Eerie, Indiana

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Home sweet home.

Twin Peaks meets The Twilight Zone told from the POV of a snarkier 14-year old version of Fox Mulder.

Eerie, Indiana was a superb nineteen-episode supernatural series that aired on NBC from 1991-1992 (in prime time!) and then again on FOX Saturday mornings from 1997-98. The short-lived series had a mid-season Retool and had an unproduced episode called "The Jolly Rogers". It also spawned a second series, Eerie Indiana: The Other Dimension, one year after FOX ran out of NBC episodes to show, as well as a series of spin-off novels.

Marshall Teller, a recent transplant from New Jersey, and Simon Holmes, an Eerie native, investigate the weirdness that inhabited the titular town. It would be easier for them if the town's residents didn't refuse to see themselves as anything but normal.

Tropes used in Eerie, Indiana include:
  • Adults Are Useless - Although a lot of the local kids are oblivious and useless too.
  • Agent Mulder: Marshall Teller is the original Mulder.
  • Alternate Universe - The Other Dimension, as the title suggests.
  • Anticlimax - Given the premise of Reality Takes a Holiday, where everyone is suddenly the cast and crew of a weekly TV show trying to shoot an episode, the only way to end the episode is in a drably realistic anti-climax: Marshall re-writes the end of the episode to something more mundane and has to wait on set while the new pages are slowly photocopied by the writer's assistant, then delivered to the cast. When Dash tries to interfere, Marshall complains to the director, who calmly orders Dash to "clear Omri's eye-line". Dash is beaten by the rules of his own game and the script unfolds. Everybody goes to the movies. The End.
  • Art Initiates Life - In the episode "Who's Who," guest character Sara Bob had this power due to a Eerie brand pencil. She first demonstrates this by drawing a picture of main character Marshall's missing bike (for a "lost" poster), but it instead creates a new bike. To escape her terrible home life, she first draws Marshall's mother as her own long lost mom, then drawing a picture of herself with her mother, teleporting to her.
  • Awesome McCoolname - Dash X. Invoked, since he named himself after the symbols on his hands.
  • Bazaar of the Bizarre - Mr. Radford's World O' Stuff.
  • The Bermuda Triangle - Marshall once discovers that Eerie's town borders create the exact same geometric shape as the Bermuda Triangle.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti - One of them, anyway. It apparently finds human cuisine palatable enough to eat out of the Teller family's trash.
    • Professor Zircon's assistant meets a female one when he's planting the fake space 'thing'.
  • Braces of Orthodontic Overkill - The Retainer: Marshall's friend is required to wear one for awhile. It allows him to read the minds of dogs, who are revealed to be plotting the eventual overthrow of the human race.
  • Brotherhood of Funny Hats - The Loyal Order of Corn Lodge.
  • Call Back - In 'Zombies in P.J.'s, Mr. Radford seems to come across some familiar items.
    • In "Reality Takes a Holiday", Radford can be heard singing "Hail To Thee, O Ears of Splender".
  • Cheerful Child - Simon
  • City of Adventure - Eerie of course, home of the strange and bizarre.
  • Clock Roaches - The Lost Hour: Marshall sets his clock back an hour despite the town's practice of ignoring daylight saving's time, and as a result has to face off against malevolent, trans-dimensional trashmen whose job it is to tear apart reality.
  • The Computer Is Your Friend - The ATM with the Heart of Gold: Simon befriends the inexplicably artificially intelligent automatic Teller machine "Mr. Wilson", who returns his friendship by offering to provide him with "slush fund" money... composed of other people's savings accounts.
  • Crazy Homeless People - Charles Furnell, the smartest man on earth.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Marshall
  • Elvis Lives - ...on Marshall's paper route.
  • Everything Fades - The Losers: the United States federal government has a black budget organization dedicated to "appropriating" the items people forget are sitting around their houses, forcing them to buy new things...and thus keeping the bloated American economy going strong. Easily one of the most believable concepts the show ever aired.
  • Face on a Milk Carton - a strange example in The Lost Hour.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble - Thanks to a mid-season Retool: Marshall is Mulder Melancholic (minus the depression), Simon is a chipper Sanguine, Radford is as Supine as they get, and Dash is down-right Choleric. Made obvious by the end of Mr. Chaney.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You - Scariest Home Videos: a television remote control is revealed to contain the power to send people into the programs being televised. This seems to have predated the Simpsons Itchy & Scratchy example, and may be one of the first ever of its kind.
  • Free-Range Children Especially poor Simon
