Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bravestarr - The Day the Town Was Taken

I, again, apologize for the lack of updates. I did not forget about this blog; I just have college. Maybe I should've waited until after I graduated from college and didn't have to put together senior projects and shows before writing this blog. I have papers to write, paintings to paint, and storyboards to...storyboard.

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.
Even though Happily Ever After was the last movie Filmation ever made before they closed their production doors and stopped making cartoons ever again, Bravestarr happened to be their last animated series. I've seen multiple stories on what really killed Filmation (and the company's failure is sort of like a game of Clue), but from the looks of it, while Happily Ever After can take most of the blame for slaying the people behind He-Man, Bravestarr helped. The show wasn't all that popular and the toy line didn't do too well.

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...
Bravestarr has an interesting past. Apparently back when Filmation was making Ghostbusters (no, not the one with Egon and Peter; the one with the ape and the talking vehicle), they came up with Tex Hex, a villain concept so mindblowingly awesome that they had to make a whole new show just to house that sheer amount of win contained within him. So they created this series that mixes Western elements with space elements, hoping that two great tastes will go great together.

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... 

The Day the Town Was Taken

November 10th, 1987

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.
But they can't chat for too long, because that's when Bravestarr walks onscreen with his patented Filmation walk and tells them, while standing perfectly still without moving anything but his lips, that Judge J.B. and Handlebar are being held captive by dingos. What a great way to introduce the plot. Imagine if this was the first episode you saw of this show and you were trying to follow all of this. "Wait, there's talking rats in Texan accents, and now there's a horse on two legs, and dingos? What!?" We haven't even seen the main villain yet either! No wonder people miss the 80's.

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!"
Right after we hear that two characters in the roster are in trouble, there's a quick screen wipe and we helpfully see just what's going on. Sure enough, turns out Bravestarr wasn't just pulling an elaborate prank on his animalmen companions and telling a baldfaced lie just to see the reactions on their faces. Judge J.B. and Handlebar are, in fact, being attacked by dingos while standing near the wreckage of a stratostage, which is basically a stage coach but with random metal pipes sticking out of it to signify that this takes place in the future. 

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.
The other good guy caught in the wreckage is Handlebar. This large mustached reptilian alien with the inexplicable Brooklyn accent happens to be the owner of a bar (you could say he "handles" the bar, even), where he sells "sweetwater" to all of the miners in town. Yep, you heard me. A bar owner is a hero in this show. Rather gutsy of Filmation to make someone who regularly sells alcoholic beverages a reoccurring hero and not even have an end of an episode moral about the perils of drinking. I don't care if it's pink and looks like frothy glasses of lemonade. Alien booze can come in all shades and tints.

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?
Just when it looks like they might actually escape from this ordeal unscathed, they're quickly surrounded. By dingos. Riding dinosaurs. In space. Why isn't this show more popular?

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...
Meanwhile, Bravestarr, Thirty-Thirty, and Fuzz are riding through the barren wastelands of New Texas on their marketable mounts (Fuzz's action figure actually came with that vehicle he's riding on) in order to save the day. During this time, Bravestarr decides to break the silence by saying such meaningful dialogue such as "We're almost there" and "That's the stratostage. Those blasted dingos must've wrecked it!". Bravestarr, if you're going to use the same stock footage of you riding your horse that appeared in at least twenty other episodes, the least you can do is say something more exciting. Tell a knock-knock joke or something. Break the tension!
"Well that's just great. The freeway's totally gridlocked."
But wait, it turns out the villains are watching this take place on their inexplicable spycam television thing built into the side of a mountain (because villains are always expected to have that sort of technology just lying around, even cowboy-themed ones) and are laughing about it! Oh no, Bravestarr is riding right into a trap! Dun dun duuuun...

...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.
Since this episode has a lot of villains and I'm positive no one actually saw this when it was first airing, for your viewing pleasure, I'm going to temporarily stop my review of this episode and introduce each and every one of the villains that will be showing up this delightful Western romp, just so that you know just what kind of odds the heroes are up against. I just hope my bitterness over the fact that none of these characters are recognized for the great ideas that they are leaks too much into the writing. I know a cool concept when I see one, and the fact that more people know who Hordak is over Tex Hex will never stop feeling like an insult to me.
Hmmm, I wonder if he's the villain.
First, we have Tex Hex, lovingly voiced by Charlie Adler in a way that makes him sound like the Western hick version of Snively from Sonic the Hedgehog. As you might guess, Tex Hex is to Skeletor as Bravestarr is to He-Man. He's the reason why this show exists, and that actually makes a lot of sense because Tex Hex is probably one of the coolest villains Filmation has ever come up with. Which makes it a real shame that he gets to languish away in this forgotten series instead of starring in remakes and live-action films aplenty. Tex deserves better. No man with a mustache that awesome should be doomed to such obscurity.

