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Recap / Littlest Pet Shop 2012 S 3 E 16 Back Window

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"The game is afoot, Josh Sharp!"

Written by FM DeMarco
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A green piece of paper floats around in the wind across Downtown City Park. It blows past a woman tending to her window garden, the main characters of Rear Window, a man under attack from a remote control plane, and through a number of streets, stopping at a red light to let traffic pass through, and finally to the floor in front of the Littlest Pet Shop, where Josh picks it up cleaning garbage around the city. It catches his attention as he looks at it for a bit, then puts it into the garbage can and peers into the Littlest Pet Shop.

In the day camp, the pets are watching Faceplant!, a game show about pets attempting to get to the end of an obstacle course. Russell doubts that the sharks in the tank are great whites, but Sunil says that they're not—they're hammerheads. Penny Ling emulates a squirrel on Faceplant! navigating a boxing glove obstacle; Zoe, watching Penny do so, asks if Penny really likes the show, with Penny saying yes and proclaims herself as a "Planthead," having seen all of the episode and collected all of the books. At that moment, one team has reached the end of the course, but they collapse trying to grab the flag at the end and fall into the shark tank below. At the end of the episode, there's an announcement where Faceplant! arrives at Downtown City for tryouts, and an elated Penny imagines taking the Littlest Pet Shop regulars to the tryouts and succeeding. Pumped up, she decides to try making that fantasy a reality.

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In the store area, Blythe attempts to come up with a new design for Minka but cannot come up with a good one, growling in frustration. Russell and Sunil, hearing the growling, goes over to ask what the deal is. Blythe tells them that she needs to come up with more designs as the "Blythe Style" section has become mostly empty. She asks the pets what's been going on in the day camp, and Russell tells Blythe that Penny is going to attempt Faceplant! Blythe asks if that's the game show with the real great white sharks, and Sunil quickly corrects her saying that they're hammerheads. Blythe beckons the two of them to leave so she can concentrate, and while Sunil walks away immediately, Russell continues to stand there staring at Blythe until Sunil taps Russell on the shoulder, gesturing him to leave. With both of them gone, Blythe groans at her creative block when Josh approaches Blythe from behind and greets her. Blythe, initially mistaking Josh for Russell, looks over and realizes who she's talking to, quickly making up the claim that Russell is "nobody," to Russell's annoyance. Josh tells Blythe that he's been cleaning up the streets and noticed Blythe sketching, so he decided to come inside and ask what she's working on. Blythe grabs her Blythe Style sketchbook and tells Josh that she's not ready to show them yet, so Josh tells her he'd like to see them when they are and exits the Littlest Pet Shop. Russell and Sunil, having overheard the conversation, then have a discussion about why Josh was so interested in Blythe's sketches, though Sunil is not quite as concerned. Undeterred, Russell tells Sunil he's determined to figure it out.

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In the meantime in the day camp, Penny has created a replica of an obstacle course from Faceplant! following the instructions in her books for use as practice. She goes straight for the flag at the end of the obstacle course, emphasizing the need for the pets to perfect their pyramid formation. The other six pets easily climb onto each other, but Penny causes a lot of discomfort to the pets she climbs over to get to the top of the triangle, then struggles reaching for the flag. Penny moves around so much trying to grab the flag that the entire stack topples, crashing to the ground. Blythe rushes in, hearing the loud noise, and sees the other pets safe and sound except Russell, who's sustained a few major injuries.

Some time later, Russell is in casts for all four of his appendages, with gauze around his chest and the top of his head, and his body in a hamster ball. A worried Blythe asks if Russell is in any pain, and Russell starts listing the quills that have been sprained. Hearing him out, Blythe relays to Russell that the veterinarian recommends for Russell to avoid any rigorous activity or dangerous game show participation. Hearing that, Pepper snarks that they can no longer compete on Faceplant! as a seven-pet team, which causes Penny to freak out. She quickly composes herself, however, by figuring they just need to rearrange their formation. As Blythe tells Penny to be careful, Vinnie goes flying and crashes against the window. Blythe asks Penny if Vinnie just got launched out of a whipped cream cannon, to which Penny gives Blythe a Non-Answer. Slightly disgusted by the show's sadism, Blythe leaves the day camp. Penny then escorts the pets, sans Russell, to the other side of the day camp room, leaving Russell alone in his ball with nothing to do.

