AVAHS – Brandy and Mr. Whiskers: On Whiskers, On Lola, On Cheryl and Meryl Review

AVAHS - BAMW

Plot: Brandy schemes to have Santa take her back to Florida on Christmas.

Breakdown: Brandy and Mr. Whiskers was one of those shows I was definitely aware of and gave a chance, but I ultimately just found it to be another ‘coma show.’ I know I’ve watched it, but dammit all if the space left behind by the that show isn’t just immediately overwritten by my brain hard drive.

It’s just not funny or interesting is all. A spoiled rich girl ends up in the jungle and befriends a bunch of oddballs while she desperately seeks the comfort of her own luxurious home. Brandy’s obnoxious, Whiskers is obnoxious and the side characters range from obnoxious to just okay.

I think one of the main issues I had with the show as a whole is that the main duo just don’t have much in regards to comedic chemistry. It’s obviously the overly energetic jokester with the irritable straight man/girl but they just don’t click in my opinion. Then again, nothing really clicks for me with this show.

The Christmas special is equally blah. Brandy tries to bring Christmas to the jungle in order to lure Santa there so she can hitch a ride home, but she’s on the naughty list. She accidentally causes Santa’s sleigh to crash because Whiskers is an idiot, and, surprise, she and Whiskers have to take over his job and she kinda-ish learns the true meaning of Christmas as a result.

I say ‘kinda-ish’ because, while she does have a nice moment once, she clearly wants to manipulate Santa into believing she’s made a big Christmas revelation so she’ll be put on the nice list and get a ride back home.

The stupid thing is that she had a perfect opportunity to head home and she didn’t take it all because she thought the manipulation method would work. Sure, when she got to her house she left because she legitimately wanted to help deliver the rest of the presents, but when they were all done she could have gone back home and told Whiskers and the others to return the sleigh to Santa instead of just hoping he believed her ‘learned the true meaning of Christmas’ spiel and would take her home. But nope. She did and he didn’t and the status quo of the series was restored.

Also, why does Santa looks so horrible in this show? It looks like his beard is an Ed, Edd and Eddy sized Jawbreaker stuck in his chin.

Also, also, I kinda don’t want to go here, but why do the toucans remind me so much of the crows from Dumbo? They are very obviously black women stereotypes in the bodies of black birds. Am I crazy? Tell me I’m crazy. I can’t not see it. Obviously, it’s not as overt of a problem as the crows were, but I made the connection the instant they spoke….

If you were a fan of Brandy and Mr. Whiskers, maybe you’ll get some enjoyment out of this special, but otherwise you’re not missing much.


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Animating Halloween | Kim Possible: October 31st Review

AHKPO31

Plot: Kim wants to go to Monique’s Halloween party, especially considering her crush, Josh Mankey, will be there, but she ends up creating a web of lies while trying to avoid going Trick-Or-Treating with Ron. What’s worse, she has a top-secret nanotech bracelet on her wrist that slowly covers her in armor the more she lies – and Drakken and Duff Killigan both want it.

Breakdown: Considering how much I loved Kim Possible so much when it was airing, I can’t believe I’ve forgotten about this Halloween special for so long.

….But on the other hand I can totally believe I’ve forgotten about this Halloween special for so long.

It’s just such a cliché plotline with one of the most overly parroted lessons in all of media – honesty is the best policy. It’s so overly done that the episode kinda pokes fun at itself for doing it. Kim’s little brothers points out how stupid it was to lie when Ron and her parents both would’ve understood, and even the villains go on about how disappointed they are in her.

And, really, a Halloween special has to be the absolute worst setting to use something like the Centurian project (the nanotech bracelet) because she can just claim the armor is part of her costume or is her costume – which she did, even though she tried to cover it up with a princess outfit. Actually, considering the Kim Possible universe, she can just claim that the armor is slowly covering her up for some reason. She doesn’t have to tell people it’s because she’s lying.

Outside of the cookie cutter plotline, though, this episode is perfectly fine. There are some funny moments, and the Centurian project is a pretty awesome set of armor. The one part I don’t like is the part that covers her head. It just looks weird. Also, if that’s the full armor, I’d think it should cover her face. The suit is so advanced that it can instantly recover from any damage, but all someone would have to do is aim for her face and it’d be all over.

The animation is a bit rough, but this was season one Kim Possible and it had a habit of being all over the place. There’s one scene that’s just terrible, though. Kim’s mom is taking tickets at the hospital’s haunted house, and they show her saying ‘Thank you, enjoy.’ THREE TIMES without anyone handing her a ticket or entering the haunted house. The only part of this shot that is animated is her lips. It’s like they forgot to animate everything else.

I can’t imagine there will be many more Halloweens where I’ll purposely seek out this special, but it did stoke my fire to do a Cartoon Step-by-Step of Kim Possible sometime soon.


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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 or Girlfriend had its ups and downs, but 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 or Ned Frischman – Man of Tomorrow 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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CSBS – American Dragon Jake Long S01 Ep 04: The Legend of the Dragon Tooth

CSBS - ADJL EP4

Plot: Haley is getting her first adult dragon tooth, which means the old one is falling out. Hearing this, Dr. Dentin, the Tooth Fairy’s assistant, steals her wand and holds her captive while he tries to steal the dragon tooth for himself. It’s said that planting a dragon tooth in soil will yield unspeakable evil and massive power.

