You Think About All The Friends That You Hate To Leave: “Summertime Blues” review

This past Friday, I made my final decision: In four months I’m leaving my hometown of Sudbury, Ontario and moving to Oshawa, Ontario to attend Durham College for their Computer Programmer Analyst Program. It’s a three-year program which is a huge commitment, especially for someone as old as me. But I’m excited, it’s a new era for me, as I finally get the chance to start life anew. After all, Journalism didn’t do anything for me. Maybe entering the tech industry will change things.

It’s also exciting because I have to admit, I don’t actually like this town. Nothing ever happens and the majority of the population is paste-eatingly stupid. So that’s two strikes against it. And really, I have nothing holding me here. No reason to stay. Some may mention my family, but as I’ve said before, I don’t actually like my family. So that doesn’t help.

Plus, the move is a chance to reset, and finally get rid of all the crap I’ve been accumulating after all these years.

It is an opportunity, and one I shall not miss.

And one other thing: I don’t think I’m ever coming back. I have no reason to, as I’ve already stated.

Oh, sure, I have friends, who I like, and will miss. But sadly, I’m not particularly close to any of them. We rarely spend any time together. So they don’t hold me back as much as one might think.

It’s actually kinda sad when you think about it. I first met these guys back in October. And ten months later, I may never see them again, unless we plan to meet up at the next Anime Convention. Let’s hope that happens.

But yeah, I’m leaving everything behind. And that’s why the first season finale of Littlest Pet Shop is one of the few episodes I could empathise with.

The teaser opens with Blythe jumping around like a maniac screaming for joy. Why? No idea! But the pets join her.

Twombly asks what the big deal is, and she explains that she got accepted into the summer training camp at Fashion University North, A fashion institute upstate.

She then starts to speculate that she might also sign up for the regular term. I think you’d need to finish high school first.

Of course she’s excited. So much so that her scream breaks Twombly’s glasses, so she pulls out an extra pair. Takes the teeth out of last week’s delima doesn’t it?

But Twombly’s saddened by this, and naturally, the pets are as well. Blythe is leaving for the summer.

We then get our obligatory musical number. Which they stage in a recording studio, and throw in a few visual gags. It’s fantastic, and I have to say, the musical numbers are getting better. Perhaps this is because they’re few and far between on this show.

Anyway, the song is called Stay Here Forever. Which is a bit pathetic. Yes, how dare things change!

Russell, the eternal voice of reason, sneaks upstairs to get the full story.

Blythe shows her father the college’s website, and he’s obviously nervous. But he gives his okay, regardless of his personal apprehensions.

Twombly arrives and comes up with a scheme to get Blythe placed under house arrest. Oh, I love Twombly.

But Roger explains that they should let Blythe live her dream, and not drag her down. Russell overhears their conversation, and sneaks back downstairs.

Meanwhile, Blythe is on her computer, telling her friends the good news through web chat. We also finally start to get some characterization out of Jasper, and a reason why we’ve seen so little of him in the past. He’s annoying as hell.

Regardless, they complain and whine because she’ll be so far away. Forgetting that they’re chatting on Skype. You’re already nowhere near each other and are able to communicate with no issue. Just keep doing that, it’ll be like nothing has changed.

Russell returns to the pet shop, and explains that Blythe will only be gone for the summer. No big deal. Actually, yes it is! They’re animals, they don’t have lengthy life spans like we do. So to them, a month can be quite a long time.

They’re all apprehensive, and I understand. Unless Blythe decides to leave a smart phone with WiFi behind, they’ll have no way to talk to her. Also, she’s the only one who can understand them! Their fears are completely warranted.

Not only that, she might make new, better animal friends at the college, and never want to leave!

Can’t have that!

Regardless, Blythe needs to live her life, as Russell argues. So they plan to each give her their own special going away present. I don’t see what they’ll give her, since they don’t have checkbooks.

Skip ahead to the next day. School’s being let out, and it’s the last day, Blythe’s leaving tomorrow for fashion camp, and the other humans are depressed by it.

Jasper also has tickets to the grand reopening of the local amusement park, which Blythe won’t be able to attend.

The Biskits show up and add nothing. Which still disappoints me. So much potential in these characters, but it’s never utilized.

So Blythe asks the others if they’ll miss her, and they brush it off, saying there’s no chance of that. They’ll barely notice she’s gone.

Yeah, that’ll make her feel wanted.

