The episode begins with a lovely aerial view of a cemetery. As the drone zooms in, one can begin to hear a ghoulish grumbling sound. With the camera being a first-person point of view, one can notice the short stature as the creator of the ghastly noises moseys around the town setting its sights upon a store. It crawls up the short steps and breaks in.
A pair of flamboyant flowered shoes edges on the screen, presumably belonging to the owner of the shop. He searches the premises, what now appears to be a thrift shop, calling out to Homeless Gary, telling him now is not a good time to be playing games. As his search continues, a teacup comes crashing down to the flower, shattering into a million pieces. The teacup was next to a bassinet, filled to the brim with plush toys, and it begins to rock. Confused, the man began to move closer to it when suddenly, a spine-chilling puppet jumps out and bites the man’s face! He began punching and biting the man, eventually maiming him leaving the screen filled with his haunting eyes.
The day progresses with Evie and Leon on the case. They begin question what could have made the tiny puncture marks across the man’s body. Leon believes a tiny shark riding a horse could be the culprit however, Evie quickly shot him down. As they discuss the murder, Denise strolls in looking for a fermentation bucket. Stan has recently taken an interest in brewing his own beer and he put Denise in charge of grabbing supplies. Before she has the opportunity to find a bucket, a display catches her eye and she beings to squeal. There in the flesh, is a Marty Nubbins doll! This was a puppet show back in the 70’s that taught about unity. Along with Nubbins there is Groovy Gordy, Convoy Kathy, Peace bear, and Jive Turkey. Leon and Denise jump for joy while singing the Nubbins Family Power Hour theme song reminding viewers to “keep it in the family”. After the musical number Denise decides to take Nubbins home with her.
Upon returning home, Denise shows off Nubbins to Stan, but he is unimpressed. He was hoping she would have brought him those fermentation buckets however, in the excitement she forgot them. Time quickly shifts to night and Denise is in her bed. She awakes with a fright to the puppet staring at her in the middle of the night. Creeped out, she gently places him in the closet and hopes to return to her slumber. She wakes up again, only to see him staring at her. Knowing something is amiss, she moves with haste, and take him to the garbage can outside. After double checking that Nubbins is in the trash, she runs inside.
In the morning, Evie and Leon visit Stan in his shed. They inform him that they will have to confiscate ten of his eleven barrels of beer. It is illegal to sell liquor under the table after all. After attempting to explain that alcoholism will lead to Stan drinking all the beer, the pair leave him alone. He tries a sip of his brew but due to the potency, he goes temporarily blind. This heightens his other senses so well, he can hear what type of nut Denise cracks and even that she used the heel of the bread to make his sandwich. As Stan eats the sandwich in his room, Nubbins attempts to attack him! With the newly developed senses, Stan quickly beats him to a pulp, biting his arm off with his teeth.
The scene pans over to Kevin in his home attempting to learn Japanese via a Bobcat Goldthwait record. He falls asleep but is awoken when his record reaches deafening loudness at the hands of Nubbins. Kevin finds himself duct taped to a chair, unable to move, and is unexpectedly attacked. After the encounter, Nubbins is wounded and crawling back to the shop to grab his friends. Using an incantation, his friends arise and are ready for some action.
Back at Kevin’s house, the gang’s all there, and Kevin if temporarily deaf. As they attempt to formulate a plan, the power goes out leaving the team in darkness. The puppets are there, and they are ready to rumble. Groovy Gordy jumps on Kevin and begins gnawing on him acting swiftly, Stan grabs Gordy throwing him against the wall. Leon then shoots him leaving the group impressed. That is, until he empties the clip into Gordy and there is no longer any ammo to kill the puppets with.
Peace Bear shoots a machine gun at the house, Jive Turkey crawls through the pipes and Convoy Kathy scuttles in the air ducts. As the team defends themselves it is revealed that Eccles sent them. The puppets draw a pentagram in the grass and begin to open a portal that looks eerily similar to Bill’s from the last episode. The only difference is that this time, a hand is inching out. Abruptly, Kevin remembers he has a musket in his closet! As the puppets are chanting, to us you are a shining star”, Evie aims at the police cruiser. The car holds two live grenades, compliments of Leon, and all of Stan’s confiscated brew. The shot creates an explosion, closing the portal, restoring Stan’s vision, Kevin’s hearing, and destroys the puppets.
As a person who wasn’t allowed to watch Sesame Street growing up, I don’t have an affinity for puppets. They terrify me, and I’ve been reading Stephen King since the fifth grade. However, I found Nubbins and the gang kind of charming. I adored their realistic teeth and their ability to swear, the only scary part of were the eyes. Those soulless eyes brought me feelings of dread and worry. The one big thing I am left wondering is, how did Eccles manage to corrupt these puppets? The souls of witches I can get but, puppets created in the 70’s? I am stumped. And another thing, why did Leon have grenades in the car? Where did he get them and how have they not gone off? Nubbin but Trouble proved to be a complex and thought provoking episode.
Side note, the other thing I found interesting was the Bobcat Goldthwait plug. If you’re a fan of this show, I highly recommend checking out Bobcat Goldthwait’s Misfits & Monsters. That show was awe-inspiring and had a great array of guest appearances.