    • Likewise, Sara Bob's family in "Who's Who." Dad's physically present, but Sara Bob has to care for him as well as her hellion brothers.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Whenever there's text big enough to read that goes by too fast, you can bet there's a joke in it. A really fun example is in "Reality Takes a Holiday", when Marshall reads the shooting script for the scene he just walked out on. In the direction, it says Simon sits there, looking "orphanish".
  • Fun with Acronyms In "The Retainer", the gang goes to the dog pound... owned by the Canine Arrest Team.
  • Heel Face Revolving Door: Dash is a confused guy. His last two episodes confuse things even further.
  • Human Popsicle - Foreverware (pilot episode): the most astoundingly effective tupperware in the history of mankind.
  • Jerkass - Dash X, frequently implied to be a Jerkass Facade. Until he tries to kill Marshall and take over the show.
  • Implausible Hair Color - One guess.
  • Kid Hero: Marshall.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: "Heart on a Chain" is the only episode in the series that never answers its mystery. A shy, terminally ill girl has a crush on a devil-may-care boy, who dies in a freak accident. A heart transplant from his fresh corpse saves her. She then begins acting increasingly bizarre (with a lot less self-control). It is left completely unclear until the end whether his heart's personality has taken over hers (as the Agent Mulder believes), or whether guilt has made her not herself.
  • Milkman Conspiracy - Milkmen play a subtle but significant role in the series, often appearing in the background or playing an (apparently) unwitting role in the events.
    • In "The Losers," Simon loses sight with the trunk in which Marshall is attempting to Trojan Horse his way into the compound, because his view is obstructed by a milk truck.
    • In "Broken Record," Marshall and Simon's friend tries to escape town to see the "Pit Bull Surfers" by commandeering a milk truck.
    • Bertrand and Ernest appear in a number of different roles after Marshall liberates them in the pilot, including as a milkmen.
    • Likewise, the "serial impersonator" originally posing as Mr. Radford appears later impersonating a milkman.
    • And in "Heart on a Chain," the boy whose heart is transplanted into Danielle Harris collides with a milk truck while skateboarding, as the milkman, among others, attends the scene of the accident.
    • While this could just be a motif (the show is about suburban weirdness, after all), in "The Lost Hour," Marshall is rescued from the lost hour by a milkman, who implies that he is, in fact, future Marshall.
  • My Nayme Is - Marshall has disdain for his big sister for spelling her name "S-Y-N-D-I".
  • No Fourth Wall - Sort of, for most of the series. The opening credit voice-over has the line, "A place so wholesome, so squeaky clean, it could only be found on TV..." However, this might merely be Marshall Telling some future reader of his journals (the viewer) that the place seemed like its veneer was straight out of a sitcom; given the show's nature, both are probably the case.
    • ...Then there's the case of Reality Takes a Holiday, when Marshall pulls a television script out of his mailbox, and then suddenly finds himself in a world where his whole life is exactly that... and everyone else knows him solely by the name of the actor who actually played the character. Dash X is still a villain rather than his actor, but acknowledges that the only reason he is one is because he's a fictional character.
  • No Immortal Inertia: The pilot episode had a woman who was keeping herself and her children young forever by sealing them in bed-sized tupperware containers every night. When she was stopped, the three of them aged 30 years overnight.
  • Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here - Not even in the eyes of most of the "weirdness" in question, which continually sees the rest of the town as the most normal place on Earth.
  • Number of the Beast - Eerie's official population is 16,661 people.
    • Like that comma actually does anything!
    • 16,661 is also a prime number, and a palindrome -- the smallest of what are known as Beastly Primes.
  • Only Sane Man - Marshall, who seems to be the only person in town who knows Elvis Presley when he sees him.
  • The Other Darrin - An amusing subversion: it eventually turns out that the Mr. Radford who started the series was a compulsive impersonator named Fred Suggs, who had the real Radford (played by John Astin) tied up in the basement all along. Radford doesn't press charges because the guy was such a good salesman, and he later turns up as a teller for the Bank of Eerie. Only Marshall notices.
  • Premiseville: Eerie, Indiana, where the happenings are of an unusual nature.
  • Quirky Town: Eerie again.
  • The Quisling - Dash
  • Real After All: "Marshall's Theory of Believability".
  • Shout-Out: Several episodes reference movies, music and television shows, including Twin Peaks
    • In "Mr. Chaney", Radford, Chaney and Chisel can't wait to get home and catch The Howling on cable. The Howling's director, Joe Dante, served as creative consultant for Eerie, Indiana and frequently directed episodes.
  • Somebody Else's Problem - Pretty much the entire town's attitude toward Eerie's otherness. Lampshaded in Mr. Chaney by The Mayor himself:

