Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald: Scared Silly - Part 1

Okay, chances are if you're aware of the concept of "fast food" (and if you're not aware, congratulations for crawling out from your rock long enough to read my blog!), then you know about McDonald's. McDonald's is like the undisputed Lord and Master above all other forms of fast food, the crowning father of fatty hamburgers and cheap plastic toys shoved into mini meals to coerce children to start clogging their arteries early. Whether you love them, hate them, find them a world-destroying scourge or a delight that you visit every other week, you are aware of their existence and their ability to be absolutely anywhere. Starbucks wishes they were like McDonald's multibillion empire. Sadly, in this universe, scary clowns will always beat sirens in hand-to-hand combat.

But I'm not here to talk about cheeseburgers. I'm here to talk about cartoons. And one day in the 90's, McDonald's came up with this great idea. Oh sure, their mascots are portrayed well enough in the commercials, but what if they were in a cartoon? Kids love cartoons, and if Ronald was a cartoon star, that meant even more Happy Meals will be devoured on a daily basis! It's a win-win situation. Unfortunately, McDonald's didn't go the whole gambit and greenlight a 13 episode TV series; instead they chose to make a series of short films.

So they teamed up with Klasky-Csupo (aka the people behind Rugrats) and made a direct-to-video movie about Ronald McDonald and his hideously deformed food friends frolicking through the strange, cholesterol-filled lands of McDonaldland.

And it was a hit.

Man, remember when you actually had to rewind your movies?
It's hard to say just how popular these things were if you didn't live through it first-hand, but I remember when these VHSes first came out in McDonald's. For just a couple bucks more on your combo meal, you could get an exclusive Ronald McDonald cartoon where he pals around with his equally soulless partners designed purely to hypnotize the young'uns into buying more McDonald's food. This sounds stupid, the thought of bringing a cartoon clown and his giant rotten chicken nugget pal (what the hell is Grimace anyways?) into your home, but I remember McDonald's places all over the tri-county area selling out of these things. And, when they sold out, people would hop in their minivans and drive 45 minutes into another city in hopes that maybe one of their McDonald's has one.

What's really sad is that I'm not surprised people would sink this low. After all, I lived through the Beanie Baby craze and remembered when McDonald's places would have these huge lines of people getting their hands on shapeless cows or shapeless inch worms stuffed with beans.

Now, my family actually owned a copy of one of these things. My mom was lucky enough to buy the film before the popularity rush snatched them all up, and my family and I would actually sit down and watch this thing more than once, and mostly when it was October and getting close to Halloween. Because this movie was one of our "Halloween movies". Like Buttons and Rusty in Which Witch was Which, it was one of those odd VHSes that we didn't really acknowledge its existence until the right holiday came up. We'd watch it, not because we were compelled to, but because it was in season.

That being said, does this still hold up? Is there something to be redeemed in this fantasy world where a man can dress up his dog in clown makeup and get away with it, or is this movie as bad as a movie about freaking' McDonaldland characters could possibly be? Grab some McNuggets, mourn the loss of the triple cheeseburger and the Supersize combo option, take some anti-heart attack pills, and inhale this delicious portion of...

The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald: Scared Silly - Part 1

October 8, 1998

Availability: On VHS only.

The best way to start on this glorious, grease-soaked journey is to touch upon the intro that starts before this movie. Even though this was a direct-to-video movie and therefore was never going to be broadcast on any television station, the makers of this filth still saw it fitting to have an intro sequence with a catchy as hell theme tune that, like most 90's cartoon intros, is stupid but will not leave your head. I blame the fact that Klasky-Csupo got the Rugrats music writers to work on this show. Those people can write some powerful stuff.

Also, this intro (which I simply have to describe because it's so insane) happens to be in live-action, which seems like a weird choice since the main attraction is completely animated. But don't worry, they made McDonaldland and Ronald's house decently cartoony even in live-action, just in case someone was a dumbass and thought this town actually existed somewhere.

