December 02, 2014

MY ART: CARNIVAL PRIZE MIRRORS INSPIRED BY 1980s HORROR



Once again I have the joy of participating in Gallery 1988's Crazy 4 Cult art show (opening December 12th) in which nearly a hundred artists pay tribute to cult films. This year I tried a new format, and created a set of decorative mirrors like the ones that were offered as carnival game prizes throughout the 1970s, 80s, and 90s that featured the cultural icons of the moment.

Before we take a closer look at my stuff, let us review the enthralling history of prize mirrors. The concept seems to have emerged in the '70s, and the mirrors were quickly rumored to double as a handy surface to cut n' sniff cocaine. When they first showed up in the carnys' trailers most were nearly as large as record album covers, and contained in semi-sturdy wooden frames, with the images screen-printed onto the glass...




Over the years their quality devolved dramatically.

Some of the earlier mirrors were marbled with decorative colored veins, but this feature was soon discontinued for the most part...

(photos came from ebay)

Multiple sizes were available to accommodate the "Small" and "Large" prize categories, but as the '80s progressed the big ones were mostly phased out in favor of the six by six universal standard...



The wooden (and sometimes metallic plastic) frames were downgraded to cardboard.


The next degradation was replacing the mirrors with regular clear glass, and printing the image on back.

 

In their chintziest form the prizes consisted of a piece of glass slipped in front of a cardstock printout in a cardstock frame.

 


However, in recent years the spirit of the carnival prize mirror lives on in its descendent, the framed poster.

All that said, my mirror creations are meant to emulate those middle years when real mirrors were still in use, but the frames were low-end.

One wonders if any of the imagery was ever officially authorized, but bootlegging was certainly rampant, and some fascinating "off-guide" artwork could be found...


While the format changed dramatically, the visual themes remained constant. The subjects revolved around the sex, drugs, & rock formula, and in my neck of the woods there was also a healthy dose of pro-gun and confederate pride propaganda.


This was the inspiration for my tribute to John Carpenter's 1982 version of The Thing...

Naturally, Kurt Russell's character is all-American, but as you may recall, the Thing is first unleashed in a Norwegian research camp in the Arctic, thus the Norwegian flag that gives the design its confederate flavor. Since carnival mirrors are rife with misguided typography I happily took the opportunity to use the font Hobo. It's a typeface I try to work into as many projects as possible, yet sadly my efforts are almost always shot down.

(In case you can't tell, the images are placed on real mirrors. They just look a bit weird because I blurred the reflections in Photoshop. )

I've always enjoyed the way that traveling fairs embraced 80's Heavy Metal music and then refused to let go long after its heyday. Just last year I heard a Gravitron proudly blaring Poison and Cinderella. Since the majority of prize mirrors are rock related I aimed high by mashing up Evil Dead 2 (1987), a quintessential horror flick, with Iron Maiden, the embodiment of carnival life.


Occupying the airbrushed tropical beach babe slot is this homage to Predator (1987). It's not so far-fetched once you reflect on how purely sexy that helmet is.

Lastly, representing the common theme of substance abuse, I chose to pay tribute to another John Carpenter joint, They Live (1988).  It seemed fitting since the aliens in the film use media as an opiate. Of course the Zig Zag man would be one of them.


My mirrors will be for sale as a set once Crazy 4 Cult begins on December 12th. (EDIT: They sold!!) Here's the link to all the art.


THE JUMBO GALAXY LASER TEAM



The Galaxy Laser Team (a.k.a. Star Patrol) by TimMee are a collection of plastic figures that showed up in dollar shops and grocery store toy racks soon after Star Wars hit the big time. Their mixed heritage and "blank slate" nature often managed to tempt me away from my officially licensed space toys, leaving me with many fond playtime memories. The group was the subject of one of my early blog posts, and two years ago I was proud to announce their triumphant return in reissued form. Now I've got— get this, bigger news (haw haw!), the jumbo, five-inch versions have been reissued as well!

I never saw the large versions when I was a kid, in fact, I didn't know they existed until a few years ago, which is some indication of how rare they are. Suddenly, all of those cocky jumbo Laser Team owners have been taken down several notches, and the rest of us formerly ebay-sniped collectors are finally in on the joy.

Five of the seven small scale designs are available in one set. (The other astronaut and the heroine were never released in this size.)


 I was caught off guard by how substantial these really are. Having been so familiar with their two-inch counterparts, my brain had to readjust to the new scale, and it's still strange to feel their weight in my hand. The big format also reveals new details in the sculpts.

Here's an obligatory comparison shot...

 

The sixties astronaut with the tape recorder is so super jumbo that a fearsome claw creature is reduced to the catch of the day...



 I also got a sample of more TimMee sets that are new this year...

The Dinosaurs!...




I had lived on this planet less than two years when my parents shoved these monsters into my tiny hands. It doesn't seem like plastic dinosaurs should possess 'meaning' and yet these little objects were some of the foundational building blocks of my perception of this world. Plus, my cavemen finally have a proper challenge!

The light green Vs. dark green Army Men...
These classic TimMee army men have been re-released in number of different color combos, but nothing could be more appropriate than good ol' green.

