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 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 and picks up the comb he dropped accidentally. He then 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. He 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 cameras 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: 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.

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: 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: 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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Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Pelswick

Plot: Based on a series of newspaper cartoons by John Callahan, Pelswick follows the life of Pelswick Eggert – a paraplegic boy who wants nothing more than to live a normal life.

Breakdown: I usually don’t do Episode One-Derland entries for shows I am actually familiar with, but it has just been so, so, SO long since I watched Pelswick that I felt the need to do one here.

I watched Pelswick when it first aired on Nickelodeon, and I remember enjoying it quite a bit. It wasn’t my favorite show or anything, but I thought it was a pretty good series. It was really cool that it gave the spotlight to a paraplegic main character when you typically can’t even find many side characters in shows that are in a wheelchair or just generally have disabilities, especially back when this first aired.

The writing was also good with a style that reminded me a lot of Doug what with all the fantasies and cutaways, but actually….ya know….funny and interesting. (No hate on Doug, but it can be quite the bore sometimes.)

Now, Pelswick’s not making me bust a gut in laughter or anything, but it did have its charms and made me smile a few times as I revisited it. It also had some fairly clever writing and commentary.

This episode tackles the subject of Pelswick being barred from the eighth grade camping trip due to his special needs. Someone fought back in his stead, even getting a lawyer involved, and because of this push, instead of allowing Pelswick on the trip, they just canceled it altogether. The eighth grade camping trip is a big deal to a lot of people, so the situation gets heated quickly. It turns into a huge spectacle as many people start protesting against Pelswick to get the camping trip back while there were also many others supporting the rights of handicapped individuals and fighting to let him go on the camping trip.

Throughout the story, we get the reactions of various people that range from understandable to silly to silly but understandable on the grounds of parody. Many of Pelswick’s classmates are pissed off that the trip is canceled, which is understandable since it was such a big deal.

Some people are getting so pissed about it, however, that they’re purely protesting Pelswick as if he was the one who made this decision when it was technically against him. And when I say protest I mean they have signs with his face on it but crossed out in red and offer anti-Pelswick hot dogs at the picket lines.

You also have the younger kids in town, including Pelswick’s younger sister, Kate. They’re angry that they won’t be able to destroy the bedrooms of their older siblings while they’re on the camping trip, which is silly, but yeah totally something they’d do.

There was also a group of kids who were perfectly depicting the hypocrites you tend to see in these situations. They were going off about Pelswick being selfish for doing this while they were being selfish during their whole conversation. Not only is the narrative of ‘What a selfish thing to do. Why isn’t he thinking of what we want?’ inherently selfish, but they’re furthering the point by having them literally take the seats out from under two other kids so they could sit.

Then, on the opposite side, you have the ones supporting Pelswick, many of whom are fellow disabled individuals who are fighting for their rights, which is, of course, entirely understandable. But they also go a bit into silly territory by having pro-Pelswick hamburgers and a giant Pelswick balloon.

Likewise, while this situation does suck, the school had a relatively reasonable explanation for doing this. Their insurance didn’t cover individuals with special needs outside of the city limits. With the push against the decision to keep the camping trip but bar Pelswick, they felt they had no other choice but to cancel the trip entirely.

And even if we do go down the route of them getting better insurance coverage, the steps needed to achieve that would’ve taken too long as the trip was that weekend. It’s not just a matter of improving their insurance – it’s a matter of whether they have the money to do that, and if they don’t, allocating funds from one place or another to meet that demand. I think everyone knows how much red tape and bullshit there is in budget discussions, especially when it comes to schools.

For nearly the entire time, Pelswick believes his father/his connections to the state senator is the one who did all of this. He’s an ultra-’PC’ person to the point of parody. He’s definitely a good person, but he doesn’t realize that there is a limit when it comes to not trying to step on anyone’s toes. He actually says the line “Nobody’s wrong. They’re just differently right.”

He also does and says some things that come off like he’s one of those people who pats himself on the back for being, for lack of a better term, “woke” but he may actually be a rare occurrence when he doesn’t realize he’s doing it.

Here is one of his first lines of dialogue. “I’m showing your siblings the folly of gender-based stereotypes by cleaning and cooking dinner while nurturing Bobby and reading Kate a story about tolerance and equality.” If he were just doing this, it wouldn’t be anything worth noting, but the fact that he pointed this out so specifically is what makes it come off like he’s trying to pat himself on the back.

I actually think his dad might be a play on the critics of John Callahan’s cartoons. He was always criticized for being “politically incorrect” (Though Callahan would prefer the term “Survivor humor” – himself being paralyzed from the shoulders down and a survivor of a harrowing childhood) and he didn’t much care for those people at all. In fact, he was quoted as saying he really only cared about the responses he got from individuals with disabilities, which were overwhelmingly positive. When it came to everyone else, he liked pushing their buttons and seeing how far he could go with his dark and biting humor. His cartoons even sometimes caused people to boycott and protest the publications he was working with, and even created some issues with sponsors.

In this circumstance, if what I believe of this character is true, then the point of Pelswick’s dad is obviously poking fun at people who are uptight about not offending anybody and walk on eggshells around those who are different while still acknowledging that these people mean well.

Anyway, back on point, his father goes to the senator to get her to do something about this, so Pelswick thinks the lawyer, who is the one who kicked up the fuss, was hired by either his dad or the senator. Turns out, it’s neither. He was hired by his crush, Julie.

Julie is a character who prides herself on her strong sense of justice. When she learned that Pelswick was being barred from the camping trip, she took it upon herself to start all of this for him because she felt bad at the idea of him being all alone while everyone else was off camping. However, it got out of hand and she couldn’t stop it.