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?"
But Tex Hex didn't just train to become the magic-wielding badass he is today. Turns out some acid-spewing cybernetic dinosaur skeleton with glowing eyes, robot cow horns, and a mustache named Stampede found his unconscious body next to the wreckage of his crashed spaceship one day, zapped him with evil juice, and christened him with the name "Tex Hex". Stampede's sort of the real villain of this show and, depending on the episode, the evil scheme will either be all Tex's idea or prompted by this hideous nightmarish creature.

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!
All decent villains need disgusting bootlicking toadies, and you can't find a better bootlicker than Outlaw Scuzz. As you can tell from his name (I really hope it's just a nickname and not his parents being hilariously cruel) and the fact that he's a hairy little mole creature, he's Fuzz's evil, chain-smoking cousin, made during a time where it was still considered acceptable to show cigars in a cartoon. He's the least threatening of Tex's gang (his usual tactic in a fight is hide behind someone bigger than him), but he totally makes up for it with his sheer amount of loyalty to his boss. Tex Hex may yell at him for smoking and call him "prairie rat", but you get the real feeling that he actually cares for his dirty nicotine-soaked furball and vice versa. After all, he did go through the trouble of teaching Scuzz how to speak English.

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.
Next we have Thunderstick, who's a robot designed to look like La Boeuf from the original 1969 version of True Grit. Hell yeah, Filmation actually did some research. His right hand happens to be a lasergun attachment, hence why they call him "Thunderstick" and not "Robot In Sweet Texas Ranger Clothes". Despite the fact that he's a robot built to serve mankind, he somehow has enough AI to both become an outlaw and be the biggest douchebag on the entire cast, devoting most of his time and energy to making fun of random strangers. Must be a programming flaw.

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.
"Jazz hands!"
Unfortunately the same person who designed Thunderstick didn't design Cactushead. Looking like what happens if you try to build a robot using only a dog bowl, some K'nex parts, and a dried cactus while under the influence of some very powerful LSD, Cactushead (go on, guess why he's named that) is more than a little off-putting in his appearance. I can't even begin to grasp the purpose of his giant buck teeth or his scraggly robot hair, but I can't imagine it's for anything ethical.

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."
Then we have Vipra. Like Judge, Vipra's main purpose in life is to provide boobs to this cartoon. Only her boobs are much more villainous and reptilian. She doesn't look like it, but she's from the same species as Handlebar, meaning that in the future, there will be species of aliens with a sexual dimorphism that works on the same brand of logic as World of Warcraft orcs.

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...
Last and definitely least, Sandstorm. At the risk of letting bias leak into my writing, good God, words cannot describe how much I hate Sandstorm. Look at this piece of crap. Do you honestly expect anything good, anything interesting to come from him? Sandstorm is supposedly a "sand walrus" (even though he looks nothing like a walrus) native to this world and he can spit sand out of his mouth, but you know what? I don't care. Sandstorm sucks and blows in every definition of the word. The best indicator of whether an episode is good or not if Sandstorm doesn't have to do or say anything important. The only thing remotely interesting about him is the fact that, out of all the outlaws, he likes Tex Hex the least. I'm going to make a point to pick episodes where Sandstorm is not in them for very long.

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!
Meanwhile, after the main bad guy is done randomly inflicting pain on tobacco-craving mammals, we see that Bravestarr is kicking ass and taking names through the use of a lot of stock footage from the opening, because I need constant reminding that I'm watching something from Filmation, the same people who were able to insert the same rotoscoped animation of someone laughing in at least ten different cartoons. The scene is a very paint-by-numbers "every hero, from the main one to his animal sidekicks, uses their weapon of choice to fight a group of bad guys" scene, devoid of anything more substantial than characters beating the crap out of each other. But to be fair on Bravestarr, at least none of the animation looks like it was pulled from He-Man. Bravestarr's way too masculine for that.

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!"
In a way that leans on the fourth wall, we cut back to the villains, who are watching the dingos get their hairy asses kicked on their giant LED-backlit Internet-ready 1080i LCD TV from Samsung, and they're actually commentating on the same fight scene the audience is watching. Well, what do you know. Turns out Filmation invented Mystery Science Theater. I smell a spinoff!

