A strange thing happened with this post. Originally it was going to be about He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (because it feels like a crime to have a bunch of Filmation shows without talking about the one everyone thinks of when they think of this company), but then I saw that Filmation had a show that came after He-Man that seemed way more interesting to talk about.
|His name means "We apologize for He-Man" in Cherokee.|
Although, that can't really be Bravestarr's fault. The toys are incredibly creepy.
|Imagine this thing standing on your bookshelf, watching you sleep, eating your thoughts...|
Which is good, because this is one of those shows that runs on pure "This is way cooler than it sounds, trust us" and kind of functions like a Mad Libs version of the old west. Instead of a state of Texas, you get a planet called New Texas. Instead of a gold rush, it's a kerium rush. Alcohol is sweetwater, some cacti happen to be robots, the prairie dogs are actually a sentient race of beings, and most of the outlaws happen to be aliens. Oh, and the Marshall's horse? It's a cyborg that can switch from a horse with robot legs to a bipedal horse alien that can use a giant gun capable of destroying buildings.
Now, choosing an episode to cover for Bravestarr is hard. I wanted to pick an episode that gave the heroes and the villains decent screentime so I can talk about all of them, especially since right now I'm too lazy to cover the entire movie pilot. Sadly, this meant I'm skipping the drug episode for now, even though that's probably the most famous episode out of the lot. I had a handful of episodes that would've worked, but I just went with my gut feeling and went with the one that had a showcase scene for practically every character. It's got most of the villains, it's decently Western, it has all the elements of a Bravestarr episode that everyone loves, and at one point, Bravestarr utilizes technology I mastered when I was six. Hold onto your cowboy hats and your radically steampunk-esque technology because this is...
Availability: On DVD
Our humble little tale, one rich in outlaws, talking horses, and strange Native American stereotypes dressed in a cowboy hat, starts in Fort Kerium. Think of Fort Kerium (which is creatively named after the mineral that caused the rush of miners to this planet, making it the equivalent of setting up a town here named "Fort Gold") as both your stereotypical Old West mining town, albeit one filled with aliens and robots, and the main base of operations for the heroes that simply must not fall into the villain's hands under any circumstances. It's sort of like Castle Greyskull in that regard, only Bravestarr doesn't hold aloft some sword that magically dissolves his clothes in the name of justice.
And in this town of dirt, guns, and lax hygiene is Deputy Fuzz, who happens to be showing his girlfriend Wuzzela major landmarks in Fort Kerium while hyping up the fact that he's a deputy. Fuzz and Wuzzela, besides having cutesy names and hobbit-like feet, also happen to be Prairie People. See, like Texas, the planet New Texas (gotta love these names) happens to be infested with large colonies of pudgy little rodents native to the desert. Only with New Texas, said rodents happen to be sentient and know how to build complex machinery powered by magic glowing rocks. They never say why the Prairie People are just perfectly okay with settlers drawing comparisons between them and an animal that farmers regard as a pest. I guess it's only because not many of them know how to read.
Deputy Fuzz is the one Prairie Person that we see the most often, and he's sort of like Snarf from Thundercats in that he's the cute little alien sidekick to the main hero that manages to get on everybody's nerves with his high-pitched voice and his ability to crap up any menial task that's handed to him. He's not as annoying as Snarf, but that's only because only a select few characters in the history of animation have ever been worse than Snarf. But hey, at least he's getting more action than the main character, judging by his interactions with Wuzzela.
While the little rodents fill the cartoon with broken English and thinly-veiled flirtations, Thirty-Thirty (or 30-30; I've seen official sources go with either spelling) then walks up, hands across his chest like he's eternally pissed off with everything, and makes with the pleasant talk interlaced with horse noises. Judging by my cursory glance at Bravestarr fansites and the like (all two of them), everyone watched this show not for Bravestarr, but for the violent gun-wielding talking cyborg alien horse who sounds like Baloo from Talespin. To be fair, I don't blame them. Violent gun-wielding talking cyborg alien horses who sound like Baloo don't really appear in too many shows.
