Courtesy; Shout! Factory/Shout! Kids/Hub/Hasbro Studios
Shout! Kids released the latest collection of episodes from Hub’s award-winning series Pound Puppies this week. The latest collection of episodes from this update on the original 1980s series is just as much a jewel as the series’ previous compilation DVDs. The episodes included in this compilation make it so enjoyable first and foremost because of the episodes’ writing. By connection, audiences will appreciate the subtle lessons taught through some of the episodes. Intentional or not, there are some subtle lessons taught through some of this set’s episodes. It makes the set all the richer. And last but not least, viewers (especially parents) will appreciate this latest compilation is the list of guest appearances. Some very big names lend their talents to Pound Puppies in this collection. Whether it be the guest talent, the lessons, the writing or all three factors together, Pound Puppies: A Perfect Match proves to be another wonderful set of episodes for the whole family.
The writing behind this collection of episodes is the central point of impact for this DVD. Those that are familiar with this incarnation of Pound Puppies and with the original series from the 1980s know that both series emulate the classic WWII-themed sitcom Hogan’s Heroes in their theme songs. The new Pound Puppies has taken things to a higher level, actually giving Ace and his canine friends an underground base just like Col. Hogan and his Allied forces friends in Hogan’s Heroes. As viewers will see in this set’s opening episode, the writers even emulate Hogan’s Heroes in terms of the writing, too. In “The Yipper Caper”, viewers see McLeash bring in a giant dog feeding machine just to impress his superiors much like Col. Klink would do in Hogan’s Heroes. Klink was always taking on some wild, hair-brained scheme to impress his higher-ups. On the other side of things, audiences hear Ace tell Yipper that the Pound Puppies have homes outside the shelter, but they stay there to help others. Audiences familiar with Hogan’s Heroes will again recognize quite the similarity there. This writing is a wonderful homage to the golden era of television and takes things one step farther than the original Pound Puppies series. That homage is just the tip of the iceberg in what makes the writing so fun in these episodes. Just as impressive to note is the fact that the show’s writers are able to time and again find ways for the Pound Puppies to complete their missions without McLeash ever knowing. This is the case throughout all five episodes, not just the opener. Again, this is an homage to Hogan’s Heroes. It’s one more way to potentially get young viewers started on the road to an appreciation for television’s Golden Era. And for that, the show’s writers are more than deserving of their applause.
As one should be able to tell by now, the writing behind the episodes included in the latest Pound Puppies compilation DVD is key to the collection’s overall enjoyment. Even older viewers will appreciate the writing thanks to its throwback to what is one of television’s greatest ever sitcoms. Just as important to these episodes are the lessons taught through the episodes. “Hello Kitten” teaches a not so subtle lesson about the ability of people to get along and be friends despite opposing backgrounds. It does this by having the youngest of the pound puppies help a kitten find his perfect person. There’s just one problem. The Pound Puppies’ feline counterparts, led by a feline mirror image of Ace is set out to keep the young kitten from becoming friends with dogs and finding a person for the kitten themselves. In the end, the cats learn that it’s okay to be friends with dogs. The secondary lesson taught here is that one must let go of things from the past. All holding onto the past does is make a person bitter. “Beauty is only Fur Deep” teaches a lesson about being one’s self when a much talked about dog comes to Kennel 17. The Pound Puppies have their hands…*ahem*…paws full when the seemingly humble dog turns quite self-centered on getting a new coat of fur. It creates lots of problems for the Pound Puppies especially when he shoots down the little girl they said was his perfect person. He of course learns a rather valuable lesson from this experience that viewers of all ages will appreciate.
The lessons taught through the episodes culled for Pound Puppies: A Perfect Match and the general writing that pays homage to Hogan’s Heroes both make this latest compilation of episodes just as enjoyable as previous Pound Puppies DVDs. There is one more factor to consider in this DVD that makes its episodes so fun. That final factor is the list of guest stars that lent its talents to each episode. J.K. Simmons (Spiderman 1 – 3) and Tress MacNeille both share their talents in the episodes included in this DVD. Go figure, Simmons voices a character in “Working K-9 To 5” that is a newspaper man. Hmmmmm, now where have we seen that before? His character is even presented much in the same vein as J. Jonah Jameson from director Sam Raimi’s Spiderman Trilogy. MacNeille (The Simpsons, Futurama) voices a fellow canine in another episode. It’s only a bit part. But parents that know McNeille’s voice will love hearing her voice here, too. And of course, the true queen of comedy herself, Betty White, returns once more as the voice of McLeash’s not so nice mother. These are just some of the guests that appear in the episodes collected for this DVD. Also on board on these episodes are: Tara Strong (Rugrats, The Powerpuff Girls, The Fairly Odd Parents), E.G. Daily (Rugrats, The Powerpuff Girls, Chalk Zone), Diedrich Bader (Batman: The Brave & The Bold, Napoleon Dynamite, The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy), Danny Cooksey (Salute Your Shorts, Diff’rent Strokes, Tiny Toon Adventures) and so many others. The fact that so many well-known actors and actresses would lend their talents to these episodes shows just how respected a series it proves to be. Parents will recognize most (if not all) of the names mentioned here. And that alone is enough to give the DVD just one watch if not more. And it is most definitely deserving of far more than just one watch.
Pound Puppies: A Perfect Match is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct from Shout! Factory’s online store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/product/pound-puppies-perfect-match. More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory and Shout! Kids is available online at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.