Monday, April 8, 2013

Mayberry Mondays #75: “Mike’s Car” (03/08/71, prod. no. 0325)

You would think that with only four more installments to go (including this one) in this revolutionary blogging experiment that began back in May of 2010 (oh, we were so young then) I’d be a little more timely in getting them up in this ‘umble scrap of the blogosphere.  Alas, this week’s entry in Mayberry Mondays focuses on the cretinous prodigy of poor-but-honest-dirt-farmer-turned-town-council-head Sam Jones (Ken Berry)—whom we lovingly refer to here at TDOY as Mike the Idiot Boy (Buddy Foster).  Here’s the thing about child actors: they’re like puppies in that they’re cute when they’re young…and then they grow up.  Oh, sure—you have the occasional anomaly in kiddie thesps like Elizabeth Taylor or Natalie Wood (I’ll even generously throw in Roddy McDowall and Dean Stockwell), who got better as they matured…but they are the exception as opposed to the rule.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that because this week’s episode is very Mike-centric; it took a great deal of time to work up enthusiasm to do a write-up for it.

But since I already sent in the rent check for April, I will bravely press on with the beginning of “Mike’s Car”—which sort of made me laugh at the beginning with this establishing shot:

“Hidy-hi there, friends and neighbors—come on down to Mount Pilot Motors!  Just take the exit ramp and follow the signs for four miles…then pull into that Sunoco there on your left and ask the attendant ‘Where the hell am I, anyway?’”  We find Mayberry’s favorite faux farmer waiting on a new hubcap for his truck, and to pass the time, his doofus son sits at the wheel of a bitchin’ convertible pretending he’s Tod Stiles.

SAM: All right…pull over to the curb…
MIKE: Huh?
SAM: For driving over fifty-five in the showroom window
MIKE: Boy, I’d sure like to have this—wouldn’t you, Pa?
SAM: Well…I wouldn’t mind…
MIKE: Let’s get it—huh?
SAM: Wait a minute…hold it…hold it…I came in here to get a hubcap for the truck, not a blue convertible…
MIKE: But think how proud you’d be driving me to school in this…
SAM: Yeah…proud and broke
MIKE: Tommy Dean’s folks have a new car…

I was kind of hoping Sam would experience a psychotic episode similar to George Bailey (James Stewart) in It’s a Wonderful Life when his kid resorts to that same gambit.  Alas, I’m simply not that lucky.

SAM: Well, I’m very happy for them…
MIKE: Pa, if it’s the money…you could trade in the truck…and you wouldn’t even have to pay for that dumb ol’ hubcap
SAM: Uh…Mike…I think we’d better leave before some salesman hears you…

“Hidy-hi there, neighbor!  What do I have to do to put you and your idiot son behind the wheel of this little baby right here?”  Mike, ambitious if stupid, tells his father that he’s been dreaming all his life to own a car of that kind and Sam replies that there’s no reason why he can’t make that dream come true when he grows up.  Then Mike hits upon a devastatingly brilliant idea:

MIKE: Pa!  The tractor!
SAM: What…?
MIKE: The tractor’s getting kind of old—you could trade that in!
SAM: Oh…say, there’s a thought…I’d be the only farmer in Mayberry plowing his fields with a blue convertible

“Plowing his fields”…you are one funny dude, Farmer Jones.  After giving Mike the standard “work-hard-and-save-your-money” lecture, Mike instead falls in with a bad crowd and steals a car, thereby winding up in juvy.  No…half a tick—that’s from a never-telecast Afterschool Special, “Born Ignorant.”  Instead, there’s a scene change to the Mayberry City Council office, in which fix-it savant Emmett Clark (Paul Hartman) enters, carrying a table fan.

EMMETT: Brought your fan back…just a loose wire…

Loose wire.  This is what is known in the sitcom biz as “foreshadowing.”

SAM: Oh…
EMMETT: Heh…no charge…
SAM: Oh…great!  Thank you!  The, uh, the town of Mayberry appreciates it…
EMMETT: That fan belong to the town?
SAM: Yeah…mm-hmm…
EMMETT: Then that’ll be two-fifty
SAM: What?
EMMETT: Well, they gouge me enough for taxes—I got a right to gouge them back…

Ah, life in the Red States.  At this point in the conversation, Mike bursts into the council office to excitedly tell his father he’s got a part-time job…working at the establishment owned by the town’s idiot-in-residence, Goober Pyle (George Lindsey)!  (Yeah, all of you thought I was just being mean, cracking all those jokes about the kid having no future beyond being a gas pump jockey—well, who’s the nutcase now, Ray?  Who’s the nutcase now?)

