Author: StatManDan

We get the second stop on the Pet Jet World Tour as we head to China, which is an unlikely destination these days for a cartoon with a modern setting like this one.

Mrs. Twombly is invited to come to Shanghai, China, to be honored in a ceremony for inventing Kung-Fu Quilting (harkening back to “Lotsa Luck”). In lieu of family nearby, Blythe and the pets come with her to China. The pets will be part of the ceremony as a dancing dragon as you see at Chinese New Year parades. Penny Ling sees this trip as a chance to meet her relatives at a panda preserve.

As the dragon is meant to chase away evil spirits, Sunil and Vinnie are instantly scared. However, Blythe says Vinnie can use his dance moves to ward off the spirits and Vinnie’s fears are gone. Russell’s fears get invoked at the mention of ghosts (harkening back to “Eight Arms to Hold You”). We also get a image sequence with a rap battle between Vinnie and some spirits with the former winning. It’s actually very good, though the song “Kung Fu Fighting” came immediately to mind, not necessarily anything from 8 Mile. Who wouldn’t have that song come to mind? By the way, Russell’s fear of ghosts is forgotten after the song as is the teasing Zoe, Minka, and Pepper gave Russell beforehand.

Back to Penny, she meets her relatives, and it turns out they know a lot about American through American musicals. They invite her to dinner, but it’s the night of the ceremony. She initially goes with the pandas, but comes back in time to perform the ceremony as she is vital as the dragon’s tail.

We have a great song, but the episode is somewhat fragmented by segments that really don’t click together. We have a scene where Blythe has to fix Mrs. T’s robe because it shrunk in the wash and then Penny asks her to create a costume for her dinner. There’s also the pets’ concern that Penny won’t be back in time for the ceremony to be the tail of the dragon. It’s like they only went halfway with a lot of things outside of the main storyline. That puts this episode in the middle of the road for Season Two.

“Sweet Pepper” Review

We are going to get to “Plane it on Rio” in due time since that aired the day of this review, but let’s get caught up one-by-one with the episodes we have not covered, yet, starting with “Sweet Pepper.”

This episode aired on the same day that “Simple Ways” aired on MLP. Through sheer coincidence, the episode involves a character voiced by Tabitha St. Germain (Pepper in this case) having a crush. Fortunately, Pepper does not have to compete with anybody, nor turn into a farmer. The object of affection is a European polecat named Captain Cuddles. (Who has a pet polecat, let alone call him Captain Cuddles?) That’s our A-plot.

The B-plot is Blythe trying to finish a book before seeing the movie adaptation with Youngmee and Jasper, but distractions are about, namely a certain sweet bunny we’ve hardly seen this season.

Pepper is smitten with Cuddles, but she has trouble socializing with him because she instinctively punches his arm and her imagine spots with him ending with one of her pranks suggests. Zoe, Minka, and Penny Ling will try to give her advice on how to better present herself to Cuddles. Cuddles later admits to guys in the room to liking Pepper to the male pets, though they are not technically the same species. Polecats are more closely related to weasels than skunks are. Sunil and Vinnie are indifferent to this while Russell will utter his last five lines in the episode with the same thing—”Pepper?!”

Back on track, the female pets give Pepper a makeover and give her all sorts of advice (like no arm punching) and it turns out as predictably as you might think. Blythe, after her B-plot, comes in and basically tells Pepper to be herself (or be a “girly girl” in her own way), and that ends up being effective when talking to Cuddles.

Blythe had tried to finish the book (which appears similar to “The Hunger Games”), but Buttercream comes along wanting attention from a human that Youngmee’s Aunt Christie was not giving her recently. Blythe tries to do both simultaneously and also avoid spoilers from Youngmee and Jasper. She almost gets there before Christie accidentally spoils it for her. Christie did come around to giving Buttercream more attention by being more flexible with her, but gave away the ending of the book for Blythe. Blythe’s reaction to the spoilers was golden.

I’m glad they went a different route than was MLP the hour before. It would’ve been too trite to do the same thing a fellow show did. Again, we have more of Tabitha St. Germain’s brilliance. It was nice to see Buttercream for an extended amount of time for the first time this season, not to mention some real character development. It’s a pity we have not seen her much since. And the humor is spot on and there was truly little wrong with it. Back-to-back good entries for Season Two along with “Super Sunil.”

