Last time on “Saturday Morning Hangover,” I briefly abandoned my theatrical cartoon analyzing for a look at a…*gasp*, MODERN CARTOON! Fortunately, it was the cartoon adaptation of The Mask, one of three animated series taken from a Jim Carrey movie from the 1990s (the other two being Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Dumb and Dumber, neither of which lasted as long as The Mask).
Most of part one was just a history of how The Mask was first a comic book series and then a movie before becoming Saturday Morning fare. More importantly, it was a set-up for this blog, which will look inside what I personally think is the edgiest episode of the entire series — or, at least, has a memorable sequence that screams loud and clear that The Mask (like most 1990s cartoons) wasn’t kiddie fare:
In the tradition of blogs that recount TV shows (and books) from the 1980s to the 1990s, I will recount this episode scene by scene, sequence by sequence, from start to finish.
However, I’m not going to bore you with a wall of text and pictures (I’ve contemplated it, but backed out at the last minute). Since “Flight as a Feather” is readily available for viewing on YouTube, I will be uploading all three acts and summarizing them. That way, you can watch and read at the same time (which is the reason why I have closed captioning on my TV, even though I’m not deaf). It’s highly recommended that you watch the YouTube video and read along with the act summaries on the blog. If that’s too taxing, then I will put in some stills for your pleasure and you can go back and watch the episode at your own leisure. It really is one of those episodes that’s too outrageous to be believed…at first.
We open on a peaceful evening in Edge City outside of the apartment building in which Stanley Ipkiss lives. We fade inside to Stanley’s bathroom. The Mask is in the shower, wearing a bathing suit, an inner tube, and a snorkel — or, as I like to call it, “The Geeky Never-Nude’s High School Shower Stall Uniform” — and singing this to the tune of “Yankee Doodle”:
Sweet, it’s karaoke night
At the Coco Bongo
First, I’ll win the prize tonight
Then eat a chimichango!
The Mask pokes his head out from behind the shower curtains, asking Milo — and the home viewers — if his
singing is worthy of winning the upcoming karaoke contest. Milo obviously doesn’t think so as he whines
and covers his ears. Mrs. Peenman, who is in her bathroom, banging on the wall with the dull end of a broom, apparently agrees, but chooses to loudly lodge her complaint about The Mask’s singing by screaming, “Pipe down in there, Ipkiss! You’re making my African violets droop!” (which is funny when you consider that The Mask’s wussy alter ego, Stanley, isn’t even in this episode). The Mask, as he steps out of the shower, retorts, ”That’s not all that’s drooping on the old bag.”
So right out of the gate, we have our first double entendre/sexual innuendo/whatever you wanna call it for this episode, and it’s a breast joke (albeit a vague one).
Despite outside criticisms of his singing, The Mask is very optimistic about winning the Coco Bongo’s karaoke contest. Why? Because he has his looks going for him. But one thing is missing from his usual ensemble that is his yellow zoot suit with matching hat: his lucky fedora feather.
You might be wondering, “How did The Mask ever get that feather that’s always on his hat?”
The Mask pulls out a white balloon and inflates it, taking us back to an unspecified time in the past at the Coco Bongo, where four Rockette-style showgirls in purple and green feathers and blue sequin bikinis are doing a can-can onstage. The Mask narrates, “Yeah, she came into my life, one very special even-ning,” as we see The Mask diving into the arms of all four of the showgirls and catching a white feather with a black tip on it with his teeth. The white memory balloon pops back into the present, where The Mask still has the feather in hand. Much like the night he dove into the arms of the four showgirls, tonight, The Mask feels confident that his lucky feather will bring him luck again–this time in the form of winning the karaoke contest, as we see in the mirror, a blond woman with a Swedish accent wearing a pink dress declaring The Mask the winner.
Before The Mask can head off to the Coco Bongo, however, he has some business to deal with Mrs. Peenman after what she barked at him. The Mask bolts out the bathroom window and goes spinning into Mrs. Peenman’s bathroom, sucking her into the whirlwind and placing her on her armchair (which sends her spinning in it). Peenman is reeling, but The Mask has the cure for that.
The Mask: There now, comfy are we? How ’bout some “wrap” music to unwind with? [ties Mrs. Peenman up with a bright blue ribbon]
Mrs. Peenman: Hey! [struggles to break free]
The Mask: Oh, I get it. “Wrap”‘s not your bag, huh, girlfriend? Well, maybe some *easy* listening then [pulls out a cassette that reads "GREATEST HITS" and has The Mask's face on it. The cassette cover is shown to the viewing audience as The Mask on the cover speaks]
“Greatest Hits” Cover: That’s right. It’s The Mask’s Greatest Hits! All The Mask, all the time, but wait — there’s more…
To demonstrate, The Mask pops it into a very large boombox and presses the PLAY button. An ear-shattering rendition of “O, Tannenbaum” (“O, Christmas Tree”) plays with new lyrics and The Mask singing in a whiny voice:
Oh, Mrs. P,
Oh, Mrs. P,
How ugly are your curlers!
