CSBS – American Dragon Jake Long Episode 5: Act 4: Scene 15 Review

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Plot: After wrestling it away from the Huntsman and Huntsgirl, Jake is tasked with protecting a scarab beetle that has the power to bring the dead back to life.

Meanwhile, he tries to get the attention of Rose, but finds that she’s preoccupied with an upcoming play about Antony and Cleopatra. In order to get closer to Rose, Jake decides to try out for the role of Antony.

Back with Huntsman and Huntsgirl, doubts begin to form in Huntsgirl’s mind about pursuing the beetle any further, believing the dragons probably already sent it back to Egypt. Huntsman refuses to give up the mission, stating it is their destiny to hunt down all dragons and kill them. Not only that, but the beetle is vital to their clan’s future.

He brings Huntsgirl down to the mysterious catacombs where he reveals the tombs of the past fallen Huntsclan members. He plans on using the beetle to bring them all back to life, creating a new army of Huntsclan warriors and wiping out dragons for good.

The next day, Jake lands himself the part of Antony, and he and Rose decide to practice their lines at his grandpa’s shop that night. She suggests practicing the kissing scene since it’s so vital to the play, but Jake, having never kissed a girl before, starts panicking and awkwardly babbling his way through the conversation. His state of panic leads him to accidentally releasing the beetle.

Jake tries to play it cool at school and gets another rehearsal date with Rose, this time at her house, even though she was reluctant to let Jake come over.

That night, Jake is amazed to discover that Rose lives in a massive castle-like mansion with her uncle. They’re about to rehearse the kiss when Rose suddenly freaks out. Her uncle has arrived home. She quickly hides Jake under the table before discretely throwing him out, citing that her uncle is very strict and doesn’t allow visitors. However, Jake lost the beetle again during the chaos after it had sneaked into his backpack.

Jake decides to bring Rose to Trixie’s house to rehearse. They prepare for the kiss scene again, but they both notice the scarab beetle fly out the window. Not wanting to alert the other of their secret identities, they make up a few excuses to quickly rush out and fight over the beetle. After the fight is over, the Huntsman arrives and takes the beetle for himself, revealing his plan to Jake.

Back at home, Fu Dog explains that the Huntsman is probably planning on using the beetle for a spell that brings dead people back to life. Under the light of the full moon, the Huntsman can indeed bring his ancestors back to life – and the moon just happens to be full tonight, the night of the play.

Later, with the help of Spud, Jake learns the location of the tomb of the Huntsclan. He, Grandpa and Fu head there to stop the resurrection, but they’re too late. Several Huntsclan members have been revived, but Fu Dog manages to grab the beetle to prevent any more from coming back.

Jake grabs the spell book and burns it, causing the revived Huntsclan members to die once more. The struggle continues between the Huntsman, Huntsgirl and the dragons, with Huntsgirl accidentally getting her leg injured in the process. Huntsman takes Huntsgirl and leaves, and Jake has just enough time to make it back to the play for Act 4 Scene 15, the big kiss, which is a good thing because without Jake and Rose, the play has been a disaster. Spud and Trixie have had to take the reigns, and it’s becoming an embarrassing display.

Jake makes it in time, but is shocked to see Spud taking over the role of Cleopatra. Rose couldn’t make it back in time, and Trixie was being so obnoxious that they yanked her. He’s forced to kiss Spud, much to his disgust.

The following day, Jake meets back up with Rose who apologizes for missing the play, citing that she got a sprained ankle at a family event. Jake is slightly suspicious as the injury seems very similar to the one Huntsgirl got, but brushes it off and finally asks Rose out on a real date.

She agrees, much to Jake’s delight.

Breakdown:

– Huntsman has a robot in his fireplace specifically designed to take off his glove to reveal his dragon birthmark? Talk about disposable income.

– What is with the trope of auditions having a string of complete idiots? I’ve been to plenty of auditions for school stuff before. They’re never entertaining. It’s just people reading the same lines over and over and being varying degrees of bad to okay.

– It’s kinda funny that Jake tries to be this smooth ladies man ‘mack-daddy’ but the instant Rose mentions practicing the kissing scene, he becomes a complete doof. Quite a realistic portrayal of a 14-year-old boy.

– I appreciate that Fu Dog is supportive about Jake being nervous about his first kiss.

– Jake: “Seriously, my church isn’t this big!” I never knew Jake was religious. That seems….a little…strange considering the various mythos that are real in this series. How does that work?

– Nice Darth Vader reference when Huntsman puts his helmet on.

– Of course the spell can only be done on the night of a full moon, of course the full moon’s that night and OF COURSE the full moon is on the night of the play.

– Why is Jake acting like, as long as he comes in before Act 4 Scene 15 (the kiss) that he’ll still be able to do it? Bringing in an entirely new actor in the middle, or moreso end, of the play for no reason is pretty stupid even for a junior high play. Not to mention, it’s a little insulting to the understudy to bail until you decide to show up then take the best scene in the play all for yourself.

– Why would they not have an understudy for Cleopatra? Why did the woman running this play not notice until Spud was out there doing both roles?

– I love how the cover of the Huntsman’s ancient spell book is literally just a picture of a skull and the word ‘Spells’

– Why would getting the beetle out of the moonlight not stop the Huntzombies but destroying the spell book does?

– They don’t actually have the balls to show the Jake/Spud kiss, but they do let you hear the audience gasping in response. I think they’ll probably skip the episode where the parents’ groups whine about the gayness.

– Macy Gray was in this episode!?! The hell?! She played the woman who was running the play and Trixie’s grandma. Two extremely small bit parts. Wow. Talk about a wasted cameo.

————————————–

This episode was fairly good but really, really cliché. Like, appallingly cliché. The school play kiss, the nearly missing the play, the nervousness because the school play kiss is a first kiss, the trying to keep a double life a secret while trying to do two really important things on both sides, the school play falling to pieces because the leads are missing etc. It’s all really old hat.

The aspect of bringing the Huntsclan back to life was interesting, but the payoff was really weak. The ones that did get brought back were no more powerful than any other brainless lackey, and they all had the same character design. They were also beaten in a predictable and easy manner. Not to mention that it was ridiculously easy to find the Huntsclan’s tomb. Spud found it through a few minutes of searching on the Internet…..SPUD found it.

I like that Jake and Rose’s relationship isn’t one of those annoying super-slow burns and that the development is realistic. It’s also nice that they’re allowing us to see Rose’s double life as Huntsgirl. It puts the audience in a unique position of connecting with her as well as Jake while knowing, and dreading, that their happy little romance will likely come crashing down once he finds out the truth.

Many similar shows would have the audience in the dark just as much as Jake is, and the big reveal would come later. This arrangement is much better.

………………….Seriously, Macy Gray was in this episode!


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Cartoons Step-by-Step | Xiaolin Showdown Episode 5: Shen Yi Bu Review

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Plot: The Dragon Warriors detect the presence of a new Shen Gong Wu – The Sword of the Storm, which allows the user to control powerful storms and become intangible. But when Omi, self-proclaimed expert on the sword, tries to explain the technical aspects of the weapon, Raimundo daydreams and ignores most of what he says.

His lack of caring on the subject causes him to lose the sword to Tubbimura – Jack Spicer’s newest crony. While losing a Shen Gong Wu is embarrassing enough, it’s stings even worse for Raimundo since the sword is a wind-based Shen Gong Wu and he’s the Dragon of Wind.

Realizing that his lack of focus and seriousness in his studies caused him to fail, Raimundo cracks down on studying.

