Episode 311: Broken Dreams
AKA That Smarts

Brendon Small/Perry/Lifeguard – Brendon Small
Jason Penopolis/Coach Jon McGuirk/Walter – H. Jon Benjamin
Melissa Robbins – Melissa Bardin Galsky
Paula Small – Janine Ditullo
Josie Small – Loren Bouchard

Sign it this name up here!

Synopsis: Brendon desperately tries to study for an upcoming test. The trio experience an odd epidemic of broken arms. McGuirk becomes a lifeguard, believing he'll make money by saving a rich kid.

· This episode officially reveals Mr. Lynch’s first name is Ronald and Nurse Kirkman’s first name begins with a J (probably Jennifer after the voice actress).

Lawn Gnomes: (Click for picture)
· A lawn gnome is in Brendon’s room while he studies. Then it appears in a bed shot.

You got...a towel.

Brendon’s Filmography:
· *”The Brain Exchange” – Story of a brain surgeon forced to make a decision when a lover who deserted her comes for an exchange.

The Movie-Episode Connection:
· This episode is about being smart, and the movie about a brain exchange.

The Plotline Connection: (TheJazzFighter)
· Lots of them here. First off, everyone's arm was broken (well, not really). Brendon studies hard for a test only for his dream of passing to be broken, McGuirk wants to be a decent lifeguard but his dream is broken.
· Landstander Addition: Alternate title "That Smarts" applies to the Brendon storyline well; Brendon wants to be smart and ends up breaking his arm (as in the old painful expression "That Smarts!")

You're not smart...You're stupid!


· Trust Me (Brendon dancing Version) (thanks to John Blanchard for a correction)

The world’s got you down, boy
That’s ok
You feel like you just wanna run away
Well put on your pants, boy
Show em’ your strong, boy
One leg at a time
You’ve got nothing else to lose
What else you gonna do?
You gotta fly so high
Like a rocket in the sky
Where’s it
- (Brendon stops the tape)

· Trust Me (McGuirk End Credits Version)

What else you gonna do?
You gotta fly to the moon
You can do it, boy!
Listen to me dammit
You can do it!
I’m gonna come there myself…
…and I’ll kick you in the ass if I have to!
You can do it.
Trust your @*%! Self
You little *@%!!!
You’re a little dirty son of a gun!!!
I’m gonna get you…


Random Observations & Facts:
· The hospital in Brendon’s movie is the Pauline LeBlanc memorial hospital.
· A sign in the hospital says “The Brain Exchange”. A small slot on the side says “Night Dropoff”.
· On Melissa’s cast: Ed, Dave, a flower, Tim, a cursive name I can’t make out, Sue, Jamie, :), “feel better, NJ” and “DE” (Walter’s start of Dear Perry)
· Perry holds onto Walter’s shirt on the tire so he won’t fall off.
· Lynch has kitten checks.
· The other check says J. Kirkman, as in Nurse Kirkman. Her check has a Sheriff’s star on it.
· Brendon drinks (and regurgitates) Coco Milk.
· The pool goes from 10ft to 4ft really quickly.
· Sign at Pool: “Do Not Pee In Pool!”
· Brendon has green pajamas.
· Walter has 16 pens in his inside shirt.
· Brendon’s puny, 65-pound body breaks a massive tree branch?
· Jars in “The Brain Exchange”: “Livers”, “Leftovers? 1998” “Eyeball” “Sue E.’s Pickled Pigs Humans Fe“ (it cuts off after Fe) “Cap’n Ooey Gooey Glueinsteen’s White Glue”
· Sign in the hospital: “Knowledge is overrated if your dumb” [sic]
· Melissa’s cast is covered up with surgical gloves in the second “Brain Exchange” scene.
· Jason’s cast:
Dear Perry,
You are
the bestest
friend ever.
Love, Walter
· Brendon’s textbooks he reads at the table all have names, but I can’t make them out my copy.
· A lot of blood is on the cards McGuirk tipped over.
· McGuirk reads “Life Guarding”.
· For the record, Brendon’s cast does not disappear when he holds up his X-Ray pictures. The way his cast was put on allows him to move his arm like that, and you can see the cast if you look carefully.
· The lifeguard says “Donald Lynch” despite the fact that when we saw Lynch’s checks it clearly said “Ronald Lynch”.
· In the ending credits, the lyric “Your a little dirty son of a gun” is corrected; an apostrophe is added in red marker and an arrow with an e is putting after the “r”. (Making it “You’re”)

Somebody help him!

