I am sure that all of you remember “The Little Mermaid” Disney movie. Well, Disney also made a cartoon tv show of “The Little Mermaid” in 1992. It ran for three seasons. It used to show on Saturdays mornings on CBS, but I watched all the episodes on the Disney Channel every weekday morning before school.
This show, like the movie, rocked! This show is about Ariel’s teenage life before she met Prince Eric, and thus, before she ventured on land and her fins turned into legs. Most of the same characters that were in the movie was in the show, including Ariel’s dad King Triton (who she argued with and defied a lot), crabby crab Sebastian, bad Ursula, insecure Flounder, Prince Eric, etc. The show also introduced many new characters such as the deaf Gabriella, Ariel's merboy friend (an orphan named Urchin who her family all saw as a little brother), the snobbish merteen called Pearl, the mobster lobster, Evil Manta, Sebastian's family, and an orca Ariel titled Spot. In each episode, Ariel and her friends Sebastian and Flounder go on adventures where they battle stupid villains and learn more about the mysterious world beyond the sea. Ariel was always interested in collecting human objects, but since she didn’t know the name of these objects, she called them “thingamajiggers” or names like that.
Ariel and her dad King Triton
Sebastian the Crab
Ariel and Flounder
What made me remember this show was watching “Scuttle,” a third season episode that first introduces Scuttle, the clumsy bird that helps Ariel and Flounder save Sebastian pirates, who have kidnaped him!
Scuttle, the lovable, clumsy seagull
At the beginning of the episode, Ariel and her friends are swimming in the sea all fine and dandy when they see a pirate ship. They meet this pirate bird which Sebastian thinks is not that bad at all, not until the bird kidnaps him that is! Ariel and Flounder then worry about Sebastian and think about how to rescue him. They eventually meet this seagull named Scuttle, who vows to help them rescue Sebastian from the stupid pirates. Trouble is, Scuttle appears to be a bit stupid himself - he bumps his head on a coconut twice and drops a sea shell on an angry octopus’s head! He also gets his foot stuck in a sea shell, and, further more, he bumps his head on a tree. Flounder has rights to doubt this guy, which he does. Flounder must be thinking that this Scuttle is a bit too souped up or something, or that he barely passed flying school because he was out partying with his friends too much. Flounder voices his doubts to Ariel, but Ariel points out that Scuttle is their only chance to save Sebastian because Scuttle can fly, and that’s just what they need, even if he’s a drunken flyer! When Scuttle bumps his head on the coconut on the second time, though, Ariel begins to have her own doubts.
Ariel and Flounder looking untrustingly at what I think is Scuttle.
Scuttle reassures them that he’s right for the job by, of course, singing a song! What a way to show your heroism, Scuttle, by singing a song while Sebastian’s on a scary pirate ship where he could be eaten by rats! Scuttle then tries to save Sebastian by going on the pirate ship. He sees the pirate bird on the pirate captain’s shoulder, bugging the guy about Sebastian. Scuttle beats up the pirate bird (which takes behind a ship post because viewers would be too traumatized by the violence). Scuttle punches, kicks, and does who knows what else to the traumatized bad pirate bird, then dresses in the pirate’s bird clothes and flies to the pirate captain’s shoulder to impersonate the pirate bird. Scuttle asks the pirate captain, “Where’s Sebastian the crab? Where’s Sebastian?” and the pirate captain takes the bird off his shoulder, chokes him and says, “Stop asking about that stupid crab!” or something like that, and throws Scuttle off the ship, where he sinks under the water and Ariel and Flounder rescue him. Ariel commends Scuttle for trying to rescue Sebastian. Scuttle goes on and on about how there are good birds and bad birds, and that he’s a good bird, and that he will rescue Sebastian. Flounder continues to have his doubts, but Ariel assures Flounder that Scuttle is not such a bad bird. Flounder points out that Sebastian said the same thing about the pirate bird before he was kidnaped.