Later, a new Shen Gong Wu is detected – the Shroud of Shadows, which allows the user to become invisible when cloaked. They track it down only to be met with Tubbimura again. Raimundo and Tubbimura start a Xiaolin Showdown over the shroud, but Raimundo calls for a Shen Yi Bu dare, which doubles the stakes – in addition to the shroud and their initial Shen Gong Wu item, they’ll also wager a second Shen Gong Wu. Winner goes home with five Shen Gong Wu. Tubbimura puts forth the Sword of the Storm and the Fist of Tebigong while Raimundo wagers the Two-Ton Tunic and the Eye of Dashi. Before starting, Raimundo calls for a third condition – swapping items at random intervals.

The showdown starts. It’s a challenge to stay on a rock. First one to knock the other off into the water wins. While Raimundo’s newfound knowledge and determination definitely show in his improved skills in battle, Tubbimura proves to be a formidable opponent. Raimundo barely holds on to the side of the tall rock, using the Fist of Tebigong to maintain his grip. However, the item switch causes him to lose the Fist at the worst moment, but he gains the Sword of the Storm.

He chooses to fall, shocking everyone, but Raimundo once again uses what he learned in his studies to change the tides. He combines the Eye of Dashi with the Sword of the Storm to catch himself in midair and fly over the water. He creates a tornado over Tubbimura, which launches him off the rock and into the water.

Raimundo is declared the winner of the showdown and goes home with five Shen Gong Wu.

Back at the temple, everyone discusses Raimundo’s progress. No one else on the team or even Jack Spicer knew what a Shen Yi Bu dare was, nor did they realize that they could combine Shen Gong Wu together. Master Fung mentions that no one has attempted a Shen Yi Bu in centuries, and winning one is exceptionally difficult.

Meanwhile, Raimundo continues to work hard on his studies to prepare for future challenges…..but he’s not above taking a secret break or two for video games.

Breakdown: This episode is probably the best of Xiaolin Showdown so far. While it was a pretty typical story as far as this series has been concerned so far (One of the group messes up because of a personal flaw, then they realize their mistake, work through it and win in the end) this is the best version of all of these types of stories.

Raimundo’s not being obnoxious, he just has his head up in the clouds (or in the waves, in his case) because he finds the subject to be boring. He clearly has an ego that allows him to think he can do this and still make off without any problems in his studies or battles, but he’s not really being cocky about it. He’s being a typical teenager. Studies are boring, so let’s just do the thing so I can goof off.

When he fails against Tubbimura because he didn’t listen to Omi explaining the Sword of the Storm, it’s a huge blow to his pride. He decides to buckle down, study more and actually engage with his role as the Dragon of the Wind.

Because he actually did the work, he manages to come through in spades, blowing everyone away with his newfound knowledge and skills, and not only getting the Sword of the Storm back, but also gaining the Fist of Tebigong and the Shroud of Shadows.

My main problem with this episode is that Raimundo goes a bit too far too fast. He studies for like a day or a few days and all of a sudden he’s such an expert that he even surpasses Omi, who was practically brought up on Shen Gong Wu stuff, and is doing things that haven’t been done or even discussed in centuries? In the end, Omi’s practically begging Raimundo to share his studies with him so he can get on his level.

It kinda comes off like Raimundo is ridiculously OP if he bothers to put in an iota of effort. I get that the message is to take your studies seriously and actually listen when people convey important lessons, but it gave me major ‘sudden shift in power scaling during a shounen fighting anime’ vibes when he started studying.

What’s even more disappointing is they didn’t really show him working for it much. We saw him pull one all-nighter, if it even was an all-nighter, and then boom he’s suddenly finding an invisible Shen Gong Wu in the water with no problem, using the other Shen Gong Wu like he’s an expert in them all, using Xiaolin Showdown battle conditions that no one else has even heard of, adding additional item swapping stipulations as part of his strategy, and using Shen Gong Wu combination abilities that haven’t been introduced yet. It’s a bit overboard.

That being said, the Xiaolin Showdown was really cool and well done. I also like Raimundo’s arc in this episode, even if they went a big crazy with his upgrade. Plus, the Sword of the Storm and Shroud of Shadows seem like really cool Shen Gong Wu I hope to see more of in the future.

If I have any more notes, it’s these;

– Haha. The fat ninja’s weight is one of his main abilities and his name is frickin’ TUBBImura. Spelled and pronounced that way. You see it written in the first scene.

– Dojo is allergic to Shen Gong Wu in this episode, and it has no purpose in this story nor do I think it’s ever brought up again. I don’t understand why, even as a joke.

Next episode…..

….Previous Episode


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CSBS – Rugrats S01 Ep4: Baby Commercial/Little Dude Review

CSBS - Rugrats Ep4 Screen2

Plot: 4A: Baby Commercial – Phil and Lil recall their experiences filming a diaper commercial.

4B: Little Dude – Tommy is brought to be a learning aid at Didi’s high school Home Ec. class.

Breakdown: 4A: Baby Commercial –CSBS - Rugrats Ep4 screen1This is the first episode to mostly center on Phil and Lil, and it’s largely poking fun at the entertainment industry while also having a lot of random slapstick that Rugrats really loved in the early days.

One thing I really remembered about this episode was the director guy, Jonathan’s, obsession with his diaper box pyramid. That detail is mostly unimportant, but the whole time I was rewatching the episode, I was waiting for when we got to the point where he’d yell “MY PYRAMID!” Like the Cabbage Merchant from Avatar the Last Airbender.

Other than that, we have adults either not understanding babies or not giving a single dime store fuck about them. Ya know, the hallmark of all Rugrats episodes.

Here, we have the director guy acting like a one-and-half-year-old would know how to take stage directions on his own, Betty handing off Lil to a random slob she doesn’t know, and the random slob instantly placing her on the floor and completely neglecting to watch her because he wants to continue stuffing his face with donuts and being incoherent.

He’s wearing a t-shirt that says ‘Best Boy’ and I never got that joke, nor do I get it now. Is there some joke in the industry that best boys are useless sacks of crap? If you don’t know what a best boy is, they’re basically, what Wiki describes as, the ‘foremans’ of their respective crews, either electric or grips. They’re not the heads of their crews, that would be the gaffer (for electric) and key grip, but they are responsible for a lot of scheduling, hiring and general management. Sounds like they have a pretty important job. Why is the parody of it being portrayed like this? Am I not getting something?

For all of you playing at home, Lil ends up in the goddamn rafters and nearly dies because of course she does.

Then the unsupervised Phil climbs on a camera dolly and drives it around the set, nearly crashing the diaper pyramid down. However, another staple of Rugrats episodes is that all of this chaos usually results in a happy if not unrealistic ending. The advertising execs love the footage of the babies wreaking havoc, and they launch the commercial. Jonathan, having fired the kids and Betty before the execs gave their seal of approval, comes to their house to beg and plead for them to shoot more commercials for them. Betty vehemently refuses because she didn’t like how they were treated, which is probably our first parenting win in this series.

This episode was kinda drab, but it was fun enough to hold my attention.

4B: Little Dude –

CSBS - Rugrats Ep4 Screen4

This is one my absolute favorite early season episodes. It’s extremely cute and funny with many memorable moments, but the highlight is Ramone/Rocko.

Before we get started, does anyone remember that Didi was a high school Home Ec. teacher? It’s really, really easy to forget because they hardly ever talk about it or show her at school. I was a die-hard Rugrats fan for well over a decade and even I barely remembered that she was a teacher.

Anyhoo, Didi brings Tommy to school as a learning aid as she teaches her class how to change a diaper, which I can’t decide if that’s a parenting fail or not. Don’t they usually use baby dolls for this? Isn’t it kinda weird to use an actual baby with an actual poopy diaper? Isn’t it just flatout better to use a baby doll anyway because it’s not like everyone in the class can change Tommy. Not everyone would get a chance to do it themselves.

