In my case, it was Disney's Fluppy Dogs. Never heard of it? I wouldn't be surprised really.
|Whenever some Disney fan acts like they're the only person in the world that |
knows about The Black Cauldron, bring this up.
The reason this movie hasn't been released on DVD or even so much as mentioned by Disney is that Fluppy Dogs could really be dubbed Floppy Dogs on account, when this special first aired, it was one of Disney's lowest rated programs. I'm picturing a room of animators, all pleased that the grueling months are over and they made this really awesome pilot, and then the Nielsen Ratings come in and everyone starts hitting the bottle.
Which kind of sucked for Disney because they had aspirations of turning this into a series and even had released a couple pieces of merchandise (because Disney can and will release merchandise of anything they make) before they knew how much this movie was going to fail in terms of gaining an audience. See, before they released the special, Disney joined up with Kenner Toys (the makers behind Strawberry Shortcake) in an attempt to make a merchandise-driven cartoon similar to My Little Pony or He-Man. Only problem; no one bought the merchandise. I can tell because this stuff shows up on eBay for dirt cheap.
|Yeah, this still probably isn't ringing a bell with anyone.|
Since this movie is only like 45-50 minutes long, it makes sense that I divide this analysis of this movie into exactly two parts, like a Subway sandwich meant for two. I will also apologize for the quality of this movie's screenshots because, since it never got a DVD or even a VHS release, the only surviving copies that circulate the darkest reaches of the Internet today was pulled from video recordings from the 80's.
So let's dive into one of the most forgotten TV specials bearing the Disney name. This is...
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Now, ask yourself, dear readers. What's the best way to open up an animated special on cute, multicolored dogs with fluffy yet floppy ears? If you said anything other than "a hellish landscape cloaked in eternal storms and dark rock spires", then congratulations, you're not one of this movie's writers.
|Oh geez, one of the writers is named Barkin. That had to be intentional.|
Before the audience assumes that the entire movie is going to take place in Mordor, the canines decide to clue us in on just why they're here. See, these dogs aren't just dogs with a strange, slightly pretentious name; they're also dimension hoppers. Adorable dimension hoppers, unlike the ones in Sliders. They just entered Hell on accident and are now locating another entry point by scent (because they're dogs) so that they can leave before they find out just what lifeforms managed to adapt to life on this storm-drenched underworld. These are the same dogs that appeared in "Home for a Fanci Flup", apparently.
|I wondered if their group was originally a lot bigger, and it turned this from cuddly to depressing.|
...come to think of it, this is the second cartoon I've done on this blog that has had a dimension-traveling piece of equipment that was never utilized to its full potential. First Felix the Cat: The Movie and now this. Why does interdimensional travel get crapped on so much in animation? It's such an awesome concept!
|Dear Disney, please revive this idea. You don't even have to use the dogs. Signed, Me.|
|I played this game on the Sega Genesis once! I think it was called "Rocket Knight Adventures".|
Finally, the true conflict surfaces, and when you consider the literal infinite amount of possibilities of different parallel universes and other dimensions, their constant, restless journey to find their ways back to their world seems both futile and kind of a downer compared to most Disney show characters. The worst Scrooge McDuck had to deal with was losing his vat full of money; he was never stranded on alien worlds, never knowing whether the next dimensional door will lead to his doom instead of his homeland. Despite the name, Fluppy Dogs is dark.
|Plus there's always the fun possibility that they end up in a world with a toxic atmosphere, or end up |
opening a door to a world that had collapsed into a neutron star millions of years ago...
|Pink skies, giant flowers, and purple dinosaurs? This is the most flamboyant death jungle ever.|
Now that I think about it, how do the doors generate their look anyways? Is there some sort of universal random generator for these things, are the doors related to the dimension they're opening it in (which would explain the dinosaur door right now but not the gold door earlier), or do the doors reflect the state of mind of the one opening the door?
...and I just realized that I just spent ten minutes of my life, time I will never get back, on thinking about the magical mechanics of puppy operated dimensional rips through space. My parents must be proud of me.
What's in this horrifying dragon-encrusted door anyways? Earth of course! Wow, either these doors are ironic or the universe is telling us its opinion of us. Yeah, go to hell, universe. I don't like you either.
Yes, my friends, even though some bipedal talking dogs in unnatural colorations just made a dungeon door manifest right in the middle of a grocery store, absolutely no one but a baby in a grocery cart noticed. Oh great. Just like most cartoons in the 80's, humans in this movie are apparently completely clueless to changes in our surroundings because we're just so jaded and trapped in our abysmal society because humanity sucks. Maybe it's me, but if dogs (or any sort of animal, really) emerged out of a rip in our known reality, I would at least go "What the hell!?" and get out my cell phone to record it so I can post it onto Youtube.
