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Oh we'll see about that, won't we Max? We'll see when the Butterfinger Effect finds you!

Nurf

"The Butterfinger Effect" is the 17th episode of the fourth season of Camp Camp, making it the season finale, and is the 57th episode overall. It premiered September 21st, 2019 on the RT FIRST site, and September 28th, 2019 on the Rooster Teeth website.

Official Synopsis

Space Kid picks up a new hobby and the ripple effect is reaching further than Max is willing to admit. Can Max learn to deal with the aftermath or will he continue to deny the winds of change?

—Episode description

Plot

Poised at a starting line, the Campbell campers are gearing up for a burlap sack race, with David holding a flag and calling "get ready, set, go... ldfish!" Harrison topples over and remarks how unfunny that was as apparently he's said it 4 times already, while David chuckles over his own silliness. Neil complains about having to partake in the race and mentions that his bag still has potatoes in it, to which Quartermaster casually remarks as he passes by that the bag was not used for storing 'taters. Nurf bounces up and says he'll wipe the floor with them and their sacs, and jokes about the double entendre of ballsacks. Nikki feels like something is missing, like someone should have said something super muffled and stupidly adorable and space-y by now, and Gwen wonders where Space Kid's gotten to, sternly remarking he better not be playing "Apollo 10" in the outhouse again, which is the most boring Apollo spacecraft according to Neil. They hear some revving and Space Kid asks "did somebody say speed?" Of course, no one did, yet he comes screeching into the activities field anyway, upon a child-size version of a race car made entirely out of cardboard, even the tires. For added flair, he has a pair of pink fuzzy dice, and flames painted on the sides with a "1th" scrawled in white over the doors. He hops out of the car, adorned in grey pants and a black jacket over his yellow camp t-shirt, and flips up the visor on his red helmet to look at his fellow campers more clearly. He poses coolly as a guitar riff plays, saying he's only into racing now, to which Max inquires if they're supposed to call him Race Kid now. He dismisses the group and hops back into his sweet ride, revving the engine again and screeching the tires, though the car doesn't actually go anywhere. As Race Kid sits there making vroom-ing noises with his mouth as he pretends to drive, Max flatly remarks, "so that's a thing now."

In the mess hall, at what appears to be breakfast (due to the mixture of mashed potatoes and pancakes on their trays), Race Kid zooms his way to a table, parking himself beside Neil, and asks about life in the slow lane while pointing his finger guns. Max notices that he hasn't given up on doing that yet, and Nikki exclaims that this implies that he knows where the fast lane is, thus vehemently demands to know how to get there. Neil questions if he's really setting aside the boundless wonder of space in exchange for cool cars, and Race Kid flippantly tells him that cars are way faster. Of course, that's massively untrue, and Neil reminds him that space travel is all about humanity's potential while cars still run on outdated fossil fuels, which Race Kid turns into a joke about "fossil cool...s" as another guitar riff plays. He picks up his tray and vrooms off, making laps around another table where Nurf is sitting alone. He taunts Race Kid with some bad racing puns and laughs snidely about it, but he is completely ignored, which then prompts the bully to rush over to Max, Nikki, and Neil because this is now a "situation". Nikki gasps excitedly and pulls out a blowtorch, believing it's time for the revolution, and Max rations that Race Kid just exchanged one dumb hobby for another, so there's nothing to get worked up about. Nurf adamantly believes that this one change will have disastrous consequences on the entire social hierarchy, christening it as "The Buttefinger Effect". Nikki believes it sounds delicious, and Neil clarifies that he meant to say "Butterfly Effect". Again Max doesn't think this is a big deal, but Nurf heatedly bellows that Camp Campbell is a delicate ecosystem, thus their current roles are in jeopardy. With a raised eyebrow, Max rudely uses Harrison as an impossible example, wondering if Nurf thinks he'll just abracadabra his way to the top of the social order, surpassing even Max himself - "no offense" he adds to the nearby camper, who starts saying he is indeed offended but is coldly ignored. Neil scoffs that Max thinks he's at the top and asks if he really believes that everyone's behavior is going to stay exactly the same forever, and Max simply shrugs and says that Neil is never not going to be the science kid, so why not? Nurf ominously tells Max they'll see about that, and "just wait until the Butterfinger Effect finds you!" while Max blinks indifferently in response. Upon getting up from the table and seeing Race Kid attempting to spoonfeed mashed potatoes to his cardboard car, Nurf grumbles determinedly that it's up to him to save everyone.