And this is better than “wrap” music…how?
The Mask gives Mrs. Peenman some earphones so she can listen to the obnoxious tune without bothering the neighbors (the ones who aren’t or haven’t already gone deaf). All the earphones do is damage her hearing (and her sanity) at close range.
With that done, The Mask escapes through the window, standing out on the fire exit, telling her to “…enjoy my lady,” (with “lady” being used loosely in the case of the curmudgeonly Peenman). The Mask puts his hat back on his head, unaware (for that moment) that his lucky feather is floating away. The Mask checks the time (6:45, according to the miniature-scale Big Ben that sprouts from his clock), plenty of time before the karaoke contest, but before The Mask can officially go, he senses something amiss. He pulls out a full-length mirror and conducts a last-minute clothes check (“Shoes shiny, suit zooty, hat jaunty, feather — goney!”)
The Mask’s lucky feather has flown the coop. He scans over the edge of the fire escape and sees it floating in the air. The Mask (as Romeo, who ironically has a yellow and black feather on his hat) declares, in Shakespearean rhyme, that he’ll retrieve his precious feather and jumps out of his tights.
The feather floats down to Big Gordo’s Pizza, where the chef is preparing a pizza for a lone customer: a black man in a red hat, a mustard yellow jacket, and blue jeans. Through a telescopic point of view, the viewer can see that The Mask’s lucky feather has come to rest on the pizza dough that the chef is tossing in the air. The Mask (dressed as a hick farmer) is on top of an apartment building, keepin’ an eye on that li’l-ol’ feather of his.
We cut to Big Gordo’s Pizza, where the chef has stopped tossing the dough and is walking off with the pizza. The Mask (dressed in his usual outfit) hip-checks the man who was waiting patiently for his order and offers to take it, whether or not the pizza is done. The man is pissed. He was there first and he’s not leaving until he gets his pizza. The Mask is more than understanding…but makes it clear that he deserves the pizza by opening himself up to the stranger:
The man moans, “I think I just lost my appetite,” as he coughs and covers his mouth to keep from retching. The Mask gives the nauseous man a complimentary barf bag and makes off with the feathered pizza. The Mask doesn’t get very far with it — a little boy on a skateboard crashes into him, sending the pizza out of his hands and into the air.
The Mask (and the little boy) stare in shock as the pizza goes flying. A truck rumbles by and catches the pizza pie on its whistle. The stay is short-lived, as the truck horn blows, splitting the pizza into several perfect slices and sending the fedora feather in the air once again, doing loop-de-loops as it floats away. The Mask pursues the feather with a butterfly net, shouting, “Come back here, you!” as he runs off into the night.
Back at Big Gordo’s Pizza, the little boy with the skateboard scratches his head in confusion at what just transpired. The black man, who waited for God knows how long just to get a pizza pie only to be accosted (and grossed-out) by some cartoonish stranger with a green head and a loud, yellow zoot suit, is on the phone with the police.
Customer [on the phone]: Hello, police! I wanna report a pizza-napping. [a beat]: Well, h-he was green.
[cut to Lieutenant Kellaway at his desk at the police station, with the phone in one hand and a dart in the other]
Lieutenant Kellaway [on the other line]: “Green,” huh? [chucks the dart straight at a photo of The Mask,
which has a bulls-eye drawn on it in black marker and two other darts that obviously missed the mark. The dart Kellaway throws hits between The Mask's eyes (the bulls-eye)]
Customer [over the phone]: Yeah.
Lieutenant Kellaway: Say no more.
On the other side of the the precinct, Mrs. Peenman is speaking with Doyle about filing an “intent to kill with really bad music” complaint. Doyle agrees to file it, even though such a complaint is, to quote Doyle, “…a new one on me.” Before Mrs. Peenman leaves, she reminds Doyle that her aural assailant (The Mask) is recognizable because “…he’s green.”
All of this talk of The Mask napping pizzas and using irritating music on old ladies is too much for Lieutenant Kellaway. Tonight’s the night he’s going to get The Mask come Hell or high water, though the fact that Kellaway doesn’t notice that he just stuck his hand in Doyle’s rubber stamp ink pad and is now smearing his own face with his inked hand doesn’t inspire confidence, not even in Doyle.
On the other side of town, Mayor Tilton is basking in the glow of the camera flashbulbs as a large crowd and TV news crews are gathered outside Edge City Hall, which is decorated in balloons. Mayor Tilton announces that tomorrow will be declared, “Bavariaville Day.” German folk music blares from speakers mounted outside city hall as The Mask’s feather floats in on the event unnoticed.
The reason for “Bavariaville Day”: the people of Bavariaville, Edge City’s oldest district, have agreed to become the exclusive pretzel supplier to Edge City, with the pretzels being sold during film festivals, polo tournaments, and on every wiener schnitzel stand in the city.
