Kids are from Earth, Parents are from PlutoEdit

===Episode #502===

"Kids are from Earth, Parents are from Pluto" / "Nerves of Steal"

Synopsis by: Aonarr

Comments by: Aonarr and Dave.

SYBARdbpmh Arthur is dressed like a doctor with lab coat and forehead reflector. With a pointer he's drawing our attention to a large chalkboard on which he has (rather poorly) drawn a picture of himself and his father. At first glance, he explains, the adult looks pretty much like just a larger version of the child but don't be deceived, they are actually a completely different creature.

For one thing, the adult is very concerned with "warmth".
We then see several examples of this phenomena:
  • Arthur's Mom decides he needs a scarf...
  • Francine's Dad insists she wear a hat...
  • Binky's mom wraps him in multiple layers of snow gear.

Also, there are certain key words that drive adults bonkers, for example: "Sale"

Arthur's Dad reads in the paper that there is a sale at "Kitchen Krafts" and runs off. Here's an instance of continuity... "Kitchen Krafts" was where Arthur got Dad his Christmas present...

  • Brain's Mom is looking at clothing. "50% off!", she exclaims, pulling out a horrendous pair of striped bell bottom pants. (They look like something Peter Tork would have worn in the last season of the Monkees) "and just your size!" she adds. Brain just groans miserably.
  • Next is Muffy's dad. "Two for one! What a bargain!" He's shouting. The camera pulls back to reveal huge twin yachts. "We'll take them both!" he announces.Back to Arthur. D.W. is pushing a metal TV cart (like the ones in high schools everywhere) into view.

Arthur is still talking; As bad as all this is, nothing is more terrifying than when adults all get together in a group...

* * * Kids are from Earth, Parents are from Pluto * * *

Title Card -- Buster flies down in a spaceship wearing an odd robotic mask.

Francine, Binky and Arthur are staring at the hallway bulletin board.

Binky: Oh no!

Binky is very dismayed. Yup, Arthur observes, it's that time again: School open house.

She Ellen comes up wanting to know what's wrong. The others try to explain by reliving last year's open house.

Francine relates how her father fell asleep watching a really boring slideshow about trees.

(It reminds me of the "Guide to Trees" bits from Monty Python)

Francine's Dad snores loudly and then shouts out math answers when awoken, pretending he's paid attention. This year Ratburn will probably make him stay after and write sentences on the board.

Arthur's dad told incomprehensible jokes to everyone and no one got any of them.

Binky says none of them have it as bad as he does.

It's about time Arthur's big mouth got Buster in trouble, it's usually the other way 'round.

Later in the lunchroom, Sue Ellen asks Buster if he still thinks her family are aliens. He laughs; no that was a long time ago...

Buster: ...they aren't are they?

Sue Ellen rolls her eyes and walks off. Buster shouts after her it's okay, he likes aliens!

Buster: It's a friendly planet!

Next we find Sue Ellen writing in her diary. Perhaps other people might think her parents are weird. Especially if her mom wears one of her funky outfits.

She imagines her mom walking in wearing a strange yellow striped garment. Muffy's mom whispers she looks like she got lost from a clown convention. Buster's mom confides to Buster that they really must be from another planet and snaps a picture for the paper.

Then Sue Ellen thinks about her dad -- he's always talking about all the other countries they've lived in.

She imagines him talking to Ratburn about various places in Africa when Ratburn out of the blue asks Sue Ellen who was the 6th president of the United States. She's not sure. Ratburn looks dismayed, Sue Ellen will have to take extra American History courses as she just hasn't spent enough time in this country. How does Saturday mornings sound?

I'm surprised that got included... better that than having Mr. Ratburn declare her family go back to "wherever they came from", I guess...

Sue Ellen concludes she has to convince her parents to act "normal" at the Open House.

  • *

Brain is happily writing at a booth at The Sugar Bowl. Binky shows up with a question. Do Brain's parents call him by pet names at home? Names like "Muffin Man" or "Binkywinkums" perhaps?

Brain looks at him oddly -- no, they don't.

Oh, well, Binky's don't either he asserts.

By the way, why is Brain studying on a Saturday asks Binky. Brain asserts he's not studying; he's preparing a test for his parents. Apparently Prunella told him that last year Ratburn made the parents take a really difficult quiz...

We see Brain's parents at home listening to Brain explain basic geometry.

(I think Brain's mom is the only character that wears shorts on a regular basis, and by the way, she's blonde today)

They seem happy to be there but Brain's mom asks to be excused to put the clothes in the dryer,Brain gives her 5 minutes so she runs off. Meanwhile, Dad's going to have to work on his penmanship...

Binky doesn't see the need, they're grownups, they'll do okay. Brain is horrified.

Brain: They can't just do okay! Imagine how embarrassing it'd be if I got better grades than my own parents!

