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Friday, October 09, 2015

New Archies Reviewed: Episode 6B - Goodbye Ms. Grundy

I'll be honest with you.  I'm actually thinking that I am going to have a hard time writing this edition of The New Archies Reviewed.  If the first part of episode six was one of my favourite episodes, then the last part of episode six is probably my pick as the worst episode of the whole series.  Not necessarily because of the lack of humour, but because it goes to show you how selfish some people can be.  And believe me, it's not the people who you might expect.

So, yeah.  This episode pisses me off.

But, I did promise that I would review every single episode of the series, even if I absolutely hated it, so alas, we've come to Episode 6B:  Goodbye Ms. Grundy.

Waitaminute.  All this time I've been calling her Miss Grundy, and she is actually supposed to be MS. GRUNDY?  Wow, how modern.  Oh well, for the sake of argument, for this and any future entry that I do, she will henceforth be known as MS. Grundy.

So, when the episode begins, we see that Archie's jalopy, Ol' Betsy is sitting on the corner of a residential area of town.  Only it's not Archie's jalopy as he's only 12 in this series and won't be getting his lemon of a car for another four years at least.

Oh, wait.  That car belongs to MS. Grundy.  You see, in Riverdale - at least in the public school sector - teachers make diddly-squat, and it looks like MS. Grundy is drowning in debt.  She's not exactly doing very well.  I mean, if she's driving a car that is over 50 years old and the windshield is being held together with tape, you know that she's not doing well.

Or, maybe her depression comes from the fact that she has a classroom of twenty-four of the strangest, most hyperactive children that one could ever hope to have.  I mean, you have Big Moose lifting up desks with students still sitting in them!

You have Reggie giving Archie a book that apparently has the power to spontaneously combust!

You even have angelic, perfect Betty throwing trash at MS. Grundy's desk!  Seriously, when even Betty is acting out, you know that MS. Grundy's give a damn is busted.  Trust me.  I know the feeling all too well.

Of course, once she sees that Moose is doing something that could potentially kill one of her students, she raises her voice and tells everyone to sit their ass down to take their seats.  And this causes Moose to drop the desk that he's carrying in his arms on the floor which breaks apart and kills the girl that is sitting in the desk.

I'm NOT kidding either.  The girl just disappears after that.  Nice to know that when a student kills another student in her class, MS. Grundy just shrugs her shoulders and thinks "oh, that's nice, don't do it again."

Really, the only comeuppance that Killer Moose gets is a water balloon in the chair placed by Reggie.  Like I'm sure that wet pants is a just punishment for turning a 12 year old girl into chalk dust.

And as if MS. Grundy's day can't get worse, Jughead happens to come in late carrying a gigantic sack filled with something that appears to be moving.  And before Jughead can explain that inside the bag are the things he needs for his biology project, the bag breaks apart and out comes a menagerie of furry and slimy creatures, which makes me wonder what the heck kind of project Jughead could possibly be working on.

Now, apparently we know that two of the animals that Jughead brings are a rabbit and a rat...because Veronica has a hard time telling the two apart until the rat decides to shoo the bunny away. 

We also see that Jughead has brought a lizard which frightens Amani as well as a snake which causes Big Ethel to freeze in fear.  And then Amani and Big Ethel collide with Veronica, knocking all three unconscious.

We also see that Jughead has brought a skunk - okay, where the hell did Jughead think that bringing in a skunk was a good idea - and the skunk decides that he wants to get close to the human skunk Reggie.  Eventually the skunk sends Reggie, Eugene, Moose, and Archie diving out the nearest window while a depressed MS. Grundy contemplates throwing herself out the window stares out the window as a frog jumps on her shoulder.  

This is Grundy's "this job is not worth the $30,000 salary" face.

And just to drill it into our heads just how poor MS. Grundy is, in the faculty lounge, she seems to be having one of those Del Monte fruit cups that have those pieces of peaches, nectarines, and cherries mixed in with know, the fruit cups that fill you up for all of four minutes? 

Ah, but wait.  There seems to be hope!  Mixed in with all of those PAST DUE notices and FINAL NOTICE letters is a letter from a private school for girls.  Apparently the school has heard of MS. Grundy and they feel that she would be a great addition to the faculty.  And of course, MS. Grundy is ready to jump at the chance to flee Riverdale Junior High and go off to do something more meaningful!

Of course, given that Mr. Weatherbee has wanted to make MS. Grundy MRS. Weatherbee since they were twelve, you know that he is definitely not going to take the news well.  And you know what?  Archie, who happens to be standing in the hallway overhears the whole conversation and decides that they do not want MS. Grundy to leave because she lets them play with paper airplanes and set fire to books and kill students in her classroom.

In short, Archie becomes incredibly selfish and decides that he wants to make everyone else in the class the same way.  Archie, I think you've been hanging around Reggie and Veronica too often.

Sure enough, once arriving at Pop Tate's, Archie explains that MS. Grundy could be leaving Riverdale Junior High, and Amani explains that she doesn't want her to go because she lets them get away with murder she's the best teacher they've ever had, and surprisingly enough Betty is on board the Self-Centered Express and takes charge in the "Keep Grundy at Riverdale Because We Don't Want Her To Leave...EVER" plot.  Betty's idea is to get everybody in the class to behave and do their homework and not kill anyone else in the classroom. 

And they even have their own handshake/high-five/group hug to show their solidarity in selfishness.  I mean, for pete's sake, MS. Grundy has the chance to get away from you donut heads.  Let her make up her own mind!

Sure enough, MS. Grundy believes that she is on another planet as suddenly her whole class (minus the one that Moose murdered) is acting like the Children of the Corn.  Seriously, they all do their homework, they answer all the questions correctly, and Reggie is prevented from pulling pranks on everyone.  It makes MS. Grundy very happy...and also very confused.

