Greetings, and welcome to the first in what will hopefully end up being a reasonably long series of reviews based upon that fantabulous cartoon series from Spain, "The Fruitties". Now, having perused this site, most of you are probably aware that I am something of a hardcore nut when it comes to this frivolous little show mainly due to the fact that I witnessed broadcast after rigorous broadcast of the toon when Tongue hooked our TV up so that it could receive broadcasts from Earth. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that I wished to expand others' knowledge by enlightening them as to the quality (or lack thereof) inherent in The Fruitties. And what better way to do that than by reviewing a number of episodes from this unappreciated classic?
Just allow me to get this out of the way right now; when I compliment The Fruitties or behave as if it is a marvel of modern man, I'm joking. It's worthless, insipid trash. Seriously, it's awful, and I'm sure even small children who for whatever reason allow themselves to be thoroughly entertained by a guy in a tacky dinosaur costume would turn their noses up at this mess. But then, I'm sure a lot of supposed "film-experts" would take one look at such cinematic gems as Monster-A-Go-Go and Red Zone Cuba and discount their worth in a fraction of a second. Oh, by the way, that was sarcasm too. Monster-A-Go-Go and Red Zone Cuba aren't cinematic gems. But they're still classics, in exactly the same way that The Fruitties is a classic TV show. In other words, they're classic because they're at the bottom of the barrel... and it takes a certain amount of skill to achieve something like that. Of course, that amount would be somewhere well below zero, but it's still impressive let me tell you.
And so we come to today's fruit-tastic treat. An episode I happened upon while cleaning out the videotapes in my room while searching for old superviolent porn cartoons from Japan and my dusty copy of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Imagine my delight, dear reader, as I stuffed this cassette into the VCR and to my surprise I was not confronted with Kubrick's timeless vision of man's progress through the stars (or, for that matter, the Japanese take where all the astronauts are pre-pubescent girls in short skirts who jump around a lot in a manner shockingly similar to the apes at the beginning of 2001). No, I happened to be staring deep into the bowels of Hell itself, where in the languid pits of torture and torment there echoed an unending sound of agony. Strangely enough, that sound goes something like the theme tune to The Fruitties. But oh, if only it was just a tune. No, no, this theme has lyrics. And although you can't discount the fact that this song has obviously been translated from another, far less simplistic tongue... the lyrics still seem ludicrous and nonsensical to the extent that they'll only serve to make you more confused about the premise of the show than they will to set your mind at ease.
I present you now with a direct transcription of the english lyrics to the opening theme song of The Fruitties.
The world of the Fruitties
Is very exciting
Delicious fruit they are
Tasty and happy
Okay, so far so good. We've heard part of the first verse, and there's been nothing reminiscent of the sheer torture of sitting through any given Joel Schumacher movie with a reasonably sized budget thus far. Then again, we're only getting started. This theme song has numerous verses, and two choruses. Normally these days a show'll be lucky to get a theme song that lasts more than fifteen seconds, where the names of the cast and creators are flashed before your eyes at such a speed that you think you're experiencing subliminal advertising. No, see, The Fruitties is different. The Fruitties gets a theme song that makes Inna Gadda Da Vida seem like Humpty Dumpty. The Fruitties is just that special, ladies and gentlemen. And boy did they go all out for this one.
We live in volcanoes
We are the best of friends
We are all tasty fruits
We like to play and joke all day
The first thing you would notice if you were listening to this theme song is the fact that both "Fruitties" and "volcanoes" have been pronounced incorrectly. I'm not kidding, somehow they managed to botch both the title of the show they're singing about (by pronouncing it as if they're saying "wheaties" with a big "F" slapped at the beginning) and then they go and royally screw up the word "volcanoes". I guess you gotta give them credit for trying; after all, it's a rather large word and it starts with the letter V. I'm sure that'd be enough to throw anyone with a mental age younger than their show's target audience way off. And this is a problem that's never fixed, ladies and gentlemen. After a series of ninety episodes, as far as I'm aware they never bothered to tell the lady singing "Hey, you pronounced it wrong that one time, why don't you go back and record another version?" Then again, I'm sure that the singer was probably too busy getting her Wheaties mixed up with her fruit to take the time to go into the studio, or something.
Here's the chorus:
We are white and we are green
We are black and yellow
We are different
We are all together!
This chorus is repeated twice and believe me the underlying message of the piece really manages to come through with an even greater clarity the second time. Who am I kidding? This song is going off on so many tangents I'm surprised the lyrics weren't constructed by placing random phrases on a dartboard and just making a song from whatever they managed to hit.
"Well, Mr. D'Ocon, kids really like looking at all the different colours so we thought we'd pay tribute to every colour of the rainbow in this song."
"That's nice, but what does it have to do with the show?"
"Show...? What show?"
And while we're here, what's with the random insertion of "Oh yeah!" into the lyrics? It's a shame that the Kool Aid Guy was never awake as early as I was to witness this abomination of a cartoon, because I'm sure that if he had been then he would have noticed such a blatant theft of his catch-phrase and immediately gone out of his way to sue D'Ocon for every last crazy foreign penny they own. And thus, no more Fruitties cartoons would have been made. Darn it, Kool Aid Guy. Why couldn't you be a lousy sleeper like me?
Roly and Pak
Always go with Thorny
They are the intelligent fruits
Friendly and loving
Kumba lives with them
And always helps them too
Delicious fruit they are
Astute and smart
A-ha. Here in the song we are introduced to the characters integral to the show's storyline. Without this eccentric group, there would be no Fruitties. Their friendship is inspirational, and their adventures are as unique as their personalities.
See, there I go again. Lying to you guys. Setting you all up for a fall. Given the fact that this motley crew is singled out in the theme song, you would certainly expect their actions to achieve some kind of a significant result. You may even expect their relationships to be interesting, insightful, or at the very least entertaining. Nay, poor deluded reader, you would be lucky if this quartet of cartoon fools managed to accomplish even the most basic of tasks without spending twenty minutes idly wandering around in a poorly animated state of confusion. In fact considering that they are our heroes, they aren't even that compassionate.
Take, for example, one of the major plot strings that runs through the show like a section of road with a big yellow sign reading "Detour" at every available turn-off. Kumba is an innocent little girl stranded on this bizarre island. This is made very clear numerous times, though she seems surprisingly content staying there considering she has no parents or education system to keep her in line. Anyway, on a number of occasions Kumba attempts to reunite with her parents and go back home, leaving Fruittie Village forever (a goal with which we can all sympathise). But in each instance her attempts end up being foiled, usually by the main villain (who shall be revealed later on in this review). Now, this is all well and good, but the Fruitties have access to a hot air balloon, a pirate ship, and even at one point a plane! Rather than use their various means of transportation to return Kumba safely to her family (surely she has a home address?), they opt instead to use them to go on holiday to different parts of the world!!! If I were Kumba, I wouldn't want to hang out with this selfish and obviously quite insane set of fruit & veg.
By the by, have you noticed how vague this theme song is? It's almost as if it's purposefully avoiding describing the show in detail, knowing that any in-depth discussion of the show's story would undoubtedly reveal its numerous weaknesses. I guess I can't blame 'em.
The chorus is then repeated a number of times, before finally the repetitive tune that has blared on in the background for a good three minutes dies down and the random Fruittie footage peters to a halt as we are greeted with the title of today's episode. "The Rugby Match" is a rather deceptive title, in that it's a blatant lie. The episode doesn't really revolve that much around a rugby match; in fact it does so about as much as the movie Speed revolves around the American bus service. So you can ignore the title, though I should point out that the "rugby" game that’s depicted in this episode seems like no version of rugby that I’ve ever seen. In fact, in previous episodes they’ve described this sport as “football”, presumably as a reference to the American brand of football and not soccer. I wish they’d make up their minds.
We open with a shot of Fruittie Village in all its glory, as we pan right to reveal the "rugby" field while the narrator informs us that the Fruitties have been getting ready to celebrate their merriest of all parties: their spring party. Not really an inventive title, but I guess I might be jumping to conclusions to think that it's a celebration of the spring season. For all I know it's their own little way of paying homage to the invention of the spring. Young and old Fruitties alike are invited to join in the festivities, making their own crudely built toys based upon the design of the spring. Come and worship the almighty Slinky! It's a sure-fire money-maker, and I bet anyone who comes away with a spring-related eye injury gets a complete refund. It's almost like winning a prize!
As we continue, Orange, Mayor Strawberry's assistant and owner of the highest voice in Fruittie Village, walks into the town square. He pulls out a trumpet and blows hard, and to my surprise he gets a darn good sound out of the instrument. He then begins talking about the aforementioned spring party, and mentions that there will be a "great rugby match" to commemorate the coiled creation. Wait, how does he know the match will be great? Can oranges see into the future? Because that'd be cool. A lot cooler than the sound effect that plays when Mr. Fig opens his window to listen to Orange's speech, which sounds like it's supposed to be creaking door hinges but comes off like he's just expelled some rather repugnant gases from his derriere. Hey, I didn't want to say it, but if they use a sound effect like that then they're just asking for fart-related criticism.