I'm not kidding when I call Thirty-Thirty violent either. There have been episodes where the horse has gotten into arguments with the main hero because Bravestarr held him back and kept him from turning the villain of the week into smoking bits of dog food with his energy rifle. After all, how's Tex Hex going to return for new episodes if someone takes a firearm and tears a smoking hole through his chest? That's not how you sell toys!
|And before you ask, yes, the furries love this guy. Don't ask me how I know this.|
This scene is where we get our first glimpse of our actual hero and...let's be honest. He's not very exciting. Oh sure, he can sometimes call upon the Strength of the Bear through the magic of stock footage and punch a hole in a spaceship with his fists and he happens to be one of the few Native American heroes in animation, but as a character, he's basically just the hero. He spouts morals, upholds all that is just and good, is a lot stronger than anything the villains can throw at him, and sometimes makes subtle innuendo at the female love interest. It's not really Bravestarr's fault; despite what I've said, he's a lot more interesting than He-Man. It's just that he's constantly being outstaged by all the other characters in this show who are much more interesting than him, which happens to be 80% of the cast save for maybe Deputy Fuzz.
And let me tell you, it must be really embarrassing to have the powers of animal spirits at your disposal, making you into a regular demigod, and yet you're still outstaged by your own horse.
|"I'm so angry that my girlfriend is being held captive by murderous space outlaws that I choose to exhibit zero emotion!"|
Judge J.B. McBride is your typical headstrong female in skintight clothing in an 80's cartoon. Her father actually used to be Tex Hex's mining partner until Tex decided that being a dick was way more profitable and permanently crippled him, meaning that Judge actually has a pretty good reason to hate the main villain. Too bad the show never actually uses the fact that Tex is responsible for the reason why her father can't walk to their advantage, making J.B. look like she just doesn't give a crap about her dad. Hey, times were tough in the Old West. Mr. McBride should be lucky he even has a job.
What sets her apart from other love interests around this time is that they actually animate her checking out Bravestarr's ass from time to time. No, dead serious. Commentary said so and everything.
|Poor girl. The men get these laser rifles and spirit animals and she's stuck with a hammer.|
Not much more to say about him, since he isn't really that important to the plot, other than he attacks by throwing the plates in his bar (because intentionally damaging your workplace's fine china in a land where you have to import that stuff from another planet is such a smart idea) and they actually made an action figure out of this ugly bastard. Because I know when I was a kid, I wrote "middle-aged green alien bartender in leiderhosen" on my wishlist for Santa Claus.
|Good god, why isn't either of these two carrying guns?|
What's funny about this scene is that before, the anthropomorphic dingos were flying around on futuristic space bikes. They fire lasers from their guns, some of the space bikes get wrecked by Judge's silly-looking hammer, when suddenly, out of nowhere, they arrive on these odd dinosaurs that weren't in any of the previous scenes. The dinosaurs just sort of silently phase into existence just to give the dingos something more awesome to ride on, as if giant metallic flying vehicles with cow horns weren't cool enough already. What, was a dinosaur-riding dingo action figure in production? I don't get it!
And for the life of me, I can't figure out why the show's creators went with dingos instead of coyotes, when all the other elements in this show are distinctly American in origin. Last I checked, dingos don't exactly make their home in Texas. They live in a desert, but not exactly the type of desert that's being depicted on this planet.
|Yeah, it's hard to take this show seriously sometimes...|
|"Well that's just great. The freeway's totally gridlocked."|
...and no, I'm not sure why they don't use that big screen in more episodes. You'd think spying on Bravestarr would be useful for more than one evil scheme. Come on, guys, that's just wasteful.
|You can easily see which villains grasp the concept of personal space and which don't.|
|Hmmm, I wonder if he's the villain.|
Sort of like how Bravestarr has a lot of powers, Tex Hex has a lot of powers. He can shoot thunderbolts from his fingertips, he can transform himself into monsters, he can conjure up giant snakes to attack his enemies, he can fire bullets that can transform objects, he can shoot lasers from his eyes, he can teleport, he can turn into smoke and phase through walls...why it's almost as if the "Hex" in his name actually means something. If Bravestarr wasn't around shouting "Speed of the Puma!" and suddenly getting the ability to turn into the Looney Tunes Roadrunner, Tex Hex would look just a wee bit overpowered.
