Unrelated Stereotypes: “Shanghai Hi-Jinks” review

A stereotype is a trait that is applied to every individual of a certain group. And the thing about stereotypes, is that nine times out of nine, they’re wrong! I’m rounding off here.

And intellectually, we all know this. We know that the stereotypes we place on people are all bullshit. You don’t even have to look very far to notice this. For instance, Stereotype #547: All black people are gang members and criminals. Yes, just like Neil DeGrasse Tyson, noted astrophysicist and assassin. By the way, that last part is sarcasm.

Stereotype #822: All Americans are stupid. Yes, much like the famous astrophysicist, Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Dude, he’d wipe the floor with you on Jeopardy!

Stereotype #292: All black people are cool and suave. Have you met Neil DeGrasse Tyson?

This man’s so nerdy he managed to fit in with the cast of The Big Bang Theory!

Of course, this doesn’t prove anything, some people might say. He’s the exception that proves the rule. You don’t know what the word ‘rule’ means, do you?

Now, I’m sure that there are a lot of black criminals out there. The majority of the American prison population is black, after all. But I think that has less to do with the colour of their skin, and more to do with the fact that many black people are poor. And I think the fact that they are poor has less to do with the colour of their skin, and more to do with the fact that many of their ancestors were slaves, who didn’t really have much to pass on to their children.

Anyway, the point I’m trying to get to is that stereotypes are bullshit. There may be societal correlations that can be extrapolated into stereotypes. For instance, the United States does have a pretty shit education system. In many places, some twats are still trying to get creation taught in science classrooms. But that’s not really due to anything other than a few pricks in government. It’s not something we can blame on the populace… then again, they did vote for those assholes. But the stupidity feeds itself. And they’re not even the dumbest nation on the planet. No, that title goes to Niger, where the literacy rate is under 30 per cent! Now, I’m no expert. But teaching people to read… anything, doesn’t seem that difficult to me. Read the kid a book, and let them look at it too, eventually they’ll catch on.

So yes, stereotypes are bullshit. Even the stereotype that all stereotypes are created by white heterosexual cisgendered males. That is most certainly bullshit, as was demonstrated on a recent episode of Littlest Pet Shop.

Yes, we went on that whole trip for this. And really, it’s not worth it. Continue reading

Skunk Love: “Sweet Pepper” review

If there’s one piece of advice I could give to anyone with regards to wooing a prospective mate, it’s this: Don’t take advice from anyone!

I say this because I once took the advice of a friend, and it turned out to be terrible advice, but I did not know that at the time. I can’t tell if she honestly thought it was a good idea, or she was secretly plotting some epic revenge over something!

But the fact that you might receive bad advice is not the only reason. Another reason is because taking someone else’s advice means going against what you yourself want to do. Which will only fuck things up in the long run. Your potential match will end up seeing not you, but your friend’s interpretation of what they think you should be. That is, assuming you don’t grossly misinterpret their advice.

This’ll result in one of two things, either they’ll be turned off, because they don’t find this version of you attractive, or they’ll be attracted to someone who’s not really you.

It may seem cliché, but really the best advice is to just be yourself. Don’t put on an act, just do whatever feels natural, and be honest. It may not ‘get you the girl (or boy),’ but it’ll mean that if they do reject you, they’ll be rejecting the real you, rather than some façade you put on. And that may seem bad, and it is, but let’s be honest, it was gonna happen anyway.

So, all this was going through my head as I watched a recent episode of Littlest Pet Shop. It’s all about Pepper falling in love. How great is that!? Continue reading

One Ordinary Mongoose: “Super Sunil” review

Why are superpowers such a common fantasy trope? I know it may seem like an obvious question, but it’s still worth asking.

And yes, before you ask, it is extremely common. Jedi, Magi, super soldiers, mutants. Generally, every fantasy franchise that has ever existed, featured characters who are more than human. But why?

Some may say it’s an ego thing. We like to imagine ourselves as having these great powers that we could use, and that’ll show everyone! But that’s not really true, is it? No, a proper ego trip would involve you imagining yourself as you are. If you’re already awesome, why add to that?

So if I had to guess, the real reason to fantasize about having superpowers, is due to feelings of inadequacy. One imagines themselves as being better than the shitty human being they are now. Imagining one has superpowers can really boost one’s self-confidence.

And there’s really nothing necessarily wrong with that, it can be a fun creative exercise if nothing else. For instance, I kinda wish I could jump 50 feet in the air. It’d make getting around town much easier. And like any fantasy, it’s perfectly harmless, unless the person starts acting like they really do have superpowers, but that’s a different category altogether. That’s not due to low self-esteem, it’s due to egotism and mental illness or LSD. Or a friend, tricking you in the most contrived way possible, as displayed on a recent episode of Littlest Pet Shop. Continue reading

The Canine and the Frog: “To Paris With Zoe” review

The weird thing about romance in your typical, modern-day, Saturday morning cartoon, is that it’s not often portrayed on-screen.

This can be a good thing, or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it. In the case of some shows, like Littlest Pet Shop, or My Life as a Teenage Robot, our main cast is composed of teenagers. And generally, teenagers get involved in romance, whether they want to or not. Obviously this is not true in all cases. But I remember when I was in high school, around fifty per cent of all students were in some type of relationship. Not only that, even if you’re not in a relationship, at that time of your life you tend to want one. So in those shows, a lack of romantic sub-plots, would feel like they’re actively avoiding it for no reason.

