A Look at Pound Puppies

Hello, Spongey here.

Let’s talk about Discovery Family, formerly known as The Hub. When The Hub was in it’s prime, it had plenty of promise as it carried Merchandise Driven shows that actually had effort put into them, as well as some as some interesting original shows.

While they weren’t perfect, there was some sense of fun there, as they did some silly events and has amusing promos. However, they didn’t really enough programming to really get by, and I guess they made some odd decisions.

Which is how they became Discovery Family, and as of 2016, I think they are in a bit of trouble. Why? Because at the moment, they know have TWO mildy popular shows on, MLP and Transformers Rescue Bots. And most people I know don’t really care about that one (even if I bet it’s good).

And I’m talking original shows, that Peter Pan show doesn’t count. I don’t know if the Strawberry Shortcake Show counts or not (has a bunch of MLP actors so maybe?), but no one cares about it, proving my point.

The rest of the schedule is taken up by shitty reality shows. Yeah. There are like 4 or so Cartoons airing at all, vs a bunch of live action crap. Say what you will about Nick, but there’s start to make the effort to put in more cartoons, good or bad.

This is not good. I sadly think MLP can take some of the blame, as it’s pretty much the SpongeBob of the Network, taking all the glory from other shows. But the lack of shows in general is a big problem to.

I don’t they have much in the works either. Can they get their act together or will things just get worse? Only time will tell. The saddest thing about their lack of shows, is that htier shows tend to be pretty good.

Aside from MLP, they had Dan Vs, Haunting Hour, and Littlest Pet Shop, which I’ve talked about many times before. And honestly, the first two are my favorite shows they ever aired. And even if the show is lesser, it can have it’s charm.

I did a whole post about LPS, where I talked about how while it is in the shadow of Ponies, it can stand up on it’s own despite some problems. Also in that post, I commented how most people don’t remember Hub’s other attempts to get a taste of the pony pie.

There was that Care Bears show that didn’t last long, even though it has some MLP writers like LPS did. And then there’s the show we’re talking about today. I wasn’t too interested in it due to not caring about the franchise, but after getting into LPS, I figured I’d give it a shot..

I didn’t plan to do a post on it, but after watching, I decided to do it, due it’s place on The Hub compared to LPS and the like. So without further ado here we go. Let’s look at another Hub/Discovery Family Show and if it’s any good at all.

This is A Look at Pound Puppies

First up, a little history. Like any Hasbro Cartoon, Pound Puppies started life as a Toy Line in 1984 before becoming a cartoon in 1986. As for the Concept..

Buy one of our sad, cute little puppies, or else, they get the gas!”

Pretty much. I’ll admit, I know very little of the franchise in general. Hell ,i never even heard of it until Nostalgia Critic covered the confusing 1988 Theatrical film. (Which he did roughly one month before this show came out).

The original seems a typical 80’s Cartoon, but maybe it’s really good, I don’t know. It does seem like one of those 80’s fads rather than a big thing, so it is odd they made this into a new show in 2010, along side My Little Pony.

As in, they aired on the same day. This was an idea they genuinely expected to do well on it’s own, while Littlest Pet Shop was clearly green lit to the success of another idea. But unlike that one, this one never caught on.

It managed to get three Season and 65 episodes, but no one really talked about it that much. There are some good reasons though. Like I said, this premiered along with MLP. When they made it, there was no guarantee it would do well, and people had no reason to be interested in at the time.

It’s not a well known franchise to begin with so of course not many went to watch it, especially as MLP began a big thing. It did get a fanbase, but not the biggest one. And now it’s only legacy is..

Secret but fun!”

Yeah.

This doesn’t quite have the hook that MLP and LPS had, especially as it doesn’t have to much to do with MLP, aside from a few things. Only one MLP voice actor made it in ,and that’s Tara Strong, who is in everything anyway. (There’s also one LPS person but their LPS character was minor).

Daniel Ingram did do the score, but it’s not much of a musical, most of the time. Only later did they start putting in some songs, and he didn’t do all of them. He didn’t even the ones in the actual musical episode!

And only one MLP writer worked on it, and it was only one episode. LPS writer Evan Gore did do two episodes though. Also, the instruments for the CMC Theme and Love is in Bloom can be heard in some episodes. Which is interesting, because that one with Love is in Bloom aired BEFORE Canterlot Wedding. …Meaning, MLP referenced this.

Weird.

Another reason people didn’t watch it is because of the scheduling. See, Season 1 began in October of 2010…and finished in January of 2012.

Seriously. To be fair, there is a reason. See, the first 7 episodes were done by Studio 9, and the rest of the show was by DHX, causing a delay between those episodes. And I do see why changed it, which we’ll get to. But come on!

Before I move on, it is worth nothing the show was developed by Paul Germain and Joe Ansolabehere, who are well known for working and creating shows like Rugrats and Recess. (Explains why EG Daily and Kath Soucie seem to voice all the minor characters)

As such, some people did express disappointment in the show, as it didn’t live up to their previous work. Those people forget they also made Lloyd in Space, so we already knew they weren’t perfect.

By the way, one episode mentions a Third Street. Coincidence? As much of a coincidence as LPS having a band like Adam and the Spidermonkeys.

But yeah, I do see some people passed on it. In general, there isn’t a hook per say. It just does it’s own thing and doesn’t really have any gimmicks to set it apart. That’s actually perhaps it’s biggest problem: Sometimes it’s just a bit bland.

You have to stick with the show, and dig in to see what works about it, and most people may enjoy it based on a few episodes, but aren’t likely to stick with it or remember a lot of it. For LPS’s problems, it manages to stick with people more, even if they don’t like it.

On the bright side, there aren’t as many hurdles. It isn’t trying to ape MLP, and has no modern references to the extent of LPS. So people are less likely to be flat out turned off, at worst they’ll find it just forgettable.

And it is sad that most people will have to look to get into it, as …it is good! I’m not sure how it compares to LPS, but on it’s own, it does work surprisingly well, especially later on. Artically, I’d say it is on par with LPS to an extent, and arguably has less big glaring problems, but that one does stick in my head more, and I have more of a connection with it’s best episodes.

But let’s drop other shows and focus on Pound Puppies on it’s own. First, the animation. The Studio 9 animation…was not the best. It was pretty stiff, and not that appealing. I could get through it to enjoy the episodes, but it can be a turn off.

Thankfully, DHX did manage better. The designs are more appealing, and it’s a lot more smoother and moves better. It’s still just decent animation though. The art style is more basic than LPS but is less likely to put people off. They do nothing to really show it off though, and there’s no “wow” moment, ever.

But still, it’s at least appealing enough to get by. Now for the real meat, starting with the premise itself. The show centers around called the..well Pound Puppies, who have Shelters around the world that put pups with their perfect person.

Seriously, they have branches in everywhere from Canada to Hong Kong. We focus on Shelter 17, with this group being lead by a dog named Lucky. An odd thing about this world is that Dogs actually can talk, they just hide it from animals.

No, other animals can’t. Squirrels do work for them but don’t speak English. I don’t get it either. Otherwise, the world is pretty normal.

(Insert seamless transition to next topic here)

Now, what exactly would the show’s selling point be? The humor? Nah. It’s not exactly unfunny but there aren’t too many actual jokes. In most of the show, it’s mostly on other elements like the story or character development. It’s more about “amusing” moments than actual jokes.

But they are there, and as the show goes on they try harder to make it more notable for comedy. There are some episodes in Season 3 that are especially funny. One episode has a moment where I had to pause because it was that funny. Won’t say what it is though, you’ll have to find for yourself.

Oh, and being a kids cartoon, there are some…questionable moments. Most notably when Cookie stands up to this one guy by talking tough, and afterwards, Niblet asks her to talk to him like that. ….Yeah. Thankfully, there’s not much else in terms of weird innuendo.

That’s my wiener!”

.

Is it the stories? Eh, kind of, but in terms of the plots, they are typically basic and it’s up to other elements to keep it afloat. Is it the characters? To an extent, yes. But that’s a symptom of the big thing that makes this show work.

It’s likable. That seems very broad but hear me out. The whole premise of the show is to put pups with their perfect person. That means you need to want that put to find their person, otherwise the whole episode falls apart.

There’s more to the stories most of the time, but if you don’t like the guest pup, none of that even matters. And most of the time, it works. For one, the premise is written in a way that kind of forces you to like them.

The characters are often motived by their desire to put the pup with a person, and the plots revolve around this. So it often requires the writers to try harder to make you like the pup in question. Of the guest pups, I can only name one I don’t like, and we’ll get to that.

That’s impressive, given a lot of them are kids in the context of the show. It helps a lot of them are voiced by talent voice actors. (I’m pretty sure EG Daily and Kath Soucie voice 80 percent of the side characters on this show).

Early on, I was worried the show may get repetitive since each episode has the same basic plot. But as ir goes on, they manage to fix it. They find good gimmicks to make them stand out to the point where you don’t realize they have the same basic goal.

They also manage to make the plots more interesting iin general, and throw in episodes with either elements, or different goals entirely. And like any cartoon, there’s the obgliatory genre shifts, such as the mystery episode and the Superhero episode, complete with Clancy Brown as the villain.

Thankfully, they are mostly done right. I don’t feel like their attempts to fix things up are forced. Early on, the plots did boil down to the pup can’t get their person because they are unwanted for some reason, but later on it gets more interesting with all this stuff I mentioned.

The whole just manages to be likable, as each character has something that makes me like them in some way. It’s not like these are amazing characters, but there’s a certain likability, you know?

I can’t say exactly what makes the show likable, except the premise is done in a way that makes it so. If they want you to like a character, you will, most of the time. It’s also cute. This show made me like dogs more than I usually do, and I have a dog!

This quality brings up some weaker episodes, and really makes the great ones as great as they are. Don’t think I’m saying it’s super amazing though. It’s likable, but at first you might see it as just okay.

With other shows, you can see their best quality right away, in some way. With this, it took me halfway through Season 1 to realize all this. It’s a show that has something you like about it, that takes you a bit to pin down.

That means these elements are just done pretty well instead of amazingly. Again, this is the same category of LPS, as it’s fairly flawed but mostly pretty good, with some great-ness here and there.

And that’s fine, as long as they try. They certainly try here, as you can tell they put plenty of effort into it. You can tell with how likable it can be. As for the flaws, they are more…general. Meaning, there’s not a lot of nitpick-y weird stuff like with other shows.

The big one is that there’s not much of a real hook. As I said, the main thing it does well isn’t something you notice right away. So the show can look kind of bland at first sight, and to an extent I get it.

There’s not a lot of humor or high concepts to draw people in, it just relies on it’s premise, which doesn’t sound the most interesting. That’s fine, but this does result in some bland episodes, and if the premise doesn’t work, then the whole episode just falls apart.

Most of the episodes I don’t care for are due to having cliché plots I just don’t like. Speaking of which, this show does rely on plot types more than some other shows, and typically it does them in the way you’d expect.

This isn’t always bad, but I think LPS and MLP manage to ditch the trappings of common cliché plots more than this show does. There is however one exception, that I have to talk about…later, cuz there’s a bit more to cover.

Something you’ll notice about the flaws of this show, is that they aren’t a huge deal. Plenty of shows have these problems, and they don’t make an episodes terrible. Pretty much every problem I have is just conventional. This means if they do ruin the show for you, you won’t call it horrible. You’ll just forget about it.

While being forgettable is bad, I think it makes it better than cartoons that are truly just …bad. Also, with this show they are clearly trying harder than other shows with similar problems. In general, it’s easier for me to look past the problems with this series.

Although I do wish some elements were better, because a lot of people of missed out on some special things because they just thought of it as a bland cartoon at first. It has those elements, but there’s a bit more if you look harder.

Back to differences between it’s partners, it has way more guest stars. We’ve got George Takei, Tim Conway, Jim Parsons, JK Simmons, and more. Hell, Betty White actually voices a recurring character.

It may seem a bit star crazy but it calms down later on ,and they all do a really good job. Heck ,some appear twice, one of which we’ll get to later. We also have cool people in the main cast, but we’ll get to them.

Now for the fun part of these kind of posts….talking about episodes I don’t like! Yay. As usual, there’s some weaker ones, and a big dud. One example is a weaker one is the one where Cookie falls for a Coyote. In general, this one almost works well. Mostly because, in it, the Coyote is a pretty charming guy and their relationship ends up being well written enough.

So when Cookie considers leaving to be with him, you kind of get why, as she likes him for legimate reasons. Yep, this show can do some things better than LPS. I would have brought this one up in the Unvetted review as an example of how to do it right….but then they ruined it by making Lucky racist.

Yeah, he hates Coyotes because…reasons. He has no backstory or anything, he just think they are bad due to reputation. This is dumb. Made worse when they do the whole jerk cliché with the Coyote, probing Lucky right. …Btu then he has a change of heart so…eh?

They do the same thing but with Squirt and Alligators a few episodes later, only this time he sabotages his adoption. ..But he does have a backstory, so meh.

But those are are mildly flawed ones. Time to talk about the big dud, which I think is the weakest of the Hub/Discovery Family duds. Yes, it’s worse than Guilt Tripping. It’s called Hot Dawg, and that’s our first problem.

The use of outdated slang is bad enough (especially for a show that hardly uses modern references) but it doesn’t even make sense. Maybe it’s referring to the dog a character falls for in this, but they could have called it “Hot Dog” if they needed a pun.

But anyway, the plot is that a smooth talking Chihuahua comes to Shelter 17 to help with their current mission, but he’s only here because he got kicked out of where other unit due to always getting involved with the female agents. And he indeed sets his sights on Strudel and Cookie, causing a bit of a love triangle with the two. Where do I begin? Well, there’s the incredibly lame plot it focuses on.

To be fair, this problem is personal. I am not a fan of this kind of plot, especially if it involves two usually smart characters. This involving the only major female characters doesn’t help either.

But I think those who don’t mind this plot won’t be as annoying as I am. What really annoys me is that this ends up being a waste of a better premise. For most of the episode, Anontio is charming the girls and jeopardizes the mission because of it.

He’s not the best person and they don’t spend nearly enough time on him as a character. The part where he starts to feel bad is forced in the context of the story. He has a bit where he says he can’t really help it, and he thinks it might be because he’s missing something in his heart or something.

This is a good start, and it actually would be interesting to explore this. He seems to have a deeper reasoning for his actions and this could be a pretty compelling story. Perhaps they could try to find him a real lover that likes him for him instead of using his old tricks.

…But instead he just learns his lesson because the plot says so, so we can focus on a dumb spat between friends. Clearly that’s the more interesting story. Yes, he does at least grow in some way but it’s very rushed as it is.

There’s wasting a good premise, and going out of your way to avoid it. It boils down to something pretty basic. He sees he’s hurting people, he stops it, the end. Yawn. These problems are major, but on it’s own it would just be a not very good episode.

Then comes the other giant problem. Since Antonio going around doing this is a big problem, you think Lucky would do something about it. Nope. He voices his disapproval. ..but does nothng. He has Antonio go on the mission but even when he does his usual stuff, Lucky just lets this happen.

He’s clearly upset but doesn’t try to stop the fighting, or tell Antonio to stop it. Watching is beyond annoying because the most reasonable person refuses to do anything! This is all becomes worse, when right after the first scene of Antonio trying to be likable, Lucky kicks him out of Shelter 17.

Earlier when Dolly told Lucky about Antonio being kicked out, Lucky didn’t like the sound of that.

What happened to once a pound puppy, always a pound puppy?”

I can ask you the same question! As I said before, the whole show is about finding a Pup’s hope, and Lucky is the first to want to do that, no matter what. No matter what, he will try to fix the problem keeping them from doing.

Even if the pup has a pissing problem, is not conveniently cute thus driving people away, or is a flat out jerk, he will see what he can do about it. Even when most people wouldn’t bother, he tries. That’s how he is written to be. …But now he gives up on someone after not even TRYING to fix his problem.

At no point does he talk to him and tries to see why he’s like this. He never even tries to fix anything. He lets it get to the point where he needs to be dropped. A story where Lucky gives up on someone could work, but it needs to be an extreme situation and treated as such.

This is a perfect example of a case where he could have avoided everything if he just tried to talk things out with him! This may not seem like a big deal, but it really is. The most reasonable person should not give up after not even trying!

Especially if it’s not even addressed, and Lucky is only shown liking him after he helps him in some way. He doesn’t see his “sympathetic” moments, by the way. Oh, and top it all off, Antontio ends up using his skills to get some female guard dogs to them pass, and is allowed back in, to use his smooth talking skills for good.

I’m all for using your weakness as a strength, but this seems like it’s doomed to cause trouble eventually. This hardly fixes his problem. So we have an episode that avoids an interesting story in favor of tired cliches and stereotypes Meaning the almost interesting part is rushed, and one action from Lucky goes against the point of the show.

I’m all for diverging from a formula, but if ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The only credit I can give (besides some funny lines from Niblet) is that Antonio does get better, as rushed as it is. So something is kind of learned, putting this above some worse duds out there.