His chaps also draw way too much attention to his butt and crotch. Sorry, had to say it.
|"Hello, kids. Want some Texas style nightmares?"|
Had this show been more popular, Stampede would've haunted plenty of children's dreams. Seriously, just look at that eldritch abomination rising out of the ground while cloaked in souls of the dead and try to tell me you wouldn't be creeped out by this guy at the tender age of five. He makes the owl from The Secret of NIMH look cuddly by sheer comparison. He's so menacing, so pants-crappingly terrifying that you can almost ignore the fact that he sounds like Battle Cat and can't speak a sentence without snorting like a giant bull.
I've seen many a fan debate on whether Tex Hex is actually a zombie (as in, he was killed in his ship crash) or if the demonic floating cow skull in his life just reconstructed his body so that it was more haggard and zombie-looking. Personally, I go with the idea that he was knocked unconscious and some evil demon cow just found him, started drooling perversely, and then violated his body in every way imaginable before forcing him to work for him. You know, for kids!
|Listen kid, I think you should know, |
Bad like me is the way to go!
Being nice is just for saps,
Being good is a handicap!
He doesn't look like it, but Scuzz actually has a deep, enlightening backstory that can rival a great Shakespearean tragedy; when miners first showed up on his godforsaken hellhole of a planet, he ended up befriending some asshole miner named Tex and becoming his little sidekick while at the same time betraying his entire species. For his efforts, he ends up getting knocked unconscious (or killed) in the same spaceship crash that knocks Tex unconscious (or killed him; it was kind of vague) and he ends up getting his molecules reconstructed too so now he has yellow eyes and grayer fur than the rest of his kind. I love how while Tex gets supernatural powers from Stampede that make him the most powerful outlaw in the universe, Stampede's powers do nothing but make Scuzz uglier. Poor Scuzz. The least they could've done was give him laser eyes or something, geez.
Also, the creators of this show couldn't decide how the hell to spell his name, so merchandise says Scuzz while there's an episode called Skuzz And Fuzz. I just go with "Scuzz" because I feel like it (and because I feel that, for a show such as this, you go with the spelling that's presented to you on the toys), which is going to look pretty awkward if I ever decide to cover that episode.
|That's the girliest shooting pose I've seen a robot make.|
You wouldn't know it just by looking at him, but he's Scuzz's best friend. Nine times out of ten, if Scuzz is paired off with somebody for an assignment (and Scuzz never works alone because even he can recognize his incompetence in battle), it's usually him. What's really cool is that sometimes they won't even be on a mission and they'll hang out. There's an episode where they're just lounging around town, just being jerks to random strangers for the hell of it. I wonder if it's because, being a robot, he can't suffer from the effects of secondhand smoke.
What's odd is that the Wikipedia page makes Cactushead out to be the villain's comic relief, when he's actually really competent at what he does (which is being a robot with gun attachments) and he's working on the same team as Scuzz. I guess it's because he sounds like the robotic version of Baxter Stockman from TMNT and is the weirdest looking out of the bunch that people will draw that conclusion.
Cactushead is the only villain that I know of besides Stampede that wasn't going to get an action figure. I don't even need to explain why.
|"Tell Evil-Lyn that she can suck it."|
Not much more to say about her. She does snake-like things like hypnotize and poison people, she speaks with a snake-like hiss, and has fangs. Typical snake stuff. But besides that, she honestly doesn't do much in this entire show and I've tried my hardest to figure out whether or not she has something resembling a personality. Fans like her a lot though and wish she had more episodes, because she looks sexy. Gotta love how shallow the Internet can be sometimes.
What's notable about her is that she really hates Scuzz and has sent death threats in his direction multiple times. I bet part of the reason is because she sees this fat, juicy rodent just walking around in her workspace and she can't eat him without getting fired. That would make anyone a little uptight.
|Man, George Lucas is running low on ideas...|
But back to the episode. Tex Hex decides to randomly grab Scuzz by his odd dress/robe thingie (I'm too lazy to check whether that's meant to be authentic Old West garb or not) and start shaking him around while going into a great villain rant about how he was planning to get Bravestarr and his dorky friends out of town and it was the perfect opportunity and the world shall fall before his might and blah blah blah. It's basically an excuse for a purple-skinned cowboy to show that he's the villain by vomiting exposition all over the place in his Western hick voice while establishing that he's kind of a dickhole. Sure is mighty handy he has a sidekick that's light enough to shake around just in case he's in the mood for a rant.
