Monday, June 30, 2008

Strawberry Shortcake - Moonlight Mysteries

I tried not to blog this one, I really did. But the Ginger Snap-centricity of the first story had me narrating it already, so you get to reap the benefits.

For no apparent reason, the kids are roasting marshmallows by a campfire and requesting scary stories from Strawberry Shortcake. Out of deference to Ginger Snap, she picks out one with Ginger Snap as the star.
Ginger Snap's No-Light Fright Night
An awesome Ginger Snap episode. Since Fall is going to be in full force soon, Strawberry suggests they all do something special, and the others cheer even though she didn't actually suggest what they do, and can't even think of something right off the bat. In fact, she spends the rest of the day and into the night trying to figure what in the heck they haven't done yet, since they have special occassions twice a week, if not more. Custard is way too anthromorphic in this ep, but I'll ignore that for the most part. She somehow inspires Strawberry to have a campout, and is not pleased to be getting the credit. So Strawberry sends invitations to all her friends (in this case, Orange Blossom, Angel Cake, Huckleberry Pie, and Ginger Snap), and they're all happy to get them and come in person to RSVP. Except for Ginger Snap, who fakes not getting an invitation, even when Strawberry makes a couple extra to put in her mailbox. "Are you having a party? A nice, middle-of-the-day party, hm?" she asks when questioned about the first invitation, making it obvious what her problem is, although it's fleshed out in a later scene that she's afraid of the Dark, but doesn't want anyone to know.
As Strawberry makes invitation after invitation, Custard questions the effectiveness of just leaving them in the mailbox, but Strawberry insists that it's too special to deliver any other way. Good gravy, this girl has problems. Between this and the whole "wait for the other person to learn their lesson on their own" thing (as seen in "Win Some, Lose Some" and "Meet Apricot"), it's a wonder anything ever gets done over there! But eventually even Strawberry gets proactive and not only calls to make sure her latest invitation was received, but goes and delivers an extra extra in person. There's no getting out of it for Ginger Snap now, but she's still gonna try.
Sure enough, on the day of the campout, when Strawberry goes to collect Ginger Snap, she's nowhere to be seen. Chocolate Chipmunk, her pet, derails all her attempts to get out of the trip, from not having warm socks to faking a fever. Strawberry suspects something's up, but Ginger Snap denies it, and packs five or six flashlights just in case. All the others list all the creepy things they hope to see in the woods and- oh dear lord they took Apple Dumpling with them. Meanwhile, Ginger Snap's backpack rips and the flashlights fall out making a trail. Foreshadowing? (I'm writing this as I watch, so I really don't know) As evening falls, everyone sets up their tents, and Pupcake manages to get wrapped up in Custard's mini-tent and scares Ginger Snap, who then notices that the sun is setting and goes into a trance. Strawberry snaps her out of it, only to have her go off on a tirade about building a fire and lighting candles before it gets dark. Strawberry properly guesses what's going on, but fortunately for Ginger Snap, everyone else was too busy laughing at Huck's lack of tent skillz to hear it. Strawberry, all contrite, tells Ginger Snap they can go back, but Ginger Snap refuses to let anyone else know her secret, and besides, she's got her flashlights, so she's okay.
Once it's Dark, Huck says it's time for ghost stories. Strawberry suggests other stories, but is shot down by everyone else. Which is kind of weird, because I remember from one of the books that Orange Blossom had a hard time at a campout, so her being Huck's partner in "scary stuff is cool" is throwing me off. Anyway, they sing a song. And then the wind blows out their fire. And Ginger Snap discovers her flashlights are gone. Luckily, she also brought her pedal-powered sunlamp, but the bulb burns out. So the others go looking for more wood while Ginger Snap sulks in the campground until she inexplicably goes out into the woods in the opposite direction of her friends. I'm guessing she's looking for the flashlights, but wouldn't she take someone with her?
Back at the camp, Strawberry gets the fire going, even though the others are just fine in the dark, and it becomes clear that Ginger Snap is missing. No one questions why she left by herself, they just declare her as good as found, especially by Huck, who calls himself the Pie Guy for no good reason. But they soon find that the dark woods are just as creepy as Ginger Snap always said they were, especially when lightning comes out of nowhere. Ginger Snap's determination to find the flashlights soon fades away and she sings a jittery tune about being afraid. And then she argues with an owl and comes to the conclusion that she's just as freaky to a monster as a monster is to her. In lieu of her friends, she pals up with an owl, cricket, and frog who just happen to know where her flashlights are. With the lights safely in hand, she finds her way back to camp, only to find everyone still gone.
The others, meanwhile, are terrorized by night sounds and more inexplicable lightning, until Ginger Snap shows up with a flashlight and sheds some light on a spooky tree. She also delivers the aesop, and it's a good thing she's the one who does it, since she talks the fastest. Gets it over with quicker. A chill picks up, so everyone heads back to camp to warm up. The End.

