Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Salute Your Shorts-O-Rama Part Two: Counsellor Budnick

Greetings friends, and welcome back to Camp Anawanna! Things are slightly different here than last time you visited. (And I'm not just talking about the site's brand new make-over!) You see, one of our favourite campers, the oddly Aryan-looking Jew Michael Stein, contracted a nasty case of teh chicken pox. Now I know what you're thinking -- terrible news, right? I mean, it definitely calls for a trip to the infirmary and some TLC from Nurse Julie...right? Right?! Short answer -- no. It's much worse than that. You see, his parents decided to yank Michael right out of camp and take him to Switzerland...because Switzerland has some sort of magical healing properties? Whatever the madness behind this method was, it doesn't change the fact that we have a new camper.

Yeah. Pinsky. Pinsky is exactly like Michael, if the word 'exactly' means 'completely the opposite of.' Pinsky is but a layer of mould on the yoghurt tub that is Camp Anawanna. (I'm sorry; I wasn't sure where I was going with that metaphor until the very end. I'm just as surprised as you that it ended up as 'yoghurt tub'.) Luckily, I've chosen an episode that features a distinct lack of Pinsky, because Pinsky sucks, and fuck Pinsky. You should've seen how annoyed I was upon discovering that the actor who plays Pinsky got to feature in that banned Leo DiCaprio movie, and I didn't. Again, fuck Pinsky. Even my spellchecker hates him.

Side note: my eBay-bought Camp Anawanna T-shirt arrived for me in the mail today, and I don't think I could be more excited. It's pink, which I know you think makes me a Dina, but ZZ did wear a pink shirt when the gang went to look for Sarah Madre's treasure, so the jury's still out on that one.

Since YouTube doesn't seem to have the first part of this episode, I'll have to recap it for you sans video. How can she do that without even watching it first, I hear you ask. Folks, I am just that good. Plus, I have a Camp Anawanna T-shirt now. I feel like I was there.

It's Upside-Down Weekend at Camp Anawanna, which means that, uh, well...everyone does stuff backwards, I guess. It seems that as part of Upside-Down Weekend, one lucky camper will get to become a counsellor for the next two days. Coincidentally, Budnick has been complaining extra-loud about what a truly shitty counsellor Ug is. And, uh, I have to agree with him. I mean, yes, the kids torment him like there's no tomorrow, but you know what? I don't even care. Ug is so unlikeable that I don't have a single ounce of sympathy for his plight. He's a pathetic little man who reminds me of every teacher I hated in high school. Anyway, Ug and Budnick agree to swap roles for the weekend, and to sweeten the deal a little, the kids will vote for their favourite counsellor (Ug or Budnick) at the end. Budnick reckons he has it in the bag, but Ug reminds him that if the Camp Anawanna counsellor handbook is not enforced, Dr. Khan will nail his butt to a tree. (His wording, obviously.)

Storyline B involves a classic struggle between Dina and ZZ, which is a nice departure from the usual Dina/Telly clash of ideals. Dina finds a frog in her shoe, and immediately wants to squish it. Greenie ZZ intervenes and saves the poor froggie's life. Dina calls it Wart Breath and pretty much despises it...until she hears of a plot-advancing frog race that's coming up at the end of the weekend. How convenient!

The video comes in at Budnick assuming his new role of counsellor. He even has Ug's hat and sunglasses on, which is a nice touch. He declares that with the guidebook and his natural Budnickness (or is it Budnicity?), he can't possibly go wrong. Famous last words. Flipping through the book, he discovers that he has the power to punish the other campers, which I'm sure he'll use fairly and indiscriminately. ZZ arrives with Wart Breath a jump ahead of her, and Budnick tells her that she's late for instructional swim. I notice that he doesn't punish her, but yells at Telly for daring to stand there doing nothing wrong at all. That's because Budnick loves ZZ. I don't know how much more plainly I can put it. I know he gets with Dina shortly after this, but I chalk that down to bad writing. Spread it around. Budnick + ZZ = tru luv. Anyway, Budnick yells at everyone to head down to instructional swim, and Donkeylips grimly says, "I thought we were going to run amok. I'm just standing amok!"

The campers decide that the only thing to do with out-of-control Budnick (who last I checked only told them to go to instructional swim, but whatever) is to tie him to a lawn chair and play pranks. I can't wait to see what they do to him when he actually starts abusing his power. Of course Ug is the leader of the prank pack, because Ug is the new Budnick. Ug tries to order a pizza (step back there, Ashton Kutcher!), but Budnick catches them. One thing worth noting in this scene is that Pinsky wants coconut on his pizza. That's your cue to mock him relentlessly. Mock him, I say!