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.
But Cactushead is much luckier than Scuzz and doesn't feel Tex's random, explosive wrath. Instead, the bipolar cowboy is going to signal to Sandstorm through his hat communicator (because this does take place in the future) to continue with the vaguely-described Plan A before ordering his men to move out. Thankfully, anything Sandstorm says or does in response to Tex's orders is kept off-screen, as nature intended. I swear, anytime Sandstorm appears onscreen, angels weep. I have scientific proof that there's a direct correlation between the massive floods that took place in America in the late 1980's and the airing of the episode "No Drums No Trumpets".

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?"
What's his plan? It's simple, really. While Sandstorm is off being a terrible waste of celluloid paint, Tex Hex and his varied rogues gallery of a gang are going to walk right into Fort Kerium and start demanding that all of the townsfolk just hand them everything in the bank vault. Yep, all of that set-up and use of different Plan A and Plan B's and technology and all Tex is doing amounts to shouting "Look over there!" and then snatching something while Bravestarr's distracted.

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.
However, one thing turns this plan from a stupid idea to an awesome one. While Tex is emptying the town of all of its kerium, he's going to initiate the fort's defense mode in order to stop Bravestarr and his various woodland critters. See, what makes Fort Kerium so special compared to other towns on this dirtball of a planet is that, if the heroes so choose, they can cause the fort to shoot these really thick metal walls out of the ground complete with turrets and stuff and protect them from any outside intruders. Fort Kerium in defense mode has protected it from many things, including an army of dinosaur skeletons to a giant robot (disclaimer: this totally happened), and it's another feature in the show that accomplishes several things at once; it looks cool, the fort's defense mode can use the same piece of animation every time the heroes use it, and it's a viable feature for a playset for fans of the show to play with. Bravestarr wears its merchandise-driven nature like a sheriff's badge.

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!"
While Tex Hex is filled with awesome and win, the cartoon realizes that we haven't checked on the actual hero of this show in a while, so we catch up on what VaguelyNativeAmerican McHerostein's doing. Turns out he's still beating up canines with his various animal spirit-related abilities. Man, either the dingos have numbers about as large as a locust swarm or Bravestarr sure is taking his time. No wonder Tex Hex had plenty of time to take over Fort Kerium.

Hate to ask this, but the show has already pointed out that Bravestarr has radio communication that tells him when someone needs his help. 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.
Even if this fight scene is mostly filler (and to make sure the young male demographic's insatiable bloodlust is satisfied if only for a brief moment), you just gotta love how at the end of it all, instead of showing the dingos yelp comically and fly away on their vehicles like cartoons normally do, they opt to go the violent route and have an extended pan that shows the amount of destruction and carnage Bravestarr has caused with just his bare hands. Suddenly Bravestarr goes from a little dorky to a real badass once you see the bodies of dingos (come on, you don't see any of them blink; they're obviously dead from liquified spines) strewn everywhere as their various vehicles lay scattered in smoldering wrecks. You can almost smell the stench of blood and scorched fur that hangs in the air when watching this glorious piece of ink and paint. Aw yeah. Now I suddenly want to own action figures of this franchise (no matter how much they give me the creeps) in hopes some of this badassery can rub off on me.

While Bravestarr is digging a mass grave and stowing the broken corpses of dingos into a large hole in the ground (hey, why else do you think he brought Fuzz?), Tex is closing the gates while savoring every moment of it. Because he's freaking Tex Hex, the baddest purple-skinned alien cowboy on this awkwardly named planet, and he's going to enjoy every moment of the few times where he actually has the upper hand over the heroes. It's not going to last very long, but for now, Tex is on the winning side and it feels sooooo good.

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.
Tex then starts talking to himself while he initiates the fort's defense mode, because even cowboys suffer from the same cliches that plague every cartoon antagonist since the history of animation. But I'll forgive him for it, because one of the bizarre charms this show has is how utterly charming this villain is. While he sometimes goes into hammy "I'm having a spontaneous orgasm over how villainous my plan is!" territory like every good cartoon villain is wont to do, I'd be lying if I said he wasn't fun to watch. He makes the simple act of flipping the right switch awesome through sheer willpower and makes hanging out with talking prairie dogs look cool.

