Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ship To Shore -- Tour De Circe

Okay, I fucking LOVED this show. Didn't you? Of course you did; I don't know why I'm even bothering to ask. You loved it because A) you were a city kid with lame parents who wished that you could spend all your time riding bikes with your mates or B) you did go around doing just that and found the Circe Island kids to be way relatable. Either way, there's no way you can tell me that when you hear that music your heart doesn't do a backflip. (That was a weird double negative I can't be bothered editing.)

Quick story: at uni not long ago, I was in a lecture listening to Dr. Looks-Like-Al-Pacino ramble on and on about nothing of interest when suddenly someone's phone rang...and their ringtone was the Ship To Shore theme song. I've never heard more excited whipsers in my life. You could actually see the nostalgia in the room, and for those of you interested, it's yellow. So there you go. Debate settled.

Today's episode is from season two, so it's going to be a good one. I don't know why, but I just assume season two is the best season of most TV shows. They've ironed out the kinks, I've made an emotional connection to the characters, the cast seems to mesh a little better, and it hasn't gotten old yet. And you know what? In most cases, I'm right. I could go ahead knock out a list of TV shows where the second season is the best one (Prison Break, Veronica Mars, Gilmore Girls, Weeds), but that'd take way too much time, and I really want to get on with snarking Ship To Shore.

(Oh, and this recap might not be quite as detailed as the last two, because I'm really tired. Like, zombie tired. After entirely too much vino, I spent last night trying to get to sleep on my friends' floor, freezing cold, with nothing to cover me but my own leather jacket. On the plus side, I've never felt more rock 'n' roll.)



We kick off the episode with two people diving. (I've looked ahead, and it's geeky Gavin and moral Julie.) Gavin's looking at some seals, and Julie gets really mad at this for some reason. I don't know why. Isn't the whole point of going diving to check out the creatures of the deep? I've never been diving, but I don't know what else they'd be down there for. Anyway, they get out of the water and she storms off. Yeah, I don't know. Why was there always an annoying holier-than-thou girl kid in these shows? They might as well have just named he Linda Twist. (Or Ma-Ti).

Hermes Endakis, the island's security chief and all-round baddie of the piece, is in town putting up a flyer for the Tour de Circe. I'm going completely off-topic here, but when I was growing up I always thought it was spelled 'Andarkis', because I was one of those kids who wondered how things were spelled. Anyway, the townspeople are like "What the fuck's up, Endakis with an E?" and he explains that the Dafoe (Defaux? Defeau? I'm going with Willem's spelling 'cause he's awesome) company are sponsoring a bike race around the island. Get it now? Tour de Circe? Kinda like that other bike race in a different country of a similar name? Okay, I think we're all clued in now. The Circe Islanders are all up in arms about this, again for some reason I don't understand. They're just riding some bikes. Their fucking kids do it all the time.

Hermes lets everyone know that Derek (the dopey security guard dude) is going to be their very own pride and joy in the race, and they immediately start training. I remember not liking him very much, so it makes me feel happy to see him in anguish. Because I'm sadistic like that.
Back at the beach, Gavin is hanging out by himself when Jake comes by. I remember absolutely zero about Jake, but for those of you playing at home, he was the nomadic blonde-haired guy who lived on the beach. Remember? Yeah, no bells ringing for me, either. Anyway, he's so boring and pointless that I don't want to snark him anymore. Basically Gavin comes back a couple of times and discovers that Jake used to be in the navy and has a police radio listener-into. (What are those things called? Police band radios? Something like that. I like my non-word better.)

In town, Gavin, Julie and the girl with the round glasses whose name I don't recall are outraged about the bike race. Again, I must ask why. They're fucking BICYCLES! Not cars or motorbikes or anything noisy or pollute-y. Apparently Julie thinks it'll be dangerous to the wildlife, because if the wallabies wander onto the track the riders won't be able to stop in time. Fair point, Julie, but the race is taking place on the road where people drive in their big wallaby-squashing cars all the time! As far as legs go, you and your do-gooder pals don't have one to stand on.

