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The Afterparty Season 1 Episode 5 Review: High School


The nostalgia is strong with this one. 


On The Afterparty Season 1 Episode 5, the invisible man speaks, but his testimony is about events that happened 15 years ago.


It’s a teen party comedy full of the usual tropes, as well as plenty of insight into how these characters turned into who they are now.


It makes sense that a show about a high school reunion would delve into those high school days at some point.

Saint Patrick’s Day. 2006. My God. The time of velour jumpsuits. Britney and K-Fed. And I’d started making honey that year as a hobby.

Walt


Writer/creator Christopher Miller has even found an ingenious way to maintain the conceit of each episode being focused on one character — with a bit of creative license.


Having the essentially invisible Walt (Jamie Demetriou) around everyone at various points throughout St. Patrick’s Day allowed him to eavesdrop on important conversations and events between most of the characters.


Any scene that Walt wasn’t in was documented by way of a handheld digital camcorder (2006 still being a time before ubiquitous smartphones).


See if you can find him in every scene — it’s like Where’s Walt-do?


Technically, we do get a quick run-down of Walt’s night at the reunion in the present — the bit with him the Yasper’s car was particularly funny since no one else even registered he was there. 


Demetriou is hilariously awkward in the background at every turn but never pulls focus. He’s brilliant. When he started singing Mr. Cellophane while everyone talked over him, I laughed as my heart broke for him.


Who hasn’t waved at someone only to realize the person who thought was waving at us was waving at the person behind us?


And for those of us who have been to high school reunions, there will always be someone with whom you have absolutely no recollection of going to school.


We still know very little about Walt — apart from making honey in high school, having a little brother (who we never see) who leans politically to the right, and his last name is Butler.


What’s the most famous old murder mystery trope? The butler did it! 


Indigo seemed to imply her suspicion of Walt here, but it only passed when everyone assumed he was the actual butler.


He’s still the biggest question mark in the mix. 


The Chelsea-Ned revelation (and subsequent rebound with Jennifer #1) was something of a surprise, but it will certainly give Chelsea and Ned’s previous interactions a little extra kick upon rewatch.


The high school relationship between Zoe and Chelsea was sweet, which makes the Brett affair all that harder to take.

That is what college is for. Same mistakes, just with new people.

Zoe


However, it feels like in the long run, Chelsea will have done Zoe a favor for exposing her husband as the douche he is.


Not only that, but Walt’s story brings to light the revelation about the mixed CD, a lie that could have changed everything had Zoe known who truly made it. Maybe there’s hope for her and Aniq yet. 


So many teen movies have tried to pass off thirtysomethings as high-schoolers, and this episode leans into it for all it’s worth.


There are terrible wigs, turn-of-the-millenium fashion choices, and that slightly grainy filter that really makes the nostalgia pop. No one would mistake these people for teenagers in real life, but that’s the joke. 


Dave Franco’s Xavier (F.K.A. Eugene) is the only one who actually looks like he could be in high school. He’s got that awkward laugh, the nerves, the smile, and you can see how it all “grew up” to be the Xavier persona.


His behavior in The Afterparty Season 1 Episode 4, when he interacts with Chelsea, makes much more sense now, seeing as what transpired between them and why she’s been so hell-bent on revenge.


Here’s the thing about teen comedies — they have often muddied the waters in terms of acceptable behavior for teens. There have been egregious breaches of consent with little to no consequence — in fact, they’ve often been played for laughs.


Xavier is the quintessential privileged white boy. He thankfully doesn’t take it too far physically with Chelsea — but his humiliation of her afterward was despicable.


He assumed that her being drunk permitted him to just go for it. His disappointment in her rejection led him to lie about their interaction, painting him as a hero and her as a slut.

Chelsea: How was I leading you on?
Xavier: You said you liked my jacket and my hair.


Xavier went on to fame and fortune, and Chelsea spiraled into a hole from which she never recovered.


This is so typical of what happens in real life. The boys get high-fives, and the girls get shamed for the same act. The boys are believed over the girls.


2006 was pre-#MeToo, and The Afterparty, for all its bodily fluid gags and silly hairstyles, doesn’t let us forget it. 


Xavier’s entitlement also shows in his altercation with Aniq. When Yasper “breaks up” with Xavier, Xavier takes out his hurt on Aniq by pantsing him and pushing him into the pool. He twists the knife in later by pointing out that Brett and Zoe are making out.


Aniq isn’t in the right no smash up Xavier’s car, but his rage goes deeper than the night’s events.


It’s not just that Xavier has ruined his chance with Zoe; it’s that Aniq has worked so hard for everything in his life that Xavier has just had handed to him.

Must be tough to be a child of privilege, huh, Eugene?

Aniq


Again, Xavier gets off scot-free, leaving Aniq to take the brunt of the punishment. 


The fight itself was a ridiculous showcase of physical comedy. It’s two nerds, what do you expect? And did you catch teenage Indigo reading on the lawn, oblivious to what was going on? Classic. 


Regarding the “Revenge” note, I’m pleased to say I called it in my review of The Afterparty Season 1 Episode 2! Xavier wrote the thing as lyrics and threw them in the trash.


But it may not end there. If Xavier wanted revenge on someone — Brett, maybe? Yasper? — maybe this person killed him in self-defense. 


Hopefully, we can let the diarrhea thing die now.


The Afterparty is at its best here, when this fantastic comedic ensemble gets to work together and share the spotlight. Episode 5 gave us so much backstory in a fun way but also made us think about how things have changed in the last 15 years — and how much they haven’t. 

Pop is just a fad, dude. Ska is forever.

Yasper


‘Classic’ teen films exist in every era, and you can sense the influence of them all here — Animal House, Dazed and Confused, most John Hughes movies, Superbad — but they all feel dated as society has evolved.


This episode proves that you can have tons of fun and still have moments that make you consider the social issues at play.


A great teen movie can stay with you for life. So can a bad high school experience.


What did you think of Episode 5? Did you enjoy the flashback to a different time and seeing everyone re-live their high school glory days? Share your thoughts in the comments.  

Mary Littlejohn is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.



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