Making Under The Bratz

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[Image: A makeunder of a Bratz Cloe doll. On the left is Cloe in full makeup with large lips. On the right is Cloe with her face repainted to look as if she is not wearing makeup.]

People have been doing “make unders” on Bratz dolls for a while now. At first glance, it looks like a solid idea. Bratz dolls are sexualized, caked in makeup, and wearing tiny clothes. What could be better than stripping that all away to repaint their faces so they look like “real” girls? But what message are these made under dolls sending and is it the message that should be sent?

It’s one thing to identify problems with the Bratz dolls and entire media franchise and I have done that until the proverbial cows have returned, left again, and come back with McDonald’s. Bratz characters are one-dimensional caricatures of young women who can only think about clothing and boys. It shows femininity and being a girl as something that exists within an enclosed space of superficial wants which allows no room for a girl who likes to read or wants to pay attention in class or dares to do anything with her life other than be a fashion designer.

The problem is not that the Bratz are wearing makeup. That is far too simple a concept to say that makeup is what makes the Bratz bad role models and examples of femininity for young girls everywhere. Because makeup is something that women can enjoy and like to use. It should not be unanimously declared dangerous or problematic. Makeup can be a symptom of beauty standards shoved onto girls at a very young age, but it doesn’t have to be.

Neither does their revealing outfits or the urban style in which the dolls are dressed. Some women wear revealing outfits. Some women dress like the Bratz dolls and do so because it makes them feel fulfilled and empowered. Makeup isn’t the problem and neither are the clothes.

So what’s the problem? The problem is a combination of factors which together deliver a message of female appearance and actions with no alternative presented. It shows there is one way to be a girl and it’s this way. It gives young children role models to think of as extensions of themselves and allows them to play only as one example of femininity. That example is already mirrored all over pop culture and gives children who want something different no other option.

It would be too easy if we could say that banning makeup or short dresses would solve the issue with Bratz dolls. But it goes much deeper into what the dolls represent and how the dolls present adult concepts such as sexualization, autonomy, and identity to their young audience. When young girls look at their dolls and see nothing but one shallow stereotype of feminine behavior with no variety or engagement, the message received is a dangerous one of upholding beauty standards, conforming to societal expectations for women, and never questioning either because the dolls have assured them that this one way of being a girl is called being true to yourself and that following the crowd is being an individual.

I regularly come down hard on the Bratz franchise for setting a poor example for their audiences. But the Bratz are not the Bratz solely because they are wearing makeup and outfits adult women would wear to go clubbing. Girls who want to dress like this and feel empowered while doing so deserve a space in society and a voice in feminism. The message of fake individualism, conformity, and subservience to beauty standards is what makes the Bratz so dangerous.

[Image: Makeunder of a Bratz Yasmin doll. Left shows Yasmin in full makeup. Right shows her with her face repainted to look as if she isn’t wearing any makeup.]

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Making under their dolls does little to combat this massive problem. Making their dolls over to be famous, accomplished women is a step in the right direction, but it’s just a step. We can’t blame makeup or clothing on this societal issue. The more we try to, the more we divert everyone’s attention from the real problem and continue to sexualize women and girls who dress like real-life Bratz.

Like all societal problems of this nature, there is no one simple solution and I’m certainly not going to even attempt to pose one. The Bratz dolls were created in order to make money and make money they did. In the end, the creators are not interested or even concerned about the huge social and psychological burden that has been placed on them when their consumers are so young and impressionable. Selling a sexualized, made up doll in a short skirt made people money the easiest way they knew how.

For any examples of how little the Bratz media team cares about the quality of the entertainment associated with the dolls, please feel free to view any of the thousands upon thousands of words I’ve already devoted to it. When girls are presented with role models, there should be room for all role models. Banning women who wear makeup and revealing clothes does not help anyone, because these women are women as well and deserve to be heard.

At the same time, presenting one type of woman to millions of young girls and not allowing them to see any other representations of what it means to be female in society is a deeply-ingrained issue that will take a lot more to fix than simply repainting a doll’s face. All women deserve to be present and respected, no matter if they wear makeup to make them look more conventionally attractive, or never wear anything on their faces and don’t care what society’s view of beauty is. When it comes to being a woman, there is no right or wrong way and it needs to be made clear to young girls that however they express or don’t express themselves is the right way to do it.

Bratz TV: S1E15: To catch a thief with hairspray, Part 2

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[Image: Yasmin and Cloe tied back to back. They are wearing their outdoor clothes. Yasmin is mostly visible with Cloe looking over her shoulder.]

This is a two-part review of the Bratz episode, To catch a thief. Click here to read part 1.

Outside of the room, Yasmin and Cloe are still trying to listen in with their ears to Byron’s hotel room door. Just then, the Tweevils approach, carrying matching pink purses. As they enter, they are finishing a conversation that was apparently about burning Burdine’s dress, maybe with the iron that Kirstee was using earlier. Maybe they set her on fire. Who knows?

But the twins mock Yasmin and Cloe for their eavesdropping. Kaycee says that when they do it, they always use a glass. The both then pull out drinking glasses from the purses. Kirstee then states that they sometimes use stethoscopes. They pull out stethoscopes from their purses. To demonstrate, they put their medical instruments against the door. Just then, Byron opens the door and sees the twins trying to invade his privacy. He grabs their stethoscopes and shouts into them for the girls to leave him alone. Which seems all fun, but could actually damage Kirstee and Kaycee’s hearing.

Cloe and Yasmin slink off as Byron is yelling at the Tweevils, presumably unseen by the angry Byron. They are next shown in a red car driving over what looks like incredibly inhospitable roads. Cloe asks if Yasmin really thinks that Byron hid the jewels out there. Yasmin says that he claimed that they weren’t in the hotel, so where else could they be? Which, when did he say that? It wasn’t in the episode. Did they overhear it? And if they did, why wasn’t that shared with the audience? Regardless, Cloe picks up her cell phone and calls one of the other Bratz to tell them that she and Yasmin are going to the camping area to look for the missing jewelry.

Back in Byron’s room, the man is admiring himself in his mirror. After giving himself a brief pep talk about how great he looks, he leaves. Jade and Sasha, seeing their chance to escape, get out from under the bed. But as they’re headed towards the door, it opens again with Byron walking back in talking about how he forgot something. He screams when he sees the girls. Because what grown man wants there to be hyper-sexualized teenagers in his hotel room? Jade then turns to Sasha and tells her that they are so busted. As if that wasn’t readily apparent.

In Burdine’s room, the magazine editor is applying lipstick over her already-glossed lips. She then tells the twins to finish polishing her tiara. Presumably after they finish with the pink pumps that they are currently shining. She adds, “Damon’s going to be here for our date in two hours and I’m not even half ready yet!” Which I find amusing because as much as the writers try to vilify Burdine, Kirstee, and Kaycee, they are just as superficial, self-centered, and egomaniacal as the Bratz.

It seems that Dylan’s earlier comment about not liking someone making them a viable suspect seems to hold true in many cases. The Tweevils and Burdine are supposed to be disliked so whatever behavior they exhibit is bad. Even if it’s the same behavior that the Bratz regularly indulge in. When the polarizing idea is that the Bratz are always good, no matter what they’re doing and the Your Thing crew is always bad, no matter what they’re doing, it leads to people not noticing others’ behaviors, but instead casting people as all good or all bad. While this seems like a simple enough approach for a children’s TV show, it sets a bad precedence for the impressionable children watching.

Anyway, Kirstee, still thinking that Burdine is the jewel thief, asks where Burdine was during the last theft. Burdine thinks back and says that she was having her mustache waxed. Because that’s supposed to be embarrassing for her. Be ashamed that your body produces hair, girls. It’s not feminine enough for a real woman. But then Burdine tells her interns that it’s none of their business. Kaycee then whispers to her sister, “Guilty with a capital Q.” Because it’s funny when girls are unintelligent.

Kirstee asks when Burdine will be back that night. Burdine goes over the night’s events. Dinner, dancing, marriage proposal. Sounds like a very efficient night for someone that she just met a few days ago. Burdine then asks the twins why they’re being so inquisitive. Kaycee starts to explain, but Kirstee, thinking quickly, stuffs the rag she was polishing Burdine’s shoe with into her mouth to gag her.