Jake is becoming increasingly irritated by his little sister’s annoying behavior. Not only is she doing what she always does in regards to shoving how much better she is than him in his face, but now she’s being even more coddled by their parents than usual because she’s got a loose tooth.

Trixie and Spud cheer Jake up later that day by telling them they’ll be able to get into the Hip Hop Video Awards where Jake’s celebrity crush, Shaniqua, will be performing. However, his plans are soon soured when his mother reminds him that he agreed to babysit on the night of the awards.

That night, Jake, Trixie and Spud make an arrangement – they’ll each go to the awards while watching Haley in shifts.

As Jake leaves for his shift, Dr. Dentin tries to infiltrate the house only to find that it’s protected by a new shield that Grandpa put up. He has no choice but to wait until she leaves the house.

Meanwhile, Trixie and Spud try to pry out Haley’s loose tooth, in spite of the fact that her mom told her that dragon teeth must fall out on their own. Their efforts are good, but they yield no results. It seems it’s incredibly difficult to pry out a dragon tooth.

Jake returns after his shift, irritated that not only does he have to go back to babysitting but also that the house has basically been destroyed in the tooth antics. Haley tells him that Trixie suggested playing hockey since hockey players always lose their teeth. Fed up with the situation, he tells Haley to go play outside, despite the fact that she’s not allowed to play outside after dark.

Dentin nearly ambushes her, but Haley unknowingly staves off some of his tooth minions with her hockey puck before Trixie and Spud return and take her back in the house.

Jake, Spud and Trixie go back and forth to the concert and home numerous times before they decide to just take Haley with them to go see Shaniqua. As they’re skateboarding to the arena, Jake senses a threat and realizes the tooth minions are following them. Jake makes up an excuse to briefly stay behind and Haley refuses to leave, so Spud and Trixie go on ahead while Jake takes care of Dentin and the tooth minions.

Jake fights the minions again and again, but each time he destroys them they just reform. In the confusion, Dentin grabs Haley and heads off to his lair to retrieve the tooth.

Meanwhile, the tooth fairy, having escaped from near death, seeks out her old friend Fu Dog to help her take down Dentin. Realizing Haley’s the target, Grandpa comes along to help.

They meet up with Jake and head towards the Tooth Fairy’s lair. They manage to hold their own against the tooth minions, but Haley’s tooth gets knocked out in the crossfire. Dentin grabs it and plants it in the soil, turning him into a massive tooth monster. His plans now? To steal money from children to recoup the costs of the Tooth Fairy’s money for teeth tradition. He takes Haley in case he needs more dragon teeth and heads off.

Jake tries to fight him, but gets wrapped up in some cable. He tells Haley to use her dragon teeth to bite through the cable, but she doesn’t feel like she can. After some encouraging words from Jake, she’s able to partially transform and bite through the cable, freeing Jake.

In a final blow, Jake grabs a massive TV screen off the side of a building and slams it into Dentin. The burst of electricity causes him to explode in a flurry of teeth.

Now safe and sound, Jake takes Haley back home. When their parents return, they’re angry about the mess but instantly forget about it when they notice Haley has lost her first tooth.

Even though Jake missed the concert, he’s more than happy to have saved his little sister and gotten some bonding time with her. Meanwhile, Spud and Trixie ride off happily with Shaniqua in her limo sucking down sparkling cider.

—————————-

– Ugh, I always hated those tooth monsters. Anything involving teeth squicks me out.

– Yes, our villain today is an evil magical dentist.

– Also, I don’t much care for Haley. Just getting it out there.

– I find it interesting that they confirm that Haley has developed dragon powers earlier than Jake ever did (It clears up why Jake only seems to be learning the basics now when Haley can already partially transform and use fire breath etc. He only developed his powers upon reaching his teens, which means just barely before the series began was when he started gaining them) but the reasoning is a little odd. Girls mature faster than boys. I know that’s technically true, but from a mythical standpoint, that seems a little strange.

– Jake’s face when he imitates Haley, however, is simultaneously hilarious and frightening.

– Actually, Jake’s making a lot of great facial expressions today. It’s like he’s somewhat melded with a Looney Tune.

– Dr. Dentin: *After experiencing the magical shield first hand* *later, after Jake says it’s a spell* “Ah, so that’s what it is. Some kind of magic spell.” What the hell did you think it was? Some kind of electrical shield generator that dispels magical creatures?

– Why did a cat meow when Trixie finally hit Spud with the fire extinguisher? Jake’s family doesn’t have a cat….

– There is no way in hell twenty minutes went by between Trixie and Spud leaving and Haley just going out the door to play hockey. About a minute went by, if that.

– Trixie and Spud both decided to help Jake out with the babysitting specifically so he could see Shaniqua in concert….and when she’s on stage, they argue over who gets to go see her….Uh, what?

