Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Honourable Mentions: Unhappily Ever After – Ryan Vampire Slayer

Unhappily Ever After was a series that, on the surface, was a clone of Married with Children but had some key differences. The father character, Jack (Geoffrey Pierson), was an alcoholic schizophrenic with a talking toy rabbit, Mr Floppy (Bobcat Goldthwait), that only he could hear. The mother had moved out, was killed, resurrected by a studio executive in a walk on part and then left to live with a lesbian lover. Of the children there were two sons, Ryan (Kevin Connolly) the thick one and Ross (Justin Berfield) who was a comedy foil and a daughter, Tiffany (Nikki Cox) who was a straight A student and virgin.

This season 4 episode, which aired in 1997, was the series’ vampire episode and the reason for the honourable mention that the episode doesn’t have a vampire in it and the belief in vampires is low-key. Whilst not actually having a vampire might still lead to review I felt this warranted more just a mention.

Tiffany and Ryan
Ryan and Tiffany are at college (Tiffany has just given blood but that is incidental) when cheerleader Bunny Muffowitz (Bridget Flanery) flip flops into the room. Ryan is attracted to her (something about her acrobatic display in a pleated skirt makes him want to drive a truck, over a bridge or through a tunnel!) and Tiffany tells him to speak to her. She blows him out saying that she is busy every night. Tiffany then gets him to make Bunny work on her rejection.

Ryan and Bunny
He asks her what she is busy doing, working she replies and, when he suggests visiting her at work, she says her job is that of vampire slayer. She is flip flopping out, towards a banana skin so he tries to knock it out of the way with marbles. She ends up under a bookcase. Guessing she will no longer slay vampires he asks her out again but someone has to hunt them – she scratches his face “passing the power on”. He is now Ryan, Vampire Slayer.

slayer training
He then practises slaying and is rather bad at it, thus we get a set up for gags such as killing the gardener with an an errant stake. Jokes about save the vampire – due to the delicate ecosystem and the danger of werewolves and mummies running amuck. There is an on-running gag – eventually told 5 times – suggesting that vampires do exist, “how else do you explain Yoko Ono and Priscilla Presley living off the dead”.

Tiffany as bait
Eventually Ryan drugs and then ties up Tiffany in a graveyard to use as bait – with a sign ‘pale virgin’ that will attract vampires and Hollywood Executives (the vampires are the ones with original thoughts). When he loses her, he replaces her with Ross in a wig. Eventually dad gets involved, trying to find her as she is the focus of the show and they’ll already be losing viewers.

The self aware nature of the show was interesting as was the thought that Jack and Mr Floppy could be so inappropriate, as it wasn’t his fault – gags about a dead zebra in the garage that he hunted at the zoo and taking out dolphins because they hate Flipper spring to mind. The show was ultimately, however, still derivative and this episode, certainly, lacked a certain focus.

The episode’s imdb page is here.

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