Tandy Computer Whiz Kids: A Deadly Choice
July 15, 2013
Remember when these comics were about computers?
(Open on Linkara sitting on his Futon)
Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. IT'S THE 250TH EPISODE!!
(Cut to a shot of the show title card, reading "Merry Christmas From Atop the Fourth Wall"; snow falls and jingle bells are heard)
(The AT4W Christmas logo is shown again, still with snow and jingle bells; this time, just with the words "Merry Christmas From" are crudely crossed out, and the words "happy 250th episode" are written in, in Comic Sans)
Linkara: (not amused) You still have snow and jingle bells. IT'S JULY! (becomes frustrated briefly, then shrugs) Whatever. The point is, on this momentous occasion, let's look back to the past of this show... like we've been doing for the last several weeks anyway, because of a scheduling mistake that had lots of episodes be sequel ones in a row. (sighs) This has been pretty much a failure of an introduction on all parts, hasn't it? Anyway, point is, (holds up a "Tandy Computer Whiz Kids" comic) "Tandy Computer Whiz Kids"; let's dig in.
(AT4W title sequence plays; cut to title card for this episode: "Tandy Computer Whiz Kids: A Deadly Choice", with "Combine Harvester" by the Wurzels playing in the background; cut to the cover of the comic as the review begins)
Linkara (v/o): Our cover is only really half of a cover, since, of course, the Tandy Computer Whiz Kids logo takes up most of the page, the looming heads of Alec and Shanna staring at you creepily, and the text informing us that the name of this issue is "A Deadly Choice!"
Linkara: The choice, of course, being whether to read this comic or a much better comic. (voice turns menacing) If you don't choose this comic, (holds up "Tandy Computer Whiz Kids" comic) Alec and Shanna will appear before you and haunt you for the rest of your days!
Linkara (v/o): And as you can see, we're apparently seeing some kind of behind-the-scenes photo of Alec, Shanna, Ms. Wilson and some other kids working at a hotline for victims of substance abuse. I would remind you that these kids are elementary school students, so I really hope they're not answering the phones.
Linkara: And this is the time to point out that, unlike some other Tandy Computer Whiz Kids comics, where the anti-drug message is just kinda tacked on, this issue is all about how drugs are bad. And as such, you know what that means... Welcome, my friends, to "PSA Hell"!
("PSA Hell" title is shown; cut back to comic cover)
Linkara (v/o): Ah, and we see on their Tandy computer the goals of this hotline: "Be aware of dangers, keep at least one student off drugs..."
Linkara: Well, of our sample group, nineteen kids went on drugs, but we did get that one kid to refuse to take them, so... I'm calling this a success. (nods)
Linkara (v/o): "Just say no to drugs".
Linkara: Logically, if they're working in the anti-drug hotline to begin with, wouldn't they have already said no to drugs? Or do we presume that they're working undercover to try to find new dealers?
Linkara (v/o): We open in a very similar way to our last Tandy Computer Whiz Kids review: with a plane setting down in a remote airstrip to unload drugs.
Linkara: (incredulously) If these things are all gonna be pretty much exactly the same as one another, why should I even bother recording new material for this episode?! Here, have a clip from the "To Solve a Riddle" review.
(Cut to footage of that video)
Linkara: (archival footage) We're leaving on a jet plane and we don't know when we'll be back!
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, with the drugs loaded into a shopping cart – and with the rain pouring down on them, drugs are best taken when they're wet – the plane quickly takes off again.
Thug #1: That was our best time yet!
Thug #2: Yeah! No one will ever suspect he made a unscheduled stop!
Linkara (v/o): Gotta love it when the educational PSA has a grammar mistake. The two bring the drugs inside of a warehouse and open up a secret hidden door into a concealed laboratory, with lots of test tubes and flasks and what not, even Bunsen burners. There's your lesson, kids: drugs equal science!
Thug #1: Hey boss! The latest shipment just arrived!
Scientist: Good! Bring it down so we can cut it and get it ready for the street!
Linkara: You know, with the clipboard notes and the science equipment and lab coats and stuff, maybe the drugs they sell are, like, science drugs, and they're like a smoke grenade; when you throw them, science happens!
Linkara (v/o): Or, this could just perpetuate my theory that scientists are actually evil and thus are drug dealers. Also, taking a closer look at this guy, the dude looks like a mustachioed Reed Richards. Or possibly J. Jonah Jameson with browner hair.
Scientist: (thinking) A few more shipments like this and I'll be on Easy Street for life!
Linkara: (as scientist) Yes, my undercover assignment is almost complete! I just know that Spider-Man is working with these drug dealers!
Linkara (v/o): (reading text) "Illegal drug operations trade unsuspecting clients misery..." Uh, missing an apostrophe there for possession of the misery.
(Spelling/grammar errors: 2)
Linkara (v/o): "Without the help of alert citizens, underground drug facilities like these most* often escape detection!"
