Sunday, August 7, 2011

Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog - Super Special Sonic Search & Smash Squad

Well, I learned that the title at the top of each blog can actually stretch. Thank you, Sonic, for teaching me a valuable lesson. But we'll get to that later.

Okay, let's talk about hedgehogs for a moment now. Back in the 90's, there were not one, not two, but THREE different Sonic cartoons produced by DIC Entertainment (aka the cartoon studio that will probably make the most appearances in this blog just because of the insanity they've wrecked on an unsuspecting public). If you ask anyone, they'll usually say that out of the three Sonic cartoons, there was one good one, one that was actually worth watching.

Was this the Sonic cartoon that would be considered the good Sonic cartoon? Ahahahaha hell no, that would be Sonic the Hedgehog (aka SatAM). People's opinions of this show tend to fluctuate between "Get this crap away from me" to "It's so bad that I can garner some enjoyment out of it".

Nice TM hiding in the title there, guys.
Course, I'd be lying if I said that I hate this cartoon. Back when I had a Sega Genesis, I used to rent the four AoStH VHSs over and over and over again from the local Blockbuster. I had also rented the SatAM one once, but at the time, I really didn't like how grim and dark Sonic's universe was and preferred the kiddy, bright one on account it more closely resembled the games I would play. To hell with you, gritty storylines and fleshed out characters, Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog actually had Casino Night Zone!

But now that I'm over twenty and now realize that the grimmer, darker Sonic cartoon was also the better made one, will looking back at this cause irreversible damage to my retinas or will I still find something salvageable? Let's see what the pilot of this has to say about that.

So let's take a look at this cartoon's attempt at telling us, the viewers, just what the hell is going on in this strange universe, all while showing us the many ways a robot shaped like a chicken can get demolished by Urkel. This is...

Super Special Sonic Search & Smash Squad

I like how the title just barely fits.
Airdate: September 6, 1993

Availability: On DVD

So the episode opens on Sonic's blue hedgehog ass. Interesting way to open an episode. He runs wordlessly through a weirdly shaped countryside for a while before we're introduced to Tails. To those unfamiliar with the Sonic the Hedgehog video games (and if you are, then huh, I didn't know real estate sold property under rocks), Tails is a brown fox who has an extra tail and, because of his mutant limb, can inexplicably fly by twirling them in a way that would make no sense considering his anatomy. It's a strange world populated by horrific mutants such as these two.

Tails wordlessly waves at Sonic, they shake, and Sonic...does more running. Most of this without a single word of dialogue. I think the show makes it pretty obvious that it's not going to bother with story like that OTHER Sonic show. Be amused by the bright colors and the happy characters, kids! We're not going to bother with "character development" and all that other boring crap!

Geez, Sonic, you're moving at the speed of sound! It's a little unsafe to be doing that backwards!
Finally, they reach civilization, or at least they reach a hill overlooking civilization. Apparently civilization in the Sonic verse is a bunch of scattered buildings that look like they couldn't hold a population of ten people, let alone "civilization". Is this a post-apocalyptic world where like 80% of the previous population died of wars and disease?

Come to think of it, a lot of what Sonic just sped through WAS just barren wasteland...

But I'm getting off-topic. Instead of actually going to town, Sonic and Tails just sort of stand on that hill and talk about how it's great they made it. Uh guys? You sort of traveled for a while to get to that place. Wouldn't it be wise to go to it?
That hill they're standing on has smallpox.
But don't worry guys, because that's when the real stars of this show appear; Scratch and Grounder. I'm just going to say right off the bat that these two are faaaaar more interesting than Sonic and Tails. I think part of it might be the fact they have actual character flaws, and that since they're not the heroes, they don't automatically win the day. It probably also helps that half of their dialogue isn't catchphrases like Sonic. Trust me when I say this but these two never pose a threat; Sonic's pretty much invincible to anything these characters can throw at him.

