Aladdinathon #8: “Garden of Evil”

Terrible Pun Title: I thought this was just a play on “Garden of Eden,” but then I discovered there is a 1950s Western called Garden of Evil. Well either way, as a title for this episode it works fine.

Plot: Twenty years ago, the sultan took a flower from a mysterious garden. Now its owner has come to Agrabah to take the sultan’s most precious treasure.

Animated by: Our familiar friends at Walt Disney Television Animation (Australia). I think they did a good job with Arbutus and his creations, but I’ll be okay with them never animating Jasmine again.

What I thought then: I watched this episode a lot as a kid because I had it on an official Princess Collection VHS, but it wasn’t one of my favourites. I was frustrated by Aladdin’s refusal to listen and I didn’t love the “You killed a good guy but it’s not a complete loss” sort of ending. Even now I prefer a happy or a tragic ending to a bittersweet one.

Also I was always 100% certain that the sultan knew that Jasmine was his most precious treasure but was just too embarrassed to say so.

What I think now: Okay first off Ron Perlman did an amazing job as the voice as Arbutus. His character design is great too, and he even has a solid catchphrase! I’m really impressed by how memorable this character is even though he only appears in one episode.

Having said that! I know this episode is a decently popular one but I think it’s kind of a mess. There is a lot of running – attacking – getting caught – escaping – running – getting caught – attacking – escaping in this episode and I think at least some of that time would have been better served actually fleshing out the points they were trying to make. Basically, Arbutus is angry with humans because of the way they pluck or burn or otherwise destroy flowers and other plants. Jasmine’s response to this, if you’ll allow me to facetiously sum it up, is: “But we like plants!” And through THIS they reach some kind of mutual understanding? Arbutus’s legitimate environmental concern is supposed to be matched not by some kind of ~circle of life~ argument or an argument about how humans need to do some of those things to survive (but should learn to only take what they need) but by Jasmine’s “But flowers are pretty”? I feel like just a few more lines of dialogue could have gotten this conversation to a more appropriate conclusion but unfortunately that’s all we get.

And then!! The last lines of the episode are Jasmine presenting us with a moral: “Sometimes we only see how people are different from us. But if you look hard enough, you can see how much we’re all alike.” But is that really the moral of this particular story? The overarching problem in this episode didn’t come about because someone was too quick to judge someone else – that only came up after Arbutus brought Jasmine to his garden. Wouldn’t a moral about taking care of nature be more fitting? Or even a moral about not going into people’s houses and stealing their stuff?

Anyway, I’m glad Aladdin learned not to start hacking away at villains as soon as he sees them. I’m sure he’ll never do that again.

I mean, forget the moral. I feel like over the years the part of the episode that has stuck with me the most is the moment where Aladdin trips and crushes the harp in Arbutus’s garden and nobody even comments on it. Seeing a group of supposed heroes in a scene like that made a deeper impression on me re: respecting nature and other people’s belongings than much of the rest of the episode did.

This is your future queen, guys.
I kind of genuinely love how there are multiple episodes where Jasmine demands to be included in the latest dangerous mission, but when the very palace where she lives is under direct and immediate threat she’s like “Good luck guys, I’m going to bed.”

Costume Change
I enjoyed Genie, Abu, and Carpet’s royal guard outfits. If Carpet lifts his, uh, head(??), his hat will fall clean off! (Also how that sword-holder-sash-thing is staying on is something of a mystery.)

As a kid I always enjoyed how Jasmine’s sleepwear is exactly the same as her usual outfit — jewelry and everything! — just a different colour. But I guess going to bed all dolled up runs in the family since the sultan apparently sleeps with his hat on:

Continuity Watch
When the guys are guarding the treasury, Iago goes from fast asleep to wide awake and stealing the key to the treasury (complete with a song! like I thought this was gonna be a plot point) to fast asleep again. How have I watched this episode so many times and never noticed this before?! I wonder if there was a scene that got cut here.

Also where the heck is Rajah.

City of Mystery
Why is Genie brushing his teeth? Why is he yawning? Are sleep and tooth decay issues that genies have to worry about???

Actual LOL
When Jasmine is being kidnapped, Carpet is nowhere to be seen until Aladdin jumps off the balcony. It’s like as soon as Carpet saw that they were going to a room with a balcony, he just went over there and waited, knowing full well that at some point Aladdin would be flinging himself off it. I assure you this is really funny in my head.