She arrives at the pet store, and they go for the same approach, only more so. Zoe even says that she doesn’t really want the summer fashions that Blythe was supposed to design for her. Obviously, this only makes her sadder.

And that makes sense. Many may not realize something. If you are planning on moving, travelling, or anything similar; where people you know will see you less often for whatever reason. You want people to miss you. You want people to be sad you’re gone. Why? Because it means they care.

We all want to be loved, and wanted. And if you have people who love you, they will miss you if you’re gone.

Telling your friends you’ll miss them when they leave won’t make them sad or guilty, it’ll make them feel loved. You wanna make them feel better about leaving? Here’s a tip:

“Oh, Blythe, I’m gonna miss you so much while you’re gone. Summer’s gonna be a lot less fun without you. But you know, what? Don’t worry about me. Go, have fun, send me an email or two, and keep your Twitter updated. I don’t want to miss a beat! Okay, bye!”

You see, that’ll work. Of course some may think that’ll stop her from leaving. But it wouldn’t. It’ll just remind her that she still has friends who care.

So, after she leaves, the pets prepare the presents they’re gonna give Blythe. Each of them utilizing their inherent talents. Minka’s got a painting, Zoe’s got a song, Sunil’s got a magic trick, Pepper has a comedy routine, Penny’s got a gymnastics routine, and Vinnie has a dance routine.

Russell, however, has nothing.

Meanwhile, Twombly’s showing a new character around the pet shop. Her name’s Madison, and she is odd. First off all, she apparently has a mild case of OCD. Carrying a bottle of hand sanitizer, and wearing a facemask when she goes to interact with the pets. Heh, I do the same thing. Well, not the facemask bit, unless I meet someone who’s sick. She also has a bit of a dead-eyed look at times, and is paler than a bottle of Wite-Out.

So, who is she? Well, she’s Blythe’s replacement for the summer. Twombly hired her by stepping out onto the street, and asking the first bystander she saw if she wanted a summer job.

Wish that would happen more often.

Blythe introduces Madison to the pets, and tries to determine if the new girl has the same superpower she does… for some reason. Why the crap would she think this new girl could talk to animals too? It’s not a common superpower!

Russell mentions the dumbwaiter crash, and… wait. I thought they said it was the frisbee hitting her in the head that gave her superpowers. Now they’re saying it was the dumbwaiter? Consistency folks! Try to have some level of consistency!

Regardless, Madison obviously can’t talk to animals. But she does deliver the oddest line: “Hello, pets. I know we’re gonna get along just fine. As long as you don’t breathe on me. And who knows, if Blythe doesn’t come back, maybe I’ll just have to stay here for good.”

It’s such an odd line, that sorta comes out of nowhere. But her delivery of said line is magic.

I hope we get to see more of her next season. But it’s more likely she’ll just end up in the same dustbin as Sugar Sprinkles.

Skip ahead a bit, the pets are working on the talent show for Blythe, and everyone still needs to work on their acts. Also, Russell still doesn’t know what to get her.

You know what would be nice? A few scenes featuring Russell actually trying to come up with something. Perhaps we could see him come up with a few ideas but dismiss them as inappropriate or not his style. But instead we just see him say he has nothing, then cut away.

Meanwhile, Blythe is debating whether or not she should go. On one hand, it’s a major opportunity to learn fashion at a major institution, which’ll be a major boon to her career as a fashion designer. On the other… um… Wacky Island’s reopening?

Yeah, she doesn’t actually say why she’s having second thoughts, only that she’s having second thoughts. No pro/con list explaining the differences, just: Should I go? Well, you seemed pretty excited when you were accepted, and everyone seems to be happy for you. So… why not?

Her father buys a bunch of stuff for her, and explains that they’re leaving the next morning. Then, she just gets sad.

So, the next morning, they leave, with piles of luggage, and Roger asks if they really need all that. She says, of course, it’s all her fashion supplies. It’s all necessary. Yeah, I’ll buy that. After all, you’ll need a lot of supplies to design and make clothes.

Then she corrects herself and says it’s mostly shoes. Ha, ha, women and shoes. Am I right stand-up comics from the 90s?

Yeah, fuck you writers. It’s stupid because we’ve never seen any sign that she had a large shoe collection before then. Not one sign. So this literally comes out of nowhere.

