101 Dalmatians: Smoke Detectors

In the mid-90’s Disney had an animated television series based on the 101 Dalmatians movie. Personally, I think the 90’s animation is way less cute than the original 1961 animation. But anyways, in this episode Cruella De Vil is forced to stop smoking cold-turkey after she slowly sets every single room in her house on fire. Her insurance company gives her an ultimatum and refuses to let her live in her house again until she is a certified non-smoker. So she moves in with Anita and Roger temporarily. (This adaptation is a weird version of the story in which they appear to be neighbors and on rather cordial terms.)

In all seriousness, the amount of smoke coming from her house is sheer sweatshop level. It’s so bad it keeps the puppies awake at night. But the only thing worse than the constant air pollution is the possibility of endless cohabitation with the woman who is constantly trying to murder them for their fur.

Faced with a literal hellscape, the dogs decide to help Cruella with her smoking cessation plan if only so they can sleep a little better at night (a.k.a. without the constant threat of death). They spend a lot of time snatching cigarettes out of Cruella’s mouth and blowing out her matches. After realizing that this is a Sisyphean approach, they decide to lock her in the bathroom while they destroy her stash.

While Cruella is dazed and locked in the downstairs bathroom, these puppies create a literal assembly line to move several thousand boxes of cigarettes to the upstairs bathroom where they intend to flush them down the toilet. At this point, I have to ask where even are Pongo and Perdita?? It seems like these puppies could use some adult supervision!

As the puppies set about ruining the plumbing in this old house, Cruella breaks out of the downstairs bathroom. Just as she is rushing toward the stairs, the toilet over flows and floods the entire house. After that the puppies decide to try a different approach.

As it turns out, Roger stopped smoking his pipe by using a self-help tape in his sleep. That night, after Cruella returns home, the puppies break into her house with a boombox. Unfortunately, the puppies cannot read, so they accidentally play a puppy training tape for her instead of the anti-smoking tape. This somehow hypnotizes Cruella into a dog-like state. At one point it seems like Cruella is seriously considering urinating on a fire hydrant but opts to bite a delivery person’s leg instead. I never thought I would say this, but I am genuinely beginning to feel bad for Cruella De Vil.

Roger manages to snap Cruella out of her hypnosis, but it turns out this has all been for the better because she has finally hit rock bottom. Anita offers her a pack of gum to help with her craving.s And it turns out that’s all she needed! Except then she chews so much gum that she destroys her house with that too.

Very Special Lesson: Everything in moderation. Except for cigarettes. No cigarettes.

Arthur: To Eat or Not to Eat

p184303_b_v8_adTIL Arthur is still on television. And you know what? That’s just great! Being a kid in the 90’s was pretty freaking amazing. I feel like being a kid now would be less amazing. I mean Sesame Street isn’t even on public television anymore. We now live in a time where your parents have to be rich enough to have HBO for you to watch Big Bird. And that’s just wrong man, that’s just wrong. So yes, it cheers my heart to know the youth of America still get to see Arthur (the aardvark? Was he an aardvark? Woah, I just looked up what an aardvark actually looks like. Crazy.)

Alas, I missed this episode because it aired like fifteen years after I stopped watching Arthur. But I’m excited to revisit the series.

In this episode, there’s a candy bar called “Rabid Dog.” The commercial makes it look like speed for children. It also makes sparkles come out of your mouth. You know what, I was a cautious child. I don’t think I would have wanted any part of this. But Buster, Arthur’s very best friend, is into it.

He sees the commercial on television and runs to the candy store. Arthur calls after him, “Don’t you want to watch the rest of the cartoon.” SCARIEST SENTENCE EVER UTTERED ON TELEVISION. You’re a cartoon Arthur. The cartoons you’re watching, look exactly like you. Do you know you’re a cartoon??? WHAT IS YOUR REALITY??

mv5bmtq3odiyndkwnl5bml5banbnxkftztgwmta4njm0mje-_v1_uy268_cr870182268_al_When the lunch lady cannot read most of the ingredients on the label, she insists that Buster eat an apple instead. (I don’t know why he like asked the lunch lady to read his candy bar wrapper, but whatever.)

