At Olympic Coffee Shop & Diner, a young couple sits across from each other, eating breakfast. She puts her purse strap on her shoulder and walks away. He runs after her, careful of the server carrying her tray and catches up with her by the door. She slaps him.
He picks at his bacon. She walks away and slaps him again. The third time, he wears black dotted shirt and bumps into the server. In a split screen, the server tries to clean up her customer’s table. He comes back and apologizes then returns to the table. To the right, her girlfriend shoves him and they walk back to the table.
In the fourth version, they switch sides and he kisses her hand. She takes off again. A version of himself pays at the register and looks over his shoulder to see what’s going on. She slaps him several times.
A slide appears showing various scenarios. At a crimson red-lit club, he meets her in the narrow hallway. She walks away and slaps him, her face obscured with markings and shaved lines on her head. The slap replays by the door as a cartoon.
The diner floods. She hits on the cheek and he climbs over the tables to reach her. In a separate scenario, a car is on fire in the parking lot. Wearing an aqua fur coat, she gives the camera both middle fingers.
The diner, refashioned as a 50s hamburger joint, she steps away from the table. The server spins in the aisle and he lifts her up. At the door, she takes his hand and they dance by the painting of a clear blue sky.
They talk at the table and he gets up. She puts places her hands over her mouth and rubs her forehead. The screen splits into four squares, each providing a previous angle.
He stands in the aisle of the diner and passes a different family sitting at the table next to him. Another couple argues and he runs out the door. He runs back in, only to see people lifting their companions over their heads.
In another cartoon, he runs past a gorilla, a woman sketched in black-and-white and a hyena sitting at the counter.
A group of gorillas push him out the door. He runs into the crimson red club lit again. In the parking lot, she puts her head down while she walks. He places his hand on her shoulder and faces her. She listens to his apology and they kiss. Over the restaurant’s sign on the roof, lightning strikes.
The young man didn’t realize he had been ignoring his girlfriend. It was a mistake. But he wasn’t sure why he should be sorry. In a test of character, he repeats the hour over and over until he solves the problem.
First, he believes she needs affection. He kisses her hand. It still results in a fight. He helps the server and keeps on an eye on her while he pays. His kindness unlocks some of his girlfriend’s vulnerability. She’s worried about losing him.
He climbs over tables as the diner floods and allows the gorillas shove him out the door. After persevering through some troubling conditions and unstable animals, he is able to prove to whomever is tallying the score that he has matured. Finally, he is able to get past the door and speak to her. They get back together.
The clues in each scenario get difficult with every frame he passes. The cartoons seem to acknowledge his original, petty thinking and strive to get him to think platitudes. Complacency in the relationship may have been one of the issues prompting it. The cartoons, with its unusual array of characters, push for him to take the risk and be a better person.
Since the scenario repeats each time with a minor detail changed, it offers another side to the story. The girlfriend sees him as a well-dressed, proper young man. His insensitive comment comes out of nowhere. As he follows her with his condescending pleas, it seems hollow. She slaps him, thinking he’s like the other men he’s dated.
Director: N/A Year: 2017
Pam Avoledo’s love of pop culture began in 1999 with the message boards dedicated to shows on the CW (then WB). She graduated from Oakland University in 2006 with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism.
When she is not debating whether Dawson should’ve ended up with Joey, she looks at cute dog memes on social media.