dumbest non-word I’ve ever had to begrudgingly add to my vocabulary). However, should the need arise (Why won’t you return my phone calls, Ryan?), I’m prepared to rework it into a script format at a moment’s notice. Or someone else can do it for me. I don’t know how these things work and the odds of this story finding a reason to work are slim to none, but I’m approaching it with every bit of optimism available in my paltry and ever-dwindling reserve thereof because I want this to be fun…
…but maybe not too fun? Here’s where you can have some input, my friends, though my mind is all but made up aboot the uncharacteristically darker vibe this reunion story will take on. Should I adjust the dialogue to reflect the times or is everything still tragic in the lives of the Hillside High Class of 93? Less camp, more realism? Or fuck realism, you can’t get enough of the glorious cheese? An equal measure of both would be challenging, but I think I’m up to the task if that be the consensus. Feel free to leave any ideas you may have aboot possible scenarios involving your favorite Hillside alumni. I’ll do my best to work any plots you’d like to see into the larger story.
Also…how would you ideally like to see this if it were an actual production? Feature film? Made for TV movie? Miniseries? This will give me an idea of whether or not I can pepper the dialogue with F bombs, as you all know I’m wont to do, but if the consensus is for family-friendly, that’s cool. Believe it or not, I can work with that.
For now, all I can give you is this very short teaser of the opening scene I’ve envisioned. If suggestions start to fill up the comments section, I’ll consider those before going any further. Otherwise, I’ll be back in aboot a week or so to serve up the first full installment of Fifty: The Reunion!
Atrium Theater, Luxor Casino
Las Vegas, NV
December 24, 2021
“Do we have a pulse?”
“Yeah. Blood pressure 180 over 110 and rising. Prepare the defibrillator and try to find a contact while I stabilize him for transport and wipe this shit off his face.”
“Does he have a phone?”
“Yeah, here. Call it into General, too. Dylan Blackwell, 45-year-old male Caucasian, possible narcotic overdose resulting in cardiac arrest. Judging from the marquee, he probably did the audience a favor. Who the hell does a Hendrix tribute in blackface, for Christ’s sake?”
Did I just miss something here?
If you’ll indulge me, my friends, I’d like to break the fourth wall one more time here at Notes From The Avalon for a quick year end wrap-up.
What a fucking relief it is to relegate 2019 to the rear-view. As the country in which I live descended further into the quagmire of racism, fascism and xenophobia, I knew that withoot a reliable diversion, I might very well have thrown in the towel and succumbed to despair. (Fifteen to the rescue!) In retrospect, such a decision would have been downright tragic.
If there is one single lesson that I hope my humble web page imparted, it’s this: no matter how bleak and frightening reality may become, you can always take refuge at The Avalon, where everyone is always welcome.
A few odds & ends to close oot the year:
Coming Soon: Fifty – The Reunion
The only planned future addition to this page that may will appear in the upcoming year is a script I’m fixing to write for the upcoming Fifteen reunion show that (currently) exists purely in my imagination. There’s no strict timeline for this as I’ll be spending much of the first half of the year getting certified as a veterinary tech, but it will be complete and online before 2020 fades into the long march of history.
Robyn & Randy
You are nothing short of royalty ‘round these parts. As a former online purveyor of philosophical pontification, I’m sure it comes as no surprise to hear that my sudden decision to devote all my writing in 2019 to the analysis of Fifteen was met by considerable confusion from my former readers. The fact that you both recently acknowledged and complimented this little project is nothing short of a total vindication, but that’s not the real reason for my enormous appreciation of your kind words. In case this wasn’t apparent through my chosen comedic style (i.e. an incessant barrage of vulgar mockery), the truth is that I was and still am a HUGE fan of the show of which you both were such an integral part. It means everything to me that you loved my tribute to your show. I love you back…
One Good Turn Deserves Another
…and that’s not all. Everybody knows what Ryan Reynolds has been up to for the past quarter of a century, but perhaps you’re unaware of the fact that Robyn Ross is a phenomenal actor. (If I’m not mistaken, we don’t say “actress” anymore, right? I wouldn’t want to be politically incorrect, lest people think I’m a fucking retard). If you met that claim with even a scintilla of skepticism, go watch a 2014 independent film called “Suck It Up, Buttercup”. It’s not for the squeamish, but this gritty and honest depiction of the insidiousness of addiction left me nearly speechless, and Robyn’s stellar performance was the indisputable heart of the film. Just brilliant.
…The Professor and MaryAnne
Just in case anyone else of direct significance should stumble upon my little Hillside-centric corner of the internet, all my love to the rest of the cast, too, of course — even (especially) you, Sarah (Douglas) and Lisa (Warner). Sometimes immature little boys don’t know how to express feelings of affection, so we resort to relentless ridicule. The fact is, Fifteen and by extension, this blog would have been nothing withoot you.
