Cartoon Country: New Looney Tunes

Just when you thought it was safe to return to Twinsanity…..

CARTOON COUNTRY RETURNS!!!

Bender Applause

We’re back, baby!

Today’s Cartoon Country is all about a show I’m grooving on right now: New Looney Tunes.

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For the uninformed, New Looney Tunes began as Wabbit: A Looney Tunes Production. Stylized as wabbit. and known also as bugs! in parts of Europe, the Middle East and Japan, Wabbit is/was an American animated television series from Warner Bros. Animation. The series premiered on September 21, 2015, on Cartoon Network, and later premiered on October 5, 2015, on Boomerang. Eventually, the series was rechristened New Looney Tunes and its’ universe was expanded to include the rest of the Looney Tunes gang.

I probably don’t need to say this anymore, but like all of the Cartoon Countries, this isn’t a review; I won’t be breaking down any of the show’s specific episodes, for the simple fact that I can’t; currently the series isn’t airing anywhere in the US (on March 7, 2017, Turner and Warner Bros. announced that the unaired episodes will be released on Boomerang’s SVOD service, but there doesn’t seem to have been any follow-up to that), so I’ve only caught sporadic glimpses of New Looney Tunes, much to my chagrin. (Fun Fact: I had originally planned to examine New Looney Tunes as a What The Funny, but was unable to due to the lack of resources, references, clips, stills and information available.) Instead, I’ll just be giving a brief overview of the show and my views and opinions on it.

The series returns to its’ slapstick roots. This is a good thing, as physical comedy was something NLT’s predecessor, The Looney Tunes Show, was sorely lacking. FTR, I thought The Looney Tunes Show was just so-so; I didn’t hate it like so many other people on the internet, but I’ll openly admit that it wasn’t what I wanted from a new Looney Tunes series. Intro time. (I know I showed this here once already, but it makes me happy, so here it is again:)

Each episode of Wabbit contained two shorts, starring Bugs Bunny as the main character. When the show transitioned to New Looney Tunes, each thirty-minute episode contains four shorts, with Bugs Bunny as the main character. In the show, Bugs confronts other characters from the Looney Tunes shorts, as well as some new friends and enemies.

Some characters are given new traits. For example:

wabbit wile e coyote

Wile E. Coyote is Bugs’ pompous, smart-alecky, technology-obsessed neighbor, whose desert expanse is separated from Bugs’ forest rabbit hole setting by a single wooden fence. His ‘vast intellect’ and obsession with the latest gizmos always loses out to Bugs’ simple wise-ass cunning.

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Elmer Fudd returns, and about time too, I say. Elmer was barely featured on The Looney Tunes Show and I thought it was weird how in this new series which stars Bugs Bunny and whose title is in ‘Elmer Fudd-ese’, didn’t feature the character until now, but Fudd is back, and he’s still no match for Bugs.

wabbit taz

Taz here (in what as far as I know is his only appearance in the series so far) is ‘Theodore Tasmanian’, employed as an accountant who tries to repress his savage nature.

OK, this take on Taz is a bit weird. It’s funny to hear Taz speaking full sentences, but it’s just kind of strange. I’m not sure if the show will keep Taz in this guise for future episodes, but I’m sure fans like this more than Taz being a pet like he was in TLTS. (Though to be fair, I didn’t think that was a bad idea either, I just wouldn’t have made him Bugs’ pet, as animals keeping other animals as pets is just weird and kind of…wrong somehow. I’d have given Taz to Granny or something.)

There are also new characters (Yes! I’m glad that the producers are mixing things up and adding new characters into the fray rather than just relying on old formulas), such as Squeaks the Squirrel, whose nonsensical chattering is provided by Dee Bradley Baker…

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wabbit bugs and bigfoot

…And the weakest character in my opinion, Bigfoot, a childlike, mindlessly destructive and very, very, very stupid Sasquatch who routinely calls Bugs “Lady”. I don’t find Bigfoot especially funny, but it is good that the producers aren’t afraid to knock Bugs around a little; this keeps him from becoming smug and too perfect to be interesting.

And then we come to Daffy. Insane. Unhinged. Totally nuts. Woo-hoo-ing all over the place.

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And this is my reaction.

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THANK YOU! I’ve already elaborated on this in Unpopular Opinions, but I am SO glad to see Daffy Duck being a nut-job again instead of a greedy, selfish, cowardly a-hole! This series gets my respect just for bringing my favorite take on my favorite Looney Tune back!

wabbit bugs and sam

Now, with the slapstick comedy back, Bugs back in the rabbit hole, Sam having his guns again and Elmer antagonizing Bugs again, you’d think fans would be happy….