If you ask me, this is a pretty dire turn-out. When I first watched this episode (back in the ancient, mystical year of 1997 — I know because after I graduated from elementary school [sixth grade] and was prepping for middle school [seventh grade]), I always thought the crowd was larger. And I never understood what the event was for back when I first watched it. I thought it was a bill signing.
Oh, and it should be of note that, unlike season one, Mayor Tilton’s personality in season two is more on par with the archetypical/stereotypical politician: greedy, narcissistic, opportunistic, not afraid to make shady deals, and has dated an unsavory woman — though the last item would be shocking is if Mayor Tilton were married, and there has been no visual or verbal reference inferring this. The other aspects were touched on in the previous episode, “Goin’ for the Green” (which I will summarize later).
Over in Bavariaville, an old woman in a purple sweater and a dark skirt is watching Mayor Tilton’s speech on her black and white television in a simple living room in her cabin, consisting of a couch, an end table with a lamp on it, another table (that looks like a bare cable spool) to the right of the TV, and a bookcase to the left of the TV.
Old woman [in a German accent]: Fritz, Fritz, it’s the Mayor! Hurry, or you’ll miss him!
[to herself]: What a cutie! Oh, if I were five years younger…[woofs
On TV, the crowd applauds as Mayor Tilton twists John F. Kennedy’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” proclamation into “Ich bin ein Bavariavillian”. Now comes the time to sign the pretzel deal with Bavariaville to make everything nice and legal.
Just one problem: the mayor’s assistant, Smedley (who looks like a better-colored version of Mayor Tilton’s nameless, yet still geeky assistant from “Goin’ for the Green”. Here’s a side-by-side comparison for your perusal. The left is Smedley as he is in “Flight as a Feather”; the right is Smedley as he was in “Goin’ for the Green”)
…reminds the mayor that the city is a little strapped for cash ever since Mayor Tilton blew the budget on a party for the winners of a beauty contest. How strapped? According to Smedley, the city doesn’t even have enough to spend on basic office supplies in their government office. Mayor Tilton’s lucky that Edge City brokered that deal with Bavariaville over selling pretzels. I mean, sure, he can rely on the citizens and raise taxes or use kickbacks and bribes, but something tells me that that’s the money that they use for the polo tournaments and film festivals, not to mention the self-aggrandizing statues of Mayor Tilton (see “Goin’ for the Green”).
Mayor Tilton chuckles sheepishly facing the crowd, then turns back to Smedley, muttering to “ix-nay on the ash-bay” for one reason: they’re on live television. Anything incriminating they say and/or do can and will be ripe fodder for investigative reporters on the local evening news, cable pundits who want whoever’s in charge — and not of their political party – to go down in flames, and, of course, satirical late-night sketch comedy shows hungry for material in order to stay alive and culturally relevant for another 10 to 20 years.
Mayor Tilton orders Smedley to find something — anything — that can write so he can sign the Bavariaville deal. Smedley checks his suit pockets for a writing tool, just as The Mask’s lucky fedora feather floats in and lands on Smedley’s head. Smedley tries to blow it away as he continues his fruitless search.
In a pique of inspiration (or is that desperation?), Mayor Tilton decides to use The Mask’s fedora feather as a quill — and coffee in a cup held by his bodyguard as ink. According to Tilton, “If a quill was good enough for the Founding Fathers, then it’s good enough for me,” to sign the Bavariaville pretzel deal. The audience applauds…
…and, just when we think we’ve lost him in the story, The Mask comes barging in, foolishly thinking the audience is cheering for his uninvited entrance.
While The Mask hams it up for a wide-eyed crowd that was not expecting him at all, another uninvited guest — in the form of a young, black woman with her black hair done in this style that mixes the height of a ’50s bouffant with the tousled, feathered locks of a ’70s Farrah-do, and the wide, blown-out look of an ’80s perm for women, stunning emerald eyes, and and blood red lips with a beauty mark — barges in, wearing blue hoop earrings, a trenchcoat, and a very bad attitude, as she shoves aside two people amid a gasping crowd. She proclaims, “Mayor or not, nobody jilts Cookie BaBoom and gets away with it!”
Looking at her, is anyone else reminded of Esmerelda from the Disney version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame?
Back on the top step of Edge City Hall, the Mayor is waving at the crowd. Smedley turns to the crowd and his eyes widen. He turns back to Mayor Tilton and — honest to God (or whatever deity you worship) — whispers:
Uh, Mr. Mayor, it’s that strip–er, exotic dancer you were dating.
Bad enough Mayor Tilton put the city in debt, now his ex-girlfriend (with an occupation you’re least likely to hear on a children’s cartoon) is crashing the celebration. Well, Mayor Tilton’s gotta put a stop to that — he orders Smedley (his assistant) to “get her outta here before she ruins my wholesome image,” as opposed to, say, the bodyguard who held that cup of coffee for him when he was signing the Bavariaville deal. Way to sacrifice, Mayor. This’ll look real good when you run for re-election.
