Pop Dream #6: Lincoln

Ooh! Look over here!

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Pop Dream is back, baby!

Stone Cold Steve Austin - Hell yeah!

Yes, I was so impressed by Damon’s mini series that I decided to tackle this myself. In this mini series, the show I’ll be covering is….The Loud House!

The Loud House - Family Portrait

Smile for the camera. Think of how great it will be when you’re old enough to leave home.

If you’ve read the previous set of Pop Dreams, you already know how this goes: Pop Dream covers five categories:

  • Overview
  • Appearance
  • Personality
  • Funnier Moments
  • Conclusion

What’s going to make this particular one a little different is the issue of numbers. There are no less than 11 Loud siblings, and as such, I’m going to cover them this way; I’m going to discuss Lincoln first, then each of his sisters will be covered two at a time in descending order by ages and by their sleeping arrangements. This way, there will be 6 segments in total.  If I did each character individually, I’d be doing this well into the end of the year, and keep in mind that I am lazy!

That said, let’s begin Pop Dreaming!

As previously stated, I’m going to start off by discussing the shows’ central character, and also the only Loud brother, Lincoln Loud!

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“Boys rule and girls…aren’t so bad once you get to know them.”

OVERVIEW

Lincoln stands out among his family in a number of ways. He’s the shows’ central character and as such, most of the episodes are shows from his perspective. He’s the most grounded member of the main cast and he sometimes talks directly to the audience in the manner of Clarissa Explains It All. Most notably, Lincoln possesses something that none of his sisters have: a Y chromosome.

Cho Aniki

“MANLY!!!”

At 11 years old, Lincoln is the middle child and only son of the Loud family. Lincoln often speaks to the viewers about how he gets around his often-chaotic household, the insane antics of his sisters, and other things he does. Along with Lucy, he’s the quietest of the 11 Loud siblings. He’s also the only Loud sibling who has his own room (actually, a refurbished linen closet, but it still counts).

APPEARANCE

Lincoln seems to have a fondness for the color orange. His daily outfit consists of an orange polo shirt. His pajamas and his swim trunks are also orange.

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However, Lincoln’s most noticeable feature is his white hair. He is the only member of the Loud House who’s hair is this color (save for Lucy, who has black hair). No explanation has been given as to why Lincoln’s hair is white. Some fans have speculated that Lincoln may be an albino, but series creator Chris Savino has stated that this is not the case.

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“It’s probably brought on by stress! You try sharing a house with a bunch of cute girls sometime! It’s hard being the meat in a kawaii sandwich!”

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Also, have you noticed that the cowlick on Lincoln’s hair never moves? It’s always on the same side of his head, regardless of which direction he’s facing. Why? Because cartoons!

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“At least he didn’t have to join the Hair Club For Men at age 8! Yeah, life’s fair!”

PERSONALITY

Lincoln is an enthusiastic and charismatic boy. Although in some occasions he can be selfish, Lincoln is a good-hearted boy, who is always looking for fun, and thinking about the well being of others. Lincoln is an avid fancier of comic books, manga, video games, fantasy and science fiction stories, which are typical interests for a boy his age.

He is known to be “the man with a plan”, as he is usually elaborating plans with a specific objective, most of them for his own benefits. His plans rarely succeed because of his own selfish and reckless decisions or by his sisters’ interference. When he goes too far, he will always find the solution even if that means humiliating himself. One rather peculiar habit of his is reading comic books and manga while in his underwear.

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“I’ve gotta feel the breeze between my knees!”

He-Man

“What’s wrong with that? Running around wearing nothing but your shorts is perfectly natural!”

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Here’s a pic of Lincoln hugging his mom. I don’t have a joke here, it just gives me the warm fuzzies.

FUNNIER MOMENTS

“In Tents Debate”. Lincoln is the tiebreaker to decide where to go for the big family vacation, and his sisters try to win him over to their sides.  He allows the girls to collectively butter him up so he’ll decide on their choice. They proceed to wait on him hand and foot.

