Monday, August 29, 2011

Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers - Chocolate Chips

In dedication on how my first blog post was something from a particular weekday afternoon block from my childhood, I'm going to do yet another Disney Afternoon cartoon. They're easy to do, fun to write, and best of all, I get to mercilessly put shows that I had once found sacred and perfect into the unforgiving grinder of sarcasm and snark. Also, this one show is the one that, if possible, has even more fans than Darkwing Duck. And what a scary big rabid fandom it is. So if I get angry e-mails from this particular blog post, I only have myself to blame.

Quick Disclaimer for the Rescue Rangers Fans: Even though all of these blog posts horrifically rip apart whatever I'm watching, most of time I actually enjoy the show and are poking fun of it because I would spot these weird little logical fallacies even as a kid. The only time I really mean it is if the show is bad, and let's be honest, I'm pretty sure you can tell when a show is bad just by the way I write the post. No one read the Street Sharks post and thought "Oh shut up, that's an awesome show!"

...but moving on. If I could describe this show's premise in one sentence, I would do it like this:

The Premise of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers

Some talking vermin solve crimes.


I'll be honest, but when I watched this show as a kid, I can't really say I was a big fan of it. I like the show, don't get me wrong, but out of the Disney Afternoon, this ranked slightly higher than DuckTales (because it didn't have Webbie and that annoying caveduck), but lower than Gummi Bears, because Gummi Bears kicked ass. It was somewhere in the middle of enjoyment, which is better than my opinion on Shnookums and Meat.

For this show, I chose an episode through the complicated scientific process known as "randomly picking an episode off my Chip and Dale DVD box set because, unlike Darkwing Duck, I never really built a preference for episodes". I went with this one because I guess I was currently in the mood for some confectioneries.

Have some crimes that just keep slipping through the cracks? Have a case that people dismissed as either too big or too small? Well, if you need help, just eat some...

Chocolate Chips

Hey, that's my favorite type of cookie too!
Airdate: November 20, 1989

Availability: On DVD

This episode opens on beautiful, unspoiled, natural resources nestled deep within the heart of a rainforest, where some parrots are fleeing in terror from mankind and...wait. This can't be right. Sorry, folks. I might've accidentally put on a Captain Planet episode by mistake. I usually mix up the Planeteers with talking rodents.

Before I can change the DVD and talk about Goof Troop instead, we find out that the thing scaring the animals is not some asshole with a chainsaw or a bulldozer, but rather a peaceful little tourist van driven by a hilariously embarrassing racist caricature. I have no idea what race the tour guide is supposed to be, but considering that he looks like a rejected mascot for a taco chain, he's Mexican. But mostly he's muy ofensiva.

It's Speedy Gonzales the tourist guide!
As Señor Racista is talking about cacao trees that I'm sure won't be important to the plot later, the camera pans up and shows that, like all vehicles driven by Mexican stereotypes, the tourist van is infested with vermin. These pests are intelligent enough to dress in cute little outfits and talk the same language we do, and yet they're not smart enough to have proper safety restraints while traveling in a moving automobile. Go figure. 

As you can probably guess, we have been just introduced to the heroes of this cartoon, the so-called Rescue Rangers. Why? Because they're adorable little rodents in a Disney cartoon, the company responsible for cranking out heroic cartoon mice by the truckload. They're not savage like their violent jerk cousins produced by Warner Bros.; they're just here on vacation to explore other cultures and to talk in digitally sped up voices.

Also, I find it weird that Chip (the chipmunk in this shot) is really ticked off even though he has a chocolate bar taller than him stashed in his backpack and he's seeing nature's bounty with his own eyes. I guess some people are just never happy.

"Going to another country and sampling their beautiful, exotic wonders makes me angry!"
As Gadget (the attractive female mouse who is quite popular with the furry fandom) engages in some exposition, she demonstrates that while she's smart enough to make a working camera small enough to fit in a mouse's hands, she's not smart enough to make a flash that won't nuke people's retinas from a distance. Apparently the flash is going to be a plot device, because they make a point to have a deep conversation on just how blinding the flash is. While they do this, I find it a little disturbing that the only one in the group wearing pants is the Token Chick.

...and how come none of the humans noticed the bright flashes of light coming from on top of the tourist van?

I also can't help but find it a little gross that Gadget's fur is skin-colored.
After that little camera-related distraction, the chipmunk version of Indiana Jones starts griping about all the adventures and cases he could be having back at home. Oh, you sound like a real joy to bring on vacations, Chip. Also, since our fedora-wearing leader sounds like, well, a chipmunk, I end up not taking any of his dialogue seriously. I keep expecting Dave to poke his head out from out of the tourist van and shout "Alviiiiin!"

