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Kooshmeister
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« on: May 07, 2007, 07:12:34 PM »

Welp, another review of an episode of Bucky O'Hare and the Toad Wars courtesy of moi. Today's episode is "A Fistful of Simoleans," episode two of the series and part two of the three-part pilot miniseries.

In our last episode, green hare Captain Bucky O'Hare's homeworld, Warren, was conquered by the evil Toad Empire. Bucky sought to get the United Animal Coalition (UAC) to intervene, but was told that they needed proof of the toad military buildup. Bucky promised to get them proof, and instead got himself cornered by the entire toad fleet aiming to destroy him once and for all. But with the help of Willy DuWitt, a blonde boy genius from the human dimension, it looks like Bucky and his crew just might escape after all.

Bucky O'Hare and the Toad Wars - Episode Two, A Fistful of Simoleans
Written by Christy Marx



After a narrated recap of the first episode, we open on Andy Phibian, the star reporter for TTN, the Toad Network. He also appears briefly during the opening montage of every episode. Here, he's aboard the toad mothership, giving running commentary on the battle occurring outside. As he talks, we see Frix and Frax, the nearly identical toad officers from the beginning of the last episode, go by in the background. After a moment they reappear, standing behind Andy and making goofy faces at the camera behind his back. To his credit, Andy ignores them. Incidentally, this scene is not present on the Region 2 DVD release of the series for some odd reason. On that DVD, it goes right from the opening credits sequence into the next scene.

Cut to the Righteous Indignation, sitting in the crater on the large asteroid, surrounded by hundreds upon hundreds of Double Bubbles. We seem to have gone back in time a little bit, as we get a complete replay of the scene that ended "War of the Warts." In the engine room, Willy is fiddling with the photon accelerator as the whole crew watches, saying that when they activate the device they'll "lose the stasis field for good." We thankfully skip the scene where Willy earns a kiss from Jenny by heroically deciding to stay in the Aniverse no matter what happens, and cut (awkwardly) right to Bucky yelling for everyone to get to their posts. Outside, the toad squadron leader counts down from three and orders all the Double Bubbles to open fire just as Willy pulls the switch and activates the accelerator. As predicted, the stasis field vanishes. As the toad lasers approach the Righteous, Deadeye returns fire. His red laser and the toads' green lasers collide and cancel one another out as the squadron leader reacts with shock.

Willy pulls the lever again and says he's resetting the accelerator (?). Bucky orders all engines put to full power and Jenny throws the throttle forward. The Righteous Indignation blasts off, leaving the crater, looping, and then speeding off with the Double Bubbles in pursuit. Jenny observes this on the radar and alerts Bucky, who comments, "Let's hope that Willy the human knows what he's doing." After a brief chase, the Righteous manages to successfully make that hyperspace jump and disappears. We cut to the bridge of the toad mothership, where the Toad Air Marshall is listening as the squadron leader reports Bucky's escape. With an angry croak, he orders all sectors searched. Seated at consoles near him are two toad controllers who are obviously reused models of the pilots of the slave ship from the previous episode, too.



Suddenly a TV screen on the end of a long pivoting mechanical arm swings down to be at eye-level with him. Komplex's face has appeared on it as well as multiple other screens throughout the bridge. The evil computerized toad face tells him, "You have wasted enough of my time. Recall your ships." The Air Marshall protests and Komplex yells at him to be silent, and his "face" gets so close to the Air Marshall that he actually falls over backwards. Komplex continues that one mammal ship is nothing against "the combined forces of the Toad Empire," and says they must destroy the root of the problem: Genus.

Komplex's multiple screens change to show Genus. The Air Marshall gets up as the screens change back to Komplex. Horrified, the Air Marshall blurts, "But Komplex, Genus is protected by the most lethal defense system in the Aniverse!" and also says it can even destroy the mothership. Komplex says, "And that is why you must employ a spy. A spy of the utmost cunning and skill to obtain the satellite clearance codes. You have 48 hours. Do not disappoint me again." Komplex's face vanishes from all the monitors as the Air Marshall swallows nervously. Incidentally, although he tended to croak and burp throughout his dialogue in "War of the Warts," the Air Marshall will never do this again anywhere in the series. Apparently the writers realized how annoying this was.

We cut to a secret hideout somewhere where a purple hand is shown putting blue into slots slots on a spoked wheel that rotates around: a target practice tool. We see that the cards contain pictures of the Righteous Indignation's crew (including Bruce). A robotic voice interrupts the guy doing this, informing him that he has a message from the Toad Air Marshall. We then see he is a very large, purple alligator wearing a yellow unitard. This is Al Negator, supposedly the best mercenary and spy in the Aniverse. Al walks over to a small TV screen displaying an image of the Air Marshall, who tells him he needs his services. Al fires his maser rifle over his shoulder, looking through a small handheld mirror. The shot hits the Bruce card. "Well, as you can see I am very busy," he says. As he talks, he continues firing. He pauses and adds, "But if it were worth... my while?" The Air Marshall grumbles and tells him he wants the clearance codes for the Genus defense system, prompting Al to tell him that such a difficult assignment will cost him "five-thousand simoleans," simoleans being the currency of the Aniverse as opposed to the almighty dollar.



"Five-thousand simoleans?!" roars the Air Marshall, who calls it extortion and blackmail. Extortion I can maybe see, but blackmail? Nevertheless, Al, cleaning his rifle, says those are two of his specialties, and says he wants half of the money up front, and the other half upon delivery of the codes. He fires a few more shots over his shoulder. The Air Marshall blubbers, barely able to contain his fury, but finally agrees. As Komplex did with him, he warns Al, "You have 48 hours!" before the monitor goes blank. Al twirls his maser rifle around a few times, then slides it into a holster on his back and leaves the room. His target wheel stops rotating and we see that the card of Bucky has a smoking hole burned straight through Bucky's forehead.

We watch the Righteous Indignation come out of hyperspace and Bucky and his entire crew crowd around Willy and congratulate Willy for saving him. Deadeye says "I had me doubts, Willy, but you're sure worthy of me hands in friendship!" He then proceeds to somehow shake Willy's hands with all four of his own, and then he takes out the squirt gun - or as he calls it, a "weapon" - he'd "confiscated" from Willy's room in the previous episode, and as Willy holds it, water drips out of the barrel copiously. Willy attempts to explain to him that it's just a toy but Deadeye holds up his two upper hands and cuts him off with, "I know. It's some sort of fiendish hairless baboon weapon, and that be good enough for ol' Deadeye."



Bucky steps into the conversation at this point and mentions that they lost their regular engineer Bruce, and out of nowhere offers Willy his position - despite vowing that one day they will find him again (and considering there's an episode further down the line entitled The Search For Bruce, I guess Bucky sticks to his guns). Willy jumps at the opportunity because, uh, he's excited at being in an alternate dimension with talking animals. "I do have to get back sometime," he admits. "I mean, this is great, but I still have to see my parents and go to school and stuff." Yeah, his parents who give him vague advice and then leave for rallies, and the school where he's terrorized by bullies. I can see why he'd be so eager to get back.

Proving that he's the sort of guy who concentrates primarily on the here and now, all Bucky is concerned with is whether or not Willy can stay for now and assist them in their mission to Warren (to gather evidence of the toad military buildup for the Secretary General, for those of you who didn't read War of the Warts), and luckily for them, the answer is yes.
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Kooshmeister
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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2007, 11:58:59 PM »

Suddenly Willy asks if the toads were "always this bad," prompting Blinky the cycloptic android to step up and offer his services as an exposition machine. He presses a button on the side of his head and his eye projects an image showing a grinning toad face with crossbones beneath it and the words "Toad File" beneath it. This is a "brief summary display of toad history from Genus historical archives." We're shown a nuclear toad family: a father in a business suit smoking a pipe (which has bubbles coming out of it!), a mother in a bathrobe and curlers in her hair, a freckle-faced daughter wearing glasses, and a mean-looking son. The son quickly displays his brat credentials by making ugly faces at the camera. A random narrator gives us the skinny: "Once, the toads were a harmless race, with a passion for accumulating shoddily made consumer goods at inflated prices."