In a mildly amusing moment, Orange tells everyone that if they want to play rugby then they should go to the sports field for training. Roly, who is listening, mutters something about being an artist and not having to do such physical tasks. Orange then says all those who don't play rugby must help decorate. With springs, I bet. Roly immediately decides that decorating seems more like work than rugby, so he decides he'll go with the latter. Now, I don't know what bizarro world Roly is from, but in this universe you're more likely to lose a few limbs playing rugby than you are while decorating a few houses. But then, maybe he's a masochist fruit. So this is a village with oranges that see into the future to predict the quality of sporting events, and pineapples that get their kicks from inflicting pain upon themselves. This is one screwed up little place. Oh, and why are the villagers forced to either play rugby or decorate?
"But I'm ill, I can't feel my legs and..."
"No, you're playing rugby old man. Get on that pitch, now! And put some spring in your step!"
"Oh, my hip..."
Roly goes outside and we see various villagers walking around and getting themselves in the spirit of the Spring Festival. There's even a band set up. I gotta admit, this spring party looks pretty nice. Though I'm willing to bet good money that it's identical to every other party they've ever thrown. I say this because a lot of the footage they use to pad the plot in order to make the episode fit the half hour timeslot is often re-used footage from previous episodes. And I'm not kidding. Heck, there's a shot of some Fruittie villagers wandering around in this little montage that gets re-used later on IN THIS VERY EPISODE. Talk about lazy animators.
Roly observes the hubbub from his doorstep and barely seems to react, when all of a sudden who should show up but his best friend Thorny. By the way, I hear that Thorny's real name (as used in the Ultra Original Foreign Special Nerd Edition of The Fruitties) is "Pincho". Why they chose to rename the cactus out of all the other fruits beats me. I mean, I can think of a few other names they could've changed. Pak isn't the best name for a banana, for example. And I'd also advise D'Ocon to change their own company name, since I'm sure that once the rest of the world finds out about this cartoon creation of theirs they'll want to lay low for, oh, say four or five thousand years. Because that's how long it takes to cleanse your soul of a sinful monstrosity such as this.
Anyway, Thorny walks over to Roly, provoking Roly to ask him where he's headed in such a hurry. Thorny explains that he's headed off to the sports field to train for the rugby match tomorrow. Roly is awestruck, announcing that he too is also going to be training. Well, since the entire village was forced to decide between the two choices it wasn't really that much of a coincidence. Thorny runs off in the direction of the field, urging Roly to follow. But to Roly's dismay Thorny runs right over his foot, causing him to run off in the other direction clutching his leg while yelling "Aggh! I've been stabbed!" In an attempt at humour, Thorny exclaims "Well I'll be; he's training already!" Training to do what, exactly? Become O.J.'s new spouse?
We're then treated to an exceedingly long montage of Fruitties decorating the town. See, this is supposed to be the big pay-off for those of you who are wondering if anyone actually showed up to do the decorations. Take a big steamy gawk at it; you guys asked for it, and I hope you're happy. Seriously, this segment lasts almost over a minute and it contributes absolutely nothing to the plot as neither the decorations nor the party are ever actually seen or referred to after this. There's a small pause in the fast-paced action as a number of little Fruitties who look like onions dip themselves into some buckets of red paint and start rolling all over the floor to create crude patterns on the grass. Ah, vandalism; that'll entertain the kids. And it's educational, too. Now do you see why this is a great show? Oh yeah, and there's a momentary glimpse of the acorns (who I believe are supposed to be a part of the Fruittie military service) planting flowers and admiring their beauty. See, that's subtle irony. Well, okay, I made that up; it's really just the animators' way of wasting time so they needn't draw anything too complex or imaginative.
And since all that we just saw was so irrelevant, we immediately cut to the sports field where the training has already commenced. I can almost hear the animators letting out a collective groan as they're forced to actually animate real action, as opposed to simplistic walking and smiling. Oh, and for some reason the stands are full to bursting with cheering Fruitties. Um, I didn't know practices were such popular events. If only the rookie leagues were this popular in the real world, then everyone would be happy. Except me, as I'd still be stuck here watching this garbage. Just to let you know, the teams are as follows: On team 1 we have Watermelon, Melon, Orange, and Roly... and they appear to be playing against team 2, which consists of Thistle, Acorn, a guy who looks like a piece of Broccoli, and Pak. Okay, what the heck?! Where did Thorny go? Or is he in the audience? And why weren't we told that Pak is training? Oh, whatever. I'm sure it'll all be explained in due time.
Pumpkin, the referee, blows the whistle to begin the training. Watermelon has the ball, and... uh, she starts bouncing it like a basketball. Yes, clearly this is how to play rugby. Strangely, Pumpkin allows it and the match doesn't even halter for a second. But just as she's about to set off, Thistle casually saunters over and trips her up. I don't know how she failed to see that coming, he walked right into her field of vision and lifted up his leg. But then, for all I know, this might be how you play rugby in the Fruittie-verse. You yell that you're being stabbed, bounce the ball, and then allow yourself to be tripped. Something tells me these guys help fill up a lot of entries in the Special Olympics. Somehow, as the ball goes flying from Watermelon's hands, she falls forward and lands smack dab on top of it, causing both her and the ball to go bouncing down the field. Okay, who turned off the gravity? Is this Ender's Game all of a sudden? And then, in a laughably stupid moment that could have been easily avoided, we cut to a close-up of the crowd and we see that Orange is sitting smack dab in the middle of the onlookers. Okay, forget the gravity, who turned off the continuity? By the way, the crowd is cheering its head off, and even Orange is applauding wildly for Thistle's villainous antics. So I guess he (she?) is officially a traitor.
As Thistle begins to chuckle and guffaw in the way that only cartoon characters can, we cut once again to the crowd and see that the Wild Boars have snuck into the stands. No, the Wild Boars aren't another rugby team. They're actual wild boars, and they're what is known as the show's "comic relief". After all, with all this tension that's building up, who doesn't need a little comic relief right about now? Before I forget to tell you, the Wild Boars are officially the greatest thing about this show. They're not particularly funny in the way the writers wanted them to be, but they give us some of the stupidest moments the show has to offer; plus I just love the chemistry between the two of them. They don't actually have names, but the one with the out-of-control orange mohawk is the leader and the fat cross-eyed one is his reluctant assistant. The leader is appropriately referred to as "Boss", and the other has no name but I affectionately think of him as being called Isaac. Don't ask me why, I think it just suits him.
Boss looks around at all the Fruitties and salivates at the prospect of eating them (see why I like these guys?), and despite the fact that they're standing in the middle of a huge throng of the fruit-people nobody seems to notice them. You'd think that orange mohawk would stick out like a sore thumb, but everyone seems so intent on watching the exciting practice session that they are able to slip between the crowd unnoticed. Isaac seems doubtful about their chances of devouring the Fruitties, because it's too easy. Um, wow, can't argue with that logic, I guess. Then we see Orange, who's now back on the pitch and is running with the ball. Geez, like anybody's going to trust this guy now that he's totally turned his back on everything he stands for. His reputation is soiled. Literally. See, cause he's a fruit and... the ground with... plants and... nevermind.
In a dazzling display of continuity, Orange hands the ball to Melon who proceeds downfield as fast as his legs can carry him. Pumpkin encourages him by yelling "Good going, Melon! Keep running!" which makes me doubt the authenticity of his license to train others. Telling them to keep doing what they're doing is hardly expert advice. Surprisingly, we then cut to a shot of Melon doing his best to heed the advice of his trainer by standing completely still. Uh, right. Thistle runs up behind him and jabs one of his, uh, thistles into Melon's back, causing him to throw the ball away. The ball then clouts the Broccoli guy in the back of the head (What the heck could he have been looking at? The action was directly behind him, what was he standing around waiting for?), bowling him over so that he lands with his head in the ground like a thin green ostrich with its hinder in the air. Acorn catches the ball, thus deeming Thistle as the best darn tactician in the entire game for that strategy to have come off so nicely. Acorn rushes forward into the awaiting figure of Watermelon, who is sent hurtling through the air upon impact with the tiny brown character. Did I mention the ball changes size depending on who's holding it? It's like Bedknobs and Broomsticks, except much, much lazier. Pumpkin chastises Watermelon, screaming that he said to "run, not fly". Uh, actually you said that to Melon, though I suppose I can understand how such a mistake could be made. I hope that I'm not frowned upon if I ever spontaneously begin to fly simply because I'm not doing what I've been told to do. Really, Watermelon's ingenuity should be encouraged... though of course, she did just fly all the way out of the field.
