EPISODE REVIEW: Sym-Bionic Titan: “Lessons In Love” (Episode 10)

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You know, curiously, whenever I’ve hear “Space Age Love Song” by A Flock of Seagulls, I’ve always thought of a happy cheerleader in love with a machine dancing down the street at night while a giant alien and a huge mighty fighty robot duke it out in the background. If you’re at all like me - and face it, you really are, far moreso than you’re willing to admit - then you’ve had that same odd association. And now, thanks to the miracle that is Sym-Bionic Titan, my friends, all our dreams can be realized.

Seriously: Best use of Space Age Love Song, ever.

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Kimmy, the bitchy red-headed cheerleader from “Showdown at Sherman High” is back, and failing math. If she does, she’s off the Cheerleading squad, or team, or whatever they’re called. Never having dated a cheerleader, I dunno ‘bout such things. Anywhoo, she manipulates her way into forcing Octus (In his Newton guise) to tutor her. Of course she simply expects him to take the test for her, but he refuses. She attempts - in surprisingly lurid fashion for a kids show - to seduce him into doing it, but he’s a machine, and he refuses with some surprising humor. Eventually he manages to convince her that she can learn, and that she’s more than she thinks she is, and she gets excited by the prospect, and actually eagerly learns the lesson. Then she starts putting the moves on Octus. (“Have you ever had a girlfriend before?”)

Meanwhile, a big electricity-eating alien monster attacks, so Octus asks her to leave. She does after cajoling him into a kiss, and then she strolls home to the stylings of A Flock of Seaguls in what is no doubt the most hilarious, poignant, musically contrapuntal fight sequence ever in a cartoon.

Meanwhile, there’s a fight and Lance and the Princess do stuff, but none of that really matters, ‘cuz it’s all about Octus and Kimmy, and damn, it’s fulfilling when the increasingly-emotional robot holds her hand.

Lance: “I can not believe this is happening.”

The End.

OBSERVATIONS

Seriously: Best use of a Flock song ever, ever, ever, ever, ever. I totally didn’t see it coming, and I was laughing/smiling ear-to-ear when they did it. I pulled my wife in for the rebroadcast a half hour later, and she had the same reaction. For those of you in the under-40 set who don’t know what I’m talking about, here it is:

I’m gonna’ be smiling for days. It was just that good.

This show has such a goofball sense of itself, there’s a weird irony that pervades it - not a mocking or disrespectful kind, the show is too solid for that - but it’s a character-based sense of humor. It’s like SCTV rather than SNL, the humor comes from the characters, not the gags. Everyone is consistent, and more than a little odd. I dunno, I find myself loving it more and more each week, but make no bones about it: for me this is The Octus Show.

Man, that dance/seduction scene was pretty suggestive for a Saturday morning kids’ show, wasn’t it? There’s a couple odd cuts here and there, which make me think it was actually trimmed down from something more suggestive. Parents might wanna’ watch out for that. Also, there’s a vaguely disturbing shot of a death metal singer with a tongue piercing that might disturb younger viewers. Again: parents are cautioned.

I’m a sucker for a show about the transformative value of human decency. What can I say? I like Frank Capra. The idea that Kimmy honestly believed she was all she’d ever be, and that no one had ever showed her differently was, frankly, all to believable. Her excitement when she realized she *was* more than she thought was palpable, and of course she was taken aback - repeatedly - that Octus/Newton would neither take advantage of her, nor bend to her will. The robot is more of a man than anyone she’s been around.

So what’s the kids’ official public relationship? Illana says Lance is her Brother, He says she’s his friend. Is Octus supposed to be another brother, or just a geek friend from school, or what?

Octus says “I am not your normal robot,” and he, himself, seems unaware of exactly what his capabilities are. He’s very adaptive, apparently can eat - popsicles anyway - and despite his flat affect, he’s clearly experiencing more and more emotion. Mad props to Brian Posehn, who gets a ton of mileage out of his delivery. Posehn is probably best known as the mail clerk on “Just Shoot Me!”

I know R2 really doesn’t like this show, but he should totally give it another shot after this one!

WILL CONSERVATIVES LIKE THIS EPISODE

Who cares? Flock! Monster Battles! Best Montage Ever! Redeemed ex-bitchy chicks falling in love with moralistic robots! Some things are more important than politics, my friends, and giant robot battles are definitely in that category. As is nearly everything else in this episode.

Excepting the tongue piercing, of course.

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