Plus Chip just needs to look at the positives. If the heroes go on vacation, they have to solve a crime at that vacation spot and all the villains back home conveniently don't cause any crimes in their absence. It's a win-win situation because the camera never captures them waiting for 40 minutes to get their entrees at an expensive restaurant in Brazil. mice even have restaurants in Brazil?

"I hate other cultures! They're just jealous of our modern conveniences!"
Since children love racial insensitivity, we cut back to our horrible caricature, who tells the señors and señoras (sigh) to watch out for the wild beasts in the jungle even though they cause no problemos (double sigh). I kept expecting this tour guide to later say "Yo quiero Taco Bell!" and magically summon a mariachi band to come out of his vehicle's engine.

Hispanics, this is what Disney thinks you look and act like.
As Gordita Baja narrates about horrible monsters feeding and scouting out new territory in order to sate their unstoppable appetites, the camera introduces us to Dale, our final Rescue Ranger. And apparently Dale has the stomach of Kirby from the Nintendo games, because even though he ate the entire contents of a box twice as big as him, he's so hungry that he also has to eat the ridiculously large candy bar in Chip's backpack. It's a good thing chipmunks only have a life span of about three years (how's that for a depressing factoid?) or otherwise I'd be worried about how this is impacting Dale's long-term health.

So Chip prepares for a trek in the jungle by packing only chocolate and nothing else?
What happens next can be best described as the episodic "Chip and Dale have an argument" scene. Trust me when I say this, but I haven't seen an episode where these two haven't come to verbal blows at one another. It was a personality trait these two characters had in the classic Disney shorts so, like all characters that later gain a Saturday morning TV show, this trait was made even more blatant and obvious because children are allergic to subtlety.

In this episode's case, Chip and Dale have an argument as to whether or not Dale could quit scarfing down enough sugar to give a regular person diabetes, to which Dale replies that he can quit sugar "anytime he wanted", drawing a parallel between him eating snacks to someone handicapped by substance abuse. Chip then makes a plot-important bet with Dale to give up sugar for the rest of the vacation. Gee, cacao trees and Dale giving up sugar. I wonder if this all ties into the fact that this episode is named "Chocolate Chips"? I see how it is, Disney writers.

"Please stop doing that with your neck, Dale. It's creeping me out."
But then, Taco Grande slams on the brakes, causing all five of the Rescue Rangers to be launched off the top of the vehicle and to their presumed deaths. This is why you see us humans strap those weird belt-looking things to our seats whenever we sit in a car, Rescue Rangers.
Nice Disney-grade animation there, cartoon.
With a sad "Ay caramba!" (so now he's Bart Simpson?), Double Decker Taco Supreme looks out at the barren wasteland that was his favorite rainforest. It turns out that trees have been disappearing, and I say "disappearing" instead of "chopped down" because there's no stumps or fallen lumber, but rather empty little crevasses where a proud tree once stood. Which is good, because if it turns out this is another deforestation cartoon, I'm going to spend the rest of this blog talking about how Professor Norton Nimnul is a lot cooler than Fat Cat. Which he is.

If Captain Planet shows up, I'm going to cry.
The Rescue Rangers don't dwell on the trees for very long, because it turns out in the Amazon Rainforest, it rains Mexican stereotypes. A mammal of indeterminate species named Tito Manuel Hidalgo Jones (thank god for DVD subtitles) falls down onto the tourist van and starts ranting to the little rodents about how every night, trees disappear without a trace, causing a "housing shortage". Course, while he says this, Spanish music surrounds him like a foul odor and he manages to sound every bit as insensitive as the tourist guide.

Yeah, Disney writers? I hate to say this, but Mexican accents and Brazilian accents are not the same thing. At least insult the right culture! This episode makes The Three Caballeros look progressive, and that movie was made in the 1940's. You have no excuse.

I have no idea what the hell Tito's supposed to be and I'm too lazy to look it up.
The instant Chip hears that poor, defenseless animals are losing everything they own, he makes this classic, mind-searing face...

To gaze into his eyes is to gaze into madness itself.
And then prompts everyone in his group to shout the show's catchphrase "Rescue Rangers Away!". What makes this scene unintentionally funny is that when they throw up their arms and spontaneously shout this marketable phrase in unison, Tito just sort of sits there and stares at them like they all lost their minds. Or, in his case, he thought they were El Polo Loco, since he's as authentic as that particular fast food chain.

