Monday, October 17, 2016

Recap: Goosebumps "My Hairiest Adventure"

Sound off in the comments, has anyone actually ever use "hairy" as a synonym for "difficult"? Is that a thing real people have ever said in the history of ever? I have literally never heard another human being use that word without it being scripted.

According to the internet, it's either an army term referring to a situation that makes your hairs stand on end or something having to do with ill-bred horses.

But the title of this R.L. Stine classic takes the metaphor and uses it in a literal sense. Which is... clever...? Maybe?

I would have gone with "The Hound and the Furry," myself.
The episode begins with a kid named Larry Boyd. Yes, Larry Boyd. Like the '83 Celtics player as spoken by a guy from New Joisey. Anyway, the kid (Aaron Bartkiw) is busy running down the street with every single dog in the neighborhood following after him.

Larry (voiceover): "This isn't the first time this has happened, either."

You know what this neighborhood needs to invest in? Invisible fences. Barring that, actual fences. You'd think Larry would have brought it to somebody's attention after the first time. Maybe all the adults in this neighborhood just hate Larry and want to see him get rabies.

Larry also explains that he's got severe allergies, which accounts for all his wheezing. The doctor told him not to run, and yet here he is. Eventually, the dogs chase Larry up a tree.

Larry (voiceover): "I hope no one saw me. I must look like a real jerk."

Yeah, what kind of jerk climbs trees?

Screw you for getting some exercise, you jerk!
The branch breaks under his weight, sending him down toward the hounds that have been... uh... hounding him. Luckily, Larry's friend Lily (Courtney Grieg) is there to yell at the dogs to get going.

Larry (voiceover): "She's pretty cool. Y'know, for a girl."

"For a girl"? What, does she have cooties?

I'd tease R.L. Stine for writing that, but it wasn't in the original book, so he's off the hook for this one.

I think this was done in a ham-fisted attempt to not lose the attentions of the boys in the audience who are still at that "Ew, girls!" age. Especially since Larry has to set up a later plot point by letting us know that she has the physical appearance of every third OC on DeviantArt.

Larry (voiceover): "She always wears this gold coin around her neck and she has the wickedest eyes. One is brown, and the other is blue."

Some guys like freckles, some guys like redheads. Larry likes 'em with heterochromia.
The dogs didn't hurt Larry, but he wishes he knew why they always chased him. But no time for speculation, Larry and Lily have to meet their bandmates Jared (Josh Wittig) and Manny (Maurcicio Rodas).

Larry (voiceover): "We practice in the garage of an empty house."

Oh, sure, they trespass into an abandoned property to practice their instruments. Whatever, it's cool. Those guys who cook meth are long gone before the kids show up each day.

Larry (voiceover): "It seems like there's a lot of empty houses in our neighborhood lately."

Dang ol' early '90s real estate crash.

Apparently, the family that used to live in that house left so fast that the electricity was still working, which is why they set up shop.

I legitimately want to hear these kids break out into "Yellow Submarine."
The keyboardist, Jared, yells out "Keyboard Solo!" during practice, resulting in a piece of music only marginally better than if a cat had suddenly jumped on the keys. A far cry from "Roundabout" by Yes, to say the least. But despite the band's suckiness, they have an audition for a gig coming up at a local birthday party. The kids take a break between songs, and their lives change forever.

Manny: "Hey, check this out. 'Instant Tan.'"

Cool. What does it do?

Manny: "'Gives you an instant tan.'"

Story checks out.

They all try some, and Manny seems to be pretty excited, considering... um... Okay, um, I don't want to make this like a racial thing or anything...

But of the four kids here, I'd say the Instant Tan would have the least noticeable effect on him.
Larry: "You guys are stupid. You don't even know where that stuff came from."

The shelf?

Jared: "Hairy Larry, King of the Wimps."
Larry: "Don't call me that."
Jared: "Which one? Hairy Larry or King of the Wimps?"

"You know very well I was democratically elected to the position of Prime Minister of the Wimps."
Lily: "With your blonde hair and a tan, you'd look great."

First of all, his hair's light brown. Second of all, it really depends on his natural skin tone. If his skin tone still has a pinkish tinge to it after tanning, instead of a straight up bronze, then... Never mind.

But Larry gets peer pressured into rubbing some onto his skin... right before Manny actually reads the dang bottle.

Manny: "This stuff's old!"

Isn't that how kids these days describe the Goosebumps books?

Manny: "It says 'Caution: Do not use after 1991."

The pre-internet days. The dark times.

Suddenly, Larry shrieks in terror that something's happening to his skin... which he's actually faking with a paper towel. In retaliation, the other kids grab some cans of spray paint and prepare to give Larry a real instant tan.

"Back off, guys, I know all of Sub-Zero's moves."
But before they can spray paint him, Larry starts wheezing and falls to the ground.

