Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

The Heist, part two   Leave a comment

Scene Two

Another gallery room. This one is dedicated to Impressionism. Jake is waiting, examining two paintings: one is an example of pointillism, Jake’s favorite form, and one is an example of divisionism.

Susan enters. She looks like the sort of person who would demand to see the manager. She is here to absorb some sort of personality, and unfortunately, she is in Jake’s realm. She looks at the divisionist painting.

Susan: That looks like something my daughter painted in kindergarten.

Jake laughs, and not nicely, because he hates divisionism, but not for that reason.

Susan: And why is this painting so fuzzy? What could possibly be the purpose of that?
Jake: The human mind creates patterns where there aren’t any. The painter uses a combination of CMYK color printing, like newspapers. What we are really seeing is just dots, but our mind blends them all together to create images that aren’t there. And look at this painting (indicates the divisionist painting), really that’s just squares arranged using optical color theory, whose primary colors are green, blue, and red. Like television. But it’s cheap because they can form the shapes much more easily that by simply dotting suggestively like with pointillism.

Susan began this conversation interested, since she is here to absorb culture, but she nods off after a while.

Susan: I hate modern art.

She exits.

Jake: It’s not modern.

Jake leaves those two paintings and examines a third one. Rachel enters with Michelle, a museum administrator, and Officer Dupin.

Michelle: We’ve ordered 2500 color pamphlets for the opening.
Rachel: Are they three-panel or one-sheet?
Michelle: Three-panel. They should be here on the 24th however.
Rachel: Oh that’s not enough time. Do you know what time on Friday?

Michelle, rather than answering, is looking at Jake. Rachel turns to see as well.

Rachel: Jake?

Officer Dupin grabs Michelle’s arm and pulls her offstage. After a moment, both stick their heads back in the gallery. On the other side, Officer Eskars, Jackie the head of IT, Brittany the intern, and several other employees also stick their heads in to watch.

Jake: Rachel. You’ve been my best friend for so long. I know we’ve only been dating for six months-
Rachel: Wait oh my god.
Jake: -but we’ve already been through so much together. I know I don’t have much-
Rachel: Oh my god.
Jake: -but I’d rather have nothing with you than everything and…not you.
Rachel: Oh my god.
Jake: I don’t have a ring, but I love you.
Rachel: Oh my god.
Jake: Will you marry me?
Rachel: Oh my god.

A beat.

Rachel: Wait I have to answer.
Jake: Yes.
Rachel: Oh my god.

Another beat.

Rachel: Oh! Yes. Yes I will marry you.

All the eavesdroppers cheer. Jake kisses Rachel.

Dupin: Alright, guys, let’s give them some privacy, clear out, nothing to see here, bye bye…(etc., until everyone leaves) Congratulations, you two.

Dupin exits.

Jake: Let’s get married tonight.
Rachel: Wait what?
Jake: Why not? We couldn’t afford a big wedding anyway. Not on your government salary.
Rachel: That’s not what I was expecting.
Jake: It’ll be a whirlwind romance. We’ll tell our kids about it. It’ll make for a great story. My buddy Paul’s a great photographer, you can put on that blue dress I like, we’ll sign the license on the fourth floor and then get married on the second floor…
Rachel: But that’s not what I want. I want the whole kaboodle, the white dress and the flowers.
Jake: We can get some flowers.
Rachel: But this isn’t an emergency. We’re not…this isn’t the nineteenth century and I’m pregnant or something. This is the twenty-first century. We can take our time. I want our wedding to be perfect. We could get married in the Statues Hall, they have a slot available in eleven months.
Jake: Babe.
Rachel: Jake.
Jake: Do you really want the stress and drama of a big wedding? Before I met you I couldn’t even imagine getting married.
Rachel: Babe, we met in college.
Jake: And I’ve been dreaming about marrying you ever since.

This reaches her.

Jake: I just don’t want to wait any longer.

She takes his hand and nods. They start to exit.

