Mister T “The Playtown Mystery” (part 5 of 5)

Back to the croc, which turns out to be a submarine-type deal. Inside, Spike is tied up. He tells off Marvin, saying that “for a mouse, you’re a real rat!” adding, “When Mr. T comes, he’ll come down on you like a ton of bricks!”

The team (sans T) walks through the park expositing that they need to find Marvin and Dingy. Hilariously enough, Jeff still manages to be sort of a dick, even though Spike has been proven right. Well, once a dick, always a dick, I guess.

They utter a group “Huh?” as they see Marvin and Dingy signing autographs for some kids. You know, I can almost buy a little kid not getting the whole “underpaid college student in a horribly uncomfortable mascot suit getting paid next to nothing” deal, but wouldn’t a bunch of older teens—even this batch of mental defectives—be hip to it? Jesus, this thing is dumb in ways that haven’t even been discovered!

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Robin confronts them, demanding to know where Spike is. The others join in, and at this point, I’m thinking maybe the moral of the story should be “Tell your kids the truth about Mickey Mouse before they make asses out of themselves in public.”

T comes up and confirms that these two are the “real” Marvin and Dingy. Robin apologizes, and T tells our dim-witted friend, “Better learn to look before you leap!” I’d make a joke about a gymnast hopefully knowing that already, but given that Robin has the I.Q. of an exceptionally slow turkey, it wouldn’t quite work.

T exposits that Spike didn’t realize Marvin and Dingy were imposters. Sadly, he doesn’t add, “And neither did you stupid fools!” Robin wonders why someone would want to impersonate them, to which T replies they’ll ask them when they find them. He does it a bit too jovially, though. I think this is a time where the “Murdock is pissing me off again, Hannibal wants me to fly, and the bad guys messed with my van” tone would be more appropriate.

The team intuits (just go with me, I like using that word) that the dastardly duo must still be in the park, to which either Kim or Robin replies that it would “take a month of Sundays” to search the whole park. Robin chimes in with an even more random remark as she looks up at some cable cars.

Robin: Um, Mr. T, what’s your definition of flying?

Well, I can’t speak for T, but I’d guess that for the writers of this show, it involves some Grateful Dead albums and enough pot to give Cheech and Chong boners.

Back in the mine, or cave, or whatever the hell it is, Spike is still tied up while Dingy is in a hole digging. Marvin approaches, so Dozer pushes a bucket with his nose, which Marvin trips over, causing him to fall into the hole. Dingy looks up and says he doesn’t like Dozer. Spike replies the feeling is mutual, and Marvin pulls out another transmitter which he refers to as “My little noisemaker.”

From that pointless scene, we go back to the team as they ride in a cable car over the park. The recorded voiceover tour guide conveniently mentions a gold mine refinery on the property that’s still active. Oh boy, I think somebody got gold and oil mixed up. Well, that happens when you’re hallucinating off the mushrooms you just smoked in the writer’s room.

One other note: the narration about the mine lets us know we’re in Portland. Whether it’s Maine or Oregon, I’m not sure, but I do know that gators aren’t indigenous to either.

Robin, bright spark that she is, remarks for the dumber viewers that the fake Marvin and Dingy are after the gold. Cut to a shot of power lines over a building shooting sparks. Kim exclaims that the power has been blown out, and as luck would have it, the cable car stalls high above the park. You know, I liked this cable car sabotage scene a whole lot more when it was in Moonraker. At least there you had Lois Chiles to look at.

We get a quick interior shot of the power station as sparks fly and a current of electricity actually blows out a lever. Okay, is the guy from Shocker going to show up or something? If so, I’m leaving.

Caption contributed by Ed

”That’s it, I’m getting the hell away from you crazy fools!”

T yanks out a strap from the ceiling, and tells the team to follow him as he slides down the cable to safety. The team follows suit, and a split second after they’re on the ground, T manages to tie a chain to the main cable as it’s about to snap.

The team kisses his ass and he remarks, “It’s called teamwork!” I’d call this sarcasm, but that would be giving the writers more credit than they deserve. Still, I guess you could argue that T doing it all by himself could constitute teamwork, but really only if he told you to.

Robin, apropos of nothing, asks, “What about Spike?” T says that when they find the gold, they’ll find him. A bad cut tosses in the line “At the parade!” and somehow T knows the gold will be leaving via a parade later that day. Don’t ask me how, I don’t know. I don’t think anyone can answer that question. It’s Mr. T’s logic. Don’t question it, or you’ll go mad.

