False Love

‘Why?’ is a simple question that people don’t ask often enough.

Why spend $10 on a movie ticket? Why take a trip to New York? Why write? Why work in retail? Why go to college?

Some of those questions might have legitimate or obvious answers. Then there are questions like this:

Why enter your pet in a dog show?

The typical answer to this might be: Because they love it! Because they have fun!

But, that would be an outright lie. Typically at a dog or cat show, the animals spend half their time trapped in steel cages, and the other half being examined like a piece of meat. The only fun they might have is the time they spend with you, which means the animal would have more fun at a park, or at home.

No, the real reason to enter your animal in a dog or cat show is for your own self-gratification. To win a prize and make your pointless and shallow life feel a bit more fulfilling. It’s the same reason one would write a blog where they insult people and put them down for no real reason. To make themselves feel big.

Wait…

Anyway, I have a hard time believing any animal enjoys those kinds of competitions. So it’s all for the owners, to socialize and shop for stuff they claim is for their pets but is really bought so they can show off.

It’s lies like these that piss me off. How many parents enter their children in talent shows and schedule showbiz auditions? Often, it’s not because the kids like it, but because the parent wanted to be in showbiz, so they try to live vicariously though their children.

Admittingly, I’m probably also gonna do that when I have kids.

Yes, it’s all about the adults, the owners, and the people who sit in the background. But they lie, to the world, and I assume themselves.

Which eloquently leads me into this week’s episode of Littlest Pet Shop. We all remember that Zoe is the diva right?

Ah, Zoe, the Rarity of the group. Our designated annoying diva. I love this character, but only because she’s so over the top. Which works for a dog.

The episode opens with Russell showing off his cooking chops when he makes a pet food smoothie, apparently of his own design.

Actually, this bugs me a bit because we got five different animals here, and they don’t all have the exact same diet. In fact, I’m pretty sure, biologically, they all like different things. Though most of the cast is omnivourous, so it might work. With the exception of Penny Ling who’s a straight-up herbivore. But she’s absent in this scene. So is Vinnie who’s an insectivore.

I guess the writers and storyboard artists thought of everything. Because the five pets on-screen probably have a similar enough diet for this scene to work.

A man from out-of-town walks into Littlest Pet Shop looking for Largest Ever Pet Shop. Blythe takes the opportunity to try to sell shit, but the man explains he’s not here to shop, but was invited to LEPS by someone wanting to show off a few pets. Meet Christopher Lydecker, ‘pageant director’ for Terriers & Tiaras. A reality show about canine beauty pageants. For the record, I’m pretty sure those don’t exist in real life.

Anyway, the name may ring a few bells. It’s a parody of the infamous reality show, Toddlers & Tiaras, which is about child beauty pageants.

I never watched the show, but I have heard of it, and a quick search on Wikipedia got me a bit of blogging fodder:

Controversy

… In an August 2012 custody hearing surrounding a child on the show, a court appointed psychologist said, “Children adorned with pageantry identities are not ‘playing’ or ‘pretending.’ Instead, they are trained to closely resemble their adult counterparts.” One mother on the show was criticized for padding her daughter’s chest to resemble Dolly Parton’s… Sherri Shepherd said on The View, “Your job is to protect your child … if you don’t think pedophiles are watching this show, I have a bridge I want to sell you.”

Touche Sherri. However it’s worth noting that pedophiles are attracted to children. A child dressing, acting and looking like an adult doesn’t have that kind of effect on them.

That’s like saying if a transgendered girl dresses sexy, all the gay guys will want to rape her.

And even if that did make sense, they’re on television. There’s a piece of glass, as well as miles of radio waves, and data cables separating them. Plus, the very fact that they’re on TV would attract attention from psychopaths, regardless of how they acted or dressed.

Plus, dressing the way they do, particularly with regards to false teeth. It looks a bit uncanny valley.

That’s not beauty, that’s creepy. I don’t know what they’re thinking, but it creeps me the fuck out!

Watch Little Miss Sunshine if you want a kick-ass take on child beauty pageants.

We were talking about Littlest Pet Shop weren’t we?

