Reality Bites. Synopsis: Beautiful slacker/filmmaker Lelania Pierce graduates college and finds herself living what she will look on back in her old age as The Fucking Dream- hanging out with Janeane Garafolo, drinking Big Gulps and going to see shitty bands. But for no good reason she wants more out of life. She applies for some jobs and must choose between compromising her art with Michael (Ben Stiller) or her loser roommate Troy (Ethan Hawke) who gave her puppy dog eyes after his dad died. This movie is The Best. Remember when all you had to worry about was not compromising your art and which loser guy you were going to crash with for a few years? Lelania does.
In 2017, Lelania is divorced, if she ever even convinced Troy to agree to the institution of marriage, which she totally did in the year 2005 because he needed insurance. She found a decent paying job making commercials and, later, viral videos for non-profits, and dabbled with documentary film on the side, but was disenchanted by the onslaught of reality TV. Troy rode his own melt into a series of bullshit capitalist jobs that he justified his employment at by stealing anything he could get his hands on. For awhile, during good times, they hosted a monthly game night where they would guzzle beer and raffle off his random pilfered goods. Staplers, legal pads, cartons of chai tea mix, natural peanut butter, postage stamps, that sort of thing. During bad times, he fucked around, gave her that old "I may do mean things but I'm the only real thing you've got" schpiel, and made her film acoustic videos for his Youtube channel, Hey That Used To Be My Bike.
'90s slacker love couldn't stand up to the recession. Lelania sold out by making video ads for a pizza company in order to pay the bills, using old footage from her college years, which defines irony? She still doesn't know. After losing most of her non-profit work to interns, she now films dating profiles for a Generation X-only dating service where you sign up through zine subscription and send VHS tapes to your matches. She has recently gotten into selling essential oils, half-heartedly, as Lainey does most things.
Troy fell ass backwards into money when a financier mistook his cynicism and perfect latte foam for wisdom, but somehow managed to fuck it up. The financial stress and Troy's morals-when-convenient attitude, plus the neighbor chick he fucked culminated in a "divorce", though neither has filed paperwork. Troy moved out and is currently crashing with a chick he met through Airbnb the last time the last band he was in toured. He has a big following on Twitter because, if you don't know him, a lot of the shit he says makes sense. He remains under no orders to make the world a better place. The uncouple have one teenage daughter together, Jane, and she and Lelania are very close and Jane is the most responsible of the three.
In case you're curious, Vickie still works at The Gap and has a side hustle selling her old clothes and "reimagined" Gap jeans on Etsy. Lelaina's daughter models them and since she looks like a teenage Winona Ryder, business is good. Vickie is really into journaling. And she's happy because I want Janeane Garafolo to be happy. Sammy lives on a Texas farm with his partner and two kids. He and Vickie and Lelaina go on a trip every year together and the trip is getting super stoned at Sammy's farmhouse and telling old stories.
Michael makes training videos for Silicon Valley upstarts and every once in awhile someone will recognize him from In Your Face. On those nights, he lies to his wife and kids about where he's going and parks at the 7-11. He has a big Slurpee and tries in vain to find Lelaina on Facebook.
But the question on everyone's mind is: what is Lainey reading?
Anything with "self care" in the title, for starters. Anything with quizzes about one's empowerment or intimacy style. Our heroine doesn't "power through" stressful times. She likes to wallow. Lelaina is also browsing The Awakened Psychic: What You Need to Know to Develop Your Psychic Abilities by Kala Ambrose and Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty and Cooking by Michelle Schoffro Crook. And while those two books on their own might be fine- together they give off a little bit of a manic witch vibe.
What else? She's also trying to track down a biography of the band Squeeze. Sorry Lainey, it doesn't exist. At Vick's suggestions, she's trying out The 52 Lists Project: A Year of Weekly Journaling Inspiration by Moorea Seal. And in a few weeks when she's digging through her old stuff looking for her favorite holey oversized t-shirt, which she will look inexplicably adorable in, she'll stumble across an old worn out copy of Rebel Without A Crew: Or How a 23 Year Old Film Maker with $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player by Robert Rodriguez and be inspired to make art again. But first she needs money. So please buy some essential oils from her. She makes a peppermint infused foot oil that will literally give you the best night of sleep, you guys. And she's working on a version of Thieves Oil that will banish Troys instead of sickness.
What I would recommend for today's Lelaina Pierce:
This Is How by Augusten Burroughs (for real talk)
Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change by Pema Chodron (for gentle real talk)
Country Music Hair by Erin Duvall (for fun)
NOLO Guide to Divorce and Money (for on the off chance that Troy decides to apply himself. He's pretty fucking smart)
Heartburn by Nora Ephron or Postcards from the Edge by Carrie Fisher (for great semi-autobiographical fiction about messy lives with a nostalgic vibe)
In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing by Walter Murch (for, like, work)
Good luck out there, Lainey. It's a different world, but sometimes, if we're lucky, they still play "My Sharona" on the radio.