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RETORTS 2004-01 (Jan)

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Noorie writes...

What channel is toon disney?!?! my friend told me it's either 78 or 39 or something like that! is it?! ahh! o i wanna know! ;(

Greg responds...

Check your local listings. Newspaper. TV GUIDE. Whatever?

You're not even telling me WHERE you live, even assuming I was inclined to do that research for you, which I'm not.

But I guess the fact that you've been waiting (yeah, right) nearly two years for an answer as to how to tune your tv is punishment enough.

What do you think, guys? Too sarcastic?

Response recorded on January 30, 2004

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Blaise writes...


Ah, yes. The one where Brooklyn officially becomes Second-in-Command and the Pack become (for lack of a better term) bona-fide supervillains.
First off, I'll say that all the animation errors you mentioned, Greg, were eventually corrected--on my tape Fox's lips do move, and Goliath follows in pursuit of the Coyote head (I don't know about the Dingo hitting his head twice thing; never noticed that...or the glitch with the head/full-robot so that reveal still worked for me).
Anyway, when the Pack robs the bank, I kind of felt it was sort of "pathetic" for them as well, and I somehow KNEW Dingo would comment on it in that way. Actually, Dingo always seemed to be a bit distanced from the rest in one way or another. I mean, in his first appearance he didn't leave too much of an impression on me (I couldn't even remember his name), but then he's revealed to have fled to Europe while Jackal and Hyena stayed behind. Then, in LEADER OF THE PACK, he's Coyote's accomplice from the beginning, and the only one besides the robot to take down a gargoyle during the fight at the studio. Here, even in the first Act, Dingo is the one most disgusted with the Pack's current status, the one who figures out how to turn the tide in the beginning battle (which I'll get to in a bit), and, as Hyena points out, the only one to get away with any money. So even before the titular upgrade, Dingo kind of seemed the odd-man out of the group.
The Pack's battle with the gargoyles is interesting to me mostly because of how thoroughly Broadway trashes Jackal. I mean, he claws him across the chest, and then after recovering from a weapon blast, jumps on Jackal, pounds him a few times, and hurls him against the hull of the Pack Attack vehicle. Neat (in a brutal sort of way).
Well, the Pack gets away and a wounded Goliath is taken back to the Clocktower. Here comes the "it's time to choose a second in command" scene. I just knew that Goliath would try to make Hudson that ('cause that just seems like Goliath), but that eventually it would come down to the Trio.
Now, I had read that original comic in the Disney Adventures magazine that came out back in October of 1994, and it literally referred to Brooklyn as Goliath's Second in Command. So I pretty much knew who'd end up getting the job. However, I hadn't paid much attention to Brooklyn's "displays of leadership" before this episode. He really was the de facto leader of the Trio, and this episode does show his leadership capabilities in handling situations.
Back with the Pack...and Coyote. I just loved its nonchalant (sp?), "May I come in?" A robot with style--definite Xanatos style.
One note, despite the difference in appearance I kind of figured that the mutate shown in Coyote's pitch was Talon. I guess he must have gone back to Xanatos by this time.
I never realized before that Owen was absent from this episode. Having read your memo to Gilad, I now understand why that was--as cool as the guy is, he would have been a bit superfluous.
A month passes (which surprised me--the first major jump of time *within* an acutal episode), and while the Trio are away, Goliath and the rest meet up with the new and improved Pack. I was not really expecting what showed up, even with the robot's pitch. Dingo's initial appearance was a surprise, followed by Jackal, who inspired a sort-of "should have known" feeling when he revealed himself as a cyborg. Then Hyena gave me the creeps with her jumping and cackling, and finally Wolf in all his beastiality showed up and pretty much capped off the whole thing. A lot of fun touches here, the line about the Archmage, Hudson's referring to Wolf as a "forest demon," and Jackal's arm revealing a life of its own.
Dingo distinguishes himself even further with his disdain and horror at his comrades (maybe it's because he was the only one with dignity or humanity left, but I really jived with Dingo in this ep).
Coyote appears, bigger and badder than before, and Hyena starts up her infatuation with him again. It is "sicker than usual" as Jackal says, but also a lot of fun.
When the Trio reconnoiter (sp?) at the Clocktower, it always surprised me that Broadway stopped the most crime that night (and he of course follows it up with his modest "Just gotta know where to look"). I don't know why--maybe I'm a closet size-ist (or my "Brooklyn-fan" mind-set was kicking in).
Wolf still has it out for Goliath. This is a very interesting aspect of his character the more that I think about it. More than any other gargoyle, Wolf has singled out the big "alpha male," if you will. I just find it fascinating right now.
Returning to the Trio, we have a (for me at least) fun scene with Broadway zinging Lex's musing, and Fox's fun commercial. I just love the way Laura San Giacomo read that--just as I love Jeff Bennett's "She's talking to us."
It was at about this point that I FINALLY picked up on the "game" X&F were playing. Again, style for the both of them. And even though I noticed the recycling of "the edge" line, it still worked for me. "The edge" seems like something in which Xanatos places great interest.
Brooklyn displays his leadership qualities by his cool-headedness and capable planning (and you just knew Lex was going to try to fly in there right of the bat--hey, it's the Pack!). It didn't hit me until later viewings just how well Brooklyn planned that--divide the enemy's forces, impair their primary sense (vision), and free trapped comrades during the confusion.
The battle itself had some memorable occurances. As strange as Jackal's arm was, Hyena beats him (and the rest of the Pack) in the "unnerving" catagory with the way her fingers bend backward, her leg rotates completely, and her limbs become insectian (is there such a word?--who cares now?). Dingo impresses me yet again by how STRONG his head is. He crashes through the roof without a helmet and is just momentarily stunned.
I actually got that Wolf's features became more feral when he got into a "battle rage" but, yeah, the way it was handled I kind of felt that was just me rationalizing the change than realizing it. Maybe a "morphing" scene would have helped. I don't know.
I love how they take out Coyote. Especially when Goliath crushes the head (that's just that sick, twisted part of me again).
I actually didn't mind Morgan's line. Seemed kind of fun to me. Of course, that just may be the way Kieth David reads it.
Brooklyn is made Second in Command. Are we surprised? No. Are we happy? Speaking as a Brooklyn fan--OH YEAH!
And the Xanatos (or is it Fox) Tag. I love Xanatos' cheer over the fact that Fox is his equal.
"Care to play again?" That line always makes me smile, even if it's only at its sheer audacity.
Personally, I kind of liked that the Pack was "upgraded." I mean, they were tackling "supernatural" creatures, why not even the playing field a little?
I don't know whether you know this or not, Greg, but UPGRADE has become another episode that Toon Disney will not show. I can only guess it's because a building blows up (never mind the fact that it's abandoned, barely taller than five stories, and such a throwaway occurance that it wasn't even brought up in the ramble). I wish they'd just grow up.
Anyway, fun episode.

