This episode is called ‘What the fuck is wrong with Bungle?’. It is about Bungle, and what the fuck is wrong with him.
My immediate problem with this episode is that it doesn’t tackle any of the things that are wrong with Bungle. If this episode were a tin of beans, you’d take it back to Netto for a refund while shouting “It’s not full of beans! It’s full of gravel!”
Things that are wrong with Bungle:
Inability to wear clothes
Getting his arse hair stuck to things
Obsession with Jane (sitting next to/dressing like)
Delusions of grandeur
This episode tackles a grand total of none of these issues. Instead, it centres around the fact that Bungle’s having a bit of a sulk. Unbelievably, the others care that he’s sulking, which isn’t really canon.
This opening shot sets the tone for the whole episode, infused as it is with a trembling sense of ennui. What is Bungle thinking about? Is he worrying that Determinism renders everything ultimately pointless? The hole in the ozone layer? The Trotskyist militant group that’s attempting to infiltrate Kinnock’s Labour party? We’ll never know.
Not even mindlessly throwing a ball at himself for no real reason can pull him out of this slump.
Geoffrey calls him down to breakfast. Bungle reacts to this as if Geoffrey is demanding he come and count the individual fibres in the carpet.
Bungle doesn’t want his breakfast, so he gives it to Zippy, after three minutes of Geoffrey trying to force him to eat by mind power and guilt tripping. Geoffrey looks like a mime artist just came in and shat on the floor. Mind you, since Rod, Jane and Freddy seem to live in the kitchen, this is a very real possibility.
Bungle spends the next five minutes deliberately ignoring Geoffrey. This has now gone past mild depression, and has entered the realm of just being a bit of a prick.
Bungle goes upstairs, leaving the others to try and figure out what the fuck his problem is, other than he wants attention. Zippy, being brilliant, is immediately bored with Bungle’s sulking, and opts for a Rod, Jane and Freddy song instead. The song, by some huge coincidence, is about trying to figure out what’s wrong with someone when they’re just being a fucker.
Meanwhile, Geoffrey goes upstairs to reason with Bungle. This happens:
I think I know what Bungle’s problem is. I think he’s just realised he’s Bungle. You see this expression in his eyes quite a lot. It’s like every so often he realises what he is and what his life has become, and briefly starts staring into the grey void. This episode is just the natural conclusion of all those grey void moments.
Then Zippy shouts up that “David’s arrived! He’s going to read us all a story!” At this news, Bungle looks like he’s about to burst into full on sobs.
I imagine Bungle would have had a LiveJournal account had this happened two decades later.
Anyway, Bungle decides to honour the others with his presence. Just before he comes into the room, they concoct a plan to act like Bungle and his depression don’t exist. This plan mostly involves whistling.
Bungle, like a true Alpha Male, completely ignores David when he tries to say hello. Geoffrey advises David that “Fuck Bungle, just ignore him and read the story.” David begins the story, but Bungle isn’t done being an Alpha Male just yet. He gets up and walks out of the room as David is in mid-sentence. David tries not to cry, and bravely carries on with the story, which is about a cat being in a mood or something.
Now for the grand headfuck of a finale. In the time it takes David to read the story, Bungle has done a complete emotional U-turn, and has decided to make everyone a hostess trolley full of cakes.
He starts ranting about all the things he’s inexplicably been able to make in three minutes, while throwing cutlery on the floor (possibly that bit’s an accident). If I were Geoffrey, this would be the thing that made me consider taking him to the doctor.
However, in the Rainbow universe, this means that everything’s now fine and Bungle is back to normal. Erm, good, I suppose? This nervous breakdown is never mentioned again. I don’t suppose it would be, what with this being a show for three year olds. Those cakes look nice.
The moral of the story: If you’re depressed, have a load of cake. Also, Bungle will kill again.