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1982

Homes

Jodie is in the children's department, setting up a doll house display. "Oh give me a home," she sings. Suddenly Muffy rushes by. Jodie saw something but isn't sure what it is, so she keeps working, "where the buffalo roam," she sings. Again, Muffy whizzes by. Finally Jodie sees her, and Muffy tells Jodie she has to hide. She wants to hide in the doll house, but Jodie says she doesn't think she'd fit inside. So she hides behind it.

Before Jodie can get back to work, Jeff comes in looking for Muffy. They're playing hide and seek. Jeff grabs the dollhouse and opens it up, thinking Muffy might be inside.

"This doll house happens to be part of my display for today's special!" Jodie tells Jeff.

"Today's special is houses?" Jeff asks. Jodie says yes, and that houses are where people live.

"I don't want to know where people live," says Jeff, "I wanna know where a little mouse is hiding." Finally, he decides to give up. "Muffy come out! Ally ally infree! Where are you?" he cries.

Muffy pops out from behind the house.

"Look," says Jodie, "you two have got a whole store to play hide-and-go-seek in, but I've got work to do right here. So, bye bye!"

"Just before we say goodbye," Muffy says, "let's give this little quiz a try."

A shape appears on the screen. It is a triangle, TXL tells us. Next she shows us a picture. It is a picture of a house. It is a sunny day and two children are playing ball in front, right next to a wading pool and a big tree. Where is there a triangle in this picture? TXL asks. We soon see that the roof of the house is a big triangle.

Back in the children's department, Jeff asks if he and Muffy can stay and help.

"Well, all right, but no more hide and seek O.K.? I've got lots of work to do."

"Jodie you can count on us," says Muffy, we won't give you any fuss."

Just then Sam comes running in, panting "Home free! Home free!"

Jeff tells Sam the game is over because Jodie has to finish her display.

Watching Jodie put up the dollhouse display makes Jeff wonder what people do when they're at home.

He asks Sam, who answers in song, describing how he likes to get comfortable, relax, watch TV and dunk a donut in his tea. He concludes by singing, "I may ramble I may roam, but I feel best when I'm at home!"

Next, Jeff asks Muffy to describe what she does at home. She sings of eating cheese, pounding on her piano keys, and if she's tired, she tucks herself right into bed.

"I may ramble I may roam, but I feel best when I'm at home!"

Next Jeff asks Jodie. Naturally, busy Jodie sings about her chores, housework and gardening to keep her place neat for when she has company.

"I may ramble, I may roam, but I feel best when I'm at home!" she sings.

Jeff thinks it all sounds great. "I wish I had a home." he says.

Now we have another quiz. It's the same picture we found the triangle in, but this time we're looking for a circle. We find not one but three. The sun in the sky, the big round tree, and the round wading pool.

After the quiz, Jeff announces, "Goodbye everyone!"

"Where are you going Jeff?" asks Jodie.

"Was the quiz too hard for you Jeff?" Sam asks.

Jeff explains that since everyone has a home except for him, even those of us watching, he wants to leave the store and find a home of his own. Jodie reminds him that he can't leave the store without becoming a mannequin.

"Who says so?" Jeff asks.

"Waldo the Magnificent." answers Sam.

"You know the chap, he made your cap!" Muffy explains.

Jeff reaches up, "You mean my magic hat!" he says, as he lifts it off his head. He freezes instantly, becoming a mannequin.

They put the hat back on, and say the magic words to bring him back to life. Then, Sam says he thinks Waldo is performing in the area. He thinks maybe, if they can find him, Waldo could change the spell so that Jeff can leave the store. Jeff is thrilled. He runs off to pack his things. Jodie, Muffy and Sam are dismayed at the thought of Jeff leaving.

Next we see that three model apartment buildings the mime lady has on a table. Which one is the tallest? It is the one in the middle. But then the mime lady reaches over and squashes it like an accordion. Now the one on the right is the tallest. She squashes that one, too. Then with a look of mischief, she squashes the final one. She finds this highly amusing, and laughs with glee as she points to the three flattened buildings.

In the computer room, Sam comes in quickly to talk to TXL. "Boy oh boy, you won't believe what happened!"

"Mr. Crenshaw, how many times must I tell you. I am not a boy, I am a TXL Series 4 computer."

"I know, I know!" says Sam. He tells her that Jeff wants to leave the store to find a home of his own.