Belushi But No

But NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Of course, people still have to look for trivial reasons to bitch, whine and moan about this show. The prevalent complaint I hear about this series is the characters’ designs; people think they look ‘weird”. I actually heard this statement uttered about the show’s aesthetic choices:

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“Why can’t we get a series where the characters look ‘the normal way’?

“The normal way?”

Madea Shut Up

First, we FINALLY get a Looney Tunes show where the characters are acting loony again, and now you’re complaining about the designs? Second, what’s “the normal way”? How are we defining “normal” here? You know every artist has their own style, right? There has NEVER been one specific way to design these or any characters.

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Heck, even the Termite Terrace directors each had their own sets of artists: Friz Freleng’s Bugs looked different from Tex Avery’s Bugs who looked different from Chuck Jones’ Bugs who looked different from Robert McKimson’s Bugs. As long as the characters are still recognizable as who they’re supposed to be, what’s the problem?

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Granted, that face on Foghorn is a little weird…

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…And Yosemite Sam looks like he escaped from the Ren & Stimpy Show. Still, you recognize that it’s Yosemite Sam, so I don’t see what the big deal is.

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And for those who are asking, “Why is Porky so fat here?”….

Early Porky Pig

…This is closer to how he looked originally.

Also, curiously absent from the fun (so far) is Lola Bunny. If she were to show up, one wonders if we’ll get something closer to the Space Jam version…

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…Or the Looney Tunes Show version.

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And no, I’m NOT opening that can of worms again. We’re not going to launch that tired debate about which version of Lola is better. Here’s my answer to that question:

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Seriously, that argument is so old it’s growing mold! As long as Lola is A) funny and B) an actual character, not just some secondary love interest or some hyper-competent “I don’t need no man”, cipher-like embodiment of Girl Power (TM) or some den mother whose only job is to remind the boys how dumb they’re being, I’m fine with her portrayal.

In summation, I’m liking what I’ve seen so far of New Looney Tunes, and I’m hoping the show will come back to the States in full capacity so I can rake in some good old-mixed-with-new style cartoon cool.

wabbit bugs and squeaks

Grab yourself some crunchy carrots and enjoy the show!

Cartoon Country: Krillin VS Pintar

Before I start, I’d like to once again apologize for the low output here lately. We’re not happy about it either, but we’ve been working on evolving the site in various ways (most of which we’ve already covered previously, so there’s no need to repeat ourselves)  and things are indeed beginning to happen, so thanks for sticking with us during this time.  OK, enough of that, on with the nonsense.

Today we’ll be looking at one of my favorite moments from Dragon Ball Z, focusing on everyone’s favorite short stack, Krillin.

Krillin

“Mondo cool!”

In this scene, Krillin is competing in one of the many, many, many fighting Tenkaichi Budokai fighting tournaments present in the DBZ universe. Krillin is sporting hair on his head because by this time in the series, he hasn’t fought in a while and has been instead doing the family thing with his wife Android #18 and their young daughter Marron. Anyways, Krillin’s opponent is a mountainous blowhard named Pintar (a pun on pinto beans, maybe?). There is a noticeable size, height and weight difference between the two combatants, and for this reason, Pintar immediately begins relentlessly taunting Krillin for being vertically challenged. Then the match starts and this happens:

Yep, that’s right; Krillin plants one in Pintar’s bread basket, knocking the big schmo out of the ring with a single punch, thereby winning the match by a TKO.

One thing that I like about this moment is that while Pintar relentlessly taunts Krillin both before and at the start of the match, Krillin never once engages Pintar personally. We hear some of his inner thoughts, but Krillin never says a single thing directly to the guy, and as we learn later on, there was no need for him to; he let his fist do the talking for him. For all of his bluster and trash talk, Pintar never lays a finger on Krillin. The match doesn’t even last three minutes. And after he’s declared the victor, Krillin just turns and walks away, as if to say this match was just another thing that happened. Speaking as someone who is shorter than the average guy (5′, 6″, in case you were wondering), I liked seeing ol’ Krillin get a moment of superiority for a change. I’m sure that fans have different interpretations/opinions regarding this scene, but for me, this is right up there with the “Hulk owns Loki” moment in the Avengers movie. It’s just like what Buster Bunny is wont to say:

Buster Bunny

“Never underestimate the little guy!”

Cartoon Country: Bionic Six

Today I’ll be looking back at a largely forgotten but interesting cartoon from the late 1980s, Bionic Six.