Nurf barges into Race Kid's tent, now covered in automobile-related memorabilia, looking for something to "set that loser straight". He notices a box of "space junk" and starts rifling through it, cracking a few lowbrow jokes over a couple of items. He then finds the old recognizable fishbowl, and holds it up in triumph before stuffing his head inside, as he believes Race Kid will go back to being Space Kid if he sees Nurf wearing his old helmet. Nurf's eyes shimmer and a jingle is heard, and he quickly realizes that the helmet is far too small for him as it's cutting off his circulation. He tries yanking it off to no avail, and begins panicking slightly. He falls out of the tent while attempting to dislodge it, landing in front of Nerris and Preston, and they share a laugh over how foolish he looks. Nurf realizes the Butterfinger Effect is already spreading, since him getting laughed at means he's become the new Space Kid, and he runs off in terror. The same eye-shimmer and jingle comes over Preston, who marvels at how powerful the moment made him feel. At the Magic Camp booth in the activities field, Harrison is in the midst of practicing pulling a rabbit from his hat, to absolutely no effect. He flips his hat right-side-up and dumps out a pile of bones, which strikes him as odd since he'd stuffed at least 3 rabbits in there to practice the trick. Nurf frantically comes running up, begging Harrison to use his powers to remove the helmet. Harrison starts bumbling over it and Nurf grabs him threateningly by the front of his shirt, and the eye-shimmer overtakes him as well. With a callous smirk, he removes Nurf's grip, saying he could freak his mind, but he won't, as it's more fun to watch him suffer - "no offense." Nurf screeches that the effect is spreading and the ecosystem is crumbling, and he flees in terror, running past the camp's halfpipe. Atop the halfpipe, Race Kid is washing his cardboard car with soap and water, and chuckles at Nurf for being a slowpoke. Ered comes up and asks if he's done because she wants to use the ramp to snap some wicked selfies, and she is drowned out by his incessant vrooming noises. Nerris suggests Ered could join her for some LARP-ing if she's looking for something to do, and Ered glances between the halfpipe and her fellow camper before ultimately deciding to join in, since there's nothing better to do. Ered's eyes shimmer, and upon turning back to Nerris, she asks when she started playing an instrument. Nerris, now inexplicably in a marching band outfit and wearing a xylophone around her neck, frantically replies that she has no idea.

Max, Nikki, and Neil exit the mess hall, with her chattering about giant mosquitoes and Neil trying to explain that a microscope only magnifies things instead of physically enlarging them. Max tells them to shut up, noticing Harrison leaning nonchalantly against the flagpole, now wearing a black hoodie and plainly missing his tophat. He questions what's going on and Harrisons suggests it's making Max insecure, and Nikki mentions she has the sudden urge to befriend him. Neil questions what this personality change means for the rest of camp, and he too is overtaken by the eye shimmer. As Harrison leaves to go take a nap, Neil begins foaming at the mouth and rips off his shirt, screeching like a demented monkey and leaping into the bushes. With a grin, Nikki now understands what it's like to see her own behavior from an outside perspective. Ered walks up, dressed like a viking, flanked by Nerris, and Max throws up his hands demanding to know what the fuck is going on around here.

The pair arrive in the activities field, noticing that a Sports Camp has been set up, and they hear Campbell calling out in preparation of tossing a football. Preston, wearing a football uniform, catches it with ease, and Max can't decide which of these two things is more shocking. Preston says he'll be ready for "state" in no time, though he admits he doesn't have a clue what he's saying. Max wanders up to Campbell (dressed in jean shorts, knee-high socks, and a too-small tank top) and asks why he's acting like a creepy dad, and Campbell says he felt his biological clock suddenly kick into overdrive. He ponders about his legacy and screeches that he's very confused, but Preston calls out to his "coach" that they should ignore their feelings and do push-ups instead. As Nikki and Max wander away, they encounter Dolph, who has set up a shabby looking Financial Camp booth. He asks if they've ever thought about their retirement portfolios (after snorting the contents of a pixy-stix like a line of coke), and Nikki explains she's been working on a stash of acorns all summer. He skittishly says he can triple her investment and she immediately gives up the stash, and he promptly runs away with the entire load, telling her to "suck on capitalism, fool." Nikki innocently wonders when he'll return with her investment. Race Kid blasts by, and Max realizes that Nurf was right, which leads Nikki to suggest it's time for the revolution (again) as she slowly pulls out her blowtorch. Max watches Race Kid pull several donuts in the activities field, saying he needs to fix this, and as he turns back to Nikki she has suddenly donned a labcoat, declaring that she's become a scientist, eureka! She then cranks up her blowtorch for added emphasis.