As Acorn continues his advance, Roly suddenly jumps out of nowhere and proclaims, "Here comes Roly!” and to my horror the animators decided to draw him with big chunky dentures in this scene. Now that's a terrifying concept: fruit with teeth. So does this mean the Fruitties have bones and internal organs? Makes you think twice about having a fruit salad for dessert. Roly takes a page out of the Thistle book of rugby tactics and trips Acorn over, causing Acorn to go flying up into the air and begin bouncing from one side of the goal posts to the other. Pumpkin somehow manages to restrain his desire to scream profanities, while Roly runs in the opposite direction with the ball before ultimately running headfirst into the upside-down Broccoli dude. The Broccoli dude acts as a catapult, flinging Roly up into the air whereupon he joins Acorn in the endless bouncing from post to post. Oh, but Roly managed to keep a tight hold of the ball. You know, if this sort of thing happened in everyday sports, I might actually be tempted to tune in every now and then. Not that I've ever watched a televised rugby match, so for all I know thousands of games have had to be called off because one player randomly fell at such an angle that he ended up skirting the planet's atmosphere.
Roly and Acorn eventually collide with the ball between the two of them, and they somehow manage to pull it apart so hard that it snaps. O... kay. They both begin to plummet to their doom with one half of the ball in each other's hands, and amusingly the crowd seems to love all this. "Yay, they can't play anymore! This match sucked anyway, woohoo!" Well, that's what they're probably thinking anyway. Roly continues to fall, screaming in fear the whole time. And the dentures are back. How nice. Suddenly, the audience clues in to the fact that they're supposed to be CONCERNED, though Orange is probably thinking, "Thank goodness I snuck back here so I didn't have to keep playing, or else that could've been me". In a moment that confuses the heck out of me, Roly somehow lands on top of one of the goal posts after falling from about halfway up one of them for around thirty seconds. This causes him to bounce off... and continue falling. Well, that was pointless. Roly lands at the goal line (finish line? I dunno, I'm not a sports fan) and he looks like he could be in serious pain, but Pumpkin is more angry than worried. He probably wants to say, "No, I said run, not puncture several of your vital organs with your broken ribs!" but hey, I guess he has too much heart to do it to the poor pineapple.
Thorny attempts to congratulate Roly on managing to score a goal, and I'm left wondering where the heck Thorny was during all this. He wasn't on either team, and he wasn't in the crowd. Is he in Roly's mind? What is this? And where was Pak? He was on the other team, but he never even touched the ball. What are we supposed to learn from all this...? Amazingly, Pumpkin is infuriated by Roly's apparent ineptitude and calls him a "disgrace". Um, so much for having too much heart. Thorny asks if that means they're doing okay, and Roly says "not exactly". Hide the pain, Roly. Hide the pain. In one of the greatest moments of the episode, Pumpkin tells everyone to go home (including the crowd) and then adds, "If I ever see any of you again, it'll be too soon". Wow! Quite a statement to make, considering that the entire population of the village seemed to show up for this training session. It should be noted that the people leaving are shown with huge beaming smiles on their faces, so I think we can safely assume that they're all as mentally challenged as dear Thorny when it comes to understanding insults. Did Pumpkin even take into account the fact that they have this "Huge Spring Festival" tomorrow and that if he just gives up on the players after ONE botched session, he'll be in huge trouble with the Mayor? I mean, not to mention the fact that Orange predicted that it'd be a "great" match. If you ask me, Pumpkin is the one with the problem. He has severe anger management issues that I think he needs to look into, and in the end he's always the one to suffer from it. Either that or it's a goofy meaningless cartoon that comes from nothing and goes to nowhere. But I like my idea better.
Roly lies down in the middle of the pitch, and Thorny walks over and asks if he's coming home. What, do these guys live together? Because that would explain a lot, I think. Roly gets all in Thorny's face about this, pointing out that he's too tired to walk. In one of the few clever pieces of dialogue in the episode (most of which centre around this scene, strangely enough) Roly mentions that he "knew all this exercise stuff was bad for the health". Ah, that's classic Roly right there. Classic me, too, come to think of it. Thorny asks if he's going to be sleeping here, and Roly confirms his deduction by pointing out that this way he'll be able to count the stars tonight. Thorny likes this idea, but Roly tells him that before he lies down he should go and get them both something to eat or drink. Hey, use the old "looking at a thing in a bag" trick. It worked for Strong Bad. Thorny gets a little snippy, asking why Roly can't go. Uh-oh, dissention in the ranks. Roly quickly quells such feelings of dissonance by pointing out that his (Roly's) task is much more difficult… this task being the formulating of plans and ideas. He explains that Thorny is lucky to get such a simple job, and Thorny stupidly concurs. Before Thorny leaves, Roly tells him to make sure the snacks are nice and hot. Right, because after you've finished having a busy work out, you always need something to heat your body up. Or maybe he's like Kathleen Turner in Body Heat, whereby no matter how high the temperature gets his body always seems to remain cool. Okay, comparing Roly to Kathleen Turner is a bit of a reach. Though actually, considering what she looks like these days, I'd say it's more insulting to Roly than it is to Ms. Turner. At least Roly would never play a transexual on the TV sitcom Friends. Just appearing on that show is degrading enough. Except for when I did, that was cool.
Nearby, the Wild Boars! are sneaking up on Roly. They're busy squatting behind a bench when Boss decides to point out for the benefit of the viewers just how easy it would be to catch Roly right about now. Isaac responds to such claims by suggesting they wait until nightfall, because it would be "safer" then. Uh... what? What exactly would happen in the daytime that wouldn't occur during the night? If they're worried about being seen, they should forget about that. They just strolled amidst a huge crowd of Fruitties. This isn't exactly Splinter Cell, you know. Oh, whatever. Anyway, night falls and Roly has fallen asleep. The boars are still in the exact same position, and they're about to pounce when they start hearing heavy footsteps approaching. Boss hastily jumps to the conclusion that it must be another Fruittie, and says that they'll eat this new one before they go after Roly. Now, I'm confused. They just camped out for almost an entire day specifically so they could eat Roly and only Roly, but now when there's the slight chance that they could eat somebody else they take it? It's not as if they weren't surrounded by Fruitties a matter of hours ago. They could be stuffing their faces with Fruitties by now. Clearly, they need to learn a thing or two from Thistle about tactics. Anyway, it just so turns out that the footsteps don't belong to a Fruittie at all, but to a cloaked gorilla carrying a rugby ball. It's true what they say; the crazies really do come out at night. The gorilla sneaks over to where the boars are and exchanges his rugby ball for the one the Fruitties were using in their practice session. As he turns to leave with the ball in hand, he clumsily trips over a rock and throws the ball over his shoulder. Wow, I'm surprised he didn't go flying off toward the horizon. I guess gravity tends to fluctuate a lot on this island.
The ball lands next to the one he placed near the bench, and as he fumbles around in the dark searching for it he grabs hold of Boss' face and takes a good half a minute to ascertain that this bulbous fleshy lump with eyeballs that goes "Rrrgh!" is not, in fact, a rugby ball. Out of the goodness of his heart, Boss hands the ball the gorilla dropped to him and says, "It's been nice knowing you, see you around!". Y'know, the way I write this it sounds like the most bizarre scene, but it plays out quite normally. Boss immediately tries to make a run for it, even though the gorilla showed no aggressive feelings towards him. Out of nowhere, the gorilla smacks Boss across the side of the head and knocks him out, before hoisting the boar over his shoulder and strolling off. In a funny moment where the animators obviously got incredibly lazy, Isaac shows the exact same reaction for each of these events about three times in a row; and it wasn't even concern or shock, it was more like "Are you guys done yet?" than anything. Sure is lucky they waited till nightfall. By the way, this is where the plot actually starts to get going. Ten minutes into a twenty-five minute show, the plot is just getting started. But hey, it's for kids, what do they care about storytelling? Oh wait, children are amongst the few remaining social groups left on the face of the earth who actually WANT to hear a good story that doesn't get watered down by mindless padding. But hey, they're kids, so what do they know?