So, I don’t know what a pageant director would do on a reality TV show, but we’ll get to that. He says the Biskits were the ones who tipped him off to ‘pageant ready talent’ at Largest Ever. Do people do that? Because one would think he’d brush them off as being deluded. Most people are pretty deluded when it comes to their own children or pets.

As Blythe starts giving directions, Zoe interrupts her and says she wants to be on that show. Yep… that fits.

Blythe hesitates, explaining she’s needs owner-approval. But somehow, Zoe has a letter that says:

To Whom it may Concern:

If Zoe wants you to take her to a pageant… DO IT!

Signed,
– John and Clarissa

Okay, assuming the letter really was from John and Clarissa, why the hell did they give it to Zoe? She’s a dog! Second, how is one supposed to know if Zoe wants to go to a pageant if they can’t talk to her? Of course Blythe can, so it makes sense to her.

Regardless, this whole letter thing is ridiculously absurd, and I love it.

Blythe is still hesitant, so Zoe pulls out the literal puppy dog eyes. It doesn’t work… until she’s suddenly drenched in the pouring rain, in the middle of the night, under a street lamp. Wait… what!?

Anyway, it’s super effective, so Blythe caves and introduces the next pageant champion: Zoe!

Fast forward a few days, and after a sunrise not even Celestia could match in efficiency, it’s pageant time. We meet Judy Jo Jameson, this episode’s overbearing captain of crazy; Princess Stori, her dog; and her neice-in-law, Philippa; who arrive in a CG van with a plywood cutout of the dog on top.

The TV crew arrive, and Judy being the whore that she is, rushes toward them for her first interview.

They are at the Downtown City Terriers & Tiaras Pageant, and- wait… I thought the show was called Terriers & Tiaras. It’s the name of the pageant? Or is it the name of both? Is the show about the pageant? Is it the same thing with Toddlers & Tiaras!? I thought that show was about a bunch of people who frequent the child pageant circuit, and they go to all sorts of pageants! I’m confused.

Ah, forget it. So, yeah, we’ll say it’s both. Which explains Lybecker’s role, and title.

Philippa is continually verbally abused by Judy. So, ladies and gentlemen, we have our villain. Land’s sake, she’s worse than Nightmare Moon. All she tried to do was kill our heroes, Judy’s a sadist. Or she’s a psychopath.

So the pageant is like your typical pageant, testing beauty, talent, and I assume grace, but that’s never mentioned.

The grand prize is a gaudy golden tiara that shall be awarded along with the title of: “Ultimate Supreme Miss Congeniality Most Photogenic Most Talented Super Sparkle Grand Supreme Pageant Winner…Of The Six-and-unders.”

You’re only getting that once assholes. From now on, I shall be using the term “fucking winner” instead.

We meet some of the competition, which includes one woman, whose name isn’t important, and her dog, Shea Butter. We get a great gag with these two. Since Shea Butter sleeps in a king size bed, and her owner sleeps in a dog basket.

Is that the key to comedy? Fucking illogical absurdity? I guess that’s why I’m not in comedy, I tend to miss that stuff.

The next contestant is an overbearing butch woman whose dog is exhausted. Can’t wait to see more of her.

Finally, our heroes, Blythe and Zoe. And as they begin their first interview, we get a continuity call-back to episode eleven, when Blythe explains she’s got a bad case of stage fright. I appreciate that.

Actually that was the last episode written by Mitch Larson (aka. M.A. Larson, who wrote the atrocious MLP Season Three finale, which I should really stop banging on about), so I find it a bit funny that while this is one of the show’s few continuity nods, it’s to an episode written by the same guy. If it was written by someone else, would it get the same treatment?

Blythe’s stage fright ends up causing a stroke. So Lydecker suggests watching Judi’s interview segment. But as they watch, Zoe starts talking to Blythe, pissing Lydecker off. I should note everyone else hears nothing but yips.

By the way, I don’t know how to spell Judi’s name, and neither do the graphics guys on the show, since the lower-thirds spell it two different ways.

Then the overbearing psychopath starts in with the condescending trash-talk.

But Blythe is more of a bad ass than you might expect. She’s going to show that bitch up. Which is the first sign that something’s gonna go wrong. She’s not in it for Zoe anymore, she’s in it for herself.

But forget motives, as long as their goals are the same, everything’s fine right? …Right?