Budnick punishes the gang by making them fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool with a rather small bucket. Dina asks him why he doesn't just swim in the lake, and his response is, "Because fish fart in it!" Hehe. Budnick leaves them (unsupervised? Doesn't seem very counsellormanly to me) and the kids complain about what a dick Budnick's being. Sponge rationalises it by saying, "Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Aristotle says that." Because Pinsky has to make everything about him, he adds, "Budnick's a swine. Let's pound him. Pinsky said that." Who said you were allowed to speak, Pinsky? Besides, I'd like to see you try. Telly also seems into the "pounding" idea. I hope they mean that the way I think they mean that. (With Pinsky, you can never be sure.) I would also like to point out that ZZ managed to escape punishment for some reason, despite being part of the pizza prank posse AND being late for instructional swim. Make of that what you will, but I'm about ten seconds away from singing about Budnick and ZZ sittin' in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

That night, the kids are all having pancakes for dinner. (On account of it being Upside-Down Weekend, I suppose.) Budnick complains that his pancakes are like cement. He rushes into the kitchen and finds that they have been made with cement. Well now, that's a dangerous little game. The campers go from ordering pizza to putting possibly-deadly cement in the pancakes? Talk about zero to sixty in no time. Apparently the prank posse also gave Dr. Khan the cement pancakes as well, for reasons I surely can't explain. Budnick demands the return of the real pancake mix before tomorrow morning, or he'll have them lick the fungus off the shower floor. Except, probably, for ZZ.

Later that night, Budnick is in the dining hall, doing taxes or something. Boy, this camp asks a lot of its counsellors. ZZ walks in with Wart Breath, and get this -- they have a heart-to-heart! Naww! This is totally a callback to a Season One episode where ZZ went to him for advice on a friendship feud she was having with Telly and Dina. (He may or may not have charged her for this service, but I think my point remains valid.) Budnick complains that he doesn't even have time for fun anymore, because "after this I have to help Kent Flankman get the glue out of his hair. How can anyone glue their hand to their head?" Apparently, Flankman can. (Spoiler alert -- it's not the last time he does this.) Budnick goes on to say that after that, he has to go convince Nancy Shermanoff that she's only dreaming that Freddie Krueger lives in her stomach. See, this is why I love Salute Your Shorts -- it's legitimately funny. Legitimately funny to the point where I, a grown woman, can't stop watching it, and even mail-orders a T-shirt declaring my love for it. ZZ tells Budnick that people only hate him because he keeps punishing everyone as per the book's orders, and maybe the book doesn't have all the answers.

Stupid Donkeylips interrupts their D&M by screaming about how Sponge has snapped and is squirting ketchup everywhere. Oh, and he's wearing a pink bathrobe. (Donkeylips, that is. I think it's got something to do with Upside-Down Weekend.) Shame, too, because I think ZZ and Budnick were really getting somewhere. Budnick rushes over to the boys' cabin, where Pinsky says that Sponge has gone to the dining hall to wreak his ketchupy havoc in there. Fuck you, Pinsky. Just...fuck you. Of course, when he gets there, Ug drops a bucket of pancake mix on his head. Aaaand...we're back to zero on the Prank Posse Awesomeness Scale. Ug gets points for being able to rig up that system so quickly. (He must've done it when Budnick was in the boys' cabin, getting an earful of bullshit for Pinsky.)

Back in the cabin, Ug is celebrating his victory. He tells the kids that he's been waiting years to get Budnick back, even though avid viewers will remember that he got him pretty good when he dressed up as Zeke the Plumber and tried to remove Budnick's head. Anyway, while this is going on, ZZ is training Wart Breath for the race. The winner gets to escape Camp Anawanna for a night on the town, and when Dina overhears this, she claims that Wart Breath is rightfully hers. ZZ reminds her that she was going to squish poor Wart Breath, and besides, she trained him to be the little froggy Usain Bolt he is today. Telly yells for Ug to settle the debate (Telly does a lot of yelling, in case you haven't noticed), but he reminds her that he's just a regular camper now and they ought to go see the Grand High Budnick. Pinsky convinces him to give them a solution as an impartial camper, so that's just what Ug does.