I heard the crime rate in this town is absurdly high.
I remember as a kid actually thinking this song was pretty cool, and listening to this again after not seeing this movie in almost a decade, it's not that bad. It's dumb, it's way too peppy for my liking, and the lyrics are obviously aimed at a much younger demographic than me, but the woman singing it at least sounds like she's enjoying herself. It's like she knows that, even if she is singing the most brainless piece of music in the history of direct-to-video releases, she's at least getting paid for her ear rape. I love it when people enjoy their line of work.

Here's some of the lyrics for the uninitiated:
Gotta get ready to enjoy the view,
Looking kinda cool. Looking kinda new.
There are things we should be trying, me and you,
A new day's here and fun is overdue.

Yeah, wow. The fact that the singer (and later her backup singers) has so much enthusiasm over a song that's basically about nothing is something to be admired. Oh, and while this exercise is blandness is happening, Ronald McDonald is established as a lazy asshole who needs Rube Goldberg machines in order to perform the simplest of tasks. You don't need an elaborate marble-dropping, gear-turning machine in order to open some damn blinds, Ronald! His entire house is full of stuff like this. Just because he could turn something more whimsical doesn't mean he should.
He needs to play checkers in order to brush his teeth. This is not an efficient way to live life.
By the way, Ronald McDonald has the best bed in the history of beds. When I was younger and watched this, I wanted a bed just like that bed. This is the bed Chuck Norris would sleep in, it's that cool. The best part of this entire intro is when Sundae (a hellish freakdog with clown makeup) is removing all the comforters off his bed, and all of Ronald's bedspreads are different hamburger toppings with little pickle pillows. It's so adorable. It probably says a lot about me that I'd sleep on something that looks like a giant sandwich but you know what, I'm okay with that. I'd never have a rough night ever again.

And somewhere, this work of art is collecting dust in a warehouse in Burbank.
After some more wacky gadgets that clearly don't even need to exist, while the lyrics say that "McDonaldland is changing", Ronald flips over the portraits of many of his friends to change them from the live-action costumed freaks from the commercials into the Klasky-Csupo versions. I always got a kick over while Birdie and the Hamburglar get really dramatic redesigns, literally the only thing that changes about the Grimace is the shape of his eyes. I guess it's hard to make Grimace anymore exciting than he already is.

Incidentally, while Ronald is brushing his teeth with his hellish dental torture device (toothbrushes should not be that large), the pictures are already flipped, but then switch back to their original sides when Ronald goes around and performs clownish black magic on his pictures. But hey, I'll let this slide. I don't watch things called "The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald" and expect strong continuity.

Also, Klasky-Csupo Ronald McDonald is just a few colors away from fighting Batman in Gotham City.

That's the face of a man who dances with the devil in the pale moonlight.
With the almost two minute intro over, we finally get to the actual meat in our Big Mac of a movie. Even though it's a bright clear day with birds a-flying and hamburger grills a-frying (they reuse the same shot as the intro), Sundae is holed up in the house, watching scary movies. The lighting even changes to night for some reason.

Background artists, maybe someone should've made a nighttime McDonaldland scene so it doesn't look like Sundae's sitting in a dark room with all the curtains closed in the middle of the day. The neighbors are asking questions.
What is he doing to that pillow.
Anyways, what's the movie he and later Ronald McDonald when he walks in with some popcorn are watching? "Attack of the Dinosaurs", a movie that supposedly takes place in New York City even though shamelessly uses footage from the silent film "The Lost World". It then mixes the old footage with new actors shot in black in white. At least the creators of this piece of media that skirts the line between entertainment and advertisement knows how to pull their sources from actual classics.

Wow, New York City sure looks different on TV! Look at those large tracts of uninhabited jungle!
At first, I was unimpressed because I've seen those claymation dinosaurs more than once in productions, but then the scientist characters appear. These glorious characters are my favorite characters in the entire movie. It's hard to explain just how much these two rock, but they do. One of them is a female scientist who constantly points out to the crazy male scientist that if he didn't sit on that dinosaur egg (how the hell does that revive a dinosaur, let alone multiple ones!?), they wouldn't be in this mess. What does the male scientist say? The best line in the history of dialogue of course. He says:


Okay, that, my friends, is the best comeback in the history of comebacks. It can literally be used for anything. I use this excuse all the time whenever I turn up late for work and so far no one's called the local insane asylum so it must be working.