– Why didn’t they just take Haley from the beginning? Technically, they shouldn’t be able to in the first place because I doubt they have an extra ticket, but still.

– Trixie’s awful bitchy when she tells Jake and Haley to work out whatever it is on their own.

– Did the tooth fairy actually say ‘H E double hockey sticks?’ Wow…..Actually, now I’m reminded that Disney had a movie called H E Double Hockey Sticks with a good chunk of the movie taking place in Hell. Weird times, the early 00’s….

– How is taking Haley for more dragon teeth going to help? Is he somehow going to get bigger and….toothier?

– So ‘unspeakable evil’ is a giant tooth monster who steals kids’ piggy banks….Okay.

– Why couldn’t Jake bite through the cables with his dragon teeth? It’s especially strange because Haley clearly still has baby dragon teeth.

– It’s weird that the dragon tooth monster thing actually seems less powerful than the tooth minions. Sure, he’s bigger and physically stronger, but he doesn’t have any special powers and the tooth minions simply reform when they’re defeated. The dragon tooth monster doesn’t.

– Also, Jake just straight up murdered someone. Dentin was electrocuted and exploded into a million teeth. He is never seen again.

– How and why did Spud and Trixie get to hang out with Shaniqua after the concert? They’re drinking ‘sparkling cider’ in her limo and everything.

That seems like a cruel ending to a degree. They offer to watch Haley so Jake can see Shaniqua, selfishly refuse to stay home when Shaniqua’s show comes up, their selfishness and balking on their word put Haley in danger to begin with (she would’ve been safe had they stayed home) yet Jake has to miss the concert and Spud and Trixie get to hang out with his celeb crush in a limo.

—————————–

Ultimately, I did kinda like this episode. Haley wasn’t as annoying as she could’ve been, and she even had some moments where she was kinda sweet.

Likewise, Jake wasn’t as annoying as he could’ve been, given the situation, and he also had some nice moments. Trixie and Spud (Mostly Trixie) were basically asses, though. They destroyed Jake’s house and completely screwed him out of his chance to see Shaniqua while simultaneously putting Haley in danger (Unknowingly, but still.) Yet they get to hang out with Shaniqua while Jake fights tooth creatures and nearly takes the blame for their mess.

My other issues were with the enemy. I will admit, this episode did have some good action. While gross (I still hate teeth) and uninteresting in a design sense, the tooth minions were damn near invulnerable. The dragon tooth monster, while also uninspired design-wise, was a set piece for some decent action, but it as the main villain was terribly disappointing.

No wonder more people haven’t tried that dragon tooth trick. It’s just not worth the fuss.

‘Unspeakable evil’ my ass.

Even his motivation was dumb. He didn’t become a big tooth monster to wreak havoc or rule the world – he wanted to steal money from little children, dimes and quarters kinda stuff, because he was sick of the Tooth Fairy giving money away…..

Finally, I did enjoy the Tooth Fairy just because she has a really funny manner of speaking. She talks all sweet and cute, but then she says things that make you double-take. The fact that she legit called her lair her ‘Fa-la-la-la-lair.’ was priceless.

Next episode….

……Previous Episode

Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Star vs. The Forces of Evil

Plot: Princess Star Butterfly is sent to earth to hone her skills with her newly acquired magic wand. She’s more than happy to use her wand to her heart’s content, but she causes a lot of problems due to her lack of experience with it. On earth, she is sent to live with the Diaz family and becomes friends with Marco, a widely known ‘safe kid’ who wants nothing more than to be seen as a risk-taking bad boy. Ludo, the villain of the story, finds out she’s living unprotected on earth and prepares to take her down. Together with Marco, Star utilizes her new powers to fight off the forces of evil.

Breakdown: Melding magical girl elements with good writing, funny comedy, fun action and instantly likable characters. I think I’m going to cry.

I have seen some of Star vs. The Forces of Evil in passing a few times, and I’ve definitely heard good things about it, but I’ve never started from scratch. The theme song snagged me in from the get go, and it’s just a fun ride all the way through after that.

I love the style of comedy. While it is loud and sometimes bordering on annoying, it never goes too far into irritating territory and hits the mark nearly every time. It has a great flow to it as well. Characters will just be talking or walking around and there will be jokes strewn about the scene – it’s great.

As a first episode, it does a great job at introducing the characters and making you connect with them instantly. From their very first lines, you know exactly the type of people Star, Marco and even Ludo are. Ludo kinda reminds me a bit of The Dark Lord Chuckles: The Silly Piggy from Dave the Barbarian, now that I think about it. Star is….a little too much in the energy department, but I think she’ll even out more as time goes on.

I absolutely love Marco, though. He’s not immediately made out to be an obvious love interest to Star (Though, there’s enough there for me to safely assume she at least becomes his crush later), and he’s not the reverse damsel in distress (A la Ron Stoppable) as he has fighting chops himself. It’s so refreshing to see these types of character pairings fight alongside each other for a change.

While we barely learn anything about Mewni, Star’s home dimension, outside of it being….another dimension….with magic, we do get a good grasp on the world they live in, the plot and their motives….afterall, the show is called Star vs. the Forces of Evil.

