The Nothing Club

Edward organizes a Camp Kidney boat building event. All of the boats look to be in good working order until the last one. It was built by Lazlo and his roommates. It’s a large block of bricks. Despite this, Scoutmaster Lumpus gives Edward a badge for leadership and tells the campers to put their boats in the water. All of the boats sink, except for Lazlo’s brick boat which inexplicably manages to cruise around the lake at high speeds. Lumpus is so disgusted he takes away Edward’s leadership badge.

Edward is so infuriated by this that he starts an exclusive club in a tree house that everyone in camp can join accept Lazlo. He goes so far as to even recruit Raj and Clem, Lazlo’s best friends. Lazlo wanders around camp hearing people whispering. He stops and says, “Hi Ping! Hi Edward! Whatcha talking about?” “Nothing,” Edward tells him.

Of course the inevitable happens and Lazlo discovers the club’s existence. Needless to say, Edward takes great pleasure in letting him know he’s not welcome. “Why don’t you start your own club?” Edward asks. “Oh yeah that’s right, you don’t have a club, do you Lazlo? You’ve got nothing! The nothing club! That’s your club!”

Lazlo is dumbstruck. He starts dragging his foot in the dirt to create a square. All the while muttering, “The nothing club? That’s my club. Nothing.” When the square is complete he steps inside. After a moment he lights up. Lazlo begins to imagine the contents of the club, including a juice bar and a hall of mirrors.

Meanwhile, Edward reveals the true purpose behind his exclusive club. It’s actually the “I Hate Lazlo Club” complete with posters and t-shirts! He tries to encourage the other members to tell mean stories about Lazlo, but no one can seem to pull it off. They start out bad, but in the end all the stories reveal that Lazlo is good natured and kind hearted.

As Edward’s club begins fumbling, Nina, a camper from the girl’s camp near by, notices Lazlo standing in his dirt square. He explains to her that it’s The Nothing Club and that it’s a club that they make up together. She decides that sounds fun and joins.

Back at the “I Hate Lazlo Club” things are degenerating fast. As Edward tries to get the club on track Lazlo’s buddies Raj and Clem claim they are hearing music from Lazlo’s club below. When people look down out of the tree house they see Lazlo and Nina dancing. One by one Edward’s club members file down out of the tree house to join Lazlo.

“Hey! Where are you guys going?” Edward asks. “Stop, can’t you see? He’s got no doors…no walls! My club has the best of everything! Lazlo’s got nothing! I’ve got cold soda.”

“So what do you think of The Nothing Club?” Lazlo asks a fellow camper. “Uh, nothing?” the camper replies. That response gets loud cheers from the people at the club.

Edward is roaming around camp alone and dejected. He watches all his fellow campers dancing to music that isn’t there; taking part in activities that can’t possibly occur, such as feeding the club mascot…a dinosaur. Lazlo sees Edward and encourages him to come on in. This frustrates Edward because he sees no door. He hears no music. Grudgingly he approaches the side where the “door” is supposed to be. Edward pretends to turn a knob and it happens. Once he opens up the “door” he hears music.

Before Edward can join in the fun Scoutmaster Lumpus grabs him and sends him off the salvage the sunken boats from the lake.

Sadly, Edward heads off. Upon seeing this Lazlo exclaims, “Hey Edward! Where are you going? Edward, I wanted to thank you for this club! Thanks for NOTHING!”

What is this story? It’s an episode of Camp Lazlo from Cartoon Network. Edward is a platypus and Lazlo is a monkey. This isn’t the best cartoon the network offers, but this particular episode struck a chord with me. Obviously the lemons to lemonade story is good. The unintentional slam of “Thanks for nothing!” is particularly stellar. But what about the odd message of perspective that is revealed when Edward finally hears the music?

Everyone else sees doors, walls, toilets, rocket ships….except for Edward. There is music that everyone hears….except for him. Then, once Edward is willing to try, to believe, to take the leap of faith that there is a door, that’s when he hears the music everyone else heard all along.

What does it mean Rebecca? I don’t know for sure. I’ve spent more time pondering this 15 minute cartoon than any 30 year old woman should, and I still can’t tell you for sure. I like to think it’s a story of how holding onto a level of child like innocence and imagination can make even a square of dirt something wondrous.