Villain Threat Level
Aladdin continuing to attack Arbutus even as everyone with better information is shouting at him to stop is an amazing allegory for human-created climate change … They were so bold to put that in here … Truly this show was ahead of its time …

Next up: “Much Abu About Something.”

Aladdinathon #7: “The Vapor Chase”

Terrible Pun Title: Is this one a pun? Or based on a saying? Please tell me if you know, because I have yet to crack it. Edit the next day: A sleepless 3 a.m. brought me the realization that “The Vapor Chase” is probably a play on the title of the movie “The Paper Chase,” which I think I only know of because I scrolled past it once on Netflix.

Plot: Jasmine buys a special fuel to distribute to the people of Agrabah, unaware that it’s part of Abis Mal’s plan to steal from the palace.

Terrible Pun Character: The smoke demon is “Soot in eye” but I guess this is one of the better ones because I honestly never noticed it before.

Animated by: Wang Film Productions Company, the same studio that animated “To Cure a Thief.” I think the character animation in this episode is the more watchable of the two, but there is still some weirdness, such as when Jasmine walks directly into a space that Genie is already occupying:

It’s like they’re in two different planes of existence.

What I thought then: Unlike “Never Say Nefir,” which I felt was on TV way more than its fair share, “The Vapor Chase” seemed to be on TV way less than its fair share. So it was fun to see it just because it had always been some time since I had, but I didn’t enjoy the argument between Aladdin and Jasmine.

What I think now: So I get that Jasmine’s side of the argument is supposed to be something like “I’m doing this good thing and I want you to support me but instead you’re just criticizing me and it sucks.” This is a really relatable sentiment! But I think there are a couple reasons why it’s never worked for me in this episode. One is simply that Jasmine gets SO angry SO fast that it’s hard to follow her there. Another reason is that the audience already knows that Aladdin is right to be suspicious of the powder. This results in a scenario where Aladdin is the rational, reasonable man and Jasmine is the overly emotional woman. Gotta love those gender stereotypes! Also, it’s not like the resolution to this argument is that Aladdin agrees to try to be more supportive — the resolution to this argument is that he was right and Jasmine was wrong. How much tension does a fictional argument really have if one person is just right and one person is just wrong and you already know which is which? I don’t know, I just know I’m always ready for this part of the episode to be over.

I don’t think this plot element is totally broken, I think it could have been interesting if they’d let the argument build a bit slower and if they’d somehow held off on revealing the truth of the powder … but since this is a children’s adventure cartoon, the audience would already know that Aladdin’s suspicions were correct anyway. I mean, if Jasmine is right, then she found a wonderful way to help the people of Agrabah and that’s it and the episode has no plot. :)

I’m getting all tangled up in my thoughts about this, so — argument aside, I found the rest of the episode surprisingly entertaining! Genie being super eager to tell the story of how they found the water, Iago dreaming about his twin brother Othello, the part where Jasmine JUMPS Abis Mal … I’m not sure that everything that entertained me was intentionally entertaining, but I definitely enjoyed rewatching this one.

This is your future queen, guys.
This is two episodes in a row where Jasmine buys something that immediately tries to kill everyone.

Costume Change
In a show with extremely few costume changes it is always exciting to see someone get a new outfit. Today, Aladdin is wearing his cold-snap-in-Agrabah attire:

Snazzy!

idk my bff iago
Iago’s silent presence in the scene where Jasmine buys the powder is so out of character that I can only imagine the series creators didn’t originally plan for him to be there, but nevertheless! This is the second time Iago has accompanied Jasmine on a trip into town! Because they are BFFs!

Actual LOL
Carpet sleeping is great enough on its own. Carpet sleeping under a blanket is the height of comedy.

Villain Threat Level
Sootinai just wants to watch the world burn.

Meanwhile, Abis Mal and Haroud are revealed to be essentially immortal when they survive a pyramid of lamp oil barrels exploding mere inches from their faces.

Quote of the Day
Genie: “Next week, I’ll tell you about Goldilocks and the three excruciating head impacts.”

Next up: “Garden of Evil.”

Aladdinathon #6: “Getting the Bugs Out”

Terrible Pun Title: This one is perfectly acceptable.

Plot: Jasmine’s purchase of a murderous toy leads the gang to a village in need of rescue from a variety of mechanical bugs.

