Episode 2 begins with hustle and bustle in the Smashenburn kitchen. It’s a big day for Alice, as it is time for her C.A.T.s, It’s exactly what you would think it is, except it decides what kind of video game personality/career is available to you. Alice is understandably stressed out over the pressure, especially when Rip tells her that Raquel scored a perfect 1600 on her tests. After some bad comedy from Billy and Turbo, Rip drives Alice and Billy to school, driving through the exit instead of the entrance. Ha HAA, nothing like a good child endangerment joke!!
Billy meets up with his friend, whose name escapes me, but he’s rocking a peach-colored Spryo polo, which is pretty damn cool. Including the Crash Bandicoot billboard and Abe’s Oddessy monsters from episode 1, this brings our gaming cameo count up to three. We are introduced to plot B of this episode; Billy’s crush on a Japanese exchange student named Suki. This girl is pretty much a walking, generic, ethnic stereotype. Take the most generic elements of what an ignorant person might say if you asked them elements of Japanese culture, there is a good chance their answers might be Engrish, anime, and Godzilla. That sums this character up in a nutshell. Billy’s token black friend (whom was dropped off at school by his witch doctor father.(?) I didn’t get the reference) tells him to man up and ask her out, but like any adolescent boy, he oversells himself and tries to impress her by spouting references to a Japanese soccer game. Suki, unimpressed walks off, leaving Billy defeated. Rip, witnessing this encounter, figures its time for some fatherly advice. This was a pretty decent scene that established the secondary plot of the episode.
During lunch (or a study hall) Alice and her friends (Sylvie, an elf and Arthur, a zombie) discuss the magnitude that these tests hold for their futures, and Alice acts pretty dismissive about the whole thing. Sylvie points out that Raquel got a perfect score when she took them, so it’s believed that Alice will do just as good as her mother. After a “snappy” one-liner from Arthur, he and Sylvie high-five, knocking his rotting hand off. I’ve got to say, for as down as I am on zombies nowadays, there was lost potential with this character for some easy visual comedy.
With his newfound confidence, Billy decides to sing to Suki in order to win her heart. The next day at school, as Suki is flying through the hallway with a rainbow shooting out of her ass. Why, you ask? Well the answer is simple.
Anyway, what kind of song does our plucky little tweenager decide to serenade her with? Why, a rap song of course, because when it comes to seducing the ladies, theirs nothing like telling her she has “ass for days”, whatever that actually means. So, token black friend, dressed as a member of Run DMC, turns on a boom box as Billy halts Suki in mid-flight and lays down this dopest, freshest verse on his girl, verbatim:
“Dear Suki, I saw you when you was flyin
I saw your big colors and your rainbow I was nearly dyin
When my family goes out for Japanese, I used to say
Hotdog please, don’t want no stomach disease
But now I look at you, Jeez Louise
Don’t be a tease, Suki. You all I needs”
Ah, move over, Hemingway, this real poetry. After rapping the worst lyrics ever written on the face of the planet (At least until the conception of Brad Paisley’s Accidental Racist), and since Suki is about as smart as a pile of wet sawdust, she is smitten by this and responds with a J-rap of verse of her own. I’m going to assume that the language is legit, but good grief. This is one of those scenes that you would actually be embarrassed to be caught watching if someone else wandered into the room. You would rather have porn on your TV or an HD snuff film instead of this onslaught of good taste and poor attempt at humor. If you are looking for anything close to Max dressing up as Powerline and lip synching while dancing, this scene is so far out of that ball park that they’re playing f*cking badminton!!! It’s such a triple threat of bad entertainment, insulting your ears, music (as if rap needs it), and comedy all at the same time, that when the scene is over, you want to go kick a puppy in the nuts repeatedly!!
Back in Alice’s story, Rip and Raquel meet with her guidance councilor and they learn that she failed the test completely. Completely aghast at this news, the councilor whips out a white PS2 Dual Shock controller that brings up a projection of snowy alps. This is a job simulator that shows the student the best possible job they can land based off their scores, after showing an extreme snowboarder performing flips, and ski lift manager (careers Alice thought she could land after TANKING HER MOST IMPORTANT TEST EVER!!), the GC zooms in on NPC character models, like ones you would see in SSX Tricky, blandly shouting “YAY!!” in unison.