Out in the woods, Cloe and Yasmin enter a cave. And yes, it’s the same cave from the survivor challenge in the last episode and it’s the one that houses a bear. Yasmin is reluctant to go in as she thinks that the bear might still be mad at her for plucking its whisker. Cloe tells her not to worry and adds that she can take care of the bear with more of her honey face mask if needs be.

The girls step into the cave and start to look around. Among what looks like wild garlic, Cloe finds a jewelry box and opens it. She discover the diamonds. Just then a deep, male voice with an American accent intones, “Hello girls, may I help you?” So, for anyone with even a tiny bit of coherent thought in their heads, the thief is revealed.

Both Nigel and Byron speak with British accents, so they are both ruled out as this thief is American. Gertrude also speaks with a different heavy accent and is female. So the only suspect left on the list that is both American and has a masculine sounding voice is Damon. However, it’s supposed to be presumed at the audience doesn’t know who this person is.

Back at the hotel, Byron tells Sasha and Jade that they don’t look like room service. Sasha snaps back in her usual offensively-stereotypical Sassy Black Girl voice that, “–you don’t look like a jewel thief, but looks are so deceiving.” Byron then asks them if they lost their senses. He doesn’t stop to wonder if they ever had any to begin with.

Yasmin then tells him that she saw him taking a diamond necklace. Byron then explains that he’s filming a new reality show called To Catch A Thief, like To Catch A Predator, but not as hilariously meme-inducing. Anyway, Byron is trying to catch a world-renowned thief named Damon Vandoren. He says that he wasn’t stealing the jewelry, he was replacing the real ones with fakes. He adds that if Damon got away with the real pieces Byron would be in trouble for letting him go.

This explanation, however, brings up more questions than the girls had before this. First off, where are all of the cameras? How are they shooting a reality show without a single camera being present in this entire episode. Yes, I know it would be hard to animate camera people, but come on. Just like the previous episode about the Survivor series, there are no camera people present at all. Next, how can they trust Byron that he was doing what he said he was doing. If he is a thief he has every reason to lie to them and put them off his trail.

But the Bratz like him, so they don’t ask any of these completely valid questions. Sasha, to her credit, attempts to be skeptical, but the best critical thinking that she can manage is to ask how he got fakes realistic enough that could fool a jewel thief. As if that’s the biggest part of this equation that doesn’t make sense.

Byron then goes to the black bag that Yasmin found under his pillow and pulls out a diamond bracelet. He drops it on the floor and smashes it with his heel. The “diamonds” shatter. Byron explains that the victims were happy to exchange their real pieces for fakes in order to get a chance to be on his TV show. He then moves the flat screen TV to show that he has been keeping the jewelry safe in a hidden place behind the electronic device.

Sasha then rolls her eyes and notes, “Ah, people are such attention freaks.” Byron then asks if the girls want to help him catch the thief. Sasha then gasps, “Can we be on your show?!” Strange how this time, the writers are openly admitting that the Bratz are just as vain, shallow, and narcissistic as they vilify everyone else for being. But it’s played off for comedy. Because girls are funny when they’re unintelligent.

Back at the cave, Damon has tied up Cloe and Yasmin back-to-back in front of an interesting rig. He says that if either of them move, they will set off a motion detector which will then fire an arrow right at Yasmin’s heart. The instant and rather gory death of a character while her friend watches might seem a little odd for a children’s show aimed at grade schoolers. And it is. But no one either notices or cares.

Anyway, then this exchange takes place:

Cloe: What if I get the hiccups?
Damon: Then Yasmin would get heartburn like never before.

I get that the writers were trying to be funny or whatever their equivalent of witty is. But come on. That doesn’t even make sense. There’s nothing burning about an arrow through the heart. If you’re going to try to make snappy comebacks, at least have them make sense. Is that too much to ask?

Damon then leaves the girls as Cloe starts one of her trademark freak outs. She thinks that they’re going to die in that cave and then they won’t see their friends again, they won’t go to senior prom, they won’t graduate, and they’ll never return that DVD they rented. Yasmin cuts her off while telling her to calm down and think of a way out of there.

Cloe then wishes that they were wearing arrow-proof vests. But then further laments that those would ultimately be pretty tacky. Because why wear something that can save your life if it’s not fashionable? Yasmin then realizes that that’s it! She tells her friend that she’s wearing a necklace and, “The silver medallion is like armor.” It’s not and you should never bet on a necklace stopping an arrow fired by a machine, but this is Bratz. So just go with it.

Yasmin says that if she can figure out how to get the necklace to cover her heart, then they can get off the arrow and get out of there. I can’t even begin to discuss just how many problems there are with this sentence. If this was the real world and not this ridiculously silly fantasy that a team of grown people made up to sell dolls to kids, this plan would probably lead to both of their deaths. But the scene cuts back to the hotel before seeing what happens with Yasmin and Cloe.

At the restaurant, Damon is on his date with Burdine. Burdine asks him about himself and he begins by saying that he had a rough childhood and his father was always sick. Burdine declares his back story depressing and asks him about how many houses he has. Without batting an eye, Damon starts discussing his villa in Italy.

Meanwhile, the Tweevils are at the booth behind the pair, peering over the top at them. They decide that since Burdine is distracted and out of the room, they can go look for the jewelry. This brings up an interesting point. The Bratz never suspected the Your Thing crowd as having anything to do with the jewel theft, even though they believe that someone who hangs out with them would be capable of it. So why did the Bratz pass over the three women when by their, we-don’t-like-them logic, they should be at the top of the list?

Anyway, back in Byron’s room, Sasha is worried. She announces, “Cloe and Yasmin don’t just disappear.” Oh, if only they had some way to communicate with each other through some means. Like, oh, I don’t know, a phone, perhaps. Just then, there’s a knock on the door and Cameron enters. He says that the missing Bratz are not at the pool, but Damon is in the restaurant. Sasha says that they should go tell Damon that they’ve figured him out and that they want to know here Yasmin and Cloe are. Byron then interjects, “Girls, Damon is dangerous and more than likely armed. Are you sure you’re up to it?” Sasha responds, “Totally,” with the sheer conviction of someone that has no idea what the fuck they’re doing.

How is Sasha exactly going to deal with a world-renowned jewel thief with nothing but her Sassy Black Girl attitude to protect her? But no one really cares. Byron says that he’s going to go stake out Burdine’s room. Sasha tells Dylan and Cameron to keep looking for Yasmin and Cloe.

Back at the restaurant, Damon takes a sip of his coffee. Suddenly, he points off behind Burdine and asks if that’s Donald Trump. Burdine immediately turns around to search for the billionaire and Damon takes out a vial and tries to pour some of its contents into her coffee. It’s never stated what this actually is, but from the context of his later actions, it seems to be some kind of sedative. Maybe the date rape drug. Who knows?

Regardless of what it is, the idea that children are being shown a man dosing a woman’s drink for the sake of comedy is highly disturbing. There’s no later mention or discussion of these actions. What a careless way to introduce a real and dangerous problem to little girls then cast it off as absolutely nothing important later.

Before Damon can put whatever it is into Burdine’s coffee, she turns back. For a second, it looks like Burdine saw the vial and knows what he was doing. But if she does, she absolutely doesn’t care. She then asks him, “How many bank accounts do you have?” Damon smoothly responds, “Onshore or offshore?” Is this show stating that Burdine is so desperate for a rich husband that she’s willing to let a man drug her?

Damon then drops a dime and points to it, asking if it’s hers. Burdine leaps into the floor to grab it with both hands. He tries again to dose her drink, but she returns and slips the dime into her purse before he can finish. With one last attempt, Damon asks if that’s Royale. Burdine leaps up, kneeling on the booth to look around the restaurant.

This is a legitimate concern for her ask she left her dog with Kaycee and Kirstee, neither of which have ever proven themselves to be competent. Damon finally manages to taint her drink. He then relents, “On second thought, it wasn’t Royale. It was a puddle. Er, poodle.” Which again, doesn’t even make sense.

Damon tells Burdine to sit down and drink her coffee, nudging it towards her on the table. Burdine pushes it away and explains that she only drinks a very specific cappuccino. She then calls a waiter over to remove the offending coffee.