Greg responds...

I'm hoping that by now, Upgrade is back in the rotation. I think someone told me that it was.

I'm also glad that most of the most glaring animation errors were fixed. It's definitely a fun episode and packed with stuff.

And "Care to play again?" is way up there for me in the category of lines that are both funny and chilling.

Response recorded on January 30, 2004

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Todd Jensen writes...

My ramble on "Upgrade".

I'll confess, for a start, that "Upgrade" isn't one of my favorite episodes, due mostly to the fact that it seemed much more like a half-hour "slugfest" than is generally the case with "Gargoyles" (although, given that we're dealing with the Pack here, I suppose it's inevitable - they're not the most subtle antagonists out there, after all). But it had some parts of it that I rather liked.

The transformations of Jackal, Hyena, and Wolf definitely freaked me out. In fact, the first time that I saw this episode, I tried to believe, for a while, that Jackal and Hyena were simply wearing fancy mechanical armor, but the evidence against that was too strong; I had to face the facts, in the end, and realized that they'd become cyborgs. And that definitely chilled me. (In Wolf's case, I didn't even have the option of finding an alternative explanation; it was too obvious that he'd been mutated.) Those three had permanently changed, on the physical level, from what they'd been in "The Thrill of the Hunt". They were no longer fully human. In fact, to me, the real significance of their alterations in "Upgrade" wasn't what you'd pointed out (they need to be upgraded so that it won't be too easy for the gargoyles to take them down - though I did see that there) but rather the way that the three of them were growing less human, their physical transformation being almost an outward sign of their increasing degeneracy.

