Season 5, Episode 11: “Love Letters”

We open at Sharkey’s with the band preparing their pictures for the yearbook. They soon start talking about regrets, and Tiffani regrets, to Jake’s dismay, that she has a regret from freshman year with a guy named Paul. Apparently Tiffani wasn’t really into this guy and tried to turn him down nicely, but he couldn’t take a hint, so Jenny told her to stop being subtle so she was all, “You’re a piece of shit. Go to hell,” and she regrets hurting his feelings. I’m more impressed that the show remembers Jenny exists. Usually characters in the Engel-verse disappear into a black hole once they leave the show. Just ask Dennis and Tori.

So Tony regrets not entering the dance-off, Mark regrets not telling off a bully coach (even though he should regret existing), and Jake regrets never playing the bagpipes for everyone. Gee, I wonder if this episode is going to be about regret? I feel I’m seeing some subtle hints here.

Naturally, Lorena’s regret is really shallow: she regrets dating a guy with flaws, so Sly tries to swoop in and date her and she’s all, “I’d rather eat thumbtacks,” as any sane or insane woman would do. Lorena decides she should just give up since we’re this close to the end of the series because she’s never going to have a love interest written for her again.

In any case, they decide they all need to face their regrets so they graduate without them.

At school, Lorena reveals she received a letter from a secret admirer and she’s all excited because no one’s given a shit about her since she broke up with Jake.

Mark confronts the coach by giving him his best “I’m constipated” face, and we see the real reason Mark’s afraid to stand up to the guy: he’s Ronald B. Solomon, co-creator of the show, and Mark’s afraid of being written out as soon as Solomon realizes how useless he is. In any case, the coach says he has character and now Ronald B. Solomon will just appear randomly throughout the episode to do some gay panic and gender stereotype jokes. Classy guy.

In the hallway, Tony and Sam are trying to set the record for the fall dance-off to prove they could, and Lorena joins them to continue rejoicing that someone wants Jake’s sloppy seconds. I mean, seriously, he’s been interested in Jenny, Tiffani, and Lorena, and so far we haven’t seen any of them with a different man. It’s like they bear his stamp and are uninteresting without a relationship with him.

Sly overhears Lorena saying she’s in love with this mystery man, and Jake soon realizes this is a cheap ploy to get Sly and Lorena together with little actual development…

…and they share a tender moment together as Ronald B. Solomon gives us his first gay panic joke. Sly doesn’t want to tell Lorena because he says he’s never told her how he’s felt out of fear of being hurt even though there was an entire episode last season about him telling Lorena how he felt and getting rejected. It’s even written by the same fucking writer! I mean, there’s forgetting continuity, and then there’s this shit. But this is what we’re going with I guess.

In the loft, the dancing continues as a delivery man brings roses and a teddy bear for Lorena. Lorena thinks whoever this is must be amazing since he’s paying attention to her.

Jake tells Sly he needs to face his fear and shit so he can make out with Lorena. So Jake invites Sly to have a fantasy sequence where Sly’s never taken any risks.

Turns out that Sly is Dustin Diamond in this universe and being bullied by football players and shit.

Tony is his boss and Mark is the relatively cooler Winkle, which is a scary existence indeed. He still pines for Lorena when it’s convenient to the plot, but she barely knows he exists. Sly decides he doesn’t want to grow up to write a shitty memoir trash talking his costars, so he decides he’ll tell Lorena tonight after the gig.

At Sharkey’s, Tiffani tries to apologize to Paul, but he acts like a fucking creepy ass nice guy, so she tells him to fuck off and stick a gerbil up his ass.

The band play a song to put Lorena in a loving mood that Tiffani once sang for her father. Creepy.

Lorena continues reading the letters, practically orgasming over the attention she’s being paid. Sly’s about to tell her that he wrote the letters, but some guy named John steps in and takes credit, continuing his streak of being a creepy nice guy to another girl, leaving Sly devastated.

At the loft, Jake tells Sly he needs to tell Lorena the truth about the letters. He says he’s about to after they stop expositing. Also, the stupid dance subplot is over as Tony and Sam break the record, in case you gave a shit.