Emboldened by this tale of her bravery, Ginger Snap demands the scariest tale in Strawberry's book, so she pulls out the tale of how they met Blueberry Muffin.
The Blueberry Beast
On another fall day, everyone is enjoying a picnic, when Orange Blossom suggests they go on a nature hike to see the fall foliage. Her hippie ideas are shot down by Huck, who dares Strawberry to go to the scary briar. At first Strawberry doesn't bite, but eventually he sticks in so many adjectives to his dare that she agrees just to shut him up.
So they all get together later that day to go, and Huck has a walking stick for some reason. Ginger Snap brought a GPS, Orange Blossom brought an umbrella, and Angel Cake probably brought cake, but it isn't shown. And they're off! As they cross a river, Orange Blossom, being a hippie, takes a moment to say "hi" to the fish, Custard managed to sneak into Strawberry's backpack, and Ginger Snap copters over the whole thing. Filler? Oh yeah. There's more filler as they see a frog and worry that it's a tiger pretending to be a lion acting like a bear that's really a frog, or something like that. Fortunately, Huck breaks the chain by pointing out that he's never seen a tiger there, and he lives in a briar, so that's that. And then, more inexplicable lightning, only this time it actually rains, so it's not quite as inexplicable as the last time. So they sing a song until the rain is over and night falls.
In the dark, they're more scared than ever, but Ginger Snap just happens to have a double-flashlight attachment on her GPS, which scares a crow, and Pupcake, like a dummy, takes off after it. So everyone abandons their original plan and goes off in search of the dog. They come to a fork in the road, but the most likely path is also the only one that Huck doesn't know like the back of his hand. Angel Cake accuses him of being scared, and typically, he denies it. But as they get further in, and a fog rolls in, everyone agrees that it's totally spooky. Then Pupcake shows up again, but before they can head home, Ginger Snap's flashlights pick up a creepy looking house complete with broken shutters and creepy shadow. The kids theorize that a monster must be inside, and run off. They don't stop until they get to Strawberry's house and declare an impromptu (co-ed) sleepover.
Strawberry just happens to have theme-appropriate pajamas for everyone (except Huck, who gets generic stars), plus sleeping bags, so they all sack out in the living and hit the hay. Custard does not leap at the chance to sleep with Huck, oddly enough, but no one gets much sleep anyway, since more noises and creepy shadows are afoot. Turns out to just be Honey Pie Pony, though (NOOOO!). At first she's miffed at how little screentime she's gotten lately, but when she hears their story of what went down in the briar, she chips in with her own spooky tale of the Blueberry Beast, and then goes to sleep.
Suffice to say, only Honey Pie and Pupcake were able to sleep that night. Despite HPP's story, Strawberry decides they should go and find out what the beast is for themselves and introduce themselves. Everyone else thinks she's crazy, but they go along anyway, otherwise they won't get any screentime either. So off they go back into the briar. They approach the house, but after hearing a creaky growl, they all abandon Strawberry, even Pupcake. Only, being Pupcake, he probably went into the house instead of away from it. That's what Strawberry thinks, anyway. Custard tries to get out of it, but Strawberry uses her "you're not getting out of this that easily" voice, so instead she tries to convince Strawberry that since Pupcake is technically a carnivore, he'll be okay on his own. No luck. They get as close as they dare, and Strawberry breaks out the "hellos," but nobody answers, so they start to head back. Just then, the door opens, and out comes Pupcake, followed by Blueberry Muffin who introduces herself and declares Pupcake as her bestest friend, even though he was only in her house for five minutes tops. She also introduces Cheesecake, her stage manager, and tells the tale of how she came to live in an abandoned house. Apparently, she's a schizophrenic actress who addled her brain with too many books. Strawberry pities her, and offers to help fix up her house.
Meanwhile, the other kids are starting to regret running off on Strawberry, so they go back in and storm the house. They try to rescue Strawberry, but are wooed by Blueberry's muffins (that sounds vaguely dirty), and thus a new friendship is born.
Now, Strawberry sings a song about not judging a book by its cover, which is all well and good, but she also sings that you can't judge a story by the way it ends. Um, if not, then how do you judge it? It's just for the rhyme, I suppose, but still, it bugs me. Throughout the song, the kids work on the house, and by the end, it's looking spiffy. Strawberry delivers the moral of a different story before getting to the right one. With that taken care of, Blueberry offers more muffins, and the others follow her in, eager for a chance to eat Blueberry's muffins. The End.
Back at the campfire, Huck boasts of his bravery, until a scary noise makes all the kids huddle up together in fright (were they not even listening to the stories?). But it's only Blueberry, lured by the fire and the promise of marshmallows. She joins them, but Huck steals her marshmallow, and everything ends happily.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Adventures in Agapeland: The Music Machine - chapters five through nine

