A Station Eight Fan Web Site
Displaying 1 record.
My family and I watched "Double Jeopardy" a few nights ago for the DCV and for my (belated) but on-going Ramblings on each of the Gargoyles episodes...
(This 'chapter'/episode was written & Story Edited by my old buddy Cary Bates.)
It's literally been over a year since my kids or my wife have seen an episode of Gargoyles. I've occasionally had to check out individual scenes and/or credits for things I've been working on, but I don't think I've sat down to watch a whole episode beginning to end in quite some time either.
Watching the opening titles, my five year old son Benny remarked to his seven year old sister Erin: "You have [Brooklyn] and I have Goliath." He's referring to the Kenner toys I gave them a couple Christmas' ago. Erin, I believe has Brooklyn, Broadway and the Steel Clan robot. Benny has Goliath, Lex and Xanatos.
Then when Benny saw Xanatos in the credits, he said, "I was Xanatos last year." Here, he's referring to the fact that he dressed up as Xanatos for the costume ball at G2000. I had to point out that that was nearly TWO years ago.
Cary must have come up with this one, I think. I tend to favor one-worders myself. His original title was "Thailog Rules", which I didn't care for. I liked "Reversals" but he must have convinced me to go for "Double Jeopardy".
Erin, who can now read, asked what "Jeopardy" meant. I said "Trouble". And she was very amused that the title 'translated' as "Double Trouble". She liked that better, I think. She also enjoys reading the various on-screen scrawls, like "One Year Ago" and "One Year Later". Reading is like a super-power to her now. I hope she doesn't lose that.
So we open with a touch of continuity. Or retcon, I suppose. Though to me retcon is a nearly derogative term suggesting that continuity has been abused to fit new circumstances and I think our little flashback here fits in nicely with what we already knew of that time. A Steel Clan Robot interrupts Elisa trying to convince G that they need to find a new home. Goliath puts the bot down hard and fast. It's a cool and well-timed scene.
It's nice to see Goliath's old stubbornness there too.
Now, to the present. There's a color error (or perhaps cheat) where we see a flash of what will eventually turn out to be Thailog's arm. It's Goliath's color, not Thailog's.
Then we hear the maniacal laughter, which Hudson will later comment on: "Do you even know how to laugh maniacally?" he'll ask Goliath. The answer, surprisingly, is yes. Though I had forgotten, Goliath laughs pretty darn maniacally in "Enter Macbeth" after Macbeth suggests that Demona will come to Goliath's rescue. Still, one of the impulses that made me want to create Thailog was Keith David's talent. The fact that he was brilliant as Goliath, but that Goliath didn't allow us to show but a fraction of Keith's true range. Creating Thailog allowed Keith to do things that he otherwise wouldn't. And I think he's amazing. There's never any question as to which character is speaking whether that character is on-camera or not. And he does it all with acting. The voice itself is the same. Thailog lets Keith cut loose and just be BAD.
Also, a touch of Jeff Bennett's amazing flexibility too. Jeff does a Schwartzenegger impersonation for the mercenary. Beth immediately recognized it as an Arnold takeoff, but didn't know who was voicing it. She was suitably impressed to find out it was yet another creation of JB's.
I like Lex's line: "Made my hair stand on end... if I had any". (Note, all quotations are approximate.)
I had some fun trying to mess with the audience's minds. Which is tough, because honestly you guys (tv watchers in general these days) are pretty savvy people who know most writer-tricks. When you saw Thailog frozen in stone on the parapet, before the real Goliath & Brooklyn appeared in the episode, what did you think was going on?
Benny (still focused on the prologue) theorized: "It's a robot that also can be turned to stone."
Erin knew it wasn't Goliath. And after a few minutes wondered if the robot had cloned Goliath. (NOTE: Both kids have seen the episode before. But long ago. And for Benny, so long ago, that there's really no possible way he could remember it. Erin doesn't remember either, at least not consciously, but she may have more of a sense of it buried in there somewhere.)
The Emir is mentioned again. I think, though I can't remember for sure, that by this time, I had some vague notion of picking up on the throw away mention of this guy in "The Edge" and using him as a character later. So we mention him having deadline problems. In theory, he's already working on the Anubis plan that Xanatos agreed to bankroll back in "The Edge" -- but which wouldn't come to fruition until "Grief".
Owen is fun here too for me: "Is this a plan you neglected to mention?" A reasonable possibility, though it's hard to imagine that Xanatos would work anything behind Owen's back. I also like the bit about how Xanatos has never lacked for formidable enemies.
And Arnold's line about Sevarius giving him the creeps is truer now than ever before. Sitting in front of me is an article from this past Sunday's L.A. Times about Dr. Severino Antinori's real life cloning experiments. I even have a picture of the guy. He doesn't look much like our Anton. But the name and the sliding ethics sure sound spookily like Dr. Sevarius. As far as I know, that's a name that Michael Reaves made up out of the blue. It's really weirding me out.
Owen & Xanatos figure out that the kidnapper is Sevarius, and Xanatos has that great resigned villainous speech about how "An example must be made." It's funny. We have to work to get him to do anything that an everyday cartoon villain would do without breaking a sweat.
Also, we get the first mention of the "Thailog Project". The word "Thailog" itself, as I may have mentioned before, was another major impetus (is that spelled right) for creating the character.