Reading Iz Fundamental
Speaking of exciting creative ventures emanating from the Great White North, loyal Avalon friend Suzanne of MyDangBlog! published her second book this year, entitled The Dome. Buy it. Read it. You’re welcome.
Happy New Year!
Friends of The Avalon, one and all: Jesse and I wish you a motherfucking awesome year to come, because you truly deserve nothing less.
Until the next time…
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.
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:
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.
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.
Matt: Oh, this is GREAT! MY BEST FRIEND AND MY GIRLFRIEND WHISPERING BEHIND MY BACK!!
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.
The Glorious Results of a Courageous Fifteen Info-Gathering Mission
Good Lord, how do you people do it? For all of my apprehension of the world at large as an overcrowded hive of noisy automatons, viewing it through the lens of Facebook makes it seem so much worse. Yesterday, I created a temporary FB page for two purposes: to inform more people of the existence of Notes From The Avalon, and to see what I might be able to find oot aboot what some of the cast members are up to in 2019. I lasted for 6 hours before I had to delete the account in order to retain my tenuous grip on sanity.
As far as informing more people about my blog is concerned, I re-rediscovered that aside from my sister, nieces, brother-in-law, and one or two of my cooler cousins, I can no longer communicate with people from my extended and extensive Irish-Catholic family. Cousins who were former dirt bags and Deadheads are now Trump supporters, Jesus freaks, and right-wing conspiracy theorists. Blood may be thicker than water, but so is diarrhea. Fuck ‘em all, the miserable pricks. Old friends from New Jersey were all there in spades, too, of course, but as soon as they realized I was back on Facebook, I was inundated with instant messages from distant acquaintances that seem to still be fine people, I guess, but that doesn’t mean I give a flying fuck who they married, where they last went on vacation and whether the next generation of little monsters they created have mastered the art of taking a dump on the commode. No, thanks. Get back to me in 25 years or do something interesting before assaulting all of your friends with photographic proof that you eat, work and reproduce.
I was much more successful in gleaning some recent info aboot the Fifteen cast. First of all, there IS an official Fifteen fan page that’s been active since 2011 and has just over 100 followers. One of those followers is the lovely Robyn Ross (Brooke) whose inside access to the restricted personal pages of her former castmates makes her the only worthwhile contributor to the fan page. I get the impression that she’s extremely cool and down to earth. She posted a comment aboot running into Arseman Yohannes (seasons 2 – 4) in Brooklyn recently, but that was as much info as I could find aboot Arseman. Robyn Ross is on the show Riverdale now and she looks like this:
Ryan Reynolds, of course, is untouchable, but Robyn did re-post this recent gem from his Twitter feed:
And of course, we all know what Ryan looks like now:
Todd Talbot (Matt) is the co-host of Love It Or List It Vancouver, so you can find plenty of videos of him talking aboot home buying and renovation in British Columbia. He looks pretty much the same, but seems to have adopted the ridiculous habit of wearing bowties. At least he seems to be having fun:
Laura Harris has a page that can be viewed but there’s no option of friend requesting her. She looks great, but I can’t tell you whether she’s learned how to speak above a whisper.
Enuka Okuma (Kelly) is also seemingly untouchable due to her starring role on Rookie Blue, which is a TV show, apparently.
Chris “Corky” Martin (Dylan) still acts, but I’m not sure if he has any notoriety ootside of Canada.
Aubrey Nealon (Olaf) is a writer, producer and director, but humble enough to have a public and accessible page. He looks exactly the same, something I found oddly comforting.
Ahnee Boyce (Cindy) still exists and seems to have aged well.
Janine Cox (Dutch Boy) looks like this now:
I couldn’t find diddly-squat aboot Ken Angel (Jake).
And that brings us to Sarah Douglas (Courtney). For some fucking reason, she now goes by the name Sarah Nakatsuka although there was no photographic evidence that she’s married to a Japanese person. I guess I can’t blame her for the possible alias, because if I were her, I’d be trying to put as much distance between myself and the horrible role I played as a teenager as humanly possible, too. Check a look:
So there you have it! The hard-fought results of a brave six hour long experiment performed by your humble narrator. I hope y’all appreciate the sacrifices I make for my art. Stay tuned for the episode 8 synopsis coming soon!
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
Matt: WHAT 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.
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.
Matt: I DO NOT HAVE—
Ashley: Yes, you do! i’m worried sick and I can’t stand it anymore!
Matt: Then maybe you need a new boyfriend.
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.
Visual aids and Spoilers ahead! (Bonus: an alternate spelling of the word “embarrassment”!)
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.