And it's sad that I'm more interested in this than the actual movie I'm sitting through, but now I want to watch "Attack of the Dinosaurs". Forget this film. I want to see this mad scientist and his hunky scientist assistant sitting on dinosaur eggs and accidentally dooming New York City.

It's poetry in motion...
They continue watching the movie, showing that not only do they eat nothing but greasy processed foods but they're also incredibly inactive, until someone calls on the "picture phone". No, seriously. That's really what Ronald calls it while he sets down his obviously-an-animatronic-with-a-visible-zipper dog.

He then rides a fireman pole down the floor below him and spazzes his way to strange, alien technology that's way too advanced for a clown to possess. Geez, Ronald. Way to rub it in that your worldwide empire has made you the richest carny alive. I officially hate you and your smugass painted grin and I hope your kidney fails.

Also, dude. I want that freaking swivelchair that looks like a giant germ, representing all the bacteria that makes it into McDonald's food. It's really sad that instead of being repulsed by Joker's Carnival House of Horrors, I see random pieces of furniture and I'm like "Yeah, I'd totally own that". I'm ashamed in myself.

So does Ronald buy this stuff or did he build it? Because if he built this stuff, his talent is really being wasted.
He turns on his picture phone, and he talks to some incredibly outdated, creepy CGI. Meet Tika. She will be sucking out your soul with her glassy satanic eyeballs.

And since someone's going to ask "Who's Tika?", she's an invention for this cartoon. She's basically the horrifying burger clown's black friend that he likes to keep around so he doesn't look racist. She never appears in any of the commercials after this and she only really exists in these direct-to-video cartoons. It's really sad when you think about it, that they introduced a minority and then never bothered to use them afterwards, only because Tiny Toon Adventures did the exact same thing.

This is why Klasky-Csupo never made a CGI Rugrats. Because it's creepy as hell.
Tika and her hideous Klasky-Csupo CGI says that since it's a nice day (oh, so it is in the middle of the day; forget what I said earlier), they should gather up the rest of their mutated fast food friends and go camping in the Far-Flung Forest. Ronald's on board with it, because it means fresh air and a chance for him to try out his "tent in a flashlight" invention. The dog doesn't want to go, because camping in the woods is full of ticks and fleas. Who even said you were going, Sundae? You may talk, but even if my cats could speak the same language as me, I'm not taking them to a forest out in the middle of nowhere and allowing them to get eaten by bears.

Likewise, I forgot to point this out, but the room with the picture phone has a ball pit. Ball pits are one of those things that would be a lot more awesome if they weren't outside and coated with other people's bodily fluids and germs. A completely sanitized ball pit in your own home though? Sign me up!

I think doing this to your dog qualifies as animal cruelty.
Clownface McBurgerdemon instructs Tika to call up the rest of the gang to meet up at the car in five minutes (that's such a short span of time, Ronald. Way not to give your friends any previous warning), but first several of the other freaks decide to bug Ronald with their problems. First Grimace phones his hideous harlequin friend and complains about how he can't watch TV anymore because it's scary, leading me to wonder just what the hell could possibly be scarier than creepily smooth, jerkily animated Grimace and his blank stare of death. Ronald invites him to go camping, even though I really don't want to be in the same campsite with this hideous thing.

Incidentally, Grimace really sounds and acts like Patrick in this cartoon which can mean only one thing. These two are related and Grimace is really an obese starfish that has had his points atrophy into nothing due to overeating. Hey, if I can't unsee this connection, neither should you.

