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Friday, October 02, 2015

New Archies Reviewed - Episode 6A: Hamburger Helpers

So, before I begin with the the discussion of Episode 6A: Hamburger Helpers for the New Archies Reviewed portion of the blog, I do want to inform you that the episode source that I grabbed the screenshots from is incomplete.

Don't get me wrong, I got enough screenshots to do a full recap.  But for some reason, the first minute of the episode was left off of this episode.  And I know this for a fact because I happen to have an old VHS copy of the same episode, and there was one extra scene at the beginning of the episode. 

So, I'm going to describe the scene and type out the dialogue, and show you a piece of an animation cel that obviously came from that episode.  Believe me, the episode is one of the better ones.  I would remember it for sure.

I do have the title screen, at least. 

So after the title screen, we see the exterior of Riverdale Junior High and we hear Miss Grundy doing a lecture on the four food groups.  While all this is going on, Mr. Weatherbee is outside scarfing down an ice cream cone.  But, hey, ice cream is a part of the dairy group, so good job, Mr. Weatherbee!

One person who isn't doing a good job is Miss Grundy.  As soon as she pulls down a chart showing the food groups, the chart zips back up into the board, which causes hysterical laughter by all, and Miss Grundy to mumble with an annoyed grunt.  After she composes herself, she asks her class to name something that comes from the four food groups.  Betty says broccoli, which earns her an A+.  Veronica says caviar, which Miss Grundy accepts with a "yeah, sure", which tells me that even Miss Grundy wants to smack her in the face once in a while.

When it comes to Jughead's turn, Miss Grundy doesn't even let him finish.  She and the whole class know that Jughead is going to say hamburgers.  After all, they are his favourite food.  But Jughead tries to justify his stance by talking about how hamburgers are the perfect food, and it is here where the animation cel comes into play.

See as Jughead is telling Miss Grundy about how the hamburger has all four food groups, a dream sequence is playing where hamburgers pretend they are contestants in the Miss America pageant and how they are modelling cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes.  Good thing none of them are wearing stethoscopes or else Joy Behar would mock them.  But Jughead is instead the one mocked because Miss Grundy says that one day he will turn into a hamburger which causes Reggie to remark that it would be an improvement because Reggie is the male version of a salty bitch, don't you know?

Now we get to where my episode source begins with Betty and Veronica telling Jughead that he can't eat hamburgers his whole life.  Clearly this has no effect on Jughead, because once he reaches high school, his burger addiction becomes even more apparent.  But the conversation is interrupted when Archie arrives on the scene with a brand new skateboard apparently took him three months to build.  Wow, given Archie's track record with fixing things in the comic books, I'm amazed that Archie still has his fingers, let alone built a skateboard with his bare hands. 

And certainly Jughead, Betty, and Veronica are equally impressed that for once Archie built something that didn't require calling 911. 

Reggie, on the other hand, is jealous that Archie is getting all of the attention, and naturally he tries to upstage Archie by doing fancy tricks on his own board...

...only for the rest of the gang to completely ignore him by running into Pop Tate's.  HA! 

At the gang's booth, we see that apparently Riverdale Junior High doesn't bother to feed the students, so they are ordering enormous portions of food to eat at Pop's.  Betty and Veronica are having enough salad to feed four people.  Archie and Reggie appear to be eating some kind of sandwich.  And there's Jughead with so many burgers on his plate that you'd swear that Pop Tate had a cattle ranch out back.

Betty once again tries to convince Jughead that there are so many other foods to eat like the bowl of salad that is in front of her, but Jughead uses one of his hamburgers to speak for him, telling her to shove lettuce down her judgmental throat to leave him alone and that if he wanted to, he could give up hamburgers today.  Veronica jumps on that statement and is convinced that Jughead won't be able to do it.

She sweetens the deal by making a less than friendly wager with our Hamburger Gourmet.  If Jughead can stop eating hamburgers for one whole week, she will buy him all the hamburgers he can eat for twenty-four hours.

Reggie interrupts by saying that there is no way that Jughead will make it that long without being tempted by the fruit of a burger, but Archie and Betty defend Jughead by saying that they believe in him.  In fact, Archie believes in Jughead so much that he bets his new skateboard against Reggie in a separate bet!

Uh-oh.  Veronica bet Jughead that he couldn't eat a hamburger for seven days.  And Reggie bet Archie that Jughead wouldn't last the whole week.  I get the feeling that Jughead is going to have a hard time with this one.

After all, he has posters of hamburgers on his bedroom walls instead of Debbie Gibson and Tiffany.

And he does sleep in a hamburger bed that has hamburger pillows...which obviously must be custom made, which leads me to wonder how the hell Jughead's parents were able to afford it.  Of course, this was before Jellybean was born, so maybe that explains it.

Oh, and the best part is when he starts hallucinating in school and ends up trying to steal Amani's lunch thinking that there's a nice juicy cheeseburger inside.  Instead there's an apple, a sandwich, and what is presumably a cup of strawberry flavoured yogurt.  In short, your typical boring middle school lunch.

