Sunday, January 19, 2020

Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz: Oztember Surprise

When I first saw the name of this episode, I wondered if it might be a reference to one of the Wizard's ozoplanes from Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz, as they are named the Ozpril and the Oztober. Whoops! I misremembered the name of the second ship! Oh, well, this story has nothing to do with ozoplanes anyway. The Wicked Witch has disguised herself as a little blonde girl (using Wilhelmina's locket from way back in season 1) to infiltrate the Emerald City. Meanwhile, Dorothy and the boys encounter the Surprise Pony, who only appears when a big surprise is coming. So they Ruby Slipper back to Emerald City, where Ozma and the Wizard reveal that it is Oztember 1, the day they can share their magic powers with someone else. Ozma grants her powers to the Scarecrow, while the Wizard plans to share his with Dorothy—that is, until his little blonde niece, Westina, that he doesn't remember even having, waltzes in. Dorothy and the guys suspicious, but that doesn't prevent the Wizard from sharing his powers with his newfound relative. Sure, "Westina" can just zap everyone and be done with them, but she has a plan to keep her powers forever; she just needs to wait for the right moment. But Toto isn't fooled, and eventually the gang realize that Westina is the Wicked Witch. They confront her, Exposed, the witch drops the disguise and zaps Dorothy and the gang, but Oztember first ends before she expects it to, and all of her magic is undone. The witch is powerless again, and she slinks back to the castle with Frank and Lyman.

Yeah, a silly little throwaway episode, but it has its moments. This one is definitely a showcase for Laraine Newman, the voice of the Wicked Witch of the West, as she effortlessly switches between the Witch and her little girl voice, still sounding like some of the young characters she played in the earliest seasons of Saturday Night Live. And she gets one of the most subtle references to the books in when Wilhelmina asks "Westina", "Auntie, is that you?" "No, it's Ugu the Shoemaker. Of course it's me!" (Well I laughed.) There's also a fun running gag about a lovestruck Lyman giving Westina bananas, never figuring out that she's the Wicked Witch (even after she ditches the disguise). Wilhelmina, meanwhile, even with a very small part, proves to be the voice of reason, trying to talk her aunt through the pros and cons of this plan. Too bad we never did find out what the Witch's final plan was, as she never got a chance to execute it!

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