Episode 211: Writer’s Block
is availible here
Brendon Small/Perry – Brendon Small
Jason Penopolis/Coach Jon McGuirk/Walter – H. Jon Benjamin
Melissa Robbins – Melissa Bardin Galsky
Paula Small – Janine Ditullo
Nurse Kirkman – Jennifer Kirkman
Mr. Lynch – Ron Lynch
Synopsis: Brendon suffers a major case of writer's block, right before
the Writer's Fair. Paula begins writing a romance novel. McGuirk turns
his newfound insomnia into a financial opportunity.
· This episode introduces the concept of Paula writing a novel, which
a few episodes have made references to since.
Lawn Gnomes: (Click for picture)
· Bed shot
when Brendon is trying to defeat his writer’s block.
· “Untitled” – The opening movie…doesn’t make a lot of sense.
The Movie-Episode Connection:
· How can there be a good movie? He has writer's block.
The Plotline Connection: (TheJazzFighter)
· Brendon has a bad case of writer's block, while Paula's novel gets
worse worse, probably indicating she is getting writer's block. McGuirk
has a bad case of insomnia, while Brendon has a bad case of writer's
block. They both have a bad case of something that isn't too good.
· Rice Is Nice
Brendon: Rice is nice, but it’s just a grain.
Jason: I like rice, just the same.
Melissa: So I’m not insane.
(All of them singing over each other)
Melissa: Hola! I am Spanish rice!
Jason: Hello! I am pilaf.
Melissa: And this my friend, is wild…
Brendon: I’m wild rice!!!
Melissa & Jason: Wild rice, wild rice, that’s his name, wild
rice, get wild!
Melissa: Long grain or short grain-
Jason: Brown or white!
Brendon: Rice is the nicest grain, I-
Random Observations & Facts:
· When Brendon says, “The writer of some five hundred movies…” he
has to use both of his hands in order to get five fingers up.
· Lynch has to think for a second before he realizes 1:31 comes one
minute after 1:30.
· McGuirk’s leg turns red when he says “I’m not getting blood to my
· Brendon kicks a soccer ball at a spaced-out McGuirk.
· Sign on auditorium door: “Today: Writer’s Fair Tomorrow: Sociology
· Walter & Perry say “Jinx!” as they walk off the stage (they
both said “We’re not finished!” at the same time)
· Instead of the usual Soup2Nuts sound, this time we hear McGuirk’s
famous line: “DVD PLAYER!”
Past Episode References:
· I always thought it was appropriate for Brendon to get a case of
writer’s block right after finishing his 'masterpiece' “Starboy &
The Captain of Outer Space” last episode in Episode 210 – History.
· We see the cow tattoo again. (Episode 101 – Get Away From My Mom)
No banana, though.
· Next to the auditorium entrance, there is a “Re-Elect Thackery in
2002” poster, a reference to Thurman Thackery in Episode 201 – Politics.
· A sleepy McGuirk tries to stay awake by looking at his Sammy picture
from Episode 112 – Law and Boarder.
Movie & Other References:
· The clothes Melissa & Jason wore in the opening movie were reminiscent
of 1970s Foxy Brown type movies.
End Credits: “Season Two Theme”
Reviews: WARNING: Spoilers
Randomguy: Well, after
the disappointing "History" (although, to be fair, I think I'm the
only one who disliked it), this episode was great. It was truly for
the hardcore Home Movies fan because there were a TON of references
to previous episodes. The school nurse was back for a nice little
cameo, the gym was equipped with "Re-elect Thurman Thackery" posters,
Paula's imaginary romantic interest was the guy she couldn't stop
making out with back in season 1, and Walter and Perry even worked
in an amusing poem entitled "I hate Fenton". Yeah, the cameos were
flying fast. The premise here was solid, and there were some truly
hilarious scenes. Jason's reaction to Brendan's suggestion that he
and Melissa have a make out scene was priceless, Paula's crappy fiction
was suitably clichéd and low-quality, McGuirk's insomnia had some
pretty funny moments, and the ending was something I definitely did
not see coming. The dialogue really drove this episode, and it was
great. This sucker was full of classic quotes. I'd also like to say
that after the whiz-bang special effects of the last Starboy film,
it was really kinda nice to see Brendan shooting at the opposite end
of the special effects spectrum, his sole prop being a cardboard box.
Anyhow, just a great, funny, well-crafted episode overall. I give
it a much-deserved A+.
