Well, Easter’s almost here; the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, despite being named after a pagan goddess (yes, Halloween the ‘satanic’ holiday has a name relating to Christianity but the holiday about a significant Christian event gets a pagan name). Also bunnies.
Thing is, despite the fact that Easter is based around the most important event of all of Christianity, it hasn’t been as lucky in the ‘specials’ department as other holidays. When I was young, Easter always seemed to be the second biggest holiday of them all (I’m from the UK, you know where the November holiday has fireworks instead of turkey and plots of destruction instead of embarrassing relatives), and was in fact, a bit of a second Christmas, only all the presents were edible and Santa Claus was an obese Bugs Bunny. Yet Christmas and Halloween get a shitload of cartoons and movies, and Easter gets practically bo-diddley-squat. If holiday movies were superheroes, Christmas would be Superman (most well-known and publicised), Halloween would be Batman (darker and has the best villains) and Easter would be Wonder Woman (significant but overlooked in comparison to those other two guys).
Easter does have some specials, mind. There’s the ever-famous Here Comes Peter Cottontail, where the bad guy was voiced by Vincent fucking Price, there’s Easter Parade, um….Yogi the Easter Bear…um, uh…Follow That Bunny! Ah yes, who could forget that wonderful, um, Claymation-y Claymation…
Well, anyway, Follow That Bunny is part of a series created by Scopus Films; previous instalments are specials for the aforementioned Christmas and Halloween. All three are done in a weird Claymation style, and while stop-motion can be used for whimsical holiday purposes, the Claymation in Follow That Bunny is just plain off-setting. The stars of this special inhabit Berk’s nightmares.
So, are we going to look at it? You bet your anus.
We open with a bird fast asleep as the sun rises and the title shows up. And the title is in the left hand corner of the screen in yellow comic-sans-esque writing. Yes, the title of the show is written in the same style as the normal credits. Boy, we are in for a fun time!
The bird, who appears to be resting in a nest of spaghetti, awakes, and oh god, just watching her prepare for the day is like watching a Sesame Street sketch created by HP Lovecraft. She brushes her teeth – a bird has teeth – and then her toothbrush transforms into a…comb? Well, it’s a more useful toothbrush than the one Rhod Gilbert got for Christmas. Then she lays an egg and it is seized by bunnies. So…that was a chicken, unless the bunnies want to paint unborn children. On a nest, on a tree.
So the bunnies are singing a merry tune and preparing for Easter by painting eggs and stuff. Then one says ‘Now all we need is the egg’. But you’ve got plenty. Oh, he apparently means THE egg,or something. After the song is finished, we cut to a female bunny in what looks like an African wasteland, being instructed by the color-changing sky. Seriously, this special feels like a fever dream. The bunny, named Clarice, is given an egg – I’m sorry, I mean THE egg – which is ‘the key to Spring’ and thus must be taken to the Easter Bunny – woops, I mean ‘Easter Rabbit’. Yeah, ‘Easter Rabbit’ doesn’t sound as catchy as ‘Easter Bunny’, does it? It’s like the Klopman Diamond; ‘Klopman’ works better than most other names, and ‘Bunny’ works better than ‘Rabbit’.
So Clarice goes to take the magic egg to Easter Rabbit. Why the magic lava lamp sky couldn’t just bring the egg to Easter Rabbit itself is beyond me, but off she goes. Just then, some other rabbit – wearing a mask that looks him look more like a nerd in an 80’s American high school movie then a robber – appears and steals the egg away. Clarice falls to her knees and cries. Our heroine, ladies and gentlemen.
Then we cut to some kids and FUCKING HELL THOSE VOICES. I thought the kids in the Beano videos had bad voice acting, but these kids have some of the most grating, monotonous voices I’ve ever heard. It’s like they’re taking the mick out of their own movie. The girl thinks she saw a bunny, but the boy doesn’t believe her. Thrilling.
Since THE egg has been stolen, flowers begin to droop, and thus we get a song about how the course of nature has been annihilated by the loss of a season. We also meet Easter Rabbit, who looks like all the other bunnies except he has half-moon spectacles, and all high-ranking holiday icons wear half-moon spectacles. He also paints a lot; basically he’s a Leporidae version of Vincent Van Gogh (if Van Gogh was a bunny, would his present to Rachel be more significant?)
Then Clarice appears and explains the missing egg situation to Easter Rabbit – and the latter sounds like he’s doing a bad impression of a Kentucky accent for some reason. So, in order to give the parents of the audience something resembling entertainment, the Easter Rabbit calls for the ‘Green Brothers’. The Green Brothers are two rabbits in anachronistic trenchcoats and hats which sing a rather catchy doo-wop number. There’s a lot of songs for a thirty-minute special, but most of them are actually okay.
So Easter Rabbit needs to paint THE egg or else Spring won’t come. Yes, Spring is brought on by magic rabbits. The Earth’s Axis, what’s that? Also, way to use witchcraft on the anniversary of Jesus dying for our sins. THOU SHALT BURN IN H…where was I?
Ashamed, Clarice runs away into the elephant graveyard, where she meets Gerbert the Goblin. Gerbert works for Mother Nature, keeping the forest safe. So, he’s like a Transatlantic Smokey the Bear, I guess. They decide to work together to retrieve the egg, but they are being watched by the culprit. Said culprit did so because his job was to paint brussel sprouts on eggs and wake up worms. That’s a valid reason for pretty much causing the apocalypse (if the backgrounds are to be believed).