"Scratch, why does my belly button have a compass?"
It's a good thing Sonic and Tails are deaf and sure like standing underneath that ugly polka-dotted tree, because even though Bebop and Rocksteady Scratch and Grounder talk forever and very loudly about their trap, the two mammals don't even budge. What is their trap? Two pairs of robot hands that grab Sonic and Tails by the legs. Wow. So their trap needed those two to be in that exact spot under that exact tree for it to work? It's a good thing Sonic is like The Roadrunner and always follows the road or else that would never work.

I'm sure there's a furry fetish out there similar to this.
Scratch and Grounder are so happy that they caught Sonic and Tails that they declare "The chase is over!" and dance around for several hours like idiots. I have to wonder if the two of them are privy to the fact that they've caught Sonic and Tails in their traps dozens of times but Sonic never stays captured. This kind of celebration should be reserved for when Robotnik actually roboticizes Sonic. Just common sense.

Geez, Scratch looks like he's in pain.
However, their brainless raindance ritual is interrupted when Sonic, out of nowhere, tells them that they mean too much to each other for the robots to capture him. Wait, huh? No, I'm sorry, Sonic, but you lost me the moment you said the robots who were built for the only purpose of capturing you shouldn't capture you. How does he show them this? Well, he starts telling them the story of how they first met. Yeah, sure, I go into random episode-long flashbacks when I'm captured by talking robots all the time!

"For the last time, neither of you are going to end up in a Sonic game! Quit asking!"
He starts the flashback by saying "It all started before you were born" (a pretty creepy line coming out of Sonic) and we end up inside a Dr. Seuss book. I wonder how Sonic is going to be able to stay conscious while telling this story, considering he's hanging upside down and all the blood is rushing to his brain.

I like how there's like four barber poles growing out of the ground but no
actual dentist's office.
There's no people in the streets, not because the budget's not big enough to animate that many background characters (which happens a LOT in TV cartoons, trust me), but because the town actually is deserted on account there's something scaring the villagers into hiding. What's so frightening? Well...this thing.

"That chair so does not match those walls!"
Yeah, basically an entire town is hiding from an effeminate horse robot covered in spikes and is wearing a tutu. Huh. I guess Robotnik was hitting the bottle pretty hard when he made him. Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine (a repackaged Puyo Puyo game for the Sega Genesis) says his name is Dragonbreath, but he doesn't look at ALL like a dragon so I guess his breath just really stinks. He's smashing around asking for the Bounty Hunter's Convention (so he knows there's a convention but doesn't know where the hell it is?), so of course the moment Sonic hears about this, he decides to go there himself.

That being said, Sonic doesn't at all decide to stop the giant robot and just stands back and watches it destroy some poor lady's house. Some hero he is.

So yeah, Bounty Hunter's Convention! I...have no idea why Sonic's using this kind of a plot point but okay.

At least there's plenty of parking.
That is when we meet the main villain of this show; Dr. Robotnik. General consensus is that this is the best incantation of Dr. Robotnik, and I say that with no concrete proof whatsoever. You can't hate this guy; he's way too funny to be hated. He's just so over-the-top in his villainy and his line delivery that it makes him infinitely more fun to watch than Sonic and his soul-crushing "Up over and goooone!" crap. He's so popular that they would actually gradually alter the Robotnik (aka Eggman) in the video games to have more aspects of this one's personality.

And it turns out all of the bounty hunters are robots Robotnik made, and every last one of them looks hilariously poorly made. Some of them look like robots Mega Man wouldn't even bother shooting. Also, not sure why he would hold a bounty hunter's convention for his own inventions when it'd be a lot less conspicuous to just hold this meeting in his lair so that his robots don't attract attention from a frightened populace, but who am I to judge?

Geez, that blue robot in the back has some huge boobs.
While Robotnik is telling them things that frankly all of them should already know (Sonic has been foiling Robotnik's schemes, Robotnik hates Sonic, etc. ), Sonic is able to sneak in and take a seat at the bounty hunter's convention. I like how there's like several hundred robots in that building, a lot of them with advanced weaponry for limbs, and not a single one of them spots the target they've been searching for. Robotnik can somehow create robots with human emotions and the capacity to love, and yet he can't build a decent death bot that will instantly vaporize anything that's blue and spiky. Are lasers and missiles just beneath you, Robotnik?

