Sunday, October 25, 2015

Danger Mouse 2.0 E5: Pink Dawn

Have you been wondering what it would be like if Barbie ruled the world and DM and co. dressed in drag? Well this is YOUR episode, you lucky devil!

You just know Super Fan there has been waiting for this opportunity for weeks.

Danger Mouse and Penfold are able multi-taskers, as this episode's opening shows. Not only can they test Squawkencluck's new rocket boots, they can ensure that all of London (and thanks to the internet, the world) knows exactly where their "top secret" headquarters is. Good job, fellas. Squawks is understandably perturbed. Not only are the boys messing with her stuff (AGAIN), but they're making a mess and she's trying to keep things neat for their special guest.

No surprise that they'd get along, since modern DM's whole deal seems to be having fun.

Dawn the poodle won some sort of competition, and is getting to spend the day in the lab. Exactly what this contest was or why the Royal Secret Service held it (we can no longer blame DM and Penfold for blowing the "secret HQ" thing, can we?) is never explained. It apparently involved buying entries, though. Dawn seems like a sweet (if a bit spoiled and lonely) little girl, and DM is glad to humor her. Squawks is in a frenzy, though, running around and trying to prevent dangerous items from maiming anyone. She's a real killjoy.

However, her attempts to get Squawkencluck to play end up causing some damage and even opens up a black hole above the group. Penfold is being sucked in, but thanks to Squawks' quick thinking, her favorite pen (oh, and Penfold, I suppose) is saved.

Dawn then spots a rather ominous vat of something glowy, and decides she and Mr. Snuggles the bear will go for a swim. DM grabs the rocket boots and manages a daring midair rescue in the nick of time to save Dawn, but Mr. Snuggles and Dawn's tiara end up in the drink. Danger Mouse retrieves the items with a robot arm, which seems to placate the distressed girl enough to try and get Penfold and Squawkencluck to play "shinsies" with her. Squawks has had enough, however, and tells Dawn that their visit has concluded. Dawn is incensed and vows revenge for the failure to play. Penfold is anxious about the implications, but DM is not worried. "That's the last we'll see of her," he replies, just before the trio stare at the camera.

Yeah, they're genre-savvy. 

That evening at Dawn's home (tellingly, the only light on is hers), Dawn discusses her disappointment in the day's trip with Mr. Snuggles in her blindingly pink, princessy bedroom. Deciding to do something to feel better, she throws herself a girly dress up party.

Throwing on a few items and her tiara, Dawn takes a look in the mirror. Something strange is happening, however. The lights sputter, and Dawn begins to emit a startling pink glow. Even her eyes take on an unearthly rose-sparkle-shiney quality. Dawn begins to giggle with sinister delight, and an explosion of pink light erupts from the house.

The next day, Britain's favorite spies are getting their morning workout in. Danger Mouse is taking it easy with a few one-fingered push ups while holding up Penfold, and Penfold is trying to work out what to fix for breakfast. Their routine is interrupted, however, with an emergency call.

An irate (and slightly fabulous) Colonel K has called to demand that something be done about the way Dawn has gone "Extreme Makeover: Sparkle Pink Princess Edition" on London. Penfold is mightily amused. K is decidedly not.

Flying into action in the Mark IV, the boys survey the Barbiefied city. This sequence ought to be proof enough that glitter must NEVER be weaponized. DM supposes that "it's cheerful at least, like some kind of Pink Dawn." Penfold loves it when they get the title in the episode dialogue.

Arriving at Buckingham Palace, Danger Mouse attempts to make contact. Dawn declares that she is "The Princess" and attempts to use her newfound powers of "Care Bear Stare" on them. The only thing she manages to do is nick Penfold's hair, however. He's quite taken with it.

Squawks calls, having determined that the tiara is the culprit, having taken a dive into the vat of "Personality Amplifying Mind Gel" back in the lab. Penfold quite sensibly asks how that works, exactly. He's told to shush for his trouble. But no matter, we've got a plan: seize that tiara! The only problem is how to get close enough to Dawn to do it. This problem is revealed to be bigger than they thought when Dawn reveals that she can FLY.

