Hi. Welcome back to my re-watch of Punky Brewster. If you want to read my prior reviews, you can check them out HERE.
I am watching this show on the NBC App. For some reason, not all of the original run episodes are on the NBC app. As a result, I will only review the ones I can see. If I find the missing episodes later, I will blog about them, re-number my episodes, etc.
I will provide a short episode summary here at the top, then a long and detailed summary just below that. There’s a sub-section near the bottom (scroll down) labeled “reaction” if you just want to get right to my thoughts about the episode.
THE QUICK AND CLEAN SUMMARY:
Henry meets with Mr. Green, a bank vice president, about getting a loan to re-open his photo studio. Due to Henry’s lack of credit history, the bank will not give Henry a loan. However, Mr. Green gives him a personal loan due to his find memory of Punky (from Season 1.) Unfortunately, as this occurs, the Buckworths are making simultaneous plans to move to Europe. Punky protests and requests to return to Henry. Mrs. Buckworth adamantly tells her no but Mr. Buckworth argues on Punky’s behalf – ultimately winning the argument and himself a divorce in the process.
Punky is reunited with Henry and is officially adopted – just in time for Henry’s new photo studio to open.
THE EXTRA DUSTY RECAP:
Ah, the old recap. Henry’s studio burns down. He runs out of money. The stress gives him a bleeding ulcer that hospitalizes him. A social worker, Mr. Chillings, takes Punky to Fenster Hall and then places her with new foster parents, Mr. and Mrs. Buckworth – who are very wealthy – are not a great fit for Punky. Two weeks later, when Henry gets home from the hospital, Punky rides her new horse to go visit him. Together, they decide that they want Henry to try to get her back.
Much to Henry’s surprise, Punky’s new horse enters Henry’s living room. She introduces Henry to her horse, Foxfire. Foxfire sniffs and licks Henry’s face. She walks him around the couch and takes him outside the door. She tells the horse to go downstairs and to wait for her outside. It appears to comply. After closing the door, Punky tells Henry that Foxfire reminds her of Brandon when he was a puppy.
Punky: Except a horse is a lot harder to potty train.
Henry asks her if she is absolutely certain that she wants to live with him again. She says she is. He reminds her that this would mean no more tennis courts, no more swimming pools, and no more Foxfire. She adds that this also means no more nannies, butlers, and tutors. She says that it would mean it’s just her, Henry, and Brandon, “the way it should be.” Henry smiles and they hug each other.
Outside the door, Mrs. Johnson screams for help. Foxfire is sniffing her grocery bags beside the staircase. He pulls one of the bags from her arms.
Mrs. Johnson: Touch me and you’re glue!
Henry and Punky open the door. Henry laughs while Punky looks stunned.
Sometime later, Henry is at the Midtown Mall in front of a vacant store with a “for lease” sign. He meets with a man named Mr. Green about leasing the store for his new photography studio. Mr. Green is a Vice President at a local bank. Henry is attempting to get a loan. As Mr. Green asks him whether he really believes a photography studio could really be successful in that location, Mrs. Johnson and Cherie walk by. Mrs. Johnson has Cherie pose nearby for a picture. The flash from the photo temporarily blinds Mr. Green. As he recovers, Henry angrily asks Betty what she is doing there and she replies that they are helping him. Unfortunately, Cherie cannot remember her line to Mr. Green regarding wishing there was a place to get professional photos in that location. Mrs. Johnson has to coach her to say her line. Betty then asks Mr. Green if there is a photo studio nearby. Mr. Green catches on to what they are doing.
Henry explains to Mr. Green what he has in mind for the studio. Mr. Green seems pleased to fund Henry’s loan until he pulls a credit check on Henry. He tells Henry that he has no credit history.
Mr. Green: Don’t you owe any money?
Henry: [proudly] Not a cent! Never have. I always pay in full, in cash.
Mr. Green: Incredible. Well I’m sorry Mr. Warnimont. Without a credit history, I cannot give you a loan.
Henry: Are you saying I cannot borrow money because I have never borrowed money?