Just don't forget who the star of this post is...





Cut-offs wearing alien makes his bed among his fallen enemies.

The Frontiersmen figures...
These date back to my dad's childhood, when they were marketed as Davey Crockett or Daniel Boone depending on who was more popular at the time.  For me the age of these designs makes them extra special.

One possible drawback is that a significant portion of the set were intended to mount horses.  So until those get reissued you'll probably want to track down some old ones. Or there's another solution...


All of these sets and many more are available on Amazon.

(To borrow a line from TV show credits: Promotional consideration was made possible by TimMee toys.)
 

November 22, 2014

ANALYSIS OF A BRADY BUNCH EPISODE



[Note: I started this post several years ago and abandoned it many times due to its bloated and ridiculous nature. Yet I found myself revisiting it again and again, months or years apart, and somehow it wound up finished. It is with hesitance and a bit of shame that I present the completed article.]


When describing The Brady Bunch I might use words like: comforting, enjoyable, beloved, and life-changing, but "funny" is just not one of them. Believe it or not, it is well documented that the show was meant to be a Comedy, and in fact, certain sequences were written with intent to cause laughter.

I've often pondered the nature of Brady humor. So much happens in the name of mirth, yet it yields so little. It's not just because it's outdated. Plenty of shows older than The Brady Bunch can still get real laughs. While there is a juvenile element, I don't think it's to blame either. I think the Bradys aren't funny because they're too realistic. Their casual wisecracks resemble the real life humor that ordinary people attempt as they relate to one another everyday, especially if kids are around.

I wouldn't roll my eyes if I had a coworker who joked around like Alice, but I wouldn't laugh aloud either. Neither do the Bradys. They usually retort with a quip and move on. Yet the canned laughter on the show seems to indicate that the gags are supposed to be laugh-out-loud funny. This divide between the artificial audience and the response from real humans can create a dissonance that is off-putting for many viewers.

What exactly were the writers trying to pass off as jokes?
I've set out to answer this question by over-analyzing a full episode on a joke-by-joke basis. In this article you will find a show's worth of transcribed dialogue along with over fifty screenshots. For every quip, every antic, and every monkeyshine I have documented the following information...
-The per-joke laugh track intensity on a 4 star rating system
-The type of humor
-A literal description of the joke

To clarify on the "laugh track intensity," close inspection reveals that the prerecorded laughter on the Bradys can vary from joke to joke. The audio engineer adjusted the intensity and duration of each phony burst of laughter according to the perceived funniness of each gag. So some "bigger" jokes get riotous laughter while other gags nearly bomb with the faux crowd. I have developed a laugh-o-meter in which the number of stars is proportionate to the length and robustness of the "laughter."

* = A chuckle from one or two members of the audience.
** = A brief expression of amusement from a modest portion of the crowd.
*** = A hearty laugh had by all. The general consensus is that this is funny stuff.
****= The highest level of uncontrollable laughter, reserved for only the most outrageously comedic moments in a given episode.
(-) = The rare instance when a joke was likely intended by the writer, however the execution failed to the extent that no fake laughs were issued.

The episode I've selected for my study is "The Slumber Caper" (Season 2: Episode 3, original airdate: October 9, 1970). It can be seen here in its entirety (EDIT: if you're a "CBS All Access" subscriber.) Let us begin this in-depth dissection of one particular story of a man named Brady...




The Brady girls impatiently wait outside Mike's den as mister and missus Brady discuss something seemingly important.

CAROL
It's part of growing up for a girl.

MIKE
Jan and Cindy in on this too?

CAROL
Well it wouldn't be fair to leave them out.

Back outside the den...

ALICE
Any Word?

JAN
Not yet.

Back to Mike and Carol...

MIKE
Let's go ahead with it.
If Rome can outlast an invasion by the barbarians what can a few little girls do to the Brady House?**
[Hyperbole/Historic Reference- Little girls are compared to brutal barbarians while the Brady house is likened to the Roman Empire. After successfully withstanding numerous barbarian invasions in the early 5th century Rome was eventually engulfed by the savage hordes, reducing it to chaos.]

MARSHA
Well mom?

CAROL
Yes Marsha, you can have your slumber party!***
[Misdirection/Relief- Thus far in the episode dramatic devices such as solemn music and melodramatic acting have indicated dire circumstances. It is revealed that the situation is in fact, lighthearted.]

Later in the Kitchen, Mike walks in and finds Alice behind the counter expressing visible concern.

MIKE
Hey Alice did ya hear?
We're gonna have a slumber party.
Said we're gonna have a slumber party.

ALICE
I heard.

MIKE
What's the matter?

ALICE
Just thought I'd start doing something useful for the party
like nailing down the furniture. **
[Hyperbole- Nailing down furniture as a method of party preparation is extreme, and beyond the bounds of normal behavior. Effectual damage to the furniture would practically defeat the purpose of the act.]

MIKE
(laughs)
Alice.. Just a few little girls.. it can't be that bad.

ALICE
Mr. Brady have you ever been to a slumber party?

MIKE
No. Can't say that I have.

ALICE
Well I have, and one thing is certain...

MIKE
Mmmmm, what's that?