Hey, way to not post any guards, Robotnik!
And since this cartoon hates my eyes, Robotnik unveils the curtain by pulling a remote control out of his crotch. Yeah, it's one of those shows. I guess now would be a good time to point out that the animators in this show were actually encouraged by the show creators to exaggerate Robotnik's gut and ass in attempt to make "animation's sexiest fat man". It's up to you whether they succeeded or not, because I'll be in the bathroom scrubbing my eyes out with bleach.

I wonder how Sonic included this into his story. "And then Robotnik fondled
his junk onstage, causing me great emotional discomfort."
The sexiest fat man alive sort of goes on and on and on about how much he hates that hedgehog all while employing as many visual gags at his disposal as he can. The cartoon likes to use visual humor such as this, possibly to widen the gap between it and its darker cousin, but it doesn't do it consistently. Sometimes an episode will go through ten minutes without an impossible sight gag, and then suddenly it'll hit us with like ten of them all at once. I have to wonder if the reason there's so many sight gags is because Sonic's getting woozy hanging upside down in that tree.

"But Sonic, how could a Boo sign come out of Robotnik's head?"
"Who's telling the story? He also tattooed the word hate onto his teeth."
The next minute goes as so: Robotnik says something Sonic-related, the robots boo. Robotnik insults Sonic, the robots boo in response. This scene goes on for quite some time in this fashion, when I'm sure that other Sonic show (and I don't mean the one with the magic robot-fighting instruments) would've gotten right to the point by now.

Sonic's story sure has a lot of padding. "And then he continued to insult me,
while a robot with a faucet for a head grinned in response."
Finally, after over a minute of just Robotnik trash-talking Sonic, emulating IGN whenever SEGA releases a new Sonic game, we finally get to the purpose of the convention. It turns out the lardass is offering one billion Mobiums (the currency in this show) to whoever can capture Sonic. This development is apparently so important that the camera focuses in on Robotnik's thumb as he pushes the remote control to show the money amount.

Geez, Robotnik, get a better Graphic Designer.
That is when Sonic finally reveals to everyone that he's in the audience by saying that he's worth way more than that, which I guess actually makes sense considering the combined number of games Sonic has sold in his lifetime. Naturally, Robotnik doesn't take this very well at all...

And that's when we learn just how useful that entire crowd of bounty hunters are on account that even though they outnumber Sonic a hundred to one, he just trashes them. He barely even has to touch them; he can just tell one of them that he's really somewhere else and the other robots will stampede him. Really, their A.I. is so stupid that I was half-expecting little birds or bunnies to pop out of them. That's right, bounty hunters, I'm comparing you to those fish that jump up and down in Green Hill Zone. You suck that much.

Nice of Robotnik to make female robots but he should really make them wear pants...
Sonic runs out of the Incompetent Robot Convention and here is when we enter the portion of the episode I like to call the "Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine cameo portion". This episode was supposed to tie-in with that particular game, but the problem is the cameos are really, really, really lazy. They don't use all of the robots (some of them were hidden in the Bounty Hunter Convention crowd shots), none of them except for Dragonbreath have any dialogue, they don't succeed in catching Sonic, and they're gone after like 15 seconds. What a waste.

"Let's split up! It'll be easier for Sonic to defeat us that way!"
By the way, remember that this is all a story Sonic is telling Scratch and Grounder. I have to wonder what they thought when they heard "And then I dressed up in a costume and didn't even try to disguise my voice because somehow robots fall for that crap every single time! Hahaha, they even fell to their deaths because they never appear again in the series! God, I love me." They probably decided that Sonic hanging from that tree looks an awful lot like a pinata.

Nice of the animation to drop in quality like that.
First Sonic takes care of one batch of silent cameos, so he has to finish off the other two. Let me just sum up the other two's deaths in one sentence; Sonic hands them some jet ski cords, they decide they're going to be giant retards and take them, and then Sonic runs them into a solid stone wall. Again, these guys are just so useless and trivial opponents when in Mean Bean Machine, a lot of them run on the tears and sorrow of children across the nation.