Binky (the resident jackass on this show) buys all of the candy bars at the store and resells them on the playground. I mean seriously, this dude is a criminal at like age eight. Someone needs to reign him in.

Meanwhile, a student, who seems to have a college level education in chemistry yet manages to somehow be a second grade student in public school, reads the back of the candy bar and identifies some of the ingredients as radioactive and others as being made of bugs. (Buster is most upset about the bugs, which is weird I think for a bunny.)1280x720-plw

Soon the students start to feel “hot and dizzy,” which seems pretty mild to me for having pounded a candy bar full of what I assume is the equivalent of pop rocks and coke.

hqdefaultBuster and his mom head down to the corporate headquarters of the candy bar company to find out what some of the agreements are. The “Supreme Dog,” as it were, tells them that it’s a trade secret. But he does explain what happens to your brain when you eat a Rabid Dog candy bar. And it’s meth. It’s literally meth.

Buster asks the Supreme Dog to eat one of the candy bars, but he refuses to get high on his own supply. I would say this episode is far-fetched even for a very special episode, but we’re living in Trump’s America…soooooo…

We see a newspaper article that informs us that the Supreme Dog has been arrested. This makes everyone quit the candy bars cold turkey. Ah, if only.

Speaking of cold turkey, has anyone ever seen the movie Cold Turkey? Yeah. It’s pretty weird.

That little girl wiping tears from behind her glasses is BREAKING MY HEART.

But like, back to Buster real quick. A bunny in the second grade managed to destroy an evil corporation and this happens OFF SCREEN?? That’s the show I want to see!

Very Special Lesson: I mean apparently, asking a few questions of an executive can expose an illegal drug trade, but I’m not sure because the writers of Arthur didn’t let me see that part. So all I can reasonably tell you is not to eat things that make sparks fly from your mouth. Yet somehow, I feel like that goes without saying.

The Jetsons: A Jetson Christmas Carol

You may have noticed there are tons of versions of A Christmas Carol floating around this time of year. But did you know there are literally hundreds? Even The Jetsons have their own take on this classic tale.

An item of note about Christmas in the future. We’ll all have a “laser tree” instead of a Christmas tree.

hqdefault2Anyway, Mr. Spacely (the Scrooge here) has poor George (presumably, the Bob Cratchet) working overtime on Christmas Eve. Interestingly enough, George is aware of A Christmas Carol and even says that Mr. Spacely is a “Scrooge,” who he wishes would be visited by some Christmas ghosts.

The ghosts show up with only 9 minutes left in the episode, so things move at a pretty tight clip. We get to see a little tiny Cosmo Spacely and little tiny George Jetson when the Ghost of Christmas Past shows Spacely how he paid George only a penny for running little Spacely’s lemonade stand. Then it’s off to visit an old flame, who Cosmo told he loved more than Space Ball but less than money. (The romance didn’t last too long.)

screen2bshot2b2016-03-162bat2b12-47-472bpmSpacely wakes up at his desk for a moment and then quickly falls asleep again, only to be visited by the Ghost of Christmas present. In the present he visits the Jetsons’s house, where poor Astro is near-death, having injured himself by chasing around his gift: “a robot cat.”

In the future, Spacely learns that The Jetsons are incredibly rich, having won a significant lawsuit against Mr. Spacely. As it turns out, Mr. Spacely manufactured the sproket that killed Astro. (R.I.P. Astro).

Unlike Scrooge, he seems to have a genuine change of heart, Spacely seems more afraid of being sued than anything. On Christmas morning, he shows up at The Jetsons’s house with a vet, who is able to save Astro.

Very Special Lesson: You can make mean people be nice to you by threatening them with lawsuits. ‘Tis the season.