The closest thing he's done to being legitimately Spanish is having a little Mexican kid
point at him and tell him "Swiper no swiping!"
We cut to night (way to totally get right on that case, Rescue Rangers), and we find our furry little heroes relaxing next to a tent and campfire right next to the human tourists and their tents. I have a question, little woodland creatures. Which of you thought it was a good idea to have a raging campfire next to the humans? I thought you wanted to avoid discovery from them. I'm pretty sure an unaccounted-for campfire in a fragile ecosystem would draw attention! 

I guess they like their marshmallows like they like their prone, defenseless bodies; seared to a crisp.
Instead of talking about, oh I don't know, the disappearing trees maybe, the animals sitting next to their inexplicable campfire decide to focus on Dale giving up sweets. Okay. I'm not sure why this is even an important plot point, especially since a later episode has Monterey Jack (aka, the mustache-toting mouse that actually looks like he could use a diet) do the exact same thing, only with cheese.

To me, it feels more like the cartoon made up a character flaw for Dale on the spot and overexaggerated it, sort of like how there was one and only one Darkwing Duck episode where Darkwing Duck worried about his weight. Dale goes from merely liking sweets to having entire stores of candy shoved up his shirt. Ever read those Berenstain Bears picture books where every book, the dumbass Brother Bear and Sister Bear had a new problem to teach to the beginning readers? This is exactly how I feel watching this. It's like the chipmunk version of The Berenstain Bears And Too Much Junk Food, only without the beautiful candy illustrations.

It probably doesn't help that overall it feels like the teammates aren't really treating this as a diet so much as a way to be assholes to one of their friends and get away with it. In short, man do I feel sorry for Dale.

"Good job, Monterey! Now throw him into the fire for lying to us!"
Since this show has to educate the little brats, Tito informs the audience that the cacao trees are used in chocolate production. I definitely saw this as a kid, because this line surfaced some distant memory of me, as a kid, seeing this in reruns and being all happy that I learned something from a talking weasel.

I also like how laid-back these animals are about losing their homes, because they joke around that maybe the person stealing the trees wants to eat loads of chocolate. Of course, the moment someone jokes about eating sweets, Chip has to make with the sarcasm in his brother's direction. Ha ha, it's funny because Chip hasn't said one likeable thing this entire trip!

"Awwww, who's a good-for-nothing failure? You are! Yes you are! Yes you are!"
In addition to this, the other Rescue Rangers kind of suck at their job because they figure that they can't do anything tonight so they fall asleep. Yeah, just like you couldn't do anything in the time between that tour and you setting up camp, right? I see how it is, you lazy little twits. And yet you make fun of Dale for his flaws.

When everyone is asleep, we see Dale, of course, try to sneak some candy past his teammates. Because to hell with them; they're jerks. I know I shouldn't be cheering Dale on, but considering his snacking hasn't physically affected him in any way and he made that promise up in the heat of an argument, by all means, cartoon, let the poor rodent chow down.

It's probably not a good idea to eat candy the side of your head so late at night.
Dale sneaks off to eat twice his weight in nondescript pink candies (because the animators have to work around candy copyrights) when suddenly a swarm of heavily stylized mosquitoes fills the air. Not kidding you. Our next plot point is mosquitoes. Also, Disney? Mosquitoes only travel in swarms if they want to mate.

Anyways, despite that little case of biology fail, the cartoon wastes no time making sure that we know that every last Rescue Ranger and human tourist (including Burrito Supreme) is stung.

Boy, isn't it convenient that this happened while Dale happened to be the only Rescue Ranger away from camp and therefore the only Rescue Ranger that didn't get bitten? I bet this comes into play later on. Actually, I know
this comes into play later on, since Disney plots are world-renowned for their predictability.

You're smart enough to talk and yet you can't figure out how to use a mosquito net in the rainforest.
Sure enough, as soon as the mosquito swarm leaves, we find that the swarm had hypnotized everybody that had gotten stung. The plot thickens! As does my willing suspension of disbelief. No, seriously, what's going on? So what, zombifying mosquitoes? This is a thing now? How did we get to this?

I know mosquitoes are responsible for spreading diseases (they're the animal responsible of destroying entire human civilizations due to disease after all), but this is still a really big stretch. Did the villain bioengineer a strain of the yellow fever that, instead of killing people, makes them more susceptible to hypnotic suggestion? And how does it work in multiple species? Why did the swarm even waste time and energy stinging chipmunks and mice? I can kind of see why this episode isn't on anyone's "Top Ten Favorite Rescue Rangers episodes" list now.

He was lobotomized by Taco Bell executives after he said he liked Del Taco better.
Oh, and guess what? It turns out that the hypnotized pack of zombies is digging up the cacao trees. I guess, like a vintage Reese's ad, Disney decided to get their chocolate in a zombie plot and figured that two great tastes would taste great together. This would've been an interesting take on a mystery plot but instead, it just makes me wonder why some mosquitoes would think the best way to efficiently dig up a tree is to get some mice in shovels. It's a good thing none of those cacao trees have actual root systems or else this plan would've been dead in the water.