I will say that the second episode (This show/episode is one of those ‘two episodes in one’ deals.) wasn’t as strong as the first mostly because it recycles a very overused plot. When you have a main character who has moved to the show’s location somewhat recently, you tend to get that ‘best friend from my old town and they turn out to be a dickweed, especially to the new best friend’ plot.

This time it’s with Flying Princess Pony Head. She is a flying princess pony head…..*cough* And she does not appreciate Marco even existing. What’s weird is that, unlike in a lot of other plots where the MC will accuse the new best friend of being jealous of the old, Star instantly believes Marco when he tells of how she’s been treating him, and she chooses to defend her by just saying she’s rambunctious and possessive. Not sure if that’s better or worse.

Even though this is a VERY overused plot, they do enough with the writing to make it seem much less tired than it would otherwise. There are many funny moments, it ended one a sweet note and TIL you can apparently say ‘turd’ on Disney Channel.

The art and animation are growing on me very quickly. It’s very bright and active. In the stills, it looks great, but the actual animation took me a little getting used to. It has a problem with having the lines and colors of the bangs cover the eyes but still have the lines for the eyes come through. It’s not a major issue, but it’s a pet peeve of mine in animation. Otherwise, the art is very bright, stylish and appealing, and the animation is more fluid and real than a lot of ‘Flash’-ish shows of late.

The music is great, though maybe a bit too loud sometimes. That could be my headphones, but I don’t think so.

Final Verdict:

cbxcz0k

This is another show I’m very excited to continue. Here’s hoping it lives up to the hype all the way through.

CSBS – American Dragon Jake Long S01 Ep03 Review

CSBS ADJL EP3

Plot: Spud tries year after year to win the talent show to honor his grandfather, who was a magician. Jake and Trixie agree to finally help him win the trophy this year, but there’s a problem. The trophy is actually an ancient chalice which seals the powerful and malicious Djinn who cannot be resealed in the chalice since the incantation to do so was lost many years ago. If the chalice gets enough liquid in it to overflow, the Djinn will be released.

Grandpa orders Jake to enter the talent show so he can win the trophy and they can keep it safely hidden forever. However, this means betraying Spud. Both Trixie and Spud are angry with him for entering the show, but Jake deals with it since he has a duty as the American Dragon.

Meanwhile, Rockwood tries to win the chalice for himself by recruiting Brad, whom he believes is a prodigy piano player after learning he’s been taking lessons for 12 years.

Jake enters as a ventriloquist with Fu as his ‘puppet’, but after some complications arise in the form of Brad’s sabotage, leading to the chalice overflowing. The Djinn is released and starts wreaking havoc in the auditorium, but everyone just believes it’s Spud’s magic show. Jake tries to combat the Djinn, but, surprisingly, Spud’s grandfather’s magic words were the resealing incantation the whole time.

Spud’s show is a hit, Jake withdraws from the competition and Spud wins the show. Later, Spud gives the chalice to Jake since he was kind enough to withdraw.

Jake apologizes to Grandpa for dropping out, but he says that it’s alright since he chose the path of a true friend and got the chalice anyway. Jake and Fu then realize they lost the chalice on the subway, and it ends up in the butt cheeks of a woman on the train.

———————————-

I was going to do my usual beat by beat breakdown of the episode, but, honestly, this episode is so boring I didn’t even bother.

First, it’s Spud-centric, so it’s already starting off weak. Spud can be a sweetheart, but he’s also not funny and he’s boring to me as a character.

Second, this whole plot is incredibly forced. I get that half of these things are supposed to be jokes, but the person who first had the chalice really felt like meeting the person buying it in a trophy factory? The chalice just happens to be perfectly trophy shaped? It just happens to wind up in Jake’s school and just happens to be the first prize in the talent show that Spud just so happens to want nothing more than to win? And Spud is really the descendant of the only person in the world who knew the incantation to reseal the Djinn? Even Spud giving him the trophy is forced because he wanted that trophy badly and Jake never explained why he needed to enter.

Third, this episode is even a waste of opportunity for the typical talent show plot jokes. When most shows like this have plots in talent shows, they usually at least have the redeeming factor of showing funny segments showing the other contestants and their funny talents. Here, they try to do that, but ultimately fail. We have a kid who does pig calls, a girl who folds origami swans really fast (which is more cool than funny) and a kid who plays the triangle.

They couldn’t even make it funny when Brad sabotages their acts. He lets a pig loose for the pig caller, which you’d think would probably help his act since he’s a pig caller. Bringing a pig out makes it seem like it’s an awesome call. He puts glue on the origami paper, which doesn’t make sense to me because they’re stacked. Wouldn’t they all get stuck together? Also, just give her a new stack of paper. And he bends the last kid’s triangle into a mangled mess. They probably have one in the band room to use, but he’s out.

Also, Trixie, at the very least, should’ve been questioning how Spud suddenly knew how to effortlessly put on this amazing Djinn vs. Dragon battle when he can barely pull off the lamest of tricks mere minutes prior. She kinda questions it at first, but quickly accepts it.

Don’t even talk to me about the ending joke.

