The bro code has become such a staple of pop culture that even those not bound by it (namely, hos and their ilk) can probably recite at least a few tenets. As it turns out, the other side has a code as well, or so I was passionately informed by Mrs. Supermarket after watching this week’s Very Special Blossom, “To Tell the Truth (s2 e6).
I’ll try to explain the source of her rage. In this week’s episode, we have two plots. The A-plot (the one that drew her ire), Blossom has a crush on a guy and is utterly convinced he likes her back. What Blossom doesn’t know and finds out later, this same guy recently asked Six out and she said yes. Six is entirely ignorant of Blossom’s affections and was innocently accepting a date with a crusty-haired pale-jeans-wearing early ‘90s heartthrob. And this is where Mrs. Supermarket called bullshit. There was no way Six didn’t know Blossom liked that guy, because apparently best friends always know the other’s crush. She explained that she was once in the Six role of a similar situation, and when the guy asked her out, she told him to fuck off. “Or I was just really mean to him. I don’t remember,” she said, with a cruel indifference that was both hilarious and chilling.
I was a little surprised that there was this level of esprit d’corps among young women, mostly because of the stereotype that if you put five women in a room, you’re going to end up with about sixty blood feuds by the end of the day. As it turns out, there is a correlation between teamwork and testosterone. The more you have, the wider your face is, and according to at least one study, wider-faced men are more likely to be team players, as long as there’s an opposing organization they can unite against. Assuming this holds true, Bruce Campbell is the greatest team player in history.
Blossom is hurt and jealous, but really doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on. Six did nothing wrong in this situation, and is kind of dumb to boot, so the fight and subsequent falling out comes out of the blue for the poor girl. And now Blossom has to apologize and come clean, but doing so might drive a further wedge between them, and thus we come to the theme of the episode: the truth.
Over in the B-plot, Anthony has just finished his certification to become an EMT. Apparently, he has always wanted to do this, but this is the first I’m hearing of it. There are tons of jobs for EMTs, but all include a questionnaire inquiring into the applicant’s experience with drugs and alcohol. And as we all know, Anthony has all the experience with all the drugs ever. He makes Scarface look Amish. Anthony has had more cocaine in his pee than pee; it comes out looking like soggy Splenda. Anthony has used so many drugs, there’s a statue of him in Medellin called “El Blanquito Hambriento.” What I’m trying to say is, this questionnaire pretty much kills Anthony’s chances of ever having gainful employment, but only if he answers it honestly.
So how honest should one be? Anthony decides to disclose his history in his interview and he’s extremely lucky that he’s on a sitcom trying to teach a lesson rather than, you know, in reality. The interviewer turns out to be a recovering alcoholic and is willing to take a chance on someone in the program. Meanwhile, Blossom reveals to Six that her anger was motivated by jealousy but lies about the actual cause. The show is taking the side that a lie for personal gain is morally wrong, while a lie to preserve the feelings of another is okay. This is known as a white lie, presumably because it’s the kind of lie white people tell each other.
If everyone were honest all the time, civilization would collapse. Our way of life is based on the mutual acceptance of certain illusions, the chief of which is money. Cash has no intrinsic value (and in fact only canned food and shotguns do), but we all pretend it does, and so it functions as it’s supposed to. This dovetails into more insanity as one imagines a perfectly honest society. We don’t call fat people fat. They’re heavy, or zaftig, or pre-Raphaelite. We don’t call our boss a testicle-eating sociopath, even if he’s presently picking the fragments of your balls from between his teeth. We have another word for these kind of lies: manners. And they make the world go round.
Before I wrap this up, I have a final point to make on this episode. In retrospect everything seems inevitable. Well, except for the ascension of William of Orange to the throne. Seriously, was that guy a weather witch or what? Everything else seems to be inevitable, especially with regards to careers. People are successful because they are talented or hard-working. Luck had nothing to do with it. It’s a myth that collapses with even a cursory look (the fact that Harrison Ford was the biggest star on the planet because he fixed George Lucas’s cupboards is one of many examples), but it has remarkable sticking power because the people with all the money and success desperately want it to be true.
So when someone who seems like they are poised for major stardom suddenly falls off the map it almost feels like reality wasn’t living up to its side of the contract. In the early ‘90s we all thought Jonathan Brandis was going to be the next big thing. Photogenic, talented, and ubiquitous at least for a short time, JB was poised to conquer Hollywood. But for whatever reason, the roles stopped coming and at the age of 27, he hanged himself. Brandis pops up for a brief cameo in this episode as the boy Blossom likes. He doesn’t really get to do much, but it was easy to remember what we all thought he was due, and what he thought he was destined for. When things didn’t shake out that way, he took his own life.
I hate to end on such a down note, but seeing Brandis poised on the cusp of his brief stardom made me a bit maudlin. Hopefully the next episode will put the smile back on my face.