But all this still make a failure, unfortunately. This would have qualified for my dud list, even if it may not make it on due to some stiff competition. Guilt Tripping and Unvetted would have qualified too btw.

…But let’s get away from that stuff, because there’s plenty of good to make up for it. Now is the time to get into favorite episodes, but first we have two notable episode to discuss. They aren’t quite my favorites, but I still like them and I have to talk about them.

No Dogs Allowed:

If you’ve heard of this one, you know exactly why this is here. Dogs are mysteriously being returned to the pound, and it turns out that this one apartment does not allow dogs anymore. In short, it turns out the landlord did this because his his daughter randomly dislikes dogs…and prefers ponies, due to wanting to be in the “pony sisters club”.

This alone would raise eyebrows from me, but there’s more. It turns out out Dad was once part of Pony Boy’s Club. Pony Boy’s Club. Yes. Not only is there talk about ponies and puppies (including a line about how there’s room for both and whatnot) but there’s this pony boy’s club…and the daughter is voiced by Tara Strong.

They aren’t even hiding it at that point. It is interesting how LPS only threw in some nods despite sharing a lot of the crew, but the one with barely a connection did an whole allergy for it. Putting that aside, this is a really good episode for the nice little story it has.’

The whole Brony just makes it stronger. I think they could be saying something with the whole accepting puppies and ponies stuff, but that’s just me.

The Fraud Princess

There are some plot lines I simply don’t like, because they are almost never done right. This one is usually so weak people argue it can NEVER be done right. Which plot is that? Well….you remember A Pal for Gary?

Of course you do. I mentioned because you know which plot I’m talking about now. The formula goes like this: New pet comes in, causes trouble, old plot is blamed and is usually loved less now because plot, and the owner looks bad, even if things turn out okay in the end.

Thankfully, A Pal for Gary is the only example to screw up that badly with the endiong, and most have a good ending. (You know you’re bad when Breadwinnes managed to get the ending better’)

I find this plot just kind of boring, as most shows just make it predictable, even if they get the ending right the episode will be okay at best. After Sofia the First failed to really do this any better, I lost all hope in getting an example done completely right.

Until I saw this this. Let me explain. At the request of her new boyfriend (voiced by Tim Conway), Agatha gets Rebound a friend,. First, the pet being bad stuff doesn’t till around halfway through, allowing the plot to focus on other/better things first.

When we do get to it, she does think Reound did it, but doesnt’ accuse her of being jealous of Princess or anything like that. Yeah, that’s the element that usually makes these plots worse. Because typically it doesn’t matter since the new pet is bad in the end.

She doesn’t even get unreasonable angry, just a bit upset. And Tim Coway kind of influnces her here anyway, so it’s not even all her. Princess’s actions also arent’ overly obvious, in this context I kind of get why it looks like Rebound did it.

Then in the end, Tim Coway is the mastermind behind this but it turns out he actually has a motivation that makes him a bit sympathetic and he ends up learning lesson. So the bad pet isn’t even just a one dimensional bad guy, he’s just doing this for the same understandable reasons as his owner.

This is just insane. Not only do they not make Agatha unreasonably angry or stupid, but they spin it into a more interesting story that makes things a lot more engaging. Doing either is good enough, but both?!

This episode isn’t amazing or anything, but it manages to make this plot good! Some can make it passable, but this is flat out very good! The plot is written in a way where no one is too stupid. Their actions are understandable with what is presented.

Which makes the usually boring scenes of Princess messing stuff up a lot more tolerable. I’m quite impressed, they did two important things to turn this lame plot into a pretty good episode. Really, it’s flaw is using the cliché to begin with. This show can do cliché plots okay but it never does something on this level. It couldn’t get a love triangle plot right, so how did they pull this off?

I have no idea, but I’m glad it turned out well. This is the example that all other example’s of this plot will be held up to. You should study this to know how to do it, because it’s the only good example I know of.

Good on you, Pound Puppies.

And now for a selection of my favorite episodes. This is mostly no real order, or a top list. Just a randomly selection of really good ones I thought were worth bringing up, as they show the best of the series. Here we go.

Lucky has to Move

Writers: Joe Ansolabehere & Jean Ansolabehere

Yep, we’re starting with the end. I Imagine the ending was forced on them, but they handled it pretty well to the point that I don’t mind it ending like this, since there wasn’t too much to resolve to begin with.

For full context, in the Season 1 Finale, Lucky is adopted by a girl named Dot and while he grows to like her fine, he knows he can’t balance being her pet and his Pound Puppy duties.. He knows she still wants him so he comes up with a comprise.

He talks to her and lets her know the situation. Yeah, he breaks the biggest rule in order to make things right, so he can switch between her and his duties while not confusing her. This is quite big, but it works and was a nice ending.

I had to mention that to Dot up for this episode, in which her Dad gets a promotion causing them to have to move. Even worse, they are moving to Florida. Off the bat, I should say that of course they don’t end up moving, like in most example of this plot.

But here I can let it slide with how it’s done. They do a nice job of making you think it will happen, as Lucky decides that this is best for Dot and all that and with the execution, the goodbye that will end up being pointless works a lot better.

And in the end, the thing that stops them from moving makes some kind of sense, as it’s something they set up that fits with the show. The usual placing of a pup leads to this and in context, it makes perfect sense and fits with the themes of the show.

And they sorta kind of move, just in a place in town, meaning there is some kind of small change to end the series on. Combine that with great emotion, and you have a pretty dang fitting and great series finale.

To be fair

It would be slightly less great if the series moved on, but it would still work with how good some parts are. Oddly, this fits better as a finale than something like Littlest Pet Street. To be fair, this show had less stuff going on,so there wasn’t as much pressure to put in all this stuff in a finale. So it’s not fair to compare them.

As it is, it’s a good way to end the series with it showing some of themes, and being very solid and emotional. I put this first because I don’t have as much to say, and I want to end on my favorite. Still, a fairly great ending.

When Niblet met Giblet

Writer: Phil Walsh

You might think the show just can’t do romance, but only episodes after Hot Dawg, this came to prove me wrong. Niblet meets a fellow sheepdog who is a girl and of course they fall in love.

First off, this episode kind of addresses the whole Lucky/Cookie thing. Yeah, instead of something entirely made up by shippers, this was slightly canon as they did show he might like her, but they didnt’ quite expand on it since it’s not that kind of show.

I figure it wouldn’t be all that interesting when they addressed, but here it works. When it starts out it’s a bit awkward but they settle it well. Basically, Niblet of all people figures that they do love each other, but they can’t be together yet since it would make things awkward at the pound. And here, they see that as fine as long as they actually admit that instead of just being silent.

While it’s not the main point of the episode, it works. The main is pretty good too. While Giblet is pretty much a girl Niblet, their relationship works because it’s just so darn cute. And it’s a bit of a bittersweet ending.

She finds her perfect person ,but it’s far from Niblet and while he can just move in with her, he thinks his “job” is sadly more important. It’s quite the nice ending as they don’t break up or anything like that, he just does what needs to be done.

It’s kind of a nice moral about how sometimes some things are more important than love and other such things. A bit on the mature side for this show, I think. It’s a very nice and sweet episode that addresses something well and gives us a ncie story, too.

Here’s licking at you kid”

(Kids will get that reference)

I Heard the Barks on Christmas Eve

Writer: Chelesa Meyer

Christmas in July time! There’s isn’t too much to say here. It does it’s job at making a feel good Christmas episode. It also happens to be a musical, and while the songs aren’t MLP quality, they are pretty decent and serve the story well.

McLeish even gets a Villain Song! Also, I love how one dogs is annoyed by all the singing.

The plot is that they Pound Puppies have trouble finding the homes for a whole bunch of Puppies at once, while they also try to give Christmas cheer to a dog named Ralph. The whole thing is engaging because of the whole “maybe we can’t do this” nature of the plot.

Both plots tie in well. Ralph is fun in how he just doesn’t care about anything and who his owner ends up being is quite nice and well done. Plus, we see him again a few times so this episode has plot importance to.

(Yeah, this show actually has good continuity too. Hell, they use callbacks to prove a point!

And of course, it has a lot of emotion and that old Christmas feeling. It’s a very sweet and engaging watch that makes for good yearly viewing. Even if I first saw it in May.

(By the way, this ep aired in November. The Hub airing Holiday episodes weirdly is a tradition!)

This was also the Season 2 finale and I think it was the best way to close out the Season.

Toyoshiko! Bark Friend Machine

Writer: Mark Drop

Amazing title aside, Jim Parsons drops off a super intelligent dog robot. It sounds a bit out there for this show but it works because of the story. Strudel actually befriends it because it actually understands her.

Their friendship is rather nice and certainly the other elements. The big reason I put it here is the ending. It turns out the robot is recording everything for it’s creator, and they worry their cover could be blown big time.

The robot isn’t even evil, it’s just programmed to do this. The obvious solution would be to shut the thing off, or remove the recordings or such. But doing this would get rid of Toyoshiko’s memories of Sturdel, thus making her a lose friend.

So how does this is all end? Well, Toyoshiko does see their dilemma and despite quite enjoying Studel’s company, it knows what needs to be done. So while Sturdel very much objects to it, he/it gets itself in an accident on purpose that gets rid of the recordings and the memories.

Yeah. The way it’s done makes this quite the nice sacrifice. Keep in mind, Strudel hasn’t agreed to this, so Toyoshiko is well aware of how big this is, but knows it must be done. It’s not only interesting on a story level, but it surprisingly emotional and slightly deep for this show.

…But it’s a kids show, so there’s a happy ending where they just decide to fix up the robot dog and do some stuff that will just get rid of the part that records stuff, so it’s memories are intact. ..A bit too easy but again, it’s for kids so it can’t be all tragic.

Otherwise, this was the first episode I would call great, although a couple came somewhat close. This made me realize how much I like Strudel and what this show can do .It’s not a bad one to start with .

I Never Barked for My Father

Writer: Joe Ansolabehere

While I think I knew of the show, I never really looked into it for awhile. Then by change I caught the last few minutes of this episode. And from that I was intrigued so later I watched the one episode…and I liked it so much that I figured even if it’s generally weak, it’s worth existing just for this episode.

Yeah, it’s that good. The plot is that Lucky’s Father returns after having left him years ago, and he has a new pup in tow to make things even more awkward.

…Yeah, it’s a bit heavy for this kind of show. This show rarely gets like this so it’s great that they did it. Not only is it cool to find out about Lucky’s past but the story manages to be king of mature and interesting.

For one, Slick, voiced by Gary Cole, is likable with his…well Slick nature, but he can be a decent father figure when he wants to be. You get why Lucky is mad but it turns out he does have a reasonable motivation for what he did.

Let’s just say there’s a bit more to it. While Lucky is slightly dick-ish, you get where he’s coming from and the pup adds something extra to the overall story. Naturally, this all leads to a really sweet ending, with Slick’s backstory and how things end overall.

I really like how Slick thinks differently than Lucky, believing that dogs shouldn’t be leashed. And in the end, he isn’t forced to get an owner or anything. He learns that some dogs are better with owners, and he is allowed to roam free like he’s used to. It’s great comprise.

This was a great first impression. I was impressed with how interesting, mature, and emotional this one ended up being. The show mostly never got like this again, sticking to simpler stories, but it’s nice that they did it this well for the one time they do.

I do find it weird that we never see Lucky’s Mom even though she is said to live nearby, alive and well. But that’s not a big deal. With it’s incredibly nice ending, this was a good one to start with. I would have had it as my last two, if the ones I picked didn’t represent the show better in general.

But it’s still pretty great, I think, and holds up well from my first impression. Now for my two overall favorites.

Salty

Remember how I said that one Pony writer did one episode for this show? Well.

Writer: Merriweather Williams

.Yes, really. Of all the ones it could be, it’s the one that would be the…strangest choice for some. Her work on MLP and LPS can be shaky, but is usually fine. So this could have gone either way.

And it’s one of my favorite episodes, and is actually the one that represents the show the best, in terms of the premise. Yeah.

A sea captain named Pete is looking for his dog, Salty, and while he has found himself at the pound he actually asks for the other dogs help in separating him FROM his owner. You see, they love each other but Salty has been getting old and can’t really help Pete the way he used to.

However, he knows he loves the sea and he doesn’t want him to give it up so for his dog, so he wants to leave him and get him a new younger dog. The first thing to bring up is that Salty is voiced by Clancy Brown, doing his Mr. Krabs voice.

Seriously, the only difference is that his Salty voice is a bit nicer but also slightly more piratey in places. His performance is really good though, as he manages to be harsh in some parts, while also making his nice moments more convincing.

The premise is exactly what makes this episode so good. It’s a different kind of story than what we’re used to .I see why Salty wants to leave Pete, because it seems like it’s a good option from his point of view.

He’s doing it for his own good, not to be a jerk or anything. When he does find a new pup, it’s after the Pup really proves themselves, as he is shown to be picky. It’s something kids proably won’t releate since…well they are kids, so it’s really interesting how they made a story about getting old/..

Of course, in the end Salty does get back with Pete as it turns out Pete agrees they have both been getting old but he didn’t want to admit it. They get back together and settle down, with the new pup getting his own convenient home.

Like with that Pinkie Micro, it’s nice to see them teach people that at one point, it’s fine to settle down if you’re too old, as long as you don’t quit all together. Ontop of all that, Salty and Pete are really likable.

You really feel their relationship, with what Salty is willingly to do for Pete. Even the flashback explanations work as do we see bits of Pete looking for Salty in between them. Perhaps they drive the point home a bit too much, but a lot of it is so well done I don’t care.

By the end, I really cared about them and there’s some decently emotional moments. At one point Pete does see that Salty is leaving him and replacing with Rob Paulsen here, and it’s pretty darn heartbreaking.

This one has the main thing the show does well, and goes beyond with a unique twist that makes a really engaging story. With all that, this represents the show the most on a basic level, and is the one I’d recommend as a start.

And it’s all thanks to Merriweather Williams. You continue to confused me, now that you have one of the best Pound Puppies episodes….

And finally, we have…

Working K9 to 5

Writer: Stephan Cedars

A girl named Dolores gets a job to prove to her Editor in Chief Dad she is responsible enough to get a dog, and the Pound Puppies to have one for her.

As you probably guessed, this is the “well rounded” episode with everything I like about the show, along with extra stuff. Before I cover the fun stuff, I have to actually analaze the story. We the usual good stuff of a pup needing it’s perfect person, but we have a human story in this one to make it more interesting.

It sets up a bit of a mystery as Dolores fails to deliver the papers on time and they have to figure out why. Of course, she ends up having a good reason for not doing the best job. She is trying to keep up with it, certain things just get in the way.

Those things tie into a story later on that again shows the themes of the show. The little twist is quite nice and it’s too predictable, at least to me. The only reason she didn’t tell Dad was that he said “NO excuses” and she didn’t want to bother him. He also tends to interrupt her due to his fast talking nature.

He’s not trying to be a dick this just kind of happens, and he’s shown to be rather nice at heart, especially in the end. So we have a pretty solid story with the necessary sweet moments, that manages to have a few interesting sides to it.

That alone would make it a pretty good episode, but what propels it to a favorite? The humor. This was the premiere of Season 3, where they added more humor and this showcased it nicely.

There’s a lot of jokes here, that all fit. Most of them come from how the neighborhood is full of old people. Like how there’s an incredibly slow car crash-esque scene (due to it being on old people scooter thingys) but it’s still treated like a normal big accident is going on. Old people jokes have gotten…well old, but they have some good ones here.

But most of the great humor comes from Dolores’ Father. He’s voiced by JK Simmons. Yes, JK Simmons plays a fast talking head of a newspaper. If the amazing actor allusion wasn’t enough, he manages to be just as funny here.

He’s fast talking nature leads to some good jokes and it wouldn’t be nearly as funny without hi delivery. It’s kind of hard to describe, but everything he says is funny in some way. He argubly feels out of place, but it’s in the best possible way.

As I said, the show can be a bit dry sometimes, meaning you have to really like the story to get in into it. But this has humor from all sides to make a more well rounded experience, so the well written story and sweet moments are made even better.

That’s why it’s my favorite. It has the main things that make the show work, as well as things the show was kind of missing. It’s a very enjoyable expereince all around. Objectvitly, Salty is the best but this is the one I enjoy the most. So there you go.

Well, those are some of my favorite episodes. I had more fun doing that than the rest of the post, because it’s just easier to this since I struggle with stuff to say on the show in general. A Spongey’s Favorite Episodes wouldn’t work because there isn’t a lot to say about most of these besides what I said here.

Now let’s get into the big reason the show works: The characters. The show is written in a way where you HAVE to like the characters, and I think they succeed. We’ll save the Pound Puppies for last, so let’s start with some others.

There’s the owner of the pound Lenoard McLeish, voiced by René Auberjonois. He’s pretty grump as you can imagine, but he’s not quite a villain. He hardly cares enough to be antagonistic most of the time.

