"Folgers Crystals (Let's See What Happens)"
Written by Candy Goldstein- Email forwarded thru Gadget Archive
Characters herein are © Walt Disney corporation and Watsuki Nobuhiro/Jump Comics/Shueisha/Sony/Fuji TV. Distribute freely, but do not modify.
This is a crossover.
TYPE: Science and Medicine
Welcome to 72 Hours. I'm Stan Blather, thank you for joining us.
Tonight we're going to tell you about a fascinating study currently being undertaken by a coalition of American and Japanese scientists. Imagine if you could step into the life and world of someone you'd never met, totally immersed in their foreign culture, language, family life. These researchers have made just that possible, but there's a catch: the participants must do their best to fit in completely. One of the project researchers, Dr. Samuel Spine, a dietician by trade, is here now. Good evening, Dr. Spine.
Spine: Very honored to be the token medical professional presence here tonight, Stan.
Tell me, how was this project conceived? What makes it different from student exchange situations that occur every day?
Spine: The project was conceived in a bar near an AMA regional meet at one-thirty A.M. I think that'll explain things. Anyway, our main focus is to study the effects of role-play on personality; if forced into a role, at what point does the psyche become immersed in it? To stress that factor of force, we asked volunteers to act as if they had always been the other person and never break character.
They were to completely pretend that they were the other person?
Spine: To the extreme that they'd deny the swap to their host family and friends. In fact, as an added pressure, we made sure these hosts had no foreknowledge of our project.
You had several sets of volunteers for this project and ran test pairs simultaneously, is that correct?
Spine: That's correct. I had a recommended candidate, an acquaintance of mine, and my esteemed Japanese colleague, Dr. Takani Megumi, a GP, had the other component. They were perfect.
Spine: They had very different personalities but extremely similar roles. They were both 'alpha males' of their social and work groups. We interviewed them and the dynamic was fascinating. We figured the similar social roles would help speed immersion.
The research group set up special interview rooms where candidates were interviewed individually and with their swap partners. A key issue to address with some candidates was language barrier, and even physical size played a role. One of the walls of the room was demolished and the space almost completely blocked by a state-of-the-art reality bending engine, or RBE. This subtly smoothed the differences. We asked if this might taint the experiment.
Spine: Not at all. In fact, it's been used in numerous cultural exchange situations and is a clinically safe and needed factor. Even the open atmosphere of the missing fourth wall seemed to loosen our prospects up and get them talking frankly.
Hidden cameras caught everything in the interview room. Spine and Takani interviewed each other's acquaintances one at a time.
Megumi: You appear to be in a dangerous profession. Volunteer law enforcement, right? Isn't that stressful?
Chip: Not at all! I'm used to danger!
Spine: It says here that you're undergoing some emotional healing, a few rather traumatic years. How's that going?
Kenshin: My heart is now at peace, de gozaru.
Megumi: Is there anyone special in your life?
Chip: Yeah, a very nice girl.
Megumi: Any wedding plans?
Chip: We're... still working that out.
Spine: Is there anyone special in your life?
Himura's swirly eyes were noted, and the level of inquiry became extremely personal.
Spine: What's it like to be voiced by a woman?
Kenshin: Ah, Mayo-domo. She is a wonderfully warm and intelligent woman, if I may say so myself. (Spine and Kenshin laugh.) In all seriousness, she is extremely adept and I am honored beyond words to be her first role.
Megumi: Please tell me how it feels to be voiced by a woman.
Chip: Where'd you hear that?
Megumi: Tress MacNeille? One of the most prolific woman English-language voice actors alive?
Chip: Oh... yeah.
Chip: She's a very good voice.
Megumi: Is it ever disturbing to hear the same vocal qualities in Gadget-sama?
Chip: (Shifts in chair) Not at all. What's the next question?
At last, Spine and Takani compared notes and interviewed jointly.
Chip: You know that about me!
Spine: Please pretend I don't, Chip, and say it for the record. Kenshin also needs to learn about you.
Chip: (exhales heavily) Everybody calls me "Chip." My name is Chip. It's not rocket science!
Megumi: Ken-chan, what do most people call you?
(Kenshin appears lost, as his eyes fleck different colors)
Spine: That's fascinating.
Megumi: I believe this is the tragic past again. Ken-chan! Kaoru-san's sneaking up behind you with a two-by-four!
Kenshin: Ohh- (blinks) Arigatou, Megumi-sama.
