Mission Hill Episode Guide - Episodes 9 - 13
Written by Aaron Ehasz
It's the eighth week of Andy's unemployment, but it's mostly due to his complete lack of commitment to finding a job. Purposely degenerating into a dirty, lazy, rude slob, he's perfectly content until his tooth just falls out. Jim loans him his dental insurance card, which Andy had no idea he had, but finds he cannot pass off as Jim.
Andy then asks Jim about his dental insurance and finds out Jim has a job at an advertising agency. There, he works only whenever he wants to, everybody respects him and he has a ton of benefits. Both encouraged by Jim's success and angry that he is a slacker that is now behind everybody else, Andy applies for a job at Jim's office. Andy fails to get the job until Jim uses his incredible influence to have his boss fire both the person they hired instead of Andy, and the person who rejected Andy.
With his new job, Andy then uses his new premium dental insurance to replace his missing tooth.
This episode is a bit different from the other episodes, which have usually featured multiple subplots. As well, this episode changes the status quo, since Andy now has a steady job. There were some good pokes at corporations, the process of getting a job, and the demise of the slacker generation. However there were few really memorable moments, and it seemed to be much more grounded than previous episodes. While it was suitable for the nature of the plot it made an episode that was interesting for it's storyline, but ultimately drew little more than a few smiles for the relatively sporadic jokes (albeit some clever ones) and its happy ending.
10. "HOT FOR WEIRDIE" (Or, "Kevin Finds Love")
After discovering that a girl at his school, Eunice Eulmeyer, is the daughter of a famous scientist, Kevin decides to go out with her in an attempt to meet her father and acquire a letter of recommendation from him. Meanwhile, Andy, Jim, Posey and their neighbours open a fake nightclub after a new nightclub opens up and refuses to let them due to them being 'uncool' in the eyes of the club's owner. To take revenge, Andy and his friends won't let anybody in at all, except for a few fake patrons played by his neighbours.
Kevin succeeds in meeting his girlfriend's parents, and convinces her father to write him a letter of recommendation. However, as he's about to give it to Kevin he tells him how happy he is that his daughter has found a man, and how he can die happily. And he does.
Getting tired of running a fake nightclub, Andy and his friends fake a fire, causing all the people who waited hopelessly to be let in to mourn the loss of the club.
Following the funeral, Kevin tries to find the letter but Eunice catches him going through her father's files. They both explain to how neither of them were really interested in each other. Eunice only did it because her father wanted her to meet boys. Deciding that Kevin earned the letter, Eunice sneaks Kevin onto the military base where her father's papers are kept. Impressed by her cunning, Kevin falls for her. But Eunice does not return the feelings.
One of the best episodes of the series, this one shows off many facets of Kevin's personality. He's shy, but is quite ruthless when it comes to getting into a good college. At the same time he's got high morals, feeling remorse when his plan backfires and how he was simply using people to his advantage. And Jennifer Jason Leigh was terrific as Eunice, making her sound weird, crazy and smart at the beginning, but shifts well to sneaky, terse, and smart at the end. You almost feel sorry for Kevin when Eunice fails to reciprocate his feelings.
The nightclub scenario was a pretty good parody of the 'Studio 54'-like nightclub scene (which was even acknowledged by Posey calling their fake club, '...the studio 54 of smelly closets.') It was quite funny how the club was mourned despite the fact that nobody ever entered it. Perhaps it's a commentary on some people's tendency to come to quick judgments on things even if they have not experienced them.
All in all, an episode that provides a lot of good, clever laughs, emotion and even some thought-provoking humour.
11. "DAY OF THE JACKASS" (Or,"Stories of Hope and Forgiveness")
Oblivious to a world crisis that is brewing, Andy meets a teen actress, Becka Michelle Butterfield, who asks him to go to the Grammys with her. Unfortunately, things go wrong due to the town's fixation on the continuing crisis, while Andy brushes it off. Meanwhile, Toby decides to walk to school and ends up being pursued (albeit slowly) by a rabid (but eerily calm) dog. In the midst of all this, Posey meditates to find her inner self, destroying all her personal demons.
Due to a series of mishaps, Andy and Kevin end up handcuffed to a segment of iron fence. Kevin is freed, but Andy is not, so Kevin runs to go get help, leaving Andy on the street. At that moment, Toby comes along with the rabid dog in tow. The rabid, quiet dog turns into a rabid, angry dog who corners Andy and Toby in an alley, cowering behind the iron fence Andy is bound to.
Kevin, now unable to find his brother, goes to the Grammys, wearing a tuxedo meant for Andy to tell Becka Michelle Butterfield what happened. He talks to her and tells her a line his mother used to say about tolerance, "It takes all kinds of fruits, to make fruit cup." Finding the line inspirational, Becka recites the line as she presents an award. Her recital of that line is accredited to a sudden peace talk and the world crisis is averted.
While still in the alley, Andy finds out about Kevin's day at the Grammys and in a rage hits the rabid dog with the iron fence (don't worry animal lovers, the dog is just stunned). He then drags the heavy iron fence home in the pouring rain, while reminders of Kevin's accomplishment play out on every TV he passes by. The noise he makes wakes Posey from her meditative trance just as she sees her inner being.
