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I didn't know what to expect going into this one, and with its lighthearted title, I was not looking forward to it in the least. I mean, I gathered that an ATM was going to be generous with its money—that much is obvious from its name—but how could that be made eerie, funny, or even remotely interesting? And after the debacle that was “The Retainer”, I was preparing for what could have been an early downhill slide for the entire series. Instead, it was the biggest surprise of its only season thus far, and while that might not sound like a huge accomplishment given that we are only three episodes in, I honestly mean that in the sincerest way possible.

Once again this story centers around the Teller family: The father, Edgar, has created an automated ATM that aims to be the friendliest such machine ever invented. To hammer this home, he gives it a computer-generated face, and some AI, allowing the smiling machine to offer up conversations and friendly banter with its users. The town doesn't really seem to care, though, as only a handful of people show up to its unveiling in a scene that would be sad if it weren't so funny.

Marshall has been spending a lot of time with kids his own age, which has left Simon all alone with no friends. Naturally, he turns to the talking ATM for companionship. The friendly machine, named Mr. Wilson, strikes up a friendship with Simon, and frequently hands him loads of bills, even though he does not have a bank account. This proves bad for the residents of Eerie, whose town goes bankrupt thanks to Mr. Wilson. But Simon doesn't care, because he's the one benefiting from the disaster. And why should he? He has everything he could ever want, the attention of older girls, and kids that were making fun of him now all want to be his friend. Can Marshall convince him to return his money and save the town? Or will Simon's obsession with the money be his downfall?

This episode plays its ridiculous premise for laughs, and that is why it manages to succeed. The (intentionally) cheesy scenes of Simon moving up the popularity ladder, simply because he has a virtually limitless supply of cash, function as spoofs of high school dramas and are well-executed. Mr. Wilson, on the other hand, is perfectly creepy, his nerdish computer-generated face and soothing, yet somehow haunting, voice suiting him very well. The way he “skips” is also a nice touch, and a rather realistic testament to early '90s technology. In other words, the effects are excellent in this one, and a large reason why it works at all.

I think the biggest drawback for me—and it's a big one--is that this episode breaks character for Marshall, by having him pick a group of popular jocks over his own friend. I understand that it's required for the rest of this episode to work, but considering how inseparable he and Simon are for the rest of the series, it just feels tacky, and not at all true to the series. Even after Marshall admits that the excitement of hanging out with them has worn off, he continues to hang out with them, despite getting nothing out of doing so...which paints him three episodes in as rather selfish and one-sided, something that couldn't be farther from the truth as the series wears on.

Overall, this one is still way better than I was anticipating, but is a far cry from the best this series has to offer.

EPISODE RATING: 6.5/10
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Written for the [livejournal.com profile] fffc First Froday Madness Special. The theme of the challenge was "minor characters and rare pairs".

Title: Populace
Fandom: Eerie, Indiana
Minor Character/s: The Eerie High School Basketball Team, the Unkind Ones, Bert and Ernie Wilson, the Creepy Garbage Guys, Janet Donner, Mayor Chisel, the Canine Arrest Team, the widow of Mister Dithers the Dog Catcher, some background members of the Canine Revolution, Miss Eerie and her Court, the older brother of either Nick or Eddie, Stanley Binkerman, Officer Derek, somebody from the Eerie Dairy, a delivery boy for the Eerie Examiner, a gun-toting mailman and (maybe) Fred Suggs.
Rating: PG
Words: ~1500
Challenge: FMS01: Minor Character
Summary: A normal, average, unremarkable day in Eerie
A/N: I couldn't pick one minor character to write about, so I went into the tag page, looked at the least-used character tags, and went from there

Read more... )

Read the rest of the Janet series here )

Read the rest of the Children series here )

Read the rest of the Milkman series here )

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Eerie Indiana

September 2017

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