Character actor Michael Shannon has been nominated for his second Oscar for his role in the 2016 thriller Nocturnal Animals. "No Small Parts" takes a look at some of the other characters he's played in the past.
After finishing his quantum algebra homework one night, or rather, letting the computer do all the work for him, Elroy is told he may watch ten minutes of TV before bedtime. Ten whole minutes. Thanks, Jane. Unfortunately his television viewing is interrupted by George tinkering with some old tools he'd come upon in an old tool box that had belonged to Great Great Grandfather Jetson. Old, primitive tools that went out with solar welders: a hammer, a wrench, a pair of pliers, and an old broom. Remember these items because they will have relevance later in our story. Appalled that Great Great Grandad had to do everything himself, Elroy is then hauled off to bed. For tomorrow, the family would be starting their vacation at Club Mellowstar. Everybody was guaranteed a good time at this exclusive resort...everyone except Astro and Orbitty. No pets allowed. The robot director made that bluntly clear. So after Astro and Elroy are shunned and Rosie is belittled, none of which were aptly defended by the rest of the family, George, Jane and Judy are lead away to engage in the activities designated for humans. Elroy is given a robot dog, who in no way fit the bill. Feeling miffed about Astro being locked up and that his family didn't seem to care, Elroy declared he would rescue his dog and run away. Just as he frees Astro from his cage, the evil robot director spots them and gives chase around the entire building. They quickly escape down a garbage chute, land in an ash can and through a weird series of loops and spills, wind up in the world's largest underground garbage dump. Elroy figures they're not in Club Mellowstar anymore. They're immediately spotted by a giant robot flashlight, working for the dump's ruler, the Wicked Wrench of the West (you read that right), so they run and the Wrench tosses evil gears at them...fortunately not everybody here is evil, for Elroy and Astro are soon rescued by three other robotic tools: a hammer, a broom and a pair of pliers. Broom and Pliers sound very much like Jane and Judy, respectively, but why doesn't the hammer sound like George? So after a series of bad tool-related puns, they explain how they were once useful, but were tossed aside to make room for newer, fancier robot tools. Elroy wants to weep for them, saying they're so nice and remind him of people he knows, probably because two of them sound like his mom and sister. Elroy explains his predicament, running away because his family didn't care, though through a brief vision on his watch, he sees his family freak out upon hearing of him gone missing. Recanting his beef, Elroy wants to go home, but the only one who can help him is the Saturn Trash Stasher, so they head off to see the mechanical wizard who lives in a giant steam-shovel.
Well, he denies help, tells them they're stuck and to deal with it. But wait, what if they exchanged favors? Elroy does something for him, and he does something for Elroy? The Trash Stasher agrees to the bargain, wanting him to bring him the Wicked Wrench. To do so, he supplies them with a magnet. So they set about their task. Astro subduing the robotic hose, and Judy, er, Pliers disabling the flashlight, and using its batteries, they wire the magnet to increase its charge, and land themselves a Wicked Wrench. Curses! So they bring her back to T.S. who turns out to be a fraud. He was once a run away much like Elroy, feeling neglected, unappreciated, so he went there and wound up becoming stuck. Looks like Elroy and Astro may be stuck there as well. All seems lost, until suddenly...Elroy wakes up! It had all been a dream. He was instantly greeted by his parents and sister, worried half to death. The evil robot director shows up to cause more trouble, but thanks to a deus ex machina (the primitive wrench), she's given an attitude adjustment and deems kids and dogs, as well as Orbittys are welcome at Camp Mellowstar. Because after all, there is no place like home.
Well, Elroy in Wonderland. It was more of a take on The Wizard of Oz. To be honest, this one isn't nearly as enjoyable as some other episodes. I'll just say it: it's depressing. From beginning to end, this episode is depressing, and that's odd considering The Jetsons is known for light-hearted hijinks. The prospect of Elroy and Astro never seeing their family again and lost in a dark, dreary underground dump forever is unsettling. I know everything turns out alright, and I know it's only a cartoon, but still. "Elroy in Wonderland" leaves me with a bad feeling every time I watch it. Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland, at times dark, did have light-hearted, happy moments. Here, there's none of that, just a bunch of forced tool puns, all groaners. Also, it still bugs me as to why the hammer doesn't talk like George. The broom and pliers had Jane and Judy's voices. Was George O'Hanlon unavailable that day? Oh well. I wouldn't recommend this episode. It's not horrible, but it's linear, depressing and not funny. It's not for new fans of the series or those looking for a pick-me-up. You want funny episodes, watch "Instant Replay", "Jetsons Millions, "Future Tense," "Mirrormorphs," "SuperGeorge" or "TV or Not TV." Do yourself a favor and skip this one.
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