Pelswick is ecstatic to hear that she cared about him so much that she’d do this for him, but it also kinda goes against Pelswick’s whole point. Pelswick was annoyed because, during this whole situation, no one would listen to him about what he wanted. They just kept pushing their own narratives and agendas while pushing him to the side, even though his face is plastered all of the town because of it.

Julie never bothered talking to Pelswick about this. In fact, once the trip is canceled, we don’t see Julie again until the reveal that she was behind it all. She just felt bad for him, so she took action without even mentioning it to him once.

But what’s even worse is that she had to have known Pelswick was becoming the town punching bag throughout this whole thing, but she didn’t talk to him or even try to clear the air about who was the one who started all of this until Pelswick came out and asked at the rally. Even Pelswick points this out.

Pelswick: “You cared enough about me to make me totally miserable?”

This is said in a dreamy voice, by the way. He’s flattered that she did this.

So, in summary, the girl who prides herself on her strong sense of justice just let the guy she was trying to defend be attacked for a few days all because she was seemingly too chicken to own up to what she did. Kay.

By the way, in regards to their dynamic, Pelswick doesn’t make off being entirely angelic either. He actually has a ‘Nice guy’ moment, verbatim. When some bullies get done picking on Pelswick, Julie talks about what terrible people they are but then ends on saying she’s oddly attracted to them.

Pelswick: “It’s….the curse of the nice guys! The beautiful girls are always attracted to jerks and lunkheads.” Then he has a fantasy sequence where he imagines himself 20 years in the future. He’s rich and crying into thousand dollar bills as he imagines what could’ve been with Julie while he’s also driving by Julie who is now married to his bully and has a miserable life working at some dilapidated gas station in the middle of nowhere.

Don’t worry, Pelswick, I’m sure you’ll find that special subreddit someday.

The resolution to this episode is a little confusing. The Vice Principal says his hands are tied in this because of the insurance reasons I mentioned before. Inspired by the advice given to him earlier by his guardian angel, whom I’ll address in a minute, Pelswick asks if they can hold the camping trip in the VP’s new giant backyard at his new house.

Now, first of all, I think the writers are greatly misinformed on how much a public school vice principal would make. Certainly not enough to buy this big house with a massive backyard and a pool with a giant tower of a diving board.

Secondly, I don’t think it was ever brought up before this point that the Vice Principal has a new house with a huge backyard, so this solution kinda comes out of nowhere.

He does let the kids camp in his yard, everyone has a grand old time, and Pelswick even gets to touch Julie’s hand.

The end.

Skipping back to the guardian angel thing, Pelswick has a guardian angel named Mr. Jimmy. Whether or not he’s real is questionable, but he appears in every episode and offers Pelswick advice, usually in a rather confusing and random manner. When I rewatched this, I remembered that the Disney Channel Original Movie, Miracle in Lane 2, basically had this exact same thing. In that movie, the main character was also paralyzed from the waist down, and he had frequent conversations with ‘God’ who took the form of a fictional famous race car driver. I looked up what year Miracle in Lane 2 was made in, and it premiered the exact same year as Pelswick, 2000, though Pelswick premiered in October whereas Miracle premiered in May.

COINCIDENCE?!

*Dramatic music*

Yeah, probably. I mean, Mr. Jimmy and ‘God’ don’t act anything alike, and most of the interactions with ‘God’ are in a more serious tone when Justin needs help. Plus the race car driver motif thing

By the way, watch Miracle in Lane 2, it’s an awesome movie and one of the few times Disney Channel really got serious and kinda dark. The early 00’s were the butterzone for that. So Weird, In a Heartbeat, a few other more serious DCOMs….I miss those days.

As a first episode, this one works pretty well. It introduces us to Pelswick and explores his personality and desires fairly well. We get introduced to his friends, his family, his crush and even his bullies all in one go. I can’t really say I loved any of the characters, but I liked Pelswick and Ace most of all, and even Goon had his moments. As far as I remember, they never explain how Pelswick became paralyzed, but according to the Wiki, the series creators imply it was due to a car accident, which mirrors John Callahan’s situation.

The only other thing I really want to talk about is the art. I nearly didn’t even really bring up the art because, despite having my criticisms of it. I had read up on John Callahan while I was writing this review and realized it was based on his cartoon art, which he had created after he gained some mobility in his arms. He was able to hold a pencil between his hands and draw.

As a result, I didn’t want to criticize the art, but then I realized I’d be missing the point of quite literally everything I’m discussing here. I’d be keeping quiet about something because the person behind it was quadriplegic, and John Callahan seemed very dedicated to ensuring that people with disabilities weren’t pitied or treated differently. Granted, this isn’t directly his art, but it is heavily based on his art.

So, here goes.

The art is very, very weird. In a lot of ways it reminds me of Klasky/Csupo shows, but more off-model. Many people are given huge bulky bodies with thin heads, short little t-rex arms and massive noses. Their eyes are always both seen from the side, like one must be dislodged from their head. I can’t even begin to make sense of Pelswick’s dad’s head, who also has eyes that seem like they’re just installed in his glasses.

It’s very stylized – you can quickly tell this is a style meant to be in newspaper cartoons – but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s very weird. Weird doesn’t necessarily mean bad, I wasn’t cringing while watching it or anything, but I did find myself baffled as to the design choices many times. The animation is also simple, but it works.

Continue Yes

Pelswick is definitely a unique show that I’m sad was mostly lost to time, especially considering that it puts a spotlight on the lives and struggles of individuals with disabilities – that’s rare enough as it is, but for a cartoon aimed at children it’s nearly unheard of. It has a pretty good sense of humor, good writing and mostly likable characters. If you have the means, give it a look.

