Monday, September 14, 2009

Ready Or Not: The Big Gulp

Feel free to click on the link and watch the episode first. (It's in three parts.) It's okay, I'll be right here when you get back.

Oh, the classic opening credits. Busy and Amanda are having fun and getting up to shenanigans in a photo booth. Not something you'd see this days -- it's all about camera phones now, baby. The "do you have money?" line of Amanda's at the very start of the theme song brings back about a thousand memories. In fact, this episode is one I remember so, so, so clearly. I'm pretty sure I only saw it the once, but it obviously had an effect on me.

The episode starts with Busy and Amanda hanging out in Busy's room making prank calls. Those were the days. Busy's looking up people with the surname "Dyck", and hopes that Mr. H Dyck's real name is Harry. Because then it would sound like "hairy dick." Do you get it? Do you? Oh, stop groaning, I bet you thought it was hysterical back then. Busy calls Mr. Dyck and asks him if his refrigerator is running. Okay, I'm pretty sure that even back in 1993, that joke was stale. Amanda and Busy think it's hilarious. Ah, to be young and brainless.

The phone rings, and Amanda freaks out, thinking Mr. Dyck has traced their call. Relax, Amanda; I don't think that technology has been invented yet. Busy answers it, and it's just some girl calling for her brother Dom. Hey, it's Dom! I loved Dom! He was always so cool, with his high school-ness and his pizza delivery job. (This whole episode is based around Dom's pizza delivery job, so you'll be glad I mentioned it later.)

The girls get hungry and go downstairs, where they run into Dom. Apparently he's an hour late for work, but still has time to say hello to Amanda. It's not noteworthy at all, except that I was an Amanda/Dom shipper. (You know, later in life -- I'm not that sick.) While Busy looks for something to eat, Amanda tells her that Chrissy, a popular seventh-grader, is having a slumber party, and the cool guys are going to crash it. She totally wants to go because she thinks it'll be fun. Busy totally doesn't because as she says to Amanda, "your idea of fun is painting your toenails geometric shapes." How strangely descriptive. And also, just plain weird. I'm not sure how that would even work.

Dom comes back looking for his car keys, and Amanda and Busy convince him to let them tag along. Which sounds even more boring than what they were doing before, but okay. Whatever floats your pre-teen boats. Oh, and for all you Buffy fans out there, you may recognise Dom as the guy who was supposed to take Buffy to the senior prom, but bitched out at the last minute. Which was okay, though, because then Angel came and they danced to 'Wild Horses'. Good times. Anyway.

Dom drives like a maniac. He explains to B&A that if the pizzas are delivered cold, they're free. Considering Dom's already an hour late (and maybe more by now), I'm gonna bet that he doesn't make a whole lotta money tonight. Busy and Amanda aren't helping things by eating the pizza. See Dom, this is why you don't take twelve-year-olds along on pizza deliveries. You'll learn the hard way, but you will learn.

The car pulls up at Chrissy's house. The fact that Amanda knows where Chrissy lives is a little stalker-esque. Dom complains that it's the girls' fault that he's late, "because I was driving too slow because I was worried you'd tell Mom." Hee! Amanda offers to deliver the pizza for him, and says that they were actually invited to the party, and Dom can pick them (and his money) up later. Dom, who apparently has had some sort of brain-fade in the last three seconds, agrees to this. No, Dom, no. Oh my God, why? This guy should not be allowed out.

Amanda decides that they'll deliver the pizzas and then sneak into the party. My, what a plan. B&A ring the doorbell, and Cool Chrissy answers the door. We know she's cool because she's blonde, mean and thirteen. I'm two out of three, so I guess I'm cool too. Yay for me. Chrissy says she's not paying because the pizzas are cold, and then slams the door in their faces. Hee! Busy's pissed 'cause she didn't pay. Amanda's pissed because she barely acknowledged them. These girls and their priorities. Need I remind you all that they're stranded on Chrissy's doorstep now? Of course I don't, because unlike these two, that's probably the first thing you thought of.