"Hey, Ronald? Just what the hell am I?"
After that call is over, Birdie decides to bug her more popular friend next. Apparently aliens stole her birdbath, but really, I'm more worried at how bowel-voidingly terrifying Birdie looks. Grimace is only mildly creepy and Tika is a little scary, but Birdie is really in your face with her cadaverous stare and her jerky head movements that look like her head's going to pop clean off her shoulders. I know this movie was called "Scared Silly" but I wasn't expecting it to come from the actual protagonists of this show. God, I have chills just looking at the collection of screenshots I just grabbed from this scene.

...also, why does Ronald know a bird personally if one of the most popular items on his menu are his McNuggets? Does Birdie ever question that logic? Does she even care that millions of her brethren are being enslaved and later slaughtered in factory farms full of unsanitary living conditions?

...I'm guessing no. She sold her soul to McD's a long, long time ago.

That, or she's a reanimated corpse and has stopped having rational emotions years ago.
It's hard to tell with this animation.
Anyways, finally, after all of that, but not before including the much-unneeded tent in a flashlight gag (because kids find that hilarious, right?), the movie decides to finally transition into full 2D animation as advertised on the video box, meaning I'm not going against what my blog title says and reviewing something live-action by mistake. How does Ronald turn from hideous human clown to hideous drawn clown? By jumping into that ball pit which leads to a giant slide. I wish my house had a several story long slide so much right now. Once my career takes off, I'm turning my house into a supervillain clown hideout full of these little features and nobody can stop me.

Anyways, before I got off-topic, I must know. How would this work? How can a ball pit conceal a slide? Wouldn't the balls just tumble down the chute? What sort of otherworldly spell has Ronald performed on this innocent looking ball pit?

Each ball is really a soul Ronald sucked out of a victim and encapsulated in a round plastic vessel.
But then, black magic occurs! With a strange sound effect that resembles a balloon deflating, Ronald becomes Joker's wealthy, more successful brother. I admire Klasky-Csupo for at least trying to make Ronald a little less creepy, but unfortunately, they ended up making him more creepy in the process. It happens, I guess. I just wish they realized they turned this into a Batman spinoff by mistake ahead of time and got Mark Hamil to do Ronald's voice.

...and I don't know about you, but I'd totally watch an episode of Batman where Joker takes the other inmates from Arkham Asylum on a camping trip in the middle of the woods. It'd be great. Killer Croc can bring the marshmallows, Harley can bring the hot chocolate and s'mores, and Ventriloquist can bring the hostages. Warner Brothers, make this happen.

Hello, Satan. How are you?
After sliding down his slide coated with the blood of his fallen victims, Beelzebub and his reanimated hellhound decide to summon a mechanical construct with human thoughts that serves as their vehicle of torture. This sounds like I'm exaggerating, but Ronald's car talks, expresses pain, and has sentience. There's absolutely no reason for the car to talk and yet it does. This isn't charming, it's creepy.

"Please kill me."
Right when Ronald loads the top of the car with way too many pieces of luggage, because he feeds on other people's pain, suddenly all of his friends come right on time and malevolently say "Hi Ronald" in unison. I love how this group of losers seem to have nothing else to do in their lives, and can just drop everything and go camping in the woods for several days. No one's late either. I can just picture the Fry Kids or those misshapen living McNuggets just sitting around their houses next to the phone, eagerly awaiting the moment The Hamburger-Happy Clown instructs them to perform their next heinous task. They exist only to give the children clogged arteries and they won't let you forget it.
"What are your orders, Almighty One? We live only to serve."
Seeing the large crowd of Ronald's spiritless slaves, the car starts to complain that he doesn't want to carry so many people. Silly car. Everyone knows you don't have any free will! You're just an inanimate object Ronald magicked to life on a whim!
"I can somehow afford a warehouse sized garage and yet can only afford a car this big.
Makes no sense, but what can you do?"
So the car is on the road, the music sounds a lot like a Rugrats rerun (complete with blatant overuse of xylophones), and it turns out McDonaldland is a futuristic utopia that our cities can only hope to attain in the future. Don't believe me? Look at this city that Ronald is driving through, which has a beautiful color palette. This movie honestly confuses me, because sometimes I'll be repulsed by what it's showing me and then, immediately afterwards, I spot something I like. I hate it when production values are this high and therefore I end up seeing places where actual talent exists. 

