Even though last night's episode of Huge (created by My So-Called Life's Winnie Holzman and her daughter, Savannah Dooley) was one of the weakest yet, it still managed to be insightful, funny and really heartwarming.
In the woods on a Spirit Quest, the campers were encouraged to choose a name. When Alastair chose Athena, one of the other kids pointed out, "that's a girl's name." Alastair replied, "I know."
It's vague whether Alastair is gender-confused, gay, eccentric, a drag queen in the making, or all of the above. But what's great about the character is how unapologetic he is; when asked by the camp jock, "why'd you pick the name Athena?" Alastair argues: "Why should I pick a boy's name just because people expect me to?" You get the feeling that Trent, the jock, might be gay too. And also: that he ate a perfectly ordinary mushroom, not a trippy one. Anyway, at the end of the episode, he said, casually, "Athena, toss me the bug spray," in a way that would warm the barnacles of the coldest heart.
It's amazing how this show touches on incredibly specific teenage emotions. The scene in which Becca remembers how she and Chloe were friends, the previous summer at camp, was great: We learned that Chloe used to be heavier, with glasses, and realize now that she's dropped weight and gotten contacts she hangs with a different, more popular and social crowd, leaving old friends like (slightly nerdy) Becca behind. It's a scene ripped right out of your own youth, when growing and changing happened so rapidly it was hard to keep track, and the people you related to and wanted to be around changed from month to month and year to year. How you went from not caring what people — especially the opposite sex — were thinking or saying about you, to hoping they'd see you in a specific light.
By the way, if we learned one lesson from this episode, it's this: Doughnut prayer? Works every time.