Also, I bet the bored security guard watching the camera footage had fun seeing this. It probably made him quit drinking.
|Rainbow-colored layouts! Super sized bites with deliciously intense natural fruit flavors!|
|Hey, thanks for driving up the price of oranges in the entire tri-county area, asshole!|
So yeah, essentially the Fluppy Dogs enter an alien world with an alien civilization and alien vehicles that can potentially kill them and figure the best strategy is to keep running, regardless of the consequences. You'd think after hopping through so many dimensions, they'd have grown some common sense.
|That is one phallic car there, villain.|
I also like how, between his mustache, his eyebrows, and his head of hair, there's like four different hair colors on his face. I've heard about the drapes not matching the carpet but this is ridiculous!
|"Yes, I want every piece of furniture in my house to be a different shade of grey! I'm the bad guy, you know."|
|"Quick! There's a sale at Limited Too!"|
...and personally, I can't help but wonder if Wagstaff is one of the reasons why this premiere didn't do as well as it did. He's not exactly the most interesting Disney villain in the world. It's kind of a downgrade to go from Duke Igthorn and his army of ogres to THIS.
Yeah, I can sort of see why this failed.
Meanwhile the Fluppy Dogs make it into an alley way, but they're too exhausted to fight back as an animal control van pulls in and hauls them off to doggy prison, aka, the animal shelter. See, Fluppy Dogs? This is why you enter a world with some sort of a strategy. I mean, geez, the humans weren't even paying attention to you until after you were bulldozing through the store like that.
...well, wait. If Wagstaff can control the police (there's a scene where he can steal a camera scot-free because he's rich), then how come he couldn't track that animal control van? I know he later checks the animal shelter, but that's only after a whole day passes on by. Did he just not consider the fact that the Fluppy Dogs were picked up by any dogcatchers? Man, humanity is dumb in this movie.
|I wonder if there's a way to chart the dominant and recessive traits of their |
fur colors using Mendelian Genetics.
...wait, I wonder what they would say if they saw an Earth dog in a sweater? What then?
|"Look at this poor creature! It doesn't even have any character-defining items slung around its neck!"|
...just a quick question, Fluppy Dogs. So far, Stanley has done nothing that's indicated that he's any more intelligent or capable than the rest of the multicolored pooches. Why does HE need busting out? Why are they even following him? Tradition?
|"If anyone asks if you're ripping off of Pound Puppies, feign ignorance."|
|"Aww, you look just like a Saturday Morning Cartoon reject. My son's gonna love you!"|
|Dude. That's so The Haunted Mansion from Disneyland. Don't try to tell me otherwise.|
Also, I think I saw an episode of Animal Hoarders that looked exactly like this house. I can hear the sad piano music now...
|"I use antlers in all of my deeeecooorating!"|
...okay, two things. First, "colorfully lighted skies" in "a land of snow" is the freakin' aurora borealis and it occurs on Earth. How the hell does he or the book writer not know that and portray this as something magical. Two, if Fluppy Dogs are supposedly mythical creatures, then why wasn't anyone reacting when a tribe of them was running through busy city streets!? I really am having a hard time believing that an entire city is this stupid. If, say, gnomes magically appeared in Los Angeles and ran through a busy street, you bet your sweet ass that every news channel on the face of the Earth would be on that story.
In short, this plot sucks and Disney should feel bad. This is making "Getting Antsy" look like Shakespeare.
|"If we market these things to the right audience, we'll be billionaires!"|
...did he catch all those animals himself? He apparently has nets and an eagerness to hunt down animals for his collection, but I'm honestly having trouble believing that Wagstaff caught an honest to god jaguar and timber wolf with his bare hands. I know this came before Beauty and the Beast, but this would've worked so much better with Gaston as an aging, semi-retired businessman and LeFou the butler. Tell me you don't see it.
|"As a specimen, yes, I'm intimidating!"|
|Despite the air holes, it's just another ridiculously large hat inside.|
...but then again, the Fluppy Dogs were marketed as toys for little girls (just look at that picture book from the beginning of this post for all the proof you need) before this special came on so maybe that's why he's so depressed. This is the equivalent of getting a Sky Dancer for your birthday instead of a Dragon Flyz.
|"I wanted an Atari."|
|"My friends are going to laugh at me when they see that my dog looks like a Care Bears reject."|
But the kid manages to see the hound getting away and gives chase, not once questioning the fact that his dog can now run on hind legs. Pursued by a thick slab of blandness, Stanley runs to where else but to a conveniently placed construction site within walking distance of the kid's house.