The best way to learn, for most people, is to observe. Researchers were blessed with amazing video footage of the day-to-day lives of Himura and Maplewood. Three days before the experiment began in earnest, both subjects were confined to a room together to watch the footage and ask each other any final questions. For variety, Chip and Kenshin's footage was interspersed, though Kenshin had almost half again as much material. Total running time: 55 hours. After the viewing, the volunteers retired to comfortable guest quarters for crucial rest.
Chip: (gibbering) De gozaru! De gozaru oro! De gozaru!
Kenshin: (inebriated) Are you cuh-razy?!
Spine: (in studio) We wanted everything to stick on a subconscious level.
When we come back, the grand experiment.
Welcome back. Himura Kenshin, whose family name is given first, and Chip, whose surname he won't reveal to researchers but which is widely purported to be Maplewood, are about to embark on a quest for the... human psyche. Researchers flew the subjects to their new American and Japanese homes outfitted with concealed cameras and portable RBE technology to provide a moderate degree of suspension of disbelief in their unsuspecting 'families.' At last, the knock on the front door.
Chip: Ohayo gozaimasu, Kaoro...domo?
Kaoru: (smiles softly) Kenshin! You're back from Okinawa early. (expression darkens) What are you doing back?
(Chip appears uncomfortable)
Kenshin: Good evening, Gadget. How is everyone?
Gadget: Chip... where have you been for the past week?
We would later learn that the alibi Chip had prepared for himself, a note left on the kitchen table detailing a supposed, urgent, long-term crimefighting trek, had been obscured by spilled cheese soup and several dozen graphic novels. Kenshin, however, displays mastery.
Kenshin: Please excuse my tardiness. I was fighting neo-Shogunate assassins when I was imprisoned and have just escaped.
Gadget: Oh... I see...
The first major obstacles for both Kenshin and Chip came at meal time.
Yahiko: Now what poison have you cooked us, Kaoru?
Kaoru: Kenshin wasn't here. Shut up and eat!
Yahiko: If I eat that I'll never live long enough to learn your 'wonderful' fighting style.
Kaoru: Oh, I'm so sorry... Yahiko-chan!
Yahiko: Stop calling me-
Kaoru: Yahiko-chan Yahiko-chan yahikochanyahikochanyahi-
Yahiko: Old hag! Dried up mushroom! Go back to your hole in the ground with the other truffles!
Kaoru: I'll kill you, brat!
Chip: (yelling) Both of you knock it off!
(Yahiko and Kaoru stop dead)
Chip: Look at yourselves. Don't you have any team spirit? I can't believe how you're-
Yahiko and Kaoru: BUTT OUT!!
(The Rescue Rangers stare dumbfounded at the table as Kenshin sets out a dizzying array of food)
Kenshin: Please, my family, enjoy.
(Dale and Monty exchange glances)
Monty: Well, I can't argue!
Dale: Me neither!
(Dale and Monty plow into the food; Gadget and Zipper appear concerned)
Gadget: Chip, is everything okay?
(Zipper feels Kenshin's forehead)
Kenshin: Yes, thank you, everything is well. Am I behaving strangely?
Gadget: Well, actually, yes.
Kenshin: Oh, excuse me. Please tell me how?
Gadget: Chip, don't be sarcastic.
Kenshin: (surprised) I'm not sarcastic.
Gadget: Don't be sarcastic about being sarcastic!
Kenshin: Oro... I mean, Gadget-
Gadget: (stands) If you wanna talk, Chip. C'mon, Zipper.
Kenshin: (softly) I am utterly perplexed.
Dale: What'd you do to her, Chip?!
Kenshin: I'm not certain. Please, Dale, could I ask you to talk with her?
(Dale and Monty stop shovelling food into their mouths and stare)
(Dale runs out)
Chip and Kenshin were instructed to keep secret journals of their thoughts and feelings. On the first night, it became obvious that neither had sunk into their roles yet.
Kenshin writes: "I expected to be unaccustomed to American candor, but I don't understand the dynamic Chip has with these people at all. Given the supposed seriousness of his relationship with Gadget-chan, there seems to be a lot of mistrust. I gather that Chip uses emotional weapons to meet his ends. And what exactly is a 'cheese attack'?"
Chip writes: "Kenshin's a moron. Kaoru is cute enough, and she wants samurai lovin' so bad she oozes it. She's bossy, but he's a pushover, so they're perfect. I'm gonna see if I can't fan the flames a little. Why doesn't Kenshin understand women?"
