austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Who's gonna save the day?

Episode Number: JBJ-15
Title: ``The Piranha Plot''
Original Airdate: 11 December 1976
Production Code: 84-16
Plot: The Piranha's rocket of ``surrender mist'' is accidentally mis-launched by the Neptunes and lands in the outskirts of Amsteraqua. The Neptunes race to secure the rocket before the Piranha can use it to take over the Undersea States of America.
Locations: Undersea rocket base; ship heading for Amsteraqua; Amsteraqua.
Guest Characters: Piranha, Gregor, Angry Mouse, Ship's Officer, 4 Minions, Inspector Van Houten, Fred Kelpington, Angry Termite.
Songs: ``I Told You Once'' (chase); ``I Got The No-Good Blues'' (performance, fragment)

Thoughts:
We open on a rocket being readied by the Piranha (voiced by Alan Reed, who sometimes sounds enough like an angry Fred Flintstone as to distract me and suggest a subversive re-reading of the text) with surrender-mist cannisters, in order to rule the Undersea States of America.

The rockets use some ``exotic fuel'', available on a tanker coming in view on the aquascanner. What are the odds the Neptunes are inexplicably aboard the tanker as the Piranha sends the ``capture ship'' after it?

The Neptunes found ``cheap'' passage on the tanker.

Clam-Head thought their gig was in Hawaii, but that fell through, so they're going to Amsteraqua. Jabberjaw's hula skirt and lei go to waste apart from a brief dance that's got to have been used for ``show an infinitely repeated two-second animation clip until the audience thinks it's funny'' interstitials, and he falls over, irritating a mouse.

Jabberjaw is picked up and stuffed into one of those pipe things always poking out of ship decks in cartons by an irritated mouse.

The tanker is captured in its entirety by a ``monster ship'' which looks a lot like a regular ship that just opens its crocodile-style jaws up front.

The Neptunes hide in lockers (Jabberjaw gets stuck along with Shelly in one) while the ship's officers are taken off in a chain gang. Gregor has two Minions to help him with things like kidnapping crews.

Biff guesses the ship was kidnapped for its rocket fuel cargo. Jabberjaw says the Piranha is fueling the rocket with ``our'' rocket fuel. Ours, really, mister Biff? What's your interest in this rocket fuel?

The Neptunes sneak into the machine shop ahead of three Minions and end up being spoken to by remote screen by the Piranha, 20 minutes ahead of the launch. The rocket will surrender-gas ``the capital'' of the Undersea States of America.

Shelly implies that taking over the Undersea States is equivalent to conquering the world.

Clam-head, Shelly, and Jabberjaw sneak into the Piranha's Launch Control dressed as janitors; Jabberjaw smooshes a wet mop in Shelly's face. They tell Gregor they're in the control room on Piranha's orders to tidy things. Gregor and the Minions all leave so they can do their work.

The Neptunes use the vacuums to sweep up up buttons; Clam-head pops out the colorful discs from a set of slots and slides them back. Jabberjaw swipes parts from a computer and eats them with a jar of peanut butter left on a counter. Jabberjaw wonders if they'd go better with jelly, or as the closed captioning puts it, ``chili''.

Biff and Bubbles, attempting to sabotage the rocket on-site, try figuring out how to do it. Bubbles unspiels a bunch of technobabble, which she thought of by reading the sign saying, `WARNING! DO NOT ...''.

Specifically, she suggests they ``depressurize the main liquid oxygen terminal, activate the secondary fail-safe fuel circuit, and then the backup system''. The sign has four items, marked by clearly written and circled numbers, on its list, although the list itself is illegible.

Bubbles does a bunch of damaging things in remarkably smooth animation which looks like it was done as regular animation and then played back swifter than average.

Jabberjaw accidentally falls on the launch switch; the rocket immediately launches. The Piranha is angered and proclaims ``when I get my hands on the fool who ---''; he notices the Neptunes and triggers the alarm bell.

Biff and Bubbles lead two minions through the shower room; they hide in a shower, under an umbrella.

The Neptunes escape two chasing Minions; the Piranha is resolved to find where that rocket landed.

Amsteraqua has a bunch of windmills under its sea dome.

Inspector Van Houten is waiting at the Amsteraqua Police Station.