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It’s…the…good life…

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I don’t know why Lincoln wanted his toenails painted, but who am I to judge?

“The Loudest Yard”. Lincoln’s mother Rita Loud (Get it?) Tries to get Lincoln to get engage in some physical activity. In this episode, Lincoln says “Sports aren’t my thing.” I identify with that.

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In one scene, Rita attempts to show Lincoln that exercise can be fun “Whee!” (Yes, she really said ‘Whee!’)

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It turns out that Lincoln has taped one of his comic books to Rita’s butt. I think that I enjoy this scene more than I should.

“Linc or Swim”. After Lincoln and his sisters get banned from every pool center near their home for various issues, he purchases a kiddie pool for himself without his sisters’ knowledge. Unfortunately, his sisters take over the pool.

Linc or Swim

“Family togetherness. We’re full of it!”

CONCLUSION

Lincoln may not be the funniest character on the show. He may not be the most dynamic or charismatic, but he’s a very necessary character. He’s the glue that keeps the show together. The calm at the center of the storm. Lincoln is Alex Reiger (played by Judd Hirsch on Taxi). It’s hard to dislike the kid. When following story, you begin to share Lincoln’s frustration and in turn, you want him to succeed. Lincoln can be eccentric also, but sometimes the show needs to have a grounded character in order to get things accomplished and Lincoln provides that. As the only boy in the Loud House, Lincoln will always stand out among his siblings, and for that, we salute you. Here’s to all the guys forced to live in a house full of girls!

 

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“OK, so that happened.”

Next time: Lori and Leni. Keep Pop Dreaming.

What The Funny #5: Popcorn Pandemonium

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“Hey, kids! What time is it?”

Time for more What The Funny!

Well, this is it, folks. The last of my Rocko’s Modern Life favorite short breakdowns.

 

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Yeah, I know that there are many more Rocko shorts that I could cover here, but as I said back at the very first segment, I don’t want to get bogged down with doing every single episode of RML; I’m only doing my absolute favorite shorts. I’m about ready to move on to another show or franchise to cover, and I think that 5 is a good round number to stop on. Now just so we’re clear, this isn’t the last WTF; it’s just the last one that I’ll be doing for this particular series. We don’t know what the next one will be just yet, although we have some ideas. And it may be myself, or Damon or even both of us doing the next crop of WTFs.

Anyway….on with the merriment. Here’s Popcorn Pandemonium

POPCORN PANDEMONIUM

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Synopsis: In this episode Rocko dreams of going to a drive-in movie, but he and Heffer settle on the local movie theater.

Highlights:

The short starts with Rocko and Heffer in the car watching TV through Ed Bighead’s window. Rocko is annoyed because this is not tantamount to watching a movie at a real drive-in. Heffer uses a remote control to change the channel to a scary movie and Bighead changes the channel back to his program. Soon, Heffer and Bighead continuously flicker the TV channels back and forth, which cause Bighead’s TV to explode.

Heffer suggests that he and Rocko should go to Googa Plex Cinemas, a local movie theater that offers numerous amount of movies. The two pay roughly $100 for two tickets and buy their refreshments (while waiting hours in a long line). Heffer is caught sneaking his own snacks into the theater.

The Googa Plex Cinema has many theaters, all of them showing the same movie: “Lethal Odor IX”.

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They enter a movie theater, only to find that they mistakenly entered a restroom. I hate it when that happens!

One running gag that I like is that the staff at Googa Plex are all wearing shirts identical to Rocko’s, and because of this, Rocko is continually mistaken for an employee.

Rocko: (to the cashier) Might I say, that’s a very dapper shirt you’re wearing!

Cashier: Yeah, management makes us wear these stupid things!

Rocko and Heffer go to theater #42, where we’re treated to this exchange:

Rocko (to an employee): Excuse me, where’s theater #42?

Employee: You should know, man. You work here!

Rocko: I don’t work here.

Employee: Me neither, unless the boss is watching.

Rocko and Heffer see the a preview of the family movie “The Cuddly Little Poots” Guest starring the super hero Really, Really Big Man.