ALICE
Nobody.. NOBODY slumbers.**
[Word Play/Irony- Alice points out the incongruity between the name of the event and the activity that generally takes place during these events.]

MIKE
Laughs momentarily before his face takes on a look of shock.**
[Schadenfreude/Physical Comedy- Mike expresses displeasure and fear with an exaggerated reaction.]

Meanwhile the Brady boys hang out on the swing set in the backyard...

GREG
We're gonna be invaded by girls.

BOBBY
Will there be a lot of 'em?

PETER
Won't matter how many. It will seem like a million.*
[Hyperbole/Schadenfreude- Peter uses a high number to get his point across. He is obviously displeased with the notion of many female visitors.]

GREG
They won't do anything but giggle all night long.

PETER
You know I'll bet ya Marsha invites that Paula Tarry.
Boy is she hung up on you.*
[Teasing/Schadenfreude- The audience laughs with Peter as he taunts Greg.]

GREG
That's a disgusting thought. I'll probably have to hide all night.

BOBBY
Maybe I'll have to hide too. Somebody might be hung up on me.**
[Enthymeme/Child's Logic- Bobby's faulty reasoning leads him to believe that this situation also applies to him. He is unaware that it is unlikely that a girl of Marsha's age would be interested in such a young boy.]

MIKE
Hey fellas. C'mon I can use a little help.

GREG
What's up dad?

MIKE
I wanna get the sleeping bags out of the storage room in the garage and air 'em out.
C'mon.

GREG
Are we going camping?

PETER
Like maybe Saturday night while all the girls are here?*
[Wishful Thinking- Peter made an assumption based entirely on that which he desires rather than seeking rational evidence.]

MIKE
No, sorry fellas. No such luck.

GREG
Why the sleeping bags?

MIKE
Well, for the slumber party. We can't put all the girls up there in the girls room, they'd be packed in like sardines.

BOBBY
Are they gonna sleep out in the back yard?

MIKE
No they're gonna sleep in the living room in the sleeping bags.

GREG
In our sleeping bags.

PETER
They'll get 'em all full of perfume.

BOBBY
We'll all stink!**
[Child's logic/Irony- Likely due to his young age, Bobby's opinion that perfume is odorous is the opposite of common understanding.]

MIKE
Eh, That'll be enough of that, now c'mon, help me.

Later in the kitchen the girls make suggestions as Carol and Alice write up a grocery list...

MARSHA
Let's have hot dogs!

CAROL
Good idea.

JAN
Why not hamburgers?

CAROL
No, hot dogs are easier.

ALICE
Hot Dogs.*
[Empathy/Character Driven- Because of her role as the family cook Alice is eager to take on the easier dish and she's not ashamed of flaunting this fact. The audience relates to this as they are also lazy.]

CINDY
How bout jelly beans?*
[Child's logic- Cindy's suggestion is nearly inappropriate. Her notion is based on her shortsighted desire for candy which possesses excellent flavor but low nutritional value.]

JAN
With mustard and relish.

MARSHA
And lots of pickles too.

ALICE
Mus. Rel. Pic.

CINDY
And jelly beans.*
[Running Gag/Child's Logic- Cindy's return to this already poor suggestion further indicates her desire, stubbornness, and self-centeredness.]

ALICE
And one bag jelly beans.

CINDY
Thanks Alice.*
[Running gag/Child's Logic- Cindy finally get her way thanks to her relentless pestering.]

CAROL
Listen you kids better get your books. You're gonna be late for school.

CINDY
Bye mommy.

JAN
Okay. Bye.

MARSHA
Mom, remember what you and dad promised.

CAROL
I remember.

Mike walks in hearing the tail end of the conversation.

MIKE
What did dad promise?

CAROL
Oh, well it was kind of what I promised for both of us.

MIKE
Oh, yeah.

CAROL
That eh, we'd leave the girls alone. We wouldn't hang around the party.

MIKE
Well, what shall we do?
(imitating W.C. Fields) Spend a quiet evening in the garage?**
[Impersonation/Absurdity- Mike mimics the movement and vocal style of the comic actor W.C. Fields. He implies that staying clear of the house leaves them with an unlikely and undesirable option.]

CAROL
Oh, Mike.

MIKE
...(continues impersonation) to patch a few old tires.**
[Impersonation/Absurdity- Mike continues to playfully imitate a well known actor. Patching tires is not generally considered to be an appropriate or desirable act on a date.]

CAROL
Oh, no I have a much better idea for us.

MIKE
Uh, oh. What?

CAROL
Would you like a little hint?

MIKE
Uh huh.

CAROL
Well, um, dinner for two, candlelight, soft music...dancing...

MIKE
You're a great hinter, you know that?*
[Word Play/Understatement- Mike indicates that Carol's "hint" was actually a list of complete ideas. However he approves of her suggestions because of their romantic nature.]

MIKE
That sounds good. That is unless Alice doesn't mind holding down the fort while we're gone.

ALICE
Oh, I don't mind holding down the fort. Just bear in mind that those were the last words of General Custer.***
[Wisecrack/Hyperbole/Historic Reference-Alice draws a parallel between the girls' party and a well-known massacre.]

