This is it. The last episode of The New Archies that I have yet to review. It's actually been a lot of fun doing The New Archies Reviewed postings the last six months. It's allowed me to share a cartoon series that some may not have even known existed, and it's allowed me to relive something that I loved a lot as a kid.
Mind you, some of the episodes weren't all gems (I'm looking at you, episode 9), but some of them were not half bad (see episode 7). And two weeks from today, I'll be doing one final recap of the show, and maybe consider starting up another cartoon series to review.
In the meantime, let's start the last episode off with the first part of the show. This is Episode 13A: Take My Butler, Please.
Okay, so I'm just gonna go on a hunch here and say that the episode's subject is Smithers, the loyal Lodge family servant. After all, who else in Riverdale has a butler!
Oh, look! I'm right! That is Smithers. And, he happens to be exiting an antique store carrying two FABULOUSLY EXPENSIVE statues that I am sure Mr. Lodge paid a handsome sum for. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, for one, it looks like someone's eaten a banana and thrown the peel on the sidewalk for the done to the death gag of someone slipping on a banana peel for someone else's amusement. But even writer Gary Greenfield sees this as too much of a cliche and he makes Smithers recover nicely to catch the statues before they break.
So, if banana peels are out, why not send a grand piano down a steep hill towards Smithers, flattening him like a pancake. Yeah, that's much better than a banana peel...not to mention deadly.
But who should happen to arrive on the scene than Archie Andrews himself. He leaps off of his bike, pushes Smithers out of the way, and the piano misses them both. As of this writing, the piano should be somewhere near the Galapagos Islands by now.
Too bad Archie couldn't find a way to save the statues. They smash into 500 little pieces, and I'm assuming that Mr. Lodge will be holding this over his head for the rest of his life.
But who cares about the statues? Smithers is ever so grateful to Archie for saving his life. So grateful that he decides to abandon his post at Lodge Mansion and decides that he will become Archie's butler instead! I'm not lying. That's what he says.
And, of course, Archie is initially reluctant to take Smithers' offer...but as one will learn about this butler is that he refuses to take no for an answer. And soon, Archie's thinking that he could probably milk this for all it is worth.
So when Archie discovers that his bike is non-functional due to him saving Smithers' life, Smithers decides to start paying his debt to Archie...
...by taking him home in a helicopter! I guess butlers have their perks too.
Too bad that the helicopter upsets the garbage cans filled with leaves that Mr. Andrews (oh, hi, I forgot you were in this episode too!) has just raked! You know, Mr. Andrews, they have these neat things called leaf bags that you can put the leaves in. Just saying.
Ah, but once again, Smithers proves that he will do whatever Archie desires and rakes the leaves back up again - in ten seconds! Wow, no wonder the Lodge family keeps him around!
And when it comes time for Archie to mow the lawn, Smithers pushes Archie back and tells him that he will do it for him.
Too bad the lawn mower is so powerful that it sends Smithers flying down the street mowing every lawn on Archie's block! For a lawn mower to be that powerful, Mr. Andrews must have gotten a pretty big bonus at work!
Smithers even attempts to give Red a bath...but when Red escapes from the tub, Smithers tries to catch Red by chasing him around the yard.
Instead, Smithers crashes into the hammock that Archie happens to be resting in and the impact sends the two of them spinning into the air...
...landing in front of the velvety purple boots that happen to be on Veronica's leopard skin stockings. Always the fashionista, that Veronica.
But Veronica is in no mood to socialize. She's pissed. She wants to know when Smithers is coming home to do all her chores. But Smithers actually grows a set and tells Veronica to chill out! He tells Veronica that Archie saved his life and because of that - and because Archie is nicer to him than Veronica - he will be Archie's servant from now on.
And with that, Smithers actually gives Archie a piggy back ride inside the house, leaving Veronica fuming.
If you think Smithers giving Archie a piggy back ride is strange...you haven't even scratched the summit of the mountain yet!
Because Smithers has laid out Archie's pajamas...a set of bunny pajamas that would probably get a 12-year-old boy beat up. I know when I was 12, I would NEVER have worn those!
Smithers also brushes Archie's teeth for him. That's not weird. That's not weird at all.
And of course, Smithers has to sing Archie a lullaby before he sleeps, in which his voice is so bad he makes William Hung sound like Andrea Bocelli in comparison. I'm wondering what Mr. and Mrs. Andrews think of all this...but then again, maybe Smithers drugged them so that they wouldn't interfere. I wouldn't put it past Smithers, anyway.
The following morning, Teletubby Tinky-Winky...ah, I mean, Bunny Archie wakes up, and breathes a sigh of relief, thinking that Smithers has finally left him alone and that he can finally wear the pajamas the he wants to wear...
...at least that is until Smithers comes into the room with four other servants and enough food to last Jughead until the year 2017 - which is a lot of food, given the show takes place in 1987! And Archie already feels his stomach muscles contracting in fear! And is that a bottle of wine on the table? Smithers does realize Archie has another nine years before he can drink that, right?
Oh, look. Here's Jughead at the door waiting for Archie to walk with him to school. And, Archie is trying to be quiet so that Smithers doesn't hear him. Otherwise, he'd have no problem inviting Jughead in for breakfast.
But why would Smithers allow Archie to walk to school when he can give him a piggy back ride instead? Oh, for heaven's sake, this is getting really stupid. Is Smithers' life so empty that he has to spend it being surgically attached to people who show him attention? I'm almost tempted to call him "Smothers" instead.