- NOTE: Linkara read "most" as "must".
Linkara: Wait, I'm confused by that sentence. Without people's help, they "must" often escape detection? The wording implies that it's unfortunate that they have to do that, when in fact they were... trying to do that... to begin with and... Screw it. (snaps fingers)
(Spelling/grammar errors: 3)
Linkara (v/o): (reading more text) "Unfortunately, today there is no safe place from the menacing threat of drug dealers... and the sorrow they sell!"
Linkara: But there is a safe place from the screwed-up timelines of last week's comic at least.
Linkara (v/o): So the kids in school are... discussing... their vacations...
(Cut to shots of past Tandy Computer Whiz Kids, starting the exact same way)
Linkara: (frustrated) Am– Am I stuck some kind of time loop? Am I repeating the same events over and over, unable to ever escape?!
Linkara (v/o): Well, okay, to be fair, unlike the other comics I mentioned, they don't specify that it was their summer vacation this time, so it could've been Spring Break or something, but COME ON! THAT'S THREE COMICS ALL TALKING ABOUT FRIGGIN' VACATIONS! FIND SOMETHING ELSE TO TALK ABOUT!!
Ms. Wilson: Welcome back to school everyone! I'd like to hear how you spent your vacations!
Linkara: (raising his hand) I sat on my ass and played video games, Ms. Wilson!
Ms. Wilson: Alec, will you start?
Linkara: Hey, Ms. Wilson, are you ever gonna let another student talk about their summer? We never see the other kids talking about their vacations! It's always Alec or Shanna! Are the other kids even real? Are they just like mannequins that you propped up to look like real students?
Linkara (v/o): I mean, let's face it, they were already pretty soulless abominations to begin with. Nobody would notice if there were no real kids in this class. So, what did Alec do this time?
Alec: Shanna and I worked at a camp for emotionally disturbed youngsters!
Linkara: (yelling) YOU'RE TWELVE YEARS OLD!!
Linkara (v/o): Maybe you'd be washing dishes or something, but you sure as hell are not working at the camp to help kids who are emotionally disturbed! And why do you look so damn happy about it?! A camp for children who suffer problems so badly that it makes them, by your own words, emotionally disturbed is NOT A HAPPY THING!! Yes, it's good that they're getting treatment, but apparently, it's not from accredited physicians and psychologists! Oh, no! It's from friggin' twelve-year-olds who won't SHUT UP ABOUT COMPUTERS!!!
Linkara: Or... wait, y-you say you guys were working at it. Are you sure weren't there as patients?
Linkara (v/o): I mean, just saying you kids are not exactly normal. Maybe you were all in the cult of Tandy, and you were there to be cured of your brainwashing, but you escaped and returned to your diabolical TRS-80 masters.
Linkara: Also, no child ever says (makes a "finger quote") "youngsters", comic. If you're trying to convince me Alec isn't a plant, you're doing a piss-poor job of it.
Linkara (v/o): Two kids in the back [Tommy and Bobby] roll their eyes at this information. Naturally, they will be the villains of the story, because they have free wills.
Alec: Alot of the kids had drug or alcohol related problems... which really hurt their families and their own lives!
Linkara: (as Alec, smiling) I'm really happy that the drug and alcohol problems hurt their lives!
Ms. Wilson: It sounds like it was an interesting job!
Linkara: (as Alec, still smiling) You bet! I met this one guy who had his arm cut off, and his daughter horribly killed by a collapsing building, and that's why he turned to drugs!
Alec: It sure taught me alot!
Linkara (v/o): (growling irritably) There's supposed to be a friggin' space between "a" and "lot"!
(Spelling/grammar errors: 4)
Linkara (v/o): Believe it or not, there was an editor on this: Victor Gorelick, the editor-in-chief of friggin' Archie Comics! And that makes sense when you realize that Archie was actually the ones who handled the printing of this comic. Anyway, back to Alec and his smooth haircut... Seriously, the dude slicked back his hair so much, you'd think he was the Cinema Snob.
Alec: I learned the war on drugs concerns us all!
Linkara: Damn right it does! Mr. T fought an Incan cyborg while under the influence of drugs! In fact... (looks offscreen) Mr. T, what do you think about Alec?
(Cut to footage of an episode of The A-Team)
Mr. T: This man's a party animal. He's high on smack, though, speedballs or something.
Linkara: Well, can't argue with Mr. T.
Ms. Wilson: Class, all drugs including alcohol are dangerous and addictive!
Linkara: (as student) But Ms. Wilson, what about my asthma medication? (as Ms. Wilson) All drugs are dangerous and addictive!
Linkara (v/o): And as Ms. Wilson tells the kids not to give into peer pressure and just say no, the bell rings.
Linkara: IT'S BEEN FIVE FRICKIN' MINUTES!! OR HAS ALEC BEEN YAPPING ABOUT THE DISTURBED CHILDREN FOR EIGHT HOURS?!