Amazingly, Thorny finally arrives back with the food. Gee, you'd think after all this time he would've just forgotten about it and gone home. But no, here he is. Twelve hours late, of course, but that's only a minor detail. The real glaring flaw in this scene is the fact that Thorny has brought with him what looks like a few loaves of French bread. So much for making sure the snacks are nice and hot, I suppose. Still, after twelve hours I doubt anything could really remain all that hot. Compared to these guys, I'm a veritable genius. Maybe that's why I love the show so much. Roly wakes up and, true to his word, starts to admire the stars as they chow down on the FLAMING HOT FRENCH BREAD. There's a cute sequence where Roly teaches Thorny about constellations, and actually names each one correctly simply by pointing to them up in the sky. Wow, that makes him about ten times smarter than the majority of today's youth. I have to tell you, this is one of the few occasions where The Fruitties manages to be both charming AND informative, whereas usually it's a bunch of hooey about running around on a boat trying to avoid falling rocks. While that might help a kid if he wants to be Indiana Jones when he grows up, it's not going to capture the imagination of a halfway smart toddler who knows a few things about this and that. Explaining the names behind the constellations under the guise of a relatively smart friend being kind to a less-than-informed friend is the perfect, albeit clichéd, way of getting a child's mind working. And not only that, this entire segment leads up to one of my all time favourite (and sorta genuinely funny) pieces of Fruitties dialogue. Bear in mind that this is all mostly in the delivery, but here's a direction transcription:
Roly: "Look, over there is Cancer. There's Taurus, Pisces... and that's..."
(Isaac walks over and looks down at Roly while Thorny's attention remains fixed on the sky)
Roly: "THE WILD BOAR!!!"
Thorny: "Wild boar?! What an ugly name for a constellation..."
Okay, okay. It's not that funny. But really, the way Roly screams "The wild boar!!!" while Thorny remains oblivious is pure awesomeness, if you ask me. Unfortunately, as great as all this was, the plot immediately starts to roll downhill from here, so brace yourselves for some really pointless sections of plot-substitute... none of which does anything to explain why Pak didn't take part in that practice session earlier. Roly puts up his dukes and starts to mouth off at the boar, realising that Isaac must be there to eat them. Isaac professes his innocence and asks Roly to help him, to which Roly is taken aback. He even calls Isaac a "feelthy peeg". I guess he must be friends with Madame Estrella from The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed-Up Zombies. Isaac explains his predicament, stating that his boss has been kidnapped, though he doesn't go into too much detail as you can probably imagine. I mean, it'd be hard to take anyone seriously if they claimed that their boss just got smacked around by a ball-carrying gorilla dressed up like a member of the Nine Nazgul. Roly points out that they shouldn't have to help, since the Wild Boars are always trying to eat them. Isaac counters this rebuttal by saying that his Boss is so clumsy that he'll probably never catch them, so Thorny and Roly agree to aid him. Um, wow. That was easy. I'm surprised most super-villains don't follow that line of thinking. "Well, Superman, I know you normally wouldn't trust me as I'm your arch-nemesis and all, but think about it. Have I ever REALLY managed to defeat you? No? So you'll trust me! Good." Roly lays down the law by stating that if this is a trap, Isaac will be sorry. There's a strange bit where Isaac seems to have a grin on his face and says "No, no, no, it's not a trap, honest" with about as much honesty in his voice as the Iraqi Information Minister dude (that guy should get his own show). But, uh, we know he's telling the truth... so why does he sound so much like he's trying to trick them? Bah, this cartoon just sets you up for a bunch of falls. First there's no Spring Festival, and then there's no trap. I'm depressed.
Isaac says the gorilla took Boss "that way", though he doesn't actually indicate a direction. Why the heck did the animators make this shot so close-up to Isaac's face? Simply so they wouldn't have to draw him pointing?! Ugh. And to think the constellation scene gave me such hope. They set off in the unknown direction, singing as they go. Of course, it's a completely tuneless ramble of a song, because goodness knows if children haven't grown tired of the complete and total lack of any real story inherent in the episode thus far, they'll certainly be driven over the edge by this inane chorus. Eventually, they come to a clearing in the middle of a forest. Um, okay, so I suppose they left the village. Roly points out that the "footprints end here". What footprints? You guys were following Isaac's natural sense of direction, were you not? So what's all this about footprints? Thorny notices a bunch of conspicuous rustling in one of the bushes, though for some reason the sound effects used make it sound more like somebody's rubbing their sweaty palms across a bunch of balloons. Thorny can barely contain himself and he yells "Hey look! There they are!" They? Oh, okay, I guess he means Boss and the gorilla. Roly chastises him and points out that they have to be smart and "attack them just at the right moment". Uh, attack them? Both of them? I'm surprised more hostage situations aren't solved this way, with both the kidnapper and the hostage coming under attack "just at the right moment". Besides all that, just when exactly is the right moment to attack somebody sitting in a bush while rubbing balloons? It sure is lucky it's already night-time, or you can be sure Roly would insist they wait 'till then to attack. Roly, Thorny, and Isaac walk off in one direction when suddenly Monkus and the gorilla pop their heads out from behind a bush.
Ah, Monkus. This, ladies and gentlemen, is your villain for today. His name actually varies, and I've heard him called everything from "Monkus" to plain old "Monkey". And although the latter name makes more sense, as he is little more than a chimp in human's clothing, I choose to call him Monkus cause it was the first name he was given when I started watching. To make things even more confusing, he refers to himself as "Moonus" here when he pops his head out from behind the bush. Either that or he was inviting me to expose my rear end in his direction. Monkus is the Fruitties' arch-nemesis. Well, actually, I think it's a tie between him and a halfway decent chef with a knack for health-food dishes. Monkus has the most hair-brained schemes and always comes within a short distance of putting them into action before he's soundly defeated by the Fruitties (usually entirely by accident). He's no Mandark, but he'll do. For some reason, he chooses to live on the same island as the Fruitties rather than somewhere without a population of sapient plant-life with a tendency to foil all his plans. I'm willing to bet that he shared a room with Mojo Jojo for a few weeks and grew tired of his monotonous repetition before finally deciding to fly off to a place where nobody would ever dare follow him. I can think of no better place than this island, to be honest. I mean, would YOU venture close to a place inhabited by people quite so as aggressive as Pumpkin? Oh, and the gorilla we've been seeing up to this point just happens to be Monkus' assistant. He's the brawn part of the equation, in case you hadn't guessed. Though sometimes I tend to wonder which of them could possibly be filling the "brain" side.
Monkus declares that he managed to fool Roly, Thorny, and Isaac. Um, by doing what, exactly? Hiding in a bush and hoping one of the other random bushes would shake first? Doesn't really leave room for a wide margin of error. Monkus lets out one of his trademark laughs (trademark in the sense that nobody else would be stupid enough to use it and think they sounded threatening in the least) and then they go marching off with Boss hanging from Gorilla's shoulder. We cut back to Roly, Thorny, and Isaac and they walk over to a location that looks exactly like the clearing they were just standing in. Seriously, it's the exact spot they just left. Same tree, same position. Do you get what I'm saying? Those lazy, lazy animators. As Roly is walking into the CLEARLY VERY DIFFERENT LOCATION, he tells the others that as soon as "he" comes past, they will jump on top of him. Boy, that's one vague plan you have there. I'm assuming "he" is the gorilla, though for all I know this could all be their way of getting back at Orange for that sudden betrayal halfway through the rugby session earlier. Also, how will "jumping on top of him" stop the five hundred pound gorilla that can slap a mohawk-ed boar senseless? Why not just trip him up? That seems to be the trend in this universe. Thorny seems confused (and who wouldn't be?), causing him to ask "What now, huh?" Roly completely ignores the question, and simply yells "Now!" which really forces me to believe that Thorny's line was dubbed in simply because the animators accidentally left in a few frames where his mouth happened to be hanging open. As soon as Roly is finished screaming the order, the three of them dive headlong into the bush. Ah, yes, brilliantly executed. I see that whole "waiting for him to come past" part really played an important part in the villain's apprehension. In a moment that I assume was supposed to be unexpected and amusing, they find themselves on the back of a sleeping elephant that promptly wakes up and tosses them off her back. Well, finally, somebody to root for. Now stomp on them! Yeah! Really hurt them bad!
"Can't even get a good night's sleep these days" says the elephant. Uh-oh, I hope this isn't turning into an episode of The Wild Thornberrys. This next part is weird, because Thorny explains quite politely to the elephant that they thought she was a gorilla, but she beats on them anyway. That's right, kids, tell the truth and you'll get punished. Or maybe thinking someone is a gorilla is like a really big insult over there. At least they weren't looking for Adam Sandler; things could've turned ugly. Anyway, the elephant who isn't a gorilla smacks them so hard with her trunk that they go flying into the distance (fluctuating gravity, you see? you see?) and land in the branches of a tree. Roly gets on Thorny's case about the whole "gorilla" incident, and then the tree starts yelling at them. Oh, wait, I'm hallucinating from lack of sleep. Wait, no... The tree really is yelling. It asks them to get out of its branches because it isn't a hat-stand. Yes, and they're not hats, oh random talking tree. Dude, what's with all this constant miscommunication of everyone's actual identities? Gah. Okay, back up a little. Why does THIS tree have the power to communicate with the Fruitties and animals (and humans, too, I guess)? Is it some kind of freak of nature? I mean, don't get me wrong, I am totally willing to accept that there's this one tree in the forest that can talk, but the Fruitties don't seem to react all that surprised to it. So I guess I can assume that this isn't the only one. So why are some trees able to talk, and others just look like normal silent trees? No, I won't buy that. I'm guessing that every tree in the forest can speak, but most of them just choose not to. And once again, I can't really blame them considering who their neighbours are.