Later in the girls room, Marsha makes out a list of invited guests.

MARSHA
Now let's see. I've already invited Jenny Wilton, my best friend... and Paula Tarry from my English class... now, who else?

CINDY
What do you do at a slumber party?

MARSHA
Well, you play games and you talk about boys. And you talk about boys and you play games.*
[Character Driven/Redundancy- Marsha makes a statement followed by a similar statement with words reversed to emphasize her obsession with young men, which is an ongoing obsession for her character.]

CINDY
What are the games about?

JAN
Boys!*
[Character Driven/Running Gag- Jan revisits the subject with even more emphasis to reiterate the value that these young girls place on the opposite sex.]

CINDY
Boys? Who likes Boys?**
[Child's Logic- Cindy's young age and lack of hormonal activity prevents her from understanding her sister's fascination with the opposite sex.]

Meanwhile in the boys room...

GREG
Hey, I got it. Oh, boy have I got an idea. Are we gonna have fun at that slumber party.

PETER
You gotta be kidding!

BOBBY
I'm not going around any of those girls.**
[Child's Logic/Running Gag- Bobby's young age prevents him from desiring any encounters with the opposite sex. His statement echoes Cindy's attitude.]

GREG
Listen to me you guys, now listen.. we're gonna pull tricks on 'em.. get it?

BOBBY
Tricks?

GREG
Yeah, you know, scare 'em. Jokes.

PETER AND BOBBY
Yeah!**
[Character Driven- The boys unified enthusiasm is both boyish and infectious.]

GREG
Now we oughta be able to think of some really great stuff.

BOBBY
Like rubber spiders?*
[Practical Joke- the notion of commercially made novelty spiders for the purpose of instilling fear is amusing in itself.]

GREG
It's a good start.

PETER
Scary masks! Spooky noisemakers* and one of those plastic skeletons!*
[Novelty Items- These have inherent comedic value and are universally appreciated.]

GREG
Yeah, yeah that's good! Hey wait a minute.. wait a minute.
I got it. Oh boy, is this beautiful!

PETER AND BOBBY
What?

GREG
Itching powder in the sleeping bags!**
[Deviance- Greg has devised a method of disrupting the girls' plans that could potentially cause extreme discomfort.]

PETER AND BOBBY
Yeah!


Later in the back yard Mike and Carol inspect a row of sleeping bags on the ground.

CAROL
Well I know the boys aired these out Mike, but they still seem a little dusty to me.

MIKE
Yeah well, I got 'em to do them this morning. I guess they didn't have too much enthusiasm for the job.

CAROL
Well maybe we oughta hang them up and beat them.

MIKE
Sleeping bags or the boys?**
[Sick Joke- Mike feigns a misinterpretation of Carol's statement to make it sound as if he thought she was condoning child abuse.]

CAROL
Oh, Mike. Well, look I think I'd better go check the food for the party.

MIKE
Hey, is all that just for the girls?
(Phew) I thought we were starting a supply depot for the eighth army.**
[Hyperbole- Mike makes an exaggerated comparison between their party food supply and a government storehouse for the eighth army (which was stationed in South Korea when the episode aired.)  In reality, the food they purchased would not be sufficient to feed such an army for even a single meal.]

GREG
Hi mom and dad.

MIKE
Say listen Gregory, your mother's not too happy with the job you guys did on the sleeping bags.

CAROL
Yeah I think they need just a little more freshening up.

MIKE
No it's not gonna take too much time. All you have to...

GREG
(interrupting) Sure we'd be glad to.*
[In-joke- The audience understands Greg's sudden shift in behavior due to his new motivation.]

MIKE
Huh?**
[Misunderstanding- Mike is puzzled. The audience feels superior and is entertained by his confusion.]

GREG
We'll do anything mom wants us to do.

MIKE
You will?*
[Misunderstanding- Mike remains confused.]

CAROL
Thank you Greg.

GREG
No trouble. I'll go get the guys.

CAROL
I thought you said they weren't too enthusiastic.


MIKE
That's funny, that's what I thought I said too.**
[Word play- While Mike clearly remembers his earlier statement, he is pretending to be unsure. This is his way of communicating his confusion brought on by his recent encounter with Greg.]


The next day at school Marsha is in the principals office.

PRINCIPAL RANDOLPH (to Marsha)
Mrs. Denton found this when she was tidying up the desks in her room. Please take a look at it.

Randolph hands Marsha a sheet of notebook paper.

MARSHA
(reading the caption under an illustration on the paper)
"Mrs. Denton or a Hippopotamus?"

PRINCIPAL RANDOLPH
Is that your handwriting and your class?

MARSHA
Yes sir.

PRINCIPAL RANDOLPH
Did you draw that picture?

MARSHA
Yes sir, but that's not Mrs. Denton. It's George Washington.

PRINCIPAL RANDOLPH
George Washington?**
[Unexpected/Dissonance/Physical Comedy- This revelation is shocking given the poor likeness of the drawing. The crowd delights in (and possibly empathizes with) the principal's perplexed reaction.]

MARSHA
There's a picture of him on the wall and I was copying it.

PRINCIPAL RANDOLPH
And what about Mrs. Denton's name and that remark?