Rachel: Oh my god I’m going to be Rachel Barfknecht.
Jake: That’s cool. It’s the twenty-first century. You don’t have to take my name. In fact, I’ll become Jake Smith.

Eskars enters. He and Jake nod at each other.

Rachel: Really?
Jake: Yeah. I’ve always hated the name Barfknecht.
Rachel: Babe.
Jake: Jake Smith. Husband of Rachel Smith. And our children, Pierre-Auguste Smith and Mary Berthe Smith.
Rachel: You mean Livinia and Leonardo .
Jake: No, I mean Pierre and Mary.

They exit, still arguing.

Posted June 28, 2017 by agentksilver in writing

New me, new play writing   Leave a comment

Scene one, the Exhibition Gallery

The gallery is mostly bare, with two large doorways (one on stage left and one on stage right), a bench or two, a sign for the upcoming Giovanni di Como exhibit, and one painting: a large portrait of a fashionable woman of the Italian Renaissance. This painting is totally not the Mona Lisa and Giovanni di Como is absolutely not Leonardo da Vinci.

There are two people on stage: Officer Dupin, and Ellen Corby. Dupin is a security guard, several hours into his shift. Ellen is a lady in her 70s, retired, hunched and frail. She is standing and studying the painting, which we’re going to call Lady Madonna.

On the other side of the stage from Dupin, Officer Eskars enters. Despite looking like a security guard, the uniform is slightly different from Dupin’s. Eskars and Ellen look at each other. Eskars nods. Ellen stares. Eskars departs before Dupin can look up.

Ellen turns to leave through the other entryway, when Rachel Smith, museum curator, enters. She stops when she sees Ellen.

Rachel: Oh, admiring the Lady Madonna?
Ellen: I’m surprised you have it out already. This sign says the exhibit doesn’t start until the twenty-fifth.
Rachel: I decided to bring it out early. Why would you have a painting as famous as the Lady and keep it in storage?
Ellen: I take it you’re a woman of some importance here.
Rachel: I am. I’m a curator of this institution. Rachel Smith. Can I have your name please?
Ellen: Yes, Ellen. Ellen Corby.
Rachel: Wonderful, it’s very nice to meet you, Ellen. There’s a reason this painting is so famous. Just look at its use of classical Renaissance techniques. In this case, the triangle framing, formed by the arch of her arms, meeting just above her eyes. And most creatively, the background is terrible. The perspective is all off, making it look flat and dull when it’s actually a beautiful Italian countryside. It all works to draw you into her marvelous eyes.
Dupin: I thought this painting was so famous because it was stolen in the 1920s.
Rachel: Yes, that did increase the notoriety of the piece. It was gone for eight years until it showed up one day at an auction.
Dupin: Did they ever figure out who stole it?
Ellen: No.
Dupin: I bet it was someone in the auction house.
Ellen: No…
Rachel: I don’t think they were involved in the theft, necessarily. But I bet they knew who stole it. It’s a very thin line between art collection and art crime. They probably ran in the same circles.
Ellen: You’re a very astute woman, aren’t you?
Rachel: Art is a cutthroat world, Ellen. I’m very fortunate to make it to where I am legitimately. It’s a shame painting isn’t as valued in the modern day. Picasso drew on his napkins to pay for his lunches. There’s so many choices in every brushstroke. Every painting is the result of so many choices. It’s so much more personal than…anything, really.
Ellen: You are a wonderful young woman.
Rachel: Oh, thank you.
Ellen: When are you here? Monday through Friday?
Rachel: Oh, most days. I practically live here. My cats never see me. I come home and they say, “Who are you? Are you going to feed us?”

Jake enters.

Jake: Babe!
Rachel: Oh, hey handsome.

They embrace. He grabs her butt as they part, making her laugh. At some point in this conversation, Dupin exits.