As Betty and Archie watch Jughead doing a punishment for disrupting the class, they get to talking about how difficult it has been for Jughead to continue with the bet, and they make a pact to keep a close eye on Jughead so that he won't lose.  Part of me wonders if Archie is only doing this to make sure that Reggie doesn't get his skateboard, but I'm just going to assume that Archie and Betty are good people and they truly want to help Jughead.

Unlike Reggie and Veronica who are now coming to the sad realization that if Jughead wins the bet, they will have to take out a line of credit to pay for the "all you can eat hamburger" promise they made to Jughead.  You see, Jughead's stomach is deeper than the Grand Canyon, and many people speculated that Jughead was a major pot head and that's why he was always hungry.  I definitely wasn't one of the ones who suggested this, but I guess in some bizarro world, it would make sense.

So, Reggie and Veronica do the only thing they know how to do.  Manipulate the contest so that Jughead will lose on purpose.  Because they're liars, cheaters, and thieves like that.

To Jughead's credit though, he does very well.  By Day #4 he has been slowly, but surely staying away from the hamburgers.  Despite Reggie trying to hide in garbage cans and placing burgers in his path, to Reggie climbing up on Jughead's roof to drop hamburgers through his window, Betty and Archie are doing everything possible to try and get Jughead away from the temptation.

By Day #6, Jughead is about ready to break, and Reggie - dressed up as a bush (seriously, is Reggie channeling Brain from Inspector Gadget) follows Jughead to Pop Tate's, where Jughead is sadly staring through the window at the hamburgers frying on the grill.

Reggie decides to try playing nice to Jughead, even though Reggie being nice is the same as Kim Davis giving marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and Reggie invites Jughead into Pop's for some lunch.

Ah, but Reggie's got an ulterior motive.  See, Jughead can't have hamburgers at all.  So, why not take Jughead into a hamburger restaurant and have him eat a delicious dollop of cottage cheese while Reggie sits down and has the biggest hamburger right in front of him.  I tell you, that's the equivalent of dragging an alcoholic to the liquor store.  Reggie, this is probably the worst thing you have ever done, and honestly if I were Jughead, I'd probably punch you right in the mouth.

Reggie decides to put the ultimate test into action.  After Reggie gets his burger, and leaves a crying Jughead alone, Jughead is tempted by the delicious treat.  In fact, he's so tempted that he imagines that the french fries on Reggie's plate are dancing next to the burger.  He reaches over and grabs the burger...

...but luckily, Eugene (who was playing video games in the store) manages to grab Betty's attention, and the two of them stop Jughead in time, leaving Reggie with ketchup on his face.

No, I'm serious.  Betty throws the burger in Reggie's face, literally leaving him with ketchup on his face.  Couldn't have happened to a lousier person.

You want to know who else is a lousy person?  Veronica.  And after Reggie reports back that he has screwed up yet again, Veronica decides to play dirty.  She calls up Jughead and congratulates him on being so close to winning the bet.  She invites him to come down to Lodge Mansion around three-thirty where they will take a limo to Pop's.  She's being unusually nice.

Meanwhile, Archie and Betty are distracted by Veronica yelling for help.  Wait a minute.  How can she be yelling for help and calling Jughead at the same time?

Ah, yes.  A tape recorder.  That sneaky Veronica.  Knowing full well that the bet that Jughead and Veronica made took place at four o'clock, Veronica distracted Archie and Betty while she and Reggie convince Jughead to go to the mansion where they hope to feed him full of burgers so he'll lose the bet.

Like I said.  Reggie and Veronica are evil.

Fortunately, Archie and Betty grab Moose, Eugene, and Amani to help bust inside Lodge Mansion so they can save Jughead before he can eat one morsel of food.  We also learn that Reggie planned ahead and this is the first we see of Reggie's dog, Lance.  Lance is a dalmatian with just as much attitude as his master, and Lance immediately causes a ruckus by barking loudly.

But did you know that Archie's dog, Red, is a part-time bullfighter?  While Red distracts Lance, the others make their way to the front door which is locked.  But Moose comes up with the idea to break the door down...

...just as Smithers arrives to see what the ruckus is.  Needless to say, we soon discover why Moose is the star player of the football team.

And as the clock strikes four, Veronica is initially obnoxious with everyone and brags about how she and Reggie locked Jughead in a room filled with hamburgers, and how they have won the bet, and...

...Jughead comes out with a full plate of burgers!  His will power came through!  Everyone cheers and congratulates Jughead while Reggie and Veronica are preparing to say bye bye to their whole fortune.

Later at Pop's, Jughead, in between burgers #1,289 and #1,290, explains that once Archie bet his skateboard against Reggie, he knew he couldn't let Archie down by caving in on the bet.  See, this shows why Jughead and Archie are best friends.  They will stick by each other, unlike Veronica who calls Reggie a dunderhead.  Wow, let him have it, Veronica!

We really don't know how many burgers Jughead has eaten, but Veronica remarks that she has already spent three months allowance on him!  Yeah, I don't think that she'll be making any bets any time soon.

