Saturday, November 5, 2011

Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog - Road Hog

This show won third place in that poll I posted in the first half of October, so I figure why not? Making fun of Sonic is one of my favorite pastimes, next to crossword puzzles and judging other people for their choice in music.

The last time I talked about this show, I covered an episode where Scratch (the chicken robot who chases Sonic, for those not completely caught up to the Sonic lore) bumped his head and thought he was a character on TV, emulating a cheesy sitcom for a day. But before I talked about his strange love affair with poultry, I mentioned that I wanted to cover all the episodes that were on the VHSes first.

Well, here's another one!

That's some motorcycle design, artist!
This episode happens to be on the rarest VHS out of the classic AoStH movie lot (and I base this statement purely off of something I made up), Road Hog. I owned a couple of VHSes of this show (I owned the Grounder the Genius and the Sonic's Song VHSes, for the people in the audience who must know every aspect of my life), but literally the only copy I knew existed of this bastion of insanity was at the local Blockbuster. Oh, I rented it a couple times, because a blue hedgehog riding a motorcycle and then fighting a morbidly obese man on a blimp never stops being entertaining, but I could swear I've never seen this VHS sold anywhere. It was like an endangered species of animal; there was evidence of its existence in certain institutions, but I was having too hard of a time spotting one in the wild, ready to be purchased by my allowance money.

Anyways, I'm going to talk about this episode because this always stuck out to me as a kid as just unbelievably bizarre and unpleasant for a Sonic cartoon. Yes, this is weird for an Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon, a show that practically invented the word. That's just sad that there is an episode that's weird even by this show's standards, since this is the show where tanks have articulate butts, a chicken can fall in love with a turkey, and you can somehow make a robot by cracking an egg into a strange, cauldron-shaped machine.

So let's see Sonic deal with hypnotic flowers, speed limits, a giant blimp, and a group of pigs riding motorcycles in...

Road Hog

Get it? Because Sonic's a hedgehog and there's a idiom that involves hogs...

Airdate: 1995

Availability: On DVD

Like many episodes before it, this episode opens with what else but Sonic running through a countryside while following the road just like some sort of spiky blue roadrunner, during which a cover of the theme song plays in the background. This is probably the most common way an episode starts in this show ever. DIC Entertainment loved introducing the story this way, if only because it reinforced the main character's strongest character trait, so this won't be the last time I write a blog that starts with "And the episode opens with Sonic running". To be fair, the videogames open in pretty much the same way.

What makes this episode different is, unlike the desert landscapes and sparse countryland in the past episodes I've covered, it looks like there's actual civilization in this part of Mobius. There's bridges, there's landscaping, and there's actual billboards. Billboards that exist only as sight gags, but hey, at least there's signs of intelligent life in this part of the planet.

She is so not a natural pink.
Okay, mundane opening, but then, one of the things I always wanted to happen to this character happens, immediately justifying the running scene. Sonic actually gets pulled over by a policeman for going over the speed limit. Yes!

I love it when, after throwing really insane crap at your face in other episodes, this show has a small moment of lucid sobriety and approaches Sonic the Hedgehog with actual Earth Logic. Oh sure, the cartoon's going to get really weird in a minute or two, trust me on this, but this is a nice change of pace.

...even if the police dog's motorcycle disappears in some shots.

He's taking a bite out of crime, one speeding ticket at a time.
At some point during the police brutality, Tails says an awesome line that reinforces the fact that this is probably the best incantation of this character. He points out, using even more Earth Logic (geez, any more and I might mistake this cartoon as being grounded in reality), that they could just outrun the policeman, being able to move at speeds over two hundred miles per hour and all that jazz.

What's the response Sonic gives him? That would be illegal. Yep, Sonic's going to man up, be the better person we would ever be, and appeal to a judge. Because he's a hero. While noble, I must question the logic of this. Come on, Sonic. We won't fault you too badly if you do the whole "look over there!" thing with the policeman and then quickly run into the next country.

...does Mobius even have countries? What's their system of government?

"Are you making fun of my hideous neckless deformity, Tails?"
So of course we head into town, with Sonic being led by a police escort, and we find that this town is just as sparse and as barren as the previous town we visited. The artist in me wants to describe these buildings as haphazardly thrown together by a lazy, child-like god, built without considering gravity or even parallel lines, but I have to commend Town Middle of Nowhere for at least having some system of civil law. Sure, there's no people on the street, but by god, they have a court house and you will be judged by your fellow peers if you get caught jaywalking across the pink, polka-dotted road of commerce.

It might not look like much, but they have a great public school system.
We then see just how the law is run around here in these parts. This judge just wins because he doesn't care who the hell Sonic is; if he can't pay up for his speeding ticket, he's going to spend thirty days doing community service in a chain gang. This is one of the defining moments for the show, because it's just really surreal seeing Sonic have to appeal before a person of authority like a regular person. Next you'll be telling me there's an episode of Super Mario Super Show where Mario has to pay exorbitant fees for destroying brick walls with his fist.

