Off The Menu

Episode Report Card
Demian: F | Grade It Now!
Off. The fricking. Map.

Cut to a shot of Brody donning one of those newfangled virtual-reality helmets none of the kids are talking about because virtual-reality helmets pretty much don't exist outside of science-fiction serials at this point. He taps a couple of keys on his product-placed iMac as we're treated to a shot of the computer screen. Several warnings on the screen scream, "TEST VERSION ONLY" and "NOT TO BE RELEASED TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC." I can't decide if those are meta-statements or not. The Brodester recklessly uploads this terribly dangerous program to his helmet despite the warnings. Oh, Christ. If you were wondering where they blew the effects budget for the second half of the season, I'd suggest you look elsewhere. Because they certainly didn't spend much on the following sequence. What follows is a painful excursion into a "virtual reality" that looks like it was generated by a horde of five-cent-a-day sweatshop programmers toiling sullenly in a dungeon somewhere on the Indonesian archipelago. The voice-activated program generates first a painfully-bad "Virtual Reality" Brody. Max Headroom displayed a higher level of technological sophistication twenty years ago. "VR" Brody orders the software to "run Abduction Simulation 1.5." This can't be good. The "computer" whirrs and pings as a "virtual reality" room appears around "VR" Brody. Apparently, the Malaysian slave laborers decided to pirate the digitally-generated set from the "Money For Nothing" video, drain all the pastel neon color from it, and hope no one would notice. They even left the television in the corner. The "room" settles into place as the "VR" control panel reveals that we are now back in the Roswell of November 25, 2000, at 2:24 in the afternoon. Mountain Standard Time. Such detail! So unnecessary!

"VR" Brody exposits that he remembers being home alone at the time, after which point his memory vanishes, leaving him with a seventy-two-hour period for which he cannot account. Okay, I'll buy that he's eccentric -- he is British, after all -- but talking out loud to himself in a virtual reality simulation? Nope. Sorry. Try again. "VR" Brody issues another command. "Run Abduction Simulation 1.6." The "computer" complies, shifting the scene to what I presume to be the warehouse summit in the Not York episode. Sorry. I skipped that one when it first aired. More nattering from "VR" Brody, who goes on about "remembering" five other people in attendance. The "computer" butts into his reverie, flashing the red warning "MEMORY DISK FULL." The Brodester orders an "override." I'm a total Computer Barbie, so I'll leave it to those more qualified to comment on technical matters to rip this bit of stupidity to shreds. "VR" Brodester carries on with this acid trip down memory lane, conjuring Nicholas the Skin and, eventually, Max himself. The "computer," which operated so well despite the weight of all of that contrivance, cannot, unfortunately, bear the additional burden of the Pecs of Doom. It shorts out, frying the virtual reality helmet and Brody's brain as it does so.

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