August 20, 2003

My Week with Jim Henson’s The Storyteller Day 3: Lucky Stiff

Filed under: Feature — Tags: , , — Danny Horn @ 10:24 pm

Danny
Okay, today we’re doing The Luck Child, and this one ought to be great. According to my cast listing, this episode stars Colin Farrell as Lucky’s Father.

Kynan
Um. How old is Colin Farrell? The show was made in 1988. Colin Farrell must have been twelve then. And even if he did play Lucky’s Father as a twelve-year-old — which isn’t out of the question for this show — there’s no way he’s going to be cute. Nobody on this show is cute.

Danny
I don’t care. La la la, not listening. This episode has Colin Farrell in it, and I for one am excited.

Kynan
From an early Russian folk tale…

Danny
Early Russians! Those are the people who had a revolution in 1916.

Storyteller: “Sometimes people are born lucky. You imagine that if they open their hands, there’d be a little piece of sunshine. A personal piece. It lights them up. Everyone loves these people.”

Danny
Really? Name three. Everyone hates these people. They should be drowned at birth so they don’t grow up and become Martha Stewart.

Storyteller: “So when one night a boy is born blessed with luck, and it is foretold that one day he will be king…”

Kynan
Hey, he’s born lucky AND he has good lighting.

Danny
Who makes these prophecies? It’s really irresponsible.

Danny
This story apparently takes place in MOPEBHA CKA3KA. I spent my junior year abroad in MOPEBHA CKA3KA, actually. It’s not that great.

Kynan
Cool monster. It’s smart to signpost the monster at the top.

Danny
I agree, but I reserve the right to complain later on if the lip-synch is bad, or if he’s got really embarrassing pants or something.

Kynan
Fair enough.

Storyteller: “And it happened in a week with two Fridays that the cruel king heard of a prophecy… A child had been born, reported his spies. A Luck Child, the seventh son of a seventh son. Wise men prophesied that this child would one day be king.”

Danny
“A week with two Fridays.” Good writing, or compulsory whimsy? You make the call.

Storyteller: “So he set out with his evil chancellor to find this Luck Child… and do him in.”

Kynan
An Evil Chancellor. How do you advertise for a position like that?

Danny
Wait up, wait up. That old guy on the left is Colin Farrell? I can’t say I’m not disappointed.

Kynan
Well, it must have been hard for a twelve-year-old to play a part like that. It’s aged him terribly.


Kynan
And then they throw the baby off a cliff. Nice.

Danny
Man, that is an Evil Chancellor. He must be on the cover of Evil Chancellor Magazine.

Kynan
Baby tossing must be part of the early Russian X-games. It’s Beach Party MOPEBHA CKA3KA!

King: “You shall go too, sir! No one shall wear my crown!”

Kynan
Surely it’d be simpler just to put it on a really high shelf someplace, instead of pushing people off cliffs.

Danny
Neater, too. It’s hard on the guy who lives at the bottom, constantly cleaning up splattered people. He must go through paper towels by the peck.

Kynan
Aww, look at the little moppet princess sitting on the cruel king’s lap.

Danny
Until she turns into a little moppet grown-up, still sitting on her dad’s lap.

Kynan
Yep. That’s creepy. That’s a creepiness factor of 6.5.

Storyteller: “She seeks out the one soft part in his heart and touches it.”

Kynan
Eww. Creepiness factor goes up another couple points.

Danny
The princess looks like a total sap. Look at that wet smile.

Kynan
She looks like Heather Graham.

Danny
My point exactly. Send her back to the kitchen, we want another princess.

Danny
Look, Lucky’s grown up into a sap too. Maybe it’s the Colin Farrell letdown, but Lucky looks to me like he’s been left out in the sun to fade.

Miller: “He was found by the Black Cliffs, sire. Seventeen years since. Washed up, without a scrap on his little body.”

King: “I see. You’re a lucky one, then.”

Danny
I just figured out who the king sounds like — Michael Caine! He has Michael Caine’s precise voice.

Kynan
I thought stealing children and hurling them off cliffs was bad — but stealing Michael Caine’s larynx, that’s unforgiveable.

King: “I’ll take the boy. I’ll write him a royal warrant. Take this letter to the queen and she will welcome you into our royal care.”

Kynan
Gee, it looks like fun being a king. You get to wear a crown and make up whatever laws you want. Plus you can have a big embarrassing comedy beard and nobody can ever make fun of you.

Danny
Oh, good. Lucky can’t walk through the forest without instantly losing his map and falling down a hole. It’s a good thing he’s lucky, cause he wouldn’t survive five minutes otherwise.

Kynan
And he falls into a robbers’ cave. You’d think they’d want to do something about that hole that people keep falling through.

Cook: “Oh dear oh dear. You’ve fallen in amongst thieves, I’m afraid. You’d better eat something while I figure out what to do with you… I’m the cook. Also the poisoner.”

Danny
Another hard position to fill.

Kynan
Do you think the prosthetic nose came with the poisoner’s job? “Here’s your ID card, your parking permit, and some putty for the nose.”