Cookie charges the top steps of Edge City Hall amid a booing crowd (which I find odd. If Cookie is a stripper, wouldn’t most of the men in Edge City have recognized her? Either Mayor Tilton is her best — and only — customer or she’s not very good, though I doubt that). Smedley tries to stop her, but gets called a “pipsqueak” and shoved out of the way. Smedley catches up with Cookie and begs, “But, Miss BaBoom, you can’t just –” Cookie retorts, “Oh, can’t I?” and takes that as a welcome invitation to open her trenchcoat and flash Smedley.
I wish I was kidding.
I wish this was a fanfic.
I wish this was an urban legend.
It’s none of these. There’s video proof that this scene exists (as seen above) and picture proof that this scene exists, as seen below:
That tinny whistling noise you’re hearing is the sound of a V-Chip sobbing. And it’s about to sob harder as this sequence continues…
We cut to a close-up of Smedley as he gasps and growls lecherously. Almost absent-mindedly, Smedley channels Jimmie “J.J.” Walker by uttering, “Dy-no-mite!”
Cookie’s trenchcoat drops to her high-heeled feet as the crowd gawks in horror.
They just witnessed a woman indecently expose herself (if it was a man, there’d be outrage, but not to this extent. I mean, mostly when you hear about flashers in trenchcoats, they’re men) on [what I'm assuming is] live television, since there was a cameraman and news vans surrounding Edge City Hall and that old woman from Bavariaville was watching the announcement about the pretzel deal as it happened. But don’t go calling the FCC just yet. In fact, now would be a good time to call the bomb squad.
Cookie’s dressed to kill in two megatons worth of dynamite fashioned as a bikini, making her look like the unholy union of a suicide bomber and Josephine Baker. Apparently, some zidiot named Mortimer dumped her. Rather than drown her sorrows in Häagen-Dazs, Merlot, and chick flicks (or, since she dated a public figure, sublimate her anger and rejection into a tell-all book or tabloid magazine article), she’s using her mad skills in stripping and explosives to shuffle off this mortal coil with a bang (even if everyone else gets caught in the aforementioned bang).
And here comes the zidiot Mortimer now…
Yeah, yeah, I know. Not that big a surprise, but I had no idea Mortimer was Mayor Tilton’s real name when I first saw this episode (in fact, I had no idea his last name was Tilton. I had crappy reception on my TV and first saw this on a local TV station, so the sound was always going in and out and I could hardly make out most of the dialogue. It was only after I found a download of this episode from an overseas Boomerang broadcast that I realized what I was missing).
Mortimer tries to reason his ex-girlfriend out of this suicide. No dice. Since she got blown off by Mayor Tilton, now was the time to return the favor (and not in the sexual way, either).
We come back from the commercial break to find that the people who gathered for Mayor Tilton’s announcement of “Bavariaville Day” are now screaming and fleeing. A man screams, “She’s got dynamite!” and the ground is littered in papers.
On the top stairs of Edge City Hall, Smedley and Mayor Tilton are standing next to Cookie (an unwise decision; if they truly feared for their lives, they would have been running and screaming with the rest of the crowd…or at least call in the SWAT team), still dressed in her suicide belt bikini and still holding the detonator.
Nothing’s really happened yet, because Cookie can’t work the detonator (you’d think if she was really committed to committing suicide in such an attention-grabbing way, she’d make two suicide belt bikinis–a version to strap on a dummy [or a test goat] and test it to see how quickly or how slowly the belt will react, and, of course, the version she’s wearing now with any and all kinks worked out).
Mayor Tilton (with The Mask’s fedora feather still in hand from Act One) sees this distraction as a window of opportunity to do something heroic: get Smedley to once again deal with his deranged ex-girlfriend — this time by disarming her. Smedley takes one look at Cookie and, rather than lecherously volunteer just to grope her, refuses to do it.
Why? For the same reason most of us wouldn’t do something this insane — money. In this case, Smedley implies that Mayor Tilton doesn’t pay him well (not even with all the cash he squandered for that beauty contest party) and that he doesn’t get overtime.
Back to the panicking crowd (which includes a couple running hand in hand, a fat woman dragging her poodle by its leash, a blond in green heels and a short skirt running off, and a man carrying a stack of newspapers under his arm), The Mask is just standing there, not realizing (or just not caring) that his (and everyone else’s) life is in danger. All The Mask cares about is getting his feather back in time for the Swedish karaoke contest (which, at this point in the story, seems like a mere footnote in the plot).
The Mask reluctantly accepts the overblown charges made to him on Hero Hotline Phone, just as Cookie has fixed whatever was wrong with her detonator. Her last words to Mayor Tilton: “Kiss your constituency *good-bye*, Mortimer!”
Before Cookie crumbles, The Mask pops up unexpectedly with a mouse trap and slips it between Cookie’s manicured hands and the detonator plunger.