Spectre: I thought
the episode sure wasn't bad. No complaints at all, really, but it's
definitely not the best episode of the second season.
Oddly enough, my favorite part of the episode was Coach McGuirk's
subplot. I really enjoyed it -- the college students who used him
as a subject in their project were well written characters; Coach
McGuirk wanting that DVD was great; and his ranting on poor Melissa
was something that I had to laugh at.
The main plot of the episode (Brendon's gets writers block) was of
course good, but not as good as the Coach McGuirk insomnia subplot.
I did really like the rice musical number, though.
Good episode, not the best of the season.
Behonkiss: "No, Melissa,
you shouldn't just talk to me! You should attend seminars! You should
WRITE BOOKS! ATTENTION, EVERYONE! THE SECRET TO FALLING ASLEP IS LYING
DOWN AND CLOSING YOUR EYES!" Aaaahahahahaha. Oh, and there's a trend
in that, too; McGuirk insulted Melissa for her hair in Politics, and
insulted her playing abilities in The Party. It makes you wonder why
she bothers to talk to the guy, seeing that she and Brendan are the
only ones who do so. The above part, as well as "Rice", were the best
parts of an also hilarious episode. Anyone willing to make a Rice
J-Chan: "DVD! DVD!!!!"
^^ This ep was packed full of classic moments. It's nice to see what
Brendon's weak ideas are like. ^^ There's too much to go into, but
I really liked this ep. "If you want a guinea pig for your research,
go get a rabbit. Or a guinea pig."
King: This episode
is all about Brendon (as well as Paula) having writer's block. Its
really remarkable that it took this long before Brendon really had
writer's block, especially considering some of the terrible movies
that we've seen thus far from the Home Movies gang. Could we even
fault "Hiatus" on Brendon's writing? If they didn't like
jazz fighting, then he must have been really bad at times.
Its bizarre that Brendon thinks that his dream of a guy in a bicycle
throwing contest and then later a dentist with a five minute passionate
kiss was good. Perhaps Brendon's opinion of good is much different
than Jason or Melissa's, though Jason doesn't seem to much object
to Brendon's material as much as Melissa. Another thing: why didn't
they just use an old script for the writer's fair? One that they haven't
used for a school assignment. Hmm.
I like the fact that Brendon had a couple of knock out posters of
classic movies in his room such as Dog Day Afternoon and Star Wars
(or Tsar Wars). Paula's writing with terrible metaphors was amusing,
but it was overshadowed in this episode.
As for the writer's fair itself, it was pretty amusing. Walter &
Perry's poem about hating Fenton over their podium, the abstract actress
with the smoking pianist playing in the background, and finally Brendon,
Melissa, and Jason's rendition of rice. WILD RICE!
But this episode is really all about Coach McGuirk. His insomnia
storyline is just brillant with the immortal line of "DVD PLAYER!"
I love some of his scenes here like getting outraged with Melissa
for her advice of going to sleep for insomnia as well as his advice
to Brendon (while randomly falling asleep from time to time) of just
changing aspects of classic movies. "The Grandfather". Great
Ahh, much better. Those who remember my complaints from last week
will be glad to know that I'm quite pleased with this one (RandomGuy,
if you're feeling alone on last week's ep. just check the ASC review
thread from a week ago. The total is now two.)
I didn't think this was an excellent episode, but it was definitely
solid, and a large improvement over last week's episode (but I won't
get into that again. ). Most of the scenes worked pretty well, though
I thought the episode took awhile to really pick up. For me, McGuirk’s
scenes were the definite standout, and completely stole the show.
Also, not only did they add in things from old episodes, but they
also added subtle visual gags throughout the show. Most of these were
in Brendon's room, like his "Tsar Wars" poster. It was a nice touch
that added comedy in lots of unexpected places.
Pabcool: I thought
this episode was great. Weaker than "Class Trip" but still as good
(if not better) than "Therapy". McGuirk was fantastic as usual, but
some of the best parts of this episode came from the sheer randomness
of it all. The dream script, Jason and Melissa's interactions, "Fenton
is stupid" (best W&P preformance i've seen so far) and the "rice
is nice" song. It was all so random and bizzare, I couldn't help but
laugh. Did I mention "Fenton is stupid"?
I give "Writer's Block" an A-.
many of you, I never quite made the connection of Brendon's situation
in this episode following the "magna opus" of "Starboy". But this
doesn't stop it from being one of the funniest episodes of the second
season! Even though there were two main plots going on in this one,
I'll start with the one of the title: Brendon's case of writer's block.
