On this "painfully special" episode of
Strangers With Candy:
Jerri tells Orlando that she recently dumped Spence Nibbins because he doesn't snap her bean and she's looking for someone strong and courageous. Almost immediately after this exchange, while peeing in the Flatpoint High swimming pool, Jerri befriends Alan Tiresias, the new strong and courageous blind student. Alan has ambitions of joining the football team, but meets much resistance from Coach Joe Liss, Derrick (#12), Trake, P.John, and even Principal Blackman. Roger Stifdik, the President of the Board of Ed, however, fears a potential discrimination lawsuit so he orders Blackman to allow Alan to play. Meanwhile, Sara doesn't want Alan in her home because she's afraid that he'll run aground and shatter some of her valuables. Jerri has a lot of questions for Alan about what it's like to be blind: "What's your favorite color?", "Do you close your eyes when you sleep?" Alan tires of hearing these same old questions and rushes out of Jerri's bedroom (after he found his way out of the closet, that is.) Jerri tries to discover what it's like to live without sight so she blindfolds herself, which endears her to Alan even more. Jerri has a hard time resisting temptation to peek, though, especially when Jellineck falls in the corridor and impales himself on a pair of scissors that he was carrying in his mouth. Oh, that was the true curse of blindness. She eventually gives up her noble gesture to watch her favorite monkey show on television. Alan (#20) is eventually allowed to play on the team for the Flatpoint Donkeys' big game against the Carlot Cougars, but his victory is short lived. As soon as he's passed the ball he finds himself on the bottom of a pile of Cougars. Alan never regains consciousness and ends up as the starring attraction in a traveling trauma center, but at least Jerri learns a valuable lesson: "Never encourage the handicapped. It'll only get them hurt."
Winner of the Season Two Golden Donkey Award
for "Outstanding Contribution by a
Not-Regularly-Featured Supporting Player"
Episode Title: "Behind Blank Eyes"
Original Airdate: 1/24/00
Production Number: 2-02
Directed by: Juan Campanella
Writers: Paul Dinello, Amy Sedaris
Additional Writer: Matt Lappin
Regular Cast: AS, DR, GH, LS, OP, PD & SC (brief, no dialogue)
Featuring: Matthew Collins Newton (Alan), Joe Liss (Coach Joe Liss)
With: Noble Shropshire (Roger Stifdik), Steve Carell (P.J. Carouseli, scenes cut), Matt Blumm (P.John), Chuck Caruso (Trake)
Also Appearing: Kevin Lodini, Troy Metcalf (Troy), Eileen Duffy, Natasha Price
Extra, Extra: Julie Ana Klausner, a Casting Assistant on the show, appears as one of the Donkettes. She can be seen right behind Jerri in the scene where Jerri is chastising everyone for their treatment of Alan. Julie Ana was later one of the organizers of the "Strangers With Candy" seminar and marathon that were held at the Museum of Television & Radio in the Spring of 2001.
|Additional Episode Information|
· The September 25, 1978 episode of "Little House on the Prairie," entitled "The Winoka Warriors," involved a new blind student, Tom Carlin (Brad Wilkin), and a football game. But in that story the members of the school's football team encouraged Tom to join them, and in the end he was instrumental in the Winoka Warriors' victory. For another "Little House on the Prairie" parallel, see "The Last Temptation of Blank."
· The number on the Blanks' house is 12.
· The number on Alan's house is 140.
· Jerri's locker is #15.
· "The Donkey Trouser", at the Comedy Central website, was the source for the last name of Roger Stifdik, President of the Board of Education.
· The football field scenes were filmed at Iona Preperatory School (255 Wilmot Road, New Rochelle, NY). Inside the school, Stephen Colbert saw a photograph of the class of 1938 and was surprised to see his father in the picture.
· This episode's theme was inspired by the 1976 TV movie, "Blind Sunday", which starred Leigh McCloskey.
· The football game scenes were inspired by the film, "The Longest Yard".
· Jerri's hairstyle in the early scenes of this episode was apparently inspired by Hermey (sometimes called Hermie or Herbie), the elf who wanted to be a dentist, in the 1964 Rankin/Bass television classic, "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer".
· Steve Carell, one of Stephen Colbert's compatriots from "The Daily Show", was listed in the credits for this episode, but his scenes were cut. Steve's character, P.J. Carouseli, was a lawyer from a firm that handles disability discrimination cases. The comedic twist is that the firm is staffed by disabled lawyers and Carouseli's disability is a Strangers favorite: retardation. In the climactic football scene, Carouseli was to be shown eating ice cream (not cake) in a very messy way and he was going to say "Is he broke?" after Alan was crushed by the opposing team.
Dialogue Altered or Deleted: (underlined)
(INTERIOR CAFETERIA: Jerri and Alan sit at a table. Jerri is quizzing Alan on the playbook.)
JERRI: "Okay, T-bone left, cupcake formation, quarterback option 22?"
ALAN: "Halfbacks both line up on the left. The right end drops back for an end around.
The QB hands off to the end. Right?"
JERRI: "I have no idea what I read or what you just said."
ALAN: "That's okay, I got that playbook down."
(Jerri sets the playbook down.)
JERRI: "Say Alan, what's it like being blind..."
[The rest of the scene plays out the same as the version that aired.]
DERRICK: (singing Nat. Anthem) "Jose can you see..." (then talking) "Hey Alan, tough break
about your tryout, but, uh, I guess we all know it's for the best right?"
TRAKE: "Yeah, what a freak show it would've been, no offense."
ALAN: "I'm still planning to play football for Flatpoint High."
TRAKE: "Joke's over, mole man."
DERRICK: "Good one Trake!"
ALAN: "It's no joke, I'm going to play football for Flatpoint High."
JERRI: "What are you Ass Blasters so afraid of? Maybe Alan will take your starting job"
DERRICK: "Yeah right, I'm afraid of getting beat out by a sidewalk tapper!"
JERRI: "You know what's funny, he's blind, but you're the ones who spend all your time
(INTERIOR HIGHSCHOOL CAFETERIA: Alan sits alone at a table when Derrick and Trake walk up to him.)
DERRICK: "Hey Alan, how's it going?"
ALAN: "Good thanks."
DERRICK: "Still planning to play football?"
(Derrick looks around and then quickly pulls a sheet of paper from his pocket. It has a crudely drawn picture of Alan. He takes a pair of scissors and methodically cuts the head off.)
DERRICK: "Got it?"
(The boys run off. Alan is confused.)
On The 'Flatpoint High School' Sign:"E I O V U W
· "BIG GAME FRIDAY -- VISUALIZE VICTORY!"
· (and later...)
E V S R M
O U T X Y
Q W F G E
E F M W Q"
The Best Things In This Episode:
· Matt Newton's performance as Alan.
· Jerri makes a friend while peeing in the pool.
· Alan thinks that Jerri is blindfolded, but she can't resist watching the chimp's antics on TV.
· Jellineck's silent scissors slapstick.
· Principal Blackman's pre-game team prayer.
Closing Credits Dance Sequence: Listen for the great song that plays as Alan leads the cast in a hallway dance: "Feeling Good", performed by Alessandra.
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