Mister T “Mystery of the Mind Thieves” (part 1 of 5)
|Summary: In yet another animated installment of The World According to Mr. T, the token Asian girl on Mr. T’s team of young gymnasts finds her dad has become belligerent, combative, and perpetually pissed off. Though typically these are the symptoms associated with a condition known as “being married”, it turns out Token Asian Dad is really acting this way because bad guys have used mind control devices [!] on him. Previous episodes were mostly preposterous, but Mr. T takes his first steps into outright lunacy (the cartoon character, that is; the real Mr. T lost his marbles a long time ago) when bad guys use futuristic devices to steal thoughts, commandeer a high-tech rocket to make their getaway, and sic a weightlifting, headless robot on Mr. T. Let the insanity commence!|
As discussed in my review of the pilot episode “Mystery of the Golden Medallion[s]”, each episode of Mister T starts out with clips of the forthcoming episode. These are accompanied by a voiceover from Mr. T himself, asking us to catch the “action” and the “mystery”, and promising us that his show is “the best show”. And Mr. T would never lie to us. For “Mystery of the Mind Thieves”, the third aired episode of the series, we get the following teasers:
Kim, the Token Asian Girl, is near a swimming pool somewhere, and she flips and leaps over a cart of folding chairs being hurled her way.
A security guard is standing out on an airport runway, and he walks behind an airplane’s tire. Okay, that was enlightening…
Kim talks her dad in front of a large bay window overlooking the city.
Mr. T drives. And talks. At the same time!
An old guy in a wheelchair gets wheeled away by security guards, and also getting wheeled away here is that headless robot I warned you about.
Kim’s dad pokes his head out of something that looks like a rocket, and throws out his briefcase.
A brief shot of Kim’s dad, where a guy with a dark face mask grabs his arm.
Mr. T talks to Kim on the bus.
Two completely random guys run.
Okay, I have to say, I’m very disappointed with the teaser images this time around. In the first episode, we saw Mr. T punching a shark, for crying out loud. There are just way too many “talking” clips here for what’s supposed to be an action show. Also, the two totally random guys running? That’s really not doing much, as far as enticing me to watch this.
Anyway, we get the same credits sequence as the first episode. If you haven’t read my review of the first episode, hop on over there now to find out all about these credits. Actually, even if you have read that review, you should go there and read all about these credits all over again. Because no matter how many times you watch them or read a description of them, these credits truly are a thing of wonder.
After the crocodile clip is shown once again, and sick children the world over are healed just by watching it, it’s once again live-action intro time with Mr. T! As I explained last time, Mr. T himself does bookends for each episode, where he comes out and tells us what lesson we just learned. Which totally makes watching the episode worthwhile. I mean, without these little segments, people might mistake this episode for twenty-two minutes of crappy, soulless animation that only helps to fill the time between ads for breakfast cereal and action figures. So here comes Mr. T to prove you all wrong, you cynical bastards!
This time, Mr. T is leaning on a chain-link fence at some hellhole of a community college’s student union. He turns to the camera and growls, “Heyyyy! This is Mr. T talkin’! That’s capital T that rhymes with me!” How is it possible that one man, just one mortal man, can casually toss off so many awesome sound bytes? He says, “I wanna tell you about somethin’ that happened to us in Seattle!” And I ain’t talkin’ ’bout orderin’ no lattes, fool!
“You know, sometimes we get so wrapped up in how a problem bothers us, we don’t see what the problem really is! You know, my little friend Kim found that out the hard way!” And as he says this, I start to wonder if Mr. T realizes that Kim is not a real, actual person, but just a drawing. Hard to say, really.
Anyway, his imaginary friend Kim found out today’s lesson “when we tangle with this mean dude who was messing with people minds [sic] and stealin’ they thoughts [sic]! Which is why we call this case the Mystery of the Miiiiind Thieves!” Messing with people minds? Stealin’ they thoughts? That sounds like mind thievery to me! Can’t argue with you there, Mr. T!
The cartoon begins with a shot of a random hotel. An older Asian man (we know he’s older by the gray Nick Fury/Reed Richards sideburns) is standing out front and looking at his watch (supposedly, anyway). Two men in suits approach, asking him if he’s “Mr. Nakamura” and saying they need to speak to him in private. Obviously, Mr. Nakamura is in for a world of trouble, because the two guys are drawn using the same “crook” template as seen in all previous episodes. They may not be wearing their standard-issue olive gray jackets and black turtlenecks, but I’ve got them all figured out.
Mr. Nakamura says he doesn’t have time, because he’s about to go see his daughter “perform at the Sports Arena tonight!” As a taxi pulls up, he insists he “wouldn’t miss it for the world!” And, of course, his accent is stereotypically Japanese, this far away from swapping his “L” sounds for “R” sounds.
The strangers follow him, and one guy says they must insist. A black limo pulls up and they tell Nakamura to get in. And on this line, we get a long, weird pan across the limo just so we can see its headlights come on [?]. Mr. Nakamura shoves the guy away and yells, “Awhooooa!!” He runs and the goons give chase, and they pull out strange cylindrical objects from their jackets that look like flashlights. Or perhaps they’re canisters of roll-on deodorant. With these crappy drawings, it’s hard to tell.
