Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Season 14, Episode 4: Mother Russia

Episode 4: Mother Russia

Circus owner Reggie Bunkler called a meeting of the entire staff, explaining that the circus needed to change its name to duck all the lawsuits against it. Everyone began brainstorming new names. Viktor suggested “Smokey and the Bandit.” Truck proposed “The Guaranteed Somebody’s Gonna Die Circus.” Sasha offered “The Sasha Experience.” Deb countered with “The Sasha’s a Big Bitch Experience.”

Stoolts asked Gunther Gayfer-Wilhelm for advice on his girl troubles, explaining that Deb had caught him talking to Sasha and getting an erection. (“Now she’s gonna leave me, and we were gonna open a pizza place someday!”) The conversation drifted onto the subject of pizza.

Sasha and Sealman were having ice cream together and discussing the circus’ new name. Sealman considered a meaningless, one-word name like upscale restaurants use. When Sasha suggested that he write down his ideas, he confessed that he couldn’t read or write…and he needed to learn so that he could realize his dream of joining the Atlanta Sympathy Orchestra. Sasha told him that he first needed to get rid of his defeatist attitude.

Strongman Viktor Busliftor came to Truck’s workshop, where Truck was sawing off the end of a shotgun. Truck proposed a new act, where Viktor would set his mustache on fire, and Truck would put it out with a shotgun. Viktor replied that he had done that before—that was how his face got the way it is now. They discussed the possibility of Viktor getting a face transplant.

Reggie called Deb into his office to discuss the decline in her customer-service skills. She explained that she’d been preoccupied with her relationship with Stoolts. When Reggie pointed out that fraternization between co-workers was against the rules, she protested “I’m a bearded lady! If I don’t get any here, I’m not gonna get any anywhere!” She then explained that her jealousy over Sasha had driven her into a murderous rage, and she suggested that she put that rage to good use by becoming the circus’ official hitman. Reggie replied that he didn’t need anyone killed, then tried to calm her down by setting her up on a blind date.

Sasha and Gunther had a heart-to-heart about their love/hate relationship. She explained that she could not deal with his beauty, as it drew attention away from her. As they bickered, the sexual tension grew until they threw themselves into each other’s arms.

Sealman and Truck were watching girls walk by, making lewd comments.

Deb was in her train car, angrily baking rat-poison treats, when Stoolts came by to apologize for his encounter with Sasha. (“It wasn’t like my pants were down…because I can’t take my clothes off.”) He then explained that he couldn’t help it if Sasha’s attracted to him—after all, he’s tall, sensitive, and has read all the ‘Twilight’ novels.

Reggie called Viktor to his office, where Viktor asked Reggie the purpose of Reggie’s ‘Swear Jar.’ Reggie explained that he kept the circus clean by making everybody put in money when they use profanity, and that money would go to the performers (in the form of a skee-ball party) at the end of the year. They then turned to a more pressing matter—the impending visit by Viktor’s mother. Just then, Mrs. Busliftor arrived, screeching her son’s name. Reggie mistook the shrill, blaring cry for an elephant’s death rattle.

Later, Viktor was showing his mother around the circus, though she was unimpressed. She wanted him to return to Russia, declaring that he’s wasting away and becoming a decadent American. As proof, she pointed out that he now smells of Old Spice.

In Gunther’s train car, Sasha and Gunther were attempting to keep their passion under control. She declared that it would never work out, as she knows from his flamboyant costumes and luxurious hair that he’s gay. When he protested that she was stereotyping him, she pointed out that his very name is “Gayfer.” He insisted that his attraction for her was real, and they lay down upon Gunther’s tiny bed. Having to assume a contorted pose to fit on the bed, Sasha worried that everybody could see her butt.

Deb was prettying herself up when her blind date arrived—Truck Tarkenton. Truck gave her some flowers, and she served her special Chicken Royale recipe (chicken and green beans). Just then, Stoolts came by to share the news that Sasha had shown her butt to everyone. Seeing Deb and Truck together, Stoolts shouted “What the fuck’s going on?” Then he threw some money towards the Swear Jar, since he couldn’t walk that far.