MIKE: I got a job!  Working for Goober in the gas station!  If it’s okay with you…it’s just a part-time job…working after school…cleaning up and washing windshields…and it’d be good training!
SAM: Wait…wait…hold…hold it a minute, Mike…you-you-you got a job?

“With your scholastic aptitude and lack of formal learning?  It’s testing products, right?”

MIKE: Yeah!  Working for Goober!
SAM: Well…when did this all happen?
MIKE: Just now…I can take it, can’t I?
SAM: W-w-w-well, wait a minute…just give me a minute to think about this…what…what about your schoolwork?

“Pa, I’m already flunking three classes as it is—why would that matter?”  Okay, he doesn’t really say that…but he does tell Sam that he can do that at night and wants to know what Sam’s verdict is.  So here’s the kicker: Sam looks at Emmett, and Emmett gives him a nod of approval.  Knowing what he knows about Emmett and his history of idiocy and breathtakingly bad judgment in matters of marriage (and other things); Sam agrees to let Mike take the gig on Emmett’s say-so.

SAM: Why all this, uh, sudden interest in a job?
MIKE: So I can start saving my money to buy a car!
SAM: A car?
MIKE: A groovy convertible, like the one we saw…
EMMETT: You know…I’ll never forget my first car…

“I hope you’re not starting at Goober’s this afternoon, son…because we’re going to be here a spell…”

EMMETT: …the only Hupmobile in Chatham County with a rumble seat!

Now, I know Emmett is referring to the Chatham County in North Carolina…but I laughed out loud at this because as many of you are well aware, I lived in Savannah, Georgia (in the Peach State’s Chatham County) for many years—an area derisively referred to by many (and rightfully so, to be honest) as “The State of Chatham.”

SAM: W-w-we…how much is Goober paying you?

“Fifty cents an hour and all the motor oil I can drink!”

MIKE: I’m serious, Pa…you said if I wanted a nice car when I grow up, I ought to start saving for it now
SAM: Yeah…yeah, I guess I did say that, didn’t I…?

“I knew that wasn’t tobacco growing in that area by the rutabagas…and I should never have put it in my pipe.”  As you’ve probably surmised, Sam is quite proud of the fruit of his loins for taking on responsibility, and even curmudgeonly Emmett is pleased.  “You can never go wrong, son, if you save your money…and keep your hair short,” the fix-it contributes sagely.  (“Oh, never play cards with a man named ‘Doc’…never eat at a place called ‘Mom’s’…and never sleep with a woman who…well, that one you won’t have to worry about.”)

So in the next scene, we find Mike hard at work at Goober’s Gas ‘n’ Lube.  The Goobster is frustrated because he’s unable to figure out why a customer’s car no longer starts after he has completed a lube job, and Mike helpfully points out that it might be because “the key’s not on.”  (This is a quaint reference to those halcyon days when the ignition switch was a separate part of an automobile.)  Goober the Manchild does not take kindly to being upstaged by a junior version of himself, and snippily instructs Mike to take a tire propped up against a car to a pile near another part of the service station.  (Goober then tries the ignition switch key and the car roars to life, producing small chuckles from less discriminating viewers.)

While retrieving the tire, Mike falls in love for the first time in his life: with a beat-up convertible that Goober obtained in a tire trade…but which he has never got around to repairing.  Yes, you are probably thinking the same thing I did—if he spent less time jawing with Sam, Emmett and pedantic county clerk Howard Sprague (Jack Dodson, who’s MIA from this episode) he might have the luxury of being able to devote more time to these projects.  Mike eagerly asks Goober if a day might come when the car could be restored to its former glory, to which the only mechanic that county has replies: “Yeah…in time.”

Mike’s fascination with the dilapidated jalopy is crosscut with a couple of scenes in which his father can’t stop bragging about his son’s newfound sense of responsibility: first to Emmett, which really doesn’t matter much since he’s a jackass, and then to Cousin Alice Cooper (Alice Ghostley), to whom he reveals that he’s promised Mike he will match whatever amount of money the kid finally puts toward his dream of owning his own set of wheels.  Do I need to go any further with where this plot is headed?

