GENERATOR REX “Without a Paddle” Review

Generator Rex 2

GENERATOR REX “Without a Paddle” Episode 32 – Once again this episode of Generator Rex stands alone and doesn’t seem to have anything to do with any major storyline. As much as I really want to get back into the meat of the story with Rex and Van Kleiss, this episode had me cracking up so I’m letting it slide… again.

It seemed like Rex was dropped into some kind of crazy sports or game Anime tonight instead of your normal Generator Rex episode. Rex becomes the “trump card” student transfer so I appreciated Noah’s super fast explanation of the entire process of getting Rex transferred into Benjamin Franklin High School for a week and signing him up for classes as if it was a simple thing to do. In a lot of Anime, you get the whole school idolizing the number one fill-in-the-blank-team player and with his transfer into the table tennis club, Rex automatically took up that position. He had screaming girls rushing around him and kissing him on the face (making him blush!) and football players bending over backwards to ensure a win for the school. I’ve never seen a school so excited about table tennis, but in any case, it was nice to see Rex enjoying a somewhat normal school life. I liked seeing him be excited about normal things like classes and tests that the average high school student might think of as boring.

All of their table tennis opponents were just ridiculous and pretty much grouped by their hairstyles – the punk team, the nerd team, the crew cut team, the hipster team, the afro girls team, and finally the EVO conjoined twins team. The montage of the tournament games reminded me of Balls of Fury in the way it was cut and animated with crazy finishing moves and team efforts to hit out of reach ping pong balls.

The Eastside High coach and father of the EVO brothers, Mike and Gabe, was such a sleazebag. The brothers went EVO and while it’s nice that their father embraces their transformation, their dad is now abusing them with some kind of technology that manipulates their nanites. Rex calls it “juicing” and it sends Mike and Gabe on some kind of nanite roid-rage during the tournament. Unfortunately Rex can’t return them to their natural form, but all things considered, they seem to be relatively well adjusted for teenagers turned deformed EVO.

I think they let their dad/coach off the hook a little too easily though and I probably would have liked to have him arrested or taken into Providence. It turns out the boys have little interest in table tennis and their real dream is to play piano professionally which they are eventually able to accomplish.

I think the adult characters actually had some of funniest moments in the episode. Principal Rothburger’s comments about Rex’s skinny wrists followed by his gawking face when Rex transformed to show off his nanite abilities made me giggle and I loved the scene where they were all waiting outside of Rex’s trigonometry pop quiz in fear that their table tennis championship would be ruined.

Rex’s deadpan Trig teacher, Mr. Buchiner, was probably my favorite character introduced tonight. I loved the scene where he’s griping about grading his stupid student’s tests when the ping-pong battle suddenly falls into his classroom. He’s totally unfazed and says “I should have wished for a pony” which caught me off guard and made me laugh out loud. It gets exponentially better during the hilarious epilogue where they update everyone’s status and we’re informed that Mr. Buchiner actually got a pony complete with rainbow hair and twinkling sparkles.

In the end, this episode is all filler, but it was funny filler so I had a good time watching it. I’ve said before that the humor is one of my favorite things about Generator Rex, but that the series is the strongest when that humor is combined with a really solid action story line. The action was secondary to the humor here, but I didn’t really care. I had an open mind going into the episode so when it went beyond silly to just absurd I went with it and ended up enjoying everything from the over-the-top plot set up, right down to the quirky animation and music during the epilogue. While I’m still waiting to get back into the action with Van Kleiss, I’m not ashamed to say tonight’s episode genuinely made me laugh.