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Mistakes... They happen! They are frequent, they are an inescapable part of life... some mistakes are hard to tackle, some of them can haunt you for the rest of your life... some of them are fatal and can end your life and every single thing you hold dear... but the true value of a person's will isn't judged by their mistakes... it's how far they're willing to go to fix their problem... it's about if they have the ability to face their problem head-on... it's about if they can learn and grow from a problem and take a stalwart step forward... even the slightest step up from a mistake can be a great sign of growth...
I am AstonLevy, aka... BlackMoonPaladin, the reviewing warrior of the night... And as for me, I've made mistakes on DA, that's also inescapable... and I want to fix one of them and in the future do a better job on some of the reviews that I'm not proud of... (Including a couple of my early Star vs. Reviews) So as a start... I've decided to correct one of the Loud House episodes I've reviewed back in August... April Fools Rules! With Fool Me Twice approaching quickly, I've decided to revisit my 4th least favourite Loud House episode and re-examine it... I think my original AFR review was a fairly decent one... but I do acknowledge that it could've been better... You gotta understand, this was during the time when the worst list project was really, really, creatively draining me... The depression hit its zenith on that day... the day I wrote that particular segment was the worst possible day for me to write... at that point, the project went on for far too long, I was procrastinating on my writing because I couldn't stand watching so many bad Loud House episodes back to back... I hit burnout... and because I wanted to get the third journal out to you guys soon, I forced myself to write the AFR passage when my heart wasn't in it... That was a mistake... it made me rush, it made me miss things while proofreading... and instead of explaining its problems more clearly, I got too fixated on the problems of Luan Loud herself and neglected certain other things that I should've mentioned... I feel like I could've done a better job describing what I didn't like about it... I made it all about Luan and I treated her like she was the only thing that was holding it back... that wasn't fair... it's not just Luan that makes this episode bad... She's part of theproblem... but not the whole problem... in fact, I'll be upfront and say that there was another problem with April Fools Rules... One problem that was just as fatal to the episode as Luan was... And I don't want to leave any regrets behind, so I'll explain it to you... I'll take off my rage-goggles and be as analytical as I can possibly be... even though I still don't like Luan Loud or this episode. But there's nothing wrong with an opinion, the only bad thing about an opinion is how its presented.
April Fools Rules is a very divisive episode, and now that I have a longer max word-count, a sharper mind, a more relaxed attitude and a much firmer grasp of what makes the episode my definition of terrible, I can finally give it the review it deserves... A smart one! Allow me to bring a brand new background tune for you all to follow along with as you read! Or if you prefer the one from my original AFR Review... fret not... You have the option!
So let's begin! This is the return of April Fools Rules! And this time I didn't use the transcript or the image gallery, I gave it a fair shot and a fair rewatch...
Okay... so where to start? Because there is quite a lot to say...
Like the title suggests, this is an episode about Luan pranking everybody on April Fools Day, and I want to repeat one thing that I said in my original coverage of the episode in my worst list, I like this concept... I like the idea of Luan trying out a bunch of new jokes on her favourite holiday... it seemed ripe for exploration and it fit Luan's character... We've already seen her pulling pranks in episodes like Project Loud House and expanding her pranks felt like a natural step forward for her. The problem with AFR is that the execution fell short in a myriad of ways... the most notable thing about it and the sticking point that makes it such a divisive episode in the community is the fact that Luan's cruelty gets ratcheted up to 11. This was the point that I hammered home in my original review, I mentioned more than once that Luan puts her siblings through a bunch of painful and horrible pranks and showing not only a complete lack of remorse for physically hurting her family but a sense of glee, anticipation, and even nostalgic pride in making her family (and any other unfortunate person who passes by the Loud House) suffer through one painful prank after the next...
The episode made her cruel and heartless, and that turned some of the fans away from her... while other fans ate it up and begged for seconds. But why does the cruelty bother me? Why does cruelty bother me in shows at all? Well... let's delve right into that! Because I like MLP's 28 Pranks Later, which is in and of itself a divisive prank episode... and I also like Sound of Silence... which is a Loud House episode that's despised for most of the same reasons that April Fools Rules has, only Lola's cruelty was seen as too far instead of Luan's... so why does AFR fail and these episodes work? Well, let me explain.
The thing about cruelty that you have to understand is that it doesn't always make a character inherently unsalvageable, a villain character like say... Dabi from My Hero Academia is the right kind of character for something like cruelty, he was built to be evil... but he also has a strong, devil may care personality... he was laid back, he was cunning, he was unpredictable, he had a hidden agenda... and the manga implies that he sees problems with the world and its law... there were facets to him besides just being cruel... Any villain can be a dick but there's got to be more to it than just that... Like I said when I tackled No Laughing Matter, no character should be just one thing... It makes them seem shallow and boring... that's a problem that Luan has but the problem's a bit deeper than that... I'll get back to that in a minute...
When a bad guy is a cruel character we expect them to get defeated/arrested by the hero or we expect his crimes to be avenged... because they're horrible people who shouldn't get away with things... if a good guy or character on the hero's side is cruel and sinister, the general rule is to have them either learn their lesson or receive consequences for their actions... That's a given... we want these things because we feel a sense of catharsis from the bad guy getting his comeuppance... and that's a natural human feeling... we don't want bad guys to go off unpunished in real life, and we don't want bad guys to go unpunished in cartoons either...
But there's another thing that comes from cruelty... and that's how it affects the hero of the story... let's go back to Dabi... In Volume 10 of My Hero Academia, Dabi kidnapped Katsuki Bakugo, who is one of Izuku's closest friends... and Izuku and Shoto (Who was there at the time along with a few other guys) had put in tons of work to save him from the League of Villains (Including fighting this scary-ass motherfucker) and at the denouement of the confrontation, Izuku and Shoto barely miss their chance at rescuing him, they end up failing, and the League spirits him away to their hideout and beyond their reach... Dabi notices Shoto's pained face and mocks him for his failure, needling him at how close he was before departing... and it ends with Izuku crying out in agony... and naturally, I sympathize with both of them... and that's the lighter side of cruelty... it paves the way for sympathy for the people facing said cruelty. Shoto and Izuku tried really hard and lost a trusted ally... so I ended up feeling bad for them...
And Sympathy is a powerful tool that can be used to make stories all the more better... with sympathy, we grow to like a character, it can be used to help us understand a character, sometimes we relate to how their feeling, we know their pain, their emotions, we get their struggle and what they believe in or fight for... and all these things breed empathy and makes us like the character... but sometimes sympathy can have the wrong effect on a show or episode... sometimes sympathy can turn me away from a character... case in point, we're back to April Fools Rules... and this is one of the problems that bothered me a lot during the episode on my rewatch of it...
Lincoln is too likeable...
I know, right? That's a rather odd complaint, isn't it? But it's what stops me from laughing at the episode or rooting for Luan. They made Luan too cruel... and they made her too sadistic, that's a problem... but it's not the whole problem... the thing is that because they made her pranks too extreme, I don't feel like laughing with her... I don't find innocent animals getting shaved to be very funny, I don't find her throwing shit at her parents and a 4-year old to be very funny... because it's going too far... and instead of making me laugh with Luan... it's making me sympathize with her family instead... Like, let's think about what Lincoln does in this episode... His goal was just to not get pranked... and when he found out that Ronnie Anne was in danger, he selflessly sacrificed his body and his ambition of safety to protect her... it makes Lincoln look good but it goes too far... and so when he gets rammed against the stove... or when he gets mauled by Raccoons, or slammed against the ceiling... I don't find it funny... I feel sorry for him... because he's doing this to protect someone he cares about... and I connect with him on that... so it makes it crushing to see him get abused like this by a madwoman who's getting off on his suffering and drinking his tears... it makes me connect with Lincoln and it makes me want to root for him but in exchange it turns me away from Luan. Instead of laughing with her, I'm disgusted by her heinous actions... and when a character I like is getting shit that he doesn't deserve from a character who's happy that he's getting shit... it makes me mad at the character who's giving shit.
Picture this scenario...
A little girl (Who's about 7 or so) is frolicking through the snow and having a good time... out of nowhere, a teenaged boy whose name she doesn't even know comes out of fucking nowhere, with a snowball in hand... and starts violently mashing said snowball in her face, not throwing it at her, pressing it maliciously in her face while she's pinned on the ground... would you find the boy's actions funny? Would you like the boy for that? No... it's not funny. It's fucking sadistic, you'd get mad at that little shit! Because what asshole teen would pick on a little kid he doesn't know for fun?
And that's how Luan's actions make me feel... She's the asshole teen mashing snow in a helpless child's face... And I end up feeling sorry for everyone involved...
Other shows offset this problem of making the victim too sympathetic by making the victim of cruelty unsympathetic as well... or the victim gives the person being cruel a reason or motive to be cruel... like if the victim did something cruel first, the cruel person can retaliate to give consequences or teach the victim a lesson.