Why, the kids of the class even know how to do long division!  And everyone knows that 12-year-olds HATE long division!  Seriously, MS. Grundy is about ready to question everything about life.

The dismissal bell rings, and Betty offers to stay behind and clean the blackboards.  While Betty is working on removing the long division problems of death from the boards, Mr. Weatherbee enters MS. Grundy's classroom with what appears to be a stack of papers from one of those retro style print machines known as a dot matrix printer congratulating MS. Grundy on the fact that maybe her students aren't the stupidest students in the whole school because their grades have improved.  Humble MS. Grundy can't take all of the credit because she wants to save the kudos for her self-centered students instead.

And it is here that she makes a bombshell announcement.  She has been so impressed by how well behaved her students are that she has decided to take the job at the private school after all because they don't need her anymore!  The news causes Betty to choke on chalk dust and frazzles Mr. Weatherbee so much that he wraps himself up in the dot matrix paper like a mummy!  Betty is like "after all we did to make ourselves look smart and well-behaved, you decide to ditch us anyway you self centered old goat?".  MS. Grundy nods and says "Yep", and Betty declares "We'll see" as she flees the classroom with Mummy Weatherbee hopping along behind her.

At Pop Tate's, the majority of MS. Grundy's class meets up and Reggie immediately blames Archie for the idea, even though Betty speaks up and tells Reggie to lay off Archie in what could possibly be the worst delivered line ever.  Seriously, it's delivered in such a pitch that it appears as though Betty is calling Reggie "Archie".  But then again, most of the voice actors of the series were between the ages of 13 and 19, so I guess it can be forgiven.

But just as I was thinking that Betty was acting out of character, Eugene comes up with the idea to use reverse psychology on MS. Grundy so that she will be shamed into staying.  Seriously, what the hell has someone put in Pop Tate's hamburger meat to make our normally sane characters turn into Blair Warner from "The Facts of Life"?

Well, I don't have time to speculate on the "what ifs" now because it's time for the farewell assembly for MS. Grundy.  And you know for a farewell assembly, it's really kind of lame.  I mean, it's just a lame banner, Mr. Weatherbee standing on a stage and MS. Grundy sitting down in what appears to be a leftover chair that just happened to be kicking around.  You'd have thought that cheapskate Weatherbee would have at least given her some flowers...well, that is until I remember that Weatherbee probably blew the school budget on Grundy's birthday four episodes ago.

Interestingly enough, Weatherbee seems to be the only person sad to see MS. Grundy go, as everyone else in Grundy's class seems to be happy and secretive.  This tells me that Weatherbee is unsure of what is about to happen. 

What does happen is that not more than thirty seconds into Mr. Weatherbee's powerful speech about how he wants to profess his love for MS. Grundy and how he wants to take her to Vegas to get married how much he will miss her presence at Riverdale Junior High, Eugene literally hops out of his seat with some sort of remote control announcing that whatever was happening was happening now.

Betty and Amani are handing out noisemakers, and Eugene uses the remote control to raise the curtain to reveal some sort of screen that flashes "PARTY" and "BON VOYAGE" behind a very shocked Mr. Weatherbee and MS. Grundy.  I have to say, for 1987 standards, having a screen that seemingly does Power Point presentations is very ahead of its time. 

Meanwhile, the party continues.  Reggie throws water balloons inside the gym that appear to also be filled with soap, as when Big Ethel gets hit with one she starts blowing soap bottles out of her vuvuzela.

A vuvuzela is that horn, by the way.  You know, the ones that overzealous European football fans blow whenever Pele or David Beckham scores a goal?

And somehow Jughead has managed to climb up to the second floor balcony where he throws popcorn balls overhead to hungry students below.  I...uh...WHAT?  Seriously, this is absolutely unbelievable.  Never mind the fact that I couldn't see any visible way to climb up to the balcony...the real Jughead would have eaten all of that popcorn before he even climbed up the first step.

Pod people.  These people are pod people. 

And the King of the pod people, Mr. Weatherbee, is an epic fail at being a disciplinarian - which totally contradicts the way he is in the high school era comics.  I'm guessing that this was the moment in which he finally snapped.

After all, the love of his life is the one who eventually shoves Weatherbee out of the way and screams at her own students to stop the displays of anarchy once and for all.  Wow, I guess Grundy must be a good teacher after all, even though she witnessed Moose killing one of her students earlier in the week and did nothing about it.

But then I think that even MS. Grundy must be a pod person herself, as she makes an announcement that makes me pissed off.  She is so appalled that her class is a bunch of evil beasts that she is staying at Riverdale Junior High to piss them off even more, and to make their lives a living hell.

Only, she doesn't realize that this was what her class wanted all along.  She basically gave up a nice, cushy, rewarding job to spend the next years of her life with these self-centered froot loops who will continue to not do their homework, set things on fire, and other horrible things. 

Oh, but Archie and Eugene got what they wanted, so they're laughing at how selfish they are.

Now do you understand why this episode pisses me off?  I mean, yes.  MS. Grundy is an important character in this series, and yes, it was fairly evident that somehow she would end up staying at Riverdale Junior High anyway.  But the way that the kids went about doing it was wrong, wrong, wrong.  They didn't really care about her feelings at all.  It was all about them and what they wanted and who really cared about MS. Grundy anyway.

Now, let us have a moment of silence for the girl that Moose killed, since she was more or less forgotten about.  I'm not sure what your name was, and I really don't remember if you did anything other than allow yourself to be picked up by a 31-year-old pretending to be twelve, but you made a contribution to the show, and your brief moment in time will forever be missed.

Rest in peace, girl in the desk.

So, this week's entry was my least favourite episode.  Next week's is probably my favourite episode of The New Archies.  So, it balances out.

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