In the show, Shirley's a motherly Christian who, as we find out in this episode, had a serious drinking problem back in the day. She never did anything horrendous, but after all these years, she looks back on her drunken antics with nothing but shame. Although drinking made her happy in the past, all that remains now is her embarrassment and a feeling that she wasted her life. It all made a very compelling argument against taking "pride" in drinking, and as a person from a country where alcoholism is the national pastime, I have to applaud it.
Gargoyles' Message About Gun Safety Only Works Because The Gargoyles Are Basically Adult Children
Gargoyles is a story about magical creatures from the 10th century that are brought back to life in New York in the '90s, and eventually befriend a spunky policewoman. It's sort of like a more adult version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, if it was voiced by like half the cast from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Now then, did ANY of that make you think that this show would be a good place for a Very Special Episode about gun safety? See, that's why none of us are TV executives with massive cocaine habits (lucky SOBs) because not only did the show have an episode like that, it bizarrely worked really, really well.
It all started with the gargoyle Broadway (to explain Broadway's character really quickly, he's the kind of demon that would pause a life-threatening brawl to literally chug a pizza) becoming obsessed with a gunslinger western. Later, when he visits his cop friend, Elisa, he picks up her gun and starts playing with it until he accidentally shoots Elisa in the back. In some versions of the episode, you can even see her lying in a puddle of her own blood. It's pretty intense for a show that was apparently partly inspired by Disney's Gummi Bears.
But that's not why people watched Gargoyles. They watched it for the action, the fights, and the surprisingly well-written retellings of Arthurian lore; not for preachy lessons about how dangerous and bad guns are. But that's not what the episode did. Not at all.
Think about it. The episode would be VERY different if it was an adult human playing with a gun like that, because only a complete moron would ever do that. It just wouldn't be believable in the slightest, and reek of more strawman bullshit than a barnyard on a hot summer day. And if it was a child that ended up shooting Elisa, the message would suddenly get all hysterical about how we must keep handguns out of the hands of our kids (which are much better suited to operating mounted automatic rifles anyway). However, because Broadway is an adult who has no idea how our world works, the episode stays on message, namely that gun safety and gun education are both important. Broadway would never have shot Elisa if he had learned about firearms from somewhere besides a stupid movie, and the whole thing was partially Elisa's fault anyway for not storing her gun away safely.
The best part is probably when a distressed Broadway goes on an anti-gun quest to take down an arms trafficker, but the series never lets him disappear into his own asshole and somehow make GUNS the villain here. Despite Broadway steaming with righteous anger, it's made clear to us that HE screwed up, that HE is the responsible party, and it really drives home the message that you should be careful with things you do not understand, and not get too sucked in by how they look in movies or on TV. I just wish I found this episode before buying that lion-taming kit. On the plus side, the nurses here are incredibly nice.
Cezary Jan Strusiewicz is a Cracked columnist, interviewer, and editor. Contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter.
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