Talk about stereotyping a species. In today’s survey of fitness and weight-watching cartoons, all but two of the participants are felines! Garfield, well known for his wider qualities, of course takes center stage (and portions of stage left and stage right at the same time). But others join him, as outlined below. Even Disney would add a recurring villain to “Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers” who never dieted nor exercised, appropriately named “Fat Cat”. Yes, the 90’s were really the dog days for the feline world.
Health Feud (Film Roman, Garfield and Friends, 9/27/89) – Garfield slowly awakens one morning, seating himself at the breakfast table in anticipation of his owner providing him with a hearty breakfast. Instead, he finds the plates bare, and Jon occasionally passing through the kirchen at full run in a jogging suit. Garfield tries to get Jon’s attention. “Flapjack shortage. Serious lack of pancakes here. Attention, Mission Control…” Realizing things will be “self-service” today, Garfield opens the refrigerator door, and stares inside in horror. “The refrigerator’s empty – and I didn’t empty it!” The cause is a new TV exercise show host, Rick Deltoid, who’s got Jon working out and throwing away all his fattening foods. Jon asks Garfield to join him in exercising in front of the set. “Not for all the lasagna in Italy”, reacts Garfield. On the program, the show host invites the viewers to work out at Rick Deltoid’s House of Sweat. Jon drags Garfield along, insisting that the cat also get in shape. Garfield insists he already is – “Round is a shape.”
At the gym, Deltoid questions if Garfield is a cat or a mattress with whiskers. Garfield states he hates anyone whose I.Q. is smaller than his waistline. Deltoid helps the boys to a blender smoothie including such goodies as organically grown mud and refried soybeans. Garfield is force-fed a glass, exits stage left to yell offscreen “Yuck”s and “Gaaak”s, then reenters calmly, and admits, “Not bad. Could use a little lemon…” The exercise regimen begins. Jon works on a rowing machine, while Garfield putts by in a real rowboat powered by outboard motor. The steam room finds Garfield roasting wieners, but complaining that the steam is just ruining his hair. The old stationary bike gag is used again, but this time Garfield rides with Jon and the freed vehicle out the gym door, down the block, and into the door of an ice cream parlor, where he orders all 32 flavors piled up on a sugar cone in alphabetical order. Garfield piles walnuts under the weights of Deltoid’s barbells, using the health guru as a human nutcracker. Finally, Deltoid leaves for the TV studio to do his program, closing up shop and instructing Jon to go home to watch the show. Jon promises to do so, and to follow Deltoid’s every instruction – which Garfield interprets as indication that he’ll never get a square meal again unless this fitness freak is gotten rid of. Jon jogs home, but is not accompanied by Garfield, who stows away in Deltoid’s car, sticking himself to the back windshield like so many of the suction-cupped toy Garfield dolls that were major sellers at the time, in clever self-promotion.
At the studio, Garfield learns that Deltoid reads all of his dialogue from cue cards, which are drying out in the alley. He also finds a trash can full of old cue cards left over from other shows. “The game is cue card rummy – and I deal”, says Garfield, shuffling in the old cards where he desires. The broadcast commences, and Deltoid finds himself introducing a new exercise – honk like a goose and wave your wings in the sun (a leftover card from a nature show). He then tells the viewers to dress in basic black with a pearl ensemble (from a fashion program), and encourages them to eat pizza (from a cooking show). The station manager furiously calls the show the worst exercise program he’s ever witnessed, and fires Deltod on the spot. Garfield leaves happy, but wonders if an outright firing was a little cruel. After all, who in the audience could be stupid enough to follow all those instructions. He arrives home to find Jon in pearls and black dress, and honking like a goose. That’s who.
Buffed Bunny (Warner/Steven Spielberg, Tiny Toon Adventures, 9/20/90) – At a local ice cream parlor, Buster Bunny springs for a giant ice ceam cone for Babs Binny, with Babs telling the vendor to pile three kinds of ice cream, bananas, whipped cream, and a cherry atop it – then turns down the whole thing after it’s paid for because she’s on a diet. She inquires why Buster doesn’t watch his weight more, and Buster replies it’s because he’s on a “see food” diet – he sees it, and he eats it. Suddenly, Babs’ eyes pop out, as she oogles a billboard atop a nearby building, causing Buster to drop the ice cream mountain all over himself. Buster looks up to see a billboard for a diet cola, featiring a picture of body builder dog “Arnold” (a Schwarzenegger take-off in both build and voice). Buster can’t believe Babs would go for that sort of stuff, but Babs replies that girls drool for that kind of hunk. Observing his own muscles drooping like Bugs Bunny’s in “Bunny Hugged”, Buster decides a trip to Arnold’s gum is in order, where a sign proclaims that “We pump you ip and spit you out.” To illustrate the point, Plucky Duck is forcibly ejected from the door, landing in a heap on the pavement, and commenting. “These cameo roles are murder.” Arnold appears, informing Buster that “That workout didn’t work out. NEXT!”. then grabs Buster and hauls him inside.
