Sunday, November 16, 2008

"I gotta go now, my ride's finally here": Are You Afraid of the Dark, 1.12 - The Tale of the Prom Queen

I was thinking about doing another Hey Dude recap since I've only had one so far, but my Hey Dude dvds have really messed-up volume, so I'm going with an Are You Afraid of the Dark episode. I wasn't planning on doing many recaps of this show since another blog already exists for it, but I'll throw a few in here and there for variety.

The thing that sticks out to me from the show in general is that creepy-ass clown doll (or whatever it was) in the opening credits. That thing was freakier than most of the things that appeared in the actual episodes. The episode that scared me the most was that one where the girl and her older brother sneak up to the apartment on the top floor of their building, where these aliens in disguise invite them to play games that are really tests of how the girl would adapt to conditions on their planet, and at the end it's revealed that she is the aliens' daughter and they bring her home. The aliens' faces had no eyes or nose or mouth, and that really freaked me out. And at one point, the mother alien talks to the girl by appearing on her TV set at night when the TV wasn't turned on. That scared me so much that for awhile I unplugged my TV before bed every night. I'm such a loser. 

Anyway, from this episode in particular, I  remember the creepy old car playing "In the Still of the Night" as it drives off into the distance at the end and disappears as it drives through the graveyard gates. To this day, that song always sounds creepy to me. It's the backing vocals.

I usually list the main characters in my first recap of a particular show, but there's no real major characters to this show because each episode has a different cast. I tried making a list of the Midnight Society members, but it's hard to describe them without visuals since lots of them have no real distinguishing characteristics. But anyway, this show revolved around a group of teens who called themselves the Midnight Society and met in the woods once a week at night to tell each other scary stories. I refer you once again to the Are You Afraid of the Dark blog where you can find screencaps for details because I am not skilled enough to put any together myself.

A ghostly figure in a white dress with a veil over her face glides toward the campfire, where the members of the Midnight Society are sitting around bored, complaining that scheduled storyteller Kristen (the blond girl) is late. They notice the approaching ghostly figure and freak out, but surprise! It's only Kristen, played by a young Rachel Blanchard. Kristen is literally the polaroid of perfection. She could be a part-time model (but she'd probably still have to work her normal job). Apparently being scary involves talking in a weird accent, because Kristen launches into her story in a vaguely foreign "fortune teller" accent. Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, she calls this story "The Tale of the Prom Queen." It's business time.

We're in a graveyard, because this show is full of originality, where a girl in mom jeans is leaving flowers at a grave. She hears mysterious laughter as she's walking away, but she ignores it. Something jumps out in front of her face! --But don't worry, it's just birds. She should know that nothing scary really happens until right before the commercial break. Someone else jumps out at her, and she screams, but it's only two random guys whose idea of fun is apparently hanging out in a graveyard. The guys introduce themselves as Greg and Jam, and judging by their names,  Greg is obviously the "nice guy" and Jam is the asshole who thinks he's cool but is really pretty lame. He has feathery hair. Super cool. Jam tells Dede (the girl) that Saturday is prom night--the night of the prom queen. Dede turns to look at him in recognition of those words but then plays it off like she's never heard about this legend. Could that be significant? 

They tell her the story of a girl a long time ago who for some reason was waiting for her prom date outside the cemetery (did emo kids exist back in the 50s?), but it was a foggy night, and a car struck her in a fatal hit-and-run. They found her and buried her a few days later in her prom dress. Because that isn't weird at all. Every year on prom night, it is believed that the ghost of the prom queen returns to this spot, waiting for the ride that never comes. Greg and Jam have been looking for a grave that might be hers, and Dede thinks it sounds kind of cool and offers to help. Jam just said "let's go ghost hunting, boys and ghouls." No wonder he has nothing better to do with his life than hang out in a graveyard.

Greg points out that they should probably make sure that there really was a car accident, otherwise they could be searching for nothing. So they head off to the local library to scan old newspapers on microfilm. yay! I always thought searching old newspapers on microfilm was so cool. I'm such a loser. But not as big a loser as Jam. They find the article they're looking for in 1956. Judy Larson had been waiting for her boyfriend Ricky to pick her up, but Ricky never got the message. Ricky also accidentally drove his 1955 Chevy off a bridge, so there were two tragic deaths that night. God, it sounds like one of those smarmy 1950s doo-wop teenybopper love songs. "Oh where oh where can my baby be" and such. Oh, weird! Someone apparently created a video of that song I just quoted using clips from this episode. We think alike. Dede seems really concerned by news of Ricky's death... could that be a clue? During all of this, the doorknob to their room starts to open slowly. Oh no! Could it be the librarian out to get them? It is! And even worse, she's bringing tea! Frightening.

Dede comes up with the idea to help Judy by trying to contact Ricky and telling him to pick her up. Dede uses the word "keen," which confuses Greg, and I wish the writers would stop beating me over the head with their clever little clues. They meet that night and travel to the bridge where Ricky's car went over, and they rent a boat (after dark?) to head out to just under the bridge to hold a seance. Dede leads the seance, and creepy things start to happen. They start to hear a bubbling noise in the water, which Jam is afraid is being caused by a rusty Chevy. Dede tells Ricky's spirit to pick up Judy by the cemetery, and the bubbling noises get louder. The three get freaked out and row away as quickly as possible. 

The next day, prom night, the kids find the grave of Judy Larson at the graveyard. They wait in a spot where they can see both the grave and the gate at the same time. Greg is whining about getting cold. But then they hear windchimes, which obviously means it's a ghost because ghosts carry windchimes. Ha... and then a ghostly figure carrying windchimes appears. I had meant my windchimes comment to be snarky, but then it actually happened. Greg cautiously approaches the ghostly figure... but it is only Jam's cousin who was set up to scare Greg and Dede. Jam is enjoying this and thought Greg was going to "have a cow." Jam is totally awesome. 

Greg and Jam are fighting when Dede notices a shadowy old car coming out through the fog. It is, of course, a '55 Chevy creepily playing "In The Still of the Night" on its radio. Dede is letting her hair down and freakishly singing along with "In the Still of the Night." Greg is all "wtf???" as Dede spins around and is suddenly wearing an elegant ball gown. Shocker! She is really Judy Larson! I never saw it coming. Turns out Dede's her nickname--her real name is Judy (is Dede ever a normal nickname for Judy?). She gets into the car with ghost-Ricky and they head off through the cemetery gates as the car slowly disappears.

Random Thoughts:
-Wikipedia tells me that this show was released on dvd. Is this true? It wasn't part of the Nick Rewind collection, which makes sense given that it wasn't a Nick original. Was it released only in Canada or something? Any Canadian readers out there know anything about this?
-Ricky's Chevy is pink. Umm... creepy?
-So, if Dede didn't know that Ricky was dead, was she leaving flowers at her own grave in the first scene? That's really sad and pathetic.
-My dvd kept skipping near the end. It got really annoying. All the more reason to track down this supposed official release dvd.

Monday, November 10, 2008

"TV or not TV--that is the question": Clarissa Explains It All, 1.03 - No TV

I'm trying really hard to get back to somewhat regular posting with this blog. That being said, I also decided at the last minute to take part in "NaPlWriMo" or National Playwriting Month. It's the playwriting version of NaNoWriMo, where the goal is to write a 75-page play in one month. I think I mentioned it in this blog before, but I'll be starting up an MFA in playwriting next fall (unless I can't make the financials work out, which would be sad). I've had ten days of writing so far, and I am at the top of page 32. Not too bad. But I'm also trying to be rededicated to this blog, so I'll do my best to juggle both this month.

The thing I remember most about this episode was when Clarissa and Ferguson are arguing over the TV, and their remotes turn into lightsaber-like swords and they start fighting with them, and then Janet walks in and says in a Darth Vader-ish voice "That's it. No more TV." I loved that scene.

Clarissa is spying on her family from outside. She reports that Janet has declared no TV for a week to build some family togetherness. She says that she believes it was Karl Marx who said that religion is the opiate of the people and wonders what he would've thought of TV--perhaps it's the potato chips of the people? And, as Clarissa notes, potatoes do have some nutritional value.

The Darlings are sitting in the quiet living room. Marshall is working on a project for his job, Janet is creating a home library card-catalog system, and Ferguson is pretending to read while playing a hand-held video game inside the book. Clarissa, because she is awesome, is staring at the blank TV screen in protest, because it's a "great way to make parents suffer." The family tries to think of something to talk about and sits in silence for a few seconds. Marshall finally remembers a funny story to tell--he was walking by a clothing store and the sweater in the window looked so familiar, and he finally realized that it was one Bill Cosby had worn on The Cosby Show. Soon, Clarissa, Ferguson, and Marshall are laughing over memories of the Cosby episode. Janet disapproves.

Clarissa tells us the story how the family got into this sorry state. A Star Wars-like graphic that reads "Control Wars" flies across a starry background as Clarissa tells us of two warring tribes fighting over control of the TV. She and Ferguson were fighting over the remote, until one day Clarissa sent away for this super-remote that lets her change channels from 30 miles away. Then, all-out war breaks out, and Clarissa and Ferguson lightsaber-battle with their remotes until Darth Vader Janet enters and announces "That's it. No more TV."

Ferguson sucks up to his mother and says he couldn't agree with her decision more. He tries to make it sound like he's spending his time reading educational astronomy books, but as Clarissa points out, it is a book of the complete scripts of Star Trek. The phone rings, and it's Clarissa's friend Jody! Continuity! Jody asks her what she's watching, and she doesn't understand what Clarissa is saying when Clarissa says she's not watching anything. Clarissa tells her mother that without TV she will fall behind the cultural level of her peers and asks where else she can experience the "vast wasteland that we call the 20th century." And she misses Johnny Depp.