About as painful as In Living Color in its fifth season…
As Cookie flees to remove the mouse trap from her hand, The Mask transforms into a bartender(?!). Wipe that incredulous look off your face; this does have a point.
The Mask swipes his feather and uses it as a quill (like before in Act One) to jot down the Mayor’s drink order (even though he’s too dumbfounded to give one). Today’s special: The Bikini Cocktail. Now the Bikini Cocktail is an explosive little drink that can be served three ways: shaken, not stirred, straight up, or with a twist. But where do you get the twist if you don’t have any lemons?
That’s right. You get it off a pair of melons!
And twist, like so…
Now that you got your twist (and your main ingredient) for the Bikini Cocktail, simply place in a blender (that, much like Cookie BaBoom, is topless) and blend until pink and bubbly. The Bikini Cocktail is best served straight from the pitcher with no added frills like ice, a lemon slice, a lime slice, a ring of salt, a cherry, a martini olive, crushed mint leaves, or a cute little parasol.
Cookie BaBoom is still(!) spinning just as Lieutenant Kellaway and his partner, Doyle, approach the Edge City Hall steps. Kellaway has The Mask right where he wants him, but The Mask (back in his yellow zoot suit) has a trick up his sleeve. Before Kellaway and Doyle can actually catch The Mask, he stops Cookie from spinning (finally) by grabbing her shoulders and making her face Kellaway and Doyle. The Mask bolts while all eyes (well, at least Kellaway’s and Doyle’s) are on Cookie.
Did I mention that, at this point, Cookie is completely naked (even though she had two strategically-placed suicide belts, somehow she ended up naked rather than just topless)?
Because I love you (and want to cover my ass should I be blamed for causing someone to lose his/her job, especially in a recession like this), I’m only going to link the picture I was supposed to put here on the blog, even though the nudity is heavily implied as you can tell by Cookie’s bare back and the reactions from Kellaway and Doyle:
(moderately not safe for work…or school library…or public library).
Now, you figure when male police officers have to deal with a woman who’s nude in public, they’d be professional about it, no matter how good she looks naked, right?
In this case, no.
K & D completely lose it (not in that wild, Tex Avery-at-MGM style as seen on those Wolf and the showgirl cartoons, but more like that buzzard in Bob Clampett’s “Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid” way). Doyle melts first, managing a goofy, “My…oh, my!” before sliding down. Kellaway does his best to keep cool, but alas, all he can do is stammer out, “L-Lady, y-you’re under…arrest,” and slides down as well.
As you’re watching this, you just have to ask: where’s a strip club champagne room and a wad of singles when you really need them?
I mean, you just have to ask, “How did the writer get away with this?”
Simple: this was made back when cartoon writers, especially those who worked on TV cartoons, actually took a chance to entertain not only kids, but older audiences, but even back then, there were limits. Those who were crazy enough to tempt the censors with a joke that zoomed past risqué and crashed right into bawdy usually paid for it by having his precious scene cut or line of dialogue replaced with something less offensive. It happened to Rocko’s Modern Life, it happened to Ren and Stimpy [of course, that was also because some of the scenes were too disgusting for human consumption back before the Internet and reality TV desensitized us], and it was the reason why Animaniacs only had two cartoons featuring Minerva Mink. The only reason The Mask got away with this (and managed to keep the scene in rerun after rerun after rerun) was because this episode never saw an airing on network television. In fact, the only channel ever to bar “Flight as a Feather” (and most of the season 2 episodes of The Mask: TAS) from airing was ABC Family (back in the late 1990s-early 2000s when it was called FOX Family).
Oh, and if you think this episode was penned by some horny, immature adolescent of a male cartoon show writer, think again. The writer credited for “Flight as a Feather” is one Julia Jane Lewald (often credited as “Julia J. Roberts” or simply “Julia Lewald”). That’s right — it’s a woman, and a married one, at that. Her husband is Eric Lewald, and together, the two of them were showrunners for the live-action show Young Hercules. Other cartoons Mrs. Lewald has written for include a lot of Disney Afternoon shows, like Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers, Goof Troop, Darkwing Duck, and Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles. Her non-Disney oeuvre besides this one episode of The Mask: The Animated Series (shame she didn’t write another episode) include Nickelodeon’s CatDog, FOX’s X-Men, and some syndicated oddities, like Mummies Alive! and Street Fighter: The Animated Series (on which, she was a story editor, not a writer).
For a complete list of what Ms. Lewald has written, see her Internet Movie Database entry at
===DERAIL ENDS HERE===
On the top stairs of Edge City Hall, Mayor Tilton is smiling over his ex-girlfriend’s humiliation while Smedley can only stare. The Mask then barges in and asks Cookie if he knows her from traffic school. Before she can answer (or because the punchline to the joke was too racy to be aired [Yeah, like everything else here is so squeaky clean]), we cut to the cabin in Bavariaville where the old woman who once lusted after the mayor is now staring in shock over everything that happened to him that aired on live TV (a big continuity goof, as everyone, including the guy with the news camera and the news vans, bailed after Cookie pulled out her detonator. So much for catching breaking news as it develops). Rather than file a nasty complaint to the FCC over nudity and an attempted murder/suicide (which she probably would have done had this cartoon been made after that “wardrobe malfunction” incident in 2004), the Bavariavillian woman shrieks that there’s “a monster [The Mask] with the mayor!” I don’t know how The Mask can be considered a monster. He saved everyone from a dirty bomb (so to speak).