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Just hangin’ out with the family, busting bad guys’ heads…

Bionic Six is an American-Japanese animated television series that aired from 1987 to 1989. It was produced by TMS Entertainment (which had previously worked on Dokonjō Gaeru and Hasbro’s Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light) and distributed, through first-run syndication, by MCA TV, years before the latter company became NBCUniversal Television Distribution. Renowned Japanese animation director Osamu Dezaki was involved as chief supervising director, and his distinctive style (as seen in Golgo 13 and Cobra) is evident throughout all its episodes.

The title characters of the series are a family of machine-enhanced human beings possessing unique powers after being augmented with bionic technology. Each family member is given specific bionic powers, and thus they form a superhero team called the Bionic Six.

Here’s the show’s intro:

 

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“That’s nice singing. They remind me of Up With People.”

In the near future (some unspecified decades after 1999), Professor Dr. Amadeus Sharp Ph.D., head of the Special Projects Labs (SPL), creates a new form of technology to augment humans through bionics. His first subject was Jack Bennett, a test pilot who secretly acted as Sharp’s field agent, Bionic-1. On a family ski vacation in the Himalayas, an alien spacecraft triggers an avalanche that buries the entire family, exposing them to the unusual radiation of a mysterious buried object. Jack frees himself but discovers his family in a comatose state. Theorizing that Jack’s bionics protected him from the radiation, Professor Sharp implants bionic technology in the others, awakening them. Afterward, the family operates incognito as a publicly lauded team of adventuring superheroes, the Bionic Six.

The Bennett family includes patriarch Jack, matriarch Helen, Eric, Meg, J.D., and Bunji. They live in a secluded oceanfront home in the fictional city of Cypress Cove, in northern California. Each member wears a special ring and a “wristcomp” (a mini-computer hardwired into the wrist), which they use to activate their bionic powers. The Bionic Six can also combine their powers by joining hands, creating a “Bionic Link” to amplify their abilities

The Bennett Family/Bionic Six

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Jack Bennett/Bionic-1 (voiced by John Stephenson): Expert test pilot. Bionic-1’s powers are mostly related to his bionic eyes (including “x-ray vision,” telescopic sight, energy blasts, and low-powered beams that temporarily cause electronic devices to malfunction or even turn against their users), and enhanced hearing (this last capability beyond even the powers of the other team members, who each possess superhuman levels of hearing in their own right).

Helen Bennett/Mother-1 (voiced by Carol Bilger): Jack’s wife, and oceanographer and marine biologist. Mother-1 possesses various ESP powers that allow her to occasionally see glimpses of the future, telepathically communicate with other sentient and non-sentient beings, determine the function and operation of mechanical devices by mentally “tracing” their internal workings, and can mentally project hologram-like optical illusions. She is also an accomplished fighter, having bested Dr. Scarab’s henchwoman Madame-O on the occasions when the two physically fought each other one-on-one.

Eric Bennett/Sport-1 (voiced by Hal Rayle): Jack and Helen’s athletic son. At local Albert Einstein High School, Eric is a shortstop on the baseball team, the Einstein Atoms. He routinely employs baseball vernacular in his dialogue. As Sport-1, he affects electromagnetic powers to attract or repel metallic objects with tremendous force, meld them together, or even rip them apart. This force is directional and – by varying the configuration of his hands, or by using one or both arms – Sport-1 can adjust the strength of attraction or repulsion. He can also use objects as he would a baseball bat, including steel beams, lampposts and other objects (including baseball bats) to redirect incoming objects and energy blasts; infused by the same field that comes from his arms, he can use those ordinarily fragile objects to hit and deflect things they normally could not. (In one instance, he used a steel beam to hit an incoming asteroid.)

Meg Bennett/Rock-1 (voiced by Bobbi Block):  Jack and Helen’s daughter and Eric’s younger sister. Meg is an excitable and somewhat ditsy teen who loves music. She is prone to habitual use of the future-slang phrase “So-LAR!” (comparable to “awesome”), as well as the prefixes “Mega-!” (as befitting her first name) and “Ultra-!” . As Rock-1, she can emit sonic beams from blaster units mounted on her shoulders – the blaster units are only visible when she assumes “bionic mode.” She can also run at blinding speeds, faster than other members of the team. (These can all run at superhuman speeds in their own right, though nowhere near as fast as she can.) Meg and her brother Eric are Jack’s and Helen’s sole biological offspring.

J.D. Bennett/IQ (voiced by Norman Bernard): Jack’s and Helen’s remarkably intelligent, adopted African-American son. As IQ, he has both super-human strength (he is even stronger than the other members of the team with super-human strength, making him the strongest member of the team) and super-intelligence. So this kid’s not only the brains of the team, but also the muscle? No ego problems there.

