The Avenue recap, episode 2: Just Dan-ce, like the Lady Gaga song, only more tragic
Toronto can be cold and complicated, and no one knows this better than the characters on the Web TV show The Avenue. Whether it’s finding the perfect lip stain to complement a failed modelling career or simply getting by after losing an off-screen sugar daddy, it seems like there’s nothing that a night out can’t fix for this group of 20-nothings who are, by no one’s standards, “taking Toronto.” This week’s episode is titled “Just Dan-ce,” because Gregory’s now-ex-boyfriend (spoiler!) is named Dan, and that is just how clever the writing is on this breakout hit. Here, our play-by-play of the trashy indulgence that is The Avenue: Episode 2, wherein Greggy weeps, Arta gropes a model and we take issue with the show’s claim that it’s entirely unscripted. Oh, and this recap is late, because frankly, we have better things to do with our time.
This installment begins with Gregory Gorgeous sitting in a sequin-adorned white sweater. “Love Potion No. 9” is written on the front, which we assume is clever foreshadowing. He’s also wearing a pearl necklace, which we hope is not clever foreshadowing.
Scene: Gregory’s pied-à-terre
Gregory Gorgeous @0:35–1:48 [on the phone with Dan] “Hello? Hey, what’s wrong? You sound upset. What am I supposed to do now? You just drop this bomb on me like it’s going to be okay. Dan, I’m in my apartment alone and you make this phone call. This doesn’t make sense to me. You’re breaking up with me over the phone. I have no respect for you anymore, Dan. None. This doesn’t make sense to me, Dan. I don’t know what to think. I love you. You have left me here with nothing. Nothing, Dan. Us dating was just a joke.” A minute in, and we’re already confused with Greggy’s thought process. Not helping matters are the pearl necklace and a couple of close-up shots of his heels. Are they supposed to show us that he’s vulnerable? Is it possible that he is anything but?
@1:49 [Gregory hangs up] “What an idiot.” Oh, Greg. Had you only said that on the phone, Dan may not have moved to Vancouver for work (to become an escort, we assume). Anything that happens to him while he’s away will now be your fault, because you didn’t say those three words.
Scene: photo shoot at the Windsor Arms
Arta @2:33 “Is the photographer here? Is the make-up artist here? What time is it?” Viewers are supposed to be believe that Arta is bossing people around a photo shoot because she’s the editor-in-chief of the fictional print publication, Defile. We dug around a little and discovered that these scenes were filmed at this very real shoot for the very real Lifestyle magazine—the publication at which Arta (the real person, not the character) works as an intern. Translation: The Avenue’s equivalent of “intern” is “editor-in-chief.” Based on this logic, we assume her co-worker Melissa is a craft services person in a Bedo-lended blazer and glasses.* We’re sure the editors of Lifestyle were super impressed. Trash TV fame is almost always a gateway into life-affirming work.
@3:27 [to model] “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” Oh brother, you’re supposed to be in charge. When a stylist makes adjustments to a model’s attire, she should never apologize. In the parlance of The Avenue, that’s so unprofessional. Shame on you, Arta.
Scene: Greg’s school
Greg @3:36–4:28 “Hey Rachel. No, I’m fine, I’m fine. Um, well, not really. Me and Dan just broke up. I know, I guess you just don’t know what you have until it’s gone. Listen, are you free, like, later or, like, whenever? I have to write a textiles exam in five minutes. I just need someone to talk to. I’ll see you tonight.” Like, we feel really bad for Greg. That textiles exam was probably really difficult. Good on him for going in to school after what was obviously such a boring tragic breakup, and for bravely getting in his hair flips, fur and sequins. That’s our Gregory: glamour in the face of adversity.
Scene: back at the Windsor Arms
@4:39–5:10 “Are the mirrors a problem? Aw, you’re like my dream man right now. Well, there you go. That’s too low, it’s all in the details. Let’s do a Prada look.” The handsome male model is wearing a merino sweater and a plaid shirt—not terribly complicated. Maybe we’re not as entrenched in detail-spotting as Arta, but we’re pretty sure she’s talking nonsense and just wants to grope models. It’s like people who say they work at McDonald’s for life lessons, but really just like free Big Macs. Arta, you filthy girl.
@5:18 “Now it just looks like an awkward little bulge, and we don’t want that!” We understand that the only testosterone on set comes from the male model (well, and Jessica), but, wow, Arta will take anything she can get her hands on (see: bulge).
@5:40 Slow-motion hair flip. It’s like a product placement for Herbal Essences, only with weaker sex puns and no shampoo (or revenue).