He can be the bad guy in some episodes, but he’s not quite evil since he has his okay moments, as shown in the Christmas episode. He’s pretty enjoyable with his nature, and he just hates everyone.

He is not found of his job (making you wonder how he got it to begin with) and often tries various tricks to get ahead. Also, his brother in law is the mayor, which doesn’t help his hatred of his own job.

The Mayor is voiced by John Larroquette by the way.

At his side is Olaf, voiced by M. Emmet Walsh. He’s the goofy sidekick who is a lot nicer than him. He can be enjoyable, even if there’s a not lot to him. The episode where he gets a love interest was nicely done, though.

Then there is McLesish’s Mother Agatha, voiced by Betty White. She’s what you would expect the mother of a guy like to be be, abiet a bit more bitch-y towards him. She wasn’t a fan of dogs until she ended up getting Rebound (more on her later) and because of Rebound, she became a recurring character.

She manages to fine with her relationship with Rebound, although sometimes her whole hating on McLeish can get a bit old. That’s only sometimes though, otherwise I like how she switches between nice and bitchy-y depending on who she is dealing with.

As I went over, in the Christmas episode, McLeish gets a dog named Ralph, voiced by Fred Steoller, further proving he’s in EVERYTHING I watch. I love his lazy nautre, and how he just doesn’t care about anything.

He sadly didn’t appear too much after his debut, but he did get his own episode where they suspect he’s working for the Kennel Kittens, more on them in a bit. It was okay. Not the best showcase for him, but I like how he does what he’s todl most of the time, and no one can tell is he’s really smart or just doesn’t care.

As for other human characters, or those connected to humans, there’s a not main ones left. There are two episode wonders like a dog trainer voiced by Geroge Takei, or this uptight businessman voiced by Jim Parsons. They are fun for what we get of them, although I wish the latter got a part 3, as he only had the two episodes in season 1.

There’s also Ketchum (subtle) who drives the truck that dumps off the guest dogs. He doesn’t talk and is just a joke so there’s not much to say. Then I guess next would be the Kennel Kittens.

That’s such a better name than Pound Purries if you ask me,

They are pretty much the cat version of the Pound Puppies, to the point that the unit we see is made up of counterparts to the main characters. They aren’t genderswapped at least. While they could have been just evil, they actually aren’t most of the time.

They tend to be a bit more underhanded, but they just want to find a cat it’s person, just like the Puppies. This is shown well in their debuet, where the conflcit comes from how both sides are too busy trying to be the other, instead of focusing on the job.

It’s actually a better Cats Vs Dogs story than the actual movie about the subject, because they are on equal playing fields, minus the dumb ending. This continues for their other episodes, except for the Ralph where they are just bad because…reasons.

Despite that hiccup, the Kennel Kittens tend to be handled well, and of course there’s an episode where someone infiltrates their ranks but later bonds with them. Now let’s focusing on animals, starting on some guest pets.

Some were interesting enough to be called back to, like the ugly dog from the Halloween episode (whose name is Freddy, hardy har) while some stay one shots. Most of them tend to work because the writers work hard to make sure you like them.

Highlights include a police dog who returned to solve a mystery, a dog assumed to be alien (voiced by French Stewart), and a third one I can’t think of right now. There’s plenty memorable ones, trust me.

You can expect EG Daily to voice most of them for some reason.

These guest pups bring in the big element I went into, so they are pretty darn important. It’s impressive how most of them work. Only one comes to mind as not that great, and I went into that one.

The rest are good enough at least, because they have to or the story won’t work. Oh, and there is one more human before we move, Lucky’s owner Dot, voiced by Grey Delisle. She’s kind of a kooky outcast who seems kind of annoying but becomes likable by the end with how much she likes Lucky.

She gets better when she comes back in Season 3, including an episode where the organization finds out about her. Yeah, that one’s another really good one. Speaking of the Organization, there’s some higher ups to talk about!

There’s Dolly aka The General voiced by EG Daily, who pretty much exists to call up Lucky and expoit stuff later on. She did have a full episode introduction, which wasn’t really the best due to having similar issues to Hot Dawg, but was still way better in the end. She serves her pursue so she’s fine.

There’s also some agents from other countries section of the Pound Puppies, the one scene the most being Ping, voiced by Lauren Tom. She got a whole episode where she bitches at Sturdel. There isn’t too much to say, she’s fine I guess. The others we see just have small parts in episodes where they have to show up.

One did have a major role, in an episode where they end up in Canada as he is an agent from that section. Yeah, this makes up for the show not being Canadian like MLP. Speaking of other Hub shows, he’s voiced by Dave Foley!

I think that’s all for the Un-important people, so I guess I can move on to the major character, starting with the Super Secret Pup Club. …Let me explain. Most importantly, there’s Rebound, voiced by Broke Goldner. She’s the pet of Agatha and she’s pretty darn energetic.

That could be annoying but I think she’s charming enough, since shes’ written to be likable. She went from appearing just once or twice for the sake of continuity, to being important enough to be added to the intro.

She got more important once she started The Super Secret Pup Club, after she is told she is too young to be in the proper Pound Puppies. That’s where we get Cupcake, voiced by Cree Summer, and Patches, voiced by Jessica DiCicco, another person who seems to be in everything I watch lately.

Since they are often with Rebound, they end up being fairly important. There isn’t a whole to them but they do serve as straight woman and man to Rebound’s energetic nature. They work for that, and they are pretty much this shows CMC.

With that, we can end up with the Pound Puppies themselves, starting with the leader Lucky, voiced by Eric McCormack. He’s been accused of being on the bland side, like Blythe and also like Blythe I do kind of get it, but I still like him.

Mostly because he does help get out the main themes with the show, with how determined he is to help pups find their perfect person. It becomes kind of admirable after a while. As the series goes on, they do thrown in some things to make him more interesting, and give him interesting stories like that Father one.

Yeah, he’s not exactly complex but I think his nature still makes him likable. And hey, he at least has something that helps the series and without him, the main reason I like the show wouldn’t really be there as much.

Next is Niblet, voiced by John Dimaggio. John Dimaggio voicing a dog? What a shock. He’s the dumb one and like most dumb character, he can be either funny or annoying. He’s mostly tolerable, and works in his own episodes, but later on he did sometimes more annoying, and too stupid sometimes.

It’s not big deal, but it does make him the weakest character in the group. And yes, he is the one who gives us that infamous line. Also, Rebound is his sister, forgot to mention that.

Then there is Squirt, voiced by Micheal Rapaport. He’s the street smart one whose most likely to call Niblet out on his dumb antics. He works in that role and gives us funny moment from it. He does get a bit less spotlight later on, but the episodes he does get tend to be interesting.

He gets involved in a Prince and the Pauper plot, which I only mention because his counterpart actually appears one other time. That ep worked since the other guy had his own story and he was pretty enjoyable.

Next is Strudel, voiced by Alanna Ubach. She’s the smart one that makes their gadgets. I can’t explain why, but she might be my favorite. Her sometimes eccentric, and slightly eroticical nature, just makes her enjoyable since these traits help make her fun and likable. It might be because she gets the best episodes, and they make her quite complex, as shown in the Robot dog one.

You’d have to watch some of her to really get it, but I suppose if I had to pick a favorite, it would be her. A Close 2nd is Cookie, voiced by Yyvette Nicole Brown. She’s the sassy one which makes her pretty badass and funny most of the time.

She is notable as she’s the only one one who seems to have an actual family she belongs to, even if they only appear a couple times. Her family actually adopted Cupcake, so there’s another connection I forgot to mention.

Her own episodes tend to be not the best, but she still gets in her good moments. She was my favorite at one point but later one she got less spotlight, but Strudel got more, making her stand out a bit.

But she’s still pretty cool. I think that’s about it, except for maybe the Squirrels that help them out. That’s all there is to them so there you go. (Although there was a backstory episode showing how they got there, that was really good, so there’s that)

There, that’s it for the characters. There’s quite a few of them and I think they help make the show work, since you kind of need characters to make things likable. And I think that’s it for the show in general.

Once again, I covered everything I really need. This is a much shorter one than usual, because there just isn’t a lot to say about this show. It has a couple big elements, and not much else.

That’s fine, just not suited to my format. I spent more time on all the extra stuff this time, because there isn’t a lot to really go into with explaining the show. I did consider doing something else with the show for this reason, but I think it deserved a full on look at post. This show’s place in the Hub lineup is interesting to me, so I felt I had to talk about it.

This is a show that has elements that make it stand out, but it’s done in a way where it does look just kind of bland on the outside. It’s show I shouldn’t like as much as I do, but I did once I dug it and saw that it did very well.

Like I said, for the pros and cons of LPS, it has a big thing that would draw someone, while this really doesn’t at first glance. It kind of proves a work can have more to offer if you really give it a chance.

I do think it tried harder to put in more humor, people would like it more and notice the other pros, like with LPS. I appreciate that this doesn’t rely on gimmicks or the like, but something a bit extra would have made it more popular.

But I guess not everything needs a notable fanbase. Given what they can be like, that’s kind of a godsend. And this got 3 Seasons, which even really popular shows don’t get anymore. (Seriously, what the hell Disney?)

It also had a good enough ending that felt right, which again, better shows don’t get sometimes. I’ll just be glad with what I got. So if you already like LPS and thus are fine with a lesser but still solid product, you’ll probably enjoy this show.

Really, from this post you can tell if it’s you’re thing. I think most people could enjoy if they give it a chance. At worst, you’ll probably just forget about it. It might be the smartest cartoon ever, but it’s premise, likable nature, and solid cast, make a solid show. Not the best but quite solid.

While I didn’t go into as much detail as with other shows, I hope I explained everything about show well enough for you guys. It has a few random compilation DVDS, and the whole series is on Netflix, so it’s pretty easy to get a hold of.

I think it has rerurns on Discovery Family, but only select episodes so Netflix is the best option. It may not quite as notable as LPS, but it has less annoying problems so I think it’s almost as good.

Now, even though I went through Pound Puppies…i draw the line at the Care Bears show. I might watch it, but there’s no way I’ll talk about it that much. Even though it weirdly has more MLP people than this.

That’s all I got for this one. Even if I didn’t say much, I think what I said was important enough. Don’t worry, the next look at a show post I wanna do will make up for this one being weaker. For now, give this show a shot if you’re willingly to do so.

As I’ve shown a lot, a show doesn’t have to be crazy great or anything to be worthwhile. There’s your moral, go home. I mean bye. I mean I already did this joke.

See ya.

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General Review: Ice Age Collision Course

Which means we’ll likely be seeing ice age 5 in a few years. Something tells me it’ll have aliens in it”-Me, 2013

Hello, Spongey here.

There are some franchises where every time they announce a new entry, you can hear the world’s collective groan at the idea. Blue Sky’s Ice Age series is a perfect example of that.

If you recall, back in 2013 I reviewed 2012’s Ice Age 4 which I was…not impressed by. To recap, the first adventure with Manny and the gang was a genuinely good family film that managed to take itself decently seriously, despite a wacky squirrel subplot.

The sequels have progressively gotten far away from that. The Meltdown was a solid sequel, and while Dawn of the Dinosaurs was flawed, it had the best Scrat subplot and the best visuals.

Then came Continental Drift. To recap my review, it was pretty much a rehash of the previous films, with a very weak and cliché story, even if Scrat was still top notch. At this point, this franchise is a cash grab.

I don’t like to say that too often, but it’s clear these only exist because they make money. While even Part 4 has it’s moments, I thought they should pack it in before they really push it. Then they announced Part 5.

Now, I’m open to anything but even I groaned at this. Honestly, this was my least anticipated film of the Summer simply because I want this series to end. Do more Scrat shorts, like the one in front The Peanuts Movie, and just end this franchise.

It didn’t help that the trailers didn’t’ say much about the real story, and this currently has the worst reviews of all the films, with a 15 Percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Having one of the directors from Part 4 doesn’t help much either.

We have have a writer from the original film, but also have two from the weaker sequels. But like I said, I’m open. Maybe there’s some great twist they aren’t telling us. And hey, as long as it’s better then previous one, I’ll consider that a win.

So screw it, let’s see if 5th time is the charm, or if this franchise should finally go extinct.

This, is Ice Age: Collision Course

ANIMATION:

The quality of the writing has always been spotting, but the team of animators at Blue Sky still try their best, for the most part. In the 4th film, the animation was good but the locations were very bland, and there was nothing special about the look the film itself.

Thankfully, they at least fixed that here. The character animation is mostly pretty standards. The models look good, but aside from the villains, they don’t stand out too much. The characters do move pretty well, as these animator as great at slapstick as shown with Scrat.

The highlight here would be the locations. It’s technically just the same, but they add in little details in the backgrounds to make them pop up. Even the typical bits they walk on for most of the film look nice, thanks to some pretty solid lighting.

Scat’s segments feature the best animation, as they have fun with the spaceship and what it does. There’s also a really cool bit with Buck that’s all in one “shot” and it’s very dynamic.

The animation is hardly Pixar level, or even Epic level, but it’s still quite solid. The characters don’t look too special, but the locations are nice thanks to little details and good lighting that makes the film quite pretty looking.

There’s not much else to say. Regardless of how the rest the film is, at least the animators tried their hardest, and improved on the previous film and it’s bland animation. It looks pretty, at least.

WRITING:

Manny is worried about the upcoming marriage between Peaches and her fiancé, Julian, but he has bigger things to worry about when an asteroid is headed towards Earth. Now they must survive and/or stop the upcoming apocalypse.

To boil it down, Manny has to deal with accepting his teenage daughter, while also dealing with a big disaster that causes them to have to get away, and it’s all started by Scrat.

…You’ve gotta be a kidding me. IT’S THE SAME DAMN THING AGAIN!? It was bad enough when they rehashed Part 2, but now they’re doing the same thing twice in a row? Hell, each film has had the same basic concept of them trying to get away from a disaster.

But whatever, maybe they’re just using a formula that works and the details can make it stand out. So how’s the main conflict? …Pretty weak. First off, you remember Louis? Peaches’ kind of love interesting in the previous movie?

They developed their relationship to the point that you are at least meant to care, even if you don’t. …Well, screw that, he’s not in here.

At the start of this one, she is engaged to a new guy. That’s right, not only do they introduce a new love interest, but she is engaged to him,with no explanation or trasintion. You pretty much through out a perfectly usable character for no reason!

And because he’s so out nowhere, you don’t care about their relationship. At this point, they already engang and in love, and they have no problems of their owning, meaning they never develop.

So how the hell am I supposed to care about them? Speaking of caring, this movie doesn’t care about it’s main story. It treats it like a footnote, spending most of it’s time on the whole apocalypse thing.

They don’t nicely combined the two stories, it almost feels like two movies on one. Only one scene really connects the plots together, and it’s too little too late. It’s not as ergicious as the last one in that regard, but still. This movie just fill of gimmicks that waste time. Besides Scrat, there’s these villains that add nothing, a Sid love plot that adds nothing, and a Neil Degrass Tyson cameo that adds nothing.

Oh yeah, Sid’s plot. Let me recap it: He groans about having no girlfriend after his current one dumps him due to him being clingy, they drop it for an hour, he finds a girl sloth who loves him right away and then that’s it. They hook.

Oh wait, she leaves to be with the people she was with but comes back to Sid right after, making it pointless. If you cut all the pointless crap like this, the movie wouldn’t even be 40 minutes, I bet.

Oh yeah, I forgot to wrap up my feelings on the main story. I dropped it like the movie did sometimes. It’s incredibly cliché and sitcom-ish. Manny went through this exact arc last time, so I don’t care. Even on it’s own, it’s been done so much and they add nothing to it.

And because of the love interest problem, I don’t care if Manny grows to like him or not. Well okay, how about Scart? Well, he’s still the highlights thanks to some top notch slapstick…even he’s weak this time!

That’s because he’s not in it as much. Long stretches go by without him this time, and he only appears a few times compared to before. Even his final gag is weak, and not nearly as crazy as Scratlantis.

As for the humor, it’s mostly tired. Some of it works, like a lot of the bits with Buck and Scart, but both get a bit tired after a while. There’s an okay amount of okay lines, but a lot of the humor ir is just lazy.

There’s a hashtag joke. That’s how far this series has fallen.

As you can tell, the writing is not good at all. The only credit I can give it as that the character actually trying to stop the danger, makes the stakes more interesting than the previous film despite still having the same plot.

But besides that, the writing is poor. The concepts are the same as before, and the story itself is very cliché and almost tries to make it so you don’t care. Tons of filler and less Scat does not help make the script tighter.

Oh, and going into space just confirms that we have officially jumped the shark. Technically there’s no aliens, but close enough. With writing this poor, why did they even bother?

CHARACTERS:

With each sequels, these once charming characters have gotten less interesting, and by this poitn they are incredibly one dimensional shells of their former selves. The new characters don’t add much to the problem.