On the other hand, having every episode feature that kinda thing would actually be… kinda sad. And it would get stomach churning pretty quickly. Imagine every episode featuring our main characters doing nothing but talking about the opposite sex. And even if it didn’t make you sick, there’s no way to make likeable characters out of that. If they’re girls, they’d come off as vapid stereotypes; and if they’re boys, they’d come off as slimy pickup-artists. Continue reading

Tales from the Panda: “So Interesting” review

Writing is hard. Writing prose is even harder. Anyone who says otherwise has never written a goddamn word in their fucking life.

Coalescing ideas into words to put on paper is not easy. First you have to find the right words, then you have to structure them so they make sense, then you have to double-check to make sure it sounds right, then you have to ensure the whole thing doesn’t contradict itself. It requires a special skill that takes years to develop. And it’s one I still haven’t mastered.

And writing fiction gets harder. Does the scene make sense? Does the tone match the events? Is it well paced? Is it well phrased? Are the characters consistent? Are the events consistent? And the whole thing can get quite overwhelming.

This is why most writers have editors.

So what does this have to do with the latest episode of Littlest Pet Shop? Absolutely nothing! What are you talking about? Penny really is from the land of faeries and goblins. Continue reading

The Human Chameleon: “Commercial Success” review

Littlest Pet Shop, as a show, has always been a bit lop-sided.

For all intents and purposes, it seems as if we only have one character on this show; Blythe Baxter. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Most shows feature one central character that we continuously follow, and it tends to work. My Little Pony did this for the entire first season, having Twilight Sparkle be a central figure in every episode. On occasion, when the episode featured a different character, her role would end up being a bit shoehorned in, but you didn’t really care since it still worked.

On Littlest Pet Shop, however, Blythe’s central role comes at the expense of proper characterization for everyone else.

Yes, the pets have gotten plenty of screen time, I’m not arguing that. We’ve had plenty of episodes about them, as one would expect. But even then, Blythe seems to overshadow all of them. Even the one episode that had plenty of reason to let her take a back seat (after all, she was out-of-town at the time), focused on her almost entirely. They could have opened the season with a single episode featuring the pets having a grand adventure without their human friend. Wouldn’t that have been nice? Instead, we got an episode focusing on how much they missed her, and how miserable they were without the main character.

Then we have the human characters. Last time I called Blythe’s friends the three stereotypes, and I wasn’t kidding. They’ve gotten nothing in the way of characterization, just enhancement of prior stereotypes, or in Sue’s case, establishment of her creepy-stalker side.

I’m still not sure what to make of that. And I even remember early episodes hinting at Youngmee’s love of exotic foods; but since then, it hasn’t really been utilized in any way, or even brought up.

Then there’s Jasper, an empty shell of blandness. I try to think of anything he’s done, any key moments, and all I can think of are his attempts to open Blythe’s locker during the première, him screaming ‘that sucks!’ in the season one finale, and the time he turned a photo of Sunil into a meme.

Not much to work with. But thankfully, I think this character is on the verge of a turnaround. Especially since last week, when we got an episode establishing him as being halfway interesting, when he turns into a douche.

This is gonna be fuuuuun! Continue reading

Trading Scooters: “Blythe’s Big Idea” review

You can’t let opportunities pass you by. I know it seems cliché, but it’s true. When a great opportunity comes, you can’t just say, ‘oh, I’m too busy, maybe next time.’ Because ‘next time’ may not happen! There may not be a next time!

You gotta grab life by the metaphorical balls, and not waste it. You don’t want the world to leave you behind. For instance, if you see a chance to do what you love on a large-scale, for money, why in the hell would you pass it up?

Maybe you don’t think you’re ready. Get ready!

Maybe you don’t have the money. Sell some shit!

Maybe you don’t have the time. Quit your day job!

Life doesn’t give you second chances. You were lucky enough to get the opportunity the first time, why in the hell would you throw that away!?

And that’s sums up a recent episode of Littlest Pet Shop, where Blythe refuses to let the International Pet Fashion Expo pass her by! Wait, how is that a thing!? Continue reading

All Growl and No Teeth: “Alligators and Handbags” review

There are a lot of jerks in the world. Which is something I’ve mentioned before.

Often times, determining why this is can be difficult. And sadly, during the past four months, it wasn’t covered in my Intro to Psychology class. There was never a week during which we did a psychological analysis on an asshole. Which makes me feel a bit disappointed.

The best explanation I can come up with utilizes Maslow’s Hierarchy of Motivation. It starts with basic physiological needs (water, food, sex); then moves onto the need for a safe environment; before social needs; then personal self-worth; and finally, ‘self-actualization,’ which basically means being Buddha or something.

Basically, these needs fuel a given individual’s actions, and are ranked according to priority. You need to have food and water, before you’ll start worrying about personal safety; and you need to have personal safety, before you concern yourself with human companionship.

And since being an asshole does not generally have a positive impact on one’s social life, the only possible reasoning I can think of to explain assholish behavior is out of physical necessity, or outright fear. Fear that they’ll lose, fear that they’ll get hurt, possibly even fear that people will find out how fearful they really are.

Not that this excuses them. They’re still jerks. But it does help you do one thing: combat them. With a bit of knowledge, it can be quite easy to take these asshats down a few pegs.

Which brings us to a recent episode of Littlest Pet Shop, featuring two different breeds of the same kind of asshole. The arrogant bully, and the scared bully. See if you can figure out which is which. Continue reading