Props to Judy Foster, Jody's illegitimate barmaid twin, for sharing her extensive and heretofore useless knowledge of all things Frampton with me over a couple of cocktails the other night.
Tonight on Charmed: To save their future, the Halliwells must overcome the tragic fashion choices of their past. Or something like that.
Fade up on Halliwell Manor. Piper Halliwell, dressed as Glinda the Good Witch, descends the stairs on the arm of Leo Wyatt, who saved on the cost of a Halloween costume by pulling his old army uniform out of mothballs. Piper orders sisters Phoebe, who's wearing Cassandra Peterson's Elvira outfit, and Prue, who's dressed as some sort of earth goddess, to hurry, as they should have been at the club "a half an hour ago." Prue rides Piper for her costume choice. I wouldn't talk if I were her. While she looks improbably good in that dark blue brocaded bodice with the liberally-applied glitter, Prue's not exactly making a cutting-edge fashion statement, and I saw her wig -- complete with the butterflies and flowers -- last week at Night of a Hundred Drag Queens, on a bartender named Al who was dressed as Jane of the Jungle. Blather about Glinda being a good witch who helped innocents. Phoebe, who also looks far better than she has any right to, snarks, "You had the answer all along? That's not help, that's mind games." Word. Piper flounces about, refusing to allow her sisters to stomp her Leo-nookie-has-returned buzz as Phoebe wonders what exactly one celebrates on Halloween. Piper doesn't care. Phoebe grabs a handy Hallmark-store Halloween decoration and snits, "Hook-nosed hags riding broomsticks -- that's what we're celebrating." She does not approve of the image of witches in popular culture. Piper asks if Phoebe really thinks she's doing anything to dispel that image by dressing as "the Mistress of the Dark." Phoebe insists her costume is a protest statement, and Prue snarks that she's impressed Phoebe "can make a protest statement and show cleavage at the same time." "Thanks," Phoebe giggles, rearranging her hair to better display her pushed-up, out-thrust, barely-concealed rack. Something is terribly wrong. I'm enjoying all of this nonsense far more than I should.
They snicker and flounce their way to the kitchen, where Detective Darryl Morris, wearing a police uniform, is on the cordless with his wife. The men on this show are unrelievedly bland. Even a pirate costume would be better than what these losers have come up with. Come on, gents, if you're going to go the uniform route, at least put some sort of campy Village People spin on the whole thing. You are in San Francisco, aren't you? Anyway, Piper remarks on Darryl's unoriginality as if she had room to criticize, and Darryl counters proudly that it's his rookie uniform, and he can still fit in it. "Yeah, mine too," adds Leo. Darryl vies for the title of Thickest Character on This Show with both Phoebe and Leo by asking, "Innat from World War Two?" Round of guilty looks as Darryl asks Leo who he really is. Prue promises to explain on the way to the club, and stuffs her gob with caramel popcorn. Relationship chatter. Piper chides Prue for being picky, and therefore single. Prue retorts that the perfect man for her is out there somewhere, and she won't settle for anything less. Or something like that. My brain automatically filters out actual conversation content whenever they linger on these issues. Piper orders the gang to grab treats and get on their way. Phoebe stops them by announcing that they have to wait for Cole Turner. I just know he's going to show up dressed as a sailor. Which is fine, but I'm really hoping he goes for the Tim-Curry-as-Frank-N-Furter look. Then again, maybe I should stop watching VH1 on Halloween weekends. Darryl the Dimwitted asks Phoebe if she's dating the assistant district attorney, and she begs off, stating she just asked him along for the evening.
Outside, preadolescents bounce about, trick-or-treating. Two gentlemen in matching Uncle Fester costumes stride toward the manor, but are interrupted by a pint-sized blond ninja, who compliments their outfits. "Cool costumes, dudes!" Aryan Ninja enthuses, and Fester the First unleashes his demon side by pulling some sort of sight-sucking voodoo on the little boy. If I could, I'd have ripped out the kid's vocal cords for the entirely un-ironic use of "dudes" in a sentence, but I'll go along with the sight-sucking for the moment. Into the background squiggles Cole, who, while mercifully not in sailor drag, has apparently chosen to attend the Halliwell Halloween festivities as an "Assistant District Attorney." "What the hell are you doing?" he intones, and Fester the First, without interrupting the sight-sucking, turns to address Cole. "Balthazar?" Fester I asks with surprise. "I use the name Cole here," he corrects, and orders a halt to the sight-sucking. Fester I releases the bucktoothed Aryan Ninja, who scampers away. Not in fright or terror or anything. He just scampers away. A moment for demonic exposition. The Festers tell Cole they've come for the Charmed Ones, Cole asks if the sisters didn't dust the Festers two years ago, Fester the Second explains that Halloween is the time "when the veil between worlds thin [sic]," allowing demons in the know to return for revenge. Cole tells them to get lost, as he's there on a Triad-approved mission, the Festers tell him they no longer answer to the likes of the Triad as they're dead, and Cole monotones, "There's dead, and there's dead," which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, but damn, that man has some blue eyes. The Festers aren't having it, so Cole squiggles away after noting he'll just "move up [the] timetable" for his cunning plan. Fester I: "I've always hated that demon." Fester II: "Nice costume, though." Demian: "Shut the hell up."