Last time in the only Agapeland chapter book ever, in a story-within-a-story, Stevie and Nancy found themselves in Agapeland, met Mr. Conductor and went to bed in a giant tree, all while something was being plotted in the land of Aire.

Chapter V - An Evil Deed

As the title promises, this chapter details Mr. Pimms' evil plan. Which starts at twilight, with Mr. Pimms and the Pudgians heading toward the river, although the narrator acts like he's never seen them before. The Pudgians wonder how they're planning to get across the river into Agapeland, since the only way is the King's Ferry, and obviously, there's no disguising themselves. This isn't really built on, but evidently Aireians are not allowed in Agapeland. But Mr. Pimms happens to know a guy named Boodle who runs a barge across the river, although this guy is not too pleased to see Pimms. Seems the last time they crossed paths, things didn't go well for Boodle, so he charges Mr. Pimms three times the usual fee. Also, Boodle talks with lots of 'ye' and 'thee' phrasings for no good reason. Seriously, nobody else talks like this in the entire book.
Boodle gets them across the river in an old, grody barge and Mr. Pimms is all "I'll be the most respected person in Aire when this is done!" as he sends the Pudgians off to get supplies for the task at hand. And so the Pudgians take to the trees, since they're adept swingers as it were, and find a small farm where they steal a tarse (a kind of pack animal) and a cart. With the cart, they make their way to a village and steal a bunch of supplies (ropes and the like), then continue on their way. Before they make it to the arranged meeting place, they hear two of the Royal Guards (dressed in blue and silver) talking about the recent robbery, and so they set up a trap, which the guards fall into rather readily. They tie up the guards and question them, but the guards aren't talking, so they hide the two men in the bushes and move on. The Pudgians finally get to the meadow and see "it" (I'm sure you know what it is), and start getting cold feet, but Mr. Pimms shows up and ends the chapter.

Chapter VI - The Riddle
The majority of this chapter is really a dream that Stevie and Nancy share, a dream full of foreshadowing! Basically, they dream that Agapeland is dying, Nancy almost falls down a deep pit, and a bird shows up and sings them a song about faith. And they hear the voice of Majesty tell them, "When the problems seem bigger/Than mountains so high/Remember the song/Of the sparrow and fly!" This will be important later.
And then they wake up, all "Phew, it was only a dream!" But then Stevie opens the door of the tree and Agapeland really is dying, although not as extremely as in their dream.

