What did I just watch? No, seriously, please explain this to me. This has to be the weirdest thing I’ve ever watched. Oh, sorry I should explain. Just the other day, I was listening to The Disney Debate and they were talking about the show, Adventures In Wonderland and they didn’t exactly have nice things to say about it but then they came to talking about an episode, I knew I had to find. Mainly because Willie Nelson & Gilbert Gottfried guest starred in it. I heard this and I was “What?” Oh, there was also an episode with O.J. Simpson but I don’t believe that has been put online as of yet. So join me as I take a look at this show. Now I should explain that this show like Davis was a live action adaption of a Disney film Be it, there were many more differences in the show such as The Queen is now a good guy. Perhaps the most glaring one and the fact that for the first 3 seasons, they put The White Rabbit on roller skates so that he’d never be late. Do the changes bug me? A tad but I think I’m willing to overlook them here because I actually that theirÂ was effort put into this show.
Now I know that I normally don’t do this for episode reviews but I have so many memories of this theme song. That I just wanted to include it because it is so much fun to see this thing again as it is just so nostalgic.
Okay, the title for this episode has to be one of the oddest things here. I should explain that this episode has the theme of bullying as The March Hare’s old bully is coming to Wonderland. And they try yo use a western motif as the bully is dressed up in the black cowboy outfit and it was obvious that pies were meant to be the replacement for guns as this is a kid’s show and the fact that the Hare had his bully throw pies in his face. I’ll get that more when I talk about the plot.
Again as stated earlier, the plot of this episode is about to standing up to a bully. The episode starts out with Alice in her room as every episode talking to and answering for her cat (Weird) about a problem she has at a school. In this case, it’s a new girl at school that is a bully. She goes through her mirror to go to Wonderland to clear her head. There we see her & Hatter are having a morning tea party and waiting for Hare to show up and he does but he’s on the run as his old school bully, Mike McNasty (yes, I just typed that) is coming to Wonderland to bully him. He goes to his friends to get help to confront the bully. They promise the help him through song. Not the greatest song, mind you but then they find out he’s really fast with throwing pies and run off. Great friends, he later comes across The Red Queen who tells him that he should face him and that he could turn to a figure of authority after The White Rabbit talks about that and says that she’ll be by her side 24/7. The Queen refuses and we later see him waiting at the train station as McNasty said he’d be there at high noon, give or take 5 minutes. When McNasty shows up, he sings a a song. Disney, Gilbert Gottfried can’t sing. I thought that was made clear in The Return of Jafar. This is after The Caterpillar tells the Hare a story about a bully fish that learns what it’s like to be bullied. McNasty shows up and starts bullying Hare but Hare stands up to him and he stops. I must admit that the plot is a bit unbalanced. While the bully elements worked well, I feel that the western motifs made no sense as they were downplayed to the point of non existence. Did that make episode bad? A little, also I feel the need to point something else out here. While this show may be an adaption of Wonderland, I think it was only marginally influenced by the show. I say this because even growing up when I watched this show, I knew it was different from the film and my take on that is it’s a different interpation. I’m sure some of you are wondering why I’m letting this show get away with when I wasn’t so easy on Davis. Unlike Davis, this show is so drastically different from it’s film counterpart, that I think it is okay to seperate the two apart from each other. In my opinion, if you look at this show not being a continuation of the film, which it isn’t, I think you can find some enjoyment in the show. Admittedly, it’s a bit cheesy but again I think that comes with the territory as this is an early ’90s Disney Channel show. Now I know that you may be thinking that I’m letting the show off the hook and being a bit of hypocrite as I’ve previously attacked the upcoming 7D’s. Here’s the thing though, it was never stated that this show took place in the same contintuiy as the film and also I feel by the fact that it takes place in the ’90s, makes me feel as though trying to connect the show and the film are a bit of a stretch. With 7D’s however, it has been confirmed in press releases for that show, that it is a prequel series to Snow White, which leads me to believe that that show will have a smidge of continuity with it’s film counterpart. Sorry, if I’m rambling but I really felt the need to point this out. Quick sidenote: Even though there was music, none of it was that memorable and I really don’t feel the need to talk about it because it really didn’t serve much of a purpose.
