Sunday, January 13, 2019

Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz: Moody Magic

Ha, I did get to watch another one today! The gang is on a mission to the China Country to get some scones for the Hungry Tiger, who is due to wake up from hibernation soon. Last time that happened, he tore the place up! The Lion doesn't have the courage to climb the wall, but Dorothy pretty much tells him, "Fake it 'til you make it". When they come down the other side, Dorothy finds a ring, and when she puts it on, she feels incredibly happy. Of course the ring was planted there by Wilhelmina, who has the other ring that controls the emotions of whoever wears it! Wilhelmina thinks that if she can sabotage the mission, the Hungry Tiger will wreck China Country again, and Dorothy will be blamed and sent back to Kansas. Sure enough, Dorothy gets sad on the way to Queen Tureen's palace, and then angry when they get there, causing Queen Tureen to get upset and not give them the scones. Dorothy storms off in a huff, where Wilhelmina finds her and takes her to the sleeping Hungry Tiger, for some reason. The guys, after having apologized to the queen, bring another batch of scones, which Frank and Lyman then proceed to wolf down! In the tussle, the Tin Woodman falls on the Tiger, waking him up, and he heads out to find some scones. Toto, meanwhile, has figured out that Wilhelmina's controlling Dorothy's mood, so they try to take the ring off Dorothy's finger. It doesn't work, so they go after the Tiger. During the ensuing chase, the Lion convinces Dorothy to try to act happy, even though she's still angry. It works, and after several attempts by Wilhelmina to override Dorothy's emotions, she finally short circuits the rings, and Wilhelminas's control ring flies off her finger. Dorothy's back to normal, but the Hungry Tiger is still on the run. But a deft throw lands the ring on the Tiger's tail, and Dorothy uses the control ring to make him happy, and he doesn't wreck the China Country this time. They all go in to get some scones, and Dorothy even invites Wilhelmina in, but she just stuffs another banana into Lyman's face, which doesn't phase him at all.

This was a fun one, and it was great seeing this show's version of the China Country, but there are a few issues, like why do Dorothy and her friends have to climb the wall to get in when there's a gate for the Hungry Tiger to push down? For that matter, why doesn't Dorothy just use the Ruby Slippers to go straight to the china castle? And How did Wilhelmina, Frank, and Lyman get in when they eavesdrop on Dorothy? (Okay, that last one probably involves a flying broom and two pairs of monkey wings.) Ah, but maybe I'm overthinking this!

Today's Oz Comic

It had to happen eventually: In today's Yaffle, Dorothy appears on a current American medical talk show, and gets some advice from the appropriately named host.

Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz: Sister Sister

Everyone in Oz is invited to a celebration for Glinda the Good—including Melinda the Mean, Glinda's previously unknown evil twin sister! Melinda decides to take over Glinda's place while her lackey, Sassy the Lizard, lures Glinda into a dragon's cave. Disguised as Glinda, Melinda enchants the Lullaby League's slippers so they can't stop dancing, and a fountain to spew out wave after wave of lollipops. Dorothy quickly figures out that Melinda has taken Glinda's place, and the gang sets out to find her. Sassy quickly tells them after being bribed with a jarful of flies, and they all rescue Glinda from the purple dragon. Back in Munchkinland, the Mayor officially cancels the celebration because of all the mean things "Glinda" has done, but Melinda is discovered, only to proclaim that she's the real Glinda. A magic battle between the two Glindas ensues, mostly involving bouncing bubbles off each other, but Glinda finally decides to let Melinda have her crown. This proves that she's the real Glinda, because only she would be so good and generous! The Lollipop Guild takes the crown back from Melinda, who zaps off in a black bubble, vowing to return.

This is pretty much a retelling of "Locket Locket in My Pocket" with Dorothy and Wilhelmina replaced by Glinda and Melinda. This may be one of the most disposable stories of the series so far, and Melinda just wants to be mean for the sake of meanness. We've never seen her before, and based on the show's episode guide, I don't think we'll actually see her again, either (but that may change if there's a third season). The Lullaby League and their simultaneous rhyming couplet dialogue were cute, however. And I don't know if it was deliberate, but whatever Oz consultant they have on this show could very well have suggested the dragon be purple to evoke the Purple Dragon of Mo. So that's either a coincidence or a doozy of an Easter egg.