GOOBER: …thirteen…fourteen…fifteen dollars…first week’s salary…

Technically, I didn’t need to transcribe that above line of dialogue—but I was sort of impressed that Goober can count to fifteen.

MIKE: Hey…tell me something, Goober—how much would you sell that old car for?
GOOBER: Oh, I don’t know…thirty dollars maybe…

And with a “Goob…can I talk to you a minute?” the cha-ching of a cash register can be faintly heard on the soundtrack…and this is what awaits Laird Samuel when he returns home to stately Jones Farm.

MIKE: Pa!  Pa!  How do you like my car?
SAM: Your c…your car?
MIKE: Yeah!  I bought it from Goober…isn’t it neat?
SAM: You…you bought it?
MIKE: It was a real steal!  Only fifteen dollars!
SAM: Mike…you paid fifteen dollars for this piece of ju…uh…you paid fifteen dollars?
MIKE: Yeah…for my half…you still owe fifteen…
SAM: What?
MIKE: You did promise…
SAM: Yeah…yeah, I know…what I promised, Mike…but I…I thought you were saving for a car…for in the future!
MIKE: Well, that was before I saw this one

Sam doesn’t understand why Mike needs a car since he’s only thirteen years old, so his idiot son tells him that he can work on the vehicle until such a time comes.  Mike then tells his dad he’s off to see his chums until Sam reminds him he’s got to go to work.  Au contraire, mon pere, Mike tells him—he’s got his car…so he quit!  And as Sam begins to reconsider if letting Mike eat paint chips as a child was a good idea in hindsight, he walks over to the passenger side and pulls on the door handle…which comes off in his hands.  Cue the sad trombone!

SAM: Goob…how could you sell Mike a car?  He-he’s not even old enough to drive!!

“Sam…do you know how many people in this town who are not only dumber than I am but have money burning a hole in their pocket?  What else was I supposed to do?”

GOOBER: Well, don’t get mad at me—you’re the one who’s been goin’ all over town braggin’ about him savin’ up for one!
SAM: Yeah, I know…but I didn’t expect it to happen in one week!
GOOBER (under his breath): It was just a lucky break…
SAM: What?!!
GOOBER: I might not have another bargain like that for a year…
SAM: Oh, boy—some lucky break…suppose Mike tries to drive that thing?!!
GOOBER: It won’t run
SAM: What?
GOOBER: I guarantee it!  I’ve been workin’ on it for a week… (He suddenly realizes he’s said something stupid, which is a rare occurrence for him) Well…I mean…let’s face it, Sam—some cars are just dogs, no matter how much…talent you put into ‘em…
SAM: If the car won’t run…what’s Mike going to do with it?
GOOBER: Tinker with it!  Take it apart…put it back together…
SAM: At his age?!!
GOOBER: He’s gotta start sometime

And there you have it.  The die has been cast.  Even Goober, a man of very little brain, has read the tea leaves and knows that Mike is destined to have grease under his fingernails for the rest of eternity.

GOOBER: …it’ll be a good education for him!  How do you think I got where I am today?

Send your answers to igsjrotr(at)gmail(dot)com.  The funniest response will probably make iced tea come out my nose.

SAM: Well…I suppose he could learn something at that…he always was pretty good with his hands…

Singular, not plural.  (Yes, Mr. Leal, I went there.)

GOOBER: Yeah, well, he showed a lot of promise around here…the other day I let him help me adjust a carburetor…he took right to it, didn’t drop the hammer or nothin’…

I wasn’t aware Goober mentored under Emmett.

GOOBER: You owe me seventeen dollars…
SAM: I thought it was fifteen
GOOBER: It’s two dollars more for changin’ the registration
SAM: Oh…well…okay…I never thought I’d be happy to buy a car that won’t run…heh heh…you sure it won’t run?
GOOBER: It hasn’t even got a battery, Sam!  It’s what we in the used car business call “a pusher”

So Sam reluctantly pays for the car.  In a scene dissolve, we find young Mike by his set of wheels, tinkering under the hood and grimy as all get out.  Enter the man whom his mother said was his father, and that’s good enough for him.

