Friday, February 29, 2008

Adventures in Care-a-lot episode 13

It'll be a ratings bonanza!Both of these eps were just okay. They each had their moments, but the whole is definitely not greater than the sum of its parts. The first ep gets points for lots of Grumpy (literally!), plus Grumpy in safety glasses (so cute!). The second part is only worth mentioning for UR-2's quip and a cute Grumpy/Share moment.

Two of a Kind - "You have to listen! You're me!"
This ep starts on a fine summer day, as Cheer jump-ropes outside of Grumpy's garage, not a care in the world. Sparkles start sprinkling out of the garage, followed by Grumpy, who's having a hard time getting his latest new invention, the Sparkle Sprinkler, to work right. Cheer doesn't see the problem, until Grumpy directs her to his singed bottom. Since Grumpy's having trouble working on it on his own, Cheer rounds up the usual gang (plus Surprise) to help out. Oopsy starts to touch stuff, but Grumpy wards him off, sending him stumbling back, and ends up getting his foot stuck in a pail of glue. While Oopsy struggles, Grumpy briefs the others on what the sprinkler needs. Did I mention that everyone's wearing safety glasses? Except Oopsy, who manages to get himself stuck to the wall, which is just where Grumpy wants him.
Apparently, Grumpy's briefing was too brief, as no one has any clue what to do. So they try moving all his tools within reach, but Grumpy just trips over everything and ends up in the trash. Then Cheer starts painting the sprinkler pink, Share adds the wrong gears, and Surprise and Funshine make the sprinkler shoot out streamers (how, I have no clue). I absolutely love Grumpy's delivery on his next line, "Why...are you wasting time on streamers?" If he sounded like that all the time, it would be awesome. Grumpy yells at the others for not doing things "the Grumpy way," but Cheer points out that they don't know what that means. Surprise tries to take advantage of Grumpy's vagueness, but no dice. Grumpy feels he doesn't have time to show them what to do if he's going to fix the sprinkler, but everyone still wants to help. So Grumpy tells them they can help him most by leaving. So everyone does, heavyhearted, except for Oopsy who's still glued to the wall.
While Grumpy initially feels bad, he tells himself that he didn't need help, only to be proven wrong. Just as he admits that he does need help, he accidently sets off the streamers again, and vows to get some "Grumpy help." So he pulls out the mirror of Erised a strange mirror device. He powers it up and out walks another Grumpy with a handy 2 on his belly badge. The clone is ready to get right down to work, and takes a look at the plans, only to disparage them instantly. Grumpy doesn't understand how the clone, who is essentially himself, could dislike the plans, but no matter, the clone takes matters into his own paws and gets to work, telling Grumpy to "go organize your bolts." Grumpy instead works on the side, only to have the clone tell him he isn't do it right. Again, Grumpy is confused about this, since he's never seen any movies about cloning. Don't you know, Grumpy, the clone always thinks they're superior to the original!
While Grumpy asks his reflection (rather than break the fourth wall, like he usually does) whether he's just getting what he gave earlier in the episode, the clone goes offscreen and makes a clone of himself, this one with a handy 3 on his belly badge. The two clones (referred to from here on as Two and Three) gang up on Grumpy, saying that he doesn't know how to do things "the Grumpy way," despite the fact that he invented it, and just confusing him more and more, especially when Three tells him to "Tell it to someone who cares," since they're, y'know, Care Bears. But the clones forcibly eject Grumpy from the garage and lock him out.
Grumpy sees Cheer and attempts to explain what happened, but it just comes out as a confusing mess. So he tries again and Cheer immediately sees the parallels in how his clones are acting and himself earlier. Grumpy takes this to mean that she's gonna hold a grudge and not help him, even though Cheer obviously hadn't thought of that until he mentioned it. She feigns being mad at him, but he gives her such a winning smile that she can't help but forgive him. Besides, she empathizes with him for some strange reason. So she rounds up the gang and Grumpy briefs them on what they need to do. Again, too briefly. Cheer tells him to give them each something specific to do to make the plan work, so he has Cheer make ropes, Share get tools, and puts Surprise in charge of surprises (Funshine gets nothin'), and then they head up to the roof of his garage. With Funshine's help, Grumpy pries open a hatch, and they spy the two clones arguing:
Three: My way is faster.
Two: Well, my way is better.
Three: Oh yeah, well my way is faster and better! Your way is slower and dumber.
I don't know why that amuses me, but it does. Maybe because Three says the whole "faster and better" part really fast, too, as if to emphasize the speed. Or something. While the clones bicker, the others sneak in, and Surprise ruins the element of surprise they had going by popping up in between the clones. Grumpy starts to tell her off, but then switches to almost-sorta praise, probably to avoid Cheer feigning being mad at him again. The clones complain about everyone showing up, since they're out numbered now, and Grumpy escorts them back to the mirror and they go in willingly, being sick of each other. Even Grumpy was sick of himself by then (I had no idea he was a narcissist...). He apologizes to the others for being mean even though they were doing him a favor earlier. And the others forgive him, of course, and Funshine even points out that he does a good job of leading, when he actually tells them what to do. So Grumpy suggests they all go and play Belly Ball. Cheer teases him, but they all leave happily, except for Oopsy who is still glued to the wall.
Okay, so Grumpy apparently made the cloning device a while ago, but never used it until now? How come? I mean, sure it didn't work out for him, but he didn't know that until he used it. And how did he know it would work, anyway, if he hadn't tested it or anything?

Stand Up and Cheer - "I gotta go find my puppet!"
It's a random playday in Care-a-lot, emphasis on "random." Funshine shows off his juggling, although one morning's practice just wasn't enough. And Love-a-lot's doing some kind of weird balancing act with her hearts (Share calls it dancing and Love-a-lot neither confirms nor denies this), plus Harmony's got her trained canaries out for practice. Share and Cheer try to find a way to turn all these random acts into a theme for the episode and decide to make a new reality TV show: Care-a-lot's Got Talent! Grumpy scoffs at their lack of inspiration, until Cheer reveals that he could easily become a star, if only he had the talent... Fortunately, Grumpy always has an unrevealed talent, and this time it's ventriloquism. Share has no clue what's he talking about, so Cheer lays it out so blatantly that she's almost guaranteeing that Grumpy's act will fail. And then comes an adorable Share/Grumpy moment as Share gives him puppydog eyes to get him to be in the show, and Grumpy agrees (how could he not?).
Meanwhile, Grizzle spies the ad Share and Cheer came up with and instantly hatches a plot to crash the show and capture all the Care Bears, since they'll all be in one place. How handy. He orders UR-2 and Sargent Rocketbottom to make him a costume for the show, and UR-2 (who is made of win) snidely remarks that you need a talent to enter a talent contest.
Grizzle: My talent will be capturing those Care Bears!
UR-2: Oh. How original. <--so deadpan. I love it!
Also, Mr. Beaks gets a costume, but no sequins.
Conflict on the stage! Grumpy and Love-a-lot clash over who gets to practice on stage, but Cheer is there to keep things from getting out of hand. Share shows Cheer her sleight-of-paw act and confides in her about her semi-stage fright. Cheer promises to stay backstage to help, just in case, and Share promises to help Cheer with her act. But before Cheer can come up with anything, Grumpy runs in with another crisis, and off Cheer goes to work on the lights. Later, as more bears show up to help set up, Grizzle arrives sporting a harlequin costume and a ridiculous French accent. He introduces himself as Monsieur Razzle Dazzle (and Mr. Beaks as Beaky Pierre), and tells Cheer and Share about his act, involving a unicycle and spinning plates. Share and Cheer aren't fooled, but let him enter anyway, since the rules say that anyone can perform. And Cheer still hasn't thought up an act, and won't have a chance to, if the latest set of crises is any indication (the most interesting involves Oopsy, Grumpy, and Grumpy's dummy, Mr. Smartybritches).
Finally, the big night arrives. The stars are all out for the show--literally! And Friend Bear, too. Cheer acts as Ryan Seacrest to this Care-a-lot Idol, with Harmony and Grumpy as Paula and Simon, respectively (no Randy, though). The show opens with Love-a-lot, who stumbles but makes the most of her dance. Harmony calls it perfect (which it wasn't), prompting Grumpy to overcompensate to even out the judging. Cheer calls him on this, and blackmails him into changing his assessment. Moving right along, there's Funshine and his juggling, Harmony and her birds, and Oopsy's tumbling act that predictably (and a bit implausibly) ends with him on top of Grumpy. Share's cute in a top hat and cape, Grumpy mugs with Mr. Smartybritches, all leading up to the final act. Grizzle comes out, actually doing pretty well when you consider that he probably never rode a unicycle or spun plates before that day, but in the end, it all comes crashing down. So he reveals the huge net he set up to capture all the Care Bears, but when it comes down, he's the one who ends up inside. This earns him the Best Act of the Night Award in a unanimous vote. And he's quite touched.
Cheer announces the end of the show, but everyone demands to see her act. Cheer admits to not having an act, although she tries to pass it off as not having any talent of her own. So the others in the show point out her super-organizing skills, and everything ends with a hug, and nobody helping Grizzle out of the net.

Okay, who runs the Care-a-lot Coffee Shop, hm?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

American Idol, Hotblooded, and Zombies

Call me weird, but the song "Hotblooded" always makes me think of zombies. There's a story to that, and hearing the song twice on American Idol this week brought it to the top of mind:
The past few summers I've worked at a local amusement park (Lake Compounce, the oldest continually run park in the country), but I only stayed through the fall season once (usually I was back at school by then). The reason the parks stays open through the end of October is because it gets a Halloween-themed makeover and has a special maze/event set up called The Haunted Graveyard. Anyway, along with the Graveyard and makeover, the season I was there, three times a night there was a special show. I usually wasn't close enough to see it, but the music was so loud you could hear it from halfway across the park. Since I heard the songs so much, I came up with my own story for the show (although it turns out that there really wasn't one for the real show; it was just an excuse for the performers to sing and dance). In my story, a boy and girl went to a haunted castle on Halloween and accidentally read a spell that called forth a host of zombies! (the first song was Evanescence's "Bring Me To Life.") Fortunately for the kids, the zombies were Party Zombies, more interested in a good time than human flesh (revealed in the song "Rock and Roll All Night (and party everyday)"). But it turns out the real reason the kids weren't eaten immediately was that the zombie thought the kids were zombies, too. And the boy, being an idiot, tells them that he's a "Hotblooded" human, not a zombie. I don't remember how it ended, but I think the kids got out okay. I just don't remember what song they used to do it.
So yeah, that's why I always think of zombies when I hear that song.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Adventures in Care-a-lot Episode 12

As is so often the case with this show, we get one truly awesome ep and one really terrible one, too. Which I suppose is better than if they lumped all the terrible ones together, but it makes it hard to single out a half hour episode as a favorite.

Rebooted - "...while I'm stuck here in dumb Care-too-much!"
Like most of the best eps, this one starts in Grizzle's lair as he spies on the Care Bears, promising to get rid of them once and for all (despite being called on his past failures by Mr. Beaks). For today, he has not just a new plan, but a new robot. And not just any new robot, but the Smartest Robot Evah! What exactly does it say about the writers that the smartest robot is also Grizzle's first female 'bot? I'm not complaining, mind you, I just find it interesting. Activated for the first time, the femmebot introduces herself as Big Brain (with even bigger hair) and inquires of Grizzle her purpose. Man, just listening to her dialogue makes me write like that. Grizzle tells her that she was made to help him destroy Care-a-lot, and because she asked, adds that caring is a waste of time. His plan this time is simple in theory: apparently his lair doesn't just look like a bear trap, it really is one(!), so he'll use it to chomp onto Care-a-lot, which will somehow defeat the Care Bears. Big Brain decides this is an illogical plan because Grizzle cares about it, technically making him a Care Bear. So she shoots him with a laser, knocking him out of his suit, and then escorts him out of his lair.
Yes, you've guessed what makes this episode so awesome: the debut of Grizzle's little bear form in 2D. He spends most of the episode out of his suit, which is, dare I say it, super special awesome. Grizzle crash-lands in Care-a-lot, interrupting a game of hide and seek, and ends up stuck in a tree. But at least Big Brain had the decency to kick out Mr. Beaks, too. As the Care Bears try to figure out what he's doing there, Grizzle feigns sleepwalking, despite the lack of pajamas and mechasuit. Grizzle inadvertently tells them everything, so Funshine gets him out of the tree. Back on the ground, Grizzle instantly starts ordering the other bears around (this part was great, especially when he called Grumpy "the most normal one here"). He demands warmth and sandwiches, but gets a Care Bear Stare instead (it has been pointed out that the animators animated Oopsy giving the stare, even though he shouldn't be able to, but I totally didn't notice). Now feeling better, he attempts to thank Share for a lollipop, but it doesn't happen, and he storms off.
Despite Grizzle generally being the bad guy, the core five still want to do something nice for him, so Grumpy proposes they build him a new suit (and by "them" he means "him"), and Cheer suggests writing to Big Brain, asking her to let him back in. And who should show up at that moment but Wingnut, ready and willing to deliver the message. Back at Grizzle's lair, Big Brain has all the other robots working on something, but she takes a moment to read the note. She marvels that the Care Bears really do care about everything, but she is firm: Grizzle cannot come back. As Wingnut flies away, the jaws of Grizzle's lair close ominously.
This does not go unnoticed by Grizzle, who apparently keeps telescope/eyepatch in a rather private place. He fumes that Big Brain is using his plan, but denies being jealous. It isn't brought up in the ep, but he should feel at least partially proud that he succeed in creating such a smart robot anyway. While brooding and licking the lollipop Share gave him, he's surprised by Cheer and Share, who invite him to play hide and seek with them. He agrees to keep them from getting too mushy, but rather than count, he just spies on his lair again, until Cheer goads him into finding them. Which he does. Share lays on the flattery, and Grizzle almost blushes, for serious. But then Oopsy shows up, saying that their surprise is ready. Grizzle, predictably doesn't like surprises, but goes along grudgingly. Blindfolded, even. But it's worth it when he sees his new robo-suit. Grizzle is so touched, he doesn't even notice (or doesn't care) that it's covered in Care Bear symbolism. Touched by the gift, the only present anyone's ever gotten for him (I seriously, seriously want more backstory on this guy! Come on, writers!), he almost says thank you again, and then climbs inside the suit. Or tries to, anyway. But it isn't powered up, so it doesn't work yet. What powers it up? What else, a Care Bear Stare. Grizzle protests, but once the suit is working, he doesn't care again. After performing a few feats of daring-do, Grizzle declares this suit to be the best one ever, and Cheer subtly hints that it's time for him to get a move on. But Grizzle, high on Stares, decides to stick around and play some more hide and seek. But before he can count past three, an dark shadow passes over everyone...
It's Grizzle's lair, coming down to chomp on Care-a-lot. As the others wonder what's going on, Grizzle explains his plan like it's no big deal. "Once my lair bites on, that's it." Share freaks out and the others run for cover. Grizzle takes it upon himself to stop his lair, and uses the power of caring (via his suit) to hold it off. The others are shocked that Grizzle of all people is saving Care-a-lot, but there it is. But Grizzle's power is not enough! So the others join in with a Stare, renewing Grizzle's resolve, and together they drive his lair back, and break it enough to keep it from coming back, all while triumphant music plays. Unfortunately, saving Care-a-lot used up all the power the Care Bears stared into the suit, and it breaks apart, but Grizzle is fine. Cheer lays on the flattery this time, but then Big Brain flies the lair down (no chomping this time, though) and asks Grizzle what is up? She was just following his plan, after all. Grizzle hems and haws, but Share knows why he did it: he cares, plain and simple. She gives him a hug, and Grumpy doesn't seem to mind. Big Brain, impressed by the power of caring, expresses a desire to learn more about it. Cheer subtly tells her to go somewhere else, anywhere else, in this "big world of caring," and Big Brain takes off, vowing to return someday. While the bears are distracted, Grizzle reclaims his lair and takes off, also vowing to return. Grumpy isn't surprised by this turn of events, but Share is disappointed that the episode didn't end with them all being bestest friends, but ah well. Back in the status quo, Grizzle attempts to teach his robots how to play hide and seek, but it's an uphill process. Personally, I think UR-2 would get it right away, but this scene is just here to prove a point, not be realistic. The point being, Grizzle misses the other Care Bears. Bittersweet ending.
Ever since I saw Oopsy Does It, I had a feeling that it would be awesome if Grizzle stopped being evil and was friends with the bears, and this proves it. I'm sorry that Big Brain left; I think she would have made a great recurring character. I kinda think she and UR-2 would make a good couple, but I don't really know if his snide asides would jibe with her cool logic.

Flower Power - "I'm pretty."
Okay, this ep. Really dumb. That's all you need to know. Here's the "as long as I can stand to make it" version:
So, Share has new flowers, and new old friends (they've never shown up before, but she instantly knows them), the Nimbus' (Nimbi?) Bumpity and Tweezel (I hate them both so much, but at least they don't show up too much). One is fast and one is slow, and they can shape shift. I guess they're clouds, because they decide to make it rain on Share's flowers, a rain that will make everyone love her new flowers. Everyone gets rained on and gets obsessed with the flowers. Share is immune for some reason. She gives everyone flowers, and they get obsessed with wearing them and being "pretty" and "handsome." And True Heart gets another speaking role, yay! Oh, and Oopsy is allergic to them, with petal-reducing sneezes.
As the days pass, Wingnut starts to worry about everyone liking flowers too much (which Share deems impossible), espeically when he sees the Battle of the Beehives. And that's not all! Funshine and Tenderheart bicker over who started wearing their flower over their belly badge first, and Love-a-lot refuses to open the library until she picks more flowers, prompting Grumpy to claim a precedent, and he also refuses to fix anything until he gets more flowers, too. Soon there is only one flower left, and no one can agree who gets it. As Share laments how fashion-conscious all her friends have become, Wingnut creates a strong wind and blows all the flowers (and the beehive wigs) away. With the flowers gone, everyone comes back to their senses and goes on a big revelation fest. Which is when the clouds show up again and reveal what was going on. When they hear how their rain really effected everyone, they feel so bad that they vow to leave and never return again (oh, how I wish). The episode ends with Oopsy sneezing the last flower out of existance and everyone laughing.
Painful, painful, painful, although everyone being all vain was kind of funny, but not enough to redeem the episode. Not even the beehive wigs could do that.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The 2008 Oscars!

Hey, I'm going to be watching and updating the show. Not the red carpet, though. So keep checking during the show. Here's a list of the nominees, btw.

My predictions (only the stuff I actually have a clue about):
Leading Actor - George Clooney
Supporting Actor - Philip Seymour Hoffman
Lead Actress - Cate Blanchett
Supporting Actress - Cate Blanchett (I'm hedging my bets)
Animated Film - Ratatouille
Art Direction - Sweeney Todd
Costume Design - Across the Universe
Director - The Coen Brothers
Original Score - Atonement
Original Song - That's How You Know
Visual effects - Golden Compass
Adapted Screenplay - There Will Be Blood
Original Screenplay - Juno
Best Picture - No Country for Old Men

The opening - I always like it when they do those integrated movie openings, like Billy Crystal used to do. This one just looks kinda weird, though. Way too dark. I wonder if they'll do anything special 'cause it's the 80th show?

Did Jon Stewart host a couple of years ago? And made all those parody ads? I think it was him. Anyway, lots of talk about the writers strike, which is natural. Was I the only one who thought "There Will Be Blood" was a horror film when they first heard about it? My mom laughed at the Atonement joke, even though she hasn't even heard of the movie. Is it bad that I laughed at the "would only embolden the audience" line?
Enough with the politics, just get on with it! Thank you.

Costume design - Does anyone know what the song was that played when the presenter walked up? I feel like I know it, but I can't place it. I didn't see Elizabeth, so I can't really say too much about it. (You'll probably hear that a lot tonight).

Montage - Ah, I had a feeling they'd do something like this. What's with all the snapshots, though? Cool to see all the clips from the musicals numbers, though. What? Nooo! Not "My Heart Will Go On!!!" *sigh* But it won, so I guess they had to use it. Whoa, really old Charlie Chaplin!

Animated Feature - Yay for Anne Hathaway and Steve Carrell. (I like them.) But Anne's dress looks like the bust area is too big. "Is this being shown in Belguim?" XD I want Ratatouille to win, but it'll probably go to Persepolis. Surf's up was a fun film, but I don't think it'll win. Yay, Ratatouille! Brad Bird's speech was cute.

Make-up - I was immediately humming "Milord," but only because I know the Forbidden Broadway version. La Vie En Rose was the one I thought would win (of the three 9_9), and it did.

It was so hard not to sing along to "Happy Working Song." Amy Adams got nervous near the end, I could tell, but otherwise I thought she was very good.

Visual Effects - When Jon introduced the presenter as a wrestler, my mom instantly thought of Hulk Hogan, but I knew he meant The Rock. Golden Compass wins.

Art Direction - They might give it to Atonement, since that'll probably get a lot of stuff. No, it's Sweeney Todd! Yay!

Actor Montage - Christopher Walken with a bushy moustache! That's all I have to say.

Supporting Actor - Jennifer Hudson's dress....triangle....just no. I had a feeling somebody from NCfOM would win, and probably more will. I never saw the film, but people seem to like giving it awards. I wish my sister was hear to translate the guys speech to his mom.

Parody Montages - Okay, I'm amused. Binoculars, bad dreams...makes you wonder what other kind of things you can make montages out of.

The August Rush song was okay, but I got distracted in the middle.

Live Action Short - I never saw any of these (where do they get shown, really?). Anyway, the Pickpocket one won.

Animated Short - Heh, a Bee Movies montage. I liked the clip from The Swarm. "There aren't any small parts, but there are some pretty small actors." Interesting how there are more animated shorts nominated than animated features. Also interesting that half of them weren't 2D animation, either.

Supporting Actress - Y'know, I know very little about all these movies. So it really could go either way. Tilda Swinton wins. My mom predicts that she's either anorexic or pregnant, based on the dress.

Scientific Technical Awards - I don't really care about these, but I guess it's good to have them provided. Besides, I'm guessing that the third song will be That's How You Know, and I know that Kristin Chenoweth is singing it, so I'm excited.

Adapted Screenplay - The lines thing was okay. Oh ho, I was right, and I just based it on the fact that my friend was confused by the movie ^_~

How the process works, always interesting. I'm sure that there are plenty of people who question this every year. In a "why didn't that film get anything" kind of way, though (seriously, no Original Song nomination for Hairspray? And Norbit gets makeup but not Hairspray?).

I'm not sure whether Kristin was trying too much to be herself, or to ape Amy Adams, because at some parts it seemed like it would have been better if she had made the song her own, but at others, she seemed to be deviating from the song too much. A little of both, I guess. And they cut out a verse! Not a huge deal, but I definitely noticed.

My computer decided to have a crisis, so I lost what I wrote about the sound mixing and editing. All I remember was that the guy we saw a thing about on the news didn't win for like the twentieth time. I didn't get to write about Best Actress, but Marion Cotillard won.

The song from Once was all right, but my mom kind of soured the experience by bringing up Magic Works (from the fourth Harry Potter film) again. Let it go, Mom!

Best Picture Montage - they do a variation of this every year, don't they? Interesting to see which pictures were color in the sea of black and white up until the mid-fifties. And then one black and white in the sixties.

Film Editing - I completely missed which film won. I'll look it up in a minute. Ah, The Bourne Ultimatum sweeps the editing categories. Makes sense.

That design tribute was pretty cool. Again, I missed who they're tributing, but as my mom commented, "at least they got him before he died." His speech is too long... ah, good, it's over.

Foreign Language Film - Again, where do they show these films? And if they don't show them over here, then why are we nominating them? I wonder this every year. Wikipedia probably has the answer, but I'm not looking right now. Congrats, Austria.

Without even looking, I knew that the announcer would be Patrick Dempsey. Do I know the singer? Probably not if I can't even figure out how to spell his last name. (Sorry, John Macglauclin, for butchering your last name!) So Close is a hot-and-cold song for me. I mean, I like it a lot, but sometimes I'm just not in the mood for it (unlike That's How You Know, which makes me be in the mood for it. You know the kind). John, you did a bad, bad job. You'd never make it to Hollywood if this were American Idol.

Original Song - It's not anything from Enchanted! Rawr!!! No, the most boring song (the one from Once) won. (What did the woman say? The mike must have muted or something.) Still, after last year, I shouldn't be surprised that the vote was split so much, but in the past, Alan Menken has had three songs nominated and still won, so I thought it might have worked out.
Ah, they brought the woman back since she was muted. That was nice.

Cinematography - I was so mad about the song still that I almost missed this. No Country for Old Men won.

Memorium montage - Michael Kidd was a choreographer, too, not just a dancer, but I guess that didn't show up on film. I never heard of most of these people. They didn't show Charles Nelson Reilly, but I looked him up and he was more of a TV person, so I guess that's why.

Original Score - I felt bad for Amy Adams, since the only thing Enchanted was nominated for didn't win at all, but she seems okay. Again, the only one of these movies I've actually seen is Ratatouille, but it's not winning. Yup, Atonement got it.

Y'know, Jon Stewart isn't being all that funny tonight. I seem to recall him being better the last time he hosted, but I don't really remember it.

Documentary, Short Subject - Kind of clever to let the troops introduce it, but again, this is the category that makes me wonder where I could be seeing these things. Only in select cities? As in, only in LA or someplace not on the east coast or even remotely near New England.

Documentary, Feature - I figured Michael Moore wouldn't win. People are sick of him, no pun intended. But see my comments on the previous category.

Original Screenplay - It really could go any way with this one. I think they'll give it to Juno because they want to give it something, but I actually saw Ratatouille, and that's the only one. And the others sound good, too. Ah, Juno got it. There you go, then. I want Diablo Cody's tattoo to be anime-related, but I don't think it is.

One thing all these montages make me realize is just how many movies people win for that you never hear about any more. Seriously, Save the Tiger? Has anyone heard of that before tonight?

Leading Actor - In truth, I have no clue. People seem to like Daniel Day-Lewis. I'm all for Sweeney Todd getting another award, but I don't think people are going to give it to Johnny Depp. He doesn't either, since he wore his glasses. And Tommy Lee Jones is always cool. And it goes to Day-Lewis.

I'm tired of montages...

Director - As I predicted the Coen brothers got it. We ended up talking about how long it must have taken the guy to dictate The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, since he could only do it by blinking.

Best Picture - No Country for Old Men. I figured it would be that or There Will Be Blood, but people like the Coen brothers more, I guess.

And that's that. Sorry I wasn't more interesting. I probably won't do something like this again, unless it's something I'm more invested in, like the Tony Awards.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Series meme

Choose five series (no peeking before you choose them), list them, and then answer the questions below.
1. Harry Potter
2. Adventures in Care-a-lot
3. Paniponi Dash!
4. Pushing Daisies
5. Sushi Pack

1. Which is your favorite series from your list? And why?
Pushing Daisies, most likely. It's the one I worried about most during the Writer's Strike, anyway. I really liked Wonderfalls, which was made by the same guy, in fact it was the first live action show that I actually cared about and planned to watch every week. So of course I was devastated when it got canceled after three episodes. Which is why I was worried that the same thing would happen to Pushing Daisies. Fortunately, it didn't but then the Writer's Strike happened! You see, bad things happen to shows that I actually care about and don't watch just because everyone else in the room is watching it. But it seems to be safe now.
As for the actual show, I can't describe just what makes it so awesome, but it basically boils down to good writing and a great cast.

2. If you were to pair two characters from 1 and 4, who would they be?
From Harry Potter and Pushing Daisies? I honestly have no clue. I don't generally think of anybody romantically with anyone else in HP, actually, although I know plenty of others do.

3. What is one thing you'd like to change about 3's plotline?

What plotline? Well, I'd probably make Becky not a genius 11-year-old teacher. I know it's me overthinking things, but it just bugs me so much.

4. If both main characters of 2 and 5 were falling off a cliff, which one would you save?
Depends on which main character, since both shows have a core five. I mean, if it was Funshine vs. Ikura, I'd save Ikura, since Funshine can probably use his belly badge to make a sun parachute, or those light balls he used in "Unbearable" to save himself. Actually, that's true of all the Care Bears except for Oopsy, so I'd save the sushi each time, unless it was Oopsy, in which case I'd have to save him, unless Wingnut was around, because then he'd do it instead.

5. Which event was the most horrible for you in 1?
I don't even remember anymore. I mean, I had Sirius' death spoiled for me because I didn't read the fifth book until a year after it came out, and it's been so long since I read the books that I can't remember my initial reactions. And I didn't really like the last one so...ah, there we go, hearing Mrs. Weasley call Bellatrix a bitch. That was the worst, because I imagine Mrs. Weasley as being a lot like my mom (although my family doesn't have nearly as many kids in it), and she would never use that word, no matter how mad she got.

6. Which is your least favorite character of 2?
I don't really dislike any of the characters, especially since most of them are not all that fleshed out. I guess if I really had to pick, it would be that General robot from "Heatwave." Or maybe New-B, although he gets points at the end for zinging Grizzle.

7. If the antagonist of 3 were to rape the main character of 1, what would you do?
Again, who is the antagonist? I really can't think of one for PPD.

8. What song reminds you of 5?
While I usually find songs that match characters from the shows I watch, I haven't done that for Sushi Pack yet, so I have to skip this one.

9. Of 1, 3, and 5, which is the easiest to think about?
At this point, Sushi Pack. HP is overdone for me, although Wizard People, Dear Reader is currently awesome, and PPD is easier to enjoy if I don't think about it too hard (see question 3).

10. Are the protagonists of 2 and 4 similar?
No, not really. Not at all, in fact. Too bad it's not 2 and 5, then I could post my decisions on which core five members match up.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Pinnacle Get!

(Bad edit is bad.)
My sisters chipped in and got me a Pinnacle HDTV Pro stick TV tuner for my birthday today ^_^ I haven't gotten the hang of it yet, but I'm excited!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Adventures in Care-a-lot Episode 11

I didn't tape episode 10, and I want to give it the proper treatment, so I'm skipping it for the time being.

Dare Bears - "My tenderhearted friend"
This episode starts with Tenderheart actually having a part that's longer than two lines! Grumpy invited him over to test his latest invention - not the one behind the neon green curtain, though, that one isn't ready yet (foreshadowing!). No, what Grumpy really has planned are a pair of Bouncy Boots, which Tenderheart takes to with gusto. Grumpy, however, gets nauseous just watching (hence why he didn't try them out himself), and sends Tenderheart outside. Tenderheart uses the boots to confound Funshine, before grabbing him and taking him along. After an offhand comment that the boots are great for "daring" feats, Funshine dares Tenderheart to jump over the hedge. And he does. Then they switch, and Tenderheart dares Funshine to jump over a rainbow. And he does, but it was too high, and they end up bouncing out of control once they come back down. Only a quick lasso-ing from Cheer saves them from being dunked in the fountain. Cheer chatises the boys, and they promise to be more careful, but clearly, she'll believe it when she sees it.
Since the dares you can do with bouncing boots are pretty limited, and since Tenderheart brags that he'll take on any dare, Funshine comes up with a new dare for him: deliver a basket of bumbleberries -- to Grizzle! Tenderheart is apprehensive, but when Funshine accuses him of being scared, he knows he can't back down. So he sneaks into Grizzle's lair, all the while reminding himself that he's done scarier things (no examples, though). Everything seems to be okay when suddenly he hears Grizzle's voice! But he's just talking to Mr. Beaks (they're playing checkers), so Tenderheart sets down the basket, bangs on the wall (since there isn't a door), and high-tails it out of there. Grizzle is not pleased at being interrupted, bellowing, "Who dares disturb me on game day!" (I love it!) But finding the basket, he wonders who could have sent it. It looks like Tenderheart and Funshine are about to be found out, but Grizzle surmises that it must have been Mr. Beaks. He gives Mr. Beaks a hug, which crushes him, but Grizzle doesn't seem to mind.
Back in Care-a-lot, Fushine congratulates Tenderheart on a dare well done, and comments on how scary it was just to watch. Tenderheart at first admits that doing it was pretty scary, too, but then backtracks. Funshine tries to head home, but Tenderheart insists that he has to do a dare to make things even. But before he can think of one, they spy Grumpy heading their way. Turns out his "latest new invention" (heh) isn't coming together, so he's trying to clear his head. Funshine tries to help by playing Sun Frisbee, but no luck. Tenderheart is eager to try out the new invention, but Grumpy pointed tells him that no one touches it until he's done with it. And now Tenderheart knows what to dare Funshine.
Funshine and Tenderheart peek into Grumpy's workshop and Tenderheart outlines the dare: all Funshine has to do is touch Grumpy's latest new invention (he says it, too!). Funshine does a better job of objecting that Tenderheart did to his dare (ugh, the feelings talk), but caves just as easily when Tenderheart accuses him of being scared. So in he goes. As he inches his way to the sheet-covered invention, Cheer shows up with a basket of berries for Grumpy. Seeing Funshine, she demands to know what's going on. Tenderheart starts by explaining the earlier dare at Grizzle's lair, and Cheer wigs out. Which means it's lesson time! Long story short: don't do dares, they're stupid. Then Tenderheart explains what Funshine's doing and Cheer tells him what she overheard Grumpy say: his latest new invention is touch activated! Yes, it's that contrived to drive the message home.
At that very moment, Funshine touches the bottom-most part of the invention and it springs to life, grabbing him with a huge hand and then breaking out of Grumpy's garage. Turns out the latest new invention is a variation of the bouncy boots, a bouncy car. It jumps all over town square, breaking up the pavement, with Funshine trapped in the cockpit, no clue how to stop it. Grumpy, how happened to be nearby at the time, seems to take the whole thing in stride, only yelling at Funshine that he could get hurt, and stop tearing up the street. He just happens to have the bouncy boots with him (probably because they're based on the same technology), so he suits up and enters the fray, causing Tenderheart to call him "the most daring bear of all." After a bit of a chase, Grumpy manages to land on the boucing car and turn it off, right in front of Share. And that's the last bouncing invention you'll see him make, that's for sure.
Later, Funshine contemplates the destruction he inadvertantly caused, and apologizes to Grumpy, who just complains that all his work was for nothing. Plus, Funshine could have gotten hurt, so what was the point? Tenderheart fesses up to coming up with the dare, and Grumpy lays down the law. And Cheer sets them up to fix the street. Grumpy stays nearby, working on something new, with such a smug expression that I'd swear he was thinking "All according to plan," but what kind of plan could he have had that ended with Tenderheart and Funshine dressed as construction workers? Unless Funshine and Tenderheart daring each other is nothing new, and he made both inventions, and blatantly dropped hints about the bouncy car just to cure them of their darelust? Man, Grumpy, you could give Light a run for his money.

Battle of the Bands - "You know, this is not the Harmony and Cheer Show."
Apparently, the star boy band that formed back in "Here, Cheer, and Everywhere" decided to play regular gigs in Care-a-lot, but they're so loud that you can hear them all the way up in Grizzle's lair. And since they only play at night, Grizzle gets no sleep. Not a good situation there. But it's good for me, because it means we get to see Grizzle in his pajamas (which he wears over his suit). Back with the band, one of the stars invites Harmony on stage, and she sings Emma's song from "Emma's Dilemma" on the Grizzle-ly Adventures DVD. After the song, everyone congratulates her on her singing, and just like that, the decide to make their own band! No need for the stars when you've got all the talent of Care-a-lot at your fingertips. Cheer wants in, Love-a-lot can play the drums, and True Heart displays a hidden talent for guitar. Share wants to join, too, but she can't sing and she can't dance. So she gets to be the crew. With the band members in place, they christen themselves The Care Bear Hunnies and a band is born!
Unable to sleep, Grizzle tries watching TV, but the only thing on is Adventures in Care-a-lot. This did allow him to see the birth of the new band, more bad news for him. The band practices all the next day and into the night, preventing Grizzle from getting to sleep again. For a reason I cannot fathom, he puts a towel over his head while frying an egg (Grizzle's kitchen! Yes!). To help with the noise, I suppose. But there's no helping anything at this point. There's going to be no sleep for Grizzle ever again if he doesn't break up that band, and quick!
The next next day, the band finishes practice and Cheer is approached by Grizzle in disguise as Busybody Bear (Grizzle in drag? I love it!). "She" instantly starts spreading dissent (in a southern accent) by telling Cheer that she heard Harmony say that Cheer would be a bad leader. Cheer doesn't buy it, but the seeds are sown... Grizzle continues by talking to Harmony, feeding her a line supposedly said by Cheer. Harmony thinks it's just a misunderstanding, so Grizzle replies, "Oh, you're right. She just said that you're bossy." Now that gets a reaction. (I just want to stop for a sec to applaud the animators for having Grizzle cross "her" legs while sitting with Harmony and then take a moment to readjust "her" dress. A throwaway gesture, perhaps, but I appreciate it.) Then, after a game of belly ball, Grizzle tells Love-a-lot and True Heart that Harmony and Cheer said they were useless, and almost outs himself, but he's able to recover quickly.
Later, the band gets set to practice again, but instead, they start accusing each other with all the gossip "Busybody Bear" spread around (and Love-a-lot and True Heart swap voices!). Share, whom Grizzle forgot about, since she's only in the crew, has no clue what's going on and suggests they hash it out. Cheer says that she's mad because she thinks she's a good band leader, and Harmony interjects that she's the band leader, and things just escalate from there. That night, the star boy band plays again, but the Hunnies are still mad at each other. Tenderheart comes up and tells them how excited he is, but gets caught in the crossfire of their sniping at each other. Despite this, they still claim to be a band. Share threatens them all with a discussion, and goes to get the rest of the equipment. Grizzle, hiding behind the bush, heard the whole thing, and he couldn't be happier. He takes off his wig for no good reason and brags to Mr. Beaks just as Share comes along. She easily pieces together what's going on, but Grizzle tries to deny it, with no help from Mr. Beaks, but finally he tells it to her straight - he did it to break up the band. Share tries to guilt him, but he doesn't care, so she conjures up a huge lollipop (not to whack him on the head with, unfortunately), scoops him up, and deposits him in front of the other Hunnies. True Heart is struck by the resemblance, and Share tells them all what's been going on. Cheer yells at Grizzle, who denies full blame, although he's surprised to find out that he was justified. But as Share points out, it takes two to lie, one to lie and one to listen. And then, hoo boy, does she guilt trip them good. So they all agree with her quickly, there are high fives all around, and everyone is happy again, except for Grizzle, who is physically hurt by their camaraderie. True Heart points out that it's probably just his high heels, and he limps away, vowing to return later. And they all laugh at him.
I'm not sure if it's the same night, or a different night, but Funshine introduces the Hunnies, and they play away, singing a song that we haven't actually heard before. Share even gets to play the tamborine, and the everything ends as it should.

Y'know, you can't really blame Grizzle this time. All he wanted was some sleep! Of course, if he'd gone down and asked (or even demanded) that they stop so he could get some sleep, they would have toned it down, 'cause they're just that nice (as we'll see in the next episode). But that wouldn't have been nearly as fun, would it? Oh, and I'm not at all annoyed that no one recognized Grizzle in disguise simply because Grizzle as Busybody Bear was almost the best thing ever.

Dare Bears
Don't look behind the curtain
Tenderheart has no clue what he's talking about
Funshine has the perfect dare
Grizzle and Mr. Beaks, BFF
Grumpy is annoyed
The bouncy car
Grumpy in full gear
No more dares for these bears!
Fix the street
Grumpy's new plans

Battle of the Bands
Grizzle in bed
Grizzle can't sleep
True Heart rocks the guitar
Grizzle watches TV
Grizzle's kitchen!
Busybody Bear
Grizzle is discovered
True Heart gets airborne
Wig askew
Funshine points to Share, Grumpy is proud

Saturday, February 16, 2008

You may be wondering what I did all day today. Well, wonder no longer. I made a Sushi Pack message board. That's right, The Green Donut is open for business.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Character Free-for-all

Select ten characters from any fandom:

1. Tako
2. Grumpy Bear
3. Grizzle
4. Raspberry Torte
5. Maguro
6. Merlock Holmes
7. Auraa
8. UR-2
9. Altessa
10. Luna Lovegood

Note: I did not see any of the questions before selecting the characters. If you want to do it, too, pick the characters now.

1. 5 and 9 are in a sporting event for charity, what event do they participate in? For what charity?
Sporting event, eh? Obviously, it must be a horribly mismatched three-legged race! Maguro would use her powers to manipulate the judges, so they win, regardless of actual performance. The charity? Something benefiting the Toy Town section of the Jewel Kingdom, perhaps.

2. If you could be 3's best friend for twenty-four hours, what would you spend the day doing?
Ah, yeah! First, I would get his guard down by working with him on some kind of awesome device to destroy the Care Bears (but not intend to use it, of course), and then I'd secretly hit the switch on the back of his suit and spend the rest of the day cuddling his little bear form ^_^

3. Is 8 more of a cat or a dog person?
Hm.... he really seems more like a cat person to me, although I can't really say why.

4. Create a live journal name for 10.
dontstopbelieving ...darn, she's hard to think of stuff for.

5. Out of 7 and 4 who would make a better preschool teacher? What type of games and activities would they do?
Auraa and Raspberry Torte, hm? Probably Auraa. He seems like he'd be good with kids, and he'd probably let the little buggers crawl all over him while trying to play horsey. That, and lots of fun dances that he cribbed from Fine and Rein.

6. Where would 6 like to spend an extended weekend? Wherever Sara Goodman happens to be, of course ^_~

7. 9, 4, and 8 have three seats in a row on an airplane; who gets the window seat, the aisle seat and the middle seat? What do they discuss?
Raspberry Torte and Altessa would fight over the aisle seat (Raspberry wouldn't be able to sit still for the whole flight, Altessa would want the extra leg room), but UR-2 would sneak in and claim it while they were fighting, but would be polite about it when questioned ("Well, neither of you were sitting in it, so I figured it was free."). Altessa would then take the window seat and Raspberry would sulk in the middle. Eventually Altessa and Raspberry would strike up a conversation about hair care, and UR-2 would go into sleep mode.

8. Write a haiku that 1 might write for 10 (5, 7, 5 syllables)
We've never met, but
Could you say hi to my friend,
The Giant Squid, please?

9. Out of 2 and 7 who would you rather perform a talent show with? What would be your talent?
I guess I'd pick Auraa, and we'd...swordfight? I don't know how, but he does, so if we choreographed it right, it could look cool.

10. 3 finds a wallet with two hundred dollar/pounds/etc with ID what does s/he do?
He'd keep it, being a bad guy and all. And use the money to buy more parts.

11. What is 1's greatest fear?
Not having people like his artwork. No, having his ink run dry just as he's about to finish his greatest work!

12. 5 was just arrest for ____, would 2 bail them out of jail?
Being a good guy, yes, but he wouldn't be happy about it. I really can't picture Maguro going to jail, though, unless somebody caught her for manipulating the judges back in question one.

13. 6 decides to throw a party, what are they celebrating? Is the party a success?
Probably the end of a big time case. Either that or his engagement to Sara ^_~ And if the time shifters are invited, things are bound to go horribly, horribly wrong. Oh, the chaos.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Autessa is here to stay!

In honor of Valentine's Day (so soon? It feels like February just started...), I thought I'd post a little bit about my favorite couple that no one's ever heard of (very few, anyway): Auraa and Altessa from Fushigiboshi no Futago Hime (Twin Princesses of the Mysterious Star), aka Autessa. BTW, their official name romanizations are Auler and Altezza, but they weren't released until very late in the first series, so I don't generally use them.

Now, I loved Altessa from the first moment I saw her character design on the original website, and when she showed up in the series and was the token "girl we're not supposed to like because she's mean," I just liked her even more. And then when Auraa showed up and was revealed to not only be adorkable, but head-over-heels for Altessa, I fell in love with him, too. At first, it was a very one-sided relationship, with Auraa declaring his love for Altessa, but her either ignoring him or outright hating him for being the brother of the princess of nonsequiters, Sophie (and to fair, he shares a bit of personality with his sister).

Their relationship didn't really get beyond this until the second half of the series, during the Dark Bright arc, when it took a massive turn to the positive in episodes 44 and 45, where Altessa finally started to return Auraa's feelings (possibly influenced by the crushing realization that her brother was completely entrenched by the dark side after all), and they became a canon couple after he saved her from one of Dark*Bright's traps. You know, I didn't think of this at the time, but reexaming the scenerios, it seems that Altessa really only started liking Aura after he showed off the traits that she admired in her brother. Which makes sense for her character, but makes me feel a little bad for Auraa. But if he ever found out, I'm sure he wouldn't mind, so it's all good.

You know, a lot of people don't like a pairing once it becomes canon, but I think that this one works better as an official couple, because Altessa can still be her usual self to him, but there's an underlying sweetness to it that wouldn't be there if they were a "will they, won't they" couple. I guess what I'm really saying is that their dynamic works well whether they're close or fighting. I didn't keep up with the second series (Fushiboshi no Futago Hime Gyu!), but I saw enough of it to see that Autessa was still canon, so I'm satisfied.

Nobody tagged me, but...

1. Pick up the nearest book ( of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.

"Say it."
"Well--Ms. Krotenjager, Mr. Dalton--I think we've covered all the major points."
"Yes," I agreed. "Do you have a card?"
(his dialogue goes on, but that's the fifth sentence)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Gaia Story: Snake and Rabbit

The bunny makes a peace offering of mochi. The snake contemplates the offered confection cooly, waiting for the right moment to strike. And I, as usual, am too busy being cool to notice the upcoming feeding frenzy.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Strawberry Shortcake - Upcoming characters

I've mentioned my love/hate relationship with the 2000s Strawberry Shortcake series. A lot of the hate comes from the animated portion, with it's bad voice acting (with a few exceptions. Very few.) and wallbanging stories. But the love all comes from the character designs. There is something aesthetically pleasing about the characters, although I can't really describe what it is. I guess it's the potential that the official art holds. Looking at the characters, I get a sense of who they are, which is often dashed by their actual performances in the animated series. Case in point, Lemon Meringue. When her character design first showed up, I thought she'd be great, kinda snooty, but pretty enough that you didn't care. But when she finally turned up in the series, she actually had no personality at all, which is odd, considering how all of the characters are a blatant stereotype. Like Ginger Snap is the token inventor, Angel Cake is the Preteen Drama Queen, Orange Blossom is the hippie, Peppermint Fizz is the bad girl, Rainbow Sherbert is the pirate, Huckleberry Pie is the token boy, etc. I guess she's supposed to be the dumb blonde, but the majority of her dialogue is just a variation of "Huh?" That's not blonde, that's blank.
Anyway, I finally got to see Let's Dance, which I had been looking forward to because of Apricot, although as usual I was slightly let down (but only slightly this time). But one of the extras on the DVD (glad to see them after their absence on The Berry Blossom Festival DVD) was a "photo album" of all the characters, including a few that haven't shown up in the series (like Cherry Cuddler), and three that are going to be in the upcoming DVD:

Nerd Power!

Scarf Power?

Well, she looks...nice...

Watermelon Kiss is giving me some serious Yamato Nadeshiko vibes, especially since her mini-profile says she's "always looking for ways to be extra helpful." I just bet she's the character that's so nice it drives you nuts. Not that it'll drive any character in the series crazy, just the viewers at home.
Plum Puddin' is a girl once again, the second time she's changed since her original debut as a boy back in 1980 (speaking of which, where are the boys in the new series? I mean, I know that this it's primarily aimed at little girls, but come on!). Personally, I think she looks way too much like Tea Blossom. Other than that, she's got the nerd-prep look down. I think she's the first character to have glasses, which is fitting for the token nerd character. So, the question remains, who will she hit it off with better? Will she bond with Blueberry Muffin over their mutual love of books, or will she use her genius to band together with Ginger Snap and build some kind of super robot the likes of which has never been seen in Strawberry Land?
Out of the three, I like Banana Candy the best, although I dislike her name. What's wrong with Banana Split? Or what about Banana Cream Pie, huh? Too risque or something? But seriously, she's rocking that scarf. I have a feeling that the reason I like her best is the hair. I tend to go for the characters with fluffy styles.

And I just have one more thing to say:

Apricot, you don't have to be a pathological liar just to make people like you. You're cute just the way you are.
That is all.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Sushi Pack - Fish Tales

This ep opens with a news report on the Wharf City Museum's newest exhibit: the Golden Beachball of the Incas. Sophia Tucker talks with the mayor, who points out that the ball is protected both by lasers and by the Sushi Pack 24/7 just in case someone, i.e. White Oleander, tries to steal it. For reasons that are never specified, she wants it and has even teamed up with a DNA specialist, A. Scientist, to try and get it.
Kani's crabbier than usual, and Ikura wants to know why. Kani makes him promise, really promise, not to tell, and he does. They go off to the side to talk in private, unaware that Wasabi followed them. Kani spills the beans: it's molting season, and she's going to lose her shell soon, which is apparently like a big Hollywood production (I'm not sure what she means by this, really), so she's going to hide out on the beach pretty soon until her new shell grows in. Wasabi splits to tell the others.
Over at Oleander's hideout, the scientist whips up a DNA smoothie designed to give her a shell strong enough to bypass the museum's lasers, but it doesn't work. The scientist calculates that in order to make a smoothie that will do the trick, they need the hardest crabshell DNA in the world, which happens to belong to Kani. Oleander sends him to the museum to find a way to get that shell, so he dons a beard as a disguise.
Desperate to tell someone what he heard, Wasabi interrupts Tako's shift guarding the beachball and Tako translates for our benefit: Kani's leaving the pack to go to Hollywood! Wasabi also tells him to stop repeating everything he says (^_~). Tako goes immediately to tell Maguro. I just love the way she just tells him to go away, since she's mediatating. Of course, once she hears the news about Kani, now with the addition of a job as a stuntcrab, she loses her meditative cool. Kani shows up and tells Tako that the police chief wants to talk to him, and when Maguro tentatively asks if she's going anywhere, she just about bites Maguro's head off. The police chief fills Tako in on Oleander's supposed whereabouts and asks the Pack to look around, since she's taking a vacation day (it's a running gag on the show that the police chief always has something else to do other than fight crime). Maguro tells Tako about Kani's apparent confirmation, and they decide to go tell Ben.
Having heard all this, the scientist calls Oleander (her comment on Kani becoming a stuntcrab: "I bet that's a tough union to get into."), and they make plans to nab Kani once she sets out for Hollywood. Kani, meanwhile, is putting a few things together in preparation for her trip. Ikura shows up to tell her that Ben is coming to talk to all of them, and comments on how bad she looks. With her shell already starting to crack, Kani beats a hasty retreat, hopping a cab for Deserted Beach State Park without even waiting to hear what Ben has to say. The scientist relays all this to Oleander, and they get set to make their move.
Ikura joins the others, who are upset that Kani left without saying goodbye, but Ben points out that they don't know what's really going on. So he interrogates them one by one, whittling the story down, but Ikura stays true to his promise to Kani and doesn't tell them what's going on, only that it has nothing to do with Hollywood.
On the beach, Kani is trying to rush the molt, and finally manages to crack out of her old shell, but before her new one can harden, Oleander and the scientist strike! Not only do they capture her in a net, but they seize her old shell for the DNA. Meanwhile, Ben, learning that Ikura promised not to tell what Kani told him, elucidates on the nature of gossip, which in this context is "personal opinion painted as truth," in other words, a rumor. But since Kani really is gone, and Ikura isn't talking, the rest of the Pack still try to figure out where she's gone. Hollywood for real, or perhaps Paraguay? (Is this a crab joke? I don't get it...) Finally, Ikura has enough and, even though he promised Kani, he has to set the facts straight. Hearing the truth, everyone else feels dumb for thinking otherwise, but no one feels dumber than Ikura, since he could have set the rumors straight earlier. Now that everything is all right, Ben has to get back to The Green Donut, since he's the only one who works there, after all.
The new DNA smoothie actually works this time (good news for the scientist, whom Oleander threatned with physical violence if it didn't), granting Oleander a hardy shell on her back and pinchers for hands. The effect only lasts two hours, so she sets off. Kani, trapped in a cage due to her still soft shell, realizes that the heat lamp she's under will actually work to her advantage, hardening her shell extra quickly, and soon she's able to bust off the lock and get loose! The scientist tries to stop her but ends up smashing one of his beakers, blowing the roof of the sea cottage they've been hiding in, just as a police chopper goes by. Kani hitches a ride with it to the musuem, and manages to get there in time to warn the rest of the Pack. Oleander is not discouraged, as her shell protects her from all their attacks. She gets past the lasers and manages to grab the ball, despite her pinchers. But Kani, being a crab, comes up with the perfect strategy: the Pack uses their powers to make the floor as slippery as possible, knocking Oleander flat on her back, unable to get up.
Two hours later the police show up and take Oleander into custody. Ikura apologizes to Kani for spilling her secret, but she acknowledges that he made the right decision. And while she's annoyed with Wasabi for starting the whole thing in the first place, she's able to look back on it and laugh already, so it's all good.

This is going to haunt me for weeks, but why did Oleander want the beachball? Did she have some kind of plan for it? Was she just going to sell it on the black market? Maybe she had a trade set up for some kind of legendary ingredient, since she's a foodie villian and all. Whatever it was, it was worth changing her DNA, so it must have been big.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Passions - Perfectly Frightful

One of us should split
One of us should vanish
It's clear who should be banished
Don't think I'm being spiteful
It's just you're perfectly frightful!

Above is the song Perfectly Frightful from when Passions did their parody of Wicked. I'm mainly posting this because the choreography is almost exactly what I thought should have happened during Loathing in Wicked (minus the pajamas). And for good measure, here's the Defying Gravity parody, Spellbinding:

Now I'm free and I'm gonna be
Look at me and you're gonna see

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Sushi Pack - Deep Sea Diver Dude

Okay, this one starts off cheesily good, gets a little weak near the end, but still scores mega-points for being so unabashedly Tako-centric. Still, it definitely is one of the odder eps.

I mean, the whole thing starts off with Kani, Maguro, and Ikura talking about their families and how they keep up with them. Now, I can kind of dig this for Kani and Maguro, but isn't ikura salmon roe? As in, eggs? Now, the conceit of the show is that the Sushi Pack were created by a freak lightning storm. There hasn't been an explicit origin episode (yet), but it's been mentioned offhand a couple of times. So, I'm just curious about how 'alive' roe is before being made into sushi. I mean, with the others, they obviously had life before becoming sushi, so it makes sense that they would remember their relatives when they came back to life, as it were, but an egg? Or really, more than one egg? The more I think about it, the less sense Ikura makes. No wonder he's so headstrong, he's got twenty or so eggs in his head.
Anyway, the point of everyone's families is to set up the episode's scenerio: Tako feels left out because he doesn't have any family. Neither does Wasabi, being a condiment and all, but they don't hang out and wallow in their mutual lack of family or anything. First, Tako walks in on Kani surfing her family's blog and she tells him about her little nephew having a growth spurt, and then he notices Maguro organizing postcards from her relatives on vacation, and then Ikura comes back with photos from his family reunion trip upstream (did he go to spawn or what?). At last, I realize why he's afraid of bears! After each encounter, Tako gets all down and says stuff like "I wish I had a brother or sister." And I confess, this just gave me a fit of giggles. I'm sorry, Tako, but angst just is not your thing, even with that eyepatch.
Later, Tako is sitting all depressed on a pile of dishes (which look like pancakes IMO), and while he engages in a small bit of feelings talk, I'll forgive him because he's Tako. Let's just pretend that Wasabi and Ben, who are entering the frame as he speaks, asked what was wrong. And apparently Tako's so depressed that it's effecting his ink flow. Ben doesn't have an answer for once(!), so Tako tells his story and we get a flashback: When he was just a baby octopus (born with an eyepatch, it seems) he had a thousand sisters. But one day he went exploring and got caught in a current (and was presumably caught soon after), and he never saw the rest of his family again. So technically he has a family, he just doesn't know where they are.
Hearing his story, Maguro tries to reassure Tako by telling him that the Pack is his family now and she thinks of him as a brother (probably not the kind of reassurance he was looking for ^_~), and the rest of the Pack agree. Ben is remarkably off-form today, but is saved from saying too much by a sudden tremor.
The cause is not an earthquake, but the titular diver walking down the street. The diver comes across a policeman and a driver, and sprays them both with water, making them both disgruntedly say, "Thanks, deep sea diver dude," for some reason. Seeing this, the Sushi Pack leaps into action! Noting that the diver is looking for something, and also noticing that the suit is leaking salt water (not just water, but salt water) and its supply hose goes all the way to the harbor, Tako knocks the diver over easily and opens the mask to find...a squid? A rather polite squid who apologizes for making a mess. She introduces herself as Hideki, Tako's cousin (isn't Hideki a boy's name?), and gives him an invitation to the Spring Shindig held by the International Neighborhood of Kinfolk (INK, anyone?). Once it sinks in that he has a family, Tako is thrilled and plans to leave right away. Maguro, fittingly, is the one to ask if he'll be back. Tako says he will, but is so excited that it sounds like he won't, and he bids his friends adieu. Hideki starts up the diver suit again, though she warns Tako that she failed diver's ed (badum ching!), and they head back into the ocean.
Ikura laments how slowly time passes without Tako, but Kani points out that only three minutes have gone by. Somehow inspired by this, Ikura wonders if Tako was tricked into leaving, since they don't really know if Hideki is his cousin or not. Could this be a plot to unravel the Sushi Pack?! Again, I find it fitting that Maguro corrects Kani: taking Tako is cephalopodnapping, not fishnapping. Regardless, they take off in their mini-sub. Ikura comments on how they've never been this low, which Maguro misinterprets. They follow the supply line that Hideki left (Maguro refers to Hideki as 'he,' but I'm pretty sure that Hideki is a girl, having not only the same up-curled eyes as Maguro and Kani, but her voice is pretty girly, too. But like I said before, Hideki is a boy's name, so I can see why Maguro is confused), and soon come to a big, black hole. Predictably, they try to go in, but it turns out to be a whale's eye, so they beat a hasty retreat.
Finally, they come to the real cave and use their gadgets to eavesdrop on two octopi and hear something that sounds cryptically bad, but obviously is not sinister. Regrettably, the Pack doesn't even consider this option, and they get into position to protect Tako.
They sneak into the shindig and spy Tako hanging out with Hideki and having a good time. As they go in for a closer look, the master of ceremonies (calling himself the Grand Octopu) pops up and introduces Tako as their "very special guest." This is when the rest of the Pack drop in and cause some mayhem, but the multitude of octopi retaliate and drive them back. Tako understandably demands to know what the rest of the pack was thinking, but the Grand Octopu is not upset at all. In fact, he's glad that the rest of the Pack showed up, since it means they get to hear the special poem he composed for Tako (I'm assuming he composed it), honoring him as Octopus of the Year! He also commends the rest of the Pack for coming to rescue Tako, even though he wasn't in any danger. And he gives them pens, making them honorary octopi. Maguro and Tako expound on the lesson that you can be part of more than one group and family is where you find it. And then the pens shoot ink all over the rest of the Pack, and they jump out of the ocean for a final pose. The End.

You know, I've gushed over the voice acting in Adventures in Care-a-lot, but I haven't really mentioned it for this show. That's not because it's bad, in fact, I think that Sushi Pack has very good voice work. Whoever does the cast directing does a very good job. Maybe too good... What I really want to say is that I really liked the voice actor and actress who did the Grand Octopu and Hideki.
Also, I feel like I recognize both Ikura and Tako whenever I listen to them, but every time I look them up on the IMDB, I haven't seen anything they've done. Well, I've seen one thing that Ikura did (Soujiro in Boys Over Flowers), but since that was the dub, I didn't watch very much of it, so I know that's not where I'm getting the feeling from. It must be all the "additonal voices" credits, I guess.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Just some random Sushi Pack stuff

I've been doing a little searching around, and picked up a few Sushi Pack-related pieces of info.
Two new episode titles are out, and I'm especially interested in the one titled "Starring Ikura." Sounds good for some overinflated egos. Possible lesson: be modest? don't sell out? Then again, with Sushi Pack, you really can't tell what an episode is going to be about just from the title. I mean, just look at the ones I've blogged. Or "When Will Ben be Zen?" I'm going to blog that one when it reruns, but seriously, from the title alone you would have no clue that it's about the Pack trying to cheer Ben up because a fake official is trying to shut down The Green Donut (the name of the bakery they live in, fyi).

Also, according to World Screen, DVDs will be coming --- in fall 2009 -_- I want screenshots sooner than that! The official quote:

Throughout 2008, a variety of Sushi Pack social expressions will be on shelves at retailers. In the fall, Carlton stores will carry an exclusive Sushi Pack specialty program at all of its stores. A Sushi Pack publishing program from Random House and DVDs from Fox Home Video are also scheduled to be released in Fall 2009.

What the heck are social expressions? I'm guessing greeting cards, but that's the first time I've seen them called that. And what is this mysterious specialty program, eh? I don't want to wait until the fall to find out. By the fall, I may not even be near a Carlton Cards.
No word on merchandise yet, but I did find an image of figurines (I want the Tako one!) from this blog, which also has some very weird early concept images.

Speaking of concept images, this blog has some images of personal vehicles (including Titanium Chef's motorcycle. Just more proof of his awesomeness), plus concept art from two upcoming episodes, "Sushi Roll Model" and "From the Planet Citrus."

Lastly, here's an article about the creative team behind the show, Studio Espinosa.