Having taken her pink glitter conquest worldwide, she pauses at the White House (now the Magenta Mansion) and uses her new powers to turn a reporter and his crew into dolls! Why? So that she'll have someone to play with. Back at HQ, Squawks determines that Dawn is getting more and more powerful, and that they must act fast to put a stop to this reign of pink terror. Noting that they need to get close without arousing Dawn's suspicions, DM suggests they need invisibility cloaks (he REALLY wants those and I'm frankly loving the running gag) or something. Squawks has a better idea...

Why do we HAVE that as a preset for the lab, again?

"We turn you into PRINCESSES!"

DM is shocked, Penfold is delighted to spot sequins. Danger Mouse is adamant that this is just her trying to get him back for all the broken inventions, but Squawks insists that this is the only way. And that making them look stupid is just a bonus. K calls, and puts his foot down. They MUST put a stop to Dawn, and if that means playing pretty princess dress up, then SO BE IT. Let the montage begin! And be sure it includes a reference to Jem and the Holograms!

The boys are all dressed up, but having trouble getting around in their new looks. Asking Squawks for help in being princessy reveals she has never done this sort of thing. Well, we clearly can't have that, so they nab her and stuff her into a wig and dress of her own and drag her along. After all, DM reasons, it could be FUN!

I'm looking for the button that activates the lights and sounds. My guess? The rooftop flag.

Arriving at Dawn's home, they discover that it has turned into an authentic dolly play house, complete with realistic pop-open action. It's very toyetic. I mean look at that thing!

I find it funny that the boys have done a better job on Squawks than she did on DM. Penfold looks nice, however.
DM coaches his companions to remember that they are supposed to be little girls here for a play date. Also, he has dubbed himself "Princess Cindy" for this mission. And meanwhile I'm sitting here trying to figure out if it's on purpose that Squawkencluck and Penfold resemble Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) and Belle (Beauty and the Beast). Since DM bears a passing resemblance to Cinderella and calls himself Princess Cindy, I'm guessing it was absolutely deliberate.

You thought Princess Cindy would be taken out so easily? You FOOL!

Dawn is delighted to have company, and pulls Squawkencluck aside for patty cake and hair brushings. As DM attempts to sneak up on Dawn to grab the tiara, Squawks inadvertently blows his cover. Dawn sends the now giant-size Mr. Snuggles to grab DM in a monstrous bear hug, in preparation for turning him into a toy. Squawkencluck reminds him that he's still wearing the jet boots just in time, and he manages to escape just before Dawn's powers hit Mr. Snuggles and turn him into a plastic doll. Outraged over the loss of Mr. Snuggles, Dawn leaps atop a pony doll she's brought to life with her powers, flying off. Danger Mouse takes off in hot pursuit, but is dismayed to discover that the flying pony farts rainbows. For our benefit, he notes that it's like breathing marshmallows.

Yes, the day was saved on a CLOCK, thanks to Princess Cindy and her special footwear.
Dawn takes up a strategic position atop the Big Ben clock tower, and makes several attempts at blasting her pursuer. Danger Mouse, who's figured out that the girl just wants to play, entices her into a game of hide and seek. Distracted with counting to go seek, Dawn is easily subdued with one of the giant bows adorning the tower. Seizing the tiara, DM tosses it into the Thames, ending the short-lived reign of "the Princess".

Back at HQ, Penfold is still having fun with dress up, and why not? Meanwhile, DM teases Squawks that she enjoyed playing like a kid, but she insists not and calls him Princess Cindy again. As we end the episode with a shot of the tiara and a remarkably pink and sparkly river, the narrator assures us that no matter what dangers await, we are protected by the world's greatest secret agent: PRINCESS CINDY!

"Don't YOU start!"

