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1983

Smiles

In the Children’s Department, Jodie and Muffy are playing a game of pattycake and laughing as Jeff looks on.  Meanwhile, Sam is walking through, though in a far less jovial mood, muttering, “Oh, dear, dear, dear, dear,” to himself.  Everyone notices Sam’s mood, and Jodie inquires about what is going on.  Sam responds that nothing much is going on, and then goes back to muttering “Oh, dear.”

Muffy says, “Oh, something’s very wrong, I fear.  Sam keeps saying, ‘Oh, dear, oh, dear’!”

“If you’ve got a problem, Sam, we’d be glad to help,” offers Jeff.

“Oh, it’s just that an old friend of mine’s coming to visit tonight,” explains Sam.  While Jodie and Jeff are initially excited to meet one of Sam’s friends, Sam continues, explaining, “Oh, I don’t think you know Sourpuss Sal!”

“Who?” asks Jeff.

“Sourpuss Sal,” explains Sam.  “That’s my friend’s name.  And she’s earned it, too, you’d better believe it.”

Jodie asks, “How did she ever earn a name like ‘Sourpuss Sal’?”

Sam continues, “Oh, by not smiling in twenty years.  That’s how.”

“Oh, hasn’t smiled in twenty years?  That could bring a mouse to tears!” remarks Muffy.

Jeff is a bit shocked.  “Boy, she must have had something pretty awful happen to her.”

“Oh, no, Jeff,” says Sam, “that’s just the way Sal is, I guess.”

Jodie initially believes that Sam is exaggerating, but Sam insists that he is telling the truth, even pulling out a letter from Sal.  Jodie reads the letter, which says, “Dear Sam, how would you like to see my scowling face next week?  I’ve got nothing better to do, so I thought I’d visit you.  Your friend, Sourpuss Sal.  P.S. It’s been twenty years since the last time I smiled.  I’d celebrate, but you know how I hate parties.”  Jeff, Jodie, and Muffy are quite surprised by the contents of the letter.

Muffy says, “Well, your sourpuss friend sounds very odd to me.  I think I’ll find another place to be!” and begins to walk off, when Jodie encourages her to stay to help Sam.  Sam expresses doubt about how much help they could be, but Jodie is undaunted, as she thinks that they can help make Sal smile.

“That sounds like fun!” adds Jeff.

Sam finally acquiesces, warning them, “All right, but you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into!  Believe me, Sal’s an expert frowner!”

Jodie reminds Sam that a smile is just a frown upside down, and begins to sing about the way that a smile will cheer the mood.  When the song is over, Sam is still not entirely convinced, telling her, “Well, that’s a mighty nice thought, Jodie, but I’m afraid you’re not going to get very far with old Sal.”

“Well, it doesn’t hurt to try!” says Jeff.

“Try we will, and try we must, and so I say, it’s smile or bust!” adds Muffy.

Sam agrees, and then suggests to Jodie that they do some of the jokes that they dug up in his room.  Then they hear the night buzzer, which indicates that Sal has arrived.  Sam excuses himself to let her in.

After a quiz, Sam is in the Children’s Department, showing Sourpuss Sal around.  When Sam asks what Sal thinks, she remarks, “I don’t know, Sam.  It all looks so… childish!”

“Uh, yeah… yeah, funny thing about children’s departments, isn’t it, um…” Sam says, uncomfortably.  Then, spotting Jeff and Jodie, quickly changes the subject, saying, “Oh, Sal, I’d like you to meet some friends of mine,” and then introduces Sal to them.

“Hi, Sal,” says Jodie, shaking Sal’s hand, “I’m really pleased to meet you.”

“Sure you are!” Sal says, in a sarcastic tone.

Sam then introduces Jeff, who asks her, “Is it true you haven’t smiled in twenty years?”

Sal replies, “Twenty years, two months, fifteen days, three hours, and,” looking at her watch, “forty-eight minutes.”  When Jodie expresses hope that Sal finds something to smile about, Sal is doubtful.  “Don’t bother trying, honey.  I think I’d crack my face if I tried after all these years.  It’s just the way I am, I guess!”

