Peeks: Littlest Pet Shop 2018

LPS Title Card

Last June, Hasbro canceled its’ Hub/Discovery Family Littlest Pet Shop animated series after 4 seasons, due to low toy sales. At the time, Hasbro stated that they may be rebooting the franchise some time in the future.

Apparently, the future is now.

Littlest_Pet_Shop_(2018_TV_series)_logo

Yes.

In the intervening time since LPS 2012’s cancellation, Hasbro has since acquired Boulder Media, an Irish animation studio formerly owned by Cartoon Network. The new Littlest Pet Shop series is slated to arrive in the form of YouTube shorts which will start airing in fall 2017, with the full-blown series making its’ debut in 2018.

According to sources, the plot will revolve around “a world made by pets for pets where a portal opens up and the pets can go do things”.

Whaaaat

Hmm, that sounds kind of familiar…

Sliders

Just wish I could place it.

Character-wise, the series will focus on a sextet of main characters, referred to in the press as The Pet Six.

No Just No

Yeah, let’s stop that before it starts.

Littlest Pet Shop 2018

  • Roxie McTerrier (Brown Dog)
  • Jade Catkin (Black Cat)
  • Quincy Goatee (Yellow Goat)
  • Trip Hamston (Hamsta) (Red Hamster)
  • Bev Gilturtle (Blue Turtle with Purple shell)
  • Edie von Keet (Yellow-Green Parakeet)

Names with no pets attached (listed as recurring characters)

  • Mister Yut
  • Savannah Cheetaby
  • Wlsteria Perslla

OK, early impressions. So much to unpack here. Congrats, Hasbro. One of the main things that dogged the 2012 Littlest Pet Shop series was how it was unable to escape the shadow of its’ big sister series, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, so what do you do with the new series? Make it even more like MLP: Friendship is Magic!

picard-facepalm

Of course, it may turn out to be something different and unique, but on paper this “world made for pets by pets” thing basically sounds like Equestria with other species.

Also, I can’t be the only one who finds it weird that this is a Littlest Pet Shop series and there’s no actual shop? I mean, it’s in the title, fer cryin’ out loud. Plus, I’m assuming that since these pets go into this portal to have their adventures, their owners are perpetually off-camera. That’s unfortunate, I think; they seem to be doing the very thing I hoped they wouldn’t do: exclude the human element from the show. I think that should’ve been kept, since the presence of humans was one thing that helped distinguish LPS from its’ big sister MLP.

Blythe Baxter

Plus, I admit, I’m gonna miss Blythe.

Which brings me to my final observation: I get that this is a reboot and Hasbro wanted to start fresh with a clean slate, and it’s likely I just haven’t completely exorcised the ghosts of series past, but I’m sorry that the producers didn’t bring back any of the previous show’s characters. No Sunil, Zoe, Vinnie, Pepper, Russel, Minka, Sugar Sprinkles or Buttercream is going to take some getting used to, as they were all decent characters.

Penny_ling

They could have at least brought back Penny Ling. I loved Penny Ling.

Now since this new show is being produced by a different studio, it’s possible that they couldn’t use any of the 2012 characters, but my big concern is that this new show idea smacks too much of MLP: FiM. I think Hasbro was a little too quick to turn its’ collective back on the 2012 show. The Blythe Baxter LPS wasn’t perfect, it had problems, but I didn’t think it was beyond repair. That concept just needed to be tweaked a little, not completely overhauled.

Here’s what I/we would’ve done (Jason already covered some of this in his LPS Final Season Retrospective, so I’ll to keep it brief):