Rachel: (to Ellen) This is my boyfriend, Jake. (to Jake) We were just talking about the Lady Madonna.
Jake: What, like the Beatles song?
Rachel: No, like-
Jake: Lady Madonna, children at her feet-
Rachel: You know what I-
Jake: Wonder how you manage to make ends meet?
Rachel: Like the painting right behind us.
Jake: That painting?
Rachel: Yes.
Jake: The one right behind you.
Rachel: Yes.
Jake: The one you’ve been talking about nonstop for eight months now?
Rachel: Jake.
Jake: No, I don’t know what painting you’re talking about.
Rachel: Anyway, what are you doing here? I’m at work.
Jake: Oh, work, you’re never at work.
Rachel: Jake.
Jake: I just wanted to see you.
Rachel: You couldn’t wait until dinner?
Jake: No, I wanted to tell you, my buddy Paul is arranging for a boy’s night tonight, and I thought, since you’re always busy, especially with this new exhibition…
Rachel: Oh. Okay. Go ahead.
Jake: You’re not mad?
Rachel: No.
Jake: Yeah, I thought, if I told you in person, maybe you wouldn’t be so mad.
Rachel: You have fun. I need a night to myself anyway. My cats miss me.
Jake: Thanks babe.
Rachel: You don’t need my permission. You’re a grown man.
Jake: Yup. Thanks. Bye babe.

He squeezes her butt and then leaves.

Rachel: He’s so sweet, isn’t he?
Ellen: Very sweet. What is his name again?
Rachel: Jake Barfknecht.
Ellen: What an unusual last name.
Rachel: I know!
Ellen: Well, Miss Smith, it was very nice to meet you.
Rachel: It was very nice to see you too. Thank you for visiting. I hope to see you here again soon!
Ellen: Oh I’ll be back.

Rachel exits. Ellen turns back to the Lady Madonna painting. She steps closer to it, looking at the frame. Officer Eskars enters.

Ellen: This painting reminds me of my late husband. Beautiful, but flat.
Eskars: I find it rather dull.
Ellen: You would, wouldn’t you? Doing this every day. (when Eskars does not answer) You’re just waiting for me to leave, aren’t you? When does the museum close?
Eskars: At five o’clock most days, at eight o’clock on Saturdays.
Ellen: I do like Saturdays.
Eskars: I see.
Ellen: My late husband and I had a regular dinner date every Saturday at 7:45 precisely. It would mess with the crowds, you know.
Eskars: That seems risky.
Ellen: Why should young people be the only ones to have fun?
Eskars: This isn’t fun.
Ellen: Why, officer!

Ellen exits.

Posted June 21, 2017 by agentksilver in writing

From my brainstorming while walking   Leave a comment

When Lorna untied the knot, she found herself — somewhere familiar. The trees were gray, the leaves were dark, and she could smell the dampness in the air. Beneath her feet, the leaves were wet. She glanced around. There were thorns. A crow screamed nearby. Somewhere — behind her, to the left — there was a brook. The brook led back to the village, if you went upstream.

Lorna walked forward. She untied the knot fully, and then she plucked a different string from her pocket, her fingers working quickly. She had to hardly look at what she was doing. She could feel the strings vibrate. Someone was near–

She barely stepped out of the way in time. A figure fell. Lorna stopped and turned. The figure scrambled in the leaves, regaining her feet. A dull brown dress, a grey apron, dark brown hair, cut short, and finally the girl turned to look Lorna in the eyes.

Lorna looked back at herself. Her eyes were wide, frantic, terrified. There was a cut on her cheek and on her neck. Her nose was rubbed raw with dirt and more dirt, or perhaps blood.

“Quickly,” said this Lorna, “Which way to the village?”

“A doppelganger,” Lorna guessed.

“Tell me, stranger, please, which way to the village? The witch has been gone for three days, I only just escaped — father said mother could hide me, that she would, she could, where is the village?”

“A specter,” said Lorna. “A mirror specter, or an uncreative one.”

