Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"Smash your TV and have ADVENTURES!!!" - Disney's "Fluppy Dogs"

I'm still plowing through my YouTube queue, and callooh calleigh! I've hit our first Weird Disney Thing!

Now, if you remember this 1986 episode of the Disney Sunday Movie, and you try to tell me that you expected exactly this from a title like "Fluppy Dogs", you are a damn liar:

If you aren't a liar, then you are psychic.  If you aren't psychic, then you are halfway between insane and awesome.  Because literally the only other option here is that you are Michael Eisner, because when you see a strange Disney thing from a time period roughly stretching from the mid-80's to the late-90's, your explanation will almost certainly involve Michael Eisner somehow.

Now I'm being a little unfair here because there's no hard evidence that this is the case with "Fluppy Dogs".  There is basically no information at all about this franchise to be found online (aside from good old Ghost of the Doll and even their section is scant on information).  Based off what I remember, this hour-long animated special was based off a very generic stuffed dog toy put out by Disney through Kenner around the same time as the Wuzzles, and they followed the formula of far better-loved 80's toys: they were colorful, cute, and collectable.

So, naturally, their nominal movie had to involve dimension-hopping.  Really, the only nostalgia at all appears not to be for the toys but for this special itself, which was itself a pilot for a series that never got off the ground.  I'll be honest that if they hadn't gone for the crazy fantasy route here, I'd have zero nostalgia for the Fluppies myself, since I remember exactly nothing about the toys.

So about the special.  The animation is very iffy for a Disney production.  In particular, it seems the studio was used to more stylized cartoon animals and humans gave them problems.  The Fluppies themselves look fine, but the human characters often just look... well, there's off-model and then there's this, which is like never-even-ON-model-to-start-with.  Aside from that, here are the things that hit me after having not seen it in many years:

* - Mr. Wagstaff is such a "Captain Planet" villain.  Hell, he goes to depths I don't think even Captain Planet villains would sink to, keeping demonstrably sapient cryptid animals in a tiny cage in his library.

* - Speaking of, endangered animals kept in tiny cages in a library.  That's... that's new.  I wonder if Wagstaff's home was initially supposed to resemble the Colby Trophy Room, but they were afraid that would be too traumatic for the children, so they made sure all of Wagstaff's rare animals were still alive.  And in tiny cages.  In a library.  Yup, totally less horrible.

* - One aspect of this special I really like is that they address something that always kind of bothered me about fantasy stories where an ordinary kid goes off on crazy adventures with magical creatures.  The writers of such stories seem to be wholly unaware that kids aren't fully independent.  Don't the kids in these stories go to school?  Wouldn't adults wonder what they've been up to?  Wouldn't their parents ever confront them about all the strange things happening around the house?

* - On that note, man these Fluppies are like the worst peer pressurers:
"You gotta help us, Jamie!"
"But I can't skip school!?!" 
"Uuuuugh, fine!  This better not end with Main Street getting flooded!"

* - I'd like to think the first episode of the series that never happened would have been just short scenes of Cryptozoologists, Xenobiologists, and everyone at SETI watching footage of the Fluppy invasion and either fainting, crapping themselves, or breaking out the champagne.

More Disney Television from the 80's: "The Wuzzles" and "The Adventures of the Gummi Bears".

And do read the review of "Fluppy Dogs" on Total Media Bridge as well for a different take on the movie.


Sketch of the Day!  Decided to color the Fantasyland Dragon making friends with Duffy just for the heck of it. 

Disney Dragon

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