Like typical teenagers, they can’t bring themselves to change him because ew, but then the coolest guy ever walks in – Ramone also known as Rocko. Ramone looks like a typical ‘cool’ guy. He’s got the leather jacket, the slicked back hair, the sunglasses, the chains etc. But unlike your cliché leather-toting ‘cool’ guy, Ramone actually is incredibly cool. He walks in like a boss, has everyone step aside and changes Tommy flawlessly. Tommy then adorably steals and wears his sunglasses, which Ramone thinks is very cool. I agree, Tommy looks really cool with those glasses on.

Ramone explains that he has a baby brother at home so he’s used to changing diapers. Using his comb, he dubs him ‘Little Dude’ and Tommy instantly takes a shine to him.

Once class is dismissed, some girls convince Didi to let them hang out with Tommy while she’s on her lunch break and she agrees. The girls really like Tommy, but while they’re dealing with some jerk football player they accidentally leave him on the tailgate of a truck that pulls away without them noticing.

I am going to give the girls a break for ignoring Tommy for a bit, but I’m going to ding them for leaving him on the tailgate. He could’ve easily fallen off and gotten severely injured or killed either by wandering off the edge or by the force of the truck pulling away. To their credit, they do quickly realize he’s missing and run all over the place trying to find him, but still.

While wandering, Tommy finds Ramone, but he soon walks away without noticing Tommy. He drops his comb, and Tommy tries to find Ramone to return it to him. Tommy’s forlorn face when Ramone leaves the room without realizing he’s there is so heartbreaking.

Then we have the epic cafeteria scene where the jerk football player from before and Ramone end up facing off and wiping food on each other after Tommy accidentally gets pudding on the football guy’s jersey. When a full-on food fight breaks out, because cafeteria scene in the 90s, the football jerk angrily picks up Tommy. Ramone instantly stops all of the chaos with a single sentence when he demands the jerk give Tommy to him. Ramone puts Tommy in his leather jacket, leaves the room and instantly allows the food fight to resume as he leaves the doorway.

This guy is too amazing for words.

Tommy is eventually returned to the girls, one of whom instantly falls in mutual love with Ramone at first sight. Aw that’s sweet…Girl, seriously, nab him up. He’ll be an awesome dad. If he treats you anywhere near as well as he treated Tommy here, or even Didi, he was very nice to her too, he’ll be a perfect guy for you.

The girls return Tommy to Didi, who is none the wiser of what happened, but is happy to hear the girls learned a lot from their experience with Tommy. Returning Ramone’s comb to him, Ramone lets Tommy keep his sunglasses, which are still super cool, and Ramone bids farewell to the Little Dude.

I left some stuff out for the sake of brevity and because I’d just be ruining jokes for you, but this is a really great episode with some adorable and hilarious moments and a really cool and likable character. I would’ve loved to see Ramone/Rocko return, but alas, he was a one-off.

Parenting Fails

4A – I won’t ding Betty too much for handing off Lil to the Best Boy because she needed to be somewhere to help Phil, and she probably just assumed he would be competent enough to hold a baby for five minutes, but I will ding the Best Boy because he didn’t even try to hold her for longer than five seconds. He instantly plopped her on the filthy floor and ignored her. That’s bad enough, but then she ends up climbing into the rafters and nearly falling to her death all because he’s a lazy gluttonous slob. X5

Once Lil has everyone’s attention, literally no one watches Phil, which leaves him open for causing havoc on the ground. He gets ahold of one of the camera dollies and nearly crashes into the diaper pyramid. X3

4B – Not much here. I’ll ding the tailgate thing (x3), as I said, but considering Didi was trying to teach her students about child care, there were three girls watching him and she was only allowing it for a lunch break, even telling them to find her if he gets fussy, I won’t get on her case.

Tally: 11


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CSBS – Rocket Power Episode 4: Happy Luau to You-Au/Rescue Rocket

Plot: 4A: Happy Luau to You-Au – Reggie’s planning to have an awesome birthday party at Madtown Skate Park, but her plans are ruined when Otto gets all of them temporarily suspended from the park.

4B: Rescue Rocket – Sam and Twister are forced into joining a junior lifeguard program. Despite a rocky start, they eventually find themselves enjoying the experience, much to Otto’s dismay.

Breakdown: 4A: Happy Luau to You-Au – Sometimes, Otto can be really full of himself. And other times, he can actually be pretty sweet.

Trying out a new game he came up with for Reggie’s birthday party in which everyone holds hands and skates in a chain, the group gets suspended from Madtown for one week. Despite being clearly a bad idea (maybe a fine idea in a skating rink, but not in a skate pool) Otto had innocent intentions here, and it would’ve been fine, technically, but their people-chain ended up knocking down basically every other person at the park.

They really should have stopped the instant one person went down because of them, since that’s just what most normal people would do, but they didn’t for whatever reason. As a result, they got suspended from the park for one week, which is honestly pretty lenient if you ask me, but it’s made all the worse because Reggie was planning on having her first big birthday party at Madtown. Usually she has ‘lame’ parties at the Shore Shack, but she’s finally breaking free and having her party somewhere more exciting. Since she’s suspended, she can’t have her party there.

Reggie is devastated and very angry, especially at Otto, and for once Otto is genuinely sorry. He doesn’t argue, he doesn’t try to make excuses – he just accepts that he screwed up and feels very remorseful about it.

Reggie, on the other hand, is being a bit of a brat throughout the entire episode. Yeah, it’s understandable that she’s being a brat, but it’s also just slightly annoying.

In his guilt, Otto tells Mrs. Stimpleton about what happened. She takes it upon herself to throw Reggie a huge birthday bash – and if you know Mrs. Stimpleton, you already see why this is a big problem. She has a very kiddie and lame idea of what a teenager’s birthday party should be. She ends up hiring a really awful clown (who is even named Lame-O) and a terrible band that uses accordions.

When Reggie learns about this, she becomes even angrier and vows vengeance on the person who told Mrs. Stimpleton about her party – making Otto feel even worse. As if that weren’t bad enough, Mrs. Stimpleton is going to ridiculous lengths to get the word out on Reggie’s party. She’s put out a full-page ad in the paper and is driving around town with a huge loudspeaker announcing the party.

Otto, Twister, Sam, Raymundo and Tito set out to make things right.

Mrs. Stimpleton goads Reggie into coming to the party, and Reggie is shocked to find that the party is actually really cool. It’s being held at the Stimpleton’s pool, the band is using ‘cooler’ instruments, there’s good cake, the clown is basically being taken as a doofy street performer, and everyone’s having a blast.

Reggie gets her awesome birthday party, Otto makes up for his mistake, he and Reggie make up, and everything’s great……….This isn’t really a luau, so I dunno what the heck the title’s on about, but everything’s great otherwise.

This was just a really wholesome episode (Well, wholesome barring one scene where they’re clearly making that joke about a character ‘drinking’ their problems away at the bar, but in this case it’s Reggie eating fries and Tito cutting her off. He even asks if she’s driving home. Kinda surprising how many kids’ cartoons make this joke.) that, for once, didn’t center mostly on extreme sports. Otto’s being a sweetheart, and even his big mistake was just that – a mistake. It’s something a kid would totally do without realizing it’s a bad idea. Reggie’s being a little bit of a brat, but, again, it’s understandable, and she never goes too far with it.

