Seems like some of my favorite unrealized projects are animated.
The 2003 best animated short was a clever space odyssey called “The ChubbChubbs!”
I got the chance to pitch a feature that would expand on the concept of the short, which allowed for a lot of fun riffs on classic sci-fi in an intergalactic movie-musical.
A somewhat long time ago, at a studio far, far away…
The ChubbChubbs Movie!
Proposal by Eric Williams
Open on a ROCKETSHIP blasting through OUTER SPACE. From behind, it looks like an impressive battle cruiser, but as we pull along its side, we discover that it’s the galactic equivalent of a station wagon: painted green, with fake wooden paneling along its sides and bumper stickers of the tourist destinations it has been. As we look through the front windshield, we see an alien HUSBAND and WIFE arguing over whether they’re heading the right way, while their SON and DAUGHTER torment each other in the passenger area behind them. Some things truly are universal.
The husband reluctantly agrees to pull in at the next planet to ask for directions. As he does, he goes against the flow of a flurry of spaceships careening madly toward him, their pilots seemingly desperate to get away from the planet. But he continues downward, and all looks peaceful once they land at the Gas Giant service station.
The family disembark and walk into the station. Mom picks up some supplies (opportunities for jokes as we see the various products for sale). The kids rush to the rest rooms (we see the universal pictogram symbols on the multiple rest-room doors – it’s not just limited to “Men” and “Women” here). Dad tries to find an attendant who can give him directions, but he and his family seem to be the only ones here. Evidence suggests that everyone who had been here panicked and fled at a moment’s notice.
The family huddle together and walk cautiously behind the fueling station, where they discover a wrecked spaceship with a gigantic hole seemingly chewed out of its fuselage. Mangled, twisted metal is everywhere. Suddenly, they hear a rocket engine start – only to realize that someone has just stolen the station wagon and is escaping the planet in it.
As all around them gets quiet, they hear someone whimpering. Cautiously, they move closer to the sound — and discover a fierce-looking creature in a service-station attendant’s smock hiding in the shadows. He leaps away from them in fear until he realizes it’s just a family. The attendant peeks out from his hiding place and asks “Are they gone?” The father asks “Who?” and the attendant says, with terror in his voice, “The ChubbChubbs!”
Just at that moment, a tall menacing armored creature steps around the corner of the building. As its shadow falls over the screaming family, we CUT TO:
DIVA singing “HELP!” by the Beatles, onstage at the ALE-E INN nightclub on the planet GLORF. A slapstick main-title sequence set to the song introduces us to the club and particularly to MEEPER, the hapless janitor with dreams of being a singer. We transition into his daydream when Meeper is conked on the head with his mop – the mop on his head transforms into a Beatles moptop haircut, leading us into a brief homage to the opening credits of “A Hard Day’s Night”, with Meeper being chased by hordes of crazed fans. We switch back and forth from reality, where Meeper continues to get bossed and jostled and causes general havoc in the club, to his fantasies, where he is suave and agile and he is in scenes which mimic other music videos or musicals (including “Moulin Rouge” and “Chicago” – and maybe even things the kids in the audience could possibly have seen!).
As the song ends, Meeper accidentally clobbers a customer much bigger than he is. The customer falls to the floor with a huge THUMP. All eyes turn to Meeper. No one can believe that little Meeper toppled this behemoth. As BORIS the bouncer tends to the fallen customer, Meeper approaches meekly, worried about the customer. “Is he…? Is he…?” Boris replies: “Yup. It’s Izzy.”
The gargantuan IZZY, a cocky rocket pilot, sits up, dazed. Meeper smiles at him apologetically. Izzy wants to crush Meeper. But Boris convinces Izzy to let it slide. “It was an accident. You don’t have to worry about Meeper. He’s nobody.” Izzy realizes how true that is and goes back to the bar, buying drinks for everyone. The crowd follows Izzy, leaving Meeper alone.
The club owner, ZELZAH, a gravel-voiced broad who’s been around the business forever (almost literally), tells Meeper to get back to work. Meeper asks when Zelzah will let him sing onstage. We can tell from her expression that this is a request Meeper has made doggedly, and she is running out of nice ways to say “Never.” She philosophizes, telling Meeper “I believe we’re all put in the universe for a reason. And that reason is not to annoy everybody else.” Meeper says “But I really want to be a singer.” Zelzah replies “I really want to be three hundred again, but that ain’t gonna happen. I know what you WANT to do. You need to figure out what you CAN do.”
