Tom for Mayor, Part 1
Tom Riley is surprised to find Philip Glossman knocking on his front door at six in the morning. Glossman, representing the state government and accompanied by agents Burt Ferder and Frank Ernest, has come to inspect Tom's farm for residual chemicals supposedly left behind by the Edgebiter Chemical Company spill from four years ago. Tom, who insists his farm is clean of any pollution, is helpless to stop their incursion on his land since they have a court order.
Tom's first course of action is to plead for help from Mayor Bill Jenkins, who suggests that Tom allow the agents to perform their inspection. Tom continues to protest until Bill finally agrees to make a call afterward. Once Tom has left the room, Bill calls an unknown person and demands to know what "he" is "trying to pull" with Tom Riley, claiming that this was never "part of the deal." Bill then agrees to an unspecified concession, refusing to be a part of the process any further.
As Tom and Bernard Walton discuss the problem later at Whit's End later that day with Jack Allen, Connie and Eugene — as Sam video tapes with a camcorder for fun — they are shocked to hear a breaking radio news announcement about Bill Jenkins's sudden decision to retire. Much to Tom's chagrin, all his friends jump at Bernard's suggestion that Tom to run for mayor to replace Jenkins, in large part to help remove Glossman from the farm. Tom utterly refuses, claiming that it "would take something worse than Glossman" to convince him to run.
That "worse" option quickly appears in the form of Bart Rathbone, who calls a press conference announcing his decision to run for mayor and cites the presence of Glossman on Tom's farm as a prime reason for fresh blood at city hall.
Bernard later visits Tom at the farm and asks him to reconsider running for mayor, especially now that Bart has entered the election. Tom is still reluctant, wishing that he could see a few "nudges" from God toward that direction — nudges which Bernard lists as the recent events of the past few days. Bernard then pulls out a petition filled with names of local citizens interested in Tom running for office and offers to be Tom's personal campaign manager. Stunned, Tom finally agrees — only after the two of them stop to pray about their next course of action.
The next few weeks are a whirlwind of political commercials and fundraising events for both candidates, with Tom wishing he could be “in three places at the same time.” Meanwhile, Jack visits Glossman and the agents on Tom’s farm while riding one of the horses and asks Glossman how things are progressing. Glossman is curt and dismissive to Jack but seems interested to hear Jack's suggestion that the events at the farm may be helping Tom's campaign prospect rather than hurting it. Excusing himself as Jack rides away, Glossman announces to his agents that it’s time for “the next step”: they’re “not here to make things easy for Riley.”
Later at Whit's End, Tom and the others listen to an outrageous (and typically brainless) interview of Bart on the Cryin’ Bryan Dern Show in which Bart lambastes Tom and suggests Tom should have been "promoted to Mayor" much earlier. Dern suggests that the two candidates debate each other, to which Bart agrees: "Why not!" When the interview is over, Tom listens to the urging of his friends and decides to call up and accept the challenge.
Admidst all the excitement, Glossman makes good on his promise to take his plan to the “next step," holding a press conference to announce publicly that Tom’s farm is now closed based on evidence of contamination.
- Do you think Christians should run for public office? Explain.
- What was wrong with the way Bart ran his campaign?
- Could Tom have done anything to avoid the scandal? Why was Glossman so intent on ruining Tom? Explain.
VERSION DIFFERENCE: [view] On the album version of this episode, the following scenes are extended:
- Tom's talk with the mayor (right before he makes the "mysterious phone call")
- Tom talking with the gang at Whit's End about the environmental scandal
- Jack Allen's questioning of Glossman at Tom's farm
- As evidenced by the mayor's phone conversation in this episode, Regis Blackgaard's ties to people in Odyssey must have been very deep.
- Bart's response, "Only my hairdresser knows for sure," was taken from the popular 1950's Clairol hair-coloring ads.
- Dale Jacobs' only line in this episode is "What does that mean in English, Glossman?"
- When you switch the last names of the two environmental agents in this episode, you get Frank Furter (a common name for hot dogs) and Burt Ernest (a possible reference to Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie)
- It's amusing to note that Walker Edmiston was basically running against himself in the election for Mayor! Regardless of whether Bart or Tom had won the election, Walker would have been the man in charge!
- When discussing Glossman's various nefarious activities, the gang at Whit's End reference the following episodes: #19: “Recollections”, #128: “One Bad Apple”, and #202: “Timmy's Cabin”.
- The background music for Tom's political ad is presumably Eugene on the ukulele.
Mayor Bill Jenkins: Hello? It's Bill. You know perfectly well which Bill. I wanna know what you're trying to pull with Tom Riley. I don't like it. This was never part of the deal. I don't care, I never agreed to it you hear me? I won't have any part of it. Fine, if that's what I have to do then I'll do it, but you can count me out.
Bart Rathbone: Look, I wanna thank all of yous from the press for coming here to the Electric Palace. My friends, my name is Bart Rathbone, speaking to you with his own voice here. With the announcement of his retirement, Mayor Jenkins has left shoes that will be very hard to fill. I am talking about the kind of shoes that can only be made out of integrity and trust. Them kind of shoes. Big shoes. Shoes that only a man with big feet can fill. Well, ladies and gentlemen of the press, I am here to announce that I am the man with big feet. That's right. I am throwing my hat in the ring of shoes.., of shoes! Cause, uh... these boots are made for walking, and carrying a big stick, and I'm no heel!
Brian Dern: We're back with Cryin Brian Dern's afternoon zoo. We've been talking to mayoral candidate Bart Rathbone. Though most of you know him as the owner of the Electric Palace, as well as one of the sponsors of this show. But hey, that doesn't mean that we won't ask some tough questions. Bart, is that your real hair, or are you wearing a hair piece?
Bart Rathbone: Only my hair dresser knows for sure, Brian.
Bart Rathbone: Vote for me, and yous will get exactly what you deserve!