Ug draws a chalk circle on the floor of the cabin. Segue: I love how characters in TV shows just happen to have the exact things they need on them exactly when they need it. Like me, for instance? I don't have chalk on me at all times. I would really struggle to find a piece of chalk on the off-chance that someone wants me to settle a frog ownership debate for them, but Ug? Ug has chalk. He just...has chalk. Anyway, Ug puts Wart Breath in the centre of the circle to see who he jumps to...and he jumps to Donkeylips. As soon as Wart Breath realises that he's jumped into the arms of the one camper who could probably eat him raw, he hops towards the door, and into the arms of Budnick, who's still covered in pancake mix. Then we get this:

Budnick (menacingly): Who do you think you're dealing with?
Donkeylips: Casper the friendly ghost?

Uncool, Donkeylips. You were supposed to be his friend. Budnick responds that he's the "counsellor of doom." Boy howdy, that's one pissed-off ranga.

By the next morning, Budnick has everyone scrubbing the cabin floor, even ZZ this time. Telly and Donkeylips yell at Budnick (again with Telly yelling!) for the lack of amok they were supposed to be running, and Budnick explains that he'd be a bad counsellor if he let them do whatever they wanted, and they're really not giving him a chance. Honestly? I totally agree with him. He really didn't do anything to warrant the first round of pranking, and all the punishments he doled out where in response to that. The kids (and Ug) started it, really, whereas Ug the counsellor always seemed to be a prick who was just asking for it.

ZZ and Dina start arguing about the frog thing again, and Pinsky tells Budnick to take care of it. Ug brags that if he couldn't fix it, there's no way Budnick can. Budnick tells them that if he can solve the problem, the kids have to start obeying him, and they all agree. Dina assures him that the counsellor handbook he's frantically flicking through will tell him that she has legal claim to Wart Breath, but ZZ says solemnly, "I don't think the answer's in there, Budnick." Which of course is a callback to their D&M before, when she told him that the handbook won't solve all of his problems for him. Yeah, that's right, Salute Your Shorts is deep. Don't fight it.

Budnick draws another circle with a piece of chalk he too just magically happens to have on him. Is this just something they do, or is it Camp Anawanna lore to always have a piece of chalk on your person at all times in case you need to spontaneously draw circles on the floor? Pinsky decides to be a smart-arse and say, "Oh, joy. The brilliant circle test. This one's a gem." STFU, Pinsky, we all hate you. Budnick tells the girls to each grab two of Wart Breath's legs and start pulling them, and whoever wins the froggie tug of war gets to keep Wart Breath. Naturally, ZZ lets go immediately and Dina wins. As she's celebrating her victory, King Solomon over there tells her that she lost. Since ZZ couldn't stand to see "the little croaker" have his froggy guts spilled all over the chalked floor, she is the rightful owner. Aww, Budnick, I knew you'd come through for her in the end. That heart-to-heart really meant something to him, I can tell.

The kids are so impressed with the exercise, they decide to take whatever punishment Budnick dishes out for them. He tells them that all they have to do is go to the froggie race and watch ZZ win. They all skip off excitedly, except ZZ, who asks Budnick if that answer was really in the handbook. Of course it wasn't; the handbook advised him to give the frog to Dina. But since he loves her and knew that she was a better mother to Wart Breath, he totally rigged the competition in her favour. That may or may not have been his phrasing. He declares that he's done with the handbook and throws it over his shoulder...which of course hits Ug smack-bang on the head and knocks him out. Heh. Ug always gets the shortstick, and I love it.

At the froggie race, Budnick and Ug have a talk. I guess Ug's over all the handbook concussion. Ug reminds him that he didn't go by the handbook, and Budnick tells him that he's done being a counsellor. They call the bet a draw, even though Budnick is clearly a much better counsellor than Ug. Ug got lucky on this one. Naturally, ZZ and Wart Breath win the froggie race, and Budnick (back to his usual camper self) cleans up on his betting ring. Because Budnick's also a bookie, I guess. Ug declares his first act as counsellor be to confiscate Budnick's winnings for ordering pizza on his account, and Budnick gives him his second act -- to "take care of Flankman," who seems to have glued his hand to his head again. Methinks your third act as counsellor, Ug, should be to fucking confiscate Flankman's glue. Why somebody hasn't done this already is a testament to the fact that Budnick probably was the best counsellor they ever had.

And thus ends this fabulous Salute Your Shorts-O-Rama. If anyone from Switzerland is reading this, please return Michael immediately. We'll send you a Pinsky for your troubles, we promise!


  1. Oh, Budnick. I think he was my favorite one. I remember when he was on an ep of Are You Afraid of the Dark too. Great stroll down nostalgia lane!

  2. Budnick and ZZ were the bestest ever. I know most girls like Dina, but I was a ZZ fan all the way.

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