In this third episode of Red Oaks, “The Wedding,” we see what happens when David takes the straight path. Things seem…safe. There is a tradition in The Hero’s Journey where the Hero refuses the Call to Adventure. Sometimes this refusal can take the form of the hero taking the safe path. This is what David is doing and, on the surface, it will seem to pay off. But destiny has a way of interfering when our heroes least expect it. This episode is the beginning of David learning that lesson.
We have no idea where we are when this episode starts. We haven’t seen this gruff man and we don’t understand what is happening. Then the drums and guitars kick in. It’s Sex Flu! David is making his video. Or rather, he made his video and is now showing it to Barry, who is scrutinizing it. In a lesser sitcom, Barry would shit all over it, but Red Oaks is not a lesser dramatic comedy. Here, Barry is contemplative and nearly congratulatory, while still offering constructive feedback on David’s areas of improvement. Barry is actually being a mentor to David here and this seems to win David over a bit.
Misty is front and center in this video, on a leash, playing Steve’s prop with the costume to prove it.
Overall you got a decent eye. You’re hired. Purely on a trial basis, of course.” —Barry to David After Viewing David’s Music Video for Steve Lefevre’s Band Fever Blyster’s song “Sex Flu”—
Also, please appreciate the hip switch that Josh Meyers gives Barry here while walking away. That is a gift for us, he didn’t have to do that but it’s everything in this moment of exit.
The Red Oaks reveal happens in the tv set that David played his Sex Flu video to Barry.
David and Karen Rent A Video
For the younger crowd here, we used to have to physically go to video rental stores and walk around and discuss what we wanted to watch before we spent our money to rent it for 24 hours. We had to have discussions about investing in art for temporary consumption while holding the physical media in our hands. Things have changed dramatically when it comes to how we choose what video to watch, but let this scene take you back there for a few minutes.
David and Karen are looking for a video to rent. She picks up On Golden Pond (phenomenal film by the way) and says how cute they will be when they are, “Old, wrinkly and adorable,” like Henry Fonda and Kathryn Hepburn. Watch David’s face here—see him slip further away from Karen.
The subject quickly turns to pornography and they encounter Sam Meyers deep into the Asian porn section. His exit is legendary.
Sam Meyers Drinks His Smoothie
The song “High Climber” by Bob McGilpin plays in the background as Judy Meyers hands her husband Sam his breakfast…in a glass. It’s a smoothie and Sam wants nothing to do with it, fighting a soul-sucking battle with every meal and he is losing all of them.
David comes into the room in his suit. It must be Sunday because Barry told him to be ready at 3pm and wear a suit. He’s going to make $75 for a few hours of work. Sam is impressed by his son’s indomitable work ethic. As David leaves, Sam turns his attention to his wife, asking her why she’s all “Gussied up?” Sam doesn’t listen to Judy anymore. She wants to explore selling Real Estate. She says it’s because they need the money but the truth is closer to she’s mounting an exit strategy from their marriage. He reaches for the sandwich and is D-NIED! Until he grows a better attitude, it looks like green smoothies for Sam until he dies.
The Wedding Begins
Getty pulls up to the club with his wife, Fay Getty, and Skye in tow. They are arguing about what sounds like a road rage incident. Doug calls Wheeler “Walker,” dismissing him as menial per usual.
Fay Getty looks at her daughter’s “gloomy” black dress as she gets out the car and says, “It’s a wedding, not a funeral.” Skye, sunglass shields firmly engaged, doesn’t miss a beat, “Is there a difference?”
Incredulously, Getty asks his wife where Skye gets all this anger from, proving he is truly blind to mirrors.
The Party King Is Born
Ganz pulls up, looking like a short order cook in a wrinkled suit. There is a beautiful woman, potentially a professional, on his arm. Wheeler stands mesmerized as if he’s seeing himself visiting from the future. One of the valets comments that the guys must have, “A foot long dong.” The other says, “Guy looks like you, Wheeler. Minus the dong.”
David Goes To Work
David has put his pride aside and is gophering for Barry, who wastes no time sending him out to his El Camino on lens duty. He warns him not to scratch the paint and berates him for not immediately moving. Of course Barry drives an El Camino.