Buster gets off on the wrong foot by dropping a dumbbell on Arnold’s head. Arnold responds by giving Buster a “First lesson”, holding the rabbit up by the ears, while placing a barbell in his hands to hold. The barbell stretches both of Buster’s arms to the floor. “Hey, at least I won’t have to bend over to cut my toenails any more”, says Buster, looking on the bright side. Arnold puts Buster on a folding exercise table known as the belly cruncher, which flattens Buster like a pancake. “Aptly named”, notes Buster. A weight and pully machine is cranked up for high, pulling Buster past the pulley and into the weight chamber, smashed between two weights into a small rectangle. This wasn’t exactly the “shape” Buster imagined himself in. Arnold next beats madly at a drum, while Buster toils at a rowing machine as if on a slave galley. At home in his rabbit hutch, Bugs Bunny frowns that the show is making rabbits look bad, and reaches into his television screen to retrieve Buster, giving him a few pointers on how to place the “pea brain” in his place. As Bugs puts Buster back into the screen, he mentions that he just lo-o-oves Buster’s show – then asides to the audience, “Warner Brothers paid me to say that.” Buster returns to the rowing machine, but this time in fisherman’s hat, and holding a rod and reel. He suddenly claims to have hooked a big one, and struggles to reel it in. Arnold insusts on helping the “puny person” land his catch, and assumes Buster’s position on the rowing machine. Arnold pulls powerfully back on the line, which snaps – releasing a huge iron weight suspended from the ceiling and through pulleys on the other end of the line. CLANGGG!! The metal weight cracks into fragments, and flattens Arnold’s head. Arnold gives chase, calling Buster a “98 ounce weakling”. The chase leads into a steam room, where the old turn-up-the-thermostat gag is revisited, now with a top setting of “deep fat fry.” Arnold emerges, reduced to five inches tall. In a sullen and shrunken voice, he walks pack Buster, stating “I’d rather you didn’t see me now.” Buster finally tells the audience he will now put on some serious muscles, Buster style.
Buster returns to Babs, who is about to dine at an outdoor café. He makes a dramatic appearance, appearing to be pumped up with bulging chest and biceps. “Sufferin’ steroids! What happened to you?”, asks Babs. Buster flexes in he-man poses, and states he is now what girls drool over, just like on the billboard. Babs informs him that that wasn’t the sign she was reacting to, but the billboard below it, advertising a “hunk” of delicious carrot cake. She also notices that Buster is a fraud, pulling a plug on his sweatshirt that deflates his artificial muscles from an inflatable suit. Buster spies that Babs has one of the carrot cakes on the table, and grabs it for himself as some recompense for his futile efforts, with Babs in hot pursuit. “No pain, no gain”, says Buster, as the chase continues down the street for the iris out.
