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Arthur Season 1: Part 3

Arthur’s Birthday

I had the VHS for this episode, and I have seen it so many times I could quote it nearly word for word.  It opens with a foreshadowing for “Francine’s Stolen Bike and the middle of the episode.  The opening and actual scene are different and I often watched it just to recognize the slight differences in animation, angles, and dialogue.

Untitled.png

This feels more like a season 3 episode than one with the execution.  Season 3 episodes had worse plots but near perfect writing, while season 1 had great writing and wonderful plots.  Here we begin with things that could have been really boring like counting down days, shopping, and writing invitations.  Arthur counted down days by holding Pal’s paw and moving it, which was cute.  D.W. kept being a dead pan Snarker.  Shopping was surprisingly good thanks to D.W.’s humor with how she imitated Arthur, tried to turn it into a pony party, and that Arthur found a decoration that looked just like Principal Haney.

The real plot then starts.  I remember saying “Arthur goes to Camp” is the reigning worst episode and it had a boys vs girls plot.  Well this episode does a boys vs girls plot well.  Instead of just being set up like that it is them acting like third graders.  They are closer to people their own gender and start to fight based on that, while knowing it is bad and hoping to end it.

The tug of war part is especially memorable.  Binky ties it to his waist (legal I heard) and Prunella tied it to the swing set (illegal).  Fern was dressed as Brain.  She was apparently subbed out for Jenna in the middle of the game.

The way Arthur resolved two birthdays at the same time was very good writing.  The actual party was not as fun as the rest of the episode, but the rest was great.  This is the first time a character is referred to by their species.

Francine Frensky, Superstar

FFS Buster's Revenge

Since I had Arthur’s Birthday on VHS I normally turned it off when it came on TV, and as a result I have very little nostalgia for this episode.  The opening is hilarious.  I especially like her role as Isaac Newton.  The plot itself is really good, as it offers intense emotional conflict with the characters and brings that.  Francine is shown crying.  IT is not as good as scene of her crying in a later episode, but it helps turn Francine from an unsympathetic character with good intentions into a well intended extremists.  This episode really is similar to “Draw!”  It is not as good as the show’s current best, but it is really funny and emotional.

Some early installment weirdness in the beginning.  Sue Ellen suggests a monster story, and without a doubt any other season Fern would have had that role.  Even more so in recent seasons Sue Ellen hates horror stories at first for being boring and then for being gross.

          Arthur’s Baby

The Baby Orchestra
          It starts with Arthur mentioning how everyone has been a baby before.  It gives the continuity error of showing Mr. Ratburn as a baby being named “Emil” instead of “Nigel.”  Apparently he s named Emil Nigel Ratburn and started going by his middle name, or he changed his name later.  All of his math problems are correct that he wrote on the wall.
           We get the swimming title card again, hinting this will be more about Arthur than his family.  Arthur discusses how everyone was a baby once.  It shows Buster.  Apparently as a baby he pulled food of supermarket shelves and licked them.  Bitzi then put them back on the shelves.  Good thing Buster is so clean.  Mr. Ratburn is called Emil as a baby instead of Nigel.  It seems like a plot hole, but I solved it.  He is named Emil Nigel Ratburn.  He started going by his middle name later.
        It starts with D.W. beating Arthur in a eating contest.  Seem inconsequential, but it foreshadows D.W. being better with the baby than Arthur his episode.  That is also why I do not call this a two part episode like some do.  There is no foreshadowing or related morals I could find in both segments.
           Mom and Dad tell Arthur that they are getting a baby (and they are considering making Arthur move out).  D.W. is enthusiastic, but Arthur is horrified.  He is worried about another D.W.  Arthur is still worried about being teased, and he worries he will be given baby based nicknames again.
          The ending is a good scene where tension is built up by D.W.’s methods to calm Kate down failing.  Arthur helps bring the hero down to his lowest point by mentioning his failings with Kate.  He then really tries to help rather than let D.W. do everything and he solves the problem.

D.W.’s Baby

     This is superior to “Arthur’s Baby.”

1x11b

        For I think the first time Arthur is talking right into a cartoon camera, which D.W. holds upside down to make Arthur more interesting.  Considering D.W. is the reason the Read Family segments work so well I think she has a point.