It’s time to prepare. Blythe puts Zoe on the agility course, composed of a see-saw, a tunnel, three flags, and a hoop. Simple enough, but Zoe refuses. She’s not into athletics.

I’m pretty sure that course is a mandatory part of the competition.

Accompanying Zoe and Blythe on this adventure, we see Russell, and make-up monkey, Minka. The others decided to stay home, just like last week. But this week it makes a bit more sense, since they sorta live at the pet shop, not at a hotel exhibition hall.

So Minka runs the course to demonstrate for Zoe, which boggles the mind, because Zoe isn’t thick, she can listen to directions.

The other nuts slither in and Judi reveals she’s never seen a monkey before.

They try to psyche her out, by having one of the dogs run the course quickly, and then Zoe reveals she has a fear of levers. Da hell?

In the background, we see Philippa, who appears to sympathize with Blythe’s plight. Good, a sympathetic character. She gets an interview segment where she explains she’s Stori’s stylist, and used to just play and have fun with the puppy.

Blythe starts stealing beauty tips from the competition, and it kinda works. At least, the hair does. Blythe then gives the makeup a try, and makes Zoe look like a Russian whore. She finishes the job with some green shit which I assume is some type of lacquer to stop Zoe from licking it off.

Actually, even with the make-up, she looks pretty good. It works on her. Though the mascara might be overdone. Sometimes less is more.

Seriously, what did the green shit do?

So, it’s time for another interview segment, and Blythe takes more cues from the competition, stealing Judy’s ego and accent.

My first thought when I heard it pulled me back to a comment I made in my first LPS review, where I said Blythe sounds exactly the same as Rainbow Dash.

Well, seemed it happened once again, because at first, Blythe sounded exactly like Applejack. But listening to her again. Applejack has more of a twang. So forget that.

EgoBlythe starts to clash with Judi, who starts to intimidate our hero… or at least, she tries to.

You know what I think. Someone with her ego is actually trying to hide her own insecurities. Judy thinks she’s gonna lose. So she wants the competition to not even bother.

After all, someone who was truly confident, would welcome the challenge, and crush them anyway.

But at least the producers seem to enjoy it.

Zoe starts to socialize with the other dogs, and they explain that they don’t particularly enjoy the whole ‘pageant’ thing, since their owners are too overbearing, and it won’t be long before Blythe turns as well.

Too late. She arrives and gives Zoe and the others shit, saying they’re not going to win ‘fucking winner’ sitting around like lemons. So it’s time to work on the talent portion.

Zoe shows off her dancing moves, which EgoBlythe disapproves of, and it makes me think they should have brought Vinnie. After all, Russell’s not a choreographer, and… Wait… Does Zoe have a crush on Russell? Gah! Focus!

But, instead of calling Vinnie, EgoBlythe gets on all fours, which is a bit disturbing, to show Zoe how it’s really done.

Actually, yeah, she should have made a phone call and told Vinnie to head over. He could have arrived encased in a swarm of flies, sitting in a zen position, as a reference to his last major appearance. He arrives and says, “The master is here.”

He acts all stoic watching Zoe’s routine, before yelling at her with insults, releasing a sigh, apologizing, and demonstrating exactly how it’s done. The perfect stereotype of the eccentric choreographer.

Anyway, EgoBlythe keeps giving Zoe a hard time, and says she needs to use the ‘old Baxter method,’ which confuses the hell out of me, because she’s new to this. She shouldn’t have a ‘method.’

Blythe then starts with the trash talk against random contestants we’ve never seen before. So much for ‘camera shy.’ Actually, I think that’s why she developed the accent. To try to distance herself. She’s not in front of the camera, EgoBlythe is.

Heck, every superhero has to have an alter-ego.

Zoe, fearing the worst, asks Blythe for some words of encouragement. Instead EgoBlythe pulls out a little blue dress. Which brings Zoe to tears… sad ones.

Um… why? Well it seems that dress was her favourite dress. Blythe made it for Zoe’s birthday, and… um… I don’t know. Apparently Blythe did something to it and… well… I’m not sure. It looks fine to me.