Chip's family, with Kenshin, makes their regular trip to the police station. Unfortunately, Monterey Jack, an obsessive-compulsive, is caught by a detective.
Spinelli: Got it! It almost got my sandwich!
Monty: (muffled under an overturned garbage can) Cheeeeezuh!
As the intended effect of his RBE, Kenshin is currently mere inches tall, but he faces the police officer.
Kenshin: Release him.
Spinelli: What the-
Kenshin: I gave you warning!!
(Kenshin leaps a foot off the desk and hits Spinelli between the eyes with his tiny reverse sword. Spinelli teeters and falls over, stunned. Kenshin kicks over the garbage can. On the ceiling fan, Dale, Gadget and Zipper are staring bug-eyed.)
Kenshin: Police corruption here, too. How sad.
(A generic villain is holding Kaoru in a headlock, sword to her throat.)
Villain: Fight me, Battousai, or your girlfriend dies!
Kaoru: Screw you! Don't do it, Kenshin!
Chip: I guess you win. I'll fight you.
Villain: Ha haa! At last I'll do battle with the great Hitokiri Battousai and prove myself the greatest fighter in the world! Muahahaha-
Chip: Oh my gosh (points) what's THAT?
Villain: Where? (lowers sword in surprise)
(A wrecking ball appears out of nowhere and pastes him, ripping him off of Kaoru.)
Chip: I installed a wrecking ball, just in case.
Kaoru: (looking around) Installed? Where?!
Chip: It doesn't matter. I'm just glad you're safe, Kaoru-chan.
Chip wrote about the second day:
Monty: Chipper, you gotta teach us that fighting technique!
Dale: Yeah! I've never seen anybody drop an elephant with a drinking straw! Please?!
Kenshin: Well... okay, but you have to do the chores I've scheduled for you first.
Dale and Monty: Chores?!
Kenshin: Don't be babies!
Monty: You were a fair sight fairer yesterday...
Chip: Kao-chan, lunch is ready! Bento for two?
Kaoru: Ken-chan, you're being so sweet.
Chip: Not enough to be worthy of you, Kao-chan.
Tragically, just at the moment absorption seemed complete, and with only hours left in the experiment, disaster struck.
Kenshin: Gadget! Why isn't the plane fixed yet?
Gadget: Stop yelling at me! I'm working as fast as I can!
Kenshin: Well work faster! You're a Rescue Ranger! Start pulling your weight!
Gadget: That's it! I've had it! Chip, you're an insufferable jerk! You push everyone too hard and it's impossible to work with you! I won't take this abuse any more! I'm quitting!
(Kenshin looks aghast; Spine in the studio)
Spine: We had very high hopes for Kenshin, especially since he already appeared to live with a 'mask.' But in the end, he couldn't keep character, and his retention of Chip's persona was a complete failure.
Kenshin: (kneeling) Gadget-domo, I most humbly beg your forgiveness for my unspeakable actions, de gozaru.
Gadget: Chip, what's going on?
Kenshin: I'm not Chip.
The rest, as they say, is history. The experiment could no longer continue, and the research project revealed itself and returned the subjects to their families. Dr. Spine, was your segment of the project wasted?
Spine: Not at all, Stan, despite Kenshin's failure. We're still studying what made him react so violently, and although we couldn't continue to track Chip's retention, he did agree to a few informal questionnaires. Chip appeared to retain for a few weeks, very nice for only three days of role play.
Are you planning any more collaborative efforts with Dr. Takani?
Spine: We're conducting an informal study of beetroot-related college dropout rates.
Thank you, Doctor. A final word from the volunteers themselves, their last journal entries.
"Kaoru was very detached this week and would barely face me. She wouldn't tell me what was wrong. She said she wasn't hurt that I participated in the experiment, but I knew better. Today, she seems better. I've been taking good care of her and made her breakfast in bed this morning. She looks... beautiful. I had two kimono sent to Gadget-domo and just received word that she is grateful and all's forgiven. Overall, I am very lucky."
"I suggested a couple days off, solemnly swearing no work. Everybody went for it. Dale showed off all the moves Kenshin taught him, and I helped Monty cook a picnic feast. I think they all had a good week. I feel lighter somehow, lighter inside. I'm almost jealous. Gadget seems happier than she did before I left. What did Kenshin do that's making them so happy?"
For 72 Hours, I'm Stan Blather. Good night, everyone.
72 HOURS TRANSCRIPTS COPYRIGHT 2001