Also, considering the state of the court house, I can properly draw the conclusion that this town has been hit pretty hard by the crippling recession that's struck all of Mobius. State funding is so sparse that even their legal buildings, their symbols of what's keeping this town from erupting into anarchy, is falling into ruin. Maybe Robotnik taking over the world isn't such a bad idea considering the other option here.

Or there's barely anyone here because a terrible flu swept through the town a year ago and
killed 80% of the population. Considering the building upkeep, it wouldn't surprise me.
Before I got sidetracked and started talking about this imaginary town's possible history, Sonic ends up getting taken to some random field and is forced to toil his debt away. This leads to Sonic and Tails chained to a bunch of prisoner clones (either camels love breaking the rules or the police actively discriminate against ungulates) while working in a field that looks suspiciously like Farmer Peck's field in Blank-Headed Eagle. Imagine how cool it would be if this show actually had throwbacks to previous episodes, but that's expecting way too much from something where the main character is voiced by Urkel.

Man, that smoking ban's been brutal on Joe Camel's relatives...
Tails whines and moans about their current situation like a little baby, but then one of the most hideous, malformed creatures to ever appear in this show stomps his way into the frame. We get some bulky policeman guy, and oh dear lord, he just screams Uncanny Valley. It's hard to describe this guy without retching onto the keyboard and letting my vomit do the typing, but I'll do my best. With a quivering, shiny sausage for a nose that darts to and fro while he talks and anatomy that doesn't suggest anything human, this creature will most likely haunt my nightmares for years to come. Between this guy and Robotnik, I have to wonder just what's swimming in the water that's causing this dramatic mutations in the human population.

Hideous Freakshow Cop also has a running gag. If Tails and Sonic does something trivial like talking or disobeying him, he adds another ten days to their stay in the chain gang. Personally, I'd rather he'd just go away. Or get shot by the mafia. Whichever's easier.

"If you critters don't do what I ask you to do, I'll consume your souls and use your
lifeless corpses to construct a shrine for the death god!"
But then, we get another character, charmingly named Colonel Stench, and since he's the only character on the chain gang that isn't a camel, that instantly makes him noteworthy. Better get used to him and his inability to decide whether or not he has a tail (like Coconuts's tail, it disappears quite a bit) because he will be the driving force of this episode.

By the way, I love how Tails just calmly approaches this skunk and instructs him to move downwind. One of the things I always wondered as a kid is if, in worlds populated by mutant, talking animals, would telling a talking skunk that he stinks be considered a racial (speciest?) stereotype and therefore offensive. Cuddly woodland shows never properly addressed that so I have to wonder if skunks actively have to deal with this sort of racial profiling.
"Sir, could you try not being a skunk?"
This character is pretty funny, though, and I'm not just talking about his looks or his hillbilly accent. He totally knows that he stinks, and because of that, he breeds flowers for a living and has been trying to create a brand new flower with a scent powerful enough to cover his own stink. With a laugh and a grin, he says that so far, nothing's worked, but that's really kind of tragic to think about a skunk slaving away for years, first in a university to get a Botany degree and later in the workforce, in order to get rid of the filthy smell he's been born with. He's just one flower-themed accident away from turning into a bitter, revenge-seeking supervillain.

Also, take note, Tails. Sonic is being way more polite about the whole stink thing.

"This smell reminds me of the time I had a booth at Anthrocon."
We then get a plot device in the form of a flower. It turns out that he developed flowers that "some strangers from out of town" stole (spoilers: Robotnik) and then, to cover up the evidence, stuffed him on the chain gang so he wouldn't talk. Yeah, good strategy there, bad guys, since he just told the main heroes! Boy, wasn't it lucky that Sonic got that speeding ticket or else he would've found out about this too late!

Anyways, why are these plants so special anyways? Well, be ready to give your willing suspension of disbelief a workout, because it turns out that their pollen, if a large amount is inhaled, will cause you to fall under a hypnotic trance and do whatever command you hear. Yes, my friends. Plant mind control. This is seriously what we're going to use. He even shows off this power by convincing Tails that he's a chicken, but seriously, what?

...okay, question, Mr. Skunk. How the hell did you accidentally develop a flower that has mind control pollen? I'm pretty sure the genes of beautiful odors and shutting down the mind's synapses are nowhere near the same thing! Don't lie. We know you developed this flower on purpose and aren't letting us know what you're really planning to do with them once the threat level's dropped.
"I'm totally not going to use these to take over the world! Give one to all of your friends!"
But not to worry. Sir Stench (man, what an unflattering name) also happens to carry an antidote with him at all times in a small glass easy to break bottle, just in case his victims of mind control ever "try anything funny". I'm sure that won't backfire on our heroes anytime soon, right?

Also, "try anything funny"? Maybe I've seen too many movies where mind control was abused, but I can think of at least ten different scenarios, all of them bad. Stench is clearly toying with power no man (or skunk) was meant to wield, which is sort of why they usually give mind control to the bad guys.

Leaving our heroes for a moment, we hear the trademark Robotnik theme music and find ourselves staring at a surprisingly well-designed factory for this show. That means we're soon going to be basking in the glory that is this show's real stars. Don't deny it. You watch this show for Robotnik and his henchmen too.