We cut back to Edge City Hall, where Kellaway and Doyle are now lying at the foot of the city hall stairs. Utterly defeated (and not wanting to do time for indecent exposure, attempting to assassinate the mayor, and attempted suicide), Cookie BaBoom (now clad in the trenchcoat she wore when she was introduced) runs off without saying a word. While Doyle is still infatuated with Cookie, Kellaway would rather have The Mask arrested (if only Doyle would snap out of it).
The Mask is beginning to feel the afteraffects of the Bikini Cocktail, as he begins belching small explosions, causing
his fedora feather to once again float away into the night.
This time, it lands in the back of a Franco’s Feathers truck that has just stopped at a red light. The light turns green and the feather truck (with the lucky fedora feather) continues down the road to a pillow-making factory called Peterson’s. The truck pulls up to the side of the factory. The Mask is on foot in pursuit of his lucky feather, telling it to hang on.
It’s a little too late for that, because now the feather (and every other feather on the Franco’s truck) is being sucked inside the factory through a long, metal chute. The Mask can only stare helplessly (and comment, à la Jimmy Durante, on how much of a “revoltin’ development” this is) as his feather gets sucked inside the long, rattling pipe (where it sounds as if a cat also got sucked inside. Poor kitty).
So where does this pipe go? It deposits all the feathers sucked up from the truck into a large vat…and said vat is apparently going to be used for a bizarre living art piece by Crisco, the performance artist, dressed only in pantyhose, a loincloth, a kerchief wrapped around his head, and the leather restraints attached to the ropes from a pulley.
If you’ve ever been to art school (like I have), and you’ve been around performance art in some capacity, then you’ll probably find this next part funny in a truthful way since performance art really does have a tendency to be weird to those who don’t “get it”, but absolutely brilliant to those who do.
===DERAIL ENDS HERE===
Crisco announces that he’s about to create his most important work. Below, Crisco’s snooty, Eurotrash hangers-on (including a guy in a red suit jacket over a black turtleneck who looks like a caricature of Karl Lagerfeld, a bald woman in an orange body robe, a short second man with a goatee and glasses in a purple suit and a sea green turtleneck, and a black-haired woman red pointed glasses, dressed in a white turtleneck with a black vest and a black skirt, purple, black, and white jewelry, smoking a purple cigarette on a holder) clamor in agreement. The Purple Cigarette Smoking Lady comments that Crisco’s work is “more than ‘art.’ It’s ‘smart,’” while Mr. Purple-and-Sea-Green mentions Crisco’s last performance at the sewage recovery plant.
Crisco’s performance consists of slathering himself in tar and dipping himself in the vat of feathers (Yeah, I don’t get it either, but it really impresses his hangers-on, who probably have seen stranger installments by him [like the sewage recovery plant installment]). While Crisco’s admirers “ooh” and “ahh” over his upcoming dive into the feather vat, The Mask is frantically searching through the pillows and piles of feathers to look for the one that goes on his fedora. Using the rope-operated pulley, Crisco lowers himself into the vat as his hangers-on gasp and mutter in shock. Moments later, Crisco pulls himself out of the feather vat, covered in feathers, stopping once to aside to the viewing audience on how difficult it is to be this artistic.
The Mask continues to search for his fedora feather, until he turns around to see what Crisco’s hangers-on are clamoring about — and discovers that his lucky feather is attached to Crisco’s rear end. The Mask bolts up to the plank on which Crisco is standing and points out, “That’s my feather on your rump, chump!” Crisco doesn’t care about The Mask’s feather. The feathers on Crisco’s body, regardless from where they originally came, are a part of his art, and his art belongs to posterity.
The Mask’s response:
Oh, yeah? Well, your posterior belongs to me!
Once again, The Mask spins around to transform into another character (this time, a knight) and rescue his lucky feather from someone who is scantily-dressed (this time, a performance artist wearing nothing but tar, feathers, a loincloth, and pantyhose).
Crisco’s hangers-on don’t object to The Mask plucking Crisco (I said *plucking*). In fact, they think it’s part of
Crisco’s act. They think The Mask (or “that green creature”) represents monetary greed and that his ripping the feathers off Crisco’s body is symbolic of how this lust for money plucks away at man’s soul. Predictably, they brand this a stroke of genius on Crisco’s part.
