Tread Perilously

Tread Perilously stays in sit-com land with two unintentionally horrific episodes of Webster.

After Webster burns down their old apartment (don't ask), Webster and the Papadopolises tour a potential new living space: the restored Victorian home of Bill and Cassie Parker, a seemingly nice couple with some suspicious behavior. After Webster discovers the secret passage and the ladder from the basement to a little girl's room, Bill and Cassie reveal the room belonged to their daughter. She ran away five years earlier and they've kept the room in stasis hoping she would return. The Papadopolises and the Parkers agree on a rental agreement. Several episodes later, their daughter Maggie returns after seven years with her son in tow to make amends of a sort.

Yes, the show quickly forgot how long she was missing.

Erik and Justin discuss how the decision to write Maggie as a runaway opens the story up to an intentional horrific reading. Why did Bill build a ladder leading from the basement to Maggie's closet? What didn't Cassie say seven years ago? The interpretation leads to discusses of Detective Stabler's anger issues, racism, the crummy 80s and Webster's strange connections to Star Trek and 7th Heaven.

Direct download: tp41.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 8:00am PDT

Tread Perilously makes a trip to Scranton with two episodes of the NBC sitcom The Office. Special guest Paula Dixon helps us see that Toby was the worst all along.

In "The Christening," Michael Scott makes Cece's christening all about him while Toby debates entering a church for the first time in ages. A bus full of teen volunteers headed for Mexico may be involved. Stanley and Kevin complain while never saying anything funny and Jim accuses Angela of stealing his baby. In "Scott's Tots," Michael reneges on ten-year-old promise to pay for a class of graduating high-schoolers' college tuition. It lands with a thud while Dwight tries to get Jim fired. Toby's not in this one, but we imagine it's all his doing.

Paula outlines the fan theory that Toby was the Scranton Strangler. Erik recalls why he walked away from the show. Justin outlines the unintended horror of cringe comedy going too far. Erik suggests the series outlived its vitality while Paula defends its later seasons.

Also: Toby is the worst.

Direct download: tp40.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 8:00am PDT

Tread Perilously finally boards the SDF-1 for a couple of episodes of the fondly remembered 1980s syndicated animated series Robotech, but will our host find horror in the 31-year-old show?

When Rick Hunter is shot down (for the first time), he suffers from a delirious state which resembles a clip show, forcing him to faces his fears and pose the question he cannot answer for another twenty episodes: does he love a woman or a girl? Once out of his nightmare, the recovering hero gets a visit from both of his love interests while his "big brother" Roy Fokker bites the big one.

Honestly, it was pretty devastating at the time.

Erik and Justin express their undying affection for ace pilot Max Sterling and note how many similarities the show shares with Battlestar Galactica. Erik admits he probably has blinders for Robotech, but can see some of its flaws. Both recall Roy Fokker as a constant drinker, but Erik knows why Justin remembers him dying in battle instead of while strumming a guitar. They also gush about the toyline and the infamous Palladium Books Robotech RPG.

Also, "Pineapple Salad" is not a euphemism.

Direct download: tp39.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 8:00am PDT

Tread Perilously concludes its celebration of Star Trek's 50th Anniversary with the last episode of any Star Trek series until 2017: the Star Trek: Enterprise finale, "These are the Voyages."

Ten years after Enterprise NX-01 set out to seek new life forms and new civilizations, the ship is heading home to be decommissioned. But Captain Archer's old Andorian pal Shran needs his help one last time before the formation of a coalition that will become the United Federation of Planets. Of course, that's all ancient history to Commander William Riker of the late 24th Century's U.S.S. Enterprise, who is watching a holodeck representation of Enterprise's final journey before making a fateful decision of his own.

Justin and Erik discuss the Star Trek's producer Rick Berman's need for Pioneer Chicken and his complete fatigue in running the franchise. They also get distracted by Remans, Ensign Hoshi, vampire Vulcans, and the unlikely heartthrob status of Connor Trinneer. They also suggest that the new series needs Andorians, Orion Liberated Women and some of the creatures from Star Trek: The Animated Series.

A Betazoid romance novel may also be discussed.

Direct download: tp38.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 8:00am PDT

Tread Perilously continues its celebration of Star Trek's 50th Anniversary with one of the driest and worst performed episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine -- "Move Along Home."

When a race of Gamma Quadrant aliens known as the Wadi visit in at Quark's, his manipulation of the Dabo wheel leads to a strange name called Chula. Meanwhile, Sisko, Kira, Dax and Bashir wake up in a strange Wonderland where character actor Joel Brooks entices them to "move along home." Odo suspects the two events may be connected.

Erik and Justin contemplate Joel Brooks' infamy as an '80s guest villain, Nana Visitor's terrible performance in the episode and hopscotch. Justin offers two ways to view the episode while Erik suggests it would work better as either an episode of The Original Series or as a later season episode of DS9. The final appearance of Lt. Primmin is noted and Justin reveals a race of Gamma Quadrant aliens from the first season which work better in later context than the Wadi.

