Episode 303 - Bad Influences

Cast:
Brendon Small– Brendon Small
Jason Penopolis/Coach Jon McGuirk – H. Jon Benjamin
Melissa Robbins – Melissa Bardin Galsky
Paula Small – Janine Ditullo
Josie Small – Loren Bouchard
Mr. Lynch – Ron Lynch
Nurse Kirkman – Jennifer Kirkman

Synopsis: After Melissa points out their newfound fatness, Brendon and Jason are forced to deal with the fact that they're fat enablers. Paula, similarly fat, joins a gym. Meanwhile, McGuirk makes Lynch go on a double date with Nurse Kirkman and her friend.

Why don't you find out what yours is named?

Lawn Gnomes: (Click for picture)
· Jason eats a chocolate lawn gnome in the bushes.
· You can get lawn gnomes with tickets at Donald Von Cheesington’s.

Brendon’s Filmography:
· *“Heat” – Two farmers discuss the weather and the state of their lives. Some continuity problems.
· *“Go Go O’ Sumo”
· *“My Fat Dinner With Andre”
· *“The Pregnant Monk meets the Pregnant Buddhist”
· *“Fat Gandhi”
· *“Fat Prisoners”
· *“Fat Willy”
· *“3 Fat Men and a Fat Baby”
· *“Brendon Small Presents”

The Movie-Episode Connection:
· The fatness is a continuity problem. That’s about it. The ending movies are just for laughs.

The Plotline Connection: (TheJazzFighter)
· Well, Brendon is a bad influence on Jason, and Jason is a bad influence on Brendon. Paula also gains weight, which could make her a bad influence to Brendon as well. And in a way, the girls "influence" Mcguirk and Lynch to fight over them.

NEW YORKS TIMES?

Songs:
· “Fat Enablers Good-Bye” Piano Instrumental
· “New York Times” (Not a song but I think it fits here)
New York Times?
New York Times?!!
You think you’re better than us?
Us?
Us!
U.S.
U.S.A.
No Way!

Leave the chips...

Random Observations & Facts:
· Food products in this episode: “Bucket O Chicken”, “Coe” cola, “Chipz”, “Spaz” Cola, “Burpsi” Cola, Galaxy Biscotti, “Dinosaur Crisps” cereal, “Good S’Mornings”, “Poopkorn”.
· Brendon drinks "Coe" Cola at one point in this episode. "Coe" is a reference to medical shorthand for "Compulsive Overeating Disorder". [Thanks to HF for that tidbit]
· Both Brendon & Paula’s shirts don’t close all the way due to their stomachs.
· McGuirk says only 3 phases of fat.
· Paula grows taller as she sucks in her fat.
· McGuirk gets a determined look on his face right before he asks Kirkman on a date.
· Gym Rules: (Paula’s hair blocks the bottom two)
1. No Children
2. Shoes Required
· When Brendon walks out of the ladies locker room, his eyes are red for about a second.
· The lady who catches Brendon at the gym is named “Davia”.
· McGuirk and Lynch go to “Rock the Jazzbah”.
· Paula goes to the “Drug Club Pharmacy”
· Donald Von Cheesington’s has a “Tix-O-Vend” ticket dispenser.
· Jason is more tan and skinny than usual when we see him at Donald Von Cheesington’s.
· McGuirk smiles nervously at Kirkman after he embarrasses Ruth. Kirkman gives an evil stare back.
· Arcade games at Donald Von Cheesington’s: “Blitz Mania”, “O Mama!”, “Laser Fun” and “Cave Raider”.
· The ticket stand is called “Chester’s Candy Corner”
· Lynch says he has a Haiku, but it sounds more like a limerick. Few too many drinks I suppose.
· The seatbelt does not fit over McGuirk.
· “Fat Club” members include Walter & Perry, Fenton and Shannon.

Your words mean nothing to me!

Past Episode References:
· Jason drinks “Spaz” cola, which had some bad effects on him in Episode 205 – The Party.
· Brendon & Jason have a Galaxy Biscotti bag in the bushes from Episode 209 – Class Trip.
· Brendon & Jason also have “Dinosaur Crisps” cereal, first shown in Episode 207 – Dad.
· The published poet from Episode 108 – Method of Acting is reading poetry at “Rock the Jazzbah”. McGuirk tosses him off the stage.
· At the gym, a worker is named "Davia". This may be a reference to a Davia that appeared in Episode 206 - Impressions (thanks to Moltrez for noticing this one).

The Reunion

Movie & Other References:
· In the first movie, Brendon & Jason are both wearing clothes styled after James Dean: Brendon is dressed a la "Rebel Without A Cause" and Jason is dressed a la "Giant" (Jason's cry of "The Old Man!" is also relative to this film) (Thanks to Justin Davis for pointing this one out to me)
· End Sequence:
“My Fat Dinner With Andre” – My Dinner With Andre
“Fat Gandhi” – Gandhi
“Fat Club” – Fight Club
“Fat Whale” – Free Willy
"3 Fat Men and a Fat Baby” – 3 Men and a Baby
“Brendon Small Presents” – Alfred Hitchcock Presents
· In “Fat Club”, there are two references to Fight Club. First, for a millisecond Jason appears a la Brad Pitt, holding a bar of soap that says Fat Club. Second, the screen quickly changes to Hot Dog Man and quickly changes back, just like at the ending of Fight Club (except...well, you know).

