Writer: Jymn Magon
Original Air Date: Saturday, October 30, 1999
Note: This episode is placed fourth on the DVD.
The episode opens at Riverdale High at night.
Archie is taking notes for a potential article about Dilton’s latest invention: a growth ray to use on produce to eradicate hunger. Archie compares this to H.G. Wells’ Food of the Gods. That’s…not at all the same thing (although giants are involved, so I guess it’s a kind of foreshadowing).
Dilton’s ready to test his new growth ray. Archie excitedly compares Dilton to Algernon. Um, okay.
Dilton puts on gloves and goggles, turns on the growth ray, and zaps the produce.
By the way, this shot above was used in the commercial (which aired with every episode) that explained the premise of the series. This shot was specifically used to illustrate the experiment that went awry that caused Riverdale to become a magnet for all things weird. This is, of course, completely incorrect. No, you can’t even say this episode is supposed to go chronologically first, since Archie already has his column. There is no actual origin episode for this series. Archie Comics itself would provide the origin in Archie’s Weird Mysteries, No. 1 (cover-dated February of 2000), in the issue-length story, “Just Another Paranormal Day in Riverdale”. The actual piece of equipment that started the mess is called the Quarkinator. Good luck buying any of the issues now, though; they’re either unavailable or hella expensive. Stick with the trade paperback.
Anyway, since nothing immediately happens, Dilton’s convinced he failed. Archie says it was a nice try and offers to buy Dilton a burger. They leave. Clean-up? What’s that?
By the way, if you want a good nerd-like curse, try Dilton’s “Dang frizzle-frazzle fooey to the Nth degree!”
Well, apparently, there was a bug hidden in the produce. So the growth ray does work. Just not as fast as Dilton predicted. And on living things only.
The next day (I guess), at Pop’s, Jughead’s asleep, and Pop arrives with a platter full of cheeseburgers, which wakes Jughead up. It turns out that this is merely his appetizer, and he’ll be ordering his main course in five minutes.
Dude, that’s gross.
Jughead momentarily gets distracted by something outside (the giant bug) but then ignores it and chows down.
Veronica is grossed out by Jughead, but Archie dismisses it, saying he’s “just Jughead”. He asks her if she’s finished her guest list for her big pool party.
She has, but she hasn’t invited Jughead, which upsets Archie.
Veronica points out many ways in which Jughead is “different”, and Archie asks her what’s wrong with that. She says it bothers people, and she doesn’t want him scaring off her guests. Archie’s upset at her and asks how she’d like it if people thought she was different. Veronica says she’s not, and that’s why everyone “adores” her.
Later, Jughead’s walking along when his watch’s alarm goes off.
“3:26. Time for a snack.”
Dude, that’s fucking gross.
Later, Jughead shows up at Betty’s.
Betty is happy to see him and invites him in, saying she was just baking a cake for Veronica’s pool party tomorrow. Who serves cake at a pool party? That thing’s gonna melt so fast.
“…I fucked up.”
Betty apologizes. Jughead doesn’t care and offers to help.
Her chocolate cake is just rising, and she goes to open the oven. Jughead prevents her. I love Betty’s over-the-top reaction (complete with a gasp) at the realization that she nearly ruined the cake.
So it turns out that Jughead knows way more about this stuff than Betty.
Betty realizes she left the icing out in the car and goes to get it. Ew.
So Betty screams…kind of. It sounds more like the annoying sound that a kid that’s trying to get under your skin would make. But the show wants us to believe it’s loud enough to break glass, including a, well, glass, a vase, and the oven’s window. Bullshit.
“You killed Cakey! You bastard!”
Then Jughead goes to check on Betty (the cake takes priority, y’know). He tells the “cakewrecker” to leave, and it does. But that’s not enough for Jughead.
The bug throws Jughead to the ground and attacks him. Jughead runs away. A chase ensues in Betty’s front yard.
“Fuck this shit!”
Why is she hesitating/worried?
So Betty calls Archie and is like “Get the fuck over here right fucking now!” By the way, we see Betty dial his number. In case you’re wondering, Archie’s cell phone number is 539-573. Yeah, that’s it.