Meanwhile, we see Sebastian on the pirate ship, looking all scared. For a seldom moment on this show, he’s actually not that grouchy. He tries to sneak out of the ship, but ends up interrupting the ugly pirates’ feast. They are slobbering everywhere while they eat and talk about capturing Prince Eric’s ship. The captain of the ship, who of course has a wooden leg, takes command of this talk and plans the invasion. Sebastian bounces on the table and into such food items as a big plate of green jello and a cup full of whiskey (or it could be wine). He almost becomes pirate-food as the pirates are too busy gobbling their food up to notice that they have put a live crab in their mouths! The pirates continue to gobble up their food and talk, and I see a pirate that has a huge ringed earring in his nostrils that goes around his lips. He’s slobbering as he talks, and I wonder how he can eat. Anyway, Sebastian gets up on a rope above the table and tries to sneak outside through a whole on the wall of the ship. Before he can do that, tons of nasty rats come out on either side of the rope! They all look hungry, and they eye Sebastian like a Thanksgiving turkey! The show actually closes in on one rat in particular who has anticipation watering at his mouth - he looks like he hasn’t eaten for days! Sebastian attempts to get rid of the rats by swinging up and down on the rope. He makes the rats drop right on the table, right onto the pirates’ meal, which I don’t think would be welcome among the pirates, but I then think that it doesn’t matter for the pirates. They might eat a couple of rats by mistake! Anyway, yay for Sebastian, until even MORE rats come on the rope beside him!
OH NO! Will Sebastian be eaten by the horrible rats? Those rats seem desperate for food, even so desperate as to eat a grumpy, scrawny crab. But, this being a cartoon, of course he will not be eaten. Scuttle, from nowhere, comes just in time to scoop Sebastian up and take him outside. But then he drops Sebastian into a barrel of white powdery stuff! Sebastian is all white from the powdery stuff, which looks a little like cocaine but is probably flour. He runs from the rats, who are still chasing after him. He sees himself in a mirror and freaks out for a second - he’s seen a crab-like ghost! No, Sebastian, it’s a cocaine-covered you, you dummy! He hides behind a corner and the rats come to get him. They see his reflection in the mirror and dive at it, thinking it’s him, but bump into the mirror instead. The rats continue chasing after him, and Scuttle tells Ariel to tap the pile of little cannon balls. She does, and the rats start running from the cannon balls. Scuttle then tells Flounder to pull on some kind of ropamigjig, which releases a ton of those golden dining cups that somehow finishes the task of completely bushwhacking those rats.
Then it’s early morning, and Sebastian is now safely back in the water with his friends. He thanks everyone for saving him, especially Scuttle, and Ariel thinks they all are a great team! But wait, it’s not the end of the show yet! They still have to miraculously stop the pirate ship from capturing Prince Eric’s ship. Ariel asks Scuttle to hand her a “shimmermajigger” or something like that, and Scuttle says, “Oh you mean a flavinschavin!” and flies off. Flounder and I have no idea what she wants him to get - for all I know, he could be getting her hair brush for her. She tells him she trusts Scuttle to get what she wants him to get, and looks adoringly toward him. Scuttle then comes back and gives her an axe. She then goes up to the pirate ship and cuts a rope, which causes the pirate ship to go haywire and sink. The sinking ship is then surrounded by sharks, which of course love to eat humans and are so happy to get such a great lunch for such little value! In reality, I’ve heard that sharks seldom attack humans, but that’s beside the point. Ariel and crowd are happy - yay, we sunk the pirate ship! Then I see Prince Eric on his ship, infatuated by the sight of a beautiful mermaid saving his ship from capture from those pirates. His old attendant tells him that he is hallucinating, and from the old attendant’s point of view, I could see why he would think that. Eric is always daydreaming about that mermaid, and there’s no such thing as mermaids - or are there? Either the attendant needs a reality check or Eric needs a psychiatric head check. At the end of the show, Ariel and her friends go off into the sunset, swimming in the water, happy as always until their next adventure.
I just watched that episode this morning on Disney Channel, and I have not seen an episode of “The Little Mermaid” in a long time. It brought back a lot of memories for me. There are, of course, many other great and silly episodes that I loved, such as “The Beast Within,” “Heroes” (no, not that television show - it was on years before that!), “Message in a Bottle,” “Wish Upon a Starfish,” and many more. It was one of the best cartoons I watched while growing up, especially in the mornings when I didn’t want to wake up out of my comfy bed. To know that the Disney Channel is rerunning these episodes (I saw it at about 11:30 AM in the Central Time Zone) is a comfort to me.
Scenes from "Message in a Bottle"
Scene from "Wish Upon a Starfish"
This show was one of my favorite childhood Disney cartoons to watch