MARSHA
I didn't write her name, or that remark.

PRINCIPAL RANDOLPH
Marsha I think you'd better explain.

MARSHA
But I can't! I mean... Well, I finished my classwork a little early and I was doodling and my name happened to be on the paper.
I doodled George Washington. I didn't doodle Mrs. Denton.**
[Situational/Alliteration?- There's no joke here. The canned laughter may be intended as a response to the phrase "didn't doodle Mrs. Denton." Either that, or Marsha's distress.]

PRINCIPAL RANDOLPH
Doesn't much look like George Washington.

MARSHA
I guess I'm not a very good artist.

PRINCIPAL RANDOLPH
You expect me to believe this is your paper, your name, and your drawing, but you didn't write her name or that remark.

MARSHA
That's right Mr. Randolph

PRINCIPAL RANDOLPH
Marsha I'd like to believe you. You've always been a good student, but what you're saying doesn't sound logical.

MARSHA
But I didn't do it.

PRINCIPAL RANDOLPH
This sort of thing has happened before, too often. Not just you but the other students.

MARSHA
But Mr. Randolph...

PRINCIPAL RANDOLPH
I'm afraid you're going to have to be the example. You'll have to stay after school one hour everyday for a week. That's all Marsha. Except because you'll be staying after school I'll have to notify your parents.


After school back at the Brady den, Mike and Carol talk to Marsha.

CAROL
As much as we hate to do it Marsha, I'm afraid you can't have your slumber party.

MARSHA
My party?

MIKE
Honey, that drawing might have seemed funny at the time, but you just must have respect for your teachers.

MARSHA
But I didn't do it! I didn't write Mrs. Denton's name on it or that stupid remark.

CAROL
Your principal said you did honey and he's a very responsible man. He wouldn't punish you for nothing.

MARSHA
You mean you'd rather believe him than me.

MIKE
Marsha, from what you've said that paper was in your desk and your name was on it. Now what else could Mr. Randolph think?

MARSHA
You don't believe me either. And if you don't I don't want a party or anything ever from you!

That night before Mike and Carol go to bed they discuss the issue...

MIKE
It's not like her honey. I've never seen Marsha so adamant.

CAROL
That's one thing about Marsha when she's wrong she admits it.

MIKE
And the slumber party isn't the big problem. It's the fact that we don't believe her.

CAROL
Mike do you think Mr. Randolph could be mistaken?

MIKE
Well there's one way to find out.


The next day Mike sits in Mr. Randolph's office holding the drawing.

MIKE
Well, I can't vouch for the drawing or what's printed underneath, but there's no doubt about the class and the name. That's Marsha's handwriting alright.

PRINCIPAL RANDOLPH
There was only one conclusion I could reach Mr. Brady.

MIKE
Oh, yes of course, it's uh, just that Marsha was so upset I felt I had to speak to ya.

PRINCIPAL RANDOLPH
I understand. Marsha's always been an excellent student but uh, well, we do have to preserve discipline.

MIKE
Oh, yes. My wife and I certainly agree with you on that. Well, thanks for you time Mr. Randolph.

PRINCIPAL RANDOLPH
Not at all. I only wish more parents would take the time to get involved.

MIKE
By the way, would you mind if I kept that.

PRINCIPAL RANDOLPH
Oh, of course not.

MIKE
Thanks.
Uh, Mr. Randolph...Does Mrs. Denton really look like that?*
[Situational/Taboo- Mike breaches the topic of Mrs. Denton's possibly hideous appearance.]

PRINCIPAL RANDOLPH
Unfortunately yes.**
[Derogatory/Socially Awkward/Schadenfreude- To answer the question honestly Denton must reveal a negative aspect of one of his staff. The fact that she is unattractive is also hilarious.]


CAROL
It could be George Washington.

MIKE
Well of course it could. You know she admits she drew the picture but anybody could have done the printing.

CAROL
Mike, what do you think?

MIKE
Honey I think an understandable mistake has been made and we ought to take Marsha's word for it.

CAROL
Well I think we should too.

MIKE
Of course this is just our judgment. There's no way to prove it to Mr. Randolph.

CAROL
I know. What about the slumber party?

MIKE
As far as I'm concerned the punishment at home is off! Let's have the party.

CAROL
Good. I'll tell her.

MIKE
And I'll tell General Custer to get her boots and saber out of mothballs.**
[Wisecrack/Running Gag/Historical Reference- A continuation of the comparison between the slumber party and Custer's last stand.]


Soon thereafter, Carol enters the girl's bedroom.

CAROL
Marsha. Your father and I just had a little talk. Now we don't know exactly what happened at school, but we think there's been a mistake. We believe what you said about the picture.

MARSHA
Thanks mom.

CAROL
Well you'll still have to go along with your punishment at school but the slumber party is on again!

GIRLS
(Scream.) Thanks mom!


The boys sit in their room and hear the commotion from the girl's room.

GREG
I wonder what's up.

MIKE
Hey fellas I just thought you'd like to know the slumber party's on again.

BOYS
Really? It is?

BOBBY
Hooray!**
[Irony/In-Joke- Bobby's reaction is the opposite of what Mike expects, while the audience understands the discrepancy.]