We cut to the coming home with a big contraption with "Fly Popper" written on it. The husband kisses his wife as the son and daughter go right for the popper. They take the thing into their kitchen and the dad puts some flies into a flips a switch, and it immediately explodes, covering the entire family in bluish liquid and dead flies. As the narration continues, we switch to a high-tech laboratory of some kind populated with toads wearing white lab coats. "Toad technicians developed a worldwide computer network run by an artificial intelligence known as Komplex," the narrator drones on as we watch the scientists plug a massive electrical cord into an equally huge outlet. The face of Komplex, lazy-eyed and smiling benevolently, appears on a massive viewscreen nearby, looking completely different from his appearance earlier in the episode.

The narration says that Komplex was designed to solve gridlock, control interest rates, and do "all the boring things the toads didn't want to do." We see a massive metal claw descend from a toad-shaped ship that says "Komplex Traffic Control" on the front and seize a broken-down red convertible that is blocking traffic on a toad freeway, and then a lounging toad executive watches interest rates skyrocket on a viewscreen as a machine with Komplex's name on it gives him a foot massage. "But then one day, the toads discovered that Komplex had taken over!" the narrator exclaims as we see a toad in a wifebeater watching a western TV show, when suddenly it fizzles out and is replaced by Komplex's visage, which quickly turns menacing and looks the way we'd seen him earlier. Komplex's face actually comes out of the screen and fires rays from its eyes into the eyes of the toad, zombiefying him. Cut to a shot of Komplex zapping four more toads (including a female one) in a similar manner, whereupon they are immediately transformed into Stormtoads.



This is extremely problematic. We're never told what made Komplex turn evil, or why he despises mammals so much. We do get to meet the three main toad scientists who created him in the sixth episode, Kreation Konspiracy, but not only does that episode have very little to do with them, we learn next to nothing about the hows and whys of Komplex's takeover. Anyway the narrator continues that Komplex sent the toads on a course of military aggression throughout the Aniverse, and we cut to a parade of Stormtoads goosetepping with their right arms raised up in a salute like Nazis (!!!) as they are overseen by massive viewscreens displaying Komplex's visage with the wording "Komplex Sees All!" beneath them. We see the toads attacking a random planet. Toad motherships and Double Bubbles fill the sky. On the surface, we watch a Stormtoad trod a hare doll underfoot (a shot shown prominently in the opening sequence of the series).

Cut to a planet which vaguely resembles the Death Star, but without the big laser-crater thingie. We see toad scientists in lab coats building Double Bubbles, working with chemistry sets, filing in and out of labs and workshops and whatnot. "The entire surface of the Toad Homeworld is now factories seven layers deep," the narrator says, "turning out endless numbers of toad ships of war and weapons for one purpose: total toad domination of the Aniverse!" The film ends with Komplex's face now forming the Toad Empire's skull-and-crossbones symbol. Beneath it, it reads, "The End." Blinky shuts off his eye projector. Wow, that was, um, heavily biased.

Apparently intimidated by the revelation that the toads have legions of warriors and an entire armada, Willy asks Bucky how many ships he has. "You're looking at it," Bucky solemnly says. To his credit, at least he acknowledges how ridiculous it is to pit one ship against an entire army and makes an effort to get more commissioned. He walks over and opens a cabinet in the wall and begins digging around inside it, looking for, as he says, Bruce's "spare battlesuit." He finds it and hands it to Willy, instructing him to put it on, "just in case we run into trouble down there." When Willy asks where "down there" is, Bucky explains he means his homeworld, Warren, and tells Blinky to show him another film. Oh boy.

Once again, Blinky projects an image from his single eye. This time it is of a smiling green hare face and the words "Warren Production," a promotional tape from Warren tourist bureau. A second narrator, this one calmer and softer-voiced than the first, says simply, "Come to Warren." We are shown hares playing sports and games: tennis, wrestling, checkers, etc., because Warren is "home to every sport and game known to the Aniverse." The narrator invites prospective vacationers to play on Warren's mega-acre miniature golf course, "largest in the Beta Quadrant." Shots of a golfer putting on the golf course and a track runner taking deep breaths against a backdrop of gigantic carrots (!) as the narrator talks about the planet's "perfect climate, healthy air and gorgeous scenery" washes away any doubt that Warren is intended to be the Aniverse's version of Alderaan.



Cut to two hares on a beach: a muscular male wearing a skimpy speedo (yowza! Maybe Andrew was right about furry fans making this...) and flexing for a pretty female in a red one-piece bathing suit who appears unimpressed with the show. The hare track runner dashes past the beach hares and falls into a hole dug in the sand by two hare children, who immediately start playfully pouring sand on top of him. We then finally get to see Warren itself, a pink planet with at least one rabbit-shaped continent, as a random ship (suspiciously resembling the Righteous Indignation) approaches it. "Yes, come to Warren," the narrator finishes, "where every day is a holiday, and there's fun for the entire family!" The video ends with the Warner Brothers-esque tagline, "That's It, Furrys!"

Bucky, looking stoned for some reason, sadly turns away from the film as it ends, and dramatically holds up a finger and says that now that the toads have conquered Warren he doesn't know what they'll find. If nothing else, there's some genuine pathos to be had in this scene, and even more later on in the next episode.



We cut to the Righteous Indignation approaching Warren, with its signature rabbit-shaped landmass obscured beneath a layer of swirling thick clouds. Bucky, suddenly, up on the bridge with Jenny, observes the clouds. " Warren never looked like this. It's horrible!" he says, and pounds his fist on the control panel in front of him. The Righteous flies down over a desolated landscape with fetid pools of water and flies buzzing everywhere. A mostly-intact city is a smoking ruin. We see the miniature golf course from the promotional video, completely destroyed. "My poor world," Bucky moans as he beholds the destruction. In a lot of ways I consider what's been done to Warren worse than what was done to Alderaan, as I find it difficult to avoid picturing the Stormtoads attacking and rounding up all the hare citizens. It's way more personal and hands-on than simply zapping the planet out of existence.

The ship lands and everyone but Deadeye disembarks. Huh, I guess he stays aboard for whatever reason. They are immediately assaulted by a huge swarm of flies and swat furiously at them. Whenever they take a step, the muddy ground squishes noisily beneath their feet. Bucky says that it's worse than anything he could've imagined, and Willy comments that it "smells bad." Blinky consults a small device that comes out of the palm of his hand, announcing that he's picking up abnormally high levels of methane in the atmosphere, prompting Bucky to exclaim that the toads have "turned a paradise into a swamp." And not just any swamp, but the Bog of Eternal Stench! Willy, science nerd, points out that this would meaning altering the climate of the entire planet, and "Nobody can do that!" Jenny, the voice of reason, says that it looks like the toads can, because there's no other explanation for Warren's sudden, er, swampiness.

We suddenly jump-cut to Willy standing roughly ten feet away from the others, and suddenly Deadeye is with them. He picks up some kind of small device and announces he's found something, whereupon the others come running over. This bugged me for the longest time, but thankfully I was able to consult the original script on the DVD and solve the mystery: it seems there was originally a lengthy sequence wherein the good guys are attacked by some Stormtoads, and Deadeye rides in on the Toad Croaker to help out, explaining his sudden presence. Without this scene, not only is Deadeye suddenly present without explanation and Willy likewise further away from the others than in previous shots, but also the mammals literally have free run of the supposedly conquered and toad-occupied planet.

Anyway, Willy says the doohicky he's found looks like a toad communicator, although why he would know what toad technology looks like is beyond me. He's been in the Aniverse less than a day and he's already an expert on their technology. This kid really is a genius! He removes a small yellow disk from the machine, and gives it to Blinky, who inserts it into a slot somewhere on his person. "Disk scrambled," Blinky says after a moment, but then quickly adds that he will try to extract what little remains of the erased data. His eyeball projects a distorted image of a Stormtoad, who is in the middle of reporting "--and a successful test run of our climate converter has been completed. Have since returned to mothership for invasion of Genus." The image of the toad then fizzles out, leaving our warmblooded heroes to ponder this new information. And it's worth nothing that despite the grimness of the scene, Jenny is grinning like an idiot:



So, obviously, it looks like the toads conquered Warren by changing its climate to that of a swamp, using some kind of heretofore unheard-of climate conversion technology. Worse, Warren was just the test run for the technology, and their next target is Genus (as per Komplex's orders to the Air Marshall back at the beginning of the episode). Needless to say, this is bad news, and our heroes realize it. Bucky gives an obligatory and needless cry of "We've got to warn Genus!" and then they all run back to the ship.

