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‘Town of the Living Dead’ recaps: A good night for zombie babies and cat T-shirts

Season 1 | Episodes 5 & 6 | “A Zombie Baby Is Born” & “Don’t Mess with the Money Maker” | Aired October 21, 2014

The first episode gets right to the chase. Lead actor Bryan is getting his first onscreen kiss (with leading lady Catie)—and he’s not excited about it. Remember, this dude has major anxiety issues. In an attempt to help Bryan’s issues, supporting actor Gary tells Bryan they should blow up some stuff with guns. But really, Gary just wanted to see if Bryan would actually do it—and he did. Gary is moving up on my favorite-character list.

Tina making the zombie baby.

Tina making the zombie baby

During this episode’s production meeting, Tina is tasked with creating a zombie baby. While her daughter Catie and infant granddaughter watch on, Tina gets super into the zombification of a baby doll, including smashing the doll’s voice box with a hammer. Tina and Catie proceed to discuss the big upcoming kiss, where they call Bryan a bit of a diva, which leads to …

Bryan gets a facial! It’s okay, though—it’s his wife, Bennett, giving him the facial. And besides, he IS the lead actor; he has to have great skin! We also learn that Bryan has big dreams. He aspires to take on roles akin to the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman’s filmography. But he understands that he must pay his dues first … you know, by being in a super-low-budget horror movie with zombie penises. Again, the impending kiss is brought up.

Tina, John, and other crew members meet to build some props for the big zombie baby scene. In a rather ingenious moment, a fake belly is created for Catie using her real-life pregnancy belly cast. Brilliant move, crew! Other props to be made: an umbilical cord and, ahem, the afterbirth. At this time, Tina compares herself to Michael Bay.

Terry and Laura kiss.

Terry and Laura kiss.

Later, in an effort to make Bryan’s upcoming onscreen kiss less of a big deal, assistant Laura and gay FX guy Terry kiss … okay, they kind of make out … in front of Bryan and director John. The result? All watching parties are extremely uncomfortable and shocked.

It’s boys’ night out at the bowling alley for Gary, John, and Bryan. And here’s where we learn of tonight’s scene-stealer: Ben Farley, a friend of John’s. He’s the local crazy guy who apparently writes music for the movie and has a connection with the local TV station. If Gary and Ben Farley (it’s not just Ben) volunteer their services for a day, the TV station will let the film use the studio. Problem is, Gary HATES Ben Farley.

Elsewhere, another kiss conversation is to be had between Catie and her boyfriend/baby mama, Michael. The best part of the scene is the setting. Catie takes Michael out to dinner at his favorite place: Jasper’s best sushi restaurant/gas station.

Bryan and Catie's on-screen kiss!

Bryan and Catie’s onscreen kiss!

The day is here—it’s kissy-kissy time for Catie and Bryan. Basically, the scene goes as follows: Bryan gets home to his pregnant girlfriend (?), they kiss, then she goes into labor and has a zombie baby bust out of her stomach. After a couple of mess-ups (where the set’s house phone rings), the big kiss happens and Bryan is ready to take on the world—or, specifically, Rachel McAdams. How fetch.

Meanwhile, Gary and Ben Farley head to the TV station. While I can’t hold Ben Farley to Chance standards, the dude is definitely entertaining. AND he wears an awesome cat T-shirt. The guys are supposed to “help” while the station films a local show, Coffee Time. While Gary tries to be professional, Ben Farley goofs around and messes with stuff. The scene comes to a head when Ben Farley interrupts Coffee Time to ask if the sexy redheaded guest needs anything. AWKWARD (for everyone). After filming, Ben Farley asks the same lady if she wants to be in their movie as a sexy zombie. She laughs it off. Later, the TV station manager says there is no way he’ll let “these idiots” use the studio.

The kiss is done—but now it’s time for the zombie-baby birth scene! Instead of the original blood recipe (coffee, chocolate syrup, and ketchup), Terry mixes up a new and improved batch of blood using laundry detergent and food coloring. The belly prop goes awry during the first take, but the next one works fine. I have to say, for what they’re working with, the effects aren’t terrible.

Next up is Bryan’s “stunt”—a reaction shot where he gets sprayed in the face with the blood. Now, remember what the new blood recipe’s key ingredient is? Yeah, laundry detergent. As can be expected, Bryan is nearly blinded during the scene when the “blood” gets in his eyes. Oh—and they can’t use the shot because Terry’s hands are in it. They reshoot the scene with Tina throwing the blood.  Her hands are even more in the frame, but it doesn’t matter. That’s a wrap!

