Unforgettable Episodes: Eerie, Indiana Episode 19 “The Broken Record”

Eerie Indiana - Episode 19People always wonder why I enjoy the television shows I grew up with so much that I’m still watching them today. The easy answer would be the nostalgia trip and the reluctance to let go of my childhood. The more accurate answer, however, is that the shows were good then, and they’re still quite good now. They’re also occasionally capable of producing a truly transcendent episode. I can’t think of a better example of this than the Eerie, Indiana episode “The Broken Record.”

The episode’s plot is simple enough. Our heroes, Marshall and Simon introduce their friend Todd to the music of heavy metal maniacs, The Pitbull Surfers. Marshall thinks it’ll lead to some mindless head banging, but Todd takes it much more seriously, finding solace in the Surfers’ message of teenage angst and rebellion. We soon learn why Todd takes to the music so quickly; his father constantly berates and verbally abuses him. It becomes a vicious cycle, Todd engrosses himself in the music and his father’s abuse becomes worse, which only drives Todd deeper into the music.

Eerie Indiana - Pitbull

The episode culminates with Todd attempting to run away from home. In reaction to this, his father decides to destroy all of his son’s records, but not before revealing to everyone the hidden messages he claims are within them. He begins playing the records backwards, expecting to expose something demonic. Instead he is greeted only by the sound of his own voice, and all of the insults he used to attack his son.

The episode’s story wasn’t new or ground breaking when the episode aired. It’s a timeless tale. Todd’s teenage angst, his feelings of isolation and confusion are universal and no less relevant today than they were then. Unfortunately, the abusive relationship he has with his father also remains just as relevant. What makes “The Broken Record” special is the visceral nature of it, thanks to the tour de force performance Tom Everett gives as Todd’s dad. His words are sharp and cutting, and he delivers them mercilessly. There’s no physical abuse in the episode, but every line Everett delivers seems packs an emotional punch.

Eerie Indiana - record

The Twilight Zone was revered for its ability to use science fiction as a delivery method for social commentary. Here, in a largely forgotten children’s television show, we find an example of social commentary that is every bit as good as those found in The Twilight Zone. The rest of Eerie, Indiana is hazy for me, I can recall plot points and characters, but the details aren’t there. “The Broken Record,” however, I’ve always remembered clear as day, it’s a truly unforgettable episode.

Written by Michael Corbett

Michael Corbett was born in Rhode Island, but is currently massacring Texas. Growing up he spent his Saturday nights on SNICK binges and acquiring a wealth of useless knowledge. His blog, My Rotting Brain is a testament to this, featuring over 31 reviews of Are You Afraid of the Dark, as well as interviews with some former Nickelodeon stars. He can now be found devouring Mike & Ike’s while lurking around midnight movies in the Dallas area.

2 posts
  • This was an awesome episode – glad you found the full thing! I can only remember bits and pieces of the show overall, but mostly the feeling that it was just quirky enough to keep my interest.

  • bPOWER!

    That is a fantastic episode. My personal favorite though has to be episode 07 “Heart on a Chain” guest starring Danielle Harris as the love interest. Always got to me. BTW the whole series is streaming on NETFLIX. I’ve watched everyone at least 5 times since I found out it was on there. Good article.

  • Such a great show. Brings back so many memories.

  • So, I’ve recently (as in seconds ago) finished up my own retrospective of the entire first series of “Eerie, Indiana” and so I too just revealed in the greatness that was “Broken Record.” Glad I’m not the only one who was so affected by this episode.

    If you’re curious, my blog is http://eerieexaminer.blogspot.com/

    Glad I discovered this one. Can’t wait to check it out!

  • mush_brain

    Eerie has that “Pete & Pete” quality about it that makes it great… sort of brining child hood imagination to life.
    but I must say, Pete & Pete is still the best..
    ps: as we speak, i am downloading an Eerie episode right now with the original commercials… so enjoyable with old 90s commercials

    • I’m already planning to do one of these about Pete & Pete in the fall, when it’s more seasonally appropriate.

      • mush_brain

        I think Pete & Pete is possibly one of the best tv shows of all time..
        it’s just so amazingly awesome… very pipe… =)
        I can’t believe they pulled out on releasing season 3… I mean what kind of fucking bullshit is that??
        luckily I got a bootleg season 3.. but I want the real thing… BASTARDS!!

  • Matt

    For those who may be interested – Hulu has all of Eerie streaming. It may be for Plus members only.

    • Thanks for the heads up Matt! This would be a great series to revisit now that Fall is approaching.

  • EerieDayze

    Great tribute to a great episode and a greater show. This show is surely in my top 3. I actually own a screen used Pit Bull Surfers poster from this episode.

  • EerieDayze

    Also, Im pretty sure this episode never aired in the US due to its edgy issues and suggestions. So, seeing this on TV would be a rare experience.

    • ^Gecko^

      It did air in the US. I remember seeing it.