No, you're the dummy!
Episode 309: Storm Warning

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

Who wants to sign our petition?

Synopsis: Brendon's attempt at a mockumentary, McGuirk's attempt at impressing his sister, Paula's attempt at reviving her writing career and Walter & Perry's attempt at saving a tree are all interrupted by an oncoming storm.

Lawn Gnomes: (Click for picture)
· McGuirk parks over a lawn gnome on the Small’s front yard.

I can't...I can't...I can't move my eyes...

Brendon’s Filmography:
· “Movie History” – Mockumentary about a director who wants to make movie history and changes the name of his movie to “Movie History” to say "I'm making movie history".

The Movie-Episode Connection:
· I can't think of one.

The Plotline Connection: (TheJazzFighter)
· Yet again, stoylines connecting to storylines, and the storm ruins everything. McGuirk's storyline leads to him watching the kids and ruining their movie, and the storm ruins Paula's plans. Paula leaving also leads to McGuirk watching the kids.

Well I told my mom I was at your house, Brendon, she said, "Brendon Who?", so then I had to tell her who you were, that we're best friends, that we make movies,  and then she asked me what kind of movies, and I said, "Little fun movies, like real movies, but shorter", then she said, "Like what?' Then I explained a couple of the movies we made, then I explained the movie we're making now, the mockumentary, then she said, "Oh, I like mockumentaries, like Spinal Tap", then I told her I don't know what that is.

Random Observations & Facts:
· Paula listens to “Hot Dog Music” while waiting on hold for the writing agent.
· Paula winks into the phone when she says; “I should say I’ve been writing a book for 8 years…”
· Mr. Fieldsmore has various medications on his desk.
· Brendon’s card in “Movie History” says: "Ask Melissa A Question, Look Interested.”
· The clipboard Walter holds has Perry’s name on it; the clipboard Perry holds has Walter’s name on it.
· Josie has her own little typewriter.
· Paula’s eyes are crossed in each of the pictures.
· Melissa and Jason get worried expressions on their face when McGuirk suggests tying Josie to the couch.
· Sign on road: “YaYa Land 225 miles Exit 1”
· Jason gives McGuirk an evil look when he asks Melissa, “Is that his name?”
· Jason, Walter and Perry all fall asleep during Paula’s story, and Brendon and Melissa look tired/bored. Walter & Perry suck on their thumbs while sleeping.

The police are here, kids!

Past Episode References:
· Brendon and Josie play with marbles at the beginning of this episode, and Josie puts the marbles in her nose just like she did in Episode 111 – Mortgages and Marbles.
· Figuring it’s the same novel, we first saw Paula’s novel in Episode 211 – Writer’s Block.
· The cop from 112 – Law and Boarder helps Paula at her car.

Who the hell is Paula Small?

Movie & Other References:
· The movie poster for “Movie History” (not the movie they’re making, but the movie the people are making in the movie) is a parody of Star Wars.
· Brendon plays Mr. Pielburger, a parody of the name Spielburg.

Um, Coach, you parked on the lawn.

End Credits: “Season Three Theme”

Reviews: WARNING: Spoilers

J-Chan: Oh my god.

All I can say about Home Movies is that, well, before, I wasn't scared of Walter and Perry, but now, they’re freakin' SCARY when they try.

Spectre: At first, I had mixed feelings. But the episode grew better towards the well-made finale. A character (McGuirk) finally interacted with Josie for once, and the Walter/Perry thing was absolutely hilarious. The fact that Jason never told his mom that he had a friend named Brendon (or Melissa) is very funny, and actually makes quite a lot of sense.

I didn't like the McGuirk's sister/airplane subplot as much, I must say. But it was a good enough excuse to have McGuirk watch over the kids for the ending.

Other interesting bits:
(1) The opening featuring the "Home Movies" logo with Brendon and Josie playing marbles against it...
(2) ...which references the classic "Mortgages and Marbles" episode (ahem) where Josie stuck marbles up her nose.