  1. I would’ve done away with the 22-minute episode format. This show didn’t need to do single 20-minute stories just because MLP did it that way, plus many of the LPS plots seemed padded out anyway. I would have gone with 2 or 3 shorts per show.
  2. Kept the show in “our world”, albeit an exaggerated cartoon version thereof. The ‘real world’ setting was another that helped distinguish LPS from MLP.
  3. Kept the shop, kept Blythe and some of the human characters, only I would’ve broken the communication barrier and have the show go full-on Looney Tunes or Bloom County and have the animals be able to directly communicate with the humans and vice-versa. Yeah, that would render the whole “Blythe is special because she can talk to animals” premise null and void, but to be honest I was never a huge fan of that shtick in the first place.
  4. Give Blythe (or a new main human character who distinctly resembled her) 2 parents from the get-go, both of whom would still be alive and happily married. I personally hate the Dead/Missing Mother trope with the fury of 1000 suns.
  5. GET RID OF THOSE #@$%^&*! BISKIT TWINS. I’m not gonna mince words here, they were hands-down one of the things I hated most about the 2012 show. While I’m usually a fan of twin characters and rich characters, I found those 2 unbearable and their characters made no flipping sense. They had no reason whatsoever to antagonize Blythe other than they were the designated bad guys of the show and so they had to bad guy stuff, and since they not only outnumbered Blythe but were also far better off materially than her, they always just came off like bullies picking on her, and I hated how the writers always had Blythe simper and try to make nice with and sometimes even try to kowtow and suck up to those little creepos only for them to routinely piss on her head. I would’ve done one of 2 things with the Biskits: either change them to latter-day Bulk & Skull-esque characters, good-natured goofs as opposed to flat-out baddies, or merge the Biskits and the Baxters into one family unit, say have a benevolent rich family who owns the shop and the daughter of this family is a Blythe type character, or a pair of twin Blythe types, either 2 sisters or 1 sister and 1 brother (why not? I’m sure some boys buy LPS toys too–you do, some of you guys. Admit it).

Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe this new show will be good. I have my reservations, but maybe I’ll be proven wrong. This series could rock, though I’m not thoroughly convinced yet.

Fry_Looking_Squint

We’ll just have to see.

Retroville: X-Men Infinity??

OK, I know we’re both currently taking a break from superhero themed posts, but I recently came across something which I found kind of interesting. Namely, this:

Disney Infinity xmengroupshot-small-1024x569

What appears to be a set of 90’s era X-Men figurines a la Disney Infinity.

I don’t know what these were actually made for (they’re more than likely just fan art); it’s doubtful these are/were specifically made for Disney Infinity, seeing as how at present the media rights for X-Men are still being held by 20th Century Fox and as such Disney’s Marvel division isn’t trying to do anything with the mutants since Fox would reap the rewards, but these are still pretty cool looking. Just thought I’d share some of my rambling thoughts and observations on these:

  • The makers went with the 90’s team, wearing the outfits they wore in the 90’s FOX animated series. Cool. I, like a lot of folks I reckon, had my first major exposure to the X-Men via that show (my uncle had a couple of issues of the original 60’s X-Men comics and I glanced at them, but I was a kid then and then I was even less into capes than I am now; if it wasn’t a wacky comedy or a cartoon, I wasn’t interested), so I like these outfits the best. I know a lot of people rag on the all-black movie costumes, and while I didn’t hate those overall, I didn’t feel they were a good look for the X-Men; for one thing, at that time every other superhero was wearing black spandex, and for another, uniform costumes work with, say, the Fantastic Four, since they’re a family with basically the same origins and there’s only 4 of them, the X-Men, by contrast, are an organization with disparate members from all across the globe, so their costumes should be more varied and diverse, IMHO.
  • I’m glad they gave Cyclops the 90’s costume with no headgear (aside from his visor) rather than the thing he wore in previous decades with the cowl thing over his head. It made him look like he was wearing a SCUBA diving outfit. Sidebar: One of the many things the Bryan Singer movies got wrong was making it seem like Scott’s inability to control his optic blasts was a natural part of his mutation, which it isn’t: it’s only because his parents pushed him out of a crashing plane when he was a child and he landed on his head; were it not for the head trauma he suffered, he’d be able to control his eye beams. So if they can cure Rogue of her curse of sucking people’s energy and strength whenever she touches someone (which they did, it turns out her absorption power was just in its’ nascent stage and was being blocked from growing psychologically), then someone should be able to fix Cyclops’ condition. But then, the Marvel universe is crawling with gods, aliens, magicians and tech super-geniuses and none of them can cure the Hulk or the Thing, so…
  • They went with the yellow, black and blue costume for Wolverine, which I’ve always liked more than the orange-and-brown costume he wore previously. A lot of fans want to see this costume in live-action, and while I’m all for authenticity, I don’t know how imposing and badass Wolvie would look as a live-actor in yellow and black jammies; I feel he’d come off looking more like a bee than a wolverine.
  • They included Beast. Freaking Beast.