[to Arta] “You have a little bit of a crush on the model. I was kind of noticing.” We noticed too. For someone so high up at a non-magazine, we figured Arta would have some lackey charged with cleaning the drool from her perma-frown.
Arta @5:47 “Can I just, let’s just talk over here, um, that’s so unprofessional. First of all, he’s too short for me and second of all, I have a shoot tomorrow and I don’t have time for this.” We love how Arta is a barometer of ethical behaviour. She takes the stance that groping and giggling with cute boys is par for the course if you’re an editor. Lesson to future interns who will later be unimpressed with their employers: cronies must view their superiors as asexual.
@6:35 Rachel is drinking a glass of water with lime. We anticipate some kind of caesar binge in her future. She and Gregory both stare at a plate of garlic bread.
Greg @6:45 “He tells me he’s moving to Vancouver and he has to move there for work, can’t be here, and I moved here for him.” Moving from Mississauga to Toronto isn’t a grand gesture, Greggy. You’re familiar with the expression “follow the money,” right? Well, that’s what Dan, The Avenue’s Maris, is doing, although we’re still not convinced he’s a real person.
@7:05 “It’s, like, stupid. The funny thing is, I haven’t shed one tear about it. I’ve been completely numb. I’ve been in so much shock. Dan was my everything. I mean, he was my first boyfriend. I could not do long distance. Now I know the only thing I can do is move on. I really need a project or something.” Yes, it is, like, stupid. Gregory’s thought process is so confusing here. He loves him, he’s over him, he’s shocked, numb, but he needs a new project. Sure, Dan was his first boyfriend, but Greggy will bounce back, with a little help from his friends.
Rachel @8:09 “You should think of someone who is good for Claire.” No. Claire does not require any additional story lines.
Scene: a malodorous bar
Arta @8:45 [to a friend] “It smells. So who is this Greg guy you’re telling me about?” I’m sure in Greggy’s all-press-is-good-press mindset, this is a good conversation, but The Avenue can’t bring itself to actually tell a story. Arta’s crony is never introduced, nor was there anything to prompt an inquiry about Gregory. We can’t feign enthusiasm for badly scripted, Internet-based programming. Okay, that’s a lie. We obviously can.
Some girl who kind of looks like Ke$ha @8:52 “Gregory Gorgeous, from YouTube, he’s a huge star.” Define “huge.” We get that he’s some sort of icono-queer on YouTube, but so is Keyboard Cat.
@8:58 “Make sure to touch base with him, because I want to know what everyone is talking about.” Define “everyone.” We know a lot of gay men, and not one has, even blindly, mentioned this magical being in heels who struts around Toronto touching up makeup.
Scene: Tula Central yoga studio
Claire and Rachel are early for yoga. So is a frazzled model named Jessica, who is angry. If there was ever any doubt that The Avenue is scripted, we think it becomes obvious that it is, by way of Jessica’s inability to act naturally on cue.
Jessica @10:00 “I’m not going to be in the magazine. What am I supposed to do? This is my job. Whatever, Richard. Fuck you.” Poor Richard. This is the first major swear on The Avenue. All of the glitz and elegance we expected has been washed away by this foul-mouthed model who’s struggling to get work. Couldn’t she just have a drug dependency like a normal model stereotype? But no, she’s hustling to work for “the magazine.”
@10:29 – 11:05 “No, I’m not fucking okay. Sorry, I just had a huge fight with my agent. I was resposed to be in a magazine.” Resposed? Not only does Jessica have a dirty mouth, but she can’t speak English. We imagine she has a brutal stage mother who has been forcing her into a modeling career. We know Frankie Muniz was able to work and have a tutor—something to think about, Jessica.
Scene: a terrible bar. Probably The Social
After hearing so much about the famous Gregory, Arta somehow tracks him down at a bar (where else?). They meet for all of a few seconds and exchange emails. Arta must look really exotic to Gregory, since he tries to add flavour to the way he pronounces her name, to show that he’s in the know or cultured or something.
Greg @12:20 “It was nice meeting you. Ar-ta, right?”
At the end of the episode, there is a late introduction of Vienna, an old friend of Gregory’s. She remains distant for her half-minute on-screen moment, but is important enough to drag Gregory outside to chat. Talking about Claire and Rachel in private is suddenly of great importance.
Vienna @12:45 – 13:13 “So, they’re both just friends? Okay, what about Claire? I don’t know her, but I really don’t get a good feeling. She’s wearing a summer floral. I mean, that says a lot.” Oh, it so does, Vienna.
• Read our recap of The Avenue: Episode 1, Taking Toronto
* Melissa is, in fact, an assistant editor at Lifestyle