I also really like that Otto didn’t slam Mrs. Stimpleton for what she was trying to do. He worked with her to turn her ideas into something Reggie would like instead of hurting her feelings and taking everything over himself. It was also really sweet how everyone came together in the end to help make things right for Reggie.

Overall, this is a really good and sweet story. I fully enjoyed it.

Breakdown: 4B: Rescue Rocket – Sometimes, Otto can be really sweet. And other times, he can be a dumbass.

Story B of today’s episode involves Sam and Twister being signed up for a junior lifeguard course by their parents. They’re both bummed about it at first, but Sam quickly takes to it, and even Twister eventually starts making a really solid effort to succeed in the course.

Otto and Reggie, however, are bummed because this course is eating up all of Twister and Sam’s time and energy, so they’re left to skate and play hockey by themselves.

Both Reggie and Otto express disdain towards the class, but Reggie soon starts showing interest and is even impressed by the feats they’re pulling off.

Otto, on the other hand, stays firm in his stance that lifeguards, and especially kids partaking in the junior lifeguard course, are all weenies and losers. He’s being totally in character here, both as a kid and just as Otto, plus I get his purpose in trying to show the audience, who may share his views, how cool and important lifeguards are, but he is being flatout annoying.

You’d think a guy who was practically born on a surfboard and was raised by an avid surfer right next to the ocean would have more respect for lifeguards, but he could not respect them less. Even after hearing Tito’s dramatic explanation (according to him anyway) about how, many years ago, lifeguards started out as wise people who respected the power of the ocean so much that they spread the word to people who worked and played in the waters and kept them safe from harm, Otto’s still not impressed. Reggie, however, is so impressed that she asks if she can join the junior lifeguards near the end.

Left on his own as the class winds down, Otto laments that everyone he knows is giving into the idea that the ‘lame’ lifeguards are interesting and cool.

As he mopes, Tito, who claims he’s collecting some seawater with a bucket on a rope for a secret recipe, suddenly falls from the pier and into the water. He’s tangled in the rope and can’t swim to safety.

Twister and Sam instantly grab their gear and establish a plan to save Tito. They work together to untangle Tito from the rope and tow him to safety.

…..And yeah, he was faking the whole time. It was Twister and Sam’s final test in the course, which is fine and cool and all, but….like….what about everyone else in the class?

Tito was actually a lifeguard back in Hawaii, a fact that makes Otto eat some crow when he realizes how he was accidentally insulting Tito when was slamming lifeguards. Otto has now gained a better appreciation for lifeguards and even compliments Twister and Sam for their skills in saving Tito.

I really liked this episode, too. While Otto was annoying, he was realistically annoying. Most kids think lifeguards are lame, and it’s understandable that Otto, hater of all rule enforcers, would be one of those kids. I just feel like, given how much of his life revolves around the ocean and extreme sports in the water, that he’d have a decent appreciation for lifeguards by now. Has he not ever witnessed anyone being rescued before?

I would say maybe he doesn’t have a grasp or mortality either, but….uh….his mom’s dead…..

Like many other times, this episode also shows the significant difference between Otto and Reggie, and that’s simply in the fact that Reggie is more mature and open-minded than he is (Uuuuuuusuallyyyyyyyy.) They both started out ragging on the junior lifeguards, but Otto did it more, worse, and Reggie warmed up to them much sooner.

This was a great episode for both Sam and Twister. It gave Sam some confidence, which I always love. Once he actually got invested in it, Twister also had some nice moments. It showed that he really can learn and do great things if you manage to keep his attention. Plus, I really like Twister and Sam’s friendship. They make a great team when Twister’s not being a jerk to Sam.

There were several funny moments in this episode, particularly when Sam and Twister were trying to save Lars and Sputz. Twister refuses to save his brother, and Sam actually stands up to Lars when he, predictably, starts mocking him. I loved when Sam said “Please grab the rescue can, MADAM, and I’ll tow you to safety.” Then Twister returned without Sputz because he couldn’t understand what Sputz was saying (He’s basically the Boomhauer of the show – speaking in mostly gibberish only a few select characters can understand.)

I love the overall message of this episode as well. As I mentioned, while connecting with Otto, it helps kids who think lifeguards are lame to gain a greater respect for them. It also encourages kids and teens to take safety courses and become lifeguards. That’s really great, especially for a show that puts so much focus on extreme sports in water. Any kid who wants to partake in these sports due to the influence of this show should take safety courses to ensure they stay as safe as possible and help other people. Admirable job, Rocket Power. You did good.


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CSBS | Fillmore! Episode 8 – Ingrid Third Public Enemy #1

CSBS - FILLMORE EPISODE 8

Plot: This episode explores the backstory of how Ingrid and Fillmore became partners in the Safety Patrol. Fillmore, having just lost his best friend and previous partner, Wayne, after he moved to Tennessee, tries to go solo on a case to clear the new kid, Ingrid, of a crime she didn’t commit.

Breakdown: As much as I hate to say this, this was a massively disappointing episode.

I’ve been really looking forward to rewatching the backstory episode because I didn’t remember it, and now I know why I didn’t remember it.

I feel like this episode needed to be a two-parter because it required more time to do the following.

– Flesh out Wayne.

We know he was very important to Fillmore and, maybe, the Safety Patroller who saved Fillmore from his troublemaking ways, but that’s about it. In order to really feel for their connection or care that he’s gone, we needed more time to learn about him and connect with him. He seems like a really nice guy, so it’s a shame he barely misses getting glossed over.

– A little more development on Ingrid and Fillmore’s meeting and relationship.

For someone who supposedly is super pissed that his BFF left and is gunning for the ‘lone wolf’ cop lifestyle, he sure takes a shine to Ingrid quickly and vice versa.

Ingrid was set on writing off this whole school from day one, even admitting to a crime she didn’t commit for the sake of getting expelled, but just knowing that Fillmore had a piece of irrefutable evidence that convinced him that she didn’t do it is enough to make them friends.

Both of them had very bull-headed attitudes that were extinguished way too easily. I liked how they started working together to clear Ingrid’s name, especially utilizing her skills in ‘forensics,’ but they needed more time to work on their relationship from the starting point. Maybe have Fillmore be skeptical purely because he’s upset about Wayne leaving, and then have him be kinda cold to her in interrogation or something, but then slowly realize she’s innocent and make amends.

– Make the case more complex.

The case was WAY too easy. I knew from the second I saw Parnassus that he was the culprit, and the instant someone said he was the smartest kid in school, I knew the motive. It was way too easy, even for a kid’s show. Fillmore!’s usually more clever than this. I was looking for them to subvert my expectations because it’s usually not the first suspect, but they didn’t include any other suspect, and he was constantly coming up with new evidence and pointing at Ingrid as a criminal.

We know it’s not Ingrid, because this is a flashback so of course she’s not, and we’ve never seen Parnassus in the previous episodes, so all signs point to him. The insanely bright neon signs…..set on fire….with sirens blaring ‘PARNASSUS DID IT.’

Another odd thing about this episode was the incredibly bad light they put X Middle School in. I have stated in the past that X is such a batshit crazy yet awesome school that I would’ve loved to have gone there when I was a kid, but this episode makes it look terrible.

It especially makes Fulsom look like a total bitch. New kid in school? Have a big assembly to not only introduce her, but also embarrass her by proclaiming she’s the smartest kid in school.

Think she’s blissfully unaware of the position this puts Ingrid in? No. This assembly is called for another reason. She knows that new kids are always the targets of abuse because they’re new and different, so, just to get all the abuse out of the way, she allows the students to pelt the new kid with foam balls for two minutes.

