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010: Nothing to Fear
StarStarStar Half
January 23, 1988

Shirley seems to be afraid of everything! But when Shirley's courage it put to the test, she has to put her fears behind her.


Characters
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Character
Actor
App.
# 5
# 1
# 1
# 10
# 1
# 1
# 1


Production Team
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Paul McCusker   Steve Harris   Phil Lollar   Male Missing
Paul McCusker   Steve Harris   Phil Lollar   Bob Luttrell
Writer   Director   Director   Sound Designer


Review
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Written By: Chandler

Shirley is a scaredy cat. Maybe that's why she's afraid of Jake's mouse, Luther, when he shows it to her (cat, mouse... get it? :o) ). Whit convinces Shirley to hold Luther but she drops him when she thinks he bit her. Jake is upset but all Shirley can think about is the fact that she might get rabies. I question why Jake was carrying a loose mouse in the first place. Did he carry Luther in his hands from his house? Or maybe he just stuffed the mouse in his pocket?

That night, Shirley has a nightmare in which Luther is a huge mouse knocking on her window! When Shirley asks if he'll be nice, Luther promises not to bite--he'll just swallow her whole! Shirley wakes up screaming. Knowing who did Luther's voice is the best part of hearing the dream. Hal Smith, better known for his role as Whit. When she hears Shirley screaming, Shirley's mom runs in to see if she is okay. Unfortunately, Shirley's mom doesn't seem very helpful in trying to comfort her daughter. When Shirley asks why she always has to be scared, her mom replies that she's just sensitive. She doesn't offer to pray with Shirley or suggest that she turn to God for help; she just tells her that everything will be all right. I appreciate the fact that Whit is wise in dealing with the kids, but the parents should be better examples sometimes.

Jake decides to teach Shirley a lesson for losing his mouse so he tricks her into going into the Whit's End basement. They apparently walk the entire length of the basement "looking" for Whit. Considering how long it takes them to get to the other end, Whit must have a huge basement. Of course, Whit's End can always expand and contract to meet an individual show's needs.

Jake has Danny upstairs running the trains to cover any noise that Shirley might make. How was Danny, someone completely ignorant about trains, able to run them? Connie is heard speaking with Danny as he runs the trains, but other episodes establish that she knows nothing about trains either. Also, there has never been an indication since this show that the trains are loud enough to cover sound coming from two stories below. Yes, Connie must be upstairs when she asks Danny if he hears something; but someone on the first floor should have heard something. One possible explanation is that the writers may not have yet established the fact that the trains are located on the second floor. One other note--if Shirley can still be heard screaming in the background while the trains are running, it seems that Shirley and Jake should have been able to hear the train noise in the basement.

As Shirley is walking back to the basement door to get help for Jake, the pipe noises start up. The timing seems to be off between the sound effects and the words spoken by Shirley. The pipe noises have been going for a full three seconds before Shirley exclaims, "What is that?" The noises pause right before Shirley tells them to stop. Although the noises do start up again, Shirley couldn't have known they would. Back to the comment about the huge basement--it doesn't sound nearly so big as Jake and Shirley are singing. Jake should sound further away than he does. Also, Jake sounds very convincing when he hurts his leg--you believe that he is in pain. This is in contrast to the Jake of the rest of the episode who sounds stilted during many of his lines.

The ending of this show is great. Shirley, thinking she has finally learned to deal with her fear, proclaims that she may never get scared again. Connie then walks in with a bug she found outside. Shirley screams in terror. Oh well, maybe she learned eventually. I've always wondered why Connie brought in a bug. Bug-collecting doesn't seem like a normal pastime of hers. But since Connie does discuss Alex's bug collection with him on "Red Herring", she may really collect bugs as a secret hobby. :o) Anyway, not a horrible show, but some parts seem a little far-fetched.


Trivia
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PARENTAL WARNING: The nightmare scene and the scene in the basement at Whit's End may be too intense for younger listeners.

Although this episode is given the following warning, many episodes down the line are far scarier and get by without any such warning. This may be perhaps because AIO received a lot of negative mail about this one from parents of frightened children.
- J

Shirley's mother is played by Janna Arnold, wife of production engineer Dave Arnold.
- noname

This was the first AIO episode that garnered any noticeable negative reaction, due to the nightmare scene.
- noname

Jake's last name is Barnes.
- Jared DeWhite


Goofs
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Connie supposedly did not hear Shirley scream because the train was running so loudly. However, since the train (and Connie) were upstairs, shouldn't someone downstairs have heard the screaming? It was already established in "Promises, Promises" that the train was upstairs.
- Waluigi Freak 99


Allusions
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Quotes
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