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Friday, August 07, 2015

New Archies Reviewed - Episode 2B: Thief Of Hearts

I always love a good mystery.  It's nice to try and find out who committed a crime, or where a missing item is, or the whereabouts of a long missing person.  Sometimes the culprit is the one person you never suspected, while other times, it's as plain as the nose on your face.

And in this episode review of "The New Archies Reviewed", we're going to join Archie and the gang in a mystery of their own...only you never really do find out who committed the crime, as the gang jumps to conclusions again.  It's probably one of the more frustrating episodes of the series, and although the way it ends is somewhat on the sweet side, it sort of doesn't really resolve anything. 

Oh, well.  Let's go ahead and watch episode 2B - Thief of Hearts.

We start today's episode outside of a movie theatre.  There's a bike rack where our Riverdale friends have parked their wheels (as none of them except for 31-year-old Moose have a driver's license), and for some reason, Archie's dog Red is chained outside.  Wait, what?  Archie actually brought his dog to the movie theatre knowing that there was no way in hell that Red could come inside?  It's official.  Archie is a moron.

Oh, well...let's see what movie is playing.  Looks like some film called "Sugar Slade:  Private Eye".  Based on how she's dressed, Sugar Slade could either be a detective, a Tibetan monk, or Rosie O'Donnell.  Let's go with the first option.

It looks like the movie is over, and we see Archie, Jughead, Reggie, Eugene, Betty, Veronica, and a new girl whom we have yet to meet in this series.

Her name is Amani, and she is essentially a blend of Midge Klump and Nancy Woods.  And since Midge and Nancy are characters who are just there in Archie comics, Amani doesn't really have much purpose in this show other than to be the token African-American female.  Seriously, she has so little character development that any of the traits she has could easily have been given to Betty.  Mind you, she does have one major storyline through the whole series, but we'll have to wait until next week for that to be told.

Anyways, it appears as though Betty, Veronica, and Amani can't stop talking about how awesome Sugar Slade is because she's a woman, and women are better than men because they say so, and that no man could ever outsleuth her.  Which prompts Reggie to proclaim that they should shut their pie holes because boys will ALWAYS be better than girls.

Because as we deduced already, Reggie is a sexist pig - well, when he's not dressing up in drag to go out with Fangs Fogarty as he did last episode.

So, the girls issue the guys a little bit of a challenge.  Veronica looks through the newspaper to find a mystery to solve, and discovers that a recent robbery took place at Riverdale Fine Jewelry.  The bandits made off with a sack filled with diamond rings and accessories, and are still at large.

(Now, never mind that this thief could be armed and dangerous and could likely blow off Jughead's nose with one carefully armed weapon.  Apparently the kids of Riverdale Junior High are 12 years old and incredibly foolish, so catching a robber is nothing to them!)

The only clues left behind at the crime scene were a set of huge footprints and a collection of red fibers from a garment.  So, we already know that the thief is a male with big feet and a gigantic hole in his cherry red Esprit sweater.  That's helpful.

But since that's all they have to go on, the battle of the sexes kick off, with the boys going one way, and the girls going another.  For the rest of the article, I'll be calling Team Betty/Veronica/Amani "Team Nancy Drew", while Archie/Jughead/Eugene/Reggie will be "Team Hardy Boys".

What can I say?  I read both types of books when I was a kid.  Was always a Hardy Boys fan.

The girls, however, get off to a really good start when Veronica decides that before they do any investigating, they need to go to JC Penney and blow all of their cash on new clothes.  You know, if Marg Helgenberger and Jorja Fox had that same idea, Las Vegas would have six times as many murders.  Just saying.

Anyway, after Team Nancy Drew uses their tooth fairy money to look just like Sugar Slade, they arrive at the jewelry store where they look over the scene to investigate.  Immediately, Betty discovers a piece of red string behind the store, which prompts the rest of the Nancy Drews to follow along.  Huge footprints soon follow, and the girls quickly pursue the trail...

...only to discover that the thief is really a goofy looking circus clown with a puppy dog that is obviously wearing a red sweater made in China.  Back to the drawing board, girls.

You know, I was all ready to give credit to Team Hardy Boys for getting down to business right off the bat, but these goofy guys decide - hey, it's the 80s.  We have to look totally gnarly too!  Apparently, their idea of totally gnarly is channeling Crockett and Tubbs from Miami Vice.  Heck, they should have stuck Jughead in a Hawaiian shirt so that they could have some Magnum P.I. influence in there as well.

Back to Team Nancy Drew, the girls are frustrated that they can't find any clues.  It's almost noon and - wait, does this mean that the kids all saw the movie at like five in the morning?  What movie theatre opens that early?  I give up.

Anyway, their conversation is interrupted when they spot Mr. Weatherbee coming out of the bank.  This in itself is not unusual, but then Team Nancy Drew really starts to analyze Mr. Weatherbee and notice that he has really big feet (GAWSP), is wearing red sweat pants (DOUBLE GAWSP), and has a stack of Benjamins in his hands (DING DING DING DING DING).

This proves it!  Mr. Weatherbee is the thief!  He stole the diamonds!  And somehow, he managed to go to the bank and got his diamonds changed into cash!  I mean, who runs this bank anyway?  Russell Oliver?

(By the way, in case you don't know who Russell Oliver is, he's the cash man.  He'll give you money for your gold.  Oh, yeah!)

Nevertheless, Team Nancy Drew decide to follow Mr. Weatherbee to a clothing store (let's just say that it's Fjordstrom's, as it was a department store that all of the Archie characters shopped at in the eighties).  Team Nancy Drew are staring at Mr. Weatherbee through a mannequin's legs, and I must say that Mr. Weatherbee looks really dapper in his pinstripe suit.  Not exactly sure why he chose bright white, but hey...maybe he was trying to look like Don Johnson as well.

