"All This and Carrot Stew"
"The Hare-Brained Hypnotist"
"Tortoise Wins by a Hare"
I could go on and on, but you probably don't carrot all, so let's get started with the episode.
Tim wants to be a magician, so he's begging his friend, the unlikely-named Foz, to pick a card.
Foz: "What you need is some new tricks. Like Amaz-O."
Amazo? That hack.
Foz: "If you had some of his tricks, you could be the
|He just copies Zatanna's powers. Big whoop.|
So Tim whips out what little cash he has and walks inside the magic shop, where Goosebumps delivers us another in the way of creepy shop owners. Unlike the guy from "The Haunted Mask," this guy seems quite cheerful and pleased to see these kids. The kids, however, are more interested in the latest magic tricks the store owner, Mr. Malik, got from Amaz-O himself earlier today. Because world-class magicians routinely sell their tricks to rinky-dink small town magic shops...?
Tim prepares to shove his best friend in a box and stick swords in the sides, but Mr. Malik discourages him.
Mr. Malik: "You can't just walk up to an illusion and start playing around. Ya gotta practice."
Tim: "Well, I was just gonna show Foz."
Mr. Malik: "Oh, I've got something to show you. Come on over here."
...I'm not touching that line.
Mr. Malik shows off his guillotine to the boys and shows them how it works with a banana.
...I'm not touching that, either.
With the banana split (pun somewhat intended), he reaches through the choppy bit with his hand and asks Tim to move the lever to lock the blade in place.
Mr. Malik: "No not that one!"
The blade comes down and "slices" his hand off, scaring the kids good until Mr. Malik shows them that his hand is still attached. This reminds me of the time my science teacher pretended to freeze his thumb in liquid nitrogen and shatter it with a hammer. Why, yes, he did use a hot dog in a glove.
Actually... wait, let's take a closer look at this trick.
|Okay, his hand is on the chopping block...|
|The blade comes down....|
|And his hand suddenly disappears.|
This episode fails at magic already. They can't even fake it properly with TV editing tricks.
But Tim likes the trick so much that he offers to buy it.
Mr. Malick: "Two-fifty."
Tim: "Two-fifty? Really?"
Mr. Malik: "Two hundred and fifty, brainzo."
Tim: "I'll never be able to afford any good tricks."
Because magic is all about forking over cold hard cash for a machine that does everything for you, rather than spending years practicing sleight-of-hand and misdirection.
Mr. Malik, to cheer the kid up, does some of that worthless sleight-of-hand to materialize a couple of free tickets from behind Tim's ear. Tickets to Amaz-O's performance tonight, no less.
So... despite Amaz-O being repeatedly singled out in both the book and the episode as the greatest magician alive, things just don't add up. We'll see more evidence of this as the episode goes on, but I think the real example is right here.
Mr. Malik is charging $250 for a stock guillotine trick, but is perfectly willing to hand out a couple tickets to see "the greatest magician ever" for free? It's possible that Amaz-O himself gave these tickets to Mr. Malik, but... well, let's judge Amaz-O by his act. That is, if these two actually end up going to see the show.
Foz: "Not me. It doesn't start 'til ten o'clock!"
That's actually pretty late. To compare, I looked up showtimes for Criss Angel in Las Vegas, and his shows start at 9:30 at the latest. Judging by the 7:00 showtime on the same days, I'd wager that his show is about two hours long with half an hour to reset. This would mean that his show ends at 11:30. Pretty late, but still technically today. If Amaz-O's show goes by a similar time frame, it won't get out until midnight, which is technically tomorrow. A difference of only half an hour, but a fairly important one.
This implies that Amaz-O's show is not for all ages, since ain't nobody wants to deal with sleepy kids the night of the show OR the next morning. That would then imply that this magic show is primarily aimed at an adult audience. So... is this some kind of adult magic show, like Mystic Mister XXX?
|At least Mr. Triple X actually used real magic. Wait 'til you see what Amaz-O gives us.|
Anyway, Foz points out that the show's lateness means that Tim would have to be very lucky to even get out of the house. And we cut to him sneaking downstairs after bedtime, only to be caught by his little sister, Ginny (Tabitha Lupien). He lies about heading to the garage to practice a new trick, but ends up spilling the beans.
Tim: "I'm going to the Midnight Mansion to see Amaz-O."
The "Midnight Mansion"? Yep, this is an R-rated magic show.
Anyway, Ginny wants to go along to see the magic show, since she's still too young to have gotten her owl from Hogwarts yet. And she even begins to call for their parents until Tim reluctantly agrees.
We skip over the part where they somehow get into the show without parents....
