Teddy Ruxpin Live Action Series - Was That Real?
August 9, 2016
(The shortened opening)
(The door to NC's room opens, revealing him peeking inside, looking quite nervous; he looks around nervously, then runs into the room; he then peeks out from behind a couch, his eyes looking around shiftily, before finally running to and sitting in his usual chair)
NC: (speaking quickly and nervously) Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. And welcome to another rendition of WTR, a.k.a... Was That Real?
(It cuts to the title card of WTR, followed by clips from shows like "Dumb and Dumber, "Star Wars: Ewoks", "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective", "Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain", and "The Grinch vs. The Cat in the Hat")
NC (vo): This is where we look at TV shows that are forgotten by some but remembered by others for just how strange they were.
NC: And I apologize if I don't exactly seem like I'm on top of things. I haven't slept in a bit, I haven't shaven or anything like that. It's just that... um... the character we're gonna talk about today, I've had a few, uh... run-ins with.
NC: Yeah. So when I heard I was gonna talk about this live-action series this week, I just wanted to take the proper precautions. (suddenly he looks to his left) AIR! (pulls out his gun and fires into the air) Like I said, a little on edge.
(Cut to a clip of a Teddy Ruxpin commercial while "Darkest Child" by Kevin MacLeod plays in the background)
NC (vo): As some of you know, Teddy Ruxpin was a disturbing hellspawn of a toy that was one step away from SkyNet watching your kid. It was supposed to be comforting, but it scared the shit out of every parent who bought it.
(Cut to a clip of a Robin Williams standup concert film)
NC (vo): Even Robin Williams made jokes about it!
Robin Williams: You couldn't do cocaine; there's a Teddy Ruxpin doll! This type of doll, you think that when you fall asleep, the doll wakes up and goes: (imitating Teddy) "You must kill Mommy and Daddy!"
(Cut back to the Teddy Ruxpin commercial)
NC (vo): So it only made sense to have this terrifying Teddy-nator seem even more alive...
(Cut to a clip of "The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin")
NC (vo): ...with a live-action show.
NC: Though, to be fair, this is only really a pilot and... even then, not technically that. (looks slightly confused by what he said)
(Cut to another clip of the Teddy Ruxpin live-action pilot in question)
NC (vo): You see, they wanted to do a live-action series based on the stories that your robot was reading your kids to bed with. But when they shot the first extended episode, it proved to be too expensive. (briefly displays a shot of the Teddy Ruxpin animated series) So they eventually turned it into an animated series, (back to the live-action special) and this ran as the ABC movie of the week. Because... wouldn't you want to look at this before going to sleep? The funny thing about it is that, in a strange way, you can see why it was so expensive. I mean, nothing looks realistic, per se, but it does look like the toys literally started walking, giving our therapist countless hours of employment.
NC: One of the reasons is that they got a pretty big name in effects to do it.
(Cut to a shot of Lynette Eklund)
(Cut to a shot of a cosplay of the Chief Blue Meanie from "Yellow Submarine")
NC (vo): ...and was even commissioned for some impressive cosplays.
(Cut back to the Teddy Ruxpin live-action series pilot)
NC (vo): So like I said, the props and designs – for a kids' show, and what was required, at least – are pretty impressive.
NC: But that doesn't mean the show is... well, good.
(Cut to the start of the special, with Teddy Ruxpin's mother rocking him to sleep)
NC (vo): It starts off in the realm of weird when horrifying Mama Bear is singing a song to baby Teddy. I think she's literally holding a Teddy Ruxpin doll!
Teddy's mama: (singing) Come dream with me tonight...
NC (vo): (imitating Teddy's mama) Did you enjoy your breaded Goldilocks? Mine was too cold.
Teddy's mama: (singing) Let's watch the birds as they fly by...
NC (vo): And in case you're wondering, no, she serves no purpose to the story whatsoever. We see she has a map and an amulet, but she never does anything with it, and Teddy says no one in his town or family ever goes on adventures. He doesn't even mention her giving it to him or anything.
Teddy: Illiops aren't very adventurous. At least, they haven't been for many generations.
NC (vo): Man, if I had this shit the whole time and never utilized it, I'd be pissed! (imitating Teddy's mama) Yeah, I'll dedicate my life to ya, you little bastard. I coulda been treasure hunting and making millions, but instead, I'm raising your dead-eyed ass! You better live out my dreams, you demonic rabbit's foot! (normal voice) We cut to fifteen years later, where we see Teddy and his caterpillar friend, Grubby... clearly, caterpillar milk has a lot of growth hormones... out to find themselves that treasure mentioned earlier.