RML - Really, Really Big Man.gif

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Then there’s a preview withing the preview telling the audience to watch for the Cuddly Little Poots on a World War II submarine, in the feature “Das Poot”! This pun is so bad that even the characters in the theater collectively groan at it.

Next, we get a trailer for “Garbage Strike: The Musical”, which is a parody of the Disney feature, Newsies, a 1992 musical about striking paperboys.

There’s also a preview for the movie “Lang Chow: Gerbil of Death” complete with bad dubbing. We also see Lang Chow eating breakfast.

fei-long

“For a Shaolin monk, you’re Kung-Fu is really lousy!”

After a preview of a movie about Dracula’s demise, the movie blurs out before it shows the feature presentation. Filburt, the movie director, listens to the guests’ complaining and hit his head on the top of the opening of the window, causing his glasses to fall off his face and reflect the light of the movie projector to start a fire, which trails through the carpet and into the popcorn storage room. This causes the popcorn to overflow through the building and Rocko and Heffer run out just in time to make it to the car. But when they find that the overflowing popcorn has caused the building to collapse, they find that it has become a drive-in and stay to watch the film. As the popcorn continues to overflow, the Garbage Rats from the film appear and sing their strike song.

Popcorn Pandemonium wasn’t a complicated plot. Rather, it was mostly a series is spot gags with a continuing theme. This short had an old-school Looney Tunes feel to it, and I’m a big enough Looney Tunes nerd to appreciate that.

My Rating: 4 out of 5.

Next time: A completely different show! Stay funny.

 

What The Funny #4: Who’s For Dinner?

It’s that time again! Time for another breakdown of one of my favorite Rocko’s Modern Life shorts!

Before we start, let me once again apologize for the loooooong wait. I planned to do this one last month (December), but I never got the time and space to sit down and work on it. Also, I wasn’t able to find a ton of images for this one. Even GIFs for this particular short are scarce, so I’m just going to have to make my descriptions of certain scenes as entertaining as possible.

Now that’s out of the way, on with the fun!

Who’s For Dinner?

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This short’s title is a play on the title of the 1967 movie Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? starring Sidney Portier.

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“Been there, done that.”

Synopsis: In this episode Heffer invites Rocko to have dinner with his family. Rocko accepts, much to Heffer’s relief. When he arrives Rocko is stunned to find out Heffer lives with a family of Wolves.

Highlights:

Heffer: My grandfather hates wallabes, but don’t worry, because he’s really nearsighted.

That should have been a red flag right there.

When Rocko meets Heffer’s family, he (along with us, the audience) is surprised to discover that Heff’s family are a pack of wolves, and they’re a colorful pack, to say the least. The Wolfe family consists of…

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Heffer’s grumpy father George…

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…his perpetually upbeat mother (with a nervous tick) Virginia…

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Trivia Tine: Heffer’s parents get their names from “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” – a 1962 play by Edward Albee, examining the breakdown of a marriage of a middle aged couple, Martha & George.

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…Heff’s teenage siblings; sardonic, rebellious brother Peter and over sensitive drama queen sister Cindy…

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…and his cantankerous, racist (or would be “speciesist”) grandfather, who we learn in a later episode that his first name is Hiram.

Rocko, expecting Heffer’s family to be bovine rather than lupine, gets a gift for Virginia, an udder warmer, which Virginia puts on her head and is seen wearing it for the remainder of the short.

Initially, Heff tries to pass off Rocko as a coyote, but Grandpa Wolfe insists that Rocko must be a beaver, which he goes on believing for the remainder of the series.

Virginia initially continually calls Rocko by the wrong name, referring to him as “Jocko”, “Crocko”, etc.

Inside, we get a glimpse of the Wolfe family’s home life, such as the following exchange:

George (to Peter): So, son, how was school?

Peter: I quit school two years ago.

George: What?!? VIRGINIA!!

Virginia: We were afraid to tell you.

Peter: See? I told you he’d get mad.

Cindy: Stop fighting! I…can’t…TAKE IT!!!!!

