Really, why not call the setting Monsterville or Spookytown or something? Just because it was the setting for a horror story doesn’t mean all its residents are monsters. A cartoon about a French pet shop with animals that constantly surrender or something wouldn’t fly.
Sorry about that. Just had to get that out of the way before we go back to Dr Zitbag’s Transylvania Pet Shop, a cartoon I looked at last Halloween. So yeah, it’s a bit out of season, but that’s the beauty of monster-themed cartoons; you can have spooky fun on your TV when it isn’t October. Though fun may or may not be the right word to use here.
For those who missed my last recap, here’s the deal with this show: Dr Zitbag is this zombie/vampire/ghoul/whatever who is also a mad scientist. He, along with skeleton dog Horrifido and resurrected rabbit Zombunny run a pet shop in a Dracula castle, where they sell pets to the ghoulish creatures of Transylvania. Zitbag tries to make moolah, get vampire twins the Exorsisters to fuck him and escape police officer Deadbeat. Doesn’t that sound like a hootenanny? And we’re looking at two episodes this time. Whoo.
The first episode we’ll be looking into is ‘Where Mouse?’ No, script writing duties were not handed to a caveman that day (though it’s arguably justifiable to assume that), but the subject of this episode is a creature called a weremouse. Yes. (Oddly enough, the title card doesn’t have a question mark. So yeah, maybe that earlier assumption was right.)
After the uber-catchy theme song, the episode opens with Horrifido serving a series of customers at the pet shop. For example, his first customer is a robot (?) who wants to buy a werewolf caterpillar. So wait, why is the werewolf caterpillar called a werewolf caterpillar when the weremouse isn’t called a werewolf mouse? Oh, and the robot has a half-price voucher, as does a ghost that follows the robot.
Ah, the background characters. That’s what I always keep an eye out for in Zitbag episodes. The other customers include two Halloween witches, generic Dracula, Creature of the Black Lagoon with floatation aids, a Jack O Lantern man and what looks like Papa Smurf dressed as Santa. And they’re all buying pets with half-price vouchers. Wait…are pets really the type of thing you should use vouchers for? I mean, I understand buying pet food for half-price, but not using vouchers for living, breathing creatures. Speaking of which, it may be set in an awesomely spooky castle, but as a pet shop, Zitbag’s looks like shit. There’s no hutches, habitats, pet food or accessories to be found. Oh, wait! They’re dead pets, so perhaps they don’t need to be fed or taken care of! Or they feast on human body parts, oooh.
Anyway, Zitbag basks in the profits he’s making with his half-price voucher. You see, before he gave out the voucher, he doubled the prices first. Our hero, ladies and gentlemen. Though it would have made a nice joke if it wasn’t talked about so much. Oh, and Horrifido does mention pet stuff as well as pets, a shame I can’t see any.
Next we go to our villain, Officer Deadbeat, lamenting his situation. You see, he wants Zitbag’s castle for himself because his police station is far too small. Seriously, it’s titch. Booo! Deadbeat, you meanie! How dare you try and improve law enforcement in this town!
You know, I’m not going to have a lot of sympathy for Zitbag if he’s not only going to scam his customers, but is using a building that could be used for making Transylvania safer for mad science and self-gain. A bigger police station would benefit more people than a pet shop, after all. But Deadbeat looks like the Devil and he says ‘Curses!’ so I guess he’s stuck being the bad guy.
But fate may be in his favour this time, as he gets a call from Zitbag’s landlord telling him to evict Zitbag. So off PC Satan goes to give our protagonist what he deserves.
We then return to the Pet Shop, where a Dracula that sounds like Ed Wynn – really, what’s with this show and people who sound like Ed Wynn? – demanding service. He demands a weremouse and receives one. No, he’s not going to be important to the story.
Then Deadbeat comes to the castle, pushing past a jester goblin and a werewolf in a coffin, only to be stopped by a yeti(???!!). He demands the yeti move, but the yeti responds by roaring, so Deadbeat politely waits behind him. Um, yeah. You know, if a policeman tells you to move, you move. Common sense, and the law. And if you’re a policeman, you tell someone to move and they don’t move, you make them fucking move, no matter how big and hairy they are. Jeesh.
Oh, the wonders of background characters. Seconds after the Jack O Lantern man is served, he appears again in the queue. Papa Smurf is also seen in the queue despite already having been served. Anyway, the Exorsisters pop round, and Zitbag once again tries to get a threesome with two reanimated corpses. He’s not the only horny one, however, as Deadbeat stymies the yeti by telling him a female of his species is waving at him. Well, if using dumb tricks makes someone seem slightly more antagonistic, bully for him.
So the Exorsisters cocktease Zitbag, even though he probably can’t get it up what with being dead and all, and he ends up almost kissing Deadbeat. Almost, but not really. Come on, this wouldn’t be a cartoon without accidental homosexuality! Anyway, Deadbeat tries to serve Zitbag the eviction notice, with Zitbag trying to pay the rent with his ill-gotten gains. Then the yeti appears and clobbers Deadbeat, likely because he got the yeti’s hopes up about saving his dying species.
