Monday, October 29, 2007

Why I Think Grizzle is Awesome

Okay, I was going to do a straightforwardish review of Oopsy Does It, but I knew it would end up as a "Grizzle was awesome here" fest. So I'm going to get that out of the way first. In semi-chronological order, the awesome stuff Grizzle does in Oopsy Does It:

1. His opening monologue
A lot of what I love about Grizzle has to do with his voice. I'm still not entirely sure who does him (I'm guessing Mark Oliver), but I love the characterization he gives here. At times a menacing growl, a condescending sweet talk, booming showmanship, and so much maniacal laughter (but more on that later).

2. Being mean to Wingnut
I'm sorry, but a lot of his best lines come out when he's abusing his sole minion:
"Do we need to have that little talk again?" (one can only imagine what "the talk" entails, but just the threat of it is enough to make Wingnut fall apart)
"You know I don't speak toaster!"
"What? He swallowed it?"
"I loosened it."

3. Having amusing lines in general:
"One that will put an end to those Care Bears for good! (pause) Or, well, for bad. But it'll be good for me."
(When Oopsy points out that he's tall) "Of course I'm tall! Taller than you."
"A Care Bear? In my lair?" (Why this didn't turn into a song, I have no clue. It would have been great!)
"No, I'm not. I'm looking at your Care Bear bottom!"
"The rainbow! I must have it!"
"Seriously, you have no idea how good this is going to feel."
"I think the belly badges and I will be leaving now."
"Yes, yes, I know. I'm a little bear."

4. Eating a sandwich
Okay, he doesn't really eat it, and he loves the sweet pickles. But the reason that I included this is because it validates my hunch that his midnight snack in episode two of Adventures in Care-a-lot (King Grumpy) was a sandwich. And I just love how, when he spots Oopsy, he first looks at his sandwich, and then at Oopsy, and then tosses the sandwich away, apparently deciding that being menacing is more important than being full.

5. That "twinkle toes" move when he's about to take advantage of Oopsy's naivete
And his whole posturing in general during this scene. So sneaky, so fake.

6. Giving the Care Taker salespitch
Seriously, it's like he put on his best Used Car Salesman voice.

7.'Nuff said.

8. Grizzle's Bad
I've already expounded on why I love this song, but that doesn't mean it doesn't make the list.

9. Getting all excited about the Care Taker finally being finished
Like a little kid in his excitement ^_^ Too cute!

10. Not being amused by Oopsy's rainbow bottom
Pretty much my reaction, too. And the near-kick? Priceless.

11. Not even trying to hide his maniacal laughter
It's true. He goes at it even when the good guys are hanging around, and even when they're asleep!

12. Meeting Cheer
Slightly suave, a little naughty ("Careful, he squirts oil.")

13. Filling in Cheer and Oopsy on his plan
The smug superiority is what makes it.

14. His suit being slightly autonomous
This surprised me, for some reason, even though I saw it dancing with him during Grizzle's Bad. But then, during that part, Grizzle had a deep voice, which he doesn't here, so who's to say?

15. Riding on the minimized Care Taker, deep in thought

16. Wearing a bowtie
What? It's cute.

17. His knowing smile as the badgeless Care Bears gear up to give him a Care Bear Stare

18. Giving part of his backstory
But not enough! All we know is that he's been up in his lair for years, but little else.

19. Filled with power from the belly badges
Even if he can't actually use the power, it still looks cool. And imagine if it had worked!

20. Smashing the belly badge container even though he was detained by the heart arch

21. Demanding "no caring stuff"

22. Being shocked at his suit's betrayal
Same here. It just felt wrong. Grizzle and his suit are a team!

One thing that I didn't really like was Grizzle's impatience throughout. I mean, I understand it, but I didn't like it.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Adventures in Care-a-lot, Episode 6

A review of Oopsy Does It is coming soon, just to let you know.

In this episode, Cheer learns the joys of procrastination and delegation, and Oopsy tries to tame a shooting star. And there isn't any Grizzle, not even a cameo.