Terrible Pun Location: The name of today’s village is “I’m in a bad way.” When you name your village something like that I think you’re pretty much sealing its fate.

Animated by: Walt Disney Animation Japan – the same studio that animated “Bad Mood Rising” and my favourite of the studios we’ve seen so far. Some of characters’ movements are even more cartoony than the usual cartoony Aladdin style (e.g. characters who run look more like they’re jumping with forward momentum), but overall the animation is just much more pleasant to watch than the animation in the previous three episodes.

What I thought then: I didn’t really remember this one until I rewatched it, but as a kid I probably thought it was all right. I generally enjoyed the Mechanicles episodes and any episode where Aladdin has a crisis of confidence. So yes, I am very much looking forward to my rewatch of “My Fair Aladdin.”

What I think now: It’s funny how I didn’t really remember this episode — with the major exception of the scene where the villagers grab the rope. As soon as they started running for it I thought, Oh no, here comes Jasmine’s pointless jumping …

I guess she’s providing emotional support.

(I was going to ask if you could imagine movie!Jasmine jumping up and down like this, but you know what, let’s not get into it. It’s just too painful.)

I had forgotten how many quirks Mechanicles has! A Greek genius with a manic voice, an obsession with cleanliness, and an army of bug-shaped killing machines. None of those things normally go together so how did they even come up with this guy!

Overall, to me this episode is your average children’s cartoon-level adventure episode. There’s nothing too deep here but it’s perfectly watchable and I do like the part where Aladdin is Modern Timesing his way through the gears of the rhinoceros beetle. (Still a better rhino than the giant pink dancing one.)

Unrelated, I have recently noticed that someone added the plot keyword “friends who live together” to apparently all Aladdin-related media on IMDb, and it’s cracking me up. It’s the ONLY keyword listed for this episode! An episode where it’s totally irrelevant!!

Stuck in the ’90s Watch
Genie: “Don’t worry; it’s ozone safe.”

Remember those halcyon days when the hole in the ozone layer was the most frightening environmental problem we had to worry about? I never lost sleep over that one.

This is your future sultan, guys.
Much like how Jasmine has no compunction about abandoning Agrabah in “Bad Mood Rising,” in this episode Aladdin is named the new leader of this random village and never once seems to remember that he’s already committed to reigning over a kingdom. These two have no loyalty to Agrabah at all.

Villain Threat Level
Mechanicles’ plan for world domination for some reason requires him to attack this one random village over and over again. If our heroes had never intervened, he might still be there to this very day …

Quote of the Day
Genie: “That’s the cleanest vacuum I’ve ever been in!”

Next up: “The Vapor Chase.”

Aladdinathon #5: “Never Say Nefir”

Terrible Pun Title: Actually I kinda like this one.

Plot: Aladdin and friends travel to Getzistan, a city that’s destroyed every night and rebuilt every day – and a suspicious group of imps are making a lot of money off of it.

Terrible Pun Character: This episode brings us the first appearances of Nefir Hasenuf (terrible!) and Sultan Pasta Al-Dente (worse!!).

Animated by: Once again, it’s Walt Disney Television Animation (Australia). This episode’s animation is not pretty but it sure is earnest.

What I thought then: You know how sometimes, when you watch a show in syndication, there’s one or two episodes that seem to air way more often than any other episode? I always felt like “Never Say Nefir” was on TV way more than it had any right to be. Especially considering it has one of the thinnest plots of the whole series …

What I think now: I dunno, guys. It’s the episode with the giant pink dancing rhino. I look forward to moving on to more engaging fare.

The part where our main characters suddenly have musical abilities is kinda fun though.

Stuck in the ’90s Watch
Iago: “Ooh, it’s Hammertime.”

Continuity Watch
Genie turns into a human form of himself when he sees the sultan approach, and yet when Nefir reveals he’s a genie nobody cares. Does anyone who isn’t a villain or Cassim ever care that there’s a genie hanging around? I don’t remember if this ever comes up again.

Also, when Aladdin and friends arrive in Getzistan, the sultan greets them as strangers, but then he somehow knows Aladdin’s name. I can’t believe such a blatant error made it into the episode about the giant pink dancing rhino.

City of Mystery
Getzistan is unnervingly devoid of citizens. Was Iago in Club Nest Egg rolling dice by himself? Losing to himself? That might have made a more interesting episode than the dancing rhino.