From the lowest of lows to the highest of highs for Steven Universe, this week. “Giant Woman” was the most-watched show on Cartoon Network for the week of February 24th-March 2nd, as Son of the Bronx revealed. It drew 1.893 million viewers which is also a high for the show. What’s even more surprising is this was on a night where both Adventure Time and Regular Show airing new episodes. Before this, Steven usually was third behind CN’s power duo. This week, there was enough power in the gems to vault Steven to the top spot on the CN chart after the lowest of lows the previous week.

Steven Universe Season 1:
Episodes as of February 24th: 10
High: 1,893,000 (“Giant Woman”, 2/24/14)
Low: 1,005,000 (“Arcade Mania”, 2/17/14)
Average Viewership: 1,546,800
Highest Placing: 1st (“Giant Woman”, 2/24/14)
Lowest Placing: 79th (“Arcade Mania”, 2/17/14)
Average Placing: 20.2

The next ratings report for Steven Universe will be for “So Many Birthdays” which aired on March 3rd.

“Super Sunil” Review

I have offered to fill in since we haven’t done these in a while. Usually, the show has an A-plot and a B-plot and usually both are only tied in slightly. Here, the A-plot leads to the resolution of the B-plot in this one.

The A-plot is that Sunil is frustrated about being a “coward” after a freakout over insects that causes him to scream at a pitch that only dogs can hear and the dogs become the proverbial bulls inside the China shop known as LPS. Penny Ling offers to help Sunil by making him a Superhero (“El Cobra Cabal”)—with herself as a sidekick (“Panda-Monium”). The B-plot is that Blythe is helping Youngmee and her Aunt Christie find a parking spot in the city and a prime location to sell their treats via their mobile stand. However, the Biskits take the spot with their oversized bus, their robot from “Gailbreak” who can alter traffic lights to their favor, and liver wurst sandwiches and sticky soda pop that are both terrible in quality. But the Biskits don’t care–they just want to monopolize the block. Oh, by the way, we get a return for Sugar Sprinkles and she actually serves a purpose this time, unlike in “Sweet (Truck) Ride” where she did absolutely nothing except admire the scenes around her in the truck.

Back to the A-plot, the pets set up a ploy for Sunil to “rescue” Pepper, and with help, Sunil succeeds. The superhero thing becomes more real as Sunil sets out to do more heroic things thinking he has superpowers. Actually, Penny does all the handy work in making Sunil look heroic and gets help from luck once in a while. Penny comes clean that Sunil does not really have Superpowers, but also adds that he wasn’t scared when performing heroic deeds. But Sunil leaves in a huff in thinking he’s still a coward.

Sunil and Penny join the B-plot when Blythe and the other pets plan to help the Sweet Delights truck get the parking spot, they plan to use the crosswalks as the Biskits robot needs to stop for pedestrians. (PLOTHOLE ALERT: Wouldn’t that be solved by altering the traffic lights?) Anyway, the Biskits spray Blythe and the pets with the sticky soda and it appears they will get to the parking spot yet again, but Sunil gets Penny to scare him to do his high-pitched scream that only dogs can hear to create another crossing. Thus, allowing Youngmee and her Aunt to get the parking spot and Sunil is a hero for real.

I like the interactions between Penny Ling and Sunil here. Penny is timid and sensitive herself at times, but puts it aside to help Sunil. The song and fourth-wall breaking that goes with it was really funny. However, once again the Biskits are part of the negative aspects of this episode It’s not just because they stoop to Diamond Tiara levels of meanness, but they nearly become karma houdinis in this episode. It’s bad enough that they’re mean girls who are otherwise useless–though they’ve been getting even meaner as Season Two progresses. Making them karma houdinis like DW from Arthur makes it all the worse.

Surely it’s a violation for the Biskits to have a gadget to alter traffic lights when those are normally reserved for ambulances, fire trucks, and police. It’s get more muddied when Blythe and the pets use the crosswalk plan because the gadget should be able to offset that. Ultimately, that’s a nitpick in what was otherwise a good episode featuring two of the favorite pets of the show (unless you tend to disagree in the comments below).

Ratings Corner: MLP – It Ain’t Easy Being Breezies & LPS

It may not be easy being Breezies, but evidently a lot of people found them easy to look at (or because it was also a Fluttershy episode). “It Ain’t Easy Being Breezies” drew an astounding 644,000 viewers on Saturday making it the 3rd most-watched episode both for the season and the series. It is also just the second single-part episode to draw over 600K (“Power Ponies”). This was also the first weekend where MLP went to 4-play mode. Only the replay of “Games Ponies Play” on Saturday finished outside the top 30. The Saturday repeat of “Twilight Time” came in 2nd with 383,000 viewers, followed by a Friday showing of the same episode at 373,000. Overall, MLP occupied 13 of the top 20 spots on the Hub Network chart including spots 1-6.

