AVAHS – A Muppet Family Christmas

Plot: The muppets spend Christmas at Fozzie’s mother’s house.

Breakdown: It’s December! Which mea–

Elephant: Muppets still aren’t technically animatio–

Still don’t care! It’s time for A Very Animated Holiday Special, where we watch and review as many holiday specials as we can get our hands on over the month of December! And I have a bit of a request for you all. If there’s an animated holiday special or movie you’d like me to review, feel free to ask and I will do my best to gift wrap it for you. I am particularly interested in any winter holiday specials that aren’t Christmas, because I’m kinda hard up for some variety. Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Years, etc. Throw ‘em at me.

And now to today’s presentation – A Muppet Family Christmas! Made in 1987, this is a very simple special where the Muppets all spend Christmas at Fozzie’s mother’s house. She was going to go on a tropical vacation for Christmas, and she was about to rent out her place for the holidays to some guy named Doc who wanted to spend Christmas alone with his dog, Sprocket.

Contrary to what you may think, it’s really not a plot point that these three have their holidays barged in on by the Muppets. Doc is a bit perturbed at first, as is Fozzie’s mother, but they quickly just accept it and enjoy a happy holiday together.

Besides that, Miss Piggy is stuck in the city, trying to get to the house through a blizzard, which is something I’m completely uninterested in because I don’t like Miss Piggy.

And we have the ongoing trials and tribulations of the Swedish Chef doing everything in his power to murder a bird for dinner (he even targeted Big Bird. D:)

The other 35 minutes of this 47 minute long movie are mostly made up of the Muppets singing practically every Christmas song known to man throughout the movie.

The movie is a bit bogged down by a load of Christmas carols, but it’s still pretty entertaining in its own right. There are several heartwarming and funny moments that put you in the Christmas mood. Even if I am confused as to why Doc seems so weirded out by the Muppets at first when Sprocket is a Muppet….Also, I’d like a tad more Gonzo and Rizzo, but that’s just my bias.

The entirety of the Muppet gang is here for the holidays, not just Kermit and the gang. We also get joined by the Sesame Street crew and even the Fraggles. Including them all truly makes this feel like a big family Christmas gathering. I especially liked a joke where Doc was talking with Bert and Ernie and they kept saying the words he was saying started with specific letters. When he asked them what they were doing, they said that counted as small talk where they were from. I just thought that was a hilarious bit of pseudo-meta humor.

Jim Hensen makes a cameo at the very end if you want to finish off this lighthearted Christmas story with a bittersweet reminder that he is no longer with us. Thanks for giving us a little Christmas magic, Jim.

Pokemon Episode 43 Analysis – The March of the Exeggutor Squad

Pokemon ep 43 title

CotD(s): Melvin – A creepy jackass who sucks at magic.

Reappears?: No, thank god.

Pokemon: He initially only has one Exeggcute, but he eventually gets many Exeggutor though less than legit means. His original Exeggcute also evolves into Exeggutor.

Evolutions: Ash’s Charmander evolves into Charmeleon, and about two years of misbehaving hell starts now.

Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock arrive at a town where there’s a carnival currently going on. They enjoy the festivities until Misty stumbles upon a down-on-his-luck magician named Melvin, who just had his assistant quit on him. He begs Misty to take her place and she reluctantly agrees.

At the magic show, Melvin is shown to be an incredibly inept magician and showman, and even gets himself fired when he goes overboard with his fire-shooting cane.

Ash, Misty and Brock won’t let him give up his dream, so they help him learn some new tricks to spice up his act. However, even that goes terribly.

Ash tries to show him what real magic is all about by putting on a magic show of his own. He presents Melvin, Misty and Brock with a box that has three holes in it and claims he can summon fire, water or whatever from it. He does as he promises, though it’s revealed that Ash’s Squirtle, Bulbasaur and Charmander are really the ones making the water and fire. They fight inside the box and ruin the show.

They try a different approach by analyzing Melvin’s only Pokemon, Exeggcute. They use Hypnosis on Ash, which causes him to be open to suggestion. Melvin realizes this power and enslaves Ash to do his bidding.

