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Recap / Littlest Pet Shop 2012 S 2 E 16 Sweet Pepper

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"Well Pepper, the main thing you have to remember is to always make Captain Cuddles feel like he's the center of your attention!" "And you don't think an arm punch tells him that? Huah!" "Nooo!"

Written by Julie McNally Cahill and Tim Cahill
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Blythe gets really into a book that she wants to finish by nightfall so she can watch its movie adaptation with Youngmee and Jasper. Working in her favor is that the day is a half-day, but it means she'll still have to squeeze in reading time as much as she can. To that extent, she scurries out the door, passing Mrs. Twombly along the way. Mrs. Twombly steps in the day camp room and introduces a new pet, a European polecat named Captain Cuddles. While the other pets greet him casually, Pepper becomes instantly smitten with him. She punches him in the arm and runs away.

At Sweet Delights, Buttercream vainly tries to get Christie's attention, but Christie is in too much of a hurry trying to finish an order for later that day, frantically searching for her notes. Christie picks up Buttercream, then turns her around and finds the note on the back of Buttercream's head and puts her back down. Frustrated, Buttercream heads out the door.

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Back at the Littlest Pet Shop, Zoe notices Pepper's stench coming from behind the armchair and asks what's going on. Pepper vehemently denies any feelings she has for Captain Cuddles and becomes even more nervous when Russell calls him over. Russell points out that skunks were once referred to as polecats, with Captain Cuddles responding that the two animals are not closely related and that polecats are actually a type of weasel. Pepper, amused at Captain Cuddles calling himself a weasel, lovingly stares back at him, punches him on his front leg, and dashes into the compartment above the slide to get some alone time. This comes crashing down, however, as Pepper finds Buttercream in there, desperately searching for company with a human. Pepper informs Buttercream that Blythe will return early, then descends into a series of fantasies of romance with Captain Cuddles followed by Pepper pranking him. The fantasies only sour Pepper's mood further, however, and she stinks up the hideaway so much that Buttercream is forced out. Zoe witnesses the fumes coming out from the compartment and suggests to Minka and Penny Ling a makeover for Pepper.

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A few minutes later, Blythe dashes across the day camp to get to her room in order to finish her book. Along the way, Russell and Vinnie inform Blythe that Pepper's not feeling well, pointing to the noxious cloud emanating from the hideaway. Before Blythe can fully understand the situation, Buttercream leaps onto Blythe's leg and insists that Blythe hang out with her. Blythe tells Buttercream that she should make sure Pepper is okay, but with Zoe running about tending to Pepper, Blythe decides she'll keep Buttercream company and heads up with her through the dumbwaiter. Blythe puts Buttercream on her lap and combs her head, then gets a call from Youngmee nonchalantly mentioning spoiler moments in the book, prompting Blythe to hang up immediately.

Zoe calls Russell over to the grooming room and asks Russell to to subtly let Captain Cuddles know Pepper likes him. Russell, instead, tells it to him outright. Nevertheless, Russell provides Zoe enough time to ready the grooming platform for Pepper's makeover. With assistance from Minka and Penny, they apply makeup to Penny's face, and after a good look in the mirror, Pepper feels ready to punch Captain Cuddles again. Before Pepper can leave the room, however, Zoe offers Pepper some behavioral tips. Penny is the first up, suggesting to act like every joke Captain Cuddles tells is funny. Pepper takes offense, since as a comedian, she takes humor seriously.

Blythe pets Buttercream until she falls asleep, then sneaks her way back to the book. As she's about to start reading, Buttercream springs awake again with an itch that refuses to go away. Blythe scratches Buttercream's back for a while, but Jasper contacts Blythe over his computer. He, too, is about to reveal a spoiler, but Blythe stops him in time. After trying her best not to let Jasper spill the beans, Blythe closes her laptop. Desperate to finish her book, she picks it up, but Buttercream continues to demand her attention.

Minka steps up next with advice on how to keep Captain Cuddles's interest. Her pointer is to keep a good conversational pace and insert interjections and jumping up and down any time she can't think of anything to say. Zoe warns Pepper, however, to try not to sweat too much, lest the makeup smears. The three of them feeling ready, they send Pepper out into the day camp.