The tree shakes them loose from his branches and then demands to know why they're here. Isaac explains they're looking for a kidnapper, and the tree says that he'll tell them a secret if they'll do him a little favour. He explains that there was a fire in the "red pine forest", and that all the trees were burned to the ground. This is so sappy. Ha, get it? Sappy! TREES! HAHA! Oh, kill me. This story kinda irks me, because if all these trees were just as animated as this guy then he should really be more upset about it. I mean, come on, thousands of his friends must have been roasted alive, and he's here making jokes about hat-stands. I guess it's his way of coping with the grief. He then goes on to say that if no-one plants trees, the water will wash away all the good soil and trees will never grow there again. I really can't tell if all this is logical, as planting trees wouldn't exactly stop rainwater from moving a bunch of soil. At least that's my hypothesis. I would suggest constructing a really, really big umbrella. That'd fix things up good. Roly sympathises, but doesn't really understand what the tree is asking of them. Then to his dismay, he learns that he must plant trees before it rains. This prompts them to go on a tree-planting spree, and suddenly the Spring Festival seems like it would’ve been much more interesting to watch. In fact, for the duration of this review I think I'll have to imagine myself at the Spring Festival JUST so that I can last the next ten minutes or so of mind-numbing Fruitties non-action. Ooh, mommy, mommy, do I get to pet the llama? Roly complains the whole time, making this scene just that much more excruciating to put up with. Apparently, they end up planting fifteen hundred trees. Wow, uh, so much for that whole exhilarating kidnapping storyline. All this just because a talking tree that mistook them for head-garments promised to tell them a secret. Imagine what they'd do for me if I promised something similar. See, thinking about the Spring Festival just isn't enough; I also have to imagine that the Fruitties bow to my every whim. But I still pet the llama, because even when you're in a position of supreme power the notion of stroking a mildly wounded animal still fails to lose its appeal.
Roly plants the final tree as the sun begins to rise, and I think we're supposed to feel good about all this but all I really get is a sharp pain in the pit of my stomach. I think it's the empty part of my soul that was once filled with joy before I began watching this tripe. To my surprise, Roly also shares in my suffering as he falls down and complains even more of how tired he is. Yeah, as if planting a few hundred trees even compares to sitting through an entire episode of this cartoon. You got it easy, pal. Thorny pats him on the butt to wake him up, causing Roly to clutch his behind and start running in a random direction. See, he's a cactus. Did you get that yet? Cactus. It hurts when he touches people. Now laugh! You gotta wonder how this guy'll ever know the touch of a woman. Then again, I find myself wondering the same thing about myself day after day, and I don't have spikes all over my body. Hey, maybe I'll get some and then blame it on them. That'll help to ease the pain. Unfortunately, the scars left by this 'toon will stick around long after I'm dead and gone. Wow, I'm dark in this paragraph. Can you tell I'm trying to avoid describing the action in the episode? That's mainly because nothing's happening right now that's of any note. Roly and company walk back to the tree and tell him they've completed their task, and now they want to know where the wild boar's kidnapper went. I half-expect the tree to say "Kidnapper? What the heck are you talking about? I was gonna tell you about a good cure for Dutch Elm Disease…” but he disappoints me and tells them that they went in the direction of the South Mountain. Man, whoever named that mountain had a real lack of imagination. He probably grew up watching this show. Yes, the South Mountain. It's somewhere in the North, I think. In a hilarious bit, he tells them that they should run or they'll never catch up. Man, YOU delayed them for almost an entire day by making them plant a few thousand trees!!! Roly is justifiably upset, and then we get my second favourite piece of dialogue in the episode which begins like this:
Thorny: "Don't worry, Roly. Just remember that the poet is invincible, he'll never give up. He never loses heart, and he'll never let up. No-one's a match for him, for he is the poet and the poet always fights on! How great it is to be a poet!"
Roly: "Who in the world told you that stuff?"
Roly: "How did I ever think of such a stupid poem..."
See, now the really subtlety here is that fact that Thorny, naive as always, has mistaken one of Roly's egotistical rants for a piece of inspirational thought and Roly gets his ultimate comeuppance by having his own boasts thrown in his face during a time of true crisis. It's not Shakespeare, but it's consistent with the characters, it makes sense, and most of all it would easily entertain a child. While the rest of this episode has been random layers of simplistic plot converging in a weak attempt to form a compelling story, this singular exchange manages to succeed where almost every other attempt at irony or whimsy has fallen flatter than Milla Jovovich's chest. And that's pretty darn flat. In short, it's a true shame that the entire cartoon couldn't have been as inoffensively charming as this last smidgeon of idle chit-chat. But then again, if it weren't all so painful then I'd have nothing to review.
We then fade to a shot of Isaac and Thorny standing around, and then Roly walks on-camera looking as if he's just taken part in the London Marathon. Or is it the London Snickers now? Anyways, I assume they've been running to the South Mountain, though it was never shown so I have no real frame of reference. There's a needlessly long shot of Roly panting, and I'm severely tempted to hurl the remote into the TV by the time the shot reaches the twelve second mark. It's not as if the simple looping of his hideous expression took an unduly amount of effort, so why did they make it last so darn long? Oh right, that whole padding thing. Well, at least it's more coherent than any given Simpsons episode that was made in the last two or three years. Thorny asks what they're going to do now. Eh? Keep looking, would be my suggestion. Roly, always the wisest member of the group, just suggests they turn around and go back home. Yeah, you don't wanna run into any more demanding trees or easily offended elephants. Isaac gets upset, pointing out that his friend's in danger, but Roly informs them both that they have no real idea where he is or where they are for that matter. So how are you going to find your way home, then? Out of nowhere, a rabbit with its right ear cocked to one side shows up and says that he knows where they are and where their friend is. Well, with ears that big it'd be hard NOT to eavesdrop. Thorny questions the rabbit's apparent infinite wisdom, but the rabbit responds by saying "I never tell lies, I'm a rabbit!" while pointing to a scrap of paper. What, is that a guarantee that states he never tells lies? And what does being a rabbit have to do with it? Do rabbits not possess the capability to fib? This notion would no doubt bring up some serious moral issues which would certainly be open to thoughtful debate, if only I weren't so darn distracted by the fact that when this rabbit holds the paper up and cocks its ear it makes me wonder if that's the latest instalment of the webcomic Victory's Cliff that he's just drawn. Nevertheless, this meaningless series of unrelated statements and actions somehow proves to Thorny that the rabbit must be as honest as the next guy.
Isaac asks the omniscient rabbit with the Pinnochio-complex where Boss is, and the rabbit tells him that if they want to know then they'll have to do him a favour. What is this, a point-and-click RPG? Every time somebody wants to know something, there's always about three hundred minor tasks to be done before the original goal can be accomplished. Roly is sceptical, hoping that it doesn't involve the mass plantation of baby saplings. The rabbit reassures him that it's nothing like that, and that he just wants them to move a bunch of rocks that have fallen across his cave. Um, his cave? Since when do rabbits own caves? Maybe he’s a reject from Night of the Lepus. I'm guessing the original line was "my hole" but they decided to make it sound much more impressive. Gee, it's a little late to be sprucing up the dialogue. Roly continues to complain, but Isaac silences him by agreeing to do it all by himself. Then the rabbit laughs, and although it would be more appropriate to question why the rabbit would laugh at them for trying to aid him, I feel a much greater urge to point out that the rabbit sounds exactly like Ms. Krabappel from The Simpsons when he does so. By the way, how come some animals wear clothes while the others run around starkers? Is it like in Disney's Dinosaur where all the good animals could talk and all the bad ones just roared? If so, is this cartoon trying to suggest that clothes are the root of all evil? Did the nudist from GTA 3 write this cartoon? Because that would make sense. Thorny asks Roly to give them a hand, but Roly lies down on a pile of rocks and says that they'll do just fine without him. A bunch of sharp-edged rocks… what a great place for a nap. The rabbit walks over and kicks Roly, calling him a lazy oaf. Dude, you were the one who waited for a bunch of strangers to come along so they'd pick up some rocks. Plus you decided to place precedence on your own measly little problem while their friend's life is in danger. You could be a little more sympathetic. Roly commits the primal sin of stating that he wouldn't move even if a mountain fell on top of him. Doodly-doodly-doodly, A MOUNTAIN FELL ON TOP OF HIM! Well, a few rocks did. Well, a couple. Well, some pebbles. Look, the point is, it's ironic.
