AVAHS – Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas

Rating: 7.5/10

Plot: Our favorite Disney characters celebrate Christmas in three short specials.

Breakdown: Despite the fact that this used to play all the time on Disney Channel, I’ll admit, I never watched it. Why? I have no clue. But who am I to neglect giving it a looksee when it pops up on my watch list?

The first short is a Donald Duck short called Stuck on Christmas.

Huey, Dewey and Louie have a great Christmas, though they seem utterly unappreciative and selfish throughout the whole day. Not enough to ruin Christmas for everyone else, including Daisy, Gertie and Scrooge, but still enough to show that they’re more focused on the presents and food than the true meaning of Christmas.

They wish on a star for Christmas to last every day and lo and behold their wish comes true. Christmas, as in a Groundhog’s Day-esque recreation of that exact Christmas, continues over and over and over. They get their same gifts, they ride their same sleds and eat the same turkey dinner day after day. They enjoy it for a while, but quickly grow miserable of doing the same thing every day. Bored, the boys decide that the next Christmas will be spiced up a bit by abusing the knowledge they have of the exact events that will happen.

They freeze Chip and Dale, ruining their morning fun with their train, purposely knock Donald, who is carrying a tray of breakfast items, down with their gifted toys, protect themselves from Gertie’s kisses with wet suits, replace the Christmas turkey with a live one who runs through the house destroying everything, including the piano, preventing Scrooge from enjoying his Christmas carols, and the tree even falls over on Donald.

As the boys are about to sled off and avoid the rage of Donald, they stop in their tracks when they realize he’s not mad – he’s incredibly sad that their Christmas has been ruined. Donald’s card to them, which they just discard every time they grab their sleds, has been focused on, but not read, throughout each day so far. They finally read it on this Christmas, showing that Donald and Daisy wrote a heartfelt message to them about the true meaning of Christmas not being toys or even decorations, but about caring and touching each other’s hearts. They slink off to bed and promise to make the next Christmas the best one ever.

They stay true to this promise and indeed do everything in their power to make the next Christmas great for everyone. They even chop up their sleds and make it into Donald’s dreamboat/sled. Though this is a bit ruined at the very end when the sled doesn’t hold up on its first run and Donald ends up crashing.

I liked this short, but it’s insanely predictable. Not to mention, I don’t know which came first, but I’ve already seen a Christmas special about wishing for Christmas everyday – and, honestly, I think that special did it better.

It was the Christmas special for Fairly Odd Parents. Timmy wishes for Christmas every day and his fairies, Cosmo and Wanda, have to grant it for him. The difference here is that everyone is cognizant of it being Christmas every day. They all get beyond sick of it, but can’t stop it for some reason. The rest of the plot really can’t be compared because it involves Santa and draining his power – I might give it a real review this month.

The only thing I didn’t really predict was that Huey, Dewey and Louie would actually aim to destroy Christmas for everyone. You could argue that they were just goofing around, but no. Donald makes a nice breakfast for all of them and they purposely knock him over to make him spill it all over himself. They open their gifts early over and over even though they know what they are and know Donald will keep getting mad at them for doing it. They disrespect Gertie with the wet suits, and completely destroy the house by letting a wild turkey loose.

The only thing I can say they didn’t do was knock over the tree. That just kinda fell on its own and they didn’t care. I get that they had to reach a new low to reach the high point, but that segment really just made me think these three are some of the worst brats ever.

All in all, it had its entertaining spots, but it’s predictable and some moments kinda ruin the feel and even make me a little mad.

The second short is A Very Goofy Christmas.

This segment was a little awkward due to so much slapstick (I know that’s Goofy’s forte, but even for him it was forced here) and the awkwardness of seeing someone try desperately to prove that Santa exists when another character is presenting all of the logical evidence that such a thing is impossible. However, the ending more than makes up for it, and the premise is more original than you’d be lead to believe.

Max and Goofy are excited for Santa’s arrival, but Pete, being Pete, has to be an ass and laugh at both Goofy and Max for believing in Santa. He even straight up tells Max to his face that several aspects of him just make no sense. Max has a crisis of holiday faith and gets both depressed and frustrated that Santa doesn’t really exist. Max’s reaction in this situation is extremely realistic. He flip flops a bit between believing and not, and you can really see that he genuinely wants to believe, but everything he’s seeing and hearing is telling him otherwise.

Goofy’s belief in Santa never wavers, and he tries desperately to get Max to keep up the faith. Goofy is being such a sweetheart and wonderful father here. He cooks a huge dinner for his less fortunate neighbors and even dresses up like Santa for their kids. I was a bit unsure about this short until my heart melted when Goofy shoveled the words ‘Don’t forget Max’ in the snow.

The original aspect I was talking about was Goofy’s belief in Santa. Parents trying to keep their kids believing in Santa is nothing new, but the parents legitimately believing in Santa is an oddity. It’s especially impacting when Goofy’s faith finally falters and Max does his best to cheer him up.

Of course, Santa is real and brings Max the snowboard he wanted. When Max asks why Goofy didn’t get anything, he says he asks for the same thing every year and gets it every year – Max’s happiness. And then I got a mop because my heart exploded.

Pete even gets his comeuppance by learning Santa does exist and having Santa take all the snow from Goofy’s yard and plopping it into his (After he snowblowed his snow into their yard earlier). No gift for assholes who ruin Santa for children – and this is coming from someone who never believed in him.

Our final short is Gift of the Magi, a Mickey and Minnie short, and it’s the weakest of the bunch.

It’s insanely predictable from start to finish. They’re focusing on a trope that is so overused, I’ve already watched a Christmas special that parodied this trope for this year’s AVAHS. In Futurama’s Xmas Story, Zoidberg buys a pair of combs for Amy’s hair but she said she sold it to buy combs for Hermes. In turn, Hermes said he sold his hair to buy combs for Zoidberg, who reveals he bought both of their hair and now has a luxurious head of hair to comb.

Mickey has a nice gold harmonica that he loves and Minnie has a nice gold pocket watch that she loves. Minnie obviously intends on buying Mickey a case for his harmonica. Mickey intends on buying Minnie a nice gold chain for her watch. This is established within the first few minutes of the short. Gee. I sure wonder where this is headed.

By the way, am I not up to date on Disney characters or something? When did Mickey and Minnie get so destitute? They live in a crappy house, wear patched up clothes and they keep their money in a sack.

Also, Pete is again hateable by trying to force an expensive ten foot tree on a clearly poor family by making the parents feel like garbage if they don’t. At least he still gets comeuppance.

Mickey’s being a sweetheart, like Goofy. He plays a harmonica concert for a charity toy drive and nearly misses getting to the store before closing because of it.

Though, really, poor guy playing harmonica. Come on, tropes. Chill out.

——————————

As a whole, this movie definitely has its ups and downs, but it’s a nice film to watch around the holidays. The Goofy special is definitely the best with Donald’s short coming in second and Mickey’s in last purely because at least Donald’s short had its funny moments and Goofy had its heartwarming moments.

This movie had a sequel aptly named Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas. I shall get to that before the season’s over.

Minor Update: Why AVAHS is Delayed

Hello everyone! I hope your holiday season is treating you well. You may have noticed that AVAHS, which I’ve been proud of to get one post out per day of, has been halted for a few days. The reason for that is Windows, and I think I don’t need to say anything else because fucking Windows, but I’ll elaborate.

I was in the middle of watching Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas but it was late at night and Windows wanted to update for the umpteenth time. It had been having trouble updating lately (got to around 61% then would shut the computer off) but this time the update was going through. I leave the computer on all night because the installation is taking forever.

The next morning, I check the computer and it seems like all is well until I actually log in to my account where I see all my files are gone. I think the computer must’ve suffered a horrible crash when it updated or something, but for some reason several of my manually installed third-party programs were still there. Nevertheless, I panic, because it’s been months since I’ve done a backup and I had nearly 200 GB worth of stuff gone, including a bunch of of yet-to-be-posted blog posts and reviews. I start to do recovery processes with Recuva, but it’s not finding anything worthwhile, which makes me even more upset (and confused because, unless something went massively wrong, the data should not have been overwritten). I was especially annoyed at the loss of my Firefox profile because that’s basically my main means of organizing my anime/cartoon/etc. watch list (good idea, I know).