Max stomps over to Race Kid (who's currently working on the car's engine from underneath) and tells him to cut the crap. Race Kid says he has to follow his heart, which is leading him to the open road, and Max suggests his heart should lead him back to space instead, where he belongs, before things started getting weird. He is informed that life change gears sometimes and is sorry he can't keep up, which enrages Max because apparently Race Kid can't see that everyone's suddenly different now. He asks what's wrong with this and Max says this is supposed to be just a dumb summer camp for them to do the dumb stuff they like, and Race Kid still maintains that people's tastes change and that it's best to embrace it, and he takes off into the forest.

Grumbling, Max approaches the counselors' cabin, believing that David and Gwen will set things straight when they see how crazy everything is. He finds them and Quartermaster all arguing heatedly with each other, and notices that they've each adopted each other's outfits as well; with David looking exactly like Quartermaster and Quartermaster dressed as Gwen, with the added flair of having some of her hairstyle taped to the side of his head. Gwen(?), dressed as David, turns to Max and says they're dealing with some serious shit right now, and slams the door on him. Max stalks off grouchily, and is met with Nurf emerging from the bushes to declare that he was right and that Max should have believed him. Nurf believes the only solution here is to destroy Race Kid's car; since he was the catalyst for this entire fiasco it should theoretically restore the normal order of the camp. Max then says he didn't hear a word Nurf said because he was too caught up in wondering how he got his head stuck.

Some time later, the pair silently converge outside Race Kid's tent, rockets in hand, in preparation of their chaotic act of vandalism. Max peers inside and hears Race Kid talking to his car. Despite the fact that no one understands his actions, he's still happy, that for the first time in his life he's making a decision for himself, and that hopefully he'll still be friends with his fellow campers regardless of this massive change. Max is visibly affected by these words, and he turns away, causing a toy rocket to fall over in the process. With slight impatience, Nurf asks if they're gonna do this thing or not, and Max tells him they aren't. He calls out for everyone's attention, and they all poke their heads out of their tents to listen. There's been a lot of weird shit going on today, everything's different, and at first that's kinda scary. Nikki interrupts to shout eureka again, and Max tells her to shut up. He continues, saying that when he first got here he didn't want to be friends with any of them, and rubs the back of his neck saying "yeah, we all know how that went." What he's trying to say is, that not all change is bad, and that regardless of who they are or what they become (as Neil is shown ravenously shredding a piece of raw steak), they're all still gonna be friends. Then, with a cough and a tug at the neckline of his hoodie, he hastily adds, "or in some cases, bearable acquaintances." Touched by the emotion of it all, Ered takes off her helmet, Nerris removes her marching band hat to show her little elf hat still underneath, and Neil suddenly lets go of his beef slab, screeching that he's going to get parasites from eating it raw. Shocked, Max asks why everyone is suddenly changing back, and Nurf sways on his feet and the helmet immediately pops off before he topples over. The helmet rolls over to Space Kid, who picks it up and places it on his head, triumphantly announcing that he's into space again as a final guitar riff plays. With a long, exasperated sigh, Max snaps, "you know what? Fuck it. Forget what I just said, I'll always hate all of you" as he stalks off-screen.