Part One - Cheer, There, and Everywhere
The episode starts with everyone running into the town square, except for Oopsy, who has no clue what's going on. Share fills him in: the Star Shine Parade, "a day full of food, fun, games, and a big parade," is coming up, and it's time to pick who'll make the centerpiece of the main float, the Star Shine Star! Funshine and Cheer are there to pick a name out of a box, but not before Funshine ominiously states that the parade is always great because Cheer supervises the whole thing. Surely you can see where this is going.
Sure enough, Funshine draws Cheer's symbol out of the box, and she's so pleased she covers her eyes and promises to make the best star ever. Everyone else either leaves or decides what else they do to prepare. Share plans to get flowers, and Grumpy grumbles about how he has to make the float every year, until Share points out that he likes doing it. Funshine'll organize the games, and Oopsy and Wingnut volunteer to give Care-a-lot an extra clean-up. They go to a random shed to get rakes, only to be attacked by various pieces of equipment, ending up with Oopsy in a barrel.
Funshine tells Cheer that she'll be too busy to supervise, but Cheer decides to "check in" on everyone before getting to work, and for some reasons asks the star buddies (calling them Twinkers, or just one? I'm really not sure) for confirmation. First stop, Love-a-lot's house! Except that it's really Harmony's candy shop. (If Harmony's place is all hearts, then what does Love-a-lot's house looke like? Perhaps a neo-roman temple of sorts...) Harmony's trying out new candy flavors, and Cheer unfortunately tries the extra-sour one. Harmony mistakes Cheer's sudden retreat as a glowing recommendation, and gets cracking on another batch.
Oopsy and Wingnut run into Cheer at the fountain, and swap stories about their encounter with Harmony's candies, before getting down to raking leaves. Luckily for Oopsy, Wingnut has a leaf blower, which quite naturally (this being Oopsy and all) goes out of control and chases the two out of town.
Cheer plans to just check on Share before getting to work, but when Share doesn't have enough flowers, Cheer takes it on herself to help her get more from Cloud Hill. Once all the flowers are picked, Share remembers that Cheer is supposed to make the Star Shine Star, but Cheer assures her that there's enough time for her to make it while still checking on a few more things. Which is when Oopsy shows up, still being chased by the leaf blower. After being chased and seeing all the flowers blown away, Cheer has enough and makes a lasso from her belly badge and captures it. Or not. There's more chase action as Cheer is dragged along, but finally she gets a handle on it and turns it off. Oopsy is a spared Cheer's wrath only by the fact that it's getting dark, and she still has other things to check on. Not to mention a star to make.
All the decorations are in place, and Cheer is finally ready to get to work on the star. Until she notices Grumpy's garage and decides to check on his float (whether it's really the last thing on her list is debatable). Grumpy insists that the float is a total disaster, even though it looks awesome. Turns out it won't run, and Grumpy hasn't been able to get the frangdoodle unbent. Cheer wants to help, and Grumpy wants the help, but is concerned about the Star Shine Star. Cheer once again promises to get right on it once she's done helping him, so Grumpy leaves it at that. They work well into the night, so much so that Bedtime tells Cheer to get to bed (and, as we'll see in the next episode, when Bedtime tells you to go to bed, you better do it). Conveniently forgetting about the star, Cheer goes to bed secure in the knowledge that she checked on everything.
The next day, everyone is putting the finishing touches on the parade route. Funshine tests a frisbee, nearly whacking Grumpy, who complains about how he hates having his fur ruffled (a euphemism for having things fall on him, I'm sure). Cheer, having overslept, shows up in a rush and announces the start of the parade. Funshine reminds her that they need her star first, inconveniently reminding her that she never actually made it. Everyone is disappointed, insisting there's no parade without a "centerpiece" on the float. Cheer goes a little passive-aggressive, telling everyone she doesn't blame is they don't forgive her for being too wrapped up in what everyone else was doing to make the star, so of course everyone else has to step in and tell her to stop being so hard on herself, and point out the ways she made the parade possible (fixing the float, getting the flowers, etc.). Funshine merely touches her shoulder, and she thanks him for this. But she still wishes she had done what she was supposed to do when she had time. Ah, the lament of all procrastinators. Still, there is a solution.
Inspired by the three star buddies that have been hanging around all episode, Cheer uses her belly badge to make a platform on the float, and they become a boy band! Thus, the day is saved, and Oopsy falls in a barrel again.

Part Two - Twinklet
Do you know where baby stars come from? The Care Bears don't, but they do know where they're going: the Glitter Nursery in Glitter City. Apparently their migration is impressive enough for everyone to come out and watch. Oopsy, a big fan of "twinklets," as the baby stars are called, gets so excited, in fact, that he jumps around and lands on top of Grumpy, who in turn is dusted off by Wish Bear, who expounds on the event. Oopsy's banner gets caught by the wind, carrying him up, and a twinklet gets caught in the banner. Eventually it gets free and Oopsy comes crashing down on Grumpy again.
Wish points to something cowering under a bush: the twinklet that got caught in the banner. Since she got lost from the trail, Oopsy decides to take care of her himself. That's right, it's the obligatory "taking care of a pet is a big responsibility" episode. Everyone else tries to dissuade him, since no one likes that kind of episode, but Oopsy is certain he can give her a good home, and names her, of all things, Twinklet. Things are going great, until Twinklet wakes him up in the wee hours of the morning. Oopsy tries to persuade her to go back to sleep by looking at his nonexistant watch, and tries to get Wingnut (who doesn't really need to sleep, being a robot, but does anyway) to take her for a walk, but to no avail.
Later on, Share invites Oopsy to join in the "best ever" game of Belly Ball (is that the same as Belly Badge Ball, or a completely different game?), and when he goes to get his ball, Twinklet finds a mud puddle in the middle of the sidewalk and splashes Share. So instead of playing, Oopsy has to give her (Twinklet, not Share) a bath. Even later, Funshine comes to invite Oopsy to play four-square. By then, Twinklet is taking a nap, so Oopsy sneaks off to play. As soon as he's gone, Twinklet wakes up, escapes out the window, and goes on a rampage in Care-a-lot, trashing everything from Share's garden to Grumpy's garage, finally ending in Harmony's candy shop.
By the time Oopsy arrives, Twinklet's eaten enough candy to turn (permanently?) green. Funshine hands him a broom, pointing out the mess in the shop. Oopsy is rightly contrite, and promises to make everything right. Grumpy hands him a broom for his garage, and Share follows suit for her garden. Oopsy promises to take responsibility, but can't even handle the three brooms without falling over. Cheer doubts his abilities, and Oopsy himself admits that he didn't realize how much work taking care of Twinklet would be. Funshine assumes that Oopsy's learned his lesson and Wish can take Twinklet to the nursery, but since we haven't even gotten to the commercial break yet, Oopsy insists that all he has to do is build Twinklet a play area and everything will be fine.
The play place is great, but Twinklet doesn't like it. Funshine hypothesizes that it doesn't feel like "home," so Oopsy decides to stay with her in it until it does. But by the time night falls, both he and Wingnut fall asleep, so Twinklet takes off again. Oopsy wakes up a little while later, and freaks out when he sees Twinklet is gone, but Wingnut just goes back to sleep until Oopsy drags him along. Now, either they searched all night, or it inexplicably became day again, because in the next scene, Share is bandaging her flowers in broad daylight. Oopsy asks both Share and Grumpy (at his garage) if they've seen Twinklet, but both just shake their heads. I guess they're giving him the silent treatment. Oopsy thinks he spots Twinklet at Harmony's candy store, but it was just Cheer and Funshine with some kind of fizzing sparkler candy. Oopsy is finally starting to realize that he's not cut out to take care of Twinklet, but he's not ready to quit quite yet, not even when Funshine tells him Wish thinks the best thing to do is take Twinklet to Glitter City.
But he's had no luck finding Twinklet all day, even though he set up traps all over Care Square (we don't get to see this). Finally he hears Twinklet's squeaks (which he calls barking for some reason), and finds her on the Funderbolt tracks staring up at the starry sky. Seeing more twinklets go by, Oopsy realizes that Twinklet's home is not with him, but with the other stars. Wish, who apparently was watching this, surfs down on Twinkers, her star, and explains that he's going to the star nursery anyway (a likely story), so he can make sure Twinklet gets there safe and sound. Oopsy and Twinklet share a goodbye hug, and then the two stars head off into the blue.
Funshine commends Oopsy for doing what was best for Twinklet. Oopsy expresses his feelings by saying "I feel sad and disappointed," and thanks Funshine for listening to his feelings. Funshine tells him instead to be proud of how he listened to Twinklet's feelings. And this whole conversation drove me up the wall (I hate when characters talk like this. Hate hate hate). Meanwhile, Cheer tells Oopsy he'll see Twinklet again, and Oopsy agrees, since she'll be in the sky every night once she's full grown. For some reason this is hilarious. Also for no apparent reason, Oopsy decides to ride the Funderbolt, but lands in it head first and goes down the track upside down.

