Sunday, April 14, 2013

Book and Animal episodes


While some themes and backdrops for Perry episodes are plentiful, other themes don’t seem to figure in as often. Business-related episodes are among the largest categories of all, and I’m perfectly happy with that, as I find corporate things very interesting.

However, while watching The Bogus Books last night, it occurred to me that there’s really very few episodes that have anything to do with books. One might think that since books and reading are so popular (and probably were so even more in the past!), there would have been more book-related Perry episodes. But after looking through an episode guide and thinking on the plots, I couldn’t come up with many.

Season 1 has The Sun-Bather’s Diary, where the titular object is a book of sorts and important to the plot. (And there’s various other episodes where diaries are important, such as The Black-Eyed Blonde.) Also, the Holy Bible is a vital piece of the puzzle in The Empty Tin.

A bookstore is a prominent location in season 7’s The Fifty-Millionth Frenchman. And there’s the books Tobin Wade and the gym teacher are swiping in The Decadent Dean. A book is also an important clue in The Sleepy Slayer.

I thought maybe season 4’s The Envious Editor could count as an honorary entry, since it’s about the publishing world (albeit magazines and not books). But that’s really reaching.

So in the end, The Bogus Books really is the only episode where published books are extremely important all the way through. Other than it, I’d say that The Empty Tin is the main book-related episode.

A lot of those are among my favorite episodes. But it’s kind of surprising to realize there’s so few episodes where books are main plot points.

I also started musing on animal-related episodes. As someone on a Perry website has observed, there’s really quite a few titles that involve animals of some sort. And some other episodes have animals in them that don’t feature into the titles.

I think one of the animals most widely represented in episodes is the horse. Horses are important as early as season 1, with The Fan-Dancer’s Horse. Over the course of the series, we also ended up with The Jilted Jockey, The Startled Stallion, The Red Riding Boots, The Fickle Filly, The Ice-Cold Hands, and even a toy horse in The Polka-Dot Pony.

Birds are also quite important. I once made a notation that canaries seem to pop up in awesome episodes. I love both The Lame Canary and The Reluctant Model. There’s also a canary in The Garrulous Go-Between, however, which isn’t a particular favorite of mine. (And the poor canary!) Other bird species represented include the parrot (The Perjured Parrot), the duck (The Drowning Duck), and what I thought was a myna, but which I now have no idea of the species (The Laughing Lady).

Cats appear in four episodes, but are only vital to the plot in two (The Caretaker’s Cat and The Careless Kitten). Still, I find The Silent Partner and The Golden Fraud much more exciting because of the cats! And if you want to get technical and also include big cats, there’s The Clumsy Clown, The Cowardly Lion, and The Crippled Cougar.

Dogs are in The Howling Dog, The Deadly Toy (although the dog’s scene is usually cut in it), The Golden Oranges, The Frightened Fisherman, and The Impetuous Imp. There’s also the guard dogs in The Calendar Girl. And, if we’re also including inanimate dogs, we can’t forget The Weary Watchdog.

Animals lesser highlighted on Perry (or other shows, for that matter) include burros (The Bashful Burro), apes (The Grinning Gorilla), and even fish (The Glittering Goldfish).

I’m happy that my favorite animals, cats and fish, are both represented. And I’m happy that the fish get an episode where their importance doesn’t have anything to do with fishing!

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