Monday, December 28, 2020

Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz: Return of Pumpkinhead

Jack's back, and in the Emerald City for Ozma's big dance festival! But he's not having a good day, as he has to chase a squirrel out of his head, and then he discovers that people think carved pumpkins are spooky. He then loses his head, and a headless body and a talking jack-o'-lantern rolling around Emerald City spooks out the citizens a bit. Fortunately, Dorothy and the boys turn up and help him out. Jack's not happy with having a pumpkin for a head, and he decides to talk to the Wizard about getting a new one. Both Dorothy and the Wizard don't see anything wrong with Jack as he is, but the Wizard is willing to help and lets Jack try a few other types of head. So in rapid succession, he becomes Jack Cantaloupehead, Jack Avacadohead, Jack Datehead, Jack Onionhead, but finally settles on being Jack Pineapplehead for the dance. Sure enough, going back to the square, he's a hit. And at the dance, he meets up with Jane Slimeseed, who has a watermelon for a head and with whom he is instantly smitten. The Wizard introduces them, and they have a dance. Jack is waiting to meet her the next day when Dorothy, the Wizard, and the boys stumble by, in time to see Jack's head turn back into a pumpkin! Jack begs the Wizard to change him back again, but without his noten, the Wizard's spell goes wrong, and so in quick succession Jack becomes Jack Pineapplehead, Jack Purplecabbagehead, Jack Carrothead, Jack Potatohead, Jack Tomatohead (although the Tin Woodman thinks it might be Jack Persimmonhead), Jack Honeydewhead, and Jack Squashhead—just as Jane gets near! Dorothy agrees to stall Jane while the Wizard takes Jack Beethead to his workshop to fix things, but the Wizard whispers something to Dorothy before they head off. The Wizard tells poor Jack Yamhead that the best he can do is a permanent reversal spell, meaning he'll have to be a Pumpkinhead for good. Jack Bellpepperhead isn't happy, but he accepts his fate. Dorothy brings Jane by, and Jack confesses his true nature. Jane then does the same, as her head turns into a pumpkin, too. She had first seen Jack with his pumpkin head in the square, but seeing him with a pineapple at the ball made her see the Wizard about changing her head, too. Jack doesn't care, so they go off together. The Wizard takes credit for bringing them together, but Dorothy points out that if he hadn't changed anyone's head, they probably would have still gotten together and avoided the whole mess. "Maybe," says the Wizard, "but I like my version better. More romantic."

Well this was fun, and the whole idea of changing your looks instead of just being who you are is very Baumian. It also reminded me of the Magical Manarch of Mo losing his head in one story, and the various failed attempts to replace it. From the conspiratorial way Dorothy and the Wizard were acting, I think they may have set out to teach Jack a little lesson in self-acceptance, too. My one complaint is Jane. Why do we need another female equivalent as a romantic partner? Is this show perpetuating old ideas of gender attraction and the need to be paired up with someone? Is this the kind of message we should be sending out to children in the twenty-first century? It doesn't help that the Tin Woodman complains about not being able to find anyone himself, no matter what kind of metal she was made out of. (Hey, Tin Man, what about Polchrome just a few episodes back? Did you forget her already?) The fact that there was another pumpkinhead out there for Jack smacks of the ending of the Disneyland Records adaptation of The Tin Woodman of Oz where the Tin Woodman marries Nimmee Amee, Woot marries Polychrome, hde Cowardly Lion meets and marries a Lioness, and Ozma even creates a Scarecrowess for the Scarecrow! Come on, Warner Bros., surely there was a way to tell this stroy without creating a girlfriend for Jack. Jack's morphing head should have been enough for this story.

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