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eerie_indiana
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For fans of the 1991-1992 show Eerie, Indiana, starring Omri Katz and Justin Shenkarow
To whom it may concern: if you’re reading this document, it means you are about to learn of the greatest kids show ever made.

I am talking, of course, about Eerie, Indiana, a show aimed at roughly the nine-to-fourteen year old market, which aired nineteen episodes between 1991 and 1992 before being stolen by aliens because it was too good for this world. Or maybe it was cancelled because the idiot network didn't know a good thing when they saw it.

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If you liked Twin Peaks, if you liked Carnivale or American Gothic, or if you liked the movie The 'Burbs (and seriously, why would you not like The 'Burbs?) you will like Eerie, Indiana.

The premise of Eerie, Indiana revolves around 13-year-old Marshall Teller and his nine-year-old best friend Simon Holmes. Prior to the start of the show, Marshall lived in New Jersey, “just across the river from New York City. It was crowded, polluted and full of crime… I loved it. But my parents wanted a better live for my sister and me, so we moved to a place so wholesome, so squeaky-clean, you could only find it on TV.”

Are you intrigued yet? You should be. Shortly arriving in Eerie, Marshall begins to notice that his new home town is… different.

“What’s wrong with this picture? The American Dream come true, right? Wrong. Nobody believes me, but Eerie is the centre of weirdness for the entire planet.”


The Characters



Marshall Teller


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Played by Omri Katz of Hocus Pocus and… um, nothing else that I recognised, fame, Marshall is the new kid in a strange town. He thinks of himself as a scientist and “professional weirdness investigator” and is constantly trying to get proof to convince the rest of the world that something is amiss in Eerie.


Simon Holmes


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Marshall’s best friend. Simon is… adorable, there isn’t another word for it. He accompanies Mars on most of their missions. It’s implied pretty heavily in the show that he has a lousy home life – you never see his parents, but you hear them screeching at each other while Simon stands outside his house, and his dad is messing around. No, I didn’t just make that up.


The Tellers

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Marshall’s parents, Marilyn and Edgar, and older sister Syndi.


Edgar works for a product testing company called Things Incorporated – he often brings home experimental projects, such as petroleum-based banana flavouring (it’s ditched in the end as Things Incorporated couldn’t get rid of the diesel aftertaste) and a coffee cake with the consistency of English toffee.

Marilyn apparently owns a party-planning business, but we never see her working there. She’s basically just in the show to act as Marshall’s mom and be lovely to Simon. I kind of love Marilyn.

Syndi enjoys investigative journalism, talking about boys and watching a Days of Our Lives-esque TV show called “Todd and Donna”. She’s kind of embarrassed by what she sees as Marshall’s ‘weirdness’ and is generally sneery about his scientific investigations. However, she does get ridiculously and adorably excited when Mars gets a girlfriend, so I think she’s kind of lovely in an older-sister kind of way.


Mayor Chisel


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Mayor Chisel is, as you may have guessed, the Mayor. He insists that Eerie is “an all-American, normal town” and aims to keep it that way, whether it’s by chasing paranormal researchers out of town or sacrificing one of its citizens to a werewolf for low taxes and a good harvest. He’s utterly dishonest, completely unapologetic and kind of smug about it. I love him.


Mister Radford 1:


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He runs the World o’ Stuff, “the place that invented one-stop shopping”. In addition to being the towns’ general store, it has an ice-cream/milkshake/sandwich counter. Mister Radford wears a different disguise in every episode and usually insists on being called by a different name. Later on, you find out that he isn’t really Mister Radford, but in fact is “Fred Suggs, compulsive imposter.”


Mister Radford 2:


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Mister Radford 2 is John Austin. He was tied up in the basement of the World o’ Stuff while Fred Suggs was running his store. However, he elects not to press charges as Fred Suggs was an impressive salesman who moved a lot of merchandise. He pretty much goes around being John Austin and being worshipped by the audience for his greatness.


Dash X


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OH, DASH X. Was there a thirteen year old girl out there whose heart didn’t beat for ‘that sneaky kid with the hair’? Dash shows up in the last six episodes of the show. He doesn’t know where he came from, who his parents are, why his hair is grey or even his own name. He has a PLUS sign on one hand and a MINUS sign on the other, which is what eventually inspires him to choose Dash-X as his interim-name. He’s pretty much the antagonist of the last six episodes, stealing stuff, almost getting everyone in Eerie sent to Hell, feeding Marshall to a werewolf, generally making trouble while being snarky and beautiful.


THE SHOW:



Each episode involves Mars and Simon investigating some form of “weirdness” in Eerie – I’m not going to ruin the whole series for you, but a brief selection of weirdness can be found here:

  • A Stepford-esque housewife uses airtight rubber kitchenware to preserve herself and her teenage sons. It’s called Foreverware, and is guaranteed, “when used as directed, to keep anything fresh… forever!” Oh, and it has a theme song. No, really.

  • A kid gets fitted for a super-complicated set of braces that allow him to hear what dogs are thinking. Turns out what they’re thinking is, “take over the world.”

  • Marshall’s dad designs a new kind of ATM, which develops sentience and a personality of its own, and adopts Simon as its new best friend.

  • The Loyal Order of Corn, a local Masonic lodge, is using wacky hats to mind-control its members into building an intergalactic portal. They also have a Lodge song, “Hail to Thee, O Ears of Splendour”, and the leader of their Order is called the Kernel.

  • When Marshall sets his watch back for Daylight Savings Time, which Indiana doesn’t adhere to (this was actually true, up until 2006 – I’m kind of mad with Indiana about this, because I was planning on going there and trying this experiment myself) he gets sucked into a time-pocket where everyone else is an hour ahead of him.

  • In one of my personal favourites, Mars and his new friend, adorably thirteen-year-old-badass Devon Wilde, fight over the affections of Melanie, a shy young girl with a heart condition. When Devon gets hit by a milk truck (a recurring image throughout the series) he is killed and Melanie gets his heart. Not only does she start acting like him, but her new heart starts breaking whenever she and Mars get close. And yes, in a kids show.



THE FINALE



This is technically an episode summary, but this episode rocks SO HARD, it needs to have its own section.

In the final episode, Mars finds a script in his mailbox. Once he reads it, he is transported to an alternate reality where Eerie, Indiana is a TV show and everyone addresses him as Omri Katz, a washed-up teen star who is about to get killed off the show so that the new star, Dash X, can take over.

You guys, it is absolutely amazing and hilarious and beautiful, and it has Joe Dante. What more could you ask??
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