Saturday, November 03, 2018

Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz: The Emerald of Zog

Now that Halloween is over, we're back to our regular viewings of Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz (and no, I don't think they've done a Christmas episode yet—which is too bad, that would be a lot of fun). Since the Emerald City hasn't beet attacked for three days, Ozma declares a holiday—and then the Jewel Mule comes roaring up to attack the city. Oh, well! At least he won't be there until sunset. It seems the Mule wants jewels, so the Tin Woodman hides a sapphire he's been hanging onto in his chest. But it's the Sea Emerald that the Mule is after. Naturally, all they have to do is get it for him, except it's in Ozma's spare palace by the sea, which is run down and rickety and filled with booby traps. Still, the Ruby Slippers get Dorothy and her chums there, and they get through most of the traps and secure the emerald. Did I say most of the traps? Of course they miss one! But just as they're about to be squashed by a giant pearl, Zog, a local sea monster, comes to save them. All he wants in exchange for saving their lives is the Sea Emerald. Hmm, that makes it tough! They refuse, of course, so Zog puts them into a bubble and takes them under the sea to be his prisoner until the Tin Woodman takes the Emerald out of the safe in his torso. (Yes, the Tin Woodman's hollow torso has been extremely useful in carrying all sorts of things in this show.) They are rescued by a feisty mermaid named Merla, but when Zog captures Merla, our friends concoct a plan to save her: Dorothy paints the sapphire green and gives that to Zog instead! They say goodbye to Merla, head back to the Emerald City just in time for the Jewel Mule to get there, lick the emerald, and give his best wishes to Ozma before heading home again. Um, okay...

So now they've tapped The Sea Fairies for inspiration in this show. Zog is nowhere near as frightening as he is in the book. The real breakout star of this episode, in my opinion, is Merla. Great design, but what I really liked was her feisty attitude and thick Australian accent peppered with obscure Aussie slang that nobody else could understand. For a comedy series like that, that was a great turn of character. I did question a number of times why Dorothy didn't immediately use the Ruby Slippers to get them out, and when she finally tried it, they were waterlogged! Well, I guess they had to stretch things out to get a full story.

As a bonus, here's a scene from this episode, alongside the animatic so that you can see the process of making the cartoon. As a bonus, Merla's first appearance!

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