Episode Rating: 4.5/5

This is another episode with a ridiculous premise that delivers a fun and ridiculous ride. The trope of a powerless character who comes into incredible power and threatens the world may be an old one but having the villain be a lonely little spoiled rich girl gives it a bit of fresh (if pink) paint. Arguably, Dawn is a more horrifying foe than any they've faced so far, what with her ability to turn people into dolls for her own amusement. I have a feeling that we'll probably be seeing a return of the Princess, though. That closing image of the tiara afloat and glowing in the sparkly river just seems ominous.

The house opening up is a really nice shot, and really has me thinking that they should be making a toy line that includes it. Or just a toy line. Let's have some toys!

He'd have made a great blonde.
 DM's princess getup though... Sorry Danger Mouse, but you looked better in the montage as a blonde instead of the medium-auburn/strawberry blonde hair he ended up with. (Although the latter IS more accurate to Cinderella.) Also, I love that they ended up taking absolutely NO pains to hide his signature eyepatch.

Danger Rating: 1

The only "officially named" Danger things other than DM himself in this episode is the Mark IV, but I wonder if the jet boots aren't supposed to be as well? I'm only counting things officially named that I know of, so that brings today's total to one.

Danger Car

Callback Moment

Danger Mouse in drag. I never thought I'd live to see the day, but pretending to be a girl to fool someone is something he's tried before. In Planet of the Cats, he made an attempt at pretending to be a southern belle tourist to throw off a group of feline security officers. It didn't work, but perhaps a wig would have made a difference? Or at least a pretty dress? (Maybe if he'd introduced himself as Princess Cindy?)

 This also isn't the first time that DM has faced a foe in frills and bows. In Crumhorn Strikes Back, Professor Crumhorn disguised himself with some shapeshifting ability pills (And I'm suddenly aware that I don't remember if they ever told us who Agent 57 got his powers...) to take on the appearance of a sweet little girl whose father had been kidnapped  as he tried to knock the two spies off during a visit to America.

It's enough to make you distrust little girls.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Danger Mouse 2.0 E4: Planet of the Toilets

Now THIS is a title that you know is going to lead someplace interesting. And that someplace interesting is:

TOKYO! Wait...

*Ahem* Yes, TOKYO!
After a brief bit of confusion due to an animator (now fired) who did the wrong background, we arrive in Tokyo! Danger Mouse and Penfold are escorting our favorite poultry of science, Professor Squawkencluck to the annual conference of genius inventors.

Pictured: inventors. Purportedly genius ones.
Squawks has brought along her latest doodad to show off, a super high tech computer chip so powerful that it could bring ANYTHING technological to life! I think that we all know what's about to happen. Don't deny it. You read the title card.

DM is unimpressed with the chip, but is apparently taking his job of safeguarding it seriously, even investigating a nearby noodle cart for potential evil.

Little did Squawkencluck know how close the chip came to falling into the wrong noodley appendages...t
 I don't know who this noodley monster guy is, but he's becoming one of my favorite things. We know he has a SpamChops channel and Penfold tried to eat him once. I really hope he gets an origin episode because he cracks me up.

I'm starting to really kind of love the random dark humor.
 Penfold, meanwhile, is feeling the effects of making a non-stop trip from London to Toyko with an extra large soda and no bathroom break. As he tracks down a men's room, Squawks seizes him and puts him in charge of her chip so that she can go get a selfie with a colleague whose work in gene splicing appears to have gone... yeah. "I'm going to go get a picture before he EATS himself!" Actual quote, people. Penfold is shocked, perhaps at least a little horrified, but mostly he's absolutely about to burst.

Oh now THAT can't be good.

 Taking the chip with him, he makes a dash for relief, only to be startled by the latest in techno-toilet technology, who introduces himself as... John. Penfold, understandably, is so caught off-guard by the fact that there's a talking toilet offering him a crossword that he fumbles the chip, which falls into John. This is apparently sufficient to install the advanced technology, and "John" goes from "YAY I'm alive and being alive is AWESOME!" to "My purpose is WHAT?! I WILL DESTROY YOU ALL!" in about two lines of dialogue.