Nash Goes To Work
Here, we get to see Nash truly work. He is in top form for his ass kissing game and the father of the bride here at this wedding owns a frozen yogurt company with rumored franchise opportunities. His behavior will only grow more ridiculous and sycophantic when lubricated by alcohol as the evening progresses. Also, Skip has come to play the same game and he is talking to the Yogurt King right now, so banter with the Boychick has to wait!
Wheeler Defends Romanticism
Outside, Wheeler defends Love and Marriage with Conspiracy Theory. Lawyers invented divorce like Hallmark invented greeting cards, he instructs. Misty approaches Wheeler to return his Roxy Music tape. Is it just me, or is she looking differently at him? I think my theory about him popping into her head during sex with Steve is valid. She remarks that she’s never seen the inside of a limo like the one they are standing next to. Wheeler asks the other valets to look out for them and they pop into the back of the limo to smoke a joint.
As they get high, Misty reveals that she doesn’t see herself with Steve long-term.
“For one thing, Misty Lefevre sounds like a Staten Island stripper.” —Misty
Then Misty starts to interview Wheeler about his future and he fails the test. She asks him where he sees himself in five years (everyone has to have a five-year plan if they are serious about the future at Red Oaks). Wheeler responds with deprecating humor, that he doesn’t know where he’ll be in five months except it’ll be November and he’ll probably have a sweater on. This makes Misty laugh, but she also looks crestfallen. The one guy that shows her the attention she deserves and he won’t have, “Twelve bucks to his name.” When she says this, you can see the wheels of his mind turn and he starts to understand the mistake he just made. He’ll be digging himself out of this pit for a season. Misty gives him a challenge here; he must have a future for himself if he wants her in it.
Getty Wants To Destroy Feinberg
Getty is getting an earful about how great Dr. Feinberg is, what a miracle worker he is. Feinberg is Getty’s Skip. The guy is undefeated in the annual member Tennis Championship and he almost never comes to Club events (like this wedding). In Getty’s mind, Feinberg is the worst at being the best. Here, we see how Getty battles with a true superior, by becoming juvenile. Also, we start to understand the competitiveness that drives him and is going to expose his flank for David to sneak under the radar and penetrate his defenses and jump the obstacles in the social hierarchy that currently prevent him from engaging Skye romantically. Hubris is the gravity of power; eventually, it brings everything back down to Earth.
Nash and Skip Eat At The Kiddie Table
Nash and Skip have both been sat at the kid’s table and Nash is furious while Skip seems grateful and resolved to their place in the social hierarchy of Red Oaks, a structure built from the top down on the exact pettiness, jealousy, and hubris that Getty exhibited in the previous scene. Imagine being Nash and Skip here, forced to prostrate themselves before the worst natures of these powerful white men. Well, Nash is done sitting at the Kid’s table. He gets up and goes to work.
Watch David Work
David is interviewing guests and we meet Dale and Gene here. They are drunk and hilarious and they are going to get an idea about David and that video camera, but hold that thought for a couple more episodes.
“May all your ups and downs be between the sheets.” – Gene
Next up to be interviewed is Nash and he is absolutely shameless in his petitioning to make himself part of this family. Not to be outdone, Skip shamelessly dances with the grandma to a slow song and Nash strikes back by bribing the DJ to play a conga at beats per minute that match his style and particular talents of stirring a room up. “I’ll Tumble for Ya,” by Culture Club kicks the party up a notch and here we get to see Nash’s particular talents of revving up a crowd.
Ganz Crowns Wheeler The Party King
It has been said that asking the question brings the answer and that the answer is never apart from the question. So if Wheeler is asking himself what he can do to prove to Misty that he’ll have more than twelve bucks to his name and can support a future with her, out walks Ganz who offers Wheeler the exact opportunity he thinks he needs. That would be selling cocaine to the members of the club and clearing, “Three G’s a week!”
