Friday, September 20, 2013

Season 1, Episode 8: The Fearless Five

I’m just going to jump right into this review, like ripping off an adhesive bandage.

This episode starts off freaking adorable!  Joan and Vicki are making cookies and Joan tells Vicki that it reminds her of making cookies with her own mother, and she’s glad she gets to do it with her robot, who she loves as much as a daughter.  I dare anyone to watch the scene and not go “D’aww!”  No matter how you feel about the show, if you cannot appreciate the adorableness of this scene, you have no soul.  At least Joan doesn’t see Vicki as a slave.

Ted comes home and gives Joan a flower, which Vicki then puts in the cookie batter because she was told flour goes in the milk.  Oh, those misunderstandings.  Ted thinks it’s adorable, though, because even though he has no soul, even he can appreciate how adorable that entire scene was.  Then he asks Vicki what else she learned from “Mom”, so maybe he’s finally starting to warm up to the little girl he made.  So Vicki insults his mother.  Ted tells Joan it’s not nice to tell Vicki such things, and I’m amazed he hasn’t mistreated the robot yet, like trying to reprogram her to worship his mother or something.

Jamie comes in and checks on the cookies, which I guess Joan is making for his club.  Jamie is running for president, and he expects to win because he bribed all the members with cookies and other things.  When Joan calls him out on it, he says that when you win, it’s called lobbying.  Ten year olds do not know that much about politics.  I’ve been ten years old.  When I was ten… I just didn’t even care about real world politics.  I cared about cartoons and books.

Vicki helps Jamie take the cookies out to the boys in his club, so he introduces his “cousin”.  I can’t wait until they adopt her.  It makes everything so much easier.  Anyway, Reggie is one of the club members, so this is the first instance of continuity – he may not have been the first recurring character to be introduced, but he is the first one to actually show back up again.  So, after devouring the cookies in seconds, the boys decide it’s time to have a meeting of the He-Man Woman-Hater’s Club, and one of the boys is just downright aggressive about saying No Girls.  He’s also very fat, so with that attitude, I see two high school outcomes for this character: it’s an utter nightmare, or he gets his shit together and becomes a jock and that attitude becomes an asset.  You know, I lean heavily towards the second one.  Almost all fat kids in the 80s became jocks in high school.  They didn’t even have real Internet to distract them with back then, so exercise was a valid form of distraction.

Vicki, probably because of all of the positive attention she got at the beginning of the episode, happily goes back into the house without a hint of passive-aggression.  I think this is the longest Vicki’s gone without being passive-aggressive towards anyone.  Anyway, as soon as Vicki’s in the house, Reggie calls the election to order.  Jamie’s running against Fatty McAttitude, and Jamie has a whole speech prepared in addition to all the bribes he gave out, and McAttitude only offers pickled pig’s feet if he wins.  Just… what?  Like, would it have killed the writers to make it closer at all?

It doesn’t matter because there’s a last minute candidate – the neighborhood bully!  Like, seriously, the bully just waltzed into Jamie’s backyard.  I don’t know in what culture this is acceptable, but even as a kid, I could have called my parents outside and they’d have made the bully leave.  I don’t even understand what’s happening here.  Anyway, his whole speech is, “Shut your whore mouths, I already said I’m the president, and this is a dictatorship democracy.”  That’s the level of understanding I had about politics when I was 10, too.  The bully is a more realistic child than anyone else in the show.  That lovely speech, coupled with the threats to kick anyone’s ass who objects, makes the neighborhood bully the new club president.  Shocking, I know.

His first order of business is to raise the dues from $0.25 a week to $1.00 a week.  In exchange for the dues, he won’t murder anyone in the club in their sleep.  Then, after telling them that the dues are due the next day, he steals Jamie’s baseball glove for absolutely no reason and leaves.  Just… what?  I fail to understand any of what just happened.  Can we go back to scenes of Joan and Vicki being adorable?

That night, when Jamie is going to bed and Vicki is chilling in her cabinet, Ted and Joan come up.  Ted asks Vicki if she’s okay, but he doesn’t actually care.  Vicki, however, still loves positive attention, and gives Ted exactly what he wants to hear – Jamie’s not okay because of the bully.  Joan explains when they knew something was wrong, and Ted gives advice that pretty much equates to “suck it up, everyone has bullies.”  I would love to see Ted be Ted in 2013, I really would.  Joan would have taken Vicki and Jamie, and Harriet Brindle for good measure, by the end of the pilot episode.  Anyway, suck it up also has the advice of “don’t fight”, and apparently the Lawsons are thinking that when Jamie gets murdered they’ll just build a robot version of him anyway.  Even Vicki knows this is bad advice, but the parents stand their ground.