Kevin returns, happy and thankful to Andy for making it possible for him to go to the Grammys, and gives Andy a note from Becka, who explains she's winning an award next week and wants him to come see it. It turns out it's the Nobel Peace Prize.
This was strange to watch the first time, since it was shortly after September 11, 2001, and the media coverage of the crisis was eerily reminiscent of what was real life. This episode focuses around an unnamed, and unspecified world crisis and the ensuing media frenzy around it, including the heavy emphasis on the celebrity community's reaction. In the aftermath of the real world tragedy, this episode is actually quite clever in satirizing the emphasis we put on celebrities during important world events. It may seem ludicrous but it does happen, and in fact practically did happen. Personally, I can't help but wonder, with all those celebrity telethons and special charity songs and events that occurred, how many of the many, many multi-millionaire stars who appeared actually gave money from their own pockets?
In a way, the episode also satirizes the way people can become instant celebrities, like Kevin did. The fact that the crisis was never elaborated on, just talked about in snippets on television, perhaps is a jab at the overload of information we have today, that sometimes it can be difficult to find out details about an event without finding at least a few contradictions.
Aside from the unnamed world crisis, Posey's spiritual journey was quite funny, with a lot of surreal images and effective skewering of a lot of new age images, such as assigning human flaws to animals that must be slayed (I liked the "Worldly attachments" beast).
A terrific episode, probably the most original of the series.
12. "HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DOUCHEBAG" (Or, "Happy Birthday, Kevin")
It's Kevin's first birthday in Mission Hill, but the day is not going well for him, and his dismay is clearly evident. Even Andy, who planned to taunt his brother (who is used to receiving lavish birthday parties), finds himself sympathetic and willing to organize a real party for Kevin.
Unfortunately, good intentions aside, Kevin dislikes Andy's birthday plans, which are completely different than what he was expecting, and his present, the expansion pack of a computer game (bought probably by mistake) rather than the actual game. Andy becomes angry and leaves Kevin at the restaurant where they were eating and goes home. Later that evening however, when Jim and Posey return, Kevin is not with them. All they know is Kevin said he was 'going home.'
Deciphering that message, Andy goes back to Breyerhurst, the suburbs where they used to live. Inside the abandoned house, he finds Kevin moping around. He cheers Kevin up and in the empty house they do all the crazy things they were never allowed to do when their parents lived there with them. Their antics however, attract the attention of the local police. Andy recognizes the cops as old friends of his, and then they all throw a huge party the empty house, to celebrate Kevin's birthday.
While not an overly funny episode, it was one of the most emotional of the series. This episode explored the relationship between Andy and Kevin a bit more by showing their past. Kevin was always a spoiled child, and that left Andy feeling left out, and perhaps even jealous. But deep own, they are still brothers, even though they fight a lot, and I mean a lot!
Although Kevin was a bit too snobbish about Andy's party for him, it was shown at the end what Kevin's mindset was. He had expectations that were rooted in the past, or rather his memories of the past, and how sometimes when places and events are revisited or redone, they aren't the same as our memories.
While the episode was not unfunny, the humour was a bit more low-key for the most part, except for the town weirdo who has a compulsion to quickly mutter the male sexual organ over and over and over. (I'm not going to type the word because I don't want my site to end up on any weird search engine queries). Still, there are a few funny moments and one-liners, and perhaps it was best for this episode given the focus was on the relationship between the French brothers.
If you ever wondered about the way Andy and Kevin treat each other, it's all answered in this episode.
13. "I MARRIED A GAY MAN FROM OUTER SPACE" (Or, "Plan 9 from Mission Hill")
Kevin discovers Wally is a projectionist at a local movie theatre, and then discovers the world of classic cinema. One day, Kevin finds out that an old science-fiction monster movie is coming to the theatre. A movie that was directed by Wally and starring Gus. Wanting to have his friend's movie appreciated by as many people as possible, Kevin begins to promote the movie himself. His enthusiasm however, blinds him to the fact that Wally is not proud of the movie, and is rather embarrassed by it.
On opening day, the movie is seen by a packed theatre and is laughed at because of its poor special effects, acting, and editing mistakes. The next day, Wally tells the story of how he and Gus met on the set of the movie and fell in love, and how the movie went astray from his original vision.
That evening, Kevin goes to Wally for forgiveness, and makes him realize that the people laughing at the movie are actually enjoying the movie as a comedy. Seeing this, Wally forgives Kevin and realizes that his movie really wasn't all that bad.
I thought this episode was funny, sentimental and really showed a lot about the relationship between Gus and Wally (besides revealing their past). I'm glad they didn't make them follow stereotypes, they are presented like any other couple. The fake movie "The Man From Pluto" was quite funny as well.
However, I didn't understand some of the movie jokes, like those movie clips that Kevin watched with Wally. But the comments on modern cinema that Wally made were right on the mark, accompanied with Kevin's naiveté towards classic cinema and how his exposure to film is limited to an immersion in modern (and lousy) films.
Sadly, this was the last episode of the series. And so, this will be my last review unless by some miracle the series is revived. This episode didn't wrap things up in any way but was a nice, more personal story between two of the major supporting characters, and one that definitely leaves you wanting more.