Villain Threat Level
Through Nefir’s actions, an entire city is destroyed every night. His methods are ridiculous but he sure gets results.

Missing Princess Alert
Jasmine isn’t in this episode because she’s too busy explaining to the citizens of Agrabah why the future sultan is taking his parrot friend gambling instead of doing literally anything else.

Quote of the Day
Aladdin: “‘Dear boy, bird, and monkey. Sorry we didn’t build you a catapult. Something came up.'”

Next up: I recently discovered that the episode order on IMDb is different from the episode order on every other site, but I guess I’m stuck with it now. So next up is “Getting the Bugs Out”!

Aladdinathon #4: “Do the Rat Thing”

Terrible Pun Title: This play on “do the right thing” has always sounded to me like it’s supposed to be a weird dance move.

Plot: Jasmine attempts to prove she can survive as a street rat but finds herself transformed into an actual rat instead.

Terrible Pun Character: Aside from the guy in the thieves’ quarter – his name sounds like “what are you doing” but I’m not going to sink to the level of attempting to write it like a fake Middle Eastern name – this episode brings us Prince Wazoo, which isn’t a pun but is multiple levels of terrible.

Animated by: Walt Disney Television Animation (Australia) – these are the same people who animated “Air Feather Friends” and there are still issues with people being unnecessarily expressive, but Aladdin at least looks and moves a little more like himself than he did in that episode. Unfortunately Jasmine looks pretty rough as a human but since she spends most of the episode as a rat it doesn’t bother me that much.

What I thought then: As a kid I didn’t find the wacky hijinks of rat-Jasmine and lizard-Iago all that interesting.

What I think now: There is a major hiccup in this episode in that the conflict between Aladdin and Jasmine is based on very little, exists only to lead into the actual plot and then is left without an actual resolution. Jasmine gets mad at Aladdin for telling her she doesn’t understand what it’s like to be a street rat, she goes out and is shocked by the small glimpse she gets of that life, then she comes back and … she’s still mad at him?? Somewhat baffling but it cracks me up how Aladdin just takes it in stride. I guess by now he’s accepted that anger is Jasmine’s default state.

Even though the ball is quite soundly dropped on that aspect of the episode, I do think the idea of Aladdin and Jasmine clashing on issues related to their opposite backgrounds is interesting and realistic and I appreciate that the creators at least acknowledged the possibility of it.

Apart from that – OH MY GOODNESS is this episode so much better than any of the first three. My younger self didn’t have a very high opinion of this episode, so when I wrote in my previous Aladdinathon entry that I couldn’t wait for an episode where the characters acted like actual people I didn’t expect my wish to be granted so soon. The characters in this episode act like themselves, not weird copies of themselves that only exist to act in a way the plot requires! The story flows like a story and not a series of beats between commercial breaks!! A lot of the jokes are actually funny!!! I did not expect the episode where Jasmine turns into a rat to set the standard I want the rest of the series to achieve, but there you have it.

Also Fasir is here and that’s awesome.

Aladdin/Jasmine OTP
We should all be lucky enough to find someone who is as proud to be with us as Aladdin is proud to be with Jasmine when she is still half-rat.

Seriously I love how unfazed Aladdin is by like everything in this episode.

idk my bff iago
So it wasn’t until I had watched the series through a couple times that I even noticed this, but Jasmine and Iago are best friends and I love it. I’m not sure who decided they should be best friends and I’m not sure it even really makes sense but who am I to question the greatness of their friendship. When Jasmine is interacting with the other guys in the group, there’s always this vibe from both sides of “I have to be pleasant to you because I like Aladdin and he likes you,” but Iago and Jasmine together sink to the level of ~brutal insults because they are besties~ and I LOVE IT.

You might accuse me of reading too much into a children’s cartoon, but Iago accompanying Jasmine to the thieves’ quarter goes totally unexplained and is filled with dialogue like THIS–

Guy: “An ugly specimen, but he may be worth a shekel or two.”
Jasmine: “He isn’t worth anything, he’s mine!”

–so I really think I win this round.

What is Wrong with the Sultan? Watch
Sultan: “I was just telling Prince Wazoo that he should see our marketplace! I’d take him there myself … if I knew where it was …”

AND

Sultan: “Poor people? We have poor people in Agrabah?”

