Sunday, August 16, 2020

Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz: The Mouse That Roared

Yay, another character from the books—this time, the Queen of the Field Mice! Let's see how badly they mess her up!

Oh, good grief, she has a French accent and they named her Marie! Oh, well, the Lion meets her while traipsing through the flowers. When she finds out he lives in the Emerald City, she persuades him to take her there to see it. She tries to stay hidden, but running around on the Lion's hide tickles him. Then she catches a whiff of cheese and floats off on the scent, as happens all too frequently in cartoons. She rolls away in a wheel of Swiss, and the Lion causes chaos as he chases Marie down. An encounter with a dressmaker results in more slapstick chaos and destruction, and Lion and Marie eventually get separated. Dorothy, Scarecrow, and the Tin Man offer to help, but it's the Lion who finds Marue first, just outside the city gates. Then Frank and Lyman come along, teasing about the two lovebirds! They need to nab one of Dorothy's pals, so they use a potion to shrink the Lion and put him in a cage. Marie vows to save him, though. Instead of finding Dorothy or Ozma, however, Marie instead goes to the Witch's castle to free the Lion herself! Frank and Lyman try to catch ter, but she's too fast (and they're to— well, let's just say they're Frank and Lyman)! They finally corner her, but she proves to be tougher than she looks, and manages to get the best of the monkeys and the Wicked Witch of the West. (Wilhelmina is indifferent to the proceedings, as she's more interested in reading her magazine.) The Witch agrees to restore the Lion and releases him. On thoir way back to the Emerald City, Marie confesses that, as much as she values the Lion's friendship, it's probably best for them to stay apart, as she could never live in a city. But Dorothy, hearing about Marie's departure after reuniting with the Lion, promises they can all go into the field and pick flowers tomorrow, if that's what the Lion wants.

This was a harmless little episode, and it does pack a lot more into its running time than many others. Marie is a gutsy character, and actually fun to have around once you get used to her accent. Maybe she'll show up again. But the exact nature of the relationship between her and the Lion is not handled well. They appear to just be friends for the longest time, but towards the end there were some hints at romance. Yes, I know that's how romances begin, but the transition was not well-developed, so it just sort of seemed to be a thing that suddenly happened.

One other development I'm worried about: The marginalization of Wilhelmina. When this show began, she was one of the best parts of it. She was clearly bad, but enough respect and admiration for Dorothy showed through that it was clear she wasn't all bad. Once her auntie, the Wicked Witch of the West, was freed, however, it became clear that the WickedWitch could cook up and execute plans on her own, and Wilhelmina has fallen by the wayside, often with minimal action in the story, as happens here. She doesn't share her aunt's ambitions at all, which might lead to her doing something her aunt wouldn't really approve of. Oh, well, at least the writers are still keeping her interesting.

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