By contrast, I liked Dingo's refusal to become physically upgraded, and horror at what his teammates had done to themselves. In fact, that was definitely when I began to like Dingo, as opposed to seeing him as just another member of the Pack (as he'd been to me up until then). (It certainly echoed my response to their transformations, which, I suspect, was how most of the audience was similarly responding). I wasn't surprised, therefore, when he was no longer with the Pack in "Grief" afterwards, or when he was shown seeking to "go straight" in "Walkabout". This was definitely the point where we see the "break with Eastcheap" (I chose that particular phrase inspired by your idea of Dingo's real name being Harry Monmouth, and the parallel is definitely there - though I might add that I don't see any of his former Pack-mates being a Falstaff-figure - more on the level of Falstaff's associates like Bardolph or Pistol, perhaps, but not scaling the heights of comic genius of Sir John himself - not that they were meant to.)

We also see the definite introduction (though it'd been hinted at in "Leader of the Pack") of Hyena's interest in Coyote, which has to count as the most bizarre relationship in "Gargoyles"; even Jackal gets nauseated by it, and this is a guy whose idea of a good time is redesigning Goliath's features in his stone sleep.

One side-note: re Hyena's wondering aloud whether gargoyles taste like chicken. I've sometimes wondered why the phrase is "tastes like chicken" as opposed to "tastes like beef" or "tastes like pork", or "tastes like turkey". Just one of life's little mysteries, I suppose.

On the gargoyles' side, we get to see Brooklyn becoming the new second in command. I will admit that I honestly hadn't wondered about that issue until the episode came out. (I've occasionally wondered if Goliath didn't pick one before this episode had anything to do with it having last been filled by Demona, but that's probably a bit of a stretch.) I did think that Brooklyn fitted the role well, and liked the bit at the end where he admits that he's not in that big a hurry to take Goliath's place. And where Goliath offers the role to Hudson, but Hudson declines it.

I still get a kick out of Fox's little public service announcement: "Don't 'Pack' it in. Take the train." Pretty clever of her.

I don't find Officer Morgan's remark that troublesome; in fact, I found it quite amusing.

Incidentally, Xanatos's remark at the end about having found a true equal in Fox reminds me of your analysis of Theseus, where you saw him as having found his equal in the Amazon Queen Hippolyta/Antiope. It makes me wonder whether you'd included a little of your perception of Theseus and Hippolyta in Xanatos and Fox (whether consciously or otherwise). Come to think of it, there's even a slight connection between the two couples, via "A Midsummer Night's Dream".

Greg responds...

Taking your points in reverse order:

One of the great ironies of the series is that the one character who truly builds a healthy relationship (prior to Broadway & Angela in "The Journey") is Xanatos. The BAD GUY.

Heavily influenced by "The Warrior's Husband" and "The Bull from the Sea", I do see Theseus and Antiope as being true equals and the correct match.

But I'm not sure that's influencing X & Fox so much as that ANY great man would WANT a great woman, not a trophy or showpiece or weak link. Xanatos would no more settle for a weak wife than he'd want Owen to throw a judo practice.

By the same token, Goliath loves and respects Elisa and Broadway loves and respects Angela. They are equals.

Maybe it's just the way I think the world should work.

"Tastes like chicken" has entered the vernacular, I think. I first heard it in reference to Rattlesnake meat, and at the time that may have been someone's sincere way to describe what the serpent tastes like.

But since then, I've heard the phrase applied to almost any exotic carnivorous matter. I've never heard beef, pork or turkey used the same way.

The degeneracy of Wolf, Hyena and Jackal was definitely part of our intent.

Response recorded on January 30, 2004

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Noorie writes...

One more thing! I love the the shows! can you just tell me what channel Disney Channel is on??? thanx! ;)

Greg responds...

Check your local listings. I have no idea.

Response recorded on January 29, 2004

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ADRIANA writes...


Greg responds...

I have no control over any of this stuff. NOT UP TO ME!!

Response recorded on January 29, 2004

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Noorie writes...