Case in point... Sound of Silence.
In Sound of Silence, Lincoln thought that the house was too noisy, so he bought noise-cancelling headphones... at first he was justified in doing so... but he overstepped his bounds... and cancelled out everything, including his sisters who were simply trying to converse with him and not bother him at all... he got arrogant and thought "Fuck it! Why should I listen to my sisters at all? I can just ignore them as much as I want!" making him unsympathetic, it's one thing to want quiet but another thing entirely for him to ignore everything his sisters say... he started out wanting silence but became a recluse... So when Lola and everyone else gets even, it's cathartic... because first off, he brought it upon himself... and second... he learned that ignoring people has negative side effects... and that it's not fair for him to ignore his family altogether... That episode made him deserve what came to him.
April Fools Rules doesn't do that... it makes Lincoln a kind man out to save his family and ending up with a shiner and his eyebrows gone... but Let's get to that summary first, sorry to keep you waiting with all that technical talk...
So the episode begins with Lincoln literally expressing that "Every year my sister Luan creates a prank apocalypse and no one is spared!"
And what follows is about three minutes of the show explaining exactly why Luan celebrating April Fools Day is a bad, bad thing... they establish that she shaves her pets, they establish that she plucks Lori's eyebrows and that it took a month to grow back... they establish that she traumatized Clyde with birds when he just wanted to visit Lincoln... they establish that she almost drowned them in Jell-O, and they establish how fucking scared each and every Loud is of Luan's pranks... and I feel very sorry for them, they didn't do anything to deserve this either, they're scared kids, they never hurt Luan nor did they commit any kind of sin in this episode. (And yes, I'll get to the cage-scene, don't worry about that!)
And Lincoln, the man with the plan decides to hide in his room and avoid getting hurt, which after what I've seen in the flashback, is the correct decision... the only problem is that Ronnie Anne is coming over and Lincoln rightfully fears that she'll get hurt if Luan pranks her... and he also fears that Ronnie Anne will attack him just because someone else inconvenienced her...
Quick rule of thumb... don't make a character that needs to be saved out to be some asshole or dick... it kind of defeats the purpose of wanting them to be saved... because if a character is unsympathetic or unsavory, why should you want them rescued?
So what Lincoln does is that he asks Clyde for ideas, and one of Clyde's suggestions is to in the episode's own words... "Appeal to her humanity. Beg if you have to!"
So Lincoln does just that, he literally begs Luan for help and tries to appeal to her generous nature...
Her response? Well...
Lincoln: Luan! You gotta call off Prankageddon! Please! Ronnie Anne is coming over tomorrow and I can't let her get pranked! Luan: Okay. Lincoln: Really! Wow that was easier than I... Luan: APRIL FOOLS PRACTICE! Lincoln, you know the April Fools Rules. Anyone who sets foot on our property is fair game. Speaking of which, is Clyde coming over? 'Cause I'd love to just say HAY!!![chuckles insanely]
So not only do they make Luan to be a character who's happy that she flat-out traumatized Clyde... but now they're establishing her as someone who's completely unreasonable... Lincoln tried to appeal to her and failed... and now she's gonna prank Ronnie Anne knowing full well that it will bother Lincoln... in fact, if we jump to the ending for a bit, we learn that she set all this stuff with Ronnie Anne up just so she can prank him and concoct a situation where she forces him to sacrifice his body and physically hurt himself...
And it makes me wonder... why?
Why go to the trouble? Why is Luan doing this at all?
And I think that this was the missing piece that should've been in my first review... I don't get why Luan is even going this far... I get why she likes to prank people... because it's April Fool's Day and she likes to celebrate it... but why is she shaving the pets? Why is she proud of siccing angry birds on Clyde, who she barely interacts with? Why is she happy that she scared her own six-year old sister into peeing herself? And why is she pulling this elaborate convoluted prank to make Lincoln hurt himself for Ronnie Anne? Her intensity and clear lust for pain are never explained in either installment of the April Fools duology... and I feel like that's what makes Luan all the more frustrating, I don't feel like her "Getting carried away" is the answer, nor do I think that "Because it's fun" is a viable answer either... You don't shave pets for fun... if you delight in traumatizing people and manipulating them for fun, then you have a serious problem... the problem with Luan besides her cruelty is that they give her no reason to be cruel to begin with... if she was carried away, she wouldn't be sadistic and angry, she'd be overexcited and bouncing off the walls happy... she clearly knows that she's hurting people... and she's fine with that, but I don't understand why that makes her happy. It makes her motivations feel inexplicable, especially considering how her character up until this point, was very soft, kind and easygoing... which makes the whole plot feel contrived... which makes Luan feel Out of Character as a result.
And that is not a nitpick... Character motivations are important as fuck... Why? I think my Bounce Lounge review sums it up best... Take it away, me from July 2017: "If the character motivations don't feel real, then naturally, I don't find anything believable. Without proper motivations, I can't suspend my disbelief to believe that the characters would even be in this situation... because none of it adds up."
Those are my thoughts on Luan's sadistic attitude, I don't see why she would be so cold and cruel to her brother, and I don't see why she would be happy about hurting people, or what she would gain other than a sick thrill that she theoretically shouldn't be enjoying... she seemed like a nice girl in other episodes, and she wasn't built to be evil like Dabi was... she was built to be a sister that Lincoln could count on... she was fine with helping Lincoln in Project Loud House, she wanted to protect him in Heavy Meddle... those episodes show that she cares about him...so why is she so mean and insensitive to him here? What kind of sense does that make that she's willing to fight for Lincoln in Heavy Meddle yet she'll manipulate his emotions and bully him in this episode? It's confusing enough to make me...
And now I'm dead... not really, that was a joke.
They try to give her a reason for being a dick... (Emphasis on "try") but it ultimately falls flat on its fucking face.
So seeing that Luan is beyond talking to... Lincoln and the sisters decide to trap her in a cage... and after shoving her inside, they then proceed to laugh at her and use her puns against her, Lincoln even throws her own words back at her...
Luan: LET ME OUT OF HERE! Lincoln: Okay. Luan: Really? Wow! That was easier than I... Lincoln: APRIL FOOLS! We aren't letting you out until April 2nd!
And it's cathartic... because she's getting her just desserts... but not really... she gets punished... but then she breaks out and proceeds to prank them anyway... and it causes another problem...
You see, going back to that thing I said about Lincoln deserving what came to him in Sound of Silence, the thing is... is that this scene fails at making the other Louds deserve what comes after they trap Luan in a cage... yes, they laughed at her... but does that make them worse than Luan? No... and that's the problem.
When two cruel characters are being cruel to each other, we naturally root for the lesser of two evils... and they fail to make the Louds bad enough to make Luan justified in pranking them... Because the Louds only did what they did to protect themselves from physical harm at Luan's hands... not to mention that Luan presented herself earlier to be completely unreasonable, as shown when she refused Lincoln's pleas for mercy... and when words can't dissuade someone from doing bad things, the only logical step is to use force... this scene justifies the Louds instead of Luan, instead of feeling sorry for Luan, they make her too mean, which means I find catharsis in her getting mocked... which makes me root for the Louds, who only did this out of desperation and fear. The cage scene also comes too late as well, if they showed the Louds being cruel to Luan from the start and got me to sympathize with her, then I'd feel sorry for her and want her to get back at them... but they made her too caustic and unlikeable at the start... which makes her punishment feel deserved, so it completely fails at giving her a good motive for being nasty the next day... because instead of justifying her, it justifies the Louds... and even worse, she'll go on to punish the innocent Louds for trying to defend themselves from harm!
Also, this scene is kinda pointless when you really stop to think about it, Luan was already going to prank them the next day... and if the text that Lincoln received is any indication, she already was going to manipulate Lincoln before the Louds fought back... so the cage-scene doesn't really have any impact on Luan's behaviour... because she was going to prank them anyway. If the cage scene was at the end, it'd be a happy ending... because she gets her just desserts... but she got punished too early, making her renege on what should've been a lesson.
So in conclusion, the cage-scene was too early to be the catalyst for Luan changing and too late to be the inciting incident for Luan's cruelty.
Then the pranks happen, leading to the things I said about feeling sorry for Lincoln being manipulated and beaten black and blue... and the pranks aren't funny either... mostly because they interrupt the action periodically to have Luan make a pun... the scenes were fast and fluid but then the flow is halted for an unfunny joke. Comedy is built on speed and surprise and the pauses take me out of the action, interrupt the fast pace, take away the surprise because her puns are predictable and divert me away from what's supposed to make me laugh... it's a hindrance more than an asset in my opinion.
There was one funny joke... to be absolutely fair... it was when Leni was an idiot and says "Thank you, sign!" as she walks into town... but that joke has horrible implications, I'll get to that part.
