Monday, August 24, 2009

Round The Twist Series 2: Yuckles

This episode is from season two, which if memory serves was aired in 1992 or thereabouts. I remember having the last 20 seconds (and the awesome-upon-awesome end credits in their entirety) on my Rugrats tape. I do believe Bangers and Mash was on right after it, 'cause my mother never was any good at the whole setting-the-VCR dealie. Fine by me, though, because when I found this series on DVD at the library, I was hit with a gigantic wave of nostalgia. Let me tell you -- this episode ain't easy to forget.

Mr. Gribble is giving the locals a rundown of his Hairbrained Scheme of the Week -- he's going to cut down the forest and build a casino. As usual, his wife and the bullies are right beside him. I should just mention that this second Gribbs (Richard Young) was probably the best one. The twelve-year-old Lorelai in me just shot herself, because she used to be head-over-heels in love with the very last Gribbs. Like, madly in love. Now that I'm older and no longer macking on young boys anymore, I feel like I'm more impartial and thus give my stamp of approval to Gribbs #2. Congratulations, sir. Moving on now.

Linda, who if you'll recall is saintly and morally conscious (almost to a fault...without the 'almost' part), is outraged. Mr. Gribble tells her not to worry, because there will be some nice plastic trees for her to look at in the lobby. Not likely, Mr. G, she's only fourteen. Bronson's all, "But what about the animals?" and the Matron awesomely snarks back, "Plastic animals!" Hee! Normally I hate the Matron, but I have to admit that bitch has a great sense of humour.

Town meeting time. Whatever happened to all those town meetings in the later years? Anyway, Nell's presenting a slideshow about how beautiful the forest is, and how Mr. Gribble shouldn't be allowed to cut it down. We also get our first mention of Yuckles, an extremely rare species of yellow spotted mushroom that's supposedly found deep in the forest. Harold's like, "Shut up, bitch, no one's even seen a Yuckle!" The Lady Mayor, whose name I don't recall, calls on Linda, who goes on a LindaRant about how Mr. Gribble's generation has already failed the children of tomorrow or whatever. Shut up, Linda, nobody cares. Oh, and things are really tense between Fay and Tony, because they recently broke up and now Fay's dating Snapper. Ew.

Lady Mayor says that she'll give Nell until tomorrow's council meeting to come up with some proof that Yuckles exist, or else she'll put the casino idea to a vote. Two things -- would Lady Mayor really let a greasy businessman rip down an entire forest to put in a casino even if it wasn't infested with yellow mushrooms? Al Gore would shit a brick if he knew. And also, why is this Nell's responsibility? She's an old lady! Surely they can get some council people to go over there and have a squiz. Is it really that difficult? That's just lazy, Lady Mayor. Lazy.

As she's leaving the town hall, Nell falls over and sprains her ankle. See, Lady Mayor? Nell can't even walk down some stairs without breaking something! How can you make her go into the forest all by her onesie in search of Yuckles? How irresponsible! The Matron comes to check out her leg, because according to Mr. Gribble, "my wife has six diplomas." Hee! That's a running joke that really never got old. Other things to note in this scene -- the bullies don't laugh at Nell falling over, which is not really like them. People falling over is always funny, especially to bunch of mean boys in their early teens, and especially if it's an old person. Oh, and Bronson's wearing a Batman T-shirt. Mad props, B.

The next day, Nell enlists the help of Pete and Linda to go out into the forest and find the Yuckles. They tell Bronson that he can't come because he's too young, even though Bronson's usually the smarter of the three. Nell says that she's going to try and track down Professor Yuckle, the guy who discovered the Yuckles all those years ago. She has a photo of him standing next to a Yuckle with his twin brother. Which, personally, seems like pretty good proof that Yuckles exist to me, but apparently photographic evidence is not good enough for the Lady Mayor. Pete and Linda leave Bronson to hang out with Tony, who's all mopey over his break-up with Fay. Bronson soon decides to high-tail it outta there and follow P&L.