Later, there are more people cleaning up litter and natural refuse from the street with the other six pets attempting Penny's obstacle course, all of them failing, with Russell sitting in his ball watching and bored. Before long, however, Russell's entire body starts itching, and he becomes incredibly antsy. He interrupts Penny's explanation on how to handle the obstacle course, yelling that he urgently needs help. When they come over, he tells them that he feels itchy and needs scratching, though none of the pets are willing to reach into the ball. Vinnie then says that long lizard fingers would be needed, and when Zoe points out that Vinnie is a lizard, he reluctantly goes over to the ball, reaches in, and starts scratching Russell's right arm from inside the cast. Russell feels quite good about it, but when Vinnie finishes, his hand is full of Russell's fur, and Vinnie feels grossed out. Penny calls the other pets back, but Russell insists on them staying. Sunil points out that it's only been eight minutes, so Russell makes an excuse that he can't keep track of time well. An angry Pepper then stuffs a duck call into his mouth.

Using this duck call, Russell has Sunil bring over a juice box. Later, as they're attempting the formation to grab the flag, Russell blows on the duck call again so Minka can bring him an apple. Zoe falls off the trapeze she practices on to go get Russell a blanket, and Vinnie is asked to come scratch his left arm. Hearing Russell's duck call again, Penny gets fed up, stomps over, and takes Russell's duck call away.

In the front room, Blythe has created enough rejected designs to fill her wastebasket. She picks up the wastebasket, heads the the back alley, and dumps the paper into the recycling trash can, then waves to Russell looking out the window, who becomes sad when Blythe leaves his field of vision. To pass the time, Russell tries playing "I Spy" by himself, staring at the dumpster, but he doesn't derive much fun out of it. He then spots Josh walking into the alley, opening the recycling receptacle, and taking sheets of paper from it. Russell concludes, then, that Josh must be stealing ideas from Blythe and giving it to the Biskits.

He attempts to notify the other pets by quacking at the top of his lungs, but Penny advises the other pets to ignore him as he's fine. Demanding the other pets' attention, he leaps up and down from in his ball and inadvertently knocks down all of the pets trying the pyramid formation again. Penny, at her limits, asks Russell what is wrong with him, but Russell tells them that he's spotted Josh taking Blythe's sketches from the trash, then claims he'll give them to the Biskit Twins, depicting the three of them meeting on top of Thomas Jefferson's head on Mount Rushmore and the Biskit Twins parachuting off once they receive the file folder containing the sketches. He also figures they'll mass-produce Blythe's sketches with the intent of eliminating Blythe from the pet fashion business. When he's done, Russell realizes nobody believes him, and the other pets start talking about how great Josh is, including having impeccable hair and being the captain of the soccer team. This infuriates Russell as he saw Josh take the papers out from the alley, and to call their attention, he picks up the duck call on the ground nearby with his teeth to insist he saw it happen. Pepper asks to prove it and follows Russell to the back window. There, they see Pete, a rat, digging through the paper, who folds one into a hat and says hi to Russell and Pepper. Pepper tells Russell that she doesn't have time to humor him and leaves, and as she's away, Russell sees Josh return to the recycling bin, and this time, he picks up more papers, clearly shown to be Blythe's sketches, identifies them as such, and notices Russell. Russell gives him an angry glare, but Josh, while initially unnerved, shrugs and leaves. Russell interprets that gesture as a challenge and rolls elsewhere.

As, Blythe continues to have problems coming up with designs she's satisfied with, Russell sits in his ball in the back, thinking out loud that since the pets won't help him, he'll have to tell Blythe about Josh directly but is stumped on how to reach her. Hearing footsteps in the alley, Russell looks over and sees Blythe dumping more paper into the recycling can and yells for Blythe as loudly as he can. Blythe cannot hear Russell through the window, however, so Russell tries banging the ball against the window. It simply causes Blythe to wave back, so Russell purposely rolls his ball off the bench and onto the floor, causing Blythe to run over in concern. She shakes Russell out of the ball and picks him up, and Russell takes this chance to tell Blythe his interpretation of what Josh intends to do with the sketches. Initially hesitant, Blythe recalls Josh's odd interest in Blythe's sketches and that he once worked at the Largest Ever Pet Shop. She asks Russell if he has any ideas, and after telling her, the two go to the alley and hide behind the trash cans.

