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Sunday, November 29, 2015

These Were The Last Days Of Freddie Mercury's Life...

All right, so last week I was planning on doing a Tuesday Timeline entry for November 24, but had to cut it short on account of illness.

The gastrointestinal flu bug absolutely sucks, by the way.  Don't ever get it.

So, as a result, I thought that I would talk about the subject that I had intended to talk about on that Tuesday Timeline today, just to tie up any loose ends.

Okay, so the date that I had initially wanted to talk about was November 24, 1991.  And it was a date in which a rock music legend passed away. 

I'm sure by now most of you have heard of the late Freddie Mercury.  If you haven't, you were either just born, or listened mostly to country or gangster rap.  But Freddie Mercury was essentially one of the most influential artists to ever grace a rock and roll stage.

Having been the lead singer for the British rock band Queen for twenty-one years, Freddie's powerful vocals certainly added a much needed flavour to the rock charts.  Whether he was singing light hearted pop fare like "You're My Best Friend" or "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" to epic rock ballads like "Innuendo" to iconic songs like "Bohemian Rhapsody" to playful songs like "I Want To Break Free", Freddie Mercury certainly could emote any possible emotion necessary to sell the song.

(And he often had a ball poking fun at other pop culture references in the meantime.  In the "I Want To Break Free" video, I had absolutely no idea that he and the rest of the band were spoofing characters from "Coronation Street"!)

Yes, Freddie Mercury was a huge star, respected by all in both the United Kingdom and America (and presumably every nation in between).  And it seemed as though nothing could stop him.

But the beginning of the end for Mercury came sometime around the mid-1980s when he received a very terrible diagnosis from his doctor.  One that he would inevitably keep a secret for at least four years.

Although it's really unknown as to when exactly Freddie Mercury was first diagnosed, the British press began issuing articles as early as October 1986 that claimed that Mercury had been infected with the AIDS virus.

And keep in mind that back in the 1980s, AIDS was a very touchy subject.

I was born in 1981 - the same year that AIDS was first discovered in the world.  So, it's a scary and sobering fact that I have never known a world without AIDS in it.  Of course, in 2015, AIDS is no longer the death sentence that it used to be.  Research and improvements in treating the disease means that people who contract HIV now may very well live the rest of their lives without having it develop into full blown AIDS.  And to those who have contracted AIDS, medical research has extended their lives almost two decades or more since first being diagnosed.  We've also come a long way in figuring out how the disease is spread, and we all know that it can only be spread by tainted blood transfusions (all blood donations since 1990 have been tested before being approved for donation), having unprotected sex with someone infected with the virus, or by sharing needles with someone who has the virus.

That being said, prior to Freddie Mercury publicly revealing that he had the disease, only two other high profile stars had revealed their HIV positive status - Magic Johnson revealed his HIV status in November 1991, and actor Rock Hudson came forward with his own admission six years earlier, in 1985.

It actually makes me angry seeing how people were treated back in those days.  Mind you, I was too young to understand what AIDS really was as a child, but even back then I knew that AIDS was not an airborne virus.  If it were, more people would have gotten sick with it.  Plus, when I was around eleven or twelve, I watched a documentary on Ryan White, a young man who was bullied out of his school because he had contracted AIDS via blood transfusion - one of many that he received as a result of his hemophilia.  That documentary informed me a lot about how AIDS really was contracted, and I learned that you couldn't get it from hugging someone, or sharing lunch with someone, or drinking out of the same glass as someone who had AIDS. 

On one hand, it makes me angry that so many people were harassed and bullied because they had an incurable disease...but on the other hand, AIDS was still fairly new back in the 1980s and not a lot of people understood how it worked.  By that view, I can understand why some were afraid.

I suppose that paranoia and fear of AIDS could explain why Freddie was so reluctant to admit that he had the virus.  It is estimated that Mercury had known that he had AIDS since 1987.  It certainly makes sense.  After all, his 41st birthday party that year was one of the most extravagant and expensive parties that a rock star had ever thrown at the time - held at the Pikes Hotel in the popular island vacation spot of Ibiza.  I guess looking back on it, Mercury had thrown the party as one last hurrah, not knowing exactly how much time he had left. 

