I’m going to try and eventually work my way through all the episodes ever, but only if I can find them on the internet. So for now. we’re going to do episode one.
For those that don’t know, McGee and Me was a television show that aired in the late 1980s/early1990s era, give or take a few years. It featured a boy (of course, cuz girls never go on adventures) who drew this cartoon character who then came to life.
It’s written and produced by Focus on the Family, which at some point was run by Dr. James Dobson, a man who proudly writes in his book about he beat up his dachshund to prove he was a manly man in charge of the house. FotF is seen as pretty mainstream by some, but by others, heavily conservative and dangerous.
So, let’s begin.
It starts, as usual, with a theme song, during which a boy draws a cartoon, which then comes to life.
The real episode begins with Nick (the boy who draws) opening the bible and reading a (very liberal translation) verse about how lying is bad, and the same thing as hitting someone with an axe.
We are then treated to a cartoon version of McGee getting hit in the head with an axe. Don’t worry, his head regrows.
Except for McGee, none of the characters are cartoons, so it looks a little odd.
Nick explains that he’s just moved into his grandma’s house, and he has to start all over again with new friends and a new school. God I know that feeling, multiple times over.
Nick has an older sister who is sporting a side ponytail. Oh, 90s fashions…
SNORT. Their dog’s name is… Whatever? No, I had to go re-listen to it, but that’s seriously the dog’s name: Whatever. Nick’s father is mad because the dog stole toast off his plate. The older sister insists her dad needs to loosen up about Whatever, but I kind of agree that it’s annoying when dogs steal your food. I also think that the man shouldn’t have put the food in a place where the dog could reach it if he didn’t want Whatever to have it.
I am so going to name a dog or a cat Whatever. That is just an AWESOME name for a pet.
There’s another girl in the family, a younger sister with beautiful golden curls.
The family, except for Nick, scatters.
There’s some loud coughing from the cereal box, with pieces flying out. Out pops McGee which, ew. If someone, cartoon character or not, had been coughing in my cereal, I’d smack him, hard, because ew, gross.
McGee doesn’t answer Nick’s “What are you doing?” Question.
Nick reminds McGee that the last time he gave him advice, it didn’t turn out so well.
We get to see Nick’s first day of school, where he gets in trouble for cutting class because he couldn’t find his homeroom (seriously, does this ever happen? I thought teachers gave new students leeway, at least, mine always did.), drops all his food at lunch as the girls laugh, and then gets caught with a can of spray paint at recess because someone throws it at him.
Then Nick has the misfortune to run into some older boys, who bully him out of some money, or at least try to. Just as he’s going to beat up Nick, another boy comes up and manages to convince Derek, the bully, not to beat up Nick, saying that Derek usually goes for bigger guys, and beating up this little boy would sully his reputation.
Derek and his gang of bullies walk away, and Nick thanks Louis. Louis is a person of color, and I like that. What I don’t like is when he tells Nick not to cut through a certain person’s yard because “that guy’s a crazy old Indian who eats live animals.”
Sigh. So much for no racism. “Crazy old man” is one thing, “crazy old Indian man” is another. And may I remind people that an adult wrote these words, not the child who is speaking them?
Louis tells Nick that anything, human or animal, that goes through there doesn’t come out a live.
McGee then starts talking to Nick, and they have a conversation about whether or not Nick should go. McGee argues that this is Nick’s chance to make an impression, and Nick shoots back “didn’t you hear what he just said!?”
All the while, Louis is standing RIGHT THERE. Which begs the question: do people besides Nick not hear McGee? Do they also not hear Nick when he talks to McGee? Because Louis is standing there right within earshot, and should really be wondering why Nick is talking to himself. And, possibly, where the other voice is coming from.
I could accept that no one else can hear McGee, and I could even stretch it to no one hearing Nick talk to McGee. But I feel like there needs to be an explanation. Come on, throw me a tachyon pulse, some unobtanium, something.
Nick cuts across the old guy’s yard as Louis screams after him to come back. Nickolas stupidly climbs onto the cellar door to peek in the window. The boards are rotted and he falls in, as Louis is still screaming for him to get out of there. Like he can now, dumbass, he’s TRAPPED. For some reason there is an owl in the barn. You know those Indians, amiright? They totally keep owls as pets in their basements.