Blythe becomes skeptical again looking at the situation they're in, but Russell insists that this is the way to figure out what's really going on. A few seconds later, Josh walks by the alley, kicking a can, then walks down the alley, goes over to the recycling bin, grabs another handful of Blythe's sketches, and says to himself that he only needs a few more. Blythe overhears it and becomes concerned too, and she leaps out from behind the trash cans to call Josh out for taking her sketches and giving them to the Biskits. Josh immediately confesses that he stole the sketches—but not to give to the Biskits. Rather, he saw Blythe sitting there frustrated, which reminded him of his own frustration trying out for the soccer team. His parents advised him to put up a board with pictures of his prior successes, which gave him enough drive to keep trying until he was accepted into the team. When he opened the recycling bin in the alley to put things in it, he saw Blythe's sketches and couldn't bear to see her throwing her work away, so he had to collect them. Josh sees Blythe's disbelief, so he tells her to wait right there, then retrieves his board where he had taped some of Blythe's rejected ideas and says that he personally likes them. Blythe, looking at the board, realizes, telling it both to herself and to Russell, that sometimes one needs someone else's perspective to better understand what one is doing. Josh gives the board to Blythe as he walks away, Blythe laughing in embarrassment.

Sometime later, Blythe asks Youngmee to look at her designs. Youngmee says that the latest ones are Blythe's best yet, so Blythe tells her that it's thanks to Josh's board of rejected sketches, with the both of them admiring him.

After a few days, Russell has made a full recovery and is zipping around the pipes, glad to be able to move freely again. He realizes he is the only one in the day camp room, however, but soon sees the other six pets entering, all of them injured to varying extents. Russell asks what happened to them, and Vinnie and Penny explain that they went to the Faceplant! tryouts but all got so injured as to need to visit the vet. As Russell is the only one who isn't trapped in casts, he insists everyone join him for another episode of The Duchess of Lancashire Lane, but the others, even when they're hurting, decide to go somewhere else. The green piece of paper from the beginning of the episode, an advertisement for the Faceplant! tryouts, then briefly attaches itself to the back window by the wind, then blows away.