Virginia: No one’s fighting, dear.

Grandpa: Eh, sounds like fighting to me!

George (to Peter): You’re a loser! Why can’t you be more like Heffer?

Peter: What? a 500 pound cow?

George: He’s a steer!

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Putting the “fun” in dysfunctional! Yahoo!

Grandpa: I hope you’re not lettin’ the beaver eat off’n the good china, otherwise we’ll have to smash the plates!

Evidently, He’s not crazy about beavers either.

The wolf jokes continue as Rocko excuses himself to go the bathroom, where he opens the closet door and notices a group of Little Red Riding Hoods being kept there. Then he discovers the Three Little Pigs bound and gagged in the family’s medicine cabinet!

While the family chows down on their meal (a dead moose), Virginia asks Rocko (finally getting his name right) if he and Heffer have known each other for a long time. Rocko responds with…

Rocko: Yes, and it’s quite interesting. In all the years that I’ve known Heffer, he never once told me that he was adopted.

We then hear the sound of a record scratching and everything goes grimly silent.

Heffer: Is that true???

Virginia: Well, yes. We found you under a tree in Brandwynn Farm. You were skinny, so we decided to fatten you up, but then we grew to love you!

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But what about my birthmark?

Peter: Dad used to call you “steak”.

Basically, the Wolfes were originally going to eat Heffer before they grew fond of him and later adopted him. What’s really funny is that Heffer never knew that he was adopted until Rocko inadvertently spilled the beans at that particular moment.

Confused and hysterical with emotion, Heffer runs out of the house to parts unknown. The family (plus Rocko) set out to find Heffer.

I’ve always liked the following line:

Rocko (on the phone): The Bigheads haven’t seen him (Heffer) either. What’s that? And they don’t care!

Heffer is seen drowning is sorrows in a bar that looks suspiciously like the one the Nighthawks painting. Eventually, he comes across what he believes to be his biological father’s tombstone (in actuality, it belongs to a big wet cat). Heff gets a vision of his real father over the tombstone.

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How he’s able to astral project like this when still alive is anyone’s guess.

Heff’s Real Dad: That’s not my tombstone! I’m not even dead! I’m living in Canoga with Joyce here.

Joyce (who looks and talks like Heffer in drag): Hi! You should visit some time!

Heffer: Mom??

Heff’s Dad: That’s not your mom! Your mom’s a car seat in Illinois! Listen, I’m sick of you kids coming around here looking for your daddy! I’ve had a million kids that look just like you, UGLY! Joyce come here and clean up after me!

It seems as though Heffer’s real dad is crankier than George and Grandpa Wolfe combined. A farmer notices Heffer “Hey, aren’t you that guy on the milk cartons? There was a family of Wolves lookin’ for you. Seemed real upset. Matter of fact, they had a beaver with ’em!”

Eventually, Heffer comes back to the Wolfe’s house. The short ends with a shot of the Wolfe family on top of their roof howling (or in Heffer’s case, mooing) at the moon in silhouette.

“Who’s For Dinner?” is one of Joe Murray’s favorite episodes, and one of mine too. In addition to delivering a lot of laughs, this short actually manages to be pretty touching, albeit in a sick, twisted way. Murray said that he partially based Heffer on an adopted friend and used his friend’s emotions to sculpt Heffer’s role and actions.  I liked how the premise of Heffer being adopted by a family of wolves was never altered throughout the course of the series. You don’t get too many adopted children in cartoons, and I like how this premise was handled here.

My Rating: 5 out of 5.

Next Time: We wrap up our Rocko’s Modern Life celebration with Popcorn Pandemonium. Stay funny.

TV Special Showdown: Nickelodeon’s Thanksgiving Fest

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Jive Turkey!

My favorite holiday is and always has been Thanksgiving. No gifts that you have to buy, no annoying carols clogging up the radio stations, all you have to do is eat and veg out in front of the TV. My kind of holiday. (If you didn’t have to put up with the family, Thanksgiving would be perfect.)