A Pup Named Scooby-Doo: Scooby Dude

1241650054_9Scooby-Doo has more franchises than I can even keep track of. One of those was the late-80’s/early-90’s A Pup Named Scooby-Doo. The gang is adorable a group of adorable children solving mysteries with the titular puppy. Since, the original Scooby-Doo was set in the late 60’s, I’m pretty sure this show is supposed to be set in the late 50’s/early 60’s. But really the only evidence of this other than the characters’ ages are Freddy’s flat top and the fact that Daphne is sporting a neck-kerchief.

a-pup-named-scooby-dooIn this episode, the gang has taken a trip to the beach where Velma’s aunt works at some sort of marine institute’s “dolphin corral.” The dolphins have become un-corralled (read: stolen) and the gang is there to help find them. Or maybe they should just go on their merry way because who corrals dolphins anyway? That’s messed up. Leave the dolphins alone!

Well, there is one remaining dolphin, actually. Skipper. But she disappears shortly after the gang arrives with Freddie stating that she has been “fish-napped.” OMG THIS EPISODE IS LIKE DOLPHIN RACIST. Ugh. If I was a science teacher, I would give a test on this episode and everything it got wrong. (Yes, I would teach based on cartoons and yes, I think that would make me like the best teacher ever.)

1280x720-0duAnyhow, while trying to track down the missing dolphins, the gang is continually terrorized by “The Headless Skateboarder.” They’re all like meh, it’s a monster in a mask. But I’m not so sure. I think this one may be the real deal. Do you have any idea how hard it would be for a human to skateboard on sand??

The gang heads over to “Al’s Skateboard O-Rama,” where they discover that all of Al’s customers have been frightened away by the headless skateboarder. The voice of Al is VERY familiar. Hold on, I have to look this up. OMG IT IS WALLY FROM THE BRADY BRIDES. Wow, he’s had an um interesting career…

The gang follows the “Headless Skateboarder” to an old shack here they find a bunch of Al’s old skateboarding trophy’s. Velma takes out her giant, portable computer and discovers that Al was a big deal skateboarder until he got involved with DRUGS. And Scooby is all like ” RUH-ROH DRUGS?!?” Shut up, Scooby, we know you do drugs. Maybe not yet, but once you’re a fully grown dog, it’s basically all you and Shaggy do. You’re dead-weight on the crime-solving actions of The Mystery Team.

062Everyone gets really offended that Al would do drugs, so they head back to his store to question him. He immediately breaks down crying. Yes, A Pup Named Scooby Doo shows a grown man break down and cry when confronted by a group of children about his addiction. But it’s okay because he’s a cartoon so it makes it not really that depressing.

Velma decides that they have exhausted all viable leads on land, so the team scuba dives to look fore more clues. There, they find the dolphins in a cave. The dolphins are all wearing remote-controlled harnesses and pouches that contain drugs. Yes, this is a children’s cartoon episode about drug trafficking. This is Scooby-Doo‘s version of Miami Vice.

u98dnrngc8imkv4nxzbepln8ywVelma has somehow solved this mystery and takes the team back to Al’s shed to look for more clues. They plan to drop a dolphin’s harness on the headless skateboarder and control his every move, thus leading him directly to them. Sounds like a good plan. Except he doesn’t have a head. So he probably doesn’t have a neck. How will you harness his neck if he has no neck, Mystery Team??

Of course, they accidentally harness Scooby instead. But Scooby bumps into him and somehow leads him right into their trap. So now that they’ve caught the monster, the gang let’s you THE AUDIENCE solve the mystery! We’re given a couple of random options to chose from. They’re people we’ve seen for roughly like two seconds this episode and I can’t even remember their names. But before I can even make a conjecture, Velma rips off the skateboarder’s costume. It’s Al. Of course it is. Al did drugs and therefore Al is pretty much Pablo Escobar. But…okay…so this is the 50’s right? Ugh, thanks for the revisionist history, War on Drugs.

Very Special Lesson: I think the lesson was supposed to be don’t do drugs. But really, it seems to me that it’s more a cautionary tale and not using high-profile mules, or “dolphins” as it were.

Jem: A Father Should Be

jerrica_benton_jemSo happy to be catching up with my girl Jem. Over at the starlight house, Ba Nee is super sad because she has no father. So Jem goes down to the record studio to find the drummer in Riot’s band. Ba Nee once thought this drummer was her father, so they’re hoping to use him as a surrogate dad. (Woah, keeping it real, Jem.) Hoping to make Ba Nee feel better, the studio musician heads back to the Starlight House with Jem.

