Sometimes when some aspects of life are, uh, bitches, others will find a way of letting you know that the big guy upstairs (God or Santa, depending upon your beliefs) hasn't forgotten about you. Yesterday, I was at my local Blockbuster Video, which is weird in itself because I never go there to buy DVDs. Nothing against Blockbuster; I just don't associate it with DVD purchasing. It's more of a rental place, but I'm a collector and not much into rentals. As it turns out, the ex-rental section of your local video store is a veritable Aladdin's cave of all things old-school. I found a copy of Round the Twist in less than seven seconds flat. Within two minutes I'd also found Little Elvis Jones, Postman Pat and a whole bunch of newer shit I have no interest in. Point is, Blockbuster rocks the party. It really does. (I didn't actually have my wallet on me, but I did manage to scrounge up my church change and buy Round the Twist for a mere five buckeroos. That's value, people.
So we're back to Round the Twist. In this episode, 'Next Time Around', Linda goes hypnosis-crazy and accidentally turns Pete into a chicken...and a firefighter...and a genius. To tell you the truth, I could've snarked any one of these episodes, because they're all comedy gold. (Thanks in large part to ranga Gribbs and his gang.) If YouTube doesn't start playing nice, expect more.
Our episode begins at the lighthouse. Pete, Linda and Bronson go out the front door...only to discover that their beloved lighthouse has been vandalised with 'Vote 1 Harold Gribble' posters. Now it's one thing to use the lighthouse as a vehicle for political sentiment, but it's a different kettle of fish if it's praising Harold Gribble. How dare they! He's EVIL! Of course, we know who's putting up the posters, don't we? It's our favourite tween bullies -- Gribbs, Tiger and Rabbit! Huzzah! They're very meticulous, too, and they've even got matching Harold Gribble T-shirts. Boo-yah, I need to get me one of those! Pete demands to know what all of this is, and Gribbs awesomely says, "Democracy at work." Hee! Gribbs, be mine.
Tony and Nell rock up, and Tony's holding a rooster for reasons that are yet to be established. Tony's mad. Nell's madder. Mr. Gribble and the Matron arrive, talking about how Mr. Gribble is running for senator. There's a mention of a casino planned, an idea we all know will come to fruition in the Yuckles episode, so that's a nice bit of continuity there. Gribbs is like, "Not now, Dad. Mr. Twist is about to chuck a wobbly. A big wobbly." Why is it that I can always count on Round the Twist for my daily dose of lame nineties slang? It's refreshing, in a sad sort of way. And seriously, how did Mr. Gribble think he was going to get away with this? Ohh, that's right -- the posters are a plot device to get all the main characters together. Since this is the new cast's first episode and all. Pretty clever, scriptwriters.
Later on, Linda's reading a book about hypnosis. I guess this is the hippie side of Linda taking over again. She does that sometimes. (Except in the last series, they turned her into a complete legume-eating nutjob. So not impressed.) Pete explains to Bronson that some people believe in past lives, and that Bronson must've been a pig. Or a hippopotamus. Or a fridge. Get it, 'cause he eats a lot? Glutton Bronson's another thing that got old as the series went on.
Fay comes around with a bottle of wine for Tony. As they greet each other, Pete and Bronson mock them. It's funny. Fay only hears Bronson mocking her, though, and you can tell it pisses her off a bit. We're only one episode in, and already we're into the Bronson-hates-Fay storyline. Finally -- finally! -- someone decides to ask what the fuck Tony's doing with a chicken on the dinner table. Thank you! How did we get this far without anybody asking that?! Apparently Russell the rooster can count. All Tony does is say, "Russell, number four," and Russell pecks the table four times. (Thanks to some beyond shonky early-nineties SFX.) Always the smartarse, Pete says, "Russell, number 5,622." Russell goes berserk because not only can the little guy understand numbers, he also knows that if he's given large numbers to peck, he's gotta pick up the pace. Smart chook.
Apparently there's a section in Linda's book about hypnotising chickens. How very convenient. Tony's like, "Don't fucking hypnotise my counting rooster, Linda," which I think is a fair enough rule for a father to lay down. By the next morning, Linda's broken the rule and started trying to hypnotise Russell. Linda, shame. And you're supposed to be the good kid! Pete tells her it'll never work, and Bronson hilariously says, "Stuff in books never does!" Hee! Linda makes some clucking sounds, and whaddaya know? Russell freezes on the spot. Pete's all impressed at her mad hypnotising skillz now. Um, why? All she did was give Russell a severe case of rigour mortis...without the 'mortis' part. (Hopefully.)
