Monday, July 18, 2011

SSC - Puttin' On The Glitz

With another DVD coming up at the end of next month, it's about time I covered Puttin' on the Glitz, the first DVD release of Berry Bitty Adventures that doesn't try to pretend it's actually a movie.  As par for the course, there are three episodes here, starting with...

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
Strawberry Shortcake shows up for her usual appointment at Lemon Meringue's salon, but finds the other girls in town are all still there.  As Lemon juggles her clients, all wanting to look their best for the grand opening of Mr. Longface Caterpillar's croquet court, her equipment suddenly turns on her.  The other girls, completely missing Lemon's look of horrified distress, just laugh, until they get a look at what her treacherous equipment has wrought.  But even the sight of their disastrous hair-dos isn't enough to keep them from laughing it up, completely ignoring Lemon's attempts to fix things.  Seriously, it's kind of frightening how their laughter never, ever lets up.
Eventually the girls calm down enough for Lemon to get them looking normal again, and they head over to the croquet court.  The door, however, is locked, and Lemon worries it's because she made them all late.  But Strawberry suspects otherwise and has the others give her a boost so she can see what's what.  Beyond the gates, she spies Mr. Longface obsessing over the length of the grass in the court, which is why he's delayed the court's opening.  The girls see nothing wrong with the grass length, and come in anyway, but Mr. Longface stops their game so that the clipper berrykins can cut the grass to his satisfaction.  With their plans cancelled, Strawberry proposes a picnic instead, and the girls go to get ready.  All except Lemon, who begs off so she can work on fixing her salon.
Working late into the night, Lemon spruces up her salon, and notices an ad in a magazine that seems to be just what she's looking for.  Sometime later, she invites the girls over to check out her newly arrived Salon-o-Matic!  Despite Lemon's enthusiasm, her friends are a little more apprehensive about the strange looking chair, and it's up to Strawberry to act as test subject.  With just the touch of a button, Strawberry's hair is washed, dried, and styled, and her nails are given a perfect manicure.  As the other girls line up to try it out, Strawberry checks out the magazine Lemon saw the ad in, and soon makes a purchase of her own: the Wonder Waffler, which spits out perfect waffles, completely with butter and syrup, every time.  Even Blueberry Muffin gets in on things, picking up a spiffy Clean-O-Matic that has all the girls asking to borrow it.
But all is not as rosy as it might seem.  With the Salon-O-Matic getting all her work done in the blink of an eye, Lemon finds herself with more free time than she knows what to do with.  To fill the time, she tries helping out at Strawberry's cafe, and though she does a fine job busing tables and making smoothies, her heart just isn't into it.  Her attempt at being a dance teacher at Plum Pudding's studio is both dreadful and superfluous, and helping out at Orange Blossom's store just isn't enough to make her feel useful.  Orange encourages her to come up with a new business, and thus Lemon Meringue's Ferry Boat Service is born.
In order to support their friend, the girls visit Lemon's new ferry every day, but soon Lemon grows suspicious.  She's realized that a ferry isn't needed as often as she had hoped, and doesn't want her friends to go out of their way day after day.  So, just like that, Lemon Meringue's Ferry Boat Service is closed for the season.   Fearing the worst, Blueberry and Orange head to Lemon's and find her packing her things.  Seeing no real way to contribute to the town, she's heading for Berry Big City, hoping to find her way in the world, though she promises to visit.
In a last ditch effort to keep Lemon from leaving, Orange convinces the other girls (minus Strawberry) to sabotage their hairstyles and claim it was the work of the Salon-O-Matic.  When Lemon sees their crazy 'dos, she rushes back to the salon to try and salvage what she can of their styles.  Only Blueberry sees the ending of this episode coming, as she wonders what Strawberry would think of their plan.    Soon Lemon's salon is once again humming the way it was before, which is when Lemon finds a handful of screws haphazardly hidden under a magazine.  She recognizes them as coming from the Salon-O-Matic, and soon the truth is out: her friends removed the screws so Lemon would think she was needed agan.
Strawberry, meanwhile, is busy trying to convince Mr. Longface to give up on getting the perfect lawn and come rejoin society.  After listening to Mr. Longface spout out about needing a level field, she finally has enough and grabs the clippers right out of his hands.  Unaware of everything going on with Lemon that day, she entices the caterpillar with the promise of a picnic and boatride, reminding him that she and the other residents of Berry Bitty City care more about him than any old lawn.  Hearing herself say this, she realizes what Lemon needs to hear, and postpones their outing.
Strawberry arrives at Lemon's salon just as Lemon's about to leave again, and the other girls call upon her to stop the blonde.  Strawberry is shocked to hear that Lemon is leaving town, and so Lemon reiterates that she wants to feel useful.  So Strawberry tells her that they need her there to handle the complaints about the Salon-O-Matic, namely, that it isn't her.  Strawberry even adds that she sent back her Wonder Waffler for making waffles that were too perfect, making Blueberry worry that, since the moral seems to be Ludd Was Right, this means she also has to send back her Clean-O-Matic, which Plum points out she hasn't had a chance to borrow.  So Strawberry clarifies her point: they like Lemon for who she is, not for what she does for them, and asks her to stay.
Lemon agrees, and just then, Mr. Longface shows up, apologizing for not visiting her ferry.  He asks how he can make it up to her, so she asks for his help in getting the Salon-O-Matic back to the post office.  But as he pushes it out the door, the machine suddenly takes off of its own accord and winds up in the croquet court.  The top comes off, and the girls chase it across the lawn until Lemon finally manages to push the off switch.  She apologizes for the trouble, but it turns out the half-o-matic finally got the lawn trimmed to the proper length.  Lemon bestows the half-o-matic to Mr. Longface, and the croquet court is officially open for business!  In honor of her gift, Lemon gets to hit the first ball, which she the wrong direction.

