The Wild Thornberrys

Season 2 Episode 33

A Shaky Foundation

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Mar 13, 2000 on Nickelodeon

Episode Recap

This episode takes place near Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. The episode begins with the convoy getting a lift by helicopter. Inside, the Thornberrys are riding up to the mountain for some footage. Eliza says that the bridge that led up to the mountain was out, and Marianne says that was the only way up. Nigel notes that if you have access to a helicopter, it's not too much of a problem. Darwin is afraid of being high up in the air, and covers his eyes. Donnie jokes around with him and pulls his arms away from his face. Nigel notes that he's happy they're in Zimbabwe because of the Victoria Falls. Marianne also notes that it's home to the rock hyrax, which is the animal they are shooting. Nigel notes it's the size of a rabbit, but it's the distant cousin of the elephant. Nigel asks Debbie if there's anything in her magazine about the rock hyrax, joking about the rock reference. Debbie says it's not even a little funny. Eliza is very happy that she is flying in a helicopter, but Darwin says that chimps weren't meant to fly.

The helicopter lands the convoy on the mountain and the Thornberrys get out of the helicopter. The pilot says he'll be in the area so all they have to do is radio him and he'll come get them. They can see Victoria Falls from where they are and Eliza says it's very beautiful here. Nigel is happy to be in the mountains, and that there's no civilization for miles. But as he finishes, a man comes out of the jungle. Everyone's confused and asks who he is. The man introduces himself as Tom Ravenhearst; the new VP of the Foundation. He admits that he's the fan. Nigel asks if he's in relation to the Ravenhearst that is the president of the Foundation. Tom informs him that is his father. Tom says he's here to see how the Thornberrys make their television show, and to help if they need anything. Nigel is happy to have him. Tom says he brought gifts for everyone. He gives Nigel some imported kippers and Marianne a new lens for her camera. He hands Debbie a Des Brody CD, and he informs her that he used to work for Boom TV. Debbie is impressed. Tom gives a present to Eliza and calls her the little kiddo. Eliza opens it and it's a stuffed teddy bear. Eliza isn't very thrilled. Donnie thinks he's supposed to get a present, but Tom ignores him because he doesn't have anything. Eliza gives him the bear. Marianne tells him that they have to set up for the show. Nigel informs him that they are filming the rock hyrax today. Tom tells Debbie the same joke that Nigel told her, and this time she actually laughs. Debbie thinks Tom is funny, but Eliza isn't impressed.

Later, Marianne shows Tom how the camera is put on a tripod and how they shoot the footage. Nigel jokes that sometimes Marianne starts shooting before he's ready. Tom thinks that Marianne and Nigel are great and thinks they do things perfectly. Eliza is very annoyed with Tom and tells Darwin that they should head out and find some creatures to talk to. Eliza goes to grab the binoculars, but Tom takes them from her. Talking to her like a little kid, Tom tells her he needs them today because he needs to see things from far away so that they can become bigger. Eliza tells him that she's aware of how binoculars work. Tom says it's a magical process, and walks off. Darwin asks Eliza who Tom is. Eliza is just mad that Tom called her kiddo.

Eliza walks over to Nigel and Marianne and tells them that she thinks that Tom is very annoying. Marianne doesn't understand why she thinks that. Nigel also notes that Tom's father is head of the Foundation, and he thinks that the Thornberrys are the best naturalists there are. Suddenly, they hear Tom screaming in the jungle. They run over to find Donnie pulling on the binoculars strap. Nigel and Marianne pull Donnie off of him, and apologize for his actions. Nigel notes Donnie is a very energetic kid. Tom says he noticed. Debbie asks Tom if he ever met Des Brody. Tom tells her that he had breakfast with him once. Debbie thinks Des Brody in the morning is awesome, but Tom notes it was at two in the afternoon. Tom asks Nigel and Marianne about the rock hyrax. Nigel notes it could take some time to find one because the rock hyrax will only leave its rocky home if it's hungry. He says that some have been spotted at high elevations so they may have to do a bit of climbing. Tom sees that Eliza has Darwin as a pet, and asks if she can say monkey three times fast. Eliza tells him that she needs some supplies for rock climbing. Tom laughs, and says that little girls should stay home and watch today. Eliza tries to tell him that she goes on adventures all of the time, but Tom says monkey three times in a row and cuts her off. Nigel, Marianne, and Tom get ready to head into the jungle. Debbie wants to come along as well. Marianne is actually surprised that Debbie wants to come along.

Eliza is very upset at the way Tom treated her. Darwin admits that he's never seen her like this. Eliza says that Tom treats her like she's a kid with no brain. Darwin says he knows how that is, and tells her not to let it get to her. Eliza says he's right and grabs some rope. She's going to go on an adventure.

