Toonzone Articles Pt. 3 of 4

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I wrote episode recaps for two animated television shows while writing for Toonzone. One of those shows was ‘Dan VS‘, which I wrote 13 recaps for spanning the first half of the shows 2nd season. Reposted below are my 4 favorite and best recaps:

Dan Vs. Logo

Dan Vs. “The Family Thanksgiving” Recap

Published: November 22, 2011

Dan is shocked when Elise’s parents invite him to their family Thanksgiving. Then even more shocked when they treat him better than the rest of their family.

I love Thanksgiving. A Holiday set aside to be thankful and pray is such a wonderful thing. Even if you’re not religious you can still be thankful for what you do have in life. What makes it even more special is the fact that only a few Countries celebrate the holiday (mostly USA and Canada). Unfortunately Thanksgiving seems to be pushed aside more and more by Christmas every year, so whenever any show actually does a Thanksgiving special it gains more respect in my eyes. So when I found out that not only was there a new Dan Vs. but that it was also a Thanksgiving special, I was overjoyed. This is a great episode but it doesn’t follow the normal Dan Vs. routine.

The Family Thanksgiving 1

“The Family Thanksgiving” starts normally enough. Dan is just shopping and minding his own business. He calls his friend, Chris, and soon talks about how excited he is for their annual Thanksgiving get together. When Chris is finally able to get a word in he reminds Dan that the plans have changed to going to Elise’s parents house for the Holiday. Dan is annoyed that Chris and Elise would dare leave without him and vows revenge against the Family Thanksgiving! Normally the episode would be about Dan trying to get his revenge, but this time the show offers a different approach. Dan rushes off to Chris and Elise’s house where he begins pelting it (and Chris) with eggs, only to stop when Elise reminds him that he’s invited. Dan is shocked that anyone would actually willingly invite him and accepts the invitation. So Chris and his wife Elise set off with Dan and his female cat Mr. Mumbles (you read that right) to Elise’s parents house. Upon their arrival, Elise’s parents treat Dan like the prodigal son returned home. Dan of course is naturally suspicious and distrustful, but eventually he grows to accept it. Elise however investigates and figures out what is really going on. It leads to Dan justifiably feeling betrayed and vowing revenge… again! Finally Elise’s parents apologize. And Dan, for one of the only times in his life, is uncertain whether to choose revenge or forgiveness. In order to avoid spoilers I shall write no more of the plot.

This episode focuses on seven characters: Dan, Chris, Elise, Mr. Mumbles, Elise’s Parents, and Ben. Ben is a new character who is Elise’s brother and still lives with their parents. I find the character rather unoriginal as I’ve seen characters like that before, especially on sitcoms for some reason. However I’m not complaining about Ben due to his allergy to cats, which is something well played for laughs in a certain scene. Beyond that, Ben hardly has much of a role in the episode. Mr. Mumbles however has a rather active role in the episode, adding a lot of humor to it. I always I love it when she’s more involved in the plot. The best part of the episode is Dan himself. I’m used to seeing him angry and bitter to various degrees, he very rarely ever shows any other emotions. But in this episode, after the initial wave of suspicion and paranoia, he actually feels accepted somewhere – which of course amplifies the pain and sense of betrayal later. The fact that a character such as Dan actually finds it hard to choose between revenge and forgiveness is impressive. I now have more sympathy for him after viewing this episode.

The Family Thanksgiving 2

It should also be mentioned that although this episode was hilarious, it wasn’t quite as funny as the show normally is since it doesn’t follow the pattern of Dan seeking revenge throughout the whole episode. Now I did enjoy the change of pace and the chance to see the main character in a different light, it was quite unique. But I still prefer how the show normally is, otherwise it runs the risk of seeming too much like a normal sitcom. However, feeling more sympathy for the main character causes me to be more invested in him, thus helping me to enjoy the show more. So it’s a fair trade off and I can’t complain. And seeing more of Dan than the usual anger and bitterness feels highly appropriate in a holiday episode.

Ultimately “The Family Thanksgiving” is a great episode, though I only recommend it to fans of the show. It’s not a good place for those new to the series to start since it deviates from the show’s typical pattern. It was great to get a new Dan VS. episode and I’m excited for more when the time comes, as well as more holiday-themed episodes in the future.

Dan Vs. “Golf” Recap

Published: March 6, 2012

When golfing with his boss keeps Chris from helping with the preparations for Mr. Mumbles birthday party, Dan declares revenge on golf.

It occurs to me that Mr. Mumbles (Dan’s female cat) is often a strong motivation for Dan beyond the revenge plot. Which is great as it adds more depth to Dan’s character and is further proof that Dan isn’t really such a jerk (very, very, very) deep inside. Also, since I love animals, I deeply enjoy the cat’s presence on the show. As such I would like to take a moment to write: Happy Birthday Mr. Mumbles!!! Damage to his car is what pushes Dan over the edge, but it’s his devotion to providing a proper birthday for Mr. Mumbles that has him wound up from the start. I find the lengths to which Dan goes for his cat to be impressive, and almost endearing. Of course let us bear in mind, Dan usually takes everything to extremes. Unfortunately, despite all that Mr. Mumbles only plays a minor role in the episode, as Dan’s motivation doesn’t require his cat to be there every step of the way.