The Garfield Workout (10/27/90) – Jane Fonda was fashion’s newest fitness guru, cashing in on the new medium of video tape with instructional videos, as well as opening a franchise of aerobics clubs known as “Jane Fonda’s Workout”. Obviously, the trend was ripe for lampoon – and Garfield performs such task with all the subtlety of a harpoon. Garfield opens the film in gym shirt and sweatband, pointing to the camera. “Are you ready to do the workout?”. he asks. The voices of the viewers respond “Yes!”. “Good. You ddo the workout. I’m going to take a nap.” He flops on an exercise mat, while a narrator provides a legal disclaimer screen of the kind one would find on an average workout video – sort of. “Caution: The exercises you are about to see should not be attempted except under the care of a doctor or good Italian chef.” Garfield promises a program of great exercises like the aerobic pasta lift, the cardiovascular refigerator door press, and aerobic snoring. Garfield provides helpful hints to tell when you’re overweight, including needing someone to use an instant camera to point out the location of your feet, wearing a wristwatch on each hand because you cover two different time zones, or, falling down and not even noticing it for days. Garfield demonstrates the “sit” diet with the unwilling assistance of Nermal – you can eat anything you want, as long as you can stand sitting on it. The principle works, because you can easily sit on a lettuce leaf, but not so well on a cocoa vanilla pudding cake with fudgey frosting – 22,611 calories, per crumb. The comedy diet is also helpful. You can eat anything, as long as it’s thrown at you. Garfield demonstrates by performing a lame stand-up comedy routine, ending with a barrage of foods thrown at him by the audience. The diet is effective because most of what is thrown is usually vegetables – although you get the occasional banana cream pie. Garfield presents Odie, exhausted from a traditional workout, and declares this is not conducive to good health – then demonstrates the principal activity in the Garfield Workout – falling asleep in his cat bed. Back at the Arbuckle home, Jon watches the show on a portable TV in his kitchen, and tells the audience that’s not really the Garfield Workout, then demonstrates what is, as he opens the oven to reveal a freshly-baked pepperoni and Parmesan lasagna. The aromas waft their way to the gymnasium where Garfield sleeps, halfway across town. Garfield’s eyes pop open, and he scurries in a blur past a spinning Odie, out the door, bowls down several pedestrians, races numerous city blocks, and arrives at the dinner table in 15 seconds flat to devour the lasagna using both paws. “Now that’s the Garfield Workout”, concludes Jon.
Gruel and Unusual Punishment (Disney, Talespin, 12/4/90) – In a rare instance of fraternizing with her employees, Rebecca dolls herself up in evening gown, in preparation for the social event of the season, the Pilot’s Ball. Of course, to attend, it’s necessary that she bring along a pilot – and Baloo is the only one available. “You do have a tuxedo?”, she questions Baloo. Baloo insists everything s under control, and he won’t let her down – between swallows of a sandwich he’s pilfered from the refrigerator. Rebecca gets him to promise to try to lose some weight before the ball. “Cross my heart and hope to diet”, promises Baloo.
Baloo pulls out his old tux from an older cargo box, replete with several gaping mothholes. “So suave. So debonair”, he boasts. “So fat”, adds his ward Kit Cloudkicker, as Baloo struggles to wrap the vest around his midriff. Baloo manages to fasten one button in place – which instantly pops, ricocheting around the room, bouncing into Baloo’s mouth to be nearly swallowed. “Man, that baby had topspin”, Baloo remarks. Kit recommends professional help, and tells Baloo about having heard on the radio about a “famous fat farm”, the Elizabeth Taper Center, where all the movie stars go to drop tonnage. (Reference is considerably out of period for the series, nominally set in the 1930’s, apparently lampooning the dieting efforts of Elizabeth Taylor, which occurred many decades later.) Baloo, as he refers to Kit by his affectionate nickname “little britches”, realizes that without the Center’s help, he’s going to need “big britches”. So he, Kit, and navigator Wildcat set out in the Sea Duck to find the remote island where the Center is located. Dim-witted Wildcat has to ask if the islands are the little “green things” on the map. As Baloo chomps upon a last guacamole taco for the road, the map suddenly develops several more “green things” in the form of guacamole splatter. Thus, Wildcat directs Baloo to bail out for a parachute drop upon an unexpected destination – Bedeviled Island, home of Thembria’s maximum security prison. (This has all the makings of another Mr. Magoo plot.)
In the jungles below, Baloo encounters a chain gang. He mistakes the armed guards for strict counselors. They mistake him for a new inmate. Baloo acquires a ball and chain, which he believes is a combination leg weight and medicine ball. Giving the ball a toss, he is dragged with it, to land plop upon the chief officer of the camp. As punishment, he is taken to a “hot box” capable of reaching 200 degrees in the sunshine. “A solar powered sauna”, says Baloo, appreciative of the deluxe equipment. After surviving a day inside, while watching a thermometer pop within, Baloo feels like he’s lost ten pounds already. His workout is far from over, as the camp officer orders Baloo onto what appears to be a stationary bicycle, but which is really linked by belts to power the ceiling fan system for his private office. As night approaches, everyone, including Baloo at the pedals, eventually falls asleep. Another prisoner, a scrawny little scientific type, who has previously overheard Baloo state he is a pilot, slips into the office during the night, and makes off with the propellers from the ceiling fans, as well as the metal of several filing cabinets. Baloo gets blamed for the theft, and spends another day in the hot box. Complaining to himself about still not receiving any food or drink, Blaoo wittily remarks as the mid-day heat beats down upon his encasement, “If only a day without orange juice was a day without sunshine.” (An interesting cross-plug for the slogan of the Florida Citrus Council, for which Disney was concurrently producing animation and a phonograph records for the “Orange Bird” ad campaign.) Baloo is finally released for dinner at the mess hall, where he is presented with a large bowl, chock full of a hearty helping of – steam – no food, just steam. Baloo has had enough, and, fat or no, determines to take his leave. He is arrested for attempting to escape, and finally told he is in prison. “Do I look like Elizabeth Taper?”, the officer playfully snarls.
