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Stormy Weather Re-Rant
The Episode That Changed DTVA Forever....
Original Airdate: 06/17/1990 (Disney Channel); 09/21/1990 (Syndication); Episode #13 (Volume #1, Disc #2)
Oh yeah; the DVD doesn't symbolize this episode in anyway, no siree. I'll let this quote from 0x7B (from the Animation Source forums on What Makes TaleSpin Special?) do the talking for me on this special episode:
To be honest, I was wary of the show for some time after I saw "Stormy Weather" because it had real emotion, which I wasn't expecting in a cartoon that wasn't a feature film. I felt like I had been blindsided. There I was, watching afternoon cartoons, expecting to be entertained with lighthearted humor, when out of nowhere... WHAM! If you've seen this episode then you know what I'm talking about. That was the heaviest, most emotionally charged non-feature film cartoon/episode I had ever seen. To quote a letter from 5 Years of Cloudkicking:
Actual Name Withheld (because I lost the actual name and a few sentences near the end of the letter) wrote:
Something about the voices....I believed in the characters. Do you know what that means?! They were more real to me sometimes, not just drawings or quality time, but I felt the lives, the struggle of mortality in people I've never seen in real life. Cartoons aren't supposed to do that, they have silly voices and recycled jokes- I thought I knew everything but I never knew about this.
I think that pretty much sums up how I felt. I didn't see "Plunder and Lightning" (the TS pilot movie) until about halfway through the series' run (after I had seen "Stormy Weather"), but when I did, I finally realized/accepted that TaleSpin was/is a multifaceted show that delivers on multiple levels.
What's more amazing is that the letter also points out that a lot of kids at the time of release actually called TaleSpin gay and taunted other kids who loved the show back then. Where have I heard of this before? Oh yeah; any product made by the new Disney. It not only shows how cruel kids can be (and Kit does something pretty cruel in this episode later on); but how nothing really changes. The biggest difference between TaleSpin in 19909 and now is not quality (although in many respects, TaleSpin is a quality show although it took years before people finally accepted that as fact); but the internet itself which allows any hate for a show to be amplified. I should know since I have seen it when Wii was unleashed on the world. I betcha in five to ten years time; Phineas & Ferb will be put on the same pillar as Ducktales, TaleSpin, Gargoyles and Kim Possible as the shows in which every other Disney show will be measured by that standard. TaleSpin took four years for me and it took Steet about 18 years give or take. So now we rant on what I consider to be the episode that changed Disney Television Animation forever. So let's rant on shall we......and LET THE PATHOS HIT THE FLOOR!!
This episode is written by Jan Strnad. The story is edited by Karl Geurs. Jan is a comic book writer who debuted on TaleSpin with this one (Jan is the second of the four writers I admire the most); and then did Darkwing Duck, Goof Troop, The Return of Jafar, Aladdin: The Animated Series, Hercules the Animated Series, Sabrina The Animated Series, House of Mouse and Brandy & Mr. Whiskers. Outside of Disney; Jan has done Spiderman (1995), Iron Man (1995), X-Men (1994), The Amazing Feat Of Young Hercules, Young Hercules, Jackie Chan Adventures, Piratenet and Batman: Black & White in 2009. The animation is done by Walt Disney Animation Japan and Hanho Heunh-Up Company Limited.
Trivia #1: The storyboards for this episode were done by David Smith and Swinton O. Scott III. David S. Smith's resume includes being a final checker in The Secret of Nimh, assistant animator in The Racoons & The Lost Star (!!!), The Care Bears in The Land Without Feelings (!!!!), Everyone's Hero, and the upcoming Gatchaman movie. He has about 40+ productions under his belt. Chip & Dale's Rescue Rangers is his DTVA debut and has done storyboards for Bonkers, Goof Troop, The Little Mermaid series, the Ducktales Movie, Marsupilami, and several Disneytoon movies. He also has done some full cinema such as the Jimmy Neutron movie, Space Jam, Quest for Camelot and Cinderelmo. The Leaf Men & The Brave Good Bugs is his most recent credit.
Swinton started in 1984 with The Get Along Gang and Muppet Babies as a layout artist and storyboard. He went on to be part of the Simpsons and TMNT. TaleSpin is his first and only DTVA appearance. In fact it's his only appearance on a Disney production to the best of my knowledge. Sadly; he didn't have anything to do with Daredevil Bart which is the episode some people compare Stormy Weather with (and apparently considering the dates; I would not be shocked if Daredevil Bart was a lampshading of Stormy Weather). Camp Lazlo and Underfist: Halloween Bash are his most recent credits back in 2008. Other than Family Guy and Futurama; there isn't much to note on Swinton O. Scott in general.
Trivia #2: This episode appeared on VHS as part of Volume one known as "That's Show Biz!" along with another awesome episode written by Libby Hinson: Mommy For A Day. I'll be ranting on that one in September along with From Here To Machinery which is on VHS in another volume set.
We begin this one with a sky shot of the SeaDuck over some mountains BEFORE HAPPY HOUR (sunset) and then we head into the cockpit as Baloo is fiddling over with the map like an idiot. HA! I see someone lost the bet for some reason. Baloo asks from pilot to navigator where they are while swearing in DUBBED ANIME STYLE (where the heck?). Kit even giggles under his breath just to rub it in before Kit grabs the map and folds it the right way. They are six miles south west of Cape Suzette; and right in range for some great cloudsurfing. Baloo loves it as Kit is an ace and he has no idea what he would be without him. Stay tuned and you'll find out the truth Pop-A-Bear as Baloo turns the baseball cap rim to the front and pulls it down over Kit's eyes. Kit quickly turns it back in one of those magician spots and Baloo allows him to hit the mist. Kit cheers with glee as we see him go to the back jumping off the matress and grabbing the tow rope (which now has a handle on it) as he jumps outside with it and unleashes the airfoil and starts spraying cloud snow all around. Kick Buttowski should be ashamed of himself to calling himself a daredevil or even a suburban daredevil because Kit is about 10,000 feet in the air with no grips on the airfoil (only gripping by the bottoms of his feet) and no padding whatsoever. He slips up and he might as well be dead, cremated and his ashes spread across the ocean.