Clarissa is up in her room, staring at an empty space where an animated TV is drawn in. She had to turn in her bedroom TV to her mother. Sam enters through the window. He invites Clarissa over, but unfortunately, Janet has decreed that they must be a family together, while Clarissa just wants to be "a family apart, like normal people." She asks Sam to watch this weekend's episode of The Simpsons for her and to tell her what happens to DJ on Full House. And now I miss my childhood.

The next day in Clarissa's room, Sam comes over with a TV scanner for Clarissa, who also has a gigantic roll of wire in her room in an attempt to get a TV signal on her computer. She plans to use her Captain Video's Home Broadcasting and Reception software, and along with a satellite dish on the roof, she should be able to receive signals from around the world by using Sam's "scanning digitzer" to digitze the signals and create the image on her computer. I am loving the 90s pre-internet-ness of this episode. Janet comes up to tell Clarissa that lunch is ready and makes no comment about the giant roll of wire in her bedroom.

In the kitchen, Clarissa tells her mother she's thinking of joining a radical feminist folk-singing group. Ha. Or a fanatic religious cult where you have to shave your head, paint it red, and worship lima beans. Janet is clearly not listening and just says "that's nice dear" to everything, until Clarissa tries to slip in the prospect of maybe just watching some TV, and Janet tells her to forget it. Clarissa gives us a Special Report on "A World Without TV: One Family's Story." Marshall is running around the house fixing things that weren't broken. Janet is making weird health food combinations that would make Dawn Schafer happy such as "alfalfa parfait" and is also getting kind of cranky. Ferguson has passed out at the table and has made the shape of a whale with his drool. Classy. Marshall gets a phone call about a Lakers/Knicks game that's tied in the fourth quarter and runs to the TV. The kids and Janet follow. Janet asks if they're forgetting something, and Ferguson says yes, they forgot halftime snacks. But if the game's in the fourth quarter then halftime is already passed. Good job, writers. Janet's pissed that Marshall would consider breaking her no TV rule. And Marshall is obviously not happy with missing the game.

Whoa. Sam just entered through the front door. Crazy. Sam and the Darlings sit in awkward silence for a few seconds while Janet tries to make small talk with him. Clarissa begs for the return of the TV because it's been a whole entire day. They start up a game of charades, which Clarissa uses as a ruse to set up a signal booster to the downstairs cable for her computer before acting out the charade for "TV repairman." I didn't even realize the TV was broken--I thought it was just voluntarily turned off. Janet's angry that they can't think of anything but TV.

Clarissa and Sam are up in Clarissa's room talking about how weird Janet's being. She likes TV too and grew up with it, "when Laugh-In wasn't in reruns" as Clarissa points out. Clarissa thinks something weird is going on--today she caught Janet spraying aerosol air freshener in the kitchen, when she's usually a total environmentalist. They hook up Clarissa's computer TV, but all they can get is a Russian Home Shopping channel selling potatoes. Sam thinks that's kind of cool, but a loud electric spark kills the power. Clarissa thinks the cable booster must have overloaded. Downstairs, Marshall had apparently tried to turn on the TV when it exploded. Janet comes in to see what the noise was, and she's smoking a cigarette, which she hasn't done in forever. Marshall and Clarissa think that's very weird. She says she needed to calm her nerves because the family was driving her crazy. Can they show smoking on Nick now, even if it's an adult and everyone else comments on how gross it is? Marshall notices Clarissa's cable booster, and Clarissa confesses her computer scheme and offers them a deal on Ukrainian potatoes. Ferguson comes downstairs, looking like he's been through an explosion and screaming about how he won Mega Man 12, even though I don't think that game existed in 1991 or if the series ever even got up to 12. He stops his celebration short when he notices Janet smoking, which he also thinks is very weird.

Clarissa is outside, telling us that now the TV, computer, and Ferguson's "Game Pack" are all in for repairs, so now it's no TV for real (see? It wasn't broken last time... so why did Clarissa act out "TV repairman"?). Janet has thrown away her secret stash of cigarettes. Clarissa thinks it's gross that her mother used to smoke in high school and thinks that sometimes what you don't know about your parents you really don't want to know. She goes back in the living room where Sam and the Darlings are playing another round of charades, more spiritedly this time. Clarissa tells us that she thinks it was famous mime Marcel Marceau who said, "The family that plays charades together, stays together."

Random Thoughts:
-Ha. Clarissa calls Ferguson "pimple-head."
-Sam says he and his dad watch the generically named "sports network" all the time now.
-Sam's really into surfing in this episode because he and his dad got into it. He wears tie-dye and neon "surfer" clothes through the entire episode. The sad thing is that they probably didn't look too outrageous in 1991.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

"Trick-or-treat, gutbucket!": The Adventures of Pete and Pete, 2.07 - Halloweenie

First off, thanks to everyone who's actually reading this, because it's been forever and I feel terrible about that. And secondly, I'm sorry for starting up again on yet another Pete and Pete episode, but it is one of the few Halloween specials I can find. I had really wanted to recap the Marc Summers Halloween special, but I searched everywhere and couldn't find it. For a nice little summary of it though, including some screenshots and a few clips, you can look here. And now onto the first recap in months!

I love this episode of Pete and Pete. Like Yellow Fever, it's one of my favorites of the series. I love when they take something mundane and make it seem meaningful and important. And I love Big Pete's introverted take on everyday life. This episode focuses on the internal conflict of smashing a pumpkin, and I related to that a lot because it always made me so sad to see a crushed rotting pumpkin on the ground... it was like smashed innocence on the sidewalk to me. So Big Pete's little moral dilemma resonated with me because I too was a quiet kid who tended to overthink just about everything.

Big Pete reflects on losing his Halloween spirit, which Little Pete is pretty pissed off about. He has big dreams of breaking the Wellsville trick-or-treating record by going to the most houses in one night. Little Pete and Nona hear from the local crossing guard that a gang called the Pumpkin Eaters will be out in full force on Halloween night, ready to smash pumpkins and steal candy from kids who haven't gotten old and jaded yet. The crossing guard says that if they don't stop the Pumpkin Eaters this year, this will be Wellsville's last Halloween.

Big Pete tells Ellen that he's sick of Halloween and happy that this year might be the last one ever. They walk into an alley of smashed pumpkins, including one that somehow managed to survive. Pete used to hate the site of a smashed pumpkin, but his growing jadedness is causing him to finally understand the sentiment behind it. The background becomes all blackscreened and Ellen whispers to him to smash it because he knows he wants to and no one's looking. Pete does, and instantly feels guilty. A Pumpkin Eater, who is bully Endless Mike with a jack-o-lantern on his head as a mask, has been watching this entire scene. Endless Mike is endlessly awesome. "Pete Wrigley! You have tasted the dark side!" heehee. And then his sidekick goon adds, "And it tastes like chicken!" A second goon asks if anyone else's pumpkin smells like tangerines, and a third agrees with him and admits to licking his once. Well, then.

Pete and Nona get attacked by the Pumpkin Eaters on the night before Halloween--shaving cream, toilet paper, the whole deal. Big Pete feels like he's somehow to blame because of the bad karma over the pumpkin he smashed. Nona's "Pop" (ha! I love how that reference totally went over my head as a kid) won't allow her to go trick-or-treating anymore, so Little Pete's dreams of breaking the record seem to be shot. (Edit: Nona's dad is played by Iggy Pop.) Big Pete feels guilty and offers to go trick-or-treating with him, even though he must be, like, 16? That is crazy.

Ellen agrees with me. She reminds Pete of Ned Richmond, a kid in their class last year who got caught trick-or-treating at age 15 and wound up tied to a tree by the Pumpkin Eaters with "WEENIE" written across his costume. The fact that he went dressed as a sailor probably didn't help his cause much. Now nobody will go near him, not even in the yearbook, where he is on a page by himself, his photo hanging upside down like he was in the tree, under the caption "Weenie."

The Petes dress up as astronauts, complete with masks covering their faces and technology that allows them to pee in their spacesuits. And walkie-talkies, which I used to think was so cool. Little Pete pees in his suit and proclaims, "ahh, science." Disgusting. They trick-or-treat all over town, and Big Pete starts to feel his Halloween spirit returning.

But the Pumpkin Eaters are out in full force, trashing the neighborhood and scaring little kids. The Petes zig-zag across their neighborhood trying to avoid them. But they wind up at the house of Ned Richmond, the pathetic kid who was caught last year. He answers the door in full costume and recognizes Pete, saying "Maybe we can go together next year Wriggles." I always loved when he called him Wriggles. Big Pete is shaken and wants to give up, which pisses Little Pete off. Little Pete vows to beat the record himself as Big Pete runs home, but the Pumpkin Eaters ambush him and chase him down the street.

Big Pete ducks into a closed haunted house, hoping to lose the Pumpkin Eaters, and scoffs at the lame-ness of all the decorations. Little Pete hears him on the walkie-talkies and calls him a traitor. Endless Mike jumps out at Big Pete and proclaims "tag--you're dead!" and the rest of his gang pops out of the shadows. Endless Mike calls Pete the "biggest Halloweenie of them all" while Little Pete reaches the last house and turns on his walkie-talkie to rub it in Pete's face. He overhears Pete pleading "What do you want from me?" and Endless Mike responding "Nothing... except your soul!" followed by maniacal laughter and knows his brother is in trouble.