There's a little interlude where the Lighthouse Ghosts are sitting on the stairs watching Tony wallow in his own self-pity whilst looking at a photo album filled with happy snaps of him and Fay. Remember the Lighthouse Ghosts? One of them was played by a Daddo. Apparently Ghost Daddo can identify with what Tony's going through, because he gets a little teary, and Ghost Not-Daddo tells him "you'll never find her again." Ouch. Kinda harsh, Ghost Not-Daddo. Apparently the truth hurts everyone, even ghosts.

The bullies arrive at the forest. They've been sent by Mr. Gribble to make sure that if there are Yuckles in the forest, they're destroyed. The bullies come across a little pool of foul-smelling yellow gunk. Gribbs quips, "Ain't nature beautiful?" and I chuckle, because I love Gribbs. I also like the fact that he's a ranga with a mouth full of metal, and yet somehow he's the bully. It's the most logic-defying part of the entire show, and that's really saying something. Gribbs tells Tiger and Rabbit that if there are Yuckles in the forest, "the Twists will lead us straight to 'em." Then he throws his strawberry Big M carton on the ground -- because only bad boys litter. Captain Planet would be so disappointed.

Just after the bullies leave, a small mushroom with red spots suddenly grows right next to the Big M carton. Oh zing, it's a Yuckle! Score one to crazy old Nell! The yuckle grows to about the size of the Big M carton, then turns into a perfect facsimile of it. So now there are two Big M cartons. I have to say, it's not the world's best special effect, but it's not half bad either.

Pete and Linda ride up on their bikes, and Pete can smell the yellow gunk before he sees it and says, "This place pongs!" And I laugh, because I haven't heard the word 'pongs' in years. It died a quiet, peaceful slang death along with the words 'grouse' and 'dead meat'. I'm kind-of hoping that either of these come up in the remainder of this episode. P&L leave to go off into the forest, and the Yuckle disguised as a Big M carton makes a little giggling sound and explodes into a pool guessed it, yellow gunk. So now we know how the Yuckles work, let's see how we can use this premise to create hilarious shenanigans!

Bronson arrives at the forest, and the three separate parties take this time to tick off their necessities checklist. On Pete and Linda's -- a compass, a map and a camera. On Bronson's -- chips, jam tarts and chocolate royals. (That's be my necessities checklist, too.) On the bullies' -- a giant stick and an axe. Oh my God, I love this episode. It's not specifically stated, but Rabbit is also carrying what appears to be a machete. What?! Where did he even get a machete? This is hysterically ludicrous, and I love it.

The kids go on their merry way -- Pete and Linda follow their map, Bronson follows P&L, and the bullies follow Bronson. It's classic. Along the way, Rabbit steps in some of the yellow Yuckle gunk, and the boys make him bring up the rear because "he sure smells like it." Seriously, I love these bullies. (Rabbit not so much.) But Gribbs and Tiger are WIN. How they didn't get their own spin-off series is beyond me.

Pete suddenly falls over and rolls down a hill. What a great stunt that was [/sarcasm]. There is no point to this scene, except that Pete's accidentally torn a hole in his backpack, and things keep falling out of it along the way. Of course, every item that hits the ground immediately causes a Yuckle to grow and turn into said item.

P&L get to a waterfall, and the only way to cross over to the other side is by walking across a slippery tree trunk. Linda does it with ease. Well gee, Linda, aren't you fabulous? What do you want, a medal? Pete is less enthused about doing this, and I have to say, I'm siding with Pete on this one. He gets about halfway across (with Linda making unnecessary comments from the other side. Stupid fucking Linda) when he slips and falls, one leg on each side of the log. Um, ouch, I guess. I'm a female of this particular species, but it's undoubtedly common knowledge that the groin area is, well, a sensitive place, and that couldn't have been much fun for poor Petie. He screams so loud, the bullies actually stop in their tracks, and Rabbit says, "Was that a Yuckle, Gribbsy?" Hee! The look on Gribbs's face is priceless.