The best part of this city are clearly those roads. They're high in the air and lack guard rails. That's unbelievably dangerous, just like a Supersized Triple Cheeseburger combo.

And yes, at one point in time, that actually existed as a possible food choice. God, I miss the 90's.

Considering the lack of cars, these road designs have already claimed the lives of countless drivers.
Once they hit the countryside, we see the seating arrangement in the car. Is it me, or is it really weird that most of the characters, most of them pretty recognizable, are crammed in seats far too small for them except for Ronald's bestest best pal Tika, who gets the passenger seat right next to the man himself? Somebody's playing favorites.

Incidentally, I have a fun game I like to play in this cartoon whenever I watch it. It's called "Count the number of times Ronald's hairstyle changes". I usually end up losing count because the animators can never keep track.
I love how all the passengers look uncomfortable. An expected reaction considering the driver.
Then Tika decides to overstay her welcome by intentionally scaring everyone with stories of the Far-Flung Forest and its alliterative name or, more importantly, the plot-important Far-Flung Phantom who lives in a spooky old house in the forest. Look, I know it's a Halloween special and all, but we've barely gotten to know this girl before she decides to shove herself into the limelight and start manipulating the tone of the cartoon to suit her random desires. Geez, girl. Just sit down and shut up.

Remember the Far-Flung Phantom's name, by the way, because this will be important later on.

That's a really effective seatbelt there, Tika. I sure hope Ronald doesn't have to slam on the brakes...
At one point during her story, there's a really great piece of animation where, while Tika goes on about how the Far-Flung Phantom attacks people by randomly summoning forest floods, he just shoots her a scathing look that can only be seen with the rear view mirror. Classic.

"If she keeps talking, I'm handing her over to the Burger King. He can deal with her mouth."
After Tika scares everyone, Ronald McDonald decides that what they really need is a good driving song. Time to cue up the backup singers, because The Hamburger Happy Clown is going to sing. And yes, this cartoon fancies itself to be a musical. It's that cruel. The car starts to bob along and then The Joker shows us just how well he can carry a tune by singing a song that starts with the lyric "There's nothing like the great outdoors and the Far-Flung Forest is the best of course". Whoa! Move over, Phil Colins! We've found a new hit musician!
Before he got into the fast food business, Ronald used to be the fifth member of KISS.
I'm not going to torture you with a run-down of this entire stupid song, because it's just a list of all the things a forest contains. No, really. That's it. Most of the song is pointing out what's out the windows, saying things like "There's flowers, and squirrels, and fish, and frogs". It's freaking I Spy the song and they keep repeating this over and over like it's Dora the Explorer. For some reason, I was expecting a forty minute advertisement of fast food to treat my intelligence with a little more respect.

The only notable parts of this grossly substandard musical (although as a kid, I really didn't mind this song too much) is Sundae constantly asking if they're there yet, on account he represents the audience's inability to sit through this song, and Grimace being waaaaaay too happy that the forest is full of "lots of logs". His facial expressions still kill me every time.
"Dat LOG."
After that journey into a clown's insanity, they finally make it to the forest and they start hiking in search of a decent camping spot. Everyone buddies up, because Ronald wants to teach good safety skills to the tater tots watching this, and then the group makes their way through the accursed Far-Flung Forest, container of Far-Flung Phantoms.

And it turns out Tika carries only one walkie-talkie with her and she instantly got all weird and defensive about it too. Hmmm. That certainly isn't suspicious at all and probably has nothing to do with the plot.

"Look, Birdie, keeping canaries as pets is not a form of slavery. I'm through with this debate."
But let's ignore that scene because the hideous clown dog spots a squirrel!

