Jack of All Trades 2.2 – Shark Bait

Last night, we were watching a cerebral look at causality and time, an innovative and considered hour that inspired hundreds of later adventures. Tonight, we watched fart jokes. To our son’s enormous pleasure, Hori Ahipene returned to scream, yell, and bellow as that firebreathing, farting foe of the Seven Seas, the most vulgar of all villains, Blackbeard.

I thought this kid was going to explode waiting for Blackbeard to explode. During the critical “make the other villain spill all the beans” scene, Blackbeard is just about ready to let rip with one of his inferno burps. The kid was already crying from laughter, and then he pops a cork in his mouth. I don’t know that the kid remembered anything after that. Michael Hurst, who played Iolaus in most of Hercules, plays the other villain, Nardo da Vinci.

Sadly, the end of the episode shows Blackbeard and Nardo getting away together. I’m sure they must have been planning a rematch, but the show’s unexpected cancellation put paid to that. Still, they made two half-hours with a bad guy that every elementary school-aged boy is sure to rank among the greats. Say what you might about Davros, Loki, or the Hood, but none of those also-rans can give a hot-air balloon a spark by way of nuclear toots.

Jack of All Trades 1.3 – The Floundering Father

Far be it for me to tell teevee producers what they’ve done wrong – we never do that here, no sir – but these guys really messed up by filling this show with double entendres and sex jokes. If they’d have just pitched this show without the sophomoric gags about naughty bits, they could have sold this as a kids’ show, it would have found a much bigger audience and now, twenty years later, there’d be millions of thirty year-olds begging for a remake.

The sex gags are sailing over our son’s head, but everything else is landing perfectly because this show is freaking ridiculous. Reading about this show, I had no idea that Jack and Emilia have a regular informant: a “carrier parrot” called Jean-Claude. He gives them the news that Blackbeard the Pirate is on the island. They head to see what’s up and learn that Blackbeard has kidnapped Benjamin Franklin and is stopping off in Palau Palau for a night en route to deliver him to Napoleon. Blackbeard is astonishingly vulgar and revolting, communicating in screams and spits and drool. In one masterfully disgusting moment, comparing the island’s Dragoon to a cream puff, he takes hold of two fists full of cream puffs and smashes them all over his face.

Also, Blackbeard breathes fire.

I had no idea this program was so bugnuts. Our kid is in heaven, of course. Blackbeard is played by an actor named Hori Ahipene, and I’m not going to tell my son that he’ll be back for a rematch in a future episode because I want to see the kid punch the air when we meet him again.

Anyway, I understand that Jack‘s time slot partner, Cleopatra 2525, is aimed a good deal older than eight, what with the half-naked ladies in the cast and all. This show’s producers probably felt the need to make Jack at least a little of a match in tone for an older audience, and the smutty jokes are the best way to do that. Without them, this would be perfect television for kids who are guffawing over the fart jokes and the silly villains in Captain Underpants and its ilk. As it is, I believe that sometime down the road, our boy will put this on again and marvel at how dirty the jokes are and how unbelievably lax we were letting him watch it…