Sam explains to Sal that he tried to tell them, and then realizes that Muffy is not there.  As he starts calling for Muffy, we hear Muffy doing a Tarzan-style yell, and then swings in on a rope while wearing a superhero outfit, hitting Sam in the face and knocking him down in the process.  Jeff asks if Sam is okay, to which Sam remarks, “Anyone get the number of that truck!”

Muffy gets up next to Sam, exclaiming, with a laugh, “You never expect it, you never suspect it, but sure enough, it’s Super Muff!”  She continues, “Hey, Super Muffy eats cheese with the greatest of ease!  I jump high, but not over a house.  I can run far, but not fast as a car.  I’m super… but I’m still just a mouse!”

Jeff and Jodie love it, and applaud.  Sal, however, is undaunted.

“Hey, if you’re Sam’s old pal, you’re mine, too, Sal!” adds Muffy.

“Everything the mouse says rhymes!” says Sal, with a puzzled look.  Sam explains that Muffy always talks like that.  “It’s very strange, Sam,” she says.”

“Hey,” interjects Muffy, “it may seem very strange to you, but strange or not, it’s very true!”

“Hey, Sam, speaking of strange,” says Jodie, “did you hear the one about the patient who laughed all the way home from his operation?”

Sam replies, “No, Jodie, tell me, why did the patient laugh all the way home from his operation?”

“Because the doctor left him in stitches!” she says, much to the amusement of everyone, except Sal.

Sam tells another joke: “Hey, Jodie, do you know what happened when I left my bathtub tap running all night long?”

“No, what happened, Sam?” Jodie asks.

“Water mess I made!” says Sam, much to the laughter of everyone – except Sal.

Jeff remarks, “They should be on TV, don’t you think, Sal?”

Sal disagrees.  “I don’t watch TV as a rule.”

Jodie then suggests that the real star is Jeff, mentioning how good of a dancer he is.  Sam joins in, suggesting that he dazzle her with his fancy footwork.  Jeff initially resists, but then relents.  The dance that he does depicts a famous ballet dancer who just came back from a week of camping, and is covered in itchy mosquito bites.  The dance consists of a few ballet moves, followed by frantic scratching motions.  Jodie, Sam, and Muffy are amused as Jeff takes his bow at the end of the dance, but Sal is not amused.

Sam says to Sal, “Yes, sir, talk about talent, Sal, this boy sure has it, huh?”

“Oh, he’s got it, all right,” replies Sal.  “And whatever it is, he’s giving it to me!” as she begins to itch herself.

Next, we see the Mime Lady acting silly.  TXL remarks that something funny is going on, and wonders what it is.  The Mime Lady motions to us, and TXL suggests that the Mime wants us to see for ourselves.  We soon see that the Mime Lady is laughing at her reflection in a curved mirror.  TXL laughs right along with her at what she sees.

In the Computer Room, Sam is discussing with TXL about what has happened, and how they can’t get Sal to laugh.  “Grumpy gorillas!  I told the others it was impossible!”

“It does seem somewhat unusual,” comments TXL.  “But perhaps it just isn’t the right time for your friend to smile.”

“What do you mean by that?” asks Sam.

“Well, smiling and laughing are nice, but there are times when one shouldn’t laugh,” explains TXL.

Sam disagrees.  “Hey, what are you talking about?  Smiling and laughing are what life’s all about!”

But TXL is not finished yet, and continues, “Perhaps I could give you some examples of what I mean.”  She displays an illustration of a person slipping on a banana peel, clearly by accident.  She indicates that while it may look amusing, if you think about it, you probably should not laugh at it.  Sam agrees, because someone could get hurt.  TXL then shows an illustration of a person dressed as a clown on rollerskates, to Sam’s amusement.  She explains that it’s perfectly fine to laugh at this picture, asking Sam if he knows why.  Sam knows why: the clown is intentionally falling down for entertainment purposes.

Sam understands.  “So it’s okay to laugh at someone who wants you to laugh, but you shouldn’t laugh when someone might get hurt, or you might hurt their feelings.”

