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We Used To Be Friends 54: The Many Emotions Of Logan Echolls

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Veronica goes in search of a missing monkey, and Mac falls in love. This week, we discuss Show Me The Monkey (3.10)!

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I can't really be very critical with this episode because MONKEY! ... Also, Canada.

True, not the best sleuthing here, especially from Keith but also Veronica who relies too much on coincidence. Her following of the trail is well-executed, but she could have found the rats some other way - I mean, that was already the trail she was on, so it couldn't have been hard to write that sequence as part of the monkey plot and give Mac something to do. ("Okay, I need to sleuth out his place because reasons. He likes you, Mac. Let's go there and do what we did when Butters... why are you looking at me like that?")

Great character work, even on the smaller characters. I love how Gil raises his hand on "if you want to see my nipples...". Yes creepy but also funny and it gives away a clue, too.

The way the animal testing was presented is indeed refreshingly even. In my university, there has been an ongoing confrontation about animal testing since a neurologist who's big on and famous for testing brain activities on monkeys got started here. I learned a lot about campaigning from that. For example, not to use actual photos from the test facility which is actually a pretty cozy habitat for the monkeys to relax in between tests but go with one of those b/w pics of a monkey in a small cage like you find them on old punk albums. Also, the question of needing the research always comes up. The professor isn't doing cancer research but fundamental neurological research which can be really hard to justify, depending on what priorities folks have.

In the episode, we get two narratives about what they're researching. Pauline leans on the medical research angle while Emi characterizes it as somewhat superfluous and less noble. Well, at least it's not cosmetics. That would be really hard to defend.

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I think in the scene with Keith and Landry, the first time I watched it, the idea that Landry wouldn't recognize Keith, (even though they haven't met on-screen before) was so outlandish that I didn't even realize Keith was trying to be incognito until Landry called him on it. Of course, I was also distracted by the realization that the song playing was an oldie--I'd been familiar with a recent cover but not known it was actually a cover...

More of a head-flail than a true head-canon; could Keith have done the whole thing not to get any info from Landry at this point, but simply to convince Landry that he's a total idiot so Landry won't take precautions against his investigation? ;)

I thought when I was watching it this weekend, during the first food court scene with Piz, "Well, they're gonna have something to say about Piz this week," and I thought what you said was really on-target!

@Max Vaehling, I agree with you about the two narratives, and I really liked that detail. From what Emi says to disparage it, I assume that the monkey research involved cholesterol levels, the link between fats and heart disease, or some such thing. As a 40+ man who's still struggling to eat well, I guess I'm much more sympathetic to such research than she is. :) 

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As I've said about Sunnydale after living in a small city, I also don't find Hearst to be that unusual. But then again, my undergrad was a small, liberal arts school with a demanding school of engineering that included athletes, an athletic program as developed as the Patriot League allows (we didn't offer sports scholarships), and a primate research lab with lots of monkeys. I'm not saying Hearst feels exactly like my school, but to me it feels like an exaggerated-for-fiction version, not a blank slate. 

StrangelyLiteral likes this

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Posted (edited)

Great podcast episode, agree with basically everything that's been said re: Veronica and Logan, Mac, Keith and Landry, etc. I totally buy the scotch being a compelling reason for Keith to take the case. 

As someone who has participated in biomedical animal research (and would do it again for the right project), the broad strokes of the story feel about right, and I think both the arguments for and against are reasonably made.

I personally have an issue with non-vegetarians being against animal testing in general (more common than you might think). If you're going to support the killing of animals for something as banal as a hamburger, you better be able to deal with rats being used to save human lives. That said, I think there's a lot of room for nuanced positions about when different types of animal testing are appropriate and necessary (i.e., biomedical vs. cosmetics, primates vs. non-primates, debating the merits/cruelty/specific protocols of projects at the level of institutional review boards, as is currently done for all animal research).

Additionally, pressure from the animal rights community has actually accomplished a lot of good in recent years and should be lauded for that. There's been a big movement to really make researchers justify why they need to do research on primates and phase it out wherever possible. In 2015, the National Institutes of Health (NIH - governmental funding agency for most biomedical research in America) phased out all chimpanzee research because they've come to the conclusions it's basically never justified.

Regarding this specific plot, I'm pretty sure you would never do cholesterol research in monkeys. It's a very conserved pathway across all mammals, so rats should work just fine for 95% of what you want to learn. But I'm okay whistling past that because the rest of it works pretty well.

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<rant> I have a fundamental problem with the idea that no animal should suffer ever, particularly the bane of all environmental scientists, the white-tailed deer. Their populations have exploded over the last 30 years as we've suburbanized much of the landscape and gotten rid of the top predators that used to keep their numbers in check. They are literally one of the biggest threats to US Eastern deciduous forest ecosystems right now - a lot of plants (particularly spring ephemeral wild flowers) are going "locally" extinct because they simply can't exist in the landscape with the numbers of deer. In many places, there is basically no green vegetation below deer head height (aside from a couple unpalatable invasive species that we are trying to get rid of). The deer populations themselves are not particularly healthy in these places where they're out of balance with their food sources. And then even more importantly, there's decline of insects, and birds that feed on insects (many of which are endangered), that flow up through the food chain as a result of too many deer. And yet, most animal rights activists would rather have large numbers of plant and bird species go extinct and have an entire functioning ecosystem disappear from North America than shoot deer, most of whom would have been chased down and have their throat torn out by a wolf or cougar prior to modern times anyway. Not to mention the 200 human deaths and over $1 billion in property damage from vehicle collisions with deer every year. (I almost brought this up in the Willow-fawn issue over on Dusted but didn't, because it was more metaphorical than literal in that show, but I personally would have no issue killing a fawn, specifically). </rant>

Edited by StrangelyLiteral
xallanthia likes this

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