Nash Makes A Move
Nash is ordering a drink and overhears a conversation that seems promising. Watch the devil work, my friends. Insider Trading is a serious business; friends don’t let friends do it. But Getty has no friends. Remember the name Galexa; it will be coming back up. It turns out one of Getty’s associates owns a pharmaceutical company that was trying to bring a drug to market that failed but had the odd side effect of growing hair everywhere. Sounds like Rogaine, which back in the 1980s was like it dropped out of outer space from an asteroid, the cure to male pattern baldness and billions to be made. Getty cannot resist this kind of easy money.
“Buying and selling securities based on privileged information is called Insider Trading. It’s illegal. People go to jail for that.” —Doug Getty to Nash
Nash, his dreams of a yogurt franchise suddenly made small by comparison asks Getty what the name of his friend’s company is and Getty has a laugh before insulting Nash by pinching his cheek and lecturing him. Nash puts it right back on Getty by asking him directly if he plans on using this information for profit. Getty doesn’t answer.
The Next Moment for David and Skye
David is out walking by the pool and sees Skye night swimming in her bra and panties. She is by herself. David confronts her about Martin, her father’s friend. Skye seems a bit unnerved by the accusatory tone and replies that she doesn’t have boyfriends. David considers this but before he can respond, Skye asks him if he knows anything about the stars.
“Everything looks like a Dipper to me.” —David to Skye When She Asks Him About Stars
We find out that Skye goes to Sarah Lawrence and likes her studio classes but finds most of the other students to be fake. David makes fun of her here and she becomes flirtatious. She asks him a question about the many jobs he has and reveals how impressed she is by him. She seems almost intimidated, which is a rare look for Skye. She has no sunglasses on in the pool. She is incredulous to find that David’s an Accounting major. “The last thing I’d have guessed.” He has the wrong face for a number cruncher.
Getty interrupts this scene playing out and is furious. This is likely the first time that he sees David as a dangerous influence on his daughter. Skye obediently gets out of the pool and Getty covers up her near nakedness with a towel, which pisses her off.
“Dad, I’m not a child!” Skye says, as he wraps a towel around her. He states plainly, almost forlorn, “You’re still my child!”
Skye scuttles off to join her mother at the car and Getty asks David, “How many fucking jobs you have around here anyway?” As of right now, Getty likes David, sees himself in David. We find out that Getty caddied. They both came from working-class families. Getty put his time in though, ate through his mile of shit to get where he is. It’s difficult to tell whether he envies David the journey he’s going to go on or if he pities him. Instead of talking about it though, like his Daughter, Getty comments on the stars, but his comment carries the weight of the passage of time. There is a deep sadness welling up inside Douglas Getty tonight. It’s probably the alcohol, but nonetheless, like his daughter just did before him, he opens up his flank up to David.
“I think we had different stars back then. That was thirty years ago. Seems like five minutes. “ –Getty
Getty stands looking at the stars for a moment, something his daughter was doing only minutes before. They are ultimately the same.
Side Note: Joseph Campbell taught a course on Mythology at Sarah Lawrence for 38 years and it is where he met his wife Jean Erdman Campbell who went on to a great career as a Dancer with Martha Graham.
Nash Takes A Fall
Nash and Skip are wrapping up a heroic evening of kissing ass. But it is Nash who wins the prize by being handed the Yogurt King’s card…so that he can retrieve his car from the valet. Wah-wuh! Skip smiles in some kind of victory, knowing that they will both go home in their proper places tonight.
David Calls It A Night
David makes it home and his father is very happy to see him and proud of him for the day’s work he put in. Sam suggests they have a movie marathon and watch Once Upon A Time In America. Watch the kindness of Sam Meyers spill out of him. In case the world needs an example, this is how fathers should love their sons. He shuffles off to the kitchen to procure snacks, revealing that he is mounting an insurgent campaign against this new diet Judy is torturing him with each day.
When Sam returns, David has fallen asleep, exhausted from working. He’s making it happen. Good for him. He’s making his Dad very proud but there are miles to go until he really gets to sleep, if ever.
JB Minton is the author of the upcoming book A Skeleton Key To Twin Peaks. Learn more about his work here. Watch him work on Instagram and check 25YL every Wednesday for the next article in this series.