Sunday, December 9, 2007

Adventures in Care-a-lot Episode 9

The last of the new eps for a while (the natural cartoon cycle, as I've observed it over the years, generally leads to reruns during November and December, when the holidays start rolling in, and new eps don't start again until February or so), this episode featured one story that was awesome and one that was kind of lame. The animation started out squished again, but it evened out before the end of the first story. How odd...

The first story, "All You Need Is..." gets 10 extra points for The Return of UR-2! So glad to see that he wasn't a one-off robot ^_^ The episode actually starts with all of Care-a-lot covered with jelly, the aftermath of Oopsy trying to help Grumpy with his automatic jelly machine. Grumpy kicks him out, and Cheer sends him to help someone else. Funshine and Surprise are making a snowbear out of jelly, and while Surprise is apprehensive, Funshine lets Oopsy help, which ends badly, of course. Oopsy has to face the facts: nobody likes him because he's just too accident prone.
Up in Grizzle's Lair, Grizzle notices Care-a-lot's sticky situation, and decides it's the perfect time to attack using some kind of eggbeater device. UR-2 points out that his plans usually don't work, and suggests a different tactic: make the Care Bears like him, so it'll be easy to take over Care-a-lot. Although he at first laughs at UR-2, Grizzle then claims credit for the idea, and kisses UR-2 in a fit of euphoria. UR-2 is not pleased.
Share and Wingnut find Oopsy sulking under a tree, and they tell him that it's not his fault, so come back to Care-a-lot, raising the question of where he really is. Share also tells him that everyone accepts him just the way he is, and then runs off again. Oopsy tells Wingnut that he doesn't want to be just accepted, he wants to be liked. Didn't he already go through this in Oopsy the Hero?
Grizzle is looking fabulous (his own words), but neither he nor UR-2 can find his tie. In their search, the secret ingredient, a pheromone-laced perfume gets knocked off the table and falls down a series of pipes before landing on Oopsy's head. Why he's not more seriously injured, I have no clue, but he's well enough to remark on the bottle, which Wingnut then analyzes. When he hears that it's a "love perfume," Oopsy instantly recognizes the perfume as the solution to his popularity problems.
Meanwhile, Grizzle finally found his tie and is all ready to set his plan in motion. Only now they can't find the perfume. Back in Care-a-lot, Oopsy accidently uses the whole bottle on himself, and, since Wingnut is immune to its effects, being a robot and all, he goes back to town to see if it works. At first it doesn't seem to do anything, but then the perfume takes effect, and the episode becomes all kinds of awesome as Care Bears one by one start fangirling over Oopsy, and Oopsy just eats it up. Wingnut, however, is slightly worried. Probably by the huge eyes everyone's making at Oopsy. After a while, even Oopsy starts getting creeped out when everyone laughs at his unfunny joke and declare that they want to be with him all the time. When Surprise tackles him, Oopsy goes into hiding.
Later, Wingnut finds him, and Oopsy waxes about what he's learned so far: making people like him with a magic perfume didn't make him feel any better, and Wingnut still likes him the way he is. For some reason this makes him think of Grumpy, and he goes to see him, reasoning that Grumpy is way too grumpy to be affected by any perfume. At first, his hypothesis seems to be correct, as Grumpy yells at him for breaking his latest invention yet again, but then the perfume does its stuff and not only does Grumpy fall for Oopsy, but everyone else shows up again and they all start lurching toward Oopsy, zombie-like. The only thing that saves him from being crushed in a cornucopia of love is Wingnut tossing a bucket of water on him, washing off the perfume. Everyone is back to normal, and Oopsy explains about the perfume. Everyone forgives him, except for Grumpy, who is still mad about the jelly machine. Which makes Oopsy happy, of course, since it means that the perfume really was washed off, and everything is back to normal.
Except that Grizzle finally shows up, having made a new batch of perfume. He announces his intentions, and then sprays the perfume. Only he put the sprayer on backwards, so he ends up spraying the Care Bears instead, and he falls in love with them. Leading to the best ending yet: "He's gonna try to hug us! Run!" And while Wingnut and UR-2 watch in bewildered amusement, Grizzle chases the Care Bears into the sunset.

