Hello, Spongey here.
I just did a TV Review a couple weeks ago, but I’m doing another so soon because it’s something I want to do before we move on with this series. You’re already interested from the title, I bet.
So it’s time to talk about Littlest Pet Shop again, but sadly not in the way you all wanted quite yet. Don’t worry, a Season 4 List is coming to say goodbye to the show. But there’s something to get off my chest first.
If you need to a refresher on LPS, you can read my post on it from last year, as I went into plenty of detail there. But in short, it’s no MLP, but it’s still good for various reasons. In general, there was only one episode from the series I flat out didnt like.
Sure, some were problematic or not really good (Littlest Bigfoot, Fued for Thought etc), but I only truly disliked “What’s in the Batter?”. But that one still wasn’t THAT bad, and honestly my issues were kind of small compared to other duds.
I knew there was a chance of there being another episode I don’t like. …But I don’t think we’d have TWO in one season. Yeah, Season 4 in general was still good, but somehow it managed to produce two episodes I don’t like.
To be fair, one took me awhile to decided I don’t like it, and the other took me awhile to pin down the real issue with it. Usually, I would just keep it to myself and go over it on Deviant Art and the like.
But after thinking about it, I decided that these episodes needed something a bit more…formal. So I’ve decided to review them. That’s right, we’re doing a double feature. We’re reviewing two episodes today in my normal style. It’s a two for one, as the Biskits would put it.
Normally, I would just do the one that gives me more to say but I think the other needs to be looked at, to really compare them as it does get slightly more hate. They both also happen to represent two common reasons episodes can be weak, which one you dislike more kind of shows your tastes.
So…yeah, this is going to be different. It’s not even like either episode is so bad I just HAD to do it. Well, sort of, just without the SO BAD, part. It’s something I wanted to do to really get it off my chest.
I may do more double feature stuff in the future, so consider this also a chance for me to test that format. The subplot thing was also a test, I suppose. So here we go, let’s look at two minor failures from LPS and see where they went wrong, and how they compared to What’s in the Batter.
First up: This is Un-vetted
Writer: Nick Confalone
Wait, isn’t this the guy I said was my favorite new writer from MLP Season 5? And this is his LPS debut? Ouch. Well, he get better as we’ll get into some other time. Now, I can’t waste too much time here for our first one, we’ll technically skim this one and go deeper into the other as usual.
We’ll be skipping the subplot here, because it’s fine. Blythe hears that Mona Autumn got inspiration from spending a year on a Mountain. While Roger won’t let her quite do that, he does let her do it from one night and tags along. Yeah, Blythe is a bit dumb here for wanting to do this, but in general the subplot works.
It has amusing moments, it’s interesting to see them try to survive out here, and it has a good moral on how you can put a positive spin on a bad experience. Nothing great, but passable compared to the main story.
Because we begin with the subplot, the main story begins right before the intro, with Zoe telling Blythe Twombly is taking her to the vet tomorrow. Then after the theme, we get some subplot. Pacing, what’s that?
The next day, Twombly has to drag Zoe right to the bet, which happens to be right on Littlest Pet Street. Don’t ask, long story. I get Vinnie or Sunil being afraid of the vet, but with Zoe it’s a bit weird but whatever.
The vet is a rather eccentric guy who hits on Twombly. Creepy, but also weirdly cute. Too bad nothing comes of it. The vet has a dog who introduces himself as Dr. Handsome face. Yes, that’s his actual name.
He claims to be the real pet vet here, and he’s..
“You have a fever of 200 degrees Ferret Height”
Not too bright. But for Zoe, it’s love at first sight so she doesn’t notice. Yeah, this is our big joke for the episode. Like a lot of jokes, it’s amusing at first but gets old really fast. After more subplot, Zoe tells the other pets about him and the girls think he sounds great, and the boys are clearly jealous.
Again, doesn’t amount to much and it’s not even that funny. But yeah, Zoe likes him but she can only see when she goes to the vet, which only happens for check ups…or when she gets sick or hurt, as Vinnie points out.
“Vinnie, you’re a genuis!’