SAM: How’s it going?
MIKE: Oh…just great, Pa…boy, this sure is a lot of fun!
SAM (wiping some of the grease off Mike’s face): Yeah…so I see…
MIKE: Someday I might even get it to run!
SAM: Yeah…well…lots of luck with that…but even if that should happen, you’re not allowed to drive it…understand that?
MIKE: I know, Pa…not until I’m old enough…

Into this figurative Garden of Eden ride a couple of snakes on bicycles…and it is with their arrival that I must issue a correction here on the blog.  One of the characters that appeared on Mayberry R.F.D. on a semi-regular basis was Mike’s friend Harold Henderson, played by former child actor Richard Steele…whom was once confused by the (always reliable) IMDb for a boxer-thespian with the same name (which is why we humorously referred to him here as a “child pugilist”) and christened with the nickname “Fishface” by TDOY supporter and guest reviewer Phil Schweier (who remembered Steele from a recurring role on the 1968-71 sitcom Julia).  The Harold character started out as a rather bland sidekick for young Mike but in later episodes morphed into somebody whose pure dagnasty evil antics frequently got the younger Jones into trouble.

Steele’s last outing as Harold on R.F.D. was in the episode “Mike’s Project” (in which we are also introduced to Harold’s loathsome father Brian)…and at the time of that write-up, I should have made mention that the episode was Steele’s swan song.  But over at the (always reliable) IMDb, Steele is listed as appearing in this episode…and while I know this is going to cause more than a few of you to clutch pearls while staggering towards the fainting couch, this is wildly inaccurate.  Steele is not in this episode.  It’s as much my fault as it is the IMDb’s, however, because I should have remembered this, having seen the episode one time earlier.  I simply forgot.

Now, there is a character named “Harold” in this episode—but he is portrayed by kiddie thesp Michael Barbera, whose resume includes guest shots on shows like Family Affair, The Ghost & Mrs. Muir and Marcus Welby, MD—he’s also in that Brady Bunch episode (“Everybody Can’t Be George Washington”) where Peter has to essay the role of Benedict Arnold on stage and is taunted by his alleged friends for doing so.  The other mook in the above screen cap is identified as “Denny” and is played by Barbera’s colleague Sean Kelly (also billed on occasion as Sean Michael Kelly).  Kelly also has an impressive child actor c.v. (Lassie, Bonanza, Adam-12) but is probably better known for appearing in both the 1972 John Wayne film The Cowboys and the short-lived TV series it inspired two years later.  (In the movie, Kelly’s character is known as “Stuttering Bob,” while in the TV show that was changed to the less-objectionable “Jimmy.”)

As to why the R.F.D. people chose not to use the actor that usually plays Harold…well, that’s a question I cannot answer.  But it does sadden me to see this imposter taking on the role, particularly when what transpires is a real dick move that would have been so in keeping with the groundwork “Fishface” set down for the series.  Harold and Denny put on their best Eddie Haskell demeanors while greeting Sam and Mike, and then when Sam has to go into town “to pick up Cousin Alice” the shivs come out.

DENNY (looking at the windshield): Hey, look at this…it isn’t even his car…it says on the registration “Sam Jones”…
MIKE: That’s ‘cause I’m under age…they had to put it in my Pa’s name…how do you like it, Harold?
HAROLD: It’s great!  (Reacting to a look from Denny) I mean…well…it’s okay…we got a better car!
DENNY: Yeah…who wants a bunch of junk like this?

That “bunch of junk,” my young unemployable, cost thirty-two dollars…and I’ll thank you to get your grimy elbows off of it.  Still, we won’t need a group of MIT grad students to determine where this is headed…

MIKE: You guys are just jealous
DENNY: They got better cars at the dump
HAROLD: Betcha you don’t even know how to drive it!
MIKE: Well, sure I do!  Kinda…

You know, Mike…if you’re going to trash talk in front of your friends, you might want to put a little more confidence into it.

MIKE: …Pa won’t let me…
DENNY: Boy—how stupid can you get?  Spending money on a car you can’t even drive
MIKE: I can too drive it!  In three years and four months!

Mike…you really suck at this.

HAROLD: Will it run?
MIKE: Well, you don’t think I’d buy a car that wouldn’t run, do you?
DENNY: Aw, I bet it won’t even start
MIKE: It will, too!
DENNY: Prove it!
MIKE: Well…I-I would, but…it doesn’t have a battery…
HAROLD: There’s a battery in your Pa’s tractor…that would work…
DENNY: Yeah!

