Jerri Blank in "You've Got Blank Mail"|
by Rob Block
centers around an internet chat site, with Jerri Blank corresponding
with her "secret on-line lover". Throughout the episode, virtually
every student and teacher of Flatpoint High is mixed into a whirlwind
of internet chatting and give in to their secret on-line desires. Using
their on-line chat names, no one is sure who the other really is.
Blackman screensavers appear often. And the familiar 'You've Got Mail'
messages sound familiarly close to Blackman's voice.
by entering into a chat-site where she spouts random bits of nasty
comments under the guise, "Moist1". In doing so, we see responses back
and forth between several Flatpoint High students, such as Tammy
Littlenut and Jimmy Tickles. This gives Jerri the opportunity the
freely poke around and ask
question like whether or not 'the carpet matches the drapes'. This is
particularly noticed when she asks it of Jimmy Tickles on-line.
meets someone who is not offended by her crudeness and Jerri is charmed
by this on-line secret love affair. They continue to correspond and
learn new "truths" about each other. Such as the fact that Jerri is a
"somewhat petite-shaped pin-up who could make a donkey blush by taking
a dive into her love-mattress". The correspondence continues.
Jellineck, too, have "secret" relationships on-line; they will go to
any length to hide their "secret love" from the other. Unbeknownst to
them, they are actually corresponding with each other. For on-line they
are not just a "happily married husband with children" or a "high
school art teacher with a penchant for firing ashtray-shaped pottery".
They are a "widely successful
rock-star with a strikingly close resemblance to the 70's band, Kansas"
"widely successful artist in the tradition of Warhol, mixed with the
of Bob Ross". There are several "close-calls" throughout the episode
feels the other has discovered their secret. The bitterness grows.
on-line lover is pressuring her to meet in person. Jerri goes to
Jellineck for advice on what to do next with her on-line relationship.
Should she agree to meet? Should she take that risk? What if they meet
and her on-line lover doesn't 'snap her bean'? Jellineck, of course,
gets misty pining over his own secret on-line affair and gives Jerri
the advice to go for it. In doing so, his own ambitions tend to reflect
in his advice to Jerri:
you don't agree to meet with him, Jerri, you'll never ever know if he's
the one for me.
mean for me?
That's what I said.
returns to the school computer lab, where Orlando is sitting behind a
computer screen. She sets her soda on top of his screen (just above a
sign that shows - "No beverages in the lab", with a picture of a
student getting electrocuted violently). Jerri reveals to Orlando of
her secret love-affair and her secret on-line name, "Moist1". At that
moment, we realize Orlando is her real on-line lover. He is stricken
with great excitement, but he does not reveal this to Jerri. He, of
course, encourages her to meet with her secret lover. She disparages
him by suggesting that, "being the chimp-faced savage that he is, he
could never know what it must be like to share an on-line love like she
has", particularly due to his inability to punch the keyboard with his
"banana-grasping stubs he calls fingers". As she walks away, laughing,
eye-twitching at her witty remarks, she spills her can of soda onto
Orlando's computer and he is electrocuted in the background. She, of
course, does not notice.
In taking his
own advice, Jellineck encourages his secret on-line buddy to meet in
person. Coincidentally, they choose the park where in an earlier
episode (Hit and Run), they had met for a picnic. They meet with the
aggressive "Hello Geoffrey", "Hello Chuck" that is often exchanged. It
is not immediately apparent to either of them that they are actually
meeting each other and the awkwardness of them both being there while
preparing to meet their "mystery lovers" grows.
In a twist of
events, Principal Blackman appears, walking his giant pure-white
Alaskan Husky. Surprised, they both assume Blackman is their secret
lover and they encourage the other to leave. "Shouldn't you be getting
back to your wife, Chuck?" is uttered. The barbs continue between them,
neither of them agreeing to leave. Eventually, the three arrive at a
candle-lit dinner with Blackman at Jellineck's house. They try to
romance Blackman as if the other were not there. Blackman is, of
course, completely unaware of the affection and continues to eat,
uttering things like "There's nothing like a 'goood' lamb chop".
home and immediately checks her e-mail for a message from her secret
lover. Seeing nothing, she becomes sad. Time goes by and as bittersweet
music plays, we see Jerri checking her e-mail over and over, but to no
avail. We also see Orlando in the hospital, semi-comatose, with
bandages covering his face and hands, all indications of being burned
badly. He has been rendered
unable to return his devoted e-mails to Jerri.
In the final
scene, Jerri is at the hospital speaking to Orlando about her lost-love
and how it wasn't meant to be, meanwhile feeding him a banana through
his bandaged face. You can see he wants to profess his love, but is
unable due to the bandages and furious banana-feeding. "There, there,
that's a good little monkey", Jerri tells him affectionately.
All in all,
her lesson learned "is that sometimes the people who were meant to be
together just can't be together. Sometimes, you have to settle for the
memories of loves gone by. Oh, how I loved that donkey. Oh, Ramon.
MMgghh! Oh, Ramon...."
In the closing
sequence, the students and teachers of Flatpoint High groove to a dance
beat in the school's computer lab, Blackman screensavers dancing to the