The episode as a whole is fine, nothing offended or enraged me, but it’s so by the book, forced and boring. Fu got some good moments, but nothing great.

Rating: 4/10

Next Episode, Haley gets her first adult dragon tooth, and a new enemy has their sights set on her.

……Previous Episode

Cartoons Step-By-Step: Dave the Barbarian Episode 2

CSBS DTB EP2

Plot: 2a – Pet Threat: It’s dragon appreciation week and Dave the others have completely forgotten to do anything special for Faaffy. They rush out on the final day of the week to get him a gift, and Dave decides to buy him a new best friend – a diseased weasel he names Carl. However, Carl is not nearly as sickly and innocent as he seems, and no one will believe Faffy when he tries to warn the others.

2b – Lula’s First Barbarian: Lula spots her first owner and lost love, Argan the Ageless, at the marketplace and the flames of her love instantly start growing again. Despite the fact that he’s an obvious jerk who left her for stupid reasons thousands of years ago, she is more than willing to drop Dave the instant he seems to want her back. Worried about her welfare, Dave, Fang, Candy and Oswidge band together to save her heart from getting broken again.

Breakdown:

2a – Pet Threat: This is a rather tired plot that is predictable from start to finish. Not to mention the fact that a good chunk of it doesn’t make any sense.

Dark Lord Chuckles, the Silly Piggy, is actually the diseased weasel, Carl, and he plans on stealing the magical grape of bobobidobo from Faffy’s room. Okay, that’s fine. But uh, how did Chuckles know Dave would be in that marketplace? Or that specific store? Or that the owner would pull him out of that basket to show Dave? Or that Dave would even be remotely interested in buying a diseased weasel? Or that he was buying the diseased weasel to be the new companion to Faffy? Or that the grape was even in Faffy’s room?

Not to mention the fact that Faffy gets treated fairly badly in this episode for no reason. Oswidge eats the ham Dave’s parents sent him for dragon appreciation week. The others forget dragon appreciation week, which depresses Faffy. They buy him a ratty diseased animal as a gift and don’t take Faffy’s feelings into consideration. Dave even completely writes him off when Faffy explicitly points out that Dave is treating Carl better than he’s treating him, when it’s completely obvious. (Then again, Dave is an idiot.) No one believes him for a second when he tries to warn them about what Carl is doing. He runs away, no one notices or seems to care. He comes back, no one notices or seems to care.

They show a little bit of concern when Faffy appears to sacrifice himself to beat Chuckles, and you think for a second they’ll actually do something nice for him on the final day of dragon appreciation week. They seem like they do by preparing a nice meal for Faffy only to reveal it’s Chuckles dressed as a ham. Dave breaks the fourth wall and tells the audience that Faffy’s not really going to eat him and that it’s all for a joke and Faffy’s in the background with a distraught look on his face.

So, in the end, Faffy gets treated like crap for dragon appreciation week and the one moment of redemption for the others is just a visual gag that screws Faffy out of a meal. Lovely.

Not only that, but there weren’t very many jokes in this segment that worked for me and several were gross-out gags.

This was not a very enjoyable segment to me. It just seemed mean-spirited and lacking in several departments.

2b – Lula’s First Barbarian: This segment basically has the same problems as 2a, but at least the plot makes more sense. Again, you know from the very instant you learn anything about Argan, which is the first minute he’s on screen, that he’ll be a complete dickhead to Lula, she’ll fall for him anyway and Dave and the others will rip off her love goggles before she gets in too deep.

Lula’s being an idiot and a bitch in this episode because not only is she completely denying that Argan is anything but an amazing love muffin, no matter how he continues to treat her and has in the past (he literally uses her as a nose for a snowman tens of thousands of years ago and just left her there, never to return.), but she’s also more than willing to leave Dave because he’s such a prissy barbarian.

And, again, Dave doesn’t seem to care. He cares about Lula’s well-being enough to help create a plan to get her away from him, but even he doesn’t see what a jackass Argan is until his newer sword, Judy, explains that he traded her away to some toothless villager for a potato. I don’t know if this is a testament to how much of an idiot Dave is or he just doesn’t have strong connections with the people (and dragons….and swords) who are supposedly closest to him.

Candy was surprisingly supportive of this clearly unhealthy relationship, even making a montage out of her using tips from a teen magazine to help Lula bag her man.

Fang’s the only one with an ounce of sense in this episode and she doesn’t get to do much.

This episode was light on jokes that worked but, like 2a, there were some smile-worthy moments.

Overall, I’d give 2a a rating of 3/10 and 2b a 4/10, giving the overall episode a 3.5/10

Next Episode…..

….Previous Episode

CSBS: American Dragon Jake Long S01 Ep02 Review

CSBS ADJL EP2

Plot: Jake battles a mysterious creature in the sewer and comes out supposedly victorious. However, Jake is more preoccupied with the upcoming Fall Dance than he is his normal dragon duties.

The next day, he gets up the courage to ask his crush, Rose, but finds she already has a date with the resident blockhead jock, Brad. In order to save face, Jake lies and says he also already has a date to the dance, so it’s a race to find a date before it’s too late. Jake tries to ask nearly every available girl he can find, but he has a big problem. His breath is horrible. Despite many efforts to freshen it up, the stink eventually gets so bad that they actually evacuate the school to find the source.