I use a different program, UnDelete, which actually shows that my C: drive is at roughly the same storage amount as it was pre-update, which obviously confuses me greatly. I snoop around my C: drive and find that Windows, for some stupid reason and without notifying me, had taken all of the files from my last user profile, moved them and had made a new user profile folder that it was now using for the same and only user account I had on my computer. And it wasn’t like there was a new account at the sign-in screen, either. I still only had one account, but now there were two profiles in the users folder.

So, despite a rage flareup at Windows 10 being a massive shithead, I calm down because at least almost all of my files were still here – even my Firefox profile, which, thankfully, saves in AppData in the user folder.

That doesn’t mean the problems ended, though. Other things were borked after the update. My fonts were screwed up, making everything look like it it was channeling Windows 98 and most of my taskbar wasn’t working. Start menu, search bar, Cortana, my notifications, right click, none of it. Also, certain functions like Settings and stuff would not launch.

Pbbt.

I spend hours trying numerous methods of fixing it, to no avail, so I was forced to reset/restore my computer to factory settings, though thank God Windows 10 isn’t complete garbage and actually offers you the option to save your files from deletion – just the programs and settings are deleted and reset. I backed up my files anyway because I was gonna either way and because who can trust that it won’t delete them?

Everything seems okay now, just have to redownload and configure my programs. AVAHS should be returning either tonight or tomorrow, and I’ll be adding on an extra week to make up for lost time.

TL;DR – Computers are grinches who want to ruin my Christmas blogging. I’m okay now.

AVAHS – Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Rankin/Bass)

Rating: 8.5/10

Plot: Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer had a very shiny nose. And if you ever saw it, you would even say it glows. All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names. They never—you’ve heard the song before. Don’t act like you haven’t.

Breakdown: I was on the fence about doing this review because, while I do watch this special every year like many people, it’s a time honored classic that’s just hard to review. So let’s look at this objectively and see what problems there are with this story.

Donner, one of Santa’s flying reindeer, is a new father to a fawn named Rudolph. However, he’s appalled when he discovers that his new son has a glowing red nose. And I mean absolutely appalled, like he’s the anti-christ or something. When introduced to Santa, he basically acts the same way. He even goes so far as to imply that Rudolph will never be a reindeer on his team because of his nose…..which I don’t understand at all. What does a glowing red nose have to do with pulling a sleigh? It may be a tad distracting, but no worse than a little red light on your dash from a GPS or a security system or something.

I will admit that the three-year-old-with-a-recorder sound effect that comes up when his nose glows is annoying, though.

AVAHS Rudolph 1
Too cute to stay angry about the noise.

As Rudolph gets a little older, Donner, still ashamed of his demon spawn, actually gets him a fake nose so he’ll be more socially acceptable. And, really, it only seems like Donner gives a crap about his son when his nose is covered up. This special made me really hate Donner. Dasher all the way, man!

The prosthetic nose seems to work as Rudolph is very accepted by the other reindeer. He manages to make a new friend in Fireball, who inexplicably has hair on his head (also, what a rip off to be named Rudolph when your friends have names like Fireball) and he catches the eye of a doe named Clarice.

They’re about to start reindeer training with Comet, but Rudolph chats up Clarice because he’s a baller.

After hitting it off with Clarice, he starts flying all over the place in gleeful excitement, which impresses Comet and Santa. But his fake nose falls off and everyone starts making fun of him. Comet tells them to stop it and continues on with the training, but he bans Rudolph from the training and says the familiar phrase of not letting Rudolph join in any reindeer games.

Even Santa’s a jerk here because he chastises Donner for lying and then says it’s a shame Rudolph still has that nose because he did a great job flying. I still don’t get it. Also, if his nose was covered successfully before, just get him a better fake nose if the glowing is such an issue. This is like someone getting rejected from a IT job because they have an eleventh toe.

Luckily, Clarice is a nice doe who sounds eons too old for Rudolph. She cheers him up through a song so angelic that she pulls a Disney Princess and gets the woodland creatures to sing too. And like a good Disney Princess, she also falls in love with Rudolph in the time frame of four minutes.

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He’s about to walk her home when her father arrives and forces her to go back to their cave, banning her from associating herself with a red-nosed reindeer.

Meanwhile, we have the plot with Hermey the elf, who is not happy being a toy making elf and wants to be a dentist. However, all elves are damned from birth to live a life slaving in a toy factory. Also, dentists don’t exist, I guess, which is weird because they’re in a world where you’d assume they live on a diet of candy and cookies.

He gets fired from his job and meets up with Rudolph, accepting him for who he is because he’s a fellow misfit. After an ear-worm song break, the two go off on an adventure.

AVAHS Rudolph 3

After surviving the first night in the frozen tundra, they meet Yukon Cornelius, an eccentric mountaineer and prospector who travels by sled dog and hunts for silver and gold. He also likes to lick his pickaxe…..he can taste minerals or ore….I don’t….he licks his pickaxe is all you really need to know.

Throughout the movie, there’s been one thing we’ve been warned of in regards to a threat – The Abominable Snowmonster of the North, Bumble. A monster who scared the hell out of me as a kid and still kinda does. The design of the thing is offputting enough, but the first time you see him, all you see are his legs and feet, which are immensely larger than Donner and Rudolph. But really the thing that gets me about him is his voice. Or should I say his ear-piercing screech? You expect monsters to roar, but this thing has a shrill yell so loud I think this movie should be re-edited with warnings in place for headphone users.

Bumble is following Rudolph’s nose light, which results in them reaching a dead end in the ice. Yukon saves them by chipping off the part of the ice they’re on, which allows them to escape since Bumble can’t swim.

AVAHS Rudolph 4
Please make this go away.

And hey, let’s have some good ol’ fashioned 1960’s sexism!

Narrator: “You can bet that Donner felt pretty bad about how he had treated Rudolph, and he knew that the only thing left to do was to go out and look for his little buck. Mrs. Donner wanted to go along, naturally. But Donner said ‘NO! This is man’s work!’” No worries, though, because Mrs. Donner and Clarice go off on their own anyway because they don’t need no man.

Floating on the ice, Rudolph, Hermey and Yukon crash into the island of misfit toys, which is self-explanatory. I don’t really understand why some of these toys are outcasts, though. The first toy we meet is a Jack-in-the-box who no one wants because his name is Charlie…..Uh, dude, just change your name. It’s not like it’s written on you….just call yourself Jack. I get that it’s not about changing yourself to suit societal norms, but it’s a name – something that was given to you and something that is easily changeable…

Then we have matryoshka doll whose final doll is a wind-up mouse, which I guess makes sense.

A pink polka dotted stuffed elephant which makes a little sense, but since when do kids complain about not getting color accurate to real life version stuffed animals?

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A doll, which looks normal, a toy airplane, which looks normal, a teddy bear, which looks normal – just a lot of toys which look normal. There’s a toy train with square wheels, which must be the fault of a drunk elf because that’s ridiculous, and a toy gun that squirts jelly……….uhhh…..empty the jelly and fill yourself up with water….it’s not that hard….there’s water right there.

There’s also a bird that doesn’t fly and instead swims…..that’s called a penguin, just in case you’re wondering. A cowboy riding an ostrich, which, come on, that’s awesome. What kid wouldn’t want that?

We also have a boat that can’t stay afloat……alright, I concede on that one.

Rudolph asks if they can stay on the island since they’re misfits too and Charlie tells them to ask King Moonracer, who not only has a kickass name, but he’s also a damn winged lion with his own castle.

AVAHS Rudolph 6
I need a Moonracer doll right now.

