Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Secret World of Alex Mack: Driving

I ask: who sat at home watching this and didn't want to be Alex Mack when they became a teenager? You answer: nobody, Lorelai. Nobody. Alex was a pretty, confident girl who also happened to be doused with a strange chemical called GC-161 that gave her special powers. Plus, she wore cool hats. A shitload of cool hats. Alex and her best buddy Ray always managed to get into some sort of hijinks that resulted in Alex needing to use her powers to get them out.

Of course, being hunted down by the evil chairwoman of the company manufacturing the GC-161 is kind-of the downer in this case. what Alex stood to lose was slightly more substantial than most of the other kids featured on this blog -- Danielle Atron wanted to kill her. As in, breathe no more, take a dirt nap, shuffle off this mortal coil. Foget about horsies and pearls, Alex was literally telekinesis-ing for her life. But what sort of kids' show would this be if our baseball cap-obsessed heroine hadn't won in the end? Well, quite a depressing one, so thank God she made it in the end.

I always had a real soft spot for Alex, and I promise you, it wasn't just because of the hats. When I was growing up, people told me that I looked like Larisa Oleynik, so as you can imagine, I was pretty damn partial to this show. I also used to get told that I looked like Julia Stiles, so it came as no surprise to me that they were cast as sisters in 10 Things I Hate About You.

Now, onto today's episode. There's a reason I picked this one. It's very special to me. Not because I really remember it (actually, I don't, at all), but because when I started recapping it I'd just booked in for my very own driving test. I really should've gotten my license about four years ago, but I don't like to rush these things. And here we are, a month later, and my test is tomorrow. Whew. Wish me luck, although I don't think I'll need it. Still, I'm not going to look gift luck in the mouth. Okay, back to Alex now.

Alex is learning to drive. Hence the title. She really, really wants a car. Heh. I never really understood the whole car thing from American high school movies. In Australia, you can't get your license until you're eighteen, so it was really only the Year Twelves that worried about it. (And I turned eighteen the day after school ended.)

Alex wants her parents to help her pay for the car, and they're all, "Be like your responsible sister Annie, and save up for a car yourself." Alex snarks that Annie was never a normal teenager. I'll say. Annie spends a good portion of her time doing science experiments on her little sister. That doesn't scream normal to me either, Alex. Oh, and Alex hat alert:

Alex's dad George is hard at work at the chemical plant. We know it's a chemical plant because there are beekers of bright, bubbly liquid everywhere. Seriously, I hate this stereotype. I'll bet there are at least...four chemical plants in the world that don't look like they're run by mad scientists. George and co are making face cream, which skeeves me out. That's a big no way, Alex Mack writers. I don't want to put any shit from a chemical factory on my face. Face creams are supposed to be made on some peaceful Avon island, the ingredients dropped from the heavens by tiny doves and mixed by frolicking baby deer.

Anyway, George and his nondescript scientist friend are trying to make a face cream that actually works. Nondescript Scientist Friend accidentally picks up "nitrosurgic acid", which I don't think is real, but still sounds pretty gnarly. Anyway, he ruins all their work and they have to start over. I shudder to think that people like this are making my cosmetics. They need to bring back Bambi and the doves lickety-split.

Alex, Ray and Louis are talking about -- what else? Driving. Louis is bragging about how their driving instructor thinks he's God, and shows the other two a picture of the car he's going to get when he passes his driving test. It's a fabulous little convertible number, and Alex is mucho jealous. Louis is like, "See Alex, while you've been quitting jobs left right and centre, I've been slaving away at my dad's office for three years." Ha! Alex got pwn'd by Louis Driscoll! Louis Driscoll! No one liked Lous Driscoll, not even me. (And avid reads of my blog may remember that I seem to have had a bit of a thing for redheaded bad boys in my childhood.)

Ray agrees with Alex about the whole flighty jobless thing. Poor Alex. I know exactly how she feels. The longest I stayed at a job in high school was ten months, and that was seriousy impressive. Usually I lost the will to live around the sixth month, and don't even get me started on my job at the bakery. I actually started feeling sorry for those disgruntled workers who one day lost their shit and brought a rifle to their workplace. Anyway. Back to the episode. Wait, what's this? Louis's dad is looking for another office assistant? How convenient!

Alex goes for her interview with "Big Lou" Driscoll. He's a bigwig, you see. We know he's a bigwig because he's on the phone (a headset, naturally), talking about money while he plays minigolf in his office. He gets back to Alex and is like, "Sorry about that." As though taking an important call means you must immediately forget the "little people" waiting in your office to go practice some golf. Good work, Big Lou. There's a funny little exchange where Alex is talking to him about her previous jobs, and he's yelling at some guy on his headset. Alex, of course, thinks he's yelling at her. Heh. Bottom line: Alex gets the job. And Louis is her supervisor. I'm beginning to like Louis slightly. And we have another Alex hat:

George comes up to Danielle Atron, the coolest kids' supervillainess ever to grace our TV screens (except maybe Dr. Bligh from Captain Planet) and tells her that his department accidentally set the face cream testing back a couple of months. Danielle is not happy in the slightest. I think we're supposed to be reminded of how MEAN and EVIL she is, but I don't blame her. Some dipshit picked up the wrong chemical. That could've ended worse than it did.

Speaking of dipshits...Nondescript Scientist Friend comes by just as George is about to get his arse fired. Apparently that dangerous-sounding chemical the accidentally mixed with the face cream worked -- it gets rid of all fine lines and wrinkles. This doesn't make me happy. This is chemicals triumphing over nature. This the hunter that shoots Bambi's mother. Danielle Atron had better use this power for the greater good. (I doubt she will.)