Lorna grabbed her shoulders. “Please, miss, please tell me, I have to find my way home — the witch could be back any minute–”

“You’re the witch’s girl,” said Lorna. “The one everyone keeps talking about. I saw you, you were throwing leaves in the king’s palace.”

“It was me, miss, please, tell me where the village is.”

“You have been Lorna the whole time,” said Lorna.

“Please, please, miss, please, where is the village?” Lorna fell to the ground. There were tears in her eyes, they looked so much like her mother’s, like Lorna’s. “My father only just cut the scarf, and I’m free, and the witch will be here soon, I’m sure of it, please, tell me where the village is!”

Lorna froze. She looked around. She scuttled off, struggling on four limbs. She found a tree, and hid behind it.

Lorna could sense it too. She looked around, clutching her knot. She wrapped the two ends around her two index fingers. She wrote runes in her head, thinking of the power. The air smelled of swamp and rot. The witch was coming.

She turned, and there she was, the witch.

“Where is my sister?” asked Lorna.

“You have no sister,” said the witch.

“I do have a sister,” said Lorna, “She is my only family, and you will return her to me.” She twisted the knots in her fingers.

But the knots struggled against her fingers. One knot poked a different direction than she meant. Lorna felt the mud beneath her feet. The witch was trying to throw her off her balance, take away her movement. “You never had a sister,” said the witch, “You even called her Cousin growing up.”

Lorna started a new knot, feeling the roots beneath the mud move. If the earth was free, then so were the trees.

“She is like a sister now.”

“She is not even a girl.”

“She is my only family now.” Now, with Jonpast’s daughter huddled behind a tree, Lately would be Lorna’s only family indeed.

“I am your mother,” said the witch.

“You are not my mother.” Lorna frowned.

“I am your mother,” said the witch, “I carved you from the rotten earth of this forest and nestled you in the arms of a dumb animal of the village.”

“Then the earth of this forest hates you,” said Lorna.

The roots snapped out of the earth, throwing mud every which way. But the witch threw out her arms, and great rocks knocked the roots out of the way, leaving her unharmed but covered in mud.

“Are you surprised then?” said the witch.

“I have met Jonpast’s daughter,” said Lorna. “She is no peer of mine, dumb and scuttling on the earth, throwing leaves every which way. You cannot touch the soil of humanity.”

“What?”

“You threw leaves into the halls of great kings because you cannot touch their ground.”

Her right foot sank into the mud, but Lorna’s magic undid her shoelace, and she touched the mud with her own stocking foot, feeling the ground between her toes. The witch’s lip curled in fury. A vine snapped behind Lorna, but she plucked a snot. The roots caught the vine and pulled down the tree. The witch sailed into the air. She lifted up her hands, and water poured into the earth.

Lorna screamed, and fire burst forth. The water evaporated into steam.

“You tricked the hunter into switching his child, and then you were trapped by your own servants for fourteen years!”

“I own my slaves,” hissed the witch. She flew behind Lorna.

Listen, I haven’t written the parts before this so I’m just gonna stop it here, okay</i<

Posted April 30, 2016 by agentksilver in writing

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This is most of what I remember from my dream   1 comment

“What else could it mean?” asked Mother. “That awful place, that awful religion, they chose that husband. And the Hole told me to bow before him.”

“Maybe bowing means something different in Hole,” said the other twin, who hadn’t spoken before now. “What do you do when you bow before a hole?”

“You dig into it,” said the first twin.

“How do you dig into you husband?” asked the Convert. “You, what, you stab him?”

“You stab him,” the mother said, quieter.

The kitchen grew quiet. The candles flickered. Out there, the Island was waiting. He was waiting.

Posted April 26, 2016 by agentksilver in writing

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  Leave a comment

In an underground tunnel. Claire and Eva are waving flashlights. Claire, 21, is taller, more secure and in her element; she walks briskly, and seems to be looking for something. Eva, 18, follows. She slumps, and has an air of exhaustion about her at all times. Every movement seems to be made of extreme effort.

