3/16/08

RVOD018 Saftey: Harm Hides at Home

(1970s-ish, Educational/Short, color)

Riffers:

Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy

I guess the Lollipop Guild is a member of the Federation.

Rating: ***

In a nutshell:

Aliens grant a crossing guard the power to deliver boring safety lectures.

Summary:

Alert!  Aware!  Alive!Meet Miss Kingsley, freelance architect and part-time crossing guard. One night as she drives home from visiting her favorite Aunt Margaret (quoth Bill, “The other nine Aunt Margarets leave her cold”), a wobbly flying saucer swoops out of a completely different movie to shrill their message at her in a monotone chipmunk voice. I’m not sure what that message is (something about safety, probably), but it ends with a large plastic novelty ring that turns into a garbage can lid. Thus, Miss Kingsley becomes Guardiana: mylar-clad deliverer of intrusive safety lectures. With the help of her magic trailer hitch, she invades the homes of the children in her neighborhood, warning them about the dangers of fire, ladders, guns, refrigerators, toys, and so on, and so forth…

Thoughts:

Imagine Erik Estrada crossed with Lynda Carter, dial the budget back to single digits, and you’ll get a rough approximation of Guardiana. She does have a lot of good things to say about safety, especially where kids are concerned. Don’t let the floor stay slippery, don’t climb ladders right up to the top, don’t play with guns, don’t put paper on the stove… This is all good advice, though the last one contains a curious omission when you consider that the paper-on-the-stove kid has just pressed raw ground beef into a burger with his bare hands, and then proceeded to touch everything in the kitchen (including the bun and cheese he will shortly eat) without washing up. Also, she tends to put rather a lot of responsibility onto kids. How is a nine-year-old supposed to install additional lighting in the stairwells? And why is it that eleven-year-old’s job to make sure the old refrigerator gets disposed of properly?

Of course, any short that features a silver-jumpsuited woman with aviators is fodder for mockery. As the film slides into a blurry brown monochrome (to symbolize alien power, I guess) Bill says, “I just feel kind of unfocused these days.” As Guardiana continues to detail all the horrific possible fates for the careless, Kevin tells the kids at home to protect themselves; “Keep a gun under your pillow,” he advises. When particular mention is given to the danger of a ball left on the stars, Mike says, “A single play ball can take out an entire city block.” It’s a good solid short, worthy of your time.