Final Notes: Because it was airing on networks for kids, Pelswick notably needed to have more of a positive/optimistic spin that was quite a bit different from the crass and darker humor Callahan used in his cartoons.

Right when Pelswick was airing, another cartoon based on Callahan’s work, called Quads!, was being aired in Canada – produced by the same team and company (Nelvana included, surprisingly). According to what I’ve read, it was a much more adult-oriented show that better reflected Callahan’s style of humor. It never got a US release. Interestingly, though, both shows ended in 2002 and both shows had two seasons/26 episodes.

Truth be told, I don’t really have a lot of interest in seeking out this show. I’ve mentioned before that crass humor really isn’t my cup of tea, even if it’s well-written, and just reading the character bios on the Wiki page for Quads! leads me to believe that it wouldn’t be any more fitting for me. I’m not criticizing his style of humor – especially considering Callahan only created and produced the shows, he didn’t write for them. Even from what I’ve seen of his newspaper cartoons (a few of which I found to be pretty funny) I can tell this that particular type of humor is not for me. It’s not something I seek out, nor do I tend to be entertained by it usually when I stumble upon it. I respect it fully, but it’s not my style.

Sadly John Callahan died at age 59 in 2010 from complications related to his quadriplegia as well as respiratory issues. He had such an impact on the world of cartoons and people with disabilities that a biographical movie, Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot (the title being a reference to one of his most popular cartoons) was made in 2018 starring Joaquin Phoenix. The movie was mapped out in the late ‘80s, but had a lot of difficulties finding a studio that would take on the project, and many delays and broken deals plagued it over the years.

Callahan was even quoted as saying “We’re all gonna be dead by the time this film is made.” And, sadly, Callahan did die eight years before the movie was finally released. To make matters worse, Robin Williams was initially pegged to star in it, but he had also passed away before the movie found a studio (and was too old to play the part by that time either way.) Callahan had also said he wanted Phillip Seymour Hoffman to play the part if Williams ever wasn’t an option anymore, but he, too, passed away before everything was set in stone.

Still, it looks like Joaquin Phoenix really immersed himself in the role and did a good job. I’d like to see the movie if I ever got the chance. Not only does Callahan seem like he was a funny and genuine guy, but he also has a very interesting backstory that I’d love to see explored on film.


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AVAHS – Christmas in Tattertown (1988) Review

Plot: Debbie loved playing with her stuffed dog, Dog, and her doll Miss Muffet. One day, Dog, Muffet and Debbie were sucked through a mysterious book into a strange place called Tattertown where ‘junk’ comes to life. This place has never known Christmas, so Debbie decides to bring the magic of Christmas to them. Muffet, however, is taking advantage of her newfound life to be evil and wreck everything good.

Breakdown: Ah Ralph Bakshi. The guy definitely has his own flair and was basically the father of adult animation, but I really never enjoyed much for his work outside of Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures. Respect the hell out of him, but I don’t vibe much with his work usually. I don’t really care for his casual affiliation with John K much either, but I’m not sure of his current status with him, so I’ll leave that irk on the backburner.

Christmas in Tattertown was a pitch pilot for Nickelodeon back in 1988 for a series that would have been called Tattertown, but the series wasn’t picked up.

…..I can kinda see why.

(Although, let me be transparent here. According to the Wiki, the real reason Tattertown didn’t get picked up was supposedly because of the heat he got for the infamous ‘cocaine’ scene in Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures which aired when Tattertown was on the table. Considering the tone and more adult-ish style of this short, I can imagine they were worried he’d do something similar in the future of that show, even though Bakshi vehemently denied that that was the intention of the shot, even citing concerns for his own young daughter and his strong disdain for drugs.)

The animation is great for a late 80’s production, especially for a pitch pilot where poor animation is entirely reasonable and understandable. It’s very bouncy, particularly the ones based on older cartoons, and pretty fluid, even if some of the lines vanish and the frames jut around every now and then. In typical Bakshi fashion, the art ranges from perfectly fine to weird to what the hell is this even?

The sound design is….to be expected. The voice acting is passable at best and “must’ve accidentally replaced my ear buds with power drills again” at worst. The lip syncing is also quite rough, but I guess I’ll blame the pilot-ness there. The sound effects are basically passable, but the special is kinda quiet – again, understandable with a pilot.

As for the story, though….ech. Can you even say there’s a story here? Debbie finds out no one in Tattertown has never heard of Christmas, even though, as Debbie herself points out, with all the junk in town it’s unlikely that they’ve never learned what Christmas is until now. A bunch of this stuff would have to come from Christmas or be Christmas themed.

Actually, this special reminds me a lot of Spongebob’s first Christmas special, Christmas Who? though it’s more understandable that a bunch of undersea creatures don’t know of Christmas. And in both specials, Santa randomly appears at the end, meaning he visits the place but has never brought presents there until they randomly learned of the holiday. Pretty shitty practice, Santa.

After that, Debbie just tries to make Christmas for the Tattertown residents and keeps complaining that they’re not doing it right. She comes off as bratty fairly often, which, I guess she’s supposed to anyway for reasons I’ll get to in a second. Even when they are trying to do things right, like cutting down a Christmas tree, she complains. A little lumberjack toy was trying to chop down their sentient Christmas tree (who is also Jewish. I found that kinda funny.) and while it’s fine for her to stop him from doing that, of course, she tells him that Christmas isn’t about chopping down trees or presents, it’s about being kind and putting an end to strife for just one day. Everyone tears up at her speech, and then the lumberjack tries to chop down the tree anyway and Debbie smashes him….killing him? He’s never seen again.