We find Al Negator frequenting a sleazy establishment that appeats to cater exclusively to mercenaries, hired guns, spies, etc. A one-stop-shop for soldiers of fortune basically. The proprieter is an opossum named Tinker (he looks like a rat, but the script says he's a possum, so whatever), a guy who redefines the meaning of the words "shifty" and "sleazy." As we come into the scene we find Al in the middle of buying some equipment that consists of, according to Tinker, "one snooper guaranteed to download any security file from any computer, your disablers, and the activation switch to set them off." The stuff he actually has on the counter in front of him, though, seems to consist of a little calculate thingie and a wafer-thin card of some sort.

Telling Tinker he's a credit to spies everywhere, Al reaches for the items, but Tinker pulls them back, telling him, "Save your praises, let me see your mazoomas." Mazoomas obviously being another form of currency. "Shame, shame, Tinker! You think Al Negator would not pay his bill, huh?" Al scolds, and then proceeds to reach down inside the yellow briefs he wears (!) and pull out a handful of little colored chips which he tosses down in front of Tinker.



I hope for Tinker's sake that Al bathes regularly, ech, imagine the gator-funk. Anyway as Tinker forks over the snooper and whatnot an alarm goes off. He and Al both turn to look up at a viewscreen positioned above them on the wall, displaying the face of a bloodhound who declares, "Tinker, open up! I have a warrant for your arrest!" Tinker responds by shrieking, "No! It's Dogstar!" and sprinting across the room, pulling on a boot hanging from a chain, which opens a secret door. Incidentally, up until this point Tinker has been wearing a red shirt and blue pants; now, though, as he attempts to make his getaway, he's wearing a pink jumpsuit suddenly.

Before Tinker can enter the door, Al knocks him down with his tail, apparently rendering him unconscious. He apologizes, "So sorry, Tinker, but I am more important!" before disappearing into the secret passageway and shutting it behind him. Suddenly the door to the shop bursts open and the bloodhound we saw on the TV monitor enters. This is Commander Dogstar, and his voice is an absolute dead ringer for Jim Backus, I swear. Incidentally, exactly what blows open the door to the shop? it just explodes inwards and there's Dogstar standing there. Did Dogstar huff and puff and blow it down? Anyway he enters the room followed by two other canines. The second guy is unimportant, but the first dude is a shaggy brown wolf with goggles named, uh, Wolf. How original. Seriously. He's a wolf and his name is Wolf.

In a moment that's genuinely amusing, Dogstar is so caught up in his grand entrance that he seems unaware that Tinker is unconscious, walking right up to the guy and dramatically declaring, "By the authority invested in me by the Security Council of the United Animals Coalition I do hereby..." He trails off as he finally notices that the criminal is in fact out cold, a fact Wolf hammers home when he kneels down and checks Tinker's pulse, saying that "somebody got to him before us."



Another sequence that got deleted from this episode involved these guys having to fight their past a variety of automated defenses, which would have made Dogstar's obliviousness that much more funny, but alas it was not to be. Anyway Dogstar, bloodhound that he is, sniffs the air. "There is another scene here!" he declares, and follows it over to the secret passage, but neither he nor Wolf seem aware that there's a hidden door there. "It ends here," Wolf feels the need to point out. "Whoever he was, he's gotten clean away." Dogstar shrugs and says it doesn't matter, since they've carried out their objective and apprehended the villainous possum. One thing these guys are not is thorough. Dogstar says they should report back to the Council for their next assignment, and then he and Wolf exit the shop, followed by the third canine who carries the comatose Tinker slung over his shoulder.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2007, 02:21:14 AM by Kooshmeister » Logged
Joe
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« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2007, 06:58:23 AM »

oh man i remeber that show i loved it!
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Inyarear
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« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2007, 12:19:48 AM »

Yeah, these guys are riffing from other stories right and left. In addition to being like the Death Star, the toads' home world strikes me as something like Apokolips from Jack Kirby's New Gods comics, where miserable legions of slaves under the rule of Darkseid (whom Komplex resembles somewhat) build war machinery for his armies, who are determined to take over the universe. Apokolips was very likely an inspiration for the Death Star, so the resemblance is hardly an accident.

While I get the feeling there's a lot of stuff the writers were thinking to leave to later seasons that never happened to explore more thoroughly, the description of how the toads went corrupt does offer a few hints as to what went wrong. (In fact, it really lays the moral corruption theme on thick, doesn't it?) The toads are indicated to be a kind of society of Nietzsche's overfed and parasitic "Last Men" whose vices get the better of them in the form of this Komplex device they've built to do all the heavy lifting for them. The kind of totalitarianism that rules them is something right out of Huxley's Brave New World, where mass addiction to pleasure-seeking, rather than brutal suppression of dissent, is what keeps people under control. I can't help noticing the slightly subversive point that Komplex used the TVs (which he controlled) to brainwash the toads--an anti-TV polemic originally aired on TV! (Ha ha! What irony! I slay me.)

For all that the toads are now warlike under Komplex's direction, I notice they haven't stopped being overfed and parasitic last men; presumably, all this conquering of planets serves to feed their passion for lots of cheap thrills, though it also serves Komplex's (vaguely Hitlerian) goals. (His motives do indeed deserve a closer look. I imagine a lot of fan fiction probably touches on that point. Maybe, for all that he's based in the machinery, Komplex still has a toad psyche. As Hitler came to be known as a kind of conglomeration of all the worst parts of human nature, Komplex may likewise represent all the worst parts of toad nature in one totalitarian ruler.) In the sequence from the first episode, we see that the Air Marshall is still addicted to all the mind-numbing pap on his TV, underscoring that the toads aren't really any less overfed and parasitic, and while Bucky's planet may no longer be the kind of place he'd like to live, a swamp is, of course, ideal for toads; obviously, they're trying to expand their lebensraum just as Hitler's troops were in their time. Bucky's planet, in addition to being like Alderaan, also seems to resemble Amidala's pleasant suburban planet Naboo.

As far as the sexual stuff's concerned, I don't think it's so much the "furry" fetish at work here so much as plain anthropomorphizing: we have advertising for vacation resorts that features lots of rugged muscular guys and buxom gals in bikinis, so naturally any sentient race that's something like humans would tend to have it too. That part involving Al Negator reaching into his briefs is actually an improvement over something that happens in a lot of other cartoons: in sequences where everyone's wearing skintight uniforms, people nevertheless somehow manage to whip out some of the darnedest things, making you wonder where they were keeping them since no pockets are visible on any of their uniforms. This sequence with the alligator suggests that maybe you don't really want to know.

Don't you just love all this overanalysis? As I say, this show's central idea was great stuff. It's a pity the writers didn't get to do more with it, because you can see the potential for all kinds of stories in this kind of setting. For just one example, it occurs to me that no society is without its misfits and rebels. Isn't it possible that a few toads weren't so addicted to pleasure-seeking as the others, and therefore didn't fall under Komplex's influence? In that case, there'd probably be some kind of underground toad resistance looking to overthrow Komplex and free their race from him. A future season could probably have included a closer look at what life is like back home now that their society is rigidly conformist and industrialized. I'm imagining it would involve one shot after another of toad children being marched around in neat ranks from classroom to classroom in their schools, where they're bombarded with Komplex's propaganda and brainwashing all day long. There might even be a sequence showing the young being spawned from eggs on a factory line as part of Komplex's extensive re-engineering of their society which would, of course, require the complete abolition of anything even resembling a traditional family. Part of what would mark the rebellious toads as different from their enslaved brethren would be that they still have nuclear families and try to spawn and raise their children more the traditional way (in secret, of course).