Then Luan revealed that she set all this up just to laugh at Lincoln for being selfless and kind... and once again, it's horrible, random and feels out of place... and that doesn't sound like something that Luan would laugh at... and it bothers me that she would be so heartless towards Lincoln for no apparent reason... (Remember, she set this up before the cage-scene) and I end up hating her because I feel too sorry for Lincoln.
But I will give credit where it's due... Ronnie Anne throwing the pie at Luan was a nice gesture... and it does vindicate Lincoln's turmoil... but only like 1% of it... I say 1% because it doesn't bother Luan at all... she doesn't learn from it... she's not even inconvenienced by it... she's chill... and instead of learning how much she hurt her family, she's still sadistic and cruel, which they showed me in Fools Paradise, where she proclaimed she'll make next year even worse.
The ending fails because it only solves the immediate problem of Lincoln suffering on that day, not the larger problem of Luan being sadistic for no reason.
Let's compare that to MLP's 28 Pranks Later... in that episode, Rainbow was on a rampage similar to Luan's... only she wasn't sadistic about it... she was being a smug dick... and she was hurting her friends... they tried to talk to her, but she wouldn't listen, and while her friends tried to tell her what she did wrong... she took it the wrong way and began to prank everyone, including innocent bystanders... they tried to talk to her three separate times but she wouldn't listen to reason... and she kept on compounding her crimes by pranking everyone in sight... not to mention that she used children for her own gains and point blank lied to Rarity's face... naturally, they dropped the hammer on her, it wasn't out of evil, it was to teach her what it felt like when she pranks people cruelly... The other 5 Mane 6 did what they did out of necessity, Rainbow was unreasonable, so they used force, and when shown the error of her ways, Rainbow apologized, made amends and even demonstrated that she learned her lesson. 28 Pranks Later solved the long-term problem, not the immediate problem... and the Mane 6 were justified because they only wanted to help Rainbow and not hurt her...
Luan on the other hand, was shown the error of her ways and learned nothing... she was shown that her siblings hated her pranks and wanted her to stop... instead of evolving and learning, she continued to be a heartless person at the end...
Like, the last thing I see in this episode is Luan making this smug, satisfied, and totally carefree, shit-eating grin... immediately after ruining the inside of the family's own car with paint... (That's not gonna come out of the upholstery easily by the way) pranking people who weren't even trying to punish her... all they wanted was to find Leni... their missing sister/daughter, who could be god-knows-where by now... and once again to reiterate, the last thing to cap off the episode is the person who caused all the problems making a snide, shit-eating grin and having herself a good old laugh...
And that's supposed to be a satisfying ending? It ends with Luan coming out on top? After the episode did everything in its power to make her least likeable person in the experience? After she failed to learn a lesson? After she manipulated Lincoln's emotions, gave him a black eye and instilled fear in the hearts of her siblings at every possible turn? And after the episode completely fails at providing any sort of motive for her doing so?
Not a chance! She's the farthest person from deserving it in this episode. I get what they were trying to do... I understand what this episode was going for... they wanted to end it on a joke... but in this case, the joke of Luan pulling pranks has run its course... and it doesn't do anything to alleviate the staleness of prior jokes because they cut the flow... once again... for another unfunny pun... and it effectively showed me that Luan has learned absolutely nothing from the entire adventure. The whole adventure felt more or less pointless to me... because, what was accomplished in this episode? Nothing much, in my opinion... Luan didn't learn anything, clearly... She didn't do what she did for Lincoln because that doesn't explain why she was a dick to everyone else if she only wanted to make him look good in front of Ronnie Anne, especially to the parents that didn't do anything to her... nor does it explain her cruelty in previous April Fools Days (Like, I said... what the siblings did was justified and only to protect themselves and she was gonna prank them anyway, regardless of whether they retaliated or not) Ronnie Anne had one moment that worked... but did it improve her character? Not really... It's kind of hard for me to forgive her when her very next episode has her admitting point blank that she would blow Lincoln off directly after calling him out on doing the same thing in Dance Dance Resolution, making her a dirty hypocrite... and several things that bothered me in Shell Shock... and making Lincoln wait several days outside her house just to prank him and laugh at him in Back Out There.
And as for Lincoln... well, he didn't really learn anything or develop either... He was already selfless when the episode started... He technically has a happy ending, sure... but the very next year, he's running for his life in a ghost motel from his own sister, so in the long run, he didn't really gain anything either... all he got was a pyrrhic victory, his eyebrows shaved off, his foot jammed into a bucket (I mistakenly thought he had a limp in my original review) and a black eye... while the person who inflicted said black eye and stuck foot ostensibly gets off scot-free.
The ending itself bothers me because they don't explain what happened to Leni, that might actually have been a really funny joke if they showed her in a silly place thinking it was the kitchen... but instead of joking about that, they waste 5 seconds on Luan asking me if I get the joke of feeling blue after painting a car's insides blue... but instead of a funny joke, it just makes me worry about Leni... because who's to say that Luan didn't have yet another horrible trap waiting at the end of her signs? And once again, instead of making me laugh at Luan luring Leni into the city, I just end up sympathizing with Leni and feeling worried about her... because Luan's treatment of Lincoln tells me that Leni isn't safe... and that's not including the fact that Leni's own idiocy is now in a wide-open space with no one to keep it in line... Meaning she could inadvertently fuck herself up.
My mind hasn't changed... this episode maintains its 0/10... and I still consider it one of the most depressing lowpoints of Season 1. I understand the episode's appeal... I really do... It's eclectic and fast paced, (at least to everyone else) it gives Luan screentime and it has some sadistic atmosphere to it... and for some that could come across as refreshing... but what good is atmosphere if I don't like the story? What good is comedy if it all feels the same? What good is Luan's portrayal if the entire episode turns me away from her?
I hope Fool Me Twice is good, I really do... I never want to hate a character... I never wanted to reject Luan... not even after April Fools Rules, she has potential, she even had one good episode... (Funny Business), but what's she's doing right now isn't working... her jokes are getting old, her episodes are becoming samey and they're reusing the same concept as this episode in Fool Me Twice... this is her fifth episode and instead of going somewhere new, they're reusing the same concept from her first episode... and if you have to reuse the same concept three times in your fifth episode... your character is doing something wrong...
I hope you enjoyed my re-review of April Fools Rules! And I hope you all at least understand why I consider it to be my fourth least favourite Loud House episode... And if you like AFR, that's fine, too! Tune in next time for when I explain why I like MLP's A Royal Problem!
You know, I've always had a bit of an issue with how AVGN episodes are so infrequent, while Rolfe/Nerd's competitor Doug Walker/The Nostalgia Critic puts out videos every week. But seeing how far from grace Doug has fallen (if he ever had it to begin with), I gotta say...
AVGN may have long hiatuses between episodes, but if that's the price for quality, so be it. I'd rather have well-produced reviews every few months than uninspired messes every week.
You ever notice that a lot of the characters that I dislike in cartoons are dickish, teenaged/preteen girls? (Star, Luan, Mimi, Ronnie Anne etc.) That's kinda weird. I didn't think I'd spend so much of my reviewing career criticising young girl characters. it's just something odd I stumbled upon when I looked over all my old reviews.
The good news is that I'll buck that trend with my next Canada Quest journal, which features a dickish teenaged girl that I think is a really good character.
So I was listening to the Shrek 2 Soundtrack, (Because I love that one Imogen Heap song that was in the credits and I kind of got on a roll from there) and when I got to that sad song that plays when Shrek is disheartened from reading his wife's diary, I remembered that scene, subsequently rewatched it and realized how fucking stupid that scene was.
Think about it, Shrek is reading his wife's diary (Which is a big no-no. Don't invade people's privacy) and thinks he's inadequate as a spouse because he doesn't live up to the princely and exaggerated standards that an extremely young girl had and has clearly gotten over it as a full-fledged adult.
As a matter of fact, this whole thing that Shrek was sad about was already resolved in the first movie! Shrek already didn't feel good enough for Fiona back when he was taking her to Farquaad's Castle in the first film and Fiona was already disappointed about Shrek not being Prince Charming in Shrek 1. The Diary scene is thoroughly crippled because they spent that previous movie with Fiona learning to appreciate Shrek for who he is, not who she wanted her rescuer to be as well as Shrek learning to appreciate himself. So in retrospect, that diary scene now just feels really contrived.
How contrived is it? Well, Shrek feeling like he's not good enough is kind of a moot struggle when you stop to think that the film started with a big, romantic blissful, honeymoon scene. If anything, Shrek 3 had a much better internal conflict for Shrek because him being afraid of fatherhood is much more believable, and has the added benefit of not being a hurdle that was already dealt with in the previous film like in 2.
But the Eels Song (Entitled "I need some Sleep.") that was playing during that scene? Pretty dang good, I must admit.
Kuhtoon's most recent commentary on That Kid Douglas highlights just how black-and-white his mentality can be.
At one point he states that "you either can take criticism or you can't..."