Next, we get two inexplicable scenes with Marvin and Dingy. First, they’re working on their car, wondering what to do with Spike. Dingy asks what they’ll do with him, and in a surreal kind of schizo moment, he answers his own question with, “We’ll take him, for now!” Suddenly, we’re out in the park as the real Marvin and Dingy are by their car. Fake Marvin calls them over to the bushes, and they end up getting pulled into them. They also seem to get much smaller as they approach the bushes. God, my brain hurts.

We cut back to the park where T and the gang are all dressed in animal suits. Okay, my brain just exploded while writing that.

Caption contributed by Ed

Man, this new version of J’accuse is messed up!

I’m not sure who’s who on the rest of the team, but T is dressed as a bunny rabbit. T sneers to Woody that they’re going to have a talk later about the disguises. Hoo boy, sounds like Woody is going to get a foot broken off in his ass later. And for the record, he’s the one dressed like a chicken.

Woody remarks it’s the only one that would fit, and T asks them if they’re ready with the plan. I’m not! I don’t have the first goddamn clue! I should also mention the establishing shot of this scene, which features more people in animal costumes and onlookers, all frozen in place, because hey, this sort of thing costs money to animate!

One other thing to note is the total lack of Ms. Bisby since the funhouse scene. I’d like to think she’s wandering around going, “Oh my stars and garters! Where the fuck are you guys? This isn’t funny, assholes! If I find you, I’m gonna park the bus on your stupid goddamn heads! You better hide!”

Moving on, Marvin and Dingy drive down the street with Spike tied up in the back, along with Dozer, and what looks like a rather small amount of gold. Yes, all this for a few paltry bars of gold. Can you tell the series was nearing the end? Holy shit, I know losing your job can be a bitch, but to not give a shit as blatantly as these animators is quite an amazing thing to see.

In a shot so quick you can’t even see it, T cuts in front of Marvin and Dingy in a pink car. Dingy wonders who “that big ugly bunny” is, to which Marvin replies he’s part of the parade. Wait, this is the parade? Going down a virtually empty street? How the hell is this park making any money? Shit, even the lowest of the low, down and out boardwalk death trap amusement parks get a decent amount of tourists!

Caption contributed by Ed

I’m too flabbergasted to think of anything funny here. It’s just too surreal.

Regardless, the rest of the gang pulls in behind the bad guys in a fire truck, and if you’ve never seen a duck driving a fire truck carrying a pig, a goat, and a chicken, well… You have now. Obviously, the writers of this episode came up with the idea while stoned at Disneyland, and we get to watch it unfold moment by addled and confused moment. It’s just amazing!

Seriously, this may be the most bizarre thing I’ve ever seen in my life. An action climax carried out by folks in animal costumes, all to a pounding action theme. Who exactly was the drug connection for the cartoon industry in the ‘70s and ‘80s?

Robin is the duck, I guess, since her voice is heard while the duck is in shot. The ladder is extended out and the goat and pig climb out on it as it gets close to the bad guys’ car. The pig motions for Spike to stay quiet, but Marvin notices them, and swerves in the direction of a house. T follows in his pink car and bunny suit, as they suddenly go from a grassy area to the street again.

Caption contributed by Ed

No joke, too surreal. Brain melting.

T tells the team to get Spike and Dozer, which I believe has been the plan all along, but given the images I’m seeing it’s quite possible I’m hallucinating.

T pulls alongside the car but gets rammed, causing him to crash through a hat display. He ends up wearing a giant pink sombrero and giving us a choice one-liner, as well as fulfilling one of his contractual obligations.

Mr. T: [In a giant bunny rabbit suit, mind you] I’ll pity those fools for making me go through this!

Just pity? I’d say a Grade A ass-kicking is in order, but to each his own.

Dozer manages to shake off his gag (why anyone would gag a dog is beyond me) and bites through Spike’s ropes. Why he didn’t do this with those goddamn ribbons earlier is never explained. Maybe ribbons are Dozer’s Kryptonite.

The rescue continues, with Jeff and Woody in the pig and chicken outfits, respectively (which makes Kim the goat) managing to pull Spike and Dozer out. Spike ends up hanging onto Jeff with one hand, while holding Dozer under the other arm, and if anyone tells you there are no steroids in gymnastics, tell them they’re full of shit.

Caption contributed by Ed

Coming soon to your nightmares.

T pulls alongside the truck as they pull Spike in, and Kim states the obvious, saying that they got Spike and Dozer.

Kind of makes you wonder if cartoon characters are like this all the time. “Hey, I’m walking down the street!” “I just stopped to look at some flowers!” “Look, a dog pissing on a tree!” “I’m going to stand in the street until this truck almost runs my dumb ass over!”


