Have any of you ever played the broken telephone game? It's a game that a lot of summer camps play around a campfire. One person whispers a message inside of someone else's ear and then they have to whisper it in the ear of the person next to you until the last person is left. The funny part is that depending on the tone of the whisper as well as the way people pronounce words, that message can be completely garbled by the time it reaches the end, completely changing the message around.
This week's episode of New Archies Reviewed definitely showcases a broken telephone moment if ever I say so myself. And it also stars our lovable rogue character Reggie Mantle. Seriously, his name is in the title!
It's an episode I like to call Episode 8A: Telegraph, Telephone, Tell Reggie.
We don't start the episode with Reggie though. Instead we get a nice aerial shot of Riverdale where Betty and Veronica are jogging through the park complaining about how much of a jerk Reggie is.
I mean, there were Betty and Veronica drowning in the middle of the street and Reggie's limo just drives past both of them without even giving them a lift home! How dare he? I wonder if this took place during "Red To The Rescue"? It was raining in that episode!
Oh, and on the other side of the park, Jughead and Archie are skateboarding down the street with Hot Dog and Red leading the way. Surprise, surprise, they're busy complaining about Reggie too. They think back to the time in which Reggie got so mad that he couldn't control the football game that he was playing with the gang that he grabbed his ball and ran home.
Wait. People actually do that? Man, what a jerk Reggie is. I could use stronger language here, but I made it a point not to for these reviews. After all, kids may be reading this.
Ah, but look. Here comes Reggie with his dalmatian Lance - a dog with just as black a heart as its owner. And it seems that Reggie is carrying a little present with him. But I wonder what the occasion is? It's not anyone's birthday, is it?
Wow...that's a lot of sausage links! It's a good thing this show was made in 1987. That many sausage links are basically equivalent to being a three pack a day smoker given the latest news that processed meats cause cancer. Better stock up on bacon, boys!
Oh, but the sausage links are being used in Reggie's evil plan. Knowing that dogs cannot resist the plump and juicy sausages from a butcher shop, Reggie gets Lance to run past Hot Dog and Red, which cause both dogs to run towards Lance...
...and causing Jughead and Archie to sail into the bushes as a result. Ouch.
At some point, Jughead and Archie meet up with Betty and Veronica, and they gather around the kitchen table to grab a cheesecake while Betty shares stories of St. Olaf and Jughead calls Veronica a dirty old prostitute.
Or, maybe that was an episode of The Golden Girls.
Anyway, MS. Grundy happens to be jogging through the park at that moment and sees the four bitter seventh graders on a park bench. She asks what is going on and all four of them tell her that Reggie is evil, needs to be stopped, and that he should be
burned alive in boiling oil be
punished for his evil deeds.
This causes MS. Grundy to stare at them, call them all whiny little brats, and tells them that if they tried being nice to him, then maybe it will infect Reggie like the yeast infection that she's currently experiencing and cause Reggie to be nice to them right back.
At first, all four of them laugh off the idea, thinking that it would be easier to get Donald Trump to fix his hair. But the more they think of it, they feel that it's worth a shot, and they make plans to throw Reggie a surprise party in hopes that decorations, balloons, and a cake that says "Please Don't Be You, Reggie" will cause him to be nicer to everyone. Well, at least it's not completely contrived...yet.
And it is here where the broken telephone game goes into play. You might want to get a pen and a pad of paper to keep up.
So, the party is being held at Archie's house, which I think is really generous, given that Archie is Reggie's number one enemy! But hey, Archie always did have a heart of gold - well, when he wasn't toying with Betty and Veronica's emotions, that is - so I can see Archie stepping up. And, naturally, Jughead is in charge of providing the cake.
But Jughead didn't count on Hot Dog being around while he's trying to bake the cake, and as Jughead tries frosting the cake, he has to try and shoo Hot Dog away. Hilariously, Jughead actually drops the phone receiver inside of the cake which gets covered in icing, and Jughead decides to clean the phone off the only way he knows how.
Remind me to use this screenshot more often.
Jughead manages to successfully end the call to Archie, but he is distracted by someone at the door! It's Reggie! And Jughead has a cake that he is not only trying to get Hot Dog to not eat, but to make sure that Reggie doesn't see it before his party starts!
Jughead manages to hide the cake underneath a dish towel, but it doesn't work as Hot Dog happens to eat half of it while Jughead is seeing what Reggie wants. Turns out that Reggie has an extra ticket to a sporting event and wants to know if Jughead would like to come. But Jughead is so paranoid about Hot Dog scarfing down the cake that he practically throws Reggie out on his butt and slams the door right in his face. Yeah, that's subtle.
A suspicious Reggie leaves Jughead's house while Jughead calls up Eugene while surveying the damage that Hot Dog did to the cake. Turns out that thanks to Jughead's stupidity, Jughead now has to make another cake. At the same time, Eugene is planning on supplying the music for the party on these brand new things called cassette tapes. They're so compact and versatile that they have songs on both sides! Weren't the 1980s wonderful?
