Meow! Last night's episode was all about people being bitchy. Girls being bitchy, boys being bitchy, couples being bitchy, dates being bitchy. Bitchiest of all, though, was darling PC Peterson, a confused and disorderly young man who's basically King Bitch.
The funniest thing about this show is kind of what's universally funny about teenagers: that they like to pretend they're a lot older than they are. That the experiences of short days and fleeting months compounds for them into years' worth of torturous drama. Their newly formed, Bambi-legged personalities are given such weight and consideration. Kelli is This, PC is That. These kids don't seem to realize that basically everything in them is malleable at this point, that they'll be entirely different people—aside from a few core things—by the time they wake up tomorrow morning. So watching them be so steadfast and sure of Who and What they are, with all these things that they've done, is both silly and sad. Just like being young!
Part I: Feelings Are the Farts of the Mind
We'll begin our recounting with a rustle of sticks and a clinking of soda can tabs. Of course I'm speaking of kiwi-faced Rags McTattershanty, a public school hobo who was discovered by young Lord Sebastian and rescued from the heap of milk cartons and broken wheelchairs that is her life. For a brief spell (an eon in Teen Time!) the pair was flourishing. They shared wet, snowy kisses. They met cute at parties and fancy French dinners. They stared at each other with dewy, innocent gazes that belied the strange hormonal churning going on down below their necks, all the furtive fumbling awkwardness covered up and kept in by expensive clothes and artful rich kid slouches. But as all of these stories must end—even My Fair Lady comes to an end, eventually—Rags and Sebastian danced their last worried waltz last night, torn asunder by the gaping chasm between their two lives. He's a landed lad of Mustiques and Rossignols, floppy fancy feathered hair and million dollar sneakers. She's a creature of soiled footie pajamas, bum cover open and flapping in the breeze. Of mostly-broken Wurlitzers played forlornly in windswept junkyards. While one can, for a time, find romance in the other, it's just too wide a breach to build a lasting bridge.
Mostly the end came about because Rags was being re-enchanted by her old hobo husband Soots McKenzie. Soots, who sells fish bones to gypsies down by the loading docks, makes her feel special. He attends her gymnastics meets and weaves shells into her hair and scrubs her calloused feet with discarded steel wool he finds behind restaurants. Really, he just speaks her language. Still, though, she tried with Lord Sebastian. She puttered her leather and tin jalopy up to a music concert that he'd invited her to, excited and scared. Sebastian, for his part, had discussed the matter of Rags with his closest confidant, Fauntleroy. Fauntleroy believed Rags to be an endearing lass, worthy of hooking up with, the kind of big-chested pauper in need of a rodgering from one of the riches. But he wasn't quite sure that this concert—at which a host of private school bands would play, so a pretty hot goddamned ticket—was really the right place for her. Would she get it? I mean, would she really get it? Sebastian figured she would, so they went on with the plan.
Of course, she didn't get it. She didn't get that when Sebastian "danced"—lurching and pivoting, his tongue sticking out, trying to look silly like he didn't care but of course in the process appearing to care so very much—that was how the rich kids dance. She didn't get why he was being rude and dismissive. She didn't get that when a rich boy invites a poor girl to a rich kids' concert, the poor girl should be impressed and awed, quiet and easily dismissed. But instead Rags clutched tight the hobo talisman her mother, Bricksy, had given her just before she she was killed in the second Hobo-Drifter War, and stayed true to herself. She wasn't having any of Sebastian's ridiculousness, so when they left the awful concert (whining private school kids being shrieked at and adored by their whining peers) and walked toward... what? where are they always parting ways? it's so arbitrary, she wouldn't let him kiss her. Rags turned her head and Sebastian muddily smeared her cheek with his chapped lips and because this is high school, one awkward evening can kill a whole thing, can snuff a thing out of life so quickly the normal human eye can't even detect its leaving. It's like a light particle or a roadrunner, a firefly flashing briefly in a dark, empty room.