Linkara (v/o): Or maybe someone rightfully pulled the fire alarm in a vain attempt to free the kids. The two disinterested kids walk out.
Bobby: GREAT! Just what we need the first day back... a lecture! I thought I was home listening to my parents nag me!
Linkara: (as Bobby) "Don't do drugs! Don't play your music so loud! Don't torture small animals in the basement!" It never ends!
Bobby: (to Tommy) My folks are a real pain... how about yours?
Tommy: Well... I love my parents, but they just don't understand me!
Linkara: (as Tommy) They just don't realize I'm Danny Chase. (normal) Seriously, the kid looks exactly like (comparison images of Tommy and Danny Chase, to whom Tommy does bear a resemblance) Danny Chase from "The Teen Titans". Am I the only one who sees this?
Linkara (v/o): Shanna, who has finally taken her hair down from her Nostalgia Chick-esque pigtails, notices the two kids hanging out with each other.
Shanna: Since when did Tommy start hanging around with Bobby?
Alec: During vacation, I guess! They sure are an odd couple!
Linkara: Hey, I think they make a cute couple. (points at camera) Don't be so judgmental about their love, Alec!
Linkara (v/o): Or were you just implying that they're actually Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau? The two observe Tommy and Bobby walking to the back of the school.
Bobby: Let's go, Tommy! Buzz said he'd meet us at the rear of the school yard during lunch recess today!
Linkara: As opposed to... dinner recess...? (shrugs)
Linkara (v/o): Tommy and Bobby go over to the aforementioned Buzz, who gives them some cocaine and instructs them to get new customers.
Bobby: Finding new customers isn't easy, Buzz! Kids are smarter and more cautious now!
Linkara: I fail to see the evidence of that.
Buzz: I want customers not excuses! Give the stuff away if you have to!
Linkara: Now there's a successful business strategy right there.
Tommy: W-Where are we going to find new customers, Bobby?
Bobby: Relax, Tommy! If we can hook some of the more popular kids like Alec and Shanna, the others will follow their example!
Linkara: (frustrated) WHY THE HELL ARE THEY POPULAR?! Is it their propensity for being engaged in more social activities in groups than the original Power Rangers?!
Linkara (v/o): Tommy and Bobby approach the plants.
Shanna: Tommy, are you all right? You look strange! Is anything wrong?
Tommy: N-No, Shanna! I'm f-fine! I feel great! In fact, I can fix it so you can feel great too... all the time!
Linkara: Shanna, have you heard about Dienetics?
Alec: What do you mean?
Bobby: Don't play dumb, Alec! I think you know exactly what he means!
Linkara: (as Bobby) I'm gonna tell you about the miracle of Mylar!
Shanna: NO THANKS!
Alec: We're not interested in what I think you're offering, Bobby! We already feel good about ourselves... all the time!
Linkara: (as Alec) I'm high on life, Bobby! (beat) And on the sleeping pills that I stole from the emotionally disturbed children camp.
Bobby: Yo! And don't you dare try to squeal on us! No one will believe you anyway!
Shanna: Is that true, Alex?
Linkara (v/o): (softly) "Alex"? I thought it was "Alec". Is that like a shorter version...? Screw it!
(Spelling/grammar errors: 4*)
- NOTE: It's supposed to be "5", but Linkara missed it for some reason.
Alec: He's probably right, Shanna!
Linkara: (incredulously) You kids have had regular contact with the local police and apparently extremely popular in school! I THINK PEOPLE WILL TAKE YOUR WORD FOR IT!
Linkara (v/o): Shanna, being less stupid, suggests telling Ms. Wilson anyway, and they do so after school. She says that she's been worried about them, too.
Ms. Wilson: Neither seem to have much interest in school activities!
Linkara: The writers of this comic have never encountered children before, have they? They know they exist, but only in a vague, mythical kind of sense.
Ms. Wilson: And they have more money than they should!
Linkara: One, how do you know how much money they have? Two, who the hell are you to decide how much they should have? Communist!
Linkara (v/o): Also, why does Shanna have a milk mustache? She thanks them for telling her, but unfortunately, they don't have any evidence. That being said, Ms. Wilson is off to a faculty meeting to discuss "ways to combat the problem!" She mentions in the previous panel their "rising problem", but never goes out of her way to state that she's referring to drugs or the stranger who's appearing near the school, who could be a pedophile. My guess is, the problem she's referring to is actually independent thought, and that there are more kids utilizing it. Back with our drug-dealing elementary school students, they're still looking for customers.
Bobby: Yo! Big Jim!
(Cut to footage of The Kentucky Fried Movie, showing two people in bed together)
Offscreen voice: Big Jim Slade!
(Suddenly, Big Jim Slade bursts into the room, smashing the door as he does so, and flexes his muscles; cut back to the Tandy Whiz Kids comic)
Linkara (v/o): We cut to the next day where Ms. Wilson is announcing that the school board and faculty are sponsoring a student hotline.
