Eureka: Of Mites and Men

In every rehearsal, when Parrish stands up to triumphantly announce that he's completed his 100 cranes, I did it in my best* Homer Simpson voice, like when he tries to fake out Apu with the lottery scratcher: "WOOO HOOO! ONE HUNDRED CRANES, BABY!"

This episode was more fun to film than I thought was humanly possible. Even though we were all crammed into a tiny set (it actually looks bigger than it was, because it was photographed with wide angle lenses) for several days**, I loved every minute of it. I remember thinking that I was so grateful that we are all friends and all get along, and that nobody in the cast is a diva, because it would have really sucked in that case.

Erica, Felicia, Neil, Niall and I all went to an origami class with a master origami folder so we could learn how to do cranes. I had a really hard time wrapping my head around it***, but once I figured it out, I enjoyed it quite a lot. I also may have specifically inquired about the creating of origami dicks, because I'm twelve. When we were in that little chamber, we'd just sit there between takes, folding cranes and cracking jokes with each other. I can't say for certain, because I don't have a control to test it against, but I think filming this episode brought us all closer together than we already were.

From a character development standpoint, I think this is where we see that Parrish has a lot to prove, and getting to Titan is how he's going to do it. We had to cut so much stuff for time, we lost a couple of scenes where we got to see that Parrish is so completely focused on getting to Titan at all costs, he can't adapt to changing circumstances, and he can't put the team ahead of himself. I don't know about the rest of you, but that's not the kind of guy I want to have to rely upon when I'm {VAR==$} away from home. I hope Parrish can learn from the isolation experience in future episodes, because I'm still totally #TeamParrish.

Weren't the mites cool? And how much do you love Sheriff Andy?****

Fun fact: Three weeks before we filmed this episode, I nearly broke my ankle. I knew that we'd be doing this "take off your shirt, Coco" thing with me, so I had been exercising like crazy as part of Project Don't Be A Flabby Piece Of Shit On Television, but it turns out that not being able to stand without a cane for three weeks sort of gets in the way of that. Luckily for me, the producers were sensitive to my vain need to not inflict my Body By Guinness on the world, and let me wear a tank top underneath my jumpsuit. You're welcome, people who didn't have to see a flabby, pasty, nerdbody that you can't unsee.

A lot of viewers enjoyed the Number One line, and we've gotten a lot of credit for making a clever TNG reference … but I don't think that was intentional. All of our characters were given numbers when we were in the chamber, and I think Parrish was just dehumanizing everyone to be a dick and work what he thought was some sort of psychological warfare. 

Or maybe it was intentional all along, and nobody told me … it's all part of the test.


* Not very good

**  The show ran almost 25 minutes long, so a lot of very funny stuff had to be cut, but will show up on an extended cut for DVD someday.

*** The line where Zane says Parrish's last few cranes looked like ducks was improvised by Niall, based on me complaining that I was really bad at making cranes, but extremely good at making ducks.

 ****The answers are: YES and A LOT. Congratulations to those of you who passed.

38 thoughts on “Eureka: Of Mites and Men”

  1. Now that I’ve got a new DVR with a functioning hard drive, maybe I can catch up! Also, have you been channeling Sir Terry lately?*
    * Or is it just me?

  2. I TOTALLY caught the TNG reference.. it was so awesome.. and I LOVED Parrish jumping up with his cranes and yelling exultantly.. I also loved the petulant look on your face when they asked for the cranes to help Sheriff Andy.. that whole episode was awesome! If the mites were so dangerous I would love to have some lol.. they were way cool! *thumbs up* Team Parrish all the way!

  3. That has to be one of my favorite episodes. The “Number One” bit had me rolling. My husband was merely amused by my reaction. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I like how Niall got to show off his body. Umm, what happened to his shirt for that one bit?
    And my favorite part was Parrish screaming like a little girl. You were great! ๐Ÿ˜€
    (And I finally remembered to log in under this account so that I could use the pic in my icon…)

  4. Yeah, lack of Wil shirtless scenes was made up for by scenes of Niall wandering around. I could deal with more of that.
    Also, is Niall actually a Who fan? Zane always seems to be TARDIS references and I wondered how much of that was him.