... no... just... no...
A lot of that depends on: * The personas/attitudes of both the person receiving and giving criticism. * What both individuals are going through at the time (e.g. a person under stress might not take harsh criticism as well as under normal circumstances) * How the criticism is delivered. * Whether the points are actually valid, or whether they're faulty, or worse, outright attacks or lies...
I'm sure there are other factors, but you get the idea!
Welcome, my friends so glorious and free, my name is Aston Levy, aka, the fabulous BlackMoonPaladin, the reviewing warrior of the night! And welcome to the first step on a new journey for this page!
As a lot of you are well aware by now because I've said it so many times, I hail from the glorious nation of Canada. I think it's fair to say that my childhood has been pretty different from yours in terms of an animation standpoint, what with exclusively Canadian programming being unique to say the least...
(This and many other ridiculous PSA's would air on my cartoon channels like 12 times a day back in my time.)
So, for this fresh review series, we'll explore the animated shows of my wacky Northern wonderland and put a bunch of them under the microscope. A lot of the shows that I'll tackle from this point forward have a lot of Nostalgic value for me, and were a large part of my cartoon-viewing experiences. My interests were shaped by some of these shows and it'll be interesting to see how many of them hold up from a critical standpoint. Conversely, I'll also be exploring some Canadian-crafted shows that I've never touched before as well, to see some new experiences free from the rose-colored tint of nostalgia, because after all... this is a quest, and I've got a ton of shows to explore and discover.
This review series has no set time limit and no set journal limit. It'll be an ever-expanding ongoing series that will grow and offer more and more reviews over time at its own pace. Not to worry, I'll still free up time here and there to talk about shows from other countries but for now, I just want a break from reviewing my usual suspects like Star vs., My Little Pony and The Loud House. (Although the Loud Sins series will still continue, I'm referring to discussing the show in the form of conventional reviews.)
So where do we start our glorious, country-wide journey? How about something simple? How about a show that I barely ever watched as a kid and hardly liked? What about a show that aired mostly around here and only a few select Canadians would know about or remember?
What about that girl that calls herself Mimi?
"Aston's got a review!"
What About Mimi (or Pourquoi Pas Mimi? en Francais) is a show that was first aired in late-2000 on that little channel called Teletoon that most people don't like anymore, and this is personally heartbreaking for me, because I was old enough to be around during Teletoon's heyday. Teletoon aired some good shit back when I was around 10 years old, (Which we will get to in abundance as this series progresses) and it was my main source of Cartoon Network shows when I was young. At the time, my Basic Cable providers didn't come with a genuine Cartoon Network Channel so a majority of CN's shows were broadcast in Canada on Teletoon, I watched so much Ben 10, Billy and Mandy and Codename Kids Next Door back on those days, I had some great times.
But that's a little off-topic. The show was created by Chris Bartleman and Blair Peters, both of them later going on to be Producers for a lot of shows, including the early seasons of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Littlest Pet Shop; The former even being the executive producer of the very first Equestria Girls movie. But What About Mimi is a special show to Peters and Bartleman, (Peters and Bartleman sounds like a pair of bumbling lawyers in some third-rate law firm...) it's their first, last and currently only original creation they made with their own two hands.
"But what is it about?" I hear you inquire! Well... it's about... Mimi...
Let's take a look at the theme song and see what we're in for, shall we?
Okay, as we can see, it starts with a girl in a rather butch ginger haircut getting into a fair bit of Skylarking, she's dancing on a line of "La's!" she's dancing on a flower, she randomly splits into two different bodies of herself and dances anyway, uncaring of the mysterious power behind the existence of her clone. She spins her skating friend around and throws him into the camera, (When I was like 7, I thought the guy was a girl, he had a very feminine face shape to my younger self...) she dances with her other friend, flowers fall, she engages in a run-by shoving and pushes this dude into an abyss as she runs on disintegrating flowers, she showboats her slick dance moves in front of this kid, whose face suggests that he's really not into this whole dancing thing but when she leaves, he gets into it and does a vigorous air-guitar, like a Tsundere would.
"I'm not dancing because you got me into it, I'm doing it because I felt like it, Baka!"
She gets bounced off a slimy, gelatinous floor by some pink-haired chick who I'm assuming is the bully character, she makes tornadoes out of her disco-dancing parents, and then... Oh my god, that running animation as she goes to the camera is awful! Holy shit, that looks more stunted than a hunchback with a limp.
Then her friends come out of lockers and Mimi does a dance that I can only describe as "Picking invisible things up and moving them slightly to her right." Then title card.
The song itself is actually really catchy and upbeat, the singer has this really smooth and soothing voice and the backgrounds evoke a sort of free-spirited, calm and easygoing 60's vibe, what with the psychedelic backgrounds and flowers ever-present throughout the song's first half. And the lyrics continuously paints Mimi as this girl who can "Make a scene!" and "Change the World if I want to!" Although it's kind of preachy about Mimi's abilities, the theme song holds up. I find it very charming, trippy and relaxing.
Theme song aside, What About Mimi is a slice-of-life comedy show about a young girl and her friends, classmates and family engaging in some good old-fashioned elementary school antics and sometimes wacky shenanigans also occur. It's a grounded and relatively straightforward affair.
And to introduce a new BlackMoonPaladin staple, on this review are the presence of links that take you to the episode I'm talking about itself because if anyone's interested in checking any of these out, it's right here for you! Click the longer links to watchcartoononline.io to take a look and judge the episodes on your own merits!
You know, the funny thing is that I was gonna talk about a wide swath of the Mimi episodes I saw in preparation for this review but I have so much to say about the pilot episode in particular that I'm gonna chop it down to just one because this pilot was that noteworthy... in a terrible way. Fair warning, guys. This review's gonna be a rather thick one. So thick, that I actually had no room to put in my music links.
So let's take a psychedelic seat and strap ourselves in for the fever dream of errors known as...
The Great Campaign:www.watchcartoononline.io/what… (Second Honeymoon aired first but this one's the actual pilot. The page says it's Second Honeymoon's page but it's actually the Great Campaign's, trust me on this.)
We kick off the series with a look at our elementary school our antics are gonna take place in, Starfish Bay Elementary. Where the Boy who got chucked into the screen, (named Russell) is doing a video recording, asking a few of his fellow classmates what they want to be when they grow up.
Mimi: "I want to be a missionary, like Mother Teresa, but with a husband."
Oh my God, please don't tell me I've accidentally wandered my way into a Christian program. I love my religion but my Christian brethren can make some of the most heinous animated schlock sometimes...
The girl with ponytails, (Elaine) wants to be a veterinarian, and then they cut back to Mimi saying that she wants to "Be a poet living in a Garret, living off scraps of Baguette." I had to Google Search this three times because not only did I not know what a Garret is, (It's an attic.) but I also didn't know how to spell it to look it up because the pronunciation was rather vague on how it's spelt. The criticism here is that don't use misleading words that your all-child audience has to tediously look up to understand what the fuck you're talking about in your TV episode... Throwing my hands up, I use fancy words myself, but at least they're written in text so you can easily look them up.
Then this guy with no visible eyes (Whose name is Lodeman, ugh... that's a stupid name,) says that he wants to be a... Lounge Lizard? The hell is that? (One Google Search Later) Oh, he wants to make easy listening music, got it. Then he makes a bunch of crass armpit farts while he moves too close to the camera... and believe it or not, this rude gesture you see before you is actually foreshadowing to future events... And yes, there will be more Armpit flatulence in our future, I wish I was pulling an elaborate and bizarre prank on you but no, this is real.
Side note, I don't always like it when characters are designed with no visible eyes, it feels kind of off-putting to me, because here are all these other characters with perfectly good retinas, scleras and corneas in the center of their faces and then, BAM! You're looking at this unnatural eyeless creep that just feels jarring and out of place compared to everyone else... It's not just this particular instance that gets to me, it took me a while to warm up to Lucy Loud on a visual standpoint.
Then Mimi gets back on the camera and proclaims that she wants to... "Be a diplomat and negotiate World Peace because she sees herself as a good People Person."
Then the bully named "Sincerity" wants to be royalty... That's all she says, it's just "Royalty." Also... Sincerity?! That's got to be the most blatantly intentional ironic Bully name that I have ever heard, but I don't know if I want to call her that for this review though, it's a little thick in the syllables department. I'm sure if I flex my creative powers, I can come up with a hilarious nickname for her...
How about... Sin City? Yeah, that'll work!
The bully guy (Brock) wants to be a pro wrestler, he asserts his physical strength by picking up some schlub and swinging him by his undergarments like a cowboy with a lasso.
Then the guy who got swung around by his undies (Herbert) gets a turn at the camera and he says... "I want to be a police officer..." He says, with the seat of his underpants tightly snug across his face. I'll give the episode that, that gave me a good laugh when I saw that, so congratulations, you snuck a good joke in there!
