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[personal profile] froodle
Welcome back to the Eerie, Indiana 2017 rewatch. This Friday, give your dog the side-eye and pray that doorknobs will be enough to save us. Ladies and gentlemen, keep the Canine Arrest Team on speed-dial, because it's time to watch... The Retainer!
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[personal profile] froodle
Rock out your fifties hairstyles, make sure your lids are sealed tight, and enjoy vacuum-fresh food, because the 2015 Eerie Indiana rewatch kicks off tonight with the pilot episode that made half of us afraid of packed lunches... ladies and gentlemen, fire up your DVD players, and let's watch: Foreverware!
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[personal profile] froodle
If there’s one thing “Eerie, Indiana” has, it’s a penchant for imaginative ideas that are specifically skewered toward younger viewers, and “Who’s Who” is no exception. In it, a little girl in a family full of hyperactive boys (all with the last name “Bob”, herself included) learns that she can bring her drawings to life simply by signing them with an “Eerie” brand no. 2 pencil (initially at Marshall’s urging). Wanting a quieter, calmer family, she sits down to draw her ideal one…which consists of Marshall’s mother! Can he convince her to return his mother to him, or will the Teller family permanently be short one member for the rest of time?

This isn’t one of the more memorable installments in the “Eerie” pantheon, but it does introduce Harry Goaz as Sgt. Knight, which is basically a slightly more functional version of his character in “Twin Peaks”. It also paints a rather bleak (though watered-down) view of her life, featuring Sara using drawing as a means to escape the dysfunctionality of her home life. It will be an all-too-realistic portrait for some kids, but “Eerie” never seemed to be afraid of tackling any subject matter.

In fact, it's where “Eerie” seems to be most comfortable: When it’s taking adult topics and “watering it down” for kids, while still leaving enough realism and fancy to appeal to both sides of the spectrum. It’s a difficult balancing act, and overall it seems to do well with it, although in this episode it doesn’t take much digging to find the depressing undercurrent that holds it all together.

Take the scene where Marshall informs Sara Bob that his mother is there to pick him up. “Mother?” she asks quizzically, as if she’s never seen one before. And sure enough, a visit later on to her house reveals an uncaring, alcoholic father, complete with four young hyperactive brothers, all of whom look up to her to be the “mother”, and all of whom (minus the dad, who I don’t even think says a word) complain about all the things she has or hasn’t done for them. No one deserves this kind of pressure, period, but to have it all placed on a middle school child is rather dark stuff.

It's never even hinted at the fate of the mother, but whether she passed away, or ran out on them doesn't really matter. Actually, I kind of like that it's never touched upon...most shows would use it as a chance to throw in some corny sob story as a way to extract emotional resonance from the episode, but this show gets enough of that without it. We can already gather Sara's loneliness and isolation from the way she reacts to the world around her, and that speaks louder than any backstory could.

This being said, the episode feels a little half-baked, and wasn't really all that interesting. Of course, Marshall gets his mother back (no spoilers here) and Sara reverts her family back to “normal” after reversing it so that they served her instead, but with an additional caveat that keeps them in line. It's all so...”linear” and straightforward compared to many of the other episodes, and that's enough to make it unsatisfying. It has a couple of laughs, and is far from terrible, but as far as this series goes, it's definitely one of the weaker efforts.

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[personal profile] froodle
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.

[identity profile]
(well, now I do have 25 prompts... if I have them done by NYE, they're not late, because I said so~)

Written for froodle's prompt "not in the spirit of the season".

Read more... )
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[personal profile] froodle
Strap on your Sky Monsters part 2 (with bubble sole!), and strut like a sky-walking machine down to First Eerie Savings to sing 99 Bottles of Beer with Mister Wilson. Ladies, gentlemen, ain't it good to know you got a friend? Put your white plastic cash dispensing hands together for... ATM with a Heart of Gold!
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[personal profile] froodle
So we know from the start of the episode that Mars going to the orthodontist and telling us the story of the Retainer takes place on Marshall's 45th day in Eerie. It might be fun to try and put together a timeline for all the events in EI.

From what I remember, not all of the episodes have a day # attached to them - the only one I can name off the top of my head is that Reality Takes a Holiday is marked day zero, for obvious reasons - but I know there's a few. As the rewatch progresses, I'm going to try and look out for them.

This is the second episode and the intro also serves as a kind of "previously" by referencing the ForeverWare ladies (oh my God, that horrible laughter - there's no need to get that excited about a pickle lifter, ladies), as well as what would become the standard for EI, Bigfoot and Elvis, before setting up this episode's foe.

Also, Fluffy, what are you going to do with that gun? You don't have opposable thumbs, you can't pull the trigger, it is of no use to you whatsoever, and it never appears again in the episode.

Could it be Betsy, Grungy Bill's long-lost gun? Did he bungle his twelfth/thirteenth bank robbery because dogs stole his firearm in preparation for the day they rose up humanity?

"It's probably wherever you left it" has got to be the least helpful parental non-response in history. Yes, it most likely is wherever I left it, but I don't know where that is, which is why I'm asking if you're seen it. I would have made the exact same face as Syndi. Don't be that parent, Marilyn.