MIKE
Well, I hardly expected that reaction.

PETER
Well, we're kind of looking forward to it.

BOBBY
Yeah.*
[Character Driven- Being a naive boy, Bobby is unable to mask his excitement which could arouse suspicion and ruin their secret plan.]

MIKE
Oh, you are?

GREG
Uh, they mean we're looking forward to the girls having a good time.**
[Deviance/Absurdity- Greg tells an unlikely lie to his father in an effort to rationalize his brother's behavior.]

MIKE
Oh yeah, well that's, that's very nice of you Greg. All you boys.

PETER
We'll be glad to do anything to help the party along.

BOBBY
Yeah, anything. (chuckling)**
[Character Driven- Oblivious to his brother's lie and disapproving looks, Bobby continues to reveal his tell-tale enthusiasm.]

MIKE
What's so funny?

BOBBY
Nothing. Nothing.**
[Character Driven- Bobby follows his brother's example and lies to his father. His inexperience makes the deception obvious.]

PETER
That dumb do-do laughs at anything. *
[Character Driven/Deviance- Peter uses a weak blanket statement to explain his brother's behavior, as if Mike doesn't know his own son.]

GREG
Yeah, he's got a real weird sense of humor.**
[Character Driven/Derogatory/Deviance Greg reiterates Peter's statement. This cover up doubles as an insult.]

MIKE
Okay.

Mike walks toward the door. Pauses and turns around with a look of suspicion.**
[Physical Comedy- As always, Mike's visible skepticism and confusion is certified comedy gold.]

After dad leaves, Greg hits Bobby with a pillow.***
[Slapstick/Relief- Greg physically lashes out at his younger brother in an act of retribution for his foolishness.]


The girls are back in their bedroom.

JAN
Aren't you happy?

MARSHA
About the party? Yes. And mom and dad believing me.*
[Erroneous-This in no way resembles a joke. One can only conclude that the laugh track was placed here in error.]
 But I still have to stay after school for something I didn't do.

CINDY
I wonder who did it.

MARSHA
I've been thinking about that. I've got English the next to last period in the afternoon. So I figure whoever used my desk for the last period might be the one.

JAN
Hey yeah, that's the only one it could be.

CINDY
But do you know who it is?

MARSHA
Jenny Wilton.

JAN
Jenny Wilton? She's your best friend!

MARSHA
She was my best friend.

JAN
What are you going to do?

MARSHA
I'll show you.


Marsha talks on the phone as the girls look on.

JENNY WILTON (on phone)
Hello?

MARSHA
Hello Jenny, this is Marsha. I called about the slumber party I'm having tomorrow night.

JENNY
I can hardly wait.

MARSHA
Well, it's only for my friends.

JENNY
Sure, I'm your friend Marsha.

MARSHA
Not anymore you're not. So consider yourself uninvited. (Hangs up the phone)

JENNY
Marsha? Marsha?

The night of the slumber party arrives. Alice watches the girls as they congregate around a circle of sleeping bags. A table of snack food awaits.

GIRLS
(Giggling)




ALICE
You two just run along have a good time at dinner. Remember you have left the cavalry in charge.*
[Wisecrack/Running Gag/Historic Reference- Alice compares herself to the U.S. 7th Cavalry which included the Custer Battalion in yet another allusion to the historic massacre.]

CAROL
Well hang on to your saddle Alice.*
[Wisecrack/Running Gag/Historic Reference-Carol plays along with Alice's metaphor.]

MIKE
Hey, where are the boys?

CAROL
They're in their room studying.

MIKE
Studying on a Saturday night? Maybe we ought to take their temperature.**
[Character Driven/Dad Joke/Wisecrack- Mike's joke implies that this behavior is so uncharacteristic it must be a symptom of a serious illness, possibly delirium.]

CAROL
Oh, come on Mike. Good luck Alice.

ALICE
I don't need luck Mrs. Brady just a short course in riot control.**
[Hyperbole- Alice abandons her Custer motif in favor of another form of conflict by suggesting that the party will resemble a mob of rioters.]
You two run along.





PARTY GUEST
Hey guys, let's play "ha!"

The girls lie on the floor in "Ha" formation. Each girl rests their head on another girls stomach creating a circle.

GIRLS
Yeah! You go first
Everybody ready?

GUESTS
Ha. Ha. Ha ha ha ha... etc.

MARSHA
You guys... let's all play another game

GUESTS
Okay.
How about Truth or Dare?
Yeah, let's play that.



MARSHA
Okay, and I'll go first. Paula, you're the one. Who's the cutest boy you know? Truth or Dare?

PAULA
(Giggles) Greg Brady.
(Group laughter)
Now it's my turn to ask. And Ruthie, you're the one. Truth or Dare. Have you ever been kissed by Hank Coleman?

RUTHIE
Well, I'll take the dare.*
[Situational/Deviant- Ruthie's choice suggests that the truth regarding her love life is too shameful to reveal.]

PAULA
Alright, you have to go upstairs and see what Marsha's brothers are doing.
(Group laughter)

RUTHIE
Karen, will you come with me please?

KAREN
Not me.

