Animals have long been a point of contention with me in regards to kids’ shows. The short My Scene movie, Masquerade Madness, featured shelter animals acting like super models for a runway show instead of real animals that require attention, care and a responsible owner. The Pet Show episode of the Bratz TV show cements that pets are accessories and extensions of yourself, not animals with worth and dignity in their own right.
Lego Friends manages to show both responsible pet ownership with Mia and her horse, Bella, then show the magical disappearing pet syndrome, where Scarlet, a puppy, is introduced in the first episode, then never seen again. But pets are not toys. They’re not things you put into purses and parade around with pride.
When you get a pet, you are taking on responsibility for a life. That animals is completely dependent on its owners for everything. They require devotion, understanding, discipline, and love. But the Bratz are here to show you that pets are little creatures that exist only to please and amuse you. They know English and can communicate as well as a person playing charades. They play out punchlines and drive cars. Even better, animal hoarding isn’t a serious psychological problem; it’s a harmless hobby that needs to be defended at every turn. Let’s dive in and see how deep this bullshit gets. Get your muck boots on.
The film starts off in an animal shelter. A Sheltie is being led on a led back to what the viewer can only assume is the room that dogs don’t return from. The other dogs in the shelter howl in sympathy. Because they understand what’s going on. The person leading the dog sadly informs her, “This is the end of the line.” Just then a woman with a slight Hispanic accent approaches and says that she wants that dog.
The next scene starts at one of the Bratzs’ house. Jade just got off the phone and tells her friends that the Mud Springs Health Spa loved the sample accessories that she just sent over to them. Sasha picks up a purse and tells the Asian girl that her designs are fierce.
Yasmin unnecessarily adds, “You’ve got the passion for fashion!” As if Jade somehow forgot what her friends rabbit on about every goddamn movie. Jade says that she was invited to set up a booth at the fashion boutique the following day and all of the girls get to come with her. The Bratz cheer and shout at the announcement. They all talk about what spa services they’re going to get and chatter excitedly.
Outside of the window they hear someone shout, “Stop! Thief! Come back here!” Quick to poke their nose into any and all situations that arise, the girls decide that someone might need their help and they head out to see what they can do. A monkey runs by their yard carrying a rolled up blueprint.
The girls exit the house to see a man pursuing the monkey. The man, that we find out later is named Joe Lackie, is an older man with exaggerated features. His nose and his chin are both wildly disproportionate to his face. There’s no guessing that this man will prove to be one of the villains of the series. He simply looks like one.
The monkey, who is named Jinkxy, climbs a tree and hides from the man. Joe stands at the bottom of the tree and demands the plans. Yasmin talks sweetly to the monkey and the animal climbs down and goes to her. She also knows that the monkey is a boy for some reason that’s never explained.
Another man walks over. This man is Mr. Grunion. He also has exaggerated features and a smarmy look. No points for guessing that he is also a villain in the film. It turns out that Grunion has hired Joe to build his house for him. Yasmin asks him where the monkey came from. Grunion doesn’t answer, but he calls Jinkxy a silly animal. Jinkxy blows a raspberry at him.
The two men introduce themselves to the girls and Sasha looks over the plans that Jinkxy had stolen. She comments that it looks like Grunion is planning a complete rebuild on a property. As if Sasha knows anything about construction or has any reason to, as it doesn’t involve lip gloss.
Joe proudly informs the girls that they’re going to take the old structure to the ground and build a big new house. Grunion readjusts his Elvis-inspired toupee. He proudly proclaims that the new house will be 9,295 square feet. Jinkxy tries to play with the blueprint again and Grunion grabs it. He hopes that the noise didn’t bother the girls. Jinkxy then grabs Cloe’s hand and leads her away. Yasmin and Cloe follow Jinkxy. Sasha and Jade say that they’re going to be in the house finishing up their collection. The two Bratz follow the monkey to a house down the block.
They knock, but there is loud music playing and no answer. They bang on the door and finally the door opens and the Sheltie from the first scene stands there. Cloe starts to address the dog, because dogs speak English, remember. They can also open doors. Just then an older, Hispanic woman, who we later learn is named Lola, comes to the door. She asks if the music is too loud.
The Sheltie, which the woman calls Annie, sniffs out the two Bratz. The woman ask if she minds that the dog is investigating them and Yasmin says that it’s fine with her. Yasmin pets Annie and Lola observes that Yasmin is an animal lover. She thanks the girls for bringing Jinkxy home. The girls introduced themselves and Lola says that her full name is Lola Rayes. Yasmin pets Annie some more.
The older woman invites the girls in to meet the rest of her family. Leaving both Annie and Jinkxy outside, the two Bratz step into the house. Meanwhile, the dog and monkey run around to the back of the house and observe Grunion telling Joe that he wants his house to be noticed and admired. Jinkxy stands on a bucket beside Grunion and mimics all of his motions and antics.
The man goes on and on about what he wants for his new house. He then sees the monkey and and starts to feign that he’s going to strangle Jinkxy. Annie growls at him. The two pets escape and run back into the house, pushing the front door open with very little effort. So this woman’s front door doesn’t latch? How safe is that?
