Episode Review

Pursuit of the Magic Hoop

Wednesday, November 29, 2006, 3:20 PM - Thursday, November 30, 2006, 3:43 PM

Summary (3:22 PM)

Kevin, Lana, and Duke are on the wacky world of Hoopland on Hoop-De-Doo-Dah Day, when the magic hoop comes out of Hoop Mountain, and anyone that sinks a basketball through it will be granted one wish. Kevin says after he'll wish Lana's father home for her. Lana has been practicing to take a shot herself, but she accidentally hits Duke with her basketball, who gets dizzy! Kevin is surprised and excited when Larry Bird shows up for the contest. There is a boy named Hoopless that is short, so he can't play basketball, like everyone else, but he's a brilliant scientist who invented everything on Hoopland. He activates his new robot, Rebound, in his laboratory. Rebound is trying to make a shot, but he jumps too high and hits his head on the ceiling. His eyes turn from yellow to red, and he becomes evil. Hoopless corrects it, and then he and Rebound go outside. Hoopless wants Rebound to jump, sink the ball in the magic hoop, and then wish him tall like everyone else. Larry, Kevin, and Lana are about to throw their basketballs in the hoop, but Rebound beats them to it. The robot messes up the wish, however, and wished himself tall! He grows taller than a building, and his head hits a girder, turning him evil again. Hoopless begs Kevin to stop Rebound. Kevin wants to shoot Rebound, but Hoopless begs him not to. In order to stop Rebound, Kevin and the others go to Hoop Mountain to find the magic hoop and make another wish. First they have to sink a basketball into a hoop on the other side of a canyon that's forty feet across. Kevin throws his ball, which is about to fall into the canyon, but Larry throws his ball, which hits Kevin's and pushes the Game Master's ball up and through the hoop. A warp bridge opens, and they end up inside Hoop Mountain. Clockman, the guardian of the magic hoop, throws different challenges at them that they have to beat if they wanna get to the magic hoop. First they have to sink a basketball through a hoop while avoiding hoop-shooting bats that multiply when shot. Larry finally sinks Lana's basketball through the hoop. Their next challenge is to face the Hole Thing, a creature that shoots holes, and sink the ball again. Duke, who sniffs a hole, accidentally falls in. Hoopless also falls in, too, but Kevin saves him. Once again, Larry scores. Kevin promises Duke he'll come back for him. Next they have to pick one of two hoops that are offered. One leads to the magic hoop. Kevin suggests tossing a coin to decide, but Larry tries the hoop on the right. A bubble forms around him, trapping him inside. Kevin and the others use the hoop on the left and go to the magic hoop. Kevin throws the ball, but a shield forms around the magic hoop, and the ball bounces off and back at them. Kevin runs up to the hoop and gets trapped inside the shield. Lana takes a shot and sinks the ball through the hoop. Clockman begins to cry because he always wins. Kevin is freed, and Larry and Duke come through a warp and join them. Kevin hugs Lana and lifts her up. He says if Lana wishes her father back home, he'll understand. But Lana says she wouldn't, and neither would her father. She wishes Rebound back to normal. Hoopless apologizes for causing so much trouble, but Larry says it's the people of Hoopland who should apologize to Hoopless for taking him for granted. Hoopless and Rebound hug, and Kevin and Lana smile, thinking it's adorable.

Misc. Tidbits (3:23 PM - 3:26 PM)

The episode was written by Matt Uitz.

The episode originally aired on Saturday, September 21, 1991, as the second episode of Season 3 and the twenty-ninth episode of the series.

I first saw this episode on NBC and possibly on "Captain N & The Video Game Masters".

Interesting Notes (3:26 PM - 4:43 PM)

The title is purple with no quotes.

Hoop-Dee-Doo-Dah Day occurs once per year.

Kevin's Zapper beams are blue in this episode.

Kevin's weapons don't lose power in this episode.

Great Lines (4:11 PM - 4:42 PM)

Lana: "This shot's for you, father."

Hoopless: "But no one's ever done that."
Larry: "He's right. No one's ever done it, but maybe a team could."

