Cartoon Country: Littlest Pet Shop Final Season Retrospective

 

Littlest_Pet_Shop_title_sequence_screenshot

Bye, Blythe.

Today, Hasbro’s animated series Littlest Pet Shop (which airs on the Discovery Family channel) aired it’s last new episode of the season, and in case you haven’t heard, it’s also the last episode of the series. Yes, it’s true; Littlest Pet Shop is canceled. Roger Eschbacher, one of the series’ writers, confirms that there won’t be a 5th season of LPS, and that the decision to pull the plug on the show had to do with toy sales, not ratings. So it wasn’t low ratings, ’twas toy sales that killed the beast.

So in view of this news, i thought that I’d offer my thoughts on LPS and in particular, it’s 4th (and last) season. There’s no need for me to go over the series as a whole, since Damon has written a couple of articles on LPS already, which can be viewed here and here.

To start, I’m going to list my choices for the best and worst episodes of the series. NOTE: I’m not listing these episodes in any particular order, so I won’t be numbering them. That said, let’s go, man, go!

The BEST Episodes:

  • Gailbreak!
  • Penny For Your Laughs
  • Russel Up Some Fun
  • Dumb Dumbwaiter
  • Lights, camera, Mongoose!
  • Sweet (Truck) Ride
  • What Meme Worry?
  • A Day at the Museum

The WORST Episodes:

  • Helicopter Dad
  • The Nest Hat Craze!
  • Two Pets For Two Pests
  • Feud For Thought

Now, some of the highlights from Season 4:

  • No major story arcs or game changing moments for the pets. They’re just there to be cute and funny, which they were.
  • The Bisktit Twins (Whittany & Brittany) became somewhat more human and tolerable this season. They were no longer Blythe’s sworn enemies for no reason, but instead were just mildly annoying. Speaking of…
  • This season, we learn that Whittany & Brittany do indeed have a mother, one Eliza Biskit ( a caricature of Eliza Doolittle, the character played by Julie Andrews in My Fair Lady). Morever, it was implied that Eliza had been around all along and we (the audience) simply had never seen her before. I liked how LPS’ writers turned Eliza’s being off screen as a joke. (“Mom? where have you been the last 3 seasons?”)
  • Youngmee wants a pet of her own this season, and she gets one, a female dog. Not much else happens after that. That plot doesn’t really go anywhere.
  • Mrs. Twombly purchases a piece of land in Downtown City and names it Littlest Pet Street.
  • And finally, we at last learn more about Blythe’s missing mother. We learn that her nickname is/was Betty and that she could also communicate with animals. Blythe receives her mother’s diary from a tortoise named Speedy in the season opener, and this dairy is seen and referred to throughout the season. In the last episode, Blythe finally reveals to her father Roger her ability to communicate with animals, and then he himself reveals to her that he knew about Blythe’s ability all along, and that he also knew that his wife Betty had this ability.

FINAL VERDICT…

meh1

That was an OK twist, but not as good as what I had hoped. Yeah, Blythe finally tells her dad about how she can communicate with animals (about dang time, I say!). She already revealed her secret to her friend Youngmee in season 3, and you have to wonder why Blythe would tell the girl that she’s known for a year or 2 before she told the person who, you know, raised her? As a season finale, “Littlest Pet Street” was OK, not great, but passable. However, as a series finale, this was weak sauce because nothing was concluded. To me, the series should have ended with Blythe finding out that her mom was still alive somewhere and then reuniting with her and/or the Baxters moving away from Downtown City. Damon and I thought that LPS would conclude with Blythe being reunited with her absent mother. We thought that Blythe was going to discover her mother on the desert island and that it would be revealed that Betty wasn’t dead after all, but was just living on the island doing the Dr. Doolittle thing. That may not have made a lot of sense, but it would been a cooler twist than the one that we actually got.

Dennis Miller

“Now, I don’t want to get off on a rant here…”

…but I have to say that one thing this show knows how to do is tease it’s audience. LPS’ writers would frequently dangle something in front of it’s audiences’ face like a carrot at the end of your nose, and then pull it away at the last second saying “Just kidding!” I can’t believe that after all those tidbits about Blythe’s mom Betty that were dropped throughout the 4th season the writers still chose not to give Betty a face in the series finale. If Blythe wasn’t going to be reunited with her mother, we could at least gotten to see what Betty looked like via a picture, or a flashback. Give us something, for cryin’ out loud!

Rant over.

