Thursday, October 27, 2016

Recap: Goosebumps "Calling All Creeps"

In the Internet Age or whatever we're calling it now, it's much easier for groups of people with similar interests to find each other and meet up. So when it comes to scaly, monstrous Creeps trying to assemble and organize themselves these days, all they'd need is Facebook.

And some way of keeping away confused people who just like the Radiohead song.
The episode opens with a boy named Ricky Beamer (Zachary Carlin) sneaking up to his school after hours.

Ricky (voiceover): "I'll admit I'm a nerd, but I'm not a creep."

No one said you were. But apparently Tasha McClain (Maia Filar), the editor of the school paper, believes otherwise. Currently, Ricky is climbing up the school wall to spy on Tasha, who's doing a little overtime work for the paper with some teacher or something.

The lazy gag would be to caption this image with "fap fap fap."
If I do end up making any dirty jokes for this Recap, I promise I'll try to keep them classy.
Ricky (voiceover): "I work on the paper, but she never lets me do a story. She always calls me a creep. She also calls me 'Ricky the Rat,' which, as you can guess, is not my favorite nickname."

Yeah, but nobody's going to call you "Ace" no matter how many times you ask.

Tasha and teach leave the office and turn off the lights, allowing Ricky to enter in that classic intruder fashion, by coming in-tru-der window.

Ricky (voiceover): "Today at school, I unlocked the window. It's all part of my plan."

Get help, kid. You're putting too much thought into this.

Ricky (voiceover): "My plan to take revenge... on Tasha McClain."

As long as you don't take revenge on Tasha Yar. Because that would leave you open to retaliation. To "Yar's Revenge," if you will.

...Too forced? Too forced.

Ricky boots up the computer and begins work on tomorrow's paper with an ad that reads "Calling all creeps. Calling all creeps. If you're a real creep call Tasha McClain at 555-0109."

So.. this kid who claims to not be a creep just broke into school, performed the newsprint equivalent of "For a good time call..." and left. Methinks he doth protest too much.

He finishes up quickly, even adding in a quick addendum specifying to call after midnight, but has to vamoose when Tasha and Teach make their way back. Tasha notes that she didn't close any newspaper files when he was in there earlier... but seemingly thinks nothing of it.

Ricky's coat made some ripping noises as he unstuck it from the window frame, so Tasha walks over to investigate. She finds some muddy footprints, but apparently decides that nothing is out of the ordinary.

Tasha: "Oh, it was nothing, Ms. Richards."

Wait, I know that voice.... again?

Okay, Add Maia Filar to the list of kids who were in both The Magic School Bus and Goosebumps. I guess there were only so many child actors in Canada.

Ricky (voiceover): "And that's just the beginning of a story that kept getting weirder and weirder and weirder and weirder."

What, you're telling me that there's going to be an actress from something more mainstream than The Magic School Bus in this episode? Yeah, I'll believe it when I see it.

But for now, it's the next day. And Ricky's due to get harassed by the local bullies.

At the very least, this certainly is a racially-inclusive group of bullies. So they've got that going for them.
The fat one, Wart, breathes onion breath right in Ricky's face just for starters before the three demand that Ricky sing "Mary Had a Little Lamb."

Ricky: "Why?"
David: "Because we love farm animals."

Well, who doesn't? I like goats, myself.

David: "Now sing. Or would you like another blast of Wart's onion breath?"

I was going to put a joke here where he says "I wondered what the problem was with these apples"...
But that clearly is an apple. Not an onion.
Ricky gives in to their demand, to the delight of the other students.

"Ha ha ha, nursery rhymes are funny!"
But the bell rings, and the nearest authority figure comes to put an end to the bullying.

Teacher: "Let's not congregate in the walkway. Move on."

"You can bully Ricky after school."
Everybody heads to class except for Ricky and a girl named Iris (Hamille Rustia).

Iris: "At least you know all the words."

"I don't. I'm lucky he broke it up when he did."
Iris: "I hate it when kids pick on someone like that."