The parents go to leave, but Ted is like, “You know what, Joan… just give me a sec.”  Apparently, after giving that very parental speech, Ted remembered he’s alpha as fuck and decides to teach Jamie how to defend himself.  However, Vicki’s still there and women aren’t allowed to be alphas, so he tells her to fake sleeping.  When is Vicki just going to murder him and make it look like an accident?  Anyway, after some weird advice and not actually showing Jamie anything, the commercial break happens.  There might be women in the audience, and you wouldn’t want to accidentally teach them anything that would make them alphas, after all.

Actually, no, it just turned out to be the worst timed commercial break of all time and after the break Ted’s like, “I don’t want you fighting but you should be able to defend yourself.”  You just said that!  Whatever, he then proceeds to show Jamie how to kick the shit out of a clown toy, because it’s like defending yourself against bullies, I guess.  Except Ted is Ted, so the clown toy turns out to be the superior fighter.  Ted just lost alpha status to a toy – that’s gotta hurt.  Anyway, after making sure Jamie has good form or whatever, Ted leaves, again reminding Jamie that it’s only for self-defense.  I guess even in the 80s where they could make sex jokes every 37 seconds, they felt a responsibility for not teaching kids that violence was okay.

Jamie gets Vicki out of the cabinet and says he’s going to show her how he’s going to deal with the bully, because Jamie is a marginally better human being than Ted.  He then proceeds to beat up the clown toy, becoming the new Lawson family alpha male.  That’s just what a recovering ego addict needs, something more to feed his ego, but Jamie doesn’t let the fact he’s better at beating up toys than his dad go to his head.  I’m so proud of him, overcoming his addiction like that.

The next day, the bully comes back and Jamie’s friends fold and pay him off because they don’t have spines.  Jamie, however, says he’s not going to pay.  I bet Jamie’s parents had Vicki hide his money.  There’s no way he has more of a spine than Reggie just because he beat up a clown doll.  Jamie stands up to the bully, and everything goes the way it’s supposed to!

Just kidding, Jamie gets a black eye.  I’m not going to say that’s the fakest black eye I’ve ever seen, because I’ve seen way faker on Clarissa Explains It All, but that is definitely one of the strangest.  Jamie tells Vicki all about it, and how his mom is going to get mad that he fought, and Vicki channels Clint Eastwood.  Gosh darn, Vicki’s adorable.  Anyway, Jamie decides to give the bully the money so he doesn’t get murdered in his sleep, but he’s going to give it to him all in change.  However, while Vicki’s counting out the dollar, some of the change falls to the floor and even goes under the bed.

For some reason, it wasn’t until Vicki lifted the bed that Jamie remembered that Vicki was strong.  She’s a freaking robot, Jamie.  Whatever, we already learned that intelligence is not a genetic trait of the Lawsons.  Anyway, Jamie teaches Vicki how to fight, and he thinks that Vicki can save the neighborhood from the bully.  He takes Vicki outside and pisses off the bully, even saying that Vicki can take him.  When the bully starts laughing, because getting your ass handed to you by a woman is funny, Jamie tells Vicki to do her thing and she lifts him.  Like, what was the point of teaching her to fight if she didn’t murder that guy?

The bully isn’t a complete dumbass and learns to fear Vicki, so he says he’ll do whatever Jamie wants.  Just… what?  Oh, why does this show hate women so much?  Anyway, Jamie demands that the bully give the money back, which he not only does but he throws in some of his own, too.  Honest bully paying interest rates – you just don’t see that anymore.  Well, that was Jamie’s only real demand.  He tells the bully to leave and never come back, but that could have gone without saying – you think that dude is ever going to want to be in the same vicinity as Vicki again?  Before he leaves, though, the bully accuses Vicki of being on steroids, which is fair.  No human little girl could be as strong as Vicki otherwise.

Jamie’s parents find out Jamie’s been fighting, but Jamie was like, “Well, I tried sucking it up like you said, and that didn’t work.”  He tells his parents that the bully was scared off, but never officially says that Vicki was involved, even though I’m sure they figured it out from the rest of the story where Vicki was elected the president of the He-Man Woman-Haters Club, which has decided to make an exception for girls who can punch holes in doors.  Vicki, for absolutely no reason, decides to prove she’s the new Lawson family alpha and punches a hole into the kitchen door.

This one was actually not that bad.  The adorableness at the beginning must have melted my heart.

Firsts: Joan and Vicki adorableness, the bully, Ted gets beat up by a toy, a recurring character recurs, no Harriet

1 comment:

  1. Whoa! That bully is dressed up EXACTLY like Vyvyan from that BBC show- The Young Ones! Weird coincidence...