Told to state their business quickly Jabberjaw demonstrates the tanker's kidnap by eating the Inspector's desk; shows the size of the rocket by lifting up the Inspector; demonstrates sitting on the launch control by sitting on the Inspector; shows the launch by throwing the Inspector into the chandelier, and at this point they're ejected.

Jabberjaw and the Neptunes are thrown out by a robot, although this seems not to be a shark-oriented ejector.

At the hotel the desk clerk, who looks remarkably like Ted Forth, is asked if their room is ready. Before he can answer Biff finds a newspaper article about Fred Kelpington, an ``amateur seaweed collector and fish watcher'', who says he saw a huge UFO land in the Seaweed Forest. Clam-head supposes this may be their rocket. This implies there are professional seaweed collectors or fish watchers in the Jabber-verse.

The Piranha, reading the same article, ``Witness Claims Huge UFO lands in Seaweed Forest'', a triple-deck headline on an interior page (which seems unlikely for a broadsheet newspaper to me), finds Kelpington was not believed as he's eccentric, living on kelpberries and living in an abandoned windmill.

The Neptunes go to Kelpington's place in an Aqua Tow Truck.

Kelpington was watching a ``beautiful'' silver-breasted stickleback swimming by, when the shadow appeared on the ocean floor as the UFO landed, on its tailfins, thrusting down in reverse.

Kelpington draws them a map while the Piranha and Gregor arrive. The rocket is past the Aquadam Deep between the Seaweed Forest and --- Kelpington's interrupted.

The Neptunes hide in the attic, which has fixed-ladder access. After Jabberjaw spots the Piranha out the window and slams the door closed Biff realizes ``they're after Mr Kelpington''.

Jabberjaw has the idea to swipe Kelpington's clothes off, put them on Shelly, and have them chase her instead of him. Jabberjaw's stripping of Kelpington is done without him moving.

Jabberjaw tosses Shelly across the room to keep her from the Minions.

They climb to the top of the windmill (watermill?), and get down by hoping on the windmill vanes. Jabberjaw hopping on the vanes makes it spin fast enough to send them all flying toward the ground in front of the Piranha and four Minions.

Back at the Piranha's base the Piranha discovers he was tricked; Bubbles lets out the secret of there being a map. Jabberjaw swallows the map.

The Piranha stretches Jabberjaw flat and puts him under an intense light(?) to read the map through the shark's skin. On the map the Piranha points to the ``Adquadam Deep'', although the text says it's the ``Aquaman Deep''.

``Aquaman'' is not in the Apple Dictionary. ``Superman'', ``Batman'', and ``Spiderman'' are, which figures.

The Neptunes are thrown in ``the piranha cell'', which is not simply a matter Batman-esque naming. Instead it's a bathysphere inside a tank full of piranhas.

Jabberjaw unscrews the bathysphere from its top support, so it falls to the base of the tank; he then drills through the floor somehow, and they escape to the basement, which is framed with wooden Y-frame.

The rocket tows ``easily'', according to one Minion who gets a line.

The Neptunes, having escaped, encounter the monster boat, which is just big enough to get the Aqua Tow Truck. In trying to chomp the Tow Truck the tow line for the rocket is accidentally severed.

The Tow Truck is scooped up early in the chase and it turns into a chase inside the boat. Two Minions are dropped into a cage and Jabberjaw swallows the key, despite there being two more Minions on the way. The Neptunes get to the bridge and surprise the Piranha, who's still piloting. He escapes in a one-man submarine which gets re-swallowed. The perspectives are way off again; the one-man submarine looks not much smaller than the tow truck nor the original tanker in the monster ship's maw.

Amsteraqua not only has hills but also canals.

The Neptunes are performing in the Amsteraqua Dome. There's parking lots and wheeled cars all around.

Jabberjaw vanishes from stage during a brief curtain folding and reappears in wooden shoes and green overalls. He tries tap-dancing but a ``tiny termite twerp'' pops out a hole in the shoes to yell him out.

Trivia: The first edition, published 1928, of the International Hydrographic Organization's Special Publication Number S.23, ``Limits of Oceans and Seas'', defining the boundaries and limits of bodies of water, was 24 pages long. Source: Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, And A Vast Ocean Of A Million Stories, Simon Winchester.

Currently Reading: Grand Central Arena, seawasp. Well, that deserves the good press it's been getting.

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