The rabbit explains that there have been a few tremors in the area lately, which is why the rocks keep falling. Um, last time I checked, tremors don’t make rocks magically fall from the sky. And so, we enter another plot cul-de-sac where the others encourage Roly to free himself from his predicament while they stand around watching him with big cheesy grins on their faces. And they called him lazy. So, Roly's weakness is falling rocks. I wonder if he's related to Callisto. Roly eventually pushes his way out from beneath the rocks, and during his struggle we fade to a different shot of the rocks from another angle. I'm not sure if they were trying to insinuate that this is "some time later" or what, but it looked weird. Roly gets out and then immediately falls over, causing Thorny to laugh at him. Huh. These guys are supposed to be friends, right? The very next thing we see is Roly being stretchered away from the rock incident by Isaac and Thorny. What about the rabbit's cave?! Did they just decide to scrap the scene? Gah. Ah well, this is a cute moment as Roly is shown to be thoroughly enjoying his time on the stretcher rather than being in severe pain. Thorny shoots a glance at him and asks "How do you feel?" forcing him to immediately return to his pained expression. Funny stuff. But of course, if this cartoon's taught me anything it's that The Fruitties can't have a nice moment without completely botching it seconds later. In perhaps the most bizarre part of the episode, a snowstorm suddenly starts. Yes. Snow. Now, maybe if they were on the mountain I could buy this... but they're in the middle of the jungle, with sand all over the place. And this storm literally came out of nowhere. Ridiculous. Thorny is so elated to see the snow that he completely ignores how random and illogical this all is, and he throws his arms up in the air causing Roly to fly right off the stretcher and crack his head on a nearby rock. How pleasant. Then Thorny hits Roly with a snowball while he's lying there in a heap! Cripes, imagine if Thorny DIDN'T like him. Thorny insists that they must continue the journey with happy spirits and smiling faces. Then stop hurting the guy! At this point, I half-expected them to take a leaf out of Tidus and Yuna's book and start pretending to laugh really hard. On second thought, these guys have better voice actors. Roly lets out a weak "Fun, yeah, great..." which I simply can't get enough of since it pretty much sums up my sentiments towards this show. Thorny starts dancing around like a loon, making me wonder if that really is snow falling or just pure cocaine that the animators accidentally spilled.
Just in case you're wondering what any of this has to do with the actual plot, and in case any of you poor saps actually think the snow is going to figure into the grand climax of the episode, allow me to put you out of your misery. This is all completely irrelevant. In fact, the snowstorm dissipates almost as abruptly as it started. When I put it like that, this all seems quite surreal but there IS a reason for the snow, though it's not what you may think. You see, in every Fruitties episode there is at least one musical number. These musical numbers interrupt the episode, do their bit, and then immediately stop so the action can continue almost as if it never came to a halt. Obviously, this is done to afford the animators the luxury of not having to draw an entire twenty-five minute episode. In fact, taking into account the extra-long opening credits and of course this upcoming musical piece, the episode itself only lasts about 15 minutes. Now you may say to yourself "But surely the animators have to animate the musical parts, too?" and you would be right. But what you don't realise is that they use the EXACT SAME musical numbers each time. To put it more accurately, they have a selection of about six musical numbers and they find a really contrived way of inserting one or two into each episode even if it has nothing to do with what's going on. Today's example is perfect; they needed a way to fit a musical number about snow into the episode, so they wrote in a snowstorm. Cheap, efficient, but annoying to the extreme. I mean, I'm all for a good musical. Allow me to reiterate... I'm all for a GOOD musical. But these songs are insanely bad to the point that I have to think they just got a bunch of three year olds to talk endlessly on one subject and then wrote it all down and put a tune to it. Have a listen to this one:
There's nothing like the summer heat
But the winter snow is more fun
The heat make you drip with sweet
And in the snow you are entertained
Allow me to just point out that the word "sweet" is not a typo. The woman singing literally says, "drip with sweet". Hoo boy. Mind you, a woman that drips with sweet is something I wouldn't mind having at my disposal. As long as she can distinguish between her fruit and her Wheaties, I'd practically marry the girl. I mean, c'mon, if you were ever hungry you could just make her jog a few laps around the garden and then lie underneath her... okay, weird image. By the way, did you notice that right off the bat this song is confessing to have an extreme bias towards winter? How can they expect us to listen objectively to anything they say? We all know what the outcome's going to be. Oh, go winter. Yeah, winter is soooo great. Philistines. I don't know about you, but I don't really remember ever being "entertained" while I'm in the snow. Of course, my memories of snow usually involve about five other much larger kids cramming as much of the white stuff as possible down the back of my neck. At least I think it was my neck, my distinguishing features are fairly indistinct. I might just write in and complain to D'Ocon for bringing up such painful memories and trying to pass them off as "entertaining". That'll make them drip with sweet.
In the heat you can go for a swim
And in the snow sky down hill
The plants grow large in the hot sun
Watered by the melted snow
Again, the typos aren't my own. That's how the words are pronounced in the song. Somebody ought to inform whoever wrote these lyrics that they have their facts tangled in a web of deceit and lies. Or, you know, that they're just plain wrong. Just because it's cold doesn't mean you can't go for a swim; heck, that's what indoor pools are for. And I have no idea what "skying" down a hill is, but I'm sure it's do-able whether there's snow involved or not. And what is this baloney they mention about plants growing large thanks to their being watered by the melted snow?! Are they trying to give winter the credit for EVERYTHING? Winter created the Internet, don't you know. It sure is fortunate we won World War II... but it might've been a far different outcome if it hadn't been for our ally, the winter season. Winter froze the guns of those villainous Nazis, and made their plants so large that they couldn't see us as we snuck up behind them and pelted them with snowballs. And if it weren't for winter, goodness knows when Santa Claus would deliver his presents. And who says TV doesn't teach kids anything? Anyway, the song continues with this delightful chorus (provided by winter, no doubt):
We're ripe for the heat
We're ripe for the snow
When the wind comes
Via the gust
No, that wasn't a commercial for the sequel to the movie X-Men; it's my way of letting you guys know that the chorus is repeated twice. This is the only part of the song I had real trouble transcribing; they seem to be saying either "We run for the heat" or "We're ripe for the heat". Since they're fruit, I decided it was ripe, and who in their right mind runs for heat? Maybe it's "right" not "ripe". Eh, it makes no sense whichever way you slice it. I really can't tell what they're trying to tell us. At first they seemed to be delivering some kind of Pro-Winter spiel that demanded us to be thankful for everything the snow did for us, but now they seem to be riding the fence. It's like they're afraid of appearing to be too extreme in their beliefs. Really, I urge them to be as passionate as they like about winter; I mean, sure, there's plenty of groups who'll be just itching to oppress them for it, but it's not as if they don't already have a good number of vocal enemies (myself included). What's a few dozen more?
How cold is the snow and ice
In the heat you suffocate
The snow covers all the trees
So the summer heat won't burn them
My friend, you have convinced me
And you are older than rain (????)
Both of these things are very important
And very important they are
My brain just exploded. After the subtle charm of the stretcher scene, this is like being bludgeoned over the head with a log that has the word "winter" written on the side in white crayon. Except "winter" is spelled wrong. Okay, let's try and make sense of what we were just told. First they pose the question "How cold is the snow and ice". Well, I don't have them both here with me, but I'll give a quick estimate of "Pretty Darned Cold". Next they tell us that the slightest bit of heat will cause the air supply to our lungs to be blocked off. Is this a veiled threat, do you suppose? Juxtaposing the query concerning the temperature of snow and ice with the extremely bleak and morbid stance against heat is perhaps the cartoon's way of conditioning us ever so slightly towards snow. In other words, this entire cartoon has been one big excuse to get us to relocate ourselves to a place where there's more snow... They're trying to get everyone to move to Canada so they can steal our homes!!! Upon discovering this, I immediately panicked. In the process of doing so, I slipped forward on my chair and cracked my skull against the desk, and now I have an intense urge to do nothing but watch Fruitties episodes for the rest of my life. By Zeus, their plan is foolproof. None of us are safe. Ah well, more Fruitties please! And then I'll pet the llama.