If this were Mean Bean Machine, Sonic would've been buried underneath
soooo many nuisance puyos beans...
But then, Dragonbreath again! Not sure why the animators favored this bot over the other Mean Bean Machine opponents to the point where he hogs all of the screen time, but okay. I mean, geez, let Arms (the orange one with the pincher claws) or Davy Sprocket (the purple one) have some dialogue.

So he's a highly advanced machine capable of sentient thought and he's fighting with
a club. Really, Robotnik? Can't you hand any of your robots guns?
His defeat, if possible, is even more humiliating than the other robots because it's just really pointless. He doesn't even clobber Sonic like he looks like he was going to. Instead he just stands there and lets Sonic sets up a William Tell game. Then Dragonbreath throws his club at Sonic instead of using it like, I don't know, a club, and then the tree falls on him. No one will miss him, trust me.

Whoa, wait, Sonic's eyes are only that small?
What's the white around his eyes then!?
Sonic and Tails relax on a hill, basking in the glow of Sonic's amazingness (Tails says "We sure showed them!" when all Tails did was stand off-screen and do nothing), when we see Robotnik spying on them with binoculars he shoved so deep into his eyes that he has to really yank them out. I of course like to post some of the more ridiculous frames of this show just because I care deeply about my readers' state of mental health.

Robotnik says that Tempest Keep the Bounty Hunter's Convention was merely a setback and then we cut back to his secret hideout and...whoa, wait. Isn't this all a flashback Sonic is telling Scratch and Grounder? How would Sonic know the exact details of what went on in Robotnik's hideout? Did he ask around and get eyewitness accounts from the badniks on duty on that day? How is it a flashback if Sonic himself didn't encounter this?

Robotnik's statue needs another giant, nude statue for it to fistbump.
It turns out that Robotnik is pooling all of his resources and all of his genius to create the perfect hedgehog-catching robots, which is just terribly ironic when you consider the two robots that come out of this project. Either his bounty hunters are just that terrible that even Scratch and Grounder are improvements or Robotnik just absolutely sucks at what he does.

The face of someone who knows what he's doing.
And we find out how Robotnik makes robots. He throws a bunch of random objects into a machine and it forms a sentient being made out of bolts and metal. By tossing in a bunch of rotten eggs, a stuffed lion, a computer, and other random pieces of crap, the fat tub of lard is supposedly going to create one of the best robots he's ever made. Hey, Robotnik, I have a great idea. Why not just build the robot? You know, out of actual circuitry and metal. That way you'd know what you'd get as the end result because you'd be designing everything.

No, this makes way more sense.
So instead of getting the greatest robot in the history of robots, he gets Scratch. I have to wonder Scratch thought when he heard Sonic tell him that Robotnik made him by throwing in random objects into a cauldron-like machine including an old sock. It either blew his mind or he dismissed it as Sonic embellishing the story.

"Sir, why are you looking at me like that...?"
That is when Robotnik tells Scratch that he is the first new member of his new Super Special Sonic Search and Smash Squad. Nice episode title drop there, Robotnik. He then says that since Scratch is the supreme greatness as hedgehog hunting, he's going to clone Scratch and get two of them. Robotnik, I have two questions. One, how would you know how well Scratch can hunt hedgehogs if he's never been in the field, and two, how can you clone a robot? You need DNA!

By the way, this is Scratch's face when he hears that Robotnik's going to clone him.

This was my face when I saw Robotnik grabbing his crotch earlier on.
We hear from a throwaway line that perhaps Robotnik made Scratch a little too chicken. Uh, Dr. Robotnik? Why would you make your Sonic-fighting robots have any fear at all? I know Sonic isn't Cloverfield or Cthulhu, but still...

The freeze frames in this show are amazing.
So anyways, Robotnik grabs one of Scratch's tail feathers (which look really organic, leading me to question how much of Scratch's body is metal and how much of it is actual flesh and bone concocted from that machine) and drops it into his Plot Device machine that never appears again in the show. Seriously, why isn't he cranking out more robots with that thing if Scratch and Grounder are such failures at what they do?