I sort of wish the butter passing robot from Rick and Morty had this much gumption, you know?

Serious question: Does anyone else actually worry about this happening, or is it just me?

DM and Penfold take off in pursuit of the runaway AI toilet, pursuing John through the streets of Tokyo over the roughest (supposedly shortest but probably just to abuse Penfold for laughs) route possible before losing him. Not to worry though, Colonel K is on the holo phone with news that concerns our missing flusher friend. It seems toilets all over the world are taking up John's protest, picketing, and chanting "Rights for toilets! Rights for loos!"

A surprising number of toilets on that friends list...Hey, and the monkey guy in the hat! And what IS Alien Chicken, anyway? We keep seeing ads for it!

Furthermore, John (who has renamed himself Dr. Loocifer), has started up a SpamChops channel and has created a passionate call to action that includes lots of "toilet humor". (PUSH harder! STRAIN for liberty! and so on..) K instructs DM to stop Dr. Loocifer before it's too late. Finding a large crowd of protesting toilets, DM attempts to reason with them.

"Take me to your leader!"

Reason doesn't appear to be working, however. The toilets are closing in and they look QUITE unhappy. Sensing that they are in dire straights, DM activates the Mark IV's ejector seats. This does not go as planned and raises questions about how exactly that worked.

Penfold's face is exactly how I think I would react in this situation.
 DM mutters that this is the "worst Danger Car feature ever" and activates the seats to fly off this time. And that sound you just heard is me yelling "They actually call it the DANGER CAR?!" Okay, I am not calling it that. We'll go ahead and start counting it in the Danger Rating, but I refuse to refer to it as the Danger Car. This show is "Dangerous" enough already. Anyway, moving on.

DM and Penfold land atop a bullet train, delighting Penfold who's always wanted to ride one. The train's toilet appears then to attack them, which also delights Penfold as he's never seen a WORKING train toilet before. After a brief scuffle, DM decides that he's had enough to this and grabs his assistant to disembark through an upcoming open window. I'm not even going to attempt to do the math here, but yeah, it's WAAAAAY up there on the improbable scale. Even for a cartoon about talking cyclops mice who fight angry toilets. They discover that they've landed in a toilet factory full of inactive units, which gives Danger Mouse an idea.

Because no matter how bad a disguise is, it will ALWAYS work.

Cobbling together some fantastically convincing costumes, the duo infiltrate the crowd of protesters. It's working splendidly until Penfold falls through an open manhole cover, blowing his disguise and prompting DM to come to his rescue. After discovering the puzzling fact that the toilets are afraid of a cleaning wand, Danger Mouse dives through the manhole as well. Dr. Loocifer's hideout is actually down there, which makes perfect sense according to Danger Mouse.

Not pictured: The portion of the fight where Dr. Loocifer sprays brown(!) water at DM. Because ewwwwwww!

Dr. Loocifer (who does not approve of DM calling him John, by the way) sends his elite toilet commandos after the two agents, who are captured by a monstrous portapotty and brought to Loocifer's giant toilet execution... toilet... thing... to be destroyed by flushing. Unfortunately for Loocifer, he used up all the water in the tank to make a dramatic proclamation and now they've got to wait for it to refill. DM takes the opportunity to jump into action and uses his trusty toilet wand to recover Squawks' chip and send Loocifer into his own doomsday weapon. Loocifer (who apparently doesn't even need the chip anymore) vows that he will return, and DM flushes him away... but fumbles the chip himself! Luckily, Penfold manages to catch it.

"You *did* wash that, right Penfold?"

Squawks is delighted to have her chip back, proclaiming it her "baby" and smothering it with affection and disgusting the absolute living daylights out of DM. Penfold, who has located a (now) normal again toilet, can't be bothered to be disgusted, he's been holding it this whole episode and has other things on his mind.