Stone Cold Steve Austin - Hell yeah!

Beast is so frequently left out of X-Men merch and publicity, it’s great to see my favorite mutant included for once. I hope one day we can get an X-Men movie that gets Beast right in my lifetime.

  • Another rare inclusion: Jean Grey. When I was collecting action figures, it irked me that I could never find a Jean Grey figure; there were a couple of Phoenix action figures made, but not Jean as just Jean. I always found the whole Phoenix thing to be a double-edged sword; I get that it was needed to give the character a little spice, but on the other hand, I’ve always liked Jean more as just the telekinetic telepath rather than the ultra-cosmic destroyer of galaxies. There are other ways to improve Jean as a character than just having her get possessed by a fiery space bird and drastically altering her personality. If Jean Grey is/was boring, it’s because the writers chose to make her boring; you can’t blame that on someone else. Also, I like that Jean’s bodysuit is orange here, rather than flesh colored like it was in the FOX cartoon; admittedly before it looked like Jean was naked.
  • These are all great, but there’s no Jubilee…
Sexual Harassment Panda

…And that makes me a sad panda.

Well, I hope you enjoyed that little detour. Now….

On Vacation

…Back to vacation!

Retroville: Funny Company SWAG

As you know, we’re fans of 1963’s The Funny Company.

funnycompanylogo2

Funny Company Cast

“We’re sunny, we’re funny…get used to it!”

While the show only ran for a single season, it was nonetheless popular enough to release some pretty sweet merchandise. Today Retroville showcases some cool Funny Company SWAG.

First, this storybook entitled Super Chief in the Big City. In it, the gang goes out for a fun day on the town, where Super Chief’s unique speech patterns lead to shenanigans ahoy.

funny company book 1

funny company book 2

No Jasper, the entire Funny Company is not here. One member curiously absent from this book is club treasurer Merry Twitter. She’s the only member of the central cast to be be passed over in this manner. What happened? Was the author not a Merry Twitter fan? Or was there a one day sale at the Burger Barn and she had to take advantage of it?

Next, another book, Shy Shrinkin’ Violette, with resident creep Belly Laguna creepily lurking in the background.

Shrinkin Violette

Keep an eye out for the sequel, Baron Bad-Touch and his Stolen Ice Cream Truck of Wonders.

Next, a Funny Company Attache case.

Funny Company Attache Case

Funny Company Attache Case 2

Show up at your next Weekend Warriors paint ball retreat with this bad boy. I dare ya.

Next, a Funny Company jack-in-the box.

1963-Mattel-Super-Chief-The-Funny-Company-Cartoon-_1

1963-Mattel-Super-Chief-The-Funny-Company-Cartoon-_57

D’aaaaaaaw.

Super Chief Jack in the Box

Oh look, the Jack is Super Chief. Does it emit a loud train whistle sound that causes your ears to bleed? If not, total waste of money.

Finally, a Shrinkin’ Violette doll.

shrinkingvioletdoll

Clearly, the show’s producers considered Violette to be the media darling of the show; given also that the later episodes depicted the gang venturing to Hollywood for the purpose of making Shrinkin’ Violette a movie star. (Violette was cute and all , but I thought Jasper N. Park, Merry Twitter and Terry Dactyl were more interesting characters, just sayin’. Where’s the Terry Dactyl plushie?)

The Powers That Be made missed a huge opportunity here. They could’ve come out with a big Funny Company clubhouse play set…

amiibo

…Complete with little plastic figurines you could play with a la the Amiibos…

disney-infinity-figures

Or Disney Infinity.

-Now if someone were to make a Disney Infinity style Funny Company toy box game, then I’d be happy.

Retroville: Funny Face

Welcome to a new segment here in Twinsanity (we told you things were starting to happen here) called Retroville–where we look at toys, products, theme park attractions, live shows and concerts, novelties and other assorted merch that are based on cartoon franchises or feature cartoon characters; not specifically animation, per se, but connected to cartoon culture or at least in a related field, as well as past ad campaigns, retail and restaurant chains, toys and novelty products, hence the name Retroville. On Retroville we’ll be pulling out those kitschy things that make you smile and say…

smiley-face-with-mustache-and-thumbs-up-interview

“Hey, I vaguely recall that!”