But in 1987 - the year that Mercury had reportedly discovered that he had AIDS - Mercury still flat out denied that he had the virus, even telling the press that he had in fact tested negative for the virus.  It's not known why, but Freddie was certainly the antithesis of his larger than life persona in his private life, so maybe he kept quiet to keep the press away.

However, by 1990, it was becoming harder and harder for Mercury to deny the rumours, particularly after he made his final public appearance on stage at the 1990 BRIT Awards looking gaunt and frail.  Despite this, Mercury continued to work with Queen (the members of the band had found out about his illness sometime between his official diagnosis around 1987 and the 1990 BRIT Awards), and Mercury's final album with the band - "Innuendo" was released in February 1991.

And in September 1991, the music video for the album's fourth single, "These Are the Days of Our Lives" was released.  Have a look at the music video.  It was the last video featuring Freddie Mercury - filmed in May 1991 when Mercury was in the final stages of his battle with AIDS.

The original video was supposed to have been filmed in colour, but was later changed to black and white because the band felt that using black and white film would not make Mercury's appearance look as sickly.  When colour footage of the video shoot was later released, it became clear why the band made the decision that they did.

In the UK, the single reached #1.  It failed to chart in the USA, but the release date was September 5, 1991 - Mercury's 45th birthday.

Little did anybody know that it would be the last birthday that Freddie Mercury would ever see.

Just two months later, on November 23, 1991, Mercury made the announcement that many had long suspected was the truth.

Following the enormous conjecture in the press over the last two weeks, I wish to confirm that I have been tested HIV positive and have AIDS. I felt it correct to keep this information private to date to protect the privacy of those around me. However, the time has come now for my friends and fans around the world to know the truth and I hope that everyone will join with me, my doctors and all those worldwide in the fight against this terrible disease. My privacy has always been very special to me and I am famous for my lack of interviews. Please understand this policy will continue.

Less than twenty-four hours later, on the evening of November 24, 1991, Freddie Mercury lost his battle with AIDS, at the age of just 45 years old. 

And with that, a rock legend was silenced forever.  But if anything, he did provide a face to the disease known as AIDS.  He showed all of us just how deadly it could be.  In a way, he also showed us that there could still be humanity and compassion in people, and that there could still be joy found, even if the person is in pain.  Because even though Freddie knew that his time was coming to an end...he was also content.

And really, isn't that the way we all should leave this planet?

Saturday, November 28, 2015


Well, now that American Thanksgiving and Black Friday is out of the way, I think it's time to officially welcome in the holidays!

Now, while my cover photo may say "Merry Christmas", I do want to take the time to wish everyone Happy Holidays.  Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, Diwali, Las Posadas, Three Kings Day, or Festivus, do so happily and merrily.  Not to mention safely.

And, I thought that for today's blog entry, I would explain how A POP CULTURE ADDICT'S GUIDE TO LIFE will be celebrating the holiday festival.

Well, I thought that I would bring back the POP CULTURE ADDICT'S ADVENT CALENDAR for one!

It's been an annual tradition since 2012 in this blog, and what the advent calendar does is feature one entry for each of the twenty-four days leading up to Christmas Day that have something to do with the holiday season.  I could do a feature on a book, a toy, a video game, a movie, a music song...anything that is holiday flavoured.

But this year, I'll be doing it with a twist.  There'll be a couple of changes to the mix this year.

First, I'm kind of right in the middle of the New Archies Reviewed series, and I still intend on doing one entry every Friday until it is done.  So, at least three of the twenty-five days will feature these entries.

(In fact, I can tell you that they will occur on December 4, 11, and 18.)

But to try and keep it holiday themed, I'll try to insert Christmas trivia related to the episode.  Key word try.  I don't know how it'll work out just yet, but bear with me.  I'll figure it out.

For the other twenty-two days, it'll be business as usual.  I'll use the Tuesday Timeline entries to talk about something holiday related, and I plan on featuring at least two entries each on holiday music, movies, and television specials.