Pete tells her to hypnotise him (because the chicken hypnosis ended so well?), and at first Linda refuses. Then Pete dares her. Because if you're a character in a kids' show and someone dares you to do something, you totally have to do it. And before you ask, yes, Linda's hypnotism method involves the phrase, "You are feeling veeery sleeepy!" Not at all unoriginal, RTT. She tells him that when she says "now," he has to act like a chicken for ten seconds. And you know what, kids? It totally works. I'm not even kidding. Not only that, but it wasn't a one-time deal -- any time anyone says the word 'now', Pete acts like a chicken. Surely this will result in a number of crazy hijinks throughout the episode! I'm counting on it.
Tony tells the kids that it's time for school, and Pete decides that the best thing to do with the now-frozen Russell is to bring him to school. Because Tony won't notice that his rooster's missing or anything. Oh, and they're using a stuffed chicken as Russell now, in case you were interested to know how they got that rooster to stand still for so long. It's actually a little bit creepy. In the car, Tony uses the word 'now', and Chicken!Pete returns. Gotta love that Chicken!Pete.
When they get to school, Gribbs and his pals immediately notice that Pete has a chicken in his bag. Since bringing poultry to school is not usually the norm, not even in crazy kangaroo-riding Australia, they decide to do the only thing they could do in this situation, really...play footy with it. Yeah, I don't get it either. They throw it and kick it around, Rabbit commentating the whole time, and feathers and shit are flying everywhere. Fuck me, if that rooster wasn't dead before...
Eventually, Gribbs throws Russell into the air and Pete marks it, specky-style. Them's some mad footballing skillz, Pete. Even Gribbs admits that it's a good mark -- he actually claps. I kind-of like it when the bullies are friendly with the Twists. I don't really know why. (Maybe it's the Gribbs/Linda shipper in me.) In all the other seasons, they're mortal enemies except for the last episode, where they inevitably must team together to defeat some sort of evil. But this season, there's a bit of respect going on between them. I think they'd be famous friends if they didn't, you know, not like each other.
Finally -- finally! -- Rabbit asks Bronson why Pete's got a chicken at school. THANK YOU! Why are the obvious questions always the last to be asked?! Bronson, being a lame douchebag, tells the bullies the whole story -- that Linda hypnotised the chicken, and then she hypnotised Pete into acting like a chicken whenever someone says the word 'now'. Oh come on, Bronson! Of all the people to tell that shit to, you go with Gribbs and Co.? Really? You little idiot.
In school, Mr. Snapper is teaching a lesson about reincarnation. You mean the topic Pete and Linda just happened to be talking about before? How very convenient. Gribbs says he didn't do his homework last night because he was helping Mr. Gribble with his campaign. Or as he says, "I was doing political studies." Gribbs is a great spin doctor, he really is. Mr. Snapper tells Gribbs he can do it now. Of course, as soon as he says the word 'now', Chicken!Pete returns. The whole class finds this hysterical, especially Gribbs. He's like, "Wow, Dumb Shit Twist was right! I'm so gonna have fun with this!"
Later on, everyone's silently doing their work, when Gribbs leans forward and stage-whispers, "Now!" Pete starts acting like a chicken again. He even pecks at Mr. Snapper. Cut straight to Pete in the yard, surrounded by the bullies and a whole bunch of nondescript students screaming, "Now!" over and over again. It's a pisser. Comedy gold. Gribbs and the gang are WIN+.
Pete gets held back at school for all the chicken behaviour. Apparently that kind of thing's not tolerated at Port Niranda High. Hmm. As punishment, Mr. Snapper gives him a whole lot of maths problems to solve. Ugh, there is no worse punishment in my mind. Pete's just happy to get out of there without Snapper using the word 'now.'
Okay, now this next part is hysterical. Just plain hysterical. The bullies are roaming the halls, looking for Pete, singing "Now, now now, now now now now now now!" to the tune of Mozart's 'A Little Night Music'. Gribbs even does a little jig as he passes Linda and Fiona. Best. RTT. Moment. Ever. Richard Young, Drew Campbell...even the dick who plays Rabbit, you are all legends. LEGENDS!
As soon as they leave (and finish what will forever be known as the Now Symphony), Linda and Fiona open the cupboard they were leaning on. Pete's in there, ears blocked. Naww. I find it very hard to sympathise with you, Petie, because you kind-of asked for it. Literally. It's about three seconds before Fiona says the word 'now.' Jeez. Fiona, do you not get what we're doing here? Someone fill Fiona in on the rules of the game.
The three walk outside, and are puzzled to see a group of snails on the floor. Pete realises what's up instantly, but before he can back the fuck away, the bullies do the big villain reveal, and Gribbs calmly says, "Hey, Pete! Now, mate, now." Chicken!Pete comes to life and eats the snails. Ew. That is wrong on an awfully large number of levels. I think I like the bullies better when they're serenading us with jaunty songs.