“Those words, just don’t go together”
Okay, that was funny.
“Who wants to help me get hurt?”
Yep, this is our main plot, Zoe pretending to be sick or hurt to see a doctor who is an idiot, but she can’t see that due to how hot he is. That’s a neutral idea, can be good or bad, while the other eps I don’t like flat out have good ideas.
But the execution is sadly not very good, as it makes Zoe look pretty stupid, more so than usual in these love plots. Trust me, it starts out fine then gets worse. Because reasons, the pets help her fake sick at first. To be fair, from their POV, it makes sense as they don’t know Dr. Handsome Face is stupid.
The thing about this plot, is that it’s comedic. Meaning if you find this funny, nothing else matters until the end. That means I let it slide more than my early issues with the other eps. For me, I find it hit or miss at first, then it just starts to lose me.
Zoe’s visit is cut short, and she is sad about it. So sad, that we get a song. Yep, we have a song in this one, called Can;t Give up, which features the subplot as well ,as Russel sings about the danger they are in while sings about missing Handsome Face.
This comes with a montage of her getting “sick” and worrying Twombly a lot. To be honest, I really like this song. The singing is great on both sides, the main joke is rather amusing. Zoe is saying not to give up, while doing something dumb, while Russel eventually does just give up as it goes on.
And the flow is very good too. Not quite in my top 15, but still very good. Although this is where the main joke with Zoe starts to get old a bit, and still shows a major problem. After the song, Zoe’s next visit takes awhile, so the other pets drop by to see what Handsome Face looks like, ontop of seeing how Zoe is doing.
They see him asking Zoe to be his nurse, which she thinks sounds good because he’s hot. Okay, you’re starting to lose me a bit. Hopefully the pets can knock some sense into her.
“Dr. Handsome Face is the love of my life. He’s my…dare I say it, soul mate! And if that means I have to leave Littlest Pet Shop Forever…so be it”
…And you’ve lost me. That’s right, Zoe is going to leave all her friends, for a dumb dog she barely knows. Okay, Zoe isn’t always exactly as logical when it comes to love interests, but this is some serious Flanderization.
Before I can let some of this slide for the sake of humor, but this is realllly pushing a joke. There’s an art to make the whole plot of an episode a joke, an art Nick sadly didn’t master in this one.
Even logically it’s flawed. So to work for hm you gotta leave forever? You just can’t be with him as a part time job? Granted, that would be odd for a pet but still. I’m pretty sure the vet doesn’t live there, you know.
They don’t even hand wave this, they forget logic for the sake of a joke that messes with a character. That’s bad writing.
After the subplot wraps up, the pets cry over Zoe leaving. This just makes her actions worse. Blythe comes in and is told about what happened. Naturally, she runs to the vet to set her straight. Oh yeah, Zoe is kind of leaving Blythe too, someone she likely cares about just as much as her friends.
Even with Blythe here, Zoe stands by her choice. Blythe says he’s not even a real doctor, but Zoe doesn’t care.
“But we’re a perfet couple”
Okay, even when Blythe uses logic she won’t listen? I know love is blind, but I didn’t know it was just THIS stupid. Zoe isn’t Vinnie, she’s not this stupid! She has to listen to reason at this point, especially with how she barely knows this dog.
Then she sings a bit, which upsets Dr. Handsome face.
“What was that horrible sound?”
“…I was singing”
“…Your horrible singing is a result of an acute throat disorder”
“Listen, you empty headed, no nothing, pathetic excuse for a very Handsome dog! You’re not a doctor! A real doctor would have heard my amazing voice and proclaimed Diagnosis: Fabulous!”
And this when the ep went from losing me, to becoming a big fat dud. Not only does Zoe fall so hard in love she can’t tell he’s stupid, then tries to leave her best friends to be his nurse, even when they plead for her to come back, but she only leaves him when he insults her singing.
In other words, a pretty selfish reason. Yes, he was a jerk about it, but that’s clearly not Zoe’s problem here. Him being a jerk was just there as a lame excuse for her lashing out. This is just straight up character derailment.
