Ryan Reynolds? Oh, Billy from Fifteen!

I loved him as Berg in Two Guys, A Girl, and a Pizza Place. I think I saw an edited version of Van Wilder but I wasn’t impressed – it was your typical “dude movie.”  I thought he was great in the remake movie, The Amityville Horror. Just Friends was cute.  Definitely, Maybe was better. But no matter what role he plays I will always look at Ryan Reynolds and think, “It’s Billy from Fifteen!”

That’s exactly what was running through my mind as I watched the preview for Buried, set to be released in October 2010.  It looks like a pretty intense thriller.  Ryan Reynolds stars as Paul Conroy, who is being ransomed for 5 million dollars while his unknown captors have imprisoned him by burying him alive with only a cigarette lighter and a cell phone.

His acting chops have certainly improved from his days of playing Billy Simpson on Fifteen, Nickelodeon’s soap opera for teens.  I watched this show religiously.  I spent more Sunday afternoons than I can count crushing on Dylan, hoping Matt and Ashley would just work it out, and loving to hate Brooke.  I didn’t even leave the house on the weekends when Nickelodeon aired marathon reruns before a new season premiered.

My best friend at the time didn’t have cable.  Can you imagine the early 90s without Nickelodeon?!  <Shudder>  She usually came over to watch Fifteen with me.  If she couldn’t, she’d call me for an update and I’d deliver the bombshell: Dave freaked out and dumped Stacy when she showed up with Billy to Matt and Ashley’s party!

Matt and Ashley

Dylan in his garage

Okay, so the show was corny and the set was sometimes laughable.  In the early seasons everyone’s drinks at the Avalon looked like water with food coloring.  The  boys’ and girls’ locker rooms were obviously the same room.  The school’s “cafeteria” was just three tables in the middle of the hallway.  And the dialogue – oh, the dialogue.  It wasn’t Shakespeare, I’ll say that.  But the plots sucked you in.

First of all, there were the tangled relationships and unrequited crushes.  Star athlete Matt Walker and over-achieving Ashley Frasier were Hillside’s cutest couple.  Theresa was hoping for Billy’s attention but he hoped to woo Ashley away from Matt by leaving a scarf in her locker with a note signed, “Your Secret Admirer.”  Courtney competed for Dylan’s attention but Jake was hoping to win Courtney’s heart.  Eventually Jake and Courtney started dating and Matt and Ashley broke up, only to reconcile later.  After a huge fight with his parents Dylan moved into Matt’s basement and started dating Arseman.  But he was spending a little too much time with Ashley and eventually they dumped their respective boyfriend/girlfriend and dated each other.

Then there was the ongoing drama with Dylan and his band.  For some reason in the very beginning he wasn’t going to tolerate any praise of his musical talents.

He ended up starting a garage band with Chris and Billy.  They coerced Arseman to join as lead singer after hearing her hallway performance of “Momma Says Be Glad.”  Brooke wanted the job but was denied after a disastrous audition that rivals the worst-of-the-worst American Idol contestants.  The band named themselves “Teenagers in Love” and played exactly one gig at The Avalon before they broke up.  Arseman quit after Dylan fired Billy as drummer.  Chris wanted to replace her with leather-clad rocker Roxanne but Dylan refused.  Both Chris and Roxanne walked out on him but the tenacious and talented Dylan booked a solo gig at The Avalon.

Did reading any of that open a floodgate of Fifteen memories?  Are you a closet fan of the show?  You might be happy to know you can download the entire first season on iTunes.  Join the Facebook fan page for Fifteen and follow them on Twitter @15theseries.  Go ahead.  I won’t tell anyone.

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