"You know. A loser."
They introduce themselves, and Iris says that she just moved here. And as such, she has no knowledge of Ricky's creepiness. And if Ricky's smart, he'll try not to engage in antisocial behavior that would most likely alienate her.

So we then cut to the lunch line, where Ricky knocks Iris's tray away from the lunch lady, causing the tuna surprise to splatter on the counter.

"You realize I've got to clean that up now, you little brat?"
Ricky: "That's the tuna surprise. No one eats the tuna surprise."

So now that Ricky has inflicted his will upon Iris's plate (meaning that she doesn't even get a main course today), they walk away from the line... without paying, I guess.

Still, at least Gabe from "The Return of the Mummy" isn't doing his lunchroom survey.
Iris: "Then why do they keep making it?"
Ricky: "That is one of the great mysteries of Harding Middle School."

Because they most likely order vast quantities of easy-to-prepare food from a licensed food supply service that provides them with tuna noodle casserole. Probably because instead of picking meals one-by-one, the food service simply gives them a standard supply of various meals.

...I have many family members who have worked at a school. I know things.

Iris: "I really appreciate you showing me around like this."

Yes, despite everything, Iris really seems to like Ricky. And the bullies can't have that, can they? So they trip him and he lands on the floor, getting unidentified food all over his face.

Since the lunch lady probably isn't willing to give Ricky more food, he leaves the lunchroom to clean himself up, after which Iris meets him in the hallway.

Ricky: "Those guys are gonna pay. After Tasha, they're next."

"I'll kill them all!"
Ricky goes on to explain that Tasha is the main instigator.

Ricky: "But I've already set up my plan."

Because that is the talk of a sane person.

Ricky: "Tasha's gonna wish she was never born."
Iris: "What did you do?"
Ricky: "I snuck into the school newspaper office and put a little message in this week's paper. But I don't have time to explain. I have to leave school early."

Please tell me you're seeing a therapist.

Tasha, on the other end of the hallway, simply smiles and sets out the latest edition of the school paper.

That night... whoa.

I take back everything I said about this dork, that light-up phone makes him the coolest kid ever.
Anyway, Ricky gets a call.

Iris: "It's Iris. I saw the newspaper."

She tried to call earlier, but... reasons, I guess. Anyway, Ricky's dad gets after Ricky for being on the phone so late, so Ricky hangs up, despite Iris's protests. The phone rings again right away... but it's not Iris.

Voice: "I saw your message in the paper."
Ricky: "Huh? What? Who is this?"

"What? ....Pajamas, why?"
Voice: "I saw your message in the paper. I'm calling as instructed. I'm a Creep."

So... why doesn't Ricky's dad yell at him about this call?

Ricky hangs up, but another Creep calls back. And another.

Female Voice: "I saw your message. I'm ready to plant the seeds."

Lady, this is a kids' show!

The next day at school, Ricky reads the paper, discovering that Tasha swapped her name and number for Ricky's.

Tasha: "So. Did you get any calls last night? I saw you running away, you little rodent. It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out your lame trick."

And to make matters worse, the bullies come by when Tasha leaves... but all Ricky gets is a pat on the shoulder from Wart. And at lunch, one of the bullies throws a note at him.

"'Do you like me? Yes, definitely... absolutely'?"
Ricky: "'When will the Creeps meet?'"

And later that day, Ricky arrives at his locker... wait, what?

Okay, does anybody else see a naked lady spreading her legs on a rock in that poster?
Is it just me? Do I just have a dirty mind?
Anyway, Ricky finds his locker dripping something red that smells like blue paint onto the floor. And inside his locker, a message. "When will the Creeps meet?"

Suddenly, Iris provides this episode's dose of kid-grabbing as she puts her hand on Ricky's shoulder to ask him what's going on. Ricky explains the weird calls he's been getting, and she's not surprised, what with the ad in the paper and all. But Ricky brings up the fact that the bullies haven't been bullying him today.

Ricky: "It's like I was invisible or something."

