Friday, December 6, 2013

"Brokedown Merry-Go-Round" Show of the Week: Bravest Warriors, "Hamster Priest"

'Look over there, it's your mom, and she's giving head to Rob Ford!'
(Photo source: Bravest Warriors Wiki)
Every Friday in "'Brokedown Merry-Go-Round' Show of the Week," I discuss the week's best first-run animated series episode I saw. "Brokedown Merry-Go-Round," a two-hour block of original score tracks from animated shows or movies, airs weekdays at 2pm Pacific on AFOS.

"Hamster Priest," the latest webisode of Cartoon Hangover's sci-fi comedy Bravest Warriors, finds Beth Tezuka (Liliana Mumy) experiencing both headaches and strange visions of her friends that turn out to be different alternate realities she's being shifted through. Yep, she's going through the same predicament Worf experienced in the classic Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Parallels," which "Hamster Priest" pays tribute to.

Except instead of the dimension bouncing being caused by one of The Next Generation's countless "temporal anomalies," it's the cause of a sinister-looking experiment conducted by her recently resurfaced dad (former Lost in Space star Bill Mumy, Liliana's dad), and the reality shifts are at an accelerated pace like the changes in the time continuum caused by Alec Baldwin's Timecrowave on SNL. Mr. Tezuka's up to no good after Beth rescued him from being trapped for two years in the See-Through Zone, where he started worshiping a powerful entity known as the Worm and was renamed Reverend Ralph Waldo Pickle Chips. The results of Ralph's experiment--which take place when he activates a mysterious purple energy device and feeds one of his hamsters a droplet of the same purple virus that the Warriors encountered in last season's "Catbug"--amount to one of Bravest Warriors' funniest and most inventive installments.

One moment, the Invisible Hideout, the Warriors homebase that's also a flying robot, suddenly looks like the bridge of the Enterprise-D, Chris Kirkman (Alex Walsh) is bald like Captain Picard and everyone's dressed in those 24th century Starfleet uniforms that look more like figure skating costumes than genuine military uniforms. And then the next, the Hideout interior has increased in size, Beth's alien best friend Plum (Tara Strong) has switched genders from female to male and Catbug (six-year-old Sam Lavagnino), the Warriors' little animal sidekick, is now captain, but he's a dictatorial asshole who barks that "this bridge is no place for a woman!," an amusing nod to the misogyny of '60s Trek episodes like "Turnabout Intruder."

He's about to perform the Catbug Maneuver.
(Photo source: Bravest Warriors Wiki)
I'm torn between Beth's changing subservient roles in the realities where Catbug is dictator (from "Kitchen Wench Tezuka" to "Pleasure Clone Tezuka") and the '80s TV character-like appearances of the alternate counterparts of Danny Vasquez (John Omohundro) and Wallow (Ian Jones-Quartey) as my favorite gag during "Hamster Priest." Danny's counterparts resemble Magnum, P.I. and Worf, while Wallow's counterpart resembles B.A. Baracus. The kiss one of Danny's counterparts plants on Beth is a scene that was foreshadowed for a split second as one of Chris' visions of future events in "Ultra Wankershim," and the fact that Chris was able to see a future kiss that took place in an alternate reality where he died hints at the omnipotence he'll attain later on as an Emotion Lord.

Chris might need to find a way to access his currently latent Emotion Lord powers in order to defeat the Worm because this episode seems to be setting up the Worm as the second season's big bad. "Never doubt the Worm" doesn't have quite the same ominous ring as, for example, "God is now here nowhere" did during the short-lived 2003 paranormal show Miracles, but it's the first step in a mythology that will hopefully be as juicy as the mythology over on Adventure Time, Bravest Warriors creator Pendleton Ward's signature show. Ward isn't involved with the writing on Bravest Warriors--Breehn Burns is the showrunner here--but inventive installments like this week's "Hamster Priest" prove that Bravest Warriors is in equally good hands.

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