This blog entry is part of my contribution to the Countdown to Halloween, a series of like minded blogs which are posting throughout the month to prepare for the spooky season.
This episode is written by Brian Swenlin, who has credit for four other episodes and has a very long resume for animated shows.
In this first episode of the series, Archie is mad at Jughead for watching TV all day. There are some great horror movies on and Archie worries that Jughead is becoming a couch potato. Archie comes across very angry and aggressive here. Honestly, more like Reggie than Archie. Archie leaves and the TV host announces that the first person to call in and list every movie that played during their monster marathon will win a prize. Jughead immediately calls and wins. The next day Archie drives Jughead over to the station and there is the prize, a decorated potato. Because he is the prize winning special couch potato. Jughead is insulted, Archie feels victorious, and the TV announcer seems a little off. Back at Jughead’s home and he’s back in front of the TV. Archie begs Jughead to do anything else and eventually Jughead agrees to meet him at Pop’s tomorrow. Archie leaves and that is when the potato comes to life. Vines sprout out and grow at an exceptional rate, enveloping Jughead. His dog, Hot Dog, is freaking out but is no match for these evil spud tendrils. The tuber tubes wrap around each other and take form as a clone of Jughead. The next day Archie arrives at Pop’s to hear that everyone is concerned about Jughead. Betty, Veronica, and Reggie are there. Other characters too but they don’t get to speak yet. Jughead is standing in a pot of soil because he says it’s good for you. He also tries to rescue some french fries and says he would never eat them. The Gang is trying to figure out what is wrong with Jughead and agree that he just needs some sleep assuming he stayed up all night watching TV again. Jughead agrees to go home but first he has to hand everyone a potato, which they actually take home!
Later, Archie is on the couch with Betty watching TV. So, in Archie’s mind watching TV with someone is acceptable, but not on your own. Archie and Betty are both given internal monologues as they frustrate themselves by overthinking their hormones. Archie wants to put his arm around Betty. Betty wants him to do that as well. Yet the two of them can’t get out of their heads enough to just let things happen. I’ve been there. This debate and this scene feels like it goes on for 10 minutes. The potato that Betty took comes alive and wraps its tater tentacles around Betty. She thinks it’s Archie’s arms and falls right into them. Archie comes back in and is trying to free Betty to no success. Meanwhile, we see all of the other potatoes attack the Gang. Archie takes off and is trying to find help but all he finds are mindless potato zombies. As he drives one pops up from the back seat of his car, causing Archie to crash. He fears the worst but wait!
That’s not a zombie in the back, that’s Dilton. The smartest kid in Riverdale knew something was wrong with the potatoes and so far he and Archie are the only ones who have not been cloned. The kid who probably made a battery out of two potatoes for a science fair deduces that the spuds are being controlled by a signal, but from where. Archie figures out it must be the TV station where Jughead got his award. They race to the station to turn off the signal.
Somehow all of the infected move as fast as the car and make it to the station at the same time. The station host joins in as it turns out she was the first zombie. Dilton figures out if they can climb to the top of the signal tower, they can turn off the signal that’s controlling the potatoes. Dilton gets caught and his potato zombie clone appears. Now it’s up to Archie. Archie turns off the power and all of his friends, well, his friends wake up from wherever they were. The clones turn into potatoes and fall to the ground. All is well, but no! For now the Great Potato comes out of the shadows and is in his flying saucer above the tower and Archie. That’s right, this is an alien potato monster creating zombie clones. This episode has it all. The newly unpotatoed Dilton yells to Archie to change the settings on top of the tower. This turns the radio frequency dish into a microwave dish thus “cooking” the Great Potato. The Great Potato has been foiled and takes off for the great beyond of the Milky Way which might include butter and sour cream.
Finally, Jughead has learned to limit his TV time, and the entire town of Riverdale no longer eats potatoes.
As I discovered earlier, this show was considered Educational/Informative but I’m missing the lesson here. I gave up and went searching for answers online. The moral of this episode is that addiction is unhealthy. Alien mind controlling potatoes are unhealthy. French fries and TV are what unite us. I feel neither educated nor informed by this episode.
Stay tuned! We have 39 more episodes to go!