And inside, we find what else, but Robotnik's loveable mechanical flunkies, Scratch and Grounder, who are currently exploring the many wonders of what it's like to be a robot piece of poultry and a robot artillery tank with drill arms handling large canisters of flower pollen without stopping and wondering just how strange of a life they lead. Instead of pondering the deeper workings of their universe, Grounder complains and Scratch sticks a finger up his nose. Genius.

They don't linger on the screen by themselves for very long, since we barely get any dialogue from them before Robotnik marches his fat, bulbous-looking body onto the screen and tells us that he's going to use pollen to hypnotize all of Mobius. Yep, this episode, Robotnik is going to use flower power for eeeeevil! He's very confident with his masculinity if he can write up a villain plot that involves harvesting an ungodly amount of pink flowers and still march around like he's the sexiest thing in the room. And considering the other two are robots, he is.
Aww, Grounder has the best puppy dog face.
Unfortunately, prideful and confident of his flower-based success he may be, Robotnik still hasn't learned his lessons from any of the other episodes so, of course, when his dingbat robots are handling pollen that can make people susceptible to hypnotic suggestions, they of course get it all over Robotnik and accidentally cause him to think he's a dog. I'm pretty sure in a normal workforce, causing your boss to think he's a dog would instantly call for your job's termination. Just common sense.

Now, I know what you might be thinking. Clearly these two robots are distressed that their lord and master is now on all fours, panting and slobbering all over the floor like some sort of sexual metaphor. Surely, they're going to fix this problem right away and then pretend this accident never happened right?

No, Grounder! Don't look in there!
...well no. Instead they're going to turn Robotnik into anything they want. In their defense, I would've done the exact same thing. Having complete power over someone's mind is a situation most normal people never run into, so you would bet I'd be telling my boss to pretend he's a walrus or to give me a giant raise. 

And that hypno-pollen is amazingly good, because Dr. Robotnik actually shapeshifts. When Grounder wants an elephant, you better believe he's getting an elephant! This is how hypnotism works, right?

"Quick, Scratch! Turn him into a hedgehog! I must acquire blackmail!"
Unfortunately, Scratch is a big enough dumbass to pull out a bottle of antidote within trunk's reach of Robotniphant, and when Dr. Bloatiness changes back, he's so mad that he dismantles his robots and forces them to put themselves back together. That, my friends, is pure, unadulterated badassery. Mess with Robotnik's brain and he's going to chop up your body into small, salvageable parts and force you to build your face back together. This is why he works with robots, people. It's so much easier to punish robots.

Robotnik was inspired by that one scene from The Brave Little Toaster.
So we're back in the fields and...


...I'm sorry, I think my brain temporarily short-circuited in sheer fear of what my screen just showed to me. Just when I thought those police demons couldn't get any worse! No creature should ever look like that! What kind of sick, cruel god molded these beasts!?

"I will kill you in your sleep."
Let me just block those vile monsters from my memory and continue on. Sonic and his group of woodland critters, using levels of deduction that rival Scooby-Doo in cleverness, figure out that the policemen are under the spell of the pollen (no duh?), and never come to the conclusion that maybe the police are just dicks and want to punish these criminals with cruel and unusual punishment. They also question who this mysterious master is that's forcing these people to till soil and plant more of these flowers. Uh, Sonic? Hate to say it, but there's only really one bad guy in this entire series. Occasionally a guest villain will pop up, but even then, Robotnik will be committing villainy alongside that bad guy.

"Hey, guys? Why did the ground turn purple...?"
Anyways, they need those terrifying golems of terror and pain on their side (because the police will be a helpful tool in fighting Robotnik, I guess?), so Sonic's going to use his patented superspeed and use the other prisoners shackled to him as a weapon. Not sure why he didn't do this earlier, but okay.

Despite the lapse in judgement, this scene is noteworthy for actually replacing the camel clones with unique character designs for the different prisoners. Which, now that I think about it, seems like a waste of time since they're only onscreen for about a second or two. While Sonic is dragging the entire chain gang into a hole, it is advised that you keep pausing this scene just to see the different fauna that populates this planet. I think my favorite sin against nature is the weird man thing that looks like a completely normal human except for the animal-like face that's grown over his skull like some sort of mask. You can literally count the number of frames this guy's around, and yet here I am, sitting here, wondering what his backstory is.

I know want to know THEIR crimes. They can't all be here for speeding!
So Sonic and Tails tie up the frightening barely humanoid monsters with other frightening barely humanoid monsters and then they use the antidote on them so that the policebeasts can tell both the heroes and the audience who did this to them. The police are pretty helpful for people who just got out of a trance that most likely lasted for weeks considering the volume of pollen Robotnik has at his disposal, so of course they oblige. Their description for the guy who did this to them defies words too.

"Don't know his name, but he's fat and ugly, big black eyes and mustache that looks like two paint brushes sticking out of his nose."

Uh, no offense, scary deputy monsters, but you're fat and ugly with big black eyes, and I'm putting this in the best possible way since "ugly" is an understatement here. For all I know, the real bad guy could be an officer of the law gone bad, with a flowing stache that would put most of Italy to shame.