Oh; and Kit is just getting started here as Baloo does some lever pulling (WRONG LEVER!) and then panics as he sees a white seaplane blitz forward and miss the SeaDuck by about 12 feet or so as Baloo is forced to pull up. We then get a shot of a white ferret in pilot's gear look amazed at the skills of the SeaDuck; or so we think as he flies up from behind like a stalker as he's amazed at Kit's skills. Kit waves to him as the ferret takes his goggles off and licks his chops and he an evil grin on his face. Oh; now I see why Baloo was so upset when he showed up. We then see some stunt flying from the ferret as Kit repeats his motions in response and then does some awesome full circle twists with the airfoil as Kick Buttowski is getting rightfully buried before our very eyes. We then cut to Baloo blowing Kit off for showing off. Oh can it Pop-A-Bear; let the boy demonstrate how much of a wuss Kick is. It's for the good of DTVA see.
This leads to them going into a thunder/rainstorm as Kit uses his foot to grab onto the handle and does the Gruffi pose. (Guthner: Kick? He's MURDERING you right now. Kick: Ah; biscuits!) Baloo yells at Kit to stop showing off and stop murdering Kick's heat. Okay; I made the last part up. And to Baloo: Screw you! It's for the GOOD OF DTVA! The rain starts and the thunder effects start as the lighting is beyond mature with redness/black tint which is a rare sight in a cartoon from Disney. Kit even does a flip off the airfoil to boot as the ferret claps his hands on that one. I see he brought the leather gloves too. Kit then calls out to the ferret to watch this one. Kit then jumps up, releases the tow rope and does about four flips and lands on his feet on top of the back of the SeaDuck. Now THAT is INCREDIBLE~! Memo to Jackie: Watch this episode. Take notes. Dump Kick Buttowski. Stalk my website. Eat and enjoy! Kit waves at the ferret with his baseball cap as the ferret salutes him and flies away stage right.
We then cut to a front shot of Baloo and he absolutely panics beyond belief as Kit is nowhere in sight and the tow rope is hanging. Baloo grabs the stick and yells in total disbelief; but Kit appears from the backseat and covers his eyes and asks to guess who. Yeah; Kit is all right physically; but Baloo's health is fading fast as Baloo is parently pissed off at Kit's recklessness as he hugs him and HOLY CRAP?! Did Ed Gilbert somehow get on Ginny McSwain's bad side or something? Because Ed is actually ACTING here as Baloo completely stammers while Kit is sitting in the navigational seat explaining that it was only a half gainer with a flying dismount. Maybe so; but it was at 10,000 feet with no padding whatsoever. Baloo blows him off because Kit was showing off for that other show off. Kit blows him off because he knew what he was doing. And I'm taking Kit's side here for good reasons. For one; Kit is the only character in the series that can cloudsurf; two, I'm sure Kit learned those skills somewhere in his life (which indicates that Kit's parents were stunt people and three, Kit was doing a great service in showing Kick how to be a real daredevil and stop idolizing Billy Stumps who is merely a redneck who drives a monster truck.
The reality here is Baloo has no argument on Kit's stunt skills whatsoever. Compare that to Daredevil Bart where Homer Simpson and company had good reason to get on Bart's case because Bart Simpson was just another skateboarder who got influnced by watching a monster truck rally. Kit didn't need influence from the ferret; he already had the stuff in him. Baloo calls Kit's actions unsafe which is true; but who cares as Kit gleefully blows him off on that one as he asks about flying two tons of dynamite through a hurricane. Baloo called it a calculated risk because there is a difference between a safe chance3 and a stupid chance basically. I should point out that my memories are shot; but I think that one of the school systems I went to actually ran this episode which is very gutesy considering how parents hate the use of cartoons in schools. The subject was on the differences in risks. By the way; the real storm has stopped; but the mental storm has only just begun. So we head back to the docks of Higher...For...Hire as the SeaDuck has landed as Kit is still on Baloo's case about the stunts as Baloo doesn't understand. Geez; Kit is making Baloo look more and more like a heel and Baloo seems content with playing that heel fantasy out for him. Baloo keeps going on and on about some chances not being taken as the tailsection of the SeaDuck opens (how symbolic is that?) as the argument continues in earnest. They walk out as we get a shot of Rebecca and Wildcat watching on in disbelief as Kit gets off this gem....
Kit: Are you writing the Kit Cloudkicker rulebook?
I love real questions that aren't supposed to be real questions. Now if Baloo wants to write the Kick Buttowski rule book; be my guest. He needs it big time. That rule book should also explain the differences between a gimmick and a CHARACTER. Also Kit's last name is revealed for the first time here as Rebecca asks about this argument as Kit explains that Baloo is being like a mother hen. Oooooooooo; now that is fighting words son. See; he was only doing a little cloudsurfing and Rebecca stops him asking him about the dangers of those stormclouds. WildCat grabs the clipboard and gets off this line that is too funny not to mention:
WildCat: What if you wiped out and fell down and bumped your head or something?!
I don't think bumping heads is the biggest problem with wiping out on an airfoil WildCat. Now YOU are clearly showing off by whacking the clipboard on your head with a nasty bump on your head. Man; the scene is just getting more symbolic as storm clouds enter above WildCat's head the whole time as Kit blows everyone off for being against him (and Alan Robert's acting is getting even more awesome as this episode progresses.). UH OH! Now a lot of people claim to me that Kit is merely rebelling against authority. Try watching Plunder and Lightning first and you'll understand why I say that it's not. Don't worry; I'll explain that part later. And here comes the white (yellow nosecone) seaplane as it lands on the water and splashes water on all of the adults standing. HAHA! Something tells me that this white plane is Kit's god getting it's revenge. And then we see the ferret standing on the white wing of the airplane talking to Kit the ace (as he sezs) as Kit is just the man (or boy) he was looking for. Now I know who the voice actor is (think TMNT); but I'm not going to give him away just yet because the real fun is about to start with him in general. You'll understand the humor when we get there.