But I also wanted to make this blog more personal this year, so I will also be telling you some personal holiday stories that are heartwarming, thoughtful, and weird.  Emphasis on the weird part.  But hey, isn't that what the holidays are all about?  Being who you are without judgment?  And if people do judge you, you can choke a piece of fifty year old fruitcake up their...

...oh, sorry.  That's not Holly Jolly Christmas behaviour.  My bad.

So, stay tuned, everyone!  The advent calendar begins on Tuesday, December 1!  I promise will be sweet!

Friday, November 27, 2015

New Archies Reviewed: Episode 10A - Loose Lips Stops Slips

I'm FINALLY starting to feel a lot better.  This gastrointestinal flu sucks!  Don't ever get it!

Thankfully, I'm back just in time for the dreaded "Black Friday" event that seems to be taking over more and more of the world.  And yes, I am working today.  Please keep me in your thoughts and hope I don't get assaulted by deal hungry shoppers.

Thnakfully, today's edition of The New Archies Reviewed is about anything BUT taking.  Instead, it's about giving.  Appropriate, given that yesterday was Thanksgiving in the United States.

One thing I'm thankful for?  This episode is MUCH better than Episode 9.

This is Episode 10A:  Loose Lips Stops Slips.  When I get to the end, you'll see why I have a minor issue with the title of this episode.

So, I'm thinking that it must be a special day in the town of Riverdale, as there are plans to erect a huge golden statue of the town founder Horace T. Riverdale (which contradicts the comic books, but go with it).  And in celebration of the event, MS. Grundy announces a surprise of her own.  There's going to be an award given to the student who performs the most good deeds around town, and the person who succeeds will be given a smaller version of the statue as an award.  So, basically, the more community service you do, the better chance of getting recognized.  I'm not sure if promising to give an incentive to do good in the world is the best idea, but anything that improves community life has to be a good thing.

It's just a shame that Archie isn't paying attention.  He's fixated on tying knots into a rope.  I hope you don't mind getting too attached to that rope, because it'll be hanging around the whole episode.

(Note to self.  Stop making rope puns.)

Anyway, after MS. Grundy assigns a lot of long division homework, Jughead looks at his Pac-Man watch (seriously, it's cool), and decides that instead of doing his homework, he'll go and eat snacks instead!

Now, where is MS. Grundy, letting her students turn her classroom into a cafeteria?  If that were my teacher, she'd send me out in the hall!

Oh, wait...Archie's already taken care of that for her.  Seems Archie accidentally tied his rope around Jughead's desk.  Oh well.

Betty and Amani have decided that they will volunteer at a retirement home, and ask Veronica if she wants to tag along.  Veronica says that she can do community service her own crossing the street and pushing away everyone who is in her way.  That's our Veronica.  So kind and pure.

Another person who seems to be misinterpreting the definition of community service is Reggie, who has taken it upon himself to give MS. Grundy her morning newspaper.  MS. Grundy reminds Reggie that sucking up won't get him anywhere, to which MS. Grundy totally redeems herself in my book!

But Archie is looking depressed.  And, you know what?  I think I'm watching an abbreviated version of this show.  I could have sworn that there was a scene included where Archie tries to help Coach Kleats out only for him to get attacked by a bouncing tire and falling into a swimming pool.  That would explain Archie's sudden depression.

But it only takes a few frames to learn why Archie's so upset.  He sees Betty, Veronica, and Amani at the retirement home singing like Yoko Ono, Edith Bunker, and that guy from Ween and is upset that his singing voice isn't terrible enough to sing to them too. 

He sees Ethel sweeping outside a bakery and is upset that he doesn't have a broom. 

He sees Moose lift up a car (with a driver still inside) to allow two small kids to cross the street) and is upset that he can't lift a Buick.  What's more, Moose tries to explain to Archie that he is having a hard time finding good deeds to perform even though he just performed one.  Oh, that Moose!

So this is the main plot of the show.  Archie wants to help, but feels he is too unqualified to do so.  But how does the rope fit in?  Let's continue watching.

So, it's early morning in Riverdale the next day, and Archie decides to start his good deed making skills early by bringing in the trash cans.  Only he's so busy staring at his rope that he knocks one of the cans over.