MLP Season 4:
  • Episodes as of March 6th:  16
  • High:  733,000 (“Princess Twilight Sparkle, Part 1”, 11/23/13)
  • Low:  397,000 (“Daring Don’t”, 12/7/13)
  • Season-to-Date Average Viewership:  550,938
  • First Half Average Viewership:  547,538
  • Second Half Average Viewership:  565,667
  • Highest Placing:  1st (13 times)
  • Lowest Placing:  2nd (twice)
  • Average Placing:  1.13
Most Watched MLP Episodes:
  • 1.  Princess Twilight Sparkle (721,000 for both parts)
  • 2.  Power Ponies (683,000)
  • 3.  It Ain’t Easy Being Breezies (644,000)
  • 4.  The Crystal Empire (601,000 for both parts)
  • 5.  Filli Vanilli (584,000)
  • 6.  Flight to the Finish (568,000)
  • 7.  Simple Ways (554,000)
  • 8.  Bats! (531,000)
  • 9.  Rarity Takes Manehattan (527,000)
  • 10.  Rainbow Falls (514,000)
Last week, I mentioned how if the (then) two most-viewed single-part episodes of MLP led to 300K+ viewers for the first-run episode of LPS that week. That was not the case this week. “Inside Job” drew 239,000 and placed 16th. As has been the case with LPS for most weeks, the replay of last week’s episode just before (“Grounded”) drew more viewers at 281,000. Two other LPS reruns drew more viewers.
LPS Season 2:
  • Episodes as of March 6th:  19
  • High:  309,000 (“Shanghai Hi-Jinks”, 2/15/14)
  • Low:  158,000 (“”Grounded”, 2/22/14)
  • Season-to-Date Average Viewership:  230,053
  • First Half Average Viewership:  234,384
  • Second Half Average Viewership to Date:  220,667
  • Highest Placing:  1st (“Eight Arms to Hold You”, 11/9/13)
  • Lowest Placing:  38th (“Grounded”, 2/22/14)
  • Average Placing:  17.42
As a bonus this week, thanks to Douglas Pucci of Son of the Bronx, we have the numbers for all Season One episodes of Littlest Pet Shop. Get your pencils and scorecards ready. LPS debuted the same day as the MLP Season Three premier with a two-parter on November 10th, 2012, and aired a new episode every Saturday thereafter thru April 27th, 2013 (in broadcast order):
  1. “Blythe’s Big Adventure, Part 1” (536,000)
  2. “Blythe’s Big Adventure, Part 2” (503,000)
  3. “Bad Hair Day” (446,000)
  4. “Gailbreak” (304,000)
  5. “Penny for your Laughs” (342,000)
  6. “Mean Isn’t Your Color” (268,000)
  7. “Russell Up Some Fun” (405,000)
  8. “Blythe’s Crush” (254,000)
  9. “Dumb Dumbwaiter” (451,000)
  10. “Eve of Destruction” (383,000)
  11. “Books and Covers” (261,000)
  12. “So You Skink You Can Dance” (325,000)
  13. “Lights, Camera, Mongoose!” (363,000)
  14. “Trading Places” (383,000)
  15. “Topped with Buttercream” (357,000)
  16. “Sweet (Truck) Ride” (400,000)
  17. “Helicopter Dad” (275,000)
  18. “What’s in the Batter?” (284,000)
  19. “What Did You Say?” (213,000)
  20. “Bakers and Fakers” (288,000)
  21. “Terriers and Tiaras” (365,000)
  22. “Lotsa Luck” (250,000)
  23. “Door-Jammed” (359,000)
  24. “Frenemies” (283,000)
  25. “Blythe’s Pet Project” (194,000)
  26. “Summertime Blues” (293,000)
  • Season 1 Average:  337,885
  • First Half Average:  372,385
  • Second Half Average:  303,385
As you can see, the distribution for LPS in Season 1 was more widespread than MLP Season 3 was. Also noticeable is that just two episodes of the show drew over 300,000 viewers after MLP Season 3 wrapped up on February 16th. Those 10 weeks after “Magical Mystery Cure” averaged 280,400 viewers. What’s disconcerting for the show is that it’s lost an average of 70,000 viewers per 13 episodes of the series. Currently, the second half of Season Two may slow the decline, but it is still a decline at the present time.
StatManDan (@StatManDan)