          We then get the “Super Sister” title card, which indicates it will be a D.W. episode.  The end of “Arthur’s Baby” is shown from D.W.’s point of view.  As a younger (and more evil) sibling most of the trust and responsibility is placed on Arthur.  She is also no longer the bay of the family, and she is having a middle child syndrome.  As a middle child I can relate and laugh at how they realistically exaggerated it.  It was really fun watching this with my older sisters, as they kept saying how I was less annoying as a baby than Kate.  Unlike Kate I did not cry at night.

            The best humor came from D.W. trying to get rid of Kate by saying she was for sell (Did Elwood City never get the 13th amendment?), blaming her for a building falling down, and saying Kate put dad’s shows in the freezer, while trying to sound like a gangster.  Unfortunately Dad is not an idiot.

            In probably the first moment to show that D.W. I Grandma’s favorite she goes to Thora for help and she pretends to go along with helping her to runaway to an island.  She talks her out of it on the way by appealing to Kate’s need for an older sister that is not Arthur.  D.W. realizes that with only Arthur to be her older sibling Kate would be miserable (should that mean D.W. is miserable?)  D.W. comes back to save her little sister.

           I love this episode.  D.W. was great in it.  She gets further developed with her arrogance ad insecurity.  Grandma Thora is shown to be wise.  It has an extremely relatable and important moral.

 

 

 

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a Hybrid Bad Sequel and Bad Remake

         (Spoiler free zone)   

The news came out that Disney of all companies was going to make Star wars 7.  Naturally most people had a very bad feeling about it.  The trailer and forcing so much hype managed to win most of the crowd over and I went from thinking it would be awful to thinking mediocre, and I was right the first time.  We all missed that Disney refused to put their name on the new advertising.

As word has come out this is more of a remake of New Hope (with pieces of the other films thrown in) rather than a new story I do not consider that to be a spoiler.  It made it very easy to tell that since character B is character A from the original and X happened to A then X will happen to B instead of the red herring Y.  The film was incredibly predictable as a result.

I remember the prequels were criticized for the Anakin/Padme romance, but this had one that was way worse and very Disney like.  The original trilogy gave a famous and wonderful feeling of friendship amidst the characters.  The prequels brought in a much smaller one.  In The Force Awakens it felt like the plot demands a friendship.  Only one had real potential, and it seemed more like mutual hero worship.

What really makes a movie work?  Emotional attachment is how it works, and I had no care for these people, and that is a disaster in a fantasy.  Fantasies will always have plot holes and this is no exception by a long shot.  It is filled with sequel hooks I had no interest in making most characters just seem like morons that Timothy Zahn would have a hard time explaining.  With no emotional involvement other than anger I noticed many holes.  This combined every part of a bad sequel by just remaking the originals, while still feeling nothing alike them, and it undid the happy endings from A New Hope and The Return of the Jedi.

Spoiler Zone

    We start with a copy of Raymus Antilles

Him

 

In A New Hope he has no name, but since he has no lines and we are not supposed to be sad with his non-dramatic death that does not matter.  With this nameless guy.  In Force Awakens he talks a lot and seems like he should be important, and his death is supposed to be dramatic, but without a name I feel nothing, since I need a name to really feel for them as characters and not plot devices.  The villain, Kylo Ren gets an opening similar to Vader’s original opening, well almost.  There is no different dark music making him seem different from the storm troopers.  Unfortunately that foreshadows that he will seem completely incapable of leading the new, worse storm troopers.  They then show a sort trooper with his face indicating he is important.  Since they do not give a name I am stuck thinking of him s the black guy.  A pilot gets captured making him our new Princess Leia.  He is supposed to be our new Han Solo, but he comes off more like Princess Leia.  He gives a very similar secret hologram to a very similar R-2 looking unit, because first movie.  And it is just like New Hope except only the droid and the villain have names.

Like a New Hope the droid gets stuck in a dessert planet.  Which of course makes it easy to correctly assume it will get saved by a dessert person who wants to leave.  Who saves it?  Another character with no name.  It is portrayed as shocking that the character is female, but with this craze for strong female heroes and the trailer that was easy to figure out.  Again no name given.