Lana: "The hole thing shoots holes?!"
Clockman: "Holy moley, she guessed it! Now, let's see you best it!"

Clockman: "Eeny, meeny, miney, moony. One hoop leads to the Magic Hoop, the other to your doomy!"

Lana: "Awww, don't you just love hoopy endings?"

Dumb Lines (4:43 PM)


Rant (3:27 PM - 5:16 PM; Thursday, November 30, 2006, 2:04 PM - 2:29 PM, 3:42 PM - 3:43 PM)

This episode was written by Matt Uitz. The previous episodes written by Matt Uitz are "The Trojan Dragon" and "Once Upon a Time Machine" (the latter cowritten with Michael Maurer). The former episode was good. The latter episode was average. How well does he do this time?

This episode is tenuously based, I suppose, on "Jordan vs. Bird" for the NES, which came out in August of 1989. If there's another NES game with Larry Bird in it (and I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case), then please let me know.

The music that plays over the Captain N logo in this episode can best be described as sports rock music.

Hoopland looks like a giant basketball hoop, complete with the word "Hoopland" on the backboard. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

The narrator describes Hoopland as a "wacky world". It sure is.

So this contest to have a wish granted is this episode's plot device. If Hoop-Dee-Doo-Dah Day occurs once per year, as the narrator all but says, does that mean that Kevin and Lana go there once per year to take shots? Or did they just find out about this? Either way, they seem to play basketball decently enough (see "Wishful Thinking") to have a chance at it.

Speaking of Lana, her appearance has also been simplified. Her boots are now, it seems, long leg bracelets. The yellow portion has grown, leaving only a little blue on top and even less blue below. Below that, the tops of her feet are revealed, because she's wearing blue slippers. Weird. She still looks cute, though. =)

It's totally awesome how Lana accidentally hits Duke with her basketball. At least, I think so. :D

So Larry Bird is in this episode. Yes, Larry Bird, the basketball player. I have no idea if he's voicing himself or not, but I'm wondering how much that it cost to use his name and likeness.

When Larry and Kevin shake hands, Lana's eyebrows seem to be missing.

This episode is full of basketball hoop puns. I'll name each as they occur:

Pun #1: Hoopless (that's the kid's name, perhaps a basketball pun on "hopeless"?) asks "Hey, what's all the hoopla?"

Is it just me, or does a short, nerdy, black boy with glasses that invents stuff seem to be a rip-off of Steve Urkel?

The time period certainly is right for that.

I like how the announcer dribbles Hoopless like a basketball. :P

How could Hoopless' spring shoes cause him to jump so high in the air at the last moment, when he was struggling to jump high enough to see the contest earlier?

Pun #2: Hoopless: "I invented everything on this hoopy world, but noone cares a hoop about me."

Pun #3: Hoopless: "Let's put you through your final hoops."

Pun #4: Rebound: "Hoopy!"

Pun #5: Hoopless: "You nincumhoop!"

Why do Rebound's eyes turn red just because he turns evil?

For that matter, why does Rebound turn evil just because he receives a blow to the head?

Pun #6: Hoopless: "Uh-oh. That hit on the head must've knocked a hoop loose."

Pun #7: Hoopless: "He's gone hoopy mad!"

I like how Hoopless says "Time out" (sports terminology) when he wants Rebound to stop. That's a nice touch.

Wow, Hoopless was lucky to be able to throw the magnet at just the right time and place to trap Rebound against a machine by his neck.

Pun #8: Announcer: "Hoop-dee-doo! Hoop Mountain is opening!"

Pun #9: Crowd: "Hip-hoop-hooray! It's Hoop-Dee-Doo-Dah Day!"

Hehe. Lana kisses her basketball for good luck. If I was her basketball, then I'd do my best to go through the magic hoop.

How could Rebound, a robot, possibly misremember the wish that he's supposed to make? Does he still have "a hoop loose"?

Pun #10: Hoopless: "No, no, you made the wrong wish, you loophoop!"

Kevin's Power Pad, which is still incorrectly drawn, now has a grey rectangular button about the Select and Start buttons that allows him to shift to the right. What...the...hell?