What the fuck? So, instead of stopping the abuse, the school just has it’s own kid version of The Purge by letting them abuse the new kid by throwing balls at them? And the faculty AND Safety Patrol just sit there? They’re ‘harmless foam rubber balls’ but who cares? That’s still terrible.

Who’s to say this even works? The kid is still new and strange to them. They’ll still either ignore or pick on them either way.

I didn’t much like that Ingrid also has a sordid past. Come on, that’s Fillmore’s thing. They can’t both be the reformed criminal. That’s just lazy. And why is this just coming up now? Why has Fillmore been called out for his ‘criminal’ past a few times before but everyone ignores Ingrid’s troublemaking days? Just because she didn’t go to the same school when that stuff happened?

Minor thing, but I also didn’t like that Lemmy, Parnassus’ ‘friend,’ took the heat for Parnassus’ crimes. He seems like a nice guy overall. After Ingrid helped save him in the tire fort, he grabbed her and saved her from the stink bomb in return. Fillmore and Ingrid have plenty of evidence to clear his name, but Fulsom won’t hear of it because Parnassus is a massive suck-up.

They actually failed for a change, and that’s just depressing. I know Lemmy helped Parnassus in the crimes, but he just seems like he does everything Parnassus tells him to, seeing him as his only friend.

He didn’t just throw Lemmy under the bus, either. Parnassus convinces him to make a full, taped confession right in the principal’s office with Parnassus standing right beside him. What a prick.

There were a couple of decent jokes like the cardboard boxes Fillmore runs into when he’s chasing ‘Ingrid’ have the words ‘Cliche Box co.’ on them, and the Safety Patrol in Tennessee not only uses horses, but their stable is in the Safety Patrol room. That does not, in any way, help this episode, though.

Such a shame. The potential of a backstory episode is so vast yet this is what we get. I hope we see more of Wayne and even Parnassus in the future, but as it stands, this episode was incredibly disappointing and just flatout not good.

Next episode…..

….Previous Episode


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CSBS – Xiaolin Showdown Episode 4: Katnappe!

CSBS - XSEP4

Plot: The gang is trying out their new Shen Gong Wu – the Golden Tiger Claws, which can transport them to anywhere they want. Omi is robbed of his turn when a new Shen Gong Wu is revealed – the Changing Chopsticks, which allow the user to shrink down to a size as small as a grain of rice.

Meanwhile, Jack Spicer and Katnappe are at each other’s throats trying to prove which of them is better at retrieving Shen Gong Wu. Katnappe quickly dispatches Jack’s robots with her genetically altered super kittens, impressing Wuya, and heads off to get the Shen Gong Wu. She reaches the chopsticks right as Omi does, and he challenges her to a Xiaolin Showdown, but Katnappe doesn’t have a Shen Gong Wu with which to compete. Wuya forces Jack to give her his Fist of Tebigong, however. Omi sets the game as Tag, believing he has a major advantage in such a game with the Golden Tiger Claws.

The showdown starts, and even though Katnappe has never been in a showdown nor really knows how they work, she easily uses the Fist of Tebigong to knock Omi over and grab the Tiger Claws. Opening a portal directly above him, she easily tags him and wins the showdown.

Back at their lair, Wuya denounces Jack as her evil favorite in lieu of Katnappe, but Katnappe decides that she doesn’t like the dynamic with Wuya and she can’t stand Jack, so she grabs the Golden Tiger Claws and leaves to do her own thing.

Meanwhile, back at the temple, Omi is upset over losing the Golden Tiger Claws (Because they’re cooler than the chopsticks he was trying to obtain.) Master Fung tells him that there are no lessons in victory, but a a thousand in defeat. To illustrate his point, he challenges the young warriors to take a small statute from him. If they win, no chores. If they lose, they have to scrub the floors by hand.

While the stakes are high, they accept this challenge. Fung easily holds them off, but Clay nearly lassos the statue. Right before he’s about to pull it away, Fung smashes the statue.

The warriors are obviously very confused, wondering how they could ever win if he smashes the statue. Fung explains that their goal was to win and his was merely to not lose, which is why he ‘won.’ Raimundo’s not amused and asks where the other 999 lessons are, and Fung tells him he might find them when they’re all scrubbing the floors.

After a backbreaking night of cleaning, Kimiko gets the news that Katnappe has been using the Golden Tiger Claws to commit robberies – easily getting in and out of establishments through portals.

The next news alert says she’s at the Mall of the World (how that news came in but no police are on scene, I don’t know) but when they arrive, they swiftly get their butts handed to them. Clay doesn’t even put up a fight because he refuses to fight women.

Katnappe escapes via another portal, and the Xiaolin monks take chase, but they still have no plan for defeating her. Kimiko deduces that Katnappe is probably at Catatonia, the world’s scariest theme park that just so happens to be heavily centered on cats.

Repeating Master Fung’s advice about learning from defeat, they decide to send Clay after Katnappe. He may not be willing to fight girls, but he is willing to give her a big bear hug and make her immobile. Omi is able to easily grab the Golden Tiger Claws as a result, but the fight isn’t over.

Jack arrives, having tracked down Katnappe with his bloodhound robots. In order to stop Jack from getting the Golden Tiger Claws, Omi opens a portal and throws the Tiger Claws into it, causing the bloodhound robots to follow. He has set the portal to open at the center of the earth so even though the Xiaolin monks can’t use the Golden Tiger Claws, neither can the Heylin.

Omi again is reminded of the lesson Master Fung taught them earlier. They didn’t have to win – they just had to make sure they didn’t lose.

Breakdown: This episode was meh leaning towards the positive. There were decent highs, and none of the lows were too low (barring one aspect I’ll get to in a minute.) Katnappe makes for a good enemy, and the lesson this time around was pretty good.

However, I still have a couple of things to get off my chest.

First, Clay…..Jesus, Clay. We just came off of an episode where we addressed a lot of sexist attitudes. It didn’t really say or help much, but it was literally one episode ago. And now we have Clay refusing to fight just because Katnappe is a girl. He even says this.

Clay: “Do you have any male kinfolk I can fight?”

Come on, Clay….

And what lesson do they learn from his defeat because of his sexist attitudes?…Nothing. Just work around it by having him fiercely hug her against her will instead. Because, yeah, replace violence (That she’s willfully if not gleefully partaking in) with unwanted extended full-body physical contact. That’s much less problematic.

Need I remind him that Wuya, one of their main enemies, is a woman? What’s he going to do when she gets her corporeal form back? Sit out every battle?

Second, even though the characters are seemingly getting better at playful banter, the first scene with the monks being a perfect example, there are still too many moments where it just seems like they’re being jerks to each other for no reason. It’s a small gripe, especially if it’s going to go away over time, but I still get irritated at those moments where they’ll make a completely unwarranted snide comment towards a person who is supposed to be their friend.

Overall, though, a pretty enjoyable episode.

Next episode, Raimundo learns to take his studies more seriously after he loses a Shen Gong Wu.

….Previous Episode


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CSBS – Rugrats S01 Ep03: At the Movies/Slumber Party

CSBS - Rugrats Ep3 9

Plot: 3A: At the Movies –  The babies are brought to the theater to see their first movie – The Dummi Bears: The World Without Smiles. However, Tommy’s much more interested in seeing the awesome giant green dinosaur, Reptar. Knowing he’s at the theater from seeing a poster for his new movie outside, Tommy and the other babies head off to find him.

3B: Slumber Party – Angelica is invited over to have a slumber party with Tommy. After inconsiderately opening the window during their nap, Tommy falls ill with a fever.

Breakdown: 3A: At the Movies – So, again, I’m not a parent, but I still don’t get the idea behind taking babies to the movies. I’m not talking about parents who bring their small children to movies that are clearly inappropriate for them or don’t bother doing anything about them making a racket during literally any movie – I’m talking about bringing one and two-year-olds to literally any movie.