Amanda and Busy spy on the party through an open window. The girls are doing a seance, trying to bring Elvis back. I remember this bit so clearly, because, well, you just don't forget something like that. They offer Elvis pizza if he rises. Which, if I know my Elvis, is definitely a deal the big guy would go for. Busy makes some noise to spook the girls, and they're positive that Elvis's spirit is with them. Chrissy lifts the lid and sees that there's a slice of pizza missing. They're like, "OMG, Elvis ate the pizza!" Um, no. A world of no. It never crosses their mind that maybe the pizza delivery guy (or his sister) may have eaten it. No no, the most logical explanation is that Elvis's ghostly presence managed to remove a slice of pizza from the closed box without anyone noticing. Mmkay.

The Asian girl is skeptical. Probably because she's Asian. I'm just saying, even though the nineties were basically a decade-long We-Love-Racial-Diversity parade, they still stuck to the age-old stereotypes. Later on, when they're watching the token slumber party horror film, even money says the black girl will start yelling at the screen, "Don't go in there! He's behind the door!" Anyway, the Asian girl goes into the front yard and sees Amanda and Busy spying on them. Ruh-roh!

The seventh-graders bring Amanda and Busy inside and start cooking up their punishment. (There are only six of them, so I don't know how Amanda was going to sneak into the party and not be noticed, but okay.) One girl thinks they should have to eat all the pizza. Dude, if that's what they call a punishment, I'm so going over there and pretending to be Elvis tonight. Chrissy decides that they'll have to "babysit Charlotte, clean out the toilet, eat lemons...and then we'll shave their heads." Even before watching this episode, I could've told you what all those punishments were. That's how well I remember this episode. The head-shaving thing freaked me out. I was like, "But no! Amanda has such pretty long hair! Don't do it, Chrissy!"

Side note: the actress playing Chrissy looks pretty much the way I always imagined Stacey from The Babysitters Club would look if she was a real person. (Then the BSC TV show came out, and I was thoroughly disappointed.) Now that I think about, Busy would make a good Kristy Thomas as well; however, the Asian girl is too annoying to be Claudia. The black girl could be Jessi, though, because Jessi had no discernible personality whatsoever and could be played by anyone, so long as they're black. Moving on.

Before the girls can work out a suitable punishment for Busy and Amanda, the boys arrive. The pyjama-clad girls freak out and start screaming. Chrissy's like, "OMG, Justin, I can't believe you came!" in a way that makes me think she A) knew they were going to crash, and B) totally digs it. She has to change first, though. Justin and Chrissy aren't together yet, so I guess they have three episodes to hook up before they all go on band camp and Amanda tells everyone that they had sex. (Episode 9, 'Double Talk' -- watch it!)

The boys, unlike the girls, have actual characters and personalities, which I will helpfully outline for you now:
Justin -- the token cute boy Amanda's crushing on
Gus -- the token bad boy who wants to get drunk
Troy -- the token black guy who Busy's crushing on
Emory -- the token four-eyed loser, who no one's crushing on, on account of him being a loser

Justin sees Amanda and is like, "Whoah, what are you doing here?" Busy and Troy greet each other, and I do believe they'd make a nice couple. (IMDb tells me they get together later, but I have no recollection of that.) Justin uses one of the girls' seance candles to lip-synch a serenade for Amanda, and she is So Totally In Love. Personally, I think Gus is the better-looking one out of all of them. Plus, he's baaad, and if we've learned anything from Ship to Shore and Round the Twist, the baaad boys are always the most attractive. (Even if they're butt fugly.)

Busy talks to Emory, and he says that he and Justin have been best friends since kindergarten. I guess Justin's drifting. Sucks to be Emory, I suppose. Chrissy sees the two girls and tells them to go upstairs, call their ride and get out. I think we're meant to see her as being a bitch here, but I so don't blame her. Twelve-year-olds just aren't good company when you're thirteen. Plus, she doesn't even know them. It's weird. Amanda's weird for wanting to come. I think Amanda has a big ol' girl crush on Chrissy.