They ask if they can stay on the island, but Moonracer refuses, stating that living beings, unlike toys, cannot hide themselves away on an island. Don’t worry, Yukon points out the irony that Hermey and Rudolph can’t even belong with other misfits. Moonracer asks them for a favor to help the misfits toys. Since they live in Christmas Town, Moonracer asks them if they’ll tell Santa about this island to help find good homes for the misfit toys. They agree and Moonracer gives them a place to sleep for the night.

Afraid that he’ll put his friends in danger with his nose calling Bumble, Rudolph leaves in the middle of the night and floats off on his own. He spends months on the run from Bumble, and no matter who he meets, he still gets treated like a freak. He grows into a full grown buck and decides to return to Christmas Town to face his problems head on. The other bucks are still jackasses, and when Rudolph returns home, he finds that his mother, father and Clarice have been gone searching for him the whole time he’s been gone.

Santa says he’ll never be able to fly without Donner, and with Christmas days away, it’s a real emergency……uh….Donner’s been gone for months and you’ve clearly been training other reindeer. Why not use one of them?

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Just then, a massive snow storm hits, which also threatens Christmas. Rudolph has to brave the storm to find his parents and Clarice, but luckily he knows exactly where to look – the cave of the abominable snowmonster. And luckily he knows exactly where that is. And luckily they do just so happen to be there. And luckily, despite being held hostage by Bumble for god knows how long, he has yet to kill them.

Rudolph and Bumble start an epic battle and Rudolph gets beaten to death with a stalactite. What’s that?…..He lives? No, no, that’s not a livable event……Really?….Whatever.

Luckily, Hermey and Yukon have been looking for Rudolph since he left and, luckily, they just happen to decide to go back to Christmas Town right when Rudolph went, and, luckily, they learned where Rudolph was going and got there quickly. Plot convenience is hella fun.

Yukon knocks Bumble out with a rock and Hermey pulls out all of his teeth (!!!), rendering him harmless. But I guess that’s not enough because Yukon also knocks him off a cliff, taking him with him.

AVAHS Rudolph 8
I feel like I’m watching a serial killer origin story.

Rudolph and the others return home where the worry over their safety has made the citizens of Christmas Town all realize what jerks they were. Santa and Donner apologize to Rudolph, Santa promises to find homes for all of the misfit toys and Hermey’s boss apologizes to him, telling him he can open a dentist office next week after Christmas is over…without proper schooling or a license. Let me remind everyone that earlier he was performing dental work on a doll by tapping her teeth with a hammer.

Yukon reveals that he not only survived, but so did Bumble, who is now inexplicably reformed and wants a job in Christmas town. How did Yukon survive? Because Bumbles bounce…..Hmm…..rant about physics or biology? Decisions, decisions.

Business as usual at Christmas Town until the song’s plot continues. There’s a terrible storm and Santa can’t navigate in such terrible conditions, so Christmas is canceled.

But then…..one foggy Christmas Eve, Santa came to say ‘Rudolph with your nose so bright, won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?’ Then the FiddleTwix complained, because that’s not how it works. The weather conditions have been changed from fog to one of the worst blizzards in history. A dinky red light is not going to help you much. Not only is red probably the worst color to use for a navigation light, but it certainly won’t help combat the winds and snow. Even if it was fog, the light would just reflect off of it. That’s why you don’t use your high beams in fog…Why hasn’t Santa ever thought to add headlights to his sleigh anyway? It’s 1964. At least have a lantern or something. I’ll shut up now.

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And then all of the other reindeer mocked Rudolph for his pink harness and Rudolph flew them into a mountainside.

Donner: “I knew that nose would be useful someday. I knew it all along.” Shut up, Donner. No one likes you.

I guess that leads us to one of the more prominent issues with the message here. The movie actually fixes the message problem that the song has. In the song, you’re lead to believe that Rudolph only gained social acceptance because his shiny red nose was useful to Santa, meaning you’ll be treated as an outcast if whatever deformity or issue you have doesn’t contribute to society. Here, though, the other reindeer, Santa and Donner all feel remorse and accept Rudolph before this ever happens. While he does gain higher social status because of it, he doesn’t gain acceptance because, hey, we can actually use laser face over there to further our needs.

I’d still say Donner is adhering to this because while he seems accepting of Rudolph before, he really only seems proud of him after he saves Christmas……also, why is Donner being left behind? Rudolph’s at the front on his own. Donner should still be in the pack.

I think we should be more concerned about the message Mrs. Claus is giving. Her one role over this whole movie is obsessing over fattening Santa up because kids expect a fat Santa….even though….ya know….they shouldn’t be seeing him at all. She actually seems to force feed him from skinny to about 200 pounds heavier in the course of a day. Merry Christmas, kid! I got you a Santa dying from a heart attack under your tree! After Santa wakes from his coma, he’ll enjoy his gift of an eternity of body image issues!

AVAHS Rudolph 10
I would complain more about this, but I’m actually more distracted by the background. Why did they put up the alphabet with a bunch of random arrows?

Santa goes to the island of misfit toys and rescues them all. How Santa knows what kid would like what deformed toy, I don’t know. Also, the bird who couldn’t fly gets murdered because the elf sending off the packages pushes him out of the sleigh without giving him the umbrella. Did you not listen to the song, elf?!

What else is there to say about this special besides stop motion is creepy?……Sorry, I couldn’t stop myself anymore. I love those old Rankin/Bass specials too, but it doesn’t change the fact that I still find stop-motion, especially old stop-motion, to be incredibly creepy. Not as bad as claymation, but still creepy.

It’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. It’s a heartwarmer for people of all ages. It has its oddities, and a terrifying snowmonster and logic problems up the wazoo, but it’s still fun, endearing, has some nice music both original and songs by Burl Ives, and it’s a staple for any household around Christmas. If, somehow, you’ve never seen it before, give it a watch. Maybe you can make it a Christmas tradition too.

Then all the reindeer loved him, and they shouted out with glee.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, you’ll down in history!

AVAHS – Nickelodeon’s Doug: Doug’s Christmas Story

AVAHS Doug's christmas story 3

Plot: Around Christmas, Porkchop seemingly attacks Beebe and injures her leg, which causes him to be detained by the authorities. Porkchop will be put on trial for his crimes and Doug’s the only one with any faith in his buddy. Can Doug save Porkchop, or will the Funnies have to live every future Christmas without him?

Breakdown: There aren’t too many classic holiday specials that I actively avoid…..but this one of them. Not because it’s badly written or unmemorable or because there are bad messages in it – on a technical level it’s about as good as Doug ever got. My problem is….Holy crap, it is so depressing. Most of the episode has Doug worried sick that Porkchop’s going to be put down for what he did and listening to a bunch of people badmouth Porkchop when all he was trying to do was save Beebe’s life.

Even when they skew back to Christmas stuff, like showing that Doug got Porkchop for Christmas when he was a little kid or that Porkchop gave Doug his signature journal, it’s depressing because it just reminds you that Porkchop’s in a high-security dog prison awaiting a trial that might result in him immediately being euthanized. And I’m not exaggerating or giving the ‘real world’ take on what would happen in this situation – Doug actually imagines that this Christmas will be spent at Porkchop’s grave.

The story goes that, as Doug and his friends are playing hockey at Lucky Duck Lake, Beebe fails to notice a ‘Thin Ice’ sign that Porkchop is able to notice and read. As the ice starts to crack and open up around her, unbeknownst to her for some reason, Porkchop grabs her the only way a dog can grab something, with his mouth (though it’s been shown that he is frequently bipedal and has front legs and paws that basically act as human arms and hands. See exhibit A: AVAHS Doug's christmas story 1 So, yeah, logically, this story kinda falls apart already.) He grabs her leg with his teeth and pulls her into thicker ice, subsequently saving her life.

However, Beebe’s leg is injured, and everyone interprets the event as Porkchop having randomly attacked Beebe, because I guess they’re also too stupid to read the sign or even notice the gaping hole in the ice mere feet away.

They call animal control and take Porkchop away, leaving his fate to the decision of a court. The incident gets wildly sensationalized, and the entire town turns on Porkchop, refusing to sign a petition to save him. The news is even making ridiculous recreations of the event where Porkchop is a rabid bulldog who grabs Beebe and whips her back and forth like a ragdoll.