While all of this is happening, the Tweevils are ransacking Burdine’s room, looking for the diamonds. At this point, the hotel room is a mess and Kaycee is balancing on Kirstee’s shoulders as they look into a light fixture. So far, they have found nothing. But they are still hopeful that Burdine is the thief. Just then, the phone rings and Kirstee leaves Kaycee, who now dangles from the hanging light, to go get it. Despite the fact that the phone only rang once and they are in someone else’s room, Kirstee yells at her twin for making her miss an important phone call after she picks up the receiver and no one is there.

Kaycee, who is now wildly swinging from the light, falls onto her sister and knocks her over. Picking themselves up, Kaycee laments that they can’t find their jewels and they will never get the reward or start their own magazine. Kirstee points out that they haven’t looked in her car yet. The girls do their usual pinky promise and booty bump.

Back at the restaurant, Jade and Sasha arrive to find that Burdine and Damon are gone. Jade then remembers to turn on her phone. As if that’s not something that she should have done hours ago. She immediately gets Cloe’s message that they’re off to the camping area. Sasha and Jade go to investigate.

Outside, Kirstee and Kaycee are in Burdine’s pink hyper-feminine car, looking for the jewels. Kaycee then hits the gear shift and the car starts rolling backwards. The girls then realize that the car is moving and they both jump out, leaving the vehicle to crash into a tree. No fucks were given. None at all.

In the hallway outside of Burdine’s room, the woman in question invites Damon in to see her collection of pink pumps. Is that what the kids are calling it these days? Damon then smiles, “I thought you’d never ask.” Burdine enters the room to see that it’s been trashed. She starts walking around the room in a panic and Damon grabs a nearby lamp.

He strikes Burdine over the head and renders her unconscious. Her body then goes into complete rigor for some reason and he picks her up to carry her to her bed. He gets her through the doorway, then starts to pull her tiara off. It’s apparently been melded into her skull because he pulls and pulls to no avail. He then puts his foot over her face and wrenches the item from her hair. Her hair is completely untouched by the removal, by the by.

He examines it with glee and notes that this is, “My one-way ticket to the retirement planet of the filthy rich.” They have their own planet now? I wasn’t aware of this. He then exits the room but runs into Byron in the hall. He tries to hide the diamond encrusted tiara, but Byron sees it and is starting to mention how that looks just like Burdine’s when Damon punches him in the face. Unconscious, Byron falls to the floor.

Damon then moves Byron into the suite and places him in bed with Burdine. As he leaves, he sprays some kind of white foam on the door and makes a remark about people being unable to get them out of the room. He adds a Do Not Disturb sign on the knob.

Back in the cave, Yasmin manages to grab her necklace with her teeth and maneuver it outside of the ropes which are wrapped around herself and Cloe. Yasmin then says she’s ready. Cloe asks her if she’s sure that it’s going to work. Yasmin, ever confident in her ability to find cute shoes to match her outfit, assures her friend that it will.

She then kicks her legs up and sets off the motion detector. The arrow fires and harmlessly pings off her tiny necklace. The amount of bullshit in the last few seconds is just staggering. But what’s science or physics when you’re in the Bratz’ world? It’s a boring class in school that no one pays attention to and the subject never comes up at the mall.

Anyway, deciding that she hasn’t had enough fun today. Yasmin moans that the arrow got her. Cloe, who has her back to her friend and can’t see anything screams for what she thinks is her injured compatriot. Then Yasmin reveals that she’s just kidding and the girl actually isn’t dying horribly. Comedy! The two decide to get out of the cave.

They stand up and Yasmin says, “Quick, inhale into a size zero.” They both breathe in and the ropes become so loose that they quickly slip out of them. Which, if this was reality, would probably indicate that Damon is really shitty at tying people up. But let’s not even examine the idea of the girls just inhaling to have the same size waist as the average eight-year-old girl. The girls both announce, “Rockin’!” as they step away from the ropes.

Yasmin then grabs the jewelry box and they’re headed towards the mouth of the cave when Damon arrives, this time wielding a baseball bat. He tells them not to leave so quickly. Yasmin responds by throwing the box at his head. He is stunned for a second and they both run. But Damon recovers quickly and grabs Cloe. The three grapple with each other for the rest of the scene. At one point, Yasmin steps on his foot and then announces, “These heels are just murder on the feet.”

The fight ends when Damon grabs Cloe and lifts her up. Cloe pulls out an aerosol can from somewhere and sprays Damon in his eyes. A white foam covers his face and he screams, dropping Cloe and eventually falling to the ground, unconscious. Just then, the other Bratz arrive and hug their friends. I guess the point they were trying to make is that beauty products can be dangerous? Or girls can defend themselves with mousse? I have no idea. I really don’t.

Back at the hotel, Burdine and Byron wake up at the same time and realize that they’re in bed together. Byron tells Burdine to get away from him, but Burdine yells that he’s in her room. She tries to shove him out, but he can’t exit as the door is stuck. Just then, Burdine realizes that her tiara is gone.

She accuses Byron of stealing it and calls him a liar when he says that he didn’t. In return, Burdine begins to beat him over the head. The next scene picks up in the lobby with Byron and Burdine freed, with no thought to how they got out or whatever it was that Damon sprayed on the door to lock them in there in the first place. It seems strange that the writers would go into so much pointless detail about how Jade picked a lock with a cuticle pusher and then leave all of this unanswered in any way. Maybe the cocaine was running low again. Who knows?

Anyway, in the lobby, the girls are looking over their $10k check with gleaming pride. It’s written out to the “Bratz” and sadly, no one notices that they would never be able to cash it because the date reads, “09/00/05”. I like to think that this is the hotel’s way of getting around paying the teenagers that endlessly harassed their guests and staff all week.

The girls laugh at how they caught Damon with Cloe joking, “And all we had to do was risk our lives?” Risk their lives? What? Teenagers are invincible. Everyone knows that.

Byron then comes over to “commemorate” the girls on a job well done. No joke, he actually says “commemorate” to them. I had to listen to that about four times to make sure I heard it correctly. Is this a mistake the voice actor did that everyone was too lazy to fix or did the writers actually put that on paper? The world may never know. He asks the girls what they’re going to do with the money.

Sasha says that they’re going to buy diamonds! Everyone informs her that that’s not funny. Yasmin then says that they’re going to donate the reward to a wilderness program for city kids as she hands the check to Byron. Which, if they were never going to keep the money in the first place, why did they get so excited at the idea of having it? Are they THAT into charity? Of course, this is the first and only mention of this program. No one ever sees the kids that benefit or even hear about how they helped these people. Just another empty gesture from the Bratz, meant to make them look good.

Just then, Burdine enters the lobby in tears. She tells Royale, “May your heart never break like mine,” as if that makes any sense. Burdine is characterized as being so heartless it would be in keeping with her portrayal for her to be completely unaffected by Damon’s betrayal and capture and just disappointed or annoyed that she lost a potential meal ticket. The fact that she is shown actually mourning the end of the relationship is nothing short of bizarre.

Byron, realizing his pink nemesis is back, says that he has to leave. He leaves with the $10,000 check in his hands. No one says anything about it. Just then, Burdine and the Tweevils, that were following behind her, lugging bags, leave the hotel and see off the in the distance, Burdine’s car that has been totaled and is now resting against a tree.

Apparently no one saw the wreck or thought it was important to report it. Burdine starts shouting and demanding answers and the Tweevils creep off to get out of the line of fire. The Bratz just laugh at their enemy’s misfortune. Because they don’t like her. So she deserves no sympathy or compassion, despite the fact that she seemed to have cared about a man that just tried to poison her and hit her over the head.

The wrap up relates that Damon got 15-20 years in prison for his struggles. Even though, with theft, two kidnapping charges, attempted murder, and multiple assault counts, he probably should have gotten more than that. Then, “Burdine found that love hurts.” I could literally write another 8,000 words on how many problems I have with that sentence. But let’s just chalk it up to the fact that everyone uses the word “love” as if it’s the word “like”. Finally, and most importantly, the girls with a passion for fashion got a great cover story that they dubbed, “How to catch a thief in style.”

The title of their article just hammers home all of the problematic elements of this already highly problematic show. Even the girls step out of their pink shopping mall and try something not associated with hyper-femininity, they still have to tack on the word “style” to make it count. The Bratz do not exist without fashion, so that fashion and femininity must be injected to every tiny thing that they do, no matter how inappropriate or ill-fitting it is. In the end, the Bratz save the day. But do it within their limiting box of what it means to be a girl.

