Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Half a look at Strawberry Shortcake

November was pretty crazy for me, and while I'm almost done with my classes, I'm not quite there yet. So here's something I wrote up but never actually finished.
While I started this blog mostly to write up the new Care Bears series, I almost made one to write up the new(ish) Strawberry Shortcake series. I was planning to do them all in order, but while writing up the summary and taking screenshots for the first one, my DVD program crashed and I didn't feel like going back, so I this is all I wrote:

Meet Strawberry Shortcake
This episode starts off with out heroine addressing the audience directly to give them some exposition on Strawberryland and its inhabitants (namely, herself, Custard, and Pupcake). Strawberryland is a land where berries grow as big as your head, it rains and even snows berries (mostly strawberries, but other kinds, too). Custard is quick to point out that Strawberryland, with its lack of tunaberries, is hardly ideal for a cat such as herself, which Strawberry rebuffs by telling the audience that Custard always sees the glass as half empty, while she herself sees it as half full. And Pupcake, he's just the kind who knocks over the glass and then denies it was ever full in the first place (seriously, he spends the whole episode running into things and knocking them over, then just running off again). For no particular reason, she feeds her pets, but Custard rejects the store-brand food, so Pupcake eats both dishes. Somehow, Strawberry singles this out as a lack of cooperation, but in reality, Custard is just angling for some tuna.
Meanwhile, outside, a huge flower floats down, and a toddler appears from under it. What the heck? Turns out she's Strawberry's little sister, Apple Dumpling, who just turned one. But seriously folks? She definitely acts at least two, if not three. Just so you know. Finding a dandelion wishberry in the yard, Strawberry blows the tufts all over the place and declares that she wished she could have a birthday party for her sister, since she's so cute. "She'd be a lot cuter if she had whiskers and a tail," Custard declares, and then the background goes all shimmery. Sadly, this does not cue up a dream sequence where Custard imagines a world where everyone is a cat, but simply cuts to the next scene.
Next is an introduction to the house, which mainly consists of a kitchen, which is luckily Strawberry's favorite room. That's where she's going to throw the party, and where she makes a list of everything they need: cookies, fruits, juice, party hats, and a birthday cake. In order to get all the stuff, she'll need to go to the different "lands" in the vicinity. Custard would rather go to a land of cats, and insists that they won't get along with people who are different, but Strawberry just pooh-poohs this notion, telling us that differences are what make life interesting. (Lesson number one) I'm starting to think that the only reason Custard can talk is so that someone can cut through Strawberry's oh-so-positive outlook. If it was just her talking to the audience the whole time, this would get seriously tiring. As it is, it's still moderately tiring.
Setting off on their journey, the first stop is Cookie Corners. Along the way, Pupcake knocks over the sign, so that it now points the opposite direction. This never comes up again, which goes against everything that cartoons have taught me. Where is the scene where they're trying to find their way back, and find the backwards sign and just get more lost, huh? But I digress. The closer they get to the heart of Cookie Corners, the better things smell, but the louder things get as we're introduced to a Rubegoldian cookie-making machine. Unaware of the dangers, Pupcake follows a butterfly and ends up sending baked goods flying to the ground as a girl cries out, "Oh, macaroonio!" It's Ginger Snap, and while she's initially upset, she warms up to Pupcake and Strawberry pretty quickly (she's obviously distracted at the time, which probably had something to do with it). There's introductions all around, and then it's time for a tour of the bakery, which leads to a semi-comprehensible song about cookies (naturally).
Strawberry calls the cookie machine amazing, and asks what it's called. "The Amazing Cookie Machine," Ginger Snap replies. Custard is not amused. Look, Custard, Ginger Snap named the machine before you guys ever showed up, so just shut up already. Strawberry barely has time to apologize for her caustic cat before she has to prevent Pupcake from giving the machine a meltdown. Everything goes haywire, dough flies everywhere, it's just a huge mess! Fearing the worst, Strawberry berates Pupcake for costing her a new friend, while Custard insists that the machine is too different to be any good. But Ginger Snap shows them all is well, and even makes a special tuna cookie for Custard. She then loads up two batches of cookies for her new friends (warning Strawberry not to eat them until after lunch), and bids them a fond farewell.
Next we meet Orange Blossom, who is cheerfully (but a little flatly) singing a song about plants, which Strawberry then turns into a song about friendship. Luckily, Orange Blossome doesn't mind. Pupcake then trips over a basket and rolls into an orange tree, which unloads its wares in a cartoon fashion all around him. Despite all this, Orange Blossom takes an immediate shine to Strawberry, and once the introductions are over, offers them all juice, the top product of Orange Blossom Acres(tm). Custard rejects the juice, so Orange Blossom tells her that "If you're kind to the earth, it will give you all the delicious food you need." This nonsequiter leaves Custard worrying about the 'furriness' of their host, but Orange Blossom soon makes up for it by offering milk instead. Custard is thus won over, although that doesn't stop her from being grossed out when Pupcake spills the milk all over her and cleans it up himself.
Moving right along, it's time for the cake! Custard's all about a tuna cake with liver frosting, but Strawberry reassures Apple Dumpling that they'll get the perfect cake for her in Cakewalk (of course). Has it been snowing? No, someone just put icing on all the fences. After a few bad puns, we finally meet Angel Cake at her cake shop. She shows the gang a few ready made cakes (with more bad puns), but nothing is quite right. After hearing Custard's comment that anyone who lives in a cake can't help them, Angel Cake shows them her book of special order cakes. Strawberry orders the Apple Tree Cake, only to find that Angel Cake can't make it by that afternoon. It's too much work for one person, she tells them. But Strawberry has a plan: they'll all help her make it! Angel Cake rejects her offer at first, since she usually works alone, but since there isn't much call for custom cakes in a land where people live in them, she decides to make an exception. Everyone has a job, including Pupcake (taking a nap so he doesn't get in the way).
One cooking montage later, the cake is done, and Strawberry declares that because they all worked together, the work was actually fun. Custard is skeptical, but Angel Cake plies her with flattery, so all is well. The cake looks great, they all had fun, what more can you ask for? Maybe a cake song. But Strawberry and the gang leave Cakewalk without a single solitary song, completely breaking the pattern! What gives?

Actually, I probably gave up because this is right before they meet the dreaded Honey Pie Pony, and I just couldn't take trying to deal with her long enough to write up stuff, even if it meant I never got to touch on Custard's crush on Huckleberry Pie, which showed up in the next, poorly plotted episode (the book was better), but was never touched on again, not even in the retconny "Pupcake's Origin."

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