This show is on episode 4 and it has only begun breaking you.
I guess now that Punky has a home, we get a new introduction montage to start the show. But it starts out in a similar way. Punky is skipping along outside, with her dog Brandon, alone and unsupervised. Henry is also walking around outside by himself. At one point, Henry literally steps over a homeless person. Then Punky shows up to Henry’s door, touches the doorknob, and the whole thing turns into a 1960s cartoon acid trip. Heart shapes just start appearing. Henry’s food turns into multiple milkshakes and a cake. Animated Punky hands animated Henry a pipe… which then emits bubbles of varying colors. It ends with Punky using her fingers to turn grumpy Henry’s frown upside down.
I’m pretty sure that watching this montage just downloaded some kind of MK Ultra programming into my brain. So be warned when you watch it.
The actual episode begins with Punky asking Henry to buy… groceries. It appears that this is not their first day without them because she says “we’re still out of cereal and milk.” She offers to go shopping for him and this is enough to inspire him to go out. (Side note, I need an “I’m going out” hat like Henry.)
The two of them go grocery shopping together. This is actually a pretty interesting interaction inasmuch as it demonstrates Henry’s total lack of experience in the world, with children, his personal poverty, etc. He initially asks Punky if she wants to sit in the little seat in the cart. He accidentally crashes his shopping cart into another person. He complains about how much everything costs – as though he has no money and has not been grocery shopping in decades.
At one point, two young shoppers with purple hair walk by and Henry, the building manager and professional photographer, acts completely perplexed. Has this guy been shut in for thirty years? And the government just *gave* him a kid?
Other hijinks ensure. Punky pushes the cart away while Henry isn’t looking, and then Henry accidentally drops a glass jar of something on the ground instead of into the cart. Punky sprays Henry with a produce sprayer. Punky has a shopping cart race with some other kid (they crash into Henry.)
But the tables turn. Henry accidentally knocks over a giant stand of inflatable balls before slinking away to make it look like Punky did it. Later, while reminiscing about how produce was delivered with song when he was young, Henry starts LOUDLY singing the tune as he remembered it (this was met with an intercom announcement requesting that shoppers stop singing in the store.)
We get to see Punky scam a free food samples lady for an extra slice of pizza by claiming her twin sister also went to the table.
But then things get serious. Henry goes with the butcher into the meat department to pick out a steak, leaves his shopping cart alone, Punky did not see where he went, and then she completely freaks out. In case anyone had forgotten, this purple clad, skipping-through-life, little girl was abandoned in a store by her mother about three weeks ago. So we get the traumatic small child POV camera angle and see her running around the store without finding him. In her panic, she climbs up on top of a check-out counter conveyor belt and starts asking people if they’ve seen a grumpy old man that never smiles. She makes an intercom announcement. Waits about five seconds and then runs outside looking for him.
She finds her dog outside and says “well Brandon, looks like we’ve been dumped again.” She unties the dog and they walk off together. From start to finish, her panic attack lasted about 60 seconds. But we find her back at Henry’s apartment packing up her stuff so not all is lost just yet.
Finally we see Henry run into his apartment, looking disheveled and relieved to see her.
Apparently the 8 year old girl has been noticing how much Henry complains about how expensive everything is. So she assumed he did not want her anymore. She told him as much.
She makes him swear an oath with raised hand to never leave her. He does.
Someone please get this little girl into therapy. Honestly, after watching that episode, maybe I need to go now, too.
“Attention shoppers, we have a special in the meat department. $1.49 a pound for ground chuck.”
“Henry, is that meat from a cow named Chuck?”
“Look at these soap powders. Everyone of them says new and improved.”
“What’s the matter with that?”
“I liked it better when they were old and cheap.”
“You were really looking for me, you weren’t trying to ditch me?”
“Punky, I complain about prices for one simple reason. I’m a cheapskate.”
“Punky, I’ll tell you something right now. I’ll never, ever leave you.”