That is the look of three kids who just realized that they're going to have to hide a body.
Later that night, Dr. Murkin looks over Larry and correctly guesses that he's been running again.

Hey, sweet Venom poster. Whoa, and an Iron Man poster?
The doctor gives Larry a shot, which seems to be happening more and more according to his parents. They're worried about their son, but the doctor shoots their fears down by attributing all this to Larry overheating, aggravating his allergies.

He tells Larry to slow down a bit, so Larry stays in bed all evening, where he confides in his cat Jasper that he thinks the Instant Tan is responsible for this.

Pfft. What kind of person names their cat "Jasper"?

My girlfriend, for one.
Actually, she has a cat named Lily, too. Coincidence City, up in here!
Larry: "But I can't tell mom and dad. They'd kill me if they knew I was using some old stuff I found in a garage."

Really? Because I think they'd be more concerned with your habitually breaking into a garage.

Larry: "Stupid tanning lotion. I actually think I'm getting whiter."

"I feel like watching NASCAR all of a sudden."
But Jasper freaks out for a bit, and we soon see why.

If you're anything like me, Larry, the hair won't stop there.
So Larry rushes to the bathroom to try and nip puberty in the bud with a little shave.

Larry: "What have I done to myself?"

Well, I think think of one thing you might have done to yourself to make hair grow on your hands.

His parents seem to be concerned about him, and they ask him how he feels. So naturally, he lies and says everything's fine.

Mrs. Boyd: "Well then, get to bed. The doctor says you should rest."

For Bob's sake, let the kid use the bathroom in peace.

Larry: "Mom, do we have any hair remover?"
Mrs. Boyd: "...Hair remover?"
Larry: "Never mind."

"This is not how I wanted to find out our little boy was growing up."
Larry ends up finding and using an electric razor, which the Boyds can clearly hear, as evidenced by Mr. Boyd's "subtle" way of figuring out what's going on in the bathroom.

Mr. Boyd: "Well, could you just hand me out my razor?"
Larry: "Can't a guy get a some privacy?"

"I don't know what he's shaving in there, but I'm never using that razor again."
Larry hums chalantly as he finishes up his shave. The next day, not only is the leftover stubble miraculously gone, but Lily invites him over to her house for dinner that night.

Larry: "Are your parents gonna be there?"

Why would they not be there?

Apparently, Manny hasn't been answering his phone, so they go to stop by his house.

Larry: "Hey, Lily. Did you notice anything last night? Where you rubbed that Instant Tan on?"

Uh... where's this going?

Larry: "I mean, like, uh, involving hair?"

...Oh no.

Lily: "Hair? What do you mean?"

Please don't elaborate.

Larry: "I mean, hair, you know, like where you don't expect to see it."


Lily: "Are you growing some unexpected hair?"
Larry: "No. Are you?"
Lily: "No. Are you?"

Goosebumps, you're making me very uncomfortable right now. And I bet the cameraman was feeling pretty dirty filming this, too.

Larry: "No, I just thought maybe you..."
Lily: "I what?"
Larry: "Growing hair in weird places."


Before things can get much creepier, Lily finds an opportunity to taunt her friend with a rousing rendition of name-calling.

Larry: "Don't call me Hairy Larry. I hate that."

Why is that your nickname?

Larry (voiceover): "It was pretty embarrassing talking to a girl about body hair, even if she was my best friend."


Larry (voiceover): "Maybe I could tell Manny."

When I decided to start covering Goosebumps, I did not sign up for Larry's Adventures in Puberty.

Larry (voiceover): "Maybe he was having the same problem."

I'm sure there are a lot of kids your age having the same problem, Larry.

When they get to Manny's house, they find it abandoned. So they decide to snoop around inside, like they do with all abandoned houses.

Larry: "Did he say anything to you?"
Lily: "No. You know Manny."

...No. No I don't. Was he the Latino one? I honestly forgot.

They wander into Manny's room, finding- Foul! I call foul on this episode!

That's the same car poster from Larry's room! At least they didn't reuse the sweet Venom poster, too.
Anyway, some of Manny's things are still there.

Larry: "I wonder if his clothes are still here."

By all that is holy, if you start sniffing his clothes, Larry....

But instead, Larry and Lily find a grown man creeping around to gather the rest of Manny's things... and they find him in a closet.

So let me get this straight. Baldo McCreeper here is gathering up a child's clothes... and decided that this would be best accomplished by getting in the closet and closing the door behind him.

Baldo McCreeper: "Manny Who?"
Lily: "Manny Hernandez. He lives here."

Worst knock knock joke ever.

The Creeper says that this house is not only empty, but for sale. And he tells them to run along so he can get down to selling it.

Baldo McCreeper: "Unless, of course, you've got enough money for a down payment. Then you can hang out all you like."

"Nah, we'll just go back to the free abandoned house."
Later that night, during dinner at Lily's house, they bring up Manny's disappearance, but Lily's parents aren't too worried.