Littlest Pet Shop wasn’t a great show, but it was entertaining and fun. LPS’ biggest problem was that it was never able to get out of the shadow of the Hasbro show that preceded it, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Fans were constantly comparing LPS to MLP: FiM, so it was never able to find it’s own voice or establish it’s own identity. I did like how Blythe sported a different hairstyle and outfit in every episode, and I’m glad that she was the only character on the show who did this. If everyone did it, then it would be nothing special. Plus, it would be too much of a hassle for the writers to come up with a new outfit each episode for every single character in the main cast. While I enjoyed LPS, I’m not sorry that the series is ending. Four seasons is a good run. It’s more than many animated series get, and it’s my personal unpopular opinion that NO scripted series should ever go beyond 3 or at the most 4 seasons. I’d rather LPS end while it’s still pretty good than just keep going and going year after year until it becomes a zombie that refuses to stay dead, like some other animated series, but I’m not mentioning any names.

SimpsonsFamily1

You know who you are.

Hasbro has mentioned that it’s already planning to reboot the Little Pet Shop franchise, and if that happens, a new animated series is likely to follow. We’d like to offer a few suggestions for the new LPS series (if there is one):

  1. It should follow the shorts format. Hasbro, every episode of LPS doesn’t need to be a full 22 minute episode. This show doesn’t need to utilize the half hour story format just because it’s big sister, MLP does. Honestly, many of the LPS seemed padded, so instead we think that each half hour of LPS should consist of two 10 minute shorts or possibly three 7 minute shorts per show.
  2. If Blythe Baxter (or a similar sort of character) is in the LPS reboot series, just have her start out with 2 happily married parents from the get-go. No more of that absent mother BS. I don’t want to go through this crap again.

Overall, I’m giving the series finale of Littlest Pet Shop a 2.5 out of 5. the finale was OK, but it could have been a lot better. I would have preferred that LPS went out with a bang rather than a whimper, but perhaps the rebooted series will be a tad more electric.

So long, Littlest Pet Shop. It’s too bad that there’s officially one less reason tune in to Discovery Family now. There’s nothing left to say except…Hit it, boys!

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9 Comments

  1. That was the final season? Wow.

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  2. Yep. I suspect that this episode was probably completed before the decision was made to cancel the series, as “Littlest Pet Street” felt more like a season finale than a series finale. At this point, I’d rather have a rebooted series than a 5th season of this LPS. At the very most, I’d like for Hasbro to produce an LPS special so’s to give this series a proper send off (and if that happens, they darn well better let us see Betty this time!). But, like I mentioned in the article, Hasbro is already talking about rebooting the franchise, so there’s that.

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  3. silverstar

    I hope the new series doesn’t completely discard the use of humans. I never thought the intermixing of people into LPS was a bad idea (as we all know, Blythe was a fashion doll from the 50’s originally produced by Kenner that Hasbro bought and decided to simultaneously revive and incorporate into the LPS franchise), I just felt the 2 entities could have been intermingled better overall.

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  4. I figured it was getting old…but I can’t say I’m glad it’s over. My you-tube channel exists because of LPS. I hope they continue to sell the toys, or we’ll just have to work with what we have now:(

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    • Hasbro is still selling the toys. Ads for the Littlest Pet Shop toys continue to air on Discovery Family. As I mentioned in the above article, Hasbro is planning to reboot the LPS franchise, and undoubtedly they’ll want to promote said reboot, so a new LPS series is likely to follow. Assuming that production on a new LPS show has already begun, the rebooted LPS episodes probably won’t be in the can until late 2017 or sometime in 2018. This is also assuming that there’ll still be a Discovery Family channel two years from now, which I really can’t say for certain. If not, the new LPS series will go to Netflix for sure. Still, I welcome a new LPS show. Presently, My Little Pony is pretty much the only thing that DiscFam has going for it.

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  5. Most likely .. is that Hasbro does not want to give us a fifth season of Littlest Pet Shop. But the most likely thing is that they do want to give us a movie. This is friends, A MOVIE.

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  6. Did you not read the news article that I linked to in the second sentence? There’s not going to be a 5th season of Littlest Pet Shop. The series is canceled. We’re long past the point of speculation for that.

    Yeah, no. There’s no LPS movie in the works. I’ve heard nothing to that effect and a Google search on the headline turned up zilch. If the toys weren’t selling well enough for Hasbro to want to continue producing the TV series, why would they they want to produce a movie (which is even more expensive to produce than a TV series) for it? I’m failing to see the logic here. If you can provide a reliable source for this news, please share, but if this is nothing more than speculation, then there’s nothing to stop the presses about. Unless I hear or read something from an official source, that’s a rumor not a report.

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  7. silverstar

    “But the most likely thing is that they do want to give us a movie. This is friends, A MOVIE.”

    Not seeing a source being cited here, so yeah, I’ve also gotta call baloney on this. Remember the rule of thumb, guys: No source + No link = NOT HAPPENING.

    This iteration of LPS is done, there’s not going to be a movie. Whoever told you that is either clueless or lying.

    Hasbro’s stated they’re planning to reboot LPS, so that would seem to be all she wrote for this incarnation.

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  8. It’s been a while… Even after all these months (barely years), you’ve highlighted my feelings on this show exactly. And yet – I still liked it more than that damn pony show, honestly.

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