Archive for the ‘Sam Anderson’ Tag

The Chronicle: News from the Edge–Episode 15: I See Dead Fat People (2001)   2 comments

Above:  I See Dead Fat People

All images in this post are screen captures.

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I See Dead Fat People

Canadian Television Rating = PG

Hyperlink to Episode

Aired February 1, 2002

Production Number = 5009-01-103

Starring

Chad Willett as Tucker Burns

Jon Polito as Donald Stern

Reno Wilson as Wes Freewald

Rena Sofer as Grace Hall

Curtis Armstrong as Sal the Pig-Boy

Sharon Sachs as Vera

Octavia L. Spencer as Ruby Rydell

Main Guest Cast

Charlie Talbert as Royce Bickenberg

Sam Anderson as Dr. Emmanuel Fickas

Behind the Camera

Writers = Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec

Director = Jay Tobias

Above:   Grace Hall, Acting Editor

Brief Summary

Grace Hall, as the head reporter of the World Chronicle, is the editor when Donald Stern is away.  Stern is in South Korea for weeks, due to a Shingon Buddhist soul gone awry.  Grace naïvely assumes a laissez-faire attitude toward her editorial duties.  Make this issue of the World Chronicle your own, she tells the reporters.  Write the stories you want to write, she says.  By the end of the episode Grace realizes the importance of running a tight ship.

Tucker Burns and Wes Freewald investigate a story about possible poltergeist activity at a house at 15 Villard Street, Riverdale, New York.  The young couple, both physical fitness enthusiasts, fled the house on the morning of their second day in that house.  Exercise equipment flew through the air and crashed into walls in the home gymnasium, and the young bride suffered steam burns in the kitchen.

Tucker and Wes visit the house the first time.  While they are there, someone else in the house orders three large pizzas.  Tucker pays for the pizzas, which explode, spraying marinara sauce in the kitchen.  Tucker and Wes also discover that a television set will not stay off and will stay tuned to a cooking show.  They follow sounds to the basement, where they see ghosts of dead fat people in bath robes.  Our heroes flee the scene, but one spirit, that of Royce Bickenberg, follows Wes for much of the episode.

Until ten year prior (1991), the house was the site of a weight loss clinic.  Dr. Emmanuel Fickas closed the clinic after some patients died in the steam room.  He was not responsible, he claimed; an angry patient, Royce Bickenberg, was.  Royce’s parents, who sent him to the clinic against his will, have accepted Dr. Fickas’s word for a decade.

Grace Hall, under pressure to meet the publication deadline for the upcoming issue, publishes the story Tucker has.  She changes the headline on the cover story to, “FAT PHANTASMS FRIGHTEN!”  She also agrees to publish the second part in the next issue.  Tucker and Wes return to the former weight loss clinic.  They follow clues, find a key and the metal lock box to which it goes.  They discover Royce’s journal, which details the cruelty of Dr. Fickas.  He made Nurse Ratched look like Albert Schweitzer.  Fickas also locked some patients into the steam room and left them, causing their deaths.

Fickas tries to maintain his secret by locking Tucker and Wes in the steam room in the basement.  The ghost of Royce Bickenberg helps them escape, however.  In the meantime, the other spirits try to kill Dr. Fickas in the kitchen.  However, Wes and Tucker dissuade them from revenge.  The refrigerator door opens, a bright light shines, and the ghosts walk into the light.

Dr. Fickas goes to jail and Tucker gets the second consecutive cover story.  Grace assigns Ruby to edit the next issue.  Ruby is up to the challenge, obviously.  And Donald Stern will return in four days.

Above:  The Ghost of Royce Bickenberg

Character Beats

Wes Freewald, formerly obese, feels sympathy for fat people and for the spirit of Royce Bickenberg, in particular.

Ruby Rydell is a very organized person.  Grace Hall is not.

Great Line

Wes Freewald, speaking of the wrecked home gymnasium:  “Damn!  This is uglier than Billy Bob’s and Angelina Jolie’s bedroom.”

Above:  Dr. Emmanuel Fickas

In-Universe

This episode occurs in July 2001.

Ruby Rydell cannot read Donald Stern psychically.

Donald Stern has Ruby Rydell enhance the predictions in the horoscope each week.

Vinegar has cured a woman’s cancer.

Extraterrestrials influenced the presidential recount in Florida in 2000.

There are cannibalistic monkeys in the Bronx Zoo.

There is an extraterrestrial hot dog vendor somewhere.

Above:  Grace Hall, Head Reporter

Comments

In the real world, there is no such address as 15 Villard Street, Riverdale, New York.  There is, however, a house at 15 Villard Avenue, Riverdale, New York.  (Thank you, Google Earth!)

The Chronicle, set in the metropolitan New York City area, filmed in San Diego, California, as well as in Vancouver, British Columbia.

This is one of the more serious episodes.  As such, it has fewer funny lines to add to my “Great Lines” section.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 5, 2020 COMMON ERA

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