And how did Zipper get hypnotized if he's a fly? What use would he be? It makes me picture the main villain of the episode turning to his mutant mosquito swarm and saying "Oh, be sure to hypnotize every last insect in the area too even though they can do absolutely nothing".

Oh, hello, Satan. Nice of you to take on the form of a mouse wearing pajamas.
As you can tell from nightmare-inducing Monterey Jack there (those eyes), the Rescue Rangers got hypnotized too. Dale manages to turn Chip back to normal by, I'm not kidding you, slapping him in the face and literally kicking his ass. Yeah, Dale, you totally used the hypnosis as an excuse to punish Chip for his rudeness at the campfire earlier. And I don't blame him. Chip deserves it for wearing that jacket.

"Aww, it's not much fun if Chip can't react to it."
Unfortunately, that doesn't work for very long, because one mosquito bite later and Chip is once again reenacting the Thorn Valley version of Dawn of the Dead. Way to help, Chip.

I love how half the screenshots I'm getting are nightmare-inducing, dead stares from cuddly little rodents.
The moment Dale sees this, he turns the camera, cuffs his mouth with his hands, and shouts "It's the mosquitoes! They're turning everyone into zombies!". Wow, geez. I know Disney cartoons aren't known for being subtle, but I'm sure the audience isn't so dumb that it had to have one of the members of the cast tell us what was happening.

...okay, he's really placing his hands on his face, but considering the perspective, it can really be either or.

Home Alone 5: Lost in the Amazon
After that, the mosquitoes finally spot Dale (not sure why they would care about small woodland creatures when they should aim for bigger animals but okay) and try to sting him. Through some rather strained plot contrivances, Dale manages to avoid getting stung by...sidestepping at the last moment, switching his tail out for a coonskin cap, and diving underwater. Geez, all that sugar's made him downright untouchable. Why do I want him to quit sweets if he can act like he's in the Matrix and magically dodge bug swarms? Even Chip couldn't avoid being bitten and he was the one doing all the nagging.

...maybe that's why Chip is so bitter. Dale can cram down chocolates bigger than his head and feel perfectly fine, but the moment Chip eats a small bite of chocolate, he gains like five pounds.

And then it dawned on Dale that he was being followed by a very creative assassin.
Dale finally hides from the enchanting insects in a hollow log that really turns out to be a living cacao tree pushed by Baja Blast and several of the tourists. Perfectly healthy living trees are completely hollow inside, right? The four humans take turns alternating between a praying mantis pose and pushing the tree as they shove it along the ground, leading me to wonder if this particular arm pose is the universal cartoon symbol for mind control. I know Captain Planet used it.

I'm sure the Mexican stereotype knows all about illegally sneaking produce, am I right?
Then the tree falls into a river, where alligators (seriously, alligators? Can mosquitoes even affect alligators?) push the dug-up trees down the Amazon river and...okay, I think I need to take a step back and take note of the plot so far. Basically, we started with perfectly normal if quite racist Amazon Rainforest-themed adventures and then, all of a sudden, I ended up with hypnotizing mosquitoes instructing creatures of every possible species to harvest chocolate trees so that alligators can push the trees downstream. I guess it's good the Disney writers gently eased me into such insanity instead of just punching me in the face with crazy but still...

What is going on.
Since I'm curious to see how insane it could possibly get, I continue watching and see that the alligators push the trees within range of some boa constrictors, which push the trees on land, where monkeys put the trees on carts pulled by jaguars. Just reread that sentence I just typed, because it's a real gem of insanity. They really need to put warning labels on these episodes.

Forget donkeys. Jaguars are in this season!
We watch as the majestic animals carry the trees into a hidden cave behind a waterfall (because every waterfall in every cartoon ever is equipped with a hidden cave), painting a beautiful picture of mystery and intrigue. Surely the villain who's commanding these beasts, these masters of the jungle, is one of great dignity and valor, one that will shake the very foundations of our being with his power, right?

I'm half-expecting a Jungle Cruise boat to putter down that river any second now...
...well, no. Our villain is a fat man in a stereotypical Swiss outfit and a hideous golden mask that commands his zombies by banging on a drum. Enjoy!

"Bangin' on a trash can, drumming on a street light!"
Oh, and even though the mosquitoes had the drop on Dale, they still were unable to inject him with zombie juice because the insects warned him that they snuck up behind him rather than, oh I don't know, actually stinging him. These are the second most incompetent bugs in a Disney Afternoon cartoon. (and if you're curious about the most incompetent bugs, one word: Lilliput) It would probably help if they flew in a bigger formation than just a straight line too, just because it's downright embarrassing than a tiny rodent in a tacky shirt is dodging their attacks.