Anyway, Archie’s busy blowing up balloons for Veronica’s party. Why are the two of them doing this? Couldn’t she have gotten some staff members to do this?
Betty yells “There’s a beetle over here, and he’s really big!” Archie asks “Paul McCartney?” Betty flips her shit and screams at Archie. Archie promptly ditches Veronica, declaring “I smell a weird mystery.” Not trusting the “boy-crazy blonde”, Veronica goes with Archie.
“I believe it.”
Veronica insults Archie and tries to get “Cooper” to fess up.
An exhausted Jughead comes in and confirms Betty’s story. Betty calls him brave (because he jumped on a giant bug when it was already leaving?) and asks him if he’s all right. Jughead laments the death of the cake. Veronica calls him a “weirdo”. Then there’s sort of an odd zoom-in on Veronica before…
Fade out. Fade in.
Archie and Veronica go to the high school’s physics lab, where Veronica is bored as Archie discusses the giant beetle with Dilton. Veronica’s like “Balloons, damn it!” Archie’s like “Hold your shit, girl!”
“Ooh, is this a vibrator?”
“Will it make me tingle?”
“Well, yeah, but this isn’t what I was expecting.”
Veronica turns the ray off. Archie asks Dilton if his growth ray was somehow connected with the bug. Dilton doubts it, because it had no effect on the vegetables (nor the fruits, but he doesn’t mention them). Veronica wants to go. Archie thanks Dilton and then…
…asks an obviously taller (and wider) Veronica if she’s gotten high heels. Rather than noticing she’s taller, Veronica just smiles sweetly.
Veronica talks about men always feeling so inferior and then says bye to Dilton as she and Archie leave.
Fade out. Fade in.
That evening, at Lodge Manor, Veronica’s on the phone with Fresco Fashions, complaining about how her dress has “shrunk”.
There’s also a weird zoom-out from Veronica’s bedroom window at a slanted angle.
Anyway, after the person says Veronica might be putting on weight, Veronica angrily hangs up and sets her phone to charge.
Veronica blames whatever cleaner that Smithers sent her clothes to.
Unfortunately, Archie arrives, and Veronica isn’t ready. He just honks the horn instead of coming to the door. Keep him waiting, girl.
“What the fuck?”
Veronica thinks Archie lowered the roof of his car. Archie, for his part, doesn’t question anything except Veronica wearing her dad’s jogging suit. How can these two be so stupid?
So they go to see a monster movie (probably meant to be 1998’s Godzilla), and Veronica’s so tall that she’s blocking a kid’s view. He yells at her. Why doesn’t he just change seats?
Anyway, before Veronica can call him a name, she notices Archie isn’t exactly having the best time.
After the movie lets out, Veronica criticizes the plot about giant monsters.
Only after Veronica pretty much completely ruins Archie’s car does he seem to suspect something’s seriously wrong.
The next day, Archie is sitting outside, enjoying nature, as teens in the 1990s were known to do. He asks Betty what the fuck she’s doing.
She’s “scaring off bugs”. Okay, well, have fun. Even Archie rolls his eyes at this and reminds her that animal control captured the giant beetle yesterday. And yet there are no news crews or scientists descending on Betty’s house.
This shot was very necessary.
Anyway, Archie is perplexed about Veronica, because her growth doesn’t fit into what he believes his weird mysteries are “supposed to be” about. It’s worth noting neither of Veronica’s supposed friends seem particularly concerned about her.
“That’s it! These sticks have given me the answer! Away to Dilton!”
Betty, Veronica’s supposed best friend, is merely upset that Veronica “bugs” her. No concern at all.
Fade out. Fade in. But no commercial break, because the music is continuous.
Archie goes to the high school physics lab and discusses things with Dilton.
Dilton reveals the growth ray doesn’t work on “non-animal objects”. That’s some highly selective scientific bullshit.
Dilton also reveals the machine was left on yesterday. So what was that sound effect that I heard, like Veronica was turning it off?
“Good God, man!”
“To the pool party!”
At the pool party, Archie marvels over the food. Dilton asks him why Jughead isn’t here. Archie tells him.