The gang wants to tie Pete from the goalpost, or perhaps to the roof of their car and drive him around town all night. That is kind of awesome. But Endless Mike has something special planned for Pete. Pete asks what they're going to do to him, and I'm getting a very "Luke Skywalker vs. the Emperor" vibe from this scene (only that vibe is coming from the original version of the film, not that crappy digitally enhanced version). Endless Mike says that he saw Pete smash the pumpkin yesterday, and now he's here hating Halloween even more. "Just like you?" Pete replies. Yeah, totally a Star Wars vibe. Endless Mike tells Pete to smash the pumpkin he has in his hand and that together they can take down Halloween forever. Pete asks, "And if I don't?" and Endless Mike says, "Two words. Ned. Richmond."

Big Pete is all inner-conflict-y and feels the power he has to destroy Halloween coursing through him, but his inner child wins out and he instead smashes Endless Mike's mask open to reveal his identity. Somehow Pete is shocked to discover that it was Endless Mike, as if it wasn't obvious the entire time. Even Endless Mike thinks that is ridiculous, as he says, "What'd you expect, Mr. Tastee?" He instructs the gang to "fry the weenie," but it is Little Pete to the rescue! He gave up his visit to the last house and, with the help of the crossing guard, came to save Big Pete. Which I never understood. It would've taken two seconds to ring that last house's doorbell first. But whatever.

The next morning, the Pumpkin Eaters are charged with cleaning up the neighborhood they destroyed. Endless Mike is scrubbing Nona's father's front porch, and in quite possibly the most awesome reference ever, Nona's dad comes out, hands him a Q-tip, and says, "You missed a spot. Stooge." Again, totally went over my head as a kid, but great. The Petes didn't break the record, but they managed to save Halloween for years to come and know that they will never again lose their Halloween spirit.

Random Thoughts:
-The crossing guard refers to the night before Halloween as "devil's night." But on Are You Afraid of the Dark they called it "mischief night." I had never heard of either of these before seeing these shows. Which one is more common?
-Big Pete says that his brother is taking the news that this Halloween may be the last "like someone punched his soul." hee.
-The black-and-white "old footage" of the famous kids who broke the record years ago dressed as ghosts is sooo creepy looking. There's something unsettling about it.
-Little Pete tells one of the people at the house they're trick-or-treating at, "You know the routine. Hustle." That was awesome. I wish I'd been brave enough to say things like that as a kid.
-Another awesome Little Pete comment, from after Big Pete has ditched him: "Hey Blowhole... in 45 minutes, I'm going to famous. And you know what you're going to be? ...a blowhole!"
-Polaris' "Waiting for October" runs over the closing credits, and I love that song.
-In my search for the Marc Summers special, I managed to come across this old Nick Halloween-related bumper, which I totally remember, and this ad about a kid who won Nick-or-Treat and got, among other things, his weight in M&Ms. Such a cool prize. I wonder where that kid is today.

Apologies... new post is on the way!

This is me sitting down to write a new blog entry! yay! I'm sorry it's been since Labor Day that I had a real entry up. I have like 300 pages of reading every week for the class I'm in. I haven't even been able read all the blogs I'm linked to that I love reading. I seriously feel like I've dropped off the face of the earth since September. So I apologize for that. My problem is that I had a really nice schedule down before I moved in August, where I'd watch my episode on Friday and get the writing done over the weekend. But that was thrown completely upside down when I moved because lots of my weekends were spent bouncing back to my family's house where it is impossible to get anything done. And then Mondays and Tuesdays are completely devoted to reading for class, which sucks up Wednesday night, and I usually feel drained after that. I need to figure out a new schedule and stick to it. But anyway, I am sitting down to watch the only Halloween-related episode I could find, and the update will be up whenever I'm done writing about it.

Monday, September 29, 2008

epic fail.

Well, I officially fail at being a blogger. I haven't been able to update in forever because the English class I signed up for is way more of a timesuck than I'd expected. And I'm applying for a fellowship and the application is due at the end of this week, so I've been a little panicky lately about getting everything submitted on time. But still, no excuse for not writing. I'm thinking about altering the blog setup somewhat when I'm finally able to relax and get my next entry up. I might have to do short summaries but add more "Random Thoughts" bullets at the end, because as it is now my summaries are way too long and take hours to finish. And if the recaps take me less time to write, it will be easier to find time to get them done in between my class and everything else. So, slightly new format coming soon ("soon" being sometime after this Friday when I can finally put this mess of a fellowship application behind me). I feel bad that this blog has taken on somewhat of a "life of a soon-to-be grad student" subplot lately. I hope to be back onto the fun topic of Nickelodeon nostalgia very soon, because it's a much more enjoyable topic to focus on.

Monday, September 8, 2008

"You look like a bona fide Sludgesicle man": The Adventures of Pete and Pete, Special #4 - What We Did on Our Summer Vacation

I remember that this aired as a special shortly before the show became a full-length series. It came after the shorts had been around for awhile but before season 1 was announced. I feel like Nickelodeon must have promoted the hell out of it, because certain clips, like Little Pete's friend screaming "TASTEEEEEEE!" in the middle of the street, really stick out in my mind.

Major Characters:
"Big" Pete Wrigley - The older Pete; more thoughtful and introverted than his brother
"Little" Pete Wrigley - The younger Pete; the more outspoken of the Petes
Don Wrigley - The Petes' dad
Joyce Wrigley - The Petes' mom; has an oft-mentioned metal plate in her head
Ellen Hinkle - Best friend of Big Pete; "a girl and a friend, but [most of the time] not a girlfriend"
Nona F. Mecklenburg - Little Pete's best friend beginning in season 2; a young Michelle Trachtenberg
Artie, The Strongest Man in the World - Little Pete's "personal superhero"

How do you know that summer is really and truly over?

Big Pete (whose voice hasn't fully changed in this early episode, aww) asks this question to open the episode. His dad goes by the calendar date, while Ellen knows summer is over when you start thinking about school supplies. Or, if you're me, when you go to to buy books for the graduate English course you're taking and you're poor because your fiance is living off a graduate stipend so you can only afford to buy books for the first two weeks of class for now, and the bookstore is conveniently missing the book for this Wednesday's class, so you have to overnight it on Amazon, which makes the shipping costs only $2.00 less than the book itself. Yeah. That's when summer is really and truly over. But I digress.

Here's some opening credits goodness for everyone. I love this theme.

Big Pete tells us about some surefire signs of summer, like Little Pete and his friend racing downhill on big blocks of ice, the lawn border dispute between Pete's dad and their neighbor, and, of course, the arrival of Mr. Tastee, the neighborhood ice cream man with a big plastic head that looks like a vanilla soft serve swirl. No one knows his true identity behind the mask. Some kids think he's a mental hospital escapee. A really young Heather Matarazzo tells that chubby kid from The Mighty Ducks that she thinks Mr. Tastee is "that guy who used to be married to Cher." Ms. Vanderveer, this creepy blind lady on their block, calls him Leonard, and walks around saying, "You never understood me, Leonard. You never really understood me." I love her.

Ellen is working for the summer at her uncle's Qwik Pik photo-developing booth. How old is she here? Maybe 14? She's too young to work. It's kind of like how Logan in the Baby-Sitters Club was working at the Rosebud Cafe as a busboy at 13. One day, Ellen stumbles across photos marked "Tastee." She knows it's against the rules to open them up and look at the pictures, but, as Little Pete says, "rules bite," so they take a look at them. The photos show Mr. Tastee traveling the world and posing by famous landmarks, only he never takes off his ice cream head. They think he looks lonely in the pictures and wonder why he doesn't have any friends (but if he didn't have friends, then who's taking the pictures, hmmmm?).

They decide to try to make friends with the ice cream man, but he gently tries to discourage their attempts. Ellen, in an attempt to make conversation, asks Mr. Tastee if he has a girlfriend. He replies that he has 39 of them, and then proceeds to point out all his ice cream bars on the front of the truck. Maybe he has some kind of weird ice cream fetish? I wonder what he does with the Lemon Licky Nubs and Strawberry Blowtorch after dark. One day, the kids invite him to go fishing, and when he politely declines, Ellen gets right to the point and asks him straight up if he has any friends. How about some information pleeeeeeease? He tells them that he's just their ice cream man, and they're just his customers, and that's the way it has to be. He offers them popsicles and says "goodbye kiddos" all foreshadowingly-like.

Mr. Tastee doesn't return the next day, or any day after that, and the neighborhood kids start going crazy with ice cream withdrawal. They start hallucinating that the see his truck. Crazy Ms. Vanderveer wanders around saying, "I didn't mean it, Leonard. Leonard, you were good to me!" and again, awesome. Rumors abound about what may have happened to him--his truck crashed, his head melted. Baby Heather Matarazzo thinks he remarried Cher. The kids are left with nothing else to do but sit on the curb and watch a neighbor's arm flub flop back and forth as she performs her yard work. That was disgusting when I saw it as a kid, and it's even more disgusting now. It is, as Little Pete said, a flesh avalanche. gross.

Artie, the Strongest Man in the World, is trying to get rid of the summer's killer bees by taking on the queen bee in a staring contest, when he notices the Tastee Mobile off on the horizon. Ellen uses some crazy mathematical formulas to pinpoint Mr. Tastee's location to northern Kentucky, and the search to bring him home has begun.

