Judging a Book by its Cover
That is a pretty convincing parody of a Goosebumps book! It's a little less slimely and drippy and a little more cartoony, but it's probably best not to get sued. That would also be why there is a nice red "warning" that this is not a Goosebumps book. An unauthorized parody! This spoof is just a goof! It also mocks the vastness of the Goosebumps series by promoting the fact that there are just 2 Gooflumps. Even with just 2, I never did complete the series, alas I only have book 2 1/2.
The title of the book seems to be a take off on Stay Out of the Basement. The bathroom is a bit of a more silly and scatological choice. Still, who doesn't fear at some point in their life, getting sucked down the toilet? Also, that bathroom has the worst color scheme I've ever seen. On top of that they don't even have the toilet paper on correctly. You have the sheets going over the top dammit! You put the paper on like that and you deserve a toilety death.
This even has the taglines on the front and back. "Terror in the toilet..." Sheesh, a janitor's worst nightmare. On the back is "Put down the seat, waste product!!!" Waste product? Wait, are you calling me shit? Uncalled for good sir!
Anyway, lets see what this parody has to offer. It could just be a cheap cash in on a popular childhood craze, or it could be a genuinely funny spoofy on a series ripe for parody. Which way will it go? Let's find out!
We start with main character Joe being chased down on a space ship by Roger and his Venusian mercenaries. But they are being lead into a trap! There is a secret chamber with a self destruct button which Joe hits with glee, trapping himself and all his enemies in a deadly explosion. Even though he died, surely he must have won the game. Oh that's right, it's a game! And here I was thinking it was set in outer space. Why you rascally start of the book, you tricked me! Mid-argument about the outcome of the video game they hear shrieks coming from the other room. Joe's sister is being attacked in the bathroom by.... GERMS! Probably, this place is disgusting, and it's all Joe's fault. And his sister isn't above being a narc, especially after he teases her about being afraid of the basement. Then Roger calls Joe "Homey" as he breaks into a rap. I'm not joking. That is what happens. Dear god this is cornier than Goosebumps already. For his finale he accidentally breaks the toilet. That's what happens when you fly to close to the crapper on wings of stupidity.
Turns out Roger's dad is a plumber, and Roger goes to get some plumber's tape to fix it up after conning Joe into admitting he is better at the video game they were playing earlier. When he returns and fixes up the toilet which is leaking everywhere, he is rewarded with a donut. A HURTZ DONUT! Oh man, classic stuff there. Anyway, Joe's dad shows up and has to use the bathroom and uh oh, turns out plumber's tape isn't that great of a fix. Now as punishment Joe has to go look for a toilet with his dad, which hardly seems harsh at all. After trying other places that were closed they wind up at "Gleepnorp's Sanitary Units and Appliances" Which has a big sale, one day only! Also, it has a sign that says "No Food or Drinks Allowed" only the R in drinks is rubbed out. Teehee, no dinks allowed. While Joe is outside finishing his rootbeer he hears a ruckus with some garbage can and see... Oscar the Grouch! Wait no, his Aunt Selma. Close first guess though Joe. They go inside to talk to Dad and in the ultimate of these "think it is one thing but it turns out to be another" gags the chapter ends with Joe thinking they are being approached by one of the toilets, but it turns out to be... Gleepnorp the salesman. I make the same mistake all the time Joe, don't worry.
Well the toilet-looking-toilet-salesman actually looks a bit more like an alien when up close. And he talks funny. And he mentions being from Polaris... New Jersey. Weird. Plus crazy hippy Aunt Thelma thinks they shouldn't by the toilet here. Dad hates Aunt Thelma though, plus this is the only toilet store that is open, so what are ya gonna do? They get it installed, and banish Joe to only use the basement bathroom from now on. Sister Cynthia was almost condemned too, but she plead to not be in with messy bro. Later, Joe overhears Dad in the bathroom, and no it's not what you think. There are weird lights and he mentions something about transport. Afterwards he acts really strange. He starts calling his son Joey which he hasn't done in years. The next day he misses breakfast to start a mysterious new project... Odd. Then mom discovers Joe messed up the basement bathroom already, good grief! Unfortunately, he can't clean it up now because he's gotta go to school!
After school, it's time for Joe to fight Lumpy Leudke which is a pretty good name. Lumpy, however, doesn't look so good. Maybe he is really sick, maybe he just doesn't want to fight. Only one way to find out! And the result of that? Getting puked on. Ew. He runs all the way home, and in the quickest transfer of illness in history, suddenly Joe has to puke too, but he can't make it to the basement bathroom so he uses the upstairs one with the new toilet. After Ralphing in the bowl, he flushes, and the toilet seat slams down on him, almost strangling hime! And the water feels like it's pulling him in! And there is a face looking back at him from the water! And there are weird lights like when he saw his dad in the bathroom! Oh no! With his last ounce of strange he pulls himself free. His mom finds him and starts worrying about his illness, while he's worried about the toilet. Both mom and Roger downplay his toilet fears, and mom goes off alone to clean it. Then she starts acting weird like dad. Later Joe and Roger inspect the toilet, and find a weird hidden panel with buttons.This isn't an ordinary toilet! Cynthia comes in to clean things with Darling Debbie products, which seems to be a running joke in this book and the boys decide not to clue her in to things, especially because they can't find the weird hidden panel anymore.