"What type of residence does he intend to inhabit?" TXL asks.

"What?" asks Sam.

"Where's he going to live?" TXL decides to help by showing a wide variety of homes, starting with her "home," the factory where she was made. She shows him a mobile home, an apartment building, a mansion, a houseboat, and "just a good old house." Sam tries to speak, but TXL is not finished. She shows him some teepees, a log cabin, a palace and a treehouse.

Sam likes the homes just fine, but he's hoping that Jeff stays. TXL says she hopes so too.

Jeff however, is still thinking about leaving. He rushes into the children's department to show Jodie where he's decided to live. Since Jodie's not around, he shows us the picture in his "What Is It?" book. It is a castle. There's also a picture of a throne room and a royal court. Jeff imagines himself there as king, with Jodie as queen, Muffy as the jester, and Sam as his knight.

"Queen Jodie, tell me truly is not this castle a marvelous home?"

"Oh, it certainly is, King Jeff. It may be a little chilly now and then but . . ."

"Chilly? Why should it be chilly? Turn on the furnace!"

Queen Jodie laughs fondly. "Now, King Jeff, furnaces haven't been invented yet!"

King Jeff wonders what they'll do in the wintertime without a furnace. Queen Jodie says they'll just shiver a little, but no one will see them here in the dark.

"The dark? What dark? Turn on the light!"

Queen Jodie laughs heartily. She tells him lights haven't been invented yet and that electricity hasn't been discovered.

Muffy the jester comes in and tells them a riddle. "Higher than a mouse, higher than a house, higher than a tree, what could that be?" The king and queen are stumped. "A star by far!" answers the jester.

Next someone rushes into the room in a complete suit of honor. "It is I, King Jeff, your royal knight Sir Samuel!" he cries, accidentally dropping the face plate of his helmet. "Your majesty, the enemy is attacking!" He says, holding up the face plate, "And we need you to lead the army and to die a glorious death!" He gestures emphatically and the face plate falls back over his face with a clank.

King Jeff begins to doubt that the castle is such a good home after all. "I wish I was back at the store," he says, "I wish I was back at the store!"

He is still saying it when Jodie comes along and takes a look at the picture in his book. "What's in the book?" she says, "Wow! Planning to live in a castle?"

"Live in a castle?" Jeff says, "are you kidding? They are dark, they are cold, they are dangerous. I would never live in a castle!" and off he goes.

Jodie wonders at his fervor, and can only shrug.

In her mouse hole, Muffy is reading a book called "Better Holes and Gardens." She decides to look there for a home for Jeff. Meantime, she decides to use the pictures inside for a quiz. On the left of the page, we see a bear, a fish and a bird. On the right we see a cave, a tree and and a lake. Which animal belongs where? The bear belongs in the cave, the fish in the lake, and the bird up in a nest in the tree. Now Muffy is ready to go off and show the book to Jeff.

Meanwhile, in the children's department, Sam has found Waldo the magnificent. He is performing and they've left a message for him to call them when he is done. Muffy comes in and shows him her book, but a quick look at it reveals a problem. They're all animal homes! "I want to live in a people home!" He tells them of his latest idea. He wants to live in a tent.

Jodie thinks he may change his mind after he hears the experience she and Sam had with a tent. His house had been painted and so he decided to sleep out into the yard until the smell of the paint went away. But they have nothing but trouble putting the tent up. Sam thinks the poles are for putting up a clothesline, and the rope is for tying up the box when they're finished. Somehow, they manage to get it up anyway, but then Jodie tries to stand and knocks the rope from the pole. Down it goes! But it is easily put up again, and they're done. Now it's time to start a fire, but neither of them has any matches. Sam claims to be able to rub two sticks together to start a fire, but has no success. The air is thick with bugs, Jodie even gets one in her mouth! Next, thunder begins to roar. Jodie suggests they pitch the tent in another place. Soon, Sam is snug in his tent. No bugs, no wind, not too hot, not too cold, and it's perfectly dry. That's because it's in the store in the middle of the children's department!

Jeff decides that maybe a tent isn't the place for him, but he still wants a home of his own.

"A home of my own," he sings, "a place I can live in, a part of the world that's mine! A home of my own, I can't wait to give invitations to friends, oh, how fine! Come over for dinner, come over to play, come over for parties, come over and stay, a home of my own, a place I can live in, I dream of it every day."