|Tex, that's sexual harassment!|
I can't comment on the fight scene too much, other than express confusion over how Judge and Handlebar were having such a hard time with the dingos that they had to radio in for help. For vicious outlaws, the dingos sure know how to make stupid fighting mistakes like grouping together in a way that makes them easier targets and standing still with their mouths hanging open while some man in skintight yellow clothing flies towards him while screaming "Strength of the Bear!". They should be lucky that Bravestarr isn't using his gun.
|"We're the worst outlaws ever!"|
Course, while most of the dastardly outlaws are taking this all in stride on account the fact that the dingos fail is pretty widespread, Tex Hex's response to Cactushead pointing out that his hired mercenaries are getting whipped (because they are) is to clench his fist in anger and look like he's about ready to become the first person to punch a robot cactus. Geez, Tex. Take some anger management classes, will ya?
And why is Cactushead even reacting in fear? He's a robot! Can he actually feel pain like his more carbon-based colleagues?
|Cactushead is amazed by Tex's glorious butt.|
Putting that aside, I have to say, it's absolutely adorable how religiously Tex keeps to his skull motif. His little communicator he pulls out of his hat has a little skull-shaped microphone that matches his skull broach and his skull face. I totally want to Skype with something like that now.
|"Sir, have you tried disconnecting your router?"|
Luckily, Bravestarr and his crew seem to be the only ones with enough balls to fight Tex Hex or else this never would've worked. The nameless unimportant townsfolk, even though they outnumber Tex's gang at least 50 to 1, just sort of stand there with mouths agape and pants thoroughly soiled as the big bad villains move in on their town and steal their crap. Man, if only people carried guns in the Old West...
|Tex's penis draws the attention of everyone in town.|
To rub salt on the townspeople's wounds, PurpleSkin VonMustache has a great line right before he activates the gates. While turning to the camera and letting the audience know he's missing all of his teeth, Tex Hex says "If Bravestarr can close up Fort Kerium to keep me out, then I can close up Fort Kerium to keep him out!" and belts out some glorious Charlie Adler evil laughter. Man, he must've come up with a zinger like that months ago and was just waiting for the moment he could finally unleash that nugget of wisdom onto the world.
|"Nobody can have a mustache as awesome as mine! NOBODY!"|
Hate to ask this, but the show has already pointed out that Bravestarr has radio communication that tells him when someone needs his help. So...how come no one in Fort Kerium bothered to send a distress signal to Bravestarr and let him know what's going on? J.B. was able to call for help while avoiding gunfire in the wreckage of the vehicle she was in and yet none of the thousands of miners and settlers in Fort Kerium didn't bother to pick up a phone-like device and say "Hey, we sort of being held under siege by your worst enemy"? What the hell, townspeople? Do you want to be robbed?
|Bravestarr hates furries.|
Oh, and Wuzzela is still in town. Hey, looks like we have the hero's ticket to thwarting this episode's evil scheme and all it's going to take is the use of a female side character that isn't going to have any other big roles for the rest of the series! Hooray for convenient love interests!
Even if it's hilarious how, the way this shot is framed, it looks like she's checking him and his butt out. Horny little buggers, those prairie people.
|I have reason to believe Filmation is doing this on purpose at this point.|
...even if sometimes I wonder why he has those awkward World of Warcraft-esque shoulder pads. Geez, Tex Hex, upgrade your gear. I'm sure you have enough Justice Points to get the Mail Shoulders that look like electrified dragon heads.
|And then he pulls the wrong lever and ends up falling through a trap door and into a pool of alligators.|
If you take an issue with such laziness, remember this is a Filmation show. They kind of did this a lot. I used to know the percentage of how much of an average Filmation cartoon is stock footage right off the top of my head, but right now Tex's gorgeous flowing locks are temporarily distracting me. I must know the brand of shampoo he's using.
|And then after the fort goes into defense mode, we watch all of the Sailor Scouts transform, Prince Adam turn into He-Man, Ash turn his cap and throw a Poke Ball, and all of the Digimon divolve into their Champion forms.|
And their grief only gets worse once you see that Handlebar is inappropriately grabbing the Marshall on top of a cyborg horse. No, seriously. Look at Bravestarr's face and body language there and how he seems unsure whether to keep ignoring it or to use his Strength of the Bear to reclaim some of his personal space. Looks like we need an end of an episode moral on how it's your body and how people shouldn't touch you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable.
