Episode 16 of the Bratz TV program is called Cinderella (Part 1, Part 2). If you’re thinking that this must be some kind of mistake, as Bratz Kidz already covered the fairy tale of Cinderella in their Fairy Tales movie, it’s not. This is actually ANOTHER retelling of the classic story. This time in the Bratz TV show. And once again, Yasmin is Cinderella!
The episode starts off at Cloe’s house. The blonde girl is desperately trying to find a pair of her shoes. She digs through her closet, throwing random items everywhere. Sasha catches a CD that she carelessly tossed aside. The band is apparently called the Nice Girls. Sasha questions her about it.
Cloe casually responds, “What can I say? I was young and impressionable.” She’s still young and impressionable, not that anyone noticed. She continues to rifle through her things. Cloe throws a book out of her closet and it hits Yasmin in the face. Completely unfazed by being assaulted by a book, Yasmin looks to see what book it is.
It’s Cinderella! All of the girls announce how much they love the book. Cloe declares that it changed her life. The girls then flashback to when they were Babyz. They sat on a bed, with Yasmin narrating. Even though the Babyz are supposed to be about 3 or 4 and entirely too young to read. But that doesn’t stop them!
Baby Yasmin begins, “She lived in a far, far away land of Fashionista where hip, cool fashion reigned supreme.” The scene then opens on the Your Thing Magazine office. It has a different color scheme and no massive pictures of Burdine hanging on the walls, but it’s the same place. The narration continues that Yasmin (Cinderella) lived with her dad, Chachi.
Her dad in the story somehow has the same name and appearance as Chachi, the petnapper in Episode 6 Pet Show. No explanation is given. As the scene opens on the happy father and daughter, Yasmin is seated on the floor, strumming on her guitar. For future reference, the characters in this alleged fairy tale have different names. I’m going to tell you what their fairy tale name is when it’s first used, but I’m going to use their normal name for the rest of the episode in order to avoid confusion. Besides, most of the names just have an ‘A’ stuck on the end.
Everything is going wonderfully for the family, until Chachi meets Burdine (Burdina). He believes that Yasmin needs a role model, so he marries her. But Burdine was just after his money and fashion empire (of course). She brought her daughters Kirstee and Kaycee (Christina and Kirstina) to their blended family.
Babyz Yasmin now narrates, “She told everyone that they were her little sisters in order to avoid any unfortunate age placement.” Although it’s not explicitly spelled out in this fairy tale, Burdine, in the show, is 31 years old. If she was the twin’s mother, she would have been 15 when she gave birth to them. Why the constant age shaming on a character that’s not even that old? Little girls are going to be inundated with messages about how women have expiration dates and have a limited window of sexual attractiveness. So they really need to hammer home that no longer being a teenager is the moment you start to become an old hag?
Anyway, the Babyz react accordingly to Burdine lying about her daughters by exclaiming, “Ewwww! Nasty!” Which would be funny if it wasn’t something that they would be completely likely to do themselves once they hit the ancient age of 30. Although they like to claim otherwise, the girls are just as superficial as Burdine and the Tweevils. They’re just not as honest about it.
Back to the story, the Tweevils are making poor Yasmin’s life hell. But then tragedy struck. Burdine, intent on taking over Chachi’s fashion empire, force feeds him carbs. She’s shown literally shoving burgers and other foods into his mouth. The narrator sadly relates that Burdine murdered him, “by feeding him too many carbs.”
I really wonder what young girls are taking away from this show. Do they really believe that you can die from too many carbs? Do they feel ashamed when they eat cheeseburgers? Do they believe that they’ll be as skinny as Burdine if they eat her carb-free diet, no matter their body type and dietary needs? I honestly don’t know, but the idea of impressionable people watching this is rather scary.
After Chachi dies, Burdine takes over the company. She removes Chachi’s fashion forward clothing lines and replaces them with the same pink suit. Yasmin’s status also falls as Burdine is a bitch to her. She forces her to wear one of the Tweevil’s pink dresses all the time and makes her to sleep in the basement.
But this is all okay, because Yasmin has her sunny attitude. “She was a singer songwriter that dreamed of being a rock star.” I should probably be grateful that it wasn’t a fashion designer, right? Anyway, Yasmin sits in the basement singing and strumming her guitar. Burdine then throws open the door and yells at her to stop before grabbing the instrument and walking off with it.
“One day,” Babyz Yasmin narrates, “everything changed.” Unfortunately, the change wasn’t that the story started making any kind of sense. The office that once belonged to Chachi is now the regular Your Thing office. Burdine is threatening someone over the phone. Out of frustration, she hurls her shoes at the Tweevils. She hits Kaycee in her nose, but Kirstee ducks and the shoe hits Burdine in the face when it boomerangs back. Because shoes do that in real life.