The Dummi Bears movie, despite the name being an offshoot of the Gummi Bears, is a parody of the Care Bears, and you can’t get much more saccharine and G rated than the Care Bears. The franchise is obviously centered more on very young kids, but that’s more like three to six-year-olds not one and two year olds. I’d think kids need to have some sort of solid grasp on language before it’d be worth it to bring them to a movie.

For the kids, you’re basically paying around 40 bucks, not counting snacks and drinks, for bright moving colors to keep their eyeballs engaged for a little over an hour. For the parents, you’re paying the same to sit there bored out of your mind in a room filled with small rowdy children, most of whom won’t sit still or be quiet for the duration of the movie, and similarly disinterested parents.

Not to mention that, surely, one of those babies will need a diaper change in the middle of the film and that has either be annoying to the parents or the babies who may or may not be interested in the movie.

Maybe I’m just ignorant on this topic. I dunno.

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The parents in this circumstance were so engaged in the movie, they didn’t bother checking on their children for over an hour. The children who were literally sitting at their feet. They couldn’t tear their eyes away for a single second….Reminder – they’re watching a Dummi Bears movie.

I’m not one to slam cartoons on the basis of ‘you can’t like this because you’re too old for it’ no matter what age range their demo is – That’s just dumb – but I find it really hard to believe that ALL of the parents were this engaged in a movie that starts with the Dummi Bears shooting happy thought arrows down to the US (And only the US. Everywhere else has to be sad apparently) with the main conflict being the theft of a list of sad children to make happy. Without it, the United States will become the land without smiles.

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Guess they never found the list.

It’s a little understandable that Stu is so into this, I believe it’s been established that he’s a big Dummi Bear fan, but not everyone else. They’re audibly gasping, their eyes are glued to the screen, they’re holding onto each other when the slightest thing happens, Stu nearly broke down in tears. It’s a bit much.

Grandpa Lou is being a little too grumpy about this, but at least he’s acting like most normal adults would when dragged to a toddler movie. And even HE’S too preoccupied either pouting or watching the movie to check on the babies. He just finds them wandering around the lobby later and is like ‘Oh hey, you kids don’t like that garbage either, eh? Let’s get back to our seats.’

Let me also make it clear that the babies are literally right at their feet. They’re not in some movie theater playpen or in seats of their own – they’re put on the floor in front of them….the disgusting sticky movie theater floor. So even when the Rugrats parents (I should call them Rugrents……Hm) are trying to do something nice for their kids, they’re still being irresponsible with them.

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This is another one of those episodes where even the third-party adults are braindead, deaf and blind. Once the babies leave the theater, they run behind a curtain and I instantly thought ‘Wow, better hope no one’s showing a hard R movie in here.’ That didn’t happen, but the first movie they found was right in the middle of an almost disturbingly long kissing scene. Obviously, they’re not really moving much and it’s closed-mouth, but still….that somehow makes it weirder, now that I think about it. They’re blocking the projector, they’re walking over people’s feet, and somehow no one’s really paying any mind.

The babies break out of there, being detected by no one except one person who tells them ‘Down in front!’ They then lay waste to the lobby. Two teenage employees (One voiced by Scott Menville, and holy crap was that a weird revelation considering I love Teen Titans) are running the snack bar and they’re too engrossed in their argument to notice the babies. They’re arguing over skateboards because they’re teenagers in the 90s.

I can understand them not seeing the babies wandering around the lobby, but let me give a list of all the stuff the babies do that certainly would have been seen/heard by anyone standing a few feet away.

  • Tommy CLIMBS INTO THE POPCORN MACHINE and digs around for Reptar. Not only is that very dangerous, considering the heat, but that is just disgusting. He’s getting boogers, drool and dirty diaper residue all over the popcorn. They actually mention this later, but the guy says the popcorn tasted like soda pop, which doesn’t make sense because no soda came close to the popcorn machine. I almost want to believe the line was originally that the popcorn tasted like diaper and they rewrote it before recording because that’s a little too gross.
  • Phil and Lil pour soda everywhere (but not in the popcorn machine).
  • Chuckie eats a ton of candy bars and throws a bunch of stuff around.
  • Phil and Lil pour ketchup and mustard everywhere.
  • Lil knocks over a container of straws.

Only when the babies are gone do they finally realize the mess that’s been made.

CSBS - Rugrats Ep3 5

The babies then head into the projector room where the guy running the projectors for all of the movies is sitting reading a magazine. Again, so enthralled by it that he doesn’t notice the babies making baby noises or climbing into the viewing ports. He also doesn’t notice them climbing onto the spools, grabbing lines of film, yanking on them and causing a massive mess until the massive mess is way out of control.

He did kinda notice them once. Phil and Lil knocked over a stack of film reel cans, obviously making a very loud clanging noise, and that makes him look up from his magazine and glance over only to resume reading a second later….

Tommy says he’s ‘seen this one’ when he looks into the port for the viewing of the Dummi Bears movie, and I’m just like….how? This movie is still in theaters and you’ve never been to a movie before. You are a baby….How have you seen this one?

The kids happily find Reptar, but they only pay him some mind for a minute or so before they want to play on the spinning film reels because they’re babies and that’s how they’d realistically react to a movie.

Once they realized they’ve caused trouble, they leave. Lou finds them in the lobby, thinks nothing of it, and brings them back to their seats…err…floor to try and watch the rest of the movie only to have the film cut off because of the babies’ shenanigans, which doesn’t make a lot of sense. The film should’ve cut out when the babies were messing around in there.

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Apparently, no one got a refund, which is bullshit. You pay for a movie and it cuts out before the end, you either give the customers a refund or some voucher for a free re-viewing of the movie in the future. Stu was upset because they were about to reveal if some girl was going to live or something. Stu….it’s a movie for toddlers….I’d wager she lives.

There was a lot of smack talk against the theater near the end. Lou berated the snack bar employees for the huge mess, even though they were clearly working hard to clean it up, and it could’ve been an accident. The couple coming out of the theater were saying it’s the worst theater ever. Didi said they should visit a different theater the next time they go to see a movie.

I’m debating whether this is warranted, because, on one hand, the babies caused all of the problems in the theater, and the business doesn’t deserve to get punished for something they did. On the other hand, they have terrible employees who could have easily stopped all of this had they been even remotely interested in doing their jobs. In addition, they didn’t offer refunds for the movies that were cut off, and that’s all on management.

This episode was pretty decent. There was some good humor and pacing here, even if the logic, or lack thereof, regarding the adults was irksome. Obviously, if you know Rugrats, you know this is a pretty important episode because it’s our proper introduction to Reptar, who is HUGE in the Rugrats universe. The babies will remain Reptar fans for the entirety of the show. He’s a very beloved character to both them and most Rugrats fans. I know I love that big green dinosaur.

3B – Slumber Party: Before we begin, I have a very serious topic I’d like to discuss with you all today.

Namely, WHAT THE UNGODLY HELL IS THIS??!?!

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They just start the episode with an image of this creature that would make Satan seek therapy. Who drew this, and why do they want to instill terror upon the viewer? Klasky/Csupo has never been known for great art, but…why? Why did the animators make it look like Cupid’s on bath salts?

Anyhoo, Rugrats was always pretty good at making trippy episodes. This is the first, but definitely not last, instance of one of the babies having weird-ass dreams. Most of them are known for being terrifying in their imagery. This one is rather harmless, though. By far the scariest image in this episode is the Cupid from hell – and that’s not part of the dream!