Loving the drama chords that play and the dramatic close up of Fifi, the man-eating poodle. Oh Syndi. You are more right than you know.

Looking back on it, it's weird how much emphasis there was on you to have lots of friends when you were a kid. Edgar and Marilyn are all, "you don't seem to be making a lot of new friends", ignoring the fact that he's already become really good friends with the kid next door.

Later in the episode, Mars mentions that Steve isn't his friend, but still lets him come over to his house anyway. You gotta wonder if there's an element of pleasing and/or shutting up his parents concerns about his lack of friends in him hanging out with this kid that he doesn't even seem to like all that much in his own home.

Like, Simon apparently doesn't satisfy the criteria, maybe because he's younger, so he brings Steve by and is all, look, look, kid my own age, stop getting at me and making me feel like an isolated reject just because I'm not surrounded by a crowd of classmates the whole time.

Or maybe I'm just reading way too much into this. Anyway.

Dog, you're sleeping in the middle of the pavement. Don't get snippy when people need to walk past. You're the inconsiderate jackass here, not the random pedestrians.

Ugh, can we take a minute to talk about how horrible it is that Steve has to go over that the house of some kid that he's not even friends with, just so he can have a fucking sandwich, because his mum doesn't like watching him eat? Fucking Eerie, centre of shitty parenting for the entire planet, more like.

Second episode in a row that Simon mentions the Eerie Library. Last week it was old yearbooks, this week apparently their research is a little more esoteric.

Now I really want to know who had checked out the Sorcerers Bible before Simon could borrow it.

Also, Mars, get your own library card.

I really want a t-shirt with that aerial map of Eerie on it. That, or the one from the start of the episode with Normal and Schafer as some of the surrounding towns and a massive bright red WEIRDNESS stamped across it.

"Oh baby, yeah baby, oh, in my mouth baby" is literally me whenever I'm starving and sit down to a delicious meal.

Fifi, stop spying on the Tellers!

Are we all speaking Dog? I think more likely, the retainer lets Steve (and later Mars) read the dogs minds, and then their brains translate it to terms they can understand, ie, English.

I just realised how boring and frustrating this adventure must have been for Simon - he can't hear any of what's going on.

I am 100% certain that the dogs and cats in Eerie are waging a secret war against each other (secret from humans, I mean). Fluffy proved dogs can read when Mars shows him that magazine, and the pound has massive barrels labelled poison stacked outside it, coils of razor wire on top of the chainlink fences surrounding it, a sign that says no barking, the death chamber is in full view of the cages the dogs are kept in, and the dog catchers themselves are called the Canine Arrest Team. That level of psychological torture, it's gotta be a cat masterminding it.

also, the way Mars says "dogs check in, but they don't check out" makes it sound like thats the pounds motto, rather than Mars making an off the cuff remark.

I can't tell if that's supposed to be a real cat watching through the windows at the pound, or if it's a stuffed cat attached to the fishing lines used to lure the dogs to capture.

Whelp, Mister Dithers is dead. Or at least missing a leg. To be fair, he was in league with the cats, and being eaten by dogs pales in comparison to what the cats would have done to him in punishment for his failure to keep the dogs in line.

Ugh, the dogs chanting. The vehemently whispered chant of "Freedom!", "bite the hand that feeds us!", "doorknob!", "smash the chamber!" and the increasingly loud and menacing "metal mouth!" at the end of the episode - so scary when I was a kid, and still pretty creepy now.

And Steve panics, and runs, and the dogs chase him down and kill him and eat him and then Fluffy delivers his mangled retainer to Mars as a warning to keep his mouth shut if he wants to live.

Edgar tells Marshall at the end of this episode that he "lived to tell the tale". The fortune cookie at the start of No Brain No Pain gives Mars the same prediction. I like to think that the whole series is actually narrated by an adult Marshall, who sends his stories out into the world disguised as fiction, after getting increasingly frustrated and jaded about getting anybody to believe him about the centre of weirdness for the entire planet.

They probably believe him about the centre of shitty parenting, though. Jesus.
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[personal profile] froodle
So apparently DW isn't importing my comments, sigh. Anyway, here are my reactions to Foreverware as part of the Eerie, Indiana rewatch 2015.

Love the opening to the pilot episode - the dramatic music as Mars goes up tothesecret spot and opens the evidence locker, and then it cuts to the lighter faster-paced upbeat stuff as he goes out and about in Eerie on his paper route.

and then it shows the lawnmower dudes and the gun-toting mailman and it's all, chords! chords! have some dramatic chords! and then the theme tune we hear every episode starts up.

Marilyn takes a bite of the strawberry, makes a face, tells Mars not to eat them... and then puts the half-eaten strawberry back in the fridge!

Jesus, check out Betty Wilson's look of pure rage when Mars is playing with one of the Foreverware tubs, and again when Edgar walks in yelling about leftover stuffing. Police your facial expressions, you crazy bitch! Nobody wants to buy from a judgey judger.

