Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Danger Mouse 2.0 E10: Jeopardy Mouse

Alright, I have another confession. Way, way back in the early 1980's, as I was watching the original series of DM, I had a fan character, probably the first one I ever made. She (because of course it was a she) was an American spy and a romantic foil for DM. At first she was a black cat, but once I saw the episode Planet of the Cats, I realized that the different animal species were all different scales and plus a cat and a mouse wouldn't get along at all. So then she changed to a black bat/mouse hybrid, who still kept the name "The Black Cat". The bat part, if you're interested, came in so that she could have pointed ears and keep the "Cat" name. The notion was that she was so mysterious that no one had ever seen her except in silhouette. So, of course, they would think that she was a cat. For the next 30 years, whenever I thought of Danger Mouse, I tended to recall BC fondly and mentally tweak her development a bit.

Anyway, one of the things that came up when this new series was revealed was that there would be a female spy character. An American, and probably a romantic foil. You see now where I'm going with this. I promise, I'm going to try and be objective about...

Even the NAME is derivative.

We open in London, as Penfold's directions lead Danger Mouse on a circular route around the Tower of London for reasons that quickly become clear...

IT'S THE ZOMBIE APOCALPYSE! Well, sort of. Penfold's trying to sneak in a quick game of Attack of the Bunnies while he's supposed to be using DM's spare iPatch to find Baron von Greenback's hideout. Penfold's lack of aptitude for Geography is getting them nowhere, so DM activates the DangerNav to calculate a route to the baddie's evil lair.

After a ridiculously dangerous (by design, yes) sequence of twanging off trees and turbo boosting over canyons, they arrive... at Bouncy Henge, apparently a play area for kids built by the ancient Britons. And there, lurking in the shadows they found Silas von Greenback and his faithful minion, Stiletto. Before DM can more than say "Not so fast!" the Baron has already activated the "Tectonic Plate Spinner", and ended the world as we know it! Except... wait.. did anything even happen?

As a matter of fact, something apparently did. A purple-clad spy appears, attempting to arrest the Baron and proclaiming that they're in America and she has jurisdiction. Oh, and SHE is supposedly the world's greatest secret agent. As she and DM argue about who's a secret agent and how cool her eyeshades are, the bad guys escape. Attempts to locate them via the DangerNav results in the second computer meltdown so far of the new series, as the car's CPU cannot accept the the map is wrong, and self-destructs. What on Earth has happened?

It appears that the Tectonic Plate Spinner has flung entire countries around the globe! England is in the US! The entire city of New York/London (New London? LonYork?) is a mishmash nightmare of nearly Monty Python proportions. While England is in the US, Jeopardy's boss E. Normous Schwartznut claims he's in charge. He (and Colonel K, sort of) reveal that the Plate Spinner was stolen from the US, and directs the two spies to work together to get it back.

"Shouldn't you at least be having problems with the whole 'driving on the wrong side of the car' thing?"

Jeopardy initially refuses, calling DM unprofessional and only interested in having fun. Penfold is aghast, asking DM if Jeopardy does, in fact, know that he's standing there. The powers that be insist, however, and Jeopardy snags DM's car keys to drive them all the Shanghai... now in Switzerland. The two spies snark at each other most of the way, but Penfold is able to get an odd sort of laugh out of her at Danger Mouse's expense, leading DM to speculate that maybe she's not a robot, after all. Then we're right back to her being scandalized he's just here to have fun, and him being agog that she's PAID to do this stuff.

The Baron's friends list is a source of never-ending amusement.

In Switzerland/Shanghai, Greenback puts the finishing touches on the demands video before uploading it to SpamChops. Just in time, too, as the spies are closing in! Or wait, are they? A few knocks to the ground with the Tectonic Plate Spinner and the terrain shifts and folds, landing them in the ocean, hurling them into the desert, and just generally making things difficult.

While Jeopardy tries out several of the Mark IV's all terrain (and we DO mean all terrain) modes, DM enjoys some parasailing, waterskiing and just plain showing off. Jeopardy points out that he's supposed to be a SECRET agent, and DM muses that there's no point in doing it if nobody's paying attention. Speaking of not paying attention, it seems the mice lost Penfold on that last epic stunt jump! And worse, the next spin lands the hapless assistant right in front of the Frog's Head Flyer!

Back in the Mark IV, DM and Jeopardy are too busy calling each other names to notice Penfold's gone, so their bosses have to call and let them know. The two spies put aside their differences over whether it's okay to have fun saving the world or not to spring into action. As the Baron flees with the entire landmass of Italy, Jeopardy and DM get the US's spare Tectonic Plate Spinner and take New Zealand in hot pursuit. Jeopardy lassos the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which prompts Greenback to try and flee via the Frog's Head Flyer. She handily stops that via causing the Great Wall of China to pop up.

Greenback isn't worried, the Frog's Head Flyer is still indestructible, so the two spies can't possibly get in. Not unless Penfold hits that big green button, that is.

And just like that, Jeopardy becomes the Mike Wazowski of the DM universe.
 The two spies "no after you" at each other until ANOTHER spy shows up. Hazard Mouse, who also claims to be the world's greatest secret agent, swoops in with his spiffy cape and arrests Greenback in the name of the Italian people.

Back in Mayfair, Colonel K informs the boys that they're getting complaints from all over the world over where Penfold put all the countries. This just begs the question... why was he allowed to do so in the first place?!

Episode Rating: 4/5

The big hook in this episode is supposed to be Jeopardy Mouse, and eh... I'm really just not feeling her, personally. Her personality (and voice) are rather flat, and even her coming around to having some fun at the end is a little dull. Honestly, I think I'd be unimpressed with her even if I hadn't made what was (mostly) the same character myself back in 1983! The fact that they had to lampshade her name by throwing in Hazard Mouse just adds to the inanity of the name.

The ridiculous romp through the world as it twists and morphs around them is the real star of this episode. The standout sequence for me, at least, was putting the Mark IV through its paces in the ever-changing terrain. Oh Mark IV, is there ANYPLACE you can't go?

Danger Rating:
Despite the word danger being thrown around a bit, we only saw a few "dangerous" items during this episode.

Danger Car
Danger Flat
Callback Moment

This isn't the first time that something bizarre has happened to DM at an ancient landmark. In The Good, The Bad, and the Motionless, a trip to Stonehenge unleashes DM's evil side, which then has to be stopped. 

The basic premise of the plot, the changing around of the countries of the world, is yet another thing from the old series. In the episode There's a Penfold in My Suit, the nations of Central America were swapped around, due to an earthquake and a mystical swapping stone. DM, Penfold and their nemeses soon had a serious identity crisis going on.

Let's have a stinger; the city of New Londork! There, that seems fitting.