“Precisely,” says TXL.  “You know, Mr. Crenshaw, you’re very smart.”

Sam is flattered.  “Oh, well… thanks, TX!”

“For a human, that is,” adds TXL, much to Sam’s surprise and then amusement.

Back in the Children’s Department, Jodie is showing Sal that the easiest way to get to the Computer Room is though the doorway.

“Boy,” says Sal, “it sure is dull in here!  What do you do for excitement?”  Jodie tells her that sometimes they tell each other riddles and jokes.  After she asks Sal if she wants to hear one, Sal replies, “If I have to!”

Jodie asks her, “What time is it when an elephant sits on your fence?”

“I haven’t a clue!” answers Sal.

“Time to get a new fence!” says Jodie, with a laugh.

Sal is unamused.  “I don’t understand,” she says.  “What was the elephant doing on my fence in the first place?”  Jodie explains that it’s a joke, to which Sal replies, “I guess that’s why I don’t know any!” and then leaves to go find Sam.

“Boy,” Jodie says to us, “I don’t think we’re ever going to make Sal laugh!”

“Well, we’ll just have to use our brain, and try, and try, and try again!” says Muffy.

“Yeah, I guess you’re right, Muffy,” says Jodie.  “After all, we did tell Sam we’d make her smile, didn’t we?”  Muffy then suggests that they tickle her.  Jodie dismisses it as being silly, but, silly or not, Muffy reminds her that it is a thought.  “You know what I like best about you, Muffy?  You’re just as silly as I am, and so when we’re together, we can do all kinds of silly things, and we don’t have to care what anybody thinks!”

Muffy agrees.  “We have more fun than everyone!”

“Exactly!” says Jodie, and the two begin to sing about how much fun they have when they are silly together.  As they finish, Sal returns to the Children’s Department.  Jodie greets her when they see her.  “Oh, hi, Sal, how are you feeling?”

“Oh, about the same as I was two minutes ago!  But I can’t find Sam.  Have you seen him?”

Jodie suggests that she try the other way, pointing away from the counter.  As Sal leaves, Jodie quickly looks at Muffy, and then follows Sal, preparing to tickle her.  Sal notices, crosses her arms, and says to Jodie, “I wouldn’t bother trying to tickle me.  I’m NOT ticklish!”  Sal walks away, and Jodie and Muffy give each other defeated looks.

Next, Wendy Chong tells the story of Ollie the Owl.  Ollie feared the night, which was a problem because owls sleep during the day, and are active at night.  Ollie believed that he would not be so fearful if he had a friend.  The spirit of the night arrives and announces that he will grant Ollie’s wish, and make sure that he is never lonely or scared again, if Ollie will give him one of his feathers.  The next night, Ollie noticed something different, and then the spirit returns, and gives him back his feather.  He explains that the man in the moon is smiling at him, because he tickled him on the nose with Ollie’s feather.  Then the spirit disappars.  Ever since then, the man in the moon has smiled down on everyone, all because of Ollie.

We then see Sharon, Lois, and Bram perform “I Am Slowly Going Crazy”.

Back in the Children’s Department, Jeff tells us, “Oh, I hope I see Sal again!  Jodie just told me this great knock-knock joke.  I just know it will make her laugh!”

Sal then walks in, asking if he’s seen Sam.

Jeff replies, “No, Sal, but… knock knock.”

“Huh?” says Sal, confused.

“Well, now, you’re supposed to say, ‘Who’s there?’.”

“Why?” asks Sal.

“Otherwise, I won’t be able to finish,” explains Jeff.

“Okay, who’s there?” asks Sal.

“Catcher.”

“Oh,” says Sal, nodding.

“Now you’re supposed to say, ‘Catcher who?’,” explains Jeff.

“All right,” says Sal, “Catcher who?”

Jeff quickly fires back, “Gesundheit!” and starts laughing.

“Catcher Gesundheit,” says Sal, unamused.  “Never heard of him!”

Jeff is incredulous.  “Sal, I just can’t believe you haven’t smiled for twenty years!”

“Well, I guess I just never saw anything to smile about!” replies Sal.