Sebastian went and discussed the matter once more with Fauntleroy, as the two louche gentlemen tried on various clothes and purred over each other's fabrics. Sebastian was all "whatever, sucks to be rejected, but whatever," and the sad thing was that all of a sudden, now that his once pristine fuselage was dented with a failure, Sebastian just seemed really unattractive. You just saw so much of his ruddy, turnip-shaped father in him at that moment. Has Sebastian already peaked? Who knows. Anyway, he went on to say dumb boy things about how he doesn't ever have feelings, icky gooey feelings, for girls. He just wants to pop 'em and drop 'em, or whatever kids are saying these days. So he's just gonna forget it with Rags, it's done, over, been done, been over. Fauntleroy, clearly not as practiced a rake as Sebs, was just cowed and awed by this gleaming, bewigged god. If Sebastian told Fauntleroy to jump naked off a bridge, Fauntleroy would go play bridge with a bunch of old ladies, naked. Because he hears Sebastian's instructions and advice, but he just doesn't know how to follow it quite right. It's sad. It's funny. It's high school.
Part II: Mrs. Camille Said She Would Have Someone Buy the Flowers Herself
Camille had a party. Camille had a party and everyone came. But, rewind, Camille also had a date. Camille had a date with a boy named Augustus Gloop, who has slimmed down since his chocolate factory adventures but is still just as gloopy. The date was set up by TV because Camille.... I'm sorry. My mom thinks she's beautiful! That's all I'll say. Anyway, they went to yet another in the string of empty fancy restaurant that this show seems to exclusively traffic in. Little Gloopy was pretty awkward, asking her over and over and over again if she was having a good time. At first Camille was... impolite. Then the second time she was just plain rude. Then on the third time she pulled a revolver out of her clutch and shot him. Camille will not put up with your shit. Because she's an uptight, awkward little troll creature.
Sorry. But. She is.
After the lame date, apparently Camille got shitcanned with Gloopy and totally did him. At least that's what Gloopy hinted to PC when they were on their own little boys go shopping trip. At this one Gloopy tried to make awkward sexual innuendo about Camille of all people and after I'd finished vomiting and screeching out my window (goodbye, Brooklyn!), I'm pretty sure I heard Gloops say something was "homo" and then PC chastising him because "everyone here is gay" and WAS HE TALKING ABOUT HIMSELF? Or just about the edited-in homos that Bravo cut to twice? Who knows. So, PC said he heard that Camille had a little reputation, which is also shriek-inducing (you'll miss me, Brooklyn!)
Whatever. Camille, sex-fed and feeling social, decided to have a dinner party and suspiciously invite the entire cast of the show, who are not at all friends in real life. Kelli was invited, of course, as were Sebastian and Rags. But, um, Rags? Rags was bringing Soots. Holy cow. Drama! Camille's glassy eyes twinkled with antici...pation because she loves pretending she's the scandal-centered belle of the gossipy bitchy Dorothy Parker New York ball! But she's not. No, that crown belongs to young master Peterson.
Oh, PC. PC, PC, PC. I'm not really even sure what to say about what happened to ruin Camille's dinner party, but it was definitely ruined. PC, thinking he was funny and way mature, started needling the "children" about sex and other HORRIBLE things and Camille's glass eyes plinked out of her skull and rolled around and Soots picked them up and stuffed them in his grubby pocket to sell later to those old Chinese crones over in The Narrows who collect such oddities. There's a video of all of this above, so you should watch it. Also note that there was awkward Sebastian/Rags/Soots behavior and PC fell in love with Rags and wants to make her a project. He also gravely offended Kelli by calling her young and stuff. Disaster!
There in the ash-strewn fallout of the terrible event, everyone staggered around in the white light and black rain trying to figure out just what had happened. Kelli had the best assessment of the evening, asking if PC thought he was mature just because he wore tight pants and says "darling." I just about fell off my couch laughing very, very loudly (don't worry Brooklyn, I'm gone soon) because it was the funniest, best thing ever. Camille meanwhile tried to broker awkward peaces between people who didn't give a shit about peaces but Camille doesn't care because she just has to be at the center of everything all the time and ohhh man didn't Camille totally come off as the worst of them all this episode? I mean, Sebastian is a bialy-faced idiot, but Camille... Camille is committing the cardinal high school sin of trying to transcend her caste. This is not done, Camille. It's never done. Just because you're on a TV show now, it's still not done. You're a nerd. Deal with it.