The GC points out that these are professional cheerers, those static character models in every sports game ever, is in Alice’s future. Not to take away anything from the entirety of Game Over, this is hands down the funniest goddamn joke in this entire show! Back at home, Alice doesn’t take this news well at all, going as far as to smash her stuff, griping about how much this suck. Now, wait a minute. You failed the test on purpose, and now you’re upset that your future, which you willfully compromised because of the immense pressure you felt because of your mother’s perfect score, is bleak? Boy, if only there was a away for you to have kept this from happening, like, I don’t know, hitting a digital insect!? She admits to Raquel that she failed on purpose and Raquel decides the right thing to do is to break into the school’s records and change the score. Hooray, no moral lessons to learn or consequences for bad actions!!
Meanwhile, it’s date night for Billy and Suki. She literally picks him up and carries him…….somewhere and they have a good ol’ time together, like catching fish (with her teeth) and a bunch of other goofy things.
She unfortunately has to break the news to him that she’s going back to Japan tomorrow because “It’s Godzilla season. We must kill him many times.”. Because she’s Japanese, get it?!? You GET IT!!?? Why not just say you have to go fight a hentai tentacle monster using the power of the Ramen Noodle Tempura Sentai Rangers before it brings great dishonor to the Mitsubishi Clan who can’t summon their pocket monsters due to Speed Racers’ poor lip synching!!! SHE’S JAPANESE!!!!!!!! Eli Roth knew more about Slovakia than these writers know about Japan!!!!!!!!! THIS JOKE SUCKS!!!
Heartbroken, Billy has another talk with Rip about Suki leaving. Rip consoles him with that line “You’ll meet other girls.” to which Billy replies, “Will they shoot rainbows out of their butt?” Okay, that’s pretty funny.
In the last act, Alice and Raquel break in to the school’s test record, which is this cartoonishly, heavy-guarded facility. This is actually a pretty good scene where Alice realizes she’s a lot more like Raquel than she thought. They fend off a giant mech guard that looks like Ed209 from Robocop 2 after failing one of those logic word puzzles (the “dog is to bone as so-and-so is to this-n-that” deal) The mother/daughter pair fight off mechanical restraints and security mosquitoes (Hah!! we are full circle with that bit of trite foreshadowing!!) as Alice uses skills and traits her mother uses during her missions. Once they get the test score changed, they make a daring escape as Raquel tells her daughter that she can do anything as long as she tries hard enough.
IN CLOSING: This is a much improved episode over the pilot, as there is less going on and the conflicts have been narrowed down to plot A and plot B. It’s easier to follow than just throwing a bunch of material at the wall and hoping something sticks. Episode Grade B-
Episode Pluses: I loved the job simulator joke. Using NPCs as a career opportunity for a potential video game star is pretty hilarious and it’s a shame that there aren’t more gags of this nature. It’s the humor that I thought this series would bubbling over the rim with instead of the drab sitcom deal. The Raquel and Alice scene was a pretty action set piece and it was pretty entertaining and Alice herself was a much improved character….
Episode Minuses:….though failing the test on purpose and then getting pissy about it made absolutely no sense. It would be better to have her just crack under the pressure and run out of time instead of whizzing it. Doing poorly under extremes can be legitimately aggravating and understandable. It would be easier to sympathize and relate with Alice and her plight if she actually tried!! You can learn just as much, if not more, from failure than you can success. Billy continues to be as annoying as a fictional character in a comedy show can possibly get. The only other character I hate more than Billy is Bloo from Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, who is such a gigantic asshole, he makes Sterling Archer look like Ned Flanders!! I’m glad this series didn’t go on long enough to bring the Suki character back. I don’t find the character offensive, this broad style of comedy just doesn’t work for me. Is that really the best you can do with an ethnic character is to run for the closest pop culture references that are within arms reach instead of writing actual jokes for the character?
……. Godzilla season……jeez…