Back on the plank, The Mask has plucked Crisco bare of all his feathers (leaving his tar-covered body swinging in the air) in an attempt at getting his fedora feather back. The bad news: The Mask’s feather is now covered in the tar from Crisco’s body. Even worse: Crisco is now clinging to the part of the metal chute that blew out all the feathers into the vat and turns the chute outwards, causing The Mask’s lucky feather to blow out an open window. The Mask bolts in pursuit of his feather, leaving Crisco to fall into the feather vat, still clinging to the (now broken) metal chute.
The feather floats through the air, just as it gets stuck to the underbelly of a bird with brown feathers. The Mask (with a helicopter propeller on his head) catches up with the bird and reaches out for his tar-stained feather. Before The Mask can grab it, a duck flies by and collides with the brown bird. The duck flies away, now with The Mask’s feather attached to its underbelly. The duck soon gets stuck to an approaching blimp (while The Mask gets pinned to its front end). The Mask scales the blimp in pursuit of the duck with his lucky feather stuck on him. The Mask dives for the duck. Scared, the duck flies off, leaving the fedora feather behind and The Mask has his feather back — until an airplane skims the edge of the blimp, flattening The Mask and making off with the lucky feather.
The airplane’s bay doors open while in midair (odd since that signals that it’s about to land, but there isn’t a runway for miles), dislodging the feather from underneath. The feather floats down, heading for the ocean. It rides with the air current–just as The Mask (now a blond surfer dude) is riding the waves after his “little feather dude”.
Success! The Mask is reunited with his feather!
But, like, something gnarly is about to transpire, moon-doggie. A humpback whale (what part of the world is The Mask in at this point?) has just cornered The Mask and his fedora feather. The Mask tries transforming into a pirate to fight off the whale. Alas, it only gets The Mask and his feather swallowed. The Mask (now dressed in his yellow zoot suit, feathered fedora and all) holds a lighted candelabrum to see where he is.
Swallowed by ten tons of blubber. In serious danger of missing my karaoke contest. Well, it doesn’t get
any worse than this.
As if on cue, familiar footsteps thud through the whale’s insides. Two red eyes flicker as Walter (Pretorious’s silent goon) steps out of the shadows and advances on him. The Mask gulps. He shouldn’t have spoken so soon.
The whale dives through the water, carrying Walter and The Mask inside of him. As Walter keeps advancing on The Mask, The Mask asks Walter what exactly he’s doing inside the whale. Since Walter can’t answer that (what with being a mute and all), The Mask decides to fight back, French swashbuckler style, using his feather as a sword (of sorts) to subdue Walter.
Walter continues to advance on The Mask and The Mask walks near the whale’s uvula (that ball of flesh that hangs in the back of your mouth) where The Mask still tries to subdue Walter with his feather.
Still nothing. On the plus side, the feather brushing the whale’s uvula (which is bobbing up and down like an Adam’s apple on the neck of a semi-convincing transvestite) does garner a reaction — an allergic one, to be exact. The next thing we know, the whale sneezes, sending Walter flying through the air and The Mask, with feather in hand, crashing into the side of a cliff, next to an eagle’s nest.
An eagle squawks as The Mask slides down the cliff’s side. The Mask assures the eagle that he’ll be out of its “hair” in a jiff. The eagle doesn’t take this well and begins pecking The Mask on the head. Apparently, The Mask broke one of the animal kingdom’s many social taboos: NEVER mention “hair” to a “bald” eagle.
As punishment for The Mask’s (unintentionally) insulting remark, the eagle swipes The Mask’s fedora feather. The Mask screams for the eagle to give him back the feather as he slides down the cliff, and lands on his butt, making a cartoonish accordian sound. Predictably, the eagle does not give the feather back; in fact, she (the eagle has a nest with eggs in it) wears it on her head. “This calls for extreme measures,” The Mask declares.
Turns out he meant to say, “egg-streme”, as a green egg rolls down the cliff into the nest. Even if the egg is large and green with spots on it (as opposed to the small, off-white eggs already in the nest), the eagle cares for it as if it was her own.
Soon, the eagle’s two biological eaglets hatch from the eggs, chirping. The adoptive egg hatches as well, revealing The Mask in a diaper with a pacifier in his mouth, crying “Mama!” The Mask then kisses the eagle on the beak and swipes the feather from the top of her head.
…and with that, The Mask leaves the nest (literally and figuratively speaking). We cut to a snowy mountainside where The Mask is cutting through the slopes to make it in time for the karaoke contest at the Coco Bongo. He and his feather are finally reunited and nothing can stop them now…except that The Mask foolishly decides to yodel.
There’s a cartoon rule (or trope or cliché or whatever you call it) that states that if a character is in a snowy, mountainous village that is meant to represent Switzerland or the Bavaria region of Germany, and that character makes a sound that echoes through the mountains, said sound will trigger an avalanche — and that’s just what happens here as The Mask skis off a slope. Seeing the flood of snow gaining on him, The Mask skis faster. The avalanche heads straight for the small town of Bavariaville, knocking down several trees in the process.