PC meanwhile didn't give a hearty shit, and went to go ignore Jessi's advances some. And, oh, I shouldn't be mean to Jessi because she came across as really lively and funny last night. Making good jokes and seeming actually mature, not just weirdly pretending to be. That real, genuine, wonderful smile that splayed across her face after she and PC finished their let's-make-up coffee date was just so... charming. Friends having fun. That was nice.
Meanwhile in younger, darker corners, Rags and Sebastian were having a conference. They chose the city's best conference spot: The enormous rotating cube in Astor Place that nobody likes. Perfect. So they stood there and Sebz just spat into the breeze and Rags fiddled with her pet fly on a string and you felt exactly zero ache. Precisely no pain. Because these little vacuum bags had already up and moved on long ago! Because the high school heart can easily weather, over little strands of time, little pokes and prods. It's only when something really tears the tissue that you should start to worry about scarring. But that hasn't happened here! Naw, it's just two youngsters—one a rich kid, disappearing forever as he bumbles over the hills in his roadster, the other a hobo child who will disappear herself, into soup and mist and dust and train smoke when she turns 21, as is hobo custom. You can follow a hobo after they turn 21 if you want, but it's difficult. You have to understand runes and weathervanes, you must master the art of deciphering code from half-eaten roadside sandwiches, of the language of leaves in the wind.
Meanwhile Camille will practice her technique, do the steps and math, trundle on vicariously, hurtling into other, more interesting lives lest she feel that lonely pang of being so far out ahead that you can't see number two, that you'd rather turn back, sacrifice the race, than finish it on your own, all alone. Kelli will stand and smirk and continue heading straight for the middle. A place where she'll always be mousy and brown and a wannabe singer. She'll have strange hardened edges that her parents, had they been around at all, would have softened. She'll never be timid, but she'll never be brave. She'll just always be Kelli, missing a Why.
And PC! And Jessi! Next week looks precariously gay for PC, so... squeal. I think, though, they'll be fine in the end. Jessi will always be Jessi! Always funny and needy, always excited about being bored. I think it might be something to know her in private life. Then again, it could be shitty. She could have just had one good episode. That's, um, more likely, isn't it?
PC: martinis and cigarettes and tight pants and jackets and booths and banquettes and listless drunken girls and little hobo projects and dark-eyed men who stare from corners, from behind candles, from behind panes of glass. That's what PC will be. He'll look back at his first wobbly clucking at this one dinner party and it will seem so forced and practiced, so uneasy and embarrassing. But he'll get better. Oh he'll get better and rule his little roost when he finally gets one and everyone will be scared and delighted and upside down when he comes to a party and starts spewing his words.
And then one day, like all great empires, he'll fall. He'll be 30 maybe, jacketed and between boyfriends, smoky and sour and tired. And he'll start picking away, pick pick pick, at the weakest in the group. A doughy Bowdoin grad who's invited everyone to her parents' Nantucket house. The sun will be setting, orange and blue and lazy on the horizon, and they'll be knee-deep in white wine, a favorite of the house, and at dinner everyone will be hot from the beach, everyone will feel crabby for home, wanting to go back. And PC will nag at this poor girl—her clothes, her school, her chosen lack of job—and everyone will shift awkwardly but laugh still and then finally, like the end of Buffy, this thing will get strength. Bonnie from Bowdoin will raise a verbal fist, make slits of her eyes, take a cool sip of wine, and say "Wait, Peter, weren't you on that reality show? What was it called? New York Prep or something?" And the room will fall silent and electric. And PC will stutter and cough and try to come back with something. But it will be too late. It will be out there. And the rest of the evening PC will just walk on the beach, pretending to be pensive and writerly and interesting. But really he's just trying to figure a way out.
Trying to decide how to best leave this annoying dinner which has, so far, been just desserts.