Elsewhere, Nigel is seen through the camera climbing up a rock wall. The Thornberrys are shooting their segment. Nigel recounts that the rock hyrax is able to live in the rocky areas because of goo that it produces from its feet. Marianne is very happy with the footage, and Tom says he got goose bumps from watching that. Nigel says it's all in a day's work. Tom says they are amazing, but he notes that they are missing a catchphrase. Tom says that each great show has a catchphrase. Nigel says that Tom has a point, but Marianne isn't so sure. Tom says they could use something unique like an animal a day keeps the doctor away. Marianne says that doesn't make sense. Tom says it's in the concept. Eliza shows up and says that a better one would be Nigel, the man of the jungle. Tom thinks that what Eliza said was cute and he thinks that she is full of ideas. Eliza argues that she is not a little kid. Marianne affirms what Eliza said. Tom pulls Marianne and Nigel away to try and discuss the new catchphrase. Eliza is still appalled by Tom's behavior. Debbie thinks he's incredible because he has had lunch with three members of Penicillin. Eliza hopes that everyone's brains will grow back soon.

Back at the convoy, the group watches new footage of Nigel calling himself the Creature Teacher. Tom thinks that it is great. Nigel is glad it rhymes, but Marianne notes that they've never done this sort of thing before. Tom says that's why they should shake things up and do it now. Marianne is still unsure. Tom butters her up by saying that she's the best in the filming world. Marianne is flattered, and Tom says he has something for her. They walk outside and see that Tom has something called the Auto-Cam. Tom shows them that it has a 360 degree movement as well as sensors that will follow an animal. He demonstrates this. Eliza says that Tom is just showing off. Nigel is impressed. Marianne asks what the camera operator is supposed to do. Tom says there is no operator, and that she will be free to find locations and scout the animals. He says it's half the work that they normally have to do. Marianne guesses it is a good thing, but doesn't sound too convincing.

Tom walks past Eliza and says monkey three times fast again. Eliza tells him to stop saying that. She decides she's going to show him how tough she is. Darwin asks her not to do anything crazy. Eliza tells him that if she climbs that cliff, it'll show Tom how grown up she is. Darwin exaggerates that isn't crazy at all.

Nigel, Marianne, and Tom are working with the Auto-Cam. Nigel starts to start a segment. In the background, we see Eliza start to climb the cliff while Darwin and Donnie watch. As Eliza continues to climb, some rocks break off and she ends up falling down the cliff. The rope catches on her and she starts swinging upside down. Darwin tries to grab onto her, but he ends up swinging in the air as well. Marianne notices what's going on and tells Nigel that this is a cut. Nigel is able to grab Darwin to prevent him from swinging. Eliza is able to untie herself and drop down. She says she's alright and that she was just working on a new rope. Marianne says that she could have gotten hurt, and Tom adds that boo-boos are bad. Eliza says she's fine. Tom is happy about that and pats her on the head adding that she's a very important lady. Donnie starts swinging on the rope. Darwin tells Eliza that they should stop climbing cliffs and start doing something fun. Eliza says that she's going to show Tom she's no baby if it's the last thing she does. Suddenly, Donnie plows into them after he jumps off the rope.

Back at the convoy, Tom mounts the Auto-Cam on top of the convoy's roof. Nigel admits that it's not the best camera, and Marianne adds she doesn't like the idea of working with a different camera. Eliza thinks that her parents are in love with the camera. Tom tells them that he will drive up the mountains with Nigel and the Auto-Cam will find the rock hyrax for him. Marianne doesn't like the idea of Nigel and her working separately. Tom tells her that this is the chance for Marianne to free her up and give her room to breathe. He tells Marianne to go find the next location and notes she has the eye for that. Marianne says that'll be fine. Tom is excited and says this will keep the show going. Tom gets in the convoy and drives off. Nigel goes with him and both he and Marianne are upset that they are being separated. They drive by Eliza, who is talking to Darwin about Tom. Tom hears her talking like a monkey to Darwin, and says that they've found an animal. Donnie motions to the camera, and Eliza is afraid that Tom saw her talking to Darwin. Darwin says that she'd better stop doing it before he catches on. Eliza is still heard acting like a monkey by Tom, and Tom is very confused and suspicious of what she's doing. Tom laughs and thinks that Eliza is just being a kid. He leans out the window and says monkey three times fast again.

Eliza sees an eagle up above her, and is convinced that she's going to mess up the Auto-Cam. She grabs the Cheese Crunchies and runs after the convoy. Darwin is upset, but Eliza says that this is an emergency. Eliza signals the eagle, and it comes down hearing that she has food. He asks what she has. Eliza shows him some of the Cheese Crunchies and the eagle eats some. He admits that they are good. She gives him more and tells him to stay and eat them awhile. The eagle tells her he owes her one. Eliza and Darwin leave, but Donnie stays behind. Eliza runs up to the convoy and tells Tom and Nigel that the Auto-Cam missed a really awesome animal. Nigel is amazed and Tom can't believe it. Eliza goes to the bushes and tells them to look inside. They pull the bushes back, but only to find Donnie eating the Cheese Crunchies. Tom thinks Eliza made a joke, and pinches her cheek. Nigel thinks it was funny, and they continue on. Eliza mutters that the bird still owes her one.

Up on a ridge, Marianne radios Nigel. She tells him that she found the next spot for them to shoot from, but that she wishes that he were here. Nigel says that he knows what she means. He tells her about Tom driving the convoy up the mountainside. Marianne isn't very happy that Tom is doing that. Tom is having a lot of trouble getting it up the hill and yells out to Nigel that he can't get it into second gear. Nigel yells that it's the one before third. Nigel tells Marianne that he has to go after him.