There’s a few that do NOTHING, and shouldn’t even be listed. Shira and Diego do nothing in the story, and could have been cut. Diego is at least here because he has to be, what’s Shira’s excuse? What, they cut Louis who was more important, so why not? I already talked about Scrat so I can move on to people who actually do something.

Let’s start with the new characters. There’s these flying dinosaur guy and his daughter, and their son, voiced by Nick Offerman, Steaphanie Beatriz, and Max Greenfield. They…add nothing.

I don’t know you, but I think an asteroid is enough conflict, why add villains? All they do is chase Buck and spoilers, they turn good when they realize how dumb their plan is! It doesn’t help that they are bland, and the son is easily the most annoying character.

He’s basically Andy Dick from Lion King 2 but worse.

Then we have Shangri Llama (Because that joke’s never been done), voiced by Jesse Tyler Ferugeson. He’s just this guy who lives in this asteroid already on the ground, along with some other people. He has some okay moments but is mostly useless otherwise.

With him is Sid’s love interest, who is bland I didn’t care to remember her name, voiced by Jessie J. She’s kind of hippie-ish I guess but that’s it. That’s all there is to here. Why is she even here?!

There are couple others with them but they are just note jokes, so we can move on. There is Neil Degrass Tyson’s Caemo as…Neil DeBuck Weasel. Geez, How long did that take you write on a napkin?

He’s…there. It’s kind of amusing to have a scientist in the most accurate film ever, but that’s about it. Our last new guy is Jullian, voiced by Adam Devine. I will admit the voice work gives him some energy, but otherwise he’s just an overexcited love interest.

And because he’s so out nowhere, I don’t care about him. Plus, he can be a little annoying sometimes. So all the new characters suck, you can only imagine how the old ones are.

Eddie and Crash are still here, to add in lame pop culture references and that’s it. Again, only here cuz they have to be. They make so many lame jokes, I’m shocked no one twerks in this.

They finally bring back Buck, voiced by Simon Pegg, a weaeal from the Dinosaur World. His eccirengtic mature made him the highlight of that film and he’s still good here…mostly. He starts off very enjoyable, but his shtick gets old.

Which is too bad, because he’s arguably more important than anyone else despite not really changing. He’s here cuz he found a prophecy predicting this, even though this was all an accident by Scart. Unless they predicted that and it’s all fate..

Then we have Sid, voiced by John Leguismo. He’s useless (Guess what the word of the day is!) here despite getting a major subplot. They at least drop the screw up thing, but he’s dumb and pointless otherwise.

His grandmother, Voiced by Wanda Sykes, has some amusing lines, but otherwise she adds nothing.

Next is Peaches, voiced by Keke Palmer. She’s grown up a bit and she’s…uh…a grow up who is getting married. That’s about it. She has one cool scene where she proves she can handle a baby (oh god, I think I know what the next one will be about), but that’s it. She’s more likable now but far less interesting.

Which finally brings us to Manny and Ellie, voiced by Ray Romano and Queen Latiffah. I forgot to mention that there’s a plot point where Manny forgot his anniversary. Yes, they are seriously resorting to that even though it adds NOTHING.

It does give Ellie something to work with at least. She has one slight bit, joining Manny in worrying about Peaches’ possibly leaving them but they drop pretty quickly, making her bland as ever.

Manny is the worrying father, and since he learned this before, I have no reason to care because I know this won’t stick. He’s so generic this time, and honestly a dick if he still cant’ trust his own daughter.

Notice how almost all of these character are either one dimensional or pointless? That’s a problem. Of them, I like Scart and Buck but both are weaker than before. We have new charecters that mostly add nothing, and our old ones are shells of their former selves.

Some can have some amusing moments, but that’s it. What they did the two characters is further proof this franchise should just pack in, with one generic and useless they are.

Final Thoughts:

Just when you thought this series couldn’t get any more useless, Ice Age: Collision Course proves you wrong. It has strong animation and a handful of funny moments, and a few decent performances, but otherwise it’s not worth it.

The characters are mostly one dimensional, and the writing rehashes all the other movies, with a main conflict that’s both cliché and written in a way that makes you not care. What happened?

The first film was an honest film, and a very good for families. But not this series is purely for children. How does it compared to the 4th one? Well, the animation is better, and the nature of the diaster makes it slightly more engaging than the land breaking apart.

But if it’s better, it’s only SLIGHTLY. Everything else is easily worse, due to how pointless it all is. A lot of this movie is just filler. Some of it can be enjoyable, but nothing in the writing works. It’s fine to make movies for fun but can you at least try with your scripts?

This series should just go Direct to Video. The writing is about as good as Direct to Video films, honestly. Or better yet, just turn it into a show. It’s a sitcom already so why not go all the way ? Either way, just stop putting Ice age Films in Cinemas.

This series has officially gotten old. I’m not one for crackpot theories, but remember how Scrat died in Ice Age 2 and was brought back by Sid? I think he did die, and the rest of the series is all in his head. That would explain so much, wouldn’t it? Seriously, am I the first one to come up with this?!

But yeah, even if you actually enjoyed the 4th one, you should skip this and wait until you can rent this. Only those people would enjoy it anyway, everyone else shouldn’t spend their money on it.

Please Blue Sky, end this series now. It’s hinted to possibly be the final one, so hopefully we’re done he-

iceage

.Ugh.

Writing: D-

Animation: B

Characters: C

OVERALL: D-

It’s not even the most painful ever, but on principle alone I have to call it bad. Our next animated feature should be more mature, but that’s up in the air.

Before I go, I predicted the next one last time, so let’s see, they went in the space, so what else can they do?

Well, there’s two things they can do:P

  1. Time Travel. You went to space, might as well jump the shark even further. Yes, they did a Scart short with this already but they clearly don’t care if they did stuff already. Actually, one of the orginal ideas for 4 was for them to be frozen and thaw out in a museum, so maybe they can do that.
  1. BRING THE BABY BACK. He was such an important thing in the first movie, as he brought the gang together. Why are we on Part 5 with not even a mention of him at all?! It would at least be interesting.

The article says they will make a 6th one if people want it, or prove they want it. Well, at this point no one wants it, so I guess we’re done. I know I am.

I’m taking a break next week because I need one, and I don’t have time to catch up with 4 movies just to see Jason Bourne. I’ll be back in two weeks to see if DC can get their act together.

See ya.

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General Review: The 5th Wave

Hello, Spongey here.

Since I started doing these General Reviews, I’ve been sticking to recently released films. I wanted to do more older ones and the like but I guess I just got busy with my other projects. With the play by play reviews getting rarer, I think I should do more general reviews in…well, general.

You may see some “older” films eventually, but for now I wanted to focus on a 2016 film I skipped out of on. Yeah, I may do a couple as catch up, if I have enough to say about. I will do a Best and Worst of the year list so some will be discussed there.

I had no plans of discussing this one, as it seemed like it was just be forgettable and I would have nothing to say about it, much like Insurgent. (I’ll be bringing that up a lot, I think…). I mean, it’s yet another YA Movie and it came out in January.

And the reception didn’t exactly make me wanna watch it, even if I heard it’s one of the better ones. But I’m currently playing catch up and watching all the 2016 films currently on DVD, that I was even a bit curious about.

And after watching it, I had to talk about it. You’ll see why in it. I’ll talk about the writers later as it’s important to my big point, and the director has done nothing of note.

Oh, and the book this is based on…exists. I know nothing of it it, except that it’s a trilogy, of course. I want to read it now but we’ll get to why. Is this YA film actually a breath of fresh air, or is it a wave of disappointment. Let’s find out.

This, is The 5th Wave

PRODUCTION:

Not too much to say here. It’s shot in a fairly standard way, but that works for what it’s going for. The direction can be strong in some parts, making scenes decently intense. There aren’t too many actual effects, but they look fine, I guess.

The production is only noteworthy in two major action scenes…set at night. And the lighting is lackluster, so you can’t tell what’s going on, yet it’s written in a way where you’re supposed to care about what’s going on. Whoops.

That’s the only reason I put this section here, as it’s unremarkable otherwise. The direction is mostly competent, but is nothing special with two bad action scenes. Eh.

WRITING:

Four waves of increasingly deadly alien attacks have left most of Earth decimated. Cassie is on the run, desperately trying to save her younger brother.

I’m not sure where to begin. Actually, I should start with how I felt about the film as I watched it. It starts with narration that adds pretty much nothing and very pointless, and brushes over stuff we could have scene for ourselves.

We get a taste of Cassie’s life before the aliens start coming and they are a bit slow and don’t just come in guns a blazing. I found this kind of interesting as they do build up some suspense. Then eventually the plot truly begins as the aliens come in cause a bunch of terror, as Cassie ends up split from her memory and has to find her brother and such.

And…to be honest, I started to get into it! Yeah, they do a fine job at making this simple as it’s about Cassie just going through this rather horrific ordeal. It’s kind of engaging with how things escaltes and some tragic thigns happened.

Granted, I wasn’t fully getting into it, as I felt it started a bit too quickly. We get close to enough, but it’s just missing an extra element that would really get me to care 100 percent as it is. But as it is, it’s slightly rushed, and that is holding it back slightly.

But otherwise, I was kind of enjoying it. Surprisingly so, as it felt like an actual movie, and not just tween garbage. I wasn’t too interested when they introduced a sublot with this guy named Ben basically joining the kid Resistance but that was the only stumbling block.

Then we get more of him and he become less interesting with each passing scene. But then came Evan, a guy who saves Cassie. Okay, he should be fine, he’ll just gives us another perspective to this or something.

Then it turned out he’s a love interest and they tried to have a romance. (This about 50 minutes into a 105 minute movie).

The second I saw Cassie looking at his naked back, the film pretty much lost me. Then it gets on further to really screw up the romance, and tries to become so bigger with Ben’s plot.

Then it eventually ended after a non-climax, and a cliffhanger, in a manner I’ve seen in every single one of these damn movies. Roll credits. ….

…What the hell happened?! I’ve never a film switched gears this much in a while! It’s okay, then decent, then good, then okay again, then meh, and almost flat out mediocre! The odd thing is, the bad parts are almost excusable, but then it kept getting worse.

Let’s calm down. The parts that work are good because it felt simple. It’s a basic story about a teenage girl who looks 19 trying to survive this alien invasion, and get to her brother. It was engaging and suspenseful enough for me to forgive some writing issues at that point.

It felt like an attempt at making a real movie, as I said. So why do the weak parts fail so much? I mean, having a bigger plot isn’t too bad as we gotta have something else happen. But when it gets bigger, it becomes a generic alien invasion movie.

Especially with the bit of them taking people’s bodies. They attempt some twists with it, and it’s almost interesting but it’s all TOLD to us and we never truly experience it. The writers can do a simpler story fine, but they seem to not be able to do anything bigger without it being very dull and tired.

And dat romance. I’ve seen worse, but just wow. This is really forced. The set up seems okay but it just comes out of nowhere. They never develop Evan’s character so it’s just kind of weird, and we’re given no reason for them liking each other than…the plot says so.

They have one okay bit, but the rest is so forced and cliché. There’s the scene where she is hurt and he has to heal her, romantically. Seriously, that cliche isn’t freaking dead yet?! It’s in almost all of these kind of movies. It doesn’t help that his actor looks a bit older, making it less romantic than it already he is.

(Cassie’s Actress is 19. Evan’s actor is 26. Not quite fully creepy but just close enough)

I just felt nothing for this couple, especially since it adds up to very little in the end. Him turning out to be an Other doesn’t make him better. Not a spoiler because I saw it coming and do you really care?

It could have been interesting but they boil it down to him saying Cassie taught him that love is good. Gag me with a spoon. It’s just a weakly written romance, and it drags the film down.

The story boils down to things we’ve seen before, made worse the bigger the film gets. The odd thing is, some twists are almost interesting. I should like some of this but they just don’t work.

I think it’s because they prefer sticking to conventions rather than expending on interesting ideas. The biggest twist is explained to us, so as I said, its hard to be truly invested. The ending just seals the deal.

It ends exactly like you think it would, with nothing truly resolved and a set up for a sequel that …may happen. It did decently enough, so maybe we’ll see another one, but since nothing has been confirmed, I doubt it.

The main problem is that it becomes just another tween movie, with a forced romance and everything. All the good parts are kind of snuffed out or underdeveloped in favor of these tween elements.

Which sucks because the first half tried hard to be a real movie. The story was still simple and generic, but the exceuction made it engaging enough. Then it got weaker to the point where I just stopped caring.

To the shock of no one, this had 3 writers. It says “__ & __”, and __” meaning we had two working together, then someone coming in separately. I bet that the first two guys made a solid simple script, but then they forced in this other guy and he put in all the crap I bitched about.

I’m not sure to blame, because the 3rd guy makes the most sense…but one of the other guys wrote Insurgent. Now it all makes sense. That one also it had it’s okay scense but was just another forgettable tween movie in the end, even if it was better than Divergent. (I’m sure that new one is the same)

The 2nd half feels so different that it had to have been changed during production. Ben’s plot kind of comes out nowhere, and betrays the overall tone. This seems to an alien invasion from the point of view of a teenager, who really doesn’t; know much and is just trying to survive.

But the extra stuff, just makes it a typical invasion story, where we know too much. I’m going on too long, because my thoughts on the full film will go in final thoughts.

But in general, the writing is too mixed on. Early on, it’s a simple but effective story, but becomes too big, being very generic with a romance so weak even calling it half baked would be inaccurate.

I’m not sure how the script got like this, but it’s a shame,

CHARACTERS:

With the writing being a waste in the end, you can expect equally underwhelming characters. There are only a few that matter, and sadly one is good.

That one is our hero Cassie, played by Chloe Grace Maretz. She’s not exactly amazing or anything, but she’s likable enough with how she’s pretty a normal nice girl forced to survive in this situation. Even later on, she wasn’t too bad and made for a likable enough lead.

The acting on her being solid helps too. So yeah, at least they got the main character right, even if she’s less interesting by the end thanks to the romance and other problems. The rest aren’t as passable.

We have our love interest, Evan Walker. The concept with isn’t the worst, but he just ends up being a weak love interest in the end with barely any develop. They just drop him into the movie and don’t do as much on his own as they could have.

He’s at least not hatable, but he’s not too interesting thanks to the mediocre romance.

Then we have Ben Parish, played by the guy in Frenemies who has the affair with the dog or something. His set up is that he’s some guy Cassie knew and he was a bit more popular, so it’s a bit more devastating that he’s put into this situation, then he joins that Resistance thing.

He could have been interesting as some sort of contrast to Cassie, but there isn’t a lot to him. Everything about him is told to us in some way and he’s mostly just boring. If he was a love interest this would make sense, but as it is, there’s no reason he should be this dull.

Actually, why didn’t they pair her up with the guy closing to her in age? It still wouldn’t be the best,but at least it would make sense! His hasn’t gotten too much better, but with this script, I don’t blame him for mostly being wooden.

And the final character worth mentioning is this one girl in Ben’s unit, whose name I forgot and don’t feel like looking. The Wikipedia Summary barely mentions, that’s a good sign. She’s the tough chick who has snarky lines. She starts off okay but gets boring and doens’t really add a lot.

They try a bit too hard to make her “Badass” and it just doesn’t fully work. And those are the only important characters. The brother is just kind of there, and the rest exist to move the plot forward. I like that there isn’t quite a concrete villain, but that makes it more obvious this wasn’t meant to be some big plot.

Like the writing, the characters start off like they can work but quickly become either typical or boring. The lead is decent enough, but the others are just boring. No one is hateable, but no one is really worth remembering either.

Final Thoughts:

The 5th Wave could have been that rare tween movie by actually being a solid small story that’s engaging with a strong lead, but sadly it turns into a very typical tween movie with a weak 3rd act, and even weaker attempt at romance.

What the hell happened? If it stuck to it’s guns, it wouldn’t have been amazing, but it would have refreshing and decent for what it is. But it just fell apart. To be fair, the bad parts arent’ terrible, and bits almost work but it just kind of peters out in the end.

All the bad elements have been done worse, and it’s still way better than Divergent, Vampire Academy and Mortal Instruments. But at least those only had occasional good moments later on. This one mostly started fine and become so weak.

Was the book like this? I have to read it to see if maybe there wasn’t a lot to work to begin with, or all these elements flowed naturally in the book and the screenwriters just screwed it up.

A romance could have worked if you set it up early, and actually developed it instead of just putting in the 2nd half for no reason. With how it is in the film, there has to have some kind of studio interference, it just doesn’t flow enough for it to be a conscious decision.

I don’t want to think that the writers are just that incompetent. As it is, it’s a mess. It starts off mostly strong, but just becomes very generic and forgettable. They really tried early on but just gave up, it seems.

Even as it is, I can get through it easily, and I’ve seen worse, but man is it disappointing. It started like an actual movie, but just become another tween film no one’s going to remember.

There really is nothing worse than wasted poteintol sometimes.

