"A Very Special Drawn Together Afterschool Special" is the twentieth episode of the animated series Drawn Together.
looks to his housemates for help in telling his parents he is gay. They do a little roleplaying
, and as usual, things get out of hand.
"Cast" and plot
- Xandir: Himself
- Captain Hero: Xandir's father, who soon role-plays Xandir's mother.
- Toot: Xandir's mother, who soon role-plays Xandir's father.
- Clara: Xandir's old girlfriend, Mary Lou Slutski.
- Wooldoor: A pedophile priest.
- Spanky: A pimp called "Daddy".
- Foxxy: A prostitute named Chocolandra Love.
- Ling-Ling: A Japanese businessman named Mr. Nagasaki.
Xandir considers coming out as gay to his parents, and asks his housemates, Toot and Captain Hero, to play the roles of his parents. When Xandir begins by saying simply, "Mom, Dad... I'm gay," Toot and Hero, playing the part of his parents, respond, "Uh, duuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhh!", much to the amusement of everyone except Xandir, who runs to his room crying. The housemates, seeing how upset Xandir is, decide to begin role-playing in earnest.
Xandir begins by telling his parents he is gay again, causing them both to become furious with him. They summon his high school girlfriend Mary Lou Slutski (Clara) to the house in order to seduce Xandir and prove he isn't gay. Xandir resists her advances, and states loudly that he is gay and nothing will ever change that. Mary Lou runs away crying. Realizing the problem is too big for the two of them to handle alone, the parents then call a priest (Wooldoor) to help. The priest suggests a role-playing exercise (ignoring Xandir telling him they already are doing one), causing Captain Hero and Toot to end up switching roles. A fight ensues, with Xandir's father Stan (Toot) kicking Xandir out of the house.
Xandir then meets a pimp called Daddy (Spanky) and becomes a prostitute. After another prostitute, Chocolandra (Foxxy), shows him the ropes, Xandir is set up with his first client, a Japanese businessman named Mr. Nagasaki (Ling-Ling). After Mr. Nagasaki is killed in an incident involving Xandir defecating on a glass table, both Chocolandra and Xandir realize that Daddy will be furious as Mr. Nagasaki was his best customer (because he thinks every Asian guy is Mr. Nagasaki). After he and Chocolandra dispose of the body, Xandir packs his bags to leave, but just as he is about to make his escape, Daddy comes home and catches him. Daddy tells Xandir that nobody leaves Daddy's stable, and holds Xandir at gunpoint. Just as Daddy is about to pull the trigger, Chocolandra smashes a vase over his head to stun him, and then tries to hurry Xandir out of the house before Daddy wakes up. Xandir convinces Chocolandra to escape with him, but as the two are making their exit, Daddy wakes up and shoots Chocolandra. Xandir flees with Daddy in hot pursuit.
Meanwhile, the fight between Xandir's parents has left Xandir's dad angry and depressed. After his attempts to drown - and brawl out - his sorrows at the bar lead to a barroom brawl, Stan hits the road in his pickup truck. He encounters Mary Lou walking by the side of the road, and gives her a ride. The two eventually end up going back to the house and sleeping together.
However, Xandir's mom catches them in bed together and becomes horrified. (At this point, Clara breaks character to ask, "Can someone explain to me why we're doing this when Xandir's not around?") Xandir's mom flips out and murders Mary Lou by throwing her through the bedroom wall into a tree, then turns on Xandir's dad. As the two are arguing, Stan suddenly realizes that the only reason he is behaving in such a fashion is because of the problems he's having accepting Xandir's homosexuality. He makes up with Xandir's mom, then after a romp in the sack, they set out to find Xandir. As fate would have it, they get to Xandir just as Daddy is about to shoot him. Stan manages to save Xandir from being killed, but ends up being shot himself. As the police engage Daddy in a shootout (which moments later would end with Daddy's violent death), Stan tells Xandir with his last dying breath that he has come to accept Xandir for who he is and loves him all the same.
After Stan dies in Xandir's arms, the role-playing ends. Xandir thanks everyone for showing him what it will be like when he tells his parents he is gay, then goes back into the house while the camera pulls out to reveal the episode's carnage.
The scene then cuts to the Wifflebottom house, where Xandir utters the same words he uttered at the beginning of the episode, "Mom, Dad... I'm gay." And his parents likewise respond with a hearty "Uh, duuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhh!"
Musical Number: Glenn Frey's "You Belong to the City" and Starship's "We Built This City" serve as a soundtrack to the special, although both songs appear in rerecorded versions rather than by the original artists. Continuing with the "very special" theme of this episode, both of these songs were hits from the mid-1980s. Although very special episodes had already been around for some time, they tend to be associated with the 1980s because that is when they achieved their greatest prominence.
Notes and inside references
- The show's usual opening credit sequence is replaced with a new title sequence playing on the "very special" theme of this episode, which, according to the caption, is called "Secretes in the Closet: A Very Special Drawn Together". This particular set of credits confirms the official spelling of Xandir's last name as Wifflebottom. The music that accompanies this sequence is a mellow version of the Drawn Together theme.
- According to Executive Producer Bill Freiberger, the show's plot "was kind of a generic parody of that kind of TV movie with some specifics from Eve Plumb's magnum opus Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway and the sequel, Alexander: The Other Side of Dawn. In fact, the original title of this episode was 'Xandir: The Other Side of Drawn'. And, of course, it's also a parody of all those stupid sitcoms where the characters roleplay."
- Xandir becomes the fourth character to have one or both parents appear in an episode, following Captain Hero (both parents in "Little Orphan Hero"), Ling-Ling (father in "The Other Cousin" and "Clum Babies"), and Clara (father in "Dirty Pranking No. 2" and "Ghostesses in the Slot Machine", stepmother in "Clara's Dirty Little Secret").