They find an area lit from above. The light blinks. Claire stops to study it. Eva, uninterested, simply looks around. A camera flashes, not too far away. They turn and look. The camera flashes again. Then another girl steps out of the shadows: Andy, 23, dressed warmly. She has a warm presence, and is smiling. In this case, she seems to be asking for forgiveness.

Andy: Hey, sorry! Your figures just seemed to good, you know, just lit up against the darkness. Your silhouettes were fantastic. I should have warned you. I should have said something. Hi, I’m Andy.

Claire gawks at her. Eva waits, tired.

Andy: I’m an urban spelunker! Explorer. I like Explorer better, don’t you? It flows better. Anyway, I’ve always like exploring abandoned places. There’s just an air of…rawness. Of the humanity that left this area behind.
Claire: Nature creeping in!
Andy: I guess, but you don’t see a whole lot nature in the city, do you?
Claire: We are also urban explorers. Yes. What got you interested in urban exploring?
Andy: I started when I was maybe ten years old. I started exploring all the sewers by my house. I don’t think they were actually sewers, just water runoff. But it was nice and cool there in the summer, and you didn’t really know where you were. I loved that. I just loved being separated from the world. You meet all sorts of cool people doing this. Lots of homeless people, lots of drug addicts. Really interesting people. I tend to just do this by myself, mostly, I’m surprised to see you guys do this in a group.
Claire: It’s just the two of us.
Andy: I guess it’s safer that way.
Eva: We’re here to hunt ghosts.
Andy: What?
Claire: No.
Eva: We hunt and kill ghosts for profit.
Claire: Not at all.
Eva: We hunt and kill ghosts for fun.
Claire: We don’t kill anything. Ahahahaha.
Andy: You’re ghost hunters?
Claire: It’s a side business. Not even profitable.
Andy: It’s a legit business?
Claire: I guess so? I mean, we’re a registered LLC with an EIN and everything, but, like, that’s mostly just so I can claim business expenses on my tax return. Eva does a lot of the work but I can’t hire her technically, she’s like sixteen.
Eva: I’m eighteen.
Claire: What? Since when?
Eva: The entire time that we’ve know each other.
Claire: What? She’s eighteen.
Andy: You guys are funny.
Claire: Oh!
Andy: I don’t normally hang out with people. I like the quiet. It gets the muses going.
Claire: We’re normally very quiet. Eva hardly talks at all.

Indeed, they look at Eva, and Eva is looking elsewhere, tired and bored.

Andy: So do you think there’s ghosts here? I can feel an energy here.
Claire: Yeah?
Andy: Yeah.

They Gaze at each other.

Andy: I didn’t catch your name.
Claire: Claire.

The wind blows.

Claire: Is that what I think it is?

Eva points.

Claire: Let’s get it.

Guys I’m kinda tired and I’ll write the hunt later.

Posted April 8, 2016 by agentksilver in writing

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Introducing Lorna and Lately   Leave a comment

The day was dry and hot, but the brook was cool. The women all bunched their skirts around their thighs, knotted them in place, and waded into the brook. Some of them carried baskets and others washboards. The brook was perfect for doing the wash. Large rocks littered the whole brook, so that they could rest the baskets on top of them, or set the whole washboard against the rocks and not worry about them falling over.

Lorna loved going into the woods. Other girls might shirk the duty, but she never did. She loved the smell of the water (other girls said that the water didn’t smell, but of course it did). The other girls said that there were beasts in the woods, bullywogs and will o’ the wisps and bugbears and death dogs and trolls and wolves and bandits. So what if there were? Wouldn’t that be neat?

Her cousin Lately set her washboard down. Lorna set the basket on top of a rock nearby. They set themselves apart from the other women. It was just the two of them, and the shade of the trees. Lorna could feel the rocks under her feet and between her toes. She could feel the dirt wiggling under the current. She could feel the tension of the ground above the river bank, the tree roots snuggling into the ground, the leaves swaying in the breeze (“but there is no breeze Lorna” “there is always a breeze Kaetlan”).