“Now if you’re excuse me, I’m leaving with my real friends, who appreciate my amazing singing talent”
…She just straight up said only people who like her singing are real friends. Just..wow. This is the kind of thing that destroys a character. If this is what she’s like according to this writer, why should I like her at all?!
Back at the pet shop, they are happy to have Zoe back, even if she sucks now. Russel gets sick from his mountain adventure, so he has to go the vet.
ZOE: Maybe I should come along too!
The end. So to recap, Zoe falls so hard in love she can’t tell he’s stupid, then tries to leave her best friends to be his nurse, even when they plead for her to come back, she only leaves him when he insults her singing, says only those like her voice are friends, then is willingly to come back showing she’s learned nothing.
….This is still Litttlest Pet Shop, right? I mean, it is more of a comedy than a moral show, but it usually knows how to mix those element. It’s not like SpongeBob where characters are flexible, and just randomly change for the sake of a joke.
But yeah, that’s the episode. Will give final thoughts at the end, since its’ cover easier to cover both. But yeah, that was not very good. Can it worse? Let’s see with our main event, Guilt Tripping
Writer: Adam Beechen
Wait…Adam Beechen? Didn’t he do Alligators and Handbags, my favorite episode? …Ouch. The odd thing is, he hasn’t done an ep since way early in Season 3. He’s currently one of the main guys behind Transformers: Robots in Disguise, so I thought he left rthe show. Then this came out…and he did nothing after this, making this his LPS swan song.
Double ouch. We’re going in more detail with this one so buckle up. We’re skipping the subplot again, but I’ll address it at the end because it has a problem that plays into the main story.
The episode starts at school, with Blythe running in the halls in a desperate attempt to be at class in time. Her hurry makes her bump into people, causing a domino effect, leading to Britney and Whitney Biskit falling over and pulling the fire alarm by accident.
They happen to outside a class, so a teacher comes out and thinks the Biskits did it on purpose as a prank. They say they didn’t do it but of course, he doesn’t believe it. We then get a short montage of their past excuses for causing trouble.
“Aliens made us do it”
“That kid in the ugly shirt made us do it”
“Aliens in ugly shirts made us do it”
Okay, that was funny. Mr. Barish think they could possibly be suspended for doing this, which makes sense as they are repeat offenders. Blythe starts to speak up, but they stop her as they claim she will just make things worse.
Okay, I’ll give them this, they did make it so the Biskits are why Blythe couldn’t even speak up at the start, but I do see their point, sort of. Also, there’s no reason Blythe can’t speak up anyway, since when did she listen to them?
“Daddy’s the harshest punisher ever”
If he was, you to would act waaaay better.
The Biskits are sent to the prinpcal’s office, and all because of Blythe. Okay, this is a GREAT set up. It’s a perfect scenario and one that could lead to good development on both sides. Since I’m here, you know they botch it up, which sucks because it could have been so good.
After the theme song, everyone celebrates the Biskits possibly being gone. Calm down, it’s only a short suspension. Also, from this you can tell this will by like What’s in the Batter, where the episode itself has a low opinion of the Biskits, which in context is a problem.
“As long as Whitney and Britney are suspended, school will be paradise. Except for the school part”
Blythe tells them the truth, but they are still happy.
“Justice is exactly what this is! Think about it, How many dirty tricks have Whitney and Britney pulled on you, on all of us, that they were never punished for?”
Eh, they sometime get punished, just not too badly. Plus, they are so over the top and never affect you personally that you shouldn’t take them too seriously to begin with. And it’s not just Youngmee and Sue, even random kids are partying. As in,confetti appears and a kid has a party cannon. (I see what you did there).
That’s a bit overboard, they aren’t THAT bad, and in general people don’t seem to care about them either way in most episodes. But more to the point, I’m with Blythe. It’s not justice if they didn’t even do it.
After the subplot begins, Blythe and Youngmee are walking when Blythe randomly forgets that the Biskits aren’t there and respond to them like she normally does. Yes, right away she starts seeing things, and is this guilty over it.
