austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Who's gonna save the world?

[ Perhaps you recall my project to watch all the episodes of Jabberjaw and describe them in enough detail to fill the Internet's lack of an episode guide. Back in November-December it came to a halt with thirteen out of sixteen episodes as the final three I couldn't find on YouTube and the show wasn't on Boomerang's schedule. Well, it got back on the schedule, and I've now seen the last three episodes. So let me finish off the project now. I intend after this is done to write a proper title-plot summary table for the whole series, but I've got my enormously long set of notes about it already written and here we go. ]

Episode Number: JBJ-14
Title: ``The Fast-Paced Chase Race''
Original Airdate: 4 December 1976
Production Code: 84-14
Plot: While on a thousand-mile ocean-floor race the Neptunes wrestle for control of an oil-eating microbe with the minions of the villainous Dr Robeck.
Locations: Petrolaqua; A location 1000 Miles From Petrolaqua.
Guest Characters: Dr Robeck, Hugo, Bogar, Minion, Announcer, Race Starter.
Songs: ``I'm Coming Back'' (chase); ``Don't Let The Time Slip Away'' (performance, fragment).

A microbe that eats oil starts the story.

Those are two of the ugliest mad science types out there; of course they're villains. Dr Robeck looks like someone started with a Fu Manchu and made it Caucasian enough to not be stereotypical.

They plan to get the microbes into Petrolaqua in the racecars of the Petrolaqua Trans-Marine Race, as the drivers will be un-searched.

The Neptunes are staying at an undresea hotel with a swimming pool. ``Last one in is a silly guppy''. When a patron screams out ``a shark'', Jabberjaw appears not to recognize himself.

The shark ejector at the hotel --- which has a cross, muppet-type face --- rolls up Jabberjaw like a basketball and tosses him into a wastebasket. All the Neptunes are thrown out due to Jabberjaw.

It's Ladies Day at the swimming pool.

When the Neptunes are thrown out of the hotel they have ``no money'' and are a thousand miles from their next gig, at Petrolaqua. Thus they enter the race: a school pal of Biff's owes him a favor and had a car entered.

The Neptunes drive off in Robeck's car accidentally; Jabberjaw jumped into the car first. Bogar plans to drive them off the road, but Robeck refuses as ``the whole world is watching''.

The Neptunes take an early lead. Dr Robeck and Hugo follow the undersea car in an undersea helicopter. (It looks like George Jetson's car with a single propeller on a raised tailfin; there's no stabilizer or second propeller.) Clam-head mentions they're making the competitors ``eat dust'', which just raises even more questions.

They pass road construction sites, which apparently are dry after all; the Neptunes are thrown off the road and barely miss being crushed by a steam roller. Jabberjaw, knockd into a tree, is attacked by a bird.

After the car accident Shelly gets oil on her. Jabberjaw takes out the microbe vial, guessing it may be cleanser, and doses her with it. This is when they discover it's an oil-eating thing. I am myself reluctant to pour unfamiliar, unknown liquids onto things in the hope that they will somehow be useful.

Biff --- the smart one --- only now notices, thanks to the Minions stealing the vial back, that they got in the wrong car.

Jabberjaw stretches out to serve as a temporary bridge over the canyon.

The Neptunes get ahead of Bogar and Minion 2, and set themselves up as a service station: stealing the windshield, bringing out an Electronic Analyzer which is held over the udnersea car's carburetor; the Electronic Analyzer waves its dial some and then TILTs. Jabberjaw and the Neptunes use the pretext to pull everything out of the car before the Minions get suspicious.

The Minions have a Dissolvo Ray, used earlier to eliminate the signs warning of a construction zone ahead and here used to eliminate that rolling board mechanics use to slide under cars.

Jabberjaw swipes the vial as the Minions get away; Dr Robeck demands they turn around and get that vial.

After the detour, during which the Neptunes are robbed, build a fake service station, blow up the Minions' car, and reassemble it, the Neptunes are able to get right back in the racecar pack. This must be TV Tropes trope, probably including the name of the Wacky Races.

Jabberjaw asserts (having picked the Minions' pockets) that he's not known as ``Tricky Fins'' for nothing, or as best as I can determine, ever.

The Neptunes try to flee the Minions by turning off to a tuna ranch, where the tuna live around coops and are kept in by barbed wire fences.

Jabberjaw tries to impersonate a tuna sitting on its nest by wearing a rubber glove as ... no, this is just too silly. I'm sorry.

Two of the tuna eggs Jabberjaw sat on hatched, getting him in trouble with the tuna hen. In the confusion the Minions catch Jabberjaw and make him give back the vial.

After a little more work on the car, after the tuna ranch diversion, the Neptunes are able to get back into the pack again. The car extends on tall legs so they can lean over and swipe the vial from the Minions.

While the racers are camping for the night, Dr Robeck uses his invisibility ray that wasn't mentioned before to sneak into the Neptunes' tent and search for the vial. His invisible wresting of Jabberjaw results in the other Neptunes staring, horrified, at Jabberjaw's squirming around in his form-fitting bathing suit.

Dr Robeck leaves very neat men's shoe footprints, including up Jabberjaw's front.

While Dr Robeck gets away, Shelly argues that he can't get away tonight and they'll catch him ``tomorrow''. Jabberjaw says of the invisible burglars that he gets ``no respect, even from a guy who's not there'', reflecting a common kids-show confusion among ``invisibility'', ``intangibility'' and ``non-presence''.

The next day, Jabberjaw turns himself into a corkscrew so the Neptunes can burrow into the ground and sneak into the Minion's car, steal the vial, and then burrow again so the Neptunes' car can get ahead of the Minions' car. Somehow.

Petrolaqua is first entered by a giant glass dome with ``PETROLAQUA'' on it, and a maze of test tube-like contraptions.

In the final approach the Minions use the eliminator ray on the Neptunes' car; this time it just eliminates parts of the car, and the Neptunes complete the race with just themselves and two wheels. In earlier parts of the race it obliterates piles of rocks much larger than the car.

At the finish line, Dr Robeck lands his underwater helicopter and proclaims ``Petrolaqua's just ahead'' and this is their only chance to get the vial. It's during this time that Jabberjaw catches Robeck and Minions in the Finish line banner.

The Neptunes apparently weren't wearing seat belts, or else they were disintegrated with the car frame.

After the concert Clamhead presents the tuna fish hatchlings in a goldfish bowl to Jabberjaw and they make weird noises to each other.

Nobody seems to announce the end of the race or make much of a fuss about capturing the brilliant yet stupid Dr Robeck or foiling his plans.

The second scientist, the one who helps Dr Robeck creating the microbe, seems to just disappear from the plot. Unless I missed his resolution he just gets forgot by everybody.

The Neptunes were never actually told about Dr Robeck's plan; they just saw a vial with a drop of something that made an oil stain disappear and assumed the people it belonged to were up to no good. It's a safe assumption for them, given the number of world-conquering schemes they've run into, but it's not strictly logically justified from what they saw.

Trivia: British sailors posted in home waters had a beer, rather than grog, ration (of a gallon per day) through to the end of the 18th century. Source: To Rule The Waves: How The British Navy Shaped The Modern World, Arthur Herman.

Currently Reading: Grand Central Arena, seawasp. Say, this is some right snappy stuff.


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