Nameless pilot is broken out by nameless black guy an they are finally given names, Poe and Finn respectively.  Poe is left for dead, but there is no body, thus I know he is alive.

Way  more scenes then happen with nameless girl that are mostly the same droids with Luke scenes except devoid of C-POs humor.  They go through a few scenes very similar to the Death Star escape in A New Hope and some asteroid scenes in Empire Strikes Back.  where black guy and girl are finally given names and fall in love instantly.  All the chemistry of Cinderella and Prince Charming.

The two new heroes seem really incompetent by constantly forgetting to turn off safeties in their blasters.  It does not help the storm troopers or Ren seem cooler as they are still wiped out by a person who never fired a blaster and a guy with a lightsaber who never knew they even existed until that day or the force, but the plot demands he become a Jedi.  Apparently each storm trooper is given their own anti-lightsaber weapon just in case.  I guess they only trained with that instead of basters.

They are then captured by an enemy ship that is no a Star Destroyer.  Since it is not a star destroyer and they are not showing the intruders, and that the characters assume they are the First Order I know it is a hero.  Since no one from the Original Trilogy has shown up yet one of them is bound to be coming in.  Sure enough Chewbacca (looking like a bad costume now) and Han Solo come in determined to undo every happy ending Han had in both A New Hope and Return of the Jedi.  They also make them both look very dumb for getting in the exact same problem from years ago (the dynamic character is now flat), and that Han is freakishly good with the now magic crossbow.  Apparently Chewbacca could never use it properly despite them being way more useful than a blaster.  Han is constantly taking it to help stop the villains.  As bad as Han and Chewie got messed up there scenes occasionally feel like Star Wars Since he opening crawl this has all felt like a bad rip-off to Star Wars.

The writers are introducing two new characters that they have no idea if to make them cynics or idealists along with cramming in Han solo (now as Ob-Wan) was not hard enough the villains get loads of screen time.  There is a boring main villain who looks very similar to The Emperor named “Snoke.”  One villain is really sympathetic, General Haux.  The poor guy has an army paphetic soldiers and works with a terrible general in Ren who constantly destroys valuable computers and overestimates himself.  He is no Tarkin, but he does wonderful considering his organization.  Since they did it in the original they have a new planet destroying weapon that looks almost identical to the Death Star and is destroyed roughly the same way.  Also Han and Leia had a failed relationship

Image result for han and leia

Like we all spent years envisioning.  I am surprised the marketers did not advertise that Ren is Han’s son, since I was revealed very early.  Since Han is obviousy Obi-Wan I could tell he is going to die, and the red herrings I the scene were incredibly cheesy.  Also with the best character dead things hit a new low.

With how much similarities it took to the original trilogy it should at least bring back memories of watching it, but it fails there too.  Counting the opening crawl less than two minutes felt like Star Wars.  The pacing was far more slow paced.  Most the exposition in the originals were in the deleted scenes here it is filled with exposition we already know from the other films.  Instead of primarily introducing the heroes and using them to make the villains better, this tries to make the villains more intimidating and hope it will make the heroes better.  since the villain is defeated by a novice force user and constantly falsely assumes easy victory it just makes everyone look incapable of great heroics or great acts of villainy.  Also one of the bare bones of the Star Wars structure is the idealist.  Poe is the closest and he is just an advertised extra.  Han is most of the role and his recent character development makes that hard to believe.  The main two characters show no idealism until the end, and they only do it out of necessity rather than seeing someone else use idealism so well.

When A New Hope was made it had no chance of success.  Lucas invested all of his money into Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.  The prequels were at least free of executive meddling.  This had no chance of failure, thus nothing to inspire an underdog story or encourage its makers to push themselves to save their careers.  It makes all the previous six movies worse.  It ads nothing new but fan -fiction looking material.

 

 

Spoilers End

This is far worse than The Phantom Menace and the second biggest disappointment I ever had in theatres.  I now have no expectations for the next, and I have no plans to see this gin.  It also made me realize we already ha the perfect Star Wars sequel one in “The Thrawn Trilogy.”