I can't see any self-respecting parents allowing themselves to be drilled on grade two general knowledge, but this is admittedly a wei... :)

Sue Ellen comes home to find her mom dusting while wearing a sari. Worried, Sue Ellen begs to help pick out her mom's outfit for the Open House that evening. Her mom agrees. Then Sue Ellen goes to the grocery store with her Dad. They bump into George's Mom puzzling over purple okra.

I don't see the difficulty, regardless of color okra is pretty easily identifiable. I guess Elwood City doesn't get that many specialty foods. No wonder they feel the need to be so weirdly creative with what they do have.

Sue Ellen's Dad explains the nature of purple okra to George's Mom. Sue Ellen starts to get uncomfortable, she hustles her Dad off saying that the checkout lines are really long.

Putting the groceries in the car she asks him not to talk about all the places they've been at Open House so the other kids wont be jealous. He agrees reluctantly.

At home again Sue Ellen's mom tries on many outfits, mostly foreign costumes.

Including a glamorous Union Jack "Spice Girls"-esque dress. Uh huh, that's the national dress in the U.K.,a la "The Legend of Korra"...

Sue Ellen vetoes them all till she gets to a very plain black dress. That's the one. Her mom is unhappy, this was her funeral dress.

On the way up the school steps Brain is still quizzing his parents. They sound very weary.

Arthur is making his dad promise not to tell any jokes. Okay, his Dad says, but can he wear his glasses? He slaps on a pair of joke glasses with springy eyes. Arthur groans. In the classroom Ratburn announces that this year he's going to do things a little differently, so no test for the parents.

Probably someone complained last year.

Brain's parents go "Awwww" and put down their pencils.

They're both right handed by the way -- Brain's one of few lefties for those who haven't noticed.

Instead Ratburn wants all the parents to tell everyone a little about themselves, starting with Muffy's folks. This of course turns into a tremendous advertisement for Crosswire Motors.

Not the first time this has happened. It's a Crosswire genetic trait that makes itself apparent whenever one of them is in front of an audience.

#12601 - "My Dad, the Garbage Man"

#12802 - "The Scare-Your-Pants-Off Club"

#30401 - "Background Blues"

#50601 - "The Election"... but that one's still ahead, so it doesn't count. :)

Then it's Sue Ellen's parents turn. They're very uncertain what to say. He says he's a diplomat, she's a homemaker. They sit down quickly.

* * *

Next up is the art room, so the kids can show their parents what they've been working on. Brain shows Sue Ellen's Dad a tribal mask he's finished but staying true to his promise to Sue Ellen he says very little. After he walks off, Brain's overheard saying that he figured that if anyone would have been able to tell what particular African art style he was trying to emulate with his mask, it would have been Sue Ellen's Dad. Brain's disappointed that Sue Ellen's Dad didn't share his knowledge.

Meanwhile Buster overhears Binky's parents lavishing praise on a rather poor painting Binky's done.

"Little Muffin Man?" Buster asks Binky. "They're NOT my parents!" Binky replys back in an urgent whisper, "I don't know who they are!"

Binky runs off. Buster thinks -- So it's Binky's parents who are aliens, that explains so much!

* * *

Muffy's mom compliments Sue Ellen's mom's dress in a patronizing tone.

Muffy's Mom: It's so refreshingly simple.

It's clear both of her parents are miserable and Sue Ellen knows it. She tells them it's too boring when they act normal, from now on they should be themselves. General relief all around.

A little later the kids are at a table eating ice cream and lamenting the evening's events. Francine's dad fell asleep again. Arthur's dad told 4 jokes and no one got any of them. Sue Ellen is happy though, she concludes she likes her parents because of the way they are and it's comforting that they will never change.

We cut to the adults all standing in a group. It's too bad the kids aren't with them, remarks Arthur's Mom, but she guesses they must be too embarrassed.

Arthur's Dad can't imagine why. Of course not; he has his tie around his head and is doing some sort of chicken dance. He looks like a quail.

(not to mention foolish)

The End


My biggest comment here is how endlessly compliant everyone's parents are. Brain's parents are just weird, enough said. I can imagine Sue Ellen's parents being a bit more concerned about Sue Ellen feeling like she fit in. That would be a natural concern considering how much they move around, but not overly so since a prerequisite of their chosen life style would be to assume wide acceptance. This brings us to another point, There's not much need for an American diplomat in Elwood City, so what nationality is Sue Ellen? What country is her father a diplomat for? My guess is Russia since she talked about coming from there in #31201 - "What Scared Sue Ellen?" (she fears the Baba Yaga followed her from there) Apparently they must of moved before she was old enough to remember as she states she's never seen snow before in that episode, and there's a lot of snow in Russia. (Don't ask why she's in the flashbacks to Mr. Marco's class though.)

Binky's situation with his parents brings up an important point. At 9, probably close to 10, Binky is way too old to be called "Binkywinkums". Binky is the poster child for the tragic self-esteem crisis in the 80's. Complete and utter non-judgmental support and praise no matter the quality of the act or product being praised does not create secure children. But then with a name like Binky how secure could he be anyway?