And we close off with Veronica dragging Reggie out of Pop's so he can hock his skateboard to pay for Jughead's unstoppable appetite.

You know, I really love this episode a lot, and it's easily in my Top 5 list.  It's a story of true friendship and loyalty on the part of Archie and Jughead, and it's a story in which Veronica and Reggie get some much needed karma with bacon, cheese, ketchup, and pickles on it. 

Next week, what happens when Miss Grundy gets an offer she can't refuse?  Well, if you're her class, you sabotage it!

Thursday, October 01, 2015

New Month. New Attitude. New Thoughts On Love

October 1, 2015

New month.  New attitude.  New perspectives.  Kind of ironic that my thoughts would be all about newness when outside the weather is getting cooler and the trees are undressing for the winter. 

But you know, these last three months have been all about changes, and believe me when I say that I've made quite a lot of them.  I'm living in a new place that I absolutely love.  I've developed a whole new love for writing now that I don't do it as often, and I'm finding that now that I don't have to keep to a schedule, it's much easier to come up with more ideas.

I'm also finding it a good idea to mingle and socialize with brand new people as well.  Let's face it, I've made some mistakes in trusting people over the years and I've learned a lot from those experiences.  From now on, I only want to surround myself with people who are positive, happy, and genuinely want to be around me.

Trust me.  I want this more than ever.  I just fled a place in which everyone was completely miserable.  Never again will I subject myself to that.  Those people can live in misery together as far as I'm concerned.  They aren't worth my time any more.

In fact, I send to them one final message via a song.  Warning:  the song does contain a certain 4-letter word, so parents take caution.

Ah.  That's better.  Let's continue on.

Anyway, there's a lot of things that I've been thinking about in regards to changes and life and all that jazz.  And one of the things that has changed is my stance on quite a few personal things.

One of those things just happens to be love.

And, yes, I know.  This is kind of bad timing to be writing a post about love when Valentine's Day is not until February.  But the way I see it, I have three reasons why I want to talk about it now.  One, it's in my mind at the moment and I want to get it out.  Two, I personally believe that Valentine's Day is an excuse to buy your significant other candy so they can dump you for making them fat.  And three, I find Halloween surprisingly romantic.  Look at Gomez and Morticia Addams!  They have one of the strongest sitcom marriages ever!

When I was younger - like say, seven or eight years old - I didn't really understand the concept of love or marriage all that much.  I knew that my parents were married, and I knew that they loved each other back then as they do now.  But I didn't really know what it felt like to be married, and I didn't understand why people had weddings.  To me, a wedding was just an excuse to sit in a church for ninety minutes, dance the Funky Chicken on a badly lit dance floor, and eat cake. 

(At least, that's what it seemed like to me for any wedding that I attended prior to 1993 anyway.)

It wasn't really until I got older that I realized what being married really meant.  Two people becoming one couple because they were truly in love with each other at that particular moment in time.

Of course, with one in two marriages ending in divorce these days, I sometimes get a little bit cynical over the concept of love these days.  Sometimes I don't know if people have fallen in love, fallen in love with being in love, or have fallen in lust.

In my years on this earth, I have seen some very functional couples and marriages.  On the flipside, I've seen some incredibly dysfunctional unions that probably should have ended before they began.

Sadly, I think it's the negative marriages that have really coloured my view of love in a negative light. 

Once upon a time, there was a time in which I believed in love at first sight.  Now, I don't know if such a concept even exists.  My thoughts are that you should get to know a person inside and out before you fall in love with them.  Otherwise, it seems more like you want to fall in love with the thought of being in love even though you may be mistaking love for lust.

Did that make sense, or have I completely and totally confused the hell out of all of you?

I guess what I'm trying to say is that we've all seen those ads from eHarmony where they can find the right match for you and how you'll instantly fall in love.  Well, I don't believe in instant love connections.  If you're in love with someone, it takes time to nurture the relationship, and get to know the person.

I guess that's a part of the reason why I have remained single for so long.  I don't feel as though I have the commitment (and let's face it, self-confidence) to pursue a relationship.  And, you know, I'm fine with that for now.

I could change my mind later on...but I'm no longer seeing being unable to find a mate as being a bad thing.  One day, I might be ready.  Today isn't that day.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

September 29, 1982

Welcome to the last Tuesday Timeline for September 2015.  And, I only wish that I had a happier topic to talk about in this edition, but I'm afraid that this one is a rather scary tale.  It certainly made one think twice about reaching into a medicine cabinet, that's for sure.

Ah, but I've said too much.  I'll get into more detail about what I mean after we get through the other necessary steps, such as historical events and September 29 birthdays.

I'm curious to know what sort of events were going on in the world this day in history.  Let's find out!