But Ba Nee is way past wanting to hang out with a fake dad. She even says she “doesn’t want to live.” Woah, so now we learn about how to take Ba Nee to the hospital, right? Nope, no, cue music video about “family.”

maxresdefaultBa Nee can’t understand why her real father won’t come to the Starlight House to pick her up. And Jem decides to comfort her by saying hey, “we don’t even know if your father is alive.” So Jem & The Holograms start a missing persons investigation. All they know about Ba Nee’s father is that he is a Vietnam vet who has red hair and is named Martin.

Jem goes to Riot (again for help). Turns out he’s a military brat and his dad is pretty high up. So the military prints a list of possible red-headed Martin’s for Jem. And there are only 3 possible names! Can you believe it? Neither can I.

The Holograms split up across the country to check out all of the Martins. Tons of people are willing to help them as soon as they say they’re trying to help a little girl. A doctor even gives them some guys home address!

So things get really, really sketchy here. I’m like totally freaked out and I feel like this almost needs a trigger warning. Kimber has quite obviously found the right father. But Jem brings back some creep-0 who seems to be pretending to be the father. This pretending also seems pretty obvious, but Jem is slow on the uptake and let’s the fake father take Ba Nee from the Starlight House. And he takes her to a freaking abandoned zoo. WTF Jem. This is giving me nightmares as an adult. If I’d seen this as a kid I would have straight up cried.

Ba Nee has now been kidnapped and is being held captive in an abandoned zoo exhibit. This is a freaking horror film, you guys. The creep-o calls Jem and demands 1 million dollars in exchange for Ba Nee. The real father uses his army training to try to rescue Ba Nee from the abandoned zoo exhibit.

And then he has a freaking Vietnam War flashback in the middle of the abandoned zoo. This is the heaviest children’s cartoon subject matter I have ever seen in my entire life. But this flashback actually turns out to be the best thing to have possibly happened. You see, the real father has been suffering from amnesia. And aside from the intense war moments, he also begins to remember Ba Nee’s mom.

mqdefaultJem uses synergy to fool the creep-o into thinking a gorilla is chasing him. Then he runs right into Ba Nee and her real father (who has rescued her). Her real father also captures the creep-o. And then they have a big party to celebrate that everything turned out okay! Even The Misfits show up to wish Ba Nee well. Like seriously. They’re being nice to her.

Very Special Lesson: Wow, there’s just so much to unpack here. I think the most important take away from this is not to assume someone is your father without extensive genetic testing on the front end.

As Told by Ginger: Stuff’ll Kill Ya

as_told_by_ginger-showAs Told By Ginger was one of my favorite shows in 2000. I was an awkward preteen and here was the perfect show that depicted exactly that. It was a cartoon (yay, kid stuff!) that talked about puberty (ugh, awkward stuff) and perfectly reflected exactly where I was at that time in my life. Plus, my girl Macy Gray sang the theme song. What I didn’t realize is that this show produced episodes long after I stopped watching. In fact, today’s episode first aired in 2006 and talks about the dangers of COFFEE! (Insert hyperbolic gasp here).

That’s right, this isn’t even a caffeine pills episode, people. This is straight up filtered coffee from the coffee shop. Now, when I last saw Ginger, she was a student at Lucky Jr. High. But she’s moved up in life and is now attending high school.

For all intents and purposes in this episode, coffee is cocaine. Ginger overhears a couple of “cool girls” illicitly discussing a “Mocoloco Frothinator” that allows them to finish the overwhelming amount of homework they have to do each night. So Ginger goes out in search of the cure for her exhaustion.

Suddenly it’s after 12:30 in the morning and Ginger crashes. But she has to wake up for school of course–except that she doesn’t wake up until after 10 am. And her mom won’t write her a sick note. Ugh. So Ginger guzzles some more coffee (which by the way is making me have major coffee cravings) and doesn’t even bother to change out of the close she wore the day before. She has rapid, pressured speech and generally acts like a spaz.

mv5bmtq0mju5odewnl5bml5banbnxkftztgwnty1mjyymje-_v1_uy268_cr870182268_al_Her mother and friends confront her at the coffee shop. And even though she only had her first coffee less than 24 hours earlier, she has no idea how many she’s had. Ginger’s mom forces her to throw out her coffee (which is actually 6 coffees in a carry-out container, I should point out.)