You know what would be nice? Context. A scene, earlier, where we see the dress before it was altered. A scene establishing this dress’ origins. Right now, we just have Zoe’s word that it meant a lot to her. But we’ve never seen this thing before… ever. So, something’s missing.

Blythe dresses Zoe up, complete with matching cowboy hat, and false teeth. Remember what I said about false teeth?

The dog explains that she wants to drop out. But it turns out that EgoBlythe is also StubbornBlythe.

Then the crazies show up, and while the humans are trash talkin’, Stori approaches Zoe and starts to speak in a man’s voice.

No, she’s not transgendered. He is 100% male, it’s just that Judi doesn’t care. With all the dresses he wears, I guess no one on the pageant circuit noticed his penis.

So the others show up, and they all explain how much they hate the pageant scene. Apparently, they used to like it, but they miss playing in the park and running around, acting like dogs. Which I’m sure every dog, at every dog show; and every cat, at every cat show; and every child, at every child show, can agree with.

They decide to run off and steal some dog treats from Philippa, but Zoe and Stori are caught before they could join the others.

Time for the talent portion, and Zoe’s talent is: ripping off her dress and running off stage.

EgoBlythe grabs her and starts prettying her up once again. But Zoe is insistent. She shakes off the makeup, and spits out the teeth, declaring her withdrawal, and saying she doesn’t care about winning ‘fucking winner,’ and runs off.

So Blythe needs to find a replacement, which is apparently allowed.

She dresses Russell up in a dress and makeup.

Shake your spines dude!

Actually, that’s odd. Why isn’t he objecting?

So Lybecker arrives and says he wants her to have more camera time since she’s a natural. Blythe is a bit surprised, so to prove his point, he shows her a few clips. Specifically, clips of her yelling like a maniac.

She’s obviously ashamed, and has a ‘what have I become?’ moment.

Well, it happens to most superheroes, when they learn, as Spiderman’s uncle put it: “With great power, comes great responsibility.”

I think Blythe finally learned that. Then again, talking to animals isn’t really a great power, just a cool one.

But it doesn’t stop Blythe from finally using her power for true goodness. She protects Stori from Judi, who’s yelling at her him like a maniac. I guess he finally decided to tell his owner off.

Zoe and Minka come to his defence, and naturally, Blythe translates. But somehow, she doesn’t notice that he’s a guy.

Judy walks away, and says Philippa can take care of Stori from then on. So now, everyone’s happy! Except Judi… Everyone who matters is happy!

But what about Russell!? Well, back in the exhibition hall, with the main stage, and the agility course; Zoe and Stori arrive to start running the darn thing. No reason, they just do it to have fun.

Meanwhile, Lybecker gives a speech explaining that pageant dogs are better than other dogs. They have poise, and they know there’s more to life than having fun.

Then they all run off, to have some fun. So Lybecker declares the ‘fucking winner’ to be the only dog that didn’t run off: Russell!

The episode could not have ended in a better way.

I loved this episode. It reminded me why I started watching this show to begin with. Awesome gags, and all the character development we could possibly want. Blythe was amazing, and the entire cast turned in just the right amount of absurdity. I’m not sure, but this might be the season’s best episode.

There’s very little to criticize, and I think we can assume a scene was cut that explained the dress scene. They only got twenty minutes, something was bound to be cut. But they probably could have done that with the pet food smoothie scene instead.

Some of the early episodes were pretty good. I’d have to watch them again to see how they compare. But as I sit here, I’m going to say it: Best episode ever!

But we still have five episodes left this season. Which makes me a bit sad. But next week, we get a double plot. First, Pepper meets her idol, and if they don’t parody a great comedy legend like George Carlin, Jerry Seinfeld, Lewis Black, or Charlie Brooker, I’ll be pissed. Second, Blythe learns Twombly’s deep dark secret. Theory: she can communicate with animals, but she’s been keeping it a secret from both the pets and Blythe.

In fact, at some point, I hope we learn that Blythe is not the only one. It would be a great way to set up the next season.

That was how they ended season one of Journeyman… right before it got cancelled. I hate television.

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2 responses to “False Love

  1. *Minkie Pie
    *Twilight Barkle

    Once again I feel that this concept has done a million times before. Not just in children’s television, but also in sitcoms and the sort.

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