Episode Rating: 4/5

This episode is ridiculous in all the right ways. Technology gone amuck, pun-tastic dialogue, and a really, really good message in my opinion at least. I mean.. how smart do we really need our toilets to be and why would we not expect them to be really angry when they inevitably became sentient? I mean really. The butter passing robot thought he had it bad? Ha. Inevitably, there's going to be a Terminator film with this as the premise for why Skynet decided to destroy mankind. 

 Penfold getting to save the chip after previously losing it is nice, I think.

Danger Rating: 1

Under protest, I include the Mark IV in this list. I suppose you can mentally add a +1 for the car in previous episodes, as well. Blech.

Danger Car (groan)

Callback Moment

This episode (believe it or not) actually has precedent in the Original Series. There were several episodes directly dealing with machines rebelling!

 Way back in season one's Planet of the Machines, DM and Penfold discover themselves temporarily banished to a world of disgruntled talking antique machines who left Earth years before(somehow).

That's a lot of angry washers.

In The Day of the Suds, Baron Greenback seized control of all London's washing machines to create a massive, soapy army to destroy Danger Mouse.

How did this happen? Oh you know... because of science. And... things.
 Of course, that also ended up with a giant soap suds monster.

Would you believe THIS had to do with washing machines as well?

And in "What a Three Point Turn Up for the Book", the Mark III got some improperly done hardware installed and turned against Danger Mouse and Penfold briefly. We'll be talking about this one again later.  

 Mechanized Mayhem saw appliances of all kinds rising up in a revolt.

That time, it was the work of a huge supercomputer. Thankfully, the Mark III had been fitted with an Anti-Mutiny circuit by the time this happened. Clearly, there was a trend, after all.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Danger Mouse 2.0 E3: Greenfinger

Let's wash the cringe out of our eyes from last episode, shall we?

Pictured: Not what you want from your planet.

Space. The paradoxically empty yet full of stuff enigma. Here is where we open today's episode as the narrator struggles a bit with his script and figuring out which planet we're supposed to be watching explode due to some mysterious circumstance. Well it probably has absolutely nothing to do with the mysterious seed we see floating towards Earth, where it promptly jams itself in the throat of an unsuspecting Squawkencluck. Intrigued by the odd-looking thing, she brings it back to the lab.

Some unknown period of time later, we see that it has sprouted as Danger Mouse and Penfold question Squawks about her upcoming time off to go to a concert. She tolerates their questions but insists that they DO. NOT. TOUCH. ANYTHING. Nothing! Quit messing with her language translator!

Notice the sandwich.

DM asks if the odd little plant turns things invisible (He really wants to believe in that cloaking technology, doesn't he?) before Squawks decides to kick them both out, warning them once again to stay out of her lab while she's away. The translator goes to the trouble of calling DM a "clueless moron" to drive the point home. As the two head back upstairs via the lift, Penfold mentions what a shame it is that the plant will surely die without someone to water it. That's all the excuse DM needs! They will SAVE that plant, and prove that he CAN BE TRUSTED! (By proving that he can't be trusted.)

These super spy raves are getting out of hand.

One thoroughly actiony sequence later, Danger Mouse has liberated the plant from its prison, and brought it upstairs to the flat. Penfold is making jam like a crazed thing (apparently they went through this previously when he filled the toilet with marmalade and he's gone off his meds for this preserve-producing problem), which DM is quite let down about.

A better view on how the flat is laid out. Looks like the living space and kitchen are all in one instead of separate rooms.

Neither of them notice that the seedling has sprouted huge scary vines and is rapidly filling up the flat. It also fashions a creepy face out of them and yells with it.

The duo regain their freedom after DM splashes hot jam on the vines, and sprint for the weapons locker. It's also full of jam. Danger Mouse and Penfold are finally forced to climb out the window, hoping that they have at least kept the plant contained. No such luck. The plant bursts free and sets to the job of encasing most of London's landmarks in thick vines.

I just called to say I'm sorry for implying you'd abuse my trust! No reason for you to feel guilty, right?

