Saturday, April 01, 2017
Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Lidsville: "Weenie, Weenie, Where's Our Genie?" (1971)
In Lidsville’s (1971-1973) “Weenie, Weenie, Where’s Our Genie?,” the people of Lidsville attempt to devise a defense against Hoo-Doo (Charles Nelson Reilly). During planning, Mark (Butch Patrick) casually discard’s Weenie’s (Billie Hayes) advice, making the genie feel useless and unloved.
Weenie runs away, and puts on ear-muffs so he cannot be summoned by his master. Mark and the other denizens go in search of the genie, but Hoo-Doo also wants the “indispensable” Weenie back in his possession.
Mark apologizes for his actions, and peace is restored in the land of hats.
Weenie is one of the weirder characters that appears on Lidsville. The genie is a “he,” but performed by a “she” (Billie Hayes), in the long tradition of spritely characters like Peter Pan.
Here, Weenie sure is sensitive, getting his nose out of joint because Mark doesn’t think he can help stop Hoo-Doo. Mark isn’t exactly rude, but I suppose Weenie feels useless. However, in fairness to Mark, Weenie is something of a bumbler, at least so far in the continuity. Immediately after the genie fails to create an anti-aircraft gun (creating, instead, a tricycle), he asks for other ideas. That’s not exactly an attack on the genie, though Weenie interprets it at that way.
The rest of the episode is about Mark attempting to apologize and make things right, which is a fine subject for a Saturday morning TV series aimed at kids. Even if offense wasn’t given on purpose, it was apparently still given. There’s never anything wrong with apologizing, or letting someone know that you didn’t mean to hurt his or her feelings.
Intriguingly, Hoo Doo seems to have greater patience than Mark does for Weenie’s bumbling. Then again, Hoo-Doo isn’t exactly a font of competence and good planning, either. At episode’s end, thanks to Weenie, Hoo-Doo has been transformed into a frog. That’s this episode’s weekly humiliation for the villainous character.
In terms of a defense, the people of Lidsville don’t really come up with one. They build a slingshot to shoot pepper at Hoo-Doo, but then run out of pepper, instantly. Like the other ideas that appear in the weekly installments, this notion is gone and forgotten by the next installment.
Next week: "Let's Hear it For Whizzo."