This is a review of an episode of the Bratz TV series. To read more reviews of Bratz episodes, Click here. To read Bratz movie reviews, Click here.

Bratz TV: S1E15: To catch a thief with hairspray, Part 1

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[Image: A slightly orange-tinted screencap of Sasha and Jade. Jade is holding up a pearl necklace. Sasha looks surprised.]

The 15th episode of Season 1, To Catch A Thief, it picks up where Survivor left off. The girls are still in the wilderness hotel with Cameron and Dylan, Byron Powell, Burdine, the Tweevils, Damon, and Nigel Forrester. And, as a special bonus, there’s a jewel thief on the loose!

The episode starts out with scenic views of the hotel. In the lobby, the four Bratz girls are looking at a poster that has a pearl necklace on it. And some gibberish. Seriously. The animators couldn’t even be bothered to attempt to put entire words on it. They just slapped some random letters on that bitch and decided that it would be good enough.

Anyway, Cloe announces that that was the second jewel theft in 24 hours. Sasha notes solemnly that this is only the beginning. Thinking quickly, Cloe exclaims, “I’ve got to hide all my bling bling.” The way the line was delivered, it almost sounds like the voice actress knew what a terrible sentence this was and she was even uncomfortable voicing it. As well she should have been. The girls walk away as Cloe continues to examine the poster. Jade comments, “I heard the thief left no clues.” Cloe, still on her jewelry tangent, abandons the poster and chases after the girls, questioning what she will do about her chandelier earrings.

Ignoring her, Yasmin mentions that the thief could strike again at any time. Cloe continues to talk about her jewelry. Which begs the question; the girls were going camping, so why did Cloe pack up her entire jewelry box for a camping trip? No one bothers to explain that when Jade mentions that the hotel is offering a $10k reward for the return of the jewelry and the thief’s capture. Which sounds odd, for several reasons.

First, how much is the jewelry worth if the reward alone is that much? Also, wouldn’t the hotel have contacted the police by now? So why is the hotel offering the reward and not the police? Not to mention, that the reward is not for information that leads to the capture of the thief or the return of the jewelry. It’s for the return of the jewelry and the thief themselves. Shouldn’t the police be doing the crime solving here and not the other hotel guests? So many questions. All of them ignored.

Moving on, Cloe is now worried about someone stealing her rhinestone toe ring. Then there’s a record scratch as all of the other girls realize just how much reward Jade said was being offered. “Ten thousand dollars?!” They exclaim in unison. Their already-massive eyes become even larger. And why?

The girls are teenage international rock stars with their own magazine. What would they need the money for? And to someone that should have made as much cash as they did, $10k wouldn’t be enough to get them out of bed in the morning. No one explains this either.

It’s unspoken that the girls are taking on the case. Because, why not? They manage to accomplish everything that they’ve ever had a whim of doing, so why couldn’t they find a criminal? The next scene takes place in one of their hotel rooms. Dylan is on his strangely-shaped laptop. He has assembled the possible suspects for this caper from our cast of hilarious characters.

Up first is Damon. Dylan calls him a “self-described billionaire playboy” and notes that he’s into revolting women, summoning up a photo of Burdine onto his laptop screen. All of the girls remark, “Ewwww!” as they see the unflattering picture. Dylan adds that Damon was in the area when the theft occurred. Jade declares, “Anyone warped enough to hang out with Burdine is warped enough to steal.” She decides to investigate him.

Next is Nigel Forrester, 9th Duke of Lessex and Cloe’s former love interest from Bratz Rock Angelz. As soon as she sees his picture Cloe asks herself what she ever saw in him. Cameron unhelpfully adds that he would like to know that as well. Although it’s completely unclear if Cameron is angry because Nigel treated Cloe badly or if he’s jealous Nigel once managed to get further, romantically, than he ever did with Cloe.

Captain Exposition, Dylan, catches everyone up that Nigel is now broke and would need the cash that could be made from selling stolen jewelry. This gives him a pretty strong motive for the crime. But then Dylan adds, “Besides, we don’t like him.” Which seems most of the reason why they regard him as suspicious. Because, the Bratz and their crew are apparently such apt judges of character if they don’t like someone, then they must be a criminal!

But it also shows that the Bratz are willing to investigate, which in their world amounts to breaking into their hotel room and rummaging through their things in many cases, just because they dislike someone. Which is a great lesson to teach little girls everywhere. Don’t like someone? Then they must be doing something wrong and you have every reason to invade their privacy. Cameron then gets out of his chair and stalks over to where Dylan is with his fists clenched. “Let me at him!” He said, menacingly. As if physical violence is going to solve the problem.

Up next is Byron Powell himself. Dylan ponders, “Reality show whiz kid, closet jewel thief or both?” He notes that Byron was also in the area at the time of the crime. Which, the Bratz were too, but no one is investigating them. Of course, the Bratz like each other right now (Sasha hasn’t becoming an egomaniac recently) so why would they be aware of the fact that other people with similarly poor logic could think that they committed the crimes as well.

Yasmin announces that Byron would never do anything like that and she’ll prove it. So this time, she’s out to prove that he’s not a thief, unlike the other suspects. Which I suppose is why you should get along with the Bratz in this world.

Anyway, the last victim, er, suspect, is Gertrude. She’s the massage therapist that worked on the girls in the last episode. Dylan notes that she has, “The gentle touch of a forklift.” Which is suspicious? I think? I’m not sure.

Sasha adds that she probably has room access. Which, just about every hotel employee would, so that means nothing. She also says that she didn’t like the way Gertrude was checking out her bling while she was getting a massage. Which wasn’t featured in the episode and doesn’t describe exactly why this behavior was so suspicious. But never mind, Sasha wants to investigate her.

Dylan then informs them that their mission to catch the thief red-handed. He adds that if anything happens to them, that he gets their CDs. All of the girls chorus, “Goodbye, Dylan!” in annoyance.

The next scene picks up in Burdine’s room. The Tweevils are doing menial labor for their boss again. Kirstee is ironing and Kaycee is polishing what looks like a stone bust of Burdine. Which, it might seem strange to bring a bust of yourself on vacation. But as the scene progresses, it shows that there are two busts of Burdine in the room. These are never explained either.

Kirstee expresses her abject resentment at having to work. Which is actually a legitimate complaint in this situation. She was hired on as a magazine intern and that hardly seems to include coming with your boss on vacation in order to keep her suits pressed. Neither of the twins manage to realize this however. Kaycee comments that Burdine should have enough money to hire someone to do all of her cleaning and polishing for her.

Delving into her usual love of gossip, Kirstee suggests that Burdine must be secretly broke. After all, no one reads Your Thing magazine. There is then a quick cut away to Royale, Burdine’s dog, who is “reading” the magazine upside down. He cocks his head to the side and looks perplexed when Kirstee announces that no one reads the publication.

Without missing a beat, Kaycee says that Burdine probably spent her savings on pink pumps and bad plastic surgery. Kirstee confirms. She points out that Burdine could have been stealing the jewels in order to pay for a new facelift. Because, remember, Burdine is 31, and a 31-year-old in the Bratz’ highly superficial world no only needs one facelift. She needs several. Kaycee then suggests turning their boss in so that they can collect the reward. Which might look weird on their resumes. Why did they leave their last job? They got their boss arrested.

Anyway, Kirstee is in love with the idea and announces that they can start their own magazine. The two do their usual bad-idea ritual; pinky swear and booty bump. They turn to a very reflective painting and Kirstee announces that she wants to call the magazine K, after her. But Kaycee cries no, they have to call the magazine K after her. Because it’s funny when girl’s are this unintelligent.

Before they can fight more about which K they’re going to call their magazine, Kirstee says that in order to turn Burdine in, they have to get proof. Kaycee looks confounded for a second and asks how.

The next few scenes are part of a montage that showcases the song Who Dunnit, which is actually from the Bratz Fashion Pixiez soundtrack. The scenes I’m about to describe were interspersed, so I’m putting them all together for the sake of clarity.

The montage starts off with Burdine stepping off of the elevator. Kirstee and Kaycee start following her. Like the expert spies that they are, they disguise themselves aptly. Kirstee puts a magazine in front of her face. Kaycee carries a leafy potted plant in front of her. It’s only a few steps into the lobby where they trip and the potted plant ends up breaking, with the soil and roots landing in Kaycee’s hair.