Merry Christmas?

Kinda ruins your kindness and joy sentiment when you immediately murder someone. I get that that was the point, maybe a dark joke, but that adds to the confusion of the narrative here. Is this meant to be a real Christmas special or is it meant to be a skewed take on Christmas specials?

No one gets the true meaning of Christmas until Debbie plays a record of “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby. Everyone suddenly gets it and becomes immersed in the holiday somehow. Either his dulcet tones are magical or this is a lazy resolution. Seriously, Debbie’s big speech about kindness and good will doesn’t click with them but a song about how nice it is to have snow on Christmas does? Actually, it’s not even about the snow, really – it’s about nostalgia for childhood Christmases when you’d go out and have fun in the snow. Do they even get snow in Tattertown?

Meanwhile, Muffet, who has become evil 11 seconds after becoming sentient because Debbie was basically Elmyra if she was more into dolls than animals, is plotting to ruin Christmas.

She’s basically just an annoyance. She’s kinda funny when dealing with her minions, but her voice is awful. I also don’t understand a single molecule that is the scene where she desperately wants to eat the final slice of ‘tobacco pie’ which is literally a pie made out of tobacco with cigarettes and a cigar sticking out. I wanted to puke just seeing that thing.

And then a stove eats it instead and shits out ashes……Or maybe peed them out, because they came out the front….

She rallies an army and tries to take down everyone celebrating Christmas, but it literally backfires. One part I laughed out loud at was when her fighter planes thought Muffet was telling them to attack each other. It’s said in a Goofy-esque voice and the other guy praises her idea and they just start kamikaze-ing each other. It’s pretty funny.

In the end, Muffet is thrown in jail, gets a bunch of presents, but Debbie finds her and reclaims her as her precious doll, which is basically hell for Muffet.

Overall, this short is okay. It garnered a few yucks (and a couple actual yucks) and the loudness and chaos is tolerable, sometimes legitimately funny. As a Christmas special, it kinda sucks. They do aim for the ‘true meaning of Christmas’ and everything, and I do love how Harvey, the little old-fashioned style puppy dog, is so enamored with the idea, but it definitely doesn’t have much in the way of actual Christmas spirit. They pretty much just collect Christmas stuff, Debbie complains and then they mistake Muffet’s attack for a Christmas celebration, get all happy about it, but Debbie still complains because that’s not the ‘right’ way to celebrate Christmas, and then…Bing Crosby randomly saves the day.

Unless you’re a Bakshi fan in a Christmassy mood or a big fan of old animation, I don’t really see a reason to recommend this. There are better Bakshi works and better Christmas specials to check out.


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Thanksgiving Special: Rocko’s Modern Life – Turkey Time Review

RMLTT

Plot: Rocko celebrates his first ever Thanksgiving (As he’s originally from Australia) but is shocked to hear from Heffer that turkey is usually the main course during the holiday. Chaos throughout O-Town ensues when all of the turkeys in town congregate to Rocko’s house.

Breakdown:

Hi. I’m Fiddle D. Twix. Wishing you and yours a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday to all in the US. And to all not in the US, have a great day, and keep being safe.

I thank you all for joining me on this holiday. I know the year has been…Hm…what’s a polite way to say ‘hellish dumpster fire’? But the holidays are always here to bring goodness and cheer no matter if you’re with family and friends, whether in person or remotely, or if you’re just enjoying a quiet holiday on your own. I still try desperately to keep the holiday spirit no matter what the rest of the year spits in my face, so I hope you enjoy this year’s Thanksgiving special and the coming A Very Animated Holiday Special reviews over December.

So sit back, relax, warm up by the fireplace gif and join me for Rocko’s Modern Life – Turkey Time.

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Remember how I said that most Thanksgiving specials tend to be kinda boring because they all pretty much follow the formula of “family makes a big deal of dinner, dinner gets ruined, they salvage the night anyway and realize the holiday is about family and friends, not food.”? This special breaks off from the norm, because it’s Rocko, of course it would, silly.

Rocko is celebrating his first Thanksgiving in America with Heffer there to show him what goes into the dinner. They get everything they need at the grocery store in terms of veggies and stuff, but then Heffer reveals that they need a turkey. Rocko is confused as to why they need to invite a turkey to dinner, but they go to Conglom-O’s turkey giveaway and get a live turkey. All the while, Heffer is giggling that Rocko believes they’re just having dinner with the turkey.

When they arrive home, Rocko is devastated to learn that Heffer meant they were going to kill and eat the turkey for dinner, not eat with it. He can’t kill the turkey because it’s so cute, and even though Heffer acted like it was no big deal, he finds that he doesn’t have the heart to do it either. They decide to just hang out with the turkey and eat a veggie turkey for dinner, but that’s where the problems start.

Somehow, the other turkeys that were being given away by Conglom-O all escaped and took refuge at Rocko’s house somehow knowing he would protect them. Rocko’s got no problem protecting the turkeys, but word gets out that he has the only turkey in town since he got a turkey before the giveaway started. So, yeah, it’s still hitting some cliches – most notably being the ‘everyone gets a turkey ON Thanksgiving’ thing, which rarely ever happens, in my experience. Also, why is everyone getting a turkey from a free giveaway that Conglom-O is having? Do they not carry turkeys in the stores, or does everyone want a live turkey? Seems like an unnecessary amount of work. Why is Conglom-O having a massive live turkey giveaway anyway (Where the setup is literally ‘show up and get a free turkey’) That’d be a huge loss of profits, wouldn’t it?