And he gets a musical number about it too. And it’s one that’ll probably be stuck in your head for days: BRUSSEL SPROUTS WAKE UP WORMS BRUSSEL SPROUTS WAKE UP WORMS
Now, you might think that this little bunny is going to be the villain. Well, you thought wrong, because here comes IM Ruthless. Yes, that’s his name. I know what you Youtube Poop fans just thought of, but at least ‘ruthless’ sounds a little cooler than ‘mean’, don’t you think?
Ruthless is an evil CEO, since there’s about a million of them populating Bad Holiday Special Ville est. 1962. He wants winter to last forever so he can get ice for his ice cream. Now I know what you’re thinking – people buy ice cream when it’s hot, so why would they buy it if it’s going to be cold forever? Well, one of his henchmen brings it up, but all Ruthless says is ‘Just leave the thinking to me.’ But…that doesn’t answer the question. As I said before, they’re basically taking the mick out of their own special. You could have easily made Ruthless a radiator salesman or given him a tanning salon or something, but no. You gotta do something stupid like this and then attempt to apologise for it.
Oh crap, we’re back with the kids who make Ben Stein sound like Daffy Duck. They go down a rabbit hole, but sadly, don’t end up in Wonderland. They sure end up in Blunderland, though. I crack me up.
The kids see Gerbert and Clarice, and tell them they saw the bad bunny on a truck going to Ruthless’ factory. Speaking of Ruthless, we rejoin him singing what is probably the best song of the special. They’re really following the Christmas special template, aren’t they? Annoying kids, evil CEO, villain gets the best song. The song is about how much he loves money…well, if you love money so much, why are you making ice cream during a time nobody will buy it? You may be saving money on ice, but not with paying your workers and factory upkeep and all that. You said ‘let me do the thinking’, well, you’re not doing much of it.
The thief rabbit, whose name is Sebastian C Sprout Jr, then approaches Ruthless and tries to make a deal with him about the magic Spring egg (I’m going to lay off the ‘the’ crap). Ruthless takes the deal, and makes Follow That Bunny the six millionth cartoon to quote Casablanca in the process (I could be watching that film, you know). He also calls in his mother…have there been any goofy cartoon villains with a single father at all? Really, it seems all kiddie villains are Norman Bates or Howard from The Big Bang Theory. They almost always have some nagging mother who is either off screen or is some fat lady with her hair in a bun. Ruthless’ mum, who suddenly appears out of nowhere, is kinda the latter, except without the bun part. In fact, she kinda looks like David’s mum in Psychoville, but sadly, Reece Shearsmith isn’t here.
Anyway, Ruthless is planning to have his mum cook Sebastian. Because that’s what happens in all the Bugs Bunny cartoons.
Then there’s Clarice and Gerbert and the kids, sneaking outside Ruthless’ factory, but blocked by a giant fence. The kids have a fight and it sounds like even they’re bored of this mess. After that, Gerbert reveals he knows how to sneak in: he stretches his arms to the top of the fence Mr. Fantastic style, and he catapults everyone over the fence (read: a still image of the crew flies across a cloud backdrop). This show is so surreal have to wonder if it’s actually a normal cartoon or some heretofore undocumented being that belongs in the SCP Foundation. Dr. G ____decided to watch SCP-31312 on __/_/20__. Squirming and stress were constantly reported as he was observed. When he watched a musical number about worms and brussel sprouts he [DATA EXPUNGED].
Ruthless’ mum tries to cook Sebastian while singing the worst song of the special – a rip off of the Chef’s number from The Little Mermaid (both numbers even have a character named Sebastian, yay!) sung in a horribly stereotypical ‘mum’ voice. Sebastian escapes though, and finds Clarice and the others. Wanna know what that means? He sings his BRUSSEL SPROUTS WAKE UP WORMS BRUSSEL SPROUTS WAKE UP WORMS again. The good guys convince him that those things are needed, and Sebastian changes his mind just like that. Yes, one of those moments.
‘GRAGH! I HATE BRUSSEL SPROUTS! SPRING SHOULD DIE!’
‘Brussel sprouts are great.’
‘I HAVE SEEN THE ERROR OF MY WAYS!’
Sebastian then decides to take the gang to Ruthless’ office and Gerbert gives us the almighty title drop. He also sits atop the factory chimney which fucks up the machinery – while singing BRUSSEL SPROUTS to himself – while Clarice and Sebastian paint everywhere, which also allows them to re-enact the original ending of Little Shop of Horrors and make flowers sprout everywhere. Since it’s a ‘winter computer’ apparently, the factory blows up.
The egg is returned to Easter Rabbit, and we get a reprise of the Green Brothers’ song, despite the fact that they did shit. Oh yeah, and Spring is back, yay. This special actually wasn’t that bad, just a little weird. It also had pretty much little to do with Easter, really. If you replaced Spring with Winter and the bunnies with elves, this could have easily been a Christmas special, really. Still, some of the songs actually had a nice beat to them, even if the voice acting was pretty much terrible.
I haven’t seen the ‘Follow that’ Christmas or Halloween specials. Maybe I should, just to see how deep this particular rabbit hole goes.