Not in this episode, unless you find a mirror in a secret room in your attic.

But Iris wants to get Ricky's mind off those bullies and asks if he wants to go shopping with her for ingredients. She's planning on making cookies for the bake sale on Friday. Though he's surprised at Iris's continued interest in him, he agrees.

That night, he takes his phone off the hook before bed, although he ends up answering his phone when his alarm blares in the morning. Truth be told, I've done that a few times, too. When he turns off his alarm, he puts the phone back on the hook. And just to be sure, he answers the phone real quick to see if anybody actually went to the trouble of waiting all night.

Female Voice: "Don't ever take the phone off the hook."

Geez, what a creep. ...Makes sense.

Female Voice: "How can we make contact? We'll be watching. Waiting."

Commiserating. Say it ain't so. I will not go. Turn the lights off. Carry me home.

Na na na na na na na na na na.

Na na na na na na na na na na.


As the Creep on the phone continues some creepy talk, we cut to Ricky walking through the woods. With a walking stick and everything. Because in Canada, people actually go outside.

Go on hikes. See some wildlife. Enjoy the fresh air.
Get kidnapped.
When Ricky finally gets the bag off of his head, he sees that his kidnappers are actually the school bullies. And they've taken him far away from civilization into a hollow tree. No witnesses. This can only end well.

Ricky: "Look, this little nature walk's been fun, but I have to meet someone. Can I go now?"

Here's a tip, kids. "Can I go now?" does not work against kidnappers.

Ricky: "Come on, guys, what're you gonna do to me?"

Whatever it is, it's going to earn a Y-7 rating.

Wart: "Please forgive us. We didn't mean to hurt you."
David: "You should have told us sooner."
Ricky: "Told you?"
Brenda: "We meant you no harm."

As it turns out, the bullies aren't just creeps, they're self-proclaimed Creeps with a capital lizard.

"So... can I go now?"
And after the fiasco with the paper, they're convinced that Ricky is their "Commander" and the ad was a call to action. The action in question? Planting "identity seeds" to turn all the kids in school into Creeps. And to drive home the idea that these monsters are evil, one of them flicks out its tongue and eats a bug.

Brenda: "Tell us your plan, Commander."
Ricky: "My plan?"

Ricky: "I'll tell you. Tomorrow."

But the Creeps are impatient to transform all the students in the school, and Brenda hits upon the idea of sticking identity seeds in tomorrow's cafeteria food. Ricky gives a fairly non-committal answer, so it's decided. Ricky will put identity seeds in the cafeteria food.

Once at school, Ricky is pretty hesitant to unleash mutagenic ovules into the food, so Wart suggests they should all transform in order to make sure that Ricky is actually one of them.

So reluctantly, Ricky agrees to plant the seeds in the food while the others watch through the window into the kitchen. And reluctantly, Ricky dumps the bag into the tuna surprise, hoping that no one will eat it.

You know, eat this lukewarm fish casserole that's going to sit out all night.
But Ricky is caught stirring the food by the lunch lady who seems to not actually be that upset that a student broke in and started messing with the food. And despite the fact that for all she knows, this kid went off the deep end and put rat poison in it, she cares more about his opinion than anything else.

Ricky: "You can't serve this for lunch!"
Lunch Lady: "That's what you say. There's nothing wrong with it!"

So... maybe you should throw out this batch since you don't know if he tampered with it? Because he totally did tamper with it.

Ricky refuses to eat the bite that the lunch lady offers and runs off as we cut to lunchtime the next day. Ricky continues his reign as der Liebensmittel-Fuhrer by personally inspecting everybody's food as they leave the lunch line.

Ricky: "Tacos. Good choice. Meat loaf. Can't go wrong there."

The Creeps pat Ricky on the back as they pass by (in human form, obviously), and Ricky gets the chance to enforce his iron-fisted reign by, once again, denying Iris the tuna surprise she wants.

Iris: "But I wanted to try it."

"Nein! Die Cafeteria muss frei von Unerw├╝nschten bleiben!"
Iris: "Are you still going shopping with me after school?"