Baloo is sentenced to be executed by cannon firing squad. He attempts to delay the sentence by making a last request, for “lunch, with a side of dinner”. When the officer starts hearing Baloo’s endless menu requests, including “angel food cake, devil’s food cake, something in-between cake”, and others, he gives the command to fire anyway. But, Thembria being a poor country, the cannon shells are empty of gunpowder. Baloo is placed on rock pile detail to await Saturday, when a new load of ammunition (hopefully of greater potency) is scheduled to be delivered. There, he meets the little scientific prisoner again, who inquires about his piloting abilities, then informs him he has built a two-man plane for an escape, and needs his flying skills. The ceiling fan blades and filing cabinets have not gone to waste, providing materials for propellers and fuselage. A daring midnight escape is effected (though starving Baloo is almost sidetracked by a trash can outside the mess hall, which emits another waft of steam when the lid is lifted – “Leftovers”, says Baloo).
The remaining complicated plot is a bit off-course for our topic subject. Kit learns from an examination of Wildcat’s map about the guacamole mistake. The two and Rebecca fly to the island to beg for Baloo’s release, only to be informed of the escape. The officer also informs them that the prisoner who escaped with Baloo was a notorious evil scientist, bent since his youth into a dire hatred of gruel, who was imprisoned for attempting to blow up the Thembrian gruel reserves. And plans discovered from the prisoner’s belongings left behind reveal that the plane Baloo is piloting is actually loaded with enough explosives to threaten the reserve again – a flying bomb. Kit, Rebecca, and Wilcat embark on a race to intercept Baloo before the craft reaches its target, and eventually rescue Baloo, though quite a lot of gruel is spilled in the process. Baloo, still overweight, is not turned down by Rebecca for the ball. Instead, she is impressed that he went to such effort not to disappoint her, and presents him with an artificially-slimming elastic cummerbund to wear around his tuxedo like a girdle. She tells him that the way she sees things, “The more you weigh, the more there is to order around.”
Taste Makes Waist (Garfield and Friends, 9/19/92) – Jon is again overweight, and decides to start a diet. Seemingly reading his mind, a TV announcer begins to tout a new diet plan, on a half-hour show entitled “Incredible Findings”, introduced as a commercial disguised as a real program because we believe you’re too stupid to tell the difference. “Hey, at least they’re honest”, remarks Garfield. A Sylvia Svelte announces a new line of health food, showing a table full of delicious items such as roast beef, turkey, and yes, lasagna – all available at her fitness center. Jon, Garfield, and Odie all salivate at these TV images, and bunch up inside the frame of the front door, struggling to be the first to reach the Center. They request so many things from the menu that Sulvia sells them a package sampler with a 7 day supply. Sylvia presents Jon with the “introductory price”, which Jon finds staggering. But Garfield states, “I believe in sparing no expense when it comes to my stomach – especially when Jon’s paying.” Taking the food home in handy microwave containers, the three prepare for a sumptuous feast – until they open the container lids.
The portions are so small, the food can hardly be seen. Garfield looks at his lasagna under a microscope, and swears he can see some cheese – but it’s just a stain on the lens. And the taste? Yuckkk! The boys know they’ve been had, and return to the Center, demanding a refund. Unfortunately, they are met by assistants Bruno and Igor, who enforce the “No Refunds” policy by hurling the boys out the door and smack into a lamppost. Garfield, however, insists he will make things right. He calculates that anyone dealing with such ridiculously small and tasteless food items all day will be voraciously hungry for some real food. He hauls into the studio where Sylvia shoots her commercials a sack full of food from all of the town’s best and highest calorie restaurants, then sets the simmering foodstuffs in front of the intake for the studio’s air conditioning system. Sylvia begins to pick up the aromas in the middle of her spiel, and becomes totally distracted with food cravings. As the final bait, Garfield hooks a pizza to a fishing wire, and lowers it from the stage rafters to within Sylvia’s reach. Sylvia’s eyes bug out in crazed fashion, and she begins gobbling down the pizza on camera, blowing her dieting image. She abandons the commercial altogether, racing backstage to find the source of the other aromas, and winds up sharing in the banquet with Garfield, promising not only to refund Jon’s money, but everyone else’s too. “Hey, it’s okay to eat healthy – so long as you eat something”, closes Garfield.
