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!”
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.
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.
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.