Can't you move the show to like...channel 20, in canadian time setting....thing... well, it's just that my family dosnt have "Disney Channel" and i used to watch Gargoyles when i was little, and i remember, me and my little brother used to tape all the shows! i loved the show until it went off, and i never got around to finding out why it got off...well, this is my first time craving to see the show again! it's just that i found out that the shows going to be starting again from the beginning, and i dont have that channel! :( i'm 14 years old right now, and i'm totally getting into mythical creatures and things like that, and i hardly know anything like that...
Cant you just change it into some...common channel? I mean, it could get you more people to watch it, rather then getting better cable JUST to watch the show..(hope i'm not offending you!! i just really loved that show!!) lol, well, i hope my plea's got to you, you're probably like.."R....ight, what a weirdo!" heh, well, im no weirdo..anyways...ya..! k, gotta split! ;)

Greg responds...

You're not a weirdo, you simply don't seem to understand that I have absolutely no control over when and where the reruns air.

Response recorded on January 29, 2004

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George writes...

Who is the Gargoyles Arch Nemisis?

Greg responds...

There isn't just one: Xanatos, Demona and Thailog all come immediately to mind. But I never tried to limit the possibilities.

Response recorded on January 29, 2004

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This is an interesting exercise for me. One which mostly demonstrates how few movies I get to see.

The Oscar Noms came out and are in today's paper. So I'm going to list my choices.

But here's the main rule. I can only choose from movies I've actually seen. The result is that there are entire categories (including at least one major category) that I can't vote in at all:

Supporting Actress
Foreign Language Film
Documentary Feature
Documentary Short
Animated Short

Of course, I reserve the right to make changes later if I see more movies. Also, these are NOT predictions. I'm not trying to guess who the Academy will chose. I'm simply stating my preferences...

Haven't seen Mystic River or Seabiscuit. Didn't care for the tiresome Master & Commander. I enjoyed Lost in Translation, a movie which snuck up on everyone, but I don't think it was quite as good as everyone said. I'm sorry that The Cooler didn't get nominated, but in any case it's hard not to vote for LOTR: Return of the King over either Master or Translation. I think that both of the first two movies were better than the third, but as I've stated, this isn't a Return of the Jedi scenario. This is an amazing movie on every level. The bar was set incredibly high by Jackson's first two films. And he still made it over by any reckoning.

ACTRESS: Keisha Castle-Hughes, WHALE RIDER
Well, I haven't seen In America, 21 Grams, Monster or Something's Gotta Give. So Keisha was my only option. But that's okay. I wasn't too wild about the 2-D movie, but the kid was great. Doubt she'll win, but, hey, I'm routing for her.

Haven't seen Mystic River, Cold Mountain or House of Sand and Fog. That leaves Depp in Pirates and Murray in Translation, both terrrific comic performances. I'm choosing Depp, the more obvioulsy comic turn, because (a) comedy is rarely rewarded by the Academy and like to break that barrier and (b) as good as Murray is, he's kinda playing himself. But this was a VERY tough choice for me.

Haven't seen 21 Grams, In America, Mystic River or the Last Samurai so all that leaves is Alec in Cooler. But even more than Keisha above, I'm thrilled to have Alec as my choice. I saw The Cooler this past Saturday and REALLY loved it. William H. Macy and Maria Bello are also brilliant in it, but I'm not at all surprised that Baldwin was nominated. He's a great actor.

Haven't seen Mystic River or City of God. Didn't care for Master & Commander. Liked Lost in Translation, but Jackson's efforts on Return of the King are stunning.

Havent's seen American Splendor, City of God, Mystic River or Seabiscuit, leaving Rings my only option. But again, I like the screenplay so it's a fine choice. Looking forward to the extended version though.

Haven't seen Barbarian Invasions or Dirty Pretty Things or In America, which leaves me a choice between Lost and Finding Nemo. No contest. Nemo is a cute little movie, but it's far from being my favorite Pixar script. Translation is fascinating.

Haven't seen Girl with a Pearl Earing, Last Samurai or Seabiscuit. Which leaves me with a contest between LOTR and M&Commander. This was actually a tougher call. I didn't care much for M&C, but it looked damn good. But I think LOTR was a greater overall achievement.

Haven't seen Brother Bear or Triplets of Belleville. So that leaves Nemo only. Again, not a brilliant film, but it has some brilliant stuff in it, so I can vote this way with a vaguely clear conscious.