The ferret jumps off (and does about three feet of air when he jumps) as he calls it the greatest exhibition of aerial stuntmanship he has ever seen as he shakes both of Kit's hands as Kit is shocked to here that. Kit stammers on him as the ferret grabs him by the sides and twirls him around as the ferret calls him the courageous captain of the clouds (So true too!) and Kit is great. Kit guesses that he is. You do not know the half of it dude. Baloo steps in and asks for a name and the ferret addresses himself as Dan Dawson of Daring Dan's dazzling circus of the air as he shows a poster which contains a different colored airplane (I guess he lost that one for some reason; no logic break, just odd) which is firetruck red with yellow nosecone. He pitches the three shows daily and matinees at the Cape Suzette Aerodome. He then gasps and implies that Baloo and Rebecca are married and are proud parents of Kit. Rebecca is not happy to hear THAT one because Baloo and Rebecca are not married. Memo to Rebecca: The TaleSpin fans want you and Baloo to be married in canon (even me); so get used to it. Kit corrects him that they aren't his folks because in reality he is an orphan.
For those who have been watching this series from the Disney Channel previews in order; this is the first vestiages into Kit's backstory. I think Len Uhley show something in Kit that made him ultimately decide on what path Kit would be taking in Plunder and Lightning. In hindsight; in creating an original character, it came with a huge price. Dan is surpised and proclaims that he too is an orphan. Somehow; that quote is true and partially explains how Dan ultimately turned out to be. Dan takes Kit under his cape literally and asks him if he has ever been to an air circus and Kit states that he hasn't. Well; that eliminates one possible theory about Kit's life on the run; although with Kit reaction to the question; Kit might be lying to save himself. Dan doesn't really care either way as the shadowing and lighting continues to make the scene more awesome. Remember that this is a children's cartoon I'm ranting about here. Dan gives the sky skiing boy two red tickets on the house as a personal guest of Daring Dan Dawson. Dan then salutes him and here is looking at you ace. Baloo isn't pleased to hear that as Dan flies away in this white seaplane shooting red, white and blue smoke and then an explosion of confetti happens and Kit and Baloo are showered in colored paper as Kit is amazed while Baloo grumbles with Gruffi pose as some of the bigger chunks land right on his head. HAHA! Trust me; that is one of the few times you'll hear me laugh at a spot in this episode.
So we fade to black and then head to the Cape Suzette Aerodome as we get a shot of the place as Daring Dan is stealing the show. We know this because there is a big banner in black and red with two black stars on the banner. We also see two airplanes (one seen in the poster and a blue one) shooting white and red smoke. I guess the red plane ran out of blue smoke and wasn't in the budget. They do a figure eight as the STOCK MUSIC CHEER OF DOOM plays. We zoom in and go to the stands as Kit is watching the planes while Baloo is stuffing his face with enough stuff to give him a heart attack. I guess alcohol isn't being served here because old Poppa Bear needs it badly for the pain he must endure watching Dan Dawson being so awesome. Kit's enjoying himself as Baloo calls himself one big goosebump of excitement...and lying about it of course.
We then hear from the PA Announcer (Pat Fraley) finally announce Dan Dawson while Kit crawls like a baby and Baloo picks food from his teeth. Kit then jumps up for joy as Baloo eats red smoke confetti. HAHA! The crowd cheers as Daring Dan flies in his white airplane shooting confetti around while Kit cheers with glee. Dan Dawson dashes through the Slicing Swords of Doom (which is false since most of them are axes and spears- logic break #1 for the episode) easily. And yes; this is the episode where I got my stupid Of Doom puns from. Kit proclaims that he is quite a pilot as Baloo is offended by that one. Then Kit panics because he seemly is going to crash as we get a shot of the white seaplane spiraling into a tailspin (BWHAHAHAHAHA!) with black smoke as the announcer then goes all wrestling on us with this crack....
Announcer: Stay calm folks; it's all part of the show.
Patrick Fraley just cracks me up when I hear that announcer sound so calm in telling us that it's all part of the show. I guess telling Eisner to screw you on not showing pathos was all part of the show too; right Jymn Magon?! And then the white seaplane hyperboles about five feet from the ground and we get another explosion of confetti as the announcer calls it the Dramatic Dive of Death. The confetti plops as Kit jumps up and down and cheers. Baloo calls that nothing at all. Baloo then starts recalling the story when they lost both engines over Spango-Pango (ironcially that is where Kit met his first and only girlfriend in The Girl of Spango-Pango in the comics which included Emirl the fish villian and Baloo taking on Sumo Wrestlers.) and went into a dive of 10,000 feet. Kit gleefully ignores him (which means it is either a lie; or it's one Rebecca would invoke the WRAITH OF BECKEY on him) and runs off as Baloo continues to tell the story into the next scene as they go through the Aerodome hallway as Baloo finishes the story of how the engine turned into macaroni and Rebecca was angry as hell. I can see why Kit is ignoring the story now.
Kit turns around and lies that he heard the story and waves at Dan as Baloo groans over that one. Kit comes over to Dan as Dan asks if he loved the show. Dan pets his head so hard; the baseball cap goes over his eyes to boot. Kit fixes the cap and tells Dan that he was great. Dan thinks that it takes a great one to know a great one and pops the question of joining the show as a performer. Baloo coughs to get the message to Kit that there is no deal; but Kit ignores it and is in awe as Dan proclaims that he'll make him a star and gets inbetween Baloo. It's little thing like that that got Dan Dawson monster over. The question here is; heel or babyface? Dan promises name in lights, the pop of the crowd and losts of MONEY, MONEY, YEAH, YEAH. Kit asks if he's THAT damn good as Kit tries to recall Kit away as Dan explains that some guys would be making anywhere from $300-$500 a week which the same that I make in a month. I somehow feel a little jealous about Kit's offer since Kit is double as good as those guys. Kit is one in a million (actually; just one since he's the ONLY one) and if Kit flies with Dan; nothing will hold him down ever again. Baloo wants Kit to go home now as Dan decides to really put the screws to the relationship and gets off this poisoning of the well line....
Dan: Except of course, the little people. Kid; don't let the little people hold you down. No matter how BIG they are.
Dan looks so evil on that one that his coolness turns him babyface. Baloo gets all heelish on Kit and they walk away (with Kit waving and saying that he'll be there real soon) as Baloo is walking Kit home like someone doing a little too much mothering to be healthy.
