Over the rock-out grooves of another WB band whose fifteen minutes will end unceremoniously at this episode’s first commercial break, Max "We’re Not Going Anywhere" Evans halts "Shut Up" Liz Parker in the school hallway and informs her that their teacher didn’t show up and they’re ditching fourth period. Initially resistant, Liz is quickly persuaded by Max’s claim that "there’s something I want to show you." And off she goes. And while I can’t be too presumptuous about what Liz really expected to be shown, I’m fairly certain it had little or nothing to do with a jaunt in the Jeep to a locale in the middle of the desert vaguely resembling the landscape of the moon but much less convincing. The Jeep plows through the terrain, Liz noting, "This is so cool." Well, yeah, Liz, if your idea of cutting school and driving in one of those fake cars on an LA sound stage in front of a blue screen on which is being projected looped images of the video game "Dune Buggy" is in fact as "cool" as you are currently pretending it is. We find out that they are on "The Old Highway," and Max tells Liz that he has taken her there in an attempt to "do something normal for once." And again, I wasn’t much for truancy myself during my secondary school education, but to my knowledge "something normal" involved four friends, a borrowed bong, and the windows closed tight in the back seat of a 1982 Impala. Moon driving? Less common. But anyway. So a song comes on that they both really like, and Liz’s super-long (to call it "over-long" would smack of redundancy at this point) journal entry commences in drowning out said song. Really, though, this voice-over is endless. I cannot possibly recount the whole thing. Okay, I’m going to. Contest entrants beware -- this is where it’s at, Parker-style: "Have you ever had a moment when you’re with the one person in the world you want to be with and the wind is blowing through your hair and the song that just describes your entire soul happens to come on and then the person you happen to want to be with happens to love the same song and suddenly you realize you’re listening to it together?" Ack! Run-on Sentence Police, arrest that girl! Max stares off into the beyond with a glare that bellows, "Note to self: THIS is why I’ve never asked her to do this before." So Liz’s voice-over deems this a "perfect moment," which, on this show, is shorthand for "something is about to go horribly, horribly wrong." And, comfortingly true to form, it does. A horse runs (okay, ambles) out into the middle of The Old Highway, and before Max can slam on the brakes, the Jeep meets it head-on and goes flying. Uh-oh. And though I’m sure no animals were harmed during the making of this episode, the prevailing aesthetic of the Jeep losing control appears to have been taken from stock-footage remnants of a "Toonces the Driving Cat" skit. Pan to the non-flaming wreckage, where a totally-fine Liz views a face-down-on-the-steering-wheel Max and attempts to revive him by very quietly asking, "Max? Max?" Oh, and that thing about being with someone when the song I like comes on? It has never happened to me. Like, ever.
Opening credits: As words go, the words "Shiri" and "Appleby" rank very highly as silly, silly words.