Meanwhile, Kellaway and Doyle continue their pursuit of The Mask at Peterson’s Pillow Factory, where Crisco (now removed of all the tar, save for a big patch on his stomach) identifies The Mask as “the sav-age” who “ruined my performance with his pluckage. Ruined it! Ruined it!” Doyle takes sympathy on Crisco, but Kellaway is less than understanding (if only for the fact that he’s more into Tony Bennett).
A female voice announces over Doyle’s police radio: “All units, come in all units, please be advised of an avalanche in progress off Mount Gomery Cliff.”
As Crisco walks away, Lieutenant Kellaway sits on the tar-covered pipe. According to Kellaway, an avalanche is no big emergency, even if it’s in Bavariaville (“I don’t have time to waste with those pretzel-twisters over in Bavariaville”). But the next police report, about witnesses seeing “…something green at the core of the avalanche…” convinces Kellaway otherwise. He and Doyle are off, but the tar ripping the seat of Kellaway’s pants delays their plans–at least until Kellaway can get a new pair down at the precinct.
We return to Bavariaville–now buried under several feet of snow with several broken and felled trees sticking out of the ground. The Mask is nowhere to be found, but look–someone made a snowman with The Mask’s fedora on top of its head. Just kidding–it *is* The Mask buried under the snowman and shivering (“Somebody thaw me!”). Nearby, the old woman who was watching Mayor Tilton on TV throughout Act I and part of Act II pops out of the snow, looking shocked at what happened to her house. The Mask approaches her and the old woman recognizes him immediately — as “the monster from the television,” — and apparently everyone else in Bavariaville recognizes him too, as they come a-running after him with pitchforks, torches, and farm equipment. The Mask hightails it out of there as the villagers go after him.
The Mask stops running when he reaches the edge of town. The villagers haven’t relented and The Mask is desperate for a place to hide, lamenting that “…there’s never an abandoned windmill around when you need one!” Au contraire–there is a windmill, but it’s not abandoned. In fact, it’s at a mini-golf course. The Mask bolts inside and slams the door behind him.
Back in the buried Bavariaville, the old woman crawls out of the snow hole just as Kellaway and Doyle arrive, still screaming about “the monster.” Kellaway and Doyle follow the angry villagers to where The Mask is hiding.
At the mini-golf course, we find Mrs. Peenman already there, coaxing any and all laggers to crowd around the windmill and attack The Mask. Among the laggers are: Cookie BaBoom (fully clothed and wielding a club), the black man from Big Gordo’s Pizza, Crisco the performance artist, and the eagle.
The Mask tries to fend off the “angry seething mob” by telling them he gave at the office. The mob doesn’t buy this and bangs on the door harder.
The Mask is screwed. Sure, he has his feather back, but now there’s a group of people who want his hide. What to do? What to do? Suddenly, The Mask gets an idea:
‘Tis, but one way to handle an unruly mob such as this…[brandishes a sword, tosses a handful of brown bite-size treats and skewers them on the blade, shish kebob style]: With snackages!
The Mask (dressed as a knight yet again) opens the door to face the angry, seething mob of villagers and those he harassed and humiliated throughout the episode. The Mask quells the angry mob by tossing the tray of s’more out into the crowd. With everyone fighting each other for a taste, The Mask transforms into a golfer and rushes to the closest hole. He asks a mustachioed man if he can play through with him and takes a club from a golf bag held by a sheep.
Just as he positions the club on the ball, Kellaway and Doyle approach him, ready to place him under arrest after all the crap they went through. However, The Mask shushes them because he’s trying to concentrate on his putt. Doyle agrees, showing Kellaway a nearby sign that reads, “Shhh!”
The Mask winds up…and ends up hitting himself. He turns into a green, screaming golf ball that flies around Kellaway and Doyle and out of sight. Kellaway laments that he was so close to catching The Mask. Doyle does nothing to console Kellaway, as all Doyle is interested in are the s’mores the crowd went crazy for.
The Mask finally makes it to karaoke night at the Coco Bongo. The emcee (the blond woman in the pink dress from the mirror vision in act one) goes to announce the winner, but can’t read the card because she forgot her glasses. The Mask “helps” her out by tickling her nose with his fedora feather. Lucky for The Mask, the emcee is so allergic that she sneezes herself in The Mask’s arms. She announces him the winner.
And that’s why The Mask’s feather is so lucky.
So what can you learn from all of this? Five things:
1) The Simpsons isn’t the only ’90s cartoon to have wacky, implausible plots featuring gratuitious nudity, corrupt political figures, and a jerkass character who ends up getting chased by an angry mob near the end.
2) Don’t ever piss off a strip — er, “exotic dancer” if she knows out to make a suicide belt and fashion it into something she could wear during one of her shows.
3) Sometimes all it takes is food to distract the public from protesting
4) Mention “hair” to a bald eagle and you risk getting pecked.
5) ’90s cartoons really did know no bounds.