Writing: C

Production: B-

Characters: C

OVERALL: C+

There, I got that out there. I had such weird feelings after finishing it last night that I had to talk about it, especially since some reviews may lead you to think it’s all bad. I had heard it starts okay and gets worse, and while it took a while, it eventually got…not so good.

I still it’s overall not bad and there is worse out there, but it gets extra hate points so being so disappointing. It may not have been anything crazy special if it was fully good, but it would have be an actual movie I can take seriously.

But nope. I’m not sure what other “Classic” General Reviews you’ll get, it has to be something I have something to say about and I doubt The Boss will give me a lot to talk about, or whatever.

For now, look forward to my pain on Friday with Ice Age 5.

See ya.

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General Review: Ghostbusters (2016)

Hello, Spongey here.

I want to make this intro short because by this point, you know what the deal is with this movie. At this point, you don’t care and want to know how I feel about it. You know I don’t care about what people think, and I think both sides are being stupid.

So we’ll skip the boring part of this intro, but I do need to set the stage.. This is yet another reboot type thing of a classic franchise, and this time they’ve picked Ghostsbusters. Now, I’ve seen the 1984 film and a few episodes of The Real Ghostbusters, so I can’t comment on the sequel or anything else besides the film.

And the film is certainly a classic. It was made at the right time as these were the best actors you could get for this kind of thing at the time, and they helped make it what it is. The rest is fun but they make as good as it is.

Really, it was only a matter of time before they did some kind of new film and it’s had a strange history. They’ve been wanting to make a proper 3rd film but they didn’t do it for many reasons. Mainly that Bill Murray wanted to part in it, and Harold Ramis died.

Long story short, they announced a full reboot with a female cast. Predictably, people lost their shit. You had people claiming any new Ghostbusters “ruined my childhood” and there were sexist douchebags not worth paying attention to.

What seemed like another reboot people bitch about, became a huge thing thanks to so many factors. Tons of people hated it before they saw it due to lackluster trailers (Nevermind that all trailers lie) and some stubbornly refused to see it all. Eh, those kind of people I tend to ignore, since the latter is made up of dumb commentators, and not people trying to be professional or smart. …Mostly.

The point, all sides are getting tiresome to the point where I’m screwed no matter what I said. If I like it, I’m a “SJW” who is liking it just cuz it has unfair hate, if I don’t like it I’m “sexist” or a Nostalgia-tard, and if I’m in the middle I’m an indecisive tool.

It’s a lose/lose situation, pretty much.

The only thing I can do is just review it as fairly as I can, and go from there. I have been mixed on the project, as some bits in the trailers were dumb, while some were kind of amusing. I tend to like Paul Fieg’s work enough, and spy proved he can mixed Comedy and Action pretty well.

He also seems like a fine person who makes stuff for fun and not for money or whatever, meaning we have some kind of stamp of quality here. It’s true that I am sick of the unfair bashing, but that’s true of a lot movies, even ones I don’t like.

You know, I hate when people make things out to be worse than they really are. Yet I tend to review them fairly, good or bad. You have nothing to worry about on that front.

So, after all the build up and fighting it’s finally time to see what we have here. Will this reboot make me feel good, or should I call someone else? Let’s finally find out.

This, is Ghostbuster (2016)

(Skipping production because no one cares at this point. I’ll say the Ghosts actually look decent and are creative enough for my tastes)

WRITING:

Dr. Erin Gilbert and Dr. Abby Yates are co-authors of a book which posits the existence of paranormal phenomenon such as ghosts. When the book proves unpopular, Gilbert distances herself and eventually becomes a teacher at Columbia University, while Yates continues to study the paranormal at a technical college with eccentric engineer Dr. Jillian Holtzmann . Years later, Gilbert learns the book has been republished, threatening her reputation in academia and her bid for tenure. Gilbert reunites with Yates and, in exchange for getting the book out of publication, agrees to assist Yates and Holtzmann on a paranormal investigation.

But when ghosts start to invade New York, they end up starting a ghost busting business, and Hilarity Ensues.

Okay, I’ll start by assuring you I won’t compare this to the original film too much. If I do,it’ll be for the sake of comparing, not just to bitch. The film is easy for to judge on it’s own anyway, and I want to be fair.

I do have to make one comparison off the bat, and it’s a major one. Everyone, even the people who like it, will tell you that this new film…has pretty much the same story structure as the original.

They mix it up near the end, but it’s mostly the same basic story, with someone being dropped by a university then them forming the team, getting well known and yada. The differences are minor (No Gatekeeper/Keymaster) or are with the characters.

Some won’t mind this as they will enjoy the new feel enough, or they will see it as a pointless rehash. Either way, don’t expect any huge twists in the story. The original didn’t exactly have a lot of twists but I think an update should have more surprises.

Guess I should get it out of the way: The movie is…okay. Mostly enjoyable but has things holding it back a bit. The actual writing gives us most of the problems so I may start out slightly negative.

My biggest problem is that the script plays it too safe. It takes no risks and follows the same structure you are familiar with. That can work in places, as you do need to keep some parts but I feel like the film was very restrained.

Nothing in the story is really bad or anything, it just made me slightly bored in some parts because it had to hit certain points I knew it would hit. My other problem is the pacing. Some bits drag too much.

Besides the expected dull spots, quite a few of the jokes just go on too long. These things keep the film from being better, as it’s almost flat out pretty good, except for these minor annoyances.

Using the same basic story doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it means I wasn’t as engaged as a could have been, and they don’t thrown in anything else to make it a bit more interesting, which is what you what you do if you a similar story.

Now, what about the writing worked? Well, the story at least doesn’t veer too off from the original. And in the end, the female cast thing didn’t matter because they almost never bring it up, no one mocks them for being girls or anything.

(Except for a small a joke about a YouTube Comment, hardy har)

So I don’t feel like the actual movie is trying too hard to be progressive. All problems come from general problem, not from “SJW Bullshit” as some kindly put it. As for the humor, it mostly worked.

Nothing too hilarious, but it had it’s share of fun quips, the best coming from the leads which we’ll get to. There were some groaners and while most of the cameos worked, one was too on the noise.

You know which one I’m talking about. One guy in my theater clapped at it,so good for him I guess.

I should mention that I actually liked the ending! The climax worked well enough, and the ending went on just long enough…maybe too long because the mid credits scene goes on forever. It should have been the final scene, not after we’re supposed to leave. I’m the only that got up cuz I guess they knew we’d be held captive.

(There’s a post credits scene but I didn’t know of it until just now, so I can’t comment on it)

As you can tel, the writing can be mixed. The general story is too similar with no extra twists, some of the cameos and references are forced and some jokes fail or go on too long. Paul Fieg really needs a new editor because the latter has been a problem of his for a while.

But it stays true enough, and has enough decent jokes and clever ideas. One thing they do with the villain was really cool. The writing never gets terrible, but never gets amazing either. It’s very…in the middle.

But what works does work, I just wish they tried a little harder, and had better pacing. But hey, could have been worse.

CHARACTERS:

The main reason the original is so beloved it’s great and memorable case of characters, and does this new entry hold a candle? Well, I can say on their own…they mostly worked! Well, the main ones do anyway.

Starting with our Ghostbusters, there’s Erin Gilbert (played by Kristen Wiig), Abby Yates (played by Mellisa McCarthy) Jillian Holtzman (played by Kate McKinion) and Patty Tolan (played by Lelise Jones). Erin is the straight (wo)man, Abby is the one who mostly makes the gadgets, Holtzman is the crazy one, and Patty is the outsider/sassy black woman. Each manages to stand out well enough even if they aren’t especially deep. Erin has a moment that works because they take it seriously, and a few more bits like that would have been nice.

But it’s the actors that really make them enjoyable. Each performance is good and they have strong chemistry. I couldn’t pick a standout but I think Mellisa McCarthy and Kate McKinon had the best moments, but they all were good.

They work a bit better together than sepereatly though. That’s not bad though, it just means some would have been more annoying without anyone to bounce off. I’d say the real highlgiht of the film would be these women, as they worked very well. .

Then we have their secrectry, Kevin Beckman, played by Chris Hemsworth. I was worried I wouldn’t like him as he is the dumb one only hired because he’s hot. But I actually quite liked him. This is because Chris plays him like he’s almost a normal person, not screaming or going over the top.

So it’s actually funny when he saws something stupid because you almost don’t expect it from how he looks and acts. Chris Hemsworth is good at making silly-ish characters a bit more dignified.

The rest are just there to me. The villain is kind of cool at first, but just becomes boring by the end, besides that little bit I hinted at. There’s the mayor who wants to show the Ghostbusters as frauds but that’s all there is to that character.

There really is nothing to say about everyone else, because only the mains stand out. At least ONE other notable non-villain character would be nice. I’m glad there’s no discount Rick Moranis, but someone along those lines would be nice.

I guess there’s Slimer. Yes, he appears and his cameo is actually kind of funny. Speaking of cameos, I mentioned them already so there’s no need to repeat myself. I wish there was more to say…but there isn’t.

So while the main characters are the only notable ones…at least they are done right, to the point where they are my favorite part of the film, and not the actual writing or jokes. Yeah, the best jokes come from them just having fun together, really.

But that’s fine. So yeah, while not many stand out, the ones that matter do work.

Final Thoughts:

After all the yelling and controversy, I can say that this movie is….okay. It suffers from weak pacing and weak story, with not too many characters standing out, but it stays true enough, and has a very good team all played very well by the actors.

At it’s worst, it’s just forgettable. At it’s best, it’s pretty fun, if nothing crazy special. It really about what I was expecting in the end. I’m just impressed it’s mostly fine-ish, because I did fear the worst at some points.

But thankfully, it’s just slightly mixed. I think the problem is that it plays it too safe, and takes no risks. No, making them female isn’t a risk because only dumb asses care about that. It has no bearing on anything positive or negative.

In the end, it had moments of being “pretty good’ but it’s mostly just okay. Again, it’s let down by little annoyances and not doing anything new. Maybe we’ll get that in the sequel (if it even happens at this point) but until now, we have this.

It may not be AS good as some may want, but it’s not nearly as bad as feared. Even at it’s worst, it’s not THAT bad, just kind of awkward. So all those arguments and comments for over an…okay movie.

You must all look really stupid.

In the end, if you are even slightly looking forward to it, check it out, just try not to pay too much for it. If you’re on the fence, wait til you can rent it. It’s okay but not good enough to sway people on the fence, mostly.

The film not be the best, but it’s mostly enjoyable enough, and even with it’s problems, they clearly tried. So as usual, I will sigh at the people calling it the worst thing ever. But I’m always doing that so whatever.

I was mixed on the grade, so I went with my gut. I apologize if my opinon offends you.

Production: B

Writing: C+ (Subject to change)

Characters: B

OVERALL: B- (Subject to change)

2 B-‘s in a row. Strange. This was closer to a B, to be fair. It just needed to be slightly better paced. I’m just glad it turned okay enough. And of course, I say fuck you to the ruined my childhood crowd and all that.

If for any reason this movie really gets to you, enjoy your sad corner, I guess. …I’m such a dick today.

So, what’s up for our next General Review?

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…Sigh.

See ya.

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General Review: The Secret Life of Pets

Hello, Spongey here.

2016 animation continues, with the help of Illumination. They are one of many studios that have popped up to compete with the likes of Disney and Dreamworks and have started to make a decent name for themselves.

But they have been rather hit or miss. And by I mean, I mean Despicable Me is the only thing they’ve really got. While I did like The Lorax, it’s reaction was mixed, and I reviewed Hop and all you know how much that sucked.

And even Despicable Me is start to run it’s course, all thanks to Minions. The movie itself was okay guess, but did it need to happen? No. Yet it made a billion dollars because reasons. So even if their films get worse, they will still be around.

I hope they step it up and either try something different, or try a bit harder. But their output is mostly harmless I suppose. And this year they have two chances to prove themselves, and here’s out first one.

This is one of the many film this year I was on the fence about. On one hand, it looked pretty typical, but some parts also looked kind of cute and creative. The trailer started off kind of lame but got more interesting when the real plot seemed to start.

So I wasn’t sure if this would be any good. Then the reviews came in and they are…positive? Well, they aren’t hugely positive but most of them say it’s funny and cute which means it’s at least passable.

It even has a fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Oddly enough, the critics I follow online don’t care too much for it, as well as the casual viewers I know. So the Critics are liking something more than normal people.

WHAT SORCERY IS THIS?!

I’m in the casual viewer category, so we’ll see how this goes. The directors and writers are just people who worked on the Studios previous films, so we can move on. Will this be a fun enough little comedy, or is there a reason their lives are secrets? Let’s find out.

This, is The Secret Life of Pets

Before I start, I should mention that before the movie, there was a Minions short. They tend to be in short bursts, but this was just a bunch of noise. The lawn gnome gag was amusing though. You can take a piss while this is playing. Now for the movie.

ANIMATION:

Yeah, I’ll start with this from now on. For this film, there isn’t a lot to say anyway. This movie is all about the character animation. The settings and general look are fairly typical for this kind of movie. The locations and background still look decent, but nothing really stands out about them.

And while the character animation isn’t especially detailed, it’s still good. Every animal looks unique, even those of the same basic species. They move exactly like they would in real life, but are still able to be cartoon-y enough.

It’s a nice mix. They at least had fun with the various animals and the wacky stuff they do. It’s cartoon-y while still looking good for a film. The animation is nice. It’s bright and colorful, and the characters all stand out pretty well.

It’s nothing mind blowing, but it does look nice and some bits stand out. There isn’t much else to say. The general look is okay but the strong character animation makes this at least a nice looking movie.

WRITING:

Inside of a Manhattan apartment building, a terrier named Max lives a spoiled life with his owner Katie and hangs out with other pets. One day, Katie adopts a giant dog called Duke who is very sloppy and careless. One day they end up getting lost in the city, and their pet pals must go out to save them.

This is a movie that is very focused on Comedy, and purposely makes the story simple. As I’ve said this before, that can be good or bad depending on how it’s done. Here it’s….a mixed bag. The basic story is….well basic.

Everyone who thinks they’re clever points out how the set up is like Toy Story, but that’s such a huge cliché nowadays that it’s just coincidence that TS started that trend. The basic story does nothing too new, nor does it add in anything extra to the main story.

It’s a typical animals get lost and have to find their way home story, with a big cliché at the start of it. That on it’s own is fine, but the actual writing has problems. It feels like too much time is spent on the subplot with the other animals, because sometimes it feels like the main characters barely do anything in the middle.

And the main concept is rushed. They just bond fairly quickly, as I expect at this point. Speaking of rushed, this has one of the weakest rushed endings in a while. I won’t spoil anything, but something about Duke’s backstory is revealed…sort of.

They bring it up…and then move on to the climax and never resolve it. They make you question if something is the case, then never answer it! To make it worse, the movie just kind of …stops when they get home.

We see that they are friends (not a spoiler), it just stops there. The film just wraps up there, not finishing some of the arcs, and rushing others. It feels like they were on a deadline and just rushed the ending.

I have seen worse endings, but if you set up something, at least resolve it. I’ll go into slightly more detail later, as it’s also a character problem. From all this, you think the writing is just lazy and bad, right?

…Well….not quite. It’s a mixed bag, like I said. As I said, it’s all about the wacky comedy and….some of it works. Most of the jokes amount to “cute animal does wacky stuff” but there is some variety with them.

There’s certainly a variety of characters, and each has one joke. Some are better than others, but the ones that work are amusing. There’s some charm in the basic premise, as my favorite scene might be the opening montage of the pets daily lives. It was well edited, and quite amusing.

It’s a one joke premise, but they make a lot out of that joke sometimes. On the other hand, it has some typical kids movie jokes. The rabbit just shit himself. Hilarious. Also, this is the 2nd Illumination film where the main character kills someone.

At least it’s only one this time, but yikes. If Sing has any death, I’ll be worried. While some humor works, some fails too. The writing works best when they just take advantage of situations, like some of the scenes with the Rabbit.

It’s fine when it’s simple, but it often fails then trying to bite off more than that. For what it’s worth, there’s more amusing moments than boring/dumb moments in the end. The bad moment didn’t last too long at least.

In the worst moments, it’s just dumb or boring. Far from the horrors of Norm. Overall, the writing is a bit mixed. It likes to keep it simple, which can work due to good humor. But sometimes it’s too simple, not giving us enough, and when it tries to do more, it fails due to poor pacing and a rushed ending.

It’s not that the worst writing ever, as some of it works, but in general, it ends up being too simple and rushed for it’s own good. It has some decent humor though.

CHARACTERS:

I said this film has a variety of characters. Unfortunately, this is a case of quantity over quality.

Starting our main character Max, voiced by Louis Ck, he’s an energetic dog who loves his owner to the point of spending his day waiting for her to get him. I’ll admit he’s kind of likable with how he is, but once the plot kicks in, he becomes pretty one dimensional. Even his thing with Duke doesn’t make him more complex.

Louis CK does a good job though. Actually, most of the voice acting is really good. They don’t feel like forced celebrity cameos and they provide some laughs.