The sultan in the series is either perfectly competent or a total moron depending on who’s writing him. Most of the time it’s only vaguely annoying but I find that second line really irritating. He’s shocked to hear there are poor people in Agrabah?! He just spent the entire evening with a poor person in Agrabah! I mean I’m pretty sure we’re not supposed to think he’s so stupid as to have no idea where his daughter’s fiancé comes from, ughhh …

Villain Threat Level
There is not really a villain in this episode which I think is pretty cool.

Quote of the Day
Genie: “Sure, you know all about the dark, sleazy underbelly of this seamy city of sin.”

Next up: Episode 5, “Never Say Nefir.”

Aladdinathon #3: “To Cure a Thief”

Terrible Pun Title: Technically not a pun and actually not that terrible.

Plot: When Aladdin threatens to put Abu on a leash to curb his stealing, Abu runs away and teams up with the (self-proclaimed) greatest thief in all of Agrabah.

Terrible Pun Character: Amin Damoola, get it, “I’m in the moola,” oh my god. If these awful pun names were given to characters of European descent I probably wouldn’t be so bothered by them, but you know they were made up by a bunch of white American men sitting around trying to twist English phrases just enough that they would sound vaguely like Middle Eastern names for an audience that knows nothing about Middle Eastern names. Why did they even start naming characters with puns anyway?? The names in the original movie are also not that original or deeply researched, Iago is an Italian Shakespeare character, Genie and Carpet are just what they are – but none of them are puns!!

Animated by: Wang Films Production Company – long face Aladdin! There’s a weird quirk in this style where the human characters move like marionettes or paper dolls or something, like their heads and limbs are attached at one small point and flail violently around that point. Usually it isn’t so bad but then sometimes you get shots like this:

Ohhh nooooo.

Also Jasmine looks really different but honestly Jasmine hasn’t looked like herself since 1992 so whatever.

What I thought then: As a kid I enjoyed the ~drama~ of Abu overhearing only the most hurtful part of Aladdin’s rant, but even as a kid I was less than impressed with Amin.

What I think now: Hey Abu, you shouldn’t steal because it embarrasses Aladdin. That’s pretty much the only reason. But it’s okay to steal when he says it’s okay. Anyway, I’m glad we got that out of the way so early. I’m sure that over the next 83 episodes we’ll never see Abu steal anything again.

Wow, I really forgot how front-loaded the series is with episodes I’m not a fan of. Come onnnnn, episodes where our heroes stop betting their friends and abandoning their countries and start acting like real people might!!

You know, for kids!
Genie: “How were you supposed to know that one little leash would drive away your closest friend?”

Also note how everyone is talking in Jasmine’s room (why??), then Aladdin leaves and after one joke from Genie comes back with the leash. Is there a pet shop down the hall … or … uhhh … yeah, we’re gonna go with that.

Continuity Watch
Abu isn’t wearing the leash until the scene where Aladdin rips it off him. How dramatically convenient.

Editing Watch
When Amin, Abu and Iago are in the Skull and Dagger, Iago has a line that Aladdin Central has very kindly transcribed as …

Iago: “See now, this guy’s smart, he’s got vision! The problem with Al–”

… but in the actual episode it isn’t played like he’s interrupted, or like he stops talking on purpose. One moment he’s talking, the next he’s picking up and eating a banana, like he just … forgot he was saying something. Honestly, I don’t even hear him say the “Al” they’ve transcribed at the end, which at least would make a little sense. It’s a really weird moment that I can’t explain. When I started this rewatch I knew about the cheap animation and silly plots, but lines just cutting off in the middle is something I am not adequately prepared for.

What is Wrong with the Sultan? Watch
Jasmine: “I can’t believe someone broke into the royal treasure room, Father.”
Sultan: “It’s very strange, Jasmine. There’s so much here to take, yet it seems they were only interested in that jeweled gauntlet.”

Yeah, it is pretty strange that a thief would target the only item you yourself considered valuable enough to merit an alarm and a series of deadly traps.

Villain Threat Level
The fact that Amin manages to break into the royal treasury twice really says more about the security at the palace than it does about him.

Quote of the Day
Iago: “I am the genie of the sandwich! Release me and I’ll grant you three lunches!”

Next up: Episode 4, “Do the Rat Thing.”

Aladdinathon #2: “Bad Mood Rising”

Terrible Pun Title: A pun on “bad moon rising.” This one basically makes sense so we’re already a step up from episode one.