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

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: Some shots of the Cold Open as the paper blows through the streets have Downtown City in 3-D CG, allowing for sweeping helicopter shots.
  • Actor Allusion: Blythe mistakes Josh for Russell. Not only is it because Russell was the last one to leave the room, Samuel Vincent voices both Josh and Russell.
  • An Aesop: Spoken by Blythe directly, which she applies both to her rejection of sketches and Russell's jumping to conclusions:
    Blythe: I guess sometimes, you need someone else to help you see things differently.
  • Amusing Injuries: The other pets engage in slapstick physical abuse when they try Penny's practice course, but only Russell remains injured and requires medical care. Averted at the end of the episode, when they all get injured and require casts and gauze, with Sunil requiring a wheelchair.
  • Attention Whore: Russell gets bored easily while injured and requires attention from the other pets every few minutes.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: It's Penny who puts her foot down with Russell's demanding of attention.
  • Blessed with Suck: Vinnie feels his long fingers from being a gecko is a detriment when he has to scratch Russell.
  • Book-Ends: The episode begins and ends with a flyer for Faceplant! blowing around in the wind.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Russell says "What the huh?" near the end of Act 2, which is normally Blythe's catchphrase.
  • Brick Joke: For most of the episode, Russell is the only one to require medical help, with the other pets subject to cartoon slapstick. Them getting themselves repeatedly hurt comes to bite them back at the end of the episode, when all of the remaining pets require medical help injuring themselves at the real Faceplant! tryouts. The vets gave the exact same recommendation too, almost word for word, prescribing the pets to take it easy for a few days and to avoid any rigorous exercise or training for questionably dangerous pet game shows.
  • Bubble Boy: Part of Russell's rehabilitation entails him remaining inside a hamster ball, which to him functions much like an immunity bubble.
  • Call-Back: Russell makes a brief mention that Josh must be working for the Biskit family again. This is a reference to "Fish Out of Water," where Josh worked at the Largest Ever Pet Shop. He was fired at the end of the episode though.
  • Chekhov's Hobby: The pets mention in Act 1 about Josh being the captain of his school's soccer team. In Act 3, Josh talks about seeing Blythe frustrated reminding him of the rough road he took to become the captain.
  • Collective Groan: Twice at the end of the episode: As the injured pets come into the day camp, and again when Russell asks them to join him in watching The Duchess of Lancashire Lane.
  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong: Russell is the only one with doubts about Josh, and his fears are proven very wrong at the end of the episode.
  • Compressed Vice: Russell has never been so defensive over Blythe before, jumping to conclusions about Josh. Even Sunil is not worried over Josh's behavior. Russell is also far whinier than normal when he becomes injured.
    • The pets have a much, much harder time staying balanced on top of each other than they did in "If the Shoe Fits."
  • Cone of Shame: Inverted. The prize for winning Faceplant!, according to Penny's imagination, is a glorious golden pet cone.
  • Continuity Nod: This is the third fantasy in the series involving throwing roses at a character and the first one where they're not thrown at Vinnie.
    • Penny was previously driven to her limits and lashed out in "Mean Isn't Your Color."
    • Blythe had run into an inspirational block in "Alligators & Handbags."
    • Russell's excuse that animals have a poor grasp of time was also used by Zoe in "DUMB DUMBWAITER."
    • The way the Biskit Twins parachute off of Mount Rushmore is similar to how Zoe intended to parachute off a large sculpture of herself in "What, Meme Worry?"
    • The rat digging through the trash is Pete from "What Did You Say?," minus the hair. The paper hat he folds resembles the one belonging to Lemasque in "Fish Out Of Water."
    • A subtle one is in the way the pets arrange themselves in a triangle to reach the flag, but they keep tumbling down when Penny comes close to getting the flag. Triangular formations have previously collapsed within the Littlest Pet Shop when near completion in the form of a pyramid of dog food in "DUMB DUMBWAITER" and a triangular stand-up display of dog tags in "Shanghai Hi-Jinks."
    • Blythe makes a weird laugh to Josh, like what she did in "Secret Cupet."
    • Russell's favorite TV show continues to be The Duchess of Lancashire Lane.
  • Crying Wolf: Russell has asked for the other pets' help for insignificant reasons so many times that when he genuinely wants to alert the other pets to a concern, they ignore him.
  • Death Glare: Russell shoots Josh one the second time he sees him in the alley. Josh just shrugs it off. We see that death glare again in Josh's flashback when he's explaining what he was doing.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Russell's story.
  • Dramatic Thunder: In Russell's story, right after Josh picks the papers out from the bin.
  • Eyedscreen: When Russell announces he'll keep a watch over Josh.
  • Flashback: From Josh's perspective in Act 3 when talking about his board of achievements.
  • Freudian Slip: Penny accidentally lets slip in Act 1 that she's pulling the other pets into Faceplant! for her own personal fulfillment.
    Penny Ling: What? No way! I'm so close! ...I mean...We're so close to making pet sports history.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Russell feels incredibly defensive of Blythe in this episode and loses his rational thought if he feels there's someone Blythe likes more.
