Over the past generation, history has shown us that all great shows have spinoffs.
"Diff'rent Strokes" had "Hello Larry"".
"Alice" gave birth to "Flo".
"Three's Company" gave rise to "The Ropers".
"Friends" eventually provided us with "Joey".
The list goes on and on.
Keeping with that theme, this thread is a spinoff of the "Ask me about kroqken" thread. Like its sitcom predecessors, it's likely to be far less entertaining and well-written, but you'll watch it anyway because you're bored and familiar with the characters.
Ken, the clever scamp that he is, found a way to call personal ads in the LA Times for free. Usually it required a call to a 1-900 number that would set you back $1.99/min, but the Kenster found a "back door" way into the system, thus allowing him free and full access to all of the lovely ladies of the newspaper personals. With this newfound power at his fingertips, Ken blanketed the system with generic responses to each and every one of the females listed -- regardless of age, weight, race, creed, or color. Ever the liberal Democrat, Ken was proud to be non-discriminatory in his interest in women.
Ken went on lots of first dates as a result of this. Most -- bordering on all -- were a complete failure. The few that did work out were with girls who were so unappealing that even he couldn't bring himself to call them again. Ken also had no car, so he was limited to only meeting girls who would drive to see him. This is where I come into the story.
I was in grad school at the time, but I was spending the weekend with my parents in the LA area. I was tired at the time, and was just about to turn in early at 6:30pm after a hard week. The phone rang, and it was Ken on the other end.
"How would you like to meet a girl tonight?", Ken inquired.
I knew there was a catch. Ken was always selfish when it came to girls, so he's only offering to involve me if he needs something.
"There's this 18-year-old girl who wants to meet me tonight, but neither of us have a car. She lives in Bellflower. Can you drive me? We can both meet her."
I responded with skepticism. "18 years old, and she neeeds to take out personal ads in the Times?! I can imagine what this one must look like."
"She says she looks like Alicia Silverstone," responded Ken, who was especially excited because he had spent many nights alone with a box of tissues, dreaming of Alicia.
"That sounds especially unlikely. But okay, let's call her."
We called the girl, whose name was Julie. She sounded nice and normal enough on the phone. I agreed to pick up Ken and go get her, and I made Ken understand that I would only agree to do this if she was fair game to both of us, but I would give him first opportunity to see if they had a connection, even if I liked her myself.
On the way to her grandmother's house in Bellflower, I gave Ken some advice. I told him not to be an asskisser. I told him to treat her normally and talk to her almost like she was another guy. I advised him to curtail the weirdness the best he could. Basically, I was telling him to act the exact opposite from the way he's been acting around FIDM Girl.
We arrived, and Julie opened the back door of my car. Ken saw her, but she said, "Oops, forgot my purse!", and ran back in the house before I could catch a glance. That didn't stop Ken from exclaiming a loud "Oh my God!" before she closed the car door. I asked him what he found so astounding. "She looks exactly like Alicia Silverstone," he said, with his face almost in a trance.
I thought this "purse" thing might have been an excuse to get away from Ken, but lo and behold, she did return within a few minutes with her purse. As the night wore on, Ken acted like a complete buffoon and her quiet politeness with him turned to sarcasm and anger. Still, hours passed, and she expressed no desire to go home, even as it got late. It became clear eventually that she was putting up with Ken because she liked me. This also became clear to Ken, who was extremely jealous.
I drove Julie home at about 3am that night, minus Ken. After a make-out session in the car, we sat and pondered what to do about Ken. He made no secret that he was already obsessed with her, yet I was the one she liked and we both felt kinda bad for him.
"Can't you fix him up with someone?", Julie asked. "Get his mind off of me?"
"I'd love to, but I really don't know any girls who would go out with him. That's why he's calling these personals in the first place."
"Come on," she responded. "You've got to know some desperate, pathetic girl in need of attention who would want a guy like Ken."
"No, I don't know anyone like...", and then I stopped myself and remembered something from a few months back....
I had tried to call my friend Heidi late at night, but she was sleeping and a girl named Stephanie answered the phone. Stephanie was some friend of Heidi's I had never heard of before, and she immediately started asking me for advice regarding a supposed boyfriend of hers. Feeling in a mischevious mood, I gave her the worst possible advice for the situation -- getting increasingly ridiculous with each passing minute -- hoping she'd catch on. She didn't, and she eventually thanked me for all the help as I ended the phone call. Five minutes later, I was overwhelmed by guilt, so I called back and apologized. I told Stephanie that my advice was all phony, and that she should listen to none of it. I told her I was sorry, and wished her luck with her relationship.
"That's it?", Stephanie asked.
"What do you mean?"
"So I'm never going to talk to you agan?", she surprisingly inquired.
I didn't know what to say. I thought she'd be cussing me out for making a fool of her, but instead she didn't want to let a prize like me go. In a moment of foolishness, I gave Stephanie my number.
There are few single acts of mine that I regret more. Stephanie called me several times every day. She was horrendous to talk to. Stupid, boring, immature, self-esteem-challenged... you name the unattractive personality trait, and she had it. Every time I'd try to get off the phone, she would respond with a pathetic-sounding, "Why are you hanging up? Do you not like me? What's wrong with me?" This repeated EVERY SINGLE TIME she called me.
Finally I decided I had enough and told Stephanie not to call me anymore. She went into a panic after I hung up and called me repeatedly until I finally had to take the phone off the hook. When I put it back on the hook 30 minutes later, it immediately rang again with her on the other line. After I again left it busy for hours, she left me alone. Surprisingly, she never called back.
Meanwhile, back in my car in February, 1994
I told Julie that I thought I had the girl for Ken. Stephanie wanted a guy who would enjoy inane, boring conversation and be willing to give her false compliments all day. I was not that guy, but Ken definitely was.
Despite fearing I might be opening Pandora's box again for Stephanie's obsession with me, I threw caution to the wind and called her up. I told her that the call wasn't for me, but that I knew a guy she'd probably like to talk to. I gave her Ken's number.
Their first call went great. The two of them hit it off splendidly, just as I expected. I called up Julie and gave her a George W. Bush-esque "Mission Accomplished" speech...
Stephanie and her friend Kathleen are standing outside of Ken's Sherman Oaks apartment complex. They know that FIDM Girl is upstairs in Ken's apartment, but Ken is refusing to let them in.
"We come all this distance, and Ken won't let us in because of his stupid obsession with that bitch," complains Stephanie. "This is her fault. She's going to be sorry she did this."
The two of them approach FIDM Girl's empty car.
Kathleen lets the air out of all four tires. The two 31-year-old women giggle.
"Wait, that isn't going to do much. She can just fill them back up," says Stephanie, feeling justice has not yet been done. She pulls her keys out of her purse, and scratches FIDM Girl's car thoroughly.
"That'll teach her not to let us come upstairs to see Ken."
The two girls scamper away, with Kathleen already feeling uneasy about the level of jealousy being displayed by her new friend.
How do these two incidents connect, over 13 years apart? Where does FIDM Girl fit into all of this?
Stay tuned for Chapter 2!
Same bat time, same bat channel!