Before we start, I have to give credit where credit is due: the Retroville segment was initially the brain child of my brother Jason (Goldstar), so once again Jason has saved this blog from the abyss. Let’s give him a big hand.

Now, on with the show!

-Today’s Retroville looks at Funny Face.

Funny Face

“Fruitzilla’s here, baby!”

funnyface-1

If you were a kid in the 60’s or 70’s, you probably know about these Technicolor Fruities. If you don’t, lend me your ears: Funny Face was a kids’ drink product introduced by Pillsbury in 1964, coming in an assortment of 6 flavors, each sporting a different kooky anthropomorphic fruit character with a catchy gimmick and correpsonding name. They were originally created by Hal Silverman at Campbell Mithun Advertising for his daughter; Silverman’s nickname for his daughter was Freckle Face, then the rest of the Funny Face characters just fell into place after that. Four of them, Goofy Grape, Rootin’ Tootin’ Raspberry, Loud Mouth Lime and Freckle Face Strawberry, were innocuously innocent enough, but the other 2, well…..

Injun Orange & Chinese Cherry

Yes, the other 2 Funny Face flavor characters were named Injun Orange and Chinese Cherry. They were funny, because they were ethnic. Hee-larious, right?

Gary Coleman

“Dat’s racist, yo!”

To be fair, Silverman meant no harm; remember this was 1964, and such ethnic caricatures were the norm at the time, but not surprisingly, the Native American and Asian communities weren’t too thrilled with their very cultures being characterized as shtick, so Pillsbury smartly complied and changed those characters to Jolly Olly Orange and Choo-Choo Cherry.

There was also the matter of Funny Face’s artificial sweeteners: The company originally chose a substance called cyclamate, which was deemed dangerous by the FDA (it was discovered to have caused cancer in laboratory rats). Scientists were quoted as saying:

Did I Do That

So after a few years, Funny Face was pulled from store shelves. After a bit of reformulation, the product returned with harmless saccharin in its place, and also offered an unsweetened version so consumers could add their sweetener of choice. Eventually, larger packages of Funny Face were made available that contained sugar.

For a while, the Funny Face crew were riding strong, even rivaling Kool-Aid in popularity for kids’ drinks. They even spawned merchandise, such as toys…

Funny Face Toys

…Mugs…

Funny Face Mugs

Drink it in!

…Pillows…

Jolly Olly Orange Pillow

…And even storybooks.

funny face 01 COVER

Eventually, the Funny Face roster expanded to include such colorful personalities as Lefty Lemon…

Lefty Lemon

…Captain Black Cherry…

Captain Black Cherry

…With-It (or Way-Out) Watermelon…

With-It Watermelon

“Groovy, babuh!”

…And Rah-Rah Root Beer.

Rah Rah Root Beer

thumb-down-smiley

“Weak, dude!”

Peep out these Funny spots from the ancient 1970’s.

Smiley bored 2

“Color me unimpressed.”

Well, those ads were…boring. For a product called Funny Face, you would think their ads would be, you know, funny. The image of a giant anthropomorphic pitcher of juice with a face, arms and legs smashing through a brick wall is something you’ll never forget if you’ve seen it, but these spots were just bland, plus it was weird seeing characters like Goofy Grape and Lefty Lemon speaking with normal voices and acting like regular folks. Where were the antics? Where was the shtick? Where was the FUNNY? I expected a commercial for a product called Funny Face to be more like this:

Evidently, 70’s kids felt the same way: ultimately, Funny Face just couldn’t compete with Kool-Aid, and by the time the 70’s were over, so was Funny Face. Only Kool-Aid remained.

Kool-Aid Man Wrecking Ball

“THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE! OH YEEEAAAH!”

For a brief period in the 80’s Pillsbury tried launching a product called Moo Juice, but it just wasn’t the same. Recently, I came across something interesting: a series of animated shorts starring the Funny Face gang, produced by Renegade Studios.