Bunjiro “Bunji” Bennett/Karate-1 (voiced by Brian Tochi): Jack and Helen’s Japanese foster son. He was placed under their guardianship after his own father disappeared 10 years earlier somewhere in the East. Bunji is an avid karate enthusiast. As Karate-1, he has enhanced martial arts skills, made more formidable when applying his bionics. As such, his agility levels surpasses that of his teammates, and his reflexes are among the sharpest, and only Rock-1’s reflexes surpass his, due to her super-speed.

F.L.U.F.F.I. (voiced by Neil Ross): a gorilla-like robot who lives as a housekeeper with the Bennetts. He regularly demonstrates a comical craving for aluminum cans that extends to casually devouring the Bennetts’s cookware, vehicles, or other metal objects. Despite his bungling behavior, he nonetheless proves helpful around the Bennett home, or assisting the Bionic Six with physical tasks in the field.

That’s an eclectic group, to say the least.

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Taste the Rainbow!

Trivia Time: In the German dub of Bionic Six, Bionic-1 and IQ were the only main characters to keep their original names. In Germany, Mother-1 is known as Bionic-2, Sport-1 is Baseball, Rock-1 is Rock and Roll and Karate-1 is Kamikaze.

Of course, with heroes comes the motley crew of villains (gotta sell those action figures, you know!)

The Villains 

Dr. Scarab: real name Dr. Wilmer Sharp Ph.D., who is Amadeus Sharp’s brother. Scarab is a hefty, egotistically brilliant and occasionally comical man who yearns for the secret to eternal life and world domination. His right eye has been modified with a monocle that has a low-powered scanner that can detect individuals with bionics, even when they are disguised, and a destructive, high-powered beam. In rare instances throughout the series, he seemingly demonstrates superhuman, bionic strength of his own (on at least one occasion, he picked up Mother-One effortlessly and threw her around; in another instance, he was seen carrying as much solid gold out of Fort Knox as his other bionic minions–several hundred pounds’ worth.)He was voiced by Jim MacGeorge, who imitated the voice of George C. Scott when providing that character voice.

dr-scarab

The doctor is in…sane!

Dr. Scarab has assembled a motley team of henchmen (described below), imbued with an apparently lesser form of the same bionic powers employed by the Bionic Six. (Another one of Scarab’s goals in the series is to try to figure out the secrets behind his brother’s superior bionics knowledge.)

team-scarab

“HAIL HYDRA!!….No, wait. ..COBRA!!!…No, that’s not it either….HAIL SCARAB!! Yeah, that’s the ticket!”

Glove is a purple-skinned villain named for his left-handed blaster glove which is capable of firing both beams and projectiles. He serves as the field leader in Scarab’s evil plans (hence made a frequent target for punishment for failures) and constantly vies to replace Dr. Scarab as leader.

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“hey, bud. I like your style!”

 

Although cunning and vicious, he tends to retreat at the first sign of defeat. His strength varies, as in some instances, he seems to be the equal of Bionic-1, while in one instance, he was able to physically overpower and dominate both Bionic-1 and Karate-1 at the same time. Glove was voiced by Frank Welker.

Madame-O is an enigmatic blue-skinned femme fatale who wears a full face mask and uses a harp-like weapon to fire sonic blasts. She has a verbal tic of ending many of her statements with the word “…darling.” While possessing super strength, she is not as strong as many of the other characters; Mother-1 was able to defeat her in physical struggles in various occasions. Before her transformation, she actually appeared to be an elderly woman. She was voiced by Jennifer Darling.

Mechanic is a dim-witted, childish brute who employs various mechanical tools as weapons – nail or rivet guns, throwing circular saw blades, using a large wrench as a bludgeon. Despite his short temper, he has a soft spot for animals and an engrossing fondness for (in-universe) children’s television cartoons. He was voiced by Frank Welker.

Chopper is a chain-wielding thug who articulates sounds mimicking a revving motorcycle. He is sometimes depicted riding a three-wheeled motorcycle vehicle. He, like both Mechanic and Glove, was voiced by Frank Welker. Coincidentally (or perhaps not), Frank Welker previously voiced another character named Chopper with exactly the same voice and “vocal mannerisms,” in a 1970s-era cartoon titled Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch.

chopper

Is it possible that this guy was able to undergo some sort of trans-species surgery? Who knows?