Chapter VII - Two on the Trail
Stevie and Nancy are still in shock at dying Agapeland, especially since it's the first day of the festival! How shocking! *cough cough* So they go to look for Mr. Conductor, hoping for some answers. As they reach the meadow, they find the Conductor in despair, and notice a hole where the Music Machine should be. The kids naturally ask the obvious questions, and Mr. Conductor explains that the Music Machine has been stolen! Obviously someone from Aire is behind it, and I'd say that's stereotyping if we didn't know he was right. And so he goes to get instructions from Majesty, leaving the kids behind.
Not the type to just be left behind, Stevie suggests they try to solve the crime themselves, and they start looking for clues, easily finding the wagon tracks (the machine has to be seriously heavy). They follow the tracks, hoping to catch up with the culprits, but they get tired and take a break. That's when they hear something in the bushes and uncover the Royal Guardsmen. Stevie ungags them and they introduce themselves as Majesty's Attendants. The kids untie the attendants, introduce themselves, and fill the attendants in on the Music Machine's disappearance. The attendants instantly realize that the ruffians who tied them up must have been after the machine, and tell the kids all they know. Like Mr. Conductor, they plan to go and get instructions from Majesty, but don't plan on taking the kids with them. Stevie tells them that's quite all right, since they're on the trail and all. So one of the attendants tells them the best way to get into Aire, and sends them in the direction of his friend Jakar, who can give them more information. They prepare to part ways, but the attendant also warns them of Prince Nakel, the evil ruler of Aire. Judging from his warning, you might expect the prince to show up in the story sooner than he does, but no, he doesn't show up for another six chapters. With that, the attendants take off with such speed that Stevie decides he wants to be one when he grows up.
It takes them all day to get to Jakar's house, traveling through a rapidly deteriorating Agapeland. Jakar is apparently a half-giant, like Hagrid from the Harry Potter series, at least that's how the description sounded to me. The kids introduce themselves as friends of the attendants, and fill Jaker in on the sordid details of the stolen Music Machine. He invites them in and introduces them to his wife, Blessing, a woman way too beautiful to be a farmwife. She feeds them, and when the meal is almost done, something starts crawling up Nancy's leg. It's a Huggit, according to Jakar, named Bundle, basically fur with legs that dies if it cannot lavish affection on something. It attaches itself to Nancy, and the two kids go to bed, while the narrator ominously tells us this is the last good night's sleep they'll get for a while.

Chapter VIII - Mr. Pimms' Plans
Going back in time to earlier that day, Mr. Pimms is having trouble getting the cart with the Music Machine to stay steady on the barge, and the tarse causes so much damage that Boodle charges another 50 silver pieces, wiping Mr. Pimms' money supply clean out.
Back on dry land, Pimms' exults in the first part of his plan going over, granted with a few hitches. But the fact of the matter is, they're going to need money to continue, so Mr. Pimms comes up with another plan, a more short-term one. By the time they reach the nearest town, he's got it down pat. But first, they all rest in a grove outside the town and finally get some sleep (I was starting to wonder. I mean, the Pudgians got some sleep on the cart but Mr. Pimms has been going nonstop since the previous night).
Anyway, the plan is simple. Mr. Pimms sends the Pudgians out after midnight to steal both food and instruments from the Band Master's shop. The first part goes all right, but of course stealing the instruments gets noisy, and the Band Master wakes up, so they tie him up and stuff him in a wardrobe. In a move that's actually fairly clever for a Pudgian, Growdy puts up a sign saying the shop will be closed all day, so no one will come looking.
The Pudgians keep the trouble they had from Mr. Pimms, who is optimistic about the next part of his plan: with the tarse and Pudgians dressed up, they drive into the town of Chartsan on Market Day, put on a show, and get money for showing off the Music Machine. A good plan that almost works, except that a banker recognizes Mr. Pimms's magic tricks (involving his pet rat, who I've been leaving out of the summary). Apparently the last time Mr. Pimms was there, he scammed the villagers with a medicine man routine (something like Dr. Tewilliger from Pete's Dragon, I'm assuming). And then the Band Master shows up, screaming about thieves, and the passengers of the cart beat a hasty retreat with the angry crowd chasing them for quite a ways.
After a good long while, they finally outrun the crowd, but their money situation is still in the dumps. The Pudgians start to get disillussioned with Mr. Pimms' master plan, but he nips any thoughts of rebellion in the bud. Meanwhile, the tarse is so tired out that they have to leave it behind and pull the wagon themselves. Mr. Pimms delegates this to Snard and Boogwart, who complain behind his back, although Snard sagely predicts that the worst is yet to come.

