On this "painfully special" episode of
Strangers With Candy:
Jerri is given a baby to care for as part of an assignment in Coach Wolf's Health Education class. Jerri has no idea how to care for a baby, so Principal Blackman suggests that she visits the library. The filmstrip that she watches on single motherhood is no help, though.
Later at home, after leaving the baby on top of a dresser unattended, he falls off into a laundry basket. This inspires Jerri to name him "Dizzy". Meanwhile, the Blanks are hosting a Cambodian war refugee/criminal, Kim Luc, in their basement.
Jerri learns quickly that the baby is cutting into her social life. She can't even go with Orlando to El Carne Loco or to get cinder blocks from "that Jew" and throw them off the overpass. The biggest disappointment is missing an opportunity to visit Tweetzie Railroad to throw rocks at the Indian.
While pushing Dizzy on a swing in the park she decides to just abandon him there. But later that night Noblet and Jellineck just so happen to be in the park at 3:00am and they find the baby. The next day they report Jerri to Principal Blackman. Onyx decides to give the baby back to Jerri and to team her up with Tammi Littlenut. Cherri objects because Jerri is supposed to learn the valuable lesson on her own, but Onyx believes that the best way for Jerri to learn the lesson on her own is with someone else.
Jerri quickly adopts the role of the abusive husband with Tammi filling the role of the enabling wife: "Go a little lighter on the lipstick. It looks a little trampy," "Where were you? I'll repeat the question. What took you so long?", "Is that how they say 'Hi' in Whoreville?", "I need you to tell me you understand."
Jerri decides that she and Tammi need a little quiet time alone without the baby. She secures a $37 room at the Horizon Motel in hopes of being able to seduce Tammi there. When Tammi asks where Dizzy is, Jerri tells her that Kim Luc is going to sell the baby on the black market to a nice couple.
Tammi, having suspected that Jerri was up to something, tipped off Principal Blackman and asked him to meet her at the Motel. When Jerri sees that Blackman has arrived she runs outside to tell him that Tammi planned to sell Dizzy, "I think she's high." When Tammi comes out of the Motel room she spouts an identical story about Jerri. Hearing the story a second time, Onyx doesn't believe Tammi. He tells Noblet and Jellineck (who, as luck would have it, also happened to be at the same Motel) to cart Tammi and Kim Luc away. The two teachers drag them off to their own Motel room.
After having played the role of the daddy, Jerri states that it's much easier to be a single mother when you're neither single nor the mother. Coach Wolf points out, "That's the lesson, Jerri. Nobody's ever learned it by day three. You must be exceptionally unfit for motherhood." Jerri responds, "I like to think so." But that wasn't the only thing Jerri has learned through this experience. She's also discovered that copperheaded Tammi Littlenut's "carpet matches the drapes."
Episode Title: "A Burden's Burden"|
Original Airdate: 4/14/99
Production Number: 1-02
Directed by: Peter Lauer
Writers: Paul Dinello, Amy Sedaris
Regular Cast: AS, DR, GH, LS, MT, OP, PD, RG, SC, ST
Featuring: Maura & McKenna Leaden (Dizzy)
With: Mark C. Sarion, April Williams, Stacey Winder
Extra, Extra: Liz Fagan can be seen leaving Coach Wolf's class in front of Jerri and Dizzy. Onyx then drags Tim Fagan away. Later, in art class, Jellineck calls Liz's character Ann. Matt Fagan also appears in Jellineck's class as Spiro.
carpet (kär'·pĕt) n. euphemism for pubic hair
drapes (drāps) n. euphemism for the hair on one's head
fontanel or fontanelle (fŏn·tä·nĕl') n. any of the soft, boneless areas in the skull of a baby, which are later closed up by the formation of bone
Winner of two Season One
Golden Donkey Awards for
"Best Episode" and "Best Scene"
|Additional Episode Information|
· Guy Blank reads the Flatpoint Gazette.