MARSHA
I will.

At the top of the stairs Greg jumps out wearing a sheet and a Phantom of the Opera mask. The girls scream.***
[Physical Comedy/Unexpected- The girls involuntarily respond to the seemingly threatening stimulus with a primal defense mechanism.]

RUTHIE
It looked like a monster!

MARSHA
I think it was Greg.

ALICE
Hot dogs anyone?
(The girls rush Alice to get hot dogs.)
There's one for everybody.



Karen returns to her sleeping bag, folds it back to discover a large, phony spider

KAREN
A spider!*
[Practical Joke/Physical Humor- A rubber spider successfully startles a member of the slumber party.]
A big, hairy spider!



ALICE
Aw, ha ha ha ha. It looks like there's more than one tribe on the warpath.**
[Wisecrack/Running Gag/Historical Reference- Alice alludes to the Native American tribes that slaughtered General Custer and his men. ]

MARSHA
My brothers.

JAN
Those dumb-dumbs alright.**
[Derogatory/ Character Driven- Fueled by blind animosity towards her brother, Jan erupts with a biting insult.]

ALICE
Hey I forgot the potato salad.
(Alice opens the refrigerator, see's a phony skull with light-up eyes and screams as she slams the door shut.)**
[Practical Joke/Unexpected/Physical Comedy/Schadenfreude- Alice displays a strong, fearful physical reaction to the artificial skull.]



She reopens the door to examine the object of her fear. On the shelf sits a plastic skull with flashing red lights in the eyes.**
[Practical Joke- The prank device is revisited and it merits another laugh.]

JAN
What happened?

ALICE
Nothing. I just lost my head.**
[Wordplay- Alice uses the phrase "lost my head" because figuratively it means losing control of ones' emotions, while literally it indicates a beheading. Her choice of words is appropriate considering the disembodied skull which is usually found inside a human head.]
Or found somebody's head. Eh, I'll be right in.

The girls leave annoyed.*
[Character Driven/Schadenfreude- The gags are disrupting the party and the girls are feeling agitated.]


Peter enters to see Alice open the refrigerator again.**
[Practical Joke- Yet again, screen time is given to the skull because of its undeniable comedic value.]

PETER
Sorry about that Alice.

Alice jestfully rares back her arm as if to backhand Peter. She places it on her chest and sighs with relief. Peter smiles.**
[Mishap/Physical Comedy/Schadenfreude Alice was not the intended victim. Alice expresses her displeasure with an empty threat of physical violence.]

Cut to: all three boys wearing monster disguises.**
[Unexpected- The sight of the boys wearing costumes is novel and unexpected.]

GREG
What's happening now?


BOBBY
They're gettin' ready to turn off the lights and tell ghost stories.*
[Character Driven- This is a statement, not a joke. It's possible that the canned reaction is meant to be derived from Bobby's enthusiasm.]

GREG
Ok, this is it. The real action now.

BOYS
Yeah.*
[Situational/Deviance/Character Driven- The boys' have an unauthorized plan to antagonize the girls. They are enthusiastic about it.]

ALICE (to the girls)
Last call for hot dogs.

GIRLS
No thanks.

ALICE
Ok. Now, if the werewolf howls and if the vampire starts flapping his wings don't come running to me. I'll be under the kitchen table.**
[Incongruity/Self Deprecating- The beginning of Alice's statement sounds tough, however, she reveals that her inability to help is due to intense fear. It also invokes a mental image of Alice hiding under a table.]

JAN
Okay. Okay guys, now listen...

The boys are seen entering the kitchen in their monster outfits.*
[Absurdity- The boys are wearing monster costumes in a kitchen of all places, a room designed for the preparation and consumption of food.]

ALICE
Hey, any of you monsters want a hot dog?

BOYS
Thanks Alice.
Thanks Alice.
Thanks Alice.**
[Character Driven/Repetition/Physical Comedy- The boys' insatiable hunger prevents them from turning down the opportunity for food though they are on a mission. The boys' hands are obscured by the sheets making it difficult for them to grasp the hot dogs. Their covered faces pose an additional challenge. Alice is cavalier towards their seemingly unusual behavior.]


JAN (still telling the ghost story)
Slowly she started down the hall. Spiderwebs everywhere. Then she came to the door. The door to the room that she had been forbidden to go. Slowly she opened the door. Then...


On the back porch Bobby begins howling like a wolf.**
[Practical Joke/Physical Comedy/Impersonation- Bobby attempts to induce fear in the girls by using his voice in an unconventional way, resembling the sound of a wolf.]

PAULA
What was that?

CINDY
I'm so scared I'm getting itchy all over! (-)
[Child's Logic- This seems to be intended as a joke, yet no laughter was added.]


GUESTS
I'm itchy too.
So am I.
Me too.
Oh, it's terrible!

The girls leap from their sleeping bags and scratch themselves.***
[Practical Joke/Schadenfreude/Physical Comedy- The boys' trick is effective. The event is disrupted and the girls' skin is irritated to the extent that they must stand up and scratch themselves wildly.]

MARSHA
I'll bet you it's my brothers again.

GIRLS
Yeah. Alice. (screams) Alice!