(Ah...remember the good old days when instead of cell phones distracting us, it was a piece of rope?  Ah, memories.)

Anyway, the neighbours (and Archie's parents) are awoken, yell four letter words at him, and some even throw their shoes at him!  What kind of neighbourhood does Archie live in?

Worse still, Archie ends up knocking the other can over and it starts rolling down the street!  You always have to top yourself, don't you, Archie?

Archie grabs his rope and tries to lasso that little silver shiny doggie...only for him to tear down his mailbox instead.  And Archie then remarks that he wants to move to Bora Bora.  Well, that was random.

Archie's next stop is the school where he spies MS. Grundy tending to the garden.  Archie immediately wants to help by weeding the garden for her, but he accidentally rips out the flowers instead causing MS. Grundy to physically pull him away from the garden.  MS. Grundy wants to water the plants and Archie notices that the hose is tied up.  He offers to untie the hose while setting his rope down.  We know Archie is very good at tying knots, but what about untying them?

Well, the good news is, Archie managed to succeed...but the fact that the hose has expanded to about 100 times its size doesn't look too promising!

Sure enough, the pressure that was building up from the knot shoots out into MS. Grundy's face, and she screams as the hose tries to drown her!  Seriously, the animation makes it look like the hose is possessed by the same Poltergeist that frightened Craig T. Nelson back in '82!  Oh, and MS. Grundy's scream as Archie turns off the water?  Hilarious!

Archie is upset that the garden got damaged, but did find out one thing.  When the rope that Archie was playing with got drenched, the knots became tighter.  Where did Archie get that rope, the dollar store?  Oh, well.  This must be a totally unrelated fact that will have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THE REST OF THE EPISODE, RIGHT?

After Archie and MS. Grundy dry off, it's time for class, and everyone in the class is bragging about how they are just like Mother Teresa, Princess Diana, and the woman from All In The Family that did those Feed The Children television infomercials in the 1980s and how they deserve the award for good citizenship.  Of course, it makes Archie want to crawl into a hole and die...or move to Pago Pago.  But MS. Grundy puts a reassuring hand on Archie's shoulder and tells him not to give up.

Isn't that sweet...even after almost drowning in her own garden, MS. Grundy still believes in Archie.  I think our teacher's growing soft.

The next stop is Pop's, where most of the gang is gathered around a table.  Archie is determined to show just how good of a person he is by making an ice cream sundae big enough to feed Jughead!

Or...the people seated at the table.  At least, that's Archie's intended goal, anyway.

Too bad that stupid rope happens to make another annoying cameo.  As Archie walks towards the table with the sundae, the rope gets caught in his sneaker and trips him, sending Archie sailing toward the table and the sundae splatting up on the ceiling which then cascades down onto the diners below.

You know what would have made that scene more believable?  A ceiling fan.  That would have made things so much more fun.

And look.  Archie's sitting on his front porch playing with the rope again more depressed than ever before.  Seriously, Archie...enough is enough.  Put the rope down, dude.

Even Betty, Veronica, Amani, Ethel, and Moose (who still can't do a good deed even though he just rescued a cat from a tree) tell Archie to stop feeling sorry for himself and just help them out.  But Archie's not in a mood to listen.

Reggie arrives with his paper route, throws the paper in the rose fixture next to the front door, and taunts him before speeding away.  Archie tries to use his lasso technique to grab the paper, but ends up hooking the roses instead, which cause the whole display to topple on top of him.  Now Archie's depressed, has a face full of rose thorns, and publicly declares that he wants to move to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  Which I'm pretty sure is closer to Riverdale than Bora Bora or Pago Pago, but since Archie's depressed enough already, I won't spoil it for him.

It's the day of the statue raising ceremony, and Betty and Jughead are knocking on Archie's door wanting him to go with them.  Archie refuses, saying that he doesn't belong there since he doesn't have any good deeds to report, and it is at this point that Betty gets angry and drags him out of there telling him that he should get his butt over there because he has spent the last nine and a half episodes doing stupid things that have made them laugh and feel better about themselves which in turn was a good deed.