I swear, there's enough stuff here for a movie, if anyone cared to make it. Probably no one will, but this cartoon is a fairly good example of how you can work with more mature themes in a cartoon meant for children. If the guys in charge had pursued those themes more, this cartoon could have been wildly successful.
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Kooshmeister
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Must have caffeine...


« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2007, 02:18:52 AM »

As Hitler came to be known as a kind of conglomeration of all the worst parts of human nature, Komplex may likewise represent all the worst parts of toad nature in one totalitarian ruler.)


My own personal theory is that Komplex doesn't actually hate mammals, nor does it particularly love toads. Since we meet the scientists who built and programmed Komplex later on in the show, and they aren't prejudiced against mammals at all, it isn't likely that they programmed any sort of anti-mammal mindset into the computer when they created it. So my thinking is that Komplex just wants to rule the Aniverse by any means necessary, and views the toads as the easiest pawns to use, because they're already there. All it needs to do is use a little brainwashing and then give them something to get riled up over, i.e. filling them with the idea that mammals are inferior, and then it has a ready-made army of loyal, eager soldiers. Had Komplex been created by mammal scientists, then it would have turned its brainwashed creators against toads.

As far as the sexual stuff's concerned, I don't think it's so much the "furry" fetish at work here so much as plain anthropomorphizing: we have advertising for vacation resorts that features lots of rugged muscular guys and buxom gals in bikinis, so naturally any sentient race that's something like humans would tend to have it too.


Well, now, I never said the "sexual stuff" was bad did I? I freely admit this, but I kind of like Bucky himself and I think he's a realy admirable hero, and, well, dang it, if straight guys can find Jenny hot without everyone thinking they're weird, surely I can feel the same way about Bucky? I certainly think the buff hare in the speedo in the above pic is really hot. TeddyR

Don't you just love all this overanalysis?


Of course I do. Just look at my recaps! Buggedout

Speaking of which....

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We now cut back to Genus, or rather an orbital docking station above it. We'll later learn (in the episode The Artificers of Aldebaran specifically) that this place is called Orwell Station, an obvious nod to Animal Farm author George Orwell. Bucky and his crew, plus Willy, exit the Righteous Indignation and enter a lengthy docking tube/hallway deal. Willy tells them that he'll have to return to his own dimension pretty soon or else he'll "miss school." Wow, now there's a kid who puts learning above all else. Some better reasons to return might be so his parents won't notice he's gone and get worried, but then again, that may just be me. In light of this, Bucky muses that they'll have to hire a new warp drive mechanic to act as their engineer while Willy is away (and before they can get Bruce back, one would imagine).

Upon being asked where his helmet is, Willy says he'll go get it and reenters the ship. We soon learn why Bucky asked him that: he whispers to Jenny that they'd best keep the fact Willy is a human a secret for now. Suddenly they're interrupted by a very loud, boisterous baboon named Bruiser, who proves to be Bruce's brother. Bucky seems shocked that Bruiser is here, but Jenny says he must have heard about Bruce's disappearance. "I'm gonna get them toads what got my brother!" Bruiser snarls as, hilariously, Bucky cowers in fear before him. Nevermind that it was the ship's faulty photon accelerator and not the toads that "killed" Bruce. Obviously, Bruce was the smart one between the two brothers. Anyway Bruiser seizes poor Bucky by the front of his uniform, yanking him off his feet, ranting, "Ya gotta take me on, Bucky! Them toads is gonna pay!" Bucky, wide-eyed, says he could use a "space marine on board" in an apparent attempt to placate the angry simian.



Bruiser drops him and then proceeds to grab a nearby chair, crushing it in his bare hands (!!!). "I'll crush 'em! And smush 'em! And wad 'em into teeny pieces!" he says of the toads as he does exactly that to the chair, then throws it down and begins jumping up and down on top of it, saying, "And then I'll whomp 'em! And stomp 'em!" His tantrum is finally brought to a screeching halt when Bucky, regaining his ability to govern his crew, yells "ATTENTION!" at the top of his lungs. Showing that he can actually be a trained soldier, Bruiser snaps upright and salutes. "You're hired," Bucky tells him breathlessly, then tells him to guard the ship while they go, uh, whatever. Suddenly Willy reappears wearing the "helmet" of the battle suit Bucky gave him... and it proves to be a lifelike mask of Bruce. What the hell? When we see the helmet later on it looks like an actual helmet and not a mask, and looks nothing like Bruce, so this is a very bizarre artistic choice, all so Bruiser can get off to a bad start with Willy by initially mistaking him for Bruce (and proving what an idiot he is; there's no way the scrawny human in the battle suit could pass for Bruce, even with a mask).

But mistake him for Bruce he does, joyously crying, "You're alive! You're alive!" and grabbing him in a hug as Bucky, Jenny and Blinky look on in horror (I just noticed that Deadeye is once again absent; he seems to prefer to stay aboard the ship). Willy cries out that he can't breathe and tells the "big baboon" to let him go, whereupon the mask suddenly comes off. The implication is that Bruiser squeezes him so hard it "pops" off, but the crummy animation doesn't seem to be capable of getting this across properly.



Anyway, that's the last we'll see of that particular version of Willy's helmet, and Bruiser becomes enraged at seeing the blonde-haired human kid in his brother's old suit, and demands to know what the deal is, raising Willy bodily above his head.

Bucky and Blinky come over and begin tugging on Bruiser in an effort to make him put Willy down. "Willy is good! Willy is friend!" Blinky pleads. "He repaired photon accelerator! Please do not hurt friend, Master Bruiser!" Master Bruiser? Apparently Blinky can do no wrong in Bruiser's eyes because Bruiser immediately calms down, puts Willy back down, and apologizes. "N-No problem," Willy replies, a bit dazed. Sheesh, poor kid.

With that little crisis brought under control, Willy explains that they have a meeting with the Council, telling him to stay with Bruiser at the ship until they get back. He, Jenny and Blinky then turn and begin walking off down the hallway, and as they go Bucky says that acquiring Bruiser "sure puts us ahead in the muscle department," but that they still need a temp engineer. They don't notice Al Negator watching them from around a corner. Huh? How did he get aboard? I guess because he's a spy of the utmost cunning and skill. Anyway he sneers and whispers to himself, "That can be arranged, Captain O'Hare."

In the Council chambers, Bucky and Jenny watch as Blinky projects an image of the destroyed Warren for the pig Secretary General dude. Wait, I thought the Council met down on the surface of the planet? The previous episode even showed us the exterior of the building it was in. Did Bucky and co. beam down to the planet or take a shuttle? Why did they have to dock the Righteous Indignation at Orwell? Argh!

Anyway the Secretary General is properly horrified to learn that the toads have "perfected an interplanetary climate converter," but expresses doubts when told that their next target is Genus. "Absurd. They wouldn't dare. Not with our defense system," he tells Bucky. If I were Bucky, I'd show him the recording of the Stormtoad they found; there was nothing indicating the data Blinky extracted from it was unplayable. The Secretary General says however that they have decided to expand their space fleet, walking over and pressing a button, which causes a nearby viewscreen to show an image of one measely ship, similar to the Righteous Indignation. One ship? One ship, after being shown proof that the toads conquered and enslaved an entire planet and have at their disposal the ability to change the climates of whole planets? After the possibility of them invading Genus has come to light? Mr. Secretary, you are an idiot. Bucky, for his part, ought to try fighting just a little harder for more ships.



The Secretary General identifies the ship in question as "the Indefatigable," which we'll later learn is to be captained by Commander Dogstar. In the script it was called "the Manifest Destiny." I'm unsure which name sounds lamer. Bucky is visibly underwhelmed, and even says so, but can only shrug and say it's better than nothing. He then says they'd better return to their own ship. We'll never learn where they're going or why, but it doesn't matter because they're about to be seriously sidetracked.