Of course, Reggie decides that since Jughead isn't going to be cooperative, he may as well try someone else. He arrives at Eugene's house just in time to see Moose arrive at the front door. Eugene gives him the message that the party is in Archie's backyard and that Eugene was bringing the tapes and that the girls should bring some balloons for the decorations and plates and forks for the cake that Jughead is baking.
At least that's the way the message is supposed to go. Eugene made two costly mistakes. First, he whispered the message in Moose's ear too softly. And secondly, he told MOOSE of all people.
Sure enough, as Moose is trying to remember what Eugene told him, Reggie comes out and shocks poor Moose so much that you can actually freeze frame the moment his brain shorts out.
And after sputtering out some nonsense about cake and grapes (broken telephone starts already), he runs away screaming and Reggie is left more confused.
Reggie follows Moose to Lodge Mansion where Eugene has apparently directed Moose to share the message to Veronica so that Veronica can share the news with Betty, Amani, and Ethel. But Moose's message to Veronica is even more garbled than what he told Reggie. Now apparently Eugene and Jughead are bringing a baboon to Archie's party and that she should bring the baboon some bananas and grapes for it to eat.
Yeah, your facial expression is about the same as Veronica's, I'm sure.
Meanwhile, Reggie is absolutely gobsmacked that Archie invited a baboon to his party but not Reggie and plans to make Archie and his friends pay for snubbing him. Okay, has Reggie suffered brain damage from that episode where he sabotaged that royal event or what? Seriously, why would he assume that Moose relayed the message correctly?
Meanwhile, Betty and Amani are laughing their butts off over the message that Veronica left for them on Betty's answering machine about how she bought enough bananas to feed the baboon that Eugene is bringing with him, and that they should focus on buying food for them to eat. Obviously Amani and Betty think that Veronica's been drinking again and that she needs to rest. But give it to Betty for trying to make sense of the message and turning it into a brilliant idea. Betty seems to think that Veronica meant that they should bring balloons for the party, and Amani thinks that Veronica bought bananas so that they could use them for banana splits. The two decide to head down to Pop's so they can buy ice cream and sprinkles from him...because Riverdale apparently doesn't have any supermarkets.
But while everyone is making their plans come together - without the baboon - the mischievous monkey known as Reggie Mantle sneaks into Archie's backyard and makes plans to sabotage the party before it happens not realizing that the party is IN HIS HONOUR!!! Oh, this should be good.
And while Reggie is placing booby traps all over Archie's backyard, the rest of the guests begin arriving. Ethel's painted a rather awesome looking poster that looks exactly like Reggie - right down to the fact that his head is three times the size of his body. Veronica comes around with enough bananas to feed every single person in Africa, and when Jughead and Eugene react with surprise, Veronica becomes angry and curses Moose out - well, as much as she can, given that it's a children's cartoon.
Luckily Betty and Amani arrive with the ice cream and toppings, and Veronica takes credit for the banana split idea. But, at least she credits Moose for it as well.
Meanwhile, Reggie is busy loading up a net with water balloons. Okay, what is Reggie's obsession with water balloons? This is the second episode in a row where he's used them to attack his friends. Is this a fetish?
Reggie, of course, immediately notices that Jughead has opened up the door to the basement...which apparently looks like a storm cellar that people would hide in if a tornado struck. Now wouldn't THAT make a great episode? And with the door open, Reggie can hear everything that the people can say inside the house - which proves that Reggie must have the hearing of a bloodhound! Most of it is just childish blathering, but he does hear one thing that causes his heart to grow three sizes larger.
"Save some of that for Reggie. It's HIS party!"
And this is the "oh my god, I really AM evil if I'm doing this to the people who are throwing me a party!" face.
And as Archie goes outside to look for Reggie, the outdoor lights kick on and an alarm sounds which sends everyone to the window just in time for Archie to become the unwilling victim of Reggie's cruel and immature pranks...
...or, maybe Reggie's had a change of heart and he decided that Archie can't be victimized by his stupid pranks, and he decides to rush out to save him.
But then Reggie trips over his own trip wire which has him drenched by falling water balloons.
Then he nearly drowns when he sets off the sprinkler system.
And he nearly loses his lunch when he sails head first into the spinning clothesline.
And before you know it, Reggie's showing off his new Halloween costume as that fruity mummy from the range of Count Chocula/Boo Berry cereals. I think his name was Yummy Mummy, but I can't seem to remember.
Of course, Reggie's friends are cheering for Reggie, thinking that his stunts were some of the best that they have ever seen, and Archie pulls up a sopping wet, humble pie swallowing, embarrassed and dejected Reggie from the ground where Reggie admits that he was a huge jerk.
Archie nods his head, and smiles, basically agreeing with him. But hey, there's a banana split waiting for the big baboon so Reggie should go ahead and eat it. Gee, I sure hope Archie has dry clothes for Reggie to wear.
You know this episode was brilliant in showing just how the broken telephone game works. Poor Moose never did get the grasp of it. At the same time, this episode was sort of boring to watch. It's not the worst episode that was ever made, but any other character could have been substituted for Reggie in this episode. Hell, I think had Veronica been the subject matter, it would have been a hundred times funnier. But that's just me, I guess.