ALICE
Hey, that's a crazy new dance you're doing. Why don't you put on some music?*
[Misunderstanding/Satire/Agism- Alice falsely assumes that the girls' erratic movements are part of a new dance, implying that dances of the time can appear ridiculous. This is also an indication of Alice's inability to relate to the younger generation.]

MARSHA
No Alice. Itching powder in the sleeping bags.

ALICE
Oh, my. Okay, look we'll try and wash it off. Everybody upstairs. Come on up to the shower. C'mon kids.

MARSHA
Boy are my brothers gonna regret this.

PAULA
It itches, but it's kind of funny. I like jokes.
What about the one we pulled on Mrs. Denton?

MARSHA
We?

PAULA
Yeah. You drew the picture and I wrote the funny line.
You know, about the hippo?

MARSHA
You did that?

PAULA
Yeah. Didn't you think it was funny?

MARSHA
Funny? I got punished for that!

PAULA
Punished? You did?

MARSHA
Yeah! I have to stay after school a whole week now.
I almost didn't have this party because of what you wrote.

PAULA
Gee Marsha, I'm sorry. I didn't mean for anybody to see that but you.

MARSHA
Well, they did alright. Mrs. Denton found it and turned it in to the principal.

PAULA
I didn't know that. Would it help if I went to Mr. Randolph and explained?

MARSHA
That'd be great!

PAULA
Gee Marsha. I just, I just can't stand this itching anymore!**
[Schadenfreude- Paula is experiencing discomfort to the point that she cannot continue the conversation.]

Mike and Carol enter.

CAROL
Hi Honey.

MIKE
Hey, where is everybody?

MARSHA
Upstairs itching. I mean washing off the itching powder.*
[Practical Joke- The very notion of itching powder has a lasting comedic effect.]
Mom, dad, I've done something just awful.

CAROL
What?

MARSHA
I blamed Jenny Wilton for writing on my picture, the one that got me in trouble.
I told her she wasn't my friend anymore.
I uninvited her to my party.

MIKE
And Jenny didn't do it.

MARSHA
Mm, mm. It was Paula. Only she didn't mean any harm. She just meant for me to see it.

CAROL
Well dear it seems to me that both you and Jenny got a taste of the same medicine.

MIKE
You were blamed for something because somebody didn't have all the facts. You turned around and did the same thing to Jenny.

MARSHA
I feel awful. What can I do?

CAROL
Well look dear it's still early. Why don't you call Jenny and invite her over to the party?

MARSHA
I sure will. I'll give her the biggest apology I know how.

Later, the girls are back in the living room eating when the doorbell rings.

CAROL
Oh, that must be Jenny.

Mike accidentally steps on a plate of food as he crosses the floor.*
[Physical Comedy/Schadenfreude- Mike did not intend to step on the plate. The blunder undermines his authoritative role.]

Once Mike is off camera a loud clanking sound is heard.

CAROL
What was that?
(girls laughter)

Mike stands in the doorway with white powder covering his head and shoulders.**
[Practical Joke/Schadenfreude/Mishap- Mike's appearance is sullied by a pail of flour, again, undermining his authoritative role. Also Mike was not the intended victim.]

MIKE
(holding up a bucket)
Over the door.

Everyone in the room laughs.

GREG
Sorry about that dad.**
[Mishap/Deviance- Greg is saddened that his trap befell the wrong victim, and fearful of impending punishment.]


Dad shakes his finger at the boys in a "Why I oughta pound you" fashion.*
[Burlesque- Mike expresses his displeasure in a playful, theatrical way.]

Days later in the kitchen...

MIKE
Hey Alice, have we got any cookies?

ALICE
I don't know Mr. Brady they pretty well cleaned us out the other night.

MIKE
Yeah.

The phone rings.

CAROL
I'll get it Alice.
Hello? Oh, good morning Mr. Randolph.

MIKE
Mr. Randolph?

CAROL
Well, I'm delighted. Really? Uh, thank you so much for calling. Bye.
Marsha and Paula explained the whole thing to Mr. Randolph and Mrs. Denton. They're forgiven.

MIKE
Aw, good, that's great!

ALICE
Well you're in luck Mr. Brady, I found a box of cookies.

MIKE
Tell me there's something left after the shock troops. (-)
[Hyperbole- another of Mike's military metaphors, but no laughter was awarded.]

CAROL
That's about all.


Mike pulls out a cookie and discovers that it is attached to another rubber spider. Alice yells.**
[Practical Joke/Running Gag/Mishap/Slapstick- Another trick is discovered after the event and triggered by an unintended victim. Alice is visibly shaken by the gag.]

ALICE
Oh, sorry about that Mr. Brady. The party's over but the melody lingers on.***
[Wisecrack/Pop Cultural Reference/Concluding Joke- Alice is referring to an Irving Berlin song from 1927, "The Song Is Ended (But the Melody Lingers On)."]

CAROL
Ooooh, get rid of it.

MIKE
(inaudible) spider...

End credit squares appear on the screen.

FINAL ANALYSIS:
Total number of canned laughs: 80
Total run time: 25:07 
This amounts to one joke about every 20 seconds, or nearly 3 per minute.