Additionally, Handlebar is supposed to weigh fourteen tons. I'm not sure how he's even able to ride Thirty-Thirty without snapping his spine.
|"Hey, wait a second! This establishing shot was from the movie!"|
By the way, Bravestarr's creepy full-body scan of the main villain (man, what does he think he is; an airport?) is also stock footage and has appeared in more than one episode. I probably sound like a broken record, and back then, you could get away with reusing that many shots, but I just feel like noting all of this stuff for posterity just in case someone at home has a notepad and pencil in hand and feels like playing Filmation Bingo.
...I also kind of wonder why the scan only shows Tex Hex's face and not the faces of the other outlaws, but now I'm just being nitpicky. Where's Cactushead's mugshot?
|I'm really tempted to do some research on this show in order to find out whether that number actually means anything...|
Not that Strength of the Bear isn't really needed in this situation. No offense, but if there's only five bad guys holding the fort hostage and most of Tex's numbers were used in his distraction. What's stopping them from just using their two flying machines already available to them and fly over the fort? All the villains are currently grouped together in the middle of the town according to Bravestarr's scanners; Fuzz and the Judge can both fly over, fight their way through a wave on incompetent villains (come on, Cactushead was beaten by people flinging mud pies at him; he's not that threatening) to the control room...
Ooooor they're going to do this the hard way. Fine, be that way, Marshall.
|"Man, I hate it when punching things won't solve my problems."|
|"Nice manicure, boss!"|
|"Great. My pants have spontaneously combusted again."|
But the best part is Scuzz's reaction. Instead of telling Tex off for being an insensitive asshole, he just says "Oh sure, boss!" and continues on his merry little way as if nothing's happened. It's kind of admirable how Scuzz just doesn't give a crap about people insulting him for being a prairie person. Tex Hex is busy saying something that's the equivalent of me going "You Jews know aaaaall about banking, don't cha?" (disclaimer: My family's Jewish; I'm free to make this joke) and Scuzz just totally shrugs it off. Scuzz is pretty chill like that.
|Aww, it's just like owning a big, smelly pet with a terrible smoking addiction.|
I also want to point out that there's probably a direct correlation between the fact that this show has a lot of short, dwarf-like characters making up this cast and the fact that Happily Ever After was currently in production. Man, if I wasn't so lazy and weighed down with schoolwork, I'd be watching this alongside that movie to see if any of the prairie people share animation with any of the dwarfelles. I simply must know how much of this animation is recycled!
So we cut back to Bravestarr and-GAH!
|Bravestarr sees what you did there.|
Meanwhile, Fuzz just stands there, staring at Bravestarr, as if thinking "The hell are you talking about? You know I can just burrow underground and end up underneath your office, right? I can fight off Scuzz; it's been proven in like several different episodes that I can win in a fist fight with him." But instead of speaking up and getting some time in the spotlight, Fuzz chooses to go with the Marshall's boneheaded idea. After all, taking the easy way out is for outlaws.
|"Man, no one's buying our action figures. I'm feeling kind of depressed..."|
...were there forklifts in the Old West? I'm kind of confused.
|He tried to kill me with a forklift! Ole!|
Also, crotch glow. Like I'm pointing out the stock footage, I'm pointing out the bizarre Tex Hex fanservice this cartoon would give to the audience. It's like Lou Scheimer knew that he had a sexy villain on his hands and was willing to pimp him out on every available opportunity. This show's odd fixation with Tex's body parts was so big, so consuming that they needed a sidekick whose only purpose in life (besides showing the harmful effects of smoking) is to make sure that Tex's Crotch got more billing than Tex Hex. And that sidekick is Scuzz. He left a powerful legacy.
...goddamn, I just wrote an entire paragraph on crotches. I could've used this skill for my term papers.
|"Sir, you can get tumors from doing that!"|
Also, Sandstorm just stole an entire kerium freighter without getting any authorities on his ass? Geez, I guess having your entire law force being a man, his talking rodent, and his giant talking horse isn't doing wonders for the citizens of New Texas.
|Random poles sticking out of nowhere? This must be the future!|
By the way, brace yourselves. You're about ready to see one of the silliest plot developments I have ever seen in a Filmation cartoon, one that doesn't even make sense in the context of this strange space western of a show. No words can describe what is about to take place. And when I say that, I really mean it, because these are the people who brought us He-Man and a show where a gorilla captures ghosts with a butterfly net.
