Ah, yes, The Wuzzles. If you needed a reason to believe that cartoon writers of this era were on some dangerous form of illegal drugs, this is it.
Okay, chances are if you've seen a cartoon, you've run into a character that was half-something, half-the other, but The Wuzzles really brought that concept to a whole new level and made it popular. The whole mismatched hybrid Care Bear reject thing (a remember, back in the 80's, Care Bears were freaking huge) was their entire gimmick, and the kids loved them because who the hell wouldn't want to play with a rhino/monkey mutant? Several attempts at trying to use this hybridization in other shows has happened since The Wuzzles era (Crash Bandicoot and Spliced, for example, took the half-animal hybrids and tried to make them more science-based, and anyone familiar with WoW knows about the owlbears) but they couldn't quite get the level of cuteness that the Wuzzles had. Maybe it was the fact that, inexplicably, all the characters had tiny wings regardless of what animals were spliced. Or maybe it was the bright colors. Either way, The Wuzzles were something if not unique.
That being said, this show is one of those weird, culture-defining shows that people mainly remember the concept but not so much the content. Tons of people remember The Wuzzles, I've found out, and tons of people remember this theme song. But strangely, if you turn to these same people who can recite the "two times the fun" lyric and ask if they remember any of the plots or any of the character personalities or just anything at all besides Wuzzles being, well, Wuzzles, suddenly their eyes will glaze over and act like you just blew their mind.
Why is this show not as well-remembered as DuckTales or Gummi Bears, two shows around this same era? My theory is the fact that this show only lasted one season and thirteen episodes, giving it the unfortunate distinction of being the shortest lived Disney animated TV show. According to Wikipedia (unfortunately my primary source of research for obscure films because seriously, no one's going to write a textbook on these things), the reason for this is because Bill Scott, the voice of Moosel, had died while the second season was made, so they halted production and the show died with him, hence why most people only remember The Wuzzles because of the sweet toys.
And what kind of show was left behind at the wake of his demise? Let's find out by looking at the very first episode of this ill-fated show by looking at...
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Our show begins, rather helpfully, with a narrator saying "Welcome to the Land of Wuz" while introducing us to the strange, frightening concept of Wuzzles. To be honest, I was totally not expecting this episode to be well-aware of the fact that it's the first one of the series, so this introduction is kind of a neat touch, even if the narrator sounds about as excited for the Land of Wuzzles as I was excited for my in-class presentation on geysers. The show was trying to be clever by having one of those laid-back nature show-styled narrators, but now I can't help but get the mental image in my head that some poor shmuck is tied to a chair in some dark studio somewhere and is forced to talk about Wuzzles and their strange, human-like behavior or else he'll never see his wife and kids again.
|The population was decimated after the great Get Along Gang war of 1983 |
but I heard their economy is starting to pick up.
And I said "try to have a picnic" with emphasis on "trying" here, because in the Land of Wuz, there exists a creature called a Flant which is half-fly, half-ant, and they're hazardous because they swarm over picnics and they're incredibly persistent. No offense, but isn't that just a swarm of flies? Don't those already exist? I don't know, I feel like this particular Wuzzle combo is kind of of a no-brainer when they could've done something outrageous like wildebeest/ants or fly/chihuahuas.
|Both Wuzzles and old cartoon cliches make their home in The Land of Wuz.|
And, considering the level of damage they're depicting the flants causing, why did they even have a picnic again? If the flants are such a problem that they can eat your entire sandwich before it enters your mouth and it can hold a hippo/bunny at bay, then I'd much rather have lunch with my friends indoors or bring some bug spray.
...why the hell didn't they bring bug spray? Bumblelion just has a fly swatter and anyone who's tried to use one of those knows they do absolutely nothing.
|Three days later, the authorities discovered their ill-fated picnic site where their carcasses, stripped to the bone, |
still lay where they fell, prompting the Wuz government to declare a state of emergency.
...I'm not sure what it says about your cartoon if your biggest plot points so far have been picnic invaders and accidentally disturbing a bird nest. I guess I'm just too used to Disney cartoons having grander plot points like scientists that turn themselves into plants and German fat guys stealing chocolate from the Amazon.
