These threads really need to get more attention after the shows air on PBS.
And that’s where I come in…
Welcome to the series finale of CoolGuy Reviews! Wait, what?
OK, if you’re unaware, in the thread for episode 5035, I said that the CoolGuy Reviews title would be reserved for my reviews of the upcoming HBO Max episodes, with the remaining HBO episodes to be reviewed under “CoolGuy’s Other Reviews” (I thought of “CoolGuy’s Classic Reviews”, but these episodes certainly aren’t classic yet). And this review would be the last one of an HBO episode published with the “CoolGuy Reviews” title. With that said, Birdie and the Beast. Will this episode make me like happily ever after, or will it be much more Grimm (get it?) Let’s find out.
The episode starts with Cookie Monster setting up the theme of fairy tales by reading a book of them. I’ll give you 5 seconds to guess the punchline. Oh wait, you don’t need to, because you already know what it’ll be. Yup, he eats the book. Predictable, but not much else to say.
Alright, now for the episode proper, and I’m pretty sure this is the first Big Bird-centric episode of the HBO era. The plot is basically Big Bird writes a story, and reads it to his friends. While we occasionally cut back to them reacting to it, the episode mostly takes place in the story, so let’s talk about it.
In the story, Big Bird plays Birdie, who has just moved to a nest next to a castle, which he decides to go investigate. Credit to the people who designed the interior to the castle, it looks great, and is a nice change from the typical green screen/CGI they usually use. The props look nicely designed too. Anyway, when he arrives, he meets a rather unfriendly beast, who sings about how he’s a beast and doesn’t like to share. The songs in this episode are definitely some of the best of the season, by the way.
But enough gushing over little things, when Birdie decides to leave, Beast prohibits him from doing it, as he must make a friend before all the coconuts fall from a tree in the middle of the room. It turns out he’s under a curse, and will remain cursed forever if he doesn’t. After Birdie refuses, Beast gets mad and a coconut falls. He then traps Birdie in the castle until he became his friend. The next few scenes are pretty simple. Birdie tries to play a game with Beast, Beast cheats, and another coconut falls. Birdie tries to have a picnic with Beast, Beast eats all the food, another coconut falls. These scenes, despite their simplicity, are pretty entertaining nonetheless, and it was kinda funny when Beast mistook the word “share” for “shrub”.
After the picnic, Birdie is fed up, and decides to leave. After Beast realizes he’s down to the last coconut, he begins crying, and Birdie comes back, deciding to help him through another really good song. Beast is now happy again, and realizes the error of his ways, unlocking the door to free Birdie. With this, Birdie finally becomes Beast’s friend, and the curse is lifted. In a pretty funny twist, it turns out that, the curse merely messed up Beast’s hair. And with another brief song, the story is finished.
All in all, this was a really good Street story, probably the best I’ve reviewed so far. That said, it was kind of disheartening listening to it. If you don’t know, Season 46 and 47 were Caroll’s last seasons doing the voices of his characters, and with BB having a major role in this one, it’s a little depressing to hear him with such a weak, quiet voice. Oh well, doesn’t really affect the story's quality that much.
Now onto the letter of the day, F. And for it, we get a fantastic letter segment. Notice the lack of quotes around Letter, as this one actually focuses on both the letter and
the theme, something of a rarity following this season. Anyway, the segment tells the story of knight named Fearless Fred preparing to face a fearsome dragon, encountering a little girl named Franny Jones (who looks suspiciously like the story’s narrator) along the way. After reluctantly letting Franny join him, the duo meet the dragon, who, ironically, scares Fred. This disheartens the dragon, until Franny comforts him, finding out that he’s friendly. Franny apologizes to the dragon for offending him, and the segment ends.
This is probably one of my favorite letter segments of the era. It was made by the same crew behind “D for Dinosaur” from When Dinosaurs Walked Sesame Street, another actual letter segment. And one more thing, I completely forgot to mention that it’s a song.
Strangely enough, this episode has no short-form segment between the LOTD and NOTD, nor anywhere else in the episode like Bedtime Story and Funny Farm did. There is only a other episode like this and it’ll probably take me a while to review it, so let’s briefly tackle the Number of the Day, 0.
Fittingly enough, we get 0 Segments other that the introduction (though I did love the Count stomping 0 times) so now I can finally tackle the ETM, which was used in the Princess Story, But since this episode has the complete version, I intentionally held off reviewing it until this one.
Like all Elmo the Musical Segments, this one begins with Elmo imagining what he wants today’s musical to be about, eventually deciding to play a prince. He then imagines a kingdom and some mice as guards. After a song that kinda sucks, it turns out that a dragon it terrorizing a town in his kingdom, which it takes very confusing directions to get to. After some pointless scenes involving a burping hill of beans (I’m just as confused as you are), 5 friendly singing frogs (the most normal thing here), and a hiccuping hoop (also confusing), they finally make it to the Johnny Cash-esque dragon, who is terrorizing the town with his halitosis. He even sings about it in a song that is admittedly not the bad as far as country music goes. Anyway, Elmo decides the only way to defeat him is by making his own breath stinkier. He does so by eating 5 pieces of garlic and 5 piece of Limburger. It works, and the segment ends.
So that was Birdie and the Beast. I love it. The street story was one of if not the best of season 46, the letter segment was great, and I even liked the NOTD regardless of a lack of segments. While I felt Elmo the Musical was a bit weak, it doesn’t affect the episode too much, and I feel confident in giving it a 9/10. Great way to kind of end the show.
On that note, I got a footstool with a secret little zippered compartment for my birthday. In it, I placed the episode numbers for the remaining HBO episodes, and will draw one at random at the end of each review to decide the next one. And for the next episode, we’re going into one that could be considered pretty topical nowadays. See you all in the next review!