Ms. Wilson: The hotline for young victims of substance abuse who want to talk to someone their own age!
Linkara: (as Ms. Wilson) Only $10 a minute to call the hotline! Budget cuts, you know.
Linkara (v/o): Also, that's a terrible name for a hotline. How are you supposed to make an acronym out of that? Oh, and an even more important note, this idea is kind of cute until you actually start thinking about it. There's a reason why sixth-graders aren't doctors: mainly that they're SIXTH-GRADERS! They are not emotionally mature enough or knowledgeable enough on this stuff to be able to counsel drug-addicted children, unless they're former addicts themselves, and that has problems attached to it! Theoretically, yeah, you could pull this off, but you would need a LOT of adult supervision to make sure they don't accidentally say or do something that'll drive the people calling the hotline away, or DO SOMETHING STUPID! Frankly, with the attention span of kids, this is what I expect to happen with the hotline!
(Cut to a clip of Darkplace, with Thornton Reed picking up the phone)
Reed: (on phone) Uh-huh. Bye. (puts phone down)
(Back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): But no, let's let the Children of the Damned give their input on this.
Boy: What a super idea!
Linkara: Kid, you're not allowed to talk anymore.
Ms. Wilson: First we have to select a student to head the program! Based on her experiences at summer camp I suggest we pick Shanna!
Linkara (v/o): Yeah, yeah, of course it's Shanna. It's ALWAYS Shan– Wait, she just said "summer camp", as in, "the camp for emotionally-disturbed children that Alec and Shanna were in"! THE VACATION WAS DURING THE SUMMER!!!
Linkara: WELL, IT'S OFFICIAL: (holds up three fingers) THREE DIFFERENT EXPLANATIONS FOR WHAT THESE KIDS DID DURING THEIR SUMMER VACATION!! TIME IS MEANINGLESS, MY FRIENDS! WE ARE IN A NEVER-ENDING CYCLE OF TIME, NO BEGINNING, NO END! THE ENTERPRISE WILL KEEP EXPLODING FOREVER, HOMURA WILL NEVER SAVE MADOKA, MEGLOS WILL TAKE ON THE FORM OF THE DOCTOR, AND BILL MURRAY WILL NEVER ESCAPE GROUNDHOG'S DAY! WE ARE TRAPPED IN THE LOOP, JUST LIKE THEY ARE!!!
(Suddenly, the screen cuts off through static, and the video seemingly starts over again)
Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. IT'S THE 250TH EPISODE!! (beat) Wait, didn't we already do this? (looks confused) Uhhh... We'll be right back while I sort this out...
(And with that, we go to a commercial; upon return, Linkara is ranting again)
Linkara: ...MEGLOS WILL TAKE ON THE DOCTOR's FORM, AND BILL MURRAY WILL NEVER ESCAPE GROUNDHOG'S DAY! (exhales) Okay, I think I've caught up. Oh, I hate it when the reset button is pushed.
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, Shanna is assigned to put together a committee for the hotline and "draw up some goals and guidelines." Except, of course, that the next few panels we see, it's pretty much the entire class, and Ms. Wilson is directing the conversation, so it looks like her position is really just as a figurehead wielding no actual power. So, how about those guidelines, anyway?
Ms. Wilson: Okay, all calls must be kept confidential! Now what else?
Linkara: (confused) The calls weren't going to be kept confidential until someone suggested that? How this school survives its numerous lawsuits continues to baffle me!
Linkara (v/o): As they continue to discuss the blindly obvious, Tommy and Bobby talk in the back of the room.
Tommy: All this anti-drug talk makes me nervous, Bobby!
Linkara: Are you a new student or something? The only two things these people talk about are COMPUTERS and ANTI-DRUG TACTICS!
Linkara (v/o): In fact, for a promotional piece for Tandy Computers, this comic is displaying a shocking lack of computer talk. I mean, yeah, the other comics shoehorned in the computer crap pretty poorly, but they were still there!
Bobby: Yeah! It could be bad for business, we'd better let Buzz know about this!
Linkara (v/o): That is a comma splice. THOSE ARE TWO SEPARATE THOUGHTS!
(Spelling/grammar errors: 6)
Bobby: Something has to be done to put a stop to Shanna and her hotline!
Linkara: What the hell do you think is going to happen? That this one hotline is going to end drug use forever and ever?
Narrator: That night Alec and Shanna tell their parents about the hotline!
Linkara (v/o): And we see them in a living room with a single set of parents?
Linkara: Are... Alec and Shanna... siblings? MY GOD! THIS IS ACTUALLY A MAJOR REVELATION!
Linkara (v/o): Especially when you consider that Alec and Shanna have blond and brown hair, respectively, yet their parents have red hair and black hair! Are they adopted? Did one of their parents remarry after a divorce or death? WHY THE HELL HAVEN'T THEY BEEN TELLING US THAT STUFF, INSTEAD OF THE CRAP WE ACTUALLY GET?! Alec runs upstairs with Shanna so he can "update his electronic diary". Yeah.
