Tuesday, May 27, 2008
The Paper, Episode 8: Come, The New Jerusalem
So I should probably lead with the fact that my DVR cut out just before Amanda got her letter from NYU. Lucky for me, I already know she got in via interviews she's taken and such. It goes without saying that I wish Amanda wild success in New York and hope to see her dancing the robot in one of our fair city's many hot nightspots.
As for the rest of the episode...it remains true that one of the most excruciating (and therefore best, under the rule that the best shows about high school -- My So-Called Life, Freaks & Geeks -- are also terrifically painful) elements of this show is the complete clarity with which we're able to see the motivations behind what's going on, even while the kids are just as completely clueless. Alex didn't end his friendship with Amanda because she beat him out for EIC, or that she's done poorly at the job, or even that he finds her personally irritating (though I'm sure he does). Hating Amanda Lorber is what bonds Alex with his friends. Alex is the one they all prefer to Amanda. In the extremely limited sphere of "People who Giana and Trevor and Adam and Dan would prefer to Amanda as EIC," Alex gets to be the MICHAEL JAN. Of course he's going to take that ball and run with it. And look like a total toolbox while doing so.
But seriously, how about Amanda SCHOOLING him in that dockside argument? Took him up the hill and down again, remaining calm while Alex sputtered, and not letting him for one second get away with saying this was anything but his problem. "I think this conversation is over. Professional." BOO-YA! And poor Alex is left with nothing but that weak little "and that's why we're not friends anymore" rejoinder after Amanda was out of earshot. Pussy.
-- The way Adam's face lit up when Amanda introduced the idea of an all-singing, all-dancing episode of the show is why I will never give up on that kid. No matter how mushroomy the hair gets.
-- Can we talk about the music on this show? And how MTV's dedication to sidebars and crawls and eight thousand things on the screen competing for your attention at all times led to their reminding you that you were listening to the OMD's "If You Leave" and (most gloriously) Carly Simon's "Let the River Run." Amanda as 2008's version of Working Girl? I love the people who make this show, I swear to God.
-- Let's back up for a second, though, because how great was that deadline sequence? Amanda, flanked by the world's shortest posse (seriously, I wish I could find a photo of those two lilliputians, it was adorable), stare down the evil and beaurocratic (and obstructive! By the end of that segment even I wanted to know what was at the bottom of that whole rezoning crackdown) principal, come back with the good news that the issue has been saved, Adam and Trevor both give Amanda props for her leadership (though not to her face, because that would be too weird), and then they all teach Miss Weiss to dance while Alex grumbles pissily. I'm pretty sure that's how I scripted it in my head beforehand, so well done, universe!
-- As for Season 2 (which, last time I checked, hasn't been assured by MTV -- what the fuck, you guys?), I am now hopeful after being initially pessimistic. After all, how can you duplicate the success of this season? You can't revisit these kids in college, because the dynamic will have changed and it'll be useless. You could start with a new batch of kids, I guess, but would I want to watch a show without Amanda and Adam and Dan and Weiss and (okay, fine) Trevor and Alex? I don't know. Then I realized that we left the Cypress Bay kids barely after a quarter of the year had gone by. Homecoming only aired last week. So my fingers are crossed that a second season is in the can that'll take us through the rest of senior year. Then we can spin off and follow Amanda at NYU, Hills-style! Because God forbid she ever be forced to live her life off-camera ever again.
So here's to a BRILLIANT season of reality TV. I say that without a bit of irony. Hats off to Amanda the superstar spaz, Alex the bitchiest bitch ever to bag a girl at a Dave Matthews concert, Adam the benevolent tyrant of the Homecoming court, Giana and her fierce dedication to class warfare, Trevor and his perfect score on the math SAT, Dan and his unexpected enthusiasm for grooming, Cassia and her profound boringness, Miss Weiss for picking up the electric slide so quickly, nerdy would-be prom date Joe and whatever felony he committed to get grounded for prom, the ever-glorious MICHAEL JAN and his utter perfection, and Amanda Lorber (yes, she gets two), who gave us the priceless and generation-defining image of how you end a relationship in 2008. You delete his photos from your camera phone:
It's not too late, you guys! MTV.com has all eight episodes available for viewing right here. You will not regret it.