Meeper takes his break and walks outside. He stares at the setting twin suns of Glorf and, looking like a forlorn mixture of Luke Skywalker and Dorothy from “The Wizard Of Oz”, he sings a lament about what he wants from life (possibly titled “I Want”). His desires start simple, just getting on the Ale-E Inn stage and having the audience like him, perhaps winning the love of Diva, but gradually becoming greedier and more outlandish to the point of absurdity. But as the song reaches a crescendo, he realizes that Izzy was right, singing something along the lines that he’s “just a little nothing underneath Glorf’s three suns”…and stops. “THREE suns?”
As he looks at the sky, there does seem to be a third sun on the horizon – a big orange ball. It’s darting erratically through the air, getting closer and closer, aiming right toward Meeper. He starts running and it continues on his tail. Finally, he dives for cover over a huge sand dune and whatever-it-is crashes behind him. After a few moments, Meeper peeks over the sand dune and discovers a charred unrecognizable spaceship, sputtering the last of its fuel. As Meeper approaches cautiously, a hatch opens and light emerges from inside. Meeper backs away in fear…and watches as four tiny furry CREATURES waddle out. Seeing these harmless little things, Meeper steps closer. The creatures frown, regarding Meeper suspiciously, but Meeper says “You don’t hafta worry about me, little guys. I’m Meeper. I’m harmless. I’m…nobody.” The creatures exchange glances and seem to agree among themselves that they can trust Meeper. Meeper peeks inside the spaceship and asks, worried, if they’ve got anyone else hiding inside. The creatures shake their heads and Meeper looks relieved.
Boris the bouncer yells across the sands that Meeper’s break is over and he needs to come back to work. Meeper calls back that he’ll be there in a minute. He worries about what to do with the little creatures. He doesn’t want to abandon them in the cold desert sand. He asks if they’re hungry, miming eating by exaggeratedly opening and closing his jaw in huge bites. The creatures nod enthusiastically. He gathers them in his mop bucket and carries them to the club, where he leaves them outside, promising to bring them food.
Meeper sneaks some table scraps to the creatures and, when he checks again, the food is all gone. Meeper asks if they want more. The creatures nod. Meeper slips outside with the equivalent of four t-bone steaks. The next time he looks, the creatures have devoured them too. “Wow, you guys are really starving. That must have been a long trip.” He knows he shouldn’t, but Meeper sneaks the alien equivalent of a jumbo turkey out of the kitchen and carries it to the creatures. He steps inside and hears what sounds like chain saws outside. He leans back out the door and discovers that the entire turkey-esque meal is completely gone, bones and all. Meeper is impressed…and more than a little scared. But the creatures just smile up at him appreciatively.
Meeper returns to work and is confronted by Zelzah about all the food that is missing, especially the big bird that was to be the centerpiece of Izzy’s surprise birthday party. “Maybe I’ll fill you with stuffing and serve you instead!” Meeper realizes he’s made a huge mistake and promises to pay Zelzah back. Zelzah says Meeper will definitely pay for the missing food, but she’s had enough of Meeper’s foolishness. Meeper is fired.
Carrying the four little creatures in a cardboard box, Meeper returns to his tiny home, feeling like a complete loser. He plays the messages on his holographic answering machine but there’s nothing personal, just holographic telemarketing calls and one from Princess Leia saying “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope”, which Meeper gloomily erases, saying “Wrong number.” Meeper flops down on his couch and turns on the TV. The little creatures look sad for Meeper. They look at his belongings, including a faded and creased photo of a couple who look a great deal like Meeper holding their baby Meeper. There don’t seem to be any more recent pictures of the couple, just pictures of young Meeper in orphanage talent shows and other signs of his desperate attempts to become a singer. The creatures look with sympathy at their new friend.