Ellen turns the Qwik Pik into a command center and opens every single photo packet that comes in to search for Mr. Tastee in the background like some sort of screwed-up Where's Waldo game. When she finds a clue, she pinpoints the location on a map and tries to predict his next move. How that will help them actually get in touch with Mr. Tastee, I have no idea. They have the police put up "missing" posters, Big Pete monitors the "official hotline" payphone, and Little Pete keeps lookout for the Tastee Mobile at the high dive of the local pool. But the lifeguard at the pool hates Little Pete, and their history goes back to last summer when he caught Little Pete eating a cheeseburger under water. He orders Pete off the high dive, so Little Pete gets even by jumping nonstop off the diving board all day, every day. This eventually gets to the lifeguard and makes him crack, so he begs Big Pete for help. Big Pete pretty awesomely "helps" by joining his brother on the diving board and jumping off. Little Pete pretty much gets free reign of the high dive after this, as Artie takes over as lifeguard after the original lifeguard's breakdown.

Big Pete decides to try to get info out of Ms. Vanderveer. She pulls up her dark sunglasses and says, "Leonard said my eyes were bluer than the bluest Blue Tornado bar. He did. He said that." She puts the glasses back on and kind of blindly reaches forward as Pete walks away. Big Pete then takes his search to Cloghaven beach. His dad likes to search for buried treasure there with his metal detector, because that is how he met the Petes' mother years ago, when his metal detector picked up the metal plate in her head. Big Pete questions Captain Scrummy, the local ice cream man at the beach. And hey kids, it's R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe! I thought that I heard you laughing. I thought that I heard you sing. Anyway... he tells Big Pete that he seems like a bona fide Sludgesicle man, but Big Pete just wants a Blue Tornado, which is unfortunately exclusive to Mr. Tastee. Captain Scrummy tells Pete that Mr. Tastee wears the big plastic head because he "knows the rules" about not making friends with the kids. He says that ice cream men are there on the first hot day of summer, and they provide the kids with lots of different flavors to choose from, so what more should they want? Pete seems to get where he's coming from and says that he doesn't know anymore.

Pete's dad's metal detector starts beeping like crazy over a patch of sand, and the entire family helps him dig. Within the hour, they dig out a 1978 Cutlass Supreme. That's right, a car. They drive home in it, while the Petes' dad sings in celebration the entire way home.

The kids slowly start to give up on their search for Mr. Tastee, resigned to the fact that he is never returning. When Ellen and the Petes are finally closing down the Qwik Pik command center, someone knocks at the window--and it's Mr. Tastee! He'd seen their "missing person" fliers, and he has returned to pick up his photos. Ellen says that they've missed him, and he tells them not to say that. He has to go away on the last day of summer every year, and it's hard enough to do that without having kids miss him. Ellen asks him to just stay a little longer, and Mr. Tastee asks if they want to help him wax the Tastee Mobile. But when the sun sets, Mr. Tastee has to say goodbye. He promises to be back on the first hot day next summer, and he asks if he can get a picture with the three kids before he leaves. They wave goodbye to Mr. Tastee as Big Pete ponders the fact that they became more than just Mr. Tastee's customers in that final day, and that when it comes to people missing you, it's actually not that bad at all.

Random Thoughts:
-I've been to that pool in the scene with the diving board! It's in New Jersey.
- I noticed that in at least one scene, the close-up shots of the "missing" fliers had the phone number blurred out. I don't remember it originally airing like this, and plus that wouldn't make any sense for the show to shoot it only to have to blur it out. And the phone number is definitely not blurred out in far-away shots. It looks like a regular 555 television number, so I don't get why Nickelodeon felt the need to blur it on the dvd. I have older recordings of the episodes on VCD that were taped from the tv, so I'll have to see if it's blurred out there too.
-Wikipedia tells me that Toby Huss (Artie) also played Mr. Tastee. I never knew that before.
-Wikipedia also tells me that when this originally aired, before it was re-edited to fit into season 1, all the music in the episode was different from the typical Polaris background music. Why isn't that original cut on the dvd? Stuff like that annoys me. My VCD has the original version of the Valentine's Day special, but I only have the re-edit of this one.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

"Cheating is a dreadful thing": Fifteen, 2.01 - People's Places*

*Note: The only place I could find this episode title online was at, where it is listed as "Peoole's Places." However, that seems very much like a typo to me. But in the off chance that this episode really is titled "Peoole's Places, I figured I'd list it here anyway.

Most of the commenters in my "extra" post from a few weeks ago expressed interest in Fifteen (which is the American title of a Canadian show called Hillside, so Canadian and possibly other non-US readers know the show by that name). I was able to find one full-length episode so far on Youtube, so I figured I'd recap it this week. Consider it my lame attempt to make up for the lack of entries during my move.

I remember the main characters and basic storylines from this show, and that pretty blonde Ashley was my favorite character. I think I wanted my name to be Ashley for awhile. And I loved her hair. I also have pretty strong memories of this scene from season 1 for some reason. I think it was part of an ad for the show. "That's it, Walker, push it!" classic. And the gay joke practically writes itself. Watching this specific episode again brought back more detailed memories--Ashley's basement; the Avalon (with its pinball machine!); Dylan's super-cool "rebellious" hair, leather jacket, and garage band. And I remember the soap-opera-ish scene-change music.

This show had a large rotating cast of characters, some of whom I don't even remember because they didn't join the cast until the final season. So here is a list of the characters who actually show up in this episode, and those who were mentioned but not seen:
-In This Episode:
Ashley Fraiser - Pretty, blonde, "perfect" girl; dated Matt
Courtney Simpson - Ashley's best friend, older sister of Billy
Billy Simpson - Courtney's little brother, friends with Dylan; a young Ryan Reynolds
Dylan Blackwell - The rebel; in a band, always wears a leather jacket
Brooke Morgan - The mean girl; an all-around bitch; I hated her
Matt Walker - The basketball star with a drinking problem; dated Ashley; looks like a young Matthew Broderick
Arseman Harrell - Friend of Courtney and Ashley who shows up in season 2 as if she had always been there
Amanda Morgan - Brooke's goody-two-shoes little sister, introduced in season 2
Janice - Seems to show up for the first time in this first episode of season 2; rather unremarkable, at least in this episode
-Mentioned but Not Seen:
Jake Deosdade - The Asian character, who randomly goes to China for six weeks at the start of season 2
Theresa Morgan - Brooke's other nice-girl little sister, as seen here in a season 1 clip with Brooke's best friend/chief rival Kelly. Both girls do not appear in season 2; Brooke explains in this episode that Theresa has transferred to art school, but Kelly's disappearance is never explained.

From what I gather, this episode picks up on a few loose ends from season 1: Matt getting kicked off the basketball team for drinking, Ashley getting caught cheating on a math test and leaving school in shame, Matt and Ashley's breakup, and Brooke getting caught stealing a geography paper. Courtney is at Ashley's house and is about to leave to catch up on some homework. Courtney has curly reddish hair and no fashion sense. Ashley always talks in this affected hushed half-whisper. It sort of gives everything she says a bitch undertone, but I think it's just bad acting. Courtney asks if Ashley thinks she'll come back to school tomorrow, because it's been almost a whole entire week. Courtney says that no one cares that she cheated on the test. Ashley says she doesn't care what they think, but she's going away to private school anyway. Her parents think she's surrounded by bad influences at Hillside, and Ashley wants a change. She is moving into her new school the day after tomorrow. Ashley affected-half-whispers, "Well, you better go, Courtney. Don't you have homework to do?" and Courtney gives her a melodramatic "I can't believe you're doing this" look before walking upstairs, as Ashley affectedly throws a pillow onto her couch and sighs. God, you'd think she killed someone. All she did was cheat on a test? I'm sure that happens every day.

The Avalon! The cool hangout where everyone gathers. A group of very early-90s basketball players enters discussing plays. Matt approaches them and asks how it's going. Awwwwwwwk-ward. The team seems to be on a winning streak since Matt got kicked off. The guys mumble that it was good to see him and then bolt. Sucks to be Matt. Cue dramatic scene-change music.

At school, Brooke enters in what one Youtube commenter called her "Footlocker getup," and that could not be more accurate. She looks like a trendy bitch referee. She also cut her hair super-short in season 2, and I remember hating that look. Anyway, replacement-Theresa Amanda is there, trying to get Brooke to speak to her again after she told their father that Brooke had been caught paying someone else to write a geography paper for her. Amanda says that she didn't mean to tell, but it just slipped out. Brooke bitches that she's just a "sneaky little daddy's girl." She says she'll consider forgiving Amanda if she heads out to the spot where the school buses gather and sees if she can get herself run over. Harsh words there, Brooke. Brooke stomps off as the dramatic music plays and Amanda looks shocked and hurt. ha.

Back at the Avalon, Matt is playing the pinball game I remember so well. Billy walks in and asks how Matt's been doing and how Ashley is. Matt's all "why are you asking me???" and Billy's all "you're supposed to be her boyfriend, aren't you?" Oooh, tension. Matt hasn't seen Ashley in a week, but he's starting to get the feeling she doesn't want to talk to him. Billy asks why, and Matt snarks, "Because she keeps slamming the phone down in my ear. I'm a perceptive guy, Billy." Matt asks Billy to say hi if he happens to see her.

Back at school, Dylan says hi to Courtney, but she totally goes all ice-queen on him and blows him off. But he asks if she's seen Ashley lately. You can hear Dylan's obviously cheap leather jacket rubbing and squeaking as he moves... weird. And he has an earring and gelled hair and metal necklaces. And his name is Dylan. Of course his name is Dylan. Rebel-without-a-cause Dylan asks if Courtney knows whether Ashley is coming back to school, and Courtney bitchily snoots, "What do you think?" Dylan says that he doesn't think much, and according to his teachers, that's his problem. Ha ha... get it? --He's stupid. And a delinquent. And wears a leather jacket. He says he's just kinda wondering about Ashley, and Courtney is just like, "Well, see ya around" and leaves. Ooooh, burned.

