I'm always reminded around this time of year to watch out and not cry. I've also been told not to pout because Santa Claus is coming to town.
I've also been told he sees you when you're sleeping and knows when you're awake, and he knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.
Or, so they tell me.
Anyway, in this latest installment of The New Archies Reviewed, Archie and Eugene toy with the idea of doing something naughty in order to get a nice result. But when their consciences get the better of them, will they change their minds before Santa drops a lump of coal in their stockings?
Well, it's Day #18 in A POP CULTURE ADDICT'S ADVENT CALENDAR, so let's have a look and see with today's episode.
This is Episode 11B: Gunk For Gold!
Now, normally I would say that it is way too cold outside to be thinking about playing a soccer game in the middle of December, but here in Ontario, we're going up to fifty-five degrees Fahrenheit on Christmas Eve. We'll just go with the fact that this takes place in December.
Anyway, Archie and the gang (who are dressed in the appropriate blue and gold as opposed to the red uniforms the football team wore) are trying to play a game against the Bainbridge Bongoes, and they are absolutely failing miserably. I mean, just look at Coach Kleats' expression. Mind you, Coach Kleats is NEVER happy in this series, but in this case he has reason to be. The entire soccer team, known as the Riverdale Rockets are absolutely horrible.
Wait...Riverdale Rockets? Another thing they got wrong! The team name is the BULLDOGS!!! Sheesh. Oh well, maybe the Rockets were the junior high school name.
And apparently, like the United States of America, nobody at Riverdale cares about soccer. The spectators for the home team are MS. Grundy and Mr. Weatherbee...and one of them doesn't look like they even want to be there!
Somehow though, I understand why they are doing bad. I mean, if the other team can hire a paparazzi person to blind the very vain Veronica on the field, then Riverdale deserves to lose based on that fact alone.
Though, secretly, I'd love for Riverdale to win one game, just so they can make a mockery of the uber-annoying team captain of the Bongoes, Biff. His laugh is more annoying than Seth Rogen's and he is so obnoxious he makes Reggie look like Princess Diana.
Long story short, the Rockets lose for the third straight game, and everyone is really bummed about the loss. Some of them are willing to hang up their soccer cleats once and for all.
I mean, when you have Biff entering the opposing team's locker room to make fun of you, you know that can't be a good thing.
You want to know who is optimistic about the team? Archie Andrews, that's who. And to prove it, he tells the team that they can do whatever they put their minds to, and quotes the great Billy Ocean by saying "when the going gets tough, the tough get going".
You know, that's a great song. Let's add it in here.
Of course, not even the smooth vocal stylings of Mr. Ocean, nor the optimism of Archie can convince the rest of the team that they will be the stars of the school, and they leave poor Archie standing there like a fool.
Well, it looks like hours later, Archie and Eugene are working together on a science project. Notice that Archie is eating a big slice of pizza while Eugene is making some sort of reddish liquid. Unless it's black cherry soda, I don't care what Eugene's making.
But a funny thing happens. Did you know that when you mix that red stuff with a combination of melted mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, and pepperoni, you make it turn green and bounce all around the room? Seriously, Archie, watch where you eat your dinner!
Archie tries his best to catch the bouncy green ball, and he thinks he succeeds by jumping on top of it. But the bouncy green gunk catapults Archie out the second story window breaking his neck and killing him instantly.
No, that green gunk has apparently made Archie jump super high...and apparently has made him believe that he is Marky Mark with the posing that he's doing. And Eugene has a few ideas to test the gunk out.
First, he throws a basketball towards Archie, who sinks it in the basket without breaking a sweat.
Then he tosses the old pigskin towards Archie, who jumps almost as high as that skyscraper in the background.
Archie then declares that the gunk they created is fantastic, and that he and Eugene should do something with it. Well, we know that they can't legally SELL it. Because we all know that Archie and Eugene basically invented "Flubber", which the Nutty Professor created back in 1961. But since the name Flubber is trademarked, they just refer to it as super gunk.
Ah, this is where Gunk for Gold comes in...oh, wait. Oh damn. Damn damn damn. Please for the love of God tell me this isn't the magic feet episode. I'm getting a sinking feeling about this one.
You know, Reggie suddenly pops up with a soccer ball, and stares at Archie and Eugene, and I'm relieved to see him. This buys me some time before I inevitably have to recap the...magic feet portion of the episode.
See, Reggie has an idea to use the gunk to make the soccer team better. He tells Archie and Eugene that it is their duty to test the gunk out, so he gets them to spread the gunk on the bottom of everyone's soccer shoes. After all, the captain of the Bongoes is evil. More evil than Reggie. They have to show him karmic retribution.
Of course, the only ones who know about the secret are Archie, Eugene, and Reggie. And at the next game, the three of them try to tell everyone else that they should believe in themselves because they now have "magic feet". Oh, dear lord, it IS that episode. Shoot me. Shoot me now.
At first the rest of the team scoffs at the notion, but when Jughead suddenly loses control of his feet, it convinces the rest of the team that maybe they have the goods after all.
I won't bore you with the recap of the games...just that the team does significantly better and perform moves that would probably make a referee wonder if he should reprimand them or cheer them on.
Turns out that the team is making the comeback of the century, all thanks to the gunk that gave them magic feet. They do so well that they end up winning the next three games. See, look at the scoreboard!