Plot: Our heroes travel to a country where the young king’s emotions control the weather. When Jasmine’s stories are the only thing that can improve his mood, the king and his people demand that she stay – forever.

Terrible Pun Location: Quirkistan. Which isn’t a pun. But it is terrible.

Terrible Pun Character: King Mamoud. IMDb says his full name is King Mamoud Zashiftin but I’m going to pretend I never saw that.

Animated by: Walt Disney Animation Japan – super round features for everyone but I found it a lot more consistent and pleasing to watch than the first episode. At least I wasn’t afraid anyone’s face was going to fall off. Also I enjoy the expression they gave Jasmine after Aladdin reminds her she’s stuck with him:

Stuck in the ’90s Watch
Aladdin is voiced by Steve from Full House and Mamoud is voiced by Teddy from Full House so this is pretty much a Full House reunion although did Steve and Teddy ever even have any scenes together?

What I thought then: I remember this one being fairly popular with the members of the late-’90s/early-’00s Aladdin Mailing List, but it was too sappy for me. The highlight was always Abu and Iago’s transformation into Jasmine’s bizarre, not-quite-human, grief-stricken parents:

What I think now: I have no problem with the general idea of this episode, and it does have its moments, and I do like it a little bit extra just because King Mamoud and his vizier are among the series characters who show up in the background at the end of King of Thieves (although I have no idea why these one-episode characters were chosen for that), but it gets very dramatic very quickly and overall doesn’t work for me, mainly because–

This is your future queen, guys.
Jasmine’s decision to stay with Mamoud makes no sense at all. I can understand her being sympathetic to the people of Quirkistan (ugh), but the speed with which she abandons her own city, her fiancé, her father and her friends is absurd. She’s all “A princess knows: the needs of the people outweigh her own,” but I don’t think that means any people, I mean she kind of already has an entire city of people depending on her. What does she even think will happen in Agrabah? It has no heir now! Why does she have to break up with Aladdin in order to stay in Quirkistan (ughhh), I mean he doesn’t have much reason to go back to Agrabah without her, it’s not like they’re going to let him be sultan if she isn’t there! And who is she to start lecturing about a princess’s responsibility to the people when she spent the entire first movie fighting it? Who are you and what have you done with Princess Jasmine!!

Or maybe this is actually very cleverly in-character for someone who was kept inside a palace for nearly two decades. The first time she sees suffering her whole world falls apart.

Bechdel Test Watch
The amount I want this series to pass the Bechdel Test is inversely proportional to the likelihood that it actually will. Let us not forget that this series is sequel to a movie that only allows multiple women onscreen when 100% of their attention is focused on the male protagonist. I think “Air Feather Friends” featured a grand total of one silent female extra, so “Bad Mood Rising” is very clearly a step up: two female speaking roles, and both of them are named so that’s bonus points! (Although why they named Salia only to give her two lines and then disappear her forever is a mystery to me.) So close and yet so far: Jasmine and Salia don’t speak directly to each other and the scene they share is focused on King Mamoud. Maybe when Sadira shows up we’ll actually have a chance at passing this thing.

Continuity Watch
Iago: “Every meal will be a banquet!”
Aladdin: “Eating all alone.”

No Aladdin, come on, you’ve got it backwards – a meal becomes a banquet when you eat alone, remember, we’ve been through this!

Actual LOL
Aladdin: “And … your pet wallaby, Edgar!”

Why is he a wallaby? Why is his name Edgar? I think this might actually be my favourite part of the episode.

City of Mystery
We never do find out if the golden prince was really golden or just kind of yellowish.

Quote of the Day
Genie: “I got arms I haven’t even used yet.”

Next up: Episode 3, “To Cure a Thief.”

Aladdinathon #1: “Air Feather Friends”

Terrible Pun Title: They took “fair-weather friends” and changed two of the words so that they relate to the episode, but the resulting phrase is just three nouns that don’t mean anything together. Hang onto your Terrible Pun Meters, kids, we’re off to an auspicious start.

Plot: Mysterious whirlwinds whip through Agrabah. When the guards declare them to be wind demons, Aladdin bets Abu’s freedom he can prove they’re only thieves.

Terrible Pun Character: Abis Mal’s name is abysmal but I’ve heard several people say it took them years to notice it, making it perhaps the most subtle pun in this series.