Klunk (voiced like Bionic-1 by John Stephenson) is a patchwork monstrosity who appears to be made of living glue, and who rarely speaks coherently. Immediately after his creation, Scarab noted to himself to “use a little less power next time.”While relatively unintelligent, he is considered one of the most dangerous opponents to engage in battle with, due to his unparalleled strength (his strength appears to surpass even that of I.Q, the strongest member of the Bionic Six), high resistance to physical attacks, and his gooey body’s ability to engulf his opponent – even Dr. Scarab fears him to some extent. Unlike the other minions of Dr. Scarab, he is (understandably) horrified by his own transformation and longs to be human again. Regarding Klunk’s appearance, I can’t put it any better than Red Dwarf‘s Cat:

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“He looks like something that dropped out of the Sphinx’s nose!”

Bionic Six‘s episode structure followed the rather predictable route: Bad guys cause trouble, good guys use their super powers to stop them. Bad guys vow that they’ll whup their butts next time. Wash, rinse, repeat. Furthermore, this was one of those shows where no one was ever able to make the connection that the Bennett family and the Bionic Six were one and the same, despite the fact that the Six’s super hero costumes didn’t cover their faces at all! “They were a nuclear family with two whites, a black and an Asian child, but that could have been anybody! You know how common those are!” In one episode, Eric (Sport-1) is on a date with a girl, Scarab causes some trouble where Eric and his date are, he excuses himself and returns as Sport-1 and his date asks “What happened to Eric?”

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Oh, come on! How could she not know that was Eric? Same hair! Same face! Same voice! He didn’t even take off his baseball cap! The Power Rangers at least wore helmets, fer cryin’ out loud!  The ordinary citizens of Cypress Cove must have all been either nearsighted or very stupid.

Another thing that I liked about Bionic Six is how, like the Fantastic Four before them, the Bennetts were an actual family. They weren’t put together like other teams. The were related, so they’d be living together and were dealing with one another even before they were given bionic super powers. Also, and this is something that I touched upon back in my CC post for Miles From Tomorrowland, I like how Mother-1 (Jack’s wife Helen) was a full fledged member of the team. She wasn’t just the secretary or something lame like that. Helen was a career woman and an equal member of the team. She didn’t just stay home and make dinner while her husband and kids were off saving the world, nor was she conspicuously absent for no reason (in your face, Transformers Rescue Bots!). The main thing about the show that I don’t particularly agree with (aside from the kids being 3 boys and only 1 girl) is that I don’t think that J.D. (IQ) needed to be the physically strongest member of the team. Having off-the-charts super genius intelligence is super power enough. If the writers wanted J.D. to have some visually stunning effect, just have him do the occasional brain blast or something like that.

Bionic Six only ran for one full season in syndication, but the series did spawn a line of action figures, so there’s that.

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One thing that the Bionic Six was lacking, however, was their own flying HQ. The Helicarrier remains awesome!

Cartoon Country: Hero: 108 – Fast Forward

Today, Cartoon Country takes a unique look at Hero: 108.

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Twinsanity has already covered this show in detail here and here, so there’s no need for show or character overviews, as we’d just be making like parrots by doing so. As you may recall, in those articles we mentioned how we’d both like to see a vision of the world of this show if that whole tedious war thing weren’t going on.

Lin Chung 2

Indeed, a fictional fantasy world in which humans and animals peacefully co-exist as near-equals (note I said ‘near’; more on that later) is a premise I’ve wanted to do something with for years, so today we’ll be boarding the handy-dandy time machine…

Time Machine

…An journeying to a time where the human/animal conflict is ancient history.

-Now, about the “near-equal” thing: anyone who regularly follows Twinsanity knows that I’m a strange bird. I like anthropomorphic animals, but I don’t like them to be too anthropomorphic; I’m not into ‘man-things’ who wear full compliments of clothing, drive cars, hold down jobs, etc. My feeling is if you’re going to anthropomorphize creatures that much, then there’s no point in making them animals at all; you might as well go the whole 9 yards and make them human. I like my cartoon animals, despite the intelligence hike, to still be, act like and be acknowledged as animals. Also, I personally like when animals appear alongside humans more than when they’re by themselves with no humans at all; yeah, that’s strange, but again I’m strange. So this setting will be less Zootopia and more Littlest Pet Shop, but with mysticism and without the language barrier.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s head…INTO THE FUTURE!

fast_forward

Hidden Kingdom

Welcome to Hidden Kingdom…of the Future. It’s been 50 years since the human/animal war (today known as The Kind of Big Deal) has come to an end.

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Over half a century ago, after getting booted out of the Kingdom for insulting the then Emperor, a wicked trickster douche-nozzle named High Roller bribed the animals of Hidden Kingdom with candy and convinced them that the humans were their enemies. He then usurped the Emperor and took over, while animals all over the Kingdom threatened the humans and forced them out of their homes.