...and cut to them in the Midnight Mansion's main lounge,
surrounded by adults.
|The back entrance is more trouble than it's worth.|
|Wow, there must be over twenty people in the crowd. Truly, Amaz-O commands a packed house.|
|Holy crap, the standard handkerchief trick!|
|OH MY GOD HE DID THE STANDARD DOVE TRICK!|
TRULY, HE IS THE GREATEST MAGICIAN ALIVE!
Anyway, the show continues with jaunty music and that most cliche of cliches, the rabbit. He makes it appear by making two birds in a cage disappear.
Tim: "Did you see that? Did you see that?"
Yes. Yes I did. The birdcage slid into the box it was sitting on. It was very obvious.
|And if The Prestige has taught me anything, those birds are dead.|
Amaz-O: "What's the matter, buddy? Having a bad 'hare' day?"
...Nope, not laughing.
Amaz-O: "That's the one thing they don't teach you in magician school. Rabbits have no sense of humor."
You have no sense of humor, dude.
For Amaz-O's next trick, he needs a volunteer. Yes, he picks Tim.
Amaz-O: "I need someone small enough to fit into this box. And you look just about the right size."
And if Tim is the right size, then this trick would have been impossible had these two children not snuck out of their house to come see this magic show. Convenient.
But Amaz-O whips out a measuring tape to be on the safe side... and Tim's a smidge bit too big. So Amaz-O whips out a giant Harley Quinn-style mallet.
Amaz-O: "But maybe this will do the trick!"
He "admits" that it's a brand-new trick, and it doesn't always work. Tim hops inside the box as Amaz-O continues.
Amaz-O: "You see, it's easy enough to make someone disappear...."
|"Mafia connections help."|
...How did he get an A in science if he disappeared? And what would Amaz-O have done if the audience were full of adults?
Amaz-O closes the lid on Tim and starts spinning around the Holy crap, I remember this!
Along with "Night of the Living Dummy 2," I have seen fragments of this episode. I turned on the TV, saw this kid getting spun around in a box, and started watching for a bit before it got too scary for me to continue.
And let me tell you, when you're not even in the second grade, and the TV is showing you a kid getting spun around in a box before emerging in a creepy basement and you have no idea what's going on... well, that can be trippier than watching Twin Peaks.
So yes, Tim emerges in the basement, having gone through a trap door. Onstage, a redheaded boy in a Hawaiian shirt emerges from the box, completing the joke.
|"Holy crap, this man is a god."|
Look, even ignoring the possibility of Amaz-O locking up Tim below the stage for creepy, immoral, and illegal reasons... well, that's just it. Tim's locked up below the stage, where he's forced to stay while the show completes. Way to ruin his night. Amaz-O should at least give him a t-shirt or something.
Tim passes the time slowly realizing what a jerk Amaz-O is while tossing cards into a couple hats for a couple hours. When the show ends, the basement door is finally opened by...
That was... random. But I guess it was bound to happen, given where they filmed this.
I look forward to Michael J. Fox and Dave Foley showing up.
|And the fact that Colin is actually a magic enthusiast.|
...I'm going to be disappointed, aren't I?
|So anyway, Tim walks into the oddly-lit hallway...|
|While around the corner, Batman and Robin are making a daring escape from the Clown Prince of Crime's giant man-eating clam.|
Tim sneaks into Amaz-O's dressing room before he leaves and looks around. He can't see anyone. But a gruff voice calls him a brat and tells him to beat it. So leave Tim does, but not before swiping Amaz-O's magic kit. He tries to leave the building with it, but his sister catches him again.
Yeah, tell her that Tim tried to leave you behind at the show you weren't supposed to go to. See how that goes for you.
Tim explains where he was the whole time, and how Amaz-O is a prime example of why you should never meet your heroes.
Tim: "I can't believe it. My idol's nothing but a creep."
Ginny: "What's that?"
A scaly yellow monster. I'll be going over that episode soon enough.
...Oh, she meant Amaz-O's magic bag.
Tim explains what it is, and she wants to see what's in it, despite the fact that they should flee the scene of the crime.
Ginny: "I want to see it now."
|The demon returns!|
Tim: "There are no instructions. This isn't a toy, you know? This is Amaz-O's private kit. It doesn't need instructions."
As he puts on the jacket inside the kit, a cobra pops out of the sleeve, scaring his sister.
Tim: "It's fake... but look at it, though. It's so real!"
It's really not. It's... it's... wait.
|I recognize that prop!|
|It's the cobra from "The Return of the Mummy." And it somehow looks even faker in that episode.|
Tim: "I've turned my sister into a rabbit!