Now, that’s more like what I would expect from a product called Funny Face. Why couldn’t the 70’s commercials have been more like that? They might still be around now. Plus, Rootin’ Tootin’ Raspberry had a John Wayne sound-alike voice. Nice touch.

(Sidebar: I’m guessing the writers of these weren’t too fond of With-it Watermelon; they just had him get splattered by a truck and he never turned up again. A tad harsh, I think. With-It Watermelon wasn’t that bad a character; he was definitely a better idea than Rah Rah Root Beer. He’s not even a fruit!)

I don’t know what these animated shorts were for, but who knows? Maybe Funny Face can resurface one day. There’s nothing wrong with free enterprise, and if the characters would actually be portrayed as humorous, not bland and boring like in those 70’s commercials, I’d be down.

Goofy Grape

“Stay funny, my friends.”

Pop Dream #3: Stacie

According to the ol’ clock on the wall….

wall-clock

…It’s time for another Pop Dream.

-First, apologies again for the wait. I know the wait for new entries can get kind of long, and that can be annoying, but keep in mind, there are only a finite number of these and I try to space them out. Also, due to extraneous circumstances (i.e., life and stuff) lately I have slightly less free time to blog the way I’d like to. Part of why these take so long to produce is because I’m meticulous and I like for my entries to be as close to perfection as possible. I could either rush to get these out, and they’d be really sloppy and I’d hate them, or I can take my time and do them well. I choose to do the latter. I’m not going to phone in a Pop Dream just for the sake of doing one. Now, on to the popping…

The Fab Sister we’re covering in today’s Pop Dream is an extreme sports lover who keeps everyone on their toes with her hyperkinetic energy, drill sergeant-like scheduling and entirely honest views on boring activities. She easily fits in with the guys, but doesn’t get why Skipper seems to be obsessed with them. Today’s Pop Dream is all about……Stacie Roberts.

stacie-3

Yes, she can rock plaid.

OVERVIEW

Anastasia “Stacie” Roberts is the second eldest of Barbie’s three younger sisters, Stacie lives with Barbie, Skipper, Chelsea, Blissa, Taffy and Tawny in the Dreamhouse. She’s a bit of a tomboy, and a spunky Atta-Girl; basically pure energy in shorts. She enjoys skateboarding, snowboarding, surfboarding, making schedules and bringing order to chaos. Stacie would probably love Fuel TV, if it still existed, that is.

fuel-logo

Big ups to my fallen homey….I miss you, man!

Her dislikes are tardiness, messiness, wearing foo-foo dresses and people not giving 100 percent (grrrr!). Stacie has 156 things on her to-do list, owns 514 soccer goals (so far!),  3 pairs of swim fins and 1 awesome surfboard.

surfboard

Stacie’s significant other

APPEARANCE

True to her tomboyish nature, Stacie is the least frilly dresser among the Roberts Sisters, preferring T-shirts, tank tops and jerseys to dresses, and is rarely seen without her trademark ponytail.

stacieheader10

“Boom!”

However, she still manages to squeeze some of that trademark adorable Roberts pinkness into her daily appearance. Hearts and stuff still abound.

stacie2

The fruit doesn’t falls far from the glittery tree, after all.

PERSONALITY

As previously stated, Stacie’s the spitfire of the Dreamhouse. Though spunkier and more rough-and-tumble than the average fashion doll, Stacie’s still a Barbie sister through and through. She has a skateboard, but she puts glitter on it.

Nothing slows her down. If someone could harness Stacie’s energy, they could power Las Vegas for a month. When she’s not surfing, skateboarding, playing soccer or some other sport…

die_hard_sports_fan_clipart_image

“SPORTS GO SPORTS! YEEEEEEAHHH! NUMBUH ONE!!

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…She’s busy organizing activities and calling the shots for the Dreamhouse’s latest shenanigan. Even Barbie lets Stacie make the play when she’s on a roll. You can’t stand in the way of a hurricane. Although she sometimes is annoyed with her younger sister Chelsea, and frequently gets annoyed by her older sister Skipper,

blid_doctor_barbie_9

It’s worth it just to see this expression.

Stacie retains a P.M.A….

matt-foley

“That’s a Positive Mental Attitude…”

and her boundless energy to keep things running, sometimes even smoothly.

stacie_and_barbie_soccer

Barbie: Is it soccer season again already?