But the icing on the cake is that, while this is all happening, the narrator says that he can't wait to see what happens when the mom of that nest finds out that she's missing her kid. He's not at all concerned either; if anything, he finds this situation absolutely hilarious, which gets downright chilling when you find out what laid that egg and the damage it can cause. Not only is he bored, but this narrator has a sick, twisted sense of humor which, oddly enough, makes me like him a lot more now.
|Gotta love a series premiere that opens with accidental poaching and environmental destruction.|
But to be fair, he has a pouch. Male kangaroos don't have pouches. That would make anyone a little bit confused about their own reproductive organs. Especially considering that he's a Wuzzle, which only makes things that much more complicated.
...and now I feel bad for bringing that up because most conversations about the Wuzzles on the Internet almost always end up leading to the big "How the hell do these freaks of nature reproduce?" question. I blame Robot Chicken.
|The Land of Wuz lacks a good sex ed program, I see.|
As you can probably guess by now, this is an Eleroo-themed episode. I dislike it when shows have character-themed episodes but they don't indicate it at all in the actual episode title. Darkwing Duck, you can guess which episodes contain which villains depending on what type of pun they use for the title (for example, Megavolt is never in anything with a plant pun), but here, I only came into this episode expecting bulls and feathers and instead got Eleroo the gender-confused Wuzzle.
|"He looks nothing like me."|
By the way, is it me or is the egg running away from the horrible strangers that kidnapped it from its nest? Wuzzles, remember that that egg isn't yours, no matter what the giant purple elephant in your life says. I'm beginning to see why that narrator was snidely awaiting the arrival of that wild animal's mother; these people are assholes.
|And they also don't get the concept of chasing something.|
But I can ignore Rhinokey for the moment here, because some sort of walrus shark thing fishes Bumblelion out of a lake after he accidentally ran into it in his attempt to catch the egg. It certainly isn't on screen for very long but, rest assured, the mere sight of it will haunt my nightmares. I probably shouldn't be watching this show sober.
|Why is a walrus/shark even living in a lake? Wouldn't a creature of that nature be more suited for sea life?|
And just throwing this out here, but I remember as a kid just feeling so sorry for Hoppo. Bumblelion was obviously going to shack up with the girl Wuzzle that was more his size and, in addition to this, one of the major running gags in the show was that Hoppo's friends would constantly make fun of her weight. It's a shame Season 2 never got made, but I certainly was looking forward to the episode where the hippo/bunny hybrid ends up developing a severe eating disorder thanks to her low self-esteem and body image.
|"Why must we keep meeting in secret? Shouldn't we share our love with the rest of the world?"|
|"Well, if I'm going to die, I might as well reenact my favorite scene from Swan Lake."|
Speaking of the narrator, it never ceases to amaze me how little he gives a crap, because when he sees Eleroo falling to his death, he just says "Uh oh, looks like this is the end for this Moo-Ma" like he couldn't care less. Dude, one of the main characters is gonna turn into a pancake and you're just saying "uh oh"? What kind of asshole narrator is this?
|And then the child drags Eleroo to his nest and devours him whole.|
And that really says a lot about your characters if it takes them three minutes to catch something that hasn't even completely hatched yet. I bet they can't cross the street without crapping up and turning it into a giant ordeal that lasts twenty minutes.
|"I meant what I said, and I said what I meant,|
An elephant's faithful one hundred percent."
|"But Eleroo, this is a federal offense and harms the biodiversity of our fragile island eco-"|
"Lalalala I can't hear you!"
Wow. What a terrible and illegal idea, Bumblelion!