Suddenly, a THUD is heard. The ground shakes so much that Meeper’s cheap IKEA-style furniture disassembles. He rushes to the window and the creatures climb upon him to look with him. In the distance, they see a large spaceship has landed near the Ale-E Inn and tall menacing creatures in armor, like the one we saw at the service station, are climbing out. Frightened, Meeper pulls down his windowshade. The little creatures don’t look scared – more like angry.
At the Ale-E Inn, the patrons have become aware of the new arrivals. Some are fleeing in panic. Others are hiding. Even big brave Izzy has ducked under the table, trying to maintain his dignity while munching on a piece of his birthday cake and wearing a party hat with a propeller on top. Outside, the armored menaces are sniffing around for something. Their noses lead them to the kitchen door of the club and to the crashed spaceship. One of them scrapes away the black crud encrusted around the spacecraft, revealing green paint and wood paneling underneath. One of them sniffs the ground and senses a trail leading across the desert, straight toward Meeper’s house.
Meeper cowers as the thudding of the soldiers’ footsteps gets louder and closer, louder and closer, but then…it stops. For a moment, Meeper relaxes. Then, his doorbell rings – it plays the five notes from “Close Encounters”. Nervous, Meeper walks to the door and checks the peephole. (The door is extremely concave, to allow room for Meeper’s nose.) But through the peephole, everything looks black. Confused, he opens the door and sees the armored troops looming over him, blocking out all light. Meeper’s knees knock and his teeth chatter. The troops say they think Meeper has something that belongs to them. Meeper meekly hands them a rented videotape that is overdue, apologizing that he didn’t rewind it.
The lead soldier flings the tape aside and grabs Meeper by the neck, lifting him into the air. The little creatures come to the door and glare at the troops. Meeper, thinking they’ve come to defend him, gasps for them to shoo and tells the troops to leave these poor little defenseless creatures alone…but he notices that it’s now the troops whose knees are knocking and teeth are chattering. The lead soldier is sweating so much that Meeper oozes from his grip. One of the troops steps forward tentatively, carrying what looks like an airline dog carrier but with extremely heavy shielding and reinforcements. He steps toward the little creatures, telling them to get inside “like nice little ChubbChubbs”. The troops lunge toward the little creatures, whose mouths open to reveal vicious whirling razor-sharp teeth. Meeper backs inside, covering his eyes. He hears the sounds of a brutal fight and, only when it subsides, does he dare to look outside.
As the cloud of dust settles, the troops are gone, with only chunks of their armor remaining. (Probably recreate the moment from the short where the smallest ChubbChubb coughs up a huge piece of armor.) Two of the ChubbChubbs chomp on the dog carrier, swallowing it in a couple bites. Meeper is amazed to discover how fierce his new little friends can be. But now that the battle’s over, they cuddle up to Meeper.
Soon, a crowd arrives to find out what happened. Not knowing why the troops were after the ChubbChubbs, Meeper decides it’s best to keep their presence a secret. He gently hides them in a closet with his washer and dryer, then steps outside to answer questions about what happened. It seems absurd that Meeper could have defeated the soldiers, but without the ChubbChubbs’ involvement being mentioned, there’s no other rational explanation. Of course, in Meeper’s version, they weren’t devoured. He just beat them up so badly, they ran away, leaving some chunks of their armor behind as they fled. Izzy, who’s still hurting from the accidental pummeling he took from Meeper earlier, vouches for Meeper’s strength. The crowd carries Meeper back to the Ale-E Inn on their shoulders, celebrating his victory, toasting him as their new hero. Even Diva shows interest in him, which she never did before. Meeper returns home at the end of the night, proud of his new status. He goes to check on the ChubbChubbs, who are right where he left them…although the washer and dryer are gone. One of the ChubbChubbs coughs up a sock.
Well, Meeper’s not a nobody any more. Newspapers, TV and the internet carry stories of Meeper’s amazing feat. Meeper is back at work at the Ale-E Inn, but not as a janitor. He’s gotten his wish and is now the headline singer, even though his singing is as bad as ever. But because he’s a celebrity now, the audience applauds anyway…although Diva is upset that she’s been reduced to waiting tables and has to endure Meeper’s growing ego. When Boris the bouncer has trouble with anyone at the door, Meeper walks over and asks if he’s having problems. As soon as the troublemakers see Meeper, they behave – so intimidating is his reputation. And Meeper’s contract demands amazing quantities of food backstage for every show. No one knows that the food is really for the ChubbChubbs, whom he keeps as pets in the fancy house he can now afford with his increased salary from the club.