...wait, considering the shape of his body, does this mean that Sundae is related to the dog from Up? That's kind of sad actually.
Dogs should not wear clown makeup.
Now, I know what you might be thinking. Why am I focusing on such a pointless scene involving a canine running after a small rodent, especially after what Tika did? Because this ends with quite possibly one of the weirdest sight gags I've ever seen in a cartoon. The dog runs into a bush, but is promptly scared away by...a super military squirrel that's as tall as a human being. Wait, huh? What!? Who thought that was going to make the kids laugh? Geez, those food additives in those burgers are pretty strong if McDonaldland possesses mutants such as this one.

Conker's Bad Fur Day.
Hideous foodmonsters continue hiking through the woods, and then a tree sprouts a security camera and creepily spies on the forest's intruders. And, in some actual subtle foreshadowing, Tika gives it a thumb's up. It's something I haven't caught until seeing this cartoon a thousand times and already knowing the secret plot twist ending and I like that they did this. It's not like Shutter Island where people will have debates on the dangling plot threads for years to come, but it's pretty subtle for a cartoon about freakin' Ronald McDonald. Point goes to the movie for actually being clever.

Big Brother is watching but she's okay with that.
The group gathers, tired from the hike because their bodies are unused to exercise, and then the clown has the balls to say that they have another three hours until they reach the campsite. Hey, uh, Ronald? No offense, but there's a pretty nice clearing you and your gang are sitting on. Why not just pitch your tents there? No one else wants to hike for another three hours, so why do you get to call all the shots?

...wait. It was Tika who came up with this camping idea. Why isn't she leading them to their campsite? Geez, just because Ronald's the corporate marketing icon of the fast food place that birthed them doesn't mean he has to be the boss of every outing.

All of those trees were involved in some sort of bizarre car accident.
But then Otto from Rocket Power The Hamburglar has an easier solution, all while sounding like Chicken from Cow and Chicken. Why can't Ronald just perform some of the gifts Satan has bestowed upon him and teleport them to the campsite? Ronald shoots down this idea, saying that Hamburglar needs the exercise after eating nothing but his sweet, addicting fast food meats. Hike now, "magic fun" later. I hate the fact that he calls it "magic fun", because that just sounds way too suspicious for my liking.

By the way, I actually really like The Hamburglar's design in this cartoon. The way they drew Birdie is really hideous, but Hamburglar looks downright cool. His hat's cute, he actually looks like a lowlife thug, and he's wearing pretty decent clothes considering he hangs around clowns all day. His face is obscenely wide, though, possibly because humans in McDonaldland have evolved unhingeable jaws in order to consume greasy hamburgers more efficiently.
Chuckie Finster was so devastated by Tommy's death that he turned to a life of crime.
Unfortunately, The Hamburglar is a lazy asshole and figures it'd be way easier to just coerce the clown to use his occult black magic by pretending he's a bear using his Quizzical Bear Call. I have to wonder why they even bother taking this guy anywhere if he's prone to doing stuff like this.

And, for those curious, he doesn't actually steal any hamburgers in this movie. Probably because, in a bizarre choice of logic for a place called McDonaldland, burgers aren't a natural occurring food in the middle of the woods. Go figure.
"Robble robble robble."
Pretending as a bear doesn't work too well in his favor because he uses a bear call to make his sounds, unaware of what that invention's intended use is supposed to be. Geez, Hamburglar, there's a reason why they label those things "calls".

Also, the bear sounds like Krumm from Aaaah! Real Monsters. That combined with the fact that Hamburglar here is voiced by none other than Charlie Adler points to the fact that Klasky just got lazy and figured that we wouldn't notice if they just used the cast from all of their other cartoons.

"Would you like me to eat you or merely disembowel you? I'm fine with either."
Thanks to Burgarthief McAsshole being a waste of carbon molecules, we have ourselves a little chase sequence. I say "little" because it only really lasts for about ten seconds before everyone just moves on with their lives and forgets the bear ever existed. Why? Because it ends really quickly with Ronald using his magic, summoning a door out of nowhere, and locking the bear in a pitch black void.