Doug tries to talk directly to Beebe, but Mr. Bluff, her father, refuses to let him into the hospital room and doesn’t give a crap about Doug’s dog. Why is she still in the hospital? I doubt such a bite would even cause initial hospitalization. They’d probably fix it up in the ambulance – at worst they’d take her to the hospital to get an x-ray done.

Even Beebe later admits that the bite didn’t hurt, yet they put her in a wheelchair, put her leg in a cast and stuck her on crutches. If they’re saying he has the strength to fracture or break her leg, let alone that he did it with such a weak bite, bullshit. Mr. Bluff seems like he and his legal team are purposely dressing this up to make their case stronger. I don’t know why. It’s not like they’re getting any money out of this. The only result will be a dead dog.

What’s worse is even the judge seems like he’s biased against Porkchop because he refuses to let Doug cross-examine Beebe and even urges the audience to cheer for Beebe for being such a brave girl. This is such bullshit. There are victims of rape who get cross-examined so harshly it embarrasses and further traumatizes the hell out of them and they don’t get cheers for their bravery.

Doug asks if Porkchop can tell his side of the story and the judge mocks him asking how he’s going to do that since no one speaks dog……..well, then why the hell is this trial even happening? You can’t have a fair trial unless both parties are able to communicate their sides. If you won’t let Doug cross-examine anyone and you can’t hear Porkchop’s side, the whole trial is completely one-sided.

For some reason, this reminds me of that one episode of Family Guy where Brian violates the leash law and is about to be put down so he studies a bunch of law books and preps to represent himself. When it’s his turn in court, he starts an eloquent opening statement and then the judge goes ‘Wait, why are we listening to him? He’s a dog! Take him away!’

What’s even worse is that, according to Doug’s speech, Porkchop’s been a saint to nearly everyone in the courtroom. He babysits, he lends people money, he saves the hair of the balding, he fixes cars, he helps people rebuild burned down houses – and he even did something amazing for the judge. His daughter was in accident that robbed her of her ability to walk and Porkchop taught her how to walk again. And under the judge’s own admission, he barely helped her.

How the hell do you forget all of these things and immediately turn to massive town hatred? It would be more understandable if it was a case of a regular dog and just saying ‘oh it was such a sweet dog who must’ve snapped for a minute because of natural instincts.’ But this is an anthropomorphic intelligent dog who seems like he’s smarter and more valuable to society than his owners.

It takes Porkchop having to save her a second time, this time when she’s actually drowning in freezing cold waters (and I guess because the crowd of people mere feet away can’t be arsed) in order to finally convince them that he was saving her and not attacking her.

I’d just like to point out that Patti has a keen enough eye to notice and recognize the pine cone they were using as a puck on the day of the incident, but is too stupid and blind to see the ‘Thin Ice’ sign floating in the giant gaping hole….and, oh yeah, they’re all too stupid to notice the GIANT GAPING HOLE. I even have to call out Beebe here, because she’s heading for the same spot with the hole right there but she also won’t notice the danger. I wonder how many bodies are in Lucky Duck Lake due to lack of sign awareness.

Of course, everything ends up being okay. Porkchop has the charges dropped against him and is even hailed as a hero. Mr. Bluff put on a huge party for Porkchop and all of the dogs of the pound, and the former Mayor White used his radio show to find homes for all of them, which I find illogical because some of those dogs had to be legit threats but whatever. Porkchop gets an adorable hat and everyone has a merry Christmas.

AVAHS Doug's christmas story 2

An aspect of this episode that I neglected was Doug’s struggle throughout this whole ordeal. Like always, he approaches his problem with a lot of fantasies and some crazy schemes, but this time he’s upped the ante and even reaches a point of burnout. He has all three of his main dream versions of himself, Smash Adams, the James Bond character, Quailman, the superhero persona, and the Indiana Jones spoof, Race Canyon, meeting inside of his head to help him with Porkchop throughout a good chunk of the episode. However, their ideas always seem crazy and eventually it gets to a point where they’re all so much in conflict with each other that Doug refuses to escape to his fantasy for help coping with this anymore and relies on himself.

This is a pretty big deal for Doug because, like I said, he almost always relies on fantasies for ideas and support in whatever challenges he faces, to the point where you’d believe he could really use a psych eval and some therapy, but this time the challenge is so great and the stakes are so high than he forces himself out of the fantasy and faces everything on his own. This is even mirrored a bit in Doug’s face as the trial goes on. He gets lines under his eyes that either convey exhaustion, great concern or both.

And, in the end, it really was Doug who saved the day. He had to be Porkchop’s voice and convince everyone to do whatever they could to understand what really happened that day. Without him, Porkchop would be dead.

Like I said, this episode is not badly written – In fact, I’d say it’s one of the better written episodes of the entire series, and it’s definitely one that stands out when I think of plot lines of Doug offhand. My issue with this episode has always been the tone. It’s a dark and depressing episode that you almost forget is set around Christmas most of the time. Of course, as adults, we know they’d never kill off Porkchop, especially in a Christmas special, but as a kid, I was worried sick about the fate of Porkchop. No matter if the ending was happy or not, watching the episode still always soured my holiday mood.

It doesn’t help that, like most Christmas specials, they only aired this episode around the holidays.

All in all, I’d actually recommend this episode, but if you’re anything like me, don’t watch it around the holidays.

AVAHS – Rocket Power: A Rocket X-mas

AVAHS Rocket Power

Plot: Raymundo wants to celebrate all of the Rocket family Christmas traditions, but Otto and Reggie find most of them to be lame and try to avoid them. They take up jobs as dog walkers to earn enough money to buy a long board for their dad, but their jobs and attitudes get in the way of the holidays.

Breakdown: Despite me watching Rocket Power fairly regularly as a kid, I will admit, I’m hard-pressed to remember damn near any episode. There was that episode where Otto broke his leg snowboarding…that episode with the neon skateboards…..that’s pretty much it, off hand. Rocket Power just wasn’t known for having deep and meaningful storylines. It was usually just extreme sports, slang, smacktalk and maybe an obvious moral.

Which is probably why I can’t, for the life of me, remember this special. Any of it. At all.

I know I must’ve watched it, but I have no recollection whatsoever of even a second of footage.

Alright, that’s a small lie. I remember nothing about it, BUT I did get a spur of ‘OH YEAH’ when Otto and Reggie got their gifts. Just a spur though because, while I remembered they got gifts that were mementos of their mother, I completely forgot what they were and what their significance was.

Outside of that one kinda touching moment that is really only touching because it’s a rare occasion where they reminisce on their late mother, this is a completely forgettable and boring episode.

It’s predictable, it’s not funny, it’s not very full of Christmas-y feels, and unlike other episodes that can offset this by having at least some cool tricks and sports, this one has nothing because the focus is either on groaning over Raymundo’s Christmas traditions or walking dogs. The most they do is allow themselves to be pulled on skateboards and rollerblades by the dogs, which is dangerous.

I think a good chunk of people can relate to outgrowing Christmas traditions….but I obviously can’t. I’m all about Christmas. Hell, I’m usually the one who has to prod my parents to do our traditions.

And I think the moment where Raymundo admits that he was trying so hard to uphold the traditions because their mother loved them so much should’ve been a more impacting moment. It’s more like a fleeting line.

All in all, this really isn’t that good of a Christmas special – or a regular episode for that matter, which doubly sucks because this is a special full half-hour long episode as opposed to the eleven minute half episodes they usually got. Oh well, at least they didn’t do one of those lame shots where they say a slang word and an exaggerated title card with the word pops up on screen.

AVAHS – Futurama: Xmas Story

AVAHS Futurama

Plot: It’s Fry’s first Christm—Xmas in the year 3000. He becomes very depressed when thinking about how different the holidays are celebrated now compared to his era, and the fact that his family is no longer around to celebrate it with him. Leela, being an orphan and the last of her species, never even knew a family with which to celebrate Christmas. When Fry goes out to buy a nice gift for Leela to cheer her up, he meets Robot Santa, who has been programmed to see nearly everyone as naughty – and those who are naughty get ho-ho-holes shots through them.