He uses Ash to cart him through the forest and commands him to weaken the numerous Exeggutor in the area so he can capture them all. Melvin captures hundreds with the intention of hypnotizing everyone at the carnival into going to his show, which should quickly skyrocket him to Las Vegas.

Team Rocket interrupts and tries to steal the Exeggutor, but are stopped by his Exeggcute, which evolves into Exeggutor. The newly evolved Pokemon tries to hypnotize Team Rocket, but the herd of Exeggutor hypnotize each other along with them and get confused, sending them on a rampage.

They destroy the carnival, and the owner decides to stop them all with a time bomb, evacuating everyone from the area before it goes off. Realizing the danger this poses to the Exeggutor, Ash tries to stop them with his Pokemon but realizes only Charmander’s fire is effective in stopping even a few of them at a time. Charmander quickly gets too exhausted, however, but Misty has a plan.

She tells Melvin to use his fire trick with Charmander to stop all of the Exeggutor at once. Melvin is very uncertain and initially refuses to do it since he believes he can’t do anything without messing up, but Ash and the others encourage him. He finally agrees when he sees how hard Charmander is trying to help, and together they send a fire wave strong enough to stop the Exeggutor.

Suddenly, Charmander evolves into Charmeleon, and while Ash is ecstatic at his friend’s new evolution, Charmeleon sends him a quick Flamethrower near his face.

Ash, Misty and Brock depart from the area and bid Melvin goodbye.

———————–

– Ash: “Alright, let’s show these people how to really party!”

Brock: “Yeah!”

Pokemon ep 43 screen1

And then the episode was banned.

– I can kinda understand Brock partying in a weird pink samba outfit, but why does Ash instantly dress up in a weird orange suit with a ruffled undershirt and an orange bowler hat when he thinks ‘party’?

– Why did they have those outfits on hand? Actually, scratch that, the editing suggests they had those outfits on under the clothes they were wearing (unless they ran real quick to a changing room after getting naked in the street), so where’s the logic in that?

– Ash: “Let’s boogie!” Boogie? My God, Ash. Please at least try to act like you’re a ten year old in the late ’90s and not a 20 year old in the 60’s.

– Ash: “What’s the matter, Misty? Don’t you want to party with us?” I don’t have a clue why, but I am endlessly entertained by him saying those lines.

– Is there any particular reason the text on the title card this week got a boost in font size and bold face?

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I have never felt more yelled at by one of these titles.

– Cards on the table right now, this is the first episode of Pokemon that I remember actively disliking. As a kid, I loved all things Pokemon, even if they made no sense and even if they infuriated me. I usually had fun, even with the infuriating parts (just look at me now!) so it wasn’t hard to love even when we had stuff like The Kangaskhan Kid and even infuriating video game aspects like non-stop Zubat or Whitney and her friggin’ Rollouting cow and crying fit.

Even if I now have differing views, past me was cool about most anything Pokemon. This, however, was the first episode I remember going….’Well….that was terrible. I didn’t like that….that was awful.’

It has nothing to do with Exeggcute or Exeggutor. It’s anything and everything involving Melvin. He is one of, if not the worst CotD I’ve seen in a while. Let me clarify, I mean this in a non-antagonist way, because he’s made off like a protagonist. He’s not worse than Damian or anything, but he’s still a terrible person.

His face, his haircut, his voice, his possibly intentional egg-shaped head, his creepy eyes, his creepy laugh and just the fact that he’s not only terrible as a human being, but he also…just sucks. I don’t mean that to be a lazy descriptor – I mean that as in he sucks at everything.

But let’s get more into that as the episode goes on.

– I know it’s probably meant to be him nuzzling her thigh, but given the height, I’d say he’s nuzzling her….Nono zone…..actually, even if he was nuzzling her thigh, in that outfit no less, that’s damn near sexual assault.

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– Melvin: “You’re a kind person, aren’t you?”

Misty: “Well, no, not especially.” Misty has her dick-ish moments, but she is a nice person. The joke would work better if someone actually mean, like Jessie, said it. Also, considering her ego, why would she say she’s not kind?

Melvin: “Such a beautiful girl. You’d help me out, wouldn’t you? I need your help so badly, and you’d be so perfect!” Creepy man calling a 10 year old girl ‘beautiful’. This whole exchange is just wrong.