Except that she only goes, like, two feet away, to a table where Arseman is sitting. I don't see why Dylan couldn't easily overhear their conversation. This was supposedly Arseman's first appearance, but they have her sitting there acting as if she's been friends with them the entire time. Oh! Maybe Courtney and Dylan have a romantic past together? Courtney tells Arseman that she no longer feels like killing Dylan, just, in Areseman's words, "maiming him a little." She tells Arseman never to get involved with a guy. Arseman says she's not planning to. Is this Arseman's way of announcing that she's a lesbian? Arseman and Courtney plan a surprise going-away gathering for Ashley at the Avalon as a way to show her that no one is judging her for cheating. Since Ashley doesn't want to see anybody, Courtney is going to invite her to a one-on-one night out for pizza, but all her other friends will "just happen" to show up. And who should overhear these plans but queen bitch Brooke. Arseman and Courtney tell Brooke to keep her mouth shut about the plans, and Brooke promises to keep their secret. Courtney and Arseman walk away, and Brooke goes all Shakespearean villain on us as she soliloquizes, "Absolutely. Not a word. Not one word to a single soul." dun-dun-DUN.

Back to Ashley's basement. Courtney stops by during lunch as Ashley is packing. She tries to convince Ashley that no one blames her for cheating, but Ashley says, "That really doesn't matter now, does it?" Actually, it kind of does. Otherwise, what else is there to leave school over? Courtney puts her plan in motion and invites Ashley out for one last pizza at the Avalon, and Ashley reluctantly accepts.

Matt is alone at a table at the Avalon, and Brooke enters and sits across from him. After a quick lame explanation about the mysterious disappearance of Brooke's original little sister Theresa, she "accidentally" lets it slip about Ashley's move to private school. She says, "Oh Matt, I'm so sorry! I feel so terrible!" complete with hand-over-heart posing as Matt leaves in a huff.

Courtney and Arseman are back at school discussing the night's plans. Courtney's turtleneck and dress make her look like a fifty-something-year-old schoolteacher. They decide to invite Brooke, since she knows about it anyway, and Matt, even though talking to him will be difficult. Matt oh-so-conveniently walks over at this moment and tells them that Brooke filled him in on Ashley's move. Matt is pissed that he wasn't told sooner. Even though her best friend didn't know until last night, and she hasn't spoken to him in a week, and they just broke up. Shut up, Matt. Courtney still thinks he should go because, "all I know is... [dramatic pause] ...I know she still cares." Matt storms off as Courtney and Arseman look worriedly at the camera.

Poor, pathetic new-girl Janice walks up to Dylan at his locker and introduces herself, but he makes it clear that he is way too cool and rebellious to be seen with her. Janice is wearing this ugly pink or possibly white (poor episode quality) blouse with black polka-dots all over it. Billy walks in and just pushes Janice aside to talk to Dylan. That was so awesome. But poor Janice.

Courtney and Ashley are having their "pizza for two" at the Avalon, and Ashley is bitching that she doesn't want to see anyone from school. Too bad, Ashley, here comes Arseman. They fess up to Ashley about the plan, and at first she gets up to leave, but Dylan and Billy show up next and the group reassures her that no one hates her for cheating. The boys back off to go grab a soda, and Ashley starts to relax a little. Cue Matt's entrance. Matt seems to be taking a cue from the Ashley acting school of the affected-half-whisper. They exchange a few affected words before Matt heads over to the pinball machine.

Enter Brooke. Brooke really has the stealth bitch act down cold. She goes all mock-concerned over Ashley, going on about how terrible it is that she's being shipped off to "reform school" and letting her know that they all "forgive" her for the "dreadful" act of cheating. After all, she only cheated because she was totally unprepared, and it isn't a crime to be inadequate. hee... what a bitch. But it's Dylan to the rescue! He walks over and tells Brooke to find a toilet and flush herself down it. How tough and rebellious of him. Brooke stomps off, and Ashley goes to have a tearful talk with Matt by the pinball table. It's all very emo and "wah-wah-wah... I'm sorry... it's awful when something really great gets totally ruined." Matt ends with a dramatic "Well... take care Ashley" with his eyes welled up with tears, and Ashley half-whispers, "You too" back to him, and I want to rip my eyes out after watching this scene, which culminates in Matt staring wistfully at the pinball machine.... yeah.

"Next time, on Fifteen": Oh noes! Matt's drinking again! And Billy sucks as a drummer. Oh, and Janice makes a friend! yay Janice! And Amanda grows a pair and tells Brooke that she has no friends.

Random Thoughts:
-Anyone know why Nickelodeon decided to change the show's title from Hillside to Fifteen for American audiences? It seems kind of random and arbitrary.
-I really liked Theresa better than Amanda.
-I watched this show all the time when I was in my preteen years. But I somehow never noticed how horribly over the top and melodramatic it was.
-As a 26-year-old who is an unashamed fan of both the original Degrassi Jr. High and Degrassi High as well as the newer "Next Generation" show, I can definitely say that if more episodes of this often overlooked Canadian teen melodrama are out there, I must find them.

Monday, August 25, 2008

"Let's play ball, basket cases!": Salute Your Shorts, 1.06 - Toilet Seat Basketball

I'm back! All moved into my new place (but not all unpacked yet, and our internet is a little fussy). Sorry for the complete lapse in updates during the lead up to the move and move itself.

This was another one I had to watch again before writing the "Memories" section. Ug's "Traveling! Blocking! Charging! You're outta there!" referee chant came back to me when I saw that scene. I think things that are sing-songie like that tend to stick in my memory very easily.

Main Characters:
Bobby Budnick - Kind of a bully and all-around smart-ass; long red hair that was pretty much in a mullet in season 1
Eddie "Donkeylips" Gelfin - The requisite "fat kid at camp"; close friend of Budnick's
Sponge Harris - The nerd; skinny kid with glasses
Michael Stein - Kind of a normal Everyman sort of character, the "new kid" at the start of season 1
Ronnie Pinsky - Michael's replacement in season 2; more of a rival to Budnick
Dina Alexander - The rich, spoiled, fashion-loving girl
Telly Radford - The sporty girl
Z.Z. Ziff - The hippie-ish nature-loving girl
Kevin "Ug" Lee - The kids' counselor

Michael is narrating through Sponge's video camera as the kids play a game of basketball. They will soon be challenging the Hurricanes in a camp basketball tournament. Telly is the team leader. Michael introduces Donkeylips, saying that you better not get in his way. Cue Donkeylips running and crashing into the camera. Budnick brags about how good he is, only to miss his shot. The camera pans to Sponge, and Michael labels him the "brains behind the outfit." Sponge is currently picking his nose. Z.Z. and Dina are pretty much useless. The winners of the upcoming basketball tournament will have their names written on a plaque at camp. The losers, meanwhile, will have their picture "framed" in a toilet seat cover labeled "Losers" hanging on the wall. 

Opening credits. I was going to include a link for everyone to enjoy since I didn't link to it last time, but the only thing close to it I can find is this one where some random obnoxious kid inserts himself into the theme song. Also, Venus de Milo can't really carry a tune.

At the start of what I assume is a team practice, Z.Z. picks up some acorns and announces to Dina that she is going to make them into earrings. But Dina informs her that "nature is out." Z.Z. actually seems hurt by this statement and wonders how nature could possibly ever be "out," since "we all come from the earth, just like these acorns." Dina's pretty awesome reply is, "Z.Z., I do not come from the earth. I come from New York." Telly heads over, ready to start practice. The boys are sitting on the bleachers with a fan blowing in their faces. Budnick says he's got two words for her: "Get a life, we're not moving." ha. Donkeylips is wearing what looks like one of those beer helmets with two cans on each side with straws leading into his mouth. Telly starts trying to draw one of those playbook diagrams of X's and O's in the dirt with a stick... and is she stupid? A third of her team is made up of Dina and Z.Z. Just tell everyone to pass the ball to her or Budnick and they'll be all set. But no, she insists on drawing her X's and O's, and when she asks what the team's next move in that play should be, Donkeylips gets up and points to the dirt, saying, "tic-tac-toe, three in a row." Again, ha. Telly says not to blame her when they put their faces on the toilet bowl. Budnick fake-sincerely says she's got their undivided attention. He's wearing a shirt with a sad smiley face on it, and I want it. Telly launches into another overcomplicated play, but the other kids all get up and leave as she's drawing in the dirt again. Awesome. You suck, Telly.

Telly is in the common room staring at the winner's plaque, and Ug comes in to tell her about how the plaque is one of the great traditions of Camp Anawana. Wow, Ug looks so young in this scene. For some reason, people who are older than me always look older to me, even if I'm watching a tape that's 15 years old and I could very well be older now than they were when they made it. Does that make any sense? Like, Uncle Jesse on Full House always looks old to me even in season 1, when he was only supposed to be around 24, and even though I'm 26 now I still see season 1 Uncle Jesse as "older than me." But here Ug looks really young. Maybe it's the backwards hat he's wearing? Anyway, Ug says that the plaque memorializes the camp's former heroes. The list goes back to 1977. Telly tells Ug that her team pretty much sucks, and Ug says that if she wants to be a leader she'll have to learn the "four F's" of good leadership: fearlessness, fairness, firmness, and control. Telly astutely points out that "control" does not start with an F, so Ug changes it to three F's and a C. Telly says that that sounds like Donkeylips' report card.