Lately began whistling. It was a bird song. Lorna recognized it. She didn’t know exactly what bird it was (who cared) but she knew what the song was about. The bird didn’t want anyone on his tree, except for ladies, obviously, but the ladies had to know that it was his tree, but they were welcome, but you know, it was his tree. Lately was so good at whistling.

They pulled the clothes one-by-one from the basket and rubbed it into the washboard. They didn’t speak. Lately just whistled, and Lorna just listened. A bird called back to Lately, demanding who she thought she was, this was his tree and his forest, she better apologize and get out of his way. But Lately just kept whistling the same song. Lorna grinned.

The bird became frustrated. Did she want to fight? (well actually he was using the second person, he was saying you, but recounting this, I must use the third person, she)

Lately kept whistling the same song.

Lorna giggled. Lately smiled at her, but she kept whistling. Lorna sometimes wondered if Lately understood bird song. She was so good at whistling.

Lorna heard the bird fly. She turned to look at him. He was a blue-chested songbird of some kind (who cared). He hopped from tree and shrub to tree and shrub, looking for the intruder. Lorna tapped Lately and pointed to him. Lately frowned, confused. She stopped whistling.

The bird hopped around, looking around. He whistled a few notes. He called the intruder a coward, told the intruder that next time he would get what was coming to him, and to never come back. Then he flew back up to his tree.

“That was a pretty boring bird. Why did you show me that bird?” asked Lately.

Posted March 16, 2016 by agentksilver in writing

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Literally no one asked me to overanalyze Avril Lavigne’s early work   Leave a comment

In 2001, the film Josie and the Pussycats was released. It was part of the trend of adapting old TV shows to movies. In the movie, Josie, Valerie, and Melody are aspiring pop stars called “The Pussycats”. When the biggest boy band in the world, Du Jour, all disappear in a plane crash, the trio are plucked off the street by a desperate studio head. In the end, it turns out that all pop music that exists has subliminal music telling your subconscious to buy new clothes and eat McDonalds. It was a pretty dumb movie.


This song makes it all worth it somehow.

Someone online pointed out that the movie predicted the rise of female power pop artists, and that said rise would replace boy bands.

In 2002, Avril Lavigne released her first album, and she was unleashed onto the world. For those of us who rejected the mainstream, studio-generated, wholesome bubblegum pop, she and her ilk were the perfect alternative.


Not that pop-punk didn’t have its share of interchangeability, no sir.

They were angry and they wore terrible clothes terribly because they were real artists, not just models reciting generic love songs written by five people at studio headquarters.

avril lavigne songwriter

Her first big hit was probably Sk8tr Boi. It was about a preppy girl and a skater boy who are totally into each other.

He wanted her.
She’d never tell.
Secretly she wanted him as well.
And all of her friends stuck up their nose.
They had a problem with his baggy clothes.

He was a skater boy.
She said, “See ya later, boy.”
He wasn’t good enough for her.
She had a pretty face but her head was up in space.
She needed to come back down to earth.

So the preppy girl was a bad person for listening to her friends and being high-and mighty in her social status. That’s not how it works in the real world! Don’t we all relate to this feeling, being rejected by the popular people? Later in the song, Lavigne crows:

Sorry, girl, but you missed out.
Well, tough luck, that boy’s mine now.
We are more than just good friends.
This is how the story ends.

…I’m with the skater boy.
I said, “See ya later, boy.”
I’ll be backstage after the show.
I’ll be at the studio singing the song we wrote
About a girl you used to know.

She even brags, “Too bad that you couldn’t see/ See that man that boy could be/ There is more than meets the eye/ I see the soul that is inside.” Because, you see, this girl is so shallow! Not like Avril Lavigne! Are you shallow? Or are you like Avril Lavigne? “Does your pretty face see what he’s worth?” Avril Lavigne mocks.