· Stephen Colbert provides the vocal narration for the film strip that Jerri watches in the library.
· The music playing in the car that Orlando and his friends are in, when they pull up to the playground to invite Jerri to El Carne Loco, is the same as the closing credits music from "Jerri Is Only Skin Deep".
· The name Kim Luc came from "M*A*S*H".
· Jerri's "May a nest of Puerto Ricans take your mother and your sister..." rant was patterned after an outburst that serial killer Aileen Wuornos had in a courtroom. Wuornos was portrayed by Jean Smart in a made-for-TV movie and by Charlize Theron in the film Monster, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress.
· There is an actual Tweetsie Railroad in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, off the Blue Ridge Parkway. This attraction opened in 1957 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. In "Trail of Tears" there was a sign that showed the name spelled as Tweetzie, with a "z".
· In this episode Jerri proclaims "I've had plenty of babies, just none that I ever carried to full term", but in "Bogie Nights" we find out that this isn't the truth. This is not necessarily an inconsistency with her character's back-story, though. Nor can we say that Jerri is telling a boldfaced lie. It would be in typical Jerri Blank form for her to completely forget about her past maternal situation.
· Deborah Rush improvised the line about Jerri having a hole in the crotch of her pants, because she really did.
· The episode opened in a men's room, in which Chuck Noblet and Geoffrey Jellineck bond over a discussion about their sons (Seamus & Toby, respectively) and their dead wives. In "Hit and Run" Noblet says that the encounter took place nine months before in a truck stop restroom. Since "Hit and Run" takes place in the winter, this truck stop encounter probably should have taken place between March and May. We also see in "Hit and Run" and "To Love, Honor, and Pretend" that Claire Noblet is very much alive. When Jerri lived with Noblet in "To Be Young, Gifted, and Blank" there was no trace of Claire or Seamus. Also, when we see Geoffrey's apartment in "Yes, You Can't" there's no sign of his son Toby.
· The bathroom encounter itself was inspired by a routine that Paul and Stephen had developed a few years earlier, circa 1995. One variation on the encounter that they'd done in the past had the two men colliding in a car accident and then having sex in one of their cars while their children sat in the back seat of the other. A version of this scenario was going to be used in the Strangers With Candy movie, with Noblet's wife and son driving by and waving at Chuck when they see him on the side of the road, but the scene had to be cut due to time constraints.
· Before the scene in which Blackman and Wolf confront Jerri about leaving Dizzy in the park, there was supposed to be a scene in which Noblet and Jellineck go into a bathroom together and then each comes out wearing the other's shirt. This bit was later used in "There Once Was a Blank From Nantucket".
· Matt Fagan's character was originally supposed to be called Tim, but Paul Dinello substituted Spiro, because he thought it was funnier, and the name stuck.
· At the beginning of the infamous cafeteria scene Jerri tells Tammi that she can't watch Dizzy because she and someone named Simeon are going to play Liar's Poker. Orlando's character was originally supposed to be named Simeon, but perhaps the writers decided that because of Jerri's frequent chimp-related insults the Simeon/simian joke would be too heavy handed.
· Jerri's room at the Horizon Motel, for her rendezvous with Tammi, is #105. Noblet and Jellineck are in #109.
· For the first few episodes the sign in front of the school was used to convey innocuous school-related information, before the writers decided to use it for broader jokes.
On The 'Flatpoint High School' Sign: "HOME OF THE CONCRETE DONKEYS"
The Best Things In This Episode:
· Noblet and Jellineck's encounter in the Men's Room.
· When Jerri tore the soda can in half for the baby to play with and he fell off the dresser into the laundry basket, earning him the name "Dizzy".
· The Jerri/Tammi confrontation scene in the cafeteria; probably the BEST Strangers scene ever.
· Jerri blames her stench on the baby. "Oh, my dear Lord."
Closing Credits Dance Sequence: The camera pans down the length of the Motel while members of the cast can be seen dancing in each room.
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