Nitpicking aside, everyone in town demands that Rocko share his turkey. And, remember, they only believe he has one turkey. Apparently, that’s meant to feed like 30 people.

Rocko, pressured into doing it, does give them exactly what they want, a big turkey dinner…after he does a hilarious….and I don’t know how I can say this without it being taken the wrong way but….sexy dance in a turkey costume (Unless that is one of the turkeys, in which case, this is even weirder….They never did show him getting in or out of a turkey costume…..) They even set up the living room like a strip club. It’s really funny but also very weird.

Everyone eats the turkey and happily leaves, but then they discover that the turkey was actually a jumbo veggie bird. They turn back to see Rocko in the middle of a flock of turkeys and they set out to kill them all so they can have an actual Thanksgiving feast.

They’re about to kill the birds via dropping a grand piano (+pianist playing dramatic music) on top of them, but, like Rocko and Heffer, they find that they’re too cute and can’t do the deed. Mr. Bighead, though, won’t have it. He has no sympathy for the birds and, in a fit of rage, disperses the turkeys and demands they let go of the rope holding the piano. They do, but Mr. Bighead’s the only one they hit with it.

Later, the turkeys all get a big feast, reprising the sexy dance setup, only this time it’s Mr. Bighead with a bag of turkey food, much to the delight of the turkeys. And everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving except Mr. Bighead because he’s an ass.

The end.

I only barely remembered watching this episode as a kid, but it’s a good one. This story was definitely refreshing for Thanksgiving specials, and it made me laugh several times. It’s a good time to be had all around. Rocko’s Modern Life adds its own style to the event, and they never opt for anything cheesy.

It is a tad on the dark side for a kid’s cartoon, though. That’s not a bad thing, of course, and Rocko has always been on the more mature side (See: Turkey strip tease), but it is kinda uncommon for a kid’s holiday special to focus so much on killing, even if they never outright say to kill them (Due to censors. They do directly allude to it as much as possible, though, including but not limited to Heffer making that throat-slitting motion and going ‘Gaaaaccckkk’). I can’t imagine any kid was traumatized by this episode on the revelation that turkey comes from, well, turkeys, especially since images of live turkeys are everywhere around Thanksgiving, but I still have my doubts that an episode like this would fly today (hehe, turkey, fly, hehe.)

This episode does have some additional bittersweet notes to it, though. It was written by Spongebob creator Stephen Hillenburg before he eventually went on to create Spongebob three years later. This was also the season in which Hillenburg was made a director and producer for Rocko’s Modern Life. Turkey Time was the last episode he (co) wrote before the series ended, though that’s not really saying much considering my final bittersweet note is that this is the first part of the series finale of Rocko’s Modern Life.

While, technically, the actual ending for the show was considered Future Schlock (the episode in which Rocko, Filburt and Heffer get shot into space for 20 years) the episodes were switched around to allow the Thanksgiving special to air closer to the actual date of the holiday, making this and the following segment, Floundering Fathers, the official series finale. That is, of course, until the movie, Static Cling was released 24 years later. (I have watched the movie, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.)

If you want to have some laughs this Thanksgiving, give it a watch. You won’t regret it.

~Happy Thanksgiving!~


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Animating Halloween: Hey Arnold! Arnold’s Halloween

AHHAAH

Plot: Arnold, Gerald and their classmates come up with a Halloween prank to play on the adults. Most of them believe in aliens, so they decide to fake an alien invasion in town. However, the prank gets out of hand quickly, causing the entire city to panic and putting Helga and the other kids in danger of being attacked by an angry mob.

Breakdown: There aren’t that many Halloween specials, particularly animated ones, that ever really made me nervous as a child. And any that did manage to make my heart pump a little faster didn’t manage to continue doing that as I got older.

Arnold’s Halloween is one exception.

“Now, Twix,” you might be asking, “Why Arnold’s Halloween, of all things? It’s a very grounded show. What could possibly make you nervous here, especially as an adult?”

Well…my answer’s actually kinda depressing. It’s because the series is so grounded that this episode manages to make me nervous.

In this episode, Arnold and Gerald get a little annoyed that they’re being kept out of the boarders’ special Halloween plans because, ironically, they’re kids. They decide to get back at them by playing a prank on them. All of the people in the boarding house, and many other adults in the city, are believers in aliens and fans of a local alien TV show. Arnold and Gerald decide to take advantage of this and stage an alien invasion. Helga and the other kids in their class will dress up like aliens and visit the house, they’ll rig the nearby water tower to look like a spaceship and they’ll fake a radio broadcast announcing an alien invasion.

Their plan works very well….ridiculously well….Borderline unrealistically well. Basically, the entire city ends up in a complete panic over this prank, which is being spread because Arnold and Gerlad accidentally sent it out over the regular radio too and the local alien show host caught wind of the situation and broadcast an alert on TV. Everyone’s convinced the aliens have landed and are taking over. The city accidentally ends up in a blackout because of the lights they put on the local water tower, but somehow the water tower itself stays lit. It’s lit so well that no one can tell it’s a water tower, but no one questions where the water tower went.

It’s Hallo-freakin’-ween and hardly anyone has the sense to think this is a prank. Even if the alien show host starts prattling on about it, they should have the sense to think it’s just Halloween nonsense. They then start chasing Helga and her friends with rakes, mallets and sticks.

That’s where things actually start getting tense to me. This insane group of idiot adults is chasing after a group of children with actual weapons intent on hurting on them. Helga and the others try to prove that they’re just kids in costumes, but Harold got some crazy strong makeup that doesn’t rub off. (They could just take off their gloves, but whatever.)