Chapter IX - Journey Into the Mountains
And we're back with the kids, just waking up after their last good night's sleep in a while. Downstairs, Blessing gives them breakfast and Jakar gives them directions through the mountains (he'd go with them, but his job is to watch the foot of the mountains, and it's extra important that he do it now). They also give Bundle to Nancy, since it won't detach itself from her arm, except to eat. With a bag of provisions, they start off on their journey.
Agapeland is just more and more dead by the second, so they get a move on. They follow a stream (which the narrator mentions is fed by "the legendary Crystal Springs, but that is another story") that will take them to a bridge, which will lead them to the Migadawsh Mountains. But when they get to the bridge, they find their way is blocked by a giant snail! It is Herbert the Snail, but not the one of the song, that's his great grandfather. In fact, Herbert sings the entire song to the kids when he finds out they're in a hurry (this takes up a little over a page). It isn't until the song is over that the kids learn that Herbert is actually stuck in the bridge. Stevie and Nancy push him from the front, but he's too slippery (he is a snail, after all), so he lets them climb over him so they can push from behind. Fortunately, that works, and the kids start on their way. But it's only after all that that Herbert thinks to ask why they're in such a hurry, and they explain the whole story. Herbert decides to come with them and gets stuck in the bridge again, even though the kids try to warn him. So they get him unstuck again, and they all get on their way.
Everywhere they go, they're reminded of the death and decay coming to Agapeland. By eveningtide, they spot a campfire, and with further investigation, a whole campground, but no one in it. Only, it turns out to be an ambush! A menacing voice warns them to put their hands up and threatens them vaguely, and the chapter ends.

And so does this post. I'll have the next bit of summaries up sooner, so you won't be in suspense for too long.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sushi Pack News!

According to a press release on the American Greetings official website, starting in August, Carlton Cards and American Greetings Stores (there are apparently 416 in the US) will have Sushi Pack merchandise in a special AGKidzone section of the store. From the sounds of it, there'll be 36 different products, from plush toys to messenger bags (happy happy Evalana ^_^) to stationary and stickers, and each purchase nets you a free DVD. The contents are unknown, only that there will be not only video (maybe clips, but I'm hoping for a full episode) and activities.
On a similar note, starting July 15, the website Ty's Toy Box will start carrying Sushi Pack merchandise as well. The press release only mentions clothing, including the ability to personalize t-shirts and sweatshirts.
I mentioned this on The Green Donut, but also this August, Kidtoons is going to be showing the cryptically titled Sushi Pack The Movie at various movie theaters (check the website for the closest showing for you). As far as I can tell, there's no information on what this movie will entail. I'm hoping for an origin story (finally! Come on, AGP, get on the ball!), but it could just be three or four episodes strung together and called a movie.
What really intrigues me in this press release is that it indicates that Sushi Pack's target demographic is young girls, which is suprising, since I would think it would be more a boy thing. I wonder if this is the result of them seeing a higher percentage of girls watching the show since its debut, or if it was always meant to be a girl's property?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Pontoffel Pock, Where Are You?