Breakdown: While this special is not one I’ve held near and dear to my heart for years, it’s still a very enjoyable and fun Ch—Xmas special that I’ve grown to watch traditionally over the past few years.

It shakes off many Christmas special tropes and does press upon two serious aspects of Fry and Leela’s characters. We never really think about Fry missing his family much, but as the seasons go by (especially later ones) we learn that he truly does miss his family. Living in a world where everyone you ever knew or loved is dead is heartbreaking.

Leela’s situation is equally sad, if not moreso, since she never had a family to begin with and she was more or less treated as an outcast throughout her time at the orphanarium.

It’s sweet that Fry risks his life to get Leela a present for Xmas, even if it does lead into a near mistletoe trope.

The plot with Robot Santa is an interesting take on the character who definitely adds an entirely new spin to these Xmas specials. Robot Santa is one of my favorite versions of Santa ever. I don’t know why, but I still get all happy when he gives Zoidberg a present.

Other than that, we have Bender who is off on a side plot in a booze kitchen for down and out robots. He recruits some homeless robots to help him scam and rob people, and it’s the introduction to Tinny Tim (no typo). I have no clue why, maybe I’m a little sadistic, but I love Tinny Tim and his interactions with Bender.

This episode is not particularly hilarious nor is it horribly heartwarming, but it is funny, has many memorable moments and will tug at the heartstrings a bit. It’s a great episode to watch around the holidays or anytime. Now let’s all sing A Xmas Carol to play us out!

♪ He knows when you are sleeping,

He knows when you’re on the can,

He’ll hunt you down and blast your ass from here to Pakistan!

~Oh~

You better not breathe, you better not move!

You’re better off dead, I’m telling you, dude.

Santa Claus is gunning you down! ♫

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?

Pokemon ep 43 screen2

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.

Pokemon ep 43 screen3

– 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?

Pokemon ep 43 screen4

– 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?

Pokemon ep 43 screen5

– 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?

Pokemon ep 43 screen6

– 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!

Pokemon ep 43 screen7

– 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.

Pokemon ep 43 screen8
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.

Pokemon ep 43 screen9

– 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.

Pokemon ep 43 screen10
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.

Pokemon ep 43 screen11

– 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?!

Pokemon ep 43 screen12
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.

Pokemon ep 43 screen13
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.

Pokemon ep 43 screen14

– 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.

Pokemon ep 43 screen15

– 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.

Pokemon ep 43 screen16
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….

Previous Episode….

Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) The Mighty B!

That tagline should give you an idea of some of the humor…

Plot: Bessie Higgenbottom is a passionate Honeybee scout who wants to earn over 4000 badges in order to become the superhero, the Mighty B!

Breakdown: My background with The Mighty B! Is rather cut and dry. Despite the fact that I was still an avid Nickelodeon watcher back when this first aired, I never watched it because, quite frankly, even in promos it looked really obnoxious. I’m happy to report that young me is smarter than older me because at least she had the sense to listen to herself because this is really obnoxious.

And no, no I don’t care that it was co-created and voiced by Amy Phoeler. Love ya, girl, but no.

How about we start at the very beginning – What the unholy hell is that theme song? That has to be the worst theme song I’ve ever heard. It’s like they took 20 different theme songs cut them into two second blurbs, smushed one longer song on top of it and called it a day. It has no rhythm, whatever melody it has makes me want to gnash my teeth and I was so baffled by the lack of….everything in this song that I forced myself to listen to it three times just to see if there was a real song in there and I’m still not convinced there is.

Hey, put this song on a loop and we can propose this as an alternative to waterboarding.

That’s the first time since Scaredy Squirrel where I’ve been so annoyed by a theme song that I was actually considering not even giving the show a chance because of it. But I’d listen to Scaredy Squirrel’s theme song every day for the rest of my life if it meant I never had to listen to The Mighty B’s ever again.

Let’s just give Episode 1A the rundown.

Bessie Higgenbottom is a passionate and hyper Honeybee Girl Scout, and not even 30 seconds into the episode you can tell this is definitely one of those loud irritating shows where the comedy mostly lies in the characters yelling and being hyper and never slowing down for five seconds. Bessie seems to be well-known and liked by everyone in town. She enters a Chinese restaurant, suddenly make believes everyone including the customers and owner are Chinese warriors trying to fight her, with her taking the form of a huge (and male….??) superhero called The Mighty B!

She gets praised by the owner, Mr. Wu for….swinging her hands around like an idiot at nothing throughout the restaurant while being kinda racist and then she leaves. She steals some kid named Rocky’s skateboard and skates down a hill, flying off on an incline, pretending she’s flying as The Mighty B again, then falling over and over.

She lands right in front of Annoying Rich Self-Absorbed Bitches Batch 345F, AKA Rich bitch whose parents run the show and her two sheep bitch friends.

They reveal the plot of the episode, which is that Honeybees are holding a dog show and Bitch A is entering with her dog for an animal appreciation badge.

We also get this line.

Bitch A: “Guess you didn’t get the B-mail” GET IT!? B-MAIL?! Because BEES! HONEYBEE TROUPE! If this turns into The Bee Movie, there better be tons of mildly humorous parody videos of it on the Internet.

Bessie then literally, and I do mean literally, annoys her mother into letting her get a dog by pestering her day in and day out with hundreds of reasons why she should get a dog.

The next day we learn that Bessie actually believes that she’ll become the real Mighty B if she gets 4000+ some odd scout badges….Kay.

Enter a stray dog, whom she promptly kidnaps and names Happy.

That night, she gives him a bath in her beehive fort on the roof of her building. I only mentioned that because I wanted to show you how crazy this girl is. I’m all for imagination, but this girl seriously has a bee hive fort on her roof….

Then she ‘trains’ Happy, who clearly is anything but happy about being held hostage by this crazy girl who talks to a Sharpie’d smiley face on her finger that she named Finger (not kidding) and hugs him so hard, she basically Elmyra’s him and he explodes.

The next day, what a shock, Bitch A’s mother is obviously paying off the judges and they’re even evil laughing together. Oh and Bitch A’s name? Guess. You have half a second. Go. You’re right. It’s Portia. Fun fact. While trying to figure out how this is properly spelled, I learned the name Portia derives from the word ‘Pig’. I always assumed they were going for an off-shoot of Porches, adhering to the trend of sports car names for bitches, but here we are.

Happy runs away before the dog show because Portia and bitches B and C mock him. Bessie tries to stop him, but he ‘explains’ to her that he hates dog shows and wants his old life back. She accepts his decision and he bolts.

She then has a damn near scary 15 seconds of going back and forth between being incredibly sad he’s leaving and being enraged before Finger talks her down. Sooooo….all I’m getting is that this is a show about a girl with severe undiagnosed mental illnesses being played for cheap slapstick and screaming comedy.

After Portia and her dog, Precious, woo the audience, Bessie sadly announces that Happy’s not going to be in the show. Unsurprisingly, Happy shows back up and does the dog show, impressing the audience with a random rushed cluster of ‘tricks’ like flexing, dancing and playing basketball, sloppily mushed together with another ‘song’.

The audience loves them because the plot said so, but Portia’s mother is pressuring the judge to stick to the plan and let Portia and Precious win. The judge tries to call a tie, but the audience boos at him until he makes a fair tie-breaker. He says he’ll decide based on breeding. Since Happy is a torn-eared mutt and Precious is an expensive purebred, he awards Portia the win.

Set to that stock sad music we’ve heard a million times, Bessie announces to the audience that she’s fine with losing because she loves Happy and he loves her. The audience gets upset again, and even though the judge has already declared Precious the winner, he decides to check its teeth, revealing that Precious is actually a rat.

Bessie’s little brother, Ben, then takes the badge and rightfully gives it to Bessie.

I have so many questions.

