Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Fluppy Dogs

In 1984, Michael Eisner was brought into the Walt Disney Company to revitalize a brand that was showing its age. Eisner was brought in to revive Disney and one of the first things he decided to get his hands into was television. He got a team together and gave them the idea that Disney should be the name in animation. Aside from released thousands of animated shorts that had been locked away for decades, Eisner pushed for original animation. First pitched was Mickey and the Space Pirates but Eisner wanted to save Mickey, the face of the company for something big. The next show they pitched was The Wuzzles which premiered in September 1985. Another show, that premiered along with The Wuzzles, was The Adventure of the Gummi Bears. While The Wuzzles would be canceled after 13 episodes, Gummi Bears would last until 1990 and have 67 episodes. Despite this slight success, Eisner was still reluctant to use known Disney characters. The next show in development was Fluppy Dogs. Fluppy Dogs were about these dogs that weren't dogs. They talked and dressed like people and used jewels to travel through doors to other dimensions. The hour-long pilot, intended to serve as the first couple of episodes, premiered November 27, 1986--Thanksgiving--and was a ratings bomb. Disney immediately canceled the project and moved onto their next pitch about a duck test pilot named Launchpad McQuack. That show would become DuckTales. I recorded Fluppy Dogs during what I believe is a rerun before the 1987-1988 television season started. I know this because there is an ad for "Full House coming this fall" and a show called Once a Hero in the commercial breaks. Fluppy Dogs was one of my favorite things to watch when I was younger. There's potential but there is probably a reason Disney released the pilot on Thanksgiving.

Fluppy Dogs was written by Haskell Barkin (The Love Boat, Jabberjaw) and Bruce Talkington (DuckTales, New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Bonkers) and directed by Fred Wolf (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

Five fluppy dogs are slowly making their way around a mountain in a stormy and desolate world trying to find a portal to open with a key. Fluppy dogs are adventurous canine-like creatures who use a key to open inter-dimensional doorways to other worlds. After landing in a prehistoric-like world, they find a door to our world and land in a grocery store. Chaos, as it does, ensues, and the fluppies cause a mess. While trying to escape, Stanley, the blue fluppy, talks and catches the attention of J.J. Wagstaff, a wealthy jerk of a businessman, who wants the fluppies for his collection of exotic animals. The fluppies are captured by animal control and placed in the pound. Luckily, they are only there a short time as Stanley is quickly adopted by Mrs. Bingham for her son, Jamie.
oh a dog great
Jamie isn't so sure about Stanley because he wanted a big dog. I'm confused why people keep thinking these are normal dogs when they are a bright pastel blue, pink, yellow, red, and green color. Those aren't normal colors, right?! While Jamie is walking Stanley, Stanley escapes his collar and runs away. Jamie runs after him into a construction site where Jamie climbs a ladder for some reason and winds up hanging from a steel beam making weird moaning sounds as he dangles. I don't know why the producers made the voice actor do that or kept it in when he did it but there it is: A 10-year-old boy moaning "oh, oh" for ten seconds.

Stanley recuses Jamie and explains his deal. Jamie offers to use his birthday money to break Stanley's friends out of the pound. Unfortunately, Jamie only has enough for one so they adopt Tippi, the pink fluppy. Also unfortunately, Mrs. Bingham refuses to let Jamie keep Tippi so he gives her to his next door neighbor, Claire, because your neighbor loves it when you bring them random pets.
Claire and Tippi. Why this 10-year-old hangs out with what is presumably
an 18-year-old, I have no idea.
At bedtime, Stanley explains that he enjoys adventure but gets too excited and he and his friends always wind up in trouble. At least he's self-aware. As Jamie falls asleep, he's scratching Stanley's head which causes the bed to lift into the air and fly away into the sky. They gain control of the bed and take Tippi from Claire, begging her not to tell anybody.

Jamie and the fluppies arrive at the pound to bust out Ozzie, Bink, and Dink but J.J. Wagstaff is there to also take the fluppies. The fluppies escape and all return home, safe and sound. The end.
A boy and his dog.
No. Wait. The fluppies need to find their way back home. The fluppies show up at Jamie's school saying that they've found a door but it's in the sewer so down they go. Despite having a fluppy that uses his nose to find where the doors are, Jamie thinks they are going to get lost and follows them. Whatever. We also learn that the key gets weaker with each use and the door gets a little harder to open. This door, sadly, doesn't lead anywhere but unleashes a torrent of water that floods the sewer.

While drying out in the basement, Ozzie smells another door. This door gives up a beautiful land of grass and flowers and also strange hippo creatures that charge right into the door. They call the thing a fulumpus and the thing can't return home because other fulumpuses are at the door probably wondering where it came from.
I'll admit. This is the dumbest of plot contrivances.
The fulumpus causes havoc and chaos inside Jamie's home and practically destroys it. Working together, they all clean up the house before Mrs. Bingham gets home but Jamie stills gets his butt chewed out because the school calls and snitches on him for skipping school. Meanwhile, J.J. Wagstaff puts out a $5000 reward for a fluppy dog. Ozzie, Bink, and Dink go out on their own and find the door to their world in front of the library. How convenient!

They rush to return to Stanley and Tippi but Wagstaff is on their tail and he is able to capture Ozzie. With Jamie acting strange, Mrs. Bingham chews his ass a bit more asking why he's become a terrible little boy in the last...checks watch...24 hours. "Ever since you got that dog..." The fluppies enlist Claire to help them but Jamie sees them drive away so Jamie uses the fulumpus to race after them to the Wagstaff mansion.

Wagstaff sees the fluppies approach and prepares to capture them too using Ozzie as bait. Stanley and Tippi are captured but Jamie and the fulumpus arrive and, you probably guessed it, destroy the crap out of Wagstaff's mansion. Wagstaff blackmails Jamie and Claire but Stanley has an idea. Jamie and Claire start scratching the fluppies' heads and that room of the mansion suddenly rises into the air. They crash land the room at the library but the key is malfunctioning. It reveals the door and the fluppies' world. The fluppies, the fulumpus, Wagstaff, and his minion Hamish, all wind up going through the door. I can only think they put Wagstaff into some sort of labor camp or something.
I don't know what Jamie told his mom when she learned that Jamie lost his first dog after only 36 hours.

A few months later, it's now winter, and Stanley and the others are back! And they've brought some friends with them. Hundreds of thousands of fluppies are pouring out of the door presumably to kill us all after learning what a terrible person J.J. Wagstaff was. I, for one, welcome our fluppy overlords. They will be the cutest dictators ever.
The end times are here.
The voice cast is interesting but unremarkable. Stanley is voiced by Marshall Efron who voiced characters in The Smurfs. Tippi and Bink were voiced by Susan Blu (DuckTales, The Magic School Bus). Ozzie was voiced by Lorenzo Music (Garfield and Friends, The Real Ghostbusters). Dink was voiced by Hal Smith (The Andy Griffith Show, The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh). Claire was voiced by Jessica Pennington who now does things behind the scenes. J.J. Wagstaff was voiced by Michael Rye (Super Friends, Flintstone Kids). Jamie was voiced by Carl Steven, who was 12 when he recorded the voice for Fluppy Dogs. Steven is probably best known for voicing Fred in A Pup Named Scooby-Doo but he also appeared in TV shows such as Punky Brewster and Growing Pains. His last acting role was in 1996 as Matthew in Weird Science. He was arrested and sentenced to prison for armed robbery in 2010. He died of a heroin overdose in 2013 while in prison.

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Until next time, I remain...