Then one night, an exotically beautiful alien named MINERVA enters the club, looking a little tentative, hoping to speak to Meeper. Assuming she’s a fan of his singing, Meeper autographs an 8×10 for her and is about to send her on her way, but she’s really there because she wants to hire him for a secret mission. He asks her “Why me?” Minerva says “I hear you’re the only one brave enough to handle the toughest creatures in the galaxy.” Meeper is flattered. He’s particularly tempted when Minerva mentions that the mission will take them to the biggest entertainment planet in the galaxy. (Meeper: “Planet Hollywood?” Minerva: “That tacky overpriced dump? No, planet Gliitz!”) Meeper realizes that, if he can get a job singing on Gliitz, his fame could be even bigger than it is on Glorf. Then again, Meeper is happy with the fame he’s got and he certainly doesn’t want to endanger it by having to prove his heroism again.
Izzy has overheard Minerva’s proposal and offers his own services as “pilot and hero”. Jealous, Meeper leaps between Izzy and Minerva and says “She asked me first” and agrees to take the mission. Meeper and Izzy fight over which of them will take the job until Minerva stops them, saying she’ll hire them both. Since she’ll need a pilot and a heavily armored spaceship, Izzy and his ship will come in handy. Izzy is insulted to be playing second-fiddle to Meeper, but he’s glad to get any work at all, since Meeper has been getting all the attention lately.
Once the cargo hold of Izzy’s ship is reinforced with titanium, per Minerva’s specifications, Meeper, Izzy and Minerva set off on their mission. The staff of the Ale-E Inn wave goodbye to their brave hero…and Izzy. Meeper’s baggage includes a mysterious container with something moving inside — and a whole lot of food.
Izzy introduces Meeper and Minerva to the ship’s computer, with a polite, eerily calm and very familiar voice – the AL 9000. (If we can’t get Douglas Rain who did HAL in “2001”, Gene Wilder would sound about right – and would probably be funnier if, at some point, AL starts to panic.) AL has the annoying habit of addressing Izzy as “Dave”. When Izzy checks his e-mail, it’s “You’ve got mail, Dave.” Izzy screams, “I keep telling you! Stop calling me ‘Dave’!”, then explains to Meeper and Minerva, “Never buy a second-hand computer.”
During the journey, Meeper and Izzy constantly compete for Minerva’s attention, and she seems equally drawn by Izzy’s strength and Meeper’s inherent dorky sensitivity, despite his desperate attempts to seem cool and tough. As they pass one planet, they receive a distress signal. Minerva wants to stay on course for their original mission, but Izzy insists that the Code of Space requires them to assist anyone who’s in trouble. Not wanting to look like a wimp, Meeper agrees, dramatically ordering Izzy to land the ship on the planet. By the time Meeper has finished his oration about the importance of looking out for those less fortunate, Izzy has already matter-of-factly landed on the planet.
As in “Star Wars”, every planet they encounter on their journey has one defining characteristic (swamp planet, ice planet, desert planet), only these are more unusual, like a partly cloudy planet or a sleet planet. Well, this primitive planet has a very thick atmosphere which filters out all colors, so everything looks black and white. On top of that, it’s so backward technologically that the spaceships are flown on wires. And the fierce monsters look like guys in rubber suits. Yes, it’s ZOTZ, the planet of cheap special effects!
Wanting to impress Minerva, Meeper says he’ll handle the crisis alone, refusing any help from Izzy – mainly because he doesn’t want Izzy to see that the ChubbChubbs are doing the actual heroics. Meeper goes to the cargo hold and removes the ChubbChubbs in their carrying case, then walks onto the empty streets of the planet, where a Godzilla-like monster is holding a toy-looking train in his rubbery claws. (The temptation to have the bystanders speak stiff English as if it were poorly-synchronized dubbing is probably too strong and too obvious for me to resist.) The monster drops the train and stomps toward Meeper, shooting fire from his mouth. Meeper looks unflappable as he reaches over to unlock the ChubbChubbs from their cage. But when he lifts the handle, the lock is jammed. He chuckles nervously and tries the lock again, but it’s still stuck. He turns to the monster with a pitiful grin and asks “Can you give me a second?” The monster shoots another blast of flame at Meeper.