At school, Archie is about to sit down, but once again "Smothers" decides that he has to dust the desk first. After all, we can't have dustbunnies soiling the pants that Archie has worn in every single episode of The New Archies, can we?
This of course, prompts Veronica to yell "J'ACCUSE" at Archie, claiming that he butler-napped Smithers! Of course, Smithers once again tells Veronica off (I get the feeling he's wanted to do that for YEARS). Veronica walks off in a huff.
Smithers then proceeds to pull out a fan and begins to blow a nice breeze with it trying to make Archie comfortable in front of all of Archie's stunned classmates. Gee, I wonder how MS. Grundy is feeling about this.
I'm guessing based on this screenshot, she's hella pissed. And, never did I think I would use that expression in this blog...but come on. That expression can only be summed up by those words!
Grundy tells Smithers that if he wants to make himself useful, he should do some chores around the classroom, beginning with watering the plants inside. Um...MS. Grundy? Remember the last time you had someone try to help you with watering the garden and Archie almost drowned you? Do you really think that having Smithers playing with a garden hose is the right way to go.
Sigh. Tried to warn you. Did you listen? No...
And here's where the bizarro world continues. MS. Grundy grabs a dunce cap, places it on Smithers' head, and tells him to sit in the corner and think about what he's done! MS. Grundy, you are no Supernanny, and there should be no naughty mat in a 7th grade classroom!
By this time, Archie has had enough of Smothering Smithers, and he and Jughead decide to go to a horror movie after school, thinking that Smithers would think that horror films would be too scary for him.
The only horror though is Smithers coming into the theatre to cover Archie's eyes so that he doesn't get too warped by the PG-13 rating! Seriously, Smithers is scaring me more than any horror movie. At this rate, you could have Pennywise the Clown from "It" sitting beside Archie and he would be less scared!
Archie and Jughead try to ditch Smithers at a local carnival that has opened up, and think that they can enjoy a nice bumper car ride.
It's just too bad that Veronica has gone all vigilante on their butts and steers her car towards Archie and Jughead to try and demand that Smithers comes back to her home where she can boss him around again. By the way, nice touches on Veronica's car, as if we aren't supposed to know that she's totally rich and all.
But Smithers...who apparently has a built in GPS device that can track down Archie at a moment's notice...is in a car of his own, which Veronica takes great pleasure in ramming.
Archie and Jughead use this opportunity to escape the bumper car ride while Veronica is ramming Smithers with the car and Archie exclaims that if he sees Smithers one more time, he'll break down and cry.
To which Smithers is physically bounced out of the bumper car ride by Veronica and he goes sailing into a popcorn cart right next to Archie and Jughead. It's a good thing this is a cartoon because otherwise Smithers would defy the laws of physics! And true to his word, Archie bursts into tears when Smithers offers him some popcorn! To be fair, I would cry too. After all, that popcorn was on the dusty ground. Unclean! Unclean!
Archie and Jughead manage to get away, but Veronica tackles Smithers from behind and actually starts to have a heart to heart talk with him about how much she misses him. If we weren't conditioned to think that Veronica was a hateful shrieking harpy bitch from the beginning of the series, I'd think she was being totally heartfelt.
But then she threatens to hold her breath until Smithers comes home again, and when Smithers walks away her face turns blue. Wow...I'm maybe starting to understand where Veronica gets her coolness from. And it's NOT her parents!
And where are Archie and Jughead? On some lazy river boat ride with a couple of other kids, brainstorming ideas to get rid of Smithers. Turns out that Archie has a scheme. The whole thing with Smithers becoming co-dependent on Archie began when Archie saved Smithers' life. So Archie decides that if Smithers can save Archie's life in return, it will be Even Steven, and Archie can go back to being a kid again. Archie decides to use the lazy river ride to throw himself into the river and pretend he's drowning so Smithers will save him. Not exactly the method I'd use, but it's one that Archie feels is foolproof.
Well, that is until Archie tries to throw himself overboard and can't because he has gum stuck on his shoe, which makes the boat rock. To which I ask...how much gum can there possibly be on the bottom of a boat?!? I mean, the way Archie is moving, it's like the whole boat is covered in Laffy Taffy!
Fortunately, the boat is rocking so much that Smithers notices right away and dives into the river to valiantly save Archie's life...
...only for Smithers to realize that he cannot swim to save his OWN life. Oh, so NOW he discovers this.
Luckily, Veronica shucks her boots off and runs into the water and saves Smithers from drowning...in what looks like three feet of water. Which I believe is a lie, as if it really were three feet, the water would be at least up to Veronica's waist. But then again, Veronica could have dyscalculia, so I will begrudgingly give her a pass. But still, Smithers thinking he could drown in three feet of water makes it official. Smithers is officially the most annoying New Archies tertiary character ever.
But with Veronica saving Smithers' life, Smithers decides that it is worthy enough for him to ditch Archie once and for all, and go back to serving the Lodge family. And, I for one am relieved that this episode is really over because I don't think I could handle having Smithers as the star of the episode any more. He really is a train wreck of a character and he makes Mr. Weatherbee look sane in comparison!
Fortunately, I have some good news. While episode 13A was a bust...13B is actually one of the better episodes, and it ends the series on a high note.