Dan Vs. Golf Cover Pic

In fact the episode even starts with Dan trying to find his best friend due to Chris’ promise to help with Mr. Mumbles’ birthday party. Chris isn’t home, which leads Dan to conduct a quick investigation. The clue leads Dan to the Golf Course. At the Golf Course it’s revealed that Chris is playing golf with his boss, which is also why he refuses to leave. Then a golfball damages Dan’s car and revenge is vowed. Attempt number one is a hilarious scene as Dan pretends to be a caddy. Then there’s a break before Dan’s second revenge attempt as he goes to the pet store to buy Mr. Mumbles a cake. Although the cake is impressive things don’t quite work out which only strengthens Dan’s resolve to get revenge on golf. Next, he tries to enlist Elise’s help by warning her of the dangers her husband is in from golf. She thinks the warning ridiculous and Dan leaves. However, when Dan’s warning starts to prove true, she joins in the fight against golf. Meanwhile, Dan is almost seduced by the luxury at the Country Club where the golf game is taking place, almost. It all leads to a big golf tournament with Chris’ job on the line, and both Dan and (secretly) Elise working together trying to make Chris lose the tournament. It’s a long and hilarious scene. After which is the episodes final scene, also funny and I’m not going to spoil anything.

Dan Vs. Golf is yet another well done and well-paced episode of the show. Very funny as always. The characters are great and the episode introduces some new ones. The only real issue is that this episode pales in comparison, if ever so slightly, coming right after last week’s episode and its epic ending. Still, I fully recommend this episode. Have a great day, and try not to become another victim of golf.

Dan Vs. “The Gym” Recap

Published: March 8, 2012

When he’s unable to cancel his membership, Dan vows revenge against the Gym.

“The Gym” begins simply enough with Dan being forced to go to a gym with his friends (Chris and Elise), who are trying to help him. After getting a free trial membership and one intense workout Dan is so exhausted that he can’t move for two days. After this Dan tries to cancel his membership only to discover he can’t since he had a 48-hour period to cancel and is now stuck with a years membership. Thus Dan vows revenge against the gym. After his first unsuccessful revenge attempt, Chris joins Dan’s side due to the gym trying to put him on a diet (never put Chris on a diet). Dan and Chris follow the gym’s owner only for Chris to discover a shocking secret not shown to the audience. Before Chris can say what it is he’s captured and Dan makes his escape. Next Elise is captured after she grows suspicious, which is kind of disappointing in that she didn’t put up more of a fight. When Dan finally becomes the target soon after, it’s up to him to save the day.

Dan-Vs.-The-Gym

This is one of my favorite episodes in this season of Dan Vs. It was hilarious as usual with excellent characters, comedy, and pacing. It takes something normal which some people can’t stand, the gym, and escalates it up to a bizarre level with an unexpected twist. Dan often states something ridiculous which turns out to be true (such as when he went up against the wolfman), but this time he didn’t figure out what was going on until it was made obvious. Although, to be fair, there were not many hints given about it. Anyhow I found it funny how calmly Dan accepted the truth as if it was perfectly normal; in his world it probably is. There was also yet another reference to whatever it was that happened between Dan and his grandma.

This episode is rather simple in plot, especially compared to some other episodes of the show, but there’s something really refreshing and satisfying about that. It’s no less rich in characterization and humor than normal, and as always that’s especially true for Dan. I fully recommend this episode. Remember: Feel the burn, love the burn, taste the rainbow.

Dan Vs. “The Dinosaur” Recap

Published: May 8, 2012

After a dinosaur crushes Dan’s car he declares revenge. Meanwhile, Elise is tasked with humanely capturing the dino and keeping it out of the public’s attention.

“The Dinosaur” starts simply enough with a parody of Jurassic Park as a couple of workers are moving a large crate. In a hilarious moment the crate is busted open, and out comes a T-Rex wearing a collar. Cut to Dan, who’s sleeping on the couch with his cat before getting a rude awakening from the morning news. Dan doesn’t have time to do much before the dinosaur appears and sits on his car, causing Dan to declare revenge. Dan approaches Chris while he’s teaching his brother-in-law Ben how to drive and gets him to help. Chris doesn’t believe Dan, but he ends up going along to help anyway. I find it annoying that Chris doesn’t believe Dan after all the stuff they’ve seen and been through. But of course that just means Chris will be proven wrong, again. After this we get a scene where Elise is tasked with humanely and secretly capturing the dinosaur which was created by the government.

Dan Vs. The Dinosaur Pic 2

Meanwhile, Dan, Chris, and Ben drive around searching for the dinosaur. In another Jurassic Park reference a kid shares how a dinosaur ate his dog, so Dan decides to round up all the dogs in the neighborhood to use as bait. (Yeah, Dan really is more of a cat person.) It works and attracts the dinosaur but unfortunately the dino’s collar only has the name Tyra and no contact information. While Elise begins the cover up, Dan changes tactics and decides to recruit an expert hunter: Mel Darwin, an Australian reptile expert known as the Reptile Wrangler, a parody of the late Crocodile Hunter. Despite his eccentricities, Mel actually is a great tracker and they soon find Tyra at the museum. Unfortunately, their efforts don’t quite work out; Ben messes up, Chris gets eaten, and the Dino goes on a rampage quickly becoming the center of media attention, leading to Dan and Elise teaming up to destroy the dinosaur. The climatic scenes successfully redeem Ben and make Dan even more likable, all while tying up all the loose ends and ending on a hilarious final scene.

Dan goes up against a dinosaur, how epic is that?! This is a really satisfying episode that was both hilarious and well thought out. The inclusion of Ben was nice as the character added plenty of comedy to the episode, and he hasn’t really gotten much use before now. “The Dinosaur” is one of my favorite episodes to date and I fully recommend it.

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