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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138-at-popapostle-dot-com

Land of the Lost: Cheers "Cheers"
Written by Len Janson and Chuck Menville
Directed by Frank DePalma
Original airdate: November
21, 1992

When Kevin eats some fermented fruit he gets up the nerve to ask Christa for a date.

Didja Know?

Some fans of the series do not appreciate this episode. Most point to the aggressive "messages" in the story as the major drawback; it deals with the issues of drinking in general, teen drinking in particular, drinking and driving, telling lies, and (briefly) wearing your seatbelt! But I think they're wrong to overlook the fun character story it is. It explores the temptations and horrors of teenhood in the form of Kevin Porter in a humorous way. He partakes of alcohol (as most American teens are tempted to and often do); engages in drunken braggadocio with his best friend; gathers up the courage to finally ask Christa for a date; lives the nightmare all teens face...a giant zit on his face on the night of the big date; asks his Dad to borrow the car; gets into an auto accident and tries to cover it up; and puts his best friend in the awkward position of having to lie for him. In short, he tries to act as an adult, but immaturity gets in the way. And the actors all handle it with appropriate amounts of humor and pathos. This is also the one and only episode in which one of Tasha's comic relief moments actually works. I love this episode!

The title of this episode is obviously referencing the drinking toast often used in English speaking countries. The writers may also have intended a minor reference to the long-running sitcom Cheers, about a Boston bar and it's employees and patrons.

Might this episode have been the inspiration for the "funny fruit" consumed by Chaka, Marshall, and Will in the 2009 Land of the Lost movie? There is a scene in the film in which Chaka the Paku stumbles across a bush bearing the fruit (with whose effects he is already familiar) and introduces Marshall and Will to it, whereupon the three get blitzed out of their minds on the stuff. In this episode, Stink the Paku stumbles upon a tree bearing fermented fruit (which he seems to be familiar with) and after consuming some himself, later introduces it to Kevin.

Didja Notice?

As the very first scene of this episode opens with a thrashing of trees and brush in the jungle, I am reminded of the opening scene of Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park. But Jurassic Park wouldn't be released to theaters until 6 or more months after this episode was shot! In fact, given all the similarities between the Jurassic Park films and both versions of Land of the Lost on TV, I have to wonder how much of the former was inspired by the latter!

At 1:10 in the episode, Stink sniffs the fruit he has pulled from the tree, gets a look on his face, chortles and says, "Now we're talkin'!" It seems as if the smell has told him this is fermented fruit and he is experienced with it and excited at the thought of consuming it! Makes sense that the Pakuni would historically be familiar with this phenomenon and would probably partake of it at times.

At 2:55 in the episode, as Stink awakens on the ground from his stupor, a growl is heard. Is it supposed to be Stink making the sound? His roiling, hungover stomach? Or is it the iguana Stink finds perched on his chest? Whichever way, it doesn't sound like a legitimate growl for any of those things. It sounds more like the gurgling rasp of breath of one of the Sleestaks returning to harass Stink once again. Listen: growl

During the early scenes, we see that Kevin is wearing a rather ratty and torn pair of jeans. Is this meant to indicate that the Porters' clothing is really starting to wear out? Or is this a pair that Kevin deliberately tore up back on Earth as a pair of rocker jeans? I had a pair of those myself in the '80s!

At 4:14 in the episode, we see that Annie has taken the bicycle wheels off of the bamboo cart and used them to get one of the bikes back in working order. Good idea! It seems like the bicycles the Porters brought on their aborted vacation would always have been quite useful for exploring the land in which they found themselves. And they seem resourceful enough to be able to make some wooden wheels instead for their homemade cart.

At 7:46 in the episode, we see, for the first and only time, that Christa apparently has a pet parrot in her cave home.

As Tom is about to send Kevin off on his date with Christa, he wistfully comments on his first date with Tammy Guttenberg. He says she "...had these, uh..." his voice trailing off. Had what?? Big breasts? Brothers who beat up all her courters?

The last name of the girl Tom dated may be a bit of an in-joke to rumors that Steve Guttenberg had been considered to star in a TV movie based on Land of the Lost around the time this series was envisioned.

At 10:23 in the episode, on his way to his date with Christa and after having consumed some funny fruit to boost his confidence, Kevin spins the wheels of the Jeep and churns up some dust shouting, "Yee-haw!" This is likely a reference to the so-called rebel yell of Bo Duke in the 1979-1985 TV series The Dukes of Hazzard. Bo would frequently yell like this while racing his car, the General Lee, around Hazzard county.

At 14:29 in the episode, Kevin cheerfully waves and says "yo" to Spike as he rides the bicycle to Christa's. You'd think Kevin would avoid attracting the attention of Spike considering the Stegosaur has, in the past, been fairly belligerent to the humans for an herbivore; it's like messing with a bull moose.

To cover up his drunk driving accident, Kevin concocts the excuse that he missed his date with Christa due to the Jeep getting stuck in the mud. At this point in the story, no one but Stink knows it's not true. But, when Kevin delivers his excuse and apology to Christa, saying by the time he dug the Jeep out it was past his curfew, she rejects it, stating "You should have told me." How was he supposed to tell her except to tell her the next morning as he did? Was he supposed to call her up on the phone? Typical woman. ;)

We see in this episode that Tom has cut the sleeves off of his striped, button-up shirt and is wearing it as sort-of a tank-top.

Although it's not that obvious, at 18:17 in the episode, as an inebriated Kevin sets himself to prove his bravery against Shung, we see from the discarded rinds laying around their siesta tree that the Sleestaks too have partaken of the fermented fruit and, while Nim and Keeg remain asleep during the brief altercation, Shung is too intoxicated to put up much of a fight against Christa when she intervenes in Kevin's ill-advised attempt to steal the Sleestak criminal's studded wrist band from his person.

Pakuni translations
Time in episode Pakuni English
3:13 Stink "sings" in Paku. As a drunken Stink stumbles away, he is singing, apparently in Paku. Since he is both singing and slurring, I can't make out the words. Listen: 99 Special Fruits
12:02 Stink says, "Coombandi." This word is unknown. Right after saying it, Stink says "Too much gas." He may be referring to Kevin having crashed the Jeep into a tree. Or it might be a metaphor for "too much funny fruit" consumed.
12:22 Stink says "malu" Bad
13:52 Stink says, "Malu." "Bad."
15:27 Stink says, "Anu." "No."
15:33 Stink sings in Paku again. Listen: 99 Special Fruits (Round 2)
16:40 Stink says, "Anu, Tasha." "No, Tasha."
16:42 Stink says "nabuka" banana
17:54 Stink says "malu" bad
21:13 Stink says, "Acuba ne, Kevin Porter." "Greetings, Kevin Porter."
21:24 Stink says "malu" bad

Memorable Dialog
too close for comfortables.wav
who me.wav
big hilarious hoo-ha.wav
dude, you're hammered.wav
very special fruit.wav
cheers.wav
gonna ask Christa out.wav
won't be able to resist me.wav
what are you doing here.wav
only with your eyes.wav
you have a date with Christa.wav
she must have hit her head.wav
Tammy Guttenberg.wav
big as a beach ball.wav
yee-haw.wav
biggest event of his whole life.wav
Dad's gonna donk me.wav
I wouldn't let him drive the truck.wav
party hardy.wav
have you been drinking.wav
they're drunk.wav
no more funny fruits.wav

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