Mr. Green advises Henry to get a credit car, borrow lots of money and he says that in seven or eight years when he is in debut up to his eyeballs, to come back to the bank. He says that at that point he will give Henry all the money that he needs. Henry tells Mr. Green that if he does not get the loan, he will never get Punky back. Henry is surprised to learn that Mr. Green knows who Punky is.
Mr. Green recounts a time that Punky came to him seeking an $80,000 loan. Henry asks if she qualified. Mr. Green says that he was always touched by her concern for her foster father, which he then realizes is Henry. Mr. Green tells Henry that his bank will not loan Henry the money. As Henry looks dejected, Mr. Green offers Henry a personal loan from himself as an individual. Henry says that Mr. Green is a warm, caring man, and Mr. Green says he is not. He says he expects to double his investment. They strike their deal with a handshake. After they shake hands, Mike Fulton walks up to the two of them and inquires about a passport photo. Mr. Green tells him to relax because Henry has the money. Mike hugs Henry.
At the Buckworth’s home, Mrs. Buckworth is dining alone at the table. She asks the butler what the orange object on the table is and he tells her that he believes it is a yo-yo. She asks the butler to tell Punky that if she does not learn to put her objects away that she will have them destroyed. A few moments later, Mr. Buckworth enters the dining room.
Mr. Buckworth: Punky took me on a most wonderful outing. Can you guess where we went? To a park!
Mrs. Buckworth: Did you wash your hands?
Mr. Buckworth suggests that they build their own park on the back lawn as a surprise for Punky. She tells him to forget the idea because she has an even better surprise for her. Just then, Punky bounces into the room on a pogo stick. Mrs. Buckworth chides her saying that one does not bounce into a room, one walks in with grace and poise.
Mrs. Buckworth: Remember yourself.
Punky: I remember. I’m Punky.
The butler asks if he can take her hopping machine and she whispers to him that it’s a pogo stick. Punky wants to tell Mr. Buckworth some great news that she was just given from Henry but she is interrupted by Mrs. Buckworth who has news of her own. She tells Punky that she just purchased a darling castle on the French Riviera. Mr. Buckworth tells her that it will make a lovely summer home. However, she tells her husband that she plans for it to be a permanent relocation. Punky is both stunned and dejected. Mrs. Buckworth looks at her smugly.
Punky suggests that because she does not speak French that she should stay behind and take lessons for a few years. Mrs. Buckworth downplays that. When Punky is not eating her food, Mrs. Buckworth asks her if something is wrong. Mr. Buckworth suggests that Punky may be feeling uneasy about making such a big move. He asks her if that is it. Mrs. Buckworth answers for Punky with “pish posh.” Uncharacteristically, Mr. Buckworth continues to push back on the idea of the move. He asks Punky if she thinks a move like this would be a big adjustment. Punky nods. Mrs. Buckworth becomes angry.
Mrs. Buckworth: What’s wrong with you people? We’re going to indulge ourselves in a luxurious lifestyle in one of the world’s most beautiful settings. Let’s be thrilled!
Punky asks permission to speak and Mr. Buckworth tells her that she can. She says that it was “real nice” of them to become her foster parents. She says that there are a lot of other kids who need good homes. She says that they have one of the “goodest” homes in the whole world. Mr. Buckworth tells her that she does not need to thank them at the same time that Mrs. Buckworth says that it is about time she showed some appreciation. Mrs. Buckworth asks Punky to continue. Punky tells them both that she wants to live with Henry again. Mr. Buckworth tells her that it is not possible for her to move back when Punky tells him that it is because Henry opened a new photography studio.
Mr. Buckworth: Well, good for him!
Punky: Good for me, too, because now I can go back. That is, if it’s okay with you guys.
Mr. Buckworth asks his wife and she replies that that it is not okay. Punky pleads with her and she tells Punky to spare her the histrionics. She points out that nobody forced Punky to come live with them. Punky tries to explain her decision and Mrs. Buckworth yells over her answer.
Mrs. Buckworth: I don’t care why you came here, you are here now, and you belong to me!