...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.
After activating the fort walls, then Texas Style Chili laughs using stock footage. Occasionally, when this lavender-colored zombie bursts into uproarious villain merriment, his animation suddenly becomes really smooth and detailed (compare this face to the face above) and looks suspiciously like the same laughter he does in the cartoon's intro. Oh sure, sometimes they'll animate different laughs just so the kiddies won't catch on, but you can usually guess when The Stock Laugh is coming just by the type of camera shot they use. If Tex Hex suddenly goes into a close-up with ample room for him to rock around like he's heard the best blonde joke invented by mankind, you know The Stock Laugh is coming and his face will suddenly morph. Tex is talented.

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.
Speaking of stock footage, the entire sequence of the fort getting shut down (which takes about ten years to play through in its entirety; it's a pretty long transformation sequence) is even more stock footage taken from the movie. So basically, it's stock footage right after stock footage with no new animation for over a minute. Forget Captain Planet, this is the real environmentally friendly cartoon!

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.
After the fort's impressive transformation sequence, our heroes finally discover what's going on and let the crushing wave of irony just roll over them in a tide of despair as they stare at the impregnable walls of their own town now keeping them out. Yeah, probably should've left someone to guard Fort Kerium just in case something like this happens, Bravestarr. Fuzz didn't need to come; he could've been watching for any signs of outlaws! Geez, you people suck at your job.

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!"
So Bravestarr does a quick scan of Fort Kerium and finds that Tex Hex and his gang are inside the walls. I guess that rules out the possibility that the people of Fort Kerium are being assholes and pulling a really elaborate prank on their law enforcement. 

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...
Judge J.B., realizing that soon she's going to fade into the background and have nothing to do for the rest of the episode, says one more important thing. She says that nothing can break through the fort when it's in defense mode, not even Bravestarr's Strength of the Bear. I like that the show has to make a point to say that Strength of the Bear is not going to help, because that's the power Bravestarr abuses the most out of this show. Wall standing in his way? Strength of the Bear. Door needs to be opened? Strength of the Bear. Bridge that needs to be made? Strength of the Bear. The cappuccino machine isn't working in the staff room? You get the picture.

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."
While the heroes are trying to figure out what the everflipping hell they're supposed to do, Tex is already dividing up duty amongst his various dumbass toadies. Thunderstick and Cactushead get to blow up the vaults, probably because, being robots and all, they're the most competent of Tex's gang as far as shooting things go. And while they're doing that task off-screen so that the animators don't have to draw new explosions and go overbudget, Vipra gets to disappear for most of the episode keep the townspeople from attacking Tex. Sounds decent. I love a villain who actually knows how to strategize as opposed to standing there and wondering "Well, I got rid of the hero. Now what?" like I've seen way too many Disney Afternoon villains do.
"Nice manicure, boss!"
After he says all of that villainous gobbledygook and everything seems to be going smoothly in Tex's life, suddenly a cloud of smoke obscures Tex's genitals as Scuzz wonders what he gets to do. Tex Hex's withering look of contempt really says everything there needs to be said about their relationship. He may be a ruthless outlaw capable of holding an entire town hostage, but he wants his lungs completely cancer free.

"Great. My pants have spontaneously combusted again."
Scuzz, since he's absolutely useless at pretty much anything else other than providing Tex Hex with some company, gets to tag along with his boss just in case Bravestarr tries to tunnel in with his prairie person. Only, when Tex Hex says it, he's a lot more racist about it. While they're cruising through town, scoping for chicks, Tex Hex has the balls to say "You prairie rats know aaaaall about tunnels, don't cha?" to Scuzz. Wow. Way to be a racist douche to someone who's been working with you for almost twenty years, Tex Hex.

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.
But Princess Fiona Wuzzela overheard and she's not going to take that racial slur lying down. Way to drop the R-word, Tex Hex! He has made a powerful enemy today; one that will have a 40 episode gap between this appearance and her next appearance (if you go by production order anyway, and god that makes me sound like such a dork), no less!

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.
Okay, so we cut back to Bravestarr, who's busy undressing me with his eyes. He remembered that Wuzzela is still in town, so he vaguely says he's going to hook up a telephone for them to talk to her.

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..."
Meanwhile, the robots are busy unloading the vaults of their kerium with their state-of-the-art futuristic technology lifted straight from the 23rd century. A forklift!

...were there forklifts in the Old West? I'm kind of confused.

He tried to kill me with a forklift! Ole!
So they have the glowy space rocks and they made sure that Bravestarr can't get in. But how are they going to get out of town with their loot, the little walking bundle of cancer cells asks his boss. I mean, geez, it's not like any of the people in their evil band of outlaws knows how to dig any escape tunnels or something of that nature. Right, Scuzz? 