Normally I like it when the episodes go that extra scene before ending (like in Care-Ful Bear), but here, it really should have cut off with everyone laughing at Oopsy's non-joke. And there really was not enough Wish in this episode -_- Seriously, every time it was Funshine doing something with Oopsy (except for the four-square invite), it should have been Wish.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Grey Gardens

Everybody said Grey Gardens was good. Even Peter Filichia. But I didn't want to just buy it, as I've been burned by doing that before (i.e. Martin Guerre). I have to admit, I have found some musicals I love that I bought sight-unseen (or unheard, as it were: The Scarlet Pimpernel, A Class Act), and I might have taken a chance on Grey Gardens if there hadn't been two versions to choose from: the Off-Broadway Cast and the Original Broadway Cast.

Now, just a few weeks ago, I was at my local library, and I happened to glance at the display of "Employee Picks" CDs. And there was the Off-Broadway Cast of Grey Gardens, of all things. So of course I took it out. And not even two weeks later, I was at another library I visit frequently (call it Library W), flipping through their soundtrack CDs (they have the largest collection of soundtrack CDs I've seen, but too many movies), and there was the Broadway Cast of Grey Gardens! Again, I snatched it up right then and there. I'm simply amazed at this turn of events, for a couple of reasons. For one, my local library doesn't get new Broadway CDs very often (and if they do, it's something that's been out so long, I've either gotten it from Library W or bought it myself), and secondly, Library W is currently under construction, so I didn't expect them to be adding anything to that section any time soon. And yet, where there was no Grey Gardens, suddenly there's two.

Anyway, between the two CDs, I've been listening to Grey Gardens a lot, and I really do like it (as I suspected I would). I'm not sure which I like better, but the majority of the songs are the same on both. This whole post, though, has just been a big preface to the fact that I'm now obsessed with the song "Another Winter in a Summer Town." It's just so plantive, I can't listen to it without wanting to cry, but I can't stop listening to it. You can hear it, too, on the official website, along with five other songs from the show.
I guess the only thing to do now is watch the documentary that inspired the show. It's in my Blockbuster queue, but I don't know when it'll actually make it here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Pushing Daisies - Pigeon

Am I psychic? Somehow I predicted Ellen Greene and Kristin Chenoweth's duet in tonight's episode. What makes it even better is that it was a They Might Be Giants song ^_^ (The very song that made me a TMBG fan, in fact.)

This is kind of like that year on American Idol, you know, the one with Bo Bice, and when I heard the theme for that week was Broadway, I thought to myself, "It would be awesome if Bo did Magic to Do from Pippin." He actually did Corner of the Sky, but that's close enough for me to count as a prediction. The really weird thing is that I wasn't even a Bo fan (I preferred Constantine, until that same week, when he sang My Funny Valentine, a song I hate with every essence of my being. Strangely enough, that week started a slump for him that eventually got him kicked off), but he was the one I predicted would sing Pippin, and there it was.

Pushing Daisies

Nothing big, but I really like Pushing Daisies. Watching it makes me want to watch Wonderfalls again, though. I have it on DVD, but I don't really have the time.
Kristin Chenoweth + Ellen Greene = Date with Destiny!

Also, it's narrated by Jim Dale, which is awesome not just because he did all the Harry Potter audiobooks (which my mom listens to when she's working, so I get to hear it by proxy), but, back in the day, he was Dr. Terminus (the conman doctor) in Pete's Dragon! Not to mention all his theater work (like starring in Barnum. I need to borrow the OCR next time I'm at Wallingford Library)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Adventures in Care-a-lot Episode 5

Thankfully, the episode quality was much better than the last one. I liked both of these stories, even though there wasn't any Grizzle. Of course, I liked the second part just a little better, but the first had its moments.