That’s pretty much the main thing the episode consists of. Same thing happens right in the next scene at lunch, and the scene after that in class with Blythe talking to people who aren’t there for a bit.
This right on the line between sad/creepy and funny, for the time being. This kind of feeds into the big problem with the episode, which you’ll see fully at the end. Just remember that this is the main joke of the episode as it were, there’s not much else other then Blythe going crazy from guilt.
“Don’t their desks look like their staring at me? Accusing me? STOP LOOKING AT ME!”
Yikes. For a first viewing, this is engaging due to what is happening but this will all look worse later. Blythe talks to Mr. Barish and it turns out the Biskits were only suspended for a day. It’s been 3 days.
“I asked Principal Morris for more, but he was afraid Fisher Biskit would sue again”
So, he’s the type of guy to see over his girls being pushed, seemingly rightfully. Interesting…oh sorry, I’m now programmed to analyze even mere mentions of him.
They called Fisher and he apparently said they weren’t ready for a school environment yet, and are “receiving treatment”. Yikes. Blythe’s got pretty good reason to be worried right now. Blythe talks to her friends about this, but they still don’t care and just make fun of her.
Their role in this episode to make Blythe not want to tell the truth, or she’ll ruin everyone’s happiness. This is incredibly contrived. Blythe should be worried for the reasons established. She can have this reason for not telling the truth, but you don’t have to hammer in.
And yes, Blythe’s friends don’t care at all about how Blythe feels, their happiness over someone they don’t like being gone over something that is Blythe’s fault is more important. What great friends you have. Isn’t Jasper the kind of dumb jerk-y one? He’s not even in this episode!
Blythe goes to the pet shop and bumps into Pepper, as she’s having her own guilt issues in the subplot.
“But as bad as my day is, I keep imagining how much worse it must be for Whitney and Britney”.
Then we get a song, called The Guilty Tango. Yes, both of these duds have songs, oddly enough. And I like this one even more. It has a unique style, not unlike something you’d see in Chicago (the movie, not the …city). Blythe and Pepper sing really well together, and it’s a nice dramatic song showing how they feel perfectly. Even the animation is good with the lighting.
…Too bad this kind of plays into the big problem later, just like the other guilt scenes we’ve been seeing. It’s unfair to be harsh on a song because you dislike an episode, but this plays into it’s flaws more than some others.
Oh, and they mention Alligators in the song, to remind me of a better episode I could be watching.
The next day, we have a scene that’s actually rather interesting. Sue says the Biskits wouldn’t feel guilty if they were in her shoes.
“Well, maybe that’s what makes what makes me different from Whitney and Britney”
This bit is rather important, given the ending. And they are right, but here I think they are saying that Blythe should feel guilty to show why she’s the better person. Although I bet they may feel guilty eventually, I mean they feel bad about screwing up the pet fest that one time.
With that, Blythe confesses to the principal. That easy almost too easy. Just keep in mind that there’s not much variety in the plot up to this point, meaning the whole relies on that one thing they do being done right.
To really show she’s sorry, she’s gather all of the Biskits homework and says she’ll force herself to help them do it all.
“…sounds like a worse punishment than anything I could ever give you”.
Don’t have anything to add that, it just further shows how bad Blythe feels about all of this. Then comes the scene I’ve been building up to. I should sate right now that you shouldn’t get your hopes…down.
Usually when I do this it’s really, obviously bad. But this, may take a bit for you to realize the problem. It’s not quite as bad as you what you have imagined from what I’ve been saying. But trust me, this is where the whole thing falls apart.
Blythe goes to the Biskit Manor and finds out that the Biskits are indeed there, safe and sound. Blythe tells them what happened, and apologies for everything, showing how bad she feels.
“He just enrolled us in a military-”
“A Military SPA. We were ordered to relax and think about what we’ve done”
“And we did relax, but we didn’t think”
Before we move on, I have to nitpick this. I’m not sure if this fits for Fisher. I mean, he typically isn’t too harsh, as in Winter Wonder Wha, the next we see them after he catches them, they are relaxing, clearly not punished.