Grubby: You didn't tell me that adventure seekin' would be this hard on my feet.
NC: (imitating Goliath of "Davey and Goliath" fame) I don't know, Davey.
(In the special, a group of armless monsters runs out, snapping their jaws at Teddy and Grubby)
NC (vo): But they come across other rejected Mario World characters who try to eat them up.
Teddy and Grubby: Whoa!
(They run from the creatures in question, who run up close to the camera and stop, snapping their jaws at the camera)
Teddy: They're going to catch us! Run faster, Grubby!
Grubby: I'm tryin'! I'm tryin'!
NC: (confused) Well, they would catch you if they didn't just stop at the camera.
NC (vo): Maybe they saw a salesman selling hands so they can have an activity to do before going to bed.
NC: Think about it: you'd be pissed if you were them, too!
NC (vo): But they come across an old man who saves them. This is your generic bumbling inventor who's so traditional you can just call him "Gimmick".
Gimmick: You can call me... eh... Gimmick.
NC: (imitating Gimmick) These are my kids: (holds up right hand) Pawn (holds up left hand) and Tool! (gives a wide-mouth grin)
NC (vo): But it looks like an evil villain named Tweeg is also looking for the treasure, as his plan to turn buttermilk into gold doesn't seem to be working.
Tweeg: ...to actually make gold out of buttermilk!
NC: I do– I can't imagine why not.
NC (vo): He seems to be the villain in all of this, but much like the mother, he seems entirely pointless. He's always just off to the side, saying "D'oh!" and "Curses!" Even when the heroes are right in front of him, he doesn't seem to do anything of threat.
(In the special, Tweeg fires a cannon at Teddy's group, but the cannonball lands on the ground several feet away from the group; Gimmick notices)
Gimmick: He is, without a doubt, the world's worst shot! (chuckles as Tweeg groans)
NC (vo): He's kind of as ineffective as the Grinch, if he shaved and ate the voice of Captain Hook.
Tweeg: I always known he wanted to steal my formula.
NC (vo): But the inventor uses an airship to travel to the treasure while these beaked testicles voiced their disgust.
Beaked creature #1: Tsk tsk tsk!
Beaked creature #2: I knew it! Tsk tsk tsk tsk tsk!
NC: (chuckles) Well, that seemed needed.
NC (vo): They crash into a tree, where a fairy, who I swear sounds like Judy Garland on Quaaludes...
Fairy: (voiced by Russi Taylor – that's right, that's the voice of Minnie Mouse there!) And I suppose there's no such thing as a big bag of air stuck in my tree!
NC (vo): And... is it me, or is her knowledge of technological aviation pretty damn advanced?
Fairy: You do understand the simple basics of aerodynamics, don't you? In order for your airship to move in any given direction, you must apply a force in an opposite direction, such as in this large, manually-driven propeller. Then you will have to know something about the effect of wind and various aspects of navigation.
NC: Christ! Did you teach at a community college??
NC (vo): I know it's like she flies, so she would already know something about it, but... then again, SHE FLIES! Why would she need to know anything about it? Oh, well, maybe this awkward, overly-long goodbye scene might make up for it.
(In the special, the airship very slowly flies away as the fairy waves goodbye)
Singer: Let's build a giant airship and sail into the sky!
(All the time the singing is heard, the scene alternates back and forth between the fairy waving goodbye to the airship as it slowly sails away and the Critic, his eyes shifting around in confusion and his hands raised in confusion; the scene finally ends as the fairy STILL waves goodbye to the airship, by now too far to see her)
NC: (facepalming himself) Jesus, the ending to "Return of the King" said goodbye faster than this!
NC (vo): But they come across Rockbiter's turds who decide to put Grubby to work, but place the others in the dungeon.
Rock monster: (pointing to Grubby) Put this one to work! And take the other two to the dungeon!
NC: Man, I know that's a prejudice of some kind. I just don't know who's supposed to be offended or why.
NC (vo): They're locked up with a guy named Prince Aaron, who is looking for his kidnapped sister. Because naturally a prince would do so on his own and have no qualified professionals for the task.
Prince Aaron: I have been here for a long time.
NC (vo): But they escape and agree to help Aaron find his sister. This leads us to a giant purple monster who wants to help.
Purple monster: (who sounds slightly like Pumbaa) Did you say a princess? How come she's lost?