Melvin: “You’re the only one who can help me now.” Why? I saw the first scene of the episode – there were tons of scantily clad women you could ask to do this. Why, specifically, do you believe Misty is your only hope outside of you either don’t want to be arsed to find someone else, or you really want to see a ten year old girl in a skimpy outfit take orders from you?…..In which case, I’ll be dialing 911.

Melvin: *creepy music* “Just listen….”

Misty: “Uh huh…”

Melvin: “Keep an open mind….”

They are intentionally making this creepy. From the shadow on his face, to the creepy closeups to the ominous music to how clearly uncomfortable Misty is right now. How did this fly under 4Kids’ radar?

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– Kids, seriously, if you see a creepy guy in a back alley begging you to wear a skimpy outfit and do his bidding, even if he gives you a flower, don’t follow him. Especially not into a dark tent. There’s only one magic trick he’ll show you, and it results in him getting 25 years in prison.

– Pikachu in a tuxedo is adorable, though.

– Ash: “That’s a real cute outfit, Misty.” And thousands of AAML fans are mildly sated for another 20 episodes.

– They didn’t remove that guy’s cigarette?

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– As much as I hardly use Exeggcute, I will admit they’re adorable……what’s up with that one with the exposed brain matter, though? All I’ve found is Pokedex entries which state that finding cracks means they’re close to evolution, but that doesn’t answer my question nor does that make sense. They evolve from Leaf Stones – why does it matter if they have cracks or not?

– Melvin: *creepy shadowed closeup’d grinning face as he shoots fire randomly into the audience* “I can’t believe it! It never worked befo-hoho-re!” Creepy AND dangerous. Are we sure he’s not an antagonist?

– Melvin: “Wait! The best part’s coming up!” *gets hit in the head with a bottle* You’re right – that was the best part.

– Guys, seriously, I get the message is to not give up, but he’s dangerous and completely inept at his job. This is one of those times where you should maybe be helping him find something less…..fiery…Something that involves fewer….sex offender registries.

– Who the hell would do anything, let alone sunbathe, on top of a hot air balloon? How is this even a thing that is happening? How are those chairs up there? How are they keeping balance? How did Jessie and James get on the chairs? How are they staying on the chairs? How is that ladder secured to the balloon? How did they get that ladder attached to the balloon?

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– The only reason I’d feel even a little bad for Melvin is because him being sad makes his Exeggcute sad.

– Melvin’s been working his whole life to be a magician and he still can’t pull off a simple cane to flowers trick without screwing it up. Either he hasn’t been working hard at all for, eh, 20+ years, which I’d believe in a heartbeat since Ash’s suggestion of learning new tricks seemed to be foreign to him, or he just sucks THAT bad at this.

– I do like Ash’s swami outfit. He looks kinda like Aladdin.

– Ash, who is doing magic for the first time in his life, is doing way better at it than Melvin, who has supposedly been doing it his whole life. Seriously, dude, go find a new career path. He doesn’t even explain why being a magician is his dream outside of him wanting tons of adoring fans at Las Vegas. He never says anything like it’s connected to some sweet story from his childhood or he’s always been amazed by prestidigitation – it’s all admiration and money. That’s it.

– Yay! Melvin was burned!

– Yay! Melvin might drown in a Water Gun because he’s too stupid to move out of the way!

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– Misty: *sarcastically* “How DOES he do it?…” I love that line delivery.

– I love the scene in the box with Squirtle, Charmander and Bulbasaur. I just enjoy when Ash’s Pokemon have some time to interact with each other and show off their varying personalities.

Also, take note of Charmander’s very kind and apologetic attitude in the box. Enjoy it, because Charmander’s going away very soon.

– He’s only now just realizing that his Exeggcute knows Hypnosis? Jot down ‘sucks at Pokemon Training’ on his resume, too.

– Also, to point out the obvious, Hypnosis is not actual hypnotism. It just puts people and Pokemon to sleep. Hypno’s Naptime doesn’t count because that was…..*sigh* Pokemonitis.

– Just to recap what’s going on, Melvin has hypnotically enslaved Ash, kidnapped him, is making him cart him through the forest and is making him call him ‘Master’.