One of the most-remembered parts of the song is probably the opening (He was a boy, she was a girl, can I make it any more obvious?) but I think that a key part to the subtext is in the next line:

He was a punk
She did ballet

Mrs. Pancakes is unknowable - Imgur
Image source:[x]

She does ballet. The girl does ballet. Now, in elementary school, maybe being into ballet is rather girly — lots of girls do it, they dream of being pretty princess ballerinas in poofy pink tutus. But I had a friend in high school who did ballet, and let me tell you. It’s hard to balance school, friends, and ballet. You’re always tired. You’re not left with a whole lot of time. Certainly not enough to pursue a relationship outside of your immediate friends group. But Avril Lavigne only knows her boyfriend’s side of the story.

The other big single on that album, Complicated, did take a kinder view to finding relationships outside of your immediate social group. But that’s not saying much.

Somebody else ’round everyone else
You’re watching your back like you can’t relax
You’re tryin’ to be cool
You look like a fool to me

…I mean, relatively speaking. After all, Avril Lavigne is one of the guys. That’s her persona. Check out the music video for this.

avril lavigne complicated

avril lavigne complicated 4

avril lavigne complicated 8

avril lavigne complicated 9

She is literally surrounded by her dudes at all time, equally active in aggressive, boy activities. She’s even specifically shown rejecting femininity by straight-up attacking it:

avril lavigne complicated 5

avril lavigne complicated 7

Except that she’s not one of the boys. She’s singled out by her damned womanhood. They do things with her that they wouldn’t do to their fellow dudes. They put on a fashion show for her, trying on the outfits of different personas. When she teases them for it, they pick her up.

avril lavigne complicated 6

Like, they literally pick her up, playfully, because she’s a woman and they’re guys and they’re bigger than her and so they can and so it’s funny. As someone who has been picked up for similar reasons, it is funny! It’s fun to be picked up by big strong dudes! But, you know, guys don’t lift up other guys just because they can. It’s far too physical and, specifically, flirty.

That’s the dream of being One of the Boys, but it’s also the tragedy.

In 2007, Avril Lavigne released a single called Girlfriend. Some people have called it the end of the “punk” part of her career, and that’s not without reason.

avril lavigne girlfriend 1

She lost the iconic tie, her shirt is white, she has on a miniskirt and fishnets instead of the bulky cargo pants that were inexplicably popular in the early 2000s. It’s more than just the fact that her outfit changed significantly five years, though. The content of her song has changed too.

The early 2000s white adolescence was marked by a culture war between “preps” and “punks”. I referenced this even in the beginning of this essay. When I said, “For those of us who rejected the mainstream, studio-generated, wholesome bubblegum pop”, what I meant was, “For those of us who were punks.” There was an alternative, geeks, and their neutrality eventually rose to supremacy above preps and punks. But for the first few years of the twenty-first century, everyone had to be either punk or a prep.

A large part of this culture was the assumption that preps were on top. It was assumed that they had money and popularity, that they wore the right clothes and listened to acceptable music and that adults would listen to them because of their perceived goodness. We all knew they were secretly terrible, cruel bullies to punks, lording over us with their ill-gotten power. So punks had to wear terrible clothing and listen to terrible music, because it was real and cool.

That paragon of great literature, My Immortal, has a great example:

A fucking prep called Britney from Griffindoor was standing next to us. She was wearing a pink mini and a Hilary Duff t-shirt so we put up our middle fingers at her.

Avril Lavigne’s One of the Boys persona fitted this attitude perfectly. But with Girlfriend, she flipped that on her head: the punk was outright stealing another girl’s boyfriend.

