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I was watching the pilot of Best Friends Forever on Hulu last night, and, at the risk of STARTING with a tangent, it’s terrific. It’s a new NBC comedy created by/written by/starring two UCB alums, Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham, and co-starring another UCB-er, Luka Jones. About halfway through the episode, a character named Ravi is introduced, played by an actor named Steven Schneider, who I instantly recognized from my high school. He was a senior when I was a freshman, and as the episode progressed, I remembered that he was responsible for my first High School memory.
I was walking though the double doors with a few of my friends, and instantly got separated because we weren’t in the same homeroom. I wasn’t lost, but I definitely didn’t have the best grasp on where I was going. I had my schedule gripped tight in my right hand, hard enough that I was probably sweating through it, trying to get to class on time.
As I neared the end of the hallway, I saw an upperclassman walking with a few attractive girls. To me they looked so huge, so mature, so wise and self assured. For an indication of how wrong that is, just look at a seventeen year old now. They look like ants! But to me, a 9th grader, they were the kings and queens of the school.
I kept looking ahead, avoiding eye contact with anyone. As I started to pass the group of seniors, one of them started walking toward me. Before I knew what was happening, the tallest one, Steven, approached me with outstretched arms and gave me an enormous hug. A comforting, paternal, and entirely condescending hug. He patted me on the back and continued walking with his friends as if nothing had happened. He didn’t say anything, just embraced me and kept walking. All of his friends laughed hysterically. My whole body got all prickly and hot, and I shuffled off to homeroom, mortified.
At the time, I wanted to die. I was scared and nervous and the last thing I wanted was unwanted attention from anyone at school, especially cool upperclassmen who were clearly mocking me. In hindsight, however, it’s amazing. It’s not malicious, violent, or hateful, even if it’s clearly meant to embarrass. It’s the perfect form of freshman harassment. I can’t think of a funnier possible thing to do to an underclassmen on the first day of school.
Well done, Steven. Best of luck on your new show, and I hope you hug an extra on set one day soon.