And why do they care so much that a random chipmunk made it to the waterfall? Rainforests are filled with wildlife! They've been hounding this one, solitary pest all night when they can be better managing their time and biting some animals with actual muscle mass.

This would make a great advertisement for mosquito spray.
We then get our first "make it look like our hero didn't survive their current situation"  cut to commercial break. In Dale's case, it was because, when he dodged the mosquitoes, somehow waving his hands near his ears and going "Nyah nyah!" made him lose his balance (yeah, what?) and fall five stories into the base of the waterfall, where his body was grounded to bits by both the water current and the sharp rocks below. Okay, not really, since this is a Disney cartoon, but it would've been so cool if the writers actually went that far if only for the reactions in the network's censor notes.

Quick, someone Photoshop an explosion behind Dale.
When the commercial break is over, we find our loveable chocoholic drifting on a piece of wood down the Amazon River in the early morning. It's a good thing the Amazon is completely void of any predators (even though several frightening specials on Animal Planet say otherwise) and he managed to land on a twig big enough to support his weight but conspicuous enough not to attract any notice from the mosquitoes. I guess Disney heroes have this strange aura of circumstance surrounding them because this whole situation reeks of contrived convenience.

And his Hawaiian shirt managed to stay perfectly intact.
What we get next is a rather expected scene where the other Rescue Rangers are back at the campsite and have no recollection of what had happened to them. It's one of those scenes that exist only to frustrate the children watching this from the sheer cinematic irony. It's like, yeah, you know that Dale's right, but since the majority of the group thinks he's wrong, he's voted as wrong. These type of scenes always frustrated me as a kid because, to me, they don't so much create drama as they do delay the inevitable. 

Oh, and even though Gadget clearly sat on a sleeping bag in a previous shot, in a scene where Dale is yelling at the idiots he dare calls friends, she just sort of floats there, not quite planted on the ground. It's a very surreal experience.
"Okay, why is everyone picking on me for eating chocolate when Monterey Jack
hasn't seen his toes in two years?"
And, just to make this scene even more infuriating, Dale lets it slip that he ate chocolate, which causes the Rescue Rangers to totally gang up on him like a pack of wild dogs. I know I sound like I'm on Team Dale here, but it's kind of exasperating how totally unlikeable the other three (well four, but Zipper the Fly's done nothing this entire episode) have been this entire trip. The intro advertises these great adventures with a well-balanced team of gumshoes on the case but what I got was a strangely competent chipmunk who loves sweets and his three useless dead weights. It's like, okay, so Dale has a problem with sweets. Why don't you focus on finding out about the cacao trees instead?

"We're going to be mad at you for a stepping back on a dare WE forced you to do!"
Dale, like the audience, is frustrated at how much the other Rescue Rangers just absolutely suck at everything, so he storms off in a huff and decides that he's going to prove it to them that he's right and they're mouthbreathing idiots. He walks to the waterfall (okay, how did he find that very same waterfall if he was riding inside a log for the good portion of the trip?), all while the other four tag along and sarcastically inform him that they still don't believe you, Dale, you freaking idiot, how dare you breathe the same air as us. It's probably a bad sign when a cartoon is making me hate a classic Disney character because man, Chip sucks in this episode.

"Screw you guys, I'm going to start my own TV show! It'll be called Dale the Rescue Ranger
and the three, annoying whiners who don't even try to solve cases!"
Dale freaks out that he can't find the trees, which causes Monterey Jack to say that his friend's gone insane and for Chip to insist that Dale is lying. Hey, jerkholes. Here's a good question. Why would Dale take you four all the way to a random waterfall with a cave behind it just so that he can mess with you? My god, it's like they're not even trying to solve the case of the missing cacao trees. It's kind of hard to take the other three seriously when so far, all they've done was sit on their butts and complain about the behavior of other people when Dale's actually investigating. Team effort, guys!

Oh, is it me, or is it ironic that Chip, the one who couldn't have fun on vacation because he had no crimes to solve, is complaining about the only possible lead to the crime he has to solve? He's like that annoying relative that you're forced to take with you on outings and are never, ever satisfied.