Inside the house, Yasmin encounters a cat. Lola confesses that there are a few others as well. She squeaks a bone-shaped dog toy and all of the animals come running. There are entirely too many dogs and cats to count. Lola speaks Spanish to the brood, affectionately. Lola tells the girls that she got all of them from the pound before they where to be euthanized.
Yasmin offers to take some of the animals over to the no-kill shelter, where she volunteers every Monday. Lola says that there is no room for them there. The shelter is just too small. As the animals play in the background, Lola worries that she’s running out of room in her house. She admits that she’s an animal hoarder. But neither of the Bratz seem very concerned.
Instead, Yasmin asks about her human family. Lola gets quiet for a second. She says that she lost her husband, but she has a daughter named Celia. Lola gets out a family photo album and goes over it with Yasmin. She shows the pictures of Celia as a child in school plays, graduating at the top of her class, etc.
Yasmin asks Lola if her daughter can help her with the animals, but Lola says that Celia is a very important woman and is too busy for her. She doesn’t believe that her child has time for her and isn’t sure if she even likes animals. Yasmin offers to come over and help with the animals. Lola is excited about her offer and immediately agrees. The girls realize that it’s getting late and they decide to leave. Yasmin promises that she will be back soon to help. Lola thanks her and the girls leave.
A brief shot shows that Grunion and Joe are listening into the conversation. Although their nefarious plot hasn’t been revealed, the viewer is left with the uneasy feeling that they’re planning something. Cut to the next scene.
Sasha is driving the Bratz’s rambler. Cloe and Jade are already in the vehicle and they are on their way to pick up Yasmin. The girls chat about how the boutique booth doesn’t open until 5pm, so they will have plenty of time to make use of the spa. Always struggling with weighty matters, Cloe can’t decide whether to get a seaweed wrap or earth facial.
The girls drive past Lola’s house and the cops pull up behind them and stop at the residence. Two officers get out. Blythe and Sterns discuss that they’re just at the house for an animal nuisance call and there’s no need to draw a weapon. Why either of the officers would think that there was a need to draw a weapon on a woman who was reported for having too many animals is never explained.
Anyway, the pair knock on the door and they talk to Lola. They tell her that the legal amount of animals to have at the house is 3. They add that they could usually just look the other way, but someone filed a complaint. So they have to take action. What a terrible thing to implant into children’s minds. The police only do their job when someone files a formal complaint? They “look the other way” about legal issues? How safe does everyone feel now?
Sterns rambles off some codes that Lola has violated. But then Jinkxy, the scamp, steals his hat and refuses to give it back. Blythe tells Lola that she has 72 hours to remove the excess animals or they will be taken to the pound. The animals, who understand English, remember, get upset when they hear this. Blythe sighs and tells Lola that he’s sorry. He says that the police will be back in 3 days and they leave. Annie, who grasps the gravity of the entire situation, goes to comfort Annie.
Later, Lola calls the Bratz, her new best friends that she just met yesterday, and asks them to come over. The girls arrive, mentioning that they still have enough time to get to the spa. Lola explains the situation to the girls and Jade asks her how many animals she actually has. Lola doesn’t say, but it’s later estimated that she has 30.
30 animals is entirely too many for a residence the size of Lola’s. That many animals would not be happy or healthy living with that many other creatures. Not to mention that one older woman would not be capable of caring for 30 different animals. No one person would be.
But no one cares about this. No one mentions how unhealthy it is for that many dogs, cats, and a monkey to be crammed into a house together. Also, this many animals would fight with each other, in the real world. Cats are territorial and some of them are not social at all. Dogs also can have personality conflicts with each other. The chances of having that many animals living together that all get along perfectly is next to zero.
Also, animals are destructive. Dogs chew, cats scratch, all of the animals need to use the bathroom regularly and there doesn’t seem to be a pet door or a fenced in yard on the property. A house with 30 animals living in it would not nearly be as pristine or well taken care of as Lola’s. But again, no one cares.
Jade squeaks the toy and it calls all of the animals to the living room. One of the dogs tackles Jade and she announces, “Ew! Puppy breath!” As if dog’s breath is supposed to be sweet-smelling and not contain slobber. Cloe suggests that the person who filed the complaint might be none other than Mr. Grunion. Lola tells her no. He’s so nice. She can’t imagine that he would do something like that. She goes back to worrying about how she’s going to find homes for all of these animals.
Jade suggests that she gets an extension for finding all of her pets homes. Cloe says that since her daughter, Celia, is a lawyer, maybe she could work something out with the police. Lola tells the girls that she can’t ask her to intervene. She adds that her daughter is upset with her over the number of animals that she has.
Sasha asks what they can do about this situation. Yasmin volunteers to stay and help Lola figure it out instead of going to the spa. Sasha asks her if she’s sure. Adding that she was looking forward to a sea salt scrub. When Jade volunteers to stay instead of going to the spa, Yasmin assures her friend, “Fashion is your passion, Jade. Animals are mine.” Which doesn’t ring entirely true. All of the girls declare that they have a passion for fashion. And while Yasmin talks about animals a lot, she doesn’t really seem to do much with them.
