Episode 109: Life Through A Fish Eye Lens
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
Erik – Jonathan Katz
Synopsis: Brendon’s desire for a fish eye lens for his camera doesn’t
match well with Paula’s newfound financial problems. Meanwhile, McGuirk
wishes to beat his former coach.
· This episode is the first time we meet Paula’s parents. They reappear
in seasons three and four.
Lawn Gnomes: (Click for picture)
A lawn gnome
serves as an alien extra in “Aliens…Go Home”.
· “Aliens…Go Home” – Aliens are attacking…a home…somewhere…with some
guy in it…who has a daughter.
The Movie-Episode Connection:
· In all honesty, “Aliens…Go Home” would’ve been better with a fish
eye lens. Would've made the script less obvious, anyway.
The Plotline Connection: (TheJazzFighter)
· The title seems to fit in with everyone's story line: Brendon: well,
he wants one so he can see things differently in his movies, Paula
has to see things differently with her new budget, and McGuirk tries
The music that plays while Brendon is going for different jobs is
not credited at the end of the episode. However, I’m pretty sure Brendon
Small made it.
It's not on the CD Soundtrack.
Random Observations & Facts:
· At 20 minutes, 57 seconds, this is the shortest episode of
· Jason is sweating under his armpits in “Aliens…Go Home”.
· The aliens hold hair dryers in “Aliens…Go Home”.
· Brendon’s pupils spin in a circle whenever he talks about the fish
· Josie seems to chant along with the rest of the kids.
· The cones at “Splitz” are apparently $1.50 each, regardless of size
or number of scoops.
· Pictures in Erik’s office: A younger Erik with hair and glasses
holds a baby Melissa; Baby Melissa on a camel; a general picture of
· The screwdriver is still sticking out of the shredder.
· A picture of Paula Poundstone’s Paula (wearing the baseball cap)
is at Paula’s parents house, along with pictures of Josie and Brendon.
· McGuirk says he just started playing soccer a year ago, but he’s
been a soccer coach the past three years at the school.
· Actually, that makes perfect sense, nevermind.
· There is a sign at Barlow’s: “All Sales Final!”
Past Episode References:
· A picture on Erik’s wall looks like it was taken right out of Episode
102 – I Don’t Do Well In Parent Teacher Conferences.
Movie & Other References:
· Two Roman Polanski movies get mentioned. While in the fish eye lens,
Brendon says "How do you feel, Rosemary?", a play on Rosemary's
Baby. At the end, Melissa makes a remark about Chinatown, another
End Credits: “Season One Theme”
Reviews: WARNING: Spoilers
Condiment King: I just
think this is a really fun episode, starting with the first scene
where Brendon, Melissa, and Jason talk about their newest film. Jason
being the film critic goes over the dialogue, whereas Brendon naively
thinks everything will be fixed by merely having a fisheye lens.
Paula did more kidding around with the kids, but in this episode,
Paula seems more playful and motherly than in the UPN 5, which really
reflects the change in actresses and roles. Paula has become more
of the soccer mom to the kids, who tries to help out when asked, or
when she sees there is a problem. And the woman who takes them out
for ice cream after a long day.
McGuirk's subplot is great in this episode with his grudge against
his old mentor, or rather, made-up mentor. That ending really did
come out of nowhere. Brendon had some good lines in this one as well
like getting mad at the store clerk and saying he's mad "at this
situation, at this situation". Really fun episode. ****
StrangerAtaru: I don't
know why I do, but I just seem to like these crazy Brendon-based episodes,
partially because of his getting the good lines and partially because
its funny every time he screws up. Well OK, it isn't his fault that
his mom doesn't have money and that he wants a fish-eye lens for the
movie, but hearing the enthusiasm of the voice actor and watching
what happens on the screen makes this one an episode to remember.
My personal favorite scenes with him include the conversation with
his mom about the fish-eye lens and the scene where he tries to work
for Erik. Speaking of him, this is perhaps my favorite performance
by Erik at this point in the series, partially because he works so
well with Brendon in the scenes he is in. However, as fun as this
episode is, it does have its faults: for one is the whole situation
with Paula wanting to borrow money, which leads to a somewhat unnecessary
(but necessary plot wise) trip to meeting the grandparents. (who do
reappear later) Second was McGuirk and the whole soccer thing seemed
tacked on and had nothing to do with anything, but hey a tie is better
than they usually do. Finally, I just want to note the weird obsession
with Roman Polanski in this episode. (We all know the "Chinatown"
line at the end, but many forget the "Rosemary's Baby" reference when
they are playing with the Fish-Eye lens. They must really think Polanski
likes Fish-Eye lenses)
The Landstander: The
past two episodes had the problem of great scenes with a lack of focus.
Here's a nicely focused episode that still maintains some great standalone
Brendon needs (or, to be more honest, wants) a fish eye lens to finish
his alien movie, but Paula's new budget forbids it. Brendon's attempts
at getting money himself are very good, and the scene between him
and Erik is a classic. It isn't rushed, has plenty of play off between
Small and Jonathan Katz, and just gets funnier and funnier. The relevation
at the end about the lens itself and Brendon's lesson about money
are both fitting.
Janine Ditullo as Paula does a good job here, as we see Paula trying
to hold everything together despite various problems for the first
time. Once again, we see how Melissa might be a bit more high class
than Brendon when she saves the day with her cell phone. Paula's situation
is funny and feels geunine.
The McGuirk plot isn't exactly among his best, but it does get some
laughs, is not central and doesn't take up too much time. Recommended.