 

Children TV serieses I still enjoy

Yes, they had pre-school audiences in mind, but they knew getting an older audience would be an added bonus.  My older sister constantly insulted me for liking them more than her favorite movies, but these have an appeal beyond nostalgia.

When watching one old episode of “The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” I could not stop.  The plots are not that good, but the characters could make almost anything work.  They clash with each other so well.  Ever time someone like Rabbit, Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, or Tigger talk there is entertainment.  It is still consistently good for a short watch that fills the small time space perfectly.

This was a great idea in the opposite direction.  In “Martha Speaks” the main value is from the plots.  A talking dog (that humans can understand) is not original, but it has plots such as the local conmen trying to become rich off her, a fake alien pickle invasion, and catching jewel thieves.  The characters were less memorable as the basic characteristics were common, but they were more stubborn than most characters with their ideals.  They even made a parody about Green Eggs and Ham about avoiding peer pressure.  Most shows show the person not doing the ordinary thing to be bad, but this showed them in the right.

And the greatest children’s show ever.  This has a basic sitcom like structure, but its ability to do so much story without feeling rushed in only fifteen minutes sets it apart.  Even in its dark ages of seasons 14-17 I never felt an episode was rushed.  Without feeling forced there are able to show how a character feels and then make a plot out of it, and it almost always seems to take just the right amount of time.  Since the basic pre has a low floor the plots are very important, which is what the dark age lacked.  The other seasons ad even quite a few in the dark age have stories that stay just as good for around the first ten watches.  I can watch many episodes and get the same pleasure as when I first turned the TV on to Arthur.  This is one of the only shows I watch regularly when it comes on.

 

 

 

 

Ranking all Nine Middle Earth Films Part 1

Nine films were made about the Middle Earth Saga adapting the works of Tolkien.

Six were given to Peter Jackson.  Award winners three were.

Two were given to Rankin-Bass.

And one film was given to Ralph Bakshi.  One film to rue them all.

9. Ralph Bakshi’s animated Lord of the Rings.

Why are we wearing dirty togas?

This is probably the worstly directed film I have ever seen.  It has two hours to g through over six hundred pages and it constantly stops to make the heroes and villains stare at each other for a really long time.  Then the heroes just run away.  At least it tries to be atmospheric, as most cartoons today ignore the mood, but here it just makes the villains seem cowardly and the heroes look dumb.  It also fails to set a mood, since the villains are portrayed as frightening yet so ridiculously drawn and bumbling to be intimidating.  It takes its time when it should be fast paced and it rushed through important exposition scenes like the council of Elrond.

Gandalf

I know this is tough to process but their Gandalf is the worst supporting character ever.  He shouts everything (unlike the subtle Gandalf from the books) except when he threatens he Balrog.  He even shouts that Pippin is being too loud.  After he dies it shows he other characters happily playing in Lothlorien when a mourning song is played for him.  No wonder they are so happy, as their biggest liability is gone.

The character designs are terrible.  Aragorn looks like a native American.  Legolas seems to be a woman wearing ten pounds of makeup.  Frodo, Merry, and Pippin are identical.  Boromir wears Viking horns.  This whole film is a huge mess.

It has some good qualities.  The Nazgul start good.  Their heads look like bags of rice, but that is not revealed until later.  The scene where gimli discovers the sacking of Moria is well done, but it has one notably redeeming quality.  It is laughably bad.  I got a really good laugh from this, which is why I am glad I bought it at a thrift store.

8.  The Desolation of Smaug

This was the most disappointing theatre experience I ever saw.  It made m lose interest in seeing the next Hobbit film in theatres.  It started good with more scenes like the first hobbit movie with Bilbo being heroic.  The spider scene is very good.  Then the elves ruin the movie.  I found the Elven king to be boring, but it is really Legolas and Tauriel who ruin it.  They made he rest of the fellowship look completely useless.  This is supposed to be about how the journey makes them grow, but instead they just get saved by the same two characters over and over.  Even worse the love story between Tauriel and Filli I mean Killi was extremely generic.  I solved the riddle of the key way before Bilbo did making it as frustrating moment and I stink at riddles.  It then got even worse with Smaug.  His design was extremely generic.  Bilbo did not come across as intelligent, but Smaug seemed to be magnificently stupid.  It then ended on a lousy cliff hanger note, which deprived me of at leas seeing a good climatic ending.  After the spiders there is not a single thing I would call good.  At the same time it at least had okay visuals and dialogue.  The characters were bad but not annoying.  It is not terrible, but bad.

