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Countdown to Ecstasy II: Nearly-Cancelled Boogaloo

It's nighttime on The Scoping Fjords of Sandy Land, and Michael rides around the desert on his motorcycle because that, America, is what bad boys do. That is, until his bike begins to malfunction, and he looks above him to see neither a bird, a plane, Superman, a creative plot-developing tool of any kind, or even yo mama. Instead, he spots two intersecting flying objects, which smash into each other and begin simultaneously plunging to earth. One hits the ground first with a crash and a small glow of blue light, and the other one comes plunging down in a hail of fiery brimstone, erupting into flames when it hits the ground. Earthlings die in plane crashes. Interstellar ships emit mood crashes. But the CGI still sucks on any planet.

Michael Michael Motorcycle steams his Big Boy Bike over to the wreckage, arriving to find a parachute and a helmet…which contains within it a human head! Actually, no, it totally doesn't. Psych! I'm totally in seventh grade. He picks up the helmet and reads the word "Griffin" off the side, screaming, "Griffin, you okay? Hey? Anybody?" Maybe Griffin is the name of the helmet. Good God, Michael and that helmet have really gotten close recently. Too bad everyone with big Jeeps who works for the government wants to keep them apart so badly, as just at that moment some big trucks drive up and the scary music begins to play. Michael rides off into the distance, helmet in tow. Sigh. The many-splendored wonders of a boy and his helmet. If only there had been an accompanying love story, that would have been the final shot of the most beautiful love story ever told.

Opening credits: Shut up, bitch.

Who's this guy? When we come back from commercial, we find ourselves watching Fake News Channel 14. You give them twenty-two minutes, they'll give you fake news. The Fake Newscaster in standing in front of a fountain at Fake City Hall, fake reporting, "Here we go again. That's the attitude of most local residents that another UFO has supposedly crashed outside of Roswell. While local merchants are hoping that this latest close encounter will stimulate Roswell's dwindling tourist business, local officials are downplaying the entire incident." And now back to the Fake Studio with Fake Bob and Fake Tina, for Fake Sports and the Fake Lottery, which this week is worth Fake $30 Million! Cut to aforementioned local merchant, where we find Geoff "Slackjaw" Parker all in a tizzy at the Crashdown. Liz is watching the news report on the Crashdown's TV (this show is so meta I think it just blew my mind), but she soon stops watching it when she realizes all the news is, in fact, fake. Slackjaw, carrying boxes of alien-themed ephemera, asks Liz, "Anything yet?" Liz notes that they're "downplaying it," which Slackjaw thinks is good for business, seeing as it's even better if "they make it look like a cover-up." Max trails behind, toting some boxes of his own, and Slackjaw asks him, "Would you mind remarking those prices?" Slackjaw tells him to "double everything," and tells Liz and Maria to remain on guard so they can "handle the rush." Maria, sitting at the front counter, inexplicably has the skirt of her Crashdown uniform hitched up to her neck. She is sitting very much not like a lady. And yet, she still listens to authority, shooting back a disbelieving, "The rush?" Slackjaw explains slack-jawingly, "You're too young to remember. Back in 1986, there was another unexplained incident outside of town. This place went wild." Ah, 1986. Mets in the World Series, Depeche Mode on top of the charts, Geoff Parker in the money. Good times, good times. Slackjaw asks Max to fetch some "alien neckties" from the back, and Liz offers to give him some podiatry, taking her leave as well. And though a mere six or seven episodes ago, Slackjaw sent his daughter off to a private school 90,000 miles away so she'd never see Max again, off they frolic together without Slackjaw batting an eye. He's rather go back to watching the fake broadcast, and he explains to Maria that if the military so much as drops the word "unexplained," they'll be "swimming…in cash!" Wow. What a showboater. He must have learned all sorts of catchphrases from watching the Fake Game Shows on that channel he won't turn off.

Over in Subplot C, we have found the alien neckties. Liz asks Max if he's okay, and he affirms that he is. Yes, yes. Why wouldn't he be? "A ship from outer space crashes in the desert and you don't have a problem with it?" Max claims that it's "probably nothing," which it really probably is. She drags out of him that he's at least "curious," but Max explains that he has "more important concerns." Liz smiles coyly as if she's got anything to do with it. But she's called back to Daddy's side just then, and she insists that she's "comink," quickly taking her leave. Michael slides in through a door I don't even think was there at the beginning of the scene, and Max asks, "Where have you been?" Cognizant that last week's brilliant "my name was the only one on the access card at the bank" might not have been the most appropriate line for a dour musical cue, Michael ups the drama potential slightly with his not-at-all-hyperbolic response, "Investigating a potential threat to our existence." Oh, aren't you always. Max insists that Michael "leave it alone," but Michael piques his interest: "I saw it. It killed the engine on my bike, it went right over my head." Max wants to know what it looked like, and Michael's got his answer at the ready: "Like a really great sci-fi special effect, only real." While you're claiming exception, why not take on an "except" for the "great" part as well. And the "really great." And the "special." Ah, screw it. Why not just throw the whole sentence into parentheses and tack one of those squiggly mathematical "not" symbols in front of it. Other than that, keep it exactly the same. Max tells him again to stay out of it, claiming the usual round of "being too exposed right now. Especially with Jesse. Right now the last thing we need is some bona fide alien from another world who's looking for trouble." Heh. He said "exposed." And he also said "bona." Michael taunts him, "You afraid I'm going to find something?" Max responds, "I'm terrified they'll find you." Michael assures him that he'll "handle it" before slamming back out the sometimes-existing door.

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