We cut to the lockers with Mimi and Russell, where Mimi sees Sin City's portion of the video and calls her "So Unbelievable and So Arrogant!"
Didn't you see yourself as someone who wanted to negotiate World Peace earlier and that you were a good People Person, Mimi? I'm just saying, you did some more embellishing than Sin City did.
So as Mimi leaves, we see Russell fawning over Sin City with hearts in his eyes and... Oh My God... Please don't tell me that we're doing that trope where the character is madly in love with someone that they don't have a fucking prayer of getting together with? You know, the main reason why people hate characters like Clyde from the Loud House because we all know that it's never gonna go anywhere and only serves to waste our time with cringe-worthy and often pointless interactions?
Sin City shows up in real life and dumps all of her apparently heavy and large papers on top of Russell, as she leads him down the hallway, and as he fruitlessly tries to ask her to give some sort of sign where she is so he can follow her, he somehow gets separated from her and crashes into a bully, (Not Brock, the other bully, Buddy.) and gets shoved into a locker, which required Mimi to get him out.
As Mimi rightfully calls Russell out on his unhealthy love for Sin City, she discovers that Sin City is running for Class President! Oooooohh! I love stories like these! I know that the third party always wins but it's always fun to see what kind of mudslinging and petty power-seeking hijinx we'll get along the way!
And as the knowledge sinks in, Mimi has this fantasy sequence, these are present in every episode I saw of this show, and they're always facilitated by this really sickly and gross string sound that sounds like Wander playing a spooky song on his banjo.
Mimi imagines a dystopic future with a sickly toxic sky where Sin City's this faux-medieval dictator who throws people in the dungeon, with Mimi and all the other students as meager paupers wearing rags. I mean, to be fair, Sin City did want to be "Royalty" earlier... Mimi's fantasy kind of reflects that footage that she gagged at earlier, it's kind of neat in that regard. I don't think this fantasy sequence is bad, per se... it's just kind of... weak? It lasts for 20 seconds but it's pretty uneventful, (It only has three lines for one thing,) it's just Mimi complaining and Sin City subsequently throwing her in the dungeon. It doesn't really have any sort of punchline or joke to it, and it's too tame in subject matter and execution to really lend itself to being scary or frightening either. It fails to exaggerate enough in either direction and just comes across as really plain vanilla. Imagination sequences live or die based on their exaggeration, creativity and immersion and frankly, this only does the bare minimum for me.
I mean, for fuck's sake, I've seen Arthur clips do a better job exaggerating their fantasy sequences (Some of them in far less time) than the one from What About Mimi? They actually lean into the tone that they're going for.
But it's scary enough for Mimi to spring into action, so she rubs her little hands together and says that "Mimi's got a plan!" And any avid viewers of this show, (If they still exist) will know that this is her catchphrase because she says it every single time she has an idea.. Her plan this time around is to ask Russell to run against Sin City, when Russell asks Mimi why she can't run, she says...
"I'm more of the backroom, organizational Genius type..." Didn't you say that you were a People Person earlier, Mimi? If you're as charismatic as you proclaimed, then you should run.
But Russell, being the hapless root-beer swilling couch potato that he is, ain't having this scheme; So Mimi asks Elaine, who was there in the room the whole time, and Elaine initially refuses... leaving Mimi in a bit of a lurch.
So tell me, Miriam. How will you get your best friend to risk her public image and take on Sin City in the elections?
Mimi: "You're right! What could you really accomplish? Aside from getting vegetarian specials in the caf, lobbying for animal rights, and saving humankind from eternal despair. Not to mention ticking Sin C(er)ity right off!"
So... she's gonna manipulate her and sweeten the deal by explaining to Elaine that she can use the system to further her apparent vegetarian, tree-hugging agenda... so that Mimi can further her own agenda of "Sin City doesn't get elected because I super duper hate her!" And the script knows that it's having her manipulating Elaine by throwing in these two lines that do nothing but sully Mimi's likability.
Elaine: "Don't think I don't know what you're doing!" (They admit that manipulating is what Mimi's doing.)
Mimi: "And it's working, isn't it?" (Flirty giggle.) (They admit that she knows she's manipulating her.)
And because Elaine really wants to stick her green thumbs down the school's windpipe, she's running in the election, even though she expressed that Mimi was buttering her up earlier and clearly didn't like it.
Elaine then stands in front of the school, saying that "She'll stand for vegetarian rights and that she's removing "Meatloaf Mondays" from the cafeteria and replacing them with "Tofu Tuesdays."
How dare you, Elaine? Meatloaf is delicious, especially if you top it with the right sauces.
Then Sin City shows up, in her silly, outlandish stage and starts doing a fabulous dance, surrounded by her backup dancers, and the dancing scene is actually glorious because the dancers make really stupid and spastically animated movements, making for some choice cheesy comedy. It doesn't help that the rhyme she uses to sell her campaign is pretty badly delivered and cringy, I'll spare you the rhyme itself but the crux of her promises includes... "Weekly field trips to the mall, a hangout room for sixth-grade students and more dances."
To be honest, Sin City's got my vote, I'm not supporting Elaine's obvious vegetarian agenda. I need my various meats in my school diet, thank you very much. #CarnivoreForLife (No offense intended to any real-life vegetarians, I respect your dietary beliefs, just not when they're forced upon people.) I mean, for fuck's sake, Sin City's giving the class a hangout room and weekly field trips to the mall! That's awesome!
And surprise, surprise, Elaine is dying on the polls. Try as she might, she and her agenda can't fight a certified hangout room. But Mimi's got another Zany Plan! Talk to me, Mimi! What else you got?!
Mimi: "A video campaign! And Russell's the best videographer in the school!"
So... basically what you're already doing... but on a video? That reminds me of that one Simpsons comic where Lisa's a substitute teacher and she gets the class to listen by recording herself teaching lessons.
But "Wuh-Oh!" Sin City was listening in on them and she gets to Russell first, and then Mimi and Russell have their cliched falling out that episodes like this tend to have, with Mimi getting mad at Russell for being Sin City's doormat even though she was literally about to ask him to do the exact same thing that Sin City asked him to do, and Russell obliviously defending his "Girl-that-he-will-never-get-a-chance-with-friend" by saying that "Sin C(er)ity likes me! And if you don't like it, you're not a real friend!"
You know, you can be a real friend and not like some of the people your friends associate with. After all, In-laws are a thing.
So the next day at school, we see Sin City's extremely unimpressive video where she rides her bike around and kisses exactly one baby. She also runs over Russell's Dog with her bike on camera and they hilariously kept it in the video anyway. I like to imagine that they tried like 30 takes to get that bike scene right and after fucking up so many times, they just ran the take that was the least shitty.
And because Russell is such a good little doormat, Sin City actually gives him a vigorous peck on the cheek, which leads Mimi to make a very brief imagination sequence where she imagines Russell as Sin City's Dog on a leash. Again, there is no punchline, it's just Russell running past in a dog-like stance for about 2 or 3 seconds, it's only the barest flicker of a joke. They have this idea but they don't flesh it out at all... Why not have him scratch himself with his leg? Why not have a cat wander by and Russell gives chase, making Sin City squeal as she gets yanked behind him? Why not make a joke about him eating out of the trash or have him get her papers with his teeth? Make him eat dog food! I don't know, some kind of payoff would be much appreciated! And it's not like the episode was too tightly paced to have a longer joke fantasy, this episode had an abundance of time to construct a longer and more memorable joke, but I'll save that for later.
Everyone eats it up because Sin City is actually really good at campaigning, leaving our hapless duo of Elaine and Mimi on their own to present their video.
I am now gonna attempt to use my innate, otherworldly sixth sense to give me phantasmagorical visions of what will be coming up next... But first I need the magic words...
I see it... I see visions... I spy an incompetently made video, I see Mimi and Elaine being bad at videography... and I see the class laughing at them because their video is so shit.
Let's see how well my cosmic powers work!
Mimi can't shoot for shit and because she's bad at positioning the camera, she gets a lovely shot of Elaine's torso and only half of her face. Mimi also talks during what's supposed to be Elaine's video, like a real professional videographer would, and when she wonders what this button does, she mutes the entire thing and the whole class is listening to nothing for the rest of the video.
Then they laugh at them! Ha! Totally called it!
I don't actually have psychic powers... I didn't need them... No one need psychic powers to see that because this entire sequence was predictable as fuck.
But Mimi and Elaine aren't too jazzed by being laughed at...
Mimi: "We look like idiots!"
You are idiots! I mean, for fuck's sake, you didn't even play the footage back before you submitted it! That's just asking for trouble!
Mimi: "And all because Russell is a cheating, no-good traitor!" Her expression super chapped, vengeful fist shaking and all.