Bonus!: Melvin – “I hate doing this to you, but I hate exercise.” He says with a stupid grin.

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I hate his face more with each passing second.

– Brock: “Someone saw them head into the Leaf Forest”

Okay, let’s backup even more. Where the hell have you two been? How did you guys let Melvin enslave your friend and kidnap him? You were both there when he did it, yet now, over the span of a commercial break, you’ve lost him.

……What kind of name is ‘Leaf Forest’? You sure you didn’t see him near Water Lake? Ooh, maybe he’s heading to Rock Mountain!

– We now return to ‘Brock Says Stupid Shit’

Brock: “But why would Ash follow Melvin?” BECAUSE HE’S HYPNOTIZED, YOU GOOBER!

Did you not get a hint from him spinning in circles and acting like a Bulbasaur at Melvin’s suggestion?

– This creepy shit.

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– Even while hypnotized, Ash is biased towards his starters, sends them all out and completely forgets his Pidgeotto. Because why use a damn Flying Pokemon against these Grass Types when you can chuck out Squirtle?

– Melvin is catching the Pokemon Ash is weakening. In addition to this being another dick move, how exactly is this happening? Are you telling me there’s no way to stop someone from snaking a Pokemon you’re trying to capture?

Imagine if you were playing the games and battling a legendary, doing your damnedest to get it to low HP without knocking it out. Then you get it to that sweet spot and you’re about to throw an Ultra Ball when a pop up comes up saying ‘SOME DOUCHE FROM THE BUSHES used ULTRA BALL!’ *wigglewigglewiggle* ‘SOME DOUCHE FROM THE BUSHES caught THAT LEGENDARY YOU WORKED YOUR ASS OFF TO WEAKEN’

– Not to mention, Melvin, in all his skeevy glory, looks and sounds so ridiculously content as he’s catching the Exeggutor.

– Squirtle is Water Gunning Exeggutor’s crotch.

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I didn’t meant to pause it right here, but appropriate expression is appropriate.

– How is he catching this many Pokemon without the excess Pokeballs being transported somewhere? If only people with Pokedexes have this ‘only six in a party’ rule, that seems really unfair.

While we’re on the subject, this should be called ‘Exeggutor Forest’ because, holy crap, that is a massive load of Exeggutor.

– Allow me to introduce our CotD who’s totally not an antagonist.

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– Melvin: “Look at all the Exeggutor I’ve caught.” Fuck you.

– I kinda have to wonder why Squirtle, Bulbasaur and Charmander never thought that Ash was maybe acting weird or asking why they were assaulting a massive hoard of Exeggutor.

– Melvin: “Now that I’ve captured all of these Exeggutor, I can put everyone at the carnival under hypnosis and command all of them to come see my magic show.”

Oh boy, where do I begin? First of all, if he had no idea what an Exeggutor was, as shown by Melvin commanding Ash to use his Pokedex on them, why did he bring Ash out to that forest in the first place?

Second, is it really necessary to capture hundreds of Exeggutor for the sake of hypnotizing everyone at a carnival? Does he need one per person? Technically, he could’ve just used his Exeggcute. Would’ve taken a while, but who knows how many people Exeggcute can hypnotize at once.

Third, mass mind control! How is he not an antagonist?!

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I am getting mad while getting screencaps, I hate his face that much.

Fourth, let’s just get this mini-moral out of the way – Melvin, if you’re hypnotizing people into going to your shows, you’re not really getting any legitimate adoration. You might as well be putting a gun to people’s heads and yelling ‘BE AMAZED AT MY MAGIC!’

Fifth, he states that he’ll get to Las Vegas in no time with this plan, which must mean he intends on having all of these hypnotized people pay for his shows. Mind controlling people into giving you money = theft. How is he not an antagonist!?

Finally, does this plan have no non-hypnotizing end game? Because, even if he made it to Las Vegas on his hypnotic theft money, what then? He’s still a totally horrible magician. Is he going to hypnotize the showrunners into letting him have a spot in their lineup? Is he going to hypnotize the people of Las Vegas to go to his shows? Is he going to hypnotize people through the TV to get them to watch his specials? Holy hell, is he going to just hypnotize anyone he comes across to give him adoration and money? HOW IS HE NOT AN ANTAGONIST?

