Independence Day

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Djb: F | Grade It Now!
Tony Clifton's Revenge

Fade in on just another day at West Roswell High, where Liz "Winnie Cooper from Hell" Parker and Maria "Farrah Fawcett from New Mexico" DeLuca stroll casually down the always-mysteriously-shadowed hallway. Liz gives new meaning to the compound verb infinitive "to blather on criminally" while grabbing Maria's arm in the dawning realization that if she let go, Maria would become as conspicuously absent as the sense of style in this sequence. I mean, really people, listen to this unfashion show: Maria's raw-umber-themed deep focus regatta-backdrop long-sleeved tee with the light blue sleeves has its design origins with the "All You Need Is Two Stoned Designers And A Flashback" label. And what the hell kind of shirt has a backdrop, anyway? Liz's more understated atrocity leaves normal with unmatching bright red shoulder patches that look like stitched-together alms befitting an eighteenth-century Oliver-esque urchin with a cockney accent saying young-British-urchin things like, "Thank'ee, gov'nah, for these right dec'rous togs ya saw fit to b'queath."

Anyway, Liz indicates to an already disinterested audience of me that precious little has transpired in her life this past week, as her topic for discussion is her latest kiss with Max Evans. Yeah, yeah, it was amazing, it was earth-shattering, it was inexplicable. I guess Liz's brain has conveniently omitted the part where the aftermath of said kiss led to the other kisser fleeing from the scene as if he had just power-smooched a big box filled with broken glass. So as they reach Maria's locker and her frustration with Liz's insipid "well, he was, it was, duh" rhetoric reaches an unusually obvious fever-pitch, Maria chooses to hide behind her herbal remedies and tries to calm Liz down with a few eye droppers-ful with something called "grief relief. I got it from my mother's shop. It's this herbal remedy that shocks the body back into reality when the mind's gone into overload." Oh please God, just let it be arsenic and we can be done with this whole thing right now. She offers the elixir to Liz and suggests that it may be necessary for use at some future time. Maria then indicates the impending arrival of Max "Insert Ostensibly Passé Ear Humor Here" Evans, walking toward them. Maria's off, and Max and Liz are alone. Max stares ambiguously down at Liz and inquires, "What's that?" Thinking he means her Victorian-Era Vagrant shirt, I begin loudly ad-libbing, "Well, Maxwell, these togs is..." But apparently he simply meant the crack vial Maria has handed off, and Liz quashes the topic altogether by assuring Max that it's "nothink." Due to the obvious time constraints of this already eternal opening sequence, Liz forgoes the necessary segue and skips right to "Y'know, Max, the other night when we kissed . . ." But before Liz has a chance to launch into a big prepared speech brought to you by the letter "I" and the number "1," because of how much it looks like "I," Isabel interrupts and tells Max that Michael has been acting weird. Max, ahem, jokes, "Weirder than usual?" and I even pass my hands over my eyes for a moment, like when people watch horror movies, suddenly gripped with panic that Max's quip is about to yield another one of those macabre grins we were subjected to last week. But Max is back to his old, just-plain-uninteresting self, and I for one could not be more relieved for this compulsory return to form. Isabel remains really cagey about whatever it is that's bothering Michael, and it seems like her entire motive is in getting Max to follow Michael into the bathroom to "see what's going on." It's such a staged, inauthentic moment that if someone approached me and gave me said speech, I would never hesitate in my instantly formed belief that, "Oh, cool. Surprise party for me in the bathroom." That's just how narcissistic I am.

So Max leaves Liz with barely a word, and into the boys' room we go. Michael is slumped over the sink, washing his face madly. Upon Max's approach, Michael recoils and demands privacy. He then recreates an event in which I partook exactly zero times in the entire course of my high school career and walks into a stall. Max walks to said stall, and Michael again demands that Max leave him alone. Max finally fake obliges, leaving me wondering if anyone thought he wasn't going to open the door, pretend to leave, and remain in the bathroom. Pretty much the only person who misses out on this brilliant scheme is Michael himself, who waits the requisite no seconds before exiting. Much to the surprise of the people who watch this show but have somehow not seen any of the six thousand promos leading up to it, Michael has a black eye. And really weird teeth. One of these things is new, and one has been there all along, but right now I'm just too giddy at the prospect of this show trying to take on a Big Issue with the vaguest modicum of subtlety or tact to remember which one is which.

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