Robotnik likes to live on the dangerous side. There's no railings.
Long story short, Scratch accidentally messes up the cloning process and instead of getting two Scratchs for the price of one (oh geez, imagine how annoying that would be, considering Scratch's voice), Robotnik gets Grounder. So in a way, Scratch is responsible for all the things about Grounder that are different from Scratch, making all of his insults and general hatred for his brother kind of ironic.

By the way, I love the faces Robotnik and Scratch make when Grounder first appears. It's like they're trying to figure out just what the hell they're looking at.

"Hmmm, paint him red and stick him in that Aquatic Ruins Zone. That'll take care of Sonic."
As you can imagine, Scratch and Grounder don't exactly hit it off and have no brotherly love for one another. It probably didn't help that Scratch is such a dickweed to Grounder from the moment Grounder is born, declaring that since he was made first, he's Robotnik's favorite, and just flat out making Grounder's life miserable. Grounder responds to this by drilling Scratch in the ass. Note to self: stay away from Grounder.

Yeah, Scratch, taunt the robot with drills. That was smart!
Robotnik breaks up their fight by throwing a table at them (which won't damage their sensitive, Japanese-made circuitry and parts I'm sure) and then orders them to capture Sonic. All of them kind of meander off-screen and then we're introduced to Scratch and Grounder's version of Gary Oak; Coconuts the robot monkey. Apparently Robotnik demoted Coconuts to sanitation duty, which is a nice way of saying "Robotnik now has a robot whose sole purpose is to unclog the massive turds he unloads in his lair's toilets". Seriously, Robotnik is the only organic creature in this building so thus would be the only one in need of a bathroom.

Anyways, Coconuts is so mad at dealing with Robotnik's crap (both figuratively and literally) that he decides he's going to show them all by capturing Sonic first. I have to wonder how Sonic even was able to add that to his flashback story. Did Coconuts himself tell Sonic what he said at that moment in time?

"Thanks for not flushing, asshole!"
One commercial break later, and we're back in the lifeless, deserted wastelands of Mobius. Seriously, would it honestly make any difference if Robotnik conquered this place? Even if he built a bunch of robot-making factories, it would at least be more full of life than whatever the hell Sonic's running through.

Maybe Mobius is really Earth after World War III. That would explain all the weird animalmen.
But then, Sonic spots something of interest to him. A chili dog stand! Hate to give away the plot, but whenever you spot a chili dog stand in this show, think of it like the birdseed in the Roadrunner cartoons. It's always a trap set up by the robots but Sonic falls for it every single time. He says he does it because he likes the adventure, but come on, we all know the truth, Sonic.

"Hey, cool, an inexplicable hot dog stand in the middle of nowhere! Sounds completely safe!"
Sure enough, the cook in the chili dog stand is really Coconuts in a very poor disguise. I like how Sonic just doesn't question the fact that the person making the chili dogs is shiny and has obvious robot joints, because personally I'd be worried about a robot making something meant for consumption.

I guess the culinary industry is an equal opportunity employer for robots.
Long story short, the chili dog stand is a trap. Who saw that coming? Coconuts unleashes his evil scheme while parts of his body (mainly his tail and lightbulb) randomly disappear between shots.

Way to pay attention, animators!
It turns out the hot dog stand is really a giant robot! Yeeeeah, so not buying that, cartoon. I don't care if Coconuts is a highly advanced robot with intellectual know-how about machinery beyond mere mortals, I just can't believe he would be able to build a gundam attached to a whole building without anyone noticing. And how long did it take for him to build? Did he need like building zone papers, several weeks, and a team of architects just to set up his hot dog stand?

So he was able to build giant arms but couldn't build any body armor...
I will give Coconuts some credit. Unlike Dragonbreath and his Medieval Club of Fail [item level -50], Coconuts does in fact use modern weaponry and actually uses cannons to fight Sonic. He's a villain so all of his bullets miss, but it's the thought that counts.

"You mad, bro?"
Of course, since Sonic is completely immune to physical harm and disobeys all known laws of physics, Coconuts's robot is destroyed pretty quickly. Once again Tails is completely and utterly pointless, as all he did in that fight was scream and run away. And then, once Sonic does all of the work and destroys the machine, Tails is the one that whines about how hungry he is. Shut up, Tails. Maybe once you beat a 20 story tall machine with your bare hands, then we can talk about food.