 As they try (and fail) to cut this enshrouding shrub down to size, Squawks calls from her concert to apologize for snapping at them earlier and implying she didn't trust them. DM awkwardly ends the call as she notices that something weird is going on. Noticing that the plant is shouting again, they realize that they could make sense of it with Squawkencluck's translator.

Arriving back where the mess began just ahead of the plant and a tidal wave of more of Penfold's jam, they find the device. Penfold is uncertain about this, but DM is adamant that they're not messing with it, they're just going to fix the mess he made when he previously didn't listen about not messing with Squawkencluck's plant. When Penfold asks how they'll sort out the problems they'll cause by messing with the translator, the reply is that they'll worry about those problems once they've caused them. Just then the plant bursts into the room, once again fashioning the simplistic face and shouting a bunch at them. The only words the translator can parse are "Warning" and "invasion".

Stymied for the moment, the boys flee. Danger Mouse decides that clearly this means the plant must be destroyed before it can fully engulf the Earth, and since the roots are here at HQ, this looks like a job for the auto-destruct! Bidding their home of not quite three episodes adieu, they flee as the countdown begins.

Don't miss the "Almost Fresh" 2 for 1 special at Big Mike's!

Meanwhile, Colonel K is trying to grab a snack at a pie stand nearby, not caring that the proprietor has turned rather leafy. DM and Penfold warn him that they're blowing up HQ to destroy the giant plant, which he reacts to with dismay. Evans is a nice plant and they're going to play golf, it seems. Danger Mouse is agog at the notion that K can speak to the plant, and K reveals that the plant is actually speaking Welsh. Deciding that they need to stop the forthcoming explosion, the duo return to wait for precisely the last moment before cancelling the countdown.

Shades of Space Dandy.
Evans pops up again, and this time they are able to use the translator to understand its message of exposition. The Space Bees are coming, it seems, to destroy everything. Evans here is the last of his kind, who once dominated the galaxy and engulfed many planets (peacefully) in blooming vines. But then everything changed when the Fire Nation Space Bees attacked, drawn by the aroma of flowers and stinging the Celestial Welsh plant-creatures' worlds to death/exploding. They need to evacuate the Earth before Evan flowers.

And you thought you had problems with the global crisis, DM? NOW you have REAL problems.

The bees, true to Evans' word, are incoming. Squawks arrives back just in time to hear DM explain that this is his fault since he got into her lab, and DM (promising to make it up to her) barely escapes unscathed to the space ship that they have sitting around just in case of this kind of emergency.

DM attempts battling the swarm with an enormous rolled-up newspaper while Penfold ferries messages between him and Squawks back in the lab like a kid whose parents are arguing.

Looks like a sticky situation.
Squawks launches several rockets, filled with Penfold's excessive quantities of jam, into Mars, covering it with the sticky stuff. The bees are sufficiently enthralled with the jam to just crash into the stuff, saving the Earth. Back planetside once more, DM attempts to make good on his promise to make things up to Squawkencluck with what we can only assume was supposed to be a nice dinner in the newly-repaired flat. Unfortunately, the rug they had spread over the lift is not sufficient to keep Squawkencluck from falling down the lift. She's going to be mad when she comes to.

Aw, look. He's happy.

As for Evans the space plant? He's quite happily living on Saturn's rings and sings us through the credits. That's nice.

Episode Rating: 3.5/5

This is a fun episode, with DM failing to learn much of anything about what you'd assume the lesson to be. The main conflict isn't so much Evans or even the space bees, but Danger Mouse vs. Squawkencluck. It probably won't be getting resolved any time soon what with that ending.

Danger Rating: 1

Not much excessive "Danger" action this time around! Assuming we can guess that the space ship has a name, that only gives us one obvious one:

Danger Ship

Callback Moment

A planet covered in sticky dessert? This brings to mind the episode Custard, where the Earth is awash with the titular stuff. 

And as for the space ship, it's a bit reminiscent of the Space Hopper.