So we go to Higher...For...Hire AFTER HAPPY HOUR (After dark) and we head inside WildCat's house (So he was the one who invited them to dinner) as everyone is at the dinner table with Kit playing around with the butter while Rebecca checks her briefcase. Kit explains that Dan asked him to join the airshow as Baloo fiddles around with his meat. Sadly; Rebecca doesn't yell at him to eat the damn streak like they do in those frozen veggie ads I have seen in recent months. Kit is talking to WildCat that he's one in a million (actually JUST one; but whatever) as Baloo is pissed off and he storms out of the house. Kit asks if Ace Cloudkicker can be his new stage name? As if Kit Cloudkicker wasn't a stage name to begin with? This is further evidence that Kit might not be his real first name. Rebecca sezs good night to ace and slowly leaves as Kit recaps the show where Dan does the stall and spiral down as Rebecca closes the briefcase and leaves outside. We then go to outside to the docks as Baloo is sitting on a wooden box throwing rocks as Rebecca comes to him. Rebecca tells him that he is just excited.
The sad TaleSpin Victory theme plays in the background as Baloo flips a coin into the bay as he proclaims that he is losing him due to the dippy Dan being a bag of hot wind and blowing Kit right out of his life. Somehow; I think Kit is doing a great job doing that himself Poppa Bear. Remember that the gang in Kit's mind has stopped trusting him in being able to make his own destiny. This plays right into Baloo being a heel and Dan into a big babyface. This is also the point where the real reality check for this series comes into play as I explained in the quote at the beginning. Rebecca points out that Kit is talented (you don't know the half of it Miss Cunningham) as she wonders if Kit is better off doing something better than hauling cargo. Rebecca asks if it is right to hold him down. This is actually a moral dilemma for them as you will see later on. Now remember that Baloo has basically all but admit defeat on Kit's argument on knowledge. Then again; Baloo never gave up without a fight before. UH OH! I think you can all guess where this is going. Baloo recoils and decides that he is going to win Kit's heart back spending tomorrow at Louie's for some fishing and swimming in order to forget Dan ever existed as Baloo runs towards the office and closes the door. Kit will be surprised according to him. I think Baloo is going to be the one surprised and he is going to have that overdue heart attack. Rebecca greets him good night and leaves....and so we fade to black.....
We head to the morning in Kit and Baloo's bedroom as we see Baloo sleeping in his shirt in a bed with green covers that don't quite fit him. Sadly; we clearly see that Kit Cloudkicker is gone on the far shot since he sleeps with the red covers and the bed is much smaller. There is a lot of airplane stuff and Disney Captions for the second straight time in this series addresses a rooster crowing as a cock crowing. Seriously; what the hell is wrong with Disney Captions?! Baloo wakes up quickly as there is even sun effects in the background as Baloo wants Kit to hear what they are going to do today. Baloo then notices that Kit is gone from his bed and the worry music plays as Baloo runs out of the office and towards the SeaDuck on the docks as WildCat is using a pulley ladder to fix the number two engine. Baloo asks WildCat what he is doing because they are supposed to be taking off in two minutes. WildCat bumps his head on the metal plate (HA!) and tells Baloo that Kit is at the airfield in Cape Suzette. Baloo ignores him anyway because Kit will be here any second now as Baloo has gone nuts with the acting stuff. I guess removing the pilot's hat improves Ed Gilbert's acting. Who knew.....Cue the Gruffi pose on that one too.
So we head into the skies as Kit is cloudsurfing on his airfoil again and is being towed by Dan's white seaplane. Dan motions to Kit to come aboard and Kit salutes him and jumps onto the back of the white plane (there is a backseat on this thing?) as Kit almost slips and falls down; but Dan grabs his arm and Kit manages to get back into the seat. My guess is that it was to show that Kit was being too reckless; but the shiny surface and edge doesn't help the cause. Disney Captions screws up because Kit clearly said "I slipped"; not "Nice stunt" in the audio. Dan proclaims that slight slip ups like that is what the people pay to see. Something tells me Dan was modelled after Vinnie Mac as Dan shows a poster to Kit. Kit opens the poster and we see a proto-type poster of Kit Cloudkicker in one of the coolest outfits you will ever see cloudsufring behind Dan's seaplane. It sezs "Captain Kit – Ace of the Skies" and Kit reads it almost perfectly (adding Cloudkicker which isn't seen on the poster. Nor the thunderbolt in the middle of the chest we would see later). Kit is amazed by this as Dan thought he would love it and asks again if he wants to join the show. Kit at first sezs yeah....but then recoils and doesn't know. So he IS having second thoughts now. This shows that Kit does know what he is doing and it's difficult to be merely rebelling against authority when you are having indecisions. Kind of like weightlifting actually.
See; Kit and Baloo are partners (and that plays into the next segment later on actually) and no; they are not gay. Get over it you sick freaks. Kit wants to think about it and Dan grants him about 12 hours to think about it as they leave for the airfield at dawn tomorrow. We then get a shot of the city from the sky as Dan wants Kit to show them the new stunt he taught him which is probably a lie since Kit probably already KNEW that one too. Kit is ready as he climbs up to the top wings above Dan Dawson and puts his feet into the handles on top as we see the seaplane take a nosedive. We then cut back to Baloo grumbling and swearing under his breath as WildCat just stands there holding a wrench. Rebecca walks in and tells Baloo to let WildCat finish fixing the engines if Kit isn't returning. Baloo blows that suggestion that Kit will show up and he'll be dropping in any second. Cue the Gruffi pose as WildCat looks up and we hear an engine sound and WildCat panics because Kit is going to be literally dropping in on this one. We get a sky shot as the white seaplane does a loop-de-loop for only 15 cents and Kit freefalls on the 180 as Baloo screams badly (the pilot hat is back on again) and that ends the segment 11 minutes in. Now the real nasty stuff begins in earnest.
After the commercial break; we see Kit continue to free fall doing enough flips to cause serious damage to your health. Man; Kit is THAT insane folks. Get used to it. He does some flips and then stops the scared selling and smiles as he takes out his airfoil and we get the victory theme as Kit circles around with the foil and then splashes onto the water; skis on water and then jumps up and flips right over the Higher...For...Hire sign and lands on his feet with foil in hand after about four revolutions. Take that one Tony Hawk! And Kick Buttowski just died and went to daredevil hell. WildCat is in awe over this awesome stunt as Kit calls it pretty slick. Baloo stammers in anger and fear (Kit is insane; what do you expect?) as Kit calls it with Dan's blessing the Cloudkicker Dive To Doom. Kit also wants to try it out with the real audience and even Rebecca is mad over this one as Kit has clearly gone over the edge for either one to be healthy as Kit's arrogence is on full display here. Kit actually gets the LIGHTBULB OF BLOODY CLAIRTY as he literally hides behind his airfoil asking if scared them. Geez Kit; you scare the sh** out of everyone at BS&P and you didn't need to do crazy Jackass stunts to pull it off. This is merely icing on the cake. And now Baloo is PISSED as he literally steals Kit's airfoil and walks off blowing Kit off. Major heel heat from Baloo there. Kit yells at Baloo to give it back and runs after Baloo as WildCat watches with surprise.....