There’s not much to explain about this episode since it’s a trippy fever dream story. It’s moreso an experience than it is an actual story. The only real notable parts are the parenting fails, which are listed below. I definitely remember this episode, though. Every last bit of it.

The actual story is that Angelica is a miserable bitch. I’m sure that’s news to you. She makes fun of Tommy for drinking out of a bottle like a baby when…yeah…yeah, he’s a baby. She dumps her perfectly fine dinner onto the floor when Didi pays more attention to a now-ill Tommy than her. What’s worse is that she made her cousin sick and simply doesn’t care.

I was going to make the argument that she didn’t realize the cold would make Tommy sick – she is just three after all – but nope. All signs point to her knowing she made Tommy sick by opening the window, and she not only doesn’t care, but she threatens Tommy if he…I dunno what. He can’t tell his parents it was her, so her threat seems unnecessary.

If that’s not bad enough, she blames Phil and Lil for giving it to him, then she blames Chuckie claiming he probably came over and opened his window.

And then she claims Tommy’s faking it…

Angelica also takes every opportunity to vie for Didi’s attention at the dinner table when she knows Tommy’s getting sick and Angelica knows she made him that way. This is where the dinner dumping happens.

Oh well, at least she gets plenty of comeuppance through Tommy barfing all over her. She also gets a slightly nice moment when she flatters Tommy by complimenting his barfing ability. That’s something, I guess.

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While there were some annoying aspects to this episode, it’s otherwise a very sweet story. I’ll definitely take a moment where the parents are being kind and caring to help contrast all the times they’re insanely negligent.

And, really, it is sweet, especially at the end where we see all of the adults sleeping in Tommy’s room (Didi sleeping on Stu’s lap) and even Angelica gets some more subtle shade when we see her sucking her thumb as she sleeps. Hehe, the little hypocrite. (Funny how the one person missing from the previous episode was Angelica considering she’s wearing a Dummi Bears shirt.)

Angelica may be a nightmare, and she may have caused Tommy distress, but she didn’t ruin this cute little acid trip of an episode.

Parenting Fails

3ANone of the parents notice their children are missing from the theater at any point…when they were right at their feet….and they were watching a Dummi Bears movie. I’m gonna count five for this because it’s too dumb.

They put their babies on the floor of a movie theater in the first place….x2 because gross, and there’s no reason for this. Everyone else is in seats. Come on – they can at least sit in your laps.

Grandpa Lou thinking nothing of the babies wandering around the lobby, clearly coming from some place that is not their theater.

3B – The window in Tommy’s room not only doesn’t have any baby-proofed lock on it, but it’s also simply not regularly locked and is at a low enough height for a three-year-old to open it easily.

No one checked on the kids for the duration of their several hour long nap?

Oh dear god, the scene where they’re talking about what to do about Tommy’s illness. At first, it’s not bad because they just want to take his temperature and call a doctor, but then Lou suggests a cure that is never adequately explained. He talks about getting a sock as big as Tommy’s head (?!) and holding him upside down (?!?!?!?) while feeding him applesauce. This “cure” was something he did to Drew and Stu when they were kids. I’m going to give him an overdue parenting fail for that.

This would just be the crazy ramblings of an old coot, and they compound this thought by rolling their eyes at it, but Didi suggested they actually try it! What the hell are you smoking, woman!? x3

Even if this wasn’t just a stupid and possibly harmful thing to do, how does she think feeding him applesauce upside down will bring down his fever?

Speaking of Didi, she, of course, breaks out the damn Lipschitz books. What’s his remedy? Putting a radio under his pillow….Because…that’s how you treat a fever, apparently. Since they don’t have one small enough, they read that they can also sing him a lullaby….Uhm…Didi, are you looking at the section for making a baby sleep and not the one for treating a fever or other illness? Because a lullaby will not treat your son’s fever.

He hasn’t been having trouble going to sleep, why are you trying to treat your son’s illness via song? You’re not a bard.

And…really, if she was looking up ways to make him sleep…why is a lullaby so novel? Did you really need to read that in a Lipschitz book?

Admittedly, the lullaby is quite nice and it’s a sweet moment for them as a family so bit of a parenting win here.

Tally: 12

Next Episode, Phil and Lil are in a diaper commercial, and Tommy becomes the best bud to a cool teenager at Didi’s school.

Previous Episode


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CSBS – Rocket Power Episode 3: Otto 3000/Night Prowlers

CSBS - Rocket Power Ep 3 1

Plot: 3A: Otto 3000 – After breaking his snowboard while qualifying in a big competition, Otto sells out to a massive conglomerate, Sno-Mart.

3B: Night Prowlers – Lars challenges Otto and the others to a hockey game. The only hitch is it’s set to be at midnight. Otto accepts on behalf of everyone, but there will be big trouble if they’re caught.

Breakdown: 3A: Otto 3000 – This episode is really dumb. I try to avoid starting reviews with watered down statements like that, but it’s true.

First and foremost, this episode is framed as a documentary Twister made on the events of the episode – which is just Otto partaking in a snowboarding competition. Twister films literally everything they do all the time, and they compete in a lot of things, so why Twister decided to make a documentary about this one, I have no idea. It makes even less sense because Otto is eliminated. Did he really turn this into a documentary because of Otto’s brief family drama? Can you even call what happened drama?

The reason I bring this up is because I found the documentary aspect to be a lazy way of getting information out since they all do that reality-show-esque testimonial thing where they talk to the camera about things that happened along the way.

Not only that, but Twister’s cheap and, quite frankly, poor manner of filming and editing makes this whole episode really annoying to watch. I can see how it’d be charming, but for someone so obsessed with film, Twister’s sure not good at making videos. He doesn’t even seem to have a video editor capable of making title cards, which is something even free video editors provide. Instead, he opts to hold up literal title cards with his friends doing the same when their testimonials come up.

Second, the conflict, if you can even call it that, is stupid.

Otto’s partaking in a snowboarding competition, but his board somehow manages to snap in half when he very lightly crashes into Twister after his qualifier. They take it to a repair shop, but the price to fix the board is outrageous – $175. Just for fun, I looked up how much snowboards cost, and you can easily get one for $150-175 at cheapest with some of the more expensive ones being between $300-600.

And that’s in modern money. Adjusting for inflation from 1999, roughly, that same $175 would be more like around $275 now, so Otto could’ve gotten a fairly decent board for the same price of fixing his cheap one.

Raymundo isn’t having any of that, so he decides to fix the board himself. But he sucks at making repairs and thinks a board slapped together with instant epoxy and duct tape will still work. Not surprisingly, it doesn’t. Otto can’t even get the board to move, which means he’s basically screwed for the competition.

In comes, I’m not making this name up, Dick Shakely – CEO of Sno-Mart, a popular franchise snow sporting goods store. He wants to sponsor Otto and give him a fancy new snowboard – The Phantom 3000, which they even renamed immediately to the Otto 3000 once he accepts the offer.

Otto immediately sells out, decking himself out in Sno-Mart gear. He’s jazzed about the competition now, but Reggie’s livid because he’s usually sponsored by Rocket Boards, the business Raymundo owns.

This made me double-take because I had to question if Raymundo sells snowboards. As far as I know, he only sells surfboards and surfing equipment in the same building as the Shore Shack. And if Rocket Boards really did sell snowboards, why did Raymundo not have the ability to immediately get Otto a new board or pack a backup? Why does he suck so much at repairing snowboards when he supposedly sells them?

The short answer is, because he doesn’t sell snowboards or the like. As far as I’ve researched, he only sells surfboards, which makes sense because he lives in Ocean Shores where they rarely, if ever, get snow.