Afterwards, Stoolts poured out his heart to Sealman, who declared that he was going to make a man of Stoolts by finding another woman for him. Just then, Irina Busliftor walked by. When Sealman approached her to fix her up with Stoolts, she clubbed Sealman with a large bone.

Leaving their respective liaisons, Sasha and Deb ran into each other. They argued and insulted each other viciously.

Viktor and Gunther were playing ping-pong and discussing Mrs. Busliftor’s visit. When Viktor complained that his mother drives him crazy, Gunther sympathetically replied that he doesn’t love his parents either. Viktor clarified that he wasn’t going that far—he never said he didn’t love his mother, just that she drove him crazy. Gunther further explained that he and his parents were emotionally cut off from each other—Gunther is carrying on his family lion-taming tradition, though his father isn’t there to see it. Viktor suggested that Gunther mend fences with his parents, then realized he should take his own advice. They then came up with an idea for a new act—Gunther would move from lion-taming to mother-taming.

Truck was telling Reggie about his date with Deb. (“We had chicken and green beans from a can, then she got in a fight with her boyfriend. Best date ever.”) Grateful for Reggie fixing them up, Truck said that he owed Reggie a big debt and would do anything to pay him back. Reggie immediately called in that favor, explaining that Sealman had been clubbed…and since the circus couldn’t afford a vet, they needed Truck to check him for brain damage.

Reggie revealed the circus’ new name: “The Smokey and the Bandit Imminent Death Family Circus.”

Stoolts picked up Mrs. Busliftor for their date, hoping that she would soon segue into speaking English like in ‘Hunt for Red October.’

Taking the stage for his big number, the injured Sealman sang a chorus of “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” then immediately collapsed.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Season 14, Episode 3: Mail Call

Episode 3: Mail Call

Daredevil Robbie ‘Bad Decisions’ Kniesions prepared for his greatest stunt ever: jumping his bike over eight burning short buses full of special-needs kids. While the jump itself went off without a hitch, the fire-extinguishing foam in his exhaust pipe failed to go off.

One week later, circus owner Reggie Bunkler was in his office looking over the many lawsuits filed by the kids’ families. Roadie Truck Tarkenton pointed out that Robbie’s stunt was fundamentally flawed, in that motorcycle exhaust pipes are not fire extinguishers. Truck then took the list of the plaintiffs’ names and addresses, telling Reggie that he’s better off not knowing what Truck plans to do.

Animal trainer Gunther Gayfer-Wilhelm was attempting to train Sealman Rushdie to jump through a hoop, despite Sealman’s protests that he’s a musician, not a stunt performer. Gunther cried that he needed a new act to overcome his heartbreak over the loss of his tiger cub Schatzi (whose death Gunther still believed to be an accident). Sealman tried to inspire Gunther with a ballad about life: “You Swim With the Current, Swim Against the Tide.”

Bearded lady Deb Henderson and strongman Viktor Busliftor were working the crowd with their “Guess Your Wallet” game (with Deb using her X-ray vision to scan the contents of a volunteer’s purse). When Deb guessed incorrectly, Viktor called off the act as Deb wondered how her powers could have failed. Just then, Truck brought them some mail. Deb’s letter was from her mother, Delta Burke, demanding that Deb stop using her name and bringing shame to the family. Viktor’s letter was even worse news—his mother is coming to visit.

Stoolts and Robbie were having coffee together. Never having tasted coffee before, Stoolts didn’t know not to down five shots of espresso in one gulp. Hopped-up on caffeine, Stoolts began moving so fast that it was as if Robbie was in slow-motion.

Aerialist Sasha was meditating in her train cart when Truck came in to bring her a letter. She angrily scolded him for interrupting her meditation. (“Don’t you know I could have gotten stuck in another dimension?”) He explained that, even though he’s been screening her fan-mail, he believed this one was personal. Sasha read the letter, which turned out to be from a morbidly obese 12-year-old girl who idolizes Sasha and wants to be like her. Sasha ranted even more furiously over his bringing her a fan letter.