The discussion may wander into why modern sci-fi shows are more comfortable with humorous scenes.

Direct download: tp37.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 8:00am PDT

Tread Perilously continues its 50th anniversary celebration of Star Trek with one of the worst regarded episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation: "Code of Honor."

The Enterprise goes to Ligon II to open trade with its inhabitants and secure a vaccine for a fever plaguing other Federation worlds. When the planet's leader, Lutan, kidnaps Lt. Yar, Picard must navigate the customs of Ligonian culture to secure the release of his security chief. If he fails, he will be left with no treaty, no vaccine and no Lt. Yar.

Erik and Justin once again enter the minefield of overt racism as episode director Russ Mayberry made the choice to turn Ligon into a space version of the darkest Africa stereotype from pulp novels and B-pictures. There's also a side order of chauvinism as Lt. Yar is largely absent from her own story. Meanwhile, the strange scenes re-introducing the main cast give Erik and Justin an excuse to talk about the characters as they were first envisioned. They also try to figure out why Worf is missing.

Direct download: tp36.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Tread Perilously celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of Star Trek's debut with a look at the final episode of the original series: "Turnabout Intruder."

When a bitter scientist leaps into Kirk's body, it's up to Spock and McCoy to determine why the captain is acting so strange. When Spock discovers the truth, he is charged with mutiny as the scientist continues to lose her grip on command of the Enterprise. Meanwhile, William Shatner gets an opportunity to act his heart out.

Erik and Justin discuss the institutional sexism on display as the episode seems to outline -- with gusto -- why there are no female captains in the 2260s. Guest actor Sandra Smith gets high marks for her performance as Kirk while Shatner takes the opportunity to do some master class Shatnering. Justin invokes Just One of the Guys to illustrate an important point the story ignores and both he and Erik theorize why Nichelle Nichols is missing from the episode.

Direct download: tp35.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

In honor of its twentieth anniversary, Tread Perilously once again returns to Glenoak to watch the pilot episode of 7th Heaven.

Reverend Camden must face a number of perils while awaiting the arrival of his in-laws. Middle-daughter Lucy is freaking out because her first period will not happen. Elder daughter Mary (aka, Woman Girl) wants to kiss a boy. Eldest Matt is smoking cigarettes and younger son Simon really, really wants a dog.

Justin confuses star Katherine Hicks with Mary Ellen Trainor. Erik sidelines the conversation with the time Fonzie dated a ghost. The Cylon God arrives to destroy the initial recording and both Erik and Justin marvel at Barry Watson's epic hair. Both consider the strange taboo surrounding tampons and Justin finally discovers a character worth championing. Also, Mrs. Peacock manages to save the day.

Direct download: tp34.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Tread Perilously returns to the modern crime procedural with Bones. But its non-format fourth season finale may break Erik.

When Brennan and Mr. B learn a man was killed in their club, all their quirky employees are rounded up for questioning by Mr. B's cop brother. They all hold back key information as Brennan and Mr. B begin to suspect a possible culprit -- not that they're crime-solvers, mind you. As Mr. B gets caught up in a hostile takeover attempt and deals with a flamboyant local hip-hop artist, the gang slowly shows their hands leading to one inevitable outcome: none of this is happening and Brennan is writing the worst crime novel ever while Booth lay in a coma.

Erik tries his best to process what was supposed to be an amnesia episode, but turns out to be a strange mirror universe episode. Justin eventually explains all the "jokes," but they seem to thud in or out of context. A discussion of how heavy-set mafia types ensues while Erik decides it's amazing a cartoon about a Monster Truck Mafia never hit the airwaves in the 1980s.

Now here's Mötley Crüe.

Direct download: tp33.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Tread Perilously hits the streets of Los Angeles circa 1977 with a baffling episode of The Rockford Files.

When Jim Rockford is hired to track down the associates of a disgraced 1930s film director with Nazi sympathies, he gets involved in an art heist, a thirty-five year old murder, possible Nazis -- though they might be Stasi -- and the present-day murder of a man named Buddy. All of this might have something to do with the French police hunting down a missing 1789 painting. But then it might not. Rockford sets up a conspiracy board to keep track of the clues that never really helps. In fact, writer David Chase and director Screen Legend James Coburn probably lost track of the plot as well.

Erik and Justin wax nostalgic about Los Angeles' poor air quality, crappy Studio City apartments. They also determine the price of entry to the Communist Party and once again invoke jokes from Airplane! II: The Sequel. Memories of doughy tough guys lead to a discussion of The Nice Guys and proper screen heavies.

Also, Erik forgets about Megaforce.

Direct download: tp32.m4a
Category:Transmission -- posted at: 6:00am PDT