Props to Sars (who promised me that the last recap was good even though it wasn't funny), and to Key Grip, who has already shamed me with his wicked awesome recap of Cruel Intentions.
Because this isn't the pilot, there are now real opening credits, only every scene is from the pilot. And even those few scenes make it very clear that the show is brilliant -- funny, smart, heartbreaking. Really, really good.
The camera pans across a skyscape as "space-y" music plays and a narrator says some astronomical shit about the distance from our solar system to the nearest star. As I've already said elsewhere, the one thing I don't plan to do this summer is learn, so I'm just going to gloss over all those "facts" and "science." As the camera pulls back, we see that the skyscape is part of an educational film being screened for a classroom of high-school sophomores who are working hard to dramatize how little they care. Angela "The Muse" Chase sits in the back row of the class with her arms crossed, not paying the screen the merest bit of attention -- no, not even as a token courtesy. AVO says, "I've been kissed three times. No, four times. No. Three times. All of them were people I never saw again." Flames suddenly flare up in front of her face as she adds, "Which I hope doesn't, like, mean something." We see a younger Angela -- back when she had blonde hair -- sitting at a campfire and picking marshmallow goo off a sharpened stick. A slightly older-looking guy comes up behind her and touches her shoulders, and as she gets up and follows him, AVO explains, "One was this counselor at this YMCA camp." Camp Dude leads Angela to a tree. She peers over his shoulder at a sad-looking girl who could be Mary-Louise Parker's little sister as AVO says, "Except he already had a girlfriend." Angela touches the marshmallow to her lips, and CD smiles and wipes at the marshmallow goo with his thumb (ew! Who knows where a camp counselor's hands have been?), then leans in, and suddenly her hair is red, and they kiss (and for her first kiss, it sure looks like Angela knows what she's doing), and then she's back in class, gingerly touching her lips and glancing around herself to see if anyone's noticed her reverie. Strangely, none of her classmates has exactly gone to the trouble of sending out a press release to notify the world that she wasn't paying the educational film her full attention. The film narrator says, "The inner core of the star now implodes violently, producing an explosion of unparalleled intensity," and the camera cuts to the screen to show it. Hear that, Dawson's Creek? That's a worthwhile use of intertext.
As the Angela of the Present walks the hall between classes, AVO says, "One was this usher at my mother's cousin's wedding two years ago." Angela pauses in a doorway, which has become the doorway into the reception. AVO says, "It was a double-ring ceremony," which I imagine is significant though I don't know what it means. A redheaded boy in a powder-blue tuxedo leads Angela through the festivities and into a flower-decked archway. Angela is wearing a peach dress and a crown of flowers, which suggests she was somehow involved in the wedding party -- which is odd, considering that the bride (or groom) would be Angela's second cousin. And I'm fixating on all this because clearly these are the most significant details in the scene. Not. Anyway, AVO says, "He was staring at me all through the ceremony." The usher plants a quick peck on Angela and books. Angela watches him go, looking confused, but as always, AVO's got the 411: "Later, I found out he only kissed me 'cause he had lost a bet." I find this hard to believe; Angela is very pretty; it's not like she's covered in boils or (apparently) smelly or, feet aside, fat. Kissing her would be a privilege, not a punishment. But in TV-land, I guess she's a fugster or something. Whatever.