First of all, how the hell do you not notice that a dog is a rat? She had that dog for quite some time it seems, but despite the training and grooming and pampering and whatnot, neither her nor her friends or her parents noticed that it was a rat? How did it go through the show without anyone noticing? I know some small dogs look weird, but mistaking them for a real rat should never be a thing.

Second of all, where the hell did she get that ‘dog’? If this were backwards, as in Precious being found on the street, I might be able to start to justify why this happened, but she touts Precious as a prebred, which means it had to have come from a breeder, she had to have paid big money for it and she has to have papers for it that prove it’s a purebred. How do you jump through all those hoops to end up with a rat?

Third, they don’t even have anything like a covering or something like they sometimes do with ‘that’s really a…!’ reveals. He looks like any other tiny toy designer dog before then, but when they check its teeth it suddenly morphs into a disgusting rat. It’s a cheap reveal because it seems like they realized they wanted Bessie to win but couldn’t be arsed to think of any better way to have it happen so they magically turned the dog into a rat to disqualify it.

All in all, this is not only an annoying show with a complete lack of humor, clever or otherwise, but the story itself is incredibly predictable (though I will give them props for poking the ‘he showed up afterall’ trope by having Bessie hear a dog bark only to see it’s a different dog in the audience. I can’t give it a lot of props, though, because they do end up just doing the trope anyway.) and ends on a note that seems incredibly sloppily written for the sake of getting Bessie the badge.

Only thing I kinda liked about it was Ben because he hero worships Bessie instead of being the typical annoying little brother, but even he could be annoying.

Final Verdict:

750spsl

I am just not a fan of the ‘never stop talking, go a mile a minute and loud=funny’ genre. Despite winning several awards, The Mighty B! Only lasted two seasons, so I guess I’m not alone in this.

Pokemon Episode 42 Analysis – Showdown at Dark City

Pokemon ep 42 title

CotD(s): Yas – Leader of Dark City’s unofficial Yas Gym, Yas is locked in a fierce battle with the Kaz Gym for the right to shoot for official Gym status from the Pokemon League. Like Kaz, he recruits passing trainers for his gang to help him beat the Kaz gym. His intentions for opening a Gym are purely for the money.

Reappears?: No.

Pokemon: Scyther.

Kaz – Leader of Dark City’s unofficial Kaz Gym, Kaz is also locked in battle with the Yas Gym’s gang. It’s unknown what his intentions are with the Gym, but it can be assumed that he has the same motivation of money.

Reappears?: No.

Pokemon: Electabuzz.

Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock arrive at Dark City – a dilapidated ghost town where people seem to be afraid of Pokemon Trainers. Pikachu is suddenly pelted with rocks from a rooftop, and Ash commands him to stop the attackers with a Thundershock.

The three attackers fall from the roof, revealing themselves to be three children who are attacking them for being Pokemon Trainers. They hit them with sticks and tell them to leave their town, but they’re suddenly stopped by a local business owner. He invites them to his restaurant to make up for what the kids did and explain what’s going on.

He states that there are two unofficial Gyms in Dark City – the Yas Gym and the Kaz gym. They’re basically a couple of gangs who have been destroying the city on a regular basis through street fights involving their Pokemon – a Scyther for the Yas and an Electabuzz for the Kaz.

Both Gyms recruit passing Pokemon Trainers to be a part of their gangs to help them gain victory over the other and become an official Pokemon Gym. The destruction and pain has been going on for so long, some of the townsfolk are scared of Pokemon Trainers and others hate them – if they’re not destroying the town and risking the safety of the citizens, they’re being set up to be recruited for the gangs, only making the problem worse.

Just then, a fight breaks out in the streets between the Yas and Kaz Gyms, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake and causing a panic in the townsfolk.

Team Rocket, siding with the Kaz Gym, shows up to the restaurant demanding food, but the restaurant owner denies them service since the Kaz Gym hasn’t paid their tab in over two years. Angered, Team Rocket sets their Pokemon on the man, but Brock stops them with Vulpix and sends them packing.

A woman from the Yas Gym shows up, very impressed with their ability to fight three of Kaz’s best bodyguards away, and invites them to join Yas. Misty and Ash try to refuse, but Brock, unable to resist a pretty face, accepts.

The woman brings them to the Yas Gym leader, Yas, and presents Ash as a great Pokemon Trainer with Misty and Brock as his disciples. Yas suddenly attacks him with his Scyther as a test of his ability, but Scyther slashes a ketchup bottle Pikachu is holding and becomes furious when his vision turns red.

Scyther attacks Yas and Yas recalls him. He’s impressed enough by this ‘display’ to request that Ash and the others join the Yas Gym and help him win his fight against Kaz. Ash asks why they want to be an official Gym so badly, and Yas answers that it’s a quick way of getting money. Hearing this unethical and coldhearted reasoning, Ash refuses to join.

Yas doesn’t accept his refusal quietly and sics his followers’ Pokemon on him to ensure he doesn’t decide to join the opposition. He gets beat up fairly badly before being carried out by Misty and Brock, who regroup at the restaurant.

Ash uses his Pokedex to learn that both Electabuzz and Scyther are enraged by the color red, which was demonstrated back at the Yas Gym when the ketchup got in Scyther’s eyes. They concoct a plan to use this weakness to their advantage and stop the fighting.

Later, Yas and Kaz’s gangs meet once again in the middle of town to finally have one big brawl before the Pokemon League inspector shows up. The brawl starts, and Ash, Misty, Brock, the kids and the restaurant owner implement their plan, which involves pouring gallons of ketchup on Yas and Kaz.

Enraged by the color red, Scyther and Electabuzz both start attacking their Trainers. When they believe they’ve had enough, Ash uses Bulbasaur to pour ketchup on Scyther and Electabuzz, which shifts their targets to each other. In a blind rage, the two slam into each other and knock each other out.

It seems Ash and the others have taught Yas and Kaz a lesson, but the tables are turned when they decide to join forces against Ash and co. Just as both gangs are about to attack the group, Ash sends Pikachu off to do a Thunder attack, which is sent through the lightning rods Ash and the others planted around town and into the ground where both gangs are standing, electrocuting them all.

Yas and Kaz still try to attack Ash and the others with sticks this time until they’re stopped by a mysterious woman in a trench coat, hat and mask. She reveals herself to be the Pokemon League inspector, Nurse Joy. She refuses to approve of any Gym that uses Pokemon as tools for street fighting.

When Yas and Kaz beg for a second chance, she agrees to give it to them if they learn how to be true Pokemon Trainers from Ash. He fumbles through his lessons, but demands that they repair all of the damage that they did to the town.

With that, the kids from before have gained a new appreciation for Pokemon and Pokemon Trainers. Ash and co. take their leave, knowing Dark City may not have gained a new Pokemon Gym, but it’s certainly creating a more hopeful future.

———————-

– “Hey, guys, we did a good job getting Pikachu’s rep back up after the Pokemon Shock incident, so I want you all to clear Pikachu scenes with me for a while so we can maintain momentum with it.”

“Sure thing. Hey, there’s this scene we want to animate where Pikachu electrocutes a group of small children and makes them fall off a roof, is that cool?”

“For some reason, I see nothing wrong with that.”

“Cool!”

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– Guys, you can introduce yourselves without explaining your goals in life.

– Misty: “And I’m going to be the world’s best everything!” Well, you’re certainly giving Ash a run for his money for best narcissist.

– And thus we begin this one episode long affair Pikachu has with ketchup. Is it cute? Sure. But it comes out of nowhere, is never brought up again (Alright, it’s brought up one more time 234 episodes from now…) and is borderline creepy.

– I still don’t understand how becoming an official Gym even works. If you’re only allowed one Gym per city, why don’t these guys just move their Gym to one of the many, many, many towns with no Gym? Maybe a less….crappy looking city?

What is the officiating process for a Pokemon Gym? What entails an inspection beyond ‘don’t be a skeevy jerk and/or a gang leader’? (Which just raises all sorts of questions on how Giovanni became a Gym Leader.)