And way to make sure that all of the townsfolk stay out of Tex Hex's way, Vipra. Geez, what the hell, how come no one called her out on this? Tex Hex's plan is about to be ruined by a civilian when her only order was to make sure that no civilians ruin his plan.
|Geez, the one time where it'd be perfectly okay for Vipra to just eat one of the prairie people and she blows it.|
No, this is not an elaborate photoshop. Native American He-Man is going to communicate with Wuzzela with a paper cup attached to some string. Instead of using his magical spirit animal powers or advanced laser technology or hell, a radio, he's using a device mastered by pioneers in grade school in order to learn about sound vibrations.
...Deputy Fuzz's face there really says all that needs to be said. There's no way I can touch this scene.
|"What the hell...?"|
|Now would be a good time to point out that Scuzz has the |
ugliest action figure out of the toy line. Poor Scuzz just can't win.
And look at how gross Scuzz looks compared to another prairie person. Smoking's bad for you, kids. As is getting your molecules reconstructed by a giant green space cow.
|But hey, who to we to judge? Maybe he's attractive by prairie people standards.|
If you answered "she's going to seduce him" in response to that previous rhetorical question, congratulations. You now know exactly where this scene is going to lead. It's admirable how, at some point during the pre-production stage of this episode where everyone was finalizing scripts and storyboards, one of the screenwriters was all "You know what this episode needs? A scene where someone tries to seduce Scuzz." to his peers and they accepted it. I sure hope that screenwriter is getting the care he needs in a well-guarded institution.
I'm also not sure why Wuzzela even carries a thing of lipstick and face powder if you never even see her wear makeup, but I guess she was just waiting for the right moment.
|And then it turns out that Scuzz is only interested in men and her plan fails.|
Without using a gross amount of hyperbole, this is easily the best scene in the entire episode. All of the animation is completely brand new and there's a lot of good, cartoony expressions. In fact, it's reasonable to assume that this is why this episode was made. Someone storyboarded this sequence (because they were sick assholes), said "Well, damn. I need an episode to explain this scene", and called upon the might of Filmation's brilliant writers to do the rest of the work.
|This is why you always get your evil minion spayed or neutered prior to going on missions.|
I feel bad for asking this, but how far was Wuzzela willing to go to save the town? What would Fuzz think if, after the day is saved and everyone's gathered in a group telling the audience what they learned from this adventure in order to promote strong morals, Wuzzela says "I learned that people who smoke more than two packs a day are pretty terrible in bed" or "I learned that whoring yourself out has its own rewards".
|"A woman suddenly showing interest in me when I'm in the town's main control room. This isn't suspicious at all!"|
...okay, what's she going to do to Scuzz? Now I'm a little worried.
|She's plotting horrible, horrible, non G-rated things...|
Oh, don't worry, Thirty-Thirty. All she has to do is sleep with the enemy and, when he's passed out from a sex-induced euphoria (or from lung cancer; this is Scuzz we're talking about here), then she can pull the switch. Wuzzela knows what she's doing. Why else would she have the makeup just readily available at her disposal?
|"Thirty-Thirty, you do realize that antennae makes you look like a giant dork, right?"|
"Yeah, go shove it, Bravestarr."
I also find it kind of cute that you can see that Scuzz is slightly shorter than Wuzzela here, because he can only be at the same eye level as her when he stands on his tiptoes. Because it's one thing to be a prairie person and it's another thing to be a short prairie person. No wonder he wears a hat that's almost as big as him.
|Aww, how romantic.|
...wait. Prairie people don't exist, do they? Crap!
And this part is the only time you actually see and hear Sandstorm in this episode. I wish all episodes were like this. I want my hatred of Sandstorm to be as obvious as an 80's afternoon special preaching about the dangers of drugs.
|...does he really even need the lights?|
And even though the animators really go out of their way to make the villainous prairie person look as haggard and as revolting as physically possible in this scene just to make us pity Wuzzela even more, you can't help but feel really bad for Outlaw Scuzz. He had to live with Tex Hex for twenty years, can't talk a sentence without bursting into a coughing fit, is hated by his entire species, and has a toy designed to give children nightmares. Dude deserves a little action in his life, the poor thing.
