Connect with us


Meet the Applegates (1991, Ed Begley Jr, Stockard Channing)



Described as a ‘cross between Cronenberg’s The Fly and a Doris Day picture of the Eisenhower era,’ this witty and bizarre science fiction satire marked the impressively sharp follow-up of director Michael Lehmann following his debut with the 1989 cult success Heathers.

A family of giant Brazilian insects, finding their habitat in the jungle under threat from a dam project, are sent by the queen of the nest, Aunt Bea (Dabney Coleman), to Ohio with instructions to infiltrate a nuclear power plant and blow it up as a display of insect power. Using a Fun with Dick and Jane primer used to teach Brazilian Indians to read, the cockroach quartet transform themselves into a average middle-class, Middle-American family – husband and wife Dick and Jane (Ed Begley Jr and Stockard Channing), teenage children Johnny and Sally (Bobby Jacoby and Cami Cooper) and dog Spot (a baby bug) and move into the suburbs. There, Begley gets a job at the local nuclear power station and the family soon blend in and, almost as fast, fall prey to typical suburban temptations.

Dick has an affair with his secretary, Jane becomes addicted to credit cards, Sally, impregnated by college football hero Vince Samson (Adam Biesk), becomes a lesbian, and Johnny becomes hooked on marijuana. Any humans who interfere with what the family want are spun into cocoons and hidden in the cellar but Dick is fired before he can blow up the nuclear power plant.

Coleman (splendid in drag as ‘Aunt Bea’) turns up with a commando squad to launch an assault on the power station. But, now assimilated into the American way of life, Dick crushes the raiders and saves the town… after which the Applegates return to the Brazilian rainforest, where Jane starts a militant Bug Liberation organization…


Said Lehmann, ‘The Appelgates are a satire of what constitutes normality in America and American family values. The film also has a ludicrously stated but well-intentioned ecological message – that people need to treat the environment well or it will come back to haunt them. It is primarily a comedy, not a message film. But the satire is meant to expose certain hypocrisies and social issues in America today.’

His lampoon of the American way of life is as sharp and sarcastic as was his send-up of the American high school in Heathers. Lehmann’s handling was savage and sure, and well served by impressive animated costumes for the bugs – designed by Kevin Yagher – and telling small-town locations in Appleton, Wisconsin, which stood in for the film’s setting of Median, Iowa.

production details
USA | 90 minutes | 1991


Director: Michael Lehmann
Script: Michael Lehmann, Redbeard Simmons,

Ed Begley Jr. as Richard P. Applegate
Stockard Channing as Jane Applegate
Dabney Coleman as Aunt Bea
Robert Jayne as Sally Applegate
Camille Cooper as Sally Applegate
Glenn Shadix as Greg Samson
Susan Barnes as Opal Withers
Adam Biesk as Vince Sampson
Savannah Smith Boucher as Dottie
Roger Aaron Brown as Sheriff Heidegger
Lee Garlington as Nita Samson
Mark Bringelson as Rich Block
Sherrie Wills as Peace Corps Volunteer

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.

News9 hours ago

Joel McHale, Nate Berkus, Today with Hoda & Jenna, NBC, March 5, 2024

Get ready for an exciting brand new episode of Today with Hoda & Jenna on NBC! Airing at 10:00 AM...

Days of Our Lives Spoilers Today (Peacock Friday February 16 Days of Our Lives Spoilers Today (Peacock Friday February 16
News9 hours ago

Days of Our Lives Spoilers Today, March 5, 2024, Peacock

Attention Days of Our Lives fans! On Tuesday, March 5th, there’s a brand new episode full of thrilling moments and...

CBS Mornings CBS Mornings
News9 hours ago

Eugene Levy, CBS Mornings, March 5, 2024

In an upcoming episode of CBS Mornings on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, esteemed comedian and actor Eugene Levy will be...

The Bold and the Beautiful The Bold and the Beautiful
News9 hours ago

The Bold and The Beautiful Today, March 5, 2024, CBS

On Tuesday, March 5th at 1:30 pm., get ready for an emotional episode of The Bold and The Beautiful on...

General Hospital Today General Hospital Today
News9 hours ago

General Hospital Preview, March 5, 2024, ABC

General Hospital fans are in for another exciting ride with the latest episode airing on ABC at 2:00 pm on...

Road Wars Road Wars
News10 hours ago

Road Wars, March 5, 2024, A&E, “No Brakes”

Gear up for adrenaline-pumping action with Road Wars’ latest episode titled “No Brakes,” airing on Tuesday, March 5, 2024 at...

Bail Jumpers Bail Jumpers
News10 hours ago

Bail Jumpers, March 5, 2024, ID, “True Crime, Speed and Secret Societies”

Get ready for jaw-dropping revelations in the premiere of new series Bail Jumpers, it’s titled “True Crime, Speed and Secret...

Caught in the Act: Unfaithful Caught in the Act: Unfaithful
News10 hours ago

Caught In The Act: Unfaithful, March 5, 2024, MTV, “She Must Not Know About Me”

MTV presents an episode of Caught In The Act: Unfaithful titled “She Must Not Know About Me” airing on Tuesday...

Channel 5 Channel 5
News16 hours ago

Cambodia/Thailand Revisit, Ben Fogle: New Lives in the Wild, 5 March, 2024, Channel 5

Embark on a remarkable journey with Ben Fogle in “Ben Fogle: New Lives in the Wild” as he revisits Cambodia/Thailand...

Boarders BBC Three Boarders BBC Three
News16 hours ago

Boarders Episode 3, 5 March, 2024, BBC Three

Prepare for another riveting episode of “Boarders,” a new drama series that delves into the lives of five talented black...

Great British Menu Great British Menu
News16 hours ago

Northern Ireland, Starters & Fish, Great British Menu, 5 March, 2024

Get ready for an exciting culinary showdown in the latest episode of “Great British Menu.” This time, four talented chefs...

Generic Dog West Highland Terrier running in a field. Generic Dog West Highland Terrier running in a field.
News16 hours ago

Bertie the Pug, Dogs Behaving (Very) Badly, 5 March 2024, Channel 5

In an entertaining episode of “Dogs Behaving (Very) Badly,” airing on Channel 5 at 8:00 PM., Tuesday March 5, 2024,...

Hairy Bikers Go West Hairy Bikers Go West
News16 hours ago

The Hairy Bikers Go West Episode 5, 5 March, 2024, BBC Two

Join the Hairy Bikers on their journey as they embark on “The Hairy Bikers Go West.” In episode 5, airing...

Channel 5 Channel 5
News16 hours ago

The Pet Psychic: What’s Your Dog Thinking?, 5 March, 2024, Channel 5, “Episode 3”

Enter the fascinating world of animal communication with “The Pet Psychic: What’s Your Dog Thinking?” This unique series introduces renowned...

News17 hours ago

Sarah Everard: The Search for Justice, 5 March, 2024, BBC One

One year after the tragic murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard, the BBC presents a thought-provoking documentary titled “Sarah Everard: The...

Featured Image: Rob Bent, Stacey Solomon, Dilly Carter, Iwan Carrington (BBC/Optomen Television/Neil Kent) Featured Image: Rob Bent, Stacey Solomon, Dilly Carter, Iwan Carrington (BBC/Optomen Television/Neil Kent)
News17 hours ago

The Fountain Family, Sort Your Life Out, 5 March, 2024, BBC One

Prepare for a transformative journey with “Sort Your Life Out” as it returns with the second episode of the new...