“Anything that alters your body or mind is a strict no-no,” her mom says. Well, I guess that makes me kind of a crack-baby then because I’ve been drinking milky coffee since I was four. So basically, Ginger just goes to bed and gets a good night’s rest. She also falls asleep in class that day…so maybe like a harm reduction model was necessary here. But instead, Ginger (and her mom) cold turkey quit coffee.

My mom cold turkey quit coffee once and she got the shakes. So yes, I’m saying that I come from a family of caffeine addicts. But since none of us have hypertension, I’d like to think we’re all just super passionate about lowering our risks for Parkinson’s and liver cancer. Although what’s this about a fairly common genetic mutation?? Well, I may have to under go genetic testing now. Great, thanks Blogging from A to Z. This has been a really productive challenge for me so far.

Very Special Lesson: Ignore Ginger and drink lots of coffee. (This post was not paid for by Starbucks. I promise.) Unless you have that very specific (yet common) genetic mutation I just read about, then you should watch your coffee intake. (Please consult your primary care physician and not this blog.)

Me and My Friends are Jem Girls!

Tonight on a Very Special Episode of the The Very Special Blog, I will be reviewing MAKEUP! What?? I’ve watched some videos on how to do this and if I was going to do it the right way, I would be sitting at an all white vanity while dub step played in the background.

But I took note of the steps and I think we can do this the low-tech way.

Step 1: Introduce the Product
I have a feeling we can thank that terrible “Jem and the Holograms” movie for this product line, but I don’t care. I haven’t been this excited to purchase lipstick since I was matching my Tinkerbell lipstick to my stick on earrings. And then I saw this little nugget of joy on the Sephora website for only $10.

I’m guessing real “Beauty Bloggers” do not use stovetops as the backdrop for product shots.

Step 2: Unpack the Product
The lipstick is called “Truly Outrageous” and, in classic Jem style, it’s hot pink.

I’m guessing real “Beauty Bloggers” do not use stovetops as the backdrop for product shots.

It also has a branded top, which excited me way more than I’m willing to admit…and of course Sephora co-branded the lipstick on the side.

Step 3: Demonstrate the product
This is the part of makeup videos that’s always kind of lost on me. Maybe it’s because all of the presenters have either peaches-and-cream or golden-olive skin tones. Nevertheless, here is a “swatch” of “Truly Outrageous” on my pasty-white arm:IMG_2585

I’d say it’s highly-pigmented, yet not as intense as you might think from looking at it. But still, it’s hard to truly identify the color and what it might look like on your skin tone, so on a scale of Madonna’s Material Girl Dress
to Frenchie’s Hair
I’d rate it at about these shoes:
fdafec056514adb14830e7513211dae2…which by the way look a little dangerous.

Anyway, here’s the lipstick on my lips (which are statistically not the same color as your lips, but for $10 and a piece of pop culture, who cares?) It glides on smoothly and is non-drying. It’s definitely not long-lasting but it doesn’t rub off too easily either. All in all, the wear is pretty average. And it’s definitely something you’d wear for the fun of it, not the practicality at all. I plan to wear it to work when I anticipate having a hard day.
Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 8.29.44 PM
It could be the poor quality of my iPhone photo or the weird lighting in my bathroom, but do I detect a hint of Jem sparkle?

Jem: Alone Again

Screen Shot 2015-05-24 at 5.16.42 PMThere’s a new girl in the Starlight Home. Jerrica finds her crying while cradling a ping-pong paddle like a baby doll. Laura says no one understands her and she doesn’t “measure up” to all of the other abandoned children at the Starlight House. They’re so cool with their fashion sense and talents. Jerrica tries to tell her that everyone is good and something and Laura’s all like everyone but me! Then she goes off to film this music video:

Jem and The Holograms enter the room and are all like you’re so talented! They ask her to play at their concert with them, but she says she’s not good enough. Finally, she accepts  under protest and then she starts to crack under the pressure. A drug pusher overhears her talking to herself on the see-saw at school. He offers her pills that will make her “play great.” Then he tells her he’ll be at the concert and hopes she will play her best. This makes Laura be all like, okay if the cute boy wants me to!