With him is Duke, voiced by Eric Stonestreets. He’s the new dog who causes trouble for Max. He’s kind of mixed, because he’s a jerk from the start but you can argue Max starts some of it. And he has his okay moments, including his backstory which is never finished. Yeah, without spoiling they reveal something, and I wonder if it’s true, or how he will handle it.

Never addressed. They move onto the climax, as I said and we NEVER see how Duke feels about it. He bonds with Max…and that’s it. This actually could have brought some complexity to him but as it is, he’s just kind of a dumb dog with a half baked backstory. Meh.

Then we have our villain Snowball, voiced by Kevin Hart. While an evil Rabbit has been done in Hoodwinked, I will say he was one of the better characters. His silly evil nature makes him pretty funny in some parts, and Kevin Hart does a surprisingly good job with him. Granted, I fear he could become the next Chris Rock but he’s good here at least.

However, he’s not much a villain in the end. I won’t spoil anything but in the end he doesn’t amount to much and the ending to his side of the story is as rushed as everything else. Ah well.

Everyone else is just there so we can go through them quickly. There’s Gidget, voiced by Jenny Slate. She’s kind of Max’s love interest, in that she likes him but he doesn’t notice her. She’s amusing with her nature and kicks some ass later on, but they just kind of hook up out of nowhere. There’s not much reason to make here a love interest, other than that all kids movies need them for some reason.

The other friends can be gone through pretty quickly. There’s a pug named Mel (voiced by Panda from We Bare Bears), a dachshund named Buddy voiced by Hannibal Burgess, a cat named Chloe (voiced by Lake Bell), and a parakeet named Sweet Pea, voiced by Tara Strong. They are amusing sometimes, but usually they are just there to fill in the group. They work best in the first arc when they are just jokes, as they don’t work as full characters.

Honestly, my favorites are two people that help out, a hawk named Tiberuis (voiced by Albert Brooks in two animated films in a row) and a paralyzed hound named Pops, voiced by Dana Carvey. They prove to be good helpers, and get some of the funniest bits, especially Pops with his attitude of not giving a crap.

They work since they are meant to be just helpers, and aren’t a total addition to the main group, meant to be real characters. They were fun. Oh, and the villain has a pig assistant voiced by Micheal Beattie. I suppose Max’s owner voiced by Ellie Kemper (Two people from Sofia the First in one film?) exists, but she’s just there to get the plot started.

That’s pretty much it for the characters. To be fair, none are hatable, and most have at least one amusing moment. Some I even outright enjoy for the most part. I’ll go easy on this grade but this cast is still not great.

There are too many characters going around, and are just one note jokes, with sloppy writing making a few worse. But most are amusing and I will remember at least one or two. While that is the case, they could have easily cut a few to focus on the ones that needed improvement.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, The Secret Life of Pets can be summed up in two words: “Amusing” and “Sloppy”. The simple writing means we get a cliché story with rushed elements, and too many charectrs to care about, but the animation is nice, and the focus on humor means some of it is enjoyable, and a few characters stand out, with some good casting.

It’s…okay. A harmless diversion that will make for a fine time waster. Even with the weak writing, it can offer some nice laughs. Normally I would flat out not like it, but I don’t know, there’s a certain charm to it. The simple-ness can work and I mostly entertained. I just wish some elements were written better. Either get rid of the complex elements, or go through with them.

You can tell they just wanted to have fun with this one, and it’s not too cynical (making it better than Angry Birds or the polar bear that shall not be named). It needs work but it works as a passable kids film.

I’d recommend it to people with kids, just make sure not to pay too much. For the most part, I’d wait to rent in. It makes for a fine rental so you can fast forward through the boring parts. If you just want some amusing gags and that’s it, you’ll enjoy it.

If you want more, than you should skip it. There’s worse out there but it’s not worth it for you. For me, it just had enough charm that I’ll go pretty easy on it. And it’s problem aren’t terrible at least, just weak.

It’s like Minions. Pretty weak with the writing, but has decent humor and few fine characters. At least this has a reason to exist outside of money. But yeah, while it mostly harmless and amusing, I want this studio to try something different.

Just being cute fun won’t cut it for much longer. Hopefully Sing can bring us something more interesting. By the way, there’s a poster for it in one scene. Hardy har.

Writing: C+

Animation: B

Characters: B-

OVERALL: B-. Subject to change

And like I said, still better than some other films out there. Next on the animated slate is another entry from a franchise that should just die. But next week….oh boy. Time for another review that will get me killed no matter what I say.

See ya.

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Top 5 Littlest Pet Shop Season 4 Episodes

Hello, Spongey here.

So far, 2016 seems to be known for many things. But because I don’t like being grim, let’s focus on all the TV show finales. I mean, we have plenty in 2015, most notably Phineas and Ferb but this year so far has a fair amount.

And when I tried to think, I only thought of a few. But they are happening around the same time, so there. Besides today’s topic,. Wander’s end happened, (as did Gravity Falls, but that was planned) and The 7D is supposed to end soon as well.

Yeah, Disney is just getting rid of their lineup or some reason. They ended Randy as well last year, as well as I Didn’t Do It, making it one of their odder shows. Outside of Disney, Uncle Grandpa is ending production, on Nick, Sanjay and Craig will end after season 3, which is fair, but Breadwninners will meet it’s end after Season 2/.

(And nothing of value was lost…)

I’m not sure what is going on, but we better get new shows to make up for it. Dsiney’s got a few, including a new one from Dan and Swampy, which will star Weird al.

SHUT UP AND TAKE MY RATINGS. Seriously, what’s next, a show helmed by Aaron Springer, with Merriwether Williams on the writing stall? …Wait, that’s happening too?!

…Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, I’m not sure what this is about but it meant the end of Littlest Pet Shop. I did a whole post for this show, then reviewed it’s new worst episodes, so I don’t need to repeat myself.

While the show was far from amazing, it managed to be a decent show that managed to stand on it’s own, out of MLP’s shadow. However, it was only mildly popular. It had a good fandom but not one crazy enough to keep it afloat.

So it was canceled after4 Seasons. Of course the creators had more planned meaning the show ended randomly. I’m worried about this channel, but I’ll talk about that soon enough. Not to be fair, the show had 4 Seasons and 104 episodes. (If it took place all over summer, this would be perfect).

That’s more than most get. Certainly more than Pound Puppies got. But yeah, it should have been treated better. At least it got to do some cool stuff, and ended on a good season. We’ll save the sappy stuff for later, for now let’s go over the season.

This final season was good. Yeah, it may be weaker than Season 3, but it has the same pros and cons as 1 and 2. On one hand, perhaps the good ones could often not be as good as previous seasons, and it had my two least favorite episodes.

I think the biggest problem is that it set up a lot of stuff,…that it never paid off. I can lt some slide due to it being canned, but some make no e sense. There seemed to be a family theme with various characters’ parents being revealed, but nothing comes of that, besides one certain Mom being mentioned after a twist.

In previous season, everything they set up is resolved in the end, but this season that doesn’t really happen, which isn’t a cancellation problem. Various minor things didn’t quite come back along with that big thing.

I’ll get a bit more in this later, hint hint. But even with that, it was still good. Two things made it work, along with the usual things I like about the show. First is the focus. They did a better job of balancing the Blythe and pet stuff. Most of the eps had a plot for both, with the pet plot using being the main one.

And they were usually both important. Even the worst episode got that right, kind of. And in general, each pet got a major episode in some way. Granted, some were better than others but it’s better than nothing.

The other thing is The Biskits. I went into them and how they got better in Season 3, but Season 4 perfected them, and they finally nailed down who they are. They are bitch-y but are able to be nice in some situations, while still not liking Blythe.

I’d say also one or two episodes have them being the villain as the focus and even then it made them funny. We had more of their good side in various ways, with it being jarring. Yeah, this makes Guilt Tripping so much worse.

Their appearances were also spaced out a bit more, and they weren’t major all the time. This season made me realize I do mostly enjoy them, which makes their bad appearences hurt more.

So while the season was a bit mixed, it was mostly good. The only other to mention before we go is the writers. We had more new ones, and since I did this with MLP Season 5, we’ll see how each writer did this season, new and old.

Guy Toubes: He was really good this season, the best returning writer. All of his eps were notably good and had some real gems, and got some important episodes, doing the premire, the mid season finale, and the actual finale. Nice job.

David Shayne: Favorite new writer, due to how good his best ones are. His first was merely fine, but the rest were notably good and quite interesting. He had the most consistently good output of the new guys. Although he seems to have an odd for vilifying established characters..

Roger Eshbacher: He had a weaker run this time. All of his eps were merely decent, and while they all had highlights, none were quite THAT good. Even his best one had a weak subplot. On the bright side, he got much better with the Biskits the two times he wrote them this season. At least his final one had a good song.

Eric Rogers: A rough start with a mixed bag but got better with two very good ones. Would be the best if Senior Day wasn’t as flawed as it is. Great subplot though,. Guess it’s better than when he was on Brickleberry. ..Wait, what?

FM Demarco: He got on my good side after his debut, and here he kept it up, but eps kept getting weaker. Still solid, but not up quite the crazy good-ness of Back Window. His finale one was surprisingly bland-ish for one of his eps. Ah well.

Nick Confalone: A bit mixed. I reviewed his weak debut, his 2nd was great, and his third was good but flawed with the moral. But both his good ones had great Biskit stuff, so there is that. He at least ended on an okay note.

Adam Beechen: What the heck happened? I’m not sure how he randomly came to do one, much less how it ended up being so poor. Too bad he ended on such a lame note, given he did my all time favorite episode.

Julie/Tim Cahil: The creators don’t personally write too many recent ones, but they randomly did Seeing Red which was solid.

That gives you an idea of the hit and miss quality, but to be fair the shwo could be hit or miss sometimes. And the gems made it worth it. So let’s look at those gems that made this season well worth watching.

This, is the Top 5 Littlest Pet Shop Season 4 Episodes.

…But like with MLP, let’s first go over the best songs. This time i’ll do a quick short Top 5 songs list since I can organize it better this time. By the way, way less songs this time, but the ood ones stood out

5. Cinepetmatic [Littlest Pet Street] A good final song. It’s fun and nicely goes through a few film genere, my favorite being the Kung Fu part because Minka’s words are out of sync. Nice.

  1. Can’t Give Up [Un-vetted] Went into this in the review, but yeah in spite of the concept, the flow is really good and both parties are great here.

3. The Guilty Tango [Guilt Tripping] Also went it but man this would be at the top if the episode didn’t basically make it weaker. Still a good song though.

2. To Tell You the Truth [On the Same Page] A nice emotional song with some great singing. Alsleigh Ball just nails that final note.

  1. Dude is a Vampire [Littlest Pet Shop of Horrors]. This one is so plain awesome in how fun it is. I like how it mixes horror music with the funky tune. When it’s on point, the flow is good, Sam Vincent is great as always, and it’s “stuck in your head all day catchy”. You can argue the last few are better made, but this one stuck with me more.

You can go to my Deviant Art a bit later for what my current overall song list looks like with the new additions. Same with episodes. Speaking of, let’s start. But I got another note: This will be more like a Spongey’s Favorite Episodes, where I don’t go into as much detail.

This show has always been one where I can’t go into a ton of detail on the episodes in text. Sorry in advance if this list is lackluster on that front. Let’s FINALLY start.

  1. A Doggie Biskit

Writer: David Shayne

Oh boy, we’re starting with an interesting one to talk about, for various reasons. Let’s get something out of the way: Yes, this episode was known as “Leigh Rose by another name “ for a while, on every sit I could find, but was randomly called this in the episode itself.

I have no idea how this happened. Or how it happened AGAIN with Bake it Til you Make it, previously called Bake Boss. Even happened with MLP’s Saddle Row Review, previously called Saddle Row and Rec. To be fair, in this case I like the new title more because of the pun.

Anyway, in this episode, Blythe and Zoe help Mrs. Biskit train her dog for a dog show. …And from that you have the main interesting thing. Yes, this season finally introduced to the Biskits’ Mother.

How that happened is a long story, which I may or may comment on later, as I want to focus on this episode. But yeah, she happened and she’s quite interesting. For one, she’s voiced by Shanon Chen Kent, who also voices the Biskits.

She’s got quite the range. I mean, Eliza Biskit is a lot more upbeat, in contrast to her daughters and husband. As in, she sings a lot and is generally annoying to others. And yeah, she’s awesome.

She should be annoying but the actors delivery, and the contrast make her hilarious, especially in this one. But before we move on with the main plot, we gotta talk about the subplot, which is also very good.

Wiggles the Alligator returns, having gotten into a self help book full of meaningless positive sayings, that the other pets get into. For one, it’s nice to see him back, given how I feel about his first appearance.

This was a nice way to bring him back. I like it when shows make fun of this kind of stuff, and they do some fun stuff with it. It’s mostly just fun but it gets interesting when Wiggles reveals why he’s doing this.

It’s slightly cliché, but quite nice and leads to good Be Yourself moral. I’ve bitched about those but it works here. He was already well done before, but this made me like more. It’s a pretty solid subplot to compliment our main story.

Now, I wasn’t sure about putting this on here, as Petnapped came close to getting this slot. As I said before, the first slot on a list is always hard. I really like both about equally, but you can argue this one’s issue takes from it slightly more.

See, there’s a minor point about how Mrs. Biskit pays a bit more attention to Poppy than Whitney and Britney. They seem to be bugged by this, as at one point they dump water on Blythe and say not to help their mother’s dog. This is dropped until the Biskits actually comfort their mother when Poppy seems to have left her. It’s a really nice moment,and is another case of the Bikits being good this season.

But soon after they hug her..

I got her wallet’

MADAME FOSTER: I got everything I needed out of that hug.

.Yeah. I wasn’t sure how much this took away from the episode. I mean, my one problem with Petnapped is less serve than this, even if it has a bigger impact on it’s main draw. I mean, it undercuts a whole minor arc, and seems to be another “the writer hates the Biskits” moment.

.But to be fair, it was only a minor arc, and is a small moment in the grand scheme of things. Certainly less of an issue o the endings of those episodes I reviewed. And I can just skip that bad moment to enjoy the good moments and such.

And it’s my only problem ,as the rest is great. For one, it’s full of amusing moments on both plots. My favorite part being Blythe having to be the test dog as Zoe trains Poppy. I don’t know, Blythe acting like a dog is just funny to me.

And of course, Eliza’s singing gives us plenty of fun moments too. It’s not exactly hilarious, but it keeps up the enjoyment with tons of little funny moments. But of course, the main element of Eliza and Poppy makes this one good.

Poppy is usually good at dog shows, but seems to give up during the inspection. Eliza actually really does care about Poppy and doesn’t just want to win dog shows her with, and Poppy really likes her too.

Which means she has her reasons for not doing well at the end of these. It’s not the craziest twist, but it makes sense and adds more depth to the story. It also has a be yourself moral, which is done even better here.

It’s nothing too complex, but seeing Mrs. Biskit have a nice relationship with a dog is just really nice. She manages to be very likable here, even if she annoys others with her singing. Poppy is cool too with her nature and motivation.

I’ll admit this episode is on here purely for subjective reasons. I’ve recently learned I have a soft spot for good Biskit stuff, no which member of that family it is. Even with that minor weak moment, the other stuff with the twins still manages to be nice on it’s own.

Most people like this one, but will say that prefer the episode I passed up for this slot, because most people prefer the kind of story that episode tells. And that’s fine, we all have our biases.

I’ll get into Pernapped’s pro and cons in the Honorable Mentions, by the way. I just feel more passionate about the best elements of this episode vs that one. I really enjoy the way both plots play out, the jokes, and the general sweet-ness of Eliza and Poppy’s plot. I really like seeing more of her, and having her be given a sweet plot is even better.

It’s odd that I’m slightly mixed on our first episode on a best list, but as I said, it’s a personal thing. I’m willingly to look past that one problem to enjoy the parts I really like. If you don’t like that, you can pretend Petnapped made it here. It was very close.

But in the end, I went with this. It must have one nagging problem, but it makes up for it with a well done main conflict, an equally solid subplot, and some enjoyable comedy. And giving us more development for a fun new character is cool too.

You can debate all you want, but I think this one is great for what it does, even if one small moment is off. Even with that, it’s a very well rounded and nice episode. A strange but still solid one to start our list with.

Don’t worry, the rest are better choices.

  1. Littlest Pet Shop of Horrors

Writer: David Shayne

Remember when I said I had a Halloween in July thing planned for this year? This,..isn’t what my idea was, but it’s a nice bonus. And yes, this is our official Halloween episode…which aired in November. I’ve ranted on this before but seriously guys, get your shit together.

Also, I’d like to point out that the closest to a Christmas episode we had just called it “The holiday season” and didn’t do anything too specific, yet the Halloween episode goes all out. Weird, usually it’s the other way around.