7.  The Battle of the Five Armies

The Pale orc, Azog, is a dull villain.  Sauron was a useless villain.  Smaug was incredibly dumb and begging to be killed.  So many villains and so many disasters.  I have looked up Hobbit film rankings and seen every possible order except and combination with Battle of the Five Armies at number 1.

The plot is not too intriguing, and it is very generic.  Alfrid is bad comic relief

But it does not promise that much.  I had low expectations for it after “Desolation of Smaug” and it did not disappoint.  Thorin had to carry this one, and e actually did okay.  Bilbo was in it very little, but at least he was good in his few appearances.  What these films should have done is removed Legolas and Turiel to focus more on the dwarves as characters.  Then make each film have its own distinct villain to make a more stand alone feel.

6.  Rankin-Bass Return of the King

Is there any point to watching it after Jackson’s Return of the King film was made?  This film puts more emphasis on the ring corrupting Frodo and Sam, which makes very different scenes.

Aragorn was portrayed with less character, but that made him seem like more a Christ figure.  It also had a really good scene on the flag of the king.  The songs are a bit of a mood killer, but I liked them besides that.

Survivor 31 Episode 2

Tony or Tony wanna-be
Tony or Tony wanna-be

On the Bayon tribe it is still boring stuff with Stephen giving the only entertainment.  Monica is completely silent.  Savage and Jeremy are both just not too fun to watch.  They seem to cry at things that do not seem too emotional to me.  Maybe I am just heartless.  Stephen does make some mistakes and he said on his own blog that he did.  He tried to shift blame to Jeremy, and it made his tribe mates more upset with him.

Ta Keo is the real interesting part.  Shirin said in an interview that she tried to get the so called Old School alliance to flip on Varner.  He ironically says either Shirin or Spencer have to go, as they are playing too hard.  Jeff is playing by far the hardest game there.  I would call his game incredibly dumb, except I thought the same thing about Tony in Cagayan.  Maybe he is making it seem like he is another Russell that no on will vote him out.  He did reference it by saying he will build a spy shack.

Remember how Max and Shirin got way too nerdy for everyone else.  Well now Shirin is doing that with Spencer.  It is making everyone turn on them.  Abi-Maria also was insulted and ran off crying.  Many have said what Shirin did is just as bad as what Will Sims did to her.  That is wrong.  Abi-Maria regularly goes out of her way to make others uncomfortable.  She proudly boasts about it.  She should be ready for it to be mocked.  In Abi’s defense it is hard to predict your own emotions.  Shirin’s problem is not realizing someone is upset and checking on it.  Also the attacks were no where near the level of what Will did.  Still a great job by Terry to gain a new ally.

The immunity challenge is fun to watch and Andrew did great in it.  It is the second time in a row Ta Keo is behind and Spencer comes into hero role and almost saves the day.

Abi lets loose that Shirin and Spencer are the targets.  It is terrible to have her on an alliance for that reason.  Maybe Terry could get her to be quiet.  I think Spencer stayed because he made more of a case than Shirin did.  He also knows how o play from e bottom more than Shirin does.

Next week is going to three tribes.  I will be trying to find them an post them here before long.  Next week’s review will likely be on Saturday instead of Friday.

When is it okay to Throw a Tribal Immunity Challenge?

Second Worst Move Ever
Second Worst Move Ever

Dalton Ross has many times called throwing a challenge terrible by default. Most fans agree, but there is bound to be a time when it is okay.  I do not think it has ever worked to great success, but it is possible.

Never Throw a Challenge when…

  1. There has not been a merge yet.  This game is about numbers.
  2. You are in the minority or potential minority.
  3. The other tribe is full of allies and can hold their own without you.

Any challenge thrown should be after the tribe swap, and with so many happening lately I think there have been some good times for thrown challenges lately.