Okay, how is it that none of the staff or Veronica’s parents have noticed this?
What’s up with the legs of the girl on the left? And why does the blonde girl in the green swimsuit seemingly not care that Veronica is a fucking giant?!
Veronica says her “swimsuits seem to have shrunk”, so she sewed them all together. *bangs head against desk* You can’t expect me to believe Veronica can sew!
Betty realizes Archie was right, because she never once went to check on her supposed best friend up to this point.
Veronica decides it’d be a great idea to jump in the pool.
Of course, Veronica’s still a dumbass and thinks the pool was inadequately filled.
The crowd somehow has a premonition, because they react to Veronica’s next growth spurt before it starts to occur. Anyway, Veronica shakes and yells “Oh, no! Not again!”. Okay, so Veronica did realize what was happening; she was just in extreme denial about it.
Dilton needlessly exposits about what they (and we) are about to see.
So Veronica grows bigger and grabs the tent to cover herself, so her friends won’t get to see her giant boobs and pussy for too long, despite the fact that her swimsuits are clearly shown to grow along with her. Yeah, I know the latter is an error and makes no sense according to the highly selective science that Dilton spewed earlier.
What the fuck, Betty? Your supposed best friend is clearly in distress and having no control over her growth spurts, and you’re pissed at her for…what, exactly? Seriously, that judgmental look just screams “Oh, that exhibitionist! Anything to get the guys’ attention!”
And the attention of one girl. Hello, I think we just found Archie’s real first gay character (sorry, Kevin). Granted, she’s a background extra, but this had to have been deliberate. Someone ought to write a fanfic about this girl-loving, hat-wearing, A-cup beauty.
Veronica asks why this is happening to her.
Then she gets pissed at her guests for staring. She claims to be the same as always.
Archie points out that she’s changed and is different.
“I’m not different! You’re different!”
“You all are!”
Then Veronica screams at her boyfriend, possibly damaging his hearing.
Then she squeezes him in her fist, possibly damaging the rest of him.
She yells “You’re puny and weak! And I don’t date weaklings!”
Then Archie disappears from her fist, and she makes a throwing motion. Seriously, I did a frame-by-frame advance, and she throws nothing. Anyway, we’re supposed to believe Veronica throws Archie several yards into a tree.
Somehow, she doesn’t kill him – nor break any of his bones for that matter.
Veronica yells at her guests for running away.
Veronica then goes, ahem, ape-shit and crushes a car, which may or may not have people in it.
“Take that, you stupid chimney!”
So Veronica keeps stomping around the (strangely deserted) town (and it’s now suddenly sunset, despite it clearly being day just a short while ago), causing relatively minor damage.
Archie, who happens to have climbed down from the tree and followed Veronica here (somehow), watches her causing relatively minor damage, aghast.
Oh, Dilton’s here, too. How did these two reunite so quickly?
Archie asks when Veronica will return to normal, but Dilton thinks she’ll just keep growing bigger.
Archie doesn’t accept that, so he manhandles Dilton (again) and drags him back to the lab.
So Veronica keeps stomping through town. Not much of interest happens. Um, we learn green and blue cars are very popular in Riverdale.
Veronica comes across Fresco’s Fashions, which, it turns out, has a store in Riverdale. She decides to “get even with those hacks”.
Veronica decides to destroy all fashions, because she can no longer wear them.
Veronica is then brought to tears over the “lovely fabric” and (nonexistent) little belt on a dress.
Jughead just happens to walk by (for no apparent reason), holding an umbrella (for no apparent reason), and walks right up to Veronica before looking up and being surprised. Um…
Veronica completely breaks down. She sits (not caring if she squashes Jughead) and continues sobbing. She compares how she’s feeling to the monster in the movie, except the monster was on a murderous rampage. Well, Veronica was, too, but at least Veronica now feels sad, whereas there’s no indication that the monster did.
Anyway, after Veronica mentions her involuntary isolation, Jughead points out that he’s here. Intrigued, Veronica asks why. Jughead says he was out for his “evening think”. That’s when he walks around town by himself and wastes his brainpower contemplating the semantics of common, everyday phrases.
