Eberly was too young–pardon, not “of the generation”–to have ever seen The Mighty Boosh. It wasn’t until she found herself in the apartment of her older boyfriend, Bronwith, a former Camden Town resident who had traded in his apartment to live the Silver Lake lifestyle for a spell, that Eberly at last became acquainted with Old Gregg.
Scaly, repugnant and possessing seaweed for hair, it was plain for Eberly to see that he was unloveable. And, to Bronwith’s surprise, she was one of the only–no, the only–person he had ever shown this episode to who hadn’t laughed once. Instead, when he looked over at her, she was crying.
“What’s wrong, eh?” he asked incredulously.
Eberly wiped away a tear and said, “It’s just so sad. Old Gregg can’t get anyone to love him. And he tries so hard.”
Bronwith rolled his eyes. “Maybe he tries too hard, you know? Maybe it’s a lesson. You don’t have to take this so seriously. It’s supposed to be funny.”
“Well, it’s not. It’s horrifying,” Eberly looked away from the screen where Old Gregg’s face had been paused. She got up from the place she had situated for herself on the bed and said, “I have to go.”
Bronwith guffawed. “You can’t be serious? All this over The Mighty Boosh?”
She nodded her head, “Sure.”
Eberly had only just started driving in L.A. It took her a long time to reconcile that the metro rail a.k.a. “subway” was never really going to expand, and that she should just succumb to the trap of getting a car like everyone else. Now, she wished she hadn’t because she knew it was going to be near impossible to see through the blurred vision caused by her tears.
“Old Gregg,” she whispered to herself as she sat in the driver’s seat. “He’ll never find love.” She didn’t bring herself to say out loud the completion to that thought: “Just like me.”
Though Eberly wasn’t unsightly or unintelligent, and sure, she had been seeing Bronwith for roughly six months now after meeting him at Ye Olde King’s Head in Santa Monica, she also suffered too many rejections from the opposite sex to ever believe herself capable of both finding and deserving love. It was thus that she saw so much of herself in Old Gregg, the pathetic half-man, half-fish with shoddy genitalia.
Just thinking about it made Eberly start to sob all over again. And at that moment, an unkempt possibly homeless man knocked on her window. She looked him up and down and then cautiously cracked her window to hear what he had to say.
But all he did was offer her a pack of tissues that he was selling for a dollar. For once, this man had found an audience who couldn’t deny it needed what he was selling, and Eberly readily handed him the money.
“Why do you cry?” he inquired in a gentler tone–in a British accent (God, was everyone leaving England because of Brexit?)–than she was expecting.
She sniffled. “It’s hard to explain. There isn’t any chance you’ve ever seen this episode of The Mighty Boosh called ‘The Legend of Old Gregg,’ is there?”
He laughed. “Of course, I was an extra on that show–in that very episode. One of the seamen. Shoulda bloody stayed and took Noel Fielding up on his offer to write a spec script for him instead of coming to this wasteland to try to make it on my own.”
That was the thing about L.A.: you never knew who you were going to encounter who had fallen from film and TV grace. Eberly was aghast. She felt as though it was destiny to come into contact with this man. “What’s your name?”
She extended her hand and said, “Nice to meet you Neville. I’m Eberly.”
Neville looked a bit weirded out by her friendliness, but had nowhere else to go, so he figured he might as well engage her long enough for her to perhaps buy another pack of tissues.
“Why are you asking me about Old Gregg?”
“I just watched some of the episode for the first time. I couldn’t even get through the whole thing.”
“But why? It’s one of the great masterpieces of modern television.”
“Don’t you understand? Old Gregg’s loneliness and rejection is what so many must endure. I don’t think there’s anything comical about it. Putting desperation up for mockery like that.”
Neville rubbed his dirty beard for a moment as most men do when they’re trying to reflect on something. “I find it hard to believe that a girl like yourself has ever experienced much rejection. What could you know about it?”
“Plenty,” she sniffled. “Maybe I fall in love at the drop of a hat or something, and that’s why I get hurt when the other person doesn’t return my ardor with the same intensity.”
“Yes, I suppose that’s a real problem, innit?”
Her sobs took hold again and Neville, seizing the opportunity, waved some more tissues in her face, which she paid another dollar for. She rolled her window down further to accept them, grabbing Neville’s hand for support as she did so. “You know what I’m talking about, don’t you Neville? You’ve been given the brush-off haven’t you?”
Neville was getting very uneasy now, and was thankful that Missing Persons’ assertion about nobody walking in L.A. remained true so that he couldn’t be seen involved in this bathetic display. “Ehm, listen love, you’re coming on kind of strong. Maybe I’ll see you around some time.”
He tried to release his hand from her grip but she held on and shouted, “No, don’t go! We could be great lovers–friends even!”
As she screamed this, Bronwith had finally come out to check on her. Dismayed by her behavior, he sighed and went over to the car to help Neville. “Sorry mate,” he apologized. “She’s just about to menstruate.”
“Is she your girlfriend?”
Bronwith looked at Eberly’s scrunched, plaintive face and returned, “No, we’re just working on a screenplay together.”
And so, that day, Eberly became one of the many people across the nation to once again transform into Old Gregg: creepy, heinous and too into it to be loved.