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Red, Red Whine

Following a "previously on Roswell" intro so long it nearly requires its own commercial break (followed, necessarily, by five weeks of non-productive retooling of the "previously on" section), we fade in on Michael "Lord of the Fries" Guerin in his mysterious new capacity as head chef at the Crashdown. Apparently, his brief stint in the working world has consisted of a hostile takeover of the diner itself, for he seems to be the only member of the staff specializing in culinary preparation of any kind. He barks goading remarks to his "ladies," including the not-true-for-cantaloupe-or-other-vitamin-bearing-perishables untruism, "Food doesn't taste better cold, all right?" Yeah, well, food also doesn't taste better when streaming in colloid form through an IV tube into a nutritionally challenged and subsequently constricted artery, but even that hasn't enticed any of the bypass-worthy characters of this show to consume so much as a Centrum in seventeen grease-and-coke-drenched weeks. And I'm sorry, Michael, but the non-voguish headgear you're sporting may be called a "do rag," but it's pretty much still considered to be a pretty remarkable fashion don't. Okay? Just thought you should know.

Through the front door of the Crashdown enters Max "I Come in Boredom" Evans, flanked by his too-peripheral genetic counterpart Isabel "Biggest Fifth Wheel Since the Invention of the Spare" Evans. Unconcerned with her responsibility of being the Crashdown's highest-ranking administrative official in the absence of all parental figures (which allows that "Lord of the Fries" reference to take on some breadth, if you really think about it), Liz "MacArthur" Parker hands off her order to Maria and proceeds to barely contain herself from servicing Max orally right there in the middle of the diner. Trapped in that really awkward proximity to the two, Isabel's body language fairly screams, "No matter how much you love each other, my hate for you both will always be stronger." Maria, still not hip to the fact that Michael's only impetus for sharing a bed with her in the first place was so he could steal the towels out of her bathroom, back in the days before he traded "poverty" for the far less arduous "non-poverty," speaks up. And this is what she says to him: "Is that so hard?" What's hard? Utilizing her newly-acquired skills from her five-week stint at the Christopher Walken School of Bizarre Syntactical Phrasing, Maria enigmatically responds, "Acting like a real couple kissing/arms around each others/shoulders actually/excited to see one another." And though his own slurred pronunciation of numerous (read: all) words calls into question many basic precepts of language (the picture/pitcher debate still rages strong in the Guerin house. Oh, wait, there is no one in the Guerin house besides Michael, because his mother disappeared and his father is a shape-shifting alien and he lives alone on the outskirts of town in a subsidized apartment, which should be made of government surplus cheese but in fact has more architectural integrity and aesthetic frou than the freakin' Taj Mahal. For those of you just tuning in), Michael is able to parse out Maria's message and pronounces the whole situation "overrated." But for Liz it doesn't appear to be rated anything besides NC-17 (sex, violence, whole lotta smacky lip noises), and she slithers off of Max long enough to tell him that she's ready to go to the movie. Yawn. Already they are very boring and I have grown lethargic and uninterested. I begin furiously rubbing my eyes and lean back just for a second, to awake really confused and angry less than fifteen minutes later, that weird coppery taste in my mouth and fresh out of a dream where my roommate leaps out of the downstairs closet wearing, for some reason, a clown suit. Y'know, that dream? Which is really odd, particularly considering my roommate's lack of propensity for the circusly arts. What's going on? Oh, yes. Rightfully indignant and thanklessly dissed, Isabel sits at the counter as Liz ditches her apron, her friends, and her singular remaining ounce of moral fortitude and takes off to reclaim her position as center float in The Max Evans Nookie Parade. Michael snaps me out of my brief (three minutes and forty-eight seconds, according to the counter), er, "retooling hiatus" (and to wake up to find not so much as one measly bottle of Tabasco in my mailbox) long enough to term Max and Liz's situation as "kinda immature, really." Okay, ye bastion of all things evolved in the universe, alert us as to why. "Just a couple of horndogs looking for a place to make out. We don't need that. We've got my apartment, y'know?" Yeah, I know. And like that they're off, hilariously stymieing Isabel's attempt at ordering dinner and leaving her hungry and me starving. Starving for some more of these delectable Roswell-brand jokes/barbs/general hijinks, that is.

But the wacky escapades of the previous scene were bound to give way to the strenuous endeavors of Roswell's loudest lip mics eventually. Seriously. That sound is so not necessary. Ever. Breathing like they'd been dwelling in an underwater city for years before discovering that they did not possess gills, and smackier than a Long Island receptionist with a fresh pack of cherry Hubba-Bubba, Liz and Max spoil another brilliantly lit (read: pitch black) night scene simply by committing the crime of appearing somewhere within it. Gettin' busy in the Alienmobile, the pillow talk ("headrest cushion on the driver's side talk"?) concerns Liz's mumbling something about "the movie," to which Max responds that he hears that "it got bad reviews." Yikes. How inadvertently self-referential. Having lost at least two viewers to sexy fun times just because of poor press, one can only hope that the few lone and misguided fans of said bad film deluge the movie theater owner's house with little bottles of Tabasco sauce. Sound crazy? Well, I hear it's worked before. But at least this lascivious sequence is disrupted by an event of possible plot development, as a flashlight shines through the Alienmobile window to reveal the triumphant return of one Renee Zellweger (no, really, I know it's not her. You already told me that, but I've known all along. Stop composing that e-mail. Don't press that send button. 'Cause I already know. So don't you go and -- aw, crap, see what you've gone and done?) to the small screen. She bangs on the window looking ten kinds of crazy, yelling something about being followed, that they should act like normal kids. She even tosses in that old standby for thin science fiction plots out of the Ten Lazy Ways to Instigate Universal Paranoia handbook: "Don't. Trust. Anyone." She runs off with a promise to find them again, but nevertheless vows to solve the biggest unsolved mystery this show, and the world, has ever experienced: How the hell did she wrap up that role in Bridget Jones? Was it her brilliant comedic turn as the memorable "Gina" in Empire Records, or maybe the dramatic prowess displayed in A Price Above Rubies? It's like the people who cast her in that film never even read the damn book, y'know? Yeah, well, neither did I.

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