(Okay, she doesn't really say that.  But it's what we're all thinking!)

The whole town has gathered outside of Riverdale Junior High School (interesting place for a statue), and a group of men are using a pulley system with a rope to hoist the statue onto the pedastal while Mr. Weatherbee makes the speech.  Oh, you know there's going to be trouble when Weatherbee is on the stage.

And trouble starts almost immediately when the men have trouble lifting the statue.  It's too heavy for their pulley, and when the men slip and the statue begins to fall, the crowd gasps. 

But take a look at the statue's rope.  It should be obvious what the problem is.  The rope is too loose!  Gee, I wonder if there's a way we could make the rope tighter...I wonder...

Wait?  Where's Archie going?  Why is he grabbing a hose?  Why is Weatherbee screaming at him to stop?

Oh, I get it!  Archie has decided to spray Mr. Weatherbee with the hose because he knows that every time Mr. Weatherbee has a speech, something goes wrong.  No speech, nothing goes wrong.

Or maybe Archie's remembering what happened at the garden a few days ago...about how if he sprays a rope with water, it automatically tightens.  I don't know what material this rope is made of, but it's clear that if it worked on Archie's little rope, surely it'd work on one a hundred feet longer.

Archie aims the hose at the statue - specifically the part where the rope's knot it.  And instantly the rope shrinks enough for the men to pull the statue onto the pedastal.  Nice job, Archie, even though in real life it would be impossible to get results that instant.

Now that everyone has dried off, and the statue is safe, it's time for MS. Grundy to announce the winner of the citizenship award, and given what just happened, and how he saved the statue from being smashed (not to mention saved dozens of people from getting killed from the impact), it would be cruel not to give Archie the award, wouldn't it?

And, after Archie sprays himself in the face (watch that foot with the hose, Archie), he runs up on stage to accept the award...

...only to trip over the microphone.

And as this episode ends, we get the classic "That's Our Archie" shot!

Okay, so scientific discrepancies aside, this was a great episode - far better than the last one.  It had warmth, it really promoted doing good in your community, and it showed that hard work, determination, and never giving up on yourself always wins in the end.

But seriously...Loose Lips Stops Slips?  Shouldn't it be Tight Lips Stops Slips?  Or Loose Lips Sink Statues?  Or The Rope Episode?  Anything would have been better!  But, hey...if the only thing I can complain about is the title, then I have to call it a success.

Next week, an episode that has everyone changing their minds.  Literally.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Today's Tuesday Timeline Is Abbreviated...

Sorry I haven't been on here in a while.  I spent most of the weekend battling a stomach virus that came out of nowhere, and I am still not feeling the greatest.

As a result, I'm posting an abbreviated Tuesday Timeline entry.  While I did have a topic planned, I am in no condition to elaborate more.  So until I feel better, you'll have to settle for this instead.

Today is November 24.  Let's see what sorts of things were going on in the world at that time.

1429 - Joan of Arc unsuccessfully besieges La Charite

1859 - Charles Darwin publishes "On The Origin Of Species"

1877 - Anna Sewell's "Black Beauty" is first published

1913 - Actress Geraldine Fitzgerald (d. 2005) is born in Ireland

1917 - Nine members of the Milwaukee Police Department are killed following a bomb blast

1932 - The FBI Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory officially opens

1950 - Three hundred and fifty people are killed during the "Storm of the Century", which saw violent snowstorms erupt over most of the Northeastern United States

1962 - "That Was The Week That Was" - a British satire programme - was first broadcast on the BBC

1963 - Jack Ruby fatally shoots Lee Harvey Oswald - the man responsible for the assassination of John F. Kennedy two days earlier - at the Dallas police headquarters

1969 - The Apollo 12 command module splashes down into the Pacific Ocean, ending the second manned mission to land on the Moon

1971 - A hijacker who went by the name Dan Cooper (also known as D.B. Cooper) parachutes from a plane with $200,000 in ransom money - he has not been seen since

1973 - Because of the energy crisis of 1973, the national speed limit on the Autobahn is reduced temporarily