Kelvin (remember him? The redheaded older kid? He was fun) sees this as a money-making scheme. He was always about the money. He and his friend, the unfortunately-named Babe, come up with a scheme to use Hermes's two-way radios to commentate on the bike race for the people on the mainland. For pay, of couse. Or something like that. You know, I remember absolutely nothing about this episode except for Kelvin and his two-way radios. He sells his idea to Dafoe, and now all he has to do is convince Hermes to lend him the two-way radios. Even though I'd say if ever Hermes was actually needed on this island (and usually he's not), this big bike race would probably be his time to shine, security-wise. Moving on now.

Oh, and in case you're wondering which kid hook-up I was hoping for in this TV series, it was Kelvin and Julie. Lord knows why. Now that I'm looking back, clearly he and Babe were a match made in heaven. They're so schemy and maniacal. That, and Julie's a righteous bitch who deserves a life of unhappy spinsterdom followed by a painful death. (See what I mean about the sadism?)

Kelvin's nerdy little sister (Sally? I'm gonna call her Sally) and her nerdy little friend Lou are trying to make some sort of super pet food for hamsters for school. When I was seven, they just made us learn our times tables, but whatever. Oh, and they're doing it in the storage locker of the security base, because the whole thing smells terrible and Sally's mother doesn't want the stench permeating her house. But she's perfectly happy to have it permeate her workplace? 'Kay then.

Julie and Gavin have drawn up a petition, trying to get people to be stupid like them and protest the Tour de Circe. LAME. Half the town are on their side (mostly the adults), and the others, led by Kelvin, heckle Julie. Which I love. Seriously, is Kelvin not the most awesome 90s TV ranga? Actually, both of the last two shows I've recapped have featured awesome rangas (who were the male in the fake relationship in my mind), so that's actually a tough competition to win. Who knew?

Hermes gets drunk with power, as always, and challenges the kids to a bike race. Wait, isn't this whole episode about a -- you know what? It doesn't matter. Just go on with the ridiculousness. Hermes says that if one of the kids (the kid he chooses) can beat Derek in a preliminary bike race, he'll call the whole thing off and they get to save the wallabies or whatever the fuck they're protesting about. Hermes, grow a freakin' brain. For what possible reason would you do that? You already have the permission and the funds to host the bloody bike race, why do you feel the need to gamble it on a bunch of kids? WHY? Start making sense, man!

The kids, who are NOT complete fucktards and DO understand that they have absolutely NOTHING to lose, agree to this. Hermes reminds them that he gets to choose which kid rides. He's like, "I'll take Fatty Fat Fat!" and Gavin is crushed, because he's not much for riding. Huh, that's new. Apparently he doesn't even have a bike and has to borrow one from Jake. Okay, was I just imagining all the bike-riding they used to do? Really?

The town mayor (who I do remember as being on Hermes's side most of the time), gets all mad at Hermes for this, because apparently he has a shred of common sense. And also because Derek has just contracted acute appendicitis. I love the way acute appendicitis always comes up at the worst possible moments in TV shows. It's like, "Well, we need a pretty serious ailment, but we don't want our character to be, like, diseased for the rest of their life. I know! Let's take out the ol' appendix!" Bravo, writers, bravo. Your creativity stuns me.

Kelvin comes up to Hermes and tries to ask him if he can borrow his two-way radio, but Hermes is all broody because he gambled the big race on a smaller race with an overweight pre-teen and now he has no cyclist. Kelvin tells him he has the only solution and gets Hermes into some lycra. Now there are two things wrong with this plan that I can see. Number one, why doesn't Kelvin just do it? Obviously he's a more experienced cyclist than Hermes, and younger too. And number two, I DON'T WANT TO SEE HERMES ENDAKIS WEARING LYCRA! EVER! OH GOD, MY EYES!!



Hermes and Kelvin start their training, but Hermes is pretty bad. Gavin is also training, and he's also pretty bad. Gee. Oh, and Julie and the glasses chick are following him around. How come Julie's allowed to ride her bike around the wallaby-infested town but the out-of-towners aren't? Please die. Seriously, Julie, I want you to be dead now.

While looking for Hermes, Kelvin comes across Sally and Lou in the storage department doing their disgusting pet food experiment. He gets a Great Idea. (Deliberate capitals.) He and Babe use a little reverse psychology to get Hermes to drink the mushy green pet food goo. Ew. And neat. Oh, and Kelvin and Babe have their own secret handshake! That's just an overload of awesome! These two would have such wonderful, scheming little half-black half-ranga children. Seriously. That's a spin-off I'd like to see.