Sonic can levitate now. Why does he need Tails again?
But wait, we get to see Robotnik's strong, intelligent, sexy, cancer-curing, and utterly invincible robots in action as they perform their first Sonic-catching scheme! And...come on, guys. Really? Your first trap and it's painting a landscape on a brick wall hoping that Sonic will run into it? Wil E Coyote's performed this exact same plan like 50 years ago! What makes you think it'll be successful now?

Grounder's been working out.
Since apparently Scratch thinks his plan is totally original, he has to lay it out for both Grounder and the audience in the form of adorable little doodles. I wish Scratch did this for all the plans laid out in this entire series because there's something charming about them, like how Scratch drew himself with sharp teeth while Grounder looks like a little green penguin. I'm an art major so I know talent when I see it, and Scratch sure is a better artist than he is a hedgehog napper.

Scratch's perspective needs work but the composition is amazing.
Grounder is so convinced that this plan will work that he insists that they're going to collect the billion mobium reward. No offense guys, but what would you do with money? You're robots that Robotnik just built this morning. And why would Robotnik even pay what are essentially tools he made?

And then Scratch got a degree in Animation and made Robot Chicken.
Anyways, Grounder finds Sonic and Tails sleeping underneath a tree, and even though he's an overweight tank with loud treads, he somehow manages not to wake them up. He then, I'm not kidding you, starts blowing into his thumb until one of his hands transforms into a pumpkin. Yes, my friends, in addition to being a dumpy-looking tank monster, Grounder is a shapeshifter. I guess Robotnik is a wizard in addition to a scientist. Science is amazing.

After watching this, I tried to see if I can do this myself, but all that happened was me nearly passing out from oxygen deprivation. My right hand is still not a pumpkin, but that won't stop me. I'm willing to bet that by the end of the week my hand will turn into SOME sort of vegetable.

It's all in the technique.
Grounder taunts Sonic into chasing him, which succeeds, and Scratch tries to drop the wall in front of Sonic, which fails. Scratch comes out of the encounter with the blue menace practically unscathed, but Grounder? Well, let's just say that if he was made of flesh and blood, the resulting carnage would've been R-rated.

Also, I want to know how Sonic described this scene in the story he's telling Scratch and Grounder, since this is all still a flashback. I'd like to imagine Grounder getting kind of pissed at Sonic nonchalantly describing his head just flying through the air like that. 

The Sonic crew's reenactment of The Godfather.
Grounder, irritated that he had to suffer decapitation and dismemberment thanks to his own brother's ineptitude, wants to come up with the next plan. He demonstrates this by shooting a giant industrial sized piece of paper at Scratch, making me kind of mad because it's really hard to find paper that size and just feels like a total waste.

Wait, so Grounder's idea is to give Sonic birth control pills?
What's Grounder's plan? Well, first Scratch needs to wear a glove that will shapeshift into a beautiful woman. Geez, Grounder, what's with you and shapeshifting hands? Is this your fetish? Do you find hands that magically turn into random objects hot? I'm kind of disturbed now.

Look where Grounder is looking and notice that we can't see either of his hands.
You're welcome.
Surprisingly, this actually works (wait, so Sonic isn't completely invincible?) and Sonic tumbles down into a pit. Unfortunately, instead of Tails actually being useful and flying down to go save him, Sonic just tunnels right out of a solid rock wall. I don't even have to describe Sonic's scene after that in great detail, because I was too busy throwing up after seeing Grounder's astonishingly detailed ass to really catch what Sonic did.

Why do you hate my eyes, Sonic?
Cut to next scene, and Scratch and Grounder are on a hill. I kind of wonder how they manage to put themselves in front of the hedgehog every single time they try to set up a trap. What's the time frame for this episode? Did Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum have to camp out for days, waiting for just one glimpse of that cobalt rodent? Do they even realize how close they are to just being a Roadrunner cartoon with robots? Come on, guys, Warner Bros. is no Disney but they'll still take you to court if they have to.

