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On this "painfully special" episode of
Strangers With Candy
:

    The end of the school year has arrived and Jerri is still trying to slip herself into a "cool" clique, but she's as much of an outcast as ever. After being rebuffed in the cafeteria at Troy's table and then at Ginger's, she's disappointed when she ends up having to sit with her real friends, Orlando, Tammi, and Sylvia. When Troy shoots fireworks off and one of them takes out Orlando's eye, Jerri can't suppress a laugh at her friend's misfortune. After lunch in Noblet's class, Chuck and Geoffrey are trying to give a eschatology presentation (an apocalypse - armageddon theme, not to be confused with "scatology", which is the study of feces), but the students aren't very interested. The teachers can't even command any attention from the class by discussing their "hot, ass-thumping sex". Fran, the most popular girl in school, comes into class late (or is it that the rest of the world is early?). Fellow cool girl Ginger compliments Fran's coolness, as well as her own, but Fran points out that Ginger is merely a satellite of coolness that happens to be caught in her orbit. Fran states plainly that she could make "anyone" popular. Ginger challenges Fran by suggesting that she bestow popularity upon Jerri Blank. Undaunted, but slightly disgusted, Fran accepts the challenge and tells Ginger that when she's finished with Jerri even the chronically-aloof studmuffin Brent Brooks will want to ask her out. Fran approaches Jerri and offers to take the misfit under her wing, but Jerri has to agree to do whatever Fran says. When Jerri brings Fran home, Sara is thrilled to have a popular girl in her home and she tries to convince Fran to date Derrick, but he just stammers like a moron. Fran is mortified to even step foot in Jerri's bedroom, which she says looks like the crawl space of a serial killer. Fran doesn't actually start molding and shaping Jerri just yet. She seems to just be appraising and estimating the extent of the work ahead of her. Fran's first directives are for Jerri to cut her old friends loose, to go on a diet, and also to discard everything in her bedroom. The next day at school, when Jerri sees Tammi and Sylvia strategizing for their next Dungeons & Dragons session she tells them that she can't be their friend any more. She also asks if they can pass the message along to Orlando, who was still recovering from having his eye popped back into his skull. The two are devastated and cling to each other for comfort. Later, Fran entices Jerri further by introducing her to Brent, but he literally doesn't even notice her. He's just busy watching Troy shoot Orlando in the face with tennis balls. Fran and Ginger go to Jerri's house after school for the huge undertaking of actually giving Jerri a makeover. The two work tirelessly as if they're performing major surgery, but the face keeps rejecting any attempted applications of beauty. Jerri's face is like a demon fighting off two highly-skilled exorcists. Meanwhile, Principal Blackman is getting conflicting signals from Hillary and Lee, two members of the school board. Although they assure him that he has nothing to worry about, he keeps getting not-so-subtle hints that Flatpoint High is in danger of being turned into a strip mall. I guess the clincher comes after Onyx sees Iris eating a sticky bun that she says she just purchased at the new Sticky Bunnery, which has replaced Coach Wolf's class. To add insult to injury, the store is being staffed by Cherri herself and Cassie Pines, former Student Counselor. Cherri explains to her former employer that the pay is better and the Bunnery has better child care benefits. Perhaps Wolfie really does have a sticky bun in the oven! In a rage, Onyx runs past the new Dry Cleanerie and sequesters himself in his office, refusing to open the door until Noblet and Jellineck offer their assistance. Earlier, they had been enjoying a frolic in a disabled student's wheelchair when they stumbled upon a construction crew in Geoffrey's classroom. They now decided to notify their mighty leader of this invasion. Although Blackman is not pleased to see that Chuck is enjoying a corn dog from the new Corn Doggery down the hall, he lets his loyal teachers into his candlelit inner sanctum to devise a plan of action. Jerri has showed up at school and she is turning heads as much as ever, but now they're turning towards her, not away from her. She has even caught the eye of the usually-detached Brent. Fran basks in her success until Tammi, Orlando, and Sylvia approach in their D&D costumes. Jerri is torn between her old, true friends and her new, popular friends. Jerri wants to know why they all can't just get along, but Fran insists that Jerri choose between them. Jerri chooses her real friends, which makes Fran see the error of her ways. She realizes that she hasn't been very nice to people, and that isn't cool. Fran decides to drop out of school and live on the streets as a whore for the next 32 years so she can discover what makes Jerri Blank tick. For once, Jerri has made the right choice for the right reasons and she owes it all to Flatpoint High. Just as she exclaims, "Flatpoint forever!", a shirtless Principal Blackman enters, with a yellow "F" painted on his chest, and announces that the school is being turned into a strip mall. Rather than let that happen, he tells the staff and students that they should initiate a "scorched earth" policy and destroy the place. Chaos ensues, culminating in Hillary and Lee being locked in a classroom and Blackman using a Molotov cocktail to engulf the building in flames. Noblet and Jellineck ruminate that their actions will certainly send a message to the school board and they'll keep shouting that message, even from their jail cells. The thought of jail hadn't crossed Onyx's mind, but they did burn down the school and kill some people, after all. Jerri saves the day by suggesting that her former teachers and principal follow her to the streets, where they'll fight for scraps of food like dogs and sell their bodies for smack. Onyx speaks for them all when he says, "Lead on, you stupid junkie whore." As the sound of sirens approaches the four run off into the sunset to start a new life.