Regardless, Cloe decides to stay behind. Jade and Sasha head out to the spa. They tell their friends that they will suffer through extra spa treatments in their honor. Lola thanks the girls for staying. The girls say that they will think of a way to save all of the animals.
Meanwhile, some of the animals cross over into Grunion’s yard, next door, and tramp across his newly laid cement. Joe, who is still working, tells the animals that he’ll get them. He takes off after the animals and messes up the concrete even more than the pets did. He looks down and realizes that he’s standing in wet cement.
Sasha and Jade continue their drive to the spa. Sasha tells her friends that she’s proud of her designs. Jade says that she’s proud, but more nervous about own her accessories will be received. The girls finally arrive at the spa.
They express their excitement as they take their suitcases into the lobby. A happy man with a terrible accent greets them. I’ve heard some bad accents in kids’ shows. For example, Sutton from the My Scene movies. But this accent is so terrible that I’m not even sure what kind of accent it’s supposed to be. The employee introduces himself as Dan, the “Friendly neighborhood health spa attendant.” He tells the girls to drop and give him 20 push ups. Jade asks him if he’s serious and he says no. The girls laugh at his hilarious joke.
Dan takes them on a tour of the grounds. There is a workout room, complete with golf carts that can take them to the treadmills. So they don’t have to workout to go to workout. Outside, by the pool, there are four women getting facials. Three of them are slim, all wearing bikinis. The fourth is a large woman with short, spiky hair, wearing a track suit. Because big girls can’t wear bikinis. It is offensive for large women to show flesh. All women should have the decency to be as skinny as the Bratz.
The employee continues to guide them, telling them about their cucumber and avocado masks. He jokes about them being all ready for lunch. Jade tells him not to quit his day job. The tour ends with the bubbling mud springs that are kept at a steamy 98.9 degrees. He warns them that they have to rinse off after they get out or they’ll harden into a glazed statue.
Dan finishes by asking, “Would I kid you?” The girls both declare, “Yes!” and he leaves. Sasha says that she loves the spa. Jade wants to start setting up the booth, but Sasha says that she wants to have fun first. The girls start out on the spa day.
Back at Lola’s house, the Bratz are going about how they’re going to find homes for so many pets in just 3 days. Lola says that everyone will want one of her beautiful babies. Cloe says, “Well, they’re not exactly beautiful. But it’s nothing a good manicure and a right formula shampoo can’t fix.”
Really? Not only do humans have to be utterly groomed and pretty in order to be socially acceptable, now pets have to be manicured and styled within an inch of their lives to be attractive. There’s nothing wrong with keeping your pet groomed and for some animals, it’s necessary to do so in order to properly care for a pet, but the Bratz take this to an entirely new level.
They are so superficial that everyone and everything must be as shallow and appearances-focused as they are. Need to adopt out a pet? It’s makeover time! High five your friends and get started because no one is going to want a pet that doesn’t have a bow in its hair and diamonds on its collar.
In the real world, pets get messy. Sometimes a bath is needed to clean off all of the poop that they just rolled in. Sometimes dogs get sprayed by skunks. Dogs and cats are not pristine creatures that always smell like roses. Moreover, a lot of dogs and cats don’t need excessive grooming because they keep themselves clean. But this fact isn’t going to stop the Bratz.
What follows is a montage of the pets being made over. While one of their mindless pop songs play, the girls bathe, groom, and primp the dogs and cats. Interspersed with this is images of the other two Bratz at the spa, enjoying their day. Sasha and Jade workout in massive platform sneakers then get massages, they go swimming, then model on an imaginary runway.
Back at the impromptu pet grooming, the girls finish and Cloe declares, “now all of your animals have Bratitude and beauty.” Because who would want a pet unless it was beautiful? Anyway, Lola announces that she wants to keep Annie. Just then, Jinkxy opens a cabinet in the garage and everything falls out. He puts a flower in his ear and looks innocent as the girls look over some stuff in boxes. Like creepers.
Cloe finds a vinyl album called Mambo Mania by Rico and Delores. Yasmin says that her parents met at a club where they were playing. Jinkxy starts playing percussion as the girls talk. Cloe reads the back of the album and she and Yasmin realizes that Lola is actually Delores Reyes. They look at the photo on the cover and recognize the older woman when she was much younger. They turn to Lola and ask her why she didn’t tell them.
Lola sighs and says that that was all a long time ago. The girls then come across a photo of Celia has a child, playing the drums. Lola says that they believed that being on the road so much wasn’t good for their child, so they decided to put all of their money together and send her to a boarding school.
There is a brief flashback of Lola arguing with her husband about Celia. Lola says that she wants a better life for her daughter. Back in the present, Lola adds that Rico would be so proud of her.
Will the girls be able to adopt all of Lola’s animals in time? Will the animals pen a novel and launch their own careers as marketing executives in their spare time? How will Jade and Sasha fare at the spa?
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