Oh, and there's Betty and Veronica doing a magic feet cheer. I'd crawl into a hole and die at this point over how cheesy this is, but I have to say...when Betty and Veronica are doing this cheer, it is kind of cute. A lot cuter than say, if Jughead and Moose were in their positions.
And in the seat behind them, Archie and Eugene are looking tired and miserable, which prompts Betty to ask them why they are upset. After all, the team doesn't suck any more! But I think in Archie's case, he's starting to realize that winning by taking the easy way out isn't as much fun as he believed it would be.
But his conscience isn't strong enough to stop using the gunk. At the next game, Jughead is so cool, calm, and collected that he actually listens to his Walkman, eats a burger and moonwalks across the soccer field! He better be listening to Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel".
Ooooh...that's another awesome song. Let's add it in as well!
Also, I'm pretty sure that Jughead wearing a Walkman on the soccer field is against the rules...but what do I know? I've never played soccer professionally.
Oh, and there's also another scene where Big Ethel simultaneously injures eight players at once while Moose headbutts the soccer ball into the opposing goal, saying that he felt like Kareem-Abdul Jabbar the whole time.
Because Kareem-Abdul Jabbar was a well-known
soccer basketball player...
And as the Riverdale Rockets win one game after another, Archie's nerves start to get the better of him. He talks to MS. Grundy about it, but doesn't exactly reveal that he and Eugene have been using the gunk to make their team unstoppable. Instead, as he plants a rubber glove (seriously, he does), he listens to MS. Grundy's wise words as she basically tells him that it's better to keep your integrity in check rather than take the easy way out.
It's in that moment that Archie and Eugene realize they have to come clean.
I sure wish that they didn't start by contacting the Riverdale newspaper. For one, Reggie's dad owns it, and judging by the way he laughs in their ears over the receiver, Reggie's dad is as much of an unethical jerk as Reggie is himself.
No, instead, they gather the whole team together at Pop's, and confess everything. And how they confess is through visual aid. Archie grabs Jughead's beanie, dips it in the gunk, and throws it towards the video arcade.
Where Archie quickly realizes that he owes three people in the arcade a quarter each for distracting them from their game by a super bouncy hat.
Once the gang realizes that Archie, Eugene, and Reggie have duped them,
they rip off
their heads and use them as soccer balls Archie has the team make a
decision. Do they want to use the gunk
at the final match of the season to make Biff eat his words, or do they not use
the gunk and play a good clean match even though the final score could be so
horrendous that the only way the Riverdale Rockets could ever play soccer again
is if they relocate to Siberia.
Reggie naturally wants to keep cheating. The rest of the team...not so much.
The action shifts over to the last game of the season, and the Riverdale Rockets are playing the Bainbridge Bongoes. Look how excited the team looks to get out on the field!
Wow...if that's excitement, I'd hate to see what depression looks like.
It doesn't take long to realize that the team opted not to use the gunk after all because they all felt that cheating was wrong. After all, no team that uses gunk knocks each other out on the soccer field like Moose and Reggie have displayed here. And of course, Biff's laughter and attitude are just as obnoxious as ever.
Long story short, the crowd of supporters seems to be shocked that once again, their team sucks.
And by the end of the first half of the game, the Bongoes lead the Rockets 6-0. I have no idea if that's a good score or not, but either way, the Rockets have a lot of work to do.
And as the Rockets feel sorry for themselves, and Veronica verbally declares that they are no good without gunk, Archie pulls out his soapbox and announces that it wasn't the gunk that made them the team they are (well, actually, it was), but instead it was their ability to believe in themselves enough to actually put forth the honest effort needed to win all those games. It wasn't the gunk that gave them "magic feet" (actually it was), but their determination.
And just like that, the team thinks that Archie is Gandhi and they start chanting "magic feet" as if they were under his hypnosis.
Soon after, MS. Grundy leads the crowd into doing a "MAGIC FEET! MAGIC FEET!" chorus, and it is seriously taking everything in me not to throw up right now.
So in the second half of the game, the team's newfound confidence allows the team to play at their very best, adding goals to their own total, and...
...and I'm pretty sure that what Ethel and Jughead are doing is AGAINST THE RULES AND WOULD GET BOTH OF THEM EJECTED FROM THE GAME!!!
But whatever...score's 6-6, and there's a minute left in play.
Oh, look. It's Amani for her required 30 seconds of airtime to score the winning goal for the team!
The crowd goes wild! MS. Grundy and Mr. Weatherbee are losing their minds. The Magic Feet tour bus has arrived at the station. And Archie is thrilled that his power to motivate people continues to work!
We end the episode with MS. Grundy looking at a photo of the team winning the championship, which MS. Grundy adds was done fair and square. This makes me wonder if she knew all along that they were cheating...I guess we'll never know.
Okay, so the pros of the episode? Well, I think this one of only two episodes (the other one is "Stealing The Show") that features the whole cast. All of the kids appear in it, as well as the two main adults. So, that's very special. The episode also has a couple of good messages for kids. One is that you should never cheat your way through life because you won't feel good about it. And the other is that if you believe in yourself enough, you can get through anything.
But if I hear the words Magic Feet one more time...I'm gonna scream.