No, she turned herself into a rabbit. And technically, not even that.
Tim: "If it's you, give me a sign!"
Rabbit: "You want a sign? Go to the corner. It says 'stop.'"
Tim drops the rabbit as a riff plays on a trumpet. And I won't be counting every time the riff plays, but just know that it will happen after most of the things the rabbit says.
And I have to point out the rabbit, which moves its mouth to approximate human speech because they rubbed peanut butter in its mouth. That's how they did the effect for Mr. Ed, too. ...Ask your grandparents.
Anyway, the rude rabbit explains that he was once a man named "El Sydney, wizard extraordinaire."
Tim: "If you're Sydney, then..."
Rabbit: "El Sydney."
And this is punctuated with a brief fanfare. Because the punchline stinger just wasn't enough, I guess.
|That is one disinterested rabbit.|
El Sydney elaborates that Amaz-O was his hero, but Amaz-O stole his tricks and turned him into a rabbit. He also claims ownership of the fake guillotine trick, which dates back to at least the 1700s, so maybe Tim shouldn't put too much stock into what this polymorphic lagomorph says.
El Sydney came across a real magic wand, which Amaz-O stole in order to commit all of his evil. And in order to stop Amaz-O and set things right, El Sydney's going to need a little help stealing back that wand.
So Tim and El Sydney sneak into the Midnight Mansion to find the magic wand, which Amaz-O apparently keeps onstage among an entire plethora of stereotypical magicians' wands. So Tim starts going through them one by one, saying abra-cadabra and waving his hand until he makes his way through the gimmicky wands and finds the real one. It takes a while, but hey, the wand chooses the wizard.
Once Tim finds the correct wand, El Sydney tells him to stick him in the prop coffin onstage, but Tim won't restore El Sydney until they restore his sister first. So El Sydney guides him through the trick, consisting of Amaz-O's curtain, the wand's actual magic, and some magic words.
Tim: "Alakazam, alakazar, Ginny, come back from wherever you are! Please!"
And it works, because "please" is the real magic word. The more you know.
Ginny: "I'm telling Mom!"
Send her back to whatever Hell you banished her to, Tim.
|"I have seen such beautiful horrors in a mindscape of damned souls, their faces contorted in silent screams."|
El Sydney: "Watch it! That's my lucky foot."
|Uh-huh. Couldn't resist, huh, writers?|
Amaz-O: "Hey, it's you. The kid from the disappearing act last night. What happened to you, where did you go?"
Uh... below stage? You made it happen, remember?
Tim: "Well, I waited, and then you told me to beat it, remember?"
Amaz-O: "I did? I never said that. Ah, you found my magic kit. Great."
Tim admits that he tried a few tricks, but Amaz-O only cares that the rabbit is missing from his suitcase.
Amaz-O, rabbits do not go in suitcases.
Amaz-O: "He used to be an evil magician, but I changed him into a rabbit for everyone's good."
Truly, the greatest wizard duel since Dumbledore defeated Grindelwald. It'll be outdone in two more years by the defeat of Voldemort, though.
Tim: "He said you were the evil one."
Amaz-O: "Yeah, he would say that."
|"You have congress with the Beast to gain forbidden knowledge one time, and all of a sudden you're 'evil.'"|
El Sydney: "Honeeeeyy! I'm home!"
|It's like if John Simm's Master grew a beard and somehow got even campier.|
|Dude, your arms have room.|
Dude, he was feeding you nothing but lettuce and carrots? Carrots don't have nearly enough nutrients for rabbits. He should have given you papaya extract, pellets, and timothy hay.
...What? My cousin takes a rabbit to the fair every year. I picked some stuff up.
...What? My cousin takes a rabbit to the fair every year. I picked some stuff up.
El Sydney: "You know what it's like calling a hat your home?"
Is it like being a rolling stone?
El Sydney: "You know what it's like having your ears tugged and twisted?"
It's like animal abuse. Because that's what it is.
In revenge, El Sydney turns Amaz-O into a rabbit while Tim would simply like to get going now, please. But El Sydney reiterates his promises of partnership with the kid.
|Yeah, Tim does not look very comfortable with the One Amigo's hug there.|
El Sydney: "Now, ladies and gentlemen, I need a volunteer from the audience, someone who's not afraid to... 'split hares.'"
The crowd groans as Amaz-O says "Don't worry Tim, I'll think of something" in the flattest way humanly possible.
Tim: "What? And quit show business?"
And with one final rimshot, the episode ends. And the credits roll with an odd version of the theme tune that sounds like it was done in some kind of tropical-style. Because... El Sydney?