Sometime later, Burdine walks past the hotel’s restaurant. Royale, who seems to have been just wandering around the hotel, as he wasn’t with Burdine when she got off the elevator, barks at her and the woman stops to pick up her dog. Kirstee and Kaycee, whose views are still obstructed by the remains of the plant and the magazine don’t see her stop and as a result, run into her. The three land on a pile on the floor. Before Burdine can recover, the twins run off, leaving her on the ground. Burdine makes an attempt to get up then stays on the floor. I’m sure her spine was severed.

In the next series of scenes, Sasha stalks Gertrude. She sees the massage therapist going into a guest room as Sasha follows her down the hall. In the next scene, Sasha is outside and she peers into a window were Gertrude is apparently giving a massage to a woman that’s fully clothed and still wearing long white boots.

Sasha, who apparently has no concept of privacy, watches as Gertrude picks up a strand of pearls, laying on a dresser and looks at them, smirking. Sasha gasps. However, Gertrude touching jewelry is not enough proof to accuse her of anything. Not to mention that she only saw what she did by peeking into a guest’s private room without their permission, which a huge invasion of privacy.

Damon is next. Jade is hot on his tail as he walks down one of the hotel’s long hallways. He then goes into his hotel room and Jade follows him in before the door closes. So yes, Jade, an impressionable teenage girl, is now alone in a hotel room with a man she suspects to be a jewel thief. Let’s let that sink in for a second.

With Damon in another part of the suite, Jade opens a dresser drawer and finds it empty. She looks frustrated for a second, but then Damon heads towards the room she’s in and Jade runs and hides.

Outside, Cameron and Cloe are following Nigel into the forest as he walks away from the hotel. The pair watch as he picks up a croquet mallet from in front of a tree. Which I guess is where you store spare mallets? I’m not sure. I don’t play.

The next scene opens up with Cameron and Cloe watching Nigel from behind a boulder as he plays croquet. The two creepers are in no way subtle about where they’re hiding and Nigel quickly sees them. After revealing their position, they duck back behind the boulder to hide out. That’s when they notice that Cameron’s hand is covering Cloe’s. Which is as much action as any of the girls get in this entire media franchise. Because the Bratz are completely sexualized while simultaneously being completely sexless.

Anyway, as the two teens realize that their hands did indeed touch, they pull their hands apart so that they might never experience such racy sexual contact again. Just then, Nigel hits the croquet ball particularly hard and it bounces off two trees before hitting Cameron in the back and knocking him over. Nigel walks behind the boulder, in Cloe’s clear view, glowering at the pair as he goes.

Next, it’s time for the teengers to stalk Bryon. He walks through the lobby with his ice bucket, presumably to get more ice. Yasmin is sitting on a bench, peering over a copy of “War and Peace”. Which I find both hilarious and sad. Hilarious for the idea that a Bratz girl is trying to tear through some dense as shit Russian literature that’s also long as shit. But sad because it’s showing its young audience that literature, higher thinking, and artistry exists. And they’re not exposed to any of that. They’re watching Bratz.

But moving on, Byron gets into the elevator and Yasmin puts down the book that she was pretending to read and starts to follow him. But then Byron turns around and sees her and she tries to shrink back to the couch, as if it wasn’t apparent that she was trying to follow him. Which would be weird enough if they were strangers. But they’re not. If you walk into an elevator and suddenly see someone you know coming towards you, then rushing away once they realize that you saw them, you might have a few questions.

In the next scene, Byron is walking down the hallway, holding what looks like a book. Yasmin is following him. Because stalking is okay when you’re just trying to solve a mystery. The following scene shows Byron in a hotel room, we later find out is not his, he opens a large wooden jewelry box and pulls a string of pearls from it and admires them. Yasmin is horrified. She liked Byron, how could he turn out to be a jewel thief?

Back in the Bratz’ room, the girls are relaxing as Yasmin shares her terrible news. Sasha asks her to confirm the horrible truth that Byron is the jewel thief and Yasmin states that she can’t believe it either, but it’s true. Jade then says that there must be a logical explanation. After all, they like him. So how bad can he really be?

Cloe says that they should just ask him about it. Yasmin points out that if they’re wrong about him stealing the necklace then they offend him. If they’re right, then they tip him off that they’re onto him. Which, it might seem like a good idea to take this to the police and let them figure it out. But this is the Bratz world and all of the problems that ever existed can be solved by teenage girls.

Yasmin says that they should search his room to look for definite proof. Which means they want to break in and root through his stuff. Which is somehow okay, not at all illegal, and a good idea. Sasha says that if he’s hiding the diamonds in his room, that would definitely support their case. Yasmin admits that if they do find the missing jewels, they will have to turn him in. Who they’re going to turn him into never seems to be answered though. Because the police have yet to even be mentioned in this episode.

Moving on, the plan to get into Byron’s room has now been set into motion. The scene opens up on his finishing his meal at the hotel’s restaurant. He is about to get up when Yasmin slides into the booth with him and asks if they can join him. Cloe then drops onto his other side as if she fell from the sky. Seriously, it looks really weird. Byron says that he’s in a hurry, but Yasmin insists that Cloe has an idea for a reality TV show.

We don’t get to hear it yet though, as the scene switches over to Sasha and Jade as they break into Byron’s room with a wooden cuticle pusher. Which, I’ve used cuticle pushers in my job as a nail tech, and I don’t see how one could be used to break into a hotel room. Of course, this is the Bratz and if they put something in their hands that wasn’t a beauty product, the entire integrity of the series might just collapse. Anyway, after gaining access, Jade dubs it, “The two-in-one miracle stick. It pushes back cuticles and opens hotel doors.”

Sasha tells her to get moving before Byron returns to his room. They start in his closet, which only has a few sparse items, none of which he has been wearing during the entire trip. But animation is hard, so why should characters ever change outfits? They continue to check the room. Sasha looks under the bed, then in a drawer. Jade checks the toilet bowl. For some reason. Then Sasha goes to the room’s safe and finds it empty.

Back at the restaurant, Byron looks highly annoyed. Probably like any adult that is forced to spent time with vapid teenagers. Cloe is pitching him an idea for a show called “Extreme Truth or Dare”. She says that the premise is that you dare someone to go on a date wearing bright green polyester. Which Yasmin notes is totes cruel. But then when the guy shows up, he’s wearing an orange kilt, signifying that he’s in on the joke. Because it’s funny when girls are unintelligent.

Meanwhile, in Byron’s room, Sasha and Jade have come up completely empty. In frustration, Jade flops back onto the bed and hits her head on something. She proclaims, “Ow!” and turns over to see what it is. She notes that there’s something in the pillow. She then lifts it up and reveals a small, black drawstring bag. Which was under the pillow, not in it. Anyway, she opens the bag and inside finds a pearl necklace. One that looks just like the missing necklace! Dum, DUM!

Back in the restaurant, Cloe is still trying to pitch shows. “Then how about this one?” she starts off with passion. “You leave 6 girls strand in a mall with one credit card between them–” Byron, obviously reaching his limit, cuts her off and announces that her ideas are terrible for TV. While it can be argued that the writers here were trying to come up with purposely bad ideas for Cloe to talk about, how is this different from anything else that they would usually do?

Dates with bad clothes, being trapped in a mall without a credit card? This is common Bratz stuff. It almost makes the statement that the characters couldn’t get less intelligent even if someone tried because they’re already too vapid and shallow to begin with.

But the only adult in the conversation had enough. He excuses himself and gets out of the booth. Cloe tries to chase him down, but he’s heard plenty from her already. “Cloe, please!” he implores, “Show some mercy!” Yasmin gets out her cell phone and alerts the guys that Byron is headed their way. A quick cut to Dylan and Cameron shows that they have been waiting in the hallway for further instructions.

Which really makes you wonder if they actually have hobbies or thoughts of their own. All they ever seem to do is trail the Bratz around and even involved in whatever shenanigans they’ve gotten themselves into. While it might seem empowering that it’s the girls in this show that are the fully rounded human beings, while the guys are two-dimensional props. None of the Bratz are actually that fleshed out as characters and they are certainly not complicated enough to be considered fully rounded.

Back in Byron’s room, Jade is holding up a bracelet from the black bag, noting how expensive it looks. Sasha says that it’s not looking good for their pal, Byron. Just then, she gets a call from Yasmin and tells Sasha that they need to get out of the room before the man in question returns.