"Yeah! How dare he support Sin City's spiteful, underhanded campaign when he should be supporting MY spiteful, underhanded campaign!" Having Mimi be pretty hostile about Russell being a slave to something he obviously has very little self-control over doesn't really make me connect to her. She said that "Sin C(er)ity would drop him like a hot potato after the election," earlier back when they were having the falling out scene and now here she is talking shit about him for not giving her what she wants just like she said that Sin City would... So where's the moral high-ground in that? Mimi can't say that Sin City would stop respecting Russell after failing to be useful and then talk shit about him for failing to be useful to her! So why should I root for Mimi over Sin City if Mimi's gonna be just as spiteful and just as shallow?
Bonus, it's not like it's his fault that you look like idiots, Mimi and Elaine. That honor goes to the two of you for not being bright enough to double check your damn footage to see if it was actually usable or not.
Also, Elaine goes on and on about freeing the school hamster, but Whoops! Mimi forgot to hit Record on the camera... which was something she did earlier when she was filming the last video. Holy shit, Mimi! You had one job! You're the worst videographer ever!
But then Sin City hijacks their video session right when Mimi hits record and tells them to shoo, and you can see their camera on the right as Mimi makes a dejected face and she just leaves it in the room... Oh, wow... is the camera gonna record something scandalous?
Well, the camera will have plenty of time to record said scandal because Russell is running late for the shoot because he's practicing his shitty, cringe-worthy pick up lines because he loves Sin City soooooooo much. My favourite being... "Yo, Sin C(er)ity, grab a slice with me!" That's a totally killer pickup line you got there, Russell. Maybe the next time I encounter that woman with the cute smile who works at the library I'll whip it out and impress her with it...
Russell: "Wow! Really, you think my line is that good?"
Aston: "Pfft... No. Russell, I'm gonna be frank with you, that line is cringy and stupid and I totally lied when I said it was my favourite. You may be good at shooting girls on film but a line like that will get you nothing but shot down!" (Slips on shades) [link] (Walks away like a fucking boss.)
Russell: "Siiiiiiigh..." (Sits down dejectedly and puts his chin in his crossed arms.)
Coach Pacowski: "Hey, kid. If it makes you feel better, I thought it was a pretty good line." (Puts a comforting hand on Russell's shoulder.)
After Sin City does her best JFK impression, Russell tries to ask her out. I'll give him this over Clyde, at least he's using words. Too bad these words consist of pointless stuttering, then he does something that I fucking cannot stand in shows that have the guy that can't ask a girl out... Russell then lies and says that he wants to make a "Best of" compilation of Sin City's shots. I hate it when characters lie like this, because 1. It makes the conversation turn into a waste of time that accomplishes nothing. 2. It makes the conversation awkward because the lies are almost always stupid and terrible, and 3. It makes Russell look like a coward, and not an endearing one. If he was endearing, I'd be feeling sorry for him, which I am not, because that would require having likable traits, which Russell lacks, other than the trait of, I really really really really love Sin City, and Sin City is an ass that barely knows his name. (She calls him Rusty and Rupert.)
Mimi gets the camera back and then she and Elaine regroup at the AV Room, I guess. Where they find the footage that their camera caught. Namely, Sin City doesn't care about the issues, and that she's running for president because she "Just wants to get out of class once in a while." Which is the most hilariously lame jerk character motivation ever. Mimi, naturally, wants to weaponize this footage against her. Because that's what makes a good main character, someone who delights in smearing people, and you better believe she delights in it, I'll get back to that.
Elaine, however has honor and turns the idea down. However, they find footage of Sin City slagging Russell off, and to be fair, Mimi does express that Russell shouldn't see it, and then it turns out that Russell was there in the doorway the whole time... and upon learning that the girl of his dreams doesn't like him and thinks of him as a "Video Geek," he says nothing, barely reacts to it at all and just leaves. Like, C'mon, that's just lazy! They didn't have him emote?! They put so much screentime into how much he craves Sin City's affections, two entire scenes were wasted on him trying to ask her out, and the best reaction to losing her you can give me is him making a small frown and walking away?
Then Mimi goes to visit Russell at his place and he opens the door, scowls and is about to shut the door but partway through, he sighs and lets her in, seeing that snapping at her won't accomplish anything and that she was right about Sin City being a bad influence... and as I type this, I ask myself... What the fuck?! Why was this scene of him being mad at Mimi more expressive than the one where he literally discovers that his crush was using him?! I am still hung up on that, by the way. The fact that they can show emotion just makes the lack of emotion in the last scene less excusable.
So then Russell gets to work on Elaine's video, and Russell calls himself a "Video Geek" out of self-pity. This is the only moment of sadness that he shows concerning Sin City being a jag to him. I mean it, this is all we get. This one singular, solitary self-deprecating line and that's it. He never gets sad again and he never gets self-deprecating again. Which once again, begs the question... why put so much stock into him liking Sin City if we get such a miniscule emotional payoff when he learns its all for nothing?
That's like if they made a film about a rookie basketball player who trained for years upon years, who took on countless teams in his quest to reach the National Title, who suffered a cavalcade of failures, setbacks, rivalries, and personal issues to claw his way to the top of his country's B-Ball food chain... and after all that hard work and sacrifice, and after all of that hardship and effort... just gives a half-hearted "Yay..." upon receiving the trophy that he dreamt of holding in his fingers since he was but a small boy watching Michael Jordan dunk for the first time. I mean, how empty does that feel? You work hard and you pour your very soul into this and that's all the emotion you can muster? During a moment that's supposed to be triumphant? This very same analogy works in reverse too, Russell loved her for how long and that's all the sadness he feels?
So Mimi boosts the morale of Russell by giving him the good-old fashioned pep talk, saying that he has great video talents, and her motivational speech kinda tapers off into how important this tape is gonna be, citing that "It's about truth, It's about idealism, It's about Justice for All!"
But Russell isn't having it... until... Mimi: "But mainly, of course. It's about revenge!" And then he makes a "That sounds like a good idea" face of contemplation.
Wow, even when comforting her friend, Mimi has aspirations of screwing over Sin City on her brain... How very likable of her. Sadly this piece of information gets to him, so naturally we cut right to the next day, where we see Elaine's new video that everyone loves because the kids in this school are stupid enough to like her shit just because it's on a screen.
As Russell's last scene so predictably demonstrated, he ends their video with footage of Sin City being an asshole and showing the incriminating footage to the entire class... and I love how Elaine's exact reaction is to glare at Mimi as if she was the one who edited that shit... Mimi has so much animosity towards Sin City that Elaine naturally associates it with her. On one hand, I want to congratulate Russell for sticking it to her, but on the other hand, I want to deduct points for putting this footage into Elaine's video. Elaine wanted to play fair, and this footage would reflect rather badly upon her if this was an actual election. He should've called Sin City out face-to-face. It would've been stronger for him because we can see him directly conquer his abuser head on rather than sneakily adding incriminating footage into the video. (Sin City never learns that it was him who did this to her, she actually thinks it was Mimi.)
But the class hates what they saw and they're all really disappointed and angry with Sin City, even the teacher is rather upset at Sin City's greedy, evil ambitions to get out of class once in a while... AHA HA HA! I'm sorry, I can't take her evil seriously, that's such a tame evil motivation that I can't help but laugh a little.
And that's that, the story is over, we had a decent run, guys! Mimi was a bit of a vindictive little shit but at least Russell got over his horrible crush and evil has been vanquished. I think I can call it a day and give this episode a...
What? What do you mean the episode still has seven minutes left in the runtime?!! But Russell learned his lesson and Sin City was exposed as an asshole in front of the whole class! What else is there for the episode to do at this point? Alright, I guess the episode is still going. Let's see what it had to do to make it to that 22-minute goalpost.
So Sin City seeing red, approaches Mimi's desk and Mimi is so terrified that she has another fantasy. This time, they're in this weird place with a bunch of floating objects, and then Sin City breathes super hot fire at Mimi, and Mimi pulls a fire extinguisher out of nowhere and sprays her flames out... to be honest, this one at least had the punch line of Sin City screaming while covered in foam, I'll consider that one a step in the right direction.
Sin City is very nettled with what she thinks Mimi did, saying that "If you want to play dirty, we'll play dirty."
Hey, do you guys remember when I said earlier that Mimi delights in smearing people she doesn't like? Well...
Mimi: (While pulling out a bunch of notebooks.) "Sin C(er)ity and I have been (shudders) "Friends" for years! I have loads of incriminating stuff..."
Yep, when told that her rival will play dirty, she wastes no time in sinking to her level. Actually, now that I think about it, Mimi was for smearing Sin City first. Sin City's only doing it out of retaliatory purposes, so what does that say about Mimi? Who was willing to escalate the feud into public humiliation before the so-called "Villain" was going to? On a side note, you two were actually friends once upon a time?! For years?! What the fuck happened?! You know, judging from your vindictive and spiteful behaviour so far, Mimi, as well as your dickish attitude towards Russell earlier. It leads me to believe that Sin City wasn't entirely at fault for your relationship going south.
