Roswell
Panacea

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Death Becomes Them

Knock knock knock. The door opens at Room 19, and Liz informs the initially-tough-but-I-think-when-we-bond-we-can-be-just-best-friends-and-I-mean-best-friends-in-the-whole-wide-world (of course, I'm just guessing, here) girl on the other side, "I think this is supposed to be my room." Blondie With Roots tiredly replies, "You think?" And so, Liz thinks. Roots knew that her single "was too good to last." Liz tries to remain upbeat, asking, "Are you Eileen Burroughs?" She tries to confirm that that is, in fact, her name, but I think you and I know for sure that her real name is Chrissy Seaver, lovable afro-ed shark jumper from the waning twelve minutes of Growing Pains. As a refresher to those of you who were born after 1980, here's the recap-within-a-recap to get us all up to speed: Growing Pains, starring Alan Thicke, was the greatest sitcom in the history of television and was in no way at all a shameless and wholesale rip-off of Family Ties. It chronicled the life and times of the Seaver family, a perfect nuclear family unit from Long Island who may have had some problems, but nothing so earth-shattering that it couldn't be nailed down with some words of encouragement from Dad in approximately twenty-three minutes' time. That is, however, until adorable tyke Jeremy Miller, who played adorable tyke Ben Seaver, went through a sudden and willful puberty -- featuring large glasses, a chronic and untamable mullet, and an endemically greasy condition that popped up pretty much anywhere that bodily grease simply wasn't expected to go -- that never quite ended. Panicked, the producers went back to their Adorable Tyke Gene-Splicing Vault and plucked from it runaway vagrant Luke (played by a young Leonardo DiCaprio) and a Ronald-McDonald-haired baby girl named Chrissy. The show got axed, Ben got greasier, Leo dated supermodels and then snack food, Alan Thicke wrote and performed the theme song to Animal Crack-Ups, and Chrissy…well, here she is again. Which is perhaps part of her apprehension upon opening the door to Liz for the first time, what with her staring over Liz's shoulder and registering a look of, "Oh, my God! What the hell is THAT? Oh, wait. It's just a camera. Haven't been in front of one of those in a while."

But Chrissy remains pissy. She steps aside for Liz to enter the room and sighs deeply, "I'm the welcoming committee." Ah, come on, Chrissy. Show me that smile again. Don't waste another minute on your crying. Liz apologetically asks, "They didn't tell you I was coming?" But she drops her inflection at the end of the sentence, because she's very European, suddenly. Chrissy says "they" did not, sitting on her bed and taking out a cigarette and an ashtray because she's a bad girl, people. Not that she's not up for oh-we'll-bond-eventually-and-become-best-best-friends small talk: "So, Elizabeth. What should I call you?" Liz reaches for the power of her shiny, shiny hair to show her the way, and she comes up with the answer: "Beth. I go by Beth." Which is so weird, because when I moved across the country for a change of pace, I told everyone that I go by "Iel." And suddenly people thought I was frickin' awesome. Chrissy asks where Beth is from, and Beth responds, "California. Not too far from Disneyland." Boo, Anaheim. Booooooo. But Chrissy sincerely responds, "Lucky you." Because it totally fits her character to be wowed by cheesy theme parks, as if her parents were finally like, "We're sending you to boarding school. You smoke, you drink, you carouse with boys. You're on a Mr. Toad's Wild Ride we can't get you off of!" Or something. Asking all the right questions, Chrissy continues the inquiry with, "You leave a boyfriend back there?" No. No, she didn't. "Lesbian?" Yeah, this is pretty much exactly how people talk to each other in high school. Liz apologizes, but Chrissy is all, "No, I wasn't asking for a date. I mean, there are plenty of girls who dabble with the whole…thing…" Hmmmm. If I promise not to register comment on one word of this pointless tangent, does it make it possible that it never really happened? There's a pause in the action (called Roswell), and Chrissy asks Beth if the smoking makes her uncomfortable. Liz says it does, which seems like the perfect cue for the dean to knock on the door and for ensuing wacky hijinks to ensue. It's exactly like that scene in Magnolia where John C. Reilly meets Melora Walters for the first time, except that in this sequence there's no Aimee Mann, drama, or viewers. Because she's not at all into the whole "dabblink" thing, Liz rips off her shirt in a frenzy and screams that she's "changing her clothes." Chrissy makes with the air freshener and Liz lights a candle, tearing open the door to find the dean asking, "Do I smell smoke?" Liz claims, "I lit a candle." Which smells as much like cigarette smoke as it does like fabric softener, not to mention the fact that candles don't quite yield the same quantities of billowy, well, smoke as smoking. And also because said dean has never seen this exact kind of ruse before in her tenure as Clichéd Stern Authority Figure With The Heart Of Gold. She has forms for Liz to fill out. She leaves. The scene ends. Chrissy is late for lunch with Tracey Gold.

New! York! City! Um, three years ago. The Stock Footage Film Festival takes us to its next destination, where a shot of Times Square reveals such bustling, cutting-edge Gotham-esque images as posters for the Broadway revival of Guys and Dolls and the all-new The Capeman. No, really. Meanwhile, fashionistas rush by sporting pink pashminas and the latest fall fashions from Isaac Mizrahi, and suited Y2K specialists bustle to work via the D train from Broadway-Lafayette. Maria does her own voice-over response to Liz's letter, which got into Maria's hands…how, exactly? Anyway, she rants, "Dear Liz: You know, they say New York can be overwhelming at first. The crowds, the noise, the restless energy. It's supposed to be intimidating for first-timers. Not me. I love it. This is my kind of town. I feel like…I don't know. I feel like I've come home." Because she is home, back on a set in Southern California, with one faux-brownstone building propped up behind a subway stop. Looking even more scraggly and homeless and Jack-Black-esque than before, Maria's icky friend Billy plays a forlorn (but oh-so-pure, artistically speaking) acoustic guitar and stares into the public transportation he's at present too artistically uncompromised to afford. Behind him, a white limousine pulls up, and out from the top pops Maria "Time To Call Your Agent…(323) 866-0900" DeLuca. Who's all pumped up that I work in the same building as Majandra's agent? Lemme hear it? The limo comes to rest in front of that famous Gotham store, that New York institution known the world 'round as "Books." Sigh. I love that store. Billy's all, "Eh?" and Maria tells him not to look so shocked. He expresses some surprise at her wheels, and she recaps the whole of last week's episode with the talent scout and the New York and the demo and blah. Jack Black looks stunned -- it's 1997 and he's Duncan Sheik and she's Cher so he's still cooler for the next nine seconds, and it's just not fair! She promises to pass along a copy of his demo, which embarrasses him because you can't live in a demo tape and he's already homeless.

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Roswell

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