Having that story first only makes the second story all the worse. "Gobblebugs" starts with Cheer getting ready to test a Rainbow Jump, which, as she explains to Oopsy, will take you wherever you want to go, but it still needs some testing. Oopsy's gung-ho to test it, so he asks it to take him home. It starts well, but then the rainbow takes a wrong turn and deposits him in a bush.
Meanwhile, Funshine and Grumpy are fixing a hole in Grumpy's garage door. Funshine is busy getting Grumpy to confess to the reason for the hole in the door when Share runs up and shows them some bedraggled flowers from the meadow. None of them know what happened to them, but Share doesn't want whatever happened to happen to her own garden. Funshine promises to round up the gang and figure out what to do. The Gang ends up being himself, Grumpy, Oopsy and Cheer. Oopsy and Grumpy pledge to help, and Funshine proposes that while the rest of them search the town, one of them stays behind and keeps an eye on Share's garden. Funshine railroads Cheer into taking the first shift, even though she expressly tells them she was planning on working on her rainbow jumps. Everyone else guilts her, and Funshine tries to console her with the fact that after two hours, he'll take the next shift. Small consolation indeed. So the ones who are ready and raring to help leave the relunctant one to watch the garden.
While grumbling about her situation, Cheer has a sudden flash of insight about her rainbow jumps, and rationalizes that she'll only be gone for a minute. So she makes a new rainbow and takes off, only to be deposited in the bushes, right in front of Funshine. He guilts her, of course, and they return to Share's garden only to find it ravaged in the few minutes Cheer was away. Cheer apologizes, but neither Share nor Funshine accept it, insisting that Cheer agreed to help (which she never did, by the way), and she let them down. Their guilt trip is cut short by Grumpy and Wingnut, who arrive with the culprit in a jar: a titular gobblebug. These little bugs eat all kinds of plants, and the one they caught is just a scout.
Realizing that all the plants in Care-a-lot are in danger, they focus on the Gathering Tree (that big tree in the middle of town) for some reason. In order to protect it, Grumpy'll make a lot of fog to hide it, and everyone else will use leaf blowers to blow the bugs back. Funshine lays a major guilt trip on Cheer, telling her to just let them handle it because she really let them down before. On her own, Cheer isn't very sympathetic to Share's situation, especially since she rationalizes that Share can grow more flowers, until she finds one of her rainbow jumps eaten by gobblebugs (or so she assumes), just like Share's garden.
Everyone else, meanwhile, is ready to defend the Gathering Tree, when Cheer shows up, and goes on an empathetic ramblefest about how she's learned her lesson. Fortunately, it works and Share totally forgives her. Their reconciliation is cut short by the arrival of the gobblebugs. Everyone gets to work blowing them back, but the fog around the Gathering Tree disappates, and the bugs make a beeline for it. Wingnut and Oopsy start to blow them back, and Cheer is almost distracted when she sees some of the bugs go after one of her rainbow jumps, but she perseveres. She also notices that the bugs aren't going after any plants that are yellow. So she gives everyone the power to turn everything yellow, except for Oopsy, who gets a can of yellow paint from Wingnut. Oopsy's accidental stumble herds the gobblebugs onto one of Cheer's rainbow jumps, which she uses to effectivly drive out the gobblebugs.
With the Gathering Tree (and the rest of Care-a-lot's plants) safe and sound, Cheer is forgiven by all, and Funshine promises to help her with her rainbow jumps. Cheer makes a horrible pun, and I find it a nice touch that Grumpy doesn't laugh at it, and instead glares at everyone else for laughing, as we fade out on a very yellow Care-a-lot.

It really, really, really, really, really, really bugged me that a big part of that story was based around Cheer being forced to do something she really didn't want to do, and then everyone getting mad at her for not following through with it. I have no trouble seeing the scene in between Funshine rounding up the gang going something like this:
Funshine: Hey, Cheer! Want to help us with something?
Cheer: Well, I'm kind of busy, actually-
Funshine: Great! Come on! *drags Cheer along to Share's garden*
And it's really such a pity, because with a couple of tweaks, this would have been just a mediocre story, instead of the annoyance it ended up as.

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