Alec: A lot has been happening lately! With the computer I can keep track of important and interesting details I might otherwise forget!
Linkara: (as Alec) You know, like you can do with a pen and paper! (pauses while smiling) Is that really all you've got to sell us the damn thing, Tandy? You really have given up, haven't you?
Mom: Alec and Shanna sure enjoy that computer!
Dad: Yes, it's nice to have our children home where they belong at night!
Linkara: (as Dad) Otherwise, they may get attacked by vampires! (beat) Seriously, what the hell is with that? Was this written by Puritans or people living in the 1950s or something?
Linkara (v/o): Meanwhile, Tommy and Bobby have found their way to a dark part of town. They enter a bar and meet Buzz at a pool table.
Bobby: We have to talk to you, Buzz!
Tommy: It's about our company's customer relations.
Linkara: (as Tommy) We think your method of responding to customer complaints, namely, stabbing them and stealing their wallets, is creating a bad image for the corporation.
Linkara (v/o): They tell Buzz about the hotline, and he informs them that he'll take care of this problem called Maria– er, Shanna. I do have to wonder how the hell this guy stays in business if he feels that threatened by a friggin' drug hotline that nobody is certain that anyone will use. Isn't it more likely that people will use just crank-call it? Even if it does encourage some kids to get off of drugs, those were kids probably going to lose anyway. A few days later, Alec and Shanna are walking home from a movie, talking about what a great job Shanna has been doing with the hotline. Yeah, keep telling us you doing a great job, don't show it to us, comic. I do believe she's doing a great job, though; she apparently has gotten official sponsorship from Archie, judging by her t-shirt. A car suddenly slams past them into an alleyway, knocking over trash cans and making a lot of noise and drawing attention to it, because that's what all the smartest drug dealers do to remain inconspicuous.
Alec: Wow! That driver of that car sure was* in a hurry!
- NOTE: Alec actually says "is", not "was".
Linkara: Or he's Officer Frank Drebin from Police Squad.
(A clip of Police Squad is shown, with a police car driving up recklessly and knocking over a pile of trash cans as it screeches to a stop. Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) gets out of the car as the episode title appears: "Act II: Richard III")
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): And of course, Alec and Shanna watch Buzz meeting with the supplier, who's apparently Shaft. I can dig it. They overhear them talking about making a drop, and they also recognize Buzz as being the stranger from before.
Alec: Quick! Make a note of his license plate!
Linkara: (as Shanna) But... But I don't have a computer with me to take notes on! (as Alec) Dammit, woman! How are we supposed to write things down without a computer?!
Linkara (v/o): They skateboard home, but with both of them on the same skateboard... Pretty sure you can't do that... to feed the information into Alec's computer.
Linkara (v/o): And... that's a "See" with an exclamation point instead of a question mark, implying Alec just yelled, "See!", instead of asking if Shanna understood, like, "See?"
(Spelling/grammar errors: 7)
Alec: Now I'll make a printout of the descriptions of the stranger and his car!
Linkara: Wow! That'll make a difference! Except it won't.
Linkara (v/o): Still here, say still useless without actual proof.
Shanna: I'm sure Ms. Wilson will want one!
Alec: Speaking of Ms. Wilson, a computer would great to keep your hotline log on!
Linkara: Again, if Shanna is supposed to be in charge of this hotline, why does referencing Ms. Wilson relate to the hotline?!
Linkara (v/o): And there you have it, everyone, that's your plug for why you should buy the damn computers: keeping a log of the calls on the hotline. Which they should've been doing anyway. I hate this comic with every fiber of my being. They bring this to school, but while Ms. Wilson accepts the stuff, Shanna is brought to the principal's office.
Principal (Mr. Kline): Shanna, I've had a complaint that you sent a hotline caller to a place where he could buy drugs!
Linkara: (as Shanna) But I was just saying they should go to the grocery store for some ibuprofen! (as Mr. Kline) ALL drugs are evil, Shanna! Haven't we instilled that in you yet?!?
Shanna: Who made that charge, Mr. Kline?
Mr. Kline: An anonymous caller gave me the information! Personally I don't believe it! But there has to be an investigation!
Linkara: So, you require evidence before reporting to the police that you suspect you know where drugs are being sold and who's doing it, but a random anonymous caller warrants a full-scale investigation?!
Linkara (v/o): Hey, asshole, what would happen if I called into this hotline and said YOU were selling drugs to the kids?! Would that warrant a full-scale investigation?!
Mr. Kline: And until the investigation is completed the school's hotline service is suspended!
Linkara: (incredulously) What the hell for?! Why did you guys pick an entire committee for this thing if Shanna is the ONLY important member?!