There are a couple of reasons I'm writing this post. One, when I was young, my dad taped all the Dr. Seuss specials and my sisters and I watched them all on a regular basis. Two, a while ago, maybe even a year by this point, I had a dream, a dream about the main character of one of the specials not specifically based on a book, Pontoffel Pock, Where Are You?, sometimes known as Pontoffel Pock and his Magic Piano. I no longer remember what exactly happened, but because of that dream, I rewatched the special on YouTube, and had the desire to write up something like this, even before I had a blog. It's taken this long for the DVD to work its way up to the top of my queue, but here it is now.

Pontoffel Pock, Where Are You - the Novelization

Actually, I don't want to do that anymore. But I do want to rebut a comment I read shortly after I watched the special on Youtube (I was too lazy to find the tape). But I have to explain the plot a little. The special details Pontoffel Pock's journey after he loses his job after a disastrous first day at the dill pickling factory. He wishes to get away from it all, and three fairies show up and grant his wish with a piano that can fly. His first trip is not good, but he gets a second chance and goes to an arabian land where he falls in love. But in his attempts to take his love and escape, he drops her and ends up lost, hence the "where are you" of the title. But in the end he finds his way back, although the piano does not survive. Still, the fairies take them back home and they both get jobs at the pickling factory. Happy ending!
Anyway, the comment was about how, since the special was coupled with The Lorax on the DVD, it had an ironic message or something. From what I remember, the poster commented on how the two specials had opposite messages, what with The Lorax being anti-commerce and Pontoffel being pro-. I guess it's because Pontoffel really wanted the job at the pickling factory. But I saw that more as wanting to join society than wanting to be a cog in a corporate scheme. After he loses his job, it's revealed that his family is all gone (dead or otherwise, it's not specified) and all he has is a run down house. That job was his last chance to connect with somebody, perhaps, and to at least move to a better house. In other words, the job wasn't really about a job, but about life.
One thing I don't really get... at the end, the master dill pickler tells Pontoffel, "For proving your worth, you deserve one more try." But how did he do that? Every place he went, he was less than spectacular, and why would a dill pickler believe in a flying piano anyway. He must really mean that Pontoffel managed to net a hot girlfriend, even though he's a self-proclaimed schnook.
Ho ho, the music is by Joe Raposo. No wonder I like it. I mean, rewatching it now I was thinking "I like this because it's more musical than most of the specials," but with Joe Raposo music, that just makes sense.
Also, the only thing I remember about my dream, and why I sought out the special right away on Youtube was that Pontoffel was a cutie. I watched the special, and sure enough, it was true.

As I said before, The Lorax is on the same DVD, so I rewatched that, too. I really think that the animated special improved on the book. In the original book, the Lorax just shows up from time to time to complain to the Once-ler, but in the special, he's constantly around, speaking for the trees, or trying to, anyway. A lot of the lines are improved, as well. I can't really remember too many examples, but one that stands out to me is how the line from the book, "You never can tell what some people will buy" was changed to "You telling me what the people will buy?" which better highlights the relationship the Once-ler will have with the Lorax, in my opinion. The special does feel a bit drawn out by the end of it, though.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

2008 Tony Awards Live!

I wasn't predicting anything this year, as I really didn't know very much about any of the shows nominated. But here are a few of the thoughts I had during the show.

Why are we starting with The Lion King? Is this not 2008? Ah, tenth anniversary. I can't wait to see what Peter Filichia will say tomorrow.

I don't know, I feel like Passing Strange and In the Heights came out too soon to be nominated. Like it isn't fair or something.

I spent the majority of the Crybaby number explaining the plot to my mom and sister, since I'm the only one who's seen the movie.

I mixed up Laura Linney and Dianne Wiest. I have no clue how I did that, but I was telling my sister, "Oh, that's the evil queen from The 10th Kingdom," when Laura Linney came out and she was all, "Nuh uh!" because she loves that miniseries. So I looked it up, and sure enough, I was wrong.