Grade: A-

Mynd Hed: This was a good one, not a standout as Home Movies goes but still quite good. I only just noticed this episode that Paula has to be the one female character on the show above the age of ten whose pants McGuirk hasn't tried to get into yet. (-: A good amount of Walter and Perry, any more would have been overkill, but the amount they had was perfect.
B+ (The Landstander Note: McGuirk actually tried to get in Paula pants in the first episode)

The Condiment King: Some great McGuirk/Paula stuff here, much better than when they've previously worked together like say "Get Away from My Mom". Their relationship has really evolved over the course of the show. I really like Brendon and McGuirk playing around with Paula about being a little family, while McGuirk asks Paula to pose as his fiancee.

Brendon, Melissa, and Jason break new ground as they try to do a mockumentary, which is another new concept that Melissa and Jason hate. It seems like every time Brendon tries to experiment with the movies (such as starting with the ending in "My Cheatin' Heart), they hate it. There's a great joke with "making movie history" from the director and I also like Brendon posing as O'Brien from Entertainment Tonight. Otherwise, it was pretty dull for a plot device.

Walter & Perry were great in this episode with their attempts to start the petition to save the old tree. Walter & Perry are two characters that also really been fleshed out in season three whereas they were barely used in previous seasons. In this episode, they have a whole subplot to them. There's a great scene where Paula meets Walter & Perry in the storm and all the cursing. Good stuff. I also noticed that was the same cop from "Law and Boarders".

The plotline with McGuirk babysitting the kids is slightly amusing. It really shows how much Paula now respects and trusts McGuirk since she told Brendon, Melissa, and Jason to "do everything McGuirk tells them to do". It doesn't seem like she would have said that in the past. Regardless, slightly amusing episode but nothing more. ***

Shnay: I really liked this episode. No, it certainly wasn't one of the best, but there was a simple charm to this episode that just made it really enjoyable. It was also very refreshing to see an episode that isn't quite as outlandish as some of the other season three episodes.

First off, I thought Walter and Perry were used very well. I actually thought they avoided using the "same old joke" throughout most of the episode by giving them a chance to be seen in a way we don't normally see them (namely them getting angry; like when Paula wouldn’t agree to write "The Adventures of Walter and Perry"). I can definitely see how people can get sick of them, but I still find them to be really funny, and a great addition to the show.

I think what I liked best about this episode was the fact that it gave a number of characters a chance to deliver some great comedy, but it never made them go out of character to do it. Brendon, Melissa, Jason, McGuirk, Paula, Walter and Perry, and even Josie all get the chance to do what they do best. Jason not telling his mom about Brendon and the movies was absolutely classic; Melissa's balloon breasts, McGuirk's "knowledge" about tornadoes, and Paula’s frantic work, ending in failure, was all funny and (most importantly) all in character.

Another great aspect of this episode was some of the character interaction. One of the smaller, subtler parts of this episode was actually one of my favorite parts. Remember when McGuirk walks down to the basement and says something like "Brendon, Melissa, Jason…that is your name, right?" And Jason mumbles "Yeah" with an annoyed look on his face? I thought that was great. It was just a small part, but I thought it was able to add something (even if it was a very small something) to the mood of the episode and the relationship (or lack thereof) between Jason and McGuirk.

I do have a few complaints, though. First of all, the use of the magically interrupting radio seemed pretty unimaginative. It sort of took me out of the scene when all of a sudden this radio flips on to talk about a storm warning. And that's another thing: it seemed like they were really beating us over the head with the idea that the storm is coming at the end of the episode. There was none of the show's usual subtly, which is a shame, because this could have been a really interesting plot if they wove the different plot lines together a little bit better.

The other main complaint I have is with the setup of the McGuirk plot line. It's just weird to see him walk into the Small house and Paula doesn’t look the slightest bit surprised that he just walked in. And then the whole story of his sister at the airport is kinda odd, but that’s easy enough to overlook since it gives him a chance to interact with Josie and make Paula uncomfortable.

So, overall, it was a solid, entertaining episode, but, with some story tweaking, it could have been a lot better.

