I LOVE Friday the 13th. I love everything about it: the superstition, the movies, Adam and I even got married on one. But most
importantly, I love Friday the 13th: The Series. I didn’t get to see the show during its original run due to being a toddler, but I always looked forward to SciFi Channel marathons every holiday. Yes, F13 is a holiday.
This year marks the show’s 30th anniversary. If you’ve never seen it (shame on you), it’s about cousins Micki and Ryan who inherit an antique store from their evil uncle Lewis who made a pact with the devil. All of the items sold from the store are cursed. Along with friend, Jack Marshak, a source of infinite occult knowledge, they are tasked with hunting down all the items to lock away safely in the basement vault.
The show was amazing. Delightfully cheesy but not over the top. Micki was a badass, Jack was loveable, and then there was Ryan. *SWOON*. I’m pretty sure it’s lost forever, but at one point there existed a polaroid photo of me being super weird and kissing the TV screen during an episode. You know, just regular 11-year-old girl stuff. John D. LeMay (Ryan) also stars in Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday which may have been the first Jason movie I had seen, not counting the original F13. But that’s a post for another time.
I only acquired the DVD box set of F13TS this year as a birthday present from my husband. (Thanks, Husband!) Not much changes between watching it at 12 and watching it at 32. I do notice some little things now that I didn’t back then: Louise Robey’s (Micki) peculiar accent/annunciation, some writing that doesn’t quite make sense, cursed items shown in the manifest not explored, some not-so-great effects. Most things remain just as I remembered, including my dislike for Johnny (Steve Monarque). Johnny took over for Ryan in the 3rd season when John LeMay left the show. Nothing against the actor, and it’s not just because I’m Team Ryan, Johnny was just a terrible character. Aside from “The Long Road Home”, I hardly watch anything from season 3.
While we’re on the F13TS subject, I’d like to mention the book “Curious Goods: Behind the Scenes of Friday the 13th: The Series” by Alyse Wax. If you’re a fan of the show I’d say it’s worth a read. It includes a lot of cast and crew interviews and behind-the-scenes photos. The book has a pretty hefty price tag, around $26, for a paperback book that contains a lot of filler. A good portion of the book is scene-by-scene recaps of each episode. If you enjoy the show enough to purchase the book, you probably don’t need that. After the recap are interviews and insights/personal anecdotes from the author. This sometimes feels a little off-balance. For example: three or four pages of episode recap followed by one paragraph of BTS info. It also could have done with another round or two of proofreading. There were some spelling errors, and some of the episode recap information was wrong. I’m certainly not a professional writer; I have no room to criticize anyone’s work. These are just my personal thoughts. If you’re like me and want to know all there is to know about the series, check it out.
Ok, back on topic. When watching the series, it becomes apparent that Ryan bleeds from the head pretty frequently. Even in the pilot episode, “The Inheritance”, Micki hits him over the head with a ceramic pot before we even see his face. He gets beat up so often that it makes me wonder if he shouldn’t have some sort of lasting brain damage.
I thought it might be interesting to watch the series in its entirety and count all the blows to the head. I quickly realized this would be challenging. Do I count every time he gets knocked to the ground? He does spend a lot of time face down on the floor (Tales of the Undead, Pipe Dream, etc.). How about every time he gets punched? It happens a lot. What about every time he has a bloody head? Take for example “The Voodoo Mambo” where he gets attacked by a crow. There’s definitely a good bit of blood but no serious damage. I decided to stick strictly to instances of unconsciousness. Here is my final count:
It’s too hard to tell. My closest guess is 15 times. This is over the course of 53 episodes (2 seasons plus one episode in season 3). I’m including trauma to the head, electrocution, inhaling gas, anything that causes unconsciousness. There are some that are pretty straight forward, like “Root of All Evil” and “Vanity’s Mirror”, some that seem to be implied like “The Playhouse” or “Coven of Darkness”, and some where he actually gets knocked out twice in one episode, “And Now the News” and “Thirteen O’Clock”. There are a few where I really can’t tell. In “What a Mother Wouldn’t Do”, does he actually get knocked out in the water? In “Scarecrow”, one of my favorites, he gets thrown into a wall and collapses on the floor, out of frame. Cut to another shot, cut back to Ryan. He sits up, dazed, shakes his head and looks around. Was he out? I’ve twice been knocked out for a few moments and I’m pretty sure that’s what I looked like when I came to, so I’m counting it.
Add up the definite, the implied, and factor in the maybe, and 15 is the number I get. I honestly thought the count would be much higher when I started this task. It seemed to me like Ryan got his bell rung every other episode. Even still, he should probably see a doctor.
Straightforward knock outs – Dr. Jack, Root of All Evil, Vanity’s Mirror, And Now the News, 13 O’Clock, Eye of Death, Better Off Dead, The Maestro, The Prophecies (part 1)
Electrocution – And Now the News
Inhaling smoke – Bottle of Dreams
Presumed – The Playhouse, Coven of Darkness
Maybe? – Scarecrow, What a Mother Wouldn’t Do