1717 - Antigua Guatemala is struck by an earthquake, destroying most of the buildings there

1789 - The United States Department of War establishes its first regular army

1829 - The Metropolitan Police of London is founded

1864 - The Battle of Chaffin's Farm is fought during the American Civil War

1885 - The first practical public electric tramway is opened in Blackpool, England

1904 - Actress Greer Garson (d. 1996) is born in the United Kingdom

1907 - Country singer Gene Autry (d. 1998) is born in Tioga, Texas

1911 - Italy declares war on the Ottoman Empire

1923 - Author and Berenstain Bears creator Stan Berenstain (d. 2005) is born in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1942 - Actress Madeline Kahn (d. 1999) is born in Boston, Massachusetts

1951 - NBC broadcasts a college football game between the University of Pittsburgh and Duke - the first sporting event to be seen coast-to-coast on live television

1962 - The first Canadian satellite - Alouette 1 - is launched

1966 - The Chevrolet Camaro is first introduced

1975 - The television station WGPR Detroit becomes the first to be black-owned-and-operated

1979 - Pope John Paul II visits Ireland - the first Pope to ever do so

1988 - Addams Family creator Charles Addams passes away at the age of 76

2004 - Asteroid 4179 Toutatis passes within four lunar distances of Earth

2007 - Lois Maxwell - the original Miss Moneypenny in the Bond franchise - passes away at the age of 80

2008 - The Dow Jones loses almost 778 points due to the bankruptcies of Washington Mutual and Lehman Brothers - the largest single-day point loss in its history

And for celebrity birthdays, we have the following famous faces turning one year older today; James Cronin, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ian McShane, Mike Post, Patricia Hodge, Martin Ferrero, Mark Farner, Bryant Gumbel, Gabor Csupo, Drake Hogestyn, Mark Mitchell, Mari Wilson, Andrew Dice Clay, Stephanie Miller, Roger Bart, Jill Whelan, Erika Eleniak, DeVante Swing, Emily LloydRussell PetersNatasha Gregson Wagner, Brian Ash, Alexis Cruz, Debelah Morgan, Zachary Levi, Lisa Gormley, Lisa Foiles, David Del Rio, and Doug Brochu.

Now that we have that out of the way, it's time to reveal today's date.

September 29, 1982.  I'd like to say that I remember that date vividly, but I can't recall it.  I was only a little over a year old at that time and my biggest decisions back then was deciding on whether I wanted to have a nap or play with blocks.

But this date is one that is etched in the minds of people who lived in the Chicago area at that time.  It was on this date thirty-three years ago that had people living in fear.  It was a time in which people were not sure if the medicine that they had in their homes was safe to take.

The story begins in Elk Grove Village, Illinois.  That morning, a twelve-year-old girl died under mysterious circumstances.  It was discovered that before she passed away, she had not been feeling well and she took some Extra Strength Tylenol in hopes that it would make her feel better.  At first it was considered an isolated incident.  But as the days passed, police would soon discover that this definitely was not the case.

Later on that day, a man was brought to the hospital and died there.  He too had taken a capsule of Extra Strength Tylenol prior to his death.  The man's brother and sister-in-law would be the next to die after they had taken Tylenol from the same bottle after his memorial service.

By the end of the week, a total of seven people would lose their lives...and all seven people had one thing in common.  They had all taken Tylenol before they passed away.

And even more disturbing?  All of the bottles of Tylenol that the victims had in their possession had traces of cyanide inside of them.

This meant that someone in the Chicago area was poisoning bottles of Tylenol at random, and that a potential serial killer was on the loose.

Police investigations immediately ruled out Tylenol as the perpetrator.  All the bottles that had been poisoned came from different factories that were located all over the United States.  It made it very unlikely that the poisoned Tylenol came from the same shipment.  Therefore, police concluded that the perpetrator was instead going inside of random supermarkets and pharmacies and poisoning random bottles that way.

Either way, police urged people to cease using Tylenol until the investigation was concluded, and stores willingly took all Tylenol products off of the shelves until the killer was caught.  It was definitely a very scary time for the people in Chicago, and I can only imagine the panic and terror that was going on at that time.  Despite this though, police only managed to find eight bottles that were tampered with.  The five bottles used in the killings, as well as three others that had been found sitting on store shelves.

For what it was worth, the manufacturers of Tylenol - Johnson & Johnson - were extremely co-operative with the investigation, and despite what had happened, Tylenol rebounded within a year.  Of course, when Tylenol was reintroduced into Chicago stores, Johnson & Johnson made a few changes.  First, they changed the format of their pain relievers, choosing to make them caplets instead of capsules.  That way, it made it harder for people to tamper with.  As well, the packaging was later revamped so that all bottles were triple sealed.  This would eventually lead to the creation of childproof bottles that would make it harder to tamper with.

But perhaps the most positive change of all?  After the Tylenol murders, the law was changed so that anybody who was caught tampering with any medication of any kind would face still penalties ranging from hefty fines to jail time.  Considering the pain that this person brought so many people and the fear that they brought forth through Chicago, this was definitely a requirement.