In the hallway, Cameron and Dylan are tossing a football back and forth. Which is both dangerous in close quarters and discourteous to the other guests. But let’s not think about other people. Byron rounds the corner and Cameron blocks his way. He then tries to pitch him a reality show called Hotel Football. Byron, by now, is beyond annoyed. He tells the boys to get out of his way. He manages to push past Cameron to get to the door before Sasha and Jade can get out. They see the handle turning and duck for cover.

Which, it seems like they would have had enough time to get out by then. But whatever. So Cameron then tackles Byron to the ground and Dylan throws the football. It lands on Byron’s head and could have possibly given him a concussion if this show was even slightly realistic. But his eyes just bulge out of his head in a cartoon fashion and he gets up. Jade and Sasha duck under one of the double beds just as Byron walks in, calling Cameron and Dylan insufferable frat boys. Which isn’t even close to being true. Maybe future frat boys. But definitely not current ones.

Just then, Jade’s phone rings and she quickly turns it off before someone can discover them. Dylan and Cameron follow Byron into his hotel room as Dylan continues to try to pitch another reality show. Cameron then starts looking for the girls around the room. Byron, however, is fed up with all of them. He shouts at Dylan, “Would you please leave the ideas to the professionals?” Byron then yells at the both to leave. Cameron then signals to Dylan and the two boys leave the room.

Tune in for part 2 where I go over what happens in the rest of the episode.

This is a review of an episode of the Bratz TV series. To read more reviews of Bratz episodes, Click here. To read Bratz movie reviews, Click here.

Bratz Kidz: Sleep-over Adventures in Insanity: Conclusion

Bratz Kidz: Sleep-over Adventures in Insanity, ConclusionThis is a multi-part review of the Bratz Kidz movie Sleep-over Adventures. To read all sections in this review, click here.

After Jade’s Story we’re still at the sleepover with Ginger, once again, expressing her discomfort at the idea of telling a scary story herself. She tells the girls that she can’t stomach hearing one of these stories, let alone tell one herself. Will the Bratz listen to her very direct statement of objection and respect her wishes to not tell this story? Of course not.

Jade innocently asks, “How can you host a sleepover and not like scary stories?” Well, Jade, I’m glad you asked that question. Ginger doesn’t answer it in the movie, but I will answer it now.

  1. There is no rule, unwritten or otherwise, that states that you have to tell scary stories during sleepovers. I was once a small child back in the stone age and never once have I been to a sleepover where I have told scary stories.
  2. Your ability to host a sleepover does not hinge on your ability to be a storyteller. The only time a sentence should start “How can you host a sleepover…” is when it ends in, “if you can’t provide anywhere to sleep.”
  3. Even if there was some unwritten rule about scary stories, Ginger has made it exceptionally clear, over and over and fucking over again, that she is uncomfortable with the stories and never wanted them to start, continue, or to tell one herself. She deserves to be listened to and have her feelings taken into consideration.

But none of this is brought up to the Bratz. The girls keep pressuring Ginger to tell her story and finally, she asks if they’re sure. When they agree, she starts. She begins, “There once was this girl…” and is interrupted by that creaking noise. Meygan whips around and demands to know what the noise is. Ginger quickly explains it away again.

Jade tells her to continue her story. Ginger continues what was saying and just ends up narrating the girls’ entire evening. She mentions that the girls have finger sandwiches and pigs in a blanket and punch and they played games. Then Yasmin yawns. The girls are clearly not impressed with Ginger’s story at all. Sasha pretends to fall asleep from sheer boredom. Meygan snaps at her about being rude. But it’s not useful at this point. Jade tells Ginger to pick up the pace.

Again, the girls’ complete lack of basic human decency here is startling. They pressured and coerced the ginger-haired girl into telling this scary story, despite all of her protests, now, totally unprepared and never having told a ghost story before, her story is not good enough for the Bratz. For a children’s movie about friendship, this is sending absolutely terrible messages to young people about what it means to be someone’s friend and how you should treat said people that you can call friends.

Anyway, Cloe encourages Ginger to really scare them with her story, as if Cloe hasn’t heard a fucking word Ginger has said all night. Ginger picks up at the sleepover story and says that it was time to go to bed. The next shot of her shows that she is cowering under a blanket again. She narrates that the people in her story rolled out their sleeping bags on the floor.

Then she freezes, completely unable to continue. The girls tell her to go on, but Ginger just hides under her blanket and shakes. Then the little red-headed girl freaks out and runs from the room. The girls look at each other in confusion, without a hint of worry for the child. Meygan says, “Kooky. What was that about?” Could she possibly have reached a breaking point after an entirely upsetting night from people scaring her and not listening to her? No, not possibly. She’s just weird.

Cloe asks if she was really upset or if she was just fooling around. Which, if they have even the slightest bit of self-awareness, they would already be aware of just how horribly they had been treating their supposed friend. And then, at the end of the goddamn film and probably some ridiculous time in the morning, it suddenly dawns on the girls that they had been total dick heads to Ginger all night. Yasmin says that they all need to apologize to her for not being considerate of her feelings.

While, this could be seen as progress as well as a realization that the girls made a mistake and an attempt to amend it, this is just par for the course when it comes to the Bratz. The girls often fight with each other and say and do cruel things to just mutter a shallow apology and have everything go back to normal. They never seem to actually feel bad about what they do or understand what the apology is for. After they’re total bitches to each other for no real reason, they just apologize, and everyone is back to being BFFs.

And the same is true in this case. They state that they’ve been “obnoxious” but they never state that they’ve been emotionally abusive bullies that don’t understand consent. They don’t realize what they did wrong and their need to apologize is just a perfunctory motion of friendship that they will go through again and again when they’re teenagers, never to learn from their mistakes.

Yasmin decides that they need to go find their young hostess and she gets up to turn on the lights. But the lights don’t come on. She flips the switch several times and nothing happens. The girls grab their flashlights and head out into the house. The hallway, which, hours ago, was brightly lit and attractive is now in disrepair and looks like part of a condemned building. There are spider webs in the corners and parts of the walls are missing and boards are gone from the floors.

The girls go into Ginger’s parents’ room and that also looks abandoned with no sign of anyone living there at anytime in the recent past. The girls then go looking for her to give her their apology. They hear more of that same eerie creaking before they head back downstairs. As they walk down the dimly-lit staircase Jade’s flipflop goes through one of the boards. She screams in surprise.bratzkidz07-thatguy

The girls finally make it back downstairs and at the end of the stairwell, there is a creepy portrait of what looks to be a vampire. Why anyone would hang a portrait of a vampire in their house is beyond my guess. Sasha notes that the temperature has dropped and it’s now freezing in the house. They go into the living room and find that it’s completely trashed. The door behind them slams shut.

They scream and run across the foyer to the rumpus room where they had been for the entire night. They enter to find that it is just as trashed as the rest of the house. The only new thing in the entire room is their sleeping bags, which are still in a circle on the floor. The Bratz girls run screaming out of the house.

They get out to the front of the house and look back to see that there is a No Trespassing sign on the front gate and the house is in shambles. They hear the creaking sound again and realize that the sound that Ginger had kept explaining away was actually the No Trespassing sign swinging on a chain across the gate.

Altogether, the Bratz scream and run down the street. As they walk they pass by Mrs. Winters walking Taco. There is a voice over to confirm to the small children watching the show that that is indeed supposed to be the woman from the story. They continue to walk and run right into Sasha’s mirror double, roller blading. She gives them a particularly vicious look before she blades away from them.

To round off the sights they’ve seen, they see the clown from the carnival that took the last piece of Meygan’s pie. He talks to them and the girls run and scream in horror. Meygan says that they can all stay at her place. They head to Meygan’s house and arrive to find Mr. Whisping opening the door. He repeats the first thing he said when he greeted the girls earlier that night, “Welcome, ladies!” Ginger then pops out and announces her first line, “Wow, my first sleepover!”

The girls scream and run. Again. Cloe suggests that everyone goes to her house. They run to the house and the same thing happens with Ginger’s dad and Ginger greeting them at the door. The group of girls runs again. Sasha says that they should go to her house. Her parents are having a party, so the Whispings couldn’t possibly be there.