...and I'm not sure what it says about the prairie people if the most likeable member of their species is the hideously mutated one hopelessly addicted to tobacco.
|"My mother says I'm a catch!"|
Poor Scuzz. He's never going to get laid at this rate. Women like men with a little more stamina.
|Oh yeah, this is very attractive.|
And here, my friends, is why Bravestarr is so stupidly awesome. He-Man never used his sword to decapitate any of his foes, but Bravestarr ain't gonna hold back. If he has a gun, he's going to goddamn use it because they're not for show.
|I missed an era where cartoons could point guns at the audiences' faces.|
...okay, the shootout involves the villains standing still and firing lasers wildly into the air while the heroes dodge all of their bullets and hide behind strategically placed crates, but you know what? They're firing guns in a cartoon in a time where they had draconian measures preventing this very thing from making it onto the air in order to protect the children. That alone should be admired.
You also gotta admire how the rest of the villains just sort of emerge out of this random house regardless of how little it makes sense (last I checked, Vipra was on the other side of town) in order to join in on the action sequence. Everyone has to be accounted for, after all! Save for Sandstorm, because he sucks.
|Weirdest poses for a shootout ever.|
I have to wonder how this didn't kill them and how they were able to appear in the next episode perfectly unscathed. Look at that rubble. Those three are goners. Cactushead and Thunderstick might be able to be repaired at least, but it looks like Tex Hex's going to have to hold auditions for a new evil female villain to replace Vipra.
|I don't know about you, but it's totally possible to survive this.|
I have to wonder what Tex Hex thought when he saw his prairie person run out of the office yelling at a female of his species and saying that she just got him in big trouble. No wait, scratch that. I know exactly what he thought. Bros before hos, Scuzz!
|Wires, pipes, and random floor and wall panels? It must be the future!|
And, of course, the moment we have a situation where giant several ton walls are about ready to crush anything in their way, someone (preferably a female love interest) has to be a dumbass and get their foot stuck. Man, Wuzzela. You were doing so good in this episode too and you had to resort to being a damsel in distress!
So Wuzzela's roles in this episode was to be in love with one person, seduce another person, and get in harm's way. Progressive!
|I wonder if she could seduce the walls and keep them from crushing her.|
...only for him to then change his mind and start running in the other direction because he thinks he's going to get caught.
Okay, somebody give this giant rat man a spin-off already. Scuzz's disgustingly awesome talents must be acknowledged. It shall be called "Scuzz: The Animated Series" and it can be sponsored by Marlboro.
|And then he trips and accidentally blinds his left eye with that cigar.|
Uh, Tex Hex? Hate to break it to you, but if they can build the town walls in less than a day (this was even a major plot point in the feature film) with the help of mole creatures that are advanced at engineering, I'm pretty sure they kept the blueprints and can fix anything you and your men have caused. Hell, Thirty-Thirty caused more structural damage today. You have no room to talk.
And watch as this little scene goes completely ignored for the rest of the series because it turns out the walls do get fixed, making Tex Hex look like a bit of a dumbass here. But hey, this scene is good for something; it helps me realize that Tex Hex has a butt chin.
|"Pull my finger!"|
|So...why doesn't he just teleport into Fort Kerium's bank and steal all the kerium?|
...I have no words.
|I'm beginning to see why this show never caught on.|
Well, the joke's on them! No one watched this show!
|I love this show.|
But what can he do? He doesn't have a gun, mystical Native American powers, or a welding torch. Well, whatever it is, I'm willing to bet it's going to be something as goofy and as silly as that paper cup attached to a string from earlier.
|This is the most awkward episode climax ever.|
...this is how our episode ends, people. By watching a small rodent-like man smash his giant oversized tooth into a sheet of metal until it cracks. This is treated like an amazing act of heroism while singlehandedly defeating three outlaws is pretty much ignored. Not sure why they had to end the shooting scene early in order to work this in, but then again, I don't get paid to write scripts so what the hell do I know?
Wait, prairie people can eat through solid metal? New Texas has the same pest problem Oriana does!
|Don't worry. He has great dental insurance.|
...and where the hell did Scuzz go? Don't tell me Fort Kerium's law enforcement couldn't even stop and arrest an overweight, wheezing rodent man for the bank robbery and he got off totally scot free for this episode.
|"Uh, Wuzzela? Why do your clothes smell like tobacco?"|
The moral of the episode? Don't judge someone by how big or small they are. So you better quit it with the midget jokes, you assholes.