I'm a little behind on this show right now, and I hope nobody missed my report last week. I did watch this episode, but never got around to writing it up, so I may watch another one later today to get caught up. But I'm also running out of episodes, so I may not write one up every week unless more show up on my DVR soon. Meanwhile, however, I've acquired both volumes of the show that have been released on DVD so far (for some reason, volume one has only Portuguese as an alternative language, which was fun to watch for a bit; volume two only has English). I hope there will be more!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

This Week's Oz Short Story

This week it's the penultimate story from The Lost Tales of Oz, "Vaneeda in Oz" by Nathan M. DeHoff. Vaneeda is the daughter of the Wicked Witch of the East and a talented magic worker in her own right, specializing in glass magic. When word spreads that the royal family of the Munchkin Country has been turned to glass, Vaneeda and her friends, Winnie (Jinjur's daughter) and Paella (a talented cookywitch), head to the Emerald City to offer their services. Ozma, Glinda, and the Wizard are skeptical at first, but they let Vaneeda try, and she discovers they're not transformed at all! The royal family of the Ozure Islands are just ordinary glass statues, and the real royal family must be somewhere else. While Ozma and her advisors deliberate, Vaneeda slips out and starts investigating on her own. She calls upon her son, Kluuon, who is able to deduce their location and the nature of their enchantment. They free the royal family, and Vaneeda is allowed to test for a magic license.

There's a lot to unpack in this one, and a lot of it has to do with the convoluted history of Munchkin royalty. The story touches on events from The Giant Horse of Oz, Ojo in Oz, and even the non-canonical The Blue Emperor of Oz. It all gets straightened out in te end, of course, and at least DeHoff deserves kudos for giving it a try. Vaneeda's a good character, and her conflicted nature and her attempts to get her own way, but in the right way, give her some nuances not always seen in the Oz books (although Andrea in The OzKids and Wilhelmina in Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz share some traits with Vaneeda). There's a mystery in there, too, which gets wrapped up as neatly as they usually do.

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Today's Oz Comic

Today in Biographic, an Ozzy milestone for this year is among the anniversaries to look forward to this year.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Today's Oz Political Cartoon

New year, new Congress, new party in charge in the House means new Oz political cartoons! Here's one about the bind the Democrats are in by Ken Catolino.

This Week's Oz Short Story

We're nearing the end of The Lost Tales of Oz. This week's story is "Ozma and the Orange Ogres in Oz" by Nathan M. DeHoff and Joe Bongiorno. It's mostly about the tribe of orange ogres, led by Citros, and how they came to be separated from their fellow ogres. This led them to explore and discover more about the world around them, which they then proceeded to conquer, and enslaved many of the people living near them. Eventually, going further afield, they find their way into Oz, and they decide to conquer the Emerald City. This is just business as usual to the Ozites, but the ogres manage to take over the palace for a while. The grandeur of the palace goes to Citros's head, however, and some of his fellow ogres just want to go back to their own homes. They join with the rebellion amongst the Oz characters, and before long get some magic to the Wizard, who manages to singlehandedly take the Emerald City back. The issue then becomes, what to do with the ogres? Ozma and the Wizard manage to come up with a terrific solution that helps everyone. (I was sure the Waters of Oblivion would be involved, but this story uses some other, different enchanted water, to very good effect.) This story really highlights just how different Oz is from any other place, and how wise Ozma and her friends are when dealing with those who would oppose them.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Today's Oz Comic

Today in Rubes, it looks as if Nick Chopper has met someone more durable than him!

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Today's Oz Comic

Today's edition of Brevity is a subtle one. Just think about Judy Garland's most famous song and you'll get the picture. On a side note, I would have thought this would have been saved until closer to St. Patrick's Day.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz: Wheelers of Fortune

The yellow brick road goes missing! Well, parts of it, at least, as several of the bricks have been stolen. Dorothy and the gang follow some Wheeler tracks to the Wheelers' junkyard where they confront their leader, Crank, but he's just as upset as Dorothy. It turns out that the Wheeler 500 is coming up soon, and the race will have to be canceled if there's no road to have it on! Then they cross paths with Rustle, the defending five time champion of the 500, and he's a little defensive. They discover that one of his wheels is bent, and he can't race, so Rustle goes to the top of the list of suspects. However, instead of confronting him, Dorothy uses the Ruby Slippers to take Rustle to Smith and Tinker, and they get to work right away on repairing his wheel. During this, Dorothy gets to talking to Rustle, they become friends, and Rustle confesses that he stole the bricks so that he could still be the champion. Once they get back to the junkyard, Rustle shows them the stolen yellow bricks and helps put them back into place. The race is on, and Rustle wins!