Rebound can shoot hoops out of his hands? Why?

Pun #11: Hoopless: "If only I could get close enough to tighten his loose hoops."

Pun #12: Clockman: "If you play your hoops right, you may beat my time, but I doubt it."

Ugh. Clockman blows a raspberry. I hate raspberries.

Why does Kevin run at the Magic Hoop after he misses his shot? The ball was bouncing back to him. He could have picked it up anywhere. Why run to the Magic Hoop? All that he did was get himself trapped. Was it just to see what caused the ball to bounce off?

Kevin picks Lana up in triumph after she makes the winning shot, just like in "Wishful Thinking".

How did Rebound get into Hoop Mountain? Did he go on a rampage and fight his way in? Or did he come in normally after Lana wished him back to normal? Or did everyone leave Hoop Mountain, Lana wished Rebound back to normal, and then everyone (with Rebound's help) beat the three challenges ("Happy Birthday, Megaman" reference?) for a chance at another wish?

Pun #13: Lana: "Awww, don't you just love hoopy endings?"

The episode ends on a cute note - with Kevin and Lana putting their heads together and Lana clasping her hands together.

So...did Lana take another shot and wish her father home - as she suggested earlier that she might do? It seemed to come down to a choice between her father or Rebound.

Lesson: Don't judge people's abilities by their sizes. Don't take people for granted.

This episode is slightly above average. It seems to have a lot of common themes and ideas with Season 1's "Wishful Thinking", except that is a Kid Icarus episode, and this isn't. The things that they have in common are: basketball, insecurity over height, wishes being granted, someone growing into a giant, Kevin picking Lana up in triumph after she scores a winning shot, and the message that you should be happy as you are. There are way too many similarities to "Wishful Thinking" for it to be coincidental. Matt Uitz must have watched "Wishful Thinking" prior to writing this episode. He improved upon it, too.

In this episode, Kevin, Lana and Duke appear. Simon, Mega Man, Kid Icarus, and Gameboy must be back at the Palace of Power.

Oh, yeah, the Palace of Power doesn't appear in this episode (or in "Misadventures In Robin Hood Woods"). This will be another recurring element in Season 3: the shorter running time forces the writers to get into the adventure almost immediately, not even showing the Palace of Power.

Of course, Mother Brain and her lackeys aren't in this episode.

As for what to cut out, I can't think of any filler in this episode. Matt Uitz made good use of the short running time that he was given to work with. This is a lean episode.

Overall, "Pursuit of the Magic Hoop" is a good episode.

Usefulness ratings:

Kevin: 8 (getting Hoopless out of the way, zapping 4 hoops, getting Hoopless and Lana out of the way, throwing the basketball, saving Hoopless from the hole)
Lana: 2 (making the winning shot, wishing Rebound back to normal)
Duke: 1 (pushing the basketball to Larry)

This episode doesn't focus on an N Team member. Still, Kevin gets 8 points (including for throwing the basketball, even though Larry helped get it into the hoop), Lana gets 2 points, and Duke was actually useful one time.

The running total usefulness ratings for this season so far are:

Kevin: 13 (2 episodes)
Lana: 2 (1 episode)
Simon: 0 (0 episodes)
Mega Man: 0 (0 episodes)
Kid Icarus: 2 (1 episode)
Duke: 1 (2 episodes)
Gameboy: 0 (0 episodes)

Kevin is in the lead as expected. Lana moves into a tie for second place with Kid Icarus.

The running total usefulness ratings for the series so far are:

Kevin: 150 (28 episodes)
Lana: 44 (27 episodes)
Simon: 48 (26 episodes)
Mega Man: 43 (26 episodes)
Kid Icarus: 50 (27 episodes)
Duke: 25 (28 episodes)
Gameboy: 18 (13 episodes)

Lana moves into 4th place. We'll see how long that she stays there.

That's the end of my review of "Pursuit of the Magic Hoop". "Return To Castlevania" originally aired third in Season 3 - on Saturday, September 28, 1991, so I'll review that next. See you all in my next review!

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