With so much time given to Buttercream, Blythe heads to Sweet Delights to return Buttercream to Christie. Buttercream, however, prefers Blythe's company and would prefer to be Blythe's new pet. To this end, Buttercream clings to Blythe's leg as she walks. Blythe makes her way to a park bench, where she gets a call from Christie asking for Buttercream back. When Blythe makes mention of Buttercream demanding attention, Christie realizes she's neglected Buttercream for days and decides to devote the rest of the day to Buttercream. As she's saying this, Blythe turns on speakerphone to let Buttercream hear it too. Blythe brings Buttercream back to Christie at Sweet Delights but gets to hear a spoiler from Christie before Blythe can say she couldn't finish the book in time.

Pepper comes up to Captain Cuddles one more time. Using Penny's advice, Pepper laughs maniacally at Captain Cuddles's greeting, then asks Captain Cuddles what he's been doing. She interrupts Captain Cuddles to leap up in the air and scream, startling him. Captain Cuddles then asks if she knows any funny jokes, as that's what he enjoys the most. Zoe signals to say no, which takes all of Pepper's willpower to do. Out of ways to save herself, she leaps into the air and screams again, which scares off Captain Cuddles. Dejected, Pepper sulks into the grooming room, passing by a Zoe frustrated at Captain Cuddles.

Pepper wipes the makeup off her face, leaving the rose in her hair and her eyeshadow. Blythe comes by to see if Pepper is okay, and Pepper tells her that trying to be a "girly-girl" is not working for her. Blythe reassures Pepper that there's no one way for a girl to act and to try reintroducing herself to Captain Cuddles as the Tomboy that she is. Pepper gives it another try, and this time, when asked if she can tell jokes, loosens up and finally manages to strike a normal conversation with him and even laugh together.

This episode contains examples of (YMMV entries go here):