Passing Strange number = boring and blah. Until the old guy showed up. Then it go interesting, and then repetitive, so I now have negative desire to see the show.

John Lithgow's presentation speech was hysterical! I'll post it on youtube soon.
My sister is amazed at how young the directors (for musicals) are (excluding Arthur Laurents).

The guy who wrote the music and lyrics for In The Height's acceptance rap was cool, even though I missed the last part because I had to explain the "in the hat" joke to my sister and mom.

Did you know that the original Broadway production of South Pacific was nominated for 10 Tonys and won them all? Apparently it's the only musical to win all four actor and actress awards.

Ah, Kristin Chenoweth. So cute, but so short. Laura Benanti just towered over her, and it wasn't because of the heels.

My sister is bummed that they didn't do "She's in Love" for The Little Mermaid's snippet.
Oh, Faith Prince is old... and Megan Mulally isn't good. Or maybe that's just me.

I keep tuning out the PSA snippets. But I am digging most of the Whoopi spoofs.

Now I'm even more interested in In the Heights, but I think I'd want to see it before checking out the cast album. Some shows are like that for me. Like Ragtime. And Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Both of which I saw at the Bushnell. Hm...

My mother on the guy who talked for August: Osage County when it won Best Play: "This is a bitter man. He just won, why is complaining?"

YAAH! Mandy Patinkin's Beard!!! What's up with that? I'm glad that my sister went to bed, she wouldn't have wanted to see that.

Whoa, that digital background stuff in Sunday in the Park with George is pretty cool.

My mom kept cracking up during the Xanadu sequence, which was the point, of course. I already knew from listening to the cast album.

I can't hear any of the songs from Rent without thinking of the Forbidden Broadway version.
"How sadly ironic/that a story about friends/is never to be seen by the like/just the rich who like trends."

Is Liza Minelli drunk (my opinion) or are her dentures just loose (my mother's opinion)?

I feel bad for Tom Wopat, but the guy from South Pacific was very good (from what I saw, anyway), so I guess it's all right.

Even Patti LuPone is not immune to the cut-off music, it seems.

As predicted, In the Heights took Best Musical. I have to say, I'm glad my mother stopped asking "Are they gay?" (her usual Tony presenter query), even if she switched to asking, "Aren't they dead?" instead.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Revamped SSC - my thoughts

In my continuing quest for information from the licensing show relating to things not about superheroes or upcoming movies (-_-), I've seen quite a bit of a reaction to the lastest revamping of Strawberry Shortcake, mostly negative. So I thought I'd share my two cents, since I don't feel like creating two dozen accounts just to post the same thing in places I'll likely never go again.

First off, most of the people responding either forgot or are unaware of the 2002 revamp. So, um, keep it in mind. There are gripes about the look, how they think she looks sexualized now and how she apparently lost weight, but what I really want to talk about are the complaints based on the article in the Times. Mostly, in how the article states that she's traded in Custard for a cellphone and is no longer going for gumdrops, among other things.
Now, a lot of people are freaking out about this, but I'm not really worried, mostly because I don't really put a lot of stock in what the article says. Basically, I take any kind of article like this with a grain of salt because one thing I've gleaned from reading promo articles over the years is that what a promo says and what actually happens are often two very different things. PR pushers will say what they have to in order to make their product sound good and not have any vocal minorities rising up against them. So all the comments about "fruit forward" and "no gumdrops" (when was she ever into gumdrops to begin with? No one's mentioned that in their irate comments) is just legalese, really. As for the cellphone, that's just them trying to make her seem trendy and relevant.
Furthermore, the article claims that the Care Bears "are getting" revamped, and people are complaining "Oh, what will happen?!" when, as we already know, the revamp happened last year. Just another reason I'm not too worried about anything the article says.