"This town -- heck, this whole country -- has a long... 'tradition'... of looking the other way: the Warren Commission, Watergate, Iran-Contra, the October surprise, Eerie's 'Harvest King'. The people don't want to know about this stuff. Because if they knew about it, they might have to do something about it."

  • Soul Fragment: The episode in which an Ill Girl fell in love with a risk-taking skateboarder. When he forgot to Look Both Ways, he died and she got his heart for the transplant she needed. She then proceeded to act like him, skateboarding recklessly and carving graffiti on the desks.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: In one episode a kid's braces give him the ability to talk to dogs.
  • Spin-Off - Eerie Indiana: The Other Dimension which as the title implies takes place in another dimension of the series. By the time they made this the show, it was seven years after the original was canceled so they of course had to recast the characters. The gist of the show was that two new characters in this universe, Mitchell and Stanley, continue documenting the weirdness of their city after an encounter with E.I.'s original characters, Marshall and Simon via a TV set (they reused footage of the old show to make this happen). It lasted fifteen episodes.
  • Subliminal Seduction - The Broken Record; subverted: Marshall investigates when the angry father of one of his friends accuses the latter of listening to rock music records laced with menacingly subliminal undertones. The accusations are borne out: when played in reverse, voices are heard that sound exactly like the father's venom-laced tirades.
  • Sticky Fingers - Again, Dash. In more than one episode, he can be seen at Radford's shoplifting a trench coat's worth.
  • Tagalong Kid - Simon
    • Lampshaded: "I'm tired of being second banana on this show."
  • Take That: Several per episode. These include an evil businessman who calls himself "The Donald".
    • Another was an episode revealed that Ronald Reagan was given the brain of MacGyver (quadrupling his IQ) so the republicans could win that election. The same episode had Dash threaten to destroy Simon's brain by saying he'd make him "vice-presidential".
  • The Web Always Existed: Inverted — one of the weird things the main character collected over the course of the series was an old-fashioned radio that only played music from the 1940s.
  • Theme Naming: Marshall Teller and Simon Holmes.
  • Weirdness Magnet - The Trope Codifier for youth-oriented series.
  • Welcome to The Real World: "Reality Takes a Holiday"
  • We Need to Get Proof - In an effort to back up their claims to any potential future readers, Marshall and Simon make it a point to take, and tag, at least one item involved in each respective adventure, and lock it away in a makeshift wooden safe-deposit box located in Marshall's room.
  • Wham! Line: An interesting case from "The Broken Record", presented without the garbledness: "Todd! Turn that garbage off right now or I'm gonna throw that record player out the window, you hear me?!"
    • The line in question came about from Todd's father, a hater of rock music, playing one of his records backwards, thinking the music caused his son to become a punk.
  • You Wouldn't Believe Me If I Told You - Marshall's response when his mother asks him to tell her something that isn't scary.
  • Your Favorite - According to ATM With a Heart of Gold, Marshall's favorite dinner is Swedish Chicken.
  • Your Soul Is Mine - Zombies in P.J.'s: a strange PR guru called "The Donald" brainwashes most of the town into going on exorbitant shopping sprees, without going into the fine print on the credit rate.