Anyway, the old man gets up out of his rocking chair and goes down to the cellar. Nick screams and runs past him, and I can’t see very well because it’s dark, but I think for some reason the old man is holding a live rabbit.
He runs into Louis on his way out of the house, “just to say hi.” I do kinda like this kid’s sense of humor.
The next day, as Nicholas comes out of his house, he finds a group of Louis and his friends waiting for him. They are all very impressed that Nickolas had the guts to go into the old guy’s house. They start asking Nick a lot of questions. Nick tries to set the record straight, but then gives up and plays along. After all, it’s hugely helping his street cred. The Indian man was big, like a monster, and eating a live rabbit.
As we all know, this is how rumors get started in Middle School.
Derek and his gang get wind of it, and they corner Nicholas.
Derek: I don’t believe it! What kind of a fool do you take me for?
Nicholas: I don’t know, how many kinds are there?
I actually do like his comeback here.
At home, Nick’s grandma talks about how someone broke into George Rivers’ place and scared him real bad. He’s got arthritis so bad he can barely walk, but he gets up to take care of all those injured animals. Grandma goes on to say he’s the sweetest man you’d ever want to meet.
We switch over to McGee in cartoon world. I guess McGee has his own little cartoon world? McGee and his friends are playing baseball. McGee hits a home run, and the ball crashes in someone’s window. At least 5 police cars immediately come around the corner with their lights squealing. Soldiers surround them on all sides and point guns at them. McGee’s eyes turn red as he hurriedly thrusts the bat into the hands of a younger boy. The big fat police officer hauls the younger boy off in chains. The boy looks out the window with tears streaming down his eyes.
It’s all very over dramatic and stupid, and even as a kid I would’ve rolled my eyes so hard they’d rattle around in my skull. But watching it in school probably got me out of math class or something, so whatever.
Back on planet Real World (and I admit, except for Cartoon World, most of what’s been happening in this episode is very realistic and I could see happening.), Nick’s dad comes in to talk. Nick has some handy little remote that opens the door for him. Not entirely sure how he rigged that up. Tachyon pulses, I guess. Nick’s dad tries to talk to him, but Nick doesn’t answer. Finally he asks Nick whatsup.
Seriously, I want a show where the mother goes to have a talk with the son. But there’s more than one episode in the series so maybe that’s coming up.
Nick kinda sorta tells his father what’s going on. His dad reminds him “the truth will find him out,” which is actually a direct biblical quote. We get treated to a lecture on who all gets hurt when a lie is told about someone. It hurts the teller of the lie, the person about whom the lie is told, and of course, we hurt Jesus when we lie.
I was subjected to that line of reasoning A LOT growing up. A whole stinking pile of dung-guilt which wasn’t necessary, because Jesus doesn’t exist. And also, seriously, every little sin we do, no matter how small, hurts God immensely? Wouldn’t God be in intense pain all the time? Oh but wait, the good things we do make him happy, so he’s also in perpetual joy? So, God is simultaneously in never ending agony and perpetual joy? My room mate and I actually had a talk about that once, but it hurt our brains too much to think about, so we did the same thing we always did with our questions/doubts/things that made no gorram sense: shut up and stuff ’em up where we couldn’t remember ’em.
In any case, I have a huge problem that most, if not any, thing we do affects god in any way. Maybe if I was to go murder someone it would make sense, but a little lie told to middle school students to up a kid’s street cred? Come on. They were afraid of him anyway.
In the next scene, we see Nicholas drawing, looking totally stoned.
There’s a cheesy song about lying playing in the background as we are next shown Derek’s gang getting together after dark by a chain link fence. And then we’re shown Mr. River’s windows windows being broken via rocks. Quite honestly, it would’ve come to this anyway. Kids have always been afraid of Mr. Rivers, so it would be extremely surprising to me if this were really the first time some dumb kids had vandalized his house.
At the end of the song, we’re shown what Nicholas has been drawing.
Derek didn’t bother keeping what he did quiet, because the next day everyone at school is talking about it. Nick’s family must have moved to a small town, because I don’t remember shit spreading this fast in the bigger schools I’ve been to.