StrangerAtaru: Ever had one of those episodes which you really wanted to like, but just could not even though there were some good things going on? This was how I felt watching this one: not that the characters were bad, but a lot of it just didn't work to me, probably with the coincidences and predictability that it showed. Believe it or not, one of my least favorite of the storylines going on, at least at the surface, was McGurk trying to make Paula help him seem acceptable to a sister coming in to town. The problem with this story is not the relationship between Paula and McGurk, because I did like it when the two of them work together in the two scenes they are in. (especially Paula's awkwardness towards the whole thing and McGurk's "last minute approach") I guess my problem with it was that it just didn't seem right plotwise fitting in. With the whole "big storm" plot going on over everything in this episode, especially in the second half, I sort of knew that this would eventually get thrown away and that they only did this just to get McGurk doing something in the episode. I didn't really mind his actions with some of the other characters in this episode (such as wanting to tie up Josie and almost forcing Brendon and the others to get out during a tornado warning), but the whole McGurk/Paula thing just never seemed to mesh in the back of my mind. Another of the plots that really never worked was the full-time bit of Walter and Perry. Sure I don't mind the attempt to make them appear in a little more of the episode than they usually do, but here it just turned out annoying, especially once they started turning all psychotic towards Paula. I think that the only good scenes they had here were the first one that introduced the petition (and they ended up signing each other's names several hundred times), and of course the ending. ("Grab his arms!") Then there was another plot that was set out for the convinience of the situaiton: Paula heading out to get her novel published after finally finishing it. I do like Paula being used in the episode, but it just seemed a bit of a waste to have her go out and not get anything done except take in Walter and Perry. But hey, I did like her conversation with the publishing agent over how she thinks she exists, but doesn't.

At the same time, while I never really liked those plots, the other ones going on seemed to be somewhat funny as usual. Brendon's attempt of making "Movie History" was great, considering that with all the weird real-life stuff he has experienced, a mockumentary wouldn't seem too much of a stretch from there. (besides, Brendon as Speilburg was great to see, not to mention the weird characters profiled in the film) But while I liked "Movie History", I seemed to like a bit more the arguement he got into over whether or not they wanted to make the mockumentary, the actual movie made in the mockumentary, or something completely different! (since it gets easy to lose track at one point what they really want) The bit about Jason finally telling his parents what he does with his free time with Jason was also somewhat amusing, but was another strange concern in the back of my mind because I wonder why Jason waited so long to tell them in the first place. I hope that eventually we do meet at least one of Jason's parents to see what they are like, but they could continue to be the "invisible characters" that we have seen in this show before. I guess to me, this episode could have been a better one without certain conveniences, but I can't blame the characters themselves for being caught in the whole "storm" subplot.

The Landstander: A very season one styled episode. Though there's a few "wacky" gags (such as Walter & Perry being outside Paula's car, holding on by the window), most of the humor is very downplayed, subtle and character-based. In fact, I think more so than plotlines, the best way to review this is by character.

Walter & Perry have a well handled sideplot here about saving a Big Elm Tree, for various reasons (namely to keep their carving and because they may or may not have peed on it one time). Seeing Walter & Perry get angry was hilarious the first time I saw it, though in season 4 it seems to get a bit overused. Still, "GRAB HIS ARMS" gets me every time. Paula's writing career has apparently not been forgotten, and her awkward and vague attempt at starting up again is appropiate and funny. I like how quickly she changes her book from a murder/sex story to a children's book, apparently based on a single storm. Melissa and Jason are involved in Brendon's mockumentary project, and though both of them want to get out of it, they can't seem to agree as to what, exactly, they should do in it's place. Melissa has a great scene with her balloon boobs, and plays off McGuirk nicely. Jason is equally funny, and we get a nice view of his home life as he has to tell his mother just about every aspect of his life. McGuirk's sister showing up leads him to harass Paula into a fake airport meeting, and when the storm forces him to stay and watch over the kids, he tells tales of tornado safety and how a tornado can blow a nail 3 inches into a tree. Finally, Brendon works himself nicely into all of these plots, even the Walter & Perry one.

I can't quite call this is a classic, but there's really nothing wrong with it. Season 3, though I love it, can sometimes be a bit too out there for its own good, and it's nice to see such a grounded episode. Recommended.