Transcript

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Features

Characters

Main Characters

Supporting Characters

Minor Characters

Music

Gallery

Main article: The Butterfinger Effect/Gallery

Trivia

  • Each of the campers' transitions becomes the opposite of their own personality, and in some cases also embodies that of another camper:
    • Space Kid's innocent and sweet demeanor changes to stoic, arrogant, and laid back similar to Ered. He also begins acting arguably cool. However his low intelligence remains.
    • Although Nurf's personality did not change, him wearing the helmet caused Preston to feel powerful by laughing at him. He then channeled his newfound power into athletic physical activity, somewhat like Nurf with his bullying.
    • This then took away Harrison's magical powers. Despite his willingness to help others with his magic, as well as being told he has a good heart and not to let others' approval affect his self-esteem in "The Quarter-Moon Convergence", Harrison gave up on this completely, instead essentially adopting Max's snidely nonchalant attitude.
    • Ered embraces the (arguably) un-cool activity of LARP-ing.
    • Nerris becomes a band geek, which is (arguably) the coolest version of geekery that exists. It can also be argued that Nerris began acting like Preston due to the sudden interest in performing arts
    • Neil becomes a feral boy, to the point where he was foaming at the mouth and eating raw slabs of meat, and Nikki recognizes this behavior as being similar to hers.
    • Nikki became a scientist (eureka!), which is Neil's most defining trait.
    • Dolph's amiability and selflessness was replaced with underhanded selfishness. Despite episodes such as "The Candy Kingpin" showcasing his willingness to share and be kind to his fellow campers, he stole Nikki's entire acorn collection and ran off with it.
    • Campbell, who has openly declared a hatred of children on multiple occasions, suddenly takes on a fatherly figure/coaching role towards Preston.
    • Max becomes a bit more friendly when he admits he made friends with the campers and gives a wholesome speech on change. He doesn't act like Harrison but surprisingly, acts a bit like David due to the inspiring speeches that David occasionally says.
  • Due to the way they were dressed and acting, David, Gwen, and Quartermaster may have experienced an actual body swap, rather than just a change in personality. Gwen became David, David became Quartermaster, and Quartermaster became Gwen.

Cultural References

  • The title of the episode is a reference to the Butterfly Effect, a process in which any events that take place in one instance could have drastic effects in the long run.
    • A Butterfinger, on the other hand, is a type of chocolate bar.
  • Gwen mentions the Apollo 10 space shuttle, which is the "dress rehearsal" mission for the first ever moon landing.
  • Nurf uses the phrase "Houston, we've got a situation", which is a reference to the popular but also misquoted phrase "Houston, we have a problem" from the Apollo 13 space mission.
  • Inside Race Kid's tent, one can see posters for Daytona 5,000,000 (a parody of the Daytona 500 race), Peen Zoil (a parody of the brand Pennzoil), Mild Year tires (a parody of Goodyear tires), a poster for the Bonneville Speedway, and an Ehso sign (a parody of Esso).
  • Neil's claim of getting trichinosis is a real-life parasite that can be ingested from raw meat, although it's more typically found in pork than beef.

Continuity

  • If one looks closely at the bucket that Quartermaster has during the scene where he tells Neil his bag did not contain potatoes, it appears that part of the bucket was painted over below the "potatoes" label. It is almost certainly the exact same bucket he used to transport pigs' blood in "The Quarter-Moon Convergence" and tomatoes in "Preston Goodplay's Good Play".
  • Space Kid's love of cars was hinted at in "Ered Gets Her Cool Back", when he constructed himself a car costume in his attempts to become the coolest camper.
  • Space Kid's line "did someone say speed?" and the unanimous group "no" mirrors a scene from "Camp Cool Kidz" when Campbell arrives (after hitting David with his car) asking, "did somebody say Cameron Campbell?" and Gwen responds "um, no?"
  • Nikki's constant question about whether it's time for the revolution could be a callback to the revolution staged in "Camp Cool Kidz".
  • Nurf asking Harrison to "freak my mind" with his powers is a callback to the episode "Mind Freakers", where that exact term was first used. Harrison makes uses of the term again in "Camp Corp." when he freaks his own mind.
  • Dolph snorted a pixy-stix like a line of coke, suggesting he may still have some leftover treats from "The Candy Kingpin".
  • Max openly addresses everyone as being his friends again.
    • While waiting for the bus to arrive at the start of "Escape from Camp Campbell", Max states he's not there to make friends. In "Camp Corp.", he finally admits that the reason he tried to save the camp was motivated mainly because of his friendship with Nikki and Neil.
    • He also makes use of the word twice in "Who Peed the Lake".
  • The events of this episode are directly followed up on in "Keep the Change", "Cameron Campbell Can't Handle the Truth Serum", and "Time Crapsules" for Max. In both this and the truth serum one, he was heavily resistant to the prospect of change (mostly for himself but also largely for Campbell), although he does relent in the third episode that he has improved, at least somewhat. In the fourth one, after a fallout with Gwen, he recognizes the effects of his bad behavior on Gwen, which isn't something he'd openly admit to in previous seasons. However, he does not make a genuine personal effort to make her feel better (until his apology at the burial ceremony); rather, he blatantly copies David's behavior in several interactions with her, especially in his opening lines of apology.

References

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