This show could also double as a PSA against dumping nuclear waste into the water supply.
Now that he knows that it is, in fact, Robotnik doing this, Mario's business rival comes up with a game plan. And his idea of a smart idea is to storm the pollen plant all by himself without any antidote while Tails and Colonel Stench are busy whipping up more antidote, therefore leaving him without any backup. There's no way this could go wrong, not when the main weapon is snortable hypnotic drugs that can be easily blown into your direction!
I'm not sure why a pollen plant entrance would need a casino-style sign, but hey, you're the boss, Robotnik.
And, at the pollen plant (and I sure hope the show writers realize the pun involved here), we find out robots literally pulling themselves together, using a blueprint like a privacy curtain. This scene always bugged me as a kid for two reasons. First, how were they able to get to that stage when they were just tiny pieces on a conveyer belt? Because I'm picturing a scene like a horror movie where little chips and scraps of metal pool into a puddle until they assemble a Scratch or a Grounder in a liquid-like movement that defies the laws of nature, and it's certainly giving me the creeps.

Two, Scratch says that he glued Grounder's head on without his brains, when a pretty common sight gag in this show is Grounder's head getting blown off his body. And plus it's been proven in another episode that Grounder can easily insert his brain back into his head! That's the plot of Grounder the Genius! Geez, this lack of continuity in a show full of sight gags, slapstick, and nonsensical plots. It's enough to make me sick.

So yeah, because his brain hasn't been installed, Grounder's going to be brainless for the rest of this episode. Because if there's one thing kids love more than a dumb robot, it's a dumb robot becoming even dumber. Grounder always got such a raw deal in this show. He was always the one that got turned amazingly dumb, and unlike Scratch, he never got lucky with any females. Poor guy.

"I may not be as attractive as you, Scratch, but I have dreams too!"
Scratch tosses Grounder's brain over his shoulder like a jerk, it lands on Robotnik, and Robotnik just throws away Grounder's already damaged brain instead of actually fixing his robot so that he'd be more useful for his crimes, leading me to question why they can't just shove the brain discs through that giant hole in Grounder's face. Ah well, they're probably going to forget this happened to Grounder in a couple scenes anyways. Right when he does that, suddenly, Sonic shows up and he's going to do his trademark "Not so fast, bad guy!" speech.

I just love Robotnik's expression when Sonic busts into his pollen factory. Uh, duh, Robotnik? He's sort of your archnemesis and you didn't post any robot guards to alert you of a possible hedgehog entry. You should not be surprised.
But Grounder isn't the only one in this room that's brainless. Turns out Sonic is also currently running on empty as far as cognitive skills go, because he just craps up without a parachute here, allowing the bad guys to gain the upper hand. Since our spiny hero decided he's going to be a dumbass, say "The jig is up!", and then just stand incredibly still in one spot (even though he's Sonic), the bad guys manage to drop a load of pollen on him. Even though one of the robots doesn't have a brain and the other robot needed Robotnik repeating the command more than once. What.

We all predicted this was going to happen, in an episode themed around hypnosis, but it's still incredibly disappointing because Sonic was basically standing there and begging for Robotnik to hit him in the face with plant spunk. I was expecting at least some sort of giant robot battle or something.

Also, in some shots, there's a very mysterious banner that just says "Go Pep" plastered to the wall. What a strange way to raise morale.
Sonic's got a major bladder problem.
So, now that Sonic can be hypnotized, what do you think Robotnik's going to do? Tell Sonic that he's really Robotnik's second-in-command of pure villainy and put his speed to good use? Tell him that he's an incredibly suicidal person and then hand him a pistol? Tell him that he should stand still no matter what happens and then take turns firing at his body with lethal weapons?

Nope. Instead he's going to be a moron and tell Sonic that he's an ordinary slo-mo (slo-mo being a phrase Sonic uses quite often in the show), cursing Sonic into thinking he doesn't even have superspeed, therefore demonstrating the power of the mind. Uh, deep?

I love that this is honestly what Sonic believes "ordinary slo-mos" act like, by the way. In Sonic's mind, people who can't run fast constantly state that they're an ordinary slo-mo and talk and act like their parents dropped them on the head one too many times as a baby. Right when I saw this, all of my sympathy for Sonic's plight just went completely out of the window. Way to insult your audience!

Readers, this is what Sonic thinks you act like, being slower than him and all...
And again, instead of instructing Sonic to work for him, to kill himself, or even just to stand there and allow Robotnik to kill him, Robotnik tells Sonic to go away and he walks right out the front door. Idiots! He was at your command! Do your job as dastardly rapscallions and murder him! This is why you lose all the time!

But I guess Robotnik was on a tight schedule, because right when Sonic is dealt with, Dr. BlubberGuts McMustache brings out his secret weapon. It turns out the pollen plant actually has a blimp hangar of all things and he takes right off in his very own flying machine, ready to spray pollen all over everyone. Finally, something on the screen that contains as much hot air as Robotnik.