  • Accent Adaptation: In the French dub Captain Cuddles is British and when he meets Pepper he says "Hello" instead of "Bonjour."
  • Be Yourself: It turns out that Captain Cuddles likes Pepper just the way she is.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Lampshaded.
    Zoe: As Blythe would say, "What the huh?"
  • The Bus Came Back: Buttercream was noticeably absent through almost the entirety of Season 2 up to this point and gets a B-story in this episode.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Of a non-romantic sort. Buttercream literally hugs one of Blythe's legs as she prefers Blythe over Christie.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Minka is fully aware she laughs at things that aren't funny all the time. Pepper states that she's a comedian. As if to demonstrate, she laughs heartily for several seconds at this statement.
  • Compressed Vice: Pepper is shown to dislike being groomed in this episode despite Blythe grooming her in the Cold Opens of "Mean Isn't Your Color" and "Blythe's Pet Project." On the other hand, she does not mind dressing up when the other pets do so, and she puts on clown makeup of her own accord in "Frenemies."
  • Continuity Nod: Pepper having no notion of how makeovers work can be previously seen in "DUMB DUMBWAITER."
  • Contrast Montage: Blythe reluctantly grooming Buttercream is intercut with Zoe forcing grooming onto Pepper. Their dialogue cannot get more direct.
    Buttercream: I love grooming time!
    Pepper: I hate grooming time!
  • Cosmetic Catastrophe: Though not of Pepper's doing, at least directly—Zoe, instead, suggests makeup to impress Captain Cuddles, and Pepper follows along. When it comes time to meet Captain Cuddles, she botches her behavior and gets her false eyelashes stuck to the bottom of her eyes. Without Blythe's artistic sense, the makeup is also overdone, though the male pets seem to like the way she looks.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Every speaking human who comes in contact with Blythe seems bent on revealing as many spoilers to Blythe as they can. It takes all of her energy to push them away. She fails.
  • Epic Fail: Pepper's efforts at being more of a 'girlie girl' ends up like this.
  • Expressive Ears: Pepper's ears can be seen drooping down sometimes in this episode whenever she's depressed.
  • Fixing the Game: Sunil unintentionally sabotages his card trick to Captain Cuddles by using a rigged deck, consisting only of aces. Taken Up to Eleven when Sunil finally goes through every single card in the deck without finding the card Captain Cuddles chose.
  • Hammerspace: Pepper apparently keeps a notepad in her tail.
  • Idiosyncratic Wipes: Act 3 has one of Buttercream's bow.
  • Imagine Spot: Pepper imagines herself and Captain Cuddles frolicking through a meadow together, then getting him wet with a flower squirter. The two of them then travel on a hot-air balloon for Pepper to zap him with a hand buzzer. They eat spaghetti later that night so that Pepper can toss a pie at his face. Buttercream seems to be aware of what she was thinking.
  • Interspecies Romance: Pepper is a striped skunk, and Captain Cuddles is a European polecat.
  • It Makes Sense in Context: In-universe. Buttercream is understandably confused about Pepper's constant mention of Captain Cuddles.
  • The Matchmaker: Russell and Zoe. Zoe prefers a more subtle approach with preparation, whereas Russell is direct and wastes no time. For some reason, Russell is astonished that Captain Cuddles has feelings for Pepper at the end of Act 2.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative
    Pepper: Just the dreamiest, most handsomest European polecat that's ever come into the day camp.
  • Pie in the Face: See Imagine Spot above.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Used by Buttercream to get Blythe to stay with her.
  • Record Needle Scratch: When Captain Cuddles greets Pepper in the Cold Open.
  • Running Gag: Pepper punching Captain Cuddles in the arm. This stops when Pepper is advised not to do it. By Act 3, Captain Cuddles starts flinching if Pepper looks like she's about to do so.
    • From the end of Act 2 and onwards, Russell is reduced to a one-word vocabulary, consisting of an astonished "Pepper!?"
  • Sanity Slippage: Pepper, caused by having to take in so much information at once about how to act proper around a someone she loves.
    Pepper: Zippity pretty-lady power Captain Cuddles laugh at everything zippity ding dong! (insane laughter)
  • Seldom-Seen Species: Captain Cuddles, a European polecat. The Other Wiki even makes mention of this creature's lack of use in the media.
  • Serious Business: Since Pepper is a comedian, she cannot bear herself to laugh at anything she doesn't think is funny. When Zoe advises Pepper not to tell any jokes and claim that she doesn't know any, she is almost in tears.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The B-story ends with no resolution whatsoever for Blythe. She fails to finish her book thanks to Buttercream, and the big reveal is spoiled to her.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Vinnie, Sunil, and Russell are stunned at how Pepper looks like with makeup on.
  • Shout-Out: Pepper and Captain Cuddles, in the Imagine Spot, move about by hopping not unlike another cartoon skunk filled with romantic thoughts.
    • The spaghetti scene, at least until the prank, plays out much like the iconic Bella Norte scene in Lady and the Tramp.
    • The book Blythe is reading is called "Famine Fest," which could be a possible reference to "The Hunger Games."
    • Pepper having a crush and trying to change herself, is similar to the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Simple Ways" in which Rarity did the same for a male pony. Both Pepper and Rarity are voiced by the same actress and both episodes aired the same week. This cannot be a coincidence, after all both shows do share writers.
  • Shown Their Work: Skunks were once classified as polecats, just as Russell said. Skunks and polecats are also not closely related, as Captain Cuddles points out.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Pepper tells Zoe that she doesn't like Captain Cuddles in any way when Zoe tries to ask what's going on.
  • Tempting Fate / Captain Oblivious: After witnessing Pepper go mad, Zoe believes everything will be just fine.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: Russell is stuck like this through all of Act 3 (including the ending).
  • Truth in Television: Real pet rabbits get very attached to humans and quickly feel lonely if not given attention.
  • Valentine's Day Episode: While it's not explicitly Valentine's Day in the episode, its premiere date did fall on the same week as Valentine's Day in 2014.
  • Verbal Tic: Captain Cuddles seems to use "How shall I say it?" as a filler quite frequently.

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