Zitbag goes into another room and finds a way to delay the eviction: bandage up his hands. Yes, because if Deadbeat doesn’t plop the paper into Zitbag’s hands, the eviction isn’t official. Geez, and I thought banning lollipops was a backwards law.
Using a mummified cat – called…Mummified Cat – he bandages up one hand just as Deadbeat comes into the room. I presume the yeti is now in the paddy wagon. Zitbag tells Deadbeat he had to bandage both of his hands, the other being bandaged behind his back as he speaks, and Deadbeat just pisses off. He couldn’t, I dunno, plop the paper over a bandaged hand? For someone who badly wants the castle, he sure is apathetic about doing his job.
Zitbag and Horrifido continue to serve the customers, with their last being a Medusa in a fur coat and a snotty vampire kid. Meanwhile, Deadbeat realises he’s been duped and turns around, as Zitbag tries to find a pet for the annoying little vampire. And Jesus, that vampire kid sure has the most irritating voice ever, and his temper tantrums don’t help. If I could never grow up, I’d be cranky too, but still.
Deadbeat then comes in to serve the notice, but then a vampire elephant falls on him. Ho ho, physical comedy. The snotty vampire doesn’t want the elephant, so Zitbag gets rightfully ticked, but kisses up when Medusa says she’s rich. That probably wouldn’t make much of a difference, since the pets were all about a fiver or so, but whatever moves the plot along.
Speaking of the plot, vampire brat demands a weremouse. But they’re sold out, oh snap! Deadbeat comes to, but is tossed down a trap door. Ha ha, Zitbag’s evading justice. Really, don’t they just paste notices on doors in this bizarro Transylvania?
Zitbag said Medusa and brat were his last customers, yet an establishing shot shows people still outside his shop. Weird, eh? So, anyway, Horrifido tells the two customers to wait and suggests he and Zitbag go on a ‘Weremouse Hunt’. Now, you may have thought that Horrifido was the straight man here as he is usually stuck doing Zitbag’s dirty work and seemingly has more brains than him. Yet not only is he the one who comes up with the wacky scheme du jour, he bursts Deadbeat’s tyres so he can’t follow them. Yes, not only is Zitbag illegally incapacitating a police officer, the character who should be the voice of reason is too. Even if they do get the money to save themselves from eviction, they still broke the law and they could still get arrested.
And really, are we supposed to be rooting for these guys? Why are the protagonists criminals while the antagonist is trying to make a better police station? Seems a bit backward to me.
Zitbag and Horrifido go to generic spooky forest to look for a weremouse. Zitbag gives Horrifido some money to look after and tells him not to spend it. I wonder what will happen to it.
So, yeah, let’s have some physical comedy. Zitbag finds a weremouse hole but gets mauled. Zitbag plays music to lure the weremouse out, but the weremouse waltzes with him. We even get the old train coming out of the hole gag. Yeah, Wile E Coyote has nothing on this, hee. Meanwhile, Deadbeat escapes Zitbag’s dungeon and vows to evict the ‘no-good nerd-brain’. He runs to the forest, and drops the eviction notice while he does so. Phew! What a relief! And here I thought Zitbag would face consequences for his actions!
So Deadbeat tries to evict Zitbag but runs back to get the note. Zitbag’s last scheme to catch the mouse involves smelly cheese that makes Zitbag faint. Ho ho, cheese smells, never heard that one before. The weremouse comes and here it is, here’s where Horrifido spends the money. There really is no need because the mouse is more than happy to be adopted and there’s the cheese and all, but still, it had to happen, so it did.
Bratty vampire gets his weremouse. Earlier on, a weremouse was sold for a paltry amount, Zitbag didn’t give Medusa very good service and he didn’t even charge extra for the hunt, yet Medusa gives him a shitload of cash – enough to pay the rent and making the eviction void.
But wait, Deadbeat has a half-price voucher too! Yeah, that’ll show him! Supporting the institution you want closed! And overlooking obstruction of police property and violence towards an officer! You are a cunning fox, Deadbeat! Oh wait, he asks for a weremouse, so Zitbag goes nuts and chases him around a bit while making stupid noises.
So yeah, this episode wasn’t…good. The protagonist was unlikeable, the jokes weren’t funny…but we’ve still got another one to go! It’s punishment for something you did in a past life. ‘Gorilla Thriller’ this one is named.
You know how every cartoon ever made has to have at least one homage to the scene in King Kong where the gorilla holds Ann Darrow on top of the Empire State? On the list of scenes that are necessary to parody, it’s beneath ‘Luke, I am your father’ but just above the reveal in Planet of the Apes. This episode begins with the Exorsisters in a play, being terrorised by a robot gorilla named ‘Queen Kong’. Didn’t King Kong grab Ann because he loved her? So this play is promoting lesbianism, how progressive. Deadbeat is in the play too, as the hero, apparently. Well, at least he’s the hero there.
