Plot: Principal Folsom tasks Ingrid and Fillmore with finding Duappy, a Tamagochi that has lived for over four years – longer than any other virtual pet in the country. The TV show More is planning on doing a segment on X Middle School with Duappy being the headliner, but someone has stolen it from its owner, Everett’s, house. They take the case and soon find that this virtual friend might teach everyone something about real friendship.
Breakdown: Best episode so far. From start to finish, this episode is filled with awesome jokes, good and believable characters, two great parallel storylines and even a mystery that tripped me up.
Everett’s plight can still be applied today, even if Tamagochi has long since passed as a fad. For those keeping track, Ingrid states in this episode that virtual pets were a fad long since passed even when this episode aired. Just apply the virtual pet motif to a phone or a video game, and you’d have a similar situation in a bunch of kids.
I remember having three Tamagochis or Gigapets when I was a kid. A yellow one (much like Duappy) that had either a cat or dog as an option. I had a blue one, which was, oddly enough, a Rugrats themed Gigapet (I had to have everything Rugrats when I was a kid.) And yes, I mean you could take care of the babies. And I had a red one which was a t-rex.
Just like Ingrid claims, I couldn’t keep any of them alive for more than a few weeks. I take care of my real pets just fine, but it gets to be really monotonous with digital ones. They make really cute keychains, though.
Everett’s a likable kid, but he spends so much of his time and energy keeping up a virtual friendship that he never makes real ones. Seriously, this kid is way into this pet. He has a little bed for it and makes clothes for it.
While I can say I knew from the start that Loraine had something to do with it, they still managed to trip me up by throwing a curveball and revealing that two thefts occurred. Once that was established, I basically knew who the culprit was, but between points A and B they threw another twist our way. It was written extremely well, and I hadn’t been so invested in a case since the pilot.
Might I also praise this episode for using the ridiculousness of its universe to its advantage so much? Let me give you a taste – a crowbar was used to steal Duappy, and it was a Happy Cathead (Basically Hello Kitty) crowbar. A real crowbar….a pink crowbar….a pink toy crowbar….with a Happy Cathead head on it.
But that’s not all!
There’s a Happy Cathead store in the mall, in which someone is reading a ‘Virtual Pet Fancy,’ and the clerk tells them that they sell cases of those crowbars every week….Cases! Of Pink Happy Cathead crowbars…a week!
They seem like they’re at a dead end until the clerk tells them to check the address book. There is an address book hidden in the crowbar that pops out when you pull back Happy Cathead’s head…..What is the purpose of this thing?! Why would you need an address book when you’re using a crowbar?!….Actually, that has many burglary implications. But the fact that this is all combined in a toy marketed towards young girls is just hilarious.
Then, later, Loraine’s mom tells us that she was at the mall buying lobster polish…Before you can even absorb why that might be a thing, they show her holding a bag and it’s from a store called The Lobster Polishery….So this is not only a thing, but there’s a whole store dedicated to it. My head is hurting from laughter.
The case takes some pretty real and interesting curves in the character department as well. I mentioned that Loraine is one of the culprits, but she’s not made out to be a bad guy. She liked Everett, but couldn’t get his attention since he was so focused on Duappy. She also realized that he was damaging his quality of life by focusing on a virtual pet so much and, like she had realized recently, he seemed like he wanted to change who he was.
Everett doesn’t forgive her without a thought. In fact, it seems like he was going to dump her as a friend once he found out, but in the end he realizes that his real friendship with her is better than a fake friendship with Duappy.
It’s also a great contrast to the real culprit – Biana. She and Loraine used to be best friends on the cheerleading squad, but Loraine recently had an identity crisis and quit, meaning she didn’t spend as much time with her cheer squad mates or Biana anymore. She spent even less time with her when she befriended Everett.
Knowing Loraine liked Everett, Biana knew she stole Duappy, so she stole Duappy from Loraine and framed her (well, ensured that she’d get caught anyway) with the crowbar. She knew Everett would hate Loraine and never want to be her friend again if he knew she took it but was unable to give it back. Loraine would come back to her old friends for support, so she’d have her best friend again.
Her intentions are more sinister than Loraine’s, especially considering that Loraine was caring for Duappy (She mentioned she was feeding and cleaning up after him) and intended on giving Duappy back soon, while Biana wasn’t caring for it (it’s doing that ‘I need food/cleaning’ beeping noise when they find it) and had no intentions of giving it back. Though, I have to wonder why she didn’t just destroy it or throw it away if she didn’t want to get caught.
Loraine wanted to be Everett’s friend and bring him into a more real world while Biana wanted to destroy Loraine’s friendship, hurt her and force her to recoil back to a life she didn’t want anymore.
In the B plot, this case makes Fillmore and Ingrid realize that, despite being partners and friends, they don’t really spend any time together outside of school just hanging out. Much of their time is eaten up by the safety patrol. They don’t even know some simple facts about the other that friends would otherwise know.
It’s true, though. Since most of the show itself focuses almost entirely on the safety patrol, we as an audience don’t really see the two of them hang out off-duty and just be friends. They definitely seem like friends, but is it just because they spend so much time together at work?
This episode also has some interesting one-off voice acting choices. I could tell Caroline Rhea was playing Everett’s mom, which is weird because she doesn’t have that much of a part. The More host is Mary Hart, a journalist and TV personality most known for hosting Entertainment Tonight. It took me a couple listens to catch on, but I knew I heard that voice somewhere. Why they got an actual journalist and reporter to play a role with about four lines is baffling. It’s cool and adds to the experience, but baffling.
They also got Steven Weber from Wings to play Loraine’s dad. Truth be told, his role was the one low point because his character had really annoying mannerisms. Plus, you can’t even tell it’s him. I only checked who voiced him because I was wondering if there were any more big names just thrown into the potluck, and lo and behold there was.
Overall, this is a fantastic episode with great obviously and hidden jokes, good characters, a great case and even great action.
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