The story goes like this:
John Rhys-Davies is drunk. He is over-enjoying himself at a FOX sponsored party. He makes rude and embarrassing jokes at a FOX employee. People laugh, the employee is furious. John Rhys-Davies likely doesn’t remember.
Years later, the employee has climbed the ladder, and is now in charge of a huge swath of FOX’s programming. He looks over the list of programs he’s got power over, and who stars on these shows. He smiles, and makes a phone call. The new Executive Producer of a little show called Sliders took the call, and was amenable to the executive’s ideas.
He looked through the stack of rejected story ideas, marked with the stamp of “who cares?” He found an idea for a two-parter, written by John-Rhys Davies himself. He remembers overhearing a conversation where John extolled the virtues of his script— the ‘return to form,’ the ‘course correction’ that his story would provide.
The Producer chuckles. “Perfect.”
Mouths agape, the cast reads through the script. They’d thought they’d seen some stretches of disbelief before, but this was something else entirely. John Rhys-Davies, as usual, was quite vocal with his disdain for the material.
John Rhys-Davies’ agent receives a phone call. “John,” he says. “Someone on the show is going to be fired soon. I’m not sure who it is.”
John makes plans. He knows who’s getting the axe.
“Jerry, I’ve heard a rumor they’re going to replace one of the cast, and I’ve reason to believe it may be you,” John says. “You’re not famous enough for the show, not a big enough draw.”
“Cleavant, I’ve heard a rumor they’re going to replace one of the cast, and I’ve reason to believe it may be you,” John says. “The writers just don’t know what to do with your character, and they’re just about ready to give up.”
“Sabrina, I’ve heard a rumor they’re going to replace one of the cast, and I’ve reason to believe it may be you,” John says. “Pig-headed as it may be, the producers just don’t think you have enough sex appeal to draw enough viewers.”
All through the shoot the cast had felt tense. John’s rumors, told in private in their trailers, had cast a malaise over the set. Sabrina locked herself in her trailer until they swore she wouldn’t get canned.
They sat together, laughing, happy to be done with such an obvious turkey of an episode. A producer came up to the team, chuckling to himself. He butted his way through the group. “Hey, John. You know that two-parter you’re working on?”
“Well, we’re going to kill your character in it.”
Obviously, a SUPER HUGE THANK YOU to all my amazing cartoonist friends who took the time out of their lives to watch this incredibly awful piece of shit episode. For most of them, it was the first episode they’d ever seen— don’t worry, I told them to go watch “Eggheads.” Thank you thank you thank you. I am so lucky to have friends like these talented goofbags. Love on ya!
But seriously, go check out their work. It’s all very, very good.
Anyways, if you were really hoping I was going to to a ‘traditional’ post about this episode, I did a small write-up here, on my Tumblr. I mention it there, but the reason I decided to do the post this way (other than the fact that it’s awesome) is because I think enough has been said, critically, about this episode. What could I say other than “yeah, they’re right, this blows.” It’s actually literally impossible to give a redemptive reading of this episode— so why not have some fun with it?
Next Week: You remind me of the babe. What babe? The babe with the power. What power? The power of the voodoo. Who do? You do. Do what? Remind me of the whatever (The Last of Eden).