Reviews: Goof Troop
Bringin' on the Rain: An interesting phenomenon
Often when a show produces an episode that makes me react with visceral anger, that means that I have something against the episode. This is not the case with "Bringin' on the Rain." Throughout the show, I have been impressed by how the show makes me react to Pete as a character. I believe this episode was where Pete behaved in the absolute worst possible way, but it all seemed plausible. Even though PJ's suffering in the episode was played pretty dramatically, and I honestly did think PJ needed to be immediately removed from his home a couple of times (which is something I rarely thought on the show, despite my opinion on Pete's parenting), that didn't make me angry with the writers—I was impressed they decided to do something so bold on a kids' show, especially from the perspective of, "Yes, this is a real problem," and I was also impressed that they put a few PJ-centric episode elements into a Pete/Goofy episode, since those are my favorites and felt sort of shorted in the series. Pete's treatment of Goofy was just as bad, and I thought it was interesting that the writers decided to do both in the same episode. Given this, Pete seems to be carrying a Jerkass Ball—impressive for someone who is already a Jerkass, but I love it and here's why: one of the biggest struggles I have in cartoons is Designated Villains. Cartoon antagonists rarely get proportional punishment. Pete, on the other hand, does. His punishment in this episode is delightfully nonspecific. In fact, it's nonspecific enough that I (and I'm sure many other members of the unavoidable Periphery Demographic) imagined something that was not at all kid-friendly. The thing I liked the best about this episode was that it followed the pilot's idea of taking some aspects of everyone's episode tones and putting them in one episode. And during the brief Max-esque scene, something really struck me. Max does an Ask A Stupid Question immediately followed by PJ doing a Rhetorical Question Blunder. This struck me because it showed that Max and PJ were on equal footing with each other mentally. And speaking of said jokes, there were really funny moments despite the episode's tone in general being somewhat more disturbing than most.
Great Show, Minor Flaws
This show is a great example of a character-driven show. Though the cast is fairly small, there is something for every taste. The characters and their relationships are cleverly contrasted amongst themselves, so that in some sense every character is a foil for every other character. The characters are also fairly nuanced. With the possible exception of Goofy, who was something of a caricature to begin with, every character has a unique personality and moments they organically go against that set personality. The four main characters also all have very different flaws: Goofy's dumb, Pete's mean, PJ's spineless, and Max is obliviously self-centered. Being that this is a Dom Com Buddy Show with cartoony slapstick elements, the relationships between father and son and best friends are at the forefront. The show usually shows the difference between good and bad fathers, as well as the difference between functional and dysfunctional friend relations. It also does a very good job, at least in my opinion, of torquing emotions in such a way that the bad guy getting punished is always satisfying. I can't claim that every episode is perfect, and sometimes the writing of individual episodes is inconsistent. The series does have several continuity errors, and a few moments where it's difficult to believe the character we've come to love watching would act the way he's shown in that episode. But taken as a whole, the show is very good at understanding its characters, and why they act the way they do. The acting on this show, in general, is amazing. I want to put a particular focus on the power dynamic between Pete and PJ and how Jim Cummings and Rob Paulsen get it across so perfectly. Cummings definitely comes off sounding like a domineering father, with a cruelty in his voice that's not hard to believe. Paulsen, for his part, definitely gives out vibes of feeling terrified and powerless in his situation. This is one of the biggest reasons, I believe, that the torquing of emotions is so successful. The animation is fast-paced and in general gives excellent facial expressions, but it's also somewhat inconsistent, and characters' appearances sometimes change from episode to episode. It's also probably not a good idea to compare the animation on this show to that of its spinoff movies. All in all, the good outweighs the bad.