Viktor came into Reggie’s office to warn him about the impending visit from Viktor’s mother. Viktor explains that once she comes, she will never leave until she takes over the circus as its new star attraction. When Reggie asked what makes her such a big deal, Viktor explained “She glows in the dark, to begin with.”

Sealman was practicing his moves when Truck came in with a letter. Since Sealman couldn’t open it with his flippers, Truck read it for him: “Sealman, your days are numbered. I will eat you. Frank.” To explain this threat, Sealman dropped some mysterious hints about his past:

SEALMAN: “There’s a reason they call it the deadliest catch.”
TRUCK: “Crabs?”

Having taken Sealman’s song to heart, Gunther decided to leave the circus and go off to “swim with the current.” Truck came by with a letter, but Gunther just walked on by.

Deb was baking cookies when Stoolts ran in, still on his caffeine high. Deb told him about the letter from her mother, lamenting “Delta Burke doesn’t want a freak for a daughter.” Stoolts replied “Well, I want a freak for a wife.” They discussed going on the run together, like Bonnie and Clyde (or maybe Clyde and Clyde).

Sasha and Robbie were bickering, though they knew their mutual dislike was based on his sexual frustration. He’d lost his penis in a stunt, jumping over angry crabs, and since then he could only get phantom-limb erections. Just then, Truck brought in a letter for Robbie, reading “Please jump over the ice-cream man. He’s weird.” Comparing the handwriting on their letters, Sasha deduced that the same obese child had written Robbie’s letter, presumably so she could steal the ice cream after Robbie’s stunt scares off the ice-cream man.

Sealman came into Reggie’s office, gripped with fear for the first time in his life. He explained that Frank was after him…then stated that FRANK wasn’t a person, but an acronym.

Viktor went to see Stoolts for advice about his mother’s upcoming visit. Stoolts shared something his father had told him: “If you’re ever in a situation where your life is in danger, you better have lived a good life.” When Viktor explained that it wasn’t their lives so much as their livelihoods that were threatened, Stoolts said that in that case, it’s time to fuck people up.

As he walked away, Gunther realized that he couldn’t leave without saying goodbye to Truck. He turned around and returned to the circus.

Robbie and Sasha asked Truck to help them get into the mail train so they could find out where these crazy letters were coming from. Robbie kept interrupting as Sasha tried to explain the situation, until she got fed up and cut him out of the plan. Robbie replied that he’d been deliberately inept so that she’d leave him out of it.

Sasha then went to Viktor to enlist his help with her mail-train scheme. When Viktor told her about his own letter, she asked to see the handwriting on it. Unfortunately, he didn’t have it on him.

Stoolts was practicing some jokes when Deb came by to tell him that, despite his proposal, she was upset that he’d called her a freak. When he said “Chill out, ZZ Top,” she got even angrier. Stoolts was excited and aroused by the fact that they were having their first fight.

Robbie snuck into Reggie’s office to get back his bike (which Reggie had confiscated after the disastrous stunt). When the noise woke up Reggie, Reggie warned Robbie that he’d have to pay for disfiguring those 300 kids. Reggie then explained that he had made a deal to settle the suit…all the kids’ skin grafts would come from Robbie himself. Faced with the choice of losing his skin or being cut from the show, Robbie agreed to give up his skin.

Gunther came to say goodbye to Truck, but after speaking to him, Gunther decided to stay with the circus after all. Truck started to confess that he had killed Schatzi, but then remembered he still had a letter for Gunther. Gunther read it: “Meow! Help me! Isabelle, the white tiger from the Dunwoody Circus.” Realizing that Isabelle (Schatzi’s grandmother) was in trouble, Gunther swore to rescue her. Truck agreed to help, to make up for killing Schatzi.

Sasha talked Stoolts into helping her break into the mail train, and they began flirting with each other. Just then, Deb walked in and saw them together. Playing innocent, Stoolts turned to Sasha and shouted “Get away from me, you hooker!”