She’s like so, whatever
You could do so much better
I think we should get together now
(And that’s what everyone’s talkin’ about)

Over the course of the video, Avril:

Flirts with her boyfriend in front of her:

avril lavigne girlfriend 3

Knocks her go-kart off the track:

avril lavigne girlfriend 4

(I just want to point this out)

avril lavigne girlfriend 6

avril lavigne complicated 8

Snatches her out of a photobooth so she can take pictures with the boy:

avril lavigne girlfriend 7

Steals the giant churro just before they finished eating it (just before kissy times ensue):

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Whacks her in the head with a golf ball:

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She actually hits her hard enough in the head that she loses her balance, stumbles, and falls over. That’s a pretty mighty hit.

Then, in the resulting confusion, Avril finds the boyfriend and finally steals him.

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Upon finding them, the girlfriend charges them, but then trips and falls into a porta-potty, where she screams in impotency.

Avril’s antagonist is an interesting character. She’s also played by Avril Lavigne, and it’s the first time I’ve ever seen her play a not-Avril.

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In each skit, the first few seconds always shows Boyfriend and Girlfriend doing their dating thing. They actually seem to like each other. He’s always smiling at her. She can sucker him into doing what she wants. They go out and do all these cool things (go-karting, golfing, eating giant churros), and they do them just the two of them, so clearly they enjoy each other’s company. Visibly they’re a completely mis-match, because she’s wearing pink and plaid and he’s wearing black and white, but if they were wearing similar colors they would probably look fine together.


*coughs*

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It’s only when Avril Classic enters the picture that trouble enters paradise. Which means that the protagonist is the villain of the story. We can’t trust Avril Classic or Avril Lite’s interpretation of the story. So when the Boyfriend is shown smiling after Avril Classic steals the churro, kisses him, and runs, what does that mean? Is he just so easy-going that he’s just happy to be kissed? Or does he really, truly, want to date Avril Classic and not Girlfriend?

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I find Girlfriend’s outfit fascinating. It’s a pink cardigan over a pink polo shirt, with a knee-length plaid skirt, knee-high socks, and black flats. It’s hideous. It’s disgusting.

It’s also totally, completely, 100% in. Not the colors, oh no, not by any stretch of the imagination. No one would mix that bright pink with that dark plaid. And the skirt is formless. But the schoolgirl style is in: part geek chic, part layered, equal parts classy and casual, it was especially popular in the mid-2000s, when this video was made.

Preps wear pink. Preps wear schoolgirl outfits. Despite our rejection of those atrocious colors, Girlfriend is meant to be a stereotype of a prep, seen through a pop-punk so pop-punk that she’s forgotten how to behave in social situations. The protagonist (the villain) shows her making snotty faces in her introduction, but why should we trust her interpretation?

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I also find it really interesting that Avril is shown having female friends for the first time. In fact, in contrast to Complicated, Girlfriend features a lot of female faces. They also happily help Avril in her quest to torment Girlfriend.

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We see here again two Preps — note the schoolgirl/layered outfits, although less insanely colored this time. Avril and her friends intimidate them into the leaving the bathroom, breaking into their personal space and jumping at them until they leave. They don’t really do anything wrong, they’re just standing where Avril and her friends want to stand.

Pretty much the only male face that we see in this video is that of Boyfriend, who is more of an object than a character. He could very much be a Sexy Lamp Test fail. This video, unlike her earlier videos, takes place in Girl World. And it’s a nasty, vicious place, isn’t it? Boy World features inept mall cops and friends banding together to have a good time. Girl World has cat fights, personal vendettas, and concussions as conclusions to romantic drama. But it’s okay, because the punk beat the prep!

I spent my early teens in that mindset: punks vs. preps. When I see the writings of kids that age in these mid-2010s, I see the discussion focusing on gender and equality. Why should girl attack girl? Where is the boy’s consent in all this? The kids might not have the best vocabulary to think their arguments out entirely, but they can sense something wrong in this piece. Why should Avril get the boy just because they both wear black shirts?

That is why Avril’s last big hit was Girlfriend. The song was too far from the perspective that built her up. One of the Boys cannot live in Girl World.

Posted February 22, 2016 by agentksilver in writing

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