waynepygram.com: The Adventures of Kid Danger Reviewed: Clone Babies/Flying Spiders (S1E3/4)

waynepygram.com: The Adventures of Kid Danger Reviewed: Clone Babies/Flying Spiders (S1E3/4)

So where's my invisible motorcycle?

What is it? Animated kidcom based on Henry Danger, in an A-B 11-minute episode format.
Where did it air? Nickelodeon
Who stars in it? Pretty much everyone from the live-action show reprises their voices, which in this case means Jace Norman, Cooper Barnes, Riele Downs and...that guy who's Schwoz.
Why are we reviewing this? It's on Nickelodeon, hence fulfilling the "Nick and Disney Channel Reviewed" requirement.

What happens when you take a Dan Schneider show and animate it? Well, as we saw last week (in our review of Toon in For Danger) and again this week...you pretty much end up with what amounts to a single-cam Dan Schneider show with a practically unlimited SFX budget.

But by no means an unlimited animation budget.

Practically speaking, it's literally just Henry Danger. The plots, the jokes, everything is the same except for the fact that it's animation, and it therefore gives them what for the live-action show would necessitate a practically unlimited SFX budget. Seth MacFarlane put it best in an interview when he talked about the practical SFX advantages of animation verses live-action but...other than that, it's clear Schneider's extremely hesitant to stray far from what he feels makes Henry Danger work.

So that means strained jokes that go on for way too long, a hesitation to actually delve deeper into the type of action Henry and Ray would actually be, you know, doing as superheroes (again despite the practically unlimited SFX budget and this is why I keep pointing this out) and the overall effect feeling like Poochie stealing Itchy and Scratchy's car and driving past the Fireworks Factory and into the sunset, with the episode Fin'ing right there.

It's frustrating, but does it sink the show? Not necessarily. Dan's still good at jokes and especially slapstick humor, despite how (un)sophisticated they be. What does cause the episodes to drag are long stretches in between where it feels to be absolutely in obligation to this one-scene gag that's been dragged to such a length it's obviously meant to carry the entire damn episode. This is a common trope/fault in kidcoms especially, especially animated ones that are nowhere near the calibre of, say, Gravity Falls or Phineas & Ferb or Star vs. The Forces of Evil (although I felt like Star definitely was milking its one trick pony...er, or cow maybe?, far too much its first season) and especially Dan Schneider shows no matter what format they take. Can you name an episode of iCarly you thought was a bit strained? Or maybe VicTORious? Say, Ten Thousand Berry Balls? Or how about Sam & Cat, like, say, almost the entire damn show. Or even Game Shakers with, say, literally the entire damn show. Yeah, chances are it's because Dan did the same damn crap.

We see it in spades in both episodes here: Clone Babies and Flying Spiders, although if I had to pick one, the latter would be the biggest offender. Clone Babies starts out with enough promising jokes and slapstick humor (I'll get to them in the Extra Thoughts section) and then gets bogged down when they find themselves needed to play babysitter, although the idea of using the Ray babies as living shields was not only a clever idea but a hilarious scene. Give us more of that, Dan. And then the final scene is just a complete and total what the fuck. Oh, and a disproportionate chunk of the episode revolves around watching our heroes eat Chinese food.

Then we get to Flying Spiders. I'd call it the weakest episode, but that feels redundant given how it's already implied when I say the episode completely freakin' blew. Again, it still manages to have some...I wouldn't call them "good" jokes as so much as effectively basic jokes, like the kids picking on Kid Danger being a bunch of straight-laced "cool nerds." But most of the episode is just Kid Danger waiting around for Captain Man to get done with his freakin' shopping.

Why do people think plotlines like this are funny?

Episode Grade: Rather than grade the two episodes separately, since it's obvious each episode is going to be paired with the other for all airings I'll split the difference: C-. None of them are as strong as Game of Drones which is the strongest episode so far (granted out of all four of them so far), and Flying Spiders was just total weaksauce, man.
Episode MVP: Is a C- too high a grade to give a joke MVP award? Like, to myself, for instance? Sigh. I'll give it to Jace Norman because...I dunno, because of a coin flip for all I care. I really don't want to spend much time thinking it over, sorry.

Extra Thoughts:

 - Clone Babies opens up Henry and Ray playing a video game called Call of Booty, where all the characters are pirates with...huge, literally (yes I'm using that word correctly) inflated asses, and Ray defeats Henry by...cutting off said inflated ass from a cutely-drawn woman pirate. I'm not sure if this might speak to some really weird-ass fetish of Dan (Lord knows he's been associated with more than one by sneaking stuff like this into his shows) or if it's just so freakin' bizarre it loops back around to being strangely...I don't want to say delightful, what's the word I'm looking for? MAD Magazine, that entire title being used as an adjective, maybe?

 - Oh and surprise! we're also reviewing Walk the Prank in here. I've always found it to be...weird. The pranks, to be brutally honest, don't seem particularly inspired compared to other prank shows of yore. This was the biggest problem with Rank the Prank, a Nickelodeon UK(?) production imported over for...well, Nickelodeon and ran for a season or two before Nickelodeon decided to double-down on both Paradise Run and more Cinemat productions and other scripted imports like I Am Frankie and Hunter Street instead (and I think it's easy to see how that was a better choice, even if it might be a bit more pricey at the end).Despite having all the pranks being pulled directly from the imaginations of actual kids...well, I guess kids have some severely overrated imaginations of this new generation, is what I'm saying. Another thing that got in the way was the competition element that...just...got in the way and was just a distraction. The way they did the visual representation of team elimination by exploding them (with computer graphics, obviously) was just stupid. The whole thing was...well, when it was clear Nickelodeon wasn't going to show future episodes, I think I'll go ahead and quote Jay Sherman's iconic quote from the ancient animated show The Critic: and nothing of value was lost

In addition to frankly uninspired pranks, Walk the Prank also has some of its own unnecessary wonkiness going on with...for some reason they decided to actually wrap a plotline around these pranks? And by that I mean, they basically have two shows in one. You have the plot-based parts and the prank-based parts and...other than having some of the same cast they have literally nothing to do with each other. They might as well be two shows completely mashed into each other to the point where instead of having an A-B structure they just end up randomly alternating with each other. Like in the episode I watched from this morning, you've got the prank parts in which one of the pranks featured some WWE superstars (yeah I'm just gonna admit right now I only recorded it because Alexa Bliss was in it and as soon as she wasn't in it anymore I quit watching) and then you have the non-prank plot parts in which...some obligatory mean girls were talking to Bailey, the one girl character of the prank team, and something? I dunno. The end result doesn't really lend itself to watching, unless you happen to be the target demo I guess. I dunno. I don't understand kids today is what I'm trying to say I guess.
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