Dr. Kahn announces that both basketball teams can get out of instructional swim to relax and reflect quietly before the game. Telly's team, of course, is using this time to have a squirt gun competition. Telly comes in and spoils their fun by trying to blow a whistle to silence them, but the whistle appears to be broken. Ha ha, Telly. You suck. Not everyone wants to spend all their free time playing sports. Telly thinks the whistle must be one of those ones that only dogs can hear. Cue Donkeylips holding his hands over his ears in pain. ha. Poor Donkeylips. Telly yells at her team to drop their water guns and be dressed and on the court in ten minutes. The others totally blow her off and continue the squirt gun fight. Awesome.

Back at the basketball court, Z.Z. is the only one who joins Telly, saying that she wants a drill. Telly starts off on a litany of basketball drills they can work on, but Z.Z. interrupts to say that no, she actually meant drills from the tool shop, so that she could work on her acorn earrings. Umm, then why is she at the basketball court rather than at the tool shop? I hate when jokes are written around the punchline even when said punchline makes no sense in the given context. Telly says, "But what about the team?" Z.Z., who must be a little slow, says that she guesses that she could make earrings for everyone, but she doesn't think they'll look that great on the guys. Normally, I'd mock Z.Z. for her stupidity here, but I really am not much of a Telly fan, and I love how everyone is screwing with her this episode. Z.Z. skips off, assumedly on her way to pick up a drill.

Ug is standing in front of a mirror in full referee getup, totally powertripping on the fact that he has a whistle. I guess when your job title is "camp counselor" you need to feel important any way you can. He starts this chant of "Traveling! Blocking! Charging! You're outta there!" and sort of dances off running through it.

At the tournament, Telly's team is lounging around on the bleachers with drinks while the Hurricanes take practice shots. When Telly shows up, Dina says they're "celebrating their victory," and Telly yells that they haven't even played yet. Good point, Telly, but I still don't like you and think you're getting way too uptight over a silly basketball game. Maybe that's just because I was never a sporty girl though. Still, if she wanted to win so badly, why not hold tryouts or something to put together a team of talented players who were invested in the game? Why have people like Dina and Z.Z. anywhere near the court? It's her own fault for expecting to win with the team she has. Telly commands them all to sit up and pay attention, and then says, "Donkeylips, down here," pointing to the spot in next to her as if he's a dog or something. I know you're supposed to be on Telly's side here, but I'm so not. Telly orders Donkeylips to lift up his shirt. Well then. She's drawn a secret play on his back with marker (why he let her do this, I have no idea), and everyone gags at the sight of Donkeylips' sweaty back. Budnick says that the secret play must be "Donkeylips raises his armpits and everyone faints." Budnick was pretty awesome, even though he is an ass. 

The game starts, and Telly yells to pass the ball to Z.Z., who is open. When the ball is finally passed to her, she just stares off into space as a Hurricanes player grabs it and scores. Telly asks why Z.Z. just stood there, and Z.Z. dreamily says that she was just thinking about how much she likes birds. Telly must be getting really pissed off now, it's great. Budnick, meanwhile, is shoving Ug for no real reason. Telly calls a timeout. She says they're supposed to be working together, not against each other (wow, the writers really are doing all they can to get you on Telly's side, aren't they?). Then there's a really abrupt cut to a shot of the three boys on the ground wrestling over the ball and Ug breaking them up. 

At the end of this first game (of three), which we assume they lost, Telly is once again lecturing her team. No one seems to really care. Z.Z. says that in the second half, she lost one of her acorn earrings. Telly bitchily responds, "No one is interested." Actually, Telly, no one seems all that interested in the game either, so shut up. Z.Z. says that some people might be interested because when she was looking for it, she found a tooth, and if no one claims it she will make a pendant out of it. umm, eww. The tooth is Michael's. Telly lectures, "Michael lost a tooth in a brawl with his own teammates. Now what does that tell us?" Budnick, of course, responds that it means that Michael fights like a wuss. Telly says that no, it means that that they're not a team, and Budnick fires back that that's because of her. Do I actually agree with Budnick? Budnick says that she stinks as a captain. Yes, yes I do agree with Budnick. Telly, showcasing her bad-captain-ness, tells them fine, just go ahead and pick a new captain, because she thinks they're all lazy chumps. That's some good leadership right there. Budnick nominates himself as new captain and guarantees a win using the patented Bobby Budnick method, which makes "sitters and quitters" into "winners and grinners" by using your brain over your muscles. Telly thinks Budnick is full of shit, but all the others are intrigued by his method and vote him in as captain.

The morning of game 2. Budnick arrives to the court with new tie-dyed shirts with bombs drawn on them that read "Budnick's Bombers" on the front. His advice to Michael as they step out onto the court is, "win, you knob!" The Hurricanes, however, pull way ahead. Budnick calls a timeout, during which Telly asks him if he's got any bright ideas. Budnick tells her to "ride the pine," and I'm not exactly sure what that's supposed to mean, but it's still funny. Budnick dramatically ties a bandana around his head as he puts himself in the game. There's one of those three-in-a-row repeat shots of him turning around with the bandana on to increase the drama of this moment. hee. He goes out and starts kicking ass and being a ball-hog, but the team does start to catch up to the Hurricanes as everyone looks on in shock. Budnick's team ends up winning 28-21.

Dr. Kahn awards Budnick's team free sodas, which they shake up and squirt all over each other. But Telly is not celebrating. She storms in and sarcastically says, "Congratulations, Budnick. I don't know how you did it." Oh shut up, Telly. Budnick just says he's a natural-born winner and continues celebrating. That night, Telly is lying in bed still being pissy that the team won without her in charge. She wakes up Dina, who was about to get into a ferris wheel with Patrick Swayze in her dream. Telly says that Michael Jordan couldn't have pulled off the moves Budnick made that day, and she vows to get to the bottom of it.

The next morning, Telly spies Budnick thumbing through a book, and when he leaves his cabin, she sneaks in to find that it is none other than the Hurricanes' playbook. Didn't this happen in some other kids show too? Budnick wagers his entire candy supply on the upcoming game because he feels that the game is a lock. Telly, because she's a bitch, crumples up the Hurricanes' plays and throws them one by one into the "Losers" toilet seat on the wall. I know they're trying so desperately to get the audience on Telly's side, but I'm just not. I wonder if as a kid I was angry with Budnick for cheating. I mean, obviously he's being a shady little rat, but Telly just pisses me off so much with her attitude. Budnick shows the other guys the playbook, and they discover that it's empty. Telly and the other girls are there to snap a polaroid of Budnick's reaction, as Telly triumphantly proclaims, "roasted, toasted, and burned to a crisp!" hee! I remember that line from the first episode of this show, when Budnick said it a few times. Budnick says that he only did what they wanted--made them winners without having to work. Telly said that they can do whatever they want, but she doesn't want to be involved in a scam like this.  Could she be any more high and mighty?

Telly is back out on the court by herself when a side-ponytailed Z.Z. comes by saying she wants a drill--a basketball drill. Telly is thrilled, and then the rest of the team gathers around and says they told the Hurricanes everything, and the Hurricanes still want to play them in a fair game. The team gets to work on some passing drills. Ug comes by and tells them it's their shift for dinner cleanup duty in the kitchen (umm, is that normal at camp? Do they really make the kids clean the buildings and stuff???). At first they're worried because they can't practice, but Telly is there to come to the rescue and turn the cleanup into basketball-like drills of passing and shooting with trash and plates. 

The next day during the final game, the team is actually doing pretty well and staying even with the Hurricanes despite only having one quasi-legitimate practice. It is 19-20, Hurricanes, there's 10 seconds left, and Telly's team has the last shot. Budnick asks to be let in the game, giving a big sappy speech about how "if we can learn to play together on this court, then mankind can learn to play together on the court of life, and we'll all come out winners." I love Budnick. He's just worried about his candy. Telly's not buying his speech, but lets him in anyway, telling him to play team ball. But of course he doesn't, and he takes a shot himself rather than passing to a wide-open Michael. He misses, they lose, and everyone is pissed at him. Awesome... Donkeylips just said, "smooth move, Ex-Lax!" I love him. Ug takes a picture of them looking pissed off, which is then prominently displayed on the toilet seat frame of losers. Budnick has to hand his candy over to the Hurricanes, which makes the rest of the kids feel a little better. But Budnick gets the last laugh once again, as he was hiding more candy under his shirt strapped around his waist.

Random Thoughts:
-Do kids these days still play with squirt guns? I hope so.
-I kind of like how there is some embarrassment involved for the losing team, in the whole toilet-seat-photo thing. It feels like too many kids shows nowadays partake in that "everyone gets a trophy and we're all winners" mentality, and in doing so they miss out on the comedy of toilet seat basketball.
-My recording of the episode has a voice-over ad for The Tomorrow People during the closing credits. Did anyone watch this show? I didn't really like that one, so I rarely saw it. But coming up after this Salute Your Shorts episode aired was Legends of the Hidden Temple. I really miss old Nickelodeon.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Extra: 1991 Nickelodeon programming guide

So this doesn't count as a real update, I know. It's totally cheating on my part. But I'm about halfway through my next real recap (a Salute Your Shorts episode), and all the "midweek free time" I thought I'd have to get it done has been taken up by helping my mother with the first part of this big research paper she has to do that she's been freaking out over. And between leaving work on Friday and having to squeeze in seeing a bunch of people before I go, I don't think I'll be able to have time to get the update completed until Sunday at the earliest now. So, to tide you over until then, I wanted to post this in the meantime.

Below is a copy of what was airing on Nickelodeon in the summer of 1991. I believe this is correct for at least the Eastern US, but I'm not sure how other time zones or other countries worked. I found it when I was searching for copies of other old shows that I haven't tracked down yet. Thank you to Steve of Rugrats Online for putting this together in the first place and then letting me reproduce it here. Fans of the old (pre-Dil) Rugrats can check out his pretty extensive site (that's been up since 1996).