Hero 108 Character Lineup

That is, until a band of rebels formed an Alliance called Big Green, and fought to end the war.

Animal-Jam with Swords

These 108 heroes, armed with allies from the reformed animal kingdoms, oddly cool turtle transports and weird barely explained mystical powers, eventually defeated High Roller’s armies and toppled his empire, restoring peace. As for High Roller himself, let’s just say he was dealt with in the appropriate manner.

Animal Jam Tiger

“Yeah, he was ‘dealt with’ all right–for 35 minutes at 350 degrees, with marinade and 6 different spices. Papa’s havin’ steak tonight!”

Since then, a peace treaty was signed to ensure that such a conflict would never arise again. (The date of the signing of this treaty has since become a major holiday known as Harmony Day.) The animals agreed to never attack humans again, and in exchange the humans agreed to never hunt down or kill the animals for sport…

Elmer Fudd

“Well, cwap! Just take all the fun outta wife!”

…and to keep the animal kingdoms well stocked with candy.

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A sweet deal!

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Today, Hidden Kingdom is a peaceful, harmonious melting pot. Its’ populace consisting mainly of..

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Exotic, adorable critters…

THE LEGEND OF KORRA

…And humans with quirky powers and skills.

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To accommodate the various races and species who live in Hidden Kingdom, there are various climates and landscapes placed all throughout the area.

Several of the animals live in the Hidden Wilds on the outskirts of Hidden City.

Animal Jam Woods

Guess you can tell the folks here really like the word ‘hidden’?

The Hidden Wild is where the Animal Kingdoms are located, presided over by a cabal of powerful animal shamans known as the Alpha Masters.

Alphas

Trust me, you want to stay on their good side.

…While many more live as pets (or as they prefer to be called, ‘companions’) along with humans in Hidden City.

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The East Citadel, the former Palace of the Emperor, has since been remade into an outdoor shopping center. It’s a little pricey, but they do validate parking and the pork stickers are to die for.

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Big Green, which was once the headquarters for the rebels and heroes who fought the delicious High Roller during the war, is still around…

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…But it’s since been redesigned and transformed into a luxury condominium. No, it’s not green anymore, but it kept the name, since it now functions as a mini-Biosphere full of various types of homes and areas for the City’s various human and animal occupants.

-Whaddaya say we hear from one of Big Green’s tenants, so we can get a 1st person viewpoint of what life in Big Green is like? Sound fun? Well, let’s do it anyway.

Penny Ling 5

“Hi, all! My name is Shao Lin and I’m adorable! As you can see, I’m a panda who loves her some bamboo, especially when it’s dipped in peanut butter. I usually just dip it in and eat it straight from the jar! But lately, I’ve been putting bananas in there. That’s right. Bananas! Crazy, right? I could see why you’d think so, but it tastes awesome! Try it!”

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“What’s that? Talk about what? Animal/human relations? Is it Harmony Day again already?? Sorry, I don’t watch the news. Sure! Big Green’s great! I was born in the Wild, but I moved here when I was two and I’ve lived here ever since. The cable TV’s much better here at Big Green. I’m totally cool with humans! I guess I’d better be, since I live with 2 of them. We’re all great friends. In fact, we’re in a rock band together. You know that hit song, “L.A. Deli”, which was No. 2 on the charts for 18 weeks? That was us! Our band is called Binky! Our second choice was Barefoot. (I personally thought we should call ourselves Sir Uppington Smythe, after the inventor of the butt-ring, but I was outvoted.”)

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“This is Sue Zookie, the lead singer in the band. She’s way into purple. Purple hair, purple outfits, purple nails, purple eyes, purple everything! Plus, she can fire purple laser beams from her eyes. The special effects for our shows are off-the-hook! And very purple!”

Elena 7

“This is Bianca Moon, the guitarist. She’s full-on into outer space. (I think she’s part alien or part astronaut.) She plays the cosmic guitar, which only a handful of people in the galaxy can play, and even fewer people can play well. Bianca says the cosmic guitar is a lot like the ocarina, only with more astral energy and less holes. She also does Capoeira (she only uses her hands for guitar strumming) and collects deely bopper antennae, toy rockets and dream catchers.”

Penny Ling 6

“Yours truly is the drummer. Since I was born in the Wild, I know all kind of jungle beats. They say I have a knack for beating on things! Though I’m not the band’s first percussionist.”

