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!

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