Aaron: Well, actually, she's been kidnapped.
Purple monster: Why anybody kidnap a princess? That's baaaad!
NC (vo): (imitating purple monster, sounding even more like Pumbaa) I mean, from a storytelling perspective, it seems so tired and cliched! Hey, Timon! We're on another royal forced plotline again! (normal voice) He advises them to see the wizard, who, it turns out, is just a faker, using lights and projecting effects, which leads them to a giant castle, where they dress up like soldiers to save a girl.
NC: (nods) I think we all know who needs to do some proper suing! (he looks as a poster for "Spider-Man 2" appears in the corner, much to his surprise) You gotta get out more.
NC (vo): I love the fact, by the way, that the wizard lets everybody in except the purple monster. He doesn't even give a reason!
Wizard: (to purple monster) You stay outside. (to the rest of Teddy's group) The rest of you, come in.
NC (vo): Why is prejudice so bizarrely okay in this world?!
NC: It's okay. He actually loves purple monsters.
(An image is displayed of the wizard eating what looks like a taco salad at his desk, with the message "I love Purple Monsters")
NC (vo): You can tell by this post with him eating purple monster food.
(Cut back to the special)
NC (vo): Tweeg also arrives there as – what a coinkydink – the treasure is there, too.
Armless monster: They're landing!
Tweeg: (flailing arms around) Why does it always have to happen to meeee?! (beat) They're landing?
(He slowly turns up the corner of his mouth as a howling sound is heard, presumably coming from him)
NC: (more than a little perplexed) Did he just howl like a wolf, or did somebody open a box of Cookie Crisp?
(Cut to a clip of a Cookie Crisp commercial, with Cookie Crook and Chip the dog)
Chip: COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOKIE CRISP!!!
(Cut back to Tweeg supposedly howling again)
NC (vo): They all sneak inside to try and rescue the sister.
Gimmick: (disguised as a guard) We've been ordered to take her out of here.
Guard: Just who ordered you to take her?
Gimmick: Oh, um... it was, um...
Guard: Get 'em! (a fight between the guards and Teddy's group erupts)
NC (vo): (imitating Gimmick) Oh, General Getem! Great man. Play tennis with him on Tuesdays.
Sister: (Aaron saves her) Aaron, you've come to rescue me!
NC (vo): So, in a scene I still don't really get, they connect the medallion saying, "Only the pure of spirit may find the treasure of knowledge." This leads to a bunch of treasures being revealed, but they instead take these crystals that each have a word written on them.
Aaron's Sister: Trust...
(Cut to a clip of "Captain Planet")
Planeteers: Go Planet!
(Cut back to the Teddy Ruxpin special)
Teddy: Let's go!
Tweeg: Hey, where do you suppose they're going? And what are those things they're carrying?
NC: Those are excellent questions we are refusing to answer! Enjoy what we wrote on our lunch break!
NC (vo): Of course, the treasure disappears for Tweeg, because... something about being true to your bullshit, I don't know. And they get back safe. The brother and sister go home, Grubby does this uncomfortable hand gesture, and we get another overly-long goodbye as they sail to Ronald McDonaldland.
(The special ends with the airship slowly sailing off into the sunset as the purple monster waves to them)
Singer: And the wondrous dream we dream tonight... someday... just might... come true!
(All this time, we are STILL seeing the monster wave to the airship)
NC (vo): Rest your arm, you weird people!
NC: So it was... about what you'd expect.
NC (vo): It's difficult to be hard on it, as it's clearly meant for little, little kids, and again, for the budget they probably had, the puppets are pretty well done, as well as some of the sets, but... it is what it is. A good meaning, but still creep-inducing show that'll happily haunt your marijuana high for years to come. But at least now you know it existed, there was probably a fair amount of work that went into it, and it's... moving pictures with sounds. You gotta give it that; it's moving pictures with sounds.
NC: I'm the Nostalgia Critic, and... (suddenly looks around nervously; whispering) I'm going to leave very quietly.
(NC gets up from his chair and runs to the side of the couch; he ducks down beside it, then peaks up and looks around; he then gets up and runs across the room and out the door; he gets to his car, where he closes the door, panting; he looks around nervously, to his side and over his shoulder toward the back seat, only to find nothing)
NC: (relieved) Huh. How about that? There was no danger. (chuckles) I was building all that up for nothing. (chuckles some more as he puts the key in the ignition) That's life. (starts up the car, puts in drive, and looks over his shoulder as he pulls the car out)
(The credits roll)