Elaine once again refuses to fight dirty and just walks away, and the next day, she starts getting slandered by Sin City, with shocking truths like "She got a C- in gym last year..." Oh no, she's not as physically fit as the other girls, that's so scathing...
But then Sin City drops a bombshell, "I know from a reliable source that she killed her own goldfish just last month!"
Holy shit, that took a rather dark turn... and Oh My God, Elaine actually runs away crying! Jesus! So she actually did kill her fish? Wow! So I guess that's one of the things they used to make that goalpost... Goldfish Murder...
A little while ago, I made the point that the scene where the students jeering Sin City should've been where the episode ended, and I stick by that because the existence of Russell's revenge scheme raises logistical and continuity based problems with the subsequent scene of Sin City slandering Elaine. First off, all of the students in the classroom know what Sin City did and surely, the whole school must know by now what she did, considering how an entire day has passed, so if they know that Sin City was just using them to get out of class once in a while and that she doesn't care about the issues, then why are they listening to her at all? Why are they giving her the time of day if they already know that she's a dishonest and untrustworthy candidate? And if they hated her at that scene and loved Elaine, why aren't they getting even madder at her for being even more distasteful and even more unprofessional in her campaign? I mean, she just made Elaine fucking weep! Why aren't they booing her or scorning her for being such a bitch when she just skewered someone that they respected? Instead they just gasp like it's the most shocking thing they've ever heard. Other episodes usually fix this by having the mudslinging happening BEFORE the big shocking truth that destroys their campaigns, because at that point, they still have the respect and trust of the school, so they're more likely to believe the lies that are told about the opposition. Here, she's not credible anymore, and it only hurts the crowd by making it look like they're ignorant or uncaring of what Sin City did.
So let's get a little more context about what happened with Elaine's fish...
"My Dad cleaned the fish tank! He put Sparky into the toilet until he was done! But he forgot to tell me and I... flushed..."
I have a few questions about that... First off, why did your Dad put him in the fucking toilet? Why not put Sparky into a cup or something? I did some digging and I found out that Toilet water is actually chlorinated and that the fish's gills can get burned from even being placed in there, so why does Elaine feel responsible for what happened when it was all her dad's fault for placing him in that situation in the first place and neglecting to tell her what happened? Also, she said that she flushed the thing, so does that mean that she did her business on top of Sparky first before she flushed him to his death? And Sin City said that she learned of Sparky's death from a "reliable source." Who the fuck was that? Not even Mimi knew what happened! Was it her dad that told Sin City? If it was, why would he tell her anything if his daughter is clearly this crushed about it? If it wasn't him, then forget Sin City! Mimi and Co. should be worrying about this mysterious source of hers!
Long story short, Elaine's pissed now and she wants to sink to her bully's level and declares war. So much for honour and not playing that way.
So we finally get that mudslinging I was promised! Let's hear some juicy secrets that are way too late because no one should take Sin City seriously anymore.
Elaine: "When Sin C(er)ity was going steady with Sam Sharp... she kissed Joe Bellos on the lips."
Two insults later, and three defaced posters later... (Yes, only three insults and three posters, that's all we get. Which is a shame, I love the mudslinging, that shit's usually fun.) We see Lodeman (Remember him?) and Buddy commenting on how Sin City and Elaine are... amateurs? Then we see Lodeman on a podium smack dab in the middle of the hall making armpit noises and everyone's just cheering him on. He's not saying shit, by the way. He's just making armpit noises... Does that ring a bell? Told you it was foreshadowing. According to Buddy, he's running for president... for some reason that's not explained once in the entire episode.
Mimi and Co. see that Lodeman is running for prez and they all laugh at him derisively, Mimi even making that snooty "As if anyone would vote for him!" spiel, she says, while a bunch of people are cheering for him... Why? Well, your guess is as good as mine.
It's at this point that the episode just has an entire scene devoted to nothing but Lodeman burping, they actually give 10 seconds of audio to nothing but belch noises... This just smacks of laziness and I do not care for such blatant lack of imagination.
And now we learn that Lodeman is actually winning the damn polls based off of armpit farts and belch noises?! What the fuck?! Yes, apparently the "Total Idiot Vote" (Which is what they call it) was so predominant that Lodeman is flattening both Mimi and Sin City by a large margin.
So Mimi has a fourth imagination sequence, another dystopic world where this time, everyone's a fucking moron like Lodeman and they're all his zombies, making armpit farts in unison while all of Mimi's friends become unhygienic schlubs, and I'll hand it to them, this one at least does a better job of being intimidating than that last one... The intentionally distorted proportions to objects and backgrounds give it a much creepier atmosphere than the last one. But does it mean I like it? No... The audio sucks because if I'm not hearing annoying chanting, I'm hearing annoying armpit farts.
So Mimi now believes that Lodeman is a threat, what will she do now?
Mimi: "Sin C(er)ity is ruthless, calculating and self-centered but at least she has a brain."
What the fuck kind of logic is that?! So because she's not stupid, that automatically makes her better than Lodeman? You know those three traits you mentioned earlier? That ruthlessness, calculation and self-centering is exactly the reason why Sin City shouldn't be president! Yes, she has a brain... So fucking what? I'd rather have a harmless moron in charge than a vile, manipulative snake like Sin City! Mimi, you are literally establishing that Sin City is both evil and smart, (or at the very least, smarter than Lodeman) and now you're actually considering her a more fitting leader than the guy with no evil intentions at all? Mimi... listen to me very carefully... You saw her make your friend cry! And you expect me to believe that it would be better for Sin City to take the reins? Did someone slip you something, Mimi?
And so she decides to actually team up with Sin City to take on Lodeman... and as I type this, I have to ask you, Miriam... if you want to team up with someone then why not team up with Lodeman and stamp Sin City to the pavement once and for all? It'd be a lot easier and more practical to have him on your team than Sin City.
But Sin City doesn't believe Mimi's pleas, (Geez, did she not notice the cheering earlier?) until a literal fucking conga line shows up, with everyone playing music in stupid outfits while Lodeman armpit farts and what the hell is going on?! Why is this just getting more and more shitty and lazy with every second? I just feel like I'm watching the story shrivel up and die right before my eyes! This does convince Sin City that Lodeman is a threat and Four hours of in-universe negotiating later, Mimi and Sin City have teamed up.
So now we're at a... treehouse? As we follow... Herbert? The guy who got his undies wedged in his face? The fuck is this? Why are we following him now? What about Mimi? (Insert Family Guy reference here.)
So Herbert follows Brock's voice that he hears up into the bully's treehouse and when he pokes his haggard head inside, what does he spy but Brock... and he's playing with his dolls... at a tea party... We're literally cutting into the story for a tea party? Are you actually serious? Herbert, the flames of revenge simmering in his heart, takes incriminating pictures of Brock's tea party, shouts like an idiot about being free, then swings on what I think is a laundry line, then proceeds to faceplant against the wall of the house. They don't show what happens after that, it ends like that. We never see this subplot again, it came and went, like a whisper on the wind.
Does Brock catch up to him and beat those pictures out of him? Does Herbert show everyone the tea party photos and embarrass Brock? Does he blackmail Brock? God, I sure hope he doesn't... that wouldn't be very policeman-like, Herbert.
An actual minute was wasted on this scene, it has nothing to do with anything and could've been written out completely and nothing of value would've been lost. I've already felt pretty insulted about the fact that they actually went with nothing but belch noises for one scene but now here they are with this actual throwaway section, which in my eyes, just gives the worst of appearances. It gives off the impression that the well of ideas ran dry and that the script is just running off fumes at this point. The fact that they had to shoehorn in this completely unnecessary and unrelated subplot about Brock's dolls just feels like a complete cop out. And let me tell you a very simple something that you can do to fix the situation with this episode's pacing...
Ahem... Expand on some of your shit!
This is a consistent problem that the episode has, so many things in this episode were glanced over. Like, you would not believe how many times I thought that something would get explored in more depth but they just leave a lot of potentially interesting things hanging. Like for example, Elaine crying over her fish? That sounds like it would be something interesting to look deeper into, but no. All we get is hearing that it died, an explanation and then they immediately cut to Elaine declaring war. The entire section dedicated to Elaine's fish only lasted 30 seconds, shorter than the subplot... and like the subplot, it gets dropped and it never comes back again. Russell's sadness is similar, he gets dumped and they completely gloss over the impact from it. In fact, after the video is shown, he barely does anything else nor does the sadness come back for the entire episode. Mimi's animosity towards Sin City? Also poorly explained, keep in mind, she was flapping her spiteful lips before we were shown Sin City being a twat to Russell. They say that she has a history with her but it goes nowhere. And do you know how long it took for them to be cornered by Lodeman after he haphazardly joined the race? 45 seconds! And the mudslinging scenes with Sin City and Elaine after Elaine "Declared war?" Less than that! It barely escalated at all and was swiftly tossed out the window just like the other scenes that barely went anywhere!