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Episode Title: "The Last Temptation of Blank"

Tony's Rating:

Original Airdate: 10/2/00

Production Number: 3-10

Directed by: Juan Campanella

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

Regular Cast: AS, DD, DR, GH, LS, MT, OP, PD, SC, ST

Guest Cast:  Winona Ryder (Fran), Cheri Oteri (Hillary), Mark McKinney (Lee), Janeane Garofalo (Cassie Pines), Paul Rudd (Brent Brooks), Ginger Williams (Ginger), Kelly Hutchinson (Sylvia), Troy Metcalf (Troy), Rich Kasper (Construction Worker), Ming Lee (Dry Cleanerie employee)

Extra, Extra:
Liz Fagan and Victor Mastroianni are in Noblet's class.
• Alfredo de Quesada is the guy who lights the fuse when Troy shoots Orlando in the eye with the tennis ball.
• Various crew members, like prop master Dylan Sheridan and hair stylist Steven "Perfidia" Kirkham, are in the background during the closing credits dance sequence.


Flatpoint Lexicon:

eschatology (ĕs'kä·tŏl'·ō·jē) n. 1 the branch of theology, or doctrines, dealing with death, resurrection, judgment, immortality, etc.  2 the study of the end of things  (not to be confused with scatology, which is obsession with the obscene, esp. excrement; the study of feces or fossil excrement)

homunculus (hō·mŭn'·kyū·lŭs) n. a little man; dwarf; manikin

 


Winner of the Season Three Golden
Donkey Award for "Best Celebrity
Guest Appearance, Actress"
[ Winona Ryder ]