At home, the Twists and Fay are eating dinner. Pete's solved his little 'now' problem -- he's got his Walkman (snigger!) playing full-blast. Tony's not impressed that he seems to be ignoring Fay and tells him to be sociable. Old Nell rushes over with her little nephew Tom in tow. (The twins are going to babysit him.) Tom is just about the cutest child ever, might I say. Nell's off to the council meeting to try and stop Harold Gribble from...um, well I don't know, really. She can't stop him running for senator. I don't know what she actually thinks she's going to do, but okay. Nell's a crazy old moll. There's a funny little bit where Pete's worried that Nell will say the word 'now', and keeps covering his ears and looking like a douche. Poor Pete. It's just not his day.
After the adults leave, Linda decides that it's about time she un-chickened Pete and re-chickened Russell. Somehow she gets her shit confused, and reverts Pete back to a past life, where he was a fireman. The fact that Linda’s practising hypnotism with dental floss is kind-of a red flag. Fireman!Pete manages to lock Linda and little Tom out of the house, take the hose into the living room and fight an invisible fire. I just...God, I don't even know. Round the Twist loses me sometimes. And for the love of all that is holy, some please confiscate Pete Twist’s butt-fugly sweaters! Where’s the humanity?!
Linda apparently hasn't had enough failure for one day. She decides that the best thing to do after a hypnosis-gone-wrong is to try more hypnosis. Oh my fucking God, Linda, get a clue. She starts hypnotising the toddler in front of her, and suddenly those Babysitters Club brats no longer seem like the worst people to leave your kids with. At least none of them ever tried to hyptnotise their charges. (Have they..?) One thing that pisses me off is that Linda keeps calling Tom "Baby". For what reason? He's not even a baby! If I can learn his name, so can you, Linda. Maybe it's a nod to Dirty Dancing that I just don't get.
Linda gets Tom to revert back to his former life...as a pro wrestler. I so believe that. Little Tom the wrestler manages to kick down the lighthouse door, pick up Pete and do some wrestling moves on him. Again, nineties special effects reign supreme here. I think having small children lift teenagers over their heads must fall into the "it was funnier when we were younger" category. Fireman!Pete's already flooded the house fighting his nonexistent fire, though, so I see trouble ahead.
Tony gets home. Dude is pissed. Again, rightfully so -- they did flood his house. Tony's actually a half-decent parent sometimes. (The leaving-a-three-year-old-with-a-hypnosis-obsessed-teenage-girl thing aside, obviously.) He yells at the kids for the flood "because Tom could've gotten a chill!" Um, Tony? Your stupid-arse daughter fucking hypnotised the kid! Remember? But no seriously, yell at her for the chill thing. The point is, you're still yelling at her. Tony tells the kids to clean up the flood. As he bloody should. The only problem is, Pete spends the whole night doing it...and doesn't do his maths problems! Oh noes! Snapper's gonna be super angwy!
The next morning, Linda's holding everybody up. She says she's been "talking to Russell", and then gives Pete his maths homework. Oh, don't tell me...Russell can do algebra as well? I guess Linda must've un-hypnotised him, then, 'cause the last time I checked, dude was frozen stiff. And how unnecessary is it for Linda to make Russell do Pete's homework? It's called a fucking calculator, Linda, jeez.
Cut straight to Pete sleeping before school. There's a crowd around him, singing a 'now' song again. (Led by his royal highness, James Gribble.) This time the melody is a sort of rocky-jazz number, kind of like a generic 'Greased Lightning'. They get confused when Pete doesn't even wake up, let alone turn into a chicken. Gribbs even grabs his ear and sings right into it. Oh, Gribbs, you deserve legend status most of all.
Snapper comes in, and Pete wakes up and freaks out. Apparently he didn't think to look at the homework Linda gave him at all, 'cause he's still under the impression that the questions are half-done. Snapper's astounded that he's answered all the problems correctly. CHEATER! IT WASN'T PETE, IT WAS A ROOSTER! The bullies decide to steal Linda's hypnosis book. Because that will end well.
Later on, the kids are in the shed again, and Linda explains how she managed to finish Pete's homework so quickly -- she got her fucking slave rooster to do it for her. Mean, Linda. I'm so calling PETA on your arse. Suddenly, Mr. Gribble pulls up, and Rabbit and Tiger lead Gribbs out on a leash. They're freaking out because Gribbs is acting like a monkey. He even eats a rotten banana, skin and all. Now that's what I call a dedicated actor. Monkey!Gribbs also appears to hump Mr. Gribble's leg at some point, which is a little weird, but okay. And that's pretty much the end. Gribbs gets the short stick again.
Hope this recap sufficed until my computer can sorts its shit out! Love to all, and remember -- practise safe hypnotism!