B&A go upstairs to the kitchen, where Chrissy's little sister Charlotte (of babysitting punishment fame) is upstairs eating cereal. Kind-of a weird time to be doing that, but okay. I eat cereal at all hours of the night, but I'm not a strict meal-planned seven-year-old. Gus, Emory and Justin follow them, because apparently Gus has already drunk all the liquor downstairs and is looking for more. Go, Gus! Wow, I just had a moment there where I was about to snark the boys for not bringing their own booze, before remembering that they're thirteen and not even close to being the legal drinking age. I feel so old now.

Gus hilariously says, "What kind of party is this without any brew?" Um, a slumber party. A thirteen-year-old girl's slumber party. All they wanted to do was eat pizza and call Elvis from his grave. It's not a party at all. Little Charlotte tells the boys that there are a bunch of bottles under the sink, because "my mom likes having a nice big drink to relax." Aw, some not-so-subtle alcoholic undertones. Nice. She also goes on to say that her mother is out with her new boyfriend, who smokes. Justin gets all patronising and says, "Smoking's bad for you, isn't it?" and laughs. Shut up, Justin. Gus may be a dick, but at least he's consistent. Don't try to be the good guy.

Gus mixes a bunch of liqours in a paper cup. Classy. Justin says, "This stuff is FINE!" and not ironically, either. That's actually how Justin talks. What a catch. He offers some to Amanda, and she smells it and declines. He pushes the cup in Busy's face, and she says, not missing a beat, "Go away. Far away." Justin backs away. Hee! Go Busy! She hangs up the phone, pissed because she can't reach her parents or Dom. Ah, the days without mobile phones. What did we do without them?

Chrissy comes in and goes psycho at Charlotte for being up past her bedtime. Then she goes psycho at the boys for drinking her mother's liquor. Then she goes psycho at Busy and Amanda for still being there. That's a whole lotta psycho from Chrissy. I hope Amanda's girl crush doesn't suffer from this little display. Gus forces Emory to "try some liquids", and then the boys laugh at him when he doesn't like it. In the words of Busy, "Nice friends." Busy is so awesome. I can't believe just how awesome she is.

In the living room, everyone's passing around this bottomless cup of nondescript alcohol. A certain long-haired dude is pretty interested in getting the black girl drunk. Because if you have greasy long hair, that's the only way girls will like you. That's a lesson we can all learn from. Apparently Gus is the Keeper of the Cup, though, because he takes it right off her after she's had a sip. Two girls in the corner vow not to drink, because "look at them!" Yes, look at them dancing and talking after getting sauced off two sips of booze! How rebellious! Amanda and Busy are watching this from the staircase, looking pretty unimpressed.

Chrissy turns off the music and announces that they're going to play Two Minutes in the Closet. I never played that growing up. It didn't help that I went to an all-girls' school and didn't know a whole lot of boys until Year Eight, but it's just not something we ever did. Amanda offers to let them borrow her red lipgloss, and Chrissy's like, "Fuck off, little girl." Justin invites the girls to stay, because he's so sensitive and stuff. My arse he's sensitive. He's a jerk with a good poker face, is what he is. Oh, and the Asian girl's name is Melissa. Good to know, because I'm tired of calling her the Asian girl. Justin tells Amanda that "it'll be you and me first." Amanda's So Totally In Love again.

Long-Haired Dude and Black Girl go first. Justin is such a shameless liar. Amanda gets to time them though, so she feels included. The nameless duo go into the closet and come out two minutes later with red lipstick all over their faces. OMG KISSING! Scandalous! Melissa chooses Gus to go in with her, and as it turns out, the dude's all talk. LOSER! They just stand there for two minutes. LAME! The others open the closet door, and Melissa says Gus didn't make a move. FAIL! Gus is like, "I did too; I just wiped all the lipstick off!" Again, I must go with the original LOSER!