Lorena comes in and Sly tells her the truth. Naturally, since he’s a piece of shit that once had to resort to trickery to get a girl to like him, she doesn’t believe him and tells him off for taking credit for Paul’s romantic heart.

At Sharkey’s, Jake plays the bagpipes as the rest of the band laugh about how wacky foreign cultures’ clothing is and Ronald B. Solomon comes in for one more gender stereotype joke.

Lorena tries to get John to tell her some romantic shit, but she soon realizes he’s been written too shallowly to come up with anything romantic, and soon throws water on him as she marches off.

Lorena goes back to the loft and tells Sly that maybe she could do a complete 360 on what she said just last season which, in the twisted chronology of this show, is like last week. She decides to ignore all continuity that’s been established up to now and ignore her previous statements…

…and starts the most shallow and poorly written of the relationships on this show by far.

And our episode ends with Sly’s yearbook listing declaring he loves Lorena Costa and regrets nothing. I don’t understand this. Starting a relationship a few episodes before the end of the series? How were they planning on making anyone give a shit about this? It’s like this ending was originally intended for Jenny and they were going to build it up over the seasons. Instead, we get a really shallow and forced pairing just to say it was done.

“Someone to Hold Onto”
Tiffani singing

Another one we haven’t seen in a couple seasons. I think one of the travesties of this show is Tiffani wasn’t given more songs of her own. She has a beautiful voice and it’s what makes this song memorable for me. It’s a rerun song I actually don’t mind as much. Also, it’s less creepy this time around since she’s singing it to Jake and not to her father. Well, maybe. I mean, she does want to be Jake’s little girl in the song, so maybe she’s into role playing.

Of course, there’s something else I noticed. Remember when I said the only instrument Mark hasn’t played on this show is bass? Guess what he’s playing this week while Tiffani’s singing? Yep, Mark is so talented by this show’s logic he can play any instrument in the band. Either that or he’s so expendable they just stick him wherever is necessary from week after week. Seriously, why is he around?

Also, Tony playing the drums from the side is really weird. It’s like horribly written thugs who tilt their guns to look all tough and shit even though it’s impossible to aim a gun like that. It’s like the writers have no experience how to play the drums.

Firsts: Sly and Lorena date.

6 thoughts on “Season 5, Episode 11: “Love Letters”

  1. Yeah I hated the Sly and Lorena pairing. I just didn’t think it worked and it seems like they only did it to have every band member hitched together.

  2. From what I have seen online of this show, Kelly Packard’s voice sounds like she could have had potential as a country singer if she decided to pursue a recording career.

  3. The Jenny reference did sound a bit jarring, coming out of nowhere like it did. Maybe the writers just wanted to give a shout out since the series was nearing its end.

    I wish Jenny had stayed with the show, she was by far the most interesting female character, a better singer than either Sam or Tiff and a much better match for Jake ( or Sly, if they’d eventually gone down that route). Oh well…….

    • Saying “my friend Jenny” was odd too. Wasn’t she friends with most of them? And Mark, Lorena, and Sam should at least already know who she is.

      Her voice was definitely stronger than either Sam or Tiffany’s. I like Sam’s voice, but it was too similar to Tiffany’s (same range, pitch), I thought. They should’ve gotten a female singer who can sing in a lower register.

      • Considering Sam lived in Jenny’s bedroom for a season, she ought to know. Yeah, I find it difficult to believe Mark and Lorena have never been briefed on the history of this band.

  4. I didn’t mind the Sly/Lorena hookup. But looking at the episode it did seem like it was a old story they had planned if Jenny stayed on the show.

    Lorena didn’t have the Jenny/Sly animosity since season 3.

    I prefer Sam over Jenny. Sure Sam didn’t have the voice Jenny had. But I think Sam was better eye candy then Jenny. At least IMO. Plus Jenny was the bitch character. I couldn’t take four more years of that.

    BTW the Tara Reid episode is coming soon. That should be fun.

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