In fact, it's so terrible that everyone is on board with it and on screen-wipe later, we find ourselves in one of the Wuzzle households, where they set up a nest and a heating lamp even though they have no idea what this creature is, what its nesting arrangements are, and what temperature will help it hatch and what temperature will kill it. Hooray for irresponsible actions!
|Somewhere, an environmentalist is crying.|
I know I felt sorry for Hoppo earlier, but now I feel sorry for Butterbear. She has to put up with this rampant stupidity every single day of her life. I wonder what else they did that was illegal before they found the egg. Considering Eleroo and the way he was all "it's mine because it fell into my pouch" earlier, I have to wonder if that Wuzzle is a really accomplished shoplifter, which is a theory that carries even more weight when you realize that none of these Wuzzles really have jobs. The Land of Wuz is a sick, twisted place rotten to the core with moral decay.
|"Geez, your breath stinks!"|
|Now I'm wondering if all Wuzzles lay eggs or if it's just the Wuzzles that are a hybrid of at least one egg-laying species. And that's not even getting into the Wuzzles that are half insect like Butterbear. Was she a catabear as a baby?|
Although now I'm wondering what kind of ecological niche this creature fills in the same environment where walrus-sharks dwell. It sucks how we have a nature narrator in this show but he doesn't actually do his job and tell me whether this thing is an apex predator or not.
|What has science done.|
I do like the finch slide though, if only because that bird just looks mighty pissed off for reasons unknown.
|Disapproving Finch disapproves.|
...and why the hell does it have a nose ring? Cattle handlers usually install those rings so they can better control their bulls for agricultural purposes. A ring's going to do jack if the animal can fly, not to mention that the ring implies that there are Wuzzles who raise these abominations for meat or milk, which makes no sense since this animal was found in the wild. Do they wear the rings for tribal purposes? And if so, how do they install the rings into their noses without any thumbs? Somebody clue me in on the Brahman Bullfinch lifecycle please.
|Imagine this thing crapping on your car.|
Wait. Why does Eleroo have a bottle filled with milk just lying around his house? In fact, why does he have a box, nesting material, and a heating lamp just readily available? Oh geez, he does this all the time, doesn't he? His backyard must be filled with the bones of his past children.
|"The authorities will never catch me!"|
And I just thought I'd mention this, but my spellcheck really, really hates this post right now.
|I like Hoppo and Butterbear's smiles. They're obviously humoring the poor mentally-challenged creature.|
Well, then. It's nice to know that Eleroo could be facing a hefty several thousand dollar fine and several years of jailtime now, because it sounds like he did the equivalent of going into the Florida everglades and smuggling a whooping crane egg like a massive dumbass. His bad idea just went from merely a bad idea to "oh my god, are you people crazy?" levels just from this piece of information alone.
I bet this is why the episode is called "Bulls of a Feather" too. I see what you did there, Disney writers.
|"I'm not sure why there's a fur and feather trade in a society full of animal hybrids, but what can you do?"|
For those curious, this creature here is Brat, and he's one of the three main villains that turned up in this short-lived show. Despite his name, he's not a boar/rat hybrid, but rather a boar/dragon monster (I guess calling him Dragboar or Bragon would've made too much sense), and he's the closest Disney could get to having The Tasmanian Devil in their show without Warner Brothers knowing, considering the way Brat eats everything, talks in gibberish, and causes wanton property damage. I guess as long as he doesn't turn into a tornado or spits, WB can look the other way.
Come to think of it, I'm not even sure why Brat happens to be eating Eleroo's garbage. Do the Wuzzles just allow him to do that? Is he Wuz's answer to a waste disposal service? It's a good thing they don't live in an era of identity theft because that's just unreasonably unsafe.
|And then he dies from Hepatitis B.|
But before I talk about our villains, the first thing I want to point out is this house. A horrible hodgepodge of decaying splinters and broken pieces just haphazardly thrown together, this place instantly tells you one thing and one thing only; these villains are not rich and powerful by any means. In fact, they're pretty far down the social-economic ladder if they can't afford a decent place to live. They're essentially squatting in a building, which used to be a boat and was later converted into some living quarters to save on rent, that looks like a small rain could demolish it. I guess homeless shelters just don't exist in The Land of Wuz.