Linkara (v/o): (sounding like he's about to lose it) Was she the only one answering phones? Hell, every implication in this comic is that Ms. Wilson is the one who's really in charge! Why can't she appoint someone else to take over in the meantime? Why isn't there a second-in-command for this sort of thing? Why the hell is this the plan the drug dealers went with, and how did they know it would work?! Does this mean the Archie sponsorship is getting pulled? WHY WOULD THIS PLAN LAST MORE THAN A DAY OR TWO, SINCE IT'LL BE EASY TO TRACK DOWN AND THERE'S NO EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THE ACCUSATION?!?
(Suddenly, it cuts to "All-Star Batman and Robin #6" inexplicably)
Linkara (v/o): (losing it even more) WHY'D IT TAKE BLACK CANARY SIX MONTHS TO REACH GOTHAM AND START HARASSING CRIMINALS IF SHE WAS INSTANTLY INSPIRED BY BATMAN'S ANTICS IN GOTHAM?!?!
Linkara: (holding a Weedle doll instead of the comic, sounding absolutely hysterical) WHY AM I SUDDENLY HOLDING A WEEDLE INSTEAD OF THE COMIC?!?!?!?
(He lets out a scream and tosses the doll aside. Then a montage begins, set the Wurzels' "Combine Harvester", in which Linkara just acts insanely. Linkara is first seen hitting himself on the head with the comic)
Linkara: (crying) I hate this comic...
(Next, he is seen playing with a Plasma Ball and making sounds, then he is seen slapping his hand against a Fire Flower)
Linkara: (whimpering) WHY AREN'T YOU GIVING FIRE POWERS?!!
(Next, Linkara is seen starting at the Weedle doll, hugging a teddy bear and sobbing, dumping a plastic bag of colored balls out over his head and then putting the bag over his head. After that, he is wearing an Iron Man mask)
Linkara: (sobbing hysterically) I am Iron Man... I am Iron Man...
(Next, Linkara wearing a Deathstroke mask, which he then takes off a few seconds later)
Linkara: (looking disgustedly at the mask) The hell was that?!
(Now Linkara is seen starting at the Weedle doll again)
Linkara: I will win this staring contest...!
(Suddenly, the music ends abruptly as Linkara sits there in a daze, with his glasses askew and his coat off and balls from earlier on his head)
Linkara: Okay... My happy pills have kicked in. The appropriate response to that line of questions… is the Batman Forever clip...
(Cut to said clip)
Bruce Wayne: It just raises too many questions.
Linkara: (pointing weakly) You tell 'em, Val Kilmer... You tell 'em...
(Back to the Tandy Computer Whiz Kids comic)
Linkara (v/o): Anywho, Alec reasons that somebody out there wants to stop the hotline and cause trouble for Shanna.
Ms. Wilson: Perhaps, but who'd want to do a thing like that?
Alec: I don't know! But I intend to find out!
Linkara: Put the word out on the street: Alec is coming, and there's gonna be blood before he's done!
Linkara (v/o): Back at the bar, Buzz and Bobby loudly discuss how their plan worked, but Danny Chase– er, Tommy is sad about all this.
Tommy: I wanted to get rid of the hotline, but I didn't want to get Shanna in trouble! I kind of like her and Alec!
Linkara: (as Tommy) Selling drugs to kids, sure, but temporarily getting a student into trouble? WE'VE GONE TOO FAR!!
Linkara (v/o): Buzz tells him they can't afford friends like that and to forget about it. As such, Tommy decides to walk home, since his parents are getting suspicious of him lately. Tommy and Bobby run into Alec and Shanna, Bobby mocking her and the hotline.
Bobby: So how's the school hotline...not so hot, huh?
Linkara: How's the purple hoodie with biker vest and buttons? Not so... (stops for a long time as he tries to come up with a half-decent comeback remark) Your outfit is stupid.
Linkara (v/o): They deny knowing anything about the call and walk off. Shanna suspects that Tommy's in some kind of trouble.
Alec: And I'm sure his trouble has something to do with the drug hotline!
Linkara: (looking up in thought) He was skimming money off the surcharge of the hotline.
Linkara (v/o): Realizing that they still need proof, they head back to their home, where Alec digs out a camera.
Linkara: Oh, I get it now! This is a spin-off series: "The Tandy Camcorder Whiz Kids".
Linkara (v/o): Alec is hoping to use the camcorder to get video evidence of the drug deals.
Shanna: Good idea! But we'll have to be real careful! Combatting drug dealers should be left to the police!
Linkara: Well, they're certainly doing a bang-up job so far, considering they haven't caught the idiots doing all their drug deals in plain sight in the middle of the day.
Linkara (v/o): You know, with the giant VHS camera and the slicked-back hair, maybe this is the early days of The Cinema Snob. Also, the camera has "realistic" written across the front of it.
Linkara: I would hope that the images it records are realistic, seeing as how they were recorded on a frickin' camera! Are there camcorders out there that don't make the images realistic? Do they make them like cartoons or something?
Alec: We're not going to take any risks, we're just going to provide proof of our story!
