Floundering Fathers
Season 2, Episode 2b
Floundering Fathers Titlecard
Mission PO667
Historical Figure/Event Benjamin Franklin
Time 1776
Place Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Aired April 12, 2002
Directed by Dave Wasson
Written by Carlos Ramos, Dave Wasson, and Michael Karnow
Storyboards by Kurt Dumas
Episode guide
Pasteur's Packs O' Punch
The Clownfather

To see the episode's transcript, click here.

Synopsis Edit

After Otto catches a cold from not wearing a coat during the Time Squad's mission to Russia to get Karl Marx to write the Communist Manifesto instead of building the world's largest igloo, Tuddrussel and Larry must complete a historical mission without Otto helping them by trying to get Benjamin Franklin to be an author of the Declaration of Independence.

Plot Edit

In Czarist Russia, the Time Squad have just completed a mission that involved getting Karl Marx stop trying to build the world's biggest igloo and get to writing the Communist Manifesto. Larry and Tuddrussel discuss how easily it was to convence Marx to do all this once Tuddrussel had kicked him in the belly. Otto interrupts the conversation by sneezing, and then asks if they could go home now, because he's freezing in the Russian winter. Larry scolds him gently, "Didn't I tell you to bring a jacket?" Otto tells him that he forgot to before leaving.

The next morning, the alarm goes off early before Tuddrussel and Otto are awake yet. Larry, in an unusually cheerful mood, is ready to go to work. Tuddrussel hops out of bed and joins Larry in the control room, and they greet each other with a high-five. This mood of cooperation and mutual friendship goes downhill when Otto comes into the room; looking sick, sounding stuffed up, and barely dressed for the day, Otto is totally not okay to work the mission. Tuddrussel and Larry have their doubts about Otto, but the boy insists that he's fine to go on.

The mission is to help Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the United States of America and one of the writers of the Declaration of Independence. Otto is thrilled to finally get to meet one of his favorite historical figures, and proceeds to expel every fact about Franklin that he knows of. This causes a coughing fit, and eventually he faints from exhaustion, scaring Tuddrussel and Larry.

With Otto back in bed, Larry takes his temperature and sees that Otto has a cold with a 106 degree temp. Otto desperately wants to go with them, but both adults refuse to let him. Otto asks how are they supposed to solve the mission without him, and Tuddrussel states that he and Larry have been doing the job way longer than he has, and they can handle it on their own.

Cut to Larry and Tuddrussel looking for Ben Franklin in the middle of the sahara desert. When they realize their mistake, Larry types in the correct coordinates and zaps them to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1776. They start looking for Franklin in the congressional hall where the Declaration of Independence was drafted. Without Otto to act as the buffer for Tuddrussel's acts of violence towards historical figures, the man decides to barge in on Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and the rest of the men in the building who are having a difficult time writing the Declaration. He can't tell who Ben Franklin is, so he goes off and beats up all the men and tells them to get right with history.

As they leave the building, Larry finds out that according to his computer nothing has changed, except that Benjamin Rush now has a broken jaw. Tuddrussel accidentally runs into Franklin on their way out, never noticing that it was him as he insulted him for getting in his way. Feeling that they could use the hint, Larry and Tuddrussel zap back home to talk to Otto.

In Otto's bedroom, Larry shows the boy the footage he has of Tuddrussel beating up the founding fathers and becomes distraught at the sight. Otto draws a picture of what Franklin looks like, which stirs up Tuddrussel's memory that he actually met the guy before Otto came along. Otto pleads with Tuddrussel to not beat him up this time, and Larry assures him that he's on the case this time.

Back in 1776, Tuddrussel and Larry find Franklin's print shop right away. After telling Tuddrussel that he can't do things his way anymore, Larry tells him to follow his lead this time, and they make their way into the shop where Franklin is working. Franklin greets them pleasantly, and talks about how everything is wonderful now that his studying with electricity is finally making a breakthrough. Tuddrussel asks why he isn't with his "wig wearing buddies" down at the congressional hall, with Franklin to say that he's all done with politics, and that that place is far too violent for him anyway. Larry remembers that during Otto's rambling about Franklin, he mentioned that Franklin experimented with electricity and comes to the conclusion that Franklin is "obviously trying to invent the lightbulb". Larry offers his and Tuddrussel's help with his experiments, and they successfully help him invent the light bulb.

But the computer says the mission is still not complete. So back home they go to tell Otto, who becomes outraged when they explain what happened. He yells at them, telling them that it was Thomas Edison who invented the lightbulb. He asks if he was working on the Declaration of Independence, and Larry explains that Franklin was all done with politics. Otto tells them that the mission is about getting Franklin to help write the Declaration, and make sure that the lightbulb is never seen by anyone.

Larry and Tuddrussel go back to Franklin's print shop and destroy Franklin's lightbulb. Then they kidnap him, and take him to the congressional hall to force him to help the rest of the writers, who still haven't written past the opening line, "We hold these truths to be self- " Franklin gets them on the right track by suggesting "Self-evident", but Tuddrussel intervenes, making the whole process into a joke when everyone starts arguing on what to write down. Exasperated, Larry gives up entirely on keeping a mission together without Otto present.

Larry takes the sickly Otto from the satellite and has Otto recite the full opening stanza of the Declaration.

"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal.

That they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights,

That among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

When he's done he passes out once again from exhaustion. After the founders cheer for him Tuddrussel orders them to write it all down. Larry looks at his computer and on a relieved note says that everything's fixed now and then the guys quickly leave in order to put Otto back into bed.

Trivia Edit

  • The title is a play on the Founding Fathers, the leaders of the American Revolution. Both the actual Founding Fathers and Otto's father figures are floundering at their jobs without him.
  • In this episode, we see that Otto now has his own room.
  • The background music of Otto's reciting the opening stanza of the Declaration is the British national anthem "God Save the Queen".

Gallery Edit