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Season 14, Episode 2: Bad Decisions

Episode 2: Bad Decisions

Talking sea lion Sealman Rushdie were relaxing by the pool as the bearded lady Deb Henderson congratulated him on his performance. He explained that every time he plays the horns, he puts his sould into it, and a little bit of his soul drifts out into the troposphere. Worried that he might lose his soul entirely, Deb suggested that he quit and go back to the sea. When he replied that it wasn’t safe for him to return, she sympathized, explaining that she could no longer go back home to Chatsworth since she was part of a prostitution ring there. Sealman was impressed (and attracted) by the revelation of her dark side.

Daredevil Robbie “Bad Decisions” Kniesions was preparing to jump his bike over a dozen angry porcupines when circus owner Reggie Bunkler came by to discuss the budget. Robbie suggested an idea that could get them grant money: He would jump his bike over 8 buses full of special-needs kids, with the buses set on fire; his bike would then spray fire-extinguisher foam on them, and then the circus would be rewarded for saving the children. Reggie warned Robbie that the stunt was too dangerous for a man in Robbie’s condition—he’d had so many head injuries that his helmet was the only thing holding his brains in. Robbie angrily insisted that nobody would stop him.

Strongman Viktor Busliftor was holding up the big top as roadie Truck Tarkenton repaired the bolts. Viktor asked Truck for a favor…he needed Truck to mail a card to his mother in Russia. Viktor warned that if he doesn’t get the card in the mailbox today, the entire circus could die.

Animal trainer Gunther Gayfer-Wilhelm and trapeze artist Sasha were shopping in the Food Lion and arguing about their billing status. Tired of the bickering, Sasha decided they should have a final showdown to decide who is the better performer.

Robbie and Sealman were recruiting special kids for the stunt, when Robbie made a bigoted anti-sea-lion remark and a fight broke out. After the melee, Robbie explained that his father had died when he swerved his bike to avoid a seal, then crashed into a box of glass. Ever since then, he’s held a grudge against aquatic mammals…but he wants to change. Sealman accepted his apology…but when Robbie referred to the special kids as “tards,” Sealman started beating him up again.

Sasha was rehearsing on the trapeze when Truck swung by on a zip-line to work on the lights. Impressed by his skill, she told him about her challenge to Gunther. She could see two ways of outdoing Gunther’s act—either she and Truck could work out an incredible aerial act together, or Truck could kill Gunther’s star tiger cub Schatzi. (“I could just twist its neck like a pickle jar…a furry pickle jar that coughs up blood.”)

Reggie Bunkler called a meeting of the entire circus, informing them that their fairground permit had been revoked, and they would have to perform at an abandoned chemical storage plant. Sasha proposed that the circus could save money by firing everybody except her. A massive argument broke out among everybody, until Reggie pulled them all together with an inspirational speech.

Deb had baked some borscht pastries for Viktor, who was amazed by the taste of Russia. As they discussed the circus’ future, Viktor explained that he wasn’t worried about anything, as long as his mother gets her card. Just then, Truck ran by the thent in a panic. When Deb remarked on Truck’s speed, Viktor realized that she could see through the tent. He suggested that she use her X-ray vision to help the circus, by guessing the contents of the patrons’ wallets (then claiming it as a prize for guessing correctly). Deb protested that she didn’t want her super-powers to be known, because she was afraid of scientists cutting her brain open.

Truck ran to Gunther for help, explaining that he needed to get to the post office super-fast before it was too late. Gunther told him to ride his tiger Schatzi. (“Her backbone is strong, though her neck is weak.”) Torn between his earlier discussion with Sasha and the trust Gunther had placed in him, Truck tearfully rode off.

When Robbie mocked Sealman’s performance of “Stairway to Heaven,” Sealman retorted by insulting Robbie’s spandex-clad physique. (“I have a thyroid condition!”) Robbie began a monologue on the stressful life of a daredevil, and his constant attempts to live up to his father’s reputation through more and more dangerous stunts.