Caption contributed by Ed

Do insurance companies cover for damages if your wheels have been kicked out by a giant bunny rabbit?

T pulls alongside Marvin and Dingy, sticks out his foot, and kicks the moving car. Well, that’s not really accurate. What happens is he kicks it, and it stops right the hell in mid air! Not only does the kick lift the car up about two feet, it also knocks the front wheels—axle and all—right out from under the car!

So not only can T punch out sharks and bend steel with his bare hands, he can also cripple a car with just one kick, and not end up with a broken foot and leg. I guess it’s safer for him to do this because he’s got on a big rabbit foot, though I’ll leave it to you the reader to speculate on how much luck it brings.

You know what? Screw another Superman movie. I want an animated Mr. T movie! Actually, make it live-action. With CGI they can pretty much make the real Mr. T do anything they want.

The bad guys come to a stop, and T approaches them with a warning.

Mister T: One crack about this suit and it’s really over!

Marvin and Dingy are unmasked, and Marvin is revealed to be Mayor Cokenstein herself! Surprised? No? Good, because if you know anything about TV and movies, you should be intimately familiar with the Law of Economy of Characters. I like to call it the Hal Holbrook Principle, but that’s just me being a wiseass.

Really, you should have been able to guess the Mayor was involved from just snoozing through one Scooby Doo episode. Of course, we never find out why she went to all this trouble, but then again, the inner workings of a cokehead’s mind are somewhat hard to explain.

At the police station, the team (Ms. Bisby included) watches as Mayor Cokenstein is taken in by the cops. For some reason, T is still in his rabbit suit. Lord knows why. T notes that Spike has “eyes, ears, and a good brain” and the rest of the team should remember that, to which Woody looks chagrined, and Jeff… well, he still has a dickish look on his face. And as far as Spike goes, I’ll give Mr. T two out of three. The kid is still too dumb to fight his way out of ribbons.

Caption contributed by Ed

”Yes, finally I’ll be able to blackmail my way out of this chickenshit outfit!”

Kim takes a photo of T for the team scrapbook, and Robin says she doesn’t think T wants it there. Oddly, Robin speaks at a normal volume, even though she’s shown cupping her hand to Kim’s ear and leaning in close. T demands the camera, but Kim and Robin run off, saying the photo is one for the history books. T goes after them, and in a perfect world, we’d end our animated portion of the show with this line.

Mister T: History does not want to see Mr. T in a bunny suit!

Speak for yourself, big guy. I know of a few people who would pay damn good money to see that. But as you know, ours is not a perfect world, so we get a little more dialogue.

Woody asks Jeff what he thinks, and Captain Braindead remarks, “I think we met a kooky mayor and solved a mystery!” Jesus, how someone so mentally feeble can pull off complex gymnastics moves is beyond me.

Spike adds, “And got a great photo of Mr. T!” and we mercifully end as T chases Robin and Kim into the sunset.

Caption contributed by Ed

”Don’t you ever mention Hulk Hogan again!”

Back to Live-Action Mr. T at the park. T asks the littlest girl there if she knows which hand the coin is in.

Wait a second, a coin? Before, it was a ball! Where the hell did the coin come from? Wow, not only did the animators not give a damn anymore, it looks like the live action crew decided to hell with it, too!

She turns out to be right, and it’s time for our moral to be pounded in with a sledgehammer.

Mister T: You got the point. It doesn’t matter how old someone is. Just because Spike is the youngest member of the team, no one believed him. But we found out Spike was right all along. Always check facts, then you decide. That’s a tip from me. Mr. T.

Wow, Mark was right. These live action bookends do make it seem like the cartoon series is just a product of Mr. T’s deranged, warped fantasy world.

Is it me, or does the whole “don’t judge someone by their age” moral work better with someone who clearly does not have a serious case of hero worship, to the point where he looks slightly insane? I only ask because otherwise, I have to side with the kid who can’t figure out how to get out of thin ribbons and that just makes me feel like… well, like a fool who should be pitied.

This is one hell of a weird, tripped out episode. You can tell the end was near, as not only is the animation a bit shoddier than usual, the story was just blatantly senseless, with bad physical humor and inexplicable weirdness from Mayor Cokenstein, and a confused moral that was shoehorned in and basically ignored for nearly the entire episode.

Still, I pity the fool who says this isn’t damned entertaining.

Ed Harris

A fan of less than great cinema since childhood, Ed divides his time between writing scripts, working an actual paying job and subjecting himself willingly to some of the worst films society has produced.

Multi-Part Article: Mister T "The Playtown Mystery"
TV Show: Mister T

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