"I swear to god Scratch, I'm this close to blowing your brains out!"
What's kind of sad about this scene is that Grounder says out of the blue that he wish Robotnik didn't make him so persistent. So, does that mean he's instantly compelled to capturing the hedgehog even though he doesn't really want to? That's kind of sad when you think about how these two don't really want to fight a losing battle but are programmed to do so anyways. Such deep commentary on free will and the power of influence by higher authority in a DIC cartoon.

But I'm getting off track. Grounder turns his arm into a deadly looking harpoon, he aims and shoots it...

And instead of skewering the hedgehog like a shishkebob (dude, imagine if the Sonic show that had a graphic main character death was the one everyone least suspected), it sticks itself into a tree. Grounder than uses the line to swing through the air and grab Sonic's incompetent little sidekick Tails. My god, Tails. I know in other episodes you're less of a waste of animation ink and paint, but right now you're the fox equivelant of Slippy Toad. Either this was one of your off days or Sonic is letting some of his feelings seep into his storytelling.

"And then Tails got captured by Grounder because he's such a useless dead weight."
"Hey, that's not very-"
"Tell me I'm wrong, Tails. Tell me I'm wrong."
Scratch and Grounder say that they'll hurt Tails unless if Sonic gives himself up, and of course Sonic gives himself up. Thanks, Tails. Since the robots actually captured Sonic this time, they call Robotnik and tell him the good news. This is when we learn that Robotnik's phone is a giant pink lego brick and he'll yell at you even if you tell him good news. Oh, that wacky Robotnik.

"I said NO anchovies! God help you if I see anchovies!"
So with Robotnik coming, Sonic trapped in a cage he can't break through (even though he can easily squeeze through the spaces between the bars), and Tails incapacitated, that means these two won? Nope, because it turns out Coconuts shows up and tries to foil Scratch and Grounder's plan so that he can get the reward money.

If you think about it, Coconuts is the reason why Robotnik doesn't have an attractive Sonic head stuffed and mounted above his fireplace to match his darling Tails rug. If I were Scratch or Grounder, I'd be bringing this incident up every time he opened his mouth. Even if it was something like "Where's the plunger?", I'd be all "Oh, I'm sure Sonic has it, since you did let him get away..."

That look on Grounder's face cracks me up every single time.
Coconuts ties the two superior robots with a rope, but then Sonic tricks him into opening the cage. You can see where this is going to end up. I'll give you a hint; it involves Sonic escaping and throwing all three robots into the cage. Coconuts should be thankful he tied up Scratch and Grounder first, or otherwise they'd be tearing his limbs off inside that cage out of pure anger. I'm sure Grounder's hands can turn into something that'd make Coconuts's dismemberment slow and painful.

Look at Sonic's smug, satisfied smile. He knows Scratch and Grounder
are going to murder Coconuts once they get free.
With Sonic free, the cartoon enters the portion I like to call the "Sonic humiliates all the bad guys because he's a jerkhole" part. Not satisfied with just being free, Sonic decides to make all the bad guys' lives miserable for daring to breathe the same air as him. So he comes up with an elaborate scheme that involves a dust cloud, Grounder's phone, and Robotnik cutting off his engines in mid-air so he falls several stories onto the three robots. Dude! Sonic's pretty blood-thirsty, man. What if that killed Robotnik, Sonic?

Although to be fair, Robotnik should recognize Sonic's voice by now, so it's his own damn fault if he can't realize the mysterious operator telling him to cut his engines in midair is really the hedgehog attempting to slaughter him. Seriously, Robotnik. You've heard Sonic talk. There's no excuse.

"Why is that hedgehog grabbing Grounder there...?"
Luckily, plummeting and crashing into solid steel doesn't kill Robotnik like it should. Instead he comically asks for Scratch and Grounder on the phone while their shattered body parts are strewn everywhere like the aftermath of a Call of Duty game.It's a good thing they're robots or else Scratch's lifeless head just hanging there would be enough to give any kid nightmares.

