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Djb: D+ | Grade It Now!
Bring 'Em Young

Crazy props to the brilliant Pamie, whose iBook password dies with me. And to Stee. And to Ray. And to my roommate, wherever she may presently be.

Dear Diary. It's October 9, 2001. My name is Liz Parker. And three years ago, this show died.

Fade in on a dusty expanse of neglected, maligned, general forgotten-i-tude known the world over as "UPN not during Moesha." The Smackdown music supervisor is all, "You should check this tune out, Roswell music supervisor, what with us sharing an office and all," and we are greeted by a rather pounding electric guitar befitting The Rock at his most bastardized. The camera pans from a storefront sign reading "Sam's Quick Stop," panning down, down, down (psssst…cameraman. Wake up! Poor cameraman. For he is already so sleepy) past neon signs advertising dusty outpost convenience store truisms like "Open 24 hours" and "Coffee" and "My show went all the way to Sam's Convenience Store and All I Got Was This Stupid Recap" and what have you. Panning, panning, panning. And finally to our end-of-panning destination, where the camera comes to rest on Liz "Unplugged Performs Not" Parker and Max "Ungainly Pencil Necked" Evans. The Bot is oiled and lubed well past a rusty machine's natural abilities to just sing "If I Only Had a Heart" and go about its normative metallic capabilities, for she straddles Max in the front seat of a convertible, tonguing his face as if this motion will remove even one layer of Max's three-months-accumulated, did-I-say-bad-boy-oh-I'm-sorry-I-must-have-meant-Bar-Mitzvah-boy facial hair. A caption appears below them in MS Word font Alien Bold Sans Djb Sleeping Late On Saturday reading, "Salina, Utah 2:04 am." Long after good taste and the power of the Mach 3 have slumbered. And you totally know the caption guy was recruited from the set of Blind Date just to toss that one caption up there, and you know he fought the good fight to at least jazz this sequence up with a pop-up caption reading, "Nookie in Utah! Utah says 'Mormon' but this couple says, 'More, man!'" Because he's the Blind Date caption guy. And the Blind Date caption guy is the best in the business, is why.

Max, clad in the black leather cat suit of someone who forgot that summer is now over and with it his stint at Freddie Mercury Fantasy Camp, breathes all heavy, "You ready?" We're supposed to think they're talking about sex. But we know they never are. He tells her, "You don't have to do this," but she pledges her allegiance: "No, Max, we are in this together. That's what we said." Max offers a final glance of concern that all but screams out, "Fine, but next time I get to be Bonnie. You ALWAYS get to be Bonnie," kisses her stage directionally (why will they not heed the convenience store's simple directive and just "quick, stop"?), and they both pull black ski masks over their too-pretty-for-TV faces. They must not be recognized. A well-executed, much-practiced response after a summer's worth of strangers approaching them on the street and asking point-blank, "Isn't that the network where they, like, sell fake pearl necklaces and stuff? You do know they're not real pearls, right? Right?"

"Who needs the Quik-E-Mart," Max and Liz seem to ask, busting through the front door of the joint. Liz enters first, gun blazing and yelling, "Down! Down! Down!" like a crazed square-dance caller with "Rock Lobster" the only song in her arsenal. Max molecularly manipulates the surveillance camera while Liz brandishes the gun at the store's overnight proprietor (is that Sam? Would he be working the night shift in his own store?). Max, moving toward the back of the store, warns Maybe Sam, "Better do what she says. She's crazy." Sam hits the bricks as Liz vamps about staying on the floor, staying down, down staying, and staying down with downness. Max heads right past the Chupa Chups and the Mint Milanos, muttering something about "a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips" in his stoic alien way, toward the back of the store. He reaches the back, throwing a rack containing various bread products angrily to the side (take that, Dr. Atkins, his remaining strength seems to say). He holds his left hand in front of a bare wall, creating a red beam that looks like those laser pointers kids started bringing to school in eighth grade until you weren't allowed to bring them to school anymore because people who had those in other towns meant it was because they were in gangs. One can only hope Sam isn't at home, watching helplessly while his night guy is all getting shot up. Oh, wait. What am I talking about? Ain't nobody watching this at home.

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