Well, here it is, everyone! My final blog post for a little while at least. This weekend is the weekend in which I am unplugging everything in preparation for the big move. I'm not sure when I will be back up and running, but I am sure that it won't be long. And when I do come back, I will be announcing a couple of changes to this blog...changes that I hope will affect the quality of the blog, but will inevitably change the quantity. More on that when I get back.
In the meantime, we have another episode of The New Archies to review. Let's get to it, shall we?
In this episode (Episode 4A - The Awful Truth). we're going to learn just how the truth can sting just a little too much. In the case of this episode, Eugene just may as well have shoved scorpions down everybody's pants.
We open the episode at Riverdale Junior High, where every girl in school is crowding around a bulletin board. But why? Is there a school club for girls? Is there a special offer that is first come, first serve?
Well, overhearing the conversation between Betty, Veronica, and Amani, we quickly learn that the Junior Miss Riverdale Pageant is coming to Riverdale Junior High, and apparently every girl in school tried out for it.
Well, all except Amani who doesn't believe in beauty contests. Um, so why are you there Amani? I'm guessing to give moral support to Betty and Veronica.
Oh, that's right. Veronica's a self-absorbed twit who thinks that she is hot stuff and that no amount of hair spray would ever many anyone more beautiful than her. So, basically Amani is there for Betty because Betty isn't a jerk. At least, not yet.
Hey...where did that music come from? I hope it's not foreshadowing.
Anyway, Betty just wants to see if she's a finalist in the competition, and Amani comes up with the idea to announce that Michael J. Fox happens to be in the school! On one hand, kudos to the showrunners for coming up with a then-recent reference to pop culture. On the other hand, by 1987, Fox had become a star with "Family Ties" and "Back To The Future". Does Amani really think that she can trick a bunch of junior high aged girls to leaving the bulletin board alone by claiming that a celebrity would come and visit their podunk hamlet?
Apparently so. Wow, either Amani is some super genius...or the girls of Riverdale are as dumb as posts.
At any rate, there's a party going on at Lodge Mansion in celebration of Veronica making it into the semi-finalist round, and judging by Betty's reaction, she must have made it in as well. Again, Amani didn't try out at all. Why is she so excited? Then again, Amani could just be offering her support to Betty, since Veronica is a deplorable human being.
Betty, Veronica, and Amani are so happy and excited that they fail to realize that they are holding up the guys, and Archie, showing that he apparently has the strength of a hundred men literally drags all three girls into the limousine that is taking them to Veronica's house for a pool party! Wow, if this party is celebrating Veronica being a semi-finalist, I can't wait to see what wingding they plan on having if she won!
So, if you ever wanted to know what pool parties in the 1980s were like, well, they featured girls in ugly swimsuits, a personal chef grilling hot dogs, and what appears to be "A Flock Of Seagulls" or "Honeymoon Suite" playing for them. Wow, Veronica threw wild parties even at age 12!
Ah, and here comes Eugene with some sort of...invention. At first glance, it kind of looks like someone combined a football with that vacuum cleaner from that Teletubbies show. And, of course, Eugene believes that it is going to be an invention that will win him the Inventor of the Year award.
But all it seems to do is make a whole lot of noise, which causes Reggie to screw up his dive...
...and Jughead spraying mustard all over his eyes.
While Veronica walks over to yell at Eugene for interrupting her party, Amani and Betty are discussing the pageant, in which Betty admits that she is nervous about the question portion of the event. After all, a beauty contest finalist can only wish for world peace for so many times before people start to get bored. Interestingly enough, Eugene - who has gotten away from Veronica - pops his head up through the bushes and asks Betty if she wants to be his guinea pig for his project. Betty says yes...but I don't think she quite understood what she was saying yes to.
Whatever the case, Eugene turns on the machine and it blows a cloud of smoke into Betty's face, and Betty goes from being sugar and spice and everything nice to shrieking harpy bitch in six seconds.
Seriously, Eugene's invention happens to be a truth telling machine that is more intense than police polygraph tests. It makes the person who was sprayed with it tell nothing but the truth...no matter how hurtful it may be.
And let's just say that Betty Cooper must have had a lot of deep rooted rage in her heart because she holds nothing back. Veronica almost gets ready to slap Betty after Betty calls her an egotistical snob. She makes Reggie fall into the pool again after she calls his diving lame. And Betty thinks that Archie's bathing suit is so tacky that Archie actually falls over in his beach chair.
Ah, but crafty Eugene doesn't want to know what Betty will tell him, so before she bares her fangs and spews venom over him, he blasts her with another shot of serum which causes Betty to stop being so honest and remorseful for her actions.
Oh, but wait. Veronica's getting a really nasty idea. See, look. You can view it in her little thought bubble. Since the truth telling machine will cause Betty to only tell the truth, she can use it to make Betty and the other contestants insult the judges so that Veronica will win by default.
In other words, she has really learned nothing.
Ah, but Eugene simply isn't going to let Veronica borrow the truth telling invention the way that one would rent the VHS copy of "Dirty Dancing" from Blockbuster Video. So, Veronica decides that she'll get it...later.
Later just happens to be in the middle of the night outside of Eugene's house. And surprise, surprise, she's dragged her partner in crime Reggie with her. Seriously, can these two be made any more unlikable?