So we go to the scene changer as it is AFTER HAPPY HOUR (after dark) as we pan south to a shot of the SeaDuck from the back end as we see WildCat fixing the engines and the argument ensues. WildCat just merely shakes his head over the whole ordeal. And now we have come to the high point of this immortality to this entire episode as we head inside the bedroom of Baloo and Kit. Instead of explaining the scene; I'm going to release the entire exchange of dialog and I'll explain the whole thing afterwards. Note the S-class acting here as this is without a doubt; Alan Robert's Crowning Moment of Awesome. Sadly; it would prove to be his last too.....
Look; I wasn't in any danger. I knew what I was doing.
Baloo: There's no point in taking chances that shouldn't be took!
Kit: How's $500 a week? How's that for a point? I'm going to be rich!
Baloo: (In bed as Kit slams the poster in his face) Oh kid. Wake up. (logic break #2 as the poster is completely different from the one Dan gave to him earlier. Although he might have added that poster with it just to rub salt into the wound. Which would be a nice touch.) You'll never see a dime. That phony is all baloney.
Kit: He is not! Dan was right. You're just one of those little people holding me down. (OUCH! It's true too!)
Baloo: Now, look. He's filling your head with guava. He's a....Oh....You just stay away from that guy! (He crumbles the poster as implying that Kit has been banned from seeing him. Major, major heel heat for Baloo there.)
Kit: NO! YOU CAN'T TELL ME WHAT YOU DO! YOU'RE NOT MY DAD! (Kit throws the hat right between Baloo's eyes. And then he recoils, runs away and goes face first right into the bed.)
Baloo: Now, Kit. Don't go and take it like that. I was just...I mean....I...Kit? (Kit ignores him and cries in the pillow looking at the camera. Baloo turns the lights off.) Oh. Good night little britches. (Kit stares into the camera and sheds two tears in a really iconic moment and we fade to black.)
There my friends is the scene that changed Walt Disney Television forever. This is one of the nastiest scenes in DTVA history. Almost no violence whatsoever physically; but the verbal and mental violence was at 11 so to speak. I have written a lot about this episode and this scene in particular; even going as far as to explain the differences between why Daredevil Bart was just another cog in the wheels of the Simpsons machine; while this was the crowning jewel in turning DTVA into a Disney product rather than a Disney product by name only. You can clearly see that Kit won this argument easily as Baloo was soundly defeated in the taking chances part since Kit clearly knows what he is doing because he's the only one who can cloudsurf and use the air foil. Baloo looks like an idiot trying to play that line. Thankfully; Kit walked him into the second argument with Dan Dawson himself as Baloo is on more stable ground with attacking Dan. However; it always seems to me that Kit was trying to force Baloo to admit that he was wrong on the first argument and Baloo wouldn't bite; ignoring it and going with the more stable strawman. Kit clearly caught him on that one.
And then there is the iconic Kit screaming in Baloo's face and throwing the hat between his eyes. Alan Roberts' crowning moment of awesome is that Kit said it with passion in his voice and not like a "my body, my life" kind of thing. That tone of voice makes the difference between merely rebelling against authority and what really occured here. In Kit's mind; Kit really said "I cannot believe you betrayed me, you are just like everyone else!" To add another great touch; a split second after Kit made contact with Baloo's face with the hat, Kit ran to the bed in with that "Oh my god. I'm dead" look on his face. As if he thought Baloo was going to MURDER him right there and of course Baloo didn't go for it. Kit knew Baloo has a temper that is easy to lose. He didn't try to challenge him to kill him. It was like "Go away traitor!" the whole time. Kit was trying to prove to Baloo that they are legit partners; not father and son because Kit isn't Baloo's father. And Baloo knows it because he stammers the rest of the way and turns off the lights. Kit has already won the argument on that account alone. I'm not surprised that Strnad went this route because a Disney product is a product in which pathos are encouraged. It's just that no one watching this as a Saturday morning cartoon was expecting it. The scariest part is that the pathos are FAR FROM DONE...
Morning arises as we see the drawer and the alarm clock rings (in the background there is a human hula girl light; which is a running joke about the lack of humans in this series. And the fact that Baloo has treehouse syndrome. She's also partially nude with only a green bra and skirt) and Baloo shows the gentle touch. Another sign you are not watching the new Disney: The stuff is UP TO CODE. Baloo wakes up and he notices that Kit is gone again. We then go to the outside shot of Higher...For....Hire as Baloo runs out calling for the police with Kit's baseball cap (which would have made more sense if we saw the baseball cap in during the scene.). He screams loudly as Rebecca just stands there as Baloo grabs a rope thinking Kit has been kidnapped; but Rebecca tells him in a sad voice that Kit wasn't kidnapped and that he left. In other words; Kit gave Rebecca his notice that he's not coming back. Baloo scappers back as Rebecca tells him that he knows where Kit is and Baloo squeezes the cap in frustration (like he did in Plunder and Lightning part III).
So we go to the scene changer at the airfield WAY BEFORE HAPPY HOUR (sunrise) as the SeaDuck flies towards the gates of the airfield as red smoke fills the air from the plane flying in the distance. We then cut to see Baloo running in with Kit's baseball cap yelling for Kit. We then cut to the public address system as the PA announcer introduces the star of the show Daring Dan and his new partner Kit Cloudkicker. We see the nasty weapon pillars from earlier and a large set of balloons (about 10,000 of them at least) which will probably be used before this segment is over. We then see the white seaplane fly in from the east on the east pan shot as Kit is on top of the top wing above Dan Dawson again. Man; the announcer must be gutsy to address Kit without laughing over the Cloudkicker part. Baloo slides in safe into the arena as he is confused by the partner part. We then see Dan in the plane with his goggles on as the crowd pops for him and Kit. Dan proclaims that they love him as Kit waves to them.