“Nothing?” asks Jeff, incredulously.  Sal shakes her head.  “I see things every minute of the day.  I can’t get through a whole day without smiling.  Why, there are so many reasons to smile, Sal!  They’re all out there.  All you have to do it see it!”  Jeff then sings about all of the things that make him smile, including the stars, the moon, the feeling of coming to life every night, breezes, birds, the feeling of relief after a sneeze, Muffy’s rhyming sentences, Jodie’s willingness to help, Sam’s mustache, a cozy bed, gingerbread, the feeling of his hat on his head, fresh air, new clothes, and the knowledge that he has friends who care.

Sal still hasn’t smiled, and concludes that she’s just different than everyone else.  She then leaves to find Sam.  Jeff appears defeated.

Next, we see the Mime Lady, who is laughing hysterically.  When TXL asks the Mime to tell us what she is laughing about, the Mime refuses.  We then see that the Mime is tickling her feet with a peacock feather, and is laughing because of that.  Then the Mime looks up, and walks towards us.  TXL questions what she is doing, and then the Mime begins tickling TXL, much to everyone’s laughter.

In the Children’s Department, Muffy, Jodie, and Jeff all look quite defeated, as none of them have been able to make Sal smile.  Jeff asks where Sal is, and Jodie explains that Sam is taking her on a tour of the store.  “Oh, poor Sam,” says Jeff.  “We promised him we’d make Sal smile.”

“You know, I feel as though we’ve failed our Sam,” laments Muffy.  “Oh, what a sad little mouse I am.”

“Oh, Muffy, you shouldn’t feel like that,” says Jodie.  “I mean, we only promised Sam that we’d do our best, and nobody could have tried harder than we did.”

Jeff agrees.  “We shouldn’t get sad about it.  Sam’s right.  Sal’s a professional frowner!”

Jodie agrees as well.  “Yep!  There is just no way that we are going to turn that frown into a smile!”

Then Jeff has an idea.  They all huddle together as Jeff explains the idea.

Meanwhile, we see the Mime Lady sitting and smiling.  TXL comments on the Mime’s big smile.  When TXL asks the Mime what she’s smiling about, she shrugs her shoulders.  As it turns out, the Mime is just smiling because she is happy.

Sam and Sal return to the Children’s Department as they finish their tour of the store.  When Sam asks Sal what she thinks, Sal says, “Well, it’s nice, if you like department stores!”

Sam, after chuckling uncomfortably, remarks to himself, “Oh, boy, sure wish this night was over!”

“What was that, Sam?” asks Sal.

Sam quickly backtracks.  “Oh, I said, I… ‘I hope this dish is all right with Rover!’  I wonder where the others are.”

“We’re over here, Sam!” shouts Jodie.

Jeff and Jodie are standing on their heads, much to Sam’s surprise.  When Sam questions it, Jeff explains, “Well, you see, we just figured, to turn Sal’s frown upside down, well, we’d turn ourselves upside down.”

Jodie adds, “Yeah!  It was Jeff’s idea, so all three of us decided to try it.”

When Sam questions where Muffy is, Muffy replies from behind the counter, “Oh, you can’t see me, but I can see you!  I’m over here, and upside down, too!”

At this sight, Sal begins to smile and laugh.  Jeff remarks, “Jodie, do you see what I see?”

“Yeah, says Jodie, “the corners of Sal’s mouth are still turned down.”

“No, but you know what that must mean?” asks Jeff.

Sam quickly tells them all to turn around before they miss “the only smile Sal’s managed in over twenty years!”

When Sam notes that Sal is also laughing, she remarks, “I can’t help it, Sam!  That’s the silliest thing I’ve seen in my whole life!”  When Jodie asks Sal how it feels to smile again, she replies, “Not bad!  I think I may try it again in a year or so.”

Everyone, including Sal, wearing a big smile, then sings about how a smile is just a frown upside down.


Quizzes

  • Three faces.  Do you notice anything different about them?  (Two faces are smiling, and one is frowning.)  TXL initially corrects the difference by turning the smiles upside down, but then puts the smiles back, determining that it might be a better idea to turn the frown upside down.
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