Stacie: Dude, soccer’s a global sport. It’s always soccer season somewhere!

 

FUNNIER MOMENTS

“Fan Mail”: Stacie and Chelsea hijack their big sis’ blog and take their own stabs at answering questions from Barbie’s many, many, many, many fans. To the query “What do you do when your B.F.F. copies everything you wear?” Stacie responds with:

fan-mail-1

“Wear your underwear on the outside and see if she copies that. if she does, hey, she’s a really cool friend.” You know, there’s actually some twisted logic in that.

“Sisters Ahoy”: Barbie is paired with Stacie for the Kids’ Beach Club scavenger hunt.

sisters-ahoy-barbie-life-in-the-dreamhouse-32827021-845-466

Not only does this flying comet in a ponytail drag Barbie along for the ride on a jet ski…

stacieheader1

But she refuses to be put out of action after being swallowed by a giant oyster. She merely makes an understated “A little help?” before Barbie tickles the oyster (who knew they had nerve glands?) to spit Stacie out.

stacie-and-pearl-crown-barbie-life-in-the-dreamhouse-32827035-500-276

Undaunted, Stacie brings with her numerous pearls for her troubles. I told you nothing slows this kid down.

“Sticker it Up”: The sisters redecorate the Dreamhouse with mail-order life-size stickers which become real 3-dimensional objects once they’re stuck up (I love cartoons!).

sticker-2

Upon noticing that one of the items is a trampoline, Barbie notes that “They messed up the order,” Stacie agrees, saying that she wanted said trampoline in hot pink.

Later in the short, Stacie is involved in a little back-and-forth with Chelsea. sticker-1

This clever little bit involves Stacie putting up a sticker of a blue beanbag chair, only for Chelsea to place her own sticker of a pink wooden chair decorated with flowers right over it. An annoyed Stacie puts another blue beanbag sticker over Chelsea’s sticker, Chelsea counters with another copy of her pink chair sticker, and this leads into a full-blown one-upsmanship contest between the 2 of them.

sticker-3

By the end of this pas-a-deux, there’s a huge honking chunk of these stickers angling from the wall, then the pile inevitably succumbs to gravity and plops onto the floor by the girls’ feet. They pull the stickers from the floor to reveal a single chair which is a hybrid of both their choices: a pink beanbag chair decorated with flowers. Stacie and Chelsea silently shrug to one another. It’s mostly visual.

“Happy Bathday to You”: The sisters scramble to give their pets Taffy, Tawny and Blissa their monthly bath. As you can expect, the 3 of them don’t particularly want to have a bath, and so comical highjinks ensue. Stacie assigns each of her sisters to corral a specific pet while she “monitors the logistics from the front base”, in other words, as she confesses on the couch, she’s trying to avoid bath time herself, right before she passes out from a whiff of her own stinky armpits. When the sisters finally trap the pets, Stacie mocks them…

bathday-3

“HA-HA!”

…Only to fall into the tub herself.

bathday-1

“Uhhh…never mind.”

At the episode’s end, when the pets are outside getting themselves dirty again, Stacie is giddily playing in the dirt too. It’s a nice change of pace to see a girl happy to be dirty and stinky.

CONCLUSION

stacie_roberts

 

It took me a few episodes to get a proper bead on Stacie; I wasn’t sure what to make of her at first, but to update that story, she’s currently my second favorite Barbie sister after Skipper. She’s a tomboy, but still a girly tomboy; I’m glad the producers didn’t go the obvious route and make Stacie a more typical angry, tough, pink-rejecting tomboy like Spinelli from Recess or Buttercup from The Powerpuff Girls. Nothing against those characters, I like them both, but it’s refreshing to get a tomboyish character who still doesn’t mind being a little feminine. Her energy and attitude are infectious as well; I’m ironically a very lazy and sarcastic person, yet I tend to gravitate towards perky, upbeat characters. Stacie is the active, sporty “Go team!” extrovert that I never was.

Let’s wrap up this tribute with a non-jock’s take on a sports song.

 

 

stacie-with-puppy

“Uhhh…’Kay.”

Next is Chelsea. Keep on Pop Dreaming.