Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Strawberry Shortcake

I think I really lost my mind this month.

I picked up a DVD at Wal-Mart for $5. It was a double feature. First was an oddly titled 2006 film Spider's Web: A Pig's Tale - The Adventures of Walt the Pig I am not sure if it's a Charlotte's Web knock off or not... but I wanted to find out.

And hopefully I will, but first I decided to check out the other feature:

Strawberry Shortcake: Her Very First Adventure.

This turned out not to be a movie, but two 24 minute TV specials from the early 1980S.

The odd thing was.... I really liked them.

I have been ill lately and perhaps my brain has taken a turn for the worse from weeks of cold medicine... I just can't be sure.

I didn't have much exposure to Strawberry Shortcake when these shows were new. After all I was a boy.

In fact I didn't even like to EAT the Strawberry Shortcake dessert because it shared the name with a girl's toy.

(I also quit my hobby of collecting holly because of Holly Hobbie, but that is a different story.)

What I missed out on in the 1980s was 6 TV specials that ran 30 minutes (with commercials) and were played annually on network TV.

It's interesting that they never branched out and just made a full series.

The two episodes I saw were:

The World of Strawberry Shortcake: This was the start of the series. Strawberry is a ridiculously cute little girl that is friends with other girls all named after a different dessert. There is one named Apple Dumpling, one named Blueberry Muffin, one named McFlurry and one named Freindly's Jubilee Roll.

Strawberry has an enemy named The Purple Pie Man. (She also had another adversary named Sour Grapes, but she wasn't in these episodes.)

The Purple Pie Man, like most cartoon baddies of that era doesn't have a clearly defined end game. It seems that he really wants to steal Strawberry's recipies... or maybe kill her so she can't make better pies than him anymore.

The Pie Man is the coolest part of the show. He constantly announces himself "The peculiar Purple Pie Man of Porcupine Peak" the he hums a little tune and dances like a prospector that just found gold.

He does this at least 3 or 4 times an episode.

In addition to The Pie Man, there are 2 other male characters. One is Huckleberry Pie who is just depicted as a lazy little boy that hangs out with Strawberry Shortcake. I am surprised that he was never successfully recruited by The Peculiar Purple Pie Man of Porcupine Peak.

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See, I really am losing it.

The other male is The Sun who talks to Strawberry, but also sees everything the villains do wrong. Yet he never seems to try to hard to stop them.

I guess he is busy, heating the earth and putting two scoops of raisins in all those cereal boxes.

The second episode was Strawberry Shortcake in Big Apple City.

This one had her going to a bizarro New York City to compete in a baking contest with.... The Peculiar Purple Pie Man of Porcupine Peak.

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Yep. I lost my mind.

Anyway, I was actually surprised at how clever the stories were and how well defined the characters were for a silly kids show. The show also features a handful of new catchy tunes in each episode.

After it's six year run as a series of specials, Strawberry went into hiding before being reborn in a new series.

The new series features and more teen-like Strawberry and (mostly) the same group of friends. But the relationships have changed. I think Strawberry is now related to Apple Dumpling and owns Huckleberry's dog.

The new ones seem okay, but under-utilize the villains.

Instead the conflicts are more realistic. In one episode Strawberry's friend (a horse) breaks her leg.

Rather than put her down she stays at Strawberry's house. It plays like a milder version of The Odd Couple.

The show sure could use The Peculiar Purple Pie Man of Porcupine Peak!

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