Strangers With Candy
Feather in the Storm
Season 1, Episode 8
Theresa – Staff Writer
Much like the caramelized potato Principal Blackman’s female companion can’t reach in the opening sequence, popularity and success is always evading poor Jerri Blank. Now paired with a new pet, Japanese chicken Suki, Jerri’s new plan is to join the debate team. Unfortunately, according to Mr. Noblet, “slim arguments come from slim hips”, and Jerri is just too fat.
After a strange pep talk from Mr. Jellineck, Jerri decides to become bulimic. Well, sort of a bulimic-anorexic pill-popper exercise freak. She gets down to 85 pounds by the time Jellineck comes over to speak to her family about her problem. Jerri’s stepmother tells him to leave and then punishes Jerri for her anorexia by sending her to bed without dinner.
But a gaunt and emaciated Jerri finally makes it to the debate tryouts. The argument she’s given to make is that incest is not wrong. … Well, if anyone can argue it, it’s probably her. Too bad she’s so hungry that she passes out mid-rebuttal. She doesn’t make the debate team, but she does learn a more important lesson: if you starve yourself, people will pay attention to you.
Running jokes are all over this episode. Mr. Noblet claims to have an inhuman metabolism, so it looks like Stephen Colbert got to spend the entirety of filming stuffing his face. Jerri is followed by an annoying song that chronicles her pathetic life and weight problem (the bridge goes a little something like “fat fat fat fat, fat fat fat!”). And of course, another exotic pet meets an unfortunate end, when Suki “voluntarily bakes herself” so that Jerri may eat.
This episode also introduces a character who almost surpasses the regulars as my favorite: Stew the Meat Man. Dripping with endless meat puns, Stew quickly carves himself out a spot in the Blank family. During family dinner, Stew demands that Jerri eat some brisket but she refuses, so Stew sends her to her room. This whole scene and their “You’re not my father!”-“You’re not my daughter!” exchange is one of my favorites. And David Pasquesi’s delivery of Stew’s “god-DAMMIT!” catchphrase – if I may demean it so – and righteous indignation over everything is perfect.
So give me your Two Cents about Stew, who does stick around for a while, and the rest of the episode in the comments. Next week is “To Be Young, Gifted, and Blank”, where Mr. Noblet finally nurtures one of Jerri’s hidden talents.