Let me repeat that. Ronald summons a door and locks the bear in a place with no sound, no light, no air, and no entropy, forever damning the ursine to an painful, horrifying existence for which there is no escape.

...that seems like pretty harsh punishment for a wild animal defending its territory, scary clownmonster. In fact, that's really terrifying, Ronald. What other arcane rituals can you perform for the sake of ridding yourself of your enemies? Is this where the Taco Bell Dog disappeared to?
Huh, so Ronald's part Fluppy Dog. Who would've thought.
But it turns out that animal Jack Nicholson just slaughtered shaved off three hours off their hiking time, because they found the camp site! Hooray for killing bears! Everyone's so overjoyed that they're going to sing about it too, on account Birdie stood on a log and instructed them to do so. How come whenever I try to get people to join in on spontaneous singing, everyone just thinks I'm going crazy?
"This looks like a good place to build a McDonald's. Screw nature."
This song is called "Time to Set Set Set Set Set Set Set Up Camp" and it's, if possible, even worse than the car song. The very first part of the song is Ronald happily shouting "pitching tents and gathering wood!" and just goes downhill from there. As a kid, I just kind of tuned the cartoon out when it got to this song because literally nothing happens in it. They're singing about something as stupid as setting up tents, which is the equivalent of me going to Disneyland and singing about how it's time to buy buy buy buy buy buy buy some souvenirs. There's just no point.

It doesn't help that half of these characters just cannot sing and therefore decide to just speak their lines instead of even trying to carry a tune. Tika especially. I think I've gone deaf in my left ear due to her voice.

The only way this could get any more unsettling is if Sundae was a ventriloquist dummy.
Those things freak me out.
Also, holy crap, undead McNugget bird things. Do you not get the concept of camping? Beds? Picture frames? Seriously? I'm ashamed in you all.

By the way, meet the McNuggets, since they're not in any other McDonalds advertising on account of how creepy they look. For some reason, this cartoon thought the best way to advertise nuggets is to have them talk and have bird parts growing out of already golden brown hunks of oil-soaked meat. That's pretty unappetizing, I don't know about you.
Wait a second, if McNuggets typically come in a ten-piece meal and there's only
three of them, what happened to the other seven?
But then, night falls, and everyone's gathered around the campfire. Somehow it goes from Birdie bragging about how she can afford to travel to five star resorts in Paris and has never gone camping before (what an ass) to Hamburglar being a jerk and bringing up the Far-Flung Phantom again. Ronald decides to take his dog Sundae out for a walk, possibly because after a whole day of dealing with the Hamburglar's crap, his patience is wearing thin. If he hears that masked idiot talk for much longer, he's going to perform his favorite magic trick called "The Disappearing Pencil".

Note the tents, by the way. I have to admire whoever designed these things; they at least gave a modicum of a crap for the final product. You can easily tell who owns what tent and when I was a kid, I found that really cool. I like how Grimace gets the smallest tent (because Ronald likes to make fun of his friend's weight) while the Fry Kids get a tent as indistinct and useless as they are.

"Boy, I love sitting by a campfire while enjoying a McDonalds shake and Big Mac!
Now available at your local McDonalds! I'm lovin' it!"
While Ronald is out getting some fresh air away from the horrible morons he dragged with him on this camping trip, he spots a strange old house off to the distance, one that glows, shoots lightning into the sky at random intervals, and fills the air with stereotypical "spooky" music. Looks like a charming place. I wonder if we'll end up seeing the interior of the lovely abode anytime soon.

Man, what's this awesome house design doing in a McDonalds cartoon?
Meanwhile, back at the campsite, now that the hideous clown overlord is gone, a new pecking order is established with the ruthless thief calling all the shots. Chuckie Hamburglar decides he's going to abuse his newfound power by scaring everybody with stories of the Far-Flung Phantom even though he just learned of this creature from Tika in the car. Geez, shouldn't Tika be doing this?