We cut to Orwell, where we find a raccoon guy looking at a sign that reads, "This Way To Warp Drive Mechanic Job Application." He turns and walks down the hall and encounters Al Negator leaning against a closet door trying to look nonchalant. He asks the guy if he's a warp drive mechanic, to which the raccoon eagerly replies, "Righty-O! Is the Righteous Indignation roundabouts here?" Al opens the closet and gestures inside, saying, "Right this way, sir." Like a dumbass, the raccoon walks right up and looks inside to find several dead/unconscious mammals all piled on top of one another, obviously guys Al jumped previously. Al smacks him with his tail, knocking him into the closet. He then slams the door and walks off, whistling. I feel no pity for the raccoon. Anybody dumb enough to think any job application is being held in a closet deserves to get locked up for a few hours.



A short time later, Bucky and his crew, this time including Deadeye, are waiting at the door to the ship when Al walks up them. Introducing himself, he hands Bucky a business card that reads "Al Negator, warp drive mechanic. Al bows regally and says, "At your service, sir," as Willy appears at the airlock, but doesn't actually emerge and lingers just out of sight, watching them. He seems afraid of Al. Bucky whispers to Jenny that Al's credentials look good, but she comments back that "there's something about this Al Negator that makes my hair stand on end." Maybe it's the fact he's making a show out of rocking on his heels, arms folded behind his back, whistling innocently, the very picture of a suspicious individual. Deadeye has a different theory, though, and says it's because Al is a "sleazasaur," and "I ain't never heard of nothing' good said about no sleazasaur!" Hooray for racial slurs. Surprisingly, Bucky sticks up for Al, telling Deadeye sternly, "I know folks who say that about pirates, too," giving us our first indication that Deadeye is in fact a former pirate (outside of the narrated recap at the beginning of this episode). Looking on from inside the ship, Willy whispers, "Don't do it, Bucky," but Bucky shakes hands with Al and says he'll give him a try.

The instant distrust of Al by everyone but Bucky bothers me immensely. Especially Willy. Jenny has some psychic powers, and Deadeye has had bad past experiences with Al's species, obviously, but what does Willy have against him? He's not psychic, nor does he have any grounds to distrust a purple alligator. Nevermind that Al oozes shifty and suspicious and does actually turn out to be evil, it still makes me uncomfortable. As this series progresses we'll find that outside of one or two good guy toads, it has a very strong and very one-sided bias against coldblooded species.

Commander Dogstar shows up at this point and confirms to Bucky that he'll be the captain of the Indefatigable. There's a brief moment where it looks like Al's cover will be blown when Dogstar catches whiff of a familiar scent. "I've smelled you somewhere before," he tells Al. "Can't quite remember where." Al laughs it off and good-naturedly replies that "they say all us sleazasaurs smell the same." Dogstar says he never forgets a scent, but, in keeping with his apparent inability to be thorough, he shrugs it off and bids good-bye to Bucky et al, taking his leave.



Later, back aboard the Righteous, Willy stands at his open closet door, talking to Bucky and Jenny, once again expressing his doubts about Al. Bucky, pushing Willy towards the door, tells him not to worry about them, and that he should get on home. "You've got school. Now that's an order." Willy agrees despite his reluctance (and he was so eager to get home earlier, too; but then again, that was before Mr. Shifty-Pants entered the picture), vowing to come back as soon as he can. He goes through and closes the closet door, which disappears in a flash of light.

Cut to him walking down the street back in San Franciso, minding his own beeswax. He's headed to school it looks like, judging by the armful of textbooks he's carrying. He suddenly hears the sound of approaching skateboards, and turns to see Doug, Jeff and Mark, the three bullies who were harrassing him early on in War of the Warts, barrelling down on him on their skateboards. He runs for it down the sidewalk and the bullies give chase. Doug manages to get ahead of him and cut off his escape, and attempts to grab him. But Willy wriggles free of his grasp and runs in the only direction he can, out into the street. Bad move, kid.

Sure enough, he trips and lands face down on the asphalt, and somehow manages to get his hand stuck in the tracks of an oncoming streetcar. Will he be pulverized?!

Needless to say, Willy pulls his hand free in time and manages to get out of the path of the slow-moving trolley. Somehow throughout this he's managed to keep hold of his books, too. Getting up, he continues running as the chase resumes, and in a moment that would probably make Tony Hawk jealous, Doug, Jeff, and Mark ramp their skateboards up off an empty car carrier, fly through the air, and come down right behind Willy. They breeze past him and he falls down, spilling his books and homework everywhere as the bullies do a U-turn and surround him.



"What's your hurry, Mr. Genius?" sneers Doug. Once again trying to sound brave, Willy tells the three he's "seen toads scarier than you," then gets up in Doug's face. "Listen up, McKenna," he says, "I challenge you to meet me in the study hall at 3:00 to do battle with my choice of weapons." Doug is unimpressed and just chuckles, but agrees to Willy's challenge. But being the kind of bully that only exists in ABC After School Specials, the most Doug can muster is, "You better be there, or else!"

Cut back to Aniverse. The Righteous Indignation is headed somewhere (they appear to be flying away from a sun, which makes no sense). In the engine room, Bruiser has already made himself quite at home. He's sitting on the floor eating bananas; there's a pile of peels beside him several inches high. Blinky enters with Al Negator, the latter wearing a duffel bag slung over one shoulder as the short robot explains the inner-workings of the ship. The tour having just reached the engine room, Blinky attempts to direct Al's attention to the photon accelerator, but Al seems uninterested. He swishes his tail, making Blinky have to jump to avoid having his feet swept out from under him. Al walks over and pulls open a panel in the wall, from which beeping noises emanate, sticking in what appears to be one of the disablers he bought from Tinker earlier. "Yes, I am very impressed! Very! Everything seems, uh, tip top!" he says, trying to sound like he knows what Blinky is talking about.

He manages to sweep Blinky's feet out from under him this time and the little android collapses to the floor. Al goes to some random corner of the engine room, nowhere near the accelerator, and Blinky, on his feet again, walks up, telling him, "Uh, photon accelerator over there." Al suddenly whirls around and points to the big pile of banana peels over by Bruiser, and, for the first time flexing his newfound muscles as chief engineer, orders Bucky to clean them up, even going so far as to knock him into the pile (!). With Blinky thus preoccupied, Al leaves the engine room and goes to the gunner's station at the front of the ship. Deadeye isn't there, so Al is free to snoop around. Al walks over and inserts another disabler into a panel. You'd think they'd have some sort of security detector thingie or whatever. Al then notices Willy's duffel bag (that he brought with him and then left) and starts rifling through it as Deadeye enters.

The one-eyed, four-armed fowl is mighty put out at this invasion of Willy's privacy. "Get your lowlife lizard hands off that, ya scaly scalawag! You've got a lot of nerve stickin' your nose where it don't belong!" he tells Al, grabbing the bag away from him and prodding him in the snout for emphasis. Al leaves (well really he just disappears offscreen, although it appears that Deadeye shoves him off his feet) and Deadeye himself then begins looking in the duffel.



He notices the stack of green bills Willy had put in there earlier and cries "Money!", grabbing them. He then proceeds to argue with himself about whether or not he should take it: "I am a pirate... oh, but it's Willy's money." He starts to put it back, but stops. "But! What about the pirate creed? 'Any money is pirate's money?'" He starts to put the bills into his pocket and stops again. "Eh, what if he don't come back? It's me duty to take it and keep it safe for 'im!" He then finally stuffs the money into his uniform.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2007, 02:27:26 AM by Kooshmeister » Logged
akiratubo
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« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2007, 06:13:05 AM »

If not for Willy, this show might be pretty good.  Willy was the reason I never watched it when it was on TV.
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Kooshmeister
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« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2007, 08:57:26 AM »

In the study hall the clock reads 3:00, and Willy is standing his ground as Doug approaches him flanked by Jeff and Mark in a shot that looks like an old west showdown at high noon. "So what's it gonna be, egghead?" Doug demands. Willy says "I said my choice of weapons, and I choose... this!" He whips out what appears to be a technical diagram of some sort and holds it up for the older boys to see. Doug, flabbergasted, snatches it from his hands and in what is quite possibly the funniest line in the entire series so far, cries, "You want me to beat ya up with a piece of paper?!"