At the Food Lion, Gunther and Sasha faced off for their challenge. Gunther suggested that, rather than fight each other, they unite against a common enemy—the circus itself. Just then, Reggie rushed in to stop the fight, and they confronted him about their pay. Viktor and Deb came in to do some shopping, buying sirloin and arugala for Deb’s latest recipe. Reggie was shocked that they could afford it, and Viktor explained their new “Guess Your Wallet” game.

Sasha confessed to Gunther that she had urged Truck to kill Schatzi. Just then, Truck wandered by, staring in shock at his hands. Assuming the worst, Sasha offered to replace Schatzi by dressing in a cat costume and becoming part of his act. Suddenly, Sealman Rushdie rushed in and declared that he had solved the circus’ financial woes—he had raised $34,000 by pickpocketing all the special-needs kids.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Season 14, Episode 1: Here Comes the Circus

Episode 1: Here Comes the Circus

Reggie Bunkler, recent inheritor of the Bunkler Brothers Family Circus, was going over some paperwork in his office when Mr. Bibby the clown knocked on the door. Bibby revealed that he was in desperate need of new kidneys, and needed help from Bunkler because the circus doesn’t provide health insurance. Bunkler explained that he couldn’t afford to help him, because the circus was a half a million dollars in debt. Bibby responded with a sad note on his slide-whistle.

Sasha, the circus’ star acrobat/trapeze artist was stretching in her trailer when Russian strongman Viktor Busliftor knocked on the door. They engaged in a little flirtation, finally proposing a picnic with champagne and strawberries (“nature’s kidneys”).

In the tiger’s den, animal trainer Gunther Gayfer-Wilhelm had just finished delivering a new tiger cub, whom he named Schatzi. He informed the cub that it would be replacing its mother as the circus’ new attraction—sadly, he would soon have to put down the mother tiger to harvest a replacement kidney for Mr. Bibby. Just then, the bearded lady Deb Henderson arrived, complaining about Bibby’s return. (“He only comes around when he wants something!”) Gunther let her hold the newborn cub.

Stoolts the clown was preparing for his act, as Truck the roadie did some adjustments to his stool-stilts. Stoolts reminisced about his humble beginnings, explaining that when he was a child, his mother put him in a crate of cherry bombs, accidentally blowing off his legs. To replace his lost limbs, his father attached two stools to his stumps, and since then, he’s made himself an inspiration to legless kids everywhere.

Sealman Rushdie, the talking sea lion, was rehearsing his new act: a rousing rendition of “All Along the Watchtower.” Mr. Bibby arrived and informed Sealman that he needed a new kidney…and he was willing to resort to desperate measures. (“Sometimes it’s an eat-world-eat world. It’s an eye for an eat!”) Sealman and Bibby began fighting, with Sealman finally knocking the clown down.

Viktor and Sasha were walking the tightrope, as Viktor reflected that this was a bad idea after a champagne picnic. However, it was the only way he could work up the nerve to win her heart. Upset by his presumptiousness, Sasha declared that her heart was not for the taking.

Truck and Deb complimented each other on their facial hair.

Gunther Gayfer-Wilhelm entered Bunkler’s trailer to inform him that he had harvested his tiger’s kidney for Mr. Bibby. Shocked, Bunkler exclaimed that he didn’t have to do that…he’d explained before that it was a 50/50 chance they’d need it. Tragically, with Gunther’s poor grasp of English, he had thought Bibby needed 50 kidneys, of which this would be the first. Despondent, Gunther sang a song about how much his tiger meant to him.

Sasha ran into Mr. Bibby and asked him about his condition. (“I have about 45-60 minutes left.”) She informed him that she had three kidneys, and that she would gladly give him one—if he could find it. Bibby searched her, and finally realized that the kidney was in her kiss. As they embraced, Viktor walked in.

Sealman and Stoolts were racing to get the last fish sandwich in the snack bar. Sealman easily beat Stoolts, but decided to share the sandwich because Stoolts was the only human who truly understood him.