  5. I thought the “Number One” line was a TNG reference until I realized you all had numbers on your jumpers. Still works though and probably recognized as such by the writers, being the sci-fi fans they are.
    I’ve heard a couple of people say that Dr. Parrish screaming like a little girl was one of the best scenes in the episode. I also loved the way the collapsing ceiling didn’t phase Dr. Parrish a bit and he thought it was all just part of the test.
    The line where Dr. Marten says, “I can handle 8″ no problem.” How many takes did it take for you all not to fall over laughing? I would have loved to have been there to see you all do that take the first time.
    I know several people who miss the original Sheriff Andy, but I think Kavan Smith has been doing an awesome job in the role and am glad the character keeps being so much fun.
    As for perfecting your crane technique, where’s Mr. Miyagi when you need him. Oh, wait, that’s a different sort of crane technique. Though watching Dr. Parrish make an origami dick could also be pretty amusing.
    Thanks for letting us know about the additional scenes that were cut. I’ll have to look for those on the DVD.
    It did look like you all were having a great time doing the episode. Looking forward to seeing you all have more fun with the characters both this season and next.

  6. I can imagine it was hard work for all of you in that box not to crack up all the time so huge thumbs up for keeping it together and making it really quite frightening, a bit like in that film The Cube. I also love that you guys made an effort of learning origami for the scene.
    The Titan trip is something I’m really looking forward to, it can only go horribly wrong. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    What really made me laugh was when the mite landed on Parrish because that reminded me of that outtake from The Guild in which you freaked out when a real bug landed on you. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Sheriff Andy is always so happy, even if he’s about to die. Again. Big props to Kavan for giving him so much personality without making him seem like a clown.

  7. There is an even deeper Star Trek reference in this episode, but you would have to be a fan of The Original Series novel by Pocket Books to catch it. Julia Ecklar wrote a book called The Kobayashi Maru in which, among other things, Mr. Sulu describes how he folded more than 600 paper cranes during his Academy days. “In ancient Japan, cranes were revered for their grace and beauty,” Sulu said. “It was believed that if you folded one thousand paper cranes while meditating, you could create a miracle.” Of course the book also mentions how cranes can be mistaken for ducks, after a long while…

  8. Shirtless men aren’t really my thing. However, hot women in tank tops is something I definitely approve of.
    Very funny episode. It’s such a shame Eureka is cancelled, it is really finding its stride this season (4.0 included).

  9. I thought “the human body is a beautiful thing” or something like that xD
    But the episode was awesome – although we didn’t get to see you shirtless.. Eureka just gets better and better. It’s such a shame that they canceled it. :(
    Parrish screaming like a girl was my favorite scene, I guess that scene was lots of fun to film!

  10. I thought TPTB had you dress that way to reinforce the fact that the other applicants were working together as as team and all were in white tanks, but Parrish was still focused only on himself and therefore was the only one in blue.

  11. Oh! I just remembered: everyone else gets hot in the chamber, but even though Parrish is clearly dying in his jumper, he leaves it on to prove to everyone that he's stronger and more focused than them. There was a scene about it, but it was cut for time.

  12. I think Of Mites and Men may be one of the best Eureka episodes ever! Plenty of good drama (with Alison and Carter) and a generous portion of snark and funny in the Isolation Chamber. Also, the way you cuddled the Snake O’ Origami Cranes so the others couldn’t use them made me laugh until my cheeks ached. Also, #TEAMPARRISHandhisgirlyscream!

  13. Loved your screaming. Is it too late to get one more episode where you and Colin both shriek like girls? Because Colin’s sreaming while he hung out of the bank window was hilarious too.
    It would be a lot of fun to get those in a single episode!

  14. Looooved this episode. It was really fun to watch and made me laugh when Parrish dubbed Zane “Asterisk.” Looking forward to someday seeing more footage on this “extended cut for DVD” of which you speak.

  15. So, so funny! I can not wait to get the DVDs of this season to see what deleted scenes and outtakes they put in. If you have any influence over TPTB at Eureka, first, get them to pick those last 6 eps back up, and then get them to include everything from this episode!

  16. OMG the part where the roof comes down and Parrish just sits there with an iron expression folding cranes while everyone jumps away screaming was so hilarious I almost fell off the couch!
    I can’t wait to get my hands on that extended version on the DVD ๐Ÿ˜€
    Oh, and now I’ve got the urge to figure out how to and make origami dicks :/ Thanks for that :/

  17. Everybody’s talking about what a jerk Parrish was in this one, and in a lot of ways he was, but at the same time I’ve never empathized with him more. The audience knew that all hell breaking loose wasn’t just part of the test, but the group in the chamber had no way to be sure. The point was to put them under stress, it was entirely plausible that a simulated emergency could be part of it, and if so, the testers would put plenty of effort into making it realistic.
    Given the information available, certainty was not possible, so Parrish made a perfectly justifiable guess. He should have tried harder to convince the others he was right, and he should have been more willing to acknowledge the possibility he was wrong, but Team Fargo wasn’t one iota less guilty of either mistake. It turned out that they were right and he was wrong, but only by sheer luck. He is a dick, but a lot of the audience is perceiving him to be worse than he really is because his nemesis, Fargo, is a point-of-view character and he isn’t.