Anyway, this pet food smoothie thing is apparently the spinach to Hermes's Popeye. He automatically becomes a better cyclist! I guess that's an A-plus for Sally and Lou. I do like that neither Kelvin nor Babe are under the impression that this pet food is actually having any physical effect on Hermes whatsoever, though. They get that the transformation's all psychological. That's a nice touch.

Oh, Jake is back. He tells Gavin to get his lawyer mother to dig a little deeper into this Dafoe corporation. That's all the information he offers. Jake, I think there's a reason I don't remember you. Thanks for being a pointless do-nothing lame-o who spends his time chillin' in his beach shack with ten-year-old boys.

Let's just skip to race day before I go back in time and kill Jake with my bare hands. I mean the little Gavin/Hermes race, not the actual Tour de Circe, just to clear things up for you. Gavin rides up to the crease, and as usual, only half the town is on his side. There are boos and cheers and some muffled trash talk. At one point, Kelvin very clearly screams out, "GAVIN YOU LOSER!" and I can't stop laughing. Kelvin, you legend, you. Babe's one lucky gal. ('Cept that her name's Babe.)

Hermes rides up, all super confident that he's going to win the race. He even has a water bottle filled with the pet food! That is awful. Anyway, they race and Hermes wins. Yep, that's it. Oh, and you know why he won, don't you? Because Gavin had to brake suddenly when a wallaby ran straight into his path! BURNED! Irony stings, motherfucker!



Kelvin and Babe are hugging Hermes, which is an inappropriate situation made even less appropriate by the fact that Hermes is wearing awfully tight lycra. Naww, how sad, Gavin and Julie lose. Losers! I'm chock full of sympathy for these little bastards, in case you can't tell.

Later on, the kids are all hanging out at that general store one of their mothers owns. (I'm extremely sketchy on the details with this show, aren't I?) Of course, Kelvin and Babe aren't actually hanging out with Gavin and Julie. They're sitting on opposite ends of the room, because Gavin and Julie have cooties and they know it. Anyway, Gavin's lawyer mother comes in and tells the kids that the race has been cancelled. Kelvin's like, "Whaaa?" and Lawyer Mum explains that she took Jake's advice and dug into the Dafoe payroll, and found out that the senator's nephew works for them. Which is a conflict of interest, apparently, and it's illegal for senators to back their nephews' companies' bike races. Or something. I did Legal Studies all the way up to year twelve, but we never really focused on bike race legalities, so I'm going to have to trust Lawyer Mum on this one. Since she spawned Gavin, I'm not sure I really want to do that. Besides, this is getting a little too Utegate for me. Anyway, Julie, Gavin and the glasses chick are all mighty happy. Kelvin? Not so much.

Back at the security base, Hermes is still downing the pet food. Dude, you can stop now. Kelvin tries to get him to stop, but Hermes is too busy going on about how good victory feels. He actually says, "Today, the bike race -- tomorrow, the Tour de Circe!" Hee! Not if you get accute appendicitis, Endakis. Just as he's taking a swig of the pet food, Sally and Lou come back and scream at Hermes that he shouldn't be drinking it -- it's made up of seaweed, spinach and snails! And puppy dogs' tails! (Just kidding about that last one.) Hermes spits it out and the kids laugh. Very amusing, children. I'm just glad Julie and Gavin weren't around to witness that moment; they'd have a freaking field day.

Oh, and check out the end credits -- that's Peter Jackson, of Lord of the Rings fame, producing. What. A. Show.

That's it for today, peeps. Next time, I brave the noughties for the sake of Lizzie Maguire. Wish me luck!

5 comments:

  1. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


    Betty

    http://adoptpet.info

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  2. It's nice to know there's someone reading :)

    Thanks for the comment!

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  3. I also loved the ABC old school kids stuff such as Round the Twist. I think Ship to Shore may have even be filmed in WA, my home state.

    Anyway nice to see a Aussie snarker!

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  4. It really was a golden time for the ABC back then, wasn't it? I can actually still watch Round The Twist and enjoy it as an adult, though.

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  5. Yeah it's not bad, had some classic material with Paul Jennings though so that helps.

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