Gus, being a major shit-heel, immediately turns the attention to Emory. He's like, "Get in the closet, you scared lame-o!" and Emory does, because peer pressure is a bitch. Gus calls Emory a "sucky-face nerd," which I think is just about the funniest trash talk I've heard in a long while. Chrissy reacts like it's the worst name she's ever heard anyone being called. They're all going to get a nasty shock when they reach high school.

No one wants to go into the closet to kiss Emory, because he's such a sucky-face nerd. Chrissy suggests that Amanda and Busy do it, as punishment for spying on the girls before. The sure as hell don't want to. Gus and Long-Haired Dude grab them and try to push them into the closet, and they struggle like it's attempted rape or something. How sad for Emory. Justin tells Gus that he's being a douche, but the second Emory comes out of the closet (literally, I mean), he's like, "Okay, we've got two of 'em puckered-up and ready to go, so go kiss 'em." Okay, first thing, Justin? That's not how the game works. The 'closet' part in the title loses all its meaning if you are not, in fact, in a closet. And secondly, YOU'RE A DICK! You'll never be anything but a dick, so stop pretending to be the good guy! At least Gus commits to his dickish ways.

Speaking of, Gus gives up on forcing Amanda to kiss Emory. He decides instead to pay him out for being a wimp to cover up his own insecurities. How psychological. They try to make Justin the good guy again by sticking up to Gus...and telling him that Emory'll do it. Um, no. Justin is a dick. Stop fighting it. Then Gus randomly tells Emory to strip. I have absolutely no idea why. I'm thinking maybe Gus is a bit gay. Everyone else apparently thinks it's a good idea too, and they start chanting, "Strip! Strip! Strip!" Emory gets hella upset, screaming at them to leave him alone. Gus eventually gets sick of this shit and rips off Emory's shirt. What the fracking frack? Gus is the weirdest.

Emory, who's a little bit on the chubby side, runs upstairs and puts on his jacket. Troy expresses his dislike of Gus's actions, then says to Justin, "Look at you, man, you're wasted." Yeah, wasted off of those two sips of alcohol. Justin's not wasted, he's just a dick. Why can nobody else accept the fact that Justin's a dick? Emory runs out the door, and Justin stumbles after him, because apparently he got more wasted in the last ten seconds or something. He's like, "Come back! You don't have to do it if you don't want to! I'm sorry!" Too fucking little, too fucking late, Justin. Then he adds, "It's not my fault!" BECAUSE HE IS A DICK! Then he throws up, because he's so wasted. Gah, this is pathetic.

Amanda and Busy are back in Dom's car. I guess he finally picked them up. Good lookin' out, big bro. He goes on about how wild their sleepover must've been, but they're so traumatised from the party that they don't say much. Busy tells Dom that they forgot to get the money for the pizza. Which is kind-of an unnecessary lie. The pizzas were cold, Chrissy was entitled to have them for free. Why is simply forgetting to ask for the money a better excuse? I don't get it. Dom goes nuts.

Emory is walking in the cold, and Amanda and Busy tell Dom to pull over because he's a friend of theirs. To quote Busy again, "Nice friends." They obviously care very little for his feelings, considering they were physically fighting to get out of going into the closet with him. They tell Emory they'll give him a lift, but he says that he'll walk. Dom tells him that it's cold out there, and Emory just turns around and keeps walking. End of episode. Yeah, I don't quite get it either.

I end this recap with a not-so-fun fact: According to IMDb, Jesse, Nilsson, the guy who plays Justin, is dead. Um, wow. That's kinda sad. Apparently he died in 2003 of pneumonia-related heart failure. And here I was all ready to make fun of his shitty post-RoN career, which is still a damn sight better than most RoN actors despite the handicap of being dead. So instead of snarking this tragically-dead-before-his-time actor's body of work, I'll just tell you that he was once in a movie called Teenage Space Vampires and let you do with that info what you will. Sound good? Okay then. See you next time.

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