- Toot and Ling-Ling each have their first homosexual experiences in this episode, sleeping with Clara and soliciting Xandir's services as a prostitute, respectively. At this point, all eight housemates have had at least one homosexual experience of some sort.
- When Foxxy and Xandir are showering together, Foxxy is nude but still has her fox tail. This contrasts with earlier episodes, in which she generally only had the tail when wearing certain outfits (except in "Little Orphan Hero", where she was shown nude in the beginning of the episode but retained the tail).
- The name of the bar that Toot visits to drown her sorrows is called the Blue Collar; the patrons all appear to be blue-collar workers. During the brawl, the Wilhelm scream makes another appearance in the series.
- When Toot says "You've heard your father" she is shown to have a black eye, but when she stands up, her black eye is gone
- After kicking out Xandir, Toot begins quoting the Kaddish, A prayer traditionally said by Jewish Mourners. This pokes fun at an old tradition among Jewish parents whose kids have done something against tradition.
- For the first time ever in the series run, due to the afterschool-special nature of the episode, no confessional segments with the characters are shown.
- During the scene where Captain Hero and Toot put up posters in an attempt to find Xandir, several of the men from the poster scene in "Little Orphan Hero" appear.
- During Spanky's shootout with the police, he is hit at least 17 different times before the final barrage of weapon fire engulfs him in a cloud of gunsmoke. Interestingly, between the seventh and eighth hits, Spanky seems to change clothing, as his outfit no longer seems to show evidence of blood (though he did not heal, as his shot-off ear is still visible).
- The crime rate in this episode is as follows:
- Captain Hero and Toot continually assault each other.
- Wooldoor kidnaps (and presumably sexually abuses) a young boy.
- Xandir and Foxxy become prostitutes, while Spanky pimps them out and Ling-Ling solicits their services.
- Xandir accidentally kills Ling-Ling; in this case, it would be considered involuntary manslaughter.
- Foxxy and Xandir hide and destroy Ling-Ling's body.
- Captain Hero kills Clara.
- Spanky kills Foxxy and Toot, attempts to kill Xandir, then kills several policemen in a shootout before finally succumbing to his wounds.
- The only housemate who does not commit a crime in this episode is Clara; she does, however, commit adultery (in the context of the role-playing).
- This, along with "Alzheimer's That Ends Well", is co-creator Matt Silverstein's favorite episode.
- When Spanky tells Xandir about how well he is doing with Japanese businessmen, the scene cuts to a door showing Pokémon-like characters role-playing as Japanese businessmen. In this same scene, you can see Totoro, the title character from Hayao Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro.
- This episode's title is a play on two separate but related television clichés — the very special episode and the afterschool special, both of which are parodied in this episode.
- The episode's opening title sequence states that the title of the show is "Secretes in the Closet: A Very Special Drawn Together". This is a pun on the phrase "secrets in the closet", a metaphor for keeping something hidden, such as one's sexuality.
- The opening credits for this episode list Meredith Baxter-Birney as a guest star, it is a joke based on her multiple appearances in 'very special' shows.
- The scene where Ling-Ling commands a tearful Xandir to take his shirt off is a parody of a scene in the movie Fame. After Xandir removes the shirt, Ling-Ling picks it up and tells Xandir that he will have it "ready on Thursday", a reference to the stereotype of Asians being employed as dry cleaners.
- Ling-Ling's character, Mr. Nagasaki, is named after the city of Nagasaki, the second Japanese city to be attacked with an atomic bomb in World War II following Hiroshima.
- The "shitting table" that Xandir mentions is a reference to a sex act where one partner lies underneath a glass table and watches as the other partner defecates on the table.
- After Xandir tells Foxxy what happened to Ling-Ling, Foxxy exclaims that she warned Spanky not to get a "shitting table" from Sweden seeing as Swedes don't know how to make good quality furniture. This is a reference to the Swedish company IKEA, whose furniture has a reputation for being cheaply constructed (often assembled by consumers themselves) and of poor quality.
- When Spanky returns home from the opera and finds a fleeing Xandir, he sings "Kill the wabbit! Kill the wabbit!" This is a reference to the famous Bugs Bunny short What's Opera, Doc?, directed by Chuck Jones.
- When Spanky first begins shooting at Xandir, he yells, "Sic semper tyrannis" (Latin for "thus always to tyrants"), which is believed to be what Brutus said while killing Julius Caesar. The phrase was also what John Wilkes Booth yelled when he fatally shot Abraham Lincoln.
- In the climactic scene in which Xandir tries to escape from Spanky, Xandir is in a car outside the house while Spanky is in front of it holding a gun. Xandir then hits the gas and tries to run over him while yelling. This is a reference to the final scene of the movie The Glass House, in which the main character runs over the antagonist. The scene also contains elements of similarity to the final moments of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Xandir's line ("Die, you son of a bitch!") is nearly identical to these scenes.
- Xandir's home at the end of the episode is modeled after Bag End, the home of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins from The Lord of the Rings. His parents resemble Hylians, Link's race in The Legend of Zelda series.
- At the end of the episode, in which the characters appear on stage and take one last bow to the audience, actors in cat costumes join them. This is a reference to the popular musical Cats.
- The characters also join hands and form a chorus line, then, to a reprise of "You Belong to the City", they do a dance similar to those performed by the Rockettes. In keeping with the way the Rockettes arrange their dancers, the group's tallest members (Hero and Xandir) are placed in the center, while the shortest members (Wooldoor, Spanky, and Ling-Ling) are placed on the ends.
- The outfit Foxxy wears during the roleplay resembles Vivian Ward's from the movie Pretty Woman.