Now, here's the scariest footnote in all of this.  As of today, the case essentially remains unsolved thirty-three years later.  The only arrest that was made in relation to the crime was in 1982, when James William Lewis was arrested for extortion and served thirteen years in prison when he sent a letter to Johnson & Johnson from New York City demanding that they send him one million dollars or else more people would be hurt.  Many people still believe that Lewis was the sole perpetrator of the Chicago Tylenol Murders, but not enough evidence has ever been presented to make any accusations stick.  Several other people were briefly considered as suspects, but they were eventually cleared.

There was even a theory going around that a former Johnson & Johnson employee had made the claim that the bottles of Tylenol were actually poisoned before the product actually reached stores, indicating that a disgruntled employee might have done the deed.

At this point in time, it's hard to say.  It has been thirty-three years since the first victim died, and in all likelihood, the person who committed the crime has since passed on as well.  Regardless, September 29, 1982 was a day that had many Chicago residents on edge, and made you think twice before reaching for headache medicine for quite some time after.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Album Spotlight: "Honey To The B" by Billie Piper

It's been a while since I've done an album spotlight, and I thought that in this case, there was no time like the present.

Only, this album spotlight could elicit one of two reactions, depending on what side of the globe you happen to be living in.  In some places, this album was a huge success that scored four huge hits, and earned our featured singer the accolade of being the youngest female artist to have their debut single to reach the #1 position in the UK.

In other places, the album didn't do so well, only had one minor single release, and her singing career in North America fizzled before it even began.  Although some of you may recognize her for her television work in such series as "Penny Dreadful", "Secret Life of a Call Girl", and this sci-fi series which has been on the air for over fifty years.

And certainly when it comes to the show "Doctor Who", our featured singer happened to play a very important role.  Joining the show in 2005, she played the role of Doctor Who's companion, Rose Tyler.  And although she was contractually on the show for one year, she made return appearances on the show, the most recent being in 2013.

These days, Billie Piper is most well known for her acting chops.  But did you know that this actress - who recently turned 33 years old on September 22 - started out her career as a pop artist?

I'm not kidding you.  And, here's the proof.

Today's album spotlight is Billie Piper's debut album "Honey To The B", released in October 1998.  At the time, she was just going by her first name, Billie.  She had just turned sixteen at the time of the album's release, and in her native UK the album spawned four singles and was certified platinum.

I wish I could say that her success in the United States was just as good, but she kind of disappeared as quickly as she came.  I suppose part of the reason could have been timing.  I remember 1998/1999 was the year that we had a whole slew of female pop artists dominating the charts from Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera to Mandy Moore and Jessica Simpson.  On top of that, the Spice Girls had already cornered the female market in the mini-British invasion of the mid-1990s.  There really wasn't a whole lot of room for Billie to make her mark on the music industry in the United States.

Interestingly enough though, in my home country of Canada, I seem to recall MuchMusic playing her music videos a lot!  I guess in a way, it makes sense though.  Canada is tied very close to the United Kingdom, and our music charts seem to favour more UK music than the United States does. 

Anyway, for those of you who were fans of Billie Piper's music, you'll love this one.  And for those of you who only know her from Doctor Who, prepared to be surprised.  Whether that surprise will be a good one or a bad one, I'll leave it up to you.

So, what was Billie's first single?

Released:  June 29, 1998
Peak Position on the UK Charts:  #1
Peak Position on Canadian Charts:  #30

See, I told you she was more known in Canada than in the United States!

And it was with this single that Billie Piper made history.  At just fifteen years old, she was the youngest female artist to have her very first single debut at the #1 spot on the British charts.  The single was also the official song of the 1999 Women's World Cup, so I would say that she did very well with her first single, wouldn't you?

The song itself is actually not bad.  Like I said, she was coming out around the same time as the Spice Girls, and she was already having to compete against pre-existing female artists such as Kylie Minogue and Robyn, so I would imagine that she probably had to work a little harder to get her stuff out there.  But for a debut single, I'd say it was worth becoming a Top 30 hit in Canada, and a #1 smash hit across the pond.

I only wish that the music video was not so cheesy.  The CGI (and might I add, really bad CGI) UFO was bad.  The trash can melting into a dancing robot was cringeworthy.  By the time I saw the rhinoceros bouncer, I was on the floor laughing at how horrible it was.  But in Billie's defense, she was fifteen.  Fifteen year olds find random things amusing.  I know I did when I was that age.

Released:  September 21, 1998
Peak Position on the UK Charts:  #1

This was another song that was heavily featured on the Canadian music video channel MuchMusic back in the day, so I'm really surprised that this single never charted here.  It also never charted in America either, which also surprises me since a special edit was recorded on the American version of "Honey To The B". 

In the UK though, Billie continued her quest for domination of the British pop charts with this single becoming her second #1 hit.  And thankfully, this music video is not as badly done as her first one.  Truth be told, it's quite well done in its simplicity.

Of course, the song's message itself is simple.  It's about a girl who has feelings for a guy and wants to know if he wants her as his girlfriend.  Simplistic and sweet, and the perfect song for someone who was about to turn sweet sixteen.  After all, this song was originally released the day before Billie's 16th birthday.

Released:  December 7, 1998
Peak Position on the UK Charts:  #3
Peak Position on the USA Dance Charts:  #9

I know that she wants you, she wants you, she wants you...

