Exclusion Suite Revisited
Written by Bwog Staff
It’s been a long time since Bwog last checked in with the kids of Exclusion Suite, this year’s answer to the campy and wonderful Gates. Episode two was released mid-May, but Bwog, in our efforts to escape the offensively unfriendly heat, just got around to watching it.
Exclusion Suite episode two begins with an acoustic version of Phantom Planet’s “California,” a sly nod towards a certain other teen melodrama. (Those who closely follow ES will note that this is the show’s second allusion to The OC, following last episode’s painful “Welcome to the EC, bitch!”) The plotlines for the episode are established within the first five minutes: Simon (Michael Galante), the one with the guitar and the chords to Phantom Planet overhears Brooke (Alice Hu) singing and asks her to join his band. Meanwhile, in 212, Natalie (S. Alex Kudroff) and Greg (Joe Cummings) have a realistically awkward and loud screaming match (“I lied when I said I liked that thing you did with your tongue!”) about their previous liason. Natalie eventually storms off to Hamdel.
Brooke and Simon invite the gang to their gig at ADP. ES‘s attempt at capturing the incoherency and casualness of party/bar banter has historically been the show’s weak point, and the concert scene is no exception. Luckily, the plot takes a genuinely welcome and unexpected turn as Rob (PJ Berg) and the cute bartender come to the conclusion that they were in the same Frontiers class and begin to flirt. “I hit my limit with calculus,” the bartender tells Rob. But unlike most of the scene’s dialogue, there’s self-awareness during the delivery of the dorky and adorable pun, and instead of cringing at the script’s self-seriousness, it becomes one of the truest moments in the show’s two episode run.
We then meet Meredith, who’s rushing ADP and as she explains why she’s doing so, the episode delves into a monologue that tows the line between a pitch-perfect portrait of the obnoxiously name-droppy ADPer (“[ADP’s] liking LCD Soundsystem and Jim Jarmusch just sweetened the deal”) and an informericial for joining the literary society. Bwog also appreciated ES‘s idea that ADP, as if a collective unit sharing a single set of opinions, all agree on the merits of LCD Soundsystem and Jim Jarmusch.
Brooke and Simon sing a plaintive meta-melody about characters on a TV show hoping for perfection in love, and Brooke catches the eye of Kyle, an audience member from whom she eventually turns down an offer for a drink. Later, Brooke confesses to Rob that she’s a virgin. “That makes sense,” he assures her. The reason? She wants to find a guy she really likes. “That’s a perfectly reasonable reason,” Rob says reasonably.