I’Screen Shot 2015-05-24 at 5.23.05 PMm not sure what kind of pills this dude gave her. She starts of feeling “lighter and faster” but then she starts hallucinating like crazy. She sees the thermos in her lunch box turn into a bird. Then she decides she’d like to fly like a bird and climbs out on her ledge. She yells at Jerrica, who is below the windo begging her not to jump, angrily and says, “You may be prettier than me and smarter. But I can fly. I can fly!” Okay, so I’ve narrowed down the drug options here to PCP. If I were Jerrica, I’d call the paramedics and then seek shelter immediately. But Jerrica’s a rescuer, so she runs upstairs while Laura is doing a countdown to blastoff and reaches the window just in time. Laura ends up slipping, but Jerrica has super human strength, so she catches Laura by the arm while also maintaining her own balance and then uses her core strength to lift Laura up into a standing position as she pulls her through the window.

Right at this moment, Laura seems to be coming down from the drug and is genuinely shocked and depressed that neither the thermos nor she is a bird. Jerrica says a lot of things like let’s talk but she never actually says anything of substance other that “WHERE ARE THE DRUGS?” and Laura says “THERE ARE NO DRUGS!” So then she goes back to school and gets more drugs from the pusher/boy she has a crush on.

This drug seems more like cocaine. She can’t sleep and all she wants to do is play guitar ALL NIGHT! One of the other Starlight Girls beats her up because she’s being so annoying. She’s like totally pummeling her but they’re only grounded for a week each. The next morning, Laura is extremely irritable and cannot find her drugs. She starts destroying the house because she can’t play her music or live without the drugs she’s taken like twice now.

Screen Shot 2015-05-24 at 5.52.48 PMJerrica finds her stealing money from her purse (the pusher has started charging now). Laura looks all around school for the drug pusher, but when she overhears him giving the same sales pitch to another starlight girl she starts subbing because he didn’t love her at all! Jerrica finds her outside of the school and takes her for a drive to talk her into going to rehab. She fails to mention that the drug pusher was selling to another Starlight girl literally moments earlier, but she does agree to go to the group, and also to participate in a sting operation to catch the drug pusher. (Luckily, the other Starlight girl didn’t want the drugs and gave them to the police right after the drug pusher gave them to her.)

Now Laura is immensely more confident, and just in time for the concert!

Very Special Lesson: Taking drugs won’t fix your stage fright. But becoming addicted to drugs and kicking the habit in a week will make you feel badass enough to play an arena concert.

JEM: The Movie You Never Asked For

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew this was happening. But it seemed so ridiculous that I thought it would die in pre-production. And while I always want to give a movie cool points for securing Juliette Lewis, this trailer reminds me of Hannah Montana mashed up with the Josie and the Pussycats movie. In the words, of Buzzfeed Top Commentor, Ze Ofdensen: “Fuck this movie. I watched an episode of Jem today on Discovery Kids and THIS.IS.NOT.JEM.”

Happy National Cat Day!

Today is National Cat Day! Let’s celebrate by remembering some of the best (most evil) cats on television!

Stinky from Doug

stinky the cat
Stinky was Roger’s overly aggressive cat. Fun fact, she turned out to be a girl when she had kittens!

Dr. Claw’s Cat from Inspector Gadget

dr claw cat
I don’t think this little guy even got a name. Oh well, he was super evil.

Fat Cat from Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers

fat cat
This is one of the greatest Disney shows of all time. Fat Cat was such a cunning cat that he ran an entire crime syndicate. But the again his greatest adversaries were a couple of chipmunks…a large cat probably should have been able to handle that…

Oh and Salem, duh. Let’s not forget that the entire reason he became a cat was based on the fact that he was pretty evil and wanted world domination.