Burdine then calls Yasmin and demands that she goes to to the mall to get her new shoes. The Tweevils ask their mother if she really wants to send Yasmin outside. Kirstee ponders, “So she can get arrested for public ugliness?” Burdine ignores them and sends Yasmin anyway, who is overjoyed to be out of the office and actually going to the mall. Before she leaves, Burdine sends the Tweevils to follow her and make sure that she gets the right shoes.
Throughout this episode the Tweevils torment Yasmin by calling her ugly. As if that’s the worst insult that a girl could hear. Also, it’s not even true. Yasmin is always caked in makeup and conventionally attractive. Why don’t they just call her fat?
Regardless, Yasmin is next shown walking down an alley carrying two large shopping bags, with her pet mouse, Cinders, on her shoulder. She tells the animal that she hasn’t been to the mall since her dad was alive. Meanwhile, the Tweevils are hot on her tail.
Yasmin walks past Eitan (Eitonian) and Cameron (Camselot) at the juice bar. Eitan immediately notices her, asking Cameron, “Who is that fine babe?” Yasmin turns and smiles at him and he’s hooked. He calls her his Pretty Princess and goes to introduce himself. Yasmin says that her dad used to call her that. Which would be funny or interesting if that wasn’t already her nickname in the show.
Anyway, Eitan tells her that she has some styling vocals. Which he apparently figured out through her speaking voice because he has never heard her sing. It’s needed for the story later that he figures out that she plays music, but the idea that he heard her speak two sentences and knows she has a nice singing voice is a little odd. Yasmin then mentions that she’s a singer/songwriter and Eitan asks to hear her play.
She demurs, laughing that she only plays in intimate venues (like the basement) to select audiences (like her pet mouse). As they continue to walk with Eitan trying to get her undivided attention, one of the Tweevils trips her and Yasmin falls. The carrier bag of shoes falls into the fountain and Yasmin bemoans her fate at the hands of Burdine if she doesn’t get those shoes. She grabs the package out of the water and runs off as Eitan objects that he never caught her name. The Tweevils then block is path to the fleeing girl. They introduce themselves to him, but Eitan is still focused on Yasmin.
The Bratz Babyz implore Yasmin to tell them what happens next. Yasmin informs her friends that, “Eitanion was crushing on Cinderella, big time.” Because that’s how actual books are written. Big time. Back at the juice bar, Eitan is talking to Cameron. He asks how he’s going to see the girl again. Just then, Byron, or Lord Byron, as he’s known in the fairy tale, approaches. He asks Eitan what his call about granting someone a record deal was.
Cut to a scene where Bryon is on the radio. He introduces himself as Lord Byron of Charming Records. He invites all aspiring stars to come and perform at a special concert. The winner will be awarded a million recording contract with the record company. The three other Bratz are listen to the announcement, as is everyone else in town.
At Your Thing HQ, the Tweevils are crowded around the radio listening to the announcement in earnest. While they’re listening to the promotion, Cinderella is giving Burdine a pedicure. Burdine tells her to mind her bunions and goes back to reading her magazine, with the title “Mail Order Husbands”. After Byron’s bit is over, the twins are super excited at the thought of the concert. If anyone can perform, then that means that they can too. Burdine tells them to win that contract. She immediately talks about how she would be the twin’s manager and this would be her rise to fame.
Yasmin asks if she can go too. The Tweevils mock her for even asking. Burdine tells her to not even think about entering the contest. The three evil females walk out of the room and Yasmin is left, where she asks Cinders, “What about my dream?”
Back on the bed, where the Babyz are lounging, Yasmin narrates that she was grounded for life. Cloe laments the girl’s fate. Adding that the poor teenager was, “rotting away in the basement on a diet of stale bread and unbottled water.” Jade responds promptly with an, “Ewwww, nasty!”
It still amazes me how these characters find themselves so superior to Burdine and the Tweevils, whom they deem superficial, when they are disgusted by the idea of drinking water that has come out of a faucet. Beyond the fact that bottled water is bullshit, it takes a snob to be too good for the very water that billions of their fellow Americans rely on to live. It’s not classy or funny; this stuck up and arrogant.
Anyway, the story picks up the following at school. Yasmin is eating lunch in the cafeteria when the other three Bratz ask if they can sit with her. She is surprised that they’re talking to her and calls them the girls with the passion for fashion. When the girls say that they’ve never seen her outside of school, she mentions that she doesn’t get out much. Sasha tells that she has to audition for the concert that night. She adds that she once heard her singing in the locker room.