Back at the Driscoll building, Alex is doing work while Louis is playing computer games. Alex is not happy. Well sorry to burst your bubble, Alex, but that's what working is. You're the newbie, also known as everyone else's bitch. I'd be lying if I said I used to treat new bakery employees any differently. God, I hated that bakery. Anyway.

Louis goes into his office (yes, this fifteen-year-old has an office), and Alex decides to do her puddle-morphing thing and check out what he's doing. Of course, he's watching TV. Alex is like, "It's so unfair that you're in here slacking off and I'm doing all the work! What would Big Lou think?" and Louis says, quite accurately, that all Big Lou's interested in is schmoozing his clients, making money, and golf. Well granted, I know very little of Big Lou, but that sounds bang on the money to me. Unfortunately for Louis, Big Lou happens to be standing right behind him while he's saying that. My favourite moment so far:

Louis: "The only reason he gave me this job is because I'm his son, and to tell
you the truth, I'm only in it for the cash. I hate working here."
[Alex motions at Big Lou. Louis realises he's standing right behind
Louis: "...on weekends and late at night. But other than that, it's the
best job a guy could ask for!"

Louis gets fired, and Alex gets promoted. Louis is mad that Alex didn't turn down the job for her, and Alex says that she can handle the job way better than Louis ever could. Louis chuckles somewhat evilly and is like, "I know you, Mack. What is this, job number five now? Good luck." Okay, how have I lived this long without realising my undying love for Louis Driscoll? Homeboy's awesome. Maybe it's because he was the one that eventually told the bad guys that Alex was the GC-161 kid. Maybe that's why I forgot all the awesome Louisness that happened before that.

Louis, distracted by all the dad-hate and Alex-betrayal, fails the driving course. Aww, poor Louis. The instructor tells him that if he drives like this next week, not only will he fail to get his license, he'll also be suspended. Um, why? How is that an appropriate punishment for poor driving? Suspension, really? I mean, I'm spectacularly bad at dancing, but I never got suspended for it. I can't draw to save my life, but not once did my art teacher decide that she needed to punish me for it. Teaching fail, Mr. Driver Ed Man. Also, we have a Louis hat in this scene! And if you look in the background, you can see an Alex hat as well! Double hat score!

That night (or some night), Louis is having a crazy dream. He's driving his dream car in outer space, blowing up comets and stuff with his dad's face on them. He even blows up Alex, but she comes back to life and starts playing paddle-ball right in his face. And she's wearing a hat, although I'm not sure dream hats count.

Alex wakes Louis up, asking if he's okay. He maintains that he most certainly is not, on account of the aforementioned driving-faulire, dad-hating and Alex-betraying. Sucks to be Louis. Alex tells him to man up and accept the fact that he's created most of his problems, and he has to take responsibility for it. And she says all this while wearing a hat.

Some time later, Louis comes to visit Alex at work. She's fallen way behind. It seems that Louis was right -- he does have a difficult job, and Alex can't handle it. I honestly don't approve of fifteen-year-olds being given such huge responsibilities, but okay. Even at that fucking bakery, our biggest responsibility would be to lock up for the night, or go to the post office and mail shit.

Back at the lab (the Atron one, not the Frankenfurter one), the face cream is having some side effects. As in, a disgusting rash thing that looks like shingles. George and Nondescript Scientist Friend are trying to fix it, and they take the time to have a heart-to-heart. Nondescript Scientist Friend was jealous that George was getting all the praise for inventing the perfect face cream, and George tells him that they're a team. It's hard to take them seriously, because they're wearing stupid gas masks.

Alex and Louis have finished all their work. You see what happens when you have a Louis Driscoll handy? Big Lou comes in, and Louis tells him that all he was really looking for was a bit of attention. He shows Big Lou the database he's created, so they don't have to mess around with all that paperwork. Hee, Louis Driscoll, bringing giant corporations into the 21st century. Big Lou offers Louis his job back. And while this is going on, you'd better believe that Alex is wearing a hat:

Louis is getting ready for his driving test. Spoiler alert: he passes. In a hat:

Alex, Louis and Ray have a fun teenagey talk about driving, and just what to do with Alex's first paycheque. She wants to buy a car with her $87. Ray thinks she's nuts. And once again, it all ends in fun times and everyone's happy, especially Alex, who's employed and wearing a hat.

So to summarise, today's episode involved exactly one use of Alex's powers -- liquefying into Louis's office, a feat that could've also been easily achieved with the aid of a door. But we did have three Alex hats, two Alex beanies, two Louis hats, one Alex cap...and a partridge in a pear tree. Hope y'all had a great Christmas, and have a boozy New Years'. Oh, and if you see a blonde driving around in a brand-new black Corolla, you'd better believe that it's me!


  1. I love Larisa Oleynik.

    Great post! The hat thing is hilarious. I'd forgotten all about all her hats.

  2. The hat thing *was* awesome. Oh, Alex.

  3. Seriously, I had forgotten about the hats ;P
    Just so you know I got my license in June the last year of school about 4 months after turning 17 and would drive the 1k to school several times a week just because I could!

  4. http://dibblyfresh1.blogspot.com/2010/01/assorted-thoughts.html

    Blog post award here!

  5. Oh my lord, you are awesome. I was just thinking about Alex Mack and her hats the other day. In middle school, all the guys thought she was so hot. (Second only to Topanga.)

  6. I was too old for Alex Mack - in fact we wrote about her in the teen mag I worked for. That's how too old I am. I did like 10 Things I Hate About You. I've always had the biggest crush on Joey Gordon Levitt. Though I'm such a cougar it's sinful!
    Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing

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