Mike, I think it’s time to disassociate yourself from these rough boys…tell them they will have to go home and that you’re not allowed to play with them anymore.

MIKE: Oh, gee…I couldn’t do that
DENNY: Why not…?
HAROLD: ‘Cause he’s chicken
MIKE: Well…I am not!
HAROLD: He’s chicken and his dumb car won’t work!
MIKE: It will too!
DENNY: Then let’s get the tractor battery and find out!
MIKE: I’m not sure where the tractor is…
HAROLD: Where it always is…right there in the barn

“It’s that vehicle covered with all the cobwebs…”  Mike is still not on board with this swiping the battery thing…so when Denny and Harold decide to mosey off to tell Mike’s other friends (and really—if these two jamokes are representative of the company that kid keeps, no wonder he’s a loser) that he’s made a bad automobile purchase Mike asks them: “Aren’t you going to give me a hand with the battery?”

We don’t learn the consequences of The Great Junker Car Experiment until after we return from a commercial break, and by that time Mike has upped the ante on his adolescent mischief by hooking up the tractor battery to his new ride.  He tries to start it up, but nothing happens…producing much jeering from his j.d. buddies.  “This must be the quietest motor in town,” cracks Denny, that well-honed wit.

Mike quickly surmises that the trouble is that one of the car’s wires “isn’t supposed to touch the metal”…so making that adjustment, he cranks ‘er up again and vee-ola!  The car is purring like a contented cat!

DENNY: Let’s drive it!
MIKE: Oh, no…I can’t…Pa said no…
HAROLD: Couldn’t we just go around the yard?
MIKE: I can’t!
HAROLD: Don’t you wanna drive it?
MIKE: Sure I do!
DENNY: Just go two feet…just two feetprove it will move!
HAROLD: How much is that gonna hurt?
DENNY: Come on, Mike…

Didn’t I tell you kids to go home!  Go away, you wild boys, you!  So Mike applies some gas, and the car goes zipping around Jones Acres.  Unfortunately, he is not able to apply some brake (I guess Goober was telling the truth about that heap), and so he plows into the mailbox…

…and eventually gets the car to stop by maneuvering it into a ditch.

MIKE (as they get out of the car): Oh, boy…
DENNY: You were right, Mike…it runs…I’ll see you around…
HAROLD: Yeah…me, too…
MIKE: Wait—you gotta help me!!!  Where are you going?!!
DENNY: I just remembered some homework I gotta do!
HAROLD: I think my Mom’s calling me…
DENNY: If anybody asks…we weren’t even here

Oh, those are great friends of yours, Mike.  Well, maybe you can take some solace in the knowledge that they’ll be the most popular of the new fish when they check into the juvenile detention center.  So Mike finds a way into town (the longest and saddest bike ride in history, no doubt) and enters the council office to tell his father the news in a scenario that, as much as I have ragged on Mike in the past, is not unlike the many times when I had to tell my dad about something I royally screwed up.

MIKE: Uh…say, Pa—are you having a good day today?
SAM: Yeah…yeah, I guess so…
MIKE: Oh…that’s good…oh…say, Pa—do you remember that old car I bought?
SAM: Uh…yeah…yeah, I seem to recall that…what about it?
MIKE: Uh…well…you always said if I had something to tell you…I’d feel better if I came right out and said it…
SAM: Mm-hmm…that’s right…
MIKE: Well…I sure hope it works out that way…

Every episode…one laugh-out-loud moment.

SAM: What happened to the car?
MIKE: Well…the motor kind of started up…
SAM: Uh-huh…?
MIKE: Well…the motor was running…and…and Denny and Harold called me chicken and…
SAM (slamming the file cabinet): You drove it!
MIKE: Only two feet…then it was sort of driving me
SAM (sharply): Mike!!!
MIKE: Okay, Pa—I missed the house…but I sort of creamed the mailbox…
SAM: Oh, great!  Great!!!
MIKE: Uh…don’t worry about the car—the car’s okay…most of it’s in the ditch
SAM: Most of it!
MIKE: The rest of it is kind of sticking out in the road…

Ah, I’m misty with nostalgia just thinking about how much this reminds me of similar situations with my dad…though there is a slight difference in that I generally ended up coming to about eighteen hours later with no memory as to what happened before.