DCSHG Club Life

“Their original drummer was an octopus. In fact, the very first name of the band was Rocktopussy!”

Ed McMahon - Hiyoooo!

“Life in Big Green is way fun! Some of the other human tenants like to come over to play video games…

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“…While we companions get together for our own parties.”

Animal Jam Party

“it’s not that we animals don’t like video games, they’re just not that enjoyable when you don’t have opposable thumbs!”

“The owner of Big Green is our landlord, Mr. ApeReally. He’s a descendant of Commander ApeTrully, the leader of the heroes who won that war from like, forever ago!”

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Hero-108-ApeTrully Disguise

“He’s really the 105th Monkey King or something, so I don’t know why he disguises himself as a human.”

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“Human?? I thought he was some kind of weird alien cardboard box man!”

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“Human figures are hard to replicate in costume form, OK? And I wear this so I can date human hotties! I have the opposite of jungle fever, alright?! Now keep it down up here!”

“I’ve only ever met one other descendant of a war hero. Once we visited the Hidden Kingdom History Museum, and the curator there is descended from a war general called Mr. No-Hands…

Mr No Hands

“…His name is MR. NO-HEAD!”

Mr. No Head

“Hi there!”

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“Frankly, that guy creeps me the heck out!”

“Hey, there’s another animal who lives here: Clip-Clop III!”

Animal Jam Horse

“Yeah, my name’s Clip-Clop. I was named after my grandfather, who was a heroic sentry in the war. Considering that my grandmother’s name was Tippy Toes, I got off lucky!”

“On the 8th floor of Big Green is the Avatar School, where my friends and other mystic powered types attend 2 days a week.”

Avatar School Crest

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There, kids socialize, listen to tunes, play mobile games, and on occasion learn how to hone and control their mystical powers and skills.

Skylanders Element Symbols

“You can study Air, Fire, Magic, Earth, Tech, Water and Undead, though the only people who take that up are Goths and emos.”

Gor-don

“Look, I’m all dark and tormented. Wanna make out?”

Elena 5

“Like Shao Lin said, Harmony Day is coming up. The day where we commemorate the end of that old war and the signing of that peace treaty thingy. It kinda lags, since all that runs on TV are documentaries, marathons and mattress sale ads, but the candy’s free that day, so there’s that.”

Yes, most of Hidden Kingdom’s resident nowadays don’t really think much about the ancient conflict that made their current society what it is today, but there’s just as committed to the idea of humans and animals living together in joyous harmony as those original 108 heroes were before them.

Lego Friends Pets

Now you may be wondering: since humans and carnivorous animals no longer hunt or eat other animals, as per the agreement, what do the citizens of Hidden Kingdom eat, exactly?

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Well, let’s just say tofu sales have never been better!

Cartoon Country: Littlest Pet Shop Final Season Retrospective

 

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Bye, Blythe.

Today, Hasbro’s animated series Littlest Pet Shop (which airs on the Discovery Family channel) aired it’s last new episode of the season, and in case you haven’t heard, it’s also the last episode of the series. Yes, it’s true; Littlest Pet Shop is canceled. Roger Eschbacher, one of the series’ writers, confirms that there won’t be a 5th season of LPS, and that the decision to pull the plug on the show had to do with toy sales, not ratings. So it wasn’t low ratings, ’twas toy sales that killed the beast.

So in view of this news, I thought that I’d offer my thoughts on LPS and in particular, it’s 4th (and last) season. There’s no need for me to go over the series as a whole, since Damon has written a couple of articles on LPS already, which can be viewed here and here.

To start, I’m going to list my choices for the best and worst episodes of the series. NOTE: I’m not listing these episodes in any particular order, so I won’t be numbering them. That said, let’s go, man, go!

The BEST Episodes:

  • Gailbreak!
  • Penny For Your Laughs
  • Russel Up Some Fun
  • Dumb Dumbwaiter
  • Lights, camera, Mongoose!
  • Sweet (Truck) Ride
  • What Meme Worry?
  • A Day at the Museum

The WORST Episodes:

  • Helicopter Dad
  • The Nest Hat Craze!
  • Two Pets For Two Pests
  • Feud For Thought

Now, some of the highlights from Season 4:

  • No major story arcs or game changing moments for the pets. They’re just there to be cute and funny, which they were.
  • The Bisktit Twins (Whittany & Brittany) became somewhat more human and tolerable this season. They were no longer Blythe’s sworn enemies for no reason, but instead were just mildly annoying. Speaking of…
  • This season, we learn that Whittany & Brittany do indeed have a mother, one Eliza Biskit ( a caricature of Eliza Doolittle, the character played by Julie Andrews in My Fair Lady). Morever, it was implied that Eliza had been around all along and we (the audience) simply had never seen her before. I liked how LPS’ writers turned Eliza’s being off screen as a joke. (“Mom? where have you been the last 3 seasons?”)
  • Youngmee wants a pet of her own this season, and she gets one, a female dog. Not much else happens after that. That plot doesn’t really go anywhere.
  • Mrs. Twombly purchases a piece of land in Downtown City and names it Littlest Pet Street.
  • And finally, we at last learn more about Blythe’s missing mother. We learn that her nickname is/was Betty and that she could also communicate with animals. Blythe receives her mother’s diary from a tortoise named Speedy in the season opener, and this dairy is seen and referred to throughout the season. In the last episode, Blythe finally reveals to her father Roger her ability to communicate with animals, and then he himself reveals to her that he knew about Blythe’s ability all along, and that he also knew that his wife Betty had this ability.

FINAL VERDICT…

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That was an OK twist, but not as good as what I had hoped. Yeah, Blythe finally tells her dad about how she can communicate with animals (about dang time, I say!). She already revealed her secret to her friend Youngmee in season 3, and you have to wonder why Blythe would tell the girl that she’s known for a year or 2 before she told the person who, you know, raised her? As a season finale, “Littlest Pet Street” was OK, not great, but passable. However, as a series finale, this was weak sauce because nothing was concluded. To me, the series should have ended with Blythe finding out that her mom was still alive somewhere and then reuniting with her and/or the Baxters moving away from Downtown City. Damon and I thought that LPS would conclude with Blythe being reunited with her absent mother. We thought that Blythe was going to discover her mother on the desert island and that it would be revealed that Betty wasn’t dead after all, but was just living on the island doing the Dr. Doolittle thing. That may not have made a lot of sense, but it would been a cooler twist than the one that we actually got.

Dennis Miller

“Now, I don’t want to get off on a rant here…”

…but I have to say that one thing this show knows how to do is tease it’s audience. LPS’ writers would frequently dangle something in front of it’s audiences’ face like a carrot at the end of your nose, and then pull it away at the last second saying “Just kidding!” I can’t believe that after all those tidbits about Blythe’s mom Betty that were dropped throughout the 4th season the writers still chose not to give Betty a face in the series finale. If Blythe wasn’t going to be reunited with her mother, we could at least gotten to see what Betty looked like via a picture, or a flashback. Give us something, for cryin’ out loud!

Rant over.

Littlest Pet Shop wasn’t a great show, but it was entertaining and fun. LPS’ biggest problem was that it was never able to get out of the shadow of the Hasbro show that preceded it, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Fans were constantly comparing LPS to MLP: FiM, so it was never able to find it’s own voice or establish it’s own identity. I did like how Blythe sported a different hairstyle and outfit in every episode, and I’m glad that she was the only character on the show who did this. If everyone did it, then it would be nothing special. Plus, it would be too much of a hassle for the writers to come up with a new outfit each episode for every single character in the main cast. While I enjoyed LPS, I’m not sorry that the series is ending. Four seasons is a good run. It’s more than many animated series get, and it’s my personal unpopular opinion that NO scripted series should ever go beyond 3 or at the most 4 seasons. I’d rather LPS end while it’s still pretty good than just keep going and going year after year until it becomes a zombie that refuses to stay dead, like some other animated series, but I’m not mentioning any names.

SimpsonsFamily1

You know who you are.

Hasbro has mentioned that it’s already planning to reboot the Little Pet Shop franchise, and if that happens, a new animated series is likely to follow. We’d like to offer a few suggestions for the new LPS series (if there is one):

  1. It should follow the shorts format. Hasbro, every episode of LPS doesn’t need to be a full 22 minute episode. This show doesn’t need to utilize the half hour story format just because it’s big sister, MLP does. Honestly, many of the LPS seemed padded, so instead we think that each half hour of LPS should consist of two 10 minute shorts or possibly three 7 minute shorts per show.
  2. If Blythe Baxter (or a similar sort of character) is in the LPS reboot series, just have her start out with 2 happily married parents from the get-go. No more of that absent mother BS. I don’t want to go through this crap again.

Overall, I’m giving the series finale of Littlest Pet Shop a 2.5 out of 5. the finale was OK, but it could have been a lot better. I would have preferred that LPS went out with a bang rather than a whimper, but perhaps the rebooted series will be a tad more electric.

So long, Littlest Pet Shop. It’s too bad that there’s officially one less reason tune in to Discovery Family now. There’s nothing left to say except…Hit it, boys!