Grandpa says his horrible breath is perfectly natural for a dragon his age. His firebreathing glands are reaching maturity, and the bad breath problem should clear up in a week or so. Jake can’t wait that long with the dance coming up, but Grandpa is more concerned over the creature they battled earlier.

Fu Dog, always one to offer a suggestion, brews up a potion. As long as Jake wears the concoction in a small flask around his neck, his bad breath will be gone. Jake’s ecstatic to be minty fresh again, but is still dateless. Having asked out every free girl at his school. Fu takes him to the magical realm to ask out a nice supernatural girl.

Jake’s put off by Fu’s first choice, a half-girl half-spider, but is quickly enamored by a pair of twins nearby. Fu explains that they’re oracles. Not only that, but they see different things in the future. Sara, a bright and cheery girl, can only see negative events while Kara, a gloomy punk girl, can only see the positive events. Despite liking how they look, Jake can’t handle their sudden blurting of predictions, so he moves on.

Jake sets his sights on a beautiful girl at the potions counter named Jasmine, but before Fu can offer his two cents, he gets grabbed by two thugs he owes money to. Jake is able to make a date with Jasmine, despite her incredibly precise curfew, and he saves Fu from the thugs.

Jasmine and Jake head to dance while Grandpa stumbles upon pictures that Jake’s mom took of him and Jasmine before he left. Seeing her red eyes in all of the photos yet none in Jake, he deduces that she is a Nix, a creature that is perfectly normal and harmless during the day but becomes a soul-sucking demon at night when the moon reaches the center of the sky.

Jake flaunts Jasmine to Rose and Brad and his classmates. Everyone’s so impressed with Jasmine’s looks, that Jake takes advantage of the attention and starts taking over the dance, leading everyone in rapping and DJ-ing. Everyone’s having a good time, but Jasmine notices the position of the moon and asks Jake to leave. He says they’ll go soon but he wants to stay for a while longer. Realizing Jake won’t go, Jasmine tries to leave on her own, only to be stopped by Brad who also ignores her requests to leave so he can pressure her into a dance.

Jasmine starts her transformation and steals the souls of Brad and several other boys, turning them into mindless zombies. Once the moon is precisely in the center of the sky, Jasmine finishes her transformation into a full Nix, quickly sucking up the remaining souls in the room. Jake calls Fu, admits to what he did, and Fu starts whipping up a potion to combat Jasmine while Jake stalls her in his dragon form.

Jake struggles with Jasmine, but is soon saved by Dragon!Grandpa and Fu, who also give him a potion to help him beat the Nix. As Grandpa stalls Jasmine some more, Jake downs the potion without thinking and Fu reveals that was actually a potion which strips you of your powers temporarily and he was meant to pour it on Jasmine.

Jake, now dragon-less and with Grandpa quickly zombified, starts getting pummeled by Jasmine until he gets the idea to use the one piece of his dragon nature he has left; his horrible breath. He rips off his necklace and breathes right in Jasmine’s face, throwing her for a loop and knocking her out cold, releasing the consumed souls back to their rightful owners.

Fu and Grandpa take a now un-transformed Jasmine to the shop where she’ll be contained until sunrise and then sent back home. Jake tries to skew the attention of the confused students back to his DJ-ing, but without the necklace everyone soon starts dispersing at the smell. Jake starts to leave when he’s stopped by Rose who thanks him for the dance. They state that they both came to the dance with the wrong person and promise to make better choices in the future.

After a pratfall, Jake returns Jasmine back home with them exchanging apologies, and it’s revealed that Trixie and Spud accidentally switched bodies when their souls were returned.

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– Jake was seriously going to ask out the school janitor? She has to be in her 50s. I know the joke is haha, she’s ugly and gross so it shows how desperate Jake is to get a date, but, still, major creepiness factor for even suggesting this as an option, especially when he does actually try to hit on her.

– The main point of this bad breath part of the episode is trying to meld something akin to an embarrassing result of puberty with something dragon-like, so we can have a cliché teen problem episode still tied into the main plot. But I gotta say, having the problem be bad breath….uh, that’s still pretty normal. You could easily change that to body odor and nothing would change. Since the issue was with his firebreathing glands, maybe he could spontaneously spout fire? Dangerous? Yes. But being in a cartoon universe could easily dispel the gigantic risks and just make for comical burns.

– Jake seriously got a girl to pay an iota of attention to him after using the line “You come here often?”? This really is a fantasy world.

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– Why is Jake lying to Fu about getting a date? He just says ‘I’ll be fine’ not ‘don’t worry, I got a date!’ The only reason I can see for this is that if Jake told Fu he got a date, he’d have to tell him her name or point her out to him, which is obviously something they’re trying to avoid. It’s already obvious that there’s something very wrong with Jasmine both by Fu’s warning beforehand that some of the girls in that part of town were dangerous, with the sudden shift in tone when she conveys her curfew and, of course, the obvious shot of her shifting her eyes as they glow red.