Whereas in many other episodes we have seen the insanity of Brendon's
works, it is here where we see the agony that even someone like him
can have a problem making up ideas for his movies. Even more particular
is that instead of making it up for a movie, he is on a time-crunch
to create for a "writers showcase", which makes me believe that Brendon
has less "writers block" and more a case of "stage anxiety": that
he's going to go and perform something live in front of the entire
school and may end up making a bigger fool of himself than typical.
But "writer's block" or "stage anxiety", watching Brendon try and
figure this out how to solve his problems is part of the joy of this
episode. From the first "emotions" sequence of the episode to Jason
and Melissa (which reminded me of that exercise in "Methods of Acting"
with Brendon speaking the strange language) to his attempts of the
"dream method" and McGurk's "steal from another movie" method, we
find comedy in Brendon's artistic agony as it draws closer. Yet in
the end, it was Jason's extremely silly suggestion of a "rice musical"
at the beginning that saves the day, leading to one of the best moments
in the series, a strange fusion of beatnik beats and wild movements.
("I AM WILD RICE!!!")
But while Brendon is fretting away at his problems, McGurk steals
the episode from him yet again with his case of insomnia. McGurk goes
through a lot of psychological toil in this episode because of his
sleep deprivation, making each of his scenes become more and more
funny as they go along. From his tirade to Melissa about "just closing
your eyes to get some sleep" to trying to hit on the nurse once again
and eventually his scenes in the psychology center, he shows his wear
and tear, getting further and further insane the less sleep he gets.
But what makes it even funnier is that once the plot seems to get
more conventional (McGurk finds out he is getting paid for his insomnia
study just as he is starting to get tired), the tale really goes off
the deep end in watching McGurk try to stay awake so he can buy a
DVD player! (granted they were more expensive when this episode was
made....) His final meltdown at the end of the episode ("DVD PLAYER!!!")
is yet another great McGurk moment among many in the series, but this
one just felt more special than usual.
The rest of the cast had a pretty good time in this episode as well,
just making it an overall great ensemble episode. Lynch is funny in
trying to run this whole "Writers Fair" while at the same time chaffing
at Brendon to get his thing written by then. Paula, while stuck with
trying to finish off her "romantic novel", has some funny remarks
over how cheesy her work is becoming. (and as you know, cheesy sells
in that industry) Jason and Melissa were just in this episode barely,
but worked well with their screen time. (as somewhat sited earlier)
While Walter and Perry have one of their greatest moments in the series
with their "We Hate Fenton" poem. (which gets hilarious as the two
of them eventually just say "Fenton" over and over again) Overall,
I just think that this episode is another classic from this season,
even though it isn't as funny for some reason the second time as it
is the first. (unlike "History", whose weirdness leads to laughs over
and over again)
The Landstander: An
all around solid episode, but man, McGuirk just steals the show here.
Brendon (and to a lesser extent Paula) both have some neat exploits,
but this is McGuirk from start to finish.
First off, Brendon has writer's block right before the writer's fair.
He spends most of the episode trying to get over it; via his dreams,
Paula's advice, McGuirk, and finally, Jason. Brendon's opening movie
was a highlight, as the gradual cluelessness and Jason/Melissa's acting
work nicely together. It ends on a funny note as well, as Jason's
"Rice is Nice" saves the day. Paula has an alright storyline
about writing a romance novel, but it's kind of the same joke over
and over again. It works with Brendon's story nicely, at least.
McGuirk has one of his all-around funniest plotlines. After getting
a bad case of insomnia, McGuirk finds himself screaming at Melissa,
unable to follow a coherent conversation, and looks to Nurse Kirkman
for relief. Any scene where McGuirk yells at Melissa for trivial reasons
is hilarious, and it has the nice element where McGuirk calms down
only to get even madder at the end. Kirkman sends him to a college
sleeping study center, where the bright lights, college students and
electrodes don't help him to get to sleep. He finally gets fed up,
and is about to leave when he realizes he's making money for not sleeping.
In a great bit of pure logic, McGuirk goes from wanting to sleep desperately
to staying awake by any means necessary. Despite his best efforts,
he eventually succumbs. I've described all of this because just about
everything that happens is funny, right down to his impassioned cry
of "DVD Player!". Also notice the oddly nice animation,
such as McGuirk's hand slowly making a fist.
The Brendon segments would make for a decent enough episode, but
McGuirk makes this very, very good. Recommended.