It doesn't help that his voice is digitally sped up, which makes his whining even worse.
Luckily, Zipper decides that he's tired of just sitting on the sidelines and contributing nothing, so he leads the other four to a hideous-looking statue just sitting there suspiciously behind a waterfall. Dale says "Think it could be a clue?" to which Chip replies "A clue? To what?". Geez, why don't you just shut up and let your superior, more likeable brother do all the work for you, Chip

"That belongs in a museum!"
The derpy-looking statue, when pressure is applied to its tongue, slides back and reveals a staircase leading to a secret area outside. I like how ancient cultures are just expected to have things like this as a common feature. I'm not even going to question how that secret passage was able to work hundreds of years after the civilization behind its stone-age technology had collapsed.

Finally, after all of that, the other Rescue Rangers finally stop and think that hey, maybe Dale is the only one actually helping after all. Yeah, guys, you're in a Disney cartoon. If one of your teammates is describing something totally farfetched but is somehow tied-in with the problem of today's episode, maybe you should give him the benefit of the doubt. Just common sense.

It's Olmec's mentally-challenged cousin!
What do they find? A really huge temple surrounded in planted cacao trees. Yeah, not buying that this is supposedly a secret hideous. Somehow this huge, golden temple managed to escape detection from aircraft. I guess somehow all of the wildlife in a concentrated area suddenly working together to relocate trees to this location just isn't enough for local authorities to care. There aren't any laws that say that it's illegal for anteaters, weasel-lemurs, and jaguars to steal trees, after all.

There's a rule that every rainforest-themed episode in a cartoon has to involve deforestation or ancient temples.
Inside the Temple of The Forbidden Eye (the Rescue Rangers had fast passes and avoided the huge wait), huge vats of chocolate boil and fill the air with vapors of deliciousness. The writers, sensing that Dale has the other vermin all beat in the sheer awesome factor, decide to have our bucktoothed hero nearly blow the entire undercover operation by smelling chocolate and rushing towards the huge cauldrons. It doesn't make Dale any less likeable, because come on, who wouldn't do that? Just consider the size ratio of a chipmunk to those cauldrons of confectionery goodness. Chocolate in its purest form. Unadulterated chocolate. Chocolate Prime.

Come with me and you'll be
In a world of pure imagination
And then, suddenly, the main villain of this episode! Remember how I made fun of how this guy looked when he was pounding on that drum and wearing a golden mask with a huge buttchin? Well, it's even worse once he actually takes off the mask and cape, removing what little menace he had, and revealing to us that he's yet another insensitive racial caricature. Imagine being a little kid and expecting Professor Norton Nimnul, Fat Cat, or even the Pi-Rats and instead getting, well, this.

This is our main villain. Allow me to cry for you.
Since villains like to talk to themselves and this blubbery fatass is no different, we hear the reason why he's a bad guy. Apparently they laughed at his genius and those chocolate corporations are just jealous of his chocolate-related genius! Course, then he starts listing his creations, like chocolate anchovy strudel (which I heard was popular among the pregnant women demographic), and then we learn that he's really an obese crackpot. Also, his slicked down black hair and mustache combo is just this close to making the Germans cry.

It's Fat Hitler!
Oh, and his name is Heinrich VonSugarbottom. If there was ever a reason to hate this guy, that is it. Sir VonSugarbottom lets us all know that he apparently discovered the ancient secrets of chocolate from the very first makers of chocolate themselves and wants to be "Candyman" to the entire world.

Yeah, Fatso, a couple things stop you from doing this. One, Hershey's and Nestle are very giant corporations with very powerful, vicious lawyers that will sue your lovehandles for every penny they're worth. Two, chocolate isn't the only kind of candy out there so the fruit-flavored candy companies will be completely unaffected by your global takeover. Three, how the hell did you find this temple in well-preserved condition with the secret chocolate recipes? Forget chocolate! Sell your findings off to the archaeologists and make billions!

"Aww, he's kicking."
But then, the mosquitoes return! The moment Heinrich sees the large swarm of blood-sucking insects filling his Temple of Doom, he casually says "Let me go get my mind control juice" like this is a normal, everyday occurrence. I love it when cartoons are just unaware of how insane they are.

Once the Rescue Rangers hear these words (and finally figure out that Dale wasn't making anything up, the little morons), they decide to get closer to the morbidly obese European man, but not before the cartoon takes the time to make sure that we, the people viewing this, know that Gadget set her camera down on the ground where it could be triggered as a trap later on. Everything's just falling into place! 

And she never used that camera in the series ever again.
So yeah, fat chocolate makers with offensive accents can make mind control juice. Who knew? I'm not sure how he was able to make elixir capable of invoking hypnosis, but apparently he made the stuff because he doesn't have to pay anybody for menial labor. VonSugarbottom, there are tons of ways to get free help at your job without resorting to zombification. For example, just go to any university and say that moving cacao trees in the dark of the night is a part of an internship. You'd find hundreds of students begging you to give them the job. Me included.