Linkara: (as Alec) As long as we have our camera in front of us, we're completely invisible to drug dealers! No risk at all.
(Cut to a shot of a comic for "Mr. T and the T-Force")
Linkara (v/o): Actually, come to think of it, this is the same approach Mr. T was using in "Mr. T and the T-Force", so maybe it does work.
(Back to the Tandy Whiz Kids comic)
Linkara (v/o): Also, another comma splice there.
(Spelling/grammar errors: 8)
Shanna: In that case, I'll help produce this home video!
Linkara: If the twist of this story is that it turns out that it's all a Paranormal Activity sequel, I may actually forgive this thing.
Linkara (v/o): Also, is it still a "home video" if they're not filming in their home, and it's not about filming some goofy thing for fun, but to try to clear your name? Anyway, they try for a few days to catch some evidence in the alleyway, but haven't had any luck. Fortunately for them, the extremely loud car finally comes this night, making me wonder what the hell their parents think they're doing out at this time... Didn't you say earlier that kids were supposed to be home at night? ...and we see that evil J. Jonah Jameson has shown up this time.
Buzz: M-Mr. Clayton! What are you doing at the drop zone? Isn't it dangerous?
Linkara: Oh, that must be why I recognize the evil scientist. He's Dr. Clayton Forrester! When he's not in Deep 13, he's apparently a drug manufacturer.
Mr. Clayton: It's safe enough! The cops are too busy investigating the crimes our customers commit to keep tabs on a respectable citizen like me!
Linkara (v/o): So, why are you in the drug trade to begin with? If you're already a respectable citizen with a good job or whatever, why the hell are you personally working lab gear to manufacture the drugs?! Isn't that why you have lackeys?! Dude, stop micromanaging! It's terrible for your company!
Shanna: There he goes! Did you get it, Alec?
Alec: Yes, Shanna! Thanks to the zoom lens, I got it all on tape!
Linkara: (mock surprise) A zoom lens?! On a camera?! WHAT NEW SPORE OF MADNESS IS THIS?!?
Linkara (v/o): A few days later, they also record Tommy and Bobby receiving drugs from Buzz at the end of the school, but Tommy spots them. When Bobby walks away, he goes over and talks to the two. He says he's all mixed up lately and doesn't know what he should be doing anymore, and they offer to help him.
Tommy: I don't need help! You don't understand! My folks don't understand! I don't need anyone!
Linkara: (as Tommy) I don't need Nightwing or anybody else! I'll use my telekinetic powers to wrap myself in a brown cloak and call myself "Phantasm"! And then I'll kind of die and just be really vague, confusing and undefined for the rest of the series!
Linkara (v/o): However, when they reach Tommy's home, the police are in front of it. He wants to make a run for it, but the cop explains that a thief broke into their house, and while they did stop the thief, the parents were seriously injured.
Linkara: Oh, I get it. Tommy isn't Danny Chase, he's Spider-Man!
Linkara (v/o): No, but his parents are fine and recovering in the hospital, but it turns out that the thief was high on drugs. And the identity of the thief?
Tommy: Him? It's BIG JIM!
(More footage of Big Jim Slade from The Kentucky Fried Movie is shown)
Narrator: Big Jim, former tight-end of the Kansas City Chiefs, is outfitted with various whips, chains and a sexual appetite that will knock your socks off.
(Back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Now in tears, he confesses to having sold the drugs to Big Jim. They take him over to Alec and Shanna's house because he's nearly hysterical and in tears. (in one panel, Tommy looks toward the reader) And in this panel, he's... looking... right... at us...
(Cut to footage of The Magic Voyage of Sinbad, being watched by the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang)
Joel Hodgson: (standing up) STOP LOOKING INTO MY SOUL!
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): Like that moment in "Animal Man", when he realized his fictional existence and could see the reader! I don't know whether I'm terrified of him or feel pity for him! So anyway, he's interviewed by the cops and tells them everything he knows.
Officer (Sgt. Taylor): Tommy's testimony along with Alec and Shanna's tape and printout will help us shut down the drug ring!
Linkara: Thank you, Officer Richard Nixon.
Shanna: Sergeant Taylor, will Tommy and Bobby go to jail?
Sgt. Taylor: No, Shanna, they'll probably be put in a juvenile rehabilitation center...
Linkara: (as Sgt. Taylor) Until they're eighteen years old, and then they go to jail.
Linkara (v/o): They tell Tommy to stay put while they go off to get Buzz, Clayton and Bobby. Naturally, after pulling guns on Buzz, he starts spilling the beans instantly about Clayton, and while this may be Officer Richard Nixon and his forces, experience tells me with all the drug stuff going down, they had to call in the big guns for this one.
(Cut to a clip of an episode of Dragnet, in which Sgt. Joe Friday (Jack Webb) bursts into a room, brandishing a shotgun)
Sgt. Friday: Flinch and you'll be chasing your head down Fifth Street!