It’s like they’re purposely writing this part incredibly poorly for the sake of moving the plot along.

– Let’s just get this out of the way, many people, particularly Jake, are being complete assholes in this episode, and Jasmine is being treated like a piece of meat. Not only is Jake referring to her as ‘My Hot Date, Jasmine.’ but he’s also completely ignoring her requests to leave by her established curfew time, ignores her saying she doesn’t feel well, every guy in the dance clamors around her and, for some reason, treats Jake like a king because he got a hot date, which is weird because everyone else, barring Brad, starts ignoring her after Jake starts showboating with his rap skills.

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Then Brad ignores her saying she has to leave because she doesn’t feel well so he can pressure her into a dance. To top it all off, when people finally start shifting attention back to Jasmine, Jake and Trixie basically call her a cheating hoe for dancing with Brad (even though this dance doesn’t even involve touching each other. Plus, Jake is way too busy being a showboating DJ to pay his date an ounce of attention: I’d say she has a right to dance with someone else at this point.). Jake doesn’t even care about this anyway because, with Brad preoccupied, Rose is free for him to pounce on. And hey, as a bonus, she’s on the rebound after being dumped by Brad to dance with the ‘prettiest girl in the room’

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– *Jasmine in full Nix form* Jake – “Oh now you want to dance with me?” Uhhhhhh, you never asked her if she wanted to dance or even implied it. The instant you got her through the doors you were flaunting her around to your friends then to Rose and Brad then the other students. The only other reason I can think of for this line is her dancing with Brad, but, again, he didn’t give a crap about that other than giving him an opportunity to dance with Rose.

– Of course Jake uses the potion on himself before asking 1) what it does and 2) what he needs to do with it.

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– So as long as Rose is within stank distance, Jake’s visibly green nasty breath doesn’t come out? How convenient.

– Any reason Jake can’t fish the necklace out of the garbage and continue the dance? It’s not like it broke or anything. Any reason he chucked it in the garbage at all, for that matter? He really only needed to take it off his neck or even drop it to the floor.

– I will give props to the ending for acknowledging that Jake was being an ass, but not entirely because 1) They clearly put more of the blame on Jasmine, even if, admittedly, she should’ve told Jake what she was (to be fair, it must be hard to get dates if you explain that you turn into a soul-sucking she-beast when the moon is in the center of the sky. Cinderella this is not.) and 2) He only apologizes for not leaving when she asked. He doesn’t apologize for only asking her out for the sake of making Rose jealous or flaunting his ‘hot date’ in front of his classmates like she was the aforementioned piece of meat or thinking badly of her for dancing with Brad when it wasn’t her choice.

– Also, why is Jake now free of bad breath while walking Jasmine home? You can’t make rules for bad breath.

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This is a pretty bad episode. Not horrible, but still bad. The action isn’t that good, the running gag about his breath is just dumb, and you can see it coming from a mile away that he’ll use his bad breath to beat Jasmine. After-all, if he didn’t, that would mean the breath thing would just be a plot device for the sake of getting Jake to date Jasmine and there are much less contrived ways of doing that. Maybe it was so close to the dance that every other girl had a date so he had to go to the magical realm to get one?

Speaking of the ending, that was an incredibly stupid way of beating her. If his breath is bad enough to knock out a Nix, surely it’s bad enough to possibly kill people. Or at least make them physically ill. It’s like his breath had a worse effect on her than it did regular humans.

I can’t believe I’m bringing this up, but this ending was much in the same vein as Naruto beating Kiba by farting in his face. And I really can’t believe I’m saying this, but whereas the Naruto thing was stupider, at least it was more of a surprise and kinda funny in a ‘hurr hurr farts’ way. This was entirely predictable from start to finish, made even more predictable right before the finale due to Jake losing his powers. By the way, apparently Jake’s bad breath problem doesn’t exist in his dragon form, even though it’s caused by his dragon form. Figure that out.

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Not to mention how much of this story either doesn’t make sense, was badly written for the sake of convenience, or wrote Jasmine into being purely an object. They downplay Jake’s level of fault here at the end by a lot. I’m almost convinced the ending where he walks her home and makes that weak apology was merely thrown in when test audiences complained about how Jasmine was being treated for the whole episode. I’m surprised Jasmine wasn’t more angry at him bragging about his ‘hot date’ to everyone then ditching her to enjoy the limelight. I know she had more pressing matters to attend to, but I’d still be pretty mad.

Jake’s also terribly stupid in this episode, moreso than usual. He asks out a girl in the magical realm without asking what exactly makes her magical even after Fu warns him about the girls in the market, and the previous girls he met all had some weird issue that he couldn’t deal with – two of them being seemingly normal looking girls with powers that annoyed him. Then lying about it to Fu for no reason, drinking the potion without asking what it did or how to use it (hell, that could’ve been a poison for all he knew). I know Jake’s not the smartest person in the world, but this is overkill for the sake of plot convenience.