Too Cool For Rules
A group of berrykins head to the pond, all ready to go on a picnic on the other side, but find the ferry, no longer run by Lemon, but still available for anyone who needs it, has floated away from the dock.  They try pulling it back in, but whoever used the boat last didn't tie the rope, and they come up empty.  So they put together a raft from the items in their lunch, and send two of them out on it to get the boat.  This works about as well as you'd think, and as the two berrykins head back to the dock, they get stuck in the muck at the bottom of the pond.  And the others, rather than use the rope to pull them out, go in after them and all get stuck, too.  Luckily for them, Strawberry had forgotten to pack their dessert, and arrives with it just in time to help them all out.  She also helps them get the boat back to the dock and sends them on their way.  Just before the boat pulls away, one of the berrykins tosses her a purple cellphone someone left behind.
Later that day, Strawberry literally bumps into Orange Blossom and Plum Pudding on her way to Blueberry's book club meeting.  Strawberry hands Plum the cellphone and mentions how the boat floated away.  Plum is certain she tied it up, though she may have only used one knot.  Strawberry reminds her that using two knots is "the rule", but Plum is just dismissive.  After all, she's too busy practicing for her upcoming recital to worry about any silly rules.
Speaking of her recital, Plum has more than just practicing to take care of.  She heads over to Orange's store (where the post office is) to mail out handmade invitations for everyone in Berry Bitty City and every last berrykin.  Jadeybug, who finally gets a speaking part, is impressed not only by the number of invitations, but that Plum wants to send them Extra Special Super Urgent Ultra Fast Delivery, which means she actually gets to use the special stamp.  Everyone is pleased to get an invitation, except for Strawberry and Blueberry, since Plum's holding the recital at Strawberry's cafe, and Blueberry already signed up for that night.  Strawberry reassures Blueberry that since she signed up, it's still her night, and steels herself to go break the bad news to Plum.  Hearing that the date she picked is already taken, Plum tries to bargain with Strawberry, to see if Blueberry will switch, but Strawberry insists that it's not about the date, it's about upholding the rules.  Strawberry offers to help Plum make new invitations, but Plum just sends her away.
Over at Lemon's salon, Orange gossips with Raspberry about Plum's new joke invitations, though Strawberry overhears and tells them that Plum is actually serious.  It seems that in a fit of pique, she made new rules for her dance studio: No admittance without a yellow hat, knocking three times, and guessing the password.  Despite Strawberry's warning, Lemon, Raspberry, and Mr. Longface arrive for a dance lesson, and are forced to knock three times and guess the password, but are turned away for not having yellow hats.  "Rules are rules," Plum tells them.
The next day, Strawberry goes over to talk to Plum and try to convince her to let go of her grudge, but to her surprise and dismay, she learns that Raspberry, Lemon, and Mr. Longface have been instituting their own silly rules to get back at Plum.  So she calls them all over to her cafe to tell them they're just making things worse, and it isn't fair to have silly rules for just Plum (calling Mr. Longface "Sir Highness Longface" for example).  Of course, the message they all take away from this is not "stop enforcing silly rules," but "make everyone follow the silly rules."  But as this just leads to everyone avoiding them, the three of them soon put a stop to it.  Strawberry's glad to hear it, but she won't be fully satisfied until Plum gets the message, too.
Which may be happening sooner than she thinks.  Almost everyone turned down the invitation to her postponed recital, due to her new rules, so she decides to waive all her rules, just for the recital.  Her ploy succeeds, and her recital is well attended.  As the guests head outside for refreshments, Plum notices little puncture marks in her dance floor that weren't there a minute ago.  The culprit: Jadeybug's high heels!  Plum is aghast, as everyone knows her rule about no heels in the studio, but Jadeybug reminds her that she waived all the rules, even the shoe rule.  Now that she sees the reason for the rule, she's terribly sorry, and offers to help refinish the floor, as does Strawberry.  Plum is surprised to hear this, since she's been acting so stupid this whole time, but unlike Plum, Strawberry isn't the type to hold a grudge, so long as people learn their lessons.
And Plum has indeed learned her lesson about respecting the rules, even if she doesn't understand them, as evidenced by her reminding the others to use two knots when tying up the boat, bringing the episode full circle.