  • Head Desk: Blythe briefly slams her head against the table right before Josh comes in. She does it again by herself at the beginning of Act 3.
  • Human Ladder: Made of pets, anyway, as part of a collaborative effort on Faceplant! to grab the flag at the end. It fails. Penny also has a fantasy sequence where the seven Littlest Pet Shop pets make such a formation. They try it for real repeatedly through the episode with Penny's training course but always fail towards the end.
  • Idiosyncratic Wipes: Bandages and gauze cover the screen in Act 1 after Russell is shown to be injured. The same wipe happens again in Act 2 with Pepper going to the back window.
    • Penny being extremely angry causes the scene to crack and fall, transitioning to the next one.
    • Whittany's parachute passes in front of the screen to show the following factory scene. That scene, in turn, ends with a globe bouncing across the screen. Russell's story ends with a murder of crows turning the screen black, then scattering and taking the episode back to the day camp. These same wipes play again, in fast forward, when Russell explains his story to Blythe.
    • A bunch of Blythe's sketches fall in Act 3.
  • Ignored Confession: Briefly—Blythe never expected Josh to freely confess that he took the sketches, so Blythe continues onwards, for a few seconds, yelling at him as if he refused to confess before realizing he did.
  • Imagine Spot: Of Penny bringing her friends to do the Faceplant! obstacle course.
    • There is another one with Russell telling the other pets of Josh's stealing Blythe's sketches.
  • I'm Okay!: After the failed attempt at grabbing the flag at the end of Faceplant! and dropping into the shark tank.
    • Subverted after the crash in the day camp, as Russell is clearly not okay despite saying he is.
  • Inconvenient Itch: Russell soon starts itching underneath his casts, which only Vinnie can help with, albeit reluctantly.
  • Irony: Russell, by getting injured first, was able to heal and recover at the day camp and missed the Faceplant! tryouts—and by doing so, became the only pet in the day camp to not be in casts and gauze by the end of the episode.
  • Kitsch Collection: Penny collects things themed on Faceplant!
  • Never Trust a Title: This episode may have Russell spending much of his time encased in a plastic bubble, but it is NOT the episode titled "The Hedgehog in the Plastic Bubble."
  • Non-Answer: When Blythe asks if Vinnie got shot out of a whipped cream cannon, Penny answers "Maybe."
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Mount Rushmore is drawn more realistically than how humans are normally drawn in this series.
  • "Rear Window" Homage: A prime example.
  • Running Gag: The pyramid formation keeps falling apart.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: Russell uses Pepper's duck call incessantly, taking her snide comment literally. See the second point in Sarcasm Mode below.
  • Sarcasm Mode: When Blythe asks if Russell is in pain, Russell answers in the negative, then lists the quills he's sprained.
    • Russell being whiny about needing attention results in Pepper sticking a duck call in Russell's mouth and telling him to blow on it if he needs company. Unfortunately for the others, Russell takes it seriously.
  • Shark Pool: The disqualified poodle competitor in Faceplant! leaps out of a tank of sharks before getting chomped.
  • Shout-Out
    • There are a lot of references to the works of Alfred Hitchcock in this episode. In order of appearance:
      • In the Cold Open, the lady gardening, before she opens the curtains, has a silhouette resembling that of Norman Bates in the famous shower scene of Psycho.
      • Her neighbors, to her left, are Jeff and Lisa from Rear Window.
      • The remaining three windows in the building belong to Roger from North By Northwest. He also gets chased by a tiny crop duster, referencing the famous cornfield scene from the movie.
      • Russell's explanation about Josh begins with him walking into an outline of his profile view done in the style of Alfred Hitchcock Presents with the same theme music, unchanged.
      • Josh meets the Biskit Twins standing on Mount Rushmore, an homage to the chase near the end of North by Northwest.
      • Blythe getting chased, then swarmed by crows mirrors similar incidents in The Birds.
      • Russell being injured and unable to move while witnessing what he suspects to be a crime with no way to report to authorities borrows from Rear Window. See Whole Plot Reference below.
    • Faceplant! is the pet counterpart to Ninja Warrior with some Wipeout (2008) mixed in.
    • Russell declaring "The game is afoot" is from the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Abbey Grange."
  • Thinking Out Loud: Russell spends a lot of time alone talking to himself about his injured condition and what he thinks Josh is up to.
    • Josh also thinks out loud on the second and third trips to the recycling receptacle to acquire Blythe's sketches, causing Russell, then Blythe, to become suspicious.
  • Time-Compression Montage: Of Russell repeatedly calling pets over for trivial reasons.
  • Title Drop: After Pepper asks Russell to prove what he saw.
    Russell: Great! To the back window!
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Partially averted. Russell's plan had extracted a confession from Josh, but Josh's intentions were different than what Russell expected.
  • Visual Pun: Pepper literally throws a book at Russell for being a nuisance to everyone.
  • Wheel o' Feet: The poodle in Faceplant!
  • Whole Plot Reference: To Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, including the title. This episode makes a few other references to various work of Hitchcock or works named after him too.
  • Writer's Block: Blythe has a hard time finding inspiration for new designs.

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