An Animated Dissection: My Top 5 Least-Favorite Star vs The Forces of Evil, Season 1 Segments
Now that the first season of Star vs The Forces of Evil has come to a close, I figured now would be a good time to do what most serious series viewers do: go back over the corpse, and start dissecting it, piece-by-piece!
I haven’t seen many other Top 5 or Top 10 lists pop up regarding Star, so I thought I’d be one of the first out there to do one.
Keep in mind that these decisions are largely based on my own tastes and views, and as such, I’m sure others will have their own preferences. But for now, here are my Top 5 least-favorite segments for Star vs The Forces of Evil’s first season.
Given that this segment was the first following the very first episode, I had high hopes for Match Maker, notably once it started off at Echo Creek Academy.
Star is eager to play Match Maker around school, and her first target is their teacher, Ms Skullneck. However, her attempts to help, end up turning Skullneck into a troll. Star, Marco, and Skullneck then end up back at the Diaz’s household, attempting to fix the problem, but not before Ludo and his monsters show up.
The segment could have been a great ‘meet-the-student-body’ kind of experience, but once they turned Skullneck into a troll, and Ludo entered the picture, the whole thing (to me) just derailed in a big way.
In a rather ironic way, one of the themes talked of during Match Maker, is “distractions,” and that’s largely what the tone of the segment is: it seems to be stuck having ADD as it jumps from rail-to-rail, story-wise.
It’s a pity, because I feel this could have been so much better. Overall, it feels like a glorified cameo-fest at tunes, notably when we get our first segment appearance of Star’s ex-boyfriend, Tom, as well as a brief appearance by her Mom.
In looking over the episodes that came afterwards, I feel that the segment titled Interdimensional Field Trip, fulfilled the hopes I had for Match Maker.
Other culture’s backstories are often something I and many look forward to in some series…though in this case, Mewnipendence Day tells about how revisionist history has tainted Star Butterfly’s views on her homeworld, and how she comes to grips with realizing there may be something more to what she’s been told.
On the other side of the story, we are also shown Toffee continuing to take over Ludo’s gang of monsters, and excising the thorn in his side…in this case, Ludo’s most loyal minion: Buff Frog.
Though Ludo has never been the smartest of monsters, it did feel like this segment really made his competency levels plummet. Sure, he wasn’t in top form in his last appearance episode 8’s Fortune Cookies segment, but it really felt like he lost more than a few brain cells since his last appearance.
While there are a few decent moments in this one (I was intrigued by Toffee’s actions), most of the storypoints revolving around Star and her Mewnipendence Day battle-reenactment, just never seemed to hit on the emotional levels I was expecting.
Some stories in a series can just be a bit, ‘bleah,’ and Freeze Day feels like one of those.
The concept of Star and Marco stuck in a time-frozen world, sounds like it could be something cool to work with, but they quickly get that idea out of the way in a few minutes. Instead, we are treated to a story regarding Father Time, who has gotten off the Wheel of Progress thanks to Star’s actions, and doesn’t seem ready to get back to his ‘daily grind.’
While there are a few fun moments, it almost feels like the story is trying to cross a river, and build a bridge over it at the same time. As well, Father Time’s easily distracted nature may remind some of another segment we saw this season (and it’s also on this list).
Even with what I’ve mentioned above, Freeze Day is not totally un-redeemable. The story points regarding Marco’s taking another step forward in trying to communicate to Jackie Lynn Thomas, did make it stand out in my mind…but a lot of what goes on before then, just feels like a madcap romp to kill 7 minutes of time.
I think that if many people have a segment that just rubs them the wrong way in Season 1, it’s this one.
When Star sees an ad for The Banagic Wand (“Earth’s Coolest Magical Treat”), she soon goes on a quest through Echo Creek to obtain one…though to her, the entire journey is like some riddle-filled labyrinth, as she tries to find “a better store near her.”
We are dealing with a show that mentions the words ‘weird’ and ‘wild’ in its theme song, but to some, there’s only so much they can take. In this case, Star’s over-obsessing about the Banagic Wand, may have led some to wonder just what was going on in the story department for this episode.
Marco does figure into the plot a bit, but in truth, it feels like he wasn’t really needed. You could have just had him leave for his Karate lessons in the beginning, and come back through the door at the end of the piece, leaving it to mainly be just a Star-focused episode.
I couldn’t help but wonder if the segment, was a devious attempt by the writers and storyboard artists to see just how far they could push their audience, before they finally snapped and ran around the room screaming, “What is going on!?”
Of course, on many fan discussion areas, those 4 words were uttered over the segment’s rather enigmatic final moments, which ended up making many take the episode a little too seriously (in my opinion).
If anything, the concept did make me wonder: what would happen if Star Butterfly went to a theme park like Disneyland?
Those who have read my reviews of SvTFoE, have probably seen Pixtopia‘s name pop up quite a few times. Personally, I can’t help but feel it’s the weakest of all the stories in Season 1.
When Marco, Ferguson, and Alfonzo use up all of Star’s ‘minutes’ on her Magic Mirror to make prank calls, they have to go to the world of Pixtopia to pay the bill. This leads to almost all of them being sent to work in the Shard Mines, except Ferguson, who soon catches the eye of the dimension’s Pixie Queen.
Given that production on Pixtopia was done during Toon City’s takeover of the animation duties from Mercury Filmworks, I can’t help but feel the segment may have suffered from the studio attempting to grasp how to process/animate the characters and scenarios. As such, a lot of the punchy/funny tone that we’d come to know and love in the first 5 episodes, feels like it’s missing in a lot of areas.
Along with the stylized movements feeling toned down, so much of what should be funny about this episode, just feels like they’re “shooting blanks.” The story bit about Star calling Marco and her “mess-up twins” for using up her mirror’s minutes, just feels like a joke that crashes-and-burns before it even gets off the ground. Even the joke about the Pixie Queen saying Ferguson “looks delicious,” doesn’t work either.
The Pixtopia dimension also feels like it’s passed over too quickly, all for the sake of squeezing the story into 11 minutes. One can easily see that the concept might have been better suited to a longer episode, which would have made Pixtopia, more entertaining.
And there you have it, my Top 5 least-favorite segments from Season 1.
To balance out the negativity, stay tuned as in the next few weeks, the next SvtFoE post will be my Top 5 favorite segments from the first Season. As we also make our way into 2016, and get ready for Season 2, I’ll post a few more posts regarding certain characters, questions, and more!