Sonic went into such graphic detail that Scratch and Grounder both
couldn't sleep for weeks.
And finally, after all of that, we're back where we started, with Sonic and Tails still hanging from the tree, and neither of them are unconscious from that blood rushing to their head. Scratch, understandably, hates the story on account it lacked substance, had unfair treatment of robots, and the main hero was such a Mary Sue. Meanwhile, Grounder was touched by it, probably because he's the kind of guy who would enjoy books like Twilight. Also, in this shot, Grounder's butt is hanging out. He's so indecent.

"Your plot lacked direction and the romantic subplot felt like
I was watching a train wreck! One and a half stars!"
That's when Sonic reveals that he could've just bust out of that trap any time he wanted. Scratch's expression in that scene says it all, because what the hell, Sonic? You mean to tell me that him telling that long 20 minute story had no point at all? What was the point of that flashback? It's one thing if a scene is entirely pointless; it's another if an entire episode of a series is entirely pointless. This so does not justify that long as hell title, Sonic.

Scratch looks like he's saying "AW HELL NAW".
Sonic leaves them, and their last ditch attempt to grab the hedgehog causes them to end up in a pose that no doubt ended up in some Yaoi Gallery on the Internet.

At least now we know who tops.
Sonic runs off, and the episode...sort of stops, I guess. Basically if you ignore the flashback, the plot of this episode was "Sonic and Tails get grabbed by robot hands in a tree, Sonic talks to a robot chicken and a robot tank with a big butt for 20 minutes, and then they escape and run off into the sunset".

But wait, we haven't learned anything yet. Looks like it's time for Sonic to give us an unrelated moral!

Yes, since this is the 90's, Sonic was expected to educate the little rugrats vegetating in front of Mr. TV or else the soccer moms would send angry letters to the networks on how their cartoons made their children violent. After all, if it wasn't for these soccer moms, Pirates of Dark Water would've had more than 13 episodes and we can't have that!

Since this episode didn't have an actual moral, Sonic just makes one up at the last minute. He tells the kids when and when not to call 911, only in Sonic's case, it looks like he's telling children not to call 911 when a group of people intent on killing you surround you.

Why is Sonic smiling? Does...does he get a sick thrill out of people hating him?
And finally, this episode ends. Sorry Sonic, but it's hard to take your moral about not pulling practical jokes on the 911 operators seriously when you told someone piloting an aircraft to cut off their engines. To hell with your morals, Sonic. You are a terrible person.

Although at least his voice isn't as annoying as Felix the Cat, so he's not completely terrible...

The Moral of this Cartoon
The best way to get yourself out of a trap is to tell your captors a story for about 20 minutes, because that will distract them enough for you to get away.

Final Verdict

This is a silly, stupid cartoon that makes no sense, but it's oddly charming.

This is another show where the villains make and define the show. Scratch, Grounder, and this version of Robotnik are well-remembered to this day because of how much fun they are to watch. All three of them are idiots, but they're all different kinds of idiot. Plus the situations feel oddly reminiscent of the actual games. You know how Sonic would go from Roman ruins to a flooded carnival with red barrels of doom? This show is sort of like that.

Plus oddly enough, the best part and the worst part simultaneously is the animation. The animation is incredibly exaggerated and fluid, but because of this characters can end up looking really weird. It's really a really fun, wacky sort of a show, but I imagine if you're watching this and aren't looking for crazy nonsense and just want a Sonic show, then I can see where it would drive you up the wall. Also, because it's so loosely animated, there are a LOT of animation errors.

All in all, it all depends on what you look for in a cartoon. If you're looking for fleshed out characters, developed storylines, and detailed backgrounds, then boy, are you looking at the wrong show. But if you're looking for impressive visual gags, hammy performances, exaggerated squash and stretch, and animation that knows its an animation, then this will satisfy you.

As for my opinion? I like this show. It's a LOT better than the Mario cartoons just because the wackiness feels more defined (whereas with Mario, it was like "Hey guys, it's Vampire land! Let's add in Mario sound effects!") and the characters feel better written.

So yeah, I say at least give it a try, if only to watch Scratch and Grounder, who are two of the more iconic villains from this era.

Seriously, it's hard to hate characters like this.