Is there a limit to how many Gyms can inhabit a region? Because we know from Gary that, canonically, there are at least ten Gyms in Kanto that are official under the Pokemon League, meaning they must allow more than the standard minimum of eight per region.

This makes sense because traveling all that way is a pain in the ass. You’d think there’d be tons of the Gyms, in the anime anyway, since the Kanto region seems to be massive and covered in cities, towns and villages. Does it specifically have to be a city? Because so many areas where there are Gyms seem far more suited to be towns than cities. Dark City is a perfect example. What part of this run down old west-styled ghost town screams ‘city’?

Gyms get money?….Actually, I guess that makes sense. They probably get grant money or something from the Pokemon League for maintenance and Gym Leader salary. That would explain how Brock was able to care for his family as an unemployed 15 year old. Also, if they do get paid, they’re totally obligated to accept all challenges. Screw you again, Erika. (And….well, more confusion when we get to Blaine)

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– I do find the concept of a Gym v. Gym gang war to be intriguing, but, I’m sorry, I cannot take these idiots seriously in those outfits – especially the Yas Gym. I mean, at least the Kaz gym just looks like a bunch of Team Rocket ripoffs. The Yas Gym looks like a weird combination of Luigi and Fred from Scooby Doo.

 

– Oh and, does Dark City have no…..oh what’s the word?….Uh….COPS! Right, them. Not that the Pokemon world cops are effective at their jobs, but they’re non-existent here.

– *Team Rocket shows up*

Ash: “There’s something familiar about them.” Obvious aside for a second, they’re only covering their mouths with scarves. Obvious back, THERE’S A TALKING GODDAMN MEOWTH, YOU DINGUS.

– Wait, the Kaz Gym, and supposedly this war, has been around for over two years? How long does it take to get a Pokemon League inspector out there?

– Why did Team Rocket hear the word ‘trouble’ several times before their ears finally perked up at the mention of it?

– Team Rocket’s gang affiliation at this point is a bit of a cluster. They were part of the bridge bike gang, and maybe still are, then they joined Team Rocket and now they’re part of the Kaz Gym.

– Ash: “It’s Team Rocket. I knew it!” No you didn’t, you ninny.

– Why are Ash and Misty so surprised that Brock used Vulpix? It’s basically his signature Pokemon now. Are they just surprised he’d let his precious Vulpix out into battle?

– What the hell is up with this woman’s outfit?

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She looks like a reject extra from a Chattanooga Choo Choo music video.

– Woman: “Those were some of the strongest bodyguards from Kaz Gym.” Then neither of you deserve to be Gyms considering Team Rocket was seen as competent enough to be hired as bodyguards by the Kaz, and the Yas considers them to be some of the strongest Trainers on the Kaz side. Ten year olds beat them on a regular basis. In fact, they beat them and blasted them off with one Gust attack just the previous episode.

– I thought that the making up the names from foods thing was kinda cute as a kid, but now….seriously guys, you can’t just think of some BS names? You just jump to ‘Ketchup’ because it’s a thing in the room? Then you purposely theme the rest of your names on foods? That sounds more difficult than just making up a real name. Try it. Think of a fake first and last name then try to come up with another where both names translate to a food. It’s pretty hard.

– Just because Brock accepted the invite to Yas doesn’t mean Misty and Ash had to go. In fact, they didn’t even show Their trainer prowess considering Brock did the work to send Team Rocket away. I guess their reputations as trainers are important enough to create false identities but not to avoid joining a gang.

– Hey look, a Gym where people are actually working out. We didn’t even get that in the Fighting Spirit Gym.

– Woman: “Yas leader, let me introduce to a great Trainer. This is Pokemon Trainer, Tom Ato. He’s brought his two disciples to help us.” I do not understand this at all.

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1) Like I said, Ash did nothing in the ‘demonstration’ against Team Rocket. He was going to, but Brock took the lead for some reason.

2) She was focusing on Brock before, why is she ignoring him now?

3) Why does she just assume Misty and Brock are Ash’s disciples? Why can they not be at least treated as equals, especially when, again, Ash did nothing to earn this praise?

At least Brock brings up how unfair this is, but it doesn’t make it any better. Can I just chalk it up to this woman being even stupider than they are?

– Even as a kid, this ketchup thing seemed like bunk to me. It’s ketchup, not red wine. It’s not even translucent. If you got a bunch of ketchup in your eyes, two things would happen 1) you’d probably see next to nothing since, again, you can’t see through ketchup and 2) you’d go OH GOD! THERE’S KETCHUP IN MY EYES! IT BURNS! THE ACIDITY! I AM WAY TOO FOCUSED ON THE PAIN RIGHT NOW TO BE ENRAGED BY ANYTHING! ARGH!

Pokemon ep 42 screen7
One of the best Pikachu screencaps, though.

– Getting infuriated literally causes steam to appear on Scyther. I know it’s a cartoon, but it’s not steam out the ears or cartoonish – it’s like they want you to believe there’s really steam on him.

– Yas: “That’s the first time my Scyther has been frightened so badly. You are a powerful Trainer.” Oh for the love of….where do I begin? First, was this guy even watching the ‘battle’? He attacked a ketchup bottle, got ketchup in his eyes and then went on a rampage. How does that, in any way, translate to an impressive Pokemon battle?

Second, Scyther was obviously enraged, not frightened.

Third, Ash didn’t command Pikachu to do a damn thing. How does his Pikachu shielding himself with a ketchup bottle make Ash a good Trainer?

Fourth, that splash of ketchup to the eyes does not physically make sense. I imagine, if you sliced open a ketchup bottle, you’d only have the ketchup spilling downwards, not backwards towards the attacker. At most, it would follow the direction of the slice.

Fifth, if he was paying attention at all, he should’ve called BS on Pikachu’s use of a ketchup bottle in battle to possibly blind his opponent.

Why are so many people in this episode so insanely stupid just to move the plot forward?…..Oh I guess I answered my own question.

– Yas: “You must work for me. I need your power.” No, you need their ketchup…..I am actually not kidding. That’s how they resolve this plotline for the most part…with ketchup.

– Ash: “Why is it so important that this should become an official Pokemon Gym?”

Yas: “That answer should be obvious. What faster way is there to make money in today’s world than becoming an official Pokemon Gym?”

Pokemon ep 42 screen8

Oh geez, this is going to be one of those episodes where I need to make a list of reasons why characters make no sense every line or two, isn’t it?

*sigh*

First, no…no that answer is not obvious. At all. I could think of many reasons to open a Pokemon Gym without even thinking for a second about the money involved. In fact, I’m only now thinking about the financial aspects of a Pokemon Gym.

Second, ‘what faster way is there to make money than becoming an official Pokemon Gym?’….Uhh…getting a job. Selling your crap on eBay. Selling your body to science. A laundry list of other methods of getting money which are faster than starting a Pokemon Gym.

Actually, if this whole gang war has been going on for years and becoming a Gym is crazy difficult, then this seems like one of the absolute worst ways of getting money. Certainly not worth all the property damage, criminal mischief and reputation destruction.

Third, it’s not like these are real gangs fighting over drug dealing turf. How much money can there really be in being a Gym Leader? Not many Gym Leaders seem like they’re rolling in money. In fact, most seem to live a rather modest life.

Pokemon ep 42 screen9

Brock’s house looked average.

Misty seems better off, but considering she got hand-me-down doll sets, I can’t imagine her parents were rich either. Plus, they seem to have the side-business of the Sensational Sisters underwater shows.

Lt. Surge’s Gym was like a hollowed out high school gym.

Erika seems rather well-dressed and elegant to a degree, plus her Gym is fairly impressive. However, she also owns her own perfume business, which might generate a lot of money.

Koga had an old mansion, but I’m more apt to believe he inherited it through family ties instead of buying it with Gym Leader money.

Sabrina had a nice-ish psychic training facility, but nothing lavish. Plus, she might generate money from training those psychics.