Nicholas is just finishing up with music class when Louis comes up and tells Nicholas he’s going to miss all the action. Derek and his Dorks are going to put the finishing touches on… what Louis says sounds like “old cheese.” and “it should be good.” Then he runs away.
McGee puts on a superhero costume and struts around. He tells Nick it’s time to fix his mistake. “But they’ll kill me!” Nick exclaims.
Given what the bullies have been known to do, I don’t blame him for thinking this. Those boys could really hurt Nick.
McGee convinces Nick to do something,
Cheesy music plays in the background as we are shown footage of Nick running to the scene as Derek and “his dorks” vandalize Mr. Rivers’ porch, setting his animals free, breaking things… again, if kids were always this scared of him and hated him, I’d be extremely surprised if this was the first time this happened.
I’d also be shocked if they decided to listen to Nick when he tired to tell them things got blown out of proportion. Which, I’d like to point out that, even if Nick hadn’t lied, it probably would’ve gotten spread around the school like wildfire and blown our of proportion anyway, because that is how small towns work.
But no, it’s all Nick’s fault for going along with it.
Which, probably he does have some responsibility, but at the same time, once these things get started, even if you don’t lie, there’s really no stopping it.
The song wines about how love never lies. Has focus on the family ever thought about lies such as “no that dress doesn’t make you look fat at all?” Ok, some lies SAVE lives, and are told in love.
When McGee finally, after an eternity, reaches the front porch, the boys scatter, calling him “squid.” Mr. Rivers looks at him.
No words pass between them, but Nick goes home and cries about it afterward. I think this is unfair, I don’t think it’s all Nick’s fault. I mean, sure his actions kind of instigated it, but honestly, if it hadn’t been him, it’d have been someone else. And even if no one else had done what Nick did, Derek and his “dorks” sound like the type who would eventually do it anyway.
In any case, the next morning, Nick is shown cleaning Mr. Rivers’ front porch. Louis comes up.
Louis: You didn’t see anything you said you did, did you
Nick: No. I didn’t really see anything.
This, strictly speaking, is not true. He saw animals that were stuffed, which creeped him out, he saw a live owl, and he saw Mr. Rivers holding a live rabbit.
This, then, is the big lie, but of course, the movie wants us to conveniently forget the first act.
Louis tells Nick it was fun while it lasted, then leaves. McGee sits in a water dish for the raccoon talking about how great it is to be helping out, “yesirree bob.”
Nick doesn’t think he can face Mr. Rivers after what he did to him which, oh my god seriously? It’s NOT Nick’s fault Derek and his “dorks” vandalized Mr. Rivers’ house. Even if Nick had told the truth, it still would’ve spread all over the school all embellished, and in any case, I’d be really surprised if they weren’t going to eventually do it on a dare anyway. But Nick has to beat himself up for it because he is a Good Christian ™.
Mr. Rivers comes out and smiles at Nick, telling him he should start on the cellar steps next.
Nicholas laughs as the raccoon licks McGee, who thinks he’s being eaten and screams like a girl.
Aaaaaaand that’s it. The end credits roll.
I don’t dislike Nick, at least, not yet. I also don’t think what happened is entirely his fault. I feel like there could’ve been a better storyline for the whole “lying is bad” thing. And I know we saw glimpses of it, but I really wish we’d seen more of Mr. Rivers being nice to… well, we don’t really get to see much of him at all. So I would’ve liked to see, instead of grandma telling us Mr. Rivers is the nicest person you could ever meet, I wish we’d been shown that Mr. Rivers is (or at least, can be) a really nice person.
And I wish they hadn’t gone with the whole stereotypical “Native Americans are close to nature hence all the injured animals” thing.
I’ll wait and see more episodes before I judge, but so far I dislike the writing, but the characters and storyline are somewhat believable. Nick also never came across as self righteous and stuck up. In fact, he seemed kinda like a normal kid who struggles with… well, whatever it is kids his age struggle with. And that’s refreshing. I don’t (yet) hate the protagonist in a Christian movie.
And now I’m going to go take some NyQuil and call it a night.