And personally, the story he tells is not as scary as the face he makes while telling it. Are we sure this criminal is human? The way his mouth warps into horrendous shapes designed to devour his foes whole, he looks more like some sort of hideous plasticine mutant than anything normal. I guess this is what happens when the only edible substances in the world that you live in happens to be McDonalds food.
"I'm everything you ever were afraid of!"
His screaming and wide mouth nightmare face frightens Grimace so much that he causes the fat sack of rotten purple meat (what the hell is Grimace supposed to be anyways?) to crash unforgivably to the forest floor where he will be most assuredly devoured by wolves. Grimace later gets soothed back to normal by Birdie's calming voice, but really, whose bright idea was it to take this man anywhere? I hate the idea that this is going to be the McDonald's Halloween special but most of the scared reactions are going to be from this dumbass.

I like how everyone humors Grimace and the fact that he's just plain terrible at life. He's stupid, scared of everything, and is completely and utterly nude, but by god, he's still their friend.

"Don't worry, Grimace. I'll get you some logs. That'll make you feel better!"
Unsatisfied merely with sending one of his friends into a coma, Hamburglar decides to up the ante by becoming a Scooby Doo villain and scaring everyone in the campsite with a really elaborate ghost prop that I would imagine took a long time and energy to make. Seriously, no one saw him gather rope and torn sheets and make that thing? This campsite's full of idiots, just like that time I went to that Boy Scout Family Camp-Out with my brother.
"Zoinks, Scoob! It's the Far-Flung Phantom!"
 Ronald hears terrified screams and, puzzled that he's not the one causing them, decides to stop the ghost using brute force. After yet another pointless scene is over after a couple minutes, Hamburglar gets absolutely no punishment for being such a douche on account this is a family friendly film and the hideous burger clown can't send any of his friends to the pitch black void he sent the bear earlier. They instead choose to get angry and say "Hamburglar!" before quickly forgetting this incident ever happened.

...what is The Hamburglar's name anyways? I'm still pretty convinced this is Chuckie, personally. I blame the art style and his hair color matched with the fact that he wears glasses. Tell me I'm wrong.

"Please don't hurt me, Oh Lord and Master. I'll be good."
Now, after all of that excitement, what's going to happen next? Why, rain of course! I like how no one can go camping on TV without it raining, just like how no one can go to the state of Indiana without watching race cars.

And apparently continued exposure with clowns zaps brain cells, because the moment it rains, everyone stands around and starts complaining about how its raining instead of, oh I don't know, using their tents maybe? Those things looked pretty watertight!

And then Birdie and Hamburglar both confessed their love for one another underneath the fresh autumn rains.
So, what do they do to beat the rain? Why, they use some flower umbrellas Ronald spotted growing off to the side!

You know, instead of using those tents they pitched. Guys, tents exist for a reason. They act as shelter from the elements. None of you should be smiling because you're all really stupid.

"Durr hurr hurr, umbrellas!"
It gets windy and, again, instead of using those stupid tents, Ronald has a suggestion. He saw a house! They should use that as shelter! Because yeah, trespassing on the grounds of that really creepy house that gave both you and your dog the chills is totally a much better idea than using the equipment you brought to the camping trip! Geez, at this point I have to wonder how the hell Ronald's even lived this long if his survival skills are really this weak.

Also, wait, isn't Ronald supposed to be magical? Can't he just summon some shelter on his own instead of relying on an abandoned old house that's most assuredly haunted to protect him from wind and rain? And wasn't that house like several miles away, since you saw it off to the distance after climbing a cliff? Don't tell me they ran through the woods in the middle of the night in the pouring rain in order to get to this place.

In short, this plot is flimsier than the claims that McNuggets are made from actual meat.
Yeah, seems perfectly safe.
Aaaand right here is where I'm going to stop.

Next post, we'll see whether this turns into something predictable or if they're throw something crazy at our way.

...and this cartoon probably did its job, because man can I go for a hamburger right about now. Robble robble robble.

Follow the Far-Flung Phantom to Part 2!