All that is seen and unseen.
And in the panorama that is the unseen,
Beyond the secret world of the insect,
Beyond the atoms that form the grass they hide behind,
In the infinitesimal pantheon that lurks beneath our feet and beats with hearts anew,
Dorbees: Making Decisions is an obscure 1998 Christian Direct-to-Video short film, created by the Gaither Vocal Band. The short film features two loosely-connected stories revolving around the titular "Dorbees": One about two children named Jack and Mary-Jane who ditch school to explore an old abandoned house, and the other about a foreigner named Otto trying to fit in with "the common folk" by going to a clothing store run by a 70's-obsessed Dorbee named "Dig". A third short revolving around a superhero duo named "Mr. Poe and Yogul" appears in-between the two.
Dorbees was intended to become an ongoing series of tongue-in-cheek Christian cartoons in a similar vein to VeggieTales, but no other episodes were ever produced. However, the marginally more popular (but not by much) Gaither's Pond series, created by the same studio (and interestingly made a year before this film) could be seen as something of a Spiritual Successor to it.
Tropes featured in Dorbees: Making Decisions:
- All-CGI Cartoon: And a really poorly-animated one to boot.
- Art Shift: Mr. Poe and Yogul uses Cel Shading to try and look like a comic book. The keyword being "try".
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Flec's two appearances last about 30 seconds each, and yet he somehow manages to change his train of thought about 10 different times!
- Delta doesn't really tell the stories of Jack and Mary Jane or Otto and Dig, and instead talks about Noodle Incidents that each story reminds him of (an encounter at the music store where the school now sits and a one-armed drummer, respectively) as the real stories fade in.
- Broken Aesop: All three plots we see have the "Making the right decisions" moral broken in some way.
- Jack and Mary Jane: The right decision was meant to be for them to stay in school, but considering the teacher was giving them bad information (he says the sum of the sides of a triangle is 90 degrees; in reality, the sum of the angles is 180 degrees) and the school's security system flat out tries to kill them as soon as they step out of the classroom (nothing is done to establish that this system could tell the difference between kids intending to leave school and kids leaving the class for a legitimate reason, like to go to the nurse, the bathroom or being checked out), staying in that school probably wouldn't be the best decision either.
- Otto and Dig: The right decision was meant for Dig to be honest, which he ultimately does...by telling Otto that he can't possibly make someone as ugly as him look good, despite being the best clothing shop in town, and that Otto would be better off sticking to Scandinavian clothes rather than trying to integrate into the local fashion. Jeez. There's being honest, and then there's being unnecessarily blunt.
- Mr. Poe and Yogul: Mr. Poe saves Yogul from Dr. Dairy's death trap by pressing a button to free him, ignoring the other two buttons which are labeled "Push for World Peace" and "Push to End World Hunger". Even if there was a reason why Mr. Poe couldn't press all three, pressing either of the other two could have saved millions of lives, making them better decisions than just freeing Yogul.
- Cephalothorax: All the Dorbees are this.
- Decoy Protagonist: The B-plot opens with Otto and he seems to be the focus, but it's Dig who ends up learning the lesson.
- Deranged Animation: Even for its time, the animation of this thing is straight up terrible.
- Disproportionate Retribution: The newscaster believes Jack deserves to get stuck in a hole in a haunted house because he skipped school.
- E = MC Hammer: Mr. Oliver's lesson on triangles makes very little sense, even moreso when he brings up "MacGyver's theory of gumstick tubing".
- Framing Device: Delta introduces both of the stories to the viewer, before getting side-tracked and rambling about some unrelated story. Each segment also ends with a Dorbee watching them on TV before changing the channel
- Funny Foreigner: Otto, Mr. Poe, Yogul, and Dr. Dairy.
- Hammer Space: All Dorbees seem to be capable of pulling random objects out of their bodies, usually accompanied by an odd squelching sound.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: During the "I Wanna Be Grown-Up" sequence, Mary-Jane at one point jumps up towards the camera. When the camera changes, she can briefly be seen hanging onto a large video camera suspended in midair.
- At the end of the segment, fake artist, album, and label information can be seen at the bottom, as if it were a music video for an actual song.
- Noodle Incident: Several:
- Flec somehow managed to get his overalls and a jaw-harp from the general store for free, and he found something in some navel lint (possibly corn fritters?).
- Delta reminisces over an encounter at the music store that used to be where the school now is, as well as a one-armed drummer, both cut off by the actual stories.
- No Sympathy: The newscaster, after learning that Jack and Mary-Jane were injured in the haunted house, says they deserved it for skipping school.
- Overly Long Gag: Mr. Poe pulling various objects out of Hammer Space to try and open the gate.
- Religious Edutainment: At least, that's what they were going for...
- Running Gag: Flec shows up at complete random (three out of four times breaking the laws of physics), and goes on a long rant about something he found at the general store for 59 cents, but somehow got for free.
- Self-Deprecation: Even the Dorbees seem to hate their very own existence during the theme song.
- Shout Out:
- The opening monologue is set to Also sprach Zarathustra.
- At one point while ditching school Jack and Mary-Jane have to flee from a rolling boulder.
- One of the outfits that Otto tries on is a (poorly-rendered) Batman costume.
- Throughout the "Mr. Poe and Yogul" segment, Yogul sings brief snippets of "Put On a Happy Face", "Tomorrow", "Rocky Mountain High", "Surrey with the Fringe on Top", and "U Can't Touch This".
- As if to further drive home what served as inspiration for the short film, the "Mr. Poe and Yogul" segment ends with the narrator stating, "Tune in next time to hear Dr. Dairy say..."
- The first clothes store that Otto goes to is called Dig's Duds.
- A brief image in the Mr. Poe shows Poe facing off against several monsters. Two of these are clearly stock 3D models of Dracula and Frankenstein styled after the Universal Monsters versions.
- Space Whale Aesop: If you skip school, you'll get caught by a security system that sends traps after you, Indiana Jones style, the second you step out of the classroom.
- Stylistic Suck: "Mr. Poe and Yogul" is an in-universe cheesy German TV show with low production values.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Jack and Mary Jane are more impressed by a floating "astro-ball" than finding Elvis or Jimmy Hoffa.