On to the next episode …

It’s dinnertime at Tina’s house. It turns out she’s on a new diet, a variation of the paleo diet where she just eats chicken wings. She wants to drop a few pounds because she has a scene coming up in the film!

Later, Tina works with Laura on some zombie training (remember, Laura is the expert). We discover that Tina actually used to do a lot of local theater, but hasn’t in a while—so she’s a bit rusty. In her scene, she gets to play a “mombie” (a mom zombie). During their training, Laura (surprisingly) gets angry at Tina for not getting the scene right. In the end, they work through it and hug.

At the production meeting, we learn that this episode’s big scenes are Tina’s “mombie” death and a cemetery scene. The latter is actually the movie’s opening scene. It was filmed once before in Tina’s backyard, but they want to reshoot in a real graveyard. First, they need to get the OK from city hall. Laura volunteers to go and Chase is selected to join her.

While getting ready for the big City Hall meeting, Chase’s mother berates him for wearing inappropriate clothes. She makes him change into some “wedding” clothes. This includes a shiny black shirt—which is clearly MUCH better than what he had on before.

Laura and Chase at City Hall

Laura and Chase at City Hall

At City Hall, Laura and Chase wait in a small meeting room. Chase is hungry. Seriously hungry, because we hear his stomach growl. A nice plate of pastries sits on the table—so obviously, the two partake. Councilwoman Jennifer (who, incidentally, follows me on Twitter) enters the room and lets Laura and Chase know that the pastries were actually for a later meeting. Whoops! After Laura does a little smooth-talking, she gets approval for the crew to film at the cemetery, provided they buy a grave (for $600).

Elsewhere, Tina is still struggling with her chicken-wing diet. Her husband, Jimmy, tries to tempt her with better food, but Tina resists and vows to never eat wings again after she films her scene.

Good timing—the crew is at Tina’s brother’s house to film her scene! And let me tell you, Tina is cranky! Director John explains that because most of the script is fairly light, he wanted to add an emotional scene: one where a son (played by Gary) has to kill his zombie mother (Tina). They complete the scene—and Tina actually does a pretty convincing job. Those zombie lessons paid off, Laura!

Next: the graveyard scene. It turns out that the first time they filmed the scene, something messed up (shocker) and Ben Farley got injured. Well, Ben Farley is back for the reshoot—wearing the same cat shirt, mind you—and he’s not exactly stoked for the filming.

Meanwhile, Tina (literally) bulldozes a grave for the scene. The scene features a trio of grave robbers, including Ben Farley and Michael, Catie’s boyfriend. Ben Farley opens a casket and finds only a dead body. It explodes on him, and THAT is how the zombie apocalypse begins. Ben’s mind is very much elsewhere (as it always is), and you just know this isn’t going to work out. To make matters even more complicated, they are rushing to beat the clock—a funeral is set to begin in the graveyard VERY soon.

Ben Farley is nervous (remember, he got injured before), but everyone else is super-stoked about shooting some fake blood in his face. In the meantime, shooting is interrupted when a family comes to the cemetery to visit a grave. AWKWARD. Thankfully, Tina halts filming until the family leaves. In the end, Ben Farley gets nervous, and at the last minute, moves away from the exploding effects, causing them to miss the shot. The real funeral begins and the day is lost.

Ben Farley

Ben Farley gets bloodied!

They decide to reshoot at Tina’s house. John helps Tina and Jimmy dig a grave for the scene. He promises that Ben Farley will get it right next time. And cut to Ben Farley enjoying himself at a bar—drinking, playing pool, and dancing (by himself).

It’s the next day and it’s time to try again. Ben Farley shows up hungover, and again goofs off. And he’s wearing the SAME cat shirt! Finally, they get the shot they need and Ben throws up. Justice is served!

With each passing week of back-to-back episodes, my fondness grows for this colorful group of Southern folk. True, I roll my eyes, drop my jaw, and shake my head at their antics and poor decision-making, but they’re living the dream and making a movie.  Good for them.

Oh, and guess what? Next week, breakout star (and explosives expert) CHANCE is back!

Memorable Quotes of the Week

Laura: I’m sorta going to be the Mr. Miagi to her Daniel LaRusso … if Mr. Miagi was a short, fat white girl. So, just like Mr. Miagi.

John: I’m a stickler for realism.

Tina (on her new diet): Somebody told me that if I did this, I could get into shape like Rock Johnson.

Ben Farley: Laughter can cure anything … cancer, depression, diabetes.

Jimmy (Tina’s husband, to John): I ain’t doing this for you. I’m doing this for Tina. So you need to straighten your stupid friends out.

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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