Eliza, Darwin, and Donnie climb up the rock wall to where the eagle is perched. Eliza asks him where he went. The eagle tells him that Donnie chased him away. Darwin tells them both to be quiet before the Auto-Cam finds them again. Donnie chases the eagle off again and Eliza is frustrated she couldn't get that favor.

Nigel catches up to Tom and notes that the mountain is a very steep one. He advises that they go up the rest of the way on foot. Tom says that the convoy can make it. He continues to take it up and it causes Debbie to fall off her seat. The Auto-Cam finally catches on a creature. Tom tells Nigel that they have something. Nigel realizes it's the rock hyrax. The Auto-Cam keeps following it as it runs. Tom throws it in reverse and follows it down the mountain. Eliza thinks that Tom has no brains at all for doing that. Suddenly, the convoy runs into the rocks where Eliza, Darwin, and Donnie are seated on. They end up falling onto the roof of the convoy. The convoy is pushed towards the side of the cliff, and Nigel can only watch at what happens. Eliza screams down to Tom that he needs to get out. Tom tells her that he doesn't have time to play games. The convoy drops down the cliff and lands on the road below. It starts rolling down the mountain. The convoy starts coming towards the bridge that's out, and Debbie screams for Tom to do something. They end up running into the sign and it falls down over the bridge like a plank. This allows for the convoy to go over the bridge. Nigel shoots a flare in the air and tells the pilot, Jim, to bring the helicopter over. Marianne sees the flare and asks what happened. Nigel tells her that the kids are in danger and tells her to come down.

The convoy continue to careen out of control. Eliza and Darwin are hanging onto the side of the convoy. A tree branch is coming and Donnie jumps over it to avoid getting hit. The Auto-Cam isn't so lucky, and it ends up getting hit and falls off the convoy. It still works, and it ends up getting some footage of the rock hyrax as it walks by. It approaches up close and sniffs the camera, giving them great up close footage.

The helicopter arrives and Nigel and Marianne get inside. Nigel tells Marianne the situation. The convoy continues to run down the mountain, and Darwin is afraid that they will run out of road. Eliza says that is about to happen. They crash through a barrier and end up in the water. Debbie pulls a lever and the convoy is able to float on the water. Darwin is relieved that they will be alright, but the water starts to turn to whitewater and they are thrown back and forth by the current. Nigel and Marianne realize that the rapids lead right to Victoria Falls. Eliza, Darwin, and Donnie drop down into the convoy. The group is really scared about going over the falls. Tom screams that his watch isn't supposed to get wet, but Eliza tells him that they have bigger problems. Eliza turns on the propeller to see if they can go backwards, but it doesn't work. Eliza shoots out the hook, and it is able to hook them onto some rocks on shore. It prevents them from going over the falls.

The helicopter flies over the convoy. Jim assures them he'll lift the convoy out of there. He drops some hooks down and tries to hook the convoy in so he can lift them out. But he is unable to hook the convoy. Marianne asks what the problem is. Jim tells her that the convoy is shifting too much in the water and he can't hook it. Nigel grabs a megaphone and yells down for the children to come up to the roof. Tom is hiding under the seat in fright, and refuses to come up. They drop a rope ladder down so that the children can climb up. Donnie climbs up the rope ladder quickly. Debbie starts to climb up and Darwin follows her. Eliza yells for Tom to come up. Tom admits that he was bad at gym. We see the rope from the hook is starting to fray. Eliza starts to climb up, but Tom's shoelace gets stuck on the convoy. Eliza sees the eagle fly over them and yells out to him to do her a favor. The eagle swoops down and snaps Tom's shoelace. Tom climbs up the ladder. It's just in time because the rope snaps and the convoy goes over the Victoria Falls. Nigel and Marianne are glad that everyone is safe. Debbie notes that the convoy is history. Nigel looks down and sees the convoy float to the top of the water. He says it's fine.

The helicopter flies over the falls with the convoy finally hooked on. It lands back at the campsite where the family is waiting for it. Tom thanks Eliza for everything. He admits that he was very impressed that she knew about the switches that would help the convoy. Eliza says it's just another day, but thanks Tom for calling her Eliza. Tom asks if they like the Auto-Cam. Nigel tells him that they found it on the road and admits that it got a shot of the rock hyrax. Nigel admits to Tom that the Thornberrys have their own ways of doing things and they want to keep them the way they are. Tom says he's fine with that. Tom asks Debbie if she wants to hear about the other bands that he met. Debbie sees through Tom's charm and says that it's kind of sad that Tom is trying to impress her.

Later that evening, Tom is ready to leave. The helicopter picks him up, and Nigel wishes him a safe trip. After he leaves, Marianne acknowledges that Eliza is the big hero. She is proud that Eliza showed Tom what kind of people Thornberrys are. Eliza says they all did, but she's just glad that he won't call her kiddo anymore. Nigel says she's right about that. The episode ends with the Thornberrys waving goodbye to Tom as he flies away.