So what have we learned from the St. Patrick’s Day party? Well, for one, that Walt has missed his calling if he’s not currently working as a superspy. Also, that the man who loves diarrhea games and totes around a special Sharpie for graffiti pranks was the most popular guy in school. And that life can be turned to garbage by two malevolent Jennifers and a Nick Carter wannabe who couldn’t locate a G-spot if he had a state-of-the-art TomTom to guide him. Despite my grumbles about having to wait for four episodes to learn anything about the hellish green soiree, this half-hour offered up a satisfying payoff. Less satisfying was seeing some of my own early-aughts style choices onscreen. (Adorning our mammaries with the word “Juicy” was not the fashion slam-dunk we thought it was.)
Having promised to send the ringer her reports when his flight lands in an hour, Danner has exactly 60 minutes to crack the case. She asks for a volunteer to tell her privately about the St. Patty’s blowout, but Walt wants everyone gathered in Xavier’s living room to finally hear what he has to say. Though nobody remembers his presence at Hillmount High or gawky participation in several key reunion moments, it was he who held the infamous bash of 2006. Walt narrates the story as though he’s a character in a teen house-party flick. But even in his own mind movie, he’s little more than a bit player, lurking in the periphery of his classmates’ dramas with stammering offers of GOP tank-tops and stew. It’s a horrifying goody bag, but, by golly, it’s made with love.
Aniq’s Stanford acceptance has given him the confidence to ask Zoë on a legit, honest-to-God date, and therefore he proposes that they hit the party at approximately the same time and then kinda roam the house until they find each other. He knows he can’t seal the deal without Shaggy (natch) and an acrostic letter-puzzle (natch?), so he labors over a mix CD and winds up arriving at the gathering far later than his chem partner. Zoë, killing time, swigs down a drink or two and falls into conversation with Brett, who is demonstrably horny for her and will also be sharing her city for the next four years. When he reveals he’s bringing his car, one can almost hear the coffin-lid slamming shut on Aniq’s romantic prospects. Freshman wooers with their own vehicles are rare. Aniq’s playlist better be chock full of Shaggy bangers.
Xavier, a big ol’ prepster Labrador puppy, bounds into the party to display the blond and center-parted hair he calls a new persona. Like a seer practices divination through tea leaves, Yasper peers at his buddy’s frosted tips and foresees a near-future in which he runs fast and far in the opposite musical direction. It’s time for Ska-pe Diem to break up, he decrees. Even Aniq has noticed that the musicians’ “vibes” have become too different. Xavier, already bitter that he’s been waitlisted at Stanford, sees the entering Aniq and shoves this two-faced Yoko of Ska into the pool. Aww, did he drop his mix CD? Jerk’ll just have to pick it up, pick it up, pick it up!
Aniq slinks to the bathroom, trying to dry his outfit and plastic circular love-note before Zoë can spot him. Walt offers Aniq a Bush/Cheney shirt that’s sure to set Zoë’s loins afire and asks if people are having fun. If folks are enjoying the party, they might finally remember his name, and then he won’t have to keep spelling it out in cake frosting and pool floaties. He and Aniq have a brief moment of connection before Aniq ruins it with the blast of a hairdryer, and Walt concludes that the only remaining course of attention-getting action is to perform nude sprints in front of his peers.
Chelsea, too, isn’t in the cheeriest frame of mind, as the Jennifers keep shooting her the stink-eye for crushing Ned’s bro-y little heart. She bonds with Xavier, who’s similarly smarting from a breakup, and the two Bacardi away their troubles. When Chelsea starts feeling nauseated, Xavier escorts her to the nearest boudoir to lie down. En route, they pass several classmates who assume that Xavier and Chelsea are about to explore each other’s anatomy. This is the furthest thing from Chelsea’s booze-swirled brain, but it strikes Xavier as a decent idea, and he scooches his Aéropostale-adorned bod against hers. She quickly disabuses him of the notion that he’s getting into her Erin-go-bra (apologies), and he slinks back out of the room, only to be met with a camera lens and a sea of eager eyeballs. Did they do it? Xavier is a natural actor, as his illustrious film career attests, and pretty soon he has the masses in thrall with tales of his coital prowess. Xavier really puts the “ew” in “copulation.”
As Chelsea stumbles out of the bedroom to learn that everyone thinks she’s a promiscuous heartbreaker who can’t hold her liquor (just wait till you see her alcohol tolerance in 15 years!), Aniq comes to his own terrible realization: his lengthy bathroom stint has given Brett more than enough time to work his wiles on Zoë. Aniq chucks his CD in the trash, but Chelsea’s post-puke stumble into the wastebasket sends the disc rolling into Brett’s feet. Brett — who sure knows how to get into a dame’s drawers, even if he doesn’t have a clue about what to do when he arrives there — claims that he made the mix for Zoë. The moment Zoë hears the dulcet tones of Shaggy, her lady-bits belong exclusively to Brett. Aniq is out of the game.
Xavier mocks Aniq’s bruised heart, and Aniq responds by “bruising” Xavier’s brand new Miata with a baseball bat. He and Xavier flap at each other like angry waterfowl until the cops arrive, and everyone but Indigo scatters (I need that girl’s book recs, stat). By mewling that he’s related to the founder of Gene’s Beans, Xavier suffers no consequences for the lawn scuffle. Aniq is granted no such privilege and pleads with “Eugene” not to press charges and cause him to lose his scholarship. Xavier, high on rich-kid entitlement and the afterglow of his fictional sex conquests, does the very opposite. Walt, meanwhile, broods in the doorway, his dreams of streaking his way into the hearts and minds of his classmates indefinitely put on hold.
Aniq, who has rejoined the group, understands that the story makes him look like the fellow most likely to shove Xavier and his prawns off the balcony. As he reads his Bandaid-repaired evidence aloud, and it dawns on him that he’s reciting song lyrics written and rejected by Xavier, and he readies himself to be hauled off in handcuffs. But Zoë, who knows now that Brett stole credit for Aniq’s love disc, steps forward to be interrogated. By telling her side of things to the detectives, maybe this shorty can serve as Aniq’s angel. His da-arling angel.
• Yasper, with a mantra he’s sure to stick with: “It’s like I always say: You get one shot in life.”
• What song was Walt karaoke-ing? I’m only a little older than these characters, and neither Google nor I can recall a ditty about turning zeroes into hearts in my head.
• Joan’s Vote for Homekilling King: Oh, Ned for sure. Prior to hearing Walt’s narrative, Ned thought that Xavier had shtupped Chelsea during the St. Patrick’s Day shindig, and this tryst drove him into the arms of the objectively terrible Jenn No. 1. Xavier could have redeemed himself by doing a halfway accurate Legal Beagle impression at the reunion, but no-o-o.