Ah yes, the versatile unfinished building construction site with absolutely no security. A staple of such cartoon classics such as Tom and Jerry, the Looney Tunes, and various Disney shorts. I guess the show figured that after having a toppling pyramid of cans in a grocery store, a villain who uses antlers in all of his decorating (to match the every last inch of him that's covered in hair), and a pound with a dungeon motif, they figured they'd be that much more original by having this crop up. The Fluppy Dogs are only cliched ironically.
|DANGER: Overused cartoon trope ahead. Proceed with caution.|
|From what the cartoons tell me, you can totally mess around in construction sites and not be in any real danger.|
|"Well, huh, my strange, exotically-colored dog is secretly an alien. Who would've thought?"|
|"Man, the guys are going to be sooo jealous. Let's see Pete's Rottweiler rip holes through time and space!"|
Although wait, this came out before the famous Ninja Turtles show. Holy crap, did TMNT rip off of this movie!? My mind is blown.
|"But mom, you have to collect them all!"|
Also, wow, who just walks up to someone's house and unloads animals on the people inside? Pets are sort of a big deal.
|"Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior?"|
|So I guess her parents were okay with her just randomly adopting a dog...|
Also, even though this takes place at night, the background artists painted sunny afternoon skies. Hah hah, good going, guys.
|"Dismissed! Rejected! Publicly humiliated! Why, it's more than I can bear."|
Oh, and Stanley insists on wearing a nightgown to bed (and using Jamie's toothbrush) even though he was totally fine with walking around on all fours naked throughout most of the day. And man, if we weren't dealing with something furry and doglike, this situation gets pretty awkward.
|"Sorry about the whole attaching a collar to your neck and forcing you to walk for my amusement thing from earlier."|
"I'll be fine with it, as long as we never speak of it again."
As much as I want to buy this explanation, the humans certainly didn't seem to care that canines were, again, running around on hind legs wearing clothing through the streets. I know I keep bringing this one scene up but it leaves such a gaping plot hole in this whole thing. It's like the dangling thread that unravels an entire sweater, only this sweater's made out of blue dog hair.
|I love how this dog wears Jamie's clothing, uses his toothbrush, and then lectures him. What a jerk.|
Wow, Stanley, that's...really, really lame and contrived. Seriously, that's it? Why do I suddenly don't feel sorry for your plight?
After we get that really bad journey into the Flup's psyche, they finally fall asleep and overall the movie seems to be puttering on a low tank. But wait! The cartoon hasn't had anything whimsical happen in a while! Let's have Tinkerbell pixie dust pour out of Stanley's ears when Jamie scratches him on the head!
|Eww, that is one stinky dog.|
And before anyone can go correct me, yes, I know about Disney's Bedknobs and Broomsticks. I'm still sticking by my Little Nemo statement.
|What kind of dream will you dream Little Nemo?|
What kind of dream will be yours tonight?
"Look, Stanley! If I pet my head and rub my tummy at the same time, I can grow an extra set of arms!"
"Golly, it must be because of the radiation that we absorb whenever we travel through interdimensional doorways! Awesome!"
|"Yeah, this just happens. Because Fluppies!"|
But I quickly forget this when I see Tippi or, more importantly, what the insane artist that is Claire did to her own dog. That woman needs to be arrested for animal cruelty, I swear. Also, what little girl dresses up her pets in a mohawk?
|"For the Horde!"|
I just love this setup, by the way. To sum up this scene, a young teenaged girl walks into a room and finds her next-door neighbor on a levitating bed stealing her purple dog while his blue dog sits next to him emitting fairy sparkles. "I'll explain later" doesn't cut it, Jamie.
I have to admire Claire for taking this rather well, but considering the fashion disaster earlier, I think the only reason she doesn't care that much is because she's currently as high as a kite.
|"Duuuuude, the neighbor kid is on a flying bed. Far out."|
|Unfortunately, this was only the beginning, and soon, Jamie became the accomplice of diamond heists and car thefts.|
|"Oh my god, little fuzzy wuzzies! They're so cuuuuute!"|
|I'm positive that this is illegal.|
Oh, and Wagstaff sees them escape. But that's not as important as what happened behind the scenes. And yes, I'm choosing to mull this strange, disturbing thought over instead of paying attention to the chase sequence between adventure-seeking bipedal canines and a crazy old man, because really, you know what's going to happen. Old Gaston is going to lose because he's about twenty years too old for his Saturday Morning Cartoon Villain job and has lived the cushy life of being better than everyone else for way too long.
|I love how absolutely no one comments on the purple one's drastic change in style.|
I will give the movie props for a funny line. When Claire utters the stock "You can talk" line in a voice that sounds more irritated than in awe, Tippi says "I wish you wouldn't keep saying that, I've been talking since I was three". Oooooh. I hope Claire has some ice for that epic burn!
But seriously, what did Claire expect? She adopted an intelligent purple dog that the neighbor kid, who never talks to her, mysteriously showed up on her doorstep and offered to her. Maybe if Claire read more fantasy novels, she'd be aware of when things like this happen.
|"Yeah, okay, I guess you can use my hair dryer, magic talking dog."|
|"Hi mom! I don't have strange furry aliens in my room!"|
Part 2 will logically bring about the end of this short special and hopefully will answer questions like "Will Wagstaff pose an actual threat?", "Will the red and yellow dogs show any signs of personality?", and "Will Jamie ever finish his homework?". Find out next time. This is your friendly blog writer signing out and reminding you to always spay and neuter your talking, dimension-traveling aliens.
Some multicolored dogs have opened a door to Part 2!