Mind you, Team Nancy Drew prove themselves to be the worst in undercover spying as they knock over the mannequin causing them all to scream.  The mannequin sends a rack of sweaters sailing into the escalator which dresses everyone on the escalator like Magnum P.I.  Now that is magic!

But Fjordstrom's is a classy establishment, and therefore the Sugar Slade lookalikes are literally thrown out on their butts.  Too bad for them.

Meanwhile, Team Hardy Boys aren't having much luck either until they pass by Mr. Weatherbee walking down the street.

And immediately, Reggie jumps to the same conclusion that Team Nancy Drew comes up with.  That Mr. Weatherbee was the one who robbed the jewelry store.

(Meanwhile, while this investigating is going on, there's this really weird synthesizer music playing in the background that sort of sounds like a mash-up of the Magnum P.I. theme and the Miami Vice theme.  I wish I had a clip to show you, but trust's very eighties.)

Back to Main Street Riverdale, Team Hardy Boys look through the window of a fancy perfume shop where Mr. Weatherbee is apparently buying a two litre bottle of perfume!  Seriously, I know everything was bigger in the eighties, but that size of perfume must have cost Mr. Weatherbee five hundred bucks at least!  Do high school principals really get paid that much money, or did he really rob the jewelry store after all?

Well, that seems to be the conclusion that Team Hardy Boys come up with, and they follow Mr. Weatherbee back to the school, where it seems as though Team Nancy Drew seems to be as well, though neither team know the other one is there.

What they do know is that Mr. Weatherbee has even more secrets to hide.  Including a very expensive looking necklace!  So, let's go over this again.  He has an expensive suit on, he bought enough perfume to make the whole town of Riverdale smell great, and now he has a necklace.  If I didn't know any better, I'd say he was trying to go to a lot of trouble to impress someone.  But who?

Unfortunately, both Team Nancy Drew and Team Hardy Boys come up with a conclusion completely different from my interpretation.  The necklace is the very thing that they need to convince them that their beloved principal is evil, and needs to be taken down.

Oh, and at Weatherbee's home, the two teams discover that Weatherbee is loading a huge sack filled with some unknown substance into his car before driving off.  Oh, great, so now they think he's a murderer, chopping up the bodies of his delinquent students in his spare time, that's great.

(Though we haven't seen Fangs Fogarty or Moose in this episode...hmmm...)

Team Hardy Boys decide to call the police, but Team Nancy Drew is even more daring.  They get on their bikes to follow Weatherbee in a...low speed car chase through the picturesque scenery of Riverdale.  I guess the girls' bicycles only have ten speed settings.

The chase ends at a residential neighbourhood, and as soon as Weatherbee parks his car outside of a house, the other girls scream out "J'ACCUSE!!!" and Mr. Weatherbee is wondering what kind of wacky tobaccy Betty, Veronica, and Amani have been smoking before they hear police sirens in the distance and some swamp creature barging out the front door of the house.

Oh, wait.  That's no swamp creature.  That's only Miss Grundy, trying to make herself look seventy years younger.  I do wonder what she used to make that mask though.

One thing that isn't a joke?  The police do arrive on the scene.  Now, we know that Team Hardy Boys called the police, but how did they know exactly where to send them?  They didn't have GPS systems in 1987, and as far as we could see, the girls were the ones who did all the work. 

You know, my brain is hurting.  I need to stop over-analyzing a cartoon.

Anyway, the police received a tip from four 12-year-old boys, one of whom is wearing a neon pink crown, that Mr. Weatherbee has been a bad boy, and that he needs to show them the bodies that he has stashed in that potato sack.  And Weatherbee obliges by opening up the bag and showing them Fangs' decapitated head...

...or, a hundred roses.  Wait, let's put all the pieces together.  Expensive suit.  Perfume.  Necklace.  Roses.  I got it!  Mr. Weatherbee has decided that he wants to give up his career as a high school principal to become a professional gigolo!

Or, maybe he's trying to surprise Miss Grundy on her birthday by buying her lots of gifts so that the two of them can get down to some homework of their own.  Yeah, that's it. 

Anyway, Grundy is so excited that Weatherbee remembered her birthday that she completely forgets that she looks like Chewbacca, and runs back into the house screaming like a maniac with Weatherbee running behind her screaming "I don't care how you look!  Just say you think I look hot in this suit!"

I mean, seriously, the dude blew his whole month's pay for one day of fun with you!  Have a heart!

So, by the time the episode concludes, Team Hardy Boys are going to prison (though they'll be released by next episode, I'm sure), while Team Nancy Drew will likely be in detention until 1997 - or, until the next episode aired.  Whichever came first.

All in all, it wasn't a total loss.  Mr. Weatherbee got the girl.

And we close off with this rather goofy expression on Mr. Weatherbee's face.  If this were a real show, he'd have a cigar in his mouth.

But, man...what a mess of a show.  It felt like it was like an animated version of "Three's Company", only without it being funny.  Team Hardy Boys really did nothing in this episode at all.  Team Nancy Drew did all the work in this case.  But again, we didn't really see any personalities develop at all.  I mean, yes, this was Amani's debut, but she may as well have been replaced with Big Ethel with the amount that she did.  It's a good thing that next episode, she has a much bigger role, or else I'd question why she even was created in the first place.

And even more frustrating...we never did find out who robbed the jewelry store. 

I think it was Fangs.  I mean, just look at that face.  Guilty!  Guilty!  Guilty!

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