Verne Troyer’s final appearance as Napoleon is the Thanksgiving episode – it originally aired in most US markets the week of November 18, 2000 – and it’s as anachronistic as ever. One of the Thanksgiving traditions is a football game. There was a Detroit in 1801 – the city celebrated its centennial that year – but the Lions were still 129 years in the future. The kid adored the football game and laughed throughout it. It is, after all, just a few minutes of silly stunts. In the real world, he likes the Titans because all his pals do, but he can’t make three quarters without losing interest completely.
Much earlier in the blog, I’d planned to show our son Planet of the Apes, but I thought better of it; he’s not as gentle as he was anymore – he’s a big NINE YEAR-OLD now – but when I had it penciled in back in 2017, he would have hated it. It is a pretty rough movie in places. I punted it down to later this year, and he’s certain to enjoy it more than he would have then. But sadly, I sailed it right past the one yard line where it would have been perfect. I wish we’d have seen it a couple of weeks ago instead of Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, because there’s a delicious little Apes callback right at the end, with Verne Troyer in the Charlton Heston role. Ah, well, we will look at Apes later this year and he’ll get the gag.
Verne Troyer returns as Napoleon in this one, which is back to being pretty inappropriate, but oh well. This time he schemes to rule the world by way of a wine with a powerful hypnotizing drug. One bottle of this as a goodwill gift to Thomas Jefferson and the White House’ll be Bonaparte’s new summer home! Also, Napoleon has a Gatling gun and the Daring Dragoon has a bulletproof cape and Jack and Emilia wake up naked in bed together without any memory of the night before. Wince, wait for a swordfight, repeat.
My “please don’t be a terrible parent” alarm always gives off a small squawk or two when we hit a double entendre in this series, and I reason that it’ll be okay because our son is still young enough to have no idea what they’re talking about. Then this episode happens. Napoleon has blackmailed Emilia into marrying him and Jack decides to save the day. One of his schemes involves hiring strippers for the emperor’s bachelor party. Kid’s not going to be young enough for much longer if they pull more shenanigans like that.
Mercifully the rest of the story was more in line with what a third grader wants to see on television: Bruce Campbell dragged up as Emilia’s hideous mother and Verne Troyer being lifted about twelve inches by his farts. Third graders love fart jokes. Anybody who tells you different is lying. Oh, and Troyer’s reveal in the pre-credits sequence is probably the best gag in the episode. It’s usually a shame to lead with your best material, but that was extremely funny.
Tonight’s episode of Jack of All Trades introduces another recurring villain. Tonight we meet the Emperor Napoleon, who is, perhaps inevitably, played by Verne Troyer. He was kind of instantly omnipresent in media twenty years ago, and I wasn’t surprised to read he was going to show up here. It also has one of my favorite gags in the show so far, as Jack gets so sick of the bad-tempered pest that he starts planning his assassination, needing only a grassy knoll and a textbook warehouse.
Our son had a visit from the Giggle Fairy or something earlier this evening, so this goofball episode was just heaven on earth. At one point, Jack remembers the old “imagine everybody in the room in their underwear” trick, leaving Napoleon standing on a card table in polka-dotted long johns and I’m not sure the kid was even conscious of anything that happened next because he was laughing so much.