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High School Reunion 2, Episode 3: All Talk, Little Actionby Kara Wild -- 04/02/04
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This week on High School Reunion 2, several significant events took place. Daniel finally got past his anger at T.J., and T.J. learned to accept Daniel, if not his lifestyle. Heather F. took Gabe out for a fun day and a serious night, provoking Denise's anxiety. LouAnn connected some more with Johnny. And Trevor finally shed his former "pipsqueak" image once and for all when he went out on a date with Amanda.
So why wasn't I more excited? Oh that's right – I don't care about most of these people.
But there's more to it than that. Significant events took place, and plotlines moved, yet for some reason, a sense of inertia pervaded the episode. For all of the promises of nasty clashes and hair-pulling, Round Rock class of '93 has been remarkably civil. In some ways, I find that refreshing – a sign that while these people might still nurse grudges from the past, they have matured enough into adults that they can talk their feelings out. I just wish we had a more interesting group of adults to listen to.
First, let's look at the continuation of the Denise/Heather F. showdown. (What happened to Stacy, by the way? Didn't she date Gabe, too? Did she ask Heather F. to speak for her, or has she sensibly decided to put this revenge nonsense aside and just have fun?) Heather F. invites Gabe out on a day-long hall pass that includes parasailing and dinner by candelight. Oooooh… Denise is gonna be so pissed! Heather F. finds that her old feelings for Gabe have been rekindled, and Gabe remembers just how much fun Heather used to be. Then, just as we are prepared to see a hotel room… they talk. Gabe actually manages to eek out one good insight, that in high school, when he had to marry Denise, they were "kids who are just seventeen and eighteen, thinking they have adult relationships, not ready to be adults." Heather learns that if she had been pregnant instead of Denise, Gabe would have married her instead. With that rosy scenario in mind, we fast forward to Heather F. and Gabe sharing a tub covered with rose petals and… wait, sorry. Wrong couple. Actually, all that happens after is that Heather F. and Gabe head back to Reunion Central. Meanwhile, Denise spends the day fretting out on the balcony, unable to deny that Gabe and Heather might rekindle their flame. And so, the clash of the century that has been promised will have to wait another week.
I just have to interject: What is Heather F. thinking? Again, while Denise might be deluded for thinking Gabe will just melt into her arms, Heather's behavior seems not only short-sighted, but self-destructive. She knows that Gabe has two children by Denise (as she mockingly pointed out in the last episode); has she thought about what would happen if she and Gabe got serious? She would be in a relationship that included kids. Impressionable kids. Gabe and Denise's kids. Which means that she would not only have to treat her relationship with much more maturity than she otherwise might, but as long as she went out with Gabe, she would be linked to Denise. If she doesn't want to become "Dad's evil girlfriend" or the "wicked stepmother," she'd better change her attitude toward "the ex" pronto.
On to LouAnn and Johnnycakes. Johnny takes LouAnn out on another hall pass, where he confesses his feelings (again) and LouAnn expresses mixed emotions (again). And somewhere on the other side of the island, Jeralyn single-handedly stops an out-of-control tourist bus from diving off of an overpass. Oh wait – wrong show. Wrong genre. Anyway, LouAnn wonders if she really is ready to let Johnny back into her heart, or whether the beauty of Hawaii is affecting her emotions. She worries about her boyfriend back home, and feels that if she is going to make a choice between him and Johnny, she wants to be absolutely sure that it is the right one. Again, let me reiterate that it is refreshing, on reality television, to see two people talking about their feelings rather than just tearing off each other's clothes, choosing a partner from an array of strangers, or setting up elaborate hoaxes based on money.
However, LouAnn and Johnny don't compel. LouAnn seems like a nice enough person, generally loyal to those she cares about (as evidenced by the way she stuck up for Denise and her three-year relationship back home), but as I've said before, there's nothing else there. Same with Johnny. Maybe they have had some rough experiences post-high school that have helped shape them. Maybe one of them has traveled around the world, or fed starving orphans in Paraguay. No matter, it doesn't come through in their conversations. In real life, they might be fascinating, but on screen these people are bland, vanilla, oatmeal, crusts-off white bread boring.1 2 Next-->
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