This Week In Joe’s Basement, episode 29: Shooting Things

Air Dates: April 22, 29, 1991


The Mole responds to a Chicago New City feature story calling him “a lame gross out,” and when Joe opens his mail, trouble ensues.

The Reverend Squirmin’ Herman writes in to correct the tales of abuse purveyed by his son, King Zeke, in a letter read in Episode 27: Mark’s Basement.  “Am I being too harsh on Donald (King Zeke)? My other son, Hal the Looper, does crack, Joe!” he laments.

The game is afoot – Joe’s Basement forms a panel of experts to study Zeke’s letters to determine his true identity.  What does the handwriting tell us about his likely age?  Does the postmark give any clue as to whether he’s really from Planet Zarkum Frolinger?  And why THREE stamps?

A University of Chicago psychology professor, a psychic, a mailman, and a high school disciplinarian each weigh in.

PROF:  This is a sick person, Joe.  I hope he’s watching and that he’ll immediately seek treatment.

PSYCHIC: He’s a white male, older; he likes your show a great deal.

HIGH SCHOOL: Well, two weeks punishment is standard for most offenses within the discipline code.

MAIL CARRIER: Nothing odd about this.  In fact, there’s probably a few King Zekes working with me at the Post Office.

Science lecturer Mark Audrain narrates the segments, and then transforms into a giant insect.

In the second half of the show, Joe visits a shooting range just outside Chicago, and learns how to properly fire a gun.  He meets the storeowners and regulars, who expound on the success of “Ladies’ Nights” at the range and how universal gun ownership makes us all safer.

As counterpoint, John Harriman offers another chilling monologue (fictional), as a witness to a random schoolyard shooting.

Production Notes:

A classic episode.  While some episodes offer a great five-minute idea buried in twenty minutes of Joe munching on snack food, this one could barely be squeezed into a single show.  The crew would later visit another gun shop for a one-hour special.



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