Gymnauseum (Disney, Goof Troop. 11/16/92) – What could possibly make Black Pete go on an exercise kick? An embarrassing and destructive incident of getting stuck in his favorite easy chair while chowing down on snacks and watching the big football game. Ans a frustrating flirtation with his wife by a rival sports car dealer who prides himself on being a buffed beefcake. Pete opens his big mouth too wide un protest – and ends up in a challenge grudge match against his hunk rival to compete in the annual winter games. Dieting alone isn’t going to solve the problem, as Pete breaks into hallucinations of his TV set as a hamburger, his easy chaur as a banana split, and his sofa as a row of cupcakes – and Pete gains one ounce just from the sheer thought of them. Buying an exercise bike returns us to the old “pull the retainer pin” gag again for another silhouette hole through the front door. Goofy’s along for moral support – and to provide a handy “how to” book on exercise, leading to a throwback to Jack Kinney’s “instructional” Goofy series, complete with stentorian narrator. A day at the gym includes competitive exhibitions between Goof and Pete at rope skipping. Pete adds a new angle of his own, turning his rope jumping into a demonstration of Westert lasso-swinging. But eventually, the two contestants are knotted together like a fishing rod backlash. On a weight/pulley machine, Goofy sets the pull ropes to link with the heaviest weights in the stack. Pete lifts, but fails to follow the narrator’s instruction to release the weights “slowly”, and gets yanked off his feet into the pulleys, while the narrator concludes, “Never mind.” Trampoline jumping builds until Pete hits the ceiling, knocking a hole in it with his head, then falls with a crash back onto the trampoline, puncturing it. Pete walks off with the trampoline framework bent around his waist, grumbling, “I really hate this.” A souped-up treadmill with video screen depicting a country road provides Goof with plenty of motivation, but is a bore to Pete – until a video image of his rival in a sports car appears on the screen, goading him with the challenge, “Catch me if you can”. Pete runs so fast in anger that he can’t come to a stop when Goof offers him lunch, and flies backwards from the momentum of the speeding belt, into the wall. Eventually, through some behind-the scenes trickery by Goof and Pete’s family, and some plain dumb luck, Pete succeeds over his rival, but ends the episode as he started – one again wedged and stuck in his easy chair.
The Garfield Opera (10/24/92) is a double homage to classic animation, raising memories not only of past Warner operatic classics such as Rabbit of Seville and What’s Opera, Doc, but tossing in a bow to Avery’s King Size Canary. The Buddy Bears provide an introduction in the manner of a cultured operatic telecast from PBS, noting that the episode is set entirely to music so old, they don’t have to pay for it. An entire Garfield scenario is presented in the form of a stage production, set to classic strains from “Dance of the Hours”, with all dialogue in rhyming lyrics. Jon places Garfield on a strict diet, vowing he’ll get nothing to eat until he loses ten pounds. Garfield spies a Mrs. MacPherson passing outside – the chairwoman of a society against cruelty to animals. With the use of a corset, Garfield makes himself appear undernourished and fainting. MacPherson threatens to bring the law down on Jon unless this poor cat is bountifully fed. Now, all the proverbial stops are pulled out, as the cartoon shifts into high gear, and Jon breaks into a rapid-fire production number presenting Garfield with all the food he can possibly want. Jon force-feeds mountainous plates of food into Garfield’s face, sprays cans of whipped cream into his mouth, and pops the girdle wide. Garfield begins growing exponentially with each bite, while Jon shoots sugary frosting into his mouth with a fire hose. Dancing parades of pork chops, pies and cupcakes gallop up Garfield side and into his bottomless mouth, while the cat grows upwards and outwards, past and through the theater rafters and out through the roof. Once ouside, Garfield begins to help himself. He swallows the moon with one gulp. He chugs down high-calorie drinks from the big dipper. He scoops up pawfuls of stars as if they were cereal bits. The opera ends with Garfield in the same position as Avery’s giant cat and mouse – standing alone in the universe atop a tiny planet Earth, and posing in a ballet tiptoe as the curtain comes down. A brilliant lampoon, which left me in stitches as a youth on its first airing.