I...really can't make fun of the moral otherwise. Unlike lesser shows like He-Man or Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, it's like the writers knew that there were jaded cynics in the audience that would pick apart any moral they could throw at them so they tried to make them as watertight as physically possible. While everyone can recite the "That's no good!" Sonic moral by heart, I have yet to run into a Bravestarr moral that couldn't be misconstrued for the lulz. Way to ruin my fun, guys.
And that was Bravestarr, the last show Filmation ever made before some French company run by complete douches decided to shut the company down. Is it a hidden gem of kerium ore, or is it nothing more than a pile of cybernetic horse crap? Unfortunately, not enough people actually watched this show, so I guess the common consensus for this show is "Huh, this existed? What?".
The Moral of this Cartoon
Little people can be just as important as big people, especially when they use the power of seduction in order to trick cigar-chomping toadies into letting their guard down.
*A lot of the heroes are really fun to watch and I can honestly say that I don't hate any of the heroes. Fuzz (if he doesn't get on your nerves, that is) and Thirty-Thirty in particular are decent protagonists in this episode.
*The villains. The good villains definitely outnumber the bad villains. Shout outs for this episode in particular go to Tex Hex and Scuzz, who both get incredibly funny scenes.
*The "Scuzz Seduction" scene is pure gold. It's creepy, but gold.
*Tex Hex was obviously having a blast in this entire episode and I love a villain with that much enthusiasm.
*The villains showed some intelligence and their evil villain scheme actually showed that they realize what they're up against and they planned accordingly. Tex Hex is not only evil, but he's also smart and knows how to use all of his minions to the fullest.
*The Marshall had to actually think in order to solve his problems as opposed to spamming his various animal abilities like in some episodes.
*Sorry, Marshall, but we don't take kindly to stock footage 'round these here parts.
*Sandstorm was in this and he had a line.
*The prairie people made up a huge chunk of this episode, so if you dislike characters who can't speak English properly and exist to be cute, you're going to be slightly irritated.
*The climax kind of drags after a while, and went from really cool (the gunfight) to really silly (Fuzz saving the day with his teeth) pretty fast.
*Bravestarr as a character is pretty indistinct. It's good that he surrounds himself in characters more interesting than him, but this is still a pretty big flaw for the show.
*Bravestarr is a little overpowered. This is more an issue with the show itself than this episode in particular, but we have a character that can shoot a gun, can run really fast, has Strength of the Bear, and all these other abilities. It's like, geez, man. Save some for your other allies!
*No one addressed what happened to Thunderstick, Vipra, and Cactushead after the roof caved in on them and that bugs the hell out of me.
The Final Decision
This may cause some people to be angry with me, but Bravestarr seems to have a lot more dignity in the writing than He-Man.
I feel this is one of those shows that is what I call "unfairly obscure". As in, it had the makings of a hit TV series and was even made by a popular company, but circumstances beyond its control (the major crap ups that so many different companies made in terms of handling Bravestarr are enough to write a documentary) caused it to be buried in the sands of time.
And, I'll be honest. This show doesn't deserve to be forgotten. In fact, I feel it's one of the pinnacle examples of what Filmation could do despite their thin budgets. It has stock footage, it reuses animation and character models and set pieces, and it has tacked-on morals at the end of each episode, but the show makes up for its low budget by having a good story, good writing, and good characters. These characters take really goofy premises and take them seriously while at the same time leaving room to have fun. It's a great ending chapter to Filmation's legacy.
As for this episode, I consider it a good "starter" episode. As in, it's an episode that's incredibly good to watch if you have no idea what the hell Bravestarr is and you want to watch something to get a feel for the characters in this show. In this episode, they made sure practically everyone had a scene and everyone had their moments. Tex Hex has a great plan, several of his key minions have scenes of their own, and Bravestarr uses his wits and the power of his friends and teamwork to save the day.
My advice? If you like He-Man, chances are you'll probably like this. Even if you're a little hesitant about watching something with slightly stiff animation combined with stock footage, some rotoscoping, and some reused animation, it still wouldn't hurt to give this show a try, if only to impress your friends with your knowledge on old shows.
Just, take my advice. Don't look up the Bravestarr on eBay. You will have nightmares.
|For only 40 dollars, you too can own this eyeless decapitated visage of Bravestarr!|