The ChubbChubbs leap to Meeper’s defense, revving up their rotating choppers to chew their way out of their carrying case. They charge toward the monster, who is so terrified, he runs away in a panic. Panting, the monster lets out little desperate bursts of smoke. He becomes entangled in electrical power lines (that look like cheap plastic models) and tumbles into the ocean (which looks like a wading pool underneath a painted backdrop of the sky). Meeper thanks the ChubbChubbs and puts them back in their case before the citizens emerge from hiding to congratulate him for defeating the monster. Izzy and Minerva come out of the spaceship. Minerva is very impressed by Meeper’s heroics, but Izzy smells something fishy – and it’s not just the seafood banquet being given in Meeper’s honor. (Meeper makes sure the ChubbChubbs get their reward. He sneaks them into a fish market, where the four of them polish off a whale in no time.)
As they fly away from Zotz, Meeper is in such a happy mood that he begins to sing. As he does, the ship begins to veer wildly off course. Izzy doesn’t understand what’s going wrong until he realizes that the frequency of Meeper’s singing is interfering with AL 9000 and is throwing all the spaceship’s instruments out of whack. Izzy makes Meeper promise never to sing again while they’re flying. Meeper apologizes but tells Izzy he needs to loosen up. Izzy says he prefers to act dignified, rather than being a buffoon like Meeper. Minerva is intrigued and asks if Izzy ever lets himself relax. Izzy reluctantly admits, with something approaching shame, that he did drop his guard one time, but it wasn’t his fault. When he was stationed on Pluto, someone slipped him a mickey and it made him act goofy. (Perhaps AL 9000 flashes a copyright infringement warning.)
AL 9000 warns Izzy that another ship is trailing them, which he identifies as being from the same planet as the armored troops who Meeper supposedly defeated. Izzy doesn’t tell Minerva, not wishing to alarm her, but he does mention it to Meeper. Izzy thinks they should stop and fight, but Meeper thinks the better course is to avoid fighting. Izzy begrudgingly puts the ship into hyper-smell – they travel faster than the speed of smell, making them undetectable by the ship that’s following them. Unfortunately, the ChubbChubbs have finished all their stored food and have started to munch on the ship itself, chewing through some wiring. The ship is forced to make an emergency landing on the nearest planet, which AL 9000 informs them is FPPPPPPT, the sponge planet.
As Izzy repairs the ship, Meeper and Minerva get to know the Fpppppptians, inhabitants of the tiny sponge planet which has suffered through a severe drought. Compassionate to the little guys, Meeper offers to bring some water from the ship. He runs back and fetches a bucket of water, which drips as he carries it back to the inhabitants. He also doesn’t shut off the faucet entirely, so water continues to drip on the surface of the planet while he’s gone. After the first spongepeople slurp up the first bucketful of water, more spongepeople arrive, so Meeper trots back to the ship for another bucketful. The trip back to the ship seems longer to Meeper this time. He gets another bucket of water and trundles back, getting really exhausted. It IS taking him longer to get back. And the hills seem steeper than they did before. When he reaches Minerva, they realize what’s happening: the water spilling on the surface of the planet is soaking the sponge planet…and making it grow! What was a tiny planet with little molehills when they arrived is getting bigger and bigger, and those molehills are turning into mountains!
Meeper notices a spaceship coming toward them and realizes it’s the ship that’s been following them on the trip. Meeper grabs Minerva and yells “Let’s get outta here”, carrying her in his arms as he huffs and puffs over the hills and the other obstacles which keep getting bigger and bigger. The bad guys’ spaceship is getting closer, and because of the planet’s expansion, Izzy’s ship keeps getting further and further away. Meeper and Minerva finally reach Izzy’s ship in the nick of time, just as he’s finished making his repairs. They take off and engage in an exciting outer space chase until Izzy is finally able to elude the pursuing spaceship and return to hyper-smell.