Queen Kong is being controlled by none other than our valiant protagonist Zitbag, but then a mysterious figure fiddles with the controls, making the robot gorilla dance a bit. We then meet the director of the play, William Waggledagger. Yay, puns. Waggledagger is a headless ghost, you know, one of those Tudor ones who carry their head under their arm. I don’t think they’re as big in America as they are in Britain. Well, Shakespeare’s plays were based on legends and shit, so I don’t see why a bootleg Shakespeare wouldn’t ripoff a famous movie for his plays.
So why is Zitbag working on the play with a robot gorilla? As flashback shows, he apparently booked a real one, but she had to go on holiday. And yes, the female gorilla does have visible nipples.
If that was the case, couldn’t he just get someone to wear a monkey suit? Hell, he could do it himself. Really, no-one working on the play is willing to put on a monkey suit and solve the problem. Then again, Zitbag, Deadbeat, the Exorsisters and Waggledagger seem to be the only people working on the play, so yeah. Why would they even have a real gorilla anyway?
Despite likely not having a bloodstream, Waggledagger also has a hard-on for the Exorsisters and hits on them to Zitbag’s chagrin. In anger, Zitbag snatches Waggledagger’s posters, but after regaining himself, says he’s going to stick them up to advertise the play. Which wouldn’t do much good since the play’s premiere is apparently that night.
Thanks to Deadbeat’s radio, the robot gorilla then blows up, so Zitbag has to find a replacement one or else the Exorsisters will be mad at him and thus jump Waggledagger’s non-existent bones. Horrifido, ever the voice of reason, suggests he borrow one from the Transylvania Zoo. But the zoo is closed, so Zitbag makes Horrifido tunnel in. Really, does this guy want his undead ass stretched to the moon? He’s stealing a gorilla and bringing it to a place where there’s a police officer? A true criminal mastermind.
Thus, we get some time-eating hijinks at the zoo, noticeable only for Zitbag lusting at the play’s posters he’s carrying around, and the multicoloured animals. Really, we have an orange hippo, a red rhino, and of course, a blue gorilla. In fact, the gorilla’s colour is commented on – it’s how Horrifido deduces it’s male. So, are these special Transylvanian versions of the animals, I don’t know.
The gorilla’s cage is unlocked with Horrifido’s…oh no, really…’skeleton key’. Where’s that gun I keep handy?
Zitbag attempts to lure the gorilla out with bananas, but it seems to prefer posters. So Zitbag leaves a trail of his masturbation aids to lead the gorilla to the theatre. The gorilla may be calmed by posters, but the posters are stolen by a mysterious figure. One with sleeves like those of Waggledagger, the man who just looked shifty and wants something Zitbag wants. Who could be this malevolent shadow?
The gorilla goes crazy due to a bag falling, and of course, he grabs the Exorsisters for that movie homage every cartoon is contracted to have.
Hey, background characters! They’re all terrified of the gorilla, despite being vicious beasts themselves. There’s three-eyed people, a Nosferatu and…A FLYING FISH??!?! Bwuh?
Oh, now Zitbag puts on a monkey suit. He wears the pieces of the gorilla robot, so he can do the old cross-dressing to lure the villain away routine. Wait, Horrifido deduced the gorilla was male because he was blue. Well, the robot gorilla is blue! It can’t be a gay gorilla because Horrifido states he’s in need of ‘female companionship’ as evidenced by him grabbing the Exorsisters. So…huh.
The episode could have ended shortly after that, but there’s still time to fill, so the gorilla shows off by walking on some telegraph wires. The wires snap and the gorilla is trapped by a fire. Deadbeat uses his radio again and it makes Zitbag’s costume go haywire, despite, you know, getting rid of all the electronic parts inside. And he lifts an elephant and makes it put the fire out and the day is saved blah blah blah.
Oh yes, did you know that Waggledagger is evil? He sees Zitbag’s abandoned gorilla costume and explains to no-one in particular that he’s jealous of how the Exorsisters love Zitbag. Yes, he actually says ‘Zitbag brings out the worst in me! I’m so envious he and the Exorsisters get on so well!’
Waggledagger puts on the gorilla costume and tricks the people of Transylvania into thinking he’s the hero. Oh, and the Jack O Lantern man has a completely different voice then he did when he appeared in the previous episode. Despite his efforts though, the Exorsisters still kiss Zitbag, and Waggledagger is chased by them for feeding their posters to the gorilla and by Deadbeat for stealing the posters. I dunno, Deadbeat, you might want to arrest Zitbag too for stealing the gorilla in the first place, just saying.
So that’s Dr Zitbag’s Transylvania Pet Shop and I can’t say these two eps were any better than the Halloween one. They weren’t funny or even all that diverting, the main character wasn’t endearing, nor were any of the other characters really. Even if it weren’t slightly xenophobic in its use of the supernatural, there’s still little to recommend.