Narration (I Guess)
Narrator – Willie Nelson
Okay, seriously why was Willie Nelson in this episode. I guess that he was supposed the be episode’s narrator but the odd thing is, this is the only episode to have one. It was done in that old style of a cowboy singing the tale detailing the events. Now that was great but again, there really was no need for Willie to be in the episode and it came off more or less as the show saying “Look, we got Willie Nelson”. Don’t get me wrong, it was seeing him on here but it made no sense. I even loved the fact that the characters within the story are confused by his presence as McNasty mouths “What”, when Willie is standing in front of McNasty. I honestly never thought I would see Gilbert Gottfried and Willie Nelson be in the same scene. Also going along these same lines, at the end of the episode, Hare asks “Who is that guy?” Just the fact that the cast was confused by his presence is great but still, his presence in the episode made no sense.
As I said above, when talking about the characters, it’s best to not think of these characters as the same ones from the film. I’ll be breaking them down into Main, Supporting, & Bully.
Alice played by Elisabeth Harrois
As stated, this show is set in the early ’90s and this Alice can be a bit annoying in the beginning when she talks to her cat, Dinah but I do see what the show was doing. As she was projecting her problems onto her cat, the same way children might do that with stuffed animals. Such as in this episode, she was talking about how a bully was taking her desserts and as I said when talking about the plot, she goes to Wonderland to clear her head and that’s where we find out that Hare is having a similar issue and this I assume is supposed to be a way to show Alice how she can handle her problem. A small issue here is that they make her the smartest character but while it’s a bit obvious that is the case, it didn’t really bug me so much. I can’t say why but I didn’t mind. As for Alice in the show, she was likable and felt like a real 12 year old girl facing issues that young children that could relate to while watching this show.
The March Hare played by Reece Holland
Now this Hare is portrayed as being nerdy. An odd choice to be sure but for this episode, it makes sense that he’s be the one that was being bullied. He was humorous seeing him run but I also feel that at the same time, it was showing kids that this is not the way to handle a bully. I have to say that one of my favorite moments was when we had a montage of seeing the Hare getting pies in his face in his high school days. It showed quite well that he was nervous and didn’t know how to handle the situation but after listening to the Caterpillar tell him the story about the bully fish, he decided to stand up to McNasty.
The Mad Hatter played by John Hoffman
The best way to describe Hatter in this show is that he’s not really mad and more or less, silly. But I do feel that it works for his character and I did enjoy it whenever he was on screen as he just felt absurd but in a toned down manner. Now it comes through that he and Hare are best friends and he is the one to suggest to Hare to try and stand up to his bully. A nice touch, he’s a silly little character but he also cares about his friends all the same.
Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum played by Harry Waters Jr. & Robert Barry Fleming
Yeah, it was the ’90s. There’s really no reason that The Tweedles should be dressed like hip hop artists. Look I’m willing to extend my different interpation only so far but with these characters, it doesn’t work. Moving on.
The Red Queen played by Armelia McQueen
Now I know that this may disappoint some Alice fans that The Queen is not a villain but the way I see it is that The Queen of Hearts and The Red Queen are not the same character. While, yes they do share similarities, I still feel that there is enough to distinguish the two. She is a bit sassy and I think and she’s willing to exert her power when needed but she does at times come across as being aloof so to say. As her own individual character, she’s not bad.
Caterpillar played by Wesley Mann
As stated up top, Caterpillar seems to be the smartest character and perhaps the most adult character. As saying he uses stories that have a moral to help the characters and in the case here, it was the story about the bully fish that had some neat animation. Other than that the Caterpillar didn’t have much to offer.
Mike McNasty played by Gilbert Gottfried
I can’t believe I’m saying this as I can’t Gilbert Gottfried but I actually liked him in this episode. Okay, Gilbert was basically playing himself but with pies. It’s so strange that I liked him here but I hate Iago. Go figure. He is a real jerk and the pie thing is a nice touch and at the end, he got his just desserts as he had pies thrown in his face. It was humorous. Still, it was a lot of fun watching him and I really think he was a highlight.
My Final Thoughts
Is this show cheesy? Yes but I still find it to be enjoyable and as I’ve said throughout, so long as you don’t try and attach it to the film and just look at it as it’s own adaption using Wonderland, you’ll get some enjoyment out of it. It’s cute and a bit silly. Also while I do think that western motifs were unneeded, I felt that the bullying elements worked well and I don’t feel as though it ever talked down to kids while handling this situation and it doesn’t go into creepy territory unlike another certain thing. All in all, The Disney Debate may not have cared for this show but I enjoyed it for what it was.