Past Episode References:
· This isn’t a direct reference, but Melissa has a Biology book in her locker. Lynch started teaching biology back in Episode 110 – School Nurse.
· When McGuirk says “Men bleed, Brendon” in the library, it reminds me of “Men sweat, Brendon” from Episode 101 – Get Away From My Mom.
· Surprisingly, we don’t see the Chiquita Banana/Cow tattoos when McGuirk is trying to become a lifeguard.

Movie & Other References:
· In the movie, there is a "brain deposit" box. This is both a funny gag and likely a reference to Mel Brook's "Young Frankenstein", which had a nearly identical gag. (thanks to docrocks for this one)
· At the pool, there is a sign that says “Adult Swim 10:00-1:00 No Kids”. This is a reference to the block where Home Movies appears, Adult Swim (which, at the time, was from 10:00 P.M.-1:00 A.M. Sundays)

End Credits: “Trust Me”

Oh, you mean this...

Reviews: WARNING: Spoilers

Jdoggg: Good episode, I wonder if the lifeguard thing is setting up McGuirk as the future host of AS.

Shnay: There were a lot of things I didn't like about this episode. The biggest complaint I have is that the humor, for the most part, just failed. This was due to a couple of things, but I'll get to that later. Also, I was dissapointed to see some of the characters just sort of "thrown in," as if to fill time (namely Paula and Walter and Perry, who simply weren't given any decent lines).

However there were a few good moments this episode had. Jason had some good scenes when acting jealous about Melissa's cast, obnoxiously letting Walter and Perry sign his cast, and being completely obvious that his cast was fake.

But therein lies one of this episode’s main flaws. One of the episode's major plot elements (the cast) just wasn't all that funny to begin with. There are some good things done with it, like the scenes previously listed, but I would have rather seen the jokes based on a stronger premise. The other parts of the story, Brendon's test and McGuirk's lifeguard job, seemed like poorly thought-out side plots that were only used for time fillers. Sure, McGuirk had some good moments, but I felt like they used the same basic jokes with him too much this time (like his shouting in the library).

Lastly, I had two kind of minor issues with the episode. First, I didn't really like how this one had a more "cartoony" vibe than the past episodes. For example, Paula's multiple spit takes (a joke that went on way too long) and McGuirk’s large "bumps" on his head. These just felt out of place. Also, though this is really a small issue, they didn't show McGuirk's tattoos when he took his shirt off. What about "That cow from that cheese", or the Chiquita banana? I was really disappointed to see those left out (they referenced them once after the first episode).

This one had some okay scenes, but most of the comedy fell flat or went too long, and the plot was really weak. It ends up just feeling kinda empty.

The Condiment King: There's several nice plotlines in this storyline, the primarily one being everyone having a broken arm with Melissa and Jason's turning out to be fake. Once again, like in "Renaissance" with the traitor thing, I didn't expect Melissa to be lying. I did expect Jason to be though, which was pretty obvious in retaliation to all the attention Melissa was getting. One must ask why Brendon didn't just fake it.

The movie was pretty amusing with Melissa as the doctor ripped apart the nurse, but the payoff really came when Melissa told Jason that he had a towel for a brain and his overreaction. Really great moment there.

I really liked the scene where Brendon started dancing to "Trust Yourself". It was very wacky and zany, as was the Albert Einstein hallucination with Brendon at the library with Albert becoming McGuirk in the middle. The spit take thing with Paula on Brendon was pretty amusing.

McGuirk's subplot as a swimmer was hilarious, especially the kissing scene with the lifeguard coach, him admitting that it was basically kissing and his various dating mishaps. Hilarious. It only got better after McGuirk missed the flips and become so bloody that he was losing consciousness. The scene with him and Brendon at the library was great. The card catalogue thing was funny. This is different from other times with the writing team using McGuirk's ailments to make for an even more hilarious scene, rather than solely depend on the handicap. *****

Rad Recker: Funny stuff. McGuirk as the life guard mostly. The cast storyline was okay.
Grade: B+