Once they’re safely away from imminent threat, Izzy demands to know about the mysterious cargo which chewed through the wiring and almost ruined their mission. Meeper takes Izzy and Minerva to the cargo hold and releases the ChubbChubbs from their cage. As soon as Izzy sees them, he screams “ChubbChubbs!”, runs from the room like a coward and slams the hatch behind him. Minerva stays in a corner, as far away from the ChubbChubbs as she can get. Meeper confesses that the ChubbChubbs defeated the soldiers and he took the credit. Meeper says he’s not a hero at all. He’s just a screw-up. He’s just a nobody.
Meeper walks over to the ChubbChubbs and they perch on his hands and shoulders peacefully. He tells Minerva, “Don’t worry, they won’t bite…unless you try to hurt them.” The ChubbChubbs seem as reluctant to approach Minerva as she is to approach them, but Meeper gets them together and they start to interact playfully. Meeper tells her he’s given the nearly identical-looking ChubbChubbs names. “There’s Furry and Fuzzy. No, wait. THAT’S Furry, and THAT’S Fuzzy. Then, there’s Furball. And the little one is Furball Junior. I never had pets before, so I’m not too good at the naming thing.” Minerva starts to like the little guys and even sings them a lullabye. Meeper is amazed to discover that Minerva has a beautiful voice. Minerva blushes. She says her parents are great singers, but she’s shy and never had the confidence to pursue it as a career. Meeper says he has just the opposite problem: he’s got lots of confidence but he stinks. Minerva says goodnight to Meeper, leaving him playing with the ChubbChubbs. She looks very conflicted.
In the morning, Meeper is surprised that Izzy isn’t at the controls of the ship as they are ready to make their final approach to Gliitz. Suddenly, Minerva aims a disintegration gun at Meeper and reprograms AL 9000 with new coordinates. A transmission from the EVIL COMMANDER of the enemy ship which has been following them congratulates Minerva on a job well done. We learn that Minerva is actually a spy, hired to lure Meeper onto this mission. The story about going to Gliitz was all a ruse. The mission’s real purpose is to go to the ChubbChubbs’ planet and fill the cargo hold with them, so poachers can sell them. The ChubbChubbs who became Meeper’s pets were escapees from a previous failed attempt by other poachers. The evil commander says they needed Meeper on this mission because he’s apparently the only creature in the universe who has learned how to deal with ChubbChubbs without being destroyed by them.
We cut away to the cargo hold. Minerva has slipped Izzy a “mickey” and locked him and the ChubbChubbs in an inescapable titanium-reinforced section of the cargo hold. Izzy acts uncharacteristically silly and the ChubbChubbs are making fun of him through their expressions and wordless gibberish.
Minerva aims the disintegration gun at Meeper and forces him to operate the controls to the ChubbChubb planet. Meeper asks “And what if I refuse?” Minerva: “Then you’ll be disintegrated.” Meeper says “But I like being integrated. How do you know I won’t overpower you and take the gun away?” Minerva: “Because you’re a wimp.” Meeper can’t disagree, but he also can’t believe that Minerva would do this, especially after she’d gotten to know him and the ChubbChubbs. “What did the ChubbChubbs ever do to you? What did I ever do to you?” Minerva confesses that she was forced to do this, because the evil commander of the poachers is holding her parents as hostages on the other ship. “If I don’t get you to fill this ship with ChubbChubbs, then my parents will be…” She can’t even finish the sentence. Meeper feels terrible. There’s got to be a way to out of this without hurting the ChubbChubbs or Minerva’s parents.
Looming ahead of them is what looks like one huge ChubbChubb, hanging in space. AL 9000 informs us that it’s the ChubbChubbs home planet, the surface of which is covered with ChubbChubbs. He zooms in to show millions of ChubbChubbs on his display panel, all living peacefully and munching on plant life. On the open audio channel between their ship and the enemy ship, Meeper asks the evil commander, “You’re going to kill all those ChubbChubbs just to get their fur?” The commander replies, “That. And their teeth are one of the most indestructible substances in the universe. Also, they make a delightful dessert topping.” The commander orders Meeper to open the hatch and begin scooping up ChubbChubbs immediately. The enemy ship hovers nearby, ready to blast Meeper’s ship if he doesn’t start shoveling.