Cut to the “Sports Arena”, which has obviously been drawn to resemble the Kingdome, but no one ever calls it the Kingdome. (For fear of litigation, one assumes.) Inside, it’s a (what else?) gymnastics competition, and Mr. T’s “little friend” Kim is on the balance beam.
An announcer whispers that we’re currently watching “Kim Nakamura”, in case we couldn’t make the connection that Mr. Nakamura is Kim’s father. Of course, “Nakamura” is a Japanese name, while “Kim” is a Korean name, but let’s not split hairs, shall we? This is me, not splitting hairs, and I assume you’re not, either. But the other thing that’s odd here is how Daddy Nakamura said he was going to see his daughter “perform” at the Sports Arena. Wouldn’t “compete” have been a better choice of words? I mean, it’s not a rock concert.
Oh, and the announcer also says Kim is a member “of the ACGT, sports fans!” As we learned in the pilot episode, that’s the American Championship Gymnastics Team. But this announcer just made me realize something: if you take the name of Mr. T’s team and scramble it, you can sequence your own DNA!
Kim shows what a focused competitor she is by totally stopping in the middle of her routine to look up in the stands, where she spots an empty seat in one of the boxes. Robin, the eternally catty redhead is watching from nearby. She nags to Mr. T that Kim is “off her form!” Mr. T says, “Yeah! And I’m off my rocker!” Okay, he doesn’t really say that, but you know it’s true. No, what he really says is, “Sure is, Robin! She’s destracted [sic]! I think she was espectin’ [sic] to see someone in the bleachers! And now she’s upset because they didn’t show!” I wonder if any of the animators realized a “box seat” and “bleachers” aren’t quite the same thing.
Anyway, Kim attempts a backwards flip, but totally falls off the beam. Kim and Mr. T rush over to see if she’s alright, and in a weird bit, T puts an arm around Kim’s back and his other arm under her legs [?]. That’s a little too intimate for the floor of the Kingdome, I think. Kim says she’s alright, except her “pride’s gonna be in intensive care for a while!” Mr. T reprimands her for not concentrating, and Kim acknowledges she probably looked like “a total space cadet.” Well, yeah, that’s one way of putting it. “Forget it!” T yells, as they head for the tunnel leading off the arena floor. “Just be glad you’re okay!”
Kim reveals that her father—Mr. Nakamura, in case you haven’t had your Cocoa Puffs yet—was supposed to be there tonight, because he’s in town on business with his company “Pantronics”. Hmm. They must make high-tech cookware. In a nice goof, Kim and T head through the tunnel as they talk, and then all of a sudden they’re back out on the arena floor, heading towards the tunnel again. Kim’s bitter about her dad’s absence, but T says, “He could have had a good excuse!” Mr. T: Standing up for negligent fathers everywhere.
Speaking of Daddy Nakamura, he’s still on the run from the Roll-On Goons. He heads down a standard Mr. T Alleyway and dives behind some standard Mr. T Garbage Cans, and the goons run right past him. He runs in the opposite direction (and right here, watch for another Great Moment in Animation where the character totally disappears for three or four frames) and heads for a limo. Uh, did he already forget about the very sinister limo he encountered no more than two minutes ago?
I’m not sure if he was running up to this limo in the hopes of hitching a ride, or asking them for help, but boy, did he pick the wrong limo to run to. It seems the “robber” icon from Neighborhood Watch signs is sitting in back, complete with fedora, trenchcoat, and an ever-present shadow over his face that only reveals his eyes (for the live-action version of this, see Snuff).
Neighborhood Watch Guy rolls down his window. “Thomas Nakamura, I presume?” Without saying anything, Nakamura turns and walks away. Uh, I think it’s a little late for that, dude. I think he already saw you! “Really, Tom,” the voice slowly articulates, “You really must realize you’ve nowhere left to run!” But does he really, really realize that?
Sure enough, the two goons are right there, and one of them is pointing a can of Roll-On at him. Nakamura takes Neighborhood Watch Guy’s words to heart, I guess, because he just stands there as they come over and press the deodorant against his arm. Well, geez, all you had to do was tell him his pits stink. Actually, it looks like this Roll-On thing injects people through their clothes, just like hyposprays on Star Trek. As soon as he’s injected, Nakamura falls to the ground. And when I say “falls to the ground”, he actually lands flat on his face on the concrete. Ouch!
Back to Daddy Nakamura’s hotel, where Mr. T’s Magic Bus has pulled up, and all the kids jump out. As they head inside, Kim says, “Come on guys, my father’s in this hotel, too!” This means that the kids and Daddy Nakamura all got booked into the same hotel purely by coincidence. Well, sure, why not? How many hotels can there be in Seattle, anyway? It’s not like it’s a big tourist destination or anything.
Anyway, Kim’s going to go see her dad, and she asks the rest of the team to come along. Robin turns to her and says, “Now?” What, you’ve got something better to do? It can’t be a load of laundry, because you’ve been wearing the same damn clothes in every episode. Anyway, in a total time-killing sequence, we get to see the kids board an elevator, the doors close, and then we cut to the floor they’re going to, and then the doors open, and then the kids walk out. Nope, no filler in this episode.
Woody (the Token Black Kid) quietly says to someone that they should do this later, “When Kim’s not so upset!” Kim knocks on her dad’s door while Robin tells Woody that they should be here when Kim talks to her dad, “Just in case things get hairy!” Hairy? If things are about to get hairy, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near here.