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'Reunion' a familiar pleasure

Posted: April 12, 2012 - 12:03am

My 10-year Crimson Bear reunion was – gulp! – two years ago. At the time I was slow to commit to attending, a little afraid of a long list of things. Maybe people wouldn’t remember me; that would be painfully awkward. Maybe I wouldn’t remember them; that’s always uncomfortable. Maybe I’d be the only one there not making millions of dollars.

Not all of the fears were totally rational.

What our reunion wound up being was beautifully simple. We hung out and mingled atop the Mt. Roberts Tram before graduating for a late-night-into-early-morning-cap at The Imperial. At least I think it was The Imperial. The later stages of the night aren’t necessarily crystal clear in the ole’ memory, if you know what I mean.

In many ways, watching “American Reunion,” the latest installment of the “American Pie” franchise, is a lot like your own high school reunion, right down to being a little worried about attending.

Co-writers/directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (Adam Herz, writer of all the “American Pie” films, is also on board), having cut their comedic chops on the “Harold & Kumar” franchise, have gotten the band (Jason Biggs’ Jim, Alyson Hannigan’s Michelle, Chris Klein’s Oz, Thomas Ian Nicholas’ Kevin, Tara Reid’s Vicky, Eddie Kaye Thomas’ Finch, Mena Suvari’s Heather, and Seann William Scott’s Stiffler) back together for their own high school reunion in East Great Falls, Mich. – and yes, I was surprised to discover that Tara Reid is still alive, too.

Just like with my Juneau Douglas High School gathering the summer before last, what we’re doing with “American Reunion” is catching up. What have you been up to, man? Well, let’s see. Jim and Alyson are married (“American Wedding”) with child and their main issue is their, ahem, lack of a sex life. Oz? He’s a C-List celebrity, dating a bimbo. Kevin still looks EXACTLY the same (it’s creepy, really), and is still the girly one in his relationship with a girl. Finch shows up in East Great Falls on a racy little motorcycle with stories of globetrotting. Stiffler is a temp, but more importantly, and thankfully, he’s still very much the Stiffmeister (guess which character poops in a cooler). Heather has realized she should use bangs to cover up her forehead – sorry, but it’s true. Finally, Vicky. Hey, Tara Reid plays Vicky. So, you know… it’s actually, literally impossible for there to be much to Vicky.

At your high school reunion, whether you’ve already had a few or are still young and waiting for your first, you’ll fall into old cliques. You’ll reconnect quicker with the folks you are still in touch with, albeit less frequently than when you roamed the crowded hallways between classes together every day. You’ll be blown away by at least one person’s totally different physical appearance. You’ll certainly reminisce about old times, probably focusing on the most embarrassing examples of said old times.

Certainly, an “American Pie” reunion comes with heavy emphasis on the embarrassing. After all, this is the franchise that gained initial notoriety from a sexually intimate scene between Jim and a warm apple pie. And his dad catching him in the act.

In “Pie 2”, Jim accidentally glued himself to… himself. In “Wedding”, Jim has an unfortunate incident involving the wedding cake and his, um, shaved, ah, private hair. Our JDHS memories featured some good stories, but I’ll happily admit we pale in the gross-out-embarrassment department compared to Jim and company. I won’t spell out what the horrifyingly embarrassing moment is in “Reunion”, but don’t worry. They stick to tradition.

Atop the Mt. Roberts Tram two years ago, I’ll admit there was a conversation that went like this: “Chester, how are you?” “I’m great… man!” Couldn’t remember his name. Just couldn’t do it, and of course his name tag wasn’t in a spot I could discreetly glance at. In “Reunion”, John Cho (best known for being the Harold of “Harold & Kumar”) reprises his role as “[filtered word] Guy #2”. Yes, that is what the credits list him as. He’s been in every “American Pie” movie. Here, he’s actually the reunion organizer. Hurwitz and Schlossberg actually go back to the [filtered word] Guy #2 storyline several times.

Except I couldn’t quite remember it. Neither could my wife, by the way. Maybe the avid “Pie” fans will remember the references vividly. Maybe Hurwitz and Schlossberg simply wanted to get their “Harold & Kumar” buddy as much screen time as possible.

Or maybe it’s simply a reunion thing. It happens. You won’t remember everyone at yours, and you probably won’t remember everything referenced in “American Reunion”. What I wound up with at the end of my reunion was an evening of enjoying old classmates. And a hangover. What you wind up with after watching “American Reunion” is a couple hours of reliving a good comedy franchise, and the comfort that stems from realizing you’re glad you went.

•••

The boob tube in the Carson household can currently be broken down as follows:

Still talking about it 3 months later: “Lost” (ABC). No joke. If your TV universe has a gap to fill, “Lost” will fill it. It should be required viewing, really. Then we can talk about the ending. You can explain it to me. Make me understand!

I tried, the wife jumped off the bandwagon early: “Damages” (FX). The fifth season is underway; I watched the first three. It’s lawyers, but with loads of backstabbing, twists, and murder. Glenn Close is scary good, and Ted Danson is fantastic as one of the villains in season one. The structure of the show, too, is unique (showing glimpses of the end from the start, spoon feeding a bit more each episode while simultaneously working toward that end from the beginning). But, it is definitely a lawyer show. Too lawyer-y for the wife to get into.

We’re in and enjoying the hell out of it: “Heroes” (NBC). Four seasons long, we just finished season two. Think “X-Men” but darker, and no Charles Xavier. Surprisingly captivating (we had our doubts).

We’re still in and we still don’t care who knows it: “Make it or Break it” (ABC Family). A ridiculous teen-drama about gymnasts in Colorado trying to make the Olympic team. I am most definitely not in the show’s demographic. I am also most definitely already caught up on the new season that just started.

We’re loyal, maybe to a fault: I think we’re mostly watching these shows out of habit, or a sense of loyalty. “The Office” (NBC) is certainly loyalty, although I’ll tell anyone who will listen that the current season has had some decent episodes. “Survivor” and “The Amazing Race” (CBS) are still harmless ways to kill an hour, but I find myself caring less and less.

And finally:

I’m just as shocked as you are: “Cougar Town” (ABC). I rolled my eyes more than once when the wife started suggesting I get on board. First of all, it’s called “Cougar Town”. It actually SOUNDS annoying. Second of all, it’s a sitcom, and I’m over sitcoms. All of them. I acquiesced, however, and watched one. Then two. Then a whole season, and now I’m in. Courtney Cox’s show has two things going for it: One, there is no laugh track (my biggest pet peeve with sitcoms). And two, it’s very “Scrubs”-esque.

Give it a shot, you might be surprised.

That’s what we’re watching. What about you? Tell me.

No, seriously, tell me (Twitter, Facebook, the blog, email, knock on my door and tell me in person, whatever). We only have two seasons of “Heroes” left and then we’ll be, once again, on the prowl. And I absolutely need something to suggest when we get to that point and the wife says, “Dance Moms”?

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