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41-10-14 Vic Declines Cornet Lessons

Vic gave Alf Musherton 19-20 hours of special tutoring at the Butler House Hotel as Musherton is a candidate for initiation in the Sacred Stars of the Milky Way.

Musherton is so pleased and grateful to Vic that he cries and insists on giving Vic or any Vic's relatives or acquaintances 20 free cornet lessons. Vic doesn't want the lessons and neither does Rush. The rest of the episode is spent trying to come up for candidates to take the free lessons.

Eventually he decides to give Hank Gutstop a quarter if he'll take the first lesson.

This is a classic episode: absurd Rhymerian concept, colorful side characters, and Vic, Sade, and Rush fulfilling their favored roles (Vic thoughtful, Sade skeptical and scoffing, and Rush sitting back and delighting in the absurdity of it all). It’s also yet another episode in which men who cry are prominently featured – Vic’s friend Alf Musherton is a cryer, and Rush suggests that he might feel a kinship with Mr. Sludge because of it.

This episode presents an interesting commentary on the act of gift-giving. While we think of a gift giving as a one-way transaction, in which the giver altruistically gives something to the recipient and the recipient can choose to do what he will with it. However, the act of giving a gift isn’t a totally altruistic one, especially when it’s a gift given as reciprocity like Alf’s here. The gift giver gets the relief of a lifted obligation, the knowledge that he has reciprocated the past kindness of the recipient. This aspect of gift-giving places certain obligations on the recipient of the gift: it’s churlish to turn the gift down, because then you’re not allowing the person to feel that lifted obligation. Alf’s gift therefore becomes a bit of a white elephant as Vic has to put time and energy into coming up with a way to use it. A little ironic, since the gift was meant to thank Vic for his time and energy in tutoring Alf in the first place!

This was the first Vic & Sade episode I ever heard.  I had heard of  the show, so when it came on the radio I gave it a listen.  It starts out slowly as they often do, and I feared the worst.  But by the time it was over I was enchanted.  I think it was the discussion of Mr. Sludge and Alf alternately yipping and sobbing that hooked me.  I "yipped" on the cornet myself at Rush's age, so this gave me a laugh. 
This is not one of the laugh-out-loud hilarious episodes, but is amusing in a surreal sort of way that appeals to me.  Still, one can't help bust out at Rush's anecdote about Mr. Richards having to call the plumber. 
Sade seems to think it ridiculous that a garbage man might want to play the cornet, yet the teacher himself is a sewage disposal worker.  One thing that stands out is that Vic is seen here as sensible and calm in a bizarre situation.  He deals with it thoughtfully and decisively, while Sade is panicked at the idea of a cornet in the house.  Too often he is humiliated by the end, but here he is in firm command.
SEE THE SCRIPT (transcribed by Garry Motter)
I think you will find that this episode is one of the most rewarding of the lot. If you haven't heard this one before, you should be extremely happy with the ending.


+ Rush wants to read aloud from a Third Lieutenant Stanley book that deals with coat and hat thieves in the Sahara Desert, but no one wants to hear it.

+ In a previous episode, Vic was to fake playing the cornet in a band concert. A year and a half later, you wonder why he would turn down the free lessons?

+ Some people who Vic, Rush and Sade suggested may want to learn the cornet: Mr. Gumpox, Uncle Fletcher and Mr. Sludge.

+ Sade refers to playing the cornet as "yipping." According to the Etymological Dictionary, "yip" means to "chirp like a bird."

+ Rush tells an Uncle Fletcher-type story about Mr. Richards, who used to play the cornet: {{{HEAR}}}

+ Hank Gutstop is known to hang around the Lazy Hours Pool Hall until closing time.

+ Rush knows the telephone number of the Lazy Hours Pool Hall (#8764-J.) However, in an earlier episode, Rush said, "[I] don’t know any pool hall telephone numbers. Mom’d throw me over the people’s bank building".

+ When Vic calls Hank, he's told that Hank Gutstop is playing bottle pool.

+ This is the first episode where the term, "stuff happens" is used.  Wikipedia credits this variant of the term "sh*t happens" to writer Paul Rhymer and Vic and Sade.  (((HEAR)))

+ The last few episodes have all been more than 10 minutes long; a sign that less commercial time was going into the program and probably a sign of the popularity of Vic and Sade.

Download the complete commercial-free, sound-improved episode!

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