Next Mark Carpenter reads a story about homes, The Country Mouse and the City Mouse. The city mouse comes to visit the country mouse, but is unimpressed with his hole-in-the-ground home, and his dinner of roots and corn. "You live no better than the ants!" the city mouse says, and invites the country mouse to his home, a fine mansion, with a big kitchen full of "flour and oatmeal, figs and cheese." The food is impressive, but every time they try to start eating, the house cat comes along and chases them away, interrupting their fine meal. The country mouse has soon had enough. "I may not have a big mansion or fine food that you do," he says, but when I'm back at my hole in the field, I can enjoy my dinner of roots and corn, in peace!"

In the computer room, Muffy and Sam are playing "I Spy." Muffy goes first. "I spy with my little eye something up above your tie!" It takes Sam a few guesses, but he soon guesses his mustache. Now it's Sam's turn: "I spy with my little eye, something that moves about!" Unfortunately, it soon becomes clear that that something is Sam's cat Penelope. Muffy makes a quick exit and Sam, for some reason, seems puzzled by her haste and calls out, "You'll miss the quiz!"

Muffy doesn't come back, but we still get the quiz. TXL asks, where does this cow live? And she shows three pictures. A cage? A barn? Or an apartment? Of course, the answer it is the barn, but TXL says, "wouldn't it be silly now to have a cow in an apartment?" and she shows a picture of a cow sitting in an easy chair, wearing glasses and reading the newspaper.

Meanwhile Jeff is still searching his "What Is It Book" to find a home. He comes off the elevator and shows it to us: An igloo. Since he likes winter and snow, he thinks this will be a fine home for him.

In his imagination, he is in the igloo, but it's a bit cold. He decides to warm up with some soup. Unfortunately, the soup is frozen solid! Next he turns to his hot chocolate which has also frozen solid. He decides to check the weather outside. Of course it's freezing, and a blistering wind blows right into his face. This is not what he'd hoped for. And he's all alone. He wishes he had someone to talk to. Then he hears Sam calling. "Sam! I'm over here!" he cries, and comes back to reality to find Sam calling him, grabbing him by the arm, and pulling him down the hall.

In the children's department, Jodie has beautifully furnished the dollhouse for the display.

"It really is a lovely house. But where's the mouse hole for the mouse?" Muffy says.

"Oh, Muffy!" laughs Jodie.

Just then Sam drags Jeff in. "Here he is!"

They have good news for him. Waldo the Magnificent has returned their call, and says that if Jeff calls him back, he'll change his spell so that he can go outside. The only problem is, he can't ever come back to the store, or the magic will wear off.

"Oh." says Jeff.

"A home of your own, just pick up the phone!" Muffy encourages.

"I'm not going!" Jeff says firmly. "I realized that a home is more than a building, you know, like a house, or a tent, or even an igloo. Home is where your friends are. People who love you, and whom you love. So. My home is right here with all of you." he turns to us, "and all of you. So I'm going to stay!"

"You'll stay?" says Muffy. "Hooray!" cry Muffy and Sam.

"That's wonderful!" says Jodie.

"A home of my own, a place I can live in," sings Jeff, "so here with my friends I'll stay!" He picks up Jodie's hand and the friends all come together in a group hug. "So here with his friends he'll stay!" sing Muffy, Jodie and Sam joyfully.


Quizzes:

  • See summary.

Nursery Rhyme:

  • There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.

Notes:

  • One of the main reasons Today's Special works so well is the sincerity that permeates Jeff Hyslop's portrayal of Jeff. There's no campiness, no pretense, not even a hint of condescension. Instead there's an honesty not often seen in adults playing childlike roles. This is particularly noticeable in this episode. For example, when Jeff sings, "A home of my own, a place I can live in, a part of the world that's mine," he reaches out into the air with a grasping gesture that poignantly demonstrates his longing. He plays Jeff from his heart, not just his head.
  • One thing unmentioned in this episode is rent. How would Jeff pay for a home of his own, anyway?
  • Evidently, Jeff considers that living in a castle involves time travel. Otherwise, why have lights and furnaces not been invented yet? It probably would involve time travel, too, since there are very few available castles to live in these days.
  • The scene of Sam and Muffy playing "I Spy" was first seen in 1981's Games.
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