“South of Nowhere” Recaps: Episode 2.1 “The Morning After”

King High School Entrance — The lovebirds have made it through their first day of high school as girlfriends, and they're on their way home. If this were Showtime and not The N we'd be seeing a real After School Special. (On the other hand, if this were Showtime, Spencer would inexplicably hook up with Madison mid-season after Ashley suddenly died from an allergic reaction to a new hair gel. And Betty would have played at her funeral.)

But this is The N, and what we see is Spencer sweetly trying to hold Ashley's hand as they tromp down the steps in matching mini-skirts. (Is this is the hip teen version of matching fanny packs? Jesus, have they already started to merge?)

That hand-holding move didn't go over so well when Spencer pulled it last season (remember Madison's “Isle of Lesbos” comment?) and she's not going to get any mileage out of it this time either. Ashley suddenly gets very snappy with Spencer.

Ashley: Spencer, stop!
Spencer: Why?
Ashley: Just be careful. I'm out and I don't give a crap what people think about me. But you're not, and people can be really harsh. Okay?

As if to help prove her point, Madison approaches with Aiden in tow.

Madison: Oh look. It's the King High lesbian poster children. Cute aren't they?
Aiden: (with a leer) Definitely.

For some reason, Ashley still cares about who Aiden dates and she chides him for being with Madison. Ashley and Madison trade insults until Madison gets bored and moves on.

Spencer's Bedroom — Spencer is getting all dolled up for her dinner date with Ashley and her burn-out father. Going all gay seems to agree with Spencer, because she suddenly looks like a poised 20 year old model. Her mother notices this too.

Paula: I can't believe how fast you're growing up.
Spencer: Mom, you've been saying that since I was about five. (She turns around and shows off her outfit) So?
Paula: You look…different somehow

Cue twinkly, instrumental background music. This tells us that we're headed toward a heart-warming mother-daughter conversation and not one of those, “You've slept with her, haven't you, you little slut!?!?!” knock-down, drag-outs that teen homos are so often treated to when they come home looking “different somehow.”

Paula: …but beautiful.
Spencer: (nervously turning away) I'm trying something new with my hair.
Paula: Maybe. Well, whatever it is. You look very grown up. So where are you off to?
Spencer: Ashley invited me to dinner with her dad.
Paula: Spencer!
Spencer: Mom, it's okay. Really. (Lesbian Decoder Ring Translation: Get over it, Mom, she is so my girlfriend now.)
Paula: Look Spence, it just that Ashley is really…experienced, in ways that, honestly, worry me.

Oh Paula, you have no idea. (Or maybe you do, and that's why you're worried.)

Spencer: Mom, I don't want to fight about her anymore. (LDRT: I'm probably moving in with her this weekend, so you can go ahead and use by bedroom for Bible study.)
Paula: I know. All I'm saying is that Ashley is not going to have an easy life.
Spencer: Look, Mom, its just dinner. Her father's going to be there, and, come on, you should be happy—for me. It's going to be so safe and normal that it's almost boring. (LDRT: Ashley thinks civil unions are bullsh*t and we're not even sure if we'll ever want kids, so just chill.)

Because Paula has never met the train wreck that is Ashley's dad, she relents and let's Spencer go with a reminder that she's there for her if she ever wants to talk. You know, about stuff that isn't gay.

Penthouse Apartment on the Sunset Strip —We're treated to a montage of merriment as Spencer, Ashley, and her dad dine together on the roof of his swanky rock star apartment. The girls laugh, play air guitar, and pretend that Ashley's dad can put a coherent sentence together.

It's all noisy rock and roll fun until Dad gets sentimental. Getting a decent haircut has created a Zen-like peace in him, and he regales the girls with a cute story about baby Ashley going on tour with him, and a kind of creepy story about a not-much-older-than-a-baby Ashley partying with him.

He tells Ashley how much he loves her, and calls her “his favorite daughter”. They embrace, and the warm father-daughter moment gives Spencer a flicker of hope that Ashley might not have HUGE INTIMACY ISSUES after all.

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