Yeah, so the chorus was very repetitive, but then again, so are most modern day pop songs.  I have to say though that I do have this one on my iPod, and I have to admit that it is a guilty pleasure!

There were two music videos made for this single.  The one that I posted here was the American version...but the movie that Billie and her friends are watching at the drive-in?  That was the version that was released in the UK!  So, it's like a video within a video!

Now while this single cracked the Top 5 in the UK, this was Billie Piper's only American single to even be released in some format.  But you know, of the four singles released from "Honey To The B", this one is my favourite of the bunch.

One thing that you might not know is that this single was actually a cover version.  It was originally released by Dara Rolins in 1996.

And if anyone bought the CD single of the song "She Wants You", they were given a special gift.  With the single released just days before Christmas, Billie recorded a version of "Last Christmas" for the single.  It didn't really chart, but I've included it here just for posterity purposes.

Released:  April 13, 1999
Peak Position on the UK Charts: #3 and #17

I know, you're confused.  How can a song have two different chart positions?  Well, the answer is simple.  The single re-entered the British charts eight years apart, that's why!

Originally, the song reached #3 in the spring of 1999 - and given the incredibly lame video that accompanied the song, I'm kind of hoping that it was the song's strength that helped it chart that high.  Billie, did you learn nothing from the "Because We Want To" ordeal?  Aye yi yi!

But the song re-entered the charts in January 2007, and you can thank a British DJ for that feat.

In January 2007, Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles was introducing a new format for the UK Charts that would have a different set of guidelines that would come into effect by the end of the month.  He tested that theory out by selecting a random song that had been released over the last ten years wanting to see if the rules would help propel it back into the charts.  The song chosen was "Honey To The Bee", and to everyone's surprise, the song peaked at #17 - eight years after its initial release!

So, that's a look back at "Honey To The B".  Billie's music career sadly peaked at this point.  In 2000, she released her sophomore album "Walk of Life", but it failed to match the success of her previous album and by the time she entered the world of acting in 2004, she had all but given up on her singing career.

But for one brief shining moment in the late 1990s, Billie Piper was a pop starlet.  And I just brought you the proof.

Friday, September 25, 2015

New Archies Reviewed - Episode 5B: Stealing The Show

It's time for another edition of the New Archies Reviewed!  We're doing the second part of episode five, and once again, I will warn you that the screencaps that I used for this episode were from a source that was not the best quality.  The good news is that it appears that this is the only episode where I had problems with the visual quality.  The rest of the screencaps should be good.

Okay, so here's Episode 5B:  Stealing The Show.

We open our episode inside of Miss Grundy's classroom and Miss Grundy is really excited.  Apparently at Riverdale Junior High, it is tradition for the seventh graders of the school to put on a performance of a fairy tale for the rest of the school.  The selected fairy tale that Grundy has chosen is the classic tale of "Cinderella", and the reason she is so excited is because she will be directing the production.  Great, more ways she can intimidate interact with her students.

Naturally, Reggie thinks that this is the most boring thing in the world, but Miss Grundy surprises her class by saying that they will be performing the play as a rock opera, which makes everybody leap out of their chairs in excitement.  I don't know.  Miss Grundy directing a rock opera version of Cinderella?  Unless they're planning on performing songs by the heavy metal band "Cinderella", I don't see how this could work.

Yep...definitely NOT music Grundy would be caught listening to on her tape player or victrola.

Anyway, the scripts are passed out, and anyone who wants a part could try out for her in class...but grabby hands Veronica snatches a script out of Archie's hands, and immediately pictures herself as a big time movie star.  Good lord, Veronica, it's a junior high school play!  Not the Academy Awards!  Trust me, you are no Demi Moore, or Molly Ringwald, or Ally Sheedy, or any other female member of the Brat Pack.  You're delusional if you think that a junior high school play will get you discovered by a Hollywood agent.

And Betty essentially says the same thing as she announces to Veronica that she plans on trying out for the role of Cinderella too, so Veronica had better shut her face right now.  Reggie tries to stick up for Veronica, but Betty won't hear it.  I must say, it's not often that Betty gets angry, but when she does, I have to admit.  I love it!

Now, we don't get to see all of the auditions, but we do get to see Moose's which is absolutely hilarious as he doesn't show any emotion and he reads the lines really slowly.  Oh, and he is apparently trying out for the role of the prince.  Yeah, he won't get it. 

Especially after Miss Grundy gives him advice to read with more feeling and to think of something that will elicit some emotion - which leads to Moose thinking about football and threatening to knock Cinderella out of her glass slippers!  Yikes!  I don't know what's more disturbing - Moose figuratively punching Cinderella, or Reggie thinking that Moose punching Cinderella is funny.

Well, no matter what, Miss Grundy is ready to announce the parts that our main characters have won.  To Reggie and Veronica's shock (and my enjoyment), Archie and Betty have won the roles of the Prince and Cinderella respectively.  Jughead has won the role of the King, Reggie is the Grand Duke...and Veronica is cast as the Wicked Stepmother!  Gee, Miss Grundy would make a swell casting agent!