Animated by: Walt Disney Television Animation (Australia) – this is not the worst animation in the series but it isn’t the best, either. Everyone’s faces are super malleable and there are a couple shots where Abu in particular looks hideous. But it’s a nice touch that the first look we get at the baby roc is of its shadow.

What I thought then: I always had a positive opinion of this episode – I suspect I saw it when it first aired and my feelings about it reflect my excitement that there was going to be an Aladdin TV series – although I never felt it was special or memorable enough to be the first episode.

What I think now: An aspect of Aladdin’s character that I find interesting (and get cranky about when it doesn’t show up in other Aladdin-based media) is how casually and impulsively he makes huge decisions. Check out the scene in the movie where he promises to wish for Genie’s freedom – he barely even thinks about it. I guess it’s this and his perpetual need for external approval that lead him to bet Abu’s freedom, so I’m not sure I can say it’s out of character exactly, but somehow I still think there’s a difference between a shrugged “Sure I’ll set you free, why not?” and a shrugged “Sure I’ll bet the freedom of my best and oldest friend so that the guards will stop calling me names, why not?”

Also this part–

Aladdin: “You’d risk your freedom to save the baby?”

Better check your crystal ball again, Aladdin. The only one risking Abu’s freedom here is you.

Villain Threat Level
Abis Mal is maybe the least threatening recurring villain in this series. His crime here is pretty much just stealing, which both Aladdin and Abu do in the same episode with little repercussion (check out how Aladdin steals a snake charmer’s snake with zero apology or remorse – dude that is that guy’s livelihood) and also they defeat him in an afternoon.

You know, for kids!
Abis Mal: “Next time I see that Aladdin – bam! I’ll hit him with my turn-a-man-inside-out spell.”
Haroud: “Just remember to look away this time.”
Abis Mal: “Oooh, yes. The nightmares.”

City of Mystery
Haroud stops Carpet with a hook attached to a rope attached to a wall near the entrance to Abis Mal’s lair. Why do they even have that???

Most Implausible Moment
Abu picks a lock twice his size with a regular-sized lock pick.

This is your future sultan, guys.
Rasoul: “I, uh, admit we were wrong, Aladdin. But Fasal has duties to perform, and–”
Aladdin: “And none more important than those of personal date picker!”

Missing Princess Alert
Jasmine isn’t in this episode because she’s too busy explaining to the citizens of Agrabah why the royal guards and future sultan are spending their days bullying each other instead of doing literally anything else.

Quote of the Day
Genie: “Is that you, Auntie Em? I had the strangest dream about a four-speed blender!”

Next up: Episode 2, “Bad Mood Rising,” although I would have bet Abu that it was “The Game”!!

Aladdinathon: Introduction

So you know how sometimes a piece of media stops being just a movie or just a series or just a whatever and becomes, like, a legitimately important part of your life? Disney’s Aladdin and the hours upon hours of pop culture based on it have long been that for me. The now-twenty-year-old animated series managed to get inside my head to the point that I think about it oddly frequently although I haven’t done a full rewatch in about fifteen years. I will surely share too much about the many ways in which the Aladdinverse has gotten itself all tangled up in my life should anyone show the slightest sign of interest, but the point of today’s post is this: since I’ve been having trouble getting this blog off the ground, since I’ve been wanting for months now to work on some kind of fangirl project, since I always love it when bloggers take a way too in-depth look at something they spent way too much time on as a child, and since I’m curious to see what I’ll think of it all as an adult, I have decided to attempt a weekly rewatch-and-post of the Aladdin TV series.

I don’t expect any of these posts to be particularly clever or well-written; I’ve never attempted to stick to a weekly posting schedule before so we’ll see what kind of quality this produces! Since I’m relying on the kindness of less-than-legal uploaders I won’t even be surprised if I have to skip an episode or two due to not being able to find them. But I am really looking forward to watching favourite but half-forgotten episodes and I am even looking forward to watching episodes I didn’t like that much before. I am especially looking forward to being reminded of all the completely bizarre happenings in this series, especially since I think the weirdness will stand out a lot more to me now.

That said, and although the idea of the Aladdinathon was inspired by blogs like Saved by the Bell Quote of the Day and Full House Reviewed, I don’t expect my posts will be quite as snarky as those. I fully expect that, as ridiculous as the series sometimes gets, at the end of these 86(!!) weeks, the fondness I feel for it will still burn like the power of a thousand suns.

Next up: Episode 1, “Air Feather Friends.” Open Sesame, here we go~!