Additional Episode Information

Trivia:
·
Roberto Gari (Guy Blank) was supposed to be featured in the closing credits dance sequence, but he couldn't make it to the set because of illness.
· Blackman's line, "I love the smell of flaming sticky buns", is a nod to Robert Duvall's classic, "I love the smell of napalm in the morning" from Apocalypse Now.
· Orlando's eye injury was written into the episode because Orlando Pabotoy wasn't available until near the end of the week-long shoot.
· The scene where Sara asks Jerri if she wiped her ass on the bathroom towels was inspired by an actual incident from the Sedaris household many years ago. Amy's brother David chronicles this family mystery in his hilarious book Naked. I've always suspected that the culprit was their Greek grandmother, known to the family as Ya Ya.
· When Fran is about to leave Jerri's bedroom you can see a Wacky Packages sticker on her door. The sticker, Liptorn (a parody of Lipton soup), was from the first Wacky Pack series, which was released in 1973.
· Winona Ryder (née Winona Laura Horowitz) and Beck Hansen ( Bek David Campbell) were an item at the time that this episode was filmed. Beck's song "Sexx Laws" was used in the closing credits dance sequence (see below) and a Muzak version of this song played in the background during the Sticky Bunnery scene. There was also a photo of Beck hanging on the Sticky Bunnery door.
· According to Paul Dinello and Stephen Colbert, before they cast Paul Rudd as Brent Brooks, Winona Ryder tried to call Bono (lead singer of U2) to see if he could play the part, but he was on a flight to Ireland at the time.
· Rich Kasper (Construction Worker) is a friend of Paul Dinello. They were both members, along with Greg Hollimon, of a comedy troupe called The Yardstick Boys back in the mid-1980s. In "Is My Daddy Crazy?", Heather Matarazzo's character Renee mentions a guy she dated named "Rich Kasper".
· A Safe Trap cult member can be seen in the hallway when the "new" Jerri Blank makes her grand entrance. This is because the new strip mall has a Safe Trap Arcade. And in addition to the Sticky Bunnery, Dry Cleanerie (that's how it's spelled), and Corn Doggery (or is this one a Doggerie?), there's also a Daisy's Misstep, Pizzamania (from "The Virgin Jerri", "Is My Daddy Crazy?", "Blank Relay"), Geek Attack, Sintimates, and Guido's Jewelry.
· The final "Little House on the Prairie" TV movie had a similar ending. When the people of Walnut Grove learned that their town was bought by a railroad tycoon they decided to destroy it themselves with explosives. Surprisingly, the similarities between "SWC" and "Little House" don't end there. Who would've thought that "SWC" and "LHOTP" could have ANYTHING in common, except for the fact that Nellie Oleson would've fit in well with some of the bitchy alpha girls at Flatpoint, but there's another "Little House" parallel in "Behind Blank Eyes."

On The 'Flatpoint High School' Sign:
·
"GRAND OPENING EVENT -- FLATPOINT STRIP MALL -- COME ON IN!"
· "PE E -- O N -- ME!" (letters remaining after the explosion)

The Best Things In This Episode:
· The obvious digs at Comedy Central. School boardmembers Hillary and Lee (obviously CC execs) reassure Blackman that he has nothing to worry about, while they simultaneously make plans to replace the school with a Strip Mall. Onyx suggests that all the school needs is a little promotion, but Lee points out that promotion costs money.
· The stellar guest cast. It's too bad that other celeb fans of SWC never got the chance to appear: Tina Turner, Cher, Al Pacino, Tori Amos, The B-52's, Beck, and many more...
· The scene where we first see Fran standing in front of Noblet's projector screen and she's got the devil horns (from Jellineck's apocalyptic picture) behind her head.
· Sara's attempt to kiss up to the ultra-popular Fran.

Closing Credits Dance Sequence:  Some ghostly dancing in the burned out hallway for the cast and crew to the tune of Beck's "Sexx Laws". One of the crewmembers is holding a sign that says "6:38 a.m.", which was the time that they actually got around to shooting the sequence on Saturday morning, 9/16/00. Earlier, the previous afternoon, before filming started, Stephen Colbert had asked me if I wanted to be in the dance sequence. I was thrilled by the offer and planned on it, but I couldn't stay on the set any later than 4:00am. As it turns out, I probably wouldn't have been visible in the back anyway. Those hardworking crewmembers deserved their on-camera moment, that's for sure. It's a shame that they couldn't have been featured more prominently.

How Could They Get Out Of This?
If the show were to be resurrected, I suggest that Onyx could claim to the authorities that Hillary and Lee started the fire as part of an insurance fraud scheme they had concocted and that they had inadvertantly been trapped in the building and killed. The people of Flatpoint wouldn't really care much anyway. The town could then build a new school and, with any luck, Jerri might even find out where Sara and Derrick moved to.
(Send me your ideas: tony@jerriblank.com)

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