So, what strikes me about this schedule is how vastly different it is from Nick's present-day schedule. It looks like Pinwheel (anyone remember Pinwheel?) was off the air by this point, but I used to watch that all the time in the 80s. The nighttime airings of Doug, Rugrats, and Ren and Stimpy (with the asterisks) were not the usual programming, but this was taken from TV Guide the week the Nicktoons first premiered and were broadcast in primetime. What is really sticking out to me is the Special Delivery (remember that?) installment titled Pardon Me for Living. I totally remember watching that as a kid, but I only have the vaguest of memories about it. I think it was about a shy boy, or maybe it was the one about the heavy girl who was teased (or maybe they were both in this one). And Manxmouse. I remember that one too... I believe it was a cartoon. I wish they'd re-air those old Special Delivery specials.

So, what are people's favorites from this list? Had people forogtten about any of these shows? Anything here you'd especially want me to try to track down for recaps if they're floating around somewhere?

Saturday Sunday Weekdays
6AM Lassie
6:30AM Littl' Bits Kidsworld
7AM Eureeka's Castle Mr. Wizard's World
7:30AM Kid's Court Yogi Bear
8AM Cound Duckula Inspector Gadget
8:30AM Heathcliff
9AM Inspector Gadget Cartoon Kablooey Lassie
9:30AM Inspector Gadget Maya The Bee
10AM Yogi Bear Doug Eureeka's Castle
10:30AM Rugrats
11AM Out Of Control Ren & Stimpy The Elephant Show
(Sharon, Lois & Bram)
11:30AM SK8TV Salute Your Shorts Fred Penner's Place
12 Noon Dennis The Menace
(1960's sitcom)
Wild & Crazy Kids David The Gnome
12:30PM Clarissa Explains It All The Little Koala
1PM Lassie Fifteen Noozles
1:30PM Flipper Welcome Freshmen Maya The Bee
2PM Special Delivery:
Special Delivery:
"Adventures Of Tom Sawyer"
Littl' Bits
2:30PM Lassie
3PM Special Delivery:
"Drawing A Blank"
3:30PM Special Delivery:
"The Tin Soldier"
Special Delivery:
"Pardon Me For Living"
Looney Tunes
4PM You Can't Do That On Television Heathcliff
4:30PM Make The Grade Yogi Bear
5PM Family Double Dare Mork & Mindy
5:30PM Salute Your Shorts Fifteen Hey Dude
6PM Wild & Crazy Kids
6:30PM Welcome Freshmen Clarissa Explains It All Get The Picture
7PM Inspector Gadget
7:30PM Looney Tunes
8PM Looney Tunes Doug* Mork & Mindy
8:30PM Bewitched Rugrats* Bewitched
9PM Donna Reed Ren & Stimpy* Get Smart
9:30PM Mister Ed Dragnet (' 67 - ' 70)
10PM My Three Sons Alfred Hitchcock Presents
10:30PM The Patty Duke Show Green Acres
11PM Dobie Gillis Hi Honey, I'm Home
(repeat of latest ABC episode)
The Best of Saturday Night Live
11:30PM Alfred Hitchcock Presents Mister Ed
12 Mid Bewitched Looney Tunes
12:30AM Green Acres Dobie Gillis
1AM The Best Of Saturday Night Live The Patty Duke Show
1:30AM America 2 Night (Fernwood 2 Night) My Three Sons
2AM Dragnet (' 67 - ' 70) Infomercials Donna Reed
(except Wednesday: Infomercial)
2:30AM Donna Reed America 2 Night
(Fernwood 2 Night)
3AM Mister Ed Mork & Mindy
3:30AM My Three Sons Get Smart
4AM The Patty Duke Show Dragnet (' 67 - ' 70)
4:30AM Dobie Gillis Alfred Hitchcock Presents
5AM America 2 Night (Fernwood 2 Night) Mister Ed
5:30AM Dragnet (' 67 - ' 70) Dobie Gillis

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I'm moving!

So, I am moving in less than a week so that my awesome fiance can start a PhD program. I'm also transitioning into working from home after this week, since I'm keeping my current job after the move. And because of all this, my free time, especially on the weekends, is completely crazy right now. There will be an update coming, but I probably won't be able to keep up my usual Sunday (or Monday at the latest) update schedule for the next week or two.... I expect to have more time midweek this week and next week. So I will get the next update up as soon as I can, hopefully in a few days, and once the move is over I can get back into my regular schedule.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

"Let's get a shot of him feeling my muscle": Doug, 2.11 - Doug Pumps Up/Doug Goes Hollywood

I chose to repeat Doug this week for two reasons. First, this week (August 11) is the anniversary of the day Nickelodeon launched its first three Nicktoons back in 1991. And second is that in honor of the Olympics, since there's no shows I can recall with actual Olympics-themed episodes, I figured I could at least recap episodes that involved sports competitions of some sort these next two weeks. But I must apologize if this is not the best recap ever--I've had a migraine/headache of some sort literally for about three days now, and being on the computer makes it worse.

I remember Doug getting really bad rope burn when he tried to do the rope climb event. It was painful just to watch that scene. And I remember that the only event he could do after that was sit-ups. I always thought I could've won the sit-ups contest too. In my fourth grade journal we had to write in every now and then for one class, I have one entry that says "today I did 200 sit-ups in gym." I definitely would not be able to pull that off now.

Major Characters (since I missed listing them the first time around):
Doug Funnie - Our eleven-and-a-half-year-old main character
Skeeter Valentine - Doug's best friend
Patti Mayonnaise - Doug's friend/secret crush
Roger Klotz - The bully
Beebe Bluff - The rich girl whose father owns pretty much the entire town
Chalky Studebaker - The all-star athlete, natural leader, good student, etc.
Connie Benge - Another classmate of Doug's, sweet and innocent, kind of heavyset in the Nickelodeon years but a lot skinnier in the Disney-fied version of the show
Judy Funnie - Doug's dramatic, Shakespeare-loving older sister
Phil and Theda Funnie - Doug's parents (they have first names?)
Mr. Bone - Doug's school principal
Mr. Bud Dink - Doug's crazy neighbor, known for his lisp and weird guffaw laugh
Mrs. Tippy Dink - Mr. Dink's wife, almost always very dry and sarcastic
Bob White - The mayor of Bluffington. "Vote for me."

Doug Pumps Up
Opening theme. Doug and Skeeter are at the mall, and Doug sees Patti carrying some heavy bags and offers to help. He jokes, "What did you buy, barbells???" and Patti answers, "...yeah" somewhat embarrassedly. Connie and Beebe walk over and just throw their bags into Doug's arms as well. That's kind of rude of them. Doug understandably collapses from the weight, but Beebe and Connie laugh at him because he's so weak. How bitchy is that? They throw their bags at him and then laugh in his face when he drops them (in front of the girl it's blatantly obvious he has a crush on).

Title screen: Doug chases after Porkchop after Porkchop paints the episode title onto the wall, and then Porkchop sneaks back to shut off the light.

Patti helps Doug up after he falls, and Doug mumbles a lame excuse about there being a bump in the sidewalk. Doug and Skeeter see a life-size cardboard cutout of Ronald Weisenheimer (an obvious Arnold Schwarzenegger parody) with a recording telling them to sign up for the All-Bluffington Fitness Test. Doug fantasizes being big and jacked like Weisenheimer. Patti, surrounded by weights and barbells, says in a damsel-in-distress voice, "How are we going to carry all this stuff?" Doug-as-Weisenheimer walks over and grabs all the girls' weights and barbells as he proclaims, "No problemo" in an Arnold-esque accent. Back in real life, Doug and Skeeter both go to sign up for the Fitness Test. Chalky Studebaker is handling the signups, of course. He says hi to Doug but then calls out, "Next!" and doesn't believe Doug when Doug says that he is next.

Walking home, Skeeter also questions Doug's ability to compete in the Fitness Test. Way to be supportive, best friend. Kids really are assholes to each other. Motivational music plays as Doug says that maybe he won't set any records, but he's going to train and in four to five weeks will be ready to pass that test. Skeeter bursts his bubble by telling him that the test is the day after tomorrow. Because he needs to think fast, he for some reason thinks it's a good idea to visit crazy psycho Mr. Dink, who is bound to have exercise equipment. Mr. Dink has just acquired a ("very expensive," as is his trademark) Lazy Guy exercise system that promises to make working out easy and fun. Doug's walking on a treadmill where a background behind him changes the scenery to any kind of setting he'd desire. One of the available backgrounds is the moon, which Mr. Dink says that Tippy loves. "It reminds me of our honeymoon," Tippy replies with her usual dry sarcasm. They must have the weirdest relationship ever. Doug thinks that he should be working hard and sweating, but Mr. Dink assures him that the Lazy Guy does all the hard work for you. He brings Doug over to do pull-ups to work on his arms, but the shot widens to reveal that Doug is standing on a platform that is raising and lowering him automatically for each pull-up. Mr. Dink's reaction is, "I bet you thought working out had to be painful!" Why is Doug even stupid enough to go to Mr. Dink in the first place? The man is obviously insane. And he's not exactly the poster-boy of fitness. Plus, in the first episode of the series I recapped last time, Mr. Dink tells Doug he's a writer. And believe me, there's no way a writer can afford all this "very expensive" crap he's always talking up to anyone who will listen. No wonder Tippy always sounds like she wants to kill herself. Anyway, the pull-up machine goes out of control and is way too fast for Doug.

