The Little Mermaid, The Series: Thinga-Ma-Jigger

Wha’ Happen’?

Ariel and Flounder are out minding their own damn business when a naval battle between some pirates and the Royal Navy breaks out overhead. During the battle, one of the pirates drops a boot and Ariel, little hoarder that she is, is fascinated by it and takes it back to Atlantica to show to her friends. Now, The Little Mermaid the film had a lean, tight little screenplay with very little fat which was to its credit. But it does mean that Ariel’s world is really under-populated. She has literally two friends in that movie (Sebastien is more of an authority figure), Flounder and Scuttle and she hasn’t actually met Scuttle yet. So the episode has to create some new fish friends for Ariel. Who are these fresh new additions to the rich Mermaid canon? Well, we get an unnamed posh lady fish who loves fashion dahling and an uninspired Woody Allen impression. God, uninspired Woody Allen impersonations used to be everywhere in cartoons and they were never a good sign. Foodfight! had one. That should teach you plenty. By a rather morbid coincidence this episode would have aired right around the time Dylan Farrow went public.

Probably why this guy isn’t on a lot of merch.

Ariel and the fish try to figure out what the boot (which they call a “Thingamajigger”) actually is. Triton comes out and says that he knows exactly what it is: FILTHY FILTHY HUMAN PERVERSITY. He then tells Sebastien to ensure the boot is safely buried far away from the city. So, this series clears up something that always bugged me about the original movie: why does Triton appoint Sebastien, the court composer, to chaperone his daughter? Well, it turns out that Sebastien is the only person Triton has on the payroll. He has to do every literally every thing in this court.

“Sebastien! Compose a symphony in my honour, prepare a five course banquet, negotiate peace with the neighbouring kingdoms, raise taxes, draft a constitution, put out a hit on Ursula and FOR THE LAST TIME TIME BEAR ME A MALE HEIR OR IT’S YOUR HEAD!”

Sebastien is too small to lift the boot so Ariel reluctantly helps him take it to a remote location to bury it. But Triton’s warning about the Thingamajigger being dangerous is overheard by clams, who pass this knowledge along to all the other clams in a massive game of undersea telephone. Word reaches the Lobster Mobster, an Edward G. Robinson sound-alike with designs on taking over Atlantica, see? He and his sidekick, Da Shrimp, decide to find the Thingamajigger for themselves as even Triton is apparently afraid of it. They find the boot where Ariel half-assedly buried it and decide to use it to destroy a nearby coral reef. By total coincidence, another navy ship overhead drops a cannon ball on the cliff at that exact moment and the Lobster Mobster now thinks that he’s got his hands on an undersea MOAB.

The clams pass the word back to Atlantica that the Lobster Mobster is coming to wreck shop and Ariel decides that their only hope is to travel to the surface and see if they can learn the secrets of the dread Thingamajigger. They surface at a harbour and are horrified by the sights of fishermen massacreing their fellow fish by the thousands and it’s so awful oooh cute boy!

Huh, judging from that chin Eric is part of the Hapsburg dynasty. Who knew?

Ariel watches as this mysterious land hunk rescues a dolphin from some fishing nets and then tosses his soaking wet boots into the sea and she realises that they’re just useless foot coverings.

Meanwhile under the sea, under the sea, there’s plenty of aggravations and unfriendly crustaceans under the sea. Things have gone from bad to worse as the Lobster Mobster has been waylaid by the Evil Manta (aw yeah, we got continuity up in this bitch) who takes the Thingamajigger for himself. This means we get to hear Tim Curry (it was Tim Curry, but you knew that of course) purr the word “thingamajigger” and I don’t know if this is too much information but I came four times.

“I owe it to you as a reviewer that you know that.”

The Evil Manta rolls up to Atlantica and calls Triton out. Triton is ready to throw down, but the fish have become so terrified of this leathery menace that they surrender and Woody Allen fish yells “All hail King Manta!”

Ah, THAT’s why this guy isn’t on a lot of merch.

Ariel then rocks up and shows the Manta that she has a thingamajigger of her own so he’d better am-scary but he challenges her to see which of their two boots has the bigger kick so to speak. And then Ariel plays her hand: a pair.

That is the Little Mermaid duel-wielding Thingamajiggers like Neo in the Matrix and I take back every bad thing I ever said about this show.

Seeing as he’s called the Evil Manta, and not the Crazy Manta, he realises that he’s been out Thingamajiggered and peaces out. Triton is grateful to Ariel for saving the kingdom, but still thinks that human stuff is dangerous and tells her to get rid of the boots and not to half-ass it this time.

And the episode ends with Ariel, Sebastien and Flounder hiding the boots in the cave that will one day become Ariel’s collection.

How was it?

I…kinda dug the hell out of this, I’m not gonna lie. The clams are genuinely funny with this perpetually amazed breathless delivery that reminded me of the little green aliens from Toy Story. The mid episode villain switch from the Lobster Mobster to the far more menacing Evil Manta was unexpected and a quite effective escalation and the sheer nuttiness of the premise is weirdly entertaining. Definitely a step up.

The moral of the story is: Rumours and conspiracy theories have a way of taking on a life of their own and becoming dangerous. In other news, GET YOUR DAMN VACCINE.

Does this violate continuity?: I was honestly kind of charmed by the lengths this episode went to to ensure that Ariel never actually sees Eric’s face. I appreciate that commitment. On the other hand, this episode establishes that Sebastien already knew about Ariel’s treasure trove before he came there in the movie which kinda makes his reaction to seeing it a bit illogical. Ah well, maybe he was just shocked that it had grown to the extent that it had.

8 comments

  1. That last bit about Aerial never seeing Eric’s face reminds me of how, in the Clone Wars CGI animated series, General Grievous, the main villain of most of the show, and Anakin, the main protag, are literarily never in the same room, because, in the Clone Wars, the movie which takes place after all this, Grievous talks to Anakin like he’s meeting him for the first time.So they can never have them meet in the series or the continuity is violated.

  2. This is my favorite episode of the series. NGL. For all the reasons you state. Manta! Fucking weird yet awesome plot! Eric cameo!

    Eric’s head is hilariously off-model but I think from the body proportions they may have been attempting to make him look younger and less filled-out too. BTW I’m pretty sure that’s Jeff Bennet filling in for Christopher Daniel Barnes. He also comes back for Eric’s second voiced cameo down the line, where they do a much better job with the animation.

    Also I’m 99% sure that Tim Curry is pulling double duty as the “Captain Sayers” that talks to Eric.

    Loved the review and glad you got a kick out of this one!

    1. Dang it I forgot re Sebastian: So SPOILERS for a later episode in this 20 year-old series-

      In “Ariel’s Treasures” her collection up to that point gets destroyed. So Sebastian could theoretically have convinced himself she wasn’t going to replace it. Also I think the actual grotto looks different enough that it could be a different cave. But I’m not sure on the second point.

  3. This one at least sounds way more interesting an episode.

    Also, that pic of Ariel with the boots is hilarious, I get that there’s some perspective going on, but it just looks like she has massive shoes.

  4. You came back to watch this episode FOUR times? Yikes, Mouse, I’m all for a little Curry-ed ham, but that might be over-indulging.

    Of course the Unshaved Mouse came, fellow fans, it’s HIS blog; why couldn’t he come as often as he likes?

  5. NOW back to the episode: I wonder if Zazu and Sebastian ever get together with the equerry to (Cinderella’s father-in-law) King Bismarck I to grouch about their respective Royal Masters?

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