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!"
But back to the show. According to Tex-Mex Chili Con Carne, they do have an escape route. Turns out Sandstorm, that ugly Star Trek reject of a villain, stole a kerium freighter offscreen. What makes this kind of funny is that the character is never that competent when he's onscreen. Suddenly, the moment he's gone for most of an episode, he can perform amazing tasks like stealing entire starships.

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!
With the villains suitably satisfied, we cut back to Wuzzela (prairie people are obsessed with Z's in their names) and how she's feeling really bummed out by her inability to take on five criminals armed with guns by herself. But that's when she hears a strange sound outside the wall. Le gasp! Could it be Bravestarr's grand plan?

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.
Behold, the space-age futuristic technology in play here!

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...?"
Meanwhile, just in case you can't get enough of the strange hobbit-like furballs running around this fair town, Scuzz gets a very important job in the evil scheme for once, for he's going to switch on the landing lights in the Marshall's office. Tex makes sure to take the time to warn him not to pull the wrong switch, which is basically shorthand for "I'm letting everyone know just how Scuzz is going to screw up a pivotal part of my plan in order for the heroes to gain the upper hand and defeat me". Bumbling minions; you get what you pay for.

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.
It turns out Bravestarr had used his kindergarten technology to tell Wuzzela to head into the Marshall's office to flip the switch that will reactivate the walls, but Scuzz gets there first because that's where the landing lights are located too, so now she has an obstacle she has to deal with in order to help Bravestarr. Nice of the town to just keep all of its important, town-related gadgets regardless of use or function in the same goddamn building. Geez, what happens if Scuzz dropped his cigar and the entire building burst into flames, destroying every single infrastructure, from the electricity to the indoor plumbing to the heating, in the entire fort?

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.
Well, this is inconvenient. Surely she can't fight Scuzz all by herself. How's she going to get to the controls?

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.
Like all men, the moment an attractive lady goes up to him, calls him famous, and starts fluttering her eyelashes in a suggestive manner in his direction, Scuzz is very pleased. A little too pleased, might I add, because now I'm coming to the awful realization that this means that Scuzz of all people has a healthy, throbbing libido and desires a little action too. So what if his boss told him to turn on some landing lights? He's gonna score tonight!

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.
Outlaw Scuzz is actually hesitant at first about letting a very gorgeous, attractive woman go with him and snuggle right next to him, since he actually really wants to do a good job and knows Tex Hex won't give him any salmon treats or belly rubs tonight if he screws this part of the scheme up, but it doesn't take long for him to crack. Must be mating season.

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!"
And, to top off the awesome scene with some awesomesauce and an awesome cherry, when Scuzz turns his back (and looks as close to aroused as a G-rated cartoon can manage), Wuzzela makes this face.

...okay, what's she going to do to Scuzz? Now I'm a little worried.

She's plotting horrible, horrible, non G-rated things...
After that scene is thankfully over (man did it take a turn), Bravestarr and Thirty-Thirty are at the gate, waiting for the moment when Wuzzela finally opens the gates and lets them in. It's a short scene, with nothing interesting taking place other than Thirty-Thirty wondering in his deep Baloo voice how Wuzzela is going to reach the switch since she's such a tiny lady without any weapons.

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."
Cut to the next scene, where Scuzz and his hot new date are standing on a box where they can reach the switch. Nice of all the town controls to be meant for humans even though the prairie people and a bunch of other aliens make their homes in Fort Kerium too. Inclusive society my ass, Bravestarr. At least install tiny stepladders for the shorter aliens!

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.
Now normally I tune out all of the broken English the prairie people vomit at an alarming rate because I hate it when cute, furry animals try to be cutesy by butchering verbs and proper sentence conjugation, but Scuzz gets a really adorable line when he switches on the landing lights. He says "Now Kerium Freighter cans come down!" in such an eager, non-villainous tone that I just want to run to the nearest animal shelter and adopt a prairie person of my own.

...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?
After he does that, One Dimensional Love Interest tries to convince Scuzz to make the town walls open, but surprisingly, Outlaw Disgusting In Practically Every Way is totally steadfast and still refuses to do it, even though he agreed to let her come with her and watch him be amazing at pulling switches. Scuzz has standards, you know!

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!"
It's only when Scuzz starts coughing so hard that he doubles over in pain that she can pull the switch for herself. So instead of seducing a man until he becomes so lovestruck that he does everything Wuzzela tells him to do, all she had to do was wait until his crippling smoking addiction temporarily incapacitates him. Okay, that works too.