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Even Trixie and Spud don’t escape stupidity and asshole-ism. Their role in this episode is to convey information to Jake that he would’ve discovered seconds later anyway and to just be there. Trixie is taking it upon herself to ‘perform charity work’ by taking Spud to the dance so no other unfortunate girl will have to suffer through being his date. That’s almost exactly what she says. With Spud like ten feet in front of her. Not like any girl who agrees to date Spud won’t be aware of what she’s getting into. Spud really wears his personality on his sleeve. If you agree to something along the lines of;

“Hey, uh, pretty girl. Would you, uh, like to go dancing at the dance with me at the, uh, dance. We can totally wear matching shirts.”

Then you can’t say you didn’t think he was a stoner-esque doofus when you’re at the dance.

This also could’ve been made a lot better with just a small tweak. Spud can’t get a date to the dance because he completely forgot to ask anyone until it was too late so Trixie takes it as a ‘charity case’ to be his date, perhaps also covering up that she didn’t have a date. There, was that so hard?

Then, at the dance, Trixie doesn’t want to dance or do anything. She lays down ground rules at the start that she won’t dance, get him punch or take pictures with him. She just sits at the table being miserable while Spud is forced to stay with her also doing nothing at the table because I guess he doesn’t want to abandon his date no matter how much of a bitch she’s being. Then they switch bodies at the end because…..we needed to end on a joke. Really makes you wonder why they even went at all.

Ya know what? I change my mind. This is a horrible episode. Maybe not insultingly horrible, but still terribly written, uninteresting and just not fun. Not to mention there’s an influx of cocky!Jake during this episode with even more painful slang to sit through. Yes, I realize how old I seem typing that.

Rating: 2/10

Next Episode, Spud enters a talent show where the trophy is an important supernatural artifact that Jake needs to recover.

…Previous Episode

Cartoons Step-By-Step: Dave the Barbarian Episode 1

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Plot: Episode 1A – Dave, Fang, Princess Candy and Oswidge rush into the Enchanted Forest to take down a giant muffin monster. While attempting to vanquish it with Lula, Dave’s magical sword, he accidentally gets her stuck in a stump. While they manage to defeat the muffin, they find that they cannot pull Lula out of the stump. The sprite of the stump reveals that whosoever manages to pull Lula out shall be ruler of Udrogoth. But what happens if no one can?

Episode 1B – Dave feels lost in life and, after reading some self-help scrolls, decides to become a psychofloobocologist to help people. When his ‘helping’ unleashes an ancient evil monster upon Udrogoth, he decides to talk the beast down.

Breakdown: Alright! Dave the Barbarian! This is another one of those short lived shows that I really loved, and I hate Disney for cutting this show’s life so short. It was a self-aware clever and fairly meta show about a royal family trying to manage protecting their kingdom while the king and queen are off battling evil.

Candy is a self-absorbed teenage girl, Dave is a prissy yet super muscular and kind ‘barbarian’, Fang is a vicious wild girl who loves nothing more than beating things up and Oswidge is a subpar wizard. With them is Lula, the wisecracking magical sword, and Faffy, a little dragon-like creature who looks somewhat crossed with a pig.

They get into all sorts of ridiculous situations in the medieval fantasy land of Udrogoth and usually just barely manage to scrape by. Dave the Barbarian came into play right as the Disney Channel was starting to get less invested in fun and creative shows and more interested in manufactured pre-teen drivel.

But how does it really hold up?

Episode 1A is basically a parody of the story of King Arthur, just with a gross and prick-ish stump sprite shaking things up….oh and yeah the giant muffin.

It really is just awesome how you can easily hook into everyone’s personalities and the atmosphere just in a few minutes. I think almost all of the jokes hit just as well, if not better, with me than they did when I was younger. You don’t really predict many of the jokes, and it’s not too in-your-face with meta humor. It’s just taking a very typical setting and having some fun with it by making weird monsters and insane situations that you’d never expect.

I do have to ask though – how is the person who pulls out Lula the ruler of Udrogoth? Sure its owners are the royal family, but technically Lula ‘belongs’ to Dave, and he’s just a prince. He’s not even the oldest child. Candy is the only one usually referred to with her title intact, and she was the one put in charge while the king and queen are away.

There are some pretty good jokes in here, though not every one is smile-worthy. I especially liked Lula in this episode, though she’s great all the time.

Episode 1B is basically one big poke at psychology, going through all of the tropes like constantly asking ‘how does that make you feel?’ over and over, thinking talking is the end-all solution to everything, and of course, ‘all of your problems are because of your mother’.

I gotta say, as a psych major, this episode kinda irked me. I’m fully aware that psychology is not an exact science, but I find myself getting increasingly annoyed by the TV tropes of brushing off psychology as a joke. It’s not so much that I don’t like poking fun at something I find interesting, it’s moreso that it will just keep perpetuating stereotypes about psychology and mental health issues as a whole.

That mini-rant out of the way, this episode is pretty entertaining and warranted a few smiles out of me, but I find it to be not as funny or well-written as the first episode. Mostly because, not only is it mostly a big psychology joke, but they also keep repeating the same jokes, more or less.

Overall, I’d give A an 8/10 and B a 7/10, earning this whole episode a 7.5/10

Next Episode, Faaffy’s feeling underappreciated and Lula finds her first love.