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'Town of the Living Dead' recap: Everything's better with chicken wings

Season 1 | Episodes 3 & 4 | “Dong of the Dead” & “Zombie Karate” | Aired Oct 14, 2014

The title of episode 3 pretty much says it all: hijinks to follow.

At the crew’s production meeting, the film’s producer and head honcho, Tina, tells the group they need more movie gore—and a car crash. Lead actor Bryan has the ultimate idea when he suggests a scene where a zombie gets his penis, ahem, ripped off. Tina and director John are not into the idea; with a little convincing, Tina succumbs.

Tina's initial reaction to Bryan's idea.

Tina’s initial reaction to Bryan’s idea

Tina says it’s going to be a bit controversial, but to do the scene right, the crew will need to hold—wait for it—butt auditions. You can’t have a zombie penis scene without a good butt shot. Maybe this gag will set the film apart … or so Tina thinks.

Later we are introduced to Christy, Chase’s mom. Remember, he still lives at home with her. She’s a bit nagging and slightly annoying. But be warned—she is nothing compared to Pearl, John’s mom. But I’m jumping ahead …

Time for the butt auditions! How awesome is that? It was Brian’s idea, so he’s there to assist, albeit reluctantly. Assistant Laura enthusiastically joins the casting session too. In an effort to break the ice with the potential zombies, Bryan reads a couple lines with them … before asking them to drop trou. Among the candidates are a giant, a tattooed break dancer, and a Vietnamese man who shows off his best (worst?) “Southern” accent.

Later, on set, John and Bryan stand around waiting for Chase to arrive. When he finally gets there, he has a small trailer with him, attached to his pickup truck. Bryan is beside himself. With a trailer, he can now feel like a “real” actor. True, it’s hot-looking and apparently possesses an odd odor, but still, it’s a movie-star trailer.

Elsewhere, Tina and her “Sort of Son-in-Law” Michael get started on fabricating the zombie penis. Here we learn that Michael (father of Tina’s daughter’s daughter) is an aspiring actor/pizza-delivery guy.

THE scene.

THE scene

Next up: “Zombie Penis Set.” Basically, the scene shows a zombie exiting a Porta Potty with his pants around his ankles.  Then one of the stars rips it off. Yeesh. So who won the infamous part? Nguyen, the Vietnamese man! Okay, so he wasn’t their first choice, but he was available, and that’s important too. It’s a mute part (he’s a zombie), but he keeps asking director John about his lines—and it’s kind of funny.

On set, the trailer becomes an issue of contention between Tina and the “stars” (Bryan and Chase). It is a bit of a distraction for the actors. While Chase goes to grab some boots from the trailer, he winds up playing cards with Bryan in said (sweltering-looking) trailer. Don’t worry: Bryan gets back to work when he’s tasked with assisting Nguyen with his prosthetic.

And … ACTION! John becomes increasingly unenthusiastic about filming the scene while Jasper citizens look on at Nguyen and his bad acting, bare bottom, and grotesque appendage. Ultimately, the scene is filmed. The highlight for everyone? Chase getting slapped by the prop multiple times.

And now it’s time for the car crash that Tina wanted so much. In the first draft of the script, Terry, the gay FX guy, would be driving a minivan into another car, but John and Tina did a little rewriting. So in the end, Terry takes off and crashes square into Bryan and Chase’s trailer. The thing is ripped through like paper and disintegrates before everyone’s eyes. Gross.

Poor Bryan. With the trailer’s remains, he says, “For the first time in six years, I actually felt like a star.” It actually made me feel bad for the guy.

… And on to the next episode, “Zombie Karate”!

The group meets at a local gym to rehearse a few upcoming fight scenes. But first, assistant Laura shows off some ridiculous flexibility. She also admits to being able to fit herself into a washing machine and a suitcase. What?!

While rehearsing, Gary (John’s brother and a supporting actor) informs the group that Pearl, their mother, called. We only get a glimpse of Pearl, hearing her voice (“You going to let me be in the movie?”), but it’s understood that she’s going to be quite the character.

After Pearl’s call, Tina continues to semi-direct the combat rehearsals, but it’s a mess and Bryan gets injured.

The awesome Master Ferrell.

The awesome Master Ferrell

Later, Tina and Laura talk about getting some expert help—from a karate instructor. They head to the studio to meet with Master Ferrell (move over, Chance—this guy is becoming my new favorite character). The group reaches an agreement. Master Ferrell will assist with the fighting in exchange for $75, a bit of advertising, and a film credit.

John, Gary, and Tina meet up at the lake (Walker County Lake—fun name, Walking Dead fans) to block out some scenes. Enter Pearl, in the flesh. She’s basically a chit-chatty older woman who acts like a five-year-old when speaking to her sons. Oh, and she uses her name in the third person.

It’s finally time to bring Master Ferrell into the mix to rehearse and choose the combat scenes. Tina introduces him to the cast and crew. To quote John, “He looks like somebody’s grandpa, but so did Mr. Miagi.”

Master Ferrell begins with an exercise in basic combat, and assistant Laura (whose pants are on backward) quickly volunteers. Meanwhile, Bryan is thrilled to have someone there who actually knows what to do. In what is my absolute favorite moment of the series so far, we cut to Master Ferrell showing us different kung fu animal moves. It’s everything you want it to be. Later Chase compares Master Ferrell to Chuck Norris.

While choreographing a fight scene, Master Ferrell teaches a zombie actor how to fall appropriately; however, the actor repeatedly does the exact opposite of Ferrell’s instructions. REPEATEDLY. Master Ferrell eventually gives in.

Time to film! The scene: The main actors get off a boat and meet a horde of zombies. They fight. Basically, Master Ferrell gets a little too involved and tries to direct John’s movie. Tina’s solution? Give Master Ferrell the boom mic to hold—then he’s both helping and has to remain quiet.

Pearl brought chicken wings!

Pearl brought chicken wings!

Pearl is back! And this time, she brought chicken wings! John gets angry and pretty much loses his cool—while everyone else stands around awkwardly eating the wings.

That evening, Pearl and John make up over dinner and he eventually agrees to let her be in the movie. And cut to her scene: A zombie John (spoiler!) gets to kill his mother by biting into her neck. Everyone’s happy.

Fingers crossed! Hopefully the Jasper filmmakers are on their way to completing the movie in time, because I really want to see it! I get that it’s pretty great to see the group film all the action-y scenes, but I’m ready to see some drama (in the actual theater sense of the word). I’m positive it would be just as funny and entertaining to witness Bryan & Co. actually attempt to act. No offense, guys. I’m on your side.

Memorable Quotes

Bryan: Zombie penis. Best idea I ever had. Zombie butt auditions. Worst day of my life.

Tina (on filming the scene while town spectators watch): We gotta go ahead and get the Jasper dangler out of here.

Chase (about Master Ferrell): I don’t know who this guys is, but he looks like somebody who used to beat me up in high school … My gym teacher used to beat me up.

Pearl (to her son, John): I brought you some food. Don’t you appreciate it, you disrespectful little devil?

John: Of course I like chicken wings. Everybody likes chicken wings. But the last thing I need right now is chicken wings.

John: I never thought it’d be so much fun eating my mother.

Town of the Living Dead airs Tuesdays at 10/9C on Syfy.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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