Naturally, Veronica goes into a snit and announces that she's too good to play the most hated character in the play even though she's done a good job playing one of the most hated characters on the show for five whole episodes now.  But Reggie decides that he hasn't been mischievous enough and tells Veronica that if she teams up with him, he will make HER the star!


But we have no time to speculate as a dress rehearsal is going on at the moment.  We learn that Betty is rehearsing the scene in which the fairy godmother is going to turn the pumpkin into a carriage, and seeing how Big Ethel is on stage at the same time, we can assume she is going to be the one doing the Bibbidi Bobbidi Booing or something like that.  We also learn that Eugene and Moose are in charge of special effects and props.  Yeah, Eugene might not be so bad, but Moose?  How bad could it be?

Well, when Moose pulls the rope to release the pumpkin carriage, he pulls it too hard and the carriage comes crashing down squashing Betty into a bloody pancake.

Just kidding.  Though Moose and the ropes play a very important role later on.  Mild spoiler alert.

Anyway, Veronica is continuing to whine about how she is the ugly stepmother, and how she has to wear a costume that makes her look like Jughead's mother, and it's just really annoying to hear.  Can't they just give her laryngitis for just one episode?  Please?

I think by this time Reggie is getting annoyed by Veronica's whining, and he decides to put his plan into motion by giving Moose a copy of some changes that "Miss Grundy" ordered him to make regarding the props.  I have a feeling that rope 1 will go where rope 2 is, and rope 5 will go where 1 is, and so on and so forth.  But why would Reggie want the ropes to be switched around?  And why would he trust a dingbat like Moose to do the job correctly in the first place?  I think Reggie's slipping a little.

Flash forward to the...I guess...afternoon of the play, and we open on stage with Cinder-Betty dressed in rags scrubbing the floor, singing about how all she does is scrub and rub and fetch and bring.  Thing is, there's no music in the background and Betty's voice is hardly strong enough to carry over to the back of the audience.  If this is Grundy's idea of a rock opera, then she must not get out much.

Oh, but here comes Veronica and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen a set of identical twins playing the wicked stepmother and stepsisters of Cinder-Betty, and I must say that Veronica looks especially ugly in this shot.  I must say, she's never looked better.

Anyway, the story of Cinderella dictates that there's a fancy ball being held by the King, and Cinder-Betty wants to go but Cinder-Betty's stupid phony family won't let her go because they're forcing her to do meaningless chores because they're salty bitches. 

Oh, hello Amani!  Nice to see you making an appearance for your required 35 seconds this episode.  She is dressed up like a mouse along with Eugene, because as we all know the mice are Cinder-Betty's friends, and they want to see Cinder-Betty cut loose once in a while.  And while Eugene and Amani are fixing up Cinder-Betty's dress, I'm wondering who is doing the special effects for the play...surely it can't be Moose right?  I mean, he was having trouble pulling down a pumpkin carriage just minutes ago!

Oh, and here comes Reggie, doing a dress switcheroo while Cinder-Betty is being verbally abused by her Pinnochio-esque stepmother.  If you're wondering why the dress switch was needed, and where that other dress eventually ended up, you'll have to keep reading.  But leave it to Reggie to throw a cog into the system.  It never fails.

And when Betty is changing into her fancy dress, we soon discover the reason why Reggie switched the dress...

...apparently, Reggie snuck into the school's biology lab, released all of the mice and rats that were in the room, and hid them all inside Betty's dress!  I can only assume that the dress contained a lot of hidden pockets inside because not even Betty is that stupid that she wouldn't have noticed a dozen rodents scurrying around her nether regions!  I mean, if Reggie really wanted to scare Betty off the stage, wouldn't spiders or caterpillars been a better option?  I mean, really!

Anyway, once all the rats have fled into various spots in the school which would eventually see the school closed a few weeks later, Betty comes back on stage wearing her Souris de Fromage original, and Wicked Stepmother Veronica is so enraged that she orders her biological golden children to strip Cinder-Betty naked and force her out into the night.

Of course, since this is a junior high school play and not a show in Amsterdam's Red Light District, Betty is at least wearing a tube top and gym shorts underneath.

Cut to a scene in the park where Betty is sitting on a park bench singing about how miserable she is that she can't go to the ball.  Betty, don't try out for The Voice.  And for that matter, why is Betty the only one singing?  I'm pretty sure that in "Tommy", everyone took a turn!  Rock opera, this ain't.

Oh, but wait.  Here comes Big Ethel as the fairy godmother swinging down in an outfit that looks like it belongs in Judy Jetson's closet.  She is determined to get Cinder-Betty to the ball, and with a wave of the magic wand, she recites dated 80's slang to bring forth a curtain of sparkles and the magic pumpkin carriage while Prince Archie brings Cinder-Betty's dress back from the exterminators out of sight of the audience. 