But as cool as Thanksgiving is, the holiday has never had any iconic TV specials. Thanksgiving has never had any instantly memorable specials that could be its’ equivalent to Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer or It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. (Yeah, there was A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, but I don’t count that; that special was never all that spectacular, it just recycled a lot of the same beats from A Charlie Brown Christmas, not to mention depicting some of the most negligent parents in fiction. Seriously, who leaves their kids alone in the house to fend for themselves on Thanksgiving day? That’s cold, bro!)

Which is not to say that there haven’t been any notable Thanksgiving specials. One such title is the topic of the today’s TV Special Showdown, Nickelodeon’s Thanksgiving Fest, which first hit the airwaves on the World’s First Kids’ Network in 1989.

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The special had a unique style and presentation to it; it was a lot like watching Nick’s animated promos at the time in a half-hour format. In fact,  one of the directors of the special was Joey Ahlbum, the man responsible for many of Nick’s animated spots and bumpers, such as the famous “doo-wop dinos” spot. Ahlbum also did some spots for Nick At Nite and would later produce the short “Zoonatics” for Cartoon Network.

Rather than showcasing a single show-length story, Nick’s Thanksgiving Fest offered 2 short subjects, “Thanksgiving Nightmare” and “Thanksgiving Dream”, each with a linking theme of Thanksgiving (obviously!) but otherwise unrelated, with wraparound segments produced by Ahlbum himself. Little disclaimer: there aren’t going to be a ton of screen caps and images from the special in this blog post, because I couldn’t find that many; I could only find a total of 8 images from this special, and most of them were of the wraparounds, which I won’t be going into great detail over, since they were just short blackout gags and I just don’t feel like it. That said, let’s dig in.

First, we get some shtick…

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…And then it’s on with the first short.

THANKSGIVING NIGHTMARE

The special’s first offering is a slapstick-y short which owes at least some inspiration to Tom & Jerry. A noticeably rotund family of four (Mom, Dad and teen/tween-aged Daughter and Son) are happily grubbing back on their Thanksgiving dinner, when the scent of the food attracts 2 unwanted guests: a cockroach who dresses like a thug (backwards baseball cap, wife-beater and high-top sneakers) and a mouse who bears more than a passing resemblance to the early Mickey.

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“Ah, the Magic of Lawsuits!”

Chubby daughter Sissy drops a single bone from the table where it lands on the floor. Big Daddy Harold suggests that the Family Fat take a constitutional to work off the excess baggage (the kids whine about this idea at first, but agree to it after Dad promises to take them to Dairy King afterwards.)

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In case you haven’t figured it out by now, the joke is: THEEEEEEY’RE FAT!!”

The 2 crispy critters proceed to duke it out over the bone, only to have their tussle halted by the family’s unnamed cat, who scares them off, causing the bone to land in Kitty’s mouth just as Mega-Mom Martha comes back for something. Of course, she assumes that the cat is the guilty party and that he was waiting for the family to get their wobbly thighs outta there so he could pick at their dinner. Large Marge threatens the “no-good flea factory” that if so much as a pea is missing when she returns, the cat will be “an outside alley cat forever!” That’s a pretty bold prediction, lady. A lot could happen after that: the cat could be adopted by another household, or he could be abducted by aliens…

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…Or he could join a gang of alley cats who live in a car in a junkyard. Just sayin’, there are a lot of possibilities.

Anyway, the family splits and the cat plants himself in front of the TV.

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“ANOTHER Deadliest Catch marathon? Geez.”

Meanwhile, each respective household pest heads to their sections of the crawl spaces and rallies their fellow vermin (seriously, do these people not realize how infested their house is??) and each deliver Braveheart style speeches about how now that the “pink giants” are gone, now is their time to crush their enemies and get their respective grub on.

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“They can take our Gouda, but they’ll never take…our Roquefort!!”