Willy clarifies that he and Doug are going to "do the big science project together." Doug proceeds to crumple up the diagram and throw it on the floor, declaring that he isn't doing "any sissy science stuff!" "Well, if you're scared," Willy teases, begging for a punch in the nose. And Doug looks ready to deliver when Jeff suddenly picks up the wadded-up diagram, uncrumpling it and looking at it as Willy explains that it's the plans for "a computerized skateboard that analyzes every move you make." Jeff, excited, tells Doug that it's "kinda neat." On this advice, Doug finally caves and agrees to Willy's "challenge," but grabs him by the front of his shirt and warns him sternly, "But if I don't pass, you're gonna be dog food!" Wait, how is this a battle? He won't be fighting Doug but rather cooperating with him to help him pass. It's nice that Willy is attempting to come to a nonviolent conclusion with this guy but it still doesn't mesh with his earlier challenge at all.

Back to the Aniverse once again. Back aboard the toad mothership, Frix and Frax are once more glued to a television set, watching a commercial for "Warts Illustrated." They ogle several female toads in swimsuits (including Verruca, the Warts Galore spokesmodel), and then the screen changes to a football game. Toad players engage in a melee that only vaguely resembles football as we know it. Two of the players, each carrying a football, run right into one another and fall down as identically-dressed fans cheer from the stands. Suddenly a green, mechanical hand comes into frame and taps Frix on the shoulder. "Go away!" grumbles Frix. The hand then gives Frax a try, but only earns an angry "Buzz off, we're busy!"

Suddenly the hand smashes the TV screen, and Frix and Frax are thrown backwards out of their chairs by the resulting explosion. They cower in terror as they find a tall purple, yellow and green toad cyborg, standing over them. They then proceed to shriek in unison, "T-T-T-T-T-T-T-Toadborg!!!" Shaking his fist at them, Toadborg warns, "Next time, it will be your heads." Suddenly the Toad Air Marshall bursts into the room, loudly demanding to know what all the noise is, and upon seeing his visitor proceeds to also cry out "T-T-T-T-T-T-T-Toadborg!!!" in terror. Toadborg, not wastng any time with pleasantries, tells the Air Marshall that he is now in charge of the upcoming invasion of Genus. The Air Marshall protests that it's his ship, prompting Toadborg to seize him by the front of his armor and lift him off his feet.



"Now it is mine," he calmly says. "Any objections?" "No, none at all! Fine, it's yours!" blubbers the Air Marshall, and after dropping him Toadborg explains that Komplex has lost faith in him and send him (Toadborg) to personally make sure that everything goes according to plan. Although we'll soon see that for all his supposed intelligence, Toadborg is actually stupider than the Air Marshall. He demands to know where Al Negator is with the satellite clearance codes, and a nervous Air Marshall says he's "on his way." "He'd better be," Toadborg threatens.

Aboard the Righteous, Blinky is finishing cleaning up all the banana peels as Al Negator walks in on him and Bruiser. We know from the sudden blaring dramatic music that something important is about to happen, and Al tells them that Deadeye would like to see them. "Sure thing," says Bruiser, and he and Blinky exit the engine room. As soon as they're through the door Al loudly slams it shut, then draws his laser rifle and fires a concentrated beam of green energy, melting it shut to the doorframe. On the other side, Deadeye, Bruiser, and Blinky tug uselessly on the door (when they should be pushing on it because from their side it swings open inwardly). Deadeye calls Al a "scurvy sleazasaur," and says he knew he couldn't be trusted. Inside the engine room, Al pulls a lever, and a panel slides away to reveal the ship's computer. He inserts a disk into a slot and verbally commands the computer to "download all security and clearance codes!"

Up on the bridge, an alarm goes off, alerting Bucky and Jenny to the problem. Jenny informs Bucky that "someone has hacked into our security files with a snooper," prompting poor Bucky to realize how wrong he was to think that Al, an alligator, could ever be trustworthy. "Why didn't I listen to anyone?" he cries. Probably because they were unfairly prejudiced whereas you were not? He hurriedly climbs down below decks and tells Bruiser that they must break down the door to the engine room. Bruiser assures him he can get through it, and get through it he does, but only after ramming into it no less than three times. The third time is the charm and the door smashes open inwards, with Bruiser ending up in a dazed heap on the floor. Bucky runs inside but aside from Bruiser the engine room is completely empty. "He's gone!" Bucky feels the need to exclaim, as we cut to an exterior shot of the ship and see Al, wearing a fishbowl helmet, flying off on the Toad Croaker.

Bucky and Deadeye watch him fly off from the gunner's port, the former wondering aloud where Al thinks he's going. Jenny then proceeds to point out the painfully obvious: "He's escaping on the Toad Croaker. I'm going after him!" She pushes the throttle forwards and gives chase. Al, glancing over his shoulder, is well aware that they're pursuing him, as Deadeye asks Bucky whether he should "put a shot or two across his bows, matey?" Bucky tells him "Do it!" and he fires, but misses Al completely.

We suddenly cut back to Earth as Willy enters his bedroom, leaves his door open, and after wondering to himself whether "that sleazasaur" turned out okay, activates his homemade photon accelerator. His closet door materializes in the engine room, startling Bruiser and Blinky. Willy steps through, blissfully unaware of anything that's going on. "Hi, Bruiser. Hi, Blinky. What's happenin'?" Outside, the Righteous Indignation follows the Toad Croaker around a barren, crater-covered planet. On the other side, the toad mothership sits waiting with its "mouth" open. Al makes a beeline for it. "Oh my stars!" cries Jenny. That's no moon, it's a space station! Bucky says they can't let Al escape with the codes "no matter what the cost," and tells Deadeye to shoot the Croaker out from under the villainous gator.



But Al has though ahead, and producing a small remote control, cackles maniacally "I've got you now, Bucky O'Hare!" and presses a button on it. Deadeye's guns explode, throwing him and Bucky backwards. Jenny is also thrown back as the controls on the bridge explode right in front of her, and in the engine room, Bruiser shields himself as the photon accelerator also goes kablooey. This results in Willy's closet door vanishing, a fact he very quickly takes note of with understandable worry.

Bucky helps a dazed Deadeye to his feet as Jenny comes down from the bridge, casually informing Bucky that all their controls have been sabotaged and they're now "completely helpless." Willy comes in at this point and asks what's going on, and Bucky, a little too happy to see him, exclaims, "Willy! Glad you're back!" They then turn to see the swiftly-approaching maw of the toad mothership looming over them through the gunner's viewport, and Bucky adds, "But you sure picked a rotten time for a visit."



Aboard the mothership, the Air Marshall watches the approaching Righteous Indignation on a viewscreen on the bridge, Frix and Frax standing behind him. "I-I've got him!" he cries excitedly. "I've got Bucky O'Hare!" Laughing, he throws his fists back jubiliantly. Frix and Frax, behind him on either side, get hit in their faces and fall down comically. He then whirls to the two and roars, "Seal the bay doors!" As the Righteous enters the hangar bay of the mothership, the jaws begin to close over it. Aboard, Bucky and friends look up in openmouthed horror, a shadow falling over all of them. The jaws slam shut, trapping our mammalian heroes.

To be continued!
« Last Edit: May 09, 2007, 09:13:17 AM by Kooshmeister » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2007, 01:00:19 PM »

My own personal theory is that Komplex doesn't actually hate mammals, nor does it particularly love toads. Since we meet the scientists who built and programmed Komplex later on in the show, and they aren't prejudiced against mammals at all, it isn't likely that they programmed any sort of anti-mammal mindset into the computer when they created it. So my thinking is that Komplex just wants to rule the Aniverse by any means necessary, and views the toads as the easiest pawns to use, because they're already there. All it needs to do is use a little brainwashing and then give them something to get riled up over, i.e. filling them with the idea that mammals are inferior, and then it has a ready-made army of loyal, eager soldiers. Had Komplex been created by mammal scientists, then it would have turned its brainwashed creators against toads.