Bronson crosses the waterfall pretty easily, considering. He picks up the compass that's fallen out the bottom of Pete's backpack. (Or is it..?) He hears the giggling sound, and the compass explodes in his hand, splattering him with stinky yellow gunk. Naww, poor Bronson! He always gets the short stick. If only bloody Linda would occasionally. That I'd like to see. Oh, and the Yuckles laugh at Bronson. Mean Yuckles!

Cut straight to the waterfall again. Rabbit is crawling right along the tree trunk, scared shitless. Gribbs is like, "Don't be a wimp! The Twist sheila went across, and the little squirt!" That. Is. So. True. Rabbit keeps repeating, "It's just a footpath, it's just a footpath," and I'm reminded why I dig Rabbit. This second Rabbit is pretty lame, though. I think I'm a fan of Rabbit #3.

Pete and Linda stop to discuss sandwiches. Yeah, I don't know, either. They hear Bronson stepping on a twig, and his cover is almost blown. Because this is the quietest forest on the planet. They didn't hear the fucking Yuckles laughing, but they heard when Bronson stepped on a twig. Even the bullies heard it. Jeez. As Pete leaves, a mug falls out of his backpack and hits the floor. A mug? For any coffee emergencies that may present themselves in the forest? Anyway, Bronson continues following P&L...and just happens to witness the Yuckles doing their transformation thing on the mug. He's like, "what the fuck is this?"

Pete and Linda finally -- finally! -- come across a whole bunch of giant Yuckles. They're all excited-like, and Pete puts his backpack on the ground. Linda takes some pictures to bring back to the council meeting. When the two look up again, there are now two backpacks. Linda can't grasp what's just happened, because nothing remotely weird has ever happened to her, ever. Pete goes to pick up one of the backpacks, and Bronson comes out, screaming at Pete not to touch it. Pete says to Bronson, "What are you doing here, toilet face?" and I wonder at exactly what age 'toilet face' stops being acceptable trash talk. Suddenly the backpack explodes all over Pete. Hee! I'm laughing almost as much as the Yuckles are!

Suddenly, Gribbs reveals himself. He tells his boys, "Seek and destroy!" Gribbs, I don't care if you are a fourteen-year-old brace-face ranga, I would like for you to marry me. I imagine that Richard Young is probably in his thirties now, but I don't want Richard Young -- I want Gribbs, dammit! The Twists split up, which is pretty smart, I guess. Instead of putting that machete to good use and destroying the Yuckles, all three bullies decide to run after Linda to steal her photos. Brilliant. Obviously when Gribbs and I do wed, I'll have to be the brains of the family.

There's a bit of a running-away montage, so nothing really happens for a while except that Pete and Bronson find each other in the bushes, and Pete tells Bronson to go to the council meeting and stall them until Linda gets there with the photos. Not important, moving on. I might take this time to tell you that when I was younger, I always really wanted Gribbs and Linda to get together. I don't know why, but I just did. They actually did for a couple of episodes in Series 3, when Linda accidentally read the Viking Book of Love poem to Gribbs, so I got my wish...for a little while. And it was so worth the wait, let me tell you. Anyway.

Linda runs around in circles, and ends up in the same Yuckles clearing she started out in. WHY WOULD SHE DO THAT? She's got the whole fucking forest at her feet! Go to the goddamned council meeting, you douche!

Speaking of the council meeting, people have started arriving already. Fay's there with Snapper, and Tony delves deeper into his funk. Poor Tony. Nell comes to sit next to him, and tells him about how she tried to contact Professor Yuckle, and discovered that A) he's dead, and B) he didn't actually have a twin brother. So who was that Professor Yuckle lookalike in the photo with him? And why is this relevant? If you don't already know, I suggest you take a couple of common sense lessons, for your own good. How you've survived this long without them is beyond me.

Bronson rushes into the council meeting and says he and his siblings have proof that Yuckles exist, and that Linda will be there any second with the photos. Not if she doesn't get the fuck out of that forest, she won't, Bronson! This is Linda we're talking about -- she digs the forest way too much to ever leave it, even when there are three bullies with varying degrees of weaponry stashed in their backpacks running after her.