Kit isn't so happy as he wishes Baloo could see him. To some Youtube critics: If Kit was "merely rebelling"; then why would he WANT Baloo to see him? The answer is because he's trying to prove to Baloo that he's more than just a navigator with a cute face and that he can be trusted in making adult decisions. He wasn't rebelling merely for the sake of rebellioning. If you want to see characters like that; watch Bart Simpson in Daredevil Bart (which is probably a parody of this very episode and one of the few times the parody didn't work out); or in the new Disney Phineas & Ferb Dan starts the engines and flies up into the skies as Baloo chases him as Dan sees Baloo and decides to break off the last of the friendship real good by acting like Kit cannot let his fans wait for him as the white seaplane takes off in a blast of red and blue smoke. Simple and effective as this is a non-verbal cue to Kit that Baloo doesn't give a damn about him anymore. Baloo eats their dust literally coughing all the way as Baloo has basically been squashed and so have the friendship.
So the white plane spirals into the air with colored smoke and then drops into a downward spiral as Kit hangs onto the wire without the grabbers this time around. Kick Buttowski has got to be the most jealous kid in history right now because Kit is making him look weak and REALLY STUPID at this point. Did I mention that Kit is wearing the blue suit which contains the thunderbolt design in the middle of his chest. That's like striking a symbolic thunderbolt blow to Baloo's heart. Kit then drops back and grabs onto the tailsection of the plane quickly. He misjudges that by a spilt second; he could easily die from the fall. Dan pushes the red button (the staple of all TaleSpin buttons) and that releases the tow rope. Kit lets go of the tailsection and then grabs onto the tow rope white handle as Baloo watches on in shock. And then the rope snaps (NOT THAT SPOT AGAIN!) and Kit gets flunged complete with backflips as Kit freefalls towards the ground as Baloo on the ground appears like he is going to have a stroke. Kit then grabs his airfoil and then steps on it and acts like a plane rider (!!!) defying gravity as he slices through a cloud in the process with the TaleSpin victory theme. Kit dives down and slides onto the ramp balloons as the PA announcer proclaims that it is all part of the show. Did I mention that Pat Fraley cracks me up when he sezs that? I did?
Okay; let's move on and Kit is so light that he only pops about three balloons total as Kit grabs the real tow rope (no logic break since Dan probably has a spare in the white plane). We then see Kit do his awesome cocky pose (IN YOUR FACE KICK BUTTOWSKI!). We then cut to an elephant conductor (in red) playing with the band as the crowd pops loudly for that one and the graffiti and hat fly. Baloo sulks in defeat and admits that they love him (HA!) as Disney Captions screws up again as Baloo said in the audio "Whom am I kiddin?"; not "He ain't my kid". I swear to god that Disney Captions hates deaf people. We get a shot of Kit grabbing the towrope with his foot (the right one) while doing the Gruffi pose as the white plane flies around and then Kit really shows how insane he is by actually using some flaming flares to create red smoke. (Kick: Ah, biscuits!) Baloo walks away from the airfield (near Boomstone it seems judging by the CACTUS JACK OF DOOM in the background as Baloo ends the segment with this.....
Baloo: Maybe Becky was right. Maybe the kid is cut out for something special. Something better than hauling cargo with a fat, stupid old bear like me. (Baloo waves goodbye to Kit with the baseball cap.) So long Kit. I'd knew you win. (Baloo walks to the SeaDuck as the red smoke is above the SeaDuck and that ends the segment 15 and a half minutes in. Remember Baloo's feelings for later on because it plays into the next important part of the character development between Baloo and Kit.)
After the commercial break; we go to Kit's trailer BEFORE HAPPY HOUR (sunset) which has a yellow star on it too. We head inside as Dan is putting the MONEY, MONEY, YEAH, YEAH on the drawer in front of the mirror with an oil lamp. Dan looks in the mirror talking about the big bucks. Now watch Dan Dawson go from evil looking babyface to downright scummy monster heel in matter of seven minutes. He breaks the ice by proclaiming giving Kit just a dollar which means Baloo lied all along about Dan never giving him a dime. Dan gave ten times that. It's still FRAUD since Kit was promised $500 a week up front at least. Kit blows him off as Dan grabs him and explains that the new uniform and dressing room were part of the payment see. Even though those should have (and probably HAVE been) paid off beforehand. Dan proclaims that it all adds up and I agree. It adds up to FRAUD and CHILD EXPLOITATION~! Like I said; we aren't thirty seconds in and Dan is turning into a scumbag.
Dan proclaims that Kit could pay it off sooner if they give something the rubes would really pay for as he wants Kit to do a new stunt and Kit yells loudly on a new stunt which Dan calls a great idea. And he keeps calling Kit Ace by the way. He then waltzes over and shows Kit a poster of The Flaming Tunnel of Fear and it shows Kit surfing through flamming hoops. (Kick: Ah! Biscuits!) Clearly Dan Dawson has NEVER watched Backdraft, although BackDraft probably didn't exist this world. Kit gulps in fear as he realizes just how dangerous that really is as he doesn't mind taking chances; but he is having some second thoughts about it now. Dan wraps it up and calls Kit a coward more or less as he flips the poster near the oil lamp as Kit calls him out for calling him a coward because he's Kit F'N Cloudkicker see. However; if anything goes wrong; he's dead toast. And he is RIGHT since fire lives to CONSUME!
Kit takes off the suit and he IS wearing the green sweater. Now you know Kit is a god when he's not DYING from the heat caused by wearing that thing in hot climates. Dan insists that nothing will go wrong and that he is in control see. Dan goes over and takes the poster which is burning and dumps it into a conveniently placed glass of water telling Kit about the big bucks. Kit decides to accept the stunt and tries to get another word across; but he gets his hair playfully messed up and Dan sezs good night to him and slams the trailer door shut. Kit doesn't look happy at all as he has the suit halfway in a symbolic moment of wondering at the crossroads of his life. He walks towards the box and sits down in front of a green table and stares at a picture of him and Baloo (A B&W photograph) and wonder what Baloo is up too; still believing that Baloo really is having the time of his life and doesn't give a damn about him anymore. In other words; Dan has succeeded in breaking them up forever and in Kit's mind; if he leaves, he's on the streets again as Baloo would never accept him back.