Mrs. Buckworth reminds Punky that she is now one of the wealthiest children in the country. Punky replies that she does not want their money. Mrs. Buckworth ignores Punky’s opinion and tells her that she will say and do as Mrs. Buckworth tells her. Finally, Mr. Buckworth becomes angry, stands up, and tells his wife to stop.
Mr. Buckworth: That’s enough!
Mrs. Buckworth: I beg your pardon?
Mr. Buckworth: Sit down and be quiet.
Mrs. Buckworth: Jules, I…
Mr. Buckworth: [points his finger to her chair] SIT!
[studio audience claps]
He tells her that he is experiencing deja vu. He says that the speech she just gave to Punky is the very same speech she made to him on their wedding night. He tells her that he has allowed her to browbeat him, for twenty years, into a life of privileged misery but states that he will not allow her to do the same thing to this little girl.
He then tells her that he is leaving her. She threatens to cut him off financially if he leaves and that he will have nothing. He tells her that she is wrong because he will have his self-respect back. Mr. Buckworth kneels down and tells Punky that money can buy a lot of things but it cannot buy people.
Mr. B: There’s only one way you can belong to someone and that’s in your heart.
Smiling, he then says it’s time to get her back to where she belongs. He gives her a piggyback ride out of the room. Punky waves at a fuming Mrs. Buckworth on her way out.
We see Henry on his couch, looking through a photo album of his time with Punky. The doorbell rings. Mr. Buckworth enters his apartment. He tells Henry that a very special little girl ended up in the wrong home and that it is his very great pleasure to bring her back to where she belongs. He opens the door behind him and Punky – dressed once more in her rainbow colored clothes – is standing in the doorway with Brandon.
Henry tells her “welcome home” and she gives him a big hug. Mr. Buckworth leaves.
Later, we see a “grand opening” sign on Henry’s photo studio. Mike is working at the desk inside the store flirting with a customer. The phone rings and Chillings is on the other end of the line. Mike tells him that Henry and Punky are in court today, getting her official adoption decree, and that he is filling in for Henry while he is gone. Chillings says that he knows about that and was calling to offer his congratulations. He also tells Mike that he is resigning from the Department of Children and Family Services. Mike quietly dances in celebration to that news.
Mike asks him what he plans to do now and Chillings says that his love life has taken a positive turn. He says that she is perfect for him and that he hopes someday to be perfect for her. The camera pans away from Chillings and we see that he is in the Buckworth’s dining room. Mike hangs up looking bewildered.
A moment later, Punky, Cherie, Henry, and Mrs. Johnson come running through the mall toward the photo studio.
Punky: We did it Mike!!
Mrs. Johnson says that she wishes she had a photo of Henry and Punky together. Henry tells her that she is at Warnimonts and that if she wants pictures, she can have pictures. As the theme song for the show plays, we see a montage of cast pictures – silly and serious – play on the screen.
Punky and Henry are reunited… for good. She is now adopted. In the somewhat probable event that Henry’s new store fails, or that Henry has another health scare, she will stick with him. I guess that’s for the best.
This episode kind of drags out a relatively small plot. Henry gets a loan to open his store. The Buckworths (Mr. Buckworth at least) decide to return Punky to Henry. In the middle, we get a nice call back to Mr. Green, the bank Vice President that Punky met in Season 1. We also get a full blown meltdown from Mrs. Buckworth and a redemption arc from Mr. Buckworth.
This episode feels a lot like a series finale – despite the fact that it is not. It’s not even a season finale. Punky Brewster will have one more opportunity to brutalize our emotions before Season 2 ends.
My favorite part of this episode involved Punky’s horse, Foxfire. He just enters the apartment building, came up tp Henry’s second story apartment, and found Punky inside. Punky compares him to Brandon as a puppy – and by that I assume she is referring to the horse’s unnatural intelligence. Is this part of Punky’s power? Giving intelligence to the animals in her life? We’ll do a more careful analysis of Punky Power again in the Season 2 wrap-up post. I must now consider that Punky is influencing the intelligence of her pets.