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Recap: Penny And Aggie Headhunt
"Permit me to reacquaint you with the face of the enemy, the ever-evolving army that will one day bury us all...Modern. American. Youth."
— Meighan

A presentation on the "Generation Z" youth demographic, by Hollywood producer Meighan McDowell, last seen in Final Curtain, First Kiss, frames four interlocking narratives that take place within the same evening.

Stan, Brandi, Jack and Katy-Ann go bowling together. Although everyone is outwardly enjoying themselves, hints of unease appear. Brandi recalls, in distorted fashion, Katy-Ann's drunken rant about her and Stan ("Stan, that sleazy..."), suggesting she's beginning to have doubts about their newly steady relationship. Jack and Brandi, the two better bowlers of the group, decide to play another game, so Katy-Ann and Stan decide to catch up with each other over soda. While bowling, Brandi and Jack bond when she asks him how he and Stan came to be friends. Jack tells her that he and Stan grew up in a rougher part of town and so stuck together for safety, as they compensated for each other's weak points. He also credits Stan for keeping him out of jail when he used to binge-drink, and confides in her that Stan's learning he's a better man than he thinks.

Katy-Ann and Stan, in contrast, discover they have little in common, and when the topic turns to the upcoming race between Stan and Cyndi for the student council presidency, Katy-Ann takes issue with Stan's cavalier dismissal of Cyndi's behaviour as mere "show biz." Stan suggests coldly that she answer her cellphone. Katy-Ann takes a call from Penny, asking why she sounds so angry.

Minutes earlier, at Aggie's house, Aggie enthusiastically shows Penny a scrapbook of her creative efforts over the last couple of years. Finding that it's filled with mediocre poetry, an image macro of her pet rat Finister, and a photo of Marshall with Karen's head cut out, Penny struggles to find something diplomatic and "literary" to say about it. However, Aggie detects Penny's underlying reaction and has a crisis of self-confidence, calling all her work "crap" and wondering why she ever thought she had talent. Penny attempts to console her but fails, due to her natural tendency toward bluntness. As Aggie hands her an actually capable sketch of her mother Melody, Penny takes a call from Sara, asking her what she's so excited about.

Minutes earlier in turn, Sara, while helping her mother Iseul set the dinner table, gathers the nerve to come out to her. Iseul is stunned at first, but quickly gives the typical "It's just a phase" response, saying most people eventually "settle themselves down" (i.e. end up with someone of the opposite gender). Sara protests that she has a girlfriend and is in love; her mother says that she too engaged in "wandering" before marrying Sara's father. Ignoring her daughter's curiosity about this, Iseul says given that in her native South Korea homosexuality is still taboo, Sara's lucky to be living in America where she can experiment. "Lucky?" shouts Sara as she drops the plates. Their subsequent argument over respect is interrupted by a phone call from Meighan.

Tropes

  • Anachronic Order: The phone calls that end three of the four conversations show that the events of this arc, though all within the same evening, take place at different points in time.
  • Call Back: Among the contents of Aggie's scrapbook is a quatrain from her sonnet to Marshall in The Last Days of Summer.
  • Coming-Out Story: Sara comes out to her mother.
  • Compliment Backfire / Damned by Faint Praise: Penny's well-meaning reaction to Aggie's creative efforts.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: Penny, when Aggie falls apart after the above-mentioned faint praise.
    Penny: I mean, maybe my interpretation is too post-feminist, or, uh, poster-feminist—
    Aggie: This is crap.
    Penny: Yes. I mean no! I mean...what? [...]
    Aggie: Thank God I never submitted this to the lit mag!
    Penny: Aw, come on, the lit mag publishes much worse crap than this!
    Aggie: I don't know what I'm doing as a writer! Or as a human being! Look at this "drawing!" Look!
    Penny: Do I have to?
  • Emo: Aggie characterizes her own haiku as this. She has a point:
    Soda can tab tin / Metal blood on one's tongue / Coke tastes like the end.
  • Foreshadowing: A conversation at the bowling alley foreshadows Jack and Brandi finding themselves tempted by each other in "The Last Summer of Youth."
  • Image Macro: Aggie's scrapbook contains one of her rat Finister, with the caption "INVISIBL SOUL."
  • Retcon: In the Penny and Aggie Spin-Off QUILTBAG, a Flashback to the malicious outing of Sara earlier that year shows that Iseul was already aware her daughter was gay. Campbell clarified in the forum that Iseul had in fact suspected as much since Sara's preteen years, which is why (as shown in The First Man I Ever Loved) she started pressuring Sara to date boys so early. Thus, Campbell said, Iseul's stunned, and then bitter, reaction when Sara broaches the topic here stems not from it being news to her, but from the realization that she could no longer keep pretending her daughter would one day change her mind about boys. (In QUILTBAG, Iseul's concern over this is tied up with her own bisexuality which she's found herself unable to repress and so is having a same-sex affair.)
  • Simultaneous Arcs
  • Stylistic Suck: Aggie's poetry.
  • True Art Is Angsty: In-universe, Aggie's rigid adherence to this attitude helps her to produce Emo poetry, and blinds her to the fact that she's quite good at drawing.
  • True Companions: Rich, Stan and Jack; particularly the latter two.
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Iseul claims that Sara's relationship with her girlfriend is part of a "questioning phase" that will end when she "settles down" with a man.
Penny And Aggie Bussed OutRecap/Penny and AggiePenny And Aggie The New Reality Part One

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