As for our plot, you know how many times now I’ve commented on how a lot of shows lately have been doing their own take of Simpsons’ Treehouse of horror? Here’s yet another one! Yep, Blythe and the pets hold a scary story contest on Halloween.

This episode is simply fun, the most enjoyable episode in the season. Others are written better, but I had lot of fun with this. I have a soft spot for this format, which is why I keep praising takes on it.

This one will be hard to explain because…it’s funny. You can’t go deeper without spoiling all the jokes. But I can try. Now, this episode does admittedly having minor pacing issues. See, there’s actually 4 stories instead of the usual 3…AND a subplot with Roger being so Jet lagged he mistakes all the costumed kids for monsters.

When you this, you run the risk of making it a mess, and while it mostly works, it does lead to some bits feeling slightly uncooked. And as funny as Roger’s plot is, you didn’t need it and the end to it is abrupt. Funny for that reason but still abrupt.

Only one story really suffers from it, but we’ll get to it. The odd thing is, the pacing wasn’t a big issue for me outside of that, because I was having so much fun. That’s a sign of a good episode. Let’s go through the stories.

Blythe goes first, and let’s get this out of the way:

Applejack

Yeah, that happened. Moving on! This story has the pets becoming zombies. This one starts the episode right with some good jokes about how they became Zombies. Not creepy though. I mean, when Penny Ling asks if it’s supposed to be scary, you screwed up. At least Vinnie and Sunil found it scary.

Next is Russel, and this is the weak one I mentioned. A bat arrives at the pet shop. Everyone crushes on him. Russel thinks he could a vampire. Song. The end. Yes, it literally ends right as the song does. It gets no time to really do anything interesting, and without the song it would have no reason to be here.

Hell, even Pepper says the song felt gimmick-y. Amazing song though. I think what makes it is the funky beat, combined with creepy organ. Such a fun song. But yeah, the weakest one. And the creepiest part is how Blythe is in love with Vlad too.

Ew. But hey, I’m on Team Vlad too. (Can’t let a modern vampire story happen without at least one Twilight reference)

Pepper gets my favorite story, which is a Misery parody with Penny Ling as the crazed fan. See Kirby, this is how you do a kid freindly Misery parody. They manage to keep the creep factor, while making it kid friendly by not making too disturbing.

I just love the idea of this one, and Penny Ling as a crazy fan is scary as it is funny. With the horror of it all, Pepper should have fun. But instead the winner is Sunil’s Frankstein parody with Vinnie as the monster.

This one has the best jokes (“His first invention…color!)”, and is arguably the best due to that. Along with Buttercream’s amusing cameo. The in between stuff has good jokes to, including that great Pepper line.

This one is just good creepy fun. Each story has at least one very funny moment that makes it worth it. Even the pointless subplot earns some laughs. (“I go through worse stuff than this everyday. I eat airplane food!”).

What brings it all together is the atmosphere. The music and lighting makes this one suitably creepy, and helps each story become even better. If it didn’t go all out like it did, it wouldn’t be as good.

I can’t go too much further as I feel like I quoted too much already. But trust me, it’s good. This episode manages to get past weak pacing with good jokes. Each story does what it needs to do, as even the weak link has a great song.

And honestly, other shows have paced through TOH style episodes worse. (Looking at you, Sanjay and Craig).

There really isn’t much to say. I hate covering Comedy episodes because all I can do is say it’s funny. But you get the point, this episode uses it’s format to tell mostly fun stories with good atmosphere, and a fun song.

It has pacing issues, but makes up for it by being so much fun. It’s certainly one I’ll try to put on every year. …Okay, we can move on.

  1. The Tortoise and the Heir

Writer: Guy Toubes

Yep, we’re going to the start of the Season, which really started the Season with a bang. There’s actually plenty to talk about this one. The basic plot has Blythe worry about what she’s gonna be when she’s older, and a an old Tortoise that visits the pet shop ends up helping her a bit.

Before we go any further, I have to cover my biggest problem with this one. The sole reason it’s not higher. See, Blythe talks to Youngme about how sometimes the pets can be a bit of a distraction. Then she randomly sarcastically says she’s gonna stop talking to the pets, and Vinnie only hears that part, making the pets worried.

Have I ever told you how much I hate this kind of misunderstanding cliché? Because I really hate this cliché. It’s often contrived and you always know what’s gonna happen, which takes out any drama.

And here they try to tie it into a deeper plot, but they could have done it with the misunderstanding stuff. And the pets find out the truth about halfway through, very abruptly and they drop it. If you’re gonna resolve so quickly, why even have it here?!

If I didn’t hate this cliché as much as I do, I may have been less hard on it, but here we are. The point it has could have been made without the lame cliché. The only thing I can give it is htat Russel does try to confirm it with Blythe instead of just jumping the conclsuons, another misunderstanding just happens.

But it’s still lame, and a thorn in the episode’s side. Otherwise, I really like it a lot. For the small things, I like Speedy Shelberg. Not only is he further proof Samuel Vincent is a great voice actor, but his forgetful yet energetic nature makes him very enjoyable and likable.

There’s other amusing moments like the imagine spot with the pets in the future, but this is a more story focused episode so let’s talk about that. Remember how in my look at LPS, I went into my theories as to how Blythe get her pet speaking powers to begin with?

This aired the very day after I posted it, and guess what? We find out she got it from her Mother. That’s right, after 3 seasons of not mentioning her, we find out a ton about her. For one, her name is Lauren, nicknamed Betty.

I’m not sure how you get Betty out of Lauren’.

But more importantly, she could talk to pets too, and owned Speedy. I always found it refreshing that they never brought up Blythe’s Mom at all, since sometimes that kind of thing can be a crutch in ‘Kid moves to new city” cliché, which the pilot is all about.

But when they do it go into here, it’s really well done. If you are wondering, she seems to be dead. The way they talk about her implies this, since any other option opens too much questions. Granted, there’s still stuff we don’t know and that’s part of that Season issue I mentioned.

After this, Betty/Lauren becomes more of a plot device and they don’t explore her any further even in the finale, or the episode where Blythe writes a story about her and Roger. But that’s not a problem with this episode on it’s own, so we can move on.

We still don’t know where this power comes from, and how it kicked in so randomly, but ah well. This is an odd comparison, but when I thought about it, it reminded me of how in That’s So Raven, her powers are never explained but just run in the family.

…Wait…her last name was Baxter…and she was kind of a fashion designer. …Moving on!

Through Betty, Blythe goes through the themes in this story. Wondering what you will do in the future is incredibly relatable. Or so I hear. I totality haven’t gone through this, especially right when this episode aired. Nope.

In the end, she learns she has plenty of time to worry about that, and what she’s doing now will suffice. Simple but effective. Especially with how they tie it into Betty. It adds a bit of depth and sweet-ness to the story.

It makes the episode more well rounded, than if either element was done on it’s own. It’s pretty engaging as it is. This episode really started the season right, introducing a lot of elements really well, while still telling a good story.

It even has tons of callbacks, as it pretty much starts with the pets fighting over if they should watch Celebrity Faceplant or Shake a Leg. This show really is surprisingly good with that kind of continuity.

While that big cliché drags it down, this episode still manages to be pretty great. It has a releatable conflict, combined with a big reveal of a series mystery and combines both to create a well written narrative.

Although it has it’s contrived bits, like how Speedy happens to have her journal, and how he can fit so much crap in his shell to begin with. But it’s still great. Usually when I put an episode like this on a list, it’s mostly to it being significant, more than it being one of the best told stories.

But I do like this one for the story too. Even taking the Betty thing out of it, it’s still well done story with a lot to like. That surprised me quite a bit. Overall, this is certainly a strong way to start the season, even with small issues.

There’s a tortoise pun I can end this on, but I can’t think of one. …Next!

  1. Littlest Pet Street

Writers: Guy Toubes and David Shayne

…Yeah. We jumped from the start, to the finish. ‘The finish doubling as the series finale, to boot. This should be…fun. Now, those who follow me can predict the typical reason this is only number 2, but honestly, there’s more to it.

For the finale, the obligatory big event that the Season sent up happens, in this case it’s te opening of Littlest Pet Street. As you would expect, complications arise, especially when they eventually get stranded on an island.

Oh boy, strap up because I’ve got stuff to say. Now, when a show is canceled, the finale tends to be criticized more, because it couldn’t get the proper finale it deserves. Finales in genre get judged more harshly, because this is the end. You have to go out on a good note, and resolve everything you need to.

But in cases like this, it being the end was forced on them. Yes, they could have planned for this given this is Season 4, and you have to be really popular to go beyond 4 Seasons. But still, you can’t judge this in the way you may judge normal finales.

I do get the frustration, not getting everything in a finale sucks, no matter what the situation was. But honestly, even on it’s this has problems as a season finale. A lot of the stuff they set up was not payed off.

Most notably, Blythe’s Mom amounts to one small comment, and The Biskits only have a non speaking cameo. There’s a subplot in part 1 with Twombly thinking Fisher will sabotage them but they srop it once we find out the Biskits are just hanging in Bermuda…for some reason.

Seriously, there’s no explanation for why they just happen to be there. I like that they addresses complaints and didn’t have them in the finale like the last two, but it actually makes sense this time!

They set up the Biskit’s Mom and did a sweet thing with it, just like with Blythe and did nothing with it. This wouldn’t be a problem, if the other finales didn’t have everything they set up. Expo Factor went into how Blythe was going up in the world, and Pet Fest went into the human/pet thing and both had sweet songs about it.

This doesn’t do that as much. It’s not a deal breaker, but something to notice. Hell, there’s no sweet song this time. We only get one and while I like it, you can’t have a finale like this without a sweet song, even the one part Season 1 finale did that!

I think some people may bash it too much for this stuff, especially if they forget this wasn’t meant to be the finale. But yeah, this is still a minor issue, and not having the more complex stuff from the season, means the story has to be simpler.

It works but it’s not quite as epic as the other Season finales. Actually, It’s the Pet Fest woks better as series finale, as it sums up the theme of the story, gives everyone something to do, and ends with the Biskits and Fisher being in their good state.

Oh, speaking of which, Fisher’s final real role is in Two Peas in a Podcast (I love that title) and in it he’s in his bad mode, trying to advertising LEPS, and appearnlty hates who he was as a young lad.

So he’s bad for good, got it. The Biskits finale real role was in “Paint a Picture, It’ll Last Longer”, where they ask Blythe to paint a picture for their grandmother, and even with some bitch-y in most of it, the ending scene is them hugging their grandmother after giving her their little present.

…So they’re good for good. Also ,D’AAAAAAAW.

Figured I’d point that out. Anyway, before we go on to why this is on here, I should mention the only actually scene I don’t like. Zoe must pretend to this celebrity cat for reasons I’ll get into, but bumps into…Dr Handsome Face.

Sigh, yes. She blows her cover when she remembers how he insults her singing, and gets pissed at him. …You know, they used an episode to pretty much fix What’s in the Batter, and The Biskits got better to make up for Guilt Tripping.

But with Unvetted, they used to make a good episode just a bit weak. Just….ugh. ANYWAY, why do I like this despite everything? Well, on it’s own it’s a lot of fun. The story is simple, but it works with the direction it goes on.

I can enjoy a good lost on an island plot, and it’s done well here. It makes the plot unique since it has a similar set up to other episodes. Actually, fun is why this one works. It’s more focused on humor than the other finales, which works.

As pointless as Twombly’s subplot is, it’s still my favorite part. Her going crazy over trying to stop Fisher is just hilarious. This is Even of Destruction levels of awesome crazy Twombly. Even when they drop it, she still gets her funny moments.

While she didn’ther own episode in the end, she at least went out still being the best character. Although Roger is close, since he went out doing something sweet. The pets making a mvoie also gives us funny moments, especially when their movie becomes Pets on a Pane.

And yes, they do make a reference to it’s most famous line.

I’ve had enough of these Rootin’ Tootin’ pets on this Rootin’ Tootin’ Pets!”

A Hasbro show technically made a reference to the F world …10/10, best episode ever.

Through this, we have out guest pet, a cat named Felina Meow who is a superstar bitch, who learns her lesson. She’s cliché but has her okay moments. This thing is plenty of fun to watch, with everything that goes on.

But it has it’s nice moments too, which leads me to the big twist. Blythe finally reveals her secret to Roger. The funny thing is this was teased in the previous episode, and I predicted this may happen. I love it when I’m right.

But there’s an extra twist: He knew all along! Yep, he didn’t tell her since he figured she would reveal in time. He doesn’t even find it weird because it’s another way she’s like Betty. Yeah, he knew her secret too.

How did he figure it out, and when did he do so? …I don’t know. As cool this is, it’s rather rushed and a bit forced. But I can let it slide since it’s really sweet to see. It’s nice to see them being sweet one last time.

And I bet they wanted to go into more detail in the next season. Yeah, writers should stop assuming another Season will happen, it usually never does. But yeah, this is nice, as is the ending itself.

The final shot is of curtains closing. Very fitting. While the big epic sweet stuff of previous finales would have been nice, I still like this. The plot is engaging enough, and has enough comedy to keep my entertained.

And to be fair, it has better character balance than some other episodes. Each pet has a funny moment, and they do so something notable to help the plot, along with Blythe. I’d argue this is better done than in Expo factor.

At least there’s that. Now you see why this was number 2. As good as it mostly it, it falls short compared to it’s type, then what I picked for my favorite. I typically don’t pick the obvious epic one for my favorite, but I do genuinely believe that as an LPS episode, my favorite is slightly better.

Actually, this would have been lower without the extra good bits I mentioned…and the bad part of the previous episode on the list. Despite all this, I swear I like it. I just to mention the bad parts because it’s important, and I’m a critic so I hate everything, even mars bars.

And aisde from the Handsome Face cameo, nothing is bad on it’s own. It’s all solid and very enjoyable. The plot is cool, it has sweet moments, and is just a lot of fun. It may not be the ideal finale, but I think it was a good note to end on.

After all, the show wasn’t always about epic plots or anything like that. It does it’s own thing and relies on comedy a lot of the time. So in it’s own, it’s a perfect ending, even if it’s not. Overall, it’s a blast from start to finish and ended things on a good enough note.

I just wish it was number one, so I could do my goodbye speech here, like with Phineas. Ah well. So yeah, good enough finale.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Pump Up the Panda (Eric Rogers): I really respect the moral about body positvity and all that,and I like how both major plot deal with it. Although it is on the Anvilicious side, and I’m not always into this kind of stories as much as others. Still, a very respectable one, and was a great palate cleanser given it was after Un-vetted.

The Tiniest Animal Store (Guy Toubes): The concept alone is good, and the structure makes it pretty much one big journey to a hilarious punchline. A bit typical in places, but still quite funny. Also, Roger’s cameo was freaking hilarious.

Game of Groans (FM Demarco): Lame title aside, this is a fun ren faire plot that ends up being a solid story with a good atmosphere to it. Plus, decent Blythe plot with further Josh Sharpe development. Yeah, he appeared a lot this season, and now he’s officially better than Flash Sentry. Yay?

It’s a Happy Happy Happy Happy World (Eric Rogers, story by Julie and Tim Cahil ): I really like the structure with the pets ending up all over the city, and it’s tons of fun. But I think the ending could have been better, as it’s slightly rushed as it is. If that was fixed, it may have been on the list.

Petnapped (Guy Toubes): Time to explain .My main issue is that Youngme’s connection with her pet she gets could have been better. They meet and she already feels that connection, instead of it happening gradually over the course of the plot. It’s not a big deal, but still a problem. Otherwise, it’s nice and a lot of fun with the nature of both plots. Also, it ends with Vinnie nitpicking the previous scene. Nice. Also, this came right after Guilt Tripping, so I was extra pleased by it being mostly very good.

And my personal favorite Littlest Pet Shop Season 4 Episode is…

  1. Steamed

Writer: Nick Confalone

…Okay Nick, you win. You are officially forgiven. Actually, this episode makes me forgive almost every writer on the show who has helped contribute to one flaw with the series, but we’ll get to that.

On the outside, this doesn’t seem like the best choice for number one. The basic plot isn’t anything too complex or new (even to the series), and others provide more obvious great-ness. But this has one element, done so well that it almost gives me tears of joy. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Twombly is opening up a Coffeer shop for people and pets on Littlest Pet Street but of course, things go wrong, the most notably problem being that they need some baristas (Or Pawrisstas as they call it. Boo), which they may get…in the most unlikely place.

We have to address the less interesting parts before I start gushing. The main cincept has been done previously in episodes like It’s the Pet Fest, but it works okay here. It’s always fun to see things go wrong, then right in this context and they put in some things to make it different.

Like how Sugar Sprinkles latest song makes Pepper emit a Coffee scent that attracts customers. Weird, but still amusing. Although Snipmates still had the best Sugar Sprinkles appearance ever..

SUGAR SPRINKLES SMASH!”

The song is pretty nice. Not the best, (nor as good as her ditty in Snipmates) but still fun. If it stuck to being about this, it would be fun but nothing special. Especially with one of the weaker guest pets in Fuzzy Gumbpaws, who just annoys Russel without realing feeling bad for nay of it.

