Have you ever had a conversation with someone where you start out just casually chit-chatting about the weather and 10 minutes later, you've somehow segued into how your high school driver's ed instructor kept spare pairs of underpants in the glove compartment of the test car (which is totally true, by the way...don't ask) and suddenly wondered how in the world you managed to ebb and flow from something menial into such an obscure and twisted topic? Well, I had an obscure and twisted train of thought today that I'm still a little bit flummoxed by, and it went a little something like this:
First, I started thinking about "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," which led me to think about the "five-point plan"*, a plot gimmick that ended up being reused and rejigged for every teen movie made since (but without the excellent recommendation of the first side of the fourth Led Zeppelin album, even though I personally prefer side two), including "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", where Ferris had about 10 five-point plans throughout the course of the movie. This then caused me to remember the awful "Ferris Bueller" TV show (starring a smug guy who looked kind of like Ted McGinley or the guy that played Bo on "Welcome Back, Kotter" and a pre-nose job Aniston), which then led me to think, "Hey, wasn't there also a short-lived Fast Times TV show?"
Indeed there was, and when I looked up the "Fast Times" TV series on IMDb, I was flabbergasted at how many stars were featured players on that show:
• Claudia Wells, Marty McFly's girlfriend in "Back to the Future", as golden girl Linda Barrett
• Courtney Thorne-Smith as super-slutty Stacy Hamilton
• Dean Cameron, Chainsaw in "Summer School", as Spicoli
• Jason Hervey, best known as uber-ass Wayne Arnold on "The Wonder Years", as Spicoli's younger brother ("Go away, CUR-TIS! I only hear you if you knock!")
• Wallace Langham, coroner's assistant David Hodges on "CSI", as skills-challenged Mark "Rat" Ratner (no relation to Brett)
• Moon Unit Zappa as a new character not featured in the movie
• and funniest of all, Patrick "McDreamy" Dempsey as ticket-scalping schiester Mike Damone! Man, I can't stop cracking up over that one...
If you think that's crazy, wait until you hear what popped into my head next: "Hm, I wonder if I can use the Kevin Bacon game to connect the two Spicolis?" I simultaneously thought that may have been the most pathetic idea I've ever dreamed up and became a woman possessed. I wouldn't eat or sleep until I'd accomplished this task, and I was sure I would be the first person to ever do so. Shut up, brain, food can wait!
Well, guess what...I DID IT! And it didn't even take that long. Behold the glory:
Sean Penn (Spicoli, movie) was in the 1997 indie flick “Hugo Pool” with
Patrick Dempsey (Damone, TV), who was in some star-studded early-90s film called “Bank Robber” with
Forest Whitaker (Jefferson, movie) AND
Judge Reinhold (Brad, movie), who was in “Gremlins” with
Phoebe Cates (Linda, movie), who was in the Sundance hit “The Anniversary Party” with
Jennifer Jason Leigh (Stacy, movie), who provided a voice for the animated series “Mission Hill” which also features the voice of
Wallace Langham (Rat, TV), who guest starred on an episode of “ER” with
Anthony Edwards (Stoner, movie), who was in “Revenge of the Nerds 2” with
Courtney Thorne-Smith (Stacy, TV), who was in “Summer School” with
Dean Cameron (Spicoli, TV)!!!
I know I shouldn't be proud of having done this, but I am. So it's a few more than six degrees...surely, no one has even attempted this, so if anyone can do a better job, I'll be very impressed. And with this small victory, my train of thought finally comes to the end of the railroad tracks of my obsession. And thank god. Now I can finally eat.
* Just in case you forgot the sempiternal wisdom of Mike Damone, here's the original five-point plan, as tested on a cardboard cut-out of Debbie Harry in front of Record Town at the mall: "First of all, Rat, you never let on how much you like a girl. 'Oh, Debbie. Hi.'
Two: you always call the shots. 'Kiss me. You won't regret it.'
Three: act like wherever you are, that's the place to be. 'Isn't this great?'
Four: when ordering food, find out what she wants, then order for the both of you. It's a classy move. 'Now, the lady will have the linguini and white clam sauce, and a Coke with no ice.'
And five—now this is the most important, Rat. When it comes down to making out, whenever possible, put on side one of Led Zeppelin IV." (cut promptly to Stacy and Rat riding in a car and blasting "Kashmir"—from Physical Graffiti).