The disintegration gun shakes in Minerva’s hand as she aims it at Meeper. Meeper looks hopeless and is about to start scooping when he gets an idea. He clears his throat and tells AL 9000 “Brace yourself”. Then Meeper starts to sing as loud as he can into his microphone, probably a work song of some sort (like “Workin’ In The Coal Mine” or “Whistle While You Work” or “Heigh Ho” or “Sixteen Tons”) and he sounds just terrible.
On the other ship, the ruthless poachers are in agony as Meeper’s gosh-awful singing reverberates through their ship. Their navigational instruments are going kerflooey. Their computers are shorting out. Their ship is going out of control. The evil commander orders his crew to figure out what’s happening.
Meeper keeps singing, hitting high unpleasant notes, as he struggles to keep his own ship stable. Minerva tumbles around the cockpit, yelling at Meeper, “What are you doing?” AL 9000 wishes he had fingers and ears, so he could put the former into the latter.
In the cargo hold, Izzy and the ChubbChubbs are being flung about wildly.. Izzy’s getting queasy, but the ChubbChubbs are having a blast, singing along wordlessly.
Suddenly, Meeper stops singing and both ships stabilize. Meeper speaks into the microphone, addressing the evil commander of the other ship. “Release your hostages immediately.” The commander refuses, so Meeper begins singing again. The ships start to rock and roll again.
On the enemy ship, the crew is ready to mutiny, but the commander refuses to give in. “We came here for the ChubbChubbs and we’re not leaving without them.” But the crew can’t take the turbulence – or Meeper’s singing – any longer. The crew usher Minerva’s parents into an escape pod and abandon ship, leaving the commander onboard, trying to control the ship as it wobbles uneasily above the surface of the ChubbChubb planet.
Minerva sees the escape pod jettisoned from the enemy ship. She asks AL if her parents are onboard. He confirms that only one lifeform remains on the main spaceship. Minerva makes her way over to Meeper to give him the good news. They see the evil commander on their video screen as he desperately tries to stabilize his spaceship all by himself. Minerva thinks he just needs one last push to send him plummeting to the planet, but Meeper can’t think of what to sing next. AL says he knows a song and begins to sing “Bicycle Built For Two” (as HAL did in “2001”). Meeper and Minerva join in, and Meeper’s discordant notes are just what it takes to send the enemy spaceship spiraling down to the ChubbChubb planet.
On the surface, the ChubbChubbs look up at the falling spaceship. En masse, they part to make room for the ship to land. The evil commander looks relieved as he touches down safely. He looks out the window. The ground is covered with ChubbChubbs, all the way to the horizon. He sneers at them…and millions of them growl back and bare their shiny metallic teeth. The commander gulps as the ChubbChubbs swarm over the ship.
Meeper pulls away, so they can see the entire planet. He and Minerva watch as the enemy ship disappears under a covering of fur. Then, a few moments later, from the surface of the planet comes a massive reverberating BELCH. Izzy’s ship shudders from the sonic waves. Meeper and Minerva hug victoriously. AL says “Yippee” in his monotone.
Minerva and Meeper unlock the storage area, where Izzy lies dazed and loopy…with the four ChubbChubbs nuzzling him gently. Meeper realizes the ChubbChubbs belong on their home planet, where they can live in peace and no one will bother them. He’ll miss them, but he thanks them for making him somebody for a while. The ChubbChubbs are sent to the planet’s surface in an escape pod and Meeper waves a sad goodbye.
The escape pod from the enemy ship requests permission to dock. Izzy, now back in control of his faculties, worries that it’s a trap, but Minerva tells him her parents are onboard. The pod docks and the passengers emerge. Minerva runs over to her MOTHER and FATHER, who embrace her joyfully. Meeper looks away, reminded once again how alone he is in the universe. But Izzy keeps looking back and forth between Minerva’s parents and Meeper, as if assembling a puzzle in his head. Minerva introduces her parents to Izzy, then says “And this is Meeper.”