Oh yeah, this makes total sense.
Now that they know the source of the zombies, Chip finally, after almost 2/3rd's of the episode is done and over with, decides to help. How? Well, he manifests a fishing pole out of thin air and uses it to wrap a cable around the ancient teapot so that the Rescue Rangers can knock it over. Well, okay, what do you expect? They're only several inches tall. It's not like they can have an effective fistfight with a man who could kill them just by stepping on them or farting near them.

And to think, that undiscovered Aztec artifact would've fetched millions and ended up in a museum.
The priceless artifact from an ancient civilization smashes on the floor, ridding them of the zombie juice. But, since all of the Rescue Rangers decided to stand there and allow Heinrich to discover them instead of, you know, hiding, Fatso VonSugaredArteries now is aware of their presence. Good going, guys. I guess they're good at storing acorns for the winter but suck at eluding the attention of a giant man in leiderhosen.

"Well, what do you know? Little animals in clothing!"
So what does Calories VonLardbottom do with his pests? He beats his drum so that they fall under his spell again. I wonder what the range is for that drum and how he learned how to do this in the first place. Dale then shouts "Oh no, they still got the zombie juice in them!", which makes me wonder how long it takes for a mouse or chipmunk to metabolize hypnotic green liquids. It must be even harder for this group in particular since Disney characters never go to the bathroom.

It's close to midnight, and something evil's lurking in the dark
Under the moonlight, you see a sight that almost stops your heart...
Still bristling with the insult these animals have inflicted upon his pork-soaked body, Heinrich decides to get rid of his zombified guests by instructing them to lay down in chocolate bar molds and wait for him to pour boiling hot chocolate (even though one of the big rules of cooking chocolate is to never let it boil) on them. This is one of those death traps that is comical as a kid but gets downright disturbing as an adult when you stop and think about it. For starters, scalding water can kill if you're dunked in it, and it wouldn't be a clean death at all. And they're being instructed to lay perfectly still in it. Heinrich is as badass as he is fat.

He also says that chocolate-covered rodents are going to be his next masterpiece. Yeah, buddy. Good luck selling food that has dirty animals that had walked around in the steamy, disease-infected lands of the Amazon to the public. Jerk.

I heard this candy bar line is extremely popular with cats.
But then, Gadget's camera to the rescue! See, I told you it would come in handy! Luckily Dale had enough time to pick up the camera, run up a flight of stairs that would be at least twenty stories for his tiny, rodent body, point the camera at Heinrich, and say a catchy little one-liner before the racist caricature could kill his friends in the most delicious death ever.

How was he able to do that? Well, even though the fatass tried to tip over a cauldron of chocolate, his muscle mass has long been deteriorated by constant sitting and snacking, so he was sitting there and straining to flip the cauldron over for at least two hours, giving Dale plenty of time.

I guess the paparazzi are like annoying, talking vermin.
Since he's too massive and full of chocolate to fight off a tiny little chipmunk by himself, he orders his hyper-intelligent mosquitoes full of zombie juice (the hypnotic elixir, not the alcoholic beverage) to attack for him. Long story short, Dale manages to dodge them because Dale is the man.

Dale defies you, fat man!
With his skeeters hopelessly smashed against his solid gold face mask (seriously, why does he even wear it?), VonSugarbottom decides that hey, he has an army of zombies. Why not use that? Well, no, actually he decides to only use three zombified rodents and a zombified fly instead of being smart.

Now I'm kind of glad that we didn't get the voodoo king with an army of zombies in a previous Darkwing Duck episode if this guy is supposedly an example of how Disney would write someone controlling zombies. Pretty lame there, Disney.
Pounding that drum has given him the biggest workout he's had his entire life.
The zombified rodents try to attack Dale without any success. It's the standard "hero runs away from his hypnotized friends" scene that appears in most Saturday Morning cartoons. The only real notable thing about this scene is that, at one point, Dale buries all three of them in cacao beans and they burst forth from their beany, chocolate-scented tombs like actual zombies. This small ten-second clip alone totally justifies this entire episode for me because it paints an incredibly scary picture of how these characters would act if they really were decaying and reanimated.

The foulest stench is in the air
The funk of forty thousand years

And grizzly ghouls from every tomb

Are closing in to seal your doom
The zombie fight somehow ends up on the roof, because...I guess this show needs more suspense or something. I don't know, I'm not really keeping track since deep down, I know I'm wasting a good chunk of my time watching chipmunks and mice thwart a really fat German man.

Anyways, through a bizarre chain of events, Chip ends up dezombifying and saving Dale from death, as if the writers realized how much of an asshole they made Chip. Awww, I guess they really do care about one another. Only not really, since Chip looks like he's in pain just from the sheer act of doing something heroic.