Oh my God, Simon's introductary scene: "I let him hang out because his parents don't seem to want him around." It's dropped in so casually, but it's so horrible when you stop to think about it. He's Marshall's best friend, and even his best friend's go-to description is, "oh yeah, his parents are awful and hate him..." Eesh.

This is my first time watching Eerie on a new TV, and I've never noticed before that Betty Wilson's car has bumper stickers saying "ask me about self-preservation."

Likewise, it's the first time I've been able to read the stickers on the twin's Foreverware beds - love that they actually have the "press to close" stickers in the corner, and that apprently Walt Wilson thought someone would have a dishwasher big enough to load a "people keeper" into.

Also, I really want a Foreverware button now.

The marketing department for the DVDs definitely missed a trick not releasing a collectors edition box set where the case was a Foreverware tub. Maybe we'll get it when the series comes to blu-ray?

If Marilyn had been successfully assimilated into the Foreverware Ladies Group, would she have had to dress only in one colour, and who gets to decide what colour that is?

We mostly see her in blue, but Phylis Stoffer already has that.

What happens if her favourite colour is taken? Do they have a
housewife-off to see who has the greatest right to it, or does she just have to pick from a list of available, pre-approved colours?

I've noticed the plastic covered couch before, but now I can see the lampshade in the background is also covered in plastic wrap. Apparently Betty Wilson doesn't rate fire hazards above dust and staining.

Eight hours a day may keep the wrinkles away, but exactly how much quality sleep is she getting with that fucking tape recorder bleating in her ear every night?

There's something really sad to me about the way Betty kisses the photo of her dead husband before she goes to bed.

I think it's because of that scene in the Teller house when she refers to him as "my late husband Walt" and then mentions that if the lid on your Foreverware isn't sealed tight, the aging process gets accelerated.

Combined with the fact that the twins specifically say that she started sealing them up after their dad died, it makes me think he had some horrible mishap with the People Saver, and that Betty woke up one morning to discover a rotten glob of green goo where her husband had been sleeping the night before.

I'm not saying it justifies everything she's doing, but it does make me feel sorry for her, just a little.

How menacing are the twins after Mars frees them from the Foreverware?

"We'll take care of Mother", intone the dumpy little Norman Batesalikes in unison, smacking their fists rythmically against their palms.

Even Mars is like, "Alright lads, I'm not sticking about just so I can see you punch the shit out of your mum, peace!" as he climbs out of the window.

Fucking hell, boys. I'd tell you to be less creepy, but I've already seen the rest of the series, so I know that will never happen.

Considering Marilyn went on a housekeeping binge towards the start of that episode, the fridge is once again a total disaster by the end of it. Probably because she keeps taking bites out of stuff and randomly throwing it back in there.

Ugh, the grown-up twins. Someone needs to make a gif of them from the end of this episode; the creepy wink at Marshall, the weird smile they give each other after Mars and his mum leave, and the part where they chorus "no, thank you" which has Marilyn going all "DO NOT WANT!" and getting the fuck out of there.

They even hold their hammers in identical poses at the end of that scene, which for some reason really adds to the creep factor for me.

I love Marshall's voiceover at the end - "a kid's got to grow up fast in Eerie, or he might not grow up at all."

I like the way it subverts the usual meaning of that phrase, and how it sets up later episodes where we see that both meanings can totally apply in this town (Devon, Tripp, possibly Steve on the one hand, Janet and arguably Tripp again on the other one).
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[personal profile] froodle
Rock out your fifties hairstyles, make sure your lids are sealed tight, and enjoy vacuum-fresh food, because the 2015 Eerie Indiana rewatch kicks off tonight with the pilot episode that made half of us afraid of packed lunches... ladies and gentlemen, fire up your DVD players, and let's watch: Foreverware!
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[personal profile] froodle
Ok guys, the rewatch starts this Saturday with Foreverware, at 4pm GMT. I'll be putting up a rewatch post in my personal journal as well as the Dreamwidth and Livejournal EI comms:

Episode posts will stay open indefinately, and everyone is welcome to join in on the fun at any time - if the set time doesn't suit you, please just stop by later when you've had a chance to watch that weeks episode.

And above all, let's having some geeky EI related fun!
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[personal profile] froodle
Eerie Indiana headcanon #14: Walt Wilson, inventor of Foreverware and late husband of Stepford Charm School graduate Betty Wilson, died in 1964 because the rubber seal on his self-preservation tub failed during the night. When Betty brought him his copy of the Eerie Examiner the following morning*, it was to find a pike of rotting goo where her husband used to be. That trauma is where her obsession with preserving the remaining members of her family came from. Sure, she's creepy and unsettling as all get out, but she's also a grieving wife and the victim of a horrible tragedy.

*Obviously they had seperate beds. This was the Sixties in TV land, after all.
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[personal profile] froodle
Eerie Indiana headcanon #8: Sara-Bob's ability, combined with her shitty Cinderella-style upbringing, is going to end up leading her down a seriously dark path.
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[personal profile] froodle
Eerie Indiana headcanon #1: If Marshall hadn't been so openly disapproving about Sara-Bob using her ability to bring her fantasy family to life, Simon would have gone back alone and asked her to draw him an alternative to his own shitty homelife.


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