Outside of Giovanni who obviously gets income from Team Rocket, Blaine seems like he might be the richest with his super secret in-volcano Gym, but he also has supplemented income with a hotel. Plus, game canon-wise, he’s a scientist.

In fact, it seems like most Gym Leaders, even in Johto and beyond, have another form of income besides the Gym, and even then they don’t seem particularly rich. If they did offer a lot of cash, Misty and Brock should never ever ever have a problem with money. It’s already a stretch that Ash keeps running out of whatever money we assume his mother sends him, but traveling with two Gym Leaders, by this guy’s logic, should result in no money problems whatsoever.

It would’ve been much more believable if these Gym Leaders were just petty dickheads who were all ‘we’re just better than the other guy! So there!’ Or maybe they just wanted the power and prestige that seems to come from being a Gym Leader, which is also a stretch because it rarely gets Brock and Misty more than a passing glance (Just look at this episode – they’re tossed to the side in favor of Ash and called his disciples.)

Pokemon ep 42 screen10

Fourth, if opening aGgym were easy, quick cash in copious amounts, way more people would be doing it. There’d be Gyms everywhere.

Finally, if money’s the reason, why is anyone following either of these idiots? No matter who wins, they won’t get any money from the Pokemon League – only the Gym Leaders would. Don’t tell me they intend on divvying the money up across the gang, because then you’d really be earning next to nothing.

I don’t understand how so many people are getting caught up in this. If money’s not the allure, then what? What do they intend on doing when whomever wins, wins? Are they going to stay at the Gym and….Enter activity here?

Another tangent over. We now return to me stopping at the very next line to complain.

– Ash: “Pokemon are not just tools for fighting or making money. And I know…because I’m going to be a Pokemon master!” A being who, by definition, uses Pokemon as tools for fighting.

– Pikachu is spending way too much time mourning that ketchup bottle. They’re back at the restaurant now – just give him another one.

– This whole ‘enraged by red’ thing is considered canon by the Wiki, but is entirely a fabrication of the anime. I will even go so far as to say the Wiki’s wrong in confirming it’s anime canon, because they never do this again, and Scyther and Electabuzz are fairly common Pokemon throughout the series.

And what a friggin’ coincidence that the main Pokemon of each of these gyms just happens to be two Pokemon who are infuriated by the color red? Though they didn’t seem bothered by the ketchup bottle itself, Kaz’s gloves, Kaz’s scarf, most of Ash’s hat, the red in the logo for the Yas gym, Misty’s suspenders, Misty’s backpack, Jessie’s hair – Hell, Pokeballs are half red!

– Weird how that woman completely disappears during the big gang battles. I’m to assume she’s stupid AND useless.

– Why was Team Rocket climbing on that building anyway?

Pokemon ep 42 screen11

– It’s very interesting how nearly everyone in these gangs have a ‘bad guy’ Pokemon. Ya know, Pokemon who are usually used by villains, excluding poison types. We have a ton of fighting Pokemon, then we have Rhydon, Raticate, Kingler and Golem. Also, why did everyone just release one Pokemon? If this is really a ‘we don’t care about fair battling, we just wanna fight’ brawl, they’d release all of their Pokemon. Even Yas and Kaz only seem to have Scyther and Electabuzz. How do they expect to run a Gym with only one Pokemon?

Disclaimer: I am aware of the minuscule teams Gym Leaders commonly have in early game, but according to Pokemon Origins, it’s not that they don’t have more Pokemon, it’s that they choose to use fewer Pokemon based on the experience of the challenger.

– How do the owners of a Scyther and Electabuzz not know of the red thing? Especially considering that it’s the first thing the Pokedex focuses on when their entries are brought up.

– Why did their big plan involve pouring ketchup on Scyther and Electabuzz? Wouldn’t a better option to be using Squirtle or something to wash the red off of Yas and Kaz and stop the rampage?

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There’s no way they knew they’d be stupid enough to charge literally head first into each other and knock the other out.

Also, I’m aware that these barrels might be filled with red paint, not ketchup, but ketchup was the inspiration for this plan and I believe they’d have more readied access to big containers of ketchup given they’re being helped by the restaurant owner.

– While I do applaud Ash for having the foresight of setting up a plan B just in case the gangs turned on them, Thunder shouldn’t require lightning rods to strike multiple targets.

– I was always immensely confused as to why Nurse Joy was a Pokemon League inspector. Even her badge seems more fitting for a nurse than an inspector. I might be able to swallow this better if they made her look the part, but she’s a Nurse Joy to the bone. Her Chansey still has a nurse hat on, she still has a nurse uniform on, and when she reveals her identity she calls herself Nurse Joy.

I really feel like they got insanely lazy with the character designs for this episode and when they got to the inspector, they panicked because they were short on time and just borrowed Joy’s.

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– For that matter, why was she in disguise in the first place? I know she wanted to secretly monitor the gangs, but she’s a Nurse Joy. No one would suspect that she was the inspector.

– Why did Joy release Chansey? Besides to give a hint as to who she was literally three seconds before she revealed herself.

– Joy shouldn’t have given those two a second chance at becoming a legit Pokemon Gym. She doesn’t offer any resolution to their problem of ‘this town ain’t big enough for the two of us,’ both of them are guilty of numerous accounts of assault and they’ve spent the last two years or better continuously destroying the town. But Joy seems to only see the crime of them using Pokemon for street fighting.

– I love how Ash really doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about when he’s trying to teach Yas and Kaz about being an ethical Pokemon Trainer. He means well, but he can’t get around the logistic problems of the Pokemon World. Don’t use Pokemon to fight, except when you use them to fight.

– I also believe this was the first episode where one of those ‘jokes that don’t translate’ really became apparent to me. I never once understood why there’s a picture of some food that flashes on Ash’s face when Yas and Kaz call him ‘Tom Ato’

It wasn’t until I read the comparison that I learned that Satoshi’s fake name was the food seen on screen, Omurice. For all the digital painting 4Kids is known to do, why the hell couldn’t they have drawn a tomato?

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Also, it’s very awkward when they always say their full fake names. Who talks about themselves or other people in their full name?

– This is another infuriating instance of two assholes turning on their heads and completely changing their personalities when it doesn’t seem like enough happened to do so. They got beat up and their Pokemon knocked each other out, then they got chewed out by Nurse Joy.

Remember, their incentive to becoming legit Gyms was to make money. Why do they seem to act like it’s just something they really want to do now? Unless they’re faking it for the sake of getting another chance at the money, which is possible I guess, but Kaz definitely doesn’t seem smart enough for that….and we know Yas isn’t.

– Ash: “Oh well, Pikachu really is the star.” Don’t remind me….Seriously, it’s totally unnecessary. And as sad it is, he really is right. Even Ash is not as irreplaceable as Pikachu.

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I like some parts of this episode, but others just confuse me so much that I lose my enjoyment. The Pokemon League stuff I can mostly overlook – it’s the incredibly stupid red stuff and the Nurse Joy thing that miff me.

I do like the gang v. gang concept, though I think it could’ve been executed much better. I also like Ash’s plan for stopping the fighting, even if the second splash of ketchup didn’t make much sense to me. It seemed unnecessary to knock them out if their Trainers agreed to stop fighting.

Ash was pretty well done in this episode. He stood by his principles in the faces of gang leaders, and even when he was beaten up he still wanted to help the town and stop the fighting. I also like how Ash was portrayed at the end. He may have a good heart, but he’s still a bit of an idiot even when he’s being noble. Him having his ego put in check several times throughout the episode through his clumsiness and by the kids being more interested in Pikachu is also more than welcome, even if it is more Pika-pandering.

Team Rocket is probably the most absent they’ve been in a very long time. Outside of that one battle in the restaurant, which was hardly a battle at all, they were completely superfluous to the plot and barely appeared.

Finally, I want to reiterate how awful the character designs are in this episode. Just awful. Outside of the clothes being eyesores, the actual designs of the faces are forgettable as hell. And just screw off with the Nurse Joy thing. I see through your laziness.

Next episode, one I actively hate and the debut of Exeggcute and Exeggcutor.

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