Ratings Corner: “Arcade Mania”

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This is a reminder that with the ratings reports, only the numbers for the first airing of the episode count. The three-week hiatus for Steven Universe did not do any wonders. On its premier showing on Presidents Day, “Arcade Mania” drew an abysmal 1.005 million viewers and placed in a tie for 79th place among all programming on Cartoon Network with a rerun from the following Saturday. Granted, the episode aired 45 minutes later than it usually does, but given that it followed Spider-Man (2nd), The Hall of Game Awards (7th), and a sneak peek of Clearance that night (64th); that’s still a disappointing figure. The most-watched airing of Steven Universe was on Friday night when it placed 45th at 1.168 millions viewers.

Steven Universe Season 1:
Episodes as of February 17th: 9
High: 1,861,000 (“Gem Glow”/”Laser Light Cannon”, 11/4/13)
Low: 1,005,000 (“Arcade Mania”, 2/17/14)
Average Viewership: 1,508,333
Highest Placing: 4th (twice)
Lowest Placing: 79th
Average Placing: 22.33

The next ratings report for Steven Universe will be for “Giant Woman” which aired on February 24th.

StatManDan

These data are based on statistics published by Son of the Bronx.

Not every pony had time for “Twilight Time.” The episode drew 469,000 viewers, last Saturday, which was still good enough for the top spot on the Hub Network chart. This drop is not too unexpected since most episodes have fallen within the 450K-550K range this season. Only “Daring Don’t” has been the outlier at one end while “Princess Twilight Sparkle,” “Power Ponies,” and “Filli Vanilli” have been outliers at the high end. In fact, both weekend encores of “Filli Vanilli” did better than the Sunday encore of “Twilight Time.”

Another interesting tidbit is that the Presidents Day showing of “Equestria Girls” placed 2nd on the charts at 315,000 viewers. So people evidently continue to watch it on TV regardless of whether people liked it or didn’t like it. It also may have something to do with the fact that “Rainbow Rocks” is coming this Fall.

MLP occupied half of the top 20 this week.

MLP Season 4:
Episodes as of February 28th: 15
High: 733,000 (“Princess Twilight Sparkle, Part 1”, 11/23/13)
Low: 397,000 (“Daring Don’t”, 12/7/13)
Season-to-Date Average Viewership: 544,733
First Half Average Viewership: 547,538
Second Half Average Viewership: 526,500
Highest Placing: 1st (13 times)
Lowest Placing: 2nd (twice)
Average Placing: 1.13

Most Watched MLP Episodes:
1. Princess Twilight Sparkle (721,000 for both parts)
2. Power Ponies (683,000)
3. The Crystal Empire (601,000 for both parts)
4. Filli Vanilli (584,000)
5. Flight to the Finish (568,000)
6. Simple Ways (554,000)
7. Bats! (531,000)
8. Rarity Takes Manehattan (527,000)
9. Rainbow Falls (514,000)
10. Wonderbolts Academy (505,000)

Just as I say things are looking up for LPS in the viewership totals, here comes the most appropriately titled episode to describe this week–“Grounded.” Last Saturday’s premier of said episode set seasonal lows for the show at 158,000 viewers and placed 38th this week. That is behind four LPS reruns, of which Tuesday’s rerun was in 6th at 277,000 viewers. Two of those other reruns were that of “Shanghai Hi-Jinks” last Friday and Saturday.

In fact, outside of “Eight Arms to Hold You”, which aired before MLP’s season premier, the two times a first-run episode drew more than 300K viewers were the ones that followed the two most-watched MLP episodes outside the season premiere, this season. Those would be “A Day at the Museum” which followed “Power Ponies,” and “Shanghai Hi-Jinks” which followed “Filli Vanilli.” It may take more than an “Inside Job” to get the numbers back to something of a respectable level.

LPS Season 2:
Episodes as of February 28th: 18
High: 309,000 (“Shanghai Hi-Jinks”, 2/15/14)
Low: 158,000 (“”Grounded”, 2/22/14)
Season-to-Date Average Viewership: 233,765
First Half Average Viewership: 234,384
Second Half Average Viewership to Date: 231,750
Highest Placing: 1st (“Eight Arms to Hold You”, 11/9/13)
Lowest Placing: 38th (“Grounded”, 2/22/14)
Average Placing: 17.5

By the way, with average placing, we are going with decimals going forward as that paints a more accurate picture.

That’s all for now. More later.

StatManDan (@StatManDan)