Monday, August 24, 2009

Eerie, Indiana

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Not to be confused with Gerry, Indiana, from The Music Man. Instead, Eerie was a place very aptly named, since the inhabitants of the small town were constantly awkward and faced very bizarre situations.

And I mean BIZARRE!

Clever dogs plotting world domination, tupperware being used to store human remains, a camcorder that sucks in people and pops out mummies, and a girl who can change the world based on what she draws are just for starters. There's a town Corn club instead of the typical Eagles, Elk, Moose, or even Water Buffalo. But I think the cake is taken when the town has a party to appease a tornado. There was even a script that was never filmed where pirates were in search of treasure in the main character's house.

Now, speaking of characters... that is actually the probable cause as to why the show only ever fledged along. Marshall, originally from New Jersey, is intelligent (yet arrogant) and convinced that there's something wrong with every part of the town. [Marshall is kind of a punk, too. He doesn't want to conform to the Indiana tradition of not keeping daylight savings time, so he sets his watch differently anyway... no wonder he ended up running into a couple of killers!] Simon, apparently the only other "normal" kid around, is glad that Marshall has arrived... apparently he was too "weird" (read: normal) to have any other friends. (My jury is still out on the reality of a friendship between a ten-year-old and a thirteen-year-old.) Marshall's father (Edgar) is somewhat of a genius... interning at the Smithsonian straight out of high school, doing his undergrad in archaeology and his grad work in physics (at MIT on a NASA fellowship, no surprise). His mom is a party planner, and his sister (Syndi) is a teenager longing to become a reporter. Apparently, since the show wasn't doing the best, the addition of Jason Marsden as "Dash-X" was meant to re-organize the show into making him the protagonist. That obviously didn't work, since he only stuck around for seven episodes, then the show ended anyway.

Now, about the show ending... it did have a cult following to some extent, but the overall viewership wasn't the greatest. NBC ran the first ten episodes as a regular season. Then there was a hiatus (not uncommon for the Dec-Feb time of year) , and the next eight episodes were shown in strange intervals. The final episode to air (but not to be filmed, as it chronologically takes place before the Dash-X episodes) wasn't shown until December 1993 - a very long time since the previous episode (April 1992) and since the series began (September 1991). But let's be serious... NBC thought that the show was stuck without a target audience... too childish for adults and too beyond young children. We had yet to have similar kids' hits like Goosebumps. After adults came to shows like X-Files and the Saturday night teen-hit Are You Afraid of the Dark came to fruition, Eerie Indiana: The Other Dimension was created. It lasted just 15 episodes in the Spring of 1998. Now, "spin-off" isn't the best term... it's new characters of similar ages and names in another town called Eerie, in another Indiana... just in a different universe. A scene from an original episode was modified to make it look like Marshall and Simon were talking through the television to Mitchell and Stanley. No wonder it didn't last.

Click over here
to watch quite a few episodes on YouTube!
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