StrangerAtaru: One of the great things about this show is that with very minimal plot used, the jokes and insane relations between the characters seem to shine through. However, there are some occasions where no matter how funny some of the things are going on, the plot matter just bogs it down to a point where it isn't as funny as it should be. Sadly, this episode is an example of this kind of situation, and it effects not one, but two plots! (luckily the third plot saves it from being completely awful) The first annoyance of the whole episode was the whole situation involving Melissa "supposedly" breaking her arm, which isn't bad in itself except for what happens later. The first movie where she tries to play a doctor except that her arm was broken was pretty funny, as well as her explanation to Walter and Perry (in another one of their more annoying appearances, except for the whole "writing on the cast bit" ) Likewise, her conversation with McGurk at the soccer game about her use (or uselessness) due to the cast was funny, with McGurk making her a gopher trying to use one of Lynch's checks. Unfortunately, this goes downhill when, ironically, Jason gets himself hurt mysteriously. Now when one person gets his or her arm broken, it's funny, but things start getting suspicious when two people end up with the same ailment. It sort of seemed obvious (at least to me) that Jason may have been faking it, but the revelation at the end of both of them faking their injuries (as in Melissa and Jason) was supposed to be funny, but just felt more disturbing and stupid to me. It just made that whole thing pointless, even though it sort of does help the only good storyline in the episode. (which I will get to) The other crappy storyline here was McGurk's attempt to become a lifeguard, which seemed like another "Fonz" situation to get him into the episode doing weird stuff. While we do know how much McGurk sucks at something like this, they didn't have to rub it in so much. And what was with the whole thing where McGurk is running around bleeding in the head doing weird stuff? That has to be one of the most disturbing things I have seen in the series since Crazy Eddie. As for the ending, OK I know he was doing it all to get a big payday, but it just seemed low even for McGurk to bribe the teacher just so he could get the lifeguard job even after he failed. And it's not like this plot stream is going to go anywhere in a later episode, unless they bring it back with season 4....

Now with all the bad stuff going on here, there at least was one good plotline occurring: Brendon's test troubles. One of the great things about this one is that it brings back the "insane obsessive" quality that makes Brendon so funny in earlier episodes like "Life Through a Fish Eye Lens" and "School Nurse" and apply it to his stress involving an upcoming science test he has to pass. The movie that he makes in this episode, about a person who gets a brain transplant, sort of emphasized it, but it would have been funnier if it wasn't connected to the whole situation with Jason and Melissa. Even funnier though was the dream sequence Brendon has where Melissa turns out to be a cyborg who rips his brain out during class. However, one of the better things about this episode is that most of the time, Brendon finally realizes the importance of studying and tries to get it done no matter what. (well, after trying and failing to break his arm..."Stupid calcium!" ) The scene where he tells his mom that he wants to go to the library is somewhat funny in Paula's reactions, but shows a bit more on Brendon's part to succeed this time around. And then, of course, was the best part of the whole storyline: the cheesy 80's song homage "Trust Me", which turns into the theme of the episode as Brendon tries to trust himself and get himself the good grade he wants, as well as continuing the show's connection of comedy and music. It is geniously used three times in this episode: first in a tribute to various "dance sequences" from the 1980's, then in a hilariously ironic sequence where he finally breaks his arm (which shouldn't have been funny, but just was), and finally at the end, where we have this more "adult" version of the song with a scary McGurk tribute to Baywatch. (boy there was a lot more cursing than usual in this episode) In the end, I guess that without the whole "test anxiety" bit and "Trust Me", this probably would have gone down as one of my least favorite episodes.

The Landstander: This isn't a particularly good episode, but I still enjoy it. The scenes that work are very funny; the rest is just kind of forgetable.

First, the forgetable. I didn't think this movie ranked among their more enjoyable, and most of the gags around it were one-note. It also had no resolution. McGuirk as a lifeguard seems like a "wacky new thing for McGuirk to do" plot, though I'll get into what I did like in a second. Even the main plotline didn't seem that well thought out, at least not as much as it could have.

However, I did find some of this pretty good. Even if it was a bit contrived, McGuirk's zonked out ramblings in the library were legitimately hilarious. I actually thought Walter & Perry had a neat sideline role here, and weren't overused. Jason gets a nice plotline with his obvious faking of a cast, and a neat new song to boot.

A very mixed episode that, though it isn't among their better, is worth a look at least. A good episode.

Hop on my back and let's get the hell out of here...