Part one - Care-ful Bear
The Care Bears are having some sort of playday, with Funshine going around coming up with ideas to make all the games better, leading up to a game of Belly Badge Tag (Oddly enough, it was the sight of Oopsy knocking himself over with his own ball that inspired Funshine to suggest a game that Oopsy cannot play, since he doesn't have a belly badge). It's all good fun until Share trips over a rock and hurts her paw (and Grumpy comforts her--so cute!). Cheer conjures up a rainbow stretcher to take Share home, but Funshine takes the blame (since the game was his idea and all).
Later, Funshine spills his heart out to Wingnut: he loves being Funshine and having fun, but not if it ends up hurting someone. Instantly, he is inspired! With a towel for a cape and a bandage over his belly badge, Funshine is reborn as Care-ful Bear! Champion of Safety and Keeping Care Bears from getting Hurt! First stop: the park!
Which is where he finds Amigo and Harmony about to race down the hill, her on a skateboard and him on his ice cream cart. But it's okay because Harmony has the proper pads and helmet, and Amigo is only pushing his cart. Funshine is not convinced, however, and has Wingnut steal their wheels. With nothing to ride, Harmony sheds her padding, inspiring Funshine yet again! With permission from Harmony, Funshine uses the pads and helmet to outfit the accident-prone Oopsy. But there's still more to do!
Cut to: Grumpy's Garage. Grumpy assures Love-a-lot that building her a birdhouse is "simple as simon" (I love it!), but not with all his tools gone, courtesy of Care-ful Bear! This is my favorite part, when Grumpy confronts Funshine with "I've been using tools my whole frindinglin' life, and I've always been careful!" Because that is just *so* him, y'know? Funshine silences him ("No time for yakkity-blab!") and runs off to do more of the same to someone else.
Back in the park, Oopsy trips over a flower and points out that the helmet and pads aren't really helping. Funshine's solution: cover Oopsy in pillows!
Funshine: There! Much better!
Oopsy: Uh, if you say so.
Funshine: Indeed I do!

It's the delivery that makes it for me. Funshine is definitely getting into the whole superhero persona, including spouting lines like "Let us away!" and only ending sentences in exclamation points. Nobody else in enjoying it, though, with even Good Luck Bear warning everyone when he sees Funshine coming. Funshine misinterprets everyone hiding as everything being peaceful, and is pleased. Everyone else (especially Grumpy) is getting close to the breaking point.
That night, Funshine is finishing his rounds when, not looking where he's going, he trips over the curb. However, he blames this on the fact that it's dark out, "and darkness is the enemy of carefulness and safety!" Thus he uses his belly badge to make enough sun to thoroughly confuse everyone who was trying to sleep. Grumpy easily figures out that Funshine had a hand in this, and Share, who missed the whole thing while she was recuperating, is brought up to speed on Funshine's antics. Oopsy, translating for Wingnut, explains Funshine's rationale, causing Bedtime much pain ("If it's always daytime, when will there be bedtime?"). Cheer's about to talk some sense into Funshine when Harmony points out that Funshine was quashing all their fun, it's now bright as day and they're all up anyway, so they might as well do something fun while "Care-ful Bear" is in bed.
The sounds of fun waft into Funshine's room, and he leaps into action! Finding everyone in the park having a picnic, he does the only sensible thing: he steals their marshmellows. With the picnic ruined, Cheer finally confronts Funshine, reminding him of the bear he used to be. Funshine is not easily swayed, insisting that it was the old him that got Share hurt. Share points out that it was just an accident, and Wingnut reminds Funshine of how he tripped on the curb. Which makes Grumpy point out that if "Care-ful Bear" can't avoid having accidents, why should he think he can prevent them for anyone else? Unable to argue with this logic, Funshine renounces Care-ful Bear for good, and admits that he was starting to get on everyone's nerves. "Maybe a little," Cheer tells him, but Grumpy retorts, "A little? He took my marshmallow!" XD Funshine promises fresh marshmellows for all, and then proposes another game of Belly Badge Tag. Everyone runs off, leaving Oopsy still in his pillow get-up. On another show, this would be the time to fade to black, but luckily for Oopsy, Funshine comes back and unties him. A happy ending for all!

There were a lot of good lines in this one, could you tell?

Part Two - A Case of the Grumpies
It's a beautiful day in Care-a-lot, but Grumpy is in a bad mood. He brushes off his friends, slams the garage door, and makes tons of earth-shaking noise in his garage. Funshine doesn't think Grumpy's any grumpier than usual, until he comes out, slams trash in the trashcan and shoos everyone away. Cheer decides that he needs some cheering up, but no one else is very enthusiastic about it, even when she describes it as "ungrumping the Grumpster." Figuring that he's been cooped up inside for too long, Cheer plans to get him out and about to improve his mood. Everyone else does their best to get out of "the grumpy zone" before she knocks on his door.
Cheer tries to convince Grumpy that she has a surprise for him, but he insists he doesn't have time for "any jimjammin' surprises." So Cheer blindfolds him, tells him it's something he both needs and has to go with her to get, and whisks him away on a rainbow to a birds-eye view of Care-a-lot. Grumpy is not impressed to learn that this is what she thought he needed, and goes on a rant about "pretty" (since that was the only qualifier Cheer gave the experience), then storms off to finish his work. Cheer, however, welcomes the challenge. She calls an emergency meeting to discuss cheering up Grumpy, but no one likes the idea of getting a face full of Grumpy's trademark grumpiness. Still, Cheer insists that with her leadership, they can cheer him up, and goes over her main points. Plan 1: Give him pudding. Plan 2: A surprise gift. Plan 3: A hot air balloon ride.
The pudding plan ends with it on his head, naturally. There's a good exchange between Cheer and Grumpy, though:
*after the pudding lands on his head*
Grumpy: What is this?!
Cheer: Uh, pudding, aheheheh...
Grumpy: *perfect imitation* Pudding, aheheheh? Next time, trying "pudding" it in a bowl, and NOT ON ME! (I just love his imitation of Cheer)

The gift plan fails not only because it consisted merely of Surprise Bear coming out with a flower, but because Grumpy was actually anticipating the parts he ordered (from where?). From this, Funshine hypothesizes that Grumpy might be working on something, but Cheer insists on bringing in the balloon. Love-a-lot provides the actual balloon part, by the way. But how to get Grumpy in the balloon? Cheer has a complicated plan involving duck calls and GPS, but in typical cartoon fashion, Grumpy manages to get tangled in one of the ropes, and since he dumped his trash into the basket, it falls out and makes a hole in his roof. And still Cheer is not discouraged, although everyone else is. Once again, Funshine points out that something else may be going on, that Grumpy may not even be being grumpy. But Cheer just pooh-poohs this notion and goes with something a little more simple.
While Grumpy is out getting more parts "downtown" (again, where?), Cheer arrives with a card. Finding the door open, she goes inside and is repulsed by how dark and dreary it is in the garage. She vows to turn it into a place that'll make anyone happy, which translates to covering it with rainbows and potpourri. Grumpy is less than pleased when he arrives, and goes on a tirade about how he doesn't want anyone's help. During this, Funshine, Share, and Oopsy show up, and speak for Cheer to apologize. "I guess 'we've' been doing things that we like instead of what you like," for example. Cheer finally gets it and apologizes, and Grumpy points out that he hasn't been grumpy, he's been frustrated. It seems that lately Wingnut has been sluggish, and Grumpy's been trying to fix him, but nothing worked, not even adding an mp3 player (no, really!). Cheer sees that Grumpy's doing the same thing to Wingnut that she was doing to him (i.e. trying to solve the problem without finding out the cause), and it turns out that Wingnut was just low on oil the whole time (but wouldn't Grumpy check that first or something? I'm confused). So now Wingnut's back to normal, and so is Grumpy (Cheer claims she is, too, but I don't know what she means by that). But there's still a hole in his roof (bet you forgot about that, didn't you?). So Funshine and the others promise to help fix it and they scatter to get to work. Cheer doesn't take off, though, until Grumpy fixes her with a look. With everyone gone, he tries to be grumpy, but he knows he's still got it. (Seriously, that's the look he has in the last frame.)

Okay, let me just say, I love Grumpy when he's grumpy, I really do. But it kind of bugs me that he was really rude (as fun to watch as it may have been), but never apologized for it.

Tenderheart gets a couple of lines
Grumpy got tagged!
Share is hurt...
But Grumpy's there for her
Defenders of justice safety!
Now Oopsy is safe
He sleeps in the hat, with an eyemask
They're fluffity, they're puffity...
Grumpy facepalms
Confronting Care-ful Bear
Grumpy shooing
Grumpy facepalms again
Covered in pudding
Grumpy is not happy with Cheer
Grumpy gives Cheer "the look"

Friday, October 19, 2007

Adventures in Care-a-lot 4

Now, I liked these episodes, but the animation quality made it really, really, really hard to watch. Especially in the second part.
Part one - Erased
This story was seriously amusing. In another kind of story, this could have been weird, and this was weird, but in a good way. Still, I didn't truly understand what happened until I read the synopsis in the Teaching Moment, which wasn't even posted until this week. For once, procrastination pays off!
Anyway, the actual story. It starts off with Grizzle for a change, putting the finishing touches on his new robot companion. Appropriately named New-B, he's outfitted with an eraser ray, perfect for removing belly badges, and he isn't exactly locquacious. Grizzle sends him on his way.
Meanwhile, down in Care-a-lot, both Grumpy and Funshine have plans for Wingnut: Grumpy wants him to help out in his garage, but Funshine already made plans with him. Share advocates asking Wingnut what he wants to do, and Funshine wins out. Grumpy goes back to his garage, rationalizing that even a robot needs fun, when he's suddenly hit by the eraser ray! Instead of being erased, however, his belly badge turns upside down and his color fades. With renewed fervor, Grumpy goes after Wingnut again, this time determined to get him to work!
Grizzle is not happy to see his ray didn't work (and blames it on New-B). But New-B continues zapping Care Bears, flipping belly badges, draining colors, and causing much dissent among the bears. Now, apparently what the ray really does is make each bear only care about what their badge is about, and also makes them unable to empathsize with each other, hence the fighting. This becomes hilarious later on.
Meanwhile, Funshine and Wingnut are kicking back by the river (a rare chance to see both Funshine sans hat and Wingnut in swimtrunks) when Grumpy shows up and demands Wingnut. Since he hasn't been hit by the ray yet, Funshine agrees that they can have fun later. As soon as Grumpy and Wingnut leave, New-B strikes again, and Funshine demands Wingnut back. While he and Grumpy fight, Wingnut beats a hasty retreat. Grizzle is thrilled, sensing that if the Care Bears keep fighting, he'll be able to waltz in and take Care-a-lot for himself.
Wingnut runs into Oopsy, who agrees to go talk some sense into Grumpy and Funshine. Along the way, they run into Share, who insists that Oopsy share Wingnut with her and her alone. So Wingnut goes with Share, who then runs into Love-a-lot, who would "love" to be with Wingnut, too, but bristles when Share refuses to share him with anyone else. "This, I don't love." (But I love Love-a-lot having actual dialogue ^_^) Wingnut, freaked out by the strange behaviour, and the upside-down badges, heads for the hills with Share and Love-a-lot in hot pursuit.
Oopsy is having troubles of his own, as he runs into Cheer, who forces him to cheer up (this is the best part), and Surprise, who surprises Oopsy and clashes with Cheer. Oopsy slips away and meets up with Wingnut again, and they brief each other on what just happened. But all their pursuers show up again and start arguing with each other. Hiding from everyone else, Oopsy and Wingnut find New-B, who explains exactly what's going on (his blurps are translated to Oopsy by Wingnut, oddly enough). Oopsy confronts everyone else and tries to explain everything, but since he didn't have the Teaching Moment, he settles for individual examples. The ray made Grumpy grumpier, and Surprise became surprisier, "And I suppose it made you 'oopsier,'" Grumpy comments, getting a laugh from everyone else. But that's not the case, because New-B never zapped him Oopsy doesn't have a belly badge, so he isn't affected. But he expresses his concern for everyone (and Wingnut's, too), and Grumpy apologizes for making fun of him. With that, his belly badge rights itself, and his color returns. Wingnut hypothesizes that apologizing is the key to getting back to normal, and with Oopsy's encouragement, everyone apologizes to everyone else, and things are the way they should be again.
Only Grizzle has already arrived, ready to start construction on Care-a-lot (all those hearts and rainbows have to go!). So he's shocked to find everyone, not only back to normal, but standing right behind him. He blames his plan's failure first on Mr. Beaks and then on New-B, and they leave, arguing the whole way ("What do you mean, 'who programmed who?!'"), leaving Cheer to wonder if that's how they were all acting. Oopsy assures her that they weren't quite that bad.
Funshine and Grumpy end the episode by trying to get the other to go with Wingnut in an infinite loop of putting the other guy first.

Part Two - Best Bear in Care-a-lot
Here the screen got all stretched out for some reason, making it hard to watch at times. Still, I liked the story, mostly because of Funshine's cheesy bigheadedness.
To start things off, Funshine is going around doing good deeds for his friends, like giving flowers to Cheer, finding Grumpy's tools, and even Surprising Surprise! She's so impressed, in fact, that she calls a council (alas, it turns out that the book building is not a library at all, but town hall ;_;) of herself, Grumpy, Cheer, Share, and Bedtime Bear. She wants to thank Funshine for being such a great guy, so they decide to give him an award. Grumpy insists he's too busy to make it, but caves way too easily (nobody said anything, and we didn't even get any close ups of them giving him significant looks or anything!).
Later, Funshine is giving Share's garden a little extra sun when Surprise, Share, Cheer, and Grumpy show up and give him a little gold statuette of himself, complete with recorded messages from all of them. Funshine is so pleased the listens to it (all day, I'm assuming, and) right before bed, even recording his own message to himself.
The next day, Funshine is still toting around the award, brushing off Harmony, and showing it off to everyone. Cheer starts to worry about how much Funshine likes the award.
Meanwhile, Grizzle is playing charades with Mr. Beaks when the Care Bear Alert goes off. He sees Funshine showing off his award to everyone and decides to take it, so he can find out why it's so important. Back in Care-a-lot, Funshine has just named his award Goldie when Grizzle snatches it. He attempts to get it back, but it's no use. Unable to cope with not hearing how great he is, Funshine gives off the Care Bear Signal (like a stare, but just him) and alerts everyone of the situation. No one else is as concerned, and Grumpy insists that he can just make another trophy, but Funshine's starting to get hysterical, so they (they being Grumpy, Cheer, and Share) agree to help, since Grizzle did take the award without asking.
Up in his lair, Grizzle is pleased that he snagged the award, but can't figure out what it is, and is annoyed that it's not even real gold. But he definitely realizes its value when he sees the Care Bears approaching (again via rockets from The Big Wish Movie). Funshine is able to walk right in and grab Goldie, but before they can leave, Grizzle traps them all in a voice-activated bubble cage. Grumpy uses his belly badge to make a cloud that zaps lightning (perfect!), but it doesn't damage the cage at all. Grizzle explains that the bubble cage only responds to his voice, demonstrates this, and then leaves to take a nap.
Trapped in the bubble, Funshine admits that it's his fault they're in this mess, and everyone agrees (it was great!). Funshine can't quite grasp that having the award doesn't automatically make him great, but Cheer clears things up (they still like him, but he needs to get over himself), and they all brainstorm a solution: they'll use the voice recorder in the award to record Grizzle deactivating the cage! So they trick Grizzle into deactivating and reactivating the cage, which he does repeatedly, until he gets annoyed at the bears' unflappable attitude in the face of his taunting and goes back to bed. The bears easily escape, but Funshine leaves the award in Grizzle's lair.
Back in Care-a-lot, Funshine delivers the lesson he learned from all this: there's a difference between being a good guy and being better than everyone else. Meanwhile, Grizzle finally spots the button on the award, and ends up activating and deactivating the cage on himself. We can assume that this goes on for a while.

With this episode, I think it's safe to say that UR-2 is gone for good ;_; Ah well.

Rental Magica Plothole in episode one

I don't generally keep up with fansubs, but I do check out a show from time to time. Right now I'm watching ShugoChara and Rental Magica. Both are okay, but there's a huge plothole in the first episode of Rental Magica that really bugs me, since it's so obvious.

While checking out something on a mountain, Honami and the others suddenly put the pieces together for the other case they're investigating (the disappearance of a girl's grandfather).

The thing is, the girl was telling all this to the president while these guys were on the mountain, so how did they know about the landslide? It's never explained.

I have to admit, I was slightly amused by this scene:

Backward march!

Adventures in Care-a-lot 3

I've been putting this off long enough. No screenshots this time around, sorry.
Episode 3 didn't really do it for me, so the quick and dirty version:
Part one - Ice Creamed (Lesson: Everything in Moderation)
Apparently, Amigo Bear has an ice cream cart. After Grizzle destroys it, Grumpy makes a new one that never runs out of ice cream. Predictably, everyone has too much of a good thing, until Share calls them all out on it and arranges for everyone to work off the ice cream. Meanwhile, Grizzle fails yet again to destroy Care-a-lot, so he steals Amigo's ice cream cart instead, only to inadvertantly fill his lair with ice cream.

The stuff I liked:
-Grizzle as a clown
-"Do I look like someone who'd hire a clown?"
-That quick moment of disarmment in the bushes (you know, when Share was all "Is that what it's supposed to do?" and Grizzle's all "No, it's supposed to..." and then they realize what's really going on)
-Grumpy's obvious pride in the new cart
-Oopsy hoping bumbleberry juice doesn't stain.
-Grizzle ranting to Mr. Beaks, and everyone else being all "Who's he talking to?"

The stuff I didn't like:
-These kind of stories just rub me the wrong way. But I'm not going to go into that right now
-Amigo's grief over his cart being offscreen
-Did we really need to see Grizzle imminent suffocation by ice cream? One, it would be enough to know that he's getting more ice cream than he can handle. Two, it would even be enough just to see that he doesn't know how to make the cart do what he wants to do. We don't need to see any more than that, especially when death is implied. (Not that I thought he would actually die, but I don't see how, outside of a "cartoon reset," he could get out of that alive)

Part two - Heatwave (Lesson: Face Your Fears)
Grizzle has a plan that's working for change: utilizing a giant magnifying glass (aka the Magnifryer) to heat up Care-a-lot. His plan is threatened by the Thunderwhales, giant flying whales that make clouds (thus bringing rain and cooling things down). Grizzle chases them off, so the Care Bears plan to lure the whales back with sweet things. And since Share is the only one who can make anything sweet on command, she gets saddled with the job, even though she's terrified of the whales. But she manages to bond with the whales, who destroy not only the Magnifryer, but Grizzle's entire lair. It rains, and Care-a-lot is saved.

The stuff I liked:
-Grizzle actually having a good plan
-Share hiding behind Grumpy when the Thunderwhales show up
-Funshine trying to fight the Magnifryer's power with his own sun power
-Share doing the same "nononono" thing that Grumpy did in the first episode

The stuff I didn't like:
-The denoument. I mean, really, did the whales have to destroy Grizzle's entire lair? Sure, the Magnifryer had to go, but the rest is just overkill. And then having Grizzle's suit rust in the rain? Again, overkill.
-The apparent permanent disappearance of UR-2 :( It looks like Grizzle's going to have a new robot in every episode, but none of them will be as awesome as UR-2 *sigh*

Episodes 4 & 5 coming soon, hopefully before the weekend is over.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Next - a Blockbuster surprise

Last night I was planning to spend the hour before Heroes watching a couple of episodes of GaoGaiGar (I don't remember why I put it in my queue, but it probably had something to do with a review on the Anime News Network), only to find that the disc I actually received was a movie called Next. Since I was all geared up to watch something, I decided to check it out anyway, even though I didn't know a thing about it, except that it was 96 minutes long and rated PG-13.

I actually ended up liking it, although towards the end I had a little trouble seeing where it was going. There are definitely worse movies that it could have been. Now I'm going to write about the plot, so beware of spoilers, including one that will absolutely ruin the movie for you if you haven't already seen it. So you probably shouldn't read this if you ever plan on see it. Which you might, since it's a good movie, and it has Nicholas Cage in it (I'm not a fan, but some people are).

Cage plays Cris Johnson, a 2-bit Las Vegas magician who supplements his income by gambling. This works because he can see into the future, but only as it pertains to him, and only two minutes ahead. Except when it comes to this one girl (named Liz and played by Jessica Biel. He eventually hooks up with her). Meanwhile, the FBI is after him because they want to use his visions to stop potential terrorist attacks. Watch the movie, because I'm not going to do it justice here (at least, not after just one viewing). If you hate being faked out, though, this movie probably isn't for you. Especially at the beginning and during the last big action scene, we're shown things happening, only to go back a little and see that it was really just Cris' vision. In fact, the entire last act of the movie ends up being a vision, a twist that I definitely did not see coming.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Adventures in Care-a-lot, Episode 2

The first part, titled Growing Pains, starts with everyone admiring Share's garden. Cheer expresses a desire to have her own garden, and Share tells her it'll take a few weeks. A few weeks later, Share wakes up to find no one in her garden, much to her surprise. Oopsy shows up, and spills the beans--he was actually going to Cheer's new garden, where everyone else is (but being Oopsy, he went to the wrong place). Unable to wrap her mind around the idea that someone else could have a garden, she follows Oopsy, and is not pleased with what she sees. Cheer's garden not only has bigger flowers (and a toy bush), but a tire swing and topiaries.
Back in her own garden, Share laments that it isn't as big as Cheer's, and tries to think of a way to make it better. Unable to actually think of anything, she goes to Grumpy for ideas. Grumpy, meanwhile, is working on a fountain for Cheer's garden, prompting a scene of awesomeness. Seriously, the betrayal in Share's voice when she finds out he's helping Cheer, and Grumpy's whole "You're not jealous, are ya?" accusation really made this episode for me. If these two aren't a Care Bear Couple, then they oughta be. Grumpy gives Share some grow glitter (he can't reach it, so he uses his belly badge to make a cloud to get it--I love it!), warning her to use one pinch and one pinch only. Surely you can see where this is going.
Share spreads a pinch of grow glitter over her flowers, and sure enough, they all spring up. Still insecure over whether her garden is better than Cheer's, Share reasons that two pinches will do the trick. And it does, as everyone flocks from Cheer's garden to hers (mainly for the now-giant lollipop tree). Cheer manages to stop Funshine from leaving, but that's about it.
Over in Share's garden, everyone's impressed, and Share couldn't be happier. Meanwhile, outraged that Share's trying to outdo her, Cheer has Funshine making a row of suns to help her flowers grow bigger, while she applies buckets of water. While Cheer wonders how Share got her garden to grow so big, Grumpy arrives with the now-fixed fountain and explains about the grow glitter. Again, there's great betrayal and "Now you sound jealous," action here. Grumpy gives Cheer his last bag of grow glitter, setting forth a chain of grow glitter use by Cheer and Share, while all the other Care Bears go back and forth between the two until they're too confused to do anything but stare at the rapidly growing foliage.
Funshine alerts Grumpy to the situation (since he spent the whole time working in his garage, apparently), who at first scoffs, but when he sees the ginormous gardens, the look of pure horror on his face is priceless. Funshine and Grumpy try to talk to Share and Cheer, but the gardens are too overgrown. Share is unable to reach the tops of the plants, but still worries that Cheer's garden is bigger. So she uses the grow glitter on herself (which you're probably not supposed to do), and instantly grows taller than her flowers. Seeing this, Cheer does the same, and the two proceed to both argue and use more grow glitter on themselves.
Cut to Grizzle's lair, where he's just about to take off in his Sticky Plane (which will somehow seal the Care Bears in stickiness). He opens the hangar to take off, only to find the gigantic heads of Cheer and Share. So much for that plan.
Back in Care-a-lot, Cheer and Share continue to argue, creating havoc for those on the ground. Grumpy makes a cloud plane using his belly badge (Funshine contributes a sun propellor) and goes to confront Share and Cheer: "Somebody used more than just one pinch!" I just love the annoyance in his voice here. With just that and a cold stare, Grumpy gets the two girls to fess up to their jealousy, which in turn makes them shrink back to normal size (not the gardens, though). They resolve to make a new garden together, so they won't be jealous. Oopsy runs in, but is sadly too late to see the "giant Care Bears." End part one.

Part two is much better IMO, but mainly because it features lots of Grumpy. As awesome as Grumpy is when he's pointing out people's flaws, it's good to see him learn a lesson, too. This story is called King Grumpy, and it begins with Grumpy showing off his latest invention to Share, Cheer, Funshine, Oopsy, and Wingnut. The Bubble-phonium, which runs on water and makes musical bubbles. Everyone's impressed, until it explodes, washing everyone out of the garage. While helping Grumpy up, Wingnut rolls over Grumpy's foot, hurting it badly.
Share makes the diagnosis, which makes me wonder why Take Care Bear couldn't have been there. C'mon, writers! You've got the perfect opportunity for a cameo (which is why most of us are watching, I'm sure), and you just let it slip through your hands! But I do like Share's lack of tact in this scene:
Funshine: *comforting Wingnut* It was an accident. You were just trying to help Grumpy.
Share: But instead, you hurt him.
Wingnut: *tears up*
Share: Oh. *puppy dog eyes* But you didn't mean to! (Yeah, like being cute makes it all right...)
Cheer tells Grumpy to stay off his foot, but he doesn't want to just sit around. Wingnut offers to help, but Grumpy turns him down until Oopsy points out that it would make Wingnut feel better to help, just until Grumpy's better. So he agrees.
Thus begins the "Wingnut Helps Out" montage, with Grumpy protesting at first, as Wingnut cleans up the garage, does the dishes, vacuums, does the laundry, and other jobs that would be rife with hijinks in a different story. Finally, the house is so clean that you have to wear sunglasses just to look at it, and Grumpy has fully accepted Wingnut's help.
The next day, Funshine and Cheer check in on Grumpy, and find that his foot is okay. Fearing this will mean the loss of Wingnut's help, Grumpy fakes his foot being sore, with Wingnut none the wiser.
Later, Wingnut works on the Bubble-phonium and discovers the reason it broke: a Q bolt that was too small. In order to fix it, Grumpy needs a Q bolt expander, but Grizzle stole his a while ago. Hearing this, Wingnut immediately takes off. At the same time, Funshine and Cheer show up again, wondering if Grumpy's taking advantage of Wingnut's kindness. Grumpy takes umbrage at their accusations, so Funshine quickly backpedals, "Of course not. Friends don't do that to friends." "And if they did, just think about how you'd feel if they took advantage of you," adds Cheer. And they leave. Grumpy breaks the fourth wall to ask the audience if he's taking advantage of Wingnut, but decides he isn't, and goes to bed.
That night, Grumpy dreams that he's a serf and Wingnut's a king who orders him to move a statue all around. This makes him realize that, yes, he's been taking advantage of Wingnut, and he goes to apologize, even though it's the middle of the night. Not finding him in the garage, he goes to Oopsy's house, which is where Wingnut lives, apparently. Oopsy tells him that Wingnut left earlier, saying something about an "R nail reducer." Grumpy rightly guesses what happened, which leads us to...
Wingnut knocking on Grizzle's lair's door. It's the middle of the night, but Grizzle is still up, having a midnight snack (we aren't shown what the snack is, but I'd like to think it was a roast beef sandwich). Finding that Wingnut is not there to get his old job back (Wingnut started as Grizzle's henchman in Oopsy Does It, but switched sides before the end), Grizzle introduces him to his replacement, not UR-2, sadly, but Mr, Beaks instead. Wingnut gets down to brass tacks and asks for the Q bolt expander. Here we get some wonderful voice acting characterization as Grizzle initially turns him down, only to immediately agree to let him "borrow it," and Wingnut doesn't suspect a thing. He gets the expander, but is quickly trapped by Grizzle, who, being a villian, has a cage ready for all occasions.
Even later that night, once Grizzle is asleep (in his suit. That's can't be comfortable), Grumpy arrives to rescue Wingnut (now in the dungeon). But first, he apologizes to Wingnut, who forgives him pretty readily. Grumpy gears up for a hug, but gets a Q bolt expander instead. He uses it to open the cell door and the two escape via rocket (the same one from The Big Wish movie, I think).
The next day, with the newly expanded Q bolt in place, the Bubble-phonium is back in business. Grumpy promises to make everything up to Wingnut, which makes Wingnut so happy that he accidently squashes Grumpy's foot again. Grumpy insists that it's just a bruise, but tells Wingnut he can still help out around the garage if he wants, except that everything is clean, so there isn't much to do. On the contrary, Wingnut points to the hose, which is overfilling the Bubble-phonium, which explodes again as the episode ends.

I gotta get this out of the way: Grumpy is the cutest!!!! *squeegasm* Seriously, he's the best. He really made this episode for me. The first part was rather silly, but his parts made up for it. The second part kind of made me think of the Nelvana episode with Q-bot, especially the part where there could have been hijinks, but instead everything worked out perfectly.
Also: Pajamas! More pajamas! Also, Oopsy in pajamas. Share, however, apparently sleeps in the nude.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Care Bears: Adventures in Care-a-lot episode previews

The new preview clips are up, and there are a couple of things I want to comment on.
The first episode looks like the more interesting of the two, with Grizzle sending a robot down to zap Care Bears and switch their personality around (or so I assume). At any rate, it turns belly badges upside down. What havoc will be wreaked, and what the heck kind of lesson will we learn?

The second story looks a little lackluster, but I gotta say, Funshine is the best egotistical bear ever.

Also, Love-a-lot lost her bandana and Harmony lost her headband? What happened? And am I the only one seeing a resemblence?

That is all.