In the end, he only ends up being good because he inspires Sugar Srinkles to the song, meaning he’s only good when he benefits them in some way. I can let it slide because he’s not too annoying, and his voice amuses me.

So as you can imagine, another element makes this one great, and that would be the Biskit’s role in this. Oh boy, there’s a lot to talk about. It begins with Fisher wanting them to get jobs. This was his first format appearance this season, and he’s good.

And this aired the same day as Two Peas in a Podcast, where he was bad. They’re just trolling me at this point. Anyway, he does this at the request of their mother. Yep, this was Elica’s Debuet, and her introduction is….interesting.

First, she comes in with dramatic lighting, making her seem like some sort of intimidating figure. But she opens her mouth, and sings happily. This on it’ own is a hilarious misdirection, but it gets better.

You may have a lot of questions, and they ….kind of answer them. Just look at what happens next.

‘Mother, where have you been the last three seasons!?”

You mean Summer, fall and Winter? Well, I’ve been in the East Wing with a dreadful headace since summer”

…I guess that makes sense?”

.Yeah. I’m not sure what to say other than….yeah. This show isn’t one to break the 4th wall. It’s learned on it a few time. Hell, the episode after this has the Biskits comment on how weirdly proportioned their bodies are.

Huh, between this and their shtick in Hamster Hoods, I think the Biskits are aware we exist and are thus and the smartest characters in the show. That’s…creepy. Anyway, everything about this part if hilarious…but it kind of doesn’t need to exist.

I mean, when I heard The Biskit’s Mother would appear, I figure she and Fisher were divorced or something. That makes perfect sense. So they pretty much contrived a dumb thing for them to lampshade!

…But it’s so funny that I don’t care. It does explain a lot. I mean, if you’re Mom was off sick and you’re only parent around keep changing his morality, you would be messed up too. Anyway, as I said before, I really like Eliza. Her nature is a lot of fun, and she’s even better here.

Mostly because of the novelty of her debut, and being with Fisher, who is a bit more no nonsense. I do find it odd we have good Fisher given their mother is enough good Biskit-ness for one episode.

They balance that out, when she has the twins NOT take the job they get. This was all about acing the interview to learn a lesson. She says Biskits don’t do work. This is kind of odd with how she is before and after.

This proves once and for all that not deciding on your morality runs in the family. Before I move on, I should comment on another small issue…the editing. Let me explains. The Biskits get the job at the coffee place, but we don’t quite see that.

They can’t find anyone else and while the Biskits failed the interview due to being Biskits, they show that they know how to work the cofeee machine, and Twombly figures that’s gonna have to do. She says that and the next scene, The Biskit Twins says they got it.

We don’t exactly need to see every step, but it does feel like there’s a small scene missing. Later they go their on opening day, after having quit and after stuff happens, we cut to Fisher and Eliza outside commenting on this.

Where did they come from? Maybe they drove them there, but why would they allow them to go the place they were told not to work out? Maybe they pleaded with them but the way it’s presented makes it kind of confusing.

It’s not a big deal, but it’s clear some parts were cut for time. I had to point that out since it would be dumb to do it after I gush.

And it’s time to do that. As I have spoiled already, they apply for a job at Pawrissta’s Coffee as it’s the only place hiring. And also like I said, they get the job due to being their only hope. However, Eliza tells them not to take the job for reasons I explained.

This…kind of makes them sad. Because they actually liked that people thought they were good at something for once. They found something they are good at, and people like them for it. Granted, they phrase in a rather Biskit-y way but it’s clear they like being accomplished like this.

This, along with them being sad over having to quit, would be enough on it’s own. But we’ve down this road before. Like in Door Jammed when one of them just goes back to normal, to keep up appearances. And especially Grounded, when we get some of the best writing I’ve seen from this show, along with the best song…only for them to be bitch-y at the end, ruining it.

That one really bugged me. I still call it good for the good parts, but it’s so painfully obvious that executive meddling forced that ending on this. It did have story by credit, so it’s not unlikely.

If that one was fully realize, it would turn the Biskits into more interesting characters, and create something special. So of course, this one makes the same mistake? Well, as I spoiled again, they go there as costumers, but the line is slow because they settled for Madison.

Christ, they should have called this the Shanon Chent Kent episode.

They take matters in their own hands, and end up being very good, to the point that decided to just say screw it and work there for this one day. Fisher and Eliza see this and while they wonder what got into them, Eliza seems to be okay.

And….this is where it ends….This is an episode where the Biskits show a good side…and are good at the end of the episode, while still keep their mean side to an extent. ….No single letter can describe my joy.

Not even incoherent happy ramblings can sum it up. Remember how I said one element almost gives me tears of joy? This is it! It sounds silly, but think about it. We have a story where the Alpha Bitches are indeed jerks for the most part, but find something they are good at it, and are reconized for their talents.

They are saddened when they have to quit but in the end get to enjoy the job anyway, feeling quite accomplished for once. Isn’t this far more interesting than typical Alpha Bitch stuff, or them just going back to normal in the end?

We all know things will be reset at the start of the next episode. You don’t need to a dumb cop out that ruins the story to show that. In some cases, it makes sense to keep your change even though it will go away.

In my examples, you could have them keep their lesson, yet still have be their normal selves. Hell, Door Jammed kind of did this. It could have been shown slightly better, but that was their intention.

This further proves Grounded was forced to have it’s ending, because this is the same writer, Corey Powell. On it’s own, this is very nice to see. Seeing is not only refreshing, but makes for a very solid and well done story, that leaves you with a happy feeling at the end.

But think about it further. The writers have struggled with various things, and have learned with what works and what doesn’t. They’ve fixed most of the problem the shows had, to varying degrees.

The Biskits has been one such example. They were fine in Season 1, but Season 2 was mixed with them mostly being just bland villains rather than real characters. And when they started to get better, they screwed it up as I said.

Season 3 was much better, and even ending on a good note. But that’s more of a step in the right direction than anything. Then up to this point, they got even better with Senior Day showing they are so nice to their Grandmother, that she praises them quite a bit. They were kept to a minimum in Spendtrhity, and again showed an okay side in Snipmates.

…Then came Guilt Tripping, which almost seemed to show that they did not learn their lesson and everything was only a fluke. This not only did this happen, but they still passable until the end. Go Figure had them wanting to get Fisher a birthday present, and their finale role ending with a very sweet moment with them.

The writers had finally fixed their biggest issue, and showed that they CAN listen to criticisms and learn their lesson. This is the episode that showed that the most, with how well done it is. This may not seem like a big deal, but it is for me.

So often shows like that don’t learn anything and keep making the same mistakes. Sometimes they can fix their biggest problems, but usually this won’t be the case, and it’s not always for shows on this level.

Especially with an element that doesn’t seem important, like an Alpha Bitch. MLP almost got better to an extent, but you know the problems that came with Diamond Tiara’s redeption. But hey, better than just keeping her a bitch.

Between this and Gravity Falls, I think writers ar finally learning that you can make them more compelx. But this episode shows you CAN have both. Shows don’t want to fully develop some characters because they think it will ruin what makes them enjoyable or interesting. And sadly, they can be the case.

But here, they did do something good, but they are still rather bratty in general. They are good deep down, they just have a funny way of showing it, and they show more and more all the time. Their final appearance showed this, as they only made Blythe stop painting so their gift can truly be one of a kind.

On it’s own, this is a fun episode that is also the best written Biskit appearance yet, proving they can very interesting, even with minor editing issues. But in a sense, it shows how someone can learn their lesson despite it seeming like they always go back to making the same mistake.

It also shows you can have it both ways, while not being lazy or just bad at writing. Wait a minute, that first first applies to the Biskit Twins as characters, and the writers. Whoa, this is more meta than I intended.

It’s not the most obvious choice, but no episode from this season gave me more joy than this one. I don’t care how typical the main story, or the slight issues, I flat out love the stuff they got right.

Maybe I seem crazy but this is how I feel. Steamed isn’t perfect, nor in my Top 5 (currently at number 10 now, which is still not bad) but what it does right it almost downright amazing in a meta sense.

Plus, it’s just a nice little story, and the show is good at those. Like it or not, this is why Steamed is my favorite episode of Littlest Pet Shop Season 4.

And those were my favorite Littlest Pet Shop Season 4 Episodes. Perhaps not my favorite season, but it had it’s great moments, as I just proved. It was mostly a nice season to go out on, and heck, it ended up by fixing it’s more consistent problem. It sucks that had to go like this, but ah well, stuff happens.

So ends Littlest Pet Shop. In the end, it’s in the B tier for me, not being great, but still good enough with plenty of great-ness on displays sometimes. I only really looked into it, since I feel it got neglected or wasn’t treated fairly sometimes.

While it didn’t quite stand up to MLP, it ended up being fine in it’s own right. And when you look at it, it could be better in certain elements, especially with the Alpha Bitches, as I went into.

It showed that even if something it’s quite as good as what it came from, it can still work. It was hit or miss sometimes, but at least they got better in some areas. It’s one of many shows that I think proves that the good elements of a work are worth getting through the weak elements.

Yeah, the writing wasn’t always consistent and the modern setting can make for dumb reference, but the character were often solid (backed up a great voice cast) and the often great humor made the writing work.

Great songs helped too.

It was mostly just a ‘Good” show I happened to overthink (especially if Fisher Biskit is involved) but I will admit it kind of has a special place in my heat, with what it could do. It has one of the best bullying stories I’ve seen in a recent kids show, and same for the critic story.

And now it has one of better written Alpha Bitch stories out there, at least of this type. (Shanon Chen Kent said over on Twitter that Biskit Twins might be her favorite characters that she has played. I now see why). Maybe it’s good it ended here, because maybe they would screw it all up. We’ll never know but as people say, it’s best to end before you become certain shows I can name.

4 Seasons and 104 episodes is enough, as they told most of the stories they could, even I wanted to see a few. It won’t go down as one of the all time greats, but sometimes being good is fine as long as you try as hard as this crew clearly did.

There isn’t too much else to say. Sad to see another show go, but at least it didn’t flat out end badly. And again, it ended by showing that they can improve. Littlest Pet Shop was never my favorite, but hey, it was still good.

Really, I’m more sad that Discovery Family has dug themselves a bigger hole…but more on that some other time. Actually, I’ve now gown into most of their well known shows, and two of their Hasbro proprieties.

I think it’s time the even more unknown member of this family got the spotlight. So check in eventually for A Look at Pound Puppies!

Until then, I make my leave. Tomorrow I look at pets again, joy.

See ya.

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General Review: The BFG

Hello, Spongey here.

Weekly Play by Play by reviews may be over, but general reviews are just starting. Seriously, get ready for a lot in July, provided I have enough to say. 4 of the 5 Fridays in July have a film I wish to review in some way.

Let’s hope I don’t pull an X-Men again. Let us begin this month with something I was hyped for by it’s pedigree alone. There’s not to much to say besides the basic facts though. Way back when I was younger, I read a book in school called, by Rolad Dalh.

I also ended up watching the 1989 animated adaptation. And as a kid, I quite enjoyed the story. I have no idea how it is as an adult, but clearly there’s appeal due to the fact we have a new version to talk about, from Disney.

I was hyped when this was announced, because I am always open to another telling of a story like this, to see what they can do. But mostly because it was going to be directed by Steven Speilberg, and written by the writer of E.T.

I don’t know to say why this sounds great, do I? I will admit I havent’ seen as many Speilberg movie as I’ve wanted to, but the few I’ve seen are solid enough to make me want to see this one.

BY the way, where the hell is our sequel to Tin Tin?

So far, this has been getting decent reviews. Nothing crazy, but people seem to enjoy it fine. There…really isn’t too much to say. It’s an adaption of a book I recall enjoying, by a famous great director.

Do I need to say more? I don’t think so, so let’s see if this is a big friendly giant, or if I’ll want to shoot myself with the other kind of BFG.

This, is The BFG

Orphan Sophie gets taken away to Giant Country by a friendly giant who she befriends as they set out on an adventure to capture the evil, man-eating giants led by the Fleshlumpeater who have been invading the human world.

Yeah we’re going with the format I used in the 10 Cloverfield Lane review. The main reason is that there are two characters worth talking about, so a whole section for them would be pointless. And this movie is easier to talk about just normally without splitting it up.

Should be a shorter one, so here we go. The thing to note about this film is that it is based on a children book and is aimed at that audience. Children’s books tend to be rather simple,and not exactly as complex as a lot of adult stories.

In general, this is fine. Most kids books like that tend to rely on charm and other stuff like this. Adapting that to film is hard, because you do have to stick to that, while still making a real movie people will like.

Do they pull it off? …Yes. Now, the movie isn’t great, and it has flaws, but fort the most part I did enjoy it enough. I suppose I can start with the production. It’s a Disney film by Speilberg, so it looks pretty nice. I like the design of the BFG’s place with all the stuff he messes with. Giant Country isn’t as impressive but it looks okay. The production is fairly important as you have to belive the giants are really there, including the main one who has to interact with a girl thanks to scaling.

And despite one or two fake looking bits, it’s done very well. They get some good angles and the effects look pretty good. Sometimes it’s hit or miss but as the movie goes on ,it gets better.

I do think it could have been brighter. A lot of the film looks slightly too dark, but to be fair there are a lot of night scenes, and there’s some bright parts to make up for it. And of course, the direction is very strange some classic Speilberg shots, especially the final shot.

As for the writing, the story is simple. Everything I said in the summary is what you get, there aren’t any other arcs or anything like that. And in general, that’s fine. There are some problems I have to get out of the way.

My biggest issue was the pacing. It gets started a bit too early, leading to some slow moments. It picks up, but then goes down at a certain point. I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t read the book or saw the other movie, but something that happen that really causes the film to slow down.

To be fair, there’s some humor in this segment so if you find it funny like the people in my theater, you won’t mind it. But as amusing as it could be, I was just wondering when they would just get on with it.

The film is well over An hour and 40 minutes, which I think was a mistake. A simple story like this doesn’t need to be so long, and it drags in a few places. Most of my problems stem from that, and the nature of the film.

Meaning some of it’s subjective. Some won’t care about it being simple at all, while others will ask for me. For me, I didn’t mind it due to what they did right. If I had to sum the film up in one word, it would be “Charming”.

This is very charming family film. It’s all about Sophie and the BFG so they had to be done right, and that is the best element. They have good chemistry, and they have plenty of charming moments.

The charm is helped by the general well it’s made. The writing is fine enough but the acting and such help make it work better. As I said, only two character really matter. We do have the evil giants, and other minor people, but they are just there for the plot, and only the leads get major development.

Which is fine, but that means there’s more pressure to get them right. Thankfully, they mostly do. Sophie, played by Ruby Barnhil, is a decent child character, being smart when she needs to be. The actress is solid too, even if she is a bit too “proper” in some spots. But the real highlight is the BFG himself, played by Mark Rylance.

He’s instantly likable with his nature, and the actor does a really good job making him charming especially when he’s bonding with Sophie. The actors for those other characters do well enough.

Speilberg films are known for being cheesy and a bit too cute sometimes, and I bet those people will not like this one. There’s a lot of “Sweet” moments and attempts at being charming. I know some people may not really care for that.

But I mostly thought it was fine. My favorite parts when the two were just bonding, as they have good chemistry and that’s where the sweetest bits come from. The heart does pull this movie through, as it came close to losing me at some points.

As I said, there’s nothing complex here but the BFG does have a small backstory that adds to his character. I’m not sure if adding more stuff like that would helped the movie or not, but perhaps it would, I don’t know.

As it is, it mostly works. There really isn’t to much else about the specifics at all. The film boils down to a charming simple story, and your view in how you will feel about that kind of thing. Oh, and since I don’t remember enough of the book I can’t say if it’s faithful, but it feels mostly accurate.

Most of what I recall from the book and other film is there, including the drink that makes you fart. Yeah .No song this time though, sadly.

Overall, The BFG is certainly not perfect with how it can be too simple, and overlong with pacing issues. But it makes up for it with how charming it is. The main relationship is well done and has a lot of heart to help make it cute and charming.

I can’t say I loved it, but I did enjoy it, even with it’s flaws. Heck , I even liked the abrupt ending as it ended on a nice enough note. I can see why some people would not like it, due to not being too crazy or complex, but I think it’s charming enough to be decent.

As far as a recommendation, I’d say this is for people who want a simpler charming story, and something to take your kids to that you won’t hate. If you want anything more, at best you should wait til you can rent it.

As for me, I thought it was fun. Nothing special, but charming and mostly decent.

Grade: B

Sorry this was a more rushed one, but while I had stuff to say, I didn’t want to go all out as my thoughts aren’t as complex as with others. Hopefully you enjoyed this anyway. Hope you enjoyed this unplanned Spongey bomb, don’t get used to ,next post will be in a slight while.

As for the next general review, tune in next week to look at some pets. …After I do a list about pets.

See ya.

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