However; we head to the docks and a much different story unfolds as Baloo is fishing and feeling absolutely miserable about all this. We pan over to the office as Rebecca has her clipboard and they have been unable to ship anything in a week and something must be done. Sadly; this event just shows how important Kit Cloudkicker really IS to Higher...For...Hire. Kit does almost ALL of this work and he used to do it with pride. It also shows that without Kit; Baloo is a miserable shell of his former self. Baloo and Kit really hate themselves more than they could ever hate each other. When they are together; they are whole and happy. This just makes Plunder and Lightning make more sense and it also shows just how bad it ultimately was for Kit before he met Baloo. We then see a brown dog police officer (I'm guessing Ed Gilbert or Pat Fraley) as he is looking for a pilot named Baloo. Rebecca points to the docks and the officer goes over to Baloo and Baloo throws the fishing pole away and surrenders since he has nothing to live for now that Kit is gone. The police officer is baffled as Baloo asks if it was about the parking tickets. I don't think they automatically send you to jail on parking violation Poppa Bear. In an amazing twist; someone actually paid off this joke in a later episode. Anyhow; the officer is gathering information on someone as he shows a picture of Dan Dawson in B&W holding a prison number sign and we finally get to one of the funniest injokes in the series:
Officer: Dan Dawson, alias Dan Dubronke, alias Daring Dan, alias......
Trivia #3: Dan Dawson is voiced by Cam Clarke, alias Jimmy Flanders, alias James Flinders, alias Cameron Arthur Clarke etc, etc. Now you understand where the in-joke comes from and it's a nice touch too. Cam started with a cameo as Pasco Junior in Daniel Boone in 1970. He then got a semi big break in voicing Peewit in the English version of The Smurfs & The Magic Flute in 1976 and Morrie Carson in Baker's Hawk. He went on to anime and a few Z-grade movies with Revenge of the Sun Demon and Attack of the Super Monsters for the movies, and Wily Fog Travels Around the Earth as Rigoden, D'Artacan y los tres mosqueperros as Dogtanian, and Robotech (Macross in Japan; although considering how dubs were created in America that was one of those at least in theory type of deals) as Maximillion Sterling. He was Dirk Daring in G-Force, Jason Templer in Macron-1 and Kaneda in Akira. He also did a Hong Kong/English dub movie known as City Cops. He also did cameos for live action series and animation as Leonardo and Rocksteady in the 1987 edition of TMNT and did voices for video games for the series up until the end of the run (Clarke did not reprise the voice when 4Kids bought the license to TMNT).
He also voiced Snoopy in the Snoopy Musical (!!!) and even voiced a few early video games as Meathook in The Secret of Monkey Island and Rise of The Dragon. TaleSpin is his DTVA debut and he was the boy at the fountain in Darkwing Duck, Young Gillecomgain in Gargoyles and Maxwell in the Golaith Chronicles, cameo in Aladdin the Series, and the adult Simba in Timon & Pumbaa (and future Lion King productions actually), plus a few cameos in Quack Pack, Straut in Pepper Ann, Simba in House of Mouse, Dean Collins in WITCH, and Whirlybird in Secret Agent Oso. Cam has over 200 productions to his resume, 3 ADR credits, one casting, one consultant, and seven credits in PR. He is also known as Liquid Snake in the Metal Gear Solid series, appeared in Heroes as a cameo, is Aoi (and a few other ninjas) in Naruto (!!!), appeared in Killer7, in several Tales RPG games, cameo in Final Fantasy XIII, Hercules in God of War II, appeared in a Veggietales movie, was Freddy The Ferret in Barnyard (movies and series), lemura in Bleach, Laz Howard in Terminator: Salvation: The Machinima Series and did about 100 character voices in Everquest II. Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening as Harren is his most recent credit to date.
Baloo asks what he wants him for beside shooting his mouth off. The officer proclaims that he has been hearing rumors about people getting injuried doing those crazy stunts of his. I'm thinking that is a BS&P decision since those stunts are in the air and the chances of injury are smaller than the chances of DEATH. The officer cannot prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt as Baloo pumps his fist and is pissed off now. The officer is going to watch him tomorrow at New Fedora to catch him in the act as he panics because Baloo runs into the SeaDuck and even Rebecca yelling at him not to do it and ruin everything. Baloo doesn't give a damn as he's in the pilot seat starting the engines and he gets off this awesome line....
Baloo: When I get through with him; he'll be able to count all his teeth on one finger!
OUCH! Dan is now officially a heel and he hasn't even got started on the nasty stuff on Kit yet. Baloo flies the SeaDuck away towards the cliffs as we head to the air field in New Fedora as the balloons with flaming hoops are already set up and there is a thunderstorm brewing. SYMBOLISM BABEE~! We zoom in as Kit and Dan are having an argument about the storm as Kit wants to wait until after the storm is over while Dan wants to do it NOW and paid off the rubes with a show. And now Kit has had enough of Dan's recklessness which is funny considering that Kit went through a storm no problem in the beginning of the episode. I see Baloo still has some influence left in him. One of few moments Kit looked like a hypocrite. Dan threatens to fire him if he refuses the stunt and calls him a fly boy. Dan calls THAT a point (of being a heel) as Kit cannot believe this. Dan goes to his plane and wants to hit the clouds because the fans cannot be kept waiting.
Kit does the Gruffi pose and yells at him that he cannot be fired because he quits. He even throws the dollar bill down like a girl and storms off to the right. And Dan now realizes that he made the big mistake by doing that (since Kit is the reason for the fans being in the seats in the first place) and he goes over and tries to calm him down and even slaps himself in the face in a hilarious matter. He yells at his crew to stop the stunt as it is cancelled and finito. He pleads and begs for Kit not to be angry at him and Kit does the Gruffi pose and stammers. Dan takes that as a sign that Kit is the greatest. He ushers Kit over to the white seaplane playing this really hilarious routine as Kit is still sore as hell over it. Dan proclaims that now that the stunt is cancelled; he'll take him home on one last flight for old time sake. Kit agrees to it and Dan uses the goggles to mess up Kit's hair again. UH OH! DAN IS GOING TO KILL HIM~! No, not really. Kit walks away stage left as Dan rubs his hands in evilness. He's lying you see.