But at the same time, we’ve seen him punish them before, so this is just further proof the writers have no idea what to do with him. And this is the writer hwo introduced his good side to begin with!
“And now we totes get the perfect revenge, seeing you feel all guilty over our non punishment!. Wait til we tell everyone at school tomorrow how Mondo Dorko you looked!”
In anger, Blythe shows them their homework (which is a ton for only 3 days, by the way).
“What are those?”
‘The joke, and it’s on you. These are the assignments you missed, and I’m the one the turor that’s gonna catch you up on them, no matter how long it takes”
Biskits scream, end main plot. ….Oh boy, where do I even begin. Well, first off, no one has ever said Mondo Dorko, ever.
It took me awhile to even know what the problem is. Because it seems not that bad at first. Blythe has raged at the Biskits for being this bad before…granted one time was the issue with that episode, but you know what I mean.
And to an extent, I can see someone defending this more than Zoe’s crap in Un-vetted, and why the writers maybe didn’t see the issues. The idea of a Blythe punishment becoming a biskit punishment is kind of clever, I guess. Although I bet the Biskits whining would still make this bad for her, especially if it takes forever due to them not being the smartest on their own.
There are two major problems here. First up is how contrived this is. They make the Biskits nastier than usual just to make their punishment justified. What’s in the Batter had the same problem, only this is worse on a story level.
And look, the Biskits are pretty bitch-y in general but they go more overboard than usually. Even a Merriweather Williams episode wouldn’t have them mock Blythe like this. There’s no hint of them feeling sorry for her at all .Blythe pretty much missed them in a way since she was the reason they got suspended.
They wouldn’t be all sympathetic right away, but they aren’t even given a chance to be. Again, go back to It’s the Pet Fest to see them clearly feeling bad for something. According to this episdode, the Biskits are so bad they mock Blythe for rightfully feeling guilty, and should be punished harshly by Blythe.
Which would be fine…if that was true. At this point, we’ve seen that they can be good, or at least not so bad. They aren’t horrible monster who never do good at all. Hell, the episode RIGHT BEFORE this one has them liking something Blythe made, and helping her take down someone who was wronging her.
They were still pretty Biskit-y but that’s an example of them not being too bad, and it being right before this one makes this stand out more. The other problem is that this makes the whole episode pointless.
I guess it’s supposed to be ironic, but ending a plot on a joke is risky as it could ruin the whole thing. Especially if it’s a dramatic plot like this. I’m going on too much, so I’ll say more in the final thoughts. But just remember the nature of the episode up to this point and what Blythe had to go through.
The final scene deals with the subplot, so let’s recap that. Pepper breaks Vinnie’s lucky rock, and goes crazy because he tries to think of a punishment for her. This is similar to the main plot, with it mostly being Pepper feeling guilty and really showing how sorry she is, and trying to get things over with, with not a ton of jokes.
And a friend, Sunil in this case, making jokes about all this. Blythe arrives to see the ending play out. They have gathered for Vinnie to give Pepper a punishment. Her punishment is…to apologize.
“I didn’t want to do anything mean to you, Pepper. You’re my friend, and you made a mistake, that’s all”
Pepper apologizes and even fixes his rock to show it. Vinnie lets her keep it.
I agree. This is quite good, actually! It does things better the main story, and finally gives Vinnie some much needed development. This all works out fine. At least one plot turned out well.
“Besides, I have a whole sack full of lucky rocks!”
“You’ve got a…sack full of lucky rocks”
Pepper laughs crazily, the end.. …..You couldn’t even let the subplot end well, did you? This might actually be worse, as the Blythe ending wasn’t this…stupid. You made Pepper worry herself for NO REASON in the end and made Vinnie incredibly stupid…and kind of dickish!
Now the whole episode is flawed, great. Freaking wonderful. Ugh, we’re done here.
Un-vetted is a classic case of butchering a good character. Sure, it has it’s amusing moments, and an okay subplot but it doesn’t make up for the big problem here. The concept is weak in itself but man is the execution weak. At no point is Zoe reasonable at all. In other plots like this, she learns her lesson naturally in some way.