Speaking of which, I like to pretend that the boat was a human fishing boat blown way off-course during a storm and ended up landing on the Wuz island by mistake, if only because I like to think that our main villains killed and ate the occupants and then took their stuff.
|Any villain who lives in a house that looks like a Disneyland attraction is instantly awesome in my book.|
I might as well introduce these two by the way. The one on the left is named Crock, and he's the laziest goddamn Wuzzle combination in the entire show. He's a crocodile/dinosaur hybrid. Seriously. We have freaking lions crossed with freaking bumblebees on this island and the best they can come up with for the main villain is two vaguely dinosaur-like species. Geez, at least throw some tarantula DNA in there or something. Although I like the theory where he's just a talking dinosaur (well, he is the only person on the island with a Louisiana accent...) and thus the only creature on the island that isn't two times the fun, wrapped up and rolled into one. That would make anyone a little grouchy and it throws in some classic discrimination into the mix.
The one on the right is named Frizard, a pink frog/lizard Wuzzle, and man, whatever mean, unjust god created these monsters was especially cruel with this one because he's by far the ugliest main character (because walrus-shark and bullfinches aren't in the entire series) on the entire island. Even though he hangs out with Brat and Crock, he's actually a very nice person to the cuddlier, softer-looking Wuzzles. He just hangs out with the bad guys because he's a terrible judge in character, is too much of a coward to say "no" to any of Crock's schemes, and because he's hideous. Which is really depressing.
|"I spent eight years getting my Master's in Engineering and where does it get me?"|
|His blood sugar levels are so low that he's starting to hallucinate.|
By the way, think of what this scene is saying. This cartoon is telling me that the reason these two don't have any food or any material possessions is because they hate to work and, because of their laziness, they're poor. You can take this in two different directions. That's either a horrible and offensive generalization of the unemployed, meaning this cartoon is sending a very terrible political message to children, or Crock and Frizard are simply like high-school dropouts hoping that someday, their musical genius will be discovered while they laze about, smoking weed and talking about how Pink Floyd syncs up to The Wizard of Oz.
...obviously, you can guess which direction I like. Hell, for all we know, marijuana's legal in Wuz, only it's some sort of weird hybrid like methijuana.
|Maybe hanging out with someone higher on the food chain was a bad idea, Frizard.|
I feel bad for saying this, but considering Eleroo was able to steal the bullfinch and not get caught, I'm totally fine with Crock grabbing some feathers if it means he can afford to improve his quality of life. Considering the villains' diet consists of magazines and garbage, if Crock had some actual money, they might just be able to avoid a death from malnourishment.
|And maybe Brat can also get some speech therapy lessons and a trip to the dentist's on top of that.|
...and why do the Wuzzles even have cars? Is there a thriving automobile industry in this island community? No seriously, what the hell?
|"Being environmentally conscious is for pussies!"|
And then he hugs the creature so close to him that it looks like its in actual pain, because if you have a baby endangered animal in your presence, you should strangle the life out of it!
|"I'm gonna hug you and kiss you and love you forever and never let you go!"|
In fairness to Crock, he is suffering from acute malnutrition. If I was nearly starving to death, I'd think this was a good idea too.
|"Oh, junior, I'm so glad you're safe! Let mama hold you close with her frightening dinosaur claws!"|
No, I'm not kidding you. No one finds this at all suspicious, the disguise fools all of the Wuzzles even though the bullfinch is struggling and crying, and they sort of smile and wave to the hideous pink creature with the visible stitching as it abducts the rare animal.
...I think I've lost all faith in these characters now. I expect this sort of behavior from Scratch and Grounder, not characters that are designed to sell cute 80's plush toys. Even the Care Bears aren't this dumb.
|"I see you're wondering about the disfiguring scars. I accidentally flew into a jet engine two years ago."|
Anyways, it's a good thing the mother bullfinch actually shows up out of nowhere and sits on their car, informing them that something's wrong, or else the rest of the episode would involve the male Wuzzles sitting around the house, wondering why Crock can suddenly afford a mansion and a yacht.
|"Here's the beef!"|
|So it's both a cow and a bird. McDonald's would love to discover a species like that...|
And in yet another fascinating display of Wuzzle intelligence, the cape Bumblelion uses is pink. If you're going to dance around and shout "Toro! Toro!" like the bullfighter stereotype you're trying to convey, could you at least get the color right?
|Incidentally, female Brahman cattle don't have horns and yet all the Brahman Bullfinches have horns. |
Does this mean this species is an all-male race?
|"Hah hah, you nearly died and that's funny!"|
Just one problem, says the weird dog-like store owner that I can't honestly figure out what the hell he's supposed to be. All the berries were already sold to someone else. Oooh, the plot thickens!
