Reverse Hypocondria: “The Hedgehog In The Plastic Bubble” review

I’ve mentioned before that one of my favourite movies is Contagion. A film all about a deadly pandemic and the impact it has on society and the world at large.

People die, others panic, and it all hits the fan. The film covered the event from every conceivable angle, including the perspective of a nutbar conspiracy theorist who creates more panic, and additional riots, over some type of miracle bullshit water.

Many characters even put themselves under personal quarantines, cutting themselves off from the world in an effort to protect themselves from the virus, which may be an appropriate reaction. And those who are infected… well they end up getting too sick to do much of anything. That being said, they don’t appear to be too concerned about quarantines or avoiding infecting others. Which is fucked when you think about it.

If you have a dangerous and deadly virus, going outside and letting it spread to others is just irresponsible. Oh, sure, you might survive… but that’s kinda beside the point!

If you think you’re sick, placing yourself under some type of quarantine is the only responsible thing to do. Assuming it’s feasible. And with that, I bring you the latest episode of Littlest Pet Shop, which is all about a quarantine. Two quarantines, as a matter of fact.

The story begins as Blythe notices three dots on her forehead.

So, either she just inadvertently destroyed Voldemort, or she’s got acne.

But Blythe doesn’t think of that. So a quick search on WebMD causes her to find out about a disease called Jerry-berry, one of the symptoms of which is three dots on the forehead.

Other symptoms include oversensitivity to light, loss of hearing, and…

The inexplicable urge to join a pirate ship?

No, obviously it’s death, but I guess they can’t say that on a kids show… for some bizarre reason.

Oh, and it’s highly contagious. Which is why Zoe and Minka immediately leg it.

Meanwhile, Russell is having his own problems.

Yes, turns out Russell keeps brutally stabbing pets in back allies. Alright, he’s actually just poking them with his quills. Which isn’t really new, but has apparently been happening more and more frequently these days.

Okay Minka, this is stalker-level behaviour.

Regardless, Russell’s quite concerned for the safety of others. He can’t keep stabbing his friends like this! Which is why he decides to build a containment chamber, to keep him isolated.

But it’s not long before Sunil tries to break in, compromising the structural integrity, and causing the entire structure to collapse.

So for plan B, where Russell covers himself in bubble wrap.

But he quickly learns that it also reduces his mobility, when he falls over just as the others run off to get snacks.

Dammit! He wanted food too!

So, with all his solutions failing, he decides the only solution is to leave the pet shop, forever. GASP!

Meanwhile, Blythe’s self-imposed quarantine has driven her slightly batty.

So, she decides to pass the time by reading a novel she just downloaded. Who would’ve thought they’d start condoning piracy?

It’s a story of vampires, zombies, and teenage angst. An obvious parody of the Twilight series, only slightly more batshit.

And it turns out the batshit’s also contagious.

Yes, apparently, the book was so immersive, Blythe starts actually believing she’s in it.

Then, when the pets try to visit her, she refuses to let them in, not only because they could get infected (which they wouldn’t because viruses rarely jump species), but because they could actually be Prince Schezius, attempting to deceive her.

See what I mean by batshit?

The pets keep trying to break in, even resorting to pulling a Bruce Willis. But Blythe manages to flush them out with a zombie rock track that’s 90 per cent guttural sounds.

Yes, it is shit. How did you know!?

Then, lunch rolls around, forcing Blythe to emerge from her hovel, to find…

How’d they make that?

Then, because of, I assume, the bright lights of the hall and the slight bump on the head she got from walking into a wall, Blythe is knocked back into reality. So the pets ask how they should try to get Russell to come out of his self-imposed quarantine.

You know what I’m officially sick of. Time and time again, the pets find themselves in a pickle, and their solution is always to go to Blythe. As if she’s the genius of the group. Why do they always go to her? And I know I mentioned it before, but it still bugs the hell out of me. Why can’t anyone else be the voice of reason? And why on earth would a teenager be their oracle of wisdom!? I mean, hell, they’re going to Blythe, the girl who just confused three pimples with a serious life-threatening illness.

Yeah, if you thought I was joking earlier, you should know, it actually was acne. Which Roger helpfully points out once she actually tells him what her symptoms are.

And I’m guessing she also needs glasses, if staring at the computer gives her headaches. But they don’t bring that up for some reason.

Wouldn’t that be a great episode? Blythe goes to the optometrist! You could actually get some great gags out of that. I know, I recently went to the optometrist, and wrote several jokes, right there. My favourite being the story of the two iris muscles. One opens the iris, and goes, “Alight other muscle, your turn-why are you sleeping?” Because you see there’s an eye drop, a muscle relaxant, that dilates your pupils. That’s why it’s funny… Well it was funny at the time!

It would end with Blythe trying to pick out frames while the entire world is blurry because her pupils won’t constrict.

But this case of mistaken-condition, inspires her to go back on the internet. This time to WebVMD. Where she discovers that the reason Russell’s been losing so many quills is because he’s… well… quilling. Which is a perfectly normal process that happens a few times in a hedgehog’s life. And it’s temporary. He’ll be back to normal in no time, and he’ll just have to be extra careful until then.

So, with no one in any real long-term danger, the episode ends as they start playing with bubble wrap.

My conclusion: Really good. Great gags, great story, and great performances.

Blythe going complete batshit was probably the highlight for me. Of course, I said it was a Twilight parody, but given the outfit, and the architecture, it looks a bit more Anne-Ricey to me.

The Gothic look, the elaborate and overdone architecture; trust me, I’ve read a bit of Anne Rice, it fits. Though I never finished it. Why didn’t I ever finish that book?

It just goes to show, a parody doesn’t have to be familiar to be funny or entertaining. Since I highly doubt many viewers have read any Anne Rice. Though they should. Especially if they’re an angsty teenager. So Blythe reading it makes perfect sense, doesn’t it!?


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