What is this rubbish about snow protecting trees from heat? If there's snow, there's not likely going to be any heat, and I'm sure the trees are perfectly capable of protecting themselves. Quit bein' so hard on the trees. The final verse of the song is clearly indecipherable. Who is this "friend"? Well, they're older than rain. Who's older than rain? God. So this woman claims to be receiving a message from God. And what kind of message would God be sending to a woman who sings about how she drips with sweet? Well, it turns out to be the simple fact that things are important, and they're also important. Oh, glad we got that cleared up then. Hear that? That's the sound of me trying to force the brain matter out of my head in order to silence the horrible voice of the crazy singing lady. I almost forgot to mention, throughout the course of this song we have been subjected to a montage of winter-related footage involving Roly going for a ski (or, as the song would have you believe, a "sky") only to find himself falling backwards down a mountain. Of course, none of this is actually supposed to be happening, it's just some crazy fantasy. And yet, even though it's a make-believe series of events that lasts around two minutes, it manages to contain more excitement than this entire less-than-thrilling episode of The Fruitties put together.
Anyhow, back to the real meat of the story. Roly, Thorny, and Isaac continue on their journey (and the snow literally just stops falling as soon as the song ends). They reach a cave, and Thorny manages to cover up a glaring plot-hole by pointing out that the rabbit said this cave is where the kidnapper should be hiding out. And hey, if the rabbit said so, it must be true. To my surprise, none of them seem the slightest bit concerned with walking right into the villain's lair without checking for booby-traps or looking around for any sign of danger. In fact, both Thorny and Roly spontaneously begin to sing as soon as they put one foot through the cave entrance. But it's nothing like the number we just experienced, it's just a load of "lalala"s and "dah-dah-dah"s... which strangely enough makes it ten times more understandable. There's an unintentionally funny moment where Thorny stops singing for at least ten seconds and then Roly, who has continued to sing even louder than before, turns around and yells at him for singing. I have no idea where that came from. He's probably taken one too many blows to the head in this episode and is experiencing mild hallucinations. Speaking of which, I'm sure The Fruitties would be a far more enjoyable product if one were to watch it under the influence of hallucinogens. Then again, it's quite possible that this was how it was created, so I wouldn't recommend experimenting with such things in case one of you happens to have some boneheaded idea that a cartoon about talking food would make for good TV. There's a momentary shot of a security camera watching our "heroes", but nothing ever comes of it so just pretend you didn't see it. They come to a fork in the road, with one cavern leading left and one leading... uh, gee, I guess that would be right. Sorry, my intelligence quotient has taken a drastic fall since I started watching this episode. Roly chooses to turn right, and they immediately fall through a covered hole in the ground. Are you gonna blame Thorny for that too, Roly?
They fall directly into a cage placed vaguely in the middle of Monkus' laboratory, inside which Boss has been placed for safekeeping. Monkus and Gorilla are standing nearby waiting, and upon seeing them Roly declares that Monkus must be the kidnapper. Wow, nine out of ten for observation, Sherlock. Monkus laughs a bunch and calls himself very naughty for committing such a felony. Right, preventing the savage murder of a number of innocent Fruitties. Hardly seems "naughty" to me. Did I mention it's never really explained what Monkus' motivation is for kidnapping Boss? I assume he felt worried that Boss would warn one of the Fruitties that he exchanged their rugby ball with a different ball, but man it seems like going to a lot of effort for something so simple. They could've just thrown him into the ocean or something. Still, I guess until I actually attempt to cause wanton chaos and mass destruction, I have no right to criticise his methods. There's a shot of a large contraption inserted in the midst of Monkus' high-pitched ranting, and after Thorny asks to know what it is Monkus decides to show him. Oh, he's the nice evil kidnapper. Giving them an informative tour of his lab and everything. Apparently it's a machine that sets off earthquakes. He demonstrates its power after telling them to "Observe, microbes!" Wow, microbes, I think that's the most complicated word that's cropped up in this entire episode. AND it was pronounced correctly. All is forgiven, oh crazy singing lady. Monkus pulls a lever and the background begins to shake haphazardly... though Monkus himself remains perfectly still. Um, yeah. Must be one of them magical earthquake-makers that affect everything except the person using it. After ceasing the demonstration, he asks the Fruitties if they liked it. He'd probably save a lot of time by just giving them a form to fill out. "What was your opinion on the quality of the earthquake? Would you prefer it if the earthquake machine were a different colour? Did it confuse you that the effect only seemed to work on backgrounds?" that sort of thing.
Monkus goes on to explain that once his machine is perfected he will be able to set off earthquakes in any part of the world. I can practically hear Pumpkin in the distance yelling, "No, I said run, not construct a diabolical plan to destroy the world's cities!" Monkus seems to be under the illusion that once he sets off all these quakes, the world will be his. Um, why would you want to own a world if it's all trashed to high heaven? I never understood that. Roly remains resilient, firmly stating that Pak and Kumba will come to the rescue. I rather doubt that, since neither of them has made the slightest impact on today's episode whatsoever. To have them as the real saviours would be nothing less than a cop-out. Monkus quite rightly refutes such claims and then points to a rugby ball lying somewhere on the floor. This amuses Roly to no end, because he assumes Monkus intends to throw the ball to Pak and Kumba in order to thwart their rescue attempt. Considering the fact that the team of Kumba and Pak consists of an infant girl and a sluggish banana, I think that would pretty much do the trick. Nevertheless, Monkus goes on to explain his scheme for the two percent of us who haven't figured it out yet. You see he had Gorilla switch the rugby ball over in Fruittie Village for a fake ball with a bomb inside. Why'd you bother keeping the real ball, then? Souvenir? Apparently, if the bomb drops below fifty... I mean, if the ball touches the ground, it explodes. Then why didn't it explode the moment you switched it? Oh, right. It's a MAGICAL bomb, too. Just like the quake machine. Monkus points out that once the bomb goes off, it'll be the end of the Frutties. Yeah, I wish. Dude, just let evolution run its course; they'll all be eaten up by starving natives eventually, just don't let them distract you so much. Like any good Bond villain, Monkus says he's going to leave them alone for an indefinite amount of time so that they have a chance to make their escape. Okay, he doesn't say that, but you gotta believe he was thinking it. Gorilla butts in with a hearty "Yeah Moonus, we'll rule the world" while pounding his fist. I bet this ends like Tim Burton's awful remake of Planet of the Apes, and Roly returns to Fruittie Village only to find everyone's turned into chimps. Hey, at least then he'd probably be the best-groomed member of the village for once. True to their word, Monkus and Gorilla storm out for no discernible reason, leaving the gang alone in the cage. Um, if he's so intent on killing the Fruitties, why doesn't he just put these guys out of their misery? I mean, they're right here. And helpless. Do you expect me to believe he's got a good reason to keep Roly and Thorny alive? Come on.
Thorny stares intently at a clock which shows that it's 11:00 am. Roly confirms this fact's significance by pointing out that there's only one hour till the game begins. Sure is lucky the game wasn’t cancelled due to all that heavy snow from before, or Monkus' plans would be going to heck in a hand-basket. Boss taunts them by saying they'll never escape, also remarking that he's tried and tried but found it impossible. Roly disputes this by saying that everything Boss tries turns out bad, and everyone basically concurs with this assessment. Geez, you're all gonna die AND you're bringing each other down. How thoughtful and productive. Roly's genius idea is to have everyone run in one direction after he counts to three. Aha, I get it; it's his sneaky way of getting them all back for the countless concussions he's sustained during this venture. They follow the plan through, and upon collision with the bars the cage tips over and spills them out onto the floor. Before Roly can finish celebrating, Thorny sees that the time is now 11:15 am. Heh, how did that happen? So time and gravity simply aren't constant in this universe? Alrighty then. Thorny points out that they haven't much time left. Yeah, in a few minutes the day'll be over. Roly stops to switch a few random wires around on the magical quake device before shouting, "Let's go!" They then exit the lab and, presumably, run out from inside the mountain. Um... so Monkus has all that security for the entrance, but no backup security for the exit? Goodness, Monkus, you're far too lax. Even if this ridiculous plan did work, you'd be overthrown almost immediately by a cockroach that gets the brilliant idea of entering your lab safely through the clearly marked rear entrance as opposed to the booby-trapped front door.
We then cut to Fruittie Village, and yes here is where they recycle all the footage from twenty minutes ago showing the Fruitties enjoying the Spring Festival. Sad, really. Though perhaps it's a metaphor for the dull repetition of modern society, that evolution has slowed down to the point that all we really have to look forward to is the chance to start over again. Cause that'd support Monkus' idea of destroying all of civilisation and allowing the monkeys to take charge once more. But then, where does the snow factor into all this? Oh, forget it. There's a disorientating shot of the crowd shouting "Begin the match, begin the match!" and it's precisely the same crowd shot from before. Yup, even more recycling of footage. Mayor Strawberry, who has some kind of special booth from which to view the proceedings, tells them all to "hold your horses, it's not twelve o'clock yet". Lucky he mumbled that throwaway line, or else there might've been a serious riot or something. Here's a great surreal part, where a stick of Corn walks along the aisles selling food from some kind of trolley. "Lovely charcoal candy, nice and tasty!" I kid you not; he's selling charcoal candy. And what else does he have for sale? "Get your clay lollipops! They're amazing!" Wow, I wasn't certain until he added the "they're amazing" part, but now I'm SOLD. I have to get me some clay lollipops. Seriously, it's bad enough that we have kids that are wannabe Ralph Wiggums who'll stuff their faces with whatever's placed within arm's reach, but encouraging kids to chow down on charcoal and clay? That's about a twenty on the ick scale right there. On a more serious note, this is genuinely supposed to be the kind of thing the Fruitties eat on a daily basis. Mud, clay, water, charcoal... I mean I know they can't exactly eat proper food as it would seem cannibalistic, but this is going to leave kids with some serious scars. Oh well, at least it'll distract them from bugging their parents about how babies are made for about, oh, five minutes.