But wait!  Plot twist!  While Ethel Godmother is explaining to Cinder-Betty that she has a midnight curfew, a doppelganger Cinder-Betty drags the real Cinder-Betty into the pumpkin carriage where a huge fight breaks out and the audience can't decide whether to be shocked or chant JERRY! JERRY! JERRY!  Oh, and the fact that doppelganger Cinder-Betty looks like Veronica is pure coincidence, I'm sure.

Well, one person who isn't cheering or trying to get some Jerry beads is Miss Grundy, who is just NOW starting to realize that something is up.  Wait.  Where have you been all this time, Grundy?  You're supposed to be the director, no?

We soon arrive at the ball where everyone is dancing except for King Jughead and his royal goon Reggie, and Reggie looks like the cat that swallowed the canary.  I'm just guessing that Reggie gave Veronica the other Cinderella dress so that Veronica could find a way to tie up Betty backstage so she could take on the role of Cinder-Ronnie.  My goodness, this play is looking like an episode of "The Young and the Restless"!

Ah, but lucky for Betty, Veronica's rope tying skills absolutely suck, and Cinder-Betty arrives on the scene where Archie humourously throws one of the twins on her bottom to dance with Cinder-Betty.

Ah, but since this is a rock opera, there's no fancy waltz.  Instead there's really bad 1980s synthesizer music that Archie and Betty are grooving along to.  Take my advice guys.  Do not go on "So You Think You Can Dance".

And it is here that Reggie and Cinder-Ronnie make another appearance, trying to put on their own dance to phase Cinder-Betty and Archie out.  Which causes Grundy to get even more suspicious.

Just like that, it's now midnight.  Look, that digital clock in the background says so!  Did they even have clocks in the original Cinderella?  Oh well, who cares.  Cinder-Betty is late for curfew and she has to get home before she ends up naked and arrested for indecent exposure. 

She runs off the stage, making sure that she loses one of her glass slippers along the way - which Reggie decides to take advantage of the fact that he is the props master by throwing an extra shoe in the mix, leaving poor Archie extremely confused.

Backstage, Cinder-Ronnie is starting to lose patience with Reggie, and she is wondering why Reggie hasn't killed off taken care of Cinder-Betty yet.  Reggie tells her to relax and that he has saved the best for last. 

Cinder-Ronnie leaves the area only for Miss Grundy to approach Reggie and angrily demands to know where Veronica is.  Reggie lies and points her towards the dressing room, giving Reggie a few moments to get Archie to stand backstage to hold a rope that is hanging backstage. 

While Archie is holding the rope, and Cinder-Betty is nowhere to be found, Moose is instructed to pull up the digital clock background, which he does.  The problem is that thanks to the changes that Reggie had him make earlier in the show, the rope that Moose is pulling happens to be the rope that Archie is holding onto!

Cinder-Betty sees Archie being pulled into the air and leaps up to try and pull him down, but she too is lifted off the ground, and soon afterwards, Prince Archie and Cinder-Betty can't remember what show they're performing so they change their names to Tarzan and Jane, and use the rope as a vine to try and salvage what's left of the play.

Cinder-Ronnie, meanwhile, has taken the stage, and Reggie comes in with a slipper completely ad-libbing something about how the prince asked him to substitute for him in the search for America's Next Top Model the woman whose foot fits the slipper.

Oh, but with Betty and Archie gone who knows where, Miss Grundy isn't about to let a couple of spoiled brats spoil her show, so she dresses up as the wicked stepmother and plans to go out on stage to tell them off. 

Before she gets the chance to, Cinder-Betty drops down on stage and swipes the slipper from Cinder-Ronnie.  Miss Grundy storms onto the stage as does Mr. Weatherbee for some reason.  The play is going out of control!  What else could go wrong?

Well, apparently you have Archie swinging on a vine doing his best Carol Burnett yell knocking Eugene unconscious and Moose breaking every single rope backstage.  Archie crashes through the stage, takes out everyone on stage and... earthquake strikes Cinder-Betty's house, leveling the whole thing to smithereens.  Yes, let's go with that.  Because the real story behind what happened is too unbelievable.

After the aftershocks subside, Prince Archie crawls out of the rubble and is completely disoriented...

...until he sees his Cinder-Betty and places the glass slipper on her foot.

Cinder-Ronnie and Reggie?  Judging by the look on Miss Grundy's face, I think that both of them can expect to have their heads cut off spend the rest of the semester in detention.

Finally, the play ends with Jughead saying that they lived happily ever after even though thanks to his son, the bumbling Prince Archie, the happy couple is now homeless.  And then for some reason, the audience cheers as Big Ethel mauls Jughead as a heart shaped background encircles them.

So, this was an action-packed episode, huh?  For what it's worth, as bizarre as the episode was, I kind of liked it.  It was good to see Betty and Archie get the spotlight as a couple, and it was just as good to see Reggie and Veronica get their just desserts.  And for what it was worth, it was good to see the whole cast utilized, even if Amani and Mr. Weatherbee were just bit players.

I sure hope someone revived Eugene though.

Coming up next week...Jughead gives up the one thing he loves the most...and he doesn't take it very well at all.