So we head into the skies as the rainstorm continues on in full blast. The thunder claps as Baloo messes with the map and cannot read it to save his life. He wants his navigator so bad now. So we head back to New Fedora at the air field as Dan flies his white seaplane into the sky and we cut to the front seat (a bad sign that Dan is lying) as Kit takes off the goggles and proclaims that he is going to give the stuff back to him. Dan tells him to keep it as a souvenir for his next stunt and Kit is SHOCKED and APPALLED (in that order). Kit thought he was taking him home. Dan gets on the transmitter and orders his crew to light the hoops. Dan is now in full oily heel mode here as we see the flaming hoops lit on fire from below. Then we see a shot of Kit sitting down as Dan has a dagger and he cuts Kit's seatbelt (!!!). He then turns the white seaplane down and Dan orders Kit to fly or fall; all the same to the crowd as Kit freefalls out of the plane. What an evil scumbag this Dan Dawson, alias etc etc fellow is. Kit freefalls with his airfoil as the announcer cracks me up again with it all being a part of the show.
We get a shot of the flaming tunnel of doom (I guess Dan changed the pun at the last minute. Go figure) as Kit gets on the airfoil and looks up to the clouds as the thunder is clapping. And here comes the SeaDuck out of the clouds as Kit cannot believe this. Baloo pulls on the stick and the tailsection of the SeaDuck opens to reveal the tow rope and Kit catches it right on perfect time. Baloo then hyperboles the plane up as Kit manages to miss the flamming hoops by about three inches. He was that close to realizing the reality of Backdraft. Dan is PISSED off as he shakes his fist at the SeaDuck and then panics as Baloo is coming after him because Dan's death is all part of the show. And you DON'T PISS OFF POPPA BEAR OR COME IN BETWEEN HIS KID! Read the fanfic Thicker Than Water and see why. Baloo uses the number two engine and slices and dices half of the white seaplane. So THAT'S why WildCat was working on the engine then? Kit flies into the SeaDuck as the white seaplane goes into a tailspin (BWHAHAHAHAHA!).
We then see Kit walk into the cockpit with a tear in his eye (which he rubs out) and he jumps into Baloo's arms and they embrace. It's just warms my heart to see that after Dan came so damn close to killing the relationship for good. Now the best part is yet to come as we have one more minute left in the show so to speak. We then see Dan Dawson freefall (I guess he did when Baloo sliced the plane with the propeller) and he opens his chute; but he comes too close to the flamming hoops and he runs on air like mad; but the embers catch fire on the parachute and Dan tries to blow out the fire; but it stays lit and gets worse as the entire parachute burns to ashes and he freefalls....right into the arms of the police officer. The officer gets the LIGHTBULB OF BLOODY CLAIRTY and drops Dan on his ass with a MAN-SIZED bump onto the ground. He does the alias joke again as Dan is under arrest for child exploitation, fraud, dangerous use of flares, and criminal neligence to cause bodily harm. Dan tries to run away; but the SeaDuck drives straight at him and he is forced to run back....and he takes the funniest bump off the nosecone of the SeaDuck....and does a face first faceplant right in front of the police officer. We then get a shot of Kit throwing the blue suit he wore right in Dan's face and he rightfully blows him off for trying to MURDER him and his friendship with Papa Bear. In the Stormy Weather novelization; Kit actually recoils after and cries in Baloo's arms in a real symbolic moment which time constraints prevented.
So we head to the scene changer as we head into the skies as Kit apologizes for leaving him and he looks so afraid of doing this. He cannot believe that Baloo would want him back at this point after all the nasty stuff he said and did to him. Even after Plunder and Lightning; Kit is still afraid to trust male adults. I mean after all; Don Karnage betrayed him and now Dan has betrayed him (and both almost got Kit killed I might add), and Kit thinks Baloo betrayed him; how could he trust anyone again. However; Baloo basically forgives him as he is still an idiot with the map and he needs a good navigator anyway. Kit sees it as Baloo trusting him again as Kit takes the map and folds it. He brings out his compass and points that Cape Suzette is straight ahead as the clouds clear up in a symbolic moment and Baloo welcome Kit back for good until Flight School Confeditial. That welcome home made my eyes mist up inside. That ends the episode and the Disney Channel Previews at 21:18. You know what this episode is getting. ***** (100%).
THE REVIEW LINE
Well; we end the Disney Channel preview episodes with a perfect episode that I expected it to be from the start. From a quality angle; it was perfect and it was also perfect from a historic angle as well. This began the foreshadowing of Kit Cloudkicker's character in earnest. Watching it again doesn't change my opinion on it's importance one bit as it was a pathos fest from start to finish. Plus; it was mostly subtle pathos in the non-verbal cues that Kit and Baloo were showing. This is the Disney I remembered. DTVA was before this episode about roll licking adventures, comedy and morals. We saw some flashes of it in Ducktales with Scrooge losing his fortune to a nasty weasel (all just a dream mostly) and Scrooge going to prison; but we never saw it in this much degree and with a child no less as the focus character. There are also little cues in the episode where I could tell that Kit wasn't merely rebelling against authority; but had a cause to prove to Baloo that he was more than a cute navigator.
Of course it doesn't make as much sense until you watch Plunder and Lightning which came three months later and Kit reveals that he was more than just a mere runaway orphan. When Kit proclaimed that he was an Air Pirate; Stormy Weather and The Idol Rich to a much lesser extent were changed. It turned from a rebel Pollyanna story to a betrayal of trust Pollyanna story. This is the kind of nasty stuff that the new Disney would never allow today because the pathos are too strong for the kids to take. I mean; look at how they treated Plunder and Lightning six weeks after it aired on the Disney Channel. Disney tried to feign time constraints; but sleep with the fleas Disney, you know the real story was because it was too close to being an actual Disney feature that was on free television while two movies were being shown for seven dollars. It brings a tear to my eye that a 22 minute episode like this was more effective in pathos than anything in feature not named The Lion King. Great job Magon; I'm sadden that it ultimately cost you your job at Disney because if this were the Disney we knew; Kit Cloudkicker would have been ran with until parents got sick of it.
So this ends the Disney Channel previews and we have six thumbs up and one in the middle. While that is good news by any measure; only one episode actually increased in value, two stayed the same and five other went down as much as 3/4*. Then again; I might have been biased when I did those episodes in the past; so there you go. So that is all until September 9th, 2010 when I unleash Plunder and Lightning again on the world. So......
Thumbs way up for this episode and I'll see you next time.
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