Victor asked why Sasha had left him on the high wire, especially since he couldn’t turn around to see she had left. She apologized, explaining that she flees whenever things get intense. Interrupting, Bibby observed how muscular Viktor’s kidney area was. He challenged Viktor for his kidney, and they played tug-of-war by grabbing Sasha’s arms. In the end, Viktor released his grip, and Bibby mocked Viktor’s “weakness.”

Gunther came to see Truck, in need of his mechanical expertise. Gunther explained that he had removed his tiger’s kidney, and he needed a robotic replacement. After an extended period of confusion as to whether he needed a replacement kidney or a replacement tiger, Gunther pointed out that a kidney wouldn’t provide much of a show for the audience, so he needed an entire robotic tiger. When Truck pointed out that the weight of a robot tiger would surely crush him, Gunther contemplated some way of getting Viktor’s strength.

Stoolts went to visit Deb in her trailer.

DEB: “Guess what I made for you?”
STOOLTS: “A baby?”

She replied that, despite their night of passion, that wasn’t what she was talking about. Instead, she’d baked him a Coca-Cola cake. He declared it delicious, THEN took a bite. (“Yeah, I was right!”)

Sealman Rushdie came into Reggie Bunkler’s office to request vacation time for the upcoming mating season. Bunkler replied that, with the circus’ financial situation, the best he could do would be to give him upaid leave. Furious, Sealman accused Bunkler of discriminating against him because he’s an animal. (As if to prove the point, Viktor interrupted and asked for the rest of the week off, and Bunkler agreed.) Sealman threatened to quit, saying that he’d been working out some new moves to audition for Cirque du Soleil. Sealman then demonstrated his new act.

Viktor was standing on top of the circus train, contemplating his loss of the tug-of-war and considering suicide. He speculated that the Chernobyl radiation that had given him his strength was wearing off, and decided to go through airport security and get too many X-rays. Just then, Stoolts walked by to offer a sympathetic ear. After assuring Viktor that he was the strongest man both inside and out, Stoolts went on to explain that suicide was no solution: “I tried jumping off the train myself. It didn’t work…I was taller than it.”

Basking in the afterglow with Mr. Bibby, Sasha suddenly realized that Bibby had taken her third kidney during their passionate encounter. Furious, she accused him of using her, and he readily agreed. Now that he had what he wanted, it was time for him to move on. He left her his hat as a parting gift, and said that perhaps one day he’d return and fix this circus. Sasha angrily replied “This fircus is unsixable!”


The New Season Begins!

The new season of SCANDAL! has just begun at Dad's Garage Theatre Company, so let the synopses begin!

This season, SCANDAL! takes us under the big top, at the Bunkler Brothers Family Circus. And now, our cast of characters:

REGGIE BUNKLER, "The Owner" (Matt Horgan)
Reggie Bunkler very recently inherited the ownership and General Manager duties for the Bunkler Bros. Family Circus due to an unfortunate and not-well-thought-out deathbed promise to his father. He left 24 years and a directorship at FedEx to come here and not a day goes by that he doesn't kick himself in the nuts about it. But now that he is here, he might as well whip this motley crew of addicts, freaks, and pervers into business shape!

SASHA, "The Star" (Amber Nash)
Sasha dazzles audiences weekly with her high flying, heart pounding, hormone dripping, humanly impossible feats. Whether on the trapeze or contorting her body on the back of an elephant that has been set ablaze, it's a show not to be missed.

GUNTHER GAYFER-WILHELM, "The Lion Tamer" (Rene Dellefont)
Born in the small town of Wiener-Neustadt, Austria, Gunther Gayfer-Wilhelm always had an incredible rapport with animals, especially cats. Gunther joined the world of the circus in 1969 when he ran off with the Herzog Zirkus of Dusseldorf. A self-taught pussy tamer, Gayfer-Wilhelm's fame peaked in the late '70s after joining the Bunkler Bros. Family Circus. After Sasha the sizzling new trapeze artist joined the Bunkler Bros., Gayfer-Wilhelm found his top-billing status decline to second-billing.