But Ricky is too preoccupied with his reign, and tells her that he can't talk at the moment, thus ruining his only meaningful relationship with another human being.

Later that day, Ricky and the Creeps (great band name, btw) meet back up in the forest hideout. They're a bit miffed with Ricky, who wasted a whole bag of seeds by putting them into food that no one ate.

And they're starting to question the identity of their "Commander." But before they can peel strips off his flesh and consume them....

Iris: "Maybe you should reveal the real plan, Commander."

Yes, it seems that Iris is also a Creep.

Iris: "I'm the second in command. The first plan was a test. To see if you Creeps were ready."

So now, Ricky has to make up a "real plan."

This should be genius.

Ricky: "Well, we need to get everybody to eat the identity seeds."

Nooooooooooooooooooooo, really?

Ricky: "And, um, we have to put them in something kids like to eat, right?"

You're on a roll so far.

Ricky: "Well, what do kids like to eat?"

This gives Creep-ette an idea.

Brenda: "What about the bake sale tomorrow? We could bake cookies and put seeds the in them."

Iris approves of the idea, and the kids soon... Okay, I call foul.

The "cookie dough" is just the tuna surprise prop again.
As the Creeps stir the dough, Ricky takes "Sergeant" Iris aside to talk to her.

Ricky: "Um... about the plan."
Iris: "You don't have to call me 'Sergeant.'"

Because as it turns out, she's not a Creep.

Iris: "I was on my way to meet you when I heard your voice."

So... to meet with Ricky, she passed through a forest. Where she happened to come across the Creeps' hideout. And she wasn't freaked out by the reptilian monsters. And she realized that Ricky wasn't a Creep. And... she correctly guessed what terminology to use and what to say within the larger context of the Creeps' ongoing discussions with Ricky in order to save him?

The obvious twist would be to reveal that Iris was the real commander the whole time, and have her expose Ricky as a fraud after making him confess to not being the Commander here.

This is not the twist the episode goes for.

Which means that Iris and Ricky are simply helping the Creeps achieve their evil goals. So it's a good thing they also have a plan to stop the Creeps.

Iris: "We'll figure something out."

You guys are terrible heroes.

The next day, at the bake sale... Wait, is that Diana Salvatore from Orphan Black?

...Huh. After the Magic School Bus cast, and half the background cast from Mean Girls, this really isn't that shocking.
Anyway, Ricky and Iris are manning a table together.

I take it back, the Doug Funnie outfit detracts from whatever coolness the light-up phone afforded Ricky.
Tasha takes a moment to call Iris a Creep for associating with Ricky.

Tasha: "Too bad. You looked like you had potential."

To do what? Join the Plastics?

Iris: "If she knew what a real Creep was, she wouldn't be laughing."

Speaking of them, they've got their cookies all ready to go.

Wart: "Free cookies! Chocolate chip!"

Free cookies at a bake sale? That's going to cut into revenue. How are they supposed to raise money for the music program now? Marching band desperately needs new uniforms before they go to Disney World, dang it!

Luckily for the Creeps, there are no adults around here to supervise anything, and a swarm rushes the table to pig out on cookies. Desperately, Ricky makes his way to the podium and grabs the microphone. He tries to warn them about the cookies, but Tasha drowns him out by leading the kids in a chant of "Ricky the Rat."

But the bullies walk up to Ricky and try to make him feel better. After all, once these kids eat the cookies, he'll be their ruler. And after more taunts push him further....

Ricky: "Enjoy the cookies."

Iris is distraught, but the kids really seem to be enjoying their cookies.

Ricky: "I'm sorry, Iris. But from now on, things are gonna be different around here."

And the kids begin to chant "Long live Ricky" while he stands above them at a podium.

Because the episode couldn't resist handing me another opportunity to compare this kid to Hitler.
Ricky: "You know what they say, Iris. If you can't beat 'em..."

And as Ricky has a cookie and makes a transformation of his own, the episode ends. So let's review.

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