1974 - Donald Johanson and Tom Gray discover the "Lucy" skeleton in Ethiopia

1991 - Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury passes away at the age of 45, just one day after publicly revealing that he had AIDS

2001 - A plane crash near Zurich, Switzerland kills La Bouche singer Melanie Thornton as well as two members of the Eurodance group Passion Fruit

2005 - Actor Pat Morita passes away at the age of 73

2012 - At least 112 people lose their lives when a fire destroys a Bangladesh clothing factory

And for celebrity birthdays, we have the following people turning one year older; Mordicai Gerstein, David Newell, Pete Best, Billy Connolly, Steve Yeager, Shane Bourne, Roscoe Born, Rachel Chagall, Glenn Withrow, Denise Crosby, Alain Chabat, Amanda Wyss, Garret Dillahunt, Brad Sherwood, Shirley Henderson, Christian Laflamme, Colin Hanks, Katherine Heigl, and Sarah Hyland.

So, once I feel a little better, I'll finish this entry off the way it was supposed to be finished.  In the meantime, it's back to Saltines and ginger ale.

And no...I'm not pregnant.

Friday, November 20, 2015

New Archies Reviewed: Episode 9B - The Prince Of Riverdale

Okay, so I was a little bit rough on the last episode of The New Archies Reviewed post.  I initially wasn't planning on doing so, but when I re-watched the first part of episode nine, I had no idea how horrible the episode was.  I get it was supposed to be a spoof of "Teen Wolf", but the whole thing was just one contrived plot point after another.  It actually made an episode of "Days of our Lives" look like a William Shakespeare play, and that's hard to do!

So, right off the bat, episode nine isn't looking so good.  I'm almost afraid to look at what the second half of the show is.

Episode 9B:  The Prince of Riverdale.  Sounds promising.

Wow.  There's a huge limousine heading down the main street of Riverdale!  At first, I thought it was Veronica heading down to Bixby's or Fjordstrom's, or whatever department stores exist in Riverdale.  But upon closer inspection, we see that there's a man who kind of looks like Colonel Mustard from "Clue" with his monocle and mustache.  Of course, he's not.

I mean, he is a Colonel, but I think his name is Colonel Grootz, or something similar to that.  They never write his name down, so I'm just guessing at the spelling.

Anyway, the reason he is here is because he is the official escort of Prince Ethelbert (again, spelling may not be exact, but I'm only guessing), who is in town to give a speech.  It's not very often that a prince comes to visit a small town like Riverdale, so you know that the whole town will be in attendance.

Oh, and did I mention that Prince Ethelbert looks a lot like Archie Andrews?  Oh, goody, the whole doppelganger episode where two people switch places to see how the other half lives.  We've been down this rodeo before in practically every cartoon series ever made.  But, since I did promise to review every episode of this show, I have to keep my word. 

Anyway, as expected, Prince Ethelbert is not very happy being a royal representative...especially since he is very young for a prince.  I'm guessing he's supposed to be the same age as Archie.  In fact, the person playing Ethelbert is basically Archie's voice actor butchering a British accent.  And, while he wants to go out into the world and be a regular kid, stuffy Colonel Grootz is insistent that he straighten up and fly ride.

But when Ethelbert happens to glance out the window of the limo and spots Betty and Veronica walking home from cheerleading practice, he gets a little bit annoyed at Colonel Grootz's overbearing nature and tells him that he's fired and that he can expect to be beheaded when they return home to stop the car so he can get out.

Of course, Grootz has got his tighty-whities in a twist about Ethelbert's rebellion, but Ethelbert insists that he will be back before the scheduled meeting with Mr. Weatherbee at Riverdale Junior High to discuss the speech.  And a sputtering Grootz watches with anger as the prince goes it alone.

And who should the prince happen to meet first but his exact double?

Yes, Archie Andrews is busy practicing his basketball skills, and I must say that he's not bad.  Why is he so good in sports when he's in junior high, but a total klutz in the teenage years?!!!

But then I tell myself, it's only a cartoon.  Only a cartoon.

Anyway, Archie soon discovers that he has a fan in the form of Prince Ethelbert, and immediately the two hit it off.  After all, they are completely identical in every wa..., scratch that.  Look closely at their faces.  Archie has freckles.  Ethelbert does not.