...although now I'm wondering what a googlberry would taste like. I'm picturing like the fruit equivalent of Trident Layers gum. Come to think of it, a lot of the Wuzzles food, I wish I could try. They have applemelons, for crying out loud. Applemelons!
|"Help! This crocodile in a cape keeps following me around and is trying to make me dance ballet!"|
When they see that the two unemployed jerks of the community are carting away an obscene amount of food, Wuzzle hospitality is at its finest because the first thought that springs to Hoppo's mind is the fact that it's amazing that Brat and Frizard actually paid for something. Yeah, poor people, am I right?
...wait, how the hell could they afford all that fruit if they couldn't afford to buy any food for themselves earlier? I'm guessing they robbed the bank off-screen.
|It looks like them Duke boys are in a heap o' trouble.|
By the way, now's a good time to point out that while the large, overweight crocodile monster is being a total dick to that bullfinch (although all he did was tie a rope to its leg; he's at least feeding it), technically he broke the same amount of laws as the good Wuzzles. Hell, if anything, Crock's way of doing it is a lot smarter, because he's actually trying to make a profit out of the bullfinch instead of being like Eleroo and insisting on keeping it because he thinks he's the mama or something stupid.
|"Berries make me ANGRY!"|
|The only reason he's not in prison is because the policemen in Wuz find this guy so pitifully entertaining.|
Uh, why? This plan really isn't that complicated, guys. Croc already laid out all the big details (feed bullfinch, ???, profit) and it's not a very difficult plan to figure out, unless if there's some steps that he didn't mention out loud that involve things like an underground smuggling ring and criminal ties with the Wuzzle mafia, which I heard has weapons that are half-piano wire, half-tommy gun.
Also I like how in this entire episode, Frizard just looks like he doesn't want to be there. Come to think of it, he doesn't do one thing that's malicious this entire episode besides follow Crock's orders. Poor guy's in with the wrong crowd.
|"Just be aware that if the baby's real mom shows up, I'm using you as a meat shield |
while me and Brat make our getaway, Frizard."
Unfortunately, they're not out of the fire yet, because the kid happily cries out in joy. Uh oh.
This car chase goes on for way too long and isn't all that exciting, but I will point out that while Butterbear's car and later Crock's car drive past Eleroo's house, Rhinokey calls the three villains "those loonies from the boonies". Just keep on sucking, Rhinokey. The fact that you're a classist dick really doesn't surprise me.
|"For the love of god, what the crap are you doing driving 60 miles in this goddamned lane |
when there's a perfectly free lane to the right, asswipe!"
And how the hell did Crock afford that nice, topless car if he can't even afford food? Hell, how did he afford the magazines?
|"Hey, your car looks ridiculous!"|
"No, your car looks ridiculous!"
...wait a second, I thought this was a protected species! There's a whole herd of them! Now, before you point out that these could be the only living members of this species, let me point out that we've only seen one of each of the main Wuzzles. Not sure why the bullfinches are considered endangered when I've only seen only one Bumblelion and only one Crock.
|Two people were killed by falling cow pies that day.|
Sadly, the scene where the rest of the cuddly, merchandise-driven cast bursts through the door and runs in to help Hoppo and Butterbear is probably the scene they used the most in the tv advertisements for this show. Think about what that means about this show, that the money shot for this entire series is the team rushing in to save a baby finch from an unemployed reptile.
|They're dashing and daring, courageous and...wait, wrong show.|
By the way, I noticed that, at least with the main characters, all of the good wuzzles are mammalian creatures with the occasional bug part in the mix, while the bad guys are reptilian-based. Nice to know the job market in Wuz actively discriminates against people with a scaly heritage if all the hobos are part lizard. The Land of Wuz is a sick, twisted place.