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.
So you can guess what happens next. The walls to Fort Kerium open up, Bravestarr and his friends all move in, Sandstorm runs out of the episode like a wuss, Scuzz dies of cancer, Cactushead discovers the true meaning of life, and Filmation issues in what promises to be a very violent and very bullet-filled climax in the old west as Bravestarr and Thirty-Thirty approach Tex Hex and both of them point guns at his chest.

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.
Yee haw! Slap my chaps and call me a son of a gun; we done have ourselves a shootout! Git 'r done!

...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.
In case you wonder if having larger numbers is going to help in any way, Thunderstick, Vipra, and Cactushead are quickly disposed of by the horse wielding his bigass gun and shooting it in a way that causes an entire roof and part of a second floor to collapse on them. Hell yeah! I love it when law enforcers cause wanton property damage! 

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.
As his various minions are being crushed to death by fallen rubble, Tex Hex sees Scuzz chasing after Wuzzela, gets really pissed off, and decides that he's going to have to take care of the walls himself. A man of action, that Tex Hex. Even though he always stands like he's posing for a jeans ad.

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!
So he shoots the switch to Fort Kerium's town walls with his gun, which somehow causes the town walls to go haywire. Well now. That's a weird design flaw. That's like if I accidentally broke one of the buttons on my laptop and it caused the entire computer to explode. You'd think the entire city's defense system would have more safety mechanisms to keep this very thing from happening or something, being the only thing keeping Fort Kerium from the various supernatural threats in this series...

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.
And, in case Scuzz wasn't already awesome in this episode, his response to seeing Wuzzela pleading in terror for someone to help her before she's crushed into oozy red gore by the closing walls is to look sad for a couple moments, like he remembers all the nice things she said to him back in the Marshall's office, and look like he's about ready to help because she was the only person in the entire world to show him true kindness...

...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.
Like Scuzz, Tex Hex knows that he's been beat and decides to pussy out too. Only he tries to do it with a little bit more dignity by dramatically pointing his finger and yelling that, while they may have won, their town walls will never keep him out again! Oh, that Tex Hex. Trying to spin a paralyzing loss with a death count into a victory, that wily desperado.

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!"
Then he turns into a giant cloud of smoke and teleports like a pansy, leaving three of his minions underneath several tons of rock and leaving another minion to run around in a nicotine-fueled panic until he has three heart attacks and collapses in the streets. Wouldn't expect anything less from the main villain, but this is still a real dick move to pull.

So...why doesn't he just teleport into Fort Kerium's bank and steal all the kerium?
But then, Bravestarr sees Wuzzela in trouble so he...does this to summon his Speed of the Puma.

...I have no words.

I'm beginning to see why this show never caught on.
Then Bravestarr decides to top awkward with even more awkward as he holds the door open with Strength of the Bear (aka the power that gets used at least once an episode) while Wuzzela stares at his huge package and Bravestarr's well-defined ass just barely hidden by his skintight clothing dominates a large portion of the screen as he grunts loudly and heavily. I feel so dirty watching this. It's like the people behind this show were having a bet to see just how much they can get away with before the moral guardians grew wise to their shenanigans and ordered several episodes to be censored.

Well, the joke's on them! No one watched this show!

I love this show.
So, they really have to get Wuzzela free because Strength of the Bear can only last for so long. Luckily, Deputy Fuzz and his weird Charlie Adler voice is there to the rescue!

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.
But don't worry! Fuzz saves the day by biting things!

...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.
So everything is wrapped up, everyone is thanking everyone else, the town remains totally deserted even though the villains no longer have control over Fort Kerium (and because the budget's not big enough for a crowd scene), the sky is still that weird shade of pink, the day seems to be totally saved, and the town can once again return to peaceful normality while Fuzz and Wuzzela share a touching kiss. It's like everyone forgot about those three corpses underneath the rubble that used to be the bank. I feel warm and fuzzy just thinking about it!

...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?"
But wait! Before you get to view the credits with the really amazing instrumentals (forgot to mention it, but the music in this show kicks ass), Bravestarr has a moral for you little brats sitting in front of the TV! It's time for the episode to segway into some stock footage of Bravestarr and Thirty-Thirty standing in front of the Marshall's office while cycling through different mouth animations to communicate a decent life lesson. Hell yes, this show has a moral segment I can laugh at. I love the 80's.

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.

Final Verdict

The Good
*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.

The Bad
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!
Don't say I didn't warn you.