While we were mixing the 35mm movie version of the pilot, there was one scene that was giving us trouble. The guys at Disney Sound kept rewinding across this scene over and over and I kept clearly hearing the same word "Thailog" over and over again. I eventually realized it was Elisa saying Goliath backwards. I just liked the sound of Thailog and that gave me the idea of creating an evil (i.e. backwards) Goliath. Again, that would also give Keith some fun opportunities.
But one thing I didn't want to do was to make Thailog a true dead-ringer for Goliath. I felt that had been done to death. It was fun to misdirect in the first act. But after that, I wanted something different. Thus we have the 'pigmentation' change brought on by the accelerated aging process. (This was another thing that mattered to me. Clones who miraculously are the same age as the original bug me. I wanted to at least pay lip service to the notion that theoretically a clone should age normally. The color change was an attempt to kill two birds with one stone.)
The specifics of the color change were actually inspired by John Byrne's tenure on the FANTASTIC FOUR at Marvel. He did a bunch of issues where the FF went to the Negative Zone, and when they emerged, their uniforms were altered from black and light blue to white and dark blue. It always seemed like a simple but stunning change. So Thailog was a nega-Goliath. (And, yes, Darkwing's foe Negaduck also had an influence, I'm sure.)
Broadway's ongoing 'learning to read' subplot is advanced. Lex has put two and two together and guessed that what they saw might just be a clone. Which is smart o him, I think. But BW has to figure out what Lex was spelling out. Perhaps even more of a challenge for a guy that didn't care about the written word, just a few short months before.
Erin saw her birthday on the Thailog project logs, and was very tickled. (Of course, it's really no coincidence.) I felt a little bad, since Benny's birthday never appears in the show. (Since he wasn't born yet.)
BW: "This is bad news."
LEX: "You can say that again."
BW: "This is bad news."
Erin: <LAUGHS> "He said it again."
Love the X & Sev scenes. It's always fun to give Tim Curry a chance to really HAM it up. (You can see how a lot of our work was inspired by the talents of our cast.) But I just love cross-purpose conversations in general. And this one is a blast. It's also nice to see Xanatos confused for a change. Props to Jonathan Frakes, who always gave us a very non-showy but spot on performance. Particularly once the voice and animation were put together.
X: You're the kidnapper.
Sev: I guess I am at that.
Goliath sees Thailog for the first time and reacts very badly. I think it's (dare I say it) very human of him. He thinks Thailog is an abomination. I love the "...pieces out my soul" line. Love it.
***HEY! I know I've said this before, but in case everyone's forgotten... These ramblings are admittedly a little obnoxious. I'm like praising my own work here. Except (a) some of it isn't my work, but the work of my colleagues and it still impresses me and (b) I'm genuinely fond of all this stuff so forgive the indulgence.****
Anyway, Elisa points out that Thailog is almost Goliath's son.
This was another ongoing point of behind-the-scenes contention. Since Thailog appears to be Goliath's evil twin, Cary and others thought we should play them as brothers instead of father & son. But that just seemed wrong to me. That wasn't the relationship either genetically or otherwise. And I liked the notion of Thailog having three fathers that he was in constant conflict/competition with.
All the father/son stuff is great.
I love the "Chip off the old block" "All the old blocks" exchange. Pun intended of course.
And Thailog's line "...just to raise a fool."
And Sev's "You do and do and do for them."
Thailog laughs maniacally multiple times. YAY!
Round about here, Erin muttered: "This is an odd episode."
Note that Thailog is attracted to Elisa from the start. Creepy. But also he's more in touch with his body chemistry than Goliath is. Guess it helps if you haven't had a decades of socialization.
Actually, everyone admires Elisa. X for her delicate wrists. The bit with Elisa slipping out of her manacles always seemed like a bit of a cheat to me. (See, sometimes there are things I don't like.) The handcuffs line was a semi-feeble attempt to cover.
I like the idea that Sev had worked up a garg specific knock-out gas that Thailog used.
I liked the animation and sound work on Thailog tearing open the oil barrels.
I liked Thailog's line "Now I know where I got the temper." But does he really have much of a temper. He seems much more Xanatosian than Goliathesque in that regard. But I do think he holds more of a grudge. He just hides it.
Tangent, but I believe that this maybe explains his relationship (still to come) with Demona a bit. I think he knows on some level that Demona likes him because he's the Goliath she always wanted. And Thailog is very into being his own man. He wants nothing from his fathers that he hasn't TAKEN.
Thailog won't leave without his money. I'd ask in hindsight whether or not at that point the money was even still in that briefcase.
Goliath by the end is now fully on-board with the notion of Thailog being his son. His clannish instincts have taken over. And he feels that all of Thailog's rookery fathers (X, Sev and G) have failed Thailog. The notion of multiple fathers is something that's easy for him to grasp. But of course, he takes his own failure to heart more than the others. Cuz he expects THEM to be jerks.
And now our patented Xanatos Tag. Only it's flipped into a Thailog tag. I love Owen's line: "He's out there, he has the money, he's as powerful as Goliath and he's smarter than you." Only Owen could slam X like that with impunity. And X's return: "Owen, I think I've created a monster." Love that too.
Still not sure whether I love the super-imposed Thailog head. But I do like Thailog's maniacal laughter. Never get enough of that.
Erin: "[Thailog] practically is a monster. Gargoyles are supposed to be monsters. Only they're nicer. Thailog is a monster."
Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours?