Universe 421-B: The Mysterious Mr Enter (again)
It’s hard to make a good musical episode. As I said before, you got to get your story straight before you slap songs onto it. This doesn’t apply to “joke” episodes like Rollercoaster the musical, of course. It’s hard to make it so every song has a point while also having a good story.
This applies to normal musicals but it applies to Musical Episodes as well. So today, we’ll look at one of the better examples of a musical episode. And it comes from The Fairly Odd Parents. After my last experience with this show, I needed one of it’s great specials before i get into more of it’s crap., And trust me, we’ll tackle this show on both shows in the future.
While the episode we’re taking isn’t what you think of when you wish of great musical episodes, but it it kind of. FOP was always good at big specials, unlike it’s yellow sister, and this is a good example of that.
Let’s take a look at School’s Out! The Musical and see what makes this one so good.
The episode opens in Kansas, 37 years ago, as a circus train is about to fall off the tracks because the bridge is out. Two clown parents want to send their kid away, Superman style.
“Are you sure there’s no other way?”
“I’m a clown. The only thing I';m sure of is that Seltzer is funny”
Trust me, Seltzer is not funny, and neither is Freidberg. …Wait.
They send their kid off in a rocket thingy, which turns out to be a bad idea from the train actually moves away from the broken part.
“Didn’t see that turn there”
They must be really blind. Yeah, I never said this episode wasn’t a tad forced.
The baby lands near the Pixies, who are out in the country after their last plan failed. For those who don’t watch the show, Pixies here are boring businessmen voiced by Ben Stein. Perfect casting if I’ve ever seen it.
The Pixies, HP and Sanderson, find that baby.
“Sanderson, I think this the beginning of a new 37 year plan”
We cut to 37 years later, with Timmy on the last day of school. Even Fairly World is excited about Summer starting today, which brings up a lot of questions about other countries I won’t get into.
The bell rings and we get our first song,. Kids just being Kids. I won’t review the songs, to show how they work story-wise. At the end, I’ll rank them. I’ll just say they are very good. The kids run amuck, doing crazy things and the Pixies use their “Magic” to make everything dangerous.
The mayhem does not go well with the adults, who want to protect their kids from the crap they are doing. Another flaw people may find, is that the episode sort of vilifies the adults for wanting to protect their kids. While that is true, they take it too far and the ultimate message is in favor of parents controlling things a tad. More on that later.
The adults go to City Hall to rage at the mayor for what happened. They are about to kill him when Flappy Bob appears. In the show, there was a place called “Flappy Bob’s something something canneverremeberthename learnatoruim” which was an incredibly “safe” fun place for kids tghat wasn’t fun at all them. It was used in a few episodes, but here this location that wasn’t important, becomes the biases for the plot, and Flappy Bob himself becomes a complex character.
Now that is some great continuity. By the way, Bob is the kid from the opening. Now he’s a boring businessman for reasons we’ll get into later. He suggests putting the kids in Camp Learnatorium, an educational summer camp. In our next song, Get Flappy, he pretty much tells the parents that putting them in the camp is better than letting them run around all summer.
“You can learn to love your cellmate or learn to love this clown!”
….Let’s move on.
The kids are dumped off at the camp, which of course is a super cushy place where the kids are in these weird suits, and they are forced to do very un-fun things.
Timmy isn’t happy about this, but before he can say anything else, The Pixes pop in to gloat about
“All of your misery has one common denominator. Adults”
In Song #3, Adults Ruin Everything, the kids mourn the fact that adults control their lives and are a huge pain. So Timmy fixes this with an interesting.
“Adults can’t ruin everything, if us kids ran the world!”
That’s right, Timmy wishes that kids ran the world. I’ll ignore the implacations and just say that this is a pretty good concept. Infact, the story in general is really good. Everything just gels together, and it gets even better as it goes along.
As a side note, the pacing may seem a tad fast but we’re 15 minutes in now, and that’s a good time for the plot to start. It just seems shorter with the songs, oddly enough.
This was part of the Pixies plan, and they gloat about how their plan is going kid. They do so in….song. It hasn’t even been a minute since the last one. I’m willingly to forgive it cuz we had our villain song….er-rap. Yes, the Pixies rap. Don’t worry, they have different voices here.
I’m not the biggest rap fan in the world, but I do like villain songs so “Pixie Rap” is cool. It’s a tad pointless as it just says what we kind of new about: They raised Flappy Bob to help with their plan and now they are going to take over fairly world. At least the song is fine.
Anyway, Timmy finds out he is the President of kid world.
“Everywhere but Florida, they’re still voting!”
Also, this episode is funny.
“What do I do?”
“Whatever you want. You’re in charge!”
“I’m in charge!”
In yet another song, called Ten and in Charge, we see that Kid World is doing fine, because with kids there are no wars (Bullshit) and Timmy isn’t the worst ruler ever. I won’t complain about the songs coming so fast, because this is a musical after all. Songs tell the story after all.
It includes a reprise of Pixie Rap, where they tell Jorgen that kids are too happy in this world and this, the fairies are usless.
“When the kids have too much power, and the fairies get retired, we pixies can grant wishes, and make the whole world what we desire!”
That’s a dumb rule, but Da Rules has always been weird. It’s actually a pretty smart plan on the Pixies part: Raise a clown to be boring and run a camp, make kids go so crazy they are put in the camp so a kid will want to make kids the rulers, thus making fairies useless and giving them power. By this show’s standards, that’s a very smart plan. Even if it kind of relies on there being a kid wanting to wish that, since they didn’t know Timmy 37 years ago.
Anyway, Jorgen pops up and takes Cosmo and Wanda away, just as Timmy is singing about how happy he is. Haw haw. Jorgen takes the faires to Fairy World, as he explains his reasoning in our next song, Pull Back the Faires. It’s a polka, which almost out weirds the Pixe rap. Almost.
It’s another semi-pointless one, as Jorgen is just saying what we established before. It’s just a way for him to pull back the fairies in a catchy way. But even the pointless songs work, since most musicals make it so if you listen the songs outside of the episode, you’ll get the full story. It works in that way.
Cosmo and Wanbda are taken to a fairy dungeon, and Timmy’s party is crashed again by Flappy Bob. What’s odd here is Bob is actually sympathetic here. As he says, he was raised to think boring is fun, and he channeled that in the camp. He’s not really doing anything wrong, it’s just the way he was raised. And it’s actually intentional.
Speaking of who raised him, the Pixies show up to explain everything. Since he was a kid in an Orphanage, they have been watching over him and putting his life on a boring path. They gave him the plans for the camp and everything. We see that they did have a positive influence in his life in some parts, so we see why Bob is conflicted about who to believe about fun.
“We like to think of ourselves as your god parents”
“God parents? No, that means they can grant a Wish”
You know, there is another flaw in their plan. Taking fairies away from their kid makes it so Pixies rule? Fairies have no place in society without kids? And obviously evil Pixies are given power? Da Rules makes no sense sometimes.
Anyway, The Pixies say they will give Bob everything he wants if he signs a contract.
“I know they’re the guys who gave you everything you wanted, and I’m the guy who destroyed your life long dream, but you have to listen to me!”
This leads to our next song, Where is the fun? This one works the best story wise. It perfectly sums up what I’ve been saying. It shows Flappy’s conflict, and we see we has a tough time picking a side. It’s not all black and white for him. We have Timmy saying that despite what the Pixies have done for him, it’s part an evil plot, and the Pixes say that they raised him and Timmy is ruining everything.
The conflict is more complex than I expected, and this song captures it perfectly. In the end, Bob sides with The Pixies and signs the contract. Thus, the world becomes a safe, un-fun wasteland. Back with Cosmo and Wanda, as Jorgen interrogates her for some reason.
“Do you want to stay in jail for the rest of your fairy life, or do you want to blame Cosmo?”
This leads us into our next song, Floating with You. It’s a love ballad that shows how they love each other through some flashbacks. It’s the only song I could argue is a bit pontless because as sweet it is, whatever Drama they were going for doesn’t really work because it’s kind of forced. That and what happens after it.
“Operation distract Jorgen with a Gooey love song works every time!”
Eh, at least Jorgen got into it.
The two escape, just as The Pixies turn Fairy World into a boring Pixie World.
“There’s still enough pretty color left for one of us to slide down the rainbow bridge! …Wow, there wasn’t a manly word in that sentence”
Wanda goes down on her own, and we cut back to Pixie World for our next song, Unfundementals. We get a peek at the boring life of Pixie world, and the equally boring life on Earth. We also see Flappy sing about how he’s not sure if he made the right choice.
After the song, Bob overhears The Pixies admitting that Bob was just a pawn in their plan. This is why you never gloat about your evil plans with the door open. Jokes aside, this is another great moment that feeds into his development.
Wanda picks up Timmy, but there’s no way to turn the world back to normal.
That is until Flappy Bob shows up, having returned to his clowny roots. He realized that The Pixies are evil and that boring is not at all fun. Kind of rushed, but it works. With that we get a song called “The Reprise” which reprises most of the songs in the special. It starts with “Where is the fun”, goes into Kids just being kids, goes into Pixie Rap, goes into Ten and In Charge, and ends with Adults Ruin everything. Timmy and Flappy spread fun across the land which causes The Pixes to come down and stop them.
“You lied to me. You lied to me for 37 Years! You tricked me and kept me from being the super hilarious, if not somewhat creepy, clown I was destined to be.”
“Yes. Yes we did”
Did I turn on Phineas and Ferb by mistake?
They bring up their contract, which Flappy Bob breaks apart with the power of loopholes.
“In return for making the world what you want, yada yada yada…Pixies get the power, yada yada yada, Earth will be safe and fun as defined by Flappy Bob”
“Guess what I define as fun now? The world being exactly the way it’s supposed to be!”
“You probably shouldn’t have sent him to law school”
A bit Anti-Climatic but I guess it works in it’s own way.
The Pixies rip up the contract and everything turns back to normal. And to cap it off, Flappy’s Parents pop up!
“We’ve been looking everywhere for you!”
“We looked everywhere there would be clowns”
Eh, I guess that’s why they never came across this dinky town that attracts weird shit in 37 years.
“We even checked the US Congress. It was full of clowns, but none of them were fun!”
It turns out Wanda found his parents, which was easier than it should have been. Also, Cosmo reunites with Wanda and the camp is torn down.
With that, we get our final song, a reprise of Kids just being kids in which they recap the special and celebrate. It includes this line:
“With some control parentally!”
There, it says fun is fun if parents control it instead of just letting you wreck the place. Told you. And when the song ends, so does the special.
And that was School’s Out The Musical. While it was one of the more flawed episodes I’ve featured on here, it’s still really good. The story works pretty well and everything works. The Pixies had a pretty good (if odd) plan, and it ties into the story well. But what really shines is the story of Flappy Bob. His development is very well done, with one of the more complex conflicts on the show.
It also works as a musical, as every song is great, and the songs tell the story well, even the pointless ones. There are a total of 11 songs in a 47 minute special, and they mostly never feel superfluous. By the way, Here’s my ranking:
10. Floating With You
8. Get Flappy
7. The Reprise
6. Ten and in Charge
5. Pull back the Fairies
4. Kids Just Being kids/Rerise
3. Pixie Rap
2. Adults Ruin everything
1. Where is the fun?
While it is flawed, it makes up with those flaws with it’s clever story, great development, and of course, awesome songs. Channel Chaser may be the better of the “classic” specials but this one is still pretty good. Happy Belated Summer!
The Fairly Odd Parents is property of Nickelodeon
Admirable Animation belongs to The Mysterious Mr Enter aka John Enter
School’s Out! The Musical was written by Butch Hartman and Steve Marmel
(I picked this one at random, but mostly because I really like it. I realized some of it’s flaws while doing this, but I think it’s pretty awesome. I used to have the DVD and I would watch it all the damn time. I memorized the songs and the rest of the episode too. Ah, memories)
(What’s next? I have no idea.)
ELSEWORLDS MONTH WILL CONTINUE