The bullies find Linda soon after (surprise, surprise) and Gribbs says, "Give us them photos or you're dead meat!" Again, thank you for the hip nineties slang. Linda doesn't respond to Gribbs's all. She just stands there, expressionless. The bullies are like, WTF? Gribbs decides to end this shit, and tackles her to the ground. Hee! You should've used more force, Gribbs.

The boys hold her down and attempt, well, frisk her, I guess. Suddenly Linda smiles, and Gribbs gets weirded out, because this sort of morally-reprehensible behaviour doesn't usually turn Linda on. We hear the patented Yuckle giggle, and Linda explodes into a big mushy pile of stinky yellow gunk that all the boys fall in. Hee! 'Cause she touched a Yuckle and copied herself! Only Linda would ever think to do something like that.

Gribbs and the boys? They freak. The fuck. Out. They think they've killed Linda. I'm sorry, but what? They're fourteen years old -- at what age exactly do kids start to realise that people are NOT made up of gooey yellow shit? I think I learned that the first time I scraped my knee and started bleeding. Man, they're dumb. The highlight of this episode is definitely Gribbs crying and screaming, "I'm sorry, Linda!" to the yellow gunk. Legendary.

At the council meeting, Lady Mayor decides she can't wait any longer for Linda to arrive with the photos. Seriously, reading this, you'd think Lady Mayor is supposed to be evil, but she's not. Maybe she's hot for Harold Gribble. I don't know. As the townsfolk are about to vote on whether or not they want the casino to go ahead, the bullies burst into the room. They hold up a couple of plastic baggies filled with the yellow gunk saying, "This is all that's left of the Twist sheila!" Hee! Classic! They actually scooped Linda's remains into a plastic baggie! I love these boys.

They try to shirk the blame on each other, saying it's not their fault she died, and they weren't even near her when she "went up." Tiger tells Tony he was actually trying to save her at the time. Tony looks at the baggie and says, "Linda?" which makes me laugh. Mr. Gribble's reaction? "She always was a delicate kid." Hee! This show rocks.

While all the adults are getting a bit flustered over the whole Linda-turned-into-mush thing, Linda and Pete arrive with the photos! The bullies are hilariously confused, and keep looking from her to the baggies and then back to her. Harold quickly grabs the photos from her, in a state of disbelief and rage, and Gribbs quickly realises that those photos might not be what they seem. How he even realised what's going on so quickly is beyond me, especially coming from the kid who didn't realise that the puddle of smelly yellow muck was NOT Linda Twist.
Sure enough, the photos make the giggling sound and explode in Mr. Gribble's and the Matron's faces. Suck it, Gribble! It does seem a little strange to me that the Twists thought it'd be funny to make copies of the photos for the sole purpose of making Mr. Gribble look like a fool, but okay. I'll play along -- only because I adore this show more than mere words can express.

Well, that's it for this recap. I'll be back next time with another ABC Kids show, and another episode to recap. Thanks for reading, feel free to comment, and have a nice day! Oh, and if you see a strawberry Big M carton on the ground, don't pick it up...just in case.


  1. This sort of makes me wish I grew up in Australia so I could have watched this show.

    I guess every kids show or book series needs a Liz Wakefield character. Linda sounds like she fits the bill.

  2. She's completely Liz Wakefield-esque -- and did I mention she and Pete are twins? I guess that makes Pete Jessica...poor Petie.

  3. Haha, that was funny! Round the twist forever!
    Btw, if you want to see what the kids look like nowdays go to the rtt photo gallery site! Here's the link:

  4. Lol, great website! Gribbs #2 hasn't changed a bit. He was actually in an episode of the newest Round The Twist as a cop, and I found it both amazing and depressing that I picked him out of the crowd...

  5. Yeah, you can easily recognize him. Did you like those drawings? I made them ;)Feel free and leave a comment on them. I love critic, hehe :D
    Which season of rtt is your favourite? Mine is probably the second one!

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  7. Hey, cool blog man. Great to see a fellow Round the Twist fanatic. We host a Round The Twist Recap podcast, and clearly you have beaten us to the idea but you have some sweet insight into the show, so would you be interested in doing a guest spot on our show?

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