When Yasmin tells them that she can’t because of her stepmother, Sasha tells her to stick up for her rights. Jade adds, “Find your passion and express it.” Cloe tells her, “Be true to yourself.” All of this would be pretty inspirational if it wasn’t coming from the same three mindless cardboard cut outs that were just horrified over bottled water. Also, going to a concert is not a right. She’s not entitled to attend, no matter what her dream is. It’s one thing for her to want to go, but it’s another for her to decide that it’s the right of every American teenager to go to that event to try to win a record deal.
Back at the Your Thing offices, Yasmin is vacuuming while the twins are laying on the couch, exhausted. Burdine has been making them practice and just when they think they’re done, she clangs some cymbals together and demands that they start again. Burdine plays Yasmin’s guitar while the twins sing Ring Around the Rosie. They’re terrible. Of course. Burdine however, seems to be playing rather well. She continues jamming until the guitar starts smoking and she then carelessly tosses it aside.
Switching gears, Burdine tries to show the girls how to dance. She adds that she was a top disco dancer once. Which must have been when she was a baby, because, as I said before, she’s not that old. Anyway, the Tweevils are awful dancers as well. They trip and fall on top of each other.
Yasmin, who has finished vacuuming, picks up her discarded guitar and says that since the concert is that night she thought that she would go check it out. But Burdine tells her that she can’t simply go out when she has so many things to do. Such as beautifying the Tweevils. Yasmin tries to disagree, but Burdine doesn’t hear her out.
There’s a montage of Yasmin preparing her evil stepsisters for the ball. She cuts up cucumbers and makes a green face mask. She then applies everything to their faces. She gives them pedicures and they fight with each other, ending with kicking the bucket of water over. Yasmin blow dries their hair and sprays on their perfume to leave them looking… exactly the same as they always do. But why spend money on the animation budget to make them look even slightly different when you can just use the same models and be lazy? High-quality content for the win!
The twins then chatter about the contest. They tease their stepsister about not being able to enter. They call her a loser before she walks off, defeated.
Back to the Babyz. Sasha asks when Cinderella is going to deal with her evil stepsisters. Babyz Yasmin continues narrating, “It was an hour before the big concert.”
Burdine ushers her twins out of the office. Which I guess is where they live? She also calls them slime queens. Uh, what? Those are supposed to be her daughters. It’s one thing to abuse Yasmin, but she has no regard for her own children? Anyway, Yasmin asks to come along. But the three laugh and announce that they don’t want to be seen in public with her. Burdine tells her to shine her pink pumps. The camera then shows another angle of the room and it’s revealed there are thousands of shoes, that weren’t there before, lined up on the carpet, ready to be shined.
Yasmin sinks to the floor in defeat. She tells no one in particular that she should have stuck up for herself. She laments not listening to her instant BFFs, the other Bratz. There’s a quick cut back to the Babyz where Yasmin narrates, “Cinderella thought her life was so over.” Because, again, that’s how published books are written. Back in the story, Yasmin is shining the pumps like a goddamn slave.
Suddenly, there’s a knock on the door. Yasmin gets it and discovers the Bratz in their Rock Angelz outfits. The girls tell her that they have to teach her to be true to herself. Which is something that you can now teach. Which is a bit like teaching uniqueness. If you’ve taught someone something it’s not unique or specific to themselves.
Anyway, they give her a guitar and tell her that they went to the mall and bought her clothes. Which seems a little weird. Granted, it happens in the original fairy tale, but this is three random girls from school showing up at her house after buying her clothes. It’s a little intimate for someone that they don’t know. The girls announce that they’re ready to give Yasmin a makeover. But Cloe tells her that there’s a catch. She says that these are magic clothes and they will only last time midnight. Not even going to ask.
There is then another montage, this time of Yasmin’s makeover. The girls brush her hair, they get her dressed, they put makeup on her, they paint her nails, they put more makeup on her. Then there’s some more makeup.
When they’re finished, Yasmin looks just like the other girls. She poses triumphantly and pauses for effect. Sasha then tells her to get her butt to the ball. Yasmin points out that she doesn’t have a car.
But that’s not a problem, because the Bratz are here! Babyz Yasmin narrates that, “Cinderella and her fashion fairy friends arrived at the concert hall.” Which solves the mystery of exactly what the Bratz were. Fashion fairy friends. Right.
nyway, the girls arrive at the venue and get out of the limo that they took there. For some reason, there’s a red carpet. Yasmin doesn’t want to walk it as she says that she’s not famous. But the other Bratz encourage her. They tell her;
“It’s not about being famous, it’s about working it!”
But no one really explains what that means. What is she selling? What is she owning? What is she working? These are just meaningless catch phrases that the girls throw around with lots of misplaced conviction.
Without a second glance, Yasmin changes her mind and walks the red carpet with the other Bratz. On stage, the Tweevils are singing Rosie Around the Rosie. Everyone is booing and throwing fruit. Just then, Burdine sees the Bratz. Byron, who isn’t even supposed to know who she is, holds her off. The evil stepmother calls him a useless stage hand and does her “Do you know who I am” speech. Then, it’s Yasmin’s turn to perform.