  18. Any updates on the beer?
    After this episode and 2:12 “All That Glittersโ€ฆ” I would be moving my lab to an offsite facility constructed similarly to Magneto’s holding cell – no metal. With the already high stress working environment, who needs to worry about the building collapsing around your life’s work.

  19. I agree with the person who said that Parris was so supremely empathetic here – I felt so badly for him, trying so desperately hard to prove that he belonged there, and I also felt, maybe too scared of what it would mean to accept that they were in trouble, that it wasn’t a test. I mean, OK, the guy lives in Eureka, maybe he should be used to it. :) But, the group was locked into a tiny cell way beneath the surface – I don’t know that I would have had the courage to confront that situation, if I were in it, and might have stubbornly insisted it was just a test as a coping mechanism. I don’t know if you were trying to suggest that, but it made me want to hug the guy.
    Also, I had to pause the TV and hyperventilate when poor Andy fell down – I actually said out loud, “Please don’t hurt Sherriff Andy! I love Sherriff Andy!” This is why my husband will not watch TV with me.

  20. Ah, so you were able to channel some of old Prove To Everyone into Dr. Parrish?
    This was a really great episode. My favorite part was Parrish’s maniacal gleam upon finishing the 100 cranes. You so nailed it!

  21. Wil, the number #1 thing was an intentional reference, as was the the other line (my favorite, and geekiest line) that was not in the aired version but, I am happy to say, is in the extended cut… which I will have on my person this weekend. I already told Felecia I’d show it to her if she happens to be up there this weekend for the thing. You gonna be there? Either way, I’d really like you to see the final version of it. I think you will like it.
    Roger Clendening, that’s pretty cool, but no, that was not an intentional reference. The crane thing is an actual test used in astronaut training. When we were first coming up with the episode idea we kept using the crane test as an example of the kind of the we needed there… then we decided that the crane test itself was pretty funny and unexpectedly low tech, so we just went with it.

  22. Great episode. I am so very much enjoying Eureka even more this season, and I love your behind-the-scenes updates. Makes the show even more enjoyable.
    Great scream, by the way. Your expressions, too, were quite a hit this week.

  23. Oh Wil. How you make me laugh!! I *LOVE* Parrish so much. He is so devious and arrogant. But I literally cheered when you got the 100 ducks…err…cranes. Your facial expression was priceless. I am so sad that there is an ending in sight to Eureka. I truly almost cried (yes, my life is that sad). LOL. At least I still have Big Bang to see you as evil Wil Wheaton vs Sheldon. This makes me smile a little too much. :)

  24. I still can’t believe they cancelled Eureka while they’ve got more fans than ever. I wonder if you could just crowdsource the financing for making the next season, like The Guild and The Tunnel? I’d totally send you money upfront for a new season on straight-to-dvd or straight-to-avi-download. People might want to buy multiple season passes just to support the effort (someone has to cover the moochers) especially if they got a True Fan perk like a gag reel, an autographed pic of the cast, or that sort of thing.
    Go ask Felicia, she’ll know.

  25. personally, i thought the number one reference was more going for the og st, where the first number one was a strong, female…which the suits couldnt handle, so they forced gene to morph her into nurse chapel
    gene got the number one back in tng…but still, it had to be a guy
    oh. and did anyone catch the offhanded line out of star wars? “lets blow these mites and go home” or something like that
    im digging parish…mr wheaton has great comic timing
    as for the cancellation of the show, i think it has been made pretty clear that, while it makes money…it doesnt make enough for comcast’s liking
    its sad when the bottom line is not enough
    i really hope that all the actors get gigs on other quality shows
    kinda bums me out that so many from shows like the sopranos, the wire, etc…never seem to get offered other great gigs

  26. “Weren’t the mites cool?”
    I remember another science fiction show were small robots run amuck nearly destroyed the characters’ working environment.
    A long, long time ago on a usenet far, far away I read a post by someone who claimed to be a technical adviser for TNG. The post claimed that the script originally read “mites” and it was a biological experiment. He said it didn’t sound plausible and suggested changing biology to nanotechnology. A global find/replace was performed substituting “nanite” for “mite” and the rest is history.
    I’ve always wondered if that story is true. I’ve never read that anywhere else and it is entirely possible the whole thing is bullshit.

  27. Hey Wil,
    Just wanted to let you know i started watching Eureka because of your posts and i fell immediately in love with it. Of course, a month after starting to watch it is when they announced it’s not being renewed. The HORROR!
    Anyway, thanks for introducing me to such a great show!

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