When they arrive to Sasha’s place, the entire street and house are quiet. It doesn’t look like anyone is awake, let alone an entire party going on. Of course, there is no mention of what time it is, so it would be logical, that if this is 3am, that everyone had gone home and Sasha’s parents had gone to bed. Sasha figures that everyone must have left. Jade then tells everyone that it’s cold.

The girls all approach the house and Meygan says that this is all a bad dream. Yasmin then pinches her and proves that this is not a bad dream at all, this is a reality. Sasha shhhes them. The girls go around back to get into the house. All three of the Whispings open the door. They start to say their same lines but they stop short, only to scream and faint.

The Bratz’ voices ask what’s wrong with them. The camera then shows that the girls are monsters. The same kind from Jade’s story. Probably to save on the animation budget. Sasha then says that Meygan has something in her teeth. Meygan fishes it out and it turns out to be a bug. The girls then fight over it. One of them gets it and eats it and the rest of the newly-transformed monsters walk away grumbling.

One of the girls suggests sleeping outside or in a park. Someone else suggests under a bridge or in a sewer. Just then, the ride attendant from Jade’s story, who just happens to be walking in a residential area at some ungodly time of night, like everyone else in this fucking story, sees the monsters and runs away scream. The girls wonder what is wrong with everyone tonight. As they walk away, one says, “You know what they say; Strange things happen on a full moon.”

Actually, they don’t. There have been studies done on this so-called Lunar Effect and there is no such thing. Beyond the troubling aspects to the girls’ emotional abuse of Ginger, this entire film is pushing more pseudoscience and superstitions onto children.

But that’s it. That’s all there is to this film. As to what actually happened in the end, I like to think that the Bratz all suffered from the shared delusion brought on by the school cafeteria’s chef being very careless with their latest stash of psychedelic mushrooms. The girls were poisoned at lunch and began hallucinating shortly after. They went to the “sleepover” that Sasha had been invited to only to show up at an abandoned house. Sasha’s dad was so excited to be childfree for the night that he didn’t even check to see if the house was legit or notice that it was condemned.

The girls then all pretended to be eating and drinking and having a good time with their new friend Ginger. The scary stories they told were just more delusions and hallucinations caused by the mushrooms. By the end of the film, they high had not worn off and they were actually still in the abandoned house, shaking and urinating on themselves, unable to come out of their stupors.

At least, that’s my theory. If anyone else has a logical explanation for what happened in this film, I am all ears. I understand the writer’s dilemma here, I really do. They were trying to create a story that had a tinge of scariness to it, but not so scary that it would actually scare the very young and impressionable audience that would be watching it. Although they, for a second, veered away from fashion and beauty to tell these different stories, it definitely didn’t work and certainly wasn’t effective.

Of course, this is the Bratz series and the criteria for their films is never effectiveness or coherency or anything related to watch-ability. It only occurred to me when I started this final article, the 7th in this series, that I had written so much about this movie. This is a 71 minute movie and as of right now, I have written more than 16,000 words. But there are simply so many problems that need to be addressed, this couldn’t stop from turning into my longest Bratz Review ever. I would say that next time I will have less to discuss, but at the rate at which the Bratz churn our problematic bullshit, I can’t make that promise.

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Bratz Kidz: Sleep-over Adventures in Insanity: Jade’s Story

Bratz Kidz: Sleep-over Adventures in Insanity, Jade's StoryThis is a multi-part review of the Bratz Kidz movie Sleep-over Adventures. To read all sections in this review, click here.

We pick up back at the sleepover. There is a creak and the door to the living room opens. The girls scramble back into bed and turn off their flashlights. Even though if someone had opened the door at a normal speed, they would have definitely been caught. Anyway, Ginger’s mom enters and sees all of the girls in innocent repose. She blows them a kiss and then leaves. When she does, you can see that her hand is so small that it’s half the size of her mouth. Look at your hand in relation to you mouth. I’ll wait. See how disproportionate that is?

As soon as Ginger’s mom is gone, the girls open their eyes and get back up. Their flashlights go back on and they look around. Cloe then says, “You don’t know what a scary story is until you’ve heard mine.” Which, she already told her scary story, and it wasn’t even that scary. But anyway, the other girls all encourage her to share, but Ginger suggests going to sleep and mentions that she’s afraid of her mom overhearing them.

Yasmin tells her that her mom is so sweet, she wouldn’t get upset at the bunch. I’m not sure what this is saying. Is it saying that her mom seems nice enough to not discipline her child for willfully disobeying her? That parents don’t really need to be listened to because your friends know better? Sometimes the girls in this show really live up to their group’s name.

Moving on, Cloe tells Ginger to get into the “spirit”. Get it? Because it’s a pun and it’s supposed to be funny. Everyone groans. Jade jumps on Cloe with her pillow and smothers the life out of her. Only joking. Jade just hits her with the pillow and doesn’t put all of us out of our misery. Sasha then asks Ginger if she’s scared of her mom. Which, I at first thought was some kind of reference to child abuse.

But then Ginger shakes her head no and Sasha asks her what is it. In response, the girl hides her face in a blanket. She finally says, “Okay, okay, I’m a sissy. I admit it.” She goes on to tell the girls that she’s scared of these stories and right now she is completely petrified. Which might make you think that the girls will realize that they have been completely inconsiderate of her feelings to continue doing something that she has stated over and over again that she’s not comfortable with. But you’d be wrong. Really wrong.

Meygan tells her that it’s just getting good. Besides, Jade hasn’t had her turn yet. And why only listen to four terrible, unimaginative stories when you can listen to five? The girls announce that Jade will have her turn, then they’ll stop. Which is still incredibly shitty to do to their supposed friend. Ginger has been uncomfortable this entire time. Why tell her to just sit there and put up with more of this when she has already made her feelings completely clear? But this is Bratz and they have one more story to tell to pad out this bullshit movie.

Yasmin then threatens tickle torture for Ginger if she doesn’t agree. Which, as cute and innocent as it sounds, is actually considered a thing. Tickle torture has lead to deaths. At this point in the movie, this action is completely problematic.

Ginger has been stating, all goddamn night, that she’s uncomfortable with these scary stories. The Bratz, however, don’t give a shit about her wishes or her comfort. They have been complete assholes to her the entire time. And now that she’s, once again, voicing how she doesn’t want to do this, they threaten to violate her bodily autonomy and personal space until she does agree. This entire sleepover is setting up an emotionally abusive relationship where Ginger, if she remains friends with the girls, will eventually stop trying to make her opinions and needs known (because they will be ignored) and go along with whatever the girls tell her (because they refuse to listen to her).

Anyway, Ginger laughs at the tickling and agrees to hear Jade’s story. Jade starts out, “Some kids were at an amusement park.” Guess where we’re going.

That’s right! It’s the World’s Shittiest Carnival again! Yay for recycling sets! Reduce, recycle, reuse! Do as little work as possible, because when you’re shifting sexualized dolls onto 4-year-olds, who really cares about quality?

There is a close up of the ride, Monster Dungeon. Then there is a shot of the four main Bratz, Cloe, Yasmin, Jade and Sasha. Three of the girls are talking about how scary the ride is and how they’re all freaked out by it. But Jade says that the ride isn’t scary. Yasmin demands to know if she’s been on it. Jade admits that she hasn’t, but says that it’s totally a kiddy ride. Which makes me question if Jade knows how old she is.

Sasha then points out that they’ve all been on the ride and they think that it’s scary, so therefore it’s scary. Jade announces that she’s not scared only for Cloe to tell her that it’s okay to admit that she’s afraid. She says that her friends and there to support her. Jade fires back, “Angel, make you get scared of little things like spiders and black cats and germs, but I’m not!”

She goes on to announce that she’s not scared of anything, particularly those things that aren’t real, like monsters. And god. No wait, just monsters. Anyway, Cloe gets offended and feels that Jade is putting her down, even though she’s really not. She tries to explain to Jade that some things are scary.

But what is and is not scary is entirely a matter of opinion. There is no universal agreement on what is terrifying. Jade has every right to not be intimidated by the ride as Cloe does to be afraid of it. But this is Bratz and who needs all that logic nonsense?

Jade continues to mock the ride and Cloe says, “Shhh! They’ll hear you!” Sasha then says that she heard about a boy that didn’t believe in monsters. He wasn’t afraid to go on the ride at all, but when he did, he never came out.