She gets on stage and dedicates her song to every girl that has a dream. She starts to rock out and Byron loves her voice. Eitan also recognizes her. The other Bratz cheer her on from the wings.
Byron then carries Burdine off as the woman is having a conniption fit over her stepdaughter performing. But then the clock strikes 12 and Yasmin realizes that it’s midnight as golden sparkles appear around the hem of her pants. She runs off towards the doors. Eitan tries to catch up with her, but the Tweevils block his path. Yasmin’s clothes start to reform into something other than what she was originally wearing. She leaves her guitar behind and escapes the club. Cameron tells Eitan that he lost her, but Eitan is determined to find his mystery woman. And this time, he has her guitar. Which, is hot pink and suitably girly.
The following day at school, all of the girls in the cafeteria are playing on the guitar and trying to emulate the song that Yasmin played that night. None of them are remotely close, instead screeching their songs and playing poorly. Even Roberta, the punk girl from It’s Not About Me Week auditions.
Back at the Your Thing office, Eitan is there to audition the Tweevils. The girls continue to sing and play terrible. Kirstee hits Kaycee in the nose with the guitar and the two fight. Eitan, uninterested in both, walks off from their performance. He asks Burdine if there are any other rockers in the house.
Just then, Yasmin enters and the Tweevils shove her into a closet before Eitan can see her. Burdine says that there’s no one else in the house besides the three of them. But then Eitan sees Cinder’s, her pet mouse. Just then, Yasmin falls out of the closet.
He recognizes her immediately as his dream girl. Horrified, Burdine insists that she can’t sing. Yasmin turns around and delivers some pure sass mouth to her stepmother. Burdine orders her to go back to the cellar but Yasmin retorts, “Sorry, but from now on, I march to my own beat!” Which might have been more convincing without the apology at the beginning. Burdine tells Eitan not to listen to Yasmin, but it’s to late. Cinders climbs up Burdine’s dress and then the Bratz appear. They had Yasmin her guitar.
Eitan tells the girl to sing and she does. His hopes confirmed, the two walk towards each other and hold hands. Not even a chaste kiss on the cheek. Which again, goes back to showing the girls as utterly sexually attractive, but completely sex-less at the same time. It’s not as if a kiss would have been to wild and racy for TV. G-rated Disney movies show kissing. Come on.
Babyz Yasmin finishes narrating by saying, “And they rode off into the sunset in Eitan’s rocking convertible.” The other babyz, utterly delighted in the story, ask Yasmin if they live happily ever after. The latina girl says that they live happily ever after, but not together.
Back in the story, Eitan asks Yasmin if she would go steady with him. And Yasmin turns him down. She says that there are things she wants to do before she commits to someone. She rattles off a grocery list of objectives, including set up a pet shelter, go to college, get a masters in environmental science and so on. Burdine shouts at the Tweevils while Yasmin is still blabbering on about what she wants to do.
This ending is just strange. Having a boyfriend doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything you want and you have to give up your dreams. Eitan asked her to date, not to get married and have a baby that night. Are the writers trying to say that women can’t be successful and fulfill their dreams if they’re dating someone?
Also, Yasmin’s huge list of goals is coming from where exactly? The only dream that has been mentioned in connection to her in the entire story is her dream to be a rock star. So suddenly she has all of these other interests and pursuits? And a masters in environmental science? The fuck would she do with that? Learn how to tell organic purses from non-organic by sight alone? Create her own line of natural element makeup? Bratz and actual science don’t mix. It doesn’t have enough runway shows involved in it.
For the wrap up, the girls talk about how they rediscovered their favorite story and wrote a magazine article about it. It was titled “How to have a fairy rockin’ life”. Which doesn’t even make sense. What was the article about exactly? Unrealistic, reimaginings of fairy tales? But it doesn’t matter. There needs no explanation, because it’s the end of the episode.
One thing that struck me while watching this episode is that it’s strangely similar to Elle: A Modern Cinderella Tale. Granted, this Bratz episode aired first, but still. Both are retellings Cinderella with guitar-playing singer/songwriter stars that is sought by her prince on the radio and she wins him over with her voice. Are people just really that unimaginative?
But anyway, with the confusing take on dating relationships, the weird shoehorning of the Bratz world into the fairy tale frame and the utter ridiculousness of the plot, it leaves this episode just as poorly written and animated as the rest of the TV series. Were we really expecting better at this point? Not really, but reusing the same fairy tale retelling for one series is just inexcusably lazy. Some days I really hope that none of the people who worked on Bratz leave that credit on their resumes.