First rule of Fat Club is you don't talk about the first rule of Fat Club...

End Credits: “Season Three Theme”

Reviews: WARNING: Spoilers

Spectre - This episode was drastically better than 302 - "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do," and is just a great episode overall. What could of been a series of fat jokes was basically good writing, improvisation, voice acting, and comedic timing.

The whole episode really worked. I'm glad it was better (a lot more better) than the last episode. A-

HomeMoviesFan: Fun-ny! Fat Club was classic! Best HM EVER!

Grade: A+

J-Chan: My sister actually laughed at some points tonight. The fat plot was, well.. unrealistic, but as I told my sister, hey, it's a cartoon, their hands are the same color as their shirt. The ending parodies were HILARIOUS. Priceless ending, mediocre fat plot, amusing adult-related plot.

Noclist: Man, what a great episode. I don't know if I like this one or Shore Leave better for the best third season episode thus far. Probably this one. That Fight Club parody was hilarious, does anyone know all the movies that they were parodying? I was laughing too hard to catch them all and would like to know what the rest of them were. Anyway, I thought the fat plot was pretty funny and so was McGuirks. As others have stated, Paulas could have used a few more scenes though cause it never really went anywhere. Her plot is really the only reason it dropped from an A to an A-. Otherwise, a perfect episode.

The Condiment King: We see alot of different foods for the first time in this episode, as well as brand names like Spaz Cola and Chipz, which probably led to plenty of free action for the animators. In this episode, Brendon, Jason, and Paula deal with their own new found weight, which leads to a dramatic break-up between Brendon and Jason. I'm guessing Donald Von Cheeseington's is a knock off of Chucky E. Cheese's. Heh.

McGuirk had a continuation of his plotline with Nurse Kirkman from "School Nurse" and (sort of) "Writer's Block" where he goes out on a double date with Lynch (who has a crush on the Nurse as well) and Ruth. Some nice banter between McGuirk and Lynch. My favorite line was Lynch just saying, "Hmm." in response to McGuirk asking him to go out on a date with him.

This episode was capped off fantasticly with Coach McGuirk's terrible poetry with the New York Times. "New York Times?! New York Times?! You think you're better than us? Us? U.S. U.S.A. No way! The end." Hilarious. McGuirk and Lynch both ruin their chances with Nurse Kirkman once again. I loved the montague at the end with all the references to movies, including Fat Club as a homage to Fight Club and Alfred Hitchcock. Nothing great, but a solid episode. ****

Shnay: This episode represents one of the biggest problems I have with season three. While the visuals are at their peak, the writing is sharp, and the characters are funny, the premise and execution are just far too over-the-top. I laughed, I enjoyed the episode, but (the main plot, at least) just didn't feel like it belonged in a Home Movies episode. I should probably just shut up and enjoy the fact that it's a funny episode, but I just can't shake the feeling that this "wacky" plot isn't part of the HM I love.

Brendon and Jason's fat plot is probably the most outlandish thing we've seen in Home Movies (either that, or the end of Shore Leave). It's not the idea that they could be "fat enablers," but the over-the-top execution that has them balooning, back to normal, and then forgetting any continuity for the end sequence. Yeah, the end was funny, I guess, but something about looking at Michelin Men-sized Jason, Brendon, and Melissa just feels wrong.

The other main problem with the main plot was that I just didn't buy the emotion that was there. The best episodes are the ones with genuine emotions through character interactions, and this one just fell short. Perhaps I didn't get into the emotion because of the cartoonish look of the fat characters. Anyway, for whatever the reason, the main plot seemed to lack the character-driven element of most episodes.

The Lynch/McGuirk plot, on the other hand, I thought was handled excellently (with one noted exception). They're interactions were consistantly hilarious, and also worked to add a couple of layers to each of their characters and their relationship (especially their exchange in the bathroom).

Those who've reviewed this episode have said that the New York Times poem was the standout in the double date plot. While that was great, for me, the standout, by far, was the part where McGuirk acts as if he has read the NASA article:

"And he was only 25 when he did it, too."
"I know, so young."
"...I thought he was younger."
"...What?
"...I thought I read he was younger...It might be...25, though."

Classic.

However, the one thing that doesn't really work in this story is Lynch getting up and doing the angry poetry alongside McGuirk. Some say he was drunk, but they really weren't there that long, and he didn't act drunk at all before. If he was supposed to be drunk, the show didn't do a good enough job of implying it. Personally, I don't think he was meant to be drunk. I think what they were going for was that he was just pushed too far by McGuirk. But, even assuming the "pushed too far" idea, it still doesn't really go with his character. Just a few minutes prior to his limmerick (the "haiku" bit could have been on purpose; remember, he agreed that biology was a "story about someone's life") he was giving McGuirk dissaproving glares when he would say something stupid. It just doesn't fit that he would jump up on stage to make fun of him soon afterwords. But, the rest of their story was so well done, it's easy to let this slide.