Not here. It’s all one big joke, and no one learns anything. Zoe is so bad here, for all the reasons I went into. She seems like a stupid, rather conceited person (er, Dog), which is not good at all for this kind of show.
Guilt Tripping is such a waste of a good idea. It also has it’s moments, and on a first viewing it’s mostly fine until the ending, but on repeat viewings it’s now worse. As I said, the ending makes it all so pointless.
Look back on the episode. The whole thing is just Blythe going crazy due to being guilty. Apparently she didn’t need to be rightfully guilty cuz they were just gonna be assholes earlier. What was that they said about the Biskits nature being a reason for Blythe needing to be guilty?
I suppose in some situations this could make sense, but in this show with how the Biskits can be, as I went into. I’ll give them credit for them showing her going to the principal is a good thing, as it’s the most morally right thing here.
I don’t know what the moral is here, as a dumb joke ruins it all. That’s a big issue, this dramatic plot comes down to a joke. The subplot makes it even worse. At least Blythe’s ending almost says something, Pepper’s ending is just cruel!
After thinking about it, I realized that all this is indicative of a bigger issue with both episodes, argubly. The tone. This show is mostly good at mixing story and comedy. Yes, it’s lighter than MLP, but it can be story focused and knows when to do either, and when to mix them.
Not so much here. Un-vetted is one big joke, and a bad one that ruins a character. It’s a risk that did not pay off. Guilt Tripping spends most of it’s time trying to juggling both, but the overall product makes it iffy. Blythe worrying like she does is meant to be funny and interesting but thanks to the ending, it’s neither. Mostly because that’s the focus. Both plots have very little outside of their main ideas, making the ending even more important.
If one plot did this, it would be fine, but both of them being weak? Yikes. The odd thing, I’m not sure if the main plot’s ending should even bug me as much as it does, so I can see why someone may not a mind it. But no one can defend the subplot’s ending. You can try if you want, I guess.
In the end, both episodes were a mistake with their execution. They betray part of what makes the series work in different ways, and have too many problems for my tastes. Now, which is worse?
Eh, that depends on you. Un-vetted has a weaker ending and idea and has a more obvious and worse issue, so if that kind of thing bugs you more, you may hate it more. However, Guilt Tripping screws up the tone more due to trying to be more serious at the start.
It ends up being more pointless and confused, while Unvetted at leats sticks to what it does all the way through. It’s also more of a straight comedy, meaning you can excuse certain mistakes because Comedy writers often assume comedy can make up for any problem.
Guilt Tripping’s use of humor is more of a problem. Also, Un-vetted was written by a guy who had not written for LPS before, so I get why he didn’t understand the show a lot. He knew it was more comedic, so figured this kind of thing made sense.
He learned his lesson and really made up for it with his next episodes. Guilt Tripping was written by a writer who has been on the show since the start, and should know better, especially since he can usually write the Biskits pretty well.
So in the end, they are about equal…but I think I’ll call Guilt Tripping slightly worse, as when you think about it, the only thing worse than a very bad thing, is a bad thing with a good idea. There’s nothing worse than wasted potionel.
Before doing this, I re-watched What’s in the Batter to better compare them to these and you know what? These are both worse. That one at least had more funny moments, and it had a better excuse for it’s flaws, compared to these.
Congratulations Guilty Tripping, you are now my least favorite episode of Littlest Pet Shop. Far from from getting high on a dud list, but still the weakest for this show. Un-vetted is close, though.
Grade: C+. When I round it out, this is what I get. Unvetted could be get the plus due to the subplot, but Guilt Tripping does have the concept and the better song. So it evens out to them getting a C+ when combined.
I may have been too harsh, as they aren’t the worst but this shows standards, they have pretty big problems I had to rant on. They are sad blemishes on an otherwise fine final season. At least it ended on a good note, but we’ll get to that.
Speaking of, stay tuned because on July 7th for my Top 5 Littlest Pet Shop Season 4 Episodes. Should make up for my ranting today. Tell me how you feel about this format, I may do it more if you think this was done well.