SAM: Mike, didn’t I tell you not to drive…?
MIKE: Gee, Pa—they called me chicken!
SAM: I don’t care what they called you!
MIKE: And it wouldn’t have even started if you hadn’t told me about the wire…
SAM: Now, look, young man—don’t you try to shift the blame…

He’s kind of got a point, Samuel.  You should know by now that leaving that kid by his lonesome is an invitation to trouble.  Remember last time, when he forgot to breathe?  Be that as it may, Sam’s throttle is stuck in full parental damage control: “Now you get yourself down there and you make sure nobody runs into that car!  I’m going to get Goober and the tow truck…and then you and I are going to have a little talk, young man…”

As Sam marches Mike out of the council office, they almost collide with bakery doyenne Millie Swanson (Arlene Golonka), who’s stopped by for a quickie.  “Oh, hi, Mike,” she burbles.  “When are you going to take me for a ride in your new car?”

Never!” shouts Sam as the two of them head out the door.  Now, I personally feel Sam handled this situation as well as could be expected—particularly since the network probably would have frowned on footage of him giving his kid a thrashing…but no, Sam has to go for broke by soliciting advice from the two childless dinks in Mayberry:

EMMETT: What kind of a father are you, lettin’ a kid that age drive?
SAM: I didn’t let him drive…he just started it up and he drove it!
GOOBER: It could not have started—I checked it all over!
SAM: Except for a shorted ignition wire
GOOBER: Oh, well—nobody’s perfect
EMMETT: You gonna spank him, Sam?
GOOBER: Spank him?  Didn’t you ever do nothin’ as a kid?
EMMETT: Yeah…and I got walloped for it!

Yes, I am ashamed to admit I laughed out loud at this.

SAM: Well…I have to do something to teach him a lesson…boy, in one ear and out the other…uh…I… (An idea hits him) Hey… (To Goober) You could do it…
GOOBER: I’m not wallopin’ your kid!!!

I laughed out loud at that, too.  No, Sam’s solution is for Goober to get his tow truck and his deputy sheriff’s uniform.

SAM: You’re going to give Mike a traffic ticket…
GOOBER: For what?
SAM: Because he broke the law…
EMMETT: You’re gonna give your own kid a traffic ticket?!!
SAM: No…Goober is…
GOOBER: Why do I have to be the bad guy?
SAM: Because if I tell him he won’t learn as much of a lesson as if the law tells him…
EMMETT: Hey…he’s got a point there, Goob…
SAM: Yeah…
GOOBER: I cain’t do it…I never give a kid a ticket before…
SAM: It’s for his own good, Goob…now just be tough and make it as official as you can, huh?
GOOBER (sighing): All right…but he’s gonna hate me for it…every kid in town is gonna hate me!  They probably…won’t let me umpire their ballgames anymore…

“Boy—some cop we got,” Emmett editorializes…conveniently forgetting that he had the opportunity to relieve Goob of that post in “The Caper” and chose not to.  There’s a scene dissolve, and we find Goob surveying the scene of the accident wearing his deputy sheriff regalia…and I have to tell you, I was sort of disappointed that he didn’t say something like “There are only two kinds of lawmen, the quick and the dead…”

Goob really puts on a show—he writes Mike up for illegal parking, no brakes, no license plates, destruction of property (mailbox), no rear view mirror, no horn (“That’s a five dollar one right there,” Goob points out) and most importantly—no drivers’ license.  Mike starts to wet himself, and worries he’ll be put in jail.  His dad assures him that everything will be okay as long as he’s learned a lesson.  “Oh, gosh,” Mike mewls.  “I’ve learned my lesson all right—I don’t think I could learn it any better going to jail!”

Back at the council office, Millie learns what Sam and Goober have done and is not at all pleased with Sam’s approach to parental discipline.  Handing him the ticket, she snarls: “Here’s your ticket…I suppose you’ll want to frame it like you did your son.”