– Melvin: *in regards to Team Rocket* “They look more like magicians than I do.” They do. And they’re much better at showmanship and magic tricks than you are. Team Rocket, as pointless as it is, actually puts a lot of effort into all these theatrics. That’s why they’re so good. You’re just a creepy imbecile.

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Just a suggestion, but Jessie, sweetie, you might want to have your spine looked at.

– Bullshit on Exeggcute evolving right then. They need a Leaf Stone to evolve. I saw the warning sign, but I still find this ridiculous. Unless the ground is loaded with Leaf Stones and they somehow haven’t all been used up by the many Exeggcute that seem to live here, that’s bull.

Even if there were Leaf Stones deep underground, Pokemon need direct contact with evolution items in order to evolve. Just a thin coating of dirt would be enough to protect them. And why was that sign only warning people of the possibility of their Exeggcute evolving? It’s only Gen I, but you also have Gloom and Weepinbell.

– Does owning all of these Exeggutor make Melvin exempt from their hypnosis? Because he’s looking right at them.

– Hahaha, they ran over Melvin! Good job, Exeggutor!

– Also, if they hypnotized each other, they wouldn’t spontaneously rampage. They’d either all fall asleep or they’d be open to hypnotic suggestion from their owner.

– Melvin: “I don’t get the respect I think I deserve.” No, but you do get the respect you legitimately deserve……until the end anyway.

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– I thought Team Rocket fell asleep. Why are they rampaging with the Exeggutor? And why do they seem to be saying ‘Exeggutor’?

– Melvin: “Now they’re beyond my control.” You could use your Pokebal….Actually, you know what, I am really more annoyed at his voice right now.

Does he ever even slightly emote? He sounds the same no matter if he’s happy, sad or concerned. His face almost mirrors this weird quirk. Is he a sociopath? What the hell is wrong with him? How can anyone even begin to connect or sympathize with this guy when his actions, mannerisms, expressions and voice all scream either ‘bad guy’ or ‘I couldn’t care less’?

– Carnival Runner: “I’ve planted a time bomb in this clearing. It’ll blow up right as they pass over this field.”…….Okay, fine. The Unabomber over here is making a play for true episode antagonist.

I get that the place was destroyed and all, but mass murdering a bunch of Pokemon with a BOMB is hardly the answer. Especially when you have the owner of said Pokemon right there. Also, you’d be arrested for illegally obtaining, using and planting a bomb, let alone using it to kill Pokemon, which would likely put you away for decades.

– Ash: “Squirtle, Bulbasaur, Charmander…” *breathes deeply through nose*…..AND?…….PIDGE–”Attack!”

go fuck yourself

– How is it these Exeggutor were all getting weakened enough by these three before to be captured instantly with one shot of Pokeball, but now they’re practically unaffected?

– Of all three Pokemon he currently let into battle, he used Squirtle first, then Bulbasaur, THEN Charmander. It’s 43 episodes in, kid. You’re either going to have to learn how types work or join Melvin in the ‘doing things we shouldn’t because we suck at it’ camp.

– Recalls Squirtle and Bulbasaur. Does not take this opportunity to let Pidgeotto out. And don’t think I’ll let up on this. Sit back and relax, because I’m prepared to ream him on this until the episode where Pidgeotto leaves.

– Ash: “Stop, Exeggutor!” *the weakened one stops* Uh….that Exeggutor doesn’t belong to Ash. Why did it obey?

– Misty: “Exeggutor are weak against fire!”

genius

– Misty: “Melvin! You can wake up all of the Exeggutor at once with your fire magic trick!” Oh boy! I can make another list of complaints and reasons this makes no sense!

First, I let this slide during the magic show because the whole ‘going crazy with fire’ thing was just a testament to how crazy, psychotic and stupid Melvin was. In a ‘real’ setting, I wouldn’t believe that cane would be more powerful than a Bic lighter and a hair spray can, let alone matching Charmander in power and distance.

Second, there’s the issue of fuel. How much gasoline or kerosene or whatever could possibly be stored in that cane? About 32 ounces, if that? Is that really enough to do much of anything?