But hey, at least we get a chance to see what Eugene's room looks like. It kind of reminds me of Screech's room from "Saved By The Bell" with all the electronic gadgets and gizmos. I half expect Kevin the Robot to make an appearance.
Anyway, Veronica decides that if Eugene won't lend her the truth machine...she'll just break into his house and steal it. Wow, resorting to breaking and entering to win a beauty contest. Isn't that the American way?
Unfortunately, Veronica nearly foils her own plot when she steps on a horn and thinks that she's screwed. But Eugene is too busy dreaming about Amani in a bikini to wake up.
The next day at school, Betty is prepared to open up her locker to grab homework, her lunch, or the 378 photos of Archie that she has plastered everywhere when she gets a shock!
Veronica and Reggie have hidden in Betty's locker with Eugene's truth telling machine and give Betty another dose of truth serum, reverting her back to her bitchy ways and...
...wait a minute. Reggie, Veronica, and the truth machine all fit inside of Betty's locker? Just how big are the lockers at Riverdale Junior High? My high school lockers were never that big - and I had one of the largest lockers in the whole school my senior year! I'm jealous!
Oh, yeah. Back to the plot. Betty insults Mr. Weatherbee's weight and likely ends up getting detention. She also insults Miss Grundy and she will likely have to copy out Amani's favourite section of the encyclopedia from "I Gotta Be Me, Or Is It You". She also tells a random student that she didn't invite her to her party because she hates her guts...but since it's not Amani, Veronica, or Big Ethel, we're not supposed to care.
Well, after insulting everyone in the hallways of Riverdale Junior High, she decides to pay Archie a visit in the art room, where he has painted a portrait of Jughead. And, Betty, being influenced by truth juice tells Archie that he has made Jughead look like a fat pig and that his apple looks like it is rotten.
And Betty must be telling the truth because Jughead comes to life in the painting and tells Archie the same thing that Betty said - which would imply that Archie has major issues, but nevertheless Archie has a sneaking suspicion that Eugene has used his truth-telling machine on Betty and rushes out to find him before Betty insults the President of the United States and starts World War III.
(Or, at least before the beauty contest begins.)
But when Archie finally finds Eugene in another classroom, Eugene is near tears. Eugene tells Archie that someone stole his machine, and that he should have just listened to Veronica when she asked to borrow it. At which point, Archie realizes Veronica's dirty scheme and decides to confront her about it.
Naturally, Veronica denies having any involvement in Betty becoming Miss Honesty 1987 and denies even having Eugene's truth-telling machine - at least until Betty comes around and tells Veronica that her hair looks like a troll doll. Okay, so the real word she used was frizzy, but same difference, right?
The good news is that Archie sets out to go on a mission to retrieve the truth-telling machine, spray Betty back to normal with it, and make Veronica eat her words.
The bad news? He's recruited Jughead to be his partner in crime.
After looking through the whole school for any evidence, Jughead and Archie are ready to give up on the whole thing, but Archie has a brilliant idea. He suspects that Veronica would hide it in a spot in which Archie and Jughead would never set foot in.
That's right. The machine is in the girls' gym.
And let me tell you. Jughead and Archie could learn some lessons from RuPaul in how to dress up in drag. Flour bags, potted plants, and mops are not exactly accessories that the modern woman would ever wear.
But it looks like Archie's found the machine hidden in Veronica's locker. Look! It has her name written on it! And it's four times the size of all the other lockers! My god, does she think she can have everything she wants when she wants it? I bet the water fountain next to her homeroom provides Perrier, and she probably gets Miss Beazley to give her caviar for lunch!
At the same time, Betty is about to approach the stage, getting ready to insult everybody that she comes in contact with while Veronica is sitting on the sidelines, cackling like a hyena knowing that Betty is about to become less classy than Mama June and Honey Boo Boo!
But alas, Veronica's plans are spoiled, and Archie and Jughead manage to turn on the machine, zap Betty back to normal, and she becomes her usual, charming self - with a lot of repressed anger, but I digress.
At that point, Jughead puts on his Walkman to listen to music as Eugene has a heart-warming reunion with his truth-telling machine.
But the reunion does not last long, as Jughead accidentally knocks the machine out of Eugene's hands, and it bounces across the auditorium floor. I mean it, it literally bounces like one of those rubber balls that you would see in those lottery draws.
And every time it bounces, it sprays truth serum all over random people.
First, Archie gets sprayed, which causes Archie to admit what all of us knew already. Eugene's inventions suck.
Jughead gets sprayed next, and makes fun of Archie's hair, which causes Archie to make fun of Jughead's name.
The MC of the pageant is next, and he introduces Veronica Lodge as the biggest spoiled brat he has ever seen. Totally awesome.
Oh, Veronica gets a blast of karmic retribution when she ends up sprayed, and insults the MC's hair.
Eugene finally gets the device to stop...but there is nothing he can do to stop the insanity as the truth serum is all used up. So, he is forced to watch with horror as the Junior Miss Riverdale Pageant ends up being one gigantic mosh pit of hurt feelings and anger.
Then again, isn't that how most pageants end?
Oh, and happy golden jubilee to my Mom and Dad! 50 years together. If only all marriages could last as long or longer.