I thought Paula's plot was actually in just the right amount. Sure, it didn't go anywhere, but I thought it worked for this episode. The scenes she had were good, and I like the fact that they didn't try to slap on a resolution to her very minor sub-plot (if it can even be called that). Maybe they could have done more with it, but as it was, I don't think it was a downside of the episode.

Also, the one scene with the pharmacist also adds to what we saw about Paula in "Rabies," about her cat taking pills for anti-depression, and her doctor being amazed at "how fast those cat pills disappeared."

So, unfortunately, an excellent side-plot is weighed down by the main plot that is too exaggerated to really enjoy.

StrangerAtaru: This episode seems to scream out "classic" to practically everyone on this board...except to me. Sure there is a lot of good stuff in this one, but I just never saw it as perfect. I guess my problem is with the storyline everyone loves in this episode: Brendon and Jason's weight problem. I don't know what is so special about it, because I thought the whole thing was rather obvious and a tad too predictable to my taste. The episode seemed to start off funny with this weird "before" and "after" sequence where Melissa first shows the problem to them, but the moment I saw their obsession with food, I knew I wasn't going to like this one. The first half had a couple more funny bits involving the "fat" business, including McGurk trying to cheer Brendon up with his idea that women love fat men and Jason's outburst to Nurse Kirkman over the problem. (which I considered funny due to the somewhat relation to "School Nurse" this scene had) The break-up scene was trying to be poignant, but never seemed to work because it seemed like the two of them were more intimate than just friends. (I know they were friends, but let's just say they were more like Walter and Perry somewhat in this episode) Then of course is the reunion at the "Chuck E. Cheese" restaraunt, which leads of course to things falling apart (and another "Walter and Perry"-esque moment and a predictable ending where they pretty much gain back the weight and more. The final montage is more annoying fat jokes overemphasizing what they are, with the only one I like being the "Fight Club" takeoff. Strangely enough, while I didn't like Brendon or Jason that much in this episode, I did like Melissa as both the straight man and the mediator between the two of them, showing a caring consideration of their friendship and comeraderie in making the movies. (although they went overboard in making her fat at the end as well)

Even with the whole "fat" storyline, the episode wasn't a complete waste of time because of the parallel story involving McGurk and Lynch's double date. Similar to their classic partnership in "Hiatus", the two worked off each other really well as McGurk pretty much tries to get Nurse Kirkland by organizing this whole fiasco. Similar to the comments he gave to Brendon at the beginning about "fat fathers", McGurk tries to pick up the nurse using that strategy, and of course fails again to impress her. This leads to the "double date" strategy and a funny conversation between the soccer coach and the teacher over who Lynch should take. The actual date makes it even more interesting, as Lynch finds a way of wooing Kirkland as well as the woman he brought while McGurk just makes an idiot of himself and goes nowhere fast in his typical way. (personally, I would like to see further relations between Lynch and Kirkland in season 4, but who knows if that will happen) All of this builds up to the poetry face-off between the two of them, showing the juvinille behavior of both and eventually scaring the women away! ("New York Times? NEW YORK TIMES?") In the end, even though they may never get the girl, both McGurk and Lynch show why even though there are times they hate each others guts, they still find a way to watch out for each other.

One final note: Paula was barely in this episode and pretty much had a parallel weight problem to Brendon, but I always loved her exchange at the pharmacy. I guess my overall feeling about this episode in the end is that the fat jokes nearly killed it for me, but McGurk and Lynch's comedy partnering (along with Kirkman) saved the episode from being a complete disaster.

The Landstander: The ending bit was funny to me on first watch, but seems a bit too much ever since. It feels a bit cheap. When I say that, I don't mean so much in that it ignores continuity, or even that it's too wacky. My big problem is that it gets rid of any real ending to the episode. How do Brendon and Jason get over their fat enabling problem? What does Melissa do? Can they still make movies? Well, that's tossed to the side; there's an ending joke montage (which is funny on its own), and that's that.

But I'm being harsh, there's a lot of good here. Namely, McGuirk and Lynch's adventure. McGuirk's dialogue is the kind of awkward that made the UK Office so funny; you're cringing as much as laughing. And it all came off as geunine, that he legitimately was trying to make things work and just completely failing. Lynch gets some much more subdued but still pretty funny straight man material, and works great compared to McGuirk's insanity. Nurse Kirkman is still a very good character, and has her own energy beyond "McGuirk's potential love interest". It's also nice to see the animators took the time to give her a change of clothes for going outside.

Even the main plot isn't bad. Jason's monologue when Brendon leaves is great, the idea seems good on paper, but as I said, the ending (or lack thereof, to be specific) feels like a cheat. Oh, and Paula didn't do much, but she had a few good lines. It's a shame about the ending montage, because beyond that the episode is fine, and would be great if it had a real ending. Recommended.

Chewing on your greens...