Starring Autumn Reeser as Amelia Earhart and Busy Philipps as Joan of Arc. Also starring Hal Lublin, Annie Savage, Mark Gagliardi, and Andy Daly.
Recorded October 1, 2011.
Blacker: Isn’t Brian Stack’s voice the best? Brian is a writer and performer on Conan, and he’s done the live show a couple of times. I think our podcast producer Barre Duryea had the idea of Brian doing the podcast intros, and it was a really good one. Brian is incredibly funny and talented, and we’re lucky to have him involved in our show in any capacity.
We’ve put on this episode of Amelia Earhart a number of times, and hopefully we finally nailed it with this one. You can tell us if we did. Acker and I were so excited to get Autumn Reeser in our cast in the last years of our initial run (three years ago?). We were big fans of hers from when she appeared in the last season of the OC. Autumn breathed a life into this character whom we originally intended as a one-off. She just gives a hilarious performance in this piece. Like if a 1930’s screwball heroine played Indiana Jones. Which is a movie I’d totally watch.
Busy Philipps, as usual, is amazing. Her take on Joan of Arc is so bizarre. I suspect Acker will have more to say about that, as (of this writing) we recorded this several weeks ago, and he’s still talking about it. And when we lost an initially booked guest star as the Nazi Otto Drangt, we knew we could call Andy Daly on short notice and he’d knock it out of the park. Which he did. Andy brings humanity and warmth to every character he plays, whether it’s a talking horse or a Nazi brain-in-a-jar.
As usual, WorkJuice Players Hal Lublin and Mark Gagliardi just kill it in supporting roles as (apparently gay) Nazis. Part of the Muppet Show fun of the Thrilling Adventure Hour is putting folks like Gags and Hal and Annie Savage in a bunch of different, crazy roles throughout one show.
Finally, from a writing stand-point, Amelia is a part of the world-building that Acker and I love to do in our writing. We began our World War II stories with Jefferson Reid, Ace American (podcast #3) which then expanded to include Amelia as part of that same world (Annie’s character, Abby Adams, is Jefferson Reid’s girlfriend… and also apparently has a history with Amelia). Somewhere along the line “timeholes” became a shorthanded and easy way to explain time travel in the universe of TAH. It began as a weird joke in the segment about Colonel Tick-Tock, but the concept has appeared, I think, in every segment of the show, from Sparks Nevada to Captain Laserbeam. It gives the illusion of cohesion to the whole thing (but doesn’t quite stand up to scrutiny)!
Finally, when Dragt says “Prepare to die like it’s 2099,” I crack the hell up. I believe this was a late addition to the script by Acker. It is not the kind of joke we typically like to make—it’s a bit “contemporary” for TAH—but it just killed me.
Acker: Hello, and thanks for visiting my commentary track! Just like regular, non-podcast commentary tracks, please enjoy the show first before reading this, or it may not make any sense at all. Do you guys read this stuff or are we doing it for ourselves?
In Praise of the Actors
Hal Lublin plays the narrator in nearly all of the pieces of show. This narrator of Hal’s is one of my favorites, because I loved Superfriends. I love Autumn Reeser and Busy Philipps together. They make such strong choices in such different directions. For every crisp, squeaky clean, square-jawed syllable Amelia chirps out, Joan has a rich, wine-soaked French-cigarette smoky answer. Andy Daly is amazing. Always. Is his Nazi the muppet-est of all Nazis?
Apparently a new kind of chocolate was actually recently discovered.
The physicality of Amelia Earhart flying her plane is so charming. Autumn holds her arms out straight like airplane wings and zips about as if she is the plane. I’m sure there is a picture nearby of Busy embodying Joan of Arc. The hair. The eyes. Oh man. So good. Also, Autumn’s Amelia costume is top notch. I believe the hat belongs to Paget.