It seems Reggie’s just angry, and Raymundo’s just disappointed, because Otto dropped Rocket Boards as a sponsor in lieu of a big corporation like Sno-Mart. He chose money over family. But, truth be told, Rocket Boards is a really shitty sponsor if they won’t provide Otto with enough money to repair or replace his board so he can, ya know, actually compete in the event he needs sponsorship in.

Otto’s right – he did need a board. He couldn’t compete with the one Raymundo ‘fixed’ – it literally would not move. It was either drop out or join Sno-Mart.

Besides, if Otto’s goal in life is to become a professional in any extreme sports circuit, he’ll need other sponsors besides Rocket Boards eventually.

The way that Otto ‘learns his lesson’ is also very lame. Sno-Mart loads him up with so much gear that he can’t move well enough to snowboard without wiping out, which makes Dick angry, because bad performers sponsored by Sno-Mart make the company look bad, which is understandable. Otto gets fed up with it, so he sheds all of his Sno-Mart gear and rejoins Rocket Boards, with one very important difference I’ll address in a second.

The only reason Otto gives up Sno-Mart is because they made him wear too much stuff. I don’t understand why he didn’t just shed his underlayers and keep boarding. There’s absolutely no point in wearing the other stuff unless it’s visible. That’s kinda the point of sponsorships. They pay you to wear their logo and endorse their stuff so their logo and stuff can get more exposure on the back of someone prolific. The other crap he’s wearing underneath can easily be removed since no one can see that stuff.

In addition, he had absolutely no issues moving before Dick gave him that one jacket. He even performed a very complex trick off a huge ramp with ease with all of that gear on. They threw this flimsy development together just to get to the resolution.

It’s like they had the bare bones of a plot here: Otto gives up his family business’ sponsorship and sells out -> learns it’s not what it’s cracked up to be or he gets mistreated or something because he’s just another faceless billboard to them -> Compete with the Rocket Board sponsorship proudly again. But when it came to the details they got ridiculously lazy.

Speaking of the third part of that plot – Otto does indeed go back to wearing the Rocket Boards logo again when he takes his first run of the event.

Oh dear, though. He has no snowboard because his old one is unusable and his new one is courtesy of Sno-Mart, meaning he’s still technically shilling for them if he uses it.

Well, the solution to that problem is simple. Ignore it, and just have him use the Otto 3000, not realizing that it completely defeats the purpose of his sponsorship change.

Yay.

Dick takes the board back, but only after Otto’s run, which he fails because he wiped out.

And Otto learned a very important lesson – His father’s a cheap-ass sponsor who was basically complacent with his son losing this competition by default because he didn’t want to pay for either a cheap replacement board or to get repairs on his snapped one, and he’s happy when his son basically cheats a free snowboard out of a company, even to just use it once, just because grrr big company bad.

Also, Otto learned that he does not possess the ability to remove excess layers of clothing unless he learns the very lazy barely-there non-moral of the episode.

CSBS - Rocket Power Ep 3 2

3B: Night Prowlers – Luckily, this episode is much better with funnier jokes and a better moral, but it’s, overall, quite boring.

The kids, barring Otto, approach the idea of going out at midnight very realistically. They do want to go, but they know their parents will freak if they find out, so they’re hesitant. Even Twister needs to sit on the idea before he agrees.

The episode is more about actually going out at midnight than it is about the game, which makes sense because the game never happens. Lars shows up, and is somehow the only one who thought to bring a flashlight. His teammates, however, bailed because they didn’t want to get in trouble. Since Lars has no team, Otto and the others win by default.

The cops show up right then, however, and Lars gets away, which I thought was BS. The worst one of the group and the one who started this mess gets off scot-free? Give me a break.

When they get home, Otto willingly takes all of the punishment because he was the one responsible for agreeing to this in the first place. I guess, despite not living there, Twister and Sam are also allowed to walk away with Otto taking the blame. I don’t know why Officer Shirley dropped all of the kids off at Raymundo’s, especially when they specifically have a scene where the officers are asking where the kids live. That was probably for the sake of wrapping up the ending, but it’s still rushed and makes no sense, especially considering the kids live very close to each other.

The punishment, by the way, is garbage duty for three weeks, which is a far cry from the ‘grounded until you’re my age’ punishment he said they’d get if he ever caught them out late at night.

The best part of this whole episode was, oddly, in the equally as boring B-plot. Stimpleton is performing a stakeout to catch a night prowler, hence the title. The night prowler is literally moving his lawn furniture by like an inch. I don’t get why Stimpleton wouldn’t do the intelligent thing and just buy a security camera. His house is so ridiculously automated, I’m surprised he doesn’t already have such a security system.

Anyway, it was Mrs. Stimpleton skinny dipping. Yup. I probably got more amusement out of that than I should have, but it was a pretty funny twist.

Oh and just to highlight how boring this episode is, you know that thing I mentioned before where Rocket Power will take a word or line, usually slang, and make an animated X-TREEM title card to exaggerate the word or phrase? (Which will henceforth be referred to as X-TREEM title cards.) They did it a few times in Otto 3000, but only once here. Guess what they used it for.

….Stimpleton slurping his coffee…….in an X-TREEM WAY!…I guess.

Next episode, Reggie’s birthday plans get screwed up when Otto gets them banned from the skate park, and Sam and Twister start taking lifeguard training.

…Previous Episode


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CSBS – Fillmore! Episode 7: Nappers Never Sleep

CSBS - Fillmore Ep 7 Screen 1

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.

CSBS - Fillmore Ep 7 Screen 2

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.

CSBS - Fillmore Ep 7 Screen 3

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.

CSBS - Fillmore Ep 7 Screen 4

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/school?

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 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.

Next episode, flashback time! How did Ingrid and Fillmore wind up being partners?

….Previous Episode


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CSBS – Dave the Barbarian Episode 3: Girlfriend – Ned Frischman: Man of Tomorrow

CSBS DtB Ep 3 Screen1

Plot: 3A: Girlfriend – Dave starts dating an evil princess named Irmaplotz.

3B: Ned Frischman: Man of Tomorrow – A nerdy man from modern times gains an interdimentional zipper which allows him to travel to Dave’s era, where he plans to take over the world.

Breakdown:

Episode 3A – Has its ups and downs, but this was a really solid episode. It was fun watching Dave try to be a little evil and Irmaplotz try to be nice and failing. Plus, this episode has the one joke most everyone remembers about the series where Dave ties a squirrel to a megaphone.

I liked how this episode was set up, because I was really dreading the trope of ‘falling in love with someone who turns out to be using them.’ Especially because we already had that plot in ‘Lula’s First Barbarian.’ Irmaplotz is still (half) evil and she does lay waste to the kingdom, but Dave is pretty much aware from the start that she’s evil and they try their best to work it out.

I also appreciated that Irmaplotz doesn’t completely cut off ties with Dave in the end. They can’t seem to be together, but she doesn’t promise a lifetime of revenge upon him or anything. They part on good terms and leave it open for her character to return.

CSBS DtB Ep 3 Screen2

Episode 3B – This is the strongest entry yet. It’s not bust-a-gut hilarious, but the story has great pacing, it has a very interesting concept, there are many clever jokes throughout.

I think the whole ‘enslaved by addiction to video games’ thing is a bit weak, but it’s not that bad. Plus, you have some really cool additions like Richard Horvitz (Daggett from Angry Beavers and Zim from Invader Zim) playing Ned and Twinkle the Marvel Horse, who is basically a My Little Pony doing a Christopher Walken impression. If you didn’t know you needed that in your life, you’re welcome.

Next Episode….

….Previous Episode


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