|The theme of this episode is "five things I wouldn't expect to see under someone's skirt."|
On Dragons: Riders of Berk, Snotlout (Zach Pearlman), the overly confident alpha male of the group, and his dragon Hookfang stumble upon a pretty girl (Mae Whitman) who's lying in a shipwreck on Berk's beach and looks like Meg from Disney's Hercules. The girl, who's named Heather, claims to have been attacked by pirates who killed her parents and laid siege to her island.
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Astrid (America Ferrera) is the only teen who isn't drinking the Heather Kool-Aid because she sees Heather sneaking around near her house at night and catches her leafing through the Book of Dragons, plus the girl is suspiciously always asking everyone in the group about their dragon training techniques. Her suspicions about Heather are confirmed when she sees her conferring at night with the Outcasts, the enemies of the island who had previously attempted to invade it in "Alvin and the Outcasts." The gang realizes Astrid has been right about Heather when this girl who's been spying on them for the Outcasts steals both Astrid's dragon Stormfly and the Book of Dragons.
After failing to capture Hiccup so that he could gain control of the gang's dragons, Outcasts leader Alvin (Mark Hamill) wants to capture the next best thing: the book. Alvin, a character who wasn't in How to Train Your Dragon, is always a welcome presence on Dragons: Riders of Berk because his presence means both impressively staged and animated Outcasts-vs.-dragons battles and Hamill doing what he does best: absolute villainy.
|(Photo source: Kaijudo Wiki)|
In a shout-out to a movie none of Kaijudo's kid viewers are likely to have ever seen, the original Carrie, Sasha finally loses her patience with humanity at a school dance when the viral video of her mistaking a "throne" for an actual throne is shown in the auditorium as a prank, and she attacks the attendees, but it's a TV-Y7-rated rampage on the decorations in the auditorium. No one gets hurt, of course, because you can't electrocute and incinerate a crowd full of people on a TV-Y7-rated cartoon like you could in Carrie.
The episode's other shout-out to a movie that kid viewers have no knowledge of and are most likely not allowed by their parents to watch is the title itself: "The Unbareable Being of Lightness," a play on The Unbearable Lightness of Being. I'm looking forward to seeing My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic become the next Hasbro Studios cartoon to reference steamy and hot-as-hell Lena Olin movies (maybe Romeo Is Bleeding?).
"The Unbareable Being" script's attempt to tackle cyber-bullying can be clunky at times--is it really necessary for Gabe to explain cyber-bullying to the tech-savvy audience?--but luckily, the episode doesn't try to find solutions to this problem through lame speechifying. All that Kaijudo can do is throw up its hands in befuddlement and say cyber-bullying is here, it sucks and there's nothing we can do about it, which is the same reaction most of us adults have to this bizarre form of bullying that's permeated everything from the Star Wars Kid phenomenon to the Asian-bashing UCLA skank's video and now Petraeusgate.
I had no prior knowledge of who the guest stars were going to be in the Dan Vs. third-season premiere, so I was surprised when I recognized Jenna Fischer's voice in the role of Amber, a prim and proper anger management class instructor who turns out to be even more unstable than her new student Dan (Curtis Armstrong), the poster child for anger mismanagement. I'd like to see Fischer do more guest shots in animation, although I'd rather see her voicing absurdist characters (like her sexed-up Darlene Madison country singer character from one of my favorite movies, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story) or unhinged ones like Amber because in the scenes where Amber hasn't gone over the edge yet to seek Dan-style revenge on all her enemies, Fischer comes off as a rather wooden voice actor.
|(Photo source: ComicBook.com)|
In this time when the media obsession with Paula Broadwell's nutso behavior must currently frustrate feminists who were just coming off the high of seeing all those female Democrats win Senate seats and basically stick it to the Republican war on women, some female viewers might not care for "Dan vs. Anger Management" because it presents yet another Fatal Attraction-style psycho chick in pop culture. They're probably unaware that Dan Vs. isn't "those damn crazy women are always helping to ruin Dan's life" all the time, thanks to the presence of the show's most lovable character, Elise (Paget Brewster), the wife of Dan's slacker-ish best friend Chris (Dave Foley, who's voicing an animated version of "Dan vs. Anger Management" writer and series co-creator Chris Pearson, while Dan is modeled after Pearson's writing partner Dan Mandel). Elise also happens to be a superspy who's been masquerading as an unassuming suburban housewife and is more mature than either Dan or Chris. As I've said before, Elise is a real human being and the show's real hero.