Even Ronnie seems to think it’s fucking stupid.
She pretends to be interested but then…
Anyway, Jughead offers her half of his candy bar, which he takes, already unwrapped, out of his pocket. And Veronica eats it. Ew!
There’s also a continuity error, because she’s suddenly sitting up straight again.
Anyway, using the same method that she had used with Archie earlier at Pop’s to point out Jughead’s flaws, he lists the ways in which she’s now different, calls her an oddball, and says that’s not good for him (by the way, he claims this was the subject of tonight’s evening think, although I have no clue when he could have learned of Veronica’s predicament). Veronica cries again, just now realizing she’s different. Jughead tells her to chill the fuck out and says they’ll figure out a solution.
Veronica breathes a sigh of relief, even though her problem is nowhere close to being solved.
Fade out. Fade in.
Back in the high school physics lab (seriously, did Weatherbee give Dilton a key to let himself in whenever he feels like it?), Archie puts the pressure on to save Veronica.
Dilton starts talking about the impossibility of this, but then Veronica arrives. Fearing certain death, Dilton tries to leave, but Archie forces him to stay.
Outside, Jughead channels his inner Leo.
Jughead explains Veronica realized it was the ray that caused this (took her long enough). They hear police sirens in the distance.
And that’s not all. Okay, let’s look at this closely. The Riverdale Police contacted the U.S. National Guard and got them to send a motherfucking tank to Riverdale (on extremely short notice) to, potentially, shoot the daughter of the richest man in town. Just so we’re clear.
Arguing ensues, and then…
“Fuck this motherfucking bullshit, yo!”
Remembering the cake in the oven, Jughead suggests a blast of cold air, and Dilton, for whatever reason, thinks it’s brilliant.
Amidst the arguing, Archie asks Veronica if she’s okay. She says yeah and apologizes for throwing him. Veronica’s praises Jughead’s differentness when it comes to figuring out the solution.
She also “thanks” him…
…a little sloppily.
They hear the police sirens again, and Veronica tells Dilton to hurry.
“Prepare to de-enlarge!”
“Fucking shoot me already!”
Veronica despairs, because the ray doesn’t immediately work. Archie tells her to have faith in Dilton’s inventions.
See? Just took a while.
For some reason, the guys are momentarily confused by this. Oh, and Veronica claims to be a size 7.
Haha, yeah, better hide any guns when you’re around the cops or the military. Don’t wanna get shot.
A cop runs over and questions the obviously naked teenage girl that’s hanging out on school grounds at night.
Veronica’s like “I think she went that-a-way.”
That’s good enough for the cop, who leaves the naked teenage girl alone with the three guys. Um, dude, for all that you know, she might have just been gang-raped and was trying to escape. Also, she looks exactly like the giant that you were just driving after, and she was surrounded by the “clothing” that said giant was wearing. Riverdale’s finest, everyone.
Veronica thanks Jughead (but not Dilton) and invites him to her pool party next week. Does Veronica have weekly pool parties, or is she just trying to make up for this one? Regardless, she has a lot of friendships to mend. Because, y’know, she terrorized most of her friends. And the entire town.
Anyway, Jughead accepts on the condition that Veronica doesn’t eat all of the burgers. She agrees.
Dilton returns the giant beetle to normal size. Wait, I thought animal control had picked it up. Were they keeping it on some pasture or something?
Today’s column-writing scene is a bit different. It occurs in the daytime, and Archie’s typing it up at Pop’s.
Jughead asks Archie if he thinks Dilton’s ray could make a 50-foot hamburger. Oh, you mean the ray that you knocked off the table, dumbass?
Archie wonders if Veronica will think twice before poking fun at someone who’s different but then guesses probably not.
Then Veronica shows up dressed like Jughead, I guess as a sign of her appreciation.
So big problems are little. Life goes on…
…in a little town called Riverdale.
This was a pretty good episode. Veronica episodes seem to be my favorite. However, I need to point out that this is the second episode in a row in which characters are too stupid for words.
General Weirdness: 3
Dilton’s Inventions: 2