Meeper turns to shake their hands and is stunned to discover that they are HIS FATHER AND MOTHER. They’re considerably older than they looked in the photo in his home but the family resemblance is otherwise unmistakeable. In fact, it’s fairly surprising that anyone as pretty as Minerva emerged from this gene pool. As soon as they see Meeper, they are stunned with shock and delight, hardly daring to believe that this could really be be their long-lost son. They explain that they were a successful husband-and-wife singing duo called MAXX and MAAMBO. Many years ago when they were on tour, a careless roadie misplaced their baby boy. They searched frantically for him for years. Eventually, they were so devastated, they had to stop performing. “It didn’t matter how rich and famous we were. Without our baby, we felt like nobodies.” They led quiet lives and had baby Minerva, but they never forgot about their lost little boy. Meeper and Minerva look at each other, tears welling in their eyes, and yell “Sis!” and “Bro!” They run toward each other and hug, with Maxx and Maambo joining for a delightfully sobbing group hug.
Watching this emotional scene, Izzy remarks to AL 9000 that maybe he’s got a chance with Minerva after all. But AL is distracted, calculating the astronomical odds against the extraordinary coincidence of Meeper and Minerva being brother and sister. AL asks Izzy why Minerva never noticed that Meeper bore such a striking resemblance to her own parents. Izzy shrugs, telling AL that not everything in the universe is logical. But when it looks like AL is about to rattle off a lot of other holes that the internet film geeks and sci-fi nerds are going to poke in our storyline, Izzy casually snags his foot on AL’s electrical cord and unplugs him from the wall. AL’s voice slows to a stop, just as he’s pointing out that space is a vacuum, so you couldn’t possibly hear the planet of ChubbChubbs belch.
When they return to Glorf, Meeper figures he’ll be lucky to get his janitor job back once Izzy tells everyone what a coward he really is – but Izzy announces that Meeper was a real hero and, if it wasn’t for Meeper, an entire planet would have been wiped out. And Meeper knows that Izzy means it. He says he never could have done it without Izzy. Reporters swarm Meeper, asking what he’s going to do now. He thinks about it for a moment and we dissolve to:
A huge Hollywood-Bowl-style venue on the planet GLIITZ, filled to capacity, waiting for a performance. Except for the bad guys, all the characters from the movie are somewhere in the audience — even the tourist family from the opening sequence.
Backstage, Meeper waits nervously as the orchestra warms up. Zelzah from the Ale-E Inn checks the crowd, awed by its size. She walks over to Meeper and asks if he’s nervous, but Meeper says after you’ve saved a planet, this is a piece of cake. The curtain parts and Meeper walks center stage. The crowd applauds wildly. Meeper gestures for the crowd to quiet down and they do — all except the brother and sister from the tourist family, who are picking on each other. Slowly, they become aware that everyone is staring at them…including the galaxy’s bravest fighter, Meeper. Meeper simply says “Be good.” The kids nod obediently, fold their hands in front of them and clam up.
Meeper takes the mike and says, “Ladies, gentlemen, cyborgs, mutants, single-celled organisms and other things that defy all rational description…it’s my pleasure to introduce to you…my little sister, Minerva!” He gestures to the wings, where Minerva stands, afraid to go on. Her parents stand behind her and push her onstage. She smiles nervously to the crowd. The applause dwindles. Meeper motions to the conductor and the orchestra begins to play, with Diva and Boris in the chorus.
Minerva begins to sing (possibly an upbeat arrangement of something like the Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” or maybe an original song with a similarly positive theme). As the song continues, Meeper dances manically around the stage and encourages the audience to sing along. Even Izzy finally loosens up and gets in the spirit of the occasion – and his spaceship is parked backstage, so AL 9000 can join in the singing too. And in the front section of the audience are Meeper’s special guests, thousands of ChubbChubbs, happily bobbing back and forth, flashing their shiny teeth as they harmonize.
Meeper stands onstage behind Minerva, with his arms slung over his parents’ shoulders. Maxx and Maambo are so proud of both their children and so happy to have their family together at last. Meeper’s mother listens to Minerva singing and says “She certainly got the talent in the family.” But Meeper’s dad hugs his son and says “But you got the looks, boy!” as they bump noses.
As the song continues, we pull back from the planet and the song echoes through the universe. And a ChubbChubb flies toward our camera, smiles at us, opens its mouth wide…and chomps on the screen, causing a BLACKOUT.