SAM: Oh…I think it has served its purpose… (He starts to tear up the ticket)
GOOBER: Hey, don’t do that!  You gotta take that into court!
SAM: Huh?
GOOBER: You gotta take it with you when you go in to see the judge
SAM: No, no, no…no judge…Goob, this ticket was just pretend
GOOBER: Whuh…you didn’t say nothin’ about that!  You said write a ticket, and make it as official as I can…
SAM: Uh-huh…and you did that, so just forget it…
GOOBER: Well, it ain’t gonna be that easy…I already mailed a copy in to the court…

“You mean Mike’s name is coming up before a judge?  A real judge?!!”  Sam asks incredulously.  The answer to this is no—it’s Sam who’ll be bowing and scraping before the magistrate, since he’s the registered owner of the car.  Millie takes perverse delight in rubbing this in, even at the risk of not getting any farmer lovin’ for the next week or so.  As she tapes the ticket back together she muses: “There’s one good thing—I work in a bakery; I can always bring you a cake with a file in it.”

Coda time!

We had a rather abbreviated appearance from Cousin Alice this week, so it’s only fitting that she’s bringing in a load of wash into the Jones kitchen as Sam enters from the back door, pulling at his tie.

ALICE: What’d the judge say?
SAM: Well…after I explained…he…let me off with a lecture on parental responsibility
ALICE: In other words, he chewed you out for letting Mike have the car…
SAM: If you must be blunt about it…yes…

Alice heads out the back to put the wash on the line, and as Sam grabs a cup of product placement Sanka, Mike comes in wearing a hair shirt.

MIKE: I came down to let you know I’m doing my homework…
SAM: Fine…fine…
MIKE: And I haven’t ridden my bike…except to go to school…and I did the extra chores…and I told Denny and Harold I couldn’t play with them…

“…and also that they had better watching their motherf**king backs…”

MIKE: …and I won’t watch television for a whole month…and I promise not to have any more fun until you say it’s okay…

Sam asks him about the car, and Mike hands him an envelope as he tells him he sold the Mikemobile back to Goober.  Sam notices that Mike has given him the entire amount of money they paid for the car, and Mike says he did that because he thought it might make up for the trouble he caused, as he’s realized how tough it is to be a parent.  (In other words, he’s kissing ass.)

Cousin Alice’s triumphant return to R.F.D. after a one episode absence means that we can fire up the old Thrilling Days of Yesteryear Alice-o-Meter™ and calibrate it so it measures twelve appearances for actress Alice Ghostley in the sitcom’s third and final season.  And speaking of finality—we’ve three more episodes left in Mayberry Mondays; next time, Goober fans will be able to revel in the Full Goobery as our favorite gas station owner breaks a new stupidity record in “Goober, the Hero.”  The episode will feature a pair of veteran character greats and the return of Mike’s less evil friend Richard…and if the Fates smile down on me, I hope to have it on the blog sooner than later.


Chris Vosburg said...

Goober: How do you think I got where I am today?

Pharmaceutical trials?

Thanks, Ivan, for that; I was jonesing pretty heavily. I want my Mayberry Monday!

basura said...

An episode without Howard is like a PBJ sandwich with just the white bread.


Stacia said...

“Fifty cents an hour and all the motor oil I can drink!”


Enter the man whom his mother said was his father

Double ha! Still, the penchant for stupid ideas (farming without talent, buying a fixer upper without knowing anything about fixing or upping) does indicate these two come from the same batch o' DNA.

That knocking over a mailbox bit brings back memories. My dad got it in his head one day after I'd been driving for nearly six months that the problem was I couldn't reach the gas pedal, so since this was a 68 Chevy and the seat was already up as far as it would go, he nailed blocks of wood to the pedal. Didn't tell me about it. Found out when I had to go pick up my friend Todd for band practice, and because I couldn't drive very well because BLOCKS OF WOOD, I ran right into his family's mailbox.

It is humiliating. Mike doesn't even have the common sense to hide in shame for a week after L'Affaire d'Mailbox.

Also, my parents turned me in for skipping out of a half-hour study hall in high school (I went to the library instead - I'm such a delinquent) but they did not get any sort of comeuppance.

product placement Sanka


Andrew Leal said...

I can't resist a personal shoutout (and I still think it was actually more refined than the previous terminology).

Also, I love the shoutout to TAGS' "Goodbye, Sheriff Taylor" and Goob's formal training by the one and only Deputy Emeritus Fife.

Also, yikes, you're right. I try to avoid personal remarks, but I got a good look at the screengrab of the aging Mike (specifically car16, where are you).

The even sadder thing is I realized there was a similar plot on a Waterman-era (I believe) episode of "The Great Gildersleeve" with Leroy, only of course it was much funnier and more intelligent.