Personally, I like the way she looks. Yes, she looks different from the original, but even the original Strawberry Shortcake got long hair towards the end of her run, so I don't see what the problem is there. She actually reminds me a lot of Giselle from the animated portion of Enchanted. And I like the little nods to the original, like the diamond pattern on her shirt and her green striped socks. And that huge strawberry hat! And I especially like that there's not going to be all the rampant blushed cheeks of the 2002 version.
But as I've had a documented love/hate relationship with the 2002 revamp, I'm trying to withhold my judgment until I see more of this revamp. After all, I liked the look of the 2002 version (still do, really), but the animated stories and lackluster voice acting left me in despair (although they got a little(!) better as the series went on). I have no clue how the stories will play out, but if Hasbro uses the same voice actors that they've used, or managed to sneak a few from DIC's storehouse, then I at least have hopes for that. Seriously, I can forgive almost anything if the voice acting is good enough.
I do have one thing I'd love to see happen. Plum Puddin' needs to be a boy again. With glasses, please.

On another note, I found an article that mentions a bit about the new SSC mythos. Going back to the original series roots, Strawberry now lives in Berry Bitty City, in the berry patch. Sounds cute, but we'll see.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Random news about AG Properties

In my quest for information from this year's licensing expo, I've found out a number of things. For instance, as of next year, Hasbro will be representing Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake again, not AGP. While Hasbro is keeping the AiCaL look, SSC is getting a new revamp, with a few characters not making the transition (looks like Ginger Snap may be gone ;_;)
This interview with Josef Mandelbaum reveals that Sushi Pack will be getting a 6x8 section in their stores, but I don't know what stores he means. Must be Carlton Cards. We also get a little closer to Grizzle's backstory:
This year, we added an outcast Care Bear called Grizzle who is a safe villain—it’s probably the best way to describe him. He is the Care Bear wannabe [emphasis mine] and he is upset because he’s always wanted to be a Care Bear and is always trying to take the belly badges away from the Care Bears. He’s never successful and the other bears tell him he just needs a big hug

I don't know, either that doesn't mesh with what we've seen, or it does but it's horribly cliched. I mean, it's the whole "I hate you because I'm really jealous of you" story. Is that really necessary? Your thoughts?
By the way, if you look really, really closely at the image in the first article I linked to, guess what you'll see in the background? Sushi Pack plushes! Only Kani and Ikura are visible, and just barely.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

AG Kidzone updated!

In the Sushi Pack section there's a new game and two new video clips (the second one is very Tako/Maguro shippy ^_^) . The Care Bears section has a couple of new coloring pages, including Funshine and Grumpy door hangers.
Also, I mentioned this on The Green Donut a while ago, but the Parents' section finally has a Sushi Pack page, although it only has downloads at the moment (I'm hoping Teaching Moments will be added in this fall). There's also a Sushi Pack subheading in the FAQ, revealing that the music was produced by Phofo, and that products are coming "soon." (There are other questions, but they're fairly common knowledge

Kung Fu Panda end credits

Just to let you know, a Quicktime file of the end credits to Kung Fu Panda (including the short scene at the very end) is up on the website for Shine, the studio that did the animation.
If you haven't seen the movie yet, I definitely recommend it.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Animated Short - Lorenzo

I want to see this so bad now. Here's another article about it. Apparently it came out in 2004 in front of the film Raising Helen, and hasn't been released on DVD or anywhere. How vexing.

What I Watch - Fargo

I rented Fargo the other day and finally got around to watching it this morning. I didn't really like it; I felt too bad for William H. Macy's character to really look at the film objectively. Whenever there's a character in some kind of money trouble, I want them to succeed, and I knew it couldn't happen here (I had the same problem with when I watched Ghost). Although if it hadn't been William H. Macy, maybe I would have felt differently.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Summer Movies

To celebrate the beginning of June, here's my summer movie lists. So far I've already seen Prince Caspian and Iron Man, so those aren't included, but they would have been on the third list.

Movies I want to see
Kung Fu Panda
Hellboy II
Mamma Mia!

Movies I'll wait for the DVD
War, Inc.
Get Smart
Swing Vote
Hamlet 2
Son of Rambow

Movies I'll see if someone else wants to go
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
The Dark Knight
The Happening