But before she leaves, she has to say goodbye to Russell and the gang. And they present a brief talent show. But instead of actually getting to hear Zoe’s song, or Pepper’s jokes, we get a shit song running overtop it.

Then Minka gives Blythe a ‘painting’ that’s just eight blobs of paint on a canvas.

Da hell? That couldn’t have taken more than two minutes! Okay, she’s a monkey, but that’s no excuse! She’s sentient, and she acted like she was spending a lot of time on it! And we’ve seen her do more complex work.

Oh, well, it’s the thought that counts.

Russell says he didn’t give her anything, and apologizes. Yeah, too bad this little plot point didn’t actually go anywhere. If you’re gonna include a plot point like that, you should try to do something with it. But Pepper explains he organized the event, so that counts. Yeah, actually that’s true. But that doesn’t count as going anywhere.

They say their goodbyes with a big group hug.

Saying goodbye to Twombly, her boss explains that she installed a webcam in the back room, so Blythe can look in on the pets anytime she wants. Well, that’s grand init?

Then the human characters say goodbye, and she leaves town for the summer.

With that, the episode, and the season, ends.

So what do I think?

Well, overall, this season was a blast, and I think I can officially say this show has supplanted My Little Pony as my favourite non-cancelled televised program.

But this final episode? Well, it was sorta hollow. Nothing really happened other than Blythe leaving town. Much like the final song in the last episode of My Little Pony, where Twilight screams, “Everything’s gonna be just fine”; It feels like this is just a message to the fans saying, don’t worry, we’ll be back. Which seems unnecessary. No other show feels the need to tell its fans they’ll have more episodes in a few months. Why Littlest Pet Shop feels the need is beyond me.

Secondly, nothing really happens in the episode. Blythe is going to summer camp, the pets and supporting cast are saddened, but try to support her. Then she leaves and… that’s it. No one learns any important life lessons, no one has an emotional heart to heart with another character. We learn that every other character (minus the Biskits) appreciates Blythe’s friendship. But we kinda already knew that.

And there are plenty of missed opportunities for a proper plot here. For instance, we could have seen the characters act like they won’t miss her, only to see Blythe get angry at their dismissal. “I thought you guys cared about me!!!” Tears! Then they apologize, and explain that they only said that so she wouldn’t get upset. But we don’t get that.

We also don’t see anything from the Biskits, even though we learned a mere three weeks ago that Whittany actually likes Blythe and that they could be friends, but Brittany was the one to stand in the way. So a little scene with Whittany, privately saying goodbye to Blythe, building off that episode, would have been nice.

Then there’s Russell. Just a few more scenes with Russell debating over what he could get her would have raised the level of the entire episode. In fact, scenes with any of the pets working on their presents, and running into a few problems here or there, trying to make it all perfect, would have really added something to the episode.

But, we don’t get that. We don’t get any of that. Instead, we just see Blythe leaving town, and the credits roll. No dilemmas, no conflicts, nothing.

Okay, we get a brief scene with Blythe reconsidering, but it’s so brief and has so little explanation that it might as well not even be there.

There’s nothing to this episode. Not a thing. In fact, we probably can just write this off as being completely non-existent. No character development, no major crises, nothing.

Unless…

Well, of course the series isn’t over. We know for a fact that Littlest Pet Shop is getting a second season. A full 26 episodes at that! How do we know that? This cake!

Yes, they’ve already been produced, and will be premiering this coming winter. Hell of a long wait I must admit. It’ll likely be airing back to back with season four of My Little Pony. So I’ll have my work cut out for me if I want to continue writing these reviews. I’m barely handling one a week!

But regardless, we will be getting a second season, and this episode could be retroactively redeemed by the first few episodes. How? Well, by Blythe not coming back.

Hold your horses fanboys! I’m not done. Blythe should not come back until episode two or three. Because, that way, we’ll see what the gang did without Blythe during the summer. Just a few episodes focusing exclusively on the pets, as they live life without Blythe. Also, perhaps an episode focused exclusively on Blythe at fashion camp, making friends with local wildlife. Heck, the camp is upstate. There has to be some wildlife she can make friends with!

We can even have a new series: Littlest Wild Animal Forest.

If they do that, this episode would mean something. As it stands, it doesn’t. So, I guess all we can do now is spend the next six months rewatching all the old episodes. Because despite the finale, this season was fantastic. If you haven’t seen it, give it a go. I don’t know what you’re waiting for.

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