Lily's Mom: "Well, you know Manny."

"You know Manny" is not an explanation, people!

Dinner suddenly takes a left turn as Larry notices some of his thick hair tufts on Lily's Dad's corn, so he hits it away.

"You did not just knock the goddamn corn out of my goddamn hand."
Larry: "Corn worms! Deadly."

But the hair emerging all over Larry's body forces him to quickly excuse himself to the bathroom, where he searches for a razor or something.

Larry: "Doesn't anybody shave in this house?"

Some people use Nair. It's a valid option. Maybe Lily's mom likes to go au naturel. Maybe Lily's dad gets his face shaved at the barbershop. Who are you to judge their personal grooming habits?

Much like at his own house, Larry's trip to the bathroom comes with an audience asking him if he's fine.

Lily: "What are you doing in there?"

Hey. Seriously. Leave the kid alone. Some people like to take their time when pooping. Personally, I like to sit down, relax, let things happen naturally. Maybe write a Goosebumps Recap that contains too much information about my bathroom habits.

But Larry needs to make a quick escape from this dinner, so he opens up the window while insisting that everything's fine and that he's looking forward to dessert.

Larry (voiceover): "Dessert? Was that lame, or what?"

No, dessert's awesome.

Lily's Dad: "Larry, if this is about the corn, don't worry, we've got plenty more."
Lily's Mom: "And tapioca."
Larry (voiceover): "I hate tapioca."

You shut your face, Larry; tapioca's the best!

Below Larry, the neighborhood dogs swarm. But he decides to brave the drop from the second story and even manages to outrun the dogs and get home relatively unscathed.

Larry (voiceover): "I had to check and see if there was hair growing anywhere else."

Okay, now's a good time to quickly summarize. Larry finds hair on his legs and starts screaming.

No joke, that is literally what the hair on my legs looks like.
The scream alerts his parents, and they find their hairy son freaking out. So they call up Dr. Merkin to take care of the issue.

Larry apologizes for using the Instant Tan, but the doctor says that the Instant Tan had nothing to do with it.

Doctor: "If tanning lotion could grow hair, we'd have a cure for baldness."

He goes on to say that it was probably stress-related skin irritation. Because of that band audition. No, you're acting suspicious.

Doctor: "The nervous system can do incredible things under stress."

Yeah, really incredible, since one of the body's reactions to stress is to lose hair.

Larry isn't exactly buying this crap, but he's pacified by his overnight hair loss when he wakes up the next morning. He walks his usual route, but spies a new dog with heterochromia and a gold coin around its neck.

Which is actually even more like a DeviantArt OC.
And when he goes over to her house, her parents are preparing to move out while denying Lily's existence.

Lily's Mom: "There is no Lily."

"Only Zuul."
Lily's Mom: "Forget about her."

Forget about her? I thought there was no Lily. Keep your lie consistent, lady.

So he rushes back home to try and explain things to his parents.

Larry: "I saw Lily. I think she's a dog!"

There's precedent.
But his parents ignore him and evade all his questions while trying to convince him that nothing's wrong.

Mrs. Boyd: "How 'bout some roast beef?"
Larry: "I don't want food, I want answers!"

"But I'll take some to go."
Larry runs off as the background music imitates "Wipeout" while he tries to make sense of the situation. Eventually, he comes across the garage where they practice. There, he finds the family his band's supposed to be auditioning for, as well as a strange dog.

Larry: "Jared?"
Larry (voiceover): "It sounded like him. Could it be?"

Did... did Jared bark a lot?

But another hair attack makes Larry take off again.

"This neighborhood's been going downhill since they let the werewolves move in.
No wonder all the houses are abandoned."
Larry runs home...

...looking like Teen Wolf...
...and we cut to a POV shot where his parents nonchalantly apologize for what happened to him.

Behold, the one Goosebumps twist that the internet uses as an instant punchline.
That's the big twist. He's a dog. He always was. He eats a cookie, lounges on the porch...

Larry (voiceover): "Now this seems familiar."

Because it's in the Goosebumps intro. Cute.
...And he explains that all of his friends were originally dogs. All the families here came here to be part of Dr. Murkin's experiment that turns dogs into children.

Why did he feel the need to turn dogs into humans?

Larry (voiceover): "That's why I got those shots every two weeks."

...Did anyone else get those shots?

But Larry seems happy with his new life.

Larry (voiceover): "Chasing cars, barking at strangers, scratching in public...."

Licking your own nethers, sniffing butts....

But Dr. Murkin returns with a little something for the Boyd family. A baby.

Mrs. Boyd: "Welcome to your new home, Jasper."

So I guess Dr. Murkin's trying his formula out on cats now. Because why not.

Ack! Demon baby! Demon baby!
And with that, the episode ends. So let's talk about why this is one of the more infamous Goosebumps stories.

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