Third, I was saving this, but uh, Misty, Brock, you both have Pokemon. I know, I know, Misty’s Pokemon wouldn’t do much to the Exeggutor, and most of Brock’s Pokemon are weak against Grass, BUT he does have Onix who might make a wall that could block the Exeggutor, a Zubat which might know Wing Attack and….wait, there was another…..Let me do some research.

researchresearch 3research 2research 4research 5

Eureka.gif

After much study and experimentation, I have come to the striking conclus—BROCK HAS A GODDAMN VULPIX YOU STUPID BRAINDEAD SONS OF BITCHES!

You’re telling me that a Pokemon with a Fire Spin so massive and powerful that it creates a fire tornado several stories high is something you overlook when thinking of sources of fire? The only reason I can think of for forgetting Vulpix besides being unreasonably stupid is purposely forgetting so they can boost Melvin’s ego. In which case, please go to hell. His self-esteem is not worth risking your lives and the lives of the Exeggutor.

– And now he’s clinging onto this young girl again.

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– Melvin: “I did it…I did it! I REALLY DID IT!” Your part in those heroics were about 10% if we’re realistic, and I’m being very generous…..Oh wait, this whole thing is your fault anyway, so gimme that 10% and deduct another 100%.

– Ash: “Great job, Melvin!” Yeah, great job! You properly operated a trick cane that probably only required the pressing of one or two buttons max. You’re so talented.

– As much as I’ll grow to rage about this whole situation, Charmander evolving was actually pretty satisfying…..Until it Flamethrowers in Ash’s ear, giving us a slight hint at Charmander’s new personality that raises a bunch of questions as to why this happened.

One second he’s obeying Ash fine and being kind, apologetic and self-sacrificing, the next he’s got a bitchy little ‘tude and Flamethrowering people whenever he can. I get that the topic of Pokemon changing personalities has been brought up over the series, but what warrants it? Most Pokemon don’t change personalities in the slightest when they evolve, but Charmander/eleon/izard seems like a big exception for no reason.

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Smug little bastard. He was giving you a hug, for god’s sake!

Also, slight nitpick, but why do we never get any implications at Squirtle possibly evolving? Chamander did evolve and Bulbasaur nearly evolves soon, but Squirtle never has a moment where it’s about to evolve.

————————————

I hate this episode even more, somehow.

Melvin is such a shitty character who really just needed to be taken care of like any other antagonist. But no. He’s given his undeserved ‘redemption,’ despite being the cause of all of the problems, causing thousands of dollars in property damage, hypnotically enslaving and kidnapping a young boy, unethically capturing hundreds of Exeggutor and nearly getting hundreds of Pokemon killed, gains an Exeggutor and is encouraged to never give up on his dreams.

What did this episode even accomplish for him besides giving this creepy bastard hypnotic powers? He still sucks at magic in the end, even if he works his little fire stick.

How is that even an improvement? He used it just fine earlier. It’s just that he went overboard with it. And I really have to be Little Miss Cynic again, but if you’ve been doing something for 20+ years and still massively suck at it, no, practice does not make perfect, Ash. Maybe some dreams should be given up on, Misty. And no, you’ll never see him in Las Vegas, Brock. Unless you see him on the news after molesting some showgirl.

I can see what will happen in mere days. He’ll practice his other tricks, still suck, decide to use Exeggutor’s hypnosis and enslave tons of people to a life damned watching his awful magic show.

He’s still out of a job, too, so what else can he do?

Even if you take all of the crappy things he did and his creepy behaviors out of the equation, there’s still nothing to root for or sympathize with. Who cares if he never becomes a great magician? He only wants to do it for unwarranted and undeserved praise, adoration and money.

Ash, Misty and Brock mean well, and Melvin does get some comeuppance, but not nearly enough. He didn’t deserve a happy ending after all the stuff he pulled. He deserved to have reality bitch slap him in the face until it squeezed some emotion out of it.

Not to mention that Melvin is such a massive focal point of the episode that there’s barely any side moments to make up for it. Ash’s dance at the start and his magic show were entertaining and Misty’s day at the carnival with Pikachu was nice, but that’s about it.

Next episode, hey, let’s follow up the first episode I remember actively disliking with the SECOND episode I remember actively disliking. How convenient! The Problem with Paras is coming up….

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