COREY CLARK a.k.a. STOOLTS, "The Clown" (Mike Schatz)
Corey Clark from Cartersville, Georgia refers to himself as a "Circus Spectacle." As a child, Corey lost both of his legs when his mother placed him in a crate of cherry bombs in the family-owned fireworks sotre. Now he stands high above his fellow performers as the clown on stilts--or in Corey's case, two stools that are not only the main feature of his act, but also serve as his prosthetic legs. Corey is as friendly as he can be and completely content with the world he lives in, despite the fact that he cannot sit or lay down...probably due to the years of pain pills. He loves his view of the world and it is his innocence that leads people to take advantage of him. He is often talked into doing things that go against his better judgment so as not to let anyone down.

SEALMAN RUSHDIE, "The Circus Sea Lion" (Dan Triandiflou)
Sealman Rushdie is a nomad; a gypsy soul. His real name? Wouldn't you like to know? He lost his Mom at an early age (to a Grape Shasta six-pack holder) and he never knew his Dad. He goes wherever the current or music takes him. A virtuoso of the horns, his repertoire crosses all genres and preconceived notions. Whether it's Mozart or Mos Def, it's all a hot, wet jam! After being dragged to land in a trawl net that was owned by an underground Japanese poaching syndicate, he convinced his captors to let him live by playing Baba O'Riley on an assortment of empty Coca-Cola bottles. They agreed, at which point he mauled them to death. Soon, he was persued all over the ocean as a vigilante, a renegade. He emerged every now and then to play gigs and make some fish. He was discovered at Blind Willie's, and was lured to the circus by the prospect of a steady herring supply in a landlocked city. However, deep down Sealman knows that in his world, the peace never lasts long.

DEBORAH 'DEB' HENDERSON, "The Beared Lady" (Megan Leahy)
Deb was on her way to becoming a bright beauty queen in the world of child pageantry when that most dreaded of life's challenges--puberty--hit. Deb's once bright future quickly became darker when the mixture of hormones and Eastern European heritage created a hairy cocktail. To avoid the pain and shame this would bring to her mother, Delta Burke (a former beauty queen herself), Deb decided to find a place she could belon--and a sideshow star was born! Deb has found a wonderful family with the Bunkler Bros. Family Circus and likes to act as its mother hen. There's always a shoulder to cry on and a freshly baked cookie in her train car. Although most of the sideshow acts have been eliminated by the management, Deb is sure her place in the circus is safe. She's been around a long time and though she may not be a star, she still shines brightly.

VIKTOR BUSLIFTOR, "The Strongman" (Matt Stanton)
Viktor, age 44, escaped capitalist Russia in 2003. His quest to lift entire families in SUVs led Viktor to Atlanta, where he first manually operated the sky lift at Stone Mountain. He is found of a challenge, sporting his onesie 24/7 and can be counted on to help anyone move into a new place. Smelling of sports cream and onions, the Busliftor trailer has seen some wild times. Will he ever regain his youth?

TRUCKSTOP TARKENTON a.k.a. TRUCK, "The Roadie" (Randy Havens)
Truck is a professional roadie. He's toured with Maiden, the Nuge...all the greats. In the mid-'80s he left the rock world behind and began his search for "something magical." The Bunkler Bros. Family Circus is where he's ended up. He considers himself a sort of peace-keeper at the circus, playing mediator in all manner of circus disputes. He's also in charge of giving backstage passes to audience members that the performers want to f***.

HORATIO BARNSWALLOW, "The Ringmaster" (Lucky Yates)
Horatio Barnswallow has been with the Bunkler Bros. Family Circus for 35 years. He started out as a "scoop boy" following Dolly the Elephant everywhere she went. Soon he became a clown's assistant, then a Junior Cannonballer, and finally after Ezekial Kretch suffered a heart attack mid-show, Horatio took the reins as Ringmaster and never looked back. Sure, there might be some more expensive, fancy-pants circuses out there, but Horatio thinks that the Bunkler Bros. Family Circus is as good as it should get.