Pantherobics (The Pink Panther Show, 10/4/93) – Pink (voiced by Matt Frewer) auditions to appear on the “Beefy Barbarians” game show (a spoof of then hit, “American Gladiators”). While every other applicant, all of whom display broad chest expansions and huge bulging muscles, are chosen to compete against reigning champion Atilla, Pink is turned down with the laugh, “I’ve seen veggie platters with more meat on ‘em.” Pink insists that his brains can win over brawn any day, and that Atilla is no rocket scientist. Arilla (in an impersonation of Sylvester Stallone), densely inquires, “Hey, was that a insult?”. and molds the panther into a basketball, firing the panther out the window into a back alley, where he rebounds off the walls and scores a two-point shot into a trash can. Dan Castellanata guests as the voice of a garbage man (in the voice one will recognize as that of Krusty the Clown), who had once been the trainer of Atilla but was dumped when he became a big TV star. He longs for revenge, and savors the challenge of transforming a “pink bag of bones” into a barbarian.
Pink goes into the coach’s personal training program. First step is to limber up. The coach accomplishes this by tying Pinky to a medeival rack! The gadget has been geared up with a power switch, on which the coach ups the tension setting to “loose as a goose”. Pink is wound into the shape of a rubber band on a child’s toy airplane, and the winding handle at the foot of the rack starts to spin like a propeller. “I hope I’m cleared for takeoff”, cries Pink, as the entire rack table flies through the room, and crashes through the wall. Next come chin ups. Pink pulls a fast one, making life simpler by coiling his tail like a spring to do all the pushing instead of straining his arms. “Hey, no cheatin’ in my gym”, yells the coach. “When ya’ cheat, ya’ only hurt yourself”, he continues, compressing Pinky’s tail, then letting him bounce to the ceiling. But gravity brings Pink back to Earth, landing him on the coach. “Sometimes your trainer”, the coach concludes.
Treadmill work is the next step. The coach revs up the machine to a furious pace. “Keep it up until I get back.” When he returns, Panther has the situation well in control, not moving a muscle – as he is wearing a pair of inline skates. The angry coach grabs a power saw and slices the wheels out from under him, setting up Pink for a trip around the belt resembling George Jetson on his dog walker. The coach concludes the only thing getting buffed is Panther’s tail, so turns to his “one last hope” – a rennovated car wash, which he calls “the Bufferator”. He attaches a rope and hook to Pinky’s gym shirt, and Pinky is hauled through the machine, forced inside to endure levels of hugh-speed rope skipping, bike pedaling, and bag punching. As he emerges from the machine, the coach asks, “How was it?” “Anyone ever make it out of that thing alive?”, responds Panther, as he collapses on the floor. However, the machine has performed its purpose, as muscles begin to appear on the Panther’s physique like inflating balloons. Within a few moments, he has a body-builder’s build, and the coach dubs him “The Panthenator” (reference to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Terminator” franchise).
The big TV pairup finally occurs. Atilla, however, is nonplussed even at the new look of his adversary. “You may look all muscley-wuscley, but underneath you’re still a pipsqueak, you know what I’m sayin’?” Atilla pokes Pink’s chest – and the new muscles deflate as fast as they appeared, leaving Pink to sigh, “Oh, pooh.” The events include a rope swing (in which Atilla cheats by handing Pink an electric live-wire to swing on), a run through a gamut of firing cannons (which Pink survives by knocking the cannonballs away with baseball bat and hockey stick), and a final event of jousting on a tightrope while balanced on unicycles, above the dreaded pit of ferocious poodles. “Who dreams up these games?”, wonders Panther. The coach helps Panther catch up to Atilla by coiling Panther’s tail under him, and launching him up to the tightrope. Panther mounts his unicycle, takes hold of boxing-glove tipped lance, and charges at the advancing Atilla. But suddenly, before impact, Panther seems to have disappeared. “Yo, Atilla”, his voice calls. Panther, still astride his unicycle, is now upside down under the rope – keeping himself attached to it by holding himself up with the wound tip of his tail. Without the aid of such a rear appendage, Atilla pivots himself upside down to meet Panther face to face, and asks, ‘Hey, how do you do that?” “You don’t have time to hear about it. It’s a long ‘tail’”, responds Panther. Atilla falls to the poodles, while Pink rights himself and claims the championship. He gives all his credit to the coach, but the coach refuses the plaudits, stating that Panther used his wits when he used his tail, so brains beat brawn after all. Atilla passes the camera with poodles nipping at his rear end, and Pink takes the curtain line with a wave of “Hasta la vista, Atilla”, delivered in Schwarzenegger voice.
We’ll give it a rest after one more installment, next time.