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The one in town who is the most alien-crazy is none other than Helga’s dad, Bob. If you know Bob, you know him being crazy is a scary thing. He’s an untrained militant wack-a-doo who takes any opportunity to whip out his massive hummer and army gear.

He fully believes this invasion is real, so he rallies his friends to go attack the mothership. And by ‘attack the mothership’ I mean fucking BOMB IT.

He legit has bombs (in a bunch of beepers…..He owns a beeper emporium, you see.) that he plans on shooting into the ‘mothership’ after the ‘aliens’ board. Which means, he very nearly blew up a group of nine-year-olds, one of which being his daughter. Holy. Shit.

They also kidnap and tie up Principal Wartz for no other reason than he’s a weenie.

When the kids arrive at the water tower to get away from the angry mob, they become very pissed at Stinky, who is helping Arnold and Gerald, because he accidentally revealed that they were playing a prank the whole time, which greatly confused me. Why wouldn’t Arnold and Gerald let the other kids in on this prank? Maybe they’d like to help. But nope. Instead, they played a prank on them too by telling them to come to the boarding house for a Halloween party.

Helga and the others start attacking Stinky as he runs for the water tower. Seeing this, Bob sets up the others to throw the bombs on his signal and rushes to confront the ‘aliens’ attacking Stinky. He grabs Helga and holds her up in the air by her head, holy shit, and starts frickin’ shaking her over and over. She can’t convince him that she’s Helga because he just thinks that it’s alien mind control.

I was really concerned about Helga here. It may seem stupid in hindsight – this is a kid’s cartoon, Helga’s obviously not going to get hurt – but even as a kid I saw Bob as such an uncaring and intimidating asshole that he very well could have hurt her, especially in one of his crazy modes. I mean, come on, look at what he’s already doing.

Even after Arnold arrives to try and help, Bob doesn’t listen.

By the way, did you forget the bombs?

Bombs.

They hurl the bombs at the water tower, very easily could’ve hit the group below, and they blow a huge hole in the side of the tank. The water finally washes off the makeup, revealing that the ‘aliens’ were just Helga and the others all along. At the very least, Bob realizes what a horrible thing he nearly did (He even says straight out, “I almost killed my own daughter! I’m a monster!”) and hugs Helga, for a change, but, geez, those last few moments were really tense.

And, oddly, I find this episode even more tense as an adult, even though I know the outcome. The reason for this is, now that I’ve grown much older….I realize how stupid people can truly be. It’s still a bit of a stretch to say the whole town went into shambles in less than an hour over alien reports on Halloween, but…mass hysteria plus people being stupid….it’s a hell of a thing. If nothing else, I can certainly believe a small group of yahoos would go out and attack some poor kids, possibly even trying to blow them up. Be honest, if you saw a story like that on the news, would you be surprised? It’ll probably pop up next to a headline that says ‘Gender Reveal Parties Now Leading Cause of Wildfires.’

As much as I like that Helga finally got a hug from her old man and Bob realized what a psycho moron he was being….they didn’t really address the issue they were having throughout the whole episode. Like always, Bob was ignoring Helga, constantly telling her to go away and mistaking her for Olga, and no matter how much Helga wanted her dad’s attention, he wouldn’t give it because he’s an asshole. And….Yeah, after this episode, he’ll continue to ignore her and be an asshole. It happens a lot with Helga-centric episodes involving her parents. It’s quite frustrating.

Still, overall, this is a really good episode. It’s exciting and fun, and there are even some genuinely funny moments in there like Helga miming her dad as he tells his story and Gerald pretending to be the radio announcer. It’s not really a mainstay Halloween special to me, but it’s still one I revisit on occasion.


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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.

CSBS - Rugrats Ep3 2

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.

CSBS - Rugrats Ep3 3

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.

CSBS - Rugrats Ep3 4

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 think ‘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.

CSBS - Rugrats Ep3 6

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??!?!

CSBS - Rugrats Ep3 7

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.

CSBS - Rugrats Ep3 8

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.

Ratings:

3A – 7/10

3B – 7.5/10

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…

Previous Episode


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AVAHS – Rugrats: Let It Snow Review

AVAHS - Rugrats Let It Snow

Plot: Grandpa Lou is setting up things early for Christmas card photos since they always get done too late. With all of the Christmas stuff in the house, the babies believe it’s Christmas and that Santa forgot about it. They decide to do whatever it takes to remind Santa that it’s Christmas so all of the babies of the world will be able to get presents.

Breakdown: Even though this episode doesn’t take place at Christmas (It’s August) and it’s only a half-episode instead of taking up the full half-hour, it’s still pretty much a Christmas special – a very wholesome one indeed.

I spent more time smiling at the innocence and naivete of the babies in this episode than I remember doing in a long time. I guess that makes sense because this episode doesn’t have Angelica in it to ruin it for me or them.

The story is very cute and believable, and there are several instances of great humor in this episode. I think the way they ‘made snow’ was kinda convoluted, but it’s not that bad. And the resolution was also very believable and cute.

As a final note, the Pickles’ kitchen is either drawn way too big in this episode or it’s a lot larger than I remember. I know it’s a kitchen and dining room combined, but it’s massive.

Overall, this episode won’t blow you away but it’s a pretty good Christmas special that, if nothing else, will put a smile on your face a few times.


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

CSBS - Rocket Power Ep 3 1

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

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: 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

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.

Ratings:

Otto 3000 – 1/10

Night Prowler – 5/10

Next episode….