Anyway, once the prince formally introduces himself to Archie, Archie makes a confession to the royal...he admits that he wishes he knew what it was like to be a prince, and he suspects that he would have a life of luxury and not have to worry about anything.  Ethelbert remarks that being a royal representative is not easy and that he would give it up just to be a regular pre-teen for just a few hours.

You know where this is going...Archie and Ethelbert decide that it might be fun to be each other for a little while, just to see how the other half lives.  But of course, there's the whole face thing.

But Archie decides to remedy that with...coloured pencils?  What?!?  Coloured pencils?  I mean, oil pastels, maybe, but coloured pencils?  Did the animators even do their research?  Okay, I suppose they could be make up pencils, but what twelve year old carries make up pencils on them at all times?  I tell you.  Episode nine...worst episode ever, okay? Archie takes out his Laurentian #10 pencil - Photo Brown - and draws freckles on Ethelbert's face, even though in real life it would be impossible.  And Ethelbert grabs Laurentian #14 pencil - Natural Flesh - to erase Archie's freckles off his face, even though it would be even more impossible.

Then they stare at their reflections in a puddle and realize that even though this should not work, it probably will, and nobody will ever tell the difference because everybody in Riverdale is stupid.

And after they go inside to change clothes, Colonel Grootz is amazed to see Prince Ethelbert in a better mood.  Look at him skipping down the street!  Of course, we all know that Ethelbert is actually Archiebert, but Grootzie doesn't need to know that.

Seriously.  That's what Archiebert calls him.  Awesome.  Oh, and despite the fact that Archiebert has a perfectly good American-ish accent, Grootz is none the wiser.  Boy, he really is sheltered.

Anyway, the royal posse arrives at Riverdale Junior High to meet with Mr. Weatherbee, and Archiebert proclaims that before he makes his speech, he feels the need to make himself more relatable to the people.

And that's why he stops off at McDonald's on the way to the school to buy enough Big Macs to supply to his adoring public...all on Grootzie's money, of course.

Wow...this episode is actually worse than the last one. 

Outside of Pop's, Jughead and Reggie are talking about the prince and his generosity, and Reggie makes the observation that nobody else has made during this whole episode at all!  That Ethelbert looks like Archie.

And speak of the devil, here comes Archie Andrews now.  Only it's not really Archie.  It's Prince Ethelbert in a Archie Halloween Costume.  Let's call him Bertie.

Oh, but don't worry.  Bertie isn't the only one whose name is messed up.  He actually calls Jughead "Jarface", and Reggie "Veggie", which prompts Reggie to grab him by the collar and threatens to knock him out.

Which then prompts Bertie to grab onto Reggie's nose like a set of pliers and twist and turn it until he cries uncle.  To be honest, this sight gag would have worked a lot better had Jughead been the victim of Bertie's rampage, but considering that this is the best scene of the whole episode, beggars can't be choosers.

Of course, Bertie happens to catch a glimpse of Betty and Veronica walking by and decides that rather than spar with Jarface and Veggie, he'd best serve his time trying to arrange dates with both of them.  Wow, Bertie's doing a better job being Archie than he thought.

In fact, Bertie seems to have made an enemy out of Reggie, who wants vengeance for humiliating him in front of everyone.  Why do I get the feeling that we're going to see a Reggie prank later on in this episode?

Back on Main Street Riverdale, Archiebert has successfully drained the treasury of the royal family by giving everyone in town free pizza, and at this point, Grootzie has had enough of this royal pain.  He drags Archiebert into the limo and physically sits on top of him so that he won't escape.

Seriously, that's what he does.  Grootzie has just stepped into creepy predator territory here folks.  No wonder Ethelbert wants to escape!

But Grootzie won't let him go that easily.  Despite Archiebert's insistence that he isn't good at writing speeches because MS. Grundy gave him the C minus in English class to prove it, Grootzie insists that he do it.  After all, his upcoming arranged marriage is fast approaching.

W...WHAT?!?  Prince Ethelbert is getting married at age 12?!?  To someone he doesn't even know?  Sheesh, what crackpot royal monarchy is this?