Oh, the humanity.
Meanwhile, in a convenient voice-over, we find that while he's flying overhead spraying the populace with plant jizz, Scratch and Grounder are going to drive around on a road (wait, Scratch can drive?), shouting instructions to everyone. The pieces are just falling into place!

Be warned. If you ever decide to watch this episode, you are going to get "You love Dr. Robotnik! The supreme dictator of Mobius!" stuck in your head. Scratch says that line over the intercom at least twenty thousand times, and the way he pronounces "dictator" is nothing short of unique. In fact, when I was like six, that was how I said dictator, so basically I talked like a giant chicken for a while.

Also, the car has eyes. This becomes especially apparent in future scenes where the vehicle actually emotes. Sentience is not something I expect in motor vehicles, especially when he's under the command of barnyard fowl.
"I hate my job."
And I just really love the interior of this car for some reason. It's like no one making this actually knew what the interior of a car actually looked like, so they just made crap up as they went along. Animators? Cars have a certain something called "seats". I'm sure you've heard of them. They're those soft cushion-y things you sit on. Just a tip.

Course, now I'm wondering if Grounder knows how to drive too or, in a bizarre use of logic, he can't on account he has treads for feet.

And no seatbelts too, because Scratch and Grounder like to live their lives dangerously.
Back at Colonel Stench's house, we find that he has a very interesting taste in house decor, because the exterior of his house has two diving boards, a mountain of tires, and a street stoplight. What the everflying hell am I looking at here? Can't anyone in this show live in a house that's normal? And that's not even pointing out the purple paint job matched with that roof!

Clearly he uses those two diving boards and that streetlight for his botany experiments! The tires are just for show.
Stench had just made some more antidote (which involves dropping orange liquid into a vat of clear liquid until the clear liquid pops into an orange color), and we find just how fun of a house guest is when Tails outright insults Stench's house and the way it smells to his face. Rude!

I also kind of want to know what the rest of his house looks like. I'm totally digging the plant-like monstrosities he's growing in his lovely abode. I have to wonder if somewhere, there's an oversized alien plant that he feeds sadistic dentists to while it breaks out into show tunes.

But wait, whatever happened to our hypnotized hedgehog? As luck would have it, he's walking down the road, repeating "I'm just an ordinary slo-mo" to himself ad nauseum while he looks downright depressed that he's so slow and normal. This is what Sonic thinks you people do in your spare time.

As a kid, I always wondered what would happen if Sonic ran in a way that triggered his super speed. Hey, just because he's hypnotized doesn't mean he still doesn't possess his talents. It would probably blow his slo-mo mind.
"I'm just going to keep repeating the fact that I think I'm a slo-mo over and over again,
just in case the audience doesn't get it! Slo-mo!"
And then, here comes our loveable robotic duo, ready to commit vehicular manslaughter!

...wait, what? Okay, seriously? They're going to run over Sonic when they had plenty of time to kill him when he was walking out of the pollen plant? How does this make sense?

Here is where we honestly get a commercial break, by the way; with the notion that Scratch and Grounder are going to just keep driving until they get hedgehog guts plastered all over their front fender. Considering Sonic's speed, they might actually succeed.

"Ten bucks says he makes it through the windshield."
In most 90's shows, the commercial break is just a complete cop-out, and this show is no exception. Thank goodness Tails had arrived just in time to pick Sonic up and find him just in time to save him from becoming roadkill even though he had no idea where Sonic was and just happened to be in the area completely by chance. Coincidences can only go so far until you really destroy the suspension of disbelief I'm applying to a show that has sentient robots and narcotic plant dander.

Okay, good. With the skunk and the fox there with the batch of antidote, they can cure our hero and clue him in on what's going on, right?
"Geez, Sonic! Look both ways before crossing the street! Haven't those Sonic Says taught you anything?"
Well, no. Tails dropped the antidote, even though he has no means of actually carrying a bottle with him when his hands are completely free, while he was out saving Sonic. And, even though it completely defies logic that the vehicle would still be in the area considering the amount of time spent talking to Sonic, the badniks run it over. Oh, good going, Tails.

...wait. What's stopping them from just scooping a little bit of that antidote while it's still in a liquid form and throwing it on Sonic? Sure, it was lying on the road and could be full of germs and shards of glass, but the whole world is at stake! Sonic can get a tetanus shot later!

This destruction of a valuable bottle is a sight that would make any Zelda fan cry.
 So the group follows Sonic into town (even though he's really slow and that road looked nowhere near civilization, meaning they were following him for hours) and stand back and watch as he orders a hamburger. This is considered another sign that Sonic is not himself, because clearly he should be ordering a chili dog, which leads me to wonder about Sonic's eating habits. Are chili dogs seriously the only thing he consumes? If so, he must get the runs pretty often.

Get it? Runs? Because he's Sonic.

