The remainder of the season (and the series) was supposed to end in June, but it looks as if some of the final episodes of Wander Over Yonder will be doled sporadically in the new few weeks instead. It’s hard to say what this means. Is Disney giving the show a ceremonious death, letting its final episodes stand on their own (similar to Gravity Falls) and somewhat admitting the cancellation was a mistake? Or is this them burning off the remaining episodes in a fairly unorthodox way? (They’re still being aired on a prime Monday evening timeslot.) Wander Over Yonder is a great, funny show, a visually inventive, colorful kaleidoscope that possessed enough latitude to play around with format, styles, and genres. It’s a show that justifies that outside, surface changes were strong enough to overcome its internal deficiencies (namely, Dominator)–and even still, those internal aspects were solid and comical enough to make it worthwhile. I’m glad to be tackling this show to its very end.
“The Party Poopers” is definitely not the kind of episode that acts like the show is ending in any way. In fact, it’s the complete opposite: an assortment of visual and verbal puns related to butts. That’s it. And, yes, it’s easy, simple humor, but Wander Over Yonder dedicates itself to the simplicity, creating an episode so ridiculous that you can’t even help but laugh at all the innuendos, Beavis and Butthead style. Wander and Sylvia have to seek advice from the High-Knee (or is it the Hiney?) Counsel, and the only way they’ll be allowed in is by acting sophisticated and composed against the onslaught of butt-jokes that come their way. And there are a ton: the Counsel and their “butt-ler” apparently have butts for faces, their food offerings consist of rump roasts and hot buttered buns, and–my favorite part–an assortment of paintings that are all visual colloquialisms for the behind.
If you’re absolutely against potty humor, this episode will not be for you. But Wander does three things to make it stand above any other episode of any other show similar to it. One: it commits, sending out the butt gags at a massive clip, almost non-stop (until the end, which I’ll get to soon). Two: Wander looks great, as always, with some little visual details to make the episode pop (from its color palette to its slick story boarding–even random shots, like the slanted angle of Sylvia ringing the doorbell, look fantastic). And three: the jokes aren’t just about butt puns, but the contrasting elements of the upper-class setting with the apparent lower-class humor. Watching Sylvia try and restrain Wander from breaking out into giggles was just as funny as the various booty gags.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure what grade to give this episode, since it’s really so humor-specific. I laughed a lot, but the question really is about what else can you pull from it. I quite enjoyed the interactions between Wander and Sylvia, who both have such a great rapport that even watching Sylvia’s restrain Wander all day is still fun, a rapport that has been tweaked enough from last season’s slightly semi-uncomfortable one. The big reveal at the end though–that the entire stuffy affair was a test, and that of course the Counsel would laugh at themselves and the copious deluge of butt-related humor–felt weirdly tacked on, lazier than coming up with bunch of tush puns. Having a sense of humor and being about to laugh in the face of seriousness is a strong lesson to learn, even though there’s the small implication to laugh at every serious situation, which is more questionable. Still, “The Party Poopers” gets the core of its point across, and even if the ending is fairly flat, the overall episode is so over the top that pretty much makes up for it. Heck, the very last shot is of the episode being visually “flushed” down the toilet; obviously this episode knows exactly what it’s doing.
- So, a bit more on the finale: yeah, it’s a really bummer, especially knowing that they mapped out an entire third season worth of material. It would have been great to see the show really push Dominator a lot more–heck, all the various villains could have been worthy to delve into. Perhaps more disappointing is the lack of Wander backstory, something that never needed detailing, but was always a wonderfully mysterious “thing” that seeped into and out of people’s lives throughout all time, and simply compelled them to try and be better people. It’s a small thing, but it’s rare to have a show, or any piece of entertainment, that unabashedly believed in the goodness of people, and that people could change for the better. That will be the thing I miss about the show the most: that it’s okay to have hope.
- This is probably more coincidental than anything else, but having an episode about laughing in the face of impending doom could be a message to fans of the show, to just laugh and enjoy the remaining episodes in the face of the show’s cancellation. Enjoy it while it lasts; I certainly will.