…Previous Episode

AVAHS – Fairly Oddparents: Merry Wishmas Review

AVAHS - Fairly Oddparents Merry Wishmas

Plot: When Timmy discovers that many people didn’t get what they wanted for Christmas, he decides to share his magic with everyone in Dimmsdale – he wishes that Cosmo and Wanda would deliver a special coupon worth one wish to everyone. This new ‘Wishmas’ is a big hit – a little too big. Vicky uses her wish to ask for one million wishes, which everyone nabs up. The excessive wishing overloads the Big Wand, causing a shut down.

When Jorgen receives happy reception from children, he takes this opportunity to take Christmas away from Santa, disliking that he gets credit for giving toys to children by using fairy magic every year. No one cares about Christmas anymore – they just want Wishmas.

Meanwhile, Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves move into Timmy’s house now that he’s out of a job. They drive everyone, particularly Timmy’s mom, nuts because of their crazy behavior and constantly eating milk and cookies.

Jorgen blocks every attempt to return Santa back to his former Christmas glory, wanting to keep Christmas for himself. Is there any way Timmy can get Christmas back and end this Wishmas nightmare?

Breakdown: Welcome to this year’s A Very Animated Holiday Special, everyone! We’ve got a lot of holiday cheer to go over this year, so let’s dive in!

This Christmas special aired right after I starting paying much less attention to FOP, which I like to call the Post-Poof era. I don’t really have much against Poof, but his appearance definitely felt like the first instance of jumping the shark – something everyone pretty much deduced. Introduce a baby if you want to make no secret of your shark-jumping. It’s a shame FOP had to undergo about three more jumps of the shark before someone finally put it out of its misery.

But I digress.

Christmas Everyday, the FOP Christmas special that precedes this one, is a beloved Christmas Nicktoon classic. I love it, and I watch it every year. I said as much when I reviewed it for 2017’s AVAHS. The main issue I had with that episode was the ending. The main conflict of the special was the other holidays looking to basically snuff Santa so they could take over the year with their own celebrations because they felt overlooked and underappreciated while standing forever in Santa’s shadow.

Timmy talks them down by…confirming that they’re nowhere near as good as Christmas but they like them just fine, even though the song earlier spent a whole verse talking about how crappy the other holidays are (“New Year’s Eve’s for Mom and Dad. The Easter Bunny’s eggs smell really bad! Valentine’s Day always makes me sad…” “Cuz Timmy just can’t get a girlfriend!”) and greatly contradicts that sentiment. He makes no effort to talk about their good points….and it works.

The other holidays realize they were wrong or something, Santa’s returned to normal and they’re able to unwish the constant Christmas wish. The only real lesson of the special is that Christmas is something really special that should only be celebrated once a year otherwise it’s not special anymore.

With Merry Wishmas, we have a pretty good setup, but it is the part of the episode that makes the least amount of sense. Timmy doesn’t get the sled he asked for, so he celebrates ‘Wishmas’ which seems to be a holiday he made up to wish for everything on his list that he didn’t get, starting with the sled. The message is already kinda in your face because Timmy literally has a mountain of presents and he’s bitching about not getting a sled. If the message wasn’t already in your face, Wanda has to straight out tell Timmy that he shouldn’t focus on the stuff he didn’t get and should just be thankful for the things he did get.

AVAHS - Fairly Oddparents Merry Wishmas 1

He goes off sledding with his friends only to find them sledding on their crappy gifts, like Chester riding on a trash can and AJ riding on a printer. I had to pause here because, really Santa? You gave Chester, the dirt-poor kid in town, a trash can for Christmas? While Timmy gets a mountain of stuff AND fairies? What is wrong with you?

Also, I thought AJ was rich. Why is he complaining about anything?

It seems no one in town, not even Timmy’s dad, got what they asked for this Christmas – so much so that the song of the special is the kids singing about the weird gifts they got in place of the stuff they asked for. The song is called ‘Not on the List’ and even though ‘I Wish Everyday Could Be Christmas’ is better, I still really enjoyed this song. It’s very catchy and easy to sing along with. However, given the more negative sentiment, I’d be hardpressed to want to sing it during the holidays.

Also, some of the presents make sense and are things kids sometimes get in place of the stuff they actually wanted for Christmas, like the wrong toys, educational toys, books and underwear, but who is giving these kids cheese, a backhair trimmer, self-help books, tickets to a golf invitational and beef jerky?…..And why did Chester get a damn trash can!? I’m not letting that go.

AVAHS - Fairly Oddparents Merry Wishmas 2

Why was Santa doing this? Some kids, like Vicky, just don’t deserve what they asked for, but it seems like no one got what they wanted this year. The ending might imply that he planned for this to happen, but we’ll cross that bridge in a bit.

Timmy wishes that everyone in Dimmsdale had their own ‘Wishmas’ by having Cosmo and Wanda dress up like holiday mailmen and deliver a coupon to everyone that was worth one wish each. Timmy’s heart is in the right here, but like every episode, it backfires on him.

Of course, everyone wishes for ridiculous stuff and Vicky nabs the most obvious wish loophole and wishes for a million wishes. I first thought Vicky would be the main villain of the special after that, but she isn’t. The massive magic needed to use these coupons overloads the Big Wand back in Fairy World, but, shockingly, Jorgen isn’t upset about it.

Since everyone in the world now loves Wishmas, Jorgen jumps at the chance to take Christmas for himself since he views Santa as a glory hog for getting all the love and attention on Christmas when he uses all of the fairies’ magic to give the gifts. He won’t allow Timmy to unwish the wish or wish away Wishmas because he’s loving the fame and attention now. Yes, believe it or not, Jorgen is technically the baddie in this special, though the focus really isn’t on combating him.