"So wait, if we're all animals, what are the chili dogs and hamburgers even made out of?"
Right as I begin to question whether those nightmarish pigs on the cover of the VHS happened to only be feverished products of some mad artist's imagination, we get a gang of bikers that shows up to the hamburger joint and starts to harass Sonic. For a very advertised part of this VHS collection, they sure took their time showing up, but you kind of forget that they've been pretty much absent considering how colorful a bunch they happen to be. Each pig has a different design when it would've been just as easy to make three clones for the leader pig, and you can almost guess the personalities of all four pigs. For example, I like to imagine that the leader hog isn't blind in his right eye, but really uses that eyepatch to improve his night vision so that he's always prepared.

Also, I like how the parrot totally stays out of this and just lets the pigs harass Sonic, probably because he's seen this happen before and knows better than to get involved. And, come to think of it, so do Tails and Stench. Way to help!
"How come your eyes look like that? You some kind of alien, blue boy?"
I love how Sonic goes almost completely wall-eyed when he says that he's just an ordinary slo-mo. We get it, Sonic. You think less of our intelligence because we're slow. Continue eating that hamburger or else I'm going to show your ordinary slo-mo self just where you can shove it.

"Look at me! I'm stupid, eating a hamburger, and can't run fast! Eat your heart out, America!"
 But then, pure chaos! Suddenly the writing just goes completely insane and everything suddenly goes plaid for a moment, which sets the standards for the rest of this episode. It all starts when the lead biker pours some juice onto Sonic, and this causes it to have some sort of chemical reaction with the pollen, for Sonic just starts freaking the hell out and being open to any sort of hypnotic suggestion the pigs throw at him. He turns into a tornado, he flings pigs everywhere, and overall it's not one of Sonic's better moments because for a brief moment, the hedgehog becomes a nightmare. Oh sure, he'll obey your traffic laws, but god forbid you pour juice in his eyes because there will be hell to pay!

"Oh, it's on now, swine!"
This even accumulates to Sonic hijacking a motorcycle and speeding around, nearly killing all of the bikers in a very gruesome, terrifying scene. Damn, that flower pollen's some pretty powerful stuff.

Also, it's sad how exciting this scene is when I've played games where Sonic's using a vehicle and they're nowhere near this fun. While Sonic burning rubber in the cartoons is enough to make grown men (well, pigs) cry from the sheer win, Sonic Drift is the world's fastest cure for insomnia and Sonic Riders showed that, yes, it is possible for a crap game to just keep getting crappier with each installment until it turns into a giant black hole of wasted talent for the Kinect. I'm pretty sure the next installment of Sonic Riders will be an actual turd shaped into a game disc that, when placed into a game console, commands the hardware to commit suicide and erase all the game data stored in the memory.

...wait, I was talking about a cartoon, wasn't I? Dig that motorcycle design, I guess. I don't know.

That's not fire. Sonic accidentally landed the back wheels on one of the biker pigs.
While Tails cheers in the background about how normal Sonic is (without actually rushing over there and doing something about it), the pigs cheerfully tell Sonic that he's leader of the road hogs, which causes him to actually believe that and turn into a biker. Whoops.

But before he does that, he looks totally smug while the four pigs kiss up to him. We're supposed to be rooting for this asshole? Right now, I'm more concerned about the fact that Grounder's running around without a major organ.
"Yeah, I know. I am way more awesome and talented than you. Keep groveling!"
After that testament to WTF, we get Robotnik and his happy blimp of fun as he pollinates some farmers in what he calls Operation Pollination. I love this guy and his catchy names of pure rottenness. You know he totally took this job not because of some crippling personality disorder that makes him a slave to his inner demons, but because he gets a kick out of ruining other people's lives. Robotnik; the world's finest troll.

"Puny mortals! Gaze into the sky and witness the majesty that is Robotnik!
Compare your lives to mine and then kill yourselves!"
And, in an amazing display of guts for this cartoon, for a brief period of time, Robotnik actually looks like he's going to win this episode. The situation looks pretty bleak for our heroes after all, with Sonic turned to a life of juvenile delinquency and the only people opposing the good doctor himself in this tri-county area happens to be a mutant fox and some skunk that loves flowers way too much. I love Robotnik's happy face when he actually thinks his plan is working too. It just makes the scene sing.

...although now I'm going to question how the hell Robotnik even found out about the hypnoflowers in the first place. Was Stench keeping the whole project under wraps, or was he actually making money off of his miraculous find? His house looks really small for the man who just made the wondrous discovery of a lifetime; you'd think he'd be putting that pollen to good use. Think of the therapy benefits! Think of the entertainment uses!
We even get to see that hideous monstrosity of fear and law enforcement one last time when we see the pollen dusting him, the judge, and some random frog guy that doesn't appear in any other scene. Oh good. Here I was, about to have a sleepless night, wondering what the hell the judge was doing while all of this is going on.

And that police beast will never stop being terrifying. His eyes. They eat at your soul.

