Just a quick add-on to the themes and concepts introduced on pages one and two of last week's recap: Trapper Keepers. With He-Man and She-Ra on the cover. Okay. I'm done now.
We do the ol' fade-and-zoom soft shoe on The Trunk Of The Past to find the young version of Jim "Numb And Number" Prufrock, shaking and afraid and more drenched in red light than a Carrie prom sequence airing on a television with the dial cranked to "red" found floating on the Red Sea. Afraid his Coolidge-Era flannel-checked shirt won't be in style when this visit to the not-distant-enough-to-be-dressed-like-that past is finally over, Young Jim hits and bangs and bangs and hits on the trunk's roof, but to no avail. Angles! Angles! Angles! It's so excessive it's almost downright montage-y. All we need is some product-placed indie band from working-class London, and this is totally sneak footage from the upcoming season of Real World: Kid In A Trunk. Accompanied by a low, growly male voice-over telling us, "You have to die, Prufrock," JimBoy screams in a close-up so close that that kid accidentally spits on me a little. Pound. Bash. Bang. Scream. Angles. Flannel. I'd probably feel a little more sympathy for the kid if that trunk were actually small. But that right there is one of those big American gas-guzzlers from round the time this flashback took place, and the prototypes they made at the 1939 World's Fair were just this big and just this shiny. Look at that beauty, wouldja? I could live in that trunk. Why, you could just about fit the whole American Dream right on inside of there!
The Jim-of-the-not-too-distant-past is replaced by the Almost-ex-Jim-of-ABC's-not-too-distant-future, who wakes up in his blue matching pajamas at Martha's Quirk 'n' Go. He awakes with a scare -- it's been almost a week since his last I'm-a-tiny-tiny-boy-locked-in-a-giant-giant-trunk dream sequence, and those hackneyed angles can be extremely disorienting without a Party to Go context of some kind. In no time, he realizes he's been awakened by a tapping on the door of his room. A voice, speaking in that totally authentic dialect from a place we all know as Indeterminate Outer Southlandia (also the apparent home of Britney Spears, Vanna White, and the entire cast of The Prince of Tides), announces through the closed door, "Rise and shine, Jimbo. It's time for your community service." He checks the clock on his bedside to discover that it's 5:46 AM -- calculating as he stands up the improbability of this development vis-a-vis the repeated promise that this show was never to see another sunrise -- and walks to the door, raising the blinds. Deputy Pawn stands outside, blowing a giant gummy bubble that soon pops all over her face because when she's a simple-minded deputy, she's quirky, but when she's a crooked double-crossing government super-spy, she's cold-blooded and, well, still kinda quirky. She's got the accent on, so now she's the bubble-bursting knucklehead rather than being in the big leagues with her Big League Chew, and Jim immediately hops on the defensive with, "The judge didn't say anything about community service." But Pawn's got her answer at the ready, explaining, "But I brought it up last night over nachos and margaritas, and he thought it was a great idea." People, I cannot tell you how much I want nachos and margaritas at this moment. I have finally given myself over to my swinging Hollywood lifestyle of eating disorders and poverty, and the resultant diet this engenders does not at present permit either of those extravagances. The good news is that now I can do all of my grocery shopping at 7-11, because that's where the Powerbars and cases of Diet Coke are. And they take credit cards for really small purchases. And for that I say thank heaven.
Jim gapes, but Pawn is soon to give him a knowing nod that the stage directions stipulate should be "an accentless nod, if that makes any sense." Jim lowers the blinds, and we cut to him walking into the dining room of Martha's Quirk 'n' Go, having again chosen the beige suit because we've repeatly been told that he was a youth in a trunk in 1955, so that would make him a full-fledged adult in the very, very mid-1970s. Proving that his reflexes are still sharp despite a cresting river of dull in practically every other facet of this show, Jim reaches his arms up without thought and catches an object that's flying at him from just off-camera. "What's this for?" he asks all incredulously. Pawn, sitting at the dining room table with Martha, an excessively elderly man to whom Martha is feeding breakfast, and another old dude with a beard, is back in Accent Mode when she announces, "So cars don't hit you as you're ridding Americas highways and byways of litter." Jim opens it up to reveal a loud orange safety vest that's going to make him look like the construction worker from the Village People when he puts it on over that suit, and he stands in continued passivity as Dawn asks Martha how much she owes for the coffee. Martha assures her, "It's on me, Deputy," and Pawn vamps out of the room in a confusingly you've-been-a-great-crowd-and-remember-folks-be-good-to-your-parents-they've-been-good-to-you kind of way, explaining to the two infirm men at the table, "I offered to pay. You boys were witnesses." And how! Jim and Pawn leave via what I'm pretty sure is practically the only door that hasn't switched locations (set strike sure can be a bitch, eh, LivePlanet?), and Martha busybodies to no one in particular (which would be a true statement even if this were a damn aside to the audience), "A little early for trash collection, don't you think?" Well. I don't think this is the last time I'll point out that they're kind of running out of available slots.