Why do you think that there's so much for me to talk about? And why do you think that this review has been going on as long as it has so far? I'm not doing this because I want it to be long, I'm doing this because there's just so many damn scenes in this episode that I have to talk about, there are quite a few scenes that don't stop to let themselves breathe and pan out and so many scenes end as quickly as they start! And the ones that endure are the ones that don't accomplish anything and fail to serve the story at all, like that stupid subplot...
Over my long course as a cartoon reviewer, I have been no stranger to scenes that drag and do nothing but waste time, but here we get the complete opposite extreme, scenes that go on way too fast and don't flesh themselves out, so instead of wasting time, they don't take up enough screentime so the script has to add a bunch of shit to make a 22-minute timeslot. So let me give you some advice to anyone caught in that position... There is nothing wrong with cutting some scenes that just don't work so that other scenes can be fleshed out. Nothing wrong with that at all... If a part of the story can't go anywhere, then cut that part clean off and never look back.
Off the top of my head, here are a few things that the episode could've done to make itself better.
-Foreshadow Elaine's dead fish. -Have Elaine actually have a sad scene, have a nice flashback with the fish. -Tell Mimi's backstory with Sin City and show me what she did to make her so mad, and show a younger Mimi feeling hurt and betrayed. -Make those imagination scenes better and longer. -Show Russell's impact at being dumped. -Have Russell/Elaine be torn on whether or not to get revenge on Sin City. -End it with Russell standing up for himself against her, put the fish scene before that moment. -Have more mudslinging and don't be afraid to escalate that shit because that makes for some great comedy.
And here are some things we can get the fuck rid of.
-Lodeman's everything. -Herbert's stupid fucking subplot. -Mimi teaming up with Sin City, just defeat her. -Cut the camera scene at the beginning down a smidge. That scene is too bloated. -Cut Mimi's speech and give me an actual heartfelt cheering up scene with Russell. -Cut the asking out scene, the bathroom scene establishes his shyness well enough without it. -And let's cut the 17 times that Mimi unnecessarily says she hates Sin City. I got it the first time.
So let's get to the ending, we're at the home-stretch, let's do this! Sin City and Elaine announce their team up and this somehow makes them beat Lodeman even though people were cheering for him the entire time. So for once, the third party didn't win... Lodeman doesn't give much reaction to this at all and just mutters once. Sin City hams it up on the camera and they show a picture of Elaine getting shoved to the sidelines on the newspaper.
Elaine: "They spelled my name wrong."
But they spelled it "Elaine!" That's how I've been spelling it the entire review! That's how Wikipedia spelled it as well, so how do you spell it? Ah, nevermind... I'm not having another Garret situation on Google. Sin City then shows up, and then mentions the board meeting tonight, teasingly mentioning that "Did I forget to mention it?" No, you mentioned it, if you forgot, you'd have said it after the fact.
Elaine and Mimi figured that Sin City wouldn't share power, which is what happens when you make running mates with a ruthless, self-centered and calculating individual. So they need another plan to stop her...
We have 30 seconds left in the episode. Surely, we can stick the landing and end it on a good foot, right?
Mimi pulls out a picture of a 5-year old Sin City hugging a stuffed Dinosaur, or maybe a guy in a dinosaur suit... apparently she wanted Mimi to "Destroy" the picture because it was that embarrassing for her.
Elaine: "You're suggesting Blackmail?"
Elaine: "Well, what are we waiting for?"
So just to summarize this ending, after they laugh it up, they are going to approach Sin City, by either going to her house uninvited or maybe ambushing her at her locker or the bathroom, they're gonna show her the picture of her cuddling that massive stuffed dinosaur that she thought was destroyed by a vindictive ex-friend... and then the three of them are gonna threaten her and make demands... and manipulate her into doing their bidding throughout her entire term as Co-Class President... With the exception of the locations I mentioned, none of this is implied at all, actually... this is what they are gonna canonically do after the credits roll because that is what blackmail is... They literally state that they're gonna commit blackmail, and are even excited about it, as if what they're doing is actually an okay thing to do...
It's not an okay thing to do.
This isn't even getting into the fact that Mimi apparently had this incriminating picture of Sin City this entire time, if she was gonna blackmail her, (Which is not okay, but just for hypothetical's sake,) why not do this earlier? Why not blackmail her with this back when they were campaigning? You saw Sin City make your best friend cry and you were both willing and eager to use other incriminating pictures to fuck with her even before she was going to escalate, why did you hold off on that one? In fact, if you had that the whole time, why the fuck did you even need Elaine at all?
No, I mean it! What does Mimi need Elaine for?! If she was ruthless enough to resort to blackmail from the very start, she could've solved the conflict all by herself if she just went to Sin City's house, threatened her and told her that she was gonna show everyone the picture if she doesn't drop out of the race!
You know, Sin City was an asshole, No doubt about that... But... did she really deserve to be blackmailed? I do believe consequences are in order in this context but she did get humiliated in front of an entire classroom and her bra-stuffing nature has been revealed to everyone via Elaine's mudslinging. (Yes, this is actually something she does, she's 11!) It just feels like overkill! The fate for her is too terrible, it just ends up making me feel sorry for Sin City, she just wanted to get out of class, she doesn't deserve to be threatened like that! And even if she did deserve it, (Which no one does, blackmail isn't cool.) that doesn't necessarily make Mimi likeable, now does it? Not when she solves her fucking problems with blackmail and delights in it. She has a right to not like Sin City but that's just going way too far, It just makes her character look even worse, she's sinking to a depth even lower than Sin City did in the whole episode and comes out on top in the end! Where's the charm in that? I know it's maybe supposed to be a joke, but it just ends the thing on a really sad and dismal note. The ending is the part of the episode you'll probably remember the most and when I look back on this, I'll just remember the fact that they ended it on blackmail.
Oh my god, this episode was bad. Like, this started out mediocre but just went on a shameful downward spiral that only got worse and worse, it's like seeing a painting that gets uglier and uglier the lower your eyes wander, with the lines and colors deteriorating in visual quality until it's nothing but a splotchy mess. The characters were flat, some scenes were half-baked, some scenes dragged and others were fucking useless... And every time I thought the episode hit its nadir, it broke the floor and opened up a whole new fresh folly, right until the bitter end, so for that, I'll give this episode a 1.0/10. I thought that maybe I'd appreciate the show more as an adult, but sadly, this show got worse for me as a grown man. And don't worry, I saw a bunch of other episodes of this show, none of them were fun and the other ones I've seen didn't do that much better.
But let's end on a positive note, the show does have one good thing going for it... It had a good voice cast! Sin City was played by Carly McKillip of Cardcaptors fame, if that last name sounds familiar, it's because she's the big sister of Britt McKillip, who played Cadance in MLP. Russell's VA was also in Cardcaptors actually... Brock was played by Tony Sampson, who played Eddy in Ed, Edd and Eddy, and Double D's VA, Sam Vincent played Mimi's brother, the one that got shoved in the theme song, if they had Matt Hill, we'd have the full trinity of Eds.
The Ed Vets don't end there, Peter Kelamis, the voice of Rolf, played both Herbert and Lodeman, and Buddy was played by Andrew Francis, who would later go on to play Shining Armor alongside Britt McKillip. Considering how both Carly and Andrew were kids at the time of Mimi, it's entirely possible that Britt and Andrew met and became friends at that time, reuniting 12 years later to play Cadance and Shining. As for Mimi herself? She was played by Chiara (Pronounced as Kiara) Zanni, who was another future MLP character, she'd later go on to play Daring Do. And I would hear her Daring voice the entire episode...
I really thought this show would be a simple endeavour, but I guess not. It somehow turned into the largest journal I'll ever make. I had to cut a bunch of hilarious pictures for this. I'll do better next time, Goodbye.
Favorite visual artistTite KuboFavorite moviesScott Pilgrim, Undercover Brother, Guardians of the Galaxy, Hot Fuzz, Die Hard, ZootopiaFavorite TV showsSouth Park, My Little Pony Friendship is Magic, Wander Over Yonder, Arrested Development, Gravity FallsFavorite bands / musical artistsThe Police, Motley Crue, Rush, Tame Impala, White Lies, Imogen Heap, Marina and the DiamondsFavorite booksBleach, One Piece, In the Heat of the Night, WatchmenFavorite writersTite Kubo, Hideo Kojima, Eiichiro OdaFavorite gamesDonkey Kong Country Returns, No More Heroes, Smash Bros. 4, Super Mario Galaxy, Twilight PrincessFavorite gaming platformNintendo Wii. Nintendo 3DS. Playstation 2, Nintendo 64.Tools of the TradeMy imagination, my charisma, my creativity and my cunning.Other InterestsWalking, Listening to music, Being a critic, Playing video games, Reading fanfics