And FINALLY Pak and Kumba figure into the episode, as we are briefly shown the two of them talking together in an attempt to show that they still give a flying fig about their two best friends. Even though they've been gone for the best part of a day and nobody's seen them since the rugby game last night, and they're not at home. Obviously Kumba and Pak decided to alleviate their concerns by watching a "great rugby match". Whatever. Anyway, Kumba asks, "Where are Thorny and Roly?" as if it just struck her that these two guys have been absent the whole time. "They're probably playing in the woods," Pak replies. Of course, the animators made Kumba's mouth move ever so slightly as she tilted her head back to listen to Pak, so for some odd reason the voice artist for Kumba decided to have her say "Oh..." even though Pak hadn't started speaking yet. Unless she just remembered that she doesn't give a hoot about Thorny and Roly. That might explain it better. For a short time we see Roly and the boys jogging as fast as their legs and hooves can carry them. Then we go right back to the rugby match where Mayor Strawberry is declaring that the match can now begin, even though he admits that it's still not twelve o'clock. O... kay. He must be real quick to buckle if he only managed to wait an entire minute after he'd bluntly stated that the match couldn't start until the allotted time. Oh, I forgot, time works differently in the Fruittie world. It's MAGICAL time. The match is about to begin, and we zoom out and see that Pak is once again on one of the teams. What?! We just saw him out in the stands talking to Kumba! RRRGH. The crowd is going nuts, despite the fact that absolutely nothing has happened as of yet. Perhaps they're just happy to see that Pak is making good use of those teleportation techniques he picked up from Kurt Wagner. As if to illustrate my point, Pumpkin merely lifts the ball up from the ground and the crowd practically explodes. And he's just the referee. Pumpkin tosses the ball... and, uh, it hits the ground. What? I mean, I can understand forgetting to remove Pak from certain scenes, but this just completely negates all sense of continuity and stability that this episode may have once had. The match continues, although I've officially stopped caring about the whole bomb thing. Hey, the animators obviously did, why not me?
As Acorn is heading downfield at an incredible rate, Roly and company zoom onto the pitch and steal the ball from him. Roly cries "I am the king of rugby, come on now!" which would usually lighten my spirits if I weren't so gosh-darn disappointed already. The crowd seems mildly shocked by this intrusion, but as soon as Roly throws the ball (with the dangerous and sensitive exploding bomb inside) to Boss they seem to start enjoying it again. I bet Pumpkin is about ready to kill someone, though. Mayor Strawberry compliments their playing ability, though I myself would probably question the fact that a bunch of random people just stormed the game... one of which is a greedy boar who constantly tries to devour everyone in the village. Boss passes the ball to Isaac, who then passes it to Thorny, which seems like a ludicrous idea since Thorny is covered with sharp thistles. Still, he manages to hold onto it long enough to pass it to Roly who then runs underneath the goal posts and off the field altogether. Did I mention they all have big goofy smiles on their faces? Sure, they're facing imminent destruction, but who says they can't have fun doing it? Roly dives into the town square and tosses the ball into a nearby well whilst crying, "We did it!" Uh, managed to cause irreparable damage to an important source of the town's water? Is that what your objective was? Indeed, the bomb explodes at the bottom of the well, and everyone is miraculously saved. I guess Monkus was really trusting to luck that everyone in the village liked rugby, otherwise that thing wouldn't even have scratched the wooden surface of one of the huts. And the crowd continues to applaud, as though they have even the foggiest of ideas as to what's going on.
Meanwhile, back at Monkus' lab, Monkus and Gorilla return from whatever they were doing in the other room and find that Roly and friends have escaped. So I suppose that one security camera he had installed was just for decoration, rather than any practical purposes like actually keeping an eye on what's going on. Monkus is so mad that he says that he is going to make an earthquake so huge that it'll destroy their island. Wow, big talk. Big, crazy, suicidal talk, since he lives on the exact same island. Must be a glutton for punishment. Monkus walks over to his earthquake machine and pulls the lever a good seven or eight times before it actually decides to do anything... and d'oh-ho, it looks as though Roly's changing around of a few simple wires gave the machine the ability to electrocute anybody who touches it! Monkus is fried and ends up looking like a chimney sweep who's had to work overtime, and obviously he doesn't think to just switch those two wires back around and try again because that's the last we see of him. So his role was little more than a cameo, really. Sigh. And to think this is one of the better episodes. We go right back to the rugby field, where the crowd is still cheering despite the fact that the action has obviously come to a screeching halt. Roly, Thorny, Boss, and Isaac are shown lying down, apparently exhausted from their long and lacklustre adventure. At least they didn't have to write about all of it in detail. Kumba and Pak walk over to Roly, and Kumba congratulates Roly on attaining the acclaim from everyone that he always wanted. Eh? He threw a ball in a well. If anything, you guys should be chasing them out of town for decimating the village's water supply. Roly makes the decidedly unfunny remark that he just wants to sleep, causing Pak to interject with "These artists never know what they really want, do they?" Dude, he just said he wants to sleep. At least try to keep up. Though goodness knows it must be hard when you keep bi-locating like that.
Then we see numerous Fruitties lifting Boss and Isaac up in the air and cheering, though we never really saw anyone explain to these villagers exactly what the threat was and how these guys managed to save them. I guess vigilantes are welcomed with open arms in Fruittie Village. Isaac says that since the Fruitties are so nice, he doesn't understand why Boss wants to eat them. I think the reason has been made clear enough by now. Boss replies with "Can I help it if I'm vegetarian?" though I think it's obvious he's just doing it for the good of humanity. We then see Thorny standing amidst a tentative crowd of Fruitties, and he asks why nobody wants to pick him up like they're doing to the wild boars. Mayor Strawberry says, "Because you don't shave" which sends everyone into hysterics. Ahahahaha. All that preparation for the rugby match down the drain! Ahahahahaha! We share the island with a mad bomber who's still at large and will stop at nothing to kill us all! HAHAHA! Oh, by the way, this is where the episode ends. So much for the Spring Festival.
So what exactly was wrong with this episode? I think a much better question would be to ask what was right with this episode. And although this technically classifies as a good Fruitties episode, it's unlikely that kids or anyone of any age will get anything out of it. What exactly are people supposed to learn from all this? That when you have to save the lives of yourself and your friends, only do it when it's absolutely necessary and complain the whole time? I mean, I guess there's a lesson about teamwork here, but it's not a very good one. Most of the time it seemed to be trying to entertain the viewer by having random acts of violence committed against the characters we're supposed to sympathise with. Now, cartoon violence can be hilarious. Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tom & Jerry, all these cartoons manage to flawlessly pull off the type of zany slapstick that can only exist in a cartoon universe or any given Sam Raimi movie. But see, usually the reason the violence there is so enjoyable is because it's the pain the characters experience is often deserved. Does anyone want to see Elmer Fudd shoot Bugs? No, they want Bugs to dress up like a woman and kiss him. No, wait, uh, I mean... they want Bugs to hurt him. Yeah. And would Tom & Jerry be half as entertaining if JERRY was always on the receiving end of the torment? No. Which is why The Fruitties fails in this regard. Just because Roly is lazy doesn't mean he deserves to be smacked around and prodded with razor sharp thistles. He's the hero. A reluctant hero, yes, but still a hero with an imagination. Sure, have the characters berate the guy for being an oaf and a slacker, but don't punish him physically. And also, there are far too many dull subplots in this cartoon; everyone knows kids have short attention spans. They're not going to stick for all this rubbish about planting trees and moving rocks, when over on the other channel Dexter is probably creating a gigantic freeze ray to stop his sister meddling with his laboratory. And the main plot was even worse than the subplots... it didn't even stick to its own preordained rules! In short, not even a five-year-old is going to stand for having their intelligence insulted by something as daft as this. I'm willing to bet that Roly is based on one of the head writers for this show, considering just how lazy the production value seems to be. So in that case, perhaps they should continue to physically punish both Roly and the guy he’s based on.
I kinda liked it, though. But I'm crazy that way.