Storyteller: “Wife, says the letter. When you read this letter, order the bearer — a youth named Lucky — to be chopped into a thousand pieces.”

Kynan
How would you know if someone really was chopped into a thousand pieces? Who counts while they’re chopping people?

Cook: “That is disgusting!”

Danny
Man. When you shock the poisoner, you really are a cruel king.

Kynan
So now Lucky’s avoided being murdered twice. The King’s got Evil Genius Syndrome, like in James Bond movies. They always condemn their enemy to hideous death and then leave. Then they act all surprised when the hero is saved.

Danny
The comedy beard must be sapping his brain somehow.

Kynan
Look, it’s Queen Amidonta.

King: “How did this happen?”

Queen: “Marriage, your letter said, on pain of death!”

Danny
Yeah, that’s exactly the terms I would need to motivate me to marry that girl.

Kynan
And now, even after being surprised twice, the King still sends Lucky off to take his chances with the Griffin.

Danny
Yeah, read my lips: He’s a Luck Child!

Kynan
It must be easy to find your way around when the countryside is made out of those giant maps.

Danny
Dag, is there a whole other act to this story? It’s eternal.

Kynan
This must be the hour long special.

Ferryman: “I go forward and back ceaselessly, with you or without you.”

Kynan
Come on, man, cheer up. You’d think he’d at least try to make the best of it. Maybe put some tinsel on his oar, trim his beard into a cute animal shape or something.

Danny
I’m having a hard time identifying with anyone in this story so far. I’m rooting for the Griffin. I hope he eats everybody.

myweekstoryteller71

Danny
Oh, man. Lucky gets to the Griffin’s lair, and who do we find? That same cook poisoner guy. Oh dear, oh dear.

Kynan
And what’s he made for the Griffin? Thousand-pieces stew.

Danny
The Griffin is huge! Is he really that big, or is that an effect? It’s completely convincing. Wow! But remember our deal about making fun of him?

Kynan
Yeah.

Danny
He’s got a dumb, squeaky, baby-talk voice.

Kynan
Agreed. Way to ruin an otherwise impressive villain.

Danny
He sounds like people who hate Elmo say that Elmo sounds.

Kynan
So Lucky just hides under the table, while the cook gets the Griffin’s golden feather and finds out how the ferryman can get free. Has Lucky actually done anything in this story yet?

Danny
Besides falling down a hole? Not really. He’s like the factory second of fairytale heroes.

Lucky: “I’ve come back… and I have the answer. The next passenger you have, give him your oar. Then your lot will be his, his freedom yours!”

Danny
That’s a little weird. What if the next guy along is Jimmy Carter? That’s just irresponsible.

Kynan
If the ferryman’s been going back and forth for so many years, and it’s never occurred to him to give his pole away, then frankly, he deserves to keep on rowing. Daft old bugger. At least the tips are good.

Danny
So Lucky tricks the King into going on the ferry, and the ferryman tricks the King into taking the oar. Now the King’s the one condemned to row back and forth. His beard’s already long, imagine what it’s going to look like a century from now.

Kynan
And then Lucky and the sappy princess get married and have pale children. I don’t know if that’s a happy ending or not.

Danny
The moral structure of this story is a little suspect. What makes some people “cruel” and some people “deserving” is beyond me.

Kynan
It’s the beards. Guys with beards are evil. Things were much simpler in those days.

Storyteller: “The ferryman was once a wicked king who ignored a prophecy, and whose heart was cruel. And Nature, my dears, is a wise woman who pays us back, tit for tat.”

Danny
Oh, really. Well, what did the princess ever do to deserve anything? What is she being paid back for? She never did anything but sit around with a goony smile on her face.

Kynan
Well, she had the sense to be a supporting player in someone else’s story, and lay low till it was over. For that matter, how happy do you think Lucky’s original parents are? Somewhere, the new King has six brothers who are dirt poor — but being neither goateed nor blond, they don’t figure in Mother Nature’s tit-for-tat war.

Dog: “The boy and the girl… Did they live happily ever after?”

Storyteller: “Oh, yes, yes, wonderful, very very happy. The boy, you see, was a Luck Child.”

Danny
Oh, I am not having this. The moral of the story is that some people are born Lucky and some people are born Evil, and if you sit around and do nothing, then everything will work out fine.

Kynan
I think the moral of the story is “Never take an oar.”

Danny
Y’know, I loved the characters in Sapsorrow. The good characters were good because they were smart and brave and kind to geese, the bad characters were bad because they were greedy and self-centered. You got to watch the Prince go from bad to good by making choices and learning things. The Luck Child just sets up the Good and the Bad, and then deals out rewards and punishments accordingly.

Kynan
Yeah, if the Luck Child was going to win no matter what he did, they could’ve told us that before we sat in front of the fire. My pants are all hot now.

Danny
Plus, they hired the wrong Colin Farrell. I vote that this is the worst story so far, with the best monster.

MonTuesWed — Thurs — Fri

Tomorrow’s story: The True Bride – “Wanted: girl to wait hand and foot. Feather-sacking exp req, diploma in pond-draining a must.”



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