Nightmares for everyone!
After that, we get Sonic the Road Hog and his troop of hogs and I have to admit, this scene where he turns into a buzzsaw and cuts a police car in half is such a cocktease. I've just gotten a small taste of how an evil Sonic would perform and now I crave the entire main course. I want a whole episode of evil Sonic. Come on, creators. Make it happen! Because from what I'm seeing, he's amazingly good at villainy and such talent shouldn't be wasted.
Go, Sonic! Down with the government!
While Sonic is tearing up the streets (literally), endangering lives, and causing thousands of dollars in property damage, his two friends just kind of hang back and feel sorry for him instead of, oh I don't know, trying to stop him or anything. Hey, way to not help! Luckily, Robotnik is there to spray pollen on everyone, and Tails decides to...head to the convenience store. Alright. I'm not sure where this is going, but they'd better act fast before they think Robotnik's their supreme dictator of Mobius.

So wait, how can Tails get so close to Stench without a clothespin?
Don't tell me this cartoon forgot this character stinks...
Sonic and his biker gang get sprayed by pollen, (so Sonic got pollen in his pollen so he can be in hypnotic trance while he's in a hypnotic trance) but then Tail arrives to plug their ears with some earplugs, and they narrowly avoid hearing the dictator of Mobius line Scratch is feeding everyone. Good thing too. After hearing that sentence repeating over and over, I'm starting to believe it! Man, I sure love Dr. Robotnik, the supreme dictator of Mobius.

Also, Tails? Hate to say it, but earplugs are nowhere near this effective in real life. They're still going to hear a loudspeaker through all that gauze. You're pretty much screwed.

I'm pretty sure that pig went into cardiac arrest...
With earplugs saving the day, and yet my earplugs couldn't block out that screaming child behind me on an airplane, Tails then gives Sonic the hypnotic suggestion to end all hypnotic suggestions.

"You're Sonic the Hedgehog! Defender of the Slow, Guardian of the Slower, Hero of the Slowest!"

I have to wonder why other forms of Sonic media never used that. It's kind of catchy. Probably because there's so much emphasis on how slow everyone who isn't Sonic is, and nobody likes it when someone's running around bragging about how much better he is than everyone else.

...and wait! Leader hog's not wearing any earplugs in this shot! He's going to think he's Sonic too!

Tails helpfully gives Sonic his opinion on Sonic Unleashed.
So Sonic's back to normal, so what about the bikers?

Well, guess what. Turns out Sonic is going to use hypnosis for good and completely alter these four pigs' personalities so that they suit his whims. In his words, they're now a gang of good hogs and they will help him fight Dr. Robotnik. Yeah, free will is for pussies, just as long as they're on the right side! Sonic, you do realize you're doing exactly what Robotnik was doing earlier, turning these people into what they're not. You're no better than the villain in this show!

Sonic's Barbershop Quartet.
Somehow becoming a good hog makes you stereotypically gay, because when Sonic revs up that motorcycle, the leader hog's suddenly gets limpwristed and he giggles in delight. Huh?

And according to Firefox's spellcheck, "limpwristed" should be spelled "imperialist". This has nothing to do with Sonic the Hedgehog, but I just felt like sharing.

His heart is blank because he loves everyone!
The gang of roadies decide to split up, with Sonic taking the blimp and the road hogs taking Scratch and Grounder's vehicle, because Sonic and Tails are just going to turn a blind eye when it comes to a terrifying gang of bikers running a motor vehicle off the road. After all, no matter what happens, Scratch and Grounder can just build themselves back together. They've already demonstrated that ability.

Also, remember Grounder's stupidity? Well, the writers sure didn't! The cartoon completely dropped that plot development like ten minutes ago, because they never address it ever again. I guess someone found his brain and stuck it in his ear in a scene we didn't get to see.

"It's the border patrol, Scratch! They know about the fruit in the trunk!"
Like most roosters, Scratch is overconfident of his ability to succeed, so he tries to use a hypnotic suggestion to tell the pigs to "stop in two seconds flat". In fact, he's so confident about his ability to make these giant sentient pieces of ham stop that he actually goes all derp-eyed for a moment.

...incidentally, it could be effective to just tell the hogs to kill themselves. Even if it means that every Mobian within hearing range will also kill themselves, considering the pollen still cascading from Dr. Blimp's blimp.

Also, wait a second! Why does the car have seats now?

"Ladies and gentlemen, now that I have your attention, HERP A DERP!"
The pig mishears this as "you will stop me in two seconds with a flat" and summons a freaking chainsaw out from his motorcycle. The fact that this wasn't a power up in any of the Sonic racing games both confuses and infuriates me. If there was a Sonic racing game with motorcycles and chainsaws, it would become an instant classic. Guaranteed.

...and holy hell, don't tell me Sonic actually used that feature in a scene we didn't get to see. Oh Sonic, what have you done!? How many lives have you ruined?

He's going to tear into their robot sternums in the name of justice!
I just adore what comes next. When the chainsaw tears into the tire the way Dr. Robotnik tears through the seats of his pants, Scratch suddenly starts saying over the intercom "We are gonna die, we are gonna die" until the car crashes, all while the pigs wave them goodbye. Again, I just want to point out the pollen in the air. Isn't telling a bunch of people that they are dead kind of a poor choice of words? Who knows how many people are committing suicide while this silly pig hogs the screen with his playful fatness?

