Where we discuss MTV's Beloved "Real-Life" Soap Opera

September 8, 1998


This week: Big Bad Mean Streets!

From the introductory shots of litter-strewn urban streets, I figured that this was going to be a particularly grimy episode. Seattle was the home of that whole grunge thing, no? Well, don't get your hopes up, gang. We learn from Dave that many of his friends from Boston are in the Big House, the Slammer, the Hoosegow. Dave was once hurtling towards those same destinations, too, but he veered away just in time to go to Virginia Military Institute. Dearies, I could almost hear the chorus singing, "You won't come back from Dead Man's Curve!". Dave doesn't want to divulge exactly what he did, which leads me to believe that it probably wasn't all that impressive.

So, now that he's on the straight and narrow, respecting the speed limit and obeying all traffic signals, who should come along but his voluble friend Shannon from Boston. Dave says she's a "real good kid", but unlucky for us, he doesn't warn us to turn down the volume on our teevee sets. When she shows up at the fish market, she immediately launches into a earsplitting tirade about taking a cab and then another about Dave's piscine odor. Dave does acknowledge that his gal pal is "crazy" and "out of hand", but those are her good qualities. You know what? I just wanted to see her and Lindsay interact. I also wanted to hear her say, "The gah-bage from my yahd is in my pahk-ed cah."

They go out to a bar (or "bah"), and her terrier-like energy manages to infect the place something awful. As they exit, they must face a gauntlet of violently inebriated young men, where, according to Dave, "testosterone is flying everywhere". Unfortunately, terrier-like energy and testosterone don't mix. Some guy tells Shannon to "get out of his face", then threatens to get into her face...with his fists. Dave comes to the damsel's defense, and knocks out two of the bruiser's two front teeth. Our hero sustains minor injuries on his hand and knee. Nathan, a witness to the brawling, states, "No one wants to see a lady get hit, especially if she's one of Dave's friends." So, what manner of delicate apple blossom is Shannon, anyway?

The police arrive. Will Dave's past catch up with him? Alas, no, my friends. Instead, we see footage of him talking to the cops and standing up for womens everywhere! Shannon is suddenly sorry that she got Dave in this mess; to make up for instigating the brawl, she changes into Florence Nightingale, albeit a very brassy Florence Nightingale.

Meanwhile, the girls record another installment of Dead Air. Everything's going along swimmingly. Lindsay's mouth threatens to swallow her face. Irene reads from a script, even after she scornfully dismissed that practice last week. Suddenly, something goes screwy and ruins the tape! It turns out that Mean Streets Dave forgot to erase a cart before recording something new on it. He was too busy thinking about how he almost didn't make it around Dead Man's Curve! But, now he's run into Traffic Cop Phil at "The End, Seattle's New Music Repeater", and he's going to get a talking-to.

The girls all discuss Dave's rather flexible take on reality. Rebecca calls him "a B.S.er". Janet compares him to a used car salesman. When the girls lightly express these sentiments to the Young Angry Bostonian himself, he takes it very seriously. Even though we've forgotten about his military school ethos, he hasn't, by gum. He informs them that he's given up the "privilege of the fun life, the privilege of being dishonest" and adheres to a strict code of honor. He's deeply insulted by their view of him, and he warns them with obscenities, as is appropriate for a toughie like himself.

Rebecca, who "cannot deal" with angry people, rushes to make up. Dave explains his code of honor once more for everyone's benefit. Later, Phil talks to Dave about his lack of commitment. Contrary to Dave's Spartan Ideal, his passion for fish-tossing and knuckle bruising has been interfering with the radio job. If he doesn't buckle down, he's out on his ear! However, Phil, that old softie, gives him another chance. Dave underwhelms us with his dedication by asking the band Fastball about the new album and cannibalism. "Good interview," sayeth Fastball. Victory for Dave!

The second plot centers on Stephen and his histrionic reaction to his mother's pregnancy. Why, he might as well be a pregnant lil' miss himself, for all the emotional peaks and valleys he's experiencing. When the story opens, Stephen's mom is due any day, and this inspires Stephen to detail his childhood history to Janet over a pool game. She doesn't really look like she enjoys learning all about him being beaten with an extension cord.

Stephen then is reunited with the uncles he never knew he had. They agree to meet at the fish market, and it's easy for Stephen to recognize them, because they're the only black people in the joint. Boy, that fish market sure is getting a lot of press out of these kids, isn't it? So, now Stephen has a whole new audience to moan his family history to, and he accepts them into the fold with relish.

But, even two middle-aged men can't soak up enough of his angst, so he comes home and bends Rebecca's ear, too. "You wanna hear some of my poetry for a second?" he inquires. Shockingly, Rebecca assents. We hear a mercifully short free verse exploration of parental arguments, slamming doors, et al. A piece is missing from this fragile young man! Oh, the humanity! Rebecca says that she "really likes that one", so we can only assume that she's had to endure others of the same ilk. That Stephen.. invite him to your next coffee klatch, darlings, he's such a sparkling conversationalist!

Stephen gets a call that his mother is having a C-section. When he tries to leave a message, the nurse is completely uncooperative. She sounds like a snotty 16 year old. I wondered where his mom was birthing that baby, the mall? Of course, big surprise, Wee Nursie Ratchet makes Stephen cry. Everything turns out ok, of course. Stephen's mom delivers a big fat baby girl via C-section. Victory for Stephen!

Number of times Dave appears shirtless: 1, and his undies are falling down, too.

The most annoying character? Stephen's such a One Note Nellie, he wins this dubious award for this week.

Next time: Irene's sick. Is it contagious?


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