1.9: The Party
Oh my God, this episode was hilarious. It managed to tackle racial identity, family dysfunction, and suicidal thoughts during a teenage keg party. Who ever thought that was possible? Who ever thought that was possible for this show? Not I.
Anyway, the premise is this: Jean and Ian are going to a horse show and will be gone from the farm for twenty-four hours. Jean is trusting Mike and Ashleigh to take care of the house for this piddly amount of time, and of course they can't manage this (or, I should say, Mike can't handle it) because Brad comes along and convinces Mike that he should really let him throw a party at "Casa Reese" while Jean is away. Mike, being stupid, allows Brad to talk him into this idea and before you know it Brad has ordered a photo booth, a cotton candy machine, and has started to invite girls with added requests to bring their bathing suits despite Casa Reese not having a pool. Mike points this lack of a pool out to Brad, who then has to point out to Mike that he's an idiot. It does not matter, you silly boy! Girls, bathing suits, alcohol...apparently Mike is the most responsible irresponsible teenager ever because he doesn't get it. Of course, he could be asking what's up with the cotton candy machine. Brad actually had a good reason for the photo booth: "If any of our friends become celebrities we can sell our photos of them." It's a remarkably brilliant, if ridiculous plan. The cotton candy machine really has no purpose, unless Brad was going for some carnival theme, which is weird because these are teenagers and since when do keggers really have themes? Non-Halloween keggers, anyway?
Meanwhile, Ashleigh is studying for her GED, and when Brad invites her to the party she has to take the moral high road and decline. Brad assures her that he knows she'll show up, and without fail she does, if only because she looks out the window and sees her long lost friend, Win (who does not have a Thoroughbred equivalent, so he is just Win) show up at the house. She rushes to the house and throws herself at him, introducing him to Brad and Mike, who look appropriately threatened, as her "old old old friend." They rush off to talk about their matching star tattoos in the photo booth, and she discovers that Win has bruises that his father put there, instigating a whole talk about how he lost it on his dad, who is pressing charges on him, and immediately Ashleigh selfishly reprimands him about her own parole, etc. Everyone looks very shell shocked, and Ashleigh rushes out of the booth to notice Brad being mauled by a crazy blond girl who is trying to blackmail him into showering her with attention so she can make someone else jealous.
THEN (yeah) we have Dani and this guy named Evan. Evan is black, so first he has to get all offended because Dani asks him what sports he plays. Evan plays calculus, bitch. Then he makes some crack about her self-esteem, which inevitably leads them to a journey of platonic self reflection in Mike's room, or something. Who knows. Dani is broken up about her mom, Evan wants to be a doctor, not a lawyer, oh cry me a river, people. Anyway, Mike shows up and forces them to leave so he can have a moment alone to wonder why he's so stupid, probably.
Before you know it, everyone is running around with cotton candy on their heads (including Mike) and Ashleigh finds Brad so they can troop right into the photo booth and kiss and try to figure out why they are doing what they are doing. Brad tries to say he has feelings for her, and Ashleigh says they aren't good at this whole talking thing...they should make out more. They're good at that, you see. So they commence kissing some more, and then Ashleigh's all "but what about Mike?" and Brad literally says, "He wouldn't fit in here." I actually really liked this scene. It was very Brad and Ashleigh...which is ironic considering this show wasn't based on Thoroughbred fan fiction. Anyway.
Moving on, the blond girl somehow winds up with only underwear on. And there's some insane game of Twister that involves dancing and a paint brush. And people actually have the audacity to spray paint on the walls...which must be some teenage level of stupid because usually most keg parties end with random items being stolen. Like cabinet handles and empty CD cases. Drunk people are weird. I don't know.
Getting back to the Win and Ashleigh situation, Mike finds that Win has a gun on him and he reverts into morally upstanding and manly on him. Ashleigh saves Win and drags him out to see Wonder, and then he tells her that he somehow was the one that caused her to wind up at juvy in the first place. Ashleigh is pissed, and this lead to Win trying to kill himself. Mike appears and throws his fists around a little, and Ashleigh tries to reassure Win that she doesn't hate him. Then Mike goes and actually cuts up Win's gun.
The party eventually ends. Win goes home with Ashleigh's friendship still intact, and then the three start to clean up the trashed house. Brad has to build a bookcase from Ikea that Ashleigh winds up helping him with after he completely loses it and starts cursing the Swedish. She fixes the bookcase and then he blurts out that he thinks he's in love with her after a conversation about how men are all dogs. Brad, for all of us who may be curious, is a Jack Russell. This was actually sweet, despite my recap not giving it any justice. Ashleigh tries to tell him that he doesn't even know her, and she doesn't even know him, but he's persistent, saying that Jack Russells are very determined and they'll get to know each other. Then Mike comes along and accidentally breaks the bookcase, like we all knew he would.
Jean returns home, is upset that the cookies are gone, and never knows about the party. Then Mike finds the photo booth slip of Brad and Ashleigh not only making out, but staring at each other longingly, and he stares pensively. Poor Mike has been losing in serious fashion for weeks now and he never even knew. I don't feel sorry for him.
Next up, this other female jockey comes along and causes chaos for everyone. I have not watched these episodes yet, but I imagine her Thoroughbred equivalent is going to be Cindy.
So that's it for 2008, guys. See you all in 2009!