Sep 6, 2008

Caitlin's Way: Caitlin is so complicated she doesn't even understand herself.

Season 1, Episode 19: Playing Caitlin
Aired: August 13, 2000

We're starting out this episode in what looks to be drama class. I'm sure these kids probably have something like fifteen different classes as required by whatever plot the show is going for at the moment, and at this particular juncture, the show is going for high school plays/teenagers are emo, right? So the kids are in drama, and they're all in it together. I proceed to not understand how this school system works, but it's not really important at this point.

Anyway, they're all in drama. They are talking about something, which leads to the teacher whipping out Caitlin's play and reciting a few lines. The play Caitlin has written is obviously about her life. Naturally, Caitlin finds nothing as interesting as herself, so her play is all about how no one understands her and then she gets arrested for stealing a camera. The teacher just loves her play, but Caitlin understandably is pissed that the teacher read the passage in front of everyone.

Enter Caitlin's whiny voice over about why adults want to get inside the heads of teenagers. Or, gasp, maybe they just want to get inside Caitlin's head! Honestly, I don't see how anyone would want to go in there. They'd just be bored out of their mind.

Returning from the horrible opening sequence (I'm still not over its awfulness), Griffen and his friends, Eric and some other guy, are playing basketball while Eric tells them that he's signed them up to put on a play instead of writing a paper for drama. Initially Griffen is hesitant, but then he decides that this is a good idea. Although Eric and the other guy tell him that they can't use Griffen's play because there are no girls in it. I think it's about time that Griffen just embrace his gayness. Seriously, the signs could not be any clearer at this point.

Cue Caitlin. She wanders onto the basketball court and Eric falls on her like an small, excited dog in attempts to convince her to let them put on her play. Eventually she says yes, although she doesn't really know why. I imagine it's probably another way for her to be the center of attention, regardless of what she's actually saying. So they're all happy. On to the auditions, leading to a ridiculous series of girls bouncing up and down and hiccuping and trying to act seductive, or something like that. Only then this blond girl shows up and sweeps Griffen off his feet because she's blond and kind of pushy. I don't remember her name, so henceforth she will be referred to as Blond Girl. Yeah, I'm not feeling creative today.

Immediately Caitlin starts being critical of Blond Girl's acting, because Blond Girl can't possibly understand Caitlin's motives for being a whiny bitch. Eric is over there getting into his role as the cop that arrests Caitlin, leading to some ridiculous scenes involving roller blading that were not needed. Eventually Eric decides he wants a bigger role that will include a motorcycle, but Caitlin refuses to write that in, dashing Eric's delusions of grandeur. Only then Blond Girl still isn't getting Caitlin's mysteriousness, despite the script supposedly being right there. I don't see how this could be such a problem, but it nevertheless is and this inevitably leads Blond Girl to the decision that the only way to understand Caitlin is to live Caitlin's life.

Don't worry! This is not Single White Female. Blond Girl decides to spend a night in a back alley, where she sits in cat pee and then decides to go home after Griffen somehow wanders across her and asks her what the hell she's doing.

After this, Blond Girl is further confused. She does not understand Caitlin! How could she? The script, you see, is not clear! No one understands why Caitlin stole this stupid camera and why she allowed herself to get caught when she could have hopped over a fence to freedom had she just left the camera where she dropped it. I guess these people don't understand the concept of show not tell, because they need it spelled out for them. Blond Girl decides that she needs to come on to Eric the cop, because I suppose she figures that Caitlin is a whore. Then she opts for crying, because she figures Caitlin is girlier than Caitlin would like to admit in public. That's when Caitlin gets fed up and walks out on the production so she can ride Bandit out to a field and then angst over a copy of her script.

So then she has her great moment of enlightenment. They are right! The script makes no sense because it's just so damn vague. Standing in the field with Bandit, Caitlin plucks a pencil out of thin air and edits her script. Then I guess she races Bandit back to the wherever she came from and shows Blond Girl and Co. the new script at the dress rehearsal. Blond Girl refuses to do the new pages because she can't remember the lines and should therefore probably start looking for another possible career, and Eric throws up and refuses to be a part of the play. So the rehearsal would be falling apart if not for Caitlin's insistence that she play herself. She should have done it all along!

And then we cut to a monologue about how Caitlin wanted to steal the camera because that would mean she's free and would stop having such annoying parental issues and would hopefully stop crying for attention. Everyone at the dress rehearsal loves it, and then I guess Caitlin goes on to personally deliver her private issues to hundreds of her classmates at later performances.

  • "Come on, Caitlin. No one ever comes to our plays. Not after last year's production of Cats." I've never seen Cats, but I can imagine a high school production of it would be horrible.
  • "It's in the literary tradition of The Outsider with stylistic reference to The Phantom Menace." Wow, am I the only one that thinks this play is a really bad idea? Is it even possible to make a stylistic reference to The Phantom Menace? And are we really going to compare Caitlin's life to Albert Camus seriously? Because I think we need to take a good look at this show before we do that.
  • The Blond Girl's audition is her in a Halloween witch costume as she reads from Macbeth. Griffen's response is: "You never see blond witches!" I...yeah, no. I'm just going to keep going.
  • "Black everything. Cheap jewelry, sullen makeup." The Blond Girl takes note of Caitlin's appearance and hits it spot on. Cheap and sullen. She said it better than I ever could.
  • What is with everyone just casually wandering into the public bathrooms? Caitlin strolls into the boy's bathroom, the guys just walk right into the girl's bathrooms. This is a public high school, not a private liberal arts college. Okay?
  • "My dad won't let me shave because I'm too young. This is my face!" Caitlin's monologue inspires Griffen's other friend to rebel and start shaving. My, how Caitlin inspires us all!
Okay, I swear I am reading, but I'm a bit busy at the moment, so these Caitlin's Way episodes more than provide me enough fodder for the blog. I'll have a few books ready to post next week.


Elizabeth said...

I wish Caitlin's Way was about Caitlin Ryan and Jed "using her body." TheN I would so watch it.

Mara said...

Oh, definitely. If they made the Love Trilogy a teen drama, I would be obsessed with it.