I like the philosophy behind this show, and how they've written Dorothy as someone who will befriend anybody and look for the good in them. It's such an important message for kids—and a lot of adults, for that matter—need to hear, and it very much ties into how Baum wrote the Oz books as well. Sure, the Wheelers, and especially Rustle, could have been written as just straightforward villains, but there's a lot more subtlety to them here, and Dorothy gives Rustle a chance to do the right thing on his own rather than be coerced. Even a lot of Dorothy's interactions with Wilhelmina reflect this, and it even seems to be working. I know I am completely the wrong demographic for this show, but I am really, really enjoying it and how it's talking to its audience—while still having a good time!

Sunday, December 30, 2018

This Week's Oz Short Story

Yet another tale from The Lost Tales of Oz, this one being "Tommy Kwikstep and the Magpie" by Jared Davis. It's another little slice-of-life story, this time about Tommy Kwikstep off to deliver a message. He's accompanied by a magpie friend named Corina. When they get to the amethyst mining town of Amethyston, they find that the woman receiving the message is Locasta, the former Good Witch of the North. She gave up that title many years ago (in part explaining the differences between Locasta and Tattypoo, the Good Witch of the North actually seen in the Oz books), and is running a music hall. While waiting for a reply message, Tommy meets Perry, Jinjur's son. They decide to wander around Oz together (Tommy turns his messenger service over to another local entrepreneur), and a year later make their way to the Emerald City, where they get into a conversation with Ozma and Dorothy about love in Oz. It's all very quiet, without a lot of actual adventures, but it lays a lot of groundwork for how one can interpret early twentieth century stories in a modern twenty-first century context.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Today's Oz Comic

It looks like The Wizard of Oz meets Fargo in today's edition of 1 and Done.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

This Week's Oz Novella

Even though I'm on my winter vacation, the holidays have taken their toll, and I'm falling behind a bit in my reading of The Lost Tales of Oz. I hope to catch up over the next few days, however, and bank a few entries in this series for the new year. But at least I've now gotten through the single longest story in the collection with "Lurline and the Talking Animals of Oz" by Joe Bongiorno. This story goes further back than any other story in the collection, as it has to do with the enchantment of Oz! Specifically, it's a diary by a farmer's wife about what happens when the animals start talking. Naturally, most decide they don't want to be penned up, enslaved, or eaten, so they tell the local farmers this and leave. This does not go over well, and many of the local farmers want their old life back, complete with their animals. Things start getting tense, local leaders step in, and then government officials from the central government (which has to deal with similar problems all over the country). A summit between the humans and animals takes place, but it does not go well, and there are assassinations and a riot. Finally, Lurline, leader of the fairy band that enchanted Oz, has to step in, stop further bloodshed, and provide solutions. Some of the farmers, and their loyal dogs, opt to head back to their original homes in the Great Outside World. Others, wishing to stay but not change their ways, are exiled to a new settlement in the Quadling Country, Rigmarole Town. But Lurline is finally forced to create the Waters of Oblivion to erase everyone's memories of the old ways so that they can start again, fresh, in an uncivilized land. There are still written records, such as this diary, and a handful entrusted with complete knowledge of the old ways, so Oz continues, but it's a much kinder, gentler place now, on the way to becoming the land we all know and love.

This is at once an epic about a major change in society and how everyone (people and animals) react to it, and an intimate story about one Munchkin village and how those changes affect it. It does a terrific job with its premise, and also aspects of what we know about early Ozian history and its origins.

Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz: Abraca-Oops

Ozma is practicing for a big magic contest. When Dorothy suggests "abracadabra" as a magic word, however, Ozma loses her powers until sunset, as "abracadabra" is an anti-magic word in Oz. (Hmm, couldn't Dorothy just say it around Wilhelmina and avoid a lot of troubles tat way?) With the contest that afternoon, Dorothy and the boys all leap in to help Ozma at least appear to be doing magic. Among the other contestants are the Warlock of Ev, Dr. Pipt—and Wilhelmina! Despite all odds, things are looking good for Ozma, until Frank and Lyman figure out that her tricks are fake, and expose her. Despite the touching, heartwarming show of support and affection that her friends are showing her, Ozma is disqualified! Wilhelmina wins the contest, and gets one wish from the Wishing Stone. Just as she's about to wish for the Ruby Slippers, Lyman (who has been even more of a chatterbox than usual in this episode) starts up with a long list of things he wants, most of which involve bananas. Wilhelmina finally shouts at him, "I wish you'd shut up for ten seconds so I could think!" Sure enough, Wilhelmina gets her one wish, and Lyman shuts up for ten seconds. So, a win for Wilhelmina, for once, but not the way she wanted to. Poor kid, I hope she gets away from the influence of her aunt and becomes the nice kid we've sort of seen underneath at times.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Today's Oz Comic

Nothing Christmassy at all about today's edition of Rubes. But there is singing. (My tip to the Tin Woodman: Don't go with such a difficult song! There is a jump of a whole octave in just those first two notes.)

Friday, December 21, 2018

Yesterday's Oz Comic

I have no idea why I waited until this morning to post this edition of Red and Rover, but wait I did. While a fun take on an Oz trope, I'm not sure if it really fits into Red and Rover, since that strip is set in the late '60s/early '70s. The strip's Wikipedia article mentions a few anachronisms that have popped up, but nothing quite like this.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Today's Oz Comic

Hmm, yeah, I guess there are some disadvantages to monkeying around with classic movies, as evidenced in today's edition of Herb and Jamaal.

Monday, December 17, 2018

This Week's Very Short Oz Stories

Yes, I still have a few stories to go in The Lost Tales of Oz, but I don't really have the time right now to read these long tales. Don't worry, with my winter break coming up, I'll try to catch up and bank a few entries for the coming weeks. But I still want to blog, so I've dipped back into Oziana with the 1997 issue, and found two very short stories:

  • "Junk Mail" by Dave Hardenbrook extols the virtues of a new computer and all the wonders it can do in an advertising e-mail sent to Ozma. Considering this was 1997 and the very dawn of the internet as we now know it (my website debuted just a few months earlier, for instance), it is surprisingly innocent yet prescient.
  • "A Generic Oz Story" by Tyler Jones is a brief encapsulation of the travails American children Timmy and Tammy go through when they find their way to Oz, which includes being captured and enslaved by the inhabitants of no less than three isolated Ozian communities, before making their way to the Emerald City for the obligatory party.
Okay, I promise the other Lost Tales novella next week; I just can't promise how early in the week it will be...

Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz: A Cut Above the Rest

While showing the gang how to play marbles, Dorothy unleashes Ozma's chaos stone, which, well, cause a lot of chaos! While recovering them, Ozma tells Dorothy that she's hosting a royal ball. Never having been to a ball, Dorothy is worried. Plus, she has to wear something. So, all this happens:

(Yes, I'm cheating by including this clip. Plus, more Patchwork Girl!) Dorothy and the dress keep spinning around, many times on her head, and causing chaos, and both Dorothy and the Patchwork Girl are afraid they've ruined the whole event. Things look especially worrisome when events throw Baroness Bunchausen and Duchess Doofus together, but they end up bonding over the cheese bread their encounter creates. The chaos stones are discovered, Dorothy ditches the dress and acts like her regular self (good thing she had her gingham on underneath!), and Frank and Lyman slink away.

This was a fun one, in that we see a bunch of people from around Oz, and get hints of what else they've mined from the books, even if Baroness Bunchausen of Bunbury isn't an actual bun like she would have been in The Emerald City of Oz. And King Glum of Merryland? Inspired! Despite the dress and the chaos stones, Dorothy's sweet self wins out in the end, and helps improve relations in Oz as well. Which is exactly what we'd expect from any version of Dorothy, right?