I have to admit, I was kind of amused by the whole "taking the wrong thing from Strawberry's talk" portion, and hearing Mr. Longface refer to himself as Sir Highness Longface made me laugh.  Probably the only time that'll happen.

Nice as Nails
Lemon bursts out of her salon, exclaiming "I did it!" and proceeds to run all the way through town, telling her friends to come to her salon to see her newest creation.  With all her friends gathered, she shows off her sparkly, bejeweled, musical manicure, dubbed a "glamicure."  Her friends, naturally, all want one, and so Lemon delivers, pleased that her glamicures are going over so well.  And at first, they're a big hit, bringing music and joy to each of her friends' daily routines.  But all too soon, the inherent problems of having music wherever you go begin to appear.  Strawberry accidentally ruins Mr. Longface's oboe concert, and then adds too much vanilla to a recipe by following the beat.
The other girls are having problems of their own with the glamicures.  They're too noisy, too bright, and worst of all, waterproof.  Blueberry proposes they just tell Lemon that they don't like the glamicures, but since she's been going around town with an absolutely euphoric look on her face every time she sees someone with a glamicure, they worry that hearing nobody actually likes them anymore might break the poor girl's spirit and send her packing, as in the first episode on this disc.  They even point out that Strawberry, who isn't there, would never do anything so inconsiderate.  Thus, to preserve Lemon's feelings, they vow to just put up with their glamicures.  Easier said than done, especially for Plum, who more often than not ends up dancing to two, or even three, different beats.
As the days roll by, Lemon starts to worry that the other girls are avoiding her, even when she has a picnic planned with some them.  She runs into Strawberry, doing a little pruning by the gazebo, and she advises her to ask the other girls what's up, even if she's afraid of the answer.  Better to know the truth than imagine the worst, right?  Lemon agrees, but can't quite bring herself to do it right away, so Strawberry goes on the picnic in Orange and Raspberry's stead.  The two girls are unaware that Orange and Raspberry are actually not that far off, hiding in the unpruned grass.  They praise Strawberry for being brave enough to endure her glamicure with Lemon, and reinforce their vow to endure their own.
After the picnic, Lemon decides to visit all her friends, with Strawberry along for moral support.  First stop, Orange Blossom's store.  Orange apologizes for missing the picnic, blaming business picking up at the store, and insists everything, especially her glamicure, is fine.  Lemon gets the same story from each of the other girls, and is satisfied, though she can't help feeling that something still isn't quite right. Strawberry seems to have caught on to what is really going on, but keeps quiet for her own amusement (she's also been going around with her hands behind her back this whole time).
Having secretly observed each girl hastily covering their glamicure after Lemon's departure, Strawberry calls them all together at her cafe.  The other girls are shocked, shocked! to see that Strawberry is glamicure-free, and wonder how she got rid of hers.  No big mystery here, Strawberry simply told Lemon the glamicure wasn't working out, and she took it off.  The other girls are amazed that Lemon's heart didn't break at this revelation, but Strawberry points out that part of being a good friend is being able to give and take constructive criticism.  The others realize that by trying to keep from hurting Lemon's feelings because of the glamicures, they inadvertently hurt her feelings by avoiding her.  Strawberry tells them to set the record straight with Lemon, and the girls agree to go right away.
Of course, it takes courage to hand out bad news, and so the girls end up hiding outside Lemon's door, daring each other to go first, until Strawberry makes the first move, and the rest of the girls follow.  With Strawberry's prompting, they admit that the glamicures are not for them, which Lemon fully understands when she hears all four of them playing at once.  The others are astounded that she understands, but Lemon just wishes they would have told her sooner.  This gives her an idea for new, improved glamicures, based completely on input from her friends. The most popular suggestion: an off switch.
Another batch of fun episodes, though not my favorites.  I'm a little surprised that they didn't include A Stitch in Time, since the theme of this disc seems to be fashion and style, instead opting for Too Cool For Rules.  I guess it's because of the continuity of Lemon's boat, but really, I don't think that's a particularly good reason for including it.  If anything, they should have included another Lemon-focused episode, and saved Too Cool For Rules for a disc focused on Plum (i.e. Different Waltz for Different Faults).
As with the last disc, the only special feature is printable pages.

Misc. Screenshots
Longface playing against Custard
Plum's recital costume
Strawberry air-quotes
Raspberry's a little tied up right now

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