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On this "painfully special" episode of
Strangers With Candy

    Jerri hasn't completely abandoned her old ways so she becomes more and more disruptive to the Safe Trap love cult. At good old Flatpoint High, in order to enhance the students' individuality through conformity, Principal Blackman institutes a dress code "based on your own requests that I imagine you would have requested had I asked for your requests." The new uniforms are introduced at a fashion show narrated by Noblet and modeled by Jellineck: "Check your personality at the door. Geoffrey Jellineck is sporting the latest in BlackWear by Blackman. Good luck finding his legs, because those bold camouflage pants allow him to blend into the faceless mob. And that stunning maroon top says 'stay away, I belong to another'." The students are told to report to the nurse's office to pick up their free uniforms and the Nutty Good Bars that they'll have to sell to pay for their free uniforms. Orlando notifies Mr. Jellineck of Jerri's abduction and he alerts Principal Blackman. Onyx consults a handful of bones and sees that Jerri can be found at the mall. He loads Jellineck, Orlando, and Noblet into the Flatpoint High van and puts their Mission: Impossible in motion. Noblet foils Blackman's plans, however, when he tries to convince one of the culties to take him with them. Chuck seemed like he was a little too much in need of love and hugs, so he scared the cultie off. Back at Safe Trap House, Jerri reveals to Father that she has poisoned all of their grain and water in preparation for their suicide (which wasn't even planned). Father decides that he has to get Jerri away from the cult before she starts to infect the group. He tells her that she's ready to start her own branch on the other side of the world and that he is going to put her through an initiation process. His true plan is to just drop Jerri off in front of Flatpoint High after making an anonymous call to Principal Blackman. After Father casts Jerri out of the Safe Trap van she is jumped by the Flatpoint faculty, covered by burlap sacks, beaten, and dragged into the Flatpoint High van. Thus, the desperate attempt to deprogram Jerri has begun. While Blackman and Jellineck are trying to get Jerri to turn away from the love and comfort of Safe Trap House, Noblet is telling her to escape and return to the cult and to bring him with her. The staff doesn't seem to be making any progress so Jellineck brings in Sara and Derrick. Geoffrey believes that only someone who really loves and cares for Jerri can snap her out of it, but Sara disagrees. She thinks that she should be the one to do it. In the same manner that the cult members lured Jerri into their midst by telling her that she's beautiful, Sara brings Jerri back to Flatpoint reality by handing Jerri a mirror and proving to her that she's not beautiful. Jerri is put to the test when Rebecca enters the boiler room where Jerri is being held and tries to convince her to return to Safe Trap House. Jerri gets another glimpse at herself in the mirror, though, and tells Rebecca that she won't be sucked into a living hell where happy people eat well and love each other. She wants people who care enough about her not to care about her. Back in school the next day, Jerri has reverted from a cult clone back into a high school drone, right down to the new BlackWear school uniform. Through this deep experience Jerri has learned that "if someone tells you that you're beautiful and that they love you, chances are they're just trying to brainwash you into being happy. Don't let them."

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Episode Title: "Blank Stare", Part 2

Tony's Rating:

Original Airdate: 6/26/00

Production Number: 2-09

Directed by: Peter Lauer

Writers: Paul Dinello, Amy Sedaris
Additional Writer: Matt Lappin

Regular Cast: AS, DR, GH, LS, OP, PD, SC

Guest Cast:  Alan Tudyk (Father), Emma Bowers (Rebecca), Henry Valasco, Heather Magee, Rebecca Kasper, Jeremy Schwartz (Bill), Jenni Tooley (Butterfly), Leanne Littlestone, Deborah Karpel, Jason Schuler, John Miller-Monzon (Josephus), Victor Mastroianni (the "My Eyes" guy)

Flatpoint Lexicon:

BlackWear by Blackman® (blăk'·wār) n. exclusive line of free school uniforms, consisting of maroon shirts over maroon and gold camouflage pants; designed by Onyx Blackman and paid for by sales of Nutty Good bars

Nutty Good® (nŭt'·ē good) n. candy bar popular in Flatpoint and Quad Cities

Additional Episode Information

Paul Dinello and Amy Sedaris were also filmed singing and dancing to The King of Glory Comes for the closing credits dance sequence. Their clips were to be intercut with Stephen Colbert's, but they enjoyed Stephen's song and dance routine so much that they decided to just use his solo performance.
· The license plate on the Flatpoint High van says JLG-926SS.
· The number on Geoffrey's BlackWear by Blackman school uniform is 0001.
· The brisk walk around the Flatpoint Mall is 61.8 miles.
· Victor Mastroianni was an Associate Producer on Stephen Colbert's other Comedy Central gig, "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart".

Movie Parallels:
• Many details of the cult episodes were "borrowed" from the 1981 film Ticket To Heaven, which starred Nick Mancuso as a young man who is seduced by a religious cult with heavenly robots who travel around in a van, eat slop, sing repetitive songs, are perpetually happy, and use starvation, exhaustion, and brainwashing to mold recruits into money hustling disciples of a messiah-like leader, who is referred to as "Father."  One perky young acolyte named Ruthie (Kim Cattrall) tries to make the group sound benign by describing it as a cooperative. David is transformed into a gaunt, mindless shadow of his former self, but is ultimately saved when friends and family launch a plan to kidnap and de-program him. See more details and comparisons here.   Thanks to Ryan Burgos for bringing this movie to my attention.
• Dialogue and plot points from these cult episodes were also lifed from a 1982 film called Split Image (featuring Deborah Rush), which was about a young man who was drawn into a cult by a girl named Rebecca (Karen Allen), who was also known as Amy. His parents (Elizabeth Ashley, Brian Dennehy) then hired someone (James Woods) to kidnap him away from the cult's charismatic leader (Peter Fonda) and de-program him. Thanks to Ernie Fuhr for this info.

The Best Things In This Episode:
· Jellineck's fashion show strut.
· Sara's deprogramming strategy.
· Noblet's desire to be loved by the cult.
· Stephen Colbert's closing credits sequence.

Closing Credits Dance Sequence:  Chuck Noblet, dressed in Safe Trap yellow, dances and sings joyously: The King of Glory Comes

"The King of glory comes, the nation rejoices!
Open the gates before him, lift up your voices!

Who is the king of glory; how shall we call him?
He is Emmanuel, the promised of ages. (Refrain)

In all of Galilee, in city or village,
He goes among his people, curing their illness. (Refrain)

Sing then of David's Son, our Saviour and brother;
In all of Galilee was never another. (Refrain)

He gave his life for us, the pledge of salvation,
He took upon himself the sins of the nation. (Refrain)"

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