Sounds credible enough to me, though there's even a few Hitlerian qualities to that. One debate that has never yet been settled and probably never will be is how much Hitler actually believed in all the racist ideology he was spewing. On the one hand, we have every indication that he personally despised the Jews, but on the other hand, he also mentioned that "If we hadn't had the Jews [to scapegoat for Germany's problems] we would have had to invent them." Like many politicians, he also had a tendency to talk out of both sides of his mouth. It's not as if the Germans were the only people he could have persuaded either: Stalin was pretty anti-semitic too, and genocidal racism lingers on in Africa, Asia, and much of the Middle East to this day. There are also plenty of people everywhere who'd be only too happy to seek world domination if they thought they had enough resources to achieve it.

Komplex's racial preferences undoubtedly do come from his being an invention of the toads, but having seen how he treats them as his test subjects in a later episode, I agree that he probably doesn't have any particular love for them. (He just thinks them as being very useful for his purposes, the way they used to think of him.) His desire to dominate is probably an outgrowth of his having been put in charge of their automated world; once he had their trains running on time, he evidently got smart and started wondering why he had to take any of their orders and why he shouldn't be ordering them around instead. Once he took to ordering them around, his lust for power grew to the point that he started wanting to order the rest of the "aniverse" around as well, whether the other animals accepted this or not. Pretty simple explanation, huh?

Well, now, I never said the "sexual stuff" was bad did I? I freely admit this, but I kind of like Bucky himself and I think he's a really admirable hero, and, well, dang it, if straight guys can find Jenny hot without everyone thinking they're weird, surely I can feel the same way about Bucky? I certainly think the buff hare in the speedo in the above pic is really hot. TeddyR

More than I really needed to know, but as our esteemed site owner and moderator says, "Okay then!" I don't think it's weird that people would admire these cartoon animals for having some of the same features as humans have (such as a well-rounded bosom), but my point is that the aesthetic appreciation is likewise anthropomorphic; if the animals weren't walking upright and didn't have breasts like the humans, most of those fans probably wouldn't admire them for their beauty so much. (I mean, how many people find the sight of a cow udder a big turn-on, right?) There's also the romantic aspect: while I wouldn't particularly care to have Jenny kiss me on the cheek the way she did to Willy, I would certainly have a nice warm fuzzy feeling at the thought of any romance that might develop between her and Bucky.

Really, I keep wondering what this series would have been like if the Japanese animators had gotten a crack at it. You can bet they would have played all these angles for everything they're worth. It probably would have had a female baboon getting the hots for Willy too, with Willy going "I don't know... You and me... we're just too different somehow!" as he's trying to let her down softly.
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« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2007, 01:22:10 PM »

I don't think it's weird that people would admire these cartoon animals for having some of the same features as humans have (such as a well-rounded bosom), but my point is that the aesthetic appreciation is likewise anthropomorphic; if the animals weren't walking upright and didn't have breasts like the humans, most of those fans probably wouldn't admire them for their beauty so much. (I mean, how many people find the sight of a cow udder a big turn-on, right?)

Well, obviously. Why would I find an udder sexy?  BounceGiggle

And, I probably did say a little too much. It's just that I see all these guys gush about "how hot" Jenny is, or Krystal from Star Fox or whatever, and so I figure that as a gay man I can surely do the same thing about fictional male characters, human or otherwise. I just sometimes tend to get a little overeager.  But just so we're clear, if I like a character who isn't a human, it's for their human-like qualities first and formost. The fact they're a, well, a whatever is entirely beside the point. TeddyR

Oh yeah, and I'm vehemently against anything even remotely Bucky/Jenny. Why? Simply because I don't feel like there's any chemistry between them. He's the captain, she's the first mate, and they're never really shown to have anything beyond a professional relationship. In fact, the reason I dislike the pairing so much, besides the fact so many other people like it and I'm notorious for going against the flow, is that it's just too obvious and convenient. I would prefer nothing ever happen between Bucky and Jenny, ever, just to prove that a man and a woman can in fact work closely together without falling madly in love with one another. If there's anyone I think Bucky ought to get with, it's Mimi LaFloo (from the episodes "Home, Swampy, Home" and "The Artificers of Aldebaran"). Now they had chemistry. More like raw animal attraction (no pun intended) but it was still more than Bucky ever had with Jenny, and therefore could easily grow into something more emotional and intimate.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2007, 01:37:03 PM by Kooshmeister » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2007, 01:17:33 AM »

Heh. Well, I suppose Bucky and Jenny might have too professional of a relationship ever to get romantically interested in each other as you say, but the point stands that a portrayal of romantic pairings between any kind of anthropomorphous creatures tends to inspire a kind of sympathetic warm and fuzzy feeling in me, and (I suspect) many others as well. I've even gotten this kind of feeling in cartoons where the animals are less anthropomorphous physically (such as Disney's Lady and the Tramp). The principle is the same, I think: while the more realistically portrayed animals may not be physically attractive by human standards, one can understand that they're physically attractive to each other by some standard of their own, and they still have the kind of magnetic personalities and sharp intellect that we see in humans we find attractive as well.

It did occur to me that technically, since Bucky's a hare and Jenny's a cat, there'd be some racial barriers between them as well, though maybe not too insurmountable. Since both characters are heavily anthropomorphized, the differences are actually not much greater than those between, say, humans and vulcans in Star Trek. When I speak of barriers, I don't mean social prejudice or racism as such; I mean, rather, the tendency we have as individuals to prefer people who look similar to ourselves as mates; I, for example, am all in favor of blacks and whites marrying each other, and yet I've never had any interest in marrying a black woman myself, possibly because none of them seem very attractive to me. One also sees this effect on Star Trek, where it's demonstrated that humans and klingons can intermarry and have offspring, and yet not very many are interested in doing so. (The whole premise of alien species interbreeding in Star Trek is scientifically a bit of a stretch, but nevermind; it's the cultural differences that I'm considering here.)

It occurs to me, too, that part of why Bucky O'Hare's writers show a clear prejudice for all things mammalian and against all things cold-blooded may be that the mammals are more like humans sexually. Most mammals apart from humans aren't monogamous, of course, but the point is that their reproductive process is similar enough to ours that if they had our personalities, they would probably build societies very much like ours. Toads and alligators, on the other hand, have a distinctly less cuddly way of bearing young: lay eggs, fertilize them, and then forget about them. It's quite difficult to imagine how the toads ever could have had anything like the nuclear family shown in that still frame you posted at all, since there's really nothing in the reproductive process that would tend to bind any of them to each other very much. (I speculate that, before Komplex conquered them, the toad women kept their eggs in their bodies and had the toad men fertilize them there; that's about the only way they could have had those traditional families.) In other words, the writers might have been following their natural instincts on this one, which are the same subconscious promptings that have humans in general sometimes referring to someone who's cruel calculating as "reptilian" and "cold-hearted." It's the battle of pregnancy vs. egg-laying!
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Kooshmeister
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« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2007, 02:24:40 AM »

Most mammals apart from humans aren't monogamous, of course, but the point is that their reproductive process is similar enough to ours that if they had our personalities, they would probably build societies very much like ours. Toads and alligators, on the other hand, have a distinctly less cuddly way of bearing young: lay eggs, fertilize them, and then forget about them.

Actually, alligators are known to take care of their young for some time after they hatch. Just saying.

(I speculate that, before Komplex conquered them, the toad women kept their eggs in their bodies and had the toad men fertilize them there; that's about the only way they could have had those traditional families.)

Why? I mean, they could keep the eggs in a safe place until they hatch and then keep the tadpoles in a tank or something (the villain named the Toad in Flushed Away did something similar, keeping his offspring in a tank in his control room). Why is it that you think the only way for a parent to care about its offspring is if it's inside them and not in an egg? The son in the family portrait (and other toad children seen throughout the series) appears to be, roughly, between the ages of ten or twelve, judging by both his appearance, and by his immature behavior (although most of the adult toad characters behave just as immaturely), very young by human standards (and obviously the Aniversians have lifespans similar to humans) so if the toad kids have a tadpole stage it's very brief. In any event, for all we know the toads in this show could give live birth. I mean, when they have hair (note the toad wife's hair in curlers, and the mustache on the one Stormtoad), clearly, keeping true to biology was not among the writers' concerns. :)
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akiratubo
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« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2007, 05:24:24 AM »

You guys are thinking about this waaaaaaaaaaaay too much ...