Awww, look at Dale's face. That's adorable.
Back at Fatass Hideout, Gadget and Monterey Jack return to Heinrich without either chipmunk. VonCardiacArrest then decides to get rid of the rest of them because, and I quote, he "doesn't want his customers to find rodent hair in his chocolate". All fine and dandy, except just a couple minutes ago he was trying to turn them into chocolate bars. Did all of that unnecessary eating kill your short term memory, Heinrich?

Heinrich likes to keep a large open flame around his lair just in case.
Long story short, the chipmunks figure out that the best way to save their friends from being fricasseed is to destroy the drum. That's good, but it still leaves the rather unfortunate question of whether that took care of the zombie problem or if they're doomed to forever succumbing to drums being beat a certain way. And does the zombification only work with that specific drum or can Heinrich just use any drum he wants for his evil schemes?

Way to hit the drum too hard, idiot.
Okay, so all of Heinrich's instruments of trans fat-coated evil are destroyed, but what about the mosquitoes? Don't worry, because when Heinrich gets angry, he decides to turn on his giant swarm of insects and start insulting them until they attack back. Yeah, he's not that smart, but I'm sure you noticed that the moment you saw his leiderhosen, cape, and ugly gold mask combo earlier.

While Tubby is distracted, the Rescue Rangers decide to defeat their enemy by, I'm not kidding you, knocking over all the cauldrons of chocolate over so that they fill the entire temple in a giant chocolate wave. Hooray, it's funny because the Rescue Rangers wasted millions of dollars of chocolate and are using it to damage fragile rainforests and precious archaeological artifacts!

Geez, think of the mess afterwards. All of that sticky chocolate, rotting and attracting bugs...
What makes this even worse is that this chocolate pours out of the temple, pours down a waterfall, and contaminates the Amazon River. Wow. WOW. All of you rodents suck at saving the day! I can't believe I'm saying this, but where's Captain Planet when you need him?

It's the most delicious environmental tragedy ever!
So yeah, the day is saved, Heinrich is planting all the trees back where they belong, thousands upon thousands of plant and animal life died because their only water source was polluted by illegal dumping, and chocolate prices everywhere skyrocketed, putting candy stores and ice cream shops everywhere out of business, on account of so many important cacao bean crops had been stolen and later destroyed. But who cares! Look at the dancing fat man! Isn't he silly? Ohohoho how funny.

Not pictured: Billions of irreplaceable plants and animals dying.
But wait, we need to end this cartoon ironically. Let's have Dale suffering from a tummy ache on account he ate too much chocolate. Ha ha, it's funny because he needs to be punished for liking chocolate and saving the day!

Wow, is it me or is the ending of this episode more sad than funny?

Hey, wait a second. A lot of that stuff is healthy food! It's just coated in a thin layer of chocolate!
Looks like he got his just desserts! You know, even though he's the one that saved everybody. So basically this episode ended with the rainforest suffering massive ecological damage and the only hero in the episode groaning and in pain. What a happy ending. Cue the jazz rendition of the catchy theme song while we watch the credits flash on by!

The Moral of this Cartoon
Removing several acres of chocolate trees and dumping several tons of chocolate into the Amazon River in the middle of the rainforest will cause absolutely no ecological damage because chocolate is awesome.

Final Verdict
Yeah, as you might've guessed, this is would not make a good episode to judge the quality of Chip 'N Dale Rescue Rangers as a whole, just because there are so many things that they got wrong in this.

For starters, it was probably a bad sign that, while watching this cartoon, there were parts where I was getting irrationally angry. For some reason, Chip, Gadget, and Monterey Jack were being downright unlikeable for a pretty sizable chunk of this episode when I know they can do better. Especially Chip. It's like sure, okay, Dale was trying to eat your candy bar. But then again, he's not sitting on his butt and moping about how he'd rather be back home than in some stupid jungle. I like to imagine that the only reason Dale was the only good character in this is because I'm sure there are other episode where he was the annoying one while other characters got the limelight. I like to think of it as "The Fearsome Five Syndrome", where the more members of a team there are, the more watered-down their personality gets.

But despite this, it was not a bad, bad, terrible episode as far as animation as a whole goes. Since this is Disney, the production values are still really high and a lot of times, the animation is pretty smooth. In terms of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, though, I know this isn't the best episode in their lineup by any means.

So yeah, weak episode, weak villain, and apparently the writers think that the Amazon is in Mexico. All in all, not the best. I say it's meh-worthy. It did make me really hungry though, so that's always a plus.

With that being said, I conclude my review with a parting gift.

I hope you like sleeping with the lights on tonight!