"I also cut the brakes! Have fun dying!"
After Scratch and Grounder die horrendously in a car crash (they never appear again in this episode), Sonic makes his way to the blimp through the use of the diving board that's in Colonel Stench's backyard. Turns out it wasn't just a random piece of decor after all! Sonic even lands gracefully on the blimp, instead of say, overshooting his jump or completely missing and then plummeting to a horrible death. Because he's Sonic.

...also, notice how Tails doesn't actually help Sonic get to the blimp even though he can fly? Tails has been extremely helpful in this episode (at least compared to the previous two episodes I did where he was basically sitting on his mutated ass and doing nothing), but come on, Tails. Use your powers!

Hedgehog Lake.
With Sonic on the blimp, we get some classic Robotnik vs. Sonic banter and action to wrap up this episode in a neat little videogame adaptation bow. Personally, this is one of those things this show did better than its darker and edgier sister. I mean, sure, SatAM's plots were better written, the animation was a lot tighter, the characters weren't complete dumbasses, and the colors weren't eyeball-searingly bright, but you know what? It lacked Dr. Robotnik and Sonic just ripping into one another and making fun of each other. A cynic would say they're ripping off of Warner Brothers what with Sonic's abilities to pull props off-screen, but if you try to tell me that a morbidly obese man chasing a rodent with a spray bottle filled with pollen isn't entertaining, I'm going to assume you're lying.

"Oh, man. I loved that book too! I heard they're actually making a movie adaptation with
Christopher Lloyd as the main lead!"
It's kind of a short climax compared to other episodes, if only because this episode was just so jam-packed with really amazing scenes, because all Robotnik does is threaten to pollinate Sonic (eww!) until Sonic gets tired of his bullcrap and pulls out a pin to pop the blimp. Fair enough.

"Doth thine eyes deceive me or hast thy hedgehog made a fool of me?"
I especially enjoy the part where the Supreme Dictator of Mobius realizes he's doomed and watches as the pin makes its way to the vulnerable, poppable flesh that surrounds the bloated symbol of his own ego. Words cannot describe how much this show means to me.

"It's beautiful..."
Through the use of slapstick, Robotnik manages to survive a thousand foot drop by landing in a patch of swamp land. Because landing in water will always save you from a fall, no matter how high you drop.

Aww, Robotnik has a new sidekick. Crawdad Boy!
And then our episode ends by ripping off Peter Pan. I guess a great episode has to end sometime, even if it contains a character that I both love and I know happens to be the supreme dictator of Mobius.

...wait a second. What about all those Mobians who had fallen under the pollen's spell and think that Robotnik is their dictator? Are they going to get cured? Considering how long it took Stench to whip up enough antidote to fill a small perfume bottle, that's going to take quite a while...

That being said, I still need to learn something, or otherwise I had just enjoyed a piece of entertainment without having a moral force-fed to me! You know what that means.

Don't try to fight it, kids!
This Sonic Says is pretty basic and I noticed completely contradicts the Sonic Says in the very first episode. Remember that ring of bad guys that Sonic considered not important enough for 911? Well, this time Tails ends up getting captured by the badniks and ends up calling for the police, but unlike last time, this is seen as the right thing to do. Considering this episode is in Season 3, I can assume the change is because people complained about the first moral and how radically unhelpful it was.

Now, think about how this would look like to a child whose only exposure to this show is through the VHSes, with Super Special Sonic Search and Smash Squad being one of the only episodes on VHS. This really inadvertently mixes the messages and ends up jumbling what they were trying to say.

A madcap cop that doesn't play by the rules...
But I still get a kick out of this PSA anyways, if only because of the awkward position Scratch is holding Tails. There's a Sonic Says for people trying to grab you and touch you in awkward places, and I'm sure if you're aware of this show, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

That's no good!
And with that, I end my tale on pollination somehow shutting down people's minds. Remember, drive safe, obey the speed limit, and we love Dr. Robotnik, the supreme dictator of Mobius.

The Moral of this Cartoon
You love Dr. Robotnik, the supreme dictator of Mobius!

Final Verdict

Probably one of the stronger episodes of this show's run and one of my personal favorite episodes.

I feel that Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog works best when it's aware that it's absolutely insane. This entire plot just screams "we stuck the writers in a room and sprayed them with illegal chemicals until they wrote this", and man do I love it for it. This episode had everything, and the volume of sheer insanity was enough to keep the story going at a very good pace. Of course it's not Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM) but this is decent entertainment in its own right.

I also like the fact that for a while, Robotnik actually looks like he's winning. The fact that a plan of his is actually effective is a real big plus. Another big plus is that Tails is actually of some use to the plot, when normally he just kind of stands off to the side and wastes space.

I feel like my only complaints were the lack of use of evil road hog Sonic, because such a great idea had such little screentime, even after being advertised on the VHS box. But other than that, a good solid episode. 

And again, like other Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog episodes before it, your enjoyment of this show will rely heavily on whether you can stand cartoons in the slapstick, silly, cartoony genre. This isn't deep and rich with character development, but I have to admit I get a strange kick out of watching a blue hedgehog fighting some man who needs to go on a diet.


You love Dr. Robotnik, the supreme dictator of Mobius!