In short order, an all-out turf war ensues at the dinner table. The cat struggles to get rid of these creeps and restore order (not to mention keep a roof over his head), finally dispatching them all with a vacuum cleaner, scooping nearly all of them up. Just then, the Blobbersons return (one mouse who was keeping lookout, informs his fellows that “Them big pink things is back!”). The street cockroach and the Mickey lookalike, who have been hiding out and dodging the cat this whole time, spring their fellow vermin, by cutting the vacuum cleaner bag and they all cheese it. (This shows a lack of forethought on the cat’s part: he could just eaten the little creeps and it would have over right away.) Anyone who’s seen a Tom & Jerry cartoon in their lives can guess what happens next: plump mom Martha sees the mess and missing food, assumes the cat is responsible and promptly tosses him out on his ear, punctuated by wacky sound effects. Undaunted, the cat brushes himself off, dines on a turkey leg he managed to steal and moves on. Iris out.

Okay, I gotta say it: while I didn’t mind this short overall, the ending kind of bugged me. Granted, it was clear that the family and the cat didn’t have a glowing relationship to start with (the cat blows a raspberry at Martha the mom as soon as she leaves) but it still mildly irks me that he was trying to do the right thing (insert your own Spike Lee reference here) and still ended up with the fuzzy end of the lollipop. It’s just another example of the general mistreatment of cartoon cats that I’ve never been a fan of. Sure, some cats are sadistic, detestable jerks…

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But many of them aren’t. I’d go on, but I don’t wish to be labeled a CJW (Cartoon Justice Warrior). In summation, the main thing I took from this segment is…

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Keep plenty of spray and repellent in your house at all times!

Then, we get some more shtick…

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…And then it’s on to the next short.

THANKSGIVING DREAM

Whereas the first segment “Thanksgiving Nightmare” was played strictly for laughs, this second short is more on the cute and whimsical side, with a dose of tugging at the heartstrings.

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“No bombs, no anvils, no dynamite, what a rotten cartoon!”

Set during the Great Depression, a pair of prepubescent young siblings (blond, freckle-faced Sam and his brown-haired pig-tailed sister Emily) are feeling the crunch of the times.

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Sad, ain’t it?

Their mother (Sam and Emily’s father? They never say where he is, or even who he is) is unemployed and the family has to ration what little food they have, to the point where not only do they all have barely enough for dinner that night, but all they have is a single can of beans for tomorrow’s dinner, which happens to be Thanksgiving day. Wow, is this an animated special of an episode of Queen for a Day?

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Emily and Sam go to bed. In their dream (they share dreams? So they have a hive mind? Are they psychic?), they find themselves pixie-sized and in a bizarro surreal version of their kitchen, where food products, ingredients, containers, spices and plates are suddenly anthropomorphic and serve and set themselves into a magnificent feast. It’s like Maurice Sendak’s In the Night Kitchen, sans the nudity.

Sam uses too much yeast while he and his sister help prepare the food, and accidentally creates a giant yeast monster who looks like a monstrous version of one of those flapping, flailing inflatable tube men you see in front of used car lots.

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The…whatever it is…threatens to destroy everything…somehow, but Emily and Sam save the day by filling its’ nostrils full of pepper and causing it to to deflate itself like a balloon.

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“I don’t know what these dudes are trippin’ on, but I gotta have some!”

The ensuing gusts of wind blow Emily and Sam away, and they wake up to find it was all just a dream…OR WAS IT?? The 2 kids’ noses are greeted by a wonderful smell, and head down to the kitchen to find their mom there smiling at the most impressive Thanksgiving spread they’ve ever seen. They dig in. Mom says that she doesn’t know where all this food came from, but it’s a true miracle, even it there’s a little too much pepper, after which she sneezes, but doesn’t stop eating. A carrot on Sam’s plate sprouts a face and winks at him (why it’s so happy it’s about be devoured I have no idea) and the kids share a laugh. Joy-Joy.

Nickelodeon’s Thanksgiving Fest wasn’t an A-list special, and if it aired today, it still wouldn’t be an A-list special, but it was a historically significant one. It was one of the earlier attempts by Nick to have original animated fare made specifically for their channel, a forbear to the original 3 Nicktoons, which would raise the bar and change the face of the channel forever.

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Nick: “We gonna be legends!”