Oh, and here's a photo of the lovely Princess Bertha.  I hate how some shows take a photo of a person and purposely make fun of it because they don't fit society's definition of beautiful.  But since this is a cartoon, I'll let it slide this time.  Archiebert is upset because he didn't have a say in this, even though he's only been acting as prince for twenty-five minutes, but Grootzie says that he'll learn to love her, especially since her halitosis and dandruff have improved.

Wow...Grootzie should totally go work for eHarmony.  And Archiebert is realizing that maybe being Archie Andrews isn't so bad.

And Prince Ethelbert is soon realizing that life as Archie Andrews isn't so good either after meeting someone who puts the fear of God into him.

Why, hello, Mr. Andrews!  Nice to see you making your one and only appearance in this series!  And look!  Mr. Andrews is telling his son to do his chores!  Wow, Mr. Andrews must be the worst dad in the world if he can't recognize that the person in front of him is his own son.  Or maybe Archie's coloured pencils really are that magical!

Oh, and naturally, since Bertie is used to a live of privilege, he tells Mr. Andrews to stuff his chores, which causes Mr. Andrews to blow a gasket.  Yeah, I bet Archie won't be happy to learn that his new royal friend has gotten him grounded until the 21st century!

The action shifts over to the Lodge Mansion where Ethelbert and Grootzie are to escort Mr. Lodge and Veronica to the event by horse drawn carriage.  Okay then.  Archiebert calls out to Veronica, who...also doesn't recognize him.  Oh, COME ON!  It shouldn't be that hard to tell Archie and a prince apart!  Seriously, did Grootzie spike the water supply with stupid pills?

Apparently so because in the distance, Jughead and Reggie have gathered a bunch of barking dogs together.  Reggie plans on doing an experiment that would make Pavlov proud.  His goal is to taunt the dogs with food so that they will get all excited.  Then when Archie arrives at the Lodge Mansion, he'll release the dogs out towards the carriage carrying the prince, spooking the horses, tipping over the carriage, and somehow blaming Archie for the whole thing.

Yep.  Told you.  Stupid pills.

So, at some point, Bertie comes running up towards Lodge Mansion (how he found the place, I don't know) with an angry Mr. Andrews chasing him.  Bertie than finds Archiebert and complains that he's making him do chores!  How dare he teach a royal prince some responsibility! 

Meanwhile, NOBODY NOTICES THAT ARCHIE AND THE PRINCE LOOK LIKE TWINS!  Mr. Lodge doesn't even seem concerned at all about it.  He's more shocked that Mr. Andrews is even there.  Excuse me a minute.

*bashes head on desk repeatedly to try and make sense of this stupid episode*

Okay, I'm done.

Seeing that both Archie and the prince are there, Reggie releases his trap, and soon we see Archie, Veronica, Mr. Lodge, Grootzie, and the prince jump on the carriage (or in the case of Archie, hanging from the back of the carriage), speeding towards the park where the speech is being given.

There is a minor funny sight gag where MS. Grundy is leading the band, and when the band sees the out of control carriage coming towards them they all run away while Grundy is still conducting.  Fortunately, Grundy gets out of the way before the carriage crashes and gets wrecked.

Interestingly enough, we never see Veronica, Mr. Lodge, or Grootzie for the rest of the episode.  My guess is that they all broke every bone in their body and have now been mummified.  Don't worry, Veronica will recover.  I can't say the same for the other two.  In fact, let's call it.  Grootzie is dead.

And, Archie and Ethelbert realize that they'd rather be themselves and get changed back.  Right in the middle of the park.  Looks like neither one of them really care about indecent exposure.

So, Ethelbert gives his speech, and everyone is happy, and Archie is relieved that he didn't have to give the speech after all.  But when Jughead makes a casual remark about how great it would be to be a prince, Archie screams and runs away.  Okay, given what he went through, I'll give him a pass.

But seriously, guys...episode nine was what you call an epic fail.  Both tales were boring, made no sense, and were painful to watch.

I'm hoping Episode 10 is much better.  I almost gave this feature up after this episode!