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Slapstick is the first episode of Creeped Out. It first aired on 31 October 2017 on CBBC.

Synopsis

Have you ever been embarrassed by your family? Have you ever wished they were different people? Jessie is fed up with her embarrassing family and makes a deal with a worrisome puppet.

Plot

Prologue

The Curious is seen building sandcastles on a beach. The Narrator explains he collects strange tales and, if you ever hear his whistle, you know something creepy is about to unfold. She says no-one has ever seen under his mask, and wonders whether it's because he's embarrassed to show what's really under there, as some people go to extremes to avoid embarrassment.

Episode

As she wakes up, Jessie hears someone singing 'Happy Birthday'. She looks out of her bedroom window to see her next door neighbour, Patty Peterson, opening presents from her parents, including a pair of pink trainers.

Downstairs, Jessie is greeted by her mum and dad, who are being loud and making jokes that embarrass her. She asks whether they can 'behave like normal humans' at the Petersons' house party the next day. Her parents don't want to go, but Jessie insists they must, as Patty is the coolest girl in her year. Jessie mentions that Patty's parents have bought her the trainers she wants, which her parents refuse to buy for her.

Later, while out with her parents, Jessie sees Patty with her friends. She waves to them, but they laugh at her. Her mum and dad present her with a shoebox; Jessie thinks they've finally got the trainers she asked for, but they turn out to be cheap knock-offs. Her parents insist that Jessie has to try the shoes on and 'give them a show', making Patty and friends laugh at her even more. Jessie's mum shouts at the girls, making Jessie angrier. She loses her temper and storms off. As she does, she says 'I just wish you were normal'.

Jessie wanders to the beach and watches the end of a Punch and Judy-style puppet show called 'Mr. Blackteeth's Theatre of Hilarity'. A boy approaches her and says Mr. Blackteeth, who is also a puppet, wants to 'say hello'. Mr. Blackteeth tells Jessie he can give her the power to control her parents: all she has to do is rap on her forehead three times and say the words 'that's the way to do it'. After Mr. Blackteeth mocks her for being scared, Jessie does as he says.

Jessie wakes the next day to find the house silent and her parents lying in bed, wide awake. She assumes they are playing a joke on her for being angry the day before, but soon realises they will do anything she tells them. She gets them to dress in smart clothes and order the trainers she wanted online. Before the Petersons' party, she reminds them of the 'party rules': Dad must not crack jokes or embarrass Jessie, and Mum must join in group laughter, but only using an acceptable level of giggles.

Jessie offers to help Patty with the drinks. When Patty's mum tells her off for getting dirt on her dress, Jessie tells her she still looks great, and the ice seems to be broken. However, when Patty's friends arrive, Patty throws ketchup over Jessie as a joke. Jessie tells them they're losers and leaves the party in tears. As Jessie instructed, her mum joins in the laughter.

At home, Jessie starts to miss the way her parents used to be. She tries to undo Mr. Blackteeth's spell by saying 'that's the way to do it' again and asking her parents to 'go back to how you were', but nothing works. 

The next day, Jessie goes back to the beach, only to find Mr. Blackteeth's tent has disappeared. However, there are posters advertising a 'final show' in nearby Karter Bay. She arrives in time for the show and sees that the puppets now resemble her parents and are repeating their catchphrases. She approaches them and her dad says 'help us, Jessie', confirming they are really her parents. They vanish, and Jessie enters the tent. 

Inside the tent, Mr. Blackteeth tells Jessie he is in control and there is only one way to save her parents. The boy she met earlier reappears and explains Mr. Blackteeth also tricked him. To free his parents, he had to find someone to take his place, and that was Jessie. He tells Jessie she must now do the same. 

At the end of the episode, Jessie is stood beside the tent as children arrive for the puppet show. She stares intently at a boy who is clearly having an argument with his parents before he sits down to watch. 

Epilogue

The Curious stands beside a bandstand on the seafront. He studies a poster for Mr. Blackteeth's show, then takes it down, folds it up and puts it away in his pocket. The Narrator challenges the audience to try Blackteeth's trick themselves – but only if they're willing to face the consequences.

Cast

  • Jessie (Sydney Wade)
  • Mr. Blackteeth (Robert Styles)
  • Patty Peterson (Caitlan Barrett-Ward)
  • Jessie's Mum (Jennifer James)
  • Jessie's Dad (Daniel Ryan)
  • The Curious (William Romain)
  • The Narrator (Aurora Aksnes)

Trivia

  • This episode was filmed in New Brighton, The Wirral.
  • The setting of Karter Bay is also mentioned in The Call.
  • Patty Peterson is also mentioned in Kindlesticks.