Which, let’s examine this claim for a second. A child disappearing at a carnival would cause an outcry in the community and the ride would shut down until the child is found or it’s figured out what happened to him. So clearly, since the ride is operational, this story is not true. So the Bratz are telling Jade an obviously untrue story in order to scare her about a ride that she has every right to not be afraid of. And why? Why is it so important that Jade be scared shitless of this ride?

But Jade is still not falling for this carnival ride hysteria. Just then, the Monster’s Dungeon ride attendant speaks up. The teenage boy sounds like he’s been stuck in puberty for several decades now. He adds, “The boy was scared, but he was too embarrassed to admit it.” Jade rolls her eyes and feigns terror. The teenager says that the boy had been saying all of the things that Jade has been saying. The Asian-American girl continues to be sarcastic.

The four children get onto the four-person car for the ride as the attendant explains where he heard the story from, which is about 8th hand by the time he finishes. Cloe tells her friend, “See, Jade? You shouldn’t bad mouth something that you don’t know about.” Which doesn’t even make sense. Jade saying that she is not scared of the ride says nothing about the quality of the ride itself.

Furthermore, if her friends weren’t able to convince her of how terrifying the ride is, they should have done better to scare her other than telling her that it’s scary, without giving detail, and then sharing a story of dubious origins at best. Anyone with an ounce of critical thinking skills would not be scared of this ride. Also, it’s shown when Jade is a teenager that she likes and goes to see horror movies. Perhaps it takes more to scare her than the average child. Why is this a bad thing? She is different from the other girls in that she is not as easily frightened, is that so horrible?

Jade is still unimpressed as they board the ride. Yasmin then tells her that she’s not being nice. Whom she’s not being nice to is anyone’s guess. The monsters, perhaps? Yasmin continues that her friend hurt the ride attendant’s feelings. But trust me, Yasmin. Life broke that young man many years ago.

Jade is less than concerned about the teenage boy’s feelings. Cloe then announces that Jade is ruining the ride with her bad attitude. Which, to be fair, she only started being sarcastic and snippy with the girls after being repeatedly pushed and informed that she wasn’t allowed to have her own feelings. Regardless, Jade is not convinced.

The ride starts and takes the car through a raised track into this cavernous ride. Something that is entirely too large and expansive to be in the World’s Shittiest Carnival. The car goes through tunnels and expanses. Just then, there are bats. Which look was real as Bratz animation could make them. Which would be a health hazard. Jade, still bored, points out that bats aren’t very smart. Which, the ride already scared the bats, does Jade need to shame them, too?

The ride continues. Jade sees a large blubbery looking monster looking at her. She announces that it’s fake. A black cat decoration springs up. “Plastic!” Jade declares. The girls move across some kind of hyponodisc. They cross over an over-sized monster’s closing jaws and the car stops. Suddenly, Cloe’s eyes begin to glow. Probably due to the girls’ radioactive flashlights.

Jade asks Cloe if she’s okay. The ride continues. A shot is then shown of all the girls and the Bratz, apart from Jade, all have glowing eyes. Suddenly, it gets dark. Jade calls out for Cloe. The girl doesn’t respond. Jade helpfully asks the blonde girl if she needs to have her hand held. Jade reaches for her and finds a monster’s three-fingered claw in the dark. Jade calls out to Sasha and Yasmin that something is wrong with Jade. She hears roaring and looks around, desperately.968full-bratz----kidz-sleepover-adventure-screenshot (4)

The girls have all turned into bulbous monsters! Horror! Terror! Shock and awe! Or something. I don’t care. I’m bored with this story already. Anyway, the light is now bright enough for Jade to see that her friends have turned into horrible monsters. She screams and tries to get out of her seatbelt. Which shouldn’t even be possible in a decently safe ride. She manages to unbuckle herself and attempts to escape, but one of the monsters grabs her and holds her up, bringing the little girl uncomfortably close to its jaws.

The car is still moving and is now going through a section with swinging pendulums. Just like in Tomb Raider. Jade continues screaming. Which, at this point, you might be thinking, when is this fucking ride going to end? Carnival rides are hardly this long or this detailed and at a carnival where they can’t even manage to pick up the mountains of trash that are littering the area, it seems unlikely that their rides would be this long. But I’m trying to inject logic into Bratz again, so never mind.

Jade stands up in the car and jumps onto a swinging pendulum. She rides it to a ledge and then goes down a secret passageway. The car continues with the monsters, disappearing around the track. Jade runs down the hallway. Which might make you wonder why there is a tunnel and a secret passageway in this already entirely too-large ride. But logic, Bratz. It doesn’t mix.

As Jade runs she is confronted by four more of the monsters. These are all green for some reason. The monsters surround her just as the Bratz-turned-monsters run up. Jade runs. The chase begins! The chase scene shows the ride’s behind the scenes to be about ten times larger than it should. Finally, Jade runs into a dead end. She turns and sees the monsters closing in on her. But when she freezes, they stop moving.

Jade then discovers that the monsters seem to react to movement. They might not be able to actually see her. So she starts to dance. The monsters dance with her. Jade distracts them with the dancing and then runs off, leaving them still wobbling around on their tiny feet. The monsters, are completely confused as to what just happened and have no idea where she went.

The Asian-American girl runs back to the track and jumps onto a conveniently passing empty car. She cowers in fear. The monsters are then shown closing in. They grab at her as she shakes in terror.

Then, the scene changes and it’s the other girls telling Jade that the ride is over. Jade is screaming like crazy person from sheer horror. The girls try to calm her down and the girl finally opens her eyes and looks around to see that it’s okay. Once they get back to the attendant, the boy tells them that the story must not be true after all. The girls pile off of the car and walk away from the ride.

But Jade is still freaking out about what happened to her. She asks the girls how they did all that. Sasha asks her if the ride was just a little scary. Cloe says that Jade had her eyes closed the entire time. Jade doesn’t understand what they’re saying and the girls mock her for her previous attitude. Yasmin suggests riding the ride again. But Cloe declares that the ride is boring and announces that they should try something scarier.

The other girls grab Jade’s arms as they talk about going on the Martian Mystery ride. As they walk towards it, Cloe hides a blue tail that has popped out of the waistband of her jeans. Leaving only questions about what exactly happened to Jade with no answers offered. While it would be one thing to believe that the writers were trying to make the children watching this movie question what happened and try to figure out what went on with Jade and this adventure, it’s pretty clear that no one working on Bratz media has that much care or consideration of their audience.

My theory as to what really happened is that the stress of the discord amongst her friends as well as the strain of attending this completely shitty carnival, combined with the knowledge that she would be forever boxed into an awful existence of hyper-femininity and shallow behavior that she suffered a complete break with reality. That happened was a hallucination that she only came out of after she processed that the ride was over. Her friends turning into monsters showed how her friendship with these girls will only hamper her ability to think for herself and be a good person. The lessons they learn together as girls just molds her into a dependent teenager that can’t free herself to have her own thoughts.

As soon as Jade gets off the ride, her friends, instead of realizing that she clearly had experienced something traumatic in the last few minutes, insist on taking her to another, even more terrifying ride. The encounter that she has there with her own delusions pushed her further from reality. Jade was hospitalized after that ride and remains in therapy to this day.

Okay, so that didn’t actually happen. But it would have made a better story. Or at least a coherent one. That is all there is to Jade’s tale. The movie then goes back to the sleepover. Meygan tells her friend that it was a great story. Ginger, however, is even more scared than before. She says it was awful and she wants to go to bed. Which, the girls promised would happen, before Jade even started on her story.

But wait! Sasha points out that there’s someone that hasn’t told a scary story yet and it’s now Ginger’s turn to try to scare her friends. Meygan reinforces that she has to go now. The other girls encourage her. Jade says that they’ll all go to bed after she tells her story. Which is what was promised before that, so Ginger has no reason to believe them.

This is just more of the Bratz pushing Ginger into actions that she doesn’t feel comfortable with and using peer pressure to coerce actions from her. No one sees anything wrong with this, and the girls act completely uncaring to the fact that they are making their new friend so completely uncomfortable and scared during what is most of their first meeting with her. Why would Ginger ever want to have another sleep over if this is how her first one went? She is bound for therapy at this rate all due to the Bratz.

The stories are over, but this movie isn’t quite finished. What happens next is even more ridiculous than the rest of the film. Just wait and see how this bullshit is going down.

Screenshot credit to Ask Dylan. Thanks, dude!

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