Haven't seen City of God, Cold Mountain, Girl with a Pearl Earing or Seabiscuit, which leaves only M&C, which again looked great. So, fine.

SOUND MIXING: Boyes, Semanick, Hedges, Peek, LOTR: ROTK
Haven't seen Samurai or Seabiscuit, but it leaves three great choices, M&C, ROTK and Pirates. I'm gonna give the edge to ROTK. I seem to be sweeping with them. Can't help it. Note that Christopher Boyes is up for bother Pirates and Rings. That's pretty good odds, but an even bigger bummer, I'd imagine, if he loses.

Boyes is looking good for some award. Sound editing on Nemo, Pirates and M&C were probably all great. But I have a softer spot for the fun of Pirates. One of the few categories where I HAVE seen all of the nominees.

Haven't seen Big Fish, Cold Mountain or House of Sand & Fog, which leaves Howard Shore's brilliant ROTK work and Nemo, which was just okay.

ORIGINAL SONG: "Into the West", Walsh, Shore, Lennox, LOTR:ROTK
Well, I'm a big Annie Lennox fan to begin with, and the song was very moving to me, so this is an obvious choice. Throw in the fact that I haven't seen Mighty Wind, Cold Mountain, Cold Mountain or Triplets and it was also my only option. The good news is that so far, there hasn't been a category where I have declined to pick a winner because I only had one option. So far, even in categories with only one option, I've genuinely liked that one option.

Haven't seen Girl with Pearl, Samurai or Seabiscuit, which again leaves M&C and LOTR. Went with LOTR for cause. Great costumes across the board.

Haven't seen City of God, Cold Mountain or Seabiscuit, leaving YET again M&C and LOTR. No brainer. Half the time in the M&C battle scenes I couldn't keep basic track of who was doing what.

Another of the categories where I have seen all the nominees. Pirates had great make-up, truly. And I came very close to giving this one to Pirates. But just that one Orc was so damn good, and he was just the tip of the iceberg. M&C is also in the running, but why?

I haven't seen the other four options, but I have seen Two Soldiers, based on a William Faulkner short story that just happens to be my all time favorite short story ever. I made a point of seeing this short and was not disappointed. It's really great.

VISUAL EFFECTS: Rygiel, Letteri, Cook, Funke, LOTR: ROTK
And the last of three categories where I've seen all the nominees. Any other year and Pirates (but not M&C) would have challenged for this award. But ROTK, right?

So what's the final tally...

11 for LOTR: ROTK, including picture, director, song, score, screenplay and a half-dozen tech and craft awards. I think that's a clean-sweep. And I'm not generally a sweepy kinda guy. But the true geek in me has been awakened by this trilogy.
2 for Pirates, including Depp's brilliant performanceand a tech award.
1 for WHALE RIDER's kid actress.
1 for THE COOLER's Alec Baldwin.
1 for LOST IN TRANSLATION's keen screenplay by Sofia Coppola.
1 for FINDING NEMO. Best animated feature, won perhaps by default, though I liked the movie.
1 for MASTER & COMMANDER for cinematography, another default win perhaps, though it certainly looked gorgeous.
1 for "Two Soldiers", a personal favorite that may be the award I'm most routing to be right about.

And then five categories where I couldn't vote at all.

That's it.


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christopher pagan writes...

what channel is toondisney

Greg responds...

It's a cable network. Check local listings.

Response recorded on January 28, 2004

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matt writes...

in "Revelations" Mace Malone tells Matt that Xanatos provided the Illuminati with some information (the gargoyles stuff)

1. did the Illuminati know that gargoyles existed before Xanatos informed them of the Manhatten Clan?

2. did the Illuminati know about the Manhatten Clan before Xanatos told them?

3. how much about the Manhatten Clan does the Illuminati know? obviously they know of their connection to Elisa Maza, but do they know more things like their names, a bit about them, their pasts?

thanx alot Greg!

Greg responds...

1. Still existed or ever?

2. Maybe not. Though reports in the Tattler would have raised a red flag for Duval if brought to his attention.

3. Probably more than would make us comfortable.

Response recorded on January 28, 2004

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