|"We're going to eat well tonight, boys!"|
And wouldn't you know it, that's just what happens. Not sure why the bullfinches didn't descend upon Crock and rip his body to shreds when he had the baby all tied up in the yard and had a whole truck of googlberries just sitting out there, but I guess that would've been the logical route and, judging by what I learned today, Wuzzles are allergic to logic.
|Hey cool, the latest Angry Birds DLC just launched!|
|They deserve it because they were lizards!|
Rhinokey, I'm going to say this the nicest way I can, but go to hell. Maybe you can laugh at them after you find out if they're still alive, you giant asshole!
|Pictured: A total asshole who laughs at the poor.|
And again, Frizard. He wasn't actively hurting the Wuzzles. Why does he get lumped into this tragedy?
|So not only are the bad guys going to continue eating magazine pictures for food, but now they don't have a roof. |
Is this supposed to be a happy ending?
|"Yeah, I'm just going to conveniently ignore the fact that the reason my baby was in that|
life-threatening situation is because you stole my egg from my nest!"
|"This is the best Easter ever!"|
...is it safe to assume that whatever hatched out of that egg killed all of the Wuzzles?
|And then everyone died.|
Or rather, that was The Wuzzles. Now I'm sad that this wasn't the last episode, because that would make one hell of a series ender.
The Moral of this Cartoon
Taking an endangered animal from its habitat is a-okay, just as long as you don't seek to profit from it!
Okay, obviously there are reasons why this didn't catch on, but it's not terribly bad. In fact, I can honestly say that there are parts of this cartoon that are pretty entertaining. It's just not as good as it should've been.
For starters, let me say what's good. The cartoon's strongest points are easily the animation and the setting. The Land of Wuz has a laid-back feeling to it, and the animation is incredibly cartoony and fluid. Bumblelion in particular gets some great takes and some very fluid movements, and you gotta love the designs on all of these characters. The characters, even though there's a lot of them, all have their own distinct personalities, and you can obviously tell them apart.
I think, oddly, what might be the thing that's hurting it is probably the stakes. Even DuckTales and Gummi Bears, you got some sense that something was in danger, and if the heroes didn't do something, something terrible was going to happen. Here, I'm pretty sure if the heroes just left Crock alone, that flock of bullfinches would've found him and took care of him themselves. I think it might be because of the product of the time, because I noticed that compared to the cartoons that followed after this, there was a lot less physical violence and a lot more focus on friendship.
Another weird thing is kind of the logic that they used for this episode. I know, I know, it's a cartoon, and zany schemes are to be expected, but the complete subversion of the moral and the fact that the heroes suffered no consequences from their bad idea just seems really weird. Yeah, let's take this egg out of the forest, but oh man, that bad guy did the same thing, only he's doing it out of greed! No, both options are wrong. Butterbear tried to address that but I felt like the characters kind of ignored her and in turn, ignored the message. If you're gonna have a moral, go all the way and have that moral instead of flip-flopping unless you're doing it for laughs, and even then, you have to be careful to make sure it doesn't look half-assed like this did. I think it's probably the tone of the show, mind. It's obvious they're aiming this at little kids, when with DuckTales and Darkwing Duck, they'll tell some jokes that end up flying over the kids' heads.
But then again, maybe it was just this episode in particular. I'll be honest, but I really didn't care for this plot in particular, especially since it had some weird double standards between the heroes and the villains, and I felt that we didn't get to know our main characters very well, but that might change if I see a different episode that isn't so much focused on "Aww, look at the cute little eggy!". The bullfinch was pretty boring and had a generic baby design, and I guess the mom had some laughs, but it kind of felt like nothing happened in this episode that was particularly noteworthy.
All in all, it's cute, but at least here, it lacked meat and the episode didn't make sense in a bad way. I can't honestly say that it'll place in my list of best Disney Afternoon shows, but I at least like the animation a lot and I would consider giving this show a second look.
Just so long as it's not this episode, because man, Eleroo and Rhinokey sucked in this episode.