Though I can't really say anything about that after my D&D cartoon musings.  BounceGiggle

Whoa, checking the IMDB, I see that Long John Baldry provided the voice of the Air Marshall.  I must now see this series!
« Last Edit: May 11, 2007, 05:36:38 AM by akiratubo » Logged

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Inyarear
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« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2007, 04:32:48 PM »

Actually, alligators are known to take care of their young for some time after they hatch. Just saying.

In fact, most species above a certain level of complexity do have some child-rearing instincts, but that's kind of beside the point. Considering how much this show riffs from Star Wars, though, I'll bet Al Negator's upbringing was probably something like Boba Fett's, eh?

Why? I mean, they could keep the eggs in a safe place until they hatch and then keep the tadpoles in a tank or something (the villain named the Toad in Flushed Away did something similar, keeping his offspring in a tank in his control room). Why is it that you think the only way for a parent to care about its offspring is if it's inside them and not in an egg? The son in the family portrait (and other toad children seen throughout the series) appears to be, roughly, between the ages of ten or twelve, judging by both his appearance, and by his immature behavior (although most of the adult toad characters behave just as immaturely), very young by human standards (and obviously the Aniversians have lifespans similar to humans) so if the toad kids have a tadpole stage it's very brief. In any event, for all we know the toads in this show could give live birth. I mean, when they have hair (note the toad wife's hair in curlers, and the mustache on the one Stormtoad), clearly, keeping true to biology was not among the writers' concerns. :)

The very fact that the family shown only has two children also suggests they employ a less prolific form of reproduction the same way we do. It's not so much the love for the offspring I'm talking about, though, as it is the parents' love for each other. Most species have instincts for nurturing their young, and toads would presumably have the same, but it's hard to imagine how egg-laying could help secure the bonds of marriage between adults the way that sexual intercourse does between humans (and some other mammals, in fact). I mean, what's romantic about fertilizing eggs in a tank somewhere? "Honey, if you give me the key to that aquarium where you keep your eggs, I'll show you how much I love you!" That's why I speculate that the toads probably had something similar to our form of sexual intercourse before Komplex took over, and also why I speculate that they're now manufactured rather than born: totalitarian states tend to do everything they can to weaken  and sever family loyalties lest they interfere with loyalty to the state, and the erotic bond between husband and wife is one of the strongest family loyalties there is. While I don't believe in evolution myself, presumably the toads as they used to be are meant to be an evolved form of their species, just as humans are supposedly evolved from apes. With Komplex in charge, the toads proceed to devolve back into their more bestial form, which isn't much of a stretch for their amphibious species anyway for the reasons I've just given.

I'm not saying the writers necessarily pondered these points in any great detail the way we have, but I am saying there's a kind of natural instinct that might be prompting their dislike for toads and lizards, y'know?
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Kooshmeister
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« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2007, 07:23:59 PM »

Considering how much this show riffs from Star Wars, though, I'll bet Al Negator's upbringing was probably something like Boba Fett's, eh?

Ordinarily I'd agree, but remember, this show came out in 1991, and Attack of the Clones which introduced Boba as a child, came out in 2002.

I mean, what's romantic about fertilizing eggs in a tank somewhere? "Honey, if you give me the key to that aquarium where you keep your eggs, I'll show you how much I love you!"

Yeah, that's unromantic to us, but why wouldn't it be romantic to the toads? Although I do see what you're saying. Reproduction like that does imply a lack of physical contact (i.e. actual sex), and yet what are the toads always ogling on TV? That's right. Hot toad babes in skimpy swimsuits; physically alluring toad babes. Frix and Frax's office has lewd pinups all over the place. Playtoad! So, I guess the did reproduce similar to mammals, although I'm still betting they laid eggs or something.

That's why I speculate that the toads probably had something similar to our form of sexual intercourse before Komplex took over, and also why I speculate that they're now manufactured rather than born: totalitarian states tend to do everything they can to weaken and sever family loyalties lest they interfere with loyalty to the state, and the erotic bond between husband and wife is one of the strongest family loyalties there is. While I don't believe in evolution myself, presumably the toads as they used to be are meant to be an evolved form of their species, just as humans are supposedly evolved from apes. With Komplex in charge, the toads proceed to devolve back into their more bestial form, which isn't much of a stretch for their amphibious species anyway for the reasons I've just given.

You might be closer to the truth than you think. In the next-to-last level of the arcade game, where you're making your way to through the interior of the Toad Homeworld (referred to as the "Toad Star" in the game) trying to get to Komplex's inner sanctum, you go through what appears to be a cloning facility. There are several toads in tall glass tubes lining the walls, and a few of these actually shatter as you pass them, releasing the toads inside whereupon they immediately transform into Stormtoads.

However, at first glance, this doesn't appear to mesh well with the TV show. We know from Toad TV that there are still toad children because we see at one point a little boy in a commercial for a maggot farm (as opposed to an ant farm). So, I think that, perhaps, only Stormtoads are cloned. Or, at least, all toads are cloned, or otherwise "manufactured" biologically using sperm and egg donors, but the toad civilians are given a more natural developmental pace whereas the ones destined to be Stormtoads are accelerated to become adults as quickly as possible.

In any event, due to the fact Toad TV consists of fairly mundane, ordinary programs such as commercials, sitcoms, westerns, beauty pageants, more commercials, and a pedestrian news network of sorts, suggests that despite Komplex's takeover, there are, in fact, toad civilians with civilian jobs, although it's a little unnerving to think of what it must be like to continue being a housewife or a teacher or a lawyer or whatever on that big dead metal planet they call their homeworld.
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Inyarear
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« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2007, 12:35:37 AM »

Heh. Yeah, nobody knew much about Boba Fett's upbringing back when this came out, though there were actually some tantalizing clues about this in some of the Star Wars novels and comics that came out in the years between episode six and episode two. In Tales From Jabba's Palace, for example, it mentioned that Boba personally didn't like the religious orders that hired him to track down their heretics because "they reminded him too much of his childhood" but that he'd learned a measure of respect for them because they paid handsomely for his services and their targets rarely shot back when he came to collect them. Not that the writers of this show would necessarily have known about that, but except for Al Negator being more arrogant and talkative, it's pretty obvious that he's a total rip-off of Boba Fett.

As you note, they still do have some semblance of civilian life, which makes sense in view of their origins. Like the Nazis, they've probably resettled their civilians from their home-grown Death Star out to the lebensraum they're busy creating on other planets, such as Warren. (Sadly, real history teaches us that the idiocy of Bucky's superiors in reaction to his report on this takeover is all too realistic; the League of Nations was similarly ineffective against Hitler's aggression, and the UN is just as ineffective against dictatorships these days.) Speaking of the Death Star , by the way, this series seems to riff a fair amount on some of the earlier scripts for Star Wars (many of which featured the hero "Luke Starkiller" among other amusing prototypes) as well as the finished product. In early scripts, the Death Star was not equipped with a planet-exploding laser, but instead served mainly as a mobile fortress and baracks for a force of up to a billion troops to conquer and occupy planets.

I don't know how well the arcade game follows the story, but either cloning or eggs would presumably be an effective method for manufacturing stormtoads. If they're being cloned, however, that might very well explain why we keep seeing the same toads over and over again. (Well, that, and the obviously tight budget the animators were on.) I'll have to check out that game sometime. To the writers' credit, I like how they play upon the differences between toad culture and ours even while portraying the similarities, such having all toad females hawking products by exposing flesh, but also having that flesh be covered with warts. (To the toads, that's sexy!) Kind of reminds me of a little joke from one of the Star Trek movies: two Klingon women spying on the Starship Enterprise catch sight of Dr. Beverly Crusher, and one remarks to the other "Ugh. Human women are so UGLY!"
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