(Back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Clayton is arrested in whatever the hell job he has by Richard Nixon and Mr. Tibbs.
Narrator: And the round-up continued! The next time a plane landed at that abandoned air strip the pilot found a welcoming committee of police waiting for him!
Linkara: (as narrator) They also had cake and ice cream on hand. Police make great welcoming committees.
Linkara (v/o): Tommy visits his parents in the hospital, and they're told about how he helped take down the drug ring.
Sgt. Taylor: But you have reason to be proud of yourself, Tommy! You faced up to your problem at last!
Linkara: So... his problem was what, exactly? That he was a drug dealer? That he didn't think people understood him? What?
Tommy's father: And we'll be waiting for you when you get out of the rehabilitation center!
Tommy: Thanks, Mom and Dad! Bobby and I plan to do our best at the center to work out our problems!
Linkara (v/o): Wait, I thought Richard Nixon just said you faced your problem. There's more? Also, why are you going into rehabilitation? Nothing in the comics suggested that you two were taking drugs, just that you were selling them! And what the hell made Bobby have a change of heart? A bit later, Tommy meets with Alec, Shanna, Ms. Wilson and the principal.
Mr. Kline: By the way, thanks for setting us straight about that anonymous phone call!
Ms. Wilson: Yes! The school board has reopened the student hotline and made it a permanent service!
Linkara: (as Ms. Wilson) We had to lay off three teachers for the additional costs, but whatever.
Linkara (v/o): And as Tommy is being led away to have his free will drained from him, our comic ends with the words of Alec and Shanna... and their horrifying, soulless gazes...
Alec: Well, Shanna, we won a battle, but the war on drugs isn't over yet!
Shanna: Right, Alec! It'll never be over until we all learn... to just say NO to drugs!!
Linkara (v/o): Their eyes... They're so blank! So dead!
Linkara: (monotone) Say no to drugs... Say yes to our new masters, the Tandy Computers... (suddenly becomes angry as he holds up comic) This comic sucks!
Linkara (v/o): Sweet merciful crap, where the hell do I begin?! This may actually be worse than the "Fit to Win" comic!
(Shots of that comic are shown)
Linkara (v/o): The "Fit to Win" comic had worse artwork, just as much unbelievable dialogue, and the fact that Alec and Shanna don't do anything other than call the cops, and somehow are honored by the mayor for that.
(Back to the present comic)
Linkara (v/o): But this one fails as both a PSA and a promotional tool for the Tandy Corporation! Think about it: for a drug PSA, they spend a lot of time saying that drugs ruin lives, but fail to explain HOW! It really just comes down to, "Drugs are bad, so don't do 'em." The hotline idea is insane on multiple levels when you could just actually have "qualified school counselors" or, y'know, police psychologists and whatnot on hand to help with it. And if the drug problem at this school is really that bad that you need a permanent hotline set up, I think you have bigger issues as it is. The character actions don't make sense, the plot points make no sense, and it fails to sell Tandy products! Oh, a Tandy computer and a Tandy camcorder are featured! Hey, you wanna give us some model numbers, comic?! Or a more specific name?! The other Tandy Computer Whiz Kids comics at least named the damn products they were showing! And what the hell did we learn from their shilling here? That you can print out your diary, and that you can tape drug dealers. Well, thanks for that marketing! And what the hell was the "deadly choice"?! What is it with this one and the last one where the titles make no sense?!
Linkara: And furthermore, why the hell did I think that (points to comic) this was more grounded in reality than "All-Star Batman and Robin"?!
(Footage of Linkara's review of last week's comic is shown, with stock audio playing from the video)
Narrator: (audio from review) He doesn't watch as she slithers out of her hospital gown.
Batman: (audio from review) HA! Eat glass, lawman!
Black Canary: (audio from review) It's the goddamn Batman!
Linkara: Oh, yeah, that's why. Two hundred and fifty episodes, people, and they never stop sucking one way or another! (throws down comic, gets up and leaves) Hey, where the hell did all these balls come from?!
For a comic pushing moral messages left and right, they didn't seem to mind that Alec and Shanna were skateboarding without helmets or kneepads.
I know that's not what "Hitting the reset button" means.
Also, it turns out "Realistic" was the name of a Tandy Camcorder. That's... kind of a stupid name.
(Stinger: Linkara is rummaging around on the floor in front of the couch, putting the balls from earlier back in the bag)
Linkara: The problem with this gag is I have to... If I want to do another take, I have to refill the bag. There's like 250 of the things. (long pause as he puts balls in the bag) Boy, I sure do have a lot of balls! (laughs, holds up a couple of balls) I actually bought these for like a Dalek cosplay I was going to make. I don't know if I'm still going to do it. I wanted it to make it lightweight and collapsible. They're the wrong size, too; I bought them, some that are larger. I have two sets of balls. It's just... milk that joke for all it's worth; it's just like boner. Everybody loves boners. Boner, boner.