Doug walks back home, his arms still stuck in pull-up position. He has to bend way over to look at the paper on his front steps because he can't move his arms to pick it up, and when he does succeed in lowering his arms, he can't raise them to lift the paper. He heads to the school gym for a real workout. He starts off trying to lift gigantic barbells that are too heavy for him, but know-it-all Chalky tells him not to strain himself. But Doug rationalizes that since he only has 24 hours to get into shape, he better keep at the big weights. He fantasizes that he is in the Mr. Dumbell competition, once again big and jacked and up against similarly muscular guys. But they are all put to shame by a bodybuilding Porkchop in a Speedo. Poor Doug is even pathetic in his fantasy. I can relate. Back in real life, Doug manages to get the large weight lifted over his head but is losing control of it. Chalky comes by to see if he's OK, and Doug drops the weight and it falls on top of his foot.

After a trip to the nurse's office, Doug's right foot is bandaged up, and he thinks this means he is out of the Fitness Test and that everyone will think he is a goof. But he spies a climbing rope in the gym and gets an idea--he doesn't need his foot for the rope climb, so he can focus on that event. (Here comes that horrible rope-burn scene I remember from when I was a kid....) Doug is having some success at rope climbing, and he fantasizes that he's on Bloatsburg Gladiators, climbing a rope as a challenger pours butter down it. His opponent then bites Doug's rope in half so that Doug falls into an alligator pit. But Doug springs off the alligator's jaws to grab the bell at the top of the rope and ring it with his teeth as the announcer proclaims, "What an athlete!" Back in the real world, Doug has successfully reached the top of his gym rope. But in his celebration, he loses his grip and slides all the way down the rope, his hands smoking from the rope burn. Not fun to watch.

It is the day of the Fitness Test, and the mayor is there with Ronald Weisenheimer. The mayor wants a shot of Weisenheimer feeling his muscle (that sounds a little dirty as I type it...), and Weisenheimer grabs his arm but totally flattens it with his grip. I remember that part! Chalky asks Doug what happened to his hands, which are also now bandaged like his foot. That's the thing about Chalky--he's one of those perfect-at-everything people who you really want to hate except that he's so nice you can't hate him without feeling guilty. I knew someone like that growing up. Doug sits on the sidelines prepared to just watch the Fitness Test. Patti walks over, and her arm is in a sling because she pulled a muscle trying to carry those bags at the mall. I bet Connie and Beebe laughed at her too, bitches. Doug says that Patti can still run without her arm, but Patti thinks she'd look kind of stupid. Doug encourages her to go for it anyway, and she says they should go together. Doug says that sitting is about all he can do, and then gets the brilliant idea to enter the sit-ups contest.

Skeeter counts out Doug's sit-ups as Patti runs in her race. Doug reaches 200 and then 300 sit-ups, and the only other person still left in the competition at this point is of course Chalky. They reach 400, and Patti wins another race. Chalky collapses at 500 sit-ups. Doug is about to quit at 497, but Patti urges him to keep going, and he pushes himself to 501 to win the competition. The mayor comes over to shake Doug's still-rope-burned hands, and Arnold Weisenheimer tells him, "Someday, you will be like me." Dream big, Doug. Patti tells Doug that he was wonderful, causing Doug to spout little hearts on either side of his head, and Chalky tells him that he has a lot of guts. That's kind of arrogant, isn't it? Chalky's trying to act like a good loser, but you know he's secretly beating himself up over losing to a skinny little artsy type like Doug and worried that his over-demanding father will hate him. Or maybe that was just Emilio Estevez in The Breakfast Club. Doug writes in his journal that once he stopped worrying about having to impress everybody, he discovered that he is a sit-up machine. umm, good for you? I guess you have to take what you can get.

Doug Goes Hollywood
Hot-shot director J.B. Spigot is reportedly in Bluffington scouting for a fresh new face to star in his latest big movie. Word is really getting around. Mr. Spigot's limo stops outside the Funnies' lawn, where Phil, Doug, and Porkchop are playing catch. He snaps to his sycophantic little assistant and whispers something in his ear. The assistant walks over to Doug and tells him that he's got something special there. Doug introduces himself and Porkchop, and Mr. Spigot through his assistant says that he's perfect. The assistant snaps a photo and gives Doug Mr. Spigot's business card, promising that "my people will call your people."

Title screen: Same as the one in the first half, with Doug chasing after Porkchop and Porkchop coming back to shut off the light. Were they always the same in both halves of the episode? That is kind of lame.

Doug, who apparently hasn't heard the Spigot buzz around town, wonders if anyone's ever heard of him. Judy and her theater-snob friends are driving to hear Mr. Spigot announce his movie plans to the town, commenting on how Spigot is banal and cliche. And that they'd give anything to be in his movie. The whole town is gathered to hear the announcement, and Doug is shocked that so many people know who Spigot is. Doug apparently lives under a rock. Skeeter informs him that Spigot has done all of the "Wafflestomper" movies, which Doug has actually heard of. Roger says that he intends to be chosen as the new Wafflestomper, and if Patti plays her cards right she could get cast as Wafflestomper's girl.

This, of course, sets Doug's horny little mind off into a fantasy where Patti is tied to a chair (how kinky of you, Doug) by Roger and his gang dressed as evil James Bond-esque villains. They laugh maniacally, but then Doug-as-Wafflestomper with slicked-back hair and a white suit jacket enters and cheesily announces "trick-or-treat" in a low monotone. Villain-Roger claims that they're not doing anything wrong, but Wafflestomper-Doug comes back with the oh-so-clever monotoned retort of "liar, liar, pants on fire." Villain-Roger hates stupid catchphrases and sends his guys to attack Wafflestomper, but Wafflestomper lives up to his name by stomping on the ground with his large feet, causing heavy boxes to fall on Roger's goons. Then he picks up Roger by the collar as Roger calls Wafflestomper a "big-footed baboon." Wafflestomper's monotone cheesy reply here is, "Ouch. You burned me."

Doug is snapped back into reality by the arrival of Mr. Spigot's limo to the town hall. Mr. Spigot's assistant (apparently named Curtis) speaks again on Mr. Spigot's behalf. He says that Mr. Spigot still wants to look at more of the townspeople but wants to see them being themselves in their own element, so they should act as if he isn't there. Anyone who's ever seen an episode of The Real World knows that acting as if they don't have an audience will be impossible for the Bluffington townspeople.

Back at home, Doug hears Judy gushing on the phone about how Mr. Spigot looked right at her when he said the word "star." She wants to take his movie and use it as a stepping-stone into more artistic projects, and she says that if she doesn't get this part, she will just die. Doug tries to tell her that Spigot picked him, but she slams the door in his face. He heads outside and sees Mr. Dink driving his car to the mall in a superhero costume. Although I'm sure this is just part of a normal day for Mr. Dink, Doug asks why he's dressed that way. Spigot is rumored to be at the mall, and word is going around that his new movie is going to be superhero themed. Skeeter shows up on his skateboard dressed as an astronaut, saying he heard it was a space-adventure flick. And then Roger appears dressed as Frankenstein to say that he heard the movie will be a monster movie. Mr. Dink drives them all to the mall, where everyone is dressed in bizarre outfits and trying to perform and show off in front of Mr. Spigot. Just then Doug spots Judy dressed as a homeless person. Maudlin music plays as Judy crawls up to Spigot's table in the mall pizza shop, crying and over-acting as she holds up a ragdoll and says, "It's too late for me, but please, sir, the child!!!" Spigot and his assistant get up without a word to her.

The next day, Doug once again tries to tell Judy that he got the part over her. He asks hypothetically what she'd do if he got the part and she didn't. Judy laughs at him and says she'd hurl herself off of Mount St. Buster. Doug doesn't have the heart to tell her that it's true that he has been selected. He envisions himself as a big-time movie star with what looks like red leather pants with a matching jacket and dark sunglasses, flanked by two bodyguards. They're walking down the street followed by Doug's adoring fans, when they come across a poor homeless Judy, trying to get some money by dressing cats up in tutus and holding up their front legs to make them "dance." Doug's entourage laugh at her as they walk by, but Doug walks back and throws a few coins her way. Homeless Judy cries, "Bless you, sir!" as Doug fades out of his fantasy and back to town hall, where the entire town is once again gathered.

Mr. Spigot, or rather, Curtis, is going to announce his decision to the crowd. He says, "The new star is YOU" and points in Doug's direction, but Doug feels that he can't do that to Judy because acting means the world to her, and he starts to protest and turn the offer down. Curtis then clarifies that he wasn't pointing to Doug, but to Porkchop, who is perfect for the new dog food commercial they're shooting. The entire crowd is of course pissed off to hear that the "big movie" is in reality only a dog food ad, and Roger asks why Mr. Spigot wanted to see the townspeople in the first place. Mr. Spigot himself replies, "Well, somebody's gotta open the can."

Some time later, Doug's family is watching the completed commercial on TV. Porkchop is the star, and Judy got to "act" after all, as she was chosen to be the can-opener. "Don't you love the minimal understatement of the gesture?" she asks Doug.

Random Thoughts:
-I didn't watch the Disney Doug all that much, but now when I watch this one all I can think of is how much I hated Patti's new short hair in the Disney series.
-I love Judy. I don't think I quite "got" her as a nine-year-old when the series first started, but now she is awesome.
-This episode includes the closing credits, whereas the first episode I recapped didn't. If you don't remember them, music from the episode plays as pencil drawings of Doug and Porkchop wave goodbye, growing increasingly more tired/bored as the credits wear on. Porkchop eventually pulls out his headphones and begins dancing, but Doug taps his foot reprimandingly at him and Porkchop sheepishly runs away, with Doug chasing after him.