AVAHS - Fairly Oddparents Merry Wishmas 3

It’s strange. You’d think Jorgen wouldn’t be on board with this because obviously giving one or unlimited wishes to everyone in world, even just for one day, would be a bad idea and a huge strain on their magic supply, but I guess we’re just working on the honor system that no one will wish for world conquest or for time and space to fall apart or for this godforsaken series to last ten seasons.

Santa, who is still in his fat and jolly form even though continuity would dictate that once he no longer had fairy magic he’d revert back to his other more ‘normal’ businessman-esque form, but whatever, for some reason needs to move in with Timmy now that he’s out of a job, taking his wife and elves with him. This twist doesn’t make full sense to me, but I’m choosing to ignore it.

Timmy spends the bulk of the year hoping Santa will get up the heart to fight for Christmas, but it takes him until Christmas rolls back around for Timmy to take matters into his own hands. He captures Cosmo and Wanda in a butterfly net and traps Jorgen in a magic cell, forcing Wishmas to not come and Christmas to return.

Timmy and every other kid realizes that they should share their gifts with those less fortunate and be thankful for what they have. Christmas returns, and the kids start giving away a bunch of the stuff they asked for to other kids who aren’t as privileged, and Santa even kinda encourages the viewer to do the same.

AVAHS - Fairly Oddparents Merry Wishmas 4

During the entire episode, Timmy has been following an eerily accurate Christmas storybook about the current events. It’s not dictating his actions, it’s kinda predicting how everything goes and narrates as the story goes on. It’s not constant, though, so it’s never annoying. However, the ending reveals that Santa wrote the book and left it under the tree for Cosmo to find and read, probably after he heard Timmy being ungrateful for what he had, which….raises a massive load of questions.

Assuming Santa didn’t purposefully not give everyone what they wanted for Christmas, he decided to put the entire world at risk by leading Timmy into wishing for Wishmas, allowing everyone at least one wish (Jorgen does shut down the magic when they wish too much, so there’s a cap here, but still) Santa maybe intentionally crashed with Timmy even though, logically, he should have a place to live even without a job, just to further this story. He tormented his poor parents for a full year, practically destroyed their house, and all because Timmy made the misguided wish to help everyone get what they wanted for Christmas and he wanted to teach Timmy a lesson about appreciating what you got and focusing more on giving, not receiving.

That’s uhm…..Ya know, Timmy wasn’t even one of the people singing the ‘Not on the List’ song. Though, maybe that’s because he just wished for the sled he didn’t get. I have to wonder how Timmy even has stuff to wish for on Christmas. He has fairies all year round. Why wouldn’t he wish for a sled before now?

AVAHS - Fairly Oddparents Merry Wishmas 5

Timmy was ungrateful, sure, but he didn’t really act bratty about it. Also, how does getting a buttload of wishes and then getting them taken away the next year teach the populace that giving is better than receiving? I would have put an addendum on the coupon that said ‘you must use this wish for the sake of another person’ or something. People are pissed because they want to use the coupons for themselves, but they find using the wishes for the good of others is great. Giving away gifts when the wishes are taken away is the next best thing.

Despite there being a lot of logistic issues in the writing, I have no problem saying this episode is about as good as Christmas Everyday. The overall plot may have a lot of wrinkles, but the dialogue and pacing are very snappy. I found myself smiling several times and even laughing and rewinding to re-hear jokes because they were that good.

I’d say that the smaller overarching plot problems spanning the entire episode, collectively, are about as bad as the resolution in Christmas Everyday. I might even say that Merry Wishmas is funnier than Christmas Everyday and has an actual message to it that’s beneficial, even if it takes some mental gymnastics to get there.

The only thing that might keep notching it down to the same level as Christmas Everyday is the fact that Santa went way overboard with this and his plan doesn’t really make a lot of sense, at least the way he framed it.

He built it like this. Make Wishmas – everyone’s happy – loves Wishmas – No longer needs Christmas – take Wishmas away – People appreciate what they get for Christmas more and want to give not receive.

However, when you really think about it, this is what would logically happen. Make Wishmas – everyone’s happy – loves Wishmas – No longer needs Christmas – Take Wishmas away – Greedy people no longer get stuff they want – must beg Santa to return to keep getting stuff.

AVAHS - Fairly Oddparents Merry Wishmas 6

Nowhere along that path can I really see where Timmy and the other kids would suddenly start gaining an appreciation for what they have and feel compelled to share their things with those less fortunate. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice that the message is in there, but the plot didn’t properly set the stage for the actual revelation. It was moreso setup and divebomb into payoff.

That and Jorgen’s acting really out of character in this episode. He initially gets angry, sure, and he does love the spotlight, yeah, but putting the entire world at risk by giving literally everyone at least one wish (maybe even Crocker!) is not something he’d do for a little attention once a year. The fact that he wants to take down Santa when he makes his return is even worse.

Overall, despite my problems with the plot’s writing, this is a very funny, sweet and enjoyable FOP Christmas special that I would be glad to add to the annual Christmas special watch list. It’s certainly on par with Christmas Everyday, I can safely say that much. I didn’t even notice Poof was there most of the time, which is weird, because at this point he hasn’t even been in the series long enough to warrant changing the theme song animation. You’d think he’d get a little more focus. It’s even Poof’s first Christmas, so that’s a bit of a missed opportunity there.

Side-note: This episode really makes me miss Timmy’s dad. He’s such a hilarious character when they actually take advantage of Daran Norris’ voice acting properly. His antics as ‘Nogman’ here were definitely a major highlight and a great way to build upon the running joke from Christmas Everyday.


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