In One World Rodney and Mike threw a challenge.  I think Mike made the good move, since it would most likely remove one of his major physical threats, Joe and Joaquin.  Since it got rid of the best player at challenges there I think it somewhat worked.  The problem is it made Rodney, a potential ally angry, but he would have gotten angry at something later anyway.  On the plus side for the Blue Collars it very likely kept Kelly from getting voted off.  If she was not around when Jenn pulled out her idol one of them would have been voted off.

untitled

San Juan Del Sur had an ideal set up.  In tribe one it was Josh, Alec, Reed, and Wess vs. Jeremy, Natalie, and Julie.  Josh’s alliance had a 4-3 edge, but on the other tribe his old allies were getting voted off.  If they would have thrown one challenge then they would almost certainly have voted out Jeremy.  They would go into the merge with Josh, Reed, Wess, Keith, Alec, and Dale against Natalie, Baylor, Missy, and Julie (6-4) with Jon and Jaclyn in the middle.  Julie would still have quit giving them the majority.  Not throwing a challenge was not taking advantage of an opportunity.

In Survivor Cagayan it would not have been good, as three tribes make this too unpredictable.

In Blood vs. Water I see value in throwing a challenge to vote out Aras, but they had unpredictability going for them, and they might as well not blow it in case he had an idol.

Reynold

Caramoan had a major opportunity.  The Cool Kids Alliance had the advantage 4-3.  Potential allies were being voted off in the other tribe.  It seems ideal to throw except Erik was really a wild card.  I think it was the right move to wait, but I have never seen an alliance give up such an advantage like they did, except maybe in Samoa.  I think if they would have thrown it Erik would have blindsided Malcolm sending him home with an immunity idol.  That would have left it as Eddie, Reynold, Michael, and Julia vs. an alliance of 7, but the minority had the idol.  Another possibility is Erik sticks with the alliance in these different circumstances and they vote out Andrea.  That would make the merged tribes an alliance of 7 plus two idols vs. 5.  Still it was poor performance later than undid all Malcolm and Reynold’s great planning.  If there was an extra challenge they threw after Colton was eliminated it probably would have been 6-5 plus Troyzan’s idol, which would have been less secure then 6- an ununited group.  Earlier If the Men did not give up immunity they would have gone with a 4-3 advantage in both tribes.

One World has a possibility.  The alliance of Kim, Chelsea, Sabrina, and Kat could have done it to have their choice of Mike, Troyzan, or Jay out.  Instead (thanks to Kim) they were able to align with them and keep their options open.  They realized they were not aligned anymore with their former tribe mates and took advantage of it.

There are rare times when it is okay to throw a challenge, but they are rare.  It is saver to win whenever possible.

Problems with Survivor Season 31 Episode 1

Here it is.  Plenty of excitement as the fans get their first all-star season since Heroes vs. Villains and… I actually think the first episode was very bad.  It put so much focus on the Ta Keo tribe that I knew for a fact they would lose the challenge.  To add to the problems the immunity challenge was really bad.  It put too much focus on one person to win it or lose it, and I prefer if that person has to sit out the rest to even it out.

On the good the first reward challenge was great, and I really enjoyed seeing the initial alignments, as I enjoy having to quickly figure out who is aligned with whom. It became apparent that it was Vytas, Terry, Kelly (1), and Woo vs. Kelley (29), Abi-Maria, and Shirin.  Jeff, Peih-Gee, and Spencer were in the middle.  Vytas said in an interview that he is a very close friend to spencer which makes me wonder if Spencer made a huge mistake in betraying him.  Spencer did much better than anticipated.  Stephen said Kass was going on and on about how Spencer would be the first one out.  Many fans believed her, but he was very safe this vote.

The idol being hidden in a challenge was shockingly disappointing.  I was just no that intrigued, as I thought it would be better if everyone knew it was there or if getting required abandoning the challenge instead of abandoning cheering.

The three big winners are 1. Kelley (29)-She found the idol and is on the majority.  2. Spencer- for running the tribe it seems.  3. Joe- For winning the immunity challenge.

I think the biggest candidates to go next are from Bayon 1. Stephen, 2. Kass, 3. Jeremy.

From Ta Keo- 1. Abi-Marie, 2. Kelly (1), 3. Terry