Animating Halloween | Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil – Kick or Treat/Dead Man’s Roller Coaster Review

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Plot: A – Kick or Treat: On Halloween night, Kick and Gunther get challenged to trick-or-treat at the supposedly haunted Van Der Deth Mansion – a place no kid has ever trick-or-treated before.

B – Dead Man’s Roller Coaster: After getting left behind in the woods by his older brother, Brad, Kick and Gunther stumble upon an abandoned amusement park that seems to be haunted by the ghost of one of Kick’s idols, Dead Man Dave.

Breakdown: Despite hearing good things about this show in the past, I’ve never sat down and watched an episode of Kick Buttowski. I don’t really know why. Maybe it’s because, even after hearing good things, I don’t think I ever heard enough good things to actively seek it out. Maybe I just don’t click with the premise. I dunno. Well, the show finally landed in my lap thanks to the randomizer on the Halloween Specials Fandom page, so how did it fare?

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A: Kick or Treat – This episode is extremely cliché. I think it’s one of the most overused Halloween special plots in existence to dare the main characters to go to a spooky haunted house that is somehow very close by but no one ever references it outside of Halloween episodes.

As you can expect, a bunch of weird and spooky stuff does happen in the house, but it winds up being fake. I will say that the ending was quite sweet. I fully expected them to boast to the other kids that they got a mountain of candy for their troubles and that would be that, but Kick actually shared the wealth, gave everyone a great Halloween party in lieu of Kendall’s weird report ‘party’ she forced on everyone else, and he made a lonely Halloween-lovin’ older lady very happy. That was very cool.

I will say that the costumes for this Halloween special were less than inspired. Kick basically just looked like he always looked, just with a five-o’clock shadow, a little trucker hat and a plastic stump on his hand. We had a mummy, a zombie, a fairy, a ghost – you know the typical costumes. I know it’s unrealistic to see this costumes, but usually TV shows will take advantage of this once-a-year prime real estate for a clever joke and make some funny or memorable costumes for the characters to wear, and they really didn’t make much of an effort here.

The one time I really smiled in the episode was with Gunther’s costume. He’s wearing what I can only describe as one of Richard Simmons’ outfits just without the curly hair. He claims he’s a viking called Thor Thorson who used to dress up like that because he was so intimidating that he didn’t want to scare his own men. Everyone keeps calling him a ballerina throughout the episode, but Mrs. Van Der Deth gets it right, which makes him happy. I smiled at that. That was sweet.

Kick’s other friend, who is obsessed with him, dressed up like Kick, which is creepy.

I did like one kid’s costume. He was dressed up in what seemed to be an actual glass light bulb that worked. He said he was the speed of light, which I thought was kinda clever.

Overall, not a bad Halloween special by any means, it just doesn’t do much of anything to stand out. It only earned a couple small smiles from me and no laughs, but it’s fine.

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B: Dead Man’s Roller Coaster – Usually, I’ll opt not to watch the second story after a single-part Halloween special because they typically have nothing to do with Halloween, so I can’t really review it for AH, but this one still kept the Halloween vibe with ghost stories and whatnot, so I figured it’d be alright.

I’m glad I made that decision, because this episode not only gave me a better impression of Kick Buttowski than Kick or Treat did, but it’s also, in my opinion, a much better Halloween special than Kick or Treat, and it doesn’t even take place on Halloween.

First of all, this episode has an actual ghost story behind it instead of just saying “Ooh look at this creepy haunted house.” Granted, the story is short and is literally just “This extreme sports guy died out here.” but it’s still something. Also, fun fact, while the dialogue has Kick saying Dave died out there, the closed captions on Disney+ say he disappeared.

Second of all, the plot and story are much more creative than Kick or Treat. It’s still not the most creative plot in the world, but it is more creative, especially with the inclusion of an abandoned amusement park, which is one of my favorite spooky environments.

I will say that Kick and Gunther were being a bit too stupid in the amusement park, even for kids. It made for some funny moments, but they didn’t realize that none of the rides would work if there obviously wasn’t power to the place? They didn’t realize that there obviously wouldn’t be good cotton candy stuff there and that the machine wouldn’t even work? Gunther didn’t realize that there would be no one to put on the Wild West show so he just sat there waiting in an empty theater?

The twist was pretty obvious as it was basically the same-ish twist that Kick or Treat had, but I will call a tiny bit of BS since that ‘ghost’ was very obviously flying/hovering around.

I do think it was a bit cool to have Brad actually feel guilty about leaving Kick behind in the woods and rush back to find him instead of just having him let Kick and Gunther stay lost in the woods forever like most asshole older siblings tend to do in kids shows. It adds a bit more dimension to his character instead of just leaving it as him being an asshole, even he did go back to being a jerk once he found Kick.

As far as I’ve read, this plotline actually connects back to other episodes, meaning this show isn’t entirely episodic and has actually storylines to it, which I didn’t really expect of a show like this. Points for that.

Finally, there was much more extreme sports than in Kick or Treat. The only things they really did as extreme sports in Kick or Treat was when they ‘drove’ around in giant cardboard boxes and when Kick frantically climbed up a banister. Here, Kick had a skateboarding competition against the ‘ghost’ throughout all of the rides in the park, which was pretty cool to watch.

Overall, I had more fun and a better Halloweeny experience watching Dead Man’s Roller Coaster than I did Kick or Treat, even though Kick or Treat is still a fine episode. I’m not sure when or if I’ll return to Kick Buttowski in the future, but this was a pretty good first experience with the show, so, if I do, I think I’ll enjoy myself.

Final Notes: Disney continues on with their weird as hell trend of having big stars cameo for extremely small parts in their Disney Channel shows. This time, Debbie Reynolds played Mrs. Van Der Deth. She had like five lines.

Also, I was pleasantly surprised to see Danny Cooksey here as Brad, and, of all people, Matt Jones (Badger from Breaking Bad) plays Gunther. I was going to comment that Kick and Gunther sound way too old to be eight, and this explains a lot about why that is. Matt Jones works fine as the character, but he clearly sounds way too old. Charlie Schlatter as Kick is somehow even more noticeable as being too old for the role, but I kinda gave him a pass because I figured Kick was constantly trying to make his voice sound gravelly to seem more adult or tough. *shrug*


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