Last season's "Five Short Graybles," an anthology of stories about the five senses introduced by a storyteller named Cuber (Emo Phillips) who refers to his stories as "Graybles," was the second or third Adventure Time episode I ever saw, so it led to lots of head-scratching by me and questions like "Why is this princess a mad scientist?" or "Why are mad scientists on this show obsessed with building the perfect sandwich instead of robots that can transform into planes while attacking other kingdoms?" "Five Short Graybles" was probably not a great second or third installment to watch because it requires prior knowledge of the characters in Ooo who aren't Finn and Jake and is exemplary of Adventure Time's weirdness.
But after taking in nearly an entire season of Adventure Time and adjusting to the show's Fleischer Studios-like vibe, "Five Short Graybles" is a much more enjoyable installment and exemplary not just of the show's weirdness but its rich universe. The "five whatsits" theme is actually an excuse to take a peek at various characters' everyday lives, the Adventure Time equivalent of "22 Short Films About Springfield."
|(Photo source: Adventure Time Wiki)|
At the end of the episode, Cuber reveals the theme to be "the five tastes" because Jake ate a "Little Jack Horner"-style sweet plum, Marceline played savory licks, Tree Trunks had a sour taste in her mouth, Gunther wanted to drink the Ice King's salty tears and Football sipped bitter tea. Then Cuber giggles and says to the viewers, "You thought the theme was 'the five fingers'? Don't be silly! Nobody's had five fingers for 20 blabillion glaybels. Five telepathy glands maybe." But he's essentially indicating these stories are indeed also about the five fingers.
|(Photo source: Adventure Time Wiki)|
The strangest thing about "Five More Short Graybles"--and it's even stranger than a guy so in love with his own foot that he proposes marriage to it--is the vocal cameo by Marc Maron, who's listed in the episode's end credits as the voice of a squirrel. The host of WTF is like the last person I'd expect to guest on a cartoon because of his open disdain for animation and his admission to other stand-ups on WTF that he doesn't "get it," which would make for a great segment in a future Graybles episode about "five clueless dismissals."
|(Photo source: Adventure Time Wiki)|
Regular Show introduced a new generation of viewers to the pleasures of Mountain's "Mississippi Queen" in "Weekend at Benson's," the show's Weekend at Bernie's homage. I'm not sure if those same viewers who rocked out to "Mississippi Queen" for the first time while watching Mordecai, Rigby and an unconscious Benson become the life of the party will be as taken with Eddie Murphy's cheesy 1985 hit "Party All the Time" during the first couple of minutes of "Guy's Night," but the episode crafts an enjoyable montage out of that Rick James-produced earworm just like it did with "Mississippi Queen" (although I always thought Jermaine Stewart's Weekend at Bernie's theme "Hot and Cold" would have been better suited for the "Weekend at Benson's" montage than "Mississippi Queen").
The sounds of "Party All the Time" pump up Mordecai, Rigby, Muscle Man and Hi-Five Ghost for a wild evening or rather, a teetotaling (or weed-deprived) slacker's idea of a wild evening: a night of chips, soda, pizza, poker, muscle car mag ogling and a rental of the awesomely titled Rambo knockoff Sergeant AWOL. Pops walks in on guy's night (the guys never invited their old-timey friend to their monthly night of blowing off steam because he's, well, old-timey) and wants to prove he can be a guy's guy like the rest of them, so he attempts to conquer a favorite quasi-Jackass dare of theirs, the Milk Challenge, in which an entire gallon of milk must be consumed in one hour.
|(Photo source: Regular Show Wiki)|
The guests at this lounge are being served glasses of milk by silent, Jawa-like waiters with heads shaped like the Real Seal droplet logo that's stamped on American-made dairy products. Pops is surprised that he wound up in this paradisiacal world because he didn't win the challenge yet--he has to lift the jug of milk over his head to officially win it, which he was about to do before he passed out--and the challengers realize that they didn't lift the jug either and that this so-called paradise is a trap. The waiters are evil milk creatures who are trying to prevent the challengers from leaving to finish the contest by biting them, which transforms them into one of them. In the climax, "Guy's Night" basically turns into a zombie movie, but in an atypical setting of a Kubrick-esque, all-white limbo and with willpower as the weapon against these milk zombies instead of guns, bows or Michonne swords.
"Guy's Night" doesn't have anything particularly deep to say about conquering the impossible, but then again, Regular Show doesn't always have to be deep. It just has to be funny and inventive each week, and "Guy's Night" accomplishes that pretty solidly, especially in its "Party All the Time" montage and its scenes with Pops, a manly man despite his childlike demeanor.