In the night, Joe gets attacked in his room by the toilet, and has to hide in his bathroom. He wakes up, and doesn't seem to think it was a dream, which is where I thought things were going. Apparently it was a legit toilet attack... Anyway, now Cynthia is acting strange. She is acting like she used to when she was younger, like a tom boy. She isn't even wearing her Darling Debbie makeups and perfumes! And mom is acting strange cooking all the time instead of going to school. Dad is acting weird spending all his time in the garage.The upstairs bathroom has been padlocked. That means Joe and Roger have to check out the garage and see what dad is up to. Mom catches them snooping and offers them all sorts of desserts, things she never used to do before. The kids resort to calling Aunt Thelma to no avail. What will they do?
Anyway it's finally spilled that they are aliens bend on destroying the world, and Cynthia is the supreme commander! Aunt Thelma and Gleepnorp show up, apparently all in on this foul plot. Joe and Roger escape to Roger's house, and decide they have to do something about it. But what? Well apparently arm themselves with a noise making toy and head back to the bathroom that seems to have started it all. They sneak in from the outside. Then they arm themselves further with some Darling Debbie Disinfectant. Then they tinker with the toilet's secret panel and... FLUSH!
It sucks them in, and they go black for awhile, before waking up in a giant toilet like the one in their garage. Everything around them is slimy and they hear a familiar yells. The family members are all there in holding pods! Joe lets them loose, and Dad proves he is the real deal, despite calling him Joey at first. He tweaks his ear and says his name Joe instead of Joey the second time. Just like dad hasn't done since this incident arose! But only Mom, Dad, and Cynthia are there. No Aunt Thelma. Just then, the REAL Gleepnorp shows up, a disgusting alien. Apparently they are invading the planet through toilet portals, and replaced Joe's family with robots. Roger uses his toy noise maker, which at first amuses Gleepnorp, but as he plays with the settings eventually finds Polaris "Death Whistle" which incapacitates him, then Joe uses the Darling Debbie Disinfectant which melts him into a pile of goop. After this fiasco dad manages to get them all back home, because he is an engineer and thus understands this stuff.
At home, they break out of the locked up bathroom and discover that Aunt Thelma has been busy at work. She got "Gleepnorp" the toilet salesman out of alien mind control, and together armed with machetes they hacked apart the family imposter robots. Turns out she knew about this alien plot the whole time because, get this, she subscribes to "Wacko Monthly." Crazy Aunt Thelma knew what was going on all along, thank goodness. Now mom is back to cooking crummy snacks like microwave popcorn, dad's getting ready for work and Cyntha is trying to explain to her friends why she'd been acting like a tomboy. Meanwhile Joe and Roger come up with rap #2 of the book, and head back to Roger's house where his dad is installing a new toilet he got from Floville... Uh oh! Better get your Darling Debbie Disinfectant Ready!
What I Thought
First thoughts: Pretty good!
Did it feel like a Goosebumps book parody? Kind of! It followed the general course of a Goosebumps book. It took inane childish banter, and made it even more inane. The kids were constantly calling each other names, and making sarcastic comments. Sometimes it got a bit annoying, but that was part of the effect I suppose. He also had the cliff hanger endings to chapters resolving with something ordinary thing down. It could have gone to even more ridiculous extremes though. As for the chapters themselves, they were longer. That was to my liking. The writing itself felt a little bit better than Goosebumps or at least it felt like a better writing trying to go down to a youngsters level (in parody.) Also it could have used some red herrings. It was easy to tell the whole time what was happening and nothing was misleading except the aunt.
The story felt like it could have been a Goosebumps story if it wasn't so scatological. Also things like a crazy aunt wielding a machete probably wouldn't fly in Stine's world. That's too bad, Goosebumps could use more machetes. In fact, Goosebumps could use Danny Trejo character Machete.
Overall though, it didn't feel different enough from a Goosebumps book. It's like it took the formula, and pushed on it a little, but it could have pushed it so much further. He could had made fun of the writing style harder. Make a chapter only 5 words long. Make fun of "trying to scream but no sound coming out." Sure he wrote things more ridiculous than Goosebumps, but he could have made fun of how ridiculous it is. And the ending could have been batshit crazy. This had a silly ending, but not nearly as silly as some genuine Goosebump endings. The rapping was pretty damn ridiculous though, I'll give him that.
Anyway, some things were done right. It had more characterization. The main character was kind of a butthead. He had a personality. It was a douchey personality, but it was different than the general Goosebumps character. His sister was a compulsive neat freak, that gave some personality to her. I suppose it has the advantage of being a 2 book series instead of a 60 book series.
All in all it was a fun little book. It took the fun of a classic Goosebumps and made it a little goofier, and that's not a bad thing. I think if you like the Stine series, you would probably enjoy this book as well. I kind of wonder how I felt about it as a kid though. A lot of the dialogue is kind of mocking how kids interact, and as an adult I appreciate it, but as a kid? Ah well.
Rating: 4 out of 5 toilets
Well next up in the Gooflump series is "Eat Cheese and Barf." Unfortunately I don't own this book. If you want me to read it, consider buying it for me off my amazon wishlist here: http://amzn.com/w/6REQ148ZCYQI If you don't, no worries I still have plenty of Goosebumps left to cover.
The actual next book I'll read is back to the classic series. Goosebumps #19: Deep Trouble. Thanks for reading, and Happy April Fools Day!